Martech Interview with Seth Thomas, Vice President at Klay Media

Seth Thomas, Vice President at Klay Media chats about a few top trends that B2B marketers need to be focusing on more in today’s dynamic marketplace:

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Hi Seth! Can you tell us more about your journey in marketing and a little bit about Klay Media?

Even from a young age, marketing and advertising has always been a huge interest of mine. I would be easily captivated by catchy jingles I’d see and hear on the radio and TV. Hours later, those jingles would still be stuck in my head and I wanted to know why. 

Before joining Klay Media, I was fortunate enough to spend almost 10 years at Red Ventures helping Fortune 500 brands grow their digital footprint. At Red Ventures I was able to see first hand how rapidly the field of digital marketing and the landscape for online publishers were evolving. Our team worked endlessly on the intersection of both areas to build and scale owned and operated properties that would grow to reach over a third of the US population each month.

When joining Klay Media, what interested me the most was how they were working with some really big brands and monster publishers in the space. Klay Media is an agency built to grow the modern brand ecosystem. Mike and his team built a fantastic foundation and we are now taking that to the next level while helping brands grow. We are able to unlock tremendous data-drive value for brands, publishers, and consumers through strategic partnerships and robust digital growth strategies.

At Klay, we are able to deliver tangible business results for our 50+ partners through a combination of strategic insights, conversion-based buying tactics, advanced data analytics and proprietary technology that allows us to work in lockstep with brands to efficiently scale businesses from consideration to advocacy. We work with a wide range of brands, from start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses across financial services, media & entertainment, CPG, online retail and more.

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What are some of the top digital marketing trends that you feel B2B marketers and technology marketers need to be paying more attention to, to drive their own presence and ROI?

Results-driven SEO: There’s no more room to be playing games with SEO. Quality is always going to be king when it comes to content, and robust content strategies with an SEO focus are how publishers will win.

User experience is the new wave: Everyone (brands, publishers, etc.) needs to be putting user experience to the forefront when it comes to designing websites and page experience.

Omnichannel Marketing: Social Media, SEO, Email strategy, etc. should all work under a unified voice to spread the brand name and connect with users in multiple ways.

Can you highlight some of the biggest changes to the digital marketing ecosystem (paid ad formats, adtech, precision marketing, etc?) that have been resulting in a complete shift in marketing activities and processes over the recent months/year?

Everyone has been talking about the death of the third-party cookie lately, and even more recently Amazon is starting to use their irrationally robust data infrastructure to take targeted shopping behaviors to the next level. As we get closer to the loss of third-party cookies, we will start to see more on how brands and publishers will leverage the first party data they’ve collected to hone in the personalization and customization of strategies for known users.

Video content has been around for some time but now it’s become evident that this is one of the best ways to reach younger generations. Marketers will have to keep thinking of innovative ways to use video to reach the next generation.

Data scientists are working as marketers now as AI and machine learning capabilities become more integrated into the day-to-day marketing tools.

As a digital marketer, what are some of the marketing technologies that you’ve often relied on heavily to drive yours and your customer’s marketing efforts?

Data and analytics tools are absolutely essential. Over the years we’ve relied on a variety of platforms to help us get a better understanding of everything from the makeup of our audience to the details of our performance.

A few best practices you’d share with marketers when it comes to the topic of understanding, analyzing and using marketing metrics to impact better results?

Prioritizing up-front planning and intentionality is key. Launch thoughtfully designed tests with clearly defined hypotheses and measures of success. That way when you do get the results, it’s clear whether the test or initiative was a win (or not).

Listen to the data and be open to hearing what it’s telling you. If something isn’t driving the intended results and the data is significant, be prepared to quickly pivot to minimize lost revenue. On the flip side, if it’s working don’t wait to double down and expand efforts.

Continuously iterate and improve processes: Always conduct post-mortems to evaluate what went well and what could have gone better. Use those findings to implement change within your processes for future initiatives.

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Some last thoughts and marketing / martech takeaways before we wrap up?

Something we’ve been watching closely is the major changes underway in the affiliate marketing industry. Large publishers are turning to affiliate marketing in droves and embracing the strategy as a legitimate revenue source. What was once relegated to niche ecommerce bloggers is now being adopted by massive media holdings such as the New York Times, Madison, Dow Jones, and others.

Right now, we’re on the cusp of the corporate affiliate era. Up until recently, the backbone of the affiliate marketing industry was made up of countless niche websites for every imaginable topic. However, as large-scale media holding companies are adopting “portfolio strategies” to snap up sites focused on specific subjects rather than developing sources that can dominate all subjects. While we may always have countless affiliate sites for each and every topic, the number of stakeholders in those sites is a rapidly shrinking group.

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Klay Media is an LA-based performance marketing agency

Seth Thomas is Vice President at Klay Media

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