Some marketers gain more from data-centric marketing than others. Erich Wasserman, MediaMath co-founder & chief revenue officer, shares a new practice insight

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In today’s hyperconnected world, interaction with digital content happens any place, any time, anywhere,” says Wasserman, co-founder of MediaMath, a global marketing-technology firm. “Even watches can be a medium for brands to communicate over. For advertisers, this means unprecedented access to potential consumers.”

Digital channels across devices offer advertisers 3 trillion impressions per month globally. “With so many opportunities to connect with consumers, digital advertising is undeniably an area of huge interest to marketers,” says Wasserman.

But as consumers become better connected, the volume of available audience data swells at a phenomenal rate. Without up-to-date technology, creating value at scale is simply not possible. This is where programmatic technology becomes a key tool. “Buyers and sellers need targeting and optimisation software to effectively manage and optimise spend,” says Wasserman. And the new software or services that marketers require often go on the books as a cost, but MediaMath’s technology has a way to open up new revenue channels for the marketing organization.

The first step is understanding programmatic buying’s typical use case. “Media buyers specify target-audience segments, set bid prices and campaign goals, and upload media assets onto our ad-exchange-connected platform. This sets a campaign’s parameters,” explains Wasserman. “Suppliers, on the other hand, make ad space inventory available across supply platforms. When buyer and seller goals match, the transaction completes and the marketer’s goal is to produce positive ROI in line with their business goals.”

Wasserman explains that as programmatic software has scaled in its adoption, two broad models have emerged for marketing organisations. “The first model concerns optimizing outbound marketing — prospecting for new customers and stewarding current customers across paid, earned and owned media. The second model is a newer and enables marketers to monetise customer data by offering media to other marketers who seek to target the same kinds of customers.

“These models work in tandem to create new revenue opportunities for the business — outbound marketing generates customers, customer interactions, and data from which the marketing organisation generates sales. The data created is then an asset in itself that can be sold to other marketing organisations who wish to reach specific customer types.”

First-party data is a term often used in programmatic media buying. Wasserman defines it as “the information that an organisation has collected via direct relationships with consumers”. Marketers can utilise first-party data to transform media and advertising budgets from cost centres into a revenue-generating stream.

One of the best examples is Rakuten, a Japanese online retailer that has gone global. The company has created an offering that enables targeted media purchases through its data.

Apart from providing a revenue stream, Wasserman maintains it is essential that first party data “be used by marketers to engage, maintain, and expand relationships with consumers, and encourage brand loyalty through personalised messaging.”

Just as important is asserting control over how, and by whom, information is used. “This is really only possible if you own the software that governs the use and application of your data.” Marketers will benefit from selecting a technology partner that offers a Data Management Platform (DMP) to segment and understand target audiences. By combining DMP data with a cross-channel marketing solution, marketers can achieve their data-driven goals.

Wasserman co-founded MediaMath in 2007 with tech entrepreneur Joe Zawadzki, who left [x+1], the online marketing company he founded, to focus on developing a single platform solution that incorporated technology, data, and marketing best practices. “Joe saw the growing demand of digital marketing from brands and recognised the inefficiencies of the marketplace,” says Wasserman.

MediaMath’s vision was to find a way for marketers to target consumers in more meaningful and profitable ways, as programmatic buying can enable highly targeted marketing. Now, in addition to profiting from positive ROI from one’s own marketing initiatives, the company is now helping brands becomes media companies themselves.