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Octane11: Launching a Full-Stack Platform for Multi-Channel B2B Marketing

November 14, 2019 — by Dan Rosenberg0

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I am extremely excited to announce today the launch of Octane11, a full-stack B2B marketing platform in partnership with MediaMath, Oracle, Intersection, Bombora, EverString and LiveRamp.  Octane11’s mission is to deliver on the promise of multi-channel digital marketing by focusing on the unique challenges of B2B marketers. Ad tech and mar tech have come a long way, but digital marketing still falls well short of the vision that so many of us believe in— real business outcomes, transparency, control, respect for the consumer. We’ve made progress as an industry, but we have much work to do—and B2B presents a great opportunity to advance the mission by focusing on a specific use case and, well, just making it work.

Over the last eight years I’ve held a variety of roles across MediaMath—Product, Sales, Business Development, Corp Dev, Strategy…and most recently Chief Marketing Officer.  Since I stepped into the CMO role in 2017, I’ve had the chance to experience firsthand the digital marketing challenges that B2B CMOs face every day—and I realized that I wasn’t alone. B2B marketing is a $100B+ category that lags behind B2C in adoption of multi-channel digital marketing, with, for example, just 10% of spend going to digital formats (vs. 40%+ for B2C), and just 15% of digital leveraging programmatic (vs. 30%+ for B2C).

This gap comes from the fact that most innovation in digital marketing has been focused on the much larger B2C market and the fact that the B2B use case is just different enough (higher price points, longer sales cycles, wider range of online/offline interactions, decision-making committees, etc.) that existing digital tools remain insufficient for B2B marketers. This leaves B2B marketers no choice but to focus on the more easily-managed “owned” and “earned” channels like outbound emails, events, social posts and corporate websites, often in disconnected silos—and that means a huge amount of potential value is left on the table.

Ask any B2B marketer and they’ll tell you—multichannel campaign planning, creative development, execution and measurement is just way too hard. There are certainly a growing number of great vendors in the category, but often they present just one piece of the puzzle or they make things too complicated or they fall short of driving (and proving!) real business impact. There has to be a better way.

This has created an opportunity for a new entrant to bring best-in-class paid digital capabilities, deep technology expertise, close partnerships with leading complementary platforms and intimate knowledge of B2B use cases to build an offering that unlocks the full value of the B2B marketers’ entire paid, owned and earned toolbox. As CMO of MediaMath, one of the leading players in digital marketing and a consistent innovator in the category for over a decade, my team and I saw that we were uniquely positioned to tackle this problem—and not just to build a great solution, but to be a power user too, so we could test, learn and deliver a solution that we could stand behind every day.

Over a year ago, I recruited Jib Hunt, an experienced ad tech/mar tech leader, and now my co-founder and COO at Octane11, to start building out a team and network of technologists, clients and partners to begin solving this challenge —and we’ve decided that now is the time to spin out the core team into a new company, so we can put even more focus and resources against this large and worthy B2B mission.  MediaMath has an extensive and inspiring roadmap— and the specific needs of B2B require their own inspiring roadmap (of build, partner and buy opportunities) and we intend to bring the necessary focus that this mission deserves.

It’s worth noting that Octane11 is just the latest in a long and distinguished list of MediaMath-incubated and/or -invested companies, including Kepler Group and most recently BritePool. Octane11 is also the latest in a growing cadre of MathCapital-invested companies including HudsonMX, TVision Insights and Iris.TV. I was fortunate enough to have participated in the formation of and/or investment in several of those companies—and I’m proud to now be leading the launch of the latest addition to the class.

The opportunity to deliver on the vision of a complete multi-channel digital offering is immense—and B2B indeed provides an ideal proving ground to showcase what great multi-channel marketing can and should be. We’ve already assembled an outstanding group of team members, partners, investors and clients to begin this journey, but we know we can’t do it alone, so whether you are a marketer or technologist or industry watcher overall, we hope you will join us.

At the moment, Octane11’s offerings remain in closed beta with a small number of active clients, but to learn how you can participate in the closed beta or to sign up for updates on product availability and more, please visit www.octane11.com—and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/octane11.

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Let’s Talk About Food for a Minute

November 12, 2019 — by MediaMath0

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Yes, food. Because we all eat. And because our industry shares some parallels with the industrial agriculture industry—namely, a supply chain that, while created with good intent, became convoluted and distanced consumers from the pure source of their food. What are the lessons the industrial agriculture industry learned, and how can we apply them to adtech to create a more accountable and addressable supply chain? Watch out video below to learn more.

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LiveRamp and MediaMath Partner to Help Solve Marketing’s Identity Crisis

November 5, 2019 — by Jeremy Steinberg0

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In today’s environment, the average programmatic transaction moves data across multiple different platforms, resulting not only in the loss of data, but also reduced match rates. This leads to:

  • Brands having an incomplete view of consumers and being forced to work in an ecosystem that lacks transparency—resulting in an inability to measure and adjust ad spend;
  • Publishers losing out on the ability to monetize an audience and, therefore, losing out on revenue; and
  • Consumers being skeptical of brand advertising and losing confidence that the Internet can provide free content while protecting both privacy and safety.

To solve the addressability challenge, we have deepened our partnership with LiveRamp to bring their consumer-based IdentityLink (IDL) into our identity offering, Connected ID (CID). This is on the heels of our SOURCE launch earlier this month and our commitment to delivering a transparent, accountable, and addressable new media supply chain by the end of 2020.

Together with LiveRamp, we will drive the development of standards and tools to ensure that our practices are transparent, put consumer interests and privacy first, and enable seamless transaction rails to be used throughout the entire supply chain—from a consumer viewing content or watching a video on a publisher’s site to a brand understanding audience composition and how it influences making marketing decisions.

At its core, the partnership is about giving marketers the control they deserve in making key decisions about their technology stacks. Brands should make decisions on identity that make the most sense for them. Our competition has forced brands to make “the best bad decision.” Too often, that’s a choice between data lock-in within a walled-garden ecosystem or a modeled identity offering accuracy or scale, but not both.

With the LiveRamp integration, we will help brands reach their audience with more scale, accuracy, and control, and provide improved measurement in the brand’s environment of choice. And with a transparent view of where the ad dollar goes, brands can work towards achieving powerful performance and deliver more relevant advertising to consumers from the brands they know and love.

You don’t have to be an ad tech nerd (like me) to get excited about this. You just have to care about the health and integrity of our industry.

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Bringing Accountability and Addressability to Emerging Channels

October 30, 2019 — by MediaMath0

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Originally published on www.marketingmag.com.au

TV, out-of-home and audio don’t immediately scream ’emerging channels’, but in the world of programmatic advertising, they’re the new kids on the block. Yun Yip, VP of partnership development and country manager for MediaMath ANZ, shares her thoughts on the next wave of programmatic.

“The next wave of programmatic looks decidedly retro. Why now?

The short answer is advancements in technology, the ubiquity of data and the impact that the little black screen in our pockets has had on the way we consume media. Traditionally TV, OOH and audio advertising worked on one-to-many models – the same commercial delivered to a time slot or a geographic location.

Now, we’re all curators of our own entertainment streams, with many of us only using connected digital devices to watch or listen to our downloads and streaming services. Digital – and the subsequent fragmentation of media channels – has driven the shift from traditional media executions to the programmatic sphere. It is now moving us closer to the point at which brands will be able to execute most elements of an advertising campaign in a unified manner.

Let’s take a closer look at the key emerging channels and what marketers should know about the advantages and drawbacks of adding them into the programmatic mix.”

To read the rest of the article please click here.

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Rebooting Ad-Tech For Transparency: Interview with Joe Z.

October 17, 2019 — by MediaMath0

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Originally posted on Beet.TV

Our CEO, Joe Zawadzki, caught up with the people over at Beet.TV during the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Orlando last week.

“It is three years now since the ANA’s K2 Transparency Report kick-started a procession of outcries in media land, accusing agencies of operating a system of rebates and kickbacks that worked against brand clients by hiding substandard effectiveness, leading to ad-tech vendors also being accused of obfuscating “ad-tech tax” fees siphoned away from real advertising spend.

But, whilst all manner of initiatives has aimed to tackle the problems,  and whilst ad-tech platforms have enjoyed professing their own higher standards versus those of rivals, “transparency” issues still appear to persist.

So MediaMath, one of the leading ad-tech software suppliers, is attempting to reboot the entire supply chain with a new initiative, Source, that makes several promises all at once…”

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President Konrad Gerszke Talks the 3 Pillars of a Purer Media Supply Chain

October 7, 2019 — by MediaMath0

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If you’ve been paying attention since Cannes, MediaMath has become partial to a series of words that begin with “A” to describe how we think the industry must clean up its act to restore purity and help brands and agencies reclaim powerful results from digital advertising.

MediaMath President Konrad Gerszke joined just six weeks ago, but he jumped right in to vocalize our vision—which you saw come to life last week as SOURCE by MediaMath—to create a more accountable, addressable supply chain at DMEXCO and then again at Advertising Week New York last month. In a video interview with Beet.TV describing the industry’s efforts to fight fraud and be more transparent, he shared, “Surprisingly little progress has been made since, I think, two or three years ago.”

Through the three pillars of accountability, addressability and AI, Gerszke described how SOURCE by MediaMath and the 15 partners who support it will help recreate the supply chain by the end of 2020:

  • “Transparency, end-to-end, (so) that we know who the players are across the supply chain.”
  • “We know what the fees are across the entire waterfall.”
  • “And we know who the bad players are and who the good players are.”

Hear more in Gerszke’s video below and stay up to date on all things SOURCE at our hub here.

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It’s Time to Come Clean About Something

October 2, 2019 — by Joe Zawadzki0

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I believe in the power of advertising to drive economic growth, to fund free content and press, to change hearts and minds, to do good. I’ve dedicated my adult life to enabling it by bringing mathematics, automation, and logic to its execution.

But after years of listening to iconic brands like P&G demand we clean up the media supply chain, hearing content owners’ cries for help go ignored by the behemoths, and acknowledging the consumer experience is suboptimal, it’s time industry leaders, including myself, assume some responsibility in the actual mess-making and return to first principles to build something better.

As the first DSP to create the market 12 years ago, we helped shape both the technical infrastructure and the commercial terms upon which every buy-side and sell-side player now transacts. Back then, digital had made a whole bunch of promises. It promised to grow and deepen brands’ direct customer relationships. It promised to manage the mundane so human creativity could be unleashed. And it promised to be the most measurable marketing medium ever.

We’ve failed. We created a series of unintended consequences that overshadow the benefits of a technology-enabled marketing approach, and don’t reflect our values.

And instead of brands and content owners being able to focus on growing and deepening direct customer relationships, much of their time is sucked up by the operational and service burdens of a broken ecosystem.

We aren’t the only industry that has evolved without purposeful design. Industrial agriculture is one obvious example. Intentions were all in the right place, but before we knew it, an industry that set out to literally grow food to nourish people is being called out for causing more harm than good. Processing to keep food on the shelf longer also removes nutrients. Responding to market trends in replacing fats with sugar leads to obesity and diabetes. Mass production techniques cause environmental harm.

Sure enough, a subset of industrial agriculture decided to solve the very problem it had created, and the “farm-to-table” movement was born. Farm-to-table has transformed consumer behavior everywhere. From “grown local” and organics at your big-box grocery stores and DTC consumer kits delivered to your doorstep, to farmers markets and farm-to-table chefs and owners, many consumers are making a choice to put food on the table that comes directly from a source they can trust.

So too can a cleaner supply chain fuel growth and health for brands and content owners and, in turn, incentivize a healthier digital ecosystem for everyone. To work for demand, you need media accountability and stronger audience addressability with a better understanding of consumers. Getting media and identity right, and together, creates stronger return on investment—less waste, better relevance—and lowers the level of effort to attain those results.

To date, the industry hasn’t been able to make this happen—to create an accountable, addressable, transparent supply chain that is more aligned to brands’ and content creators’ interests—because we haven’t mobilized an ecosystem to make it happen.

Building on the partnerships and technical work we announced in Cannes, I’m excited to share that as of today, that ecosystem is coming together. We now have a clean environment, one that surfaces previously hidden transaction costs and fees and clearly reflects the value of each impression. We’ve also modernized both the “terms of trade” and the pipes on which it operates.

We’re calling this evolved ecosystem SOURCE by MediaMath.

There are really two grounding principles and specific standards that shape the ecosystem we are all building together: accountable and addressable.

Accountable means: real impressions on real content properties. Said another way, a transparent, fraud-free supply chain with trusted content owners that gives brands full visibility into supply path mechanics and costs, makes the commercial terms between all of the important roles and players in this market both current and future-proofed, and defines technical standards that improve how every piece of advertising functions.

Addressable means: real humans you can reach with real ads, at scale. Said another way, a single view of who your customers and prospects are—and the ability to access more of these audiences—across desktop, mobile, and TV through a consistent, portable user-level ID, prioritizing privacy and consumer respect first and foremost. Connecting the data throughout the supply chain allows content owners and advertisers to more effectively communicate their asks and transparently agree on goals.

Brands are asking for digital marketing to perform, to put a dollar in and have full transparency across all partner fees and be able to prove the investment is warranted with multiples of that investment returned.

Content owners want to be compensated for the audience they build and maintain in a fair and transparent way.

Everyone also wants to know that the media they are financing is good for society. Context and consumers matter.

We are just getting started at starting over, and it’s far bigger than a product or MediaMath.

We have a lot to do! Is a personalized but respectful creative experience what we want as people? Can brands measure their marketing inputs, and know who and what to invest in to drive their true business goals? Until the answer to both of these questions is a unanimous yes, are we too obsessed with the collection of data and optimization around individual companies as opposed to the collective whole? I think yes.

But getting to the other side requires that we fix the infrastructure on which it is built. So, first things first. Let’s fix the connection between brands and people across digital devices. And let’s not be passive, and let’s not say it’s someone else’s problem. Let’s set a deadline—end of 2020. Let’s rally to make it more than talking points. And let’s prove that it works better as a more durable connection. It’s time to move forward.

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Monthly Roundup: Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for March

April 2, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0

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Spring has sprung! And what better way is there to start the new season than getting up on your adtech knowledge?! Our loyal MM readers took to the blog last month to learn about the benefits of using a single omnichannel platform and what the biggest trends in programmatic will be this year.

Check out our most popular blogs for March below:

 

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Blended AI: How to Use the Best of Man and Machine

March 30, 2018 — by Todd Wasserman0

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Artificial intelligence isn’t artificial in the sense that it’s fake. In this case, artificial means “man made.” Everything about AI is based on human knowledge. Data from searches, for instance, comes from people looking for information.

The image then, of a machine making cold calculations without human assistance is misguided. From the beginning, AI has been about using human knowledge to automate decision making.

It’s logical then that AI should be used to augment human performance rather than act as its replacement. This hybrid of AI and human work has been called “blended AI.”

The reasoning behind blended AI

What we think of as AI today is really narrow AI, a.k.a “weak AI.” That is, it is AI focused on solving a specific task. Systems in autonomous vehicles, for instance, attempt to solve the “problem” of cars that require human drivers. A system that can beat a grand master at chess is another example of narrow AI.

General AI, meanwhile, would mimic the human brain’s ability to be adept at many different things. General AI would also be able to synthesize that knowledge. Some even believe that general AI would mean a machine has consciousness.

Weak AI has gaps that necessitate human help. Personal assistants like Siri, for instance, lack context. As Robert Scoble pointed out, you ask Siri “What’s my favorite gas station?” it can’t tell you even though it knows which one you visit most.

Blended AI in action

Blended AI isn’t theoretical. It is the primary way that AI is employed. For instance, Alphabet uses AI to screen YouTube videos, but it also employs thousands of moderators.

A more common example is in customer service. Sweden’s Swedbank uses Nuance Communications’ chatbot Nina to field customer service queries. Nina solves 78% and sends the rest to human reps.

Looking ahead in 2018, Forrester Research predicted that blended AI would help improve sales and cut customer service costs. Forrester cautioned that customers won’t necessarily like the change. A recent survey found that 71% of U.S. consumers said a bot couldn’t answer their questions or help them.

Even so, Apple, Nike, Uber and Target, among others, are putting more emphasis on chat. Those companies are dialing back on email as a customer service channel in favor of chatbots, according to Forrester.

The success of such programs is likely to hinge on the proper use of blended AI. Though critics say AI is a job killer, AI supporters counter that rather than eliminate jobs, AI will improve them. Automating repetitive aspects of work will let workers spend more time being creative, they say.

Blended AI realizes this vision. Instead of answering rote questions, customer service reps will use emotional intelligence and creativity to solve harder problems. The result in this vision is a virtuous circle: As AI improves, so will human workers. Both improve by exposure. From the consumer’s point of view, the improvement will be seamless.