Marketing works. Advertising works. Those are easy answers and may be self-evident. The next level of detail—how well do they work, what specifically worked well, how much did it cost and, perhaps most importantly, what is a total waste of time and money—are harder questions to answer. Let’s call this the marketing accountability void.
Accountability reveals a direct link between effective marketing and great experiences for people interacting with your brand. Brand marketers are being called on to show the precise connection of marketing dollars, business outcomes and customer experience—but that may be impossible at some level because of martech and adtech fragmentation.
Why fragmentation is a big deal:
- With fragmentation of adtech and martech, there is no joined-up view or incentive to understand how all marketing efforts impact the customer. The martech stack is trying to create meaningful customer experiences. The adtech stack is optimized to sell ad space.
- The problem persists because of the omnichannel lie. Calling something omnichannel doesn’t make it so. True omnichannel marketing should lead to an understanding of how a singular customer experience transfers between disconnected touch points. But what’s likely called omnichannel is probably multichannel marketing—where brands are measuring multiple (usually digital) channels in isolation. Marketers might be able to measure, and even optimize, interactions with the website, social, direct mail and email channels, but struggle to understand the interactions among those channels. The same goes for adtech, where a 360-degree view of the customer really refers to a 360-degree view of a cookie or device. In both cases the problem is that performance data is removed from its human significance.
- How do we solve for this? The first step to measuring the real impact marketing has on people is to break down the superficial integration between martech and adtech stacks and replace it with something new: a mechanism that unifies the disparate marketing experiences you deliver into a single stream, optimized for individuals, that’s fed by a continuous loop of causal evidence between spend and outcome.
The missing piece of truly accountable marketing is a persistent, real-time identity bridge between your martech and adtech stacks. Establishing this missing bridge starts with a first-party identity graph. Your data is your most valuable asset, and using identity as your glue for a true view of your customer makes some pretty incredible things possible:
- You unlock true omnichannel personalization.
- You optimize everything.
- You measure what really matters.
An identity spine between martech and adtech means you can deliver people-based experiences across the open internet without depending on established walled gardens. All this starts with a first-party identity graph, which becomes even more critical in a cookie-less world.
Creating this first-party identity graph is really difficult, yet possible—and necessary. It allows you not just to see the causal relationship between addressable spend and business outcome but to adjust it as well.
Let’s put that into real terms. Say your CPM suddenly spikes. Rather than waiting until a spending review to discover you’re burning through budget without improving outcomes, you can now see the predictive long-term business impact almost immediately. But crucially, you can also identify the root cause of that spike. Perhaps you were targeting an expensive or broad segment on a popular demand-side platform at a peak time—you can now reduce that exposure based on its real long-term business value.
It’s important to understand the nuances of how a variety of factors, when linked together, can impact performance and experience. Even changing just one factor can change the outcome. In this scenario, you now have true omnichannel marketing, a genuine point from which to orchestrate and measure a singular experience across all channels and touch points.
Accountable marketing depends on holistic, real-time, people-based transparency and using addressable performance mapped to desired business outcomes. Solving the marketing accountability conundrum across ad-tech and martech is no easy task. Part of the solution is working with a partner with a wide range of tech, expertise and ecosystem relationships, most importantly one that understands your business goals and can act as your guide, strategist and chief accountability partner as you navigate the world of customer experience, technology, data management, identity and compliance.