Marketers: We Don't Understand Our Tech Stack

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Many advertisers are clueless about the media technology they're using to power much of their digital-media buying.

That's according to a recent study by ID Comms, a U.K.-based media consulting company that runs agency pitches, media audits and offers cost tracking, digital media consulting and other services.

The survey found that three quarters of respondents — which included nearly 230 marketing, media and procurement professionals representing companies spending over $40 billion in advertising each year — believe the most successful advertisers understand the impact of marketing technology on their business and have a strategy for making sure it adds value instead of complexity.

But only 15 percent of respondents said they believe they are using media technology effectively at their own companies. No marketers claimed to be using it "very effectively." Some 41 percent of advertiser respondents, in fact, say they're using media technology "ineffectively" or "completely ineffectively." (The remainder opted for the neutral neither effectively nor ineffectively category.)

Susy Pyzer-Knapp, ID Comms consultant, says it boils down to many big advertisers not having a concrete strategy for their data and technology, and being very reliant on their agencies to make decisions. She says that could lead to an advertiser opting for new technology instead of what might work the best for a company's specific objectives.

Most advertisers (83 percent total) said they either "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that advertisers' inability to keep up with the rapid evolution of the tech landscape makes them over-dependent on solutions provided by their agency. Thirty-seven percent of agency respondents agreed with the sentiment.

Advertisers also said they had a lack of understanding about how each technology piece within a stack contributes to value or serves specific goals for business or media. No respondents said they had a "full understanding" of the role of their tech stack, while 8 percent said they had a good understanding, 67 percent said they had some understanding and 22 said they had little understanding. Three percent said they had no understanding.

Pyzer-Knapp says advertisers should prioritize getting a data and technology strategy in place, so a marketer can have a better idea of the precise impact the technology has on its business.

"Once you have that, you can buy things and invest time and money into the right things that solve the problem," Pyzer-Knapp says.

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