If you're in the online advertising business (and if you're reading this, then chances are pretty strong that you are), a big part of your job is staying current on all of the industry's innovations, disruptors, pivots, changes and developments occurring every hour of the day. And I'm pretty sure 90% of this time is spent deciphering and learning acronyms.
Someone once said that every acronym you learn makes you a little dumber, and over the past few years, this industry has had its head bashed in with acronym after acronym – DSP, DMP, SSP, RTB, CPC, CPM, CPV, CPA, SEP, SMO, ROS, QPS, TM, RON, SEM, SEO, PPC and so on.
These acronyms are a nasty side effect of the complex, fractured and bloated technology landscape that I have been railing against for the last year. But I have good news for you – it's time to unlearn all of them. It's time to free yourself from the insanity of the advertising acronyms. All you have to do is learn one last acronym – the one that is putting an end to this chaos: DMS – Digital Marketing Suite.
But go ahead and forget that acronym as well; it's the concept that 's here to stay and it is going to make your life better. The acronym madness was just a smokescreen for hastily funded feature companies pushing their single-point solution on marketers who find themselves in a twisted web of non-integrated technology. The industry has been so focused on solving individual problems with another technology, another acronym, they've missed the fact that each problem "solved" was adding to marketers' paralysis due to tech complexity.
This start-up hodgepodge leave marketers with siloed of technology that doesn't play well together, that does not provide true cross-channel insights, and is , due to the reliance on venture funding, inherently unstable. What marketers crave is simplicity not complexity, insights not data, stability not chaos.
The future is integrated platforms, not siloed individual point solutions, and 2012 is the year the DMS goes mainstream. Several big players have already begun combining their solutions into technology stacks, including IBM, Adobe and my company, IgnitionOne, which should give you a sense of how strongly I believe in it.
And of course, when talking about online advertising technology stacks, you have to mention Google. With control of a DSP, an ad server and analytics there is a real potential for a centralized offering for marketers, with all the elements in one place. One problem: since the ad giant is also in control of much of the supply, marketers have to understand the inherent conflict in their interests. Google will no doubt be a big player going forward, but the market requires independent players lead the charge.
As for the funding side of the equation, VCs haven't necessarily turned the corner yet in terms of employing a more thoughtful and judicial set of criteria in their investment decisions, I have a feeling that they will be making adjustments to their collective approach soon. When big players make aggressive moves in this direction and when the market is as fed up as ours is , it won't be long before funders get the message and the investments dry up for feature companies unable to provide real value.
We applaud the industry's initial adoption of the simplification and consolidation mantra that we've sounded since early 2011. It has helped shine a light on the fact that marketers are looking for a core baseline technology for their digital marketing efforts and thus has legitimized the DMS as a bona-fide category-- one might say, feature company 'killer.' The critical mass generated in the DMS space will likely create a tide that will lift all boats, and most importantly, make marketers' lives easier and more profitable.
So when we look back at this year, I hope we can say that 2012 was the year of the DMS – the year we regained sanity.