Facing up to the Challenge of Facebook and Google

Syniverse Mary Clark, CMO, Syniverse-001Mary Clarke, CMO at Syniverse, shares her key takeaways from this year’s Dmexco event, which took place earlier this week in Cologne.

The digital marketing industry converged on Cologne once again this week for Dmexco. It’s a show that seems to grow in size and importance every year. Here’s what stood out for me…

Nearly every panel or speech referenced Facebook and Google’s dominance in the market, owning something like 75 per cent of the advertising market and everything and everyone getting sucked towards them.

People are scared; the threat of consolidation on this scale is causing them to wonder how they can differentiate their offerings? They’re faced with questions like: ‘What platforms do I go for?’ and ‘Where’s the value as an agency or media company I can bring, when so much value is going to Facebook and Google?’ Convergence between media, marketing, advertising and entertainment is creating an interesting time in the way that content is developed, shared and consumed, but it’s creating a lot of conflict and tension too.”

Content is still king and always will be
One of the big themes that came through louder and clearer than ever at the show is that you can create different content for each screen, but you must approach the content holistically and with the campaign objective front of mind. The age-old question still haunts marketers – just how good is the content? And will it be enough to drive people to engage with it via their mobile device?

No matter what screen it’s on, the content must be high quality and of value to your consumer. Without quality content, customers won’t engage with the brand. It sounds simple and logical – but it’s still a fundamental that many brands miss. They’re too pre-occupied with creating content that can be accessed from any screen, and not thinking enough about the quality of what they’re creating.

In today’s fast-moving world, the digital landscape is bursting with opportunity. The convergence of IoT, wearables and (in the future) 5G means it’s critical that content is, firstly, customer-centric; able to keep its high quality, relevance, and timeliness; and also lets customers tap into the needs and emotions that drive them to engage with brands.

Can anyone please explain this data?
“What was evident from the show was that there’s a huge talent gap between what people understand about data and algorithms, so that you can get to a much more scientific segmentation of customer audiences, versus the people who understand what it actually means in practice in terms of campaign impact.

Does data and data science have the power to inform marketing decisions? Absolutely. I think there’s universal agreement that we’ve got this data, so let’s apply it and use it to make us more effective.

But the more data that becomes available, the more challenging its application will become. People are looking into attribution models that are deterministic, which is great if you’ve got the data and you know it’s me. The problem lies when you don’t have these identifiers and you have to engineer that it’s me, and it really doesn’t matter if you’re constantly improving the probability that it’s me. It takes a lot of skill to decipher the data. This is only going to become more critical as we move forward and the data sets get bigger.

Measurement for broader mobile engagement is still lacking
Conflict is rife between the perceived value and measurability of story-based content and other mobile engagement, versus measurable value in tried and true – but perhaps not actually as effective – mobile advertising models.

New tools, including programmatic, are giving people more ways to measure and validate mobile advertising strategies, and making it easier for people to build a campaign using mobile as a channel. But it’s breeding a false sense of self-congratulatory affirmation that is restricting experimentation with other techniques because equivalent tools don’t exist.

There was a lot of discussion around attribution models that use data to refine, segment and target consumes, and thus score how well marketers are doing. But it becomes a circular argument where we end up agreeing that while we’re not doing mobile marketing all that well, at least we can measure it, validate and justify it to our buyers. Justifying other, harder-to-measure channels is far more difficult. What I hope to see is the industry coming up new tools that enable us to experiment and measure mobile engagement strategies beyond mobile advertising.

Mary Clarke is CMO at Syniverse


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