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Our Mastering the Martech Stack Webinar turned out quite a crowd of marketers eager to learn more about best practices, industry trends and how their own martech stacks compared to those of other leading brands.  Here’s a summary of the questions and answers from the session answered by Nick Iyengar (webinar moderator and State of Digital Marketing Analytics lead author), Dave Eckman, CTO, Cardinal Path, and Mary Andrews, Group Director, Cardinal Path. 

Q: Are multiple TMS platforms a sign of silos in an organization? 

A: Potentially, but there are also some common use-cases where this makes sense. For example, a firm may use a TMS for internal use-cases, while having their agency/agencies use a separate TMS for their own use-cases. As TMS’ continue to evolve their capabilities in terms of permissions and workflows, the need for this should decline over time. 

Q: I would be curious to know how many of the Top 50 in this data have their website built on Adobe’s AEM which delivers synergies for the remainder of the Adobe stack. Without a CMS, Google does not have this anchor to drive stack utilization. 

A: Anecdotally, yes, AEM is a strong “foundation” on which to build the rest of the martech stack. With a site built on Adobe’s CMS, it’s easy to see how analytics, testing, tag management, and audience management should all seamlessly “plug in.” This could be an interesting angle to review in subsequent reports!

Q: What’s the future of DMPs?
A: Well… I’m not a fortune teller unfortunately because otherwise I’d have won multiple lotteries by now!… but my feeling is that they will become quickly obsolete.  The 3 factors we discussed on the webinar – increasing data privacy concerns, the cost and effort for standing up DMP technology, and the difficulty in quantifying the actual positive impact on the business (from an ROI perspective) – all point towards DMPs being a technology that will continue to see decrease in growth year over year.

Q: Why doesn’t Google have an offering in the DMP segment and is this something that is planned? 

A: Google does have a DMP-like platform that is part of their Google Ad stack. It used to be a separate product called Audience Center, but is now embedded into Display & Video 360 as part of the feature set of that product.  It can help you connect your first party data with third party data sets from select partners. Given the current environment on privacy, I would expect the future focus to be more about how Google can help you activate your first party data against Google data, to use in optimizing your marketing efforts rather than connecting with other third-party data sources.

Q: The Testing & Personalization space has a lot of vendors. How do independent players find a home in the increasingly integrated martech stack?
A: This is going to become more and more of a challenge, but there are a few angles to consider here. First and perhaps most obviously is the need to offer clearly differentiated capabilities that make the “cost” of a non-native integration seem like a worthwhile trade-off. Second, independent players may be able to offer a depth of capabilities in areas that the major players either don’t want to get involved in (think privacy) or don’t prioritize on their roadmaps.

Q: Does Google Optimize free have a ceiling? 

A: In terms of number of tests that can run concurrently, and in terms of the size of those tests, yes on both points.  You can see the details about the free versus 360 version of Optimize on clearly laid out by Google, here.

Q: I’m struggling with leveraging ad server capabilities vs. investing in more sophisticated attribution when spend is really leaning towards digital, limiting MMM. 

A: Figuring out which digital ad serving technologies are performing well, and how to attribute conversions and revenue properly, is a difficult and time-intensive task.  There are ways to do this, but as a pressure-check, many media teams will assess their spend and conversions on a by-channel basis, know that (again, this is anecdotal) that channels like paid social tend to over-attribute customer conversions whereas display will always under-report (since we know that clicks on display, and thus last-click channel specific conversions, are always low compared to the actual impact of display itself).  So unfortunately, no clear or easy answer here. You can always test and learn by turning on/off ad spend on specific channels and platforms to see the resultant impact on conversion. This requires a strong stomach, since you may see a downturn on conversions during the test and learn period, but it could pay for itself later if you find specific platforms that are underperforming that you can thus remove from future media spend plans. 

Q: In your experience, which industries are the slowest to integrate martech and which ones are the fastest?

A: This tends to be more organization specific versus industry specific. Highly regulated industries like healthcare can tend to be more cautious in picking up certain technologies, yet at the same time we’ve had clients in that space that are very forward-thinking and act quickly to bring aboard technologies that can advance their business. Ultimately, it’s important to have those business goals and objectives that we discussed on the webinar in mind, and to have a clear plan on which technologies you need to be successful, and how you’ll procure, onboard, deploy and activate all that tech. Don’t forget about the people and skills to actually use the platforms you put in place!

What are your martech questions? 

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