Relevant content is king in the Digital Transformation Age | #GuestOfTheWeek


The Mad Men days are over for advertising agencies, and consultants and marketers within organizations are feeling the effects of the Digital Transformation Age too. No longer do marketers target a particular demographic; now they are appealing to an audience of one and messages need to be relevant, timely and effective.

During BigDataNYC 2016, Wendi Dunlap, director of Global Agency Partnerships, Oracle Marketing Cloud, participated in roundtable discussions with advertising agencies and consultants to uncover how they are using technology to reach today’s consumer. Dunlap spoke with Dave Vellante (@dvellante) and Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during the event and elaborated on the topic of marketing tech and how the Oracle Marketing Cloud (a data-driven marketing platform) is helping organizations reach their audience by using data.

This week, theCUBE spotlights Wendi Dunlap as its Guest of the Week.

The segmentation of one      

Early on in the conversation, Frick noted that technology brings opportunity and challenges in an era of connective devices. Dunlap revealed that she is working on the cutting edge of digital advertising.

“With the right data partner and the right technology partner, and that is really where the Oracle Marketing Cloud comes in. You know we have been really strategic in developing and acquiring best-in-class technology around data management audience management, audience personalization CRM — you know all integrated into a system that enables our customers to focus less on the technology and more on the innovation and the creativity of marketing, so that is where we distinguished ourselves,” Dunlap explained.

“My group, in particular, is working hand-in-hand with ad agencies figuring out how do we use this technology to bring innovation to our clients,” she added.

Agencies vs. consultants 

Vellante referred to a roundtable Dunlap led during big data week with advertising agencies and consultants and asked her who has the advantage in the digital marketing world. Dunlap said that it is not about leading in the industry, it is about leading the customer experience and Return On Investment.

“It was really surprising. The consensus in the room was that the lines are blurring between consultancies and agencies, and it’s actually becoming a non-issue,” she stated.

“It’s not about whether a marketer or a CMO hires a consultancy or an agency. … It’s who is able to drive the best experiences. … I think that is what we are seeing in our industry. What institutions, what companies, what agencies are able to drive that end-to-end experience that’s integrated, personalized and relevant to the consumer and is ultimately driving sales, driving ROI,” she said.

Providing a historical perspective

Vellante followed up by asking about the historical role of the agency and consultancy. Dunlap discussed the convergence of the role.

“Historically, agencies have functioned in media planning and buying. They partnered primarily with the CMO, focusing on those marketing plans, specifically on those media buys, which is probably the largest expenditure in any CMO’s budget. Consultancies have always had a wider breath. Their conversations will go to the CMO to the CFO and sometimes to the CIO, and so they were really focused on some business operations and the bottom line of driving sales and driving efficiency that will drive those sales and a greater return on investment,” Dunlap said.

She explained that they weren’t really as focused on the media side, but now the two groups are converging. “Advertising agencies are becoming much more aggressive in being those business strategists because they know they control so much of the client’s budget and consultancies are getting more involved in the operations the execution of media, such as the model that you’ll see at partners like Accenture,” she stated.

Dunlap added that she has seen agencies playing catch-up in terms of a learning curve in becoming those business partners and making marketers. She explained that when their clients are really comfortable letting the agency into their business, “there’s a huge advantage for ad agency partners to do that, but they need training, they need enablement. They need to understand how does the technology enable not just the effectiveness of the media, but the bottom line, the ROI bottom line for a marketer.”

The role of content

Vellante examined the role of content and what Dunlap is seeing in terms of how customers are using content to drive who the content creators are. She answered by saying technology drives the content.

“It’s all about personalization. Consumers are looking for experiences that are relevant to them. So when we talk about content from a marketing perspective, it’s really about sending a message to those consumers that is related to a previous behavior and indicated interest,” she explained. “Something they have searched for before … . Smart marketers need to pick up on that and develop the content accordingly. In order to do that, you need the right technology.”

As far as who is developing the content, Dunlap said she is seeing the ad agencies doing that, with consultancies also advising on the content. “There is no single entity that is in charge of that anymore. It’s who is controlling the data, who can advise on the message, and it allows creative teams within ad agencies, creative teams within consultancies and creative teams in the marketer’s own organization to be smarter,” she explained.

Relevant content – not creepy content

Vellante and Frick delved deeper into the technology behind the content, and Dunlap explained how the fidelity of data is essential.

“The technology helps you deliver those personalized content experiences, so when you land on a website, it says, ‘Hello,’ and maybe it has a list of items and products you searched for before. When you go onto social media, there’s a banner ad that speaks to something you searched for previously. … The messaging is very relevant to where you are at that point in time,” Dunlap said.

“I think that is where the fidelity of the data comes in. At Oracle, we have something called the Oracle Data Graph, which really helps us to get a true view of the consumer and who they are so that when our clients are using our technology, we can ensure that they are receiving the right message … and it’s not creepy; it’s actually relevant, useful and helpful,” she said.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of BigDataNYC 2016.

Photo by SiliconANGLE