We Need to Drive a Renaissance: Data Driven Agencies on the Move
Jared Walls: Welcome to the Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista, probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your ears. I'm Jared Walls, associate producer, and Stirista's creative copy manager. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders, to get their take on the current challenges of the market, but also have a little fun along the way. We're taking a break this month, but we thought we'd reshare some takeaways from season one. In this episode, we hear from Doug Kaczmarek, chief data officer at Moore. Michael McLaren, Global CEO of B2B group at Merkle. Tom Stein, chairman and chief client officer at Stein IAS. And Ian Wright, chief data officer, data driven marketing at Equifax. They discussed the finesse, and art, and science involved in wrangling data to utilize it for effective B2B marketing strategies. Give it a listen.
Speaker 2: But, when someone comes to me with claims of automated turnkey, you can have it in an hour, AI and machine learning type of sales pitch, that does a disservice to the difficulty that the whole process is. You got to wrangle data. You got to have the right data in place. Yeah, there are software packages that can turn out a predictive model really fast, but the whole process to gather the right data, boil it into the right type of scenario, consult with a client around what they're trying to do with that model, build a model, and then implement the model, that's always going to be much longer than an hour time. So I've seen it before, where my internal clients going back to some of my old jobs, well before where I'm at now. The marketer would say," Hey, I see this software, this company that can do something in an hour. How come you and your team take a couple of days, or two weeks to build a solution?" And that's because they're not seeing the difficulty it is to wrangle data, build a process, and do implementation. So it's very effective in selling, but for someone who's been in the weeds doing very much applied analytics, it gets annoying. The topic of marketing to marketers is always a very interesting thing. And so that's what I do for a living. I'm often marketing my services to other people who are doing marketing, but it can get annoying when people oversimplify the process of what data science is all about.
Michael McLaren: I think Merkels history is reasonably well- documented. Started as a database company, database marketing, digital marketing, performance marketing. So, if you think about the evolution of the industry, we've come from data up, and bill analytics, and integration, and technology capabilities on the top of that. So, as part of that, we had a vertical market practice, where we would specialize in high- tech, and financial services, and insurance, and all the other verticals. And we had some B2B business sprinkled across those different verticals. But it became clear to us as B2B is going through its own transformation, that it would be beneficial for us to look at delivering a more of a horizontal set of solutions that are built for B2B businesses. So we're sort of driving that B2B specialization against clients that are sitting in all different verticals, and really trying to expand that expertise across every vertical that we service. So not just high tech and financial services, but healthcare, packaged goods, you name it, there's a professional services layer of every industry.
Jared Walls: And Michael, your role specifically as the CEO, walk me through the day to day, what you have your hands in overseeing the different groups, and then talk about the different companies within that group, if you could.
Michael McLaren: Yeah. I mean, in building a medical B2B, we wanted to build a best in breed solution. And so we looked at the capabilities that were already resident within Merkel. We looked at capabilities that existed in companies that Merkel had acquired that was still operating independently. And we looked at B2B capabilities that were wide space, where do we still need to grow? And we put together a strategy of bringing together five different companies that were dedicated to B2B. So clearly we draw the data technology analytics capabilities from Merkel, the parent. About three years ago, we had acquired a media specialist business called DWA, which is now nine in the market is Merkel DWA but, one of the biggest specialists B2B media companies. Gyro is a long, well- known established B2B advertising agency, developing creative and content and strategies for B2B brands. The B2B International was a research company that existed in the Dentsu group that was focused on B2B market research and then another acquisition Digital Pie, which is a marketing automation specialist. So Digital Pie delivers Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot premium solutions in automation and we brought that entire group together under the umbrella of Merkle B2B. So, we believe that we're the first place where clients can go to, to get an entire into end set of capabilities that are fully integrated. So if we want to talk to the clients or clients want to talk to us about data, we have rich data capabilities. If they want to talk to us about analytics, we have rich analytics capabilities, integration, orchestration, activation, and even brand. So we have the ability to do all of the big brand building brand campaigns as well. And then all of that held together with a strong backbone of technology chops and extended into commerce as well. So, we really wanted to build a new type of B2B agency or an integrated agency because we feel that the B2B marketer has been under- serviced a little bit it's... you typically have a top funnel, mid funnel, lower funnel group of agencies that specialize in different parts. And we really felt that the solutions that we're building today are so complicated and complex, it requires expertise across the entire stack. And it's hard for clients to integrate that. It takes a lot of work to do that integration. So by bringing it together and building one integrated strategic approach, we believe we can really help clients build solutions across any part of their marketing challenges.
Tom Stein: And just when it was starting to become the ad business was getting a little bit more modern and technology infused and so on. It's really the Dawn of my career. But, I for sure, in the early days, would sit with clients who really did do the three martini lunch. And I'm not sure I pulled my weight in that regard, but they sure did. So the madman aspect and so what you see on our website is Madmen meet Martech and it's our view at Stein IAS that's the future of B2B marketing. So, Martech has been a huge force, as you know, Martech and data and all of the tools, resources, and assets that we as B2B marketers have at our disposal these days, including the kinds of work that you do at Stirista. And we were absolute early adopter pioneer in Martech, going back to really almost the beginning of the marketing automation platforms, 2005, six, we started investing in those, investing in learning and understanding how that can be applied. But, our view is that there was such a lean into left- brain marketing. There was such a lean into digital performance marketing into marketing technology, into data, all massively important things, but such a lean into it that we a little bit lost our way in terms of understanding that Martech it's an empty container without creativity. So, our view now is that as important as Martech is, we need to drive a Renaissance in creativity, Madman, harking back to the Madmen era of unbridled, emotionally driven creativity, combined with Martech to yield results for clients. And I think that that's the path forward.
Speaker 5: Yeah, gosh, you could look at identity through very different viewpoints, right? And from a marketing perspective, I start from what I... I Hate to call it, but today is old school. It's offline identity. It's understanding who you are through your telephone number and through your street address and through who you are as a person. And then as we evolved an identity took on a different concept in the online world, and it became very important to understand who you are and where I can connect to you through all these new channels that explode whether it was online display with cookies over mobile ad IDs or addressable TV with OTT IDs, using probabilistic or deterministic methods to create that, cross- device craft, started to see that well in the past, what was really valuable to marketers was that attribute information. So how I can describe who you are, and yes, I needed your identity information too, to then understand how I can connect to you. But today, that identity information is just as important as that attribute descriptive information, because I need to find you through all those channels, because you might be only using one or two of them, but I don't know which one or two of them that you're using. So it's become a lot more complex from a marketing perspective. And then in the industry that I primarily work in with financial services, there are also considerations of, well, we have identity data, that's governed by a grand leach virally act that can be used for specific purposes to help me understand who you are when I have a financial relationship with you versus identity information that is not restricted to those uses, but then means I can't leverage those data sources. So in the last five years, I've seen identity be something that seems very straight forward and basic. And we cranked up the volume to 11 beyond 10. And I think in the next path year, three quarters of a year with what's going on with industry changes in browsers and with apple's changes the IDFA, it's just going to get more complex and more difficult for folks to really have the ability to truly understand someone's complete identity graph. So it's the solutions and the market needs that your company definitely fulfills.
Jared Walls: Thanks for listening to the marketing stor podcast by Stirista, we'll be back with full episodes in September, but until then, please tune in for a month of special topic, focused free caps from our season one guests. As always please like rate and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, email us @ infoatthemarketingstore. com. See you next week.
Marketing experts from Moore, Merkle, Stein IAS, and Equifax discuss the art and science of leveraging data for effective B2B marketing strategies.