Madison Logic Launches Activate ABM

Brain NetworkAccount-based marketing (ABM) is setting a new standard in digital advertising, giving marketers the ability to define and reach their target market like never before.  Madison Logic is taking the lead with this new trend, having announced today the launch of Activate ABM, a new account-based marketing suite.  Activate ABM is powered by Madison Logic’s vast database of the most sophisticated intent data in the industry.

So, what is account-based marketing?  And why Activate ABM?

To date, most marketers have strongly considered the fact that most B2B buying decisions are typically made amongst groups of people within a company, not just one decision maker. However, how can you tell when they are in market? ABM allows companies to use defined targeting to identify who specifically within a company they want to target, and also pinpoint others in that same company who are showing intent on the same topics.  Companies can now market to a multitude of persons within a company and be confident that their efforts are reaching the right people. Activate ABM provides when they are in market, driving timely communications.

A noteworthy benefit of Activate ABM is that marketers can, in addition, employ predictive targeting. Predictive targeting uses intent data to detect companies they may have been previously unaware of, and the specific individuals within those companies, who are showing intent on topics relevant to their products or services.  Companies can also use this technology to understand what topics that their target markets are showing intent on, therefore garnering a greater understanding of the industry overall.

Through Activate ABM, companies have access to enhanced reporting as tangible measures of their campaigns’ performance, with advanced insights such as impressions by company, and specifics about that company, job function and level, and impressions by campaign and topic. Marketers can also see visitor traffic trends and measure intent score, which is a proprietary algorithm that measures topic interest in your target companies.

With Madison Logic’s network of over 260 million decision makers, 1,600 publishers, and over 3 billion B2B interactions, it’s clear that Activate ABM is going to set the industry standard in account-based marketing.

The Fallout of the Verizon/AOL Deal

1352635747_33e7989a2b_oLast week, Verizon announced its acquisition of AOL (pending regulatory approval, of course), making a huge splash in the ad tech world. The deal combines the reach and capital of Verizon with the ad serving and video platform technology of AOL to offer a powerful, comprehensive marketing solution backed by the reputation of the two media giants. An acquisition of this scale is sure to send ripples throughout the media universe, affecting everything from consumer experiences to future innovations in technology and research to market conditions across the space.

The announcement of the deal amid a flurry of major M&A rumors seems to indicate a summer of consolidation, according to Adweek.

“Yahoo has reportedly considered making Foursquare a big offer in recent weeks. The Google-purchasing-Twitter chatter has gone on for months and won’t die. Yelp is reportedly entertaining suitors from Yahoo to Google and Amazon, with some analysts speculating that foreign companies Alibaba and Rakuten are in the mix. Even mighty has found itself the subject of speculation about a Microsoft takeover.”

As both Adweek and Digiday have noted, these acquisition rumors (some of which are likely to come to fruition) are driven by the major portals’ desires to create multi-channel advertising platforms, even for those organizations who have never had involvement in advertising. The sophistication of data and targeting platforms across channels in recent years has made it clear that there is real money to be made in digital advertising, and the big guys want their piece of the pie.

As Lauren Elkin, co-director of the Tech, Media & Telecom team at Nasdaq, told Forbes, “traditional providers are needing to adapt and seek out new revenue streams…Digital advertising spending is growing at a fast clip. We will likely continue to see deals with larger names eating up smaller ad tech companies.” In fact, several smaller tech providers have already seen stock prices rise following the announcement.

And what about the consumers?

As part of the deal, Verizon also absorbs AOL’s 2 million consumers, but they are unlikely to be affected significantly by the acquisition, other than having access to new media services. Though, as VentureBeat points out, Verizon also will own both Huffington Post and TechCrunch, along with AOL’s many other online properties, so it will be interesting to see if and how structure and content is affected.

VentureBeat also notes that the $4.4 billion price tag gives AOL investors a good return, given that stock prices in 2010, when AOL went public again following a failed deal with Time Warner, were less than half of what they are now. That’s another indicator that this won’t be the only deal of its kind that we see this year—money is being made and markets are being cornered.

The fallout of this wave of M&A activity is likely to last for a while, considering the size and influence of the players involved. Consolidation in the market often results in competition among the tech providers for attention from buyers and the industry and consumers both benefit from the innovations that emerge. It will be exciting to see where the various players end up and how these integrated services impact the market overall.

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Financial Marketers Benchmark Survey

Madison Logic partnered with the Gramercy Institute to conduct a survey (January 2015) of over 100 financial professionals to gain insight on the usage and effectiveness of digital marketing to financial professionals.

The survey was administered and collected through an interactive portal in both 2012 and 2015.

Major findings include:

  1. Marketing has become more strategically important in business than ever before.
  2. The use of “gut instinct” is becoming a thing of the past as technology has created better processes for marketing.
  3. CRM data and ad targeting have transformed how marketing is conducted, but is a challenging process.
  4. With the use of new technologies, media measurements have become much effective at providing customer insights.
  5. A lack of internal expertise and a leadership culture that undervalues data analysis are major inhibiting factors to understanding marketing ROI.

The results were compiled by the Gramercy Institute and Madison Logic.

How Cloud Computing is Shaping the Future of Business and Technology

6027569462_4ed88d571e_oThough most technology users have a vague idea of “the cloud” (we industry insiders having perhaps a bit clearer of a picture) the vast majority has no real concept of just how prevalent and influential cloud computing is in both our personal and professional spheres. Many industry experts agree that cloud computing is a significant driver of innovation and growth in technology and how both businesses and consumers interact with it.

The ability to store massive amounts of data in the cloud rather than on in-house hardware creates efficiencies for businesses of all sizes. Many organizations have adopted cloud-based solutions for infrastructure and networking, removing the need to invest and maintain on-site systems. By that same token, there are instances in which the investment in the cloud solution is unnecessary for the size of certain tasks so many companies have adopted a hybrid approach, which blends the use of both cloud and on-site technology, depending on the scale. The hybrid approach minimizes wasted investment in both technologies.

So what is the real savings potential of moving into the cloud? Matt Rosen, CEO of cloud service provider Fusion Telecommunications, claims, “Median operating cost savings for our clients are in excess of 30 percent.” This opens the door for small businesses to take advantage of enterprise-level solutions, the high cost of the necessary hardware having formerly been a major barrier. Many small and mid-size businesses are shifting company email and HR functions to cloud-based solutions.

Cloud computing is also opening the door to international data markets, as shown by Google’s recent decision to open up its cloud-based app building tools to run on other companies’ servers, connected via AppScale’s technology. This move actually provides a possible answer to data residency issues and cloud balkanization laws, which dictate data use and storage policies, in some countries. Engineers can now utilize this cloud-to-cloud connection to run their apps from on-location data centers in countries that require it, opening up giant pools of potential users.

Though it has many applications, the core value of cloud computing is scalability. Scalability is an issue that plagues any new invention in some way or another, but the volume of data we deal with today and the multiple channels and devices through which we utilize it makes scalability especially crucial. It is this benefit that has also enabled a massive wave of innovation in technology that has had continuing ripple effects across many markets.

Tech users, and one might argue people in general, are constantly looking for ways to simplify and streamline their busy lives. Technology plays a huge role in “life-hacking,” as exemplified by the use of digital applications such as banking tools and doctor-patient portals, across multiple devices including mobile. Cloud computing creates the possibility of accessing every online tool in your arsenal through a single platform, on any device, and the implications of that are huge and long-lasting, and most likely just getting started.

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Innovations in B2B Tech Blur the Lines Between Sales and Marketing

5500714140_96905e8dd7_oTechnology is the number one driver of large-scale change in any industry and marketing is a prime example of that phenomenon. When it comes to technology in general, the B2B world has traditionally been fairly resistant to change. To be fair, B2B is a complex universe, and implementing new technology on such a grand scale isn’t easy for any industry, but the B2C marketing world has always been a bit more nimble and open to emerging tech.

However, where B2B is setting the standard for B2C is in the realm of demand generation. B2B marketers and salespersons know the importance of not just creating leads, but nurturing them throughout their journey from initial exposure to a brand to (hopefully) an eventual purchase. B2B marketers have learned to leverage sophisticated data practices like content monitoring and predictive analysis, as well as aggregation and automation platforms to target both decision makers and their influencers.

B2C marketers, however, have traditionally struggled with utilizing data at this level because they need to reach such large audiences, and their own in-house platforms and networks have not had that capability. B2B marketers have handled the scalability issue much better by adopting tech platforms and developing one-to-one relationships with media partners.

This recently acquired ability to target at the deepest levels without sacrificing scale is causing a massive shift across the B2B industry, and the ripples will undoubtedly be felt in the B2C world too. In fact, now is the time when B2C marketers should be taking a page out of the B2B playbook by using technology to create and nurture leads.

Technology and data have led to a gradual convergence of sales and marketing. Traditionally, marketing and sales have worked separately toward the same goals. Both teams want to drum up interest, know what their customers and prospects need before they approach them, and eventually drive a purchase, and ideally create long-term relationships. However, they have usually used very different tools and techniques to get the job done.

Recent and emerging platforms have begun to change that paradigm by eliminating data silos and integrating data use into every aspect of customer engagement, whether it’s making predictions or building awareness or closing the deal. This accessibility by both teams to vital data about their prospects on a large scale has driven a more holistic marketing approach.

Columnist David Dodd states that the sales methodology paradigm and the marketing centric paradigm have thus far been at odds—there are organizations that tend to favor one over the other based on their particular structure. But in a market as complex as B2B, marketing automation and sales acceleration should work hand in hand to drive engagement; this collaborative philosophy has been shown to increase both leads and sales, as well as significantly shorten the sales cycle and avoid wasting resources on unqualified leads.

For B2B and B2C marketers, technology will only continue to break down departmental walls as we develop more and more ways to gather, store, organize and utilize data. In addition to the blending of sales and marketing, infrastructure platforms are enabling IT, HR and other disparate teams to collaborate across organizations to deliver better experiences and drive revenue.

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Native Advertising Establishes a Solid Footprint in Emerging Media

1439671814_4f4c848305_oNative advertising has made an enormous impact on the digital advertising industry, giving marketers the ability to deliver precisely targeted messages; targeted because they are actually woven into the content a user is consuming at that moment.

The proliferation of new devices, however, has meant that native ads have had to be adapted to a variety of new platforms and environments. This has given marketers the opportunity to reach users across digital channels with native content, utilizing new data streams to target key audiences, allowing native to quietly but steadily weave itself into the future of emerging media.

Obviously, every ad tech discipline is looking to capitalize on the mobile boom and native is no different. In fact, the mobile environment has enabled native formats to shine; a recent IAB study found that native ad units running on mobile had a 3x higher CTR than the same units running on desktop.

Not that CTR is an ideal metric for native, given the cluttered and crowded online content environment and semi-shady practices, like posting “click-bait” to attract larger yet less targeted audiences. Ultimately, it is difficult to gauge real engagement through a click anyway, but native advertisers have the additional challenge of having less control over the traffic they are buying.

In order to gain deeper insight into the performance of native content, Business2Community contributor Peter Chen recommends A/B testing titles and removing poor performers manually, as well as choosing the best kinds of content to drive engagement, as not all content is suitable for that purpose.

WSJ’s head of digital and content Sarah Dale also notes that even print content is ideal for native because it often engages readers on a deeper level. However, she stresses the importance of maintaining a clutter-free environment to ensure a positive user experience and to avoid disrupting engagement.

Video content is the latest channel to see success with native content. eMarketer estimates that U.S. adults spend an average of 76 minutes engaging with online video content, making it an ideal engagement channel.

Last week, in advance of its annual NewFronts event, Yahoo! launched a series of mobile video and video app-install ads, delivering a one-two punch of engaging content. Yahoo!’s own research found that engagement with an app is higher if a user has viewed a video trailer for the app prior to download.

Yahoo!’s acquisition of BrightRoll has significantly boosted video revenue for the media giant, and CEO Marissa Mayer has been clear about her goals to turn Yahoo into a mobile media company.

The opportunities for native are abundant in today’s cross-channel marketing environment. Emerging channels like mobile and video have proven to be the best way to engage users across devices. Those channels are also ideal environments for native content, but print content can likewise be revived as a prominent revenue stream with native. With the use of data to target audiences with relevant messaging and careful monitoring of content and performance, native has the chance to emerge as a go-to advertising tool as more and more companies shift to mobile and video.

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Programmatic’s Growing Pains

16639993497_c4ddf2b72a_oProgrammatic has quickly become the ad-tech industry’s go-to media buying standard but, according to some industry insiders, we have still yet to plumb the depths of what programmatic can really accomplish.

MarketingLand columnist Pete Kluge notes that programmatic has the potential create more efficiencies than we are currently utilizing. Programmatic can improve efficiency across channels and transaction platforms, both in the information and execution of the media buying process. However, the next barrier to overcome is the integration of data streams and systems that feed the marketing machine to eliminate redundancies and provide a holistic view of customer data.

Signal CEO Mike Sands agrees: “…while consumers interact with brands across mobile, websites, in stores, and more, marketers are struggling to connect the dots, understand customer identities, and create the seamless experiences consumers demand,” he told Adotas.

A recent Signal study also found that 62 percent of respondents stated that fragmented data leads to incomplete marketing measurement and hinders the ability to personalize customer experiences. 35 percent also state that they cannot understand the customer journey with incomplete data, and 25 percent say it causes inefficient and wasteful media buying.

It is clear that data siloes are a significant challenge for programmatic, though the rate of adoption of programmatic buying platforms continues to grow. In fact, according to MediaPost (citing research from the Perceptions Group), programmatic buys are expected to grow by 21 percent this year. However, this growth on the buy side appears to outpace the growth on the sell side, as media suppliers say they only plan to bump programmatic by 4 percent this year.

There is also an apparent disconnect between the types of inventory being managed by programmatic; “while publishers and ad networks have more aggressive plans to utilize programmatic to sell higher-end inventory such as video (33 percent) and mobile audience impressions (39 percent), ad execs are more bullish on using it to buy conventional online display impressions (41 percent).”

The growth of programmatic has been rapid and steady, and overall, we should not expect that upward trend to change anytime soon, even though there are still stumbling blocks to be overcome. In fact, programmatic is following the same growth path internationally as well as in the U.S. The UK’s first programmatic market study predicted that nearly half (47 percent) of display advertising would be traded programmatically in 2014, almost doubling from 28 percent in 2013.

However, as programmatic grows worldwide, Tim Webster, The Exchange Lab co-founder and CSO, implores the global ad-tech industry to recall lessons learned from the past in order to successfully move forward. He notes that there are different models to follow when it comes to structuring your programmatic machine, and every brand is different in its needs and should be diligent in selecting a platform or partners that suits those needs.

Integrations across the board are a significant challenge, however, growing pains are to be expected with any emerging technology. It is clear that programmatic is on its way to becoming the global standard for media buying, and, no matter your specific marketing goals, the timeliness and scalability of programmatic can’t be beat, so it’s time to get on board.

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Revelations From the 2015 HIMSS Conference

4370251113_b1fbf967d6_oThe top discussion topics from this week’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) stemmed mainly from the results of the 26th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, released at the conference.

Key findings from the study all seem to be pointing toward the same conclusion: the field of healthcare technology has come a long way in its short duration, but has yet to overcome several important challenges.

Of course, this is not unexpected; every nascent industry has its growing pains, but a key finding from the study—that a mere 38 percent of U.S. hospitals and health systems surveyed “indicated that population health tools were in place in their organization”—makes it clear that the pressure is on both the healthcare and technology players involved to collaborate to answer the demands of the market.

Unfortunately, the survey also indicated that electronic medical record (EMR) data sharing between disparate vendor platforms, geographically dispersed facilities and unassociated medical institutions remains at a virtual standstill despite billions invested in the development of technology for their use.

Conference speakers laid blame for the lack of interoperability between vendors at the feet of the vendors themselves, claiming that they purposefully block sharing in order to corner their respective markets. This may make those vendors money in the short term, but it will ultimately stunt and slow the growth of the industry over the long-term.

The news from the conference was not all dire, however. As we’ve discussed here before, mobile technology is an important area of growth for healthcare IT, and results of the 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey revealed that healthcare organizations are widely beginning to deploy mobile health technologies with the aim of engaging patients within their organizations. In fact, 90 percent of respondents are currently doing so. More than 70 percent of provider employee participants utilize app-enabled portals to engage patients and cut costs, which 36 percent believe to be the most effective patient engagement tool.

Though 51 percent of respondents reported that their organization was able to leverage technology to coordinate or impact patient care in at least one of the areas provided in the study, only 18 percent indicated their mobile technology environment was “highly mature.” With the current rate of investment in mobile IT, however, I expect that percentage will be significantly higher in next year’s survey.

And speaking of investment, perhaps the most inspiring part of the conference is the pitch competition during the Venture+ Forum, in which 15 vetted companies gave three-minute presentations with the aim of securing investors. TowerView Health, a Philadelphia-based company whose pre-filled smart pillboxes alert patients when they forget to take doses, won first place. TeleHealthRobotics, a Chicago-based startup that provides Tele-Robotic Ultrasound for Distance Imaging kiosks through which off-site physicians administer ultrasounds and Medivizor, a subscription service that provides personalized health information and updates to patients, tied for second place.

Though, overall, the takeaway from this year’s event is that there is still a ways to go before healthcare IT is mature enough to become standard across the healthcare system, if innovations like those showcased are anything to judge by, the talent and vision needed to make it happen is there in spades.

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