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Hello, Marketers, the advertising landscape is becoming mythical.
What I mean is that the standard creatures that populated advertising – publishers, brands, ad tech partners – are turning into elaborate hybrids, almost like the minotaurs, satyrs and sphinxes of legend.
Publishers become brands when they connect deeply with subscribers through an enhanced customer experience. Some e-commerce and traditional brands are adopting sales and shipping strategies on a subscription model borrowed from publishers. Retailers are acquiring AI-powered startups to grow their ad services, morphing into a Hydra-like amalgamation of adtech provider, agency, and publisher.
At the IAB ALM conference in New York this week, Gap Inc. introduced an audience of marketers and digital vendors to its own media and advertising arm, GPS Media. The Gap joins Lowe’s and Walgreens as a major retail chain selling ads to its impressive customer base. This follows Gap’s recent acquisition of AI-based analytics company Context-Based 4 Casting Ltd. (CB4), and GPS Media has been in pre-launch since the end of 2021.
Data is mutating all these creatures in the digital marketing landscape. The scarcity of first-party data and regulations on data use and sharing (all necessary to maintain consumer trust) have turned companies with lots of first-party data into digital advertising hubs. Market forces are irresistible in this sense, as this close, data-driven connection with customers is essential, and often fleeting if customers decide to opt out.
The moral of this fable is that the creatures will continue to transform. And for every marketer, that means now more than ever they need to make their own meaningful, data-rich connections with customers. It’s hard enough to compete for storage space and attention in the marketplace. Now imagine having to outbid your competition on a retailer’s advertising channel.
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