Programmatic 1×1: Mathew Ward

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I started my career as an ops guy. Our job was to set up campaigns on various platforms. We used to place pixels and capture data for the advertiser. This gave us an understanding of the user and how differently one responded than the other. Use of this pixel data also helped us to deliver ROI to the advertiser. It was after a couple of years that I learned about Data as a different subject altogether.

Soon there were companies getting into this business. Today we see many of us talk about big data, data management, but very few have a clear idea about it.

Let’s hear it from the expert and industry leader Mathew Ward.

Programmatic 1×1: Data Management Platform

Mathew Ward, MD-APAC – Lotame

1. How is the acceptance of buying and selling of data in APAC?

    • The biggest challenge we face today is that a lot of people don’t think about Data in the right way.
    • It’s just not about buying and selling 3rd party data.
    • It is about understanding your audience in depth, and using that information to personalize every experience the customer has with your brand.
    • It gives the marketer and publisher the ability to deliver custom experiences to their users.
    • DMP is not just about Programmatic. It’s just one use case. DMP is actually about unifying disparate data sets, and activating that data via multiple channels – one of which will be programmatic channels.
    • Today most companies have data sitting in silos – across website, mobile, apps and CRM. The idea is to unify it and give a single view of the customer.

Every good data strategy starts with a clear business objective.

2. Who are your primary customers?

    • Publishers and Marketers. Publishers have moved very quickly to adopt the DMP.
    • Publishers have had to move towards being audience centric in order to compete with the giants like Google and Facebook.  So that environment has pushed publishers to form a data strategy and adopt DMP early.
    • For publishers it is about remaining relevant in an increasing competitive environment.
    • For Marketers, the big driver seems to be Data ownership. They realize that consumer data is going to be critical for their future success, and currently that data sits with their agencies.  They are beginning to realize the importance of them owning their own data, so are now starting to look at building their own data strategy and looking at DMP technology to help them with that.  We have a growing number of brands using our solution and this helps them to not only know their customers but also personalize the offers for them. This leads to better ROI for their marketing and outreach.
    • Agencies fully understand the value of DMP technology – however some are struggling with finding a way to make DMP fit into their business model.  Most of the agencies we work with work with us as a preferred partner – they evaluate our technology and recommend it to their clients directly.  So the client will contract directly with us, while the agency provides services around DMP.  That seems to be the preferred method of engagement.

Don’t invest in Data/DMP just because the competition is doing it. Make sure you have a clear business plan, and map out your path to ROI.

3. What are the challenges you face while selling the DMP solution, especially in Emerging markets?

    • Educating the customer is the biggest challenge we face.
    • Most confuse a Data strategy with simply buying 3rd party Data. They think they are buying 3rd party data so it will solve all the problems. But they haven’t thought too much about the big asset they are sitting on – their 1st party data.
    • There is a rich set of 1st party data that marketers and publishers are sitting on, and they are not capturing it.  Every consumer interaction generates valuable data points – if you are not using that data, you are missing a massive opportunity.
    • 1st party data serves as the foundation. 3rd party is the icing on the cake.

Data + Media channel + Creative = Success formula.

    • A good data strategy includes 1st party data, relevant 3rd party data after thorough reasoning and testing, and look-alike modeling.  Media channel is also important. Creative messaging is of utmost importance. If a user is looking for a travel ticket from Singapore to Hong Kong, the creative message should match the audience profile.

4. Is pricing ever a challenge?

    • It’s less about pricing as it is about value.  If people see the value that DMP can provide, they have no problem paying for it.  The challenge is helping clients formulate a clear business strategy first, and illustrating how DMP helps them achieve that – and drive true returns to the business.
    • There are very few local case studies out there that are publicly shareable.  Those companies in Asia that have seen great results from their data strategy don’t like to publicize it – which means we don’t have a long list of cases studies that others can learn from.  This means that everyone is learning as they go. We need more companies who are willing to share the stories to their success. This would definitely help the market develop faster.

5. What are your plans for India?

    • India is a growing market and has scale. The internet and eCommerce story is just getting started. All these companies are powered by data.
    • Publishers are getting sophisticated.
    • India data story has a long way to go. We have recently set up base here and are committed to this market.
    • Out of the total organic inquiries we get, 50-60% now come from India.

6. Any product changes with respect to India as a market?

    • As DMP is SAAS (Software-As-A-Service) based, our product remains consistent with other markets and so does pricing. But we adjust and fine tune based on the requirement.

7. How do you go about creating a Data marketplace given the fact that both advertisers and publishers are hesitant to share their data?

    • Lotame has a Data marketplace where we invite buyers and sellers of data.
    • To participate in the marketplace, they do not need to buy the platform solution.
    • Our Unique User (UU) base in our data marketplace has gone from 20 million to 70 million in the last 12 months. So we continue to see a northbound movement here.

8. Companies like Nielsen and Comscore also are in the business of Research reports and Insights. Give the fact that you are already sitting on a data bank, would you consider “Research & Insights” as a business?

    • No. We are in the business of enterprise solutions and will stick to enabling the customers with the tools to do Research and Insights themselves – we don’t see our core competency as providing the research itself.

9. Some of the potential buyers may think that buying a DMP solution is a huge investment with no immediate ROI. In that case would you be open to “Small ticket/Pay as you go” model?

    • One of the models that we see growing in popularity is Data as a service (DAAS).This is about helping clients optimize their data sets on a segment by segment basis using our sophisticated look-alike modelling tools. I think this will be something more marketers look at in 2016.

10. DMP is an enterprise solution. But looking at the growth in the emerging markets like India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines with respect to Internet and Ecommerce there has been a significant rise in the SMB’s going online. Does Lotame have a SMB strategy?

    • Good question. The SMB’s have to be much smarter with their data strategies, as they can’t compete against the scale of the big players.
    • I think there will be some generic data tools in market shortly that SMBs can leverage, however Lotame is currently focused on solutions for the enterprise customer.  That may change in the future though – we will see.

Data is a not a silver bullet.  It’s a powerful tool that you must have in your armoury, but you need more than just the tech.  You need people, and resources behind it to make it work for you.

Thank you so much Mathew  for becoming a part of this. Thank you all for reading. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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