Kate Tickner works for IBM’s Big Data Solutions team and specialises in the Media and Entertainment industry, covering EMEA, with a particular interest in Digital Media. This includes content publishers, marketing solutions providers, broadcasters, advertising ecosystem companies and all entertainment and gaming organisations.
This Q&A is the first of a four-part series of content to be delivered in the run-up to ExchangeWire’s Ad Trading Summit in London on 18th September 2012. The objectives of this series are to describe what IBM corporate and the IBM Big Data practitioners, are seeing in the digital marketing marketplace today and discuss their views on what is coming in the next few years.
IBM is a one of the world’s largest companies – please describe where your group fits in and what are your key product offerings?
As you say, IBM has a very wide product set, but what I’m concerned with is the Big Data portfolio. Even there, IBM has a wide definition of Big Data, because without the ability to integrate data from different systems so they can share data, and without governance to manage the data, the transition from Big Data in silo projects or research projects to enterprise use will be painful.
Part 3 of this interview series will go into more detail about IBM’s Big Data Platform, but at its core we have InfoSphere BigInsights, our Hadoop-based product, to deliver very high volume scale-out analytic processing of structured and unstructured data on low-cost commodity hardware; Data Warehousing with our Netezza product – already in use at Digital Media organisations such as MediaMath, AppNexus, http://exelate.com/, DataLogix and many more. We also uniquely have the capacity to process very high-velocity streaming data with our InfoSphere Streams product.
Who is the target audience?
IBM have solutions for almost every type of business and user, but much of our high-level messaging is targeted at C-level executives including CEOs, CIOs and CMOs. Our Smarter Commerce and Smarter Analytics messaging are very much about using the value of Big Data to be more relevant, particularly for marketers in the age of the digitally connected consumer.
The IBM Institute for Business Value delivers many research pieces that help us to understand this. For example their Executive Report: Beyond Digital – Connecting Media and Entertainment to the Future states that “to satisfy connected consumers, as well as ecosystem partners, digital marketers providers must move ‘beyond digital’ to deliver individualised experiences on demand, at any time. For those in the digital media industry, digitising content and digitally distributing it is no longer enough. Success in the connected landscape will require: a business-to-consumer (B2C) mindset, insight into consumers’ digital personalities, the delivery of relevant, enhanced experiences and the ability to find new ways to monetise content successfully.”
Is it fair to say that IBM is trying to assemble a marketer “stack”? Will we ultimately see marketers use a one-point solution?
I believe IBM’s approach to business problems is “best-of-breed” and we have seen IBM put together comprehensive portfolios of market-leading solutions through acquisition in combination with its own extensive collection of products. It is certainly true that the business problems most marketers want to address can be solved using a combination of IBM technologies, but we commonly see a number of different products (IBM’s and others) being used in any given situation. I believe that the era of the “one-stop-shop” for our customers is over and that there is no single product that can deliver everything a marketer would want in an effective way. Thus an open, standards-based platform approach is what will suit the majority of the organisations with whom we work.
Many speculate IBM is developing the enterprise solution for marketers. Is this a direct-end advertiser responsibility? Do you see the CMO/CIO working more collaboratively and owning the management and application of data solutions?
I can’t make any forward-looking statements about IBM’s intentions around acquisition or product development, but I think if you look at the road we have travelled over the last few years, with the acquisition or development of key solutions in Big Data, business analytics and optimisation, enterprise marketing management and mobile commerce, it can be said that we already have an enterprise solution for marketers! A large number of our customers are direct-end advertisers, but they are also the companies that facilitate the demand and supply space within the advertising ecosystem: marketing solution providers that deliver better customer targeting and campaigns, and the content publishers on whose sites the adverts run.
We have certainly seen the C-level executives within our customer base working together more extensively and much of our own Marketing and activity encourages this – for example the two summit events in 2012, specifically for CMOs and CIOs, which will be hosted by Ginny Rometty, IBM’s own CEO.
To date, IBM has developed a robust data/analytics enterprise solution, where does media fit within this? Does IBM need an ad server?
Media & Entertainment is defined as an individual market segment and in or 2012 Global CEO study what we saw was that M&E CEOs lead the way as far as disruptive technologies are concerned, with 45% of them creating entirely new industries. Overall, it concludes that M&E providers – wherever they sit in the industry value chain – will need to act like B2C companies and must deliver holistic, relevant content experiences that appeal to consumers’ specific digital personalities. I’m not sure whether IBM needs to acquire an ad server to facilitate this, but we certainly provide the platforms that can connect to, and take data from, these types of technologies.
There has been much debate about the evolution of the marketer’s role and the rise of “tech marketing” capability within advertisers. How is the IBM buy side tech empowering the evolving marketing function?
Marketing as a whole is becoming more and more dependent on analytics and algorithmic capabilities. Prior to acquisition, Netezza talked about the concept of “Big Data, Big Maths” and now, as part of IBM, this fits very well into the overall Big Data platform which can be leveraged by Smarter Analytics and Smarter Commerce capabilities.
The recent research study conducted by Winterberry in collaboration with the Interactive Advertising Bureau, spoke to 175 leaders in the Advertising and Marketing space. Its objective was to find data “use cases” that could be made actionable. That is, to find practical applications that could improve the effectiveness of marketing by using the available data to help to make significant positive change to their organisations. The use cases that came out of the study represent four key areas for all digital media marketers: audience-optimisation, content-optimisation, yield-optimisation and channel-optimisation.
IBM’s investments over the last few years, including Netezza, Unica, CoreMetrics, SPSS and TeaLeaf, all show how how we are gearing-up to support this new reality.
What about execution? What plans does IBM have as far as media execution is concerned?
IBM’s solutions support all the players in the online digital advertising ecosystem (agencies, DSPs, SSPs, DMPs, ad networks and exchanges). Our focus will be on enabling these entities with leading-edge technologies in analytics and Big Data to differentiate. We don’t necessarily see IBM participating directly in the marketplace.
***Keep an eye out for Part 2 – Trader Talk PodCast: Real-time content personalisation and execution***Global Desk Editor