Book review: The Rise of the Platform Marketer

9 October 2015

Performance marketing with Google, Facebook and Twitter, plus the later High-Growth Digital Advertising Platforms. Authors Graig Dempster & John Lee.

For some time there has been a generation of active marketeers who understand that you gain greater competitive advantage if you have more understanding and insight into customers and their behaviour, and if you are able to use this knowledge in targeted marketing. Digitisation helps to ensure that various media and channels can be used to allow a maximum personalised brand experience. Marketeers are thus also able to collect more data to approach an individual in an optimally customised way.

The Rise of the Platform Marketer discusses the addressability of an audience, a target group, through an ‘addressable audience platform’, namely sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The Rise of the Platform Marketeer is really about making use of these audience platforms based on ‘traditional’ marketing and CRM principles. Therefore, this book is interesting precisely because in a very concrete and practical way it bridges the gap between digital marketing on the one hand, and marketing and CRM as we have known for years on the other.

This book chooses an interesting approach, which simply comes down to the following. On the one hand relatively excessive data is available because consumers use media that define its use and thus make it traceable. On the other hand this enables the marketeer to optimally address, read, personalise and thus individually target. This therefore applies to ‘known’ customers but also to anonymous customers. The relevant question is: how do you do this in an effective and efficient manner, and what does this mean for the use of various media and channels?

A digital audience platform is a technology platform that enables the marketeer to create real-time personalised brand experience based on personal data (first party data). Facebook is one example, but also Twitter and Google. In fact, these platforms bring consumers and brands together and the technology makes a high degree of personalisation possible. The match between the type of message and recipient of the message takes place in real time and is automated. Moreover, it is evident where the revenue from the advertising platform goes: to the owners of the audience platforms. This is why all these parties in recent years have invested heavily in software acquisitions that make the marketing of this advertising space (usually based on auction principles) smarter and more efficient. This is what is called ‘Programmatic buying’.

The Rise of the Platform Marketeer explains in a clear way that marketing companies, through a DAP, are bringing a new skill set to the marketing organisation. Nine competencies are set out in nine separate chapters. In addition, special attention is paid to the question of what your organisation needs to do in order to be able to implement these nine competencies. The nine competencies discussed are:


  1. Identity management: what needs to happen in order to reach and follow an individual customer? How do you define a unique key?
  2. Audience management: how do I create an omni-channel customer view?
  3. Customer privacy and compliance: how do I ensure that I apply legislation with integrity without being inhibited in the use of its possibilities?
  4. Media optimisation: how can I ensure that I buy the right media at the right price and put it before the right audience?
  5. Channel optimisation: how do I make sure that I can deploy the right channels?
  6. Experience design and creation: how do I create a data-driven customer journey?
  7. Platform adaptation: which platform is best suited to my business? Metrics and attribution? Which KPIs fit my business and on what levels (customer, product, transaction, medium, etc.) do I apply them?
  8. Technology: how do I create an infrastructure that enables data integration and analysis and also supports migration to more possibilities in the field of data management?

The book concludes with an organisation chapter that deals with implementation topics.

Not everything in this book is as interesting or profound. Some chapters (for instance on technology but also on metrics and attribution) are not exactly rocket science. What is interesting is the relationship between the various competencies needed to operate marketing in a practical way through an audience platform like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

Part of our vision at Cmotions is the proposition that marketing is basically a big optimisation issue. This book shows in an informative way what the elements of this problem are and what optimisation opportunities exist.

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