Digital marketers are charged with the ever-evolving task of assessing tools that will fill the needs of their organization. The complexities of these evaluations can vary greatly between brands, as the people responsible for evaluations might have to sift through a cornucopia of ad technologies that promise solutions. Advertising technologies are generally presented in one of two ways: a holistic or all-in-one solution or a niche or specialized set of tools that are sold as the best or the least expensive. As the state of digital marketing fluctuates, so too will the hundreds of digital marketing vendors.
These advertising technologies will often bring another layer of complication, as many branch off into tangential verticals with new or enhanced functionality. Brands will find that search companies are now offering social capabilities, rich media companies are offering traditional ad serving, and tag management companies are offering attribution. What makes things even more confusing for brands is that almost every pitch sounds the same no matter what is being sold. The most common might be, "We offer proprietary technology to enhance your digital campaign's performance" or "We offer a single platform to manage and optimize all of your digital initiatives."
To see these pitches in action, look no further than this year's ad:tech San Francisco. As I walked the conference floor, I heard the same homogeneous pitches no matter if I was talking to an ad network, social media tool, or a search vendor. As these taglines were prolifically used, they tended to lose their potency when a hundred other companies were saying the same thing. When this happens, it can make it very difficult to find a potential partner with all the confusing noise. A few vendors were actually able to separate themselves from their peers and effectively demonstrate what they did.
So, how can a brand sift through all the noise?