Nathan Jokinen, once the manager of new business development and digital vendor marketing at Target, was introduced last Wednesday as the VP of strategic development at advertising technology company Adconion Direct.
After nearly a decade spent with the big-box retailer, which this holiday season introduced in-store pick-up for online orders, Jokinen spoke with AdExchanger about retail marketers’ greatest challenge: connecting the dots on data for cross-channel campaigns.
AdExchanger: What did you do at Target?
NATHAN JOKINEN: I was at Target for close to 10 years and, during my time there, I was part of our digital strategy team across various marketing and media roles. Most recently, I was part of our new business development team on the vendor marketing side. What that meant was working with our vendors’ marketing solutions and putting together digital strategies for Target’s marketing efforts at the same time.
Within that [division] I had a few different roles within digital strategy. Part of what I focused on there was working with our paid social efforts. Target really got into the social space two years back and built out that team and their efforts utilizing Facebook, Twitter and even leveraging social platforms like Pinterest to help generate a lot of content and getting people to share that content and driving engagement with it as well. I’d say overall the total digital media team was 50 people plus and the vendor marketing team was upwards of 20-30 folks. They were pretty large groups, overall.
What’s the greatest hurdle Target and other retailers face in connecting the dots between online, mobile and in-store?
The paid, earned and owned piece is really evolving and retailers are starting to embrace that more and [are] leveraging insights from each of those and how they play off of one another. When it comes to social, it’s really leveraging cross-channel data, as well, and what other insights can you garner about your shoppers in terms of what they’re doing in other channels and how you want to message them across different platforms.
I think [this is] going to be critically important in 2014. If retailers can react very quickly to social comments or listen to what their fans are saying, that can ultimately impact cross-channel marketing, media or merchandising in-store. Retailers, in general, need to leverage those insights not just for social, but also look at how you deliver them a message across display or in video and I think that’s what Adconion Direct can really do and that’s what really drew me over here.
Did you come into contact with Adconion while at Target?
The first connection I had with Adconion was working on our digital team when they helped out with a lot of social on the media side, whether it was building fan acquisition or campaigns around the social space and also talking about future opportunities for cross-channel platforms or putting together digital strategies and digital solutions for advertising.
What does Adconion do?
Adconion Direct is a unified, cross-channel digital advertising platform that enables advertisers to reach audiences across multiple media channels – display, video, mobile, email and social – and connected devices. Every time Adconion Direct serves an ad, our unified platform sorts through over 1 billion possible matches to find the best match between an advertiser and an audience. [We have amassed] $1 billion dollars in media spend across [our] platform and have over 2,000 advertisers globally. [The] technology platform is flexible and able to integrate with third-party data providers. If an advertiser or agency is using a DMP, we have the ability to utilize the client’s data, third-party data and our proprietary cross-channel data.
What will your focus be with Adconion?
To really help evangelize and tell our cross-channel story and build out strategies for retail. We have a great footprint with retailers and CPGs [like Kelloggs] already, so it’s helping our existing clients build better solutions and bringing in strategic partners along the way.
What are you hearing from clients, in terms of connecting their targeting efforts to broader omnichannel strategies?
Some of the challenges all retailers face is there are so many channels out there today. When you think about how people shop and use media today, they’re already cross-channel. People are using their phone when they’re in-store and they’re using so many different channels to make a decision before they even go shopping. People are naturally doing that.
Depending on which channel they’re in or the device they’re using, there’s a lot of complexities and data out there retailers can use for their marketing and media decisions. They need a cross-channel platform that merges all that data in a very synchronous way in terms of using data from video or display to make email or social more relevant.
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