The Customer Service Imperative In Ad Tech

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Alex Perrin, vice president of programmatic strategy at Viant’s Adelphic.

Brands place too high of a priority on impersonal technology versus strategic partnerships that garner access to innovative solutions. Everyone in the ad tech industry strives to beat competitors on features, but it takes more than features to win the hearts and minds of clients.

One of the defining characteristics of technology is its potential to improve workflow. Buying through technology, rather than face-to-face, for example, has become the norm. However, while having good technology is incredibly valuable, client service may be the most important ingredient for success.

With any technology or platform, there is often a learning curve or nuances that require human intervention. Without a layer of support, many technology users would be frustrated, often with problems unresolved, resulting in decayed adoption.

This layer of support can be found across every major vertical and technology sector, but unfortunately, the service element is all too often overlooked when advertisers evaluate technology solutions.

Industry leaders must consider three crucial facets of the dynamic between advertisers and technology providers: platform knowledge, empathy and a well-established culture of feedback adoption.

Platform knowledge

Gaining access to top-tier ad tech is crucial, but the best outcomes are derived when both the tech provider and the client have a deep understanding of the technology. Customer success, platform adoption and client fulfillment is all contingent on empathy. Vendors can sell features and benefits until they’re blue in the face, but those features need to fulfill a problem or create opportunities. Vendors should put themselves in the shoes of the client and ask, “Would I buy this?”

By mastering the ins and outs of client requirements, technology providers can quickly bring solutions-oriented expertise to clients in a way that strategically meets their business goals and KPIs. This isn’t always easy, especially since the ad tech industry is extremely reactive to perpetually changing standards and burgeoning trends that affect client needs.

Client perspective

The scope and complexity of challenges that occur in the digital advertising ecosystem are vast. More than ever, CMOs and their teams must show the bottom-line impact of their marketing initiatives, putting pressure on partners to prove the ROI.

CMOs are also increasingly prioritizing brand safety, as one poorly targeted ad placement on unverified inventory can negatively impact brand perception with audiences. Understanding and solving for these challenges should be the primary focus of client service teams, along with being on the forefront of market research and trend analysis. This ensures they stay one step ahead of clients’ needs.

It’s crucial to find out each client’s specific pain points. Do they want to capture insights from big data? Are they concerned about mapping the full customer journey? Are they measuring their digital advertising against sales? Understanding their pain points can start simply by taking them out to dinner and developing a strategic plan to alleviate a problem area.

Feedback adoption

The ad tech industry was created as a means to diversify advertising supply, provide advertisers with clear and progressive metrics and deliver positive brand experiences to consumers. With that said, it’s critical to remember the indispensable importance of clear, consistent and meaningful communications across all parties.

There should be a free flow of feedback between advertiser and vendor partner. Formal surveys, informal responses during regular chats and questions about areas for improvement will help guide both teams to success. Client feedback provides a firsthand look into their success and problem areas, which gives insight into how they use a platform. These learnings can be used to enhance an existing offering or, more importantly, to further benefit clients.

It’s important to understand that solution providers’ success is directly tied to client success. There is no substitute for spending time with clients and learning how to help them achieve their goals. In turn, these findings can directly impact an offering to ensure they meet client needs from the start.

As the industry continues to consolidate and evolve, it’s solution providers who fixate on client success that will stand the test of time.

Follow Adelphic (@AdelphicDSP) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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