IBM’s Digital Marketing Future Includes Facebook Deal And Data Exchange

jay henderson IBMIBM has big digital marketing dreams. Last spring, those dreams warranted a $100 million commitment to future marketing investments.

Wednesday saw the latest development, when IBM hooked its own marketing solutions into various Facebook ad products including the CRM matching program Custom Audiences to enable things like lookalike modeling.

IBM also is expanding its Digital Marketing Network to create a customer data exchange that will incorporate demand-side platforms, data-management platforms and other social platform partners.

Although IBM may seem late to the party – Facebook launched Custom Audiences in 2012 – Jay Henderson, director of strategy for IBM’s ExperienceOne group, reiterated IBM’s focus on a cohesive marketing platform.

Facebook integrations are simply the latest addition to the ExperienceOne platform, released last year, that essentially united IBM acquisitions like Silverpop, Tealeaf, Unica, Sterling Commerce and Xtify. IBM also factored in Coremetrics analytics to underpin a solution called IBM Journey Analytics.

Henderson spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: What’s driving the deal with Facebook?

JAY HENDERSON: It’s a technical integration, so we’re [combining] our portfolio of marketing automation and customer analytics solutions, and segmentation that typically happens for email targeting or website personalization, with the Facebook advertising platform. Facebook hasn’t opened up a special API for us, but rather we’re connecting our portfolio to the reach that Facebook has. We can tap into Facebook Custom Audiences as well as leverage the Facebook Lookalike Modeling.

IBM said it’s integrating Journey Analytics with Facebook. What is Journey Analytics?

The idea was to create a tool that would be a blank whiteboard for marketers to draw out what they want the end-to-end customer experience to look like whether that be email and direct mail, Facebook ads, TV or out-of-home and then connect those into the tools that are doing the execution, whether that’s solutions from IBM or [other vendors].

Is there a data management component?

The Facebook announcement is first in a whole sequence of things we’ll be rolling out, but what’s underlying this is a customer data exchange infrastructure that allows us to integrate Facebook once and connect into all of the different solutions in our portfolio. Rather than building point-to-point integrations between each of our solutions to Facebook, we integrate once into the data exchange and then that integrates to Facebook. The data exchange will have a whole series of partners, so look for some interesting news from us next week.

Is this an extension of IBM’s Digital Marketing Network?

We’re making that program even bigger. That Digital Marketing Network was about integrating partners with our digital analytics platform – our heritage Coremetrics portfolio. Next week we’ll be extending that so those partners won’t just connect into Coremetrics, but can also connect into Silverpop, cloud marketing automation solutions, some of our other solutions like IBM Campaign. We’ll also be … partnering with different DSP and DMP providers, as well as social partners like Shoutlet and Gigya. We’re connecting some of the traditional owned media channels into those paid media channels.

What’s driving this development?

A lot of customers have this portfolio of technologies. We’re not trying to force somebody into an all IBM stack. We want to help them assemble the ecosystem of providers that will best meet their needs, so this data exchange is one key piece to that. Being able to design journeys across all the technologies you will have and being able to analyze those interactions and combine them with the data exchange, is our way of trying to help marketers navigate complexities.

IBM also named Facebook its first Commerce THINKLab partner. How does that coexist with your agency, IBM ExperienceOne, or does it?

The new [THINKLab] we’re launching will be specially dedicated to customer engagement and customer experience. Brands can come to IBM with a problem they’re looking to solve and it helps with the ideation process, and we apply a whole design-thinking methodology to help the brand solve that problem.

It’s staffed with experts from our software and services group, as well as from the Interactive Experience Group, which is our digital agency, and folks from the IBM Research Labs. Brands will also have access to Facebook experts. We can do more than just integrate through traditional partner programs.

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