AdRoll VP of international on adtech martech convergence and a year of change
Marketing speaks with AdRoll VP of International Marius Smyth about the company’s year of changes and how SMEs are reaping the rewards of heavy investment in digital.
Last December, AdRoll’s global shake-up led to a restructure of the APAC team that saw the AdRoll Australia office shrink from a team of 28 down to seven. In February, the company launched the AdRoll Growth Platform globally. Last month, AdRoll hosted an event in Sydney showcasing how clients were growing their business on the platform.
Marketing spoke with VP of International Marius Smyth about the year of change, the convergence of adtech and martech, and how SMEs are moving beyond the tech platform giants for ecommerce results.
Marketing: What’s the company been through over the last 12 months?
Marius Smyth, AdRoll VP of international: We came into 2018 having changed some structures within the overall AdRoll company business. Globally, we broke the company into two separate business units. But, where the focus didn’t change for us was within the AdRoll business unit, which is the business unit that the Sydney office basically is connected to as well.
We came in to 2018 with an idea of where the market was going. We had seen a convergence of the adtech world and the marketing tech world becoming more important in the landscape. That changes things for the traditional B2C marketer. We saw that change happen towards the back end of last year and coming in to this year. That was no different in the APAC region, especially from the Australian market, which is one of the more advanced digital marketplaces.
We’ve spent the majority of this year really focusing in on that convergence.
Our heritage is obviously in the adtech space in terms of retargeting, but we also started to really develop other areas of our business. We’ve also developed a measurement product that companies are finding to be a very interesting and ambitious model in the marketplace.[The Adroll Growth Platform] goes back to the beginning of this year when we understood what customers are actually looking for. They’re looking for tools and technology that will help them tell their message better online. But they’re also looking to try and understand – once they connect with customers – what’s the data they get on those customers? How do they use that more effectively? How do they measure how effective the conversation that they’re having with customers is? Through the time we spent, on our growth and the brands that are growing with AdRoll, we quickly understood that what they’re looking for is one place to try and make sense of it all.
That’s in terms of both the data side and the business, and also in terms of the communications, advertising and marketing side of the business as well.
What are some of your higher performing clients doing with it?
We’ve been very keen to identify customers that are benefiting from using the platform, from using our goals. But also we’re interested in them talking about their growth stories overall.
Some of the brands we spoke to were the likes of Budgy Smuggler. This time around we’re inviting about 50 of our top customers here within the Australian market. The event’s called ‘Dare to Grow’ so again, it’s talking about the growth story these customers have had. Some of the companies that we’re working with, they’re actually external direct customers – so customers that advertise directly but also agencies.
Marquee is an entertainment brand down here in Sydney, it’s going to be be talking to us about the growth that it’s achieved.
Cherry Media is a small, ambitious agency that is working with us as well. And we also have Specialized Bike which is an iconic bike brand within the market that has made changes in its business to grow faster, online being a really key part of that.
Overall, the message here is that these brands have all invested heavily in the digital side of their businesses. They’re recognising that there’s a growth opportunity within the market, within their areas.
How will the lines between adtech and martech continue to blur? What does the future look like to you in that space?
I don’t think our thesis has changed around that. A lot of smaller, medium-sized businesses within the ecommerce space, I think they initially turn to big platforms like Google, Facebook and places like Amazon to sort out the answers on how to develop their online marketing strategies.
Working with those larger companies, you don’t always make an impact in their world. And therefore, I think there’s been a lot of smaller or medium-sized businesses looking for something like AdRoll. One of the things we understood was that they want a platform – somewhere where they can actually go and make sense of all of it themselves.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming for the smaller businesses. They have an interesting profile of customer that come to them, customers that change quite easily. They can become loyal to the brand but also can change in terms of their overall behaviour quite quickly as well.
What we’re trying to do is create a platform that allows these small businesses to understand they could find and attract new customers, the right new elements or the audiences that they might want and to try and find. We’re gonna try and help you find that. And then also, create something a little bit more personalised to your brand when communicating to customers. Using measurements and using insights in terms of where they can really connect with them to being able to actually, again, retaining those customers for longer. As well as using it to attract a similar profile of customers as well.
Ultimately this is all about them being able to compete with the bigger brands, bigger companies that have much larger market engagement, much larger budgets and try to be as profitable and sustainable – in terms of growth – as those companies.