Crummer Alumna on the Cutting-Edge of the MarTech Revolution
Lauren Dulin `08MBA, Senior Director of Marketing Technologies at Anheuser-Busch in New York City is leading her company’s efforts to better analyze and utilize consumer data.
It’s a situation all of us are familiar with.
You start Googling a certain product, and the next time you open up your phone or browser, that product starts following you across the internet via banner ads, on social media and in the pre-roll video ads that run before a YouTube video.
The reason behind this is consumer data, and there’s a lot of it.
So much so that Lauren Dulin says many companies are trying to figure out how to navigate through all of it.
This lack of data control is why sometimes a specific product starts following you around the internet, even though you just bought that exact product on Amazon..
“That’s an information technology error,” explained Dulin. “Theoretically, you should be served ads that complement that product, not the exact same one.”
Although complicated and in its infancy stages (Dulin says MarTech has only been around for roughly 3-4 years), one thing is for certain – the marriage of big data and digital marketing is here to stay.
What is MarTech?
Marketing technology, simply put, is the blend of marketing and technology. The term MarTech is referring to the initiatives, efforts and tools that harness technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives.
As the marketing strategy of nearly every company and organization today hinges on digital advertising, MarTech is at the forefront of what they are trying to do.
Upon graduating from Crummer, Lauren Dulin entered a marketing world that was just starting to employ the power of social media.
In her first jobs she helped her companies create their first Facebook pages.
“At that time, YouTube didn’t exist yet and neither did Instagram; at that point we were just trying to see what worked,” explained Dulin.
Weary of becoming pigeon-holed as just a social media marketer, Dulin started working on some traditional advertising campaigns for brands like M&M’s and Orbitz.
She started realizing the powers of Martech when her latest company, Accenture asked her to start helping with building digital experiences in physical retail stores.
While digital experiences in physical stores never really took off, what did happen, however, was companies started to gather incredible amounts of data from online consumers without much of an idea on how to harness it.
“Most companies have all this data, but in reality, it’s all scattered and unorganized,” said Dulin.
A self-described techie with a marketing mindset, Dulin was able to build process maps quicker than her peers and found her marketing niche in the technology side of digital marketing.
“My job is managing the technology for marketing,” explained Dulin. “Instead of being a marketer, creating a campaign and figuring out what message a brand should say to sell more products, I build the technology that enables that experience to happen.”
At the end of the day, Dulin’s goal is to make the marketing team more effective and more efficient by optimizing digital campaigns in real-time. With access to more data, Dulin is helping her company funnel the data into activation tools so social media, e-mail, banner ads etc. are talking to each other and funneling back into the consumer data platform.
“These big companies have so much data, but it isn’t flowing like that,” said Dulin. “We want to make it so that one marketing person isn’t trying to do one-on-one marketing on their own. We need the systems to do it for him/her, so they just have to set the strategy,” said Dulin.
The Future of MarTech
In a perfect world, companies would be able to individualize each consumer experience for each person and pinpoint the marketing down to a 1:1 company to user experience.
While MarTech hasn’t gotten that advanced yet, the future may be perfectly individualized experiences.
“Currently we have personas, or group marketing, where we are working to get those groups smaller and smaller. For example, going down to a 150:1 to a 100:1 company to user experience,” said Dulin.
An obvious roadblock and challenge MarTech is facing is understanding the consumer fears that are motivating companies to hold back their data.
As is the case all of the time, the technology moves faster than government legislation, so Dulin expects more rules and regulations regarding consumer data in the future.
For now, as an ethical business leader, Dulin has to use her moral and ethical compass many times when making decisions on projects.
“I have asked to not be included on a project because of security concerns,” she said. “It’s my reputation too.”
As MarTech evolves, so will the jobs available in the field, and Dulin says it can be a challenge finding talent to work on her MarTech team.
“I look for techy people who can pick up new pieces of technology easily and who are also really into marketing,” said Dulin.
She says great is the ideal MarTech team members is someone who is scientificially-driven, creative and has problem-solving abilities.
“This is an incredibly growing industry, and it’s fascinating because it’s so new. That’s why I love it,” said Dulin.