Advertising and marketing technology have been selling a big dream for a long time. The many venture-backed and holding-company owned companies promise a future where every piece of the marketing puzzle fits together seamlessly. With everything working in harmony, marketers can leverage massively scaled data systems across channels and around the globe with ease and efficiency.
It’s a wonderful promise, with absolutely no chance of ever coming true.
To be precise, it was very unlikely we’d ever see the world that ad- and mar-tech promised, even at the height of cookies. The dream has certainly inspired many. The reality was that only a handful of brands or media companies have ever had the resources to fund and build out the ideal martech stack. No matter how much funding went into the process, the actual task was still incredibly difficult.
With cookie deprecation already underway, it’s time to say goodbye to utopia. In a world without third-party cookies, brands need pragmatism more than they need big dreams. Now, most of the B2B marketing aimed at brands still promises a new era where all of their data, insights and targeting efforts are future-proofed against any changes. A lot of that may be possible, but brands don’t need the bells and whistles. As Thoreau said, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”
The best way for brands to prepare for the cookieless future is to focus on what they actually need to accomplish in their marketing efforts. Ask what is not changing in the marketing process and do that well. Brands are looking to connect and use data across the ecosystem, simple as that.
This is especially true for mid-market brands, who really just want to make sure that they can make use of their first-party data in effective ways, without massive investment in cobbling together mar-tech stacks. These brands merely want a practical way to target their audience at scale.
Is simple boring? It might be, which is why the promise of utopia sells. But as we enter the next era of advertising and identity, practicality needs to come first.