Why Choosing Vendors Is Challenging for Marketers

It’s difficult to pick tech partners among a crowded landscape

Because few marketers bring programmatic in-house, they’re left relying on vendors to help carry out their campaigns. But many find it difficult to choose the right tech partner.

As the Lumascape grew to include nearly 5,000 companies, it has become hard for marketers to separate signal from noise when evaluating which vendors bring the most value to their company. In a September 2017 survey of 200 marketers worldwide by Infectious Media, 58.4% of respondents said that technology selection is extremely challenging or very challenging for them.

Aside from the industry being overcrowded, marketers face other issues when choosing vendors. According to a November 2017 survey by Forrester Consulting and Velocidi, the availability of tech support is the most important feature that US marketers evaluate when choosing vendors. Marketers also seek tech partners that have strong reputations, are financially solvent and understand their specific data challenges.

But accurately evaluating these attributes across vendors is no easy task since marketing technology is often arcane, which makes it tough to filter through the pretenders.

Even if marketers want to outsource their programmatic operations to vendors, they still need some tech savvy to choose the best vendor and avoid unexpected costs. For years, programmatic platforms on both the buy- and sell-side charged hidden fees that advertisers and publishers alike had trouble spotting. But unfortunately, many marketing firms have struggled to scale their tech talent to match the industry growth rate of programmatic advertising. We forecast that about 80% of US digital display ad dollars will be transacted programmatically this year.

Marketers will continue to grapple with vendor selection for the foreseeable future, but they’re not powerless when it comes to improving how much bang they get for their buck. Throughout the past year, many advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, cut down the number of demand-side platforms (DSPs) they use to purchase inventory. Reducing DSPs helped advertisers trim their tech costs and lower the probability of bidding against themselves. But it remains to be seen how marketers will adjust their strategies when it comes to striking deals across other sectors of the marketing tech industry.

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