Martech Interview with Rasika Narang, SVP, Marketing at Viant Technology

Marketing is central to driving business growth today. Rasika Narang(SVP, Marketing at Viant Technology) talks about digital advertising renaissance with Adtech and Martech!

One of our core values (my favorite) is called FIO – Figure it Out. This defines our entrepreneurial spirit – which is one of the things that sets the company apart.

1. Viant recently announced a partnership with Commerce Signals. What was the impetus behind this move? 

The single biggest pain point for a marketer is knowing and measuring what their marketing campaigns delivered in business outcomes. Today, every marketer is tasked with demonstrating the ROI of their campaigns. Proving out the ROAS for a campaign is one of these critical metrics.

Measurement has always been front and center in our solutions and we are continually evolving the measurement capabilities of our DSP, Adelphic. Our partnership with Commerce Signals enables us to help marketers maximize their ROAS. Through this strategic partnership, our customers will have access to the largest source of consumer payments behavior data. They will be able to better understand payment behaviors, match ad impressions across all addressable platforms, such as CTV and premium video or audio to card spending and improve marketing outcomes.

2. Being the Senior VP of Marketing, how do you establish the key metrics to measure your team’s performance?

At Viant, we have a performance-based culture. We measure the performance of our team based on both quantitative goals and qualitative elements that reflect our forward-thinking culture. We are a visionary challenger brand with a bold, open mindset. And these behaviors are what we encourage across the team.

We’ve translated our business OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) into Marketing OKRs. We then use KPIs to monitor progress consistently towards are objectives. Each marketing activity ladders up to these marketing and business outcomes. We also look at qualitative aspects which are part of the innovative marketing and high-performance culture of today—such as the ability to be agile, pivot and take advantage of new market opportunities. In addition, I always encourage my team to experiment with new ideas, technology, and tactics as part of our ongoing strategy.

My goal is to help team members reach their full potential by transforming their marketing skills and mindsets to be future-ready.

3. What do you believe are the AdTech trends that are here to stay?

There are a few AdTech trends that are here to stay: 

  • Connected TV – CTV saw a 28% growth in 2021 with a projected rise of 23% in 2022, according to MediaPost. In addition to further adoption of CTV, we’ll continue to see an uptick in cross-channel media investments as consumer confidence grows along with CTV. According to a 2022 Ad Exchanger article, at least one CTV device can be found in over 80% of American homes, and CTV ad budgets are expected to double by 2026.  We see this continuing alongside more programmatic linear ad opportunities enabling a more holistic, measurable omnichannel media mix inclusive of TV.
  • Emerging channels —We will also see greater investments in new emerging channels such as digital-out-of-home, digital audio, and in-game advertising. We are seeing more and more how brands need to be agile and increase relevance by taking advantage of cultural and opportunity moments. Agile and portable formats like digital audio will be a marketer’s best friend. These new emerging channels also give new places for customer engagement and can give brands an early adopter advantage.
  • First-Party Data and data clean roomsThe digital marketing ecosystem today runs on data. And this will only get more amplified in the future—especially with the depreciation of cookies and mobile IDs that marketers have been able to historically rely on.
    In addition, given consumer expectations around personalization of content and privacy, marketers will continue to show interest in expanding first-party data.
    Savvy brands will also prepare for the future by investing in privacy-friendly identity technologies such as data clean rooms that support user-level matching without the need to share raw data. This also means looking at your customer engagement strategy and determining a true value exchange with customers.

4. Most marketing leaders expect to increase their MarTech budget in the near future. Why is technology playing a crucial role in marketing success?

There are a few things driving this trend.

1) The digitization of our world and a better informed, empowered consumer is driving the need for increased agility for marketers. And the events of the past two years have accelerated this even further. We saw 10 years of digital transformation crammed into one year. It’s not just about moving fast but the ability to pivot.

2) Consumer expectations today require companies to deliver a 360-degree customer experience. 79% of CMOs see the ability to deliver excellent customer experience as a ‘powerful competitive advantage’1 Technology has become integral to implementing marketing strategies today to enable this seamless experience. In addition, technology, enables us to get the audience insights to strengthen these strategies.

3) The media landscape has become even more fragmented, with new emerging channels such as digital audio and in-game advertising. The number of customer touchpoints, channels, formats have ballooned. The amount of data we are now generating isn’t something the human brain can compute or make sense of easily.

This is where technology truly shines. Automation, Machine learning, AI, predictive capabilities can allow marketing teams to not only move more quickly and change direction (if needed) but also focus their time on higher-value tasks, more creative thinking, and future-forward planning.

5. What’s the difference between Omnichannel DSP and Specialized DSP?

Omnichannel DSPs allow marketers to buy ads programmatically across a variety of channels such as audio, video, desktop, CTV. Specialized DSPs focus on one channel such as display or video.

Today, our digital world is expanding. Marketers need to reach and connect with their customers across the entire digital ecosystem and deliver a 360-degree customer experience. People are streaming non-stop on connected TV, listening to podcasts on the go, ordering products on mobile devices through apps—often while sitting in front of a TV screen. The average household now has 25 devices (doubling the 11 they had in 20192). The opportunities to reach and connect across the open web are greater than ever. Not to mention emerging channels such as in-game advertising.

Often, consumers have different mindsets and behaviors related to these screens. An Omnichannel DSP enables you to connect with customers and prospects in the moments that matter in a way that’s relevant.

6. Could you tell us more about Viant’s Adelphic?

Adelphic is our media buying software that enables marketers and their advertising agencies to plan, buy and measure campaigns across channels —all within a single user interface.

With Adelphic, marketers can run truly audience-centric, omnichannel campaigns and connect with their current and potential customers across the ever-growing open web. They can programmatically buy an ad in linear television, a digital billboard on the side of the highway, a streaming ad on connected TVs, an ad in a mobile application, creatively within gameplay, during a podcast, or a dynamically personalized ad on any website.

With the end of third-party cookies on the horizon, and with so much of the web already cookieless,
marketers are on a journey to build and enhance their first-party data. Adelphic allows them to safely and securely onboard their first-party data to gain a view into their customers’ top attributes, create targeting segments, build lookalikes and easily activate and measure these customer segments. Our data integrations provide marketers scalable and meaningful audience insights for segmentation, targeting and measuring key outcomes — both online and offline.

Adelphic is a people-based DSP, with identity resolution at its core, and allows marketers to reach targeted consumers, irrespective of device or channel.

It also provides advanced measurement and reporting capabilities to make informed decisions around their advertising investments. Marketers can measure online and offline conversion, run reports such as conversion lift, multi-touch attribution, DOOH lift and foot-traffic data reports and many more.

30-50% of data disappears with every partner sync.3 With Viant and our DSP, Adelphic, marketers have access to identity management, media activation and advanced analytics with one provider. This allows marketers to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their campaigns.

7. How should marketers adapt to a privacy-first web?

Consumers are becoming more empowered to make choices when it comes to how their data is being used for advertising. Privacy regulations are changing the rules of digital advertising. Marketers are faced with a conundrum – people want free content, but they also want privacy. And marketers need better, more targeted reach but they also need to generate a return. The third-party data (such as third-party cookies and MAIDs) that marketers rely on is disappearing given the focus on consumer privacy and transparency.

Marketers should also be preparing for the cookieless future. Or rather the present—connected TV is already cookieless (cookies aren’t available in the bid stream 76%* of the time).4

To adapt to the privacy-first web, marketers should be pursuing a first-party data strategy. Many have already started this journey. But this can only be done by creating a meaningful value exchange with customers. This is a moment for brands and companies to look at their marketing and business value proposition and put the customer truly at the center. Your first-party data assets should be verified and enriched by a trusted identity partner. With the right identity partners, you can enrich your audience profiles with demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and many other attributes in a way that’s privacy compliant. By improving the data quality, marketers can deliver more relevant messages, deepen relationships with customers and deliver better business outcomes.

The good news is, now is the time for a digital advertising renaissance.

8. What is the significance of pre-bid verification? How does it impact brand safety?

The digital advertising ecosystem has experienced significant growth in recent years largely fueled by increased user adoption and advances in ad tech. The result is a confusing and often non-transparent media supply chain that makes marketers susceptible to increasing reputational and operational risks.

Pre-bid verification ensures that the page that marketers place a bid for an ad placement is appropriate for the company and the type of ad that will display on the page. This is important for brand safety and suitability as it ensures that brands will not be featured in advertising on pages that will negatively impact a brand’s image or aren’t in line with a brand’s vision and values. For example, a soft drink company would not want to advertise on a page that features discussions around tooth decay.

Brand safety and suitability is increasingly important as brands look to protect their most valuable assets— brand reputation and potential customer lifetime value. At the heart of the brand safety debate is the role of advertising in funding content and services and the subsequent impact on society. You are seeing these conversations gain new focus as we see the Russia-Ukraine conflict intensify and the spread of misinformation on social platforms. Brand safety is also an acknowledgment of the responsibility we have as marketers to ensure we carefully consider where we direct our advertising, and whether it aligns with our personal, professional, and corporate values.

9. What are the hobbies you like to indulge in during your leisure time?

I have always had a love for food and indulge in cooking as a hobby. During the pandemic, while everyone experimented with sourdough, I experimented with a gluten-free Indian crepe called Dosa.
I have two young girls and a little boy, and we cook and bake together—often getting our inspiration from Tik Tok. I also enjoy playing tennis with my husband. I like to dabble in new things now and then to keep myself learning something new. My latest endeavor involves learning to ski.

I also have a background in art and design and like to continue to expose myself to the diversity of art here in NYC — from graffiti and galleries in Brooklyn to museums to teaching my little ones to draw.

10. How would you define the culture at Viant? What’s your vision for the marketing team?

Viant is a company that’s always been at the forefront of innovation. We’ve always been about challenging the status quo. We act with defiant determination —always in pursuit of a better way.

One of our core values (my favorite) is called FIO – Figure it Out. This defines our entrepreneurial spirit – which is one of the things that sets the company apart.

 The culture at Viant is also all about empowerment. We foster a place where everyone feels that their voices are heard and can also actively own and drive initiatives. I strive to create this environment within my team —where everyone can actively contribute ideas and points of view.

My vision for the marketing team is to continue to expand our smart, team of leaders and experts, while pushing the boundaries of innovative marketing collectively. Marketing is central to driving business growth today. Our goal as a team is to build a bold, differentiated brand that enables long-term and short-term business growth. We seek to marry data-driven marketing with innovative, breakthrough, never-done-before ideas. We are about thinking and daring bigger.

I plan to continue to create a space where my team members can feel comfortable experimenting, use creativity as the guiding light and help challenge ourselves and our work. Ultimately, learn and grow and feel fulfilled in their career journeys.

Check Out the New Martech Cube Podcast. For more such updates, follow us on Google News Martech News

Rasika is a digital-first, results-oriented marketing leader with brand building and performance marketing experience. She has a track record of building effective programs and modern marketing solutions for established, Fortune 500 companies as well as digital upstarts. As a collaborative marketer, she continuously challenges the status quo and thrives on pioneering firsts.

Viant® is a publicly traded (Nasdaq: DSP) people-based advertising software company that enables ad buyers to plan, create, execute, and measure their omnichannel digital advertising investments. Its self-service DSP for omnichannel advertising, Adelphic®, provides the ability to execute programmatic advertising campaigns across TV, mobile, desktop, audio, digital out-of-home, and is the only DSP with IPv6 support for CTV environments. Viant’s proprietary, first-party data is linked to 115 million households, over 1 billion connected devices, and is combined with access to more than 280,000 audience attributes from more than 70 people-based data partners to enable scaled and accurate audience targeting and attribution. Viant is an Inc. Best Places to Work award winner and Adelphic is featured on AdExchanger’s Programmatic Power Players list.

Previous ArticleNext Article