From ad exchanges and demand-side platforms to programmatic buying and tag management, here are 10 essential marketing terms and technologies you should know about.
Stories by Brad Howarth
In the realm of marketing, data is definitely the new black. But to hear it spoken of at conferences, you might also assume it is the new black magic, capable of doing everything from enabling accountability of every marketing dollar spent through to predicting customer behaviour. Either concept would be considered fantastical, were they also not increasingly becoming true.
The desire to see information technology align with the goals of the business it serves seems as old as the IT industry itself. The fact that this is still talked about indicates how little progress has been made.
The importance of aligning IT with the business is even more vital when implementing service-oriented architectures. The idea of breaking up the deployment of technology into discreet interoperable services based around business processes requires an in-depth understanding of what those processes are, how they are used, and their interdependencies with other processes within the business.
Hitting the green button on the office copier is such an everyday
occurrence that few of us would give much thought to the environmental
Scott McNealy, chairman of Sun Microsystems, may have been a visionary, or he may have just been lucky. But when he declared that "the network is the computer" in the late 1990s, he outlined a model that today is looking more and more like reality.
Taking processing power out of the hands of corporate IT and distributing it around the world is discussed at length in the 2008 book, The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr (author of the controversial tome Does IT Matter?). He traces the evolution of Sun's old marketing slogan into what he calls the "World Wide Computer" - a programmable, highly scalable computing environment available to anyone.
To quote Joni Mitchell's lyrics to Big Yellow Taxi, sometimes you really don't know what you've got till it's gone. This sentiment could well apply to many organisations that followed the move to client-server architecture in the 1990s.
Although client-server computing provided greater flexibility to end users, the terminal era that preceded it had one significant advantage - centralised control. By distributing computing resources out to the end user, IT managers also distributed their problems.
The birth of SPARQ Solutions in July 2004 saw the drawing together of two very different IT support groups. As the newly created shared IT services provider for Queensland-based power companies Energex and Ergon Energy, SPARQ required the merging of differing processes and cultures.
SPARQ's service delivery manager, Paul Cockburn, could tell early on that a shared framework with a common set of descriptions and procedures was necessary. So in August 2005, the company began developing processes that would serve both clients, based on the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
Managing the information technology needs of a fast-growing business can feel like standing on a knife edge. On one side lies the understanding that future demands are best met with robust and scalable systems that can tolerate the workloads the business will one day throw at them.
On the other is the knowledge that cash is rarely readily available. Hence, the business needs to keep its investments modest. Overinvesting may create excess capacity that is never eventually filled, or even send the business bankrupt.