Making the case for a Marketing Information Exchange Protocol

Pic courtesy: Anand Thaker, Chiefmartec

It’s A Forest Out There!

In case you haven’t seen the above infographic, brace up to the challenge as a digital marketer. As on date, there are over 5,000 tools/platforms that help you solve digital marketing problems. There will be overlaps, and methods that are complementary, or plain opposing. But each of these does perform an activity that forms a part of your overall digital marketing solution.

While choosing from the above list is a challenge, one cannot dismiss the fact that getting these to work together is also a sizeable exercise. Especially when there is no common language of communication or data exchange across these platforms/tools. To give an example, assume you use a marketing automation platform. A simple nurture program setup will need you to define certain parameters as inputs to the design process. These are elements like product information, communication strategy, digital assets, target persona etc. Let’s take “Target Persona” as an example. A typical campaign can have anywhere from one to more personas. To make things much easier, let’s just take one persona. Say a Franchisee owner.

The process of defining the target persona has no pre-defined templates. Each agency, or marketer, or for that matter, each presentation uses a different template for this. It may typically look like this.

Sirius Decisions, a thought leader in the B2B marketing space, has created a template for Persona that lists 10 key attributes. So if we were to revisit the persona definition, it would look like this

Sharing Defined Persona With Stakeholders

This information about your target persona needs to be shared with your search marketing program – essentially if you are setting up a display campaign – the above will need to be configured when you select audiences in either the Google network or Linkedin or Facebook. Now all 3 have varying definitions of the audience. So the agency/marketer will need to map persona to what the networks provide. Now, these are the big 3 – try doing that with other publisher networks.

What if, there was a common definition or listing of persona that all parties could refer to? A publicly available list that one can use, contribute and refer to. So all you have to do was input a predefined persona into a field in the above platforms. In today’s world with technology like blockchain, implementing this is not a big challenge from a tech perspective, it’s more of an acceptance challenge with the relevant stakeholders.

This was just the persona, as you go deeper, there are other pieces of information required. E.g Budget – which can be further split by Geo, the day of the week, time of the day, and mapped to the persona. Another set of information can be related to targeting, response tracking and thresholds, measurement standards – e.g how to measure lead velocity – and the list goes on. What if, all these were standardized? Wishful thinking?

At Position2, we are putting together broad level frameworks that can help standardize these. The approach is to work closely with industry bodies to collaborate and build consensus. So when designing your solution integrating each of the over 5,000 tools can potentially be a simple plug and play!

Do you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to connect with us. You can put in your comments below or email

Vinod Nambiar

August 29, 2018

By Vinod Nambiar