Corporate Strategy: An Interview with The VP of Corporate Development

Author Note: The original article was published on martechcube on April 16, 2019. TapClicks VP of corporate strategy, Noah Jacobson, speaks with MTC on strategy, TapClicks, and marketing technology.

Noah Jacobson combines his industry expertise in omnichannel marketing, data and analytics with business strategy as the SVP of Corporate Development at TapClicks, Inc. Over the last two decades, Noah has been instrumental in guiding Silicon Valley e-commerce, video analytics and mobile marketing companies through strategic growth initiatives and acquisitions that expand their connections and produce better results.

He guided GlanceGuide web video analytics from the early stages of product development through negotiations and eventual acquisition by Nielsen Online. In his leadership role at TapClicks, Noah oversees corporate development and strategic partnerships in addition to leading TapClicks’ data initiatives and advising the sales and operations teams hyper growth.

Being a member of TapClicks founding team with 7+ years of working with large media, agencies and brands and their marketing service delivery problems gives him a unique perspective into how companies can be successful in delivering high-quality marketing services and solutions at scale.

The article format is Q&A, so without further ado, let’s dig in.

What does a Senior VP of Corporate Strategy Do and How did You Start with TapClicks?

My title at TapClicks is Senior VP of Corporate Development and Strategy. I was originally an attorney who made the leap into venture capital and entrepreneurship in the early 2000s before joining TapClicks in 2010 as one of its first employees. Prior to TapClicks, I worked at a video analytics company that was acquired by Nielsen Online, where I helped grow the business that led to its successful acquisition.

When I joined TapClicks, we were in a unique position of being technology experts looking at the traditional marketing industry as it transformed into the complex digital ecosystem it is today. This gave us the foundation needed to turn TapClicks into a leading marketing operations and analytics platform tailor-made for modern marketing agencies and brands.

What was the Marketing Technology like When You Started Compared to Now?

When TapClicks was founded over eight years ago, we quickly came upon a very prevalent problem – the demand for a solution like TapClicks (one that could capture and aggregate marketing data to tell a more complete omnichannel story) did not yet exist. The market was still manually downloading reports and using Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, and generic BI solutions to understand and communicate basic marketing results.

We spent the early years educating agencies and brands about the growing problem of understanding new emerging marketing channels and the complex, often unintuitive point solutions designed to support them, underleveraged marketing data and the possibilities it can hold to create a more complete, comprehensive picture of marketing ROI. Today, the market is awash with over 7,000 martech and adtech solutions; however, they are generally independent and are not engineered to work together. At TapClicks, we’re creating a single unified layer that sits over the top of the entire marketing ecosystem providing the pipes that connect and manage these solutions in an easy to use platform.

How is the Marketing Analytics Industry Different from the Time you First Started?

At the time we started, different marketing channels were very siloed from one another and accessed and analyzed independently. Over the last decade, however, the specific type of channel you use has become less important. Focusing on measuring overall audience engagement and results has grown in priority.

Also, the number of specialized marketing platforms that have innovative delivery and targeting options has exponentially grown, further driving the need to use a single platform to aggregate data for analysis and reporting.

Where Does TapClicks Fit into the Ecosystem?

The biggest change is that the marketing space is finally letting data truly drive innovation.  Since there is such a large proliferation of solutions and consolidation among martech companies and publishers, marketing professionals need solutions that can expand and contract dynamically with the upheavals in the space.

TapClicks provides a growth marketing operations and management platform that democratizes data and connect the hundreds of the most popular sales and marketing tools together in one management and analytics platform. This means that marketers and sales teams can continue to use all their favorite solutions without the struggle that is created by a lack of interoperability.

What’s Your Strategy for Differentiating TapClicks?

TapClicks is the only company that has merged the marketing operations side of the business with in-depth, modern performance analytics and visualization capabilities while staying laser-focused on UX and ease of use for the everyday marketer. Users of TapClicks can execute, analyze, manage and optimize organic and paid omnichannel marketing campaigns at scale, all from a single interface. We strive to make full-featured enterprise data analytics tools accessible to marketers without the need for data scientists and IT support. In addition, we provide a way to align the goals of both sales and marketing teams by ensuring that they share in and have transparent access to the same success metrics.

How are You Improving Your Customer Interaction and Communication Model for The Platform?

We are constantly enabling new types of multidirectional communication between marketing agencies, big brands and media companies. TapClicks sees the future of digital marketing as collaborative and is working closely with our partners and customers to prevent traditional vendor lock-in that ignores real customer pain points. As martech has become more commoditized, true product differentiation will come from the ability of marketers to easily leverage the right solutions to more effectively deliver creative ideas and demonstrate results.

How do you manage the dire data complexities that come along with tech integrations?

We’re fortunate that after integrating hundreds of the most popular sales and marketing tools, TapClicks has it down to a science. We’ve created a process that normalizes a variety of marketing data, regardless of source, into an easily-accessible format. This allows our customers to parse and analyze data without the need for IT or data science support and get to the insights faster.

We also put a huge emphasis on partnerships and vendor relationships, which allow us to provide our customers with special industry insight, features and services they would otherwise have to take years to learn or purchase piecemeal from different vendors.

Is Campaign Dashboard Management is more important than campaign operation management?

Both dashboard management and operation management are critical to the end-to-end execution of campaigns, as well as delivery of results. The nuance is that dashboard management is about optimizing the marketing process, and the other is about analyzing and evaluating the tactics and strategies implemented and ensuring they match the goals and objectives of the advertiser. Without both, it’s very difficult to manage a successful marketing campaign.

Which startups in the marketing analytics industry are you keenly following?

One of the best parts of TapClicks is that we support practically every martech solution and, as a result, have a window into the latest innovations in the marketing space.  Startups that are pushing the envelope of what AI and machine learning can provide for marketers and sales teams are a particular interest of mine and I’m always interested in the new ways these technologies are increasing the capabilities of modern companies.

Elaborate on your best transformation marketing campaign. How did you measure the performance among your audience?

We provide our customers with a single, comprehensive platform through which they can access their preferred marketing and sales ecosystems, as well as our proprietary analytics and reporting tools. These allow them to use other TapClicks products to track real-time marketing campaign metrics that improve their campaign performance, extend audience reach and improve social media engagement.

At TapClicks, we believe that not all performance is created equal – some campaigns must prioritize costs or engagement, others leads, etc. Marketing segmentation via business type, budgets or geographies, is also critical for benchmarking key performance indicators and analyzing ad campaign results. In the end, if we’re able to help marketing teams and digital agencies grow their business using data and insights to optimize and demonstrate their performance – we’re achieving our goal.

How important is real-time campaign management?

Real-time campaign management is extremely important in the right channels.

However, not everyone has the same definition of “real-time.” Agency and media companies that need instant access to marketing data for business decision-making purposes. This is where the biggest value from real-time data is. However, the overall marketing campaign strategies aren’t always done in real-time to cut down on knee-jerk reactions.

It’s also worth understanding that very few marketing analytics products, aside from programmatic platforms, actually give real-time access to campaign performance data. Most APIs are still inefficient and some platform data delivery can take hours, days or even weeks before they provide all the information needed to make campaign management truly real-time. It’s shocking but even today “real-time” for some of the worlds largest advertisers often means 30, 60, or even 90 days before they know the true performance of their campaigns. Resulting in billions of dollars spent every year on ineffective campaigns.

What is the best part of working at TapClicks? can you share with us some fun pictures of your work environment?
For me, being part of the innovation and excitement of growing a fast-moving marketing technology company is the biggest benefit of working at TapClicks. Growing a company from its inception and combining marketing and big data technology together has also been an incredibly rewarding experience. It’s exciting to be part of a fast-moving business like TapClicks and creating cutting-edge products that can be used by anyone – from an individual marketer to massive global agencies.

What book are you currently reading?
Two – “The Sales Acceleration Formula” by Mark Rorberge and “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker.

One piece of advice you always follow irrespective of circumstances
One piece of advice that has always served me well is “Play your own game.” It’s a good reminder to not get preoccupied with other people’s success, failure, negativity, etc. so as not to lose sight of your ability to control your own.