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Rob Tarkoff on the future of identity, Zoom, and the convergence of adtech and martech in 2020 and beyond

From musing on modern video tech to providing insight on the future of identity in advertising, we’ve pulled all the best highlights of Oracle Data Cloud EVP Rob Tarkoff’s recent AdExchanger Talks podcast interview.

Get his thoughts on how Zoom is a great equalizer, what context means for the future of addressable marketing, and how Oracle is strategically placed to help the industry navigate a dynamic market.

On Oracle’s role in the future of identity

Rob: Oracle has a significant role to play in helping the world think about identity without the constraint of owning any media. We’re agnostic as a player in this—we don’t own media, and we don’t intend to. We don’t have a horse in that race.

We want advertisers and publishers to have trust in identity and to have trust in the custodian of that identity, whether it’s Oracle or one of our partners. We’re working hard to try to figure out the right way to help support a consented network, as we don’t think any of the current offerings are sufficient.

Stay tuned at this stage. We’re trialing with our partners and our customers and figuring out the way we want to have a privacy-first consented model. We’re pretty confident about the ability of our Oracle Cloud infrastructure and our Oracle database to be strong providers and custodians of consensus identity. We’re in the formative stage of that, but we’re absolutely not sitting on the sidelines.

On context and its influence on addressable marketing

Rob: The way we think about context at Oracle is audience-fueled contextual segments or audience-specific contextual segments. So if you can use other identifiers to help with your contextual targeting, we think that can replace what was direct, one-to-one party programmatic advertising; and publishers will start to see that revenue sufficiently replaced.

We’re on that journey right now, where too often our customers are still thinking about context as only blocklisting—as a blunt-instrument approach. For example, with COVID, everybody wanted to use keyword blocking. The industry was hurting publishers. Well, our research showed that more than a third of all COVID mentions appeared in completely brand-safe content.

There are more sophisticated models for context, and we’re encouraging people to think of it beyond how it has been used historically. If we can get publishers up the sophistication curve, they can replace the revenue sources, and advertisers will find it to be a more trusted tool.

On the rise of CTV

Rob: Connected TV is becoming a much bigger part of the advertising world, especially as television viewing has gone up during COVID for the first time since 2012. Our new product, Moat Reach, is helping measure the effectiveness of advertising, not just in traditional digital, but also across CTV.

On the convergence of adtech and martech

Rob: More and more of the world of marketing has moved to personalized, data-driven, hypercontextual experiences. And as that has happened, a lot of the worlds of adtech and martech have started to converge, particularly with the pressure on universal identifiers and the move to 1st party.

So we have an opportunity here to focus on some real innovation that the market needs because the fragmentation across martech and adtech can’t persist. It’s now time for the front office to go the way of the back office, which means we have to automate more of the adtech and martech selling and servicing workflow. We have a chance to do that now, so we’ve put our engineering hats on around how we can create more streamlined offerings.

On how Oracle defines CX

Rob: At Oracle, the way we think about the business world is that there’s infrastructure—our database and cloud infrastructure services—and there are applications. We divide the horizontal application side into front office and back office. So back offices include things like supply chain, ERP, procurement, and human capital management—anything you need to run the company from the inside.

CX at Oracle touches everything you need to run a front office—whether it’s sales, marketing, or service. It’s anything you would do to interact with your customers across the value chain.

On Zoom

Rob: I consider Zoom the “Great Leveler” right now. And what I mean by that is everybody has the same-size box on Zoom. I think the level of transparency inside companies has probably gone up because there's this sort of notion of trust among your employee base. You’re here. You’re part of the community. You’re a box on Zoom. It doesn’t matter what your rank and serial number is. You’re a participant in the mission and the venture that we’re on. And so we discuss things a lot more freely, which I think is great.

Want to listen to Rob’s full interview? You can find the AdExchanger podcast here.

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