May 26, 2022


Skillful Business Crafters

Watch these mutations in the digital marketing space

MarTech’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s digital marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, the advertising landscape is getting mythical.

What I mean is that the standard creatures that used to populate advertising – publishers, brands, ad tech partners – are morphing into elaborate hybrids, almost like the minotaurs, satyrs and sphinxes of legend.

Publishers become brands when they build close connections with subscribers through improved customer experience. Some e-commerce and traditional brands adopt sales and shipping strategies on a subscription model borrowed from publishers. Retailers acquire AI-powered startups to build out their advertising services, morphing into a Hydra-like amalgam of adtech vendor, agency and publisher.

At the IAB ALM conference in New York this week, Gap Inc. presented to an audience of digital marketers and vendors their own media and advertising arm, GPS Media. The Gap joins Lowe’s and Walgreens as a large retail chain selling ads into its impressive customer base. It follows Gap’s recent acquisition of AI-driven analytics company Context-Based 4 Casting Ltd. (CB4), and GPS Media has been in soft launch since late 2021.

Data is mutating all of these creatures in the digital marketing landscape. Scarcity of first-party data and regulations on data use and sharing (all necessary to maintain consumer trust) have made companies with a lot of first-party data into digital advertising hubs. The market forces are irresistible in making this so because that close data-based connection with customers is essential, and often fleeting if customers decide to opt out.

The moral of this fable is that the creatures will continue to morph. And for every marketer, this means that now more than ever they must build their own meaningful data-rich connections with customers. It’s hard enough competing for shelf space and attention in the marketplace. Now imagine having to outbid competitors on a retailer’s ad channel. 

Chris Wood,


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About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

Good morning: Watch these mutations in the digital marketing space