Desktopocolypse & the Data Deluge

Posted by Katharine Panessidi on Wed, Oct 22, 2014

Are we reaching the "end of days" for our desktop-centric advertising and marketing ecosystem? A desktopocolypse if you will? Geoff Ramsey, Chairman & Co-Founder of eMarketer asked the question at an iMedia marketing conference earlier this year. It really stuck with me, because I believe that this shift underlies the challenges in capturing and utilizing data right now for marketers.

Consumers are living in a multi-platform universe, where mobile devices have moved to the center of their lives. In order to re-imagine how to reach the consumer, marketers have to think about technology. Not just mobile phones, rather we're quickly approaching the age of the internet of things - and each "thing" provides new forms of data.

The dramatic changes in our industry are creating wonderful new opportunities to connect with our consumers. However, amidst these opportunities, Babs Rangaiah, VP Global Media Innovation & Ventures at Unilever says, reigns chaos: unmanageable amounts of data, a wild mobile ecosystem, expanding agency genres, content created and distributed in multiple forms, and confusing jargon in ad exchanges and technology.

How do marketers reach the right consumer, on the right device, at the right time, in the right location... and in meaningful ways? Marketing spend does show signs of following suit. According to eMarketer, mobile use is outpacing desktop, and is predicted to surpass desktop by 2017. But here's the problem - and what's keeping marketers up at night. Marketing silos are outdated: digital, brand, media; mobile, social, video; and so on. U.S. marketers are NOT integrated.

Much of the infrastructure to keep up with and support these changes is still being created. Understandable given the amount of data that must be collected, stored, managed, visualized, and applied. See "The Internet in Real-Time" below to watch the gigabytes of data generated and transferred over the internet every second.


Click the image to open the interactive version (via


So, how do you accommodate the data deluge and improve on your marketing? How do you set yourself up for success by building a data-driven marketing organization? Harvesting cross-screen identities by tapping into the streams of data emanating from mobile, social, and video activities will be the antidote to fragmentation. Then using the right data, analytics, tracking, and measurement for ad serving and marketing is necessary.

We need to act now in order to harness the data and keep up with our consumers. Rangaiah’s message is an inspiring one: It's this very chaos that makes now the best time to be in marketing. The industry needs solutions to these problems, and he calls on brand leaders – the ones with the access and the dollars – to be the catalysts and drivers of change to create a “bright future” for the marketing industry.

In conclusion, smart use of data across platforms will be the only way to keep up with rising consumer expectations. And it's up to us to move the industry forward. If this sparks your interest, I invite you to join like-minded individuals in collaborative discussions, share and learn from case study examples, and network with peers and potential partners at the MITX Data & Analytics Summit on November 13, 2014 in Cambridge. The event will cover the people, the structures, the technologies, and the tools necessary to advance your brand's data and analytics strategy. And it's my hope that you'll walk away with tangible, actionable strategies and tips on which partners to use, and how to organize and activate your data and analytics for stronger ROI today and tomorrow.


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describe the imageKatharine Panessidi is the VP of Content & Events at MITX, the leading internet technology, media, and marketing association in the U.S. She oversees the strategy and implementation of organizational products, guiding the development of event content and operations. Prior to this, she was responsible for the team curating the content of conferences in the dmg :: events digital marketing sector as Director of Content, specifically including iMedia Summits and Marketing Leadership Exchange, a white label event series for clients such as Clorox, General Mills, and PepsiCo.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MITX management or associated bloggers. MITX What's Next Blog is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.