As part of its pre-IPO pitch to position itself to public investors, Madison Avenue's main data processor -- Mediaocean -- is repositioning itself as an enterprise “software” company more like an Adobe, Oracle or Salesforce.com. The pivot, which is the latest in a series of identity shifts for a company that began when the ad industry's chief legacy system, Donovan Data Systems, merged with its new age rival, VC-backed MediaBank, is intended to distance Mediaocean from a litany of ad technology solutions that seem to be cluttering the so-called “marketing stack” at major agencies.
“Adobe has done a really nice job of this,” Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise acknowledged during a briefing on Friday. “When people first thought of Adobe they immediately went to the creative side, but they’ve acquired analytics companies and other things, but they all have the Adobe stamp of approval.”
Wise said Mediaocean has a similar goal to remake itself as a big enterprise software company that doesn't simply process data for big ad agencies, but serves as a backbone for a suite of software products that help advertisers and agencies work better and more efficiently. He said that includes software developed internally by Mediaocean, as well as other third parties who develop software applications that are integrated into Mediaocean's systems.
That's a significant pivot from the company's legacy roots, which were mainly about processing media-buying transactions, paying the media, and servicing the payroll systems of big ad agencies. It's also a more aggressive push to redefine its core business in hopes of getting a higher stock valuation from investors when it eventually makes its initial public offering.
“There are a lot of ad tech companies that are going to try and position themselves as software companies, but that's not who they are,” asserted Wise, adding: “We are a software company.”
As part of the repositioning, Mediaocean is rolling out a “re-branding” campaign this week, including new graphics, designs and the Madison Avenue-worthy tagline: “Advertising. Powered by Mediaocean.”
Maria Noel Pousa, senior vice president-marketing at Mediaocean, said the campaign has been in development for six months, and will focus on integrating the look and feel of Mediaocean's disparate products, services and software under one unified look and feel, across all its systems and communications in six major markets it operates in: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, France and India.
Mediaocean has an advantage as it adjusts and expands its services. They are established, in fact entrenched among their client base. In some respects, they already are the enterprise provider. Meanwhile, the ad tech companies are niche players still trying to differentiate their offerings in a crowded field and achieve ongoing profitability.
So, does Mediaocean have the internal mindset and professional staff to move to that next level, becoming the default platform and point of contact for customers using third party add on services?
To truly commit to this, they are going to need to do some M&A work in tangental markets.