Automation is the rage on Madison Avenue, but much of the focus has been on how agencies and advertisers can utilize technology to buy media and place ads more effectively and efficiently using machines instead of people. But an equally significant development is beginning to impact the way Madison Avenue integrates and organizes the data that drives its advertising and media buys. And one of the fastest-growing developers of such technology, Datorama, has just closed a new round of funding to help accelerate it -- and in the process, the way agencies apply the data they need to make their “business intelligence” decisions.
“[Agencies] need to use infrastructure that will enable them to be more agile. Otherwise, they won’t be moving at the seed they need to be moving,” says Ran Sarig, the CEO of Datorama, who just relocated from Tel Aviv to New York City to help accelerate Madison Avenue’s adoption of its “agile” approach to data integration.
In the past, he said, agencies would invest in building their own infrastructure or would work with big turnkey data-processing companies to build proprietary systems that often took months, if not years, to adapt to changes in market conditions or data-processing needs. Datorama, he says, does that on-the-fly -- leveraging best practices from among all its clients and machine-learning algorithms to speed up the flow, processing and application of data used to make their business decisions.
“It’s part of what makes us different from other agencies,” says Rick Greenberg, CEO of New York-based Kepler Group, a digital agency founded on the notion of agile technology development. He says Kepler has been using Datorama because it enables faster and more easily adaptive reporting to its clients, but also because it frees up the agency’s resources to focus on things that really count, like developing strategies and executing campaigns.
He says the agile approach speeds up the data interchange with client and enables them to “dig into the data further to find insights. They’re not burdened by old-fashioned Excel-based processes.”
Greenberg is not alone in his enthusiasm for Datorama’s approach. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, an early investor in Datorama, led the new round of funding, which also included Marker and Cedar Fund.
“We believe the marketplace needs an infrastructure to improve marketing decisions,” Innovation Endeavors Founding Managing Partner Dror Berman said in a statement announcing the new round. “That’s why Datorama has onboarded scores of agencies and hundreds of brands during the past year.”
“We’ve been growing like crazy,” acknowledges Datorama’s Sarig, which is one of the reasons he has moved to New York. He says Datorama now has an organization of nearly 40 people, most of whom are focused on agile development to ensure that agencies are onboarding and integrating the data they need to make decisions and report to clients as fast as the data becomes available to them.He concedes that Datorama’s brand may not be as familiar as big enterprise companies like Oracle and Salesforce, but he says that is part of the reason it raised the new round of funding, “to help us tell our story more broadly to people.”