End-to-End Is The Real Holy Grail: A Dell Use Study

The Challenge

Dell knew its customers’ experience with the brand was not ideal. Too often, the customer view and the internal view left a gap. Whereas the customer view of Dell was that it was multi-channel — in emails, online, on social, display and in direct marketing, for example — the internal view, the one seen by those working for the company, was that it was cross-channel, able to transition from channel to channel. What was needed was omnichannel, to allow both those inside and outside the company to be mutually aware of channels offline and online, off-domain and on-domain.

As Atul Singh, head of programmatic at Dell, put it at MediaPost’s Data & Programmatic Insider Summit in March 2018, “We had multiple microsystems of programmatic that were fully automated as long as you were in that microsystem. Our customers are floating in multiple microsystems, expecting the same experience in each.” There was a notion of being fully automated but only in one’s own ecosystem. Dell was losing transparency and velocity. But the biggest casualty was that things were no longer in real time.  (Here’s a link to the video presentation.)

The Execution

At Dell, Singh and Jessie Dawson, director of digital marketing, Dell Technologies, worked together to create end-to-end automation in paid media by building an ad tech stack designed as an orchestration and activation layer that sits atop a content and delivery system. 

Dawson’s core objective was to build “a single source of truth for content,” making sure that the creative on which a lot of time and effort was spent got to the steps that Atul had built. “One of the main things we have done over the last few years is build a single source for truth for assets. Core powers all assets, aligning the organization to the idea that we need to build it once and then we use it many times.” 

The MarTech approach put data/content (single source of truth) in the center with a layer of optimization around it built with CMS, DMP, DCO, marketing automation. The outer layer, that of activation, consists of the website, e-com, apps, search, display, CTV, rich mode, video, native, social, email SMS, direct marketing.

Besides the core asset system, the team ensured it had a “nice process around the CMS layer to make sure it cycles back,” Dawson said.

The orchestration layer sees to it that this is done as quickly as possible to allow the customer to see everything. Because people do things differently from one another, the team wanted to ensure there was content fluidity.


  • Automation in media was limited. There were five steps: planning, creating, executing, reporting, and report optimizing. Dell was able to integrate them so that only one step is necessary.
  • Creative production velocity sped up four-fold. 
  • Achieved a closer alignment between banner and website.
  • Internal alignment of roles between Atul and Jessie.

Key Takeaway

Programmatic enables automation of process, decisions and execution in paid media.

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