Corey Thibodeau, born and raised in Italy and now located in Austin, Texas, had a lot to say on the programmatic and social media realm.
Corey Thibodeau is a director at Brand Networks, a social advertising platform – one of the only to be a recognized as a Facebook strategic preferred marketing and Twitter Ads API developer.
PA.O: So, what exactly do you do for a living?
Corey Thibodeau: I work with Brand Networks, which is a social and marketing firm. We specialize across all social media marketing platforms in serving ads. We are one of the few who operate on Facebook and Twitter as a preferred delivery platform. It puts us in a pretty elite space given we partner with these pretty huge networks. Basically, we are tasked with coming up with social marketing programs for our clients. I wear many hats. I lead our brand strategy team – formerly out of New York, but now out of Austin. The nitty-gritty? I spend about half of my time on new business opportunities. The other half of the time is developing those relationships nationwide and managing day-to-day work and communications with them.
PA.O: What are your hobbies?
Corey Thibodeau: I actually grew up in Italy, so I’m into Italian culture overall. I’m a huge soccer fan.
PA.O: How is programmatic advertising, which is a huge topic covering RTB to marketing automation, data mining and cloud, changing the world of digital advertising?
Corey Thibodeau: It makes advertising a more competitive space for us. It also makes what we can offer all the more intelligent; it means we can give our clients something that is so much more meaningful to them.
I can give you an example. We actually have a product called Open Signals. You can tap into any third-party data signals from a weather report, to sport scores to TV ads, and we can serve ads against what is happening there. Once you start to get a handle on Facebook, Twitter and all of these other platforms we are using to contact people, you can get very, very targeted.
Here’s how it works. I’m a Washington Redskins fan and I see that they scored. With data, the advertiser knows I’m a fan and I get an ad saying, Hey, the Redskins scored. Here’s a Bud. Have a good time with your friend!” It is cool that someone would know me well enough and be intelligent enough to target me as a likely Bud Light drinker and Redskins fan instead of sending all of the noise we are used to. To me and a lot of other people, if an ad is actually relevant, it means the brand actually knows me. It cared about me enough to get to know me and deliver a better product.
PA.O: If you are going to serve an ad, serve something that matters. So, I know you are familiar with Facebook’s relaunching of Atlas. What does this mean for advertisers?
Corey Thibodeau: Facebook and Twitter will start to operate more like an ad network, and I don’t think there is any secret about that. But I think that online casino there will be some re-education necessary – in terms of the public consciousness and these platforms.
Social media platforms will need to communicate that data collection just enables them to get better information so they can get more relevant information in front of people, so they aren’t turned off.
Show people why they are being shown the ad content – did their sister like it? Their college buddy?
Facebook and other social platforms need to learn as well. They need to make sure that there is a real human connection in their [ad] content. When we consult our clients on their content, we tell them you need to see yourself as a publisher: Unify your PR efforts, and see yourself as a publishing platform. As brands get better at doing that and building content that matters, the whole experience will improve.
PA.O: As wearable tech is starting to take off, do you have any favorite pieces?
Corey Thibodeau: No, not really. I had something, but it broke almost as soon as I got it. As some of these technologies start to integrate with mobile ad serving, they are going to boom. The wave of the future is how wearables integrate with these platforms. However, it will mean they will have more of a barrier in partnering with an Apple or a Google given they need to make that they are serving the right ad content.
PA.O: Do you already know of companies getting on the bandwagon for serving ads on these wearables?
Corey Thibodeau: Yes, I do know of a few startups starting to do this. It’s so early in the game right now, though. Another company gaining traction in this area is Nomi, which is in retail intelligence. Nomi actually got acquired by another retail company that is tapping into mobile cellphone signals and wearable tech pieces.
They focus on customer behavior in stores. They see so-and-so is using a wearable tech device, looking at certain products for X amount of time and then gravitating around the store. There is a lot of data out there, but none of these companies are at the place where they can use it. There are now a lot of companies looking to turn this data into retail insights. For a marketer, this is really cool. As a consumer, when he or she finds out that all of this is going on behind the scenes, he or she might be a little bit concerned.
PA.O: Wow, I didn’t know something like this even existed. I’m surprised it’s even legal.
Corey Thibodeau: There is no actual user data being monitored; it is all just mobile signals. The next frontier might be sending someone a commercial in a store and some other cool direct response marketing. That’s where the wearable and mobile technology could work – by tying digital to in-store behavior.
PA.O: These wearables would then operate like an iBeacon, but attached to my wrist telling the store where I am, what I am looking at and how I am interacting with the planogram. Interesting! You know what, this has been such an interesting interview. I feel like I’m hearing the digitized voice of the future.
Corey Thibodeau: It can be a little scary, but I keep coming back to the fact that people will have better experiences with companies that they interact with. Also, consumers can be better judges of the companies they buy from, as they will be more informed and aren’t just going to buy products sight unseen.
PA.O: I see. Marketing goes both ways. Companies learn more about me, but I learn something about them in the process. To conclude, here is our last question: We’re looking at the cover of Ad Age 50 years from now. What might the headline be?
Corey Thibodeau: I would say, without getting into details on the content, the cover would probably be speaking to you. It will interact with you. You’d have several options as to what you want the cover to be. It will be heavily customized from all of the data that you have already shared with advertisers.