MarTech Interview With Alex Song, CEO/Founder at Proxima – MarTech Series

Alex Song, CEO and Founder at Proxima talks about the latest digital advertising trends and the need for advertisers to be more stringent with online ad spends:
I started out at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker, and I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for more than 15 years. Having started my career in finance, I understand first-hand the competitive advantages that are unlocked from comprehensive analytics and data insights. Particularly since the recent iOS privacy change, advertisers have struggled to preserve consumer privacy while still optimizing ad performance. But with data science, it doesn’t have to be either/or; advertisers can achieve both.
I founded Proxima, a data intelligence solution that leverages a proprietary database of anonymized consumer personas, in order to help clients reach the right audiences across all major platforms. With our proprietary third-party database and AI capabilities, Proxima is helping digital advertisers better target desired audiences, leverage new marketing channels, and optimize customer acquisition.
I see three big shifts in the digital advertising space. First, consumers are engaged on new platforms, so digital advertisers need to go where the eyeballs are.
Companies should be experimenting with TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram to build their brands, while relying on familiar platforms like Google and Amazon for more steady and predictable ad returns.
Second, more than ever, consumers today are looking for brands that share their values. So digital advertisers are getting creative about forming partnerships with like-minded brands and leveraging the strengths of both companies to stand out from the crowd.
Third, the economic environment, combined with new targeted marketing challenges that have emerged since recent privacy policy changes, is forcing retailers to rethink deployment of their marketing spend. Advertisers are seeking out AI and machine learning data solutions, which can provide access to data intelligence through customized audiences and deliver significant targeting efficiency and performance.
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Apple’s new iOS privacy rules changed everything for not only digital marketers, but for the industry as a whole.  While incumbent players like Facebook may have been weakened, new players are coming on the scene, such as Uber or even Apple, that will likely spur a new wave of competition and innovation.
Contrary to the negative hype, I believe these changes opened up a world of opportunity for advertisers to experiment, innovate and learn. Now is a great time for taking calculated risks. New platforms are popping up all the time, and savvy advertisers are experimenting diligently and quickly. The relatively low cost of switching among platforms may be just what younger companies, in particular, need to stay nimble and relevant.
What’s more, the shakeup that occurred in 2022 will likely result in incentives and other opportunities for digital advertisers. Traditional platforms like Facebook and Google need to compete with newer platforms, so we may find these platforms willing to make concessions to keep advertisers in the fold. This could yield more cost-effective advertising for those who know how to play the digital game.
Now that so many of us live our lives online, we have elevated expectations. And marketers need to respond in kind. B2B marketing must look and feel more like B2C. It used to be that B2B marketers could get away with less than stellar graphics, copy and user interfaces. But now the stakes are higher. B2B marketing materials need to be sleeker, fresher, more inclusive and more differentiated, to match the daily experience of typical consumers, who are immersed in ubiquitous, sophisticated digital content all day, every day.
In speaking with hundreds of brands, and in our own research, we found that in the near term, most advertisers are continuing to balance safety with experimentation. Given the economic environment, I think this is a reasonable approach. I’d advise brands to remain invested in tried-and-true standbys like Facebook and Google, but continue to build their brands on Instagram and take calculated risks with up-and-coming platforms like TikTok and SnapChat. But it’s equally important to keep an eye on new opportunities as they emerge, so brands can be primed to experiment on new platforms, build unique partnership arrangements with like-minded brands, and leverage new data science solutions.
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Targeting consumers will continue to challenge advertisers going forward, as new privacy laws come into play in the U.S. and around the world. I think AI-enabled datasets can be a “best of both” solution. Advertisers can protect the privacy of users and take advantage of independent pools of aggregate third-party data to build high-performing audiences and build on their profiles of existing prospects and customers. Plus, data science solutions can give insightful perspectives on new, untapped segments. Because anonymized third-party databases create a wall between the advertiser and the data, the solution protects consumer privacy while still providing brands with the information they need to acquire the right customers.
This approach can help revitalize targeted marketing in a way that benefits both consumers and advertisers and as well as provide a perspective on the future of advertising.

Proxima offers AI-powered solutions built to help DTC brands scale their business, find new customers, and unlock advertising efficiency.
Alex Song is the Founder and CEO of Proxima, a data intelligence company that enables digital businesses to accelerate growth on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and TikTok. After spending nine years working as both a private equity and public investor at Goldman Sachs and Pershing Square, a hedge fund led by Bill Ackman, he tapped into his natural penchant for entrepreneurship by founding Innovation Department, a New York venture studio that focuses on investing in and building category-disrupting startups. Alex graduated highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Business Administration.
Episode 145: The Changing Face of Sales with Mark Wright, VP Sales & Partnerships at Zeitworks

Episode 144: What Drives Better B2B Performance: with Rachel Clap Miller – VP of Marketing and Digital Engagement at Ascender by Force Management

Episode 143: Uncovering the Evolution in Retail Media with Mikey Paley, SVP of Business Development, Retailers at Aki Technologies

Paroma serves as the Director of Content and Media at MarTech Series. She was a former Senior Features Writer and Editor at MarTech Advisor and HRTechnologist.
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