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5 Questions with Travis May, LiveRamp President and General Manager

Chris Polishuk

Last week I had the pleasure of heading over to LiveRamp’s RampUp17, one of my favorite marketing meeting places of the year. While there I got the chance to catch up with my friend Travis May, LiveRamp’s president and general manager. As Datorama and LiveRamp’s partnership for People-Based Marketing and Insights kicks off, I asked Travis about his thoughts on the event, their new TV-ecosystem partner announcements and why people-based marketing is so important today.
–Chris Polishuk, SVP and GM Worldwide Sales, Datorama

Q: Travis, you’ve just wrapped up RampUp17, and it was incredible! We were really honored to be a sponsor. How does it feel to have 2300 attendees, up from 500 only 3 years ago?

A: RampUp has always been an important way for us to connect with our customers and partners, and I think the quality and substance of the event has gotten better every year. There are lots of familiar faces at RampUp, going back to the days when we hosted our event at the Computer Science Museum in Mountain View– but we’re excited by the number of folks that are joining the conversation now. We think that people-based marketing is where the industry is moving, and the breadth of experience represented at RampUp has really helped to enhance the event and the organic discussions that happen there. We’re seeing a real community coming together on this topic to learn from one another and share best practices. There’s nothing more important in marketing than getting our interactions with customers to the 1:1 level– for me it’s exciting to see and meet the marketers using our technology to make it happen in their businesses.

Q: You had some cool announcements—can you tell us more about your streaming audio and TV data partnerships?

A: Over the last couple of years, we’ve been fortunate to create a really robust partner ecosystem aimed at enabling more effective omni-channel marketing. IdentityLink, our identity resolution technology, helps brands to better define their campaign audiences and then connect their data from those campaigns at the people-based level. This means determining who’s been exposed to a message, who’s engaged, who purchased online, or who purchased in-store…or other activities. That kind of intelligence is very powerful and happens automatically and in a privacy-compliant manner across channels and services, allowing marketers to create experiences that delight customers. At RampUp year, we added a number of partnerships to the mix, including SambaTV, Simulmedia, and Spotify. With SambaTV and LiveRamp you can now target and measure your TV campaigns with people-based precision across all of the screens we use today to watch our favorite shows. With Spotify and LiveRamp, you can engage your customers “in the moment” with the right message by transforming your CRM data into campaigns informed by their streaming habits and music tastes. So you’re seeing all of these new ways to extend people-based marketing to new experiences. The result is smarter 1:1 marketing, which is good for marketers and provides better experiences for customers. A few other integrations that I wanted to mention too are our new integration with Cision, which will help our customers connect with people across earned media channels, and AffinityAnswers, which will help our customers to activate their social media audience data. All of these partnerships give our customers the ability to make new decisions about people-based marketing, and the innovation from our customers is really amazing.

Q: What are you seeing related to people-based marketing from marketers just getting started as well as some of the really cool advanced use cases?

A: I think it’s important to point out that marketing is about maintaining relationships with people, and relationships are never really turnkey. We talk about the customer journey a lot in this business, but people-based marketing is a journey for marketers, too. It’s an iterative process, and right now, marketers are familiarizing themselves with the new capabilities that they have in their toolset. At RampUp, we heard from great brands like American Express, Banner Health and Marriott about how people-based marketing is continuing the ongoing conversation with their customers. The opportunity that this capability creates for brands is huge – and we continue to be amazed by their innovation.

Q: Tell me how important measurement is to your customers—what are critical things they are looking for?

A: I think this comes back to the idea we were just talking about — the marketer’s journey. At the end of the day, effective marketing relies on accurate measurement because marketers need to be able to experiment and adjust based on how their messages are received by the people they’re talking to. So once you have a unified view of the person you’re speaking with, you need to align your data so that you can measure that conversation and tweak it as necessary. That’s why we’re really excited about our partnership with Datorama, because it enables our customers to easily centralize their data for people-based insights across channels. This helps marketers connect the dots between these journey paths and streamlines what many marketers struggle with — connecting different data sets. Automating all of that so marketers can see unified data and analyze it– this is a profound advancement that supports more frequent and deeper business insights about how to improve their conversations with real people.

Q: After such a successful RampUp, what’s the next big thing for you guys?

A: 2017 is going to be a year in which marketers really begin to extend their applications of people-based data. In particular, we see great innovation occurring in:

  • Activation across channels and devices, including bridging the TV and digital divide
  • Data innovation to create high-value audiences
  • Measurement and attribution across devices, channels, and publishers
  • Improved customer experiences throughout the moments of a customer’s journey

We are heads down on building the best identity across all these touch-points.


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