Insights | Marketing

5 Key Factors to Win in Digital Marketing

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Michael Brown

July 10, 2019
CMO Summit

For those familiar with our blog, you undoubtedly know our passion for the adtech community and for companies like AppNexus who have been champions for adtech here in NYC. AppNexus has had an unmistakable impact on the programmatic buying landscape, and as a partner to many of our portfolio companies, their efforts have transformed the market opportunity for our founders. During the course of our Bowery CMO Summit, we had the chance to engage with one of AppNexus’ most impactful leaders, CMO Tom Butta, to discuss how to hit the ground running and keep up with the blazing fast pace of an evolving market.

Tom highlighted 5 key success factors to having immediate impact in the digital marketing realm, all of which attributed to the company’s incredible growth over the last few years. Collectively, these factors help provide a roadmap for marketers to drive meaningful change in their organization, while building a foundation for long-term success.


Listen and learn from all your stakeholders (i.e. not just your boss or the CEO) to understand where your organization fits in the market and what the opportunities are to improve your positioning. Marketing is a living and breathing function, so learning from your customers, channel partners and employees needs to be on a continuous process. To do so, you must never stop asking questions so you can learn from you’re your constituents. There is no such thing as a dumb question, so check your ego and preconceptions at the door.

Commit to Winning

In marketing, reality can often be a function of perception, so having a commitment to winning your category can make a significant difference in providing your customers with the confidence to take a chance on your product. It takes a lot to go for the gold, but the aspirational impact of your commitment can have a tremendous impact on both a company’s culture and its brand.

Build the Cornerstone – Brand

Speaking of brand and culture, these qualities need to be intrinsically linked and should ultimately permeate throughout your organization. The brand should be felt equally, internally as it is externally, and that starts with creating cohesive ethos for your company. As your culture takes shape, welcoming customers and the community to participate in your value system can help establish the foundation for your marketing efforts. AppNexus practices what they preach, hosting frequent summits in their HQ. If you are interested in attending any of their future events, you can always email

Rise Above the Noise

Making a B2B purchase decision is a heavy emotional investment. In most cases, the customer is making a multi-year consideration and they need to believe in you and your product to be willing to put their career on the line for your company. To gain their trust, own the customer’s problem by putting yourself at the center of the issue, rather than just participating in the conversation. Listen to what your customers are feeling (not just saying) to figure out what their core needs are and how you can help to solve them. Ultimately, this active listening approach can help foster better relationships with customers, while enabling your organization to be the trusted advisor to your clients.

Don’t Go It Alone

Winning customers doesn’t mean that you need to compete ruthlessly with the entire industry. Let others in on issues and opportunities your organization experiences, collective action can help you (and your partners) succeed in the market. This could be through quality channel and distribution partners or by developing alliances across the industry. At the end of the day, developing trust and relationships with others in your market enables all parties to be successful through enhanced cooperation. As the old adage goes, a rising tide raises all ships.