Oracle's thorny advertising problem


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How TikTok changes the game for Oracle

Who knows how precisely the proposed Oracle-TikTok partnership would work or if it'll even come to fruition, but it's a reminder of how tricky the ad business is.

A few years ago the big cloud companies were on a tear to make inroads into the adtech business to help marketers with their ad targeting. This had some marketers wary about being too dependent on one big platform for all their ad needs.

The concerns might not have been justified after all. Consider:

  • New privacy laws have caused big headaches for marketers and the companies that serve them. Both Oracle and Salesforce have recently been hit with allegations that their adtech practices use people's personal data without their consent, for instance. And the TikTok deal has raised fresh concerns about Oracle's plans to keep user data safe.
  • As recent moves by IBM and Adobe show, they've learned that it's better to stick with marketing tech, with its recurring revenue model. 

"Operationally, an ads business requires different staffing and support than martech," Ana Milicevic, principal and cofounder at Sparrow Advisers, told Lauren Johnson.

Read the full story here: Oracle's proposed TikTok deal signals how marketing cloud giants' battle for ad dollars is getting harder

Inside PR's lucrative niche

Strategic consulting is a rarified niche of the PR world, where firms like Kekst and FTI Consulting help firms through litigation, bankruptcies, and other high-stakes situations. The work can be stressful and involve long hours, but the rewards can be high. 

For example, Sard Verbinnen & Co. is known to pay its associates, which are one step above entry level, $95,000 to $115,000 in total compensation, including a base salary and bi-annual bonuses.

Insiders at these firms spilled juicy details to Sean Czarnecki on their hiring practices and salaries. To see how candidates handle stress, for example, WPP's Finsbury has a list of 100 questions it draws from, including: 

  • Tell me about a time you didn't hit a deadline; tell me about a time when you led a project and your team members didn't carry their weight; tell me about a time you led a project and didn't have the support you needed.

Read the rest, including a sample writing test, here: How to get hired at crisis PR firms like Finsbury, Gladstone Place Partners, and Kekst CNC, according to insiders

'Brandtech' catches on

Every day seems to bring an upstart company claiming it can outdo the big consulting firms and ad giants in serving marketers — and a new catchphrase.

Three-year-old BrandTotal is among companies like Pathmatics that track advertisers' digital spending on places like Facebook and just raised a new round of funding.

Like You & Mr. Jones, another self-styled "brandtech" company, which was recently valued at $1.3 billion, it argues it has an edge with its tech. In this case, AI-driven software that gives brands intel about their digital ad spending and their competitors'.

Read their pitch deck here: Read the investor deck that helped tech platform BrandTotal, which works with advertisers like L'Oréal, raise $20 million to date

Other stories we're reading:

  • Omnicom Shakes Up Media-Agency Ranks Amid Pandemic (Wall Street Journal)
  • A startup by a Thrive Global and Refinery29 vet is taking on traditional consultants with experts including Shark Tank's Daymond John and makeup mogul Anastasia Soare (Business Insider)
  • How outdoor retailer Moosejaw kept its uniquely wacky brand voice through private equity ownership and a Walmart acquisition (Business Insider)
  • Hollywood Agents' Blueprint for Surviving the Pandemic (Bloomberg) 
  • How the founder of the popular newsletter Girls' Night In launched a new online community and membership that's garnered 4,500 people on the waitlist (Business Insider)
  • How DTC clothing brand Ivory Ella translated TikTok success into sales with user-generated content (Business Insider)

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

— Lucia

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