A Marriott Media Network? Genius!

We wrote about the latest ‘media network’: Marriott in partnership with Yahoo. You can get weekly industry news and insights by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.


Marriott Rolls Out Media Network That Lets Brands Reach Travelers on Its Apps and TV Screens (source: The Wall Street Journal)

Summary: Say hello to the Marriott Media Network. The hotel chain is betting on its 164 million loyalty program members being receptive to food, transportation, and entertainment promotions while they’re traveling. Marriott has teamed up with Yahoo to introduce the media network with pilot advertisers this month. Based in part on its first-party data, the network will allow advertisers to use Marriott’s anonymized data from travel-related searches and bookings to target ads on Marriott’s web and mobile properties and, eventually, Marriott’s Wi-Fi portal, TV screens in its hotel rooms, and other screens in Marriott’s lobbies, bars, and gyms. The network will first go live in the US and Canada before rolling out to other markets. It’s a win for Yahoo, which will operate the network on behalf of Marriott, manage sales, and provide the platform for advertisers to buy data / inventory. It’s also a potential win for Marriott, which is following in the footsteps of other major brands turning their first-party data into profits. Retailers — ranging from Walmart to Kroger and CVS Health — are increasingly launching their own media networks as limits on third-party cookies make it harder for advertisers to find and communicate with potential customers. Capturing just a small slice of these advertising dollars can represent a growing and high-margin revenue stream for brands facing headwinds in other areas.  

Opinion: A travel media network! That’s genius! We should’ve seen this coming…

We have a few key predictions to make upon reading this story:

  1. Every major marketer with a consumer facing relationship will try to monetize their audience data and digital assets in this way, opening up a new, very profitable stream of revenue. This will help them keep up with the bigger players in their category and also build their in-house ad tech chops to further promote their own brands. Some other verticals to expect this from:

    1. Pharma – “buy data on Prozac users to advertise cannabis!

    2. Financial Services – “advertise to people on ATM screens depending on how much cash they withdraw!

    3. Dining / QSR – “promote your new movie on the drive-through menu!

    4. Automotive – “if they’re buying a new car they must be about to get a new mortgage too!

  2. Ad tech companies that lack valuable first-party data and can forge these types of partnerships the fastest will set themselves up for future success in the wake of data privacy shifts. Data is what makes programmatic go, and third party data is going away. This ‘futureproof’, second party data will be CRITICAL for these ad tech companies to be able to offer value to advertisers. Look for more of these announcements from the Criteos, The Trade Desks, and the Yahoos of the world. 

  3. These ad tech platforms will become the data brokers of the future. Disguised as ‘media networks’, they will help marketers achieve the same outcome: targeting valuable audiences from numerous sources through a single platform. They will eat up all the business from data brokers of the past (i.e. BlueKai). Think of a world where you will be able to log into The Trade Desk, and choose to enter into one of many different media networks – Walmart, Disney, Albertson’s, Crate & Barrel, etc., and access all of their audience data for planning, targeting, and measurement purposes. 

We believe this is the future of non-walled garden ad tech.

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