A Chicago-based adtech and marketing tech business leader at Infutor Data Solutions, Cory Davis sat down with us recently to share some wisdom on digital advertising and predictions for the future.
Cory is an industry pro, and has the luxury of sitting at the intersection of adtech, martech and media while going deep into an area that is super critical: identity. He was kind enough to be our expert speaker for the U of Digital breaking news video earlier in 2022—when Google shifted from FLoC to Topics. Below are edited excerpts from our conversation.
What’s your job, and how did you wind up in this career?
I lead Infutor’s business unit that’s focused on licensing data products to media, marketing technology, and advertising technology businesses. I oversee our customer relationships, new sales, product strategy, and marketing strategy for the category. I basically function as the general manager driving sustained growth for the number one growth category in our business.
I ended up in this career by accident—-much like everyone else. I started in a transactional sales role back in 2010 and really enjoyed the ability to help someone else grow their business through smart strategy. I’ve basically been doing the same thing ever since.
If you couldn’t work in digital advertising, what do you think you would be doing?
I’d probably be a trial lawyer or an investigative journalist. I love digging in on facts, and I love storytelling. I also believe truth is the most important part of any good story.
Business, the law and journalism all have a reputation for lots of pontificating up in the clouds, but the best in each field are willing to get in the weeds in support of the broader mission. I hope to be one of the best someday.
Of all the sea changes in digital advertising right now, which ones are you focused on and why?
First of all, I’m focused on television acting more like digital as the shift of the $70 billion industry goes fully addressable. Secondly, I’m interested in everyone building an ad network (retail, rideshare, delivery, etc.). Both changes likely send us into a world with dozens of gardens at massive scale. Obviously, if each of those gardens chose to build up their walls and keep the data in their platforms, then advertisers would need a strategy or some tech that helps them plan, measure and buy across all of these systems. Which, to me, is the logical thing for some savvy startup or the scaled adtech businesses or both to start building. In a world with dozens of walled gardens, there’s a strong need for identity solutions to support both the advertisers and all the martech, adtech and media businesses.
Which formats do you think work best for educational content and training?
I’ve always felt like I learn the most from 30- to 60-minute interactive sessions on a topic that I can repeat several times over a period of months.
How is U of Digital benefiting you and your team?
I love the newsletter and read it every week! It’s an excellent source for keeping up on everything that’s going on in the digital marketing space.
What’s your bold prediction for what the industry will look like in 2025?
Here’s what I think: Google will buy Netflix and merge it with YouTube. With Google being the best around at building an incredible advertising business while being able to diversify into other areas, it’s logical. And with YouTube’s massive audience and the maturation of its content and Netflix’s intention to bring an ad product to market, it seems like a match made in heaven.
Advertisers should be thrilled that Netflix is getting into the ad business; they have a huge and engaged audience that will buy your product or service if you deliver a relevant ad to them.