Conversations with Drawbridge CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan

February 19, 2016  |   Guest Author

[Editor’s note: We recently sat down with Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, CEO and Founder of Drawbridge, to get her thoughts on the future of marketing. This blog is a compilation of those conversations. Kamakshi will be on the main stage speaking at #RampUp16!]

From your perspective, what will be some of the biggest challenges facing the adtech industry in 2016?

This global phenomenon of device proliferation has led our behaviors, activities, and identities to become fragmented across different devices and channels. Brands and enterprises across every vertical are struggling to understand their customers as they traverse multiple environments while they shop, research, and consume digital content, and as a result, the internet is impersonal and unoptimized. For example, my ideal online shopping experience would look very different from my husband’s, yet  when we visit our favorite retailer we both land on an identical landing page when we visit the site. There’s an opportunity there to make that experience much, much better.

The adtech ecosystem is perfectly set up to solve this problem due to the incredible amount of data and processing power that we’ve amassed. The key is solving for identity*. I think identity is going to be a big theme this year. 2014 was the year of mobile, which lead to 2015 as the year of cross-device, and I think 2016 will build on that to become the year of identity.

What are marketers doing wrong when approaching cross-device campaigns?

Cross-device marketing doesn’t mean multi-device or multi-channel marketing. In other words, a mobile campaign run in conjunction with a desktop campaign doesn’t allow for the sophistication that going truly cross-device does.

Truly executing a cross-device campaign takes a holistic approach to consumers – taking into account all devices, inferred demographics, intent data, and other signals. Then it seamlessly delivers more relevant messages across devices based on their digital identity.

Another wrong impression is that many times probabilistic is seen as “taking a chance on identity,” but even the deterministic walled gardens don’t have a perfect view of identity. We are well past the time where the question is “probabilistic or deterministic;” it’s about getting the right combination, depending on the reach and scale of your own first-party data, in order to connect with the proper audience.

Where do you see the biggest need and room for new innovations?

There are a lot of innovations happening around the applications of digital identity. Today most marketers think about the traditional “adtech” applications, like targeting and measurement, but the implications go beyond adtech into greater marketing, CRM, and enterprise stacks. There’s a huge opportunity for a technology-driven identity solution that is accurate and scalable to power every interaction on the internet, not just ad transactions. Once you unlock digital identity, marketing automation, content personalization, site optimization, even risk and fraud detection become possible across channels. The internet can be incredibly impersonal – and innovations in digital identity can power those enriched consumer experiences.

What are you looking forward to the most at RampUp?

RampUp has historically been a great place to connect with industry leaders and learn about the problems other teams are tackling and the opportunities for collaboration and partnerships. In past years there has been something about every session, panel, and keynote that stuck with me long after the event ended.

But my favorite part has always been the impromptu conversations between sessions, whether it’s catching up with old friends or getting the details of a new product – it’s a great event that’s been exciting to watch evolve over the years.


*Digital identity refers to consumers’ digital lives. This can be done using user-provided deterministic information, or at an anonymous level using a probabilistic approach.