With the beginning of 2021 upon us, I am sure that we are all looking forward to a healthier and more stable year. Although 2020 brought us all some tough times personally and professionally, it did bring with it some things that will change our world for the better, over the long-term. We will each find our bright spots and take solace in them to help us heal. For us at Cogent, our professional bright spot was our opportunity to reconnect with colleagues from our past and build something extremely special. Many of these colleagues are now members of the Cogent Collective (you) and we couldn’t be more grateful for your participation.
Earlier this year, Cogent set out to build a community of Marketing and eCommerce leaders and today our membership has reached nearly 140 members. Our mission was to help our members discover emerging technologies that could help them solve their current and future business challenges. Our goal was to achieve this in a collaborative way that didn’t include a heavy-handed sales approach.
Cogent collective has reached nearly
We believe that we achieved this because of your trust in us, and your desire to discover. Your participation was instrumental in us curating solutions that you needed. At the same time, we wanted to build a community that would help industry peers connect in a way that other organizations haven’t achieved.
We want this community to help each other discover solutions, build teams, and optimize career paths when desired. We started this process with our Cogent Collective LinkedIn Group, and plan to find even more ways to connect members in 2021, COVID-19 or not.
“At a time when so much innovation is happening, Cogent is a valuable partner in my effort to discover emerging technologies that can assist us in solving our client’s marketing challenges. Having an extra set of eyes evaluating these solutions has come at a perfect time with the opportunity of travel being so restricted.”
EVP Global Partnerships, Omnicom Media Group
Our process was simple, survey and interview members on a wide range of topics to see where there were common needs across the collective. Then, curate solutions from a variety of sources before vetting them and bringing them to the collective.
Our ultimate goal was to build a portfolio of solutions that could solve multiple challenges for each member, so members could spend more time doing what they do best. We understand how difficult it can be to allocate time for discovery even if it can excel your business. Cogent can fill this gap. And with this process, we worked with our partners to formulate low barrier of entry pilot programs to make testing easier and less risky.
“Working with Cogent has been an enlightening experience. We see plenty of potential in the innovative ad technology they have brought to the table. We will look to 2021 to turn these innovations into solutions that can work for us.”
In the end, we want our members to think of Cogent as their personal innovation lab. If your company is lucky enough to have an innovation lab, then think of us as an extension of them. Our promise to you is that we will be with you every step of the way. We will not just make introductions and disappear. We will hold our partners accountable.
We thought this would be a good time to share some of the results from our Welcome Survey. These results were our guiding light as we searched for solutions to address your needs before developing partnerships.
There were 4 main themes that remained consistent across the year:
- Customer Identification and how it will be impacted by the demise of the 3rd party cookie
- Privacy as CCPA and other state privacy laws went into full effect
- Incrementality has come more into focus as CEO’s are looking for more accountability from their marketing budgets
- Media consumption has shifted throughout the pandemic and created new habits. Brands are looking to understand how their customers behaviors have shifted and how they can efficiently reach them both from a media consumption and commerce perspective
Solutions to Enhance User Shopping Experience
When we analyzed the data, combined with the member interviews, we found some interesting threads that led to compelling partnerships.
To address the needs of a content marketing solution that helps drive sales, we signed Setka.
To address the need for marketplace competitive and sales data, we signed Algopix.
To address the need for AI/Deep Learning Audience Segmentation (1st party), we signed Fixel.
As an extension of audience targeting, we identified a need for a better incrementality solution, so we signed Measured.
We identified a real curiosity around Audio via streaming and podcasts, so we signed Frequency.
Many members said they were looking for more ways to connect with their audiences, where they were, so we signed Adomni to speak to users in the real world on over 600k screens.
Visual search is a broad category and it led us to FindMine as they help consumers find more ways to leverage a brand’s product, visually, on-site and within ads. This leads to better site monetization.
On-site monetization is a continuous theme recently highlighted by Walgreens. To help retailers capitalize on their site traffic beyond product sales, we signed Literal.
Synapbox helps brands know if their messaging is on target before spending media dollars against them. Virtual focus groups with biometric and eye-tracking technology help predict performance. Their Content+Data storage cloud allows brands to store video with pre/post data for future strategy.
“The Cogent team continues to impress by presenting vetted, innovative technology solutions that fit our business needs. Sean and Tom take the time to understand our goals and make sure the solutions they represent are a strong fit for all involved.”
COO Group Nine Media
Plans for 2021
We are constantly evaluating solutions to help address the needs of our members. We recognize that CTV, AR, and Text Messaging are hot topics and where will be focusing in Q1 2021. We will also be reaching out to all of you to assess where your current interests lie so we can be curating relevant companies. Your participation in these surveys is paramount to us fulfilling our promise to you.
Thank you for joining us on our Cogent journey this year! We hope that this first annual business update gets you excited for what we can do together next year. We appreciate your commitment to us and our mission.
“Sean & Tom have worked hard in 2020 to match companies & people with aligned business interests. I look forward to finding a deal we can work on together in 2021 that helps catapult all the companies and brands involved.”
CEO at Foodboro and Attic Ventures
We have some big plans for 2021, starting with a demo day and a member portal. Our goal with both of these is to eliminate any friction in our industry’s current sales process, and help our members discover emerging technologies without fear of being stalked by uninformed SDR’s and LinkedIn retargeting ads. Please keep a lookout for our Demo Day, which will occur in mid-late Q1.
Have a wonderful holiday season, and please stay safe. We wish you all the best as this challenging year ends, and a new prosperous year begins.