Managing Marketing: Marketing Technology And What Is It Good For

Anton Buchner is the Marketing Strategist at Front Foot Marketing and a senior Consultant at TrinityP3. He is widely known as the ROI Guy. He has built a career advising on measuring and optimising customer value to drive ROI. Anton has observed the explosion of technology in the marketing space and has seen increasing disconnection from proving that it increases customer value.

While AI promises to have a huge impact on technology generally and marketing technology specifically, a revolution is happening in the MarTech space that will demand the attention of marketing leaders everywhere. And that is a process of detangling the tech mess many organisations find themselves in today.

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I see a lot of heads in the sand when it comes to that. So, again, that is going to be another train wreck that lots of people started to talk about last year, but I think marketing should own that because, at the end of the day, it’s marketing to people.



Hi, I am Darren Woolley, founder and CEO of TrinityP3 Marketing Management Consultancy. And welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media, and advertising with industry thought leaders and practitioners.

If you’re enjoying the Managing Marketing Podcast, please either like, review, or share this episode to help spread the words of wisdom from our guests each week.

When people talk about marketing technology today, many may immediately think of AI or artificial intelligence.

And while AI promises to have a huge impact on technology generally, and marketing technology specifically, there is a revolution happening in the MarTech space that will demand the attention of marketing leaders everywhere.

And that is a process of detangling the tech mess many organizations find themselves in today.

My guest today has built a career on advising, and measuring, and optimizing customer value to drive ROI. He’s observed the explosion of technology in the marketing space at the same time as seeing increased disconnection from proving that it increases customer value.

Please welcome to Managing Marketing Podcast, TrinityP3 senior consultant and marketing strategist for Front Foot Marketing, and the ROI guy himself, Anton Buchner.

Welcome, Anton. Or welcome back.


Thank you, Darren. That was a long introduction, so it’s good to be back. Good to see you.


Look, and it is back because you actually … I mentioned AI in the introduction. Four years ago you did quite an extensive series of podcasts on here, on Managing Marketing, where you’re talking to the thought leaders around AI. It’s amazing how things have changed in four short years.


Oh, incredible. I mean, that was really early days of marketing, getting excited about it. And of course, AI had been around a little bit longer than that, but probably that first wave of marketers getting into the term. But yeah, wow, what a change in four years.


Now, there’s technology in almost every aspect of marketing, advertising, and media. What specifically are we talking about when people say MarTech, versus AdTech, versus technology that the IT department in your nearest corporation is running?


Good place to start. And I loved in your intro the idea of mess. I’m going to define the whole thing as whatever tech you’re talking about, it is a mess. There’s the best description.

But I think what’s important in the idea that we’ve got into a mess, is the notion that we now need to detangle. What are we trying to detangle when you ask me what is MarTech? It’s probably worth just quickly going back to what technologies we used to use.

I think that’s good context to have because what this has all been born out of is IT based technology. So, if you think back, probably ‘90s, it was all big infrastructure owned by IT.

So, marketing access to these big platforms, big infrastructure, which was heavily coded. So, it was difficult to change, difficult to customize, but it was heavily coded type technology.

We all know early 2000s, along comes this idea of code getting lighter, and SaaS applications. and solutions that suddenly were like software as a service. Which suddenly made marketing technology easier to use. Anything gets easy to use, it’s like, “Wow, what can I use it for?”

And then we leapt forward through 2010s, and the cloud. So, heading into the cloud, suddenly we’re unleashing applications, not having to host them in our own enterprise.

So, you’ve got these cloud solutions, and now, of course, we’re in no code, low code AI type solutions, which are quick, easy, even I can use them, even you can use them.

So, important probably just to know that, because when you ask me back to the question, what is marketing technology? Everyone else has a different definition. I simply go, it’s the technology that marketers use.

It’s not the business technology, it’s not the operational systems, which can still be a heavy system and the heavy infrastructure. It’s the technologies (and I think we’ll get into it) that marketers use for marketing.


Okay. So, what about AdTech? Because people often run the two, you hear someone going, oh, MarTech, AdTech with the click of the fingers as if they’re interchangeable. Because they’re actually not, they’re quite different, aren’t they?


Yeah. And really, AdTech is a subset. So, if we started holistically that marketing technology is any technology that marketers are using, then AdTech by its name is just the advertising technology.

And that’s been interesting because what I’ve seen and we’ve seen is a massive shift of the media agencies mostly using this advertising technology and some clients in-house that are in-housing and using their own programmatic media, et cetera, to get advertising in front of eyeballs, in front of people. But it’s still a subset.

And then you’ve got another piece, which is SalesTech. So, good marketing is really making you or me aware of a product or service and hopefully buying it. So, it needs the AdTech to advertise it, but then the SalesTech can be around the sale of it.

So, it’s a confusing marketplace, but really important to, well, for me to define it, but I think for anyone listening to define it in their language and understand it, that it’s holistic, I guess, more than just little silos.


Now, you gave quite a good evolution from the heavy mainframe technology that the IT department controlled. There was in that a shift from technology being the remit of the IT department.

Like you couldn’t get a piece of technology into your company until the IT people had managed to do some extensive research project and then gone to tender, and then invariably bought some Microsoft product because it fits well with their mainframes or their networks and things like that.

To the point where when we got to cloud computing and the like, that suddenly people were marketers with budgets could actually go and engage these tech platforms or tech suppliers without as much engagement with IT. That’s fairly right, isn’t it?


Yeah. And I always love Scott Brinker and many people follow Scott Brinker, the Chief MarTech. I love a statement that he came out with the whole democratization of technology.

So, we’re not beholden to the IT department anymore and these big legacy systems necessarily. It’s become democratized.

So, again, whatever you are trying to do as a marketer, there’s a good chance you can do it quicker, faster, cheaper, but ultimately, we’ll get onto it. What’s the effect or impact of applying that technology?


Because it actually is quite broad, isn’t it? It’s everything from attribution, and marketing, and medium mixed models through to website. CRM is all part of marketing.

What’s the exciting part for you though? What part of the technology? Because everyone talks about technology as the hot new thing, but in actual fact, it’s the small incremental innovations that are making the most impact, aren’t they?


Yeah. And the work I do, I actually flip it and don’t start with talking technology. So, let’s flip it for a minute and think people. That really is the essence of marketing. We’re marketing to people.

So, when you think MarTech and technology, what’s exciting for me is how you can impact people at different stages of the marketing funnel.

Now, I talk about the funnel as not just the brand awareness upper funnel, not just the middle funnel where there’s more consideration, and not just down the bottom at performance and conversion, but right out the other side of customer journeys and CRM as you say.

So, onboarding customers, maintaining customer and loyalty, and repeat purchase, all the way through to advocacy and getting your best customers to talk about your product, service, or experience.

That’s the end to end of the customer journey or customer opportunity for marketers. So, I get excited at all parts.


Because it really is a sales funnel, the one that stops at the sale. Whereas marketing needs to continue because to your point around customer value, how do you create increased customer value?

By actually getting your existing customers to spend more money more often, is much easier than trying to find new customers by spending a fortune with paid search and Google hoping to just bring them into that process.


So, here’s the biggest hole you’ve probably hit on when people think MarTech. And I feel really sorry for marketing leaders and marketing departments because it’s a massive challenge.

But the hole of (as in a hole you fall into) just looking at these silos and just going, “Well, my performance-based media has done well.”

And often when we assess a market mix, attribution model or a media mix model, we look at what actually measured to, and it might be just a lead. Even though it’s performance, it’s still not to the paid sale.

So, we tend to say, “Well, it’s useless.” I hate to be brutal, but you might have spent $10,000 or a $100,000 or $500,000, and really what are you measuring? You’re measuring just one little slice in the customer journey. Which is a shame.

And yesterday I’ve had all sorts of discussions of people who’ve gone to Salesforce’s World Tour. If anyone’s been to a Salesforce World Tour, you’ll probably hopefully be in my camp, but you may not.

It’s an explosion of things, and opportunities, and bells, and whistles, and their language is fantastic, but, “We’re going to crush conversion. We’re going to do this and that with the new Salesforce tools.”

But look, at the end of the day, how do people move through the funnel better, easier? How do they buy more?

So, I really want to, I guess as part of this discussion, help people get away from the tech and the bells and whistles and think, “What on earth are you doing to move people in their behavior or in the next action?”


But Anton, the tech salespeople 5 or 10 years ago, there was Adobe salespeople out there who were doing an amazing job getting marketers to buy their platform.

And I remember a conversation with a CMO who, in response to the board who’d gone off on some sort of McKinsey technology retreat, had come back and said, “Well, we need to hurry up with our technology transformation.”

And the CMO solution was he bought the Adobe Experience Cloud. And I said, “Which parts?” And he went, “I think I got all of it.” And then said, “Even the programmatic trading desk. And didn’t even know it was there.” The salespeople, as they should do, did an amazing job, didn’t they?


They did. And look, far better for us to throw stones at everything because there’s some amazing technology and it’s absolutely useful. So, don’t get me wrong there.

But yeah, the salespeople, I won’t name names like you did, but across any suite … and follow Scott Brinker again and what have we got now? Over 11,000 technologies. So, in 12 years, up from about 150, that’s about a 7,000% growth in the number of technologies.

So, the sales guys have done a fantastic job in selling marketers and their agencies and through procurement technology.

But therein lies some of the challenge that the technology that can get applied to a company is totally underutilized as you say, may not even know what you’ve got under the hood.

And that’s what we find when we go in and diagnose. It’s totally underutilized. You go, “What are you using out of this Adobe suite or XYZ suite?”


Or sometimes they have two, or three, or even four different tech platforms across various parts of the organization. And no one had actually ever got to the point of either connecting them or optimizing their performance.

I remember there was a client who will remain nameless, but they literally had Adobe and Salesforce, and I’ve forgotten the other one. They had three of these platforms for three …

Now, they were all legacy. They were legacy. Everyone had gone off and got the thing that worked for them, and suddenly it was like, “Well, why don’t we have a view of customer?” Well, because they’re all in different platforms, in different databases captured in different ways.


Yeah. And the different silos in the company bought the license, typically. So, this is interesting where you’ve got B2B, B2C. So, I had one example where two Salesforce instances were set up and you go, “Who paid for that one and who paid for that one?”

Two different silos. Neither knew that the other had been speaking to that company and were paying through the nose billions of dollars.

So, it’s that sort of thing where, it was silo driven, as I said, previously, out of tech. Sales doing their own thing. And sales would typically lead nurturing only. So, lead nurturing through the sales type activity.

But then that whole customer engagement and then pieces in between, which is now, web content, optimization within journeys, et cetera, to get people over those sort of payment stages and early stages. It really is an explosion.

But again, what marketers are facing is legacy silo challenges, but just applying technology for the sake of saying, “Well, we’ve now got X, Y, Z technology that solves a problem.” And often it’s a functional problem from the business looking out.

So, what I see a lot and why I say it’s a mess is that if you ask a client or a marketer straightaway, “Could you give me the one page with your MarTech stack?” Hopefully, you don’t get that one pager. We have seen some.

If we see some, then they’re either a ball of wool or a spaghetti that lots and lots and lots and lots of connected dots and things, and you go, “Ooh, wow, I get it. Data’s passing from there to there to there to there. That’s all great. Now, let’s talk the customer from the prospect to the customer.”

Which technologies are helping me, and to hold down as the prospect move through a journey? The scratching of head, scratching of head. Which ones are used for moving customers to repeat purchase and loyalty and advocacy? Scratch head, scratch head.

Delve a bit deeper and you can start to apply them. But that’s the biggest thing I’m seeing missing. That the legacy infrastructure and lots and lots of technology from inside out has not actually been logically thought through in a stack based on people in a journey.

It’s been based on need, and silo, and function within the business. So, that idea of a tech stack has been stacking more technologies in the company. Such a challenge.


It also reeks of the technologies being used to manage the customer, but not actually necessarily applied to improving the customer’s experience.

That it’s about collecting as much information, but then how do you turn that around to actually give the customer a better experience, so that they’re more likely to come back and become repeat purchases?

Or other than bombarding them every time they abandon the cart or start to fill in the extensive form or whatever it is. That the technology’s driven.


Yeah, that’s a good point. Because the bells and whistles of all technology have got more amazing over time.

So, the things you can do, and then like I said in the intro, the apps are now, available and the low code opportunities to introduce a little app or a little something into your ecosystem, that has made life so much easier for a marketer.

The challenge of that is what the heck you’re trying to do with that. And as you say, you could solve cart abandonment. Well, that’s great, that’s one objective. But I would challenge it and go, “Well, which customers do you ultimately want in the first place?”

Did the ones that all abandon were cheap bastards, excuse my French, that were never going to pay anyway. So, I don’t mind cart abandonment for those that are never going to fit my profile of the customer I want.

So, yeah, it’s really an interesting, interesting time where you go, MarTech in theory should save you time. That was, I guess, the notion that what was analog or what was manually done, technology or marketing technology should make it easier to do your job.

Either that scale or that’s better targeting at scale or mass. I can do more things within seconds or within minutes or within days. And that’s just got faster and faster.

But as we know, faster and faster is not always better. I’ve been targeted with plenty of ads for things that I’ve bought the day before. So, the data’s not quite catching up. It’s still fast, but I’ve already bought it. I went into Bing Lee and bought it in retail versus online.


And why don’t they put in the ad something that says, “I’ve already purchased this click here.”

Because from my perspective, I just look at the ad and go, “Oh God, if I could just click it and know that it was going to go away and that I wasn’t going to be remarketed too for the next 48 hours because I looked at it on someone’s website and didn’t buy it.”


Well yeah, we could use DuckDuck search engine where you won’t get targeted. So, yeah, there are options to opt in out of the platforms.


But I’m saying like why doesn’t the technology think about the customer experience?


It’s a great idea. There’s also another project I’m working on where we looked at all technology suppliers relevant. And this is a really interesting point.

There’s great technology, but a lot of it is not necessarily relevant to either the size of business, the type of business, the niches in the vertical nuances. So, this one needed very specialist execution for the type of products. So, it was very difficult to price them, it was based on weight, et cetera.

So, looking at most of the technologies, they all sprout the usual. Sounded fantastic. And you can segment, and you can target, and you can tailor, and you can be more relevant and listening, falling asleep going, “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” Now, here’s the question, “Can you do this?” “No.” “Can you do this?” “No.” So, all of them fell over.

So, it ended up being a modification of another tool that was available, but that’s a classic point. They wanted to be so customer focused that they were only going to deliver products up that were based on the customer need and the technology couldn’t do it.

So, rather than buy a name or buy a price point type technology, it was starting with the customer and going, “Right, what are we trying to solve here? What’s the customer looking for and how do they look? Let’s serve up then tech solutions.”


There’s another problem, particularly in larger organizations where you get to the point of trying to identify who’s actually responsible for all this technology.

I mean, because yeah, as I mentioned before, it used to be the IT department. They were the sort of gatekeepers and the … but now, technology’s owned by lots of different people. It comes out of lots of different CapEx budgets or OpEx budgets or what, depending on the format.


Yep. Yeah. And obviously, different for different companies. I mean, the larger ones, if you just want to look at larger, more legacy based companies, I’m pushing and advocating for the c-suite should influence this.

So, it shouldn’t just be the CMO or the marketing lead. And we’ll come to who should really own it. I think that should be a marketing, but the decision making is c-suite.

So, what is the role of this type of technology from CEO down? Because I always talk about you wouldn’t give your car to a 13-year-old out to for a spin.

So, these sort of technologies where you don’t know what the engine is doing, or don’t necessarily know how it’s linking the data to each system, you don’t quite know whether it’s covered privacy or not. And are you exposed with massive lawsuits? This is a corporate wide decision in many places.


Well, because it’s influencing the very engine that drives the business, which is customers. Yeah.


Customers. And then what’s fueling that, and this is often left out of the discussion, is the data. So, any technology is useless. I’ve probably four years ago said the same thing, and I’ll keep saying it, SiSo, shit in, shit out.

If the data’s not good, or it’s only a slice of data, like we talked about, it’s just your prospecting data or just the lead nurturing data, then if it’s not passing through the systems properly, that technology is fairly useless or only ever going to give you a slice.

So, how on earth can marketing report back up to the CEO or the c-suite and say, “I’ve spent X amount of money and it really has impacted our overall business.”

And that’s a bit of a disconnect. The marketing role versus the business role, the role of marketing objectives to meet business objectives. That’s often missed in market discussions. It’s just down to the tech.


Now, we’ve read, and heard and seen some big companies start to untangle this, haven’t they? There’s been conversations and reports around the fact that increasingly, companies are starting to wake up to the mess that they’ve created or that they’ve inherited.

What are some of the things that you look for for a company that needs to consider untangling or decluttering their technology?


Yeah, it’s good. Which word should we use? Is it detangling? Is that even a word? Detangle? I tend to use it, but untangle. Unclatter, detangle. It’s good.

I mean, that started popping up last year where clients did realize we’ve just got too much here. Mainly born out of the challenge of the economy, cost management. So, where can we cut cost?

Investment in tech is huge, often bigger than the advertising budget in some companies. If it’s B2B, the tech is much more in the head spin.


Because it’s all license fees. You’re paying for it forever.


But then the management of the data and what systems you using from your data lake and your data pools through to the technology that’s pulling all the data through to capturing more and more data.

So, yeah, I think starting out, it’s, I always say stepping back, don’t talk about the tech. It’s a company that needs to really step back and start to go, “Let’s just identify where we’ve got to.” It doesn’t matter how you got there, but where have we got to and what is the current state?

As I said earlier, that if that’s not mapped … and typically, the companies we work with, they come to us because things have challenges, have problems. But that’s the opportunity, step back. And what I tend to do is find out who owns MarTech.

So, your question earlier, does it sit in marketing? I think the insights in the name. It’s marketing technology, so it really should be owned by marketing, but obviously communicated across sales, and across IT, and across other parts of the business.

But getting that real current state’s probably the first place to start. But flipping the thought through all of this around, like I said before, people. So, once you’ve got a current state, it’s, “Okay, let’s then rethink what we’re trying to do to people.”


It’s interesting because as you were talking about who owns it, I was thinking of some of the tenders that we’ve been involved in recently with MarTech and how it’s an interesting profile for the decision makers that are sitting in that process.

There will be, for instance, a technology person from IT. There will clearly be marketers. There’s often a procurement person mainly around contracting and coordinating.

But then they’ll often be data analysts, and data analysts that are not necessarily part of the marketing team because they may be off in a business intelligence unit, which is not connected.

So, you do get these quite diverse cross-functional teams sitting in on these tenders for different types of MarTech.


Yeah. And we’ve seen that mainly because the client hasn’t mapped it well. So, there is a confusion of hasn’t been clearly articulated that you own this, and you are going to go off and do that part of the MarTech untangling. So, there’s chuck everyone in.

So, we’ve seen procurement think, “Well, it’s all about just cutting license fees.” And the market is going, “Well, actually, it’s more about the data, and the segmentation, and the audiences, and the targeting.”

And then IT is saying, “Well, I’m going to cover myself a little bit because I’m the one who put it in. So, I’ve got a vested interest in keeping that.”

But also, if you think about, again, that customer journey, we are talking about such a wide ranging number of technologies. You’ve got everything from what we’re seeing at the moment, market mix models, which do not include customer value.

We had one tender, we looked at it and we started looking at the model. And first asterisk, only uses lead data.

So, we said to them, “This is useless. Like you’re spending millions and millions and millions. It was a big number on things that you can’t even measure through to sale. Your own profit should come onto in a minute.”

So, we’ve got all that modeling, you’ve got all the AdTech we talked about. So, everything from how do I pull the data out of the legacy systems, the customer data platforms, all your display, your programmatic, or your proximity marketing. So, all the AdTech, the advertising.

But then takes you somewhere. So, you’ve then got all the web and owned platform, which then brings you back to the IT department in your website or e-commerce platform.

Who owns that? Where does it sit? Where does live chat sit? Does that suddenly sit in your customer care team? Who suddenly gets you into the customer care team?

And we’ve seen that across businesses where customer care is almost forgotten. We go, “Yeah, but they’re the one that picks up the call if the chat bot doesn’t work and I want to speak to a live person.”

And on social platforms, all the social media platforms that ill-defined or poorly defined or just happy to spray content out there.

I mean, look, what Temu’s doing at the moment. You’re just getting ads sprayed everywhere I go there’s a team or product through the lead nurturing and lead identification.

But I guess underpinning all of this which is when we see all these people in these meetings, is that idea of data and privacy. So, again, that’s often we’ve seen it in the headlines the breaches of privacy in Australia we’re getting the updates to the privacy act.

But a lot of marketers aren’t prepared for the mass of data that actually needs to get flicked and can’t be kept.

There’s going to be a train wreck coming around. We’ve spent all this time trying to get MarTech in collecting all this data, most of which will be non-compliant, potentially to the new laws coming in. So, say, “What does that say?”


Because of the way it was collected.


Way it’s collected or the person didn’t give the level of permission. So, that’s going to be another train wreck that really lots of people started to talk about last year, but I see a lot of heads in the sand when it comes to that.

So, that again, I think marketing should own that because at the end of the day, it’s marketing to people. So, they need to get their heads around the impacts.


As you’re talking, I’m hearing that it’s really, first of all, understanding what you’re trying to achieve and then testing to see if the technology you currently have is delivering that. And if it’s not, why not? And what do you need to change to actually get to that?

So, if you are trying to get a marketing platform that allows you to go from including awareness generation through the sales funnel, and then manage post-purchase remarketing, managing the customer, then where is your current technology letting you down and what do you need to do to fix that?

And it’s not necessarily adding more technology to it. In fact, sometimes it’s swapping technologies or just modifying the existing ones.


Yeah, and or taking them away. And so, that in really basic terms, nothing has changed. Start with your objectives. And then we talk about with clients, and it sounds really basic.

We just finished a project last week. Start with the objectives and the client’s, “Well, no, I’ve got all the objectives.” And showed us, there’s about 10. So, it wasn’t clear.

What are the one or two clear objectives? Well, doesn’t change. Awareness objective, conversion objective, and a customer value objective. We should only need three.

And one thing I’ll add into what you were saying is then when the objective is clear, the strategy of how to get there needs to be clear before you go to tech.

So, it’s the age old, get your objective right. I talk about A to B up the mountain. That’s my objective. The strategy is how to get there. The east face, the west face, the north face. There are different ways you can do it.

So, once that strategy is right, then you can start thinking about, “Okay, how will I structure my marketing team?” And one of the companies we talked to recently, it was much more about outbound phone calls, funnily enough, and making it much more personable.

That’s a completely different type of skillset and capability and structure needed than blasting emails and content at people.

So, it’s get that right, and then you can have discussions on what capability you need. And capability includes people and technology and then processes of how you use that technology.

But that was sort of third or fourth down the list of get your objectives right. Get your strategy thought through.

And gee, how many times have we seen the word strategy bandied around and looked at something and went, “Well, is that not really a strategy. It’s not how you’re going to achieve your objective. And is the objective actually clear from two?”

So, that’s, I think, right back to circling to one of your points around the sales teams and tech, the sales forces, not the brand, of these technology companies have done a fantastic job in just saying, “You need this.”


Yeah. This is the solution to the problem. In actual fact, it’s, “Here’s what I want to do. Here’s my objectives, here’s what I need to do to deliver on those objectives. Now, how can the technology enable that at scale, in real time?”


If you need real time. You may not need real time.


And if you need real time. But it’s working back the other way. What is it I’m trying to achieve and why am I trying to achieve that? Now, let’s get the technology that will actually deliver that.

Rather than buying a platform or a piece of technology or a number of technologies and trying to API them all together, so that it may deliver what you’re trying to achieve.


Yeah, spot on. And that’s why I talk ROI. You did say the ROI guy, so I guess I should bring that back in.


You are the ROI guy. I’m glad you’re owning it.


Well, I got sick of everyone because I kept hearing ROAS. ROAS was used in the ad and the AdTech for about a decade.

And I kept getting the shits going, “Yeah, but a return on ad spend was either measured purely for e-comm in who bought that day.” So, it is a purchase. But some was not even a dollar purchase.


Often, it was leads.


Often it was leads. And so, it was, look at it and get under the hood and start to go, “You’re not even measuring the dollar value. So, it’s not a return on ad spend or any spend, it’s a return on lead.”

So, let alone a customer value, which again, in my language will be don’t look at revenue. I mean, no business runs successfully on revenue, they look at profit. So, I can drive a huge number of customers or leads to go and buy fantastic revenue on 0.0001 cent margin products.

So, were they the right people to dump in or not the right people to dump into the funnel?


Yeah, it’s not a way to build a sustainable business model. Yeah, yeah. You’re not going to make a profit.


And the venture capitalists were throwing money at these tech darlings going, “Wow, these unicorns are fantastic.” And of course, they grew and grew and grew, but the underpinning business financials, which are ROI, has never changed for decades.


Now, a lot of what we’ve been talking about is technology within the organization and within marketing.

There’s another layer of complication because increasingly, the agencies that are working with these marketing teams are bringing their own technology.

Either they’re bringing platforms, which they’re effectively selling as sales people on commission. They’ll often get a referral or a commission for selling those into their clients, or they’re using technology often what in quotes is bespoke technology.

And in the old days, it was dashboards, but today, agencies are offering things like customer data platforms and the like. Which is attractive to marketers because it appears to come at no cost.

The agency’s just offering it, and it means that I don’t have to make any decisions around technology. I pay the agency basically to provide that service. But there’s issues with that as well, isn’t it?


Yeah, yeah. And anything free or at no cost as we know, is either a hidden cost somewhere or maybe not as valuable or effective as it could be. So, I’ll probably caveat this. Again, there’s no right or wrong.

So, agencies and vendors have some fantastic (I’ve looked at one last week) technology that does solve a problem with a content management system, for example. Better, faster, more effective for a client. And that’s fine if that’s assessed to be that way, fantastic.

But I just would encourage people listening, not to focus on that silo. So, if you’re looking at a content management system, for example, or an email engine or a customer data platform, firstly, as you said, what are they buying?

Often, we see the knowledge is not quite there in marketing. It might have been in IT, or it might be in some people in marketing.

But what we hope as an agnostic, we’ve got nothing to sell. We will give that what’s in all view of, again, what are you trying to do, what are you trying to achieve? Do you realize all the ramifications?

So, if the agency owns it and they walk away, then they walk away with that IP and that system. So, you got to then talk about data. Do you have access to the data, and can you pull the data out of the system and put into another one?

So, there’s lots of issues. And we see this with procurement. Procurement are keen to then insource. All the licenses are owned by the company. The technology’s all owned by the company. It’s just licensed out. That’s probably been the biggest shift.

Two decades ago, lots of agencies built stuff because it was cool, and it was relatively easy to do. There’s now, a million suppliers of tech that clients have got hold of and said, “Actually, we want to use these ones. Can you get a license and use it externally?” “Yes, you can. We’ll set you up.”

But look, no right or wrong to your point of view. It’s just buyer beware.


Well, and because if the agency is bringing the technology, it’s also, a way of locking you in to that relationship because suddenly you want to change down the track.


It’s difficult.


And the technology’s just almost like golden handcuffs that keep you attached to that agency or that supplier because of the way that it’s set up.

So, it’s an extra level of complication because there is you can certainly plan, and map, and design the technology within your organization.

But of course, often marketing is requiring external suppliers, like agencies, media agencies, content creators and the like to engage and interact with those platforms in the implementation of, and fulfilling the strategy.


Yeah. And that’s what I meant by a holistic view. So, the holistic view is not just the internal MarTech.  The whole ecosystem is what the internal client is using and what the agencies or vendors have supplied.

We did look at one, was that late last year? Yeah, late last year, where we identified that the agencies had not only created what the client thought was a market mix model, and we looked at it end up being a media mix model. And hello, hello, the solutions coming out of it were to spend more media.

So, it wasn’t agnostic in terms of paid, owned, earned, shared. It didn’t take into account a lot of the owned platforms and it had zero in the system around customer value.

So, we looked at it all and went, it’s very … again, I don’t want to come across as putting hot water on all agencies because there’s a lot of great agencies, hopefully listening.

But yeah, I think that’s been a challenge that agencies are trying to lock their clients in and clients may not have the knowledge or the depth to go into the detail around what they’re actually buying and then just gets bought and implemented and sounds good. The creative gets created and it gets deployed.

But I guess the logical question out of all of this is if you’re not measuring an ROI (try bring it back to it) then what’s it doing? So, what’s the technology spend?

And even if the agency’s doing it for free, it’s not necessarily free. There’s head hours of agency resources utilizing it. There’ll be a line item somewhere for data analytics, and data analysis, and dashboards, as you said earlier.

So, once you add all the cost up, it’s not just the tech, it’s the using of the tech, the data footprint within the tech, all the creative that comes out of it and all the experiences that need to be costed in. Yeah, so, it’s a minefield.


And that ultimately, is going to be the measure of the success of any technology is what it delivers in results.

To your point, if you’re implemented or you have technology and there’s no way of being able to point towards it, and the particular measures that say, “Here’s the return we’re getting from using this platform.” Then you’d have to question what is the value of that platform?


Totally, totally. And it could be great platform doing good things but if your objectives weren’t clear … and like I said, nothing has changed in the world of marketing for, as Mark Ritson would say, decades, eons. Awareness, as I said earlier, conversion, and customer.

It’s just, you can do a lot more within those silos now. So, yeah, it’s putting a measure.

I have heard the (people listening to this have heard it too) ROTI, Return On Tech Investment, that’s another bug bear. When I hear anyone say ROTI, I go, “What are you talking about? Why do you anyone do the return on the tech investment?”


I thought it was my favorite Indian takeaway, but-


I had some last night. Urban Tadka. If you’re in Terry Hills, Urban Tadka is a wonderful Indian restaurant.

But no, ROTI, a lot of people use as an excuse. So, it’s the return just on the tech, which is again, a slice of the overall return on investment. So, it’s a silly measure. It should be a profit-based customer driven ROI.


And most of the bigger alignment projects that we are working on, this is what we’re aiming for is what is the objectives and strategy and how do we align all of those moving parts to it?

The technology is just an extra dimension in enabling that rather than being a channel in its own right in a way. Because there are so many of the users, so many stakeholders that will be interacting with that technology. You need to make sure everyone’s aligned, that the technology is being aligned to-


the strategy.

Yeah. And our aim is to help … often in companies, there’s politics, there’s silos, different leadership structures. So, I think that external voice to go, “Okay, let’s diagnose where you’re at. Let’s look at what’s needed.”

And there’s tough decisions and tough discussions there to say what’s needed. Because strategies about sacrifice, so often we hear things like, “Well, we have to do that. That’s BAU.”

Okay, BAU. But then we do campaigns and projects on top, and then of course we do other things. We need all these technologies. Well, what are you really trying to do?

And one discussion was a very small draw area. So, I looked at a client and from big brand discussion, to lead, to conversion, to customer, I went, “What’s your area targeting?” They didn’t know the number, but when we looked at what the region was, “Well, you’re only targeting that region.”

“So, of that region, what’s your current market share?” “X percent.” “So, from X percent to Y percent, what would that mean?” That’s a small number of customers to get.

So, then we thought, Okay, well, then the strategy of how best to get it.” How are you going to develop a strategy of how best to get there? You don’t need marketing technologies, bells, and whistles. You could probably do the whole thing in the Excel spreadsheet, maybe PivotTable, maybe Tableau.

But this again gets back to logic. It’s you are right that the managers have confused things because the salespeople have sold in this tech that’s so unique.


Well, because it sold as a solution.


Yeah. Solution to what?


But no one’s actually defined what the problem was or the opportunity that it’s solving. And I think that’s always going to be a problem because the best way is solve someone’s problem. Is how you sell, get them to spend money.

But yeah, the real question is, are we solving the right problem? And I think that’s to your point, has led down this path of perhaps too much of the wrong type or even the right technology, but just never implemented the right way so that it’s aligned to delivering the objectives and the KPIs that show success.


Yeah, correct. And then you can reset then the role of the technology and how it’s applied. That becomes relatively easy as a follow on step to reset then how technology’s used in your marketing. Yeah, that’s the aim to help marketers do stuff better.


Yeah. And look, just finally, we don’t have any deals with any of the tech platforms, do we?




So, we are completely agnostic.


Yeah. I reach out to them regularly. So, I’m across everything from the social platforms, the Metas, and the Googles of the world, and then the big tech vendors.

And that’s a fascinating thing to keep up to speed with what they’re offering. You think you could ask them a simple question. Can you give me the executive summary of the biggest shifts in your company and your products and services in the last 12 months?

“Well, what area do you want us see? Which area? We’ve got a VP for this and a VP for that.” “Well, I just want you to give me the snapshot.” So, has it become purposely so complex that not even the vendors can explain it succinctly.

So, therein lies the challenge, but now, we’re totally agnostic. We have no interest to pedal a tech.

Our interest is to see a marketer not get hoodwinked, save money where possible, take away duplication where it wasn’t needed in the first place, remove wastage and refocus it on two or three, or four, or five areas.


And get better results.


… that ultimately, yeah, gets better results. Well, actually, gets a result you can measure. That’s the other point. You’re probably getting great results, but what are you benchmarking?


Yeah. How can you know it’s a great result if you’re not measuring it?




And Anton, thank you for your time. We’ve gone way past the deadline, but-


Sorry for that.


… thanks for coming and having a chat today.


Pleasure. Thanks, Darren.


Look, just a question for you. If there was a tech platform that you’re going to endorse, which one would it be?