Future Proofing Your Marketing Team
Maciej Piwoni from Sage; Matt West from Feefo and Lucia Mastromauro from King talk future proofing a marketing team with Jellyfish CEO, Rob Pierre.
Rob: Welcome everyone. It gives me great pleasure to chair the first panel discussion. And as you can see on your agendas, it's all around sort of future proofing your team, but we've got a broad spectrum of sort of skills and experience within this panel and from data to setting up an advertising platform, to working on peer to peer reviews, etc. So I think I'm going to start the session with the first question. And as we know, branding has gone from a symbol...you know, we used to brand a cattle and it was just a symbol. Then it became a positioning where it was a one message to many people, and now we're in a world where it's a one to one relationship. So you can actually have a dialogue one to one with everybody.
So undeniably, data and personalisation is going to be key and it's going to be integral to how we move forward. And the question is are we going to finally unlock the real power of programmatic? So what I'd like to put to the panel is what's your view and how are your organisations and how should we in our organisations cater for this scenario? So Matt, go first. You're on the right end.
Matt: Comes to the end. Yeah, I guess from our perspective, we're in a fortunate position in that a lot of what we're doing is, you know, collecting information of what real customers have done, the way they've done it and why they've done it. So I guess, you know, us being in a position whereby we can help that sort of, you know, programmatic adoption and understanding what people say when they say it. And I think we've moved very much from, you know, understanding and looking at...just at a very high level to getting into the individual details of what specific people say and do and how we've changed and adapted our business for that. I think that's...you know, from our perspective, that's something we spend a lot of time and energy on now doing which, you know, drags very much into the world of AI and how we can get that deeper understanding, which is important if you're going to make sense of programmatic marketing as a whole and make better use of it and get accuracy on it.
Rob: And Lucia, from a background platform sales and you've worked with programmatic for a long period of time.
Lucia: Yeah, I started in 2010 when I was at eBay. I was a client. Then I was at Google. Now I'm at King and King is an advertiser as well as a publisher now. So I think programmatic has been coming along for a long time and the promise of, you know, get a system, put what you want there, press a button and then the machine will do the job for you which I've been hearing for years on years. Still not fully there. We still need a lot of thinking, planning, rules setting up, but machines are kind of evolving. The Book Click's done a good job. I think for programmatic to really be in a great place in any organisation managed by an agency or not you really need to understand the data, have great people and also understand the limitations of the machine, which is an evolving kind of a process.
Rob: And so data...I mean, global...your global strategy...the data strategy for Sage and obviously data is very key and...but how you apply that. So how are you looking at that?
Maciej: Sure. So I will actually come from the other end. As a company, we are present in over 27 countries and we have 12...more than 1,200 J accounts I think, 500 AdWords accounts, multiple DoubleClick accounts. And on our...our challenge is that we have so many personalisation personas and paths that it's very difficult to actually understand what is happening. So I would say when you approach personalisation programmatic, it's a little bit like buying a new car. You think that you can customise but in reality, manufacturer gives you preselected options and at the end, you know, it's typical distribution, 80-20. And the same could be also a case for personalisation’s when...of course, you aim for that ideally unique experience but at the same time, you know, make sure that you have good statisticians in the team that they can actually make sense of what is happening.
Rob: So my next question was along that view. We've struggled as we got more and more data. I think it's important what we do with that data but also how do we know our data's genuine and it's accurate? That's the biggest thing because we've been in scenarios where we've taken over accounts and when we've taken it over, the budget was five million a year in spend and then we've actually done a deep dive. We've laid the tracks, made sure the analytics are accurate and then we found out that it was actually half the number of sales that were coming through than what they thought. And so next minute we're like a victim of our own success and the budget goes...disappears as we start the work, so...and we've seen it on more than one occasion. How do you think we could set up our organisations to ensure that our data is actionable and accurate, is my question in a very longwinded way.
Lucia: Well, I think from...you know, especially my time at Google where I consulted with some of the global...biggest global brands out there. I used to head up global accounts for DoubleClick. You will find it quite surprising, the amount of companies that actually get it right. They're very, very few. And being able to actually map your data journeys, making sure that every touch point with your consumer, you understand what's happening and why you're mapping and how you're cataloguing that and which systems you're syncing that to so you have a seamless process and you can kind of track back point by point where the interactions are, it is not an easy job. It takes a lot of creative thinking and kind of engineering in a way without necessarily coding.
So to make sure that that's correct, you have to do an audit and a very...and really, don't take somebody who says they are the...you know, the cousin of somebody who's a wiz kid and blah, blah, blah. Get an expert. This is the most important part of your media buying I would say. I think I presented to someone once and they explained they wanted a DSP and I was like, "Look, before you can get a DSP, you know, you have to sort out your messy data because they said in Cannes that, you know, it's a data arms race but when I looked at their world account, it was...there was no way I could actually grab any data from there. So I think that part for media buying is the most important one. Once you sort that, then media buying becomes a lot easier and more relevant to what you want to achieve and then it can personalise your message to a consumer better.
It's not easy. It's very difficult to get I think actually a buy-in from the stakeholders because...like a black box. But I think this is where the industry is going in the next year, two years.
Rob: And Matt, from the CMO standpoint, you must have mixed feelings after this morning's presentation. So I'm not quite sure what...
Matt: Apparently, my job's not dead after all, so that’s quite handy.
Rob: There's light at the end...
Matt: There's light at the end of the tunnel. So I think I covered it from a very slightly different angle. I guess quite often with our clients where we're starting is finding out what data you can actually trust. So what is real? And that comes from basic level of, you know, is this a real person in a real location doing a real thing or is it Mickey Mouse and somebody's filled out a different address? So I think it's getting to the nub of what's real and then what can be trusted, what can't be trusted as part of that kind of data audit process that you kind of go through. That for us has been kind of one of the key things.
I think, you know, as our journey on kind of, you know, machine learning, natural language programming, sentiment analytics has happened, this is where a lot of our kind of marketing teams have evolved over the last few years in the...you know, AI on the face of it, great. And we've seen it do some amazing things which you've seen throughout today so far. How does it know what to do? It learns but it's also learning from us. It's learning from our intelligence, what we're putting in, what we've learned as marketing teams, as companies, as businesses and then also about our emotional interaction with our customer. So it's taken that data, teaching any AI systems that we're buying in, we're working with how to work with the information data we've got to get the result that we want either for a brand, product or a service or a client with that. So I think that from us has been, you know, something very, very much we've focused on is starting with the data we can trust, ensuring we can trust it and working up from there and using technology to automate, speed up and become reliable as opposed to rushing out and doing it and then realising that, "Hey, we’ve got to go back and start again." So it's get it out when you're confident and keep iterating and that's what we're finding there.
Rob: So historically, advertising, marketing...been very people driven industry and how do we keep our creativity, our cultures in marketing departments as technology, particularly maybe AI plays a more prominent role?
Lucia: Well, I think...I'm a big fan of technology. I consider myself a technologist other than anything else. A lot of AI gets bad press because people are very scared of one day machines taking over the world and killing us. But what I think where technology will evolve to is to create a world where if we are smart, we can actually create space for us to be creative and be natively creative within the space that we are. I think jobs, the more mundane ones, definitely will kind of fade away. You can see that...without necessarily AI, you can see that in current technology or previous technologies that have really left a lot of people behind who hasn't skilled themselves to the jobs of the current moment and the future. I think that worries me more than actually AI taking over the world and killing us. I think how...you know, not so much young people but people our age now, whether we will have jobs in 20 years time will depend a lot on how we evolve with technology as well.
And yeah. And I think creativity will be where humans will thrive. Not to get political. I think making sure that we work less hours but more creatively is a way forward.
Matt: I guess, you know, from my point of view, if you look at some of the things that we've seen today, some of the things that have been on the screen, look at the...you know, the Snapchat stuff that was up there. Point to anything on there that wasn't creative and then look at the technology that sits behind it. So okay. The days of it's built by techies for techies, that's fine. But how do we translate that into something we can emotionally engage with? You look at what Snapchat done with a camera and then go, "How are we not engaging with that?" There are millions of people engaging with that every day. So we still need that balance in our marketing departments, in our businesses to look at how do I take this technology which can achieve amazing things...I sat on my son's VR system and painting in 3D and, you know, going...all this technology gives us the ability to explore things that we just couldn't do 5, 10 years ago, which gives us an opportunity to explore things we couldn't achieve as marketers or, you know, people in charge of brands or products, that we can now do and we've got the opportunity to do. I think the opportunity for creativity is going to expand because of technology. We're not going to lose that just because a machine can speed up the process of what would've taken 10 people and 10 weeks to do previously.
Maciej: Yeah, I absolutely agree that what AI and machine learning is doing that basically they release people from the very mundane tasks. A guy is sitting in front of PC with the Excel spreadsheet. And when the automation happens it's like from beat management and so on. But there is one area that, you know, humans are good and that is creativity. So from content creations to coming up with the new ideas, I think that is something that we will see more and more actually taking prominence.
Rob: And so there's a couple of things that I think about. There's the emotional intelligence side because there's a lot of talk about EQ versus IQ and I don't think the machine learning's ever going to cater for the emotional intelligence that's required within teams and cultures etc. And then there's also some roles that having, like you say, the mundane task or the more sort of predictable and repeatable...I mean, AI actually makes...it used to be that you automate things that are predictable and repeatable. Now you can actually go one step further and it's actually figuring out what to automate and how to automate it. But the emotional side. Are there any roles in your organisation that you're already starting to see that there's a gap or that you can predict in our organisations it's going to be...almost create new roles? Have you had any thoughts on what might be new titles?
Matt: Yeah, I don't know about titles. I think fortunately I don't need to dream up a new one for myself but I think probably there's a role in translation. I think when it comes to...it's been touched on I think a few times today that, you know, the capabilities of what AI can deliver to you as a business and talk to both consumers in a way that they understand and feel emotionally engaged with while taking that intelligence and making it practical to do something and efficient to do something. So I think there's a whole world of whereby you had technology sitting over here, you had creatives and your pretty pictures department sitting over here and the two have often been siloed. I think technology can help those two come together quite nicely but I think there's got to be a role that translates those kind of things. So yeah. I guess, you know, a lot of my job is about, you know, talking to clients about how technology can help them achieve their goals and talking in a way that they understand because it's not something they deal with every day. So I think it's going to be more of that kind of translation, how do I make this a reality, what does it mean to me, what does it mean to my customers and my consumers? So I think it's definitely more of that kind of role expanding. Particularly in a marketing team.
Rob: Are you punting the CMO role here? It's like...
Matt: I think it needs to change. I think...because the traditional CMO...well, in my view, is...I wouldn't say it's dead because I'm standing up here but, you know, it's...I think, you know, my role as I've seen it change has evolved from much more of a, "What's the task I kind of need to, you know, complete and what am I responsible for," to now, "How do I translate that into something that makes sense for the business that I'm working with and the business that I'm working for?" And I think that's changed certainly in the last five years.
Lucia: I think...and this is true even in the past as well as the future. I think the key role as technology kind of evolves in an...and enables you to do new things is to understand what the new wave of technology can not just solve for you, but the opportunities it creates and how you can reinvent yourself and reinvent yourself as a business. If you...and a lot of industries have suffered a lot because they stuck to their old business models and just blamed technology or innovation for their perils. And then some of them went out...completely out of business...is really understand the role within every organisation to understand how they can evolve basically as the world is evolving. And it's evolving so fast and faster every day.
Maciej: Yeah, I would say that we are pretty close to that moment when...you've been watching the black and white telly all your life and suddenly you see 3D and full colour and you say, "Oh, my God. I had...my experience was so bad but I didn't realise because there was nothing else." So when you think about it even now personalisation, the signals are pretty much business like and it's not really personalised. So I would see a huge shift because we already have technology to take all those points and make assumption. Okay. Are you happy, are you sad, are you nervous, are you stressed? And you can imagine how that will elevate the personalisation to completely different level. And I would say that again, probably there will be first move or advantage for the companies who will create good campaigns based on those signals.
So it's quite interesting because I think technologically we are here. It's just ideas. The first company who will really make a big splash.
Matt: I think it's...sorry. I really liked that point on the fact of like, I think, you know, somebody who's trying to dictate something from the point of view of forcing a customer to go down a journey because of intelligence and because AI says you should be going this way as opposed to actually giving people options for that emotional engagement depending on what state of mind you're in.
Rob: We're getting the one minute signal. So yeah. So just one last thing. Then it's probably a little bit around...it falls in your area. I read the other day and was talking to somebody who was actually involved in this project but the...anybody heard of the Cover Girl where the influencer Kalani Hillaker, she...they actually created a bot and they actually put it out into the marketplace and said, "This is a bot who's representing her personality." And it was all AI driven. And they had multiples of millions of engagement with this bot and people knew it was and then...and so she was able to talk to all of these millions of people, they all engaged, got into conversations with that bot. It led to numerous sales and money off vouchers etc. So we're in a situation where we've got somebody here who's marketing a platform with peer to peer, people talking to people. What are the risk...that we don't...we no longer need to speak to people. And is it going to be an excuse not to speak to people and just engage with some bots and you're quite happy with that?
Matt: I think from my perspective it's looking at both. It's looking at all those options. I think that...you know, if you've got somebody who's representing a personality, that means people are looking to engage potentially with that personality which is a real person that's being represented in some way, shape or form. So the instant engagement is about that potential personality. I think then it's real people that are engaging with that bot in that case and getting response and getting feedback. I still think that has, you know, great power from a sort of peer to peer understanding and conversation and engagement level that you may not be able to do with just one individual. So it means you can scale one individual's capability and capacity much, much broader, which for a business or brand could be really powerful.
Lucia: I think it goes into different philosophical points, right? There is the generation me who obviously sees that as an opportunity to, you know, engage with their...as you mentioned, their kind of celebrity. There is also the suspension of belief. It is an entertainment channel. For them, talking to that celebrity although they know it's a computer...it's almost like...it's like they are playing a verbal game of interaction there in a way. So I think it's not either or. It's just an alternative way of killing time, entertaining oneself.
Maciej: Yeah, and I would say that probably is one of those future business models when, you know, you can have almost a like conversation with the bot based on that personality but then what you will be willing to pay is that very unique experience talking to that individual. And you can see that already happening with Spotify that you can get actually music for free but at the same time, the concerts and the number of people going to concerts goes drastically up and that's more and more likely the way how the music is monetised.
So again, and if you ask people about what they want, usually it's a great customer experience. It's not, "I want to talk to human. I want a great customer experience right now personalised for me." So probably, that's the answer how you do that. It's okay.
Rob: Okay. This is just before lunch. We're not going to hold you any further. Plus, I'm scared of Lou and she will make sure that we are on time anyway. So I'd love to say thank you very much to Maciej, Lucia and Matt on the panel. I'm not going to get many opportunities so just personally, from me, I'd like to say thank you so much for coming. These events obviously will never happen and have the same value to everybody in the room if you don't attend and take time out of your busy days. And I want to say thank you very much to all of the Jellyfish team that continuously put on such a spectacular event. So just personally, thanks everyone and enjoy lunch.