WPP: Martech is at a tipping point

Head of martech role created to help clients get ROI for martech investment

In a move that demonstrates the growing important of martech not just for the marketing function, but at an infrastructure level across organisations, WPP AUNZ recently hired its first chief of marketing technology.

It's a role that's increasingly been touted as vital as businesses turn to technology to create and orchestrate brand experiences across a plethora of channels and interaction points.

Adam Good was hired to help WPP AUNZ clients gain ROI from owned martech. It's the latest move to pivot the agency to a creative transformation organisation.

Good, a digital transformation specialist who has worked at both Telstra and Dentsu, has only been in the role for nine weeks, but told CMO he is keen to focus on what martech can do as part of an overarching communications business. First things first, he is looking to centralise the martech skills within the WPP businesses, before taking the offering out to clients.

To this end, Good has spent many weeks chatting to clients to find out what assistance they need with technology. For the most part, it turns out the need is in recognising ROI and figuring out where the tech stack sits within the organisation, campaigns and marketing, rather than selecting the martech itself.

“We’ve found that while a client might have strategic and delivery plans for a platform, once you’ve got an ‘always on’ marketing program, they want to know how that works as part of the organisation, and how campaigns sit with that,” Good said. “I’ve been on the client side, as well as the agency side, and it’s pretty clear martech spend is growing, and most businesses know which martech they want, and they retain the licencing.

Adam Good
Adam Good


“However, we are clearly at a tipping point, where clients have paid for these tools and have ideas of what they want to do with it, but they are unclear where it sits within their overall infrastructure."

WPP AUNZ gets a lot of queries from clients on how martech works to improve customer retention, lead generation, customer lifecycle value, spend, and management of all those. Good spied a big role for the group in that coaching capacity, as well as in the delivery side of things. 

While businesses are excited about what marketing technology can offer, a lot of work has to be done prior to implementation to ensure good results, and this requires an always learning mentality for clients, and everyone working from the same page, Good continued. 

“We all get excited about the potential [of martech], but there is a lot of work to be done first. You need to know where are you in your overall transformation journey, where marketing fits into to that, develop new working models, and then move on martech," he said. "Plus, it’s important to remember, they [the technologies] all have different capabilities and can be stitched together; it’s not about throwing one out for another.

“The market is changing as much on the client side as well. There is the requirement to develop a working model, and that requires constant learning. Clients do have to think longer term, change the way they’re operating to become ‘always on’, and move from audience to personalised experience, all based on data. You need to understand where you going, and not all people are working from the right script yet. There may be innovations, but in pockets, rather than in an overall program." 

There's no doubt technology has the potential to drive brand traction. "Thanks to data and new metrics, anything is possible," Good added. "The world-class brand out there now is very technology-driven, and this is where we can help.”

WPP AUNZ executive committee member and managing partner of sister agency AKQA, Brian Vella, agreed, saying it sees technology as a growth area because it is a fundamental enabler of great brand and customer experiences.

“There are thousands of martech options, and they are all excellent, however, now a lot of marketers are asking questions about achieving the value, so we’ve shifted in this direction," he said. “Technology is an amazing enabler; you can create great campaigns and great advertising, but these will only go so far. It is technology that is going to play an important role in creating holistic brand experiences moving forward.

“Hiring Adam is a significant move for us, it’s a statement of our intent, and our aim to continue to be very accomplished in this space. It needs real focus, and having someone who can bring all this together is very valuable.

“Our global strategy is shifting from advertising and media led, to a more balanced approach including design, technology and commerce.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu   

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