Mayur Gupta Growth @ Spotify. Dreamer + Doer + Connecting Dots.. Angel Investor. Blogger. Cricket, Tennis & Nichiren Buddhism. My 3 girls. All views re my own.

Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing & Technology

5 min read

Organizational Convergence
Organizational Convergence

Last week, I gave the opening keynote at IQPC’s CMO Exchange Event in Jacksonville, Florida on the need for “Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing & Technology”. It was a great event with CMOs, senior marketing executives along with technologists forming most of the audience. The focus of my recent talks including this was on the need to drive “convergence” within organizations beyond just marketing & technology but at a more fundamental level which includes how they are structured and how they operate across functions. Convergence in many ways will be at the epicenter of modern marketing, diluting the conventional silos of data, technology, media and channels.

Here is a peak at the presentation:

If you would like a more detailed version of the talk, here are the notes:

Well, good morning everyone. The first session of the day is always fun, I will just assume all of you re as awake or sleepy as I am :). So let’s talk about what everyone loves to talk about these days, marketing, technology, you know the Gartner statement and of course all the disruption happening around us

You know to be very honest, for the longest time I was confused about the whole fuss around us living in a digital world and what that really meant until I went through a real life experience with my daughter who at that time was almost 3 years old. I was traveling quite a bit between Miami & Chicago and my wife as all beautiful wives is a big mobile shopper (I better not say anything else here), she has the GUILT app that she uses everyday without any guilt. To cut it short, one fine evening when am back home, she shows me a red pair of socks, she thinks I ordered it, my reaction was of course hey that’s what you do… but a few days later I got back home and I was told it was our 3 year old daughter who did that while playing on mum ma’s phone. Thankfully Guilt only sells clothes & shoes and not cars or homes or I won’t be here right now.

What that taught me was that we live in a digital world, in fact a world that no longer differentiates between the online & offline. If you re in an offline world, you re literally milliseconds away from either seamlessly getting online or being influenced by the digital world.

Now because we, the consumers live in the digital world, as brands we need to market in a digital world. That’s why at KC, we often say we don’t do Digital Marketing but we believe in Marketing or Brand Building in a Digital World.

So if you take a step back and really look around, whats happening in this beautiful digital world, it’s truly exploding with disruption, call it marketing disruption, consumer disruption, it’s all over the place

Whether it is the eBay model that started years back completely revolutionizing the retail industry or iPod that pretty much touched and changed every single life on this planet in one way or the other or the Netflix boom

Which in fact caused this to happen — turned around a running, profitable and in fact leading business model to bankruptcy in span of less than a decade

Or disruption that is even changing the most conventional, ancient and stereotyped behaviors, a view of people waiting for the arrival of Pope Francis last year with iPads & iPhones

Healthcare going through a massive revolution — new ways to diagnose human body using smart phones – app called mobile medic to diagnose medical condition, a pilot done for a medical recruiting campaign

Or all the wearable technologies we have today, I at least saw the Nike band on 20 wrists last night to using that technology in our clothing lines. What’s interesting here though is that the disruption in the healthcare industry is caused by someone who was miles away from that space, a shoe brand called Nike.

And of course the retail revolution, online, offline is there a difference? I read the VP of innovation at eBay saying that he really sees the Matrix world to be a reality

And lastly, this one takes the cake, A physical 3D QR code that triggers a unique mobile experience, specially created by a small time retailer in Korea to attract consumers during lunch time when they re walking outside

So as you can see, we are going through an UNPRECEDENTED scale of change


And of course the consumer is right at the center of it all

In fact, it would be safe to say that we have transitioned over the last few decades from living in an era controlled by brands to the one where the retailers & the etailers ruled up until now where we are truly controlled by the consumer, the connected and most powerful and in control consumer


This happened – Steve Jobs

And then this happened – the iPhone

And then this happened

And since then it has been happening consistently, every day if not every minute

This is a marketing  technology landscape that was published in 2012, approx 350 odd vendors across multiple categories

To this, which was published a couple of weeks back with approx 940 technology vendors across 40 odd categories, mind you all re relevant. And this is not complete yet, simple reason, it’s growing and changing faster than we can even capture let alone adopt. The possibilities and expectations of consumer experiences are blossoming around us, the disruptive innovation is at the center of marketing, it is at the center of our lives.

The bar hasn’t been raised, it has been removed.

So what does this mean for the brands & marketers?

How does it feel? To be honest, this is how I feel a lot of times. Stuck in a storm, trying to figure out a way to cut through. But there are 3 top challenges facing marketing and brands coming out of this ongoing disruption:

First — Technology is changing exponentially but organizations are only able to respond to that change algorithmically, it’s a beautiful quote from Scott Brinker that I couldn’t agree more. And within that gap, lies the challenge of figuring out what to chose and where to invest?

Secondly — While the massive technology landscape is exciting, demonstrates success and innovation, it is sitting on top of a highly fragmented ecosystem. The challenge is not so much how we adopt these capabilities, it lies in the silos that exist between them. It lies in making these different technologies & capabilities talk to each other to add value to that single consumer

Thirdly and most importantly — the organizational silos & fragmented operating model. If you look at the consumer journey of a mom, she is jumping from channel to channel, engaging through various touch points in her daily life. From the mobile device, to online stores to retail stores and getting coupons and go on and on.

However, from a brand and organizational standpoint, this is still a highly disconnected and fragmented experience because of the organizational silos and isolated operating models that exist. It is the sales team driving trade promotions and retail experiences while the marketing team owns the online experience, the business may own the eCommerce capability and decision making and right there the notion of “omni channel experiences” becomes a myth and not a reality.

In fact, Bob Lord & Ray Velez had this quote in their book called CONVERGE where they said “…”

Well, all that is great but now how do we fix it?

DRIVE CONVERGENCE, and this is convergence at all levels

Convergence in the data and technology ecosystem. Some of that is driven by tech consolidation thanks to all the acquisitions by the Adobe, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce of the world, creating somewhat of a Marketing Operating System aka iOS and a lot of it has to be driven by sharing of data across the system using APIs & the spread of the cloud. WE need to start thinking about this as a building, we have been building floors, it’s time to do the wiring

Convergence in Skills

Move away from T shaped to “not sure what I would call this symbol” may PII shaped marketers, the key is to move away from having a myopic vision of either technology, marketing, creative or strategy. Marketing needs talent that can converge these silos and go across. It is also a mindset shift that looks at technology not just as a commodity or an enabler, but as a strategic capability that can in fact open up new business models & opportunities.

Lastly, and most importantly an Organizational Convergence

Yes, I have Marketing & Technology here

HOWEVER that is NOT JUST GOOD ENOUGH. As a matter of fact, I don’t completely agree with the statement from Gartner that has made many stand up, for 2 reasons — One, the need for convergence goes beyond just marketing & technology and secondly, that challenge lies way beyond the ownership and budget. It is more about having a framework of collaboration and agility where the orgs come together to respond to the change and drive a connected consumer experience.

Well, of course it’s easier said than done, but then again, who said marketing was easy. Thank You.

Mayur Gupta Growth @ Spotify. Dreamer + Doer + Connecting Dots.. Angel Investor. Blogger. Cricket, Tennis & Nichiren Buddhism. My 3 girls. All views re my own.