TMW #030 | Peak Martech, predictive CX and NFTs

Feb 28, 2021

Welcome to The Martech Weekly, where every week I review some of the most interesting ideas, research, and latest news. I try to look to where the industry is going and make sense of it all.

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Good afternoon to new subscribers from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide,  London, New York, and Rome!

There’s nothing new to announce aside from hitting 30 TMW newsletters this week (and roughly 55k words written)! I’ll be doing some reflecting over next week and will share some learnings from the past 10 newsletters in TMW #031. Thanks for staying on the journey here, I hope this newsletter continues to be a fun and rewarding part of your week.

👇 Here’s everything you’ve missed in marketing and tech this week.

🎤 New MSoM Episode: Charles Burdette on leading design culture.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to interview Charles Burdette, the founder of Product Club and Workshop Tactics. Charles is a world-class expert in design and UX and his products are trusted by companies like IDEO, Facebook, Lyft, and Stanford University. I covered Charle’s first product - workshop tactics in TMW #007 and since then it’s evolved into a thriving community of product and design thinkers from all around the world. We talk about how design-led culture leads to better products, why Charles built a company around design culture and the role of storytelling in business. We also talk about making the perfect omelet 🍳.

Podcast links, show notes, resources here: Link

✍ Commentary

🗻 Have we hit peak Martech? Here’s an interesting thought piece from David Raab of the CDP institute discussing the very messy state of the Martech space and whether or not we’ve hit a saturation point with technology products for marketing and the accumulated concept debt that comes along with it. Every year the number of new companies in the Martech landscape keeps growing, and with it the amount of VC funding goes into the technology, hitting more than $50 Billion in 2020 (see TMW #007). In 2020 alone Scott Brinker’s Martech landscape super graphic added 13% more logos. It’s not only the number of new technology companies that are adding to the saturation equation, the complexity and number of features in each product keep growing too. Adding to this, Gartner recently did some research indicating that most companies don’t realize the full value of their marketing technology stacks. David opines that the world of Martech is spinning for many people in companies actually buying technology to support their customer experience and marketing efforts.

It’s true, the dovetailing of the new tech entrants and the incumbents creating increasingly feature diverse and complex products make it hard for the vast majority to actually make sense of what is happening in the space. This is also compounded by issues introduced by artificial intelligence, consumer privacy, and big tech monopolies. As tech collides with companies, it creates new problems that are hard to understand and address. David’s forecast is that the industry will focus on creating simpler, easier to understand, and less complex technological solutions to solve on customer needs. The view here is that it most of the market will be driven by competent research and assessment of technology to manage risk and to create more trust between the seller and the buyer. When you stand back and look at the landscape, you can see that most people using tech want direct sight between capability and value, it’s not good enough to talk features because at the end of the day you’re adding noise to an orchestra where everyone is playing against a different songbook. David’s opinion piece is a helpful reminder that Martech doesn’t need to grow in complexity as the industry grows. Simplicity, value, and purpose are key. Link


🙄 Complicating CX.  Mckinsey recently released research on how CX teams collect and analyze data on their customers. One of the most interesting aspects of the report is how brands overwhelmingly agree that survey-based analytics like NPS scores are not meeting the expectations of what companies are wanting from their analytics. McKinsey suggests that the way forward for customer experience strategy is to increase the adoption of predictive, customer-level analytics. They talk about things like predictive customer scores, creating a customer-level data lake to store and aggregate customer-level data, and creating an activation layer to be able to use this data to act on customer needs. That all sounds great, but really there are two big needs for people working in customer experience; the ability to act on customer needs in aggregate and in real or near-time, and the ability to make strategic decisions to improve how customers interact with the many different functions in a business.

If you sit down and actually talk to people who manage CX portfolios one thing becomes really clear: The job is a hairy complex beast - customers, more than ever are interacting with brands in a myriad of different ways, and usually different stakeholders manage those interactions focusing on different things, making cat herding and vision creation really hard. Things can easily spiral into very complex scenarios where vision becomes fragmented along with insights and direction. It’s not anyone’s fault; creating clarity of direction built on data, insight, ideas, and purpose is no easy feat. McKinsey wants to introduce more complexity in their vision of the future of the CX discipline, but it’s also worthwhile to think about how simplicity and clarity are things brands need to solve within their own organization before they can deliver it to their customers. Link

📈Chart Of The Week  

Consumer spending on apps tops $111 Billion 🤯 Sign up here to get a link to the full version and the chart. You won't be disappointed.


📰 Latest Developments

The next Saga in the news media bargaining code. The controversial code passes legislation in AU parliament, Facebook creates a deal where they get to almost choose the terms in exchanges for letting publishers post again, Google strikes a deal with the Guardian with the news showcase product, and almost everyone, especially the consumer loses. I still don’t understand why the Aus Govt is trying to create increased reliance on big tech, and why news publishers want to freely walk into a golden cage. Facebook. Google. Aus Govt. Last week’s Podcast.

Amazon Acquires Selz. Most people think that Amazon.com is too big to have competitors, but this latest acquisition should change that assumption. Shopify is a major competitor to Amazon, kind of like the anti-pattern to Amazon’s market platform. Amazon has been trying since 2015 to do what Shopify is doing by empowering shop owners to build and scale their own online property, Selz is the next iteration of Amazon’s goal. Link

Lexer, the retail CDP raises $25 million. I’m proud of this company because it was built in my tiny village of Melbourne, Australia. Customer Data Platforms have been a real beneficiary of the pandemic as more brands rely on digital channels to compete and survive. This also validates the hypothesis of vertical-specific CDPs - build for specific needs and win. Link


📚 Reading

Consumer dissonance in agency land. A really interesting thought piece from Alex Murrell on “Adland is an island.” His argument is that there is a wide gap between the experiences of the typical agency worker and the general population these agency people market brands to. Agency folk think differently, consume media differently, have different types of personality concentrations, and have a very different relationship to work. Link

Is social media better off without news? An opinion piece from Wired UK on the place of news media on social networks pointing to a few ways social media has distorted news consumption, like one very small right-wing newspaper becoming one of the most-read publications on the planet by leveraging algorithmic social media. Link

Google’s vision of a future without third-party cookies in APAC. Searches for the term “online privacy” are growing by 50% year on year. Expect to be working with less data but also leveraging prediction engines for targeting and cohort groupings to personalize ads to consumers. Link

Deciding on what to measure. In 1994, people were suggesting that many companies are too overwhelmed with the data they collect to do anything meaningful with it. Fast forward to 2021 and the problem has become exponential and existential. There are many who try to track everything “just in case” but those who understand the value of strategy get that defining and managing a small handful of very important metrics lead to better outcomes. Link


🔢 Data & Insights

Three years of e-commerce growth in three quarters. Everyone has been using that McKinsey chart on eCommerce growth. This one is better, looking at the penetration of e-commerce in the US market. The future of the digital marketplace is already here. Link

Cookieless in Singapore. 1 in 10 marketers and publishers have adopted a customer identity solution in the region. The removal of third party cookies is less than one year away, yet many brands in this region are under-prepared with ways to use first-party data. Link



💡 Ideas

Building an eCommerce store with only a spreadsheet, Stripe account, and one no-code tool. An interesting case study into how almost anyone can spin up an eCommerce store, host it and sell without having to buy a Shopify subscription or working with code and hosting. Link

Citizen experience, a different kind of CX. Abode has been doing some research into how their platform can aid governments in improving the digital experiences of their citizens. In most countries, adopting digitals is a slow-moving thing, compounded by siloed systems and self-reinforced compliance. Link

Google News Initiative. While the news media bargaining code plays out, behind the scenes Google has been educating more than seven different news publications on how to apply design thinking principles that Google uses to enhance their digital business. The relationship between the news and tech is complicated, to say the least. Link


✨ Weird and Wonderful

Citibank got a $500 million dollar lesson in UI design. Poor software and an even worse user interface lead to $500 million being sent to various creditors erroneously. A judge ruled that Citibank can’t get that money back. The GUI on their software is truly bad. Link

Get better at your job by learning tactical combat skills. An argument for why people who work in highly strategic roles should be lifting weights or learning Jiu-Jitsu. Link

The UX on this small child is terrible. This is a fun one, but if you have kids, you can probably relate. Link


Stay Curious,

Make sense of marketing technology.

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Want to share something interesting or be featured in The Martech Weekly? Drop me a line at juan@themartechweekly.com.

Juan Mendoza

Marketing technology strategist at The Lumery, I analyse marketing, data, and technology trends for some of the most well-known Australian and global brands.

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