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Deep Dive 4 Dec 2020 - 6 min read

Mi3's biggest tech trends for 2020 in five minutes: From martech, adtech, data to cookies and CX - here's our Top 20 technology stories

By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor

Salesforce Global CMO Stephanie Buscemi: “60% of our marketing spend was on face-to-face live events. Now it’s 100 per cent virtual. And I don’t think the pendulum is going to fully swing back.”

Supercharged tech capabilities, e-commerce and digital transformation captured the lion's share of attention in Mi3's marketing and technology coverage. From global and local pressure to regulate data and privacy, to the end of third party cookies and the fundamental impacts of those changes on attribution and targeting, take this five-minute refresher on what stories garnered most clicks for Mi3 readers around martech, adtech and data in 2020. If nothing else, use this page as a handy bookmark for what's set to drive marketing and tech trends for 2021. Tomorrow we break down our biggest stories for marketers and marketing this year.  


“60 per cent of our marketing spend was on face-to-face live events. Now it’s 100 per cent virtual. And I don’t think the pendulum is going to fully swing back.”

Salesforce Global CMO, Stephanie Buscemi

Salesforce Global CMO Stephanie Buscemi on flipping mass events to 12 minute micro-niches, ditching big sells for quick wins and bringing the CMO Club to Australia

Salesforce used to spend 60 per cent of its marketing budget putting on events - 170,000 attendee behemoths such as Dreamforce in San Francisco. But Covid put paid to that, possibly for good. Now 12 minute meetings with a handful of people are the sweet spot, says CMO Stephanie Buscemi, and she thinks AI and automation will be key to serving micro-niches, or one-to-few. Meanwhile, she plans to turn 1.5m 'trailblazer' customers into UGC providers for Salesforce's own website, and unpacks plans to bring the Salesforce CMO Club to Australia in 2021.



“If you are the best at understanding how behavioural targeting works, that’s not going to be very useful come 2022. Any teams at publishers, advertisers or agency, their objectives and their cross disciplines will be hugely impacted by all of this.”

Chris Brinkworth, founder, SynergyStack

Google's 2022 cookie apocalypse: Why it will hit first party data, hyper-targeting and a solution from Westpac's former digital media and tech boss

From 2022, Google's ban on the use of third party cookies will render up to 85% of current digital marketing useless, says Westpac's former digital and media technology director Nick Barnett. That's when Google Chrome joins Apple and others in voiding the digital marketing industry's most widespread currency. It's going to break things as new pressure builds on first party data, retargeting, behavioural targeting, hypertargeting...and usher the return of research panels and contextual content environments. It's massive, and everyone in marketing and media should listen to this podcast.


"We had 80,000 viewers on Salesforce Live and 1.5 million total views on all our social platforms. That 80,000 number is what we're really proud of."

Salesforce ANZ head of marketing, Renata Bertram

How Salesforce Australia scrambled to reinvent the live events model in 10 days - many will follow

On Sunday February 16, just ten business days out from 15,000 delegates descending on the Salesforce "World Tour" in Sydney, a dramatic decision was about to be made. A small but high-ranking group of Australian and global executives would kill their marquee live event and hatch a conference hybrid that became a template for events in the era of Covid-19 - and a case study for digital transformation in days.



“The changes really impact any brand on a major level that interacts with users in a mobile app context.”

Joey Nguyen, co-founder, Venntifact

Appocalypse now: How Apple’s iOS tracking cull hits data governance, tech stacks, targeting and the $200bn mobile ad market

A proposed change to ID for Advertisers from Apple was set to kick in with iOS 14. It was predicted to wipe out 80% of targeted advertising and remove a key part of the advertising ecosystem - used by Facebook and others - to track consumers across third party websites and other apps, and critical to measurement and attribution, retargeting and data partnerships. Industry went into overdrive, telling Apple it did not understand how advertising works, and Apple delayed the changes at the eleventh hour. But the prospect is still lurking in the background. Michaela Michaut of, Chris Brinkworth of SynergyStack, Joey Nguyen of Venntifact, and Geronimo’s Matt Hunt unpack the potential impacts.



“First party data will become the currency of the future. The themes I think we will see play out [over the next 12 months] are addressability and targeting at scale. They will be critical to short, medium and long term growth.”

Michael Stephenson, Chief Sales Officer, Nine

As Coles shifts budget into 'people-based marketing', OMD says market will match Adobe, Nine's premium data play

"It's all about growth," says Coles CMO Lisa Ronson on a shift to people-based marketing and why the supermarket was the first to sign-up to Nine and Adobe's audience matching platform. OMD's National Chief Investment Officer, Melissa Hey, thinks it could be the start of a market-wide shift as brands test the effectiveness of premium versus social targeting at scale. Adobe MD, Suzanne Steele outlines the post-Covid winners and losers and the urgent need to drive more customers through newly built "digital front doors". All of which is music to the ears of Michael Stephenson, Chief Sales Officer at Nine.



“Google's open letter is misleading - nothing in the draft code will force Google to hand over consumer data to publishers as is falsely suggested, or provide a 'dramatically worse' Google Search as falsely claimed, let alone YouTube that is not even covered by the code.”

Dan Stinton, Managing Director, The Guardian

'A cynical ploy': ACCC, Nine, The Guardian, Free TV hit back at Google's 'Open Letter' warning Australians on risks to their data, 'free' services

Google's attempts to put pressure on the Federal Government and the ACCC via an 'Open Letter' to Australians warning Google Search and YouTube "will be worse for you" in response to proposed regulatory changes were met with contempt. The competition regulator accused Google of spreading "misinformation" while others labeled it a "cynical ploy". The saga has some way to run yet...


“The time for denial is over. It’s absolutely clear that there is a component of the supply chain that is still very opaque. It’s no longer acceptable to have this ‘unknown delta’ of 15%.”

John Broome, CEO, Australian Association of National Advertisers

'Murky programmatic delta': 88% of ads can't be tracked says new PwC, ISBA investigation

A world-first, end-to-end programmatic advertising investigation piled more pressure on the stubbornly opaque digital advertising supply chain - and came just as Australian industry prepared submissions to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's adtech inquiry. The UK study could not find where 15% of the money ends up and could only track 12% of ads end-to-end. That’s at the top end of town. The broader supply chain is likely to be far, far worse.


“Within the first 12 months of the program, we were sending something like 10 times more leads to our home loan lenders - and those leads were 300% better than any of the leads they'd ever had before.”

Andrew McMullan, chief analytics officer, Commonwealth Bank

CommBank's analytics chief on how its AI-powered 'Customer Engagement Engine' is changing everything

Commonwealth Bank Chief Analytics Officer, Andrew McMullan, says the bank's AI-driven customer engagement engine has transformed the way the bank is set up, how it interacts with customers and hopes it will help people keep their homes as Australia battles Covid's impact. He's hardly effusive about the usual big CRM and customer experience technology providers but credits "visionary" chief marketer Monique Macleod as pushing the analytics team further, faster and deeper. Meanwhile, its new Bill Sense should have service providers across the economy - energy companies, insurers, gyms, telcos and maybe even SVOD providers - on their toes.


“This is an integral part of our business model now. We think it will strengthen our brand because we actually have a customer base that is educated on our product that gives us a bit of strength and power for when we do go back in and deal with the restaurants again.”

Gary Green, ‘Mr Wagyu’

Mr Wagyu chopped from fine dining, hoofs it to rising direct-to-consumer model

A string of high-profile fine dining restaurants reversed their orders for 1000kg of high-grade marbled Wagyu beef as Covid-19 started to bite. With no other options to sell his prized steaks, Gary Green hatched a plan to sell and deliver direct to consumers (DTC) with a hastily formed and most primitive of tech stacks. Mr Wagyu is now a business going national as DTC models muscle in across the economy - and Green says becoming both B2C and B2B literally beefs up his future business model, providing a hedge, greater leverage and deeper understanding.


“I approached numerous consumer research companies for their take. It was a brick wall of silence. From large quantitative research outfits we all know to smaller, local qualitative firms and even the market research industry’s peak body, no-one wanted to play. They were either working for Google or the territory was too hot.”

Paul McIntyre, Executive Editor, Mi3

Silence of the ad lambs: Google, Facebook's sprawling, covert influence and overt funding has strangled open industry debate in Australia

The tech giants are either funding, are on the boards or are important to the revenues of most Australian advertising and marketing industry associations, big consulting firms, the market research industry, PR groups, global ad agency networks and an armada of independent, local agency entrepreneurs and advisors. Mi3's Paul McIntyre finds few will talk publicly on the current, bitter stoush between Big Tech, the ACCC, the Federal Government and Big Media – and says Australia is in dangerous territory as a result.


“First party data is critical in helping clients achieve their own ambitions with their own data. That to me is why Acxiom is such a jewel in the crown. So whatever our competitors may or may not be saying, the acquisition strategy is absolutely right – and that is playing out from a Wall Street perspective as well.”

IPG Mediabrands APAC CEO, Leigh Terry

Leigh Terry and Mark Coad on why they're moving beyond media to data and an adtech-martech mashup

IPG Mediabrands Australian CEO Mark Coad and APAC boss Leigh Terry want to diversify beyond media via the data and tech capabilities at Acxiom and a new 100-strong martech and data platform, Kinesso. The former Omnicom duo dispute that media agencies are troubled - theirs anyway – and say rivals taking swipes at the group's USD $2.3bn Acxiom acquisition will soon see the folly of their ways.


“You could give everyone the same database – but the decades worth of learning and insights, social graphs or search graphs or insights you build … The predictions of human behaviour that you are building from that dataset are an unassailable competitive advantage [for the search and social platforms].”

Joshua Lowcock, Chief Digital Officer, UM

IPG Mediabrands global Brand Safety Officer: If regulators don’t get to grips with data, we will all end up working for Facebook and Google

If you want the bigger picture on privacy and data, this is the one. Australian Joshua Lowcock is Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at UM in the US and UM’s Global Brand Safety Officer. Based in New York, he’s spearheaded development of a groundbreaking Media Responsibility Audit of social media platforms alongside initiatives to try to make businesses see the billions they spend on advertising within the same governance framework as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – and says it’s gaining traction “faster than even I imagined”. Now regulators need to quickly deal with data monopolies. If they don't, Lowcock fears we may all soon be working for the tech platforms - because their competitive advantage around data will be unassailable.


“To be really pragmatic about it, the bulk of the money is in linear - something like $500bn globally - and there are 30 to 40 years of measurement principles. So as BVOD grows, it kind of has to fit inside a linear framework.”

Liam Walsh, then MD of Amobee

Stealing the show: As TV goes digital, will linear or digital trading methods and metrics prevail?

TV and video are converging. Yet across industry, trading and measurement of linear and digital remain largely segregated. Will BVOD ultimately be bought in digital fashion? Amobee managing director, Liam Walsh, thinks it will bend to linear TV’s terms, because that’s where the money is. UM chief media partnerships officer, Nicole Prior, disagrees. Seven chief revenue officer, Kurt Burnette, says buyers are already at risk of missing the mark with broadcaster audiences streaming on connected devices. Hearts & Science chief digital officer, Isabelle Dunn and Nestle's head of media, content and data, Antonia Farquhar also weigh in.


"The reckoning is going to come for Facebook and Google where we have determined our target market. Because they don’t pass any data back, I don’t know where it goes. And if I get it wrong, I’m going to court, not them"

Roger Slater, Head of Segments and Digital, Citi

Wasteland of tech tools: Gartner says 80% of marketers will ditch personalisation by 2025. Citi, WPP say 'no chance’

Citi’s head of segments and digital, Roger Slater and WPP’s head of marketing technology, Adam Good, are not buying Gartner’s provocative forecast that marketers will abandon personalisation. But Slater says marketers  have become “fundamentally lazy” in expecting out-of-the-box tech to fix their customer and growth challenges.


“We should be asking ourselves why we are talking about attribution modelling at all; it’s bad mathematics. We should be looking at moving towards ranking and contribution models.”

Henry Innis, Managing Partner, Mutiny

28 days later: Why Facebook’s flip-flop on attribution should make advertisers question everything

At the last minute, Facebook pulled the plug on a mooted switch to a seven-day attribution window from its default 28 days. But the tectonic plates of search and social are undeniably shifting – and advertisers and agencies think the whole “arbitrary” equation of who and what contributed to an outcome - and when - requires a fundamental rethink. 


“There needs to be a revolution, frankly, in the current level of commercial content. It won’t occur by one network or one platform reducing the amount of commercial content by 10 per cent or 20 per cent. The entire industry needs to get behind this - and soon.”

Anthony Fitzgerald, former CEO, MCN

Anthony Fitzgerald, Prof. Karen Nelson-Field on the ad impressions "currency crisis" and faltering advertising attention

TV industry veteran Anthony Fitzgerald joins leading international media academic Prof. Karen Nelson-Field, Tumbleturn Media’s Jen Davidson and Craig Service from the globetrotting Australian TV and video data and measurement start-up, Adgile, to unpack the ad industry’s impressions crisis, why consumer attention metrics must inform impressions pricing and the urgency for broadcasters to shakeup TV audience measurement to digital-like real-time audience reporting and impact. 


“What’s become apparent for us in programmatic, is that brands and agencies have taken a deep breath and found some sanity and clarity. This has meant that brands are now understanding that there is still a message, it just needs to adapt to the climate.”

James Bayes, Managing Director, The Trade Desk ANZ

Programmatic shake-up underway - digital's 'big tobacco moment'

A modern "big tobacco moment"? The programmatic sector is facing a shakeout in ad spend as many existing brands cut and new players move in. MiQ's Jason Scott, The Trade Desk's James Bayes, Amobee's Liam Walsh and Verizon Media's Paul Sigaloff on the Covid silver linings for brands that zig when the market zags.


“We have never provided TikTok user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked. No government has special access to TikTok Australia user data, and our operations to protect that data are consistent with those of other global technology companies.”

TikTok spokesperson

TikTok denies six-day working week contracts; long hours the norm but salaries nearly as lucrative as Facebook

Despite industry rumblings, TikTok tells Mi3  it does not strike any employee contracts with mandatory six-day working weeks. Meanwhile, the firm rejects suggestions user data is any less secure than that collected by the other big platforms.


“Where the incentives are not aligned, and there is money to be made – and some of it probably not for the right reasons – you probably have to look to some degree of regulation.”

Paul Evans, ex-Vodafone global media chief, now Adgile Media CEO

Vodafone's former global media chief on in-housing, transparency and why programmatic is "ripe for regulation"

Paul Evans was one of the driving forces of Vodafone's in-housing of search, social and programmatic media. He was also involved in the early scoping of PwC's forensic dive into the programmatic supply chain (see story #7, above) which couldn't find where a third of cost is ending up. Given the billions advertisers are spending programmatically, he thinks regulation beckons. While in-housing programmatic is “hard work”, Evans believes Vodafone and others that have committed for the long term will only gain... and won't be U-turning any time soon.


“I think people have this misconception about what happens inside a company like Deloitte. They don't really understand the gamut [of creative capability]. It's a very formidable and very innovative organisation. People are going to see more and more of what's possible from companies like Deloitte - and be very surprised.”

Matt McGrath, Global CMO, Deloitte

Deloitte's global and local CMOs on agencies underestimating consultants, the future of offices and events and why buying martech will not solve your CX problems

Former WPP executive creative director and CEO and Network 10 exec, Matt McGrath, is now Deloitte's global CMO. He says a post-Covid world needs professional services more than ever, and warns ad agencies that may have underestimated its creative firepower to expect some surprises. Meanwhile, new Deloitte Australia CMO, Rochelle Tognetti, who's been teaching meditation classes at Deloitte through Covid, does not expect staff to return to the office any time soon - or ever, if that's not what they want. “I don't need ratios, I don't need to see the people. I just want them to be doing their best stuff, wherever that is.” She's also enlisted an AI chatbot called Brandy to help the Deloitte marketing team deal with the rest of the organisation's questions. And Brandy is working...

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