After nearly 10 years at Google, I’d handed in my notice. Over the last few years, I’d led teams and built 100 million dollar programmes, in one of the most innovative companies in the world. But I’d also been thinking hard about making the jump back into start-up land. The right opportunity just hadn’t come along. Until now.
I started my career with no plans to sit at the literal cutting edge of marketing. Like so many, in my early professional life, I just stumbled into something - search. In 2022, paid search will represent nearly 23% of total global ad spend. But back in 2005, very few marketers were thinking about what it meant for their businesses! Web analytics was in its infancy, and when I explained to friends and family what I was doing at work, I joked that I was a “nerd to executive translator” - literally spending my days convincing senior business leaders that an investment in keywords online was a sensible idea.
Fast forward to 2011. I graduated from business school and was looking for the next big thing. I happened across a California-based start-up, which sold a platform for content management and analytics across social media. Do you remember those days before the Facebook IPO? When marketers were wondering - what’s this social stuff all about? We were explaining to brands and their agencies why having a candid exchange with their audience represented the next frontier in marketing… And as it turns out, it was. This year, at $144bn in ad spend, social is predicted to eclipse global TV ad spend for the first time ever.
In both cases I was at the very bleeding edge of what would later be seen as two total revolutions in the marketing industry. At the time, I had no idea. It is only now, in retrospect, that I can look back at those experiences and realise the opportunity I had. To literally define a new frontier in marketing.
It’s a particular set of circumstances which leads to that sort of disruption. And I’ve left Google because I believe the next frontier is opening up, right before our eyes. This time, I’ve had the fortune (and experience) to see it coming. I’ve observed first hand, both inside the walls of Google and with clients out in the real world - that we are on the cusp of the next great revolution: For the first time in the history of marketing, we can understand what creative elements drive campaign success and which don’t. Artificial Intelligence combined with Machine Learning technology have evolved to a place where they can help marketers measure and optimise the effectiveness of creative, as a distinct element of a campaign, at scale.
To put that in perspective - you’re the CMO of a global business. You’re running content across 60+ brands, 130+ markets, 76 languages, and a portfolio of platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc…). In the last few years, your world has become exponentially complicated. How we manage creative content and measure its effectiveness needs to be totally redefined to be able to answer these questions. Google, Meta, and other platforms are putting millions of dollars behind huge teams of people (I used to be on one of them) to advise brands on how to make great content for their platforms. But do your campaigns adhere to those basic best practices? Do they adhere to your own brand guidelines? How do you hold your teams accountable for putting spend behind your highest quality content, at scale?
Before Machine Learning technology, you couldn’t answer those questions. But today, you can.
Thanks to the progress made in ML and AI, marketers can now measure what proportion of their ads globally adhere to Google’s ABCDs, Meta’s Brilliant Basics, or their own brand and diversity guidelines. They can then correlate those creative elements to growth. Does including your logo, or a call to action, or adjusting the pace of a video increase brand recall or sales lift? Now you know.
For the first time, marketers can hold their teams and their partners accountable for putting media spend behind the right ads, based on insights generated across hundreds of campaigns and millions of creatives. Great content = better storytelling, better connection with your audience, better representation of diversity and ultimately = more efficient media.
I left Google because I was looking for the next revolution in the marketing landscape - and it’s upon us. ML will enable a tsunami of change in how marketers develop and measure the quality of their content. It’s creative effectiveness - redefined through a clear and scalable view of creative data. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss this wave.