Tyler Suiters  0:11 

Hey everybody, Tyler Suiters with the Consumer Technology Association here in Washington D.C., we own and we produce CES it is the biggest, the most influential tech event on the planet. We hold it every January in Las Vegas. And in 2019, it will be January 8 to 11th for the record. And today we're asking you, are you CES ready? Whether you're a longtime attendee, or you're thinking about coming to join us for CES 2019. We want to help you make the most out of it to get you ready for the show that changes lives and certainly changes businesses. So when you think of CES, you're of course thinking about game changing technologies that are changing our lives for the better. So that brings to mind for me 5G, self driving vehicles, the alphabet soup of AI and AR & VR. But have you been to C SPACE at CES because this is different. This is where we bring together the world's innovators, the marketers, the creatives and all in a single venue. Our focus there is marketing and entertainment, the content sector, right. And technology is having a profound difference on how this sector evolves and improves. So at C SPACE, this is where you can discover disruptive trends and how they are changing the future of entertainment and brand marketing. So on today's edition of CES Tech Talk, we are addressing ad tech and content in general. We're talking to a company that is revolutionising the content marketing measurement space. It's how advertisers and clients track how successful they are. But also we're talking about how the innovations that we just discussed are changing both the marketing and the measurement space specifically. Also we'll talk to someone at a news outlet that is designed specifically for the brand marketing ecosystem. It's an outlet that builds itself as a touchstone of the advertising and marketing community. All that's coming up on this edition of CES Tech Talk.

Tyler Suiters  2:26 

Well, I bet you know her company Knotch This is a group revolutionising the content marketing measurement space. But if you don't know the company, I bet you know her voice or maybe her face.  Anda Gansca, is co founder and CEO of Knotch and Anda it is a pleasure to have you with us today.

Anda Gansca  2:45 

That's such a kind introduction. Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here with you.

Tyler Suiters  2:49 

Well, it's good to catch you during your international travels. I know you are, seen as not just a guru. I feel like that doesn't give you enough credit. But you're really an expert at the leading edge. And I I think the bleeding edge of where digital advertising is right now. What's your vision for where Knotch is right now? And the next two, three steps ahead for you?

Anda Gansca  3:11 

Yeah, so Knotch is capitalizing on two really important trends right now in the advertising industry. The first one is this evolution that we've all seen and witnessed from display to content, and just the acknowledgement on behalf of brands that transactional mechanisms for reaching and I guess emotionally converting consumers don't work as well as more immersive mediums. So this transition to content has been really fascinating to witness. And some of the work that's been created by brands recently is just really tremendous, and making a statement as well as promoting their brand. And I'm sure you know what examples I'm thinking about.

Anda Gansca  3:52 

And the second trend is this evolution of focus in terms of data collection, of the focus that brands place on collecting and owning first party data about their audience. Regardless of where they're putting their digital marketing efforts. Brands are just becoming a lot more empowered to essentially demand independent data collection of data that they then own. And so as a company and even as a person. For me it's been always really important that we not only build a really good business, but that we stand for something. And that we try to change the industry for the better. I'm hoping that by banking, and by furthering these two different trends, we are doing exactly that.

Tyler Suiters  4:33 

Well, let's talk about the second for a moment Anda. Where is the wave, so to speak of transparency, and advertising metrics right now.

Anda Gansca  4:43 

I think there's people and brands who are ahead of the wave. In the sense that they've completely embraced this idea that independent data collection is a must. There's brands who will literally not advertised where they cannot measure. Which I admire, and I hope everyone will embrace one day. And some of our early adopters, I would say are just incredible role models for everyone else on that front. Including the CMO of JPMorgan Chase, Kristen Lemkau. Who from the first time that we met, she just completely recognized the need for an independent arbitrator for all things content. All things digital marketing, hopefully later on, which is really the plan for for us to expand as well. But I would say the majority of the industry is really just coming around to this realization that there is an alternative and that you don't have to just depend on self reported data from all of your different distribution channels. That there is a way in which you can ask for better data, more transparent data, and just data in real time. Which I think has been seen as such a luxury for the longest time and hopefully marketers are realizing that it shouldn't be.

Tyler Suiters  5:50 

Well on that note, is it the impetus? Or the trend on that so many brands are now bringing advertising measurement in house right now?

Anda Gansca  6:00 

It's interesting, I think that a lot of the core strategic functions of brands are being brought in house. And it's a really fascinating trend to witness. And I think it deals with this larger trend of brands just wanting to own the relationship with their audience, which I think means owning both the conversation and sometimes the creative end of distribution. But in particular, owning the data that is created at that interaction between your brand and the audience because that data is essentially the feedback that all of these different customers or potential customers are trying to give to you as a brand. And so yeah, it makes a lot of sense that brands would want to bring the strategic functions internally. In particular to bring the data pieces internally.

Tyler Suiters  6:43 

Does that put a greater honest on CMOs now to be tech experts, as well? They have to understand the space, whether it's ad tech or martech. But they also have to know the impact of the other emerging technologies, right? That are disrupting both of those worlds.

Anda Gansca  7:03 

Yeah, I think you have to be a tech savvy person in today's world. It doesn't matter if you're a CMO or you know, doing anything. You're touched by technology. So, I actually think it's a lot better as a CMO. Who is trying to learn, because I guess we're all still trying to learn about the fast paced change in this industry. It's a lot better when you can actually control it, right? It's a lot better when you own it and when you have it internally so that you can better understand and you can just learn faster from it. As opposed to, giving it to someone else to a different party and not even thinking about it. And just waiting for things to kind of happen magically. We've seen that, that doesn't happen. When you're allowing your agency to manage everything for you and or your distribution channels to essentially collect data about their own performance and bring it back to you. The dynamics there are that there's two different incentive structures there. And so you are the only party that has your interests in mind. Anyone else that you work with has also other interests in mind. So I think for me if I were CMO, I would want to be as controlling of the course strategic bits as possible, because I know how I would structure it to have my interest in mind.

Tyler Suiters  8:29 

So I use the term tech expert for the evolving CMO, you use the term tech savvy. Clearly, there's a spectrum of where CMOs fall on there. What are you seeing in your work at Knotch and where the trend seems to be going or where it sits today?

Anda Gansca  8:48 

By the way to your previous point. Actually, I think any good manager needs to be savvy, but not an expert. Because at the end of the day, you're not trying to do it all yourself right? You're trying to hire people who are hopefully way smarter than you in that particular field, to be able to truly do everything the right way. Whether it's marketing tech, creative media, etc. Even I struggled with that. I can't know how to code, know how to sell, know how to support customers and know how to design. But, hopefully I have enough personal charm and good enough vision to be able to hire the right people to do this for me, and with me. So that's the first thing I'll say. In terms of the trends. It's been interesting to be in this industry for the last two years, because there's been a lot of change. Which is very exciting for a startup because we're banking on change. I would say, within the realm of content. We've seen a big change, or a big focus being placed on creating owned content experiences. And so even big media companies like the New York Times, Time, Fortune, Bloomberg, etc. Everyone's essentially white labeling their creative services, to go inside of brands and help them find their own stories that will then live on their own and operated channels. It was an interesting trend, because we initially thought as a company at Knotch. That the biggest trend is going to be paid content partnerships, and while that still plays a role. I think based on the same trend of CMOs wanting to bring things internally, we've just seen a rise in own content. So more than half of our work here at Knotch is actually measuring owned and operated channels. Which I thought has been a really fascinating trend and something that we're doubling down on a lot.

Anda Gansca  10:47 

And then the second bit, you were mentioning at the beginning, a little bit about blockchain and AI. All these different buzzwords that we end up hearing about in the industry. I thought a lot about why blockchain in particular, has resonated with our industry so much. When I say that, I mean, I've seen so many people talking about it or wanting to have a conversation about it. I haven't necessarily seen a lot of implementations or a lot of adoption. But I think the theme has resonated a lot. And I think the reason why is because you have a big focus on transparency. CMOs just want to know that they can trust the data that is being collected on their behalf, across the board. I don't know if blockchain itself is the right solution. I've actually spent a lot of time trying to understand exactly how it would work for the marketing industry and I'm not convinced it's the best solution in the short run. But I do think that the actual theme of transparency and trust is resonating with CMOs across the board. Which is very validating for a company that has been, like Knotch, that has bet its entire destiny, on monetizing solely from brands so that we can keep that independently or that independent focus as a data collector.

Tyler Suiters  12:04 

Alright, so Anda you're coming up on your third CES. AI is one of the key verticals maybe the horizontal, I should say, across the entire show experience. Where is AI driving to use the strongest, the richest, the most effective advertising content and outcome along with the decision making process?

Anda Gansca  12:33 

It's a really good question. I think there's so many interesting applications great across the board, whether it's creating dynamically responsive, creative. Or whether we're talking kind of closer to home for Knotch, about coming up with insights that you can then automatically input to create better outcomes in real time. So, we think a lot about that, and how we could best employ these technologies to essentially just automate the way we come up with really intelligent previously human led insights. We found some really good success in the kind of early testing stages as well, on this front. We think there's tremendous opportunity, especially because the data that we collect is clean, and it's formatted in a way that enables any algorithm any AI algorithm them to take in and just essentially analyze extremely fast. Whereas a lot of other data companies struggle with the fact that they're trying to aggregate a lot of different third party data sets. In terms of different performance data sets coming from different distribution channels. So it's a little bit harder to properly employ a sophisticated technology, when the data that's going in is not clean and properly formatted. So we're very lucky to have that, as part of how we do work here at Knotch and we're excited for what that can bring for us.

Tyler Suiters  13:54 

What about the specific subset of AI that is voice activation, voice recognition? This is a trend we saw at CES 2017. Where so many products/devices began to implement or advance voice recognition technology. The rise of the smart speakers if you will, this is a brand new channel to market. I won't call it mature. Is it ready for prime time yet? In your view?

Anda Gansca  14:26 

I don't think so. I think even with the brands that have embraced it really early. As a data company, we quickly went to them and said, "Hey guys, are you really serious about this? Because if so, then we need to figure out how to measure it". Because ideally we are not just on the channel, but we're across every single type of creative format. The response across the board basically was, that we sent something out there because we felt like we needed to own this message. But we're not entirely sure what ths means and how we're going to be advertising against it. [Laughter]

Tyler Suiters  15:02 

[Laughter] That's remarkably candid, yeah.

Anda Gansca  15:04 

Well, because the issue with me, is that I know how to go deep around. "So how are you going to measure it? Where are the KPIs? What does engagement mean, on such a platform? What does success mean for your brand? So I guess at some point, if you can't answer those questions, you have to admit that

Anda Gansca  15:20 

You're trying to make headway, which is fine. You know, I think it's a great thing for brands to embrace innovation early. I think it says a lot about them as people, you don't have to have it all figured out in order to pursue something to experiment with something. But I don't think it's mainstream yet. I think we'll see the rise of that category in the next, maybe two to three years. Not in the next one to two years.

Anda Gansca  15:20 

[Laughter]

Tyler Suiters  15:20 

[Laughter]

Tyler Suiters  15:43 

I find it a little easier to envision AR and VR moving into this space, just from a creative sense. Do you feel the same way that that's something that you can start to understand how you'll track and measure?

Anda Gansca  15:59 

It's interesting. I've been thinking a lot about this, because I'm actually very connected to my Alexa. When I listen to podcasts, it feels strangely invasive. Maybe because it's playing in my head, I guess. So I actually, I struggle with it a little bit. That being said, I think if you figure out how to seamlessly integrate. If you really do branded content, as opposed to doing advertising, on podcasts. And overall on voice, I think there's a massive opportunity there. I could see that. I would say it's maybe just a little bit creepy because, it is so close to your body, essentially. In terms of AR and VR, I've always been relatively bullish on AR. Again, I like the idea of how it is just more seamlessly integrated into our life. Whereas I think, VR from a consumer standpoint, there's a bit of a friction. Actually a pretty big friction in having to buy a headset, wear a headset and just completely change your reality to truly be in it. That being said, I think there's big opportunity in VR with really highly commercial use cases. Maybe retail, real estate and maybe even healthcare. I think there's some really good use cases for it, I just don't necessarily see it, infiltrating our day to day life as consumers.

Tyler Suiters  17:24 

Now that we've covered as many of the key themes of CES 2019 as possible. But let's break it down just to the C space stage. That's where you're speaking at the upcoming show. Let's talk a little bit about what's on your mind and what you hope to cover there?

Anda Gansca  17:40 

A lot of what you just mentioned, I think the idea would be to cover and maybe debunk a little bit of what these big buzzwords are and what they mean for CMOs and what they mean for technology companies.

Anda Gansca  17:53 

And how do we think collectively as a group of thought leaders about navigating these trends? How do we decide that it's time to jump into something, whether it's a CMO jumping into something or whether it's me as a data company, deciding to build a new technology that capitalizes on blockchain? I think those are really interesting questions to ask. Because at the end of the day, if we're not talking about leaders, were really just bouncing off buzzwords, right. I think that would be really interesting and hopefully useful as well for the audience to know that some of these things are really already infiltrated, in how we work day to day. Some of them are just interesting ideas that might or might not work.

Tyler Suiters  18:36 

On Anda Gansca is co founder and CEO of Knotch and I'd imagine she'll be traveling the world two or three times over before she arrives at CES Las Vegas in January. Really fortunate to catch up with you and great to have you with us. We'll see you soon.

Anda Gansca  18:54 

Thank you very much. I can't wait to be on stage with you guys.

Tyler Suiters  18:56 

All right, well, do yourselves a favor, find out exactly when Anda is speaking, coordinate your time. Get to C Space. You're going to come away from that talk much smarter.

Anda Gansca  19:07 

Thank you.

Tyler Suiters  19:10 

So at the near certain risk of repeating what you already know, technology and advertising seemed to be two sectors that are only ascending. And Josh Sternberg sits at the intersection of them, squarely. He is tech editor at Adweek. And we're going to take a bit of a trip down memory lane for Josh and some of the stuff he's done in the past. But let's talk about the present right now. Josh, great to have you with us today.

Josh Sternberg  19:35 

Thanks for having me on.

Tyler Suiters  19:37 

Alright, tech editor at Adweek. That is the confluence of two key trends right now. In terms of engaging an audience and doing it more effectively than ever. What has your attention right now in that space?

Josh Sternberg  19:54 

It's funny when I came here, one of the things that we were looking at doing with the tech desk was to grow it from two, to many. And right now, there are eight of us, we've got a couple more on the way. But we decided to focus on core areas of technology that are helping brand publishers, and agencies move their businesses forward. So we divided the desk into these little beads, ai 5G, ad tech martech data, ecommerce and blockchain.

Tyler Suiters  20:34 

So you've got seven to eight pods on the desk right now. Which of those verticals is getting your attention the most? Where are you devoting most of your time either out of curiosity or out of professional need right now?

Josh Sternberg  20:52 

Well out of curiosity, 5G seems to keep bubbling up to the top for me. With all the reporting that our reporter Patrick Kulp has been doing, I'm starting to see this really important inflection point of how a particular technology is going to be able to transform everything that we do. Not just from the media and advertising and marketing lens, but through a societal lens.

Josh Sternberg  21:22 

We keep seeing and hearing from folks that this is going to be as transformative of a technology as the World Wide Web was which is pretty phenomenal.

Josh Sternberg  21:34 

For the advertiser this technology is going to decrease latency. The speeds are going to be so fast, as you're gonna be able to get served with the blink of an eye. But on a societal level, one example was given to us where a doctor in California might be able to perform surgery in New York. Based off the technology of computers talking to each other. Machines talking to each other, the 5G technology will allow greater speeds for better AI and machine learning.

Josh Sternberg  22:19 

Everything from finance, to architecture, to health, to aviation and to autonomous vehicles. This is the underpinning technology that has significant amount of promise.

Tyler Suiters  22:34 

One of the ways we've talked about it here on CES Tech Talk Josh, is that AI is a platform for innovation, right? A lot of the technologies you just mentioned, whether that's self driving vehicles, smart cities, ARV, or whatever it might be. Will ride on 5G as it evolves exponentially. But with 5G specifically, how are you seeing advertisers react or maybe just react to the excitement of what's on the way regarding 5G?

Josh Sternberg  23:05 

Yeah, they're more on the the excitement because there's no immediate practical application for a faster network other than being able to show, as faster. So they're not really looking at from what I understand of 5G is a mechanism for them to be able to advertise your market better or faster. They're not going to come up with a 5G strategy in the same way that they bandied about with a mobile strategy or a desktop strategy, if you will.

Tyler Suiters  23:43 

What about AD tech? And martech, the delineation there, and how that would apply to each one? A little bit differently.

Josh Sternberg  23:55 

I'm not quite so sure. So I think the broader question is, less on implications of 5g on the ad tech and martech world, but what are the implications of consolidation in the ad tech and martech?
 
Tyler Suiters  24:10 
Right, well, let me then throw out another mashup at you. Blockchain and advertising. All right. Now what? [Laughter]

Josh Sternberg  24:20 

Right, so blockchain is interesting, right. So the idea of being able to provide transparency, which is at odds with the opacity of ad tech.

Josh Sternberg  24:37 

But I think one of the things that could be interesting is 5g could help blockchain push forward this idea of transparency with advertisers, because right now blockchain transactionally, is still too slow.

Tyler Suiters  24:51 

I'm going to pivot on you for a second now Josh. Opacity is the term you used about the general state of digital advertising. Is that a challenge right now? Is that something that you think clients or customers are looking very much forward to, if not a pending at least opening to some degree, a little more transparency?

Josh Sternberg  25:13 

Oh, yeah, this conversation of transparency has always been here, as long as digital has been pushing forward. And now with more power coming from the platforms that, as in the phrase that I hear a lot recently, is that these companies are grading their own homework. And the more that a brand knows where their ads are running, and the more that they are able to work with the platform and these tech companies.

Tyler Suiters  25:52 

All right well, I said, we're going to look in the rearview mirror a little bit, but I promise we'll tie it back to the present. If not the future right now. In your career, you've been with well known brands and well respected brands, within the media on the broadcast side, and also the traditional print side. And one is NBC News, the other The Washington Post. I think those are two great examples of traditional media outlets that are embracing the digital era. Whether that's advertising, marketing, or just straightforward communications to viewers. What was your experience there?

Josh Sternberg  26:30 

Yeah, so I when I joined the Washington Post, about a year give or take a couple months, my timeline might be a little bit fuzzy. After Jeff Bezos purchased the paper, and one of the convincing arguments that was relayed to me through the recruiting process was that there's a runway and the idea coming from a former reporters position to building and running a branded content studio. Was "this is where the company was going". And they were able to build up on both the editorial side, the business side and the engineering side

Josh Sternberg  27:29 

Really to create media, and they've done a phenomenal job over the last several years. NBC is a little bit of a different story, and that it's still a TV company, they are working to become a little bit more digital. But the investments that the business side has put into the audience studio and data/analytics, I think really helped the company understand how the future might play out for them, which is all on data.

Tyler Suiters  28:11 

Okay, falling again, the conversation here on broadcast media. Josh, one of your quotes that you can still find out there, so to speak. Is about digital advertising, saying digital advertising has a repetitive problem or more accurately, its problem is that it lacks repetitiveness. That doesn't sound strategic until you break it down and, draw what's behind the the rationale for you saying that?

Josh Sternberg  28:40 

Okay, so let's do a little quick thought experiment. If I were to ask you, what are your three favorite commercials over the course of your lifetime? Do you think you'd be able to tell me?

Tyler Suiters  28:59 

Absolutely. I'm sure they're all from my childhood. Yes.

Josh Sternberg  29:02 

Okay. Now, for me, you know, those commercials are

Josh Sternberg  29:08 

Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Nothing but net McDonald's. Yep.

Josh Sternberg  29:15 

The Volkswagen, Darth Vader commercial with the kid.

Tyler Suiters  29:20 

[Laughter] That's much more recent, right. That's within the last few years. Yeah.

Josh Sternberg  29:25 

Yeah.

Josh Sternberg  29:27 

But, I'll skip the third one because I'm under pressure right now. But if I were to ask you, if you could tell me your three favorite display ads? Are your three favorite pieces of sponsored content? It might take you a while to come up with any.

Tyler Suiters  29:44 

Yeah, I'm shaking my head side to side in front of the mic right now.

Josh Sternberg  29:48 

Right. And part of that is because while we were growing up, into similar extent today. When you watch TV, you can watch that McDonald's commercial on NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, ESPN, TNT, TBS, they're everywhere. And you sit and you watch the commercial. And because of the repetitious, repetitious-ness if that's the word. Repetitiveness. That's the word. Repetitiveness of television, that message sticks.

Josh Sternberg  30:28 

Digitally, especially with sponsored content. And I think that's where the context of that quote that you brought up. Sponsored content, you read that piece of sponsored content once, if at all, and then you're gone. And then you don't see it again. So while the industry has really wrapped  its arms around the idea of what sponsored content can do. It's still missing that notion of being able to have that message, go from website to website. In the same way that a 32nd spot goes from TV network to TV network to TV network. Does that make sense?

Tyler Suiters  31:13 

Absolutely it does. Does technology have an answer for it and addressing this repetitiveness problem.

Josh Sternberg  31:20 

So they're trying, so there are a whole bunch of tech companies that are working as, let's call them, for lack of better terms. Ad networks respond to the content, so you can theoretically run a piece of sponsored content across five or six different websites. I remember when I was at the Washington Post. There was a piece of sponsored content, I believe from Phillips that ran on the Washington Post, on the New York Times, and on Forbes. Which I thought, "Oh, that's really interesting", because now you've got a piece of sponsored content that works in all three environments.

Josh Sternberg  32:10 

And it's the same story. And I think you can start to see that over and over again. With other new pieces of sponsored content, away from the idea of native advertising. Which was supposed to be endemic to that particular function or website. So like a BuzzFeed lithical of 15 inanimate objects that look like human beings, brought to you by Campbell's Soup is only going to work on BuzzFeed. It's not going to work on the New York Times, but a broad journalism based story about a fisherman and how he's using technology to bring in a better haul, can work across various news publications. But I still think there's a long way to go to addressing that repetitive functionality that TV is able to offer.

Tyler Suiters  33:11 

Josh I hate to put the brakes on this but we could just keep going for a day and a half, I think. How about if we pick this conversation up at CES in a little while?

Josh Sternberg  33:21 

I would love that.

Tyler Suiters  33:22 

All right,

Josh Sternberg  33:22 

Thank you

Tyler Suiters  33:22 

Josh Sternberg is Tech Editor for Adweek. Josh, great to talk to you, sir.

Josh Sternberg  33:27 

Thank you so much.

Tyler Suiters  33:30 

So that is a wrap everybody. Thanks for joining us, as always a good idea to subscribe to this podcast and that way, you won't miss a single one of our episodes as we get you CES ready for the show in 2019. Again, those dates January 8 to 11th in Las Vegas. Speaking of we have everything you need to know about the upcoming show. It's all at CES.tech, that is CES.tech. Hope you can check that out. Now, as always, none of what you hear is possible without the superstar crew that supports me and let's meet them. Let me scratch that. Sorry, that's getting too long. I'll pick it up with the thank you for our team.

Tyler Suiters  34:16 

As always bringing you this podcast is impossible without the talents of our spectacular engineer John Lindsey and our outstanding producer Tina Anthony. You are both the best, thank you. I'm Tyler Suiters. Thanks for joining us today and let's talk tech again soon.
 

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