Ideas + Opinions

AD Tech + People: how code and talent come together

04 May 2020

AD Tech + People: how code and talent come together

It’s been 25 years since the first online ad appeared on a PC. Even the programmatic ecosystem is now 12 years old.


So much so, that Gartner famously confirmed in 2017 that CMO’s would spend more on technology than the CTO, for example, through the requirements of owning their DSP, Ad Server, DMP, CMS CRM and Analytics capabilities.

As we would clearly expect with technology, progress and continuous innovation are nascent, with Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning reshaping how modern marketing works today. Businesses – whether brands, agencies, digital services partners, or the ad tech / mar tech ecosystem that underpins them – are harnessing technology to create greater efficiency and effectiveness in their marketing capabilities. Whether through smarter algorithms, code to combat ad fraud, or improved interoperability – technology leads us towards better, faster and cheaper outcomes.

One of Hybrid Theory’s our own technology partners, Xandr, recently observed that “the future of digital media is talent”, reminding us that technology doesn’t exist in isolation. Indeed, it’s very potential sits with the teams that harness it – whether brand marketers, agencies or digital service partners.

It’s long been recognised that this talent needed to be different – needed to evolve. In a 2012 Marketing Week article, Econsultancy founder Ashley Friedlein spoke “about pi-shaped (Π) people – with a broad base of knowledge in all areas, but capabilities in both ‘left brain’ and ‘right brain’ disciplines. They are both analytical and data-driven, yet understand brands, storytelling and experiential marketing.”

These new pi-shaped “generalists” would be met and matched by the ongoing and evolving requirements for incremental “specialists” within teams, brought about by the new tech capabilities we highlighted earlier – everything from data science to machine learning, precision targeting, algorithmic bidding, personalisation and systems integration. These are areas of talent that Hybrid Theory is both familiar with and has already invested in over time.


“Technology is best when it brings people together”

Let us build on this quote and headline by Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress. Technology is not just best when it brings people together through brilliant end-user experiences, or through human and intuitive operating UI (user interface). Technology is simply better when it is powered and harnessed by talent who understands the interests and motivations of people – as audiences or clients.

Technology is really just a means to an end, not the solution itself, and as such we should all look to place an overemphasis on the role that the best talent can play in extracting maximum value from that technology, in order to realise benefits for brands and agencies.

Technology is not a replacement to people. By example, automation can drive better, more efficient workflows, freeing up time to do more of what people are great at – strategy, insights, customer understanding, problem solving, creativity, and so on.

We must never forget that a technology business is also a people business. It is only as good as the talent that we have and the human beings that we empower as users, customers or audiences.


What does technology and talent mean at Hybrid Theory?

We are a champion of the smart use and application of technology – to make operations and outcomes simpler and more integrated, and to drive the very best performance for our clients. In tandem, we believe that our tech-powered, data-fuelled advertising industry is also a people business. Our people will make the difference in the marketplace – in being able to harness smart technology with client and industry understanding – with thoughtfulness, insight and creativity.

Hybrid Theory is a new breed of digital services partner for brands and agencies, offering flexible solutions, hands-on support and independent managed execution.

We harness the best combinations of technology and talent to power smarter, data-driven advertising across the full customer journey, making the complex simple.