Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why fragmentation is throttling innovation

Ahead of our Dragon’s Den-style Innovation Sessions event, where innovative tech companies will have the chance to pitch their solutions to agencies and brands, we talk to the judges to discover their views on innovation in our industry.

Seun Odeneye, Managing Director, UK & Ireland at IPG-owned Matterkind, discusses what is most exciting, and frustrating, to him when it comes to tech innovation in marketing and advertising.

What are you most hoping to see from the pitches at the NDA Innovation Sessions event?

I love the idea of having multiple companies pitching and seeing all the new potential opportunities for our industry in one place. It will be great to be overwhelmed by smart technology that will help us move forward and innovate in this space.

What are the biggest challenges for agencies and brands in finding and deploying the best technical innovations?

Time and fragmentation. Time because out of 10 new ideas or innovations presented to us, perhaps one may have a use to my clients. It’s difficult taking multiple meetings when you have your day job, and then having to find the ideas/innovation that will truly add value. I would say fragmentation is also a big challenge. There are probably three different ways that fragmentation is challenging technical innovation:

  • Firstly, closed ecosystems. Our clients want to navigate around different closed ecosystems to find their potential customers, but the technology makes this a huge challenge.
  • Second, channel silos. Search, social, display, video and so on are all considered in isolation with different measures and KPIs and there is a desperate need to break these silos down and put the user at the heart of all that we do.
  • Lastly, there is a fragmentation of people – this typically happens in agencies (some I have come across in the past) and client-side. They are all thinking about their own single part of the business. They work on how they can solve their own individual problems rather than looking at how technology can work holistically and connect the dots.

What tech innovation have you been most excited about so far this year?

The tech innovation that has most excited me this year has been one developed in-house. We have developed a solution with a suite of applications, called Mastermind. One of the applications allows clients to have one single budget that can go across search, social, display, connected TV, DOOH and more, and optimises fluidly towards a business outcome. 

What hyped tech innovation have you been most disappointed in over the last year?

Disappointed sounds a little harsh; maybe underwhelmed is the right word.  I won’t call anyone out specifically, but I see so many underwhelming ideas that simply cannot help me meet my clients business needs.

I have been partially underwhelmed by brand safety and measurement tools across connected TV; everyone wants to jump into this space but in reality there is a disparity between what you are sold vs what the tools can actually do.

What impact has the pandemic had on innovation in our industry?

Optimistically I am hoping with all this time on their hands somewhere in the world there are very smart people in a room socially distancing (obviously) thinking, planning and creating the next big idea that will really help my clients innovate and deliver their future business needs. 

In reality I am not seeing this, but rather I’m seeing new people pushing very similar ideas. However, this doesn’t mean that innovation isn’t happening behind the scenes.