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Why There’s a Major Disconnect Between the Marketing and Tech Worlds

By Arun Kumar

I’ve had a ringside seat to one of the most riveting parts of the advertising ecosystem. If I were to extricate myself from my position and develop temporary amnesia, I believe I would find the entire ‘ecosystem’ comedic—though many would argue that the sums of money involved are anything but a laughing matter.

The ad-tech ecosystem has given rise to the popular belief that tech is easy. And when I say tech, I am including data, which is almost inseparable in today’s landscape. The ‘tech is easy’ hypothesis comes from the belief that it’s all as simple as the flick of a switch, elimination of full-time employees and improvement of efficiency (with cheaper costs to boot). And while some of that is accurate, most of it is not.

The tech falls short of the sales story. Walled gardens don’t help. Tagging restrictions, inventory availability and other such artificially imposed but very real obstacles make it worse.

Imagine getting invited to a concert with the promise of a perfect Beethoven symphony. It turns out that all the violins play together beautifully, but in order to get the trombone going, the conductor has to physically tap the player on the shoulder to get her started. On top of that, the trombone player comes from the school of Bach—she can’t play Beethoven at the same level—and it’s Beethoven that the crowd actually paid for. Far short of a perfect symphony, right?

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