Dmexco decoded: growth tech - the tools to make the marketer the hero

Learning the ins and outs of growth tech will enable marketers to meet stakeholders' high expectations for measurable results

Adam Berke, president and CMO, founding team, AdRoll
Adam Berke, president and CMO, founding team, AdRoll

Forget about "marketing tech" and "ad tech", now it’s all about "growth tech". By now, you’ve probably heard about the concept of a "growth team". 

High-profile companies such as Airbnb, Facebook and Uber have popularised the notion of these teams and, slowly but surely, the practice is making its way out of the Silicon Valley bubble and into the standard organisation chart. 

A growth team is a group of people – including technical marketers, engineers, analysts and product designers – with diverse skill sets, who focus on increasing the company’s growth. They work with one another, and with various segments within the organisation, to influence virtually every part of the business—from product to operations and marketing. 

With the spread of these growth teams, there’s an emerging ecosystem of tools and technology that supports their work. I’ll propose that we call the collection of these tools growth tech. Think of it as including what you’d traditionally think about as ad tech and marketing tech (which we know is a silly distinction), as well as analytics tools and other products that facilitate communication with your customers.

Accountability brings responsibility
There are several reasons why marketers need to pay attention to growth tech and the evolution associated with it. One is that marketing organisations are becoming increasingly revenue-accountable. The chief marketing officer now partners more closely the chief executive and chief finance officer and is empowered to make technology decisions. With this accountability comes great responsibility. These stakeholders have high expectations in terms of data and measurable results. Learning the ins and outs of growth tech will help the marketer meet these expectations.

Second, as marketing as a discipline evolves from analogue to digital, leveraging data is becoming the name of the game. Digital businesses generate tremendous amounts of data, from website and
app-usage metrics to data on audiences and marketing campaigns. Growth tech helps businesses collect that data and turn it into action. Pioneers in this category include Optimizely (A/B testing), Segment
(data integration), Hubspot (inbound marketing) and my company, AdRoll (performance marketing). They enable experimentation, iteration and measurement that can drive the one metric every business cares about – growth.

Finally, while great creative will always be core to successful marketing, the discipline as a whole is becoming more technical. This isn’t about humans vs machines, despite that being a popular trope for inspiring fear (and clickthroughs). No, agencies aren’t going to be replaced by an algorithm. It’s about humans using machines to amplify their output. Understanding and leveraging growth tech can be a differentiator that separates your business from the competition. 

As we move into the second half of the digital marketing evolution, the people who adopt technology faster will win over those who don’t. The next generation of marketing is entirely about growth. Marketing leaders who learn how to leverage the new tools of the trade will become massive assets that have a tangible impact on actual business metrics. Growth tech is here to make the marketer the hero.

Key Growth facts

  • A growth team is a group of people – including technical marketers, engineers, analysts and product designers – who have diverse skill sets and focus on maximising the company’s growth.
  • Silicon Valley giants, such as Airbnb, Facebook and Uber, popularised the concept of growth teams.
  • Traditional marketers will need to work in tandem with growth engineers/teams in order to stay relevant. 
  • The next generation of marketing is entirely  about growth.

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