The Coming Era of Adaptive Personalization with Tony Ferreira

Michael Hartmann: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Opscast brought to you by MarketingOps. com and powered by the MoPros. I am your host, Michael Hartmann joined today by co host Mike Rizzo. Hey everybody. Super excited to be here per the usual. You seem to be in pretty good shape considering I know you were, you were out partying last night, Mike.

Mike Rizzo: I was out. You’re right. Yeah. This is, this is the morning after a, uh, a pavilion dinner that I decided to attend. Finally.

Michael Hartmann: Oh, Sam will be happy. Yeah.

Mike Rizzo: So shout out to pavilion. Nice job. Pulled together a dinner. I had to take the train down to San Diego, but, uh,

Michael Hartmann: Rough times. Rough times. All right. Well, today we are going to be talking about something I actually have.

Like this is going to be really interesting. I think for those of us, if you’re like me, you don’t really know about adaptive personalization and our guest today is Tony Ferreira. You know what, Antonio, I just realized I should have asked how to pronounce your name, but I think I got it. You did a great job.

That was perfect. So he is currently a senior growth [00:01:00] director at WillowTree, a consultancy agency. He is primarily responsible for the growth of Growth of their Adobe practice area. He has 15 plus years in technology, marketing, data, strategy, e commerce and product ownership experience. Prior to joining Willowtree, Tony held various leadership and management roles in agencies and consultancies, as well as being in the house.

He’s an avid consumer of content and is always looking for ways to apply what he’s learned through reading, listening, et cetera, uh, to his current roles and team. So Tony, thanks for joining us.

Tony Ferreira: Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m also an ambassador for Marketing Ops Slack channel. Yep. There you go.

Mike Rizzo: Sure is.

There’s some, there’s some, uh, really solid content you’ve actually put on the blog too. So, uh, we’ll make sure to link to that in the show notes for people. Well,

Michael Hartmann: I’m also an ambassador, but I was, I told Mike, I was too lazy to write. So that’s what I’m doing right now. So I’m doing this podcast instead.

Yeah. Cause this

Tony Ferreira: is way less work. Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: That’s more [00:02:00] my, it’s more my, my style, right? Yeah. So my, my little secret is I nearly, I nearly failed like, I think it was seventh grade English because I refused to diagram sentences. So I don’t even know if they still do that now. I don’t even know if they do. I don’t even know if they

Mike Rizzo: still do that, but I know what you’re saying, cause like you break them down or whatever.


Michael Hartmann: So anyway, so there you go, a little something new about you today, dirty little secret. All right. Well, so Tony, one of the things we we’ve liked to do with everybody, cause we’ve found there’s not a lot of consistency with how people end up in marketing operations or some of these roles. So I’d like to start with a little background on your career, like a little bit of a journey.

Um, Because I know you’ve been through a lot of different roles, but the one that caught my, uh, attention when, when I was kind of prepping for this is that at one point you worked with a school. It looks like maybe it was a part time thing where you were, you coached, was it lacrosse and you were an athletic director, trainer, strength coach, right?

So I’m really [00:03:00] curious, not only about that, but just like, how did you get into that, but also is there anything from that, that you, you kind of apply to your, your now current profession?

Tony Ferreira: Yeah, I was kind of like The slash, right? Where it was like multiple roles. I was actually the freshman health teacher, assistant athletic director, strength coach, and varsity lacrosse coach.


Michael Hartmann: Like freshman health coach or health teacher. Like I have, I have kids who are in that kind of in that age range. And like, I would never want to be even close to that right now.

Tony Ferreira: It was. Very challenging, right? Because you’re that’s like at that age, they’re starting to get like the opinion to speak out against.

the teacher and everything else. And I was actually at a private school. So we were like sort of doing debates and things and it was just really interesting to hear the kids point of views. But I always tell people because they always ask, you know, Oh, when you were doing [00:04:00] that, how did that sort of migrate over to your professional career?

I get, and I always tell people the things you will learn in dealing with high school students that then teach you how to manage adults. Like, it’s so much harder to deal with high school kids because there’s so many emotions, so much change in such a short amount of time, like so many things like, oh, my girlfriend, boyfriend made me sad.

Now I’m like, Done. But then when you work with adults, you’re like, get over it, but you can’t really do that with them. So from a management perspective, it just gave me like a really interesting insight to people because I learned how to work with so many diverse personalities and temperaments that most people don’t get.

Michael Hartmann: I was trying to Yeah, definitely. Well, it’s funny. I always had a big grin on my face because I’ve thought for a while like raising like young children, like you will appreciate this gives you a whole lot of insight in how to deal with [00:05:00] adult human beings in the workplace because there’s not a whole lot of difference in some cases.

Mike Rizzo: There are moments I will say. I’ve

Tony Ferreira: been in situations, yes. Yeah, yeah. So,

Michael Hartmann: all right, uh, tell us like, so beyond that, right, you’ve covered a lot of ground in your career that led you to, to where you are now. So maybe a couple

Tony Ferreira: of minutes through that. Yeah. So I was actually doing freelance marketing while I was working at the school and then it sort of just became a thing that I was like, you know what, there’s really no money in education.

I’m probably going to shift over. So I shifted to the agency world. And I kind of started out doing like web design, paid media, like just that SEO, right? Like the beginnings, and this was like 2008 ish. Um, Google Analytics, all that. And I kind of just kept like moving. And every time I saw some future in something, whether it was analytics, Or Martech or something else.

I just kind of shifted or learned and kind of told companies like, hey, this is the [00:06:00] future. You need to focus on this. When they said, no, I said, okay, we’re done here. I’m going to go over here because they want to do this. And I kind of kept doing that. Um, so it gave me a background where I got to work with the CMOs, CTOs, CIOs.

CEOs, like I’ve been underneath all of them, which has been an interesting kind of path for me. Because when I get into these situations now as a, as a consultant, sometimes for people, I know what the IT and engineering and business and analytics and marketing side all want, because I worked for them, right?

And I felt the tension that was there. So I have this unique skill, luckily, to be able to kind of speak the language of all of them. So I know how to do like app development a little bit and web development, marketing and analytics. So I’ve kind of just progressed up and I’ve actually done, um, I’ve worked in some large enterprise global organizations, medium sized companies, but also some startups like my last two companies.

We’re startups that I sort of [00:07:00] helped get acquire by redoing their MarTech, their EBITDA, um, calculations around marketing performance. Right. And helping them just get acquired. So like, I’ve been able to run the gamut two of the size of companies, which has been a really interesting experience for me to bring to.

Michael Hartmann: That’s yeah, it’s interesting. Um, well you hit on EBITDA, which like, as Mike knows, like I’m going to jump on that bandwagon. Like I think we, in fact, I think we have an upcoming guest is we’re going to be talking about the value of like understanding finance as a marketing professional and marketing ops in particular.


Mike Rizzo: for, for those listening, uh, Tony, you want to, you want to say what EBITDA actually stands for? If you

Tony Ferreira: remember. Earnings, people are, interest, interest and tax, basically, yeah. Appreciation and amortization, yeah.

Mike Rizzo: Earnings before interest, tax, and amortization,

Tony Ferreira: yeah. I will tell you this. [00:08:00] Anytime I’ve heard EBITDA, nobody explains what it is, like the actual name of it, but everybody knows how it impacts the business.

Yeah. Right. So it’s like, whatever the, the acronym stands for, probably everybody has a different thing, but like how it impacts the business. They know that to a T. Right.

Michael Hartmann: Yep.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. There’s, there’s like, uh, I work with this, uh, Venture Studio right now, uh, helping to build out some, some newer startups. And, and actually I’m mostly helping the Venture Studio try to, you know, put some legs underneath them from a tech perspective.

Um, and the CEO and founder of that organization, uh, shared some knowledge with me and if I can find it, I’ll put it in the show notes for everybody, but there’s like a very clear Um, correlation between your, your EBITDA and the way that it all breaks down and like success in your business. Like the, there’s like a formula you can literally put down on paper.

And if you can [00:09:00] get your business to fall into that formula and hit the target, like you will end up having some sort of successful outcome is like the majority of the time. I think it’s like 80 percent of the time. It’s crazy.

Michael Hartmann: That’s a solid correlation there.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah, it’s, it’s pretty awesome. So yeah,

Michael Hartmann: interesting.

Uh, I’m now I’m, now I’m curious on what that is.

Tony Ferreira: I’m

Mike Rizzo: going to go poke around while we’re on the

Michael Hartmann: show. See if Mike’s not paying attention now. So, okay. So, um, let’s get into this. So the, the topic does your, uh, for this is. called adaptive personalization. And so I think what triggered this was Tony, you had posted, I don’t remember it was an article or a post on LinkedIn.

And by the way, I tried to find it again and I could not get to it. So we may have to try to, if it’s still out there, Tony, we may need your help to get it into the show notes, but. It was kind of, that was sparked the interest in having this conversation. So why don’t we start with that? Like, I think we’ve all heard personalization.

We probably all [00:10:00] like CRM, right? It probably means different things to different people. Um, but once you walk through adaptive personalization, what does that mean? And why, why should we care about it? Especially as marketing

Tony Ferreira: ops folks. Yeah. So, you know, I’ve been working in the analytics personalization space for a long time, and it’s been that keyword on a lot of businesses, right?

It was like. How do we personalize X, right? And you can put whatever channel you want in there. But every time I’ve heard about it, it’s always been this, like, large personalization of a group of people that you’re trying to personalize to. But today, a lot of the technology is, especially around, like, CDPs, are enhancing the capability to do this one to one personalization.

But that even has sort of, like, a roadblock to it, right? Because I want to personalize to you today. But tomorrow you change the things you do, right? But I’m still personalizing to who you were today, but [00:11:00] tomorrow you’re different. So this, this idea of adaptive personalization is. The consistent updating of data so that who you’re personalizing to is the right behavior, mindset, activity, information, whatever, for that state of mind at that moment for that person.

Um, and that’s really what the, what the whole critical piece is behind this is just making sure the data is updated because, you know, I, I am a culprit of this 100%. Today I will go view, look at reviews and do my research and all this stuff before I buy anything, but then tonight my wife might be like, just buy something.

And then tomorrow my behavior changes completely. So how you would have marketed to me yesterday is not going to work. You know, the next day, so it’s making sure that things are fresh, um, to, to stay with the behavior that is happening at the moment. So [00:12:00]

Michael Hartmann: conceptually, this makes sense to me, but I’m trying to wrap my head around, like, is it, is there an example you could point us and our listeners to, uh, maybe a company or somebody that’s doing, is this like a, is this a web experience thing or is it go broader than that?

I guess that maybe that’s another question related to this.

Tony Ferreira: It’s, it’s more broad, right? So think about, like, hotels are notorious for this, right? It’s like, you call in and you get 50, 000 points, if you remember. Then you get an email for 25, 000 points. Then you get something in the mail the same day for 125, 000 points, right?

But you’re not even looking to book anything, right? They’re just, like, throwing information at you, because the other day you might have, like, looked at a room or something like that, but you were like, Maybe just like looking to look. So a lot of the information is misguided. So, what this approach is, is saying, yeah, we have all that data, but [00:13:00] based on what you are telling us you need now, that’s how we’re going to personalize.

Because I don’t know if you guys have felt this, but I’ve gotten personalizations on websites and ads and everything else, where I’m like, I was doing this a week ago. This has nothing to do with me now. Right? And it’s usually because the data just isn’t updated or there’s no centralized profile about me.

Which is another, I can give you a good example for that, um, My wife, she was on Walgreens. com trying to get a coupon. She would do it, it was there. She went to the cart, it was there. Went to checkout, it was there, but it wasn’t taking anything off. She called, they hung up on her. She called again, they told her to just purchase it and they’d refund her.

She called a third time and the lady said, Oh, you’re all your accounts are not synced together. So you’ve three accounts that don’t combine. This coupon was actually connected to you. Another account that you didn’t sign in with. She was like, just [00:14:00] give me the coupon. It was for like toothpaste or something.

It was like, come on, like work with me. But that’s like, they’re, they’re still doing some personalization there, but it’s like, Oh, To the wrong person. So,

Mike Rizzo: and it’s like, it is that person, right? Like, this is, this is who this is. Right? Yeah, that’s so, so interesting. I, um, I, I was talking about this in, uh, there’s like these little huddles that are put on.

Darryl Alfonso works with Tao and them over at this community thing that they do with Uptempo. Um, so I joined this huddle this week and one of the topics was like, or one of the questions for us was, uh, about sort of the future of MarTech and like where things are going. And, uh, this was actually one of the things that I brought up where I said, like, I think personalization.

Like, hyper personalization, uh, down to the individual is, [00:15:00] is going to be something that is increasingly, like, more at the forefront of an organization, but certainly, uh, within the lens of Your responsibility in marketing operations and, and, and RevOps broadly is trying to figure out how do you create a system that allows for that degree of, of super hyper personalization and, um, I’m trying not to speak in, in super high theoretical terms, because I know that that’s annoying for listeners, but, uh, we don’t have all the solutions in place today.

I will say, I have seen, I’m going to just say the name of the company cause I like what they’re doing. I don’t, I don’t know, you know, when they’ll be fully like as robust as what their potential could be. But, um, it’s a group called air traffic control. They’re like brand new, um, super, super early stage, but the types of like the moat that they’re building in their [00:16:00] business around the things that are very aligned to what you’re talking about.

Tony. It’s part of the reason why I’m saying, Hey, I’m seeing something happening in the market. They’re identifying me as an individual and they’re looking at my call it the social graph, but it’s like sort of unique to our organization, marketing ops. com, right? So like Tony, you are a member in our database in HubSpot.

We are HubSpot customers. I know. Because we’ve cookied and we can see the things that you’re engaging with, right? Topically, if we’re feeding all of that information into your one record from an analytics perspective, I can watch the ebb and flow of your interests of categories. And if there’s a system on the backend supporting that, right?

I can now hyper personalize my next communication to you based on the thing that you are more likely to have interest in coming up. [00:17:00] Right. Like you’ve already consumed a bunch of this other stuff and you’re starting to show a signal that you’re potentially interested in these tangential topics. Call it like the transition from marketing ops manager to VP or something.

Right. Just as a way of an example, um, we might then drop that article to someone else’s website, perhaps, right? Like it doesn’t even have to be our own content. If we’ve got partners that are creating that content and we know that it exists and it’s valuable. We want to pull that in and help give you that resource.

Right. And so like this type of technology, I think is going to be sort of at the, at the forefront and maybe that’s a stretch from what we were talking about just now, but like, like,

Tony Ferreira: that’s what I’m doing, like that, the piece that you talked about, that next thing, right. That’s really, to me, where the adaptive piece comes in.

And it’s a piece that connects to what everybody in the entire world is talking about around like AI machine learning. Right. Is when you pull that into it, now you can say from what [00:18:00] we know and the changes you have made over time, here’s what we want to provide to you next. Right. And some people call it like next best service or next best offer or something like that.

Right. But like next best whatever. Um, but you want to be, it’s, it’s critical to be adaptive. Because I’m changing, I’m on my computer, I’m on my iPhone, you know, whatever. I’m walking around, I’m doing things. So like the environment, the things I’m doing, if you pull that in, those are critical data points that pull on the emotion of me, which actually increases the likelihood to purchase or take an action.


Michael Hartmann: so, so, so I just, I think I’m, it’s finally, I think it’s finally clicking for me when the adaptive part is what’s been. Like trying to, I’ve been wrapping my head around, it’s essentially like we want to personalize on maybe we had tagged you based on some stuff, right? You’re a certain profile and that’s like, once you’re set, that’s where you’re at, unless some major change happens.

But I think what you’re talking about is [00:19:00] adapting that personalization, I’ll call it in real time. I know it’s not real time, but close to real time based on like most recent kinds of behaviors and actions, right? Is that, is that the adaptive part? Is that in my room?

Tony Ferreira: Close. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So like a lot of places like a profile for me is static.

Yeah. Right. And there’s like little bits of information that kind of gets piled in on like a 24 hour basis, a week, whatever that gets updated. But it’s like my loyalty status or something I purchased. But there’s so many other things I’m doing that gives you critical data points. What I’m looking for now that is missed because people use these like bigger data things that are typically used for personalization to focus on those.

And then they miss the changes that have happened over the last hour, day, or something that indicates what my change is, [00:20:00] because what you see, right, is like. People will do something, add something to cart, and then they leave. And then everybody thinks the first thing you have to do is tell them that they left something in their cart.

And like a lot of people want to do that in real time. And I’m like, why would you do that? Like, I purposely left it in my cart for a reason. I’m not ready to buy yet. You telling me is going to piss me off and make me be like, okay, I’m out. I’m going to the next person. But if you do other things that my data tells you, other than just remind me something’s in my cart, I’m probably going to purchase a little bit sooner than I would have.

Michael Hartmann: Okay. So I think, okay, so luckily I got that one sort of right, I think. So, so, okay, that all makes sense to me at kind of a individual level, right? It’s like as if you were going to your local, whatever, store in your town and you go there enough that they get to know about you and they know what you need almost.

Okay. So that, you know, doing that in sort of more of a digital way, how does that, like, I think the way that, Okay. [00:21:00] Obvious questions then is how’s that scale? And I think personalization at scale is something that I think is a term that you you shared with me I’ve heard like is that is it the same thing?

Is it a different thing? Is it is it tangential like what’s the

Tony Ferreira: How’s that fit in? Yeah, so for me that like the term personalization at scale I have always heard in the context of like making sure we can hit more people with personalization But it’s never been around. How do I personalize to each person separately?

Yeah. Right. It’s been more of like, I want to personalize on a one to one to everybody, but companies forget, like people are so unique and so different. And I think we started to learn that with like COVID and like. Remote and everything else going on that. Now they’re starting to think about, like, maybe it’s not personalization at scale.

Maybe it’s my to your point, like, hyper personalization or this [00:22:00] adaptive piece or a connection of the 2 because it’s not about personalizing to everybody. Because some people don’t want that, but it’s doing it to the right audience the right way. With the data points you have, so to me, personalization at scale has always been more of this like broad, like, way to talk about personalization and kind of get buy in from executives, because if you talk about this more like adaptive or hyper, it kind of just goes right over their heads.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. Well, and personalization, you know, it used to just be, it was two things at, at, at one point, right? There was like sort of two, two ways to think about it. One, one was. the bucketing of these individuals into these, um, categories, right? Like, uh, you know, car enthusiast, right? Like I worked in ad tech, right?

So like there were definitely swaths of cookied individuals that you could target on [00:23:00] ad networks that fell into these different buckets, right? They were like car enthusiasts, sports enthusiasts, like. Whatever, right? That’s a big way to think about personalization because they’re lumping you into a category and so we sort of know based on your Footprint across a website we could potentially target you with ads because you’re this type of person that’s interested in these types of things That’s that’s a degree of personalization And then there was at the same time in the b2b land Uh, there was, hey, first name, first name was personalization.

Michael Hartmann: Like that was personalization. I was wondering if you were going to say that, because if you weren’t, I was going to like, it was a third.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. No. So like that, that, that was personalization to us. Right. Drop in any data point that you know about that individual and like personalize the email, whether it’s their company name or their first name or whatever.

Um, and that was helpful for a while. Like people love, [00:24:00] you put somebody’s name somewhere in the middle of an email, their eyes, of course, going to get drawn to that. Uh, and it still works today. But that’s not like really personalization, right? Like that the content is still the same message, no matter what you, you had a B2B business might still bucket them into a persona category of based on title or buying cycle, lifecycle stage, product usage, whatever, but it’s not truly like, I know.

You know, I’ll just like hark back to my sort of experience at Mavenlink, right? Like Tony, you might’ve been a customer of Mavenlink project management software, right? Um, I may want to send a campaign to folks that signed up for a particular plan, but. But within our ability to target the individual users, I would prefer that I guide Tony to use the next feature that would best enable him to adopt the product versus to Michael here who maybe has already used that feature, right?

I want to guide him to the other ones that [00:25:00] maybe Tony’s already used. In fact, I would love for us to be able to like connect the two of you to be able to talk about why you should use those two features, right? But like that level of granularity on an individual record, that data point just is like impossible, right, to store, right?

It’s not another field that you store on the record. It’s I mean, it has to be to some degree, but it’s like really, really difficult to manage. Um, and I think that’s the kind of personalization that we’re trying to work towards right now, right? Like we’re reaching a new era and I think the compute power is getting there.

The CDP sort of data warehouse thing is what’s helping to enable that. And I feel like a lot more warehouse native applications are going to help us. Um, but there’s, I don’t know, I don’t know what products are in market that can actually do this stuff today. It’s like, it seems a little ethereal right now.


Tony Ferreira: So, yeah, it’s very different kinds of personalization. It’s also the data, right? Like that’s the other piece of [00:26:00] this is like, Most companies, large enterprises, even fall into this. Like their data is pretty much garbage, right? Like they have no way because what they’ve done over the years is they’ve like, okay, siloed team, go get your view of your customers, this team over here, go get your views.

And now they’re like. Hey, let’s put all that together. And you’re like, none of it works. Like we have to change something fundamentally at the business to get that to work. So that’s why I like with these platforms, it’s like, yeah, these are great. They’re doing a lot. And, but people are like, Oh, but my CDP isn’t doing exactly what.

We wanted to do. And it’s like, cause your data is the problem.

Michael Hartmann: Okay. So Mike, you mentioned, right? Tech technology might be coming to the point where it can enable some of this. I think this has been like, if you go back, I don’t know, probably 15, 20 years ago, the idea of like, Customer 360 was the term, right?

That this was like, this is what this is, right? It’s like the reality of [00:27:00] it, realization of it. But I want to put a pin on one thing. I want to come back to privacy concerns related to this at some point. So just like insecurity. But, um, I think we’ll get that into that a little bit later. But like, what are, like, is this something that’s realistic for people?

You know, our listeners today, is this something where there’s technology that could enable this, whether it’s B2C, B2B, do they need to be enterprise? Is there stuff that could work at, you know, earlier stage companies, maybe not startups, but like, what’s the, what’s the status of the technology space for all this?

Tony Ferreira: Yeah, I mean, the difference is right as, so when you sort of expand from like startup to medium size, to medium sized enterprise, to enterprise, whatever, the platforms get more expensive. Because they are require less maintenance for you to handle do these things, right? So, like, at the highest level, right?

You’ve got [00:28:00] Adobe, which is in most of these enterprises, which has created this sort of, like, data lake, CDP and other ecosystem that is building some of this stuff out. Very expensive. But that’s because you’re paying for those capabilities in the platform and then you implement it and use it and Adobe worries about doing it.

When you get a little bit lower than that, you’ve got like your segment and particle amplitudes, right, that are like starting to come up. But the scale of the amount of data and things make those a little bit more difficult for enterprises to use. But they’re still creating this like persona or profile that like is a better way to connect a user.

But you just have to have like more systems on top of it to really create that single view, whereas like Adobe is doing everything in one. Then at the lower level, a lot of companies are like they’re trying to use some Google Cloud platforms to build their own view of the customer, which gets, [00:29:00] you know, there’s a lot of manual error potential.

There’s You know, database costs and all these things where you’re almost like trying to build what these other players are doing, but it is at least a start. And I think the most critical thing is like when people start a business, they just think about revenue, right? They’re not thinking about how do I identify a customer?

That always comes later. Like the website is data starts coming in and they’re like, I want to see everybody. And we’re like, well, we can’t. So that’s always forgotten. And somehow, even with enterprises, it just continues up the ladder. Until like I come in and I’m like, change all of this. Like, it’s just bad.

It’s not going to work. There’s no platform you can buy to fix this. Like you have to fix it as a business. So there are platforms out there. It’s just when you, if you want it all in one, it’s going to be expensive. If you want a piecemeal, it’s gonna get less expensive, but have a little bit more like owned [00:30:00] maintenance and control and like monitoring and all that.

So it’s, it’s coming. It just really depends on what people want to pay. Like Adobe, I am biased in that sense. I will say that a hundred percent because I run the Adobe practice, but I’ve worked with 250 other MarTech platforms. Right. And I don’t think someone should ever go with just Adobe. I say that to everybody, but it is doing all this in one system.

Because it costs a lot. So they’re putting that effort in. I do think, just like their other platforms, that in about three to four years, The price point will come down where medium you’ll start to see more medium sized enterprises going the adobe route.

Got it.

Michael Hartmann: Okay, that’s that’s really helpful. So, I mean, it’s if it’s not, it’s sort of it’s real. If you’ve got money spend right in the commitment to it. Um, and if you want to spend less money. [00:31:00] Wait a couple of years. Hopefully

Tony Ferreira: it’s gonna throw more people at it, which still costs a little bit more.

Michael Hartmann: Right, right, exactly.

Um, okay. So another challenge that I see with this, and I think you and I talked a little bit about this, Tony, is I like the idea. So at the end of the day, right, we’ve got all this data points. It’s, um, we’re tracking what people are doing. So we’re adapting to their doing. Right. Most recent behavior and we want to either serve content or provide some, you know, it’s been essentially content, but like the content we provide is gonna be different or the experience is gonna be different.

So my sort of initial sort of concern about that is like, okay, well. Like, I have been in very few places where they could even do A B testing because getting two versions of a piece of content was hard. So now, like, I’m imagining, like, this is a bunch of really, like, small pieces and some machines putting them together in the right way based on behavior.

I mean, I don’t know if I’m Even close [00:32:00] to reality of what, how it works, but strikes me as like that part of like, how do we then adapt our content production to match that is another challenge and all this

Tony Ferreira: it is, except what’s really interesting is the content supply chain idea. Is way more.

Michael Hartmann: So first off, I’m a, like, is that a, is that your term content supply chain?

Because I love

Tony Ferreira: that. Uh, it is not, I will not take credit for it. Um, it’s a term like Adobe uses it and some of the other technical platforms use it, like a lot of um, CMS platforms and stuff leverage it. Right, okay. But the content supply chain is how they call it. Sorry, I interrupted you. Basically that is, um, that is more a reality today.

Then this more like centralized, unified profile of a person, right? Like that has been the basis of a lot of these like AI things you’ve seen where it’s [00:33:00] like, be able to create a lot of content very simply for one person or one use case, and then distribute that out. The most critical thing that I think is going to happen with all of that, right?

Is like, you have the ability to create a lot of content now with AI that’s built into tools with other things, right? is a centralized place to store all of it and then leverage a profile of a user to map the right content to. What happens is, and I’m sure, Mike Rizzo, you’ve seen this just in your days of marketing, is like, when you try to match content to a user, it’s like job title, interest, and it’s like one piece of content.

But if you had a repository of all the content you’ve used, Emails whatever and then a profile of people and you had this system that just kind of like kept matching it Now all you do is just add into your repository and you’re [00:34:00] just constantly matching and sending content out That’s going to be the most critical thing and that’s what a lot of these companies are trying to build in their ecosystems is like Use a dam or some sort of repository, get your content in, and then match it out to these profiles and let the system do it from an activation standpoint.

And then you kind of like sit back, watch, monitor, and can like measure performance and make changes. But like It takes a lot of that guesswork out that used to be marketing a little bit, which is kind of interesting to me. Yeah.

Mike Rizzo: The, uh, I was fortunate. Yeah, I think fortunate is the right term. To work in, uh, digital asset management for just a hot second.

Um, and it was a, it was a startup here in Orange County. Um, still around. It’s called Orange Logic if anybody wants to check them out. They, they’re super powerful, really cool. Damn. Uh, and. I have to say, like, I learned a [00:35:00] lot about, for obvious reasons, right, when you’re working at a company, you sort of have to learn their industry, particularly in a marketing role.

Um, but the idea of, like, taxonomies and, like, things that we, we talk about from, like, a naming conventions perspective as, like, a marketing ops professional, you, you basically are talking about taxonomy. Right? Like it’s, it’s essentially the same thing. You have a structure of database and you are trying to label and curate, uh, and manage and organize a whole bunch of assets, uh, digital assets.

And that part, like the whole damn taxonomy manager Profession that’s that person that exists to help do that thing. First of all, it’s like incredibly complicated Um, and the second of all like the the more that that can be enabled in a business uh The more likely we are to be able to achieve the types of personalization we’re talking about But it’s [00:36:00] just it’s like like this is something that the air traffic control ceo and I talked about right?

It’s like fundamentally like people do not Create a taxonomy for their go to market content. Like they create campaigns and then they launch them. Maybe they report on them a couple of weeks after they launch, maybe not. They certainly don’t look back over the last three years and say, all right, categorically speaking, we launched these types of content programs with this taxonomy code, right?

Relatively speaking, over the last three years, which of those Labels that we put on these content really seem to resonate with our audience. They’re looking at the company Persona, they’re looking at who spent the most money. They’re not looking at Oh what brought them here and like what was that most aligned to?

Right? Like what was the taxonomy of how that content resonated? [00:37:00] Somebody’s got to figure out how to enable that and then do that job.

Michael Hartmann: Thinking about it that way. This is where librarians need to come into marketing more, right?

Mike Rizzo: I’m, I’m like, really, I’m not, I met some of them at digital asset management.


Michael Hartmann: no, I.

Tony Ferreira: They exist. No,

Michael Hartmann: I know they do. Like, I’m not, I’m, I was not joking. I think it would be useful. I think there’s a lot of that, right? Incredibly useful. Yeah. Okay. Uh, okay. So you, Tony, you mentioned you brought up the buzzwords of, of late, right? AI, machine learning. Um, how, Like, do you see, like, is that already playing a part in making some of this come to reality?

Or will it, you think, in the future? And what do you, like, what’s your, do you have any predictions on what, like, what’s going to happen over the course of the next few years on that?

Tony Ferreira: Yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, like, so, like, even my company, Willitry, is making a big investment in AI and around voice and things like that.[00:38:00]

And it’s getting traction. I mean, it just has to, right. Everybody’s talking about doing it. Government’s talking about like it’s everywhere. Platforms are also starting to build it into their products, right? So it’s less of something you need to think about and just a part, like it’s a feature. That you’ll start using where I’ve seen it though is like around this like content creation piece So it’s like oh build more campaigns build more content.

Um build images, right? The one thing that I think is missing that i’m hoping is the future state of this is like Here’s our personas Here’s our customer profiles Learn from those and distribute the content for those people, right? So it’s like, it’s like taking what we’re building, because right now it’s more like, you know, like I watch people use like chat GPT all the time.

And it’s like, write this thing for an audience that is a marketing professional. And it’s like, [00:39:00] it’s like hundreds of thousands of people. But like, if you could then build that same capacity where it’s like, continue to write campaigns. And test them for the people who exist in this audience, not the audience, but the people, the exact profiles.

And again, they’re changing attributes and those things. So it’s like the ad that you send out today might actually change tomorrow or the next day. Right. So it’s like this constant iteration that can test because. The trouble I have with A. I. Is it’s not emotional, right? And people buy emotionally. So if you’re always going to use this non emotional content, I have this fear that it’s probably not going to have a huge return on investment unless there’s somebody like fact checking it to make sure the context and the emotion is in there to match to the person.

Right? So that’s sort of like it. The two pieces that really need to come together somehow is like, how do you get more emotion in your AI? [00:40:00] Human, right? Has to be. And then how do you leverage it to connect to these profiles and personas to do a better job of matching content and reiterating it and testing in real time?

Michael Hartmann: That’s, yeah, it’s that idea that, you know, there’s the humanities taken out of it, um, and that the emotional part, um, that’s going to be really interesting to see how that plays out. I mean, the, the benefit that chat GPT has is it’s got a huge repository of, you know, data that it can rely on that probably has some amount of examples of emotion being fed into it that it could, you know, But if you’re talking about your content in your domain, you’re going to probably have less of that, right?

So it can only, it has less to learn from. Okay. Um, okay. I want to go back and this was something we hadn’t talked about because it occurred to me while we were talking this idea of security and privacy. So [00:41:00] what are, like, is there anything going on now? Like. There’s all these, um, you know, you’re collecting all this data about people right in real time and and using it.

Right. How, how are, how are the, maybe, maybe Adobe is an example, right? Are they, what are they doing to prevent that from being, you know, made, made visible to people outside it, you know, there’s been examples of AI, like chat GPT, where people have inadvertently released You know, maybe not private stuff, but proprietary stuff.

So I’m just like, that part worries me a little bit is like, how much of that is, is at risk, you know, with these companies all tracking all this stuff. And I know a lot of it’s already happening at the same time, right? This, this sounds like, you know, we’re, we’re kind of bringing it all in one place, which makes it, I think a little higher risk.

If that one particular system is, is [00:42:00] compromised.

Tony Ferreira: Yeah. And, and honestly, I think the topic of privacy and data governance is going to get a lot. It’s going to get a lot more top of mind next year. With all the talks about third party cookies and the browsers actually finally removing them after years of saying they would, which we’ll see, right?

But that’s gonna get really critical because then the biggest part of your data repository is gonna be first party data, right? So how do you how do you handle that? Right? And a lot of these platforms have built in capabilities. But I think what people forget is the person who is responsible for saying you need to remove my data, get rid of the data, right, is the consumer, and a lot of them don’t speak up or have a way to speak up.

So the data points just keep getting captured, and some of them you can technically capture without them making that [00:43:00] request, right, like anonymous behavior data that, like, is anonymous, but you can track, so. I think people are talking about it. Platforms are building in programs for it, but I think it’s going to get a lot bigger and a lot more concerning when more first party data is their data repository and it’s not these third party cookies anymore.


Michael Hartmann: that makes sense. Yeah. I mean, it’s, I’m probably a little bit. Over the top, I, a podcast I’ve been listening to is Darknet Diaries and like the stories about, have you ever, have you heard this?

Tony Ferreira: No, I, I don’t know. I’m so intrigued

Michael Hartmann: just by reading it. Go check it out. If you like, it’s some disturbing stuff, I will say that like truly disturbing stuff.

Um, it’s like the whole dark web and like, like these hackers and. You know, it’s like people could still get into these systems that are protected and thought protected because humans are still connected to them. [00:44:00] Like, uh, it’s, it’s crazy. Wow. Terrifying. Don’t even, you don’t even want to know.

Mike Rizzo: Um, I think I do, actually.

Uh, yeah, I, I agree with you though, Tony, on the topic of, of privacy, compliance, cookies, all that stuff getting like really top of mind, um, over, over the next year and, and, and forward. I think what will be really interesting is, you know, seeing what happens in the, let’s call it like the private LLM space, like somehow, like whoever wins the game of creating isolated servers that you’re, you’re now able to use that.

You know, like we know today, you know, for all those listening, I hope you know this, uh, you put stuff into GPT, it’s theirs, right? Like, like that’s how it [00:45:00] works. Um, and we’ve heard some fun little horror stories about that already. Um, but the moment you can get to a place where you’re able to leverage that kind of technology and that, um.

That compute power on large language models and, um, generative AI capabilities, but it’s unique to your business and it’s in your own proprietary database and server that you actually own. Um, whoever provides that capability first is. Going to going to lead the charge. Right. And I don’t know how expensive that’s going to be for people to take advantage of, but the moment you have your own silo of LLM and AI to operate against, and you’re not feeding some beast that is, you know, whatever, Gemini GPT, you name it, um, Privacy and all that stuff is like, and all this personalization is just going to get even more crazy.

Michael Hartmann: It’s going to be good to be an attorney. [00:46:00] Yeah, yeah,

Mike Rizzo: yeah. Or all of the attorney AIs are going to fight each other. Sure, sure. It’ll be like the first time that a computer beat somebody in chess.

Michael Hartmann: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Mike Rizzo: Like some attorney’s going to go up against an AI, like, attorney and then lose.

Michael Hartmann: And the world will come crashing down.

Oh, no. Yeah, yeah. All right, well, so we’re, we’re running out of time here. Uh, just turning any anything that we hadn’t touched on that you feel like is really important for our audience to know about relative to this topic.

Tony Ferreira: I think just, you know, we’re, we’re almost in 2024, which is crazy. Um, and companies are starting to think about like strategy and next year and their initiatives.

A lot of people are talking CDP and personalization and all of that. I would urge everybody, please look at your data first. Like [00:47:00] before you go invest in a big platform and spend all this money, make sure that your data is actually like prepared and ready to do these things. Stitch together a profile to look at a person, you know, like all those things.

They forget that that is the foundation to everything we’ve been talking about. So if the data is bad, you can’t actually do all those other things. So put the effort in where it’s necessary, and then figure out the platform and all that other stuff.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, you gotta get the discipline in place, right, to make sure it’s right.

Awesome, Tony, this has been really, um, like I, I really, my brain is overloaded right now, so. Thank you. Um, it’s a good way to go into the we’re recording on a Friday afternoon, everyone. So it’s a good way to go to the weekend. Um, so, uh, Tony, if folks want to keep up with you or learn more about what you’re doing or what you talk about, what’s the best way they can do

Tony Ferreira: that?

Yeah, you know, I’m trying to do my best on LinkedIn to put stuff out. I’m pretty [00:48:00] responsive on there. But if they are part of the community, I’m very responsive in Slack channel. I talk to people all the time. I’m happy to provide insights and answers to questions and just kind of be a resource for anyone there.


Michael Hartmann: Thank you very much. All right. Well, if that’s, if there’s nothing else, we will call it a day. Um, a show, I guess, really. Uh, so thank you, uh, Tony. Thanks, Mike. Thanks to all of our listeners out there for continuing to support us. And we will talk to you again another time. Bye.

Mike Rizzo: Awesome. Thanks everybody.