Sitecore’s Paige O’Neill on Martech Use, Gen Z and Brands, and The Shift Away From Text

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Paige O'Neill, chief marketing officer at Sitecore, joins ExchangeWire's Grace Dillon and John Still to discuss the under utilisation of martech, how brands can engage with Gen Z, the shift away from a text-based web, and more.


Use of martech stacks dip to less than half amongst marketers

Why do you think marketers aren’t using more of their tech stack? What needs to change for them to make more use of available technologies?

Marketers are using less than half of the tech stack available to them, according to a report from Gartner. A survey of 324 marketers carried out by the research and consultancy firm found that advertisers are currently using just 42% of the martech capabilities on offer, down from 58% in 2020.

The fall comes despite an increase of investment in marketing technology, with CMOs saying that 25% of their budget went to new technologies this year. According to Gartner, the fall in usage is the result of significant overlap between solutions, the struggle to find the talent to forward adoption and use of new technologies, and the complexity of the martech ecosystem. However, marketers are well aware that technology will be central to navigating third-party cookie deprecation and new spaces such as CTV and social commerce.


Making Gen Z ‘co-creators’ key to brands’ future success

Do you agree with this analysis? How can brands be more open to consumers’ needs and wants?

Brands must be willing to let Gen Z help shape their business if they want to succeed, write Reid Litman and Jenk Oz. As 40% of global consumers with collective earnings in the region of USD $7tn (set to grow to USD $33tn by 2031), Gen Z naturally holds a lot of interest for companies – as well as a lot of power over them.

With a demonstrated greater interest in and proactivity towards social issues, Gen Z have already influenced some brands’ actions in areas such as ESG and DEI. However, as such a vast demographic with different priorities, brands must determine which values to focus on to build the strongest relationships with their Gen Z customers. Furthermore, they must offer a clear value exchange, allow their audiences to “co-create and help shape the direction of the business at all levels” through more innovative and personal communication, and seek to represent Gen Z’s “voice”.


Focus on text-based strategies comes under question as Google expands search

Are marketers adapting to non-textual forms of communication and consumption?

Google will make it possible to search online using more than just words. At their Search On event last Wednesday (28th September), execs from the tech giant revealed plans to introduce a “natural and intuitive” search experience by employing multi-media, visual, and language-based tools. The move reflects the fierce competition posed to the company by TikTok, which has reportedly become the search engine of choice for Gen Z.

The move could serve as a “wake-up call” to marketers who have focused mostly on text, with Gartner analyst Noam Dorros saying that prioritising text does brands “a disservice by not fully understanding how people consume information today”.