MarTech Interview with Gurman Hundal, CEO at MiQ
Tell us about your role and journey into Marketing Technology. What inspired you to start at MiQ?
MiQ (formerly known as Media IQ) officially launched in 2010. Leading up to MiQ’s launch, Lee Puri, Co-Founder, and I worked together at a boutique Digital Advertising network (he was my boss) where we learned the ins and outs of the industry. Most importantly, we gained early exposure to the Digital Advertising sector, including backend functionality, analytics, and operations, and campaign execution, fulfillment, and measurement.
With our AdTech roots and background in the advertising industry, we understood that the industry was lacking a performance-based marketing intelligence product that can enhance ad campaigns and deliver measurable results. Raw data became a hot topic of interest for us because it was an untapped market in terms of consumer targeting and measurement in Digital Advertising. At the time, clients were simply judging the effectiveness of advertising and really didn’t understand the impact and results. So we started asking ourselves, ‘How can we help clients in areas beyond just Digital Advertising? How can we help them build a bigger business by leveraging their data?’
When MiQ/Media IQ was born, our primary goal was to build a company that had a reputation for unlocking intelligence for brand marketing and advertising campaigns and delivering great results that truly impact the bottom line.
How does MiQ fit into a modern Marketing Technology stack?
MiQ is a comprehensive business service that glues all of the various MarTech layers together. Brands and agencies are sitting on huge swaths of data that often times are not utilized in their online and offline marketing or advertising campaigns. We help our clients better understand and unlock their data to enable data-driven decision making in real-time.
How does MiQ’s technology maximize the effectiveness of Marketing Intelligence for businesses?
In our business, it’s all about inputs and outputs. Any data source can be connected to a system and that’s part of what we do for clients. We enable every data source in a brand’s input and output ecosystem to enhance intelligence and optimize outputs for better business-changing actions.
MiQ’s Marketing Intelligence connects marketing to business outcomes by extracting insights from a brand’s data assets to fuel business strategy. Ultimately, Marketing Intelligence allows for smart, data-driven decisions to be made in real-time, maximizing marketing and media investments, and lifting KPIs.
From the time you started in this Marketing Technology space, how much has the Intelligence and Customer Data Intelligence evolved?
Customer Data Intelligence has evolved immensely over the past few years thanks to the rise of mobile phones, connected devices, social media, and high-speed Internet. Nowadays everything and everyone has an IP address and nearly all consumers are connected online. Within the MarTech ecosystem, this means that data and intelligence can be leveraged in multiple ways, including connecting siloed customer data, revolutionizing the supply chain, connecting TV and online campaigns, campaign fulfillment, and insights discovery.
How do you identify the biggest advantages and challenges in Digital Commerce around Marketing Analytics? What role does MiQ play in overcoming these challenges?
For many marketers and advertisers, there’s an inherent lack of knowledge regarding the power of data and how to connect all sources for specific business outcomes. Most brands are not open enough to give access to all platforms and sources of data, so we’re constantly educating the marketplace of MiQ’s ability to discover and unlock powerful insights hiding in their data.
Tell us about your go-to strategies to support rapid growth, lessons learned through periods of massive shift and transition.
MiQ has been growing since 2010, and we’re planning on continued business growth in 2019 and onward. We’re continuing to develop innovative products, and, most importantly, invest in our most valuable asset – our people and culture.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
We honestly use a lot of tools and technologies in our ecosystem. For any given campaign there are at least five platforms connected to it, and some of which we built ourselves. For the main buckets, we use AdTech tools to deliver campaigns, Business Intelligence tools for HR systems, cultural engagement, and applicant tracking systems, and for CRM we use Salesforce. Bottom line is that we incorporate various Business Intelligence and AdTech/MarTech platforms into the MiQ ecosystem to help our clients unlock Marketing Intelligence that drives business results.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in technologies/innovations related to Marketing and Advertising analytics?
Identity [consumer identification] is an area that’s going to be the biggest challenge. Because you have so many platforms with unique users and data sets across a number of different platforms and ecosystems, it’s challenging to track people across siloed systems. That said, any advancement in Data Science and Analytics is going to be paramount for the industry. Not necessarily new technologies, but new techniques that can reveal, connect, and build better channels of communication between business intelligence data-holders (sales, customer service, finance) and media-intelligence professionals.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
My tech startup game is honestly lacking these days, as we’re so singularly focused on growing the MiQ business.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?
You have to love AI and leverage it for lots of things, including operational efficiencies, client servicing, and data analysis. At its core, AI helps us make sense of large data sets and enables us to deliver better outputs and results for clients.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
We empower our people to use technology in the best way that they see fit. We certainly give them the tools and systems they need, but we allow colleagues to customize their own way to work. The Salesforce dashboard is a great example. After going through the tutorials and understanding the functionality, we allow our people to experiment a bit so they can find the benefit themselves.
One word that best describes how you work.
Fun! Always have fun in the good times and the hard times.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I’m basic, I pretty much just need my phone and text messages.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
In everything I do, I’m looking to automate access to data. Especially when it comes to multiple data sources, I’m looking to centralize different data sets to make quicker, faster, and better decisions.
What are you currently reading?
I’m not a big reader. I spend a lot of time talking to people and learning from others.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Know that there’s a balance and difference between delegation and ownership. When you delegate work, it’s important to remember that you still ‘own’ it. You can delegate how and when something gets done, but you should own the ‘why’ something is getting done and see it through.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I’m not great at self-promotion, but my attention and outlook are always people-first and knowing what’s best for the business. That’s what I enjoy.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Since I always talk about sustainable growth, I’m interested in hearing from Business Leaders that have successfully operated business for 10-20+ years and how they sustained growth over time.
Thank you, Gurman! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Entrepreneur and tech visionary, Gurman Hundal is the CEO and a Co-founder of MiQ. He launched the now-global company in London with partner Lee Puri after recognizing a clear unaddressed need for data-driven insight in an otherwise thriving ad-tech economy.
MiQ provides marketing intelligence to many of the world’s most prominent brands and media agencies, including American Express, Avis, Lenovo, Unilever, Microsoft, GroupM, Publicis and IPG.
The company bridges the gaps between data sources to give clients a complete picture of their marketing opportunities. MiQ was named Fastest Growing Tech Company of the Year at the 2017 Stevie Awards, awarded Most Effective Use of Data at The Drum’s Digital Trading Awards USA 2017, and named to The Sunday Times International Track 200 for 2019. MiQ operates globally from 15 offices located in North America, Europe, and APAC.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.