MarTech Interview with Josko Grljevic, Chief Transformation Officer at Talon Outdoor

MarTech Interview with Josko Grljevic, Chief Transformation Officer at Talon Outdoor

“Making interactions with technology intuitive and simple is absolutely essential to driving user adoption”

[easy-profiles profile_twitter=”” profile_linkedin=””]

You have a long track-record of successfully working in and managing diverse business teams. How did you arrive at Talon and what attracted you to the OOH Advertising ecosystem?

The Out of Home (OOH) market is at a very exciting juncture. Digitization has brought a step-change in innovation and growth, but there are still significant challenges that need to be overcome, and a huge appetite to effect change quickly. This is what attracted me to the sector.

Talon understand that technology is a pillar to driving the Out of Home business forward and are investing heavily in their technology platforms with pointed action to get things done. These are the ideal conditions for a Chief Transformation Officer to successfully drive change and growth within a short time frame.

How much has the AdTech Tech industry evolved since you first started? 

I’ve been working in OOH for almost 3 years now and although OOH AdTech itself has not changed dramatically in that time, what has been significant is the industry’s intention and ambition to embrace the technology and push for change. Technology is a catalyst for root and branch transformation, which can scale the industry in a way that our current people-driven, manual processes simply aren’t able to. The challenge though has been in successfully implementing technology that genuinely simplifies and digitises this complex medium

Could you tell us about the unique features of your OOH services and technologies – how does it tie-in audience data to a unified advertising analytics platform for brands and publishers? 

Audience data and intelligence are central to Talon‘s services and technologies. There are different inputs and outputs for each stage of the campaign lifecycle. Creating audience insights, optimizing targeting and media buying, dynamically adjusting creative based on real-time contextual triggers, and probably most important of all, measuring and quantifying the outcomes of campaigns.

Earlier this year, Talon launched Ada, our proprietary Data Management Platform (DMP) specifically designed for OOH advertising. It creates unified OOH audience intelligence which advertisers use to build custom segments and accurately target them in any OOH environment. Ada is powered by a continuous feed of consent-based mobile location data.

Over the top, a series of algorithms enable Ada to detect people’s real behaviors, like where they shop, the journeys they take to work, and which ad units they see on their everyday journeys. Ada also measures post-exposure behaviors to quantify business outcomes such as visits to retail stores.

We know advertisers are looking for ways to bridge online and offline targeting. It’s the reason why we designed Ada to accurately measure OOH ad exposure at an individual device level. By doing this well, Ada is helping to make OOH more data-driven and measurable.

Could you tell us about Talon Plato and Ada? Who are you targeting in the industry with these products?

Plato is an automated trading platform, which aggregates all OOH inventory into a single, intuitive campaign planning and delivery system. It is a user-friendly system that enables planners and buyers to explore, plan, check availability, reserve and trade paper and digital inventory across multiple markets and is due to launch in the U.S early next year. Integrated with multiple industry systems and data sources, Plato provides users with real-time market intelligence to aid campaign planning and activation.

Ada, our OOH data management platform, processes billions of device-level audience data points to create new insights about how people behave and how to effectively reach and engage them on-the-go.  The advertisers we work with are already moving away from standard demographics to something more meaningful – audience personas and behaviors.

Ada can layer Point of Interest data with location, moments, and advertising inventory, and activate 1st party customer data, to provide intelligent, data-driven audience targeting and outcome-based measurement. Taking analytics to insights and then onto measurement, to check we did the right thing and delivered value.

How do you see OOH data management platforms evolving into a more integrated Commerce Cloud stack for Branding, Advertising, and Customer Analytics teams?

There are very few, if any, platforms that provide an effective holistic view of behavioral audiences across multiple channels and markets. There are even fewer platforms that allow for branding, targeting, activation and measurement services as part of an integrated tech stack. So there is a real and present need to build and integrate these fragmented data sets and services.

Ada is instrumental to everything we do. Planning based on better data and insights is what distinguishes the platform in the marketplace. Pinpointing your target audience and tailoring creative to their mindset. No more scatter gun campaigns that go out to a broad demographic audience. Having the data to track your audience, and activate proximity inventory, combined with targeted, relevant messaging, dynamic creative optimization, and a timely call to action, delivers a much greater return on investment.

With Plato, we are aiming to streamline as many manual processes as possible. We want to eliminate and replace emails, telephone calls, and a multitude of disjointed systems – with a single intuitive platform.

Any comments on Amazon’s $70 Billion Q3 Sales report – what do you have to say about the transformations around Connected Advertising experience?

I would be surprised if Amazon’s success wasn’t in some part linked to the fact that they have rich datasets and insights into audience and behaviors. It further demonstrates the importance of understanding customers, their behaviors and being able to connect with them across multiple environments and channels.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader? 

There are multiple definitions and misconceptions about AI. First, there is AI for AI’s sake – with perpetual automated intelligence where a machine thinks and learns on its own, and I think we are still a long, long way off from that.

Then there are the other versions of AI, Machine Learning that allows for automation of manual and time-consuming tasks to speed up processing and decision making. This is the area that has a lot of potential as we look to process and consume exponentially increasing volumes of data and make decisions in near-real time. Of course, there is always the danger that people become so far removed from the logic that drives the algorithms that we no longer understand or question the logic behind the decision making

How do you inspire your people to work with technology? 

People understand and get technology as long as they see the value and derive benefit from interacting with it. Making interactions with technology intuitive and simple is absolutely essential to driving user adoption. We dedicate a lot of time and effort to understand key business and user challenges to make sure that technology addresses these in a way that it becomes an enabler of growth and efficiency. This in turn, inspires the user and drives greater adoption and makes tech a core part of  what we do.

One word that best describes how you work. 


What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? 

WhatsApp, Mobile phone, GoogleMaps.

Which superhero character/movie do you most profoundly relate to:

Aquaman – I’m biased owing to the fact that I’m a Marine Biologist by trade.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack? 

I use my mobile wherever possible. I’m 95% productive and self-sufficient without a laptop.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, but my main way of consuming information is mainly listening to podcasts or anything visual.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success? 

I’m not really an expert in anything, I’m more of a jack of all trades across multiple disciplines i.e. management, leadership, technology, business, etc. What I do really well is blending these disciplines with a touch of creativity and a knack for problem-solving to deliver good ideas and solutions.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.

Thank you, Josko! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Josko is a seasoned digital transformation leader with a proven track record of successful delivery across multiple industries, including OOH, e-commerce and financial services. With over 25 years of experience, he has worked across a range of businesses from Barclays and Microsoft to Australian retail brand Woolworths, implementing transformation.

Joining Talon from Exterion Media as Chief Transformation Officer in 2018, he directs Talon’s comprehensive AdTech (investments/roadmap), driving technology-led change.

Talon Outdoor logo

Talon Outdoor was set up in 2007 as the UK’s only independently-owned Out of Home media specialist. Eric Newnham took a majority stake in the business in 2012 with ambitious growth plans, without compromising the vision of providing exceptional client service, independent advice and strategic expertise.

The management team has expanded to encompass the top players in Britain’s Out of Home sector; not only are they hugely experienced, but they all also have a hands-on client approach. This team now consists of Frank Bryant, James Copley, Andy Tilley, Grant Murray, and Eric Newnham, as well as Adrian Skelton and Nick Mawditt.

In April 2013 Omnicom Media Group handed Talon their entire outdoor portfolio, meaning the agency now handles the outdoor work for brands spanning McDonald’s, Sony Pictures, VW Group, Google and many others along with several independent media agencies, including JAA, Goodstuff, AMS Media Group and Ptarmigan Media.

As well as having enviable experience in traditional OOH, Talon’s expanded team works across communication strategies for traditional and digital Out of Home, location marketing, mobile and creative solutions. Today, as a 90-strong agency – and growing – Talon ranks as one of the biggest in the UK and also one of the most exciting. Combining independence with a collaborative approach Talon promotes open working between agencies, clients and media partners as well as a tailored and technology-led approach to individual agency cultures and planning philosophies.

[mnky_heading title=”MarTech Interview Series” link=”|||”]

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.