MarTech Interview with Owen Hanks, CEO at Measure Protocol

MarTech Interview with Owen Hanks, CEO, Measure Protocol

“Market research, data collection and validation are intrinsically linked to MarTech and AdTech.”

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Tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to start at Measure Protocol?

Our team of founders came together in early 2018 to form Measure Protocol with a broad range of experience, alongside specific skills that lend us to certain roles. While each of our beginnings were very different, they have a few common threads including startups, technology before its time, acquisitions, too many trips to Silicon Valley, funding, board dealings, and an IPO or two along the way. Currently, as one of the three Co-Founders, I also take the responsibility for the CEO role. Over my career, I’ve held a number of leadership roles in Commercial, Business Development and General Management so it feels appropriate that I am an individual contributor in these key areas whilst also playing a quarterback role for the broad company strategy. I’ve been involved in MarTech and AdTech for the last 15 years and we saw the opportunity to solve some problems within the market research technology space, so it was a natural progression.

What is Measure Protocol and how does it fit into the modern Digital Marketing and Advertising Technology stack?

Measure Protocol is an ethical person-based data marketplace. We utilize Blockchain Technology and Cryptographic techniques to bring transparency, privacy, trust and fair value to the market research industry, although our technology is broadly applicable for any number of industries like AdTech, FinTech and others. Market research and data collection and validation are intrinsically linked to MarTech and AdTech. As such we believe that creating the world’s most ethical and transparent data marketplace is the first step in truly understanding consumer opinion and attitudes. With this data, we can then feed Marketing and AdTech platforms with an array of rich and clean profiling information in order to make better decisions, all while making sure that consumer privacy and value are held at the highest levels.

How did you prepare the Company for the ongoing digital disruptions brought by growth of AI, Machine Learning and Automation, and biggest of these all- Blockchain?

As we are a Blockchain company, we might – at this point in time – be considered one of the disruptors. However, our aim is only to disrupt those that seek to extract egregious margins or those that do not protect the consumer data and privacy. Measure’s vision is based on using Blockchain to ensure consumer data sovereignty and make data widely available as a collective good for society while protecting and compensating individuals.

What is the future of Digital Advertising in Blockchain-led ecosystem?

This is purely one man’s opinion but I think we have a little way to go before we see any real disruptors for the current ecosystem that is dominated by Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and other similar large companies. The rest of what we know as the “old content and publisher market” has gradually been consumed by these giants and although I have no doubt there will be new players. The past decade or so we’ve seen a lot of complexity arise within the Digital Advertising ecosystem – just take a look at the LUMAscape.

Unfortunately, this has led to a lot of fraud and lack of transparency into what’s really happening in the supply chain. This is where we believe Blockchain will come into play and provide a layer of transparency and accountability into the supply chain. The next phase will be weaving person-based data into this fabric – which is where Measure Protocol comes into play and laying its foundation.

Which technology providers have been successful in leveraging Blockchain for Digital Advertising? How do you compete in this space with established Native and Programmatic Advertising platforms?

The reality is that we are still in the early days for leveraging Blockchain for Digital Advertising. One of the hurdles is performance, as public Blockchains in particular will struggle for a long time to meet the transactional demands from Digital Advertising. The good news is that there is a lot of progress being made in this area. In the meantime, we see extensive effort by the IAB with its working groups and education of the entire industry. We also see some new and interesting players emerging. One of these is the Brave browser which, while providing performance benefits, also adopts a tokenization to reward users attention to ads.

How can CMOs optimize their digital budget using your products, services and solutions?

Today, organizations –  including the CMOs within these organizations – have very high demands and requirements for quality data. They have also entered a time where data is a liability and collecting user data with strict privacy guarantees is a real concern. That’s where Measure comes in. We’ve had to make a number of concessions to be able to provide users sovereignty over their data and go above and beyond to protect their privacy. While these concessions may seem inconvenient, they are necessary to future-proof data collection and give users confidence in sharing their data while being paid fairly.

Which other Technology platforms like Website Analytics, Video, Contacts, Contracts, Email and Customer Service sync with your platform?

Our goal is to reduce friction for consumers to share data, and to increase their confidence in doing so. As such, we are working on a number of integrations and techniques where users can connect to other data sources and share data with full transparency and control. Think of behavioral data, purchase history and other data tasks.

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

For Measure Protocol, we use HubSpot for our key Marketing functions. It works well for us as it brings all our data together in one place, which we can cross reference with Google Analytics when we are assessing the campaigns for website traffic. While we don’t use it much for any automated functions, its capabilities in this regard could be useful for us in the future.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI and Machine Learning technology for 2019-2020?

We were building Machine Learning systems back in 2008, and now AI is a central theme at conferences, in industry publications and in any major technology discussions. While everyone seems to be selling the AI story today, a major hurdle that still exists surrounding access to data, and access to complete data sets of high quality. Once we crack this, the opportunity for AI will be fully realized.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

We really like what the team is doing over at Ocean Protocol and how they are tackling the problem of powering AI with data. Their value proposition is that they “break down data silos” and equalize access to data for everyone, which closely aligns with our own vision.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?

Every organization, whether big or small, needs to continue investing in technology, and just as importantly –  if not more – continue investing in talent to enable a vision and a technology driven future.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

I’d like to think in most cases throughout my career I’ve tried to work with or hire people that have complementary skills to my own. In many cases, it’s my team that inspire me and force me to learn and be better as a leader.

One word that best describes how you work.


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

Slack, Zoom, Instagram, WhatsApp

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

I’m currently trying to get Siri to voice record whilst I’m running – I wish the voice recording sessions were longer. I get a lot of my ideas whilst running.

What are you currently reading?

Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis. It’s not new but its outside of my usual material. I consume most material online, I’m a latecomer to podcasts but I like them whilst I run (although, if the podcast is poor quality, having to make a change on the move and stop in the middle of a run can be annoying). I’m a big fan of achievement through diversity (from any walk of life) and like to reach about people’s journeys.

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

If you turn around and no one is following you – you are not a leader.

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

I’m not sure I can claim to do anything better than others, but I do know that my determination, ability to execute and willingness to miss sleep may have been contributors to my success. I haven’t slowed down over the years.

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

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

Owen is a prolific writer as well, so he’d be happy to do an article series. They recently completed a large pilot project with some leading partners in the consumer insights/marketing research space, including media measurement giant, Nielsen.

This has provided some good information surrounding transparency, accountability, engagement and privacy on the blockchain – how consumers behave in this environment.

measureprotocol logo

Measure is a blockchain powered economy for human-generated data.

People have insufficient control over their data. It is frequently unclear when and where data about them is being captured or used and when it is, they are being compensated poorly or not at all and have to trust the companies using it to keep it private. Yet, much of the world is fuelled by person-based data — from social and marketing research to advertising, finance, and insurance — data about individuals and populations drives everything from product development to public policy.

Measure democratizes access to accurate data about individuals and populations while allowing people to maintain sovereignty over their data. Measure does this by introducing a new blockchain-based protocol that facilitates the network and infrastructure to form a marketplace. On one side of the market are individuals who contribute data by completing tasks, surveys or providing access to data sources such as health and location data. On the other side are buyers of person-based data, such as marketers, researchers and advertisers. Between them is software and a public blockchain that allows buyers to interact directly with individuals in a way that protects the privacy of the individual, incentivizes accuracy, and provides transparency around data usage and payment.

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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.

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