Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What inspired you to be part of Veritone One?
I’ve always loved how technology evolves, changes and sometimes disrupts how we do things – whether that is in my personal or professional life. Technology has the power to make the complex simpler, allowing people to spend more time in ideation and gain additional valuable insights, which ultimately provides the time and data to allow for further innovation. At Veritone One, technology is at the heart of what we do; as part of an AI company, it’s in our DNA. I was inspired to join Veritone One because of exactly that – the make-up of our proven Advertising expertise and leading, proprietary AI technology and analytics capabilities is very unique. As an Advertising agency, Veritone One is ultimately a service business, but our focus on technology-enabled solutions to not only better service advertisers, but to create opportunities previously not imaginable, was something that I couldn’t say no to.
Since 2016, how much have Veritone One’s Digital Marketing campaigns evolved?
Digital audio – and specifically, podcasts – has been a major shift in our industry, especially for us here at Veritone One. The explosive growth and access to digital audio content have provided new opportunities and ways in which we can target audiences, which has allowed us to evolve our Digital Marketing campaigns over the past few years.
What role did Marketing and Sales technologies play in this evolution at Veritone One?
Technology is an integral part of the daily operations of Veritone One – whether it’s the powerful aiWARE technology of our parent company, Veritone, or other tools like Salesforce and Google’s suite of products, which we use every day. Most of our new business is driven by word-of-mouth or referrals from current customers, but these technologies assist in our operations.
What is the current state of podcast and related audio advertising ecosystem?
Podcasting and the digital audio advertising ecosystem has never been more popular than it is right now. An estimated 750,000 active podcasts are in production, and just over half of Americans have listened to a podcast. Podcasts are the number one audio source by time of consumption, and weekly listeners consume an average of seven podcasts a week.
As a result, advertisers are flocking to podcasts and other digital audio platforms to reach hyper-targeted audiences. U.S. advertisers spent $479 million on podcast ads in 2018, up 53% year-over-year – and that figure is expected to hit $1 billion in 2021. As digital audio continues to grow in popularity among consumers, it will become a key tool that advertisers leverage.
Who are your customers? Which businesses and economic regions have been the fastest to the adoption of your products and services?
We service a wide range of clients, from brands to direct-to-consumer companies – like Casper and HelloFresh. Ultimately, we love working with advertisers that have specific KPIs that we can track against. This allows us to really look at media objectively and make the necessary modifications to deliver to their goal, whether that means hitting a particular audience or driving Sales.
Tell us more about Veritone’s aiWARE? How do you leverage AI and ML capabilities at Veritone One?
aiWARE effectively adds structured to unstructured data, such as audio and video files. This allows us to ingest and process thousands of audio and video files like podcasts, YouTube video clips and TV spots, then run different AI engines against the content to understand contextually what is taking place in the content in near real-time. Not only can we target specific audiences with this information, but specific content types, as well, which can be particularly challenging in podcast media.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
Our secret sauce is Veritone’s suite of applications, powered by aiWARE. It enables all of our audio and TV ad placements and analytics. We also use Salesforce, Strata, Pardot, Act1, Adobe’s and Google’s suite of products, to name a few others.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Event Marketing technology for 2019-2020?
Over the next year, I predict that voice will become a new way in which we interact with our technology, specifically focused on the commerce arena. We are just now beginning to scratch the surface of the possibilities in this area, and the explosion of Alexa and Google Homes have helped increase the adoption of this technology. As more and more companies begin to utilize this channel, it will continue to change how we interact.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
Obviously, we’re always watching Apple, and it’s only a matter of time before they make the move into podcasting. I’m also keeping my eyes on anyone in the voice app space – Xapp and Spoken Layer, to name a couple.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?
As a Business Leader, it’s important to embrace AI and recognize that this powerful technology will be the ultimate enablement tool for your business – when used effectively. If you are able to give valuable time back to your staffers through the use of AI within your organization, that enables them to work more on driving your business and/or industry forward – which is much more beneficial both to you and the entire company in the long run. In addition, AI will enable the creation of product innovation, different distribution models and Hyper-Personalized content, which is especially exciting as Veritone One will be at the forefront of this journey.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
I challenge my employees to come up with better ways to do everything. I encourage them to use the tools at their disposal and find a better way to complete both their day-to-day tasks and larger, more complex projects.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
aiWARE, Google (including Gmail), and Uber.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Time blocking has been a game-changer for me. I plan and set aside specific times in the day that is dedicated to many of my routine tasks, especially emails, which has helped increase my productivity and efficiency.
What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Currently, I read many of the key Advertising and Marketing industry trades, including AdWeek, MediaPost, RadioInk, Podcast Business Journal, Podnews, and Digiday, to name a few. To ensure I have time to catch up on this news, I have a time block for it to keep myself accountable!
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Focus on what matters to you and where you can impact change – the rest will just get in your way.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Taking the complex and turning it into simple, actionable steps. This has not only been the secret to my success but to Veritone One’s, as well.
Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read
I would love to see Tim Cook’s and Jeff Bezos’ responses to these questions.
Thank you, Sean! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Sean King is the EVP of Operations. Sean manages the day to day operations of the agency teams – covering radio, podcast, YouTube, and television. He brings over 15 years of media, marketing, and operations experience to Veritone One.
Sean has held various senior-level management positions focusing on Sales management, technology operations, and strategic partnership development over his career. Sean brings his forward-thinking operational insights to the Veritone One team in addition to all of their clients and media partners.
Veritone One (formerly Veritone Media) is a full service agency creating native and traditional advertising for some of the world’s most recognizable brands.
Our expertise in media buying, planning, and creative development coupled with our patented technology platform, enables us to deliver advertising with unmatched effectiveness and in a way that’s Simple, Scalable, and Trackable.
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.