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Transforming the Customer Journey with Big Data

By Joanne Jacobs

Disrupt Podcast Episode: Transforming the Customer Journey with Big Data – Jarther Taylor Talks Transformation

Gavin is joined by Jarther Taylor, CEO of Datarati. They talk about data and its impact on marketers, in particularly as it plays out in the customer journey.

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Jarther Taylor

CEO, Datarati

Jarther is CEO at Datarati, a leading customer journey and experience marketing agency. Jarther has held both corporate and marketing agency positions with some of the world’s most successful brands such as Saatchi & Saatchi, HP, IBM and Telstra. His experience spans marketing, sales and consulting roles across Europe, North America and the Asia – Pacific.

Gavin Heaton

Founder Disruptor's Handbook

Gavin is a marketing technologist, strategist and advisor. He is the founder of the Disruptor’s Handbook – a strategy and innovation firm that brings the best of startup approaches to the enterprise.


Gavin: [00:00:01] Welcome to disrupt the podcast for social tech and corporate innovators.

[00:00:05] Hello and thanks for joining me on the Disrupt podcast. I am Gavin Heaton, the founder of Disruptor’s Handbook, a strategy and innovation services firm that helps organizations shift mindsets, innovate products and respond to a disruptive and uncertain future. Today’s guest, Jarther Taylor is CEO at Datarati a leading customer journey and experience marketing agency. Jarther has held both corporate and marketing agency positions with some of the world’s most successful brands such as such as Saatchi and Saatchi, HP, IBM and Telstra. His experience spans marketing, sales and consulting roles across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Jarther has led several marketing transformation initiatives both as a marketing leader and as a consultant for organizations who aim to become customer centric by delivering differentiating experiences across multiple channels leveraging their brand, culture and data.

[00:00:56] Jarther and I talk extensively about data and its impact on marketers particularly as it plays out in the customer journey. We touch on data management platforms and their potential, big data and artificial intelligence – can they and should they play nicely. And we examine what marketers and business people should consider when making technology decisions.

[00:01:15] We also ask the question is data on a leash and if it is who is in control the data or us. We had a great conversation and I hope you enjoy it.

Gavin: [00:01:25] So welcome Jarther Taylor. Can you please introduce yourself.

Jarther: [00:01:28] Sure. Thank you. So my name is Jarther Taylor. I’m the CEO of Datarati and Datarati is a customer journey and experience marketing agency and we really work in the martech space helping customers identify what technology they need usually from the Salesforce stack. And then helping them define strategy implementation and running that.

Gavin: [00:01:50] So the “martech stack” that’s a scary term for a lot of marketers out there. How do you find them… Their mindset is around marketing and technology and is there a marketing bent or technology bent, or is it really the combination of two that is important for today’s marketer?

Jarther: [00:02:08] For today’s marketer understanding both marketing and technology is important. The reality of it is that most marketers don’t understand marketing and technology and that’s ok. I think that folks that are on the marketing side of things need to understand that marketing technology or martech is never going to be like Uber or Tinder. You’re never going to be able to press two buttons and make it happen or swipe left or swipe right. It’s a little bit more difficult than that. The folks that are more on the technology side of things need to recognize that there is an art form not everything comes through from the technology itself and there is some sort of talk about some human to human – it’s like what’s that the humanistic element that’s within that.

Jarther: [00:02:54] I find that most clients of ours and most people we talk to don’t understand the complexity until they really engage with it. It becomes harder for them to wrap their head around [it]. The reason why it’s hard to wrap your head around marketing technology is that there is a massive… proliferation. Proliferation of marketing technology. If you look at Chief Martech, Scott Brinker. Seven years ago 500 brands on the map. Now it’s almost 6000 brands on the map and trying to get your head around that as a marker is super complicated.

Gavin: [00:03:33] Absolutely. So, do you think that means that they have to prioritize where they look where they can look and where they can consume the kind of marketing technology that they need.

Jarther: [00:03:45] And speaking as a market myself we get consumed or are swayed by marketing and it’s really easy to get something on a website, or when a salesperson talks about how this latest application is going to transform your life. What often happens is that marketers – and look, in fairness, it’s not only marketers – it’s every business buyer, we’ve got this technology and then six months later we have this technology then we’ll do this one and you suddenly end up with multiple silos of technology.

Jarther: [00:04:15] They are really not inter-related. And that’s when the tech side rather than the marketing side comes together because that’s when the whole data layer and all of that needs to come together and it’s really hard to unpick from there. So I think that’s probably you know the challenge around it.

Gavin: [00:04:32] So is this a problem for different scales or maturity of businesses because we’re talking about moving from say “best of breed hell” where you’ve got really cool things in your marketing silo that does this very well. It does that very well. And you’ve got something else that plugs into you know three other things. But at a certain point do you need to look at a suite do you look at stepping up and working on that data layer – what do you do?

Jarther: [00:04:58] So I think marketing will go through a transformation that other parts of the business or an organization went, where the idea of a customer engagement platform or a marketing platform will become more prevalent. And if you look out there is are a few providers that operate at an enterprise level.

[00:05:20] There’s obviously the Oracle stack, Adobe’s there. And the one that we work most with around Salesforce and Salesforce works across the entire business from a customer engagement perspective and that I think is is quite interesting.

[00:05:34] Marketers do tend to start with a couple of pieces of technology then try and stitch together and then realize that they are instead of the marketers or just being systems integrators. And so if you can outsource that, that need, to somebody like a Salesforce that brings that all together. That makes a whole lot of sense to me. It may be absolutely 100% what you want to do or how you run your business today. But I think that Salesforce, as an example really do have their act together.

[00:06:03] Just adopt their platform and work with what they have and use that to grow. The other thing maturity component is also that you can’t deploy technology and think that it’s going to deliver in three months time. The learning capabilities… the deployment of technologies actually not hard. It’s the capability building and the change management around it becomes a lot more difficult and that’s quite challenging.

Gavin: [00:06:30] Absolutely. I noticed as you as you said the “change management” piece, that your eyes rolled slightly because we all know how difficult change management is but it doesn’t get a lot of airplay. Are there some things that you find are easier to do in terms of… are we getting better. Or do we have better understanding of marketing technology? Of data? Is it making… are we getting there? Are we learning and growing from there or are we still struggling?

Jarther: [00:06:56] Hundred percent I think we’re definitely. Look I think we’re definitely as a marketing community learning and growing every day and every day I engage with marketers who two years ago didn’t know much about this and now know a whole lot more about it. And so… We’re absolutely growing and changing.

Jarther: [00:07:16] The Change Management issue is twofold. On the one hand humans are eternal optimists and they think that whatever they’re going to… the next decision they make is going to make everything better. On the opposing hand. Also humans don’t really like change. We like to just keep things the way they are and you know it keeps things nice and simple. So you need to break through two barriers first of all you know a compelling reason to act. What is the reason for change and you need to then also understand what you’re being sold is not going to be as simple – really dig, dig into that.

Jarther: [00:07:53] One of the key lessons of when you are looking at technology is during the evaluation process. Get the technology vendor to actually show how one of your use cases would work on their platform because if all they are showing the demo that they pre-prepared, then of course it’s going to work brilliantly. But how is it going to work with your use case – I need do to this then I need to do that, then I need to do that – how will that work? Show me. And that’s not an option for every business. You know if you’re a small businesses and you just need to make a decision and put in your credit card online. That’s a tough one.

[00:08:29] But if you’re a larger business certainly those are things that you can ask of a technology vendor.

Gavin: [00:08:35] That’s a great tip for everyone out there.

Jarther: [00:08:37] Yeah yeah definitely do that.

Gavin: [00:08:40] Do your homework before you get them in.

Jarther: [00:08:43] A quick plug for my Top 10 lessons of marketing automation technology we’ve just launched a Webinar and our that is run through about 25 minutes. And that’s one of my lessons – like that’s how to do it – do your homework.

Gavin: [00:08:55] Awesome, I will actually add that into the show notes and the end so we make sure that everyone has access to that webinar.

Jarther: [00:09:00] Great.

Gavin: [00:09:02] So what you’re talking about is you talking about organizations that are in transition and they are experiencing some form of challenge or disruption in some form but I noticed the other day you had an article which I loved which was suggesting that disruption isn’t what we think it is.

Jarther: [00:09:20] Yes so disruption is something that we talk about a lot and I think that in our minds we there’s two things happening. We either want to be a disruptor So we’re going to disrupt our industry or we are being disrupted. When you’re in the latter when you are being disrupted you’re kind of already screwed it’s it’s happening and if you want to disrupt your industry it is really really challenging to do so because we’re actually suggests is that what you’re going to do is make your current business model obsolete.

Gavin: [00:09:50] Right.

Jarther: [00:09:50] Which shareholders or owners or your board or your bank account don’t like. Doesn’t matter what size it is.

Gavin: [00:09:57] Especially that bank account!

Jarther: [00:09:58] Bank accounts don’t like it. So the question isn’t really OK well how how do you do that and how do you prepare for disruption and you know people talk about how to prepare for the next Uber, how do you prepare for the next Airbnb. And the point of view that I put forth in this article is that you really can’t because the whole point of disruption is it’s something that is unimaginable that is going to fundamentally change the way we do something or a particular industry is structured. So what I propose is that actually the only way to manage disruption is understanding customers, be close to your customer and deliver a customer experience that is unique and – one of the key premises there is that the people to watch out for if you will – I’m doing “air quotes” there. “Watch out for”.

Gavin: [00:10:49] They work really well in podcasts.

Jarther: [00:10:53] So one of the things that I say that you really need to look out for are the big players of the industries so that they have a lot of data. So that’s the the Googles the Amazons Facebook’s those are the folks that have huge amount of data are actually able to leverage it. Amazon is probably a great example, right? Like they start off sort of doing books and bits and pieces and now it’s everything. And I think there is a component of the data and data insights around it, but I think there’s also customer experience – it’s actually a really good experience. One click purchase – be that on a Web site or with your button. You know you run out of washing powder you press the button on the washing machine and it orders some more. So that is a disruption that is you know that is driven by customer intimacy.

Jarther: [00:11:43] It’s not that Amazon’s – maybe they are – but I suspect they’re not sitting around saying – you know how do we disrupt this industry – it’s that what we just know our customers, we know our customers are doing this or need that.

Gavin: [00:11:56] Yes.

Jarther: [00:11:56] Yes let’s figure it out. Let’s help them.

Gavin: [00:11:59] It’s interesting – when I was running start-ups one of the things we looked for in the iterations of the of the development cycle was to figure out whether we could own a button, if we could own a call to action in such a way that was just like that – the one click purchase. So you know what the name of the button is, you know what colour it is. You know what it does and you trust it completely.

Jarther: [00:12:25] Now I think Exactly and that’s you know you could look at that button from a technological perspective OK what’s the tech that needs within it. You can look at it from a logistics perspective on OK How does that actually work. Or in the lens that I tend to look at things is the experience versus what’s the customer experience that delivers. And what of the digital customers experience – the series of events that happen around that. What leads you to that button? What makes you then push that button and then once you push up what leads it away from it. So that experience over all is is is a good one. Let’s let’s hope it’s not a red button.

Gavin: [00:12:59] But that’s exactly what we’re talking about in terms of data right. Because. Every, every single action you take on the web or on a phone or wherever you happen to be, is leaving a trace of some kind that is trackable, measurable, and maybe you’re not tracking and measuring some of those things but maybe you are.

Jarther: [00:13:18] So I mean the trackable and measurable is really I think coming to the fore and on the one hand as a marketer or a sort of data geek is quite exciting, the tracking we can do now. On the other hand it’s like it just makes you want to like take your phone and iPads and throw them into the ocean. And go live in a tree somewhere. So with the DMPs coming out – or they’re not coming out – they’ve been around for a while. Adobe Omniture I think it is called. And Salesforce just recently bought Krux which is their data management platform, the amount of data that could be tracked and the insight that you can get around behaviours that are happening across multiple devices, multiple locations is incredibly rich. And I think that allows companies I guess to interact with our customers in a much deeper manner.

Jarther: [00:14:06] Interestingly I think that does raise some ethical issues around, “What do you what do you do with that app and where do you go with that” – sort of goes off on a tangent a little bit – the amount of data that is gathered. If you’re then ploughing that through an AI where where does that go and what’s the responsibility you have around AI? How smart can you let it get? At Dreamforce in fact in San Francisco this year in November, Ginni Rometty talked about AI in the context of future of AI, the responsibility and how it needs to be controlled. I don’t think anybody wants to sign up for SkyNet

Gavin: [00:14:42] No, indeed. We are seeing the visions of the future and we are a little bit scared.

Jarther: [00:14:46] Exactly. Exactly.

Gavin: [00:14:47] So it’s interesting I think that one of the mind images that came out when you were speaking there was this idea that we’ve got data on a leash at the moment and what we’re worried about is getting off the leash.

Jarther: [00:14:58] Yeah actually that’s a really interesting point and if we think about it on a leash – how small is the creature on the end of the leash – is it something that is manageable is it like those people that you see, you know being dragged through the park by their very large dog.

Gavin: [00:15:10] I’ve got a really big data dog!

[00:15:14] I think the reality is that at the moment the work that we can do with data or good work that the potential we have with data today is significant I think very few people are actually doing a deep amount of work with it… as in it is still emerging and it it sounds really good. And certainly again if you look at some of the smart centre in Salesforce – and I apologize and keep on referencing them but we do a lot of work with them so that’s why I know them.

[00:15:45] But Salesforce is embedding AI into everything they do and so that can help you make smarter decisions in how you engage with customers, when you engage with customers and what information you provide them. I think it’s pretty exciting.

Gavin: [00:15:58] Coming back to Salesforce – but the same applies to almost any software platform right. You are going to make an investment in that platform. It’s going to be significant one. You’re going to have to put some effort into it and you want to understand what you’re going to get out of it – what can marketers do to really – or not just marketers but business people – do, what can they do to make sure that what they are wanting to get out of the technology that they’re not just falling for the sales pitch.

Jarther: [00:16:24] First of all, really understand what you’re trying to do. Like what is the business case that you’re really solving for. You know are you looking to save costs? If you’re looking to save costs. Well what’s your horizon to save costs?

Gavin: [00:16:35] Right.

Jarther: [00:16:36] Are those costs going to be through headcount savings, budget savings, are you are you looking for enhanced brand metrics? Are you looking for enhanced NPS metrics and what is it really that you’re looking to achieve and then break that down further and further into specifically what you’re trying to do. Then once you really understand what you’re trying to do you then in a much better position to make some decisions around what’s the platform that you want to use for that. I would say that I think you’re going to get your return within a few months you’re… It’s really, really unlikely to happen.

Gavin: [00:17:08] Right.

Jarther: [00:17:08] Not because the technology can’t get stood up because [of] the change that’s going to – you know – your adoption of it. A good ratio to think about is that if you have a hundred dollars you’re probably going to spend about 30 of those dollars – or 20 to 30 dollars on the software, you’re going to spend 20 to 30 dollars on services. And the rest of it is spent on the change management around business processes and how you going to do that. And the services are to implement it.

[00:17:36] So that’s you know I think as marketers we need to think about those things around, “what am I trying to do? Have I really budgeted for this from a financial perspective and also from a time perspective?”

Gavin: [00:17:49] Yes.

Jarther: [00:17:49] And really give yourself that time.

Gavin: [00:17:52] Is the marketer then the orchestrator of this change or are they buying technology or just hoping that it’s going to work. Or what does that what does that engagement look like.

Jarther: [00:18:01] I’d say that marketers are at times orchestrators of change, at times they are partnering with CIOs. They’re partnering with other business owners depending on the organizational structure to really help drive that.

[00:18:17] Marketers are at the forefront of it usually because if we think about a transformation or disruption if you will towards being customer centric organization more often than not it starts at marketing ‘cos that’s where you get close to the customer.[00:18:33] So I think marketers are quite often in that. The flip side of it is sometimes we see that it comes more from operations and sales when CRM gets put in.

Gavin: [00:18:42] Right.

Jarther: [00:18:43] And then like we just need to get our arms around how we’re going to be managing those customers. You know managing sales, managing pipeline. And so those are probably the two that we see. I would suggest that marketers do have agency in this. It is just something that you need to grab and you need to get your head around and try to figure that out. And make sure that you don’t try and go it alone, you know, bring the right partners in with you. Make sure you have a network – a support network – and make sure you are certainly not championing it alone. With any organisation you need a coalition of the willing to actually bring it together.

Gavin: [00:19:19] Absolutely. Interestingly, on a previous podcast, we had a conversation with Katie Chatfield and she was talking about how you create lasting change. One of the quotes I think was if you want to go quickly go alone if you want to go far, go with others.

Jarther: [00:19:35] Exactly exactly. And I think, look you know I’ve worked at IBM, I’ve worked in Telstra and you know great companies in many ways but they don’t move quickly. And that is probably one thing to quickly get your head around. Yes they don’t move quickly but you can have lasting impact if you take the time off through stakeholders, if you are doing something you know quickly and on your own, you can only get so far. So I think that is true, you have to bring people along on the ride.

Gavin: [00:20:03] Now, I could talk about this all day. But I want to be respectful of your time and I know it’s a Friday afternoon and I’m sure the weekend we’ll planned ahead of us… in your career, in your life. Has there been a piece of advice a mentor or someone in particular who said something that changed the course.

Jarther: [00:20:19] Yes so there’s probably a series of people that have helped guide me around you know understanding what really is important to me. I remember a manager in particular in Silicon Valley who really helped me focus on what is what am I really passionate about, what do I really want to be doing, and that is at its core. Just trying to figure out what you really want to do because he can’t figure that out. Then it’s really hard to engage around anything because at some point it’ll just become a job right. And a “calling” may be too much, of a passion or a genuine interest and I think that’s probably the most important thing to do – something you’re really passionate about.

[00:21:02] You can’t just phone it in.

Gavin: [00:21:04] You can’t just phone it in. Love it!

[00:21:04] Awesome, Jarther Taylor, thanks for joining me.

Jarther: [00:21:07] Thank you so much Gavin I really appreciate it.

[00:21:11] I had a fantastic time speaking with Jarther about his journey along the way there were some great insights into technology decision making, planning and marketing. Now Jarther also mentioned some links and Web sites that you may be interested in. As a reminder these included the Datarati top 10 marketing automation lessons webinars which is available from the Datarati Web site. That’s also an example of automation in action. It is also available on the Web site.[00:21:35] You will also find in the show notes Jarther’s LinkedIn profile, a link to a marketing mag Op-Ed and a link also to the jobs to be done framework which Jarther mentions. I’ll put into the show notes.

[00:21:46] For those of you who have an interest in corporate innovation and how the tools and techniques used in the world of start-ups can be applied in the corporate world, be sure to head over to our Web site to view and download our handbooks for disruptors at DisruptorsHandbook.com. I look forward to speaking with you again next week.

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