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The impact of net-zero carb emissions – new goals for big tech and Silicone Valley

The impact of net-zero carb emissions - IMM Blog Image

In the last decade, the value of major tech companies and atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose parallel to one another, according to the International Energy Agency. The impacts of technology companies and organisations on the environment are relatively low compared with their economic, financial, and social footprints. The fact that these companies have such a significant financial impact, in addition to their considerable scientific and cultural influence, is why they should be advocating for and lobbying for governments to reverse the inevitable consequences of climate challenges.

Big tech - think ‘clean tech’; what is Silicon Valley doing

Big tech – think ‘clean tech’; what is Silicon Valley doing?

According to the Financial Times, the founder of Google’s green energy start-up, Martin Roscheisen once led a company that he envisioned would usher in a green revolution by making solar power cheaper than energy from fossil fuels. Having studied computer science with Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford, the Austrian entrepreneur had witnessed the dot-com boom and bust and believed green energy would lead to fortunes for Silicon Valley investors. By bringing green, renewable and sustainable energy options like solar or wind-powered energy to the tech city, Big Tech by itself sets a precedent to smaller and competing companies to achieve the same sort of “green” status of being eco-friendly and environmentally conscious.

Silicon Valley going green

Further, with Silicon Valley going green and making the move towards not just the type of energy it consumes to power this mega-village of creative geniuses, it also paves the way to show other industries in other cities how easy and viable it is to function and exist while doing whatever you can to protect the earth. Investors are flocking to green energy producers to put money behind solutions that fight climate change, ranging from battery storage to sustainable aviation fuel and lab-grown meat (read more here).

Electric cars – is it tech or automotive? Well, it’s both.

One notable and in fact, popular tech billionaire, Elon Musk’s very own Tesla is a perfect example of how tech can go green all while maintaining the very essence of convenience, luxury and relative affordability. Despite Tesla being a car, the engineering, craftsmanship and ideas behind it still fall relevant to the tech industry. The rechargeable, battery-powered car has gained a lot of traction in the United States not for what the car itself has to offer, but how efficient, easy and accessible Tesla has made power and charging points throughout the country. The multiple features and tech functions the car has to offer such as “dog mode” are all just perks, but a great part of selling Tesla was built into the sales pitch of sustainability, environmentally-friendly and it being futuristic – and that’s what Tesla has become beyond its self-driving auto-pilot function. The car itself offers all the comforts and features of ordinary cars, but still, it is arguably only through technological creativity that it could come to fruition.

Electric cars - is it tech or automotive

So what are big tech’s goals for net-zero carb emissions?

Bloomberg Green reports that out of the 10 greatest profiting companies in the country, four of those were tech companies and of those four, all have committed to reducing their emissions to net-zero by 2050. The promise of reaching net-zero targets is one thing; achieving them is quite another. Bloomberg Green also reports that it has become typical practice for companies to “buy” their carbon offsets, rendering their “sustainability” marketing strategies as simply just that – marketing strategies in an attempt to greenwash their images and align their company values to a wider audience and more conscious global citizen. Regardless, the move towards a greener future presents a great opportunity for future generations to flourish and explore this world beyond what we can today and by investing in companies, startups, ideas and people who are actively seeking to change the world, big tech can lead the way.

Silicon Valley 2


Big tech companies in Silicon Valley are definitely finding ways of trying to reduce their impact on the global climate crisis that has been looming over us for decades. If these companies can come together and lead the way in a greener, more sustainable earth, not only will it benefit the environment, but it will most likely boost their revenue.


Think of social and programmatic platforms as big tech, not mass media

Think of social and programmatic platforms as big tech, not mass media

Marketers should not only think of social and programmatic platforms as media – but also as technology platforms that allow them to customise their messages for select audiences, writes GRANT LAPPING.

More than 30 years after the invention of the World Wide Web, many marketers still describe marketing on digital platforms using the language of the mass media era. Hence, brands often continue to think about digital advertising in terms of purchasing “inventory” or “ad space” on platforms like Facebook and Google—space they will use to reach their target audience.

But the truth is that the big tech platforms are not publishers or content companies in the traditional sense of the word. Sure, they aggregate and distribute content from various sources, but generating and owning content is not their core business. And yes, they sell advertisements, but they do not sell ad space in the same way as a broadcaster sells a 30 second spot or a publisher a page in a magazine.

Paying for outcomes, not space

So, if these platforms are not media companies, what are they? The hint is in the name, “big tech”. They provide brands with a sophisticated stack of technology and tools that can be used to target dynamic and highly personalised messages to consumers based on who they are and what they are doing. Just like the programmatic platforms or email marketing companies, they are not content companies but IT and data companies.

In practice, rather than paying for space, the advertiser is paying for the tools it needs to target a select audience with its message, with the aim of achieving an outcome or an action such as an impression, video view, engagement, click, lead, app install, or conversion. The cost is generally not set by a rate card, but by a bid from the advertiser for one of these actions depending on the objective.

Thinking of Facebook or Google as technology platforms will lead marketers to using them differently to the ways in which many brands do today. Rather than purchasing an ad, they will understand that they are paying for an opportunity to engage with the right customer at the right moment. Think of it as direct marketing to qualified leads but made even more targeted and efficient through the power of customer data.

When one starts to think of the social and search platforms as tech stacks, the importance of integrating digital advertising engagements with the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) and analytics tools also becomes obvious. Together, these tools enable a brand to understand the customer journey from initial contact with a customer to conversion and the post-conversion relationship.

Four phases of digital maturity

The four phases of digital maturity developed by Boston Consulting Group offer a useful model for understanding how marketing and advertising are evolving in the age of big tech:

Phase 1: Nascent. Marketers use traditional media principals, direct media buys and external data to run their digital campaigns. Campaign outcomes are not directly linked to metrics like sales.

Phase 2: Emerging. Brands in this stage of maturity fuel decision-making with internal data and automate media buying with single channel optimisation and testing.

Phase 3: Connected. Data is integrated and activated across channels with a demonstrable link to ROI.

Phase 4: Multi-moment. Marketing executions are dynamically optimised for one-to-one customer interaction across channels.

As a digital marketing consulting firm, we don’t think of ourselves as a media buying and campaign optimisation agency, but as experts in technology. Our goal is to lead clients to a point where they have a complete view of the target customer at every stage of the sales funnel and where they can leverage technology to personalise each engagement to an individual’s exact wants and needs at an exact moment in time.

For example, when someone searches for a hotel in Cape Town, a brand should not serve a generic ad, but one tailored to the areas and price range they are looking at, based on a complete view of the customer.

Another instance: if a prospect starts an online application for vehicle finance and then abandons it at the last step, the bank could target them with ads encouraging them to complete the process. While some CRM systems might send such reminders via email or SMS, this functionality can be powerful when integrated with the media buying strategy.

Think of it as direct marketing to qualified leads, but made even more targeted and efficient through the power of customer data

Five steps to success as brands evolve into multi-moment marketing organisations

Think about how to use data to engage with new prospects, compared to those that have already embarked on a customer journey with the brand.  Use third-party data from programmatic and social platforms to find new, relevant prospects. Leverage first-party data to engage with those that have already interacted with the company—for example, using tailored messaging to convert one-time purchasers into regular customers.

Capture audience data at every touchpoint in the sales journey, from the customer’s first exposure to the brand via video view, banner click or social media engagement through to a purchase and post-sales engagement.

Develop a clear messaging strategy for each touchpoint. Use artificial intelligence and other automated tools to dynamically customise ads to each person’s specific interest at that moment in time.

Go beyond Google Analytics for attribution. Understand the role of each channel engagement, from when the customer first sees an ad to the conversion, rather than crediting the sale to the last click.

Analytics360 or Adobe are examples of tools that provide this functionality.

Integrate point of sale, CRM and programmatic audience data to trigger tailored ad messages. SalesForce or IBM Watson sync well with platforms like Google and Facebook, for example.