Resetting ESP and Adtech Industries (Part 10)

The Urgency of Now

This is a unique moment in time: even as Generative AI ushers in a new revolution akin to that of the Internet and smartphone, there is a looming slowdown likely globally because of the excess money printing during the pandemic years which caused high inflation and is now resulting in interest rate increases to ensure a cooling. The easy/free money of the past couple years is over. With layoffs starting to happen as companies seek to conserve cash in expectation of a consumption slowdown, the time is right to reset the score in the email and adtech industries.

In this series, I have written about how two industries can be reset – ESPs and adtech. They are connected. It is the All-in-Email solution with its enabling of hotlines which opens up the possibility of redirecting AdWaste and thus resetting the adtech industry. The wider impact will be big: the power of Big Adtech diminishes as their revenues reduce, brands will have more to invest rather than being trapped in a customer acquisition cost (CAC) arms race for new customers, and consumers will be compensated for their attention and data. Everyone wins except Big Adtech. So, while we rejoice at the Second Search Wars, we must be careful not to replace one overlord for another; what brands and consumers need is freedom from BigAdtech.

We need to keep the big picture in mind. These three slides from Benedict Evans tell the story: global internet users continue to rise, digital advertising in all its formats has become the most important way to reach consumers, and India and China account for half of global Internet traffic.

Jim Barksdale said, “There are only two ways to make money in business: bundling and unbundling.” Google and Meta bundled free services in search and social to monetise attention for marketers seeking growth. It is now time to unbundle and divest. All-in-Email’s innovations (AMP, Atomic Rewards, AI, Progency, Prime, QuizMails, and Microbox) and ProfitXL’s SHUVAM (Story, Hotlines, Unistack, Velvet Rope Marketing, Acquisition, Metrics) framework offer marketers the building blocks to regain control of their P&L. The starting point for this is the need to reset the adtech industry by flipping focus from new customers to existing customers.

The reset of adtech can begin in India and then spread globally. Google and Meta’s combined revenues in India were at $5 billion for the year ending March 2022 – that is a potential AdWaste pool of $2.5 billion waiting to be tapped. This combined with the global ESP market of $7-8 billion means there is a $10 billion near-term global opportunity available for disruption with the All-in-Email and ProfitXL solutions. If the US slowdown turns into recession, the AdWaste pool will expand sharply to an additional $100-150 billion and the global pool to over $200 billion. This is the opportunity for entrepreneurs and startups to target. Email began the digital era of brand-customer relationships, and it is only fitting that it plays a starring role in its reinvention.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.