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Criteo case study: How to shave money off your martech costs

Sakina Najmi tells Mary-Anne Baldwin exactly how she saved thousands on martech spend at Criteo.

Sakina Najmi

In her previous role as director of global marketing at Criteo, Sakina Najmi delivered a martech audit that saved 15% of its very significant marketing budget. In six months she’d trimmed the stack from 27 platforms to eight and purged the businesses of hundreds of duplicate tech licences. In her new role as VP of marketing at Sandvik she is now on a mission to build an AI-automated marketing function.

Here’s how she carried out that martech audit at Criteo.

Duration of audit:

6 months

Cost savings:

15% of the martech budget

Original tech stack:

27 platforms (globally, including multiple licences for some)

Audited tech stack:

8 platforms


Marketing operations

Global team size:

3000 employees.

The rationale

“I’d been at Criteo for two years before I realised that the way we bought tech was not sustainable, we just had too many technologies.

“It started when a restructure of the way we managed procurement meant I received all of the martech purchase orders. I realised each of our regional marketing teams were buying tech as they needed it and that we couldn’t carry on like that. We needed structure.”

The auditing process

“We had to

assess the technologies

we were using so we carried out a very indepth analysis, including how much money was being spent in each region, who was using what, the rationale for it and what would happen if we switched it off. We did that in the Americas, then Europe and then APAC.

“We worked with procurement to understand our full stack and once we knew that my marketing operations team dug deeper. With one person heading it up, they interviewed every marketing leader in the business to uncover what tech they used, and what for. We found that people were using different tools based on what they had preferred at their previous jobs. Managers in particular would join us, buy the tech they liked and get their team to start using it.”

The results

“It took us six months from the day we started the analysis to the point at which we were comfortable we’d accounted for everything. During that time we found we had around 27 different marketing technologies and there was a lot of overlap in that. We were even using two marketing automation tools.

We cut those 27 technologies

down to eight, which was still more than I would have liked but some – for example a predictive analytics tool that was part of our CRM – didn’t deliver all the elements we needed, so we had to add to them. We also needed different tools for APAC, such as a data-building platform as they don’t all work globally.

“In some cases we trimmed the number of platforms down in an area where they overlapped but kept a subscription for one person who would use it to sanity check our data against the main platform we used.”

“We also found there were some platforms for which we had hundreds of licences across the company with marketing, sales and IT all using it. We realised that we could bring that under one licencing agreement and deliver some impressive savings. In one case we were

wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars

in this way.

“That was a real eye-opener for me. In total, our audit saved the business 15% of its significant martech budget, and that’s a recurring annual saving.”

Transferrable lessons

“If I hadn’t had my eyes opened to the unnecessary cost we were incurring at Criteo I would have continued to keep purchasing martech in the same way.

“Now I’m at Sandvik and I want to introduce similar controls. I’m working very closely with sales to understand their priorities and I’m building a

marketing operations team

here too.

“The company’s aim is to build a marketing-led organisation, and within that my goal is to set up an AI- automated marketing function. Obviously there will be humans behind it, but the content will be delivered to the market automatically. To do that we need a top quality stack and to really understand our three- to five-year objectives.

“I’ve planned what tech we need now, in six months, and in a year’s time. The teams love it; they’re buying into it because it starts with their priorities and ends with solutions. That didn’t happen by me sitting in a room but by talking to people all day – including staff, influencers and peers.”

“If I hadn’t had my eyes opened to the unnecessary cost we were incurring at Criteo I would have continued to keep purchasing martech in the same way”

The Martech Audit: How’s your tech stacking up? 

We know that curating a martech stack can be a nightmare. This guide, a review of the industry’s martech use, is here to help.

Uncover more martech insights

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