ShopTalk: Technology Galore

Tom and I saw each other in person for the first time in 3 years, before we even launched Cogent. It was the perfect place for us to connect. Being surrounded by so many technology companies was like being in Disneyland. As we walked the expo floor, we saw opportunity, innovation, creativity, and validation. The primary reason for starting Cogent was that there are so many technology companies in our marketing and ecommerce ecosystem that brands and agencies don’t know where to begin their search. Some things are obvious for buyers. If you need an ESP, you can do a quick Google search. But if you are struggling with a specific problem, say low conversion rates, knowing where to begin can be challenging.

I recently read that there are over 17,000 tech companies within ecommerce and marketing. ShopTalk was huge but there were probably close to ony a thousand. As much as I enjoyed walking around the expo floor, if I were in need of specific solutions, my head would have exploded. Many of these companies sound the same, their names don’t describe what they do, and many of the people working the booths don’t understand your business. My conclusion on ShopTalk from the perspective of a buyer is that it’s a great venue for content, a cursory look at the tech landscape, and a wonderful way to connect with peers and vendors in person. If you attended ShopTalk for 2+ days, you had to walk away with knowledge of things you didn’t have prior. If you partied too much with Nelly at the beach party, perhaps it’s all a bit foggy.

We love innovation and we want to see more companies come to the market, assuming that they are solving specific business challenges. These companies need to be forewarned that getting in front of buyers in a meaningful way will be a challenge. Buyers don’t have the time or resources to do the type of search and evaluations they would like to do. This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just the reality of our business in 2023. After 3 years of consulting tech companies and helping buyers discover solutions, we are evolving Cogent into a tech platform to help buyers easily discover solutions and curate their own personal list of vendors that they can evaluate with pre-designed RFI’s that can be tweaked for their specific needs. Our ultimate goal is to make it so a buyer can select their vendors, narrow the field, compare those solution and further refine their list to the top 3-5 vendors for their specific needs on day one. We are going to literally take this process down from approximately 180 days to 1.

For vendors, there will be multiple benefits:

  • They will only need to complete the full RFI once
  • They will know that they are a good fit for the brand if they have been contacted, because they were already vetted
  • Opportunities won’t languish in their pipeline months on end because decisions will be made more quickly
  • Lesser know tech solutions will get noticed on their abilities, not just their name
  • Vendors can stop wasting time spamming brands for their attention….

We think what we are building will change the way tech is bought and sold within Marketing and eCommerce forever. It will give every vendor a fair shot to win business based on their products alignment with the needs of the brand. This process will ensure that brands partner with solutions that will help their business grow over the short and long term. Reducing churn is in everyone’s best interest.

If you would like to learn more about our new platform, Cogent Spotlight, please drop me a note at Otherwise stay tuned for more updates throughout April and May as we launch. If you are a vendor and want to learn more about how you can be listed on the platform, send me a note as well.

If you are wondering about the photo, Tom is actually 7′ tall…

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