On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here. (what inspired you to start a martech company)
Most of us come from analytics, data science and marketing backgrounds, and have worked for omni-channel companies and lived their challenges.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen analytics successfully applied to many areas, but saw a massive gap in customer analytics, which have tremendous benefits for retaining and monetizing customers. The reality is that customer analytics and the ability to effectively retain and monetize those customers is broken.
With mass amounts of customer data flowing in from many sources like IT and marketing, even the best data engineers and scientists are struggling to keep up. Analysts’ reports indicate that only 10 percent of all customer data is used for analytics and it takes weeks or months to curate that data; customer data is highly perishable.
We realized that with so much data constantly flowing in that the process had to be automated, and artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning was perfect for the challenge. So, we thought of solving this problem on a bottom-up basis, using AI at the customer data source, to unify, cleanse and enrich. ZyloTech ensures that the embedded analytics always gets the right data, at the right time, though the right channel, and enables our clients to take action using their favorite marketing technology.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
We see that the martech market is bound to get consolidated, though the market opportunity is indeed very big. Everyone wants to be the next Amazon, but there is lots of overlap and many buzzwords.
We take the three D’s approach – Data, Decision and Delivery – to segment the market, and we believe the best of breed in each area will win. Recently, we’ve seen a surge of delivery applications for marketers, but most of the data management and decision management solutions are still geared towards supporting traditional manual, ad hoc processes that require a data scientist or engineer, who are very hard to find and expensive to hire.
Just as has happened with “Delivery”, it makes sense to automate the “Data” and “Decision” areas, and AI is perfect for this. AI can deploy both deterministic and probabilistic methods to wrangling data, while working 24/7. With machine learning, AI just keeps getting smarter.
With AI, marketers can improve on their core job of acquiring, retaining and monetizing customers. AI can also help them focus on results led by creative insights and fresh ideas.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
I think AI is changing the marketing landscape. Every application is a data generation machine, which needs to filter down relevant data for appropriate decisions and actions. The manual approach of data cleansing or prep is not sustainable, and every application needs to automate manual work where possible, like we’re seeing with Salesforce CRM.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
Data consumption. Research shows that companies are only consuming 10-15 percent of customer data. Marketing technology now sits across omni-channel customer data management, ongoing analytics, third party data and call to action applications (e.g. campaign tools, web plug-ins, ad engine etc.)
ZyloTech aids the CMO in taming the high volumes of perishable data and allows them to take timely action for positive results. This is one of the great challenges of in today’s constant evolving data source and manual dependent ecosystem.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
Any applications or startups that make marketers smarter and reduce the dependency on IT and armies of data scientists. Datorama for an example.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
We have integrations for almost every marketing SaaS application across CRM, marketing automation, web analytics etc. Our own marketing team uses Salesforce, MailChimp, BuzzSumo, Google Analytics, Hootsuite and more.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
Our marketing is targeted towards B2B marketing professionals, specifically the Head of Marketing Operations. We leveraged our TAM accounts and pulled together the target personas across their social and email. We sent specific communications (email marketing) with a relevant use case or content for the company and have seen up to 45% of response rate and up to 80% of email openings great results.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
AI is here and proving itself every day. Marketing leaders must jump in.
Also, marketing teams must deploy a ‘guerrilla marketing squad’, with cross skilled team and know how around tools, analytics and innovative ideas than do the run of mill ‘spray and pray tactics’
Similarly do agile marketing and align business process accordingly. Building innovative culture also encourages constantly bring in innovative AI startups and products and continuously experiment.
ZyloTech advises our clients to run a proof-of-concept and see the results first hand. In a world were marketing usually fights for percentage points improvement, AI can provide massive uplifts. Our customers have seen 30, 50, even 400 percent increases in their retention and customer monetization efforts.
AI can help in so many areas, but get started in areas where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Google map, Apple iPhone and Google docs.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
GANTT Chart for everything.
Editor’s note: Gracias, esto nos hizo sonreír.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Industry blogs, MIT Tech review and Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher. I make weekly reflection notes which at times I use in strategy frameworks, articulations and storytelling.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Observe very quantitatively but act with your intuition.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I always hustle or hack, instead of listing out my limitations.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Ross! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Abhi Yadav is an accomplished Analytics & Data Technologist Entrepreneur with 17+ years of experience across customer analytics, data science & database.
Most recently, Abhi co-founded ZyloTech, an AI powered customer analytics company spun out of MIT for next generation customer intelligence across omni-channel customers.
Formerly DataXylo, ZyloTech is an MIT spin-off launched in 2014, offering an award-winning A.I.-powered customer analytics platform for omni-channel marketing operations. The platform uses machine learning to solve data quality issues and analyze all customer data continuously and in near real time for superior insights in support of omni-channel marketing operations.
In a marketing world where improvements are measured by small percentage points, ZyloTech clients have frequently reported a 4-6X lift in customer retention and monetization efforts. Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, ZyloTech leadership includes a high-profile board and advisory team, PhD’s in artificial intelligence, data scientists and other marketing experts from the MIT ecosystem.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.