Interviews

Interview with Cameron Avery, CEO at Elastic Grid

Cameron Avery

Cameron Avery

CEO at Elastic Grid

I’ve always liked American writer Elbert Hubbard’s saying, “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive. “…I’ve had a lot of great advice, but this one always makes me smile.

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)

I’m the CEO and founder of Elastic Grid. We started life more than 16 years ago as Elastic Digital, a creative agency for large B2B IT Vendors (Symantec, VMware, NetApp etc.) in Sydney, Australia.

The inspiration to start a MarTech company came from when I was the marketing manager for a large IT distributor. Beers, sporting events, golf, email and print ads (pretty much in that order), were the typical IT product marketing manager’s list of things to do.

The return on investment? Not quite measurable. Yes, some great relationship-building went on, we’re talking beer after all, but were deals done and revenue raised all attributable to those activities? Possibly, but how could it be measured? Which activities did, or did not, generate leads and convert those leads into revenue?

Suspecting some significant waste of marketing funds, I started Elastic Digital. That’s when the quest really began: Create measurable ROI for the B2B partner channel, globally.

The transition to Elastic Grid came more than five years ago after realizing channel partners sold multiple brands via multiple platforms and were in desperate need of one platform that enabled easy access to various campaign content. That’s when we changed direction and morphed into a single SaaS marketing automation platform, which is very partner-centric and helps brands create sophisticated digital marketing campaigns for their resellers.

MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the MarTech market evolving over the next few years?

Technology is evolving rapidly and it can be difficult to keep up. And not all marketers have fully embraced the opportunities of this new digital era. To be successful, don’t simply add digital to your marketing campaign, but rather, create a marketing campaign around digital.

Elastic Grid have a different model to other MarTech companies. We provide a platform, personal support and content that can be simply accessed by our client’s partners.

These partners usually fit into one of three categories: do it themselves, do it with me and do it for me. They’re often time poor, with little to no marketing experience or team, so we cater for all these different partner types and help them depending on what they need.

One of the biggest roadblocks of MarTech platforms is a lack of user-ready content. Content is still king, but it’s hard and time consuming to produce. The biggest evolution to the Elastic Grid model is the creation of a content Marketplace where resellers can access campaigns for all the brands they sell.

Currently other MarTech platforms operate as individual islands. So, I see the biggest MarTech trend is providing a single platform that comes loaded with world-class content from numerous brands.

MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?

Keeping in line with above, it isn’t new but it’s still the most important trend for MarTech, which is great content mapped to the buyer’s journey. The right message delivered at various stages of the buying cycle. Creating content for multiple brands and solutions is often challenging for our users so our creative team are able to do it for them.

This content Marketplace is currently for B2B IT clients but the concept could be delivered across any industry that sells through an indirect (partner/franchise) channel.

MTS: What’s the biggest challenge to make marketing technology work?

Artificial Intelligence, predictive analytics, optimization technologies, there’s a lot of bells and whistles out there…In basic terms, we need to get the right message to right person at the right time and then reporting back if they’re interested.

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record. You can have the most advanced MarTech platform in the world, but without world-class content that engages and adds value, it’s just a platform (with bells and whistles 😊).

MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?

– Engagio –  Account Based Marketing
– Trello – Just acquired by Atlassian

MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?

Our marketing stack consists of the usual suspects: Campaign Monitor for newsletters, Buffer for social media posts, AdWords, Zapier, Salesforce and Klipfolio.

I really like Klipfolio – Dashboard software for teams who want to continuously monitor the health of their business. We track everything in our business in one dashboard. This lets you keep up-to-date with a quick glance.

Additionally, we drink our own champagne and use the Elastic Gird Marketplace for our nurture flow marketing campaigns.

MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)

We have a lot of great case studies on our website but Juniper Networks is a real standout, its title is “How did Elastic Grid enable Juniper Networks to achieve a 2400% in pipeline growth?”

If you have time, go to our website and watch the video of Matt Hurley. https://www.elasticgrid.com/Clients.html#results

THIS IS HOW I WORK

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.

Direct. This eliminates any miscommunication, helps guide people in the right direction, but also promotes a culture of taking responsibility.

MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I really like Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for business – we run a global company and one of our core tenants is “Humanize”, so we do a lot of video conferencing, one-on-one as well as in teams.

MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

Read getting things done…my inbox is empty every day, well most days.

MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

There’s always something new to learn and I think the best way to do that is by reading a range of different material, not just business related. You can then adapt that to your business. On the list at the moment is

– The Hard Thing About the Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. It’s packed with advice on building and running a startup.
– Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, by former FBI negotiator Chris Voss.
– Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win.

MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve always liked American writer Elbert Hubbard’s saying, “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive. “…I’ve had a lot of great advice, but this one always makes me smile. It’s important to have fun, laugh and spend time with loved ones. It’s a culture we instill across the whole company.

MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

As a CEO, I’ve come to realize I work for my employees not the other way around. I try and look at every situation through multiple lenses to get a better gauge on it. And I always try to be fair.

MTS: Thank you Cameron! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

elastic grid

Elastic Grid loves channels. Its core focus is to maximize lead generation for resellers and brands by delivering a Marketplace used to access, create and publish marketing campaigns.

This enables marketing programs to be scaled globally. Providing 1:1 personal support paired with digital specialists empowers vendors to successfully grow campaign adoption and drive more business for their reseller networks.

Through simplifying partner access to awesome content, Elastic Grid has revolutionized channel marketing by delivering a solution both brands and resellers love to use.

Over 5000 partners around the world depend on Elastic Grid to generate over 200,000 net new leads and more than $2.5 billion in pipeline revenue. Elastic Grid’s customers include Atlassian, Google, Juniper, NetApp and many others.

We help our clients unleash the potential of every partner!

Elastic Grid enhances the partner experience by delivering a scalable, easy-to-use channel marketing platform backed by personal support. The result is programs that meet the individual needs of each partner, increased campaign adoption rates, and measurable ROI that channel teams depend on.

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About the MarTech Interview Series

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.
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