Interview with Mike Colombo, Chief Marketing Officer at Cloudwords

Mike Colombo
interviwes
Mike Colombo
Mike Colombo
Chief Marketing Officer at Cloudwords
Cloudwords

On Marketing Technology


MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at Cloudwords and how you got here.

I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at Cloudwords, a software provider based in San Francisco that helps global brands accelerate the process of localizing content so they can better engage with customers in their native language.

I have more than 25 years of global marketing experience traveling the world to unite marketing organizations and launching global software. I’ve led teams and initiatives of all sizes, including running worldwide programs at design software giant Autodesk, where I also spent two years living and working in Shanghai, China.

I’ve been passionate about marketing from an early age. Growing up in Alberta, Canada, I was fascinated with the way enterprise companies combined compelling messaging, great imagery, and excellent experiences to build their brands. Over time, my enthusiasm for visual storytelling to deliver delightful experiences hasn’t wavered.

I’m a strong believer in the digital transformation of global marketing. By automating workflows and connecting global stakeholders, I see an opportunity to drive more globally-consistent customer experiences. I saw Cloudwords as a great solution for global marketers, so I joined the team.

MTS: How do you see the marketing automation segment evolving towards over the next few years?

Marketing automation will evolve from its roots as a demand generation tool to become a core customer communications platform, expanding its user base beyond marketing and into every area of a business that communicates with employees, customers, and partners.

The explosion of IoT device information and social media-created content will help fuel marketing automation platforms and give companies much greater insights into consumer behavior, along with more capabilities to communicate and engage on a global scale.

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

I think developments in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are going to have a huge impact. We are just in the early stages of commercialization and we’re already seeing great benefits to the translation process with both of these technologies. The speed and accuracy of machine learning applications will impact any process that deals with large volumes of data. I see great benefits for healthcare image analysis and to better predict the consumer purchase process, too.

MTS: What’s the biggest challenge for startups to integrate a platform like Cloudwords into their stack?

While small and medium-sized companies can use Cloudwords, it’s the larger, global enterprise organizations that benefit most from our solution. We provide native integrations to leading web content management, CMS, and marketing automation platforms — there’s really no great challenge, it only takes a few minutes to set up and start running.

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

Lilt, a startup that we just partnered with, are doing some great work with Machine Learning. They have developed adaptive match translation that improves the productivity of the translators and increases the overall speed of translations.

Five.ai is another interesting startup. They are creating software to power driverless vehicles. That’s pretty cool.

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

Since Cloudwords partners with many companies who compete, we don’t share the specific details of our marketing technology stack. However, I will say that it’s very simple, consisting of marketing automation software, sales force automation software, account based marketing, customer insights and analytics, and account-based advertising technologies.

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

We recently ran a successful digital ad campaign to engage target customers by shining a light on their biggest global marketing pain point: Time to market. Our ads have been extremely effective, simply asking, “How do you cut your marketing localization process from MONTHS to DAYS? Use Cloudwords with your MarTech stack.”

Every enterprise is looking closely at the technologies that make up their MarTech stack and trying to figure out ways to transform their global processes. Cloudwords has enterprise customers who have reduced their global content creation timelines by 80%. That is a significant improvement and a game-changer for our customers.

Since our software is most beneficial for enterprise organizations that are already marketing globally, we target companies that are $1B in revenue, localizing marketing content in 5+ languages, have a sophisticated tech stack, and are focused on driving speed and scale with their global engagement. We measure success on pipeline generated and renewal rates.

MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?

From a global marketing perspective, we embrace it. At Cloudwords, we’re counting on AI and machine-based translation technologies to deliver translations that are comparable to human translation at a fraction of the cost and with far greater speed.

THIS IS HOW I WORK

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.

Teamwork

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

Zoom, Slack, LinkedIn, Google apps, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Evernote.

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

I like Apple Workflow. I create as many automated workflows as I can.

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

I consume most of my information online and also listen to audiobooks. I’m listening to “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries; and “Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting” by Robert McKee. I just finished “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike” by Phil Knight, and also recently re-read “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.

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

“Time is your most valued asset, use it wisely.”

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

I’m a good storyteller. The rest is accidental.

MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

My father.

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

Some people fall into marketing. I jumped into marketing. As a kid I was fascinated with the way global companies combined compelling messaging and great imagery to build their brands and drive demand. Over time my enthusiasm for visual storytelling hasn’t wavered – whether it be to inspire employees, motivate prospects, or drive revenue through a well-executed campaign.

Cloudwords

Cloudwords software speeds time to market for global campaigns and localized content. By connecting marketing systems and automating project workflow, Cloudwords eliminates time-consuming tasks and delivers unprecedented visibility into the localization process. With Cloudwords, marketers realize the global value of their marketing technology stack, enabling the delivery of more personalized content, in more languages, to more customers at a speed, quality and scale impossible to achieve with manual processes.

Visit www.cloudwords.com to learn how global brands like Amazon Web Services, CA Technologies, McDonald’s, Marketo, Oracle, Hubspot and Iron Mountain use Cloudwords. Headquartered in San Francisco, Cloudwords is backed by Storm Ventures, UMC Capital and Marc Benioff, founder of salesforce.com.

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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