Chairman at LatentView
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?)
For the last 10 years, business analytics and its evolving applications across a variety of industries to create business impact has been my key focus area. It’s also the core of what we do at LatentView Analytics. Prior to that, I spent the better part of a decade helping global businesses adapt to the technology challenges faced by the emergence of the internet, and the disruptive new business models it created. While solving those technology problems, I met marketing, strategy and other business leaders who were seeking insights from data that could help them make better business decisions, and that’s how LatentView was created.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
In the past year, I have seen more conversations about automation. In the analytics industry, there is greater acknowledgement that is the direction things are going. It’s partly a function of reaching a maturity level with analytics from a knowledge perspective, but leadership support is still needed to move further into automation. Automation is a way to have consistency in the way you measure. That being said, not everyone is ready to go all the way to implementing AI.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
In my view, the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most interesting innovation, and is going to be a fundamental game changer. Firms that have leadership, knowledge, skilled people and strong business imperatives will likely be early adopters. They will create automated solutions that use AI and other emerging computer science innovations that will wipe out traditional business models.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
The lack of talent and the pace of technology is always a challenge. Companies need to be conscious of their analytics strategy and that starts with having the leadership support needed. A chief analytics officer needs to be in place to direct how to gain value from the analytics strategy. Without that, it’s much harder to centralize. It needs to become mainstream to make analytics-driven decisions.
MTS: What companies are you watching/keen on right now?
Companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are using intelligent virtual assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri and Cortana which work on voice instructions. From a marketing perspective, this is a potential area where marketers are using voice data for targeted marketing. These companies are pushing the boundaries of how consumers are finding answers. In the future, marketers will use this technology to discover how accelerated insights can help to get more definite answers.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
We primarily work in three layers: Metrics layer, Insights layer, and the Action/Communication layer. Metrics are the type of tools that we use; Google analytics is one such example which provides statistics like number of followers, customers and other online traffic related details. We also use campaign management and response tools. When it comes to the Insights layer, the focus is on brand awareness, perception, and advocacy. Finally, the Communication layer deals with engagement – how to get people to talk positively about you. None of these layers can function in isolation. It is imperative for the three layers to work together to deliver results.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
There’s no doubt that analytics can provide valuable insight to drive business value. But having the right analytics is just one part of the equation – enterprises must be able to capture and use it effectively. When it comes to advanced analytics, how mature is your organization?
We recently conducted a survey to address this very question. The Analytics Maturity Assessment campaign was a free online assessment to find out in which stage of analytics maturity an organization falls, and how they stacked up against the competition. We also put together a guide that provides recommendations to help companies move forward to the next stage.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
As with other technology innovations, we tend to underestimate how far reaching and common place AI will be in five to 10 years, while we overestimate the impact in the short term. AI is real, and will allow us to create higher value jobs for people that prize their creativity, empathy, judgment and leadership abilities.
AI is man plus machine rather than man versus machines. As machines get better, the roles of human workers would change and would be focused on tasks that require critical thinking and judgment. Computers are getting smarter all the time, and tasks or processes that can be more easily automated are those where the volume is very high but the cost of error is low.
THIS IS HOW I WORK
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
It has got to be – people. I completely believe in team work and a people-driven culture. As a company, we have an extremely collaborative framework and this is the reason we are able to attract, grow and retain talent. We believe in the philosophy of the ‘Right people for the right roles.’
MTS: What apps/software/tools you can’t live without?
When it comes to work, I use LinkedIn quite extensively to keep in touch with my connections and look to further business conversations. I think it is a great platform to connect professionally.
On the personal front, my latest possessions include a Spire – a wearable that monitors your breathing patterns and gauges your state of mind. I also wear a FitBit activity tracker.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
While travelling, I do not use my laptop, I prefer to work with people. That is where I want to keep the focus. I rely completely on my smartphone and this allows me the gift of time. I also take at least an hour off during the day to switch off and make it a point to not look at my work mails.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I am currently reading a book called Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Next in line is Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by the same author; it is the continuation in the same series and deals with the future of mankind. I read a lot of non-fiction, curated content related to technology, most of which I consume digitally. While travelling, I read on a Kindle, if the physical book is handy I carry it with me.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I received till date is – no resistance to persistence. A lot of people have reached where they are not because they are intelligent or talented, but simply because they refused to give up.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I think my strength lies in my networking skills. I love meeting new people. I seek them out, listen to their stories and experiences and try to learn from them.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Venkat! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
LatentView Analytics is one of the largest and fastest growing data analytics firms globally. As technology transforms our lives and a new generation of digital consumers emerge, companies must fight to stay relevant.
LatentView provides its customers with actionable insights from digital data, which helps create brands, products and services that engage with consumers, across touch points.
At LatentView, we believe that Business + Data + Math = Actionable Insights.
LatentView has won numerous awards recognizing its growth and expertise. Most recently, we were named ‘Analytics Company of the Year – 2015’ by Frost & Sullivan. We are also on the exclusive list of Advanced Consulting Partners to Amazon Web Services (AWS), validating our expertise and experience in Big Data Analytics. LatentView has also been named a ‘cool vendor’ in data analytics by Gartner.
LatentView is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and has offices in four countries.
To learn more about us, visit: http://www.latentview.com
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.