On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at Socedo and how you got here.
I am the co-founder and CEO of Socedo. At Socedo, our mission is to help B2B marketers better engage and communicate with their audiences by leveraging intent data from the social web.
I’ve been in the social media marketing space for 10 years. My journey as an entrepreneur started out when I was a high school student. My first business was called Scriptovia– a social network specifically for students. This was the early days of social media when Facebook was just a year or two old. Students were putting a lot of time into their school work, but they weren’t publishing it. I saw a need for students to be able to share their schoolwork – papers, presentations, PowerPoints – with their peers and get recognition as publishers for the content they create. When I went to college, I doubled down on this business. To get the word out about this new social network, I posted on forums like Myspace and SparkNotes.
Because I had this experience of growing a social network for students, Microsoft’s Education Team took notice and asked me to consult for them. They wanted to get their software suites into classrooms. This was the very early days of Facebook when brands were first dipping their toes into social media. I was put in charge of Microsoft’s Facebook Page, which had little presence. I grew that to 150,000 fans over the course of my time there. That’s when executives at Microsoft took notice and started to see the value of social media for their business.
Through my work with Microsoft, I realized that most brands did not know how to use social media. Right after I graduated, I founded a social media marketing agency called Uptown Treehouse in Los Angeles. Microsoft was one of my my first clients.
I worked on another project for Microsoft. This time, the Microsoft Developer Evangelist Team wanted to get more developers to develop apps for the Windows Phone. They’d found that traditional marketing activities such as advertising wasn’t effective at reaching their target audience. My agency decided to reach out to developers on Twitter, talk to them one-on-one. We were doing a lot of social outreach and needed a way to keep track of our activities. We kept track of this data in a spreadsheet at first. But the manual spreadsheet was not sufficient. So, we decided to develop a prototype social CRM system. That’s the origin of Socedo. We built software to solve our own problem.
MTS: How do you see the social leads/demand gen marketing market evolving over the next few years?
Because social media marketing as a category was born out of the B2C world (think of brands like Coke and Nike), it’s traditionally been very focused on broadcast messaging. B2B marketers have traditionally approached social media as a way to generate brand awareness and build a community, not as a lead generation channel.
We’ve found that social media networks are really databases of user-generated content that can help marketers and salespeople understand the interests, needs, and priorities of their target audience. Everyone is on social media today, and thanks to the public nature of social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn, you can search the database to find your target prospects. In addition, social media is the place where you can have one-on-one conversations, which means that you can reach out directly to your target prospects on social and get on their radar. This is the thesis for why we wanted to build Socedo – to help B2B marketers connect with their target audience on Twitter and nurture them through automated, one-to-one conversations. With Socedo, you can follow target prospects and send automated Twitter DMs to those who follow your handle and provide relevant content.
Now, we’ve evolved beyond lead generation. At this point, social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn have their own lead generation/ad offerings. But what we’ve found is that social media isn’t just a way to get new leads into your system. Social media data becomes much more relevant when it’s combined with an organization’s internal data, the data in their CRM and marketing automation systems. When these data sources are combined, marketers start to get a more holistic understanding of the existing leads/prospects in their database – leads’ interests, topics they care about, and where leads are in a buying cycle. Marketers can use this intent data to identify warm leads, prioritize their leads, create more relevant, personalized content and messaging and alert their sales team about push relevant behaviors from leads to enable more engaging, relevant conversations. We see this – enriching marketers’ existing database with behavioral insights gleaned from the social web – as a much bigger opportunity than lead generation.
Traditionally, marketers have only used their internal data – collected through the course of doing business – to inform their campaigns. Marketers are typically tracking behaviors such as website visits, email clicks, and content downloads to gauge where leads are in the buying cycle and scoring these behaviors to figure out lead routing. At this point, B2B marketers are realizing that they have gaps in buyer insights and are starting to shift their focus to buying actionable intent data from external sources to improve their engagement and connect rates.
MTS: What do you think is the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
The rise of Artificial Intelligence will have a huge impact on marketing and sales. Machine learning will improve marketing and sales software by giving it the ability to do things without a human explicitly telling it what to do. For example, tasks such as predictive lead scoring, content recommendations, and email acquisition will get a lot better. In the intent data space, we can see a day where the data we’re getting from the social web is analyzed alongside a company’s internal data (i.e. revenue-related information like the size of each deal, the velocity of each deal) so that we can predict which social media behaviors that are most likely to lead to a conversion or a sale and automatically route different leads to different people/campaigns to receive the right message.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge for startups to integrate a demand gen platform into their stack?
Growing their website traffic to be large enough that it makes sense to send automated messages through a marketing automation platform. Before you invest in marketing automation, make sure you are getting enough traffic to your website and have enough content to nurture leads with.
The other major challenge is that you have to have a good understanding of the types of leads in your database and have enough insights to figure out who they are, what they care about, how valuable they will be to your company, so that you can segment them into the right tracks and treat them appropriately. Startups often start out by blanket-nurturing their leads because they don’t have a lot of data on lead fit and lead behavior. This is not effective.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
Amplero is doing some interesting things applying machine learning to B2C marketing and I’m interested to see how Conversica does with their AI based sales tool. Outreach.io is one I continue to hear great things about in the sales acceleration space.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
-Brand awareness / Lead generation
-Octopost to schedule social media posts.
-SproutSocial for response management on social media.
-Socedo to generate new leads via Twitter and to build lists of leads to sync into our marketing automation platform
-Marketing automation – Marketo
-Email alerts/ email marketing – Intercom for sending automated emails from the Socedo platform. YesWare for emails sent by our Sales Develop Representatives (SDR)
-CRM – Salesforce
-Data Enrichment – Clearbit
-Content Marketing – Moz (for Keyword research)
-Content Management System – WordPress for public website and blog
-Website Analytics – Google Analytics
-Customer Success – Desk (Salesforce) for issues tracking/product support/measuring customer satisfaction.
-Webinars – GoToWebinar, BrightTalk
-Loyalty Program – Rybbon
MTS: Could you tell us about a standup digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)?
Here is one about how we put leads into topic-based nurture tracks and trigger real-time emails that get much higher engagement rates than typical email blasts: Conquer Email Marketing Like a Boss: How We Triggered Real-Time Emails from #ContentMarketing
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
Every aspect of business will be made more efficient and effective through AI but we’re still in the early days. Right now my sense is that vendors are overpromising on the AI front. Try to be diligent in evaluating AI software today and use this as a way to prepare for evaluation in the future as you bring in AI into different business processes down the road. Start with the problem you want to solve and describe what success looks like before piloting an AI vendor. Ask questions about how the AI operates and try to avoid vendors that provide a “black box” for how their system works. AI is only as good as the data feeding it. Understanding what data sources are being used can help evaluate how good the AI might be.
This is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work
MTS: What apps / software/ tools can’t you live without?
Nothing fancy here. Gmail and Google Calendar is where I live every day. I love Boomerang Calendar for helping to suggest meeting times.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
There aren’t many shortcuts when it comes to productivity unfortunately. That said, having a great team and communicating with them effectively can be the best productivity hack. Overcommunicate and get people aligned. This tends to provide the best dividends but can feel like a waste of time in the moment.
MTS: What are you currently reading?
The Everything Store. There’s a lot we can all learn from Jeff Bezos and his approach to culture at Amazon.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Rally your team around one metric that matters. This gets everybody aligned and you’ll grow faster when your team knows where the scoreboard is!
MTS: Something you do better than others?
Getting out of the building. I’m talking and meeting with customers every day to keep a pulse on the market and where our product fits in.
MTS: Thank you Aseem! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Aseem is working on products to help brands leverage new media to build relationships with their target audience. It’s clear that the marketing strategies of the 20th century are becoming less effective in an age of democratized influence. Aseem has made it his mission to help companies leverage social media to make a difference on the bottom line!
Named one of Inc Magazine’s Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Thought Leaders to Watch in 2016: http://www.inc.com/travis-wright/33-entrepreneurs-marketers-and-thought-leaders-to-watch-in-2016.html
Specialties: Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, User Interface Design, Product Management, Demand Generation
Socedo’s mission is to help businesses better communicate with their target audiences by leveraging intent data from the social web.
Social intent data includes all the things that people do on social networks that provide insights into what they care about and whether they are in a buying cycle. Socedo has the largest source of B2B intent data from Twitter. B2B marketers can use our solutions to identify in-market prospects based on real-time behaviors. With Socedo, you can: -Find and connect with new prospects based on keywords found in Tweets, engagements with your competitors or any other entity on Twitter. -Get social media insights on your existing contacts and target accounts in real-time & accelerate existing prospects through your funnel
Socedo integrates with the leading marketing automation and CRM platforms in the market including Marketo, Hubspot, Oracle Eloqua, Pardot and Salesforce CRM.
Socedo works with marketing leaders within leading brands, including as Microsoft, Extreme Networks, Mercer, Lenovo, Google, Citrix, and Host Analytics.
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.