Interview with Babak Hedayati, CEO and Co-Founder, TapClicks

Babak Hedayati, CEO & Co-Founder, TapClicks

“As a business leader preparing for an AI-centric world, it’s important that you start by gaining access to relevant data and then implement AI and ML capabilities to work towards automation.”

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Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to be part of the marketing tech landscape?

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of TapClicks, the global SaaS leader in marketing analytics, reporting, orders, and workflow. I come from an engineering background and early in my career I took my engineering expertise and parlayed it into roles where I was marketing technology products globally.

I have experience as a product manager and was also in charge of developing channel relationships/partnerships and running global marketing teams. In all of these roles, my goal was to foster the global adoption of technologies using one element of marketing or another. I intentionally created a diverse background touching different industries, both consumer and enterprise — semiconductors, software, electronic design, automation, gaming platforms, and a number of system solutions — to be as effective and knowledgeable as possible.

As my career progressed, I was managing larger and larger marketing organizations and it became apparent that the marketing industry lacked the same level of innovation as, say, software engineering and other areas of tech. I came to the realization that you can innovate in marketing like we were doing in other sectors. When I started to formulate plans for TapClicks, search and Email Marketing was quickly becoming popularized and it was obvious that there was a vast space in the marketing industry for a globally adoptable and adaptable analytics and reporting solution.

We created TapClicks as a SaaS platform in order to be able to integrate with all the top marketing platforms used in the market. We wanted to ensure that no matter what new innovations were introduced, our customers could use our platform to track, manage, and report on their results and easily and effectively articulate ROI to executives and board members.

Until TapClicks launched, analysis and reporting were very time consuming and imprecise sciences. The management of marketing tasks was inefficient and tracking the marketing lifecycle, regardless if you were a brand, agency, media company or otherwise, was problematic. I identified with this problem closely on the brand side which is what really inspired me to figure out how to solve it.

In a tech-heavy ecosystem, what business-specific message would you give to other CEOs and CMOs preparing for another trip around the Sun?

There is a tremendous amount of room to improve the efficiency of what marketing teams can do to reduce costs and improve ROI. Using a SaaS-based platform like TapClicks makes the technology necessary to do this accessible to virtually every marketer worldwide. It’s critical that CEOs, CMOs and other executives seek out solutions to unify workflows and optimize marketing activities toward the right audience. This is the key to generating greater adoption for your products in today’s market.

It’s also important to engage with companies that offer unified platforms that can deliver on such capabilities earlier and earlier so you’re not missing opportunities for improvement. Be sure to keep an eye on providers’ roadmaps. More and more, technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are finding their way into the marketing stack. Adopting these innovations early will help future-proof your operations, especially when used in combination with platform integrations that promise to deliver even greater volumes of data to inform marketing decision making.

What is TapClicks and how is it different from other Marketing Reporting tools?

TapClicks is a SaaS platform for marketing analytics, reporting, orders, and workflow. A major differentiator is its ability to integrate huge datasets from more than 200 native sources. Its marketing data management solution is second to none in the industry and it provides the automated capability to create links between datasets for even greater visibility into marketing performance.

TapClicks is unique, scalable and extremely easy to use. It also offers the ability to automatically deliver customized analytics dashboards directly to companies and/or their clients. Because of these capabilities, TapClicks has become the industry standard by orders of magnitude more with more customers than any competitive platforms.

What are the key skills and attributes needed to master Marketing Intelligence and reporting in this industry?

TapClicks’ goal is to create a solution for the marketing masses where users don’t need to be data scientists or part of an IT organization to deploy and use our solutions. All you need to master Marketing Intelligence is to be a confident marketer and have access to the right tools. A solution like TapClicks will help bring all your data to one place. All a user needs to know is how to maximize the different marketing methodologies and channels available to them, especially digital. Technology can deliver the data you need to support your programs. The rest is the ability to create a narrative around what your data is showing you.

Which tools and technologies help you reach to your customers and audience?

TapClicks employs a combination of content, digital, e-mail, social and search marketing to reach our customers and audience. We use Raven for SEO, TapClicks for analytics and reporting, as well as Marketo and Pardot for E-Mail Marketing. We also use programmatic and retargeting solutions while leveraging all the social channels available to us on top of traditional marketing tactics like ABM, events and tradeshows.

Which leaders in the industry do you closely work with? How do they help you stay close to the business actions?

We work very closely with all the programmatic suppliers we partner with, over 200 companies, to ensure the quality of data accessible via our platform is of the highest quality. This also helps us stay on top of new innovations and API changes so we can evolve our platform alongside our partners. This allows us to deliver the best data quality, promote access to our solutions and maintain service consistency.

How do you see your marketing stack evolving in the coming years, 2019 and beyond?

In 2019, we will see improved integrations of AI and Machine Learning. We are always looking for new ways to take advantage of any innovation that can add additional visibility to help to more effectively target customers and improve analysis to optimize marketing programs.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

As a business leader preparing for an AI-centric world, it’s important that you start by gaining access to relevant data and then implement AI and ML capabilities to work towards automation. For TapClicks, this means continuing to add SaaS integrations that make our own products more efficient and help deliver better results for customers. It’s important to be open to collaborative solutions that will improve data quality.

One word that best describes how you work.

I have three:

  • Smart – I like to work smarter instead of harder.
  • Leverage – I’ve found immense value in the ability to leverage my extended network to create success through collaboration.
  • Flywheel – I like to be the gear that accelerates things to make them more efficient.

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

I can’t live without my iPhone, iWatch and AirPods. I rely on e-mail to stay connected. And I use Facebook to curate content that I use for self-improvement and ongoing learning. I also use Owler, News360, and Google Alerts to stay on top of news, industry innovation and the latest marketplace goings on.

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

I like working between 2:00 am – 5:00 am. It’s a purely quiet time where I can think without being distracted, do research and prepare myself and my team to accomplish the goals and objectives for the coming days, weeks and months. I find that this is the best time for me to set aside for strategic thinking and put my thoughts together to be an effective leader. I also make sure that I centralize the locations of my home, office, children’s schools, etc. to minimize commute time while maximizing productivity and time with my family.

What are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m reading The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge and The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone.

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

From my mom, that fear is the brother of death. And from an investor, to always make the right business decision. You need to be ethical but always make the right decision for your business.

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

Steve Lucas, CEO, Marketo

Thank you, Babak! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

With more than 20 years as a senior executive at Fortune 500, Silicon Valley tech companies specializing in software, hardware, internet and mobile apps, Babak Hedayati has grown businesses from millions to billions in revenue. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, Stanford Management and Entrepreneurship program, and holds a BSEE/CS from SJSU.

TapClicks Logo

TapClicks, Inc. is the leading marketing performance platform for digital and media agencies and their SMB, B2B enterprise and consumer brand clients. Its pre-integrated, unified platform includes agency orders, marketing workflow, performance analytics, client reporting and data — centralized across a wide range of marketing and advertising tools. TapClicks’ unified platform is used by over 5,000 digital and media agencies. TapClicks, founded in 2009, is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. with locations in Boston, Nashville, and New York City, as well as international offices in Montreal, Canada; Bogota, Columbia; and Pune, India.

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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.