Interview with Carlos Cruz, Chief Executive Officer, ClickTool
Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you join ClickTool?
After having a very successful online marketing project at a young age, I took a long hiatus and started to think about all the possibilities where I could go next. All my heroes were technology titans and it became obvious to some that technology is what I really wanted to do. Connecting it with my previous expertise in online marketing, it made sense that I would start my journey in the AdTech space. We quietly have been building software for a year and a half and we finally got to show it to the public in September. It’s been a long time coming.
How do you see SaaS landscape evolving with better automation and analytics platforms?
I see the ultimate goal of the SaaS industry to allow an entry-level user without any training to be able to do things only technically savvy users could do before. This is the gap the SaaS industry has to bridge. Our job is to develop the technology that makes complex things easy and impossible things possible. We basically lower the barrier of entry for any industry, and we help more and more people get into using software as a daily part of their lives. That’s where I see the landscape changing, as an expansion.
How much have Marketing Operations changed since you first started in the industry? How do you leverage these tools yourself at ClickTool?
So much has changed! I started marketing products online around 2004. The internet, in general, was a different place back then. I would say that the biggest change by far is the introduction of social media. Before Facebook, the way people navigated the web was purely by search engines and finding forums and small-knit communities.
As a marketer, this meant that you wouldn’t focus on a person’s age and gender as much as you would focus on which website they frequent and which terms they searched. This represents a huge shift in the approach that’s more common today.
The way we leverage this change is simply by creating tools that help marketers focus more on the person, creating tools to identify them during different stages of the funnel so they can segment them into custom audiences.
What are the most important trends in advanced ad tracking analytics that you could recall from the last 12 months? How do you think ClickTool could improve these analytic standards for customers?
I think AI is one of the most important trends that’s emerged recently. So far, I don’t think anyone has gotten it right, but the potential is immense. Using AI for an analytics platform has the potential to identify 10x more valuable information than a regular user would on their own. This is definitely something we are watching closely.
Which marketing and sales automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
We use a lot of tools. We build software and also operate as an ‘invite only’ marketing agency. Since we deal with million-dollars-per-month budgets, we use software like CRMs (sometimes custom, sometimes Salesforce), we use email marketing tools, and we also internally create our own tools and test them before we release them to the public.
A lot of the software we use frustrate us because it isn’t built for the online marketer in mind. So this is an important part of our research. We believe our platform will work well with things like landing page builders and multivariate testing, which we intend to add in the near future.
What are the core tenets of your business development model? How does ClickTool add value to digital transformation journeys for businesses?
Our vision is to make digital marketing easy. If you have a product you want to sell, you plug it into ClickTool and even if it’s a bad marketing campaign, you can systematically improve it until you get the desired results.
Our mission is to help our customers make more money and get to profitability faster than people who don’t use our software.
How often do you measure the performance of your marketing analytics and sales reporting?
We measure this often. We operate with such high budgets that our company has a whole team dedicated to monitoring performance and making sure we are seeing the right metrics in our results hourly or more often.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in social media intelligence technologies for 2018-2020?
I think better use of monetizing video and live streams is the next wave that’s coming. Basically when you talk about social media technologies you have to look at the direction Facebook is going and you can get a good sense of what is coming next. They’ve been amazing at innovating (and sometimes copying) but they are always at the cutting edge of AdTech.
What startups in the marketing and sales technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
I have been keeping an eye on the blockchain space. We think there’s a lot that can be done there and some marketing companies have ambitious projects that haven’t been released yet.
Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign?
I was an affiliate for a health product. I built a website to promote and launched a campaign with a very little-known traffic source. I became their biggest ad buyer by far and my website was ranked as the 500th most popular website in the world. Initially, I focused on the creative aspect of it, how could I present this product in a brand new way? Once I had that, I setup basic tracking (this was before we launched ClickTool) and optimized all the way to the top.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
Someone has to program AI. We want to be the ones that do it.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
I don’t think that my people need inspiration. They really are the ones that inspire me. Our culture is built around our love for technology and building in general.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
ClickTool. We really do use it internally and we build tools for ourselves. Other than that Instapage helps our team create landing pages quickly.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
I don’t think of anything as a shortcut; it makes me feel like I’m cutting corners. But something I do to increase my productivity is keep a notebook (now it’s an iPad pro + Apple pen) and I physically write down the things I need to do. Being the CEO of a company means you are being pulled in all sorts of directions during the day so this helps me know what’s important and not get caught up in things that don’t have a big impact.
What are you currently reading?
Currently reading, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. I have it in physical form and the audiobook. I always have an audible book playing in my car or headphones.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Focus on what you want. You’ll get more of it.
Something you do better than others — the secret of your success?
Take chances. I’ve been told I don’t have a paralysis of fear. The cause: If I am not aggressively moving forward I feel really bad and anxious. So to me, the pain of stagnation is far worse than taking chances and failing.
Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Can I say Elon Musk?
Malan Darras is an interesting old friend who I haven’t kept up with in a while.
Thank you, Carlos! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Carlos Cruz is the founder of Magicstar Arrow and CEO of Clicktool, a marketing analytics toolkit andmanagement software that aims to provide digital marketers with the tools and data insights they needto run more effective campaigns and, ultimately, improve ROI.
Clicktool is optimization tool designed specifically to be used in paid digital marketing campaigns.
We help online marketers get the most out of their advertising dollars.
EASILY IDENTIFY YOUR MOST PROFITABLE PLACEMENTS
Turn Unprofitable Campaigns Into Profitable Ones. Uncover The Real Value Of Your Traffic. Easily identify Where You Should Be Spending Your Traffic.
EASY TO SETUP
No Coding Skills Required. We’ve Automated Much Of Process Of Setting Up Your Campaigns. We’ve Also Created A Campaign Creation Wizard That Will Take You Step By Step Through Setting Up Your First Campaign
KEEP TRACK OF ALL OF YOUR MARKETING CAMPAIGNS IN ONE PLACE
Are you running campaigns from multiple traffic sources? Clicktool helps you keep your business organized by tracking all your sales in one single place.
CUTTING EDGE NON REDIRECT TRACKING
The only non redirect tracking of it’s kind. You can now create campaigns that stay compliant with all the major traffic sources. The campaign link you use will rotate different landing pages without the need to change URL.
ROTATE LANDING PAGES WITH PRECISION
Want to send 90% of your traffic to your proven page, but allocate 10% to a new experiment? We got you covered. With Clicktool, traffic distribution is a breeze. Configure your traffic to rotate between as many landing pages and offers as you want. This way you speed up your optimizations and get to profitability much quicker.
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.