On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at Thunderhead and how you got here.
I lead the marketing team at Thunderhead. I oversee the many disciplines of marketing, and love the freedom and autonomy of working in the fast-paced Brit tech environment – no two days are the same. Marketing evolves rapidly as an industry and technology has a large role to play in the changing landscape. If we trace it back, I studied psychology, philosophy, and politics at university and as such I’ve always been interested in people and understanding what makes them tick. I didn’t start out as a marketer… my first proper job after university was at Dow Jones News – working on the sometimes bruising trading room floors. It was character building to say the least! I got into marketing fairly early on because it seemed interesting and varied.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
The key word in your question is massive. There’s a massive amount of technology out there – I think Scott Brinker‘s Marketing Technology landscape presented 5,000 and I’m sure there are more. It’s a challenge for marketing teams to wade through it – what they think they want, might not actually be what they need to achieve their objectives. And what they think they’re getting may be rhetoric and not capability. A good rule of thumb I use is to ask how each technology will benefit my customer, it’s a filter that really helps focus on what’s needed versus nice to have.
I don’t see the emergence of ‘new technologies’ slowing down, I see trends towards more real-time capability, machine learning, and predictive technologies. In general, audiences for both B2C and B2B brands are bored of being marketed at, they want a relevant conversation and the latest technology has the ability to deliver that.
Technologies that unify the customer journey are true differentiators. It’s all about putting the customer first and adding the human approach to the relationship to understand and predict ways to improve the experience – treat me like an individual and you’re on the right track.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
AI is important and seemingly front page news at the moment. Replacement of repetitive work will shape the workforce of the future, and I think that’s a good thing – freeing up brain power to think differently. Aside from the novelty, organizations should be focused on how AI can improve the relationships they have with their customers. I read a Brian Solis blog recently on AI, he said, “AI represents an opportunity to introduce intelligent, scalable engagement and more personalized experiences to help customers accomplish tasks or solve problems while also improving overall satisfaction.” I couldn’t put that better myself.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
I think a key thing is to remember that technology is the essential enabler, it’s easy to get caught up in technology but the focus has to be on using technology to build better relationships with your customers. This means that you have to try to understand how your technology works together in unison to give customers what they want. Therefore, how your technology integrates for the benefit of your customers is the key challenge CMOs need to tackle.
Take siloed data as an example. This problem keeps CMOs up at night. It’s a barrier to achieving the holy grail of a single view of your customer, a key part of customer engagement. We suggest a four-step approach to tackling the problems that are a barrier – Rome wasn’t built in a day but with a clear focus and focused project teams gains will be made.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
Whil – a mindfulness app
Engagio – technology for account based marketing in B2B
GoHenry – pocket money for kids
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
Thunderhead’s ONE Engagement hub to understand our customer journeys. Eloqua, Salesforce, Allocadia, Hootsuite, Audiense, Wistia, Crazy Egg, SEMrush to name but a few!
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
Yes, you ask specifically about a stand out digital campaign, however, my feelings are that digital plays a part in a broader play. We have had the most success when our campaigns span digital, brand, experiential and communications.
We’re currently running a ‘Getting Started with Customer Engagement’ campaign, which is less of a campaign and more of an education piece to demystify Customer Engagement. We’ve received great feedback from prospects, customers and industry professionals alike.
What does success look like? Well as well as the obvious inbound, it’s the less obvious. Customers confirming we’ve hit the nail on the head, brands approaching us at events to tell us they love our approach and influencers and analysts engaging with our thought-leadership.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world as a marketing leader?
In the marketing industry no two days are the same, and being agile and flexible to change is the nature of the game. In this sense, I feel like I’ve already prepared for the shift to an AI centric world. Technology certainly has and it’s my job to be one step ahead in terms of how technology is applied, and the benefits it brings.
There’s so much being said about AI being a fundamental shift in the way customer interaction is changing. Companies, brands and service providers, across all disciplines, need to sit up and take note… A key role of data today is to identify the individual needs and pressure points of people and give companies the ability to respond to customers accordingly. For data to become intelligent and customer-centric, it needs to come from unified systems that collate data from siloed sources to tell a coherent story, and it needs to be interpreted and acted upon in real-time. Anything else will be a short lived experience for both the customer and the company.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
Breaks all the rules.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Pompey Player, WhatsApp, and Vivino.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Tackle the hardest problems first thing in the morning and ignore emails whilst you’re concentrating.
Mindfulness has also helped me focus.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I balance books between work and personal. At the moment I’ve got three on the go, Scott McKee – Creative B2B Branding, Politics: Between the Extremes by Nick Clegg and a historical novel The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O’Brian.
Someone once told me you can listen to podcasts at double speed – it hasn’t worked for me!
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be yourself, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Make things simple.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Jason! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
A marketing veteran with 15 years experience in B2B marketing, CIM qualified and member of the Marketing Society. I started my marketing career at Dow Jones Newswires in the bruising field of trading room systems and real-time news. After 7 years at Dow Jones I moved to IntraLinks
(enterprise solutions for secure cloud collaboration) and ran the European marketing department until shortly after the company’s IPO in 2010.
Joined Thunderhead in 2011 to run the EMEA regional marketing team, focusing on campaigns and activity across the region. I’m now the CMO and I’m responsible for the strategic direction of the Thunderhead brand and go-to-market execution, and leading the Thunderhead marketing team.
At Thunderhead we believe in a world that’s filled with happy customers. We help brands get closer to their customers by helping them to better understand and meet the wants and needs of each and every individual customer, regardless of where, when, and how they interact.
Our market-leading ONE Engagement Hub is a cloud-based customer engagement platform that’s been designed to discover customer insight in real-time, across every interaction throughout the entire customer journey. Through its advanced listening and learning capabilities, ONE surfaces real-time customer insight and journey behaviour, providing a completely seamless experience throughout each unique customer journey, enabling enterprises to optimize marketing and customer retention strategies, and drive conversation-led engagement, building stronger and more valuable relationships with their customers.
Sounds good right? Check us out at www.thunderhead.com and find out why we’re taking the customer engagement technology market by storm.
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.