Interview with Josh Mueller, Global Head of Marketing, Dun & Bradstreet

Josh Mueller
Josh Mueller

“Creativity and breakthrough ideas are as important as ever, but those that also effectively leverage data inspired decision-making simply perform better.”

Tell us about your role at Dun & Bradstreet and how you got here.

My role is to lead all marketing functions including go-to-market strategy, demand generation, brand, digital, customer marketing, messaging, content, field marketing, sales enablement, events, analytics and operations.

I joined Dun & Bradstreet three years ago and was named Global Head of Marketing just a few months ago. It is an exciting time to be in the data and insights business, especially with a company that has such differentiated core assets and a rich heritage.

My career actually didn’t start in marketing. My first professional role was as a software developer focused on web applications and I quickly moved into product management and grew into a product management leader. In those roles, I developed a passion for digital and customer experience and wanted to interact with customers at a larger scale.

Those passions led to a desire to immerse myself in modern marketing. After a couple of years of business school, I spent many years at Dell progressing in leadership responsibility before joining Dun & Bradstreet.

What’s the most fascinating aspect of leading the marketing team in a tech-heavy ecosystem?

Technology, enabled with the right data, allows us to get so much closer to fulfilling the promise of the right content, at the right place and the right time at scale. The ability to take your very best engagements with customers and make them your new normal, is fascinating.

How has the American data and tech industry evolved since the time you first began here?

It is amazing how much can change in only a few years. I read a stat recently that there was more data created in 2017 than all of previous human history combined. Marketers have more technology at their fingertips than they know what to do with. The challenge is no longer access to data or technology, but creating the ability to extract real value and improve performance by properly leveraging them.

Can marketing and sales team survive the industry without data?

No. Not long term. Creativity and breakthrough ideas are as important as ever, but those that also effectively leverage data inspired decision-making simply perform better. That performance delta is only going to get bigger.

Do smaller enterprises manage data better than larger enterprises?

Both small and large enterprises can manage data exceptionally well with the right talent, systems and right master data strategy.

Given the changing dynamic of marketing analytics and customer insights, how do you stay in top of your game?

Learning is continuous. I’ve come to realize that learning is a skill and fortunately a competency that I’ve developed over time. Reading is one of my favorite daily habits and I often study the market, customers, partners and competitors.

How do you leverage AI/ML and Data Science at D&B to scale your marketing efforts? 

Dun & Bradstreet is bringing machine learning, deep learning, and blockchain methodologies into play when it comes to identifying businesses and attributes of businesses. The use of these tools will only increase as the technology improves and the need to make sense of the multitude of data sources intensifies. The result will be an expanded view of what a business does, for a far more targeted sales and marketing approach.

On the sales and marketing side, there are some very clear data tasks where machine learning can do it more quickly. Many of the applications in sales and marketing are geared towards more intelligent decision making in order to move people through the funnel. Marketing automation platforms have been historically rules based. We’re moving to a system where it can look for what events have the most impact on someone moving through the funnel and can then automatically deliver those things that will drive them through faster. This is starting to get outside of something a single person can write the rules around, so we need machine learning to help look for some patterns.

What are your predictions on the most influential disruptions in B2B CRM?

People are talking a lot about AI in CRM and I’m also incredibly excited about the disruptions already happening and future opportunities. What many are overlooking, is how critical the role of data is to properly extract data from the disruptions. The disruptions that result in the right data within a CRM will be incredibly influential.

How do you prepare for post-GDPR disruptions?

At Dun & Bradstreet we have always adhered to good data-collection practices, so GDPR is more of an evolution, rather than a revolution.  We actually think GDPR will be good for the industry as a whole, as it will force other companies to start looking at the way they collect data and will increase the accuracy of data across the board.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

I’m fascinated by the startups that are making programmatic OOH a reality and beneficial for customers. Digital is well beyond the screens that customers own, as is their engagement with brands.

What marketing and sales automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

We are heavy users of the Abobe Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud and Salesforce. We have several point solutions, but those three are core to our stack.

Could you tell us about an outstanding digital program at D&B? 

We have the challenge of serving customers of all sizes, from very small businesses to the world’s largest organizations across multiple personas. That creates a unique challenge for how you design your website. We made a decision that we would drink our champagne and use our own data and technology to create a flexible and personalized experience for visitors. The results have been fantastic. We essentially double leads in our first year and ranked #1 in Outsell’s independent Lead Response Ranking.

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

Our Chief Data Scientist, Anthony Scriffignano, covered this well in his talk on Artificial Intelligence in Business with Michael Krisgman.

One word that best describes how you work.

Fearless

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

For me, it is connectivity and communication – Yammer,

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

Very early in my career I received advice from a mentor to “always leave things better than when you found them”. It is a common saying, but I’ve used it as a guiding principle ever since.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Learning agility. The ability to embrace and adapt to the constantly changing conditions that we live and work in has helped me tremendously.

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

Ann Lewnes. I don’t know her personally, but admire Adobe’s marketing and entire GTM approach.

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

Josh Mueller is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet, responsible for all marketing, technology and creative efforts in support of digital, inbound and outbound demand generation, marketing technology and operations.

Josh joined Dun & Bradstreet in 2015 from Dell, where he was a Director of Digital Marketing. Prior to this, he was a Product Management Leader at HealthMarkets.

Josh holds an MBA in marketing and information management from the Red McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas – Austin and a degree in management information systems from Texas A&M University.

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.

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