Interview with Kristine Steuart, CEO And Co-Founder, Allocadia
Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to start a MarTech company?
The Allocadia story, like many entrepreneurs, starts with experiencing a big, challenging problem first-hand. I was working in marketing at a global high-tech company in Vancouver, Canada. My colleagues and I managed our multi-million dollar marketing investments in multiple spreadsheets, with various copies spread around the organization. It was spendemonium!
We lacked visibility into marketing spend, and couldn’t answer basic questions about our spend forecast, or commit for example. And most importantly, it was nearly impossible to understand or communicate the ROI of our marketing investments. With a background in BI analytics, I saw the clear value in empowering business users with insights. I knew there was a real opportunity to empower marketers in a similar way with the insight they needed to make better decisions and understand their marketing performance.
We built a prototype, hopped a plane to a tradeshow, and signed our first customer (who is still our customer today.) Since 2010, we’ve grown from bootstrapping the business and co-creating a Marketing Performance Management product alongside customers, to an organization serving the world’s best marketers across 200 organizations.
To-date, over 10,000 marketers have managed over $25B in global marketing dollars in our platform, saving 1 Million work hours and influencing an estimated $5 Billion in global business growth. And with a world-class team of talented Allocadians, we’re still finding exciting new ways to solve the biggest, most important problems facing marketers.
What’s the driving force behind #RunMarketing? How does this strategy help integrate CRM, finance and marketing technologies?
Every marketer has two jobs – “running” marketing and “doing” marketing. “Doing” marketing is execution – marketing automation, PR, campaigns, adtech, etc. “Running” marketing is the strategy continuously happening right alongside it – planning, investing, measuring, and optimizing.
As marketing technology has exploded over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a massive influx of technology on the “do marketing” side. But, there’s been a major lack of foundational tools for marketers to help them run marketing like a business, the same way Sales uses a CRM tool, and Finance uses an ERP system.
The success of the #RunMarketing movement is due to the need for marketers to better manage all of the operational aspects of marketing – not in borrowed systems, but in their own dedicated solution designed just for them. Our customers use Allocadia to manage new data (that typically resides in spreadsheets or in their head), connect the dots between finance systems (with investment data), execution systems like marketing automation (with campaign and activity data) and CRM tools (with results data).
What they receive is an end-to-end, complete picture of investments, plans, and results. Only with that level of visibility can marketers run their departments with the impact and stewardship needed today.
How should B2B marketers leverage a Marketing Performance Management solution to map the buyer’s journey?
A couple of years ago, we noticed CMOs were struggling to plan against the stages of the customer journey, though 86% say that it’s absolutely critical according to Salesforce. The problem is, there’s often no line of sight into the goals for improving the customer journey and experience, what is spent along each stage, or how the business impact can be measured. This is guesswork, not modern marketing.
Allocadia’s MPM technology helps marketers know where to spend their next marketing dollar, and do it with confidence. As it relates to the buyer’s journey, marketers can use Allocadia to connect marketing activity to a specific part of the journey. This enables them to keep a close watch on how their plans are measuring up against these stages.
As marketers build a customer acquisition strategy based on how they’ve mapped the journey from lead to advocate, this provides the insights they need to ensure that investment plans are properly funded at each stage.
It gives visibility to marketing leadership to answer important questions like:
Do we have the right investments in place to support the specific journey our customers take?
Are teams aware of journey stages, and how they’re spending against those stages?
How effective have our customer experience programs been to drive our desired business goals?
For field marketers, digital marketers, and marketing operations professionals who make decisions and track investments, they have greater clarity and discipline. It’s a kind of lens to judge the value of activities, giving these marketers data and reason for why they’re spending budget on a new trade show or asset.
They now have a framework to answer the questions:
Where does this fit in our customer journey?
Have I spent adequately in this journey stage this quarter?
Given the changing dynamic of digital, social and offline data, how do you see marketing analytics platforms evolving by 2020?
Marketing data has exploded in recent years, making it even harder to get a meaningful view of what is working and what is not. Coming from a BI and analytics background, I’m passionate about the importance of data, making data connections, and driving insight to help companies accomplish their goals.
Initially, BI and analytics moved to the cloud, then moved to vertical-focused, industry-specific BI products. The next wave will focus on empowering business users, in our case, marketers, to actually create, participate in, and add to the new data they need. With Allocadia, we’re tackling the hairy problem of marketing ROI insights (ie. plans, spend, activities), and how a marketer can create an efficient workflow that connects this data across systems to enable closed-loop ROI views.
With a unique ID that is created at the start of a marketers plan, we can link into “do marketing” systems as they execute – in digital, social, and events for example – allowing marketers to create a digital thread that connects the right data for them in a way that delivers valuable insights.
Those insights can be analytics within their execution systems, their MPM system like Allocadia, or in their corporate BI system. It’s imperative that marketing technology vendors have open data that is accessible and in BI readable format.
What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
We’re really focused on understanding the health of each and every customer of Allocadia. As part of that, we need to objectively measure the strength of our relationship with our customers. To help us avoid the risk of a single-threaded account, we leverage Nudge.ai, an exciting platform that uses relationship strength to help us find, and keep, our best customers.
The tool from marketing technology luminaries Paul Teshima and Steve Woods, allows our team to share network information, such as email and social, providing visibility into who has the best access to decision-makers and key accounts.
With Nudge, we have been able to identify how many relationships we need for an account to be considered “healthy” and how that differed across our segments. We’ve been able to set thresholds for both strength of relationships with our customers as well as the number of active relationships.
Ensuring we are connected to the right people allowed us to reduce risk and focus on other aspects of our customers’ success.
What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
The Allocadia marketing technology stack is award-winning! We took home the coveted Stackie award last year at the MarTech conference. Here’s a snapshot of our stack, organized by tools that help us “run marketing” and those that help us “do marketing.”
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as business leaders?
AI poses a tremendous opportunity for business. MPM is all about data, both the data captured in Allocadia and the surrounding data, we connect to in a customer’s martech ecosystem. At Allocadia, this has created the world’s largest record of marketing investments and the impact they create.
Steve Lucas at Marketo has a great point of view on the role of AI in business. He recently said “AI should solve a specific problem like how to communicate with customers where and how they want to be reached with the right content.”
Our vision at Allocadia is to be able to tell marketers where to spend their next dollar. We see a real application of AI technology layered into our data to help share more prescriptive and guided decision-making on reinvesting marketing dollars to the areas that will drive the biggest business impact.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
I’m really bad at eating greens, so I get my greens from juicing.
What are you currently reading?
I love to read. I recommend Turn The Ship Around by David Marquet. I really relate to the leadership philosophy.
I also recommend Satya Nadella’s book “Hit Refresh” in which he recommends the “C” in CEO should stand for “culture.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Our investor Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick of Beehive Holdings gave me this advice. How do you create a company people want to belong to? Of course, build a product people want and that delivers value – that’s a baseline. But my leadership journey has really been about understanding what this means to the amazing team we have at Allocadia. Together, they create a new reality with, and for, our customers.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Building a company is about taking an idea through to execution. You’ve got to have the creativity to come at a problem with a new idea, or approach, and have a bias for action to bring it to life and make it happen. I encourage everyone – especially young women – to have the confidence to create something that is entirely yours. Your ideas matter, your voice matters, and it matters for the sheer reason that it comes from you.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Thank you Kristine! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
After years of experiencing the pain of managing global marketing investments and measuring return on investment as a marketer, Kristine and her twin sister Katherine Berry, co-founded Allocadia which serves more than 10,000 marketers worldwide and manages over $20B in marketing investments to-date. Leading marketing organizations at over 150 companies including Microsoft, Philips Lighting, GE Healthcare, Red Hat and Charles Schwab use Allocadia’s Marketing Performance Management SaaS platform to #RunMarketing. Kristine was named among the Top 10 Women in Tech to Watch by inc. magazine. Allocadia has received the 2017 BCTIA Community Engagement Award, was named 2017 Best Marketing Company of the Year at the DMN awards, and received the Technology Innovation Award from Ventana Research and the Gartner Cool Vendor for CRM Marketing Applications.
Allocadia today serves more than 10,000 marketers worldwide and manages over $20B in marketing investments. Leading marketing organizations at over 150 companies including Microsoft, Philips Lighting, GE Healthcare, Red Hat and Charles Schwab use Allocadia’s Marketing Performance Management enterprise software to #RunMarketing. Allocadia has raised $30 million in funding since its inception to help on its mission to bring confidence to every marketer in the world, and create a world where marketers make every dollar count.
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.