Interview with Mukund Ramachandran, VP Global Marketing, Dynamic Yield
On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at Dynamic Yield and how you got here.
I am the VP of Marketing at Dynamic Yield. I am responsible for all aspects of marketing including brand marketing, content marketing, PR, product marketing, event marketing, and demand generation. I am a product marketer both by training and at heart, and I love the challenge of communicating the value and benefits of complex products in a simple way.
MTS: Where does Dynamic Yield’s SaaS platform fit in with B2B marketers and media agencies?
We help marketers personalize every digital touchpoint of their customers’ online interactions – so, in ads, on landing pages, on the site, on apps and on email. We work with 100+ global leaders who are B2C, B2B and some brands who are a mix of both.
Within the B2B domain, the general significance of delivering tailored, customized, and individualized experiences is even more important. If you sell a $100K software, the cost/lead that you are willing to pay as a marketer is much higher than the cost/acquisition of a retail marketer. So, in essence, the art of personalization is the same – it is about delivering relevant and engaging experiences that will help to engage and convert your users.
As a B2B company, we drank our own brew by using our own proprietary customer engagement platform to personalize, A/B test, engage users and optimize conversions. We wrote about some of the subtle customizations we’ve made (using the Dynamic Yield platform) to really make an impact, understand our potential prospects and tailor experiences for them in real time.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are already transforming the jobs of marketers. If we consider brick-and-mortar, we can look at the example of store layouts, set up by marketers to consider buying patterns of shoppers. When you walk into a clothing store, more often than not, the men’s section is in the basement, and the women’s section is on the main floor. This layout is strategic and occurred through an analysis of “store data”, in which shopping patterns ultimately dictated the store layout.
In the e-commerce world, there is far more flexibility, so there’s no need to send men to shop in the basement. When a man enters your website, you can completely tailor the site to show him relevant products that he is more likely to purchase. This done by identifying the user’s behavioral patterns. You can instantly infer a lot about the user based on what traffic source he comes from, where he is located, what time of day it is, what his past purchase patterns have been – all to essentially create a website that is specifically tailored to him. In the physical brick- -and-mortar world this doesn’t exist, however, online we now have a new opportunity for these personalized experiences.
In order to create this degree of tailoring, you need to be able to digest, unify and synthesize vast amounts of data and make instant decisions on what is best to show each user. Today, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technology are making this possible and we are very excited to be a part of this transformation.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge for startups to integrate a personalization SaaS platform like Dynamic Yield into their stack?
From a technology perspective, there is no challenge. The challenge we do see is organizational. Companies that have a clear vision on what they want to achieve with personalization, and reshuffle their marketing teams accordingly, are typically the ones who benefit most from a technology like ours.
To use the technology successfully, companies are aligning marketers, product managers, and developers around a shared vision to provide better experiences for customers.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
● Casper – a direct-to-consumer mattress site that’s disrupting what has traditionally been purchased in big retail outlets.
● StitchFix – a personal styling service that is creating waves in the online fashion category.
● Girls Who Code – they run code academies and after school programs for young women, with the mission of closing the gender gap in technology. I just love their mission!
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
We use Google Analytics for basic web analytics and Google Data Studio for custom reporting. Because today’s marketing is all about numbers and performance, we use InsightSquared to understand how our campaigns are performing from a leads perspective. We also use Intercom to communicate with our customers, in addition to using emails that deliver through Marketo. Salesforce is our CRM. We host videos on Wistia, track our SEO progress on MOZ, and manage our editorial calendar on CoSchedule.
We’re also constantly exploring new and innovative solutions for unmasking anonymous site visitors, such as ClearBit, BigPicture.io, and others.
And of course, we use Dynamic Yield to individualize our site experience across the globe. Our European prospects don’t see the same site that our American prospects do: from the landing page content we show, to the customer logos we highlight – every user sees something different.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
We are operating in a very competitive space where many companies claim to offer a full gamut of personalization solutions. In order to stand out, one of our remarketing campaigns drove visitors to a personalized landing page, demonstrating just a small portion of our powerful technology. Based on specific targeting rules and data provided from the third-party tools we used, the content dynamically changes according to your industry, company name, local weather, and device. When comparing this personalized landing page against our previous static versions, success came in the form more qualified conversions.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
Artificial intelligence is at the very core of our strategy and we’ve already garnered a serious amount of attention from the media around our machine learning capabilities. It’s a hot topic, much like personalization — businesses know they need it and that the most successful companies are using it to deliver superior customer experiences. This issue: many companies don’t know how to adopt or implement it as a part of their larger strategy.
Our job is to educate the industry, through our own technology, that the future of AI applied data activation is readily available, and most importantly, attainable.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
Collaboration. As the VP of Marketing, I only get to see the world from the marketing perspective. I find that the best ideas in marketing come from other functions: Sales, Customer Success, Sales Development and Product Management. As the old adage goes “marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department”. We shamelessly ask for ideas from other parts of the company and incorporate them into our offering.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
● Headspace – For meditation
● ESPN Cricinfo – I’m a huge cricket addict
● Kindle – No explanation necessary
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Start the day right. I take 15 minutes to set my priorities for the day before I open my email. Of course, things unexpectedly come up during the day, but planning my day helps me to stay focused on the more pressing and important items at hand.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I try to read a lot on diverse topics as I feel that inspiration only comes from adjacent areas. I am currently reading Marie Kondo about the art of decluttering our homes. I am also reading Shoe Dog, the story about how Nike was founded. I read most of the trade publications and magazines, but my weakness is for The New Yorker, for really in-depth articles on a multitude of topics.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Focus on process and the outcome will take care of itself. In today’s world, it’s easy to chase outcomes which can only lead to short-term thinking. I have learned the only way to have long-term success is to focus on the effort and the process. Usually, if this is done right, the outcome takes care of itself, and things fall into place the way they should.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I don’t take myself too seriously. Taking work seriously and taking myself seriously are two separate things. I try to remember that. It also helps that I am an amateur stand-up comic at night.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read.
Ragy Thomas, the founder and CEO of Sprinklr. They have a great reputation in the market and have built an awesome B2B company from New York. I would love to learn how succeeded in building such a great B2B product & brand.
MTS: Thank you Mukund! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Accomplished hands-on marketing, planning and communications executive with 15+ year track record in media, adtech and SaaS companies. Proven track record in building world-class teams and in orchestrating marketing strategies across multiple geographies that drive growth in fast-paced and complex markets. Effective communicator across all levels in the organization.
Dynamic Yield is a Unified Customer Engagement Platform that helps you optimize, personalize and contextualize your customers’ digital experiences in real-time, across any channel. Our proprietary SaaS solution empowers marketers, retailers, and publishers to test, manage and transform the complete customer journey, and drive immediate engagement and revenue without ever having to rely on IT. Dynamic Yield was founded in 2011. Its investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, New York Times Company, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, Marker LLC and Innovation Endeavors, founded by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and Dror Berman.
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.