Interview with Rishi Dave, Chief Marketing Officer at Dun & Bradstreet

Rishi Dave
Rishi Dave
Rishi Dave
CMO at Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet

On Marketing Technology

MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at Dun & Bradstreet and how you got here? 

Rishi Dave: I am the chief marketing officer at Dun & Bradstreet where I oversee Marketing globally, including Brand, Demand Generation, Digital, Communications, Operations, Channel, Vents, Sales Enablement, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Product Marketing. I joined Dun & Bradstreet in February 2014 from Dell where I was the Executive Director of Digital Marketing and held global responsibility for implementing Marketing, Lead Generation, Media and Content Strategies for, social media, communities, and mobile. I also managed the Digital Strategy for Dell’s events. Prior to that, I led Dell’s global web analytics strategy. I started at Dell working on the CEO-level strategy as part of the corporate strategy group. I have spent my career in the technology industry with Marketing, Business Development and consulting roles at Dell, Rivio, Inc., Trilogy Software and Bain & Company. I studied chemical engineering and economics with honors at Stanford University and received an MBA in marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

MTS: What are the key differentiators between Dun & Bradstreet’s audience targeting solutions and other vendors in this growing space?

Rishi Dave: Our value proposition is simple. Through deterministic (vs probabilistic) business data about the prospects marketers are targeting online, Dun & Bradstreet enables better accuracy, precision, and reach for B2B programmatic advertising programs, making ad dollars count for more. Using deterministic data means marketers do not need to rely on probabilistic guesses on the prospects they are targeting based on the prospect’s behavior.

Our data is the most comprehensive on the planet, with 265M+ businesses and 70M+ contacts. This database is trusted by 90% of the Fortune 500.

The key differentiators are —

Deterministic Data: We have 100% deterministic data, owned by Dun & Bradstreet, anchored by the D-U-N-S® identifier. Other companies focus on “what” audiences are doing online to build audience segments. Dun & Bradstreet focuses on the “who” to build highly accurate audiences from factual offline sources which are then brought online. Our robust and established DUNSRight quality assurance process refines over 30k incoming data sources and 5 million daily updates.

D-U-N-S®:The D-U-N-S® Number identifier enables marketers to create custom and Account-Based digital segments that are highly targeted and precise. It also allows marketers to expand digital reach through corporate linkages and bridge online and offline campaigns.

Ecosystem Availability: Dun & Bradstreet digital data is media agnostic, which allows marketers to combine Dun & Bradstreet data with any media inventory for programmatic advertising. The data is also platform agnostic, which allows the data to be ingested from every major AdTech player for advertising and major analytics platforms for unmasking anonymous web visitors.

Scale & Reach: Over 350M unique, addressable cookies and mobile device IDs are made available across the ad tech ecosystem, which allows broad programmatic ad targeting and improved anonymous web visitor identification.

Business Intelligence: Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary business transaction data and analytical indicators help marketers predict company behaviors and characteristics. Our data scientists, analysts, and PhDs average more than a decade of experience in analytics modeling. With rich proprietary data assets and a world-class team, B2B marketers complement their use of fact-based (deterministic) strategies to reach and identify prospects and customers online.

MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?

Rishi Dave: As we move towards targeting demand units, (see the recent release of the new Sirius Decisions Demand Waterfall) you must have the right data and analytics.  The biggest challenge will be how companies identify the demand units within their prioritized accounts (prioritized through analytics) to target their marketing and sales acceleration efforts.

Marketers will need to start with clean, integrated and organized data on the companies they are targeting, the people within those companies and the relationships among those people. This can be accomplished through a master data strategy that combines a company’s first-party data with third party data and then links this to IP addresses, mobile IDs and data in systems like their CRM to target the right activities by demand unit. The relationships in the buying unit can be determined even before talking to prospects by leveraging analytics to identify potential buying groups. This means marketers will need to be even more of a driver of their company’s data strategy.

MTS: What’s the biggest challenge for startups to integrate a marketing intelligence solution like Dun & Bradstreet into their stack?

Rishi Dave: While it’s important for startups to consider price, features, and functionality when evaluating a marketing intelligence solution to integrate into an existing stack, they should also consider two key components to a successful integration: 1) are the differing perspectives and insights of a business provided by the data sufficient to help you realize your sales and marketing objectives and 2) is the complexity of the solution an obstacle to the successful integration into the company’s existing workflows. Both of these are crucial since most startups run very lean, move quickly, and need the selected technology to be efficient and act as an extension of their team.

The Data: With the growing complexity of the B2B buying process driven by the proliferation of new digital and offline channels, businesses need more and new kinds of intelligence on companies they work with. That’s why Dun & Bradstreet has invested in extensive traditional and non-traditional data sources, which provide holistic views of businesses beyond traditional firmographic and business credit data, including: contextualized buyer profiles, real-time buying signals, corporate linkage, notifications of recent blog posts, online news articles, social media updates and more. This added intelligence enables more informed and persuasive conversations that ultimately help start-ups realize a higher return on their sales and marketing investments by helping to move prospects down the funnel faster.

Complexity of the solution: Startups should think beyond the immediate scope when considering a marketing intelligence solution and determine if the platform is not just robust, but also easy to use and can it grow with them.  The complexity of a solution matters greatly and can make or break the successful adoption of a solution. Start-ups need to consider who their solution end-users will be and how they will benefit. Is the solution accessible to all stakeholders, regardless of level and role? Will key users actually want to take advantage of the solution or is it so complicated no one uses it?

That’s why D&B Hoovers enables users to access our data base through a simple and intuitive user interface to help ensure stakeholders throughout the organization, regardless of level and role, find the solution accessible and rewarding and helps them get the information they need to act upon. This not only makes a startup’s limited resources more powerful but improves efficiency and helps impact the bottom line.

MTS: Could you tell us a bit about how D& B Hoovers enables sales?

Rishi Dave: D&B Hoovers leverages the best company intelligence and unique analytical features to help sales teams identify the most relevant opportunities and get in the door faster. Sales teams can gain a greater understanding of customers and prospects and be better prepared to engage and evaluate with real-time trigger alerts, news, predictive indicators, and extensive research reports including SWOT analyses and competitive intelligence.

By presenting the information in an easy-to-use interface that integrates with systems like CRMs and marketing automation platforms, D&B Hoovers allows sales teams to focus only on the information that is important to them in real-time so they can identify the best opportunities, engage more effectively, and close business faster in real-time.

MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?

Rishi Dave: Our stack is anchored on Salesforce, Oracle, and Adobe, but we’ve also layered in many supplementary technologies such as Kapost, Sprinklr, Akamai, Splunk and Highspot.

We believe the right data foundation is crucial to marketing success, so we use a lot of Dun & Bradstreet’s own solutions in our marketing strategy.  Here are a few examples:

– WebvisitorID pulls rich business data associated with cookies and IP addresses upon site visits, providing a deeper profile of digital traffic. On our digital properties, we use it for demand generation and enhanced analytics, which we share with our product group.
– We use D&B Direct+ in various ways, as it provides us on-demand access to company, people, and industry intelligence. The programmable API allows us to automate updates to data based on our unique business needs.
– Our Audience Targeting solution allows us to reach audiences at scale. We’ve mapped our offline business database of 265M+ companies and 70M+ contacts to 250M+ corresponding cookies and mobile device IDs – this provides us with segments and predictive indicators for personalization, testing, and optimization.
– In Oracle Eloqua, we use Workbench Data Optimizer to assess, cleanse and enhance the contact data. Workbench is a secure cloud-based platform that optimizes your data, helps you profile your best opportunities and target the audiences you want to reach.

MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)

Rishi Dave: We saw great success with our Sales & Marketing “Interconnected” campaign, focused primarily on a Marketing audience.  This campaign ran in late Q4 of 2016 and is currently in the market.   The intent of this campaign was to drive awareness and consideration of Dun & Bradstreet with a new audience and, secondarily, to drive pipeline and revenue. We conducted a lot of copy/message and ad testing to better inform our strategy, which really paid off.

We exceeded all benchmarks set in 2016, including exceeding traffic goals by 2.7x, increasing pipeline attainment by 110% and closing 148% of revenue targets.

MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?

Rishi Dave: AI needs the right data to make intelligent decisions from the outset. To develop their AI strategy, enterprises need to integrate, clean, link, and supplement their data so they have an accurate database on which to build their algorithms. This starts with foundational master data.

You’re going to hear a lot more about master data over the next few months as companies recognize that master data is the most important data they have.  Master data is the foundational “golden record” of customers, vendors and prospects that must be shared across all internal systems, applications, and processes in order for your commercial data, transactional reporting, and business activity to be cleaned, linked, optimized and made accurate. It’s essentially the foundation of your enterprise and without it not only does your AI infrastructure breakdown, but so does your business.

This Is How I Work

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.


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

Goodreads, Buffer,, Pocket, Blinkist, Kindle, ToDoIst, Cloud Library

MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

Voraciously consuming external content to get an outside-in perspective on my industry and marketing by leveraging good curation tools and influencers.

MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

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

Culture is everything.  It does not matter how awesome your martech, data analytics, demand generation, or thought leadership is if you don’t have the culture to support the growth you need. At Dun & Bradstreet, we focused on culture first, defining our purpose and authentic values.  Then we made decisions based on those values, whether changing people policies, investing in new opportunities, growing our employees, divesting and acquiring companies, etc.  Without the cultural foundation, it’s difficult to get everyone moving in the same direction, which is critical for a company our size.  We also monitor our employee satisfaction & culture numbers and they constantly measure above every benchmark. Culture is critical to making everything else successful.

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

To be successful in the modern world, you have to know how to grow relationships, both inside and outside your company.  In today’s digital landscape, everything is matrixed and collaborative and we are moving fast to get things done, so having those connected relationships through informal networks inside and outside the company is critical.  While many people know it’s important to focus on the connected relationships of your team, I think people underestimate the importance of influencers and outside experts to your brand.  And these are people that can provide invaluable advice and feedback if you take the time to get to know them and learn from them.

MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Michelle Peluso, Chief Marketing Officer at IBM.

MTS: Thank you Rishi! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

I am the Chief Marketing Officer and Section 16 officer of Dun & Bradstreet. In this role, I run worldwide marketing including brand marketing, lead generation, demand creation, digital marketing, social media marketing, communications, PR, AR, operations, channel marketing, content marketing, partner marketing, events marketing, field marketing, sales enablement, corporate social responsibility, analytics, and product positioning / marketing.

I am a revenue growth focused, B2B marketer.

I was previously Executive Director of Digital Marketing at Dell. In this role, I ran a global marketing organization responsible for implementing demand generation programs, lead generation, media, and content strategies for, social media, communities, and mobile, and I managed the digital support of Dell events for Dell’s B2B segments. Previous to this role, I drove Dell’s global web analytics strategy and worked on Dell’s CEO level strategy as part of Dell’s Corporate Strategy group.

I have spent my career in the technology industry with marketing, business development, and consulting roles in startups to large corporations including Bain & Company, Trilogy Software, and eBay.

I hold degrees in Chemical Engineering and Economics with Honors from Stanford University and an MBA in Marketing from the Wharton School.

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) has the data and analytics you need to make better business decisions. Fortune 500 companies & other global businesses of all sizes rely on our data, insight & analytics. Visit us at for more information.

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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