Interview with Tom Salvat, Founder and CEO, CONCURED

Tom Salvat

“AI enables huge leaps forward, but the industry needs to better educate marketers on the use cases instead of using buzzwords that can alienate rather than inspire.”

Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you start CONCURED?

Having spent nearly a decade working in advertising and then Content Marketing, I’ve gained a comprehensive understanding of how brands have had to change the way they communicate with their customers, and how important content is in this journey. But with advertising in decline, brands need a new way to reach their audiences. The issue is that there is so much content and not enough engagement, so people feel like they are failing. I realized that AI could help businesses make sense of their Content and develop content strategies that will work and be successful.

What is the current state of Content Marketing technology?

Content Marketing technology is still in its youth, I think, though there are some amazing companies doing great things to help with the chaos. The industry just needs more tools that can help guide creation instead of more vanity metrics. While true AI businesses are rare, they are on the way, and I believe that this will be a game-changer for content marketers worldwide.

To what extent could Content Marketing be fully automated? What role does AI/ML play in this automation journey?

Good Content Marketing relies on having good content with a compelling story and humans are still the best storytellers — and will be for quite some time. But lots of manual processes can be automated such as auditing, distribution, analysis, personalization and benchmarking — all the things CONCURED is leading the way in. AI is key to these processes as they need to be automated in a way a human would, but at a much bigger scale! And that’s what AI is by its very nature.

How much has marketing operations changed since the arrival of Automation and BI/Analytics tools? How do you leverage these tools at CONCURED?

Not as much as it should. AI enables huge leaps forward, but the industry needs to better educate marketers on the use cases instead of using buzzwords that can alienate rather than inspire. CONCURED is automating costly and time-consuming processes such as auditing, distribution, performance analysis, personalization and benchmarking. This leads to better results in less time. It’s a win-win.

Could you tell us more about your report that states “Walt Disney the ‘King of Content’ 2018”? What makes Walt Disney so popular?

We wanted to test the power of CONCURED’s AI by plumbing in unprecedented volumes of data, which were sourced from the last 12 months of Content Marketing initiatives from the world’s top 15 most talked about brands. To gain an understanding of what it is that makes these brands such effective content marketers, the platform analyzed everything from the quantity of content produced, to word counts, engagement rates and impact across Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

What makes Walt Disney the ‘king of content’ is the simple fact that Walt Disney knows exactly who its content is aimed at, where they’re most likely to engage, and then tailors the length and tone of its content to match that audience.

How do you see companies such as Adobe, Salesforce, SAP and Oracle raising the bar of Marketing and Sales in the B2B industry, especially around Content Marketing?

These companies are seeking to create end-to-end marketing solutions to consolidate and own the budgets of marketers. I see them acquiring businesses that are leaders in innovation, rather than innovating themselves. Companies such as CONCURED are more agile and can test faster so watch this space!

Which Marketing and Sales automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

We use HubSpot, Divvy HQ, and CONCURED.

What are the core tenets of your business development model?  How does CONCURED add value to digital transformation journeys for businesses?

CONCURED adds value by unlocking the ‘why’ behind marketing success with content. It’s easy to see what worked, but without the ‘why’, you can’t improve, learn and get better. CONCURED enables businesses to unlock the reasons behind success so they can manipulate it and repeat it.

How often do you measure the performance of your marketing analytics and sales reporting?

I look multiple times per week. As a business daily, and sometimes even hourly.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Content Marketing operations for 2018-2020?

I think that accountability is the biggest shift we will see in content marketing over the coming years. CMOs and CEOs are asking: why are we doing this? Is it working? If not, why? Content has seen a meteoric rise and it’s a proven tactic, but nearly 70% of content marketers feel they are failing. When the movement from editorial and creative flair towards cold hard numbers gathers more momentum, lots of content marketers will be in a very tough spot indeed.

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

I love DIVVY HQ because, like us, they are bringing structure to the content madness. Same with Flockler, which has awesome tech.

Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success?)

Our most successful digital campaign so far was with Nationwide. Using CONCURED, Nationwide experienced a 23% increase in engagements in just three months, and saved 45 hours per month researching and creating content.

The reason for this success is because CONCURED provides Nationwide with actionable, data-driven insights that the company uses to understand what topics it should be focusing on to engage its audience.

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

The best way to prepare for an AI-centric world is to embrace it. Businesses need to realize that it’s actually all very logical, not the least bit scary, and can be incredibly helpful to your business. The key is to ensure that you do your homework on any AI solution before making an investment to ensure that it’s right for your business.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

I like to explain everything very simply and show them the huge gap between how its done now and what AI makes possible. It’s like explaining walking and then showing them a car! Which is best to get to work 50 miles away?

One word that best describes how you work.

Creative

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

I use Gmail, LinkedIn, an iPhone and, of course, CONCURED.

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

Learn neuro-linguistic programming.

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

I read all sorts. The subtle art of not giving a fuck, Jamie Oliver’s Italy. I like books on strategy, improvement and creativity.

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

You usually regret what you don’t do, not what you do… so give it a go!

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

My colleagues say that I have a brain that seems to be able to map out complex problems very logically so I can find solutions.

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

Michael Brenner, Joe Pulizzi, Robert Rose are people I have always followed.

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

Tom founded CONCURED in 2015 following nearly a decade of experience working in advertising and content marketing. Previously, Tom worked at Idio as Global Senior Vice President, and prior to that, Tom served as Head of Commercial at Press Association. In July 2018, Tom won Global AI CEO of the year at the Global CEO Excellence Awards, run by CEO Monthly.

CONCURED

CONCURED uses Artificial Intelligence to show you exactly what topics drive ROI, and what to write about next.

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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