On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here. (what inspired you to start a martech company)
I had quite a unique journey getting to my current role. I started in the SaaS and email industry and I quickly noticed an opportunity in the lack of an ESP with great deliverability and great customer service. It was with those two metrics in mind I began Maropost.
My original plan was to have a lifestyle business, with a few clients I could manage on the side. But good word travels fast and referrals started almost immediately. It wasn’t long before Maropost turned from a passion project to my full-time focus. Now, five years later, Maropost is the fastest growing company in Toronto, generating $30M in annual revenue.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
Like the rest of the tech industry, martech is in the midst of a growth boom, with products and offerings evolving and innovating rapidly. That means more automation, more personalization, more machine learning. And we’re right there with the boom, having just launched “Da Vinci” our new machine intelligence.
Consumers are also becoming smarter about martech and with that, pickier. In the end, the product and service is always going to be the most important. It’s not enough to simply solve the customer’s problem, you have to set yourself apart by putting the customer and product first.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
Without a doubt, machine learning, or as its popularly known, artificial intelligence (AI). True artificial intelligence is probably still some way off, but our “Da Vinci” machine intelligence is the next best thing.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
For CMOs, the real challenge is in planning for the future with martech industry trends in mind. According to Gartner, 20% of business content will be written by machines by 2018. This means a significant number of marketing jobs being replaced by AI. For management, this means teams need to be leaner, more agile, and more knowledgeable than ever. This comes with the daunting task of creating dynamic marketing strategies that can change at the speed of AI. Those who can’t adapt won’t survive.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
A great startup we share a home with here in Toronto is BrainStation, which focuses on technology training for people looking to expand their digital skillset. With how much tech is playing a part in every field of work, places like BrainStation are filling the gap left by traditional schooling.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
First and foremost, we use our own Maropost Marketing Cloud and Maropost Sales Cloud product for our ESP, CRM, and service software. Some other notable tools the teams uses are Google Analytics, Google Drive, SEM Rush, Heap, and the typical social networks.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
The campaign we’ve created around this year’s tradeshow season is my favorite. Obviously, we’re targeting people attending the conferences, but also those who fall into the look-a-like audience. With our new Maropost Sales Cloud launch, the announcement of our new AI–Da Vinci–and our continued success of Maropost Marketing Cloud, we have more to tell people about than ever before.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
By creating my own… Da Vinci.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
“Never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Charles Dickens.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I’m actually re-reading Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk right now, but for news I stay up to date through apps and Twitter.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Secret to success is to never stop understanding your own business. When things go wrong, you know how to fix it.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Diversifying my knowledge base. The more you understand, the more self-reliant you are when things go wrong.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Ross! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Tony Chen founded Channel Factory, an online video distribution and data company, in 2010 while studying economics and classical piano at Rice University. With predictive analytics, the platform helps advertisers and agencies more effectively and efficiently advertise on YouTube. Clients include Nestle, MediaCom and OMD.
Channel Factory is one of the leading Native Media companies that leverages Big Data to bridge Social Video Media Buying, Influencer Marketing, and Branded Content.
In this world of fragmented new marketing opportunities, our goal is to use data and technology to provide a unified solution.
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.