Interview with Wendell Lansford, Co-Founder, Wyng

Wendell Lansford Wyng
interviwes
Wendell Lansford
Wendell Lansford
Co-Founder, Wyng
Wyng Logo

“Given the widespread use of bots to inflate engagement, we’ll likely see marketers dial back their influencer spending until they are able to have reliable metrics.”

On Marketing Technology

MTS: Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to start a digital marketing platform?
I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship and I first began developing software in middle school. I started my formal career in software development in the early ‘90s, when the internet was first being commercialized. My first two companies, prior to Wyng, were venture-backed enterprise software companies. Wyng is my third company, and I truly believe that we’re in such an exciting space to help brands and agencies better navigate the fast-evolving landscape of social and digital marketing.

MTS: Given the changing dynamic of online engagements with the customers, how do you see digital and social media marketing platforms integrating with the rest of the MarTech Stack?
Digital and social channels provide the richest sources of customer data and insights. Integration of digital and social platforms with the rest of the MarTech stack is non-trivial but essential. In our experience, much of the potential benefit can be realized by focusing on integrating audience data (e.g. Facebook Pixel, DMP), first-party CRM/ESP data, and analytics.

MTS: How would you distinguish between influencer marketing and social selling? Which one of the two would you recommend for the B2B marketers for higher ROI?
Influencer marketing is focused on identifying individuals that have influence over a target audience, and working with those influencers to get the brand’s story in front of potential buyers. Social selling is about salespeople using social media to learn about and interact with their prospects as part of the sales process. Influencer marketing is applicable to both B2C and B2B while social selling is more applicable to B2B. Both techniques can be additive, and the relative priority of one versus the other depends on the specifics of each business — target customer, marketing mix, sales team, influencer population, etc.

MTS: Brands are spending more on brand safety and combating ad fraud. How do you see digital and social media marketing campaigns shaping up in the fight against ad fraud?
Brands and marketers are being forced to take a close look at the work they’re doing within the social media space. Given the widespread use of bots to inflate engagement, we’ll likely see marketers dial back their influencer spending until they are able to have reliable metrics and can be sure that they’re building and nurturing authentic audiences and engagement numbers. I think we may see this in the future of automation with chatbots or the scaling back of social programs that utilize real consumer influencers with small followings.
MTS: What startups in the MarTech ecosystem are you watching/keen on right now?
I am watching the companies getting funded in areas such as customer data, AR/VR, AI and blockchain.

MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
The primary platforms we use are Salesforce, HubSpot, WordPress, Google Analytics, advertising on Facebook and Google, and of course Wyng. Wyng is most often used for B2C marketing, but also supports a number of B2B use cases for driving engagement, capturing data, UGC and co-created content.

MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? 
Wyng worked with Fazoli’s, a fast casual restaurant chain, to run a sweepstakes campaign offering the chance to win either a trip to Italy or a year’s worth of free Fazoli’s Family Meals as they promoted their new, 100% natural menu and acquired email addresses from consumers. Using the Wyng Digital Campaign Index — a real-time scoring system that allows for quick and objective digital campaign performance measurement against other campaigns in the industry by evaluating Engagement and Virality — Fazoli’s saw their most successful marketing campaign to date!

Part of the reason we saw such great success with Fazoli’s was because the campaign included a refer-a-friend component, so consumers who recruited friends to enter earned an extra chance to win, which lead to nearly 27,000 entries. A third of these entrants also opted in to Fazoli’s email list earning the company more than 6,000 new e-mail marketing recipients.

Along with the refer-a-friend component, Fazoli’s offered consumers a personalized experience by including links to share the campaign via email as well as with their networks on Facebook and Twitter. To keep consumers coming back to their campaign, Fazoli incorporated a counter that kept track of how many consumers entered the contest using the personal link someone shared. These best practices that Fazoli incorporated into their campaign can be leveraged by any brand in any industry.

MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader? How deep is Wyng into AI/ML technologies?
A good starting point is to educate yourself on AI generally, as it relates to your industry and as it relates to the discipline of marketing. Study early successes and failures by others, if you can find them. Identify possible applications for your business and test and learn where possible. It’s early, but now is a good time to dig in. At Wyng, we have an ever-growing dataset of hundreds of thousands of recent digital and social campaigns — including creative inputs, investment parameters and performance results. Over the last year we’ve started to mine the data with an eye toward AI and ML applications. One step in that direction is the Digital Campaign Index (DCI) which we rolled out last quarter. The DCI is an automated campaign scoring framework — with benchmarks and recommended actions to improve results — built into the Wyng platform.

This Is How I Work

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
Focused.

MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
A mix of apps for business and pleasure:  Inbox, Instapaper, Evernote, Digg (for RSS), Twitter, Google Docs, Apple Music, Runkeeper, Seamless — and of late, Slack.

MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Using Inbox app as my unified to do list, reminders and email. “Snooze until” and mail-to-self make this straightforward.

MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I’m reading Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark on the Kindle app. I read the New York Times, WSJ and industry blogs on my iPhone every day. I also have a sizable backlog of the The New Yorker on my iPhone.

MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received — your secret sauce?
Two things: You can do anything you set your mind to, and never give up.

MTS: Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
I’d love to read answers from leaders in the B2C space, especially large CPGs and disruptive consumer goods upstarts.

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

Wendell Lansford is a Co-Founder of Offerpop and brings nearly 20 years of experience in business management and technology. He was previously SVP and COO at Systinet (acquired by Mercury Interactive, now HP, in 2006), and co-founder and CEO of Sitebridge, which was acquired by eGain in 1999. Prior to Sitebridge, Wendell was Director of Technology at Conde Nast Digital and part of the team that launched Epicurious.com and Concierge.com. Wendell started his career as an engineer at Bell Communications Research. He is an early investor in tech startups, including CheetahMail, Good Data, XGraph, OMGPOP and ExpenseCloud. Wendell holds a BS from the University of Tulsa and an MS from Carnegie Mellon University.

Wyng
Wyng builds technology that powers compelling digital campaigns and promotions for agencies and brands. Our culture is rooted in technology and marketing, spanning diverse disciplines and decades of experience across mar-tech, ad-tech, CX, UX, data, and core mobile and web technologies. In 2011, Wyng powered the first ever hashtag campaign in connection with a Super Bowl ad, and continues to evolve its platform to align with shifts in consumer behavior. We believe great products are defined by intelligent architecture and a passion for innovation. Wyng is headquartered in New York City’s NoMad neighborhood.

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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