Interview with Anand Thaker, CEO & Founder at IntelliPhi
On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at IntelliPhi and how you got here.
I founded IntelliPhi as a mission to advance decision making for go-to-market leaders. In the coming decade, we will see broader use of intelligent systems (AI) with a greater use of ‘big data’. How do data-driven strategic leaders from startups to enterprises synthesize options to go-to-market through a more measurable, complex, dynamic, and interconnected marketplace? Our firm is currently researching and building around this longer term need of decision intelligence in marketing. Under this umbrella, I also serves as a retained advisor for later-stage startups, VC/PE/strategic investors, executives, and analysts on MarTech. I love the startup community and work to elevate the ecosystem in Atlanta.
Prior to IntelliPhi, I founded NeoMarketing Solutions, a marketing operations consulting and advisory firm focused on build sales and marketing alignment for high-growth startup to divisions of enterprise firms. The inspiration came during my time at Silverpop, where the acquisition of marketing and sales technologies still required companies to evolve their go-to-market strategy, operations and talent.
Before Silverpop, I had worked in marketing, sales, consulting and development roles with deep expertise in the energy/environmental and financial spaces with firms including Siemens Power Generation, Blackstone, APX, and NYSE. The common thread through it all was navigating complex systems with deep data availability. We are excited to begin cracking this code so as to empower go-to-market leaders to handle what’s coming their way.
MTS: What are the technology trends, challenges, and developments that are going to impact the marketing intelligence sector?
The conversation and application around AI and big data in marketing technology and other related industries is a bit of deja vu for me. While Martech has been my life blood for many years, my previous experiences in the energy and financial spaces is where we addressed many of these opportunities and pitfalls over a decade ago. From those experiences, the application around intelligent systems and large data sets must include training and education around decision making. Are leaders developing good judgement and consider what the AI may or may not know or from what data may or may not be available used in the synthesis? The human decision maker element hasn’t been quite addressed yet.
MTS: Could you tell us how digital behavioral sciences are driving the MarTech space?
Simply put, it’s about relationships. MarTech, as I’ve experienced in other industries, swings back and forth between technology and the strategies and/or tactics being the primary advantage. Many of the behavioral sciences are becoming more quantifiable in real-time. This availability of digital information explosion has been a catalyst for the big data / AI conversations among marketers. I see three areas where the digital relationships with this information synthesized well, will drive relationships: 1) Marketers and sales develop genuine relationships sooner and with greater scale. 2) Customers and prospects – in a business or consumer driven marketplace – are becoming influenced from one another. 3) Companies build better performance-based partnerships with one another to facilitate or complement one another as they go-to-market.
MTS: How did you help Scott Brinker create this year’s Martech landscape infographic?
My interest in marketing technology began when I analyzed a web log, identified companies with reverse look up and deliver that to our sales team to respond or reach out accordingly. The future for marketing via technology to influence decisions was eye opening. For years, I followed Scott and grateful for his selfless work and passion for space. I thought an opportunity to help him on the landscape and/or the martech event was a unique opportunity to enrich my knowledge and contribute to the overall wisdom of marketers in the space.
When happily agreeing to help Scott with the landscape, I asked that we extend the usefulness of our research by also providing some level of usable data now that there were two of us. With that in mind, we collaborated around a spreadsheet and project platform to help users ensure we were capturing not only the logos/companies, but enriching the data so that we can perform precision analytics. We divvied up the sub-categories and begin putting the landscape together. For me, I took the opportunity to research the entire martech 5000 landscape over the course of months and even the couple of months after the conference. It’s been helpful to intersect this with the investment and M&A activity. The two of us have the most unique view of martech in the industry. This landscape is still the amazing Scott Brinker Martech Landscape and it was a such a privilege to support him to add to his ability to continue to contribute the industry on the effort.
MTS: How does IntelliPhi look to leverage marketing technology for its clients?
When not building martech or investor advisory, our research consulting engagements are revolved around data and decision making, so we seek out technology that helps our clients better internalize data across go-to-market silos. The premise drives executives to become aware and discover insights and narrow down optimal go-to-market options to make strategic or high-level tactical decisions. Before technology is implemented, we work with leadership and talent and leadership build a data driven culture, decision intelligence training and leveraging ones experienced judgement together for an optimal use of the marketing tech.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
While AI and big data are hot topics today and with a sense of how that will play out, I’m watching beyond this. Successful go-to-market leaders will need solutions that leverage those intelligent systems and data to build/manage relationships or make better decisions.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
As we are a small firm, our stack is simple and looks similar to many early stage startups.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
Early in growing our marketing operations consulting firm NeoMarketing. We started to gain reference prospects who were leaving their current consultative vendor(s) because they were being “highly recommended” to switch their marketing automation (MA) solution. While that wasn’t unusual and we were agnostic and had seen this happen on occasion. Their suspicion was the relationship of the competitor’s firm and their dedicated MA vendor went sour and the clients were being asked to switch as result.
We found the list of companies who used the prior automation technology and cross referenced it with our competitor tracking database for a target list. We then mailed postcards to promote our track record, agnostic status and see if they wanted an independent assessment. The result was getting a 70% response rate with our landing the second highest bookings within a quarter. This didn’t include the tremendous referral business and credibility we gained as a result. It’s also attracted a partner firm which eventually ended up absorbing our firm.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
I’ve seen the most successful leaders and organizations start with some of the following:
- Lots of Research – Be patient. Research not only about AI, but also review how your own organization works and where the application of AI may play a part.
- Don’t Rush It – Build a roadmap and plan how you might incrementally apply AI. Be realistic and pragmatic about what and how much to incorporate.
- Start with Culture – As I’ve mentioned before having a business intelligence and data culture is critical. Begin with applying AI to gain insights and test actions based on the current status quo.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Waze, Nudge.ai, Slack, OneNote, CRM, Email/Calendar, Buffer, Spotify.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Block off non-essential email twice a day. Also, schedule 20 or 45 min blocks to give yourself time for the next meeting.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Finished reading Winning with Data and Performance Partnerships. I’m reading Brokerage and Closure and usually read HBR or WSJ online. Watch / listen to TED talks as well as audiobooks. I subscribe to a lot of emails from the martech space and bulk them into a folder where I search for topics that I maybe reading elsewhere and investigate what pops up.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Your network is your net worth.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Finding opportunities in chaos. I enjoy navigating complex situations or environments and find connections. I enjoy being a super connector and leverage this to find larger successes without having to make a lot of noise in the market.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Anand! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Anand is a 15 year veteran in marketing technology and growth strategy. His expertise includes marketing, sales, data, analytics, and intelligent systems.
He founded IntelliPhi to advance human & digital go-to-market decisioning for growth leaders. Anand believe that to succeed in a diverse, dynamic, interconnected marketplace, modern leaders must leverage the right mix of data, intelligent solutions, and judgment.
Previously, He built and grew high-growth product startups and consulting firms in Marketing Technology to enterprise firms such as Siemens, Silverpop/IBM, Microsoft, Blackstone, Capgemini, GTRI, Salesforce.com, Fidelity, NYSE, and eBay. Anand also serves as a liaison and advisor to investors, founders, executives, and analysts on Marketing Technology.
Have a knack for identifying and cultivating rising sales and marketing leaders.
Proud to support and build the growing Atlanta startup ecoystem.
We help growth leaders make smarter go-to-market decisions. Our team uncovers meaningful insights coupled with intelligent systems to empowers our client’s decision making. We accomplish this through marketing expertise, digital behavioral sciences, advanced analytics, data management, decision and intelligent systems. Intelligent Systems + Big Data + Experienced Leaders = Insightful Decisions.
Also collaborating with The Connective Good to scout and recruit senior Marketing, MarTech, Go-to-Marketing, and Analytics talent.
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.