Interview with Jason Beckerman, Co-Founder and CEO, Unified

Jason Beckerman

“Social data can empower sales teams to sell better, marketers to advertize better, and analytics teams to make real-time recommendations.”

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Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you launch Unified?

My role as CEO of Unified includes overall strategic direction of the organization, as well as our products and services. I grew up in the financial services industry running technology projects for companies like Merrill Lynch. My co-founder and I saw the early power of the Facebook platform and built some of the earliest applications on the social network. As we began to learn more about the advertising industry, we realized how underserved the marketing office was in terms of data ownership and transparency, and that was the inspiration for Unified.

How do you define Social Advertising? How does Unified bring data, transparency and social media performance at one place for its customers?

Social advertising is more than just putting creative on a social platform—it represents arguably the most lucrative opportunity for brands. Producing more data than the NYSE daily, social media provides brands with an unprecedented view into how to reach virtually any audience.

We feel as though there is a shift happening in the industry, where marketers are starting to think of their social initiatives as investments. You wouldn’t have a bank account without visibility into your transactions, but brands are finding themselves in that very position when it comes to their “social advertising transactions.” That’s where Unified comes in. We bring clarity and control to social advertising investments by collecting, connecting, and enriching data to provide data ownership and transparency. This way, they can ensure they are making often critical decisions based on a full and accurate picture of performance.

What are your predictions for social media advertising marketing between 2018 and 2020? How should CMOs plan the inclusion of these technologies into their tech stacks, in 2018?

According to the WSJ, 38% of marketers are requesting specific language in their contracts with partners and agencies to ensure they have control over their data. I expect to see this trend continue in 2018, as the call for more transparency by brands gets even louder. We are, in essence, at a tipping point in the industry that may redefine the relationship between brands and their agencies.

Looking a little further down the road, I imagine a world where marketers are leveraging identity data from the major social advertising networks across the wider internet. These consumer portals will ultimately empower DMPs to be far more beneficial to the marketing organization.

How can lead-gen companies leverage social media advertising to achieve better marketing and sales ROI?

Lead-gen companies are laser-focused on specific KPIs, performance, and uncovering the most effective strategies, tools and teams, even more so than their counterparts. For these marketers, having a connective system is critical to maintaining control over their supply chains and gaining insights that can further increase performance. Essentially, they ultimately need to concentrate on three things to be successful.

First and foremost, marketers need to own their own data so that they can ensure access regardless of changes in their supply chain. This is not only the root of true transparency, but will set the stage for learnings gleaned from social advertising initiatives.

Second, they need to turn “big data” into “small data” by collecting and enriching raw data into intelligence that will best inform their strategies and decisions.

Finally, brands should leverage the breadth of data (e.g. habits, affinities, behaviors) found within social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to better inform how to reach consumers through creative, targeting, partnerships, and more.

With the maturity of B2B selling, how do you see multi-channel marketing and sales automation integrations around social media platforms?

You can think of this in two main ways—information in, and information out.

In regards to information in, brands are collecting critical information daily that’s richer than ever. An example of this would be a retailer inviting customers to enter their email address prior to going into a dressing room, so they can scan and keep track of the items they try on. This CRM data can be ported into social platforms to uncover key information about specific audiences, such as purchase preferences, brand affinities, and basic demographics that will help them better connect and, ultimately, sell to those consumers.

When it comes to information out, social is unique in that it can be a layer across all channels. For example, a brand can leverage the audience data from social to inform and better target on other channels like television, radio, and display. This data can empower sales teams to sell better, marketers to advertize better, and analytics teams to make real-time recommendations to senior leadership.

What startups in the martech/sales intelligence industries are you watching/keen on right now?

I am very interested to see how progresses—especially with their hire of Jarrod Dicker as their CEO. In general, blockchain applications in marketing technology are a fascinating opportunity right now.

What tools does your marketing and advertising stack consist of in 2018?

The Unified Platform for social advertising intelligence and optimization, native buying tools for social advertising buys, Pardot for email and automation, Salesforce for CRM, Google Adwords for SEM, Slack for collaboration.

Would you tell us about your standout digital campaign at Unified? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success?)

Last year, we conducted a survey of top brand marketers on the topic of transparency. This turned into an initiative entitled “The New Age of Transparency And The Tipping Point For Social Advertisers.” We put together a full 360-degree campaign, which included pivotal outputs such as a white paper, webinars, dynamic infographics, social and search ads, SEO enhancements, and more.

The success from this campaign was evident in many ways, including qualified leads that turned into sales opportunities, SEO keyword lifts, general awareness from industry prospects, and media coverage in top publications like Ad Age.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader? How do you leverage AI capabilities at Unified?

We are still years away from a world where AI replaces human beings, but we are at the beginning stages of Augmented Intelligence, where incredibly smart computing power is paired with great human capital to bring about business results. We ultimately leverage Augmented Intelligence for our data enrichment processes.

How do you get tech and people to converge at one place?

I think technology and human capital effect each other in ways that we are just beginning to understand. Some of these effects are more negative, such as our growing addiction to technology. In other ways, technology is enabling humans to have infinite intelligence and the ability to invent things our ancestors could not. This is incredibly powerful and the human-machine integration is going to continue for what I think will be the foreseeable future.

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

Gmail, Personal Capital, Coinbase

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

I am loving the new Google mail auto-responders these days.

What are you currently reading? 

I consume a ton of internet content but my latest read, because I have a one-year-old son, is DADA By Jimmy Fallon. 🙂

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

Life is a roller coaster. The highs are never really high, and the lows are never really low. Stay stable and focused.

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

Marc Benioff

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

Jason is an innovator and expert in the Social Advertising industry. He has 15+ years of experience with CRM technologies and organizational change management and has been educated in various leadership methodologies as well as organizational theory.

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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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