Tell us about your journey into technology. How did you end up as a CEO from being a VP Product?
My marketing career led me into the tech industry. In the infancy of the “dot-com” boom of the late 1990s, I worked for Net Perception where I was doing B2B marketing for recommendation software before Amazon’s recommendation engine existed. I was a liaison between business and the tech community because I could speak both languages. As a marketer myself, I knew the jargon and keywords that would resonate with other marketers.
I co-founded another startup, Pivotal Veracity, an email deliverability platform which has thousands of users. I exited with its sale to Unica Corp. I also served as vice president of product marketing at Persado. There, I was constantly asked to locate files that were buried among folders and cloud storage platforms. That’s when I came up with the idea to create a file search engine. I stayed at my day job but began the initial stages of research and development of what would become Digitile with my Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Josh Topel.
How does it feel to be a woman in tech? How different is the US Tech industry today than it was when you first started here?
I am very fortunate that in my career I have never experienced much adversity as a result of my gender. Many women aren’t recognized and promoted in this male-dominated industry. I believe many women have to find some sort of “in” to the boy’s club. Just like in any other situation, you have to find common ground by being perceptive of those around you. That’s a simple way for women to nudge their way into the club.
When I first entered the tech industry, society was being taken over by AOL and Netscape. Consumers and businesses embraced the new technologies and everything shifted from that point on. The technology industry has only accelerated from there. We now have innovative image recognition and other artificial intelligence capabilities, and there is a new product every day.
What is the current state of “File Sharing Search Engine” technology?
For years, there have been apps to help consumers search their computers for files. With the explosion of the Cloud, files are stored across dozens of third-party solutions which makes finding the right file much harder. Every department across the organization or company adopts its preferred solutions on top of corporate-wide sanctioned Cloud solutions. Suddenly finding files is complicated and frustrating. In addition to remembering file and folder names, employees have to remember where files are stored to avoid wasting time hunting down the one file they need to move the ball forward with projects.
The workplace needed a sophisticated cross-platform file search engine designed to find the right file every time irrespective of where it’s stored.
What are the challenges to modern-day digital asset and Enterprise content management?
The average corporate marketing team uses 91 different cloud tools in their tech stack. Among these tools are digital asset and enterprise content managers. There are new tools emerging daily. With the adoption of all of these tools, content becomes increasingly more difficult to find and access. The problem gets compounded as employees continuously save documents in these tools each day to manage and execute essential work functions. We save files throughout layers of different software applications and folders, decreasing our productivity and wasting time searching for buried files needed to complete tasks.
In the last few years, companies across the globe have started using Slack to communicate in real-time which cuts down on email. Colleagues message and send files to one another to speed up the feedback loop. The concept is wonderful, however, indirectly, Slack has become a file storage solution team members forget about when they need to search for the most recent file. Digitile’s cross-platform search engine displays file search results in one place irrespective of where they’re stored so employees don’t have to remember or care what a file is named, what folder it lives in or which solution houses the content.
How does Digitile enable business teams to overcome these challenges in managing documentation for the enterprise?
Digitile facilitates more workplace productivity and collaboration as a smart and easy-to-use file search engine delivered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Digitile is for companies seeking relief from the difficulty of finding files stored across disparate cloud storage platforms. Digitile quickly finds all files stored across Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail and Slack. Under one login, employees can search files spread across these cloud storage platforms and get relevant results irrespective of where the file is stored.
How does AI fit into your sales and marketing stack? What are your major differentiators in the tech-heavy data and content management ecosystem?
Digitile’s comprehensive file search technology combines artificial intelligence image recognition, keywords, tags, and natural language processing to generate and centralize search results all in one place. Users may use any combination of keywords, tags and filters to generate highly specific search results. Digitile transparently indexes unglamorous file metadata from cloud storage solutions to automatically machine-generate file-specific tags. Tags offer employees a more granular way to organize and search for files than folders. Digitile’s reliable search algorithm has a 95 percent file search match rate.
Which sales and marketing tech companies are you keenly following?
The future of content marketing is video. If you don’t have snackable content that’s eye-catching, interesting and resonates, you’ll become a blur as users scroll right past your content or leave your website. I’ve been paying close attention to the different video solutions such as Vidyard and Wistia to enhance sales outreach and customer onboarding and ongoing engagement. At Digitile, we started testing these platforms to help our brand stand out in the crowd and build a connection with our target market.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
New technology is being introduced with such velocity, but you have to be perceptive of what’s going to last. If you’re throwing a bunch of darts, or ideas, against the wall, there will be a handful of life-changing startups with software products that stick. It’s this mindfulness that I employ to prepare for an AI-centric world. As a business leader, I can’t jump on every bandwagon, I have to be critical of each new technology to see how it can fit into my company without losing our core principles.
To maintain a centered core, we focus on employee and generational behaviors. As workplace sentiment and behaviors shift, that’s our queue to push the next generation of our AI solutions. Take Siri. Voice-based search is commonplace with consumers. Our goal is to make it second nature in the workplace. Hands-free file search works well for business travelers as well as for all those employees running from meeting to meeting.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
I follow different companies based on how well they execute, how cool and useful the solution is, market leadership and presence, and lastly, direct and indirect competitors.
There are startups, like Cordial, I admire, that execute well at scale. I have come to appreciate that product-market fit and product development are layups. The challenging aspect is growing the business at a pace that does not exceed your burn rate along with the ability to dissect setbacks quickly and celebrate what worked. I believe Jeremy Swift, founder and CEO of Cordial, has successfully moved his business from a handful of employees and clients to a competitive challenger in the crowded marketing automation space.
I admire startups like Notion, whose solution and agile development process is impressive. Its solution has to be one of the most flexible collaboration tools I’ve used. Notion is a mashup of Trello, Asana, Basecamp and Evernote with more flexibility than those four combined.
Then there are startups like Slack I admire for their open architecture and partner ecosystem strategy. Besides building an easy-to-use tool, Slack smartly focused on getting other solutions to build on top of Slack to extend its shelf life and become stickier within the organization. At Digitile, to improve our productivity, we’ve connected a dozen other solutions to Slack. At this point, it would be very hard for us to replace Slack with an alternative in our tech stack.
What marketing and sales automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
At Digitile, we have an extensive tech stack for managing and executing our sales and marketing campaigns. In the ideal world, there would be an integrated suite to streamline all functions of the two disciplines. The reality is that we haven’t found a unified platform that performs as well as many best of breed options. On the creative side, we design assets with Sketch, Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud. Active Campaign plays a dual role to nurture inbound leads and our customer marketing. Meanwhile, we use MixMax and SugarCRM to manage and track relationships. To ensure we get deeper insight into our social media we use Social Pilot. Google plays a leading role with our paid search and remarketing efforts. We use at least 15 other solutions to manage video marketing, SEO, analytics, project management and, of course, we search for marketing assets and files across these platforms with Digitile.
Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign?
We use Google Adwords to create campaigns targeted to an organization’s pain points throughout marketing and sales departments such as version control or tagging files Google Drive or Dropbox. We use extensive research to use advantageous keywords. Then, once the user clicks on our Google Ad, they are transported to a landing page with Digitile information specifically crafted to their pain point. These landing pages have been well crafted to resonate quickly with the lead and their daily struggles. Our success on these campaigns can be attributed to clean and concise messaging that empathizes with the consumer in a way that creates an urgency to try and buy. Google AdWords and remarketing tools have been our most successful lead acquisition channels.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
As former marketers and salespeople for technology companies, we are fascinated with productivity tools. We stay on top of the tools that will streamline our workflows. Our culture is technology-first oriented. We recognize the value tools have on our productivity. Early on, we started cataloging solutions we read about by category and that seemed useful even if we couldn’t use it yet. Now we have a healthy growing list we reference for SEO, email marketing, leads, design, video, growth hacking, surveys, PR and productivity tools. The team is accustom to referencing the list when we need to fill a gap in our processes. Inevitably, someone in the organization adopts a new solution and becomes the ambassador to convince team members that they should leverage the solution.
One word that best describes how you work.
Productive. In our initial research before starting Digitile, we found a Gartner study that states that professionals spend an average of 18 minutes to locate a document. International Data Corporation, a provider of market intelligence, added up the wasted time on these searches, estimated the cost to be $19,732 per worker, per year. Lost productivity due to inefficient file searching is a multi-billion-dollar business issue. I always want to be productive, simplifying everyday tasks so that I have more time for projects and success.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
- Slack supports our everyday real-time team communications and reduces our load on emailing.
- Notion manages the businesses projects, to do’s and idea wiki.
- Sketch is our go-to for all things creative. We initially used Sketch to design our client site user experience. Now, the team designs all our creative assets for sales and marketing with Sketch with the exception of photography – we still manipulate photos with Photoshop.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Linkedin helper + ViolaNorbert + Bonjoro
I use LinkedIn Helper to extract prospects’ profile information. Then I verify and confirm email addresses with VoilaNorbert. With Bonjoro, a video email tool, I can send engaging marketing emails to prospects. Pairing these solution leads to faster prospecting along with a unique cold emailing angle with video to increase the probability of a reply or conversion.
What are you currently reading?
I constantly read snackable content. I’ve set up Flipboard to curate categorical topics that interest me to expand my knowledge or casually keep up-to-date with on industry and market trends.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Stay connected with colleagues and your bosses throughout your career. I was lucky to have excellent relationships with each of my managers over the years. I could pick up the phone now and call any one of them and have a great discussion about what’s happening in the market, trends, and compare and contrast our views.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Adapt to change. It’s important that I recognize market trends to evolve our market strategy as buyer and user sentiment and preferred technology preferences change. I am also a master juggler – of tasks. I am a very efficient multitasker. I’ve always been very organized which has enabled me to effectively manage multiple projects at once without compromising quality. I also know when to delegate tasks when something isn’t my forte.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Thank you, Michelle! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Michelle Eichner is the founder and CEO of Digitile. She works with businesses to reduce the challenges employees have finding files. Eichner is a seasoned marketer and SaaS software veteran with a deep understanding of the marketplace. Her more than 25 years of in-depth B2B experience driving product marketing and strategy helps identify market challenges, gaps and solutions.
Prior to co-founding Digitile, Eichner served as vice president of product marketing at Persado, a 2017 CNBC Disruptor 50 startup. She spent more than five years as product director at Fortune 100 company, IBM and vice president of SaaS product management at Unica Corp., an IBM company. Additionally, Eichner co-founded and was integral to the success of startup Pivotal Veracity, an email deliverability platform which had thousands of users. Eichner exited with its sale to Unica Corp.
Digitile is a smart and easy-to-use search engine that quickly finds all your files across GoogleDrive, Dropbox and OneDrive. Digitile’s comprehensive file search technology combines key words, natural language processing and image recognition to make all cloud storage platforms feel and look the same, creating a seamless search experience.
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.