Interview with Santi Pierini, President and COO, CAKE

Santi Pierini, President and CEO at CAKE

“Our goal is to give marketers a detailed picture of how all the elements of their campaigns are contributing to the end result.”

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Tell us a bit about your role at CAKE.

Currently, I oversee CAKE’s business operations, plus our global technology and corporate strategy. As a marketing technology provider, our main focus is marketing intelligence. We build SaaS solutions that deliver accurate and granular insights about marketing campaign performance. Today’s marketers have so many options when it comes to where and how to invest their budget, and they want to be able to quickly and easily understand what’s working, what’s not, and identify the channels and approaches across the end-to-end customer journey that are really moving the needle on conversions and sales. Our technology makes it so they don’t have to be data scientists to do this, thus freeing up marketers’ time to tap more into their creative sides.

What are the core tenets of Journey by CAKE?

In an incredibly complex digital advertising landscape, marketers can easily end up making expensive mistakes with their campaigns. The causes can either be because they are using analytics based on flawed attribution models, like “last-click,” or because they are missing key insights about specific touchpoints along a consumer’s path to a conversion. Journey by CAKE, our flagship product, leverages innovative technology to ensure that every step along the customer journey is captured and analyzed. The solution combines multi-touch attribution (MTA), an advanced analytics dashboard and integrations with popular digital media platforms to give marketers a complete and accurate view of the customer journey. Our goal is to give marketers a detailed picture of how all the elements of their campaigns are contributing to the end result. This enables them to achieve three key objectives – make more intelligent marketing decisions, focus more time and energy on their creative strategies, and achieve maximum Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS).

What are the top three best practices that advertisers should follow for measuring and understanding the customer journey?

  •  Stop measuring in silos

Marketers must switch their focus from measuring the performance of individual channels to measuring channels within the context of the entire cross-channel customer journey. Ultimately, you want to understand which unique combination of touchpoints is going to get the desired results. For example, what happens when Google Ads is combined with a retargeting source? How will removing paid Facebook advertising from your campaign impact conversions? Marketers can only understand the nuances of how everything works together with multi-touch attribution that’s able to measure and weigh the individual and collective impact of touchpoints across channels and devices.

  • Prioritize first-party data.

First-party data is data that marketers collect through their own platforms, including information about what consumers have clicked and purchased on e-commerce sites, information collected through loyalty programs, CRM systems and more. This data is extremely valuable to marketers because it’s accurate and can be used to personalize offers and communication. That said, third-party data (which comes from a variety of outside sources including data aggregators) is useful when combined and analyzed in conjunction with first-party data to help marketers gain a more complete picture of cross-device behaviors.

  • Move away from “last-touch” attribution.

Consumers typically interact with a host of diverse marketing touchpoints before making a purchase. Yet too many marketers still use “last-touch” attribution models to assess and reward performance, giving the bulk of the credit to the final message a consumer encounters before making a purchase. Again, this is where MTA is key because it allows marketers to see which touchpoints are most effective and structure their campaigns accordingly. It simply doesn’t make sense to prioritize a touchpoint based on its position in the funnel – you want to prioritize touchpoints based on their overall effectiveness and impact, in the entire customer journey.

What is the one piece of advice you have for B2B marketers in 2018?

According to eMarketer, improved measurement and attribution are top priorities for marketers. The research provider last year cited an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Winterberry Group survey that scored interest in “better reporting, measurement and attribution” at more than 73 percent among respondents. But, while the majority of marketers believe that attribution is important, they often find themselves struggling to make it work in practice. B2B marketers who prioritize solutions that leverage the latest innovations in advanced Multi-Touch Attribution modeling and machine-learning will find themselves ahead of the pack when it comes to attribution and will likely see their campaigns becoming more successful as a result.

How would you leverage multi-touch attribution to drive customer acquisition?

Multi-Touch Attribution helps marketers gain valuable insight into how they can optimize the customer journey, drive higher customer acquisition rates and maximize their ROAS.

We compiled a comprehensive checklist that outlines the components needed to set you up for multi-touch attribution success.

What aspect of multi-touch attribution do marketers tend to overlook the most and why?

Certain aspects of the customer journey can be challenging to track, such as when a consumer searches for a product, or reads reviews and compares prices before taking any action to identify themselves. Yet these largely ignored first steps at the top of the marketing funnel – what we call the “anonymous customer journey” – are among the most crucial to gain insight into. It’s this critical part of the journey that marketers most often overlook. Just as Salesforce opened up a more complete view into sales campaigns, now it’s time to deliver the same for marketers.

What does CAKE’s martech stack currently consist of?

Below outlines the solutions included in CAKE’s martech stack used internally for our marketing campaigns:

Most importantly, we use our own platform, Journey by CAKE, to get a complete, granular view of how all our marketing efforts are performing so we can quickly determine campaign effectiveness and optimize our digital spend.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

For decades AI has been progressing in small increments. Many of us have already been subtly preparing for the inevitable collision of man and machine, without realizing it, through marketing campaign optimizations and personalization, for example. We are also seeing instances where machine learning and psycho-analytics have resulted in the need for personal privacy initiatives such as GDPR. As business leaders, we need to closely monitor trends, embrace technology advances where they make sense, all while understanding that we have an obligation to protect the privacy of individuals.

One word that best describes how you work.


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

At CAKE, we use Slack to communicate and collaborate across the company. This tool has really improved our agility and productivity. I also love listening to Spotify during the day to keep my right brain from becoming complacent. I find it ideal to keep the analytical and creative sides equally engaged.

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

I stay accessible and engaged on as many communications channels as possible (e.g. Slack, email, text, telephone, etc.) from 7 am to 7 pm, but then try to focus on family and health as much as possible outside of that window. I also prioritize responsiveness by channel so that employees and customers get accustomed to using some channels for emergencies, but others for less time-critical issues. E.g. immediate response to texts, then Slack/Skype, then email a few times a day.

What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

I just started “Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead”. No joke. Without intending to, the band pioneered marketing and business ideas that are now essential parts of American business practices. I consume information on every “channel” possible, from books and podcasts to Twitter and cable news to you name it. Sometimes I will find something interesting on Twitter then explore more about that topic on other channels.

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

“It’s better to regret the things you’ve done than the things you haven’t done.” I believe it is a quote from Lucille Ball that my father borrowed and shared with me.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Everyone uses both sides of their brain to process information, but I have striven to sharpen and improve my ability to easily and quickly shift between both sides. Over the years I’ve learned to process analytical information, but also trust decisions steered by my instincts and intuition. I believe this capability is key to innovation and incorporate it into various aspects of my life. Much of my off-work time is spent playing music and tapping into my creative side, which balances all the detailed, analytical thinking required at work.

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

Santi is currently President of CAKE Software and Chief Operating Officer for the parent company, Accelerize, Inc.

Prior to joining CAKE, He was VP of Product Strategy and Marketing for TodoCast, an ad serving platform for live and on-demand video, responsible for product strategy and global marketing. Prior that, Santi served as Chief Marketing Officer of InQuira, a knowledge-based management software provider, where I developed the cloud-based software go-to-market with Oracle, which ultimately led to Oracle’s acquisition of InQuira in 2011.

Prior to InQuira, He served in executive marketing positions at Day Software as it transitioned from a Swiss services-oriented business to a global enterprise content management software company. During this tenure at Day the company’s stock increased in value thirty-fold. Day was acquired by Adobe Systems for $270 million in 2010. Santi was also an executive officer at OnDisplay, a business-to-business data exchange and e-commerce provider, where sales went from pre-revenue to an annual run rate of over $50 million, a successful IPO in 1999, and ultimate acquisition by Vignette for $1.7 billion in 2000.

Earlier, Santi was Director of Field Marketing at industry-leading enterprise software company Dun & Bradstreet, Systems Architect at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a Senior Management Consultant for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

CAKECAKE provides proprietary cloud-based solutions to collect, attribute and optimize the performance of digital marketing return on investment, in real-time.

In today’s complex $137.5 billion global digital advertising industry, marketers are confronted with a daunting challenge – navigating through the vast volume of information generated from campaigns and determining where to allocate online advertising dollars for the biggest impact. CAKE solves these issues. Powered on feature-rich technology, the CAKE SaaS-based solution provides a centralized, multi-channel view for real-time tracking and reporting, from acquisition through conversion. By consolidating all data and insights coming from different sources, CAKE arms savvy digital marketers with the tools necessary to make well-informed, smarter decisions.

[mnky_heading title=”MarTech Interview Series” link=”|||”]

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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