Interview with Tom Pallack, CEO, SITO Mobile

Tom Pallack
Tom Pallack

“Location is a critical part of the customer journey and mobile platforms are the catalyst for bringing those insights to life.”

Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to be a part of SITO Mobile?

As CEO of SITO, I am working day-in and day-out to solidify the company’s position as the premier partner for location-based data. I work with the amazing team here to develop our emerging technology, craft breakthrough initiatives and drive continual growth. My road to SITO involved more than thirty years of experience leading sales and business development divisions for technology software companies like Oracle, SAP Ariba, Consilium and NCA Corporation. I held a CEO position prior to SITO after co-founding Strategic Business Velocity (SBV) Solutions, a software sales company.

Coming to SITO felt like a natural fit. My prior roles in the technology sector instilled a hunger to work with a business who offered a cutting-edge product, one that solved a notable problem plaguing businesses everywhere. For SITO, it was offering a platform that could better engage with, and win over, today’s tech-savvy consumer. While other location-based companies existed, SITO stood out because of what it did with location-based data. Our platform puts location data in context with other digital data, giving advertisers the ability to tailor messages based on a holistic view of the customer. I was excited to be a part of a company that was at the forefront of marketing innovation.

How do you see the mobile advertising platforms driving better customer experiences and delivering sales results?

Brands are utilizing a variety of adtech solutions to better reach customers, and yet they’re often missing the “how” and “where” customers are consuming media. Location is a critical part of the customer journey and mobile platforms are the catalyst for bringing those insights to life.

For example, location data from a mobile device can help an advertiser understand where home vs. work is, and where a consumer most often shops with a brand before heading in-store. By marrying this location data with pre-existing digital data, advertisers have a better understanding of a customer’s interests, actions and experiences. And this is really the biggest benefit of mobile advertising platform—getting a 360-degree view of the customer so you can provide the relevant, timely and personalized experiences customers want.

What are the major challenges in the adoption of mobile technologies for marketing and sales?

The major challenge in adopting mobile technologies is integrating them with already existing technology stacks. Location data offers wonderful insights on the consumer, but it must be tied to other digital data to provide the all-encompassing view marketers need.

What are the core pillars of a solid tech-based marketing strategy?

A solid tech-based marketing strategy should be able to answer the following questions about a customer: who, what, when, where, why and how. If a marketer has a technology stack that cannot address all these questions, they will miss critical opportunities to engage with a consumer. They also run the risk of sending sub-par messages to new and existing customers because they don’t have all the information they need for an optimized and personalized customer experience.

How can ABM companies leverage native Mobile Advertising solutions to achieve hyper growth?

As I mentioned earlier, location data is the missing piece of the customer journey. Once a brand gets their hands on this data, they open a whole new world of possibilities as they pair it with other insights from a customer’s existing profile. ABM companies can use location data to understand what motivates an individual to buy and spend more.Using this information to create personalized, real-time messages will ultimately lead to more in-store visits and higher sales for products consumers may have otherwise forgotten about during their shopping journey. ABM companies that provide relevant and customized messages will prove to customers that they understand their individual preferences and experiences, leading to increased sales and more loyal customers.

What startups, in the Martech/ Ad Tech industries, are you keen on right now?

While it’s not a startup, it’s the one company everybody is watching right now and SITO is no different. Amazon is a technology powerhouse and it has a vision that is quietly taking a platform stance across the entire digital media ecosystem.

What marketing and sales automation tools do you use? What technologies are you keenly following in 2018?

The tools we use at SITO include some of the more standard and obvious ones such as Salesforce and Slack for centralized internal communication. We also rely heavily on the SITO Platform for audience observation, modeling, recommendation, activation and measurement. In terms of tools we are following, we are constantly trying to keep track of the hundreds of new companies entering the space. Our eyes and ears are open, but until we have identified a core issue within our current workflow, we’re limiting the exploration into process change.

Can you tell us about SITO Mobile’s vision and how it has changed since its start in 2000? 

In the past, SITO was strictly a mobile company, but that has changed. We are now a company that leverages mobile location data to strategically influence larger brand decisions. Mobile media activation might be the beneficiary of those higher-level findings, but our focus has shifted to observation, validation, enrichment and insights for some of the world’s biggest brands. Although these insights could influence an omnichannel distribution strategy, it is no longer limited to just media. Our measure for success directly ties to our ability to open the aperture of a brand’s lens and transform its conventional ways of seeing the world and how it makes decisions.

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

We, like many companies, are already there. Wherever there is an opportunity to introduce machine learning and system-based decision making to increase overall efficiency/productivity – we are all in.  Our entire system is built on this premise and will continue to innovate as the industry and ourselves evolve.

How do you bring together people and technology 

In order to move at the speed of your clients’ needs and the marketplace you are serving, you have to be efficient. Whether it’s product innovation, response times to support, or effective communication about the value of our platform, technology is at the core of the needed automation to empower our employees to successfully deliver. Any tool, internal or external, that promotes efficiencies and that can be recognized as adding value to our clients is evaluated and embraced by the team.

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

Slack and the SITO Platform. Slack for SITO is like Slack for all – it’s a wonderful communication tool that effectively manages multiple conversation threads and easily integrates with other 3rd party systems for tractability and search. The SITO platform is our bread and butter. It’s where all location signals are aggregated, observed, verified, enriched, activated and measured. All the magic happens here as it relates to brand intelligence, omnichannel media activation, and verified walk-in (TM) attribution.

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

Surround yourself with smart people. But don’t just hire them, trust them. Empower that trust to usher in solutions by looking at new problems through a different lens.

What are you currently reading? 

Frank Coyle’s “Draft Insiders Digest”, which is a publication listing everyone going out for this season’s NFL draft, along with their stats.

To me, measuring success in life often correlates to one’s ability to handle, manage, and overcome adversity. In the world of professional sports, specifically the NFL, you could argue that some of the best examples of individual stories of perseverance and focus to achieve the ultimate success come in the form of being drafted from College to the NFL.

I find it fascinating to study the candidates’ backgrounds and stories, the high school and/or colleges they attended, their stats, and how those experiences correlate to their individual success. I ask, “What is it about those experiences that set the stage for such accomplishments, and is it possible to package up that passion and discipline to be replicated in other walks of life?”

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

Actually, there are 2 and both have to do with teamwork:

  1. Don’t be the king, be the kingmaker. Don’t make it about you, make it about everyone else.
  2. Pride is no issue, winning is everything. If you make decisions based on ego, it’s harder to win.

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

Satya Nadela. He transformed Microsoft in a few short years and changed the culture from “know it all” to “learn it all”, instilled a sense of purpose and humility to an organization that in some ways had lost its way.

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

Tom has earned #1 worldwide salesman and leadership status at every company including Oracle and Ariba. He has multi-industry experience with product lines including healthcare analytics, supply chain, finance, big data analytics, social media, cloud strategy. Tom specializes in complex negotiations, strategic planning, strategic partnerships, team leadership delivery of worldwide demand generation and lead nurturing programs, building high performing teams and has led numerous early stage ventures to successful exits.

SITO Mobile
Through Consumer Behavior and Location Sciences™️, SITO develops customized, data-driven solutions for brands spanning strategic insights and media. The platform reveals a deeper and more meaningful understanding of customer interests, actions and experiences providing increased clarity for clients when it comes to navigating business decisions. The company is home to the most complete, internally developed location-data technology stack in the market, offering a powerful resource for not only granular data, but also real-time insights and delivery of successful media campaigns. Using in-store targeting, proximity targeting, geo-conquesting and attribution data, the platform creates audience profiles to develop measurable hyper-targeted campaigns for brands. SITO’s real-time, location-based technology gives clients the unique advantage of understanding and shaping the future of retail and consumer behavior. SITO is one of the fastest growing publicly traded companies in the ever-evolving advertising and marketing technology space. As a team member of SITO, you’d be a key contributor to an innovative business with a culture that prioritizes agility and collaboration. SITO offers competitive salaries, medical, vision & dental benefits, birthday parties, free beverages/snacks, Friday lunches, quarterly team building activities, sales contests and fun happy hours. SITO is an entrepreneurial, close-knit, friendly & inclusive team.

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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