MarTech Interview with Lisa Agona, CMO, Ensono

Lisa Agona, CMO, Ensono
All photos copyright 2015 by Jenni Kenney Photography and Design


“The marketer’s goal is to understand its clients and prospects better, and by using technology-enabled tools and data analytics, we are now able to achieve this much more effectively and efficiently.”

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

I joined Ensono as its Global Chief Marketing Officer in 2015. Prior to my role here, I had always worked as part of a pre-existing marketing team for large and established companies. What particularly attracted me to work for Ensono was the opportunity, and the challenge, to help revitalize a business under a new brand. I believe marketing is a growth engine for business and is expected to drive new revenue.

What is Ensono and how do you differentiate it from other Cloud/Hybrid IT providers?

Ensono is a global hybrid IT services company that helps established businesses with complex IT optimize and modernize their IT infrastructure to ultimately accelerate digital transformation. Our aim is to ensure that our clients’ IT is as flexible and agile as possible, supporting their business outcomes with purpose-driven innovation. What differentiates Ensono from other MSPs and Hybrid IT providers is the breadth of its portfolio, which spans from optimizing legacy mainframe systems to transitioning businesses to the cloud. While other companies focus on providing one or limited services, Ensono offers clients multiple solutions and specializes in helping companies with complex IT needs.

As a woman in a tech-heavy ecosystem, what message would you give to other women, especially in the Marketing and Sales functions?

Women working in heavily male-orientated and dominated industries should not be afraid to stand in their power. Undoubtedly, It can be an intimidating environment to work in, but we should encourage women to take their seat at the table and be confident in their abilities. Diversity in the workplace is vital across all industries, so it is important that we make our voices heard without worrying about offering a perfectly crafted suggestion or being wrong. Women should make themselves present because they deserve to be.

How is your role at Ensono different from the one you had at Accenture and LexisNexis?

I joined Ensono with the responsibility of building a marketing demand generation engine from scratch, rather than joining an existing and established team as I did at Accenture and LexisNexis.  This was the main differentiator — Ensono was looking for a more strategic focus to its marketing, and we were able to build the Sales and Marketing facets in unison. I’ve always had a hands-on approach to my work, but at Ensono, I met the challenge head-on and I am very proud of what we have already achieved, with high hopes for the future.

How do you see the evolution of Marketing Technologies impacting the industry you work in?

As technology continues to evolve, marketing continues to be more data-driven and technology-enabled. The marketer’s goal is to understand its clients and prospects better, and by using technology-enabled tools and data analytics, we are now able to achieve this much more effectively and efficiently. Marketing technologies are not only changing the way that marketing functions in a business, but also how it is viewed as a business function.

Which leaders in the industry do you closely work with? How do they help you stay close to the business actions?

I make it a priority to stay very close to our client advisory board, listening to their feedback, understanding their challenges, and working alongside them to advance their business. I am also part of a wider supportive network of my peers, former colleagues and industry analysts, which I find extremely important to have when it comes to advice. We share our experiences, offer insight and most crucially, learn from each other. Most people of the executive team that I worked with at LexisNexis are part of this network, and by bouncing ideas off other industry experts, there’s no better way than to learn best practice of the market I work in.

Which startups in the technology ecosystem are you watching/keen on right now?

I am keen to see startups or late-stage startups look to bring data analytics to marketers more effectively. Data analytics should be easily accessible and straight-forward to use, allowing all marketers to benefit from data-driven insight. Additionally, I am interested in startups that wish to improve reporting capabilities. There are tools today that have such a rigorous skill set in this area, and I’d like to experiment on these to improve the way Ensono reports to its clients.

What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2018-2019?

Predominantly, and Marketo for CRM and Marketing Automation. DemandBase, Terminus, and Bombora are at the forefront of our Account-Based Marketing strategy and we use many social tools to aid in reaching our clients and prospects more effectively.

Which Marketing and Sales Technology (-ies) are you keen to learn more about, and maybe add to your tech stack?

We are already making progress with Marketo Insights in, but I am keen to learn more about any emerging robust data analytics and reporting platforms, as well as Content Management and Sales Enablement technologies. It is especially important for our sales team to be armed with the best technology and content possible when speaking to our prospects, and to ensure that they are well-informed and driven by key insights.

Would you tell us about your standout digital campaign?

We have just embarked on a data-driven campaign that will help us to identify all of the companies in the US that operate using legacy mainframe systems within high-growth industries. Using data analytics, manual as it may be, we identified, scored and prioritized a list of 1,800 businesses, ready to be marketed to in an informed and personal way.

We broke down this list into tiers, allocating three sets of precise actions against the same set of targets for our sales team, our marketing team and our lead development team, ensuring we fully understood and tailored our approach to every business. It can be difficult for the Sales and Marketing teams to come together and collaborate, however, they are working harmoniously throughout this campaign, which will lead to success.

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

Putting it simply, we welcome it. Marketing is all about using intelligent data to adapt and update processes, making them faster and more efficient and more relevant to our audiences. AI will help us to access and use insight more effectively, allowing us to continue to have the right dialogues with our prospective clients.

One word that best describes how you work:


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

Amazon’s Echo

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

Condensing large, overarching plans and presentations onto one-page breakdowns to be processed quicker and easier. In this digital age, people have shorter attention spans, so it’s becoming more important to communicate the core points to keep people engaged and maximize understanding. Personally, this also improves the way I present and articulate myself, as it not only forces me to distill information, but also prevents me from relying on my notes when speaking.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently re-reading one of my favorite books “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox-Cabane. It’s all about the idea that charisma can be learned and offers ways to present yourself in the best possible way. It’s a great read, especially for women!

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

The best advice I ever received was from the CEO of LexisNexis, who told me to always use everything I have to my advantage. Success is not about one thing or the other (and neither is happiness), but about incorporating and maximizing every strength you have to the best effect. Additionally, he also advised me to stay in the details, because often, as we progress within our career, it is easy to become removed from the work that your team is executing. Therefore, it is important to stay connected and involved in the nitty-gritty and, more importantly, the team.

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

I would love to hear from Sheryl Sandburg. I really admire her passion and work towards elevating gender parity, in the Silicon Valley and beyond. She does this in such a positive and inspiring way, and I would love to find out who she admires in the industry and what productivity hacks she uses!

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

Lisa is an insight-driven marketer who sees marketing as a growth engine for global business information and technology companies. As the CMO for Ensono, Lisa is responsible for building the company brand, harnessing market and client insights to determine the business way forward, and driving demand for Ensono’s infrastructure services. Previously, as chief marketing officer at LexisNexis, she helped grow a nascent US-based $500 Million identity risk management business to $1.5 Billion, spanning multiple industries and countries. She has a BA from West Virginia University and an MBA from Columbia Graduate School of Business.

Ensono Logo

Ensono helps IT leaders be the catalyst for change by harnessing the power of hybrid IT to transform their businesses. Our broad services portfolio from mainframe to cloud, powered by an intelligent governance platform, is designed to help our clients operate for today and optimize for tomorrow. We are award-winning certified experts in AWS and Azure and recognized as Microsoft Datacenter Transformation Partner of the Year. Ensono has nearly 2,000 associates around the world and is headquartered in greater Chicago.

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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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