How exciting is the current Social Media ecosystem today?
As an engineer at heart I think this is the most exciting time for Social Media for business. We’re past the early adopters and into solving the value that unlocks mass adoption. On the consumer side the platforms are starting to deal with the problems of a maturing community – security, individual v. collective rights, and honestly some behavioural fatigue. Businesses should always look to the very public experiment of consumer social media to inform strategy and to start dealing with these issues before they become problems.
Tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to start Grapevine6?
I graduated from chemical engineering in 2000 when oil was $12 a barrel so I needed to find something else to do. I started engineering business processes instead which lead me to discover a passion for the user experience! I then led the UX and PM team at an integrated marketing agency, eventually winning a gold lion at Cannes for best mobile user experience. The next step in the adventure was to get the band back together in 2012 and build a new product – as entrepreneurs we could never afford an agency so we built Grapevine6 to help entrepreneurs connect with their markets.
What is Grapevine6 and how does it make social media better connected to people’s needs?
One of the most valuable behaviours on social is also one of the most time consuming – sharing valuable and relevant content. Grapevine6 makes it fast to find relevant content and automatically schedules posts so you only need to use it for a few minutes, once a week. Think of each piece of content as a piece of your personal brand and as a way to start or continue conversations with customers.
How do you focus at bringing Social media trends and data analytics together at Grapevine6? What are the core technologies driving your product?
Grapevine6 focuses on sales engagement behaviours that deliver results. Our AI technology personalizes the content recommendations for each salesperson’s unique brand and makes sharing 3rd party thought leadership and brand marketing content simple and efficient. Grapevine6 then tracks engagement to enable relevant offers for each prospect.
Which businesses and geographies are you currently marketing to? What’s your Ideal Customer Profile?
Marketing has a unique challenge to enable the social selling programs of large distributed salesforces that build relationships with buyers. Marketing needs to produce valuable content but salespeople also need unique content to stand out and engage buyers in the market. Grapevine6 helps achieve personalization at scale in financial services, B2B technology sales, and professional services.
Tell us about your most recent Digital Marketing campaign and the audience it was targeting? How did you measure its performance?
Grapevine6 was named a leader in Sales Social Engagement Tools and have built a PR campaign around that result. The early adopters in the space have seen success and the technology has matured to be useful to the masses. We secured digital reprint writes to this insightful report and are measuring lead capture from the downloads. Much like Grapevine6, we can attribute and follow those leads through the sales funnel to measure success.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI and Data Management technology for 2019-2020?
The personalization that AI has begun to deliver in advertising will become meaningful further down the sales funnel and at all points in the buyer journey. The marketing groups that do the best job of orchestrating the customer journey to make purchasing decisions easier for customers will win and AI for content will have the biggest impact.
We also see AI having a dramatic impact in security and risk management, especially in social media. Our partners lead the field in identifying and immediately remediating risk which is a deeply integrated capability of Grapevine6.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
Video is the next wave in social and companies like Vidyard and Videolicious are becoming essential in the digital sales toolbox. Theta Lake is a startup that applies AI specifically to video to manage brand and regulatory risk at scale. Finally the Sales Engagement space is maturing with companies like Seismic, Showpad, and MediaFly leading the way.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?
Build a centre of excellence around AI and fund experiments. The technology crosses over functional lines and applications so the knowledge can get trapped in silos. There’s so much to learn you dedicated people that will be the domain experts and advocates when you take on the next wave of AI-powered digital transformation.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
We foster a learning culture where people are encouraged to try new things in an open environment where you can always ask for help.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Gmail. Samsung / android phone. Toronto’s own Wave Accounting. Grapevine6. LinkedIn.
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Google drive – always available file management!
What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I’m reading Frederick Douglass’s biography – amazing to reflect how far we’ve come in a short time and how much effort change takes. I use Grapevine6 and LinkedIn as readers for industry news.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The first company I worked for was founded by Steve Ralph as a way to fund his next degree. Education was a lifestyle to him and his advice was to always be a little uncomfortable with what your doing to know you’re still learning.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Bill McEvily at the Rotman school defines your value as knowledge equity and relationship equity – I’ve been pretty fortunate in building great relationships.
Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Bruce Culbert, Paul Greenberg
Thank you, Mike! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Mike is responsible for bringing everything together, product release after product release. But his greatest asset is his ability to take good ideas and find ways to make them great. He doesn’t just deliver results consistently, he delivers consistently better results. Before joining the Grapevine6 team, Mike spent several years in management consulting working with some of Canada’s marquee brands.
He led a strategic think tank and project management team at one of Canada’s leading digital advertising agencies – on projects that won global awards and recognition.
Grapevine6 is a team of curious entrepreneurs and engineers who fundamentally believe that sharing information solves problems and builds relationships. So Grapevine6 developed the technology to find and filter the most timely, relevant information from around the world, and make it personalized, trusted and shareable. Grapevine6 give his clients what they need to connect with their audiences, start conversations and thrive in the social world.
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.