MarTech Interview with Ajay Khanna, Chief Marketing Officer at Explorium

Ajay Khanna, Chief Marketing Officer at Explorium highlights more on how B2B marketing will continue to be more data-driven, requiring marketers to focus on multiple data signals and data points to drive better marketing success:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Ajay, tell us more about yourself and your marketing journey through the years?

I started as a mechanical engineer, working in the manufacturing industry, and later jumped into ERP consulting. Over the years, I have delved into software consulting, R&D, product design, and product management. During this time, I completed my MBA, and one of my mentors invited me to a product marketing role that I really enjoyed. From there, marketing became my thing. Since then, I’ve taken various positions in marketing and helped four companies set up their marketing organizations.

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You’ve recently taken over as CMO at Explorium, we’d love to hear more about your role here and what are some of the key marketing aspects you’re first focusing on to deepen optimization (like, hiring, improving/enhancing the martech stack?!)

Explorium offers a unique platform in the data space. It provides an External Data Platform that automatically discovers thousands of relevant data signals and uses them to improve analytics and machine learning. I’ve spent my last seven-plus years working with data products and was amazed by what Explorium has developed. So I joined the team to take this fantastic product to the market and help grow and scale the company. 

The company was recently named a Cool Vendor by Gartner and the Next Billion Dollar Startup by Forbes and we want to keep this growth momentum going. The initial marketing initiatives were building the right team for product marketing, demand generation, digital, content, putting the right processes in place, and building the right tech stack that will help us scale.

How have you seen B2B /tech digital marketing technologies and digital marketing trends evolve during this time in the industry?

Yes, marketing has evolved considerably since I first started in this field. It has become much more data-driven, technology-enabled, and process-oriented. Having the right tools and processes that can help you quickly test your hypothesis and execute your ideas is critical. Speed is essential, and agility is a must. Especially during the last year, marketers had to devise new messaging and find new ways to connect to their customers. Being responsive in the fast-changing market was very important. The shift to digital technologies also became critical as in-person events and meet-ups were not possible. We have learned newer ways to connect with and serve customers in the last year because of access to the right data and digital technologies.

Can you share your thoughts on the impact current business and world dynamics are having on the typical B2B marketing media mix – in what ways are tech marketers changing how they approach their media creation?

We need to be data-driven and understand our customers’ needs and how their buying patterns are changing. We shifted from in-person events to virtual. In-person meetings to Zoom calls and then the virtual channel fatigue set in. And that is understandable. We in marketing must observe these trends and offer alternative ways to our customers to connect on their terms, using the channel of their choice and when they are ready. In the data space, technology is changing fast, and the right content (videos, blogs, eBooks) that are helping individuals to learn new things, sharpen their skills have been successful.

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As content marketing becomes more challenging, with every brand trying to jostle for attention using the same fundamentals viz blogs, whitepapers, case studies: how do you feel marketing teams can make a difference in getting their brand to stand out? Can you talk about some of the most recent out of the box marketing campaigns in tech that have caught your eye and why?

Content is the foundation that drives marketing. But your message has to be clear, differentiated, and well-articulated. Also, when creating the content, don’t just focus on your company but the needs of the reader. Are they learning something new? Offer content where they are, for instance, Medium, Vimeo, YouTube. At Explorium, our effort has been to create a rich content repository that helps organizations understand the value of alternative data and share the best practices to use data outside their four walls to make better decisions during the pandemic using analytics and machine learning. Having a unique angle to solve the immediate problem that the enterprises are facing today will help your content stand out.

What are some immediate thoughts you’d like to highlight surrounding the future of B2B marketing and of course, martech?

B2B marketing will continue to depend on access to the right and the most relevant data. The data will not only come from inside your organization, but companies will also need to access hundreds of external data signals to make better decisions faster than their competitors. The challenge will be how to access this goldmine of external data and how quickly you can correlate and integrate it with your internal data sets to make better decisions about targeting, promotions, and spends. Marketing stacks and machine learning algorithms will become, if not already, commodities. Access to a broader set of relevant data sources will determine the winners. They will get the first access to the customers, opportunities and be ahead of the market to see the newer trends emerging.

Some last thoughts and takeaways?

These are fascinating times for marketers. We have so many exciting tools and technologies at our disposal. Having the right data strategy, processes, and skills to build those are a must to make the best use of this digital revolution.

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Explorium provides the first External Data Platform to improve Analytics and Machine Learning. Explorium enables organizations to automatically discover and use thousands of relevant data signals to improve predictions and ML model performance. Explorium External Data Platform empowers data scientists and analysts to acquire and integrate third-party data efficiently, cost-effectively and in compliance with regulations. With faster, better insights from their models, organizations across fintech, insurance, consumer goods, retail and e-commerce can increase revenue, streamline operations and reduce risks.

Ajay Khanna is the CMO at Explorium, the automated external data platform for advanced analytics and machine learning. Previously, he was the Vice President of Marketing at Reltio. His technology expertise stems from various leadership roles at large public enterprise software companies including Veeva Systems, Oracle, KANA, Progress and Amdocs. He holds an MBA in marketing and finance from Santa Clara University.

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