MarTech Interview with Erik Matlick, CEO and Founder at Bombora

Intent data can shorten the B2B sales cycle and drive better performance in online marketing and advertising campaigns; but to ensure better ROI, it is critical that marketers and advertisers have the right data practices in place. Erik Matlick, CEO and Founder at Bombora shares a few tips:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Erik, tell us more about Bombora’s story so far…what inspired the thought behind the platform?

Thank you — nice of you to have me!

I always spent a lot of time at the beach growing up. About 10 years ago, while surfing with my kids, I became more aware of the impact we as a species have had on our oceans. Our lack of consideration for the impact of our actions has led to pollution and great damage to the seas and the planet. I realized there was a direct parallel with the ecosystem in which I was spending my career: the ecosystem of sales and marketing that sometimes earns the name ‘madtech.’ 

That ecosystem, too, had become polluted — in this case with spam, unwanted calls, and irrelevant messages. I thought there might be a business in providing data that could, by increasing relevance, improve sales and marketing performance while reducing waste. At the same time, my experience working with publishers pointed to the fact that given their limited resources and access to audience insights, and in the face of competition for ad dollars from the likes of Google and Facebook, publishers would benefit from a collective data approach.  

And thus was born – the Bombora intent-data cooperative, in which publishers pool their data and benefit collectively.

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Fast forward to today, what are some of the biggest lags you’ve been observing some of the best marketing and sales teams struggle with despite access to rich data and insights today? What are some best practices in data and measurement processes that you feel marketing leaders should be focusing more on today? 

The ability to operationalize data insights remains a gap.  This is a function of experience. Much of the data and many of the tools in the marketplace are relatively new and evolving, so finding people with expertise is challenging. That difficulty can be compounded by a lack of alignment across departments.    

Despite well-intentioned efforts, many companies truly cannot embrace a ‘test and learn’ framework, because they don’t like when there are “bad” results. 

More marketing leaders need to diligently follow the data they use to the source, in order to understand how it was collected and what it really means. Often, too much attention is placed on false positives or specious findings, which can lead to poor decisions.

We’d love to hear about some of Bombora’s latest integrations and some future plans that users can look forward to?

Our integration with HubSpot enables brands to find in-market accounts — that is, accounts with high purchase intent — and add them right to their databases. Adding Bombora’s data into the 6Sense Insights Platform lifts performance in a different way. 

We’ve long had a Salesforce application, and later this year will be releasing a fully reimagined version. And in the programmatic/ad-tech landscape, our strong relationships and unique data are flourishing with direct integrations into The Trade Desk, LiveRamp and others. 

In your time through Ad Sales and the Ad Tech environment through the past years, what were some of the biggest trends you observed that you now see strongly impacting the marketplace?

The biggest trend I’ve seen is the evolution to a more sustainable approach to the use of data. The next-biggest is the idea of data stewardship, which goes beyond privacy and compliance to encompass ethical sourcing, consent, transparency, and a fair exchange of value. 

How have you been seeing innovations in adblockers change the game or impact how advertisers / marketers now have to realign their processes for better reach?

We have seen significant impact to the industry with ad blockers. A recent study I saw suggested that as many as 40 percent of the adults in the U.S. block ads on computers and phones — and ad-blocker usage has doubled on mobile devices. Ad blockers have forced publishers to rethink their approaches, and many are altering their UX in order to combat them. Some publishers are disabling access unless a user turns off ad blockers during their visit.

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As adtech evolves to offer more precise and targeted features, what should marketers and advertisers consider when planning campaigns in order to optimize ROI?

Targeting and insight is about relevance and informed value delivery. The phase of tonnage is over. 

“Less is more,” “Deliver value,” and “Help, don’t sell” are the adages that drive today’s best marketing and sales. Companies should apply them to targeting, as well. 

A few martech and adtech tools you feel marketers today need to integrate into their overall tech stack and why?

Well, intent data obviously but don’t take it from me, haha

Gartner says that by 2022, 70% of B2B marketers will be using 3rd-party intent data. (We think that estimate will prove low.) 

In addition to intent, conversational intelligence tools that use AI to understand sales interactions are increasingly powerful, and should be part of every scaled sales and marketing organization’s stack. 

Finally, orchestration and account engagement platforms are rapidly advancing the entire field of revtech sophistication, and are massively useful for teams that are shorthanded or need to ramp up their rev ops and ABM implementation quickly. 

Some last thoughts and takeaways for marketing and sales leaders to keep in mind through 2021?

It’s easy to focus on tools, technologies, processes and metrics. All of them are important. But it takes good people to make those elements sing. Especially now, in a tight job market, understanding and supporting our team’s well-being and maintaining a positive work environment is a top priority.

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Bombora is a leading provider of Intent data for B2B sales and marketing. Bombora’s data aligns marketing and sales teams, enabling them to base their actions on the knowledge of which businesses are actively researching what products, and the intensity of that research.

Erik Matlick is the CEO and Founder at Bombora, Erik guides vision and corporate strategy at Bombora, bringing over 15 years in founding, board and executive management experience to the team. 

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