MarTech Interview With Jeff Winter, CMO at Duck Creek Technologies

Jeff Winter, CMO at Duck Creek Technologies chats about the use and importance of data in today’s marketing process and what CMOs and marketers need to consider when implementing new martech:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Jeff, what inspired you to foray into marketing and how has your journey as a B2B marketer been so far? What are you most looking forward to now as Duck Creek Technologies’s new CMO?

My journey to B2B marketing was a little accidental. After a short stint on Capitol Hill, I became involved in a nonprofit that was doing urban revitalization in Washington, DC, and it was there that I started to get an inkling of marketing. An inkling I took serious enough to pursue an MBA with an emphasis in marketing. It was also during this time that I set my eyes toward a technology path, and I ended up with an internship with IBM in marketing. All combined, I guess that was when my official journey started. 

Marketing is very interesting to me, extremely challenging, and most of the time fun. As the new CMO at Duck Creek Technologies, I’m excited about the space – insurance is an industry that has tons of opportunities for growth. Technology will have a transformational impact on insurance carriers, contributing to servicing the greater good. In addition, I’ve always been very intentional with the career choices I made – I want to join companies that are growing and where I can personally make a major impact both within marketing and across the company as a leader. 

Lastly, I have to mention Duck Creek’s culture – the company truly walks the walk of putting customer and employee experience at the center of how we do business. 

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What are some of the key skills you feel modern day B2B CMO’s need to have more of in order to drive better marketing success?

To answer this question, I think we need to first look at the skills needed to be a successful senior executive. As a partner and a coach to the CEO, executives lead the function in their respective departments and it’s their job to implement strategies that will help their company meet its long-term goals. 

In terms of what CMOs need, strong communications and a sharp eye for talent are two key skills that haven’t changed much in the past decade. What has changed in the marketing skillset is the use and importance of data and technology. Data is wildly important for every function at any company, especially in marketing because being able to assess, analyze and take action on data guides marketing efforts to drive success and efficiency. It also helps companies identify new growth opportunities. 

Along with key skills comes the obvious need for what is considered a well-rounded martech stack, dependent on business and team goals: we’d love to hear a few insights into what a robust martech stack in a B2B environment should entail in your view?

Today, organizations with relatively advanced marketing functions usually have decent martech footprints. But what that entails really depends on the unique customers that the company is targeting. For example, if a company’s strategic intent is to build brand, the martech stack that it is utilizing is wildly different from a company that’s focusing on driving a customer retention program. A simple answer to this question is that CMOs need to start with the customer journey, and then determine what the marketing priorities are. From there, they can pick out the best tools and platforms that serve these priorities. 

The other major consideration is integrations. As I mentioned, most modern marketing organizations have ample tech, but face the major battle of aligning these tools and systems – and the data – so they can operate effectively. Having a single dashboard that aligns data coming from your ABM tool and your marketing automation platform and Google analytics to truly understand things like attribution, conversion rates, and ultimately marketing ROI is not easy. Procuring the right is one thing; integrating them for strategic analysis is another.

As marketers double down on data to drive better targeted campaigns and relevant messaging, what should they be focusing on more in terms of analytics and marketing operations improvement?

Spreadsheets should be viewed as the enemy or a killer in a horror film. Fight them. Avoid them. Run screaming! As marketers, we need to make data available in the right way and have that at our fingertips so we can make real-time decisions and take immediate actions. Additionally, it’s also important to have cross-functional conversations – having meetings with the right people at the right time with the right data – and determine how data intelligence can be used. 

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A few thoughts on how you feel martech as a segment will move in 2022?

There are three particular trends that will be interesting to watch in the coming years. 

One is a continuation of consolidation of martech providers. With the explosion of VC and private equity investment in martech, the number of vendors have actually decreased over the past several years because of consolidation. I expect this trend to continue.

Trend number two is the need for integration of martech technology and solutions. Making sure disparate systems can work seamlessly to consolidate and make sense of the data is critically important for marketers. While there are a lot of martech tools out there, I also see the need for professional services – companies that can provide consultation based on customer needs and data insights – and/or expanded Marketing Ops teams.

Lastly, a continued focus on personalization and customer-centricity. B2B companies are often guilty of marketing to other businesses instead of customers and individuals who are in roles that have a really unique challenge in front of them – we have a lot to learn from the B2C community.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital marketing and martech thoughts, tips and best practices for 2022 before we wrap up!

I would add that feedback loops at every level at an organization are crucially important. It connects the various efforts – from strategy to marketing to sales – and allows a company to re-evaluate and realign on their priorities as needed. Same applies to customers. It’s about slowing down to speed up. By putting those feedback loops (e.g. formal surveys, user groups, post-mortems, unstructured feedback time during meetings) in place and taking the time to collect the data allows companies to make better decisions faster, yielding better business results. And don’t forget…NO SPREADSHEETS!!!

Duck Creek

DuckCreek Technologies gives P&C insurers a genuine path to the future with advanced technology grounded in decades of industry expertise, responsive to the unique challenges of each carrier, and shaped by the day-to-day human behavior.

Jeff has more than 20 years in B2B high-tech marketing, driving growth and leadership wherever he has worked. He is a passionate and skilled business leader who believes that the combination of a strong culture, the right values, talented employees, and a focus on results will always create outstanding workplaces. As Duck Creek’s CMO, Jeff is responsible for developing and executing the company’s global marketing strategy, including brand expansion, pipeline generation, product marketing, and customer marketing, continuing to build the company’s leadership position in SaaS and insurance core systems to define the new standard in P&C insurance.

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