Tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to start at Productsup?
At heart, I’ve always been a nerd. I started to teach myself coding in Pascal and Delphi and later PHP and HTML when I was 14. After studying IT Business the regular career path for me would have been to start working as an SAP consultant. However, I was lucky to meet my college neighbor and Productsup Founder Kai while finishing university.
Kai was already very successful with running his own e-commerce business and the two of us hit it off quite quickly sharing the same passion and interest for technology. We then started a video streaming company that was later acquired by Adconion Media Group. Around the same time, Google was testing out a new Marketing channel that back in the day they called Google Froogle – which has become today’s Google Shopping.
Before even thinking about offering a service to others Kai was experimenting with his own e-commerce business, selling printer cartridges. He figured that you could get extraordinary Sales results from Google Shopping if you provided Google with relevant and high-quality product data. It soon became clear that other online retailers were in need of that knowledge and that more and more online advertising was shifting to product ads (Criteo, Facebook Dynamic Ads, etc.). This was the catalyst for Productsup. My role as CMO and board member is now mainly focused around Marketing, Partnerships, and Innovation.
What is Productsup and how does it fit into a modern Marketing and Sales Technology stack?
Productsup provides an award-winning e-commerce data integration platform that empowers brands and retailers to optimize and syndicate product content to any Digital Marketing, Shopping, or Business channels, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, or Walmart. With the platform, businesses from any vertical can manage the end-to-end flow of their product data.
When we talk of Product Data Management and Feed Optimization, what kind of technology are we actually looking at?
Feed management is an ongoing process that requires constant re-evaluation, adaptation, and flexibility. Productsup combines a multitude of technologies. Our latest innovation is focused on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence-driven solutions, so that our users can eliminate more manual work, thus saving a substantial amount of time. This agility enables our clients to create compelling product experiences across all customer touchpoints.
How is your Marketing and Sales team different from traditional SaaS Cloud technology providers?
We’ve hired very experienced people from companies such as Salesforce, SAP, Searchmetrics, Mollie, eBay, and Google. But what really sets us apart is our exceptional company culture, which is reflected by our five out of five-star Glassdoor rating.
How does Productsup enable CMOs to build their Enterprise tech stack? What kind of analytics do you provide to customers?
Productsup is all about data integration. A lot of CMOs are struggling to improve performance because a lot of the data they work with is spread across multiple silos. Basic product information is in a PIM, digital assets in a DAM, pricing, and availability in ERP and Marketing performance somewhere in Google Analytics.
Combining all these silos in one unified record that everyone can access and independently work with turbocharges the CMOs’ stack. Besides classic numbers like sales etc. Productsup also provides more sophisticated information like competitor pricing.
Tell us about the AI and ML capabilities in your Product Content Syndication and Feed Management. How do AI ML help in enabling e-commerce data integration to all business channels that you market to?
When connecting a new business channel, a lot of work goes into mapping attributes. With more than 900bn monthly exported products we have generated enough training data to automate a good part of mapping. Also, extracting additional information out of a product image like additional colors is something our customers love.
How do you see Omnichannel Commerce and Shopping trends evolving with better Personalization, Mobile Feeds, and Real-time customer services? How do you prepare your Marketing and Sales team?
There is a lot of “noise” on the internet today. From social media to email, to classic display advertising. Everything is shouting at you. Personalization is a great way for marketeers to still capture the attention of consumers and actually deliver them a valuable experience and service.
This holds true for ads, for customer support, for e-commerce shops and apps. We use a lot of Personalization technology from HubSpot and Salesforce at Productsup to really know our customers and deliver content that’s interesting and useful.
What are your predictions about the role of Product Recommendation and Reviews platform for Sales, Media, and Marketing technology for 2019-2020?
The recent merger of Outbrain and Taboola shows that recommendations are a growing business. When it comes to product recommendations we see online shops evolving their technology a lot, but I also think that digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Voice will play a bigger and bigger role here, knowing a lot about their “owners” and being able to recommend products in a very personalized way.
When it comes to reviews, brands, and retailers need to be extremely careful about their reputation. Especially when a review comes from a trusted source, as they cannot be faked so consumers trust it. As we see a lot of new Direct 2 Consumer brands popping up, reviews are even more important. When a brand is not yet established, great and honest reviews can still generate a lot of Sales.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
My experience is that there is a group of people that is naturally inspired by the opportunities that technology brings. Others can be convinced by results. If you see that a great landing page builder all of a sudden triples your conversation rate, you become an evangelist for the new tech fairly quickly.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Use BCC when you are replying to someone and want to inform him that you are on it, but don’t want to keep him in the full email chain. This saves a lot of inbox space here at our company.
What are you currently reading?
Bad blood – The story about Theranos. I typically read a mix of business literature (biographies, etc.) and novels (to calm down).
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
When you realize you are riding a dead horse, get off. The tricky bit is realizing that the horse might actually be dead.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I am very persistent (as long as the horse is not dead). I think a lot of success comes from not quitting. I am not smarter than others but have a lot of energy and creativity.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Fred de Combert from Akeneo
Thank you, Marcel! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Marcel Hollerbach is CMO and board member of Productsup, a Berlin-based tech company providing an award-winning solution for product content integration, transformation, and syndication. A serial entrepreneur, Marcel is also a founding partner of Venture Capital Fund Cavalry Ventures, which specializes in early-stage investments in European tech startups.
He also founded a video streaming platform hiClip, which was acquired by Adconion Media Group and NativeAds, which merged with Seeding Alliance and was later acquired by Ströer. Marcel studied Business Informatics in Würzburg and Stanford. His expertise in e-commerce means he has a solid understanding of user behavior in a digitized world, as well as the importance and impact of high quality, contextualized product data. In his spare time, Marcel is an ambitious guitar player.
Productsup provides an innovative SaaS platform that empowers brands and retailers to optimize and syndicate their product content to all digital marketing, shopping and business channels, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, or Walmart. With agile data and seamless connectivity, the award-winning company helps customers break through data silos and get their products to market quickly.
Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Productsup is trusted by more than 800 businesses worldwide, including five Fortune 20 companies and market leaders like IKEA, Trivago, Superdry and Rakuten.
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.