MarTech Interview with Tara DeZao, Product Marketing Director at Pegasystems

As B2B marketing trends are reshaped by newer processes and martech systems, even critical roles in the typical B2B marketing hierarchy will undergo shifts; Tara DeZao, Product Marketing Director at Pegasystems shares some marketing thoughts in this quick chat:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Tara, tell us more about your role and day at work at Pegasystems… 

Thanks for having me! I’m fairly new to Pega, having joined the organization in April of this year, and have gotten to know most of my coworkers through virtual meetings, hoping to change that soon. At Pega, I’m a director of product marketing for MarTech & AdTech. Our AI-powered solutions enable organizations to optimize 1:1 engagements that offer value based on real-time customer context vs. creating noise.

Pega is uniquely positioned to support this function for many markets, including telecoms, healthcare, insurance, financial services, manufacturing, and government. As you can imagine, all of these have unique challenges to address for their customer base, making every day interesting.

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How are you seeing the role of the product marketer change in today’s time? 

Well, all marketing has changed. It was already changing rapidly, and the global pandemic accelerated those changes. We’re more digital in our lives than ever before. There are more of us than ever vying for clients’ and prospects attention, so we need to make sure we’re creating relevant content for them. The ones doing it right stay laser-focused on customer journeys, understanding critical elements like context, history.

As a product marketer, it isn’t our job to add to the noise but rather help solve real problems for our customers and their end-users. The digital space is at its peak of content saturation, and customers are fatigued by the volume of messages they see each day. This customer burnout will only continue as competition remains hot and the proliferation of new solutions continues to increase.

What are some key skills you feel product marketers need to be imbibing more of today? 

Diversity of skills is critical; no matter which industry or the position you hold, it is essential to be able to implement a number of different skills across the board, such as analytical thinking, creativity, teamwork, communication, and especially empathy. Professionals supporting the martech and adtech functions need to think, work, and act to achieve outcomes of how we’d like brands to treat us. Ultimately, I think the lack of empathy and transparency in customer experience has created the need for evolution in this space, and artificial intelligence can empower empathy in marketing; it’s what the customer’s voice has told us over the past several years.

We’d like to shift base to your thoughts on marketing trends and how you see teams today use their data to drive better CX and other customer initiatives?

Marketing is moving toward a more autonomous future. Enabled by AI, the new generation of martech and adtech is smart, automated, and journey-oriented. Marketers will be expected to meet customers where they are – at the right time, on the right channel, and in the right context, to provide helpful information and offers. Competition for consumers’ attention is only going to increase, and martech and adtech needs to adapt with intelligent features that reduce marketing spend, cut through the noise, and ultimately result in better customer relationships and improved bottom lines.

What according to you can marketers do to ensure they are using the “right” data and analytics to achieve their company specific objectives?

Marketers have access to more data than ever before and are active on multiple platforms and channels. However, not all data and channels are created equal. The hard part is figuring out which are most important and relevant, as they change based on the customer’s individual preferences. Understanding what data and channels to individual customers are most critical can help to create a loyal customer base centered on their experience with your brand, instead of creating a one and done customer.

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A few thoughts on the future of martech and how martech innovations will further lead to change in marketing roles across the marketing hierarchy?

I think the future of martech is in the hands of first-party data, artificial intelligence, and its’ capability to connect all of your consumer touchpoints in the journey.

Too many organizations have a wealth of siloed first-party data, but they can’t unify it and activate it across channels. Some of it may sit in a CRM, a marketing automation tool, a call center but never mix.

It’s a huge opportunity cost because the power in combining it means that you can create better customer experiences that center around them, and ultimately that’s more efficient and effective marketing.

The proper use of first-party data enhances customer acquisition, retention, and relationships. It’s a matter of intelligently analyzing existing data in real-time to deliver the best messages to customers and prospects at the right time in their individual journey.

As Google recently announced they’ll eventually be sunsetting third-party cookies, the industry will need to figure out how to navigate a more regulated future when it comes to the collection and usage of data. It’s more important than ever for brands to figure out how to use their own first-party data to more accurately target their customers with the right message, on the right channel, at the right time.

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

AI is going to be a critical element of any tech stack – the ability to analyze data and understand where individual customers are at in their journeys is extremely important in successful empathetic marketing. Moreover, teams will want to look for technology that is collaborative and can offer holistic views of customers and prospects by drawing data from different areas of the business as needed; helping ensure you’re surfacing the right offer to your customer and maintaining a healthy relationship, and not turning them off with messages that don’t mean anything to them, or worse – annoy them.

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

Marketing is about people and is enabled by technology. But we cannot forget about the people – customers and prospects alike – who are on the other end of the equation. Every interaction needs the intention of creating a positive experience and stronger customer relationships. Marketers are also going to continue to be asked to do more with less and be creative in the way that they use their budgets. Gartner’s new CMO Spend report noted that overall marketing budgets had dropped considerably since last year. While this trend is likely partly due to COVID-19 and restructuring, it may take some time to climb again. However, investing in the right technology can significantly cut down costs in the end and improve a business’ bottom line with more targeted interactions and, in turn, happier, more loyal customers.

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pega logoPega delivers innovative software that crushes business complexity. From increasing customer lifetime value to streamlining service to boosting efficiency, Pega helps some of the world’s leading brands solve problems fast and transform for tomorrow.

Tara DeZao is Product Marketing Director, AdTech and MarTech at Pegasystems. She helps Pega clients deliver better customer experiences and engage their own clients in more relevant, empathetic ways – backed by artificial intelligence.

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