MarTech Series Interview with Adam Greco, Product Evangelist at Amplitude

Adam Greco, Product Evangelist at Amplitude, shares a few thoughts on how he views changes in everyday marketing impact B2B teams in this quick chat:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Adam, tell us about Amplitude and how the platform enables digital optimization capabilities for its users?

Amplitude is the leader product analytics and pioneer in digital optimization software. In short, what Adobe is for marketing teams and Salesforce is for sales teams, Amplitude is for product teams – providing the most comprehensive set of tools to help every company build better products through data.

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With the new age challenges facing marketers today, in what ways do you feel modern day marketing teams and leaders need to reskill and rethink how they set up processes and key marketing/martech infrastructures?

In the past, marketing was focused primarily on branding and finding new customers. Marketers were expected to continuously fill the pipeline through branding, advertising, and product collateral. But as consumers have become more empowered, they no longer need to get product information from the company itself. Instead, they have turned to other sources, such as online reviews, peers in their network, or social media. This change has forced marketing teams to earn customers instead of simply buying them through traditional marketing activities. In turn, this shift has prompted marketing teams to focus on a different set of skills, including content marketing, social media moderation, community development, and customer advocacy.

Amid all of this, why should the role of the CMO itself also undergo a significant change?

Traditionally, the role of the CMO has been the “chief storyteller” for the organization. Previously, communication to prospects and customers was a one-to-many relationship. But with the decentralized nature in which consumers now get information, I believe that the CMO role is changing to one that helps create a many-to-many view of marketing.

A modern CMO needs to find ways to encourage prospects and customers to market for them. While customer case studies and testimonials have always been important, in the past they were solely controlled by marketing. Nowadays, almost anyone can be a product advocate or detractor, so marketing teams have to find ways to get more advocates than detractors. Much of this is done through education, collaboration, and community. Today, peers are more likely to win over prospects than the brand itself, so the CMO must lean into this and find ways to embrace this new reality.

Can you talk about a few don’ts for CMOs and marketing teams today? Also, a quick dive into some of the best CMO minds you’ve come across in B2B?

In my opinion, CMOs and marketers should avoid clinging to the traditional practices of the past. Prospects don’t want to receive multiple emails a day about products or be bombarded with sales pitches every week. What worked ten years ago will likely not work today.

One of my favorite CMO’s is Bill Macaitis, who was the CMO of Zendesk and then Slack. I worked for Bill at Salesforce where he was preparing to become a future CMO. Bill applies a data-centric approach to marketing. For example, at Salesforce, we wondered if we could generate more customers if we allowed prospects to try our product before asking them to complete an online form. Our data showed that prospects hated filling out forms, so our hypothesis was that without forms we would get more people to try the product and, in turn, drive more sales. We tested out that hypothesis and found that we were actually wrong. While we were disappointed, Bill reminded us that the data had taught us something valuable about our prospects, which was still a big win.

Bill also understood the value of leveraging your customers as advocates for your brand. When Bill was at Slack, he pushed to increase the customer support team. Soon, Slack became a viral product and many people told their friends how great the product was and about Slack’s amazing support. When I spoke to Bill about this, he told me that he felt like the support team represented some of the best marketers at Slack! They were keeping customers happy and creating grassroots product advocates. 

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Why in your view should CMOs and marketing leaders of today not only be transforming their role but also focusing on building product-led marketing growth by enabling product teams with the right feedback and insights?

With so much of the world going digital and many businesses now using apps as part of their business, the product-led movement has really taken off. While there are many definitions for being “product-led,” I think of it as allowing your prospects and customers the opportunity to experience your product or service – oftentimes via a digital product – before making them commit to purchasing it. Food samples at a grocery store or farmer’s market are an early example of being product-led. Those brands knew that if you tasted the product you would be more likely to buy it. This concept has simply been digitized such that prospects can now try using consumer or business apps for free and then decide if they want to pay for it later.

The product-led movement has helped many businesses grow exponentially because it provides massive opportunities for iterative improvement. Instead of having a small number of people using your product, you can have thousands. This increased activity allows the product owner to collect massive amounts of data and see what is working and what is not. The increased usage and data also provide opportunities to experiment with new features quickly. As a result, the products that adapt faster have a competitive advantage over their competitors. The quest for this competitive advantage has driven a huge demand for product analytics tools like Amplitude, which provide the insights that are needed to improve products for companies investing in product-led growth.

Forward-thinking CMO’s are having their marketing teams work closely with the product teams working on product-led initiatives so they can see what is helping drive new customers. This information can then be routed back to marketing so it can be used to help market the correct messages in advertising and through product communities.

We’d love to hear a few thoughts on your views on the global martech industry and predictions for 2022!

I believe that the global martech industry will continue to see a struggle between how marketers want to position products and how consumers want to be targeted. Marketers will look for ways to aggregate all of the channels that consumers are hearing about their product. This will likely occur in Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) that attempt to unify all customer data to see the most complete picture of how consumers view and purchase the product. This desire by marketers to know more will be counterbalanced by the ever-increasing privacy regulations that look to limit how much marketers can know about consumers. As a result, marketers will have to find ways to build trusted relationships with consumers instead of simply broadcasting to them. These first-party relationships will have to be earned by providing something of value to consumers. I think this will be difficult at first, but in the long run, better for both sides.

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

I predict product teams and marketing teams are going to merge in the long run. Effective CMOs should encourage this cross-functional collaboration between the two teams and focus on the entire customer experience instead of living in separate silos.

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Amplitude is a pioneer in digital optimization software. Nearly 1,600 customers, including Atlassian, Instacart, NBCUniversal, Shopify, and Under Armour rely on Amplitude to help them innovate faster and smarter by answering the strategic question: “How do our digital products drive our business?” The Amplitude Digital Optimization System makes critical data accessible and actionable to every team — unifying product, marketing, developers, and executive teams around a new depth of customer understanding and common visibility into what drives business outcomes. Amplitude is the best-in-class product analytics solution, ranked #1 in G2’s 2022 Winter Report. 

Adam Greco is one of the leaders of the digital marketing analytics industry. As one of the earliest customers and employees at Omniture, he has helped thousands of organizations improve their digital properties through the use of data. Adam has blogged extensively about digital marketing analytics and authored the preeminent book on Adobe Analytics. Adam has served as a board member to several digital analytics organizations and has won several awards from the Digital Analytics Association. Adam is currently a product evangelist for Amplitude where he helps leading organizations strategize around using data for digital marketing.

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