On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here.
As VP of Marketing for a growth company like Huddle, my role [and team] has to be fluid enough to tackle a range of challenges. Marketing is one of the most “in-demand” functions of the business – spanning the usual areas, such as demand generation and influencer marketing etc., all the way through to pricing strategy and sales training.
My route into Huddle was via Xerox (I wanted to get back to grass-roots marketing), but my early career was forged in PR agencies – I think the PR world gives a great foundation in how to craft a message.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
While we may be collecting more and more data, many of the analytical tools available are still rather rudimentary. They rely on historical data and lagging indicators and when you’re working at scale this means there can often be a very low signal-to-noise ratio. In turn, teams then find themselves working in a vacuum, repeating the same mistakes and even amplifying them.
Martech tools need to improve their data integration capabilities so that data points from across all digital channels can be evaluated in real-time, giving a much better view of the customer journey and providing some much needed leading indicators that can make real change possible.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
I think there’s a lot of upheaval coming in the world of data protection. For example, changes happening within the EU right now mean that the data of any EU citizen must be protected – regardless of where that information is processed, even if outside of the EU. Think about the ramifications of that if you have a broad portfolio of cloud providers around the globe processing customer data on your behalf. Your providers may not believe these regulations apply to them – but they do!
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
I occasionally worry that creativity is being marginalized, and I see this in the skills of graduates coming into the sector. Marketing technology has given us the advantage of working at scale, with greater freedom to experiment, but without creativity at the heart of what we do – no amount of marketing technology is going to save a campaign.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
I’m a fan of what people like @ApertureInsi are doing. B2B marketing is full of (often wrong) deep-rooted assumptions that only get amplified when marketing automation is applied. Aperture uses predictive profiling to uncover buyer behaviors and understand group psychology. Without this sort of insight your martech investments will never perform at 100%.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
– Salesforce, Marketo and ToutApp for CRM and campaign management
– Buffer for social media management
– Huddle and Slack for team collaboration and asset management
– Mouseflow and Google Analytics for website analytics
– ZenChat for webchat
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
In 2016 we looked to focus our go-to-market strategy on a handful of core industry verticals. One of these was the accounting sector and while we had some experience with accounting firms, our marketing wasn’t geared up to meet the buyer needs of this sector. So we invested heavily in research and analysis to understand the pain points and where Huddle delivered the most value. As well as influencing our approach, the research formed the basis for a series of ebooks, infographics, and other pieces of content that delivered insight into working practices that our buyers just hadn’t seen before.
Engagement transformed overnight. We coordinated a 3-month campaign across our digital channels that massively elevated our position as a thought-leader, as well driving growth across our demand generation activities. 12 months later we work with 8 out of the 10 largest accounting firms in the world.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
You prepare with a mix trepidation, fear and fascination! I used to work in an industry that built sophisticated AI assistants for customer support desks, so I know what the technology is capable of. I think it’s only a matter of time before this type of technology finds its way into marketing. Forget clunky chatbots on websites; this is about intelligent engines processing terabytes of behavioral data to understand how best to propel a particular prospect through the buyer journey.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
LinkedIn is my social hub, Twitter is my news source, and Netflix makes my lengthy commute a little more bearable. One item I’d never live without is my Brompton folding bike – it’s the fastest way to get to meetings across London.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Don’t just auto-accept every meeting invitation. Make sure it’s the best use of your time and don’t be afraid to say no. You’ll be amazed at the amount of time that starts to free up.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I frequently return to “Priceless: The Hidden Psychology of Value” by William Poundstone. If you’re in marketing you need to understand buyer psychology and this is the bible.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be prepared. Just before every important meeting, spend 10 minutes mentally recapping who’s going to be in the room, what message you want to convey, and the outcomes you need.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
My early career in PR taught me the importance of a clear and concise message and how to use it effectively. I still use those skills today, turning big thoughts and ideas into compelling messages that people want to engage with. If you can’t convey your ideas – you can’t lead.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
John Kennedy, CMO at Conduent
MTS: Thank you Tim! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Currently Vice President of Marketing for Huddle, Tim has nearly 20 years of marketing experience spanning startups to Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Huddle Tim served as Vice President & Head of Marketing for WDS, A Xerox Company.
With specialist expertise in technology and telecommunications across Europe, North America, South Africa and APAC, Tim has a proven record of leading marketing strategy and operations for B2B and B2C brands.
Huddle is the enterprise document collaboration company that helps organizations across the globe to collaborate intelligently. Huddle transforms the way you work by enabling organizations to store, discover, share and work on content with others simply & securely in the cloud.
Huddle is the #1 SharePoint alternative for enterprise content collaboration in the cloud and is easy to deploy and manage, with guaranteed user adoption and satisfaction. 80% of the Fortune 500, the UK central government and more than 100,000 organizations worldwide, including Unilever, Kia Motors, National Grid and P&G use Huddle to securely manage projects, share files and collaborate with people inside and outside of their business.
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.