Tell us about your role at Wrike and the team/technology that you handle.
I’m the VP of Marketing at Wrike, and I have a areally exciting role of helping Wrike cement its status as one of the leaders in the Collaborative Work Management (CWM) space. Wrike has a unique marketing organization — we’re spread across 3 countries but still function as a single, cohesive team. That tight-knit global collaboration is powered by technology, including our own platform. Wrike, along with Slack, Google Drive, Adobe Creative Cloud and a handful of other pieces of software plays a big part in not only uniting the teams within our marketing department, but throughout the whole company as well.
What is the overall state of Project Management in the Marketing Technology industry?
Marketing organizations are undergoing a rapid shift in regards to Project Management. Five years ago, a CWM system such as Wrike would have been considered nice-to-have. Complexly integrated campaigns and hyper-customized marketing have become essential for brands today — and the speed at which they must be delivered has accelerated — making excellence in project management a must-have.
Historically, the challenge was that most project management systems were far too rigid for marketers. Marketing is creative and plans are more fluid compared to other functions. Marketing requires a level of agility that few other departments need so asking a marketing team to use the same software you’d use to manage a software development project or build a skyscraper wouldn’t be a good fit.
Today, most marketing teams use a variation of agile project management, and this requires software that is flexible in day-to-day use, while still holding team members accountable for long-term objectives. The goal is to give marketing teams a single source of truth around the status of projects at a granular level and give users role-specific tools that they can use to collaborate on their jobs. Designers may use proofing and approval tools, for example, and a Marketing Operations person may use a calendar to balance workloads.
In the past, this may have required five or six different apps. There has been some consolidation in the MarTech stack in recent years, but there is still a number of disparate systems used to manage resources and projects. Our goal at Wrike is to make a single digital workplace with all the tools, features, and integrations teams need for high-impact collaboration and project management. Not just for the marketing department though. The Wrike platform can help whole organizations align work with their most important business objectives, create new efficiencies, and drive results, faster.
How is providing customer experience different today than it was a few years back?
I’d say that we have more options than we’ve ever had in providing customized messaging at scale to different customer profiles. Every touch point with prospects or customers can be tailored in really smart, personal ways. But for marketers, it’s like the difference between writing a standard novel or a choose-your-own-adventure book. There are more pathways for which we need to create content and creative assets to engage customers. The challenge is volume, and that’s why automation, work management, and seamless collaboration are increasingly important.
What is more important to you — a great product or a strong focus on client satisfaction?
They go hand-in-hand for me, because our philosophy is to deliver a product with an intuitive UI that’s easy to adopt, and our users get a sense of delight from discovering something they were expecting to be difficult but is actually really simple with Wrike. Our CEO has a phrase he says about new features we release, which is: “It’s not successful until our users use it every day.” That speaks to our philosophy of building a product that becomes transformational for teams. Our customers are typically satisfied when Wrike saves them time and makes their work easier, which depends on a combination of a great product and great adoption.
How important is the role of Artificial Intelligence in the Project Management domain?
If you ask any marketer these days, you’ll hear a variation of the same thing: There’s simply too much work for people to handle (without going crazy, at least).
Today, automation features built into some CWM software can automatically create a project from a request form or reassign tasks when they change to different statuses in a workflow. This mitigates bottlenecks and saves time for the project managers and operations professionals who traditionally do such tedious work.
In the future, Artificial Intelligence will likely enable a new level of features that can automatically assign work to the team member with the lightest available workload or check that rescheduling a job doesn’t affect other jobs in the future. This will help simplify those time intensive, but critical tasks so that teams can work more efficiently while planning projects more accurately and realistically than in the past. These advances will make life significantly easier for marketing professionals who frequently need to handle tasks that are routine, but logistically challenging, like balancing workloads, scheduling deliverable dates and following up on work that is approaching its deadline.
What Sales and Marketing Technology tools does Wrike currently use?
Our tech stack includes Salesforce.com, Marketo, Brightfunnel, LeadGenius, and such as , along with a few others for reporting, like Tableau. As I mentioned before, we also rely heavily on Wrike for collaboration and work management, and we use Slack and Zoom to have meetings and chats across all our offices around the world.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I’m pretty flexible when it comes to apps and find that I can adapt pretty easily. What’s more important than a specific app is whether it integrates seamlessly with the other apps I already depend on. There’s nothing more painful than spending hours each week copying and pasting information between systems and needing to do it all over again when there’s an update. I want updates to push from system to system so that everything is in sync and accurate. The ability to integrate well with the others we use is a “must have” when we choose any new software solutions.
What is the best piece of professional advice that you have received?
I’ve had the opportunity to receive mentoring from a lot of really talented leaders, so it’s hard to pick just one piece of advice. I think one of the most formative that I’ve received was earlier in my career which was “what you have to say is important.”
This was the perspective that I needed to realize that I was relevant. It gave me the courage to contribute to the conversation — whether it was in everyday team meetings, or in getting visibility on projects with executives, or to feel like I had a story interesting enough to share in public speaking settings. I try to pass this onto the team I work with to this day, especially young women, so they feel comfortable sharing their ideas, asking questions, and challenging assumptions. Having a seat at the table is a powerful thing and I want everyone to get as much out of it as possible.
If not in Customer Experience, what would have been your alternate career choice?
I love kids and I love teaching, so I probably would have been an elementary school teacher. It brings me a lot of joy to see people grow and challenge themselves a little bit more today than they did yesterday. I also love the challenge of customizing lessons to accommodate every student’s learning style.
Thank you for answering all our questions!
Cristina Olmo is Vice President of Marketing at Wrike, where she’s excited to build upon Wrike’s focus and investment in enterprise customers. She possesses more than a decade of B2B marketing leadership experience, having shaped strategy and execution for some of the biggest brands in tech, including Zendesk, Marketo, and Trend Micro. Cristina’s breadth of expertise covers the full stack of marketing; from lead generation to sales enablement to partner marketing and word-of-mouth programs.
Wrike, Inc. is a fast-growing privately held corporation that gets thousands of new customers on board year after year and shows stable annual growth. Wrike’s diversified, international customer base includes well-known brands, such as PayPal, Hootsuite, Hubspot, Citrix, and many others. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Wrike is operated by a passionate team that is focused on top-notch engineering and design, usability, and dedicated customer care. Wrike’s project management tool gets distributed and co-located teams working together so that projects are completed faster to save time and money.