TechBytes with Jenn Deering Davis, Head of Communications at Cision

TechBytes with Jenn Deering Davis, Head of Communications at Cision
TechBytes with Jenn Deering Davis, Head of Communications at Cision

Tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to work at Cision?

My first college internship was in Marketing at a dot-com company. That company didn’t last very long, but I got a taste for the tech industry and joined a few friends to build our own startup. Later, I got my Ph.D. in Communication Technology to learn everything I could about the societal impacts of technology. But ultimately I decided I wanted to be the one creating the tech, not the one studying it, and in 2008 my Co-Founder and I started Union Metrics. We sold UM to TrendKite last summer, and then TrendKite was acquired by Cision earlier this year.

What is it like Marketing a PR tech company? What does it take to succeed?

Marketing to PR and Comms professionals is really fun. It’s such a creative, smart group of people, so I always feel like they truly appreciate a good campaign. I always remind our creative team that we have to be extra sharp and inventive because at the end of the day our target audience knows more than anyone what a strong campaign looks like. I think to be successful, our Marketing team has to combine that creative excellence with an ability to explain technology simply and quickly.

As a female leader in the tech space, how do you think the industry can do a better job of getting more women interested in tech?

I’ve spent a long time trying to answer that question. First, I don’t think it’s an issue of interest; I think it’s more an issue of longevity. I think that, as women, we have to actively support and amplify each other’s successes. We need to help each other get through the hard times when it can feel like an entire industry is actively rejecting us. And finally, I think basically every tech company I can think of needs more female executives and board members.

Cision recently launched the next generation Cision Communications Cloud – how does this upgraded technology help users in their MadTech solutions? How does Cision define MadTech?

Cision’s next-generation Communications Cloud integrates directly with the AdTech ecosystem and delivers validated reach and insights about the audience actually reading earned media. This technology enables organizations to better understand the consumers of their media, target and activate key audiences with Paid Media and Marketing Automation, and track and attribute influence directly back to earned media – from impression to purchase.

How does Cision define MadTech? MadTech is the convergence of Marketing and AdTech together into a seamless offering that breaks down the silos between earned, owned, share, and paid media. By combining AdTech based tracking and insights with earned media insights, Cision can uncover and attribute the hidden influence of earned media on a customer journey, and deliver precise high-performing paid campaigns.

How can marketers utilize the data from earned Media Analytics for their own digital campaigns?

When you look at a diagram of a traditional Marketing funnel or demand waterfall, I always think of earned media as that “magic space” floating above where customers just suddenly appear and start interacting with owned and paid channels. Many customers first hear about brands through earned media exposure, but until recently, paid and owned media have been easier to measure.

However, there are so many immediate benefits from accessing earned Media Analytics:

  • Earned Media professionals can use analytics to tie their campaigns to the Marketing demand funnel
  • Demand marketers can look at earned media demographics/firmographics to get more information on who is interested in their brands before they even interact
  • Product Marketers can better understand how to position competitively by looking at how customers behave when exposed to their competitors’ earned media

There’s so much valuable information now that we’ve never really had access to before!

Tell us how you stay relevant to the Personalization trends. How do you see new AI ML and Automation tools impacting PR-dependent businesses in the coming months and years?

I think the current trends in AI/ML are fascinating and will be the next big leap for Marketing departments. We’ve been so inundated by data for years now, and our ability to make use of that data has been limited by the resources available to do the manual work required to make sense of it all. Traditional algorithms could only get us so far. But as AI gets better and the models improve, we can really start to make use of ALL the data at our disposal.

Tell us more about your data-driven solutions. How can CMOs optimize their Digital Marketing and Advertising budget using your Products, Services, and Solutions?

Since our products give you insight into which audiences are actually consuming your earned media, you can use that data to improve the targeting of your digital campaigns. And as we all know, better targeting gives you better results.

How can businesses maximize their ROI by investing in Cision?

I truly believe that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. The old ways of judging the success of a PR campaign or the impact of a brand by “gut feel” have to be gone for good. Cision lets Comms professionals do their job better and more efficiently,  and our advanced analytics capabilities allow teams to measure ROI more accurately. By measuring the success of a campaign against the metrics that matter to the business, you can track actual ROI for earned media and use real data to improve your next campaign.

Tell us about how Cision’s technology integrates with other Technology platforms such as Website Analytics, Video, Contacts, Contracts, Email and Customer Service.

We primarily integrate with website analytics vendors to help tie back earned media campaigns to a customer action on your website – even if it occurs months down the line.

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

We have a fairly robust MarTech stack at Cision. Currently, we use Oracle Eloqua, HubSpot, Adobe Experience Manager, Drift, UberFlip, Domo, Salesforce, and a few others.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

You know, I’m not sure I’ve ever had to. Coming from startups, we all work in this industry because we love technology, and using it as part of work is just a given.

One word that best describes how you work.

Efficiently.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Slack and Google Docs/MS Office (though maybe I could live without Outlook!)

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

I don’t love the concept of hacks or shortcuts, but I’ve found that sometimes you just need to walk away from a task or problem that’s bugging you and come back to it later when you’re fresh.

What are you currently reading?

The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. I read a lot of fiction, almost exclusively on the Kindle app on my phone. My phone is always with me, so I’ve always got a book or two with me too. For news, I rely on Twitter and a variety of industry and more general publications, all online.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Assume (and communicate) positive intent.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

I’m resilient and not afraid to take risks, which means I can end up in places or situations other people might not because I didn’t give up. Never underestimate the power of simply not quitting.

Jenn Deering Davis is Head of Communications at Cision. Previously, Jenn was Co-Founder of Union Metrics, and VP of Corporate Communications of TrendKite, which was acquired by Cision earlier this year. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from the University of Texas at Austin and has more than 15 years of experience in corporate communications and social media, spending her career turning data into stories and helping stakeholders understand new technology.

cision logo

Cision Ltd. is a leading global provider of earned media management software and insights to public relations and marketing communications professionals. Cision’s software allows modern communicators to target key influencers, distribute strategic content, track and measure meaningful impact through text and images.

Cision’s goal is to help its customers be more innovative with images and multimedia-rich stories. Cision has over 4,000 employees with offices in 15 countries throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC.

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