On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at BlueVenn and how you got here.
My own journey to CMO is a 14 year journey starting from the ground up initially as the ‘Assistant to the Marketing Manager’ at a small startup in Bristol, UK. Over the initial 5 years in the world of ‘execution’.
I joined as Marketing Director of BlueVenn in 2013, with a 5 year remit to build the BlueVenn brand in the UK, North America and EMEA markets, and build a significant and consistent sales pipeline in line with the company’s aggressive growth targets. As I move into my fourth year with the company, the main challenge is to replicate our growth in UK & EMEA by building a new direct sales and marketing function in the North America market.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of customer data platforms, how do you see this market evolving over the next few years?
The Customer Data Platform market is still in its infancy really with many martech firms working out how and where they fit into it. At the same time however, research from the CDP Institute, for which we are one of the founding members, highlights that CDP revenue is on course to hit $1 Billion by 2019.
As with many of the martech segments however, it too is in danger of proliferation to the point of confusion. Some are pure-play CDPs or referred to as Data Hubs, others like BlueVenn offer our CDP in conjunction with analytics, audience management, customer journeys and realtime personalization.
In terms of how the CDP market is set to evolve, one tool for all isn’t the way forward any more – it’s about linking huge numbers of data sources, from different proprietary systems into one single source that is matched, cleansed, and output in a comprehensive way. Traditionally the Single Customer View is something that was only affordable by the enterprise market but is now more affordable for SMBs through a CDP purchase. The higher end of the SMB market is probably 10 times the size of the enterprise and therefore I expect the CDP market to expand at about that same rate in the next few years.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
This has to be a combination of ‘smart’ technology and AI/predictive analytics to combine decision making with true real-time triggers. When built into the everyday things we do as consumers they offer huge potential for advertising.
We are not too far away from this. The capabilities are there but it requires the convergence of MarTech, AdTech, brands, manufacturers and engineering, all combining to ensure the realtime processing of Big Data, artificial intelligence to make decisions (again in realtime), integration of marketing tech with DMPs, data feeds from brands and integrations with wearable tech.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge for startups to integrate a CDP with their existing martech stack?
The challenges for a startup will be resource and technical knowledge. Despite everything you read about CDPs and how quickly they can be implemented there are normally time delays whereby busy marketers need to prepare and provide access to data sources. Marketers need to make decisions about frequency of data refreshes, the velocity of the data and how quickly all the different systems can provide data to the CDP. This is not always front of mind for all marketers and therefore can potentially slow down the process. Startups also may not have the desire or budget to invest in the additional resource on top of a CDP investment unless the marketing lead can provide a compelling business case.
It also comes down to need. A CDP becomes necessary when your data sources start to become too fragmented and you are struggling to maintain data quality and campaign effectiveness. The more channels you have creates a need to integrate everything and achieve a Single Customer View. Additionally, volume of customers and transactions will dictate how necessary a CDP is to the business. Startups may need to hit a certain threshold before the necessity for a CDP is required.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
– BlueVenn for data analysis, visualization, matching customers, prospects and building out target lists, segmenting leads and customer journeys then outputting to other marketing/customer service tools including:
– Hubspot for CMS, social marketing and Email
– Salesforce for contact management & customer service
– Zendesk for Support
– Surveymonkey for Surveys
– Artesian for social and online prospecting intelligence
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
Yes we delivered a 10 month rolling email campaign that yielded over 7% response rate. This consisted of 6 weeks of segmentation, matching and complex data planning to deliver a series of 1-to-1 emails to CMOs in retail, leisure and Insurance organizations that had a minimum revenue of $150million. The highest response to an email was 12.3% and the average response rate after 10 months ended at 7.14%.
The complex data work done up front enabled us to ensure these campaigns were optimized to simulate a 1-to-1 customized message based on their industry, turnover, number of sites, job hierarchy, job function and a match back to our existing reference able customer base, content and anecdotes. This process now underpins our entire business development process and creates invaluable introductions with carefully selected, targeted leads from accounts that we want to speak to.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
We have to be able to work in realtime, at speeds that humans cannot physically process. Consumers, and workers, demand immediate responses and the only way to provide truly targeted and immediate service is to reply on AI. This will become more apparent for B2C marketing than it will B2B but the requirement will be there for both.
To prepare for this we are utilizing our own CDP technology to ensure we have realtime feeds, predictive models and clearly defined segments and journeys in place to ensure that the way we treat customers and prospects is automated as much as we can.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
– MS Excel
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Load multiple sources of new data into BlueVenn to visually match, identify duplicates and overlaps against our existing data, and then fire the de-duplicated lists to whatever source system we desire. No Excel! No v-lookups! This takes just 5 minutes which compared against manual methods saves us hours, and everyone in the team can do this quickly and easily regardless of size of lists.
When rolled up to a full year this saves us nearly 25 full working days of time a year which can be devoted to other things which is a huge saving!
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
For pleasure I am currently reading ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by SJ Watson. Half way in and this book is incredible and the story about the author and her success is also remarkable.
For work I am currently reading ‘Predictable Revenue’ by Aaron Ross having been referred to it as being similar to one of our processes. This is claimed to be the success behind the Salesforce Business Development structure during their impressive growth.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t expect to change if you don’t change, and once you make a change don’t be afraid to change it to make things better.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I apply observation, perspective and patience to every decision I make. This enables me to always benchmark my decisions against others, apply many perspectives to a decision and I use brain techniques and time to allow my subconscious to iterate an idea. This is applied to everything I do and I’m yet to meet anyone else in life doing the same.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Iain Lovatt, Chairman, Blue Sheep
Anthony Botibol is the Marketing Director at BlueVenn overseeing the marketing strategy for the organisation across the EMEA and North America regions. With 15 years in the technology industry he has worked with some of the biggest brands in the B2C and B2C selling markets to uncover their requirements and understand their strategies, enabling the BlueVenn technology and data products to match their needs.
Anthony also writes a series of thought leadership blogs for the BlueVenn customer community on key data marketing topics and has co-written many industry guides and online seminars.
BlueVenn creates unique marketing solutions to meet our client’s B2B and B2C challenges. In today’s economy, businesses must provide their customers with the best possible brand experience in every interaction. BlueVenn enables marketing teams to capitalize on their customer data in order to create unique marketing programs that increase customer loyalty and revenue opportunity. Solutions from BlueVenn integrate and enhance online and offline marketing channels for a diverse range of companies including hotels, gaming, finance, retail, media and more.
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.