Interviews | Marketing Technologies | Marketing Technology Insights


 MarTech Edge Interview with Rowan Tonkin, Chief Marketing Officer, Planful

MarTech Edge Interview with Rowan Tonkin, Chief Marketing Officer, Planful

technology 3 Oct 2023

Welcome, Rowan! Tell us about your background. How did you get into Marketing, and what was your path to Chief Marketing Officer like?

My marketing journey started from a rather unconventional point. I began my career working for a marketing technology company in customer support after completing my degree in computer science. I started helping out the professional services team in the background with their implementations, and as I got more involved in ensuring customer success and understanding their pain points, I moved into a customer-facing role, participating in professional services calls and managing implementation projects.

My experience working directly with customers sparked my interest in showcasing the value of our platform, leading me into a role in presales. I spent almost 10 years in presales, occasionally dabbling in sales and customer success roles throughout. This combination of roles focused on post-sale and presales activities helped me gain valuable experience working directly with customers and solving their current and future needs.

After years of talking with marketers as my customers, I joined a product marketing team tasked with launching a new marketing application. While my background had been deeply rooted in marketing concepts and practices, this was my first official role as a “marketer.”

During my time in product marketing, my accumulated knowledge gained working directly with customers and prospects helped us to successfully launch the new product. Over the next four years, I continued to expand my responsibilities within the wider marketing organization, taking on roles related to demand generation and serving as an evangelist for our products.

I finally moved on from that company and assumed leadership of the operations, design, and creative team at another startup, and later took on revenue operations there as well, effectively running all the shared services of the team. Again, these varied experiences dealing with customers from different perspectives gave me a well-rounded view of how marketing, sales, product, and other roles all need to align to make a company successful.

Ultimately, and, I believe, helped by my experiences across various roles supporting go-to-market strategy, I was appointed as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Planful. This role marked the culmination of my journey across customer support, presales, and product marketing, a combination of experiences that helped prepare me to be an effective leader of our company’s marketing efforts.

How does your vast experience in revenue operations help you better grasp the dynamics of marketing and business, leading to positive outcomes?

My background includes roles across customer success, sales, and marketing teams. This exposure has given me valuable insights into the unique challenges and perspectives of each of these departments, and understanding their intricacies and dependencies allows me to see the bigger picture and recognize how they are interconnected within an organization.

Revenue operations requires me to understand the expectations and objectives of all of these stakeholders and be able to sift through the data and operational drivers that direct their activities. If we can effectively align marketing strategies with what drives revenue, we can positively influence the commercial outcomes of the company, namely revenue but also profitability and growth.

Revenue operations also plays a crucial role in streamlining processes between marketing, sales, and customer success teams. It’s perceived as a technology-driven function, but it takes a collaborative approach to eliminate friction between the teams and make it easier to execute marketing campaigns and initiatives efficiently. Whether it’s running a customer marketing campaign, identifying target markets, or optimizing existing campaigns, teams need to be on a shared data platform that accelerates communication, improves collaboration, and aligns execution while reducing operational obstacles. Revenue operations is an important role and is really an unsung hero of business success.

As you learn how revenue operations impact commercial success, you start to get a better appreciation for how other critical success metrics, such as loyalty and retention, can make or break commercial success. When you can connect it all together, again on a shared data platform, it empowers you to be more effective with your marketing investments because you’re aligning marketing efforts where they matter most. When you can do that, you’re going to see better and more positive outcomes in commercial and financial terms.

How is the Marketing department helping Planful stay competitive in today’s market?

We take pride in how the Marketing department at Planful plays a crucial role in helping the company stay competitive. Here’s what we do that makes us stand out:

Continuous Evolution of Brand and Vision: We know the market is constantly changing, and Marketing leads the company to stay ahead of that change. This involves the obvious aspects of actively listening to our customers and prospects and monitoring industry trends to understand the future needs of our core buyers. But we’re also pulling in competitive, analyst, influencer, and other insights and working with our products and development teams to understand what’s possible and where we need to be next quarter, next year, and several years down the road. Marketing then defines and refines how we’re going to get there.

Messaging and Storytelling: Once we know where we’re going, Marketing builds messaging narratives and highlights customer success stories to demonstrate how Planful delivers value to customers. Our humanized, relatable storytelling approach emphasizes how Planful helps our customers – the companies, yes, but also the people doing the work – stay agile, resilient, and adaptable to whatever challenges they might face in the future. Saving time during the monthly close process saves a company money, for sure, but it also helps finance and accounting teams get home in time for dinner or attend their kid’s soccer game. It’s a combination of those personal and professional aspects that really make a difference to our customers.

Collaboration with the Product Team: Marketing collaborates closely with our product team to identify emerging trends that require us to invest in new products or enhance existing capabilities. This collaboration ensures that Planful’s product offerings align with market demands, our customers are getting the most value possible from the platform, and our product roadmap supports our short- and long-term visions for the brand.

Alignment with Our Customers: Every company says their customers are the top priority, but at Planful, it’s a key part of our culture. “We put our customers first” is the first phrase of our number-one company value. We put a lot of effort and time into actively listening to our customers and hearing what they want from these solutions. Marketing ensures that the company’s messages and product offerings are aligned with these needs but also that we’re delivering them in reality. It’s not just a marketing message; what we hear from customers enhances our competitiveness.

What everyday steps do you take to stay ahead of the emerging market trends and technologies to ensure your marketing initiatives remain innovative and competitive?

Technologies and trends move fast these days, and I use a variety of methods to stay current with what’s happening.

Actively participating in marketing communities helps me stay ahead of emerging trends. I am an active member of various marketing communities, such as The Next CMO, CMO Coffee Talks, and Exit Five. While I may not always post, I consistently engage by reading, observing, and consuming content within these communities. This helps me stay informed on the latest trends and emerging technologies in the field.

I also host our Being Planful podcast, where I interview finance, accounting, marketing, and business leaders & influencers to understand how the market is changing and how those changes impact their strategies. It really is a great forum where I get to learn as much as our listeners.

Utilizing LinkedIn is another way to stay in the know. LinkedIn is a significant platform for networking and staying up-to-speed on industry developments. I actively use it to connect with other professionals, share insights, and follow thought leaders in marketing and related fields.

Never underestimate the power of your personal network, too. Those friends and colleagues you gain along the way are the CMOs and business leaders of today and tomorrow. It’s critical to nurture that network, no matter where you see your career going. I maintain an ongoing dialogue with my peers, particularly other CMOs, to exchange ideas and discuss what strategies and tactics are working for them. It’s a two-way conversation that provides valuable insights into emerging trends and technologies.

A point of advice I’d give is to go beyond surface-level trend-spotting by analyzing the intention behind marketing strategies. I want to understand why certain tactics are effective and for which specific audiences. It’s crucial to determine the underlying business goals behind trends to avoid blindly copying them. Paying attention to whether a particular trend or technology aligns with my target audience’s preferences helps me avoid applying marketing strategies that might be popular but ineffective for our audience.

How does Planful help CMOs and marketing professionals manage their budgets efficiently?

In late 2022, Planful acquired a marketing planning software company called Plannuh, which is now Planful’s marketing solution. At most companies, marketing is typically the largest discretionary budget outside of headcount, and that spend is notoriously hard to tie back to company results. As a marketer myself, I know the value of providing marketing teams with a platform that can help them make better decisions in real-time and that can facilitate better connections and conversations between CFOs and CMOs. Planful enables teams to measure marketing at every level of the plan for full visibility and team efficiency.

Alignment of Spend with Goals: Planful connects all marketing spend across various tactics to specific goals. This alignment ensures that resources are allocated effectively, eliminating waste on marketing spend that doesn’t contribute to achieving those goals.

Automation of Expense and Budget Management: Planful automates many aspects of marketing expense and budget management. This automation streamlines processes within the marketing department, saving time that would otherwise be spent on manual tasks such as accruals adjustments and amortizations in a marketing budget.

Goal-Based Budgeting: Planful’s marketing solution supports goal-based planning, allowing marketers to create budgets directly tied to their objectives. This goal-oriented approach ensures that budgets are allocated to initiatives aligned with the desired outcomes.

Outcome Tracking and Analysis: Planful enables marketers to connect their automated and goal-based budgets to measurable outcomes. This capability allows marketers to avoid uncertainty and understand what strategies and tactics are working effectively. By identifying successful initiatives, marketers can allocate more investment to those areas, ultimately leading to improved performance and the ability to outperform targets and competitors.

How does Predict, Planful’s proprietary embedded AI/ML solution, empower organizations to make better decisions?

Planful Predict empowers organizations with intelligent recommendations, which enables them to make better, faster decisions. Predict: Signals alerts users to errors, while Predict: Projections creates smarter forecasts — all using proprietary algorithms built natively into the Planful platform.

In today’s business landscape, changes occur rapidly due to various factors — geopolitical events, supply chain disruptions, and internal developments. Predict recognizes the importance of frequent course corrections and enables organizations to make smaller adjustments to their plans throughout the year rather than relying on infrequent forecasting cycles.

Planful’s Budget Manager Experience makes it easy to collect forecasts and insights from non-finance people across the organization, and that data informs the AI engine behind Predict. This efficient data-gathering process ensures that valuable input is obtained from different teams, regions, and product segments, enabling AI to deliver a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the business’s financial performance.

Predict acts as another pair of eyes for error identification as budget managers input their data. It scans through the submissions to detect errors or anomalies in the data. This capability helps the finance team quickly identify trouble spots in forecasts and take corrective actions, doing in minutes what previously took hours.

Predict also makes it easy for the business to submit new and more frequent forecasts and updates by using AI to interpret historical data and offer baseline forecasts that match the cadence of the business. It also provides guardrails of upper and lower bounds to ensure forecasts are reasonable based on historical data. By speeding and easing forecast & budget creation, Predict allows organizations to forecast and plan more frequently and adapt & refine their strategies as needed.

By gathering insights from the entire business more frequently, executive teams gain a clearer understanding of market challenges and opportunities, and Predict uses AI to help make the entire planning process more accurate and effective. The enhanced visibility enables leaders to make informed decisions and respond rapidly to changing circumstances. Ultimately, this leads to better outcomes for the organization as a whole.

 MarTech Edge Interview with Darren Cunningham, VP Marketing, Komprise

MarTech Edge Interview with Darren Cunningham, VP Marketing, Komprise

data management 28 Sep 2023

You have been a successful marketer before joining Komprise as the VP Marketing. What three key takeaways from your marketing journey still influence your current role?

1. Mentorship. I was fortunate early in my career to work in a marketing organization run by a leader who was passionate about the art and science of B2B marketing, the importance of aligning closely with sales, and the need to build strong relationships. (In fact, I would encourage other marketers to subscribe to Dave Kellogg’s blog: Be open to being mentored and look for ways to mentor others along the way.

2. Know where you’re best. For most, the career path is not a straight line to the top. Early in your career, there are benefits to working at a bigger company. You may have a narrower focus, but you’ll get more training and meet a lot of people. If you’re okay with less process, lower budgets, and higher risk, find a start-up that may need you to wear more hats and broaden your skillset. Don’t be afraid to try new things and move around until you’ve figured out where you do your best work and can have the most impact.

3. Network well. Very much related to points one and two, I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of great people in my career and have tried to stay in touch on the professional and personal level with many. Take the time to go for coffee, have lunch with people on other teams, participate in social events, and build real relationships.

How does Komprise Hypertransfer facilitate a seamless and swift data transfer while ensuring data quality stays intact?

Komprise Hypertransfer for Elastic Data Migration allows 25x faster cloud data migrations across high latency WAN connections compared with common industry tools. Large-scale data migrations to the cloud, especially concerning small files, can take weeks, if not months. Hypertransfer achieves these performance gains by minimizing the frequent WAN roundtrips that occur with small files, using dedicated channels to send data. The technology also leverages the capabilities of the Komprise Elastic Data Migration solution to minimize data loss and conduct automatic retries if a network connection goes down. Komprise Hypertransfer also strengthens security and defense against ransomware by not accessing cloud file storage over the network during data migrations since data transfers from source to target over private channels. So our customers get much faster migrations, with lower risk overall, and that’s a great proposition for large enterprises that want to accelerate their cloud journeys.

How do you adapt your global campaigns to the specific needs and interests of different segments of your audience?

When I worked in larger marketing organizations, there would be centralized marketing campaigns that different countries, regions, industries, or overlay teams could choose to run and customize. The model that works best is when these teams have the autonomy to make the changes they need to be relevant to their audience without changing the overall brand message. This ensures a level of consistency across segments. When you’re working at a smaller company, it’s all about regional sales and experimentation until you find the right messages that work with different segments. Smaller companies with a single product may only have one or two segments, so the challenge is ensuring that your message is spot-on for users and decision-makers and that your differentiation is clear. I’ve found that regardless of company size and stage, the key is to have open communication with frontline sales teams and transparent strategies to measure effectiveness across segments.

How does Komprise help marketers access and use their unstructured data to their full potential without relying on IT support?

Self-service data management is the hot trend these days, as IT is overburdened with high-priority cloud, AI, and revenue-generating projects to support the larger organization. Ensuring that data owners can see their files and understand their data usage, always easily access their data even after it has been migrated to new storage or archived, and use data easily in the cloud are priorities of our company. Komprise allows IT to grant read-only access to departmental users so that they can search for files, tag data for research purposes, and identify data that should be moved to a new location (such as a cloud data lake) or deleted altogether to save money and space. Komprise ensures that IT has full control so that business users don’t have the ability to execute actions that could inadvertently delete the wrong data or move data to a non-compliant location. User input allows IT to set up automated workflows for data management to save time and meet departmental needs.

What pivotal shifts did you bring about that led to elevated brand awareness, better leads, and increased revenue for Komprise?

When you join any company, you first need to assess what’s working and what’s not and how the team is functioning. At Komprise, we already had some great customers and a fully developed product when I joined. We had strong alliance partnerships with major tech vendors in place. The new CRO, whom I had worked with at a previous company, was in the midst of making changes to the sales, channel, and outbound business development teams. My background is in product marketing, so the first thing we worked on was to ensure our sales team had a clear value proposition. Tightening this up (with lots of cross-team collaboration) led to a messaging framework that we applied to our website and campaigns. It was clear early on that it wasn’t just the company that needed more awareness but the problem we were solving: the cost and complexity of managing massive unstructured data growth and the growing need to harness this data for new business value. We brought on a communications leader, whom I had also worked with in the past, who could help us tell that story and drive the creation of the category of unstructured data management. Focusing on the problem and clarifying our differentiated approach to helping customers address has been essential to our success.

How is Komprise working on the next big thing in data management, and what kind of breakthroughs can we expect from it?

It’s a fascinating time in this growing market. Three trends are really driving innovation in unstructured data management and are a focus of the company today and moving forward: 

1. AI is powered by unstructured data, so finding ways to harness your growing volumes of data and feed only the right data to AI engines and new analytics initiatives is essential. 

2. Empowering departmental users to access and manage their data with the required level of enterprise IT governance saves valuable time for IT while ensuring that teams can move fast and get what they need when they need it. 

3. Hybrid cloud and edge computing are changing how data is stored and managed. Unstructured data management solutions need to work effectively across silos and deliver great user experiences, better cost economics, and the means to generate new value from hidden and underutilized data assets. Komprise is a fundamentally new approach for managing data in today’s age of hybrid cloud storage.

What key marketing goals do you want to achieve for Komprise in the next two years that would take the company to a whole new level?

Of course, we always have to hit our pipeline goals. As we build out our sales teams and scale out, we need to ensure we have the right strategies in place to ensure they can hit their numbers. This will take a combination of hiring at the right time and expanding our product line to address new use cases as the category of unstructured data management matures. On that point, it would be great to see more industry analysts recognize the category and develop magic quadrants and waves to help customers understand the different solutions available, and it would be great to see Komprise way out in front. We have specific goals around customer adoption and measurable impact. I’d love to see a Komprise global user conference, regional user groups, and other community initiatives where our customers are able to share their results and be at the forefront of our marketing strategy. I’ve always admired companies like Salesforce that do an excellent job of marketing the art of the possible and establishing forums for their customers to network and share.

 MarTech Edge Interview with Julio Franco, Chief Customer Officer, Zappi

MarTech Edge Interview with Julio Franco, Chief Customer Officer, Zappi

insights 26 Sep 2023

Welcome, Julio! Tell us about the challenges you faced during the early stages of your career that played a pivotal role in shaping your journey to becoming the Chief Customer Officer at Zappi.

Thank you for having me! I grew up a second-generation researcher with my father, who founded a leading research firm in Colombia, so you could say that I’m a consumer insights lifer.  I started my career during school breaks, taking on tasks like transcribing focus groups and conducting interviews – and my passion took off from there.

After I finished school, I joined my father’s firm as a junior insights analyst. I don’t shy away from saying that the most defining challenge of the early days in my career was to demonstrate – to myself and anyone else – that my success was my own and not a product of my last name. That gave me the drive to work harder than anyone else to become not just good but excellent at the job.

In the years since, the foundations I learned doing the job and my work ethic have been a major influence on my growth; I became a VP at a major research firm and built my own insights practice for a major corporation.

My first interaction with Zappi was when I was on the corporate side, and when I saw the agility it delivered through its innovative approach to research and the possibilities it would open up, I was sold. I joined the team in 2016 and currently lead the customer organization, helping researchers at over 300 global brands build best-in-class research divisions and teams.

As the Chief Customer Officer, which essential business divisions do you oversee, and what specific metrics do you employ to gauge the performance of each of these divisions?

In my role, I oversee all customer-facing teams to make sure our customers successfully adopt the Zappi platform and have the right skills, processes, and expertise to get the most business impact out of it. These divisions include Implementation, Customer Success, Customer Expertise, Fulfillment and Customer Support.

Our success is measured by how our customers grow and drive value for their own businesses using Zappi. We maintain partnerships with our customers, guiding them toward their objectives and helping to advance their skill sets along the way; we are successful when our customers are. Zappi’s difference is our dual expertise in both technology and research, so we help them move faster and better. Net Revenue Retention (NRR) stands as a pivotal metric, showcasing customer growth and their evolving ability to utilize our technology effectively for business enhancement.

How do Zappi’s AI-powered consumer insights enable brands to fashion more targeted ads and better products?

Simply put, we give them on-demand access to what their consumers think about their new advertising and product ideas. We help enterprises bring the voice of their customer into their creative processes so they can use real feedback and data to improve their ideas and put successful products on the shelves and effective communications on the airwaves.

In the short term, this fast insight helps brands go to market with confidence, knowing consumers have validated their ad and product decisions. Long term, we see brands use this agile research to create a feedback loop that learns from every new data point, so teams aren’t just answering immediate questions on single campaigns; they’re improving their work with every new idea.

Zappi was founded in 2012 as the first agile market research company. Where most research firms are service-led, we use machine learning to ensure high-quality data is delivered and then to model data into really digestible, predictive outputs. The result is that we’ve streamlined the research process from weeks to just hours, so research fits into the creative processes for brands in an iterative way.

Can you highlight some of the most effective strategies you implemented that significantly improved the customer experience at Zappi?

Absolutely. Our journey toward improving the customer experience at Zappi has been a mix of successes and failures, both of which have been instrumental in shaping our strategy. What we’ve found is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We take influences from SaaS models with a product-led growth mindset and an easy-to-use platform, but we know that sometimes researchers need expertise, so we combine that with in-house research experts to consult with customers to solve hard problems.

Among our key insights, we’ve recognized that a top-down approach is valuable, but true success is cultivated from the bottom up. One of our most effective tactics has been investing heavily in onboarding so that beyond simply implementing and tailoring the platform for customers, we focus on helping them foster an agile mindset across people, products, and processes.

We’ve emphasized that agility in insights isn’t just about quicker fieldwork but about a clear organizational understanding of when and how to address business questions. Ultimately, we help customers achieve their goals and truly understand the capabilities of their data assets.

Could you describe your typical approach for evaluating an application to streamline sales processes?

We are an organization in growth mode, so we’re always on the lookout for innovative ways to enhance efficiency and help our remote team work seamlessly across all facets of our business. At the same time, we know that shiny objects can be distracting. Unless a sales application provides clear value and an implementation path, it’s very easy to drag productivity rather than increase it.

Our approach involves piloting potential solutions through clearly defined experiments, complete with a set timeline, success criteria, and a designated owner and core team. Similar to how we encourage our customers to evaluate us, we base our decisions on these results.

Customer retention is a clear driver of revenue growth; how do you employ upselling and cross-selling tactics to drive customer retention and ensure that customers continue to choose your brand?

Absolutely. History has shown us that our current customers are our largest engine for growth, whether they’re using us more in current lines of business, bringing us on to improve operations in other lines of business, or championing our partnership with their peers. To foster and amplify these partnerships, we have a clear philosophy we call V-HAG: Value, Health, Advocacy, and Growth.

This starts with the value our platform brings to the customer. But this isn’t a one-size-fits-all measure. It begins with understanding how our customer measures success so we can build an experience that meets their needs. Then, it’s continuously monitoring their usage and our relationship to maintain a healthy dynamic. Our focus on health naturally leads to advocacy. We actively seek and amplify advocacy moments, which span from testimonials and case studies to facilitated connections and referrals.

All of these efforts together translate to growth. We’ve developed comprehensive playbooks across the V-HAG pillars, empowering every team member to enact strategies irrespective of the customer or scenario. Through this dedication, we’re dedicated to ensuring our customers not only choose us but continue to thrive with us.

What innovative technology is Zappi currently developing that has the potential to usher in a new era in consumer intelligence?

This is where I get really excited. Historically, market research has been point and click; identify a new product or solution and survey consumers to understand its impact. It’s short-term and focused mostly on risk mitigation.

At Zappi, we want to deliver connected learnings and solutions to push the industry toward consumer insights fit for the current and long-term business environment. We were the first agile research platform, using machine learning and AI to produce survey results 10x faster than market research service firms, with better quality and at a fraction of the cost. There was a saying in research that when it came to quality, speed, and cost, you could only have two of the three; we proved everyone wrong! Not only that, but through our platform, we’re able to harmonize data so customers can analyze data sets across campaigns, markets, and executions within minutes. So, customers have market-wide learnings on demand.

Our tailored solutions, like Amplify (advertising) and Activate It (product development), help answer the short-term questions researchers have around validation and risk. But they go one step further to help teams optimize and predict in-market success and compare new projects to historical trends so they can get better with every new idea.

In the future, we’re creating new solutions to empower brands to harness historical data to predict market trends based on consumer input. It’s an exciting time to work in insights, and I’m excited to help make Zappi a catalyst for positive change.

 MarTech Edge Interview with Jess Reilly,  Sr. VP of Marketing, Screenverse

MarTech Edge Interview with Jess Reilly, Sr. VP of Marketing, Screenverse

advertising 21 Sep 2023

Welcome, Jess! What inspired you to take up the marketing career path, and what challenges from your initial years carved you to become the Sr. VP of Marketing at Screenverse?

My journey into the world of marketing has been a quest to harmonize my creative and analytical instincts. It began in college when I studied advertising, a decision that truly opened my eyes to the possibilities within the industry. During the early 2010s, technology was revolutionizing marketing, and the explosive growth of social media and web/app development presented an exciting opportunity to learn and grow. I found the idea of taking part in this transformation of the advertising industry through the introduction of creative new ad units fascinating.

The dynamic agency sector of the marketing industry shaped my early career. Over the years, I delved into various specialties such as SEO, media buying, content development, data science, new business development, and account management. Working with diverse businesses, from small to Fortune 500 companies, I found a common desire among stakeholders: the ability to forecast revenue growth through data.

I discovered that the key to this success lay in conducting meticulous market research and analyzing first-party data to gain a deep understanding of customers and identify the most cost-effective methods for acquisition and retention. This realization coincided with another technological boom – the rise of programmatic advertising.

I took the lead in introducing programmatic buying to several agencies where I held leadership roles, eventually launching my own. The ability to purchase advertising inventory in real-time, precisely targeting the desired audience, was a game-changer for my clients. Programmatic advertising rapidly evolved beyond digital display inventory, encompassing native ads, digital audio, connected TV, and more.

Running omnichannel digital campaigns through a single DSP with full control and transparent data visibility was transformative. However, I recognized the need to expand our capabilities beyond traditional digital and mobile inventory. That’s when I discovered Screenverse.

Screenverse’s digital out-of-home ad network empowered media buyers to connect with their target consumers in the physical world, adding a new dimension to the success of omnichannel campaigns. Just as I had witnessed the boom in the early 2010s and the growth of programmatic advertising, I knew I wanted to be at the forefront of the programmatic digital out-of-home revolution.

So, my inspiration to pursue a marketing career arose from the desire to blend creativity and analytics, and my journey from the agency sector to becoming the Sr. VP of Marketing at Screenverse has been shaped by a relentless pursuit of innovative solutions in an ever-evolving industry.

What most significant marketing functions are you responsible for at Screenverse, and how unconventionally do you approach each of these to accomplish the forecasted results? 

The challenge and inspiration behind our mission at Screenverse lie in our endeavor to revolutionize an industry with deep historical roots. Out-of-home advertising, literally dating back to ancient civilizations, saw its earliest recorded billboard leases in 1867, and digital billboards made their debut in 2005. While the rest of the advertising industry has rapidly evolved, out-of-home advertising largely remains rooted in antiquated direct buying methods.

Our journey is all about disrupting this multi-billion-dollar industry by harnessing the power of programmatic advertising. We take digital screens across the nation and seamlessly integrate them into the programmatic advertising ecosystem. This approach empowers screen owners to access a broader audience of media buyers. It also enables media buyers to execute real-time, large-scale campaigns on inventory that would have been impossible to purchase in one fell swoop otherwise.

In the realm of programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH), we’re automating the sale and delivery of ad content, much like the online advertising landscape. Buyers set specific conditions for media purchases, and when those conditions align, ads are automatically bought.

As the Senior VP of Marketing at Screenverse, my team and I are dedicated to elevating the Screenverse brand’s visibility among media buyers and screen owners nationwide. Our mission revolves around offering state-of-the-art technology and world-class service, extending the potential of digital and video advertising to countless screens in the physical world.

Our marketing mission is to educate the industry about the advantages of programmatic DOOH buying. Integrating DOOH into any media mix provides media buyers with a fraud-resistant, cookie-less, and unblockable environment that amplifies the reach of other media channels. Concerning marketing functions, my team and I concentrate on crafting marketing assets and strategies to connect with a diverse audience of media buyers, including OOH specialists, marketing strategists, omnichannel media buyers, programmatic traders, and more.

We collaborate closely with our buyers, tailoring media plans to align with their target audiences. We’re proud to offer flexible terms, with no minimum annual guaranteed contracts or spending requirements, and we prioritize revenue opportunity and quality. This is how we are able to stand out as pioneers in delivering innovative, immersive, and interactive DOOH advertising experiences.

The days of working with a managed service and receiving limited data in an Excel sheet weeks after a campaign ends are behind us. Screenverse actively collaborates with buyers to optimize campaigns in the market, offering supply path optimization recommendations marked by radical transparency. Our unwavering focus is on securing the best deals for our buyers to foster enduring partnerships.

From the buyer’s perspective, nothing beats engaging with experts who truly understand the programmatic and ad sales space. At Screenverse, we don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk.

How do Screenverse’s DOOH solutions deliver better ad outputs and effective measuring than other comparable vendors in this space?

Measurement is a great part of our commitment to transparency with our buyers. We require all of our media owners to have their inventory measured, and we selected Place Exchange’s PerView solution as a measurement standard across its managed DOOH networks.

This groundbreaking measurement solution, developed in accordance with the OAAA OOH Impression Measurement Guidelines, enables Screenverse to deliver accurate and dynamic reach, frequency, and impression measurement for its network partners. Screenverse receives thorough impressions, reach, and frequency measurements from PerView across all of its DOOH networks, with data broken down by various geographies, consumer segments, and timeframes.

We are also happy to coordinate other measurement solutions with our buyers to truly paint a picture of the efficacy of DOOH. We work with a number of different third-party solutions to provide measurement of brand lift, purchase intent, foot traffic, or closed-loop actions like web conversions or point-of-purchase measurement. We build case studies for the teams we work with to let the data tell the story. 

As compared to its effectiveness in B2C, how much does DOOH help B2B brands elevate their reach & engagement? 

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is a versatile tool that extends its effectiveness to both B2C and B2B brands, and at Screenverse, we take pride in offering diverse solutions that cater to the unique needs of each.

On the B2C front, our extensive inventory includes digital billboards, urban panels, retail and grocery store displays, entertainment venues, and restaurant venues, among many others. These locations with premium inventory are strategically chosen to capture the attention of consumers where they live, work, and play, making them ideal for B2C brand engagement.

For B2B brands, we’ve developed tailored solutions that elevate reach and engagement in a professional context. One such network, Screenverse Office, is a specialized office network featuring directory screens strategically positioned in Class A buildings nationwide. These IoT-connected screens, available in various sizes, from small directories to large-format spectaculars, enhance the experience for office building tenants and visitors. When the target audience is business professionals, this network becomes a potent tool for B2B advertisers, enabling them to connect with potential customers right at their workplace.

Our Advana network, part of the Retail365 portfolio, is another compelling resource for B2B engagement. It boasts an extensive presence across a diverse range of venues, including office spaces, manufacturing facilities, Amazon distribution centers, corporate campuses, hospitals, point of care, and coworking spaces. With over 7.5 million monthly active consumers, the Advana network provides brands with a gateway to reach a broad spectrum of working professionals at scale. Brands can effortlessly tap into this vast audience by purchasing Advana DOOH inventory through their preferred DSP via the Screenverse network.

Additionally, our geofencing capabilities offer a targeted approach for B2B brands. Suppose a B2B brand has identified specific companies they want to reach. In that case, we can deploy our billboards, urban panels, and other inventory types strategically by identifying the proximity of our screens to their headquarters or satellite offices. This level of precision ensures that B2B brands can connect with their desired audience in a highly localized and effective manner.

In essence, DOOH is a versatile medium that transcends the B2C-B2B divide. Screenverse’s diverse network and specialized offerings empower both B2C and B2B brands to elevate their reach and engagement, whether they seek to capture the attention of consumers during their daily routines or connect with professionals in the heart of their workplace.

How do you prioritize your marketing objectives when there are budget and/or resource limitations such that the end results remain uncompromised?

Screenverse was built during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic and was still able to scale to where it is today. In the beginning, both marketing budgets and resources were limited. Growing a start-up always starts with the quality of what you are selling and is maintained by supporting that with premium service. We started doing what we do best - 1:1 conversations with the right people and clearly communicating what it is that we do differently.

Most of all, we realized that in a resource-constrained environment, data becomes your best friend. We use analytics to identify which marketing channels and strategies are delivering the best return on investment. By constantly monitoring performance metrics, we can allocate resources to the most effective initiatives and reallocate or cut back on underperforming ones.

We also allocate a portion of our budget to experimentation. By testing new ideas and strategies on a smaller scale, we can identify what works and what doesn’t without committing substantial resources upfront. Successful experiments can then be scaled up.

What groundbreaking technological shift do you foresee happening in the ad tech niche, and in what ways will it metamorphose advertising?

One of the most significant changes on the horizon is the imperative for marketers to adapt to new targeting methods and forge partnerships with innovative data providers, all in preparation for impending regulatory changes. The digital advertising realm, in particular, faces a formidable challenge with the phasing out of cookie-based tactics. Nevertheless, the industry still needs to maintain its ability to reach precise target audiences.

We’ve already witnessed the programmatic industry expand far beyond traditional display ads, encompassing diverse formats like audio, CTV, podcast advertising, etc. This trend is set to extend into the out-of-home (OOH) advertising sector, heralding an era of unprecedented efficiency for media buyers worldwide.

However, for this transformation to take hold, OOH providers must be ready. Historically, obtaining reliable, up-to-date, deterministic measures of reach, frequency, and impressions for custom combinations of OOH assets—such as those required for an advertiser’s campaign plan or a media owner’s network of displays—has been a Herculean task.

At Screenverse, we’ve been proactive in embracing cutting-edge solutions like Place Exchange’s PerView, a strategic move that equips us with the essential data capabilities that modern media buyers demand. As the OOH industry increasingly recognizes the value of engaging with programmatic transactors, the need for precise measurement of their inventory becomes evident. This shift will not only raise the bar for transparency and accountability but also empower media buyers with actionable insights for smarter decision-making.

This technological revolution presents an exciting opportunity to offer an alternative solution to omnichannel media buyers who seek strategies not contingent on the performance of cookies. As traditional tracking methods face regulatory and technical challenges, alternative approaches will become paramount, and OOH, in its metamorphosis through programmatic integration, stands as a beacon of hope.

 MarTech Edge Interview with Vivien Boidron, Global Marketing Director, GridBeyond

MarTech Edge Interview with Vivien Boidron, Global Marketing Director, GridBeyond

technology 14 Sep 2023

Welcome, Vivien! What piqued your interest in the marketing function leading up to your current position as the Global Marketing Director of GridBeyond?

With deep roots in the energy sector, from nuclear R&D to smart grid, I hopped aboard GridBeyond in 2013 as they expanded from Ireland to the UK. What drew me in? The chance to spearhead an industry on the brink of explosive growth – energy, right at the grid edge. It was a thrill to fuse technology innovation with sustainability objectives. The CEO’s vision was perfectly aligned with my own: helping more renewables find their place in the energy we use and driving the net zero transition. By translating GridBeyond’s technical prowess into marketing that kicks open doors, we have shifted perceptions towards a zero-carbon world while proving that it’s possible to reduce the overall cost of the energy transition for consumers of all types.

Starting as the lone marketer in a 12-person team, with only one PowerPoint deck to build from, the journey has been about developing GridBeyond’s marketing function from infancy into an impactful global presence, ensuring the company’s success. Today, we are more than 130 colleagues over 4 continents in a dynamic industry that demands constant innovation and adaptation. Building the marketing foundation from the ground up has been a challenge at times, but the thrill of translating complex technical capabilities into forward-thinking marketing and communications that not only actively drives demand for the company’s services but also shapes perceptions around the future of the energy sector is incredibly fulfilling.

We are eager to understand how GridBeyond’s platform, Point, facilitates a seamless transition to Net Zero for companies. What is the role of AI within this platform, and how it aids in achieving the desired outcomes?

At GridBeyond, we leverage the power of AI to innovate and collaborate with our customers to create optimal value from their assets, whether it’s energy demand, generation, or storage. The revenues and savings generated from activities that are relatively easy and/or inexpensive to implement can then be used to map the future journey of our clients toward delivering their own zero-carbon future while simultaneously supporting grid operators to integrate more renewables into the wider energy mix; by supporting the energy transition and actively contributing to sustainability targets from both the grid down and the customer up perspective.

Our Virtual Power Plant (VPP) platform, “Point”, serves as an all-encompassing solution. Whether companies are embarking on their net-zero journey or making investments in new technologies, “Point” maps, forecasts, finances, measures, reports, and executes, while our experts can support helping our clients plan the next step on their net zero pathway in a way that is most cost-effective and least disruptive to their existing business operations.

At the core of this cutting-edge platform lies a powerful AI-powered optimization engine that leverages Monte Carlo simulations to hone and improve understanding of energy asset management, allowing for more informed decision-making, enhancing revenues, optimizing project design, and operational strategies. By combining this with automated trading and asset controls, the platform maximizes profits while aligning with environmental and operational targets. The platform orchestrates real-time energy design, forecasting, optimization, and control. This synergy of machine learning, AI, and data solvers with our trading team unlocks the full potential of energy storage and renewable portfolios.

On-site metering and control hardware feeds back to the Point platform to analyze and optimize the client’s assets. Detailed forecasts and trade analyses are readily available. The Robotic Trading function automates bidding processes in line with the customer’s chosen strategies. With AI-powered tools, portfolio expansion, optimization for revenues, savings, and ESG improvements are strategically guided. GridBeyond’s platform doesn’t just optimize energy – it optimizes impact, tackling the challenges our clients face in their journey to net zero.

In essence, the platform leverages clients’ assets, strategically placing them in the right energy markets at the right time to generate revenue and savings that fund further net-zero endeavors.

Could you elaborate on the missions & visions driving GridBeyond’s operations? Furthermore, we are curious about the strategies you employ to successfully attain these objectives.

GridBeyond’s vision is bold: delivering a global zero-carbon future. Our mission is driven by leveraging AI to innovate and collaborate with our customers to create optimal value from energy generation, demand, and storage to deliver an electricity sector free from carbon emissions.

GridBeyond’s vision translates into action; we have invested significantly in strengthening our in-house R&D, data science, trading expertise, and risk management to meet the evolving demands of decarbonized, digitalized, and decentralized energy networks. We are also transitioning to a SaaS model for energy management, forecasting, trading, and carbon management. The strategic acquisition of Veritone Energy also enhanced our technological capabilities and SaaS-driven vision.

Ultimately, GridBeyond’s strategy is centered around driving sustainable impact. We transform how businesses optimize revenues and savings from their energy assets and their resilience, as well as finance and accelerate their own renewables integration, leaving a lasting imprint on the journey toward a zero-carbon world.

As the Global Marketing Director, you’ve undoubtedly made significant contributions to GridBeyond’s marketing success. Could you share some pivotal changes you introduced and elaborate on their impact on business outcomes?

The marketing team has supported the exceptional growth of the business with a turnover surging from €1 million to over €30 million. We’ve diversified our reach, expanding from a single country to six and selling from one industry to 20+. Our product portfolio has evolved from one offering to a comprehensive platform comprising 60+ separate but stackable solutions. 

These growths were challenging for the marketing team. The secret to making it happen – integration and processes implemented in a way that supports the wider businesses while still allowing space for improvements, good communication both within the team and cross-departmentally on new ideas, and agility in how we work towards our shared vision.

I’ve championed growth-focused, customer-centric Account-Based Marketing on a global scale through automated drip campaigns driving engagement that are reported on the CRM. Beyond that, sales and marketing platforms have been designed to ensure integrations and workflows are in place that streamline database, CRM, marketing automation, and CMS, allowing seamless cooperation between different departments and smooth delivery and progression of opportunities from visitors to lead, MQL, SQL, to clients, their installation, NOC supervision, and finance. This has resulted in the evolution of our systems from a basic sales tool to a holistic customer journey management ecosystem with forecasting, automated sales process, and reporting built for sales management, install planning, and monitoring to a board-level view of revenue and gross margin.

We’ve also achieved remarkable milestones, earning accolades like the Marketing Team of the Year Award and the highlight given by National Grid’s Power Responsive to the GridBeyond Academy for fulfilling the industry objective of increasing reach and improving accessibility to the services available through National Grid - one of the areas GridBeyond covers in its suite of energy solutions.

The introduction of the GridBeyond Academy, complete with resources, glossaries, white papers, webinars, and podcasts, empowers businesses to navigate the energy landscape with confidence. These pivotal changes collectively underline our commitment to simplifying complexities while driving remarkable growth and customer satisfaction.

Could you shed light on how GridBeyond leverages cutting-edge technologies to gain a competitive edge and enhance marketing outcomes?

We use a variety of cutting-edge technologies, including engagement and prospect journey automation, machine learning, and big data analytics. These technologies allow us to:

  • understand our customers’ needs and preferences in real-time;
  • predict their future behavior;
  • personalize our marketing messages to our prospect’s expertise and needs;
  • measure the results of our marketing efforts more accurately.

As a result, we are able to reach our target audience more effectively, generate more leads, and close more deals.

We use machine learning to segment our customer base and personalize our marketing messages. We send different messages and industry insights to prospects and existing clients based on their engagement patterns, location, persona, expertise, and other data points. We then constantly refine the messages and channels according to what works best for conversion.

We use big data analytics to measure the ROI and impact of our marketing campaigns. This helps us to optimize our campaigns and get the most out of our marketing budget.

We are constantly looking for new ways to use cutting-edge technologies to improve our marketing. One of the next steps we are taking is to integrate generative AI and real-time data to build customer and prospect profiles to better personalize follow-ups.

GridBeyond has achieved remarkable success in the industry. We’d be interested to learn more about your plans and strategies to sustain this momentum in the foreseeable future.

One of our core strategies involves further enhancing our Virtual Power Plant platform and technology. By integrating electric vehicle fleets and charging networks, renewable energy and energy storage asset aggregation, and Corporate Power Purchase Agreements, we are making strides in easing our clients’ journey toward net-zero goals.

This journey is propelled by substantial investments in R&D, data science, trading expertise, and risk management. We have already launched several new SaaS products this year, and we plan to launch more in the coming months. These products address the evolving needs of decarbonized, digitalized, and decentralized energy networks.

Forecaster, boasting over 95% forecast accuracy, increases asset revenue by up to 19%. Designer leverages AI for optimized energy assets investments. Baseline offers real-time monitoring and visualization of consumption and carbon emissions. Bid Optimizer enhances energy asset management through AI and Monte Carlo simulations. Our Managed battery-as-a-service solution revolutionizes energy storage monetization through real-time optimization. We believe these are a major step forward in the evolution of the energy industry.

As we continue to elevate our offerings and capabilities, GridBeyond remains resolute in our mission to drive an affordable but sustainable energy future for all. Our dedication to innovation and client success serves as the cornerstone of our sustained momentum.

We will continue to expand our global footprint. We are already a global company, but we plan to grow our footprint even further in the coming years. With each country on its own net zero pathway but a global consensus that change is and must take place, we believe that there is a growing demand for our solutions in all parts of the world to manage this change in the most cost-effective and efficient way.

Given your extensive experience in marketing, what valuable advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs striving to make their mark in this field?

Starting from scratch in any industry requires a strong foundation. Success in marketing hinges on understanding your audience, delivering value, and nurturing lasting relationships.

Firstly, it is important to understand your company’s vision, mission, and values, as this is the cornerstone of communicating with prospects. It’s not enough to describe a product; instead, it’s about getting prospects on board with your company mission and aligning it with their own objectives – in short, the why. Good and effective communication is key here, but so is understanding your prospects deeply, segmenting them in your database, and building your personas. 

Simplify your message to its core and distribute it across various channels where your prospects engage. Concentrate on a specific industry and one or two products. Secure an early adopter to pave the way for conquering the sector, then expand.

Early on, get a CRM and integrated marketing automation solution. Automate reporting and engagement between marketing, pre-sales, and sales teams. Organizing weekly reviews of follow-up and sales pipeline health is key for cross-department focus and alignment.

Always provide value before selling. Your website, webinars, and communications should offer insights that guide prospects through their customer journey. Consider offering a free online tool that adds value to prospects. This can become your most visited page and lead to conversions and brand awareness. 

Lastly, transform customers into advocates by consistently delivering exceptional service and value. They can become your most powerful sales team in the long run.

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Marketing is a creative field with ever-evolving technology, and you need to be willing to experiment to find what works best for you.

 MarTech Edge Interview with Anthony Berrena, Chief Revenue Officer, Playwire

MarTech Edge Interview with Anthony Berrena, Chief Revenue Officer, Playwire

advertising 5 Sep 2023

Welcome, Anthony! We’d love to hear about your incredible 12-year journey at Playwire that ultimately led you to the prestigious role of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).

Thank you for having me. My journey with Playwire began 12 years ago, fresh out of graduation. Initially, I was interviewing for an internship, and although I had several job opportunities, I was truly drawn to the team at Playwire.

During my early days, Playwire had two distinct platforms, one dedicated to video. I was heavily involved in getting our video player to publishers, which enriched our video inventory and allowed our sales and yield operations teams to expand. Around three years into my tenure, I took on the responsibility of managing the display side of the business as well, merging two significant segments of the business.

Gradually, I began overseeing the yield operations portion of our organization, collaborating with SSP and DSP partners, and later delving into direct sales and data sales. Over the years, my involvement with various departments gave me a comprehensive understanding of Playwire’s operations, setting the stage for my current role as the CRO.

What best practices and transformative strategies have you implemented in your role as CRO that have turned the tables for Playwire?

When it comes to best practices, it’s the team as a collective that has driven innovation. One core principle that has underpinned our strategy is the value of collaboration. Shifting away from a siloed approach, we emphasize collective efforts, where different departments come together to achieve a shared objective.

In many organizations, internal departments can sometimes be at odds over resources, but at Playwire, our ethos is about ensuring everyone wins. An example is when our yield team identifies a significant spender in the open market, they collaborate with the direct sales team to nurture and expand the partnership, ultimately benefiting the entire company.

Being able to work together, everyone wins. With the number of partners we work with, you need to build something that will work at scale. We ask how we can put tools like Revenue Intelligence (RI) into practice to do things like increase fill rates or CPMs. When we fine-tune these things as a team, we make a better product and a better team dynamic.

How does RAMP serve as a comprehensive ad monetization platform, enabling businesses to optimize and maximize their ad revenue effectively?

RAMP, or our Revenue Amplification Management Platform, brings the best of ad tech into a single tool and blends human expertise with advanced machine intelligence. The platform’s Revenue Intelligence (RI) feature harnesses machine learning and AI to ensure maximum yield on every impression for publishers.

In addition to these features, RAMP also boasts an extensive set of demand sources. From a global direct sales team to integrations with Google Open Bidding, Amazon TAM, and access to over 20+ SSPs through Prebid, RAMP ensures your business always has the best options at its disposal.

More than just a toolset, though, when businesses choose RAMP, they choose an ad tech partner. The platform offers simple technical integrations, assigns a dedicated Partner Success Manager, and provides expert guidance every step of the way. Additionally, during the onboarding process, every client goes through a full site audit.

What key metrics do you monitor to assess revenue generation, and what are the implications of these metrics on the overall business performance?

At Playwire, our focus is on delivering tangible results. To ensure we’re meeting this goal, we closely monitor a variety of ad performance metrics. The ultimate metric for Playwire is, of course, Publisher Ad Revenue. This metric is really the end all be all that our publishers are effectively monetizing their content with advertising.

Some of the most common metrics, which act as indicators of whether or not our publisher’s ad revenue is where we want it to be, include:

  • Ad Viewability: This metric measures whether users adequately see an ad. The implications of this are direct. If an ad isn’t viewable, it’s unlikely to engage the user or generate revenue.
  • Video Completion Rates (VCR): This covers the percentage of users who view an ad from start to finish. A high VCR tells us content is engaging, which can lead to better brand recall and potentially higher conversion rates.
  • Click-Through Rates (CTR): CTR indicates the number of users who click an ad after viewing. With a high CTR, we can see that an ad’s content resonates with viewers. This might lead them to seek more information or make a purchase.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): This metric tells us how much it costs to acquire a single paying customer from an ad. A lower CPA rate can highlight a more effective advertising strategy, which can directly influence profitability.
  • Purchases: This direct metric informs us of conversions resulting from an ad. This indicates an ad’s effectiveness in driving sales, which directly contributes to revenue.
  • Demographic Information: Ensuring our ads reach the intended audience is vital for effective targeting and optimizing return on ad spend. Ads that resonate with the correct demographic can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.
  • Time Spent: This newer metric assesses viewer engagement. Longer view times tend to signify more engaged users. This can lead to better brand recognition and trust.

How does Playwire’s DMP garner deeper audience insights, empowering marketers to thrive in a cookieless world?

As third-party cookies fade, Playwire’s DMP harnesses the power of first-party data. First-party cookies, which collect visitor data from a publisher’s website or app, are not going away. Our DMP provides access to a vast network of first-party data. Users can sort through this expansive collection and break down data into audience segments based on a broader set of interests and behavioral data.

Our DMP also emphasizes the use of standardized taxonomy, partnering with institutions like the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to implement industry-standard content and audience categorization.

Moreover, with the decline of cookie-based advertising, we’ve adopted contextual targeting. This puts ads on sites with brand-relevant content. This method relies on keywords and topics that already align with the content on the site, resulting in better audience engagement and optimized ad campaigns.

Can you highlight the core technologies that streamline and accelerate your revenue generation process?

Of course! We’ve already touched on a few technologies already, but let’s connect them to the revenue generation process:

  • RAMP’s Revenue Intelligence {RI}: Revenue Intelligence is a proprietary algorithm that combines human and machine intelligence to amplify ad revenue. Utilizing the RAMP Platform, RI manages ads, analyzes data from thousands of publishers, leverages data scientists to identify patterns, and uses yield ops experts for testing.
  • Data Management Platform (DMP): This platform empowers advertisers to target exactly the right audience, leading to increased engagement and efficiency in campaigns.
  • Consent Management Platform (CMP): Playwire’s CMP manages user consent for data collection. By obtaining proper consent, advertisers can legitimately use user data to inform their campaigns while keeping in line with legal guidelines and user preferences.
  • Header Bidding: Drive more competition with display, video, and in-app bidding.
  • Identity Solutions: Playwire ID, RAMP’s proprietary identity solution, improves ad revenue while respecting user privacy. The data in Playwire ID can also be applied to custom audience segments via our DMP. We also recently unveiled our Hashed Email API, which turns a user’s email address into an encrypted identifier and then shares that identifier up the chain with media buyers. The result? Everybody wins.
  • Integration with Third-Party Partners: Playwire’s technology integrates with third-party partners like Nielsen, which objectively measures audience representation. This gives advertisers additional insights and allows them to optimize ad placement and audience targeting.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Solutions: Our DMP integrates with DE&I solutions to ensure ads reach culturally represented audiences. By targeting a broader and more diverse audience, advertisers can potentially achieve higher engagement rates, contributing to greater revenue.

What groundbreaking solution is Playwire currently developing, and how could it revolutionize the ad tech industry?

We aren’t creating one groundbreaking product; we’re creating an all-in-one platform for everyone and everything. While many companies focus on singular areas like header bidding, direct sales, or data, Playwire is pioneering a solution that encompasses all these facets and more under a single roof. This holistic approach ensures that clients have a single partner advocating for them.

With that said, one distinctive business area we are currently working on is our venture into new advertising mediums, notably the metaverse. We’ve established ourselves as one of the few partners collaborating with hyper-popular platforms like Roblox.

Given the growing importance of new digital realms like the metaverse, our early engagement in these spaces, especially with an emphasis on younger audiences, presents a groundbreaking direction in the ad tech industry. Our expertise in areas like kids/COPPA, combined with our vast array of services, makes Playwire’s solutions uniquely comprehensive and positions us to redefine the future of advertising.

How do you envision AI advancements facilitating revenue growth efforts for businesses?

We already leverage the power of AI with Revenue Intelligence. Here are a few ways how that’s happening:

  • Micro-Setting Adjustments: Traditional ad revenue models often take a broad-stroke approach to impressions, which means potential ad revenue could be left on the table. AI allows businesses to make millions of micro-setting adjustment decisions on each ad impression to ensure maximum yield.
  • Personalized Impressions: Instead of treating every page load the same, AI recognizes and reacts to the myriad of variables associated with each impression. This individualized treatment amplifies the potential for increased ad revenue.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: AI thrives on data. With over 1,000 user data values from bounce rates to click rates and 500+ variables like device type and browser, AI can comprehensively analyze each factor’s influence on impression value, leading to more informed decision-making.
  • Dynamic Setting Adjustments: AI’s potential is vividly displayed in its ability to tweak hundreds of settings across the ad tech stack in real-time. For example, RI adjusts price floors, refresh rates, and bidder orders to achieve the highest revenue for each impression.
  • Cost Efficiency: AI can identify and eliminate redundant costs in your ad tech stack. It can discern where ads aren’t achieving incremental revenue to help businesses eliminate overspending.
  • Automated Pricing: Tools like RAMP’s Price Floor Controller (PFC) automate the process of setting price floors on a per-impression basis. The PFC can make 1.2 million price floor changes daily, ensuring each impression is valued at its maximum potential.

What advice would you give marketing professionals constantly facing the uphill battle of scaling revenue for their organizations?

The journey to successful scaling begins with a profound and holistic understanding of your business from its foundational roots. Firstly, the principle of simplicity and scalability is cardinal.

It’s imperative to favor strategies that strike a balance between simplicity and scalability. Although there is an undeniable allure in custom solutions, it’s essential to recognize that in the grand tapestry of business, devising processes that are both straightforward and easily replicable holds paramount significance. This is especially true when you’re aiming for scalability across varied facets of the organization or a diverse client base.

 MarTech Edge Interview with Mark Pinard, Chief Marketing Officer, Pipefy

MarTech Edge Interview with Mark Pinard, Chief Marketing Officer, Pipefy

automation 18 Aug 2023

Welcome, Mark! What challenges or obstacles did you encounter during your marketing journey, and how did you successfully overcome them?

The biggest challenges have always been around developing a deep understanding of buyers and how to build effective programs to target them. Every company, every product, and every opportunity I have had in my career has been based on what I have successfully done as a product marketer. But with each new opportunity comes a new product and a new audience to sell to – so you are basically pressing the reset button every time.

This is a big challenge as it takes time to develop that knowledge, and when working with a new team, it takes time to be able to best support them. I will tell you, though, that for me, sticking to what I know has worked in the past. Even if you don’t know the buyer, you can still apply the frameworks and structure you have used in the past to develop it.

At the leadership level, coming in with templates and examples of success can be very inspiring to your team as it provides them with a roadmap; also, tangible examples of how these templates succeeded can provide a level of energy that the team may have been missing.

How are you leveraging your extensive years of experience to develop a winning strategy for Pipefy?

By implementing the battle-tested frameworks and templates I have developed over the years of my career, I am developing a winning marketing strategy for Pipefy. For me, being a good leader is about being down in the trenches and being part of the team. My extensive years of experience just means that I have more scars and a deeper understanding of where the land mines might be. Sharing this knowledge with the team through these battle-tested frameworks and allowing them to put their own approach to it is a recipe for success.

How do you ensure a unique and distinctive approach with a no/low-code platform, and what factors contribute to achieving error-proof execution?

Understanding your buyer, their needs, pain points, what they care about, how they consume information, how they make buying decisions, the list goes on and on. I started my career in sales and have always lived under the mantra “everyone is a sales rep”, and this comes by deeply understanding and caring about your customer. Every vertical, business size, etc. requires a distinctive approach to how you target them; no two customers are the same. By deeply understanding your customers, you can then tailor your message, tone of voice, content, etc., based on what you know they consume (research, whitepapers, LinkedIn, blogs, video, podcasts, webinars, case studies) on your distribution channels (social, paid, etc.) they are utilizing to learn and make decisions.

With that said, nothing in marketing is ever error-proof; it requires multitudes of testing to get it right. You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable because things will undoubtedly fail. But if you aren’t failing, you aren’t learning. Learning allows you to optimize your playbook and ultimately get to predictability or, as you say, “error-proof.”

What are the key benefits and advantages of utilizing Pipefy's customizable analytics feature?

Simply put, the fact that you can customize them. When it comes to process management, every single business has a challenge that is unique to their business and will have unique analytics requirements. With Pipefy, we put the power in your hands to customize the analytics based on what you are looking to monitor for process performance gains. Whether it’s ticket SLAs or employee onboarding time, you have complete flexibility to track what makes sense for your business. Sneak peek, Pipefy AI will now make that even easier with the ability to ask it anything regarding your processes with an instant answer.

What upcoming advancements and innovations can we anticipate from Pipefy in the near future?

We are always looking for innovative ways to improve the efficiency of process management, and AI will be game-changing for us. The ability to have best-in-class processes automatically built for you, just based on Pipefy's understanding of a few data points about your business, will be revolutionary in two ways. First, a tremendous amount of time will be saved by having a process already built that can be custom-tailored to your particular business needs and pain points. And second, it will provide the ability to deliver real-time analytics at your fingertips, regardless of what you are looking for. Need to know how long, on average, it takes your procurement team to process a purchase request? Done. Need to know how many of your sales reps have hit their quota over the last four months? Easy. Whether you are a department leader or a citizen developer, AI truly changes the landscape of no-code process management, and we’re really excited about it.

What, in your opinion, are some crucial considerations and potential challenges that arise when implementing AI in marketing practices, and how can these be effectively addressed?

When it comes to marketing, AI does not replace the level of experience required for proper execution. It can provide direction and make some of the marketing challenges a bit easier by providing different perspectives, but there still needs to be a layer of understanding to complement it. Like in process management, AI can be used to help fill your biggest gaps in execution or efficiency. For instance, you need to get sales emails written, but your content team is at capacity; AI can help at least as a starting point. It will definitely change the way we work, but I’m very skeptical it will replace the level of experience required to execute marketing at a really high level.

How do you approach and leverage technological shifts to your advantage in your business strategy?

Being in SaaS my entire career, I embrace technological shifts as the advancement is designed to make our lives better in one way or another. But with that comes a balance of having too many solutions to solve too many things. You can overwhelm yourselves with too big of a tech stack because the layers between what each of them does or does not do become blurred. I relate it to kids on Christmas morning, who love seeing the abundance of presents under the tree, but once they unwrap them, they are overwhelmed with what to play with, and something always gets left behind.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who are venturing into the marketing industry and aiming for success?

Don’t be afraid to fail, as every failure is an opportunity to learn. Also, have patience; marketing is not built overnight, it’s a lot of tiny steps to get to a place of predictability, and even once you are there, it changes overnight. Being lean and agile with understanding takes time, but it will pay you huge dividends in the end. I have seen too many marketers in a startup trying to build an empire overnight (even done it myself). They hire a huge team, buy a huge tech stack and throw a lot of money at different things because it’s what everyone else is doing. Don’t make that mistake; take the time to understand your target audience, how they make buying decisions and use that as the foundation to build your marketing strategy.

What is your vision for Pipefy for the next five years, and what strategies do you have in place to achieve these goals?

From a marketing standpoint, it’s having a predictable marketing playbook with error-proof execution; from a company standpoint, it’s being the most innovative no-code process management solution on the market. We don’t want to compete in the industry; we want to change the landscape of it as a whole. As for strategies, it's doing what we are doing today, keep testing, keep learning, and keep applying.

 MarTech Edge Interview with Arnaud Bensaid, Vice President Marketing, SoftAtHome

MarTech Edge Interview with Arnaud Bensaid, Vice President Marketing, SoftAtHome

technology 16 Aug 2023

Welcome, Arnaud! Please tell us about your professional journey which led you to SoftAtHome.

Greetings, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

I embarked on my professional journey 25 years ago as a management consultant. Over the years, I discovered that my true calling lies in marketing technology. I have a deep passion for tech and, more importantly, the positive impact it can have on end users, enriching their lives significantly. Working as a consultant has been a remarkable experience, allowing me to delve into various topics across different companies relatively quickly. This exposure has given me a broad perspective on the market and organizational dynamics.

After spending a decade as a consultant, I was privileged to lead a team to establish a new company exclusively focused on Connected Home solutions. The company, now known as SoftAtHome, is a software provider catering to Telecom Operators seeking to offer services beyond essential connectivity. Leading the marketing team at SoftAtHome is a daily thrill as we constantly innovate and shape the connected home experience of the future.

What lessons would you like to impart from the 15 years of journey as VP of Marketing in terms of martech?

As the Marketing VP, there are several valuable martech lessons I would like to share. Martech presents an incredible opportunity to leverage technology to improve marketing efforts. However, it is crucial to remember that martech is just a tool and should be treated as such. Its primary purpose is to enhance efficiency, not become an objective in its own right.

Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that martech initiatives align with the broader business objectives. Understanding how technology investments can support and enhance marketing efforts is crucial to the organization’s success.

While SoftAtHome is a technology company that appreciates and uses technology daily, we recognize that end-customer satisfaction remains paramount.

In order to thrive in this dynamic landscape, it is essential to stay informed and adaptable, embracing new tools and adjusting strategies to keep our martech stack relevant and effective.

What are the key challenges and opportunities you see in the telecom and broadcast industry for SoftAtHome?

The telecom and broadcast industry has consistently faced disruptions. These are valuable learning opportunities and drive the need for constant adaptation. Our sector encounters numerous challenges and opportunities, and overlooking the potential impact of the next disruption can jeopardize a company’s survival. To keep pace with the rapidly changing industry, continuous software innovation is essential to meet evolving demands.

Users must be at the core of all endeavors. New services must hold meaning, relevance, and value to them. Additionally, exploring how to harness Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create personalized experiences while ensuring privacy management in an increasingly interconnected world is a critical consideration.

Open-Source Software (OSS) has continued to permeate our ecosystem since our creation over a decade ago. Initially a challenge, especially from a monetization perspective, OSS has become a fantastic opportunity. Software reuse lowers development costs and carbon footprint while raising quality through peer review and testing. SoftAtHome has always seen itself as a club of operators, and by spearheading open-source initiatives like prpl, we have helped to foster a community around the best home network software for operators.

Effectively navigating all these challenges and opportunities in the telecom and broadcast industry requires a profound understanding of the market, customer needs, and technological trends. By remaining agile, innovative, and customer-centric, we firmly believe that SoftAtHome can establish itself as a leading force in the telecom and broadcast software industry.

Can you provide more insights on the concepts discussed in your article regarding the future implications of AI and the convergence it has with edge computing?

The article discusses the future of AI in the telecom and broadcast industry, emphasizing the growing role of edge computing. AI and Machine Learning traditionally required vast computational resources and data, typically processed in data centers or the cloud. However, with the rise of edge computing, data storage and processing are brought closer to the point of interaction, enabling devices like Connected TVs to employ AI for tasks like improving video and audio quality without heavy reliance on cloud resources.

The edge computing paradigm offers several advantages, including enhanced privacy, reduced latency, and increased user trust. As consumers become more privacy-conscious, processing data locally at the edge ensures more secure ways of handling personal information. Furthermore, low-latency responses have become an expectation in voice-assistant interactions, and edge computing facilitates faster decision-making.

The article emphasizes the need for operators to adopt edge computing solutions, with Broadband Home Gateways playing a central role. Telecom operators can manage these gateways as powerful edge computing systems through federative learning, enabling model training without accessing raw personal data. Overall, edge AI complements cloud computing and offers energy-saving benefits, making it a promising area for operators to explore in the evolving AI landscape.

How does SoftAtHome’s hybrid product approach impact its marketing strategy?

Our company started solely focused on embedded software solutions. Transitioning the relevant software part to the cloud became a game changer considering factors like real-time processing versus massive computing. The hybrid approach is now central to SoftAtHome’s marketing strategy. It involves integrating both cloud computing and edge computing within the context of AI.

This approach has enabled us to meet customer expectations regarding privacy, security, and the ubiquity of our solutions. Additionally, it has increased our agility over time and improved the energy efficiency of our software offerings.

By adopting the hybrid approach, SoftAtHome has positioned itself as an innovative, reliable, and customer-centric partner for telecom operators. We now provide a comprehensive suite of AI-powered solutions tailored to the evolving needs of our customers. We are moving together to a more connected and efficient future in the telecom industry.

How does SoftAtHome measure its marketing campaigns’ success in customer acquisition, engagement, and retention?

We are a B2B2C company, and critical metrics for our operator customers include subscriber acquisition, engagement, and retention. Tracking new subscriptions through sign-ups, demos, or trials is therefore essential for them. Existing customer engagement is measured through website traffic, click-through rates, and social media interactions.

LinkedIn is the primary social platform used between our operator clients and us. We carefully analyze interactions and engagement for a comprehensive view of campaign success.

SoftAtHome uses other marketing automation and CRM systems for streamlined data analysis. This data-driven approach fosters lasting customer relationships.

What advice would you like to give budding marketers struggling to make a mark in the industry?

Building a successful career in marketing takes time and effort. Be customer-focused; focus on your unique selling proposition, stay committed, be patient, and consistently strive for improvement. With dedication, passion, and continuously developing your skills, you can make a mark in the industry and achieve your goals.

How do you anticipate the future of martech unfolding and the impact it will have on the telecom and broadcast industries?

I anticipate the future of martech to be transformative for the telecom and broadcast industries. Rapid technological advancements, particularly in AI and data analytics, will continue to revolutionize how businesses approach marketing.

Martech will play a pivotal role in enhancing customer experiences and personalization. AI-powered solutions enable targeted content delivery, real-time data analysis, and more efficient customer engagement. Data privacy will remain a top priority, and martech will offer innovative solutions to address these concerns, building greater trust with consumers.

In short, it will be marked by cutting-edge technologies, increased personalization, and a strong focus on data privacy and customer-centricity.


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