INmarket: Data is the New Black – Past And Future Of B2B Technology
Paul Teshima, CEO of Nudge.ai, is a successful technology executive who has run services, customer success, account management, support and product management. Paul helped lead Eloqua (marketing automation) as part of the executive team – from $0 to over $100 million in revenue – through IPO and a successful acquisition for $957 million by Oracle.
Paul spoke at INmarket on The Past And Future Of B2B Marketing Technology on July 8, 2015 in San Francisco.
6s: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in B2B marketing technology since Eloqua’s founding?
PT: I think one of the biggest changes has been the use of time to the advantage of the marketer:
- predictive (future time)
The concept that marketing builds a calendar for the year and then executes that campaign calendar, regardless of what is going on in the world, doesn’t make sense anymore. Marketing tech is about taking all of these inputs (data/content) and providing marketers with insights to deliver what the buyer wants/needs, and where they want it, on their timeframe.
6s: How have you seen the role of data in marketing change over the last decade? Where do you see data-driven marketing headed?
PT: I have always believed “data is the new black,” and that it is the foundation of every good marketing tech stack. If you have bad data, it is really hard to do anything well in marketing. However, recently there is much more implicit (behavioral, inferred interest, etc.) data out there compared to explicit data, which is new to marketers. Implicit data is hard because it is not definitive. It “may” mean something, and it “may” not. But over time you can correlate this data to assumed outcomes, and that is where it can help, but you need solutions to help guide marketers to the right answers.
6s: What are some of today’s B2B marketers’ greatest barriers to success?
PT: I think marketers are still struggling with finding the right people with the right skills to take advantage of all the new marketing technologies out there–you could call them modern marketing operations people. The good news is that with all the focus on growth hacking in startups, over time, this will create a wave of new marketing operations people who can scale into bigger marketing organizations and teams.
The other challenge is that some marketers fall into a trap of believing that the technology should solve most of their problems. Great marketing still requires a lot of hard work, and is especially tough if you don’t have a great product or service to market. Without technology, it is a lot harder, but today it is almost table stakes to have some form of marketing campaign/automation system just to be in the game.
6s: What new tools and technologies do you believe will be “the future” of B2B marketing technology?
PT: There is a great blog post from Logan Bartlett from Battery Ventures in which he talks about the evolution of marketing and sales technology from “doing sh#t to managing sh#t to understanding sh#t.” I kinda like that description. When I started at Eloqua, the main thing we were trying to do was to get marketers to run better campaigns with automation — that was considered a success. Over time, when lots of marketers were doing lots of stuff — it was important to manage it, or things quickly went sideways. And now that you have many more marketing organizations doing a good job executing and managing stuff — it is time that the C-level starts understanding what it all means. Where are the opportunities to get much better, and how can that be done?
6s: How is the increase in B2B marketing technologies changing the marketing-sales dynamic?
PT: This is definitely an interesting dynamic, as I believe this is not a “wave” but more a “pendulum.” Marketing is becoming more accountable for the growth of the business, and because of that, can hold sales more accountable to do their part as well. However, as the customer (buyer) becomes accustomed to the hyper-personalized marketing experience, I feel they will gravitate towards engaging with trusted sales people earlier. Early research from Sirius Decisions suggests this, and marketing may need to focus more on “teeing up” opportunities for sales discussions versus only generating qualified leads. There are 15+ million sales professionals in the US alone — do you think they are just going to go away? At the end of the day, it is the buyer who wins in this pendulum effect between marketing and sales, and that is all goodness.