What opportunities and challenges did you and/or Zuant identify at the start of 2018 and have things worked out as planned?

Well, the big one here, of course, has been GDPR. By the start of 2018, we were already 18 months into the complete redesign of Zuant’s server-side having seen this as an opportunity to add a lot of other data management facilities along with the requirements of GDPR.

This really has been one of our biggest projects, and total elapsed time has been about three years. But we now have a very intelligent system for managing online and off-line data across multiple mobile devices, which will be increasingly important for many different types of clients in the future.

The downside of all this has been a backlog of other perhaps more exciting features that we are now getting back into. But overall, we’re really excited about the position we have reached.

As someone who has seen CRMs and Marketing Automation grow from close quarters, how do you contribute your expertise to the B2B marketing and advertising landscape?

The big problem we notice is that the increasing sophistication of Marketing Automation systems is moving ahead much faster than clients’ ability to maintain good data to feed into these systems.

Therefore, what we do go back to basics with regular CRM data audits, classic segmentation, and even market penetration studies to top up with new prospective data. This puts clients in a much better position to really get the benefits from discrete Marketing Automation campaigns based on the niche types of data and different target areas.

What are your predictions on the “Role of Marketing Data” in making Marketing Automation platforms more refined?

Developing my comments from the second question, we have always suffered from a lack of really good list and data providers in a world full of cowboys selling data from all sorts of disreputable sources!

This means that other ways of enhancing new data streams is vital; from inbound traffic either from the web or from trade shows, for instance, and specialist industry organizations, combined with potential enhancement by Dun & Bradstreet or looking at existing public domain information to enrich individual contact records. With those additional attributes, we can then drive forward with marketing automation campaigns tailored to the finer profiles of the individual.

What was the most impactful lesson you learned in 2018? How do you plan to implement it in 2019?

As tech becomes more and more important to the systems we offer, it has recently become more apparent that there are really two streams of development: the long-term deep-dive type of tech that may be measured in months or years, as opposed to using more agile technologies to deliver the same results in a much shorter time.

Although, both certainly have their place, it’s so easy to get sucked into the long-term development projects and use this as an excuse to delay short-term enhancements that could be pushed through quickly with, say, 90% of the functionality than what you’re looking for, while you wait for the fuller development to take place.

Which leaders in the industry do you closely work with? How do they help you stay close to the business actions?

We work closely with Ian Gotts one of the co-founders of Elements, following the successful sale of their previous business to Tibco. Based in San Francisco, with a total dedication to all things Salesforce, this allows us to keep our focus and ears to the ground in Silicon Valley.

Tag a leader in the industry whose predictions you would like to see here.

Matt Heinz

One advice to all the CEOs and marketing leaders in your community –

Without a doubt, our best advice is always to keep it simple! It’s so easy to get blindsided by all of the sophistication of the increasing number of systems available for your Tech Stack. This means that it is absolutely vital to step back and look at the key ingredients of your systems and see that they match your overall marketing objectives.

Then, create some highly visual dashboards to track the key metrics from web interest, for instance, to sales leads through to follow up by sales. It is in this area of visibility that is lacking, which makes it hard to see the forest from the trees…

Interview by Sudipto Ghosh for MarTech Series

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