Mike Driscoll: CMO’s are now waking up to the fact that when they spend their marketing dollars, they’re not just getting performance, but they also have a right to get the data about what performed, how, where, and when. As that realization is starting to percolate in this domain, CMO’s are recognizing how important data is and that they need to have the tools to bring disparate data from various channels together to make intelligent choices. I think we’re in the early innings of that process. It’s an enormously complex challenge.
Candidly, it’s going to be any one company that will solve it. Facebook or Google cannot solve all of the problems that marketers have in terms of gaining a holistic advantage of their marketing budgets.
Sramana Mitra: If you were to comment on some problems that you see customers try to solve, could you point to anything concrete where you see opportunities for new entrepreneurs to build something new?
Mike Driscoll: There’s a lot of opportunities in every vertical, especially in the world of digital marketing, which, frankly, will soon just become marketing. If we assume that marketers will eventually get smarter about gathering the data that corresponds to their media buying activities and are able to pull that data into their own silos, I think there’s an enormous opportunity to layer in intelligence on top of that data.
In the early innings of marketing automation, it’s really just been about getting information about campaigns – information about all of the aspects of a customer journey into one place. Once that’s there, then I think there’s a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs to provide software that will help marketers truly optimize their marketing spend. Most of the value being driven today in marketing technology has been around efficiencies. I think the next value creation we’ll see is going to be around intelligence and optimization. That’s where we see all the great things about machine learning and AI. That entire toolkit will start to have real relevance for this industry in the coming years.
Sramana Mitra: To your point about the interface between knowledge and data that exists about the customer inside the organization’s data silos versus who’s being marketed to, what they’re being marketed to, and how they’re being marketed to, that interface is still a little big disjointed, isn’t it?
Mike Driscoll: I think there’s a realization among CMO’s that their customer data and their customer relationship management systems really ought to be theirs and not somebody else’s. With that realization comes the requirement that they do something with all of that data. In the last few years, we’ve seen that there’s been a small number of companies that have been extremely successful and large businesses that are tremendously adept at leveraging their customer databases. The opportunity for entrepreneurs is to say, “Can we take the same software and bring it to the rest of the world?” The likelihood that everyone will turn the keys over to Amazon or Google to do that for them is unlikely.
Sramana Mitra: I think I’ve got your perspective. Thank you for your time.