Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you join Dynamic Signal?
I have been in technology since 1996. I joined a company that helped people find books that they would enjoy. This company took books you already like and helped you find other books you would like. That technology was used to help drive more book sales. I love the fact that technology can help solve new, different problems. We all want to be valued, we all want to be heard, and we all want to know what’s going on.
Despite the ongoing explosion of technology in people’s lives, people have either too much information or too little. And Dynamic Signal solves that. The vision of improving the employee experience in the world’s largest organizations is singular and amazing. I’ve also worked with this leadership team before. They’re innovative and they’re a pleasure to work with.
What’s the role of an employee engagement platform within the spectrum of MarTech?
I’m a huge believer in Marketing Automation. It has helped us reach customers with value more efficiently. The better your relationship with your employee, the better they’re going to be at delivering value to your customers. Within the spectrum of marketing tech, you should think of an employee engagement platform as a way to reach all your employees — to make sure they all understand what’s important. It’s also a way to activate them and convert people into advocates. At Dynamic Signal, we’ve seen targeted reach and employee advocacy expand marketing programs by 22 times — that kind of amplification doesn’t come from anything else in your marketing stack.
How do you see employee engagement programs evolving to meet the needs of businesses?
Employee engagement programs are going to incorporate more things that the company does — whether it’s helping people know schedules or their vacation time or their benefits programs. It is how you share thought leadership, customer and product announcements as well as celebrate employees. They’re going to help people know what’s for lunch or about a cool CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) project. We will see increased video and more attention paid to how we use imagery. We’ll see more optimization for learning what’s working and what’s not so that we’re continuously improving.
What emerging technologies are you most excited to watch over the next five years?
I think there’s going to be more consolidation. We’re overrun with tech. Things that consolidate and simplify are going to be exciting. While I’m excited about AI for certain activities, I think people want a human connection. I think we’ll need to find a balance between what’s more efficient and what needs a person.
There’s been a lot of buzz about workstream collaboration tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams over the past few years. How do you see marketers and salespeople leveraging these platforms in the future?
Before Slack there was Chatter. Salespeople want to be able to communicate. All these things are very typing-heavy. Marketers are often at a keyboard and that’s fine — if a bit noisy. We want people to be able to get questions answered and share information. These tools are good for that. When you get out of a focused use they become noisy. We’re in a constant battle against the noise and keyboards.
What does Dynamic Signal’s product roadmap look like for the New Year?
We focus on how to improve the employee experience for the world’s largest organizations. We try to make it really delightful — knowing what they can share with their colleagues and what they can share publicly. We focus on things like how we use video, how we use targeting so people can get what they need. We also focus on marketing and how you can share things across platforms — how many people engaged with content, what was shared and what business outcomes resulted.
Our roadmap really focuses on how we make it intuitive and easy for communicators and how do we make it easy to measure who’s being reached. We’re improving them and making them better. We’re continuing to expand our APIs, integrations and partnerships so employees can be reached where they prefer to be reached.
What are your predictions on the state of employee engagement for 2019?
I think that many more CEOs are realizing with this labor market that they have to be focused on employee experience to deliver a great customer experience and grow their company. We’ll take a good hard look at how employees want to receive information. It’s an employee-centered world.
How much have Marketing Operations changed since the arrival of Automation and BI/Analytics tools? How do you leverage these tools at Dynamic Signal?
Marketing has changed tremendously. The pendulum has swung in one direction where we now do everything with data and testing. But we need to remember that at the end of the day you need to reach people emotionally. And then you have to have a product that fulfills that promise. If you break a promise the word gets around very quickly. At Dynamic Signal, we like to track analytics and measure how many people we reach, but also how those opportunities (sales or otherwise) advanced. Data and analytics are not going to tell me what to do next; they tell me what worked. I do think people over-rely sometimes on the data.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
We use Marketo with Bizable, we use SalesLoft, I use Wrike, we use Leadspace to better understand and find potential targets. We use Tryprospect and Zoominfo — and Vidyard for video prospecting.
How often do you measure the performance of your Marketing Analytics and Sales Reporting?
Constantly. We look at some things every week, some every day, some on the quarter. We look on a continuous basis, and we seek to improve and consolidate.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign?
Our campaigns are always integrated. We did our first customer Summit in October. We had no idea how many would come and be together for this day of sharing experiences. So we used Email Marketing, direct marketing, Content Marketing (where we interviewed our speakers, etc). We put together an awards program that was very exciting. We had our SDRs and our customer success managers inviting people personally.
The whole goal was to have this amazing, sold-out summit. We did! I don’t know that any one piece made it a success, but all the feedback was that people loved the event and the lead-up. We came in under budget, and our customers love being together and learning from each other. It was really a company initiative – we had partners who were helping promote as well.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
What do you want AI to do? If you’re looking to find patterns and insights and you have a lot of data, that’s great. If you’re looking for personalization in the customer experience and AI can show them that, that’s terrific. You need to have a lot of data to train AI. I think there are some pretty exciting things going on there. But it’s important to remember that AI can’t tell you how to differentiate from your competitors. It can’t tell you how to emotionally engage. I think there are really good uses, but AI doesn’t do a lot of things (writing, intuition, imagery, etc) very well. It is very good at finding insights, handling common and repetitive tasks and matching things.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
It’s not a question of inspiring — it’s how we do our work. All our people have to integrate their efforts with our tools to measure the impact of what they’re doing. It’s not how do you inspire people. If your technology can help them succeed (and prove it), people will use it.
One word that best describes how you work.
GSD – Get Stuff Done
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Wrike, Salesforce, Marketo, Dashlane, Evernote, Zoom.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
The Top 3: Pick 3 things for the week that you have to complete — 3 that you’re focused on. Then you tell everybody. Once everyone knows, then you’ll get them done.
What are you currently reading?
“The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t chase jobs, buses or men — there’s always another one coming along.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I am able to identify the key question or insight that’s going to advance the conversation.
Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
I enjoy things Seth Godin writes, so I would enjoy his.
Thank you, Joelle! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.