Day one

Day one. In anyone’s career, those are two incredibly exciting words.

I’m particularly excited because this is actually my second Day One. My first was over ten years ago in my small London home. I was furiously cold-emailing marketers about the “controversial” idea that they shouldn’t just be focused on driving traffic to their websites, but on prioritizing conversion over everything else. (Hard to believe we lived in a time when marketers needed to be convinced of that, right?) Our company didn’t have a lot of money, I had almost nothing personally, and the clock was ticking on our ability to prove the value of this idea.

Challenging that status quo was important enough to start Maxymiser in 2006. It’s why it grew so quickly in the subsequent years and why Oracle acquired it in 2015. It remains a significant product of their marketing cloud today.

Today’s Day One comes at another inflection point in our industry. Marketers and advertisers are burdened with mediocre technology and disappointed that most of the promises MarTech and AdTech companies make aren’t kept.

They’re being asked to change the way they work to retro-fit to the tools they use, rather than the other way around. The difficulty of making sense of their data is made even tougher by consumers questioning if it should be available to marketers in the first place. We’ve leaned heavily into technology, but seem to be losing the inherent humanity needed to actually move people.

So again, we find ourselves in a place where the status quo needs to be challenged. But on this company’s Day One—our first day as an entirely separate entity from IBM—we’re much further along than on my last one, and we’re ready to disrupt the marketing cloud space as we know it. Here are a few of the key things I’ve learned and intend to bring forward:

First: Your company is only as good as the people on your team.

With over 1,000 people on Day One, we’re far from a small company. And yet, we’re also able to be one of the nimblest and most responsive to industry changes of any other marketing cloud. We aren’t weighed down by unrelated businesses and large company structures like our competitors, but we have the experience and capabilities to match them and are able to focus 100% on the marketer.

Our team plans to make better use of our existing technology, and will be quickly and relentlessly improving. Using new customer analytics, we’ll have more daily insight into the experience of our marketing clients and their end consumers, empowering us to solve marketing challenges and capitalize on new opportunities. We’ve built this team not to tell marketers what to do, but for them to tell us how we can help. We’re listening, and we’ll be in a better place to achieve amazing results together.

Second: Good products should remove obstacles, not create new ones.

It’s not enough to be “good enough.” That might sound obvious, but if you look at what products marketing and advertising technology companies have produced lately, it’s worth reiterating. Issues will always arise when you’re running (and especially starting) a company, but if you stay a step ahead of customers’ challenges, many of them will forgive temporary missteps because you’re helping them get better results. It’s hard to put a price on that.

Our first priority for our products is to improve their ability to connect with each other. While this exists to some extent today, we will now take the extra step of unifying our underlying data structure. This is one of those “under the hood” improvements that isn’t really seen but is definitely felt. Connecting our products from the ground up not only improves performance and speed, it also removes the burden of legacy technology and allows us to innovate at a rapidly accelerated pace. It’s a gauntlet often thrown down in our industry but almost never delivered. We’re excited by the challenge.

When we pioneered AI-powered marketing, we knew it was going to change the discipline as we know it. This technology allows marketers to make better sense of their data, automate routine tasks, even uncover new insights. While there is tremendous potential in AI, we’re only in the early days of this era. We’re going to double down on AI by investing in a robust data science team to push the limits of the capabilities and more product designers to make those capabilities consumable, continuing our mission to purpose-build AI for the marketer.

We also know that marketing is a collaborative discipline—not only across teams, but across products and companies too. We’ll support how marketers work by expanding our open marketing ecosystem to make it easier for other companies to partner with us. We believe that the state of data is a mess, and there’s huge potential for a truly open marketing ecosystem. We’re going to build it.

Why stop at MarTech? One of the biggest opportunities ahead of us will be to at last unify AdTech and MarTech, supporting marketers at every stage of the customer journey. We’re going to begin this with some exciting partnerships we’ll be announcing soon.

Each product we build and every service we provide will be designed to help our customers do their best work. If what we produce gets in the way of that, we aren’t doing our jobs. I commit to making sure we exceed marketers’ expectations.

Third: The best advice comes from your customers – turn them into champions.

“Listen to your customers” isn’t a new idea, but what’s often lost is what to do with that information. Many would say to invest those learnings back into the product, but I also think it should go back into customers.

Better education programs for our customers—both about our products and about the forward-thinking insights we get from the industry—will lead to better outcomes. We plan to share these insights in a new customer community, in-person events, onboarding programs, and a brand-new customer summit in 2020.

While thinking about what kind of company we want to be, we’ve made a conscious choice to better listen to the needs of our customers. We need to hear the human dynamics in the market and find solutions that resonate. This approach will inform everything we do, and will be even clearer once we launch our new company branding on July 15th.

This is Day One of our new relationship together. We can’t wait to hear what you need and to solve for it together.

– Mark