Marketo’s CMO on the future of marketing

Marketing technology is entering a brave new world and no one has a better view of it than Sanjay Dholakia, CMO at Marketo.’s Tom Kaneshige visits with Dholakia to discuss where martech is headed.

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Also, people make the mistake the mobile device is one channel. That's not true. This thing is like 10 channels. A life insurance company will look dumb when I'm on the same physical device, same spatial device, the company says I should get life insurance, I say no, and then I move my thumb an inch to the left and get the same message from the company -- all because they haven't connected the understanding of me across all these channels. You wrote a blog post about the death of “Mad Men"-styled ad agencies. What do you mean?

Dholakia: It wasn't coincidence that the series ended. Advertising will be there, people will still spend trillions of dollars, but it's going to get spent in a much more targeted way. For the longest time, all these channels lived in isolation from each other, pushing or blasting generic messages. Paid advertising and engagement-loyalty-personalization marketing completely separated. Now both are collapsing on top of each other. The notion that I can take my paid channels and connect them to all my other marketing is a very powerful idea.

[Related: Adtech and martech worlds collide]

There's the famous John Wanamaker quote, "I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted, I just don't know which half." Now, with the data, I can know precisely which half isn't working. More importantly, what if I could make that half as productive as the other half? What if I could increase 100 percent the efficacy of my marketing by making that paid advertising better? I can use all this first-data, even if it's anonymous, to inform my ad buying and therefore target very specific information to you.

That's the idea behind Marketo's Ad Bridge. It's another extension of this concept of, you gotta engage everywhere. You have to use all of the information you have about me to make my experience with you as relevant as possible. Big changes are coming to marketing and commerce. What is the social and cultural impact?

Dholakia: That's a really great question. The theme of this year's Marketo Summit was "inspiration in the nation." Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez was talking about Hero K12, the education company that's using Marketo to make the lives of children better by driving new engagement models to charter schools in underserved communities. I had Salman Khan of Khan Academy on stage with me. They're literally changing the world, the nature of education. I see enough evidence that both public and private [organizations] are trying to create access where it didn't exist.

Marketers in this new world have a voice, and their influence will increase dramatically. They will be the architects of these consumer relationships and engagement. They'll have the ability to motivate and move behavior at scale. Yes, they'll use it to drive the mission and purpose of their business or organization, but they can also use it for good, a powerful purpose, to inspire. Just like everything else, there will be some awful people who will use it in bad ways, but marketers seizing this opportunity en masse can truly change the world. What makes marketers good stewards?

Dholakia: I'm not saying marketers will be the only stewards, just that they'll become a more powerful steward at the meta societal level. They'll share that stewardship with government institutions, media, journalism. To change human behavior is not a trivial thing. History is replete with evidence that great storytelling, emotional resonance of a message, and passion will move and change people's behavior. Heretofore, that has historically been the domain of political leaders. We know kinda how that goes. So marketers create a counterbalance. Where you had a limited number of voices, you now have so many more of these creative, passionate people who know how to tell a story and mobilize people. I think this is what makes them great stewards.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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