Interview with Cliff Seal, Principal Designer at Pardot, for the Martech report 2020.
Earlier this year we sat down with Cliff Seal to pick his brain on why marketing technology has become such a big trend right now, why people should really care and what to think about before investing in new technology. Cliff is a Principal Designer passionate about keeping people at the heart of design and marketing. He’s also an accomplished speaker who’s given talks around the world. One of his main messages in this interview, which can be applied to all marketing leaders, is to encourage businesses to focus more on their customers and less on trends and buzzwords. With that said, as marketing technology (also known as Martech) has become crucial to deliver on consumers increasing expectations in terms of convenience and personal experiences, how does one find the right balance between tech and people? Cliff gave us some pointers…
In your opinion, what is the main purpose of Martech?
It’s really easy to over-purchase technology to try to compensate for what you think your team might not be able to do. But, that needs to be flipped around: technology should be empowering the individuals who are doing the communication, whether that’s marketing or other touchpoints in the lifecycle. Technology doesn’t know anything about your users and your customers. You have to tell it everything, even when it’s “intelligent”. So, the goal of all solutions—and the entire stack—should be empowering the people to understand and care about customers to actually create a business that benefits everyone.
What advice do you give Pardot customers on how to measure their marketing technology investments?
It is difficult. If it was easy, everyone would know how to do it. Over the long term, it’s important to keep all metrics in one place to help create contextualized data. To figure out the best way to measure investment in shorter terms, agree as a team on marketing and revenue outcomes, and evaluate your Martech stack’s ability to support the team in achieving those outcomes.
What would you say are the main differences between how companies work with Martech in Europe vs North America?
In comparison with Europe, companies in the US are way more willing to try new, unproven tech with the assumption that it might work or may prove valuable within a few years. At the same time, the end-users of the technology at these companies seem more willing to try another solution on their own and advocate for change in the company purchase decisions.
How do you make sure you stay up to date in this rapidly changing landscape?
The easiest way to keep up with the changing Martech landscape is to talk to your customers. All that matters is your ability to connect to potential and current customers. Understand how to connect with them and how to do research well. Once you do, you can leverage the technology to scale this type of connection and research.
What do you think will be the next thing to look out for in the Martech field?
I believe there will be a clear, worldwide resetting of economies, and marketing teams going back to the basics. Thriving in this reset is about having the right mindset: think about what won’t change in the next 20-30 years. For example, Amazon knows people will always want to buy things and receive them quickly. That basic need won’t change. Don’t chase trends. To keep up with changes in marketing tactics and concepts, I encourage marketers to study “systems thinking”. This approach helps you see what does and doesn’t change over time, and understand how changing technology will affect outcomes.
Looking into investing in new marketing technology for your Martech stack? Don’t miss Cliff’s recommendations on what to think about before you buy.
The report Martech 2020 is based on a quantitative survey, and interviews, in Northern Europe and is conducted by Wiraya, Odyssey, CMO goes Tech, and SWEDMA – all of which represent different parts of a growing Martech industry.