Acquia is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company co-founded by Dries Buytaert and Jay Batson to provide enterprise products, services, and technical support for the open-source web content management platform Drupal.
As Acquia’s chief marketing officer, Lynne Capozzi oversees all global marketing functions including digital marketing, demand generation, operations, vertical strategy, analyst relations, content and corporate communications.
We had a chance to sit down with Lynne and spoke about her career journey, the changing role of the CMO, and her predictions for the martech industry in 2020.
I got my start doing classroom training on software, moved into a sales engineer role, and eventually joined marketing at Lotus Development, where I fell in love with the field.
I worked my way up to become a general manager and vice president of marketing at Lotus Notes, which you may now know as part of IBM. After Lotus was acquired by IBM, I stayed for another 2 years before hitting the startup circuit. I ended my time at IBM as the vice president and general manager of the Internet Applications Division.
After IBM, I got bit by the startup bug again and served in a few chief marketing officer roles at Systinet, which was acquired by Mercury Interactive, and JackBe, which was acquired by Software AG, before coming to Acquia, first in 2008 and again in 2016.
I spent a few years running a nonprofit between my two-part tenure at Acquia.
Certainly. Acquia was founded in 2007 by Dries Buytaert — many know him as the inventor of Drupal, which powers 3% of the web. Acquia was created to help brands build incredible customer experiences on an open source CMS. At first, “customer experience” meant websites. Today, it means something much bigger. Customers interact with brands in so many new and different ways, from mobile apps, to AI assistants, and more.
So Acquia has evolved to offer a full digital experience platform (or DXP) that’s built on open source principles. We give our customers the freedom to build the future of digital marketing on their terms — that’s why brands like Liverpool Football Club, L’Oreal Group, Lonely Planet, and more rely on Acquia.
I’m one of Acquia’s boomerang stories — I just couldn’t stay away!
I first joined Acquia in 2008, leaving in 2011 to run a non profit. I returned to Acquia in 2016. While I was away, Acquia grew from a startup to a company with some 800 employees. There was still that startup feel to the culture, but the company’s needs had evolved.
Five years is a long time in the marketing technology world — marketing has become much more data-driven, especially with analytics tools and CRMs. Creativity is still important, but I spend much more time working on data solutions.
I always tell my team that if I can’t measure it, I don’t want to do it! Our growth has been incredible. It’s been amazing being a part of Acquia at such different stages.
The first challenge for Acquia as a brand was around personalization. We actually use the same technology that we provide Acquia’s customers. It’s a huge advantage — we like to call it drinking our own champagne!
Like many of Acquia’s customers, we also understood the need to be able to deliver personalized experiences to help create a superior user experience. To help do this, we are using our own personalization engine, Acquia Lift, in conjunction with account-based marketing. This has allowed us to feed information that is specific to each customer’s industry. We’re now even able to provide them information specific to their company.
Another big focus for me at Acquia is around creating a data-driven company. These days, marketing organizations are operating less on gut instinct and more on data-driven insights. Marketers have tools in the stack to look at what’s working and what’s not working.
This allows us to stop what isn’t working and double-down on what is, all at a faster pace than ever before. Some of the tools that we’ve deployed to help measure performance include SalesForce dashboard, domo reports, Google analytics, and Acquia Lift for Personalization, where we get to see marketing metrics increase as we incorporate personalization in many ways on the Acquia website.
When it comes to personalization, we know it’s a top priority for many organizations. But much of the time, it’s easier said than done. Creating personalization programs might seem overwhelming, so I like to advise people to take on as much as they can handle with a “crawl, walk, run” approach.
“Crawl” personalizations are the easiest. These are personalizations you can start immediately with general, easily collected data, or with the content and data you already have on hand. These types of initiatives are generally low effort and the impact can vary, but they generate fast results. This is a good way to dip your toe into the water and see what works.
Next are “walk” personalizations, which usually require more complex content and data collection to allow for well-defined segmentation. For example, you might require users to make multiple visits to your site. While “walk” personalizations are more effort, they have commensurate medium to high impact.
The last category — “Run” — is the most intense. These personalizations are high effort. They’re conducted over a long period of time, and they often require data collection and integration across systems, intense content creation, and lots of research and staffing to build and execute the rules that govern the program. Of course, hard work often pays off — we’ve found that “run” personalizations are the most high impact.
On the front of becoming more data-driven, I believe all marketers should be able to measure and adjust quickly. Some of the ways that we’re measuring success within our marketing department are web analytics, NPS scores around customer satisfaction, customer experience, and multi-touch attribution analysis. These sorts of data points should be used to drive smart decisions. And be quick about it! Those who linger will lose out.
I see this as an evolution, rather than an extinction of the CMO. Marketers still need to be creative storytellers and empathic listeners, but the role requires more and more technological know-how. A CMO looks more like a CIO than it did a decade ago.
For example, CMOs today are under pressure for return on investment like never before. In the past, data provided insights into customers’ needs and behaviors. Today, data also reveals how a marketing department is performing — are they selling more goods, or reaching a new customer group, for example? That’s why many, many marketing departments now include analysts and data strategists — roles that are built around gathering data, understanding insights, and proving ROI.
While some companies may eliminate the title, that doesn’t mean the role of CMO will go away completely — it will just evolve, and maybe get a brand refresh.
One of its biggest advantages is that the company is committed to open. Because of our origins in the open source world via Drupal, Acquia isn’t a vendor built on locking customers into a proprietary suite of products. Our goal isn’t to trap our customers. While we have proprietary products, we’re creating an open DXP that allows customers to integrate tools and technologies from all kinds of companies. Our customers can use Acquia’s out-of-the-box solutions, build their own homegrown tools on Drupal, or integrate third-party software that’s already working well for them. This is a huge advantage.
Drupal is a tremendous open source platform. There are literally tens of thousands of developers contributing to making it better every day. And with 19 years of development, Drupal’s community is also incredibly experienced and has seen a wide variety of user needs, complexities, and challenges.
If you’re looking to bring Drupal into your organization, start with good business and technical goals. Without vision, no project can succeed. Make sure those goals are clear and, importantly, measurable — you can’t improve what you can’t measure.
Secondly, make sure there’s buy-in from your company’s leadership. No matter how much value Drupal offers for marketing and technical audiences, and no matter how many goals you set, you won’t succeed in a technology transformation if the key players are caught in old ways of thinking. Get everyone aligned from day one.
Lastly, hire your dream team. Drupal is easy to use and Acquia’s solutions are user friendly, but people are at the heart of every organization’s success. Whether you build a team internally or partner with an agency, make sure you have the right people with the right expertise, training, and approach.
Drupal is backed by a huge open source developer community. This is a passionate, engaged, and incredibly creative community. Companies that build on Drupal are not just building on the work of a small, corporate engineering team — they’re building a digital experience based on the creativity of thousands of developers worldwide.
In addition to Drupal, I’d like to make the case for Acquia. We have commercial solutions that enable companies to take digital experiences even further. The most savvy and sophisticated marketers today are thinking beyond websites. They know that customers interact with brands far beyond a web browser. They want to deliver data-driven, personalized experiences that drive a powerful connection with their customers.
Acquia has been growing fast, acquiring three companies in the last year. Our solutions build on Drupal to help brands to the next level.
I absolutely believe we’re moving toward an open marketing ecosystem. And I absolutely believe it’s the future.
Marketers have more channels to monitor, from social media, to AI assistants, and more. Not to mention, it’s more data-driven than ever before and ROI matters more. Open marketing will be the only way to gather information and insights across all these channels.
Also, companies need the freedom to use tools that work best for them. Why should a team abandon a tool or technology that’s working well, just because a vendor doesn’t support it? Or why should they have to use a sub-standard tool, just because a vendor offers it? Large enterprise vendors should not “lock in” companies and determine their marketing strategy. That’s a bit like the tail wagging the dog.
2020 will be a big year for marketers. Many of the new technologies that emerged in the 2010s that were considered “creepy” are now commonplace. A good example of this is voice-activated AI, like Siri or Alexa. The challenge for marketers in 2020 will not be encouraging adoption, but rather creating a smooth, informal, and continuous customer experiences.
Another big trend for 2020 will be continued data consolidation. According to a recent Customer Experience Trends Report Acquia conducted, 83% of marketers said that customer data was siloed. That’s harmful to companies, because their customers get disjointed messages. And it’s bad for marketers, because they don’t have a 360 view to truly understand their customer. More companies are trending toward open DXPs for this reason. They want to use the tools and technologies they want, when they want them. In 2020, we’ll continue to see brands create the marketing stacks they want, using many different vendors and software.
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