CMO interview: Why Campaign Monitor's CMO was born for data-driven marketing

Marketing leader for campaign management platform talks about the rise of marketing technology and the need for CMOs to be entrepreneurs

Ben Richardson, Dave Greiner, Alex Bard and Kraig Swensrud
Ben Richardson, Dave Greiner, Alex Bard and Kraig Swensrud

Few CMOs would list engineering as their undergraduate degree. But for Kraig Swensrud, that unusual starting point was the perfect beginning for a career that now sees him working as the San Francisco-based CMO for Australian email marketing giant, Campaign Monitor.

It is a technical skillset he believes will be increasingly in demand as the worlds of marketing and technology continue to collide.

“My background through my education was in studying complex systems and learning how things worked,” Swensrud says. “But what I discovered early on was my passion for translating complicated concepts and technologies into compelling and easy-to-understand stories.”

Swensrud’s early jobs were in software engineering with enterprise giants, Oracle and SAP, in the mid-1990s, where he saw first-hand how technology was helping transform the Fortune 500. It wasn’t long before he also saw this generation of technology come under threat from software-as-a-service providers.

That realisation led Swensrud in 2006 to found his first startup, Kienden, which provided real-time integration between Google AdWords and Salesforce CRM. That company was acquired by Salesforce and Swensrud went on to become its CMO for product marketing and product management, before leaving in 2012 to found his second startup, the online survey tool, GetFeedback.

That company was subsequently acquired by Campaign Monitor in November 2014, with Swensrud stepping into the CMO role. He describes the meeting with Campaign Monitor founders, Dave Greiner and Ben Richardson, as a match made in heaven.

“We shared the same core philosophies and were excited about the same things,” Swensrud says. “Now what I am really excited about is helping businesses all around the world. It was really fun to help the Fortune 500 transform and grow, but taking that technology expertise and simplifying it and adding value to millions of companies around that world – that is what gets me to wake up every day.”

Swensrud says demand for Campaign Monitor’s easy-to-use email marketing solutions has led the company to double its performance against almost every major performance metric, with November being the biggest month in its history.

Powering that growth is a suite of marketing tools Swensrud has pulled together into an integrated stack, including Google AdWords and Analytics Optimizely, Vimeo, AdRoll, GetFeedback and Salesforce.

“We rely on these technologies to really execute every major function, from the paid online advertising to our demand generation campaign, our customer marketing, and showcasing what our customers are doing through video,” he explains.

“There is a megatrend that is happening in marketing technology, which is the move to do it yourself. Because these tools are always getting simpler and easier to use and move cost effective, and because the vendors themselves are doing some of the hard work of plugging the technologies together, they work together out of the box. That is making it easier and easier for marketers to take advantage of these technologies, and that is going to continue for years to come.”

Even so, Swensrud considers his engineering background and entrepreneurial experience essential as a modern marketer.

“I entered the workforce right out of college, understanding the principles of engineering, understanding analytics and feeling comfortable working with the latest and newest technologies,” he says. “We are a data-driven company; it is in our DNA, and is what we are all about. And so I felt almost like I was born for this modern era of data-driven marketing, and I think without that background it would be extremely challenging.

“I can see moving forward that as marketing technology grows, and there are more vendors to think about, that certainly is a challenge for a lot of classic marketers and CMOs.”

Bringing marketing automation into Campaign Monitor

It is also a challenge Swensrud and his colleagues are keen to help with at Campaign Monitor. He says in 2016 the company will maintain the focus on ease-of-use that has enabled it to sign up more than 2 million paying customers, but will also expand its focus to tackle automation of marketing processes by bringing the concepts embodied in tools such as Marketo, ExactTarget and Eloqua down to a price point suitable for smaller businesses.

“In one of my previous roles as chief marketing officer, I implemented one of these products and it cost me a $1 million and I had 10 people working on it for a year,” Swensrud says. ”It delivered phenomenal results, but when you think about the Fortune 5 million, those companies don’t have a $1 million, 10 people and a year to wait.

"And that’s why you see marketing automation technologies really only being adopted by mid-market and enterprise companies.”

Read more of our CMO interviews with leading Australian marketing chiefs:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

It is really inspiring to see that medial psychology & machines are going hand in hand to innovate new things and even are improving ...

CBT Professionals

How psychology is shaping better machine learning

Read more

Anything is achievable when you talk the talk .. good luck

Mo Al Hooti

Data Creative crowns Matt Bates as new CMO

Read more

Great hire and good luck Andrew. I am sure you'll do a fabulous jobRob

Rob

Amaysim marketing and commercial chief joins property tech investment startup

Read more

I need to be reborn before i can grow up & become a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

I hope The Block, will continue for many many more seasons.When i die, & grow up, I want yo come back as a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in