Datorama CMO's martech vision, customer and marketing approach post-Salesforce acquisition

Datorama marketing chief and now Salesforce Marketing Cloud head of sales and VP, Leah Pope, shares her views on martech maturity and becoming part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Technology has finally given marketers the tools to answer the tough questions around how, where and when to spend their marketing dollars. But it’s the ability to transform alongside technology, gain internal buy-in for change and iterate that’s vital to achieving success.

That’s the view of Datorama chief marketing offer and now also Salesforce head of product marketing for Marketing Cloud, Leah Pope, who caught up with CMO during the Salesforce-owned data analytics vendor’s Limitless event in Sydney.

According to Pope, marketers have gone a long way to addressing what was previously an arduous task to prove the value of their investments.

“As a marketer, I remember when we had to do all this stuff ourselves and the lengths we had to go to in order to find answers to some of our questions,” she recalled. “They could be very simple questions too: Where am I spending my money? How am I spending my money? How should I better spend my money? It’s crazy we couldn’t answer these questions – and several still can’t.

“Technology now allows it. But people also need to embrace the transformation around the technology. It’s not just about putting in a piece of technology or changing an element of a project. This is something that includes having the right teams and buy-in from your organisation.

“I’m not suggesting it’s super simple to do, but there are solutions to get it done. The folks that aren’t doing it are not allowing themselves to find out how they can do things better.”

Leah PopeCredit: Datorama
Leah Pope

Pope pointed to Datorama customer, Pepsi, as a brand that’s built a centre of excellence around marketing and engagement analytics, bringing in the right people from across the organisation and approaching projects iteratively.

“These changes are being putting back out into the company, teams have shown success, got more money and buy-in, and done more projects,” she said. “You need to approach this in an iterative way so it doesn’t become a massively turbulent change.”

Whether it’s the CMO, data or chief digital officer brought in to spearhead this kind of transformation, there is a trend around which teams are brought in to solve the problem, Pope said. And for Datorama, its customer base is in the hot seat.

“These are people who accept the challenge and see it as an awesome thing, because they’re pushing boundaries, finding new ways to use data and unapologetically saying you’re not always going to find things you like either,” she said.

“That’s a pretty scary thing to face. But companies doing this well say ‘no blame, we’re going to find stuff that’s not great and it’s no one’s fault, let’s just figure out how to solve against it’. And they move forward. That’s the beauty of the technology – you can do that now.”  

For Pope, modern marketing transformation also requires recognition of addressing marketing at “the right time”. “There are moments that matter, and you have the speed to make changes in those now,” she added.  

Part of the Salesforce marketing solution

Both Pope and Datorama’s fortunes changed significantly last July after Salesforce acquired the marketing analytics and enablement vendor for US$800 million. Four months ago, Pope extended her global Datorama CMO remit by taking on marketing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot. This now sees her running a team of 75 globally (up from 25).

Pope has nothing but praise for the integration so far, saying Datorama fits very neatly into the bigger Salesforce picture. “It’s the way forward – bringing data analytics into the fold of what was already a beautiful portfolio of marketing products made sense,” she said.

Pope said the Datorama team has been given significant resources, support and headcount to increase product innovation, leading it to nearly triple releases over the last six months. It’s also retained its branding and customer-led international Limitless roadshow across multiple cities including Sydney.

“We have such a passionate audience who are very proud of what they’re doing with Datorama. They get up on stage and tell very transparent stories, which is what’s special about this event series across New York, London, Sydney and Japan,” Pope said.  

While Datorama and Salesforce share similar customers, they often come from different groups within the organisation.

“The acquisition has brought multiple groups within the same company together, which also brings it further up to the CMO,” Pope said. “We’re starting to have a wider, more unified and collaborative footprint across customers we both already had.

“The other thing that’s unique about Datorama in the context of customers and Salesforce is we had a pretty heavy agency base. We have brought that into the Salesforce portfolio and we’re doubling down on that.

“Back in the day, you used to see tensions sometimes between brand and agency. Platforms like Datorama allowed that to change – teams get into conversations based on insights and can focus on what’s working, as opposed to potentially not understanding the data they’re looking at together.”

In terms of marketing strategy, meanwhile, Pope said putting the Datorama team into the Salesforce Marketing portfolio provides an opportunity to make it about the messaging, and customer, rather than brand.

“What we’ve focused more on is how we take it to market together, rather than a focus on the brands. It was an easy alignment,” she said. “The symbiotic relationship between Datorama and Salesforce is we both put customers first; it’s at the forefront of our strategies. Customers speak first for Datorama and for Salesforce, which is wonderful for us and something you’ll see us continue to use.”  

Product investment focus

From a product perspective, Pope stressed Salesforce remained committed to Datorama’s open platform approach. But she flagged efforts to build out specific connectors for platforms in the Salesforce ecosystem. The obvious starting point was Marketing Cloud

“The Marketing Cloud customer base, for example, had a lot of needs and we’re focused first on addressing those product needs so they can bring in Datorama and solve for all use cases,” Pope said. “We have put out email connections we didn’t have in the past for example, as that’s a newer customer base for us.

“Datorama was very heavy on media and ad spend; now we’re diversifying against what is the core part of the Marketing Cloud portfolio. We see all uses cases with our platform, we’d just skewed more on the media side. There has been a lot of diversification around specific connectors and use cases there.”

There are plans to then better integrate across the entire Salesforce ecosystem, and Pope hinted at use cases across the full product suite. In May, Datorama also debuted Marketplace, designed to allow partners and customers to build apps on top of its platform.

What’s more, Pope hinted at Datorama’s bigger role in Salesforce’s customer data platform (CDP) proposition and differentiation.

“We’re going to be able to deliver a more differentiated CDP solution because we have all those different pieces of the puzzle at Salesforce,”  she claimed. “ I think you’ve seen in the past CDPs by and large solve parts of that story. What we’re excited about is we can solve these issues in a very different way. Datorama is going to be a big part of that story.”  

All efforts are part of addressing the two major things marketers are juggling right now: Brand and customer; and business growth. Pope positioned Salesforce’s acquisition of Datorama as a response to the need for marketers to drive growth in conjunction with seamless customer experience and engagement.

“If you look at our [Salesforce] product portfolio, we have a neat set of products all about consumer engagement, personalisation and customer experience; then you have Datorama and some releases we’re putting out in the next couple of months all about this growth side,” she said.

“It’s about the art and science of marketing, bringing all these things around personalisation and making sure we’re focusing on trust. Because trust is at the core of the revolution we’re seeing with marketers: The more data we bring in, the more we have to focus on trust with your vendors as well as customers.”

The balance of customer-first with ROI is a hard thing to juggle for marketers, Pope agreed. “We all want to be customer first - it’s what makes us passionate as marketers and what gets us up in the morning. But we also want to make sure we’re putting our dollars in the right place and thinking about growth of the business in tandem,” she said.  

“The more we are given this mandate of growth as marketers, the more we have to be business people and how we integrate growth, and report back on spending efficiently.”   

For Pope, the future of martech is all about making marketers smarter. “It’s a very simple phrase, but every innovation we’ve put out – whether it be Datorama or Salesforce – is about adding AI and features allowing marketers to get back to their core focus and what they should be doing,” she added.

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