Q&A with Tara Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer at Incorta
Media 7 | April 15, 2020
Tara Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer at Incorta has over 25 years experience and success in global marketing for technology businesses in ERP, mid-market, SMB, security, industry offerings and has driven fast growth for multiple SaaS , IPO and public companies.
Ryan works with executives and board on planning, creation and execution of global branding, communications, sites, field programs, public relations, investor relations and demand generation.
MEDIA 7: When did you first start working and what was it?
TARA RYAN: My first job for a real paycheck was at 15 when I worked at a deli in Fresno, CA where I grew up.
M7: With over 25 years of experience in global marketing for technology companies, how has the demand generation for tech firms evolved, and how do you see it changing in future?
TR: Marketing used to be a stand alone, unautomated function and in all honesty, a bit of a mystery. Now marketing is threaded through every single thing we do in business and with technology innovations, there is a real understanding of it, the programs we run, the expected outcomes and even the real time analysis of successes and failures. We used to plan a campaign, process out the creative, media and execution and wait to see effectiveness – now we do all at once. I see the future going back to simplification and less is more. We have added so many tools and ways to analyze.
"The transformation or amazing shift into the customer experience economy is the biggest challenge CMOs face today."
M7: As a Data Analytics platform, Incorta simplifies and processes data to provide meaningful information at speed that helps make informed decisions. How crucial is it from a value delivery point of view, and how does that help Incorta to stand out?
TR: Incorta is special in that it allows business users to ask the same complex and meaningful questions of their data that typically require many IT people and data scientists to get the answers they need to improve their line of business. At the digital pace of business today, that can mean millions of dollars for business leaders in finance, supply chain or even marketing. Speed is a key differentiator for Incorta in that rarely has anyone been able to query billions of rows of data in seconds for a line of business owner. In the world of Big Data, AI, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics, this is important. In other words, someone in charge of supply chain for a major food brand can reduce millions in wasted orders if they understand in real time what customers are ordering across the globe on any given day or hour. In times like and especially with Covid, the amount of data an organization can automate, organize, ingest and analyze against can mean millions in savings and efficiencies. The direct link between data, analytics and business impact is something I get really excited about.
"The B2B buying cycle is becoming much more consumer like and the B2C marketing journey is now adapted to a tech driven one, mostly by mobile and in app activity owning the minute by minute attention of all."
M7: What are the biggest challenges for a CMO these days?
TR: I think the transformation or amazing shift into the customer experience economy is the biggest challenge CMOs face today. I see a merge of B2B and B2C and a learning exchange for CMOs with experience in both. The B2B buying cycle is becoming much more consumer like and the B2C marketing journey is now adapted to a tech driven one, mostly by mobile and in app activity owning the minute by minute attention of all. TV has shifted to OTT, radio to subscription, Direct to push and email and website to search and content syndication and it goes on. CMOs must check our pride at the door and acknowledge that adaptation is now our constant.
M7: How should companies prepare for continuous disruptions in martech?
TR: I think the Martech stack has reached a point of saturation. The best way to prepare and analyze all that is new is to ask the question around revenue. How will any given innovation contribute to new revenue and will the new revenue cover the costs for said innovation. I see way too many start ups spending money on automation for the sake of automation.
M7: The outbound marketing scene is transforming rapidly. Which trends do you believe will sustain, and what are you excited to experiment with?
TR: I call it “all bound” efforts as marketing and sales fused efforts can happen in real time now. I get excited about high quality campaigns driven with AI and Machine Learning that deliver such personalization and relevance that the sales cycles gets condensed like never before. I think the trend of ABM will stick around in theme even if not technology tools as it helped us get back to realistic target audiences and database integrity, I am excited about faster time to value and lower cost of entry innovators like Drift or Bombora. They quickly excite both marketing and sales teams and prove value in revenue driven efforts. I love when my teams come to me and have been able to experiment and bring a vendor onboard in days vs months.
"CMOs must check our pride at the door and acknowledge that adaptation is now our constant."
M7: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work - what day to day processes have you had to re-tool to be able to pull them off remotely? What does your remote tech stack look like?
TR: Covid has presented an unexpected opportunity for marketing and sales teams to get access to prospects and customers with some undivided attention that is otherwise difficult to garner. It has presented a challenge in that we really don’t want to waste anyone’s time and value propositions and content should align to Covid C-Suite priorities around employee security, wellness, business continuity and creative ways to forecast and plan against an unknown future. Of course Zoom and video conferencing has become important but added weight on data integrity around SFDC, mobile apps, recordings and web based journeys have moved to center of conversations. Some groups have done a great job of hopping on event and field marketing and retooled for virtual based live events – it is very impressive.
M7: Do you think we will constantly be looking over our shoulders, and need to have a remote plan ready?
TR: My marketing teams have moved to more work at home over the past few years, especially at global companies. This sure comes in handy now. Digital marketing is also the lion share of all of our budgets so, especially in B2B, we should weather through but continue to judge on measurable value form our campaigns or marketing investments. Moving forward, I thing entire marketing categories or mediums will shift, such as trade shows, outdoor, billboard, sport marketing, sponsorships – but I think those areas have been evolving anyway. I always insist that my team never put too much weight on any one medium, such as field events and that balance has paid off during times like now with Covid.
M7: What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
TR: No one ever wakes up in the morning thinking about your career other than you. You will need to ask for what you want and promote yourself - don’t be afraid to that. Also, trust your instinct and don’t be afraid of change. Change can be a good thing, really!
Incorta is the only Unified Data Analytics Platform powered by Direct Data Mapping. Purpose-built to help companies stay ahead of the accelerating rate, volume, and complexity of modern enterprise data, the platform delivers unmatched speed and visibility. Incorta is built with open standards and integrates with cloud-friendly tools and platforms, making it easy to consolidate data in the cloud and extract meaningful insights. By making any data source continuously available for analytics, the platform helps data engineers, data scientists, data analysts, and business leaders make more accurate, timely, and transparent decisions with faster access to richer data sets. Backed by GV (formerly Google Ventures), Kleiner Perkins, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures), Telstra Ventures, and Sorenson Capital, Incorta powers analytics for some of the most valuable brands in the world. Visit www.incorta.com.