CMO Confessions Ep. 16: Gil Levonai, CMO of Zerto

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Hi folks and welcome to another episode of CMO Confessions, a weekly-ish podcast discussing all thing sales and marketing related. This week we have a special treat, a former rocket scientist turned marketer and probably one of the most insightful people I’ve met, Gil Levonai, CMO of Zerto — an IT backup and resilience organization.

Like I said, Gil has fascinating career starting in the Israeli Navy as a project manager for missile and rocket development. There, he found a love for software and making sure the right people are in the right places to get work done, an incredible skill he nurtured over his 20-year career.

Gil’s expectations for his teams should, frankly, be an industry standard. He expects customer-centricity, a close understanding of the product being marketed and a curiosity that inspires his team to achieve more.

In this episode, we go over his management style, how he got to where he is and why focusing on marketing fundamentals — a clear understanding of the audience, why you’re executing on a campaign, setting expectations — can set the foundations for scale and (I’m going to steal this term, by the way) business-to-human marketing. Plus, he’s a Patriots fan — so he’s pretty much perfect.

If you’re interested in diving into Gil’s career as a rocket scientist, you can find his LinkedIn profile here. If you’re interested in his insights and expertise, you can find his Twitter here.

I won’t hold you up anymore, but I highly recommend you give this episode a listen. If you’re interested in listening to our growing podcast series, you can find all of our episodes right here in podbean. Alternatively, you can also find us on both iTunes and Google Play stores.

Without further ado, welcome to CMO Confessions. Let’s chat.

Joe Hyland:    

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of CMO Confessions, a weekly B2B sales and marketing podcast where we explore what it really means to be a marketing leader in today’s business to business world. I’m Joe Hyland, CMO here at ON24. And joining me this week from Boston is Gil Levonai, CMO at Zerto. Gil, how are you doing?

Gil Levonai:     

Great. Thanks for having me here.

Joe Hyland: 

Gil and I share one thing in common, which we were talking about before we started, beyond being passionate marketers we’re both New England Patriots fans. So we’re getting, we’re getting geared up for the Super Bowl.

Gil Levonai:     

Yeah. And I’m sure you’re going to air this episode after the Super Bowl, so we’ll see how that plays out.

Joe Hyland:       

That’s funny and true. Okay, so perhaps once this airs we’ll be celebrating the Pats win. We’ll see if we have to edit that out. Okay, Gil, I’d love to hear and I think our listeners would love to hear a little more about your path and the reason I bring that up is I think a lot of marketers who are pretty ambitious in their careers and wanting to lead marketing departments one day a pretty frequently will ask me what was my formula, what was my path? And I think people come from it at different from different perspectives and different angles. I’d love to hear about, about your journey and how you wound up leading such a, such a cool marketing team.

Gil Levonai: 

My path definitely didn’t start with marketing or didn’t start thinking about marketing. I actually come from Israel and in Israel, military service is a mandatory thing. I actually took a different path there, also, which is you go to school first and then you serve in the military in your profession. And I’m actually an aeronautical engineer by profession, so I actually served in the navy, building missile things, so you can call me a rocket scientist if you want. From there I served, which I think you can characterize, my work there as somewhat of product management because I was representing the Navy, against or with contractors that build weapons systems. And I think that’s important because I’ll go back to that in a second. And then after that, I actually find myself in software and I really enjoy developing software.

Gil Levonai: 

But after a while I wanted to join the whole startup scene and I joined a startup and I moved to product management and since then I’ve been many years in one startup and then I had my own consulting firm and I come back from product management to marketing but kept myself in both worlds for quite a long while. And even in Zerto, here, I actually started as kind of like a funny enough a consultant when the company only had like three people and they hired me as a consultant to build the message and start building the product management piece. And since then I actually built the both of the product management team and the marketing team and then when we grew too big and we decided, hey, we need to separate them. I kind of said, hey, I find myself marketing more challenging for me and I want to evolve with marketing and I become only marketing. So, for the last 20 years, I’m doing both product management and marketing, kind of like together in many cases or have teams that are doing both. And I think those two things are very, very tightly integrated, especially in B2B.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah. One, that’s a fascinating answer. You were definitely the first person I’ve had on who I could somewhat claim is a rocket scientist and comes from that background. So, that is definitely not a blueprint to a CMO. The other thing, a quick story from me and I tell it because of your product background, I did not originally come from the product side. Pretty early in my career, a company I was working for we had a two day offsite and in day one was all positioning and go to market and messaging. And so I participated in the whole day. Day two was just for the product team. Essentially it was, it was the actual product development. We know what we’re gonna build, et cetera. Pretty basic stuff.

Joe Hyland: 

And I planned on skipping it and I was talking to someone at the company who was in a different group and I said, “Oh, I’m not going to go tomorrow because it’s just product stuff.” And I was probably 25 at the time and this guy said to me, “It’s the biggest mistake you can make. So many marketers are just fluff and if you don’t understand the product and how it works, you’re going to miss the mark.” And for me, that forever shaped how I think about marketing because I think marketers need to go deeper. And I think many don’t.

Gil Levonai:        

I would say two things about it. I think it’s less about — I’m not necessarily expecting my marketers to be as deep in the product as you know, product people or as engineers. But I do want him to understand why the product is doing what it’s doing and what is the customer needs its solving. And I think that’s the key, that’s the common denominator between product and marketing. You need to understand the difference in both cases. And if you don’t really understand the customer, you’re not going to be a successful product person or a successful marketer. So, you see a lot of movement between product and marketing. I have in my team on my technical marketing or product marketing and have lots of people have come from sales engineering, et cetera. It’s all about understanding the product. And that’s where everything starts and ends as far as I’m concerned.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. I think that’s very well said. Here on our team. We often, when we’ll edit documents or have discussions on programs or content, we’re building a common phrase is “Why?” “Why?” Like what are we saying to our prospect or our customer, what are they trying to accomplish? It’s easy to be a little “you-centric” and I think that’s a slippery slope. So you’re right, if you understand your audience and you can walk many, many miles in their shoes. So you can create some pretty compelling marketing

Gil Levonai:

And product. A quick note about the path. Some of my youngest employees say, “Talk to me about the path.” I give them an example. We have our annual conferences and we always have keynote speakers — just announced today this year our keynote speaker is going to be Peyton Manning, not Tom Brady but Peyton Manning. It’s a good start. But our first one actually was a guy by the name of Story Musgrave. And you may know him you may not know him. He was an astronaut. Actually, he holds the record for spacewalks. He’s an older guy, I think he’s in his eighties now. He’s a fascinating speaker and he tells the story of his life and he keeps going back to the same point again and again and again. He says, “I never planned to be an astronaut. It was never in my even dreams. It wasn’t even an opportunity.”

Gil Levonai: 

He was a farm boy, okay? And then kind of evolved and went to the air force and then et cetera, et cetera. And he says the only thing he was always concentrating in his career, he’s doing a great job. Okay, and that’s it. Do your job the best way you can, and then you will evolve wherever you want to evolve. And I think that’s kind of like — I actually had my teenage son come to listen to him and I keep going back to him and tell him that, remember that “Do a great job, whatever you do, and you will get to whatever you want to become.”

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. I think you’re right. I think that’s well said. For me, what I love about people who have all walks in life who have been successful within their own careers is when they can bring incredible passion to whatever they’re doing — whether that is tending to crop in a field or putting on a marketing campaign. I just love it when people love what they’re doing. And I think you’re right. If you excel at whatever you’re doing at that moment things will probably work out pretty well for you.

Gil Levonai: 

Yeah. Passion is really easier when you come from my culture, from Israel, from the Mediterranean. We’re more passionate people than many people. And it’s contagious. I think we’re a very passionate company. People who come for our annual kick-off and, you know, we have some new execs that come from other companies and I asked one of them, “Hey, what do you see different here?” He said, “The passion. So everybody, every single person on stage or offstage was very passionate about what you guys are doing here.” And so, and I expect the same from my marketers and they get the same. They are very passionate. Passionate means just like in a family, people fighting and it’s okay, but as long as you’re passionate about the same thing, you’ll get it right. And when you do it with passion, it’s the secret sauce — that’s what you need.

Joe Hyland:

I love it. So, talk to me about how the company’s evolved. It sounds like you were on the ground-level as a consultant getting product marketing off of the ground. Things have changed a little bit since then. What’s the same, what’s different? What are the challenges you guys are facing in your go to market?

Gil Levonai:  

So I think that being a B2B enterprise software company, we’re one of the boring spaces. We call it resilience, backup, D.R., convergence — all of the above. Cloud. We’re kind of like in the back seat of all of these people that are changing the world. We’re enabling them to change the world. And we keep them up and running and available 24-seven. So, the company itself, its evolution was kind of a standard story for a startup — founders, but some unique things. The founders, the two brothers actually sold another company before and are still there. My boss, my CEO, is still the same guy that started the company. He, I’m giving him a lot of credit, because he hired me before he had one line of code because he wanted to talk to customers and understand what they need and run his idea by them to make sure he’s developing the right product.

Gil Levonai: 

And I think that’s kind of like the common for us today — we listen a lot to our customers and we have fanatical followers. Now, we’re like 750 employees, so it’s no longer kind of like that small four-person startup joint. Scaling is huge, a huge challenge. Scaling sales, scaling marketing, scaling engineering. On the marketing side, I see every day the challenges of how we are trying to do things better. You know, in your first blog with Matt Heinz, you talked a lot about alignment with sales. I think that’s crucial. If you want to progress, this whole kind of like — I love the quote, I keep using this, when he said, “You can’t buy a beer with MQL.” And so I think the challenges are a lot on how do you run a large marketing operation that is really impacting business and not only generating MQL or “Hey, we did a great event.” You need to figure it out.

Gil Levonai: 

And I can’t say there’s a simple solution. You have attribution modeling. We, tried one too [inaudible]. We’re going back and forth. Front-oriented, less front oriented, more ABM, less ABM, there’s nothing we were not doing. We’re doing a mix of all of them. And that’s a challenge because it’s not going to be easy at this scale when you’re talking to — we have more than 6,000 customers and we were planning on having many, many, many more. It’s the machine is a very complicated machine, but that’s the fun. That’s the fun because you get to try lots of things, you get to figure out what’s working, what’s not working and what’s not working? Stop doing it.

Joe Hyland: 

I think what you just said is something that marketers don’t talk enough about. And I think actually a brave thing to say I hate this notion that we, particularly you and I — heads of groups — that we need to know it all. That there is a certain playbook that we will implement because we’ve done it before and all these great things will come. This is complicated shit. Growing a company — so you were there at the start from no customers where a line of code wasn’t even written and you said you have thousands now — this is complicated. And I think what makes a common element between great marketers is testing admitting that you don’t know everything. Trying a lot of things, making sure you’re using data to determine what works and then it’s basic A/B testing and then doing less of the stuff that doesn’t and more of the things that do.

Gil Levonai:

Yeah, 100 percent. And going back to the point of the layman. We are very transparent about what you’re testing and what you know because sometimes you will push back and say “Hey, I know I’m doing the right thing here.” And many times, you actually don’t know. So, be transparent. What is that you actually know you’re doing and what it is? Hey, let’s try it together. Let’s figure it out. Maybe it will work, maybe not. And you know, we run across many things mean you and every marketer out there — hey, it worked great last year, but for some reason, it doesn’t work this year. Something changed. I don’t know, maybe some parameter changed. We don’t know why, but do you need to be aware that not necessarily everything that’s worked, we’ll keep working. And also, it’s a moving target because as a company, your messaging and your product is broadening your customers, your approach to the customer. You go to market strategy or your go to market tactics are all evolving as you grow. And you need a different tool sets, you need different ways of getting to the goal posts and it’s not necessarily the same as you did last year. So that adds to the complexity.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah. I couldn’t agree with that anymore. I get asked a lot, particularly by CEOs who want marketing advice or friends of mine who are starting companies. What’s my marketing philosophy? I, personally, don’t actually have one. And I’ll explain because I think great marketing is problem-solving and, yes, there are certain basic fundamentals like always know your market and who your customer is, of course. But the challenge that I have — there’s commonality — but I serve a different market than you do, so my marketing plan at ON24 probably wouldn’t work so well at Zerto and vice versa. So I think you’re right. We have to be pretty damn adaptive.

Gil Levonai: 

I think the other piece is that just like every other complex, large organization — or even large campaign, in a sense it can be marketing, it can be anywhere else in engineering — you need to always remember what your focus areas and focus on your focus areas. Otherwise, it can get lost if you don’t always go back up and say, “Hey, why am I doing this? Is this part of what I’m deciding I’m focusing on?” For us, it can be a certain segment of customers we want to get in. So, let’s remember our focus or it’s a pipeline influence type of metric or it’s generating specific geography from awareness. Whatever it is, each at each level you might have different focus areas but remember where they are and keep going back to them. Don’t neglect your focus areas because otherwise you will get lost. We can really do, every day, something different and we’ll just get lost. So you need to remember the north star at every point in time during the year and go back to it all the time.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. I liked that you said north star, that’s what we call it on our team. It’s kind of like our guiding principles, the three things that we never take our eye off. At ON24, we work really closely with our sales team, which is I think a good thing. It’s also a little bit of a slippery slope because they’re, you know, it can at times feel like there are hundreds of priorities and if we’re not careful we just feel like we’re chasing today’s task — and before long you just are running in the wrong direction. So yeah, focus is a beautiful thing.

Gil Levonai:  

Yeah. I 100 percent agree.

Joe Hyland: 

I want to talk about the notion of being customer obsessed. So, from your background and just talking to you for half an hour, it seems like you very much want to stay close to the customer and what’s best for the persona, which is kind of great marketing. And you talked about your CEO wanting to talk to customers in the market before any code was written. But you guys have grown a lot, which is great. But sometimes that can be challenging to stay really close to the customer. How do you ensure that remains a north star, so to speak?

Gil Levonai:  

I think it’s in DNA. It’s a DNA thing in the company. Either you have it or you don’t. Yeah, we have it in our corporate values, we have “customer first.” But tons of companies have that, that’s not news. But really how accessible everybody is to the customer and how we’re pushing, really pushing, people to go interact with the customer. Don’t be shy. And we’re bringing people from all walks of the company — can be engineering, IT doesn’t matter where they are — to try and engage with customers if we’re having an event or whatever. And really taking an approach that it’s not that the customer is right, the customer is probably never right, but the customer has a voice. And just like you know, everybody in product management can tell you that you have to balance between what the customer is asking you and what you’re trying to educate them that that’s the better way to do it. Because your product is not in their mind and they don’t know that they can do things this way, so you need to educate them, but it’s, it’s a tango.

Gil Levonai:

You have to dance the tango with the customer and always listen to what they want. I think, you know, there’s this old saying that marketing is a combination of art and science. I think today’s marketers, I might be too much on the science side and forgetting about the art a little bit and the art is all about the customer. It’s the customer language, the customer and the way he thinks — we’re all customers. I keep giving my team examples from campaigns I see on tv. “Hey, this was a great campaign because why did I relate to that? Or why did I care about it? Why are these products made me think about something?” Whatever, you know, I’m stealing something which I wish I can have the right credit because I’ve forgotten — I heard it at a conference many years ago. Someone said it and then I keep using that since then, so apologies to ever said that back then — I don’t remember who said that.

Gil Levonai: 

But he said that there’s nothing B2C or B2B anymore. It’s all B2H. It’s all business-to-human. Okay. Because we all marketing just an individual at the end of the day. Someone needs to read a blog post, or needs to watch our video, or needs to make a decision on buying a product or needs to convince their boss to buy the product. It doesn’t matter. It’s a person. And that’s kind of the art of marketing that always was the marketing — and all of these — you talked about in this series about a little about the explosion of martech. All of this explosion of technologies, we shouldn’t forget that it’s only as good as what you put in it — and that is all about the customer.

Joe Hyland:

Yes. We call that people-to-people marketing like. I know it might sound a little hokey, but I couldn’t agree with you anymore. Like, you’re a person. I’m a person. There is an emotional element to even very rational business decision making, right? Who is, it? Indeed has a job search site has a really powerful advertising campaign right now. And of course they’re competing with LinkedIn and I think Monster, or Monster.com if they’re still a Massachusetts company. So, it’s a competitive space and they have this great ad on people needing to find jobs so they can be close to loved ones. There’s nothing data-oriented about it. And I watched the ad and I said that they were going to see that for the next six months because like, that’s a winner. Like I, I felt warm when I saw it. And that’s not a science — that’s art.

Gil Levonai:

Yes. And, and I think that’s kind of like what I see, when I talk to team members or colleagues, et cetera, and it’s always about — you can see who’s talking from a position of understanding their customers and who’s talking from a position like, “Oh, let’s run this campaign, et Cetera.” And anybody that is really understanding the customer more and taking the extra mile to read notes in Salesforce from the customer meetings, or whatever, or gets back to you on engagements on, “Hey, that’s how the customer talked about this or about that.” It’s, deeper, they will be more successful because of that.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you anymore. I think great marketing is — and it’s very easy to slip on this slippery slope — is always about your audience and it’s never about you. And it’s so easy to get that backwards. One of my first marketing jobs, I was working with a business development director who’s great at many things — and we were going to do an email to prospects. And long story short, it was, like, 2,000 words. I mean, it was like laughable. And I said to him, “I think this isn’t enough about our prospect.” And he said, “There’s so many great things we have to say about our product and I need this audience to understand it.” And I was like, “I think we’re missing the point. It’s not about us. What gets about their challenges?” And I think a lot of marketers miss that.

Gil Levonai:

Are you saying it’s hard? It’s hard because it’s not easy. It’s a message. It’s, you know, it’s much easier to speak about is hearing this kind of like a discussion with I’m here and then actually implementing that in the real world because you are trying to, in the market on your product, you are competing with all of these things happen. So it’s a constant thing that they need to be aware of.

Joe Hyland:   

Yeah, and it’s knowing your personas internally, right? You’re right, it’s easy for us to have this intellectual, macro discussion on great marketing. It’s, hard when the CEO comes to you and says pipelines down, like run five campaigns. You might not want to talk about the art of marketing right then. So, I even think internally there’s a skill set for marketers to make sure key constituents feel heard without necessarily letting other people run their programs for them.

Gil Levonai:

Yeah, totally agree.

Joe Hyland: 

So, we talked a lot about being customer obsessed. I’m curious to get your take on customer life cycle marketing or marketing more of the full customer experience. We of course, obviously, own the website and early stage prospecting. So the first message to a prospect or a prospective customer should be coming from marketing, but I think a lot of marketing departments, historically, once a deal was signed or someone moved from being a prospect to a customer, said, “Okay, we’re done. We’ll hand that over to the services group.” And I’m seeing more and more marketing groups and marketing leaders step up and own the customer relationship. How does that work at, at Zerto and what’s your take on marketers owning more of the customer journey?

Gil Levonai:  

So, at Zerto, we own the more traditional things with the inclusion of SDRs, we call them SDRs and ADRs, one for more targeted accounts, AMB 100 percent and the others are kind of like a mix of inbound and outbound. And we have a strong customer marketing team, which has a lot of the customer reference program and all that stuff. But we both know that’s not what you were asking about. So, we own all of that kind of demand Gen and all of that. But I think ABM is already kind of like a step towards what you’re talking about, because in ABM, especially in existing customers, you keep owning the engagement again and again with the customer. It’s basically a coordinated dance between your customer marketing people, your ADRs, in our case, and the account team because sometimes the account team is already kind of like getting some headways and they want to control the ratio or something or they are more removed and they say “Hey, you guys, go warm up the customer.”

So that’s in that sense. I think, overall, the key is going back to the partnership in this case. And also, of course, with support in this case, because we’re not a SaaS company, we’re an enterprise software company, so it’s not like the customers are — we don’t have a strong customer success team that is doing renewals and things like that when you happen to be very, very high, almost hundred percent, for us anyway. It’s more about maintaining the customer relationship and being there for the customer at the time of need, which is mostly our support and being partners with them and understanding what they need from us. But I would say, more so, with the safe is being there with the account teams understanding what do they need, what are they looking forward to educate the customer to get the customer up to the next level of usage of the product or to make the customer aware of new products or new offerings. Literally, a couple months ago we realized, as a team, both us and sales, that there’s one functionality that customers aren’t really using almost at all because they’re probably not aware of that.

Gil Levonai: 

And so, we’ve launched a campaign specifically with blog posts, et cetera and those people to raise awareness to that functionality in the product because we want them to use that. So I don’t think we own that, but I think you need to be in partnership with all the entities, which is normally customer success, support and the sales team to own that as a company. Making sure the customer gets what they need as a life cycle from everybody.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah. And that goes back to the kind of core DNA element that you had talk about where you guys do, in fact, put the customer first, right? So, sounds like a coordinated effort between groups to ensure that that actually happens.

Gil Levonai:

Yeah, definitely. There’s, everybody’s always available for the customer and we all are there for that. So I think it’s easier in Zerto than maybe in other companies. I haven’t worked in other companies, necessarily, I have worked in a few but in Zerto you need to be customer-oriented because everybody’s customer-focused.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, I think it’s pretty easy in life to complicate pretty simple things and that’s where I want to end today. None of this exists without the customer. So, I hope Zerto is not wholly unique in that mindset. I think you’re right, though, there’s a lot of companies that are so worried about growth of their own internal metrics and it’s easy to lose sight of the reason the company exists, which is solving a problem for someone.

Gil Levonai: 

Gil, thank you so much for the time. From rocket scientist to CMO. Pretty fascinating journey and thanks for sharing it with us.

Gil Levonai:  

Thank you very much for having me and let’s make sure that when we actually air this, we already have a 6th ring on Brady’s finger.

Joe Hyland: 

Okay. I love it. All right, thanks, Gil, have a great day.

Gil Levonai:  

Thanks man.

CMOs: Don’t Lead a Cost Center, Be a Revenue Driver

This post was originally published on adweek.com. Shared with permission.

Gartner’s prediction that CMOs will outspend CIOs on technology is now a fact: CMOs will use 12% of their company’s revenue on marketing technologies in 2018.

It makes sense: Just as a consumer would look to Yelp before going to a restaurant, prospects today do research before talking to sales, meaning the marketing department owns more of the sales funnel than ever. Silicon Valley has jumped on this opportunity — over 5,000 companies are clamoring to help marketers meet this growing responsibility.

Armed with growing budgets and new technologies, you’d think CMOs would have lasting influence in the boardroom. But research suggests otherwise: CMO tenures now average only 42 months, and that number declines every year. Another study revealed that 2016 was a year of record turnover rates for marketing executives. It’s time for CMOs to either figure out why they’re not delivering the ROI that CEOs want or not bother to set up their office.

As the CEO of a martech company for the past 15 years, I’ve seen the role of marketing teams completely transform. I remember when I thought about our marketing spend much like I did about playing roulette — throwing money on the table hoping it would pay of. I assumed that like gambling our marketing budget was simply the cost of playing the game.

Digital technologies changed that and it changed the role of CMOs. But CMOs haven’t adapted quite yet. They now need to act like the CEO of their own business – the marketing team. And that ultimately means CMOs must redefine success in the same way a CEO does, with an unrelenting focus on revenue. This revenue-or-die mindset isn’t easy to adapt, but here are three ways for CMOs to start thinking like a CEO and keep their eyes on the bottom line.

Say no.

One of the toughest choices we have to make everyday is the decision to not to do something. It’s easier to latch onto a fad than to stand against it. But the rationale for a campaign or new technology can’t be for the sake of trying something out. Numbers speak louder than words, and CMOs who have hard data to back up their strategy, approach, and results give themselves leverage in the C-Suite and make any campaign, whether it fails or succeeds, defensible.

My CMO has a quarterly revenue target to meet, and every dollar spent needs to have an equal return. Digital technologies have empowered us to analyze the entire performance of our marketing channels and use that intelligence to determine our future investments.

Social campaigns are great for awareness, for example, but for our business, they don’t drive revenue. This realization led us to scale back our investments in Facebook and Twitter. We used those resources to double down on our own website, webinars, and in-person events because our data showed these channels yielded the best results. We certainly feel some fear of missing out, but once you know what drives revenue, other channels become moot.

Prioritize relationships.

Even in the digital age, I still believe a one-on-one, in-person conversation is the best way to close a deal and build a relationship with a customer.

As far as technology has come, no automation software, algorithm or predictive analytics has the power of empathy. Consider H&R Block’s partnership announcement with IBM Watson. H&R Block could have heralded Watson as the end to human tax professionals, letting the computers do all the work faster. But who wants to just deal with a computer?

To their credit, IBM positioned Watson as a tool to further elevate services H&R reps already provide to customers. It was not about replacement, but letting computers and humans do what they do best, together. Marketers need to take a similar mindset, where you’re not having data dominate your approach, but using it in a manner that supplements your human understanding of your customer and their pain points.

There’s tremendous value in freeing up marketers’ time by using automated programs to tackle more tedious activities. This empowers marketers to build key personal relationships, learn from customers, and think critically about their biggest challenges. Marketers will maintain their relevance long into the future, but it won’t be solely because of data — it’ll be by understanding customers on a human level, while using data to enhance this understanding.

Be accountable.

In order to enhance this understanding, data cannot just be superficial The actual strength of the interactions you are measuring must go beyond clicks, views and downloads, and examine length of time spent on a piece of content, the strength of their intent, and level of interaction that your marketing tactics achieve.

A single click only provides a mere glimpse into customer interests, and gives little background on what motivated that click. Marketers must focus on the data points that are rich with insight about a customer’s behavior, intentions, and potential actions. You should ask yourself: for my business, what are the behavioral indicators that have driven past behavior? What’s my prospect’s digital body language telling me about the best way to engage with them? How do I  get them further down the funnel?

In today’s age, where everything is measured, CMOs should constantly look to drive revenue in order to show the value of their efforts to CEOs. If every marketing initiative and campaign is tied to revenue, the only CMOs who will be leaving their jobs will be the ones becoming CEOs themselves.