What We Learned About Marketing from David Raab (and His Cat)

With a prestigious Harvard degree and 27 years of practical experience, it is safe to say that David Raab knows a thing or two about marketing technology. Through his company, Raab Associates, he consults with businesses about how to best fill their martech toolbox in a way that makes sense for their companies.

David spends a great deal of time exploring marketing technology vendors and seeking to understand the pain points they’re trying solve along and the solutions they offer. Not only does he use this to the benefit of his clients, but he also shares this wealth of knowledge on his blog, Customer Experience Matrix. I’m not kidding when I say he’s written thousands of articles devoted to the topic of marketing technology. If you haven’t subscribed to his blog, you definitely should go add it to your RSS reader right now.

I recently had the opportunity to videochat with David about marketing technology, lead quality, and even his pet cat Altica. Here are a few fun facts you should know about David Raab before we dive into the video interview.

His top three favorite Twitter accounts?

Scott Brinker, Seth Godin, and Paul Greenberg

His favorite martech company?

David doesn’t like to play favorites. He loves them all.

His #1 marketing prediction for the coming year?

Fingerprinting and identity stitching will be key to identifying and tracking customers in online marketing.

And about the cat . . . you’ll just have to watch our video to find out about that.

Here are my top five takeaways from my time with David Raab:

1. MarTech + AdTech = MadTech

David coined the phrase “madtech” when he saw the convergence of martech and adtech. (Perhaps he should go ahead and trademark cattech as well!)

Marketing is no longer just about lead generation and retargeting. It involves the entire customer lifecycle. It also involves going beyond “using a CRM list to target your audience on Facebook,” as David says. The core of adtech involves real-time bidding that helps select relevant and targeted messages that are directly personalized to each prospective customer. It involves bringing both the old and the new together to make a complete marketing technology stack that is totally customer-focused and much more meaningful. This idea is validated by the fact that larger marketing tech companies are buying up smaller advertising technology companies to beef up their offerings in the market.

[Tweet “When you combine #MarTech with #AdTech, you get MadTech. – @draab”]

2. Primetime for Data Management Platforms

Data management platforms, or DMPs, are especially hot right now. With over 1,800 marketing technology companies on Scott Brinker’s MarTech Landscape, it’s easy to see why the DMP is a marketer’s best friend.

Traditionally, marketers have collected data via in-person events and forms on websites, and they’ve maintained that data using an in-house database. Today, the amount of external data far exceeds the amount of internal data. This makes a data management platform absolutely necessary for B2B companies to maintain accurate, relevant data and connect with their target accounts and customers.

“Traditionally, marketing databases have been stored in-house, and advertising audience pools were stored externally in a DMP,” says David. “Merging those two together involves having the data stored outside with an increased reliance on external data.”

David also mentions that the only way to manage data coming in from a variety of sources is to manage it through an external platform such as a DMP where other programs can access it.

[Tweet “As the amount of external data increases, so will the need for a #DMP — @draab”]

3. Lead Quality is a Marketer’s Biggest Challenge

Marketers are getting better and better at generating leads. The big challenge now is separating the good leads from the bad ones and making sure quality, revenue-generating leads are passed to sales. As David says in our interview, “Getting quality leads is the number one issue that shows up in most marketing surveys.”

Lead scoring technology and marketing automation tools can help weed out bad leads, but they’re only one part of the puzzle. Account-based marketing fills in the gaps by merging external data with your existing CRM data. Then, you can target ads directly to key decision-makers wherever they travel online.

One key point that David brings to light is that marketers often ask, “How do I know what a good lead is?” The answer lies in marketers’ ability to quantify and qualify the lead based on the data they have available. He pointed out that much of that information will come from external sources and will be account-based information beyond what can typically be gathered using your marketing automation platform.

[Tweet “A marketer’s ability to say which leads are good lies within account-based #data. – @draab”]

4. By 2020, the CMO Will Fully Own the Customer Lifecycle

As David mentions, CMOs will need to move toward owning the entire customer lifecycle, the same way B2C companies’ CMOs have done for years. David foreshadows that B2B marketers will have to step up and take command of the customer experience from lead generation to customer retention, including both cross-selling and upselling. Simply put, the marketer’s job is not over when the ink dries on the contract.

He adds that if marketers are conducting real-time bidding on every contact, they will also need more powerful attribution models to fully understand what those bids are worth. This requires a full view of the customer’s data, including their purchases. Additionally, it requires marketers to come together to look at the entire customer lifecycle so they can assess the situation more effectively.

[Tweet “Marketers conducting real-time ad bidding will require powerful attribution. — @draab”]

5. David Won’t Be Bringing His Cat to MarTech

While David won’t let the cat make an appearance on the big MarTech stage, he will be talking all about data — and in particular, customer data platforms. When he was preparing for the conference, he came to the realization that there are really two kinds of data platforms:

  • Pure data platforms that assembles customer data, merge it across sources, and use that to drive decisions
  • Predictive data platforms that take a greater role in the advertising decision-making process

Predictive data platforms are incredibly powerful. Imagine your traditional customer data platform on steroids. The future of adtech lies in the decision layer, and that is where David predicts madtech will primarily exist.

[Tweet “No cats for @draab at @MarTechConf…but plenty of insight on #data platforms! “]

That’s All for Meow!

David is an incredible wealth of knowledge, and I am super thankful that he took the time to sit down with me and talk marketing technology. Feel free to leave a comment or tweet at David at @draab with any questions or thoughts.