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The Challenges of the Modern CMO Addressed with Ingrid Burton, CMO Quantcast

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Marketing leaders are faced with a litany of challenges, an ocean of tools, and seemingly infinite amounts of data, which can all get a bit overwhelming. Ingrid Burton, CMO of Quantcast, is passionate about the industry and on Marketing Trends she discusses with me some of the obstacles the modern marketer faces.

“The challenges of today’s CMO are very different than the challenges of even five years ago, 10 years ago. It is such a fast-moving space and CMOs have to be well versed in strategy and data in understanding the market. It’s such a big job now. I wonder how my fellow CMOs are doing, because like I said, I started my day at four-thirty this morning because I lay awake at night with all these asks and I [wonder] how am I gonna get it all done? Do I have the right team on the field? Can we really execute this? Can we measure our results and make sure we’re getting the attribution that we need. We need to be thinking about how we make sure CMOs don’t burn out. How do we make sure CMOs are able to lead through this? And how do we make sure that the expectations are realistic?” 

There will never be an end to all of the additional things a marketer does, another channel to add to the mix, but be careful not to push yourself or your team beyond your limits. In this episode, Ingrid unpacks what they mean at Quantcast when they talk about providing a free and open internet. She delves into her passion and in-depth knowledge of machine learning, and how marketers can best utilize their endless amount of tools. She also explains why ESG is going to be a main driver for them next year and how they’re ensuring true Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion. There’s so much to enjoy, up ahead with Ingrid here on Marketing Trends.

Main Takeaways

  • The Challenges of the Modern CMO: The rapid pace of the software-driven industry is a lot to keep up with. Getting more data and analytics capabilities has driven a lot of growth in the last 5-10 years. The constant rush of information combined with the constant demand to put information out can lead some of even the most passionate marketers to burnout. Guarding against that is going to be what separates the leaders of the future. The expectations of many CMOs and marketing leaders are very high.
  • The Value of a Free and Open Internet: The value of having clear and factual information widely acknowledged and accepted in culture is essential for unity. The internet disrupted the journalism industry, and this change has brought about the conversion to subscription fee-based models over the traditional ad-based mode. This means that some people don’t have access to the factual information they could be learning their news from.
  • Machine Learning – The Power of Noticing Patterns: Pattern recognition is one of the most useful tools in leadership and in scaling business. Machines that can be taught to recognize certain patterns can do so and scan the entire database instantaneously. If you can notice patterns in marketing that can help you predict what your customers may be interested in or looking for at certain times of the year, times of day, devices, or locations. The power of machine learning in marketing is just in the early stages.

Key Quotes

“Hopefully I don’t say ‘I’ too much. I always want to say ‘we’ – We did this. We did that. I’m just the guide; here’s the north star we want to take. Or as I put it, here’s the mountain we need to take. I put that out there very early on. I think my team here was very surprised. And when I showed them just a few baby steps of how you’re gonna climb small hills to get to the top of the peak, they saw that they could do it. They accomplished it. Some of it’s confidence-building and having them believe in themselves.”

“Who can afford to subscribe to all these news publications. There’s gotta be a different way. I’m afraid for a society that if we charge for every piece of content, what’s going to happen to people that can’t afford it [is that] they’re gonna be left behind. They get left behind because they’re not getting the right news. The internet is a great equalizer and we need to make sure that it’s not a fee-based internet.” 

“One of the things that’s unique about Quantcast is we have this unique, real-time data set and it’s one of the largest in the world behind Google and Facebook. Since we started the company, we have established a relationship with all the publishers out there. This is Hurst which is huge, Conde Nast…we have a hundred million websites. Their data is feeding into this anonymized data set. That is one of the largest actually running in the Amazon cloud, one of the largest that they have. We’re using machine learning to find patterns and make predictions about the behavior of what’s happening in this data set.”

“The challenges of today’s CMO, are very different than the challenges of even five years ago, 10 years ago. It is such a fast-moving space and CMOs have to be well versed in strategy and data in understanding the market. It’s such a big job now. I wonder how my fellow CMOs are doing, because like I said, I started my day at four-thirty this morning because I lay awake at night with all these asks coming at me and I [wonder] how am I gonna get it all done? Do I have the right team on the field? Can we really execute to this? Can we measure our results and um, really make sure we’re getting the attribution that we need. We need to really be thinking about how do we make sure CMOs don’t burn out? How do we make sure CMOs are able to lead through this? And how do we make sure that the expectations are realistic?”

Bio

Ingrid Burton is a unique leader in the world of tech as she bridges the gap between technology and marketing in leading teams to unparalleled successes driving strategies for market trends including AI and machine learning, Java and HANA technologies, SaaS, Cloud Computing, Open Source, Internet of Things (IOT), community engagement and Big Data that have had a positive impact on the evolving technology landscape.

Ingrid’s career includes her role as a member of the board of directors at Extreme Networks. She also held the role of Chief Marketing Officer at H2O.ai, the open source leader in AI and machine learning, where she led marketing teams while positioning the company through its growth stages. Prior to H2O.ai, Ingrid advised companies including DriveScale, MapR (acquired by HPE) and Paxata (acquired by DataRobot). She was CMO of Hortonworks, a Big Data company, where she drove a brand and marketing transformation, positioning the company for growth and subsequent acquisition.

Ms. Burton led the Product and Innovation marketing team at SAP, where she was the marketing leader of SAP HANA, analytics, and mobile offerings, and where she co-created the company Cloud strategy. As CMO of pre-IPO Silver Spring Networks, she positioned the company for their IPO as the leader in energy networks. While CMO at Plantronics she reshaped a 50-year-old brand into a modern and exciting communications model for both consumers and business.

Previously at Sun Microsystems, Ingrid held various leadership roles including head of marketing for the company, driving both the company and Java brand, global citizenship, championing open source initiatives, and leading product and strategic marketing teams. Early in her career, Ingrid was a developer.

Ms. Burton actively engages with and mentors people in both technology and business functions, and provides guidance for them in their careers. She has received numerous awards including the 2005 Silicon Valley TWIN award.

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Episode 279