Martechify May 2022 Recap

Session Recap

How to Build an A-Grade Martech Team

May 19, 2022 — During this Martechify discussion, three of our experts outline best practices for developing martech skills and building competencies in new hires.

In this session, Darren Atkins of Sabre Corporation, Ali Rastiello of Health Catalyst, and Sujoy Chandra of SiriusXM explain common considerations when integrating new and existing employees into an effective martech team. They outline what skills to look for in a prospective employee, as well as how to implement more efficient processes for onboarding and training.

Featured Experts

Darren Atkins

Darren Atkins

Marketing Director

Sabre Corporation

Ali Rastiello

Ali Rastiello

VP of Marketing and Sales Operations

Health Catalyst

Sujoy Chandra

Sujoy Chandra

Senior Director, Marketing



Although it may seem straightforward enough, building a competent martech team requires coordination and forethought to prepare for inevitable challenges along the way. Arguably, the first hurdle when assembling a martech team is identifying which skills are needed—which is, itself, a complex thought exercise. This then determines whether company decision-makers should focus on developing capabilities of current employees or hiring new talent. Next, team leaders need to know how to turn these old and new skillsets into actionable roles. Finally, companies must properly nurture their teams and ensure their knowledge is current in a rapidly-evolving technological world.

Each of these interdependent steps is challenging enough in isolation, which is why it is crucial to have a detailed plan in place beforehand. Chandra, for example, recommends that hiring managers dedicate 10 hours per role, at the very least. Hiring managers should also have a clear idea of the company’s vision to articulate to prospective employees, as well as a clear scoring method to determine the skills that are most important for employees to implement this vision. Perhaps the most difficult planning aspect of your team-building process will be preparing for the future of marketing technology. Because the nature of marketing as a discipline continues to become more AI-centric, it is important to ensure that your team members have the right attitude toward technology and continuously up-to-date martech training for their role.

Team-Building Considerations and Challenges

When starting to put together a martech team, there are a few initial considerations to keep in mind. Atkins notes that the complexity of your organization—i.e., your business’ size, geography, channels, products, and so on—will determine much of your thinking around martech team-building. Of these factors, size is perhaps the most consequential; Rastiello noted that a main challenge for smaller martech teams is ensuring that every discipline and task is covered. This means that good martech teams will likely be larger than many businesses anticipate, since a too-small team may not be able to handle more specialized tasks. Knowing your team’s skills, as well as those of other related and relevant members of your organization, will help make sure that every task is well-addressed by the appropriate people.

Oftentimes, however, your team may need to consider outsourcing the tasks that your team is unable to cover effectively. Rastiello suggests finding an agency that can work as an extension of your team and is familiar with your specific martech stack. If done right, this can provide an immediate boost to your team’s efficacy and your company’s growth. Nevertheless, this option may not be available to all companies due to limited resources. As an alternative, Atkins explained a situation in which outsourcing at Sabre was minimized by introducing a new training program. Ultimately, deciding whether to train or outsource to meet skill gaps will depend on your business’ specific resources and requirements.

Of course, these holes in a team’s skillset can be quickly patched by hiring the right new team member. Chandra explains that attracting the perfect fit means writing a job description that provides an optimized experience for each candidate. This means that each description should function like a good landing page—providing an informative yet memorable introduction to the company and role. Be sure to outline a list of hard and soft skills necessary for each role, which you can use in both a job description and to assess prospective employees in interviews. Creating a candidate scoring method ahead of time is especially important, in order to ensure an optimal fit and reduce bias.

After finding and beginning to integrate the candidate with the best fit, it is of course important to keep them well-trained and happy. This requires building a strong company culture, which can be somewhat tricky if your employees rarely or never see each other in person, but is very possible with the right processes. All of our experts stressed the importance of transparency and work-life balance, but these are not the only factors relevant to a company’s culture. Investing in the right processes and toolsets ahead of time goes a long way toward promoting an excellent culture, as does cultivating an attitude of lifelong learning. When these factors are taken into account, your teams will cohere and function at a much higher level.

Although putting together a dream martech team can require immense planning and forethought, the results are transformational. To refine your team-building process even further, try asking yourself these questions:

What drives your team?

Knowing how to use martech is only part of the job. The more that martech tools align with what each team member is passionate about, the more effective your team will be. Employees should feel empowered and autonomous enough to use their skills as they see fit, and should be able to clearly see the impact of their good work.

Do your team members understand and share the same vision?

Atkins explains that unity and clarity of purpose is essential for martech teams to cohere. Ensure that your team is aligned on how “success” is measured (and be sure to celebrate successes whenever you can).

How can your martech stack change with your business?

Chandra suggests that when selecting the right tools for your martech team, rather than being distracted by the Next Big Thing, try focusing on the direction your business is heading in six months or six years. Your team can then tailor its preferred martech stack to your business’ needs.

How are your martech processes being documented?

Having your team’s processes recorded in a location that is easy to find can make all the difference, says Rastiello. This will not only improve clarity within your team, but can also help smoothen onboarding immensely. These processes should ideally be repeatable and scalable for the sake of efficiency.

Discussion and Takeaways: Advice from our Experts

Here are some highlights from our experts’ advice:

Atkins: One of the key questions for me is, do you have absolute clarity on what marketing is here to do? The interpretation of this question changes with each organization. Without having this North Star of what it is you are trying to achieve and where your priorities lie, you can get pulled in every kind of direction.

Rastiello: I tell any startup or CEO trying to figure out how to create their marketing team to start with their ops team—they are going to lay your foundations for growth. Everyone else can be outsourced, for the most part.

Chandra: If you want to get the right people on the bus, you need to recruit like a marketer. What that means is, think about applying marketing concepts toward building your dream team.

Watch the Recording

For more insights and takeaways from the session, watch the full recording here:

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Martechify February 2022 Recap

Session Recap

CDPs in Action: Essentials for Implementing a Customer Data Platform

February 10, 2021 — In our Martechify discussion, two of our experts expand upon our November session by exploring ways to effectively implement Customer Data Platform (CDP) technology.

For this session, martech leaders Brian Prascak of Naratav and Rich Herbst of Ascend Marketing explain CDP implementation at each stage of the process, culminating in deep brand-customer relationships with continuous dialogue. They outline how developing quality use cases can better inform your decisions, and explain more ways that a 360-degree customer view can benefit your marketing campaigns.


Featured Experts

Brian Prascak Headshot

Brian Prascak

Co-Founder, Chief Insights Officer

Naratav, Inc.

Rich Herbst

Rich Herbst


Ascend Marketing


As we discussed in our previous session, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are invaluable tools for consolidating and analyzing customer data in order to boost your brand and KPIs. No wonder then, that as of the start of 2022, most businesses are implementing or considering implementing a CDP—whether as a stand-alone platform, embedded tool, or custom in-house solution. Amidst this boom, those looking to upgrade their capabilities are finding a crowded market with overwhelming options. Compounding the issue is the complex task of integrating the CDP within your existing data framework.

Fortunately, these hurdles are clearable with some thoughtful planning and cross-team collaboration. Our discussion included a number of important considerations related to implementing a CDP as smoothly and effectively as possible. 

Know Emerging CDP Best Practices

A few important implementation insights from the CDP Institute were initially shared to frame the discussion:

Refining your CDP Implementation Plan

Brian Prascak offered further insights for precisely defining the direction of your CDP implementation with use cases. You can develop use cases based on your overall data objectives and strategy; for example, if your goal is to improve customer digital engagement, your strategy may be to offer personalized product recommendations and your use case will reflect this. This will, in turn, help define which CDP features to prioritize when making a selection—in the example case, you will want a solution that can serve product recommendations based on a customer’s cart contents and preferences. Developing use cases and connecting them with potential capabilities will ensure that your CDP choice is ideal and well-optimized.

Importantly, as your customer data and relationships mature, you may find your CDP use cases and capability needs to evolve in tandem. Brian Prascak outlined how professionals “flow” between different use cases at each stage of CDP integration, leading to an end goal of continuous customer dialogue. In increasing order of maturity, here are some use cases mentioned:

Prascak emphasized that CDPs’ integrated structure provides an opportunity for continuous customer development—that is, engaging customers consistently with the right content at the right time. Done correctly, everyone’s profile attributes, preferences, and journey stages can affect the personalized content they receive and when. Moreover, connecting and resolving identities across channels provides a consistent, 360-degree customer view, as well as a more seamless customer experince. Continuous development ultimately fosters deeper connections and creates enthusiastic brand advocates, as it allows for more responsive campaigns that anticipate customer needs.

Discussion and Takeaways: Advice from our Experts

Our experts discussed how good planning and quality use cases can drive an effective CDP implementation. Here are some highlights of their advice:

Prascak: On the operational side, find out who in IT is going to support your CDP implementation when it is not working. It’s important to know what resources you need and the expertise you’ll need to do it.

You want to make sure you have a good partnership with your CDP vendor; the devil is in the details. Get to a level of the specificity of what you are going to do beforehand so you can validate with the vendors.

Herbst: There is a marketing approach that says, “let’s take everything to a fine-grained, highly-responsive personalization,” and it becomes a heavy lift to do that all at once. A better idea is to break it up into stepping-stones, because the human organization and the marketing both need to evolve with the technology.

Watch the Recording

For more insights and takeaways from the session, watch the full recording here:

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Martechify October 2021 Recap

Session Recap

Adtech: Emerging Trends and Methods

October 7, 2021 — Experts Adam Cox of YETI and Nicolette Harper of Marriott International divulge how their highly distinct and diverse companies pivoted tactics and expanded reach during challenging times, thanks to the flexibility afforded by their respective adtech stacks. They share their innovative processes and platforms—and how they got the entire team on board.

Featured Experts

Adam Cox Headshot

Adam Cox

Director of Ecommerce, Data, and Analytics


Nicolette Harper Headshot

Nicolette Harper

VP of Global Marketing and Media

Marriott International


Adtech implementation begins with a thought exercise exploring these questions:
Adtech answers the question: how will I identify and manage all relevant audiences and personas? Once these have been sorted, adtech tools allow professionals the opportunity to:

Emerging Trends and Methods in Adtech

The adtech and martech landscape is dense and still rapidly growing—from about 150 platforms in 2011 to over 8,000 in 2020.

Adtech allows for segmentation of customers based on their specific interests and communities.

Adtech tools also provide businesses opportunities to be as programmatic—and therefore agile—as possible.

Discussion and Takeaways: Advice from our Experts

Both of our experts discussed the technical challenges and demands of implementing adtech, and despite their unique business needs had some similar tips. Here’s how they summed up their advice:

Harper: The biggest piece of advice is do not underestimate bringing your leaders along on your journey. Seek leadership buy-in toward building new tech and bring the rest of your team along to understand why and how change is happening. Becoming best friends with your Privacy and Legal departments will help manage necessary data agreements during the long process of building adtech.

Cox: Educating your executive team on what machine learning means for your company is rewarding but can be a challenge—be patient! Make sure your Privacy and Legal departments understand your adtech stack and how it satisfies their requirements by taking the time to build understandable system documentation throughout.

Watch the Recording

For more insights and takeaways from the session, watch the full recording here:

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Martechify November 2021 Recap

Session Recap

CDPs Demystified: The Source of Truth for Customer-Driven Marketing

November 18, 2021 — Our martech leaders, Carrie Sinclair of Honeywell and Brian Prascak of Wawa, explained where martech succeeds and fails in capturing customer data, and how CDP tools can better segment and grow your customer base. They outlined instances in which CDPs may be useful (or perhaps necessary) for content personalization and collecting behavioral data, and explained why CDP implementation may be easier than you think.

Featured Experts

Brian Prascak Headshot

Brian Prascak

Director of Advanced Analytics,
Platform and Data Services


Carrie Sinclair Headshot

Carrie Sinclair

Vice President of
Customer Marketing for Performance Materials & Technologies



Although Customer Data Platform technology is relatively new, having only recently gained widespread recognition in the late 2010s, it has already fundamentally restructured how many businesses manage their customer data. Unlike most CRMs, CDPs can consolidate customer data from multiple channels and sources into one secure, easily navigable database. Crucially, the data structures are built with a focus on activation; CDP technology prioritizes accessibility of data elements across teams and departments, offering marketing professionals more flexibility and control. Additionally, CDP tools can aggregate and analyze large volumes of behavioral data to create more specific and actionable customer profiles while remaining well within the bounds of privacy regulations.

More recently, CDP capabilities are increasingly becoming embedded in existing CRMs and other customer data management platforms, removing the need for a standalone CDP solution—although purpose-designed CDPs may still be the most appropriate for your business. Other businesses may opt for an in-house solution with CDP functionalities, perhaps using a related technology (e.g., Azure, AWS, Databricks, Spark, Snowflake, etc.) to manage data pipelines.

Know Emerging CDP Best Practices

The strength of CDP platforms and technology comes from the ability to merge and analyze cross-channel behavioral data to create rich, meaningful customer profiles and journeys.

In the video, expert Carrie Sinclair showcased multiple targeted emails she personally received that exemplified some right (and wrong) ways to use customer databases.

Although Customer Data Platforms enable complex personalization, achieving optimal results comes from learning up-to-date best practices for activation.

Our expert, Brian Prascak, predicted that CDP technology will continue to expand using graph databases or networks. Network science, or data science for networks, involves mapping and modeling customers’ transitions between journey stages in terms of maturity and value. Better prediction of customer behaviors can lead to better targeting and personalization, as well as measurably stronger customer development.

CDPs can produce invaluable insights into how customers relate to your company’s products or services. Nevertheless, expanded opportunities for personalization mean that customers increasingly expect content to be well-tailored to their interests, with profound implications for the business-customer relationship. Marketing professionals can and should ensure that the most relevant content is delivered at all stages of the customer journey, which can be easily done with a CDP and some relevant training.

Framework and Discussion: Results-Driven Channel Integration

Our two experts both shared their experiences with customer data management and thoughts on CDP integration. Here are some highlights of their advice:

Sinclair: At the top of the customer lifecycle funnel, you have more chances to get customers engaged and grab them, but once you get to the middle of the funnel, you’d better have your message honed. Do your testing at the top, because closer to the middle they need to be more relevant or customers will unsubscribe.

Prascak: The benefit of CDP technology—it’s real. Providers continue to mature very quickly, and even 5 years ago these processes would have been much more difficult. Customer-centric analytics is proven to work for businesses, but you can’t do analytics if you don’t have the data. CDP is the starting point; it took us 18 weeks to fully implement, but it’s doable and can give your business a lift.

Watch the Recording

For more insights and takeaways from the session, watch the full recording here:

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Martechify August 2021 Survey

Virtual forum

Martechify Session Survey: Advanced Audience Segmentation: Leveraging Powerful Data

August 26, 2021

August 26th, 2021 — Please provide feedback on your experience attending the Martechify virtual forum, “Advanced Audience Segmentation: Leveraging Powerful Data” on August 26th.

Up Next: AdTech: Emerging Trends and Methods

Martechify is all about continuous learning, and we can all learn from each other.

We created Martechify to be a growing and ongoing forum series with content that will evolve and build to bring additional value upon repeat attendance. We’ll continue the dialogue in our next session, “AdTech: Emerging Trends and Methods.”

Now that you’re all caught up, we’d love for you to join the conversation.

Join us live at the next session on Thursday, October 7th from 8:30 to 10:00 AM CT:
Martechify Logo Aug 2021

Martechify August 2021 Recap

Session Recap

Advanced Audience Segmentation: Leveraging Powerful Data

August 26, 2021 — Martha van Berkel of Schema App, Chad Milligan of Frontier Communications, and Theresa Kushner of NTT DATA Services shared how their organizations are currently utilizing data to extract actionable insights tied to consumer behavior. 

Featured Experts

Martha van Berkel Headshot

Martha van Berkel

Chief Executive Officer

Schema App

Chad Milligan Headshot

Chad Milligan

Director of Marketing Analytics

Frontier Communications

Theresa Kushner Headshot

Theresa Kushner


NTT DATA Services

Framework: Alignment on Advanced Audience Segmentation

When we say advanced audience segmentation, what does that really mean? Modern technologies provide organizations with more fine-grained management and modeling of their audiences and segments. The following framework was established at the beginning of our discussion to align on how to define approaches for advanced audience segmentation.

The Stages of Segmentation

Our experts shared the following insights on how to leverage data to drive data-driven marketing strategies within your organization:

Defining a New Era of Segmentation:

Utilizing Dynamic Data for Segmentation:

Graph technology and knowledge graphs allow you to define relationships to gain insights and answer future questions so your organization can continually delight your customers. You can execute this by:

Key Points for Building and Executing Your Segmentation Scheme:

Framework and Discussion: Results-Driven Channel Integration

Each of our experts discussed the unique ways their organizations have been utilizing data to develop advanced audience segmentations and dynamic content strategies. Here are the key takeaways they shared:

Kushner: Make sure the segments you allow to enter your marketplace are segments that you care about, but you also must make sure that if they’re not producing for you, you must eliminate them quickly.

Milligan: When developing your segmentation schemes, keep your customers front of mind. We all develop the perfect buyer journeys we hope our customers will complete, but at the end of the day our customers are the final decision-makers, so we must be flexible enough to continually adjust our segmentation scheme to align with the actions our customers are taking.

van Berkel: Segmentation is all about delivering the right message of the right length to the right person at the right time. Organizations should be future proofing their strategies and tech to answer future questions. By structuring your content in a common vocabulary and defining those relationships, you can start gaining insights and asking future questions which allow any team within your organization to delight your customers.

Watch the Recording

For more insights and takeaways from the session, watch the full recording here:

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Martechify March 2021 Recap

Session Recap

Marketing on the Road to Post-COVID Recovery

March 25, 2021 — Martech experts— Holly Moreland, Director of Customer Engagement Platforms and Martech at Hilton, and Brandy Butler, National Director of Marketing at Jason’s Deli— shared how their organizations pivoted to meet customers’ demands during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Featured Experts

Brandy Butler Headshot

Brandy Butler

National Director of Marketing

Jason’s Deli

Holly Moreland Headshot

Holly Moreland

Director of Customer Engagement Platforms and Martech


Framework: Maximizing Martech Through Recovery

The following framework illustrates how to approach an elevated martech strategy through an assessment of technological and organizational resources: 

Be prepared to make changes at a moment’s notice.

With the pandemic, the need for speed has become crucial in terms of utilizing your martech stack to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the current environment. Although staff and resources may be reduced, it is important to ensure customers’ needs and demands are met with both speed and efficiency— martech can help save valuable time through automation.

Implement your martech stack to assist in overcoming multi-faceted challenges.

Making crucial decisions on rightsizing and refocusing within the organizations to meet customers’ ever-changing demands is challenging. Martech platforms can help you keep consistent communication with your customers while also sharing the most relevant information regarding updated safety regulations.

Ensure precise marketing communications to aide in recovery process.

Plan for long-term sustainment and recovery by maintaining targeted communication in terms of:

Framework and Discussion: Advice From Our Experts

Each expert discussed the ways their organizations pivoted when the pandemic hit and how they utilized their martech stack to stay connected with their customers. Here’s how they summed up their advice:

Butler: In terms of our marketing, the pandemic and shift of business shined a light on how little data we had regarding our customers. It presented a huge problem and we realized how crippled we were in terms of data — we did not know who our dine-in customers were and what their buying habits were. This business shift exposed a huge hole in our data that we needed to fill and gave us the opportunity to do so.

Moreland: The road to recovery for us means we are relying on our people, our processes, and our technology as we approach the return to travel. We needed to constantly check in on these components to make sure they are being optimized and utilized in a manner that supports our customer experience and us operationally.

Watch the Recording

For more insights and takeaways from the session, watch the full recording here:

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