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Following The Fire: Why I Joined PathFactory

Back in 2007, when I joined Eloqua, marketing automation was still very much an evangelical sell. The company and product were well established, but we were primarily pushing thought leadership content on how marketing automation could transform your business to firmly establish the category.  Market penetration and acceptance was still quite low. Newcomers, like Marketo, started to emerge and give us a run for our money. It was an exciting and fast-paced time!

Being able to work with a passionate group of people, with a shared vision, that lived and breathed customer success really lit a fire under me. It sounds trite, but for many of us, we were a family.

It’s been incredible to watch the industry mature over the last decade. From evangelizing the need for a marketing automation platform (MAP), to having them become core systems of record, to the emergence of ‘marketing clouds,’ and the explosive growth of point solutions and application partners around them.

In a relatively short period of time, MAPs have had a huge impact on modern marketing. They’ve helped marketers achieve more than they thought achievable. Instead of broadly segmenting audiences for one-and-done campaigns, they’ve allowed businesses to see (and treat) customers as individuals by capturing their “digital body language” and responding appropriately. MAPs give marketers insight into the buyer’s journey, which isn’t simply A to B, but rather A to D to F to C back to F and then, if you’re lucky, B. Automation helps marketers nurture more effectively and do more with less. Robust integrations to CRMs and other point systems help to drive the lead to revenue management process, and prove the ROI of campaigns.

It’s time to get even more out of MAPs

Despite the maturity and broad capability of even the best-in-breed MAPs and marketing clouds, the one challenge that I continue to hear marketers struggle with is this: how to get the right content to the right people at the right time. Historically, there hasn’t been a simple answer to this question. Mature organizations with significant martech investments are circling in on it, but it’s incredibly difficult to do repeatedly and at scale. However, it’s clear that it’s these insights that will take martech to the next level.

At the same time, one of the biggest challenges for marketers is getting a true measure of engagement. So much effort goes into getting that initial click to deliver the right piece of content…and then what?  Sophisticated audience building and automation ultimately still serves up a single piece of content in a session with the hope it’s compelling enough to drive further engagement. But was the content even consumed? One person may have clicked through and spent mere seconds with it, while another spent 5 minutes. Most MAPs would treat those clicks equally, but clearly only one person was truly engaged. Activity metrics should reflect the quality of the activity, not just that it occurred.

Joining PathFactory is a result of a shared passion for outcomes

The development and innovation I see happening around the perimeter of the MAPs and marketing clouds lights the same fire that I felt 10 years ago. When I look at the PathFactory (formerly LookBookHQ)* product and team, I see answers to many of the questions I asked above. Which is why I’m thrilled to come on board and help drive “intelligent content” forward as PathFactory’s Vice President of Product and Engineering.

The outcomes PathFactory can provide its customers are as substantial as any I’ve seen during my time in the industry. While MAPs certainly do a lot of the heavy lifting, the post-click content experience has an outsized effect on actual engagement. It’s not easy to answer the ‘right content, right people, and right time’ question, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either. It requires content intelligence to drive decision-making and the ability to deliver engaging and relevant content experiences, both of which PathFactory Content Insight and Activation Platform solves for.

The ability to intelligently orchestrate and measure content journeys is key for marketers to evolve past the idea that any click equals qualification and move toward the ability to measure true, meaningful engagement.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

While I believe in the PathFactory product, I believe just as strongly in the people behind it. The strongest indicator of success for a company that has established product-market fit is the people in the organization and the underlying culture. That is incredibly important to me. The underlying trust and shared vision of the PathFactory family makes me very excited about what we will accomplish and continue to define in the martech space. It’s a solution to a problem marketers have experienced for years: Transparency into what’s working and what isn’t working when it comes to their marketing efforts. Then, being able to take action on that data, and do it at scale.

I joined Eloqua a decade ago because I really believed in the value of marketing automation and I shared a strong vision with the rest of the team. I see the same things in the people, culture, and product here at PathFactory. It feels like coming home again.


*Update: On May 8 2018 LookBookHQ became PathFactory. This post has been updated to reflect this change.