MarTech Alliance's Top 10 Interviews from 2021

digital transformation course with tom goodwin

Wowee, what a year it's been. But some good news: if you've been trying to catch up with your social contact, this one's for you.

If you want, you can say the lines with the interviewer, and pretend you're having a chat with Scott Brinker. Just to get you back up to speed on how to talk to people. 

Season 4 Interview GIF by The Simpsons

It's been a massive year for us, and the martech industry in general. We've had our finger on the pulse with all the best names and events, and have been lucky enough to talk to some real big hitters. So, without further ado, here's our best of the best of the best. 

Scott Brinker, VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot and Editor at

During our research for the recent Martech Report 2021/22, we had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Brinker. 

Our report finds that the Martech industry is now worth $344.8bn globally, and also looked at some of the recent trends, and the challenges marketers face with the technology they use. 

Scott features in this report, but he had plenty more to say about the industry.

With so much innovation on top of this, there's a lot more ahead that this is gonna stay interesting for quite some time. What was interesting is that when the pandemic hit around the time I was publishing that 2020 Martech landscape people said half of these companies are going to be wiped out as a result of the pandemic.  

Yet actually the exact opposite happened - the pandemic saw one of the greatest accelerations of start-up creation in the history of the universe.   

Scott gave his predictions for next year, seeing through the hype at the real, and sustained, trends appearing. 

Part of why I ended up not publishing [the no code/low code landscape] is because in many ways, this no code/low code thing has almost become the same way AI has where it's not really even a category anymore. It's a capability, it's a paradigm that is now being adopted across software in pretty much every category that you can find.

With his landscape, Scott has the unique experience of being able to see into every corner of the industry, from its successes to its failures. But he's especially apt at noticing the skills gap that has resulted from the growth of technology. 

Let me put it this way -  all I have to do is put tiny little logos on a slide, and I can't even keep up with that!

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Grace Beverly, CEO and Founder at TALA & SHREDDY

We were lucky enough to have a chat with Grace Beverley herself at this year's #MarTechFest Global. Covering topics like time blocking, productivity, and mental health, our audience got an insight into what a day-in-the-life of a CEO looks like. 

So, our CEO Carlos Doughty had a few questions for Grace about her brand new book "Working Hard, Hardly Working".

Grace is against the idea of over-work and under-achievement, which are often seen as mutually exclusive. Instead, she suggests you can't be productive, without having that element of self-care and balance. 

I think for productivity to actually work as a concept in itself is inextricable from self care. You have to have that element of rest and you have to have that element of stepping back, otherwise it's just completely unrealistic.

She also gave us an insight into her direct-to-consumer strategy. As a founder for two powerful brands, she's got an insight into what's needed to succeed in this field. 

For me, both of the businesses were started as solutions to problems I thought were quite clear in the industry.

Basically, she had a unique perspective on what millennial and Gen Z women want, i.e. sustainable, size-inclusive activewear, and saw a gap in the market. Simple, but powerful. 


Grace also comes from the content creator side of the tracks. 

I'd say that the first point that I should put across is that there's not just one type of influencer.

It's this buzzword and everyone wants to look at it and talk about it  but if you actually look at two influencers with the exact same following, they'll have completely different ways of talking to their audience, completely different conversion power, completely different everything.

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Katrina Broster, Digital Performance Director at Dennis Publishing.

Another #MarTechFest Global 2021 interview for you. This one's from the Panel Sesh, discussing lessons from 2021, and trends for 2022.

The panel, hosted by MarTech Alliance COO Richard Nolan, consisted of Flavilla Fongang, Brand Strategist at 3 Colours Rule, Deon Pillay, Head of Marketing Operations at Legal & General Investment Management and Katrina BrosterDigital Performance Director at Dennis Publishing.

Katrina, with a unique look into the media and publishing industry, has been able to assess the previous year to predict next year's events. The pandemic period has accelerated any changes the industry has experienced, with huge overnight changes in the way of digital subscriptions and digital marketing strategy. 

But as soon as we have the announcement in the UK about the first lockdown, just picture the most amazing graph that any marketer could ever possibly dream for. The spike was absolutely insane. And we found ourselves in the best position, but also the worst position that all of these demands just suddenly appeared overnight.

What the publishing industry is doing can be a great indicator for other content creators or content marketers. They are on the front lines, after all. So, Katrina and her team noticed the changes in consumer behaviour, and adapted. 

It's like people wanted to pay for content, people wanted access to digital products, whether that was an app, a newsletter, you know, personalised website recommendations. So the team adapted incredibly fast.

So, what were her predictions for 2022? 

Many publishers have always focused on, "we're a subscriptions first business, or we're an advertising first business".

And we're starting to see this amazing change in the industry where you can absolutely do both, as well as affiliates and ecommerce, and come up with a true customer lifetime value, which is based on one single revenue stream.

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Deon Pillay, Head of Marketing Operations at Legal & General Investment Management

Oh, you thought we were done with the panel sesh? Absolutely not - it was a treasure trove of insights, opinions, and predictions. Next up, it's Deon (and don't think we've forgotten Flavilla, she's got her very own Q&A further down). 

Deon, Head of Marketing Operations at Legal & General Investment Management, sees the growth of martech in a specific and specialised way. So, his thoughts and predictions have a valuable financial-services tinged. 

We know regulation has always been a big thing within the financial space. And we see more regulation coming in from the regulator. So we work in different markets. So how you cross border marketing at the moment, and how you make sure you're compliant with that.

So really embracing Reg tech to marry together with martech to really create a great client journey.

So, now it's time to see Deon's view of 2022. What does he see as the big theme of the anti-conference? Well, it's all about big data, and what it actually means.


"How do you centralise your data? And how do you maximise the use of that data to get the analytics that you need to power your marketing solutions?" he asks.

But he also sees the value in hyper personalised content, noting that if you don't embrace the digital, you'll get left behind. It's all about creating content for different audience types. 

What potentially will happen in the future is investment management, buying tech firms to enable them to go into that space, because that is a new space. That's very attractive, right? We've seen it before.

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Seth Godin, Founder at the altMBA

We all love a webinar, and with the help of ON24, we hosted a sesh about personalisation with Seth Godin in September this year.

The special guest was Seth Godin talking about his experiences using personalisation in marketing, as well as future trends.

Seth Godin - infographic

He delved head first into personalisation, criticising some marketers' half-arsed attempts. It's all about the difference between personalisation, and actually being personal.

He says that the aim of personalisation is not to have some sort of “hack” to essentially trick someone into reading something, but instead to have a “path” which leads to you earning someone’s trust.

So, what's the future of personalisation, according to Seth? Well, it all rides on privacy.

Juggling personalisation with privacy isn’t an easy task, and it all comes down to consent at the end of the day. “Let us pay attention to what you're doing and in return, we will serve you better," he says.

Basically, if you’re wondering whether you’re toeing - or even crossing - a line with privacy, then you’re not doing it right.


With privacy becoming more important to people and third-party cookies being banished, the spammers out there will have a harder job ahead of them trying to get your attention and will, eventually, stop trying altogether.

This will provide an opportunity for marketers to use "personalised messaging that we can be proud of", he says. It's important to ask whether consumers would miss your brand if it was gone, and if the answer is no, then you're doing something wrong. 

If it seems like you're having to trick customers into reading your messages, with lazy, surface level personalisation, then you're likely to fall into this category. 

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Steven Bartlett, Founder of Social Chain

If you were lucky enough to join us this week for Dial Up, you'll have gained an insight into the mind of Steven Bartlett; CEO, Youngest every Dragon's Den panellist, and wearer of great hats. 

He gave us a look into his biggest predictions for next year, using his experience as a social media mogul and all-round futurist. So, what does this social media guy recommend? Well, moving away from social media, of course. 

He spoke on the move away from ‘old’, outdated, centralised social media. When he launches his new businesses, he doesn’t plan on a Facebook page, nor an Instagram page. Instead, he wants to focus on these bespoke, inward-facing communities, utilised so efficiently by Web 3.0 and Blockchain spaces.

“We’re launching on Discord. We’re launching on Telegram. We’re going to do a load of things on LinkedIn. The Twitter page will be a bit of an afterthought. That’s the future.”

But Steven isn’t just looking forward, he’s looking backwards.

“Email still works. Which is pretty phenomenal”


He's also pretty bullish on tokenisation. 

“So, for me, instead of having followers, who are just numbers on my Instagram, I can now tokenise my community”

So, he can develop a Steven Bartlett token or card, drop it for free, and everyone who gets one gets special access to him and his content. From special messages, to royalties on the money he makes, his followers can benefit from supporting him directly, in the specific way they’d like.

“It’s like you betting on that future”

But what other elements make a great business? Well, you can have all the great tech you want, but if you don't have the people to power it, then it's all for naught. “You are a recruitment company, and this is a talent war," he says. 

“I wish someone had advised me on hiring really great talent. I thought success would come from my own ability. But in a business, you don’t touch most things.”

The first day he hired someone amazing, everything changed. This made him reflect on everyone else in the business.

Every success comes from your people, from the contributions of your team. So, hiring talent becomes the backbone of your company.

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, This Old Marketing Podcast

Missed #MarTechFest Dial Up with content kings Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose? Well, no worries. I promise I won't cry. 

In our last websesh of 2021, we had the chance to interview R.R and J.P on all things Christmas past, future, and present. 

How can we understand what we should be doing? Well, we need to know what we shouldn't be doing. So, we asked what the biggest failures were this year. 


Robert notes that the lack of big failures also indicates the lack of risk-taking. But instead, 2021 has been an example of what he calls "check the box marketing" - companies have been so scared of failure, they've refused any creativity that comes from risk.

But one of the big things they agree on is the importance of social audio. Joe says:

Am I putting dollars into it? The answer is absolutely yes. I would like to see more of this happening.

But not the 'oh we’re going to test it out and experiment'. I would like to see marketers take a stand and say: 'we’re going to invest in this, and this audience, we’re going to develop a content mission, we’re going to become the leading experts, and go full tilt on it'"

But where should marketers be cautious? Where shouldn't they be playing? Well, just like Steven Bartlett, they warn against 'old', outdated social strategies. “The one place I wouldn’t play right now is…organic social, especially Facebook," says Rob. 

Joe agrees. “I think we’ve seen peak web 2.0”.

These platforms have risen as high as they can go. Marketers have had the opportunity to own some of these channels, and build communities, but now users are fatigued, especially those who create.

So, what are their predictions for this year? Well:

For Joe: “the metaverse is a thing”.

For Robert: it's about one word - de-centralisation.

Everything will become decentralised. Fin-tech, de-fi will disrupt so much of what’s going on. Retail, supply chain, marketing all will become decentralised. The question people have to ask is "How are we, as a business, reacting to the disruption of decentralisation?" It's all about what results from the disruption of web 3.0 – and as a result, everything is becoming peer-to-peer.

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Deb Wolf, CMO of Integrate

For the launch of their Demand Acceleration Platform (DAP), we caught up with Integrate CMO Deb Wold to find out a little more. 

A leader in B2B Precision Demand, Integrate have coined a new term "precision demand marketing", to define the next step of ABM.

So, what is PDM? Well, it's a category purpose built to help marketers deploy an omnichannel strategy. Integrate want to enable marketers to be able to reach buyers in whatever channel, whatever time, they are at.

Will we see a shift into more generalists, and fewer specialist roles? Deb thinks we will see some change; 
Field marketers [are] taking on more and more of this kind of role where they're orchestrating the relationship within an account with salespeople, to think about how they're actually personalising that experience for that account"

Even before Covid, the B2B marketing was shifting, but in the past year customers have rapidly changed how they consume content, how they engage with vendors, and how they research around buying decision making. 

So, Deb's prediction? Well, she believes Precision Demand Marketing is the solution to thinking horizontally in that buyer journey.

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Flavilla Fongang, the Founder of 3 Colours Rule

Coming up to the second birthday of TLA 's Black Women in Tech, it seems fitting that we turned to it's founder, and one of the most influential contemporary women in the industry.

The founder of 3 Colours Rule spoke on all things disruptive tech, diversity, and even went into some industry gripes. 

Visibility is a vital part of diversity. So, when Flavilla is up on stage, it is a chance to encourage other women to have the confidence to do the same. But this is easier said than done. 

"It's not only a fear for women", she says. "Public speaking is actually a top fear for men and women"

Diversity goes beyond the hiring stage. We hear a lot about getting through the front door of an office. But what happens when people of diverse backgrounds are hired, but find themselves in an incompatible office?

It's important that CEOs and employers put the emphasis on how they can change the nature of the office, and make it more welcoming to a wide range of people. It's all well and good hiring people, but useless if they don't stay and provide their expertise. 

Flavilla thinks diversity from the bottom is ineffective. Not only do we need diversity, but we also need inclusion. And part of this inclusive atmosphere is the consideration of culture. 

Culture doesn't just count as the exterior environment, but how you react internally. Often, mental health and strength aren't discussed enough in the professional space. But it's one of 3 Colour Rule's global missions for social impact, alongside a better work-life balance, diversity and empowerment, and the environment. 

So, how does Flavilla keep her office a space that is supportive and empowering? 

“I’m very strong on energy”, she says.

But the biggest takeaway from this interview? 

“Diversity is not an act of kindness. It’s also good business”

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

Thoughts from the Field: Advice from Martech Leaders on Stack Management

As part of our marketing stack management guide, we were lucky enough to hear the opinions of three industry leaders: Moni Oloyede, Senior Marketing Operations Manager, Fidelis Cybersecurity, Apoorv Durga, Marketing Technologist, Altudo, and Satya Upadhyaya, Vice President - Campaign Optimisation, Marketing Capability & Change at Citi. 

So, first up with Moni. What are her top 5 ways to evaluate whether your stack is well built? Well, first start with your approach - what's best for your organisation? Then, it's about the integrity of your data. Next, ask "are my integregrations seamless? After this, it's important to evaluate whether your team has the skills, or will need to be skilled up. Then, think goals. 

"The main purpose of your marketing stack is to track and measure the goals of the business. If you cannot do this in an efficient manner, your stack is not well-built."

Secondly, we have Apoorv. When selecting tech for your stack, Apoorv recommends following a structured approach. You should also include a PoC as part of selection. But he recommends you don't jump into tech selection directly. 

Finally, Satya gives his advice.  When it comes to implementation, Satya recommends thinking about the marketing stack as an ‘experience stack’ and putting CX before the tech.

When looking at investing in a piece of technology, you also need to be investing in your staff and change management.

He also suggests investing in your process, procedures, and policies. Then, next step, you've got to consider how you connect the data in motion across multiple customer journeys across multiple touchpoints.

Check out the rest of the interview here! 👈👈

So, as you can see, it's been an interesting year for the industry. Maybe not for other things, (cough, pandemic, cough) but definitely for martech as a whole.

Thank you to all the fantastic interviewees we've chatted with, and we look forward to next year, to more martech, and to #keepupgrading!