Martech Q&A: Acquia CMO Lynne Capozzi

We spoke to Lynne Capozzi, Chief Marketing Officer at Digital Experience Platform Acquia, about some of the trends from the company's recent CX report, the benefits of DXPs, and recent martech trends

How would you define a digital experience platform?

A digital experience platform is a platform of integrated products that work together to create a great customer experience

That platform needs to encompass everything from a content management system to integrated marketing products that work with that platform, to an analytical platform as well. 

It’s all of those three areas. I think of a CMS, analytics, and marketing tools working together in an open way. 

What are the advantages of having a DXP over the separate tools (CMS, analytics etc) that make up the platform? 

I think one issue marketers in particular have is siloed applications and therefore siloed data, so being able to kind of share your data across those applications is key. And having single sources of truth. 

Marketers need a way to interact or integrate that data and those applications together.

In our recent Martech Report, we found increased demand for DXPs over the past 12 months. What do you think is driving this demand? 

Well, I think part of the timing ties with the pandemic, when the entire world suddenly went digital. 

I think it became obvious to CMOs in particular that they needed to have better integration, they needed data sharing. So I think the timeframe ties almost exactly with a pandemic because we saw how much digital transformation was accelerated. 

People that had projects that originally were in the three year plan came into the one year plan, and so on. I think that timing is very much related.

Your report finds a lot of room for improvement in terms of customer experience. What do you think companies are getting wrong in this area?

I think I think the good news is a lot of people are getting it right.

800 marketers around the world told us that the ROI that they're getting from their Martech tools is actually increasing. 96% are getting better ROI, as opposed to 80% in the survey that we did last year. 

So there's a good news nugget. The ROI is better. However, people still find martech frustrating. Also, although personalization works, not everyone is using it yet, and some people find it hard to implement. 

I think, although people are getting a lot better ROI, they still have some definite technical and silo challenges with martech products.

On the technical challenges point, we found agreement in our recent report there is a lack of skills and talent in the industry. Is that one of the problems that you see?

I think hiring the right people and being able to find them in the market is definitely a challenge. I hear that from CMOs that I talk to all the time, especially right now in the market. 

It's challenging in terms of hiring the right people with the right skill sets. But the other thing I hear from CMOs is that there’s a new generations of people coming through - millennials and so forth - that are so technically and digitally savvy. 

Organizations and CMOs are willing to invest in the talent. And if you invest in the talent and you give them the training, and you give them the tools, you know, they can shine. So I think there's some good news there.

talent shortage

Another issue we found around martech in our recent report was the ability to integrate new tech with existing tools. Is this issue of integration something that you as a vendor feel you need to address?  

Yeah, it definitely is. We think a lot about how we make sure that the products work together, and having things such as a consistent user interface between the various products. 

So if you're a marketer, and you're using a marketing automation platform, and then you go to use a customer data platform, you should have similar experiences, and a similar UI. 

As vendors I think there are several areas we can look at. One is the whole user experience and I think the other is how we integrate data. 

As I said earlier, this data can help you communicate with data back and forth between different systems, and we need to be really smart about the way we help marketers use that data and interpret that data. 

So it's things like machine learning, and being able to have a model that learns as more marketers use and put in their customer data. I think there's lots of things as a vendor we can be doing to help address those challenges.

Is there also a need for much more training in the industry? 

Yes, absolutely. I think training is always a requirement. What I hear from a lot of CMOs is that they need to make sure that they have training plans in place for people.

I'd say there's a need for technical product training, as well as career planning and training. I think those two things need to go hand in hand for marketers.  

So let's make sure that we're training folks - that we give them the right tools and the right level of education and welfare to support them in their marketing careers. I do think they go hand in hand.

How do you see the split between IT and marketing in terms of responsibility for martech but also, by extension, control of the customer experience? 

Yeah, I mean, I think a relationship between IT and marketing is is even more critical than ever before. What I'm seeing a lot is that a lot of the budget decisions come from the marketing side of the house, but you still need IT. There has to be that communication between the two. 

One of the things that we're seeing is a phenomenon around marketers who want to be able to do things themselves. So things like low code, or even no code tools to be able to, build your websites and build web pages and create tons of content without needing IT. 

These low code / no code tools are great for the marketers who want to have control themselves and not have that backlog going through IT, and not having to wait getting your products to market faster. 

I think that's key and then IT can focus less on things like building web pages or building websites, and have more focus on corporate architecture or larger products and security and privacy and all the things they should be focused on. 

I think we're seeing more examples where they're working together better and we're putting more power into the hands of the marketers.

There seems to be a kind of gap between how marketers rate their ability to handle data, and the levels of trust that consumers have in companies’ using their data. How do marketers bridge that gap? 

It’s interesting because marketers say they're doing a good job with privacy. And consumers say that that's not really true. So I guess it's the case that consumers aren't necessarily seeing the benefits of giving data.

It’s common that consumers wonder how they ended up on certain lists, or don’t feel they have opted in. I think one of the things that brands are gonna realise more and more is that you have to really have to add value. 

For instance, Lululemon is one of our customers, and they’re offering online yoga classes. They’re not asking you to buy something at that time, but that's real value add they’re giving.  

I think the more brands figure out how you provide value, the more consumers are going to be more interested in sharing their information.

Which kinds of martech tools do you see as being significant in the next couple of years? 

There’s obviously the growth in DXPs. I think customer data platforms (CDPs) are important, as marketers are really anxious to get to that kind of single source of truth for their customer info. 

The other big one is digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM), I'm not saying this just because we just acquired Widen, but it is a hugely growing market and the the addressable market is very large.  

It’s an area that retailers and lot of other industries are using, so any marketing team that has brand assets needs to be able to manage them effectively. It's a big market and it's growing. I think we are going to see a lot of movement in that space. 

We know that the pandemic changed customer behaviour, but how many of these effects will remain permanent as ‘normality’ returns? 

I wish I could say we're going back to normal in so many ways, but I don't really see that happening. I think the world of digital will continue and what we all know is kind of a hybrid world which will continue.

For example, in person events are starting to build back up again. I know in the UK, you guys are doing more in person stuff even than we are in the US. I still expect us to do digital and online events alongside in-person. Now you need to do both. 

I think people are so used to the habits they developed from going online that that will continue, especially as the younger generations are more digital than any before. 

As millennials move into positions in corporations where they're on buying committees, they're gonna take those habits that they have and they're gonna bring them right into the workforce. 

Online purchasing will keep growing, I spoke to the CMO from a retailer recently, and asked what their biggest challenge was. They had a 30% growth rate during the pandemic but the biggest issue was keeping up with content. 

People are researching on-site at all phases of the buying journey. They don’t want to call, they want to research on their own, so the challenge is to keep up with the different forms of content that people are looking for, and to feed them the right content based on wherever they are in their research journey.

The number of martech solutions continues to rise, despite M&A activity. What do you think drives this growth, and do you see it continuing? 

I can see a couple of things continuing. I think there's really still room for innovation around new tools, and that will always continue. 

I think the world of acquisitions will continue as well because everyone's trying to build out their portfolio and at Acquia we're no exception. to that. We’ve been adding more acquisitions to be able to have a complete DXP platform, and to add more value onto that.  In our case, I think is something that's that will continue. 

I guess it's a cycle of somebody coming out with something new and innovative, and eventually somebody will acquire that tech to improve their own offering. 

Another thing is the need to constantly update tech and keep on top of innovations in the market. One of the things I always say to CMOs is if you haven't looked at you know redoing your website in the past two years, you’re probably out of date. I get the wide eyes when I say that but It's true.

Here are the two reports mentioned during the interview: