NDA has launched a new series on NDA, Marketing the Marketers, talking to the marketing and comms leaders behind the success of our leading companies. Next up is Martin Wallace, EMEA Marketing Director at Captify Prior to joining Captify, Martin spent five years building out the UK marketing function at data collaboration platform, LiveRamp. He has has 18 years of marketing experience in the tech sector, working for a number of small businesses and high-growth start-up environments.
What exactly does your job entail?
I am Marketing Director for EMEA, covering our presence in UK, Europe and Australia. I’m responsible for our brand, positioning, lead generation and opportunity creation in these markets, supporting our commercial teams on the ground and ensuring we feed local market insights into our overall marketing plan.
I lead a lean team of talented marketers, working with a diverse and dynamic group of people in one of the most positive working environments I’ve ever been involved in. I feel lucky to represent such a collaborative, creative, fun and authentic business.
What campaign or piece of marketing/communications are you most proud of in your career and why?
My previous company had developed their own hugely successful annual conference in the US over several years. I led the first iteration of the event outside of the US, bringing the conference to London for what would be two dates in consecutive years.
The pride for me here is twofold. First, I was thrown right in at the deep end, tasked with repurposing a multi-million dollar event for an emerging market with a fraction of the budget, no local marketing team and limited experience running large-scale events. We had to make the most of every industry ‘friendly’ we had, and leverage our local teams wherever we could to deliver the experience on the day. Our engineers were donning t-shirts and running the mics, we had junior sales staff MC-ing on stage – it really brought the team together in a way we hadn’t managed before.
The second element of pride is in the legacy we generated. A year later we were able to double the size of the event in terms of attendance, and brought in sponsorships, higher profile speakers, our own activations, and more attention from the US leadership teams. Perhaps most importantly – as a data-driven marketer that I aspire to be – we were able to demonstrate real ROI from the event. Commercial stakeholders had seen a marketing initiative work for them and started voluntarily feeding back on opportunities we had generated. We had set a precedent for our marketing function and attribution, and were able to leverage the closer relationships with sales and the US from then on.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career to date and why?
I’ve been very lucky to work with some wonderful MDs and CMOs in my career, but it’s hard for me to look past Seth Godin as a marketing author, expert and overall source of guidance. His published work and studio talks are incredible, but what I really love the most is his daily blog, which has been going for something like 30 years – literally a nugget of life advice every single day! That itself is an inspiration and one that continues to influence my personal life as much as my professional one, often with terrifying relevance…
I remember last year having a ‘healthy debate’ with my partner about how my retelling of a certain incident was inaccurate, misleading or inappropriately embellished. The very next morning, Seth sent me an article comparing storytelling to a map, and how we sometimes omit certain details based on the story we want to tell (the blog is called “The Map Is Not The Territory” for those craving more context). The timeliness was uncanny! This isn’t the only time Seth has appeared to infiltrate my personal space, and his searing relevance and direct applicability to my circumstances has occasionally left me contemplating my personal security. But if you’re looking for a real innovator and marketing genius, stop right here.
What is the biggest challenge in your sector and how is your company helping to address it?
Ad tech is a fast-paced environment at the best of times, but one challenge we are all facing at the moment – within the industry and beyond – is uncertainty. Agencies are needing to pivot with their clients as budgets shift and priorities flip.
And those clients in turn are constantly trying to keep up with consumer trends that are changing in a heartbeat. At Captify, we believe that search data is the best indicator of intent – it’s fresh, in the moment, and therefore the most effective way of keeping pace with the fast, frenetic pace of consumer life today.
What is the biggest opportunity in your sector and how is your company helping to make the most of it?
The industry has undergone heavy scrutiny in recent years over privacy and transparency, and rightly so. The last few years have seen strides made in offering a more transparent approach to where media budgets actually go, and how consumer data is actually used. Captify was early to market with its cookieless solution, and we can even point to cookieless campaigns outperforming their cookie-based alternatives. We’re now continuing to push this cookieless functionality further as we build out our TV proposition.
How important, and why, are the following in helping your promote your own company:
Press coverage is instrumental in keeping our brand front of mind and ensuring that Captify is strongly associated with the key trends that we care about and can influence. Earning good quality media coverage is a great starting point for building trust in our early-stage European markets, and serves the authenticity of our brand in our more mature markets.
Media attention can also bring different people and teams together when they see their own company in their own news feeds, inboxes and publications of choice. I’m saying the quiet part out loud a little here, but any difficulty measuring the true bottom-line impact of PR is often offset by the fact that commercial leaders and senior folks love to see their business in big lights!
Events are critical for any brand that has lengthy sales cycles and multiple client stakeholders, particularly in B2B. They provide a means of generating real engagement with clients and prospects on a scale that cannot be matched. I think we really saw – and felt – their value throughout the pandemic, where even the most advanced ‘virtualisation’ of events couldn’t replace true, in-person interaction. Last year’s return to physical events felt like one big industry-wide ‘exhale’ as advertisers and vendors alike rushed back out to meet again.
Your company’s owned media
This is where we get to tell our own story in our own words and build real trust with our audience through a mutual value exchange. From an operational perspective, it’s where we can convert hard-earned leads to actionable conversations for our commercial teams.
It’s also where we can provide a platform for our most important asset – our people. Social media and authored content allow us to tell our story through the people who make it happen, which is a win-win for all involved and a great way to bring diversity and variety to your brand.
The challenge is getting the audience there in the first place, and then keeping them there! We work in an increasingly noisy landscape and competition for attention is at its highest, so (again, data-driven marketer here) it’s as much about good technical setup, optimisation and amplification as it is about great storytelling.