“Nowhere is the adage, “seeing is believing” more evident than in the use of data in marketing.”
1. Tell us about your role at Prezi and how you got here?
In my role as Vice President of Marketing at Prezi, I oversee the marketing team including Brand, Demand Generation, International, Product Marketing, and Marketing Operations. One of the things I value most at Prezi is the ability to combine technology, data, and storytelling to create an authentic brand that people really connect to. Previously, I held leadership roles at E2open, Salesforce.com, Agile Software, and IBM.
I was inspired to join Prezi as I realized the area of visual communication was ripe for change. I struggled to find presentation tools at other companies that provided an effective way for my team to communicate our brand story or messaging in a way that was both engaging and persuasive to our internal and external audiences. I eventually discovered Prezi while at another company, and got to experience how it helped us stand out on our website and in sales meetings.
There’s a ton of potential at Prezi–both in the platform we’ve created and in the VP of Marketing role–I get to walk in the shoes of our target audience, and use Prezi just as any marketer would. And I share the same challenges as well: finding a unique yet effective way of designing and delivering interactive presentations that capture and hold people’s attention. Prezi makes this possible by allowing presenters to use a combination of compelling narrative, stimulating visuals, and dialogue.
2. In what terms and aspects do you think the martech arena has majorly changed?
There are more marketing tech tools than ever before–and the key to success is easier integration. It’s crucial that you use tools that talk to each other and give you the most complete picture of what is working, so you can maximize your marketing strategy.
It’s also vital that martech tools inform you at different points of the user journey–from awareness to consideration to purchase to retention to advocacy. At Prezi, our marketing team works closely with our product organization to develop campaigns, features, and processes–and use the right martech tools– that feed into the user journey and provide the best experience possible.
We are unique in the Martech arena is that Prezi is a freemium model – we encourage people to get started from the time they are students, up through the time they are in decision-making positions in companies. This provides an edge for millenials and younger people entering the workforce to bring the tools they’re using in school into their careers.
3. Given the changing dynamic of marketing analytics and AI centric solution handling, where do you see Prezi fitting in the ecosystem?
We fit in very well into the martech ecosystem. Our latest offering, Prezi Next, is the only full-lifecycle presentation platform on the market that allows users to create, present, and analyze their presentations. Prezi Next includes an analytics feature which enables real-time view tracking, real-time sharing, and a powerful feedback loop that tells the presenter what part of the presentation resonated well, and what didn’t. You can see engagement/interaction and drop-off at each part of the presentation and adjust, iterate, or revise as needed to make the content more engaging for specific people.
Technologies like AI can assist in the discovery process and provide information on intent, but they can not provide information on impact. We see visual storytelling–where visuals and stories connect us on a much deeper, more human level than raw data or facts alone–as being critical for people want to understand the why behind the what, and how it relates to them. And when they do, we’ve found that they’re much more likely to respond and act.
4. How do you differentiate Prezi from the competition?
Prezi is different from other tools in that we provide an open, zoomable canvas that has been scientifically proven to be more powerful than slides. In fact, Harvard researchers found Prezi more organized, engaging, effective and persuasive than either PowerPoint or oral presentations.
Prezi’s interactive format lets presenters move freely between topics and adapt on the fly, without having to flip through slides. This conversational presenting approach allows presenters to focus on what interests their audiences most, a method that is proven to be more engaging and effective.
Prezi’s unique approach has proven successful: we now have more than 100 million users and over 1 million new users signing up for Prezi every month. The total number of Prezi views has surpassed 3.5 billion. And our users have created over 360+ million Prezi presentations, giving us the world’s largest database of public presentations. We also have hundreds of expertly designed presentation templates on a variety of topics, such as pitch decks and marketing presentations.
5. What changes are you majorly concentrating on to enhance and plug-in a more actionable customer interaction and communication model?
At Prezi, we see the following as key for how our customers will communicate and interact in the future:
- Communication through Data Storytelling will be key. Nowhere is the adage, “seeing is believing” more evident than in the use of data in marketing. For a presentation to be effective, the data must not only tell the story, it must also impact decision making.The way we process information has evolved to favor more dynamic content, compelling visuals, as well as effective storytelling over static, text-heavy messages. Communicating data visually will be a critical aspect of delivering the most effective, memorable and persuasive arguments for a truly impactful audience experience.
- Immersive Technology will gain momentum. Today’s audiences bore easily and require a more interactive experience. In the coming year, technologies such as augmented reality will gain traction as people begin to see the benefits in audience participation. We believe augmented reality (AR) has a strong place in the future of work and learning, particularly instances where the presenter and the audience are at separate locations. The technology is ideally suited for marketing professionals who need to to deepen the connection between presenter and audience in a way that is fun, immersive, and effective–and can hold and *increase* their attention.
6. What tools would you recommend to CEOs and CMOs as a Sales Hack in 2018?
For 2018 and beyond, we believe conversational storytelling will be the skill that dominates. The essence of stories is the storyteller, and we all need to focus on building experiences that include people, rather than just replace them. Likewise, we need our stories to adapt to people’s responses as opposed to creating a fixed path of how the conversation will go.
Conversational storytelling is a non-linear approach to storytelling that applies very directly to marketing and sales. Instead of reciting a rehearsed speech or a memorized narrative, marketers and salespeople simply need to ask prospects what they’re most interested in. This helps determine a starting point that everyone in the room is happy with, and the dialogue can take off from there. Conversations like this do a great job of sticking with us, because when we exchange words with someone, our brain activity literally begins to mirror theirs. Science calls this process neural coupling. However, in business, you can simply think of it as being on the same page.
7. What do you think are the new standards of tech integrations? How do you manage the dire data complexities that come along with tech integrations?
Tech integrations must map to how your product fits in the everyday workflows of your audience. If you’re bridging multiple audiences, you need to bring another level of joint value, collaboration, and engagement that would not otherwise exist for that workflow. We consider the integrations we need to have in order to benefit users at different stages of the presentation process, from creating to presenting to analyzing.
- Creation and Collaboration tools. These help drive seamless communication and collaboration both internally and externally. We integrate Prezi with Slack so that you get real-time notifications from collaborators on changes and recommendations. We also integrate with a number of visual asset providers to make sure our users have access to a broad set of images, icons, and more to create great Prezi presentations.
- Marketing automation tools. These help you nurture the leads coming in, and deliver them at the right time to your sales team. Our marketing automation stack starts the moment we meet a potential prospect. Using AI-based predictive scoring, product usage, and engagement with Prezi content to tier our incoming leads, marketing automation then provides different, tailored nurture experiences. We also look at the firmographics, the “who” is coming in our front door. Our marketing automation platform allows us to build complex programs to provide unique nurture experiences in multiple languages.
- Predictive tools help you refine your strategy. Enable your sales team to prioritize their activities and optimize their process with leads. At Prezi, we use data from past key deals to score the potential of new deals based on data points like company size, location, and industry. We integrate with Salesforce to make sure our sales team knows the engagement results of the presentations they’re sharing with customers, so they can then make that next touch point more effective.
- Tools to help customize your campaigns. Choose a tool that enables tight integration with your customer database, so that you have the ability to customize your campaigns. Personalization is the way you win in today’s crowded marketplace, so it’s essential to use a tool that allows you to customize a message that hits the right prospects at the right time.
8. Which startups in the martech and adtech industries are you keenly following?
Slack, Dropbox, Conversica, and emerging chatbot vendors.
9. Elaborate on your best digital transformation content marketing campaign. How did you measure the performance among your audience?
At Prezi, we’re in the business of helping people tell stories. Everything we do is about bringing messages to life with powerful visuals, cinematic movement, and flexible structures. For that reason, we hired our first Storyteller-in-Residence (SIR) this year – Carmine Gallo, author of “Talk Like TED” and “The Storyteller’s Secret.” He is a renowned storyteller himself, a business coach, and a gifted speaker. As our SiR, he not only contributes to our content programs, but conducts storytelling workshops with our customers, helping them to understand the strategic importance of business stories and how to tell them. To launch the program and share Carmine’s expertise, we did a fully-digital campaign with a lot of different components. It included a high-level webinar focused on the why, when, and what of business storytelling, executed with Prezi’s augmented reality technology (Prezi AR.) After attending the webinar, the attendees were brought to a series of three short videos with actionable advice; they were delivered a downloadable workbook to help them figure out what their story should really look like; and finally, were served three customizable Prezi presentation templates designed to help them put that advice to work. We were able to measure and assess the journey of the campaign members each step of the way.
We’ve found a lot of success with campaigns like this. Attract people with potential, but move them forward with actionable advice, attainable goals to shoot for, and the tools to do it all. To me, that’s at the heart of what people want — something amazing to aspire to, and the resources to actually make it happen.
10. What book are you currently reading?
“Make it Stick” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, “Impossible to Ignore” by Carmen Simon, and “Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great” by Carmine Gallo.
11. One piece of advice you always follow irrespective of circumstances?
Be self-aware of your super powers and what you bring to your work every day.