Martech Interview with Chief Marketing Officer, CleverTap – Dave Dabbah

Dave Dabbah, Chief Marketing Officer at CleverTap talks about the significance of behavioral analytics for better customer engagement and enhanced customer journeys


Behavioral Analytics is focused on actionable insight. Essentially, you find patterns that demonstrate how users navigate an app and behave over time. Then, these patterns are leveraged to segment users.

1. Tell us about your role at CleverTap?
I am the Chief Marketing Officer of CleverTap. I spearhead our platform’s unique, personalized, retention-based approach to marketing through an omnichannel strategy. Using personalized messaging and timing, we help companies grow sustainably by keeping their customers engaged.

In the CMO role, I drive CleverTap brand recognition through media relations, speaking engagements, strategic partnerships, and community engagement. I particularly enjoy the storytelling aspect of marketing. I love discussing CleverTap, marketing trends, and industry news through all forms of media. In fact, on the side I host my own sports podcast just for fun called The Mighty Rip. I’m getting to bring my passion for podcasting to the mix at CleverTap this year, as our team is introducing a host of new shows to pull the curtain back and get to know our audience on a more personal level.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I began my career in marketing over 20 years ago as a VP of Sales and Marketing for EmailLabs. I led their product development and marketing strategy. From there, I continued to hold Vice President roles at SaaS companies such as Lyris and Ephox, and eventually moved into CMO roles at N3N, Agora Inc., and now, CleverTap. From startups to publicly traded companies, I have always had a passion for storytelling and building brand evangelism. There’s nothing quite like turning customers into forever fans.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing sector?
Technology has made marketing more personal than ever. Real-time behavioral analytics can provide the right message at the right time which helps companies engage, recruit, and retain users. Personal, segmented, and strategic messaging, specifically push notifications, are changing the martech sector because they are directly targeting consumers and meeting them where they are — their smartphones. This is the future of the industry. Being able to use this data has provided insight into untapped markets and is revolutionizing customer experience as we know it.

4. What is the impact of digitization on customer retention?
Digitization is all about doing things faster, better, and more efficiently. Modern users want fewer clicks and faster solutions. At CleverTap, we are constantly improving and adapting to optimize the consumer experience and to provide the best possible product to our customers. This means more targeted messaging, better dashboards, and easier app interfaces. This is because it’s essential to consider WHY a consumer is coming to your company or drawn to your offering in the first place. What products, news, information, and resources can your brand provide them that will keep them engaged and involved? As a company, we are always asking ourselves this question and constantly adapting to serve the needs of over 8,000 companies that use our platform. By staying on the cutting edge of marketing technology, we keep our customers happy by keeping their users engaged.

5. What is the role of Behavioral Analytics in engaging customers in real-time?

Behavioral Analytics is focused on actionable insight. Essentially, you find patterns that demonstrate how users navigate an app and behave over time. Then, these patterns are leveraged to segment users.

This tool can be used to find trends, build rich user profiles, view uninstall metrics, and study insights and stats on consumer behavior. Once you have a strong understanding of a user-base’s preferences and behavior, you can send personalized engagement messaging that converts or retains these users.

Businesses can use Behavioral Analytics to create a personal, exclusive, and valuable customer experience. When we understand the user on a better level, we can craft our messaging and products with their best interest in mind.

6. How is multi-channel messaging significant to consistent user experience?
Studies show that consumers use around six touchpoints to interact with a brand — and nearly fifty percent of these users regularly use more than four! This means that businesses need to provide a unified, consistent, and professional customer experience in all their channels.

In addition, an omnichannel marketing strategy allows businesses to connect with consumers in different and diverse ways, using various platforms. This agile approach allows companies to reach the user where they are, in their preferred channel.

7. How can organizations create customer journey’s that delight at every touchpoint?
The first step is to understand and leverage real-time behavioral analytics. These insights promote a massive advantage in the customer satisfaction realm. If you know what they want, you can recommend the right things, and in the long run, keep them as customers longer. A focus on retention, not only new business, is extremely important to the health of a company.

8. Why is automated comparison of behavioral segments and individualized segmentation necessary to drive measurable growth?
Comparison, insights, and analytics allow you to see data in real time and adapt your strategy. For example, if your behavioral comparison is revealing that a segment of your sports news consumers are Kansas City Chiefs fans, then your messaging should not promote Tampa Bay Buccaneers news. If you pivot your messaging strategy to promote news that your users have shown interest in, you will see measurable growth via clicks and interactions.

Automation is important because it is the only way to scale large levels of personalization. If a company has millions of users, automation is the only way to efficiently and cost-effectively analyze, compare, and segment. At CleverTap, we are continuously using automated tools to provide users with the info that they want to see.

9. What is the impact of tailored content on delivering relevant experience?
The impact of tailored content is engagement, conversions, and retention. We believe personalized, segmented marketing and notifications are the key to a delightful consumer experience. In fact, content should be tailored the majority of the time. Customers want personal, exclusive interaction. It’s corny, but they need to feel special, appreciated, and involved. By delivering relevant, personal information to users, a business can stay top of mind and improve customer satisfaction.

10. What advice would you like to give to the technology start-ups?
If you’re looking to build an app, don’t build the app of your dreams. Instead, build an app that your customers will dream about. Customer experience is at the core of all great innovation and to really hit the nail on the head, you need to be thinking outside of yourself and walking in your customer’s shoes.

11. According to you, what digital innovation in sales technology will mark 2021?
2020 was all about companies pivoting towards digital and virtual sales in light of the pandemic. 2021 will be about refining that customer experience using technology such as real-time marketing, artificial intelligence, and behavioral analytics to generate sales leads more organically. We see personalization and AI as tools to uplevel the customer experience and bring in customers without pushy or overbearing sales tactics.

12. What are the major developments you are planning at CleverTap?
I mentioned it briefly above, but our team is working to launch a whole host of podcasts. We are a team of talkers and we all love getting down into the nitty gritty. We figured the best way to share our thought leadership is through a medium we all enjoy. So stay tuned on this front! We are looking to bring on guests from all walks of life for fun and timely conversations on all-things-marketing related.

13. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
My team is made up of content marketing gurus, product experts and customer experience specialists who all have one common mantra in mind for our customers — you can’t grow sustainably without laying the groundwork for retention. They support me by bringing new and fresh ideas to the table that will serve this vey goal. A huge priority for our team is to innovate our platform to ever-changing industry needs and make sure our offerings, how-to guides and thought leadership are relevant, useful and impactful to our customers. I like to think we do this with a lot of joy and fervor! To be honest, I can’t brag about my team enough.

14. What movie inspires you the most?
I would have to choose the movie “Prefontaine”. While this film is primarily about Steve Prefontaine, one the greatest long distance runners of all time, it also touches on the early beginnings of Nike.

If you don’t already know, legendary University of Oregon track and cross country coach Bill Bowerman trained Prefontaine. During his time turning Prefontaine into an all-star, Bowerman had the “crazy” idea of creating performance running shoe soles out of rubber using a waffle maker. This idea wasn’t considered ludicrous for too long, as he went on to become the cofounder of Nike and eventually a billionaire.

I always loved this movie for the inspirational story of Prefontaine’s athleticism and the ingenuity of Bowerman, whose leap of faith in a waffle maker led to the most famous tagline of all-time: “Just Do It.”

15. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?

16. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
This is a great question for a mobile marketer! Shazam remains one of the most used apps on my phone. The ability of the app to hear music and instantly tell me who recorded a song is still one of the coolest innovations I can’t live without. I also love using Flipboard, which allows me to customize my news feeds. YouTube is also a must. I often use it to make difficult purchasing decisions by checking out product reviews and comparisons.

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Dave Dabbah is the Chief Marketing Officer at CleverTap which is a leading AI-powered customer lifecycle and customer engagement and retention platform. With more than 20 years of experience building marketing programs that dramatically accelerate growth and catalyze business success, Dabbah joined a global leadership team focused on industry leadership in the competitive mobile marketing space. CleverTap helps digital-first brands maximize the value of their mobile apps by personalizing customer experiences using real-time behavioral data and predictive modeling.

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