Interview with Mirko Holzer, CEO of BrandMaker

BrandMaker focused on our vision of taming the complexities of global marketing. BrandMaker is now trusted by more than 300 of the world’s largest companies, including Best Buy, Daimler, Zeiss, and Avantor, to provide unrivaled visibility and control over their marketing and spending processes. BrandMaker software covers use cases related to budgeting and expense management, campaign planning and orchestration, brand management, and content management.

By providing a single, integrated SaaS platform to manage, simplify, optimize and automate the entire marketing value chain, BrandMaker provides the collaboration, visibility, and flexibility needed for marketing operations and the ability to manage, measure, and continuously improve the market an investment. Our award-winning platform solves the complexity of marketing activities by removing silos and providing seamless marketing operations.

Despite the pandemic winds, this year we helped our clients advance their marketing strategies, especially in North America, by equipping the company’s marketing leaders with the best operational resources that deliver measurable results.

Earlier this year, we announced a strategic investment by Rubicon Technology Partners that will allow us to further accelerate our growth through organic investments and strategic acquisitions. We are delighted to have been the first to make such a strategic acquisition, joining forces with Allocadia.

Want to learn more about the acquisition of BrandMaker-Allocadia?

This combination is about growth – for our teams, our customers, our products, and our joint venture. This transaction allows us to define and lead the space for managing marketing activities, combining our talented teams, highly complementary solutions, geographies, and customer base. The strong market presence of our two companies offers the perfect opportunity to create a leader in marketing activities. The incredibly positive response we receive from our customers and employees is a good indication that we are doing something monumental in terms of our marketing activities.

How do you think the market for marketing activities will develop in the coming years: what are some of the sources of demand that will further innovate to change this niche and meet business and sales/marketing needs?

Effective marketing is critical to survival: Marketing is often hampered by cumbersome manual processes, lack of visibility across the organization, and multiple versions of the truth. These deficiencies reappeared in organizations during the Covid crisis.

Marketers must prioritize financial control – CMOs need to show value to CEOs and CFOs more than ever because, in any crisis, CMOs are known to be the first to cut their budgets. Recent Forrester research found a significant gap between perceived budget efficiency and actual performance in marketing organizations. The survey found that marketers need more flexibility through automation to meet customer expectations and business requirements.

Marketers need to extend customer engagement through relevant content –   telecommuting, even in a post-pandemic era, will likely stay here. Many employees will continue to work from home instead of going back to the office, even if it’s safe. This changes the game for marketing departments because once their target customer’s stop traveling for an hour or two, they have more time to use marketing content. And frankly, they are impressed by all the ads and marketing messages they see the more time they spend online and connected to their devices.

How you observing challenges and needs at the CMO-level are evolve today? How can stronger marketing operations processes and systems help? Can you share some top best practices? 

Last year, the marketing and sales pipeline and revenue forecasts for major brands were in turmoil. As marketing teams rethink their marketing strategy and want to dynamically adjust campaigns, marketing activities, which are often seen as a tactical/administrative process, quickly gain prominence. The potential to empower global marketing teams to work with agility and reach an unprecedented pace has become strategic and essential. Collaboration, automated workflows, campaign visibility, financial visibility, and reporting: it’s all no longer “useless”; they are literally mission essential.

You can share some thoughts on the importance of sales/marketing teams being more strategic in the sales operations and marketing solutions they choose as part of their technology stack, especially to improve team alignment; what are the gaps you still see in current trends and trends in the use of this technology?

According to a recent survey, only 10% of CMOs are completely satisfied with their technology. That is, 90% of CMOs are dissatisfied with their investments in Martech. This means that operational efficiency and strategic advantage not only escape the marketing department, it also means that there is no comprehensive information for the company and effective integration with areas such as sales and finance.

A big frustration among business marketing leaders is the difficulty of juggling a potpourri of isolated solutions. Isolated solutions are dead ends, no fury for an integrated future, of the ability to think big about marketing activities.

What are some of the best practices that you think small/medium teams should focus more on when it comes to conducting “effective” marketing in times of global uncertainty?

The BrandMaker Pulse study shows a persistent lack of operational maturity in organizations around the world. He asked respondents to imagine a scenario where a major new market opportunity would arise. He then asked them to consider that the executive team would like an immediate report on the status of plans and initiatives – including budgets, campaigns, and ROI for campaigns, regions, countries, and functions – to take advantage of this opportunity. Question: What would be your instinctive response to this request?

Unfortunately, 33% of all drivers said they would react with fear if they filed an emergency report because they couldn’t do it quickly and accurately, even with all the Martech tools available.

But these tools are different and disconnected. Vendors provided solutions that address only a small part of a business challenge. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a director for the entire orchestral solution in your technology stack. It’s about finding the right partner: a strategic partner, not just a technology partner.

We are now entering the next wave of digital transformation, in which many organizations are embracing the diversity of their technology stack and organizing all of their different tools in harmony. Organizations that do this have an orchestra that plays in harmony. They will be agile, connected, and able to unleash their talents to create exceptional programs that deliver the best results.

Can you talk about a few ways in which you’ve seen leading brands change their sales / marketing game with marketing operations solutions?

Marketing skills require the highest level of alignment and collaboration in a retail organization. This cannot be done successfully without the technology to simplify data collection and analysis, automate key processes, and engage the right audiences.

The benefit is not just operational excellence; it goes straight to billing, as a major global retailer learned firsthand. The company’s marketing team relied on electronic spreadsheets to support the development, planning, and execution of their businesses. This inefficiency is compounded by the fact that global and local plans were not integrated or linked, and performance management and metrics were completely manual. By streamlining its marketing efforts, the retailer eliminated the spreadsheet craze, reduced workflow, and information silos, and created continuous collaboration and visibility across 50 markets, 400 stores, and 170,000 employees.

This new operational marketing maturity is well underway to generate a 1% increase in revenue, which equates to $3 million.

Are there mandatory activities that every marketing team must follow when implementing a new tool/technology to have a better impact?

To achieve true digital transformation across the enterprise, organizations must first increase the maturity of their operations. It’s about identifying where your current gaps are and then working hard to fill them. For example, do you have visibility and budget control by region by product range and campaign? Do you have the ability to visualize and optimize performance across product lines, campaigns, media, and geographic regions in real-time?

Only by asking these tough questions and determining your current situation can you achieve automated and integrated business platforms. You must first optimize your processes. It may sound tedious, but organizations must go through this maturation process before they can make the most of Martech.

Many marketing and technology executives are finally starting to understand this. They realize there is no magic in the software, no secret ingredients. First, you need to get your business in order, then you can use digital tools to take your business to the next level.