Ian Lowe Joins Crownpeak as New VP of Marketing
Crownpeak had a tremendous year in 2018. Adding to their momentum was a place in the 2018 Forrester Wave: Web Content Management Systems; a report that helps decision makers in selecting the best fit for their business and how each platform stacks up with other competitors in the market. We even had the opportunity to hear from another new Crownpeak addition, Chief Product Officer Darren Guarnaccia on his thoughts on their evaluation in the report when the report was released.
We find it very common for companies to, just before the start of the New Year, look for ways to strengthen their leadership team. This is why Crownpeak decided to bring on Ian Lowe as their VP of Marketing, formerly the Sr. Director of Marketing at Sitecore. I reached out to Ian directly to hear more on his thoughts on his new role, the rise of digital marketing trends, the martech space, and what we’ll be seeing more of as we progress into 2019.
With over 20 years of experience working with various vendors in the marketing and technology space, I wanted to know why Ian chose to be a part of the Crownpeak team and what makes them a differentiator in the space. “I’ve been involved in marketing and technology for over 20 years and the core problem of marketing has always been the same: How do you deliver meaningful messages and experiences to your audience? In fact, it’s the same core problem in marketing since its invention. For several years now, in the CMS space, the answer has been to collect more data about your customer and to throw every conceivable feature into monolithic, complex platforms. But as digital marketers, data’s not our problem – we’re swimming in it. Lack of features isn’t our problem, we’re living in the age of martech plenty. The problem digital marketers have today is speed - how do you drive great experiences at scale and at the speed of the internet.
When Crownpeak approached me and I realized that they were the world’s only cloud-native, SaaS player in the enterprise CMS space, my interest was really piqued. No setup slog or hardware provisioning. No upgrade tax diverting most of your digital budget to infrastructure and devs instead of experience and creative. No massive platform forcing you to replace your entire stack. When I saw that their customers were delivering brand new sites in 6-12 weeks instead of 9-18 months, I knew that this was a real disruptor in the market. In short, I came to Crownpeak because they have the most valuable differentiator for the next 5 years – the ability to deliver experiences at the enterprise scale faster than anyone else.”
The “Martech Explosion”
When it comes to adopting the latest marketing technology trends, you want to be ahead of the curve and on top of what’s prominent in the industry. In my conversation with Ian, he discusses what he’s most excited about with his new role and also dove into the martech space and how it’s impacting today’s marketers. “Right now, we’re living through a martech explosion. The number of martech solutions is doubling every other year and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. The big platforms out there are throwing every conceivable feature in to their systems, or buying any solution that breaks through and gets enough traction. Everyone’s racing to the table with more features, more solutions, but what this frenzy actually points to is that tech hasn’t yet solved marketing’s core problems.
This has caused enormous complexity for today’s marketers. They are overwhelmed by choice, confused by giant platforms that promise everything, but still struggle to deliver meaningful messages and experiences as fast as they need to. The market’s moving quicker than ever before, and marketers need to deliver every single month. That’s the challenge I’ve always faced and one I’m looking forward to helping Crownpeak and our customers solve.
I’m most excited to be able to tell marketers that there’s an answer. The hard work of marketing – understanding your audience, creating messages that matter – hasn’t changed and never will. But, there’s a better way to deliver those messages. The biggest secret in the martech space is that most customers never execute on the promise of the platform they’re buying. They’re sold on the promise of complete digital or marketing transformation and are lucky to get a basic website out on time and on budget. We need to stop trying to build castles in the air and look to technology to somehow make the hard problems go away.”
Digital Marketing in 2019
It’s so easy to find a list of the digital marketing trends that are projected to become prominent in 2019. These trends typically just so happen to be very similar to the ones that we've seen in 2018. This is why with Ian’s expertise in the field I asked him what the most overlooked digital marketing trend is that he thinks we’ll be seeing more of in 2019 and it was nice to hear something other than video, voice or social media.
“In 2019 and beyond, we’re going to see more and more emphasis on time-to-market. As marketers, our ability to get our message to our audiences is the most important thing we do. The speed of the internet has accelerated everything, so you need to be able to get those messages and experiences out faster than ever before. Marketers are starting to realize that the big promises of digital transformation and one-to-one personalization were oversold and almost impossible to achieve. So many of these marketers are stuck in an endless loop just maintaining their existing footprints. I recently talked to an industry professional that told me one of their customers was spending over a million dollars a year just keeping their legacy experience platform running and upgraded. A million dollars! Companies like that are going to be looking to re-prioritize their approach to be able to deliver to their audiences fast enough to matter and spend that kind of money improving customer experience, not just keeping the lights on. I’m expecting consolidation of companies’ martech stacks, simplification of their processes and a focus on time-to-market.
Secondly, we’re seeing a big ramp up in disconnected content, which is how we used to do things twenty years ago. Now we call it headless, but it’s really about being able to use content everywhere. Marketers need to get a consistent message and brand out wherever their customers are. Billions of impressions are now coming from the newest devices – mobile, sure, but also voice assistants, digital billboards, point-of-sale, and on and on. Many of these devices don’t even have any ability to run their own software, so you need to deliver final product to any location at any time. Marketers will be partnering with IT to find solutions that deliver client-ready material wherever it’s needed.”
To finish, Ian's advice for the average marketer looking to enter the space was not to just immerse themselves so quickly into the space but explained how exactly they should shift their focus and get into the 2019 mindset. “2019 isn’t that much different from 1819: understand your audience and build experiences that matter to them. If you really understand what makes your audience tick, and you can be where they are, you’ll be able to create meaningful connections that they’ll remember and take action on. Technology can’t solve all of your problems, but it can help you move faster than ever before. Look to simplify your process to focus on the most important elements of your marketing and evaluate technology based on its ability to help you get your job done.”