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How Modern Marketing is Enabling Domino Data Lab to Unleash the Power of AI

How Modern Marketing is Enabling Domino Data Lab to Unleash the Power of AI

On this episode of Marketing: Art and Science, I am joined by Domino Data Lab CMO Thomas Been for a conversation on how Domino is enabling its customers to unleash the power of AI, how marketing is leveraging generative AI to facilitate the customer journey, and how its MarTech stack is influencing targeting, amplification, and engagement.

Our discussion covers:

  • How Domino Data Lab is enabling organizations to unleash the power of AI to transform leveraging marketing.
  • About Domino’s MarTech stack and AI integration: The CMO’s recommendations on AI (e.g., build the basics, learn your business, innovate); an overview of Domino’s Martech stack
  • Marketing’s influence on the customer journey from prospect to advocate, emphasizing use case discovery and valuable content creation
  • Fail to Fab: An example of turning a marketing failure into a success using technology and generative AI

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this webcast. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this webcast.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Transcript:

Lisa Martin: Welcome to one of Six Five Media’s newest webcast series, Marketing: Art and Science. I’m Lisa Martin, Technology Correspondent, CMO Advisor, and your show host. I’m so thrilled to be joining this new weekly series with you guys where we’re really going to explore the fusion of artistry and science that defines modern marketing today. Every guest and I will really dissect this ever-evolving landscape where each insight opens doors into fresh opportunities for success.

I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome my very first guest on episode one, Thomas Been, the Chief Marketing Officer at Domino Data Lab. Thomas and I go back 10 years. I had the distinct honor of meeting him, I think it was February of 2014, so just about 10 years ago, Thomas. He was the senior director of product marketing at TIPCO, and I was immediately impressed not just because he has a master’s in physics and we’re both science nerds, but because he had this knowledge of integrated marketing, this marketing prowess, and something that we both shared, this love of the voice of the customer, that it’s one of the most validating brand sources you can have.

I’ve had the great pleasure of watching Thomas’s ascent to the CMO level over the last 10 years. We’ve worked together at four companies now, and I just continue to be inspired by his leadership, his authenticity. I think what you’re going to hear is his curiosity as well. Thomas, thank you so much for being guest number one on the show.

Thomas Been: Thanks a lot, Lisa. I’m honored. It’s a pleasure to work again with you. Quite the description you made, but that said, I’m super excited. Art and science, it couldn’t be a better definition of marketing and why we love marketing. So excited and, again, honored to be here.

Lisa Martin: Thank you so much. Let’s just start with actually letting the audience know. In about the next 20 minutes, Thomas and I are going to dissect the theme that is how is modern marketing enabling Domino Data Lab to unleash the power of AI. We’re going to dissect that into four components so you know where we are in this conversation. First is a background into Thomas and Domino, what they’re doing. Then we’re going to get into MarTech in action at Domino Data Lab. Thomas is going to walk us through all of what they’re doing. We’ll then look thirdly at emerging tech, of course AI, 5G, IoT, et cetera, emerging technologies and their role in the fusion of artistry and science in marketing. And then we’re going to do a final segment that is inspired by Inside the Actors Studio called Failure to Fab, where Thomas is going to talk to us about a marketing initiative that initially didn’t look like it went so well, they turned it into a huge favorable marketing win. So that’s the plan for today.

So Thomas, go ahead, kick us off. Tell us a little bit about your journey into the role of the CMO and what inspires you about being a marketer in these modern times.

Thomas Been: Sure. I started my career, as many marketers, I did not start in marketing. I started more on a technical side as a pre-sales engineer. I indeed studied physics, but then I wanted to work in a context of the enterprise. I’d been a developer for about two minutes, and I had the opportunity to become a pre-sales engineer, which I love. I discovered that about myself, I love talking. I discovered an aspect of the relationship you need to build with your prospect and then customers in a pre-sales world. Then I had the opportunity to become a salesperson, so I carried a bag, I managed accounts, which was yet another take on the relationships you need to build with accounts and your stakeholders. And because of this background, I got offered to join marketing and product marketing because the expression I was told was, “You have scars on the back. You know product and you know customers.” So that’s how I ended up in marketing.

The jobs don’t look that different to me. It’s all about value and customers and how do we help them transform with technology. But the customers have always been my North Star, so that’s an important aspect. I’m also driven by curiosity. Some of these career change are not obvious, but I always saw them as opportunity. There was nothing planned, and I just like to learn and make an impact. And then I love marketing, and this is why I’ve stayed in this domain for so long because, and this is why I love the theme of the show, I think it’s the domain in the enterprise that has the broadest set of activities, technologies, datasets. We have a broad palette, and we need to use it to, yes, be artists, but with a purpose, and that’s where the science aspect comes in. So, so many opportunities and very often it’s not about finding new opportunities, it’s about prioritizing them. That’s the job of modern marketers. So that’s why I enjoy and I am always learning as a marketer.

Lisa Martin: I love that. Prioritizing the opportunities is really key there. Give the evidence a little bit of a background into Domino. I love that its theme is Unleashing the Power of AI, but just give us a high level vision, mission. What are the challenges that Domino and your team is helping customers to eradicate?

Thomas Been: Our mission, A, is to unleash the power of AI to solve the world’s most important problems. And you can see this in our customer base. We work with life sciences companies who are inventing new drugs. We are working with insurance and bank companies who want to have better products, but also products that are fair to the customers they serve. Also, we work in public sector, a lot of things about protecting citizens in many ways. So even though it’s technology and data, it really has an impact on our life and our future. So that’s what I find fascinating, first of all, that’s why I joined.

The role of Domino is to provide a platform and a set of services through which we bring together everything enterprises need to succeed with AI. So we bring together the various teams, we unify these teams so we can democratize AI and everybody can actually not only contribute and benefit from it. We orchestrate the data and infrastructure that is required to build these models that are going to help find these new drugs so they can industrialize and make these processes more predictable.

And then finally, an important aspect, is that we help govern, track that there are the right guardrails, that models have the right behavior. So we can make AI responsible by default, which is important. It’s not only about regulation, it’s just making sure that businesses are doing the right thing and are taking the right risks to serve their customers. The goal is all value. We must be doing a few things right because we have 20% of the Fortune 100 companies are actually using Domino at enterprise scale to have all of that data scientists, IT teams access the right resources and build the models or, now with GenAI, invoke the models that are going to help transform their business.

Lisa Martin: 20% of the F100, and what you mentioned is organizations and very highly regulated industries, which is a challenge there to make AI responsible by default. But I love that that is a focus of Domino. Walk me through a typical customer experience or journey from prospect, offline/online to lead to successful customer who’s loyal and vocal about what they’re doing with Domino.

Thomas Been: It usually starts with either a challenge. We have a lot of these customers you highlighted, the highly regulated industries, they have not started doing data science or AI yesterday, some of these companies have been doing it for like 30 years. But they get to a point where the way it’s done is happening everywhere, very different tools and such, and it’s very difficult for them to control, to identify the best practices and such. So they either come to us because they have a challenge with cost or they’re not satisfied, only a small fraction of these models are getting into production. Or they’re coming to us because they have a specific use case. In life sciences, one of the use cases now that we’re addressing in a lot of companies is statistical computing environments that really helps with research aspect.

So they come to us because of our customers, they get a certain perspective from us, but they come for learning, to be frank. And then it’s marketing’s job to make sure that they have enough content that’s valuable to them so they keep on learning. This is how we earn the rights to position the platform. And very often we see them start their use of Domino on one or several projects, usually data science leaders adopt Domino and equip the team with it, so there’s this predictable and agile way to build these AI models. And as we deliver value, more teams come in, more projects are delivered. We have some customers who have 2,000 data scientists on the platform, thousands of models. So then as they create more value, some customers, LOKi is an example, public one, they say that they’re saving $20 million a year just on the AI side by using Domino. They’re creating much more value actually with AI. But that’s the kind of impact we can make, and this is where these customers start on certain projects and then they grow.

The other element that drives this is that once they start investing in the platform, they establish their best practices, and this is what contributes to creating the value in terms of shortening the time to value, controlling cost, and making sure they don’t impact the value, but also making sure they’re compliant with the regulations they have to comply with or with customer expectation, et cetera. So the journey is usually they need to learn, they want to learn from us or our customers, they adopt, and as they see the value, it becomes their journey by really creating what makes that better at AI.

Lisa Martin: I love that. One of the things I mentioned in the intro, that you and I are both very fond of the voice of the customer and how it can so strongly articulate the value proposition of a brand. You mentioned a stat that was staggering, 20 million in savings in AI. You and I are very fond of really looking at how is the technology impacting the business, not just it’s faster, we’re more efficient, but we’re actually looking at revenue impact, for example. When you look at the customer journey that you are really guiding at Domino Data Lab, where does marketing fit within the overall corporate strategy, like up to the board level from a messaging perspective alone?

Thomas Been: Oh, it fits everywhere. I mean, we are a company who’s mostly known in data science circles, this is where we started, and we’re fairly known in certain of these highly regulated industries. But now we see different trends happening. AI is becoming pervasive, that’s the secret for no one, we all use ChatGPT and such. But also in the enterprise it’s going to change the way marketing is done. And so there needs to be an element of control for the enterprise there. There are new stakeholders. We talk more and more to IT people. Marketing’s role is to make sure that we talk to these people in the right way and they understand the value of equipping themselves with an AI platform instead of maybe trying to do it for themselves, which will end up being costly and maybe not as effective. So we’re really here to educate.

We are here to create these journeys through which if they want to, they can learn more about Domino and engage with us. I think we’re also here to capture the right stories. A big part of our role, you mentioned the voice of the customer, I think this is a domain that is super exciting because it’s fairly new. It’s going at an incredible pace. But my favorite aspect is the human stories, the leaders, people like Anju Gupta at Northwestern Mutual, who’s an amazing leader. We’re fortunate to work with these people and to help contribute to making them successful and their teams. So there’s huge human element to AI, which I think is fascinating. So it’s not the voice of the enterprise only in the 20 million, which is amazing indeed, it’s also the leadership. The fact that these team keep on discovering, keep on delivering value, and adapt constantly, wonderful stories to be told. So coming back to the role of marketing, we’re here to capture the stories, put them on a pedestal, and then it goes into a cycle.

Lisa Martin: I love that. Those customer stories are incredibly impactful, and I’m sure you’ve got many favorites. I want ask you to go into this when you’re on stage that you can go into to really show the value, not just to the enterprise as you said, but to the individual leader that is becoming a really well-equipped data scientist who trusts Domino. I’ve had the opportunity to read a number of your stories, and the trust and the confidence factor comes through pretty consistently.

Let’s go into topic number two, and let’s dissect… I have to use the word dissect as a former scientist, I know you’d appreciate that… MarTech in action at Domino. Thomas, walk us through a high level of your marketing tech stack.

Thomas Been: Yeah, the marketing tech stack, it’s simple on purpose. We really wanted to keep it simple, build basics, and then start learning. This is something that actually I’ve learned at TIPCO where I got to work with very smart people who… We had to transform, so we took everything down and rebuild. Having the basics, having confidence in the data allowed us to be super creative, and we ended up actually taking to the market in partnership with Marketo new products, which was pretty exciting, in just a few years. So this is kind of the same journey. Our marketing tech stack, HubSpot, Salesforce, standards, like marketing automation. Salesforce, of course, is connected to the other parts of the company. Customer success and sales, that’s critical, you cannot do marketing in a vacuum. 6Sense in terms of information about our audience and some level of intent, Google Ads, LinkedIn, huge because we’re very targeted as a company on a highly regulated industry, so this ability to not spray and pray but really have the right message for the right audience is critical to us. We see a lot.

TechTarget, a great partner that I’ve used many times, which is always full of advice and really helping us also with this notion of targeting and having the right content. We just started StackAdapt, which allows us to retarget. So the notion of the journey is important. It’s not only about putting the brand from someone, is getting to the educational almost journey that I was referring to earlier. Quantiphi is used to communicate on a website. Some people are so excited, they need to talk to us right now, so we’re like, “Sure, let’s talk.”

And then one that is important, UserGems is an interesting one, which allows us to understand which of our former champions and such, where they are now. There’s a lot of this because there are many, like three times Domino customers, and it’s the best thing, but really identify who’s moving where. We’re here to help, so we want to be there. And then in the future talking to TrustRadius to work with them first time because they started as a peer review platform, now they’re all about the buyer intelligence, and this is the level of intelligence I need to know about the buyers. But I also think we need to provide the right information to the buyers. In the part of the buying cycle where they do their research, as much information as possible needs to be provided, and this is a great platform to do so.

So fairly classical, but as always, it’s not about having the right logos, it’s about connecting the right logos. So that’s why I want to conclude with the superpower of our tech stack is a gentleman called Nitan, who’s worked with me two times who is in a RevOps team. He’s our partner in crime, and he makes all of the magic work. He’s a problem-solver and he’s a builder. So technology and people, pretty much like AI, this is what the story is all about.

Lisa Martin: Absolutely, technology, people, processes, but those first two are so incredibly important to tie together. You talked about HubSpot, Salesforce, 6Sense, the technologies that you’re using. I’d love to understand how you’re using these technologies to unleash the power of AI for customers to do things like leverage the science behind it to create personas, to develop and launch successful campaigns, to create really valuable content.

Thomas Been: There’s hardly one technology, again, point at one domain very often. It’s about the technology that either allows us to capture the data about the audience or actually execute something. So create personas, it’s a lot of measurements, understanding what works and what converts the best and where we create the most value. And then it’s a ton of interviews, product marketing, and whatnot, working closely in customer success, working closely with our customers, develop and launch campaigns as actually data across the channels. A lot of these technologies like 6Sense or even HubSpot so we can target efficiently. I mentioned targeting is super important. But we know exactly once we have our personas, I think almost a third of pipeline generation is really this notion of who do we want to engage with and really target even before you take the first action. So having these thesis in place and being able to test them quickly, create valuable content is critical. It’s the fuel. Without being too salesy, how do you create value is basically the approach.

There’s also a lot of testing, seeing what converts and getting feedback, et cetera. So all of these you can see in a lot of the metrics how people are voting with their time and their clicks is their conversion. All of this serves marketing but also serves sales and even customer success. We share, we have an open data policy, so to speak, is that our sales partners, our customer success partners see exactly what’s happening into the accounts. That is 360 view. So we can identify opportunities earlier or we can connect the dots with an initiative that we’re aware so we can support each other, because at the end of the day, we need to look at ourself the way our customers look at us, which is like as one company, not a set of functions.

This is also how you identify gaps in a customer journey. If you start having this 360 view, then you’re going to see gray areas, say, “Hey, what’s happening in this part of the process? Why do we get no data at this point? All of these channels and the content we use, we can get these elements together. So it’s a lot of HubSpot, a lot of Salesforce and a lot of Tableau on top of it just to do the analytics, I forgot to mention Tableau. Attribution is important, but I’m not obsessed by it. I’ve had a lot of success in the past with Visible. I think you need to keep it simple but really understand what’s coming from marketing or not. And then it’s really about trying to identify the best journey you can offer. I mean, where are people most likely to convert?

And yeah, at the end of the day, the game is all about return on investment, so taking all of these data, making sure that you’re on top of your metrics, and identify what are the best channels that are going to drive the best impact for the benefit of your customers. They’re going to see conversion and eventually they’re going to become a customer. But also, especially in these times, we are not challenged for budget, but we need to be responsible with our budgets. So it’s critical to have a good understanding and getting the right data across channel across these technologies to understand where are the audiences that are going to yield the most and what are the best ways so that you make the most of the dollars that you have or Euros, whatever your budget.

Lisa Martin: Exactly. But it sounds like what you’re talking about from that data foundation perspective, and this I think goes well back to your background being in pre-sales and sales and then into marketing roles, of really leveraging data and technology to align sales with marketing, which is absolutely critical, so that marketing can use that data to be creative, to be artistic, to meet the customers where they are in that journey. That sales marketing connection, it sounds like you’ve got a data foundation that really supports that pretty beautifully.

Thomas Been: It’s an ever-ongoing effort. It is an endeavor that you always need. It’s like painting a boat. You’re done at one point and then you restart. But I think it’s the scientific part of marketing. And now technologies like digital allows you to have this incredible visibility and understanding. But then if you use this as a foundation, then you get to be artistic, because then the human element, the way you’re going to stand out, your creative, your content, the themes, then that’s the artistic part. Because you know who you want to connect with at first, that’s the science part, and how you should do it in terms of the technology or the channel, what’s going to make their heart, so to speak, or their mind resonate is up to the artistic part. So how do you stop them on a track, get their attention in this world is super important. How do you get them to think about you and then get to the next stage, that’s where the artistic part comes in.

But one cannot exist without the other. Gone are the days of Mad Men. We’re not sitting down drinking whiskeys at 10:00 in the morning and say, “Oh, I got a great pitch that I’m going to… ” No, it’s really about we have a duty to be super informed, otherwise the audience is just going to pass next to us without paying attention. And then you get to play and then you need to stand out.

Lisa Martin: I love it. The artistry and the science components come together so well, and you’re doing such an amazing job of really articulating how that fusion is happening at Domino, but also how you’ve been doing it for years. Let’s move into our third out of four topics, and it’s really emerging technologies. What are some of the things that you’re looking at next, whether it’s in your MarTech stack or across the organization, that’s really going to drive that customer journey so that the customers can continue to just unlock the power of data and the power of AI?

Thomas Been: I think AI is obviously the topic of the day. It’s been for a few years, but especially generative AI has been a game changer. There’s a lot of parallels actually in between what we see our customers do with Domino to drive that GenAI efforts and what we’re also doing. And we’re not the only ones, this is across marketing. I was recently at a CMO dinner and we are all doing the same things. Summarization, we have access to tons of data, including the data from the technologies that I was mentioning. So getting the right perspective, this goes much faster. You don’t need an army of analysts anymore, you can have this done pretty quickly. First draft content creation is a game changer. You can take this podcast to use a transcript and then write a blog post using ChatGPT in, what, 20 minutes.

It may not be your tone, it may not be perfect, but you’ve gained maybe half a day. That’s the key. Of course, image creations, very often creative resources are rare and they’re very valuable, but if you do the right things, you can have some pretty good results in some of the videos and image. And it’s a domain that keeps on evolving. So that I think is really changing the way. Coming back to the arts and science, I think this is a level of automation that is closer to the scientific part, and everybody will do it, make the mistake. This is not about replacing marketers, it’s about making their life easier. But it pushes marketer more to the art side. Then you have more time to think about your audience, how you stand out, be creative, not in a way of the design of your slide, but of the ideas. So I think it’s a very interesting moment. So AI is huge.

Some of the other technologies, IoT, 5G, in the context of a B2B enterprise, they may not be as directly useful, but what I see our customers doing is using them as incredible channels to get an even better perspective of what’s happening in the world. The digital and actually some of the recent events like NVIDIA and such are a good example of how digital and the physical world are getting more and more intertwined. 5G, IoT, you get more data about what’s happening in real time, you get a better understanding of physical world, location of objects and such. This is an opportunity to do better, to be informed about the status of a customer, status of a process, and act on it. So there’s going to be a lot, we’re scratching the surface, but again, it goes back to AI being this ability to use this data in a much more efficient way.

Lisa Martin: Absolutely. Efficiency is so critical there. Finishing up this emerging technologies theme, what are you thinking in terms of how you’re going to be leveraging GenAI, for example, to really hone in and sharpen the metrics that matter for marketing and its impact on Domino as a business overall?

Thomas Been: Before I get there, I want to mention again, GenAI on its own, you can’t package marketing in a GenAI bot and such. It augments the marketer’s capability, so they need to use it the right way. Getting texts from ChatGPT, posting in a blog post, the audience will know, the same way the audience can know now the AI-generated images, so that’s not enough at all. But the way it can move the metrics is that I think it allows us, because of the ability to create, if we have the right assumptions in terms of audience, if we have the right message, which is not what ChatGPT is good at, really the message that’s going to move the audience, if you have it, and then creating the content that you can personalize to the various accounts or various use cases, that part is actually easier.

I think that’s where I see a lot of marketing team becoming much better. It’s not making them different, it’s the other part that makes them different, it’s the message, it’s the approach and such. But ChatGPT is a massive enabler. Sorry, I take that back, generative AI. It’s not only ChatGPT, you can use a solution of choice. There are actually very interesting startups that are starting to connect some very known processes of marketing to automate them. But yeah, generative AI is a game changer. Because of this, we have the ability to do more, but not as in more and more people, we can actually go deeper into the personalization, on the contextualization. That’s going to make a difference to the right people you need to interact with.

Lisa Martin: Absolutely. We have this expectation in our personal lives that the context is there when we’re interacting with a brand or any sort of transaction, and that bleeds into our business lives as well, we want that personalized, relevant, contextual experience that’s going to drive us forward in a way that makes sense to us individually. So last, Thomas, we’ve talked about you, your background, Domino, the MarTech stack we’ve dissected, we’ve looked at emerging technologies and what you’re doing there and what you’re excited about. Last question, Failure to Fabulous, what’s an example of a marketing story that you thought, “It didn’t quite go the way that we wanted it to,” I always say failure is not a bad F word, but that you were able to turn into a fabulous success for the business?

Thomas Been: I love that question. Failures are good, you learn from the failures. Repeated failures, I mean, we do the same failure all the time, that’s a different issue.

Lisa Martin: Yes, right?

Thomas Been: There are many failures I thought about, but I think because it’s recent, when I arrived at Domino, there was an initiative that the team had started in which we had this survey that we exposed to a fraction of our audience, which actually was yielding good result, we got good engagement and we actually one-on-one were following up and having good conversation. It was a great way to engage with the audience. It was somehow targeted to data science leaders, so that worked well. But then I looked at it and say, “What are we doing with the data?” And then it was a little bit of an awkward silence.

The beauty of this is that we ended up having, it’s a form of the voice of the customer. They are giving their input on a given problem. We used GenAI, and within literally two hours, we had a pretty good draft of a document that really captured the perspective of data science leaders. Of course, we would have written probably 80% of it and such, but this is one where as is it was a failure because we had a gem, but we were not looking at it. And then just asking the right questions, connecting the dots, and before you know, you have a wonderful assets because we need to stay humble as marketers. Our audience, they wants to hear from their peers before they want to hear from us. So if we can be the messenger and a channel. So that was one of these where like, “Hey, wait, how about this?” So it ended up being fabulous.

Lisa Martin: I love it. Fantastic. Well, Thomas, speaking of fabulous, it has been so fabulous to have you on the inaugural episode of Marketing: Art and Science. We so appreciate your time today. I know how busy a CMO you are, but sharing with the audience your background, how you got to the level of where you are now, how you’re leveraging technology to drive the customer journey, to drive sales relationships, to drive corporate strategy, we so appreciate your time.

Thomas Been: No, it’s been a pleasure, and all the best for the show. I’m just the first one, there are many, many wonderful CMOs to follow, so all the best to you and to the show.

Lisa Martin: We do have a list. We want to thank you, audience, for watching our inaugural episode. We aim to bring you weekly content that really, again, explores the fusion of artistry and science within marketing. Thanks again, everyone. We’ll see you soon.

Author Information

Lisa Martin

Lisa Martin is a Silicon Valley-based technology correspondent that has been covering technologies like enterprise iPaaS, integration, automation, infrastructure, cloud, storage, and more for nearly 20 years. She has interviewed nearly 1,000 tech executives, like Michael Dell and Pat Gelsinger, on camera over many years as a correspondent.

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