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Profiles in Innovation: Sheryl Schultz of CabinetM Forecasts the MarTech Climate

July 2, 2019 3:33:44 PM EDT

ForesightOne recently announced, via a press release,  its new reseller partnership with CabinetM, a company focused on helping large enterprises to take account of the marketing technology they have, understand overlaps, gaps, and lead the path to acquire new technologies where required by the business.  Tracking what you have is a no brainer, and ForesightOne believes that given the more than 10,000 MarTech tools available today, it is critical to manage your technology across affiliates, enterprises, divisions and departments.

Check out the below interview with Sheryl Schultz, with ForesightOne to further discuss this technology. This initial intro will enable you to receive the ForesightOne Special Pricing for “innovative marketers!"

In the current MarTech climate, it can be difficult for organizations to decide exactly what solutions they need to empower their marketers. With products cropping up seemingly every week, and the tendency to purchase whatever seems hot without actually understanding whether it’ll prove useful, the task of crafting and managing an optimal marketing operations stack is more complicated than ever.

That’s where CabinetM comes in. This remarkable organization provides marketing operations teams with the tools to visualize, analyze, and constantly evolve their technology uses--helping them track what they’re using, what is performing, what tools have become dead weight, and where they have gaps.

After collaborating with CabinetM to craft an online interactive Customer Data Platform (CDP) technology stack, ForesightOne had the opportunity to sit down with Sheryl Schultz, co-founder of CabinetM, to discuss everything from the evolving role of marketers to book groups. With her diverse range of experiences and years of industry insight, the conversation we had is not to be missed!

In a few words, could you explain to our readers what CabinetM's mission is?

CabinetM helps large enterprise organizations manage the technology they purchase and build, and find the technology they need. Specifically, we’re being purchased by the marketing operations teams at large enterprise organizations who are looking for centralized oversight of the marketing technology that’s being used across their organization.

Inside of every organization we work with, there are a core set of “anchor platforms.” These are platforms like marketing automation systems, email systems, and more and more CDPs are starting to move their way into that list. They’re platforms that everybody in the organization uses - it’s been a large ticket item for them to buy, and IT or someone in their organization helped deploy it.

In addition to those tools we’re seeing anywhere from 75 to 250 different pieces of technology being deployed in these large companies in order to acquire, retain, and engage customers. So, the situation is really unwieldy right now. Our platform simplifies that.

In terms of your customers, do you see a specific size of business or a specific industry which makes up the majority of your client base?

Our clients tend to be companies with $1B plus in revenue. They definitely cross the spectrum in terms of B2B and B2C; though, what we do find it that B2C companies have more tools in their stack than their B2B counterparts. The ultimate goal remains the same, however. Organizations across the board are adopting technology to drive revenue; at the end of the day, that’s what this is all about. Recently, Gartner reported that technology now represents 29% of the marketing budget, and many organizations haven’t been tracking what’s being used, how products are integrated, and how they are performing. They have been buying technology like drunken sailors.

That’s an interesting and pretty apt analogy.

Yes, but our platform helps them hit pause, so they can get their arms around everything marketing technology - related. It’s simple, and for the most part once it’s implemented, it lives in our customers’ daily workflow.

The CabinetM platform has three primary components. There’s a marketing technology stack configurator that sits on top of a sophisticated contract management system. Organizations use both of these to map the technology they’re using and the technology they’ve built, as well as the integrations between the tools. And, track all the details surrounding their use of all of these tools: things like governance, compliance, and RFP issuance. We have some clients who are tracking up to 50 different attributes for every single piece of technology they use. We recently released contract auto-renewal alerts so our users can set appropriate thresholds to evaluate products before they are just about to renew. The platform does the heavy lifting here.

The second part of CabinetM is our database of over 12,000 marketing technology, sales tech, and ad tech tools, that our users leverage to build their marketing technology stacks. The database includes all the tools you would find in a marketing tech stack –so you’ll find planning and collaboration tools like Slack or Trello, too.

Our third component is our reporting and collaboration capability. Putting all this information in one place is only valuable if you can filter it and extract it in meaningful ways. We provide ways to export stack data and contract data and report on it. Our users can extract visualizations of their integrated stacks through a capability called Stack Maps – visualization is a large focus for us over the course of the next few quarters because all of our clients use it all the time. We give you the ability to drill down and to filter exactly who in your organization is using particular products. You can create stack reports, so that you can assess whether you’re actually using too many tools in a given functional layer of your stack. We find this is particularly important in M&A environments where organizations are trying to rationalize stacks across multiple teams and companies. About 50% of our clients are dealing with M&A events, so we have a birds-eye view of complex that work can be.

What would you say inspired the creation of CabinetM?

My cofounder Anita Brearton, and I are long time business partners. We ran the Boston chapter of an angel investment group together; we ran a consulting practice together; and, when we stopped running the angel group--called Golden Seeds--Anita was recruited to run a B2C tween girls’ clothing company. While she was there, one of the things that she realized was that her amazing three-person digital marketing team was constantly looking for new tools to use to acquire and engage with their customers. But there was no place to go. They Googled; they asked their friends; but that’s it.

At the same time that she was doing that, I was investing in, advising, and sitting on the board of marketing technology companies. I noticed that these organizations were having a harder and harder time reaching customers because there was so much content being pushed that it was just hard for marketers to engage with MarTech companies in a natural way.

After Anita left her role, we started ideating about what we would do next. When we started discussing the experiences we were having in this new digital world, we realized that we were looking at two sides of the same coin: marketers looking for products, and MarTech companies looking for customers.

We originally built CabinetM as a warm, contextual marketplace for marketing companies and marketers to connect.

We spent six months doing diligence and speaking to marketers at organizations of all sizes and we saw a number of different dynamics emerging.

First was that marketing was becoming an increasingly technical role. Second: the traditional marketing organization we had grown up in was going to morph and change, giving way to the rise of a new function, which ultimately became marketing operations. This group evaluates and owns the marketing technology stack. Thirdly, marketing was going to sit right in the path to revenue. Finally, while we thought the real thing that people cared about was finding products, what we discovered was that marketers were already buying a lot of technology, but having a hard time tracking and managing it.

What technology stacks do you see getting the most attention? What do you think motivates this? How does the evolution of Marketing present itself here?

Over the last few years, we have had 100s and 100s of marketing technology stacks built on the CabinetM platform. It’s our goal in the future to add things like machine learning and AI to that so that we can become a recommendation platform for our users. That way, we don’t just let them map their technology, but also help them know what else they should be using.

Today we are able to manually mine all of the anonymized data through a function called Stack Insights, which we have also opened up to our Enterprise platform subscribers. If I go into my database and ask, “what are the top 50 products being used,” it’s really easy for me to see that. I can also ask, “what are the top 50 categories of products that are being added to someone’s stack, if they are using Marketo, for example?”

What we see today, in terms of categories of products, is that (1) everyone has social media marketing, (2) the popularity of marketing automation, (3) analytics, (4) email platforms, (5) CRM systems. But right behind those marketing tools, are sales enablement tools. Sales organizations are also looking for tools in order to really drill down and find the best prospects.

One of the other things that we’ve been doing recently is building interactive stacks around different technology areas. For example, we looked at direct mail, and we built an interactive version of that stack in coordination with the US Postal Service. Who knew they had an innovation officer! Who knew there are over 100 products involved in offline mail to make them more effective!

We worked with ForesightOne on a CDP stack. We know what marketers are looking for in order to understand these tools and their influence, so we want to provide a context.

In your view, is the hype around certain MarTech solutions appropriate? If not is there something that you see a lot less demand for than people might expect?

We are firm believers that every company is different and what works in one environment won’t necessarily work in another. We also see a lot of companies trying to implement conversational marketing. We see a lot of companies focused on Account-based Marketing. But again, you have to implement what works for you, not what works for everyone else.

We’ve implemented certain tools that have come highly recommended, and then spent months re-tooling them multiple times. These tools simply didn’t match our approach or our strategy so we let them go.

Ultimately, when it comes to wrestling with different solutions, you need to know when to surrender, and when to declare victory.

What are some key people and brands in the industry you look for in terms of innovation?

I really admire Adobe! I’m really fascinated by the acquisitions they’re making and by the way they’re evolving their mission. There is so much discussion around buying from one vendor versus buying from best of breed. Currently, companies are still buying best of breed, but I think that, as time goes on, there will be companies like Adobe, who will give those best of breed players a run for their money. I think they’re one of the companies really best positioned to do it.

How do you keep a work vs. life balance?

I could be working 24/7 on CabinetM and there are times that I think I am.

Still, I like to do some things that require that I hit pause. For instance, I read with two book groups, and that forces me to read at least two books a month. In one of the book groups I created with Anita, we realized that we had a lot of people like us in Boston, who had moved in without connections--lots of wonderful smart women, senior level folks, across industries.

At the end of the day, you’re just a better person when you know how to hit pause, step back, and come back into it.

Based on your experience, both personally and with CabinetM, what does ‘innovation’ mean to you?

Innovation is being able to look out on the horizon to identity a problem that large groups of people may not be able to articulate right now, and find new ways to make life or business better for that group. We think that’s what we have done with CabinetM!

Click here in to get in touch 

with ForesightOne to further discuss CabinetM's technology. This initial intro will enable you to receive the ForesightOne Special Pricing for “innovative marketers.”

Curt Bloom
Written by Curt Bloom

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