Interview with Ryan Luckin, Head of Marketing at Bluecore
1. Could you tell me a little about your background and how you came to be the Head of Marketing at Bluecore?
Prior to Bluecore, I worked in communications on the agency side and in-house, most recently at Microsoft on the Xbox and Surface brands. Trading in suburban life and comfy confines of Microsoft for a Brooklyn apartment and recently funding martech start-up was a decision that transpired over a couple months — and many sleepless nights. Consider me risk adverse. Thankfully the stars aligned: timing, an incredibly talented founding team, and innovative technology with product-market fit created a scenario that was hard to turn down, even if that meant moving across the country.
2. What is the core marketing technology capability of Bluecore that you bring to a marketer? Where does your product fit in vis-a-vis the customer life cycle?
I credit much of our success to solving two problems — one of the marketer and one of the marketer’s core customer. First, empowering the marketer to take immediate action on their customer and product catalogue data with ease and simplicity. Second, ensuring the message we receive as consumers are becoming more timely and contextual. As a society we’ve become accustomed to continuous connections and addicted to immediate access. Marketers are playing catch up to meet a whole new set of consumer expectations.
3. From a technology perspective, what are some of the biggest challenges that your marketing team faces today?
Growth. What a great problem to have. When you grow your customer base 10x in less than 24 months while also rolling out new products and partnerships, you are forced to prioritize, leaving things unchecked on your to-do list. Similarly, the explosion of the martech landscape makes for a challenging, noisy marketplace where differentiated messaging and positioning is increasingly harder to come by.
4. Could you elaborate on how marketers can draw out the best from your Live Segments tool for better ROI on campaigns? Does it factor in location-based technology and translation tools for effective personalization?
The notion of delivering more personalized, contextual email messaging at scale is not new. However, existing implementations have failed miserably in my opinion. First, marketers gain back time. In many cases we’ve reduced the process of creating and delivering a high-volume email send from many days to a few minutes. That type of return is off-the-charts important. Second, the coupling of audience segments, either behavioral or predictive, and rich customer data within a single system ensures marketers deliver fewer, more engaging messages over time. Overall email volume goes down while program KPIs like opens, clicks and conversions go up.
5. Are there any other new features or upcoming upgrades that you’re excited about and would like to give us a sneak peek into?
The addition of Predictive Audiences provides our customers with insights and actions that are currently unavailable in any other system on the market. Unlike other complex, predictive and machine learning tools, this new application effortlessly ingests and analyzes more customer data, and is directly integrated into campaign workflows across all channels. The ability to identify and communicate with groups of customers who are most likely to churn or who have the highest lifetime value with just one click will reshape how marketers think about cross-channel marketing.
6. Following last year’s series B funding round, does Bluecore intend to go beyond ecommerce and make inroads into industries such as healthcare, insurance and others such by customizing your product for them?
Absolutely. Our Series B funding was secured in large part to facilitate our expansion into new vertical, channels and territories. While the majority of our more than 250 brands come from the world of eCommerce, we’re also working with brands in travel, hospitality, content and more.
7. What is your take on the massive explosion of MarTech cos across so many categories? Do you see competition, opportunities to partner and/or integrate?
The explosion of martech solutions aligns with the shift of budget from advertising to marketing. Marketers are looking for technologies and solutions that deliver tangible ROI. As a result, the need to build out both infrastructure and point solutions to execute campaigns has exploded.
The opportunity to partner and integrate into key elements of the marketing stack is phenomenal. Through strategic partnerships you create more immediate opportunities to provide value to customers, while lowering your overall cost of acquisition.
8. How do you weigh in on the whole ‘buying into vs building a marketing cloud’ choices that marketers have to face today?
There are so many factors in play here — organizational size, resources, goals, etc. — but at a high-level I subscribe to the building methodology. There are simply too many high-value point solutions that drive true ROI for marketers to write them off completely because they aren’t built directly from a singular code base. And furthermore most of the foundational elements of a marketing stack, perhaps a cloud, are increasingly more and more open to technical partnerships making it simple and cost effective to integrate new technologies.
9. Could you share for our readers, an infographic or description depicting your marketing stack (various marketing software products or platforms your team uses or subscribes to)?
Our marketing organization is not yet two years old, but in that time we’ve tested a number of technologies. That is to say, what we use today has a decent likelihood of being replaced tomorrow if our needs change as the teams scale or if the tool in question fails to perform. Currently on our stack:
- Analytics/Measurement: Google Analytics, Brightfunnel, LeadLander
- CRM: Salesforce/Pardot
- CMS: Wordpress
- SEO: Conductor
- Customer Engagement: Intercom
- Social Media Management: TwitTimer
- Project Management: Trello
10. Can you share a screenshot of the homepage of your smartphone (iOS/Android/other)? It would be interesting to see some of the apps you personally use on a daily basis to get things done and stay on top of your day.
Connect with Ryan