AiThority Interview with Steve Daheb, Chief Marketing Officer at ON24
Hi Steve, please tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at ON24.
As CMO at ON24, my top priority is supporting our customers. We want to help our customers build successful brands, market, sell, train, enable, educate and drive growth for their business. With the ON24 Digital Experience Platform, we’re enabling thousands of businesses to convert millions of prospects into buyers by reimagining how they operate in a digital-first world. At ON24, we’re making it easier to create, scale and personalize engaging experiences that drive growth and adoption.
What is the most exciting part about working in the Martech industry? What do you like the most about martech?
Martech has seen an incredible transformation in the last year alone, and this shift has only accelerated the need for a much deeper relationship between marketing and sales. If you look across different kinds of sales and marketing tactics today, some are engaging, and some provide data. However, there is no solution that can truly match ON24’s ability to do both. At ON24, we’ve designed a system of engagement that delivers experiences purpose-built for marketing and sales. As our customers deliver hundreds or thousands of experiences per year, the more people they’re engaging with, the more intent data they can capture to further personalize their experiences with prospects. Over the next year, I’m excited to see how Martech will continue to evolve to drive more efficiencies and innovations to enhance customer experiences.
What were the key milestones in your career that helped you scale to this level?
I’ve always been drawn to category-defining companies. I’ve held multiple CMO roles at public companies over the course of my career. Before I joined ON24 last year, I was the Senior Vice President at Oracle Cloud for more than five years, and prior to that I was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Citrix. Having built a career in the technology sector, I’ve always understood the importance of AI and the value data creates for any business. At ON24, we’re really bringing this to life—we are truly creating the future of engagement.
What is the most contemporary definition of “Martech Stack”? Tell us a little bit about your martech stack that you use / have used in the past?
Today, I think of it less in terms of a martech stack and more in terms of an ecosystem. I think it’s critical to ensure data is shared and your martech stack is fully integrated across sales, marketing and customer service. By having comprehensive data on a prospect, it empowers businesses to better orchestrate digital experiences and follow prospects along their journey. Ultimately, it allows for more relevant and personalized experiences based on individual needs.
Marketing leaders are either embracing data science or hiring data analysts for their operations. How do you think a CMO should plan / train with data science?
Many CMOs today understand the importance of leveraging data and how it can enrich the overall engagement with a customer. However, the quality of data from traditional marketing such as clicks and downloads can be difficult to make actionable. At ON24, we’re enabling marketers to make more informed data-driven decisions from each digital experience with a customer. With over 20 data points from each customer’s experience, we can provide marketers with a clear picture of buyer intent so that they can drive more effective, and meaningful conversations.
Tell us more about your plans at ON24 and how the pandemic crisis has provided you with the opportunity to drive better CX / Customer success initiatives?
The shift toward a digital-first approach to business was already well underway before the pandemic hit. The last year has only accelerated this trend. Now, digital-first business and remote everything are here to stay. Companies across industries are fundamentally changing how they engage with customers. At ON24, we’ve worked closely with all of our customers to help them bring experiences online and capitalize on the value of digital engagement. Along the way, we’ve committed to continuous innovation to meet their evolving needs. In the fall, we launched conversion tools to help businesses better understand buyer intent. Last month, we announced Virtual Conference Professional, a new product designed to help our customers more quickly and easily stand up large-scale, interactive virtual events.
How do you see AI ML and Marketing Automation platforms scaling from here? How would these computing trends in Martech Ops evolve with the increased adoption of AI ML applications?
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology have already become mission-critical for many marketers. These technologies have played a critical role in our consumer lives for several years now, providing us with hyper-personalized experiences based on the way we engage and interact on consumer-based platforms. However, when you look at B2B, it’s often more complex and difficult to create these similar meaningful engagements. To be more effective B2B marketers, we must evolve beyond automated marketing and focus on personalization to create more relevant experiences for our customers. The ON24 Digital Experience Platform creates engagement data from surveys, polls and interactions, and uses AI to help inform the next best action or experience. Our intelligence engine makes it possible to personalize the experiences and meaningfully engage with customers, at scale.
Your prediction on the future of Marketing Automation platforms – how are you planning for the future at ON24?
The era of automation is over, but the era of digital engagement is just beginning. Marketers are moving away from automation because they see a greater opportunity in meaningful two-way communication with prospects and customers than they do in sending out mass communications. At ON24, we facilitate this connection between businesses and their audiences through interactive digital experiences that drive engagement.
Advice to every CEO / CMO looking to adopt / upgrade their Martech platforms in 2021:
Now that we’ve seen the power and reach of a digital-first strategy, there’s no going back. My advice to any CEO or CMO looking to upgrade their martech platforms this year is two-fold. First, invest in digital platforms and channels that enable you to meaningfully engage with prospects and customers, at scale. Second, that platform must be able to integrate with your other technologies so you can maximize the value of engagement data by seamlessly integrating into your sales and marketing ecosystems, accelerating the buyer journey.
Thank you, Steve! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Steve Daheb is chief marketing officer for ON24, driving all aspects of our vision to create a world where people can experience work and life in harmony. A featured industry speaker, Daheb has more than 20 years of senior marketing leadership experience, spanning the networking, security, virtualization, cloud and mobility markets. Daheb joined
Citrix from Blue Coat Systems, where he served as CMO and senior vice president of business development. e Top Three Technology Executives of the Year for 2012.Prior to joining Blue Coat, Daheb held senior marketing, sales and business development roles at Emulex, BlueArc (acquired by Hitachi), Brocade and Lucent.Steve earned his Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University specializing in technology law, and his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis.
The ON24 Digital Experience Platform makes it easy to create, scale and personalize engaging experiences that drive measurable business growth. Today we are converting millions of prospects to buyers for thousands of companies, enabling our customers to monetize engagement. Through ON24 webinar, virtual event, multi-media experiences, we provide a system of engagement for audiences to choose and accelerate their own journeys. ON24 customers then turn that engagement and interest into actionable insights, which enables businesses to scale engagement, conversions and pipeline to drive revenue growth. ON24 serves approximately 2,000 companies worldwide, including 3 of the 5 largest Global Technology companies, 4 of the 5 largest Financial Services companies, 5 of the 5 largest Life Sciences companies and 3 of the 5 largest Global Industrial Manufacturing companies. In aggregate, our customers engage an average of 4M professionals per month for a total of 2.5B minutes per year. Headquartered in San Francisco, ON24 has a wide international footprint serving the regions of North America, EMEA and APAC.