Predictions Series 2022: AiThority Interview with David Low, CMO at Talkwalker
Hi, David. Welcome to our Interview Series.You have an enriched background in the Marketing Analytics industry. Please tell us a little bit about your journey in this industry and what inspired you to start at Talkwalker
Over the past 25 years there has been a significant shift of control. What initially started as brands creating and controlling the conversations has switched to the consumer. I wanted to be as close to the consumer as possible and what better way than with Talkwalker who truly helps brands capture the voice of the consumer.
Prior to Talkwalker, I’ve held leadership roles across marketing and advertising companies, from start-ups to Fortune 500s, delivering high-performance, integrated marketing strategies to help achieve next-level growth.
Most recently, I served as the CMO during the growth-stage of a B2B SaaS company where I built a marketing team and martech stack resulting in +224% YOY revenue growth and oversaw the successful sale of their largest business unit.
Previously, I co-founded Launchpad Advertising, a full-service brand strategy and creative agency based in NYC and served as the President until 2017, as well as navigating premiere global brands at Madison Avenue’s largest agencies.
I’m excited to be moving into the CMO role at Talkwalker at such a pivotal moment for the organisation. I want to continue to develop Talkwalker’s value proposition as a world class partner for businesses and their brands to get closer to their customers, offering them the ability to gain immediate and continuous insights into consumer perceptions.
I look forward to working with the Board, the executive team and colleagues across the organisation to support the business as it continues its growth journey.
Please tell us a little bit about your Marketing technology and marketing communication stacks. Which tools are indispensable for a modern CMO?
Talkwalker has an international team of marketing experts, in offices from New York to Luxembourg to Singapore. Empowering that team means that consistent communication and alignment is essential. Tools like Monday.com and Slack are enabling this, providing us with effective campaign planning comms.
We’re also major advocates of our own platform. We use Talkwalker to help us track campaigns, monitor brand mentions, review the impact of our paid activities, engage with influencers, the list goes on. It’s a vital single source of truth that we couldn’t function without.
What role can a CMO play in expanding the scope of AI-driven business analytics initiatives across global platforms: how do you design a people-centric “AI for Marketing” program?
A key priority for CMOs is to encourage teams to welcome the capabilities of AI. Only a few years ago, there was a fear that AI was coming to ‘take our jobs.’ But we know that’s not the case. Instead, AI can be used to empower the people you have. Making them more efficient, faster, enabling them to make more informed, data-driven decisions, in real-time.
For example, many brands generate potentially millions of brand mentions each week across various social networks, blogs and news posts. If you’re tasked with pulling consumer insights from those mentions, that’s an impossible task without artificial intelligence to back you up.
But if your team engages AI to do the heavy lifting, converting that data into comprehensive intelligence, that insights person can spend more time focusing on the actions that will have a brand impact. Less number crunching, more results.
Tell us about your recent Social Media Trends report, highlighting the emergence of AI and Metaverse in social media monitoring?
The report is highlighting the biggest trends that will impact brands in the coming year. One of the trends we saw is how predictive analytics will start to shake up marketing. Predictive analytics itself is nothing new, it’s been used within industries like logistics for a while now. But we believe that 2023 will be when marketers start to engage the tech and use it to be less reactive and more prescriptive in their actions.
So with predictive analytics, you can look at a topic, and based on the data history of that topic, see whether it’s on the rise or fall. Is it a growing conversation that your brand should jump onto, or one that’s dying off. Now you can rely on predictive analytics for that instead of just gut instinct.
We will also see a big change in the metaverse next year. There’s numerous competitors in the field, but consumers have been a little tentative about jumping into this next big thing. Next year, we’ll see key players start to pull ahead of the pack, as the consumer base finally engages with this opportunity, and they will decide which metaverses will be future winners, and which will go the way of the dodo.
Decentralised social networks are expected to dominate the Marketing voice in coming months. What are your thoughts on creating a brand identity that suits decentralised ecosystems?
That depends on your consumers. Your brand identity, the networks you use to engage your audience, the topics you cover, should be developed based on consumer insights. There’s no point in targeting decentralised social networks if your audience, or potential audience, isn’t there. There’s no point in changing your brand identity to jump onto this, if that doesn’t resonate with your audience.
It does appear that decentralised networks are slowly moving to the mainstream, but traditional social media still dominates the landscape. At this time, it’s better to focus on your audience, understand what they want, and adapt your marketing to fit. And that strategy will keep you relevant no matter how the ecosystem changes in the coming years.
In the modern context of ESG initiatives, how do you help your organisation with the various Marketing and Social media awareness benchmarks? What lessons have you learned through these initiatives?
When I joined Talkwalker earlier this year, I was happy to see the diversity across the organisation. It’s a Luxembourg based company and therefore you get to work with people from many different backgrounds, countries, and cultures; it’s been more diverse than most US based organisations I’ve worked with in the past.
The company has been very active in the area of ESG, and I am just getting up to speed with the range of initiatives driven by our HR and finance teams. In general, I believe ESG should not be used as a buzzword, rather if an organisation supports this, they need to demonstrate it with tangible action, not just words.
Your message for modern CMOs and marketing leaders looking to enhance their understanding of Metaverse? Is there a heightened need to have more sales enablement with metaverse-specific content?
This goes back to my earlier point. First ask, why are you looking to create metaverse-specific content? If it’s because you want to dive into the latest trend with no thought to long-term strategy, then no, you shouldn’t.
But if you’re monitoring your audience effectively, and you’ve seen a significant portion of that audience is engaging with the metaverse, then yes.
If you have a strong connection with your consumers, you will know where and when to action new sales-enablement opportunities.
The last two years have accelerated digital transformation for businesses of all sizes and stature. What has been the biggest lesson for you that helped you stay on top of your marketing and revenue-generation goals? Would you like to share your pandemic experience on how you managed to continue your development works and research during these uncertain times?
The last few years have been a rollercoaster of a ride for many to say the least. We’ve gone through a pandemic, lockdowns, supply chain issues, and now a cost of living crisis and recession.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that in this new environment, businesses of all sizes and stature must focus on forging symbiotic relationships through a better understanding of online conversations and taking quicker action.
Developing our new predictive analytics hub powered by Blue Silk™ Artificial Intelligence, Talkwalker Forecasting, has enabled brands to be more proactive and optimise their strategies.
Having the ability to foresee changes in consumer behaviour and identify trends before they happen is vital for businesses to anticipate changes in consumer behaviour and identify trends before they happen.
It’s this new understanding that will help brands create meaningful experiences and become closer to their consumers.”
Your take on the new buzzwords in AI-driven Marketing Technology such as “conversational AI” and “social media monitoring”: Are they buzzwords?
Social media monitoring has been around for years now, and I don’t know a single enterprise brand that isn’t using it. It’s an essential part of modern digital marketing strategy, that’s critical for brand success.
Conversational AI is a newer innovation, but it is enabling brands to connect with their consumers even more effectively. Consumers want faster, more personalised interactions with the brands they like, and Conversational AI makes that happen.
Going back to a previous point, that doesn’t mean the death of customer service. You still need dedicated people in the background, but this is another form of AI that people can rely on to get their job done more effectively.
How important is it for a technology company like Talkwalker to build a world-class company culture where the best Marketing and Sales talent thrive”?
The pandemic caused a significant change in how people work and what employees expect from their job. We saw a mass exodus of people in the tech industry as they reassessed their working roles, and now we’re seeing a potential rise of ‘quiet quitting’.
You need to keep your employees happy, or you will lose them. People are the lifeblood of companies, and you can’t afford to lose them. And it’s not always about money. The company culture, the opportunities, the option to work from home, all these things work together to nurture that culture, helping you retain the talent you need for success.
Thank you, David! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
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An accomplished Marketing/Advertising executive with diverse experience leading Fortune 500 to startup brands. A builder and fixer at heart who has successfully grown technology-based service brands with both B2C & B2B offerings by challenging the status quo to take them to the next level of growth. Seasoned executive with experience leading teams up to 70 FTE and managing P&L’s up to $100M.
Talkwalker is the #1 consumer intelligence company and is dedicated to helping brands close the gap between brand and consumer. Recognized as a Leader in Consumer Intelligence and Social Listening, Talkwalker brings together market-leading social analytics and AI technology, with unstructured data expertise, and a global team of insights analysts and data storytellers.
Talkwalker enables brands to put consumers at the heart of their decision-making, empowering them to embrace smarter innovation, create more successful campaigns, and provide enhanced customer experiences. With teams around the world, Talkwalker helps over 2,500 global brands to be consumer close and accelerate their brand growth.