Julia Stead

With ten years of impressive growth under its belt, and a client base that includes companies like GE Healthcare, Unilever, and Charles Schwab, Allocadia is a recognized leader in Marketing Performance Management (MPM). According to Chief Marketing Officer Julia Stead, it’s a success story that began a decade ago in Vancouver when identical twins, Christine Stewart and Catherine Berry, made plans to start their own marketing management software company.

“They were marketers by trade,” said Stead, “and they had felt the pain of not being able to manage marketing budgets fectively and keep track of every marketing dollar.”

In a recent interview with ITWC President Fawn Annan, conducted as part of the CMO Talks podcast series, Stead explored the benefits of using marketing tools, such as Allocadia, to help run the business of marketing more effectively and efficiently. “We’re really there to help marketing organizations manage and track their investments, align them with strategic goals, and measure their performance,” she said. “It’s not just about managing the resources, but also managing the performance of those resources.”

An expert in driving market leadership and revenue growth at software-as-a-service martech companies, Stead sees that marketing automation is becoming more ubiquitous in large enterprises, yet for her, it’s still about the people. “You can have the best technology in the world, and all the bells and whistles,” she said, “but if the folks on your team don’t have the right experience levels and skill mix, the technology won’t be successful.”

The human element was evident again when Annan raised a question about the areas deserving of CMOs’ attention. From Stead’s perspective, people leadership came first. “People are an investment both in time and in money and a resource to be managed really wisely,” she said. The second area of focus for CMOs was market and business strategy – which Stead characterized as being able to see the big picture. Last in her list was positioning the business in an exciting way – a trait exemplified by Stead when she described Allocadia’s new State of Spend – 2020, a first-of-its-kind report on how organizations have shifted their spend from pre- to post-COVID channels and programs.

According to Stead, COVID-19 has been a game changer for Allocadia. “While we were growing rapidly before and really solving a big pain point for marketers, that pain point has been exacerbated by how much agility is needed to run an effective marketing organization right now,” she said.

Moving on to the subject of training and change management, Stead spoke to the value of Allocadia’s consultative sales approach, phased implementation, monthly peer community sessions, and ongoing support system. “You can’t ignore the change management aspect,” she said, “and if you pretend it doesn’t exist, you’ll never be successful.”

When asked by Annan to comment on the traps senior marketers should avoid when designing their marketing technology stack, Stead pointed quickly to the temptation to buy shiny new tools without having the right operational foundation and expertise to drive them.

In her concluding remarks, Stead advised podcast listeners not to underestimate the value and importance of people and foundational support. She also cautioned against feeling guilty about not nailing down ROI measurements, but having said that, she urged marketers to take immediate steps in this direction. “The time has come to really tackle that piece,” she said. “The ROI measurement is critical and there are solutions like ours to help you.”

Listen to the interview

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