Q&A: Demandbase CEO Christopher Golec

This week, marketing services provider Demandbase unveiled a new web service to decrease website abandonment and increase online conversion rates, as well as a partnership with Day Software, a provider of standards-based content management and infrastructure software. Demandbase CEO Christopher Golec chatted with Direct Marketing News’ Frank Washkuch about the company’s moves and its plans for the future.

Direct Marketing News: Since Demandbase just made two announcements today, what are your plans for the rest of this year?
Christopher Golec:
The company has really shifted into much more of a technology marketing performance company, versus how we came up through data and some interesting lead generation technologies. Where the company is really headed with this new technology is enabling companies to dramatically improve their marketing performance. I think it goes with helping people generate new leads to serve your existing customers better on the web. In general, I think the last 10 years, especially in b-to-b marketing, have been about generating clicks rather than putting your brand online. This is about how you better link those people and clicks to the content that matters the most, and how do you optimize that interaction.

DMN: What do you expect your industry space to look like in the next year?
When you think about b-to-b companies, versus b-to-c companies, the b-to-c guys are way ahead of the game. The b-to-b guys still have the exact same website for every customer, so whether you’re a big business, small business, a bank or hospital, you see the exact same website when you go there. So what we are enabling is for the identification of accounts or businesses in real time, so you can deliver a much more tailored experience and do it without relying on a cookie or previous visit or the tracking of a behavior. It just doesn’t matter as much on the b-to-b side, which is about marketing to businesses and accounts, not so much where you’ve been on the web. So the short of it is, I think in b-to-b this year, the next year and the next five years, you will see a lot more catching up in b-to-b businesses’ ability to convert and engage visitors, rather than just getting clicks.

DMN: How does privacy legislation or regulation fit into this?
It’s a great question and I think it’s a significant issue. I think a lot of companies are watching and seeing what is happening. Our technology does not rely on the way you would normally look at a person. There are no cookies and no personally identifiable information issues, and we are doing more of mapping of IP addresses to office locations. So we don’t touch any of the PII issues that are now under debate. It’s much cleaner that way, also because we are looking at a much bigger section of traffic and not people who have come previously.

DMN: Do some industries or industry segments do data collection better than others?
Golec: Many consumer-oriented sites have been doing it already through the use of cookies, and if you think about going to Amazon.com, my experience is different than your experience or anyone else’s. On the b-to-b side, that’s not true; it’s one website to everyone with the products and services we have to offer whether you want them or not, versus stripping away all the stuff and telling me about the stuff you have for my business. I think the division is more about b-to-b than b-to-c and certainly software companies are early adopters on that front.

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