Today I interviewed Ryan Vong, CEO of newly created marketing automation agency, Digital Pi. I’ve known Ryan for a couple of years now thanks to our work with the Marketo Community. With his varied work and new partners, I am sure his firm will help any marketer succeed with their chosen platform.
How did you get started in marketing automation?
I remember sitting in the original Marketo office ready to interview with some of the folks there in the early part of 2009 nervous that I was going to mispronounce the company name.
After several rounds I just asked if I could see the product and within the first few minutes I was hooked. I used to run the interactive team at a brand agency. During that time, most of our clients were just starting out with interactive advertising and campaigns and it quickly became apparent that while we excelled in building top of the funnel campaigns most of the leads were sifted through and the rest lived in a database never to be remembered because they were no longer net new leads. In some of my presentations, I would have sales people just yell out “all these web metrics look great, but is there anyone on there I can call?” As someone who requires clarity, the tools in place at the time were just not cutting it and opening the Marketo demo somehow put all the pieces together. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Why did you decide to start your agency?
During the past year I worked with marketers at dozens of companies helping them get their marketing automation configured and running optimally. Along the way I discovered that there’s a pressing need for a new kind of digital marketing consultancy. There’s a big need out there for an agency that really understands the technology down to the weeds – and just as important knows how to help businesses articulate and translate their marketing strategy into data and applications that do what they want them to: generate revenue.
Tell me about your approach to client engagements.
We start by asking questions and listening carefully to the client. We want to understand their perspective on the situation and what they want to accomplish. The situations provide context, and they can be quite different.
For example, if a company just lost their Marketo expert, they probably are most concerned with maintaining continuity first, and then exploring how to optimize, improve, or expand their deployment.
Another example is when a company has setup their marketing automation, and time passes while the business change or grows, prompting them to take a fresh look at their deployment. Their needs are quite different.
Every customer engagement has this in common: we have to be really good at asking questions, listening, and figuring out what the problem is and how best to solve it. This approach is good for us too, in that it helps us determine if the company is a good fit for Digital Pi. Our clients are really smart, busy marketing professionals. We aim to make them heroes by helping them do great things.
What’s your favorite platform?
For me, Marketo is the platform I’ve spent the most time in so I guess you’d have to call that my favorite. Others on our team are proficient in other marketing automation platforms as well. As we grow, I expect to build a team that can handle any of the major platforms. As the tools keep getting better and consolidation continues, the platform you choose won’t matter as much as how you use it.
What’s been your favorite engagement so far?
They really are all different. What makes an engagement fun are the people you’re working with. I’ve had the good fortune of working with great people at every engagement so far. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be more for the challenge and scale it presented: the CA Technologies global roll-out. Great people with a great vision for where they want to take marketing automation on a grand scale.
How many people do you have on your team?
We are a specialized group of five dedicated experts focused today on marketing automation. We’ll continue to expand to meet the growing demand, but I want to be vigilant in bringing in the right people at every step of the way. Our success will rely on the individual consultant’s ability to deliver the goods and wow customers.
Why should people choose you?
Digital Pi is where the rubber meets the road for marketing automation.
We roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of making marketing automation do what you want it to do. We are very, very good at what we do. We’re in the trenches alongside our clients analyzing their needs, forming a vision, and executing the vision in the form of marketing automation. We are marketers who have worked at startups, enterprises and everything in between. The Digital Pi team knows what it means to be a marketer in the real world where there’s never enough time, pressures come from all sides, and everyone has different idea for what marketing should be doing. Getting marketing automation right in a lab is one thing, doing it in the real world where marketing lives in a business is an entirely different animal. Our knowledge of the context of marketing makes us really good at focusing on the right problems and solving them efficiently. Oh, and one more thing. We’re fun to work with 🙂
Which areas do you specialize in?
Making marketing automation do what you want it to do is number one. Marketo is our primary platform today, and we support SilverPop and Pardot with more platforms coming as we ramp up. We view marketing automation platforms as a natural point for integration with other business processes whether it’s your CRM, a data warehouse, e-commerce or your own SaaS. More and more, we see marketing automation becoming an aggregator of distributed behavioral data and the mechanism to act on that data in real time. That’s a really complicated way of saying automate every behavior you can get your hands on. Think of the possibilities for triggering beyond fills out a form, or clicked on a link. The possibilities are endless.
Do you have a Package or Pricing Summary?
[I’m summarizing them here – Josh]
Digital Pi offers several marketing automation consulting and implementation services such as:
- Marketing Automation Check-up
- Marketing Automation Implementation
- Operations Management – outsourced ops
What kinds of firms would find you the most helpful?
Companies of any size considering marketing automation, or already deployed that need to optimize or re-visit how they’re using it today. We’ve served startups with less than a dozen employees, mid-sized companies and global software enterprises.
What do you do for fun?
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I geek out on marketing technology and seeing what I can make it do. But if I’m not doing that, I’m hanging with my family
What’s the best way for marketers to get in touch?
Email us at info [at ] digital-pi.net or visit our site.