Episode 17 | Transcript

Timo Kovala: Dealing With Change Management, Marketing Attribution & AI

Anthony Lamot: Timo, welcome to the show.

Timo Kovala: Thanks, thanks, Anthony. Happy to be here.

AL: Absolutely. It’s a pleasure to have you. It’s been a while since I’ve had a fellow European on the show.

TK: Yeah, I’ve noticed it as well that the Salesforce ecosystem can be a bit American or Anglo-centric. So it’s nice to be part of the wider audience, so to speak.

AL: For sure. Yeah. And we do love to mix it up. I guess recently a lot of participants on the show were American because I’m based in the US, but it was great to run into you at Dreamforce. For our guests on the show today, can you tell us a bit about your background and what you currently do at Capgemini?

TK: Yeah. So currently, I’m a marketing architect at Capgemini, meaning that I work with clients, and try to help them build or design a roadmap forward in data-driven marketing and sales alignment. But before my time in Capgemini, I worked in Salesforce consultancy. Before that, I worked in marketing consulting. And prior to that, I was in-house. So I have both in-house and consulting background.

AL: So, you made the switch as well from working in-house within the industry to consultancy. What was that like?

TK: I’ve been a hiring manager before in my current role. So I basically hired all my teammates from an in-house background. And at least in marketing, I see that’s the way to go. You get the best professionals. And this is not disrespect to people who have been fully born and bred consultants. But I myself prefer having this practical expertise because that’s the one thing that you cannot train by going to training and doing consultancy work. You get the perspective of being in-house, and that makes you position in a special way to accommodate the customer and go to their shoes.

AL: I can totally relate to that. In fact, I’ve often observed in the ecosystem that amongst code system integrators, there are sometimes those who do purely consultancy and they are really good at integration projects. And then there are a number of marketing agencies who know all about campaigns, but I wouldn’t let them do an implementation. Frankly, it is rare to see that mix. 

One of the things I like about partnering with Capgemini is that Capgemini has this mix of practical hands-on experience as marketers within their team. But they also have the more typical consulting IT integration background so they can actually get the system up and running in a way that has a good architecture, but also practically enough so that marketers can get campaigns out of the door very easily.

TK: Yeah, definitely.

AL: I also noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you are now a “top marketing analytics voice.” Can you tell us a bit about that? Like just first of all, what does that mean? And how can someone become a top voice on LinkedIn?

TK: Yeah. I mean, that was a surprise to me as well. It’s a recent addition. LinkedIn used to have the influencer tags, but those were reserved for real influencers with 50,000 followers and for, I don’t know, Forbes or Bloomberg and stuff like that. So it’s nice that they added this midway step, which is the “top voice”. And that’s basically for anybody who is active on LinkedIn, sharing their thoughts, and engaging in discussions. 

There are AI-generated articles. They use GPT to create these mock-up articles that have sections. So it’s always a post written by AI and divided into sections. And then one day I got a LinkedIn notification that, hey, you have been selected to write for one of these articles. “Okay. What is this?” And then I went to check, and it was something about marketing attribution. “Okay, I can write about that”. And then I started writing about it. I wrote some other articles. So basically, it’s written articles, and then you comment on the sections so you can challenge the AI-generated stuff and provide real-life examples. So I think it’s a really innovative way of using AI and structuring thoughts and getting the community engaged.

AL: I actually have been getting emails from them for months, but I’ve just been ignoring them because I wasn’t sure what they were about. And I was also wondering if it would be too generic. But now I can see there’s a clear benefit to filling in those ends.

TK: You can actually click it and check the other articles. And I mean, for sure, you could do, you could like, for example, segmentation and personalization and these kinds of areas. But yeah.

AL: I’ll definitely look at it. Yeah, I’ve been, I guess, nominated to write or answer on marketing automation topics and then a variety of other topics. So I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip. That’s cool.

Well, let’s bring the conversation back from LinkedIn to Marketing Cloud. You’ve been in that field for a while. What was your most interesting project so far?

TK: Well, I’ve been working with both the OG Marketing Cloud and Account Engagement, which is Pardot for OG players like myself. This is also for people who work at Salesforce, maybe not the specific account executives who deal with these. But they sometimes say Pardot is for B2B and Marketing Cloud is for B2C. And that’s not really the case. I’ve worked with Pardot users who are like consumer companies or selling direct to consumer. And the other way around, and that’s actually one of the interesting cases for me was working with one of these multinational manufacturing companies that was using Marketing Cloud. So you’re selling like 100,000 multi-million-dollar projects, you have lead management and you have a complex sales process, but you’re still using Marketing Cloud. So what’s the idea here? Their business was quite transactional. They were using multiple channels. They were using Marketing Cloud, advertising to a great degree. And so, they were getting the benefits. And really, I see also that the Marketing Cloud really plays well if you, if you’re really heavily invested in service. In my mind, it actually works better with Service Cloud than Sales Cloud because you can create the case as you can do interactive emails that update case statuses and whatnot. So Journey Builder and Service Cloud are really nice pals, so to speak. So I think that was really interesting case. And well, what made it also a bit interesting was that they weren’t satisfied with what was available out of the box. So they wanted to set up their own lead scoring with Marketing Cloud which was quite interesting like that’s. That’s one of the things that isn’t that easy to set up with Marketing Cloud by default.

AL: Did their lead scoring in Marketing Cloud include website data? Because that’s where usually I find there’s a bottleneck, you typically don’t want to store your web tracking data in Marketing Cloud because it will make your data extension explode.

TK: Yeah. I mean definitely, I mean if you Data Cloud, it’s a different story. You can use calculated insights for that. And it’s perfectly viable for doing lead scoring, but I really don’t recommend doing complex lead scoring. And also, I challenge the idea of lead scoring altogether. I mean, it’s basically boiling down very complex behavior into a single score and it’s the exact same reason why I hate NPS for that matter. So trying to use a single score to explain a multitude of behaviors and actions is it’s I think it’s the wrong way to go. And what you can do with data extensions is actually to take key events from the website, key milestones that you’ve identified when doing a customer journey map, that these are the points where you have to do something like a service person needs to contact them proactively or a salesperson needs to jump on the wagon, and contact the customer. So that’s I would say it’s a much more effective way. And based on feedback I’ve received then customers who’ve used lead scoring, the usual case is that the sales is quite satisfied with leads that come through contact forms, but not that satisfied with lead scoring leads because, you know, it doesn’t mean anything anymore. If there are like 50 activities that are totally unconnected to each other. What does it mean anymore? Like if you have a 500 score or a 600 score? 

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AL: Well, that’s an interesting topic because it’s actually something we have implemented in our business as well. I have heard very few success stories from companies regardless of their tech tac introducing lead scoring. I think there are a few thoughts I have on this subject. It can be useful especially B2B context to come up with some kind of account scoring to help prioritize activities for sales, but more for the outbound motion, not even necessarily for the inbound motion just to have an idea of what’s happening at a certain account. But in our case, I can tell a bit about how we have configured lead scoring because we see in our business other than referrals via partners and then the  AppExchange and Salesforce, and just doing outbound ourselves. We do, of course, have a number of inbound. In fact, it’s a very important channel for us and we get through E-books,  webinars, and of course,  DESelect search application, the free app to search stuff in Marketing Cloud. But what we have to learn is that if we get leads from some of these channels like E-books or DESelect search, we call them soft leads as opposed to hard leads or leads, people who really ask for reaction like a contact form. Like the soft leads are often ready to be nurtured. And sometimes we would prefer sales to focus on a certain target list that we have rather than those soft leads. So that’s where we introduce a lead score. But I think, the main thing with the lead score is it’s super abstract.

So in our case, I think our model was implemented six months ago. Now is really the time to look back and see if it’s been useful… but I would agree it’s challenging to pull off. And there’s another thing-  lead scoring is a way to prioritize which leads you should reach out to. I think most companies don’t have the luxury of having too many leads to reach out to.

TK: No, and there’s actually a better way to do that. And that’s also taking a page out of the Pardot data model. I don’t know if you know, but Pardot also has this thing called “grading” and “profile”. So grading, that’s a similar topic. Instead of customer actions deciding who is engaged and who is not, grading is about you as a company representative, defining what is the ideal customer, what is to grade a customer and what is not. It’s a great way to focus salespeople’s time on the right people, right? No customer either wants to get contacted unnecessarily. So if they are not the target customer for your product, then it’s a waste of both parties’ time.

AL: Yeah, absolutely. And this is exactly what we as a B2B company have done. So, we do an ICP refresh. So for those who don’t know, it’s an ideal customer profile. So that’s an account level in our case.

TK: That’s really fancy. Though a lot of customers or companies don’t do that kind of thing.

AL: But we have to pick our battles. I mean, we want to be hyper-focused and we know that our, ICP, obviously, it’s people use Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It can be upper mid-market or enterprise, lower mid-market SMB, you don’t even really have an SFMC but… and then there’s a few industries that […]

TK: Well, unless you’re a nonprofit, well, but that’s not an SMB but a smaller organization. 

AL: And we do serve nonprofits, but those are typically much larger ones. I wouldn’t necessarily call them our ICP today, although we do serve a number of united logos there, but our ICPS will be more like insurance, banking, telecommunications… We see a growing number in RCG and then a really good one for us is automotive. A really interesting one is higher education. I’m always surprised by how many higher education clients we have. We did a press release with Cornell a while ago. 

So anyway, I don’t want to babble too much about our stuff, but I just like that you pointed out the grading system and part of it because I do think that being really clear about your ICP is really important. And then now we can go back to your database and indicate what we did is, we call those accounts target accounts and pretty much all our outbound focus sits with those… now going back, to your project. So you said the interesting thing about this customer was it was a manufacturing company, but they were B2B. And regardless of that, they were using Marketing Cloud plus Service Cloud. What other things in that project stood out? you said something about them doing a lot of custom work?

TK: Well, not that much. I mean, this was just to answer your question. Honestly, it’s been a couple of years. So since I worked with that customer, so I don’t know what direction they have gone to, but, nowadays, if I were to recommend a solution, I would definitely see them as a top candidate, for Data Cloud given the complexity of the process, and all the custom metrics they were using. So like building the what they’re called customer lifetime value scores and so on. I think that’s really helpful too, I think you also talked about like providing personalization and providing data other than what you use for segmentation. So I think those kinds of tidbits of insight and data, are really helpful when you’re doing super-targeted or hyper-targeted advertising and marketing. 

AL: Yeah, for sure. I think it makes a difference. And it’s also much more especially in today’s market. Today’s market is all capital efficient and sustainable. 

TK: It’s not only about money. It’s about burning through your subscriber list also.

AL: Absolutely. And not just unsubscribed because it’s my experience working with clients at the majority of clients. I don’t really have unsubscribed issues anymore. Most unsubscribe rates seem to be between one and two percent. And I think that’s because it’s been such a shift towards… only doing content-based marketing which is a great positive trend for consumers all like, and I’m happy it’s happening. But the other thing that now I see people are really underestimating is, what we call unengaged subscribers. So that is to say subscribers were just never opening. And so marketers sometimes get very happy about really what the vanity metrics like “we’ve done a 1,000,000 sends”. Yeah, but I mean, are people actually engaging? So a lot of our work, and product roadmap is more geared towards audience health than just avoiding unsubscribes, but you’re totally right.

TK: And that’s even worse in B2B, I would say if the mail drops to your business e-mail even though if you subscribe to get like some kind of content like, I don’t know, attending a webinar or a white paper, you’re probably not gonna be engaged with that company for after a few months.

People don’t even care enough to click the unsubscribe button. So they will just use automated rules on the mailbox to send it to junk or something like that.

AL: That also happens. Yeah. I’m in that category. I hit the spam button very fast. This you have more in the U.S. than in Europe: the moment you’re at a certain event or they find your e-mail does they put you on mailing lists without an opt-in. For me? That’s an instant spam notification.

TK: Thank God for GDPR.

AL: Yeah, exactly. So you’ve also worked in pre-sales support. I take it this is maybe a bit more of a tricky question. But in your experience […]

TK: Depending on what you mean by “pre-sales support”, but yeah.

AL: Well, let me put it this way. If you position Marketing Cloud to a customer, how do you try to make a case for ROI? How do you think about convincing stakeholders who were considering buying Salesforce Marketing Cloud that the ROI will be significant?

TK: That’s actually a really good, difficult question when I think about the sales cases I’ve been involved in with customers thinking, for example, between different options. They have a budget in mind. So we never actually or very rarely do we get the numbers from the customer they’re expecting for the client. They’re expecting us to provide some kind of a… solution and proposal. And what would be the benefits versus costs? How do I like  to go about it? Is actually discussing  cost of doing nothing versus fixing the issues with Marketing Cloud. So first identifying what is wrong with the current setup and what are the sort of things that Marketing Cloud could help you with.

 I think this exercise is also a really important sanity check because if there are no problems with the existing setup, don’t go with Marketing Cloud. It is a very mature tool. It has a very steep learning curve. That said, it’s also one of the most customizable and extendable products. But I mean, you’re not gonna hear that about from Salesforce because they’re the vendor, but as a consultant, I have to be there to implement it to support the customer. So I want to make sure that they’re getting the product that is the right fit for them as well.

AL: That’s absolutely true. And you’re there, of course, to act as that trusted party who can offer some objectivity. And especially because you’ve been in marketing that’s where you talk about the cost of doing nothing. And then the strength of Marketing Cloud being highly customizable, which, by the way, I totally agree. I think that’s the wonderful thing about the platform. Are there patterns that you see amongst customers that have a cost of doing nothing for certain cases where Marketing Cloud can bring added value?

TK: I think it’s all about multi-channel, or omnichannel, whichever you prefer. I think that’s the main issue. Mainly it’s about good advertising. Usually if we talk about enterprise-level customers, they almost always get Marketing Cloud Advertising included because I think it’s one of the better components of Marketing Cloud. And also like SMS mobile applications. All of these chat platforms, especially SMS. 

We sometimes underestimate the power of text messages, but it’s really powerful especially in those kinds of industries that you mentioned: insurance, telecom, entertainment industry, and media, just to mention a few. And Marketing Cloud has some really good industry-specific applications and add-ons that are really great for eCommerce and also telecom and media companies. At least if you work in these certain industries, you can see that if you use any other generic multi-channel marketing platform, you’re not getting these benefits. 

AL: That’s really interesting. I love Europe but I will say, now living in the U.S., I noticed that the marketing maturity in this country is very high. One of the things you see a lot here is SMS campaigns. I feel that’s really something that in Europe marketers can pick up and learn from.

TK: And I think the trust is much higher in the SMS channel, I mean, and also the engagement. This goes back to analytics which also we touch upon but you don’t get as much data, from sending SMS, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work and you have to be more creative about getting the data points. Like for example, using dedicated links. Like how to do marketing attribution, like old school style.

 There was this guy called Claude Hopkins who invented marketing attribution, in the U. S, I guess. And, he had different billboards or versions of billboards with different phone numbers. So you’d call a different, phone number and they were able to pick up which advertisements were more effective. And I think these kinds of guerilla tactics work really well with the SMS attribution, but you have to be more creative, that’s true. But if you can measure the effectiveness of SMS campaigns, for sure you should go for it. I think people use it too sparsely. That doesn’t mean that you want to go overboard but it’s definitely one of those special weapons in your arsenal that you should put to use.

AL: And e-mail metrics are getting less accurate with Apple restricting the information that we get back.

TK: I mean, the iOS method of basically logging everything that’s opened is causing havoc on open rates. So I wouldn’t use that as a metric anymore.

AL: Absolutely. The other thing that came to mind is that I do think attribution can be very challenging and misleading at worst. And I think it can be both in B2C or B2B. But say B2B, we may, for instance, have someone come to our website via Google. I mean, you may say this is natural search, right? But maybe in effect, what happened was that we have a great relationship with a partner like yourself and maybe you mentioned our product to a customer at a conference, and then they googled us.

 But now, you know, the effort of building a relationship with a trusted partner is not being recognized. But if you just magnify that event across many different occurrences, you might think “natural search is the thing we have to double down on”. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t as a company double down on natural search. I think that’s a great channel, but I think you get the point. So, what are your thoughts on there? What are the limitations of attribution?

TK: I think you just opened Pandora’s box. Marketing attribution is one of my favorite topics. I think people sometimes have a very limited way of looking at attribution. And a lot of companies think of it as a sort of… “this or that” kind of conversation. So you have to use one or the other model. My advice? Use them all. 

But there’s a perspective difference. So if you use several attribution models side by side, you get a board where you can actually sort campaigns based on key lenses. And you can use this attribution model as a way to amplify their effect  in the stages of the customer life cycle, or the lead pipeline. So, for example, if you use “first touch”, you amplify the channels or the campaigns that are very good at converting or getting people to sign up for something and creating subscribers for your day, for marketing club and vice versa. If you use a model called last touch attribution, what you get is amplification on presales campaigns or campaigns that are really good at getting those last closing arguments before the sale. And once you have this a dashboard that includes them all and you name them prescriptively or descriptively, as a marketer, you can easily identify which campaigns are really good at what. And, when you have these different lenses, you get a more holistic picture. So, I like that kind of approach where you have several different attribution models working side by side.

AL: Well, and then when you do get rid of the intelligence and you’re starting to think about your next program, campaign planning. It’s more about “What are the channels that need to optimize at which step of the journey” as opposed to “What channel do I need to optimize?” It’s more about what different steps it takes to convert a customer.

TK: But it’s good to think of the different roles for the different channels. So you’re not accidentally trying to achieve something from the website that it’s not meant for. And it’s also good to validate those roles because sometimes we -and a lot of times even marketers-  say that we’re masters of customer insight. But there was this one case actually in real time real life, I was working with this glazing company. They basically sold glazing to patios and apartments and so on. And what they found out was that people behave very weirdly, they don’t follow the real model for their purchase. So what they usually did, at least in Finland, was they went straight to the pricing page. That was the first thing that they went to check and qualify.  So they didn’t care about “inspirational content” or comparison to competitors. They wanted to validate the price first and see if it fit their budget. 

AL: Yeah, you’re thinking about models like either or top of funnel, mid-funnel, bottom of funnel. But in reality follow that the track, right?

TK: So if you use one of those, it’s perfectly fine. And it’s a great way to model the different sorts of activities along the customer journey. But please validate it first. And it makes much more sense to use a custom model that actually follows what your customers are actually doing and it’s not impossible to do. I mean this wasn’t like a super mature company. They were doing the right kind of things but they were still maturing in certain other aspects. So if they can do it, I think you can do it as well.

AL: Well, enable, maybe those models are better suited to think about your overall campaign strategy and content strategy a little bit less. So for systems, this is something that, I actually start marketing information with Pardot. I should have mentioned that earlier, not with Marketing Cloud. So I remember doing part of the implementation where people had this kind of model in mind. But, you, I think as a consultant, you don’t have to pop the bubble and make the customer aware that well, in reality, your customers are not going to float through this funnel. Logically people will jump straight to a contact form. People will go immediately to the pricing page before the “inspirational content” as you’ve put it.

Super interesting. Maybe one other thing that I was wondering about if you’ve already tried it a Dreamforce and many other of the recent Salesforce conferences, there’s a lot of talk about what app and their partnership. What set up? This is one of the things that’s less common in the U.S. or I think the U.S. can actually learn from Europe, but WhatsApp is huge in most of the world. Have you already looked into the functionality for Marketing Cloud by any chance?

TK: I don’t know, this is one of the aspects where I’m probably a bit conservative or old-fashioned, but It’s a very interpersonal channel. I haven’t ever received any advertisement for from WhatsApp, and this is actually different from their competitors. I don’t know why it is, but it’s like it has basically replaced text messages. At least in the Nordics, a lot of people have  family group chats there. And, I feel that that’s one of the places where advertisement would be a bit out of place, but I’d love to see how that actually works, if it can be monetized.

AL: I feel also that text message advertising and text messaging is still very intrusive. I may be projecting my own sentiment here, but I don’t mind getting notifications about, I don’t know doctor reminders via text message. And with WhatsApp, the only use case I’ve seen so far is I use wise for my banking because I still travel a lot.

AL: Another thing that I was wondering about maybe while we’re talking about new stuff that we see at Dream Force, AI is constantly being flung around right now. What do you think about Salesforce? And what does it mean to you personally?

TK: Well, personally, I can start with that. I mean, it’s brought a lot of stuff to learn because customers are asking about it constantly if there’s an RFP. So request for proposals and information coming in quotations and stuff that I’m working on related to specially generative, AI, this is something I wanna say like basically puffing my own company or employer about it that Capgemini actually has been working with generative AI for past eight years. So that’s actually made it a lot easier for me. There’s good material available.

AL: Tell us more about that because you see Capgemini has already been working with AI for eight years.

TK: Yeah. We have this business area called “data and insights”. So those guys have been actually setting up these generative AI models based on foundational models available. And also using company-specific data. And that’s been going on, for a lot longer than what’s ChatGPT and everything that came out like a year ago. So we’ve been doing that for a lot of companies. And basically, there’s been generative AI, incorporated in different kinds of platforms and companies have been using it in-house but it’s not been broad common knowledge before chat GPT entered the market. So we were basically those kinds of hipsters. So we were in the market even before it was cool, so to speak. But coming back to your original question, how it impacts the overall ecosystem, and how it impacts people’s daily life? Do you know Amara’s law?

AL: Yeah, absolutely.

TK: Yeah. So we tend to over estimate the short term effects of technology and underestimate the effect in the long run. So I think that is the key point here. So most likely we won’t notice it in our daily life because it happens very gradually. But if we take a snapshot of how work is today, and come back to it like 10 years after afterwards, it might be something similar to thinking back like 10 years ago, like we were using websites, they were not responsive.

 So I think most likely… we’ll see a T shaped model in marketing organizations. So we’ll see these AI specialists very similar to what we have with analytics. It’s basically a new specialization. 

We’ll have AI marketers enter the job market, but everybody should learn the basics. And by basics, I mean, similar to everybody knowing the basics of marketing analytics, marketing attribution, data, privacy and data protection. So also the basics of how generative AI models function, what is generative AI versus other sorts of machine learning models. How are they different? How do you use different AI methods? And so on. They don’t have to know how to build one, but, you need to know what they’re meant for, how they’re using the data, and what you can expect in terms of use cases.

AL:I think it was in a McKinsey study where I read that people will not necessarily lose jobs directly to AI, but people who don’t have AI skills will be losing jobs to people who do have AI skills, and that’s going to be a challenge.

TK: Yeah. I’m going to be a bit harsher here. I’m will point out that there are certain kinds of, I would say, work mentalities that are at risk. So if you’re doing repetitive work, you’re not providing insight, and you’re not challenging the work order that you’re presented with, those are really at the risk of losing their jobs, not necessarily to AI but maybe even some process automation.

AL:Well, and I keep discovering by myself jobs that I didn’t even consider being at risk at first, or at least partially at risk. So for instance, just the other day, I asked ChatGPT to put together a new training schedule, where in the past I might have gone to a trainer or dietitian to help with stuff like that. It’s interesting how we keep finding new ways where this changes. 

Speaking of change, I wanted to talk about change management. I’m sure in your consulting work, you’ve dealt with plenty of that. You’ve been on both sides. I’d love to hear from you. What are your most common change management topics that arise? And how do you mitigate them?

TK: That is something that you never hear as a consultant: “how would you approach this change management problem?” That never happens. So it’s one of those things that as a consultant, you have to develop a sense for that. We’re not talking about data issues. We’re not talking about process issues or tech issues a lot of the times. 

And this comes back to the very first question about ROI. So that might actually be the root cause of not being able to use the technology that there’s simply miscommunication between, for example, IT and marketing. IT seen as a bottleneck where you have to get approval for using data, or maybe you need specialists from IT to actually use the data. It’s too difficult to utilize. This is where DESelect comes along, empowering marketers to use data by themselves. 

I think that’s really at the core of change management. I think empowering people to do their jobs better and basically framing change. It’s corny to say that “change is a possibility”, but every change really is a possibility. It’s not a threat, but you really have to put yourself in that other person’s shoes, identify what are the pain points in their current process, and think how the change could actually improve that. 

But also, you cannot look at the change that you’re trying to implement as purely a positive change. It’s good to be realistic. And I think especially in the rough times that we live in, people losing their jobs, being laid off and everything, it’s very important to show compassion when doing these kinds of projects and really be honest that this might actually cause some issues, and there might be some nasty consequences with this change, but we’re trying to deal with them and we’re trying to involve people to mitigate those kinds of things.

AL: Which is interesting because it seems like customers realize change will be happening but they don’t make it a topic to be addressed. Whereas the, a big part of dealing with change is actually acknowledging the challenges that will happen, and dealing with them. Would you agree with that?

TK: Yeah. I mean, for some reason, I don’t know if it’s a local peculiarity, but at least here, it seems that it’s easier to find money for tech projects than a new strategy or a change project.

AL: And what is interesting is that I’ve seen studies that most IT projects fail because of either lack of executive buying or lack of user adoption. So if you think about how companies spend millions on digital transformation, but then they don’t invest anything or very little in training and change management and organizational restructure, you kinda scratch your head and wonder “come on, this should be avoidable”. I keep saying (and this is coming from someone in tech) that the biggest issues in marketing and operations are usually organizational. They’re not technology-based.

TK: Yeah, exactly. And that’s what we keep saying, and sometimes it works, and usually that’s even a winning strategy. 

 So we want to stress that change is difficult and needs to be taken head-on as a challenge, but we also want to stress that change is possible. So sometimes as consultants, we focus on the negative and focus on the challenges too much. And I think that’s where you identify the professional and expert consultant who can challenge you and identify the root issues that are really causing the problem, but also to present solid solutions.

AL: I think that is very sound advice about the role that a consultant can play in managing change, while making customers aware of the opportunity it can present. If I can ask you for some other parting advice- typically I ask  guests on the show for advice to newcomers to the Marketing Cloud ecosystem, but, with your architect background, I would ask a slightly different question. What would be your advice to people interested in becoming an architect eventually?

TK: Wow. That’s a difficult question, since I’m pretty new to architecture myself. But I would say… exploring different roles. I mean, the best architects I’ve met have a very generalist background and I think curiosity is really important in that area. So, if possible and whenever possible, try sales, try developer work, try front end work, try designer work, do service design workshops, do trainings, do mentoring. Whatever “new thing” you can figure out and try and see how that works, it all helps when you’re an architect because architects are all generalists in some way. Explore, be curious and spread out, become a generalist. That’s really helpful when you actually work as an architect.

AL: I think that is wonderful advice to become an architect. I think that’s just also great life advice. Timo, thank you so much for your time today. It was a pleasure talking with you.

TK: Yeah, thanks, Anthony. And if you ever want to chat about these topics again, I’m here for you. Feel free to reach out whenever.

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