At Xerox, the Marketing Technology Stack Leaves Center Stage
Vice President of Digital and Demand Marketing and Technology
At Xerox, marketers make use of nearly 100 technology tools to reach customers and prospects, and transform their experience of the brand. Duane Schulz, Xerox’s vice president of digital and demand marketing and technology, spoke with eMarketer’s Nicole Perrin about how he and his team manage their technology stack—and what strong adoption of marketing tech has meant for the organization.
eMarketer: Your role at Xerox changed as marketing technology adoption expanded within the organization. Can you explain why?
Duane Schulz: From late 2013 through the end of last year, I was the chief marketing technologist at Xerox, and was dedicated to that work. Then, in the middle of last year, I also took on our digital, social and content marketing teams. [In 2017], I’m taking on a unified demand generation center with all the marketing automation tools. We’ve taken our stack and turned it into a unified, end-to-end organization.
As you develop clarity around your stack and do the right things with that thinking, it’s not just about the stack anymore. It’s about the business impact and the purpose of the tools. How you use these tools has organizational implications.
eMarketer: How did you get to the point where you went from focusing on the stack, to focusing on what your organization wanted to do with the stack?
Schulz: The first step is discovering all the tools and getting everybody to be transparent about what they use—even getting procurement to tell you about purchase orders you didn’t know about. Until you build a framework for what you’re trying to accomplish for the corporation, you can’t actually build a stack.
We focused on developing subcategories [into which we could place our marketing technology tools]. Then we built a three-year vision. As you develop those strategies, operationalizing them is vital, or the strategies mean nothing. This has led to some organizational changes. Overall it has been evolutionary, as opposed to an intentional future organizational design.
“Until you build a framework for what you’re trying to accomplish for the corporation, you can’t actually build a [marketing technology] stack.”
eMarketer: Are there any tools that were previously part of your stack that you dropped as you made these changes?
Schulz: Not many. We dropped some things that were redundant. We had several marketing automation platforms, and we finally settled on one and got everybody to migrate off the others. We had a couple of tools that were great. One was in the area of web personalization and another was in the area of content publishing—but either we weren’t ready [to utilize them], or they would require a lot more of a commitment to yield what we needed from them.
eMarketer: What changes to your marketing technology stack are you expecting in 2017?
Schulz: The biggest change is the stack becoming a secondary consideration. The stack is a way to get your arms around managing what you do with vendors, but our focus now is business impact and utilization. It’s one thing to implement a marketing automation platform; it’s a two- to five-year journey to utilize that platform to more than 10% of its potential. We love the tool we have for marketing automation, but all that matters is the size of the pipeline it delivers, and the business impact it provides to help grow the business.
We got the stack sorted and we will continue to evolve it, but it’s because we’re trying to achieve certain business goals—especially now that we have separated our companies. [Editor’s note: In 2016, Xerox Corp. spun off Conduent Inc., a business process services company.]
“We democratized the knowledge [of what marketing technology tools are available to marketers], which has helped deal with ‘shiny new toy’ syndrome.”
eMarketer: Do you feel as though you have a good handle on integration within the stack?
Schulz: Not as much as we should. We built a hierarchy where we have core tools—that’s what I would call the stack—and there’s only about 15 of them. There are another 70 or 80 that are what we call independent or satellite tools. We also built a website where marketers can see what’s available and who is using it. We democratized the knowledge, which has helped deal with “shiny new toy” syndrome. But every time a new tool or player comes into play, we have to go back and say, “OK, what about integration?” I see it as a perennial challenge.
eMarketer: How does marketing technology fit into the overall picture of digital transformation at Xerox?
Schulz: It’s about the business impact it’s bringing, and the creation of marketing as a core function in a corporation where, before, marketing was brochures and the salesforce. Now we are becoming an independent delivery channel of new business and growth of existing business. The next stage it takes you to is the overall customer experience. But that raises the question of who owns the customer experience. We are running into barriers to what we want to do next with our marketing tech [when we don’t think about] customer experience, so that’s the next wave.