MarTech Interview With Rachel Kavanagh, CMO at Siren

Rachel Kavanagh, CMO at Siren discusses a few proven practices that can help marketers drive higher marketing standards:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Rachel – tell us about yourself and your marketing journey so far, we’d love to hear more about your new CMO initiatives at Siren…

Thanks so much for inviting me to your Q and A, I’m very flattered…I am originally from the West of Ireland and lived abroad for many years in Switzerland, Spain and the UK. I’m delighted to be back home and starting a role in one of Ireland’s fastest growing companies, Siren was included in the Deloitte Fast 50 last month. We’ve got a team from all over the world and a fast growing global customer base.

In the past I’ve worked for companies that you may know like General Electric, Holcim and Marketo. With Marketo I consulted for a lot of large and small companies on MarTech. I started my working life in Technology and I feel very comfortable to be working in High Tech again. It’s very exciting to see what Siren is doing, on a mission to safeguard people, assets and networks. The company is using advanced technology to uncover risks, threats and crimes in the National Security, Public Safety, Fraud and Compliance, and Cyber Threat communities. Siren is a genuine example of technology for good and the platform has already made the world a safer place which is a big reason I joined the team. For example, Siren is a partner of the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative (ATII) which helps combat and raise awareness around human trafficking.

Siren provides the ATII with its platform so that it can utilize data analytics to solve big problems, identify traffickers and reduce human trafficking. ATII is able to use the platform for free, as part of Siren’s Data for Good initiative.

When it comes to developing a high performance marketing team and strategy, what core steps/processes do you feel marketers / businesses need to focus on? 

I feel that team and strategy are two different things. With regards the strategy, it’s about standing back, researching your market and making slow and measured decisions on priorities. These priorities need to be in line with the overall company goals with CEO buy-in and the team’s objectives set around those goals i.e. Objectives and Key Results. The relationship with Sales also plays a major role.

Depending on the stage of growth, different strategies will apply. Sometimes there is a portfolio of products and so part of the process is standing back and assessing if each product has the same type of demand. Some products are new concepts or new paradigms, requiring a lot of education and a long and sometimes experimental sales cycle. Others have established markets.

These will all require different Sales and Marketing approaches. Account-based marketing (ABM) can be a very successful strategy for all three types of demand when the insight is available, especially  for large accounts when the resources available across Sales and Marketing are prepared to try something new.

Marketing as a function has changed dramatically in the last ten years requiring a variety of skills which often present in different personalities. Building a great team for me is about balancing these skills and personalities to include experience, analytical rigor, strong execution, passion for the business we are in and of course creativity.

There are so many types of creativity and creativity exists in every role in a different way. A team becomes high performing for me once everyone has their primary base covered within their role and so can step outside the original remit for larger projects to create output from diverse perspectives and different creative angles. The output becomes more interesting and compelling and of a much higher marketing standard. I also like the team to have quite a technical focus so we can be fast moving and independent as much as possible.

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We’d love to hear about some of the core marketing strategies as well as martech that you’ve often relied on?

I’m a huge fan of Customer Advocacy and Content Automation for boosting any Marketing Strategy. I also believe strongly in investing the right time and budget in getting the branding and messaging right before amplifying your efforts.

One of the first strategies I rely on is aligning the team around a common understanding of the target buyers and their needs. This will allow the team to create messaging that will resonate and that can then be cascaded down into the content and campaigns. Ensuring the buyer personas are fully understood as well as their needs and then understanding that they do not make purchases in a silo. Eight years ago we used to measure demand in leads.

Now we know that in most B2B marketing it’s really about units. Buyers are part of a committee. Mainstream MarTech has evolved with these findings and the technology has followed suit with great solutions that integrate into CRM, like 6sense and Demandbase.

When I start to think about a MarTech strategy I want to go back to basics. To get the best results teams must collect data from as many customer touchpoints as possible and build the solutions to capture the insights this data will bring. Having a 360 view of your customer is the first goal. When selecting technology solutions, choose vendors that integrate with the channels you are using and intend to use in the future. The second goal is to ensure you can extract the insights from the data you have.

I come from a Marketo / Salesforce background and so have worked with a stack that integrates with that solution. In my latest role I am working with Hubspot CRM and I’m keen to see the differences.

How can marketers today elevate a brand and create a better experience for end users in what is a crowded market?

A brand can be elevated when it’s ready to show its true colours and can differentiate with the unique stories its customers, partners and employees can tell. There is a red thread in the history of the company that can be followed right back to the start. If there is not enough material to be shared, the true mission, vision and values will have to be extracted. If something needs to be changed then so be it. To be elevated the brand needs to be consistent and defined, the visual identity needs to be accurate and appealing and the tone of voice authentic to the buyer audience. The real values of the company need to be communicated down from the very top and integrated into all touchpoints with the customers, from the first marketing touch to an employee offer letter.

What do you feel about the future of B2B tech marketing and martech?

I believe that as technology gets more sophisticated with an increasing number of automated techniques, B2B is going to have to learn from B2C to make more emotional and personal connections with customers and buyers. The B2B lead journey in most industries is saturated with the same style of automated content so even more disruptive approaches are required. Technology is going to have to help teams to show their human side even more, express their creativity more and provide tools that appear less automated or are indeed less automated.

I feel the value of good Sales professionals will continue to increase as customers continue to crave a real human connection during a purchase process, improving the experience of the Salesperson and providing insight at the right time is still the challenge for MarTech.

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MarTech Interview With Rachel Kavanagh, CMO at Siren