Ask The CMO: Marketing for Growth—Adam Berke, President and CMO, AdRoll

Digital Marketing Trends

This interview is part of Marketo’s “Ask the CMO: Marketing for Growth” series, which explores how marketing is helping to drive business at high-growth companies. In this session, we’ll look at an interview with Adam Berke, the President and CMO at AdRoll.

AdRoll At A Glance:

Year Founded: 2007

Size of Marketing Team: 42

Marketing Stack Components (CRM, social listening, etc.): CRM, Data Enrichment & Standardization, Webinar Platform & Predictive Scoring, Marketing Automation


1. You’re part of AdRoll’s founding team – what’s the biggest difference about your marketing strategy today as compared to year one?

We have much better alignment with two key teams: Sales and Finance. We’ve done a lot of work to better understand the customer lifecycle and how Marketing can make an impact at each stage. This helps us work with Finance to hit our forecasts and helps Sales by allowing them to spend more time working closely with their best prospects and automating the rest.

2. In addition to revenue growth, AdRoll has expanded geographically. What organizational challenges have you faced as your marketing team has gone global?

Becoming a global company requires a fundamental change in thinking for your marketing team. We’ve definitely learned along the way that you can’t enter into global expansion lightly. It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure international customers have a smooth experience using the product and engaging with our account teams. Now, any time we have an idea or project we want to do, we have to ask the question, “How will this work for international customers?” Sometimes the answer is, “It won’t,” and that’s OK, but we need to make sure we at least ask the question and communicate plans appropriately.

3. Across your marketing segments—operations, demand generation, product, etc.—what metrics are most relevant for tracking and maintaining growth?

As I mentioned, we’ve done a lot of work over the last year to better understand the customer lifecycle and the various metrics we want to track along the way. I wouldn’t say we track anything particularly unusual. It’s the stuff you’d imagine, leads, conversion rates, LTVs, etc. However, the thing that has made a difference is the improvement in the data quality and internal alignment on our definitions, i.e. how do we define a “quality” lead?

4. In terms of your marketing technology stack, how do you ensure that the tools you’ve chosen will innovate with you and keep pace with your growth?

We have a bit of a leg up in this area since AdRoll is a very popular marketing technology tool itself, so we have a bit of insight into what to look for. There’s a broader trend in software that’s moving away from multi-million dollar upfront commitments and long installations projects to small-scale tests that deliver a proof of concept. Because of our roots in marketing tech, I think we know a lot of the right questions to ask up front, and then we love to do small tests and roll out what works.

5. Based on your experience at AdRoll and beyond, what advice would you give to start-ups looking to fuel growth through marketing?

Develop good data hygiene habits early. Marketing has become a far more data-driven discipline, but any measurement tool is garbage in, garbage out. If you don’t have good alignment on definitions and ensure your system matches those definitions, things get messy quickly. It’s become a Groundhog Day scenario where every startup I talk to will at some point in the conversation talk about how their “CRM is a mess.” CRM’s can be particularly problematic because they lend themselves to a lot of manual data entry.

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