Interview with Will Margiloff, Founder and CEO, IgnitionOne

Dec 5, 2018

Interview with Will Margiloff, Founder and CEO, IgnitionOne

Originally published on MarTech Series by Sudipto Ghosh

Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What galvanized you to start IgnitionOne?

As one of the early pioneers in the internet marketing field, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with many trailblazers who have helped to revolutionize the digital marketing landscape, with first-of-their-kind digital advertising formats and technologies like Paid Placement, Interstitials, Site Take-Overs, Advertorial (Native) Display ads, and Image-Based Contextual Marketing.

How do you prepare for the highly disruptive Marketing Technology ecosystem?

We help marketers to navigate the MarTech ecosystem by enabling them to more effectively engage with their customers and make the most of their digital marketing efforts. Our Customer Intelligence Platform allows marketers to truly understand who their customers are and who their next customer will be by leveraging both first-party and third-party data.

Audiences, Scoring, and Personalization anchor our platform to all for deep insights, real-time engagement and constant optimization so marketers can reach customers across their most effective channels with personalized, 1:1 messaging.

What are the core tenets of your business development model?  How does IgnitionOne add value to digital transformation journeys for businesses?

Our award-winning platform enables marketers to understand, value, and engage in real-time with their most valuable assets: their customers. With IgnitionOne, businesses can better understand each customer, value them using the IgnitionOne Score, and engage them with personalized messaging across both paid and owned channels like Display, Social, Search, Email, Metasearch, as well as their own website — all from a single platform.

How much have Business Operations changed since the arrival of Automation, AI, and BI/Analytics tools? How do you leverage these tools in your work?

Now more than ever, marketers must understand their customers’ true interests to enable effective personalized cross-channel messaging. Automation, AI and Analytics tools can maximize results across digital channels or within one’s existing marketing technology infrastructure.

For instance, our proprietary Score-Powered Marketing algorithm places a numeric value on each customer by analyzing the historical and real-time behavior of each individual — enabling marketers to identify individuals’ products of interest, likelihood to convert, and more. By focusing digital marketing efforts on a marketer’s highest-value customers, marketers can maximize the impact of digital marketing — and ensure that the right messages reach their most valuable audiences.

How often do you measure the performance of your Marketing Analytics and Sales Reporting?

Performance is ingrained not only in our Marketing Analytics and Sales Reporting but in everything that we do. I’m a strong believer that when our customers win, we win.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Marketing Operations for 2018-2020?

Conversational commerce is on the rise. More brands are emerging with DTC models, highlighting the demand for more personalized interactions. Customers now have limitless options available to them, and direct text messaging enables brands to interact with them on a more intimate, personalized platform.

By utilizing first-party data, marketers will have a more effective use of media spend and a holistic profile of the customer. Instead of relying on third-party data obtained from outside sources, marketers can use their own data to understand a customer’s interests and purchase intent, leading to stronger re-marketing efforts.

The podcast industry is also booming, consistently producing compelling content for every broad or niche market imaginable. The platform fosters extremely high customer engagement, simulating true one-to-one interactions between host and listener. Brands that work with podcasts to produce great audio content can leverage high listener engagement and create stronger customer relationships.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

I like PebblePost. They leverage first-party data from a marketer’s site and use it offline to personalize direct mail. Old school but very effective. Everyone loves to get a piece of mail!

Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign?

We worked with Digital Marketing Works LLC and Extended Stay America (ESA) to increase conversions and direct bookings while minimizing costs to achieve a higher target Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS). Our target audience were travelers who were interested in booking a room at ESA and were in the process of researching deals. To do so, we deployed an optimization solution that worked across both Search and Display, which optimized bid costs and drove more efficient booking costs for ESA. The solution was deployed on the IgnitionOne Platform, and led to higher website conversion rates through real-time personalized interactions to engaged site visitors. The results were incredible: Extended 
Stay America was able to decrease overall booking costs by driving a 110% increase in clicks and a click-through-rate boost of 240%. That resulted in 63% more incremental direct bookings and a 106% increase in revenue.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

While more and more marketers are adopting some form of technology using AI, many remain unclear on how to actually leverage its capabilities. We must practice emotional intelligence as a complement to AI, letting technology deliver the insights, while marketing teams make the nuanced decisions. It’s important to remember that AI is a tool, not a proxy, for deeper human interactions.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology? 

Start slow. Get the basics and grow from there. Let small wins build on themselves.

One word that best describes how you work.


What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I live off my industry reading. Spend a lot of time going through LinkedInTwitter and trade publications.

What are you currently reading?

Grant by Ron Chernow.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Build your career early. Put the time in to become an expert: Come in before the boss, leave after, and devour every piece of information you can.

Something you do better than others — the secret of your success? 

I don’t let doubters shake me from my goals. It is tough being an entrepreneur. The ups and downs are hard to handle both physically and mentally. You need to stay the course yet make those slight adjustments regardless if the naysayers don’t see why.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.

Steve King

Thank you, Will! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

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