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Episode 24 –
Discussing the Key Changes and Emerging Trends in Marketing with Marty Kihn of Salesforce

RESOURCE CENTER   ❯   Identity Revolution Podcast 1-13-22

Episode Summary

Marketing has always had one purpose — promote a brand and attract more customers. And although that goal has remained the same, the marketing approach has significantly changed over the last 20 years. Earlier, marketers used to be obsessed with celebrities and their lives; today, we’re talking about IT, MarTech, and data science when it comes to marketing.

But what do modern marketers use to achieve their goals? Can they rely entirely on machines, artificial intelligence, and platforms like Salesforce CDP, or do they need to understand data science and implement it in their strategies? Well, that depends on the emerging trends in marketing and customers’ expectations.

In the new episode of Infutor’s Identity Revolution, Cory Davis welcomes Marty Kihn, the SVP Strategy, Marketing Cloud at Salesforce. They get into Marty’s career and life outside of work, how marketing became MarTech, and whether machines and AI can really replace the human side in the marketing space.


Marty Kihn
  • Name: Martin ‘Marty’ Kihn
  • What he does: Marty is the SVP Strategy, Marketing Cloud at Salesforce
  • Company: Salesforce  |  Paleo Ad Tech Podcast
  • Key Quote: “The technology keeps improving every year. The tech is better than it was the year before. And that’s just the way it works, but the hype goes up and down. And that happens to celebrities, too.”
  • Where to find Marty: LinkedIn  |  Twitter  |  Website  |  Email

Key Insights

  • Marketing is completely different from what it used to be 20 years ago. Marty points out how marketing has changed through the years and how it has become more of data science and IT. “Marketing is almost like a subspecialty of data science. As a marketer, you need to be interested in celebrities and brands. And all that is still important. But you also have to use the other side of the brain, which is very quantitative, and have a good handle on how to share information with a whole bunch of PhDs and data scientists to help you optimize your programs. And that’s a massive shift that’s gotten marketing, as a discipline, closer to IT.”
  • Machines aren’t humans. They’re just doing things in a better way. Marty believes that machine learning and artificial intelligence can significantly help marketers do their jobs more efficiently. “As marketers, we are just beginning to get a handle on this whole AI revolution. And people have used machine learning for predictive models and segmentation for years now. But we have just entered a phase where machines can write readable prose. They can do things that humans did before. And it’s not that they’ve turned into humans. They’re doing a single task. But they’re doing things in a better way, a much more useful way for marketers.”
  • The world is changing so quickly, but we’re trying to capture everything. Marty is passionate about the history of technology and how the world’s changing. And he discusses these critical topics on his podcast called Paleo Ad Tech. “I have a podcast, and it’s called Paleo Ad Tech. I co-host with Jill Royce, and we get some of these people on to talk about things like Yahoo!, homepage takeovers, and things that some people, who were around in the ’90s, might remember. It’s fascinating to see because that whole world is disappearing. It’s all changing so quickly. So, we’re trying to capture it.”

Episode Highlights

Introducing Marty Kihn and His Impressive Career Path

“Originally, I wanted to be an actor, so I went to Yale and I was in the theater department. My mother’s a stage actress. So, I wanted to be involved in theater somehow, and then, I came to New York and became a writer.

I was a freelance journalist. I wrote stories for various magazines. I was on the staff at Forbes for a little bit. […] Then I ended up at MTV, and I was on Pop-Up Video. So, I had two experiences of working at a cultural phenomenon.

We were on fire. We did a Pop-Up Video with Oprah. We did a NewsRadio, which was an NBC show. So, we popped that up. It was a national cultural phenomenon, but only for a couple of years. And then I went to business school because I realized I couldn’t pop forever. […] I became a consultant because I didn’t want to go to Wall Street, and that led to more writing on the side. I wrote ‘House of Lies’ as a dictionary that translates consulting language into English. And then I got into advertising, and that whole career has stayed pretty consistent. I was in measurement and ad, and then at Gartner, I covered Ad Tech and marketing tech. And then, at Salesforce, I’m in the Ad Tech and MarTech space.”

The Essence of Salesforce CDP

“One of my customers was Salesforce, and that’s how I got to know the Salesforce people. I was hired by Bob Stutz, who was the CEO of marketing. And the question at the time was the customer data platform — CDP. And I’ve co-written a book about it; it’s called Customer Data Platforms. […]

It’s such a complicated topic. There are 160 CDPs out there, and no two of them are the same. So, that gives you a flavor of the complexity of this category. But in the Salesforce world, we have sales cloud, service cloud, marketing cloud, and commerce cloud. Some of them deal with customers. Some of them deal with B2B accounts and others with B2C. So, a CDP in the Salesforce world is going to have its own distinguishing characteristics, but it was built by Salesforce. Our Salesforce CDP was built on, more or less, the same code base as sales cloud and service cloud, and it’s the first time within the marketing cloud that we have done that. […] It’s a single view of the customer that takes data from different places, organizes it, makes it available, and then sends it out.”

Marketing is Getting More Technical, But It’s Becoming More Important

“Marketing itself has changed a lot. I graduated in 2001, and you could tell people are interested in marketing just by looking at them. […] And today, 20 years later, it’s completely different. […]

At first, there were hybrid teams, but now they’re joined by the Chief Data Officer, Chief Marketing Technology Officer. It’s very technical but informative marketing. So that’s a new discipline. Marketing technology is a discipline. […] Over the last year and a half, C-suite has looked to marketing more than they have in the past because marketers are closer to the customer. It’s supposed that if they’re doing their jobs, they have more insight into people, and marketing has stepped up. I think marketing has done a good job over the past year and a half in driving revenue and getting systems in place. The two trends are that marketing is getting more technical, and it’s getting more important.”

Top quotes:

[02:01] “It doesn’t make sense going forward, but apparently, looking back, it will all come together. At least that’s what Dr. Wayne Dyer said.”

[13:33] “The two trends are — marketing is getting more technical, and marketing is getting more important.”

[14:58] “Marketing went from being very vaguely attributed to brand awareness to something that’s impact can actually be measured.”

[18:07] “If you have a machine, you can automate thousands of different versions of something, and it’s just not feasible for people to do that.”

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