Cory Munchbach is the senior vice president of strategy at BlueConic, the world’s simplest and most accessible customer data platform, empowering every marketer to find success with a CDP. Prior to joining BlueConic, Cory was an analyst on the customer insights practice at Forrester Research, covering the intersection of marketing strategy and technology and an expert in the marketing technology landscape. She worked with user and vendor clients globally and was quoted frequently in industry-leading publications such as Forbes, AdAge, MediaPost, MarketingWeek, and AdExchanger. Cory is a Boston College alum and proud Boston native.
HOW DID YOU GET TO BECOME AN EXPERT IN MARTECH?
I have to admit that it was almost completely by accident! After college, I worked in research administration at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and had big plans of getting my PhD after a few years. The opportunity to work at Forrester on the CMO practice as a research associate burnished my research cred, but also exposed me to the world of marketing. As an analyst, I was (and am) fascinated by how consumers and buyers make decisions and the ways marketers use data to uncover insights along the whole customer life cycle. Marketing technology is a key enabler in that effort and such a dynamic, fascinating space in its own right and after writing the first Forrester Wave on the so-called “marketing clouds”, I wanted to get closer to the action and joined BlueConic, where I am today – on the front lines of marketing tech thought leadership and growth.
WHAT AREAS OF MARTECH ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT
I guess it’s fair to say that I am less passionate about martech, per se, and more passionate about its impact on marketing – how it changes, improves, disrupts – the actual discipline of marketing. In working with our customers, for example, the technology purchase itself is arguably the smallest decision that the customer needs to make; much more meaningful choices about how to hire and organize for the capabilities of the new tool and what processes need to either change or be created to support the tool to full capacity are really what interest me. Technology is a powerful enabler of the kinds of transformations in the brand/customer relationship, but it’s just that – an enabler. The broader lens into the company and its people and process is where the compelling discussions around martech really happen.
WHICH MARTECH INFLUENCERS INFLUENCE YOU?
I love this question! Forrester’s Shar VanBoskirk and Gartner’s Christi Eubanks are two women thought leaders in MarTech who I look to a lot. Jessica Iandiorio of Mirakl, Erica Seidel of Connective Good, Suresh Vittal at Adobe, and David Raab of the CDP Institute all have shaped my views on martech and how to build a successful martech company meaningfully over the years and are folks I consider myself very lucky to orbit! From a bit more of a distance, ChiefMarTech’s Scott Brinker, Spotify’s Mayur Gupta, Hubspot’s Brian Halligan, and Saastr’s Jason Lemkin are perspectives I often look to.
OUTSIDE OF MARTECH WHO ELSE INFLUENCES YOU ?
I love to read and consume ideas of all kinds. Some of my top reads over the last couple years that have shaped how I think about people and leadership and work are by Richard Thaler, Angela Duckworth, Charles Duhigg, and Malcolm Gladwell. I care a lot about women in tech and women in leadership, so Katie Burke, HubSpot’s Chief People Officer, and Sarah McGinty London, Optum Analytics’ Chief Product Officer, inspire me so much. And I’m also a total politics junkie; Michelle Obama is the only person who could tear me away from BlueConic ☺
WHAT ARE GOING TO BE THE KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE INDUSTRY IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
There are a lot of core parts of the marketing tech stack that are ripe for disruption: marketing automation comes immediately to mind, but also email and even direct mail. I think the new entrants will give the old, entrenched players a run for their money. Mautic in marketing automation, Klaviyo in email, and PebblePost in DM are challenging the entrenched norms in each of those respective categories. Another development is going to be the reckoning around the extensibility and interoperability of tools; there’s so much that needs to be done to really make martech solutions connect in a meaningful way; there’s way too many cases of vendors bragging about APIs – that can barely support any volume of calls at any reasonable scale – or the openness of the platform, so long as you’ve jumped through a dozen hoops to be certified. I expect to see a shift toward a much higher standard of openness gain momentum.
IF A BRAND WANTED TO WORK WITH YOU, WHAT OFFLINE / ONLINE ACTIVITIES WOULD YOU BE MOST INTERESTED IN?
I love collaborating on really anything! I think that’s why I liked being an analyst and love working at a startup – the more things I can participate in with other folks, the better. So if you’ve got an idea, I’m probably in!
WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST WAY FOR A BRAND TO CONTACT YOU
Twitter is a great option (@corinnejames) or email me – first name at blueconic dot com.