Profile of a Canadian business leader: Aleya Chattopadhyay (SAP CMO series)

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Aleya Chattopadhyay may now be taking time off and “thinking what I want to do next,” as she puts it, but she has some sharp insights to offer on the future of marketing and social.

The ex-CMO of ScribbleLive has an impressive resume. She was the VP of Marketing for large-format and mall stores at Chapters for just over five years, before joining Brookfield Residential Property Services, where she worked in a variety of high-level capacities, most recently as Chief Marketing Officer. In April 2013, Chattopadhyay became the CMO of ScribbleLive, only departing this month.

Her past work experiences are distinguished between the tactile and the non-tactile nature of each business. Chattopadhyay, living in Toronto, characterizes the real estate portfolio as “very transactional, very emotional,” also noting that it’s a world “very driven by brand.” When purchasing or selling a home, users “tend to lean toward a heavily-branded organization, whether that’s Royal Lepage or Re/Max,” she explains. There’s also the physical counterpart, what with lawn signs for open houses, for-sale signs, and the space of the home itself.

Working at a digital-first company was entirely different. “In software, there is no physical touch-point between the buyer and the software seller. Things like SEO and SEM are much more important, as well as digital advertising, content marketing, thought leadership, social networks; utilizing all those channels, are really what drives a lot of software sales.”

During her time at ScribbleLive, the live-blogging company saw incredible growth, more than doubling its workforce (from 38 people to just over 80), and tripling its revenue, from roughly $3.5M to $10M this year. The company also made two important acquisitions: Cell Journalist (in November 2013) and Cover It Live (in July 2014).

“A lot of that was around repositioning and pivoting the company from being really a media-focused solution to innovate on the technology and build up the products,” she explains, “and being able to make it approachable for brands and corporate customers to use a content marketing platform.”

Grabbing and keeping user attention is a key part of any modern marketing strategy, one that’s changed as the requirements of the marketing professional have been altered. “No longer do you have the traditional marketing, where there was somebody who did PR, somebody who did events, somebody who did advertising. Now what you see among the Generation Ys and Millennials is what we’re calling full-stack marketers, who do everything: write a press release, issue it, know how to promote it, do email campaigns, have some front end web development experience, write some CSS and html, do a lot of the analysis and metrics. What you see is a whole different discipline coming out of marketing that’s much more scientific, algorithmic, mathematical, but still layering on that creative talent. I think if you’re one of those marketers, you’re invaluable to any organization.”

Traditional methods are still valuable, however. “Marketing strategy is where I’ve always focused, and I don’t want to discount the importance of that. At the end of the day it all boils down to strategy […] that’s still at the core of how a business is going to position itself, and succeed or fail.”

Engagement is another key element whose definition has, according to Chattopadhyay, “really changed,” along with its measurement. The old system — using clicks and page views — has been replaced by metrics such as time on page and returning visitors.  Chattopadhyay says that shift is being realized due to “the idea of attention economy: how do we grab your attention and how long do we keep it?”

While she labels Hootsuite and Tweetdeck as “real frontrunners” within the social realm, Chattopadhyay notes there are “hundreds of different tools out there, whether it’s the Hubspots of the world, or the Scribbles of the world.”

While she compliments Hootsuite, calling it a “great Canadian company,” Chattopadhyay says right now “everyone’s trying to understand the top of that funnel and how they can own the entire funnel from engagement all the way to purchase. That’s the holy grail.”

Companies are approaching tools and integration in different ways, with some coming at it from what Chattopadhyay calls “a social media distribution standpoint,” while others using visualization experience tools or various CMS marketing platforms.

Chattopadhyay sees all of these converging into what she labels “the new CMS — all of that will be integrated, so I can actually create content in one place, push it to multiple places, not just social channels. So whether it’s to my Nike Fuel Band or my Google Glass or an in-stadium experience, I’m creating content in one place; I can distribute it out to multiple places, I can curate and aggregate social, and I can add in video and images. I think that’s really the race: what does that core platform look like? And who can get there the fastest?”

Photo via Aleya Chattopadhyay

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