This article was originally featured on Insider.
A growing number of startups and big companies are fighting for control of marketing tech.
Giants like Adobe, Shopify, and Klaviyo continue to make inroads with data-driven technologies to power smarter, more personalized marketing. And well-funded startups are also helping marketers use data to solve problems around everything from email, web design, and analytics.
As marketers invest in martech, they're pulling back on hiring ad agencies or running paid media campaigns, according to Gartner's 2021 state of marketing report.
And that interest in martech continues to grow, as consumers move towards e-commerce and virtual events.
For the third year in a row, Insider is recognizing 19 of the executives shaping the marketing tech industry.
This varied list, which includes both large public companies and startups, was put together with a mix of our reporting and 64 nominations from readers.
We also included executives across a range of roles — from CEOs, brand CMOs, and executives from the martech companies — which shows how the tech communty is stepping up its marketing investments to differentiate from competitors.
Here are the biggest movers and shakers in the martech world, listed alphabetically.
Driving business with virtual events
Total funding to date: $191 million, according to PitchBook
Employees: More than 300
With the pandemic shutting down live events and Zoom fatigue setting in, business boomed for event management software firm Bizzabo, as companies rushed to set up compelling virtual events. Bizzabo claims users grew 363% during the height of the pandemic last year.
The company's revenue also doubled after Alroy, one of Bizzabo's three cofounders, led the company's pivot from in-person events to virtual events over the past year. He also played a role in Bizzabo's $138 million Series E round of funding this year, and the acquisition of AI scheduling tool x.ai.
As a result, the company's platform is much more expansive than it was before the pandemic, and its technology helps events organizers create and manage both in-person and virtual events as well as sell event sponsorships. Bizzabo's software lets virtual event organizers from companies like Bloomberg and Salesforce add chats and polls.
Developing strategies to lure clients from Salesforce
Revenue: $311 million (second quarter 2021)
Employees: More than 4,900
Bodnar, a longtime HubSpot employee, helped launch a content arm during the pandemic that equipped clients with information like web traffic and sales trends. He also launched a podcast network, virtual events, and an education and certification program for 376,000 marketers.
These initiatives are crucial for HubSpot's ambitions. While the company has long helped brands manage first-party data, it's expanding its products — for instance, developing new web design and email creation tools used by clients like Crunch Fitness — to entice small to medium-sized business clients away from mainstays like Salesforce.
Bodnar's marketing approach is to crank out content as if it were a media company, and this strategy was a big reason why HubSpot acquired email news startup The Hustle in February for a reported $27 million, according to Axios. The Hustle claims to have 1.5 million subscribers, which Bodnar uses to promote HubSpot's content.
Helping brands get smart about first-party data
Total funding to date: $264 million, according to PitchBook
A longtime marketing tech exec, Bullock is working to grow Tealium's business through thought leadership content. She uses her position in the Forbes' Marketing Council — an invitation-only networking community — to write about marketing tech and data, and to serve as a consultant to help brands create first-party data strategies.
It's more important than ever for companies like Tealium to show their value, as competitors rush to build consumer data platforms that can store and manage all of a brand's data. Bullock is pushing Tealium's messaging around the importance of marketers having quick access to data that predict behaviors, like if someone will buy an item after leaving a website.
Her efforts are certainly building the company's reputation. Tealium raised $96 million in its Series G round of funding this year to further improve its product.
Weaning marketers off third-party cookies
Revenue: $3.84 billion (second quarter 2021)
Employees: More than 24,000
Apple and Google's decisions to nix third-party cookies from advertising has heated up Adobe's advocacy around brands controlling their first-party data.
Chakravarthy is in the middle of this critical initiative, as he's tasked with rolling out cookieless products, promoting Adobe's messaging around data and governance, and developing partnerships with other tech companies.
For instance in April, he spearheaded the launch of new features to Adobe's customer data platform that show whether marketing campaigns drove someone to take an action. He also helped roll out a feature that helps brands use first-party data to create lookalike audiences — which are prospects who have similar attributes to existing customers.
Since joining Adobe in 2020, Chakravarthy has also been active in pushing Adobe's initiatives around e-commerce, like helping develop strategies for brands like setting up sites for online buying during the pandemic last year.
Taking on the martech titans
2020 revenue: $3 billion
Employees: More than 12,500
Chase is a longtime SAS marketing exec who was named CMO in June. After years of flat revenue, however, she has a tall task ahead, helping SAS differentiate from giants like Adobe, Oracle, and Salesforce.
In May, she rolled out a large ad campaign titled "Curiosity Forever" aimed at building awareness of SAS' analytic products. She also shifted SAS' ad strategy from demand-generation tactics to brand awareness, increasing ad spend on branding from 10% to 35% of total spend.
Chase's approach shows signs of working: SAS' revenue grew 8.4% year-over-year during the first half of 2021, and the company is preparing to IPO by 2024.
Powering publishers' subscriptions
Estimated 2021 revenue: $83 million
Since Deibert joined Piano last year to lead the company's go-to-market strategy, she has hired more than 20 people onto her team and overhauled Piano's own sales and marketing stack. One key metric she instituted is new revenue growth targets, a focus that Piano says is responsible for driving over half of its global revenue.
Deibert has a huge opportunity in front of her, as more publishers explore paywalls, and she joined the company during a period of sharp growth. Piano claims its revenue grew roughly 400% over the past two years, and it has expanded into countries like Japan and India. Its software powers analytics and subscriptions for publishers including The Wall Street Journal, the BBC, CNBC, Gannett, and Insider.
The firm raised $20 million in April, bringing the company's total equity funding to $65.9 million, according to company CFO Alex Franta.
Driving new business for IPG
IPG's revenue: $2.3 billion (second quarter 2021)
Since Engelgau was named CEO last year, he's turned Acxiom into Interpublic Group's data management and services arm. He's tasked with helping advertisers create privacy-focused strategies and products using first-party data like email addresses and phone numbers.
For instance, Acxiom increased investment into new data clean room products this year to help advertisers match first-party data with partners, like publishers, without using third-party cookies. He has also pushed more of Acxiom's services into cloud-based software, including partnerships with AWS, Google Cloud, and Snowflake.
Under Engelgau's leadership, Acxiom is helping drive new wins for IPG. It played a large role in IPG media agency Mediahub's recent win snagging Morgan Stanley and E-Trade as a client, said MediaHub.
Bringing influencer marketing to the cloud
Total funding to date: $274 million, according to PitchBook
Employees: More than 600
Garcia oversees Impact's multi-million marketing budget, which the company says generates 30% of new revenue.
Garcia has a long history driving results for marketing tech companies. Before joining Impact in 2018, she worked in marketing roles at Celtra and Rakuten Marketing.
At Impact, she's at yet another company that works with big name clients including Uber, Walmart, and Airbnb that use its software to consolidate their affiliate, publisher, and influencer partnerships.
The platform also helps marketers find prospective partners, set up contracts, pay, and track campaign performance.
While Impact works closely with marketers, its purview is expanding to publishers, which should give Garcia an opportunity to expand her strategies.
Impact acquired adtech firm Affluent earlier this year to expand its relationships with publishers and already, clients like Ziff Media Group use Impact's tools to manage e-commerce programs.
Pushing for the next evolution of market research
Total funding to date: $104 million, according to PitchBook
Gross spearheads Suzy's sales, customer service and market research teams, working with marketers at all stages from prospective customers to recurring clients. She's helped increase the company's client count 40% over the past year, according to Suzy, and has hired 40 staffers in that time period. She plans to hire another 50 people in the coming months.
Gross is spearheading Suzy's message around transforming how marketers survey people, highlighting its panel of 1.9 million US users and quicker turnaround times than competitors like Momentive and Qualtrics.
The company is undergoing a growth spurt, as CEO Matt Britton told Insider that Suzy increased its average contract value from $75,000 to over $100,000 during the pandemic.
Microsoft, Unilever, and Citibank use Suzy's polls to help create products and test marketing messages.
Wants to analyze web traffic for marketing
Total funding to date: $809 million, according to PitchBook
Employees: More than 900
Hall has grown the Contentsquare marketing team's headcount by 15% since joining the company in December — actively contributing toward its goal to hire 1,500 people in three years. She's already built out an analyst and influencer relations team within ContentSquare, and the company claims her work increased its brand awareness by 30% during the second quarter.
That excitement around Contentsquare, whose software anonymously tracks what website visitors are looking, seems to be paying off. In May, the firm closed its $500 million Series E round of funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund.
Hall has a lot of ammo to work with as Contentsquare continues its growth. Brands like Sephora and Walmart use its data to make merchandising decisions, and acquire customers. Also, the company is girded against upcoming changes to how people can be identified online, as it doesn't use third-party cookies.
Turning Shopify into a household name
Revenue: $1.1 billion (second quarter 2021)
Shopify benefitted during the pandemic from brands that needed to quickly stand up an e-commerce business.
Following that big boost, there's fresh opportunity for Hufft, who heads global brand marketing and communications, to grow Shopify into a mainstream brand. And her purview is vast, including brand strategy, government relations, influencer marketing, as well as digital content and experiential marketing.
During the past year, she's worked with the companies that use Shopify's tools for selling and marketing products to participate in efforts like Shopify New York, a physical space that Shopify created to give small businesses and entrepreneurs access to workshops, studio space for photo shoots, and a pop-up shop to sell products. A separate initiative with Operation Hope that Hufft is involved with aims to give $130 million in resources by 2030 to create one million new Black-owned businesses in the US.
Working through Apple's changes
Total funding to date: $309 million, according to PitchBook
As Apple makes it harder to target customers within apps, AppsFlyer is trying to find new ways to help marketers assess customer value and track which campaigns drove downloads.
Kaniel has led AppsFlyer's efforts building solutions — like predictive analytics that measure campaigns without tracking users — that work within Apple's restrictions. The job is big and so are the expectations: AppsFlyer expects a $240 million annual run rate this year.
Kaniel is steering a ship in extremely volatile waters. Consolidation in the mobile marketing industry has grown significantly over the past year due to Apple's new restrictions, and an uptick in mergers and acquisitions.
Promoting a better way to share data
Total funding to date: $15 million, according to PitchBook
Former Salesforce marketing exec Kilmartin cofounded Habu last year, and in that brief time has already netted large clients like Activision, which use Habu to better identify its players and target them with relevant ads.
Under Kilmartin, Habu has also situated itself as both an occasional collaborator and competitor to data giants like Snowflake and LiveRamp.
Marketers are increasingly cautious about sharing their first-party data, and Habu pitches so-called data clean rooms that meshes that data with data from other companies, like publishers or platforms, to better target and measure ads.
Kilmartin has also worked to ensure Habu is versatile and solves a range of data-related needs. For instance, brands can use it to build standalone clean rooms, or they can use it to pull out more data from clean rooms owned by big platforms, like Google's Ad Data Hub and the Amazon Marketing Cloud.
Growing Twitter's marketing tech partners
Revenue: $1.2 billion (second quarter 2021)
Employees: More than 6,000
While social platforms like Facebook and Google have locked third parties out of their ad platform, Lieber is taking a different approach at Twitter.
Lieber, who joined the company last year, is building out Twitter's developer community by adding marketing tech partners that help advertisers target and measure ads through custom programs. For example, Lieber recently created a beta initiative that pulls data from two third-party marketing tech firms — Jebbit and VidMob — directly into Twitter's ad-buying platform, in order to attract performance marketers.
Lieber has also worked on Twitter's API partner program, giving advertisers new ways of reaching customers — like landing pages for lead generation — and helping them reach customers over new channels — like shoppable video powered by tech firms SmartCommerce and MikMak.
Poaching small business clients from the cloud giants
Total funding to date: $177 million, according to PitchBook
Employees: More than 900
Manivannan is pushing Braze into new territory with smaller clients.
Braze, which sells software that lets brands send personalized in-app messages, has historically worked with big brands like Burger King and HBO. But as the competition to own small and midsize brands grows in marketing tech, he is spearheading Braze's relationships with startups and small businesses including clients DTC wine company Vivant and fintech company Current. He also leads a SMB program designed for small marketers that are priced out by most enterprise technology.
Manivannan is pitching Braze as a specialized tech option that helps startups and small businesses find audiences and customize their digital messaging. It's a tactic designed to counter the broad messaging of Salesforce and Adobe, which often claim to fulfill all of a brand's data and tech needs.
Braze reports that it passed a $200 million annual run rate in June and hired 350 people in the past year, as brands focused on digital experiences during the pandemic.
Steering location-based marketing through uncertainity
Total funding to date: $174 million, according to PitchBook
Martinez is a longtime tech exec who joined Uberall through its acquisition of MomentFeed this year at a critical point as regulators question how location data is used to zap ads at people.
The location-based space has seen a glut of consolidation over the past few years, which included Uberall acquiring MomentFeed this year while raising $115 million in fresh funding. And Martinez is now tasked with stitching the two companies' technology and offerings together.
She also plans to spearhead a product called "Near Me" that advertisers use to make their brand pop up in search results when people search for nearby locations — like the best nearby shoe stores. The company's software helps brands like McDonald's, KFC, and Marks and Spencer manage search listings on websites and apps.
Uberall expects an annual run rate between $59 million and $118 million this year.
Making sales bots mainstream
Total funding to date: $68 million, according to PitchBook
Rivera handles a multi-million dollar ad budget aimed at turning 3-year-old Qualified into a martech powerhouse. The company claims it has grown 800% over the past year, and it raised $51 million in its Series B this year.
Rivera builds marketing — like the company's first keynote video — around product launches. These programs serve as sales leads for the firm's customer service chatbots, used by companies like Adobe, Talend, and VMWare. The chatbots ask visitors on a company's website if they need help. They also offer more information or a call with a sales rep.
Rivera promotes the idea that these chatbots provide more information than cold calls using thought leadership and content like podcast interviews with, for instance, CMOs from Twilio and G2. These podcasts have been downloaded more than 50,000 times.
Battling the marketing clouds' data tools
Total funding to date: $187 million, according to PitchBook
Shahani helped Amperity grab $100 million in its Series D round of funding in July, valuing the firm at $1 billion — one of the more well-funded martech firms.
As the face of Amperity, Shahani is a prominent advocate for customer data platforms, which are designed to help marketers manage consumer data across sales, e-commerce, and loyalty card programs in a post-cookie world.
Facing tight competition from companies like Adobe, Salesforce, mParticle, and Twilio, Shahani pitches Amperity's quick turnarounds — like its ability to get a CDP up and running in four and a half months.
Brands like Starbucks and Lucky Brand use Amperity's martech software to manage data from sales, email, e-commerce, and loyalty card programs.
Challenging email giants like Mailchimp
Total funding to date: $679 million, according to PitchBook
Employees: More than 900
Srinivasan joined Klaviyo in January to make the tech firm a household name.
She's using her marketing experience from companies like Owlet Baby Care, Dropbox, and Electronic Arts to promote Klaviyo's enterprise features as an alternative to email marketing mainstays like Marketo and Mailchimp.
Her team launched a privacy campaign positioning Klaviyo's tools that use first-party data as a long-term alternative for marketers as third-party cookies disappear. She also organized two events this year that Klaviyo used to roll out new products, including one with billboards in New York and Boston to promote the event. Klaviyo did not share specific numbers but said that its marketing team has doubled under Srinivasan's leadership.
Klaviyo raised $320 million in its Series D round of funding in May, valuing the firm at $9.5 billion.