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Navigating the future of marketing with Appian’s Randy Guard

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Navigating the future of marketing with Appian’s Randy Guard

Randy Guard CMO Appian chats with Marketing Mag

Randy Guard, chief marketing officer at Appian, unpacks the evolving landscape of marketing strategies, with a focus on Appian’s customer-centric approaches, alignment across channels, the intricate web of touchpoints, global versus local actions and the transformative impact of emerging technologies.

Guard joins Marketing Mag from Appian’s Australian headquarters in Sydney. He’s just flown in from the US on the red eye from Virginia and he’s happily eschewing the benefits of “Aussie Coffee” with bright eyes, a soft southern drawl and a wide smile. You get the feeling everyone who meets Randy, likes Randy. He’s that kinda guy.

With a background in engineering from Carolina’s prestigious Duke University, Guard always saw the potential in the fusion of art and science. The people power of data fuelled his passion, and he quickly saw a connection between data science and marketing which has future-proofed a long and successful career at the forefront of B2B marketing with a focus on Software as a Service (SaaS).

“I was at SAS for 20 years where I led marketing of the SAS platform, solutions, and SAS AI offerings, eventually becoming CMO,” Guard says. “I joined Appian in September of last year, so I’m relatively new. I’ve been in the technology business since I graduated college as an engineer. I am proud of coming from a technology and a product background to move into marketing.”

Guard enthuses: “I was excited about Appian because it’s an enterprise business. We focus on mid-size and large enterprises. We help them to leverage workflow process automation to solve business problems that need a structured flow of documents, decisions and collaboration. Most recently we’ve injected and embedded AI into that mix.”

Web of touchpoints: A collaborative approach to customer acquisition

The role of the CMO is evolving and engaging prospects through a comprehensive network of touchpoints is more crucial than ever. Guard discusses the necessity of a collaborative, organisation-wide effort to engage prospects at various levels. “There’s a big component around that journey that’s evolution because no one buys a piece of software and they’re done,” he remarks, underscoring the continuous nature of customer engagement and the need for an evolving strategy that adapts to changing customer requirements.

“We’ve always done document processing, semantic search, document summarisation and that old-school AI we were doing three to five years ago. And while generative AI has now taken over and that’s a big part of what Appian is doing, we didn’t flip ourselves and become a generative AI company. We see ourselves operationalising AI.”

Global thinking with local action: Crafting a balanced marketing strategy

Guard shares his views on creating marketing strategies that are not only broad in their reach but also deeply resonant with local audiences, thereby maximising impact. He advocates for a balanced approach. “I’m a big fan of the concept of global campaigns and a global approach…but you’ve got to localise those things as well,” he says.

Emerging technologies: Shaping the future of marketing

The potential of technologies like AI and low-code platforms to revolutionise the marketing sector is immense. Guard discusses how Appian is leveraging these technologies, especially AI, to enhance its marketing efforts. “I’m in several CMO forums, one of which is every Friday, and we get together on Zoom calls and we talk about how AI can help with what we do, not replace what we do.

“I think that’s super important for marketing teams. Technology is important. AI is important. But it’s not an end-all-be-all. It helps us ‘up’ our game a bit, whether it’s efficiency-wise or even innovation.”

This forward-thinking approach positions Appian at the forefront of utilising technology not just for the sake of innovation, but for creating tangible value for its customers.

Next, Alana Chetner’s thought leadership story on how to engage audiences, drive hope and create impact.  

Images attributed to Appian


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Emily Rayner

Emily Rayner is the editorial director of Niche Media.

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