Jan 30, 2017 / by Camille Sheehan

Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd recently joined SiliconANGLE’s John Furrier on its popular #theCUBE video series, the leading live interview show covering enterprise technology and innovation. In this interview, Akeroyd discusses what inspired him to join Cision as the chief executive, how the Cision Communications Cloud™ is trailblazing a new category in SaaS cloud technology, why earned media is every CMO’s best friend and more.

We’ve included some highlights transcribed from the interview, but you can watch the full interview in the videos below:

Furrier: Data is the hottest thing on the planet and you’re at the center of the action. Marketing is a company-wide data opportunity. What’s the change? Why did you decide to make the change to CEO?

Akeroyd: “Brands know, ‘I’ve got to get to the influencers if I want to get to my customers.’ And that’s all about earned. So the opportunity to go repeat exactly what I did at Oracle Marketing Cloud for paid and owned, but do it over here in earned, was simply too big an opportunity to pass up.”

Akeroyd: “[Earned media] has gone from the king of the hill 20 years ago to a true second-class citizen while other brands got drunk on paid advertising and e-commerce campaigns.”

Furrier: What was the moment in time that got you over the hump that got you to leave Oracle?

Akeroyd: “There was a tipping point of customer feedback about, ‘What is the big next thing my customers need?’ So, when Cision pulled the trigger on PR Newswire, the largest communication distribution network on the planet, that was a big part of it, but far more importantly it’s the ability to provide to consumers the influencer graph, closing the loop between the reporter and the customer. I said that’s the final piece to let us bring the database, the software, the automation and the influencer to billions of consumers via a digital distribution network. That was the piece that clicked.”

Akeroyd: “For all of us in the earned media profession, we’ve always known the value, but we’ve struggled to measure it.”

Furrier: How do you aggregate the data?

Akeroyd: “We are now a big data source ourselves. The ocean of data around this that we have in-house is just amazing, number one. Number two, because of the large digital distribution network, not only do we have visibility into the brand, the content and the influencer, the reporter, the media and the earned media channel, now we know how it influenced 2 billion end users or consumers. That is an important second data element because there’s lots of that data around from lots of data providers, but none of it is linked back to this brand, or this content and this influencer or reporter…all of that’s earned stuff.”

“When we go measure the impact of that, we know that you touched the right audience, and they all look and smell like this, and because I closed the loop on the data, I know that not only were 90,000 of those people the right target audience, but now, holy smokes, 45,000 of them showed up in my lead nurturing flow, and ultimately 5,000 of them closed.”

“So, by tying the measurement loop that is data driven and introducing that into this earned media category that has always intellectually known its worth, but has never been able to put it on a report that the CFO buys off on, now we can. 

We can finally start doing real numbers and real attribution which is going to take our whole category up and quite frankly we’ll get funded out of the excess right now. So all of us, if you’re a tech data vendor like me, whether you’re a publisher, a journalist, the fact is that this is going to go data driven and measurable. The results aren’t going to lie, the efficacy is going to be proven, and this is going to be a set of ships that rise pretty rapidly in my opinion.”

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About Camille Sheehan

Camille Sheehan is a PR associate for Cision, where she has worked since 2014. While attending the University of Maryland, she worked as a public affairs intern at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. With a background in communication and public relations, she loves keeping up to date with the latest trends and breaking global news. In her free time, you can find Camille listening to country music, eating tacos, sampling Irish whiskeys or snapping photos outdoors on her DSLR. Find her on Twitter @CSheehanPR.