Seven questions for Meltwater CMO Valerie Fawzi

She hints at how her company will respond to unprecedented consolidation in the marcomms software and services space.

PR software and monitoring company Meltwater found itself in the middle of a battle last year to take over Cision. It lost that fight; private equity company GTCR eventually combined Vocus and Cision and acquired Visible Technologies and Gorkana Group last fall.

However, Meltwater CMO Valerie Fawzi is optimistic about the bigger picture. She chatted with PRWeek about the changing marcomms landscape and how software and services companies are keeping up.  

PRWeek: How has the PR software and services landscape changed as a result of all the consolidation in the past year?
Valerie Fawzi: The marketing technology landscape is just exploding right now. You have thousands of vendors trying to make sense of and automate what marketing is doing, and they are trying from thousands of different directions. So there is naturally going to be a level of consolidation as the market settles down into something sustainable.

What we are experiencing right now is the technology side of the PR industry attempting to reinvent itself in the modern age. We have a lot of traditional and media-monitoring technologies and journalist-database technologies. Coming from left field is this thing called social media that hit the corporate comms department with full force.

So I think on the tech side and on the domain side, everyone is trying to figure out what this means for us as an industry. And Meltwater is thinking very carefully about how to transform this space and using technology to do that.

PRWeek: How is Meltwater’s business model changing?
Fawzi: The corporate comms function is in a place where there is tremendous pressure to perform and report on results at a level that has never been done before. So the current state of media monitoring is no longer going to be enough. Before, it used to be about contacting a journalist and seeing if you could get coverage. Now it is much more complex, as influencers come in all shapes, sizes, and places.

A corporate comms function needs to do much more to consider its job done, moving to a more holistic, integrated strategy. So Meltwater is designing its next generation of technology to go far beyond just media monitoring.

(Fawzi declined to give further details on Meltwater’s new offerings).

PRWeek: Who do you see as Meltwater’s main competitors?
Fawzi: We come up mostly against Cision, Vocus, and iSentia. Those are the global players, and there are local players in every market. Competitors are mostly on the traditional media-monitoring side, and there are also plenty of social media monitoring technologies we run into as well.

Our competitors are watching us now and seeing how our technology is helping the corporate comms function to up-level and be more strategic.

PRWeek: You have offices in 27 countries. How does what you do translate among different markets?
Fawzi: It varies depending on the state of adoption and marketing in a given country. Some companies in smaller countries don’t have the global reach to sustain a big technology investment just for marketing. So we find that there are other business decision makers across the company that are using the technology to help them with their strategy in sales, HR, IR, and business development.

PRWeek: Is consolidation as prominent globally?
Fawzi: There are very few players on a global scale in this space. The biggest markets for consolidation include the US, UK, and APAC. The rest of Europe is very fragmented with smaller players that focus locally and provide traditional media-monitoring solutions.

Meltwater’s global focus puts us at a great advantage for any company doing business across the boundaries.

PRWeek: You joined Meltwater six months ago. What is your focus looking ahead?
Fawzi: What I am most excited about is the opportunity to help my own corporate comms function and the industry at large become a much more strategic contributor to business. I am also thinking about all the best practices our technology can help provide.

PRWeek: Any acquisitions on the horizon for Meltwater?
Fawzi: We are always looking and open to ideas.

This story was updated on March 4 to correct the name of iSentia.

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