Software Sales Tips by Matt Wolach

Scale Your SaaS

All Things Marketing Automation – with Shay Howe

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, marketing automation has become a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. To dive into the world of marketing automation and its potential, I sat down with Shay Howe, the Chief Marketing Officer at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign is a product known for its versatility, offering hundreds of pre-built automation that span transactional email, email marketing, marketing automation, e-commerce, and CRM. 

Shay, a product leader with a diverse background in design and engineering, spearheads the marketing, customer activation, partnership, platform strategy, and ActiveCampaign postmark teams. In this new episode, host and B2B SaaS Sales Coach Matt Wolach drills down on the details as Shay Howe shares his insights on marketing automation, the evolving role of a Chief Marketing Officer, and the value of staying close to customers.


Podcast: Scale Your SaaS with Matt Wolach

Episode: Episode No. 287, “All Things Marketing Automation – with Shay Howe”

Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS Sales Coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor

Guest: Shayne Howe, Chief Marketing Officer at ActiveCampaign


Embrace the Power of Marketing Automation

ActiveCampaign’s core philosophy revolves around “owned channels.” Owned channels are the ones a business controls, such as websites, blogs, email lists, and SMS. Shay emphasizes the importance of these channels in creating a direct, controlled connection with your audience. 

However, he also acknowledges that software businesses often start on “unknown channels” like social media, where they don’t have as much control. Shay recommends providing value, engaging with the community, and building affinity with your brand to convert your audience from unknown to owned channels.

Unlock Personalization through Marketing Automation

One of the critical strengths of marketing automation is the ability to deliver personalized experiences to customers. Shay underscores the importance of collecting and using data effectively. This data can come from various sources, including user input, behavioral data, and third-party enrichment. You can tailor your messaging and content by segmenting audiences based on their data, creating a highly personalized customer experience.

Address Misconceptions About Marketing Automation

Shay dispels common misconceptions about marketing automation. One of the myths is that marketing automation is too complex and costly for small and medium-sized businesses. 

In reality, user-friendly tools with affordable pricing plans make marketing automation accessible to businesses of all sizes. Another concern is that marketing automation is only for small enterprises. ActiveCampaign’s user-friendly approach makes it suitable for companies at various stages of growth.

Enhance Customer Engagement and Automation

Shay highlights the importance of striking a balance between automation and personal touch. He advises against over-automating and advocates for human intervention where it adds value. Staying closely connected to your customers and following their lead can help you understand when to automate and engage on a more personal level.


The Dynamic Role of a Chief Marketing Officer

Shay’s journey to becoming the Chief Marketing Officer at ActiveCampaign is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of leadership roles, especially in early growth-stage companies. He mentions that his position seems to change every six to twelve months. While this might sound challenging, it keeps him in a flow state and pushes him to learn and grow continuously. Shay’s experience highlights the importance of adaptability and embracing change in today’s dynamic business environment.

Final Thoughts and Advice on Marketing Automation

In closing, Shay offers valuable advice to early-stage software founders and leaders. He emphasizes the significance of staying close to your customers, understanding their problems, and leveraging technology to enhance their experience. By listening to your customers and applying the lens of technology, you can create a product that resonates with them. Marketing automation can be pivotal in nurturing, enabling, and capturing valuable customer feedback, ultimately driving your business forward.


Shay Howe

[10:58] “Marketing automation is incredibly approachable.”

[17:20] “Don’t over-automate; leave room for that human touch.”

[22:40] “Build automation to create surprise and delight.”

Matt Wolach

[21:18] “Stay close to your customers and follow their lead.”

[25:06] “Find your way through building a product where folks are jumping into use it faster.”


To learn more about Active Campaign, visit: 

You can also find Shay Howe on LinkedIn: 

For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit