Fireside chat with M.X. Data Transcript: Human Centered Marketing

Below is a transcript of a Fireside chat hosted by M.X Data on Human Centered Marketing and the steps to reach this ideal state of marketing. The conversation is lead by Megan Grove, a customer engineer at M.X. Data, and Jaida Williams, a sales and marketing associate at M.X. Data. They are joined by Joe Pino, The VP of Marketing at Clutch. 

 Click here to watch the Fireside chat in its entirety.

Click here to read the Clutch Human Centered Maturity Curve E-Book


Megan Grove (M.X Data Customer Engineer): Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us for another digital fireside chat. I'm Megan Grove, the customer engineer at MX Data. And we have Jada with us, who's one of our sales and marketing associates. And then also today we're hosting Joe Pino, my buddy Joe from clutch, the vice president of strategy and solutions for clutch. Thank you, Joe, for joining us. Thanks for having me. Alright, so I'm super excited to talk about our topic today, which is human centered marketing. And I know Joe, you are too, because this kind of goes hand in hand with the clutch business model and everything that your platform form puts together. So human center marketing, what that means is it's putting the customer at the center of the business, which attempts to solve their problems, anticipate their needs, and improve their overall experience in life. Obviously, this is something we try to stick to at MXD. So this is why this is very important. And when the ebook came out, Joe, that you guys sent out to us recently, I was like, oh my god, this is genius. This document that they can actually reference and try to understand exactly how they can kind of structure their marketing strategies towards this human centered marketing content.  So Joe, tell us, what is the clutch human centered maturity model and what is that designed to do to help retailers say to be successful?

Joe Pino (Clutch VP of Partnerships): Yeah, no, thanks for that. And you're absolutely right. We've been talking about this for years, right? The idea of all of the technology and all of the personalization that brands are really trying to get to. We've thought this was a great chance for us to try to take some of the ideas we've been saying and put them into an ebook. So human centered marketing is what we see as a future where we're going and ultimately the human centered maturity model that we put together is really just a way of how to get there. Brands are all already today in different parts of the model, whether it's content focused and they're dealing with a lot of legacy data. They're still working through a getting digital alignment, but they're focused on just getting a message out. And then of course, we see an evolution between content to data focused to then of truly customer focused. What is the human experience truly look like? And then ultimately how do we automate that? So we're making it easier for the marketer to operationalize getting to that end point. Again, with the human element always involved doesn't necessarily mean the human that has to to hit and send with everything. And we'll talk about that a little bit more details to get into the latest buzzword around AI and using that intelligence to help us get there.

Megan Grove: Yeah, and I like how the clutch model breaks out the three phases, right? So it's what you just said, the content focus, the data focus, and then the customer focus. The content focus, I feel like the world has. Like we all know how to start up a social media platform and start posting things. But really, this is where a lot of the retailers get stuck, right? They all know how to do that and where to start, but then it's like, okay, well then what? Because a lot of the times in the content focus phase, you're not getting the data and the analytics that you need to start sort of recognizing what your ROI could be if you take it to the next phase, which is being able to really analyze your data. So yeah, talk about that. Jada, you probably have a lot of insight actually because that's a lot of what you do.

Jaida Williams (M.X. Data Sales and Marketing Associate):  Yes. I think the content focus, like you said, it starts with that. There are different platforms that you can use to analyze the data, so you can track your engagement, KPIs, things like that, but knowing where to start and what those platforms are, I think a lot of retailers might struggle with that. You have to get creative with the content and how you're pushing it out. Are you having letters, subscription pricing models, things like that, to really drive the ROI and see return on the content that you are pushing out.

Joe Pino: Yeah, and it's interesting, right? And content is always still going to be the main focus, right? At least as a starting point, you have to have something to say. And then of course, as you get smarter on who you're saying it to, help, and you need to say the message. But the way we look at it too, with all that content you have, especially for customers who are already in your database, right? The big focus we talk a lot about is retention. So the idea is your build your relationship with that customer so you shouldn't keep talking to them like you just met them, right? It's like a friend that over time, you know what they like and don't like. So how do you use the content you have to be more targeted in the message and then start to again use that intelligence with every interaction to inform your network interaction. Again, I don't think that's the same thing that's really revolutionary when we speak to this because I think everyone will agree. The content and then measurement. But what we tend to hear a lot of is, what are we measuring, what's the KPI? I don't do it faster, right? Rather than having to take all of the data out of the system, have a BA go do the analysis on it, and then have to put it back in the system and then say, now we're on this campaign just to do it again. Again, that turnaround time, with even some of our very tech-centric brands that we work with, it's a process. And it takes too long, I mean, right now customers, consumers are just 24 hours, they need and want a faster turnaround time, and you know, purchases are won or a lost in between purchases, right? So what's the next best outcome? So it's interesting, and even again, even our, the mostly Bob brands are still struggling with that turnaround time, but it is an interesting challenge that we're continuing to see Bob over time.

Megan Grove:  And what we are seeing as more retailers are trying to move into the data focus phase by learning about the automated technology and the platforms that are out there that can all be integrated together to start giving them the actual data that they can use to utilize right so it's transactional data, it's behavioral data. data, it's basically, it gives them all kinds of information to develop new marketing strategies in campaigns. So actually, I think it's about like 70% of companies globally are somewhere in the data focus phase. They focus on acquiring and using consumer information and adopting technology for their purposes. But again, then they get stuck. So then it's like, okay, well, what do they do with the data? So talk to us about that because the clutch platform, I mean, And it is a perfect example of how it kind of channels everything between different platforms to give retailers the ROI and the analytics.

Joe Pino: Well, what is interesting is there's no shortage of technology, right? And I think there's different darlings that pop up from time to time. And we definitely see brands that are picking and choosing different winners and then also kind of building their own 10 head atmosphere, if you will, from different email to SMS to offer management to a CDP. They're kind of building their best and breed. And then also what they inadvertently become is technologists. You now have your own in-house tech team trying to continue to maintain and connect these systems on an ongoing basis. So now suddenly you have a retailer or a restaurant owner now trying to figure out how to manage an entire tech team who's now managed into developing their own system. What we are approaching, which is interesting, at least we of course think so, I was, we could plug into those systems. We may not be big believers in them, but we could plug into them, right? We do believe in that more closed loop and an solution because as brands evolved to create this human centered marketing experience, it's all about creating a seamless experience for the consumer and sometimes what gets lost in that, is operationalizing it. How do I bring that to fruition? Isn't just about connected technology, but making it easier for the user of all this technology to operationalize it better and that is a really key element because as we all know, marketers don't stay long, but around long. So they may be around two to three years, so they may never see the end of a project. So you end up spending more time in a project phase than you do in a sort of a run phase of let's go now run and operationalize it. So again, it's definitely a challenge that we like to address and we do speak a lot about that consolidation discussion?

Megan Grove: Yeah so and then with that once the retailer you know has the data that they need they can analyze it then it's figuring out now what do you do with it usually then we go into the customer focus right so what does that mean it's putting together your customer journeys it's understanding your customers buying behavior across what platforms you offer you know your products to be sold and being able to really customize individual personalizations and experiences that go hand in hand with your, with your customers.

Joe Pino: Yeah, I mean, that really is the game that did everything coming together, um, to the point where now you truly are customer focus, you're relying more on the technology to maybe introduce more automation. You'll never stop testing a learning and understanding what works or doesn't, but a nice thing, and this is where ML and AI is coming in place, is that the learning is happening faster. And it's happening in a way, it crosses so much data that one individual or even the team of individuals could necessarily capture it anyway. So when we start to get into the dream, the right message, the right time, right offer, all with the idea that the consumer, every time the consumer opens up or engages with your brand, it's the right engagement for that consumer. That is all based on all the information that we're learning and gathering on a regular basis, but then the customer is realizing it, right? So as simple as an email may be, But then seeing that message is very targeted. And there's a reason they're seeing it even at that time. So again, you start getting down to that idea that you're automating more, you're testing and learning more things. And as a marketer, you're spending more time thinking about what your strategy is for as opposed to just having to worry about executing the next, the very next offer or the very next promotion. So again, you spend more time as a strategist So we're marketing strategies, the big thing of how you continue to evolve.So again, now what you're doing in this stage is leveraging everything we've been talking out from segmentation to personalize to a single system that's communicating at any given moment, understanding the ROI, which is key to all of this because even if we get to this full automation and that customer-centric point of view, you still want to know, I'll just drive in my consumer behavior. I put a number to it to understand my top line is increasing in the number of customers that I'm working with aren't churning. So it's an evolution that everyone should be aiming for, but it's not easy to get to. And it's going to be again, it really requires cross functional alignment. And again, key decisions that build on top of each other, rather than erase the previous decision, right? Like, as again, what we see a lot in this week come in, you kind of almost have to redo decisions that were made by previous teams.

Megan Grove:  Yeah. Well, that's why I like how you guys literally call it the maturity model, because that's exactly what it is. You can't just throw everything together all at once and expect to get results. It is a building process. It's starting with the basics, being able to understand and become a master of those basics and then how you build from there. And with the ultimate goal, then, of course, increasing your sales and increasing your customer experience, the retention that we're talking about, the customer for life, basically.

Joe Pino: Exactly right. Again, that's the goal. And it seems so easy, obviously, we just discussed this in 15 minutes, but it really is something that we know brands continue to struggle with. So, again, as we talk to any of some of our shared clients, we realize that there's opportunities that we'd love to get in front of and kind of talk about operational alignment, cross-department alignment, and then continue to focus on how they bring this all this technology together to get that end view. 

Megan Grove: So let's talk about what our recommendations would be for retailers who want to get started. What would you recommend? Where do people start and how do they grow? 

Joe Pino: Yeah, it's interesting. I would say first and foremost it comes with that internal strategic alignment, right? You need to have the hearts and minds of the organization truly wanting to get on this page of being human centered.

Megan Grove: Let me ask you this. What do you think though, about hospitality and retailers having technologists? Like because let me give you my two cents real quick. It is so nice to work with retailers who have the in-house IT, you know, department or like their own infrastructure already in place and then you are working with people are a little more technical because it does make things I think go faster, it's more efficient, you know, they kind of already know the language so they're the ones that are actually taking care of the groundwork for the business because for me sometimes when we're just dealing with retailers who don't have their own internal IT, it can be frustrating because retailers don't know what to do or where to start and that's why I think they need to either lean on their internal technologists or of course, like an MX data, for example, I mean, that's what we do basically, but also like Clutch, just come straight to Clutch, learn how to get started and how to put all these pieces together. So I cut you out, but tell me what you think about that. 

Joe Pino: No, I think that's a fair point, right? Having technologists internally to be able to manage projects is important, right? Having someone that could speak the language, understand, again, all the different systems that they do have to manage is definitely important. And there's different elements of that. Somebody that can help architect and bring together the right solution to go to operate retail, right? As a retailer, from running e-commerce, OMS, ERPs, all makes sense. I think where we tend to see is the next level above that where now you have the technologist internally that is now developing this proprietary technology. And I think that's where we've seen at least historically where brands start to cross the line from being, “Hey I need to manage our technologies back.” to “Now I'm developing our own solution for other organizations. Other organizations like yourself, I mean, we've gone through rounds of raising funds and investing over 15 years with that sole focus of building, again, in this case, a marketing CRM solution. And so it's always interesting when brands say, we'll just go to it in a year. And again, it goes to, when I just take your entire development team and folks that I'm totally new feature and product that they weren't in the market to do when they first probably set out to higher so that's where we tend to see a little bit of a challenge and realizing you may build it today but we're constantly thinking about how do you evolve to what's coming next and how do you continue to make this as open as possible.

Megan Grove: Because the reality is there are multiple systems to handle multiple operational efficiencies within the organization. There is no one given perfect solution for retailers and it is important for them to learn how to take advantage of the different opportunities that are out there to help them grow. And so for someone internally a technologist to think that they can manage all these separate systems without any sort of help or organization is kind of, oof, it could get scary.

Joe Pino: Yeah, and then as a company to depend on one or two people to to keep all that internal knowledge can also be again a concern to right as again we we we managed turnover. So how do you avoid putting so much into one or two resources as you look to- for the most part deliver a strategy that that is as frictionless as possible right again in some cases we have a lot of different brands whether it's in retail, hospitality, convenience or grocery, they're all trying to get through that same outcome of not just human centered but from a technology standpoint it's how do you make it as seamless as possible right people aren't necessarily going to win because their e-commerce site is better than so analysis it's always back to how do I expect to check out as frictionless as possible I come to your site I want to buy what I want to get and make it seem as seamless as possible so that that can be true across a number of different retailers and marketers to just kind of the- they're not there for the e-commerce experience. They're there for your products and just want it to make life easier. So anyway I think there's a lot of great technology nails that are off the shelf that could provide that. So again deciding to build your own I think again you're just going to quickly start falling behind and just immediately start creating tech that. So if you're at a position where you could start fresh and don't have that tech, that's ideal. And that's why in some cases you see new brands be able to quickly outperform some of their predecessors. But then of course you have other brands who don't have that luxury and they have to start to come out of their tech debt. They need to figure out where do they start. And so again, that's where of course I know as you laugh, you've seen a lot of that.

Megan Grove: I'm laughing at you because you're dropping all these buzzwords today that I like. Tech debt. I like that. That's good. Yeah, that's why I'm laughing at you. But you're making a very good point. I just couldn't help but I haven't heard that one before. That's good.

Joe Pino: Yeah, definitely something we see a lot of, right? So the idea that you're kind of on old old systems that you know that you don't want to be on for a while. So again, we deal with it a lot. Brands will come to us that are looking for different solutions. And it's not necessarily always net new, right? They want to run a loyalty program. And some of our best clients are clients that have already been running loyalty for years, and they're just now realizing that, hey, we want to start to evolve loyalty, and what we've done has been great, but we are on an older system that is limited. We want to move this something out. So sometimes that transition is where we obviously unlock some of the best ideas. And yeah, tech debt is something we've definitely dealt with a lot, where we're waiting for legacy systems to be sunset.

Megan Grove: Yeah, and I want retailers to know too like this is why we have these digital fireside chats it's it's us we have a partnership like you and I are working on a ton of stuff together we've got a lot of mutual customers we've got mutual ideas we've got mutual you know successful things that we're all trying to put in place for all of our customers to help them get to this place so I really appreciate you taking the time to to meet with us about all this and explain this this human centered marketing strategy. It's really good and I really thank you for that.

Joe Pino: I appreciate it and look forward to continuing to work with you and certainly working with our mutual clients.

Megan Grove:  So what do you guys have coming up like what's going on for clutch in the upcoming months? What can we expect?

Joe Pino: Yeah I think what's interesting there's a number of different things always happening as we continue to work with different tech ecosystems right?I know we're working very closely in the Shopify space and even retail. So continue to see the evolution of that ecosystem. I also, we're also very heavily focused on even continuing to evolve. What does AI mean the marketing, right? And how does it, how does AI get injected into our solution to make it easier? As brands continue again to, to use. AI in a compliant and targeted way that continues to drive towards that humor center marketing.

Megan Grove: Yeah, and so the two of us together, we have a couple exciting things. So I think we're going to have you for a webinar here soon in the next couple weeks shows the clutch platform new updates and enhancements things like that, but we're also working on a prison plugin clutch prison plugin.So we're we've got that going and we'll hopefully have a lot to talk about in the next couple months with that.

Joe Pino: Yeah, I look forward to it.

Megan Grove: All right, well, thank you, Joe. Thanks for being here. Thanks, David, for hosting. And thank you to everybody for watching. As always. Thanks. 

Joe Pino: Thank you. 

Jaida Williams: Bye. Bye.

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