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The technology landscape -- specifically in marketing -- has changed drastically over the years, adding more responsibility and decision-making for chief marketing officers. Finding a delicate balance between using customer experience technology and inserting "the human touch" is something that Televerde's CMO Ray Kemper often thinks about.
In his role at Phoenix-based demand generation and inside sales company Televerde, Kemper is consistently focused on customer experience technology, as well as hiring the right team to carry out that important human factor in the sales pipeline. Kemper, with more than 15 years of marketing experience, spoke with SearchCRM.com about the importance of customer experience technology and making sure your technology is keeping up its end on ROI.
As the marketing landscape has changed, how has the role of the CMO evolved?
Ray Kemper: You can look at the CMO role as the key storyteller, strategist, customer experience champion and as a revenue generation engine. And we're able to play that current role of the CMO because of the evolving technology landscape. In the past it was just playing the storyteller and branding; now we're really able to be a revenue generator.
While the evolving technology landscape has allowed us to really drive revenue, it also allows us to look at the technology as a tool and it's the strategy and the people and the approach that makes marketing a success. The technology allows us to execute with agility and tell our story from a more impactful level than ever before.
When choosing to invest in customer experience technology, what's your strategy?
Kemper: You have to look at the marketing technology as a tool. Before I purchase a piece of technology, I look at the strategy I've developed, the personas, the buyers' journey, who I want to go after. But once I've got that as my foundation, how do I want to engage with them? Across prospects, across our existing customers I look at that customer experience that I want to develop across the awareness-building aspect all the way through retention and growth.
I look and frame out the strategy across the customer mindset and inventory and what that experience is today and where I think we have some gaps. Then the [customer experience] technology enables me to improve that across the lifecycle.
The customer experience technology is growing so intensely that there are a lot of new platforms that give you insight and a piece of that customer experience. I'm always looking at how I can improve it, but I also look at the cost benefit and if I invest is this going to give me enough insight to make the investment worthwhile.
How do you balance using customer experience technology and this idea of "the human touch" to accomplish goals?
Ray KemperCMO, Televerde
Kemper: While the technology gives you more agility and insight, it's what you do with that insight and agility that matters. In the B2B world, people are buying from people. Marketing drives pipelines, but it doesn't close deals. Most B2B products -- and there are some exceptions -- need that conversation.
Layering in personalized touches and particularly a phone conversation to identify where a prospect is in a decision -- are they kicking the tires, are they curious because they saw some of your content, is there a project pending -- all of that is informative. You need to qualify that along the way and you can only really figure that out with a conversation.
The conversation is really key -- and it's not about just checking a box. The insight you're getting from the technology allows you to have a better and more relevant conversation with the prospect. People connect with people and if you're going to choose a partner to do business with it's about the right connection.
What are the biggest challenges a CMO faces?
Kemper: There is a lot of constant change and the CMO role has taken on more responsibility.
Sales development has moved into marketing, some IT management is involved with marketing automation systems and content management. The technology is helping see touchpoints across the entire organization and it puts the CMO in a really unique strategic role.
That type of evolution and keeping up to do it effectively requires a collaborative approach and one that has a personality that is influential, but not confrontational.
When evaluating your tech stack, what are you looking at when you decide what to remove and what to add?
Kemper: I look at if it's meeting expectations of improving the customer experience that the tool set out to do. If not, and I am fully utilizing the tool, then I will end-of-license that tech.
I will say there are so many different technologies out there, combined with the evolution of the cloud. As CMO, I'm putting those different solutions together and making sure they're working together and the cost benefit is there.
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