Interview with Chief Strategy officer, Ansira – Trae Clevenger

cso ansira


“One of the biggest challenges for CMOs is their own organizational silos.”

Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here. (What inspired you to start a MarTech company?)
I started my career 25 years ago in analytics and forecasting. My position has evolved over the years based on the data we collect to execute brand-to-local marketing, and has formed into a strategic role creating relationships with customers. I am currently the Chief Strategy Officer at Ansira, where I lead teams from strategy and analytics to creative.

Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the MarTech market evolving over the next few years?
I do think there is a crazy amount of proliferation in MarTech, and that this will continue to lead to a lot of confusion in the space. Marketers have to know more now, and our company spends a great deal of time consulting and strategizing on what clients use for their marketing needs. Consolidation with cloud providers is more of a promise than a reality today. At Ansira, we are practitioners who use these technologies on behalf of our clients, allowing us credibility as users rather than just consultants. This service will continue to be in demand until marketers become more technologists or have partners that can help them through the MarTech landscape. The other component is that marketers will need to demonstrate effectiveness, so AI solutions will be key to prove that the marketing technology is effective.

What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
From a purely technical standpoint, I would say AI. Although the current state of AI is hype, it does have potential that will require more evolution and development. AI today is effective in some single solutions, like chatbots, but that level of intelligence needs to be stitched together. Another thing that you can call a tech trend is the privacy component. That will seriously impact how marketers use data moving forward.

What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
One of the biggest challenges for CMOs is their own organizational silos. Often they don’t have budgets set up that way, or the CMO won’t have access to sales because it is not under their purview. With the rise of MarTech, we have seen the creation of Chief Marketing Tech Officers, this position can address the internal structure that can take advantage of technology.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
A lot of it is going to be surrounding yourself with trusted advisors knowledgeable in the space. These “translators” are really in demand. An agency, like Ansira, can help you plow through the hype to see what is real and best fits your business. The sales guy has the loudest voice, and he may explain things that may not be reality. To prepare, you need to educate yourself by talking with those who understand the space and how it can specifically help your company.

What is the core marketing technology capability of your firm that you bring to a marketer? Where does your product fit in vis-a-vis the customer lifecycle?
Ansira’s value prop is brand-to-local marketing, which enables seamless customer experiences for clients that have direct interaction with the customer (like loyalty programs) as well as a local store/franchisee. How we treat a customer across all levels using data we have (know me for me) is seamless from national brand to local store. We fit across the customer lifecycle. By putting customers first, the brand feels like one experience and one voice.

What is your take on the massive explosion of MarTech across so many categories? Do you see competition, opportunities to partner and/or integrate?
Our take is that because marketing has now become more data-driven, there are more technologies every day. This can lead to confusion on the client side. As an agency, we see RFPs and RFIs that show that clients may not know what they are asking for. They may blend terms and technologies across categories. That’s understandable because it is a chaotic space. We can act as a partner and be an integrator with a technology the client has already paid for, which is tremendously valuable. We also have great partnerships with MarTech platforms, even helping their prospective clients and our prospective clients.

Trae is the Chief Strategy Officer at Ansira where he leads and assists the Analytics and Strategy teams. His strategy team works to develop Ansira's services to effectively solve clients’ business challenges, providing data-driven solutions that enable them to get closer to their customers.

Ansira’s data-driven marketing expertise marries brand objectives with customer need and delivers long-term profitability with transparency and accountability by activating and extending customer relationships through branded experience curation, data driven insight generation, channel partner empowerment, and a blend of proprietary and third party marketing technology platform expertise.
For more information please visit our Website

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