Interview with Marika Roque from Kerv Interactive on Video Marketing

Marika Roque from Kerv Interactive embraces Martech Cube yet again, this time she talks about the role of interactive content & video marketing in the eCommerce industry

Video will no longer be separate from eCommerce. Instead, video will be a strong pillar within every eCommerce strategy. Video is expensive but it is correlated with strong ROI if done well

1. Tell us about your role at KERV?
I am the Chief Operating Officer, meaning that I oversee the entirety of the KERV Operation. I love not only managing the highly technical elements of what my job requires but also the team elements. I manage several departments such as Digital Strategy, Platform Growth, and Support and Client Services, and getting them to work together in the most efficient and effective manner is more than just an operational feat. Being in the role of COO at a startup is an exhilarating experience. The company is growing right before our eyes, so the needs and expectations of the role evolve very quickly.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into the Martech arena?
I was always bound to be in Martech. I am a problem solver, and technology is all about problem-solving, but my career path was a bit interesting. At my first agency job within the Publicis holding company, I could have been assigned to any account from a fashion brand to a QSR but I was assigned to a highly technical B2B account. While my friends and colleagues were working on brands such as Nintendo and Budweiser, I was thinking about ways to target IT decision-makers; and this was when targeting at this niche level was very difficult, nearly impossible. I worked on new business for the agency while also helping roll out their first programmatic desk when the tech just wasn’t there yet. These challenges were so much fun! From there I found myself managing technical departments and growing them. My Executive career began while I was at Lin Digital, where I managed through several acquisitions. While those were always difficult, building products through technology remained a common thread. I have a passion for not only Martech but for the combination of Martech and building strong, thriving infrastructures to support and grow the technology.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading the advertising and marketing Sector?
Watching the evolution of technology throughout my career thus far has been remarkable and nearly overwhelming. I spent so much of my time, early in my career, working on tasks that are now so much easier! Technology is allowing processes to be run much more quickly so that resources are being used in more thoughtful and strategic ways. I never fear automating any members of the team as our teams are always pushing boundaries and strategizing with the future in mind. More can definitely get done within the team as well, but the teams WANT automation so that they can keep building, which is a huge upgrade of that time and those resources. Companies such as KERV are creating products that create new experiences, new data sets, and new ways to tell stories all via technology. Technology is breaking barriers!

4. How, according to you, are interactive video solutions impacting the ad tech sector?
Interactive video solutions are creating entirely new dimensions for existing video assets. If we are talking about retail, for example, KERV’s technology is able to visually correlate in-video elements with product feeds. We also have cart integrations in place so that transactions can be completed within the video. I love the idea of the video complete KPI being replaced with more action-based elements as the sector grows. If we are talking about a less straightforward example, such as travel, KERV is still able to identify what is in the video with our AI and machine learning technology and then connect that with an experience. For example, we can identify monuments or context such as eating at a restaurant or logos. This not only allows us to curate entirely new experiences within video content that has historically just been distributed for views but we can also all analyze hundreds of additional touchpoints seamlessly so this process doesn’t pull on our clients. At a high level- interactive video solutions are creating new experiences and new metadata that will intrinsically change the way that consumers interact with video. New data on consumers will be available based on the ways that they interact and new performance methodologies will need to be created as passive experiences become fully immersive.

5. What do you think is the impact of interactive video on eCommerce?

Video will no longer be separate from eCommerce. Instead, video will be a strong pillar within every eCommerce strategy. Video is expensive but it is correlated with strong ROI if done well.

With interactive and shoppable elements, that ROI is even greater. With KERV’s technology, you can tap and learn about anything, so you know exactly what the product is that you’re interested in, within any video. Influencers can interact with a product in a video and you can see all the product’s specs as you’re watching. Videos are already ads in terms of product placement but now the path to purchase is nearly nonexistent. Interactive allows the funnel and that path to exist all within one session; within one experience.

6. How is personalization & optimization changing the face of Customer Engagement?
Personalization and optimization are allowing each user session to be much more impactful. Personalization increases the likelihood that an interaction or action is taken at all, but personalization is not one size fits all. Optimization is one of the most powerful tools within AdTech. Each time consumers see content, the experience should be optimized based on who they are, how they have interacted in the past, and how we can define their interests. Personalization and optimization allow consumers to define what and how they want to engage. As that evolves, customer engagement will hit highs we have not seen yet- although they already are- there is always optimization to be done.

7. How are interactive videos empowering businesses & How KERV is helping businesses grow digitally?
KERV’s technology allows our customers to use existing video assets that they are also using in other areas so there is no need to custom produce. When KERV processes these videos, KERV adds over 10x the digital touchpoints and interactions to the videos, which increases customer engagement significantly. As users interact, KERV’s technology can be used to conduct the personalization and optimization that we just touched on. Even if a client only has 1 video, KERV can push users via cookieless sequential methodologies down the conversion funnel or consumer decision journey all within optimized versions of KERV’s technology. KERV’s technology can further communicate business messages in an easier to optimize fashion- within video. It can be used to create different versions of that message for different types of users and increases ROI for our customers, using their assets. Our clients are strengthening their eCommerce and web presence and KERV’s technology simply boosts how video plays within those strategies.

8. What advice would you like to give to technology startups?
a. Focus. Find your niche. What are you good at? Why is your technology unique? Then figure out how to do that not only just well, but the best. Optimize. Grow. But always remember and focus on that foundation.
b. Listen to the market and respond, while remembering your key competencies, If your technology isn’t resonating, perhaps just a small pivot of your same primary value is needed. If you wait too long this can break you.
c. The above 2 ideas are a juggle. The last note is to build a core team that works well together as the above 2 ideas can clash if you do not have the right team to carry out the vision.

9. Shoppable Ads are a trend these days and are termed as a game changer in the Martech Arena. What is the major factor behind this?
Video has historically been viewed as a passive investment with either a completion or click KPI and now video investments can drive lower funnel results while generating intention data. There are currently lift and impact studies that can be run on video but the data can’t usually be used until post-campaign, while these new shoppable formats allow personalization and optimization in-flight, taking the action-based impact that much further.

10. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time and what is the future of advertising in terms of Customer Engagement and Customer Experience?
We are making major headway with the metadata that our technology yields. You are going to see some major updates from KERV in terms of us merging new targeting data with our interactive and shoppable formats. We are going to be first to market with new real-time data capabilities that will drive major value in the OTT and CTV space. We are also finishing up a data product that will drive additional value for our larger brands within TikTok. Keep your eye on KERV!

11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
I am nothing without my team and KERV is nothing without our amazing group. My team is full of detail-oriented, innovators. We are building a company together and we support each other every day. On one side of the business, we have a group that is visualizing KERV in the market in the most beautiful way. We have a team that is constantly testing and pushing the tech and how we can optimize. I push our tech hard and the team is constantly supporting this vision whether it be via tech, process, or operational innovations.

12. Which book are you currently reading?
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?

14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
a. Slack
b. NYTimes
c. Target
d. Public
e. Peloton
f. Shine

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Marika Roque is the Chief Operating Officer of KERV Interactive, a multi-award-winning interactive video company revolutionizing the performance of digital advertising with its patented technology. Marika is a top expert in digital media, recognized by her peers for her knowledge and advancement of the advertising industry where she has been a leader and innovator for over a decade.
Prior to KERV, Marika worked as the Vice President of digital operations for Mass2, a division of multi-billion-dollar corporation Nexstar Digital LLC. Marika also spent three years and served as Vice President of digital media activation at LIN Digital, an online advertising and media services company that is now part of Nexstar Media Group. Marika has held senior-level positions for leading advertising agencies including Sizmek, GSD&M, FCB Global, and Starcom MediaVest Group. Marika holds a Bachelor’s in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, which she achieved while also participating as a D1 collegiate athlete.

KERV is a patented interactive video platform that utilizes sophisticated Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques to quickly transform any video content into a fully interactive and trackable experience. Built on cutting-edge, patented technology, individual objects are identified by their pixel edges in any video stream. KERV technology recognizes depth, dimension, and objects within a video just as the natural eye does. Every frame, in every scene, of any video to be an immersive, interactive experience for consumers.

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