Christy, can you describe your background and what led you to Pantheon?
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, and my mother and aunt were both social workers. This shaped my understanding of human interaction and behavior as well as the influence of global events across groups of people. This interest shapes my human-centered approach to digital marketing. I started my career in advertising, where I witnessed the transformative power of technology in shaping brand messages and corporate. In parallel I noticed a shift away from customer-centricity in marketing practices. As I stepped into executive leadership and took on the role of CMO at SAP Concur and Visier, I built teams and executed programs that prioritized the full customer experience and brought the customer back to the forefront. At Pantheon, the entire marketing organization is focused on delivering value at every stage of the customer journey.
Can you share some insight on how marketers can improve web strategies to drive impact on customers?
To drive impact on customers through web strategies, marketers must create a web experience that is engaging and differentiated in a way that is compelling and valuable to your specific audience. There is a vast amount of content flowing on the internet, so it is essential to meaningfully stand out. Seamless collaboration between cross-functional teams within your company, particularly marketing and IT, is a key to achieving extraordinary website performance. However, challenges including understaffing, rapidly changing market trends, and alignment of cross-functional priorities can impact website performance. At Pantheon we’ve found that enabling effective collaboration enables WebOps (website operations) teams to streamline web processes to increase productivity and performance. Our SaaS platform provides workflows to enable internal teams to work on websites in parallel, which removes friction between marketing and IT teams and increases time to launch and the ability to continuously publish and improve website content, experience, and conversions. This enables marketing teams and business stakeholders to shift from focusing on how to hit web launch deadlines to focusing on how to achieve measurable market results.
What is WebOps? How do businesses benefit when they use WebOps, and why should marketers care?
WebOps is a category of software and practices that gives cross-functional teams the agility to create and manage high impact websites that drive results by enabling web teams – often marketers, content publishers, developers, designers and information security and technology contributors – to adopt agile practices, facilitate collaboration and automate processes to increase departmental productivity. A high performing website is the most essential digital marketing asset to today’s brands, yet updating it in real-time to reflect current campaigns is out-of-reach for many due. In our recent study, more than half of marketing and IT leaders (59%) stated that making a simple change to their website can take more than a month, and 19% said updates take four-to-six months. For performance marketers with weekly or even quarterly revenue targets, that is way too long. And for customer-centric go-to-market teams, attention to the customer journey is the focal point for all internal stakeholders who need a clear picture of what and why decisions are made on the website in order to improve customer experiences in near real-time. WebOps technology enables teams to remove internal blockers that stand in the way of launching campaigns and iterating experiences when the business is ready. It fosters collaboration and allows teams to harness the potential of their biggest digital marketing asset, their website.
As AI evolves, how do you predict marketing teams will start using these tools? What are some concerns and benefits of this?
Emerging AI technologies are something that marketers are already using today, but that doesn’t mean that we should all blindly jump-in. The right solution will be different for each company and each need. Personally, I’ve been exploring the evolution of big data and applications of machine learning and AI for years, and I’ve been following the global regulatory discourse and concerns as well. People are testing, making mistakes and learning with AI the same way as with other marketing programs. I am definitely a proponent of setting aside at least 10% of marketing investments for testing and learning – for champion challenger testing to continue to improve marketing performance. Likewise, an important rule for marketers is to “first do no harm;” that applies to our corporate responsibility, our customer responsibility and our general responsibility to each other as humans. The power of AI to automate mundane tasks, like maintenance updates and security testing, is very appealing, especially when it frees up time and space for people to connect more deeply with each other and to be more creative. That inspires me.
With the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, what should marketers be doing right now to provide the best customer experience?
In the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, marketers should prioritize a consistent cycle of testing, measuring and iterating their campaigns and strategies, at the speed of the market. Technology allows us to gather information at every stage of the customer journey, and it’s our responsibility to analyze that information and use it to give consumers what they want, when they want it (and perhaps before they know they want it). This allows marketers to make smart decisions that remove friction at every stage of the journey and build meaningful connections with our customers that establish trust. Research shows that trust is the single biggest motivator for consumers to share personal information with brands, which will be critical in the cookieless digital world we are all approaching. It’s essential to have a solid technology foundation that enables marketing teams to enable this at scale and measure true marketing performance. Rather than focusing on vanity metrics alone, marketers need to shift their focus to metrics that reflect true business impact – conversions, lead quality, and speed, which consumers say is one of their top expectations for brand websites. By optimizing these areas, marketers can consistently deliver the most impactful and resonant customer experiences.
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