On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to be a part of an app personalization firm?
I am the Founder and CEO of Headliner Labs, which develops chatbot and mobile messaging technology for leading brands and organizations in retail. I spent years working in retail – as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, and as an operator at traditional retail companies Steve Madden and Ralph Lauren, and as the Director of Strategy and Operations at a unicorn e-commerce startup, Fab.com. There’s no denying the fundamental shift in retail: shopping is moving digital.
The convenience of shopping anytime, anywhere, has transformed consumer habits. But e-commerce has a long way to go. The magic of walking into a store and having the personal attention and expertise of a salesperson hasn’t been realized online. And especially on mobile, scrolling through tiny little thumbnails of products doesn’t convert.
That’s where chatbots present a massive opportunity. We can deliver experiences that are native to mobile, accessible 24/7, and truly personal. I founded Headliner after I left Fab.com because I saw this huge opportunity and had to seize it!
MTS: How do you see behavior-based marketing enabling brands to deliver immersive, personalized experiences?
Every interaction in chat is immersive and personalized. We leverage a customer’s shopping habits, browsing patterns and expressed needs to serve up the right products and the most relevant content at the optimal time.
MTS: How should marketers leverage customer data analytics to improve their marketing campaigns?
When you know exactly what customers want, you can market it to them. In chat, the customer is telling us exactly what they need, so we can translate that back in actionable, shoppable content.
MTS: What drives brands to explore newer recommendation-based messaging experiences?
Ultimately, it’s about sales. Our bots succeed in driving meaningful sales to our customers’ sites where other marketing strategies haven’t performed. Our customers report increases in direct sales as great at 63 per cent month over month.
MTS: With the recent changes in data privacy policies, how do you see customer experience platforms coping with challenges in advanced visitor identification and tracking?
As long as brands are overt and receiving consent from their customers, data privacy policies aren’t problematic.
Digitally native customers are very comfortable sharing personal information with brands because they understand the benefits: brands can serve them better, more relevant experiences if they have the information to do it. Customers want truly these truly personalized experiences.
MTS: Would the heavy dependence on machine intelligence disrupt personalization and app messaging platforms? Should chatbots be considered as the pinnacle of messaging experience?
Chatbots are the future of brand to customer interaction. People fundamentally like to chat. You chat with friends, colleagues, family. The idea that brands would engage you differently makes no sense. Machine learning enables brands to deliver truly personal, conversational experiences at scale.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
I’m watching all the chat platforms to see how the race for chatbots unfolds. Right now Facebook owns the space, but there are other great apps like Kik doing a lot in the space, and Apple will be rolling out a chatbot platform in the coming months.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
Chatbots are the future of marketing! I’d say I’m pretty heavily invested in that…
MTS: Would you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success?)
We ran an incredible campaign with an amazing accessories brand, Donni Charm. We built a smart targeting tool that identified likely customers and chatted with them. We used machine learning to serve every customer products they’d likely buy.
Donni Charm saw a 63 percent increase in sales during the campaign, that’s been extended for 12 months. 63 percent increase in sales!
That’s pretty unparalleled success, and it all came from the winning combination of our incredibly powerful platform and their gorgeous products.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
Embrace AI and learn how to get the most out of it! Artificial intelligence and machine learning are tools that help us as individuals, as business people, as consumers.
I want my calendar to schedule events for me. I want airlines to serve me the right flights based on my schedule, and I want brands to send me updates about products that I want, so I don’t have to do the leg work of searching myself.
As a business leader, I want to understand how AI can further me, my team and my company, and in our case at Headliner, how it can further my product.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work:
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Facebook Messenger, Docsend, Instacart.
MTS: What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Hire people who are smarter than you are. And answer emails as soon as you read them.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I get all my news through Messenger bots. It’s the best format for checking the headlines by section.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always be a giver. Give time, give support, give connections, give in any way that you can. It never hurts to help other people, and it often comes back around.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I’m a big believer in collaboration. When you find good people – in your space or outside of it – figure out how you can work together to further everyone’s objectives.
MTS: Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Caroline! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Headliner is pioneering the path for mobile commerce, building the most personalized and engaging messaging experience for your customers. With over 400 billion people sending 250+ billion messages per day, your brand must have a lasting and comprehensive presence on messaging channels. Utilizing the most cutting-edge techniques in chatbot development, AI capabilities and conversational commerce methodologies, Headliner Labs specializes in building e-commerce chatbots for the beauty and fashion industries. Our first-in-class bots optimize for maximum brand impact, conversion through a sales funnel, and unique customer interactions.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.