Interview with Jamie Gutfreund, Global CMO, Wunderman
On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us about your role and how you got here? (What inspired you to join a technology innovation company?)
I have a background in innovation and technology, so my role at Wunderman is to help build and share our story – to help our clients and our talent better understand our broad range of strategic capabilities and make that story interesting and accessible. In our industry, we often talk about the “what,” the technology platforms, the tools and processes – which are clearly very important, but its crucial that we get people excited about “the why,” how we can help our clients grow their business – what’s the impact on people, how does it connect to their goals and objectives.
As for why I am at Wunderman, the simple answer is it’s an exciting place to be. Everyone wants to be part of the future, and under Mark Read’s leadership, Wunderman is building out a strategic creative and technology offering that’s focused on tomorrow. I love being on the cutting edge, whether that’s working with my talented colleagues to launch our new AI Services Division or Wunderman Commerce – I am in the unique position to work at a company with a clear vision and to spend my days with really smart people who are building for the future.
MTS: Given the changing dynamic of online engagement with customers, how do you see the marketing automation and analytics market evolving in the years to come?
I think we’re at a tipping point. Up until now, the conversation around marketing automation has been about the features and platforms—it’s been focused on how the technology works. But people, behavior, and expectations are changing, and the way brands interact with them must adapt to that. So, marketing automation, whether B2B or B2C, has an opportunity to truly be in the service of customers. We have to provide better experiences at scale and use data to deliver real value.
Above all, that requires rethinking how we bring creativity in at every point of the journey. With our partners, Adobe, Salesforce, Marketo etc, we can leverage the sophistication of the platforms to build content that delivers a much better experience and is engaging and exciting.
MTS: How should CMOs leverage customer intelligence and intent data to deliver better omnichannel personalization and customer experience?
We need to remember that just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Sometimes we get so caught up in data that we forget that we are talking to people. We need to start with common sense and focus on what’s important to a consumer, whether they are buying a new car, an airline ticket, or an enterprise software solution. And I don’t mean that in a traditional funnel-centric way. We can also pick up signals about what’s motivating people and speak to that with real empathy.
With data and analytics today, you can also anticipate needs. We don’t merely have keep up with the customer, we can figure out what they want before they even know that they want it. In the old paradigm, you sent out an ad or email and prayed. In the new paradigm, you can not only reach the right people, you can respond their individual intent and needs at scale.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make their mobile marketing campaigns work effectively?
This one is pretty easy: silos. You can always tell how customer centric a business is by how great its mobile experience is – which requires that we move past traditional constructs and put what’s best for people as the biggest priority.
MTS: What startups are you watching right now?
Marketplace Ignition. They’re an all-inclusive consultancy focused on Amazon. You might not think that Amazon requires a specialized partner, but its influence on consumer behavior, especially in the United States, is vast. Having a successful Amazon strategy is crucial. Just putting a single product on the platform can involve 700 different data inputs. Under Eric Heller’s leadership, Marketplace Ignition has built a comprehensive offering that’s helping brands navigate the opportunities of the platform, and other commerce platforms as well.
MTS: Tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success?)
Gamercrest was a great campaign that Wunderman created for Xbox that allowed us to show how we can combine creativity and data to deliver something unique and meaningful at a massive scale. First, and most importantly, We started with the insight that no two gamers are alike. People play games in different ways, so each has his or her own, unique gamer DNA. To acknowledge and celebrate that, we took a year’s worth of every gamer’s individual Xbox data, 64 terabytes in all, and then commissioned street artist Jeff Soto to create illustrations connected to these individual accomplishments using a huge range of genres and styles. Then, we used algorithms to build a unique profile of each person’s accomplishments but translated into their very own Gamercrest. The results and responses were amazing, and one data point in particular, illustrates the excitement that we generated: when we gave non-Xbox gamers a tool to create their own Gamercrests, they were being created at a crazy level of 27,000 of them per hour. Xbox really knows that if you show gamers you know them and appreciate them – they respond with serious fan love.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
At its best, AI supports personalized, one-to-one conversations. This is a complete game changer for brands. Now, we’ll be able to have a real dialogue with people that evolves and learns based on an individual’s real-life needs, feelings, and interests. This will make true personalization possible at scale, with much more dynamic creative and customized copy, one-to-one emails, and customized web and mobile experiences.
In terms of preparation, not to sound self-serving, but only a relatively small number of agencies and consultancies can walk the walk in this area. It’s important to learn your options, understand the implications for data and what needs to change in your organization and start thinking about how you can make the most of AI for your customers.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
All the time. Ok, that’s three words, but they’re true. I’m an intense and curious person, so whatever I’m doing can inspire ideas and solutions. You never know when inspiration will happen.
MTS: What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
The 20-minute meeting. Because Outlook defaults to 30 minutes, everyone always feels the need to spread each meeting out until the next. I set them to 20 and go in with a clear agenda of what we need to accomplish. Once we get those things done, the meeting is over, and we all get our time back.
MTS: What are you currently reading?
I fly a lot so I read constantly. I like to go to airport newsstands and buy all kinds of magazines and books. And it’s not just business magazines. I’ll check out Scientific American, Time, The Economist, Smithsonian, or whatever looks good. I also download books to my iPad. The book I’m recommending these days is Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever had?
Kathleen Kennedy once told me that sometimes in life it’s more important to know what you don’t want to do – which means you have to be ready to make changes and be honest with what works for you and what doesn’t.
MTS: Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Ann Lewnes, CMO of Adobe.
MTS: Thank you Jamie! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
I’m a digitally savvy, business development and marketing executive with significant experience building teams, creating new products and delivering results for my colleagues and clients.
I excel and thrive in “uncharted territory” and have always reinvented or created my job. I have even been called a “pioneer” for quickly recognizing the potential of the Internet as a powerful marketing channel for brands and entertainment companies.
I worked for Prodigy and helped launch the service on the Internet.
We are Wunderman, a global digital agency that is ‘Creatively Driven. Data Inspired.’ In a world where clients struggle to derive value from the volumes of data they collect, our 9,200 data scientists, creatives and executives in 60 countries identify powerful cultural insights to build campaigns that inspire action and deliver measurable business results.
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.