Interview with Mark Floisand, Chief Marketing Officer, Coveo

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Mark Floisand, Chief Marketing Officer at Coveo

“Machine Learning and AI are becoming fundamental to marketing strategies because of their profound impact on the ability to personalize customer experiences.”

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Tell us about your role at Coveo and your journey into MarTech.

At Coveo, I’m responsible for leading our Alliances, Customer Experience and Marketing teams, to build Coveo’s brand, drive demand, and expand our footprint. I’ve been an active user of marketing technology for well over a decade, invariably having had to build, buy or rent some combinations of products and services from a variety of vendors over the years.

What was the biggest attraction for you at Dreamforce 2018?

Every year, I’m reminded of the energy and culture within the Salesforce ecosystem. The effort Salesforce puts into making Dreamforce an exceptional experience for its customers and partners, is on evidence everywhere you look.

Whom were you keen to meet at the event? Which sections appealed to you the most?

The Service Cloud Lodge is always a great place to hang out for us, as it’s full of people looking for innovative ways to improve how they help their own customers in turn — whether it’s to provide more engaging self-service communities or help support agents become more proficient when dealing with customers, it’s always a hot spot for us.

How do Salesforce trends and technology impact your business? Which other sales and marketing technology companies have a similar impact on how you consume information about the industry?

Salesforce is a marketing machine, so when they call out a trend at Dreamforce, it causes the whole community to pay attention; and on a rising tide, all boats float. So when they’re advocating for more extensive use of technologies such as AI and Machine Learning, to provide more relevant interactions and experiences, this is music to our ears — as this is exactly where Coveo helps.

Do you think lack of realistic personalization is hurting the predictive search outcomes?

Machine Learning and AI are becoming fundamental to marketing strategies because of their profound impact on the ability to personalize customer experiences. AI is helping businesses draw insights from their data. With Machine Learning, they’re able to make each interaction relevant, according to context and customer intent in that given moment, at scale.

This kind of personalization is what’s shifting the conversation of digital transformation to what we call relevance transformation (more on that below). In order for marketers to provide relevant information at every point of interaction, proactively suggest other content that will help each customer along their journey, anticipate what they’ll need next, they need AI.

Relevant experiences drive results, from customer engagement and higher conversion rates to an increase in upsells — making ROI easier to measure and more impactful than ever before.

Do you think it’s largely because of the ambiguous expectations around the application of AI/ML in MarTech?

There has been a lot of historic hype around AI, but we’re now in a much more mature phase. Real applications of AI are proving themselves daily and generating real business impact for those companies that have embraced it.

How does Coveo fit into a modern CMO’s MarTech stack? How does it justify ROMI for a marketing team?

In the digital age, businesses need to make every interaction they have with their customers, count. They simply need to be more personal, more human. So, while digital transformation has been on the radar for decision makers for some time, it’s no longer enough to digitally transform for its own sake. Transformation for the purpose of aligning everything around customers and their personal journeys is the focus. Becoming more relevant to each of those people, at each interaction, is crucial — if not expected.

We call this relevance transformation — it is the key differentiating factor that will separate the laggards from the leaders and ultimately dictate the fate of today’s organizations. Coveo is ushering in a new age of relevance, which leverages collective knowledge, makes it accessible across the enterprise and uses AI and Machine Learning to ensure every interaction informs the next, no matter the platform or channel. As a result, it’s helping the leaders of the digital age to pave their path and scale their businesses for sustained success.

How do you plan to improve the adoption of newer content marketing technologies for ABM, Customer Experience and Personalization?

At Coveo, we’ve adopted ABM as an approach to better communicate to our key accounts; we’ve invested in new website architecture and are in the process of unifying our online customer touchpoints, to deliver a better end-to-end experience. Personalization is central to that, and we’re using our own technology to offer the most relevant content, based on what we know about the people we interact with. So we’re on the journey.

As a modern CMO, how do you see modern data companies coping with the imminent GDPR-induced disruptions?

I see GDPR as a welcome opportunity for brands to have their data house in order. Sometimes these regulatory requirements are the necessary catalyst for changes that should have been made naturally anyway. We’ve seen enough data privacy breaches in the news to know data security is an issue, and consumers deserve better. Enterprises and brands need to keep their customers’ trust, and this regulation helps.

Would you provide us your take on turning AI-driven and enabled by 2020?

Marketing has been a blend of art and science forever. I see us, as marketers, becoming ever more adept at managing the process of marketing, using AI-powered systems, where the personalization and messaging is fully automated at each interaction — and instead we manage that process, much like managing the process in manufacturing. You don’t look at and inspect every item that comes off a manufacturing production line; you sample a few of them to make sure they are in scope, within spec. The AI-powered marketeer will sample and inspect the occasional user experience or digital collateral piece, to make sure it’s on point — “within spec” if you like — then fine-tune their AI models to compensate or correct as required.

An inspiring quote from past editions of Dreamforce that you have ever heard —

“Only Salesforce could have the chutzpah to take over San Francisco for a week and call it “Dreamforce National Park’ — that’s cool.”

Thank you, Mark! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

25 years’ global experience in high-tech building and leading teams in software and hardware. General management, marketing, sales, e-business and operations expertise. Blue-chip experience with Adobe, Apple, Business Objects, Sitecore & SAP. Start-up and scale-up experience with Coveo, Internet Strategies, ScaleXtreme, Total Defense, Untangle & WeVideo

Specialties: marketing strategy – product, corporate, field; customer acquisition – inbound content marketing, PPC, social media, marketing automation; customer conversion – direct sales, lead management, e-commerce; customer engagement – product experience, support, loyalty. Measurement and analytics throughout.

Coveo Logo

Coveo uses intelligent search and AI technologies to personalize every digital experience for customers, partners, dealers, and employees. Coveo combines unified content, unified interactions and machine learning to deliver relevant information and recommendations across every business interaction, making websites, ecommerce, contact centers and intranets efficient, effortless and content-rich. Coveo partners with the world’s largest enterprise technology players and has more than 1,500 activations in mid-to-large sized global organizations across multiple industries.

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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.

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