Interview with Andy Coghlan, Head of MarTech, Wipro Digital

Interview with Andy Coghlan, Head of MarTech, Wipro Digital
Andy Coghlan

“Customer behavior is constantly changing and leveraging new technologies and insights is the only way to keep up.”

Tell us about your role at Wipro and how you got here. How do you stay on top of your Martech game?

I lead MarTech and eCommerce at Wipro Digital, where we strive to create experience-led, high-velocity business and marketing transformation. I believe in digital not as a standalone service or offering but as a connector, enabler, and a problem solver. This belief has helped me to be a part of the MarTech evolution from the beginning.

MarTech is a rapidly growing discipline, and I’ve found that it’s important to stay attuned to all current tech trends, including emerging technologies like AR, VR, AI, and IoT. Sooner or later, these types of technologies will be integrated into MarTech strategies, so keeping up with the latest innovations is critical.

Given the changing dynamic of marketing technology landscape, where do you see Wipro fitting into a modern global CMO’s stack?

Wipro Digital is one of the first-of-its-kind digital “incubators” that ties together the enterprise experience of Wipro, with the nimbleness of a startup to deliver rapid, agile solutions for clients. Since Wipro Digital was launched in 2014, we’ve built up formidable digital transformation capabilities and developed a multidisciplinary approach that marries strategy, design, and technology. This approach enables us to deliver end-to-end transformation for companies by using the right tools and solutions in order to complement the skills, data, and business models that a company already has.

This multidisciplinary expertise is absolutely critical for modern CMOs, as technology is fundamentally changing the marketing landscape. Wipro Digital helps CMOs build the teams and capabilities to enable a reinvigorated approach to marketing that finally begins to deliver on the promise of hyper-personalized customer experience.

What is the ‘State of Contextual Marketing’ in 2018? What role does Wipro play in this play of MarTech?

Contextual Marketing is all about being relevant and personal in the moment, and MarTech is allowing it to evolve and help companies to adapt from a system-centric approach to a customer-centric approach. Marketing today is about contextually personalized customer experiences and AI will continue revolutionize the way that we optimize such experiences.

Wipro Digital is helping clients rapidly realize the value derived from MarTech through designing how to deploy MarTech solutions most effectively. We see MarTech as just one facet in the digital transformation playbook, and we help our clients to integrate MarTech to their larger digital transformation strategies rather than simply plug these technologies in marketing efforts.

Through investments in strategic marketing services such as Harte Hanks, and in next-generation customer data solutions such as Opera Solutions’ Signal Hub Platform, an advanced big data analytics and machine learning platform that enables clients to deliver contextually relevant and personalized customer experiences, Wipro continues to proactively position itself as a leader in MarTech.

What does your ‘Ideal Customer’ Profile look like? Which industries are best suited to benefit from Wipro’s marketing technology products?

Wipro Digital works with clients across an array of industries, including everything from auto insurance to retail banking, to construction equipment manufacturing. That said, every industry needs to be thinking about their marketing efforts, and Wipro Digital believes that their MarTech expertise is applicable across the board.

By marrying hands-on marketing leadership expertise with Wipro’s technology and operations capabilities, enables us to be the ‘bridge’ between Marketing and IT. People who understand the complete technology landscape but look at it with a marketers lens – what are the customer and marketer experiences the technology needs to enable, and how.

Our ideal customers are those that have or are struggling to realize a real return on their investments in marketing technology and data. We can help them build marketer-ready platforms that enable them to target personalized content through a more agile, customer journey-aligned operating model.

How should organizations aim to become high-velocity, customer-centric entities? To what extent would automation enable such companies to achieve their objectives?

To me, high-velocity is all about time to market for marketing programs and experiments and is driven by more customer journey centric, multi-disciplinary teams. We need to think in terms of squads and tribes rather than siloed operational departments – to drive omnichannel journeys we need to blend web, mobile, email, social, analytics, etc and not have them still sat in different teams operating with individual channel targets and objectives.

To become high-velocity, customer-centric marketers, organizations must ensure that their C-suite executives are aligned on a more agile strategy. From there, CIOs, CMOs, and CEOs can re-architect the customer experience and digitally execute this transformation. Success lies in the ability to continuously refine a company’s strategy, design, and execution.

CMOs can rebuild their teams to increase MarTech agility while also testing and evolving new technologies like AI and Machine Learning. It’s important to embrace new, non-traditional marketing talent, such as marketing technologists, creative technologists, and data engineers, but marketers need to spend time identifying what specific emerging technology solutions will best help them in their industry sector and help them reach specific audiences. Automation solutions that can capture and analyze personalized data quickly, distribute targeted marketing materials, and help to field customer inquiries will be essential to success.

How do you leverage AI/ML and Data Science at Wipro?

By utilizing customer data, we can proactively target the best customers and optimize resources and revenue. Implementing AI technologies allows marketers to predict what customers want, when they want it, and how they want it. At Wipro, we’re currently prioritizing tracking customer trends, optimizing conversion rates throughout the customer journey, contextualizing online marketing bot experiences, and exploring content automation, by implementing multiple aspects of AI.

What new technologies in marketing and advertising fascinate you the most? What are your thoughts on the future of ‘AR/VR/Video’?

I think the most immediate next wave will definitely be AI, but it isn’t a silver bullet. To me, AI is all about performance optimization. You need to have solid strategy, content, data, and technology foundations in place to deliver ‘good marketing’ before you can apply AI to run automated continuous experiments to drove ever-improving results from those ‘good’ foundations. Don’t even try AI until those foundations are in place.

Customer behavior is constantly changing and leveraging new technologies and insights is the only way to keep up. The future of ‘AR/VR/Video’ is fascinating and one that marketers should embrace.

Experiences that use AR/VR and facial recognition technologies allow consumers to preview products before buying them, all through a simulated reality. Importantly these will also enable us to identify those customers in both physical and digital worlds – connecting the omnichannel journey. These immersive customer experiences are just the beginning of this technology’s potential – and those who embrace best practice catalyzed by GDPR in terms of customer value exchange will win. New tech and GDPR may seem unconnected but those that think ‘connected experience’ will drive success

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

We are building an ecosystem of partners that augment the traditional marketing cloud technologies, and pulling those into lab environments to help clients test and learn how best to ‘exploit’ these technologies and develop PoCs. For example, we are integrating a whole suite of tools with our Digital Experience Platform (bringing together Adobe Marketing Cloud, Hybris, MS Dynamics). This includes, but not limited to, tools such as Albert for paid media optimization. Persado for content AI, Thunderhead for journey analytics and personalization, Workfront for agile marketing management, Aprimo for MRM, Avaamo for marketing bots, and Opera (our signal hub platform) for intelligent data capabilities.

What marketing and sales automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

We have expertise in Adobe, Oracle, Hybris, and Salesforce Marketing clouds but are also building capabilities in the likes of Marketo, Hubspot, and all the AI/Personalization tools mentioned above

What are your predictions on the most influential disruptions in Content Marketing powered by AI/Machine Learning?

In 2018 and beyond, content is what catches the attention of a marketer’s audience. AI is helping to make the content creation process more efficient, especially when it comes to data collection and the research that goes into creating personalized, compelling content. In the near future, we’ll see more and more companies using AI/Machine Learning to augment human marketers to deliver hyper-personalized, enriched experiences for their customers that will help customers determine which products are right for them, answer questions and concerns, and much more. Soon, these technologies will be so entrenched in everyday life that consumers and marketers alike will wonder how they ever functioned without them.

This space is burgeoning, and we are keeping a keen eye on this space, including (in their words):

  • Persado – A revolutionary cloud AI solution that uncovers and generates the language and emotions that make a specific audience, segment or individual take action
  • Uberflip – Utilizes insights about your prospects to provide predictive recommendations so you can ensure you’re giving them what they want without giving up full control
  • Concured – The AI will automatically learn from the content of your competitors, industry peers and relevant publishers to highlight which topics people want to read about… and in context!
  • Codec  – Provides real-time intelligence to inspire and improve creative and planning decisions.
  • Acrolinx‘s  – content optimization software that helps the world’s greatest brands create great content at scale that’s on-brand and on-target
  • Wordsmith – Adjusts the narrative of your content based on data sets and or the compilation of narratives. (news stories, products description, reviews)

Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign at Wipro? 

Although we are more focused on enabling clients to drive their own campaigns through marketing technology, we are more and more asked to drive experiments through our labs. We recently collaborated with a major UK client in our labs to test a ‘behaviour-driven’ campaign. This test produced 6x improvement on benchmarked ‘traditional targeting’ campaigns.

On a wider scale, Wipro executes campaigns at scale for numerous global clients, adopting best in class operating model to drive down time to market – for one client we built and executes over 2,000 campaigns in a 6-month ramp up.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?

By using AI, we can predict all aspects of the consumers’ needs and track trends to create a sophisticated trend analysis. Utilizing this data to create hyper-personalized experiences and advertisements actually help customers fill a real need rather than just create noise and distraction.

Marketers can stay up to speed by staying attuned to all tech trends (even those that don’t immediately seem related to marketing), by constantly seeking out learning opportunities and ways to expand skills, and by having conversations with younger employees and next-generation marketers.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

A company culture that embraces new ways of working and uses emerging technology to augment talent is key. Wipro Digital believes that companies stay ahead of the curve by supporting a company culture that fosters continuous learning, multidisciplinary teams, and empowers its employees to embrace technology as a catalyst for innovation and productivity. By having transparency and collaboration throughout the organization, employees are aware of the company’s digital agenda and their specific role to fulfill that goal.

One word that best describes how you work.

Collaborative

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Slack, Dropbox, Evernote, Email

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Don’t waste time on things your gut tells you not to.

What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

Death of a Marketer: Modern Marketing’s Troubled Past and a New Approach to Change the Future: Andrea Fryer

We’re all doomed!

I mainly read on iPad Kindle, but also save web articles and PDFs to Evernote to read on the train on way to work

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Focus on exploiting your strengths over fixing your weaknesses. Be aware of your weaknesses so you can build complementary teams, but don’t waste too much time trying to change them to strengths.

Any leadership team (and to me leadership is needed from the top to the bottom of an organization), needs to be strong across about 12 dimensions, but no one person will be strong in all (maybe only 5 or 6), but overall the team needs to be – think team not individual,

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Synthesize challenges and problems quickly to focus on right things

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Scott Brinker, Mayur Gupta, David Edelman

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

Andy is a strategic digital transformation leader focusing on driving experience-led, high-velocity business change. he has lead teams of digital strategists exploiting design-thinking, coupled with systems-thinking rigor to accelerate innovation in product-service, customer experience, digitalization, and new business models. Enable deep collaboration between multi-disciplinary teams to drive dual transformation through rapid prototyping entwined with core capability renovation to drive sustainable commercial growth.

Andy was responsible for digital marketing, driving unique propositions and capability across strategy, technology, and operations to exploit digital marketing technology (MarTech) utilization – specializing in driving successful implementation and adoption of DMP, CRM, CMS, Portal, Analytics, eCommerce, and Email platforms to deliver data-driven strategies

He has a background in Digital, Sales, and Marketing with 25 years experience in agencies, consultancies, business start-ups and FTSE 100.

Wipro Digital
We dream, design, and deliver people-centered and human-shaped experiences for a digital world. Are you a pi-shaped person, combining design with engineering, strategy with design or engineering with strategy? If so, let’s talk. We are an innovation-led, digital transformation partner built for today’s digital challenges. We focus on the things that matter – the insights, the interactions, the integrations, and innovations that make extraordinary things happen for brands, businesses and their customers. We build multi-disciplinary teams combining strategy, design and technology experts oriented around the customer and their journey.

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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