Interview with Kurt Heinemann, CMO, Reflektion
On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here?
I’ve always had roles with marketing technologies in some form or another, whether it was consumers or for the last 10 years to the business and marketers in the B2B SaaS space. What drives me is the challenge to simplify the technology solution into a message that resonates with the buying audience in a way that expresses the benefit in a succinct yet impactful message. The growth of AI and machine learning fits right into that great marketing challenge. I remember early on in my career I was engaged with neural networks and they weren’t quite there yet in terms of market viability. But now we’re seeing these technologies continue to evolve and push the envelope on AI/machine learning and real-time response. It’s gone from a sleepy neighborhood to a progressive field and I’m excited to be a part of it.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech sector evolving over the next few years?
Two concepts will drive martech over the next few years- AI/machine learning insights and automated engagement. We are already seeing it in so many martech solutions, but as more AI/ML solutions come online the differentiators will evolve from just providing insights to making sure that that new intelligence can be acted on right away to engage a customer. That next stage has to be able to respond in real time as opposed to be insights that are more rear-view mirror based.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
I hate to sound trite, but I believe it’s artificial intelligence (AI). AI will proliferate in every element of business and consumer life. It will make consumers lives easier and require less work and thinking for businesses. In an odd way, we’ve spent much of the computer revolution working for the computers, preparing spreadsheets, entering information, etc. Now with AI, the machines will be put to work for us doing incredible pattern recognition, creating wide ranging scenarios to craft the right solution or just finding the right song to play or video to watch depending on your mood or time of day.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
Making sure that they’re looking at their objectives and not the headline. For example, ensuring they’re not buying AI for AI, but buying a solution that helps them get to the answers they need. Sometimes, CMOs get caught up in the hype and forget what they really need in order to deliver the best customer experience.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
Catch and Release (catchandrelease.tv). They are turning the world of user-generated and professional content into easily licensable content for agencies and brands. It is a simple idea that leverages the growing world of visual, audio and self-generated content into a viable commercialized product.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
Salesforce, Pardot, Outreach.io, BuiltWith and data.com are some of the primary solutions.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
The way you prepare for any other trend/development – by developing a strategic roadmap and integrating AI where appropriate. You revisit this roadmap on a quarterly basis as part of your business goals.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Salesforce and LinkedIn.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
A simple, handwritten to-do list.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows. It’s an incredible book that I frequently go back to that always provides a great perspective on problem solving in a very simple, yet strategic way.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Read the copy as if you were the customer, not the company
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Kurt ! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Innovative and dynamic marketing professional with a track record of success communicating a company’s unique value proposition to potential customers, partners and market influencers through strategic and creative means. Strong growth stage business experience with an understanding of the unique challenges of creating a larger-than-life company profile in a resource-constrained environment and driving meteoric growth. A career focused on branding, product development and marketing, SaaS, digital marketing, lead generation, public and analyst relations and pricing strategies. A talent for translating vision into strategic focus and directing fast-paced, tactical execution and significant revenue growth.
Reflektion’s unified engagement platform understands and influences the intent of each customer in real time and instantly delivers the most relevant content across the touchpoints that matter most – including Web, merchandising, site search and email. Reflektion’s platform is driving dramatic growth and revenue increases for the world’s best brands, such as Disney, TOMS, Marmot, Sur la Table and Godiva.
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.