Tell us about your role and journey into Marketing Technology. What inspired you to join Yext?
I lead the Client Services team at Yext. Our platform enables businesses to directly provide their information to over 150 digital services and applications globally so that when people search for information about a business, they get a verified answer, which improves discoverability and helps brands to stay in control of the facts.
As a client services team brands often describe the pain points they need to overcome in order to be discoverable in search by potential customers, and we discuss how Yext can help them to alleviate these, but also focus on the opportunities that Yext can create for their business.
My journey into martech was by chance. I took English Studies at Nottingham University so for a time I thought I would go into book publishing but opportunities and unexpected turns arose which lead me to where I am today. Prior to joining Yext, I spent 10 years working for Sprinklr, Adobe and Efficient Frontier, and learnt a lot about the marketing technology industry.
Throughout my career, the number one driver for me to pursue a new career opportunity is the company culture, and this was no different at Yext. When a team believes in their company culture it is evident and employees becomes an ambassador for the organisation. This attracts great talent and underpins the retention and growth of customers too.
As a woman in technology, what were the biggest challenges and opportunities you managed to scale?
My experience of being a woman in technology has been positive, and the companies I’ve worked for have empowered me as a woman. This has been partly due to the support of managers I’ve had, who have supported me through pivotal moments in my career, such as returning to work after the birth of my second son. My boss at the time remains the boss who has inspired me most; she knew that I had the potential to step into a role I hadn’t even imagined would exist when I went on maternity leave, and she encouraged me to take it when I returned. This role meant I could make an impact within the broader business and I thrived on learning how to navigate business on a much bigger playing field.
How did your roles at Sprinklr and Adobe better prepare for your current role at Yext?
A common value among my previous managers was hiring a diverse team of future leaders. I saw the success it brought, and personally believe that building diverse teams betters business, so I focus on building teams that champion diversity of capability and experience, as well as demographics.
At Yext we hire smart and curious people who are adept at working with people in different functions and at varying levels of seniority. Our people and their chemistry with clients is key to our success.
What is Yext and how do you manage Client Services for the customers?
Yext’s technology makes it easier for brands’ customers to find them, wherever they may be searching. If a customer arrives at a shop that is closed because the opening hours weren’t updated on Google for example, the shopper blames the brand for providing the wrong timings. Yext makes sure the brand has full control of the information available to their prospects and customers about their brand.
My role is to help my team be successful. I’m here to tell the story of our business to customers and show them how the technology can be used to adhere to the needs of their business.
According to you, which businesses are fastest to adoption of Mobile Marketing platforms for personalized Customer Experience?
Businesses who think customer-first. The reason Yext’s technology is so valuable to our clients is because they prioritise how customers are discovering them in their marketing strategy. They realise customers are not just finding their company through their own website anymore – the customer journey is more complex now. They know the importance of the information about their business being up to date on every other media source to provide a great customer experience and want to be able to manage these updates in a simple way, in real-time.
What are the technical challenges that you face in adoption and deployment of Mobile-centric platforms?
Usually the challenge for companies is martech integration – often IT teams are trying to fit many different technologies together. However, Yext’s API integrations mean this isn’t the case. We provide a much more efficient and effective solution, by going straight to the source and building API integrations with the publishers themselves or otherwise having direct integrations with them.
Which markets and geographies are you currently catering to?
Yext is a global company with offices in the UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, China and Switzerland and we can help any brand who has business information to manage on different online marketing channels.
Tell us about the new-age integrations that Yext offers with other Marketing Technology platforms such as Contacts, Contracts, Email and Customer Service.
The biggest development is in voice. It was no surprise that more smart speakers were sold in Q4 2018 than in the full year 2017 according to Strategy Analytics.
People are increasingly asking questions to their Google Home or Amazon Alexa about brands’ products, services or locations. The brand controls the information provided about their company on every online source – it’s called their digital knowledge – so they need to ensure it’s correct and always up to date for voice as more people use these devices to discover brands. If they are not ‘heard’, their competition will be.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use in your current roles?
Day-to-day, we rely on Gainsight and SalesForce heavily. By extension, we also use Zendesk to help us to manage our requests.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI and Data Management technology on Mobile Marketing businesses for 2019-2020?
As I mentioned earlier, the biggest change in consumer behaviour is the rapid adoption of voice devices and this will create more location-based business opportunities. For instance, we’ll see the adoption of voice in cars grow as people look to stop at nearby locations. This is a huge opportunity for brands looking to drive visits to physical stores if they can be identified in a voice search.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
It probably can’t be considered a startup any more, but I tend to follow Slack with keen interest; I think that of all of the collaboration tools their platform is the best. I am also intrigued by Gainsight’s long-term plans and what their next innovations will be.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Marketing Technology leader?
You have to embrace it. AI means marketers can spend less time on mundane tasks. Without Yext, marketers must update their business information across every marketing channel manually. There are now so many publishers that provide business information that it takes a long time to manage them all. It’s now possible to ensure accurate information everywhere and easily update it in real-time, enabling marketers to focus on more strategic challenges. Whilst marketers can’t control the AI of the services their customers are using, they can take control of the information surfaced by that AI.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
Customers look for consistent and quality experiences when they engage and contract with companies. The service brings the experience of using a technology to life. Our people bring value to our customers; one thing I hear all the time from our clients is that our people are consistently great to work with. Culture is the human embodiment of everything a business stands for and must be evident in all touchpoints for that business to be credible and successful.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I can’t live without my messenger apps, like Google and Whatsapp to help me stay connected with my team and my personal life alike. I love Spotify and using music to fuel my work day, and I rely on Evernote for productivity.
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
You will rarely find me sat at my desk for more than about 20 minutes; I perform best when I’m interacting with others. I can map the time spent on this to the outcomes and goals I am driving towards. I achieve more in the long term by having a conversation at the start.
What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
My current read is The Score Will Take Care Of Itself by Bill Walsh, which is written by ex-NFL coach Bill Walsh. It details his personal and professional roadmap to success, with a focus on leadership. What I particularly like about the message is that it focuses on the importance of how to do things, and not just the end goal.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be afraid to try new things – they will make you smarter. I have learnt far more from the mistakes I’ve made than I have from the wins. I take what I can from every experience.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I was once told that I balance integrity and compassion with a focus on results.
Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
I would love to hear Arianna Huffington and Shantanu Narayen answer these questions.
Thank you, Charli! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Charli loves building, developing and leading teams, and have considerable experience of doing so in the SaaS space. She believe that the right service and engagement can help a customer unlock the true value of the software they have invested so heavily in; the technology itself is not the silver bullet – it is the combination of engaged customer + customer-centric service + technology which leads to success, alongside a positive, collaborative and outcomes-focused business culture.
Yext is the leading Digital Knowledge Management (DKM) platform. Our mission is to give companies control over their brand experiences across the digital universe of maps, apps, search engines, voice assistants, and other intelligent services that drive consumer discovery, decision, and action. Today, thousands of businesses including brands like Taco Bell, Rite Aid, and Steward Health Care use the Yext Knowledge Engine™ to manage their digital knowledge in order to boost brand engagement, drive foot traffic, and increase sales.
Yext has been named a Best Place to Work by Fortune and Great Place to Work® as well as a Best Workplace for Women. Yext is headquartered in New York City with offices in Berlin, Chicago, Dallas, Geneva, London, Paris, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and the Washington, D.C. area.
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.