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MarTech Interview with Nicole Amsler, VP of Marketing at Formation

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“As marketers get more clarity around the definition of personalization, I believe we will see more development of customer-centric approaches in marketing.”

Journey into Tech

You come from a very interesting background. From Aeronautical Engineering to heading Marketing at Formation.ai – tell us about this enriching journey.

I’m an Engineer by degree, but have now worked in the Marketing industry for more than 20 years. I have a very technical background — I received my BS in Aeronautical Engineering from Cal Poly and my MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee — and bring a data-driven mindset to my Marketing work. I earned an MBA from Georgia State, which has helped me leverage my technical background to improve business outcomes.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work at a large variety of companies. I’ve worked at startups where I’ve been a one-woman team doing every Marketing job, to much larger companies where I lead teams to execute on larger strategies. Throughout my Marketing journey, I’ve had the opportunity to build and scale organizations, take companies to IPO and acquisition, and own a revenue stream at multiple companies.

As a woman in a tech company, what challenges do you face within and outside the organization? What message do you have for other female professionals in the community?

As a woman in technology – or really a woman anywhere in the world — it’s very important to have my voice heard. As a Vice President of both U.S. and international companies, I have faced both cultural and traditional roadblocks.

I have succeeded in my career by working harder than expected, speaking up when I have something to say and ensuring my accomplishments are not overlooked. It’s not always easy to do, so I encourage women to build personal support networks that can help them overcome these kinds of challenges and be their advocate.

Marketing Game Plan

As a VP of Marketing, what does your usual day look like? Can you provide us a quick peek into your calendar?

My days center around both strategy and execution. I’m in constant contact with our CEO and other members of the leadership team, discussing strategy and defining goals. I’m also frequently rolling up my sleeves to execute on strategy, lead project teams and see the work gets done.

In between meetings and project work, I’m talking to the media and connecting with analysts to build awareness. I’m also frequently meeting with people who influence the industries we operate in so I can anticipate trends.

How do you use technology to stay on top of your game? Which Marketing, Sales and Communications tools and apps do you use?

Some of the key technologies I lean on throughout the day to stay on top of my game are SFDC, Marketo and Google Analytics, just to name a few. I’m very data-focused, so I lean on tools within my stack that can be set to track and measure.

Marketers have such a wealth of data at their fingertips these days, so it’s important to have a MarTech stack that unlocks the benefits of that data. Marketers who leverage technology to analyze data and use that analysis to predict and encourage new behaviors will be much more successful than those who don’t.

What is the approach you often take to build a Marketing and Sales calendar for the quarter?

I start by creating a 12-month Marketing plan that aligns with our business goals. Then I break that down into quarterly plans.

Once the quarterly plans are done, I align tactics that will drive us toward our measurable objectives each quarter.

What kind of talent and skill do you usually seek and hire for? What challenges do you meet in building an effective Marketing team?

When hiring for a startup, I need to look for qualities beyond industry experience. I need talented people who are detail-oriented, good under pressure and can meet deadlines.

I also look for people who are entrepreneurial but also strong team players. Being a great cultural fit is also a must.

Insights and Predictions

What are your thoughts on Marketing and Sales alignment? How do you align your Marketing and Sales team at Formation.ai?

Marketing and Sales departments have traditionally worked as two separate organizations within a business, often with a lot of friction. This lack of collaboration has stifled too many businesses, but the advent of MarTech has extended the Marketing department’s reach, building stronger connections with customers and aligning more closely with sales.

I see MarTech evaporating the old divisions between Sales and Marketing.

What are your predictions for your industry and technology markets for 2020-2024?

In the coming years, I think we’ll see personalization become more well-defined. Right now, if you ask a group of marketers what personalization means, you’ll get vastly different answers from each.

As marketers get more clarity around the definition of personalization, I believe we will see more development of customer-centric approaches in Marketing.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Marketing Leader?

Formation’s technology has AI and Machine Learning at its core, so AI is something we think about every day. I think what’s great about the technology is that it allows for testing, iteration and personalization to happen at a scale that would previously be impossible.

This Is How I Work

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

This is about tracking. Traditionally, Marketing was only about PR and brand. Now that we have tech solutions that track lead data, we can connect our strategies to our goals.

One word that best describes how you work.

Driven.

One comic book or movie character that you instantly connect with –

Xena Warrior Princess.

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

I’m always paying attention to a number of startups, both within and outside of my space, to get a sense of where markets are shifting. That said, the startup I’m most focused on right now is our own.

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

One of the secrets of my success is giving the same level of attention to execution as I do strategy. Strategy is critical, but without great execution, it’s nothing.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.

Julie Liegl, CMO at Slack 

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

Nicole Amsler is Vice President of Marketing at Formation. With more than 20 years of marketing experience, Nicole understands how to build and shape global marketing strategies to maximize results.

She has held senior marketing, product marketing and communications roles at companies including Kimberly Clark, Agilent Technologies, Shavlik Technologies (acquired by VMware) and a variety of other SaaS companies in Silicon Valley. Nicole earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering, a master’s in chemical engineering and an MBA in marketing. She has three patents in her name.

formation.ai logo

Formation empowers companies to achieve true 1:1 personalization at enterprise scale. We use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to continue learning about customer preferences, analyzing their interactions and fine-tuning of offers across digital and physical channels.

Formation’s proprietary platform leverages continual insights into each customer interaction to make subsequent offers smarter and more effective. This approach enables brands to create and deliver unique customer experiences that drive business results and foster deeper relationships with their customers. Our solution helps marketing teams become more efficient and effective in engaging and retaining customers, with proven results for increasing incremental revenue and customer lifetime value.

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