MarTech Interview with Chris Koehler, CMO @ Twilio

Chris Koehler, CMO at Twilio talks about the changing B2B marketing landscape and how new age martech and AI is leading to a complete shift:

Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Chris, tell us about your marketing journey and what you’re looking forward to as Twilio’s new CMO? 

I took a nontraditional path that led me to marketing. I’ve held leadership roles in customer success, product management, and marketing analytics. Working in different roles enables me to view the business through a general manager lens rather than a solely marketing perspective – in other words, I am always thinking about how we can grow the business overall.

I’m excited to join Twilio for a couple of big reasons. First, I’m a longtime Segment customer and I’ve always admired Twilio as an innovator in the industry. Second, as customer-focused leader, the opportunity to join a company like Twilio and build the next generation Customer Engagement Platform is incredibly exciting. I’ve spent almost 20 years in various roles in customer engagement and marketing technology, so I understand and love the category. Twilio happens to have world class CDP and the CPaaS platforms and is positioned well to really capture the opportunity AI presents right now.

What about today’s state of B2B marketing is broken in your view? 

In many companies, including B2B, there are silos across tech stacks. There are different programs for CX, marketing, sales and these programs aren’t connected and it’s difficult for these teams to communicate. When building an experience for our customers, we need to think holistically – if you have great marketing but your CX is disjointed, that ruins the experience for customers. The experience needs to be seamless from end to end. As an added benefit, when these silos are broken down, brands also get a full view of the customer and can leverage that data to continually improve the customer experience.

Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview With Seth Nesbitt, CMO @ Zuper

Tell us more about your marketing strategies that you’ve relied on over the years to boost impact and the martech that has helped power it all?

Over the years, my marketing strategies have been anchored on three core principles:

  1. Customer-Centric Focus: We prioritize relevance and empathy in our messaging and experiences to ensure that every interaction resonates with our audience. By putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes, we create more meaningful connections and foster loyalty.
  2. Data-Driven Decision Making: A data-driven approach enables us to create targeted campaigns, personalize experiences, and optimize performance continuously. Additionally, we cultivate a “test and learn” culture, where we experiment with different strategies and iterate based on insights gained from data analysis.
  3. Agility and Nimbleness: We understand the importance of adapting quickly to changing market conditions, consumer trends, and technological advancements. Whether it’s responding to shifts in consumer behavior or capitalizing on emerging opportunities, we remain nimble to ensure our marketing efforts remain effective and impactful.

How do you use AI in your current marketing plans and martech stack? 

At Twilio, we leverage the data from Segment’s CDP to power our AI solutions. Predictive AI enables our team to predict behaviors based on past actions. Generative AI creates unique and personalized campaigns at scale, builds out audiences, and creates more precise segmentation for campaigns. These solutions can be built and implemented quickly across our teams – to improve our ROI across campaigns.

Can you share your thoughts on the future of AI, marketing and martech: what will the market look like down the line?

There’s a massive opportunity for AI to combine data from across customer touchpoints to drive truly personalized, 1:1 marketing. This is something the industry has been talking about for years, but few have actually delivered on. With AI, every company can have the tools needed to provide personalization across the customer journey for each individual customer,  something we’ve come to expect from big companies that have the resources.

Five daily essentials you feel every B2B CMO should action or follow before we wrap up…


  • Always be learning. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, be open to embracing new perspectives, learning, and growing. Leaders too often push to validate their own point of view, rather than seeking to find the truth, which can be counterintuitive. Be curious and try to learn something new everyday.
  • Being humble. I’ve been continually delighted that great ideas often come from those you might least expect! We don’t have all the answers so ask lots of questions and assume a beginner’s mindset.
  • Get technical, if not already. The science of marketing is changing constantly and marketers need to understand how all the technology works together in order to better lead. This is only going to accelerate with AI. Get smarter every day. Ask your marketing partners to help educate you during executive business reviews.
  • Focus on the customer. You really need to deeply understand your customers to successfully serve them. Spend time with them and ask them what they want and need from your brand. Ask them about the problems they are trying to solve and why. At the end of the day, we are in business to help our customers succeed.
  • Think like a General Manager or CEO. Too often, Marketers get enamored by our technology and buzzwords. Focus on the customers and growing the business. Translate marketing activities and results into language your peers outside marketing will understand. This will drive credibility and respect from the C-Suite.

Marketing Technology News: How Conversational AI Streamlines Demand Generation and MarTech Workflows

twilioTwilio’s mission is to unlock the imagination of builders.

Chris Koehler is CMO at Twilio

Brought to you by
For Sales, write to:
Copyright © 2024 MarTech Series. All Rights Reserved.Privacy Policy
To repurpose or use any of the content or material on this and our sister sites, explicit written permission needs to be sought.