MarTech Interview with Lisa Kalscheur, CMO at Monetate (now acquired by Kibo)

MarTech Interview with Lisa Kalscheur, CMO at Monetate

“We have been bombarded with buzzwords like “Big Data” and even AI for years now, but we are finally at a point where technologies are able to better identify signals from the large amounts of data that we are collecting to make them actionable.”

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Tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to start at Monetate?

I love the fast pace, innovation, and nerdiness of the tech world. I studied Journalism in college and started at Ziff Davis immediately thereafter and quickly gravitated to the Marketing side, a critical component of any tech company. Marketing, to me, has always been about telling great stories and connecting clients to solutions they need. All of these elements of Marketing have moved me through my career in tech. I joined Monetate because of their focus on Personalization, which is really about communicating with individuals. Again, it’s all about the individualized storytelling. That’s what marketing is, and so we really have to put our money where our mouth is.

What this new identity at Kibo mean for Monetate’s Marketing and Ops roadmap?

We are focused on integration: putting the two companies together and putting plans in place. We are 100% behind our new partners and laser-focused on taking care of our customers.

As a woman CMO in a tech company, what’s the biggest challenge you face from within the organization and outside? What message do you have for other female CMOs and Marketing professionals in the community?

I’m a passionate supporter of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I’m fortunate to have had several female mentors and colleagues – as well as male allies – who have helped me advance in my career. As I was given these opportunities, I feel a deep responsibility to foster the development of women at Monetate – and in the tech industry more broadly.  I’ll always make the time to have a phone chat with up-and-coming CMOs and regularly create ‘women in tech” get-togethers and even more formalized organizations. I also try everyday to set an example by bringing my authentic self to work. I’m an executive and a mother. It’s a regular occurrence that my six-year-old daughter will join me for a Video conference.

What drives the current competition in the ‘Personalization Economy’?

We see tremendous demand from brands and retailers to engage in personal conversations with their customers. There’s a race to win and personalization is a hot topic for good reason. It works really well. And that’s true even though brands are just getting started on their path to personalizing, so there is blue sky in front of us when taking into account Artificial Intelligence and more advanced analytics. Brands want a solution that will grow with them, and will also inspire their own strategy.

There are point solutions and broader solutions that help marketers personalize at a more advanced pervasive level. We fall into the latter bucket. We were named a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Personalization Engines this year, for the second year in a row, which attests to the staying power of robust Personalization.

How much has Monetate’s Marketing strategy evolved in the last 2-3 years? What platforms are you currently focusing on to drive Sales and Revenue?

This year was a transformational year for our team, we’re focused on the needs of our customers first and foremost. We have built out our team to create a customer-centric approach. We’ve got fantastic content and research that delivers real learning and insights for brands, and we have a lead gen team that really understands how to deliver.

Our growth strategy has moved towards an Account-Based Marketing model which is highly coordinated between the Marketing and Sales team. We’ve done a lot of research into our ideal customer profile, and we’ve built a tiered target list that allows us to focus our Marketing efforts and dollars on accounts that are not only matching the firmographic and technographic profiles of our customer profile, but also exhibiting intent so that we can prioritize based on accounts that are likely to convert into pipeline in the coming 1-2 quarters, while nurturing accounts still in a research phase.

For tools, we use Slack frequently because we’re spread out globally and I like to make sure the team is collaborating on critical projects and campaigns. The analytics from Engagio are great to see prospect and customer activity across our Marketing touchpoints and we rely heavily on Clearbit and BuiltWith data to append accounts so that we can profile effectively.

Which group of customers are the fastest to adopt Monetate’s various products and solutions? How do you measure the performance of your products? 

We work primarily with marketers across all industries, but the most common are retailers and travel brands. This is partly based on the fact that these companies have been early adopters to Personalization, but we have been seeing adoption from other verticals; such as Financial Services and Media growing more common over the past two years. As a marketer myself I know how important technology adoption is for brands to stay relevant in the ever-changing digital world. We designed Monetate to be easy to implement and use because we also know that while marketers are quick to adopt, they also have high expectations.

We have analytics built into all of our testing, Recommendations and Personalization experiences that give effectiveness on dozens of metrics (conversion rate, bounce rate, etc.) along with insights into what experiences resonate with different audience segments. The ability to track these metrics across our diverse customer set enables our data scientists to continue to monitor the effectiveness of our decisioning algorithms in order to deliver the best product to our customers.

What is the relation between Influencing and Brand Loyalty? How does Monetate help to drive Brand Loyalty using Digital Marketing tools? 

Here is where best practices in Personalization mirror Marketing efforts. Every brand requires a customer-centric, personalized approach. In being personalized you have to understand the intent of a customer. That means understanding why someone might be interested in your products or services and then delivering the right experience to help them along their journey. This doesn’t stop after a brand becomes a customer.

We empower brands to continuously deliver the right experience all across the customer journey, not just initial conversion so that they can focus on influencing customer lifetime value. At Monetate, we do the same for our clients by tracking their usage and engagement, both in our product and with our customer success team, to determine how we can drive retention. You never want to assume you are influencing someone, you want to understand their goals so that you are both aligned and can, therefore, build a strong relationship. This is strengthened through thought leadership, in-person meetings, and events, with tech and product innovation, etc.

Tell us something that fascinates you the most in creating Marketing materials around the Holiday season?

Holiday is such a major focus for so many of our clients, so we have to deliver real value that they can rely on to be successful. With Personalization, brands advance their maturity every single year, so there is no “rinse and repeat” strategy. We begin planning our holiday content months ahead of when marketers need to have their strategies down, and we typically kick off by gathering insights and trends from across our company — from our customer-facing roles to our data science teams. For example, we kicked off a study at the beginning of 2019 that we released early in the year that shows the ROI of advanced personalization over one-off personalized experiences. We published more research to illustrate the value of personalization across a customer journey, not just on the home page. And we delivered a holiday planning guide that made that research actionable over the summer.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Content Personalization Management technology for 2019-2020?

The ability to leverage data (both first-party and third-party) in a meaningful way will continue to improve. We have been bombarded with buzzwords like “Big Data” and even AI for years now, but we are finally at a point where technologies are able to better identify signals from the large amounts of data that we are collecting to make them actionable. The most impactful disruption are the technologies that are going to make this easy to do for marketers. We have content and we have data, but how can you easily use one to inform the other at scale? The key is leveraging algorithms that do the work for you and remove the barriers of time and actionability.

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

Contentsquare is a partner of Monetate’s that has really impressed me. They are really making it simple for marketers to visualize what’s happening on their website quickly. This is not something new, but the way they have approached it is new and our clients that use us both have responded really positive. Another is Contentstack, sticking on the content theme 🙂 Headless CMS is a truly disruptive technology and Contentstack is doing a great job at speaking to all of the different organizations within an enterprise that a CMS would impact.

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

Again, I’m familiar with AI because it drives our product. AI delivers scale and automation. It offers new insights. It’s not a replacement for Marketing, but it can dramatically improve our output. For example, crunching data to determine which leads are most engaged and predicting what outreach would be most effective. Or taking a large piece of content and testing different versions of it for different audiences.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

There always has to be a reason. I’m a big proponent of proving out a hypothesis so that everyone is bought in. And I empower my team to tell me what tech they need to do their work.

One word that best describes how you work.


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

Slack,, Engagio, SFDC, BuiltWith, Marketo, Clearbit.

Which superhero character/movie do you most profoundly relate to:

I’m not sure I relate to her, but I aspire to be Wonder Woman.

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

I am on the west coast and I get online by 7 am every morning. It speeds up the entire global organization that I’m available. It can make my family grumpy and tire me out – but it works.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading “Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live)”. The title alone should give context, but my husband and I are always looking for ways to optimize our division of responsibilities at home to ensure we’re being fair and respectful of each other and getting quality time with our kids. How I consume information on a daily basis: The Monetate marketing team subscribes to a model of ‘learn and teach’. Our Slack channel is constantly buzzing with articles on customers, prospects, Marketing innovation and notes on conference takeaways. We learn so much from each other!

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

“You are the boss of your own time; protect it.”

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

Letting a quest for learning drives my career decisions.

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

Nicole Silver, VP of Marketing, Button

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

Lisa Kalscheur is an accomplished senior marketing executive. She has led the evolution of many high-growth technology companies, including NewsCred and AppNexus. She has driven company revenue by building and leading diverse, agile teams of top-performing marketers to match the growing needs of global customer brands. Lisa’s expertise extends across marketing functions from brand, product marketing, demand generation, field and customer marketing, and marketing operations to content marketing, corporate communications, and digital and social media.

Lisa is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on building company and client brands, as well as organizational culture initiatives including women in the workplace, and diversity and inclusion. She was the founder and co-chair of the AppNexus Women’s Network.

monetate logo

Monetate, the global leader in personalization software for consumer-facing brands, enables marketers to grow more of their customers into their best customers. Monetate’s industry-first programmatic Personalization Exchange allows brands to create more relevant and personalized customer experiences. Monetate’s scalable, powerful, and agile Personalization Engine helps brands deliver individualized interactions that delight customers and increase customer lifetime value.

Founded in 2008, with offices in the U.S. and Europe, Monetate is used by leading brands around the world and influences billions of dollars in revenue every year for QVC, Newegg, Timberland, Carnival, The North Face, and hundreds of other market leaders.

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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.