MarTech Interview with Michael Osborne, President at Wunderkind 

Michael Osborne, President at Wunderkind talks about a few top evolving focus areas for today’s B2B marketers in this quick chat with MarTech Series:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Michael. We’d love to hear more about your journey through the years and your role at Wunderkind?

As president of Wunderkind, I oversee the commercial functions of the Company, which includes sales, services, marketing, strategic alliances – basically everything that affects how we acquire customers, as well as how we service them over the long term in order to drive value for them and the consumers they serve. 

My background includes a client success role at coremetrics and leading the sales team at Bazaarvoice, a software technology company, which led me to my role as CEO at SmarterHQ. At SmarterHQ, a leading advanced segmentation and orchestration engine for enterprise eCommerce, I 10X’d the revenue with clients like Sam’s Club, Bloomingdale’s and DSW, and led it to a successful acquisition by Wunderkind in 2020.

I have served retailers and B2C marketers my entire career, and I’ve done so with a couple of different firms, I have an incredibly grounded understanding of what it is like to be on the customer side of things, sales front end, and running a business…

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Tell us about the Wunderkind platform and about some of its newest features and integrations: how are these benefiting marketers / end-users?

Wunderkind is a performance marketing technology platform, focused on performance marketing, driving personalized experiences to consumers on behalf of the brands we work with across retail, hospitality, and financial services. What makes us so unique is that we’re the only performance marketing platform that guarantees revenue. 

In fact, our latest consumer survey data solidifies that email and text messaging marketing are the most preferred methods of communication from a brand to a consumer. Consumers want to have personalized messages and an engaging interaction with the brand, and they want that conversation to be valuable and relevant. Marketers are benefiting more and more from personalized experiences through texts and emails because this technology allows a brand to communicate in a personalized fashion through the right channel, at the right time. 

When marketers use technology to personalize messages, they need to focus on the consumers that will actually benefit from that communication and find it valuable. Personalized marketing brings the consumer back only when the consumer believes their needs and wants are being heard.

Customer engagement is a tricky topic, attracting its fair share of best practices and tips. How do you feel customer engagement trends are set to evolve given today’s economic/market dynamics?

Customer engagement trends are continuously being accelerated by digital transformation and they are becoming simple. Customers want ads to be relevant, speak to their experiences, and far from spam.

In order to cater to these evolving behaviors, platforms like Wunderkind are helping brands give what consumers want by delivering high-performing, one-to-one messages on websites, through emails and texts, and in ads at a scale that’s not otherwise possible. 

This specific personalization helps brands create a better experience for their customers that can be leveraged again and again over time. 

What are some customer engagement platform features that today’s marketers need to be focusing more on to drive better operations and ROI? 

In order for today’s marketers to drive better operations and ROI, they need to focus on the channels they are using to communicate with consumers. Text messaging and email marketing are the top two forms of personalized messaging that catch the consumer’s eye – making it incredibly valuable today.

Personalization is what helps the open rate, as people are eager to consume relevant messaging. Dynamic engagement strategies that deliver personalized 1:1 experiences through email, text, and websites are important because they’re what the CMO owns instead of rents, like some third party and social media channels. 

Additionally, short text messaging formats and text opt-ins allow for a more instant response as well as conversation, driving strategies that marketers can deploy to drive a consumer to sale at that same time or continue to revert a returning consumer. Not all marketers have figured that out yet, and there are still a lot of ways to drive a much better, overall message to consumers – especially as their behaviors continue to change.

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A few thoughts on the future of B2B marketing and martech, how will platforms and new marketing trends change the scope of this world?

The rented vs. owned channels viewpoint is a big deal to marketers right now. We have seen prices for third-party channels like Facebook and Google rising incredibly fast, while owned channel costs are rising (if at all) very minimally. We can expect to see marketers continue to use third-party channels but no longer deploy more and more of their budget to them, while shifting their increase of spend to owned channels, instead. 

Essentially, it all comes down to personalization and understanding the data that consumers are communicating – what their intent is, who they are shopping for, timeline of shopping browsing, etc. Understanding these trends paired with the technology to help analyze it, will redirect the consumer experience and journey for many brands.

Additionally, more and more series of messaging that don’t necessarily focus on an instant conversation is a trend that could also come about. Brands need to start thinking holistically about the consumer’s whole experience, not just selling a product, so they feel that the brand is paying attention to them.

Some last thoughts and marketing / martech takeaways before we wrap up?

The focus for marketers continues to change and that rate of change is accelerating. The real trend today is adapting to the consumer and how they want to communicate with you, rather than simply selling more products. Being a brand the consumer cares about matters even more than simply having great products.

In fact, our latest consumer survey, found that almost 59% of U.S. consumers are open to trying new brands and 51% cited their brand loyalty increased during the pandemic. It is clear consumers have clear opinions as to which marketing channels are most effective, it’s a matter of ensuring the messaging and timing via these channels are correct. 

Lastly, taking a look at modern forms of communication can lead a brand to a better, more transparent connection with a consumer. Text as a channel, for example, is underutilized. It’s incredibly easy to have a conversation over text and that’s a true value that brands can have with their consumers. It helps bond brands to their customers by providing that direct line of communication.

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Wunderkind is a performance marketing engine that delivers tailored experiences at scale. Digital businesses use Wunderkind to remember who users are better than ever before, allowing them to deliver high-converting, one-to-one messages on websites, through emails and texts, and in ads at a scale that’s not otherwise possible.

Michael Osborne is President at Wunderkind

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