MarTech Interview with Niki Hall, Chief Marketing Officer at Contentsquare

What does it take for marketing teams to prioritize goals and determine the right strategies to achieve them, using the right metrics? Niki Hall, CMO at Contentsquare shares some pointers:


Welcome to this martech chat Niki! Take us through some of your biggest marketing moments and learnings…

Over the course of my career, I’ve been involved in over 20 acquisitions and learned how successful companies merge the best of what both companies offer. I’m a firm believer that the strongest asset of any company is its employees and pouring resources into developing individual skills and delivering a positive work environment brings the best out of everyone, including senior leadership. Ultimately, investing in people — not just innovation — makes the company much stronger. My achievements, which include huge rebrands, significant fund raises, and major acquisitions — they all lead back to the same place: people. Putting energy into a company and its people to make it the best it can be powers continued growth, acceleration and market dominance. 

Putting people first will get you there faster. Treating them with fairness and creating opportunity for everyone to succeed is an unmatched motivation toward overall success. This is why I take such pride in supporting people — women especially — and carving career paths that fit personal strengths and goals.

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What’s your marketing structure and team structure like at Contentsquare, how has that changed during Covid-19, in what ways has the team and its processes evolved? 

For many businesses in the digital space, 2020 was a year of explosive growth opportunities, and it was no different for Contentsquare. With every brand pivoting to prioritize their digital strategies, we were able to truly provide strategic and technical support for delivering digital customer experiences that not only meet the needs of customers, but also helps the brand plot long-term strategies to make those engagements drive loyalty.  As the business grew, so did our marketing team.  We put a lot of energy towards global growth, especially in North America, and the momentum of the business — married with company-wide hard work — helped us land $500M in new funding that’s dedicated to growth and innovation. Contentsquare is truly firing on all cylinders and I’m excited to see what the next 24 months will look like for the company.  

What have been some of your go-to marketing technologies over the years and also at Contentsquare, a few top martech platforms that you rely on to drive marketing goals? 

Much of my professional career has centered on data and that continues here at Contentsquare. The last decade especially, we’ve learned how important data can be to teach businesses how to be better for their customers. We look at that closely for our own business but also use that as a foundation for Contentsquare’s platform. 

Data needs serve brands, but in a way that also protects customers. What sets us apart is that we care more about tracking the ‘what and how’ more than we are tracking ‘who.’ This allows brands to learn a ton about improving their digital experiences, without compromising anyone’s privacy; customers can maintain their confidence that the brand won’t exploit them. 

In terms of what technologies are meaningful to me, I look for solutions that can improve daily life — make things easier, faster, more insightful. Some examples are how Unified Communications technology makes it easier for marketing and customer service and sales teams to work together.  Or campaign automation and marketing cloud platforms streamline the customer journey. Or leveraging analytics to inform necessary marketing pivots in real-time. Connecting our solution to all of these types of solutions within the martech stack only makes the end result — engagement with end customers — that much stronger.  

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Tell us your thoughts on the evolving and growing use of AI in marketing and martech and how you see this shape up in the near-future? 

Consumers are becoming very sophisticated, all while they grow to expect more personalization from the brands they engage with. They have so many options in front of them when it comes to ecommerce that if they are unsatisfied with the experience, they’ll leave and likely never come back. This is what we’re actively working on with our brand customers to avoid: deliver top-notch digital experiences that will keep people loyal, engaged, and transacting. And being able to do so won’t be a ton of guess-work, it will be based on data; how people move on the website, where they lose interest, what makes them jump from one page to the next — it all matters. 

AI is tremendously helpful in capturing these specific data points and makes sense of them by spotting trends — movements by customers en masse. Contentsquare uses that analyzed data to propose improvements to the digital strategy based on the billions of user session data we capture. As more and more people take all of their commerce online, staying ahead of the traffic and online data will be key in how well brands do in both the short and long term.  

A few predictions that you have for the future of martech?

Bigger expectations from marketers for flexible solutions: As every part of the marketing journey becomes bigger on its own, each part of the marketing channel will need to deliver solutions that do what they do really well, but also can play nice with other solutions.  A survey we did earlier this year found, for example, that 55% of marketers must juggle 3 or more tools just to identify patterns in customer behavior. Full end-to-end stacks — while sometimes convenient and cost effective — can also leave something to be desired in terms of functionality. Marketers of the future will lean on one-off solutions more, but their expectations for those solutions to be able to operate with many other tools will continue to rise.  

Data will drive every decision: We already know data tells a compelling story but not every brand has fully committed to data strategies that make that a reality. The future of martech will continue to underscore the importance of data but will refine what data is necessary and how to use it.  Brands will be better about understanding what truly matters to them, how they want to leverage data to achieve specific goals, and leverage martech solutions that streamline the process. Brands will use data to accurately understand customers, and use it to fuel campaigns, projects, and digital experiences. Cost will be a factor when selecting tools — as it always will be — but brands will see the value in investing.  There will be a move away from finding low-cost tools, and toward high-value tools. 

Digital Trust Will Make or Break Brands: Being able to understand customers while building digital trust and strong data relationships with customers is key to success for brands in the future, making it necessary to have strong data strategies that are both insightful as well as non-invasive. Data regulations will begin to take shape where there aren’t already established data privacy rules and brands will lean on solutions that are compliant but still give them the level of insight necessary to stay informed of consumer preferences and behaviors. This will reshape what we mean by personalization – a personalized experience tomorrow

Some last tips and takeaways for marketing leaders and CMOs? 

Growth is important but not at the expense of team morale. Sometimes the pressure to grow quickly will cause leaders to lose sight of the importance of a healthy team. It is your job to support the team and lead with positivity. Check in with your people regularly, make a point to say thank you, and treat every win as the result of a group effort.

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Contentsquare empowers brands to build better digital experiences. Its experience analytics platform tracks and visualizes billions of digital behaviors, delivering intelligent recommendations that everyone can use to grow revenue, increase loyalty and fuel innovation. Founded in Paris in 2012, Contentsquare has since opened offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Munich, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Singapore. Today, it helps more than 750 enterprises in 26 countries deliver better digital experiences for their customers. 

Niki Hall is the CMO at Contentsquare, where she is responsible for raising the company profile, building high performance teams, and scaling for growth. Being an operational, performance marketing executive with 20+ years of experience across all marketing disciplines, Niki has established and grown business market positions by developing clear, differentiated positioning — all while building and extending value, increased awareness, and driving demand and market differentiation. She believes people are a company’s greatest asset, and is passionate about investing heavily in creating and motivating best-in-class teams to scale companies. She has held senior leadership roles at Cisco Systems, Polycom, Five9, and most recently as CMO of Selligent Marketing Cloud. 

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