MarTech Interview with Stephanie Fried, Chief Marketing Officer at Fandom

Stephanie Fried, Chief Marketing Officer at Fandom talks about the evolution in marketing and customer trends and how the industry is shifting gradually in this Q&A:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Stephanie, tell us about your journey so far and what inspires you most about marketing and martech today?

My career has been centered around a strong interest and curiosity about what goods and services consumers want and why. Getting inside of people’s values, attitudes and emotional needs to understand why trends emerge and what type of messaging/positioning resonates has been core to every role I’ve had. I’ve followed that passion through different types of businesses – entrepreneurship, public companies, portfolio companies, family businesses, etc. – and through evolving functions – research/insights to audience development, to broader marketing (comms, design, experiences, etc.) 

What’s most interesting to me about marketing today is how quickly things are changing, not just from a technology perspective (there are millions of ways to understand, track, measure behavior) but from a consumer trends perspective. Global experiences over the past two years have accelerated the changes in how people interact and make decisions. This means that how we plan and communicate with our fans changes much more frequently.

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Tell us more about the FanDNA platform and how it works/engages users?

FanDNA incorporates the very best data around what fans care about in entertainment and gaming. With over three hundred million users visiting over 250,000 wikis monthly that are each thousands of (endless scroll) pages deep, we understand what resonates with fans within and across every major and niche entertainment and gaming IP. This enables us to do three things extremely well: 

  1. Engage our fans more deeply
  2. Activate audiences for our partners
  3. Uncover insights that fuel development of entertainment brands, products and services. 

We’re very excited to continue to bring FanDNA to life across our ecosystems in the coming year to create even better experiences, products and programs and games for fans and our business partners.

How are you seeing the demand and use of online fan engagement and fan platforms evolve today?

Entertainment and gaming have really exploded in the past couple of years with more content being released than ever before and more time for consumers to explore content past and present. This has led to significant growth in fans looking to understand, celebrate, discover and connect with the imagined worlds they love. Today, fans are meeting these needs in several places – across reference, social and experiential platforms, as well as review and editorial sites. Platforms that can enable fans to have a 360-degree, holistic fan experience can solve this fragmentation for consumers and Fandom is continuing our mission to deliver against this need.

As a CMO today, what are some of the core marketing strategies and processes that you drive, we’d also love a quick snippet into your choice of martech…

There’s a lot of focus on the thousands of tools that enable marketers to better reach, target and measure consumer behavior and of course we use many of those. But I find that many marketing challenges come before we reach that point of strategy and execution. 

Key improvements lie in aligning against process and having a shared understanding of the opportunities in front of us. Tools like Asana and Qlik enable us to work better and smarter to ensure we’re aligned against planning and execution. 

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With the rise of martech and data driven marketing practices, there are certain marketing skills and martec capabilities that every CMO and marketing team needs to hone, to help drive true output: what are some of these in your view?

Every week there’s a new way to reach consumers and a new skill or expertise needed to enable you to evolve your marketing practices. This means we’ve moved from larger holistic marketing and media planning teams to teams that incorporate multiple specialities in paid and organic – affiliate, paid search, influencer, email, loyalty, etc. While this has been incredible in many ways and has brought a different way of thinking and understanding the consumer journey, it’s easy to lose some of the bigger picture holistic thinking. A UA team activating consumers into a leaky bucket experience with no LTV are never going to be successful. 

More than understanding and planning for all of the different roles and areas of expertise that are essential for a modern media organization, CMOs today need to ensure they’re bringing teams together and building a shared holistic understanding of their consumers – who they are, what can we deliver for them and how we fit into their journey. Marketing teams need to work collaboratively across this journey vs. in silos to drive the most successful outcomes. 

What are some of the typical B2B marketer challenges that you still feel modern martech and marketing tips don’t really solve on the whole yet?

As mentioned above, I’m very process oriented and data driven. I find it very challenging to bring insights together across various areas of our business to easily measure our impact and opportunities. As the number of tools to assist with project management, deal flow, diagnostics, etc have grown, they’ve each become more niche in their application. This means that in order to connect the dots across efficiency, value, quality, etc., we need to connect multiple systems and data points together into a different tool to enable us to work better and smarter. 

We’d love to hear a few thoughts on your views on the future of martech and B2B marketing…

I think we’ll see a consolidation of tools to solve niche needs to grow towards enterprise solutions. These will hopefully be more agile than current enterprise solutions. I also believe we’ll continue to see a mix of custom/automation in sales materials and collateral. For the past 3-5 years brands have leaned towards customization of their offerings to differentiate at the cost of tighter margins. I think we’ll see this develop into a nice mix yielding customization at scale.  

Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!

Thanks for the opportunity! It was fun to take a moment to sit back and think about why we do what we do every day!

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Fandom a fan platform where fans immerse themselves in imagined worlds across entertainment and gaming.

Stephanie Fried is the Chief Marketing Officer at Fandom.

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