TechBytes with Darren Guarnaccia, Chief Product Officer, Crownpeak

Darren Guarnaccia, Chief Product Officer at Crownpeak

Darren Guarnaccia
Chief Product Officer at Crownpeak

The main point of GDPR is customers should have ownership and sovereignty over their personal data. We spoke to Darren Guarnaccia, Chief Product Officer at Crownpeak, to understand how they plan to accurately deploy their technology in the era of GDPR.

Tell us about your role at Crownpeak and the team/technology you handle.

As Chief Product Officer, I’m responsible for Crownpeak’s product direction and overall strategy in the business. As a part of that, I work closely with our marketing team on messaging, as well as with press and analysts and our go-to market.

What is the overall state of Digital Experience Management?

I believe the digital experience market has stalled. There has been a tremendous amount of emerging technology but not much progress is being made in the actual effectiveness of customer experience management, which stems from too much tech and not enough strategy. Marketers keep on putting in new tech hoping it will be the next best thing but I don’t think we’re making the progress we should be, due to the complexities of technology, process and regulatory challenges.

How do you plan to accurately deploy your technology in this era of GDPR?

The main point of GDPR is customers should have ownership and sovereignty over their personal data. So, in our engagement with customers, we need to make sure we are honest and forthright about how we’d like to use their data and give them the option to say no. Crownpeak is going above and beyond to comply with the regulation where some other companies have only really gone half way to make sure they tick the boxes. We’ve worked really hard to put in as much depth and granularity as possible to customer consent options, and to do it in a way that’s both in the spirit of GDPR and keeps to the letter of the law. Crownpeak is taking GDPR compliance very seriously.

How does Crownpeak help marketers develop multi-channel/omni-channel marketing strategies?

Content is the currency with which marketers purchase attention from consumers so wherever marketers want to engage customers, it all starts with content. Crownpeak fits into this as a platform that allows marketers to create, manage and distribute content across all channels. In the part of the business that helps marketers create great experiences and deliver them, we need to be thoughtful about how we collect data and pay attention to the consent management piece. It’s a dual challenge; marketers have to create great content that earns them the right to have a conversation with the customer and also persuades them to say yes in the consent process. We help marketers deliver great content and do the right things to get customer consent, as well as offering the option to say no, and we do this across web and mobile experiences.

Why do you think it is important to “think globally but act locally?”

Businesses need to achieve scale as there are always patterns across the world but even when one global business is working with another global business it’s still people to people. As humans, we want to work with people we feel understand us and our business, people who get the problems we’re facing and share our experiences. When we’re working with a customer in another country or a different part of the world, we need to speak their language, not necessarily literally but by talking in a way they understand and that makes sense in their space. It’s like Seth Godin’s notion of tribes — people want to feel like they belong, connected by shared interests and methods of communication — so making customers feel like they’re understood is the best thing a brand can do. There’s efficiency in thinking globally, but there’s magic in acting locally.

How does Crownpeak help marketers to overcome fragmented customer journeys?

Consistency is probably the biggest problem in customer experience management today. Marketers need to understand their customers everywhere and be consistent in how they talk to them, but the only way to do that is to collect data on them and that means gaining their consent. Crownpeak helps marketers orient everything they do in a way that’s good for their customers.

For example, if marketers ask for permission to use data to help them offer better ads customers are going to say no. But if they ask to collect data to offer customers a better experience and to remove friction from their buying process, helping them achieve the outcome they want, they are far more likely to say yes. We help marketers package up content offerings and integrate them with marketing tech so they are building consistent experiences that have earned the right to utilize data because they’re helpful and useful to the end customer. We help marketers do everything in a way that benefits their customers.

Which Marketing Automation tools does Crownpeak’s technology integrate with?

On the B2B side, Crownpeak’s technology integrates with Salesforce’s Pardot as well as Marketo. We also integrate with a number of consumer data platforms that do a similar thing in the B2C world.

Being a business leader, how do you think AI will change Digital Experience Management platforms?

There is a lot of noise in this space right now but I think about it very simply. AI and Machine Learning are really good at doing one thing, optimizing to the parameters they are given. The best thing AI and Machine Learning can do for customer experience management is to take some of the complexity out of Marketing Technology and simplify what marketers need to do. I don’t think we’re making a lot of progress right now but I think marketing is under a tremendous amount of weight due to inherited complexity from technology, from process and from regulatory.

For the industry, I hope we start to see AI tools that simplify marketing processes allowing marketers to make better decisions faster and make sense of the data coming at them. AI can automate some of the routine tasks marketers are mired in, freeing them up to start thinking about how they can deliver great customer experience and how they can do right by the customer.

How does 2019 look for Crownpeak?

It looks amazing and there are a couple of big trends that excite me for Crownpeak. First, marketers are starting to realize the single stacks from vendors are not what they hoped for, leading to a move towards best of breed again, with marketers picking the right tools and the right tech for the job. Second, I see content is resurging as a vitally important element, earning the permission and the right to engage customers. For a while, content took a backseat to the channel and the tech, but it seems to be rising again.

I also think there is a push towards simplicity. Marketers are getting frustrated with the complexity they’ve inherited and there seems to be a hunger to make things easier and more simple. In the tech world, there are always times that resemble a features arms race, then after a while, there’s a period of rationalization and simplification. I see us entering into that phase in the marketing world. Projects are lasting too long and the costs are too high, the customer is looking for a simpler route and better time to value. This is just a normal and natural evolution. Marketers’ need for agility will drive this shift.

Thanks for chatting with us, Darren.

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