TechBytes with Rick Kelly, VP, Products, FUEL CYCLE

Rick Kelly

Rick Kelly
VP, Products, Fuel Cycle

Fuel Cycle is a customer data platform that aims to solve the problems using customer intelligence. We spoke to Rick Kelly, VP Products,  Fuel Cycle to understand how companies could leverage customer data and intelligence to drive their marketing efforts.

MTS: Tell us about your role at Fuel Cycle and the technology you use to communicate with your team?
Rick Kelly: I’m the Vice President of Products at Fuel Cycle. It’s an exciting role that allows me to work across the entire company with all our stakeholders – sales, marketing, engineering and client success.

I love being in the office with my colleagues, but we have team members all over. We are omnichannel communicators – text, Slack, email, JIRA, video calls. We do it all. Having a high communication cadence means we’re able to be very adaptive to ever-changing requirements. Nobody has to try too hard to catch up – we’re just aware of one another’s work.

MTS: How have the benchmark standards of customer experience evolved with the coming-of-age of AI and marketing automation technologies?
Rick: We hear about the challenges of managing customer experience and market research in today’s business environment all the time. Practitioners are expected to produce more insights faster, within the same or shrinking budgets. Customer experience, market research, and marketing used to be very episodic and planned months in advance. Nowadays, successful enterprises continuously gather new data and react in real time. Anyone who isn’t at or near real-time research will lose market share.

MTS: Are recent transparency regulations a major obstacle to how businesses adopt automation technologies to talk to customers?
Rick: I don’t think chatbots and automation will be deterred in the long run. What should and will happen is that transparency in algorithms will increase. You need to explain in human terms what an algorithm is doing. This has already been a best practice in automation and I see this as a good thing.

MTS: When do you see the adoption curve of computing technologies smoothening or levelling out? What impact would this leveling have on market research and team dynamics?
Rick: Computing platforms are proliferating: Everything is or will be a computer. Thus, for the foreseeable future, it’s hard to see the adoption curve leveling. Many companies are competing for fractions of market share, and if they don’t rapidly evolve, others will outpace them. I do see businesses adopting stable platforms that can continue to innovate rapidly.

As I mentioned, I don’t see a future where adoption will level out. This means market research departments and their teams have to constantly question old assumptions and learn quickly.

MTS: How does Fuel Cycle help businesses increase customer acquisition?
Rick: Fuel Cycle spans the entire research lifecycle. We enabled some of the world’s most successful enterprises to identify products people want, how to price them, how to position them, where to market them, and how to retain customers. And more than that, we are as near real-time as you can get in market research. We do research projects in hours or days, rather than months. So not only do we show you how to capture customers, but we turn insights around very rapidly.

MTS: What challenges does Fuel Cycle face when dealing with audience data and behavioral analytics? How do the tech innovation team solve them?
Rick: Managing multiple streams of data is challenging, but we recently took a big step in solving this problem. Every enterprise has multiple sources of data, but finding a single source of truth is very challenging. Our customers wanted to add more integrations within our platform, but that meant profiling data was coming from everywhere. Merging and unifying that data was arduous, so we built a progressive profile feature, the only one in the market research space, within the Fuel Cycle platform, to easily unify the data. This means we can take data from multiple surveys, your CRM, or your marketing platform and easily create a single source of truth.

MTS: Thanks for chatting with us, Rick.
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