Tell us about your current role at Rightpoint and your journey into this position?
My responsibilities include the oversight of all our disciplines, including Strategy, Experience, Project Management, Product Management, and Technology. My role includes working with the leadership team from these different disciplines to ensure we are focused on building the right skills within our teams to solve critical problems for our clients. My relevant journey includes spending time at a Big 5 Consulting firm before transitioning over into the digital space in early 2001. I’ve spent nearly 20 years in a leadership position at digital agencies, including 11 years at Razorfish where I led the Account Management team and was the Managing Director for the final three years.
What is Rightpoint and how does it set itself apart from other agencies?
As the independent customer experience agency with technology at its core, we actually sit at the crossroads of four different competitive sets: Management Consulting, Digital Agency, Systems Integrator, and Product Development. With the combination of all these skill sets under one roof, we can solve all of our clients’ mission-critical challenges, as well as manage their ongoing Digital Operations.
How does Rightpoint’s emphasis on technology help the team better serve clients?
One of the great benefits of having a large and diverse set of technology capabilities is that our teams can quickly align approaches across business strategy, experience strategy and technology strategy perspectives to both support our clients’ technology investments and also ensure feasibility and maximum utility for the solution we create.
Each solution, whether it involves technology components like a website, a mobile app or an internal system, ultimately leverages data and services that exist within our client’s IT environment. Ensuring that we are creating a solution that is in alignment with their direction is important – it ensures that integration hassles are avoided and that common architectural elements and principles can be followed to make ongoing maintenance and support much smoother.
Having a deep engineering bench also enables us to bring technology into the conversation much earlier, so that we can make sure that the experiences we are creating are feasible on the platforms that we will be using, and that we identify potential “gotchas” early so that we can work through them before they are issues.
Ultimately, having great technology capabilities means that Rightpoint can be responsible for not only coming up with great strategies and experience designs but also fully bring them to life across many different technology platforms. Being able to staff engagements with a combination of talent across strategy, design and technology all coming from the same firm enables our clients to expect higher performance and sole accountability for the work we do.
Can you speak a little bit about Rightpoint’s culture? How will process improvements throughout the organization scale the business to better serve clients?
When Brad Schneider and Ross Freedman started Rightpoint they actually sat down and outlined their core beliefs before they even sold their first engagement. Those beliefs are:
That feels as good a way as any to describe the culture they have cultivated. At Rightpoint, we find strong and thoughtful people, give them clear direction and empower them to do what’s necessary to satisfy their clients. Process improvements can help us continue to serve our clients more effectively. We can then take those efficiencies and invest them in our clients and our people. We create POVs around the evolution of experience and what our clients’ customers are going to expect. We understand leading-edge technologies and the problems it can help solve for our clients. By investing in this understanding, we will be prepared for the future and able to best help our clients chart the right course for their business and achieve a competitive advantage.
How do you predict the industry will change in the future? What’s Rightpoint doing to prepare for these changes?
Everything is changing so quickly it’s difficult to look out beyond a few years. That said, companies continue to see the value of building marketing activities in-house to have more control over their data and technologies. Owning and integrating the data from each of their systems, such as POS, CRM, allows them to more effectively target their customers and provide them with meaningful experiences.
At Rightpoint we have created an Integrated Marketing team…
- Data-driven Marketing will continue to be the ultimate goal that both B2B and B2C marketers will strive to achieve in the next few years. As companies have continued to adopt technology as a necessary part of Marketing, they are struggling with the right data strategies and platform integrations to see their customers through a 360 lens. The need to interpret data points and to construct a strategic, actionable view of customer data will likely be key expertise that companies will seek in their strategic partners.
- Proliferation of AI and Machine Learning usage is an exciting part of providing customers with the “relevant message, to the right person, at the right time” – and we are exposed to it more than we can know in our brand interactions. Companies are still learning how AI technologies and data analytics can provide them with efficiencies and personalization at scale.
- Voice technology usage is strong and the Marketing channel landscape is changing as companies strive to find new ways to use this technology in their acquisition and retention strategies. It is showing clear signs that this will be an expected part of enhanced customer experience in the near future.
What’s Rightpoint doing to prepare for these changes?
– At Rightpoint, we are designing Marketing Technology solutions that will drive innovation and data strategies for our clients. We are evaluating ways that we can support the data-driven Marketing strategy needs through Marketing Technologist, Data Scientist, and Analytics expertise. As companies continue to use platforms and best-of-breed technologies, we want to create clarity around how to use the data from all of these platforms and create relevant customer experiences.
– We are strengthening our Salesforce practice and will continue to provide services for our clients in this technology. However, we are also exploring ways to be agile and serve our clients with other Marketing Automation, Email, and Analytics software platform expertise.
– We are also focused on emerging technologies and ensuring that we can advise our clients on the best way to connect with their customer along their journey. By having an emerging technology focus, we will have the ability to advise and implement new technologies that meet business goals.
What current technology platforms do you use in your role?
Being responsible for over 400 people across 10 different locations, you can get lost in the data. It’s important to work closely with our finance team to create reports that allow me to understand exceptions to a defined baseline. These reports allow me to understand where I need to spend my time, and more importantly, where I don’t need to spend my time. The primary tools we use are Power BI, Anaplan and SalesForce.
What advice would you offer to someone else entering this profession?
This question caused me to pause for a few minutes to think about how much marketing has changed just over the last few years and to reflect how much it will change over the course of someone’s career just entering the workforce.
- Understand the value of true insight. Something ownable about a customer segment that allows you to communicate in a relevant way. For example, how do moms and daughters shop for back to school clothes today? It’s different than it was even a few years ago. Understanding that insight will allow you to tailor your whole marketing/communication strategy for both participants.
- Don’t get lost in the data. Learn to understand what data is valuable and actionable. You are going to get overloaded with data in your career, learn to glean out what’s important and spend your time making decisions based on that data.
- Customers are willing to give you their information if you make it worth their while. That doesn’t necessarily mean discounts or freebies. It could be content that they find valuable. On the flip side, if they give you their information and you don’t use that correctly, you will lose them quickly.
Bryan (aka BVD) has over 30 years of experience helping companies build stronger business which leads to improved results; with the last 20 years focused in digital strategy, innovation and implementation. Known for his pragmatic leadership style, Bryan works collaboratively to drive an environment that creates clear direction, entrepreneurial spirit and superior results all resulting in client and employee satisfaction.
In addition to business transformation, Bryan excels at driving strong financial results that he uses to invest back into people and clients.
Rightpoint is the independent customer experience agency with technology at its core. We create impactful digital experiences driven by insight, strategy, design, and technology to help clients succeed at the speed of innovation. Rightpoint serves more than 250 Fortune 1,000 companies and has been named one of Crain’s 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Chicago for four consecutive years. Rightpoint is the largest independent agency with 400+ employees across 10 offices.