Welcome, Jamshed! How did your experience in some of the world’s leading companies shape your current role as the SVP, Global Head of Strategy & Services at Marigold?
I started my career on the agency side at Wunderman/Thompson and Havas, working in the services team and directly engaging with customers. As we all know, the agency world can be a bit frenetic. Fast velocity. Extremely intense. High energy. It was a great learning experience. Those early experiences provided me with a deep understanding of customer needs and challenges and the creativity needed to meet their urgency and innovate on their behalf. Transitioning from the agency world to the vendor side with time at Salesforce and Microsoft, I had the opportunity to work with renowned global brands in diverse industries. There are many similarities and differences between the agency world and the tech vendor world. This exposure broadened my perspective and taught me that, regardless of the industry, similar challenges exist. Clients need partners to help them succeed in a competitive marketplace.
What primary responsibilities does your position at Marigold entail? What changes have you implemented in six months of your role that have propelled the company’s growth?
When I came to Marigold a few years ago, the organization had acquired a number of outstanding technology companies and was in the beginning stages of bringing those capabilities together in a way that would create a competitive advantage for our clients and our company. As we sit here today, that transformation has occurred, and Marigold is now positioned as a market leader for Relationship Marketing. One of our superpowers is that not only do we now offer amazing technology, but we also wrap world-class services around the tech to help our clients improve their time to value, maximize their investments, and, most importantly, engage with their customers in more meaningful ways. This transformation has been incredibly satisfying to be part of.
In alignment with this transformation, as Senior Vice President, Global Head of Strategy & Services, my goal has been to help Marigold unite our various services teams across our global company with one unified leadership team. In the past six months, we have initiated significant changes to how we work with our customers to provide white-glove support by unifying our services team, including:
These changes have not only improved our internal operations but have also positioned us for significant growth and enhanced customer satisfaction. In essence, it has created a competitive advantage for Marigold. Many of our competitors can not, do not, or will not offer these services. At a time when clients need to do more with less within their own teams, the availability of these services is critical for their success. It’s exciting to see all of this come to fruition. I feel like an ‘agency’ kid again.
In what ways does Marigold’s Relationship Marketing technology enable businesses to deliver highly personalized experiences, helping acquire new customers and grow existing ones?
Today, clients need help figuring out what it takes to win the customers’ hearts, not just their transactions. They need to work harder to know more about their customers and to help them along their path to purchase in a contextually relevant way over time. This is the foundation of relationship marketing. And it is, in fact, what we do here at Marigold.
Since joining the company three years ago, I’ve witnessed how Marigold’s solutions empower marketers and, in turn, help our team acquire, nurture, and grow loyal customers all in one place. We’re one of the only firms who can tie together the full customer lifecycle across all of those customer life stages. Since Marigold’s technology is a comprehensive solution that allows businesses to engage with consumers at every stage of their journey, the unified approach simplifies the process and ensures a consistent and personalized experience. Coupled with our white glove services, it’s a winning combination. Additionally, all of our products are scalable, so we can serve a wide range of clients, large and small, across many verticals. Whether a customer starts with one component of our technology or the entire suite, they have the flexibility to expand and leverage additional features from our portfolio as their needs evolve. Finally, our data-driven approach in our relationship marketing technology enables marketers to not only acquire new customers but also to foster long-term loyalty. Data-informed personalization means that businesses can create meaningful connections with their customer base, turning them into loyal advocates.
What key KPIs do you prioritize in precise tracking and measuring the success of your strategic initiatives?
We use an OKR framework (Objectives & Key Results) to track various initiatives across teams and ensure alignment with the overall vision. Since our customer size is scalable, so are outcomes. We are always asking ourselves - ‘did we achieve the outcome that we set out to deliver?’ This starts by making sure we are aligned on the overall goal of a campaign so we can develop the strategy and tactics across our solutions that are going to be deliverable and achievable within a reasonable timeframe.
In terms of the marketing KPIs we focus on with our clients, it varies depending on the specific engagement. If we’re supporting a loyalty program, the metrics will relate to member growth, profitability and revenue contribution of the program, program engagement, repeat purchase, CLTV, member satisfaction, etc. The metrics for a CRM program will be similar, of course, but the specific measures will relate to the activities and behaviors supported by the program.
Can you recall any instance when you had to pivot a strategic plan due to unexpected circumstances? How did you still manage to successfully attain the initially set goals?
Over the past few years, consumer behavior has changed dramatically. In fact, during the pandemic, almost 90% of people changed what they buy, how they buy, and where they buy. Even if they wanted to be loyal, most consumers couldn’t remain loyal to their favorite brands due to supply chain issues or limited access during the pandemic. And while some pre-pandemic buying behaviors have returned, many have not. It’s clear that the buyer journey today is much different and more complex. It is also constantly evolving. And it happens over time. Add to that the increase in data volume and velocity, the rapidly evolving marketing technology landscape, and a challenging economy, and you have the perfect storm for most marketers. They have been dealing with unprecedented changes in consumer behaviors. As a technology and service provider, we’ve had to pivot to help our clients deal with the significance of these unexpected market conditions and continue to thrive despite the headwinds.
Additionally, being flexible in this kind of work is essential, particularly when taking on new teams and exploring new opportunities. For instance, when we had to adapt to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we transitioned from in-person workshops to online whiteboard engagement. Later, we pivoted again to a hybrid model. Throughout these transitions, our focus remained on aligning with customer objectives and ensuring momentum was not lost. What I took away from that period of time is that you have to stay vigilant and be brave enough to pivot. Effective and constant communication was vital to ensure that everyone moved in the same direction despite the change in plans. While the path to achieving our goals may have changed, our commitment to achieving the desired outcome remained unwavering.
Marigold was recently named the “Best Overall Email Marketing Company”? What exceptional characteristics of Marigold’s solution have contributed to achieving this recognition?
We are both humbled by and proud of this recognition. Our dedication to innovation has really set us apart in the marketplace and helped us earn this recognition. Additionally, I think leaning in on strategy and service has also helped and created a competitive advantage. We continuously strive to enhance our platform by bringing together various components to provide an exceptional customer experience. An example is our use of live content within the messaging platform, which has enriched the engagement and interaction with our customers. We have also distinguished ourselves by bringing together messaging and loyalty into one platform. This integration allows us to leverage loyalty use cases and incorporate them into messaging strategies, ultimately delivering outcomes that promote customer advocacy. I guess you could say that it’s a combination of our people, strategic focus, and technology innovation that is helping us stand out in a crowded field.
How is Marigold positioned to disrupt the martech space with more advanced marketing solutions over the next five years? What would be your role in shaping this pathway?
Marigold’s strategy for the next five years centers around enhancing marketing solutions by combining loyalty strategies with cutting-edge AI/ML technologies. We aim to double down on loyalty within CRM and leverage AI/ML to supercharge our offerings. From a services perspective, my role involves helping our customers understand how market changes can be translated into effective tactics and executed through our platform. We encourage experimentation and innovation, challenging conventional approaches and differentiating ourselves from competitors. Our commitment to continuous innovation in collaboration with our customers will be pivotal in achieving our goals. It’s an exciting time to be in the marketing business. And it’s the perfect time to be a leader in the discipline of relationship marketing.