CMO Insights: John Kottcamp, Chief Marketing Technologist & CMO, Tahzoo

CMO Insights: John Kottcamp

November 27, 2018

CMO Insights: John Kottcamp

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is John Kottcamp, Chief Marketing Technologist and CMO at Tahzoo.

In this video, John talks about:

  • The definition and scope of a Chief Marketing Technologist’s role
  • Personalization and the ability to dynamically deliver relevant content to specific customers
  • The challenges associated with aligning Sales and Marketing and how technology can help

Learn more about John from his LinkedIn profile and follow Tahzoo on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos or our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, Welcome to Revenue Marketing Television, the CMO Insights Series. I’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today, we have John Kottcamp, Chief Marketing Technologist and Chief Marketing Officer for Tahzoo. John, welcome to the show.

John Kottcamp:

Alright, thanks Jeff. It’s a pleasure being with you today.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So first of all, I love that title of Chief Marketing Technologist. And as you were telling me earlier, that comes first. It’s a big, big part of your job. UI think so many executives out there, especially marketing technology, marketing executives, we’re trying to get them, convinced them to hire technology people to report in and out. But here you are doing both. So tell us a little bit about your role, and why do you have both titles?

John Kottcamp:

Yeah. At first, I want to give credit to my friend Scott Brinker, who coined the phrase, a chief marketing technologist in an HBR article a few years ago, and the way I see it, and I think why, how it’s evolved and why it’s an important, most accurate title for me is that everything I do with my clients are really centered around how to do MarTech marketing technology and how to bridge that gap between traditional marketing objectives of whether it’s brand conversion, whether it’s B to B, B to C and increasingly B to B to C I think is becoming probably the most important group. 

And that’s where the technology needs to be applied to to achieve the business goals set out by marketing. And therefore, I think this notion of chief marketing technologist is that’s. My job is to connect those dots between either two. I still am the COO for my company. And I think one of the reasons that that is relevant is when I’m talking, I spend a lot of time talking to other CMOs and I, I guess I, what I would call a serial CML. I’ve been seeing him for numerous companies, large and small over the last couple of decades. And I think the biggest reason that I use that title still when I’m talking with other CMOs is we’re talking the same language. We could relate to each other and we can have a good peer to peer relationship, which makes it easier to kind of start bringing in the notions of technology and business and all the other things that go with the chief marketing technologist grow.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So, so given your intense focus on technology and the strategic use in marketing all these years, what would you say have been maybe the top positives as a result of technology and then on the flip side, you know, maybe what are some of the negatives or detractions because now we have all this technology?

John Kottcamp:

Yeah, I think the, I think the biggest goal or the biggest kind of advantage of where we evolve the technology, the marketing technology in the last Oh dozen, 15 years is around the ability to do personalization and personalization was a buzz word a dozen years ago and kind of has gone up and down. You know, it started in the days of, of, you know, direct mail subsidiary and dear valued customer for dear John, excuse me. But, you know, personalization today, I think means the ability to dynamically deliver, you know, relevant content that fits within the context, as well as the, you know, the, the desires of an individual customer or a segment of customers, if it’s more anonymous. 

And I think that technology has given us the ability to be able to look at many more variables rather than the traditional, you know, demographics of, you know, age and gender and that sort of thing, or even the third party you know upended data that you would get. Now we have the ability to look at behavior look at intent look across multiple channels and be able to, you know, pull together everything, to be able to understand what somebody is interested in in the moment they are engaging with the brand, whether that’s on the website, an app B2B at a trade fair, whatever it may be across those channels. I think the detraction or the negative of that, which is really more, I think of a danger is we get is the whole question of privacy. And I think we get caught up into the notion that, Oh, we’ve got to be, you know, with GDPR coming on board, especially we’ve got to be so, you know, concerned about privacy and I think we should, and we have to understand the difference between an optimum experience or an aggregated anonymous experience that protects somebody’s privacy while still giving them what all the surveys of data suggest is that they want a customized, personalized experience.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah, that’s a real good input. I mean, I think it’s, it’s been interesting to see what people have been willing to give up and what they got. Yeah, I, I remember first call, you know, the smartphone is only 10 years old, right? First couple of years, people didn’t even think about doing banking on the phone, at least here in the U S that way. And now it’s a, you see, like drive through the drive through is, are pretty much closed all the time at banks because people don’t go to the banks and everything on their phone. So I think, I guess it’s just a lot of, it depends upon the the value and the benefit that the customer is getting. I want to go back to something you said a little bit earlier when you’re talking about B2B to see with technology and all the channels now for just about any business, isn’t it almost like BDE, I mean, you could, you could pretty much sell to anyone you know, a lot of different ways just depending upon how you adapt your business model.

John Kottcamp:

Yeah. And I think we’ve seen over the last, you know, decade or so, you know, the, the Polaris operation of disintermediation. I mean, we’re looking at the travel industry, you know, back when I was general manager for Lufthansa German airlines, where we sold 90% of our sales were through travel agents, you know, and then of course that moved completely to the, you know, to the online brokers, the Expedia and Priceline, but more and more it’s that, you know, direct sale to the customer. And you see that in, you know, moving beginning to see that in the FinTech and the financial services and definitely in the insurance, the auto insurance frame. But I think what the challenge for, you know, you’ve got the disintermediation that is best represented by Amazon. Any manufacturer can sell directly through an Amazon site directly to the public. But I think that that forgets about the important role that channel, whether that’s distributor agent, partner, whatever you want to call them depending on your industries play.

And so I think the big challenge for B to B to C is to be able to have like a manufacturer, for example we’re working with a large international electronics manufacturer from, from Taiwan. And their challenge is they wanted to be able to develop the relationships and the brand affinity with their customers, but they’re not trying to completely eliminate the distribution channel. Where is whether it’s big box or whether it’s direct, you know, or even sales through an Amazon. They’re not willing to give up that channel because it’s very valuable and financially very stable for them. But at the same time, they see the need and the desire to develop direct relationships with their clients. We work with a motorcycle company a couple of years ago, and this is just a couple of years ago. And the only way they had data about their customers were the people that were still sending in the three by five warranty cards, because everything was being sold through dealers and dealers didn’t share the customer information with the manufacturer. And that’s what we see as the biggest challenge in the beat is a, B to C world is to include that manufacturer or that source into that mix, not just completely eliminating the distribution channel.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I was just that, that description of index cards, I couldn’t help, but think of the salesperson with the boxes in their trunk here. I think they’re probably still out there. Some of them yeah, I think even CRM worldwide, the penetration is only about 55%. I think of all the companies. So I still see, I’ve seen fortune 5,000 companies don’t even have an active CRM. It’s either some Excel spreadsheet. It’s pretty amazing. I think you and I did, we did a workshop many years ago, 10, 12 years ago. And, and one of the topics was around sales and marketing alignment. And it’s you think that things have changed significantly since then? Is that still a big challenge?

John Kottcamp:

Well, if we remember kind of the, the, the Dawn, the first generations of CRM, the biggest challenges around that, which probably still speaks to some of the things you were just saying is the fact you get salespeople to write things down. You know, that was a challenge. And I think there were two challenges associated with that one with the technology and that I think the technology has come so far, that it is so easy, whether it’s capturing data on their smartphone, whether it’s the company able to populate things to take a lot of that day to day kind of paper pushing effort that a lot of field salespeople felt that it was as a hard thing to, you know, as the biggest impediment to keep them from using this system. But I think the other, their biggest challenge, and I think this is one that still exists is this notion of who owns the customer.

And especially in the B to B space is I think a lot of field sales organization, the sales person perceives that they own the customer. You know, I was talking about channel situations earlier, the distributor or the partner feels they own the challenge or own the customer. Not that the end, you know, the brand or the customer does. I remember working with a very large software company in my neck of the woods. You know, this is going back probably close to a decade, but you know, each division in that company that sold various different business software versus operating systems versus servers at other systems, each one of them perceived that they own the customer. And I remember there was a classic example that one farmer in Iowa got on average about 200 emails a week from this one company, because they were viewed as a small business. They were viewed as agribusiness. They were buying, you know, operating systems. They were by, you know, every different system. And because of this conflict of quote unquote ownership of the customer, this created a horrible customer experiences. I think the good side is that again, the technology exists now much more refined that can get by a lot of that and make sure that we don’t bombard the any individual customer.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. It’s interesting that you say that because I think unfortunately a lot of that still is happening because every company talks about being customer focused. But in reality, I think they’re more customer service focused in terms of being reactionary versus truly redesigning their business, their solutions, their technology around the customer in the middle. So no matter what they do until they actually make that happen, these things are gonna gonna happen, even if it’s unintended. Yeah. Yeah.

John Kottcamp:

I think one of the, to me, one of the critical things that, and I speak a lot of this in clients is to get the company to understand what we call the fair exchange of value. And that is on the one side take, for example, a customer or a person doesn’t even have to be a customer coming to your company’s website. They are coming there for a specific purpose. That purpose may be, you know, gaming in entertainment. It may be customer service. It may be researching your product. It may be to buy something in the eCommerce. There’s, you know, there’s a dozen different reasons somebody comes. And so you need as a company to make sure that you provide the best experience to allow that person to achieve what they want and what their goal is. The flip side of that is the business has very specific goals that they need to achieve.

They need to move somebody down. The, the funnel, even if it’s not a traditional linear funnel, they need to drive conversions. They need to add, you know, increase affinity. They need to increase xAPI card size. They need to increase the breadth of their, you know, the cross sell up, sell all of their goals. And you have to find a way to be able to at every touch point between customer and brand, you have to be able to balance those two sides, what the customer wants out of it and what the business needs out of it, to be able to have a successful experience that will drive that relationship forward.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So can you think of some public examples of where companies are really getting it right?

John Kottcamp:

Yeah. I think that I would look at a good example. We do a lot of work with with Starbucks and they do an incredible job in their, their tradition. Just the experience when somebody walks into a store. They, you know, they designed the whole third place concept. It is a good experience when people come in, eat and stand in line, and they become the factor leaders. So they are the technology leader in mobile apps in most of the world, outside of China, where, you know, you’ve got a different situation and they’ve done that about 25% of their total sales in their stories in the U S are driven by their mobile app. And that has become, that has created a really good customer experience. It is quicker. It is easier and the customer gets the recognition.

And of course, what is Starbucks get is incredible data scream of what their customers are actually buying, what they’re interested in with their loyalty program, what things, you know, what rewards are meaningful to them. And I think that’s probably one of the best examples I can think of, of somebody getting it right now, that being said 25% use the mobile app, 75% in the U S don’t. So there’s that opportunity, an incredible opportunity to increase their understanding and knowledge of what their customers are interested to go after and learn more of the preferences of the 75% who’ve chosen so far not to use their mobile app.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. It’s interesting that you mentioned that because they’re kind of starting to give you that Amazon experience now. So if you use the app frequently enough, if you’ve got location services turned on at certain select stores, I mean, as soon as you pull up a year, like they already bring up a menu before you even have to order it because you know, a lot of people where there are similar types of things. So I’ll say, Hey, Jeff, welcome back to Starbucks. Is this this is what you want. And that’s really cool. It’s little, a little creepy, but still cool. Right? Just but yeah, I mean, it’s, I think that’s just goes to, Hey apps are centric because it really measures customer behavior. And once you can really see what customers are truly doing, then you can tell your services and the experience to how the customer actually is behaving. And I think everyone aspires to get there regardless of the business model. And then we all don’t have drive throughs and retail locations, but I think that the core principles are probably still the same.

John Kottcamp:

Yeah, no, I would agree. And you make a good point. I’m kind of looking at actual behavior. We’ve got a whole practice in our area called virtual ethnography where we do a lot of our research is understanding how people around a topic are behaving, talking in the broadest sense of the social world, you know, and, and for us, that’s understanding what people are actually saying that they think, which is different than what they say in a focus group or a traditional survey that has some inherent biases. And we always kind of use the, the, you know, the, the analogy. If you want to study the behavior of tigers, you don’t go to a zoo, you go into the jungle and we find that if you could look at that broadest spectrum of an audience, including your customers, but also outside of your customers, then you can start to again, understand what their desires, what they’re looking for. And then you can start to tailor the experience you deliver to what people actually want. And that should be mirrored in how they actually behave with the mobile app, or just in general, you know, on the web or whatever channel they’re engaging your with

Jeff Pedowitz:

Great insights, John, as always. So I thank you so much for being on the program today. I always enjoy following your career and seeing all the great things and, and thank you for sharing your insights with us today.

John Kottcamp:

Jeff, I want to thank you for, for inviting me to join with you today. I think that you know, I appreciate him followed your career. And I think more importantly, if you have followed the industry that we’re both a part of, and it’s exciting to me that, you know, we’ve begun the journey. We haven’t ended the journey. You know, I’m reminded of the famous Bill Gates quote of, you know, “most technology is overrated in the short term and undervalued in the longterm.” And I think that we’re seeing the role of marketing technology and the advancement of customer experience, just beginning to take advantage of, of what’s capable now today.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well said and in the spirit of a loyalty, right? And customer service here. Here’s to the journey.

John Kottcamp:

Next time when I’m over there, I will tell them Jeff Pedowitz is a good customer. I’ll see if I can look up, I’ll violate all the privacy and I’ll look up your record and see what you bought last.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Alright, you have my permission for that one. So, thank you John. Thank you.

John Kottcamp:

Okay. Thanks, Jeff. Appreciate that.

You May Also Like…

REVTalks Masters: Ruben Varela

REVTalks Masters: Ruben Varela

In the new blog series, “REVTalks Masters” we sit down with a few of the speakers from our upcoming event, the REVTalks and dive into their stories to help you with your journey to revenue marketing.

read more
REVTalks Masters: Elle Woulfe

REVTalks Masters: Elle Woulfe

In the new blog series, “REVTalks Masters” we sit down with a few of the speakers from our upcoming event, the REVTalks and dive into their stories to help you with your journey to revenue marketing.

read more

Marketing Operations

Increase efficiency. Remove roadblocks.

Customer Experience

Wow Your Customers

Lead Management

Accelerate Leads to Revenue

Digital Transformation

Turn Strategy Into Action

Inbound Marketing

Right Channel, Right Message

Account-Based Marketing

Accelerate ABM Success

Flexible
Options

Four options. One result: Greater marketing-sourced revenue.

Marketo Engage

Marketo Platinum Partner

Pardot

Accelerate Leads to Revenue

Microsoft Dynamics

Optimize Your Instance

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Salesforce Certified Silver Partner

Salesforce CRM

12 Years of Integration Experience

Partners

Additional Technology Platforms

Oracle Eloqua

Oracle Platinum Partner

Adobe Experience Manager

Provide world-class experiences

Revenue Marketing University 

Training for marketers of all skill levels.

F5 Logo

F5 Network's Case Study

How a Network Security Giant Unified Global Marketing Operations

F5 Logo

Rackspace's Case Study

How a Cloud Solutions Provider Unifed And Expanded Global Marketing Capabilities

TraceLink’s Case Study

How a Supply-Chain Solution Provider Built Crucial Capabilities For Revenue

Xylem's Case Study

How a Global Water Solutions Company Nailed Marketing Automation To Win

Gilbarco Veeder-Root

Gilbarco Veeder-Root's Case Study

How a Global Fueling Leader Transitioned To Win

Telecomm Case Study

How A Multi-Channel Inbound Strategy Achieved A 600% Increase In ROI

A credit card, representing a Fortune 100 client of The Pedowitz Group's

Financial Services Case Study

How a Fortune 100 Credit Card Company Closed The Loop On Revenue

Resource Hub

Read, Watch and Download

Trending Topics

Our Most Popular Content

Blog

Our Latest Articles

CMO Insights

Hear From Industry Experts

Get Timely Insights

Take an interactive assessment and get immediate results

About TPG

How are we different? Get to know us a bit better!

Case Studies

See real results from customers just like you

How We Work With You

How can we help you?

Partners

Learn about some of our Partners.

Introducing: The Loop

 

Revenue models are outdated. Here’s your update.

About TPG

How are we different? Get to know us a bit better!

Case Studies

See real results from customers just like you

How We Work With You

How can we help you?

Partners

Learn about some of our Partners.

Introducing: The Loop

 

Revenue models are outdated. Here’s your update.