Destination, USA: Christian Twiste of Korcomptenz

Welcome to our new blog series, Marketing Without Borders. Twice per month, we invite a leader from our global network of partners to share their experiences with their unique perspectives on marketing, technology, and business. The questions are ours, but the answers are theirs – every word, shared without edit, from their fingers to your eyes.

Today, we welcome Christian Twiste, Chief Operating Officer at KORCOMPTENZ. Christian combines almost 20 years of experience in enterprise marketing technology with a diverse background including strategy, business development, and creative to support the total technology transformation needs of international organizations. His mission is to deploy innovative, personalized programs that accelerate business results by leveraging big data and other leading-edge solutions powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. He has worked in multiple market sectors including retail, healthcare, and financial services, supporting some of the largest and most recognizable brands in the world such as Pfizer, Wells Fargo and March of Dimes.

Christian has a background in fine arts with a degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to his work in the technology sector, he is an award-winning independent filmmaker, author of multiple novels, and a semi-professional race car driver. He began his career in automotive sales before moving to print design and ultimately interactive, where he has developed into a thought leader with a reputation for developing innovative, agile solutions to complex challenges. In his role as Chief Operating Officer at KORCOMPTENZ, Christian works with over 200 clients, implementing best-practices, processes, platforms, and programs to drive digital transformation around the world.

Tell us about Korcomptenz, the companies you work with, and the role marketing plays at those companies.

Korcomptenz is a technology transformation provider that improves outcomes for our customers by deploying, managing, and integrating best-in-class solutions across web and mobile technologies, business management systems, cloud and infrastructure installations, and emerging technologies.

Marketing plays a dual role for our customers, especially after the rise of sophisticated marketing technology platforms over the past decade. First, it’s the traditional gateway to sales, generating demand, nurturing leads, and acquiring new customers. Second, its become a critical component of their technology stack, generating important insights and analytics that improve future campaigns.

What are the big marketing trends you are seeing currently? And do you see those trends changing in the next 3 years? How so?

Marketing is a pretty unique field because it is constantly changing while remaining somewhat the same. Marketing principles and goals are relatively constant—engaging more targeted leads, nurturing prospects, and converting customers—but the methodologies to accomplish those goals are rapidly evolving, and a marketer time traveling from the 1980’s would have little idea what his or her modern counterparts were talking about in a planning meeting.

I think it is extremely safe to say that the biggest marketing trend of this generation is the rise of automation and personalization powered by increasingly sophisticated technology. Organizations have been and will continue to adapt these principles to their own needs, but the market is so large and the platforms so flexible that there is something for everyone, whether they are B2C or B2B.

I also think it is safe to say that this trend will continue—and change. While it’s never safe to predict the future of anything driven by technology, I think you can reasonably predict two things.

First, the primary channels to broadcast your message will continue to expand and evolve. Instagram, for example, is extremely hot right now, especially in fashion and lifestyle, but social networks are constantly shifting. We can certainly anticipate some new players emerging. It’s also likely that mobile will continue to grow in importance. A new study from Forrester reported that mobile ecommerce accounts for about 40% of even B2B transactions. Clearly, no one can afford to ignore this space.

Second, I believe machine learning and artificial intelligence will take a much larger role in marketing automation and consumer engagement. I’m not quite bold enough to predict what form will take off first—whether it’s chat bots or marketing analytics—but it is pretty clear that these technologies are going to have a huge impact, and that there will be an equally huge demand for it. The simple truth is marketers are going to need a more advanced way to deal with the huge data sets generated by today’s platforms, and artificial intelligence is likely the answer.

What are the biggest marketing challenge your clients are facing today? What’s keeping them up at night? And what kind of advice do you find yourself frequently offering to your clients?

Ironically, I believe the biggest challenge facing marketers is technology. In principle, I think most marketers know what they want to accomplish, they understand their audiences and how to connect with them. In practice, I think they’re overwhelmed by the explosion of systems and data, the new tools of the trade that are used to make those connections.

The look and feel of their new website, or the content for their email campaigns isn’t keeping them up at night. It’s whether that site will launch on time and on budget, or whether that new marketing automation platform is really ready to go live. Marketers are increasingly dealing with challenges and stress that have been traditionally reserved for the Information Systems team.

The best advice we can offer is to try to change their thinking and focus more directly on outcomes, and to change their planning strategy to launch campaigns in iterations with continuous improvement. The technology is there. There are 3,700+ martech systems on the market, for most organizations any well-rated platform will be more than enough for their needs. This should be liberating for marketers, giving them the freedom to experiment and innovate, but instead it’s become a burden as everyone is now focused on picking the most “advanced” platform and trying to integrate it with every other system.

Instead, focus on results, show success, and upgrade the technology implementation over time.

What mistakes or incorrect assumptions are companies making today with regard to their marketing strategy?

The biggest mistake I believe companies are making is that at times they are marketing to other marketers. The strategy has become the technology, and therefore you have to use all the bells and whistles on your shiny new toy. Call it the era of “meta marketing.”

I think everyone would benefit from putting the focus back on the consumer and the outcome you are looking to achieve. Prospects are people; yes, they maybe more distracted with their phones constantly beeping, and, yes, you may communicate with them in new ways, but ultimately the underlying psychology of their behavior hasn’t changed much since the advent of technology.

For example, a healthcare consumer is still looking for the best way to treat themselves and a loved one. Their emotional state after learning about a diagnosis is the same as it was before the internet. You need to understand that state, and put yourself in their position: Do you want to wait for a healthcare provider’s site to display a huge banner with a video because it looks pretty, or do you want to have easy, instant access to learn about the care you need?

Can you share an example of a marketing success story you experienced recently – whether at Korcomptenz or with one of your clients?

Yes, absolutely. We’re very excited about how we have taken many of the points I have mentioned in this interview and applied them to a healthcare campaign for an academic medical center. This organization had no shortage of platforms, teams, ideas, and audiences, but instead of trying to address it all at once, we focused on one discrete, self-contained area, bariatric surgery, and we started small (and self-contained) with a targeted microsite on Drupal and Mautic for marketing automation.

Three months after launch the campaign has generated a 25.1% conversion rate and engaged five times as many visitors as their traditional approach.  Needless to say, everyone involved is extremely pleased. We’re now upgrading the campaign and making it the sole digital marketing home for their weight loss center.

I consider this a success for more than the conversion rate: As large and successful as the organization was, they’d never successfully deployed any marketing automation or customer journey strategies. We were able to deploy these technologies on a reasonable budget and without the complexity of similar solutions.

What is one of your current favorite MarTech tools?

Kentico CMS. It’s a great all-in-one web content management, marketing automation, ecommerce, and intranet solution at a reasonable price point.

What unique marketing challenges exist in your market/your clients’ markets that might surprise readers from other parts of the world?

I think the US market is uniquely challenging because of the overwhelming amount of competition regardless of industry. For some of our customers, the competition is literally across the street, and marketing success has become a never-ending arms race.

At Mautic, we believe there are very real advantages to open, in marketing solutions/platforms as well as in business and operating philosophies in general. What does “open” mean to you in terms of marketing, business, and technology?

Open in technology traditionally means open source code, but I take it to mean a lot more than that, especially when it comes to Mautic. I believe that open means that there are no barriers to entry regardless of a customer’s existing technology stack or their budget. It’s a strategy and a technology that users can start on easily, quickly, and cost-effectively, then grow with for the long term regardless of how their other technology and strategies change. I would also add that there is a sense that there should be no (or very limited secrets); that marketing success should be crowd-sourced for everyone to benefit from the best practices.

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