The Role of Marketing Technology: A CEO Explains
Dawn Zier, CEO of the weight-loss firm Nutrisystem, Inc., and 2014 Target Marketing Marketer of the Year, shares her views on the role of marketing technology in her company’s future.
How do you approach marketing technology, strategically?
Zier: I like to use off-the-shelf solutions. My thinking is that, as technology advances, being part of a common platform ensures that the investment to keep the solutions cutting-edge is made by the third party. Our e-commerce platform is ATG Web Commerce, and we also use Ruby on Rails. We customize when absolutely necessary, but we err on the side of standardization.
You have talked about integrating your digital weight loss app, NuMi, with
fitness devices and wearables. How hard is it to integrate an app like that across the different platforms?
Zier: We designed the app using Ruby on Rails, whose open API makes it fairly simple to integrate seamlessly with Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings, and Apple Motion. We believe it is very important for NuMi to be available on whatever devices our customers are using.
So what challenges are on your mind, relating to marketing technology?
Zier: Attribution. We are omnichannel marketers. We use television, email, print and digital, and we are also available at retail. It is important for us to understand how each channel impacts another. So we have partnered with a third party to develop an attribution model that allows us to optimize our media spend across channels.
Where else are you making marketing tech investments?
Zier: In mobile, our call centers and on our website. We have introduced a sophisticated call routing system in our contact center to enhance our ability to make dynamic offers based on past customer behavior, both online and through the phone. As more people place orders using smartphones instead of laptops and tablets, the experience really has to be adapted. This is a huge opportunity for us, since response rates can increase dramatically with a tailored experience on mobile devices.
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.