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Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at survey tech startup Worthix, and host of the Voices of Customer Experience Podcast. Originally a passion project, the podcast runs weekly and features some of the most influential CX thought-leaders, practitioners and academia on challenges, development and the evolution of CX.

Mary's goal is to broaden the reach of Customer Experience, connecting it to Marketing, Business, Design-thinking, Data Science, Statistics, Behavioral Economics, and Artificial Intelligence. Together, these fields hold the power of communication and understanding between businesses and consumers.

As the Customer Experience Era continues to disrupt the methods that worked in the past, the ability to adapt to the changing customer perceptions and expectations is more valuable than ever.

Worthix uses a scientific methodology to analyze and decode the unpredictability of human decisions to help companies understand their worth and keep value propositions updated. This creates more empathetic companies by showing them how to provide the precise experiences that will woo their customers, therefore motivating them to buy, re-buy and stay loyal

Mary moved to Atlanta in 2016 after Worthix relocated its headquarters from San Francisco. In between her role as CMO, podcast host, mother to a rambunctious 6-year-old, as well as an even more energetic dog named Poppy, Mary spends her free time at the gym practicing Olympic weightlifting.

  • EC

    Emília Chagas

    6 months ago #

    Now regarding the podcast, Mary:
    1. how do you believe that attaching Worthix brand to industry authorities figures has worked for you so far? Any business bottom-line results that can be connected to the top-funnel/awareness results?
    2. If you had to start the same strategy again for another company/industry, what's the step-by-step process you'd take?

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Our podcast strategy worked in our favor in two very positive ways. 1) We piggy-backed on the influence and following of our guests and through that, grew our listener base exponentially, and 2) By inviting key players and industry thought leaders onto the show, we had a clear-cut opportunity to tell the entire community that we existed. 2 years ago, no one in CX had a clue what Worthix was. Today, it’s hard to find someone in Market Research and/or CX who hasn’t at least heard about us. It was the single most powerful thing we’ve done for our marketing and branding. Interestingly, the podcast has been so successful that it totally reshaped our marketing strategy. 80% of our MQLs at this point enter through the podcast. That’s pretty impressive.

      The step-by-step would probably be the answer I gave Doug further down, but most importantly I would exhaustively research my target audience and industry to find firstly, what their pain is and secondly, the most impactful way of providing answers and solutions to those pains.

      2 Share
  • SD

    Sue Duris

    6 months ago #

    Hi Mary - what three CX trends do you see for 2019?

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Hi Sue! fancy seeing you here! In the many conversations I have had with folks who are a lot smarter than I, the trends I've noticed are mostly regarding new forms of VoC collection to combat survey fatigue while still collecting large data; also, the use of artificial intelligence in feedback collection, like we do here at Worthix; and the beginning of an AR trend for surveying, possibly with facial recognition as well could significantly disrupt the current methods being used while allowing a more direct interaction between brand and customer.

      4 Share
  • PC

    Pedro Clivati

    6 months ago #

    Hi, Mary - thank you for doing this, great to have someone with experience in both marketing and customer service.

    My question goes precisely in this direction: how do you see the intersection of both areas? We hear a lot about marketing <> sales alignment (people even came up with a term for that: smarketing) or sales and customer service alignment (SLA). However, I haven't really seen marketing and customer service walking together - although when we talk about customer advocates, this should probably fall under the marketing umbrella.

    Thank you again, Mary.

    5 Share
    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Hi Pedro!

      Marketing is similar to sales in the way it is the face or representation of a company. Many times a customer’s perceptions and expectations are set by these departments and they proceed with those in mind. It is then the role of customer service and customer success to ensure those expectations are ACTUALLY met or achieved and assure there are no gaps between customer expectation vs, reality, and then deal with the consequences and create solutions. If your companies’ departments are siloed, this means your clients are potentially in for disappointment and this could make or break any future business or loyalty from them. Only by creating clear channels of communication between these departments, can we accurately understand what can be expected and relay those to the customer.

      Here at Worthix we have company meetings every week to relay information on system development, marketing endeavors, sales updates as well as customer success, along with smaller team meetings for each department every week. We also have an agent that centralizes feedback from all departments to ensure information and customer feedback doesn't get lost or stuck somehow. While this may not be what works for everyone, it helps keep us abreast of what our strengths and shortcomings are so we can be more transparent with our clients and adjust their expectations appropriately and better create their success with our product.

      2 Share
  • DS

    Douglas Schneider

    6 months ago #

    Hello Mary,

    thanks for sharing your knowledge and insights. I've got some questions about Podcast for you.

    What do I need to know about Podcast before start Podcasting?

    What is the best way to reach and engage my audience?

    How often should I Podcast and how long should it take?

    Thanks!!

    Doug ;)

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Hey Doug! There are a couple of key things that I would point out.

      1) Choose a theme and stick to it. If you try to do everything, you will do nothing

      2) Choose a platform to host your podcast (we use soundcloud) and distribute to other outlets such as iTunes and Spotify

      3) Determine your target audience and try to find a need they have. Go out and find specialists to help solve this need on your podcast

      4) When approaching potential guests, don’t feel intimidated by their title or following. Thought leaders, authors, and keynote live off their own branding, so an opportunity for some “free” branding is as good for them as it is for you. You’re not requesting a favor, it’s an exchange.

      5) I personally like podcasts that are 20-40 minutes long. I tend to lose focus after 30 minutes. Add breaks, even if it’s just a couple of seconds to give folks a breather. We normally do 2 breaks in a 30-minute episode. This is also a great moment for advertising or CTAs.

      6) We do 3 month-long seasons with weekly episodes. This gives us time to produce episodes and have at least 5 episodes good to go at the beginning of each new season.

      Hope I covered everything!

      2 Share
  • CL

    Curtis Lockwood

    6 months ago #

    Hi Mary! Lots of marketing is focused on profiling and using predictive data to understand and target specific segments. If we already have such rich data sets at our disposal, do we even need to survey consumers anymore?

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Ah. Smart question. I am of course inclined to respond yes, we do. But it goes further than my role with Worthix and our survey methodology .. the difference is very much between cold and hot data. Data prediction is great and crucial for strategic decision-making, but today's economy is ridiculously fast-paced and most models out there are unable to foresee abrupt shifts in consumer expectations stemmed from disruptions (which tend to spring up out of nowhere and send the entire market into a frenzy). Worthix surveys continuously collect hot data, and detect changes or shifts in expectations as they are happening. This gives decision-makers a crucial window of opportunity to act before customers churn to the competitor du jour, while in other cases, by the time the models are able to detect change, it's already too late. Think BlackBerry.

  • TO

    Tiago Otani

    6 months ago #

    Hi Mary, thank you for your time and contribution!

    As a marketer, I find quite interesting your position as CMO at a VERY customer-centric tech company.

    I'd say most Marketing teams end up being focused on acquiring new customers and overlook customer experience in general, do you agree?

    Do you have any thoughts on how small marketing teams can optimize their efforts to help boost retention and engagement metrics without risking their acquisition goals?

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Tiago, that's actually a very insightful observation.

      I definitely agree that marketing defaults to acquisition, because sales tend to signify growth. But the secret is in sustainable growth, and historically, companies, especially startups that have practiced unsustainable growth are born with an expiration sticker attached.

      Creating a customer-centric organization starts with your MVP that you build alongside your customer. Or, if you are part of a large enterprise, with proper product development through the use of qualitative research and other VoC programs. It seems that a lot of companies have started implementing design-thinking strategies and customer journey mapping to their processes and I applaud these efforts. But mostly, these techniques are used by customer service, quality control, sales, and branding, but not necessarily marketing.

      Maybe, as marketers, we need to take a step back from our funnels and analytics and start practicing customer-centric marketing where we listen, study, observe and understand the pains of our target audience before designing our strategy as opposed to just jumping into the best-practices trap.

      Another point is that you've got to listen to the folks on the front-lines, whether they be B2C sales reps or top-tier B2B sales executives. They are the ones who sit across from the customers and know precisely what makes them tick. Missing out on that intel is inexcusable.

      In conclusion, by putting in the work before pressing play on marketing strategies, you should be able to boost that retention without compromising goals.

      2 Share
  • CS

    Cecilia Schmitz

    6 months ago #

    Hey, Mary!

    Thank you so much doing this AMA :)

    You have such an impressive list of activities – wow!

    Regarding the podcasts you host at Worthix blog, I was wondering how it was at the beginning, back at the first podcast you hosted!

    How did you start having the first hosts? What about the structure? Did you have to improvise a lot?

    Are there some tips you can give to make this process easier for beginners? :)

    Best,
    Cecilia.

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Cecilia,

      If you want to start a podcast, just start. Don’t sit around waiting for the right mic, a sound-proof studio, a proprietary jingle. The planets will never perfectly align. You've gotta start with what you've got!

      Our first episode was recorded on a freemium Zoom account with a set of earpods in the back office, and the jingle was taken off a copyright-free site! For our first guests, I was lucky enough to have an amazing producer that set us up with a world-renowned author for our very first episode. But, yes, there was a hella lot of improvising. And most of our guests were folks I flat out cold emailed or approached on LinkedIn.

      As long as you have a clearly defined goal and theme, it’s easy to find guests that align with your projects. I got a lot of “no’s” and a lot more ignores, but I got a couple yeses, and those were the first 8 episodes on season 1. After that, the rest came in organically, and we’re now at a point where folks are approaching us, requesting to be on the show.

      Only recently did we invest in sound-proofing, and editing software, cool gear, and awesome design. Take it one step at a time, but just start,

  • EC

    Emília Chagas

    6 months ago #

    Hi Mary,
    How does Worthix measure the why behind your customers' decisions? What's the difference between this index and NPS?

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Great question Emilia! Let me start off by saying that NPS is not a metric we hate, but one that we feel doesn’t necessarily capture actionable data for all companies. Traditional metrics like NPS and CSAT are capable of measuring a customer’s feelings AFTER a purchase and asks questions that don’t give insight into the parts of customer experience that are failing or working.

      This is a problem because we are in a volatile new period we call The Customer Experience Economy. It is no longer enough for companies to focus on delivering a stellar product, they have to consider the needs of their consumers as the core of their offerings.

      As technology gaps close between industries, commoditization is a growing trend. Every new innovation is copied, so trying to compete on innovation alone is not enough, and neither is trying to compete on price alone.

      So what IS the answer? It varies by company and industry! So why use a one-dimensional survey to explain the multifaceted decision making process customers have? Worthix aims to pinpoint WHAT exactly makes a customer see your brand as more “Worth it” than your competitors.

      Worthix is a dynamic survey, which allows us to capture customer insight based on what THEY want to talk about. Straight from the source. Using artificial intelligence we then analyze their responses and evaluate these using 5 dimensions that are proven to reflect the motivation behind the decision process with 92% accuracy.

      This insight empowers businesses by letting them anticipate what improvements they need to make to better their customer journey, predict sales, churn, and even test the price sensitivity of their consumer base. This is all so they can adjust their value proposition accordingly and create stronger relationships with customers, and ultimately, loyalty.

      3 Share
  • DC

    Davi Candido

    6 months ago #

    Hi Mary, thanks for doing this AMA.

    As a data-driven company, how do you manage to transform the data (and especially the statistics part) in information for the collaborators? Since most part of the team don't 'speak' stats, where do you find the balance between what you can show to them and what is better not? Extrapolating that question to your customers as well, how Worthix as a product manages to show this information? Does the product leaves some of the science out to communicate better with the customer or it is important to show it and try to explain as well?

    Many thanks

    Best regards,
    Davi

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Hi Davi, this is actually quite polemic and we've faced issues with internal politics where certain departments didn't want data leaking to other departments. As market researchers, there is an ethical issue. We must deliver all data to our clients, but what corporations chose to do with this data is very personal and depends on the leadership and company goals.

  • RM

    Rodrigo Matos

    6 months ago #

    Hi Mary,

    Thanks for sharing some of your experiences with us today!

    Regarding customers' journey, I'd love to know what are some actions you consider crucial when a company is trying to improve the key moments. :)

    Thanks again,

    Rod

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      We're out of time, but I'll tell you this. We have an ebook coming out on the 2nd week of December by Claudia Vale that focuses precisely on this topic. Keep your eyes out for it on worthix.com

  • MK

    Mariana Klober

    6 months ago #

    Mary! Thank you for doing this AMA :)

    It's known that Customer Experience must be connected to other areas such as Product, Marketing, Design, Data Science, AI, and so on.

    What are some processes that help it happen on a daily basis?

    Thanks again!
    Mari

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      Thanks for asking Mari!

      I briefly touched upon this when I answered the importance of intersectionality in communication between the customer success/service departments and marketing, but to go further in depth to me it would look like Product and Marketing as well as Design working off of the Data that is gathered and applying it to each department while keeping in mind the goals and paths their individual departments are on.

      This is, of course, difficult depending on the size and style of organization and its structure but for us, we have found it works!

  • BI

    Benjelloun Ibrahim

    6 months ago #

    Hi Mary,
    What is the best book that you have read in startup world?
    Thanks in advance

    • MD

      Mary Drumond

      6 months ago #

      I mostly read behavioral economics and CX books to be quite honest. The ones I would recommend Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow", Daniel Pink's "Drive", and Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational" as starters.

      2 Share
  • MD

    Mary Drumond

    6 months ago #

    Thank you, everyone, for your questions, and thank you Growth Hackers for this opportunity! Looks like we're out of time for today, but please reach out to me directly on LinkedIn (I'm the one and only Mary Drumond :-) if I can follow-up on anything further. Awesome!!!

  • PS

    Peter Sooter

    6 months ago #

    Hi Mary,

    Based on your conversations with various industry figures, what do you see as upcoming trends in CX throughout 2019?

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