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HackerAgency CEO Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators

02/03/2015 04:33 pm ET | Updated Apr 04, 2015

Thanks for all the positive feedback regarding our recently launched 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators. Each blog features one marketing innovator who addresses 4 questions;

  1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
  2. Why is this so important?
  3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
  4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?

Please send your feedback and ideas for people you would us to interview to ernan@erdm.com

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Spyro Kourtis is President/CEO of HackerAgency, a global digital/direct marketing agency with expertise across all media channels and a focus on the metrics that matter. Clients include Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, One Medical Group, Essence Healthcare, Hyatt and Microsoft. Spyro spearheaded the movement that brought the agency to the point where it synergistically uses and optimizes all digital and traditional media to achieve superior ROI for its clients.
When not at work, Spyro is involved with the local community, including Family Law CASA and Gilda's Club.

1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
I want to achieve a more holistic understanding of how marketing communications drive ROI.

2. Why is this so important?
Many marketers are still looking at ROI in linear terms: send mail, respond by phone, measure sales, etc.. But with the technologies at our - and consumers - disposal, that linear model fails to account for the impact of other touch points.

Until recently, many interactions were not visible to the marketer, they were conversations between two people with no opportunity to track, guide, inform or influence. Now, that reality has changed significantly. With the growth of social and explosion of mobile, many of these interactions are now visible to marketers, so it is easier to guide and help the consumer.

Is this immersive path more effective? Yes. But it's also, admittedly, more challenging to measure.

3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
They'll receive more timely and relevant communications, more one-to-one conversations with a broader audience. We can better inform them based on their specific needs and situation - it becomes as much helping as it is selling. A great example of this power is how we can politely present the Volkswagen consumer in China a 4-door vehicle option when they select that they have a baby. It's done in an informative way, offering relevant, tailored options that will improve the customer's experience with the brand.

I think of personalized offers as relevant offers - maybe best restated as an intuitive use of facts that enables the offering to match the customer's needs versus what may be on the company's "hot list" at large. Some people (I'm one of them) have an adverse reaction to retargeting online. After I've shopped for something, it can be a little spooky to see that same item repeatedly served up to me seemingly all over the place. That "big brother effect" doesn't apply here, since we're applying information in an intuitive way that can enhance their relationship with the brand.

4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Here's the great thing: More customer-centric marketing communications mean greater ROI for the marketer, a more valuable experience for the consumer, and a more fulfilled agency staff because they see their work perform better. Now that's a win-win-win!
It's a cycle, more loyalty means more business, more business means more innovation to better service our customer.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I spend my free time with family. Travel, food and tennis are my vices.

Ernan Roman is president of ERDM.
ERDM conducts Voice of Customer (VoC) research to identify high impact Customer Experience strategies.
Inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame due to results clients achieve with ERDM's VoC research driven strategies.
Clients include IBM, MassMutual, Microsoft, NortonAntivirus, QVC and NBC.
Roman is the author of Voice of the Customer Marketing and of the Huffington Post published blog, Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices.

Named by the Online Marketing Institute as one of the "2014 Top 40 Digital Luminaries" and by Crain's BtoB Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".
www.erdm.com
ernan@erdm.com