Today, I enjoyed a conversation with Az Raj, EMEA CMO of Merkle, and the UK & Ireland CMO of Dentsu. With over two decades of experience in the digital industry, Az is a recognized thought leader and a member of prestigious boards and committees, including the Forbes Communications Council and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) customer engagement committee.
This episode offers a deep dive into the evolving landscape of marketing, focusing on consumer-centric experiences, agility, and the role of technology in shaping customer interactions. The conversation starts with Azlan introducing himself and his unique approach to marketing, which emphasizes solving problems over traditional campaigns. He discusses the shift from product-centric to consumer-focused experiences, citing examples of businesses that have successfully deviated from conventional strategies.
Az underscores the importance of agility in today’s fast-paced digital age, challenging the old adage of “Ready, Aim, Fire” by suggesting that sometimes it’s more effective to “Fire, Ready, and then Aim,” especially when capitalizing on emerging trends.
We also delve into the key technologies and methods employed at Merkle and Dentsu to understand and address customer pain points in real-time. We also discuss tools like brand leadership mapping, consumer panels for understanding motivations, and Mercury technology for authentic customer understanding. The conversation also touches on the ethical considerations in data collection and customer experience, emphasizing the importance of transparency, trust, and prioritizing consumer value.
As the discussion progresses, the focus shifts to the importance of outcomes over functionality in marketing, particularly in the tech space. Az introduces a new AI tool called Artemis that predicts the performance of creative assets, highlighting the emerging role of AI in marketing. He also challenges the traditional notion of strategy, arguing that in a rapidly evolving business landscape, CMOs must be agile and flexible.
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