Monday, March 31, 2008

Interview with Kathleen Brush, Chief Marketing Officer, WebTrends

Anil: Thank you for taking the time for this interview, let's start with a brief overview of your background.

Kathleen: I have been in executive management in the software industry in the United States and abroad since 1988. During this time, I have held several CMO positions, including positions at and Websense. I have also been CEO and president of a few companies, including Rogue Wave Software and a division of Seagate Software. I have a Ph.D. in Management and International Studies and have taught international marketing at the graduate and undergraduate level. I have written two marketing and business-related books and have authored published articles on marketing and strategy.

Anil: What are the names of the books that you wrote and tell me a little about those books.

Kathleen: High-Tech Strategies in the Internet Era is an A – Z guide for strategy development for high tech products. It has been used at a couple of technical colleges. The book starts with helpful advice on how to go about the research process to identify new products. It then moves to validation, getting buy-in and execution through a technique called strategy deployment.

Watch Your Back is a book of fiction. I know how tedious it can be to read business books, so I decided to try to convey teachings about some of areas of business – most specifically, organizational behavior and the functioning of a board, which are not regularly taught – using a fictional approach.

Anil: Cool. Tell me about your new role at WebTrends?

Kathleen: I have quite a few objectives. I hope to position the WebTrends marketing organization as a showcase for optimizing digital marketing by using our products and those of our partners. The development of a new product strategy will include validating requirements for our current product portfolio and evaluating complementary additions that simplify the life of today's online and offline marketer.

I'd like to see the company increase communications that provide helpful advice for translating the data customers receive from our products into actionable changes to their marketing campaigns. I will also lead an effort to build up our presence in international markets, and an overall refresh of the WebTrends brand.

Anil: Tell me more about "I'd like to see the company increase communications that provide helpful advice for translating the data customers receive from our products into actionable changes to their marketing campaigns." Do you mean building strategic consulting practice or expanding partnership with strategic consulting companies like us or something else?

Kathleen: Something else. WebTrends wants to share our expertise with our customers. We will be putting together seminars, articles and white papers with the aim of helping clients and others to maximize the use of the data they receive from our products to improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

Anil: What are the challenges you see at WebTrends today?

Kathleen: The WebTrends brand is globally recognized as the pioneer of, and leader in, website analytics, but many do not equate WebTrends as being a leader and innovator in the broader industry of Enterprise Marketing Software (EMS). The process of refreshing our brand to be an innovative global EMS vendor is a challenge the entire company is enjoying.

Anil: What is your plan for overcoming this challenge?

Kathleen: We have developed a comprehensive strategy surrounding new product deliverables, the development of deeper domain experience, the creation of informative communications, the continuous improvement on the execution of world class online and offline marketing programs and building our international presence.

Anil: Where do you see web analytics market heading? What does future look like?

Kathleen: We see web analytics market advancing on a number of fronts: (1) Delivering in-depth, visitor-level intelligence that moves marketers closer to the ideal of one-to-one marketing; (2) Being able to more precisely measure customer engagement; (3) Going beyond analysis and reporting to delivering recommendations that improve results; (4) Being a central and foundational component to an integrated EMS solution; (5) Being a significant component in our customers' plans for company-wide business intelligence.

Anil: How is WebTrends positioning itself for the changing market?

Kathleen: By preparing product, marketing and company strategies that are in line with the evolution of the new EMS industry (as noted above) and that focus primarily on meeting the needs of WebTrends' current and future customers.

Anil: The theme of last year's WebTrends conference was customer engagement and WebTrends' Score product was showcased as the solution to measure visitor engagement. How are the customers embracing the WebTrends Score Product? Do you have any case studies that you can share?

Kathleen: Interest in the product has been very high. It is a brilliant solution for measuring customer engagement and permitting the segmentation of visitors into product/service preference areas that permit finely targeted follow-on campaigns. We do not have any published case studies for Score yet, but look forward to sharing those with you soon.

Anil: What is going to be the theme of this year's conference?

Kathleen: We're still finalizing the theme, but we will be sure to give you an update when it is finalized.

Anil: Finally, what do you think about Omniture? Their market position and all the acquisitions they are doing?

Kathleen: I have taught about the difficulties of acquiring companies and products: such as integrating disparate technologies and merging companies with varying cultures and processes. I think it is unlikely that Omniture will escape easily from many of the inherent problems in company acquisitions. Now, like most, I think integrated marketing software suites are something the market is looking for, but the key will be, as it always is, in the integrity of the integration. It's a question of marketecture vs. architecture. Can Omniture truly integrate the products they have acquired to deliver the synergistic value customers are really looking for? Or will this require an open architecture that easily permits exchanging data among EMS applications?

Anil: Great, I think true integration of the solutions is not going to happen. It will be more around creating an easy exchange of data. Thank you for your time.

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