Digital Marketing and Transformation with Robert Tas, CMO, Pegasystems

Robert Tas is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Pegasystems.


Nov 16, 2015

Digital has transformed marketing in profound ways. This episode explores the changes in marketing and what that means for customer relationships in the enterprise.

Robert Tas is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Pegasystems, with responsibility for leading the organization’s global marketing efforts, including its brand, advertising, communications, product marketing, industry business lines and global programs teams. He has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and operations and is a pioneer in the internet digital media industry.

Most recently, prior to joining Pega, Robert was Managing Director, Head of Digital Marketing at JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC), where he led the Global Digital Marketing Group, serving the company’s wholesale and consumer business.



(00:03) Today on episode number 144 of CXOTalk, I am speaking with Robert Tas who is the Chief Marketing Officer of Pegasystems and we’re going to be talking about digital marketing and digital transformation, so it’s an exciting morning on episode number 144 of CXOTalk, Robert how are you?


(00:32) Good morning Michael, I’m terrific thanks for having me today.


(00:35) Hey, thanks for talking the time first thing on a Monday morning, and we’ve known each other for a while. You we’re on a panel that I was fortunate enough to moderate a couple of years ago at MIT, at the MIT CIO symposium on digital transformation, so it’s great to talk with you again.


(00:55) Thank you.     


(00:55) Robert, let’s start, tell us a little bit about your professional background and about Pegasystems so we have some context.


(01:07) Happy to. So my background’s probably a little bit unique in some of the CMO’s that I talk to. My background actually started in the technology world, where I had spent a number of years in my career at working at enterprise technology companies like Sybase, which got acquired by SAP while ago, and then idea that a bunch of progressive start-ups in CRM, in Internet databases, in security. And the one thing that is kind of consistent in my career is that I’ve always been fascinated about what technology can do for business and how it’s transforming business.

(01:48) And then I got into the Internet, probably about 15 years ago and started on the technology side, working for a company and that really was a technology company at first called Tacoda, which really used analytics to power that Internet advertising as it’s known today and all those great segments.

(02:08) And it really opened my eyes to helping connect customers, to consumer brands, B2B brands, and how technology was really shaping the world and how the Internet was really helping to evolve all of our lives. And then I built my own start-up and raised some venture capital and sold the company, and spend a lot of time in the demand side platform business. I really understood the convergence of how media was being bought and sold, not just digitally media but all media and that was an amazing experience.

(02:40) And then I ended up working at JP Morgan Chase, in a really interesting role where I helped create its first sort of center for excellence for digital, really trying to infuse digital into the organization and build many of its capabilities that include you know, personalization, media buying platforms. I ran social media; I built the first content group. It really was an amazing journey to help infuse digital into one of our most largest and successful banks in the world and really seeing how they’re going about their transformation.

(03:14) And then about a year and a half ago I joined Pegasystems, which for those who don’t know is an enterprise technology company providing strategic applications to the largest global companies in the world. And we serve the likes of Horizon, Vodafone, JP Morgan, American Express, and people like that powering their customer facing and back office systems that really drive customer experience. And it’s been an amazing experience to come to Pega and I’ve been here just over a year and a half.


(03:43) And Pega is a public company and you have about $600 million in revenue.


(03:49) Yep, well a little bit more but growing. We’re growing nicely, we’re growing in a tough category in a space that people don’t know very well. We are actually doing very well globally. We have over 3500 employees now and we have offices all around the world, and like I said we serve large global enterprises.


(04:05) Okay, so let’s talk about digital marketing, what are the kinds of marketing activities that you undertake that you do at Pega?


(04:17) Well much like everybody in both the consumer and B2B world. We have a plethora of demand generation programs, brand building programs, thought leadership programs that we run. We recently did a pretty unique piece of digital content with the Economist and partnering with one of our e-system integrators Accenture. We built a digital portal on the Economist talking about digital transformation.

(04:44) We’ve partnered others like Bloomberg and Forbes and really trying to bring about the sort of enterprise issues that using digital as a way to help the buying process. One of the things that when I joined Pega was the marketing was really much more a sales support function, and we really tried to make it a growth engine for the company, where we were trying to get our brand out there in a more thoughtful way, and trying to educate the market on the big issues that are driving digital transformation in their large enterprises.


(05:15) So as you are seeing your customers going through digital transformation, what are the marketing impacts of that? So how does digital transformation change marketing?


(05:31) Wow, I mean that’s a topic in itself, but its dramatic Michael. I think the reality is that marketing is being redefined by the customer, the consumer. You know the consumer is touching all facets of the organization, and I believe marketing is really the catalyst and the you know the Chief Customer Officer in a way to help fight for that customer across the organization and to ensure that every department treats that customer in the best possible way, because we no longer define marketing as just by an ad campaign.

(06:04) We define marketing by our experience, and that experience is end to end and I think that is a big transition for many companies to try to make, where the marketing guys are now starting to touch things like the call center. They are starting to touch things like product design. They’re starting to touch things like fulfilment. You know, as we think of our own experiences the world of marketing has changed so dramatically in the last few years, and I think it’s going to continue to evolve.

(06:30) And I think organizations that really get this are the ones that are at the forefront pushing their definition of really the customer and how they are driving that customer centricity into their own organization.




(06:42) So Robert we hear about this term of customer experience all the time and you said that there’s this difference between customer experience and ad campaign, so maybe you can take us through what is the difference.


(07:00) I think if we all picked up our phones and look at it and you start thinking of the applications that are on your deck you know, whether it’s Airbnb, even your banking application you know or Über, I mean those have all redefined what our expectations are and how we expect to interact with all brands. And I think whether you’re B2B or B2C it’s irrelevant.

(07:23) I think those expectations have been now set, and we have to respond whether it’s by a HR application internally here or my Über, I want instantaneous feedback. I want something with immediate transparency to what I’m trying to do.

(07:39) I recently purchased something on an e-commerce site, and I’m a big big fan of the brand and I was so disappointed in their digital experience. As you compare it to Amazon or others, it just sets the bar. And you know, this product I ordered took almost 10 days to get to me, and they didn’t update their website with you know tracking information, little things you take for granted now are becoming the norm. And I know it’s a consumer example, but I think that’s in all categories.

(08:08) I think you know in my business and the B2B side, we want to take our content and push it out there. We want to have things like our product demos which never used to be online available. We want reviews, we want people to be able to collaborate and ask questions. We want to use digital to really help empower our customer, and I think you are seeing that across all facets.


(08:30) So the skill set and the mindset and the capabilities that are needed to for marketers to create these types of experiences as opposed to pushing out ad campaigns is completely different. So, how did you retool marketing to be able to conduct this type of experience type of campaign?


(08:59) Well, I think it’s a multiple pronged approach there. I think you have to bring in experts in certain areas, like we have roles at Pega that didn’t exist before I got here. You know whether you call that the analytics role or some of the content roles that I mentioned that I created at JP Morgan. You know, it’s really reimagining of the marketing function and then I think you have to train people. I think you have to give them opportunities to experience. I think you have to create boot camps. I think you have to figure out how to transfer that knowledge and experience.

(09:29) I remember when I was at JP Morgan and I ran social media and we were writing the job description for the head of social media, and the executives were saying, well let’s go and hire someone who’s done social media at a Fortune hundred company that has 10 years, 15 years’ experience, and well that person doesn’t exist.

(09:40) You know, and I think that’s the reality, you have to reimagine these things, but you have to invest in training your folks and giving them opportunities. You have to partner with agencies that have expertise that you can build. But I think the most important thing is you have to have a cultural transformation programme. You have to understand that this is a transformation and is a change to the way you run your business.

(10:12) I see often people do digital off to the side, they have the digital group, they check the box and they may be have an mobile app and things like that. But what we’re seeing today is that those failed because the customer gets a worse experience. The customer gets a negative experience, where they are treated the same way as some of the other entry points. And I think that lack of connectivity into the enterprise is hugely detrimental to their brand.

(10:41) You know, my little branded story that I shared with you, you know it’s so frustrating, you walk away and it’s such a bad taste in your mouth. But that’s how the brands are being redefined. It’s not by when the customer actually sees you and hears from you, but it’s those micro-moments that we like to talk about that are defining each of our experiences.

(11:02) And I think it’s the companies that has to figure out how to map to those micro-moments and really think about how everybody in the organization is just diligently attacking those to make those frictionless, to eliminate the customers clicks, to really help them through the process. It’s a really different mindset.


(11:20) So there’s a realigning of the organization and of the entire organization and not just marketing around what is best for the customer and what the customer needs.


(11:29) Absolutely I mean you know, you used to have and again I’m still proponed by advertising, I just think you can’t do the ad campaigns separate to the product, to the fulfilment to the rest of the organisation. You can’t make these promises of the marketing guy without being able to deliver on end to end on it, and understanding that when that person clicks on that button what happens? What’s the digital experience? What’s the connection point and how you’re going to manage that, to all the way through to fulfilment and that entire journey. You know McKinsey loves to talk about their customer journey, and I think it so critical to have the entire organization bought into that vision of a customer map.


(12:12) But explain a little bit more why this is the case, so right I click on a button, I want to buy something, how does this affect the whole organization. Take us through the mechanics of it, because you’re somebody who’s doing this.


(12:26) Well I mean using my e-commerce example I logged into a website hoping to find out where that my product was. Couldn’t find it, had to call the call center. The call center had to go and search for it. The call center had to go back and figure out why I was calling, what my problem was. Connect that back to the website and the web traffic that I have and there is a huge disconnect right.

(12:49) So, then the customer by the way here I am, I’m calling this call center, I’m angry and upset and 10 seconds later the brand is retargeting me with an offer. How disconnected is that? Instead of retargeting me with thank you, or hey here’s 10% off because of your trouble, it’s hey, here we want to sell you something and have no context with your experience with me.

(13:12) I mean that’s the gravity of the real-time nature of this, and companies that aren’t connecting those dots are going to lose. They’re going to take that person who’s disgruntled and then there going to amplify it over and over again in that negative context. And it’s so easy to have that break versus organization like Amazon or Über or others that have this seamless transparent process where everybody is connected into it.

(13:38) Everybody knows, oh you had a problem or you had a dropped call or your car didn’t show up, Über’s you know emailing me 10 minutes before saying your car is going to be late, we’ve given you a $10 coupon. It’s that kind of experience that’s the new normal.


(13:52) So, okay, so you have this cultural mindset that is bringing together everybody in the company around this reference point of the customer. And then you pull together the right skills, but you also need technology, so there’s a technology component to enable this as well.


(14:13) Michael there is and you know Pega is very fortunate to provide some great technology, but I can’t stress enough as I talk to a lot of my peers and our customers. I was recently at a world economic forum event, where they had the Chief Strategy Officers of major corporations coming together, and the theme I kept hearing from everybody was how do I get my management to buy in?

(14:42) Some are creating new roles like Chief Digital Officers and I’m not a huge  proponent of that and we can talk about that, but I think this is a CEO level mandate that culturally has to change the organization in the way you think.

(14:56) You can no longer implement a product centric culture, and hope the rest of the organization does right. Compensation structures have to change. The way you measure people’s performances has to change, and it’s far more integrated than it’s ever been. You know, we’ve all seen the websites where the website is disconnected from the retail store.

(15:20) You know, I wanted to buy a TV a year ago and I called Costco and I wanted to go and pick it up because I wanted it for the game and I couldn’t. They said, well our websites aren’t connected to our stores. That’s not okay any more, that doesn’t work, and you’ve got to take the entire structure and reimagine it from that customer’s perspective.


(15:40) So, you know it’s interesting that you mentioned the Chief Digital Officer, because when I talk with CMOs and I talk with CIOs, there’s always this question of where should the ownership of digital lie inside an organization?


(15:59) You know, again having been a guy that’s created a digital function at a major corporation, you know I always viewed my job was to put myself out of a job. It’s unfathomable for me to say that I can have one guy or one group that runs digital for an entire organization the size of JP Morgan Chase, or others.

(16:21) And the reason I say that is that everyone has to be digital. The world is digital. It’s no longer this little thing on the side where we have our website as a brochure. The website is a major channel like retail is. It can no longer be treated as oh someone else has got that bulb they’ll figure it out.

(16:42) Every facet of a business has to be reimagined. Every facet from legal, risk, compliant, product, and I can go down the list all have to be accountable to what the digital experience is like.

(16:56) You know, when I was doing social media at the bank, you know I had legal risk in the meetings with me, I had educated them on how customers were going to use you know Twitter to do service, how that was going to go about, how we were going to re-engineer our call center to be able to handle that.

(17:14) It’s hugely Omni-channel right, there's nobody that gets a pass on this, and when I hear people higher Chief Digital Officers I worry that though I agree they can be a catalyst, but I think ultimately this is an organizational choice. This is a decision that a company has to make at a scale to reimagine their business and that’s why I’m very passionate about the fact that digital has to be a C-level, CEO level mandate and they have to be accountable to it to really affect change.


(17:46) So marketing in a sense is the most visible from the outside point of view marketing is the most visible aspect of digital, because that’s what the customer sees when they hit the website.


(18:01) Yeah, I mean again marketing is that advocate for doing what’s right for the customer. You know, the one lesson I learned from one of my old bosses at JP Morgan, he said, ‘Robert, you have the customer card. Your job is to make sure that we don’t screw it up. Your job is to protect the customer, make that experience better and better every day, and use the digital technology to help improve that’.

(18:23) Now, we obviously want to sell them things, make things better, and get the right products and things like that, but we want to be thoughtful in building that relationship and that’s the beauty of digitals, we had this amazing set of data. That’s the other thing that we are seeing as an evolution is you can’t have these silos of data in the organization. You have to have one view, one moment, one set of truth around what the customer is telling you with their behavior, or even more prescriptively their voice or their actions and being able to have all groups leverage that. There has to be one lexicon of customer across sales, service, marketing, product and so forth.


(19:02) We have an interesting question from Bob Rothman who asks, how do you differentiate between customer satisfaction and customer experience?


(19:17) Well I think they’re very intertwined obviously. I think that customer satisfaction and people use MPS as a common measurement of customer satisfaction, would they tell their friends to use the service or product, and that’s a big one. I think that’s a telling sign.

(19:34) You know, in my definition is the customer’s behavior speaks the truth. What do they do with their actions? Do they come to my website repeatedly? Do they use my product repeatedly? Are they showing me the behaviour that I want?

(19:51) You not my example of my e-commerce experience, you know if I’m that company, am I going to go off and improve myself service? Am I going to learn from Roberts call center call of how frustrated he was and make changes to my process? Because they didn’t need that call, I’m a pretty digital guy. I wanted them to solve my problem on line, but I couldn’t and it didn’t work. So, there’s an opportunity for someone to take data and improve that experience which really then customer satisfaction is a result of.


(20:21) So customer satisfaction happens when the experience is right?


(20:28) I even take that a step further Michael, and say that customer satisfaction happens when an experience isn’t right but you make it right and maybe even proactively, you know you start to predict where you’re going to have experiences. I used my Über ones where my car was late and Über knew that and new that I waited a long and proactively sent me a coupon to say, hey sorry, have that on us and we are trying to make it better.

(20:55) You know, those are the types of micro-moments that we have as an opportunity to transform our brand and relationship and that satisfaction. Listen, we all live in an imperfect world, we know that things aren’t going to go perfectly, it’s how we respond to that. So when I talked to that brand earlier and they kept telling me ‘sorry, you’re out of luck, we don’t know what you’re talking about’, and that just makes the customer experience bad, the satisfaction bad. But it’s when you actually have the ability to respond, change, and learn do know and I think that’s what great brands do out there is they take this amazing set of information and feedback and adapt their businesses to improve.


(21:33) So is it safe to say that customer experience then is the sum total of these micro-moments that you been talking about?


(21:42) I like that. I like that, I think that’s very safe to say, and that’s where I come back to saying that it’s not a marketing thing. It’s not one guy’s job to be the customer experience. You know, I went into a hotel the other day in New York and I wanted to check my bag, and I wasn’t staying there, and I am a Starwood Platinum guy, and the guy said no to me. You know he said it in his New York attitude, and it just wasn’t a great experience.

(22:12) Now, he doesn’t know who I am, but that brand experience is lost their, and that person who manages that hotel has an opportunity to learn and change that. And you know, they’re not using, they’ve got to be able to connect that entire experience through the customer’s journey. Because one, I do a lot of events at hotels.  I’m a great Starwood loyalist, and there’s so many opportunities to just do little things like those micro-moments and do them better and learn what’s important for your customer.


(22:43) But these micro-moments, I mean you have just described why this is so difficult, because you can lay out the best campaign in the world and have the best website. But when Robert Tas shows up at the desk, if the person behind the desk doesn’t treat you in the right way it’s all for not.


(23:09) You know Michael I hear you, and you’re right. However, what I struggle with is that I see the silos of organizations and the way they go about learning and being iterative in the process and I think we are not pushing the envelope. I mean the great news is that technology is available now to be able to learn when I’m unhappy, be able to learn what my context is and experience is, and be able to apply those things.

(23:38) Companies just aren’t choosing yet to apply them. My e-commerce example today and they’re retargeting me after a bad experience. We’ve all had that, we’ve called the call center, we’ve had a bad experience and yet you’re seeing another ad. What a missed opportunity that is to really build my relationship, and I think we’ve got to push the limits of really understanding this customer centricity mindset.

(24:01) My experience by the way is magnified you know, 10 times the younger you get. You have a little five year old boy, when he starts and the computer doesn’t work, he gets frustrated and he’s five and that his bar. I think the millennial’s, this is the new norm. We’ve got to dramatically overhaul what customer experience means and that’s not just the website or advertising campaign, or social media. It’s broader than that and we all have to be accountable.


(24:29) So the problem is when we think about customer experience in terms of just marketing, when in fact the experience is created by these micro-moments that comprise all of the interactions that a customer has with the brand.


(24:46) Absolutely, I was looking for a cell phone the other day and I was searching around on the site, and one of these cell phone companies took me to a webpage and it was a dead end. And it was a bad experience right, and they lost me, and it’s because the marketing guy and the fulfilment team aren’t connected in that journey.

(25:07) It’s understanding that when you make that promise of whatever that is onto delivered that, you have to be able to deliver end to end. You know American Express who is one of Pega customers and we run their service backbone, and we run their service architecture. When you call American Express and have a problem you know, it’s Pega that’s helping fix that.

(25:30) What they’ve done amazingly well and I love what Jim Bush says is that you know service and American express is no longer a silo, it’s horizontal across every single service person at American Express, like every employee, every department has an obligation to do their part. Whether that is getting me a new credit card because I may have lost it or getting me money, or finding my luggage or whatever that experience is, you need to have that end to end culture and manifested in every single thing.


(26:03) So this type of transformation it is so deep and so difficult and I imagine that for most companies this would take quite a long time, because it gets back to the cultural dimension that you were talking about at the beginning.


(26:20) It is it takes a long time, you know I mentioned that thought leadership piece, we did a survey with Accenture and the Economist around digital transformation and the survey talked about whose leading the charge, and there’s a lot of talk about you know CMOs as the new change agent and all that. and surprising to me, only 16% of CMOs are leading the digital transformation charge. That was a pretty shocking stat.

(26:48) But what’s also surprising to me and I mentioned that economic event I went to, is that I don’t think we’re aiming big enough.  Don’t think we’re really transforming. I think we’re making iterative change and I think we’re seeing companies do better, don’t get me wrong, but man are we really dramatically flipping up over the business. You know, as I think of and I struggle naming companies, traditional brick and mortars that have made that transformation leap, and if you really think about it I don’t know that I can show you one.

(27:20) You know maybe Netflix is a great one because they went from the CD to the download and the digital side of the world they’re probably one that come to mind in me. the one that actually comes to mind and probably fair but I’ve got to give them huge, huge credit is Facebook. Facebook has made this leap from being a digital company to a mobile first company. I mean they stated their business and had a little advantage, but boy, you would not have thought as Facebook as a mobile company when it first went public.

(27:52) That’s the kind of transformation I want to see out of the traditional fortune 500. I want to see us really raising the bar of reimagining our businesses. You know including the hotel business right now, you now seeing what Airbnb’s doing. You know, it would be great to check-in to my hotel room with my phone if I could, but we’re got to reimagine business models. We’ve got to reimagine the way we engage that journey across all of our customers and I saw today that Marriott is going to try to buy Starwood.

(28:21) You know, good scale, but how are they reimagining their business and how are they using digital to really drive that organization forward.


(28:30) You know I wanted to mention regarding Facebook, how when they went public, they went public about 28 I believe and the reason the stock went down below the offering price, precisely for the reasons you we’re describing and their concerns about their ability to transform to mobile and now, having done this so well the stock is up over 100.


(28:59) That’s a great example of a CEO that stepped up and said, ‘oh my god, this is going to change and here’s how we’re going to do it’, and I think that’s how you shift culture. And I get it, it’s really really hard when you make billions and billions of dollars of doing something a certain way. But again, every major business is going to be – if it already hasn’t then be disrupted.

(29:22) If I’m in the insurance business, the healthcare business, Child co I mean I could go on and on. I’d love to see these companies really pushing the envelope and I don’t mean opening a little office in Silicon Valley or hiring a couple of digital guys from Google. It’s really a dramatic transformation that has to come and I think that’s a C-level, board level mandate.


(29:47) What about CRM, Customer Relationship Management, what’s happening to CRM in this world in which the customer relationships are changing in so many different ways.


(30:03) Well Michael I mean you know the talk we just had about digital transformation, I think CRM is being transformed. I remember you know when Siebel first came out and really set the bar of what CRM and the promise of. Honestly, I think if we all look back CRM has not lived up to the promise of what it should have been. And I think today depending on your definition, whether it’s salesforce automation or call center automation, you know CRM today is needing to be and being pushed to do a heck of a lot more.

(30:38) You know, as we think of digital transformation the ability to connect the customer from the front office to the back office, takes CRM to a whole new level. You know having those truths that I talked about earlier or having one place that has one 306 degree view of the customer is paramount to deliver CRM effectively because the people that are touching your customer is a heck of a lot broader than it was a few years ago.

(31:06) You’re no longer in that one silo doing your thing, you’re now required to connect across the enterprise and have a common set of information to make better business decisions to empower that customer, and by the way, to empower that customer at a speed that your organization has never thought of.

(31:24) You can no longer do things in days, months, and ours. It’s seconds, the customer wants their information and everybody has to be able to move at that, and I think that CRM being something that’s now global in requirement it needs to have predictive and adaptive analytics, it needs to be able to change to that new thing.

(31:44) We no longer live in a world where we can buy a system, put down several million dollars, plug it ain’t and walk away for 20 years. Those days have gone. The reality is that we’ve got to change, we’ve got new things coming, Snapchat WhatsApp or whatever those things like be. We’ve got to figure out how to harness new information into the ecosystem within our customer’s world, being able to apply that across all of our businesses in a speed that is just redefined in how we go to market.


(32:15) That’s a really interesting point, so historically, CRM was essentially a database of let’s say documenting communication transactions with a customer.


(32:32) An incomplete list of transactions.


(32:34) Okay an incomplete list of transactions, so I call the customer, I’m a salesperson, I put it in the CRM system and send the customer an email, it’s in the CRM system. So now with customer experience touching all of these different channels that you were describing, so when you talk about a 360 view of the customer elaborate a little more about what you mean by that and how it’s different from CRM in the past.


(33:05) Well several things. First of all, the dataset that in that 360 view, like you said is no longer just a transaction. I’m sure you can name companies that have you in their email database, there direct mail database, and their web database and those don’t talk to each other.

(33:25) You know I subscribe to a print publication, and yet I still get offers in the mail, or a credit card company I called the product that I keep getting offers sent to me. You know, the reality is CRM became that silo of this customer record, but never became the place where all the customer data is stored, bind and optimized and I think that’s the evolution as companies are now realizing that they have to have this central repository and they need a brain and they need analytics and technology to help the organization optimize that experience.

(34:02) You know, when I go to a Horizon or my bank, I want to be able to get an offer that’s right for me, not for this segment but for me based on my family, my situation. And I think that companies have to figure out how to connect the dots, and that’s why I say that it’s not just about data it’s about connecting data, people, process across the entire journey.

(34:27) It doesn’t do me any good to make an offer that I’m going to reject, or I’m going to get reject for if my credits not good. That’s only going to hurt my brand. It’s really important to be able to take those pieces and connect the natural workflow, business rule associated with that CRM view of the entire customer interaction.

(34:46) it’s kind of like my e-commerce example, they’re targeting me and ad is something that the pixels set up on that website because I went to it. It has no connection to the customer service experience that I had, and they are missing an opportunity to leverage that engagement.


(35:03) So how does the data that lives inside a CRM system, how can that be used to then actually be able to make real improvements in the customer experience. What’s the connection between the data and the ultimate experience?


(35:23) Well I think when we first started the conversation is you have to look at those micro-moments that the customer is showing you where there is engaging, how there is engaging, they’re time spent. You know, using my e-commerce example this morning, I spent probably 10 minutes in my profile page on that e-commerce website and didn’t do anything. If you look at my click stream, my click patterns it didn’t do anything, because I was talking to the agent of that experience, they’ve got to take that in mind that and say, well can we see a pattern here. And then they’ve got to connect the processes to enable change of that.

(36:00) they’ve got to create a loop that says, ‘what else are we doing to touch this customer, oh we’re selling them and ad oh my God, we shouldn’t be giving him and ad when he’s a dissatisfied customer’. You’ve got to take that journey and break it into those components and how to understand how to create the organization to be able to leverage it.

(36:20) You can’t have the digital marketing guys pounding ad’s out there, and the service people trying to close call volume or call time. Those can’t be the metrics that are defining customer experience today.


(36:32) So you’ve got this body of data and the customer comes in and now has some type of interaction and the system basically immediately then needs to compare that interaction with data that is stored in order to trigger some type of next event in the sequence. And that next event has to be absolutely appropriate to this particular customer and that’s what creates the micro-moments that you’ve been talking about.


(37:11) I sometime say its common sense right, you have to pass the smell test, you have to do things. There’s a set of journeys we all have whether it’s in our own companies or in others that we should know with some predictability of what we want to occur.

(37:30) You know, when I go in and I type ‘refund’ on a website, it should know what I’m trying to do. It should know what to send me to, how it should help me and it should be able to connect my digital footprint to the call center if I choose to go that path. And it should also say, how can we get Robert what he needs in a way that I don’t need to call the call center. I would have been happy to do it myself, proven that self-service is a really big thing. There’s so many learning moments there that the organization has to take and apply across the board. It’s not in one department; it’s across all those departments.


(38:08) What’s the best way for the organization to in a sense to use the term model those customer interactions in the right way because it requires so much of a detailed understanding of what the customer is doing at so many different moments in time.


(38:28) Well ironically one of the things that I tell people that they should do as sort of 101s, step one is go and be a customer yourself you know and actually see the journey and experience it across all devices. Experience it across on how you would do it on a mobile phone, tablet and so forth and you know, it’s a huge eye opening experience.

(38:56) Number two, listen to all the call center calls. Three, look at all the drop-offs in different phases in the journey as you would predict. You know I think those are all things that you could rally and create culture change around and really be able to reimagine those experiences, and you have to make this cultural where everybody in your organization is going after this, and everybody is aligned in solving those and removing friction through the process. 


(39:26) Okay Robert, we only have about five minutes left and so for somebody who’s listening that is thinking, god, I want to do all of this but it’s like rocket science. Where should this person start?


(39:43) I think you have to start by creating a culture in the organization that says the customer is at the center of our business, the customer’s going to drive and make every decision around our strategy around our operation and is going to be our true North. And that’s a big big statement just so we’re clear.

(40:06) I’ve been to a lot of presentations where everybody says we’re going to be customer centric and we’re going to do this, but there’s some real tenancy to making that decision. There’s some hard choices that you’re going to have to make. Things are not going to be popular; they’re going to cost money. It’s a big decision to really make that decision to put that customer in the center.

(40:24) The second thing you need to do is bring in experts and different pieces of that customer experience that can influence the whole. So I think bringing in digital, mobile, analytics, those content skills are important to the team. I don’t believe you can replace your entire team. I think you’ve got to bring in and infuse that expertise and you’ve got to create a collaborative culture to be able to take that in, that’s why I don’t love the Chief digital Officer because I feel like sometimes business owners say they’re digital so they’ll figure it out. That doesn’t kind of work that way; you all have to be on the hook for that. That’s why I think each team member across all the functional areas needs to bring in some of this digital native skillsets

(41:14) And then third and final, is you’ve got to hold yourself accountable to the customer. Customers don’t like their behaviors, how they use stuff, how they go about stuff. They show you with their actions how and what they like, what they don’t like and by the way ask them. they’ll tell you, they want to give you feedback. They want to be a part of the process. You know they want to make their experience better and that I think is an amazing shift in our world where the customers are actually dying to be part of it.

(41:18) And when you have brand loyalists like me with my experience today, I’m dying to help that company figure out how to make it better because I want to give them my business. But if they don’t and if they continue to ignore my feedback and ignore my three calls to the call center and my web traffic, I’m going to leave. I’ll find somebody who won’t, and I think those imperatives are critical for organizations to go take.


(42:10) So create the right culture, get the skills in place that you need, be accountable to the customer and actually listen to the customer.


(42:22) Yes.


(42:24) I guess that’s a pretty good summery of what’s needed. Obviously it’s easier said than done by far.


(42:31) It is. You know, I think that it’s just such an amazing time to be in the market suite and to have that moniker and that mandate, that ethos right now. It’s such an exciting time. I wake up every day enthusiastic, excited, a little petrified but I just think we’re in such an amazing time; we’re redefining everything.

(43:00) Nothing has to be done the way it was done last time, or last year or whenever. We have a clean slate and our customers will tell us what they like and we can build on that and we just want to listen and to be able to move in a sea that’s very different.

(43:15) We’re not doing you know, 12, 24 month planning cycles anymore. We have instantaneous feedback. We’ve just got to train our organizations to listen and to be able to take advantage of the and you know, the next five years of marketing is going to be a heck of a ride.


(43:32) Okay, Robert Tas, this has been very eye-opening about digital transformation and the role of marketing. We have been speaking with Robert Tas, who is the Chief Marketing Officer of Pegasystems and you have been watching episode number 144 of CXOTalk, Robert thank you so much for taking the time today.


(43:58) Thank you thanks for having me.


(43:59) It’s been a very very fast 45 minutes, and Robert we’ll have to do it again another time. Everybody thank you again and have a great day, bye bye.

Companies mentioned in today’s show:



American Express:       






JP Morgan Chase:         











Published Date: Nov 16, 2015

Author: Michael Krigsman

Episode ID: 302