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Please help us to congratulate Seeta Hariharan!

selected as one of 50 Women You Need to Know in Martech - 2018.

Please take a moment to celebrate Seeta!

By sharing her accomplishment, you're not only amplifying the collective voice of brilliant, deserving women — you are also reinforcing your support for women, in all workplaces and all industries, around the world.



Women in Martech

To kick off our Women in Martech Series, and to be considered one of 50 Women You Need to Know in Martech - 2018, we asked women to provide their thoughts in three areas: Career, Martech in Practice and Women in Martech.

Women in Martech is a weekly series, beginning in January 2018, based on the thoughts, advice and opinions of real women about marketing and marketing technology.

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Here’s what Seeta had to say!

Did you have a mentor? Who was it and how did they help you succeed?

It’s important to seek strong coaches, mentors, and role models. When people ask me how I choose these mentors, I tell them that these are people that have time for you. They do not have to be the CEOs of companies. They have to be people that will make the time for you when you need it the most. And, more importantly, I tell folks not to restrict themselves to one single mentor or advisor.

As an example, I had mentors that helped me wade through the maze of complex organizations; mentors that have helped me in the advancement of my career; and advisors that have helped me see through some of my shortcomings. Some of the best critics and advisors can be your immediate family as well.

Describe the biggest challenge that will need to be overcome in the next 5 years in marketing.

Marketers in every industry are up against an unprecedented combination of threats. For example, banks are facing fintechs, retailers are battling born-on-the-web giants and telcos are searching for new paths to value.

The end result is that with customers firmly in the driver’s seat, customer experience has become the new competitive battlefield. Across all sectors and demographic categories, instead of pushing products, companies now compete for consumer loyalty and revenue by selling superior experiences.

Fortunately, most well-established companies are sitting on a gold mine of data that can be turned into dollars if they can use it to unlock their customers’ consumption patterns to deliver better experiences. But with the quickening pace of business, they’re in a race against rivals to uncover the hidden gems that can give them a profound understanding of the myriad of desires and choices consumers face, and use them to design and deliver winning customer experiences.

For companies to survive and thrive over the next five years, three big challenges will need to be overcome in marketing:

1. Data collection

They must capture and connect huge amounts of information from a vast variety of sources across both the digital world and their more familiar physical world, which to the consumer are already converged.

And, they need to capture and connect not only data from their stores and branches, but from cities where they do business, sensors and other Internet of Things devices embedded in today’s instrumented landscape.

There is an endless list of other potential sources at their disposal — from weather reports, Tweets and Facebook posts, to consumer sentiment analyses and breaking news. It’s all potential revenue if the data can be monetized.

2. Data analysis

They will need to analyze this information all in real-time to take advantage of the slim windows of opportunity that make the difference between a rewarding customer experience, a missed opportunity, and an irrelevant, unwelcome intrusion.

Since few consumer interactions occur in a vacuum, the best customer experiences require sharing insights across company silos and with companies in other industries.

A bank that understands they’re selling customer experience instead of mortgages can provide timely offers for moving, interior design, landscaping or home security services. That requires IT systems that can easily communicate because of open source technology.

3. Optimize systems

Probably the most important hurdle to clear is in creating a system that can continuously learn from their customers’ consumption patterns, so that customer experiences will keep getting better and better.

Many born-on-the-web firms have a head start, but there’s no monopoly on selling superior customer experience. With online firms now expanding into brick-and-mortar locations and advanced digital technologies more accessible than ever, the customer experience battle is just getting started.

What are some key lessons for women to succeed in martech?

For women to succeed in technology, I believe self-confidence is the biggest determining factor of success. You’ve got to believe in yourself – even when you don’t.

Self-confidence is the rocket fuel that allows women to soar to extraordinary heights. Self-confidence is also habit that can be practiced, honed and mastered. And in doing so, doors open that you never even knew existed.

Here are my four lessons for women in technology:

Lesson 1: Define yourself before others do

One of the first lessons I learned shortly after entering the business world is that we must clearly define who we are and what we bring to the table.

Lesson 2: Check for blind spots

The second lesson I had to learn is to check for blind spots.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we each had a personal or career blind spot awareness system? Not one that tells us everything we’re doing wrong. Something that alerts us when our approach or behavior may be endangering our journey.

Well until that technology is invented, perhaps by someone reading this, one of the best things I’ve learned is to surround myself with people who know more than I do who can help me flourish—including mentors, advisors, and coaches.

These people have helped me grow in my career by not just building on my strengths but also pointing out my weaknesses and blind spots and helping me overcome them.

Lesson 3: Be clear about what you really want

My third lesson is about getting what you really want. I’ve learned that this requires knowing the difference between what we want versus what is possibly a passing wish so that we can focus our time and energy like a laser on what’s important.

When we declare something as an absolute want and focus our time and energy in that direction, again, all sorts of doors open up.

Lesson 4: Pursue your joy

The last lesson I’d like to share with you should possibly be the first, because it really is the most important. It’s one you’ve likely heard before, and I hope that its familiarity does not diminish its importance – pursue your joy.

What is it that brings you ultimate joy? It is a question that deserves careful thought.

Whether you bake cakes or solve the world’s most complex engineering and technological challenges, do what you love and love what you do. When you do, some things automatically happen: You feel your self-confidence and it directs your decisions. You are willing to take risks because you know the rewards that likely await you on the other side. You want to learn all you can about this thing you love, and you want to surround yourself with people who can help you become the very best you.

If self-confidence is the rocket fuel that allows us to soar to extraordinary heights, doing what you love is the spark that ignites that fuel.

Other challenges

For today’s connected consumer, the most recent great experience with a retailer or brand automatically raises the bar for all other competitors going forward. It’s become a virtuous cycle that’s made them feel empowered, always expecting more.

For retailers and brands, this has made "connected customer experiences" the new competitive battlefield. Instead of pushing products, they must now sell great customer experiences that play out seamlessly across their integrated physical and digital worlds.

For retailers and brands, the implications of Connected Consumer Experiences are daunting. How do data-driven marketers reconcile the new Moment of Truth — which is now the sum total of the consumer’s connected experiences?

They have to go well beyond selling products to address broader consumer needs and aspirations like beauty, adventure, health or wellness. They must orchestrate customer experiences that span multiple brands, service providers and commercial ecosystems.

Be sure to read 50 Women You Need to Know in Martech - 2018 and sign up to receive the Women in Martech series.