MarTech360 Interview With Kathy Klingler, Chief Marketing Officer At Brightcove

 “I have worked for some incredible brands that are truly customer-obsessed, aligning the entire organization towards a common purpose and enabling “everyone” to innovate and challenge convention on behalf of the customer, ultimately driving incredible business and shareholder value.”

Can you tell us about your professional background and your current role at Brightcove. Also tell us how Brightcove differentiates itself from other companies in the same space?

I began my career over 25 years ago—surprisingly not in marketing, but as a CPA working for a global consulting firm—but quickly turned my financial acumen and breadth of industry experience into a valuable skill set for the marketing profession. I describe myself as right- and left-brained, allowing me to exercise both the creative and analytical side of marketing. I believe when you blend insights with impactful content and experiences that resonate and inspire your audience, that’s where the magic happens in marketing.

I am currently the Chief Marketing Officer for Brightcove, the world’s leading streaming technology company. I am responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy, which includes worldwide marketing, brand and creative, digital strategy, global demand generation, and corporate communications. Before Brightcove, I served as the CMO for Rapid7, a global leader in cybersecurity. Before that, I held various executive marketing and communications roles as Chief Marketing Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Kaplan Higher Education, and Santander Bank.

To set the stage, I was a loyal customer of Brightcove in my prior roles and was drawn to the company to help the marketing and communications community see the power of video to reach, engage, and build loyalty with audiences. The digital transformation has impacted all businesses, but acutely in marketing, where the most significant opportunities exist to leverage technology powered by profound insights and generative AI to drive business growth and efficiency.

With a 20-year heritage of trust, reliability, scalability and innovation, we have enabled and empowered many of the world’s most beloved media and enterprise brands who have embraced video to drive innovation within their organizations. Brightcove is well-positioned to help companies take advantage of the evolving digital landscape and the acceleration of Generative AI.  The core of our offering is a two-time Emmy Award-winning video streaming technology platform that allows companies to easily create, edit, host, manage and distribute video in ways that drive revenue growth and business efficiency.  But I believe our “secret sauce” is our proprietary Insights platform, representing unprecedented amounts of data and insights on video performance, customer behavior, actions and engagement. These insights fuel our platform and provide a differentiated offering to our customers to find new revenue opportunities and maximize the total cost of ownership for their businesses.  Not surprisingly, we see an incredible opportunity to leverage AI in secure and responsible ways with our customers to power the next generation of offerings that connect with customers’ business priorities.

Can you tell us the key features and benefits of Brightcove Marketing Studio, and how can it help businesses enhance their marketing strategies and drive better results?

It’s no secret that video is one of the most powerful mediums for marketers. In today’s digital age, we see many of our customers use video to navigate their customers through the entire purchase and post-purchase journey, seamlessly combining it with other marketing tactics to understand what is driving performance and enable them to quickly optimize for improvements.

We know that properly utilizing video can be challenging if you don’t have the right resources and tools. Beyond what I have mentioned previously, one of the biggest advantages of Brightcove’s Marketing Studio is the ability to integrate easily with our customers’ Martech stack. We made a philosophical decision early on that creating an “open architecture” platform would enable our customers to leverage our offering without having to rebuild their existing technology stack.  Whether it’s integrating with social media platforms, CMS offerings, e-commerce platforms, or CRM and Marketing Automation, we provide seamless integrations and APIs, making it easy for the development teams to set up our offering and ensure marketing teams get the most from their video content by connecting across the tools they use every day. Brightcove has an impressive enterprise customer base, providing great insight into how video is used across industries to drive business and customer value. Not surprisingly, research has shown that 70% of consumers worldwide say that having access to video when purchasing online helps them better understand the product or experience they are purchasing. One notable Brightcove customer is Sephora: looking at their website will provide an example of how they seamlessly integrate video into their overall shopping experience. We also know from research that 83% of those who spend the most money online agree that interactive features, such as click-to-purchase links, are helpful as they shop. Another impressive Brightcove customer is Ford Motor Company; they have leveraged video to create a seamless experience for customers to learn about their vehicles, providing upfront value to the customer as part of the decision-making process.

I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss how leveraging a platform like Marketing Studio provides an advantage as we continue to speculate about the “death of cookies” in 2024. We all know that data and insights have always been key enablers to a marketing strategy’s success. Having your own proprietary “first-party data”’ is critical and an advantage as Generative AI continues to accelerate. The differentiation with Marketing Studio is tied back to our underlying Insights analytics platform, which allows our customers to collect and own the first-party data generated from video to better understand their customers, control and deliver more personalized experiences, and acquire new customers. More importantly, due to our focus on open architecture, this data can be consumed in a company’s Martech stack to combine multiple sources to holistically understand behavior, actions, and engagement. We know it’s not just “about video” but a key component of an overall approach where video plays a critical role in the customer journey.  And if you’re wondering, why not just use YouTube? You should continue to post your videos on YouTube as they are one of the highest-rated search engines; however, the mistake is to not also have your own platform that collects first-party data that you own and can leverage to make smarter business decisions.  Our seamless integration with YouTube and other social platforms makes this possible– imagine the opportunity to leverage the best platforms and your own data!

What strategies do you employ to inspire and lead global marketing teams toward a shared purpose and impact, fostering innovation, experimentation, and creativity to drive greater value for customers, shareholders, and the company?

I am a “customer-obsessed brand builder” at my core, and I believe that companies (not just marketing) need to understand their customers across many dimensions to drive performance. There is so much research on how “customer-first brands” are at the top of the S&P for performance because they put the customer first; this drives product innovation, customer experiences, service models and true innovation. Perhaps most importantly, it energizes and galvanizes organizations’ employees towards a “true north” grounded in value.

One of the critical roles of the marketing organization at Brightcove is to be the “voice of the customer”: to listen deeply and leverage this insight to drive innovation, experimentation and creativity.  A great example of Brightcove putting this into action is our “customer-first” service culture, which recently won TSIA’s Support Staff Excellence Certification for the tenth year in a row, and our recent work with Amazon Q to evolve our award-winning customer service by leveraging their AI engine with our product and service data to improve response times to our customers and drive more productivity and efficiencies in our business.

We also have a great advantage with our Insights Platform to see how our customers’ investment in video is performing and provide tools and resources to help them maximize their investment. This includes our ability to look across all our customers holistically to see trends at a macro level and within specific industry verticals. For instance, we know there are differences in how video is used and consumed in the media industry and how it differs across broadcasters, streaming companies, publishers, and sports organizations. On the enterprise side, we continue to learn how video supports different types of customers like retailers, financial service organizations, manufacturers, healthcare companies, etc. This information is protected for our customers, but it helps us fuel our product roadmap flywheel, which continuously focuses on helping our customers solve business needs to drive revenue growth and efficiency.

What strategies can businesses implement to leverage video marketing effectively throughout the customer journey, from awareness to post-purchase engagement, and how can these strategies enhance brand perception and drive business growth?

For media companies, we know video is core to their business, and there is an incredible opportunity to leverage data and insights to drastically improve the total cost of ownership and, more importantly, drive new sources of revenue. Brightcove is a leader in this regard, spending 20 years working with media companies to advance their businesses. On the enterprise side, the use of video differs across industry types and departments. Because of this, I encourage all marketers to evaluate the use of video as it can be an incredible enabler to drive revenue growth, business efficiency, brand loyalty and employee experience. The research is unequivocal on the value of using video to reach, engage, convert and build loyalty. This is not only for demand generation purposes but for brand loyalty, customer experience, service experience, internal communications, training, etc. Think about your own experiences today as a consumer, how you use video and what you like and don’t like. It is a powerful piece of the marketing and communications engine if used effectively.

With that said, we know from research that companies may shy away from video due to cost, whether due to the cost of the technology, expertise in the team or ability to prove how it drives business impact. I was in the shoes of many marketers advocating for the use of video and the need to build a business case to justify the investment. What I have learned at Brightcove is that video technology has advanced so much in the past 20 years, driving down the cost of technology, but more importantly, advancements have made it much easier for “novices” in video production to create, manage, host and distribute video across all aspects of the marketing ecosystem and buyer journey, making the investment more manageable and “test and learning” a much easier proposition.

How can businesses develop an effective demand generation strategy that integrates various marketing channels and tactics to attract, engage, and convert leads into loyal customers, ultimately driving sustainable growth and revenue?

An effective global demand generation strategy begins with meeting your customers where they are, whether on mobile devices, social channels, through web research, or any other location they frequent. Technology has enabled us to reach and engage in ways that were unprecedented a decade ago. This has upped the game to truly understand your customer and provide relevant, personalized content that addresses their needs and interests. There is a role for generic content, but its value diminishes as you gain more insight into your audience, their behaviors and actions, allowing you to create unique experiences demonstrating “you know them” and “value them.”  Building true brand affinity and sustainable growth starts here but requires teams to go beyond demand to an equally important focus on customer lifetime value – to continually learn, engage and empower customers to realize the value of their investment and the paradigm shift to advocacy and building affinity for your brand.

Also Read: MarTech360 Interview With Thomas Park, Senior Vice President of Product Strategy At Adform

How do you measure the success of your customer-centric strategies, and what key performance indicators do you prioritize to track the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives and ensure alignment with overall corporate objectives?

To measure the success of our customer-centric strategies and ensure alignment with overall corporate objectives, we prioritize several key performance indicators (KPIs). These include Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge immediate and long-term customer satisfaction. We also track Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to evaluate marketing efficiency, and engagement metrics such as video and digital performance,  website and social media interactions, email open rates, and conversion rates to measure the effectiveness of our initiatives. Additionally, we monitor revenue growth and gather qualitative feedback through surveys and reviews to continuously refine our strategies and ensure they drive business growth in alignment with corporate goals. We are continually listening and learning, and through evolving technologies, we can capture conversations and leverage AI to help us understand patterns and opportunities to drive improvements.

That said, I think it’s important to acknowledge that defining your corporate KPIs is not enough. The key is to help teams connect their activities to the core KPIs, allowing them to better understand how their priorities drive impact and where they don’t. Marketing is also not on an island; it is important to connect the dots to understand cross-team dependencies and accountability—a shared purpose and focus.

What advice do you have for other leaders who are looking to drive growth for their brand?

It is not novel, but it is to deeply understand your market and customers through continuous learning—leveraging data, insights, research, and direct conversations. This work is never done. Striving to understand your audience’s behaviors and actions in the present and with an eye to the future is critical.  However, perhaps more important is how you socialize these insights by bringing different stakeholders across an organization into the fold to understand the data and align on the most impactful business opportunities. Often, we get really excited about data and insights, but unless it becomes a valuable asset to drive change, it is just another presentation. The information has to be democratized to realize its true potential.  I have worked for some incredible brands that are truly customer-obsessed, aligning the entire organization towards a common purpose and enabling “everyone” to innovate and challenge convention on behalf of the customer, ultimately driving incredible business and shareholder value.

What is the biggest problem you or your team is solving this year?

The most talked-about topic right now for every company and brand is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve business performance. It’s a complex topic and has the potential to create real impact in the industry for years to come. There are hundreds of businesses focused on this topic, and it’s growing exponentially every day. This creates an opportunity and a mandate for companies like Brightcove to responsibly approach this next level of innovation and stay true to our promise of trust. Product innovation is at the forefront of our strategy, but establishing the right environment to protect the business and our customers’ critical assets is equally important.

Is there anything that you’re currently reading, or any favorite books, that you’d recommend?

I have been fortunate to work across many industries, geographies and types of businesses. To do this, you need to be curious and never stop listening, learning and asking questions! I tell my children in college: “Learning never ends,” and it has been my passion and privilege to learn from so many. One of my favorite ways to stay on top of it all right now is by listening to The CMO Podcast by Jim Stengel. He does a great job of bringing various marketing leaders and other professionals together to present different perspectives, key learnings and practical advice.

Thanks, Kathy!

Kathy Klingler is Brightcove’s Chief Marketing Officer responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy, overseeing worldwide marketing, brand and creative, digital strategy, global demand generation, and corporate communications. She has deep expertise in leading and transforming high-performing global marketing organizations across multiple industries and customer segments, reinvigorating major brands with a customer-first focus, leading to profitable growth. Kathy is committed to advancing Brightcove’s mission to be the world’s most trusted streaming technology company.

Brightcove creates the world’s most reliable, scalable, and secure streaming technology solutions to build a greater connection between companies and their audiences, no matter where they are or on which devices they consume content. In more than 60 countries, Brightcove’s intelligent video platform enables businesses to sell to customers more effectively, media leaders to stream and monetize content more reliably, and every organization to communicate with team members more powerfully. With two Technology and Engineering Emmy® Awards for innovation, uptime that consistently leads the industry, and unmatched scalability, we continuously push the boundaries of what video can do.

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