Martin Coady is the director of all things technical at the VML Center of Excellence, where he’s in the business of technical strategy and content management. He’s also an Everlytic sponsored guest speaker at The Nedbank Digital Edge 2013. We chatted to Coady about what he does, why he does it and what we can expect from his presentation. Coady built his first website using a CMS somewhere in the mid 90’s. His exposure to content management systems lead to the start of a solution building career he’d come to love many experiences later. Coady was author of many best practice guides to website building for brands. Today he specialises in technical strategy, content management and creating intuitive customer experiences.

Whilst an increasing number of projects bear his name, the one this energetic and highly focused tech aficionado seems most famous for is Cartoon Network’s full site redesign from 5 years ago. He implemented the CMS that would power their 11 European sites. The Drupal-driven solution showcased a design that was flexible enough to share common elements across websites but could be easily updated for seasonal promotions. The CMS supported multiple languages for the different sites and integrated with video, games, adverts and an optimised networking element for kids.

Subsequent career highlights for the customer experience specialist all revolve around a variety of clients and the chance to help them better use technology in a way that helps them and their business.

What is customer experience management?

Forrester does a decent job of summarizing it like this, “a solution that enables the management, delivery and measurement of dynamic, targeted, consistent content, offers, products and service interactions across digitally enabled consumer touch points.” Simply, it’s everything needed to present the content experience a consumer wants, in the right format, given their specific context and location. It’s about leveraging processes to bring together the right people in your organisation and partners that are supported and automated as much as possible by technology.

What makes for a good intuitive customer experience?

Those focussed on actual user tasks and value. Those providing as frictionless an experience as possible and that are the least self-referential to the brand and its objectives.

What made you realise customer experience management is what you wanted to do?

Being fortuitous enough to get into this space early on and seeing the potential for how it could help businesses in a variety of ways. I liked the flexibility and that it was growing into more of a marketing tool. But the turning point came when I joined VML and realized how much I liked helping clients solve marketing challenges with the technology I had been using previously.

What influences your work & inspires you to greatness?

Before technology, I was a professional musician and greatly admire musicians who are constantly reinventing what they do – I try to be that way in my work life. I should also call out VML and in particular our CEO Jon Cook who has always encouraged us to be very entrepreneurial and I don’t think I could have done what I could without that freedom and inspiration.

The Marketing Department at Everlytic loves ‘The Amazing World of Gumball’. Having worked on the Cartoon Network project, we have to ask if you’ve got a favourite CN show.
Powerpuff girls – love the music and Mojo Jojo!

1 sentence describing your Digital Edge Live segment on The New Role of Technology is…

Helping define what customer management is and the broader view of what real steps you can take to achieve a sustainable model for customer experience.

Everlytic’s core business is around email. Have you had to factor email into a solution?

Most definitely. We consider it a powerful channel with great results for a reasonable investment. It’s still an excellent route to help drive conversion and nurture client relationships. We partner extensively with an email service provider (ESP) and have an email team as part of our channel group.

What is the future of customer experience, particularly web & email?

Both will continue to be important channels for the foreseeable future since they’re still heavily used. The key is still to meet people on their terms and adapt to their context as well.

What’s next for Martin Coady?

We’re always deepening our relationships with leading vendors. It’s exciting what more we can do for our clients when leveraging even broader integrated marketing tools. Part of this is also a push to better integrate our global offices through these shared solutions.