● Consumer behavior is always changing before your eyes, and only by closely monitoring these changes, you can properly adjust your strategy.
● Ensure that the information you’re getting in the form of your KPIs shapes the experiments you’re running.
● Knowledge is power, but you need to remain flexible in an ever-changing market.
Amit Kumar Career Development
Amit Kumar is a number-crunching engineer by nature. He started as a software developer and worked as a consultant for Deloitte, WPP, and Valtech, helping firms reexamine their approach to all things digital.
Now he is the Head of Marketing Technology at PhotoBox.
Can you tell us a little more about you and your career?
I started my professional life as a software developer, mainly working on core technology. But I quickly developed a passion for working with modern analytics tools. In fact, it was more than a mere passion because I became truly obsessed.
I loved using tools like Omniture SiteCatalyst and Adobe CMS to sculpt personalized consumer experiences based on an individual’s interests and behavior.
This back-to-front way of working really appealed to me. You’re almost reverse-engineering the entire customer experience. I suppose it’s like archaeology in a sense. You dig deep into the data, try to understand what it actually means, and then construct a bigger picture.
As I cultivated this passion, I soon realized that these skills were in incredibly high demand. This led me to join Deloitte. There I worked as a consultant for fortune 500 clients realizing personalization, data-driven marketing and helped them craft winning digital experiences.
After two years or so, I then moved into solutions architecture. I was keen to spend more of my time problem-solving rather than simply operating technology that was already well-versed in using.
This deep-seated love of problem-solving has basically been at the heart of my career ever since.
What does PhotoBox do?
We’re an online photo printing company. Want a face mask with your face on it? No problem. Fancy doing a jigsaw of your honeymoon? Easy peasy.
PhotoBox is growing rapidly. We’ve acquired a number of smaller companies, all of which are divided into two main businesses: Moonpig (focused on cards) and PhotoBox (focused on print and personalization).
It’s really rewarding to work there, not just a tedious corporate platitude. I remember once scrolling through the photos on my phone and feeling so nostalgic for actual photo albums: the weight, the smell, the memories held in your hands.
But then I had an ‘aha!’ moment. I realized that’s exactly what we’re doing. PhotoBox is bringing the photo album into the future. We’re helping people get photos off their phones, off the cloud, and into physical albums.
There’s something different about seeing physical photos of times well spent, instead of scrolling through yet another screen.
To be honest with you, I was quite surprised when I joined PhotoBox. I knew the work would be really interesting. I failed to recognize just how meaningful it would be.
What does your role as Head of Marketing Technology entail?
It’s a new role. It kind of evolved into itself, Darwin style, owing to a number of complex factors. Chiefly, there was the fact that PhotoBox grew quickly by acquiring different brands.
However, it led to lots of fragmented information, different systems, and different databases. This was a nightmare scenario.
The business had a great marketing team and technology team, but they didn’t have someone in the middle who could connect marketing needs to technology solutions. That’s where I come in. I’m basically the man in the middle responsible for bringing it all together.
When I arrived, the company was filled with disparate teams all working with data that only they knew existed. This was a serious threat to the organization’s overall success. My time as a consultant showed me that siloed teams working with fragmented data sources invariably lead to problems further down the line.
In today’s information age, instead of creating arbitrary partitions between various areas of the business, organizations must create collaborative, cross-departmental teams aimed at solving a particular problem.
So I started by speaking to different teams and encouraging them to all speak with one another. Most importantly, I had to convince them of the value of sharing data across the organization.
Only then could I begin working on consolidating the marketing tech stack so that the business as a whole could become more efficient.
However, to do this successfully, we first had to define the right KPIs:
● Which metrics matter and why?
● What does success look like?
● What do our KPIs and metrics tell us about the progress we’re making towards achieving our key goals?
How do you ensure that you’re measuring the things that matter?
There’s a bit of guesswork at play here, especially in the early days.
I tend to follow this rough 5-step process:
1. Set the right success measurements
It’s like a set of Russian dolls. Start with one big measurement of success (such as sales, for example) that leads into a set of smaller ones. If you have too many key performance indicators (KPIs), the simple process of measuring success becomes so scatterbrained – you’ll suffer from a serious case of ‘information overload’.
2. Define your audience segment groups
I call this ‘the rule of four’. You don’t want to overcomplicate segmentation. Make segments clear, actionable, and allow individual teams to break them down further. For example:
● Power: Makes a purchase more than three times a year.
● Core: Makes a purchase twice a year.
● Casual high: Makes a purchase less than twice a year, but buys expensive products.
● Casual low: Only occasionally makes a purchase, and when they do, they buy low-value products.
3. Monitor consumer behavior
You should always monitor how individual segments are responding to your efforts over time. Consumer behavior is always changing before your eyes, and individual groups will also respond to your efforts in different, contrasting manners. By closely monitoring these changes, you can adjust your strategy as and when necessary. Remember: knowledge is power, but you need to be flexible in an ever-changing market. Flexibility is the way you follow through.
4. Dashboard to follow the progress
Control is key. You need a dashboard at the company level to see how the team is progressing. It should be a channel-level dashboard that allows you to dig into the performance of individual channels. This allows you to control how much you’re spending, where you’re spending it, and the ROI for each of your strategies.
5. Connect your KPIs to your experiments
Modern marketing is interdisciplinary. Think of your business as a circuit board made up of disparate parts, all buzzing from the same feed and all interconnected. To use it well, you need to ensure that the information you’re getting (in the form of your KPIs) shapes the experiments you’re running.
We’re inspiring people to tell their stories, to grow their relationships, and to stay connected in a way that no text message could ever hope to capture. Whenever I hear about our customers’ experiences with our company, it really reinforces the impact we’re having on people’s lives.Amit Kumar, Head of Marketing Technology at PhotoBox