Q&A with Ed Breault, Chief Marketing Officer at Aprimo

MEDIA 7 | November 28, 2019

Ed Breault, Chief Marketing Officer at Aprimo is a marketer with over 18 years of industry experience. At Aprimo, Ed is responsible for the global brand and growth which includes all Paid/Owned/Earned media, Brand Experience, Product Marketing, Industry Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Strategic Communications, Content Marketing, Analyst Relations, Alliance Marketing, Public Relations, Events, Demand Generation and Account-Based Marketing.

MEDIA 7: What’s your superpower?
ED BREAULT:
 I would say it’s applying the full spectrum of art and science that is required in marketing today. Not just left or right brained, but whole-brained strategy. Being human yet data-driven and really understanding numbers and (the right) metrics to make connections to business drivers. Add storytelling to that, so I can effectively communicate to my team, the CEO and CFO as well as my Board of Directors on those metrics, and connecting all that we are doing in marketing to the mission of the business. Then quickly shifting gears to the art and creative aspects of marketing that are required to engage an audience and tell great commercial stories that take complex concepts and craft them in a way that is interesting for people to pay attention to. I have to be the ultimate point of truth for the brand.

M7: At Aprimo, how have marketing leadership roles and responsibilities evolved over the past few years?
EB:
There are so many dimensions needed by marketing leaders today. There are several elements driving this evolution, it’s the new experience battlefront that is emerging and also marketers themselves driving changes. From a market perspective, there is a clear appetite for disruption and consumers are wanting more experiential elements to their buying experience and interactions with brands. Take a few direct to consumer disruptions like trialing products in-home, purchasing directly from a brand or even wanting to ensure that the producer’s trade practices are in line with the buyer’s or even a regulator’s for that matter. Then we want to try before we buy, and we emotionally care about the supply chain of products. Do we TRUST this brand to do business with them? Behind all of this is a story that needs to be told, and it is those marketers who know their audience well and make connections that will win the commercial game.

Back to the marketer, there are so many diverse backgrounds that marketers bring now and I’m really intrigued by those who have unconventional backgrounds because they contribute something uniquely new to the field. I love hearing about the marketer’s journey.


"Content is a massive investment for brands and Aprimo Digital Asset Management acts as a true hub of an organization's content management and experience lifecycle."

M7: Could you tell us about Aprimo’s creative ideation tool ‘Idea Lab’? How does it help marketers to move through the creative process from ideation to distribution of higher quality content?
EB:
 Aprimo Idea Lab is a place for early-stage ideation and there just haven’t been pure systems for ideas mixed with strategic planning so we filled in that whitespace for the market. This includes ideas from a strategic and tactical standpoint that is a bit of “safe” place to brainstorm in a highly collaborative workplace. Output is a new experience building block, a full campaign concept or brief, allowing the marketer and experience leader to think backwards from a great customer or content experience and purposefully architect it. This is all before you make financial commitments or commercial agreements with agencies or suppliers, and it feeds directly into financial scenario planning, so you can build the financial lens to your new breakthrough idea. It’s literally brainstorming brought to life and then connected to marketing production activities. So, if marketing is a ten-step process, this is step zero, and steps one and two. I’m in it every day. For me, the majority of my ideas hit me when I least expect it, so I immediately put them in Idea Lab and it functions as a “backlog” for thought-starters, then my team can collaboratively go run with it.

M7: What are some of the ways you optimize AI for your client base, when it comes to content development?
EB: 
We actually have artificial intelligence powering not just the production of content but the content creation process itself. We have machines creating content today, and one of the very specific use cases on that is what’s called a learnable AI. So basically, we have an artificial intelligence that can learn the context of a brand’s business. And, what it can then do is learn over time and it would know things like the proper focal points within an image.

Let’s say for example, there are three focal points in a piece of content or an image. Let’s say there is a model and she is sipping a coffee, she’s on her phone and she’s wearing a scarf. If you are in the business of selling and marketing scarfs, it would know that’s the focal point. If you’re in the business of marketing and selling coffee, it would know that’s the focal point. So, then it can make recommendations of what the right type of images, the form factor of the image, and knowing what creative resources would potentially do with that, the machine does for you. Since it’s able to learn your business, and let’s say you’re in the business of shoes, it would know the difference between a high-top and a high-heel learning over time with great accuracy.

Some of our early tests were showing 98% recognition and accuracy once it’s learned. Truly powerful. Also from a productivity standpoint, there are just some things AI handles better than humans like monitoring patterns, observing and making educated predictions about the future of projects. AI picks up on overlooked habits of team members and frees up a new era of project management to focus more on the complex processes behind a management strategy. Oh yeah, and unlike humans, doesn’t lose focus, fatigue, go on vacation or lose productivity while entertaining themselves with funny cat memes at work.


"AI picks up on overlooked habits of team members and frees up a new era of project management to focus more on the complex processes behind a management strategy."

M7: Could you elaborate on Aprimo’s Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution that helps deliver personalized experiences at scale and as a service?
EB: 
Yes! Content is a massive investment for brands and Aprimo Digital Asset Management acts as a true hub of an organization's content management and experience lifecycle. As I discussed earlier with Idea Lab, you eventually need content to action those ideas to deliver great experiences. And then workflows, to move along to create the content whether that’s AR, VR or even text and other types of multimedia or images. Regardless of the content type, the digital asset management system can store that content and make it highly searchable, it can make sure that once the ingestion process happens, it conforms to the metadata and taxonomy standards across an enterprise.

They can capture things like licensing agreements on that content when that content needs to expire. It can trigger approvals or re-approvals if the content is bound by any certain dates of when you can use the content. And what we want to make sure is that content does not get wasted or is created and parked somewhere.

Content truly powers experience channels like an ecommerce platform, a website, a great experience through a mobile device, and the delivery and distribution of content for downstream channels whether that is your reseller network or the content needs to be taken from a web to a print stage of its lifecycle. Generally, it is about having full management of a piece of content whether that’s the full digital asset or the components that make up the digital asset. This also manages the individual units of content that make up the asset we like to call “experience building blocks”. It’s all about finding, reusing and remixing content, staying compliant and delivering the best personalized experience possible.


"Content truly powers experience channels like an ecommerce platform, a website, a great experience through a mobile device, and the delivery and distribution of content for downstream channels."

M7: How does the Digital Asset Management help in maximizing content ROI?
EB:
 Definitely, it has to do with number one, the findability of the content so that the content can be used and it’s not wasted and then the enrichment processes that are built-in add data to the digital asset. From there, you can see a piece of content and metrics like consumption of that content, where that content piece was used in terms of different campaigns, geographies, etc. If that content was localized, if that content was used to drive whatever the marketing outcome or experience outcome is, which could be conversions on digital properties or transactions on an ecommerce platform, and all that rich data then comes back to the asset, and you are able to see how well it performed. This data is then served up very beautifully in a dashboard connected to the business outcomes you were driving. There are so many questions now we can answer about our content if this strategic approach is taken.

M7: What marketing channels do you use and which ones do you see as the most promising given your target customers?
EB:
 I think the magic is using all the channels in a very well-coordinated way. My primary channel strategies involve a mix of inbound and outbound in a very targeted fashion hence content marketing is core to my strategy. Content drives the pull-through in Aprimo’s digital properties, all of our owned digital properties, this includes the web channel as well as when we syndicate content to third-parties. That’s really important for us to create great content that is helpful, useful and then drives traffic back to aprimo.com. That’s where our inbound strategy balances the outbound efforts in a very targeted way. I use predictive demand capabilities showing me where and who is in market, so then I can go out and reach them and find them in what we like to call the “dark funnel”. I like to think of this strategy as there is someone lost out there looking for solutions to their challenges and it is my job to go find them, meet them and help them along their path. From there email for us has completely been reimagined. We are using video and conversational marketing from an outbound standpoint to connect. We are “humanizing” communications as much as possible, over the phone for voice, broadcast, media buying within different properties like LinkedIn, you name it. I think it’s a drive to strike a balance to create the complete experience for my audience.

M7: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
EB:
 As a child, I wanted to be an athlete. I was very much involved in sports so I looked at my heroes, those I aspired to be like were athletes at that time.

ABOUT APRIMO

Aprimo provides technology solutions for content, operations, and performance that enable enterprises to optimize their brand experiences and the resources they use to deliver them. Our platform gives enterprises the advantage by streamlining and governing all the behind-the-scenes activities – from ideation to distribution – involved in delivering exceptional brand experiences.

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Healthera receives funding from Government-backed Innovate UK to tackle critical challenges in the UK pharmacy sector

Healthera | December 02, 2022

Healthera, Cambridge-based digital health platform, today announces that it has been awarded funding from Innovate UK to develop the next generation of innovative patient-pharmacy healthcare platform. Following a rigorous process, and for the 3rd time since 2017, Healthera has been awarded funding from Innovate UK. Healthera has been offered an innovation loan of up to £500,000 to support its ongoing innovation in the community pharmacy and consumer medicine sector throughout the United Kingdom. Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, actively supports game-changing and commercially viable R&D projects that can significantly impact the UK economy. About the Project Utilising this new funding and with a strong leadership team with first hand experience in the industry, Healthera is addressing three critical opportunities to 'future-proof' UK pharmacies in this age of rapid digitalisation and growing consumer expectation: Enabling private treatments to be provided by local pharmacies digitally - ensuring safe and local clinical care for millions of patients with conditions like erectile dysfunction and hair loss. Improving medication adherence and access to repeat medication through a combination of smart algorithms, analytics tools, and targeted pharmacist support. Improving speed and accessibility of local delivery for medicines from the largest digital network of pharmacies in the UK. Healthera will leverage its network of over 1500 pharmacies, its current platform and infrastructure, and the clinical training of pharmacists on the platform to help more patients get access to private treatments for conditions that are often left untreated. This will allow local pharmacies to be a part of the rapidly growing sector that was previously only available to online doctors. Innovation from the project also aims to provide accessible delivery options for areas of the UK that do not currently have access to local medicine delivery – and continuing Healthera's original mission to improve adherence of medicines, reduce medicine wastage and spearhead the growth of pharmacy revenue – all this at a time when central funding and revenue channels are being limited for the community pharmacy. "This is an important step in our mission of becoming the go-to health hub for patients. As the market leaders for digitally transforming the pharmacy landscape, we're excited to receive support from Innovate UK to expedite this total innovation and truly future-proof the UK's vital community pharmacy industry." -Quintus Liu, CEO of Healthera. Andrew Bellingham, Director of Product and Strategy at Healthera commented, The pharmacy sector, which I've worked in for 20 years, is well-prepared to enhance their efficiencies, expand to more healthcare verticals, and reach more patients outside of their local vicinity through adopting digital technology. We've identified these opportunities and market gaps and are thrilled to be delivering the support that our invaluable community pharmacies deserve. "We're pleased to offer an innovation loan to Healthera to support the team on their mission to improve the delivery of healthcare through local pharmacies, a large market that is critical for the health of the nation and one that is now becoming ready to be further enhanced through digital innovation. The industry has huge potential for growth and it's important that an innovative platform like Healthera continues to push boundaries." -Scott O'Brien, Director of Innovation Finance at Innovate UK. About Healthera: Founded out of Cambridge University, Healthera operates a market leading healthcare platform that provides patients with medicines, healthcare services and products through the largest digital network of pharmacies in the UK, including over 1,500 pharmacies from large national chains and independent providers. About Innovate UK: Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by grant-in-aid from the UK government. Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK's world-class research base.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

U.S. Department of Defense Awards $50 Million Contract to Kodiak Robotics for Autonomous U.S. Army Ground Reconnaissance Vehicles

Kodiak Robotics | December 07, 2022

Kodiak Robotics, Inc., a leading self-driving trucking company, today announced it has been awarded a $49.9 million, 24-month United States Department of Defense (DoD) agreement to help automate future U.S. Army ground vehicles led by the Army's Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program. This effort will be in support of vehicles designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and other high-risk missions. Through this award, which started in October 2022 and was awarded by DoD's Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) on behalf of the Army's RCV program office, Kodiak will leverage its commercial self-driving software to develop, test and deploy autonomous capabilities for driverless vehicles that further strengthen national security. Kodiak will develop autonomous vehicle technology for the Army to navigate complex terrain, diverse operational conditions and GPS-challenged environments, while also providing the Army the ability to remotely operate vehicles when necessary. Wartime is extraordinarily complex with high-risk challenges that often result in troops operating near or behind enemy lines. Deploying autonomous vehicles to perform such critical and dangerous tasks has the potential to significantly reduce the risk to troops, while giving them greater access to the information they need in the field. Additionally, the remote driving capabilities Kodiak will develop for the Army will increase the flexibility of these autonomous vehicles, while further reducing risk for soldiers. The project will also provide a technical pipeline that will enable the rapid development and deployment of new autonomous vehicle technologies as they become commercially available. "I started Kodiak because I believe autonomous technology can save lives, and helping the U.S. Army develop driverless vehicles for the most challenging operating environments fits perfectly with that goal, We are proud to have the opportunity to leverage our cutting-edge self-driving technology for defense applications, and believe our work with DIU and the U.S. Army will both help strengthen national security and hasten our path to commercial deployment. We owe a debt of gratitude to the servicemen and women who step into harm's way to keep us safe; keeping them safe in return is an honor we take seriously." -Don Burnette, founder and CEO, Kodiak Robotics. Kodiak Robotics was the only autonomous vehicle company initially selected for this award out of 33 submissions, thanks to its proven leadership in autonomous systems development and commercialization, as well as its intense focus on safety. In the first year of this effort, Kodiak will build upon its core competency by applying its robust autonomous software stack for Army specific use cases, including future Army vehicles. In year two, the company will implement its autonomous driving system on off-road vehicles capable of traversing complex terrain and operating remotely in unpredictable and austere conditions. DIU focuses exclusively on adopting and scaling technologies developed by commercial partners to help strengthen U.S. national security by solving critical field challenges faced by the U.S. military. DIU works to identify innovations in six key technology areas where the commercial sector is operating at the leading edge: artificial intelligence, autonomy, cyber, energy, human systems, and space. While Kodiak Robotics will continue to focus on its core business of building autonomous trucks for use in commercial applications, this project serves as an important extension that helps to propel its innovations forward. This project shows that Kodiak's core technology has multiple use cases, laying the groundwork for future expansion beyond long-haul trucking. About Kodiak Robotics, Inc: Kodiak Robotics, Inc. was founded in 2018 to develop autonomous technology that carries freight forward — so people, partners, and the planet thrive. The company is developing an industry-leading technology stack purpose-built specifically for long-haul trucks, making the freight industry safer and more efficient. Kodiak's unique modular hardware approach integrates sensors into a streamlined sensor-pod structure that optimizes for perception, scalability, and maintainability. The company delivers freight daily for its customers across the South, operating autonomously on the highway portions of the routes.

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