24 Jun 2024 18:22

Meet the Leader

Media-Avataar Leadership Talk- Q&A with Jon Hyman, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Braze

While 91% of UAE marketers are embracing AI technology to enhance their marketing efforts , the data revealed that nearly half (48%) identified a lack of data skills as one of the top-three issues they face.

Here’s the full Q & A:

1.Tell us more about your work in this region- when did you start here and why, key clients, main industry sectors and your plans to strengthen your presence here.

Dubai has become a bustling center for digital-first organizations focused on building their cross-channel customer engagement. Our journey in this region began with recognizing the immense potential here and supporting businesses’ growing demand for innovative customer engagement solutions.

Since then, Braze has had the privilege of partnering with some of the leading brands in the area, such as FIVE Hotels & Resorts, Floward, Majid Al Futtaim, and Noon. These collaborations have been instrumental in demonstrating the power of customer engagement with the results and ROI proving the value of engagement.

Our goal is always to better serve our global customer base. This means we’re planning to bring more local teams onboard, hire in-market leadership, and even open an office in the region. These steps are all part of our broader strategy to strengthen our footprint and help our customers advance their customer engagement practices.

We also understand the value of being able to support and engage with our customers in their local language. Brands need a partner that’s going to work alongside them to manage global programs, which cut across regions, languages, and cultures – our expansion into Dubai will enable us to do just that. Partnering with brands, we help them to move faster and eliminate rework, make it simpler to connect with new communities, and proactively resolve potential issues before they go live with their campaigns.

2. Could you take us through a case study of how your platform helped a company based in the Middle East?

In 2021, we began working with Majid Al Futtaim group, a leading developer and owner of shopping malls in the Middle East, such as Mall of the Emirates. Transitioning to Braze was especially important for MAF’s SHARE Rewards Programme. Braze worked alongside the team to move over 40 existing campaigns whilst continuing to maintain seamless communication with more than three million customers.

Our team helped to identify all existing use cases and requirements for continuity on the Braze platform- this even included the creation of a data dictionary for use by the marketing team. We still continue to support MAF, and all our customers, with training and quarterly refreshes to enable teams to embrace the new tools we’re continually rolling out and keep driving increased value. We were able to successfully migrate all SHARE communication campaigns onto Braze with no customer impact. Within a year, MAF had over 100 automated campaigns set up executing over 1,000 unique customer engagements to over 5.6 million recipients monthly. They even reported high open and click rates that hadn’t been seen before.

3. Braze recently issued the fourth edition of Braze Consumer Engagement Review. What are the key findings for this region and what are the key takeaways for regional marketers ?

In our annual study surveying over 1,900 marketers globally, the key finding in the UAE was that while there is enthusiasm for AI integration, critical gaps in skills are hindering effective implementation.

While 91% of UAE marketers are embracing AI technology to enhance their marketing efforts , the data revealed that nearly half (48%) identified a lack of data skills as one of the top-three issues they face. This gap is preventing marketers from fully leveraging AI’s potential.

This is where there is an urgent need for marketers to invest in developing AI skills within their teams. On-the-job training is needed to bridge the gap between AI skills and marketing, as well as intuitive technology that makes it easy for marketers to integrate AI into their workflow. This is not just important for marketers but should also be built into the skill set of all CEOs and CMOs. Their leadership in promoting a data-driven culture can significantly impact the success of AI initiatives within their organisations.

4. How do you see whatsapp growing as a consumer engagement channel? Please provide any examples

At Braze we continually invest in new and emerging channels to ensure our customers have access to the channels that matter. WhatsApp is the most popular 1:1 messaging platform in the world with two billion monthly active users in over 180 countries. So it’s no surprise that, as a channel, it offers marketers the ability to contact their customers on a massive scale and global reach. Recent Braze research found that global brands are showing a consistent interest in leveraging these messaging apps above all other channels for communications with their customers.

As WhatsApp is built for two-way messaging, it is offering marketers the tools to be truly personalised in its messaging, facilitating rich conversational experiences. WhatsApp is no longer just about customer support – we’ve seen brands moving beyond this with transactional and promotional marketing messages. They’re now able to engage with customers at all stages of their customer journey, and once opted in, on a channel ingrained in our everyday lives.

5. How can Braze help companies in creating greater customer engagement through personalisation

People are receiving more messages than ever before, across multiple channels, from numerous brands. Relevancy is key, and personalisation is what makes that possible. Personalisation when done correctly can provide customers with a more appealing, and valuable brand experience.

Personalisation today couldn’t be achieved at scale without data and technology. We help enable marketers to securely activate the data they’re collecting from their customers and incorporate that into campaign orchestration tools. From there, Braze features can help to personalise messaging based on the channels the customer most engages with, tailoring things like recommended items, location based personalisation, the language of messaging, all the way down to the best times to be engaging with them.

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