Reconnecting to human traits and behaviors will ensure your technology-based work is successful.
MEDIA 7: Could you please walk us through your professional and personal journey?
NH: I have always loved technology. Early in my career, I worked in product management at a telecommunications company in Australia. The work was really techy, some might even say a bit geeky, and I loved it! I then worked in e-commerce at a company in Australia, just as cloud solutions were emerging. We suddenly had new technologies, new products, and new routes to market. It was both fascinating and tough. I remember collaborating with colleagues in Product Marketing and thinking they had it easy! I then had an opportunity to become a Product Marketing Manager myself, and I got to experience firsthand how challenging that role can be. And again, I loved it.
My remit then broadened to include sales, and I was fascinated by uncovering the other side of marketing. Rather than just listing benefits, I was learning and highlighting what problems these products solved, how they added value, and how they improved P&L. This well-rounded experience gave me the foundation I needed to take on a leadership role, and I was appointed CMO for 3Mobile, a start-up in Australia at that time and it was an incredible learning experience for me. I was leading marketing, product and sales.
Since then, I’ve held senior marketing roles at companies spanning consumer mobile and wearable technology. I was fortunate to work as part of the team during the merger of telecoms companies EE and BT – which gave me great insight into how to market while undergoing a company transformation. Now, as CMO of Forsta, I get to steer this fantastic company through a merger of best-in-class research technology brands – the former Confirmit, FocusVision and Dapresy. This is a truly exciting role. When I joined the company in January 2021, the merger process was just about to kick off. Now, we are fully united as one truly incredible technology platform, capable of supporting customer experience and marketing research professionals through their entire insights journey. We serve everyone from market research agencies to in-house marketing and customer experience decision-makers at brands.
It’s only now that I realize, despite how much I’ve relied upon research in previous roles, I had never really considered the power of the technology that drives it. I know now that if I had, I would definitely have been more involved and done more with the research I commissioned to ensure we really had the smartest, most actionable insights. Lesson learned.
M7: Forsta offers a number of simple yet powerful tools like Sophisticated CX & EX tech, comprehensive survey and panel management, digital diaries, etc. Could you please tell us more about them?
NH: We are evolving our offering from a suite of tools to a comprehensive, yet simple-to-use platform, that supports the entire insights journey, which we call GAVA: Gather, Analyze, Visualize and Act. To gather data and insights, our customers can use everything from customizable surveys and moderated online conversations, to Voice of the Customer and Voice of the Employee programs, to social listening. We provide a central hub from which to Analyze data, bolstered by AI-enabled features for things like emotion, sentiment and voice analysis. Our reporting and Visualization tools then help our customers bring their data and insights stories to life as compelling stories. We then get the right information to the right people, via tools like workflow integrations and mobile notifications, to ensure they act quickly and effectively on the insights they uncover. Users of our platform can scale up or down, depending on how their needs change over time.
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It’s an exciting time for the insights industry!
M7: Could you please give our readers an insight into the recent Forsta AIR Awards?
NH: Forsta has two award programs throughout the year: the AIR Awards honor Achievement in Insights and Research, and the ACE Awards celebrate Achievement in Customer Excellence. We announced the winners of the most recent AIR awards a few weeks ago, and the winners were truly exceptional examples of innovation in the market research space. Our esteemed judges for the competition included industry heavyweights like Natalie Samuel, Co-Founder and Director of Colour of Research, and Kristin Luck, Founder and Managing Partner of growth consultancy ScaleHouse. They were all super impressed by the way that the winners had added value and new thinking to not only their organizations, but to the global insights industry as a whole. We will be opening up the ACE Awards for nominations this spring, and I expect every bit as much innovation across those winners, as well. It’s a really exciting time for the insights industry!
M7: Forsta provides Customer Experience and Research Technology for some of the world’s most ambitious organizations. How do you anticipate what people want?
NH: We ask them! We get super close to our customers and learn from them how they are using the platform and why. We are in constant communication with our customers about their evolving needs, and we take on board their feedback as we continually look for ways to further enhance and improve our product experience.
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Stay aware and interested in what else is going on outside of your professional world.
M7: What do you think is essential to stay competitive in a market that is going through constant digitalization?
NH: I actually believe that digitalization has happened. The world is already digitized. For me, staying competitive and relevant is about being mindful and respectful of the human experience. Yes, we use digital tools and platforms, but we must always remember that it is people who are engaging and responding with that technology. Reconnecting to human traits and behaviors will ensure your technology-based work is successful. It’s also important to always stay curious. Stay aware and interested in what else is going on outside of your professional world – there’s the metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrency. While they might not immediately seem connected to your own marketing program or business, these could very well be the pillars of a competitive strategy in the near future.
M7: What do you read, listen to, or watch, to stay on top of your game?
NH: I am constantly surfing a wide and deep variety of online news sources. And I always listen to the Bloomberg Daily Podcast. Outside of work topics, I love the TalkArt Podcast. Not only does it broaden my knowledge of and love for the art world, it also helps me think laterally in my professional life. It never fails to give me a different perspective.