Q&A with Sarah Assous, Chief Marketing Officer at Zoovu

Media 7 | December 22, 2020

Sarah Assous, Chief Marketing Officer at Zoovu, is known for her skills in executing and delivering results across multiple positions and businesses. She is passionate about all things marketing and confidently leads a diverse team for innovating and executing work at a high standard.

MEDIA 7: Please take us through your career journey of becoming the CMO at Zoovu.
SARAH ASSOUS: It was always my ambition to work in the tech space...but it has been a journey. My first job out of college was with a business process outsourcing company, specifically in the insurance product development division (yes, you did read that correctly). I quickly realized that there was a lack of education and value messaging related to our services, so I advocated for a product marketing role. This was a pivotal moment in my career, by creating -and fulfilling - that role, I started my journey in marketing.

Five years later, I decided that I wanted more remit, responsibility, and a team, that’s when I joined Zoovu. Within 6 months of joining, I grew the marketing team from 2 to 10 members, rebranded the company, redesigned the website, and elevated our messaging and position in the market - it’s been a wild ride!

Conversations shouldn’t be sidelined or siloed - the future of customer experience relies on multi-channel integration of conversational commerce.



M7: Consumers have shifted from retail stores to e-commerce portals in the past few months. How has Zoovu's platform helped them in bridging the conversational gap?
SA:
Although Zoovu’s technology has evolved over time, the fundamental principle that our solution solves is to help consumers find the things they want. Consumers face huge amounts of choice and very little assistance and guidance when making purchase decisions online, yet many businesses expect consumers to do the heavy lifting.

At Zoovu, we disagree. Instead of providing static and out-dated customer experiences that are filter and spec-based, Zoovu’s conversational commerce platform helps transform how products are described and presented so that businesses can engage in meaningful conversations with consumers at the right moment and in the right context, helping them find exactly what they’re looking for.

M7: What are the benefits of using an AI-driven platform for communication? Are chatbots the future of communicating with customers?
SA:
Using an AI-driven platform for communication finally enables businesses to provide personalized and conversational commerce experiences at scale, whilst gaining an understanding of what resonates and what doesn’t resonate with your customers or users. AI-driven technology helps businesses to build ‘digital intelligence’, build their data foundations, and get the most out of their technology, people, and processes. Zoovu helps brands and retailers make better business decisions by adding meaning to data, using millions of interactions to transform chaos into order - AI makes this possible, and allows our clients to focus on what matters: delivering value to consumers while generating revenue.

As for chatbots, they will play a significant role in the future of communicating with customers as part of a larger apparatus of data-driven conversational customer experiences. But it’s important to note that the strength and value of chatbots is determined by the quality of the conversation - and that applies to any channel from the search bar to Facebook Messenger. Conversations shouldn’t be sidelined or siloed - the future of customer experience relies on multi-channel integration of conversational commerce.


I am constantly inspired by the things I see shared on social media and enjoy participating in the conversation. Critically, I also learn new tips and tricks on how to grow as a leader.



M7: What do you think is essential to stay competitive in a market that is going through constant digitalization?
SA:
There are two elements (that go hand in hand in my opinion): being customer-centric and data-led. Understanding and meeting the needs of your customers should be the focus of any business.

M7: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work? What processes did you re-tool to be able to manage your team remotely?
SA:
As an international company with offices in 4 time zones across Europe and North America, Zoovu was well equipped for the reliance on remote working. Our teams are used to collaborating and communicating virtually. During the first 6 weeks of global lockdowns, we, like most companies, altered our marketing strategy to align with the rapid acceleration of digital commerce adoption and determine how to communicate from a point of empathy to our audience.

In many ways, my team began working closer together than ever, we made an effort to connect once a day as a team where we run through important initiatives, company updates, and check-in on a personal level. It provided an opportunity for us to be more global-driven and to share examples of innovation in retail in our retrospective markets.


Hire for what you can’t do, but also hire because of what they can do and how they think.



M7: You are quite active on social media platforms. Does it help in keeping up with the latest developments that take place in the technological world?
SA:
Not being active on social channels for any leader or technology provider would be a huge missed opportunity especially when it comes to raising your company's brand and profile. At Zoovu, we look at social media as a way to listen and engage with our customers, the larger commerce community, and thought leaders. I am constantly inspired by the things I see shared on social media and enjoy participating in the conversation. Critically, I also learn new tips and tricks on how to grow as a leader - we all have room for improvement.

M7: The best piece of advice you have ever received?
SA:
Upon joining Zoovu and moving into an executive leadership role, our CEO, Rob Mullen, bestowed this piece of advice: “hire people that can do the things you can’t.” From a glance, this seems obvious, there are disciplines within marketing, like graphic design or web development, that you need to find team members to execute on. What I’ve learned over the last 2 years is building a strong team requires me to understand my strengths and limitations in order to fill those gaps and push me to think differently.

Each member of my team brings their own expertise in their function, but they also bring different perspectives that push me. When it comes to hiring, it’s important to bring in talented people who have different traits and working styles than you do. You’ll never move forward or break the mold if everyone is the same--the quality of ideas from varying points of view pushes everyone to think differently helps increase productivity without sacrificing creativity. Hire for what you can’t do, but also hire because of what they can do and how they think.

ABOUT ZOOVU

Zoovu is the market-leading Conversational commerce platform that delivers conversational experiences that are engaging, personalized, and contextual across all digital channels. Zoovu enables customers to easily engage through conversations simply by asking ‘how we can help’ and then turns to its extensive library of expert knowledge to find relevant helpful answers fast.

We help over 3,500 brands, including Microsoft, P&G and Whirlpool deliver conversational experiences through any channel the customer chooses, always keeping the context in mind and ensuring it leads to increased lifetime value.