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fresh perspectives

Fresh Perspectives: Tarah Feinberg, CMO & NY Managing Director, KITE


Fresh Perspectives: Tarah Feinberg, CMO & NY Managing Director, KITE

Welcome to the FRESH Perspectives series. FRESH Perspectives is designed to give top insights from VIPs, industry influencers, marketing leadership, and all around amazing people. 

This week, we're profiling Tarah Feinberg, or as we call him, one of the most amazing people in New York. We're not just making that up. Tarah's spent 15+ years in entertainment and marketing as a translator, creator and ambassador for emerging technologies. He's launched new divisions and practice areas, like the Digital Studio at NBC Universal and iCrossing's social media and real-time content marketing group. Currently, as CMO and NY Managing Director of KITE, he leads communications and customer development as well as KITE’s NY operations. 


FRESH: What are the two biggest issues marketers are facing today?

TF: Growth and disruption. Fortune 1000 isn't seeing the double-digit growth that they got used to before the Lehman Brothers crash, but their shareholders expect greater performance and increased profits more than ever. That requires marketers to find new ways to differentiate and to capture the attention and affinity of consumers at every point along the purchase journey. Innovation is vital to long-term marketing success as well as customer and consumer relevance. Large enterprises tend to move quite slowly, so it's essential that they look outside of their own walls to invigorate the growth they need. 

Disruptive innovation relates to the companies that might steal large market share and/or drastically change industries. Enterprises have historically been pretty bad at predicting or recognizing these threats (which could be great opportunities) before it's too late. 

One of my favorite tweets when Google bought Nest came from Aaron Levie, CEO of Box: "The future will confuse lots of companies: one day you make home appliances, the next day you're competing against a search engine."

Just think: Uber never would have come out of a taxi or transportation company; Airbnb would never have come out of Hilton or Marriott. Leading corporations are starting to recognize that disruptive innovation rarely starts (or flourishes) within, so they are looking to startups for growth, competitive advantage and to strengthen all aspects of their business, from the most intractable problems to existing initiatives. 

FRESH: What did you learn from your big brand experience (HBO, NBC, iCrossing)

TF: I believe that a lot of success comes down to timing and the willingness to do things that have never been done before. I feel incredibly fortunate that my career has afforded me the opportunity to work at a range of progressive companies within which I was able to launch new divisions and capabilities. This gave me a lot of insight into the nature of entrepreneurialism within enterprises, which has led me to where I am today. 

At HBO, I learned storytelling from the masters and worked with a marketing team that rarely used the same playbook twice. At NBC Universal, I helped to launch the Digital Studio, exploring and defining how to tell stories and create interactive entertainment experiences across the many screens and devices that were just starting to emerge. Then, I saw a huge opportunity to help brands connect to more fragmented audiences through content and social, so I dove into the world of digital marketing, producing competition reality shows for Neutrogena, documentaries for pharmaceutical companies, casual games for CPG brands, launched many brands' social media channels, and more. 

Over time, my big brand clients began to express increasing demand for "innovation", which usually meant that they knew they needed something new, but weren't quite sure what that was. This required us to approach marketing with approaches that don't necessarily fit into traditional media or creative briefs -- an area where startups were becoming increasingly important. I found myself often playing the role of "innovation strategic planner" or creative technologist, an emerging tech ambassador tasked with seeking novel solutions to marketing challenges. This led to some really interesting campaigns and partnerships, but there were tons of silos within our organizations, it was really tough to stay on top of trends and constant developments in this dynamic ecosystem alongside the other 10 day jobs we had, and it was taking too long to get partnerships done. That was the impetus for building KITE -- if we were recruiters, we'd be using LinkedIn. If we were realtors, we'd be using Zillow. We needed software to make innovation partnerships scalable.

FRESH: Tell us a little about what you're working on these days.

TF: I'm helping marketers and corporations to solve their business problems with emerging technology partnerships. At KITE, we're building a software platform that makes it much easier for big companies to  discover, evaluate, socialize and partner with tech companies with a lot more speed, precision and scale. It's not easy to change existing business processes and incumbent models. Our software is engineered to accelerate enterprise innovation efforts, from discovery and evaluation to selection and management, implementing concrete partnerships that solve an organization's most important business challenges.

FRESH: What's your proudest accomplishment at KITE?

TF: It has been amazing to facilitate some of the most brilliant alliances between enterprises and startups through our platform over the last few years. Companies that probably would have never found each other, or would not have considered working together in that context, have secured partnerships because KITE removes adverse selection and helps drive the decision-making process. Large corporations that were somewhat paralyzed by a lack of process and unified internal communication around emerging tech are now addressing business priorities all across their businesses. Startups that were having trouble finding the right decision-maker layers deep within a potential customer are now locking in deals that give them the market fit validation, case studies and revenue they need to grow and succeed. It has also been extremely fulfilling to see our solution apply across a range of industries and verticals, including our first non-profit/NGO, as we just helped USA for UNHCR to secure a startup partner for its efforts to address the refugee issue in this country. 

FRESH: Where do you think Marketing is headed?

TF: Innovation is at the top of the CMO agenda. Because the CMO is responsible for growth, digital business models for marketing and business transformation have entered the enterprise through marketing. The marketing function has developed some of the most sophisticated models and processes for testing, learning and evolving investment in emerging media, platforms and technologies. Leading marketers in Auto, CPG, Finance, Health and Telecommunications are adopting a “golden ratio” for embracing, investing, resourcing, measuring and committing to innovative models and platforms: 

  • 70%: traditional & existing
  • 20%: digital and mobile
  • 10%: new and experimental

The "new" is the opportunity for true differentiation. A lot of these efforts begin in the incremental space, solving immediate business problems; more and more, though, enterprises are beginning to explore more transformative and disruptive innovation, which is where much larger growth potential lies. The explosive growth and diversity of startups solving immediate business problems and disrupting incumbent models—backed by over $50B/year in venture funding— challenges every business to lean into this ecosystem with their most trusted partners.

FRESH: How has Minty Fresh played a role? 

TF: Desmond has been one of my most trusted colleagues and partners since the beginning of our careers, producing a wide range of content together over the years. In Minty Fresh, he has created a highly valuable marketing company that has helped KITE to capture, promote and communicate our clients' and our own accomplishments. I have seen Minty Fresh develop unique, winning marketing strategies for a range of brands and see them as an essential extension of KITE's marketing department as we grow, bringing core expertise, a flexible model and unwavering creativity to our business. In short, they make us look really, really good. 

FRESH: What's next on your agenda?

TF: In a study KITE conducted at the beginning of the year, we found that about 77% of Fortune 100 companies already work with startups in some capacity.  We've learned a ton from our early customers, which has helped us to continuously improve our software. Now it's time for me to step up our marketing and business development efforts to capture more of that 77%, not to mention the many more companies beyond the top 100 that are hungry for tech partnerships. There's a huge addressable market out there for us, so it's time for me to make sure that everyone knows that any serious marketer should be using KITE to power his/her innovation efforts. 

To connect with Tarah or KITE, please him find him here on LinkedIn


FRESH Perspectives: Amy Elizabeth Hauser, GM Marketing Maersk Line


FRESH Perspectives: Amy Elizabeth Hauser, GM Marketing Maersk Line

FRESH Perspectives: Amy Elizabeth Hauser

Welcome to the second edition of our FRESH Perspectives series. FRESH Perspectives is designed to give top insights from VIPs, industry influencers, marketing leadership, and all around amazing people. 

Today, we're profiling Amy Hauser, General Manager of Marketing & Sales Support at Maersk Line.  Maersk Line is the global container division and the largest operating unit of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group. It is the world's largest container shipping company employing approximately 89,000 people with reported profit of USD 2.3 million in 2014. The company was founded in 1928.

FRESH: Tell us a little about what you're working on these days. 

AEH: Communications, marketing and business development are my biggest functions. Maersk Line, Limited focuses on the US Military and US Government as our primary audiences, and as a public company, we also report to our investors, shareholders and employees.  I work on a wide range of projects--everything from crisis communications, to company-wide presentations and customer specific messaging.  Our communications are at times global in nature or very targeted to US Senators, Congressmen and other government officials to influence their votes on specific opportunities that influence the maritime sector. I'm also overseeing content creation and web production for the US Government Division of Maersk Line. And we're building two new offices, so I'm working to develop new branding for these spaces. 

FRESH: What are the two biggest issues marketers are facing today?

AEH: A big challenge is diminishing budgets and decreases in government spending. We have to make sure the US Government has funds allocated to continue to do business with us. If budgets don't get passed, we can't work with companies to transport cargo, such as humanitarian aid.  

We have a two-pronged approach of reaching out to lobbyists and government officials to raise awareness so that we can transport their cargo. A larger industry concern is that in peacetime economies, there isn't as much cargo moving back and forth. So business is diminished. 

Secondly, email marketing is a challenge. Our emails can't get through firewalls because these are government employees and their firewalls are ironclad. 

To solve for both problems, we've really focused on event marketing. This has been a good fit for us. We have a full time lobbyist on staff, but once a year we do a congressional "Sail-In" where we meet with congressmen and staff and talk about our issues. We also have several industry meetings and tradeshows in which we display our booth, our CEO attends and we get face time with key influencers and decision makers.  

FRESH: What things did you learn from your early big brand experience?

AEH:  I've worked with Coca-Cola and Concha y Toro, both huge international companies. At these brands, everything you do with marketing has an international impact, which is just like Maersk Line. Global strategy matters, but the details are most important to drive awareness. You can't get mired in the strategy and forget about executing the details. 

I've learned that relationships matter in working with the public. I've had the experience of working with colleagues from tiny countries, like Papua New Guinea, to the Global Sustainability team located in Singapore and the video production team in Copenhagen. In every project, the details are incredibly vital. Cultural sensitivity is important and every action across the globe has an impact so we have to be aware of what’s going on. Even though our communications are mainly in English, we often translate press releases and shore side communications into regional languages for our colleagues and customers.  

FRESH: What's your proudest accomplishment at Maersk Line?

AEH: After we went through a fierce reorganization, the executive management team didn't think we needed a marketing function. I had to be dynamic and prove my value to the team.  Out of 9 people, I was chosen to lead Marketing and Communications as the face and the voice of the brand. I have leveraged this experience to step up and take on a lot more responsibility.  

FRESH: Where do you think marketing is headed?

AEH: There is a lot of discussion about how mobile is becoming the powerhouse and data-driven marketing will become more sophisticated. Still, good content is key for any successful campaign. Because there are so many restrictions in place regarding how we communicate with our audience (the US government), we have decided to really focus on event marketing.  For us, there's nothing better than getting in front of people. There's so much online interaction that people are starting to crave a more human experience to feel more connected to each other and to brands. I'm focusing more on phone calls, sending thank you letters and getting people together for lunch instead of emailing newsletters or whitepapers. 

FRESH: How has Minty Fresh played a role?

AEH: Rightfully so, our leadership was sensitive about spending money on marketing following the reorganization. When things settled, it was very important to update our messaging and positioning. Minty Fresh did a great job of helping us say more with less content. Minty Fresh also was very instrumental in focusing us in on what we wanted to do. In conversations with Minty Fresh, we were provided with many options in regards to website design. Minty Fresh was able to make suggestions I hadn't even considered or known were possible because of their technical expertise and knowledge. All of this development ultimately paved the way for their beautiful site redesign. And it was less expensive than we estimated. 

FRESH: What are your goals?

AEH: We're opening two new offices. We want to get  settled in the new space. We also want to continue to align further with the messaging from Maersk Line headquarters. I'd like to make more connections in Copenhagen and develop videos specifically about US Flag shipping and Maersk Line, Limited.  My goals are to increase visibility within Maersk Line, publish meaningful and compelling content and increase our division’s business with the US government and military, one Senator at a time.