Meet Zachary Van Doren, Quaero’s new VP of Customer Success
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Please welcome Zachary Van Doren to the Quaero team. Serving as VP of Customer Success, he will be responsible for strategic leadership serving our customers across multiple channels and use cases. Zachary brings 20 years of experience within marketing and digital media strategy, MarTech applications and analytics.
Here is a recent conversation we had with Zachary that highlights his professional journey and what he brings to Quaero.
Tell us about your background and how it relates to your role here at Quaero.
Zachary: I feel like my career-long fascination with the power of data has led to my role here at Quaero.
My background is in marketing, specifically media. I started my career in the late nineties in search marketing, working with both organic and paid search. I went on to media strategist and then media director roles, both on the agency and client sides. So I’ve always had a very data- centric and analytically focused approach to digital media and marketing, having grown in search. I became increasingly interested in the data and analytics side of solving media challenges like reporting, attribution, offline/online data stitching – all those key areas.
Agencies and brands were just beginning to start correlating media mix modeling and attribution. Like, what is the effect of TV on advertising interactions? How do we measure response? Attacking those kinds of problems. My interest kept growing and I started a services agency focused specifically on media data and analytics, working directly with brands on data analytics for all sorts of marketing. We tackled data warehousing and data mart solutioning, addressing problems that exist to this day – the ones CDPs are focused on, like disparate data silos, system connectivity issues and an overall lack of foresight and vision into the complete customer journey.
I was already doing a lot of work in the space. When CDPs came along, I adapted fast, building relationships and partnerships with those technology players. Five years later, we had developed a presence in the market as a multi-stack CDP-focused solutions provider, helping brands with personalization, tactical solutioning of 360- degree customer profiles, identity resolution, segmentation, strategy, use case design and strategy, and more.
Why did you choose to join Quaero?
Zachary: Over time, I became more interested in the opportunity to focus on one platform versus several CDP partners, thereby going deeper with respect to helping clients in their digital transformation and personalization initiatives. Solutioning from one technology core, while focusing on the data complexities and marketing use-case facets was much more appealing. Having become familiar with the field of CDP providers, Quaero stood out as the clear choice.
Quaero has all the right elements: The foundational, technology core to tackle the most complex data environments. The agility and enterprise capacity of the PaaS (platform-as-a-service) model, in taking the application layer to the client’s data environment. Plus, an amazing team and a legacy of success.
Joining Quaero is the culmination of my always-growing professional interest in solving the complex data challenges of digital transformation for world-class brands.
What are some of the primary challenges you see brands facing in their personalization efforts?
Zachary: There are major gaps that brands need to hurdle. The first is about change management and the criticality of a multidisciplinary marketing-tech-data approach to design, implementation and outcomes of a CDP. If an enterprise is to truly achieve an ability to deliver personalized experience that is automated and at scale, there is no other other way.
The second primary challenge is the underlying data framework. Yes, use-cases must be thoughtfully designed and planned, but these outcomes are often difficult to attain without the proper diligence and foresight to ensure the underlying data fueling these use-cases is in the proper state. This proper state is all about structure, both in terms of its current state as well as transformations that will need to occur. How is this enabled? Again, it goes to point #1. Without disciplinary alignment you’ll never get there. My goal at Quaero is to help our clients drive these alignments and be that connective tissue.
What about the enterprise and adopting a CDP within highly complex data environments?
Zachary: Quaero being an enterprise-class CDP is a big reason why I came here.. Underlying that is the PaaS model, giving us the ability to bring the technology to the customer, within their own private cloud and/or on-premise environments that are set up to serve critical functions of that customer. Enterprises tend to have sophisticated IT and data security teams that have already established stringent guidelines and advanced architectural frameworks for data management. They also have expert data scientists who are hungry for access to data and have the ability to be power users. Marketing, in these enterprises, tends to already have significant investments in martech – in money, time, processes and training. Quaero can live within and provide the connective tissue in these complex environments. Again, this goes to personalization at scale, in the context of compliance, security, data integrity and cost efficiencies. Combining that with best-in-class data modeling capabilities makes Quaero the top solution within the CDP category.
How do you see the role of marketers in today’s technical and data-centric world?
Zachary: There is a new type of marketer, one that is highly data-centric and operates at the intersection of data structure, technology systems and marketing planning. Today’s marketers must employ those multidisciplinary facets to design, plan, launch, and steward campaigns and programs in these environments. They have to be able to ascertain the best route to varying customer touch-points. Not only do they need to understand the systems that are powering customer marketing experiences, they need to ascertain the data that’s coming out of these systems and how they fit into a 360-degree customer view.
From those consolidated customer views, they need to be able to design and program journeys that enable personalization. That’s just the foundational core — then there’s the ability to evolve into increasing degrees of sophistication and maturation – being able to achieve a more autonomous one-to-one personalization state, one that has been optimized to create an enriched customer experience.
And as mentioned, marketing needs to be right there with tech and data teams. You can’t successfully design these programs without planning for those groups to work closely together. Who should lead this? As a marketer, I’m biased: I think the technology-savvy marketer should take the lead as ultimately these are marketing-centric outcomes. But it doesn’t matter who’s leading if the three disciplines don’t work together cooperatively with support from the top
Are there any parallels between your personal and professional lives?
Zachary: I’ve been surfing here in California for almost 25 years and it’s something I really enjoy doing with my boys now as well. I get a lot of inspiration from it as a spiritual, mental and physical experience.
Surfing is a good analogy to the complexities of data and experience. I don’t think there’s any other activity that has such fluidity in determining a “personalized customer experience” as surfing. You need to look at swell direction, wave height and shape, wind direction and strength, ocean bottom type, your board size and shape, your skill level, your fitness, etc. There are so many variables, inputs you might say, that it can parallel the sheer complexity of trying to wrangle the best customer experience from a data standpoint.