Rashmi Hurst, vice president of digital experience for (human)x, sat down for a Louisville Business First exclusive interview with president and publisher Lisa Benson. The two talked about industry trends, machine learning, data ethics, and more.
Hurst and Benson covered a lot of ground — but here are the top three things we learned from their Q&A.
Lesson #1: It takes an engaging digital experience to drive conversions.
Hurst’s tenure at (human)x started in data and analytics. This year, she was promoted to a first-of-its-kind role: vice president of digital experience. But what does “digital experience” mean?
The digital experience is a holistic approach to digital marketing, born out of analytics.
“My previous role, the director of analytics, evolved into a more all-encompassing role to really look at the entire digital experience. It matters whether things are working or not on the analytics side. But let’s talk about the entire experience to get there,” Hurst said.
The (human)x analytics team found that the experience a brand creates for its audience online is the biggest driver of conversion.
“Maybe we start with a paid search ad, maybe we see a user click on that ad and then they come to our website and our website has to do the rest of the work for us to actually get that conversion,” Hurst said.
Hurst’s job comes down to one question, in her words: “How can we follow that user’s journey and make sure that we are analyzing and addressing all of the touch points along that experience?”
Lesson #2: Ethical data analysis is essential, now more than ever.
(human)x helps brands make sense of the client data — including first-party data collected directly from users through surveys and reviews.
First-party data can be daunting and hard to make sense of. Clients would come to the team with thousands of data points: names, ages, occupations, genders, and more. But where do they begin? To take the issue of first-party data head-on, they created the agency’s newest product: humanView.
“humanView is a data enrichment platform, where we are taking data that we get from our clients, and appending additional data to that, that way we can take our insights a step further,” Hurst said. “Maybe we know that every consumer of a certain brand is between 18 to 24, and they’re predominantly female. But what if we could know their political affiliation, what vehicles they drive, and all of these additional elements? We then analyze that data so we can start to do more predictive modeling to say, ‘Hey, we know that 18- to 24-year-old females that drive Volvos are much more likely to convert for this product.’”
The product helps (human)x analysts excel beyond what they are capable of alone. But with these advances in machine learning comes new ethical concerns: How much should marketers know about consumers? And what is the right way to use those human insights?
“We have really stringent protocols in terms of how we ingest the data, how we analyze the data and ensure that none of our proprietary client data is going out into the GPT-4 universe,” Hurst said.
The (human)x team established an AI (Artificial Intelligence) ethics committee to take on these concerns and evaluate how analysts use consumer data and insights. Consumers aren’t just a set of data points — they are human beings. That is the belief that informs everything the team does.
Lesson #3: Today, marketers must embrace the hard conversations.
The past few years have changed the industry and the world, from a pandemic to periods of economic uncertainty. The world can change at the drop of a hat, and marketers should be able to, as well.
“We have to be okay to have those really difficult conversations. Sometimes everything we take to market, every tactic, is not going to work,” Hurst said. “Sometimes our marketing efforts are going to work better on one channel than they are the other.”
But marketers don’t just need to have these conversations with themselves of their teams — they need to be open with their clients.
“Where I’ve seen the most success with our clients is just being transparent and open to say, ‘Hey, let’s pivot. Let’s identify those pivot-or-persevere points in our marketing strategy,’” Hurst said. “It’s okay to walk away from something that we thought might work, but just doesn’t.”
Executive Insights with (human)x + Leap Group.
Digital experiences, machine learning, and pivot points are just the beginning of the conversation. To see the video Q&A in its entirety, visit Louisville Business First.
Rashmi Hurst wasn’t the only recent executive feature for Leap Group network. (matter) co-founder and president Joel Warneke was featured in the Cincinnati Business Courier, to speak on branding, strategy, and design. To read that recap, visit the (matter) blog.
To learn more about digital experiences, human insights, and our cutting-edge new product humanView, visit our website or contact us for a consultation.