Q&A with Ed Breault, Chief Marketing Officer at Aprimo

Q&A with Ed Breault, Chief Marketing Officer at Aprimo
Ed Breault, Chief Marketing Officer at Aprimo is a marketer with over 18 years of industry experience. At Aprimo, Ed is responsible for the global brand and growth which includes all Paid/Owned/Earned media, Brand Experience, Product Marketing, Industry Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Strategic Communications, Content Marketing, Analyst Relations, Alliance Marketing, Public Relations, Events, Demand Generation and Account-Based Marketing.

MEDIA 7: What’s your superpower?
ED BREAULT:
 I would say it’s applying the full spectrum of art and science that is required in marketing today. Not just left or right brained, but whole-brained strategy. Being human yet data-driven and really understanding numbers and (the right) metrics to make connections to business drivers. Add storytelling to that, so I can effectively communicate to my team, the CEO and CFO as well as my Board of Directors on those metrics, and connecting all that we are doing in marketing to the mission of the business. Then quickly shifting gears to the art and creative aspects of marketing that are required to engage an audience and tell great commercial stories that take complex concepts and craft them in a way that is interesting for people to pay attention to. I have to be the ultimate point of truth for the brand.

M7: At Aprimo, how have marketing leadership roles and responsibilities evolved over the past few years?
EB:
There are so many dimensions needed by marketing leaders today. There are several elements driving this evolution, it’s the new experience battlefront that is emerging and also marketers themselves driving changes. From a market perspective, there is a clear appetite for disruption and consumers are wanting more experiential elements to their buying experience and interactions with brands. Take a few direct to consumer disruptions like trialing products in-home, purchasing directly from a brand or even wanting to ensure that the producer’s trade practices are in line with the buyer’s or even a regulator’s for that matter. Then we want to try before we buy, and we emotionally care about the supply chain of products. Do we TRUST this brand to do business with them? Behind all of this is a story that needs to be told, and it is those marketers who know their audience well and make connections that will win the commercial game.

Back to the marketer, there are so many diverse backgrounds that marketers bring now and I’m really intrigued by those who have unconventional backgrounds because they contribute something uniquely new to the field. I love hearing about the marketer’s journey.


"Content is a massive investment for brands and Aprimo Digital Asset Management acts as a true hub of an organization's content management and experience lifecycle."

M7: Could you tell us about Aprimo’s creative ideation tool ‘Idea Lab’? How does it help marketers to move through the creative process from ideation to distribution of higher quality content?
EB:
 Aprimo Idea Lab is a place for early-stage ideation and there just haven’t been pure systems for ideas mixed with strategic planning so we filled in that whitespace for the market. This includes ideas from a strategic and tactical standpoint that is a bit of “safe” place to brainstorm in a highly collaborative workplace. Output is a new experience building block, a full campaign concept or brief, allowing the marketer and experience leader to think backwards from a great customer or content experience and purposefully architect it. This is all before you make financial commitments or commercial agreements with agencies or suppliers, and it feeds directly into financial scenario planning, so you can build the financial lens to your new breakthrough idea. It’s literally brainstorming brought to life and then connected to marketing production activities. So, if marketing is a ten-step process, this is step zero, and steps one and two. I’m in it every day. For me, the majority of my ideas hit me when I least expect it, so I immediately put them in Idea Lab and it functions as a “backlog” for thought-starters, then my team can collaboratively go run with it.

M7: What are some of the ways you optimize AI for your client base, when it comes to content development?
EB: 
We actually have artificial intelligence powering not just the production of content but the content creation process itself. We have machines creating content today, and one of the very specific use cases on that is what’s called a learnable AI. So basically, we have an artificial intelligence that can learn the context of a brand’s business. And, what it can then do is learn over time and it would know things like the proper focal points within an image.

Let’s say for example, there are three focal points in a piece of content or an image. Let’s say there is a model and she is sipping a coffee, she’s on her phone and she’s wearing a scarf. If you are in the business of selling and marketing scarfs, it would know that’s the focal point. If you’re in the business of marketing and selling coffee, it would know that’s the focal point. So, then it can make recommendations of what the right type of images, the form factor of the image, and knowing what creative resources would potentially do with that, the machine does for you. Since it’s able to learn your business, and let’s say you’re in the business of shoes, it would know the difference between a high-top and a high-heel learning over time with great accuracy.

Some of our early tests were showing 98% recognition and accuracy once it’s learned. Truly powerful. Also from a productivity standpoint, there are just some things AI handles better than humans like monitoring patterns, observing and making educated predictions about the future of projects. AI picks up on overlooked habits of team members and frees up a new era of project management to focus more on the complex processes behind a management strategy. Oh yeah, and unlike humans, doesn’t lose focus, fatigue, go on vacation or lose productivity while entertaining themselves with funny cat memes at work.


"AI picks up on overlooked habits of team members and frees up a new era of project management to focus more on the complex processes behind a management strategy."

M7: Could you elaborate on Aprimo’s Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution that helps deliver personalized experiences at scale and as a service?
EB: 
Yes! Content is a massive investment for brands and Aprimo Digital Asset Management acts as a true hub of an organization's content management and experience lifecycle. As I discussed earlier with Idea Lab, you eventually need content to action those ideas to deliver great experiences. And then workflows, to move along to create the content whether that’s AR, VR or even text and other types of multimedia or images. Regardless of the content type, the digital asset management system can store that content and make it highly searchable, it can make sure that once the ingestion process happens, it conforms to the metadata and taxonomy standards across an enterprise.

They can capture things like licensing agreements on that content when that content needs to expire. It can trigger approvals or re-approvals if the content is bound by any certain dates of when you can use the content. And what we want to make sure is that content does not get wasted or is created and parked somewhere.

Content truly powers experience channels like an ecommerce platform, a website, a great experience through a mobile device, and the delivery and distribution of content for downstream channels whether that is your reseller network or the content needs to be taken from a web to a print stage of its lifecycle. Generally, it is about having full management of a piece of content whether that’s the full digital asset or the components that make up the digital asset. This also manages the individual units of content that make up the asset we like to call “experience building blocks”. It’s all about finding, reusing and remixing content, staying compliant and delivering the best personalized experience possible.


"Content truly powers experience channels like an ecommerce platform, a website, a great experience through a mobile device, and the delivery and distribution of content for downstream channels."

M7: How does the Digital Asset Management help in maximizing content ROI?
EB:
 Definitely, it has to do with number one, the findability of the content so that the content can be used and it’s not wasted and then the enrichment processes that are built-in add data to the digital asset. From there, you can see a piece of content and metrics like consumption of that content, where that content piece was used in terms of different campaigns, geographies, etc. If that content was localized, if that content was used to drive whatever the marketing outcome or experience outcome is, which could be conversions on digital properties or transactions on an ecommerce platform, and all that rich data then comes back to the asset, and you are able to see how well it performed. This data is then served up very beautifully in a dashboard connected to the business outcomes you were driving. There are so many questions now we can answer about our content if this strategic approach is taken.

M7: What marketing channels do you use and which ones do you see as the most promising given your target customers?
EB:
 I think the magic is using all the channels in a very well-coordinated way. My primary channel strategies involve a mix of inbound and outbound in a very targeted fashion hence content marketing is core to my strategy. Content drives the pull-through in Aprimo’s digital properties, all of our owned digital properties, this includes the web channel as well as when we syndicate content to third-parties. That’s really important for us to create great content that is helpful, useful and then drives traffic back to aprimo.com. That’s where our inbound strategy balances the outbound efforts in a very targeted way. I use predictive demand capabilities showing me where and who is in market, so then I can go out and reach them and find them in what we like to call the “dark funnel”. I like to think of this strategy as there is someone lost out there looking for solutions to their challenges and it is my job to go find them, meet them and help them along their path. From there email for us has completely been reimagined. We are using video and conversational marketing from an outbound standpoint to connect. We are “humanizing” communications as much as possible, over the phone for voice, broadcast, media buying within different properties like LinkedIn, you name it. I think it’s a drive to strike a balance to create the complete experience for my audience.

M7: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
EB:
 As a child, I wanted to be an athlete. I was very much involved in sports so I looked at my heroes, those I aspired to be like were athletes at that time.

ABOUT APRIMO

Aprimo provides technology solutions for content, operations, and performance that enable enterprises to optimize their brand experiences and the resources they use to deliver them. Our platform gives enterprises the advantage by streamlining and governing all the behind-the-scenes activities – from ideation to distribution – involved in delivering exceptional brand experiences.

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Specialty Program Group LLC Announces Acquisition of Assets of Disaster Recovery Services, LLC, Expanding its Specialty Portfolio

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Specialty Program Group LLC (SPG), a leading operator of specialty insurance brokerage, underwriting and consulting facilities, announced today the acquisition of the assets of Disaster Recovery Services, LLC and its affiliate, Disaster Recovery & Risk Solutions, LLC (collectively, DRS), a premier provider of disaster preparation, response, and recovery consulting for commercial and public entities. Established with a commitment to aid organizations in their times of need, DRS brings to the table extensive experience in disaster preparedness planning and mitigation, real-time response coordination, forensic accounting and financial recovery services, particularly in responding to adverse events such as fires, floods, and hurricanes. DRS rounds out this comprehensive support with construction project management, grant administration, and procurement consulting. "Partnering with DRS aligns perfectly with our mission to offer innovative and comprehensive solutions to our clients," said SPG President & CEO, Christopher Treanor. "DRS's expertise in disaster recovery not only complements our existing services but also strengthens our commitment to providing unparalleled support in times of crisis." With its expertise in handling complex scenarios, DRS has established itself as a trusted partner in providing turnkey solutions throughout the recovery process, whether it involves commercial insurance recovery, FEMA reimbursement, construction project management, grant administration, procurement support, or mitigation and resiliency. "Joining forces with SPG opens new avenues for growth and allows us to leverage their extensive network and resources," said DRS CEO, John Albrecht. This acquisition aligns with SPG's strategic goal to diversify and strengthen its portfolio, extending its reach into the critical areas of disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. The enhanced capabilities brought by DRS will help ensure SPG continues to meet the evolving needs of its clients and partners in an increasingly complex risk environment. About Specialty Program Group Specialty Program Group LLC (SPG) is a leading specialty platform headquartered in Chicago, IL, with a diverse portfolio of specialty insurance operations spanning underwriting management, digital solutions, wholesale and specialty retail brokerage, and insurance services. SPG has a track record of scaling industry leading businesses by providing access to business resources, technology and process efficiency, capital and investment, deep carrier relationships, and a broad distribution network. About Disaster Recovery Services Disaster Recovery Services, together with its affiliate, Disaster Recovery & Risk Solutions, LLC, collectively (DRS), is a leading provider of disaster response and recovery solutions, specializing in helping organizations prepare for and navigate the aftermath of disasters like fires, floods, and hurricanes. They offer a range of services including customized disaster preparedness planning and mitigation, real-time coordination during crises, and post-loss insurance and FEMA recovery guidance. DRS is committed to partnering with clients for effective recovery, helping to ensure organizations are well-prepared and resilient in the face of unforeseen disasters.

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Life Insurance

Employee Navigator and MGIS Announce Partnership

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Employee Navigator, one of the nation's leading benefits and HR solutions for brokers, and MGIS, a national insurance manager offering specialized insurance programs for doctors, have announced a new partnership to bring leading-edge HR and benefits technology integrations to doctor group practices. The new partnership builds on MGIS's relationship with Reliance Matrix, a leading benefits and absence provider, and its unique Employee Navigator integration. "We believe the partnership with Employee Navigator will transform the employer and employee benefits experience," said Jeff Brunken, President of MGIS. "Through our relationship with Employee Navigator, our mutual clients will benefit from the technology-enabled efficiencies and ease of business that are so important in today's insurance marketplace. These integrations will help to drive participant engagement and client retention for our benefit brokers." Through the Employee Navigator relationship, MGIS clients will benefit from a dedicated support team that will help brokers build out a full-service enrollment experience and provide additional case management support, at no additional cost. As always, MGIS account managers also provide white-glove, specialized account management and billing support, all critical features for brokers and administrators. "MGIS has a long history of offering the highest quality insurance program for doctors. We're confident that our customers will receive an enhanced benefits experience through MGIS and Employee Navigator," said George Reese, CEO of Employee Navigator. "This partnership provides seamless, integrated benefits administration and will lead to a positive enrollment experience for brokers, employers and participants." In 2023 MGIS announced its exclusive partnership with Reliance Matrix, a national leader in benefits solutions and absence management. Together, MGIS and Reliance Matrix serve doctors in all practice settings and medical specialties. An Employee Navigator carrier partner since 2022, Reliance Matrix more than doubled the number of benefit plans and employer clients enrolled and managed on the Employee Navigator platform in 2023, through more than 150 unique broker partners. "Employee Navigator has played a big part in our overall success in the small and midsize employer market, thanks in part to our unique streamlined billing solution available on the platform," said Paula Hanson, AVP Benefit Technology Solutions for Reliance Matrix. "Our proprietary process raised the bar on service and convenience and continues to win fans among brokers and clients." Marketed through independent brokers and agents, benefit solutions include Disability Guard for Doctors, a unique long-term disability product blending the highly valued policy provisions of an individual product with the guaranteed issue and simplified administration of a group long-term disability plan, as well as short-term disability, group life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment plans. MGIS also supports a High Limits Disability Insurance program, offering an increased level of protection for high earners, providing more robust and holistic protection for doctors above and beyond any group long-term disability and individual disability coverage. For those groups offering the high limits program, this specialized product will also be available on Employee Navigator as part of an integrated, holistic enrollment experience. About MGIS MGIS is a leading national insurance program manager experienced in building and managing specialized insurance programs for doctors. MGIS partners with highly rated insurers and focuses on disability and life insurance for practices of all sizes, types, and medical specialties. Insurance policies managed by MGIS are backed by the underwriting companies of Reliance Matrix and Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, and are marketed exclusively through select brokers and insurance advisers. MGIS services are provided by MGIS affiliated companies: The MGIS Companies, Inc., Medical Group Insurance Services, Inc., and MGIS Underwriting Managers, Inc. (DBA as MGIS Professional Insurance Solutions in CA and MGIS Underwriting Agency in NY). About Employee Navigator Employee Navigator is a rapidly growing benefits and HR software company integrated with over 400+ of the nation's leading insurance carriers, payroll companies, and TPA's. Its platform delivers brokers and employers a truly connected digital experience, streamlining the management of everything from online enrollment and onboarding to ACA reporting, time off tracking, and more. The company currently works with more than 5,000 brokers, providing benefits administration and HR products to over 175,000 companies and 14+ million employees and dependents. About Reliance Matrix Reliance Matrix delivers employee benefit, absence management and workforce productivity solutions through the financial stability of a top-rated (A++ by AM Best) insurance carrier, the proven innovation of an absence TPA, and the daily commitment of thousands of team members across America.* Born in 1907, Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (Home Office Schaumburg, IL) is a leading provider of employee benefits, absence management and retirement savings solutions. Matrix Absence Management, Inc. (Home Office Phoenix, AZ) traces its roots to Silicon Valley at the dawn of the tech boom. Reliance Matrix is a member of the Tokio Marine Group. Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc., the ultimate holding company of the Tokio Marine Group, is incorporated in Japan and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Tokio Marine Group operates in the property and casualty insurance, reinsurance and life insurance sectors globally. The Group's main operating subsidiary, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire (TMNF), was founded in 1879 and is the oldest and leading property and casualty insurer in Japan. About Lloyd's of London Lloyd's is the world's leading insurance and reinsurance marketplace. Through the collective intelligence and risk-sharing expertise of the market's underwriters and brokers, Lloyd's helps to create a braver world. The Lloyd's market provides the leadership and insight to anticipate and understand risk, and the knowledge to develop relevant, new and innovative forms of insurance for customers globally. It offers the efficiencies of shared resources and services in a marketplace that covers and shares risks from more than 200 territories, in any industry, at any scale. And it promises a trusted, enduring partnership built on the confidence that Lloyd's protects what matters most: helping people, businesses and communities to recover in times of need. Lloyd's began with a few courageous entrepreneurs in a coffee shop. Three centuries later, the Lloyd's market continues that proud tradition, sharing risk in order to protect, build resilience and inspire courage everywhere.

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