Martech Interview with the Chief Working Officer, KERV Interactive – Marika Roque

1. Tell us about your role at KERV?
I’m the Chief Operating Officer, which means I oversee the entire KERV operation. I love not only managing the highly technical elements of my job, but also the team elements. I run multiple departments like Digital Strategy, Platform Growth, and Support and Client Services, and it’s more than just an operational feat to have them work together in the most efficient and effective way possible. Being the COO in a startup is an exciting experience. The company is growing right before our eyes, so the requirements and expectations of the role evolve very quickly.

2. Can you tell us about your trip to the martech arena?
I always had to be with Martech. I’m a problem solver and technology is all about problem solving, but my career path has been a little interesting. On my first agency job at Publicis Holding, I could have been assigned to any account from a fashion brand to a QSR, but I was assigned to a highly technical B2B account. While my friends and colleagues worked on brands like Nintendo and Budweiser, I thought about ways to reach IT decision makers. and at that point it was very difficult to target that niche level, almost impossible. I was working on new business for the agency while helping with the launch of their first programmatic desk when the tech wasn’t there. These challenges were so much fun! From then on, I headed technical departments and expanded them. My leadership career began during my time at Lin Digital, where I made several acquisitions. Even if these were always difficult, the manufacture of products through technology remained a common thread. I’m not only passionate about martech, but also about combining martech and building strong, thriving infrastructures to support and advance the technology.

3. How do you think technology adds value to the advertising and marketing sectors?
Watching technology evolve throughout my career so far has been remarkable and almost overwhelming. I spent so much time early in my career working on tasks that are so much easier now! The technology enables processes to run much faster, so that resources are used more carefully and strategically. I’m never afraid to automate any team member as our teams always push boundaries and develop forward-thinking strategies. More can definitely be done within the team as well, but the teams WANT automation so they can keep building, which is a huge improvement in that time and resources. Companies like KERV develop products that use technology to create new experiences, new data sets, and new ways to tell stories. Technology breaks barriers!

4. How do you think interactive video solutions are affecting the adtech sector?
Interactive video solutions create completely new dimensions for existing video assets. For example, when we talk about retail, KERV’s technology is able to visually correlate in-video elements with product feeds. We have also set up shopping cart integrations so that transactions can be completed within the video. I love the idea that the video KPI will be replaced with more action-based elements as the sector grows. If we talk about a less simple example, like traveling, KERV is still able to use our AI and machine learning technology to see what is in the video and then connect that to an experience. For example, we can identify monuments or contexts such as food in a restaurant or logos. Not only does this allow us to curate entirely new experiences with video content that in the past was only distributed for views, but we can also seamlessly analyze hundreds of additional touchpoints so that this process doesn’t affect our customers. At a high level, interactive video solutions create new experiences and new metadata that will fundamentally change the way consumers interact with video. New data will become available about consumers based on the way they interact, and new performance methods will need to be developed as passive experiences become fully immersive.

5. What influence do you think interactive videos have on e-commerce?

Video will no longer be separate from e-commerce. Instead, video will be a powerful pillar in any e-commerce strategy. Video is expensive, but it correlates with a strong ROI when done well.

With interactive and buyable elements, that ROI is even greater. With KERV technology, you can tap into and learn everything, so that in every video you know exactly which product you are interested in. Influencers can interact with a product in a video, and you can see all of the product’s specifications as you watch it. Videos are already ads in terms of product placement, but now the path to purchase is almost non-existent. Interactive allows the funnel and this path to exist within a session; within an experience.

6. How is personalization and optimization changing the face of customer engagement?
Personalization and optimization make every user session much more impactful. Personalization increases the likelihood of some interaction or action being taken, but personalization isn’t one size fits all. Optimization is one of the most powerful tools within AdTech. Every time consumers watch content, the experience should be tweaked based on who they are, how they have interacted in the past, and how we can define their interests. Through personalization and optimization, consumers can define what and how they want to get involved. As this develops, customer engagement will reach heights that we have not yet seen – although it already has – there is always room for improvement.

7. How do interactive videos strengthen companies and how does KERV help companies with digital growth?
KERV’s technology enables our customers to use existing video assets that they also use in other areas, eliminating the need for custom productions. When KERV processes these videos, KERV adds more than ten times the digital touchpoints and interactions to the videos, which significantly increases customer loyalty. As users interact, KERV’s technology can be used to perform the personalization and optimization just discussed. Even if a customer only has one video, KERV can guide users down the conversion funnel or consumer journey through sequential methods without cookies, all within optimized versions of KERV technology. KERV’s technology can also communicate business messages in a way that is easier to optimize – within videos. It can be used to create different versions of this message for different types of users and increase ROI for our customers using their assets. Our customers are strengthening their e-commerce and web presence and KERV’s technology simply enhances the way video plays within those strategies.

8. What advice would you like to give tech startups?
A. Focus. Find your niche. What are you good at Why is your technology unique? Then find out how to do it not only well, but best. Optimize. Grow. But always remember and focus on that foundation.
B. Listen to the market and react as you remember your key competencies. If your technology doesn’t catch on, maybe just a small pivot point with the same primary value is needed. If you wait too long it can break you.
C. The above 2 ideas are a juggling. The final note is to build a core team that will work well together as the above two ideas can collide if you don’t have the right team to make the vision come true.

9. Shoppable ads are a trend these days and are known as game changers in the Martech Arena. What is the main factor behind it?
Video has historically been viewed as a passive investment with a close or click KPI. Now video investments can result in lower funnel results while generating intent data at the same time. There are currently lift and impact studies that can be done on video, but the data can usually only be used after the campaign.

10. What are the most important developments you are planning lately and what is the future of advertising in terms of customer engagement and customer experience?
We’re making great strides in the metadata our technology delivers. You will see some major updates from KERV regarding the merging of new targeting data with our interactive and shopable formats. We’ll be the first to hit the market with new real-time data capabilities that will create great value in the OTT and CTV space. We are also finalizing a data product that will add value to our larger brands within TikTok. Keep an eye on KERV!

11. Can you tell us something about your team and how they support you?
I am nothing without my team and KERV is nothing without our great group. My team is full of detail-oriented innovators. We build a company together and support each other every day. On one side of the business, we have a group that KERV visualizes most beautifully on the market. We have a team that is constantly testing and advancing the technology and how we can optimize it. I challenge our technology hard and the team constantly supports this vision, be it through technology, process or operational innovations.

12. Which book are you reading right now?
Great daring by Brene Brown

13. We heard that you have a very happy work culture. Can you share some of the fun pictures of your workplace with us?

14. Can you give us an overview of the applications you are using on your phone?
A. Loose
B. New York Times
C. Goal
D. Public
e. Peloton
F. Appear

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