When Dieter Reichert started as a typesetter 40 years ago, he was disappointed by what computers could accomplish.
"In my mind, computers should have been able to do what human beings could do," Reichert told CMSWire.
In the following years, Reichert founded companies as diverse as flower shops to scientific conferences, drug centers to Vision GmbH, a leading system integrator. He brought to all of these companies a belief in sharing and communication — "Information creates relations and relations create information."
Reichert co-founded digital experience platform provider censhare in 2001 and serves as its CEO, responsible for strategic development and global marketing. Gartner recognized the Munich-based company as a "Cool Vendor" in content management in 2014. The Group of Analysts noted that the company's "Digital Experience Platform not only excels as an all-encompassing platform, but also in specialist domains of MAM, PIM, multi-channel CMS and MRM" in its 2015 Market Performance Wheel.
Asked what he would do if he had to change jobs tomorrow, Reichert asserted, "I would immediately apply to become CEO again."
'We Are Almost Getting There'
Throughout his career, Reichert has worked with people from the humanities, scientific and spiritual fields. He has learned from American Indian cultures and worked in animal shelters. While these seemingly disconnected career moves and interests may confuse some, they continue to inform the work he does with censhare and with the various foundations and social establishments he has created.
Reichert embodies the qualities he advises businesses striving to remain agile in today's marketplace to pursue, an "ongoing willingness to change and adapt as well as creative thinking."
When comparing his feelings on the state of computers now as opposed to 40 years ago, Reichert said, "We are almost getting there."
Reichert will take part in a roundtable at CMSWire's DX Summit this Nov. 14 through 16 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. The roundtable, "The Market for MarTech: Peak Perspectives, Fundamentals and Investment" will take place at 12 pm CT, Wednesday, Nov. 16. Learn more about the agenda here.
An Ongoing Willingness to Change
Fagan: How do you define digital experience?
Reichert: Digital experience is about any positive emotional experience you might have with a brand and/or company in the digital realm.
Digital experiences are much more than the touchpoints which make them happen. They include anything from tone of voice, clarity, “usefulness,” speed of reaction, inclusion, being taken seriously to even sympathy or its opposite.
Based on a campaign, including all strategies, the channels and touchpoints need to have consistent messaging, design and usability across the complete customer journey. In this sense, what needs to be controlled to deliver great experiences is the underlying content, its relation to all other information and the processes to deliver it. It’s now the role of technology to offer the right information at the right time.
A Digital Experience Platform can deliver all required information including media assets (DAM), product information (PIM) and content (CMS) in context and with the right relevance to any user. In more and more cases this has to happen in real-time. To provide exceptional digital experiences is to know which information has to be given in which moment on which touchpoint.
Fagan: What about the digital experience space excites you? What opportunities do you think digital experience opens for businesses and for customers?
Reichert: Digital experiences are the foundation for any information centric communication with prospects and customers. I love to work on how content, based on people’s behavior, geo-data and product information can be delivered at the right moment, to the right person. If this is also based on a marketing and communication strategy, including goals and measurements, I am happy.
The digital experience theme goes along with a customer centric theme. It opens incredible opportunities for some companies and also endangers companies not willing to embrace it.
First, it is forcing a digital transformation in marketing and communications and a massive, almost cultural change process in the way businesses act in the market and organize themselves. Similar to how ERP and CRM systems lead to profound restructuring of organizational structures, companies now need to consolidate, centralize and control their messaging. And they need the right people for it as well as leadership which not only understands, but drives these changes.
But, almost more importantly, it forces a new self-conception upon companies that is only weakly described as customer centric. It means to meet with him at eye level, ultimately to stop manipulating and being of actual help and use even before any buying process starts. Which will be a great opportunity for customers.
Fagan: We've seen a push for businesses to hire Marketing Technologists in recent years. What do you think of the trend and do you think businesses need to fill this role?
Reichert: We think that it is an important role, but one which might have seen a push for the wrong reasons.
Since all of the above can’t get managed with manual work anymore, the importance of technology is obvious. And so is the importance of people and the understanding of the role and how it’s dealt with.
However, the role of a Marketing Technologist should be that of a translator of business strategy, marketing creativity and technology capabilities. It should not be born out of overload or frustration with the ever-growing amount of data and systems but as a strategic enabler.
For instance, a person in this role should be able to challenge the importance of big data for communication (where we are relying on real-time, instantaneous information) and not just having to deal with an almost drowning situation that many companies find themselves in (because data and information is not available when needed).
Even the most skilled Marketing Technologist cannot help with marketing when the company decides for “Silo-technology." In today’s business world, the decision for the right technology has become a C-level task.
Fagan: What internal dynamics need to be in place for a business to remain agile in today's marketplace?
Reichert: An open culture focused on innovation, disruptiveness in decision making, execution and the ongoing willingness to change and adapt as well as creative thinking on all levels of the organization.
You must constantly challenge any decision, strategy or business model you might pursue and also be able to innovate and implement quickly. To be able to do so you not only need your leadership to be aligned but also an entrepreneurial, driven staff that is set for continuous learning and change.
Fagan: You're very involved in social welfare and cultural projects. Can you discuss one project you're passionate about?
Reichert: Since I have done so many different things, it is the core of all these different looking activities. I am driven from the understanding of nature, working on my own (un)consciousness and on personal and social development. I believe we are in a strong transformation from the industrial to the knowledge age and from capitalism to a better fitting community organization.