Citing the future plans of headless CMS platform ContentStack, product, and technology leader Conor Egan illustrates the importance of product building and the role of technology.
“The right tech unleashes creative potential. The right tech means that IT and marketing can move simultaneously at the speed of business. If you’re worried about being stifled, you’re probably not using the right tech. In that case, it’s time to move away and consider the best mix of products to address your business goals holistically,” said Conor Egan, Product And Technology Leader, ContentStack.
With over 15 years of experience building products that have earned multiple software patents, won industry awards, and led digital transformation at the world’s largest brands, Egan talks about what makes or breaks a business with product development. He also discusses customer-centricity and how technology is the backbone of business success.
Excerpts from the interview
How do you suggest brands approach data given the evolving privacy landscape?
We strive for balance in how we think about our business – risk-taking vs stability and process vs enablement. But privacy is one area where we take an extreme position as you can’t balance privacy. From a product perspective, you build with extreme security in mind. You also choose tech partners based on who has the right features for your customer base and who has the best security measures in place.
The crackdown on tracking is another reminder that your own content is the only thing you have complete control over. An over-dependence on other networks and technologies can leave you vulnerable to technology shifts or regulatory actions. The better your content, the more likely you will keep your buyers engaged on the platforms you control.
As a result, the onus is on the brand to build programs and initiatives that customers want to experience. The goal shouldn’t be list building; it should be, “let’s blow their mind with an experience that they’ll welcome into their lives and share.” It isn’t easy, but many enterprise brands are nailing it every day, and using composable architecture solutions to do it.
Tell us about your process of building new products for the marketing community.
One of the main things that will make or break your business with product development is how well you know your potential customers and current customers’ needs. Without that knowledge, you’re shooting in the dark. For new products, we focus on what will help enterprise IT, and marketing departments accomplish what they never thought possible. We understand these needs by constantly contacting our customers throughout their journey with us.
We also know landing a customer is only half the story; meeting their evolving needs is the other half. This is why we are so focused on customer centricity at Contentstack. It’s in our DNA. We intentionally gauge subjective customer sentiment through structured feedback loops, take the knowledge, and channel it to our product development team. That’s how we can be first-to-market with features like Automation Hub, which solves the integration hell customers face when they build out their tech stacks.
What would you say to teams who worry about tech compromising creativity in content?
It’s precisely the other way round. The right tech unleashes creative potential. The right tech means that IT and marketing can move simultaneously at the speed of business. If you’re worried about being stifled, you’re probably not using the right tech. In that case, it’s time to move away and consider the best mix of products to address your business goals holistically.
I studied jazz music when I was younger. You become great at improvising and communicating when you no longer have to think about the individual notes or keys, and the instrument becomes a means of expression. Good technology acts the same: it gets out of the way, and time can be spent on the creative aspects of marketing. Your questions are no longer “What can we do given our technology?” but rather “What should we do to improve the customer experience”?
What are your thoughts on product collaborations? Can it help strengthen customer experience?
Being able to use the best-in-breed tools yields the best-in-breed customer experiences. More and more enterprises are taking a composable approach to technology. It gives them the best tools to serve their customers and the agility to update them as their business needs change.
As a leader in composable technology, our entire business is built on product collaborations. We know where we excel – managing and delivering omnichannel content experiences at scale – and where we may need to tap into other products to provide the best customer experience. Our network of
Catalysts partners is a critical part of our community. At our recent customer conference ContentCon, our Levi’s client shared how the brand previously took 20+ weeks to launch new pages with siloed content and commerce. Now they can launch in days, including shoppable editorial. So, yes, product collaborations strengthen CX.
What are the future plans for Contentstack?
We are launching a community of customers and partners where they can share best practices one-to-one or one-to-many. We are also releasing features, such as Marketplace and Automation Hub, which are aimed at making product integration and collaborations easier. We are continuing our mission to make MACH – or Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless solutions – accessible through the non-profit MACH Alliance and other education and customer support efforts. Our goal is to future-proof enterprise technology and propels current and future digital experiences.