Episode Thumbnail
Episode 3  |  42:05 min

Amber Armstrong (LivePerson) - Little Bits of Face-to-Face

Episode 3  |  42:05 min  |  09.28.2021

Amber Armstrong (LivePerson) - Little Bits of Face-to-Face

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This is a podcast episode titled, Amber Armstrong (LivePerson) - Little Bits of Face-to-Face. The summary for this episode is: <p>Vincent and Ajay chat with Amber Armstrong, Chief Marketing Officer at LivePerson about how conversational commerce brings brands and consumers close together. Ajay nearly gets a free car wash, and Vincent is extraordinarily excited.</p>
Takeaway 1 | 00:59 MIN
Marketing tools for LivePerson
Takeaway 2 | 01:15 MIN
The ideal customer for LivePerson
Takeaway 3 | 01:35 MIN
Channels to focus on where new customers are coming in from
Takeaway 4 | 02:53 MIN
What solutions are being planned at LivePerson
Takeaway 5 | 02:32 MIN
Aligned, Agile, and Aspirational

Vincent and Ajay chat with Amber Armstrong, Chief Marketing Officer at LivePerson about how conversational commerce brings brands and consumers close together. Ajay nearly gets a free car wash, and Vincent is extraordinarily excited.

Guest Thumbnail
Amber Armstrong
CMO, LivePerson
I am an experienced technology CMO that drives growth for global businesses. I proudly lead marketing for LivePerson, the leader in trusted, conversational AI. My background includes leading marketing for several AI-infused SaaS businesses across IBM, including AI Applications, Blockchain, IoT, Supply Chain, Watson Customer Engagement, and Social Business. My experience spans from CMO roles through to leadership of brand, product, digital, channel, and demand generation functions.
Connect with Amber

Ben: Welcome to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista, probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your ear. I'm Ben, the Associate Producer here at Stirista. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders and get their take on the current challenges of the market. We'll also have a little fun along the way. In this episode, Vincent and Ajay chat with Amber Armstrong, Chief Marketing Officer at LivePerson, about how conversational commerce brings brands and consumers close together. Ajay nearly gets a free carwash and Vincent is extraordinarily excited. Give it a listen.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. It is another episode of The Marketing Stir. We are already in season two. Thank you so much for listening to our podcast. I, of course, am your host, Vincent Pietrafesa, the Vice President of B2B Products and Partnerships here at Stirista. Stirista, let's get that out of the way. Who are we? Stirista? We're an identity marketing company. We focus on helping clients target our data sets. We have a B2B data set, a B2C data set. We help them get new customers. We have our own technology. We have our own DSP if you ever want to execute media on display, connected TV. Email me at vincent @ stirista. com. That is how confident I am that we could help. The other thing I'm confident about is our amazing listeners, and of course, my co- host. Ladies and gentlemen, from San Antonio, the San Antonio Slayer himself, that's what we call him, you know that, Mr. Ajay Gupta. What's going on?

Ajay Gupta: Hey, Vincent. Right before the podcast started, outside my office there was this... The parking lot looked like a water fountain, and my car-

Vincent Pietrafesa: Really?

Ajay Gupta: ...was parked right next to it. I guess I was getting a free car wash, but I was getting a little bit worried before the podcast. But it looks like the city has gotten the water under control now.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Wow. Was that like something burst, like a-

Ajay Gupta: Yeah. crosstalk

Vincent Pietrafesa: ...fire hydrant?

Ajay Gupta: The water was pretty high up in the air.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Wow. That's a difference between San Antonio New York City and Manhattan. There'll be kids out there playing in the fire hydrant. You're over there calling the police.

Ajay Gupta: No, I was thinking maybe I'll need to make a run for it in the middle of the podcast.

Vincent Pietrafesa: That would be funny. That would be funny. Why did crosstalk

Ajay Gupta: For the first time in Marketing Stir.

Vincent Pietrafesa: On The Marketing Stir. Yep. Oh, man. But I know there's plans soon. Dallas, that's the next trip for you. Tell us about that. We were talking about it on the podcast.

Ajay Gupta: Yeah. Dallas is coming up tomorrow. We will be representing San Antonio. We've got quite a few people from Stirista who play tennis, and looks like I found out San Antonio hasn't won the Texas State Tournament in about 25 years. We would be making history if we end up winning.

Vincent Pietrafesa: That'd be amazing. The next podcast after this, listeners, you will know depending on Ajay's mood if they won or not. Tune into that next episode.

Ajay Gupta: Right. Yeah. If I don't bring it up, you probably shouldn't.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I probably shouldn't. I've learned that from our relationship here on The Marketing Stir and just as an employee, right? Only good news. Only good news. Boy, am I happy because we have great news. This is the first type of company like this that we've had on the podcast. I'm very excited. I'm very excited about this guest. We had reached out to this guest first because of her extensive background, and then discovered that she's at a new company. I was like, " Oh, awesome. We wanted you in general, Amber." But now we even know more about this new organization I'd love to share with our listeners. Please, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the podcast, the Chief Marketing Officer of LivePerson, Amber Armstrong. What's going on, Amber?

Amber Armstrong: Hey, Vincent. Hey, Ajay. It's great to see you, and so exciting to be here with you today.

Vincent Pietrafesa: We're so happy to have you. I told you, my intros, I love to give that energy. I'd love to welcome the guests, and we're so happy to have you here. Amber, for those of the listeners out there, tell people about LivePerson. Then I'd love to understand your duties as chief marketing officer at the organization.

Amber Armstrong: Yeah, absolutely. LivePerson is all about connecting brands and consumers, and we do that in a way that really helps the brands get closer to the consumers. It makes it really efficient and effective for the consumers as well. The method we do is conversational commerce. The whole idea is that we connect consumers to be able to speak to brands through messaging as one of our main platforms, through channels of their choice, social media, you name it. We can connect them. It's really exciting, right? Because then the interaction becomes on the consumer's timeframe, right? You can text just like you're texting a friend, you can message with the brands that are on our platform. It's really exciting. It's an AI- based company. I spent about six years of my career in AI, so it's a really natural flow for me to be able to bring an experience AI here with LivePerson.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. Then a lot of your previous experience at IBM, you were focused on marketing, specifically like you said, in the AI, which is such a niche. This is perfect for you there. But tell us, Amber, we always love to understand the journey. How does one get into marketing? We have a lot of marketing students and entry- level executives out there who listen to our podcast and give us feedback. Love to know the journey, how you got into this business.

Amber Armstrong: Yeah, absolutely. Well at LivePerson, I have responsibility for all of the marketing activity. Everything from brand and product marketing to performance marketing inclusive. It's really exciting to have that scope, and everything I've done has been building up to that scope. You and I were talking before the podcast, I'm actually in the 1% who went out and said, " I want to be in marketing," and have built a career on that. I did marketing undergrad, marketing in business school, I went to UNC Chapel Hill, and have really focused my whole career on that path. I got great career advice early in my career to pick who you want to be when you grow up and just start collecting their skills. I did that as I joined IBM. It's specifically when I got that feedback. I said, " Well, I of course want to be the most senior person in marketing. That's my path. Why would I not want that?" I just started collecting all the different skills around IBM at the time in marketing, and it made me a really diverse and really versatile player to be able to take on different opportunities. Then it went from... I started out in partner marketing and in understanding how partners generate money and revenues, and then I went into working for our division called Rational, which did a lot of developer marketing. I got to really understand what that audience was on, was thinking about, and then I went to social and commerce marketing and got really deep in how you actually execute digital and really understanding the complexities of that, the technologies and starting to develop some of the inaudible that took on campaigns and events. Then ultimately, a really exciting part of my career path is I was the chief of staff to Michelle Peluso who was the chief marketing officer at IBM at the time, and that was this amazing opportunity to get this exposure to someone who had a lot of external to IBM experience, who had been a CEO, and really helped me think a lot more strategically. Then I brought that back to my first CMO role, where I was the CMO of Watson IoT. I then took on, in addition to the IoT business, the broader AI applications and blockchain business, and then I joined LivePerson about four months ago. It's really interesting because we at LivePerson are very focused on AI. We have our own AI that we build out that is very unique in that way that it interacts with the conversations that our brands are having with consumers, and we also are working in the crypto space. There's actually a press release that came out today on some of the work we're doing around crypto, which ties into blockchain background. This is really fortuitous that all of these things have been able to be brought together for me to be able to be here at LivePerson.

Ajay Gupta: Amber, what has it's been like to start in the middle of the pandemic? Have you met your co- workers or have you been doing your orientation remotely? We'd love to learn about that.

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. It's been it's been a little of both. When I came in at the very end of March, we were still pretty shut down. In May, however, as things started to open up, I flew to New York City. I have a big part of my team in New York City. Not everyone, but a big part there. We did outdoor happy hour, and I actually had the team bring in their partners, friends, spouses, whoever their plus one was for that, because I wanted it to be a get- to- know- you event rather than just, okay, everybody, let's try to get to know the new boss kind of thing. I wanted to get to know them as people. That was really, really fun. We had such a great evening. Then in June, early June, I actually went and met with my peers and our CEO face to face. Then in July, we did as well. It's been a mixture. It's mostly remote. But having those little bits of face- to- face has bee really cool.

Ajay Gupta: No, that goes a long way. I did the exact same thing in New York last week. We had acquired a company a couple of months ago, and I hadn't met a lot of the people until last week. That was a great feeling. What's kind of the marketing stack at LivePerson? Do you have favorite marketing tools that you recommend?

Amber Armstrong: Well, at LivePerson, we are using Salesforce Marketo. It's the primary baselines. We've just purchased access to 6sense, and we're just really taking on an account- based marketing strategy. I started working with account- based marketing during my time at IBM, and did a lot of really fun exciting things there. Now we're building that out here at LivePerson, which is really exciting because we will get to... We've spent a lot of time doing detailed work on the list and pulling that inaudible together and pulling together a variety of sources and projecting our win rate for certain accounts and being able to prioritize along that. Now we're in the process of matching that with external data. I know you also have a lot of solutions in that area, and being able to match it with external data to do additional prioritization, and then to be able to go out to market really intentionally with account- based marketing campaigns, a tiered approach.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Amber, we have a lot of listeners out there. What makes an ideal customer for LivePerson? Certain industries? Talk to us about that.

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. Ideally, it's a brand that wants to really genuinely connect with their consumers. It happens to be into two buyers inside of those brands. If it's a brand that's trying to buy or trying to build commerce opportunities, they want to help people find solutions faster, then we can help them with that. There's also a set of people inside of those companies that are trying to figure out how to serve those clients better. Oftentimes, what they're looking to do is they want to increase customer satisfaction, but they also want to reduce cost, and your messaging is a great way to be able to do both. But the additional drive of revenue, as well as reducing cost, because you can have your agents. Actually, there's a couple of really cool things from the cost side. Having your agents be able to handle multiple conversations at once because it's on the consumers time and they're not having to just be a one single conversation at a time as a benefit. There's also a really cool benefit and that the agents, instead of spending their time just talking to clients, they're actually training the AI, and that's a really cool career opportunity for the agents as well.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Then I wanted to talk to you about that, because our research, our crack team here, there's been a new acquisition for LivePerson to help brands with self- serve with AI. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah, yeah. We just purchased a company called e- bot7, and they are based on Germany, and they have a really great tech that is more towards the mid market. Our solution is known to be great for enterprises, untouchable for enterprises, right? We have the complexity. If you want a really trusted solution that can do a really complex capability, then LivePerson is exactly it. That can also be turned to more of the upper end of mid markets, and we have some clients that use it even in really small companies. But what we found with e- bot7 is that we're able to use their technology to help people do an easier on- ramp, a lot more speed. They also have a really good go- to- market footprint in EMEA. By acquiring them, we've acquired their sellers who are very skilled in this space, and also their marketing team, which I'm really excited about.

Ajay Gupta: Amber, your ideal clients, I guess, there'll be a mixture now of enterprise and mid market? Is that a way to look at it?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. A mixture of enterprise and mid market, but also... I'm sorry, I didn't answer this, Vincent. You asked about the industries that we really see a lot of traction in. Retail, financial services, travel transportation, anything along those lines are very, very telco. Anything where it's a high volume of conversations between a brand and consumer.

Ajay Gupta: inaudible LivePerson is a pretty good well- known brand, so I'm sure there's a lot of organic leads that come in. But are there certain channels that you're focused on like a Google AdWords where you see a lot of new customers coming from?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah, we do lots of paid search and trying to... When I think of paid search, I think of it as really trying to hit someone later funnel, right? They're already out there searching and they're trying to find a solution to a problem that they have. We want to be able to meet them with the right assets. When I think of the broader work we need to do in account- based marketing, it starts with awareness, right? Being able to do some of the things you were mentioning earlier, Vincent, about placing display ads out to target audiences and starting to really engage them and give them awareness to the solutions. I love LinkedIn. I don't know if you all saw the LinkedIn revenue results are off the charts from an investment perspective and what they're seeing in the market. But I think LinkedIn has had really good results from us, lots of awareness and demand gen coming in through there as well. In the pandemic, it's been really interesting, both at IBM and now at LivePerson, to really figure out how do we engage people remotely and in real conversations? We have a whole series of thing inaudible doing around roundtables and one- on- one seller interactions. We've had mixed success across different industries and across different customer types. Definitely a good way for us to be able to get sellers talking to clients remotely.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Also, I don't know if that is the same thing I'm going to ask you about now, but I'm a news guy. I'm on LinkedIn a lot, so I also saw that there's a new partnership with Adobe, and it's around new ways to measure different conversations. Is that what you're referring to? If not, can you elaborate on that new partnership?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. With Adobe, we have a solution that ties in to our next best conversation. We can pull in the Adobe data with our solution and be able to say, " Okay, this person has this history and Adobe and this history in our solution," and marry those intents so that you can recommend an offer to that audience in a really thoughtful and intentful way.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I love it. Also, for Stirista, different conferences, trade shows were a big way to market ourselves. I think the last one we attended was March of 2020 at LiveRamp, and then now we're just starting to at least sign up for something better in person. Was that a big part of what LivePerson did? Is that something that is on the docket for you and your team, Amber?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah, it was a huge part of what this team did and it was one of the things, the most exceptional things that this team did. I have not yet had the pleasure of attending one of our face- to- face events, but I have heard about the epicness of them. I can't wait until we get back to that. I think we are all so eager to get together, and inaudible just up the road from you in inaudible Texas. There's lots of great opportunities to do these things here in Austin, which would be really exciting. We're deciding right now if we're going to try to do an event in fourth quarter, face to face. It's still a little bit of a question mark. I think Delta variant has brought in more questions than answers on this so far. What we are doing though, we've done I guess two of them so far, and we have two more coming up pretty immediately, is a small group, very intimate dinners. We're doing those outdoors and with Michelin star chefs and really making a really nice experience. We've seen really, really great uptake on those events. We're finding people are interested in getting back inaudible a small group, but we're just not quite sure on how ready people are going to be able to travel. Also, you just saw the restrictions in New York where they're requiring vaccines to go into restaurants, and I'm sure that's going to impact hotels and others. It all adds a level of complexity that we're still trying to evaluate, as I imagine most of the listeners are.

Ajay Gupta: Amber, I had no idea you were this close to us. I'd be happy to participate in these dinners. This sounds great.

Vincent Pietrafesa: He just invited himself on the podcast, ladies and gentlemen.

Ajay Gupta: Yeah, this is the first-

Amber Armstrong: I love it.

Ajay Gupta: Amber, are there any exciting new solutions or services that are being planned that you can share publicly?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot going on with us from a marketing audience perspective. When you think of LivePerson, historically, we've primarily worked on the care side of the business, so the customer service side of the business. Where we're really expanding is on the marketing side. As we expand into that, there's some solutions that we have that are, I think, really unique. You've all heard that we're going to live in this cookieless world and third party cookies are going away and that's inevitable, no matter what timeframe it happens. One of the great things, though, about conversational commerce is that when a person comes into your site, engages with you via messaging, that's intentful. That's also consental. They're telling you what they want to talk about so you can personalize, and they're also giving you consent to talk back to them. It's a first party data source that we think is just really, really impactful. In early June, we just did a session where we talked about this. We also brought in some of our agency partners to talk about how they're helping clients start to navigate this. Our belief is that if we can connect brands directly with consumers, they continually improve those experiences for consumers based on what consumers want, right? It's different than in a cookie world, where you're predicting what consumers want. You have to really activate and ask consumers what they want and really understand it. But through conversation, you can do that. It's really exciting. Alongside the capabilities we have for marketers is an ability to interact with clients in social in a way that's really meaningful, tying it into some of the agents that you have and helping them be more resourceful. Next best conversation, which we talked about, presenting using your Adobe data and your LivePerson data to be able to present really meaningful intental offers to your clients as well. Another thing we have that I think is it's a really unique use case for the platform is in display advertising. Rather than doing a display ad and dropping your client into the website and have to navigate around and figure out is this what I want or not, you can actually drop them into a chat and you can actually start to directly interact with them, figure out what they want, and then navigate them through the inaudible process. We see clients using their inaudible a tremendous, tremendous increase in conversion over just general display ads.

Ajay Gupta: This is our staple question that we like to ask at Marketing Stir, and the question is around LinkedIn. You mentioned you guys are using a lot for LinkedIn, and I'm sure you're also on the receiving end in terms of the number of messages you get as the CMO title. We'd love to know what kind of a pet peeve for you when you're getting a message that you really dislike? Then on the other hand, what's something that gets you to respond to a message?

Amber Armstrong: Oh my gosh. Well, my least favorite is not sure if you've seen my last email or I hope you're handling things well during the pandemic. I'm like, " I don't know you. I don't want to talk to you about how well my kids are doing during the pandemic." My least favorite least, least, least favorite, is I haven't heard back from my previous outreach. I just think that really comes with some arrogance that because they reach out to me, they're expecting that I respond. If I did that, I would not get anything else done over my day. Yeah. I have three words that I really associate with my personality, my brand, inaudible focused, passionate and kind. I can't be focused if I'm letting everyone else drag me in whatever direction they want to drag me, right? I'm very passionate about the things that I do and how I'm spending my time and making sure it's really moving things forward. But I also don't ever want to inaudible I try to really maintain that, and rather than replying back and saying, " Please, just stop." I just let it go. Sometimes it will reply back and say, " Please, remove." I always do appreciate when there's actually an opt- out in that. I think it's just nice to be able to say we can all be a little more efficient with our time. What I love though, and it's something that sits just incredibly well with me is when someone has actually done some research on the kinds of challenges I'm trying to solve, and they come in and say, " Hey, I heard on this podcast that you're working on a inaudible marketing. I have the solution that might be interesting for you to know about because of this, this," right? They give you some really tangible examples, and I think it also can come across as so much more confident, right? It's like it's not about chasing me respond to an email, it's about, hey, I've got something that's great for you, let's talk about it. They have to know that it's great for me, right? That requires a little extra work. But I love when someone reaches out like that and we have lots of it as I've come into a new organization. We've opened up new agency relationships, and all of those relationships have either been through a referral of someone that I trust or through a really targeted outreach where inaudible presented a value prop that was very clearly associated with what I needed.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I know. The first part of that does mimic a lot of what our guests say, but that last part is... I like that. It's very specific. That's unique to you and I think that is something that people should take into consideration. For me, I tend to get back to someone if they're... If it's an InMail, I know those are those cost credits, and I'm like, " Okay." But InMail makes it very easy where there's like, " No, I'm not interested." We teach our sales people here, it's like if you get to the no, that's also good. At least you know that they're not interested. You did. But yeah, those ones where it's like, " Hey, did I do something to offend you?" It's like, " Did I do something to offend you?" No, you don't even know me. No, how could you offend me if I don't even know you? Amber, I wanted to talk about the future, right? The future, I think it's great because I think a lot of brands need to get closer to their customers, need to understand. I always feel more welcome that someone's reaching out to me, somebody gets back to me, it feels like a human interaction. I've said before, I'm pretty spoiled because I live in New York City. You could come to one of our dinners, instead of inviting Ajay, just invited himself. You come to one of our dinners here next time you're in New York. We'll have you at that. I'm in New York, so I get that those stores, they're really big. But I think if you don't have a store, if you're e- commerce, if you're not a brick and mortar, you really need to also have a close connection. My question is, especially since last year happened, are you seeing more industries get into this? Really put it on their plan to like, " Okay, we need a better strategy?" What've you been seeing in that, and what are you hoping to see?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. We see lots of companies coming online and thinking about things really differently. One of the largest jewelry retailers out there had this just amazing story, where when you buy jewelry, you go into the mall and you talk to someone, you try something on and you consult with them. When malls shut down, they had to figure out a different approach. They basically opened up virtual agents that all connected via messaging, and it's been so incredibly successful that they're like, " Oh, this is just a part of our norm now, and we can do this," and they're finding they're able to make those connections continue for longer, right? They now are able to say, " Hey, it's Mother's Day. Hae you thought about this? We know that you purchase something for your wife recently." They can do a lot more customization around those things. It's brought in some higher end retailers as an example that maybe wouldn't have thought of messaging previously. We also work with companies that are the big box home retailers, that sort of thing, right? They're finding that people want to get questions answered really quickly. There's also an opportunity, you mentioned the big stores, to do virtual assistant and add up the stores, right? There are some really cool capabilities that we can do in that environment so that you don't have to actually interact with someone basically if you don't want to, and you can still get a very personalized experience in store.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Another question we'd like to ask because I get a lot of people listening are in marketing, they're always curious to see the team structure, right? What are some key positions that you have underneath you? What comes to mind is there's new positions like growth, there's demand generation positions. That demand gen, that wasn't something that was maybe around 12, 15 years ago. What do some of the structure look like on the team?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. Yeah, I will do a little bit of a shameless plug. We are hiring a lot of roles actually. I've got about 15 roles open on the team right now. Not because everyone's leaving us, but because they've invested 30% more dollars and 30% more headcount as well. This just happen to work out the 30% each. But really exciting. We have a lot of rules open. The kind of roles that I'm hiring for right now and the way our team is set up is we're divided into a content organization which manages a lot of our general assets and our branding. Product marketing organization, it's really working towards our strategy, lining up with the product team and the sales team to make sure we're all rowing in the same direction. Then finally, a performance marketing team that is handling all the general worldwide execution, and that's just they now finally, it's our field marketing organization. That team goes out and works on... Working really close with the sellers in each of the markets. Then across all of that, and this isn't always how it's organized in all companies, but in our company, I also have responsibility for communication. All of our press and general outreach like what you and I talked in here today, that's all organized by my team as well.

Vincent Pietrafesa: That's awesome. That was one other point I just want to add to that. Yeah, if people are out there, you want LivePerson to become a customer of theirs, mention the podcast. If you're looking for a job and you're qualified in marketing, mention the podcast. Go ahead, Ajay. Sorry, just got a little... inaudible was a first. That's the first in The Marketing Stir, where people are like, " Oh man, people bought my book, I got some new customers out of this..." A job, that would be a first. Sorry, got excited, Ajay.

Amber Armstrong: crosstalk

Ajay Gupta: Yeah, I know there's some podcasts where you can type in the podcast name to get a discount for diapers and all that kind of stuff. We could have done in the referral partnership with LivePerson, and the job application, put Vincent. It's the code.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, use code Vincent.

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. crosstalk

Vincent Pietrafesa: No, I'm kidding. Don't use...

Amber Armstrong: Yes. We should figure that out. That would be great.

Ajay Gupta: Amber, what's been... You were at IBM for a long time and coming into a new role. What's the transition been like for you personally?

Amber Armstrong: Yeah, it's been really great. The thing I've learned is that we can move really quickly in any organization if we're all aligned. The words that I use for marketing here at LivePerson, back to my three- word thing is aligned, agile and aspirational. As I'm leading our strategy, I'm really focused on how do we align across the sales and the marketing organization with the product team. Account- based marketing is a big part of that, right? Picking our accounts and only going after those accounts aside from paid search and some third party type of engagements. Then on the agile, we are going to start, as we ramp up the team, moving into agile marketing, executing in sprints. Then the last one is on this aspirational. We're working through, in a company positioning, really how we tell our customer stories in a way that really makes them all heroes. It's really exciting to say, " Okay, this is how we're going to roll out our marketing strategy," and it's all about when we get more resources in and we are able to speed our execution around that. I think there is a lot of differences from the companies and how they go out to markets. In IBM, in a business unit, even though it was a very big business unit that I was in, you have to work across this broader portfolio, and if you think of IBM, it's huge, you can't all go and tell competing stories to the same audiences. In this situation, we can really own our audience and really be the one inaudible out to those audiences. It's been really exciting from that perspective. There's a couple things here that are just insanely fast. You talked about LinkedIn, as an example. It used to take a long time to get a LinkedIn campaign together, and so I was expecting a couple weeks to get something going on this. The team turned it around in a day, and I was just like, "Did that really happen? That's amazing." Right? It's so great. You can be really nimble. Then there are other areas where you don't have the big, big machine behind you and you have to... It takes a little bit longer to get some of those things done where the big machine might have supported it in a bigger company.

Ajay Gupta: That's great. That all makes sense. What's been a personal shining moment for you in the last couple of years?

Amber Armstrong: A personal shining moment in the last couple of years. Well, I have one coming up here soon. My stepdaughter starts college, and she's leaving in about a week. We're really excited for her. I actually got married. It's just about a little over two years ago.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Nice.

Amber Armstrong: That's pretty exciting as well. But I think from a business perspective, there's a few things that I'm really proud of, and one is the way that I've been able to lead and build teams during the pandemic. There's never been a more challenging management point, and certainly in my career. I'm sure I didn't do it perfectly, but the way that I focused on it was by really trying to connect with the teams and understand where they are to normalize the fact that it was all really crazy and hard, and that we were going to just step through it together and continually keep inaudible open conversation and integrate feedback from the team. How we did that, we changed our communication processes, and really had a lot more frequent, very short bursts of communication. I think there's still things we still miss in this pandemic world. We still miss some of those face to face and get- to- know- you things that you get around the coffee cooler, right? Or the water cooler and grabbing coffee together. I think there's still work to do on that, but I'm pretty proud of how we've managed across that at both organizations.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Amber, what school is your stepdaughter going to?

Amber Armstrong: University of New Mexico. She has a family out there and wants to be a lot closer to them. She's very excited.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Nice, nice. Give them a shout out there. Then, Amber, just with the last few minutes here, what do you like to do for fun? What movies you've been into, what TV shows, books? What do you love doing? We'd love to get down to the TV nitty- gritty here on the podcast.

Amber Armstrong: I've seen a lot more TV during the pandemic than ever in my whole life. But I love Handmaid's Tale, and my husband can't watch it. But I really loved that one. My husband and I, we watched Ozarks, beginning to end. I've not yet crosstalk watched the new Ted Lasso, but I-

Vincent Pietrafesa: Me neither. I was just talking to my wife about it. I think she just got a free year of Apple TV. I'm like, " How'd you get that?" We're going to watch it. Yeah.

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. Yeah, I'm super excited to watch Ted Lasso. During the pandemic, my husband and I have watched all 15 seasons of Criminal Minds.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh wow. That's the first that we've heard. You went back. It's on for 15 years for a reason.

Amber Armstrong: Yeah. But it's interesting when you go back and you see what was being shown on TV 15 years ago. It does not pass muster-

Vincent Pietrafesa: No.

Amber Armstrong: ...in today's world.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. I also like going back and seeing... My wife's making me watch Gilmore Girls right now. Who am I kidding? It was my choice. But you see people, you're like, " Oh my goodness, that actor's super famous now. Oh my goodness. What was that person doing on this?" Yeah. What about other things for fun? What are some of your hobbies?

Amber Armstrong: I love to cook. I've been to 46 countries and I did an exercise where I mastered dishes from all of those countries. Yeah, I love, love cooking. I also love traveling. I look forward to getting back to doing that. During pandemic, one of the things that I did. I used to do triathlons a while back, and I got out of the habit of it. It's a pretty big time commitment. What I do now, though, is I just make sure I run at least a mile every day, and I find that that... It's not hard to do, right? It's short commitment, short time period. I often will do more than that. But in making sure that I get out there and do that every day, it's really, really helpful for me mentally, physically, just keeping things going.

Vincent Pietrafesa: That's amazing. Yeah, I cook various dishes, I travel, I run a mile, and I'm planning on going to Krispy Kreme after the day to bring home doughnuts for my children and me. Who am I kidding? That is amazing, Amber. Any final thoughts, any closing thoughts you want to leave us with?

Amber Armstrong: No. Thank you so much for having me, you guys. It's a great podcast. I'm excited to hear feedback from the audience and questions. Yeah, certainly let me know as things come in, I'd be happy to engage more. But really appreciative of both of you for having me on today.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Absolutely. No, we loved having you. Thank you for sharing your experience in marketing at IBM, and more importantly at LivePerson. I love the things you're already doing and you're looking forward to seeing the future there as you're just getting your feet wet, just getting in the weeds there. We loved having you. That's the Chief Marketing Officer of LivePerson, Amber Armstrong. I'm Vincent Pietrafesa. That's Ajay Gupta. This has been The Marketing Stir. Thank you so much for listening, and we'll talk to you soon.

Ben: Thanks for listening to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista. Please like, rate and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, email us at themarketingstir @ stirista. com. Thanks for listening.

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