ITechnology Interviews Technology

ITechnology Interview with Liz Rutgersson, Chief Media Officer at Merkle

ITechnology Interview with Liz Rutgersson, Chief Media Officer at Merkle

“Marketers and tech companies must continue to partner to find solutions that create the important balance of users feeling protected and safe, while having an inspiring customer experience.”

Hi, Liz. Welcome to our Interview Series. Please tell us a little bit about your journey in this industry and what inspired you to start at Merkle?

I’ve worked in media for the majority of my career, starting with a performance background. Merkle’s vision for enabling media as a key part of a connected, data-driven customer experience has always inspired me.

What kind of quarter are we forecasting for major tech players? How would 2023 shape up in the current context of economic instabilities and inflation?

Major tech players will continue to face at least a few more challenging quarters with economic instability and inflation. I think there will be headwinds well into Q1 and perhaps beyond as marketers reevaluate their budgets and performance expectations with high levels of scrutiny.

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Data privacy is a key influencer in the way leading organizations plan their IT budgets. Do you think Big Tech would be impacted significantly in their pursuit for superior data privacy benchmarks?

Absolutely – the pressure on data privacy will continue to increase as consumers demand transparency and protection. Big tech companies that hold consumer data are incredibly cautious about using that data for marketing, and understandably do not want it to leave their internal walls. That said, consumers are demanding personalization, and high-value actions like purchase decisions can happen in just one engagement with a brand. Marketers and tech companies must continue to partner to find solutions that create the important balance of users feeling protected and safe, while having an inspiring customer experience. It’s not easy!

AI and automation are influencing job markets globally. Tech businesses, in particular, are gaining a sharp edge on talent management trends with AI investments. What would the big tech revenue results do to the hiring and employment trends? 

I think the recent results we’re seeing will require some businesses to slow down investments in recruiting. I don’t think very many are at the level of sophistication where these vacancies can be filled by machines, but scrutiny on every hire is likely new to many of these businesses. It’s a sign of a well-run business to have a high level of diligence in their employment decisions. However, the trade-off I expect some of these large businesses to face is the hard-to-measure impact on long-term innovation.

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The last two years have accelerated digital transformation for businesses of all sizes and stature. What has been the biggest lesson for you that helped you stay on top of your marketing and revenue-generation goals? Would you like to share your pandemic experience on how you managed to continue your development works and research during these uncertain times?

The biggest lesson I continue to learn is that the ability to measure impact of media and marketing decisions against clearly laid-out businesses objectives is always going to be the most valuable trait of a marketing team. This requires big investment in a technology stack, so we as agencies must take our role seriously and shepherd marketers and brands through the transformation journey.

What kind of conversation would you like CMOs and CIOs to have more often in their boardroom meetings? How would a company like Merkle influence these conversations, particularly in data privacy domain?

The CMOs and CIOs who understand that consumers are in control, and that the onus is on marketers and brands to be attractive and easy to engage with, are the leaders I have the most faith in. Merkle has a rich, decades-long history in data, so we feel well-placed to partner with sophisticated marketers to support their technology decision making, help them understand their customer base, and decide how and when to engage with those customers to create the personalized customer experience they crave.

Read More: ITechnology Interview with Logan Welley, Vice President of Alliances at Fivetran

Thank you, Liz! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at]

Liz serves as Chief Media Officer for Merkle and dentsu Americas’ CXM business. She believes passionately that media should live at the heart of a connected customer experience and in her 11+ years at Merkle has developed industry-leading media teams to support clients in making the connected media vision a reality.

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Merkle is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The company’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With 12,000 employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 50+ additional offices throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. Merkle is a dentsu company.

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