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We recently sat down with Sameer Patel, the CEO of Kahuna, a cross-channel marketing automation company. In this conversation, Sameer discusses lessons learned throughout his career — from surviving an imploding company in the dot com bust, to joining Kahuna just eight months ago, tasked with leading the company’s next phase of growth. “This thing is,” he says, “You have to be open to that kind of massive reinvention of yourself, that I think keeps you moving on an ongoing basis. You cannot be scared of that.”
A lifelong competitive squash player, Sameer credits the discipline of regular exercise to clear his head and staying cognizant of his state of mind, to drive success day-to-day. Another key: a willingness to admit what you know, what you don’t know, and what you learned last week.
Shifting to growth in the marketing industry and the future of e-commerce, Sameer discusses machine learning’s role in the “third wave” of marketing — where customers are willing to share certain data points while receiving 10X value in return. 1X and 2X returns no longer cut it. A company is doing it right when a customer doesn’t feel they’re being sold to at all.
What’s next? There’s so much left to be done for companies looking to improve the way they engage with customers. Increasingly, customers will come to expect more personalized experiences, and recognize when they are being lumped together by generic segmentation. As Sameer says, “We may wear blue jeans, but we’re not the same.” Furthermore, while technology has excelled at catering to known events, technology as an industry, he predicts, will begin sparking events and new buying cycles.
Tune in for the full conversation, or listen to the podcast on iTunes.
Kahuna is a pioneer in communication automation, dedicated to empowering businesses to grow and thrive in the mobile era. Founded in 2011, the company enables a new level of authentic engagement between brands and their customers wherever they are — the web, email, mobile, social channels — through personalized communication at scale. Powered by big data and machine learning, Kahuna helps create delightful experiences for customers of brands like Yelp, Yahoo!, GoPro, Dollar Shave Club and more. This year, Kahuna was recognized as one of the Bay Area’s Best Places To Work.
About Sameer Patel
Prior to Kahuna, Sameer was GM/SVP at SAP/SuccessFactors where he led the team responsible for making SAP a leading provider of customer and employee collaboration solutions, serving over 35 million subscribers. Prior to SAP, Sameer worked consulting and systems integrator business. He has keynoted over 50 industry and venture capital/private equity events and has been quoted in publications like The New York Times, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and HBR. Sameer received his Bachelor’s in Finance and Economics from Babson College and his Master’s in MIS from Boston University. He enjoys writing about leadership and high-performing enterprises on his blog, Pretzel Logic.