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The Human Experience

Kerry Guard • Tuesday, January 25, 2022 • 52 minutes to listen

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Lavanya Ganesh

Lavanya Ganesh is the Senior Manager of Global Digital Strategy and Demand Generation at VMware.



Hello, I'm Kerry Guard and Welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Welcome back to season 10. I hope you're enjoying the season so far. As a reminder, we drop our entire season of episodes Netflix style so that you can binge or jump around. Either way, no need to wait week after week; enjoy listening your way.

In this episode, I chat with Lavanya Ganesh. Lavanya is a Senior Manager of the Global Digital Strategy and Demand Generation of VMware. And Lavanya was kind enough to take time out of her trip to New York City to chat with me, which worked out perfectly. Because we were talking about the customer experience, Lavanya could share firsthand real examples of her brand experiences: the good, the bad, and the ugly. And in no better place can you have a variety of customer experiences than in New York City. As B2B marketers like Lavanya, we take more cues from consumer brands to build better customer experiences end to end. And this episode is an excellent opportunity to do just that. So let's take a listen.


Kerry Guard: Hello, Lavanya. Thank you for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Lavanya Ganesh: Hi Kerry, Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure.

Kerry Guard: So excited to have you. And I'm so excited about our conversation with you. But before we get there, can you give our listeners some background on what you do, Lavanya? And more importantly, how did you get there? What was your journey to your current role?

Lavanya Ganesh: I started as a kid, totally enticed by all the remarkable new technologies that were there. Believe it or not, the cell phone didn't exist at that time; there were many other technologies we were excited about, like email. That's how it all started, just being excited about technology, so I came here to the US to do my master's in Electrical Engineering. It was all about wireless engineering, and the best thing to be doing at that point was because they were launching all these remarkable new wireless technologies. I started with Ericsson as a wireless engineer and moved on to business analysis, project management, product management, and it just came about naturally, organically, because of the stakeholder relationships I had and the way I communicated with everyone. It was just a natural progression, and I got an opportunity to work with the marketing team at that point. That's why the marketing bug caught me, and I was like, "This is something that I want to do, and I want to keep doing this for the rest of my life." That's how I got to understand what marketing does for the company. Then, I went on to do my MBA, and here I am, eight years into integrated marketing, digital marketing, and demand generation for various companies; startups, midsize companies, and enterprises. And right now, I work for VMware, heading up digital strategy for the security business and totally loving what I do.

Kerry Guard: That background sounds so amazing. I like this joke a lot, because I think it's true that when we're kids and people ask us what we want to be when we grow up, we don't really see marketers.

Lavanya Ganesh: That is true. I wanted to be a teacher, and I'm nowhere close to that right now.

Kerry Guard: I love these stories, especially the eclectic ones where it's so not for me. It was very linear. When I came out of university, I knew I wanted to go to New York City, and my uncle was like, "I can get you into media planning." And I was like, "Sign me up!" even though I didn't know what that was. Then my marketing career just upped and flowed there. But to hear somebody come from something like electrical engineering and business analysis, well, I imagine now, especially for what you're doing, that history lends itself into the marketing world, especially in B2B intact. That is so cool.

Lavanya Ganesh: Absolutely. There are so many synergies still. The business analysis and product management aspects help you understand the background of how you would market your products, such as what the actual product requirements are. And what are customers looking for? Are you solving their problems? There are a lot of synergies between where I was and where I am right now.

Kerry Guard: Definitely. Okay, second question for you. And before we get to the heart of our conversation, maybe this question will lend itself to the conversation that sometimes happens. What is one challenge you are facing as a marketer today or in your career, and how have you planned to deal with it?

Lavanya Ganesh: Yeah, great question. Over the years, I've seen how hard it is to understand the digital customer experience and even harder to deliver an exceptional customer experience. With the advent of new technologies like voice search and variables, the technology is evolving so rapidly that marketers find it hard to keep up and make sure that they're there at every digital touchpoint and every interaction the customer has with the brand.

It's tough because we need to understand what they're doing, their behavior, and preferences and then create products that solve their problems. And to create frictionless experiences that make it easy for them to make conversions possible. One of the core problems is personalizing experiences, which becomes more difficult. I should say, in the B2C context, because of the scale you're looking at. You have a buying center on the B2B side, you know what they're looking for, and you've got accounts that you target. And reasonably, you know, you can research what specific personas are looking for within the technology context, within the B2C context. It is so complex, and it's tough to make sense of each interaction of a consumer with a brand, combining offline and online experiences and giving a consistent, seamless experience, that if you've cracked the core of that, I'd say we're into the next age of digital marketing.

Kerry Guard: It is complex, especially for both B2B and B2C, especially when you're looking at so much technology and the user experience is not so linear anymore when you're on a website. You go from A to B, click on an email, and go from A to B through the website. In essence, now you're talking about how you can interact with a customer, on and offline, digitally, in many aspects. It's disjointed. The analytics alone make it hard to marry one person to all those interactions as well.

Lavanya Ganesh: So yeah, absolutely. You said it.

Kerry Guard: It's definitely a challenge, and we're all feeling it. I want to break this down. I really love what you said. You basically created and said four important things. I think that lends itself to our conversation today, which is about the customer experience and how to create a unified one. There were a couple of things that you said when you discussed the challenges that we're all having. First, was the behavior of the customer, and obviously, the behavior of the customer is mostly different. Do you think B2B and B2C are different? Or do you think that, over the years and the way technologies have evolved, we have all behaved as consumers, right? But we're not all business-to-business buyers. For us, as B2B buyers, do you think that the way we buy nowadays is pretty much how we buy as consumers, or do you think those are still totally different buying journeys?

Lavanya Ganesh: Yeah, absolutely. If you think about the B2B buying experience, there is a business decision-maker. And if there are people who are using the product, they're influencers and advocates for the product. You essentially have to appeal to the senses of all these personas within the buying center. Hence, it's important to create personas and specific journeys and to have a content experience that will speak to the pain points of each of these three personas within the buying center. There are similarities with B2C as well. So if you stick to a typical B2B buyer journey model, which, all said and done, is linear at this point, the way traditional B2B marketing is done, You go from awareness and research into education, and then consideration evaluating different vendors, and then you go into the decision stage where you're making an active choice as to whether you want to go with one vendor versus the other. Then you move on to the purchase stage of the customer experience. Although B2C is never linear like this, it's kind of similar. So, take me, for example, as a consumer. I'll give you a great example of one of my favorite brands, Macy's, and I'm a big bag shopper. I love shopping for handbags and gifting handbags. Before my vacation, I purchased these great handbags at the store. They had information about me; they knew what I had bought. I received a great email saying, Hey, we know you purchased these bags. What do you think of them? Would you like to buy something else? Right? Although I wasn't ready at that moment, they knew me very well. That's the sense that I got that this brand knows me well, and then from there, when I was vacationing and trying to meet my friends and gift them at that time, I saw a very relevant ad and an email saying, "Hey, you're in New York. Come! check out our Time Square store, where we have all these great products. " And I was like, wow, what a timely thing to experience and how well they know me.

I went to the Time Square store and shopped till I dropped. That's the kind of experience I would expect. I am one speck in their betas, and they know me so well. It yielded more purchases, and I'm a repeat customer for them. These kinds of digital experiences are what drive stickiness, and the next time I shop for bags, guess what brand comes up first in my mind? It's incredible, right? That is the level that's expected on the B2C side. It's tough to do. Macy's is one great brand that could do it, and I'm sure many others are doing it well, too. When you draw parallels with the B2B side, you need to make sure your personas within the buying center experience a similar thing. If you're talking to a technology buyer, you need to understand what their company does at this point and what their current technology and infrastructure are. What are the products that they're looking for? Who's on their team? How many of them do we have in our database? Are they in the digital experience? Are they on technology sites trying to understand products or review products? And how do we target them through all these channels—paid search, organic search, paid social? Are the followers on organic social media? Those are the kinds of touchpoints that we need to think through carefully and craft that journey with so much precision and personalization that it almost becomes a humanized B2C experience.

Kerry Guard: It sounds hard. B2C doesn't sound hard because I feel like so much of your buying could happen online. I wouldn't even mind if it happened in-store if you're using it. I imagine you are an adamant Macy's user; you probably have a Macy's card or some sort of loyalty program, right? It's straightforward to sort of tie those two things together in a thoughtful way. And all the data together from a b2b perspective. How do you go about creating those personalized experiences? Is it that you're doing it on a scale? Or are you holding on to certain companies because it sounds overwhelming to try and personalize something where the data isn't entirely as connected as it is from a B2C perspective?

Lavanya Ganesh: That is true. When you think about the B2B context and how to personalize for that, it's great to know your ideal customers, and if you have target accounts, that's even better. You have a perfect customer profile and know their company sizes and which locales they need to operate in because you need to have a support infrastructure in those locations. That is also important. And, finally, do they have the technological infrastructure to enable you to sell not only the current set of products that you want to sell to them, but also to expand, cross-sell, and upsell to other products? So these are the considerations that go into your ideal customer profile, and from there, you go into the persona details. Do you have the right contacts within your database, whatever your preferred CRM system is? If not, how do you go about identifying them? If you can personalize the web experience and the paid channel experience, all your earned and paid media come together to make sense. We have this account, and this persona landed on our website or viewed a set of ads on LinkedIn. And hence, we can serve up the next best offer to them, and that's one way to personalize it.

The other way is to assume you have no idea who this person is, they have landed, and they're just a first-party cookie on your website. From then on, you have to develop their experience on-site with the help of real-time personalization, and that's the tricky part here in the B2B context. You have to leverage those technologies to understand real-time behavior and contextual targeting. Say the customer is searching for something on Google, and they're here on your site, trying to explore a technology platform and technology software. You should see what tech stack you're using with the platforms you have. And then, as they progress through the interactions, if they've consumed a set of content that you consider to be in the awareness stage, you should have that engine serve up the next level, where you might get a FORM FILL from them or an email id. They become a known contact in your database. From there, they say they stop interacting with you at that point; the next best alternative is to go with email. So, understand what they did on the website and use that to craft your following email, making it meaningful, purposeful, and personalized, saying something like, "I can see that you consume this kind of content, and here is another excellent piece of content, which we think you'd be interested in." That's how you build that customer journey on the B2B side, with the eventual goal of converting them to a customer, but your initial goal should be to solve their problems, not sell to them. The moment it's about selling, you lose the B2B customer at that point.

Kerry Guard: Oh, I agree. I love those LinkedIn emails you get where it's like, "I just need 10 minutes of your time to talk to you about what we do." How do I know that what you do will be the thing that I need, and there is precisely zero research here about anything in regards to what I do? My other favorite is when people try to sell me services for what I already do.

Lavanya Ganesh: Exactly! So that means that they don't know about you, and that's one sure way of losing the customer right there when you convey that you don't know what they do or what they want.

Kerry Guard: There are two things that come to mind in this. The first is scalability, and when you're talking about personalization, scalability starts to feel impossible. So it sounds like you have to have a sophisticated MAR tech stack to scale this kind of personalization to know what people are doing on your website. Is that true? Or is it more about the sales team? What's the balance there between them? What's automated versus what's manual?

Lavanya Ganesh: I would say personalization kind of skews towards the automated side of things. There needs to be a good alignment between marketing and sales to communicate. Here are the marketing touches and here's what data science told us. How would you like to craft your messages on the sales side? I think that that kind of tight interlock needs to be there. That's the only way they're going to convert, so you get into proof of concept and try to talk to the team. You need to understand what happened in the last seven or eight touches, especially if they are marketing-sourced. You also need to understand what they did. Did they read any books? Do they participate in a webinar? Do they ask questions during the webinar? So, the more you know about the audience, the more informed the sales team is going to be, and the more personalized their messages are going to be. That's when the B2B buyer gets the idea that, okay, so they know how I interacted with their brand, and they're coming informed, they're not going blind at me, and they know what I want. That is the only way, if any, to gain a thorough understanding of how marketing and sales operate.

Kerry Guard: So we're talking about the MAR tech stack and the sophistication of the automation because it sounds very sophisticated. When talking about personalization and automation, they're mentioned in the same breath. You do need to have a level of sophistication in your MAR tech stack and all this data you're collecting within your CRM in terms of that. Is it mainly the personalization and mostly email? Is it not necessarily for the person you're personalizing when talking about these personas? Or is it for the persona that you're personalizing?

Lavanya Ganesh: Great question! It is actually for the persona. So the tech stack can range from your essential marketing automation system, your preferred system of choice, and your CRM system. And then you've got different platforms now in the market landscape where you can get intent data, buying signals, if they are in the market right now, evaluating other vendors, or are they simply attempting to comprehend and gain knowledge of what will assist them in progressing to the next level? So, many platforms supply that intent signal to you. With that, you combine it with your existing signs and behavioral data, and that's where the magic happens.

You know that they've interacted with your website or your organic, social, or whatever channel in one particular way, and there's research for something they're in the market for and actively researching other vendors. How do you combine these two? The magic happens on the website. When they see that, "Okay, here are all these products that I've already evaluated, and here's how I'm getting nurtured with content right now on this particular vendor site." That's when their decision starts to solidify. You do need an experience stack, a digital experience stack, that would allow those real-time experiences, and there are quite a few vendors in the market that do it well. And if you were to do persona-based, you'd have to have that intelligence in that stack saying, "Okay, if they take these three steps with these particular types of content, then they're this type of persona." You need to have that intelligence built-in and say, okay, they've already taken the steps, and hence, they're going to serve up the next set of offers that are only aligned to this particular persona. That's how it becomes an intelligent combination of data science, personalization, and technology.

Kerry Guard: So much data.

Lavanya Ganesh: There is, and that's where that data that you're looking at is, where the goldmine is.

Kerry Guard: So what's going to happen, in your opinion, to the cookieless experience? Then, when we're all hit with this cookieless experience, do we lose some of that data?

Lavanya Ganesh: Yeah, all marketers have to think through this new development carefully. I'm sure you're aware that I hear about some development or another in this space daily. But all said and done, I think we need to go back to a time in the marketing world where we relied on the customer's experience with our brand, first-party data, which is your cookies. The moment they land on your digital entities, they are yours to own, nurture, and convert that experience to make them loyal customers. And then, whether there are third-party cookies or not, will be immaterial at some point. And with all the data privacy laws like GDPR a few years ago, there might be many more coming; consumers are susceptible to privacy and data disclosures. So we need to be careful as marketers not to get into the tricky side of personalization, which is, I know too much about you. To make you nervous and antsy, you know, so I don't think we should step into that zone. We should get to know our customers as soon as they arrive on our website and provide them with an experience to keep their customer expectations high.

Kerry Guard: Do you think then, as we create these, as you say, micro-moments with the customer from the moment they hit our site, the moment we nurture and make them paying customers before they even do that, though, there aren't going to be a lot of opportunities then to customize and personalize? So it sounds like, well, awareness has become a much more giant bucket than it may have ever been. Do you agree with that? Or are you thinking about the awareness bucket as it relates to not having those third-party cookies anymore?

Lavanya Ganesh: There are different ways to do it, and it has launched many brand categories over the years, making it essential to have a good strategy for all your awareness campaigns. Essentially, awareness becomes an outbound play, and in third-party cookies aside, you can do outbound in a way that you're able to track all these interactions and bring them back to your website. The goal is always to get them back to your properties, especially your mobile apps, website, product information sites, and such. With that in mind, you can leverage all your social media channels, external communication channels, your analyst channels, and influencer channels to put the word out there to make customers aware of a particular brand and its set of products. Still, the ultimate goal would be to bring them back as a first-party experience on your website.

Kerry Guard: Yeah! It will be an exciting transition, and I feel like I don't want to step backward because I think the personalization and everything you're talking about moving forward will get more thoughtful. But it sounds like we need to take an initial step backward, where it does become once again about getting people back into our properties, where before it was like, "We don't care where you are, we'll serve up our message, and we'll get in front of you." And it's done when we know we're getting in front of the right people. I think there's still going to be a level of that; thanks to social media, we won't have those third-party cookies, but we still will have, like, LinkedIn is just such a great place to fight, especially from a B2B perspective. I think Facebook is still going to work well from a B2C and B2B perspective in that the data that Facebook owns and that LinkedIn holds is the first-party data that we can still leverage to get in front of that audience and bring them to our website. It will be more of the DSPS, and the banner ads will struggle a bit, but we'll find our footing later on. So I believe our strategy will have to shift a little bit and maybe even feel like we're going backward, a tiny bit. But I think what you're saying from that personalization standpoint will explode even further as we find ways to customize that user experience. Do you have any excellent examples of personalization of how B2B can learn from B2C? In creating those micro-moments, you had the Macy's model, which I thought was great, but I think that's something that we could do as B2B. Or is it that we don't have the technology there? That doesn't make sense in terms of really meeting people where they are, quite literally, for you in New York City.

Lavanya Ganesh: There are possibilities over there. We have to do a lot more work to get hyper-personalized, like on the B2C side, but it's possible on the B2B side to get to a point where your customer and you are serving up the right content intelligently to solve their problem. Their opportunities are there, and the tech stack is so robust these days that plenty of platforms do that. It all boils down to this: can you personalize in real-time, assuming that you have no information about the B2B buyer, neither their company name nor their persona, leave alone the title, and yet, you should be able to personalize because that's how B2C started. And that's where B2C perfected the art. We assume we don't know anything about them, and we personalize their experience on-site on mobile apps. That's how you see the conversion. You have to measure their engagement with your website and your apps, and all the recommendations that are served up through guidance mean what their preferences are, and you have the right content to talk to them. You have an excellent structure to ensure that marketing and sales are aligned and know about this customer, right? So it has to start from the very first touchpoint of when they become aware of your brand, all the way to when a deal closes. That's the seamless customer experience on the B2B side; you cannot drop anywhere in the cycle. It's a complete end-to-end marketing and sales funnel and customer experience.

Kerry Guard: And creating those micro moments. Every moment counts.

Lavanya Ganesh: Every moment counts. Every time they attempt to consume content via your outbound or inbound efforts, they learn that you have a significant event in their specific location, they try to contact sales or customer support, they attempt to have a human interaction by picking up the phone and trying to reach someone and asking them to sign something in the sales cycle, all of this counts. It's not just the digital moments; CX is a vast thing, and it's not just confined to digital; it also goes into those offline moments that need to be consistent across all these touchpoints. That's the key to loyalty when you experience a brand. And it's true, in a sense, in digital and offline moments across different stages of the B2B buyer cycle. That's when you know that our customers want to come back to buy more and increase your revenue.

Kerry Guard: I imagine that has to be the case, and when I think about our own buyer experience, our own customer experience at MKG here, which is much smaller and far less sophisticated than an enterprise because of our size, but whenever I think about our customer experience, and how I want people to engage with our brand, I always think about our values and how that plays into it, or our mission.And the fundamental part of who we are is all about building thoughtful relationships to deliver results. So, when you're talking about all these different touchpoints and all these micro-moments, right? I imagine there has to be some route to all of that, that it should come back to the mission and the values. Is that part of that? Or is it what sort of route that customer takes? How do you make it consistent when you have so many touchpoints that need to create that unified customer experience that is online and offline? And apps versus wearables versus voice?

Lavanya Ganesh: Yes, there's only one route in my mind: solving customer problems. It's always about the customer. I want to research something, buy something, go somewhere, find a restaurant, get medicine quickly. It's always about the customer, whether in the B2C context or the B2B context. Be there for the customer when they need you, with the right message and products. Don't just think of it from an advertising angle; think from a more empathetic human perspective. Right? Why would they need you in their buying journey? Think of it from that human angle and try to be there for the customer. In the end, that's what wins. The brands that appeal to the human senses, time and again over history, are the brands that constantly reimagine and reinvent themselves. And move on, even beyond centuries.

Kerry Guard: Well, I think we can end there because that's the clear takeaway here: people be as stupid as possible, and you will win every time.

Lavanya Ganesh: Absolutely.

Kerry Guard: I couldn't agree more. I actually dedicated an entire season to that, and this continues that conversation, which I think is so important, and I couldn't talk about it all day long. But that's really what the customer journey comes down to: being there for the customer. That's so perfect, Lavanya.

Lavanya Ganesh: So much more to talk about, right?

Kerry Guard: Yeah, because I feel like companies tend to always lead with, you know, what they do and who they are opposed to, I think that conversation is shifting now. Thank goodness. Finally, two more on making your customer, essentially, the hero, and how you bring them along on their journey.It's not about your journey. It's about theirs. It’s not a brand journey, but a customer journey.

Lavanya Ganesh: Exactly. It's always from an outside perspective. And we've seen too many brands fail when they lead with themselves and what they do. Yes, there are great brands but you always succeed when you lead with the customer.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, and what they need at the end of the day, and that's a question for you, Lavanya, because we could talk about this all day, but I think it's really our customers. I think they have a good handle on how to do this. But my final question for you is, what are the most difficult challenges in making that human leap? And making that human connection? And figuring out where the customers are? How about how you do that? How do you do so in your personal experience? In general, how do you approach understanding what customers need as it relates to the brand that you're trying to get in front of them? How do you find that information?

Lavanya Ganesh: The information relies partly on your research, market research, and total addressable market. What are they in for? This is on the B2B side, and you have a recent experience with them on the website, and it kind of, you know, matches do your market research, then you have your answer there. So they're in the market for a particular product. And to have the research capabilities and the technology capabilities, simultaneously working with your marketing and sales processes, that's where things happen. You must have processes in place that enable you to understand: the technologies , some AI and ML technologies that we already have in our tech stack, the data we discovered from their interactions with our properties and digital properties, and what we researched on them, and there is an organization that will tie all of these pieces together and make the experience personalized and meaningful, and we will succeed for every organization that does this seamlessly.And that's where we're heading as B2B marketers; this is table stakes; we have to get this right and move to the next stage of the digital experience.

Kerry Guard: So in terms of the research phase and digging into that data, you can break down the personas you see by where they are in the funnel, right? So you have your personas, where they are in the funnel, and then you create your customer experience based on those two things. Did I sum that up?

Lavanya Ganesh: That is right. What stage of the funnel are they in based on their interactions, the content you want them to consume, and the end goal: do you want them to take a trial of your product, or do you want them to speak with a sales rep? All of those messages must be there. In that experience, what you want them to do, ultimately, has to be combined with that human element that I was referring to; it's all in solving the customer's problem. So if you were to say, "We know that you researched XYZ technology or solution, and we are here to help you, It would be great if you could try out this product, and here's the link to it." If you need help or want to talk to someone, they're there for you " And then provide them with the sales contact information or the support contact information. Make it as human as frictionless and as easy as possible for them to be in touch with your brand. That itself is half the problem solved.

Kerry Guard: I feel like that doesn't even have to be necessarily on the website. I mean, that really could be anywhere from making sure your Google details are up to date on maps to your Facebook page to Twitter. I mean, a lot of people, in terms of customer service, immediately go to Twitter these days, right.

Lavanya Ganesh: Absolutely. And brands have to be very careful about what they see and how they solve problems. I have personal examples of how I got customer support through chatbots. And I was extremely frictionless. They pulled up my order, they knew which products I was referring to when I was talking about, and then they immediately got a person online. So it was one of the most amazing customer support experiences for me. It's a combination of personalization, AI, and chatbots, which is the technology piece and human interaction. And that brand sticks in my mind forever. This happened like five years ago, and I still remember that brand. Right? So that's how it should be. The experiences need to come together and be consistent. It's not just done digitally or on one particular channel; it should be everywhere. The messaging and experience should be consistent.

Kerry Guard: And, and all these great words you've been saying around frictionless and seamless. Gosh, yes to all of this; I hope people can go away and sort of look at their own user experience and walk through yours. It makes me want to walk through my own customer experience like myself and say, "Where do I get frustrated? Where are my hiccups in this? How can I smooth this out? If I'm feeling frustrated by it, how can I smooth it out? Because if you put yourself in the customer's shoes, I think it is such an easy way to experience it. That's what this makes me want to do. I'm going to do it.

Lavanya Ganesh: Yeah, it gets into consumer psychology. It’s all about feelings and emotions in association with a brand. And if it's positive, they're going to come back to purchase more from you, if it's negative, you've lost that customer. And think about them just losing me. I'm just one customer in this world, right? Now, if you scale that, and that experience happens with every single customer, they lose millions of customers. That's a business that will not thrive. Right, so you need to think about the scale here. And on the B2B side, although the scale question, is more limited, But still, we need to make sure what we're talking to the buying center, we cannot talk about disparate things, we need to have that unified experience, unified content, you know, marketing, product, sales, strategy, everything coming together to have a single, unified experience for that customer across every touchpoint, whether it's online or offline.

Kerry Guard: I couldn't agree more. Lavanya, thank you so much for joining me. Before we leave today, I have my three people's first questions. Again, you're talking about being human, and I think it's so important for us all to remember that we are humans before we are marketers, and so just pull back the curtain and get to know each other a bit more. Are you ready?

Lavanya Ganesh: Yeah.

Kerry Guard: Awesome. My first question is, have you picked up any new hobbies in the last year?

Lavanya Ganesh: I haven't picked up any hobbies lately. But I'm going to try truffle making. I'm looking for patisseries where I can learn because I just had these chocolates that had liquid inside of them. And I was like, "That is so brilliant." I just want to make this.

Kerry Guard: They’re so good, y'all to let me know how it turned out.

Lavanya Ganesh: I'm gonna totally.

Kerry Guard: My second question for you is, if you could be in the office with everybody, I don't know if you guys are headed back into the office anytime soon if you're already there. But when you get there, what song would you want playing overhead for your team as you're going desk to desk, and you know, what vibe are you looking for in the atmosphere with your team, in person?

Lavanya Ganesh: I would say something meditative, something more Zen. I have this Zen playlist that I play every day, sometimes. Even at midday, but mostly at night, that's what I would play in my office at my own desk, as well as to my colleagues and friends in the office. We all need to relax coming out of the pandemic. Our interactions with people have changed so much, right? And we need to be much more cognizant of how we are able to, you know, bring that human interaction, even in the workplace, and so to, you know, share that kind of music that can reduce stress. That's what I would do.

Kerry Guard: When you get a chance, send me a song. I'm going to add it to our season 10 playlist for everybody so they can check it out. And guess what playlists they might put together to make it fun.

Lavanya Ganesh: Sure. Yeah.

Kerry Guard: Alright, last question for you. Lavanya. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, or maybe you have travel plans, where would you go and why?

Lavanya Ganesh: I would probably be on an island where I could really unwind. So my next destination is the Maldives. I've been to Greece, I've been to Indonesia, and lots of island countries, and my next destination is the Maldives. So that's where you will find me on my next vacation

Kerry Guard: Oh, beautiful. That sounds amazing. I wish you all the best on that journey and hope that you can unwind while listening to your zen playlist on the beach. That's what I drink. Absolutely.

Lavanya Ganesh: What a great combination that would be.

Kerry Guard: Oh, beautiful. That sounds amazing. I wish you all the best on that journey and hope that you can unwind while listening to your zen playlist on the beach. That's what I drink. Absolutely

Lavanya Ganesh: Yeah, absolutely. It was a pleasure, Kerry, thank you


That was my conversation with Lavanya Ganesh. If you're looking to better your customer experience and want to connect with Lavanya, head on over to LinkedIn and connect. Thank you, Lavanya for joining me and for your time, so lovely to meet you.

In the next episode, I chat with Shane Whelan, who has a very niche and interesting business. But his story and approach to marketing, and really his competitors, is one we can all learn from - to care about competitors or to not care. That is the question.

Thanks for your continued support in listening to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders, the podcast that helps brands generate demand via transparent measurable digital marketing. I'm your host, Kerry Guard, and until next time.

This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

If you'd like to be a guest please visit to apply.

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