#18 Customer-centric marketing ft. Darrell Alfonso

Pierce Ujjainwalla

By Pierce Ujjainwalla


Published Oct 5, 2021

#18 Customer-centric marketing ft. Darrell Alfonso

Pierce is joined by Amazon Web Services’ global marketing operations manager, Darrell Alfonso. Listen in as they discuss productivity at Amazon, scaling marketing ops teams, customer-centric campaigns, and building your personal brand on social media.

The big question in this episode: is email marketing dead? Darrell shares with us his analysis on certain parts of email marketing that are evolving to better serve customers.

Show Notes

Darrell Alfonso is an award-winning marketer and martech professional. He was named one of the top Martech Marketers to Follow in 2020, won the Fearless Marketer award in 2018, is a 2X Marketo Champion, and is a certified Salesforce Administrator. He has consulted for several Fortune 500 companies including General Electric and Abbott Laboratories. Today, Darrell leads marketing operations at Amazon Web Services where he helps empower hundreds of marketers to build world-class customer experiences.

According to Darrell, AWS has a “peculiar” culture. An example is the lack of PowerPoint presentations, which have been replaced by 6-page, well-researched documents that meeting attendees are expected to read in order to fully understand the context of the issue being discussed.

You cut out a lot of the not important questions that people ask, like: what did we do last year? Or how do you know this? And what about that? You know, you’re supposed to have already thought through all of those questions and provide supporting data.

Another practice that changed Darrell’s behaviour is the way Amazon puts customers first. In previous jobs, Darrell was all about pulling up key business numbers that related to revenue and growth. At his new job, he learned that those metrics are important, but not at the expense of the customer experience. This new approach to business has made its way into other companies who have learned that caring for customers and employees always leads to growth down the road.

So let’s say for example, in a typical business, if you have a program or a nurture program that for some reason is causing high unsubscribe rates, but it’s driving a lot of business, for me that would be a win. But here the customer is at the center and it drives everything that we do and no one will allow for that drop in experience to make that trade off with business results.

Finally, Darrell shares with us what he has learned from running marketing operations at the world’s largest Marketo instance. A highlight for him is the spread of knowledge through different channels, modules and formats to accommodate learning styles and learning needs. By creating an engaging learning environment, everyone in the organization is able to challenge their own skills and grow exponentially.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Increasing productivity at the office
  • Email trends
  • The importance of customer-centric approaches

Follow Darrell on Linkedin or Twitter

Thanks for listening to Unsubscribed! – a podcast created by Knak. If you enjoyed this episode, please do subscribe and leave a review on your favourite podcast player. If you have any feedback, or want to chat, feel free to reach out to Pierce on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @marketing_101.

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Pierce Ujjainwalla


Pierce Ujjainwalla

Co-Founder & CEO, Knak

Pierce is a career marketer who has lived in the marketing trenches at companies like IBM, SAP, NVIDIA, and Marketo. He launched Knak in 2015 as a platform designed to help Marketers simplify email creation. He is also the founder of Revenue Pulse, a marketing operations consultancy.

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