SWSE14 Flash Interview! Talking with Ensighten's Josh Slivken


Next week we are headed to Columbus on our Stratigent Workshop series tour (learn more about the workshop). And as we travel the nation, sharing our marketing analytics industry insights and best practices, we think it's important for you to get up-close & personal with our partner presenters. So today we are talking with Josh Slivken from one of the leading providers of omni-channel data and tag management solutions - Ensighten! 

So why did we partner with Josh?
Is it his awesome sombrero-wearing abilities (check out his Twitter here) or Ensighten's advancement in the field of tag management? Maybe it's because we've worked together on countless client solutions. To be honest, it's probably all of those things, but so much more...

Josh's passion for the sciences started early in high school, where he first experienced the thrill of blending science with marketing. Once he landed his first “real job” at Select Comfort in their online marketing department, it all came together for him and from there, he's been a testing & optimization practitioner and consultant ever since. So naturally, Josh was the perfect fit for our workshop series to present on optimization strategies! 


Hi Josh! You have quite the impressive background, tell me about what you do at Ensighten.
I’ve been with Ensighten for a little over a year now as a Solutions Engineer – basically, an interface between business development and engineering.  I get to solve problems and it may not seem like it on the surface, but Ensighten is the next generation of testing and optimization.  We are going beyond just content, and allowing marketers to test and optimize all of their marketing efforts through tagging strategies – so for me, this was a perfect fit. 


So for those that don't know, give us a run-down of what Ensighten does.
We’re a software-as-a-service solution, with clients typically engaging with us on a volume (server request) basis, with implementation, training, and service hours as optional additions to support their efforts. The goal of the Ensighten platform is to enable organizations to be completely self-service to solve any challenge that arises in the digital marketing space.  This is definitely a very large and complex problem to solve, but I believe we’re way ahead of the market in solving this issue, getting closer every day.


Tag management is a forte of Ensighten, can you give us an example of how you can help companies looking to implement this strategy?

The problem:  An SVP of marketing wants some new event tracking deployed to the site as soon as possible. Typically, this process takes weeks or months – involving requirements documents, meetings, prioritizations in to a release, etc. Typically, this process happens a few times, because code is copy/pasted incorrectly, business requirements aren’t understood 100%, etc.
The solution:  With Ensighten, our goal is to allow the business user to build and enable their tagging directly, without needing knowledge of how to write javascript/HTML/etc.  With the Ensighten platform, we can then allow the business user to define their own requirements and build their tag on their own schedule, while maintaining IT visibility and security on the site through 100% customizable permissions, environments, and governance functionality. Or, to put it another way – let the business folks build their tags, and let the IT folks worry about site performance and checking to make sure the tag works.
Nice, here at Stratigent, we are all about empowering! [high-five] 
What is one of your favorite projects that you've worked on so far?

Great question – this is hard to pick!  I would say out of everything, I’ve enjoyed working on a workshop for Agility (our annual conference) the most.  The workshop was focused around optimization technologies and Ensighten together, and what you can accomplish if you utilize both.  It was exciting to create the content, and even cooler to get barraged with questions throughout the rest of the conference. 
Hopefully this is a question you've never been asked - if Ensighten was a fictional character, who would it be?
Robin Hood – we’re in the business of helping organizations collect and own their data, and to take action on that data without getting fleeced by using giant, duct taped-together multi-product cloud solutions.
Robin Hood - I love that movie! Is that the Robin Hood with or without the tights?
Depends - how loud can I get the speakers to blast out some Bryan Adams?
As you continue to plunder & pillage (I mean that in the best way possible), are there any new services/products that you are particularly excited about?
Ensighten Activate – especially when it comes to offline data delivery to the page. This is such a huge gap for organizations. Most are thinking about it completely wrong, going through complex inadequate integrations between 10 different systems, delivering a profile to the page that is old and not very actionable. In our world, we need to be able to target content first page-view with a multi-channel real-time profile. This is a REALLY hard problem to solve, and I think Ensighten has a unique, and extremely elegant approach to this that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the market.
Well Josh, you've been in the industry a while, what advice can you give to marketers just starting out?
First and foremost, take a test drive. Talk to other people using the solutions you’re exploring!  All too often, people are mesmerized by sales presentations and marketing materials (which, granted, is part of my job). They make the purchase without getting solid references and seeing the technology in action, and then find out 5 months later that they bought a lemon.
Second, design a core data and code delivery platform that allows you to continuously test and evaluate your selected point solutions (analytics, DMPs, content personalization, etc). To be the best, organizations need to be agile, and have the ability to plug in a new best-in-breed technology as they need to – not be locked in to one solution because changing code would be too big of a process.

So last question before I Iet you off the hook, what are your "words to live by?"

“Fortune favors the bold.” Whenever I’m faced with two options – the safe but less-desirable route, or the risky but exciting route – I try to remember this, and act accordingly. I’ve definitely fallen down from time-to-time, but more often than not, this has served me well. Having an incredible family has helped, which leads in to another great quote:  “Marry well,” which I think I’ve struck a home run on.


- SWSE14 Expert Panel, Minneapolis 2014 -

Want to meet Josh and the rest of the #SWSE14 team? Come see us!
Our Empower workshops are currently being held across the U.S. throughout the summer; registration is still open for most locations but filling fast. Register today!

Also, you can learn more about Ensighten at www.ensighten.com and join the conversation on LinkedIn here or on Twitter @ensighten


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