Industry Insights

Hero Digital’s New Hires on Customer & Employee Experience

It’s been a big month for independent customer experience agency Hero Digital. With its roots in Silicon Valley, Hero Digital has experienced the same kind of accelerated growth this year that part of the country is known and capped off the year with a recent acquisition and expansion of their leadership team just this month. 

With a clear understanding of the power of the customer experience in truly transforming brands, Hero Digital acquired Clock Four, an agency headquartered in San Francisco who like Hero Digital has additional offices nationwide and shares in their nature of championing the value of CX. In his statement on the acquisition, Hero Digital CEO Dave Kilimnik expanding on the fact that “our clients, chiefly CMOs and their organizations, are making huge investments in CX. The current market demands agencies to be wide enough to scale to support across Fortune 1000 businesses, but nimble enough to make a fast impact. Adding Clock Four to the Hero team augments our ability to deliver on that demand and continue to grow alongside the companies we’re proud to call our clients.”

Following the acquisition, Hero Digital then made the announcement they were adding to their team in bringing on Kenneth Parks as their first Chief Marketing Officer and Kelli Trujillo as their new Senior Vice President of Employee Experience. Upon reading the release I was able to get in touch with both Kenneth and Kelli with a few questions on their new positions and their expertise in the market. 

Leveraging Hero Digital's Silicon Valley Roots

In the release, Hero Digital CEO Dave Kilimnik noted Kenneth’s “decades of experience in big data, customer experience and marketing cloud technologies” as the points of difference for Kenneth making the ideal addition to their leadership team. Along those same lines, I wanted to hear from Kenneth what he would bring from that experience to his new role. “To be a trusted leader for clients you need a PoV on what the future looks like for them. So job #1 is to create a Hero Digital brand that projects the future for clients, raising the altitude at which our brand operates. Then we can reinvent the Hero customer journey end-to-end, supported by best-in-class customer and marketing technologies, so we optimize every customer interaction and activate our sales teams in new ways to drive growth.”

Also in the release, Kenneth makes the point that Hero Digital’s roots position them uniquely to take on the challenges of the market. “Born in Silicon Valley, its data and technology-led customer experience value proposition is uniquely positioned to meet the future needs of CMOs.” I asked him how he intended to leverage this in his approach to their future growth. “At its inception, Hero Digital built 'connected' services to bridge digital transformation strategy, customer experience and technology execution for clients. Being a young company, our culture is non-hierarchical, hyper collaborative and highly adaptable to the rapid pace of change occurring in marketing today and tomorrow.” 

The future needs of CMOs will surround the mindset shift required from the digital transformation we know to a larger focus on the customer experience and technology execution Kenneth mentions above. I asked him his advice to CMOs on how they can best enable their business to deliver that. “The world is accelerating its shift from Macro (think mass experiences), to Micro (think connected home) to Personal (think personal sensors). CMOs need to create a customer centric brand mission, different from a business vision. Great brand experiences make you feel something, and this means caring about great design. It means embracing customer technologies (devices, apps, assistants) and not just martech.”

Elevating HR to Employee Experience 

The second addition to Hero Digital’s leadership team is Kelli Trujillo as their new Senior Vice President of Employee Experience. To achieve the growth they want, Hero Digital will need an exceptional team to support it so Kelli is tasked with leading the employee experience for current staff as well as develop “recruiting initiatives to foster a best-in-class culture that promotes entrepreneurship and diversity while elevating business growth.” Previously Kelli has had a variety of experiences leading dynamic teams so with that, I asked her what she intended to bring to her new role with Hero Digital. She noted “a focus on personalizing our employee experience at scale to build one Hero Digital, nationally, with a renewed focus on creating a company that reflects the diverse world we live in and clients we serve.”

Knowing culture is of the utmost importance when it comes to substantial growth, I asked Kelli what the cultural elements are she hopes to foster within the organization. “We’re on a mission to create an agency culture where our shared values are celebrated as much as our differences and you can truly be who you are, have a voice, and thrive.” 

My final question for Kelli had to do with all the press we now see about the state of the workplace and its changes with an increasing number of remote workers, the gig economy and a new generation with a different thought process entering the workforce. I wanted to know her advice on how those in human resources can best handle this new landscape without sacrificing the productivity and utility of a team. “Hero’s approach to Human Resources is through the broader lens of Employee Experience, which broadens the remit of traditional HR and requires our team to operate in a nimble way, leveraging digital tools, creative mediums for engagement and personalizing touchpoints for our workforce. We’re excited by the evolving workforce, generational shifts, and geographical differences and are focused on creating a tailored Hero experience to meet the needs of team members across one national Hero Digital.”

Ending Notes

Having spoken with two members of the Hero Digital team at Sitecore Symposium 2018, it’s clear as a whole the agency is driving forward to encourage brands to deeply invest in customer experience as they champion the value now and into the future. A definite theme of 2018 has been the notion that the website, while still valuable is being massively overshadowed by the need for in-depth personalization across the influx of devices customers are using to interact with a brand and, the strategy that needs to be in place to support that. Where the website used to be the hub of the experience, it’s now receding into the background as simply a touchpoint of the end-to-end customer experience. This was echoed by Hero Digital CTO Tony Rems in his recent interview with Gabriella, “When you think about what we’re personalizing and the kinds of applications that are being created today, they’re not just websites anymore, it’s rare that it’s just a website, people want self-service, everybody wants subscription revenue and recurring revenue so we create these self-service applications on top of just the websites."

As Kenneth mentioned above, “Great brand experiences make you feel something, and this means caring about great design. It means embracing customer technologies (devices, apps, assistants) and not just martech.” CX and design needs to be tailored to so many different devices now, which makes the strategy more dynamic and complex but with it comes the opportunity to hone in on creating custom experiences for each device customers are using, and link them all together in one cohesive journey. 


Laura Myers

Laura Myers

A digital business, marketing and social media enthusiast, Laura thrives on asking unique, insightful questions to ignite conversation. At an event or remotely, she enjoys any opportunity to connect with like-minded people in the industry.

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