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An Interview with Brian Bolten

Former Head of Strategy at The Shop, eBay Enterprise

July 31, 2015 Download PDF

Brian Bolten heads marketing strategy at eBay Enterprise and is co-lead of The Shop, a commerce design agency within the company that creates customer experiences that help retailers increase sales, boost conversion and generate customer loyalty. Bolten is responsible for developing the agency’s proprietary customer experience journey process that focuses on enhancing customer engagement. He has worked on strategy and marketing services initiatives for Ahold USA, American Express, eBay, FedEx, Frito-Lay, Motorola and Sprint.

(Editor's note: Brian Bolten was interviewed by eMarketer in July 2015 when he was Head of Strategy.)

Tell us a bit about your role and how it fits into the organization.

Brian Bolten: My role is head of marketing strategy and co-lead of The Shop, an eBay Enterprise agency. As the head of marketing strategy, I help oversee a team that seeks to understand consumer needs and expectations as part of our relationships with brands that consumers partner with. We have a consumer-centric approach to the development of marketing plans and efforts. As co-lead of The Shop, I have the opportunity to integrate the various areas of commerce marketing expertise to benefit our clients, our partner agencies and our systems integrators.

What are you working on that’s been exciting to you?

Bolten: he launch of The Shop has been the most exciting opportunity. Bringing the expertise of 600 commerce marketing experts together under a solidified brand proposition allows us to offer a collaborative mindset to those who partner with eBay Enterprise and its ecosystem.

Why did your company choose to expand access to eMarketer?

Bolten: As our purview and integration across eBay Enterprise grows, it becomes more important to have in-depth consumer insight wherever possible. Our clients rely on us to provide that insight on the consumer journey to help them drive business.

How does offering this type of access to eMarketer align with your business or corporate objectives?

Bolten: The most important thing is that everyone is charged with having a consumer-centric mindset and approach. Understanding the needs of our consumers is of utmost importance. While some teams leverage eMarketer more than others, like strategy and analytics, enabling everyone to leverage eMarketer at a moment’s notice allows us to maintain this consumer-centric mentality.

How did you roll out eMarketer enterprise access?

Bolten: We sent companywide email communication and hosted regular training sessions when needed.

What benefits are you seeing as a result of enterprise access to eMarketer?

Bolten: The biggest benefit is that we can present the right idea, instead of a good idea, because our recommendations are based on sound insight that we leverage through eMarketer.

Why is it so important to empower everybody to have access to data, and how does that align with your business objectives?

Bolten: Speed wins. It’s the ability to move quickly and to get the insights we need almost immediately. It allows us to be much more responsive, vs. creating bottlenecks or having one team serve as a gatekeeper. The overall marketing opportunity in the US is over $4 billion. What we do from a customer journey/marketing perspective has a huge impact on efficiency. When we have C-level conversations, we come at them from a holistic perspective. A lot of the conversations are grounded in eMarketer insights.

What do you think about your future needs?

Bolten: eMarketer is competing for the same dollars and time as other research providers. It’s not that the data isn’t out there—data will be everywhere, and it already sort of is. We’re going to increasingly expect vendors to help us find the right data we need even more quickly than before. We need to partner with eMarketer in the future to make sure that the data that’s being captured is being leveraged as fast and as much as humanly possible.

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Brian Bolten

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“As our purview and integration across eBay Enterprise grows, it becomes more important to have in-depth consumer insight wherever possible.”

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