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At LTR 2019, Braze held our first-ever Torchie Awards. These awards recognize brands and individuals who have gone above and beyond when it comes to leveraging technology and forward-looking strategies to better engage and serve their audiences.

The Rising Star of the Year award showcases an up and coming individual who stands out as an exceptional user of the Braze platform. We were thrilled to recognize Paul Cater, former CRM Tech Lead at The Trainline, as our first-ever Rising Star! Paul has made a name for himself in the customer engagement space through his data-driven approach to campaign ideation, cross-channel engagement and more. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Paul to highlight his efforts and strategies, and learn more about his career in marketing.

What first got you into marketing?

I have always been interested in marketing, especially the ability to talk to customers in order to persuade and evoke emotions through media platforms. I started my career as an email developer, but it soon became apparent that to succeed in this industry, whether it is down the tech route or the marketing route, you need to be a unicorn! It’s important to be able to communicate with marketers, data engineers, developers and then translate back and forth. This challenge really drove me within my career.

Can you tell us about your typical day at the office?

My day is never the same—one day I may be developing complex multichannel campaigns, and the next I may be discussing with other teams on how we can get data streams created and fed into Braze. It’s a very exciting time to be a tech/marketer specialist.

What excites you about what you do, where do you see opportunity?

As I mentioned above, being a “unicorn” means the world is your oyster in regards to what you can get involved in and make happen. In my previous role, I had to keep my finger on the pulse for everything Braze and CRM-related in order to deliver the best campaigns. I’m very excited to see where the future lies for Marketing tech leads. I feel in a few years time everyone will need a varied skill set and being ahead on this is exciting.

What is your biggest marketing challenge right now (and how are you addressing it)?

The biggest challenge right now is keeping data relevant and finding the fine line between super-personalized and super-creepy. Marketers can see data and think that this is the most personalized campaign we can possibly send, but when it’s received by the customer it is seen as slightly creepy. For example, the Monzo Year in Review. It’s great that companies have data such as “where I have spent the most money”, but do I really want to know about this? As customers becoming more and more clued up on data being stored and captured, it’s important to make sure we keep campaigns personalized yet relevant

What is the most challenging part of being a marketer right now?

Everyone does marketing in some way; customers are flooded with marketing messages on a daily basis. That being said, making sure that your campaign stands out among the rest is the biggest challenge right now.

What gutchecks do you go through when designing a campaign?

Is the data we are using actually useful to the user? Is the content of the campaign relevant? And more importantly, is this campaign going to increase and move any of the metrics we are being tasked with moving. I also have checks in general such as does this campaign perform the best it can technically, and can it be improved?

What skills are most important if you want to succeed in today’s marketing landscape?

It is important to be balanced in this day and age of marketing. Yes, you can be a specialist in strategy, campaign management, or marketing tech, but I think it will be most important to be able to work across and understand all pillars of marketing. Being able to brainstorm an idea, work with content creators, build out a brief, develop and campaign and then work on insights.

When and how did you first start using Braze?

I started using Braze about a year and a half ago. I was tasked internally to work with my team to migrate from an SQL environment to Braze, which is a real-time non-SQL environment. It wasn’t very long after first using Braze that I saw just how powerful it was and how it will be taking the world by storm when it comes to what a user can do with it. Whether it’s a non-technical person creating segments or a very technically savvy person building webhooks to contact Connected Content and then manipulating data to power campaigns.

How would you describe Braze to a peer that has never used it before?

Braze is a tool which specializes in real-time communications based on actions carried out by each user. It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be—from sending batch and blast campaigns to highly relevant real-time triggered communications. It has the power to talk to APIs both internally and externally as well as consume events which can be created on the fly. Braze is the future!

What's your favorite part about Braze? Why?

My favorite part about Braze is just how technical it can be. I really enjoy the struggle of being tasked with a new campaign or data request and then overcoming problems and finding solutions. Coming up with a solution is very fun—having to draw out all data flows that are being consumed by Braze and then determining what webhooks will need to be created to capture and manipulate the data to fulfil the request. I also love how you can create in-app message campaigns which have the power to act and look just like actual app features, whether it is in-app notification that looks native to the app or campaigns that fit seamlessly into the UI.

What big wins or ‘ah-ha’ moments have you had since using Braze?

Being nominated for and then winning the Rising Star award at LTR 2019 in New York. I was recognized for working on an in-app badge program, which technically is ground breaking, as well as other technically stunning campaigns. My biggest ah-ha moment while using Braze was when I realized the sheer power of the tool and how nothing is impossible with the right knowledge and team around you. I’m very excited to see where Braze will be in a few more years time.

Thanks, Paul! To learn more about how other Braze clients are using the Braze platform to support brilliant customer experiences, check out our client stories page.