How a Manufacturer Standardizes Product Data for CX

Episode 179

April 12, 2022

How can manufacturers with various product portfolios gained from mergers and acquisitions ensure their products are discoverable both on their website and third party domains? In this episode of The Kula Ring, Cynthia Kellam, Global Head of Digital & Enterprise Customer Experience at TE Connectivity, shares how customer experience research led her team to standardize product data in order to improve organic searchability.

How a Manufacturer Standardizes Product Data for CX Transcript:

Hi everyone, thanks for joining us on The Kula Ring. This week, I’m pleased to present another fantastic episode from the vault. More on that in just a moment. 

Part of the reason that we’ve been re-airing classic episodes of the show is because our audience today is much larger and very different than it was even a year ago, and there’s some great learning to be had in these interviews. We want more people to have an opportunity to hear the voices from our manufacturing marketing community. Carman and I are preparing to release a number of phenomenal fresh interviews very soon. 

That said, we’re also very interested in hearing from you, our listeners. Are you a manufacturing marketer with a story to tell? We’d love to chat with you about it and see how we can build a show around your leadership and the war stories that often go with it. Please email, and we’ll get back to you to set a time for a call. Don’t worry, we won’t be recording that conversation, it’s just a 15 minute call to get acquainted. We’ll also link to our guide to being a guest on the show notes page, so be sure to hit up and visit the podcast section of the site. 

This episode with Cynthia Kellam of TE Connectivity is just terrific. It really speaks to the importance of properly understanding and valuing your product data and the effort required to keep it up to date. The first best time to properly catalogue and augment your product content was decades ago, and the second best time to do it is today. Cynthia tells a great story about how TE approached this monumental task, and there are lots of great lessons to be learned for marketers faced with the same issues. Enjoy!

Announcer: You’re listening to The Kula Ring, a podcast made for manufacturing marketers. Here are Carman Pirie and Jeff White. 

Jeff White: Welcome to The Kula Ring, a podcast for manufacturing marketers brought to you by Kula Partners. My name is Jeff White. Joining me today is Carman Pirie. Carman, how you doing, mate? 

Carman Pirie: All is well. All is well, and you? 

Jeff White: I’m doing good. Yeah. Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: All right. Well, are we gonna do a show today? 

Jeff White: I think we should. I think we have a really interesting person to talk to today, and we often say that, but I love talking to people who come at things from a UX and CX perspective. It just… It’s close. 

Carman Pirie: Wasn’t it Conan O’Brien that every time he started a show, he said that this show’s gonna be the best ever? We got the best guests lined up for you today. It was every, every show. 

Jeff White: Well, I mean you can have continuous improvement, you know?

Carman Pirie: This is true.

Jeff White: Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: This is true. No, I agree. What I love about today’s conversation, in addition to just the level of depth of knowledge and expertise of today’s guest, is I like this notion… So, you know, we often speak to manufacturers who are small to medium-size manufacturers, and they’re looking to grow via niche categories, and they maybe look at some of the very large manufacturers and think that their world is very different. And I loved in talking to today’s guest in preparation for this show, this like… No, it’s actually serving niche markets is what drives their growth, too. It’s like it may well just be universal across all manufacturers in some way, that’s where the growth lies, and I think the lessons from today’s guest can be applied across a wide range of organizations, scales of organizations, to help people do just that. 

Jeff White: Yeah. No, I think it’s really interesting to consider. You know, to be selling to both large organizations and small and medium business, it’s fantastic. Joining us today is Cynthia Kellam. Cynthia is the Global Senior Director, Digital Customer Experience at TE Connectivity. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Cynthia. 

Cynthia Kellam: Thank you. I’m happy to be here. 

Carman Pirie: Cynthia, it’s a real pleasure to have you on the show. Let’s start with a brief introduction to just tell our listeners a bit more about you and in case they don’t know TE Connectivity, maybe let them know that too. 

Cynthia Kellam: Sure. I’ll start with TE Connectivity. TE is a large, global industrial technology and manufacturing company. We got about 80,000 employees around the world. We’re truly global. We make and sell about 270 billion products a year, sensors, and connectors. They go into pretty much any connected application you can think of, whether it’s a car, or an airplane, or a cell phone, or a data center, or a dishwasher. And we employ a lot of engineers. That’s really at the heart of our company. 

I lead digital customer experience and I’m the head of digital at TE, so I’m responsible for and our roadmap, and digital product management, customer experience, and customer journey for TE. 

Carman Pirie: I’ve gotta say, to say you’re responsible for is just-

Jeff White: It’s burying the lead a little bit. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Like the notion of consolidating 900 sites to get there is… That seems like a bit of a bigger deal.

Jeff White: Yeah. Tell us a bit about your experience, because you have some interesting depth of experience that you brought into TE and then let us know a little bit about your journey. Because you’ve been there for about seven-and-a-half years? 

Cynthia Kellam: That’s right. Yeah, so I joined TE about seven-and-a-half years ago as part of a team to help drive some digital transformation. TE is a company that’s grown through acquisitions, continues to go through many acquisitions over the years, and what I walked into was a digital footprint that had well over 900 different microsites. We’ve got three different major business segments, at the time over 10 different business units, and each one was kind of doing their own thing when it came to the web. 

I joined a team responsible for defining a future digital strategy that started with and was gonna be centered on a single destination. We put in a lot of work around helping the company understand what the value and opportunity was around that single destination, and we discovered very early on that one of the key parts of that was going to be our product data and taxonomy, having a single organization of all of our products, a single system, and that started about seven years ago, but it’s been a journey that’s continued since then. In fact, we just recently finished a major initiative that continued to work on standardizing and normalizing our product data and taxonomy. 

Carman Pirie: My goodness. I’ve gotta say just congratulations before we get into the product data side of this of even still having a job after seven years of consolidating 900 sites. That would be a-

Jeff White: Or even wanting it. 

Carman Pirie: That would be a career-ender for a few people, I think. 

Jeff White: Yeah. What was the makeup of the team that you joined when you came in to start this project? 

Cynthia Kellam: It was a pretty small team that was primarily at that time focused on what I’d call more digital operations, so it was a team that was focused on delivering on what those 10-plus different business units requested, so more focused on delivery, not so much on digital strategy. A big part of the focus that we had early on also was building up a talented team that could focus more on strategic leadership for digital at TE. Again, focusing on that communication, helping to grow awareness around the importance of having that single destination, why having 900 different microsites was hurting us, ultimately hurting our customer experience, hurting our brand visibility and awareness, driving… creating more confusion than anything else. And that wasn’t a quick effort, either. That took a number of years. 

We ultimately created a team that was focused on, again, as I mentioned, product data and taxonomy, built up a UX, user experience design practice, built up a content strategy team to really help create a federated content creation and content management process for the company. I mentioned 10-plus different business units, a central digital organization, but very closely aligned with a marketing organization that had marketing teams in each one of those different business groups. 

We used to call it we needed to create flexibility within the framework. We were creating a centralized framework, a centralized strategy, a centralized informational architecture for the website, and we really had to empower our business unit, marketing partners and colleagues, and product managers, to create product content and marketing content that was going to meet their customer’s needs, but also fit and align into this unified, centralized framework. 

Carman Pirie: And aligned towards that north star that you’ve really articulated, that… Look, I should just leave you to do it, but maybe I’ll try to speak it back at the very least, that this north star that you’ve talked about as being at the intersection of rich product information and technical expertise combined with customer and market insights and the applications and use cases that those customers are bringing your products to bear in. I mean, did I capture that correctly? 

Cynthia Kellam: Yeah, that’s right. I mean, I think one of the unique differentiators that TE brings to the market, in general, is that we have a very broad set of products and we serve a broad set of industries. I mentioned some of them at the beginning of this podcast. We’re in many different industries and applications. We’ve got over 380,000 parts and SKUs on our website, and so it’s a very broad set of products, and some of those products are used in many different types and a variety of types of applications. 

We have a lot of deep technical expertise, so with some of our customers, we literally co-locate our engineers with engineering teams at a client. We work with them on highly-engineered solutions for certain types of complex applications. The north star vision we have around our end-to-end customer experience is that we harness that rich data and engineering expertise along with deep insights about our customers, about the markets that they’re in, about the applications and problems that they’re trying to solve, and we’re able to deliver highly relevant, high-quality communications and experiences throughout their journey. 

That’s enabled all through digital, so whether the customer is interacting with us on and they’re looking for product information, and we’re able to based on previous behavior know that they’re working in a certain application space and therefore prioritize certain types of products in their search results, or if they’re speaking with a customer care agent on our side, we would serve up to that customer care agent kind of expertise and recommendations for them to provide to the customer that is based on that same type of insight. It’s really combining again, that rich product data and expertise, along with customer insight for highly relevant experiences no matter how you interact with us, whether that’s through a human channel or through a digital channel.

Carman Pirie: Well, first off, I mean, the great thing about a north star is that it sounds lovely, and so, and what you just articulated I think is in many ways where a lot of people would love to get to, and I know that the journey is still kind of underway. Where are we at with that? Have you largely cracked the nut of product data standardization at this point? And have you gotten over that hurdle? 

Cynthia Kellam: That’s where we started. A couple of years back, we as a digital team, and I’m sure other folks that work in digital, this will resonate. We fielded a lot of questions from our internal partners about why is it so hard to find XYZ on the website? Why can’t I find this product? You know, it should be easier. Can’t we be like Google? 

Jeff White: Oh my God. If I just built all the sites my clients have asked for that were just supposed to work like Google, I’d be rich by now. 

Cynthia Kellam: Yeah, so we dug into a lot of customer feedback. We did numerous, numerous customer interviews. And what we found when we looked at the type of feedback and individual cases where customers were having issues is that our search engine could be a bit better, but really the problem was the data didn’t exist. You know, the customers were looking for products using data that wasn’t in our systems. It wasn’t standardized, it wasn’t normalized, it wasn’t able to be powering that search experience and allowing the customer to find it. 

And so, we used to say the best search engine in the world can’t help you find a product that has no data, right? I mean, you need to have that data there. We initiated a program to really dramatically transform the quality and completeness of our product data. We created a metric to evaluate the quality of our product data and also to improve and increase the number of products that we had published on our website, so going back a year ago, we only had about 260,000 products. As I mentioned, we now have over 380,000 products, and we went from a product data quality score of about 17% to now over 94%. 

We really made tremendous progress around the quality of our product information and the things that we looked at are things like have you filled in your navigational attributes? A navigational attribute is basically the data that allows the part to be found if you’re using filters in a search engine or through navigation. Part of this was just educating our product managers and engineers to say, “Look, if you don’t fill in the color of that cable, and a customer’s trying to find a cable that’s red, then your product doesn’t exist. It’s invisible. It literally does not exist.” 

And really helping to connect the customer experience to that engineering data that in large part should be created way at the beginning of the cycle. It’s created in our engineering systems. And so, it was a lot of education, a lot of communication, and again, a lot of progress. I think we’re now at a sustenance mode with our product data. We’ve, as I said, we’re up at that 94% product data quality level. Three things we put in place to help maintain that quality is one, we have these dashboards that help the businesses kind of understand and continue to monitor the quality of what they’re creating. Number two is that we established a centralized product data governance team that’s gonna continue to exist and help drive quality standards and governance, and continuously improve the process over time at an enterprise level across our 10 different business units. 

And then number three is we’re really focused on NPI, which is what we call new product introduction, to make sure that any new product entering better be 100% perfect. If we’re putting new products into the system and they’re only 50%, then two years from now we’re gonna go back to having to do a massive cleanup again, and so it was really important to us that we kind of maintain those standards and be very rigorous for anything brand new. 

Carman Pirie: And as you’ve brought those additional SKUs to the site and enriched that product data, made it more accurate and complete, I’m assuming you’ve seen the impact just in the difference in the way people experience, navigate, and use the site. 

Cynthia Kellam: Absolutely. Some of the key metrics that we had set for this initiative around something we call organic product findability, and that was what we were really trying to impact, so when we think about organic product findability, it’s both the degree to which our customers can find our products directly through external search engines and also the degree, the ease with which customers can navigate to products on our site, whether they get to the site through organic means or not. We saw about an 18% increase in organic product findability, and even in this past year, COVID times, when a lot of our marketing activities have been… We’ve pulled back on them. We haven’t been doing trade shows. We haven’t been doing major brand campaigns. We’ve continued to see an increase in organic findability of our products due to the focus that we put on this core product data. 

We’re very happy about what we’ve achieved around our product and really the next phase we’ll be focusing on more so in order to make progress towards that north star, is around our master customer data and around the insights and intelligence that we need to use to deliver relevancy in the experience to the customer. 

Announcer: Are your digital marketing efforts bringing in too many junk leads? Stop wasting time and distracting your sales team. Account-based marketing can help give your marketing strategy the laser focus on the qualified buyers that you need to increase your pipeline velocity, close more deals, and grow your business faster. We’ve created a sample manufacturing ABM plan to help you get started. Download the sample manufacturing ABM plan at That’s

Jeff White: I want to come back to the customer data side of things, because I think it’s very interesting and probably a bit more of an elevated topic over just having good quality product data, which is kind of like an of course, but yet so many organizations aren’t even close to there. But I love the idea and I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to chat about this, but this idea that you’re not only impacting your own findability through the navigation structure and the information architecture and internal systems, but to also be designing your data in such a way that it is as accessible as possible by systems you don’t create or control, that are outside of I mean, that’s… Google has always said that, supposedly, that content created in the way that customers, that people want to experience it, will always rise to the top. 

But of course, as anyone who’s worked within the web before, it’s not always the case, but it’s nice to hear that you’ve kind of cracked the code a little bit and been able to enrich that data to a point that no matter how somebody’s searching for it, whether it’s Google, or Bing, or DuckDuckGo, or whatever, that they’re able to find you and find exactly what they’re looking for. 

Cynthia Kellam: Well, we hope so. That’s the goal. And in fact, for our business and for our customers’ engineers, they do often like to go to the core manufacturer to look for product data, but they also go to a lot of industry search engine verticals. For us that might be a company like Octopart, where they’re going to look for product information where they’re gonna find not just TE products, but some of our competitor products or other products that might ultimately go together on the same application. We very much are thinking about how do we create product data that can be syndicated and leveraged by these other third parties where our customers are, as well, right? Because at the end of the day, we want our customers to find TE products. Whether they find them on our website or not doesn’t really matter. I mean, they could be a distributor website, so distributors are big, and key partners for us as well, they want that rich data as well, so that they can serve their customers. 

So, it is really important that we’re really focused on just again, high quality, classified data, that really has an outside approach. It can’t just be organized in a way that makes sense to us internally. It really needs to be customer-focused. 

Carman Pirie: And you know, I don’t know, Jeff. I mean, you say that the product data is an obvious one, but it is a very hard nut to track, especially with 380,000 SKUs. 

Jeff White: Yeah. To add 10,000 SKUs a month between last year and this year alone is just massive.

Carman Pirie: It’s significant. And I think the tougher nut is still to be cracked in some way. I’m curious about the layering on of the customer insights and that distinction maybe in some way between customers that are known to TE versus prospects that are unknown. And how we’re looking to evolve over time so that we can understand or anticipate the applications that a prospect might have when they’re not an existing customer today. I guess talk to me about that, Cynthia. I’m curious how we’re gonna fix this problem. 

Cynthia Kellam: It’s a good question. I’m not sure yet. You know, we’re at the beginning of this journey and there’s also a lot of privacy and security concerns here that we need to kind of watch out for, so I would say that for us, we’re focused on our direct customers with whom we have established relationships. It should be easier for us to make the connection between an account and this really account-based personalization, where we understand this account, we understand what types of products you’ve purchased from us, we also should be able to understand what kind of products your employees are looking at and kind of engaging with on our website. We know what kind of applications you’re working on. We know what phone calls you’ve had with our customer care team, what chats you’ve had with our servicing team.

All of that information we should be able to bring together and begin to predict what you need next and actually what different roles at the company might need next. What an engineer might need versus what a compliance person needs when they call us, or chat us, or chat with us, or come on the website. You’re right that with an unknown and kind of more anonymous or early prospect, it’s gonna be a little bit more challenging, and so again, we’re at the beginning of the journey, but just kind of again basics for us, which you might see… All of us have come to expect in B2C websites, but for B2B, I mean, doing things like presenting your recently viewed products on our homepage. It’s amazing how many websites in our space, competitor companies, don’t do basic personalization, so we see some of that as just some of the early steps we’re gonna start taking to provide a more relevant experience, make it easier for these prospects to come back and engage with us, find the products they looked at last time, maybe take the next step in their journey towards evaluating that product. 

Maybe we serve up the suggestion that they might want to order a sample. That type of thing, based on their cookie, or if we can get them to register with us, or do a basic form fill, then we can maybe have a little bit more information, a little bit more personalization in that experience. 

Jeff White: One of the other things that I think is a bit interesting too is as a company with so many products and so many similar products, or replacement products, in a lot of cases somebody’s coming to your site and looking for something and maybe there’s a newer version of that or whatever. How are you enabling them to find things that may be better value for you as an organization, or a better fit for that customer, like the cross-linkages of product data must be a very big part of what you’re doing here. 

Cynthia Kellam: Yeah, so great question. That is an area that we talk about and look at quite a bit. We started to tackle that as part of that foundational product data initiative I mentioned, but it’s work that continues. Part of it is really a data management question, where we should be as a practice have a product’s going obsolete, you should have a replacement product in place. Today, we also do have some algorithm-based product recommendations that serve up similar products. It’s an everyday feature that you expect to see on a B2C website. If you’re shopping for a new refrigerator, you expect that a website’s gonna say, “Hey, you’re looking at this refrigerator. Here are similar refrigerators. They have similar characteristics.” And those are based on attributes, which are that core product data to begin with. 

We do that today. However, and it continues to be an area where I think we can improve, I do think adding that customer layer of intelligence is gonna help us do it even better, because the same product could be used in three different applications, and an acceptable alternative for an appliance may be different than an acceptable alternative for a drum. Being able to layer in that customer intelligence and insight will help us get better and better, and we’re gonna have to leverage machine learning. I mean, there’s no way we can focus on just manually maintaining that kind of data. We will need to start leveraging more and more AI to help us predict what is the best match for that customer. 

That’s something that we’re looking at going forward and spending more time on going forward. 

Jeff White: The other thing, of course, part of the reason TE was so big and had 900-plus sites to begin with was that as a manufacturer, you’re of course acquiring other companies and bringing them into the fold. That presents a whole new realm of product data and other information. How have you helped to onboard new acquisitions and bring their product data into your system? And is that… Is it usually a lot of products? Like are you adding tens of thousands per acquisition, or what? 

Cynthia Kellam: So, it can vary pretty widely, and I would say historically we didn’t focus enough time on onboarding the products, and that’s part of the reason we had to do such a significant effort around product data, because a lot of those acquisitions, the data was kind of added in as net new categories, or net new attribute types and things like that, rather than doing what is hard work, right? And we’ve heard it described internally as shoveling mud, of looking through and saying, “Actually, that attribute is the same as this attribute. It’s just described slightly differently.” We have to get those two different business units to agree that it’s the same, and to benefit the customer let’s make it the same. We both need to compromise a little bit and you have to agree on the values that are gonna come up underneath it. We’re gonna normalize your data to that new standardized type, that that work did not happen, and that’s… 

I mean, I have to share, like we had a category where our connectors category, our largest kind of L1 category in our taxonomy, we eliminated nearly over 40% of our navigational attributes, well over 450 navigational attributes in our navigation because they were essentially redundant, and those existed because no one was doing that normalization and standardization. Which again, it’s hard enough itself, but then when you have to go negotiating business, who have different opinions about what they think the label should be, it’s a lot of work. 

Going forward, that’s part of the reason we established this central product data governance team. That’s gonna be the role that they play, but each acquisition is different. In some cases, it’s more or less urgent to do that onboarding within the first year or two. In other cases, a company may continue to have a separate website that exists for a period of time until it’s important to do that integration. 

Jeff White: Is it red ochre or is it brown? What are we calling this? 

Cynthia Kellam: Yeah. When we had like raspberry red, it’s like… Who? What engineer decided to use raspberry as the color for this thing? 

Jeff White: The one who just bought a new car in raspberry red. Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: Exactly. Yeah. It’s about the only explanation really, isn’t it? 

Jeff White: There isn’t much more. No. 

Cynthia Kellam: I was gonna give another example. You know, we joke about that, but in some cases those variants, that variance is important for certain industries. So, in some cases, certain industries, the use of certain words or labels is really essential, and it needs to be different in order for it to be relevant for customers or engineers that work in that specific space. And so, one of the things that we’re actually in the process of launching is what we call a merchandising layer to our taxonomy. We have a classification layer, which is really what we would call our kind of core business, standardized, normalized data categories and attributes. We’re adding a merchandising layer of taxonomy that allows us to then present those same products in what might be application-specific presentation modes, and also use even application-specific language and labels. 

And it’s again, just more presentation layer, just for the front end, but it means that we have both simpler classification categories and taxonomy for our engineers to work in, but then on the front end, we have more flexibility to present that same data in different ways depending on who the end customer is, or who the end industry is, so we’re really excited about that because it allows us again to really simplify what our engineers have to manage while providing the flexibility we need to appear differently across what is a very wide and diverse set of end customers. 

Jeff White: My God, the information architecture geek in me is completely losing it right now. 

Carman Pirie: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I guess as we’ve been having this conversation, Cynthia, and I’m very impressed with the level and depth of the work that’s been going on here, and you’ve mentioned at one point, of course, comparing to a B2C experience, but I’m wondering, who do you look up to as you’ve been undertaking this work? Seven years in. Is there a company out there in the manufacturing B2B space that you look at and say, “Man, they’ve got some things figured out that we still need to figure out,” or do you draw most of your inspiration from that consumer side? 

Cynthia Kellam: Honestly, I draw more of my inspiration from the consumer side. Yeah. I do think there are some interesting things happening. I’m drawing a blank on the name of the company, where there’s a little bit more around configuration. I think that’s something that we’re trying to figure out too, where we want to provide more real-time configuration capability to our customers so that they can really work on the art of what’s possible with some of our products and which did require us to do this core data work as well anyway, right? We still need that as the foundation to really have true configuration. 

I’d say there’s a couple out there that have some interesting things happening around configuration, but other than that, we typically look outside our space for inspiration around customer experience. 

Jeff White: Who’s doing it well? 

Cynthia Kellam: Outside of our space? 

Carman Pirie: We’re putting you on the spot now. 

Jeff White: That’s true. 

Carman Pirie: And we started this, that our listeners need to know, with a disclaimer that we no longer did trivia on The Kula Ring, after having-

Jeff White: It’s not really trivia. 

Carman Pirie: … our arse handed to us by an ex-Jeopardy champ. And here we are quizzing a guest like mad here. But anyway, we’ll see. We’ll see where it… Cynthia, do you want to answer, or do you want to tell us to pound sand? 

Cynthia Kellam: I feel like I would need to rack my brain more to think about it and I’d probably… It’d probably be different companies for different things around… I’d say Amazons of the world for the degree to which the servicing is pretty interesting. Gosh. Yeah, I can’t answer. I don’t know. I’d have to think more about it. 

Jeff White: That’s fair. We’ll have to have you on another episode where we just talk about the things you draw inspiration from. 

Carman Pirie: Or we just completely continue to fire tough trivia questions.

Jeff White: We’re not gonna be able to get guests anymore. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, I know. Yeah. 

Cynthia Kellam: So, I’ll give you an example. I’m usually impressed by kind of micro experiences, where I’m like, “Oh, thank you so much for doing that thing.” And so, a year and a half ago I decided to give a try to a Google Pixel phone, just because I’ve been using different types of phones, and sometimes I like to try something different. Two things that I really liked that were unexpected: One, that there’s an automated way to have my phone answer a call and ask the person on the phone automatically, “Hey, give me your name and why you’re calling.” And it tells me and it writes it out so I can just hang up if I’m not interested, or I can then pick up the phone, so it’s basically like an answering service that automatically just answers any phone call that looks like it could be spam and that’s unrecognized. That was really unexpected and very nice. 

Number two, it automatically looks for contact redundancies in my contact database and recommends, “Hey, do you want to just merge those two?” And it does it. And again, this is simple stuff, but it’s basic data automated opportunities to just make my life easier, and I appreciate that and I just think companies, we’re so awash in data, we have so much information, and we have so much opportunity to make our customers’ lives easier by automating certain things, and serving up recommendations and next best actions, and that’s really gonna be the future of customer experience or all those things, so I’m impressed when companies do that because I know how hard it is. It’s not easy, but that’s what usually impresses me. 

Jeff White: And one of the best ways I ever heard of how to describe those kinds of situations was from Dharmesh Shah, the CTO at HubSpot, and he said, “You know, they’re just those moments of delight, where you don’t expect to see that kind of thing that just makes your life a little bit more interesting, and a little bit easier, and it’s not anticipated in a corporate environment.” Yeah. No, I like that a lot. 

Carman Pirie: And I feel like this is yet again more proof that I need to expand my phone horizons, since my only purchase criteria for a phone forever has been what’s the newest one that Apple sells, and I’m clearly just missing out on a bunch of things. People have been telling me this for a while and I felt like a stick in the mud, so there you go. This isn’t turning into a great promo for Apple, that’s for sure. 

Jeff White: Well, Cynthia, it’s been a real pleasure to hear about what you’re doing at TE, and thanks very much for joining us on The Kula Ring. 

Cynthia Kellam: Thanks so much for having me. It was a fun conversation. 

Jeff White: Cheers.

Carman Pirie: All the best. 

Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Kula Ring, with Carman Pirie and Jeff White. Don’t miss a single manufacturing marketing insight. Subscribe now at That’s

Read Full Transcript


Cynthia Kellam

Global Head of Digital & Enterprise Customer Experience

Cynthia leads the hard work of digital transformation with a focus on customer-centric digital product innovation and omni-channel customer experience strategy. With over 20 years of experience constructing enterprise and global digital strategies that have transformed businesses in multiple industries, Cynthia leverages data- plus human-driven insights to understand strengths and opportunities within teams and platforms leading to unmatched and sustainable business results.

The Kula Ring is a podcast for manufacturing marketers who care about evolving their strategy to gain a competitive edge.

Listen to conversations with North America’s top manufacturing marketing executives and get actionable advice for success in a rapidly transforming industry.

About Kula

Kula Partners is an agency that specializes in maximizing revenue potential for B2B manufacturers.

Our clients sell within complex, technical environments and we help them take a more targeted, account-focused approach to drive revenue growth within niche markets.


You are using an outdated browser. Things may not appear as intended. We recommend updating your browser to the latest version.