#543: Better Together: CX + Digital + Marketing with AJ Joplin, Forrester

Today, from the Forrester CX Summit North America in Nashville, we are thrilled to have AJ Joplin, Senior Analyst at Forrester, with us to discuss the crucial alignment of customer experience, digital experience, and marketing.

About AJ Joplin

AJ is the lead analyst for Forrester’s research on experience design (XD), design organizations, and design leadership. Helping XD and customer experience (CX) leaders develop and deliver on research-based strategy is AJ’s professional passion. She has observed that the most effective organizations combine clear purpose with the right people and leverage systems to clarify decision-making, prioritization, and workflows. AJ also has years of workshop facilitation experience in human-centered design and design thinking. Using her professional coaching skills, AJ bring clients through ambiguity and into alignment on what matters and what’s next.

Previous Work Experience

Prior to joining Forrester, AJ worked at USAA and IBM, scaling the design practice that organizations must develop in order to deliver amazing CX. As a result, AJ acquired great insight into best practices for how to align organizations to deliver customer-driven value.


AJ holds a BS in business administration from Dallas Christian College and an MBA in product and marketing management from the University of Denver.


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Greg Kihlstrom:
Welcome to Season 6 of the Agile Brand, where we discuss marketing technology and customer experience trends, insights, and ideas with enterprise and technology platform leaders. We focus on the people, processes, data, and platforms that make brands successful, scalable, customer-focused, and sustainable. This is what makes an Agile Brand. I’m your host, Greg Kihlstrom, advising Fortune 1000 brands on Martech, Marketing Operations, and CX, bestselling author and speaker. The Agile Brand Podcast is brought to you by TEKsystems, an industry leader in full stack technology services, talent services, and real world application. For more information, go to teksystems.com. Before we get started, I wanted to let you know that my latest book, Priority is Action, Seven Principles for Better Strategies, Decisions and Outcomes, is now available. In it, I give ideas and insights for leaders and teams that need to make meaningful progress on their priorities. After all, our priorities are what we do, not what we say we’d like to do. You can find Priority is Action on Amazon or learn more on my website, gregkihlstrom.com. Now let’s get on to the show. Today, from the Forrester CX Summit North America in Nashville, we’re thrilled to have AJ Joplin, a senior analyst at Forrester, with us to discuss the crucial alignment of customer experience, digital experience, and marketing. AJ, welcome to the show.

AJ Joplin: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Greg Kihlstrom: I’m excited. Yeah, looking forward to it. It’s my first Forrester CX conference, so looking forward to it. I know we’re early in the conference still, but some exciting stuff already. Yeah, so before we dive into the main topic here, why don’t you give a little background on your journey to Forrester, what’s led you to focus on this convergence of CX, digital design, marketing, all of the above.

AJ Joplin: Absolutely. Whenever you ask this question, when we were pre-planning, I was thinking, wow, this feels like a good opportunity for a story, but I’ll try to keep it tight. Sure, sure. So I’m someone who’s always been fascinated about how teams work together. And so, you know, I have my undergrad in business and then, you know, I’ve started a few companies and sold those. And then I did my MBA and you start to really see the guts of companies when you get into that work after you’ve been in product for a while. worked in design shops and engineering consultancies and really seen how these diverse disciplines start to come together. Obviously, as a product person, you’re working heavily with marketing. And then CX is kind of a new entrance to the scene, actually. So not every company has a CX function. CX functions can be all over the place in terms of what they do and their capabilities, right? So that was kind of like the latest piece of the puzzle in my journey. So here at Forrester, helping people understand how we bring all of those capabilities together, what that can look like, and focusing on. what needs to get done versus who needs to do it, I think is really important. Because like I said, CX functions in particular can be the wild west. Product functions don’t always have the skills that they need to perform proficiently. And sometimes design organizations find themselves in this change management space where they’re helping people understand what it means to work in a human-centered way and to make decisions differently. So at Forrester, I tend to think about that and focus on those kinds of things. My primary user, I guess, of my research is the design leader and the CX leader, but a lot of product folks, too, because they’re, at times, tasked with something that they’re not quite prepared for. Product managers have to fly solo a lot. Everybody else gets to work in a team, but product doesn’t. It’s kind of weird if you really think about it. So a lot of things I’m curious about and will be writing about in the future. So I guess that’s a long answer to your short question.

Greg Kihlstrom: That’s great. And I mean, we’re going to talk about a fairly diverse. range of stuff, so I think I have the right person here. So let’s start with this concept of alignment. So you mentioned a few things in addition, but CX, digital marketing, design, there’s a lot that we can talk about here. So how do leaders in these areas benefit from working in alignment rather than silos? It’s cliched, but that doesn’t make it untrue, right?

AJ Joplin: Right? We say that for a reason, right? So there’s something I often tell people is that when it comes to collaborating with people, when it comes to involving other people in your work, those people can be dynamite people or they can be dynamite people, meaning they can be fabulous and open new doors and help you see things from different perspectives that you’ve never entertained before. If you are in a position and a mindset and you’re flexible enough to see that for what it is, or they can be dynamite and that they are going to blow your stuff up. out of spite sometimes, which seems amazing, but happens all the time in million-dollar products, you know, launches that are, we’re trying to go live here and people are like, you didn’t talk to me, and they’re upset, right? It’s happened, people can be petty. And that’s kind of worst-case scenario. But if you want to break down silos, And you want to see benefits. Those benefits are things like organizational effectiveness, right? The measure to which we are both effective and efficient in the accomplishment of our goals. But that means that we have to define goals together if we all want to be held to the same standards, right? But I would say when you… you try to break down silos, you’re setting the foundation for systems that are going to enable future work, right? It means less guessing, less rework. We love that in engineering, right? We don’t want to rework these things a million times if we don’t have to. We don’t want to deal with spiraling technical debt, which I think the measure right now, according to There’s a consortium out of UT Austin that talks about technical debt in the U.S. and they estimate that about a third of a developer’s time is spent managing technical debt. Which means if you have 100 developers, 33.3 of those are working on just… That’s a lot of time.

Greg Kihlstrom: It’s a lot of money too, right?

AJ Joplin: Especially when you think about how we get to a point of where we have technical debt. It’s all upstream. Poor decisions. We don’t want to use this code base anymore. We never wanted to use that code base. V1 city. We just live in this V1 space because a lot of times we want to show up in market as always thinking about new and innovative things, but come on. Our customers would really like it if you just fix what you already put out sometimes. Revisit what you do. So I think the shifting the mindset to thinking about things as a team, right? You have functions that do a great job of listening to customers. They can open doors for product people. and engineers to come in and sit with customers, right? Marketing people actually knowing what’s coming down the pipe and if it’s really ready and baked. I’ve seen ad campaigns go out of large enterprises where the colors for the product were completely different from what actually ended up launching because they had a schedule and they wanted to get their ad buys in. Right? And so while there has to be some planfulness in what we do, there has to be some flexibility. And usually the person that is in that position, in that discipline of, say, the marketer, they’re going to know where they can be flexible versus where they can’t. So you have an obligation as a product person, as a designer, as an engineer, to say, this is where we are with stuff, and this is what we think needs to come, because they’ll go, OK, I can reorder things. I can do this first. And then I can maybe answer some questions you still have about product market fit and things like that. So why wouldn’t you? But I think the truth of the matter is that a lot of us like to control things. We don’t like ambiguity. We’re certainly not very flexible as humans. And then we’re not incentivized to work that way. We don’t all share the same metrics for success.

Greg Kihlstrom: And I could go on and on, but… Yeah, well, I mean, they’re also not incentivized to really change, right? Because, I mean, nobody loves change, but it gets easier when friction is reduced and things like that, too, right?

AJ Joplin: Yes. Yes, it certainly does. And if it’s the modus operandi, right? Like, we are going to do what we do until it’s not the thing we should do.

AJ Joplin: And then we ask questions. We’re curious. We have data that helps us make those decisions. We’re not just making it based on personal preference.

Greg Kihlstrom: So can you maybe give us an example of how does this alignment work, when it works, and how does it then benefit the end customer too?

AJ Joplin: Absolutely. So starting with the benefit to the end customer, actually dealing with products that are clear. I don’t know if you’ve ever used a product and you’re like, oh, where’d this feature come from? It’s not obvious that it was coming down the pipe. No one told you about it. Not that you have to in a good experience. warned that this impending thing is coming. But there’s clarity for the end user. Since we’ve worked in a collaborative way, we’ve probably done a lot of iterative discovery until we were like, OK, this thing’s baked enough for us to actually put it out there. So we know that it works, right? So clarity for the end users. goes way up, right, when everybody’s aligned and telling the same story. Because a lot of times, you know, your marketers are also talking to your sales organization, if that’s a component of your business, right? So imagine your sales folks telling the customer the same thing you would tell them. To that mind-blowing meme. But that’s about conversation and that’s about planfulness and not planning without flexibility but thinking about how we’re going to work together and talk about what we’re going to do. And if I could give a good example it would be Adobe. I’ve been in design spaces for a long time and seen the evolution of that product and It’s been interesting to see how they will go down a path and then go, oh, we’ve got to fix this, right? We’ve got to change the way we do things. And the first major shift I think we saw was probably with the Creative Cloud product, right? We all remember when you used to get your software on the CD.

Greg Kihlstrom: Right. Yep. The big box.

AJ Joplin: Or you go to Best Buy or Office Depot and buy it, this giant box for this tiny little CD. So that was there, right? And then they’re like, OK, now you can download the software. And then we got to this point where products just needed to exist in the cloud so people can access them from anywhere. But Adobe didn’t have those capabilities, of course, initially. Think about what it means to make products that always end up in one huge release so that it can be burned on a CD and people can buy it. Think about that waterfall type of way of working versus we’re just continuously updating something. So they had to flex that muscle first. And now you’re seeing the way that they work in their category leadership teams. So design, engineering, product, all working together and with a huge bias for customer information. So when we say CX, CX is not always a person and we should be very clear about that. I want people to understand that. It is your competency as an organization to understand experience and you don’t always have people just managing that. In fact, you know, usually between a product person and a designer, it’s largely their job to make sure that’s happening. But they do have data at the fingertips, and so Adobe has launched customer listening programs, this is what you might be familiar with, but they’re forums, communities, they’re out there in the world testing with users and demoing the products in ways that provide for feedback, not just a demonstration. Collaboration with customers is essential, especially as they’re developing all of these AI tools, because designers are a little afraid of what AI is doing to their jobs, right? So there is something that has to happen in terms of marketing and education. So they’re inventing products or support products for their main products. Designers, AI is a great thing. This is how it helps accelerate your work. And by doing that, they’re helping designers get better at their job, and wouldn’t you be more loyal to a product that’s actually gonna help you secure your future in a company? Because they’re helping you learn something. And now, I say that, and knowing that Adobe’s not a perfect company, but a company is, but they’re making some interesting strides and patterns that we should be curious about, because that leadership team makes decisions together, and that space is moving so fast, they cannot be siloed, or they will give up their market share like that. So. That’s my example.

Greg Kihlstrom: So, you know, along those lines then, we’ve all experienced the disjointed customer experience and probably, you know, no customer really cares how an organization is structured, right? And so, you know, kind of what you’re saying, like working, collaborating together. So, you know, you use the term random acts of CX. I swear I’ve been the recipient of many of those over my career as a consumer. Can you talk a little bit about what does that mean to you and why is it so important to move away from this approach?

AJ Joplin: Yeah, this idea of randomness. I first heard it from my colleague, Colleen Fazio, who is a wonderful human being. You should chat with her at some point. And she talks a lot about VOC teams and customer listening programs and how it’s all kind of random. And, you know, that has kind of some roots in our history of being able to get our hands on data. So we’re collecting tons and tons and tons of data, and we don’t do a very good job of synthesizing it. And the goal is to collect, not to do anything with it. And so she’s like, this is randomness. And we do that, yes, in customer experiences, too. And for me, there are two terms in business that I hate. And I call people out on it a lot, because I think it’s a good challenge to say, what do you mean by that? So when people say, we got this low-hanging fruit, you know, like the BS business bingo card, if you have all these spaces on the bingo card, low-hanging fruit is definitely there. And quick wins.

Greg Kihlstrom: I think synergy is also on there for everybody.

AJ Joplin: Oh my gosh, yes. So quick wins is another one, right? Low-hanging fruit and quick wins. To me, it sounds like shortcuts. It sounds like fear. It sounds like a lack of rigor, a lack of expertise. What is your strategy? We will execute on a strategy, but since we don’t incentivize people correctly as a cross-functional team, but as silos, You have functions that are like, I need to get funding and I have to protect it. It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. How can you do anything good if you’re always worried about where your budget’s going, right? Hard truths, people. So if you’re letting your CFO run the company and you’re engaging in this project-based work, where we fund things that are super low fidelity, we don’t know enough about them, then we say we don’t have a lot of time either, so we’re not gonna do any research and really understand this problem, and we’re fine with all of this waste in our engineering competency, so people can feel good about their shower roadmaps, which is what I call roadmaps that people create in the shower, then you’re never going to get the benefit of working in a strategic way. You will have continued randomness that does not add up. Right? And randomness is also, to me, like I said, it’s an excuse for not having the right expertise in place. I mean, if you’re thinking about experiences, then you’re not being random. You’re being comprehensive and holistic in the way you think about it. You have to have that understanding. You have to hold the product, the experience in your arms before you can make decisions about what you’re going to do to it. Right. And I’ll use the word manipulate sometimes. It’s so interesting to see people go manipulate. I’m like, yeah, you’re changing it. I asked my massage therapist to manipulate me all the time. Right. So you have to hold it in your hands. And we can’t be random about changing our customers experience.

Greg Kihlstrom: Yeah. It doesn’t work. And I think this is where, not to go on too far a tangent, but I think this is where there’s a little bit of confusion about agility, in my opinion, because I think of it as a very scientific method of doing things versus a very random one and all that stuff. But for those organizations where they are using the bingo terms and they’re maybe getting somewhere one step at a time, but who knows where, How do they make some systematic changes to do that? How can they start getting there? Because they’re not going to get there overnight, right? But what can they do to start improving things?

AJ Joplin: Well, I think, what level does it start at, right? I think we can always be curious about the way we do things as individuals. But if we want to be curious about the way we do things organizationally, then you have to lean into that structure that exists in your company, which means you need increasing levels of leadership. to give a rat’s about how we do what we do. There can be groundswell efforts sometimes. And I’ve seen skilled design teams in particular bring a human-centered perspective to the way that we create products and services that then allow us to fix the right problems. And then customers are so delighted, right? When I was at USAA, There was a team working on the banking product that was doing some really amazing prototypes and showing them to customers. And they have this wonderful image of a customer or a member at USAA, just like hands in the air saying, yes, if the product can do this, it would solve so many of my problems. That’s what you want, right? Because you don’t exist without someone buying your stuff. You can’t have a research competency, a CX company, a marketing competency. You can’t have these functions if people aren’t buying stuff. And we lose sight of that all the time, right? You are employed here. You are employed because people buy things from us, so you should probably want to make things that people want to buy. Yeah.

Greg Kihlstrom: For no other reason. Definitely, definitely. So let’s talk a little bit more about this, you know, this concept of collaboration and shared practices. So, you know, what have you seen as far as some of these methods of collaboration that have been effective in aligning all the stuff that we’ve been talking about?

AJ Joplin: Absolutely. I would ratchet up the iterative playback cadence that I have with key stakeholders. So depending on your context and what you’re doing, for example, if you are in a research function, if you’re saying, we’re going to do this research and then we’re going to go off and we’ll see you in two months, nobody’s paying for that. Nobody. But if you have a rigor in your research practice to say at the end of every week, week and a half, this is what we’ve learned. This is what we still don’t know. These are still open questions. This is how many people we’ve talked to. And there are companies that use this methodology. Sometimes they’re called postcards from the field. Right? Field research comes from that space. And that way, people are connected to it. And they’re saying, that’s interesting. What else? And what’s good about that is that when you finally get to the end of that, then you can sit down with people and go, hey, remember when we told you this, we told you that? This is the changes. And you’re starting to get people out of these concrete mindsets and helping them realize that synthesis is ongoing, that insights develop more over time the more you know. Clarity is something that is a gradual, not a one-time thing. You can’t just pull a deck from two years ago and be like, those are the insights. Okay, this is what we’re doing.

Greg Kihlstrom: Oh my gosh.

AJ Joplin: And even then, something that takes like two months worth of research, that’s a heavy generative effort. That is one flavor of research, right? So I think postcards from the field, you got to do it if you’re in research. Playbacks overall to senior leadership and then coaching senior leadership on what to ask, right? Whenever we’re solving problems, my perspective is that the people closest to the work should be the ones solving the problems. And then people above that become coaches, and they ask questions. So how many people did you talk to? How did you pivot from the feedback you got? How have you tested this particular prototype? What did you learn, right? What key pain points are you solving for? What problem are you trying to solve at all? And there’s a beautiful method to the madness of iteratively playing back to people and helping them develop their knowledge over time. You avoid what we all hate, which is that executive swoop and poop where they’re like, I told you three months ago to do this. And then you’re like, well, for three months we’ve been trying to figure it out. And what you told us to do and what we should be doing are vastly different. And if you’re not letting them know before the three-month mark that things are changing and you’ve learned some other stuff, it’s going to be a problem. And the only reason they swoop in like that is because you keep them in the dark. So you have a responsibility as a product team to push back up. to executives to say this is what we’re learning. And a lot of times there’s a lot of fear associated with that. We believe in hierarchy and we don’t want to test it or we use it as an excuse because we don’t have the skills to test it. And so your expertise has to evolve. You have to get better at these kinds of things and realize that your executives don’t want to dictate. They just want outcomes.

Greg Kihlstrom: And so I think a lot of teams may get some things maybe mixed up as far as, you know, the randomness versus the regular iteration. You know, there’s a lot of this stuff can kind of get lost in the day to day. And the other thing here is the importance of collaboration, but also the importance of incremental improvement in individual disciplines. Right. You know, so in other words, you can’t you can’t improve as a whole without individual. So yeah, it’s a big question. But like, how do you how do you match? Like, how do you think about that? How do leaders, I guess, specifically think about managing? You know, they’ve got they’ve got a specific thing to manage and improve, but they also need to collaborate more than they ever have. How do you how do you coach someone to balance that?

AJ Joplin: OK, so if I were a leader, then I know that I have a responsibility to understand what good product or service experience discovery and development practices are. They’re out there. Google it. Take a class. I find that most people don’t want to manage the unknowingness of their job or the naivety that they might have about their job. They don’t like that. They don’t feel like they should do anything about it if the company isn’t doing that for them sometimes. I always find that weird because I’m a very intrinsically motivated person, but I try to empathize. I can’t just stay in a company and do the bare minimum and feel happy. And good product people, good CX leaders, good leaders, full stop period, are never satisfied with just waiting for people to give them what they need to do their job. So curiosity, I always say that because, hey, you want to be good at something. I think that separates people right away. Do your leaders have a thirst for knowledge? Do they want to care more about how we all work together? Are they trying to figure that out? What kinds of questions do they ask? So that’s important. And it’s an iterative process too, right?

Greg Kihlstrom: It’s about balancing large scale improvements with the silos as long as they have to exist.

AJ Joplin: We have to create this system. We have to understand. And so one practice that’s in CX that is very beneficial that I like is the idea of a journey atlas. Now whenever you create a journey atlas it does not have to be in the weeds with every single journey. It’s more about getting a lay of the land. Like what is your company on a page? What does it look like? Because a lot of the times we have silos as a result of our funding structures, right? We have business units, and then we have heads of business or lines of business, and they are responsible for making all kinds of decisions. And a lot of times, they are like a product expert, like SME, not really an experienced product manager, right? Experiences are generally cross-cutting. So a bank is going to have mortgages, checking, savings, right? But who’s running the digital experience? I’ve been around long enough to remember, everybody would go, I want this on the website. And they’d push for it and push for it until there’s 5,000 pages in the website and surely everybody’s gonna be able to find stuff. And you have people who knew enough about building websites that they would go, okay, we can do that. And it’s kind of pre-experience thinking, right? And now we’re like, we need people who are actually gonna say the website is usable, we can actually sell stuff on it. And that doesn’t mean we sell everything. And if a customer is getting what they need in certain channels, I think there becomes this next layer of where leaders have to be willing to part with things. Sunset products, rethink them, so on and so forth. Prioritize in general. You have to see everything, right? Absolutely. So there sometimes are smaller things that you’re managing, but they’re always in the context of the whole.

Greg Kihlstrom: Yeah, yeah. So looking ahead a little bit to, you know, we heard some stuff this morning as far as, you know, a lot of talk about AI and its role, you know, augmenting human work and things like that. You know, as we look towards the future, what trends do you see emerging in this integration of CX, digital design, marketing?

AJ Joplin: The companies that do it well, they will realize that what they do is interdependent with other disciplines. And then there’s going to be companies who don’t do it well at all and they’ll fall by the wayside. So the trend sometimes is a negative one. People won’t come up to snuff. They won’t get on board with being curious about how their colleagues work or what their colleagues need or how they participate in that system. I mean, it’s happened for years. It’s not that we just need systems right now in the way that we work and think about solving problems. So we’ll continue to see companies that just can’t get it together. That’ll be a trend for sure. I was thinking about positive trends that I hope I see. I’m going to take this and be a little bit futuristic. I want people to realize that they have a role to play and sometimes that’s not what they perceive traditionally to be the star of the show. In the modern company there is no star of the show. This language like the product manager is the CEO of the product. Well think about your existing paradigms for what CEOs do and how they behave. It’s not generally good. Right? So is there a new moniker that we could give product to people? Because they’re only responsible for part of the equation when it comes to developing products and services, right? Not everything. Not really. And they can’t. They can’t code. They don’t design anything. I would love for them to be able to make a service blueprint, but it’s probably not going to happen. And they have other things to do. Right? And that’s a lot of coordination with the marketing counterparts, right? Understanding product market fit, the size of things, getting research and data through their CX functions and even through the design functions that are performing these things. Data comes from all kinds of places. So this role of facilitator. And being really clear about what it means to be a facilitator because there are people that I know and love in the product space that say that PMs are not facilitators, but they absolutely are. You’re an orchestrator. You’re bringing things together. And a facilitator asks really powerful questions and gets people all moving in the same direction. And if that’s not what a product manager is supposed to do, I don’t know what their job is. So I’m hoping to see more trends and us having shared metrics as a company, having shared product vision, asking ourselves what we all need to do from our diverse disciplines to participate in a holistic system of discovery and delivery. And by the way, that’s all there is. Discovery, we’re always discovering until we say deliver it. And even then, once it’s out the door, we’re saying, well, what needs to happen to it now? That last little percentage of uncertainty you had about shipping that product, how are we going to resolve that? We can’t really do that until it’s in market sometimes. And understanding that that predictability is never 100%. You have to be a bit brave, and you can do that when you have data. So synthesizing data, not just collecting that, that will be a trend that we see where companies get really good at bringing that all together. I think about Stanley, like Stanley Cups that every tween and teenager has, and shoot, beyond that, right? And how good they are. taking this data from the market, understanding the trends in their own product, reapplying that. They’re over 100 years old as a company, but they’ve reinvented themselves. And doing that as a physical product, they’ve been able to figure out how to put flexibility into the product in terms of different colors, but the core product can remain the same. So that adaptability is really interesting, right? And that’s primarily led through a marketing function that understands how to collect the right kinds of data and then enable the product to use it. So those are some trends I’m hoping to see, some that are happening.

Greg Kihlstrom: Yeah, that’s great stuff. And I know you’ve touched on some of this already, but just for those listening there, what can they do? They like what they’re hearing about the positive trends. How do they prepare for this? They’re not ready today. Some are leading the way, but those that aren’t, what can they do to prepare to adapt?

AJ Joplin: You know, I think the cheapest way is if there’s a product that you know and love, ask yourself, why do you love that product? And then get curious about that company. I, a little secret is if it’s a publicly traded company, go read their 10-K. So like sec.gov, go read the 1010-K. Every publicly traded company has to issue it and they talk about the way the business is set up, the primary risk they’re seeing. You can read all of that and it can be very, very insightful. YouTube University, as I like to just call YouTube. Go out there and get curious about what people are saying about the company, the way they make decisions, why they’re successful at all. There’s tons of commentary. There’s no excuse to not become more wise about how you do what you do, and then identifying the patterns. This is Synthesis 101. Start there. What are you seeing across all these companies? What makes them all successful? And usually it’s because they’ve decided to solve a real, not imagined problem, right? And it’s a problem that their customers have, not that the business has. Right? And you as an individual, before your company can shift, you have to believe that solving customer problems will actually pay the bills. Because it will. Right? That is strategy 101. Meet the needs of customers. The variable you cannot control, which is the definition of variable. Sorry, I’m not a math major.

Greg Kihlstrom: No, no. That’s great. No, I love this. And I love the focus on curiosity because I agree that There should be more of that. The strong players on teams are curious. Sometimes naturally, but I don’t think it has to be. It doesn’t have to come naturally.

AJ Joplin: Right. I mean, you’re only as good as your last question, I guess. Can we make something up?

Greg Kihlstrom: I’m a podcaster. That’s a lot of pressure.

AJ Joplin: Your ability to ask the next question, right?

Greg Kihlstrom: Well, so as we wrap up here, thank you so much for joining, by the way. I know we’re kind of at the beginning of CX Summit here, but what’s been a highlight so far of Forrester CX Summit North America?

AJ Joplin: I think I told you I was going to say bread pudding, and I mean it. That breakfast this morning, it was delicious. So it was really early in the summit. But I did give my first presentation this morning, and I think it went pretty well. And we were talking about aligning and activating for amazing experiences. I really enjoyed it. I love seeing the light bulbs come on in people’s heads, or at least getting a high five from the back of the room. You know it’s resonating, and people have similar challenges, right? Because these systems are all the same. At the end of the day, they all have the same kinds of moving parts and pieces, and therefore they will have the same challenges.