During this episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Catherine Tabor, founder and CEO of Sparkfly and Nicole West, vice president of digital strategy and product with Chipotle. Chipotle partnered with Sparkfly in 2017 to implement a promotions management platform that streamlined the flow of data to their systems. As a result of the partnership, Chipotle has been able to develop an ecosystem with incredible growth. 

West discusses her years at Chipotle and the company’s growth during that time. She notes that growth has occurred in teams, tools and processes that combine to execute their strategy successfully. “Customers are craving a frictionless, digital experience. The more simple and engaging, the better,” she said. “The things that haven’t changed are just as important. Chipotle remains a purpose-driven company, focused on delivering excellent customer experience and providing the best real ingredients prepared by hand every day.”

Tabor describes Sparkfly’s focus from the beginning as being an “advocate of the brand.” Their goal was to put together a closed-loop attribution platform that connected “in-real-time” merchant POS with 3rd party partners. The goal was “to help brands be successful and understand the performance of the programs they are running,” she told us.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Nicole shares Chipotle’s growth and digital strategy. (02:31)
  • What was Chipotle trying to solve with their digital and marketing efforts? (04:49) 
  • What are the considerations for bringing on a new service provider or partner? (06:10)
  • What was it about Sparkfly that “sparked” your partnership? (07:06) 
  • Catherine shares the “spark” for Sparkfly. (08:25) 
  • The “glue” that holds together numerous activities. (10:25) 
  • What makes Sparkfly stand out? (11:58) 
  • Nicole shares about the “ally” mentality of Sparkfly. (12:37) 
  • The programs possible at Chipotle due to the partnership with Sparkfly. (14:00) 
  • Why Chipotle stands out as a “digital leader” in the industry. (15:41)  
  • Advice for top-level marketers. (17:40)  
  • Nicole’s past experiences that defined her as a person. (19:47) 
  • Catherine’s past experiences that defined her as a person. (21:42) 
  • What advice would Nicole give her younger self? (24:13) 
  • What advice would Catherine give her younger self? (24:35)  
  • Brands, companies or causes to take notice of. (25:25) 
  • Nicole’s vision for the future of marketing. (27:06)
  • Catherine’s vision for the future of marketing. (27:49)

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.