5 Questions with Chris Koehler

Chris Koehler Blog Hero
May 06, 2024
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5 Questions with Chris Koehler

Twilio is thrilled to welcome Chris Koehler as our Chief Marketing Officer. He will oversee Twilio’s global marketing strategy, focusing on expanding brand awareness in Twilio’s key markets and amplifying Twilio product and platform innovation. Chris brings nearly two decades of customer engagement and marketing technology experience, and a true knack for wearing the customers’ shoes.

Chris is joining Twilio from Box, where he was Chief Marketing Officer. Before that he held leadership roles in customer success at Adobe, product management at Visual Sciences, and marketing analytics at E*TRADE.

His strong product background and customer-centric approach to marketing will be key to positioning Twilio’s platform and scaling our global marketing motion.

We asked Chris five questions to get to know him.

1. Why did you decide to join Twilio and what are you most excited about?

First, I’m a longtime customer of the Segment product and I’ve always admired Twilio as a technology leader and innovator in the industry. I am so impressed by the people and culture.

Second, as a data-driven, customer-focused leader, the opportunity to join a company like Twilio and build the next generation Customer Engagement Platform is incredibly exciting. I’ve spent almost 20 years in various roles in customer engagement and marketing technology, so I understand and love the category. Twilio happens to have world class CDP and CPaaS platforms and is positioned well to really capture the opportunity AI presents right now.

2. What will your initial focus areas be as CMO?

My initial focus areas will be messaging and positioning around the unique combination of Twilio’s Communications and Customer Data Platform capabilities. There’s a massive opportunity to combine Twilio’s data and customer communications capabilities, all accelerated by AI, to drive truly personalized, 1:1 marketing. This is something the industry has been talking about for years, but few have actually delivered on it.

I also plan to spend a lot of time with our customers to understand their use cases and pain points, and really get to know Twilio’s products on a deeper level. All of this is in service of continuing to build and lead a world class marketing organization with an incredible, innovative culture.

3. What's the biggest advantage of a non-traditional path to leadership (like yours to CMO - given your background in customer success, product, etc.)?

The biggest advantage is the diverse perspective a non-traditional path brings to the table. It’s given me a much deeper understanding of other functions in the organization. I have a tremendous amount of empathy for customers’ issues, processes and motivations from spending so much time with them in other roles.

The idea of being a polymath resonates with me – drawing insights from different disciplines allows me to think in different ways, and approach challenges with a broader mindset. Working in different roles has helped me view the business through a general manager lens rather than a solely marketing perspective. I am always thinking about how we can grow the business overall.

4. What does wearing the customers’ shoes mean to you?

Wearing the customers' shoes is about immersing yourself in your customers’ experience, and understanding the day-to-day challenges to figure out how to make them successful. So often, companies are focused on their own product value proposition and features, rather than solving a customers’ business problems in order to actually drive lasting results.

At its core, wearing the customers' shoes is a commitment to empathy, and delivering tangible value that makes a difference to their business.

5. What Twilio Magic value resonates most with you?

Twilio has so many incredible values, and that's part of why I am joining. If I had to pick one, it's "We are Curious." My philosophy is to always be learning. I often talk about getting comfortable being uncomfortable, which to me means you’re open to embracing new perspectives, learning, and growing. Leaders too often push to validate their point of view, rather than seeking to find the truth, which can be counterintuitive. I love the emphasis on being humble, and I’ve been continually delighted that great ideas often come from those you might least expect!

Welcome to Twilio, Chris! We can’t wait to see what you build.