Zendesk announced today it has appointed Kelly Waldher as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Waldher joins from Google, where he spent over three years as the global marketing leader for Google Workspace across its Consumer, SMB and Enterprise segments. Prior, Waldher served as General Manager for Qualtrics BrandXM and DesignXM business units and spent more than a decade at Microsoft as General Manager for the Microsoft 365 commercial and consumer portfolio of products.
His arrival at Zendesk comes at a time when the company is poised for new growth as a result of the rapid adoption of AI and increasing consumer expectations that play a critical role in how they receive service. Walder explains his decision to join Zendesk, vision and how CX is ripe for disruption.
It was an easy decision to join Zendesk. We have a product that users love, a great brand and we’re extremely well-positioned to infuse AI into an already seamless product experience. It’s also become clear to me as I’m meeting colleagues that this is a special place with a unique culture that combines a growth mindset with deep customer empathy.
What sets brands apart with respect to how they market to and engage with their customers?
The best brands are built and nurtured by taking a truly customer-first approach. They spend the time upfront defining their brand promise in a simple and compelling way that speaks directly to the customer value that they are delivering. From there, tremendous care and attention to detail goes into delivering against that promise in order to ensure a consistent and holistic brand experience. Underpinning it all is an always-on customer feedback loop that enables the brand to stay fresh, differentiated and relevant.
What is your leadership philosophy?
My leadership is centered on five core values: transparency, respect, teamwork, excellence and engagement. A foundation of clear communication and trust-building will allow our marketing organization to thrive and create space to solve complex problems. At the same time, it’s imperative to maintain an enjoyable work environment. We spend a lot of time working with customers, partners and colleagues, and I’ve had the privilege to lead teams that are both productive and fun to work with.
When you think about the future state of CX, what excites you? What shifts do you see? And what will brands need to do to keep up?
CX is at an inflection point where brands are valuing customer engagement more than ever but also need to leverage automation and AI to deliver more meaningful and personalized interactions. Zendesk is a great example of how software is improving the customer experience through an automated, cloud-driven approach. And now, with generative AI, it’s exciting to think about all of the new and innovative ways that we can help our customers enhance their brand and unlock new experiences.
To learn more about Zendesk leadership, visit our management page.