BMA – Business-to-Business Marketing Conference

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The main thread connecting presentations and research discussed during the conference was, maybe not surprisingly, business value.

We need to be business leaders with marketing expertise.  This is what senior leadership is expecting from us.

If we are serious about growth, we need to use business verbiage.  Get insights!  “Wow, we got so many data points!” is not useful for business.

Business aspect of marketing is gaining more attention in industry surveys, including BMA survey and also recent Forrester research The Evolved CMO 2016.

Importance to communicate in business terms, evaluate program benefits in business metrics, and concentrate on business growth in general was highlighted by Juniper, Hallmark, and other presenters of the conference.

BMA survey indicates that marketers in growing companies work more closely with other business functions.  Higher revenue companies are also more likely to see marketing as a competitive advantage.

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This data corresponds with Forrester research:

After years of aspiring to be treated as more than functional experts, CMOs are finally proving their business chops. They are moving beyond brand, communications, and marketing execution to better quantify the impact of marketing’s work in business terms. Tasked with delivering against profit-and-loss metrics, our survey results show that CMOs are increasingly partnering with their peers to drive business and brand results.

Juniper: marketing shifted its mind to have clear ROI goal (10x for each campaign) and was able to exceed it, what allowed marketing function to be considered as a strategic player at the executive level.

STIR LLC Asenzya case study: “You have to bring it back to ROI.”

Hallmark: started an idea as a pilot with a “minimal viable product” brutally prioritized to bare-bones to demonstrate business benefit.

Interesting: in the startup world of Silicon Valley, CMO is becoming Chief Revenue Officer with the success metrics of SQLs rather than MQLs.

Another curious trend: many CEO wants to see more detailed metrics (insights), though not a “data dump in Excel,” as “51% increase” without a context is not useful.

Juniper

Several years ago marketing was concentrating on brand and events. Now marketing has strategic seat at the CEO table and reports ROI.

Interesting: Matt Hurley pointed out that “what” to measure is important for metrics-driven organization.  What not to measure is the most important, as “data is everywhere.”

Juniper used 5 step process in its transformation.

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2014 was the first year when everything could be tracked to a specific campaign and calculation of ROI became possible.

Juniper-2.pngWeb is now all about demand generation.

Organizational transformation combined 5 independent departments into one.  Marketing also invested into marketing automation and moved to Cloud. The changes resulted in mismatch of skills in the organization.  Juniper used both hiring from outside and internal training; eventually, company formed global demand center.

Juniper-3.pngBefore considering any campaign Juniper asks: “Do we have a story that connects to the customer? Can we link the results to the campaign?  Can we get 10x ROI?”
Any asset created is placed into its best customer journey spot.

As Juniper works with partners, it also provides partners with an easy way to run their own campaigns and measures use of the tools.

ZenDesk

Interesting: ZenDesk combines planned strategic moves with an entrepreneurial opportunism.  The company is executing its plan to move to the enterprise customers from its traditional SMB market, but it is ready to pivot into a profitable direction.

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ZenDesk did not plan to move to government area, but an opportunity presented itself.  A concern related to Net Neutrality sparked public call to send letters to FCC.  Many people did contact FCC and complained, what created a need to manage these complaints. FCC chose ZenDesk as the organization needed an easy to use solution fast.

Relate.pngZenDesk evaluates every opportunity as a one-off or as a discovery of a new target market. Company adjusts it targets, but stays very focused.

Differences between SMB and Enterprise: typical SMB process goes though finding ZenDesk via search, starting trial, and converting to a paying customer; enterprise customers need to research the solution first, typically already have something in place, and might want “whitepapers to download” and can use additional encouragement from sales organization.

Current website is targeted to SMB, though the company has a page for enterprise (which I did not find).

Successful enterprise customer: a person with a desire for change 🙂

Interesting: ZenDesk created a content resource Relate about customer support and engaging with customers in general.  Related does not have any company-related calls to actions.  I am not quite clear how it can be connected to business benefit (visit history? retargeting?)

STIR LLC – Asenzya Case Study

Integrated Inbound Marketing.  “You have to bring it back to ROI.”

A new management wanted to reinvigorate a small business – an established producer of food seasonings.  Inbound marketing has been integrated with everything else.

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Strategic approach (ROI), narrow targeting.  The agency used “staged web site launch due to limited resources.”  The site includes whitepaper download… Beer Whitepaper 😉  and series of campaigns leading to whitepaper download.

Asenzya.pngIntegrated inbound: “Every word you publish should take keyword strategy into consideration.”  PR is an excellent component for integrated inbound approach.

Asenzya promise to its target audience: “work with us, we will make you more successful.”

Hallmark

Hallmark created a new product allowing call-center customer-facing employees to send personal cards to customers through a very simple process.

Interesting: the program has not been initially approved by the corporate decision makers, what encouraged local division to conduct a pilot with a carefully selected partner to demonstrate business benefit of the new offering.

To do that, the organization had to prioritize a “minimally viable products,” and remove any electronic cards from the pilot.  The idea of a “Pilot” in itself helped with adoption of the approach later.

Recommendations:

  • always start with a pilot and expand it later
  • find a passionate partner for your pilot

People are still interested in human connection. Millenials survey: if you had a problem, would you want to connect with the company on social media or talk with an individual?  99% would prefer talking with an individual

Customer Care Solutions – Hallmark 1:1 contact.

86% of customers who received cards gave the company highest ranking possible (utility company). 

Excellent conference!  Yes, marketers do need to be business people with marketing expertise.

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