The Power of Rapid Campaign Deployment with Webinars

Businesses today operate in a state of constant change. Models are updated, industry standards are adjusted and new tools, techniques and products are introduced almost as soon as an organization gets the hang of an old one. Practitioners of all stripes need support to keep up with this state of constant change.

SAP customers get that support, and the fundamentals of continuous learning, with its Continuous Learning Framework, powered by ON24 Content Gateway. Built for always-on access, SAP’s Continuous Learning Framework provides visitors with a wealth of information they can use to construct their own five-step framework for understanding and learning about new software innovations.

To make its content easier for visitors to consume, SAP took its course and broke it up across six categories, each filled with the latest up-to-date information on how visitors can make their continuous learning cycle a reality. It’s a simple, but effective always-on model that helps bolster brand trust and customer experience.

Check out SAP’s Content Gateway here to see it in action and, hopefully, take home a few helpful tips. If you’d like to see ON24 helps power this experience, and what you could make on your own, head on over here and learn how we make on demand in demand.

Lorem Ipsum Oops-um: What To Do When Email Mistakes Strikes

Sending out the wrong email is an email marketer’s worse nightmare! As a Marketing Programs Manager at ON24, I manage a variety of campaigns and the various moving parts that make a campaign successful. With every email that goes out, there is an extensive building, revising and quality-assurance process involved. There are many iterations made to email copy, styles, subject lines and more. When all pieces are finalized, the email is constructed, put into the automation flow and sent out to the designated audience.

MOST of the time, this executes successfully. But then there are the times where the wrong email is sent and your whole world flips upside down? Seamlessly handling how to deal with an email error or mistake is the beauty of being a marketer! When something does not go as expected, you don’t have time to sit and point out mistakes or faults. Instead, you collaborate with your team and determine an action plan!

A few months ago, we had an email fiasco where the incorrect email went out promoting our popular Webinar Best Practices Series. Everything looked great upon setup and QA, but the automation failed to save the email and reverted back to its template – the dreaded Lorem Ipsum. I woke up to a flurry of email and social messages from our prospects and customers pointing out the issue. I knew I had to take action as soon as possible to repair the situation and continue investigating the issue after. If an email disaster ever comes your way, here are some tips based on my experience for a strong action plan:

  • Transparency: Send an email out to your manager and involved stakeholders pointing out the issue, discussing what went wrong so they are aware before they hear from someone else
  • Start the investigation: submit a support ticket or communicate with your operations team or person to investigate the issue
  • Write an effective follow-up: Work with your content team or copywriter to craft an effective follow-up email-slash-apology response
  • Communication is key: Send the apology email out the same day to those that received the wrong email as quickly as possible
  • Follow-up: Send an email out to stakeholders involved noting the apology email is scheduled and provide any status updates from the investigation

Email marketing can be tedious, but your audience will understand that mistakes happen if you accept the mistake and communicate it effectively! We are lucky that we market to marketers, therefore our audience understood and responded positively to our apology. The apology email that we sent out was witty, admitted our mistake, and addressed the situation in a humorous manner. Your audience is human too and everyone makes mistakes! It’s what you do and how you build and execute your come back strategy that truly matters! All’s well that ends well!

Discovering Simulive, an Easier Way to Schedule Webinars

Webinar dates are locked in, speakers are on board, and timings are confirmed. Everything seems to be in working order — until an inevitable issue arises to interfere with the scheduled webinar flow. The best way to avoid these abrupt circumstances is a simulive webinar event. In a simulive webcast, all audio, video, and presentation materials are pre-recorded. The webinar is scheduled and delivered to a live audience at a designated date and time. This gives you the flexibility of creating an on-demand presentation, plus all the benefits of running a live webinar. It’s almost like hosting a fully automated webinar.

As a Demand Gen Marketer at ON24, I execute a variety of marketing programs and, with the help of simulive webinars, I am always prepared for sudden changes with my programs. Here are some ways simulive webinars can help:

Global webinars

A webinerd and her community dancing happily in a virtual circle

One problem I have faced when working across global teams is trying to find the best time that can fit the schedules of all parties involved (including those overseas). It is technically possible to find a time to air a live webinar in EMEA or APAC from North America, but only if someone is sacrificing their sleep!

Marketing programs are a global effort. EMEA and APAC timings are drastically different than North America. Running our webinars simulive has been a life-saver! Now, our EMEA webinar hosts jump right into the ON24 platform and record their slides during the time that fits best with their schedule. This relieves the stress of late-night or early morning phone calls and juggling a million schedules at once. Simulive webinars are also a great way to repurpose content that was created in North America as an EMEA or APAC resource. With simulive, we can simply copy over an existing event and select for it to air “live” in an EMEA or APAC specific time zone. Pretty cool!

Speaker unavailability, PTO, and OOO

Webinerd in a green jacket adjusts data to reduce churn for her company.

Simulive webinars are a GREAT way to keep your webinar on track. More often than not, I receive email notifications from a speaker mentioning that they are unavailable to commit for a live date proposed on the marketing calendar. With simulive webinars, I have the option of letting my speaker know that they can always pre-record the event at their convenience and we can still run it on the date that best fits in our calendar. It’s a win-win situation!

By setting up an event as simulive, we can pre-record the entire webinar before the scheduled “live” air date. Speakers can go into the recording platform and record audio on their own time in the comfort of their homes, hotel rooms — literally anywhere (with a working wifi connection, of course)!

Simulive webinars take the stress out of running around attempting to lock down guest speakers. During the “live” air date, the producer and/or presenter(s) will just be monitoring live questions that come in during the Q&A session of the webinar.

Speaking nerves

Webinerd repairing

I work with a variety of speakers daily. Some speakers are extremely outgoing and able to do live webinars in a breeze, while others are a bit timid and prefer to not be put in the spotlight. Simulive webinars are a GREAT way to calm your speaker’s nerves. Simulive webinars allow speakers to log in to the event on their own time and comfort, without feeling the stress of a live event. If the speaker makes a mistake, he or she can simply go back into the event and re-record over any slides.

Simulive also gives speakers an opportunity to hear their recorded presentation from start to finish. If they don’t like what they hear, speakers can go back into the event and make edits or re-record. Having control over what can be changed in the presentation relieves speakers and calms their nerves.

Live event emergencies

Webinerd looks out for hazards

All marketers running webinars have experienced a couple of live webinar event emergencies: The speaker can’t dial into the event, the phone bridge doesn’t seem to be working, the slides aren’t progressing, screenshare isn’t sharing to the audience, etc. Simu-live webinars help avoid any live event emergencies. You have the ability to pre-record your entire presentation, so if something does come up, it’s easily fixed and redone! Especially when speakers decide to screenshare and present a live demo, it is extremely convenient to leverage simulive. You can take the time to make sure the functionality is working correctly and pre-record rather than project an empty screenshare to an impatient audience during a live event. Simulive relieves all the stress of a live event, so all you have to do on the air date is sit back, answer questions, and enjoy the show.

Multiple webinar events

Webinerd social media

Webinars are important for our business, therefore we do A LOT of webinars every month. There have been times where we book two or three webinars on the same date because that’s what makes sense on our marketing calendar. Simulive webinars make it easy for the producer to be in multiple webinar events at once. Personally, I have managed multiple webinar events that happen on the same day because they run on simulive. I have everything set up for the webinar events before the air date and can monitor the Q&A for both events without a hassle. It’s that easy!

On a final note, it’s important to be equipped to face any webinar scheduling troubles/live day hassles and provide your speakers (and yourself) with seamless alternatives and sanity. Most of the time, simulive webinar events are the answer to all my webinar worries. On the day of the scheduled “live” event, there is minimal effort to be done by the producer and presenters; they can sit back and enjoy the show — literally. Bring out the popcorn!

CMO Confessions Ep. 12: Monique Elliott, CMO of ABB

Hello and welcome to another episode of CMO Confessions, a bi-weekly podcast featuring the best and the brightest minds that sales and marketing have to offer. This week, we have Monique Elliott, CMO of ABB, Electrification Product.

Monique made her mark at General Electric, where she started as a Commercial Excellence Manager and worked her way up to CMO of GE Industrial Solutions. Today, she focuses on driving digital customer experiences and driving new innovations to bridge the in-person and digital gap.

In this episode, Monique discusses how she approaches today’s buzzword du jour, digital transformation, what that means for the industrial space and how she and her marketing team are re-inventing digital customer experience by divvying responsibilities up. It’s a great episode for any organization or marketing lead concerning themselves with driving better customer experiences.

Finally, as usual, if you’re interested in listening to our growing podcast series, you can find all of our episodes right here in podbean. Alternatively, you can also find us on both iTunes and Google Play stores.

Without further ado, welcome to CMO Confessions. Let’s chat.

Transcript

Joe Hyland:                   

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of CMO Confessions, a weekly B2B sales and marketing podcast that explores what it really means to be a marketing leader in today’s business world. I’m Joe Hyland, CMO here at ON24 and joining me this week from the Greater New York area, I think I’m using that somewhat liberally, is Monique Elliott, CMO of ABB. Monique, how you doing?

 

Monique Elliott:           

I’m doing well. Thanks for the invitation today.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, so excited that you’re here. I really appreciate it. All right, well, let’s just jump right in. So before running global marketing at ABB, which I think you’ve been doing for about the past half year, you’ve held a pretty wide range of marketing leadership roles previously at GE. And I would love to hear you talk about, I guess we’ll go positive, but we’ll start on what might be some, some frustrations. I’d love to hear about what is driving you crazy as a B2B marketer today.

 

Monique Elliott:            

Sure, absolutely. And just to kind of give some context too, for my role. So I currently lead marketing for one of the divisions of ABB, it’s called the electrification products, the industrial solutions BU, which to your point, was the division that was purchased recently from GE by ABB. So I now find myself in the ABB family, but have been in the marketing space for quite some time, pretty much my entire 18 years or so, 19 years. In business, the last 15 being with GE, and in a variety of different marketing. So, on the strategic side, I’m on the tactical side, on the digital marketing space and I think, you know, to kind of get to your question, what has frustrated me the most or what’s been the most challenging is that being in a B2B space, I think us as marketers like to make it more complicated than it needs to be. And you’ll often hear people say, well, we’re in B2B, so it’s harder or it’s different if only we were in the B2C space. If only this was retail, all of this would be a lot easier and I sometimes I think it really, that’s a little bit of we do it to ourselves and that’s a challenge and that’s really difficult to operate in that space where you’re constantly thinking, you’re waking up every day thinking this is so much harder than it really needs to be.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

I think that’s a great point. So I hear the same thing by the way that B2B is so much different than on the consumer side. Obviously, it’s true, we’re going after a different buyer, the business buyer. But I’m at the end of the day, great marketing is persuasion, right? And, and hopefully delivering a solution for some sort of a problem or challenge someone has. That doesn’t change. I mean, I think whether you’re marketing a consumer packaged goods or you’re selling… By the way, I wasn’t even going to attempt to pronounce or describe your area of expertise at ABB and previously at GE. But at the end of the day, I mean, what we’re marketing to people, right? That doesn’t, these aren’t buildings that we’re marketing to.

 

Monique Elliott:            

I absolutely agree and I think we find ourselves saying that a lot that we might be in a B2B space, but we’re still marketing to B2C people are at the end of the day and I think that the tenets of marketing, the sub-functions, the pillars of marketing are applicable across industry, applicable across market and it’s maybe, it certainly is different with how you implement and how you may go after. I’m the type of marketing that you’re looking to embed into an organization. But I think as marketers, the basic tenets still stay the same. And if you stay true to that and you understand the problems that you’re solving for your customer whoever your customer may be, it doesn’t have to be complicated. That is different, right? Things can be hard, but it shouldn’t be complicated.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah. No, you’re right. Yeah, that’s a great topic. You over-complication of marketing. I think we perhaps make it more complex than it needs to be. It’s a, I get every once a while I’ll get asked what your, you just made me think of this, “what’s your marketing strategy?” As if there’s a one size fits all solution for someone’s marketing strategy. And I said, well, it’s marketing is problem solving, right? Like it even might be a might be a formula or a process through which you adhere to or you follow, but at the end of the day, your marketing strategy needs to be unique given the market that you’re in. My marketing strategy is probably pretty wildly different than, than yours because our markets are so different, right? Um, but you’re right, there’s still the same marketing principles or tenets.

 

Monique Elliott:            

You know, and I also find that you bring up kind of what’s your marketing strategy, I think sometimes us as marketers, we also get caught up that that strategy needs to be different every year. Because that really goes through the normal budgeting process, the whole cycle around, “So what are our goals and objectives for the year?” And I find that really great companies and really great marketers, they don’t vary year to year necessarily on their strategy. Now, how you execute within that strategy and the tactics that you take can certainly change. But having a strategy that changes every 12 months, can lead to a very erratic company culture. And so oftentimes if you have to, and we do this for ourselves, you have to stop yourself and say, am I really changing my strategy or am I simply changing the way that I’m going about executing that strategy? So that’s kind of another, maybe that’s another way to answer, you know, what, what can be frustrating about B2B marketing or just marketing in general? You don’t necessarily have to change that strategy every 12 months.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

I have to say it’s even worse out here in the bay area because I think the new tactic is really technology, meaning that we’ve all had those conversations where you talk to someone about their marketing, you know, hey, what’s your strategy? What are you trying to accomplish? And they list out a whole bunch of tactics. They do, I’m updating my website, we’re going to send this many emails, we’re going to have this many webinars. It’s like, no, like, what’s your, what’s your strategy? I’m finding that the marketing tech stack is, is almost like the new list of tactics. So I have so many conversations with marketers that just list out the 15 or 20 pieces of technology that they put into place and that they know that this grouping of technology will be their marketing strategy and execution all bundled up into one.

 

Monique Elliott:            

It’s interesting that you bring that up. I was having a conversation last week with some of the sales leaders for the business and one of the things that we were talking about, and this is kind of in the, in the area of customer experience, especially with online selling and bringing that, you know, kind of like that ecommerce lens to the B2B space that we’re in. And I said we do have to caution ourselves that the conversations don’t automatically go to technology because there’s the processes and the people are actually what make and break a really winning solution when it comes to online and the ecommerce space. Because technology cannot change a broken process and it certainly can’t win over someone’s hearts and minds if they don’t understand what you’re trying to do. And so what I was talking to the team about is we need to make sure before we embark on any of these journeys that we understand the underlying processes and that we make sure that we have the people on board and that change management process is just as critical, if not more than the technology itself. Because technology is not going to fix that broken process for you gotta fix that first. So it’s interesting and I agree with you because it’s so cool. All the technology that’s coming out in marketing and in the space, it’s very cool. And you want to gravitate to it as, that’s your strategy, but the reality is that’s only a portion of it and you got to remember the people in the process part as well.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, I love that you said winning hearts and minds because, I don’t know, I feel like at the end of the day, great marketing is inspiring and people if you’re doing it right, people have a good feeling when they’re engaging with your company and your marketing. And yeah, it is certainly not all — and this comes from a technologist — but it is not all about the technology. You’ll fail if you…or certainly be very frustrated if you just, you know, try to take on a ton of new tech and that will in no way solve all your problems. Um, because you’re right, it’s all about having the right process and having the right infrastructure so that you can actually scale your marketing strategy, right? You know, just throwing in four or five pieces of technology will not, will not solve it for, for anyone. Least. That’s my experience.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

The other thing, I think the other thing I think is interesting is, um, , in, , what’s old is new., So everyone, everyone’s talking about ABM and, of course, account based marketing and there’s, there’s technology, some of which we’ll use that, that can help with that going to help scale it at least. But at the end of the day, I find this somewhat humorous, because account-based marketing is not new. I remember. So I’ve been in marketing for almost 20 years. It sounds like just about the same amount of time you’ve been in it. And you know, personalized marketing is the holy Grail, right? It’s what we’re, this is what we’ve been trying to do that well for, for two decades. And I haven’t necessarily done it well, but I’m scaling. That can be difficult. But that is the challenge that we have as marketers is “how do we deliver a highly customized, personalized message?” And yeah, it’s hard to do it to, you know, thousands or millions of people, but that’s not like this is a new construct.

 

Monique Elliott:            

So this makes me chuckle a little bit. So it was at a conference last week. I was chairing a digital marketing conference and , the one of the topics that we had, one of the sessions that I lead with all around buzzwords and it was really, it was a really fun session and it was all marketers. You know, senior executives in the room, marketing executives. And the construct of this session was not that buzzwords are bad because sometimes you tend to use, oh, that’s a buzzword and you get a negative connotation. But what it was about was kind of like dissecting the top 10 buzzwords for marketing right now and just almost playing a game around the cable. Does. Everyone at this table had the same definition of this buzzword? And it’s not like your, what is your designation? And what it really did is it highlighted, first of all, we have fun with it because it’s sometimes it’s okay to be self deprecating as marketers, but it highlighted that, you know, sometimes you may be talking to someone and you may be saying account based marketing and they’re saying account based marketing, but at the end of the day you’re actually talking about two different things and they were the top 10 were the ones that you would expect for personalization, customer journey, digital transformation, which is my absolute favorite.

 

Monique Elliott:            

Again, they’re not Bad, right? But it was just this concept of, you know, these words have been around for awhile and they kind of cycle through and maybe every time to your point, what’s old is new when they cycle through though they don’t necessarily need the same thing anymore. And how do you just make sure that when you’re a marketer and you’re talking to someone particularly Someone who’s not a marketer but you’re clearly articulating and you have the same definition. Because that goes back to getting that buy in, in order to be successful. And in order for marketing to really give marketing the credibility that it deserves. So we had a fun time with abm was one of the ones that came up by the way.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

That sounds fun. I, I love that. It doesn’t surprise me by the way that the definitions were kind of ran the gamut and were so different. I think a lot of people, not necessarily just marketers, think these are things are completely new things that marketers haven’t ever been doing, even though some of the technology might be new, but, you know, marketing having a specific message or a personalized message is not like that just came about in 2015 or something.

 

Monique Elliott:            

Great.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, so that happened too. That happened to us, I don’t know, maybe a year and a half ago, one of our sales directors, came to me and could just come from, I don’t know if he was at Marketos conference — that it was at a marketing technology conference and said, “Joe, there’s this new hot thing called ABM. I think we need an ABM strategy.” And I said, “Well, we, we had one for the last two years and maybe maybe it’s not working as well as we’d like, but this is not as easy as just implementing a piece of technology.”

 

Monique Elliott:            

Right, right. Well, I got a little chuckle out of you too with the digital transformation one because that’s my personal favorite and I’m guilty as anyone because everyone’s going through a digital transformation, but I always joke, I’m like, “So when do you start transforming and just start doing? Yeah, so that we had a, we had a good laugh with that one as well, especially if, you know, the speaker after me, I’m pretty sure her abstract was how to digitally transform your business. No disrespect really.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

That’s really funny. Well, probably everyone after the buzzword roundtable, probably every session, the speaker felt guilty of using some sort of a buzzword in their presentation.

 

Monique Elliott:            

Well, they’re not bad.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah. No, I mean it buzzwords not as we do need terms for this. Right. Well, let’s talk. Let’s talk digital transformation because I feel like this one’s kind of jumped the shark. Particularly in your space, or spaces that are well established. Is this the hottest thing, or the hottest topic or Buzzword in your space? Because you’re in more of a, you have more of a technical audience, right? This is not a technology that just came out five years ago, right? I mean this is a pretty established space, which is exciting. But as digital transformation, all anyone talks about.

 

Monique Elliott:           

It is certainly top of mind. And this is where, you know, the definition is important because you can, you can talk about digital in a variety of different ways, especially in B2B space with a more mature manufacturing history and customer base. So there’s one aspect of it that has to do with digital solutions. So think of it more of software solutions or its solution. So how do you couple your technology, your hardware technology with also a digital offering.

 

So that is more of a digital as it relates to product, a digital product development, then there’s the other side of digital, where I play, and that’s more on the digital customer experience. So how are you now digitally touching customers that you would have touched before and more an analog manner or kind of a brick and mortar go to market strategy. So this is, you started touching upon things like digital marketing and ecommerce, you know, not only can I touch my customer digitally now with communication and demand generation, but can I also encourage them to buy some of these products online? So I think when you use the word digital, it kind of depends on who you’re talking to. If you’re talking about it from a product solution offering or are you talking about it more from a customer experience lens? I can tell you in my world today, it’s both, it’s equally important, but it is two different animals. At the end of the day requires different skill sets for how you develop this offering.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, this is fascinating. So, my interpretation of what you just said, because obviously, we’re in, as I said, we’re in wildly different fields even though we’re both marketers, is the first category is GE used to produce the light bulb, just the light bulb, not as if that’s a bad thing, And they wanted to aspire to produce the software that could control the lighting system, right? Is that, is that what you mean for the digital product development?

 

Monique Elliott:            

Right, right. So lightbulbs are a good example. You can also say like, so now in the world of ABB, so you have circuit breakers or other types of electrical distribution equipment and how are you making them more intelligent and you’re connecting them like the whole Internet of things and you know, can you have planned outages and how do you make that piece of equipment more predictive, understand its maintenance cycles, how do you make that piece of hardware smarter and more connected to everything around it? So you’re right, it could be a light bulb, it could be a Ketogenic, it could be a piece of electrical equipment. No.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, that’s cool and then the second example is probably a little more easy to understand for our audience, you know, just taking a traditional brick and mortar experiencing and turning it into a digital experience.

 

Monique Elliott:            

That was it for me too, right? I mean that’s where I live from a marketing standpoint is how do you make that experience now more alive? More like you would expect if you are a consumer.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah. Well, let’s, let’s talk about that because I think this is fascinating. What are you, I guess, how is that, how’s that going? What’s, do you have — without entering the buzzword game ourselves — do you have particular things that are, are working quite well? I mean, how is, how are you transforming the digital experience for your marketers and marketing?

 

Monique Elliott:            

So, one of the things that we did to help us evolve that traditional marketing strategy or that traditional marketing team even is to organize ourselves a little bit different than we had done in the past. And so, the way that my team is structured today is there’s a digital marketing arm. So this, this arm is responsible for the actual, um, the technology stack, right? So the marketing automation around it, you know, how are we going to put campaigns out, what is that, what, how does the website content also marrying up with what we have in our digital campaign. So I have a digital marketing team and then we have something that’s really different around customer experience and it’s different for us. It’s, this kind of goes back to, you know, you, you’ve seen this structure and other organizations that are a little bit more mature in digital customer experience, but recently, earlier this year we stood up a team that was customer engagement and this team is really now thinking about how we used to engage with our customers at trade shows or at company hosted events and how are we now trying to touch them all digital. So whether that’s partnerships with some of the magazines that we work with to create these digital culdesac and we’re trying to create these communities of our customers to bring them more online. How are we also offering things like print on demand, not only for our sales people but for customers as well. So we have this digital engagement team now that’s looking at new and creative ways to engage with our customers online. And then we have our ecommerce pillar which has been looking at that kind of, that lower funnel part of the journey around how do you then purchase from us.

 

Monique Elliott:            

And so, and these are these three pillars that really make up the digital customer experience part of the team. Of course, there’s the traditional part of the team around strategic marketing and market intelligence. And, and that field marketing, but we have these other three pillars now that are really trying to evolve the way that we, that we are looking at marketing. I have one other piece that’s worth mentioning. That is all around the Demand Generation, and this is a really interesting part of the team, and what they’re responsible for is creating that demand generation engine. So whether it’s the campaign or it’s the trade sho but there then tracking the way that these activities flow through the point to see what’s the, what’s the result? So can we show the ROI now on all of these marketing activities that are going on. So it’s really great and, I have to say, it’s certainly not my team. It has truly, this was like a team, a team of teams in order to be successful in this space

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Well, when you’re talking about customer experience to subcategories that digital called the digital cul-de-sacs. I’ve actually never heard that. I love that. And the other thing that jumps out to me, which is kind of interesting at our team, is obviously it’s been more wildly different companies and you guys are a little bit bigger than ON24. Actually. The team structure is not wildly different. It’s pretty similar. I was, I wasn’t sure if you had demand gen broken out separately for that was underneath the digital marketing arm. So it was interesting that, it’s actually its own group within the larger team.

 

Monique Elliott:           

Yeah, it is and, from a legacy perspective, that team historically was referred to as sales marketing. They did, what they were responsible for was kind of more what I would say demand generation locally and we turn it on its head a little bit and started referring to it as demand generation. Which, to be honest, you know, we needed to do some education, too, around kind of when you, when you change the name of that, what does that mean? You know, does the scope really change and how do you get people’s heads around that?

 

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, you went right to where I was about to go. Do your field events, or traditionally more, in-person events, are these integrated with your digital experiences? Or do you look at them as very separate campaigns and objectives?

 

Monique Elliott:           

It’s a good question and certainly, they need to all be considered one experience. And so what we’re trying to do a better job at, and this is truly, this is a newer journey for us, but as you, let’s say you have an in person event coming up, we want to make sure that that digital experience leading up to the event is harmonized. And so whether it’s a campaign that goes out that invites people or you’re trying to drum up that activity all the way to reminders leading up to the event and then when you’re at the event. If it is an event where you could have a digital experience. So maybe it’s you’re showcasing a product and you want to have a video present or some kind of user experience digitally at the event, we would love to do that.

 

Monique Elliott:            

And then of course, the follow up after that, making sure that you have the digital campaigns following the event to make sure that you’re doing follow ups and here’s the information you requested. It should all be considered, and it is considered, what I would say one campaign, but you may have different activities leading up to that and you have to be able to connect them and track them. And that’s that responsibility of the demand generation team to attribute to say that, you know, this campaign is linked to this particular event and so that you can have that total wing to wing metric around how well did we do with this particular campaign.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

And you described that pretty succinctly and quite well the infrastructure and operations required to do that. Well, are pretty complicated.

 

Monique Elliott:           

It really is. It really is. And, you know, we’re trying to integrate some different technologies to help us with that. Of course, you know, CRM system being the backbone of all of that, but it’s not easy. And I mean, we started down this whole journey a couple years ago and it was really just this year where we’re able to now see the benefit of having it connected, where you can say, you know, this particular event that we did, we had campaigns leading up to it and then post, you know, here’s what we saw come out of that. Whether that’s a lead, an order, an actual book deal that is, it’s very difficult to get that wing to wing. I’ll be the first one to say it’s, are not perfect at it. And it’s hard.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, you and anyone else? I mean, obviously the more complex the marketing engine, the harder it is attribution and multi touch attribution is. And there’s, there’s no perfect formula. It’s like any model really, a lot of the results can be manipulated by how you kind of assume or what assumptions you make are what credit you give to things. Right. That is a bit of a messy spiderweb. I like what you were talking about with customer experience. I think this is an area for is an area I’m excited about. I think this is an area that I think most marketers can, can get excited about or should be excited about, is trying to produce a real world class cohesive customer experience.

 

Joe Hyland:                   

So all the way through from before someone’s your customer through those early touchpoints, whether it’s your website or a campaign or a physical event all the way through to being your customer for a decade or longer. And I think, I guess the reason I find this exciting, and I’d love to get your take on it, I think a lot of marketers have left much of that journey to other groups and said, “Hey, once someone becomes a customer and I’ll, you know, our job is done and that’s over to, you know, the client services team or a in, you know, we, we don’t need to control that.” And I think more and more, at least in the software world, I think it’s really important to not have that mindset and say, “No, this is, if we were going to be with them for a very long time and we want it to be a cohesive journey and it shouldn’t feel like you’re leaving one part of our company and entering another.” And I don’t know if you have a similar viewpoint in your space or if it becomes much trickier given, given the audience and the and the products you guys deliver.

 

Monique Elliott:           

I’m passionate about it as well. And I really like where I see marketing heading in the whole evolution of the function. And I think what you’re hitting on is why we’re seeing the rise of these customer experience teams and the chief customer experience officer or the global head of customer experience is because I believe that there is now kind of an awakening around, it’s not good enough to have your, you know, kind of like your upper funnel marketing team then handed off to sales, then handing it off to operations then, you know, to customer service and post sale service. And what you’ll have is because when it’s siloed you very well could have very different experiences, right? Or really strong marketing team and maybe not such strong customer service ‚ or vice versa. And so I think this is why we’re now seeing the rise of these customer experience organizations.

 

And it’s not that one team has to do it all because that’s absolutely not what I’m saying And I think that that’s the wrong approach. But what it is, is to have an awareness to have at least a group of people who are now looking at the experience across those silos and across the different functions and ensuring that the connection is there and ensuring that the experience is the same to your point if it’s relevant and it’s harmonized. And so it’s often a debate that I get into, into some marketers with, well is it about all of a sudden these massive customer experience teams taking on all this work? And I said no, but it’s about having now some governance in an organization or a body of people that can just look across to make sure that there aren’t breakdowns and to make sure that you, that you do have that same feel across any point of your customer’s journey. And that excites me because I do think that that isn’t an area where marketing can evolve. So you can, you can evolve as a marketer into more of a customer experience organization. And I think that’s great.

 

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, I couldn’t agree any more. The one, the one entity or group that suffers if you put your company first and you have a disjointed experience from going from one group to another is the customer. And at the end of the day, that’s kind of the one thing that we should make sure that we hold sacred and dear. I think you’re right, I think that’s a brilliant point. It’s not that marketers the shouldn’t be a land grab, it’s not that marketing needs to own that or it needs to. And let’s face it that that’s kind of an impossible task for one group to own the whole thing, but you’re right, there does need to be some sort of a corporate governance for what that experience is like. And, and if so, I think that’s a, isn’t that a wonderful thing for the customer experience, which is what this is all about.

 

Monique Elliott:           

Yeah, I love it. I’m excited to see more companies and I’m excited to see more marketers really embrace this whole notion of really customer experience. And you know, maybe this will also help marketing as a function because oftentimes marketers a little bit of a bad rap and spend a lot of money and always looking for more budget. And what do you kind of get out of it? I mean, I know that as a marketer that’s what we face into every day and so this whole evolution to customer experience I think is really good for the function.

 

Joe Hyland:  

Yeah, I agree. And I’ll just add that if marketers can tie themselves to the customer and, in some parts to, to revenue, I think that is how you shake the old stigma of marketing, just being the, you know, the people that make it look pretty, right? So, well I said half an hour would fly by. It has. This was fantastic. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining. I really appreciate the time.

 

Monique Elliott:

Oh my pleasure. I had a great time. I really enjoyed the conversation and anything we can do to help our fellow marketers and to help all be successful in this space, I’m always happy to take the time

 

NVIDIA’s Always-on Webinar Resource

Scaling a marketing program to address global demand isn’t easy, especially when you have a relatively small marketing team trying to address local needs in different regions. That’s especially difficult when you’re trying to make your company’s marketing human and personable as possible — a proven strategy that’s hard to scale. One approach is taking something you know how to do well and showing others how to emulate it for their regions.

For webinars, this primarily means taking an easy-to-use tool and demonstrating its features. NVIDIA, the global graphics processing unit designer, mastered this technique as it grew from a North American phenomenon to a leader in the machine learning and autonomous vehicle computing space. The company, as it explained to us recently, uses a small team to produce webinars for global regions at scale. By learning and iterating from one webinar expert, the company can use regional teams to generate live and on-demand webinars. And, with an easy-to-use content hub, site visitors can immediately access the content they need while providing NVIDIA with the insights they need to refine their content and drive pipeline.

Curious? You check out NVIDIA’s on-demand webinars here and see how it scaled its webinar program from 35 webinars in a year to more than 70 with our on-demand webinar here.

Three Engaging Channels B2B Marketers Should Use

CMOs are slated to spend nearly 12 percent of company revenue on marketing technologies in 2018. That’s great news, but a bigger question looms: is that money being put to good use? Does that 12 percent in revenue go towards boosting the company’s bottom line? The answer to that question: it depends.

It depends, mostly, on if marketers are allocating funds for tactics that really, truly work. What works? Turns out, real human engagement works best. Personalization, for example, delivers five to eight times the return on investment on marketing spend and can lift sales by 10 percent or more, according to a recent McKinsey study. But personalization, in a digital-driven age, is hard to scale without becoming — at some level — impersonal.

The question, then, is what solutions can marketers use to make one-to-one communications work at scale without making visitors feel like numbers in the database?

To answer this question, and a few others, we asked Harvard Business Review Analytic Services to study how marketers are balancing the need for human engagement with digital scale and which solutions provide better ROI for their efforts. The results are surprising. Some of the most common channels, such as social media and email, also offer great ROI — so long as they’re executed well. Here are a few avenues to consider:

Email

Email is a standard channel for engagement in both the business-to-consumer and the business-to-business realms. Emails today are sliced, segmented, personalized, delivered and seldom read. That because, more often than not, companies simply blast emails to thousands or hundreds of consumers to celebrate a product, not driving engagement.

But emails are great opportunities for engagement and ROI if used well. According to Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing, B2B organizations need to slow down and build a foundation of trust, often through phone calls, with prospects before emailing them more details. Once trust is established, companies can then make detailed profiles on a prospect and use predictive analytics to guide and personalize messages. As always, marketers must ensure the language they use is personable and clear for readers.

Webinars

Webinars are powerful tools that drive engagement, hold attention for upwards of an hour and can be used in almost any situation. They’re potent tools driving real, measurable results and marketers are taking notice. According to the HBR study, 44 percent of marketers say they plan to increase their investments in webinars. It makes sense: webinars reach anywhere from hundreds to thousands of customers with real human interactions through Q&A chats, social media and more. It should be no surprise, then, that 50 percent of business leaders turn to webinars for access to business content, with 40 percent saying the format is useful for consuming business content.

When it comes to driving engagement, webinars are one of the most effective channels. But how can they be used better? Simple. Webinars offer organizations the opportunity to quickly build campaigns addressing a specific audience, craft on-demand content hubs to buttress those campaigns and develop a webinar series targeted for technical audiences and more. The versatility of webinars, ranging anywhere from short demos to streaming live in-person keynotes augmented with chat, empower organizations to create engaging digital experiences.

Social media

Finally, there’s social media. Social media is ubiquitous, compelling and engaging — if used right. But social media can also alienate prospects. It’s no surprise, then, that many B2B marketing executives are still uneasy about their companies using the channel.

But there are a few ways organizations can get more out of their social efforts. IBM Cloud, for example, divides its social messages into earned and paid social. Earned lets the company know which messages resonate with different customers at different stages of the buying cycle. After tracking and collecting data, IBM uses the most impactful posts in paid social campaigns to reach broader audiences and drive engagement where it counts.

Using Engagement to Accelerate Pipeline

The pressure to make deals close, especially as the year comes to an end, is real. But what’s a marketer to do when prospects fail to progress? According to research by SiriusDecisions, an integrated webinar strategy is one of the best ways to make deals move.

Too often, teams turn to automation to try and nudge opportunities without working through if a contact needs to be nudged in the first place. It’s a spray-and-pray marketing strategy disguised in an algorithm, and it doesn’t deliver the necessary results. To get deals across the finish line, marketers need to move beyond clicks and views and start to empathize with audiences.

Empathy demands close listening, and the best way for marketers to listen today — outside of directly calling and talking with prospects — is understanding what messages connect and why. Automation cannot find these insights on its own and must take a backseat to genuine engagement. In a digital context, this means marketers need to do more than watch audience clicks and views and interact with attendees as they consume content and ask questions. Generating these meaningful interactions means gaining better insights into what they need from a solution — giving marketing and sales the fuel they need to push opportunities along.

Collecting Insights

Collecting insights is more complicated than slapping a UTM code on a link. Often, collection requires tracking a range of accounts in a vertical and how they engage with interactive content. Here, using the right tool is critical. Does it monitor downloaded resources? Questions asked? Often they visited a website or digital events? These sorts of insights are essential for identifying opportunities, especially fast-moving prospects looking to make a quick deal.

The insights gained from user engagements can also help unstick stalled deals. Marketers and sales teams can provide slow-moving prospects with additional content based on their interests or alert them to upcoming events or articles by subject matter experts they respect. Additionally, organizations can put together highly-targeted, self-serve nurture tracks with the use on on-demand content.

The Right Content Meets a Better Channel

On-demand content hubs are particularly powerful tools for stuck opportunities. Such hubs allow you to re-engage and refocus prospects on your best, most relevant content based on industry and persona. They also enable prospects self-discover content and engage with the organization in a way they prefer. On-demand hubs also provide an opportunity for marketers to create self-qualifying triggers that move highly-engaged prospects from a nurture track to an active demand track.

Live events, too, are great for motivating and re-engaging stuck prospects. Live events give them the opportunity to interact with SMEs, ask questions and download new content specific to the event.

Fueling Reports

Time is of the essence, which means sales teams needs as much information on newly engaged and re-engaged prospects that are ready to take the next step. That’s why it’s essential for organizations to build engagement profiles – summaries of prospect or account interactions with a brand. With engagement profiles, marketing can get specific behavior reports across live, on-demand and personalized content experiences for either individual prospects, or cumulative reports on accounts, and deliver them to sales for the final push.

End-of-year pushes are never easy. But using engagement-based marketing to push stalled pipeline across the finish line can resurface promising leads and make fast-moving campaigns much more comfortable.

To learn more about how webinars and on-demand gateways help you accelerate pipeline, download this research from SiriusDecisions.

How Auto Trader Makes Marketing Work in the U.K.

This article was originally published on Pi Marketing Solutions. Shared with permission. 

The Challenge

So we’ve all heard of Auto Trader right? And as there are up to 8 million cars bought and sold in the UK each year Auto Trader has long been the ‘go to’ place when looking to buy or sell a car on this ‘tiny island’. The model is based on a mutual dependency between the UK’s network of up to 16,000 car dealerships and Auto Trader itself and with such a strong brand presence in the marketplace dealerships certainly benefit by advertising with Auto Trader and therefore continue to do so.

With a heritage that was largely based on a weekly printed publication, which at its peak reached a circulation of 450,000 copies, the challenge was set for Auto Trader to drive towards becoming one of the leading digital brands in the UK. Coupling this with the continuous rise in expectations of pre-sale experiences, customer service and after sales care the result has been that there is now a significant challenge for the network of car dealerships in the UK to keep up with these expectations. To address this challenge, and primarily as a philanthropic role, Auto Traders Insight Director Nick King and team have been taking the dealerships on an educational journey to ensure that they aren’t ‘left behind’ in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Scalability

Auto Traders insight programme began several years ago and covered topics such as customer qualification, new enquiry response times and ‘the forecourt experience’ (just to see how close the old cliché of ‘never trusting a used car salesman’ was to the reality that they faced). As the programme continued to build momentum the team started to build the trust of the dealership network however, with over 400 sessions being held over a 2 year period scalability started to become a challenge. Each one of the meetings would have approximately 10 – 20 attendees and with a lot of time spent traveling to each session the team looked towards running them in a more digital format therefore allowing them to achieve scale, improve efficiency and enhance responsiveness.

So at the start of 2016 Auto Trader ran its first webinar targeting the UK’s dealership network, however there was one condition, the sessions needed to be as good as a live meeting. They needed to be interactive, engaging and informative to ensure that there was significant value for the teams at the dealerships to attend these sessions.

After trialing the webinar programme over a 6 month period, mainly by promoting the sessions via word of mouth, email and the Auto Trader dealership portal, the feedback was so positive Auto Trader wanted to ensure that they were providing the best experience to their attendees not only for their ‘live’ webinars but also for those that wanted to watch the sessions on-demand. They also wanted to ensure that the quality of the sessions was as good as being there in person and that the audience had a chance to ask questions – the result: an investment in a mini webinar studio and ON24’s webinar platform was approved.

Outcomes

With over 40 sessions now being run annually, and more planned for next year, the team are now not only reaching a wider audience more effectively but they are now starting to gain valuable insights and actionable data on what their audience is interested in and what they want more of – all with one goal in mind; making it work for the audience.

And to continue the theme of making it work for their audience there have been some key learnings along the way, most notably around the duration of the sessions, the day of the week to host them and the optimum promotional window in the run up to each webinar (which incidentally can be a little as 4 days which is of stark contrast to any ‘in person’ event!). With the use of live audience polling questions (another ‘gift’ within the ON24 platform) and the opportunity for the audience to ask live questions, the team were very quickly able to use this invaluable data to help shape their webinar content programme ensuring that it met the needs and requests from the dealership network.

But the story doesn’t end there – such was the buzz around how the team were delivering such high quality live webinars that other areas of the business and industry are now using their webinar programme and facility as an effective communications channel. Ranging from internal training sessions to car manufacturers needing to get a message out to the dealership network efficiently Auto Trader is definitely heading in the right direction in their transformation into becoming one of the leading digital brands in the UK.

And after asking Nick for his one piece of advice for any teams, marketing or otherwise, that are looking to either start their ‘webinar journey’, or are looking to optimise their current programme, the answer was simple – ‘preparation, preparation, preparation’ (which also sounds like great advice for any used car salesman wanting to show us that maybe we can trust them after all!).

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Nick is the Insight Director at Auto Trader.  The UK’s leading automotive market place.
He is a consumer psychologist, with a mission to understand the digital landscape and help bring this story to life for the thousands of dealers who advertise with Auto Trader.

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-king-2125391/

Did Microsoft Azure’s Approach to Marketing Help Its Company’s Quarter?

It’s rewarding to see a company succeed — especially when they’re considered an underdog in their respective industry. Microsoft, for example, is a quintessential comeback story in the tech industry. It was the tech industry leader for decades until being supplanted agile companies, like Google and Apple, that were more capable of adapting to a digital age.

Today, the organization is back near the top. It’s now the world’s fourth-most valuable company, nipping on Alphabet’s heels (in May it even surpassed the Google conglomerate) and just had an excellent earnings report.

What gives? Well, a lot of hard work from dedicated employees and key investments in critical areas, such as the company’s cloud platform, Microsoft Azure. Azure, in fact, is one of the prime drivers behind the company’s growth spurt. Its cloud platform is so successful that it’s growing faster than Amazon’s AWS. That’s serious pipeline.

To us, we can’t help but think that Microsoft Azure’s marketing efforts played a critical role in an organization’s overall success. While the tech giant possesses the funds to buy their way into a market, the company’s ethos — and practicality — demanded it takes a long-term, ground-up approach to marketing that informs customers, trains partners and provides sales with the insights they need — and do so quickly. It’s a traditional, well-oiled global demand generation machine refined for the modern era and it works. Trust us, we’ve seen it in action.

Microsoft’s successes — and other growth successes — should be a wake-up call to organizations chasing global growth. Its message: growth is a team effort, and putting everything in the right place first pays off in the long run. Curious about how Azure boosted its global marketing efforts? Check out our case study explaining how they re-invented their webinars for success and register for our upcoming episode of the Webinar Best Practices Series, “Taking Your Webinars Global.”