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.

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/

CMO Confessions Ep 11.: SAP’s Kevin Cochrane

Hi everyone and welcome to episode 11 of CMO Confessions. In this edition, I sit down and chat with Kevin Cochrane, CMO of SAP Customer Experience and C/4HANA. Kevin has an almost religious devotion to identifying customer pain points and delivering a great customer experience — and he does so in an almost unique way in today’s age: by sitting down and actually talking with customers.

Kevin’s CMO journey started when he joined Interwoven as the VP of Web Content Management. From there, he wound his way to Alfresco, Software AG and all the way to SAP.  In this episode of CMO Confessions, we dive into what Kevin thinks of today’s marketing landscape, what’s missing in our journey to become more customer-centric and it’s so critical to slow down and ask better questions.

If you’re curious about what Kevin has to say about the state of our industry, you can follow him on Twitter at @kevinc2003 and on LinkedIn here.

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 I want to welcome you to this week’s episode of CMO confessions the 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 Highland CMO here at ON24 and joining me this week from Miami, while I’m in San Francisco, is Kevin Cochrane, CMO of SAP Customer Experience. Kevin, how are you doing?

Kevin Cochrane:  I’m doing a great, Joe, great to speak with you today.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, thanks for doing this. I really appreciate it. Okay, Let’s dive right into digital marketing, marketing in general. What do you love about we what we do?

Kevin Cochrane: Well, there’s three things. I love about what we do. Number one, I love being able to make the human connection. At the end of the day, what we as marketers do is we uncover our customers intent; what are their hopes their dreams their aspirations, and how can we effectively engage them in order to help them understand how our companies and our products and our services can help them? So, I love making that human connection. The second thing is I love building teams of people to inspire them to, in turn, learn from customers and how to listen and how to engage.

There’s nothing so much more wonderful than actually seeing a whole team of marketers being able to speak about the customers, speak about their needs and, again, engage them in that one-to-one way so that they can best represent our brands and best deliver value to the customer. There’s nothing more exciting and much more pleasing than that.  The third thing is that intellectually speaking marketing the most fascinating place to be right now and it has been for quite a long period of time. The Innovation that’s happening around data, data science and around customer engagement fundamentally challenges each and every one of us in very unique and interesting ways each and every day. So that intellectual challenge, that intellectual rigor, you know, suddenly just makes marketing just so exciting for me personally and hopefully for everyone listening here to this podcast.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, and I love that answer because — and I’ll start with number three there — for me marketing’s about solving problems and for me that’s what makes it fun and challenging and interesting and it’s constantly changing. So yeah, the intellectual rigor for me is honestly one of the coolest things. You talk about human connections, and I love that because, as marketers, finding ways to engage with our audience — I mean that’s the Holy Grail, right? That’s what we should be fantastic at.

But I want to get your take on scale. So, scale is real, scale is very much a challenge that we all have and what I’m finding or what I’m seeing in the space, which is I think particularly interesting is. Marketers automating everything that is humanly possible, even down to the email copy that we write — could have robots write it and in many cases they are. So, I feel like we’re winning in the automation game which is which is great, don’t get me wrong. There are tremendous benefits there. But I feel like there’s a human connection that is lost with all this digital automation. I would love to get your take on that.

Kevin Cochrane: Yeah, I completely agree, and I’ll start off with, and hopefully you don’t mind me sharing our conversation that we started off even before we get began the podcast. You and I have a shared experience as we learned about — we both ran a marathon in Zermatt two months ago, and we had a great time speaking about that for 10 minutes.  We’re actually real people you’re a real person. I’m a real person. And outside the context of our work lives and this particular podcast, there are things that we share in common that our interests that can help us actually form a relationship with one another that can facilitate our professional dialogue and to facilitate growth and both of our businesses. And as marketers, we have actually to remember that.

I think we’ve got too far in the shift from brand marketing to demand marketing and we become inundated with data, we become inundated with automation, and we stop actually thinking about who was the actual end person at the end of the email — who is the actual end customer? Who are they really as a real person? And what are the unique things that make them a unique individual that are not just a segment? You know, I love the famous quote from Six Degrees of Separation, Stockard Channing, favorite of mine, of course saying, “I am not an anecdote.” Well, I’m not a segment, right? I’m actually a very unique person as are you. And I think as marketers we need to get back to understanding and relating to our real customers.  I tend to challenge people on my team in a very simple way. When was the last time you spoke with the customer? When was the last time you spoke with the customer? When we’re talking about this campaign, and we’re talking about automated, because automation is very important, you have to automate course, can you speak about it in the context of a real customer that you have met, that you have spoken to that you can envision in your mind when you’re building that next nurture program, when you’re building that next email copy? Because if you can’t envision the customer and you can’t think about a real human being then you could go awry and that’s where I like to challenge people on my own team and hopefully in the broader industry as well.  At the end of the day, we need to leverage the data. We need to leverage the science, and you need to use it to uncover each individual’s intent, and we need to automate the prescriptive delivery of content experience and services matched against that end to the best extent possible to scale. But never ever, ever should a marketer ever forget of what a real customer a real customer conversation looks like.

Joe Hyland: Yeah. Amen. I couldn’t agree with you anymore. And it’s interesting, right? That mixture of human connection with the amazing breadth and depth of data — and you’re right, automation is not a bad thing in any marketer who tries to run away from it, I think, would risk be kind of becoming yesterday’s marketer, but it’s the mixture of those two things, right? Where you can do something really special.

Kevin Cochrane: That’s the one hundred percent right? I have seen in my career too many times someone who’s an absolute wizard in the martech stack put together beautiful theoretical nurture program against beautiful theoretical segments and then you just simply ask the question, “When was the last time you’ve met a customer?” And it’s never.  As marketers remember, we’re trying to form an emotional connection with people and the reason why we want that emotional connection is because the less people have that emotional connection they’re actually literally not going to act, they’re not going to purchase. Because all of the theoretical research shows the end of the day, you can do all of your online research, and you can use as much at your rational brain as possible.

But the moment that you click the buy, the moment that you actually sign up for that webinar, the moment that you actually agree to that meeting with that sales rep , the moment that you signed on the contract, all the rational side of your brain turns out, and it’s a complete emotional response and the emotional responses based on whatever feeling that you have about that brand based on how an individual made you feel, right? The sales rep. How do they make you feel? The inside sales person? Did they make you feel special? That marketer at the event? Did they make you feel special? If you didn’t do that that emotional side of the brain doesn’t kick in and people don’t actually really truly convert to revenue, and so, as a marketer, at the end of the day, never forget like the less, you know the customer and speak to the customer you won’t know what that emotional connection you’re trying to get — even when you’re automating things. It’s so critically important, and this is why, and it will probably get to this little bit later, some of the things that we need to start doing differently and B2B marketing.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, so I love the intersection of marketing and politics. I find the movement of the why and how you inspire people and how pulling at emotional heartstrings ultimately makes people make certain decisions. You don’t need to look that much further than the last presidential election to see that. The polls were off because people enter, regardless of how you feel politically, I could talk for hours on that just alone, but I won’t, but people went in, and for whatever reason they changed their mind they had this gut feeling — and in your right, we as we as marketers can learn from that.

How many times have we been in a room where you know, there’s a beautiful model and everything lines up perfectly on a spreadsheet for how we’re going to attack a new market in gain a certain percent adoption and is dozens or hundreds of millions of dollars and no one’s asked the question of why would someone actually do this? Like, what’s in it for the end user? Which is insane. But but that happens all too often.

Kevin Cochrane: But this is also the shift from inside-out thinking to outside in thinking. This is the shift and customer centricity and marketing which is get to the core pain that the individual fields and find a means and mechanism through your campaign efforts to surface that pain and help give voice to that pain and clarify what the implications of that pain are to the person so that they say, “God, you get me. You understand me, and you’re really hitting me where it hurts right now, and you can actually speak to my pain better than I can.” And then they trust you to do something about it.  And the intersection of marketing and politics is a fascinating one.

For many, many years I’ve actually believed good B2B campaigns need to be modeled like a political campaign. Because political campaign serves as a template for how you can do proper a B2B marketing. So, yeah, I couldn’t agree with more, and we definitely are going to have to go on a long run time sometime to talk about that egg.  Because there’s a profound implication and, much like yourself, I actually watched the last election season and prior election season as well and just look at it from the perspective of the marketing tactics, the language used, the way events are choreographed absolutely brilliant absolutely fascinating. There’s lessons and models to be learned for effective conveyance of emotions to get people to act for political campaigns — couldn’t agree more.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, so let’s dive into what you alluded to a moment ago. We’ve touched on some of the things, but what needs to change. So we talked about what we what we both love. Let’s move into the what disappoints us in our in our world these days.

Kevin Cochrane: Yeah, so I mean, I think there are three things in B2B marketing that kind of needs change. Number one, is I think in the shift to digital and the shift to become more, you know B2C centric, essentially, and how we drove our B2B marketing efforts, we’ve lost the inherent qualities of what made B2B different, which is a relationship affecting the human aspect and we’ve oversteered our investment in digital channels and we’re not making effective use of in-person meetings, in-person events and tying those two broader digital efforts — specifically around online communities.

Good B2B marketing still puts at its core, and its nucleus, the one-on-one physical engagement people look eye to eye with one another and having a real conversation. And I think that we have started to forget that. And events are always this thing over here, and then your campaigns are things over here, and more money is going over here because we can analyze it and report on it and we can actually document the attribution of it much more effectively than the random influence of we can do an event. We’ve got to be careful that we’re overcorrecting we can’t overcorrect.  The second thing is we’re not really thinking about the employee experience that powers that end customer experience. There are so many people that interact with the customer and that build upon and maintain the relationship that marketing may start. And as marketers, we need to take under our wing our sales professionals, our customer success professionals, our service professionals, our support professionals and we need to train them in the art of conversation. We need to train them how the how to continue the dialogue that we begin with the customer to make certain that at every point of interaction for the salesperson, the service person the support person that they are in effect growing and nurturing that relationship.

I think as marketers, we tend to stop our jobs after we hand over to our inside sales teams for we hand over to our AES and we don’t think holistically about how does that person in the customer success organization? Are they trained on how to speak customer do they actually know the difference between an Enterprise Architect and an IT Architect? They know what differences that those two individuals may have in their mind in terms of their career aspirations their professional aspirations, you name it, and can they speak to those? We have to help them so that they, in turn, can best help the customer. So that’s another thing that we as marketers change. And then the third thing that we as marketers need to change is our organizations — and we’ve talked about this before earlier. Too many marketers just hide behind the data right now, and as marketers, we need to be front and center, we need to be leading the charge. If a marketer cannot have a customer conversation that is a bad thing because how can that marketer then in turn support and train someone in sales, support and train someone in the support organization, support and train someone in the customer service organization? As marketers, we have to be the best at the art of the conversation with the customer. You have to know them personally, and we have to leverage that personal law of personal relationship in order to help fuel the conversations and relationships of others in the organization.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, I so strongly agree. You said something really interesting in there you mentioned into this customer-centric mindset that really needs to permeate, hopefully, the entire organization, I firmly believe it should start in marketing with though there is a difference of opinions there. I’ll tell you a crazy story, which I think you’ll find alarming, but we’ll see, is a friend of mine works in customer marketing for a very large successful tech company here in here in the Bay Area and their number one metric for success that they came up with as an organization to determine how appropriately, how successfully there they’re communicating with their existing customers was number was number of touches. So how often do we touch the customer?

And so what happened is you saw an in this in this company a 500 percent increase in the number of emails they sent. So, rather than worrying about the quality, how they’re treating their customers. So, they just started blasting their own customer base. It was a horrendous customer experience, but everyone made their bonuses because they hit they hit their milestone.

Kevin Cochrane: You did you were totally right. I mean, this is the same thing that we also did in marketing as well when we shifted to taking responsibility for pipeline. We started flooding the system with MQLs. MQL this, MQL that, everything was an MQL — we got double our bonus because we double our MWL because we spent a whole bunch of money on content syndication and we gamed the system. I mean, we got to talk about quality conversations with the customer that result in a successful deployment and a happy, loyal advocate. And, you know, I do think the strategy of making certain that we regularly engage with customers is absolutely essential, and it’s a metric that should be tracked but to your point, you know, it’s how you do it that matters.

Now, I’ll give you an example from my earlier days. So, you know prior to SAP, and prior to my time in several other places, I started my career as a co-founder of a company called Interwoven, right? And was there for 10 years and one of the hallmarks Interwoven was that we literally just knew our customers by name and we would engage them at a minimum every three months like regular clockwork. So, you know, one of the things very early in the day since 1999. We established user groups all around the planet. And we made certain that every quarter we were at those user groups, and we shook everybody’s hands, and we greeted them by their first name, and we remember who they were — even when we had thousands of customers around the globe. Like, we all knew each other, it was so critically important. So yeah, the level of engagement was really important. If we didn’t see someone at a user group for like two quarters that was worrisome — that was worrisome. Like where are they? Like, what’s wrong?

Joe Hyland: Right things not right, right.

Kevin Cochrane: We want to see them like if I don’t see you eye-to-eye, but I don’t see it at the user group, or if I don’t see it the latest executive event, if I don’t see you at the user conference if I don’t shake your hand and say are you okay? How are you doing? Then maybe something’s wrong, right? So I think that we all need to pay attention to levels of engagement for customers, but to your point, let’s do it right, let’s not blood emails and try to game the system.

Joe Hyland: Yeah. Well, I mean look at your role in your team. The fact that there’s a CMO in charge of customer experience —  five or ten years ago — I was I was never aware of such a title. I think so many marketers, you’re right, our jobs ended with hey, we got the MQLs over to the inside sales team, we’re done, and what happens when someone’s a customer, sorry, we’re responsible for getting new customers.  Talk about what that’s like because I think that shift alone can lead to the right types of behaviors that we all should encompass in our own marketing.

Kevin Cochrane: Yeah, know exactly. I mean, I actually liken customer experience to the third wave of digital transformation where the first wave of digital transformation was simply putting our presence online to support convenience of access to information about our products goods and services by the online consumer. That was all an era of brand marketing, you know, we wanted to protect our brand.

But in the second age of digital transformation where we rebuilt the entire enterprise web infrastructure stack, that was all about the shift to demand marketing, from brand marketing to demand marketing. And it was really catalyzed because you know, frankly, in the financial crisis the economic outlook was turbulent at best and with poor revenue outlook and potentially flat to declining margins because people needed to lower prices in order to get consumers to spend because consumers were reluctant to spend because their 401Ks tanked, their home values tanked and, you know, maybe they lost their job, suddenly, you know, stock prices were declining. And what happens in that particular case is then people want to boost growth, and the entire digital marketing industry was based on the premise that we need to accelerate customer acquisition because it was all of that spend two thousand nine ten, eleven twelve, all of the martech investments that were funded by VCs were all predicated on the notion of we need to boost revenue by accelerating customer acquisition because it was all driven during the recovery from the financial crisis.

So we are here today because we are still in the overhang that fundamental shift to digital marketing which is all predicated on customer acquisition. But here now in this third wave, which I would argue is just starting right now, it’s we’re returning the art of marketing, we’re returning more to the side of brand marketing, and I like to refer to it as connecting communities, right?

So, from building the brand to driving demand to connecting communities, which is gathering people, right, our customers, our prospects and connecting with them in an authentic way around their personal hopes, dreams, needs, and aspirations, and helping them achieve that day in and day out in their daily lives. And this is fundamentally what’s re-inventing businesses, because suddenly, you know if you’re you know, my favorite coffee company, Starbucks, you can knock me on Starbucks, I am such an advocate — it’s crazy, I go there four times a day. They understand that what I’m looking to do every morning when I get up is I’m looking to have a great start to my day, so they make it super fast, super easy and super convenient for me to never miss a meeting, never miss my time to work because now they let me preorder on my mobile phone and simply walk in and pick up my coffee — it’s fricken fantastic. They’re reinventing their business model in new services to deliver value to me to live my daily life in a faster and more convenient way, right?  And so as marketers we’re redefining our brand promise, right? To connect with our communities and then, day in and day out as marketers, we’re basically showing how that we add more value to their lives. So, I do think that this new wave of digital transformation really puts markers at the forefront to be the ambassadors for the customers to be the voice of the customer and to help educate everyone in the organization to understand how does the brand promise improve people’s lives on a daily basis such that they want to come back again, and again, and again and again?

Joe Hyland: Yeah. I love that. There’s probably no better time, I think, I mean we have no choice were in marketing today, it is what it is, but I think there’s no better time to be to be a marketer. And you’re right, when you talked about the second wave of accelerating revenue, there were. I think beautiful things about it and the obvious slippery slopes. Well, what I thought was great is marketers really became core to growing the business in phase one where it was, I say just brand it’s not necessarily meant to be a negative thing, but you know marketers weren’t necessarily quarter driving growth in all scenarios. Phase two where you talked about, yes, I totally agree. I think it went too far, you know, the explosion of inside sales and SDR departments — a pet peeve of mine — and I’m not really sure if that’s the best customer experience have a 23-year-old just lighting up your prospective customers with ten calls in a week. But yeah, I agree, we’re now moving into this nice mix of a true art of marketing where you have the elements of branding. I think marketers are core to growth still, which is phenomenal and marketers are so strategic. But what you just said about Starbucks, back to the core tenets that you talked about at the start of the show is knowing why someone does what they what they do. I mean, knowing what inspires people — Starbucks does that better than better than most companies.

Kevin Cochrane: That’s right, exactly. As marketers, if you can’t figure out what inspires your customers at a very deep emotional level to react positively or brand — not just once but you know time and time again — go back and think harder and think harder by actually walking in the shoes of your customer and spending time with them.  And I couldn’t agree with you more, by the way, on the whole, SDR model, and, you know what, an SDR model, done correctly, you know, if you’re 23 years old, there’s nothing more fascinating than to get on the phone with the CIO and listen and learn and ask questions, you know, “What’s going on in your world?” And then just be upfront honest. If the CIO, the CMO starts telling you there are challenges, if you train the SDR properly, the SDR could say, you know, you know ma’am, sir, unfortunately, I can’t help you there. Or, potentially, they can.  Now I’ll tell you I start my career, when I was 23 years old, I was a Management Consultant before I did my Interwoven gig. I was a Management Consultant and the way I basically did financial models for mergers and acquisitions, and so, basically, I had to come up with all of the inputs on market size, market growth rates, competitive profiling and so and so forth.

Joe Hyland: That sounds fun work project.

Kevin Cochrane: Yes. Oh my God, they were crazy. They were called grenades because they would blow up in your face because they would take over your life 20 hours days. But what I did was — and these were like weird markets like centrifuges, you know industrial mixers, things that there was no research on, right? And so what you have to do is you have to build up a list of like 300 people you would need to call, like a product manager, CEOs of all the businesses and you just have to engage them. And then, you just have to ask yourself, “Well, how do you do that?” Well, you just show curiosity like, “I’m interested. Hey, I just want to know more about your business like tell me what you can, and in return, I’ll share with you all the insights I gained from my research.”  So, an SDR model done right leverages that unique curiosity as a team. Lean in with that curiosity and make sure that they can understand what the customer is saying and they can relate it to something that you can either do or not do and then train them to be up front and honest. Because, to your point, I think an SDR model done wrong is you give the SDR a script you flood ’em with MQLs, go through this script and then try to punch out as many first level meetings as possible. If they’re just trying to punch out first level meetings and they’re not trying, themselves understand listen and learn and try to relate to a customer problem and how we might solve it, then the model is broken. It doesn’t work.

Joe Hyland: Yeah. Now you are you’re totally right and it’s looking at the wrong metrics, right? Like if you’re if you’re looking if you’re so short-term focused that — and let’s face it, every business wants to grow — you got to have a long-term view and short-term metrics can kill you.

Kevin Cochrane:  That’s bingo out. Nothing more to say on that.

Joe Hyland: So we’ll end with the topic that I love, and I get asked a lot is what’s the best path? Like, how did you know? How did Joe how did you become a head of marketing Kevin? We know, how did you get here? You talked about management consulting, and then I think you had a decade-long run as an entrepreneur. You know, were you running marketing, where you were marketing report into you? How did how did you get this level of passion and knowledge? For your craft?

Kevin Cochrane:Yeah, I mean and if it’s going to sound like totally try it actually comes from deep customer knowledge and intimacy. So, in my management consulting days, basically, I wound up being the go-to person that everyone wanted to have on their team because within two to three weeks I would know the customer because I would literally call like 300 of them on the phone and interview them, right? And then when I went to Silicon Valley in 1996 like May of 1996, I didn’t know Tech at all. Like, I know nothing. The Apache web server had just been released, and two hundred engineers in a garage got some seed funding from local VC firm that wanted to invent a new category of software called web content management, and, you know, I literally just said, “Look, I don’t know anything and I have no qualifications to be a product manager, I said, but what I can do for you is you guys have this kind of goal to like, you know, help people build websites.” I said, “I’ll just go interview every single person in the Fortune 500, every single CIO, every single architect of this interview and then I’ll help write down what their requirements are and coalesce those into a document that maybe you can actually use to build a product.” And that’s what I did for 10 years is just I was always in front of a customer talking and listening and learning and then going back — that was my day job was to be out in front of the customer.

My night job was I would sit with engineers and pizza until midnight literally every single night saying here are the customer conversations I had today. And just over time what that translated into was just running … eventually, CMO is super easy because then you are just saying look, “I’m the customer advocate.” Like, you know, I just love talking to customers. I know what’s inspiring them.  So I would just encourage anyone the right path can be any one of several. You can start and pre-sales, you can start in inside sales, you can start in marketing, you can start in a customer success team. If you are the biggest champion of your customers if you are the person that has the most curiosity if you’re the person who really cares about the customer at such as deep level about you, know what emotionally ties into brand your CMO material. And it doesn’t matter where you start you can start from any place — it’s just you gotta be that customer evangelist at the end of the day.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, well, that’s a perfect way to end because you are 100 percent right. Great marketing is about knowing your end-user, knowing what keeps them up at night, what pains they have and hopefully delivering a message in the product that that will help address that. So, Kevin, this was this was fantastic. I really appreciate you doing this while you’re on the road and we’ll continue the conversation over a run.

Kevin Cochrane: Great, thank so much, Joe. It was great meeting you and thanks so much for allowing me to join the conversation today, I enjoyed it a lot.

Joe Hyland:  Awesome. Thanks.

Three Ways of Securing Marketing Interest and Consent in the GDPR World

This article was originally published on martechadvisor.com. 

Even though it’s been months since the GDPR legislation went into effect, there are still no shortage of things about the regulation that are confusing. But perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the European Union’s data regulation bill is the cloud that surrounds the “legitimate interests” and the gaining consent piece of GDPR.

The exact wording goes like this:

“[Data] [p]rocessing will be lawful if it is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of Personal Data, in particular where the data subject is a child.”

This passage raises more questions than it answers: After all, what does legitimate interest constitute, how can companies acquire or measure this interest, and how should they engage if they have gotten this consent?

It’s quite the minefield for marketers to navigate, and the stakes are higher than ever. A wrong turn in the past meant you irritated customers. A wrong turn in the GDPR world spells potential legal action and fines.

Like any marketing company, we at ON24 were initially concerned that GDPR could potentially cut into market-qualified leads and reduce pipeline. But once we dug deeper, we gained a better perspective: we now think of GDPR as an opportunity to better organize our data and shorten our marketing funnel, by engaging with folks who are genuinely interested in our offerings.

More than anything, we see GDPR as a shift. Previously, the burden was on consumers: Consumers who wanted to protect their data had to go to great lengths to stay off irresponsible sites, create and maintain settings that ensured privacy, and generally stay vigilant about where their data was floating around on the web. Now, the burden has shifted to companies. Businesses are required to be vigilant in correctly interpreting and adhering to GDPR, and properly gaining consent or legitimate interests before processing consumer data.

So how does a marketer do it?

Engaging Through Interactive Content

We think the answer is simpler than most realize: if you act like a human, you can gain and keep consent. If you make your content interactive, thoughtfully engage your prospects and customers throughout the funnel, you’ll not only gain consent — you’ll earn their trust and business.

For example, you might take advantage of a feature such as a chatbot. The advantages of chatbots are that they provide tailored, personalized communication with customers. The goal of many chatbots are to engage customers, learn information about them, and help move them further along the sales funnel. They’re an effective marketing tool when consumers visit a website, as they provide an immediate call to action, can help uncover why a prospect is interested in a certain offering, and help direct them to other web pages that might be useful.

But in the sense of GDPR, chatbots will be extremely useful in gauging interest or acquiring consent from consumers. Chatbots can be easily programmed to direct customers to a privacy policy, ask them if they’d like to opt-in, and empower customers to have their data forgotten or retrieved in a few quick keystrokes.

Webinars are another potential avenue. Online events can bring not only tailored and personalized to specific audiences, like bots, but they bring a more human aspect to the engagement. Individual participants, for example, can ask questions to the presenter in real-time, and responses to surveys and questions can help guide the discussion or presentation, providing a nearly limitless audience with multiple touchpoints to gain consent. They can provide an even more human touch to them – as the presenter can ask attendees for consent at the right juncture, and explain why it would be helpful for the attendees to provide this.

Develop a “Freemium” Marketing Model

There are so many businesses that have set their business model up as “freemium” – which is where a customer gets access to certain features free of charge, with the goal being that the product will be so useful that they will pay for a premium version of the product later on. It’s a model that’s helped drive the success of tech titans like Box, Spotify, Hootsuite, SurveyMonkey, Evernote, and more.

Marketers should use a similar model in their marketing approach, with the goal being not to upsell a prospect, but rather to gain their consent. For example, a marketer could offer a webinar or whitepaper that’s open to everyone. But they could also install a real-time Q&A widget — where a customer would need to provide consent in order to ask a question or to sign up for a newsletter.

The main goal should not be to gain consent right away, but just to gain it at some point. Marketers should trust that if they’re doing their job well, prospects will find their content useful and be happy to provide their consent at some point of the customer journey. But it’s all about finding the right time and natural touchpoint to make this ask.

Create Natural Places for Customer Consent

If you’re in a conversation with a friend or colleague, and you have an important question to ask – you don’t just ask them at the outset of the conversation. No, you wait for a natural place in the conversation, and once the conversation has gotten close to that topic, or there’s a segway into the question, you ask the question. It makes the conversation more comfortable as you’ve have built up to the point where the question feels organic.

GDPR has underscored the fact that a consumer’s data is personal. Think of asking for someone’s email address, data, or consent in marketing as a personal question in marketing. There is a time and place for these asks. If you have a customer who has initially downloaded a piece of gated content or signed up for a newsletter, for example, that follow up email could be a natural place to ask for consent. Or it could be after a customer has used a certain keyword with a chatbot, a keyword that indicates they’re interested in your offerings.

No matter your industry, you should work to ensure that you’re asking for consent in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive or out of left field. If you’re seeing a lot of individuals in your funnel, but not providing their consent – that could indicate you’re doing it at an odd time in the buying process.

As a marketer, you know your buying cycle better than anyone else and what touchpoints would be a natural fit to ask for consent.

Clearly, GDPR has made all of us re-evaluate how we market to customers. But rather than seeing it as a burden, marketers should embrace the opportunity to rethink how they can effectively engage. In many ways, GDPR is a forcing function for making marketers do something we should have been doing on our own a long time ago: effectively marketing and securing legitimate interest.

How Three Fortune Future 50 Winners Innovate with ON24

Every year, Fortune publishes its Fortune Future 50 list, a compendium of the top companies destined to shape our future. For us at ON24, it’s an incredible honor to play a small part in the success stories of our customers on the list, ServiceNow, NVIDIA and SalesForce. A huge congratulations to them and all our fast-moving webinerds!

After all, helping companies accelerate their growth is what ON24 is all about. We’ve built the ON24 Engagement Platform to empower marketers to move at the speed of innovation, get to market fast and accelerate pipeline through data-rich webinars and interactive content. In fact, SiriusDecisions says that webinar marketing is the best way to start deals and keep them moving.

Here’s a shout-out to celebrate just a few of the Fortune Future 50 we’re thrilled to call members of our webinerd family:

ServiceNow

ServiceNow is an industry leader in cloud-based IT service management with an outstanding 97 percent retention rate. Its webinar program is just as successful, with its webinars hosting 3,000 to 4,000 attendees at a time. The company also takes the long-view approach to its webinars, with an expert use of ON24 Gateway for on-demand, Netflix-stye viewing.

Salesforce

For the B2B world, there no other company like Salesforce. Focused on delivering superior customer relationship everything, Salesforce takes a strong unified approach in both its business and its webinars. Just check out its on-demand page, where it has countless webinars to watch or check out how they craft their webinar program with our on-demand webinar, “Building Killer Webinars at Salesforce.”

NVIDIA

NVIDIA went from creating graphics processor units for video game consoles and computers to powering the artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle and virtual reality booms in record time. NIVIDA’s webinars, too, have had their own boom, with one dedicated person scaling its webinar marketing program to meet global demand and boost pipeline. Later this month, we’re going to sit down with NIVIDA’s webinar guru, Cassandra Clark, to see how she organizes the growing company’s webinars. Register now and save your spot.

To get the webinerd skills you need to make the list next year, please join us and these winners at our annual user conference Webinar World.

It’s a Webinerd World

Looking for great webinar guidance? Get the freshest webinar tactics and strategies at Webinar World 2019.

I am sitting on a plane from London to San Francisco, on the way home from the final Webinar World of 2018 — and what a year it’s been. This is the second year of Webinar World and the eighth event globally. There were Webinar World conferences in San Francisco, London, Sydney and Singapore. When our CMO, Joe Hyland, first had the idea for this event, we all thought he was crazy. A conference about webinars? Will anyone even come? Our inaugural event in San Francisco two years ago shocked us all. Hundreds of people showed up from all over the world. There were people from Europe, Asia and even a woman from Africa, for again, a conference about…webinars. Why?

I go to a lot of marketing conferences, some are better than others, but if there is one thing they all have in common is that they are very general in their purpose. There are conferences about inbound marketing, marketing automation, content marketing and just plain marketing-marketing. My biggest frustration about these conferences is that you never go very deep on any subject. Instead, you spend a few days hearing high-level generalities like “tell a story” or “know your customer.” Not exactly the kind of guidance that is going to take your programs to the next level.

I think that’s what made Webinar World different. It’s an event that is focused on a very specific skill set, and a critical part of most companies marketing success. Instead of lofty abstractions, people were learning best practices and practical guidance on how to create awesome webinars — and frankly awesome marketing. But what we didn’t realize was that webinars were not just an important part of these people’s jobs, webinars were also something they were really passionate about.

To capture this passion, we came up with the term “Webinerds.” At first, it was just a funny idea for some t-shirts and a hashtag, but something happened: people went crazy for the term, and soon, marketers around the globe were proudly identifying themselves as “webinerds,” sharing their own best practices and showing off their latest webinars. It took on a life of its own and became a real community.

With each Webinar World conference this year, Webinerd fever grew. It was so inspiring to hear stories from marketers proudly talking about their latest event or some new element they added to their webinars. I heard stories about new presentation formats, creative uses of video and gamification. Many companies were moving from one-off webinars to branded series with hosts and stage sets — really cool stuff. Last year, companies were mostly focused on fundamentals like driving registration and console building. This year, the focus has shifted to creating really immersive, engaging audience experiences. It’s been fun to watch this evolution.

As I think about this, I realize that Webinar World is really serving two purposes. Webinar marketing has become an incredibly valuable skill set. Anyone who is really good at it will always be desirable to their current and future employers. Companies love people who have the skills to build such impactful marketing. But there is something else…

Webinars are something you can really be proud of. Most of us got into marketing to be creative people that build cool shit. But as marketing has gone digital, a lot of the cool factor has gone away. It’s hard to get a lot of personal satisfaction from a good SEO result or an email campaign, but delivering an awesome webinar is such a great feeling. It’s something that you can be really proud of. Webinerds are increasingly becoming the rock stars of their marketing departments.

So you see, it’s a Webinerd World. A hashtag has turned into a community and a movement. And I, for one, can’t wait to see where we go from here.

I guess we will find out at Webinar World 2019.

Interested in what Webinar World has to offer? Check out Webinar World on demand here and register for Webinar World 2019