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What’s your role and please describe your career journey to date.
I have worked in marketing since graduation from University, over 20 years ago.
From 2005-06 I developed a bias towards CRM when I installed a system and managed it at that employer. Then from 2007 I worked as an e-strategist at an agency, and was trying back then to convey the benefits that digital had to, an often cynical, audience.
I joined OCLC, and through my preference towards digital I’ve progressed to this role where, although EMEA in title, covers pretty much the whole globe outside of the Americas, the global headquarters are in the US.
How important is martech to your organisation and team?
It’s crucial. Especially now with the pivot from physical to digital. We have always relied heavily on events, but we were already on a trajectory of integrating a digital marketing technology spine which has really served us well as we’ve had to move quickly to an emphasis on digital touchpoints over physical ones.
In the absence of having those physical touchpoints and experiences with customers now you need marketing technology more than ever to deliver those experiences digitally.
And those digital experiences with your brand are crucial along the customer journey. Arguably, as important as the product itself. And Marketing need to manage these customer experiences.
We are trying to shift mindset towards thinking about how digital supports the entire customer journey, as opposed to how it supports individual siloed campaigns.
Which technologies make up your martech spine?
We use a number of products from the Salesforce stable including Marketing Cloud and Pardot. Our instance of Pardot has several connectors in place to event, webinar, video hosting and digital ad applications.
We also use a social media management platform and an email preference management tool. Both are connected to Pardot. In addition, we use a number of reporting tools to help us make sense of all the data we collect.
Having everything connected like this is key to getting a 360-degree view of our customer engagement with our brand and reducing any digital blind spots. Customers have more than one inbox, so it is important to supplement email engagement with social media interaction.
This approach helps us to perfect our digital interactions with them, insuring they are personalised and contextual.
How has your martech setup evolved or improved over the months and years, has there been a driver for this?
We have been driven by the objective of linking marketing to ROI, providing a tangible, demonstrable return for marketing spend. We are a not-for profit membership organisation so delivering value for our marketing spend is key.
As a marketing function we want to be a dedicated channel for growth within the business and not a cost centre. Throughout my career I’ve always sought to have that alignment with Sales and demonstrate marketing ROI. I would say its thanks to our use of marketing automation and our work with Clevertouch that I have seen more progress in this area over the last 2 years than in the last 20.
Clevertouch has really helped us hone our reporting and has help us to point to the marketing contribution and influence to revenues. Aligning Pardot to Salesforce has helped us align the marketing and sales funnels – aligning marketing touches all along the journey as prospects move along that path from brand engagement to product purchase.
If we extrapolate that trend going forward, I’ll say we want to work on getting more nuanced on our attribution to really see which channels are giving us the best value, but also, to be able to move beyond demonstrating return and be able to build up a base of knowledge we can use to drive decisions proactively. To become more predictive in our analytics of our Marketing activities. How to answer questions such as: What will be successful in this campaign? And, If we want to get more success which channel do we divert our budget to?
Then you can get into conversations where Marketing has actual revenue targets and you move beyond looking in the rear view mirror, and you are more proactive in the business with Sales leadership and the CFO. This can help drive conversations around marketing budget linking it to forecasted returns.
What has the technology given you?
What the technology has helped us to do is move forward from a crude campaign framework approach to really look at our data and become more sophisticated in our attempts and approach to matching the right content, to the right person at the right time via the right channel.
Marketing also must be consensual. That’s critical in terms of that contextual engagement. All of these elements are vital if you are to get your content in front of the right person. Additionally, any content needs to provide value. It should help prospects form their thinking around a challenge or pain point. It should then move them to the next stage in their journey. We look to meet prospects with relevant digital messages at opportune moments along their journey, not to sell, but to provide them with value, so that ultimately when they are ready, hopefully they will reward us with their business.
All along that journey we’re getting data. Marketers love data. But they too often fall into the trap of reporting and analysing the wrong things. Vanity Metrics. It’s the David Ogilvy quote ‘Do you count the people you reach or reach the people that count?’
We use the data for greater personalisation and to improve subsequent brand experiences and that’s the important bit. Looking forward, what I think will become important for everyone is Artificial Intelligence because as you ramp up the volume of data, you’ll need AI to interrogate the data and make recommendations.
What advice would you give others looking to deploy and advance their careers in martech?
Anyone that’s currently looking to deploy martech itself within a business, needs to obtain senior leadership buy in and support from the start, because true digital transformation is seismic. It’s a big shift, a paradigm shift for many businesses and you need that support from the top down.
It requires new business models and touches many different departments. You need buy-in from C-level right through Support, Operations, Product Development as well, all of whom you’ll be working with on this journey. And most important, of course is the buy-in from Sales. Ultimately it is Sales who will benefit most from the greater qualification and acceleration of opportunities.
Anyone who is looking to build their career through martech should really stake their careers on organisations who are willing to make this change and support them in the journey.
Our leadership have been very supportive from day one. They’ve bought in and been involved all along the way. The data we’ve collected in the earlier phases has provided the proof needed to continue the investment as we define our martech path.
Anyone getting into this field has got to be comfortable with constant change and constant learning. You have to be constantly curious and always looking to improve the experience with your customer. You have got to have that day one mentality. You’ve got to be pushing yourself constantly and you’ve got be to learning on the job. And always communicate constantly within the business your successes and the benefits what you are doing is bringing. This ensures ongoing support.