Going ‘back to basics’ with your B2B Marketing strategy – Anvi Bui (S1, Ep7)

When building B2B Marketing campaigns, it’s very easy to get caught up in the newest frameworks and shiniest technologies as the best route to deliver the results we all crave, but the fact is that no tool, however complex and clever, will make a difference if you haven’t covered the basics. Join us as marketing technology expert Anvi Bui teams up with Enrico to talk us through the basic foundations of a successful B2B Marketing Strategy, provide some real world examples and encourage us to wear that ‘I am basic’ badge with pride.



Enrico Brosio (00:13):

Hello, and welcome to a new episode of Funnelocity, the B2B podcast, that aims to bring you real talk around the different strategies that help you build a high-performance sales and marketing funnel. I’m Enrico, president of market one and your host. And for today’s episode, we’re literally going back to basics – in this case, the basic foundations of a successful B2B marketing strategy. It’s very easy to get caught up in the newest frameworks and shiniest technologies as the way to deliver the results that we all crave, desperately searching for that killer app. But the fact is that no tool, however complex and clever will make a difference if you don’t have some of the basics covered. To look into these basics in more detail and understand exactly how important they are, I’m delighted to welcome Anvi Bui. Anvi is a marketing technology expert known for leading transformative programs at some of the world’s largest companies. She has worked on both agency and client side through her experience at Harte Hanks and Cisco. Whether she’s designing and executing a digital campaign or speaking at industry events like Dreamforce and Modern X or guest lecturing at universities Anvi’s mission is to help businesses implement industry leading CX programs, understand their customer needs and surpass their growth goals by leveraging data technology and the right mix of resources. Welcome Anvi.

Anvi Bui (01:37):

Hello, thanks very much. So yeah, first I wanted to thank you for that wonderful intro Enrico and, thanks to the entire market one team who put together this podcast. It’s an amazing idea, and I wish I came up with it!

Enrico (01:55):

Well thank you again for joining us, so yeah, let’s dig into it. Let’s start by looking at these foundations: what would you say are the key elements of a winning B2B marketing strategy?

Anvi (02:08):

So I would say in its most basic form foundationally, I’ll break it into three categories, CX, Analytics and Technology. And so what that means is that for CX the foundation would be things like customer journey blueprinting, for Analytics it would be data and KPI definition, and for Technology that would be automation mapping or feasibility analysis with it.

Enrico (02:41):

And why do you come up with these three? You know, why do you feel like these are the most important and is there in your mind an order of priority amongst them?

Anvi (02:51):

Sure. So I would say that they’re critical because all of the other sort of shiny and fancy programs, or marketing tactics that you launch are at risk of underperforming or really providing inconclusive results if you don’t have these sort of foundational pieces in place to set you up for success. So to me, it’s like being so focused on throwing a really big fancy party with an ice sculpture that looks really cool that you forget something as basic as ordering food or drinks.

Enrico (03:28):

All right. And do you want to perhaps walk us through a bit more detail about these three? I love the, you know, the CX, the Analytics, the technology – let’s dig into each one of these three.

Anvi (03:40):

Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, I do believe that they’re all equally important. They’re sort of, you know, the three Musketeers, the unseparables, that make up that really strong digital marketing strategy at any business. For CX that’s really because designing programs for everyone just doesn’t work, at least it doesn’t work well. And in today’s world of really mandatory, personalized marketing that you always hear about, businesses, they really should be defining their audiences. They should be drilling down into personas and that can be translated to customer journey blueprints. And doing that really will allow you to know who you’re trying to target with your programs and how to do so most effectively to deliver the experience that your customer is expecting. So that’s the CX part of it. And then for analytics, in short it’s, because it’s going to demystify the work that you’re doing, and it helps really answer what is working and what is not working.

So without an understanding of your data or your analytics strategy, you won’t actually know what you’re trying to achieve with your campaigns. You’re not really able to confirm if they correlated with what you were trying to achieve or hypothesize would happen. And you’re not really able to make those business decisions to move the needle toward success. And actually, you won’t even know what success should look like. And then for the technology part of it, really all of the marketing and the sales strategy in the world is not going to help if you don’t have the right tools to implement it or the right people to really map those tools to your existing business processes and goals, and then to execute it and to make sure that it’s actually technically feasible. So that’s where those technical teams come in. So just remember that automation platforms, they’re there to help companies simplify and to work smarter, not harder.

Enrico (05:41):

I love that. Absolutely. And maybe a couple of questions, let’s go back to the top of the very first one, the CX side of it. And, you know, you did mention mapping customer journey blueprints, you know, at MarketOne, we call this customer journey segmentation, and it’s absolutely fundamental, foundational to any planning exercise we do. But how would you approach that, how would you kind of demystify this aspect of it?

Anvi (06:12):

I would definitely start with what you currently have. I would try to piece out your strategy in a way where it’s more palatable. And by that, I mean, you know, the saying of trying don’t boil the entire ocean. And so for me, it’s really what data do you currently have on your existing customers, and then trying to identify a target that you can start working with. So if you have journey managers or product owners or somebody who understands a product or your customer in a way, that can be a great starting point. So having an interview with them, and starting to create these personas of who your target audience is for each specific product, that’s a great way for you to start blueprinting. So that means actually starting to identify characteristics of what that persona is, their pain points and really what they’re trying to solve for when they come to your company, what your product does for them, really even just identifying characteristics of who they are, right? Like what they do for a living. So once you kind of have that, you can start to attach the data that you have, and that’s when you can start building your segments. That’s when you can start doing something like creating a CX journey map all the way through their buying cycle or their through their life cycle, from initial education, where does this persona go to find their information, what are they looking at when it’s time for them to purchase? So at that point of purchase, you know, what are their pain points then? What kind of resources can you create around that time to help get them past that sticky point all the way through renewal. So at that point of renewal for that customer and that part of their cycle of their journey, what do they want, what do they need, what are their pain points then? And ideally you have some data to work with to where your product managers, or again, your journey managers, can have something to start pulling in or identifying gaps of “we have no idea where this customer is at, at this point”, and you know you need to go do data homework. So whether that’s bringing in third-party data, or doing additional research or consumer research and market research, that’s where you need to fill in that gap. But ultimately the outcome of that would be that sort of customer journey blueprint.

Enrico (08:43):

So interestingly, the number of times you mentioned data specifically, in this first basic step, because I agree it is fundamental and I’m surprised data itself isn’t in its own step, if you will, and broken out. You kind of started talking about under analytics, right. To be able to start measuring, and knowing, you know, am I moving the needle in the right areas? So maybe we can talk a little bit more about data, cause I’d be curious to know what, not everyone’s going to have massive budgets to go out and do mass, you know, big purchases of data. But what do you think, where does someone start or how does someone really get on the road, a strong kind of, um, yeah. Roadmap for, for building out those customer profiles? Perhaps you can speak to that a little bit.

Anvi (09:42):

I would, I think that the sort of sounding note throughout this, throughout our call today is just always going to be in terms of keeping things basic, and the foundational route that you can take. So even with data, which to your point is a very large topic and, you know, everybody’s just buzzing all around it. I always go back to basics on that in regards to what data do you currently have, and even from, you know, having the data to help, with educated decisions around building that CX journey blueprint for the, for the data aspect of it. I think what data do you currently have to influence whatever sort of strategy or campaign you’re trying to do? So in order to come at it in a really foundational, basic way, I say, what do you currently have? What does your sort of existing data environment look like and identify just a handful of data points, so maybe about five that you want to really focus in on, and that that’s where you’re getting, you can go through that exercise of field completeness. You can run a field completeness report and say, you know, 80% of our database is missing company. How will we ever do Account Based Marketing? Right. So even being able to identify that, helps you get a little bit closer to say, “Oh man, we really wanted to do, targeted, account type marketing at the end of FY21, but we can’t do that because we don’t have that data.” So, you know, part of your data plan throughout the year will be to get company data, to enrich that information, whether it’s creating forms or, you know, updating your existing form to make that a required field, or to again, go out and use a third party product to actually enrich your existing database.

I would say focus on roughly five or, or just a palatable number of data points that tie to the goals that you have as a company, and then focus on enriching that, focus on how much data do I have. Is it usable? And then I think that that’s how you can, from a foundational standpoint, look at data strategy versus thinking, I need large volumes of data. I need a million contacts in my database. For me. I don’t see that as a volume game, unless that’s part of your core competency as some kind of data enrichment company. But, you know, for the most part, if you’re not that that level of a company you don’t need that you really don’t.

Enrico (12:18):

Yeah. So gosh, so many thoughts just come into my mind. And, you know, when we sit down with clients and start talking about their customer journey maps, and the kind of marketing they ideally want to do, and segmenting, there’s always there’s always a hope and desire and vision to be, able to really carve up the database into all these different buckets, to do some really targeted, targeted marketing, obviously to push up the relevance. But then when you get to the data, you realize that you don’t have any of those, or you’re missing so many fields, right? And so you have to initially dumb it down. So we end up having this kind of crawl, walk, run, and a flight path at which you try to over time, build up the customer profile, and build up those gaps, as you say in the database, so that you can become more targeted and you can build out those customer journey maps in greater detail. So now we’ve got the blueprints, we’ve got the data that we have, and now we want to go and put some campaigns into market. From a metrics tracking, KPI measurement perspective, there’s obviously so many things we can, we can measure, you know, activity, pipeline revenue. So where would you, what do you think are the fundamentals from an analytics perspective, what are the kind of KPIs that everybody absolutely can and should measure from the get-go?

Anvi (14:05):

So I always feel like this answer is a little, it’s a little bit of a loaded question in the sentence where I think that, you know, others are expecting this like secret sauce and all of these numbers, and then you just start running, right? Like they’re, they’re past crawl, they’re not running, they’re sprinting and they want to know, like, what are we measuring? How do we do this? And in reality, I always like to, again, bring people back to that sort of foundational of understanding where their business is trying to go and where they’re trying to grow. So even within the marketing organization, are you trying to tie it to revenue? You know, are you actually trying to do some level of closed loop reporting where you need to be able to say, you know, this campaign led to this opportunity closing, whatever that is, and that’s where you’re going to have to make sure your systems are aligned, your sales team is aligned and your marketing team is aligned to have that entire workflow built out from a business side, and from the system side, to be able to give you the KPI of, you know, we know because we’ve increased revenues by X percent. For me, I think that foundationally, I always say again, where’s your company trying to go, but for each of those campaigns that you define, what is the customer’s CTA, what is their call to action, because that’s really what you should be measuring against, and then that allows you to also know from a campaign performance perspective, if it wasactually effective if it actually worked. So if your CTA for that campaign, your call to action for that customer was to actually increase usage of their product. Let’s say that you are a company where your, where your customers are logging in, you need them to take certain actions their call to action within that campaign that you run could actually be, we need them to log in for the first time. That is how we know that our product is successful. They took this action within the product itself. Maybe they, they ran a report, which is an indicator of success for us. Our product managers told us, according to the blueprint that when they run their first report, there’s an 80% chance that if you increase that down the line, they will renew their contract, whatever that is, right? So you have a basis of something to tie to that’s your KPI is, did that occur, which allows you to also tie to other things like, let’s say that you actually do have that renewal campaign or that renewal initiative, your KPI for that actually is renewables, right?

That actually does tie to that sort of tangible touchable number of, we did these actions with this costumer multitouch throughout their life cycle, and that led to them renewing. So that decreased our attrition at our company by X percent. And those are the numbers that you can get to as opposed to things like, you hear me not say a thousand click throughs or, you know, a million opens or whatever that is like possibly, right? Like if you demand activity, if you in work demand gen and you need to increase awareness or engagement in that way, then that’s your KPI. Right? But there is no to me, blanket statement of here are the things you latch on to. I think everybody wants to go towards that sexy revenue and I increased this, or just high volumes of click throughs or engagement or activity when in reality, I think that it’s so individualistic, the goal of what you’re trying to get to for those campaigns that you tie those, those CTAs or those, those behaviors that you’re trying to get that customer to do. That’s your indicator of success, because that’s what you were trying to get that customer to do. And at the end of it, you can say my campaign was quote, unquote successful, or it correlated positively to this behavior that we were trying to drive them to do.

Enrico (17:58):

The cause and effect was evident. Yeah, that’s interesting. And, going back to, I guess the previous conversation around data, presumably some KPI around marketable database is also a good measurement of how we’re doing and, and, you know, the completeness of fields and that data health, if you will. So you take that together with engagement and then impact to perhaps either pipeline or revenue, and you’ve got a nice kind of one, two, three levels of KPIs that you can then use to monitor, uh, how you’re doing across, you know, across the board.

Anvi (18:43):

Absolutely. And I think that’s a really good call out because that exercise that you just talked through, there is one way of saying that – let’s say that you are in an organization or at a company where you do need to tie it back to, let’s say kind of brass tacks numbers in that way. And let’s say that it is a data team or a data organization where they don’t want to be seen as a cost center. And they want to be able to say that we can actually tie it back to value to the company in a specific way. That’s where, like you said, marketable database. If, quarter over quarter, year over year, you are getting more targeted, in a way you’re saving money by not having to have a million contacts or 10 million contacts in your database. You’re really paring it down and not paying for the ones that you’re not using and getting really smart with the ones that you currently have. So you’re saving money that way. And that’s yet another goal. So there are ways I think that you can start with that approach, that this is where I’m trying to get it to. I do think that that’s where you can get those sort of quantifiable KPIs.

Enrico (19:57):

Exactly. Awesome. Well then let’s move to the third one, the technology, I wanted to ask a question around this, cause this is where we’ve all seen, you know, Scott Brinker’s landscape and there’s so many technologies out there, and this question actually goes beyond just marketing technology, but in general, to actually drive demand, what do you think are the basic elements of a good starting tech stack for an organization?

Anvi (20:23):

Yeah, that was a good shout out, Scott’s a great guy. Just seeing that landscape change so dramatically from when he first published, it is just jaw-dropping. Every year, the icons get smaller and smaller and smaller, and he now calls it the super graphic and it’s just, I’m not sure how we’re going to be able to see it, you know, five years from now without some kind of microscope.

Enrico (20:53):

Well, my hope is that there’s going to start being some consolidation.

Anvi (20:57):

Well, it’s a great hope for sure! So yeah, I’m going to break that down into a couple of different perspectives. So from just a pure foundational standpoint, I do see most companies that I work with, whether or not they’re SMBs, whether they’re enterprise, whatever it is, you’re going to have some kind of data environment. So you could use Hadoop or snowflake or whatever it is. You’ve got data in your stack, right. And, and whether or not that’s centralized to the work that you’re doing, it’s central in your marketing technology ecosystem. So again, kind of referencing Scott’s landscape, kind of the way that they present it, where you have the, Stackies every year, which Cisco has won, you know, multiple times, that’s where you typically have data, but you know, where, where you have that is up to you.

So there’s that, and then it’s, what do you do with that? How do you action on that? And that can be things like, marketing automation. So that’s obviously one of the most popular things you’re going to hear, or be familiar with, or see people needing specialists for is marketing automation, which to me is an amazing innovation in the last decade and beyond, and really being able to add intelligence to what was previously kind of a nebulous field of marketing and just blanketing flyers or whatever it was, or just blasting out emails. So Marketing Automation Platforms, and then CRM for your sales team and depending on which platform you’re using. So if you’re using Salesforce, then there’s a lot of other sort of add-ons that you could do to that. Like you could add commerce cloud to that, or you can add all these other sorts of things within that suite, depending on your business’s needs. But I would say that trifecta is probably the most common, and I can obviously expand out from this sort of centralized view to say, additional data environments that could be external, that then come into your on-prem data environment, whatever that is. But I would say those three are probably the power houses that you might see.

Enrico (23:16):

Yep. And I certainly agree with that. It’s what we’ve seen out there as, as kind of the standard trifecta. Single view of customer was a bit harder to get, but that’s what you’re trying to go for that data environment, build those segments, activate them through marketing automation and eventually convert that to pipeline and revenue through CRM. So that’s excellent. Well, we’ve talked a lot about kind of theory and kind of what are some basic fundamental elements of a marketing strategy. I’d love to ask you, if you could share perhaps something more practical, an example of something where you got the basics, right. Could you think back to something you’ve done and share with our listeners?

Anvi (24:10):

Yes, I will think back. I did work in a marketing technology department, many, many aeons ago where I was asked to create close to 300 new pieces of content. And so, you know, a hundred each for the global regions from this company, for the three global regions, and that would include emails and web pages and white papers. So, that’s an example, I think, of getting an ask where the first thing I did, was kind of stare off into space and contemplated my life for a bit. How do I get this done, right? And why am I being asked this? But then I got to work. And the idea of that was the first thing I did was to bring them back to basics. So I worked with the original requesters. I worked with the global stakeholders within the regions and the account team to really try to dissect what was that sort of quantifiable goal, right? Just 300 to them. It was this number. And that exercise that I went through really helped me get to what leadership on that team, what their, what their topmost goal was like, what were they trying to do with that request? And it was because they wanted to create localized content for a new product, for their B2B audience. So they wanted to increase regional engagement. We talk about KPIs, right? They just, they didn’t feel that their globalized product or the globalized content that existed was sufficient for each of the regions. And wasn’t tailored for that. It makes perfect sense that goal for me, of, of why they did that makes perfect sense.

So once I understood that, I was able to really spend time upfront, so about a week of just the pure requirements gathering. So I’m working with these teams again, and the regions in region to define what those foundational elements are of, understanding the customer that they have done research on, and really where they think that that content should be tailored. And through that exercise alone, I was able to help them split that high level goal, 300 assets, right, into really, just smaller, more meaningful ones that included those, those foundational things. We talked about CX data and analytics and technology, right? Like what are those things that they’re trying to capture? What do we work toward? And it resulted in us being able to create that curated library of content for each of those global regions, but we only had 90 assets.

So it was only 30 each, but each of them were dynamic. So it was tailored to the customer’s preferences, it would change based on which contact was looking at it, and it was highly personalized slash localized. It was leveraging explicit and implicit data, first party, third party data, and it added additional consumer research, and then we also created the, the optimization plan for the KPIs that was based on the campaign and the content performance, and it was tied to those KPIs, which allow them to kind of tailor it, optimize it over time. And then, ultimately, which is great, the output where these really intelligent, personalized campaigns that were yielding higher levels of engagement, which is really meeting the topmost goal from leadership. So that was an example, I think of just getting kind of a blanket ask and starting to just dissect that and quote unquote, attack it in that foundational way.

Enrico (27:59):

Right. And to make it ultimately more manageable, that’s what I kept hearing. It’s like, you actually, you broke it down into something that was a lot more tangible, to deliver against and less abstract than this big kind of number. And so you mentioned good engagement rates. Just a quick word about data. How did you find the data in this case? Did they have the right data or did you have to make a pivot there because you’ve found that actually didn’t have the right data. So we had to do something slightly different. Were there any learnings there?

Anvi (28:40):

Yeah, I would say that the learnings were, you know, it, it seems obvious, but sometimes the most obvious learnings are ones that you have to go through to get there. And I think that one of the biggest data learnings was the fact that each of the regions had their own versions of subsets of data that we would use. So previously I would say that the team was approaching it in this really globalized way of, you know, here are five data points and these are the five data points we’re going to have on customers that will fuel this campaign. We’re going to use it, it’ll have company name, it’ll have this, this, and this. And then through our data research and through those conversations with the global teams, that’s where we learn or hear things like in this country, we do not capture this piece of data because it is just something that we don’t do and people will not give you.

So from a cultural perspective, their field completeness would be 5% or 10% when potentially in North America, we might have 80%. So that was great for us to build a campaign for North America, so as to address that specific data point, but when you start to look at it from other regions’ perspective, they’re going to have extremely low engagement rates. Their engagement rates are going to plummet, and it’s not because the region itself is underperforming, the product is not selling. That’s not the case. It’s the fact that we are looking at it through a global lens, which does not work. We need to just actually tailor it to let’s say, parts of China, with completely different data points, we have five completely different data points, and we need to integrate a product that will capture it from Wechat that tells us wallet, size, whatever that is. We just could not approach it in the same way globally. And I think that the engagement, metrics, which is what was the catalyst for this ask from leadership, right, “this region is underperforming” quote, unquote, “they’re not getting enough engagement”, it’s because of the data. So that’s interesting. You cut right to that and that was why.

Enrico (30:54):

Well, and it’s because we find such varying degrees of data health, regionally around the world when we work with the clients. And it’s interesting that you talk about China because in China, you have a whole different way to actually engage your customers and prospects. I mean, Wechat is so critical – it’s not about email, right? It’s about engaging through that app. So that was another question I was gonna ask – whether you were just doing this via email, but you’ve just answered my question there.

Anvi (31:28):

You know, now that we’ve kind of brought that into the conversation Wechat is I think one of the biggest sort of “aha” moments for us and I didn’t really grasp the gravity of it until I flew to China with our team to, you know, get my feet on the ground and actually go into that business environment, and try to interact with others, or try to engage with companies through their version of advertising without Wechat. And I will tell you right now it was impossible. I was not able to do it. So, you know, after that, my time there, I came back and just said, here are all my findings, and we have to do this because they weren’t kidding.

Enrico (32:14):

That’s it? That’s it. It’s all about Wechat. And the good thing is now you can connect it to marketing automation, as you were alluding to before as being one of the key, critical pieces of technology. So you can still work within a central kind of governance model around technology, but the way you get the message out, it’s going to, has to be through Wechat for that particular country. So, we’ve talked about something that was pretty straightforward, let’s say taking some content and engaging some audiences globally, let’s maybe take a look at something that you’ve done, where you, perhaps you have used the latest and greatest, shiny objects out there, tools and technologies. Would you have an example to share with us on that front?

Anvi (33:11):

Yes, I do. I’m thinking through which one I can kind of talk through and break it down into that lens. I think a really just high-level description of it would be that I did work on an omni-channel initiative and I think everybody right now is, you know, marketers and anyone in this space knows the period of time in which everybody had their office doors kicked in and their managers say, “we have to go on any channel. We have to do this. What are we doing today?” So it’s, it was really big, I think at that time too. And this was the time period that it occurred, where the goal really was to use the latest and greatest and the shiniest technologies that were out there. And the purpose of that, the goal of that was to determine which specific channel was most successful for increasing engagement rates for customers.

So they wanted to see in terms of just pure preference, which one was the highest performing channel. So, for them that would allow them to make campaign allocation decisions in the future. You know, like let’s say that Wechat wasn’t working, then that’s where you would say, okay, we’re not going to fund that for next year, whatever it is. So the initiative itself did include finding, buying, onboarding, and launching that sort of massive omni-channel campaign where each of the actual channel audiences, the ones that were defined for each of the channels, they were determined by data science models. So this is when I was working in the data science organization, where they wanted to centralize all the data science work that they were doing. So in terms of strategy, we would always have some kind of a data model or data strategy fueling our decisions there. So, that was a huge, huge feat, and it definitely had a larger budget. So yeah, that’s the other end of the spectrum.

Enrico (35:11):

I could imagine. And so, as soon as you start going into kind of data models and whether it’s AI or machine learning, you know, triggering, I guess, to try and identify next best, not just the audience, but next best action for that audience, which is obviously omni-channel. Can you maybe just speak to what were the channels and what techniques, what tools did you use to deliver those touches, if you will, through those different channels.

Anvi (35:44):

So, you know, this too was a couple of eons ago, but from my recollection, I know Wechat was one of them. I don’t know who out there is going to chuckle at this, but we also had direct mail. So we had an actual channel to send out direct pieces of mail. But I just want to add that it’s because these were, you know, very loyal customers. We were wanting to send them loyalty kind of swag product. So we, had PFL, print for less. And so they do that. They send out materials. And so that was a channel. We have obviously email, that was a big one too, but the email wasn’t just a sort of static item. It was again, data science kind of field content. They used Wordsmith, it’s just this product where, you know, it kind of aligns the content that was inside of the email itself, for the customer.

We also had text message. So we used Twilio for that to actually potentially reach out and send a text, to customers. FYI this does not work in most parts of, the Asian countries we were targeting because they’re not, they don’t answer text. That’s just not a channel that they use. They don’t appreciate being texted on their phones, which is what we learned. And then, you know, I won’t even get into the sort of privacy and actual legal ramifications of texting someone in a country without their explicit permission and double opt-in. I mentioned Wechat already and then, uh, display advertising. We did that. And we wanted to send out some personalized display ads with names in the actual display ad itself, which I was kind of against actually, I thought that was too much, a little creepy. So we had a lot of different channels. We were trying to activate it. Some we were currently using already, they’re kind of warmed up in that way. And then some were just really experimental and just this sort of net new channel of let’s just, yeah, this goes, let’s just see whether they like to get swag in the mail and be okay with the fact that, you know, we just started sending them products. So, you know, definitely a lot of channels.

Enrico (37:53):

Wow. So I’m just listening to you rattle this off. I’m just thinking from a budget perspective, my goodness. It must have been a big budget that’d be required for that kind of omni-channel program.

Anvi (38:08):

It was definitely budgeted for, in that sense of knowing that this was coming up and recognizing that it would require a lot of sort of planning in that way. And then I will say that we, we were very mindful of, of budget. So even though we did obviously have it allocated so that we could go at it this way, it wasn’t a sort of situation where we went and just bought things, willy nilly. We had conversations with these vendors for actually quite a while before we were to that point of getting to an agreement. And it was where we actually created, like almost like a pilot in that way, where we were testing out this product. We were very clear in the sense where we were using it for a limited amount of time or this sort of confined time, and it would be part of that initiative. So it wasn’t like we signed these three-year long contracts. If that was a contingency, we wouldn’t have gone with that vendor, or we wouldn’t have proceeded with that channel. It would just be too cost prohibitive for us to proceed. So we went at it in a really kind of planned way, and then again, we tried to leverage existing technology. So as an example, without having to bring anything net new, we kind of scoured and went on a road show to see who else in the company potentially already had a license and they could just provision one to us and we would either cross fund or it wouldn’t cost them anything. And then potentially also, outside of seeing who else is using it, again, trying to create a really sort of limited capacity way to use this product rather than going out and just signing contracts that were new.

So in that sense, we did have the budgets, but even with that, we were very mindful of the purse strings. And so, you know, I want to add that going through all of that, you don’t always have to have that larger budget. It really, again, depends on where that company is looking to grow, where they’re looking to invest. And honestly, what kind of work they’re willing to either kind of outsource or deprioritize. So, you know, if a company wants to send an email to notify as many qualified B2B customers as possible that their contract is getting ready to expire, like I said, maybe that’s their KPIs goal, part of it is to decrease contract renewal attrition by X percent or something. They really can design that sort of streamlined, simple campaign that leverages existing data that they have, or they can capture at low cost or low effort like interviewing their sales team and just really repurposing it, or refreshing existing content. It does not always require that sort of massive omni-channel initiative with all new assets and all new resources and platforms. So, kind of mentioning what I did before, you could also sort of redirect, or reallocate your existing budget. So you could keep a central fund in house, like you could use product management or marketing strategy and keep that in. And you could also sort of outsource specific functions to those specific expertises. So, you know, you could work with a trusted vendor like MarketOne, (little plug!) so specializing in building those specialized or standardized assets, or that are industry best practice, which do tend to be inherently more efficient and cost effective for the business.

We did that. So we actually piggybacked on a contract that the Wechat, the, China team had, with a vendor that they, they use. So I’m not onboarding and learning the product, I’m going directly to an agency that is in China that knows how to use it. And they were able to kind of crank out a campaign in a few days. So that that’s an example of doing that and really trying to use your money wisely with what you have. I would say given all of that, it does require companies to, to really avoid biting off more than they can true or moving too fast. So doing that would increase your risk of finding yourself in technical debt and really having to kind of answer for that later. You really want to be mindful about project tracking, being budget-conscious about using your existing technologies in really the smartest leanest way.

So do not spend that million dollars on a customer data platform, if you don’t have the additional budget to regularly monitor or cleanse or use that data. Don’t author hundreds of pieces of content, if you don’t have a plan to also kind of maintain and refresh them as you need to. And then, you know, ultimately you need to have a leadership team that sets or pivots realistic achievable milestones. So you can really only go so lean with operations and staffing before other parts of the business or your team suffers, or, you know, they start staring off into space contemplating their life.

Enrico (43:18):

Yes, regardless of how ambitious or not someone might be, you still really have to keep those three foundational elements we talked about in place. Right?

Anvi (43:27):

Absolutely. Always. And you know, when it comes to digital marketing, in some areas I would say, this is when you can definitely wear your “I am basic” badge with honor! Otherwise, you end up with that sort of shiny product or the laundry list of outcomes that are not tied to business values, and they might fail at the technical feasibility test. So that’s when your IT team or your technical teams come back and say, this is not possible to implement given the conditions of the product or the limitations of the product. Or you might just completely miss the mark set forth by leadership, and that is going to put your program or your team at risk of losing budget or leadership support.

Enrico (44:15):

You’ve covered quite a lot of ground here – it’s super, super interesting. I guess before we wrap up, any final thoughts for our listeners?

Anvi (44:26):

Yeah, well, kind of coming off of my previous comment, one of my biggest tips is to really find a counterpart as a marketer or as a business person, to find a counterpart in your IT or your technical implementation organization. Even if it’s a vendor, either way, just have somebody that you can bounce your ideas off of on a regular basis. And I feel like, for the most part, those IT teams or technical teams are the ones that help keep you grounded from promising stakeholders the sort of shiny toys, or the ice sculpture for your party. Like, they’ll stop you before you order it. And, at the same time, like the product owners who need to experiment or introduce new semi disruptive ideas, they can help the IT teams or technical teams to really expand their view of the art of the possible.

So healthy tension is good. Sometimes I think that, just embrace that and look for that, seek it out. But my biggest takeaway from today, I hope that every company out there feels inspired to start going digital today, to not feel overwhelmed or left behind with all the platforms that exist in the marketplace. And especially with all the new buzzwords and products that trend every quarter, every year, but, you know, ultimately for a company to go digital, it does require a level of transformation and it requires commitment and willingness to incorporate technology into business processes and to really have that shared mindset to focus on that foundational work that that needs to get done and know that everything we talked about today is totally possible, if you’re willing to pause now, narrow your focus and just, just bring it back to basics.

Enrico (46:20):

Bring it back to basics. Absolutely. Right. And what a year to do that. I mean, if we think about the global context we’re in, I think a lot of companies have certainly accelerated their digital transformation initiatives, just due to the pandemic. So, whether they wanted to, or not, I think, what you’re saying is spot on and they shouldn’t be afraid. Thank you, the framework that you brought to us today to simplify the kind of B2B marketing strategy, and as long as everyone thinks about those three basic elements that you shared with us, right? So CX which provides that foundation through customer journey, mapping and Analytics, with the focus on data and KPIs to measure what’s working and what’s not working, and finally Technology. Get the right tools in order to work smarter, but not harder, and let’s not look to boil the ocean and get distracted by those, shiny new technologies. So, thank you, Anvi, for a really inspiring discussion. Lovely to have you here today. Thank so much.

Anvi (47:30):

Thanks again Enrico. Thanks to the whole team. I had so much fun today, so yes, thanks very much.


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