As you may have guessed by now, I talk to as many smart marketers as I can to gather content for articles and insights that inform Renegade’s work on behalf of our clients. So it was a double treat to catch up with Stephanie Anderson who recently became SVP of Marketing for Time Warner Cable Business Class and get some of her insights on B2B marketing, about which she is both a relentless student and expert practitioner. I think you’ll find Stephanie’s thoughts on the use of data, instinct, TV and social media quite enlightening.
Drew: There is a lot of talk about turning B2B marketing into a science through the use of data, marketing automation tools & CRM. Do you see that trend continuing and if so, do you see any risks of relying too much on this approach?
Knowing your customers and prospects will never go out of style. I think marketing is 60% science, 30% creative and 10% gut. The science part is getting more airplay now mostly due to the incredible measurability of the web.
Drew: Is there any room for intuition and “gut” decision making in marketing? If so, in what circumstances. If not, why not?
Yes, gut matters – or maybe it is more “experience” that counts. Mostly, I would say you need to keep in the forefront whether or not there is anything you are saying or doing in your content that conflicts with your Brand and what you stand for as a company – that is where gut comes in the most – it may not always be obvious -and always try to make sure you understand the possible unintended consequences. I always say “if you do the right things for the right reasons, you will get the right results!”
Drew: Digital is getting more and more of the marketing spend, especially search and retargeting. Do you see that trend continuing and are there any limitations here in terms of brand building and customer relationship building?
The web is a very interesting place – it is called the web for a reason. There are so many puts and takes you could burn through a lot of cash and resources trying to track down a single customer. The most important lesson I have learned is that you need to think like your customers and non-customers and show up where they are most likely to engage with you – being careful not to annoy them.
Drew: Does TV advertising still work? If so, what role do you think it has to play in B2B marketing?
TV has a role, but it is getting more and more difficult to measure. Cable actually makes TV advertising more targeted and relevant, but it is still challenging in B2B to determine how a customer really got to your door. The old way of extracting this information was to measure phone calls by having a discreet phone number on all of your materials. Now, it is challenging because the web site is the most memorable – but how did they get to you? Because they saw your ad on TV and then searched for you? Even though it’s never one single tactic that delivers a prospect to your door, we tend to measure and budget with that in mind, particularly when it comes to TV whether cross channel or broadcast. The bottom line is that you have to be in the game, to win the game and if no one knows you in your category, then you can’t be considered. We use TV for consideration and awareness and locally for lead generation. No signs of stopping.
Drew: Social media has been all the rage on the B2C front. Do you see similar opportunities for B2B brands to participate and leverage social media?
Just as the iPad and BYOD is the way of information technology in businesses, so goes social media. I prefer to think of it as social commerce on the B2B side – it’s just doing business the way that is most natural for people. Businesses especially rely on communities and external resources to help drive their decisions – particularly in the communications and technology or IT types of decisions. If you think about it, User Groups in the technology world have been around for 30 plus years – so basically taking that on-line or using methods of communication that make it easy to reach others and collaborate on topics in support of business decisions is ideal.