Monday, June 6, 2016

Discussing Digital Marketing

Q & A with:

Matthew Royse
Director, Marketing Communications
Forsythe Technology

By Patricia Stamas-Jacoby
Publications Editor, Events
Frost & Sullivan

Part 1 of 2 Stay tuned for Part 2 in our next Digital Marketing eBulletin!

Matthew Royse will be presenting The Social Selling Revolution: 10 Tips to a Successful Social Selling Program That Drives Business Results at the 17th Annual Digital Marketing: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange in July. In anticipation of the event, we posed the following questions about the state of B2B Digital Marketing today.
A key take-away: Marketing is no longer just a cost center, but can drive business transformation.

Frost & Sullivan: What is your working definition of digital marketing? 

Matthew Royse: If you Google the definition of digital marketing, you get a lot of different answers. You also get a lot of additional questions such as: What is e-marketing? What is digital ad sales? What is online marketing? 

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that is used in many different ways, depending on the context. Simply put, it is the shift in the “value prop” of marketing to digital. By taking advantage of digital technologies such as websites, email, social media, online ads, e-commerce and other forms of digital media, marketing can better reach its target audiences. 

As the world becomes digitized, the value for businesses lies in using digital to its competitive advantage to grow and better serve customers or clients. The marketing team should be leading the charge to digital because marketing has become such a critical part of today’s business model. The most successful companies today are the ones that are so useful to their target audiences with their products and services that they will become a part of daily life of their customers. 

What is your organization’s working definition of digital marketing?

The definition of digital marketing is different for every company. At Forsythe Technology, we documented our digital marketing strategy on one page in order to clearly communicate our perspective internally and with our partners.  As I will briefly discuss during my upcoming presentation, The Social Selling Revolution: 10 Tips to a Successful Social Selling Program That Drives Business Results, we outlined the following in one page: our digital marketing strategy summary statement, the current and future state of our digital marketing, our strategy timeline, our top five digital marketing initiatives and our underlying beliefs and assumptions about digital marketing. We treat the one-pager as a living document to be updated as our digital marketing strategy evolves and as our people, processes and technologies change.

What are your thoughts on where digital marketing is heading?

Digital marketing will become part of everyone’s job, just like social media. Social media was initially a separate area with social media specialists and strategists. Now, social media has become part of everyone’s job description. The same will happen for digital marketing. Digital marketing will just become marketing because successful marketing today requires marketers to be hybrid or T-shape professionals. Marketers should specialize in one area such as social media or content marketing but should know enough about search engine optimization, online advertising, influencer marketing, marketing programs and other marketing functions so they can understand the holistic view of marketing. 

Marketing is becoming more data-driven and automated but marketing still needs the human element and the creative part of telling great stories. Companies that position themselves in the minds of customers as being helpful and useful are the ones that stay top of mind with them. One of the ways to stay top of mind with customers is through social selling. 

Can you share your insights on how B2B (as opposed to B2C) organizations should leverage “social selling?” 

Contrary to popular opinion, B2B organizations have a bigger opportunity to utilize social selling than B2C for the following reasons: there are more decision makers in a purchase decision, the purchasing process takes longer, more money is involved in a purchase and the buyers are typically more informed with tons of research.

In my upcoming presentation, I will talk about how social selling is the next evolution of content marketing and social media. Social media and content marketing have become critical to sales. Social selling is a hybrid of these two important functions. 

Social selling is a revolution for sales. The old sales model used to be about cold calls, qualifying leads and sales demos. The new sales model is about education, social media networks and engagement. According to CEB and OgilvyOne, 60 percent of B2B customer research is conducted before contacting sales and 71 percent of salespeople believe their role will be radically different in five years. 

Sales is looking for a partner in marketing to help with this transition, and marketing is looking for more insight from sales on what works and what doesn’t. According to the Sales Management Association, two in three companies don’t have a social media strategy for sales, but 80 percent of sales teams would be more productive with a greater social media presence. And, according to Sirius Decisions, 60 to 70 percent of all company content goes unused. Social selling can help your company better understand what content your sales team is sharing with clients and prospects online and via social media. As marketing learns more and more about what content sales is using successfully, they can create better and more targeted content. 

Can you outline the next phase of mobile marketing? 

The next phase of mobile marketing is where a company puts its mobile experience first, which is a challenge for many companies due to legacy thinking, systems and organizing the data so it is real-time and easier for consumers. Brands understand the importance of transforming to a mobile-first, digital strategy but they are not prepared for how quickly they need to adapt to make this happen. There are a lot of changes that need to be made to people, processes and technologies at large companies in a short amount of time. That is why smaller companies have a competitive advantage—they don’t have the legacy technology and processes in place. As a result, larger companies are moving toward creating their own enterprise “app store” so they can more quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace.  

Your insights on moving from multi-channel marketing to omni-channel marketing? 

People can now engage with a company in a physical store, via the website or mobile app or through social media, fueling the shift toward omni-channel marketing to provide a seamless customer experience across all interactions. Where companies often go wrong with the customer experience is a lack of integration between teams. Bad marketing experiences occur at the consumer/end-user level when it becomes apparent that the company’s technology, people and processes are not well integrated.

Your thoughts and good or bad experiences on integrating marketing across the organization? 

Yes, marketing should be definitely be integrated. That is one of the most important aspects of marketing today but often the most difficult. Marketing needs to ensure their department is integrated first and then work on improving integration across the organization. For example, contact centers have a wealth of information for marketers on the types of questions that they are being asked by customers. Do the contact centers record that information so that marketing can create helpful content to answer those questions? It sounds so simple. Yet, it is rarely done. Another example: Are marketing/PR teams prepared if the company gets hacked? Do they have a crisis communications and disaster recovery plan if it occurs? If so, can the company communicate it quickly?

The key for digital marketing and good customer experiences will be integration, strategy and a shift in mindset that marketing is more than a support function. Marketing is no longer a cost center but drives business transformation. As a result, marketing organizations should consistently have a seat the business table (and at the C-suite and board level) to drive digital transformation conversations, its value proposition to the company, and why its budget should grow.

To sum up, digital marketing and heightened customer expectations are changing how the modern marketing organization is structured. Marketing has become more holistic, aligns more closely with the business strategy, and is responsible for the overall customer experience. One company to learn from is Target. They built a successful digital marketing department. They did not put their marketing teams into groups or silos. Instead, they brought everyone together as one big marketing team. This helped Target tell a cohesive brand story and attract top talent. An example we can all learn from.

Matthew Royse is the director of marketing communications for Forsythe Technology, one of the largest independent IT integrators in North America. He has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and communications, working in many different industries, including financial services, technology, media and entertainment.

At Forsythe Technology, Matthew oversees all content marketing and social media initiatives internally and externally, across multiple platforms and formats to drive sales, engagement, retention, leads and positive behavior with clients, partners, analysts and employees. 

Matthew currently teaches a social media class for students in Duke's Event Development Certification program. He has spoken about social media and content marketing at numerous industry and regional events.

Optimizing the Marketing Machine

By Heather Caouette
Marketing and Public Relations 

You know the drill; get more results with a smaller budget. With these mandates, showing a campaign’s business impact is imperative. There are several methods you can employ to optimize your marketing department and show real value. 

First, make sure marketing initiatives align with business goals. There are multiple avenues marketers can take and CEOs are impressed when the one you choose aids the current goals of the business. Prioritizing tasks in this way will also help manage your efforts in an impactful way.

Once your programs sync with what is driving your company, it is essential that marketing efforts speak to your customers’ motivations. It does not matter how beautifully crafted your campaign or message is. Any project that does not speak to what influences your customer will fall flat. As B2B marketers, we tend to think product-centrally and focus on solutions. Go beyond that. What keeps your customers up at night? What inspires them? You need to understand these motivators before you can make the link to how your offerings can help. 

Build Brand Ambassadors

Addressing the vulnerabilities of your audience will also help develop customer advocates and extend word of mouth – arguably the most efficient and beneficial form of marketing. A recent Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online found that more than 80% of Americans seek recommendations when making any kind of purchase1. Most people trust their peers more than company messaging so hearing the virtues of your solution from a colleague will go far in establishing your credibility. Once you are delivering a solid solution, exceptional customer service and conducting business as a true partner, customers will be open to acting as brand ambassadors. Build and engage a captive audience of your customers, partners and thought leaders.

When engaging with current and potential clients, be aware that some channels that have been successful in the consumer space can also be brought into the B2B space. Social media is one example. Businesses are made of people that are on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. You need to get your message to the people where they are and not wait around hoping they find you. That said, tread carefully to put your efforts in the channels that can offer the greatest reward as some may be a better fit than others. A channel that makes sense for one industry may not work for another. Do not get caught up in the tool – focus on the message and desired outcome.  

Mobile Matters

According to an April 27, 2016 post by Smart Insights2, mobile use grows an average of 58% year over year. Most people now consume information on mobile devices with that trend rapidly accelerating, yet many B2B companies do not have a clear strategy to leverage this mobile engagement. Ensure that viewers can move seamlessly between devices and that the experience is consistent regardless of whether  they find you on a desktop, tablet or phone. Find ways to align your offline marketing such as tradeshows with mobile, which in addition to improving the user experience, will give you additional analytics to measure initiatives that are more difficult to quantify.

All of these approaches require one thing that is constantly mentioned but there is never enough of – content. You will never catch up if you create new pieces for every program or medium. Repurposing content is key to keeping the pipeline full while maintaining a budget. A podcast, for example, can be reborn as a case study, web content, blog post and social media messaging. 

Keeping in mind customer preferences regarding motivations and channels, and finding multiple uses for fresh content will deliver true value to your business. By making sure these tie into clear business objectives, you can deliver a business for business connection instead of just a business to business one. 

Heather Caouette helps develop and execute integrated marketing activities globally at eClinicalWorks. Previously, as a Senior Account Executive with Schwartz Communications, she assisted a variety of technology innovators in meeting their public relations goals. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Boston University and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Bentley University. 


Friday, June 3, 2016

B2B No Longer Means Boring2Boring

By Stephen Delvoye

Global Head, Marketing Communications

If there’s one thing I learned at the Digital Marketing, Europe: A Frost & Sullivan Executive Mindxchange event last January in beautiful Cascais, Portugal, it was that big B2B companies are finally catching up with the digital age. Okay, we are still not as sexy or advanced as our B2C counterparts, but it is clear that the huge gap between us that once existed is now almost gone. 

The big players in B2B IT are leading the digital transformation by applying best practices from the B2C world. To guarantee a seamless customer experience, they create an omni-channel presence using well-founded content strategies, buyer personas and a mix of digital tools. 
But many B2B players, even the big ones, still don’t offer the most basic digital services. While most people are on their phones all day long, a lot of B2B companies don’t even have a mobile (responsive) website. These companies fail to understand that their customers are expecting the same level of professionalism that they are expecting from any online services in their personal lives.  A corporate purchaser expects to have the same customer-oriented, persona-driven online experience buying goods and services for their company as he or she does buying a book on Amazon for their own leisure. 

The ongoing trend of website personalization will also hit B2B companies very soon and force them to offer specific and relevant content tailored to the needs of the targeted audience. We (@Bekaert) recently started experimenting with personalization of our website and have had very positive results in terms of conversion rates. Our personal experiences have taught us that to make any online activity succeed, it is essential to select the right tools and vendors. A condition sine qua non is a mature and well-managed CRM system and integrated customer experience platform that contains a CMS and marketing suite. Having these in place will cover the biggest part of your needs. 

Though it is still often debated where digital marketing belongs on the organizational charts, it is generally accepted as part of marketing and not IT. Depending on its perceived importance, digital marketing can be seen as just another marketing department responsibility or as a separate department that operates along with marketing. Top-level executives who are dismissive of the digital department underestimate its potential. Digital marketing is much more solid than it was at the beginning of the century. Many digital business models show us that digital marketing is here to stay and it is crucial for any business situation; B2B, B2B2C or B2C. Adaption is the key to survival. 
Honestly, it was good to hear that B2B players are finally considering using digital media in the same efficient and effective way as B2C companies. It was getting tiring to be constantly reminded at conferences that we, big B2B companies, are lagging decades behind the digital trends. Colleagues from more consumer- oriented businesses have always mocked the boring customer approach of their B2B selling peers. At least now B2B, B2B2C and B2C companies all have the same mindset when it comes to digital communication. It might not seem radical, but it is happening right now: no more boring business!

Stephen Delvoye is the Global Head of Marketing Communications for Bekaert, where he built the global marketing communications team from the ground up after a major restructuring of the company in 2012. He guided a 10+ person team spanning four continents to create and execute all integrated, multichannel initiatives to support the company's corporate branding, sales and marketing strategy. 

Over the course of his life, Stephen has gravitated toward roles where he can work as a strategic thinker, an innovative achiever and an authentic leader. His background in politics, also helps him to see the big picture and act as a bridge-builder.

Let’s Wake Up and Fight the Real Enemy

Chris Edwards

Chief Marketing Officer

Since starting our business, we’ve had a lot to celebrate at Validic. As the world’s leading digital health platform, we now have a patient population reach of over 223 million across 47 countries and our team has won a number of prestigious awards over the last several years. In the past year alone, Forbes named us a “Top 10 Healthcare Disruptor,” a leading  IT  research company said we were one of their “Cool Vendors” in healthcare, and Frost & Sullivan recently honored us with their 2016 Visionary Innovation Leadership award. These recent accolades have followed a string of ongoing successes that our company has enjoyed. 

However, my point in saying all of that is not to tout our triumphs, but to show how easy it would be for us to rest on our laurels. You might find yourself in a similar situation as your organization enjoys a successful product launch, an impactful campaign or significant company growth. Yet that is the time to be on high alert for the enemy that could so easily creep into the midst and erode both past successes—as well as the bright future that lies ahead. That enemy isn’t the competition in our midst, but a deadly side effect of success itself: complacency. 

What we do

To help you understand a little about what we do at Validic, our company’s digital health platform securely connects consumer/patient data obtained from an array of disparate sources—such as apps, wearables and in-home patient monitoring clinical devices—with the healthcare technology that their providers use. This provides a number of unique benefits—including enhancing the care experience, improving the quality of the care delivered, and reducing the costs of doing both. Researchers in a variety of environments are also making use of our offering to optimize clinical trials and studies for a number of purposes. 

Why not be unique? 

A simplistic approach would be executing sound traditional marketing disciplines focusing on lead generation, sales enablement, social media, etc. But, as marketers we crave more.  Why not strategically create a unique position in the marketplace? Why not create and define a category? Why not build something meaningful for influencers that also benefits many stakeholders in your industry?

Why not create a network? 

We’re all about growth, and we have strategies in place to drive lead generation, build customer relationships and set up partnership programs between Validic and our health contemporaries. Our marketing initiatives with mobile health device and app makers are helping fuel more innovation and use among consumers. On the other end, those targeted initiatives toward hospitals, wellness companies, pharma, and healthcare technology companies are helping them accelerate the use of mobile health patient data so they can provide better patient care and better management of their patient populations.  These efforts have created a network effect in our category. We’re seeing more evidence every day where healthcare organizations are successfully implementing the Validic technology—which is great proof that we are helping to actually transform healthcare.

As we look ahead, our focus is on maintaining the momentum that we’ve created so far—and battling the enemy that could easily sabotage our efforts: complacency. We, as marketers, need to champion this mindset at our business.  If we don’t, who will? The companies we work for need us to keep driving aligned execution across all areas of the business, with energy, and at an accelerated pace.  With digital marketing, today’s marketer has more data and more tools that we have ever had before.  We must become masters of the art and the science.  And we must have courage to try, test, fail, learn…having this courage will help us all overcome the enemy of complacency.

About Chris Edwards
Chris is the Chief Marketing Officer at Validic, the industry’s leading digital health platform. Chris has been running global marketing and strategy for healthcare technology B2B and B2C companies for over 20 years. Chris was recently awarded the Chief Marketing Officer Growth Award, among over 800 global CMOs, for demonstrating leadership in new strategies and programs resulting in significant company growth. Chris has a passion to put the “health” back into “healthcare,” and can be followed on twitter @chrissedwards.