By now, you’ve likely encountered your fair share of emails, articles, and ads that contain some mention of “unprecedented times,” “the new normal,” or other variations on the dramatic shift of work over the course of the last year. Every company and organization approached these sudden pivots differently, but we all shared the challenge of addressing these broad-scale shifts or risk being left behind.
At our most recent Leading FWD panel session, we were excited to host marketing leaders focused on finding new ways to remain customer-centric amidst a changing business landscape. This session, moderated by our very own CMO Melissa Sargeant, featured Jon Suarez-Davis, the SVP of Marketing Strategy and Innovation at Salesforce and Kara Trivunovic, Managing Director of Messaging at Epsilon. If you missed the live discussion, you can access the full panel on-demand at any time.
Viewing marketing shifts in 2020 as change agents rather than problems, and how they’ve evolved to shaping strategy in 2021, provided a vast amount of insights for Jon and Kara to share. We’ve highlighted a few key takeaways on themes of internal relationship building, personalization, and the importance of human elements in machine learning.
Build customer growth–and loyalty–by focusing on multi-stakeholder partnerships
Marketing teams frequently will work with other internal non-marketing stakeholders to launch programs and scale for future success. Partnering with sales organizations in the B2B landscape is a given, but Jon highlighted other business partners that you may want to consider forging a relationship with customer support, legal, and finance. For finance partnerships specifically: “…not just managing the budget, but being growth leaders alongside marketing.” Think of your finance team as experts to help identify ROI opportunities, and make sure to share the “why” behind marketing decisions and customer behavior.
Jon also mentioned a new spin on this intra-stakeholder partnership: KBI, or Key Behavior Indicator, as a way to set goals for efforts and encourage communication throughout the project. “(In the past), there have been mainly counter incentives to working with cross-functional partners. KBI is the behavior we’re looking to facilitate and encourage collaboration.”
Personalized, 1:1 experiences extend beyond data points
Evolutions in technology have made it easier to capture, store, and use information about consumer engagements, purchasing decisions, etc., but companies are still struggling to deliver on truly personalized experiences. Having the data is a good first step, but only if you can trust its accuracy. As Kara mentioned, “there’s considerations for the quality of data. Focusing on the information you have about individuals and identity resolution becomes really important. People can have multiple email addresses, they have multiple people using their browsers at home if they have a shared family computer.” Data is best used to inform personalization decisions, but not make the decision, and as we continue to move away from third-party cookies, you can expect the types of data we have and can gather about behavior right alongside these innovations.
Just because there’s a machine processing your data, the human touch still plays a role
Kara highlights an example of how machine learning can influence decisions by mentioning past purchase activity and recommending similar products that could be used in marketing efforts, but taking that recommendation as the decision possibly means you could miss out on providing options that are logical continuations of those purchases and increasing the likelihood for action. “If you leave a machine to its own devices, it doesn’t have that human capital element to it. You still need to put business decisions around it, you still need to have that arbitration in prioritization.”
This Leading FWD panel was a part of our Leading FWD series. Stay in the loop on events like these and other ridiculously smart content for marketing leaders in our Leading FWD newsletter. Get on the list →
Lauren Kremer was the Events Manager at Litmus