“Get Stacked” Martech Conference wrap-up, part 2 (of 2): Re-defining customer engagement at a time of social distancing & finding the “right” MAP

By Chuck Leddy

As we saw in part 1 of this wrap-up of “Get Stacked 2020: The B2B Marketing Martech Conference,” the event transitioned to a virtual one due to COVID-19. The two-day online gathering (April 22 and 23) was filled with valuable keynote speeches and sessions to help B2B marketers like you work smarter. In this 2nd part of our event wrap-up, we wanted to share a few more actionable insights with you. 

Keynote, “How are you engaging your audience remotely?”, presented by Adobe’s Peter Bell, Commercial Marketing Director Marketo & Magento.
With COVID-19 and social distancing, live events and face-to-face engagement has been sidelined, while digital channels are becoming more important than ever. No matter the digital channel used, notes Bell, the messaging/content must be informative, human and inspirational. Many stressed people have stopped watching the news because it’s depressing and the same each day. Customers and prospects are yearning for a vision, a story or a narrative that they can get behind. Brands should now be delivering that positive vision.

Bell offered these results of recent marketing study conducted amidst COVID-19:

  • 36% of companies plan on decreasing marketing spend. Probably more will do so over time;
  • 70% increase people’s use of internet web browsing over normal traffic volumes, which is great if your company has an effective digital presence. You also need to have someone following up that form entry. Someone to answer requests – customer service has slowed down and it’s frustrating customers/prospects;
  • 61% increase in social media usage over normal engagement rates.

Bell then got prescriptive, offering B2B marketers 5 Steps to a successful 2020:

  1. Make sure customer insights are up-to-date, and align with Sales;
  2. Put the budget where it has impact, find efficiencies, and re-prioritize spending;
  3. Review content messaging, tone and visuals in light of COVID-19;
  4. Extend your digital reach – try out new channels, content syndication, social media, paid media, webinars and podcasts;
  5. Invest in the digital Customer Experience – the digital CX.

Communicating and Networking in Virtual Spaces. Sojourn Solution’s Client Director Lee Morgan attended “Get Stacked 2020” and shared his views on networking and communicating virtually: “With the shift away from live events, and moving to digital/virtual events like “Get Stacked 2020,” a few things need to be carefully considered to make the virtual experiences enjoyable. With live events, you’re getting dressed up, putting your best face on, and traveling to the location. Then when you’re at the event, you’ve got the human connection and human experiences. You’ve got the coffee and tea with people, the lunches with people. All of your senses are engaged in these live experiences.”

Virtual experiences can’t quite substitute for face-to-face experiences. For example, the human voice is tremendously expressive, but virtual communication compresses the voice to conserve bandwith and thus limits its communicative possibilities. That applies to body language via virtual presentations too. As Sojourn’s Morgan puts it, “a lot of what you get from watching somebody speaking live is harder to define: you can see their character coming out, see if they’re nervous through the way they talk and move. You recognize if they’re truly passionate about what they do by the way they speak. It’s often the things that are not said that you connect with most during a presentation or conversation.”

Morgan has had to change how he interacts with people through online platforms like Zoom: “I’ve had to learn to be comfortable at home. When I’m normally presenting live to a group of people, I can see how they’re responding in the room. I can ‘read the room,’ and adjust my tone or direction accordingly. The virtual communication tools are trying to replicate that real-world environment. So in order to be successful using these virtual tools, you need to put the time and effort in to help people understand you better.”

“People need to change the way they’re presenting online,” says Morgan. “They can’t simply read off a script, for example. I’ve been trying to make changes myself in virtual conversations: trying to pause more, trying to not look at the screen, trying to imagine that I’m talking to people who are beyond the screen. So if I’m presenting something, I’ll probably use my hands a bit more, make more demonstrative gestures to help express my points.” 

Session, “How TMF Group built its marketing automation journey from scratch and turned it into an award-winning program,” presented by Ash Chandler, Head of Marketing Automation, ReallyB2B (free, on-demand video link is here). TMF Group went through a careful consideration process prior to choosing its marketing automation platform/MAP. The process began with TMF asking some key, foundational questions: Do we have the right skills to cover full implementation? Do we have the bandwidth? How do we choose which platform, since there are so many? How do we get buy-in from senior stakeholders? How do we show tangible benefit and prove ROI?

TMF wanted to push marketing into the U.S. market and thus needed a scalable MAP solution for brand presence and demand generation. The new TMF sales team in the U.S. drove success across channels and generated sales leads but needed a MAP to knit their engagement strategy together. So they identified a marketing automation solution that would work within their set budget and with their small team.  After an RFP, they did a platform pilot – Marketo integrated with D365 CRM. Marketo also met the detail and requirements scoped. TMF created roles in-house as well as using an agency (ReallyB2B).

TMF’s key questions to ask during the RFP process:

  1. Ask your agency who will work on the account and ask to meet them. 
  2. Ask them if they have a specific area of expertise within MA software – you want impartial advice. 
  3. Ask the agency to give you the contact info of their other clients who’ve used a similar MA solution and get a reference from that client for internal discussion. 
  4. Ask someone for examples of issues and errors and how they were resolved. No agency is perfect and it’s good to see how they managed problems.

ReallyB2B worked with TMF to build out a Roadmap to show where they were going and how they would get there. They also introduced Lead Scoring, ABM and inbound data capture. TMF made a multi-year progression through the training from fully outsourced to 50/50 shared and now in Year 3 has even more ownership. How did the process work? By working collaboratively with all stakeholders, testing and learning, while simultaneously driving culture change.

As Sojourn Solutions Account Director Charlotte Currie said of this MAP presentation: “it was a good example about how to go about choosing Marketing Automation and how to ensure you’re ready with the right people, the right skills, the right training and adoption plans, and more.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the actionable insights and takeaways from the “Get Stacked 2020” virtual conference, and how to implement them at your company, please reach out to us here.