How O2 transformed its marketing operations and won a B2B Marketing award (part 2)

The O2 story: Lessons learned and amazing outcomes

By Chuck Leddy

In our first post, we described how O2 Business defined WHY it needed to change, WHAT it needed to change, and developed a strategy/plan for HOW to change. In this second post, we’ll explore the specific lessons O2 learned along the way and the fantastic results O2 has achieved thus far in transforming its marketing operations (including a 2019 B2B Marketing award for “best transformation project”). Once again, we’ll rely upon insights from O2’s Head of Marketing Operations, Paul Stevenson, and Sojourn Solutions managing partner Rebecca Le Grange.

O2 Business’s tips for managing transformation 

  1. Earn buy-in. Change doesn’t magically happen simply because leadership decrees it from on-high. Stevenson emphasizes that you need to gain buy-in from leadership and key team members involved, a process of continuous communication about the why, what, and how. The process of earning buy-in and building momentum is continuous throughout the transformation.
  1. Prove value. In order to show the full value of marketing operations and any transformation process, “aligning with sales and across to relevant parts of the organization is key. To prove value, you have to close the loop from lead generation to sales revenue, and that means alignment is necessary,” says Stevenson. Marketing, on its own and without proving value, can’t transform either itself or the organization.
  1. Bring people along. A big part of O2’s transformation involved upskilling its people and changing its culture. “You have to make sure people know where they need to go, help them get there, and ensure they feel comfortable going along the journey with you.” Driving adoption of even the best martech won’t work if your people don’t utilize it and develop new ways of working.
  1. Blend in-house and external expertise. As O2 built the capabilities of its internal team, developing in-house expertise, for example, in using platforms like Eloqua and Salesforce, it also needed to blend in-house and external talent. Getting the most from each takes time and (perhaps) culture change, notes Stevenson. O2 has built four teams made up of internal and external people who focus on data, martech, campaigns, and managing change. These teams are go-to resources when area expertise is needed. “Our martech team, for example, looks at ensuring we have a roadmap of what’s coming next in martech, as well as managing our existing martech stack,” says Stevenson.
  1. Share best practices. “As part of our efforts, we developed ‘best practices guides’ to help on-board new team members and collaborate with other departments like sales,” notes Stevenson. These “best practice” guides also help O2 collaborate with outside, 3rd parties, as Le Grange notes: “the guides clearly explain the practices and standards O2 expects and make the goals clear, which helps anyone working with them.”

 Fantastic results keep rolling in 

Stevenson summarizes some of the eye-popping indicators of success related to O2’s transformation efforts, which have not only impacted marketing operations but the entire organization:

  1. More campaigns, done more efficiently. O2 had delivered 5 times the number of campaigns in 2018 compared to the previous year. Equally impressive, they’ve achieved this volume by using the same resources and with even less budget.
  1. More and better leads. O2 has generated 2.6 times the number of leads in the first quarter of 2019 (Q1 19) compared to the first quarter of 2018 (Q1 18). Moreover, half of those leads are inbound.
  1. More customer engagement. The rate of customer opt outs from email has been cut in half, meaning O2 is driving stronger relationships and winning attention. “We’re just doing more,” says Stevenson, “and for more areas of the business. We’re also getting more effective and efficient in whatever we do.”
  1. More relevant content. Part of what’s engaging O2 Business customers is better content. “Content and marketing operations are working well together,” says Stevenson. “We’re delivering high-quality, relevant content targeting the right customer through the right channels, leading to more engagement.”
  1. More and better data. Over the last 5 years, O2 has seen an amazing thirtyfold (30X) increase in its contacts database. And their contact data is of higher quality: “we now invest our time and effort in ensuring the quality of our data,” says Stevenson, making it more leverageable.
  1. More insights into campaigns. O2 has seen a 66% increase in analytics-driven insights into its campaigns and data through centralized project management. Less guessing and more accurate numbers, meaning more credibility.
  1. More revenue/ROI. In perhaps the most impressive and important success indicator of all, O2 has seen a 266% increase in marketing-influenced revenue since its transformation journey began five years ago.
  1. More martech utilization. O2 started small using about 25% of its martech functionality. Stevenson points to Eloqua audits that show O2 is now using 90% of its Eloqua functionality. “We’re just using almost everything that’s available, from lead generation, lead tracking deployments to events modules and beyond,” he says.

 What’s next for O2

All marketers know that optimizing performance in marketing operations is never complete, because it’s a dynamic and ongoing effort involving people, processes, and martech. “We are continuing to, and will continue to, optimize all we’re doing,” says Stevenson. “We keep on learning, iterating, and scaling.”

O2 isn’t just achieving amazing results through their transformation efforts. Paul Stevenson and his marketing operations team are looking to deliver even more value. Winning awards, as O2 has done, is great but continuously climbing towards peak marketing performance is what sustainable success looks like. Our team at Sojourn Solutions could not be prouder of the tremendous work O2 has been doing to drive efficiency and customer engagement.

Interested in watching the full presentation – “Shifting the Paradigm on the Value of Marketing Operations: The O2 Story?” Watch it now.

If you’d like to learn more about how Sojourn Solutions can help your business transform its marketing operations to see peak performance results, contact us today.