Life after third-party cookies: where do we go from here?
With rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, Google has announced that they will stop the use of third-party cookies in Chrome, joining a growing list of browsers including Safari and Firefox who have already phased out third-party cookies. Find out what this means for you by viewing this webinar.
Webinar topic detail
Around 80% of marketers depend on third-party cookie data and 70% believe that the depreciation of third-party cookies will result in a downward shift for marketing technology, according to a recent study by Epsilon.
Before we know it, B2B marketers will no longer be able to rely on cookie-fuelled campaigns. So, where do we go from here?
Check out our latest webinar to see marketing and technology experts share valuable insights and opinions on the changes to come!
Jerry: Well hello everyone and welcome todays’ Engage CX Marketing Webinar sponsored by Lead Forensics. I’m Jerry Brown, Chief Customer Rescue Officer at the Customer Lifeguard and today’s guest editor. I’ve been given a promotion this week. I’m delighted to be joined today by Paula Medeiros, who is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Oracle. Sam Roberts, Demand Generation Consultant at Grow Demand. Amy Kelly, Director EMEA Marketing at User Testing and Lilah Waite who is our sponsor and the Group Chief Marketing Officer at Lead Forensics. Today, as you probably saw from the promotion, we are going to be discussing Life After Third Party Cookies and where we go from here. But we’re not going to limit the discussion to that as we have a great group of professionals today with broad ranging experience, who will share their expertise and perspective on this and other important marketing issues relating to customer engagement.
So hello everyone, how are we all today?
Lilah: Excellent, thank you.
Jerry: Lilah, perhaps I’ll ask you to introduce yourself as you’re the sponsor of this event and we’d like to hear a little bit about you and your background.
Lilah: As you mentioned, I’m the Group Chief Marketing Office at the Lead Forensics Group. We have a number of SaaS solutions and are entirely B2B. I’ve been in the industry for almost 22 years now which sounds really scary when I say it. Entirely tech based, entirely B2B focused working both agency side and corporate side in fact so I’ve worked with lots of different brands….so that’s me.
Jerry: That’s great, you wear it very well. Amy, good morning or good afternoon, I guess it is as we’ve just ticked over.
Amy: Good afternoon! I’ll have to apologise, there’s a seagull right outside my window so if you do hear that I’m not sitting at the beach. Hi, I’m Amy, I’m the Director of EMEA Marketing at User Testing, the leading human insight platform. In my career I’ve worked for large tech companies like Facebook and Google and smaller boutique agencies in London and now heading up marketing at User Testing, we’re a very fast growing SaaS business. It’s been an exciting couple of years since I started so….really happy to join the panel today and thank you for inviting me.
Jerry: Our pleasure Amy, thank you for joining us. Paula, handing over to you.
Paula: Hi everyone, thanks Jerry and I’ve been working in B2B tech marketing for over 10 years and I’ve been with lots of agencies in the UK and around London, working with big tech clients. Now for the past couple of years I’m helping Oracle produce their digital strategy and driving demand generation, awareness, creating pipeline, all the good stuff that us marketers talk about all the time and looking at the audience, how to target them better, how to do a better job every day and I think that probably our nuances we’ll be discussing in more detail soon enough. That’s me.
Jerry: That’s a challenge for many marketers. Thank you Paula. And Sam, finally you.
Sam: So no seagulls outside my window up here in Manchester. Hi, I’m Sam. A little bit about my background I’ve got about 8 years’ experience working with early/mid stage B2B tech companies. I’ve previously managed digital presence at CX (inaudible) Rant and Rave. I joined early on in that journey and ran through to acquisition and then lead the digital marketing function at start-up Mirrorweb, helping them take their business from seedling investment all the way to successful (inaudible) funding. Now I run Grow Demand which is a demand generation agency, primarily we help B2B SaaS companies enjoy faster growth through marketing (inaudible) revenue. Once again thank you for inviting me today everyone, I’m looking forward to the session.
Jerry: That’s great, we’re excited to have you all here and as I said we’ve got a pretty diverse group of people and we’re going to have some really good robust debate today. We will have some questions which you will see in the chat panel, that we are going to be asking our panellists about. However, we will as the debate takes its shape, well go wherever that takes us. So we obviously want to focus on the third party cookie issue but we know that will take us to a lot of different places. Also, just to remind our audience, if you want to ask any questions please do so. We will do our best to answer those questions during the webinar but if not we will make sure we respond to those at the end of the event, we’ll send any answers that we haven’t been able to do.
So let’s go. For the starting point we were talking about third party cookies and there has been a lot of noise about changes in third party cookies within marketing and of course marketing generally with GDPR a few years ago, now lots of things happening, lots of concerns of course about things like third party cookies. My first question, perhaps I will ask Lilah based on what you see from a Lead Forensics perspective…..Do you foresee the changes that will have any impact in your area of marketing?
Lilah: I think that is going to be two-fold because where we provide SaaS solutions to marketers we hear quite a lot of what’s the latest subject matters and concerns and challenges on the minds of marketers at the moment. We have around 60,000 customers at the moment globally so we get a good sense of what’s a challenge and we’ve definitely heard a lot more noise around this piece of…..even just concerns and maybe misinformation around third party cookies as well. I think there’s a lot of confusion amongst marketers about what that’s going to be particularly those that operate PPC campaigns, social media campaigns, programmatic and performance, anything in that regard from a digital marketing perspective. The big thing ….and then obviously we have our own experience from our digital marketing perspective as well, because we use lots of different tactics associated with digital marketing….so effectively what’s happening is that Google is getting ahead of the game. There is no legal situation with regard to this third party cookie piece at the moment, Google is jumping if you like before they get pushed ahead of the new e-privacy regulations coming out, due to come out in a couple of years. It has been pushed back a couple of years already due to lobbying and so it might well be delayed again but I think Google is getting ahead of that game. They are actually following in the footsteps of Firefox and Mozilla as well who have already blocked the third party cookies. So the piece here is that third party cookies will be disappearing but it’s actually being replaced with cohorts. Google is still looking to profile, if you like. Instead of doing individual tracking they are going to profile and allow advertising based upon groups of behaviours, so anonymised behaviours. This isn’t the end of online advertising as we know it and of course as many challenges that this piece presents in terms of the question around privacy and an individual’s preferences, it also ensures a huge amount of relevance and it helps audiences filter out any noise. What we’re looking to do is to navigate that and align with this. I think there is a movement towards I guess more targeted rather than broad brush marketing. We’ve seen a huge uplift in ABM and marketers getting really serious about ABM, how they can humanise their marketing in a much more targeted way than ever before. We are really focusing down on our ICPs, so Ideal Customer Profiles, much more so which will help hone our spend and things. I wouldn’t say we’re worrying about this piece but it’s certainly giving us an opportunity to review what we are doing and maximising our investment, if you like and just looking at how we can be more human. I think people are more discerning about that particularly following the last year that everyone has had. I think the impact for us is that it’s giving us the chance to review what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, rather than it being a huge impact.
Jerry: Well, I think that’s good news because clearly it’s an issue that concerns a lot of people, both individuals and organisations. Paula, perhaps I can ask you the same question but also from a perspective of Oracle, being a very large organisation. Just thinking about some things that Lilah mentioned about relevance, about targeting, about humanising. You’ve got many different products obviously that could benefit many different organisations……so how do you see it playing out for you and at Oracle?
Paula: I completely agree with Lilah and I think she contextualised really well the beginning of the conversations we need to have and I completely agree with her in the way that it’s an opportunity, it’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s the evolution of marketing. We marketers, we cannot be afraid of change. Change is always coming, we are always making better products, better organisation, better everything and this change specifically it just reflects what our society is living, in a way. Because we need to meet the rising consumer expectations for privacy. We want our privacy when we’re targeted and we understand a bit more of that than the normal consumer out there. It just gives us more control in a way, in my point of view and from Oracle perspective….Oracle is huge, there’s too many marketing teams around the globe, international marketing in the mix, languages in the mix so all that aside we’ve been going in a direction which I think is the right direction, which is better targeting, ultimately that’s what it is. We want to do better targeting and we’re spending millions of dollars in media, in targeting wide audiences, huge numbers, volumes, the volume has to be huge in order to convert I think 2, 3, 4% we get. So that needs to improve, we can’t keep doing that and I think this is an opportunity, is the first step in that direction. So we don’t want to target millions, we’re targeting a couple of thousand who are actually interested in buying software products and services. You know I don’t want to target my grandmother, I want to target the right people.
Jerry: I don’t know, your grandmother may be interested.
Paula: I don’t think so.
Jerry: I understand what you are saying.
Paula: I know that’s very out there but you set the scene and that’s what it is. Go back to the consumer, go back to privacy. Just one more point to add which is what we as Oracle as (inaudible) are doing more and more is, of course we use publishers, of course we use media and all the good stuff that we all love. But in our plan, our strategies more and more take the consumers to our domain, to our web pages. We had in the past a strategy of loads of landing pages out there, we are not doing landing pages anymore, it’s all .com…. Oracle.com (as we call it) for the past few years that’s been the drive, more and more. That gives us what we need, our first party data. That’s what we need to work on is our first party data. I want to have a conversation and engagement one to one with the consumer as much as I can, even though it will take a cycle to get to know them better. But even at the starting point it can be better than what we have right now. I think eliminating the third party cookies we have right now, is a very good step forward.
Jerry: Just thinking, Amy, about the work that you do at User Testing and what we call the human element and what you call the human insight platform, I suspect this is something really important for you to be able to understand and as you say designing with empathy for your user. So really understanding and to be able to do this in a really targeted way must be important to you.
Amy: Definitely, you hit the nail on the head there with the word ’empathy’ and I think this subject matter is interesting because you think of what we’ve been doing with cookies. What we are doing is stalking our prey! If you think about it over the years marketers have become more and more creepy, we’ve become really creepy and we’ve become really annoying. You hit the nail on the head as well Lilah, that there might be an opportunity instead of thinking ‘oh my god we won’t be able to stalk every single move that they’ve ever made and get all of this data on our customer’. Yes, it might make things more difficult, for example for a SaaS business like User Testing, we use certain technology to see who would be interested in a platform like ours. We use Cognizant Intent to understand ‘okay if someone’s looking a lot for solutions like ours we might try and target those companies’ and that’s really helpful but I think as a marketer what we’ve got to do is …..my two years being at User Testing made me think very differently how I market to people and how I understand my audience. I think as Lilah said, it could be an opportunity to actually get to know our customers again. So I think if we could bring back the art of marketing, to understand who we are marketing to, what are their problems and what problems are we trying to solve here and if ……I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve always thought there’s something very creative and artistic about marketing, when you’re really trying to think ‘how I am trying to help people, how could I facilitate some solutions to people through content’. Content I think, has been so important over the last few years and people have been trying really hard to stand out and it’s a saturated market, we are all competing with other companies to try to get attention. Ultimately, I feel personally now, after just working at User Testing, it so being driven by empathy, knowing your customers and not relying just on the big data. Big data is important, quantitative insight is very important but you have to real human insight in the sense of speaking to real people, hearing their voices, hearing their pain and being able to solve that. Maybe if things are changing and as you said Paula, we do adapt as marketers, we find solutions, we crack on and I think that that could be the beauty of this in a sense, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We are probably going to find out when it does and we’re just going to have to adapt as we always do. Hopefully, the result of this could be the fact we become human again and we say okay, let’s not think about it as numbers and MQLs and all these leads and everything we are trying to do for our sales team and build pipeline, let’s think of these people as people. You know its not B2B, its P2P. We’re trying to sell to people and we have to remember that. I think that’s where we have to think right. Let’s get back to the grains of it, let’s think ‘what’s my audience’s issue, why am I here in the first place, how can I help this person’. A lot of the time it’s through things like this, creating amazing conversations, getting people engaged, getting people to really enjoy listening to you rather than be badgered at every single website they go to with an Ad because you are tracking them. Let’s get back to the thing we’re trying to do in the very first place which was to attract an audience. Demand Generation, as you work in Sam, that’s creating a desire to buy. How can you create a desire to buy if you are constantly poking them ‘Hi I’m here, buy my product’. Try to make it that human element again, I think it’s so important. If anything comes out of this situation, I think that if we all become normal marketers again and stop being so annoying.
Jerry: I think that would be welcomed by all of us, irrespective of whether we are consumers or businesses. As you mentioned, Sam with Grow Demand I know that one of the things that you like to think about is how to stand out in a crowded market and what Amy is saying if everyone is just yelling perhaps doing it in a much more controlled and polite way, might be the way of doing it. So what do you see in terms of how this is going to affect what you do?
Sam: Amy, I love where you referenced the creativity side. Marketing is definitely this blend of art and science. So I think in terms of foreseeable changes, I see the B2B space re-shifting with a focus towards organic channels and building communities as well. Something that sits under the brand versus having substantial lean on external channels, if you can create a place of authority and make that your focus that’s going to have such a strong pulling power. You need to create a place where buyers and customers know that the only place that they can get this level of quality information is from you. Just to put it simply, you can go two ways with it. You can go, educate or you can go entertain or if you can combine the two of them even better. Of course, paid still has its place; this is not to say disregard it. Organic plus paid is still the best mix but I really think the idea of building communities focusing on the customer versus this obsession with performance marketing. One point I always make is around, marketers tend to worry around imposing tech changes but rarely spare a thought that they have not spoken to a prospective buyer in months, so sometimes it’s 3 months, 6 months, sometimes it’s a year. If you are not having that engagement, how can you possibly deliver context in any of your marketing whether that’s email, Ads, Linkedin Social….whatever it may be. So it’s going to very much look like a re-adjust, tactics and technology do not overrule core and fundamental good marketing, it’s just the enabler, isn’t it. Good marketing was happening before third party cookies and I think in terms of differentiation ……and I can dive into this perhaps later in the session….but strategic narrative, reframing the market, take drift, for example. Taking a story like theirs and reframing is very powerful because it’s hard to compete on just product features today. Going very specific and niching down with a problem, again that’s another great way of differentiating. Avoid the obvious, so series A syntax …..most of them will have blue colour schemes or websites, stock images, geometric illustrations, jargon filled websites not to get too fussy about it but if you look at that, then don’t do that. It’s one way of shifting, again creating that differentiation for yourself.
Jerry: One of the things that Lilah mentioned and we’ve heard the term, we’re talking about relevance. We think about, from a number of different perspectives so third cookies are used to track online behaviour. So certainly we know that’s being done now but how relevant is behaviour based advertising especially based on what Sam just said. How do we make sure that what we are doing is really ……as Paula mentioned you’ve got lots of people you’re trying to target. If we are trying to do this and make this relevant, we are saying relevance in marketing is a benefit to all, there’s no point marketing to Paula’s grandmother if she’s not going to be in the market for the product and services we’re selling. Certainly as consumers, I know from a consumer perspective, I feel sometimes the relevance issue is really one that is being missed so ensuring relevance is really important. What can you do to ensure that you can continue to be relevant while at the same time making sure that you get the message across? Lilah, I’ll go back to you to see what you think about that.
Lilah: I think that a single behaviour can often be a total red herring, can’t it. Just because someone has displayed this behaviour online doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in the market and they want to see your advert over and over again. As you say Amy, we don’t want to shout at someone based just on that single behaviour. I think actually, Paula you made a really good comment about the funnel, is that as marketers we try and chuck as many in the top of the funnel and try and get 2 or 3% engagement out of the bottom of the funnel and try to push people through. When you think about the numbers you have to get in the top to get anything of substance out of the bottom, it is that numbers game and it’s awful because you do almost become a statistician in terms of being a marketer. When I started my marketing journey I got told that it’s ‘the colouring-in department!’ I spend more time now doing spreadsheets now than I doing any sort of creative. But I do think we have shifted so that people and prospects become numbers and I think if we can re-imagine that whole piece with marketing and actually start to become a little bit more of the colouring-in department that it once was and have that hybrid. I really liked what Sam said, it’s an absolute blend of the arts and the science and I think we have lost our way in that and we are a little bit numbers heavy. If we can remember that our prospects are people, I think that will absolutely set us on the right track and if we can reconsider that whole funnel so that we’re not looking to chuck loads of people on the top based on a single behaviour, we’re actually looking at right who is our ideal customer. That is who’s the ideal customer for our business but also who does our product benefit the most, who is going to get the maximum benefit out of what we are selling. Because ultimately it’s going to help their business or help them in some way and if it’s a consumer it’s the same kind of principle. Maybe if we re-imagine that so that we are putting people that we can help in the top of the funnel, then we can get them engaged using better targeted marketing that speaks to their challenges and presents a solution to those challenges in a segmented way….so who are those ICPs, what are they facing in the market, is that industry lead, is that function lead…….. and then hopefully we can better conversions because actually we’ll be ever more relevant. So rather than, as Paula was saying, 2 or 3% out of the bottom, what about if we can put very many less in the top but actually get 50 or 60% engagement. Then over time we are just continuing that narrative to engage that whole market because we are being so relevant. That’s how I think we can continue on the relevance curve, in a much more sophisticated way.
Jerry: I think you’re right and I think there’s a bit of a dichotomy or a bit of a challenge. Paula from your perspective again, if you think about Oracle….I’m reasonably familiar with their products…but if you think about Oracle products and services, you could probably argue, looking at the business community, you could say everyone could benefit from our products, we’ve got all these great things, everyone can benefit. So relevance here is……what do you do? You mentioned some things you were going to do but how do you ensure relevance with such a broad product and service portfolio that you have?
Paula: That is definitely one of the challenges. One of the things that we as marketers are being asked all the time ‘oh can you say this’ and ‘can you do this’ and ‘you need to target everyone’. Its crazy sometimes what we are being asked to do but we keep trying to do our best. Again, I agree 100% with what Lilah just said and what everyone said before. To add to what you mentioned about real targeting and getting to know the customers and the audience and doing a better job at being more creative and speaking a better language, not the robotic language and lack of really cool websites and images and branding, etc, I think it’s back to who we create relationships, real relationships and direct relationships. That’s what this change gives us, we need to invest in a direct relationship as a brand with our consumers and even within the media space when you can have some publishers in between as well, but it’s still will the publisher allow you to invest in that direct relationship. That’s a bit of what Amy said before, which I really like, is it’s not B2B, it’s P2P piece and that needs to go more and more. It is really hard with the huge numbers and huge volumes that we work in right now. We have huge expenditure on the back of that number, we spend our time just looking at data a lot more than we probably would like. We as marketers are I think really logical, we don’t mind spreadsheets, we love numbers, most of us as well so it’s a huge part of it. Again, great analogy that Sam said before but we do need to go back to the pencil, a bit more to the colouring. That kind of evolution of marketing which is one of the nuances, I think, we are going to have more and more moving forward with technology development. It’s not just about, as Lilah said, for its important to know the behaviour when we’re talking about the audience but also a bigger nuance in that piece for me is a privacy preserving piece. That’s actually where we start from and then on top of that how we learn is of course the behaviour so that’s how it adds to. But the starting point is really looking at the privacy for all of us, as marketers, as consumers and that is I think really, really great. We all have to just benefit from it and ultimately the (inaudible) will work for us as well because my expenditure will be more targeted, potentially less money but better conversions, you know great ROI. Back to what Lilah said, there is some research released from Google and the numbers are great, the conversion rate is 350% higher than when we were having third party cookies. So I really, really think that in marketing we have a brighter future, developing more and more technologies that will allow us better targeting and become more human and all of that.
Jerry: Maybe we start calling it B2P, business to people.
Paula: We should, absolutely.
Jerry: Amy, clearly what you do from a User Testing perspective, really understanding how relevance plays in. This must be something you really focus on, to understand with any campaign or program to make sure that it does hit not just the right people but the right message hitting the right people as well. So, in terms of relevance, how do you go about making sure you get the right people with the right message?
Amy: I started a campaign just as we went into lockdown in April last year which was basically just weekly webinars and just getting my customers to come on and share some insights. Through that process I ended becoming really close with a lot of my customers. When you’re on the marketing side you’re a little bit more removed, you’re not in customer success, you’re not in sales, you’re not directly meeting them all the time. What I realised is how incredibly powerful that was to develop better relationships with my customers as a marketer because what I started to do after that I would actually get in touch with my customers more often and ask what do you think about this idea, I actually started to get them involved a bit more. I think that when we talk about the different areas of marketing, you know customer marketing, demand gen, corporate marketing, there are loads of different things but if you come down to what’s the goal and what are you trying to achieve….. and if it is net new side or creating customer champions I think a lot of the time your customers have the answers. That is something that I could not recommend more to marketers, is actually spend more time talking to your customers. Having a virtual coffee with them, whatever you want to do, creating a bit of a focus group, having chats with them and gaining the understanding of the relevance from them. Asking them what do you love most about the product, what do you think would be better and all those kind of things because that’s maybe not your remit and you think that’s going to take too long for me but the insights and the actual affect that can have on your campaigns is immeasurable, its amazing. I feel like we’ve been able to create so much more content that is so much more relevant. Instead of keeping things quite fluffy and you know this is a topic and let’s write about it but we don’t know enough. Let’s go straight to our customers as ask what are you doing right now based on this…….I’m not doing it, you’re the customer, we’re helping you do whatever you’re doing …..but we work with a lot of UX researchers and when the pandemic hit and they had first hand access to customers, their CEO’s were knocking on the door asking ‘can you tell me what our customers are saying?’………they were like ‘oh my god, when did you come to the UX research department last time?’ Just that shift and change that they went through, unless we were asking people that we would never have known. So we started to build up a lot of content around ‘You’re UX researcher could have the answers’…..’excuse me CEO but have you ever asked the person who speaks to the customers all the time’. I know obviously Jerry from your work, you would have worked with a lot in the service and you’ll have realised a lot of the customer service people have the answers and I think it’s about trying to gain the insights, just not from your typical tech and just going on to dashboards and all that sort of stuff. Connected to what I said earlier, if you spend that time understanding what is the content your customers have already, you don’t have to do all this extra work and go to net new and ask them what they want but just ask for an introduction to your existing customers and say what kind of content would you like to see from us, what kind of activations would matter, how do feel about the amount of emails you get from us, how do you feel about this. Just asking that and I think it’s completely changed how I market. I’ll never go back to the same way I marketed before because of how much that impacted on how I feel about the campaigns I create because of my customers.
Jerry: I think it almost answers the question about third party cookies used to track online behaviour and we’re saying ‘no we don’t need to do that’. If we are more intelligent and as we’ve said more human about it then, as you say Amy, asking people ‘what works for you?’ Nobody has asked me this, we’re all getting buried in this kind of stuff and I think Sam from your perspective, again what I said earlier about standing out from the crowded market and the work that you do. I know that one of the focuses is how to acquire customers faster, how do we do this faster? We’ve also got to do it better as Amy and Paula have mentioned, so where do you stand in this whole issue of relevance and how do you help your customers really get down to making sure their messages are relevant to their users?
Sam: There are so many points that you guys have referenced, it’s hard to know which one to jump on and piggyback. I love the focus here and we can look at click through rates, we can look at conversions, we can look at the numbers but as Amy referenced there it really has to come from the customer. Whatever value proposition you are bringing to the customer, whatever that landing page headline is, the value of that piece, it should always come from the customer. The piece that comes afterward, the measuring of how that performs on the page, the tech side… that comes after, it’s not the lead thing you should go with. It’s interesting actually, it’s almost worth considering how we got to this place of having this huge focus on tech changes like this and that. How is it going to damage our marketing, etc, etc. I think part of the problem is I think a lot of tech companies have an issue with convincing leadership to do more things that technically can’t be measured. So right now because of technology we generally have an attribution for everything, don’t we. We like to say well this was generated from Google or organic social or whatever channel its come from but actually if we think about attribution models in themselves, they are actually broken. So I think something I always suggest to companies is its actually much wiser to lean on a manual attribution…..so asking Sales, ask the buyer that’s come to them ‘how did you hear about us?’ ‘where did you hear about us?’ ‘Oh it was the podcast’ ‘Oh it was that discussion you ran on X’ ‘it was the fuss that your CEO made on this controversial topic on Linkedin’. You can conduct activities and someone can through on the website, convert but they may have heard about you from a podcast, it may have been a conversation between two peers. This emphasis on just focusing on numbers, performance marketing creates this vacuum where leads need to be generated…we need more leads, we need more leads and here’s what drive success but there’s a mismatch going on here and I think what we are going to see with this is it’s a positive move with third party cookies. Actually this is a reminder that you probably need to take a step back and if this is having a big impact on your activities, it’s actually probably suggesting you need to refocus and come back to fundamentals of good marketing.
Jerry: I think what you and others have been saying all along is that not only is there life after third party cookies but there’s a really great life after third party cookies. I think we’ve all said, I don’t want to restate but I’ll do it anyway is that the things that you were probably already doing and perhaps some of things…….I’ve had a lot of discussions with people about customer experience and customer engagement broadly especially during the pandemic has definitely amplified some of things you’ve been saying….we’ve learned, we’ve got to start asking people. A lot of things I talk about, about CEO’s and Managing Directors going in whether its going in the contact centre, going out on the trucks with their team, whether is asking colleagues or asking customers, it feels like this is going to become the way of the future which I think is good news for all of us whatever side we sit on. Yes, go ahead Amy.
Amy: I did forget one thing to say as well, from the B2B marketing perspective I forgot a very, very critical team you should talk to a lot is your Sales team. I definitely think that something as well from a B2B marketing perspective, if you are talking about relevance and if you’re talking about what works your Sales team probably know that and are too busy to tell you. So if you have a really good relationship with them and you are able just to ping them or grab a cup of coffee with them or whatever it is and just ask what do you think has actually been working, what feedback have you got, perhaps and those sorts of things. I think they are really critical, frontline team who will be getting that insight. So if B2B marketers are listening to this and are thinking obviously yes we know we can go after customers, we can get those intros. I know there can be friction between Marketing and Sales because it’s “I need more leads, I need more leads” and “I’m working my ass off to get you more leads, bear with me”. A lot of the time its switch the conversation, let’s have a chat about what’s working and what’s not and could you share some insights in what the market has been saying to you and how did they even come into that conversation. It says lead campaign on Salesforce this thing but I don’t understand why that doesn’t match up to this. That was one last thing I wanted to highlight, was the Sales team relationship is super powerful as well.
Jerry: That is really important of course. Everyone knows that nothing happens around here until someone sells something! I say that and you’re right, when I talk about frontline I mean anyone…anyone that’s interacting. And of course the great comment about strategy falls apart with the first contact with the enemy, some people think of customers as the enemy, which of course is wrong. Lilah from your perspective, thinking about what Amy just said, thinking about other tactics and it sounds that….. given what you do and forensics, you think of what forensics means in the traditional sense…….you know looking at every aspect, bringing in everyone that’s involved in it….I’m sure that must play nicely into the work that you do.
Lilah: Yes, absolutely and I’m going to come back to this art and science piece again that Sam mentioned because I’m a big believer in making sure that you’re mapping your ICP, I’m going to say it again, your customer profiles and then creating really compelling benefits led solutions, challenge led content. It might be that you don’t get that conversion from that first bit of content but the idea is that you are looking to add value to your ICP, you’re looking to help them, you’re looking to nurture that relationship. Amy, I think you talked about the importance of relationships earlier and you couldn’t be more right. Whether it’s with your customers but also with your prospects because they might not be customers now but in a year’s time or two years’ time they might be. That relationship build goes both ways. I think that it’s really important not to just create content and hope that it sticks, you’ve got to look at the engagement, you’ve got to look at the traction it’s driving, you’ve got to look at the interest levels. That can be both on individual, one-to-one type of conversations but also it can be looking at the metrics as well on those pieces. So you can marry the quantitative and qualitative together and when you are monitoring that engagement…… and of course there is lots and lots of different tech out there that can help with monitoring engagement with particularly ABM type campaigns and that sort of thing. Lead Forensics can help with monitoring your website traffic via business IP tracking so nothing to do with individuals. Paula you were saying about privacy being so important and I think people are significantly more concerned with that now but if you are tracking at business level, to track the engagement that’s going to track your holistic stakeholders within that business. I think that the best tactics are to employ both; segment your audiences first of all, consider their challenges, line up their solutions to those challenges, consider what helpful content…….not buy, buy, buy content……but helpful content that you can take into that market and then monitor that engagement through the holistic journey, so end to end. How are your ICPs responding to what you are sending out and marrying that qualitative and quantitative together so you marry the stats with the conversations. That’s how I think we can become so much more relevant and turn this challenge we are facing right now into a positive and actually into the ultimate business benefit. If you get the right customers through the door, they are not just going to buy immediately but they are going to retain and they’re going to be customers over the long term…… and that’s who you want, you don’t just want the people who are going to see no benefit from your product and disappear. You want the ones who are going to be able to benefit from whatever it is that your product does and you want to go on a lifetime journey with them because they are seeing huge value and obviously as your organisation you benefit from a lifetime value of that.
Jerry: I think that’s a very good point………and again Paula thinking of Oracle and all the products and services that you have, thinking about in the ERP markets you specifically have a product and solution there, that organisations trust you to effectively run their whole business. And what Lilah was saying, they are not just going to buy that this week and then go and get something else next week, they are dependent on you to do that. So thinking about what we’ve been talking about, thinking about things like the input from salespeople and again you have a very large sales team out there……how are you using these different strategies to make sure, from the relevance perspective, that you are getting that message through and thinking about (I know you are) the lifetime value of what you can deliver?
Paula: I completely hear what Amy said before about engagement with the sales team and I like to address it as alignment. That’s one of the things I keep repeating because it always comes back to having some level of alignment. In larger organisations it’s harder and harder, with more specialised sales teams….. so they are ‘you need to target my specific product, my ERP solution’ that’s what you need to talk about and I’m ‘well I can’t I have 100 other products’ and you get all this back and forth of how to better marketing and they have an opinion about it. But we still need to work together, we need to collaborate ultimately……it’s a conversation. It’s one thing I do a lot because the type of marketing I do, the digital marketing, I am very top level so we do have the ABMs teams who focus more on strategic accounts, we do have field teams who focus on specific country level. I am literally top level, I am going volume. That’s what we are trying to do in my team and that’s the hardest one but also the very important one because it needs to connect with everything else. It’s interesting, I love it but we have so many teams and what we need to do and what we do in Oracle is just collaboration. We need to keep talking to the sales teams, we should keep talking to field marketing teams, we need to talk to martech and push for better martech. Because ultimately we are really dependable on the type of marketing we can do …..like Oracle, we have so many legacy in-house we not as fast as a start-up or a new cloud based business …..that we also are but there so many different connections in our database and ultimately marketing data. We have the best products in-house, we have amazing CX products but even for us to use as a big company it’s really, really challenging. I think we just need to continue this collaboration, continue to talk and continue this improvement. That’s the beauty of marketing as well, there is always room for improvement. Like we have in our minds, this is the perfect scenario…..I’ve never had a perfect scenario and I can probably bet that none of you guys ever had the perfect scenario, to create and execute the perfect marketing plan. We’ve been talking here for the past hour almost, all the things we think about when we are putting together our marketing plan there are so many details and I think it just goes back to so ‘okay out of the hundreds of details we can discuss, let’s pick the top ten and go from there.’ The top ten that can be really effective and get a nice mix of those and then keep checking the results, optimise what we are creating, going back to the customers, going back to the sales teams, going back to our marketing results, benchmarks we have and that’s the best we can do. I think ultimately where we are aiming is better user experience and data protection now as well because it’s a huge thing for us because we know that people hate being bombarded by Ads. How many Ad blocker apps we have out there and we probably have some in our mobiles as well because they are annoying but we want to do better, we don’t want to be annoying, we want to be helpful. I think that’s the flipping coin, we want to be helpful so we want to find the people who want or need our products and services. I don’t want to talk to people who don’t want it, there’s no gain in any way. I want to find that win, win relationship. I want to find that right person who really benefits using my product and services and ultimately making this world a better world for all of us. That’s what I believe as a marketer and that’s what I keep pushing for.
Jerry: Well, we need more of you out there Paula, there’s no question about that. Sam, from a demand generation perspective because I know that’s a big focus of what you’re doing, what options do you see given that we’ve been talking about getting the right people, using other people, collaboration and all of those things. What are the things that you’re seeing in terms of driving demand but making sure that we can still retain a good return on investment?
Sam: In terms of what Paula mentioned there, there’s always more to do in marketing isn’t there. Sometimes lying in bed after a day at work your brain is still going. In terms of the piece you mentioned of relevance, if we were to take targeting aside, consider something like Linkedin organic activities ….. when you are pushing information or content out through Linkedin that’s not technically targeted, you’re just publishing that out into the network of Linkedin. So long as what you’re pushing into that network is serving a narrow slice of that market, your buyer very well then you’re going to reach them and you have to consider what’s the way that your buyers want to consume content right now, what’s the format. If we really think about the last year, it’s where are they scrolling, we all do that if it’s before bed or at lunchtime or whatever. I think being active in those channels is very, very important and also looking at the buyer journey and really seeing the buyer now has so much power to consume information, get what they want, information is everywhere, everyone is serving it to them. So I think you really have to say, let buyers move through the journey in a way that suits them and perhaps shift out of this funnel piece. We’ve considered the funnel for a long time and I know Hubspot and various vendors have shifted their thinking to more flywheel. If you were to ask someone how many people this year have been put through an automation sequence and then purchased a solution, it’s probably actually very few. It’s much more complex than that, especially in bigger organisations, there are so many people engaged before a solution is purchased, conversations that need to be had, procurement, whoever it may be. What I would ask is thinking about short term activities that deliver pipeline and also long term. So you can almost split a team with demand generation in mind and say to make sure that we hit pipeline, we’re going to have this team here and we’re obviously going to have the KPIs. But you’re also going to make sure you have this long term approach where you are thinking about brand, thinking about building audience and become that authority in that space, basically building credibility in that space. I think if you do that well, again you’ll be able to keep the business happy delivering on the revenue number but also securing your future by not just focusing on the short term wins. As I referenced before, educating buyers or entertaining them I think it’s taking that approach especially with your content that’s really going to create that audience that you are looking for.
Jerry: We’re coming close to the end of our time together, it’s been very fast and I hope everyone agrees we’ve had some tremendous ideas shared.
As I said earlier we’ve got very different people from very different places and I think it’s blended together very well. What I’d like to do is just give you all a chance to have a final two minute say on where things are going but I wanted to backdrop with some other, not really questions but statements. We think that whether anyone and we’ve talking about how people …. you mentioned creepy, as an example…….but do you think B2B people mind their business interests being monitored online and also given what we’ve gone through in the last 12-15 months, social media, how important is that going to be going forward. Perhaps, I would like to ask you this final question and you could frame your answers around some of those things…..what would your top tip be, what are you going to say….. you’ve given us lots of great information already but what’s your top tip or takeaway for consideration as other marketers, thinking about all of the things we’ve spoken about, not just third party cookies, the changes are coming what advice would you give to people? Lilah, I’ll maybe just start with you and if you could give us your best two minutes that would be fabulous.
Lilah: In terms of social media, just touching on that one first of all is, we leverage that for brand. We don’t use it for demand gen, it’s for brand only and you can get some demand but largely people don’t want to be sold to while they are scrolling in their lunch break or whatever. So we use it for brand building activities. Sam I think you were absolutely right, everybody is on social media, you’ve got to influence your audiences but we have a three pillar approach so if you only focus on demand gen you’re going to fall short, if you only focus on brand you’re going to fall short so we focus on three core pillars………Demand Gen, Brand and Advocacy, so customer advocacy. Everything we do within our marketing tactics and strategy is ….right, which of these pillars does it line up to because they are all equally important. In terms of my top tip, I’m going to say my ICP again, it’s my acronym of the day, map those ICPs, know their challenges, and tailor your communication according to a value add. Think about nurturing those relationships, roll out the red carpet and consider your conversions as well. So when you get an ICP opportunity, make sure it converts. I think there’s a stat that 27% of B2B inbound enquiries are converted beyond the initial stage. That’s a shocking stat! If that could be 80% then you’re going to get a much better return on the value and your marketing investment, so monitor those conversions… It’s really, really important. Monitor engagement through the pipeline, so that at every single touch point you are monitoring the engagement and the interest in all of your content, whether that be on your website, whether that be on your landing page, whether that be through media or third parties but monitor your engagement with your value add content. So very much merging the art and the science together.
Jerry: Great way of putting it. Amy, your best tip for us, your best takeaway.
Amy: Related to the social media aspect, Jerry I think it comes back to why social media started and it was to be social and I think we are not being social. I think we are being very showy offy and like whose content is the best and lets just post my content constantly. I’m talking of how I feel as a consumer of content, I feel we could do more in terms of connecting and that’s related to what you said Sam about building communities. I think that’s probably the powerful part there. So with social media, go back to what it meant to be, be more social and be less self-centred with your content. I guess my main, biggest takeaway to say today is just reiterating a lot of what I’ve said already….just go back to learning your customers again because we’ve all changed in the last year or so, we’re not actually the same as we were. We all behave very differently now, we’re very, very in our laptops and you just have to think differently about how you are marketing to your personas now we’ve all changed as people and all expect things differently. So the empathy part of it, as you talked about earlier Jerry, is really critical. How empathetic are you being and remember that actually displaying empathy with your customers is not easy, you have to work hard at it. You have to think about how much am I speaking directly to my customers and audience and understanding them fully. So I think that’s my main takeaway from what I can bring to the table. The approaches I’ve been using at User Testing are customer centric and speaking more to customers on a weekly basis has helped me create better campaigns and content that is more relevant. There are probably a lot of digital marketers and other people that are worried about this change of third party cookies. My biggest advice would be…. don’t panic, it’s not going to change the world. You’re still going to be able to do your job, you’ll still be able (inaudible) to do that. So if there are any issues re-targeting and some of the other questions coming through, I don’t have all the answers for you right now because I don’t think anybody knows exactly what will happen but the good thing is that we will be able to adapt and you will find out when it happens, which probably as Lilah said two years from now so we’ve got time guys, don’t worry.
Jerry: Don’t panic. Paula, final word from you?
Paula: I will try to be a bit more tactical here because I know there are some questions about not fully understanding what the change is. Like Amy said, don’t panic, you have time but to really understand that go back to your plan where you have third party cookies right now in your digital plan. When you identify those, talk to your publisher or your Ad platform or whatever. It’s across the board, social media, programmatic, wherever it is that you have third party cookies, that will eventually go away. So start thinking about how to replace those moving forward. What are the shifts in your strategy that you are going to have to do and you will figure out eventually you are going to have better targeting out of those changes. You may have less numbers but that’s a good thing as we’ve been talking. That would be my advice if people are concerned and not understanding what it is. It’s not a big thing but it will change in the long term. I envisage a lot more change in the same direction, cookies are just one of them. Look how many details we have in a digital campaign, how many technical details like that will affect our data. As we were talking before, you can slice and dice the data in so many ways, we are always trying to find the prettier slides to show off and you (inaudible) be the same but if anything the prettier slides will get clearer and clearer without so many slices and dices. I envisage that marketing will just get just more and more transparent, it will have more clarity of what exactly the data is saying.
Jerry: I think that is a good image to leave us with, transparency and Sam just a final word from you before we close for the day.
Sam: My final takeaway would be just reaffirm that simple (inaudible). Focus on your ability to own your channels and if you were to say how do I do that. Very simply, it’s to find out who’s telling the most interesting stories in your market and then bring that to your buyers and do it in the way they like to consume and the channels they enjoy. Echoing the social media side of things, go and have conversations with your buyers. It’s amazing through something like Linkedin, the kind of relationships you can build by just commenting on people’s posts. That’s something that was just not possible not so long ago and it can be done in such a non-invasive manner. You can deliver value with one comment to a potential buyer like never before, whereas an email outreach can be completely out of context. So I think if you focus on those things, you’ll win.
Jerry: Back to personalisation, back to human, many of the things we’ve heard today. I wanted to thank you all, I hope you’ve enjoyed it, I hope our audience have. We’ve heard so many different views, I think it’s really helped. I know that one of the questions about confusion about third party cookies but I think we’ve pretty much said look don’t panic, we’ll be okay, it’ll be alright on the night. So thank you all again, it’s been really great hearing from you. The webinar recording will be shared so if you want to re-listen or have colleagues who want to listen to this, the link will be sent to you to the email that you registered with. And just before we log off, I wanted to thank Lilah at Lead Forensics for sponsoring today’s webinar, it was great. Thank you all four of you for sharing all that information. I think we all learned a whole lot more, very engaging and I hope we all enjoyed it, so thank you once again and let’s be careful out there.
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