In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
CMO of digital technology services company Mindtree, Paul Gottsegen, has spent 30 years as a marketer, earning his stripes with the likes of Compaq, Dell, HP and Infosys.
Upon joining Mindtree two-and-a-half years ago, he was tasked with transforming the brand and go-to-market strategy of the Indian-headquartered integrator, which chalks up revenue of US$700 million annually. His approach has helped Mindtree outpace industry growth for the past two years, and is an illustration of the importance of combining marketing technology, brand strategy and customer engagement.
During the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit, Gottsegen shared his six-and-a-half ingredients for achieving modern marketing.
Ingredient 1: Build a team of modern marketers
Over the years, marketers have become specialised in certain fields, such as search, social, PR or content. The problem is that customer expectations, and technology-led marketing, requires increasingly integrated campaigns and approaches, Gottsegen said. To do this, everyone must have a vision from top to bottom of the marketing process, from content through to SEO/SEM, running and nurturing a campaign, he said.
Digital marketing also requires modern marketers to be marketing technologists, alongside more traditional skills such as messaging and customer evangelism.
“Marketing can’t be behind the scenes, I needed universal soldiers that cover everything,” Gottsegen said. “As we invested in our martech stack, it became clear the only way to run a campaign is for each individual to see that campaign end-to-end.”
Gottsegen said he only hired people fluent in marketing technology as a result. With existing employees, he worked to re-board and build up their skills through goal setting and team training sessions. He also partnered these staff with appointed champions for specific technology platforms, such as Marketo, Tableau and Salesforce.
“That helped up the skills level of the whole team,” he said.
Ingredient 2: Content value chain integration
Gottsegen then embarked on three simultaneous digital content projects, all of which integrated and supported each other. The list encompassed a website revamp, customer listening work, content development and an SEO/SEM overhaul.
“I hired content writers, an analytics firm, and got these people in one team with digital knowledge and they fed off each other,” he explained. “Everyone brought expertise to the table.”
Ingredient 3: Lead management
Gottsegen admitted the area of most “blood, pain and sweat” was lead generation and management. At the time of his appointment, Mindtree had just introduced Salesforce but was unable to track leads. As well as implementing Marketo marketing automation, he set about getting cross-functional commitment to how lead generation was undertaken and managed.
“The first mistake I made was I’d thought marketing automation was all about personas and scoring,” Gottsegen continued. “We focused on personas and scoring, did a good job of that, launched, did a bunch of work and nothing happened.”
What Mindtree hadn’t done was sync marketing automation with sales automation. The IT team was brought in to undertake custom work so leads, contacts and accounts were all tied together.
“There were times where we had to take two steps back, and reclean the database,” Gottsegen said. “If this data is not in sync, all the work gets lost.”
Another major step forward was introducing a common language to describe lead generation from the CEO down to sales teams. This also ensured Mindtree could track its velocity and ROI more effectively.
Mindtree also ensured leads were synced to contacts and accounts. “We want to make sure a sales person can look at that account and see every activity with leads we’re generating,” Gottsegen said. “It sounds easy, but it’s very difficult to do. We had a mini mutiny where people asked if it was worth it. Now it’s awesome.”
Along the way, Mindtree needed to reduce the number of reports being produced to only those that drive change. “It took a while to figure out where the clear hand-off between marketing and sales was,” Gottsegen continued.
While marketing automation has proved its worth, Gottsegen said getting it right takes hard work and plenty of governance, planning and data management.
“This gave us this foundation to do levels of marketing at a scale we couldn’t do before. But governance is something you have to spend lot of time on,” he said.
Ingredient 4: Introduce integrated campaigns
Gottsegen said he’s always believed brands will get the most impact by doing fewer things and lining up all marketing resources towards integrated campaigns. He’s taken this approach at Mindtree, launching a series of fully integrated campaigns around its tagline: ‘Welcome to possible’.
These ‘possibilities’ campaigns kick off with messaging development, and are supported by what Gottsegen described as an “inner circle of content pieces”. From there, Mindtree looks to syndicate content in multiple channels and activities.
To date, four ‘possibilities’ campaigns have been launched. The current one required Mindtree to develop several signature assets, including an ebook, survey and media hub. On top of this, its campaign engine is deploying a 10-stage, three-phase, A/B tested communications schedule going through a variety of channels including paid, PR, email, social and events.
Ingredient 5: Gain transparency across sales
While it might sound potentially explosive, Gottsegen made it clear to Mindtree’s sales teams that he’s tracking every one of them to ensure the work done by marketing is followed up successfully, including through CRM, LinkedIn, the sales portal and training.
“If marketing and sales become too much of a lovefest, it’s a problem,” he claimed. “You want friction. If those sales people haven’t logged on, their boss’ boss will find out. If their social selling index is low, people will find out.”
Sales dashboards have been key to helping unite sales and marketing efforts, and Mindtree has also rolled on tiered sales training certifications internally to ensure staff are able to maximise the technology and insights given to them.
Ingredient 6: Social selling
For Gottsegen, this is about sales teams creating a professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building strong relationships.To help, the company has brought in a specialist agency.
“Our biggest win in the last two-and-a-half years all started because a guy did social selling, figured out searches and found customer success,” Gottsegen said.
Ingredient 6.5: Continual learning
For Gottesegen, a commitment to ongoing learning is the most important thing modern marketers can do.
“Things are changing so quickly in marketing, there is this Achilles heel half of the marketing world have right now but don’t know it: You need to learn, all the time,” he said. “Technology is so helpful, you have to continuously learn.”
Ways Gottsegen educates himself about new trends and capabilities is to spend time exploring capabilities within its marketing automation platform, reading or viewing content on marketing technology, and constantly using Google, YouTube and feedly for metrics and benchmarks.
“We have tried everything, and we’ll fail quickly and small,” he added. “Some things we’ve done, we’ve have no idea whether or not they will work. So attend conferences, and trial a new technology regularly.”
- Nadia Cameron attended Marketo Marketing Nation Summit as a guest of Marketo.