How this marketing ops leader is lifting the automation ante at Cochlear

ASX-listed hearing implants producer's first globa lead for digital marketing operations shares her efforts to introduce marketing automation and demand generation principles


When Cochlear’s first global leader of digital marketing operations, Divya Jumani, joined the ASX-listed organisation 12 months ago, she faced an all-too common quandary: A marketing automation platform being used as an email tool.

“Marketo was just a sexy email marketing platform when I came in,” she told CMO. “That was my first role – to showcase the power of the platform. I had to educate people that marketing automation isn’t just email marketing, it’s campaign management, lead management, segmentation, your demand architecture, nurturing, reporting and analytics. That 360-degree view was missing and articulating it led to one of those ‘aha’ moments for the organisation.

“It’s resulted in Cochlear creating a new function altogether and my role, which never existed before.”

Jumani’s position covers automation, campaign management, reporting and analytics across the hearing implant provider’s global operations in 42 countries. The company divides its go-to market strategy into four key regions: The Americas, APAC, EMEA and CLASA.

It’s a role that takes advantage of Jumani’s entire career history to date, from software sales for Oracle in India, through to demand generation funnel development for startups such as Project Kickstart and Market Metrics in Silicon Valley, plus marketing automation implementation and Salesforce integration within cloud-based contact software provider, Five9.

It was during her time at Five9 that Jumani deployed the ‘demand factory’, embracing a co-dynamics scoring model and mapping out complete demand architecture, from awareness to acquisition, lead ingestion, and nurturing. She also created a data norm and data washing process to append data in real time to segments and lead scoring.

“A big lesson for me was when we built the scoring model, we should have involved sales,” Jumani recalled. “We had to prove to them they need to do more. We created a 12-step framework automated in Marketo, so if they made one phone call or sent one email, everything was being tracked and tagged.

“It removed the qualitative from these discussions and made them quantitative. And it gave marketing a seat on the table as revenue generators.”

Leading an automation transformation at Cochlear

Upon joining Cochlear, Jumani’s first step was to conduct an internal audit gauging marketing capabilities across different regions and teams.

“I walked into a terrible instance [of marketing automation]. There had been a lot of movement in this role, and no proper handholding,” Jumani said. “My first challenge was rejigging the whole instance.

“We are the biggest hearing implant company in the world with two-thirds market share. But all the regions are at different levels. All teams previously had access to Marketo but many were literally using it to send emails.”

To better recognise levels of sophistication, Jumani called in Marketo’s professional services team and kicked off a ‘centre of excellence’ program. This involved establishing a governance structure, partitioning out regions and cleaning up Cochlear’s “as is” capabilities.

From there, Jumani started to map out “where we wanted ‘to be’,” introducing a three-tiered system (gold, silver and bronze). Leading the gold standard is Cochlear Americas, which has implemented lead scoring, assignment and funnel, and embraced the classic SiriusDecisions demand generation model.

“With that team [Americas], I’m trying to take them to the next level by using survey tools, connecting and creating integrated campaigns and ensure we have campaigns on steroids, versus just email marketing,” Jumani  said. 

At the other end of the scale, some teams in Europe and Asia are just getting started, ingesting all leads in the marketing automation platform, building basic abilities around sending triggered emails to candidates, and teeing up an event or marketing campaign landing page.

“Sweden, for instance, was working out of Excel sheets,” Jumani said. “The first thing was ingesting all that demand into the system. There were so many lightbulb moments for teams, as they often they didn’t know the leads existed. This has been about giving them the visibility and showing them they’re already doing a lot of good stuff getting demand in the door.”

Key to gaining efficiency has been ensuring activities are repeatable and “cloneable”, Jumani said. As an illustration, she noted work done to globalise Cochlear’s welcome program.

“Every time there was a new recipient campaign – which is when a candidate has surgery and has their implant is switched on - we handhold them with a welcome program that’s a combination of support and marketing messages,” she explained. “It’s a very complicated, long stream and every time a new country was getting on board, they were creating the campaign from scratch. That’s not scaleable.

“What we have done is create a global campaign, which the regions started cloning.”

Building the martech stack

One of the biggest hurdles Jumani faces is skills. “For me, it’s hire for attitude, train for skill. I’ve had good success with people at an entry level who have the swagger and drive,” she said.

The next gap Jumani hopes to fill is marketing technologist. While Cochlear does have a dedicated marketing automation role sitting in the IT function, Jumani said the position needs to be elevated as her team brings additional capabilities into the marketing technology ecosystem.

One of the big issues with running a marketing technology stack is its integration and impact on other technology systems across the wider organisation. Jumani noted Cochlear’s Marketo not only includes Marketo and Salesforce platforms, there’s also an online store, Oracle customer database, plus Informatica’s data management product, event management system, Cvent, and Marketo’s Ad Bridge retargeting tool in the mix.

“There are 35 other IT tools as well – and this person needs to understand the downstream impact,” she said.

“I often say marketing was once complicated, now it’s complex... it’s like a rainforest, where there is cause and then effect. Someone makes a change in Oracle and it’s going to affect Salesforce, then Marketo, and then screw up our emails. This person needs to be across all these systems and stitch it together.”  

One recent structural change that should help is centralisation of Cochlear’s IT function. Over the last year, the company has been working to embrace an ethos of ‘one Cochlear’, moving to a matrix organisational structure.

Turning up the dial on lifecycle marketing

Already, Jumani’s efforts are helping Cochlear move away from ‘spray and pray’ campaigns to more lifecycle-led marketing.

“We already had a customer lifecycle approach in theory. It’s about taking that theory and putting it in logical segments to go after,” she said.  

For instance, introducing elements such as A/B testing, hyper campaigning and more targeted messaging based on context are lifting email open rates, Jumani said. As an example, she pointed to hyper campaigning activities that go after micro datasets, such as someone who is a unilateral implant recipient.

“That person is a classic candidate for a bilateral unit, or a device in the other ear. So instead of sending to the whole audience, you go for that target segment,” she said.

Better calls to action are another focus. As an example, Jumani suggested adding a short form to Cochlear’s social media marketing programs. In the case of its ‘lost and found’ campaign in February, adding a form saw Cochlear generate 1400 new leads in 10 days.

Through all of these efforts, Jumani is encouraging staff to start with the end objective in mind.

“You have to start with what you’re trying to achieve - do you have a number? Then we’ll help get you to that number,” she said.

The introduction of A/B testing and segmented targeting, along with an emphasis on being nimble, has resulted in more staff actively seeking out the marketing operations team, Jumani said.

“As a digital marketing team, we also touch so many different functions, from research to BI, branding and finance. We have to become so integrated with all of these teams and be at the core of all these campaigns,” she added.

The next priority for Jumani is building a customer advocacy tool using Marketo. These volunteers, who have already had surgery, can self-report on candidates and act as brand advocates.

Jumani is also continuing to add to the martech stack, and highlighted plans to introduce Leadspace’s B2B platform and Conversica’s artificial intelligence-powered sales enablement tool into the mix.

“There is enough trust that’s been built within the organisation that we have a strong budget for next year and we know we can do some killer stuff,” she said.

Marketing automation pitfalls to avoid

When it comes to ensuring marketing automation is successful, Jumani said data-driven decision making is a major challenge many organisations continue to grapple with.

“What’s in it for Cochlear and the recipient? We need to get away from impressions and eyeballs to hard metrics,” she said.  

Her second piece of advice is to “slow down to speed up”. “Yes, you have a marketing automation platform and want to do all these different things, but is it really working?” Jumani asked.

“Get off the campaign treadmill. Things need to be consolidated, and you need to create engagement programs, not one-off, adhoc campaigns. Focus on the stuff that’s really going to move the needle.”

Jumani also stressed the importance of post-campaign reviews. “We look once a month and look at all our conversions. If it’s not working we’re going to switch it off,” she said. “Turning the crank down is just as important as turning it up.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu    

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