How Westrac’s marketing operations investment is proving the team’s business value
- 17 April, 2019 06:56
Streamlined and more visible processes, rapid-fire campaign delivery and a highly motivated and valued marketing force are just a few big wins for Westrac since bringing on a new marketing operations management platform.
Westrac marketing and customer experience manager, Marnie Davey, joined the Caterpiller equipment dealer 18 months ago from SAS software, where she was responsible for customer intelligence as a product marketing manager. Tasked with overseeing Westrac’s marketing technology stack, she quickly realised internal tools were inadequate for managing a more collaborative marketing ecosystem consisting of employees across multiple states, freelancers and agency partners.
Westrac is an Australian $2 billion equipment management solutions business with more than 3000 employees providing products and services to industries including mining and construction.
“I could see as marketing that we needed to streamline and work smartly, not necessarily harder,” Davey told CMO. “There was very little visibility, things were done in email or spreadsheets and we lacked a marketing operations tool. We worked from shared drives for asset management, and processes were complicated.”
In putting out an RFP for a marketing resource management platform, a key aim was helping the marketing campaigns team to deliver campaigns more effectively. In advance of this, she held workshops where staff created customer personas, then worked on key requirements and team maturity for using marketing tools.
Key criteria for tech investment also included the ability for people outside the internal network to contribute to improve real-time collaboration, as well as a tool that would be so easy to use, teams would quickly integrate it into their day-to-day workflow.
The RFP led Westrac to Australian martech company, Cooperate (formerly Cognitives), set up by tech entrepreneur, Justin Cannon; ex-Xero manager and SaaS expert, Amu Walker; ex-marketing product manager and startup mentor, Tom Spencer; and product developer, Rohit Gupta. The business is backed by McPherson Media Group and media veteran, Alan Kohler.
“The journey mapping piece was huge for us – we haven’t looked at it in that way,” Davey said of the platform’s feature set. “This helps me tell a good story from a marketing perspective to our business leaders, showing how we’re servicing them and where campaigns fall. That visual representation is unique.”
The platform went live in January. Westrac also collaborated with Cooperate on building out specific features to suit its use cases.
“I particularly want more of a templated process, so if you’re doing a digital campaign you always have X, Y and Z elements,” Davey said. “Cooperate is helping us achieve this in an easy way, so we don’t have to rebuild every campaign. It was also easy to use and the team were captivated by how we could work, which was important.”
Other functionality introduced includes a master marketing calendar to gain granularity at a campaign level, and budgeting functionality.
“We’re only using the technology in the marketing team for now, but we have lots of plans to roll this out further,” Davey said. “I was keen to make sure everyone in our team understood this is to help get our jobs done, it’s not just bureaucracy.”
The ability to put marketing metrics and workflows on the executive table also sees Davey using the marketing operations platform as a communications tool to articulate marketing’s contribution.
“All pilot goals were variations of streamlining processes from briefing activity to campaign management,” Davey continued. “The biggest indicator of success for me is having a digital ad campaign in market in one week. Usually it’d take much longer than that.
“Then it’s been about internally changing the conversation I was having around with business units around where we’re spending and the key measurements.”
On a team front, having a dedicated marketing operations solutions has given Davey visibility of her team’s best selves. One way it’s done this is by helping everyone understand their own capabilities. “Because I can see what a colleague is doing, I can then see she’s good at graphic design, so I can see workload and ask her to contribute to a project she may have not had visibility of,” Davey said. “Others are great at writing.
“This allows us to distribute the workload more enjoyably so people can have more focus on what they like doing. A campaign will still have a lead, but you can choose who might do some writing, or graphics. We are trying and can now do things differently.”
To date, the 20 campaign boards and 23 planning boards running have been created organically. “We have a few other teams keen to use it, however, so as it opens up we’ll start introducing more rules around how to set these up,” Davey said.
One of these is stakeholders running production studies in a vehicle. “We might take that and turn it into several pieces of content, so they’ll need Cooperate to see that workload and campaign,” Davey said.
Digital and CX transformation
Cooperate comes with a digital asset management system, which Westrac is now using to create a centralised DAM. At present, 34 per cent of assets have migrated over.
From there, the DAM will be integrated with Westrac’s content management system, based on Sitecore technology, which went live in February. Davey is keen to see the content production feature of Cooperate united with Sitecore’s offering.
“That would help us collaborate further with customer stories,” she explained. “We have an aggressive content production schedule mapped out, so the publishing and approval of that will be critical.”
As part of the Sitecore rollout, Westrac is also debuting live chat on its site. After that, integration with Westrac’s data visualisation tool, Power BI, is on the roadmap.
“I’ve love to jump to the end and say we’ve done it all, but we have to take the steps to ensure it’s embedded,” Davey commented. “There can be lots of these process improvements that last a while but you’re just doing it for the sake of it. It’s important to me that my team embed this into how they work.”
Cooperate and Sitecore are just two pieces of a wider digital transformation project going on at Westrac. Davey herself has responsibility for the website and customer and digital experience roadmap from awareness through to support.
“We’re all moving forward rapidly and there is a lot to adopt. We have to deliver immediate value to the users,” she said.
It’s early days for Westrac on the customer experience front, for instance. The next phase of work focuses on developing and launching customer portal facilities. Davey’s team also manages online parts sales via a Caterpillar website.
“We are a big company, and we’re complicated, and we have multiple segments. In trying to start with the customer journey, for example, it’s hard to know where to start,” she said.
What is in place is mapped out segmentation of key markets Westrac serves based on its offering.
“The customer journeys were also known but not necessarily mapped out. And we’d done some work on personas previously, so we’re looking at how to refresh that and bring it into the business,” Davey said. “I’d like to bring that into Cooperate so we understand that this campaign targets this persona, as opposed to just this segment.
“Sales ask for as many leads as possible, but I need to give them the right leads. To do that, we need to understand these journeys better. That buyer journey was the piece Cooperate delivers. It differentiates interaction against the customer journey and how a customer might come to buy something, as opposed to the segment we are targeting.”
Meanwhile, thanks to the CMS rollout, Westrac has gained the ability to surface content better. “It’s a snowball effect – the customer stories and articles we’re producing are getting visibility in the business so there’s more interest in more content,” Davey said.
In response, Davey’s team have set up marketing request smart forms, to try and template requests.
“We have a big marketing team planning board, things go into a backlog, then once a week we decide what to do and not to do, and allocate. It does also help identify the types of requests we’re getting so we streamline the popular areas and deliver a better service,” she explained.
Even as the technology rollout continues, Davey has tried to retain a human element in transformation. In recent weeks for example, she ran a vote to brand the Cooperate platform internally, arriving at ‘Baxter’.
“This was all about humanising this as a company team member,” she added.
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