Want marketing that gets results?
Analisa Dominic is here to explore marketing strategies and challenges.
She’ll give you the key questions you need to ask when developing a marketing strategy that drives sales.
And we’ll also discuss:
- The difference between B2B & B2C strategies
- Should sales & marketing be handled by the same person?
- How can you analyze what’s working?
- What the pandemic has changed about marketing
- And more
Mentioned in this episode:
Voiceover: This is Performance Delivered, Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success with Steffen Horst and Dave Antil.
Steffen Horst: Welcome to the Performance Delivered Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success podcast, where we talk with marketing and agency executives and learn how they build successful businesses and their personal brand. I’m your host Steffen Horst. The topic for today’s episode is exploring marketing strategies and challenges. Here to speak with me is Analisa Dominic, who is the Chief Marketing Officer at Opengear. Opengear delivers secure, resilient access and automation to critical IT infrastructure even when the network is down.
Analisa is responsible for leading the global marketing organization within the company. She has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, and has a diverse background that includes sales, marketing, product development, and management. Before joining Opengear, Analisa worked at Ericsson as well as Telstra Global, BT Global Services, AT&T and IBM. Analisa, welcome to the show.
Analisa Dominic: Thank you. Great to be here.
Steffen: Now Analisa, before we start exploring today’s topic, tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself. How did you get started in your career? And how did you end up at Opengear?
Analisa: Oh my gosh, it’s been a it’s been a very exciting and interesting career. Sometimes people might think I’m crazy. But I started my career way back when selling computer systems, mid range computer systems at IBM and really enjoyed that. But I did have a knack for marketing and was promoted into marketing. And then left IBM and went into the telco space. So everything from wireline and wireless devices, applications, etc. And then did several years at all the organizations you’ve mentioned and I am now home at Opengear and enjoying it. It’s it’s a great organization. It’s a midsize company, I have a lot of autonomy and the ability to make a great impact. And it’s it’s been fun.
Steffen: That’s wonderful. Now, today I want to talk about exploring marketing strategies and challenges. Let’s start off with what’s the difference between b2b and b2c marketing?
Analisa: My goodness, there are numerous differences. I think the biggest difference is a b2b has a tendency to run a longer length of time, and will require multiple multiple touches as well as multiple decision makers. B2c is is not easy, but it really just requires one decision maker and potentially multiple touches. So there’s a difference in the way you market to those, those industries and those audiences, quite frankly. B2b might not necessarily be all about social and you know, those components and maybe relationships lead, so it depends on the life cycle and the product cycle and the relationship cycle for b2b versus b2c.
Steffen: You just said a difference in how to market to different audiences. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Analisa: Yes. So your b2c expect instant gratification, want notifications, want pushes and things of that sort, where a b2b customer is generally looking for more information, more of a thought leadership approach, more relationship-focused or account-based marketing focused. And you literally have to approach those decision-makers differently, because they’re two distinct animals, and you’ve got and you know, in the market, you’ve got great b2b marketers, and you’ve got great b2c marketers. And those of us that have lived in both worlds could quite well, you know, could honestly tell you that they are different beasts altogether. So, you know, without going into a lot of great detail, I think that would be the overview I’d say.
Steffen: You talked about lead times, a few minutes ago. You know, when you when you sell something from a b2c perspective, unless you want to buy a car which which can take up to six months, that period, but for many e-commerce for example, you know, it’s it’s kind of you decide you need something and you start looking for it, and then you buy it. From a b2b perspective, what takes a long there? What makes it longer, the process from engaging with champions, decision-makers, to someone and deciding, you know, what I’m engaging with, for example, Opengear, because I’m interested in in what they can do for my company, and then obviously, moving them through a sales pipeline.
Analisa: Well, many things. Objectives, budgets, application, what it’s going to do to the systems, costing, decision-makers, utilization after install, plan to launch, there’s numerous things that go into it in my life. And in my, in my experience because of the technology that I’ve sold, you know, these aren’t, these aren’t decisions that are made lightly. There are usually committees making these decisions. And these are large purchase price ticket items. So it would be a car times a hundred, right.
When you put any new technology into an existing system, there’s testing that needs to be done, you know, there’s tons of things that need to be checked. We have to definitely understand how we’re going to use the application or use the new system or how we’re going to launch it. How it’s going to impact the end user. So it’s like you’re selling from a business to a business, but the business is then selling to their users as well as their customers. So it’s multi-tiered, and therefore it takes longer.
Steffen: Interesting. How does the sales side of the entire equation come into the picture? How do you ensure that what you do from a marketing perspective is useful and tilts the pipeline on the sales side?
Analisa: It’s a great question. There are a number of things. First and foremost, you know, it’s marketing’s role and responsibility to generate leads. It’s also our role and responsibility to create brand and brand awareness. You know, add to that websites, and all of the components that go to that. And then also product marketing and how we’re supporting the sales organization from a collateral perspective, from a demo perspective, etc.
So If you look at what your objectives are, you have to take into account what percentage of budgets or monies am I going to set aside for lead gen, brand awareness, website, you know, digital marketing, etc, etc. And you have to be in partnership with the sales organization. So you have to listen to them and find out what’s working, what’s not working. What are our customers asking for? What do they like? What do they don’t like? So it’s really a partnership across the organization that enables you to truly generate effective marketing tools, techniques, enablement, etc.
Steffen: I love that you used the word partnership. We obviously have a lot of conversations with b2b organizations that are looking to to grow and we develop leads for them or create leads through their digital marketing activities. And there are instances where when we have initial conversations, I can tell that sales and marketing are not aligned, which creates a problem for us, the outside vendor, because, you know, we create leads. And if if they’re not marketing qualified, not sales qualified, you know, then what we’re doing, it’s basically almost pointless, so to speak, right?
I love your notion about partnership, because you want to know what the sales team at the end of the day hears from the people that they talk to, right? Did they get the right information? Do they have the right understanding of your services, your solution, because that makes it much easier for sales to convert them into a new client. If that’s not the case, you might have to change your content, you might have to change your message in the stages of the marketing funnel, in order to prepare them as good as possible for their conversation with sales, right?
Analisa: Absolutely. I mean, and let’s add in product market, product management to that equation, right. So are they delivering the product the sales organization needs? I mean, it’s literally a partnership across all of the disciplines that drives a good marketing program to be candid. If product isn’t giving me the product that sales is asking for that their customers are asking for, why, what are we doing? So at the end of the day, you’ve all got to be on the same page. You should all have shared objectives, you should all have shared targets.
And we should all be aligned on what a marketing KPI looks like and why it’s important to you. Yes, they’re always going to blame marketing. I’m sure you’ve seen that over your career. Marketing gets blamed for everything. But at the end of the day, if they truly understand that you have their best interests at heart, and you are not just providing lip service or yes sirring them to death, I think that mutual understanding and respect goes a long way for a successful marketing campaign.
Steffen: Yeah, I mean, let me ask you a question here. In the number of conversations lately with b2b organizations, I sometimes hear what is your opinion and this is a question to me. What is your opinion in regards to sales and marketing? Should that be managed or overseen by the same person? What’s your view on that? Would that make things easier to align sales and marketing? Or would you not get the best out of either solutions? Because, you know, if you have someone that has really come from a sales side, they know sales inside out, but they might not be as strong from marketing perspective and vice versa.
Analisa: It is a great question. And I think my answer would be and always will be that they need to be separate. Just because you have a great salesperson does not mean he or she understands marketing, and vice versa. I’ve had the privilege over my career to have carried a bag. I did have a quota for years. I’ve sold. So I have the luxury of having the experience from both sides, not many people do. I think the other thing too is many people sell marketing short, sometimes. Marketing is not just, you know, unicorns, and pretty pictures.
There’s a science behind the measurements and the objectives that we set, and the KPIs, and the budgets and everything else that goes on that they have no idea about. Sales is and rightfully so should be focused on selling. And marketing, rightfully so, should be focused on marketing. I think the best of both worlds is when you have a leader. And in Opengear, I’m fortunate to have a great leader who’s done both as well. It makes life easier when the leader of the organization truly understands and appreciates both disciplines. And they are two different disciplines and two different beasts.
Steffen: Interesting. Now, today’s topic is about talking about different strategies and challenges for marketing. From a b2b perspective, what are specific strategies that you have used to achieve results?
Analisa: Many, many, many, many. I think one of the most recent, and I have been with Opengear a short period of time. So I just want to preface that before giving you the example because I haven’t had the years of experience yet here. But while at Ericsson, I had the opportunity to run the marketing organization for the Verizon account team. And we were responsible for billions of dollars in revenue. And I had it in my mind that I wanted to literally partner with our customers.
So we talked earlier about partnering with sales. But when you find yourself partnering with your customer, that enables you to provide thought leadership, guidance, and they view you as part of the team. So I had the opportunity to engage with Verizon marketing, from an Ericsson perspective, and talk them into a crazy notion of taking our 5g demos out of our lab and using them to help them sell 5g to their b2b and their b2c customers. So my, you know, it was crazy thought they all looked at me like I was nuts. And I remember the leader at the time going Analisa, I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’m gonna just let you go. Thank goodness.
We managed to generate millions of dollars in revenue for Verizon, while taking 5g enabled demos out into the fields and host Verizon’s customer. So my you know, picture if you will, walking onto the intrepid on D day in New York City. And it’s wall to wall demonstration and the branding is all co branded Ericsson, Verizon, Ericsson, Verizon, everywhere you look, you’ve got the Ericsson people doing the demos for the Verizon customer with Verizon sales, being there. And it’s just a recipe for success. And that was one of the most powerful marketing campaigns I’ve ever run because my customer truly believed in me. And because they believed in me, I saw their success, and therefore we were successful.
So I think the message here is, from a b2b perspective, you really, really, really need to understand your customer. We don’t all have the ability and luxury to do ABM or Account Based Marketing to the level I did it. But we do have the ability to find out where our customers are in lifecycle, what industries they’re in, what’s keeping them up at night, what’s important to them, and then providing thought leadership, right. Helping them be successful is a recipe for winning, you know, every day any day.
Steffen: That’s a great example honestly. Because it’s it’s kind of going outside the normal box, right. I mean, if you look at the normal marketing activities, it’s like, okay, what channel should we do. You know on your, online, your offline channel. This is something which is a great idea. You know, sometimes it really helps to work with your client and help them be successful because that will make you successful.
Analisa: Correct. Correct. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we, we had hiccups along the way. And we were, we, but here’s the nice part. We were co-branded even on the website, even on their invitations, even on social media, even in their videos. Right. So those assets, just screamed partnership and benefited both. And you know, why not?
Steffen: I agree. I agree. I can totally see that being very successful. What are some of the challenges from a b2b perspective that you have encountered, and that you see?
Analisa: Well, we mentioned the fact that we don’t have endless budgets, and we don’t necessarily have the resources to truly understand our customers. I think other thing is, is ensuring that we’re providing all the latest tools and gadgets for sales. And we don’t have the luxury of digital marketing in terms of what b2c has, right. Because our decision-makers are typically older. They’re typically not as accustomed to all of the technology that a b2c person is, although I say that, and I do want to point out that they’re starting to become more savvy like that. So we are starting to see a shift.
But you’ve got longer lead times, you’ve got longer sales cycles, and you’ve got higher-priced solutions. And you also then let’s add the complexity of technology, and why you and not your competitor, and then competing against the best of the best. And by the way, we’re doing this on a global basis. So this isn’t, this isn’t easy. I mean, it’s not easy. Nobody has written a blueprint. I mean, I didn’t come out of college, understanding how to market nor did anybody else.
And if they did, then they’re really lying. You know, after years of experience, you start to realize and understand the dynamics of the industries, the dynamics of the technology, you start to really appreciate what the competitors are doing. You keep an eye on that at all times, you learn how to message according to need, which I think is extremely important. And, you know, there’s just a bunch of other levers, but I know we have limited time. So I’ll pause there.
Steffen: Now, you talked about lead times. And obviously from kind of a lead gen perspective, getting feedback on which leads are of higher quality, which means kind of which leads make it how far in the sales funnel is really important, because you want to hone in on those type of leads, right, and want to get more of those. How do you overcome not having a relatively timely response on what works and what doesn’t work and what is your solution to that?
Analisa: Okay, so there are so many tools out in the market that people can utilize. I think since having joined Opengear, one of the nicest things that generally happens is we have a following of obsessed customers. And we’re very fortunate. And when I say obsessed, I’m I mean that because I didn’t believe anybody during the interview process. I didn’t believe anybody until I saw it at Cisco Live last year, and customers were just lined up. And they were willing to be videotaped on the spot to tell us why they love Opengear, so that was awesome.
But the nice thing about our systems is that we’re, you know, when someone downloads something from the website, or when they request a demo, that gets fed in immediately. And we have a great set of partners around the globe that are just super awesome. I’m going to say, however, that we have work to do. And we are actually implementing a new application that will enable us to do this even better. We can’t necessarily all the time because of our distribution model, tell you what, and who and how something was sold, unless they came direct.
But most of the time, they’re coming through distribution, which just adds another level of complexity. And that does require applications and systems to help you manage through that. So we’re in the midst of an integration and install of an application that’s going to help us at least get down more clearly and granular on what’s effective and what’s working and why is it working so that we can become more responsive, even more so.
Steffen: Now, we just talked about different strategies and challenges. What are the key questions that you ask either yourself or other people in the organization when developing a strategy for the company you work for?
Analisa: What is your objective? Period. I think we all, I think we all forget sometimes to take a breath and go, okay. At the end of the day, what are you trying to achieve, and why, right? What is the KPI and how am I going to measure success? How are you going to tell me I’ve been successful? That in itself is easier said than done, because we all get so involved in our day-to-day and we’re completely busy and we’re seeing, you know, all the stuff that’s going on around the world right now. But it literally it comes down to why? What’s it going to do? What’s it going to solve? How is it going to help your customer? How is it going to help the business, etc, etc. And you could ask anyone on my team.
First question out of my mouth is, how’s it going to be measured? What is the objective, right? Because if you’re just doing things, because someone says, oh, you know, so and so created a data sheet, a new data sheet for me, and they’re like, oh, okay, and marketing is not viewed as a partner, right. Marketing is viewed as a third party. You deliver value when you start asking those critical questions, and then understanding what it is they’re really trying to achieve. And then oh, by the way, you can say no. And when you say no, but you better have a solution or an alternative. And don’t be afraid to do that.
Steffen: I love that you just mentioned measurement. Because we talked early on, you said, you know, obviously, we have awareness activities, we have demand gen activities. And companies look at these things as different activities. Although, if we’re honest, demand, or brand awareness activities, drive people into the funnel that at some point, end up on the bottom, which means they request a demo or buy your product or hire you for your service. How do you measure success? Do you differentiate between what happens on the brand awareness site? And then you look at it from a demand generation perspective separately? Or do you look at it across the funnel?
Analisa: I do all of the above, to be honest with you. You know, when we set objectives at the beginning of the year, you have to look at where the business is going, how you’re going to support them, first and foremost. Then you got to determine what marketing activities you’re going to do to drive the business. And then I turn around and I deliver that to my sales, to my marketing organization and say OK, guys, these are the things we need to achieve, how are we going to do it. I enable my leaders then to come up with plans.
And each of those plans is then measured, according to their specific objective. And it could be the number of people that attend a webinar. It could be as simple as that. Do the number of demos or the number of downloads or the number of sales that we’ve made, or whatever the case may be. So then they’re each individually and then their teams are individually measured. So you’ve got, at the top, you’ve got, where’s the business going? And then that filters down. At the same time, you need to have the conversation and be at the table with sales that says okay, sales, what are you going after?
And why and how and how can we support? Is it an industry dialogue that we need to have? Is it a technology dialogue that needs to be had? What can we do to help? So it’s a combination of all of the above to make something truly effective. Now mind you, of course, I get a call from my CEO yesterday. Analisa, what are you doing about the number of leads coming in, right. So we all, we still have to deal with that on a daily basis. But our objectives are based on a number of different factors and measurements.
Steffen: That makes sense. That makes sense. Now, over the last two, three years, you know, when the pandemic hit, it became more challenging to target individuals at business organizations or at organizations period. Has that period helped you to further fine tune how you run your digital marketing campaigns and then how you target people, or has that not changed?
Analisa: Those do. I’ve got a multiple answer to that question. First of all, the pandemic was extremely tough on everybody and it was awful. However, from a business perspective, it was really good for us from a value prop perspective. Because remember, we are your smart out of band network. You know, we’re there to enable you first day, manage, you know, everyday delivery from presence and proximity to providing network resilience with failover to cellular. There’s nobody had with with Opengear, no one has to be in a building.
You don’t need to send an engineer out to a remote tower to get your systems backup and running. From a business perspective is good for us. From a marketing perspective, all of us had to shift the way we marketed from a digital perspective. And if anybody tells you they didn’t, I would never believe them. The mindset of our decision makers and purchasers were so different than pre pandemic. And I’m sure you probably would agree with me there, there needed to be a shift. We couldn’t just reach out and touch someone.
And oh, by the way, you know, everybody got digital fatigue. So there was that to overcome. So, yes, we did shift. Yes, I changed, we, you know, we change courses. And we did what we could, but we also did what we could, understanding what the what the end users were going through. And I think you have to enable an organization to, to breathe, to make mistakes, and to make changes. And I think that’s where we hide our success.
Steffen: Interesting. Now, Analisa, unfortunately, we’ve come to the end of today’s podcast episode. Thank you so much for joining me on the Performance Delivered podcast and sharing your thoughts on marketing strategies and challenges. I really enjoyed our conversation. Now if, if people want to find out more about you, about Opengear, how can you get in touch?
Analisa: Opengear.com. And I’m happy to connect on LinkedIn. Analisa Dominic, and on Twitter, you know, wherever, wherever you guys want to reach me. But if you would love to love a demo or learn more about Opengear, definitely please hit our website. And this has been a real joy and I appreciate you taking me back through my history and down this path and I look forward to potentially joining you again.
Steffen: Thank you so much. Now, thanks everyone for listening. If you like the Performance Delivered podcast, please subscribe to us and leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast application. If you want to find out more about Symphonic Digital, you can visit us at symphonicdigital.com or follow us on Twitter at Symphonic HQ. Thanks again and see you next time.
Voiceover: Performance Delivered is sponsored by Symphonic Digital. Discover audience focused and data driven digital marketing solutions for small and medium businesses at symphonicdigital.com