The Brave New World of Corporate Marketing: Interview with Jamie Anderson and Marcus Ruebsam

Interviewer: Well, today we have a unique set-up. I have two guests. I am very pleased. I have two senior marketing executives from SAP; Marcus Ruebsam, who is in charge of strategy and corporate development for SAP’s marketing solution, and Jamie Anderson, Global Vice President of Product Marketing for Customer Engagement and Commerce Solutions. In other words, Jamie and Marcus are responsible for the development and marketing of SAP’s marketing solutions. So, welcome Marcus and Jamie.

Anderson: Thanks Glenn, good to be here.

Interviewer: That was Jamie.

Ruebsam: Good to be here.

Interviewer: That was Marcus. So, we had a really good conversation a short while ago where we were talking about how far can marketing technology go and how effective can it be, so Jamie do you want to take the lead on that?

Anderson: Absolutely, we spoke about a lot, as I remember Glenn, and we had a few laughs along the way. It would be good if we were able to do that today –

Interviewer: Absolutely.

Anderson: But I’m not promising anything, what can I say. Marketing I feel has fundamentally changed. We’re living in a world where a lot of what’s happening, a lot of the change that we’re experiencing, as enterprises and as marketers, are sales are driven pretty much from the outside in. It’s driven from a complete shift in the way in which consumers are actually, for whatever better description, consuming and engaging with the information that we’ve put out there. I think that kind of led me to believe that many of the [00:02:48 – Inaudible] which marketing has historically been based on. Like, the marketing funnel, we discussed that.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Anderson: It’s almost like the funnel is now the wrong kind of analogy or metaphor, if you like, for how we do marketing, because the funnel is kind of broken. I think more and more now as a marketer and as someone who has focused a lot of their career in the last few years on the aspect of content marketing, that the stages, if you like, of the funnel, that awareness, interest, decision, action they all still exist, but to kind of imagine it as a funnel where you put lots and lots of kind of opportunities leads and always filters down a business process that you as a company control. And at the end the outcome is you sell something to someone. I think that’s completely screwed up. I don’t think it works that way because I do think customers now conform to that kind of thinking. I think they choose their own journeys. So, more and more what gets me excited from an SAP perspective is at looking at how we can take customers on their own journey with our brand. And I think that’s one of the big fundamental changes that customer empowerment, the democratization of information; the fact that people will go to multiple sources before they come to us. I think the statistic that we spoke about Glenn was that 57% of the sales cycle is completed before a first interaction with a sales person.

Interviewer: Right.

Anderson: That tells you something about the market. It tells you something about the role of marketing. And I think that’s the big, big change that certainly I’m seeing.

Interviewer: Well, I have a question for you on that, so I agree the funnel is a useful metaphor for how it could work, but in reality the buyer’s journey is a lot more complex. But, as a marketer then what do you do if you don’t really know how buyers are moving through the journey?

Anderson: I think the first thing you have to do is you have to listen. You have to look outside your business and understand the new rules of engagement. It’s really funny, I go to quite a few conferences; sometimes I have the pleasure to speak at some and be a little disruptive, which is always fun, but people are constantly wrestling with kind of whole digital transformation of the business, particularly digital transformation of marketing. And they ask about social, what should my social strategy be? And I find that really odd to find that people talk about that. It’s like when people had call centers they never said what’s my phone strategy.

Interviewer: Right.

Anderson: Do you know what I mean? It was like everything is a strategy for me around customer engagement. And social, instead of go to lump it all together in one bucket, because I think within social there are channels, you know those channels where the social aspect of it as a conversation there’s channels where part of it is a little bit broadcast and a little bit chest beating. There are other parts where Facebook where you are looking for affirmation and likes and things like that.

Interviewer: Right.

Anderson: And I think all the channels are substantially different, but one of the first things I always say is look, understand, go outside your business and understand what people are looking for, because the ability, not just for the customer to mine information on us right, and do that 57% of the buying process before they speak to us, but also works the other way around. If we’re a smart company we should be going out there and listening effectively to the heartbeat of the market.

Interviewer: Yeah, that’s right.

Anderson: Going out there and really understanding what the market is wanting, and where our customers live. Because, I think the other thing with social media, sorry, the other thing with social media, and this one kills me, is that everybody thought let’s build our own social thing. Let’s create our own kind of, I don’t know the words or discussion for it or whatever happens to be, but let’s create our own social hub. And not realizing that there has to be a gravitational pull to watch your brand. The first thing you’ve got to do is go out and engage customers where they live. That may be LinkedIn, that may be Twitter, that may be Facebook, it may be somewhere else entirely, but you need to get out and engage them where they live and actually start listening to them. That for me is kind of a key difference.

Interviewer: I’m really glad you brought that up because we tend to think about the process of moving someone through a buyer’s journey, as opposed to discovering what that journey is. And I really like your point about investing in platforms or places where they are spending their time as opposed to just your own platforms. I’m going to use your phrase gravitational pull, you really do need gravitational pull in order to have influence over a market. And it’s very, very rare for a company to pull customers in. You have to go find them, you have to go listen to them, and I like that, thank you. Marcus do you want to chime in here?

Ruebsam: Yeah, I think one of the things we already mentioned is around customer engagement, engaging with customers, which is a challenge right. How do you deliver a total customer experience, because with all these channels and devices it needs to be engaging across all these platforms in a very relevant and contextual way, which is sometimes challenging because if I look further down the customer data is everywhere right, and it’s disparate in silos. And the first thing to tackle is really to unify the customer view and to coordinate the customer view, because that’s the only way you can really come to this total customer experience by [00:08:55 – Inaudible] driving a journey instead of discovering where the customer or consumer might be. I believe this raises the question really also to the traditional campaign. Is still the traditional campaign a way of engagement? I guess yes, but I think it won’t provide a process where brands and customers join on a journey together, which is I think the future needs to be.

Interviewer: So, Marcus, you talked about unifying and coordinating the customer experience from an understanding of what they’re doing. How do you go about doing that when you don’t have all – you may or may not have all the data available to you, but if you do the data is often in disparate silos?

Ruebsam: Yeah, I think very often the data is already accessed, it’s just not unified. You find customer data everywhere, whether it’s your company website, any website you are jointly working together, you’re mobile app, even your brand, your store provides you with valuable customer data. And you of course also the traditional channels with call center, or even with call social traditional channels, all these digital interaction channels as well like email, [00:10:19 – Inaudible], paid search, search engine marketing, display ads I think you can gather a lot of data. And I think the reality is that these channels are very often kept very disparate and not connected to each other.

Interviewer: Right.

Ruebsam: It’s turned into an engagement.

Interviewer: Yeah, it’s a real challenge if you do have the data but you’re not sure how to pull it together like you were saying.

Ruebsam: This is where marketing technology in the future needs to be focused around, it’s around providing marketers – first of all helping marketers understand which data is important and not important. I can find a lot of data, or very aggregated data which doesn’t tell me anything, very meaningless. I think it’s about the power of understanding what this first degree data needs to be, and then from there through journeying with the customer across these platforms there will be more and more of the ability to really bring this data and expand on the existing data, and more and more into driving these things.

Interviewer: Alright, good thank you. Another thing we talked about earlier was the concept of campaigns and whether or not we should continue using campaigns, any thoughts on that Jamie?

Anderson: I’ll let Marcus jump in.

Interviewer: Okay great.

Anderson: I’ve got some thoughts on campaigns, but what time is this going out. Can you actually (X)-rate this material? (Laughter) I’m only joking. I was going to say you want to get to an (R) on this one on your blog. I do have some ideas about campaigns, but I’d like Marcus to kind of chime in first on that.

Interviewer: Okay, now the audience just has to wait to hear the story.

Anderson: There we go. (Laughter)

Ruebsam: We keep it – I think campaigns are very interesting. I think campaigns will really never go away I think they just have to be repurposed. I think it will still do in the future traditional direct marketing campaigns with email, use search, use other campaigning tactics, but if you look at these tactics and the campaigns are really a lot around the delivery of a message. But, this message needs to be in the future more coordinated, and more engaging along the customer journey. And I think a real strategist will ultimate these engagements by coming back to what I mentioned earlier around intelligence, which needs to be in the platform where the data is. The context needs to be there. Also it needs to be, when you want to engage it, needs to be executed in real time. So, it’s really not campaigns will go away, it’s really the repurposing of campaigns in order to help automate engagements along the customer journey.

Interviewer: So, do you mean by that that I’m repurposing campaigns based on the gathering of information about particular customers or customer types.

Ruebsam: We talk about the empowered customer here right?

Interviewer: Yes.

Ruebsam: It’s about listening and engaging and this is exactly where campaigns of the future have to be focused around is defining. I always call campaigns in the future will be customer journeys/experiences, the marketers want to create throughout the customer journey. And really around – the campaign as such will not be replaced, but there will be an individual one-to-one signal. I call the signal from this empowered customer who signals that he is in front of a store and the intelligence needs to be there to engage in context, and then executed in real time in a way that – in that situation the customer receives the experience the marketer wants to create.

Interviewer: Well, I’d love for one of you to tell us a story or give us an example of what you’re talking about here, because I like the concept, but bring it home for us.

Anderson: Alright, I’ll tell you one right now, and I think we didn’t discuss this last time, but I was actually speaking to a friend of mine who still works in banking. I used to work in banking and work on campaigns for a major bank here in the U.K., and let’s bring a flavor to this, because what Marcus is ultimately saying is that the notion of a campaign is also up for redefinition.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Anderson: I think the way in which we think about campaigns as traditional marketers as being what I used to do, which was when I worked for this major banking organization we would do – well we had about 12 brands under the umbrella, but literally had each brand you would maybe do 3 campaigns a year, 3 things that you would call these are your big hits campaigns each year.

Interviewer: Right, right.

Anderson: And when we got a new CMO in, who looked at what we should do in the future he said right next year we’re going to do 30 campaigns and everybody went bonkers. Everybody went absolutely crazy. How can we do 30 campaigns? We struggle to do 3 at this moment with accurate data and lists and so on. And I’ll talk about marketing lists probably somewhere at the end here, because that drives me insane. I hope the technology that we build and that our friends at the competition build will eliminate the need for me to ever buy a marketing list again. I’ll really hold that one, you ask me why later. Well, we went from 3 campaigns to 30 and everybody went kind of crazy. Now, I can tell you story – that process at that particular bank in the last 10 years has gone from that bank running 3 campaigns to then 30 campaigns a year to 300 campaigns a year to now running 30,000 campaigns a year, because to them the notion of a campaign has changed.

Interviewer: It must have, yeah.

Anderson: What they are doing now is they are actually delivering contextual campaigns which are written around the real time needs of the customers, where they apply to a much smaller segment of customers at a time. The response rates they get per the segment they market too out in the region of 20-30% per campaign. Whereas, in the past they were getting 0.001% return on a single campaign.

Interviewer: Wow.

Anderson: Unbelievable – now the upshot of that is, and you’ll love this Marcus right, the upshot of this – because I haven’t even told you this story, but the upshot of this as my friend was telling me that the bank now they’ve got exactly the same head count in marketing that they had 10 years ago. They’ve maintained the marketing head count, but because what they’re looking for is data analysts more than they’re looking for creative people, all the creative are going crazy, because that team has grown from 5 people to 45 people.

Interviewer: The data analysts?

Anderson: The data analysts and the skills and the requirement of organizations operate at that skill as the data analysts are becoming much, much more sought after, and it’s almost like they’re being replaced. Every time a creative leaves they’re not replaced by a creative, they’re actually replaced by a data analyst, which is incredible. So you see a shift in the marketing thinking of these big organizations as well, which I think is very telling. But, there is more of a reliance on the real intelligence that is being delivered by these guys to make things happen. And you know that’s the thing that strikes me. When we used to do these campaigns, just to be very clear Glenn, when we did these campaigns it was a 60 week exercise to basically identify the segment that we were going after –

Interviewer: Right.

Anderson: To construct the campaign against it, to load up the data from the lists wherever we got it –

Interviewer: Right.

Anderson: Then to run the campaign, measure the results, run analytics on the results, get some insight and then do something. Now, that was 60 weeks. You’d be lucky if you get 60 seconds with a customer now.

Interviewer: Right.

Anderson: Never mind trying to speak to them 60 weeks later. So, that is a huge, huge shift.

Interviewer: Wow, now I have a quick question for you about this data analyst. In the bank example are the data analysts in the marketing organization or are they –

Anderson: Yes they are.

Interviewer: They are.

Anderson: They’re within the marketing, they’re not in the IT organization.

Interviewer: Okay, so then when you say the head count hasn’t changed does that mean the total marketing head count hasn’t changed, it just shifted from creative to data?

Anderson: It shifted from creative to technologist because marketing is so important, sorry technology is so important to modern marketing that the head count has shifted to into the marketing function as well, which shows you again this kind of shift and decision making going much more towards the marketing lane of business, but it also shows you the need for a really strong CMO, CIO relationship.

Interviewer: Absolutely, absolutely, yes we see that a lot. That CMO really needs to pony up and really sit down with the CIO and say look we need to be partners here. So, gentlemen we are running low on time, so we could do a couple of things here. One, Jamie I think you had a story you might wanted to share, and Marcus I want to give you a chance to tell a story if you have one; and/or I can put forth a question that I like to ask at the end which is tell us a little bit about the future. What do you see happening in the next one to two years in marketing technology? So, I’ll let either of you go.

Ruebsam: I’m thinking you will see one major shift is that I think that marketing technology has been not dominated by tools, I call them tools, and all the ones where you can do great email marketing, great creativity, etcetera, back to a technology which away from all these tools where you will see a platform play that allows marketers to come drive data consistently. And being able to create intelligence into the platform to really understand the data and all their customers and consumers, and these so called tools will not go away but they will still be there and they have [00:21:10 – Inaudible] evidence to be there, because you will still do emails, you will still do search and other marketing tactics. But, it needs to come to a marketer as an [00:21:21 – Inaudible] technology infrastructure to deal with this more empowered customer and consumer. And that’s going to be, if not [00:21:31 – Inaudible] and very easy to bring first [00:21:35 – Inaudible] together, automate that, automate journeys in a new way.

Interviewer: Alright, thank you Marcus. Jamie?

Anderson: Well, first of all I see the similar shifts in markets. I see that a lot of the technology that we have in place today for managing things like email for example, I think it ultimately becomes a utility. These are tools which I think they’re getting already to where it’s already getting [00:22:04 – Inaudible]. And I think the intelligence – one of the most exciting things for me is to be to witness that shift from a campaign that has a 60 week kind of gestation period where you believe that it’s acceptable to follow-up with a customer in that sense, to a campaign that can be delivered based on real time intelligence like Marcus speaks about when a customer is walking down the aisle of a supermarket, when you know that they’re walking down the aisle which has the kind of cosmetic products and that you know that that customer technically buys x brand, but you as a retailer want to push a promotion to the mobile device in real time which says we know you bought this, but why don’t you try this brand and get x off on this special offer using this kind of mobile coupon.

Interviewer: Right, um hm.

Anderson: I think when we get to that we are using real time intelligence. We’re using information based on the social profiles, the mobile profiles, and we’re literally driving the next generation of marketing. That’s not email marketing it’s contextual. It’s real time. It matters. You give them something hugely relevant to where they are, as well as what they’re interested in. And I think that’s the type of market that excites me and hopefully means the death of the list. As you know Glenn, I’m Jamie Anderson, but I get a real laugh at the number of people that try to sell me marketing lists and address the email to Dear Justin Anderson (Laughter).

Interviewer: Someone trying to sell you a list right Justin.

Anderson: Yeah, if you can’t even get my name right there’s no chance. And that’s the type of crazy thing you know. And I think that I’m never going to respond to an email like that no matter how many they send, and they send a lot. But, I am going to respond to something that is contextually relevant, that’s real time, and is absolutely relevant to the situation I’m in.

Interviewer: I think that’s right. I think we often forget that the consumer puts up huge filters because they’re overwhelmed with information coming in from brands. However, the brand that gets it, the brand that understands that contextual, relevant information maybe even at the right place and the right time, if delivered in a way that’s useful for the consumer is actually a net plus for that consumer. The people who figure that out are going to have a huge impact on increasing consumer experience and therefore the ability to increase their revenues.

Anderson: Um hm.

Interviewer: Fantastic. Well gentlemen, thank you so much. I really appreciate the time you put in to help me with this, and have enjoyed our discussion and I’m sure our audience has as well.

Anderson: I hope so, and likewise thank you Glenn, thank you.

Ruebsam: Thank you Glenn it’s been a pleasure.