Marketing Transformation: A CMO Discussion

Wendy Glavin headshotBy Wendy Glavin, Marketing and Communications Strategist/Branding+Social Media 

If you attended or watched PR Newswire and CommPRO’s webcast on Thursday, March 10th you learned, by example, how to touch people. (Click here to watch the webcast on-demand.)

Ken Wincko, CMO PR Newswire with Deirdre Bigley, CMO Bloomberg, LP provided a first-hand look into their two winning marketing departments. Whether you are a CMO of a large company or running a small marketing firm, you can succeed by following their model. Ken began with a look-back into six years ago. Both discussed the pre-existing silos, lack of automation, unfocused strategies, disconnection and difficulty gaining buyer insights.

Highlights of this CMO discussion about marketing transformation…

Ken Wincko, CMO PR Newswire with Deirdre Bigley, CMO Bloomberg, LP

Ken Wincko, CMO PR Newswire with Deirdre Bigley, CMO Bloomberg, LP

Deirdre Bigley: At Bloomberg, it was the first of its kind. We were able to leapfrog from traditional marketing to what we wanted marketing to be, where we wanted it to go, and how we could move fast.

Ken Wincko: At PR Newswire, we were only thought of in terms of public relations, so we talked about earned media but there was no expectation of driving demand. Our challenge was how do we develop content that speaks to marketing and make people understand what we do?

Deirdre Bigley: We always had great data and an enormous database because Michael Bloomberg is data-driven. As a private company, which is a strong part of our culture, we needed to prove the value of marketing so we could reach our customer base.

Ken Wincko: There are so many different variations of marketing. How did your strategy change and how did you build it?

Deirdre Bigley: It was about really understanding our audiences. We thought we were a data company but we needed to get better at the machine that distributes it. We found marketers that speak the financial markets and developed a core team of creative technologists and data specialists. Then we began using tools like twitter and digital to attract people to own the content.

Ken Wincko: For us, creating content is analogous to an offensive coordinator in football. We call the plays by tapping into the specialists from products, sales, social, digital and external. Getting them on the same page of the playbook made all the difference in driving content.

Deirdre Bigley: In real-time marketing organizations, layers cannot exist. People need to be able to play off and trust one another. The smarter we get, the more precise the group has become. We have a large sales team and are much closer to them now so there is more access to both marketing and sales metrics.

Ken Wincko: People who can play off and trust one another is invaluable. Leave your ego at the door. As an in-house agency, how do you empower your team?

Deirdre Bigley: We are getting tighter and tighter as an organization and know how all these things work together. Because our guys know finance, data and news, they are hot commodities and must be challenged. People are encouraged to be entrepreneurial. It’s very refreshing.

Ken Wincko: How have you changed your mix of channels?

Deirdre Bigley: We love events more than anything. Globally, we do 3,000 events per year, which are a large part of our mix. They are our #1 influencer. Using multiple platforms has tripled website traffic. We have systems that provide marketing insights, technology for traffic and metrics, and a system for the 3,000 events. Having the ability to get our fingerprints on the metrics as soon as possible is critical to equate content back to metrics. Digital has exploded so I would love to do more in-house digital.

Ken Wincko: We did a survey about digital and the money was not the issue, it was finding the expertise. What core metrics have changed?

Deirdre Bigley: We have KPI’s. The Bloomberg answer is to give salespeople demos. But every touch is a relevant touch. We do a lot of ABI testing to see where we get our hits from: earned, paid or owned. More specifically, is it from a press release, outbound, blog post, email or subject lines? Who it is from is important. If it is an event, emails are most important. Sometimes it is things that are just silly.

Ken Wincko: Nothing happens by magic. It is like going to Disney and feeling that everything is magical but a lot went into creating the experience. It is all about having the right infrastructure. Then with KPI’s we know which blog posts and which types of social media achieve real-time engagement and distribution.

Deirdre Bigley: The brand evolves from the product. We have a great product and customer service. The experience contributes to the brand. Everything starts with the content and conversation builds from there.

As a disclaimer, I was an observer and participant so this post is not a taped transcription. To sum up my key takeaways and thoughts, billions of dollars will be spent on content creation in 2016 and customer’s needs have changed.

Every company has different business goals. Regardless of size or budget, one-size-fits-all content does not work in today’s crowded marketplace. Personalization and customization with data-driven analytics can deliver the right content at the right time and sustain visitors’ attention toward conversion.

So how can marketers with a small budget achieve this predictive analysis? Know your audience, build a database, segment them, create content and choose the correct channels for that audience.

For Bloomberg, it is Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.

For PR Newswire, it is emails, press releases, blogs, its website and others, such as paid and outbound.

Build teams of specialists that work together, help and nurture one another to create and drive content that touch people.

About the Author: Wendy Glavin is the Founder and President of her own firm. Wendy has more that 15 years experience as a marketing communications, public relations and social media strategist, having worked for a Fortune 500 company, Burson Marsteller, advertising and public relations agencies, a publishing firm and as a consultant to technology firms. Currently, Wendy is a media and social strategist for BIGfrontier Communications Group for clients in the FinTech and SaaS spaces. Wendy’s expertise spans traditional, new and social media marketing. Contact her at