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B2B Marketing Leaders Forum Highlights



Insights are the king and queen of marketing in 2021

Day one of the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum Sydney kicked off with a reflection on the year that was. And what a year it was. The opening CMO fireside panel shared their insights on how they adapted to the changing conditions. Not surprising, there was a common thread that ran through the panel and that was how important it was to continue with the digital transformation journey—investing in data and MarTech to make informed business decisions and to support marketing efforts. But above everything else was the importance of capturing and understanding insights, and so the tone of day one was set.

The CEO panel showcased an impressive line-up of leading Australian businesswomen who shared lessons learned throughout their careers. Standout tips included:

  • To understand the language of the executive team and the board, get your hands on board minutes. This gives you an insight into what’s important to the board, and the language they use. Lisa Henderson, Managing Director at Aon Affinity
  • Sales and marketing should be best friends. The marketing pipeline flows into the sales pipeline. Karen Negus, Managing Director ANZ at Cisco
  • When you’re a CEO, you can’t know everything, so you need people around you who do. You need to understand enough of what they do so you can earn their trust and to motivate them to do what they need to do best. Kendra Banks, Managing Director ANZ at Seek

Designing for your customers

Zach Kitschke, Canva employee #5 (Canva now has more than 1,600 employees globally), entertained the audience with his five lessons from hypergrowth.

  1. Always be learning.
  2. Build with your community (build great products for your community but do it with them).
  3. Start niche, then go wide.
  4. Set crazy big goals – think global from day one.
  5. Culture is the little thing.

There was a collective gasp as we read “Each day, more than 1 million people access the internet for the first time” on screen.

A pimple on the a^*e?

Suzana Ristevski from NAB certainly delivered the quote of the day when she talked about being customer centric and stepping outside yourself “Remember, we are but a pimple on the world’s arse”. It certainly set the audience at ease. She went on to share a frank and candid take on her career, generously sharing her philosophy and lessons learnt along the way. There were many!

B2B marketing in enterprise
  • The higher up you go, the less feedback you get. When you’re not getting much feedback from your CEO, you know you’re doing well.
  • We tend to navel gaze the problem rather than try to solve it. But you should admire the opportunity to fix it, not ignore it.
  • There is no excuse for no emotional intelligence no matter what level you’re at. Don’t be afraid to speak up to right the wrongs.
  • A lot about leadership is buffering your team and having those tough conversations with the business. Your role is to set up your team for success so they can get on with doing what they need to do.
  • You’re going to make mistakes along the way. The secret is to own up to the mistake and fix it quickly.
  • Don’t kid yourself. You leave a shadow for everyone who reports through to you. Question what shadow you want to leave.
  • Make people feel like they’re the most important person in the room. It feels good personally and professionally to be treated in this way, and it leaves a positive impression.
  • If someone took your job tomorrow, what is the first thing they’d change? Don’t wait for that to happen. Change it now.
  • Taking a sabbatical in your career is a good way to take on oxygen.
  • Be the leader you naturally are. If you try to be something else, you’ll only revert to yourself when the pressure is on.
  • When observing other leaders, what behaviours do they do that you admire, and which make you feel good? Those are the lessons you want to take.

You need to crawl before you can leap

Back by popular demand, Ljubica Radoicic from Hexagon stepped the audience through The Growth Engine’s revenue generation maturity framework and shared how Hexagon has moved from crawling to leaping and why successful transformation needs to look at all elements of the revenue generation value chain.

Marketing revenue engine

An insight (or two) into ABM

And then we moved onto ABM. This is where the word ‘insight’ was mentioned more than any other time during the day. “With ABM, everything has to be insight led” – Kate Power, Head of ABM APJ at ServiceNow. “Marketing can deliver insights to sales because we can access data about the customer before the customer gets to sales” – Julie Walker, Head of Marketing APAC at Slack. When this panel wasn’t talking insights, they reinforced the importance of getting sales buy-in and why ABM cannot cannot work without the support of sales.

On a journey, together

The afternoon shifted to case studies and we heard how Boomi used customer journey mapping to build on their Ideal Customer Profile, and develop deep personas for the APAC market – using these to better understand their customers and demonstrate marketing contribution to revenue.

Persona & journey mapping

Tania Mushtaq, hosted by our very own MD Janine Pares, shared her experience into how they worked with TSM to move content from the public zone to the personal zone to drive engagement and increase ROI. You can read on some of the work with Boomi here.



The power of influence

Day two of the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum opened big. Pamela Cass, Global VP Demand Generation & Field Marketing from VMWare shared her experience building an integrated global demand generation marketing engine. Spanning international time zones means the company is effectively on 24 hours a day, and Pamela is at the centre of that operation, pulling the strings and getting stuff done. Like day one, there was a focus on the importance of authentic storytelling, how to prove the value of marketing’s contribution, and ways to better align the sales and marketing functions to drive outcomes.

Building big

When Pamela Cass was tasked with building an integrated global demand and field marketing engine, she knew she had to dig deep and draw on her two decades of experience to get it right.

How she did it

  • Created an end-to-end customer experience with an orchestrated journey that met the customers where they were in their journey.
  • Aligned the business and marketing strategies and ensured they aligned with the business’ solutions.
  • Built an extensive insights and reporting function that includes a lead gen engine to qualify leads.
  • Organised field marketing and integrated the voice of the customer into their models.
  • Put marketing in the driving seat.
Integrated demand generation engine

Key learnings

  1. Focus, drive and having an outcomes and results mindset is a key cornerstone to fostering a high-performance team.
  2. Lifelong learning and having an attitude to learn is paramount. Learn from your failures. Often you learn more from failures than successes.
  3. You need to be resilient and be adaptable.
  4. Have a diverse team. It’s fundamental to driving increased business value.

The new black: Content-based social selling

How do you align marketing and sales teams for revenue success? Iris Chan, CMO APJ from Seismic shared her three guiding principles for building revenue success:

Challenge 1

  • Sales finding the right content at the right time.
  • Marketing content not being used by sales (65% marketing content is not used by sales. Source: Forrester research

Solution: Create a centralised content hub that lets sales access the most current content in one place. You can also build in smarts that recommend the most relevant and appropriate content depending on where the customer/prospect is in the sales cycle.

Challenge 2

  • How to measure marketing’s impact on revenue.
  • Little visibility to how prospects are engaging with content shared by sellers.

Solution: Extend content analytics beyond campaigns to span the entire customer journey.

Challenge 3

  • How to deliver a connected, consistent buyer experience.
  • Sellers create their own material that’s not aligned to brand standards.

Solution: Extend personalisation across the entire buying journey.

Move from monolithic to modular content and use technology to enable sellers to self-serve and create content from an existing database so they can target where they are with a customer with tailored content.

Emerging trend: Content-based social selling

Align marketing and sales

A framework for transformation

In January 2020, Konica Minolta’s global head office released a transformation strategy. While it came with a list of issues as long as your arm, there were four main areas of focus:

  1. Consistency of brand—how to introduce consistency across all regions.
  2. Cost effectiveness—how to get better economies of scale across regions.
  3. Performance—how to measure the ROI on our marketing investment.
  4. A greater customer focus.

To do this, they built a framework for transformation to help them understand the data and make it usable and accessible across all regions.

Improve maturity of digital marketing

How do you get started with a program like this and use data to inform decisions?

  1. Keep it simple. Konica Minolta’s initial data selection was simple so they could do it quickly and identify what they needed to improve.
  2. Work on the buy-in with the business.
  3. Use what you have. Limitations can be productive and help you be more creative.

Be there. From anywhere.

How do you create a connection between your audience need and your brand in a cluttered market under COVID-19 conditions? That was the challenge NICE inContact was facing when they approached TSM for answers.

The challenge

The company:

  • needed leads but couldn’t get leads without building awareness.
  • couldn’t outspend competitors, so they needed to use creativity to cut through
  • had to zero-in on how CXone could solve their customer’s problems

The answer

It was important to build a full-funnel approach to ensure cut-through, to build credibility and ultimately to convert. This meant driving engagement through key messaging and strong content, and a campaign like no other.

Content marketing case study

Take a look at the campaign video and incredible results

If you can publish it, you can measure it

One of the hottest topics at the forum has been measurement. Every speaker has touched on it in some way. So, TSM’s Managing Director, Janine Pares sat down with Linda Reid, Head of Marketing & Communications at Winc, Andrew Rogan, Senior Manager – Marketing & Content at AUSIEX, and Sandipan Ghosh, Head of Marketing – Medium Business ANZ at Dell Technologies to find out how they go about measuring performance and success.

Q: When it comes to measuring content ROI, what does it mean to you?

Andrew: Step back and think of what your objectives are. What is the need?

Linda: Think about your return on your objectives. What do you want your customers to think, feel and do? It doesn’t have to only be about the revenue. Share of wallet growth is more important to us. How do we better support customers?

Q: How do you approach content amplification?

Sandipan: 80/20 rule. 20% goes into content and 80% into distribution and promotion.

Linda: For us, it comes down to our objectives how we allocate budget. When we’re looking to attract a new audience, we’ll look to the 80/20 split, but otherwise this allocation varies depending on what we’re trying to achieve.

Q: How do you judge if content is succeeding or failing?

Linda: In the retail space, we can see who goes through to our e-commerce site so we get immediate performance stats.

Andrew: We look at standard metrics like clicks, time on site, etc. But we amplify content in different channels and at different rates, so we normalise results to ensure they are on a more even playing field.


Think like a machine, act like a human

With more data available than ever before, how do you make sense of it and use it to best serve up content to your audience and earn their trust? According to Darren Needham-Walker, Group Director Marketing from TechnologyOne, this is where artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help.

What can AI and ML do for marketing?

  • Improves our customer outreach.
  • Helps us deliver better customer experiences.
  • Powers up campaigns with data.
  • Let’s us look at contextual and behavioural insights of our customers so we can move them through the funnel faster.
  • Delivers higher quality leads based on insights.

But if you want to build trust and deliver an emotional connection with your audience, you need human interaction.

The trouble with funnels

According to Andy Lark, former CMO of CBA, Xero and FOXTEL “The funnel is largely inaccurate”. Here’s why:

  1. Pretty pictures, convenient math
  2. Drive over investment in demand generation over brand, which causes us to measure and invest in the wrong things. This approach ignores the aggregate effects of things like brand, sales activity, etc.
  3. Companies have put up privacy and security walls and they are strong and hard to get over.
  4. Ignores the organisation’s cultural shadow.
  5. Attempts to align to short-term sales and revenue, but it’s not a short-term thing.
  6. It confuses awareness with stimulus. These are not the same.  They fail recognise the power of consumer behaviour.
  7. Drive over investment in the short-term and focus on TOFU and BOFU over ITFU
  8. Fail to comprehend the power of growth from existing customers.
  9. IT assumes customers are logical, ready and have time – how we market creates the brand as well.

Rather than build funnels, Andy recommends you instead build pipes that build pools of engagement.

Impact of AI in marketing

Thanks for joining us

That’s a wrap. We’ve taken some amazing insights away with us over the two days, but wanted to leave you with one last thought: At the end of the day, we’re in the change business and the fastest way to get someone to change is to change the way they feel. Good luck with your marketing journey.