Meet the Marketer: Vicki Godfrey of Avention

“The way I’m defining myself is a B2C soul with a B2B mind,” laughed Vicki Godfrey, CMO of Avention, the veteran Massachusetts-based business information and sales enablement platform.

Godfrey explained her hybrid nature by pointing to her background: “I really grew up in the B2C world, with the customer being the center of everything,” she told me. After significant involvement with consumer products at Polaroid, she took on marketing positions at Fidelity and which required both B2C and B2B sensibilities.

“The reason I think that’s important,” she added, “is that one of the key trends for 2017 will be the ‘smooshing together’ of B2B and B2C.” Consumer marketing has become increasingly analytics-driven, while the business marketing sector is getting ever more deeply involved with customer engagement, personalization and journeys.

But the customer, in the latter case, is really an account, I suggested. “At the end of the day,” she replied, “whether you’re doing ABM, enterprise or SMB marketing, a person is making a decision.

The Quality Layer

This, is turned out, was how Godfrey differentiates its B2B/ABM offering from those of its competitors. When selling to accounts, it’s critical for Sales and Marketing to be aligned around data—and indeed, the same data—and to reach agreement on which accounts to target. That’s the quantitative part: Avention’s OneSource solution (which, yes, Avention uses for its own marketing) helps out by identifying lookalike accounts from global information sources.

Then, said Godfrey, you need to “layer in the qualitative.” Qualitative means taking ideas from the best salespeople, understanding what’s really happening with accounts, and executing the right message, at the right time, for the right person—marketing “in lockstep” with sales.

I asked whether she bought into the “Account Based Everything” tag, promoted by Engagio as an indication that B2B needs to be account-based across the board. “Absolutely,” she said. Successful B2B marketing “does mean collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing.” The emphasis on accounts, she told me, is “hot now” because marketing stacks allow it. “Now ABM can, in fact, scale”—thanks, not least, to tools like OneSource and Avention’s other offering, DataVision, an option for visualizing customer segments and target profiles.

Keeping the Stack Simple

While it’s no surprise that Avention’s marketing team uses the brand’s own solution, Godfrey had an interesting perspective on the generality of the marketing stack. 

“In my perspective, two things are critical. First, there will be consolidation [of marketing tech]. Technology is fabulous, but it also makes for complexity.” Second, connectors between solutions are critical, to extract as much value from them as possible.

In addition to Avention’s own tools, Godfrey’s team uses—”of course”—Marketo. How complex a stack needs to get beyond that, she said, is “determined by how sophisticated and broad your marketing and technology organizations are. It can be a little bit overwhelming.”

To be quick and effective, she said, “we use as few pieces as we can.”

–Vicki Godfrey is CMO at Avention OneSource Solutions

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