The Wednesday Stack: Why Field Marketing Matters

You need to know: the importance of field marketing

Field marketing has never been more important, as the customer journey — especially in the B2B space — complexifies (as Jeff Bezos would say). That’s the message I took away from a wide-ranging conversation this week with SAP’s President of corporate marketing, Alison Biggan. But first, I asked how her role fits into SAP’s extensive marketing operation.

“We have a global marketing organization. Alicia [Tillman] is the CMO, and I work directly for her. I have a counterpart, Ivo Totev. Ivo is responsible for all of the product and line of business marketing.” Other SAP CMOs, like Jason Rose, CMO of SAP CX, “sit within their business units but align in a dotted line fashion with Ivo. I’m responsible for what we call corporate marketing, so I own the marketing functions which are more cross-solution; functional areas like brands, digital, events, partner marketing, sponsorship, and the like. For simplicity’s sake, I have kind of horizontal responsibility.

Field marketing falls within Biggan’s purview too. “I actually think that the role of field marketing is critical in relation to the complexity of the customer journey. Historically it’s been quite focused at the top of the funnel, converting leads into pipeline, and conducting activities which accelerate pipeline and help close deals. Where it has a place today is in those same areas, but there’s a much bigger role for field marketing post-sale; whether it’s thinking about the nature of cloud and subscription software, and the importance of customers actually using the software so they renew, or topics like retention and customer advocacy. It’s a relatively new evolution, especially in the world of enterprise software.”

In other words, there’s a thread of marketing which runs right through the customer experience, surfacing at touchpoints traditionally associated with sales and service. “I couldn’t agree  more,” said Biggan. “I think this also changes at times the complexion and the nature of the marketing. First of all, it can’t all be ‘push,’ it has to be more ‘pull’ in nature. It has to be much more of a two-way engagement. Field marketing, and not only field marketing, really has to think about the way it communicates with customers and prospects, and how it makes itself kind of a steward of the business, to make sure customers are successful.”

I asked about the length of the purchase cycle, and the number of people now involved in “buying committees.” It’s not just a matter of convincing the CMO or CIO any more. On the first topic, Biggan said that the despite the long cycle, there was a much greater likelihood today that prospective buyers get the chance to experience a version of the product at an earlier stage of the journey. “It depends on the product, and the market you’re offering it to, but the end user is much more powerful in buying decisions today; they’re critical in endorsing the decision to purchase, and some of them have their own purchasing power. If they’re setting out to solve an immediate business problem, it may be a smaller purchase, but with a shorter sales cycle. That’s an opportunity for a vendor like SAP, because once tools have been adopted by certain lines of business within a brand, “we’re in a much better position to drive an enterprise-wide conversation.”

Some of the changes we’re seeing in field marketing, and B2B marketing in general, are coming from B2C. “We all have a certain amount of expectations from our consumer lives. If you’re going to market to me, you need to know who I am, what I care about, and what I already own from your company — and if you don’t, you’ll be drowned out in the noise.”

What does field marketing mean in practice for SAP today? “Our field marketers really are not just the feet on the street, but the feet on the street for all our regions and our market units. They really are the integrated marketing experts in the region in which they sit: and that means they have to be experts in a wide variety of areas. Certainly, the physical event has not gone away, and in many ways plays a more important role than ever when done properly. They have to be digital marketers; they also have to have, not so much subject matter expertise on the product side, but content expertise — what kinds of content are customers and prospects expecting to see? What are the newest ways they’re choosing to engage? How do you find and engage them in the places they choose to interact?”

Traditional paid media, like paid search, now needs to converge with earned and owned — communications, social. “It should all come together to feel like an integrated experience. I don’t want to say it’s a consolidation of tactics; it’s an integration across, with the criticality of the brand narrative that goes through it — I don’t think it’s ever been more important than it is today.”


Anyone reading my article this week on how CX can go badly wrong, or my interview with Isobar executives at Connections, might rightly think that connecting marketing with service (and sales) should be table stakes. It’s not yet, of course, but here comes HubSpot with a timely report on The State of Customer Service in 2019. Top takeaways:

  • Almost 90 percent of customers are more likely to be vocal about negative (and positive) experiences, and have higher expectations than in the past
  • Although brands pay lip service to customer-centricity, over 40 percent don’t collect customer feeback
  • Only 12 percent of customers (firmly) believe brands when they say they put the customer first

There are some disconnects there, right? Commenting on the findings, Michael Redbord of Hubspot Service Hub wrote: “10 years ago: customers were patient. Today, customers demand an immediate response.” I wouldn’t even go back ten years. I think five years ago, I’d have shrugged my shoulders at a CX experience like the one I wrote about on Monday. I now know what’s possible, and that is what makes that kind of CX unacceptable. Perhaps it’s because I cover this space that I was quick to analyse the communications bottlenecks and data silos, but any savvy consumer now expects to be recognized when s/he traverses departments and channels within a business.Treat your customers right, because they’re going to define your success more than you can.

As Redbord put it: “Treat your customers right, because they’re going to define your success more than you can.” And more than that: Treat your service workers right, so they are empowered and motivated to create great customer experiences.” 


And a reminder that we’re still accepting nominees for the DMN 40Under40 Awards.  Let us know about high-achieving young marketers, and don’t delay. Nominations won’t be open much longer. More information here.


I had nothing but questions when Salesforce announced the acquisition of leading marketing intelligence solution Datorama way back in summer of 2018. At last we have some answers, at two levels. But before tease those levels apart, here’s the headline. Just before the holiday weekend, Salesforce announced the Datorama Marketplace. In simple terms, it’s an app marketplace stocked with apps built using the Datorama Developer portal —
apps which promote the rapid creation and distribution of new marketing intelligence tools.

Apps available or upcoming include:

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email (metrics for email campaigns launched in Salesforce Marketing Cloud)
  • Social Intelligence (comparative metrics on brand and competitor presence on the main social platforms)
  • Lead Generation (allowing B2B marketers in Sales Cloud enhanced visibility into lead results from paid/organic campaigns, velocity, pipeline, etc).

I needed help to understand how this reflects an overall roadmap for Datorama, so I turned to Jay Wilder, senior head of product marketing at Datorama, and Bobby Jania, VP of product marketing at Salesforce.

The marketplace, said Wilder, “is really opening up the [Datorama] platform for developers across the eco-system to create customized acts for marketers to discover, and start using right away, on top of the Datorama platform.” Of course, of the initial app offerings, like Marketing Cloud Email and Lead Generation, were developed in-house by integrated Salesforce/Datorama teams. “There’s also a whole host of different apps in there for measuring and optimizing the third party experiences where we meet our customers where they are: Facebook ads, Google ads, Google Analytics, LinkedIn Campaign Manager, Twitter ads, and so forth. It’s a good representation right out of the gate of what can happen when you have a marketplace of ideas which can then be turned into actual solutions.”

What about marketers who happen to be pulling data from a stack-full of non-Salesforce solutions. Datorama was always agnostic about the source of data; if this still the case? “The marketplace itself is completely open and agnostic about the types of data that can be brought into these solutions.”

That makes sense, but doesn’t that mean that this announcement doesn’t directly show how Salesforce itself is leveraging Datorama? ” Maybe another way to look at that is our joint and integrated teams are now focused on building data-driven marketing intelligence and analytics solutions on top of very key pillars of the Salesforce eco-system. For instance, the app for Marketing Cloud email is built on our new super-charged connector into Marketing Cloud email. We’re not just integrating the data; we’re actually presenting customers with a full-fledged solution to begin making smarter decisions on that data right away. In the same way, the app for Lead Generation is tapping into all the rich data coming from Salesforce Sales Cloud.”

Of course, Salesforce already has an extensive AppExchange. How does the Datorama marketplace align with that? “All of the apps that get created with the tool-sets that reside in Datorama get surfaced and made visible through the AppExchange as well. All of the development partners are moving through the exact same process, in terms of becoming certified, submitting apps for approval, and so forth.”

Jania added: “I think this announcement shows why Salesforce was excited about acquiring Datorama, and how we’re trying to make things move faster now. There are 7,000 marketing solutions out there; companies use many of them, and are forced to stitch together their results. Datorama hits that problem. The Developer Portal announced in January helps developers. Now we’re taking another step forward with this marketplace, where full-fledged apps can be enabled, whether we make them, or our partners, or developers, or agencies — we’re as open as we can be to anyone making them, and just helping our customers move faster.”

To underline that openness, a Marketplace App Contest has been launched, with a $25,000 first prize. Read more here.


On Wednesday, The Social Element hosted a real-world, social media crisis simulation at Buzzfeed’s offices in NYC. The Social Element is a global social media agency providing social media solutions to the world’s biggest brands. For this simulation, they created a fake scenario where attendees pretended to work for a company in the middle of an HR crisis in the #MeToo era. Everyone was broken up into teams to try to combat the backlash and steer the company into a more positive direction.

The topic itself was a #MeToo scenario in the workplace, where the female worker left the company because no-one believed her story of a male superior sending her inappropriate text messages. The male employee was asked to leave, but was paid $500,000 severance. 

Points were both awarded to and taken away from teams, depending on timing, accuracy, and reactions to latest breaking story. Doing nothing and waiting for the lawyers to show up was not an option. 

There doesn’t seem to be a conclusive way to handle crisis management, but a simulation like this had people on their toes, and really thinking about how they would handle an equivalent scenario in real life.

Colleen Mills

In early 2018, Meredith Corporation acquired Time Inc. By year’s end, it had sold off the iconic magazine brands, like TIMESports Illustrated and Fortune, but kept valuable data assets like Viant. The parent company of Myspace, Viant was purchased by Time Inc. back in 2016. With access to all of Meredith’s assets, Viant positions itself as a leading “advertising cloud” that engages nearly 200 million unduplicated American consumers every month, skewing to women, and including 85 percent of U.S. Millennial women in that number. Viant provides identity-based measurement to track ROI and execute campaign messaging across channels.

Viant’s ad tech also optimizes first-party data for brands. This week, they announced the launch of a new solution for national and regional QSR chains. These capabilities to marry device location with individuals and credit card purchases are backed by research across the QSR space. According to a new report, “Demystifying Quick Service Restaurant Customers,” QSR customers react to ads in different ways, depending on previous behavior. For instance, the most loyal customers are three times more likely to respond to a mobile ad by visiting a store, and six times more likely to respond in the same way to a desktop ad, than the average customer. A key metric Viant’s QSR offering focuses on is exposure to conversation, which takes into account the amount of time between exposure of an ad and the final purchase, and this knowledge can inform creative and messaging. Using in-app prompts, a brand can use the same data to boost mobile orders, in-store traffic or both. — Chris Wood


In today’s stack AI is off to the races, ABM has a specific benefit to report. Oh, and some venture capital too.


Genpact takes AI to many unexpected fields, not to mention the racetrack. The “instinctive” decision-making capabilities that helped guide Envision Virgin Racing to its first Formula E win this season – over the weekend in Santiago (we got to know the car way back when) – is being considered or implemented by all kinds of businesses.

In their forward-looking 2019 study, Genpact categorized a quarter of the business leaders who participated as “visionaries.” They plan to re-imagine their business, “taking bolder steps toward becoming instinctive enterprises.” The most likely area where these visionaries will institute AI is in finance and accounting. According to the study, 72 percent of visionaries will look to AI to work for their businesses in that area, as compared to 46 percent of more cautious executives. Only 30 percent of visionaries, and 19 percent of others, see AI working for them in marketing decisions. “Customer service,” from the executive’s perspective, is middle of the road – 46 percent of visionaries approve, 31 percent of the rest.

Are executives lukewarm because the business stakes are high, or are they anticipating consumer concerns? Are executives tentative because they share the apprehensions of consumers, because at the end of the day executives are consumers too?

Genpact’s Chief Innovation Leader, Gianni Giacomelli, offered me some perspective from the consumer side regarding chatbots and AI attitudes. “Humans like to make hard decisions, especially the ones that have emotional consequences, with the help of other humans,” Giacomelli explained. “A good customer experience depends on the ability to design a bot-human interaction that includes a human touch, especially with anything related to big financial decisions or educational choices. If the decision is a simpler one, such as refilling your prepaid card or buying a flight, a bot will suffice.”

He added, “It’s all about collective intelligence – combining the emotional touch of a human with the processing power of machines, particularly at scale.” – Chris Wood


Is everyone in B2B doing ABM yet? Why, because it works? No news here, right? Actually, there is some news about exactly what ABM gets right, in a new report from Topo, the sales and marketing research firm. According to the Account Based Benchmark Report, published yesterday, ABM actually powers customer lifetime value.  No fewer than 80 percent of respondents from a 150 practitioner survey affirmed as much, while comparable numbers confirmed the existing impression that it’s better for win-rates and ROI than a traditional go-to-market approach.

Here are some other highlights:

  • A new sales opportunity is created for every five accounts targeted, creating more efficient pipeline than a traditional approach
  • Most firms pursuing an ABM strategy have also instituted a triage approach, prioritizing and pursuing only 38 percent of their accounts at any one time
  • A strong “ideal customer profile” is key to ABM success. 80 percent of the most successful account based brands  believe they have a strong ICP, and they also have 68 percent higher account win rates. – Kim Davis


Meanwhile in VC world: we rarely cover funding rounds, because there are just so many of them for so many start-ups. But an exception here for Knotch, the New York-based digital content intelligence platform, which just reported $20 million in VC funding, partnering with NEA. We’ve previously covered Knotch’s independent approach to marketing intelligence, and since we placed a bet on founder and CEO Anda Gansca as a Woman to Watch in 2017, we’re pleased to acknowledge our humble foresight. – Kim Davis


I look out the window, and see a long line of stories in the queue for today’s Stack.  Let’s see how many we get to. Anyone reading this at Dreamforce? If so, you probably already know Salesforce just announced Customer 360, a new way of unifying the customer experience across channels. It promises a “single, holistic customer profile” across service, marketing, and commerce interactions. The nitty gritty:

  • A click-based dashboard to connect Salesforce apps and the data they’re ingesting
  • A single 360 ID for customers across all apps
  • Pre-built experience packages for common interactions in the Service, Marketing, and Commerce clouds.

Dreamforce was also the coming out part for Einstein Voice, announced last week, both for conversational, under-the-hood, interaction with Salesforce apps, and for easy construction of customer-facing voice bots.


Meanwhile, BlueWolf takes Salesforce’s temperature every year in their State of Salesforce report based on data points from the global Salesforce market. Here are some highlights:

  • To experience Salesforce’s business value, companies need to be sure it provides value to employees, both in the front- and back-offices
  • Companies that centralize their customer experience strategy are twice as likely to excel at it
  • Success means “cross-functional governance” of your Salesforce instance, not siloed departmental projects.


And one more announcement from San Francisco’s biggest shindig: a new integration between ABM platform Demandbase and Salesforce Pardot. This will mean being able to access Demandbase account-level data and intent signals within Pardot (or Sales Cloud) to help build audiences and execute campaigns around target accounts.


Now say hello to Criteo, masters of shopper re-targeting, with their annual Global Commerce Report. The main message, and it’s not surprising, is that mobile continues to grow like crazy:

  • Mobile share of sales by device is up 21 percent
  • Mobile share of transactions up 48 percent
  • Mobile transactions represent 65 percent of all transactions for retailers who actively promote mobile apps
  • Mobile apps show three times the conversion rate of mobile web
  • But omnichannel is still important: only 7 percent of customers are truly omnichannel, but they are responsible for 27 percent of sales.


LiveRamp, which became independent of Acxiom earlier this year, announced yesterday that it’s expanding the availability of its AbiliTec-powered Identity Link solution to partners within its marketing tech eco-system. That means enhancing tech platforms’ offline identity resolution capabilities, helping them increase “reach and accuracy when connecting their client’s disparate data, and can more quickly adjust to changes that occur in a consumer’s life—whether it’s a marriage, move, or contact change,” said LiveRamp in a release.


The reports continue to stack up. Here come app performance mavens AppDynamics underlining the importance of voice technologies for the enterprise. In their new report on the future of voice, they reveal that 84 percent of millennials rely on voice, not necessarily for commercial transactions, but to organize their lives; 71 percent use it daily. 55 percent of U.S. households are expected to install something like an Amazon Echo or Google Home device by 2022. 

But with those clear opportunities coming over the hill, the enterprise is dragging its feet. 69 percent of IT decision-makers surveyed say they expect to get around to investing in voice in the next three years, and most of them (26 percent) aren’t doing it any sooner. And a very high number who are investing are experiencing error rates over six percent.


The stack is always interested in what goes into a real-life stack, so we note the new released today that sales and marketing acceleration platform ZoomInfo has acquired Datanyze, a leader in technographic data. Say what? Technographics is the capability of monitoring the mobile and other tech choices of companies (some 35 million in the case of Datanyze). Knowing which tech components are being added and subtracted from tstacks helps guide tech marketers to their best prospects.

ZoomInfo will now be able to surface these alerts in combination with their own extensive and current company and contact data.


One more glimpse of the state of things? Here’s the State of B2B Revenue Marketing from Caliber Mind, the CDP for revenue marketers.  We read it for you:

  • Marketers are increasingly accountable for revenue, a major shift from traditional activity- and communication-based metrics for marketing success
  • Manual reporting and siloed sales and marketing data present an obstacle to reporting on revenue 
  • Requirements to forecast future revenue demand new skill-sets
  • Marketing Ops is emerging as a strategic function in revenue-generation efforts


And finally, congratulations to Judge Graham who recently joined us to chat about his forthcoming book, Scale With Speed. It finds its way into print this week.


While serious conjecture swirls about consolidation in the marketing cloud space (my angle re Adobe/Marketo: does Microsoft want it to happen?), it’s a relief to have some sideshow fun. Like Lynne and Marc Benioff buying Time Magazine. They are buying it as individuals, of course, it’s not a Salesforce purchase; just as the Washington Post was acquired by Jeff Bezos, not Amazon.

Is there a micro-trend here? The heads of the giant tech companies certainly seem to have the spare change for these purchases. Can we recommend some future acquisitions?

Alan Trefler: Newsweek

Bill McDermott: Newsday

Jack Dorsey: Birding

Mark Zuckerberg: National Enquirer

Elon Musk:  High Times


Speaking of entertainment, welcome the social media wranglers at Sprinklr with some Twitter data from the 2018 Emmys:

  • Most mentioned, Sandra Oh (55.3K). What if she’d actually won?
  • “The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, most mentions of any comedy. There’s 25 characters, right there in the title.
  • “Game of Thrones” predictably, most mentioned show.
  • And 39.4K people noticed Betty White.


And to conclude today’s craziness, did you ever want to talk back to Einstein? “Albert, liebling, I think you added the figures in column three wrong. Also, the train is only going at one speed, I don’t care where you’re standing.”  Here’s your chance.

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