Starting with an earthquake and building to a climax

Sam Goldwyn, legendary Hollywood film producer  (famous for malapropisms, paradoxes and errors of speech) once said: “We want a story that starts out with an earthquake and works its way up to a climax”.

I’m not sure we quite achieved that at Velocity’s first live (streamed on Ustream) Marketing Masters one-hour-long interview with John Watton,  Director Global Brand & Marketing at Expedia Affiliate Network. But it was tremendous fun and John was terrific. As Goldwyn also said “we spared no expense to save money on this one”, but, despite that, the session seemed to work well.  (You guys can be the judges on that since we intend to make most of the discussion available over the next few weeks, broken up into chapters covering the subjects we talked about.)

So what did we discuss? A bunch of stuff:

–like the changing role of the CMO in B2B tech (John’s qualified to talk on that one having had senior marketing roles at Oracle, Microsoft, Ariba and others as well as EAN.);

–the shape and skills  for in-house teams in the digital B2B world;

–the importance of marketing automation and how to get the most out of it (answer: start small, use common sense and don’t try to overreach);

–why it’s important to experiment with social media, even if you’re the most senior marketer in the room (as John says, social is not going away anytime soon, so senior marketers have to understand it in order to deploy it);

–content marketing strategy (mainly what content works best where and for whom)

–and marketing’s changing relationshipe with the sales force.

An hour spins past quickly when you’re having fun, but I wish we’d spent more time talking about the last of these. We meet lots of sales driven companies as part of the business development process here at Velocity. A lot of them are really dis-satisfied with marketing and have had two or sometimes three senior heads of marketing in the recent past. When we talk to them, it’s often really clear why. Sales is looking for compliant marketing, marketing that just does what its told and more often than not marketing that’s locked in the 20th Century. They haven’t realised that buyers don’t buy like they used to and competitors don’t compete like they used to. And that the best sales people don’t sell as they used to.

John was the first user of Marketo in Europe back in 2008, when he was at Shipserv. A big achievement there was his transformation of the role and position of the marketing department. Because he was able to apply marketing thinking and strategy to the company’s web site, digital campaigns and content, he was able  to turn marketing – which until then had been seen as just a service to sales – into the organ that owned and filled the sales funnel. Because he delivered the leads that the direct sales force needed, marketing became the force that it should be. Marketing transformed from simply making the arrangements into making the rain.

Anyway, you’ll be able to see the discussion over the next few weeks. We declare the initial experiment a success and we plan to do more. If you have suggestions about B2B marketers we should invite, please send them to us. If you see ways we can make the output even better, feel free to let us know. But remember we are all acolytes of  Goldwyn at Velocity: “I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job.”


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