Karen Steele is a marketer’s marketer. From consumer marketing in Apple in the ‘90s to leading global marketing organizations at VMware and Marketo during key chapters in their industry-shaping journeys to executing on go-to-market strategies for venture-backed startups, Karen has seen marketing from just about every phase.
What It’s Like to Be On the Front Lines of Major Change
In the B2B software world, many companies and brands have had to undergo massive change at times to stay relevant in the marketplace. It just so happens that Karen found herself at the forefront of those changes for some very large companies.
She says, “It’s a great moment, I think, for marketers to really put their foot forward. Whether you’re at a leading brand that is in category creation mode or you’re at a brand that is struggling to define themselves.”
Because it’s in moments of chaos that marketers can truly shine.
Why Now is the Best Time For Marketers
As usual, there is a push by software companies to strengthen their pipelines and in many ways, they use marketers to fill them. While that’s always necessary, now is the time for marketers who specialize in strategy to think outside the box and start looking to position their companies for longevity.
Building relationships with influencers and customers has never been more important. Creating an ecosystem that supports sales now and in the future is key.
We’re in a world that is rife with uncertainty and brand relevance relies on the marketer’s ability to continue the conversation without overlooking customer experience.
Creating Memorable Customer Experiences is Key
Messaging is more important than ever before. Through using great narratives and appropriate storytelling, marketers build relevance in their markets. We have to be aware of what our customers are thinking about and then position our value propositions in a relevant way.
Because not only do your products and services have to be useful, but your brand needs a story that your clients and customers can connect with.
Additionally, it’s important to be in tune with the personas that you’re marketing to. Even if you’re marketing to buyers and committees, stay in touch with the teams and be sure that your messages resonate with them. Creating a memorable customer experience is the key to longevity.
Karen says, “I think all of us as marketers, more importantly now than ever have to take a sort of a 360-degree view of the customer experience and make sure that we’re looking at every single step along the way and be relevant and be meaningful to the conversations that we’re having.”
How You Can Create Connection and Goodwill
So many of us are working to create meaningful connections in a virtual space which seems to be a really difficult switch. Think of the last in-person event that you attended. You were likely given swag and were able to really interact and get to know the people around you.
Keeping in tune with that feeling of being in a live event, it’s important to engage your audience. We’ve moved to Zoom meetings and PowerPoint presentations, but you can still create a sense of connection by reaching out to individuals and giving that in-person treatment.
Create care packages that are specific to them and that represent your brand values and ideals. People just want to feel heard and seen in this time of virtual work and connection. All it takes is a small token or gift of appreciation and you’ll have customers for life.
Even when we return to a more physically connected world, keep these tactics in mind!
When a Company Moves From Building Mode to Growth Mode
Karen shares that this is one area of marketing that hasn’t been affected by the pandemic. The most successful marketers either pre or post-pandemic are those that fully understand the entirety of the customer journey.
When you go to market, there are three elements that contribute to success: marketing, sales, and customer success.
Marketing is “not just about creating a pipeline, it’s about creating customers for life.”
It’s all about creating an amazing customer experience so that even if your contact with a company moves, you are still wanted at that company, and your buyer brings you with them. Make it a truly irreplaceable relationship. That means you need a marketing team that’s dedicated to the customer’s experience.
Now It’s Your Turn
Feel free to share any comments, and let us know if you have any questions for Karen which we’ll happily pass along!