Brian Carrier is the Vice President of Global Demand Generation, Data Insights and Marketing Technology at Xerox. Reporting to Xerox’s CMO, Toni Clayton-Hine, Brian is responsible for the company’s global demand generation and marketing technology/data strategy, including the company’s big data datamart, Salesforce.com and Marketo integration, as well as their technology roadmap. We interviewed him about his key challenges and the innovative technology he’s employing to solve them.
What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing in your role?
The first challenge, or opportunity, is making sure that we have a personalized, data-driven demand generation journey and engagement with customers. That’s job one. Based upon the data we have on a given individual— demographics, firmographics, transactions, and all of their digital interactions with sales and customer support—we can engage that individual with the right targeted offer, messaging and web experience at the right time.
We talked about job two at the last Harte Hanks Marketing Advisory Board meeting: demonstrating tangible, measurable revenue contribution. Not just attribution—marketing must show contribution to leads, pipeline AND closed revenue. Many companies just look at pipeline attribution or ‘influenced revenue,’ which, frankly, can be fudged to make marketing look good.
Beyond attribution, marketing must show an equal to or higher return on marketing investment versus investment in other go-to-market programs, more sales people, etc. That’s the ultimate measurement.
Beyond attribution, marketing must show an equal to or higher return on marketing investment versus investment in other go-to-market programs, more sales people, etc. That’s the ultimate measurement. We must look at actual closed business and do it in an investment model so that it’s 4:1 to 10:1 profit ROI.
These are the three things I think about every single day.
Speaking of ROI, it’s a challenge for a lot of marketers to get value out of and show return on their investments, especially marketing technology investments. How are you working to make sure you’re getting value out of your investments and that they actually deliver against your business objectives?
First of all, organizationally, we consolidated four key functions into a central group at headquarters—including their budgets and roadmaps. This included: 1) our global demand gen campaign management functions; 2) a demand gen center of excellence where we execute all of the global, region and line of business campaigns (including list management, Marketo, analytics and dashboards, etc.); 3) our marketing technology group; and 4) our global datamart and data analytics functions. This is critical versus having everything strewn across different, siloed groups. Getting these four pieces together has been critical.
The second piece of making sure we get value from our investments—technology and otherwise—was to create a demand gen operating model that is driven by sales’ priorities. This model starts with interlock with the regional and country level sales and channel teams. We ask them: What solution/ product mix do you want? What route to market mix? What lead objectives do you want for the campaigns that are mapped to your quarterly/annual sales goals? Once we know what three to four global campaigns we need, we know exactly the solution/ product mix, the route to market mix, the contacts we want to target, the competitive analysis—THEN we go into campaign design. Our campaign prioritization and execution are truly sales-driven.
The third piece of getting value from our investments is creating a global datamart that provides us with a 360-degree view of customers and prospects, and will ultimately drive our digital experience, demand gen campaigns, and ‘always on’ nurture programs—such as new customer/purchase, loyalty/retention, cross/upsell, competitive take-away, and cloud/services renewal programs. The datamart is the foundation of our entire strategy.
Talk to me about the work you’re doing with your datamart, or what we call Signal Hub. What are the problems this technology is helping you to solve?
As far as challenges go, we had a limited view of prospects and customers—we could not get a holistic view of a given individual. We also didn’t have this view at site level or account level. The second was that we had 30+ disparate databases, data quality issues and siloed investments against these databases. Third, we didn’t have a data-driven capability to target new prospects or drive retention/loyalty because of these other challenges.
We’re therefore working with Harte Hanks as a strategic partner to deliver four things through a global datamart:
- Global data integration of 30+ databases into a common datamart structure and technology base
- 360-degree view of all prospects and customers, including interactions and transactions
- ‘Always on’ marketing and sales alert services driven by automated triggers
- Actionable and predictive insights based on our integrated datamart
Regarding the ‘always on’ marketing and sales alert services, the datamart provides daily, automated data triggers to place customers and prospects into nurture programs based on different characteristics, behavioral interactions and transactions of individuals or accounts. For example, it could be a new customer purchase or a new purchase for an existing customer. We could then put them into a nurture stream that welcomes them, helps them get the most value out of what they just bought, makes suggestions for how to use unused features, or simply provides them with thought leadership content.
Another example would be a competitive take-away nurture program. We’ve done some work where we’ve used third-party data to know when a company’s lease contract expires with competitors. We executed a competitor-targeted demand gen program nine to 12 months in advance of this known ‘sales event’ (i.e., competitor lease expiration). The automated triggers for the demand gen program are driven by our datamart, which sends these triggers to Marketo to execute the program, event/webinar invitations, etc. In addition, the datamart sends an automated sales alert to the sales rep calling into the account (sent through Saleforce.com) about six months before the expiration date.
Where are you in the implementation of your datamart?
We delivered our first set of automated, 'always on,' demand gen and nurture efforts in January and February for six different programs. We’ve started to integrate some of the databases, which we’re finishing this year. We hope to have a 360-degree view of our millions of contacts by end of year. Our goal is to finish all database integrations in the fall, and deliver these value-add marketing services and sales alerts across all lines of business by the end of the year.
The initiative is not about awesome architecture, and it’s not about awesome technology. It’s about using that technology and actionable data insights to deliver value-add marketing, demand gen programs and digital experiences globally, across all lines of business, to drive measurable revenue.
The initiative is not about awesome architecture, and it’s not about awesome technology. It’s about using that technology and actionable data insights to deliver value-add marketing, demand gen programs and digital experiences globally, across all lines of business, to drive measurable revenue. This really is the foundation of the marketing house. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re going to be soon.
What are you most excited about being able to do with this datamart? Do you have a vision in your head?
This is a two- to three-year journey. You start with this single data view, then you evolve to actionable insights and automated programs. Then the next step is truly predictive. Based upon interactions, transactions, and contact/account level insights, you predict the next best offer to give someone. You predict who to target. You can even predict attrition and jump in with sales engagement to retain customers. While it will take some time to get there, this is the vision, and this is what I’m excited about achieving—driving personalized customer experiences and measurable marketing-driven revenue for Xerox.