Tobias Lee oversees the global marketing strategy for Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting, including branding, creative services, demand generation, public relations, customer excellence and online marketing.
Tobias Lee, CMO, Tax & Accounting, Thomson Reuters
CMO, Tax & Accounting
Chief Digital Evangelist
Tobias Lee oversees the global marketing strategy for Tax & Accounting, including branding, creative services, demand generation, public relations, customer excellence and online marketing.
Previously Mr. Lee was global vice president of Consumer and SMB Marketing at Trend Micro where he helped rebrand their flagship consumer antivirus solution (Titanium), led an acquisition of a leading online storage company, and helped institute a demand generation framework globally across the organization. He also drove the successful B2C ‘Nooo Face’ campaign throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe that produced significant brand awareness uplift and launched the ‘Worry-Free’ brand of SMB solutions throughout Asia.
Tobias spent 10 years at Trend Micro where he previously held roles as vice president of North America Marketing, vice president of Global Web Marketing, and head of Corporate Marketing. Between 2005 and 2007, he was based in the corporate headquarters in Tokyo, where we led the Enterprise Marketing team and launched the company’s first private conference (DIRECTIONS) that is now in its 6th year of operation. Prior to Trend Micro, he worked in brand management and marketing at Dell Computers and Toshiba.
Mr. Lee holds a BA in Law from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MBA from the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, where he was a President’s Fellowship recipient.
(00:02) Hello, and welcome to episode number 82 of CXOTalk. I’m Michael Krigsman and my friendly co-host Vala Afshar has gone AWOL. Actually he hasn’t totally gone AWOL but he’s stuck in a meeting or who knows where Vala is, but he did say he’s going to be late so he’s not technically AWOL, but he’ll be here joining us soon.
(00:32) Today, we’re going to be talking about digital marketing and in show number 83 – this is show number 83 sorry about that not 82. But show number 83 we’re talking with Toby Lee, who is the Chief Marketing Officer for Thomson Reuters tax and accounting division. Toby how are you?
(00:56) I’m doing great Michael. Thanks for having me on the show.
(00:59) Thank you so much for joining us. I’m very excited. You have an interesting background and you are cooking up fascinating things at Thomson Reuters, so tell us briefly about your background.
(01:13) Sure, I started off in project managements with Toshiba out in Orange County. I worked on their PC server business for a little while. Then I jumped out to Dell in Austin Texas for a couple of years and ran a parts marketing functioning for their server appliance business. A lot of strategic partner alliance stuff as well.
(01:40) Then a bunch of us jumped out to San Francisco where I’m originally from and we joined a start up a Linux based (unclear 01:47) and that lasted about two month and I joined an anti-virus security company called Trend Micro where I was there for about 10 years in different roles, starting in parts marketing. Jumped out to corporate marketing – this was based in Cupertino California.
(02:05)Then I jumped out to the corporate headquarters out in Tokyo japan for two years. So I ran japan marketing. Came back to the US and I ran the Global web team both from a front end back end standpoint as well in North America marketing. And then in my last two years I’ve ran the global SMD in consumer business for them
(02:27) Okay, so you’ve had a pretty broad based background and again briefly tell us about Thomson Reuters and the group you’re involved with, just to help set the stage.
(02:39) Thomson Reuters you know overall we sell information solutions to professionals right. And this covers a couple of different categories, legal business, IT and science business, finance and risk business and tax and accounting. We also have a news business which people are maybe more familiar with on the Reuters side. All in all we are about 13 plus billion and tax and accounting is about 10% of that and growing very well I think the last quarter we grew 14%, 10% organic and it’s been great.
(03:18) My team is composed of roughly 100 people across the globe. I’m in charge I guess of everything marketing which tends to be defined as branding events, PR, online marketing, command generation, customer experience and then the classical field marketing with respect to our businesses. We sell to three types of customers, governments, corporates, and what we call professionals who are small CPA firms.
(03:50) So as CMO what are your primary goals, what are your agenda is, what are the metrics that you use as the CMO.
(04:05) I think at the end of the day Michael for us it’s about making sure we have happy customers I think topline that’s it. As you well know and I think if anyone listening knows there is a lot more to it than that that we have to kind of point the targets.
(04:23) So at a slightly lower level you know I look at three metrics across-the-board. One is focused on an awareness type type of number which I’ll talk about. One is focused on more kind of Leeds or sales contributions and the third one is a customer score.
(04:38)So if I could unpack them a little bit for you.
(04:38) You know, from an awareness side we are looking at some blended mix of like web engagements, and for us the web is not just dot com, it’s any online property which we think we should have some engagement with. It also means PR to some degree. So what type of awareness are we having in the market and we don’t see that by counting the number of articles we do that by trying to place and engage an impact on each article and we do that by scoring each one that we have published. So we score them in three ways.
(05:16) The first component is what we call the message and that is 30 points to the evaluate of the message captured on point with the intended message we want the market to understand from us.
(05:30) The second part is around prominence, so do we have the headline, do we have more cognitive sense and are we mentioned more, again on 30 points we score that.
(05:41) The last part is relevance and we have tiered the universe by customer segmented to say you know, Wall Street journal is worth more to us than say the Dallas daily News - no offence to Dallas daily News. So in that we we kind of understand you know is there an impact and we also assess the circulation size, you know the relevance and the authority of that publication and often at times also the author.
(06:09) So those are some ways we look at you know awareness.
(06:12) So awareness…
(06:13) Are you going to let me ask a question or no.
(06:16) Vala, you know I was going to. This is how it goes, so Vala was late and I figured okay, I’m going to get to ask all the questions today and Vala shows up and it’s like okay Vala go ahead.
(06:35) Come on, we have one of the brightest CMO’s in the world as our guest and I like to get one or two questions in.
(06:41) I know, but you were late and I figured I would take advantage okay, go ahead Vala, greetings and Vala how are you doing.
(06:49) I apologize for being late and I apologize on Michael’s behalf for not letting me chime in. So you talked about leads and awareness and it’s really contextual intelligence based on you know the different types of coverage and awareness that you can deliver to a business, so I suspect you are investing in marketing automation, you have CRM, you have social listening tools and all of this digital marketing stuff that the IBC’s of the world are saying we’ll make up 50% of our programme spend in the next year or two. Amongst all of this, what are some of the interesting things that you are championing in marketing that using technology and innovation to really bolster their marketing capabilities.
(07:40) I think it really comes down to how do you architect all the stuff you just mentioned, your MAP, your CRM, your online community, your web analytics. We have and many companies have all this stuff, but you know at the end of the day the common goal is to understand what’s going to produce a positive interaction with the customer. And how do we understand what the definition of a customer is. There’s a user, there is a customer, there’s a buyer, there is an influencer. There are different stages of the buyers journey. The fact that there is a group of these people that move through the continuum at different stages and the dynamics between those people are also different at different stages.
(08:24) How did we become more intelligent to understand what that optimum mix looks like. We mentioned the targets that we might try and place in this Omni-channel environment that says I’ll blog here, I’ll tweet here, I’ll do a webinar here et cetera.
(08:40) So I think at the end of the day and what we are really grappling with this now is, how do I make sense of all of this when they tend to be on different systems like this promise of big data I think is awesome and I haven’t really seen it and realised yet to a large degree. And I know that a lot of people are trying to make it happen and we are doing snippets of it. But you know I think it still leaves a lot to be you know desired.
(09:07) So we are trying to get a sense of how do we channel data in the correct way across these different measurement systems to understand is that customer resonating positively or negatively. And it has been dramatically different for us I’ll say in the past six months, where we have taken the approach in the past and many companies would say, let’s go and get the home run, right. And we’ll go and launch this big campaign, we’re going to measure it and at the end of the day we convert people or we don’t and we go onto the next one.
(09:39) I think that it’s a very simplistic way to understand the reality of how the prospects and customers like work today and research today, and how they interact today. So, if we have this intention that is actually iteration of events than we have with the market, so instead of looking for start to finish, we think of step one to step two, when they have not only a very different approach but a different expectation that we can set, that dictates the different organizational structure to be more agile.
(10:16) So for us you know we are really focused on being more of an agile marketing team and that means having to do things differently from a structure standpoint and budgeting standpoint, investment standpoint. So no more long lease buyers for six months right, we are doing things on a very kind of do not high-frequency basis because we expect when we look at the data on a daily or weekly basis that if the milestones start to show us going south instead of North, we are not going to go south anymore.
(10:47) So this means this regular monitoring of data is supercritical for us, and that’s where all the things that you mentioned and more you know make so much sense for us and it allows us to be smarter marketeers and it’s because the customers are smarter, right.
(11:05) So the notion of data as the glue in a sense or data is the trail or the markers of the set of interactions, events, transactions that are taking place over multiple channels over time. It sounds like that is your focus and you think of data and Omni-channel marketing.
(11:39)We first of all right we shouldn’t measure something that we are not going to do anything with right, that’s the same with metrics. You know you can pick thousands of metrics but the ones that you are going to change in the sense of the right behaviour other ones you should choose.
So you know I’ll give you an example, when I was at Dell we focused on different parts of the business, but one part was e-commerce and you know if the metric for us was to say, let’s go and increase CTR, let’s go and increase conversion and that’s your focus then you might go ahead and say well I’ll reduce the price to increase the appeal and are get more click through.
(12:06) So in that process you have not only increase the conversions click through, but you have also taken the margins in some degree to. So you have to be very mindful around kind of what you pick.
(12:28) And the same is true for around you know the degrees of focus around the digital footprints we want to kind of track and how you rally around that. So for us, and I can tell you we spend a lot of time with persona developments and customer journey mapping. We’ve done that very intentionally around certainnichecases that say in the research phase for you know in our segmentation of Fortune 500 tax director who has a business that looks like 500 million to 1 billion of whatever, right you have reviews case.
(13:02) And we looked at the posture they may be in a certain period of their journey to go and buy and we kind of blow out the recipe for success for what we think that is going to take them from research to more interest in deval and we are doing this hyper segmentation across-the-board in conversions with some understanding or a best step forward of the combination of stuff that we want to coordinate and say, it’s these things that are producing positive and the intent to move forward that is suggesting we are on the right path. And that is very complicated to be honest with you.
(13:40) It’s super complicated, so you employ data scientists or data analysts in marketing in your org, or are you collaborating with IT and leveraging their number crunching gurus - that’s an official term, number crunching gurus, because again this hyper segment of one and the buyers journey mapping and the persona, and I suspect if you have marketing automation you are delivering content to them throughout the buyers journey that is meaningful and relevant. That’s really hard stuff, that’s not easy, so how do you do it.
(14:21) I mean I think that it’s difficult and I actually wrote an article about you know the need for marketing people to be more data analysts, data scientists – whatever you want to call it. But understand and be comfortable with data with an intent to do something that pushes the customer forward from a kind of marketing context.
(14:45) And that’s not easy and we don’t have a lot of that skill set that’s been inherited in this organisation. So we’ve been trying to evolve that skill set and we are also partnering with some analytics companies to help us go do that, because they are experts there.
(15:03) We had a venture capitalist, Mark Suster who was on our show and Mark said when he advises start-ups in terms of selling proficiency and the ability to win, you have to answer three questions. First, why buy anything. Second, why buy from you and the last and the hardest which most people tend to struggle with, why buy now. So you know, I think part of the power of analytics and digital is as you capture the buyers intent and all of the signals to help you guide and answering these critical questions in why buy anything, why buy from you and why buy now.
(15:47) I mean I think that Vala it creates one of many cases, because if people can answer the first two but no the third, and the answer to the third is all by later means that you create a used case and a playbook for them to go back to that journey at a different period of time with some may be different messages.
(16:05) So we’ve kind of tried to architect this you know ecosystem that identifies segmentation is and used cases we find to be the most important for our business, because you can’t do all of them there is just too many, right. They will drive you nuts and you will have hair like mine when you start to pull it out.
(16:24) Hey, is that a coincidence that we’ve got two CMO’s that are. I used to have a ponytail but anyway we’ll leave that for another segment.
(16:38) I mean I think you have to like anything we have to prioritize and establish some focus and the best step forward would be smart enough to know when you’re losing and we have to turn the corner, when it makes sense to modify and do something differently. You can’t have the assumption that you know it all and this is back to this approach of being agile and monitoring the posture of the customer, and knowing that the customer is irrational and people are. So it’s not that easy.
(17:13) So that means you really have to create or construct these you know plays that I like to call them of things we introduced them to come with the assumption that if they say yes to some or interact with some, there’s a natural platform for them to get to.
(17:33) But if they don’t bite on something at the end then you know, what do we do with that. It’s not that we say goodbye and we never called them again, but we have to do it more interesting and in a different way and maybe at a different period of time. And this is giving us some continuous learning intelligence around how we interact with the market. I think that plays to our efforts to create more of a dynamic content engine here as well, because like in many companies at the end of the day whatever it is that you are saying, what you are delivering is something hopefully something provocative, compelling that addresses a pinpoint or an interest for that prospect or customer who is looking at your stuff.
(18:17) I think for many companies like ours, it’s very painful to create content, right. It’s time-consuming, it’s a big investment, and the fact is the people who know it best is the SM needs are the experts that within the businesses don’t necessarily consider creating content their job right, they are off doing other stuff.
(18:39) So this means what do you do? So we have an essential mark in our group and we’ve gone through the experience and the pain to say we’ll go and find those people, convinced those people, by then lunch and hopefully get some information from them and we’ll write something that’s fantastic.
(18:57) The reality has been we go and do that and we may be by them to lunches or three lunches to get them to play along and in the end it is so frustrating for them to deal with someone who doesn’t understand the context of their business, they rewrite the whole thing and say, glad I’m done with that. So that’s not scalable, repeatable and it’s not productive for us.
(19:18) So the route we are taking is to say, have the business kind of own the creation of raw content with the SME to make that process much more smooth and less painful. Pass it over to essential marketing team that helps write the vernacular and the tone and all those types of things and have a creative group format it correctly with the intention of how it’s going to be delivered, what’s the twitter feed, what’s the blog post, what’s the White Paper as an asset content etc.
(19:50) Then we go through this duration piece which I think is that dynamic intelligent layer that starts to map things out of this masterpiece of content if you will and sets up an editorial calendar that says here are all the factoids that we think would be great for a Twitter post, right. Here are all the things that we could mention for a blog post. And we start to create a play around a used case, persona, phase in the buyers journey, this cluster of things with content now that’s attached to it and we map it out continuingly throughout say a quarter or for how Avalon you want to test it.
(20:29)But there is the realistic assumption that the first wave that you go after and maybe 20% will bite. The other 80% didn’t bite because of the first reason, and it’s not interesting that you pay attention or whatever. But the assumption you need to take is that we would be more interested in working with the insight that we send them, so we modify things and we change things to help produce more engagement.
(20:51)So I think this whole ecosystem that we are trying to create and in the end, we believe it delivers more efficient models for content creation, which allows us to be more casual campaign or a general marketing standpoint. And as a result, I think we are starting to see you know better engagement. It’s very new for us but I think we’ll be starting to see some positiveness from it.
(21:17) So let me ask you a question, and by the way to use Vala’s term you’re laying some heavy science on us and we love it, love it.
(21:25) You know Michael, it’s funny you say that as Tobias is talking I’m making an inventory of all the guest blogs that he’s going to do on Huffington with me. he just put massive science on us, massive.
(21:40) Yeah, so let’s continue and by the way I want to thanks all of these incredible people on Twitter who are tweeting this as well it’s so awesome. But now, let’s take it to the next step. So we have our curative content, we’ve developed this process that you’ve laid out as clearly as I have ever heard anybody lay the process out. So we now have this great content and we are now faced with this Omni-channel challenge.
(22:15) Michael, you used the word Omni-channel you’ve got to put a dollar in the pay bucket.
(22:24) Yeah so a dollar you know put in the kitty. So Toby now connect this content out to the Omni-channel buzz word and how all that fits together.
(22:41) So Omni-channel, multichannel, whatever you want to call it, right, it’s the number of different areas you want to introduce yourself to a potential customer, that’s what it’s about.
(22:53) And I think that today, there are more opportunities than ever to introduce yourself, which means signal to noise ratio is also ever higher than it’s been. And that make it challenging for us to. And we’re also trying to do things and investigate areas by real time social graphing and when may it be most interesting for that person to look at or to engage with what you have to offer.
(23:26) I also think that the opportunities for Omni-channel continue to expand to. Something we’ve had great success with in the past nine month to a year has been on the social selling side – like making our salesforce be the evangelist for how we go to market and how we communicate and how we engage with the potential customer base.
(23:56) You know we’ve tried to approach these things like social selling or anything that involves sale, with the understanding of how they operate, because the sales marketing kind of relationship is always a very challenging one.
(24:11) I think with all the experience and initiatives that we’ve done in this company – personas, demand generation etc. we have involved them and had those hard debates throughout these workshops to get to an alignment, right, to get to some sense of agreement of what to do and what my part is. That has been very empowering for us with sales to institute a very positive relationship.
(24:42) But back to Omni-channel within the salesforce, you have to establish that level of trust and credibility. We’ve had great success with this application called Gaga lamp, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it but it’s been a great tool for us to give the salesforce an easy to understand kind of UI, like here are the things we would like you to post. Here are the areas you can post it to, click the button that says LinkedIn or Facebook or something, and in parallel we’ll give you point for what you do. So there is some gamification elements to it as well.
(25:19) So I think that you know the ways in which we architect the channels within this ecosystem is that the learning we’re trying to go through that says, here are the pieces we think are the best recipe to move them from this phase to the next phase, and that’s how we’re approaching it.
(25:41) How do you foster or cultivate a culture in a big company where social is on the forefront of the employers – not just in marketing but the company as a whole, whether it’s participating in LinkedIn groups, or writing a blog post or being on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and pinning diagrams in Pinterest or whatever it may be. You’ve written in the past about connecting the dots and the importance of collaboration. But how do you as a CMO, what should other lines of business leaders think about in terms of creating a culture where people are looking for random collisions and interested in others and have the courage to share and build on the personal brand, but the company as well.
(26:32) I think you touched on some interesting points as you were speaking and one is personal brand. You know when you talk about – it’s about buying. How do you get people to believe that this makes sense. So it has to start with a clear value proposition.
(26:49) We believe social selling as an example is beneficial to the overall efforts we have to produce better revenue for certain products let’s say. And you know I think sales people in general from our experience are always looking for help, to help them close a deal, right. You can make it easy for them and at the same time you can help support their own individual brand by being a thought leader.
(27:22) I think it’s going to have a higher success rate. And you know that’s why things like the tools we mentioned are very valuable, but some aren’t great, because just the same example we said, that you go and present a post for social selling and you send it to 1000 people in your salesforce and they may share the same with people in their network. They see the same post, it’s going to look like cut and paste.
(27:49) So we have to make sure that we enable and support them to really be the thought leader that we promise. So that means you have to pick tools for social selling, that has the intelligence to say, if I go and send this post to be shared out, the first one that clicks it and the rest then have that eliminated and it gets refreshed for something else, and there is some kind of intelligent, dynamic action that’s happening. But we have to make sure that we support that personal buy-in that’s connected to the business value. And I think we get to the personal buying piece that makes it more interesting. And certainly people become more passionate about it.
(28:29) How do you distribute content and produce personalized content on the basis of data and still have that content remain authentic. Because the last thing I want or any consumer wants is to receive content or receive a message that says, in my case, dear Mike it’s pseudo-personalized but it’s obviously fake and the person is pretending that it’s real and authentic and directly from them and I hate that.
(29:06) Like I say we talked about before that there is a billion use cases…
(29:13) I’m sorry, Vala why are you laughing.
(29:16) Because now I know why you ignore all my emails. I start with dear Mike.
(29:24) I’m hypersensitive. If somebody says dear Mike I like to thripe them up. I don’t have a lot of friends, Toby I’m sorry we interrupted you.
(29:32) That’s okay no problem, you guys clearly have a good relationship I like it.
(29:37) I told you at the beginning Toby the thing to do is insult and taunt Vala.
(29:45) I deserved that because I’m late. So the question was to everyone, Michael asked how do you use data to provide and customize content and yet still be authentic, because none of us wants to see dear Vala, Toby, Mike in a standard template that’s just been pushed out to a marketing automation and it appears to be personalized but it really isn’t.
(30:14) So I’m going to go back to what I said earlier and the fact that you know, the business need to pick the best use cases we think that produce the best benefits for us. Just as not every customer is equal value to a company, which is true right. Not every use case is going to be of equal value either, so you have to pick a few that is feasible for an organization to do something with. I think that’s the first one.
(30:41) Then the second one then is the approach we’ve taken is we want to pick content topics that are pretty broad. You know the things for us as an example, you know a tax lifecycle and you know it covers a magnitude of different areas.Then maybe we want to create an e-book type level of content around the tax life-cycle that has chapters to it. Then if we understand the used cases around segmentation I’d say these people are in this phase of a life cycle.
(31:13) We can chop up that e-book, package it in a way that not just says dear Mike, but dear Mike we understand that these are some things that you are currently grappling with because we have some visibility into the posterior you are at within your companies situation today, and then push that out.
(31:33) I think it’s tough, but to go too much deeper to granular you have to weigh the benefit and the economics of how much time you spend trying to go super super deep versus trying to – you know, the other part is that you have to understand I think the role of marketing content in the first place, right.
(31:53) We’re not going to close million-dollar deals which we sell with content, but we will encourage the next step interaction to the point where a prospect contacted a salesperson that has that level of deep dive.
(32:07) So we want to get them set up and think you know, our goal in marketing is to enable sell to sell, and we do that by personalizing to the extent that we can so we are efficient, but the realistic expectation is that we are not going to take it all the way to the finish line.
(32:27) Sure, I’ve had analytical analytics companies, business intelligent companies and in this case it was a start-up and they were actually looking at my Twitter stream almost live and they sent me an email template and said you know, we’ve just saw your tweet about the importance of the customer acquisition funnel and mapping to content, and this is what we do. What I thought was impressive and it got me to click is that they actually referenced a tweet that I had just sent. So the speed at which they look at my Twitter stream and then correlate that to their offering, that was interesting to me. I clicked and in fact we had some conversations. But to me it was personalized and it was pseudo-real-time and you know it hit me when the topic was at the top of mind.
(33:21) So my question to you and may be Michael you can weigh in, can you be a CMO or can you be in marketing today, regardless what company you’re in and not be data driven. Can you effectively market today with outdated being part of your core competencies.
(33:40) So do you want me to go first Michael.
(33:45) I’d say I truly believe we have to be, but I really think that marketing for me is art and science and that’s why I love it. I think if you can take data for what it is, there is context around the data that you have to apply to make it really actionable. So the numbers don’t tell the full story, but without them and again we have today when we talk about the complexities in the B2B world and trying to engage with customers who have all different types of interests and different stages of their maturity per se the corporate tax world or whatever the solution is that you are trying to sell for market.
(34:23) You need data to help you understand where to pick, because it’s not so straightforward that your instinct can be so right across the complexities of these use cases that we have kind of identified.
(34:39) So I wholeheartedly believe that you have got to in brave data – you’ve got to.
(34:46) You know here’s the thing, if you are in marketing in a digital world and you are using digital channels at all, then isn’t data the foundation, I mean what else is there?
(35:00) The other thing is there is so much pressure that CMO’s have today to be relevant – to be business relevant. So your business relevant can show contribution of the business and it’s not to discount the importance of things like brand strategy or other areas of marketing that are critically important for us.
(35:26) But I do think in the past 5 past plus years, the pressures we see most come with some quantitative proof that they are actually adding value is increasing all the time.
(35:42) So not only do we have this accountability I think, but we should want it because that’s what gets you a seat at the table, that’s what gives you credible conversations for sales heads who now rely on you to help drive their business. If not, then marketing becomes that Ivory Tower Department that throws over pretty pictures and it’s great, but in terms of cost cutting do we really need that or not.
(36:09) So relevance – you made a very interesting comment, you said relevance gives you a seat at the table and I think that is equally true of the CIO and the CMO. So maybe you can elaborate a little bit of what you mean by relevant, and also if you don’t mind share your thoughts on the relationship between IT and marketing.
(36:35) Sure, I mean I think the answer to your first question is it’s as straightforward as we kind of said that CMO’s that have a seat at the table need to be able to speak to in business context. I think their job is to help connect the executive level of issues that are going on, which is held to be grow the business. Generally speaking, how do we keep retained happy customers?
(37:02) And it’s hard to do that without having some proof that you’re actually doing it. How are you connecting to retention, because short marketing programs are calculated that way? How are you driving a net yield a cross sell, because we have some smart sale pertinacity models.
(37:23) These things are so important for us as marketeers to say, our work is absolutely critical for you and if you want to invest even more in as you can help generate more. You cannot do that if you cannot prove it. Salespeople as you guys no, they are carrying a bag and they are number focused all the time and are as keen as much as I am.
(37:50) I’ve gone so far in the past to change sales coms marketing people to be commissioned just like salespeople. So you’re commissioned on leads like sales is commissioned on a revenue and now we are on the same cycle, the same payout and we have the same goals to understand that these number of leads help you produce this amount of percent contribution to that revenue.
(38:14) So we’re in it together, there is no you know, half in half out or not in it at all like people think marketing people tend to be. That changes the game. It changes the dynamics and how productive sales and marketing can really be together because you are on the same page.
(38:30) That’s awesome so revenue marketing, treating marketing results the same way and we have all heard in the past that there are two kinds of salespeople, rich ones and new ones. So the level of accountability is the highest and that’s why I believe the toughest function in any business is sales. Naïvely, as an engineer early in my career I thought building things was top, but selling is much harder. So it’s incredible that you’re transforming marketing by putting the same accountability and discipline and making sure there’s revenue objective alignment with your marketeers.
(39:07) So let me shift a little bit and thank goodness Michael is a Tweetaholic, you know he tweets a lot. He was just at Dreamforce and my stream was full of Michael Krigsman Dreamforce, which is the big salesforce conference at San Francisco. So as I’m looking at Michael’s thousands and thousands of tweets, the big focus was analytics and analytics on mobile devices being able to have insight into your business, sales marketing services with the computer that all of us carry – our phones.
(39:45) How important is mobile in terms of connecting the dots and effectively marketing to your prospects and existing customers?
(39:55) It’s hugely important and obviously from the amount of devices that people have today and increasingly so, hugely important. Now, I have to set it straight for the business that I’m in today, where in tax and accounting space, we have a kind of a two speed economy going on in terms of an older generation that makes up the majority of our profession. Then the up-and-coming CPA’s who are now Arian to this industry.
(40:27) So clearly one generation gets it better than the other and so in terms of adoption for us and the focus for us may not be as high as other companies. It doesn’t distract from the fact that it certainly important, but the relevance for us today is probably not as huge as for a B2C company that is really driving to millennial’s et cetera.
(40:56) To Michael’s question earlier around IT and the CIO, connect that back to what I was mentioning earlier in that sales and marketing partner better with a common goal, other functional groups have also become and have evolved to be business partners more.
(41:17) You’ve seen probably this trend of HR people now being called HRBP, (HR Business Partner). Because the goal was not just to help administer the T’s and C’s of hiring and violations in those things, but just to help strategically organize groups to enable better performance. I think that has really increased over the years.
(41:42) IT as well, I think IT is not just managing data centers anymore. IT is working very strategically with us in marketing to understand what is the best platform for us to understand customer basing systems. What is the best path to integrate your marketing automation platform, to your CRM, to your web analytics platform, to your online community et cetera? Then how do I best institute a path for you to engage with this in a way that makes sense for you, because I understand your goals.
(42:15) So here, you know we don’t see the rub with IT, marketing, and sales so much because they are involved in the fundamental conversations to start with. We want to achieve, right. We want to achieve something, whether that you know a revenue goal for certain customer base with a certain product et cetera.
(42:36) But there are questions that will always, how do we help you achieve that from a systems standpoint. How did we help you clean up your database because we know it’s beat up. How do we help ensure that we have a data strategy to follow the data through correctly for you.
(42:56) I think that is happening much more and more and fortunately for us at Thomson Reuters that’s the mindset we are encountering within the organization and its great.
(43:06) So let me ask you a question, so how do you engage IT at the fundamental level of what are we trying to accomplish when in many cases IT does not have the detailed marketing expertise, so what exactly do you want from IT at that early stage?
(43:30) We engage in fundamental planning together as a group, so the business, marketing people and obviously sales and IT is right there too. So from a when we talk about what’s the plan in a long term basis or a regular basis, I meet with our IT group once a month just as a check in on projects. Because we have already had the check-in that says directionally, they are the areas of investment that we believe make sense for marketing to help you engage the customer better, are you on board and how can you help us. Yes, here’s how we can help you.
(44:02) Then on a regular basis we check-in and make sure things are all cool.
(44:11) So it’s an ongoing conversation that you have, and it’s an ongoing relationship that begins before the project starts and continues when that particular project is over.
(44:21)It’s about alignments, right, I think what often happens in big companies you have these natural silos that occur or you have these turf wars that occur. I think we have to remember that we are all – regardless of function have the same goal, and the goal of getting and keeping happy customers I think is accomplish with different areas of expertise doing different things to help get you there.
But this is where this collaboration is empowering for the group because we know we play a part in the eventual victory for us. We play a role to together to move that forward, and from what we’ve seen when I started out 10 ½ years ago in this company and we had a very adversarial relationship with a lot of the groups that you and Vala have I think.
(45:15) The difference is that Vala and I we practice it because we know that adversarial relationships are the way to go. Usually after the show we are in the same room, and afterwards just to let off steam we have a fistfight.
(45:31) My guess is Toby, you don’t have an adversarial relationship because my understanding you are a multi-degree black belt, so my guess is no one is going to mess with you.
(45:41) Yeah we are not going to mess with Toby.
(45:48) I’d say it’s that journey you go through as a group to have those discussions, just like something as basic as persona was. It’s basic and we all have this intuitive sense of the customer, or who do we think the customer is. The reality is it’s all a little bit different. You know, the reality here is at least we don’t always connect when we go to the customer.
(46:13) And I’ll give you another example, here in the past year we’ve completed 23 journey maps that are respected to a used base for the customer. Those 23 journey maps have results in 142 improvements, which means let’s go and reduce a communication step, because support now realizes that PM is also reaching out to that same customer the week before that. And because we don’t join up in any way across a use case like say on boarding or whatever that might be we don’t know.
(46:45) But when we go through it together we have that download process as a group and it’s not only empowering but it is very enlightening and it helps us become more efficient and effective for what the end goal is.
(47:01) Well, this has been a very very fast and very interesting conversation. Unfortunately we’re out of time, so Toby will you come back and visit us again another time.
(47:13) I would love to, it’s bring great. A lot of fun.
(47:18) We’re going to get four or five blogs out of this conversation. I know that Huffington, the cloud, all the folks that are kind enough to read Michael’s posts and myself would learn quite a bit from you. You are one of the smartest digital marketeers we’ve had on the show, so thank you very much for spending a Friday afternoon with us.
(47:41) You guys are great and it’s been wonderful, thank you.
(47:44) I have a request to our audience, give us some feedback and send us some emails, send us carrier pigeons, tweet us, and tell us what you want from CXOTalk. Would you do that, it doesn’t have to be now but it would be great if it’s now, but give us feedback so that we can make CXOTalk better for you. And next week on show number 84, we have Michael Wu, who is the chief scientist at Lithium and so we are going to do more of a deep dive on to data and continuing with the conversation that we have today. And Vala you were strangely silent there for a moment.
(48:29) Well you know, normally I’d turn around and shake your hand so virtually fist bump and again, thank you to our extraordinary guest and Michael look forward to seeing you around next week as well.
(48:46) Alright everybody, thank you so much and thank you especially to Toby Lee who is the CMO at Thomson Reuters tax and accounting group and to my awesome co-host, we’ll see you next time bye-bye.
Published Date: Oct 17, 2014
Author: Michael Krigsman
Episode ID: 83