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Awards case study: Learn how Annie Garvey championed martech and made Covance more data driven

Learn how Covance’s Annie Garvey has become martech visionary of the year through hard work, a technology-driven mindset and immense research


When Annie Garvey first walked into Covance as the new head of demand generation, she knew nothing about martech. Now, she has become its champion. Annie and her team set out to not only change Covance’s use of technology but change its mindset to become more data-driven. They undertook three major initiatives: segmentation, reporting strategy, and lead definition. It took lots of education, long conversations, and a considerable amount of often tedious work. But they persevered and were rewarded – to the tune of a 93% increase in ROI year over year, $2.1 billion increase in opportunity volume creation, and 30% more leads. Annie is proof that you don’t have to start out as a martech expert to become a martech visionary. 

About the candidate 

Annie Garvey is the associate director of demand management at Covance. She leads a global team of downstream multi-channel marketers supporting the enterprise with a focus on delivering strategic and tailored customer experiences that drive engagement and value perceptions of the firm. 

The brand/organisation that they work for 

Annie works for Covance, a Contract Research Organisation that helps drug companies get their drugs to market. 

Significant career achievements 

In June 2014, Annie Garvey walked into her new project manager job at Covance. She had never worked for a large corporate company before. She had come from a completely different area of the CRO world. She didn’t even know what the term martech meant. Five years later, she had vaulted Covance’s martech maturity forward in the areas of segmentation, reporting structure, and lead management and seen results no one would have ever predicted. Her story is one of endless curiosity, tenacious determination, and an innate desire to do what is right rather than what is easy. 

Commercial context, challenges and objectives 

When Annie arrived, she was put in charge of the demand services management team. They had implemented Eloqua a year and a half earlier, but, frankly, no one really understood the technology – including Annie. It was largely being used as a spray and pray device. The majority of contacts in it were irrelevant. And the team were relying on the orders of those above them rather than problem solving the issues that were right in front of their faces. Annie was certain their martech needed to get with the times and was determined to get there. 

She started doing her research into Eloqua. The untapped potential of the technology astounded her. They had this powerful tool for marketing automation, and they were running it like MailChimp. She realised they could achieve a nirvana state of true one to few marketing and make their marketing personalised. But the reality was no one was going to do it for them. If she wanted her people to become the marketing rock stars she knew they could be, she would have to lead the charge. She would have to shove them into the future. 

Annie sat down to make a plan and wondered where to begin. Sales needed quality leads, that was obviously the end goal. They needed to generate those leads, score them, and nurture them with personalised content. How well were they doing that at the moment? No one knew since there was no reliable reporting structure in place. The best they had were some monthly “scorecards” that did little more than generate busy work. She questioned whether she should start with fixing that. But she couldn’t even begin to consider it yet. A more fundamental need loomed. They needed to determine who they were targeting and how to segment these people. 

Impact on business performance and/or customers 

Annie and her team took the lead on segmentation and began to convince others of its importance. This required them to convince the organisation that they needed to be more data driven, no more batch and blast, no more spray and pray. The organisation was filled with some old school marketers with old school mentalities. Making this case required numerous conversations and lots of persuasion. Eventually, though, they got there, and the segmentation piece of the project was complete. 

Now, the real work began. They set out a reporting strategy designed to bring accountability and clarity to the organisation. This involved uniting several sources of data and retroactively tagging it (see key martech platforms section). With that mind-numbing task out of the way, a firm reporting structure was in place. 

Finally, the moment had come to start worrying about leads. Annie had just one problem. No one in the organisation could agree what a lead was. She could ask 30,000 people and get 30,000 different answers. So, Annie and her team set out to define what a lead was. They had to nail down workflows, overhaul pieces of SalesForce, and hold training session upon training session to educate people. Their event team was a prime example. They were still counting people who dropped by the booth only to grab a piece of candy as a lead. This project asked people to fundamentally rethink how they went about marketing and selling. It was a dramatic cultural shift, but Annie and her team persisted and truly affected change. 

The results of these three major initiatives – segmentation, reporting structure, and lead management – cannot be understated. After these initiatives were completed, Covance was able to calculate a 93% ROI increase year-over-year, Marketing campaign activity influenced a $2.1 billion increase in opportunity volume creation. And 30% more leads were created. 

Impact on the wider marketing team, stakeholders and other departments 

The Covance marketing team now has proper campaign attribution and can prove the value of their campaigns. Mastery of their tech stack means they can track campaign activity connections to closed-won dollars and show detailed ROI. They harvest segmented data from the parent campaign level, aligned with large company initiatives, all the way down to sub campaigns and tactics. And the team now has a clear martech strategy that helps choose new technology wisely. 

“Annie has tackled the hard work of establishing a martech foundation in a large and complex organization. What she and her team have accomplished is truly impressive. The results speak for themselves.”

Jason Abbate, Group Account Director

Martech Awards 2020

This submission won the award for 

Martech visonary of the year for Annie Garvey 

at the B2B Martech Awards 2020. 

Check out the shortlist here

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