The secret to lead gen success by WP Engine's CMO

Mary Ellen DuganWP Engine CMO, tells Jess Pike why creativity is key for B2B marketers, why too many B2B-ers get distracted by lead gen and why video is where it's at

I can tell a campaign’s succeeding when…

The business goals are being met through a clear set of marketing objectives. Every campaign is different, so it’s important that the goals are set early and concisely. Is the goal customer acquisition? Lead generation? Brand awareness? The best campaigns feature a series of metrics throughout the lifecycle, which can be clearly measured to ensure you’re achieving what you set out to do at every milestone.

So throughout the lifecycle, marketers need to highlight metrics with substantiated data. For example, from an awareness perspective a marketer might consider the company’s baseline brand awareness in terms of market share. From there they need to make the correlation to what each percentage improvement will mean in terms of prospective customer awareness by examining the conversion ratio. It’s important to both examine metrics you can use from internal systems and then cross-reference that with external studies/vendors.

The best and brightest B2B marketer has…

The ability to translate marketing analytics into business results. B2B marketers are often incredibly creative, but sometimes don’t get credit for that creativity. It’s always tough reaching a very specific audience, so I strongly believe the best B2B marketers need to work innovatively and tap into new ideas and use media in unique ways to achieve their goals.

The biggest challenges facing me as a CMO involve...

Turning data into actionable insights. There’s so much written about big data and analytics right now, and as a marketer it’s about taking this insight and deciding what is actually useful and actionable. It’s important not to get overly excited about the data itself, but the insight it provides, and the outcomes it will lead to. A further challenge is having a tech platform that everyone can use. Whether you’re a large enterprise, an innovative start-up or an individual entrepreneur, it’s important to ensure you resonate with your fellow users and have a platform that’s easy to operate and co-operate on.

In B2B land I’ve never really understood why…

There is such delineation between B2B and B2C. I strongly believe that a good/strong marketer is good at both, but you need to be nimble enough to ensure the execution of either is very different. The best teams in this industry recruit marketers who are well rounded and have an appreciation for both B2B and B2C.

B2B marketers tend to get distracted by…

Lead generation components and consequently miss the larger picture. One problem I find in the industry is that B2B marketers get caught in the mechanics of lead gen without realising that once we get somebody into the funnel, the focus then needs to shift to how are we keeping them and growing them. We need to ensure we are creating a loyal following that wants to keep coming back for more and/or who are willing to become brand evangelists themselves, representing both loyalty and advocacy.

The biggest cliché about the industry is that…

We are the subjective part of the business that can’t help deliver business goals or measure ROI. I strongly believe this is untrue.

The next tech trend to hit the sector will be…

Greater developments in live video. Nearly every social media platform has now incorporated live video, most recently Facebook with Facebook Live, and businesses really understand the power of having a visual medium to promote content or products – whether it’s five seconds, 10 seconds or longer with virtual reality products just around the corner, it’s going to be a very interesting year for live video and immersive, visual content.

Sometimes I think B2B marketers forget that...

At the core of every B2B customer is also a consumer. Between nine and five they might be a customer, but when the working day ends, everyone becomes the everyday consumer. These consumers are driven by content and creative information that is compelling and innovative. B2B marketing needs to reflect this – it should be exciting, help consumers do their job better, and be innovative and forward thinking.

It really irritates me when…

Marketing is not seen as a business science. Through a successful, innovative marketing department, businesses can focus on specific areas such as lead generation and brand awareness to help drive sales and business growth.