Antonia Wade is head of marketing in Europe for Thomson Reuters.

At the Festival of Marketing she talked about how marketing is being transformed in her business. 

It was a great reminder of the fundamentals of business and a rally cry for marketers to prove their value.

Here are the best bits.. 

Marketing is more than events 

When Antonia arrived in post, moving from Accenture, Thomson Reuters' marketing was very much based around events.

There was little work done to prove return on investment.

Tracking and transparency

Antonia introduced a system to track all marketing activity via unique codes.

These codes included a campaign identifier, a tactic identifier (event, DM etc.) and a country identifier.

Alongside this a series of KPIs were defined in order to gauge success and the marketing department set out to achieve clear transparency between dollars spent and the impact on gross sales.

To that end, a 1:7 ratio of spend to sales increase was targeted.

Targets FTW 

Antonia stated that when marketing gets a sales target, the department is able to forge better relationships with both the finance department and the sales function.

Some of the activity that marketing did for lead generation involved self-service tools allowing companies to create personalised diagnostic reports (the Solvency II tool), receiving further information via email.

solvency II 

Measuring account-based marketing

Marketing didn't stop at lead gen - Antonia wanted to look at the affect of marketing on retention, cross-sell and up-sell within large accounts.

Though this is difficult to measure, they did an A/B test, targeting some accounts by using IP addresses but also with bespoke on-site events, too.

Other initiatives to improve usage of their products included developing content for company intranets.

Testing this activity is a much longer term task than testing lead generation tactics and Antonia admitted it would only yield results at the two-year mark.

However, without doing this measurement, she continued, "retention efforts look like a blackhole and marketing might not be getting the credit it deserves."

Reporting back to the business

Antonia wanted the marketing department to move to a more measured approach of thinking about how it reports back to the business and makes its activity relevant to the business as a whole.

This involved the production of a slick internal report that looked like a piece of external marketing and talking about finance, comparing progress to industry benchmarks.

Including financial data instills credibility and trust, and makes stakeholders feel better about the money they are spending on marketing.

Cultural change 

When asked by the audience for tips on enacting cultural change, Antonia expounded the idea of painting a compelling vision of where a company's marketing could be, then working on that with sales leadership.

Part of this vision is being honest about where a company is compared to its end goal.

Antonia freely admits that Thomson Reuters was nowhere near where it wanted to be, but that she defined the right indicators and followed through on activity she had committed to.

"If you say focus is on dollar in and dollar out, you have to prioritise that. Once you do that, you are trusted," she said.

Of course there is always resistance, but marketing, especially in B2B, can be inspiring and can make big differences with only small changes. 

Simple but compelling stuff.

For more on this topic, see:

Ben Davis

Published 6 October, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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