Adriana Gil Miner, CMO at Iterable highlights the ”missing” elements in a typical B2B marketing cadence while taking us through her biggest marketing moments and journey:
Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Adriana, tell us about yourself, what made you foray into Marketing…
I was born and raised in Venezuela in an Argentine family. It was a very ‘techie’ family — both my parents were engineers. My mother was a CIO, so we had a lot of new technology in the house (including three PCs in the mid 80s), which felt very cutting edge to my young self! Through my parents, I had access to Arpanet and ccmail when the Internet was forming and I was in code camp at 13 years old. But I was a humanist. I loved the arts. I was a dancer and a writer and went to art school from elementary through high school. I was very active in school and worked in an international non-profit organizing events, fundraising, running the organization and recruiting and galvanizing volunteers from all over the world. Little did I know that combining my love for art and technology was going to be the defining skill of my professional career — not, as the story so often goes, as a tech founder or a computer engineer, but as a data-driven, tech-savvy, community-building storyteller.
I started my marketing career at Digitas as a new media (because the internet was so new) data analyst, where I quickly discovered that my talent was for finding stories and strategy hiding in data. This discovery led me to American Express, where I continued my learning journey in a truly customer-service oriented organization.
After AmEx, I jumped into PR at Weber Shandwick, where I helped craft stories for Microsoft, Samsung, and Tableau (a client account of mine). Working closely with cutting edge technology, I sought out to join a startup, Artifact where we spun out a product for resource planning called 10,000ft, later acquired by Smartsheet. And that’s how I found my love for tech startups. I haven’t stopped since.
Tell us more about your time as CMO at Iterable, we’d love to dive into the core marketing that drives your efforts here…
You don’t have to do too much background research on me to recognize that I am a lifelong marketer! I thrive when I’m surrounded by a community of like-minded, creative communicators. There were a lot of reasons I joined Iterable, but the main attraction for me was its vibrant community of customers.
With Iterable, I have the opportunity to connect with and serve the marketers I had worked with my whole life. Iterable’s customer base is made up of more than 1000 brands, but our customer success and marketing teams aren’t working with the logos of these companies. Instead, we’re working with the marketing practitioners and leaders at each company.
To me, Iterable was an opportunity for me to represent and advocate for marketers. It’s the company’s customer-first focus that first attracted me, and it’s been the driving force of my passion and methodology ever since.
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In B2B marketing today, what do you feel is still largely missing when it comes to how brands/marketers plan campaigns/strategies?
It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that B2B marketing is just as the acronym states: business-to-business. But that’s only if you don’t think outside the box. Nothing is just as it’s defined, and this two-dimensional thinking leads marketers down the wrong path when it comes to their marketing efforts.
There are three main buckets of what’s ‘missing’ in B2B marketing:
- Individualization: B2B marketers don’t individualize how they market and communicate. There is often some level of personalization in their outreach, like [first name, last name] and general geotargeting. But the bare minimum is not enough. Too many B2B brands spend their time sending batch-and-blast emails to broad customer segments, and too few are thinking about nurturing their database and optimizing their customers’ unique journeys and attributes.
- Multichannel: When B2B marketers think ‘multichannel’ today, our minds naturally jump to email, SMS, in-mail, website, etc. But that straightforward visual is very limiting. B2B marketers need to go beyond the two-dimensional and expand their view into the three-dimensional, consider hybrid channel applications and the holistic, connected customer experience. Take events, as an example! Events have always been a great way to engage with prospects or customers. But an event is only one stop along a much longer customer journey. There is an entire ecosystem of untapped engagement potential (pre- and post-event) that many B2B marketers lose sight of. All in all, there is a lot of opportunity for growth in the channel ecosystem.
- People: Too often, B2B marketers forget that they sell to people, not to companies. When I look at B2B marketing, I actually see B2C marketing. I ask the team “what does the end-user want to see and hear?” We can more easily personalize our outreach based on the unique needs of a person, than a brand.
How do you see the B2B marketing space evolve? What in your view will be the basis of the future of this segment?
Working from home has had an enormous impact on the B2B industry, and it will permanently shape how we continue to sell and market our products to businesses. Think of sales calls and follow-ups, which, before the pandemic, were done in-person at the office. Now, sales calls are done virtually through Zoom and over the phone. We replaced walking through the doors of a brand with jumping into a Zoom room. There are benefits and drawbacks to this shift, but considering the pros and cons of a permanent reality shift is, in my opinion, a waste of time. It’s now up to us to decipher how to improve the prospect experience.
Flexibility is non-negotiable in this B2B environment. Here’s an example: business phone numbers, they’re no longer necessary. It’s now all about mobile. Which provides an opportunity for B2B marketers to really home-in on their multichannel marketing, and get creative. How can you use chatbots to facilitate virtual sales? How can you go beyond email outreach to connect with your prospects? Get creative, and stay creative!
In our net-new world of B2B engagement, the rulebooks no longer apply. But of the best practices that remain, there is one truth that should sit at the core of your B2B strategy: people. Workplaces have had to evolve to cater and provide for employees and brands that now bring their full selves to each engagement. People no longer have their work side, or personal side. There is now one holistic view of each individual, and brands need to meet people where they are.
It’s incumbent on B2B brands to think about the whole person they are messaging.
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As a B2B CMO, what key learnings/best practices would you share with everyone in B2B?
I have three key learnings that I would share as a B2B CMO:
- Your number one job as a marketer is to be a part of the sales team. You have to help sell the product. To earn a seat at the table with your customers, you have to start with empathy, and the best way to develop this empathy is to spend time in sales calls, customer calls, prospects calls, with your AEs. Spend time on the ground getting to know your customers and the conversations they’re having.
- Do not substitute the key learnings and conversations you receive from your customers for industry analysis or reports. Nothing is going to substitute this kind of learning than talking and validating from customers. Hearing their use cases. Their view of the product and the company. This is the best anchor you can have more than industry reports.
- Think of yourself as a company builder first and a marketer second. This means taking the time to understand the entire business. Spend time really understanding the product, how the company makes money, spends money, and who the leaders and changemakers in the organization are. It’s your job to understand the entire organization, and continue to learn. Think of yourself as a company builder so you can better identify so you can better identify where marketing can make the best impact.
Some last thoughts, on making the most of your martech to drive marketing in 2022…
Be thoughtful about your martech. What is truly critical in your tech stack? It’s not about having a lot of tech, but identifying what is critical for your business, and maximizing. It’s a common misconception that you have to spend a lot to scale effectively. In reality, your tech spend needs to be strategic, not substantial.
The most important message is to invest in tech that takes your insights to action. Whether your goal is customer engagement, onboarding, or customer acquisition, you need the tech that can get you there.
Optimize your martech stack for data accessibility, analysis and action. You’ll want to pursue tech that helps you understand and, most importantly, unleash the full potential of your data. You’ll see the most success, and your brand will gain the most momentum from apps that enable you to do your job better and with more precision. For example, when it comes to marketing, identifying what tools reveal the best times to send emails, help you understand your audience, optimize your experimentation process, and help you succeed as an individual, team, and organization.
Finally, think about the balance of automation vs. manual. As hiring slows down, marketing leaders can expand the impact of our teams with automation. Tech can help your team. Of course, there may be situations where tasks are too small or complex to solve with technology and this is worth figuring out the right process manually, but you have to figure out this balance. The goal is to get to an ideal operating state, where manual and automated processes are working cohesively.
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Founded in 2013, Iterable is a powerful customer engagement platform that facilitates personalized, joyful, and harmonized interactions between brands and customers. Iterable’s CMO Adriana Gil Miner has 20+ years of experience in high growth marketing executive roles. She previously served as CMO at Qumulo and Artefact, and has held marketing leadership positions at Tableau and American Express.
Adriana Gil Miner is the CMO at Iterable
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