MarTech Interview with Erica Gunn, Chief Marketing Officer at Canto

Erica Gunn, Chief Marketing Officer at Canto talks about a few proven ways to drive faster marketing impact in this short catch-up:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Erica, tell us more about your B2B marketing journey and what it’s like for you as CMO at Canto…

My marketing experience started in B2C marketing, running marketing operations.  A lot of digital marketing innovation is happening in the B2C world, and there’s plenty that B2B digital marketers can learn.  When I made the jump to B2B, the pandemic was just hitting, and it changed how we went to went to market as a company.  Digital marketing became essential to find your audience and capture attention. It was a great place to bring my B2C marketing experiences, as we changed the GTM motion to be much more digitally driven.

At Canto, we are fortunate to have a talented demand gen team, a strong creative and content strategy, and alignment with our sales teams.  Our product team values the partnership between marketing and product management, which means we have a connection between what’s happening in the market and our product roadmap.  This alignment and collaboration means we can do the right things for our customers.

As a marketing leader: what are some of the key B2B marketing trends and best practices that you feel B2B brands need to focus on more? 

Creating valuable content and showing up as an authority in your space is critically important. Your potential customers want to know that you have the expertise in an area where they need help, and providing strong content that is useful to those prospects helps to earn trust. Sometimes that means giving that knowledge for “free.”  In other words, don’t trap all that content behind a form or a gate.  Earn the credibility to ask your prospects for their contact information.

We’d love to hear more about Canto’s own marketing/martech practices: a few key takeaways to share with fellow marketers?  

We know we’re more effective when we’re aligned with sales.  Taking the time to brief the sales team on all the events, emails, webinars, and other elements to a campaign before the campaign launches is important.  They need to know all the context for why someone is engaging with a marketing campaign, what they care about, and what to say to the prospect as a result.

Also, we get feedback from the sales organization on a weekly basis – what’s working? What’s not?  That helps us pull levers on the campaign plan.  Yes, look at the data to guide your strategy, but don’t forget about the anecdotal data as well.  Marketing should be in service of sales, so don’t leave them out.

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When it comes to choosing martech platforms and aligning them to improved marketing processes, what top thoughts/tips come to mind?

There’s a lot of marketing technology out there, and it can be overwhelming to decide where to start first. Begin with identifying where the biggest gaps are in your decision making.  Where are your blind spots?  Choose technology that will eliminate one of your blind spots, and go from there.

Don’t do too many things at once, and make sure the investments you make will actually have an impact on how you run marketing as a business.

How do you feel marketing leaders can drive better impact with improved content marketing practices? A few things that brands should keep in mind but don’t?

Content marketing helps build your authority in market, and it provides valuable knowledge and information to the prospects/customers who consume it.  It’s also a way to amplify your brand identity.  Consistency is key in this process. Don’t be afraid to take a long-form whitepaper or study and publish it in many different platforms.

That longform piece, which might make a good download on your website resource center, has nuggets of information that would make a great infographic or vignettes of information that make a quick social post.

Sometimes marketers think they have to generate new content all the time to be fresh and relevant, but in reality, you don’t reach your whole audience every time, and reusing good content in multiple forms and across multiple channels can create brand consistency and expand your reach.

Some thoughts on the future of DAM and why DAM platforms are crucial to marketing output?

Especially in times like these where teams are understaffed and resources are limited, efficiency matters. You teams can’t focus on doing their best work when they are searching around for assets, digging through file structures, or relying on the correct naming convention to find what they need. It’s wasted time on manual tasks and leads to frustration.

And, with digital marketing being the core to most marketing strategies, you need to have your digital assets stored, organized, and managed in a central repository to feed all those publishing platforms.  DAM is at the core of team efficiency, maintaining brand identity, and de-risking your marketing campaigns.

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In what ways do you feel marketers need to keep up with changing martech innovations/trends?

Digital platforms are constantly changing, and marketers need to stay on top of the trends.  The channels where our customers spend their time today will be different tomorrow.  Pay attention to where your prospects and customers “hang out” online.

Have a test and learn mentality, and try out new platforms as they emerge.  Not everything is going to pan out, but being curious and willing to try is the key to being ahead of the curve.

Five fundamentals in B2B marketing that you feel should form the basis of a marketing practice given today’s dynamics?

  • Have such strong alignment between sales and marketing that you feel like one team.
  • Build a MarTech stack that helps your team be more efficient and make better decisions.
  • Show up in the digital realm where your customers and prospects “hang out,” which isn’t always LinkedIn and Facebook.  Know your customers and how they spend their digital time.
  • Build the best content engine you can, with helpful material for your prospects, and get it out to as many channels as possible.  Show up as the authority in your space.
  • Test and learn, and stay curious!

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Canto is a digital asset management solution that gives organizations full control of their brand assets.

Erica Gunn is currently CMO at Canto and has a background in both marketing and operations leadership roles. Prior to Canto, Erica was Head of Marketing for Adobe Workfront. She has also held Vice President positions at Nordstrom and Planview and business operations roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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