Hunter Sunrise, Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing at Postclick chats about a few high priority areas that modern-day B2B marketers need to strengthen in this quick catch-up with MarTech Series:
Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Hunter, tell us about your marketing journey through the years and more about your role at Postclick…
Thank you for including me, Paroma! My journey has been a bit unorthodox; I was raised by an entrepreneur and artist who encouraged me to create the businesses and jobs I wanted to see in the world rather than following a traditional career path. Over the past 25 years or so, I’ve worked in marketing departments of Fortune 500s, and at advertising agencies from Texas to New York—I’ve also taught creative writing in Italy, opened an heirloom cider bar, launched a pet care business across 13 markets, and started (and sold) a number of other businesses from lifestyle to software.
I’m fascinated by psychology and storytelling—specifically where they intersect in marketing in order to reshape and disrupt the way people think about things like access to education, healthcare, and information.
At Postclick, those values come to life via leading a wildly talented leading team of marketers and creatives who are passionate about solving complex business challenges while meeting human needs and growing brand equity. Working with this team, and at a company at the intersection of AI, ML and marketing, means I get to spend my days working within the realm of both the human and new technology—at the intersection of insights-based strategies that marry personalization and relevancy together with cutting-edge technology.
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For a seasoned B2B marketer, you must have some strong proven core processes and strategies in place that help drive real business value: can you take us through some of them?
Don’t be afraid to take a D2C Approach: As we move to an increasingly empowered customer base, the lines are being blurred between B2B and B2C marketing. In order to capitalize on customer attention, personalization, storytelling, and ease of access and use need to all be at the forefront of B2B marketing strategies if you want to compete in the ecosystem. Build a brand that stops time, captures attention, and is relevant to the time we’re living in. People are people, no matter the industry, the sales cycle, the lead source or the contract price. Dynamic brands win.
Refine your Marketing Tech Stack: Staying ahead of tech and keeping your team focused and optimized is necessary for any marketing team to truly thrive. Adding software that allows for automation–leveraging machine learning and AI—can be critical time-saving efforts on your team and ensure that their time can be spent on developing strategies backed by data-filled insights. Keeping your marketing tech stack up to date and optimized to best fit your team’s needs is a great way to embrace creativity and develop some really dynamic campaigns.
Focus on Impact: Measure your activities by the impact they have, not by whether it’s what you “should be doing”. Sometimes (oftentimes) “best practices” need to be tossed out the window to pave the way forward. Be bold. Measure your activities. Learn what works. And then keep innovating—people change, marketing doesn’t sleep and what worked last month, won’t soon.
Commit to Being an Inclusive Leader: Focus on creating frameworks, systems, processes, and structures that can support and empower team members toward accountability and create positive change in their workplaces. Developing resources like refreshed interview processes, employee engagement and development programs, mentor-based gateways into industries, etc. can empower leaders to initiate change in their organizations much more quickly. Additionally, looking for other means of supporting DEIB&J across industries via representation, access, visibility, and support, can rapidly fuel greater diversity in marketing, advertising, communications, and technology. Part of that change is ensuring that employees of all identities feel valued, supported, and know that they have an equal chance not just to participate, but to succeed. These changes will contribute to raising everyone’s awareness of potential bias and open conversations where every employee can feel not only seen but heard. When a company has a kick-ass culture, people notice. The business grows, people are happier, and relationships last.
Tell us your thoughts on B2B marketing through 2022: what kind of marketing channels/processes and martech will be more prevalent as the year goes by?
Mixed reality (AR/VR) will be a huge driver for purchase decisions in our e-commerce-first world. Sometimes it still sounds like science fiction, but mixed-reality media is nothing new. Ever played Pokémon GO? (yes, I realize I just dated myself…) For many people, that was their first real experience with AR. Gamers, doctors, and engineers have used VR headsets for years. Whether playing a realistic golf game in the living room, virtually designing a new car before building out the prototype, or looking at the inside of a human body for medical training, mixed reality is solidly a part of our lives. Inevitably, social media is upping their mixed reality game, most recently with Facebook/Meta’s renewed focus on creating an MR metaverse accessed via the Oculus Rift.
AI copywriting is becoming a key element in digital personalization. Adding AI to your marketing tech stack could make or break your personalization efforts. As a creative writer and designer myself, I have no interest in seeing artificial intelligence replace human creativity. But when it comes to things like digital advertising and website copy, AI can accelerate content creation and, in some cases, negate human bias. This can create more accessible and equitable digital experiences and advance brand content beyond a specific team’s knowledge. It also frees up your team’s time. Instead of spending hours churning out hundreds of CTAs and headlines, copywriters can focus on bigger-picture projects like content strategies and new campaign ideas.
Video will begin to reach a standstill without proper personalization. The saturation of video marketing strategies continues to implode as more marketers try to cash in on the rapid growth of online media consumption. With the ever- increasing rise of streaming, YouTube, and social media, video continues to empower marketers’ ability to reach new audiences. But content saturation is beginning to peak, and consumers are adapting to the toll. Video’s true potential lies in its ability to reach micro-audiences with specific interests and buying habits. With so many niche entertainment vehicles in digital media, it should be easy to find consumers with interests that resonate with your brand. The opportunity depends on marketers’ ability to demonstrate their authenticity. Show consumers you care about their interests—not only about getting their attention.
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For B2B marketers at the point of revisiting their martech during this time, what thoughts would you share with them when it comes to optimizing martech stacks?
Don’t be afraid to ask for input, especially if it’s been a while since you reviewed your MarTech stack. The hybrid model of human experience and data power is the ideal way for advertisers to leverage machine learning.
To get all the perks of machine learning tech, advertisers require a specialist with a human touch. If you want to use machine learning to automate your digital advertising journeys, you need a tested solution in the hands of the experts who built it. Advertisers who partner with companies like Postclick will be ahead of the competition in 2022.
Five marketing moments in B2B that have really stood out for you through the last few years…?
- Dropbox’s Digital Care Packages: To help their larger community feel connected during the early days of quarantine, Dropbox partnered with creators, chefs, and artists from their immense client list to create over 20 free digital care packages that featured things like printable coloring books and guided meditations.
- Asana’s We Love Teams: Inspired by Richard Avedon’s photographic murals and portraits of everyday people, Asana captured portraits of real teams who use the platform. The campaign featured more than 80 individuals and their team’s stories to showcase the diverse range of projects the platform empowers—from helping people find jobs they love to changing the way people care for their parents.
- Slack’s Mockumentary: Taking a cue from infamous mockumentary successes like the Office, Slack created a humorous B2B commercial that highlights the facts that B2B marketing does not need to always be serious or formal. In the video, the Sandwich team falls in love with the very app they’re making a video about. In this sense, “So Yeah, We Tried Slack…” becomes a case study, doubling the impact of the promotion. The video highlights all the most useful features of the Slack application and call attention to all the best features of Slack, allowing potential customers to see its worth.
- Mailchimp Presents: Mailchimp doubled down on entertainment by funding and creating an entire content line-up of short-form series, films, and podcasts created with entrepreneurs in mind. In order to differentiate their email service from the growing competitive set, they highlight to customers that not only do they provide a valuable service…they can also provide entertainment and community for their customers.
- Shopify’s How to Start a T-Shirt Business: Shopify created a 3-minute video that showed users a step-by-step guide of how to start a small business. Step by step they go through each aspect of how to start a shirt business online that enables the potential user to bring in extra income month over month.
Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!
It’s important to remember that building a marketing team is just as important as building a marketing strategy. Failing to nurture your team will likely lead to failing some of your key objectives. Good leaders know how to encourage their team, but great marketing leaders know how to empower them. In order to truly bring your marketing strategy to its full potential, you need to get the best out of each and every person on the team and weave their strengths together to create the platform needed to hit your goals time after time.
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Postclick is the world’s leading solution for digital advertising conversions that blends personalization, optimization, machine learning, and human insight to make it possible for marketers to earn higher conversions.
Hunter Sunrise is Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing at Postclick.
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