MarTech Interview with Travis Bickham, Vice President of Marketing at Birdeye

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How can marketers (and customers!) benefit more from experience marketing platforms? Travis Bickham, Vice President of Marketing at Birdeye shares some thoughts in this chat:

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Welcome to this martech chat Travis, tell us more about your marketing journey through the years and more about a day at work and your role at Birdeye!

I joined Birdeye one year ago as the vice president of marketing, and I couldn’t be happier. As a marketer, I look for three things in an employer. First, I look at categories that are either being created or redefined. That’s where I find marketers have the greatest opportunity to define a problem and make an impact in a compelling way for prospects and buyers. Then, I look at the executive team. I want to see leadership that can uplevel the entire business and myself. Lastly, I look at the collective team because I want to work with great people. Birdeye more than checked these boxes and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this team. 

I started my career in sales and quickly moved to the marketing side. I spent several years in demand generation and content marketing before moving up to enterprise marketing roles at hypergrowth and global companies. To me, marketing is the strategy arm of a business.

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We’d love to hear more about Birdeye’s latest feature – the ‘’Google My Business’’ messaging capability and how it can impact marketers and businesses?

Birdeye is an Experience Marketing platform for multi-location businesses. We’ve had a long-standing partnership with Google and our platform offers marketers a comprehensive Google solution. Recently, we bolstered our solution by integrating with Google messaging, a feature embedded within a location’s Google My Business listing. Using the Birdeye Interactions product, businesses can now chat with prospects directly while they search Google. This capability makes it easier for businesses to connect with consumers and convert leads while they’re hot.

Meeting customers where they are has never been more important and the front door to most businesses today is Google. The world has changed significantly over the past year. As consumers start to navigate a post-pandemic world, businesses are coming back to life. But location-based businesses, in particular, need help driving customers back into their stores, offices and physical locations. We’re enabling those businesses to be found and chosen online, and to do more with their customers. 

Marketers understand that consumers today are empowered but many of these same marketers don’t have the technology available to communicate with prospects at the point and time they start their customer journeys. Google messaging allows businesses to respond instantly to any and all consumer inquiries. Our platform enables this functionality from a unified inbox, where businesses can manage, assign and track conversations at the brand level.

What are some of the other innovative solutions from the global marketplace that you feel are significantly contributing in helping businesses engage better with prospects – a few martech startups that are doing innovative work here from around the world?

Two B2B-focused martech leaders – not necessarily startups any longer – I happen to admire are Bizible and Vidyard. Bizible, which focuses on revenue attribution, has enabled marketing and sales functions to look closely at the entire customer journey, not just the first time a customer engages with a business. The software then lets teams optimize accordingly and amp up any programs that are opening up pipeline opportunities and closing deals, no matter how far down the funnel they are. This capability helps to eliminate the ancient marketing joke: “Half the money I spend on marketing is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Vidyard, which we use at Birdeye, is a fun and highly effective tool that allows salespeople to create personalized outreach videos. The creativity our sales team has with this tool is off the charts and we love to play back the best videos each month in our all-hands meetings. We can directly link some of our best customer partnerships to the initial Vidyard-driven outreach by our sales teams.

In what ways do you feel the future of marketing and martech will shape up to be given today’s business and work dynamics and change in core marketing processes (due to the pandemic and even otherwise)?

The world of marketing has certainly shifted. Once upon a time, it was all about the “me.” Brands pushed out their messages on billboards and direct mail. Then, it became about the “you.” The rise of inbound marketing spurred brands to create tons of content in an effort to get prospects to see themselves in offerings. HubSpot dominated this trend. 

Now, we exist in the era of “us” and what we call Experience Marketing at Birdeye, where the experience of brands, prospects and buyers are all 100% intertwined. In many ways, this is the most exciting thing that has ever happened in marketing. In other ways, this is a really scary time for businesses – especially multi-location businesses – that don’t have the same expertise that B2B hypergrowth SaaS companies do.

What are some of the core marketing technologies that you feel marketing teams should not be doing without, today, at least in the B2B and tech marketplace? (besides Birdeye!!)

In many ways, I feel technology has actually crippled marketing. Marketers have forgotten the basics, such as the 4 Ps (product, price, place and promotion) and the fact that the buying process has always been based on trust and human centricity. We live in a world where companies now are so data-reliant, they no longer understand people and they spend too much time optimizing the wrong things. 

I believe technology should be used to scale, drive and empower what’s already good – not take a bad thing and give it to more people. Marketing needs to move away from outdated technologies, concepts and assumptions, such as cookies and personalized, big data. Instead, the industry needs to enter the world of context and leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to truly understand the voice of the customer.

This is why Experience Marketing is so exciting. With an Experience Marketing platform, businesses can harness and leverage customer interactions to deliver the right message, on the right channel, to the right person at the right time. Technology like this follows the lead of the customer, empowers human connection and creates an ecosystem based on customer happiness. 

This approach may sound intuitive but it’s not – it’s simply not the way businesses have been taught to think. Brands have been so busy talking about themselves – or their buyers as individuals – that they’ve missed what customers are actually saying. The industry can no longer ignore the voice of the customer from a people, process and tools standpoint. 

A few takeaways for marketing leaders and CMOs in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year, innovate and expand their teams?

Much is unknown about the year ahead, particularly with the pandemic. One thing is clear though: The world has fundamentally changed and the marketing industry needs to catch up. The reality is “customer experience” has become a tired, old term. Experiences drive business today and much of that is captured in customer feedback, including online reviews and social media. By understanding the voice of the customer, capturing that feedback and reacting to it in real time, businesses can amplify their learnings to draw in more customers and repeat business.

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Birdeye is an all-in-one Experience Marketing platform for multi-location businesses. More than 60,000 businesses of all sizes use Birdeye every day to be found online and chosen through listings, reviews and referrals.

Travis Bickham is the vice president of marketing at Birdeye. Before joining Birdeye, Bickham built new categories and dominant brands across hypergrowth and global companies, such as Tubular Labs, Concord and Tradeshift.

How should you be revisiting your martech and overall tech stack in 2021?

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