Webinar World TechBytes with Fred Isbell, Senior Marketing Director, SAP

ON24 Webinar World Techbytes Fred Isbell SAP
Webinar World TechBytes Fred Isbell, Senior Marketing Director, SAP

Fred Isbell
Senior Marketing Director, SAP

Webinar World’18 is almost upon us. On the agenda is the question that is foremost on every marketer’s mind -‘How to put the personal back in marketing,’ – with a focus on how to build context-based campaigns and deliver events that put the customer first and foster authentic engagement between the audience and the brand. In the run-up to the event, we spoke to martech thought leaders speaking at the event. Fred Isbell, Senior Marketing Director, SAP spoke to us about effective lead generation and leveraging AI for better collaboration.

Tell us about your role at SAP and the marketing technologies you use. 

I am on the SAP Business Management Team that is within SAP Marketing and our Strategy, Operations, and Transformation group, and my stakeholders are in our Global Audience Marketing group. We provide real-time reporting, analytics and guidance to our stakeholders and use a portfolio of marketing technologies (MarTech) from ad-hoc to standardized reporting tools to lead and opportunity management and SAP CRM. I feel like the proverbial “kid in the candy store” at times as we are supported by an excellent SAP Enterprise Analytics and MarTech team that is constantly adapting and refining what we have to use and deliver to our stakeholder teams. We’ve made a tremendous investment in leveraging Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) technology along with analytics and reporting and performance management. I’ll be speaking about some of this in my session at ON24 Webinar World 2018.

What brings you to ON24 Webinar World 2018? Which sessions and speakers are you keen to follow? 

I had the great pleasure to deliver an SAP keynote along with my great colleague and friend Scott Feldman last year and found the inaugural ON24 Webinar World 2017 to be an excellent mix of great content, networking and best practices and could not wait to get back this year. In terms of speakers and sessions – all of them! I cannot wait to see Mark Bornstein, VP of Content Marketing for ON24 and the tremendous passion, energy and insights he will bring to his session; ON24 CMO Joe Hyland, who will address redefining engagement in the opening keynote, something we all need to all address to assist end-to-end customer experience (CX) and success programs; and, multiple sessions and speakers that will address measurement and performance management (myself included) as well as leveraging webinars for successful Account-based Marketing (ABM) and new content marketing for “Modern Marketing”.

What are your expectations and likely key takeaways from the ON24 Webinar World 2018? 

I call a conference a success if I end up with several “ah moments” and new insights. If I end up with a killer BLOG or two to communicate my learnings it will be a great success as well. Finally, engaging new subject matter experts and networking – and learning new best practices and more from them. I love to provide real-time “tweets” and share my impressions – and the resultant social media-powered “trip report” is a great virtual record and reporting of the event.

How should a B2B marketer better leverage webinar marketing tools for effective lead generation? 

As a long-time practitioner of webinars, I know that they have a lot of “life and legs left”. I know of no other marketing tactic that’s as useful for fostering awareness, choice, and consideration and is also timely and relevant to demand and lead generation. In my roles for SAP Services Marketing there’s no better way to communicate the benefits and customer experience from services, which is a fundamentally intangible offering when compared to more traditional products and solutions. The question is not “why webinars” but rather “why not more webinars”!

At SAP, how do you leverage AI/ML capabilities for better collaboration with team members and your community of partners?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not only a huge growth area it is one of the major areas of impact in MarTech and we all need to understand the value here as this expands well beyond some of the current customer support-related areas to a truly “brave new world” that will transform all of marketing (and our jobs) in the near- and long-term. Same for Machine Learning – the Internet of Things (IoT) is a major focus for SAP not only in terms of customer solution but how we will redefine the automation of key business processes and much, much more. Both areas provide both scalability of exciting new solutions as well agents of change that will allow for far more value-added roles and more for marketing.

What are the best practices for 2018 that could ensure a higher return and efficiency from marketing automation campaigns?

Marketing Automation allows us to achieve both greater scale and efficiency as well as more focused and targeted results. I have called this the “Killer Technology” for Modern Marketing just as spreadsheets were once game-changers and later on, the Internet and networked business solutions combined with innovation technology is today. We live in a very exciting time as we move to the next generation of big data and analytics and MarTech and so much more! Same for Account-based Marketing (ABM) – this has moved way beyond the “hype cycle” Gartner describes to true and impressive business contribution. All of this combines to eliminate the “spray and pray” of old as we move to the fruition of truly “Modern Marketing”.

What are your predictions for B2B marketing tools and content management in 2018? How should marketers re-evaluate their event management strategies for better sales initiatives?

We will see continued expansion of MarTech and the market map that MarTech guru Scott Brinker regularly updates will continue to expand for the foreseeable future. Marketing today has the most strategic role ever in my 30+ year marketing career – we have a seat at the table and are asked to contribute revenue and tangible business value. Thought Leadership will continue to be highly relevant for the customer conversation and much more and we will see the continued evolution of “bite-sized” content tailored to the consumption experience which increasingly is spent on-line and connected. Every marketer who aspires to be a “Modern Marketer” must address targeting/segmentation, measurement of overall marketing performance and their alignment with sales has never been more important. Customers are bombarded with way too many events – let’s use these new capabilities to give them the experience and value they truly deserve and provide the forums for “meaningful customer conversations” for our sales colleagues. Did I say we live in a very exciting time? We do and we are just getting started!

Thanks for chatting with us, Fred.
Stay tuned for more insights on marketing technologies. To participate in our Tech Bytes program, email us at news@martechseries.com

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