TechBytes with Roger Graham, Senior Director, Marketing and Growth, Hootsuite

Roger Graham

Roger Graham
Senior Director, Marketing and Growth, Hootsuite

Social media marketing and intelligence platforms are the most fascinating technology stacks for any organization for two reasons. Firstly, they offer a direct line of brand-audience engagement that even competitors can analyze. Secondly, they compete, in a collaborative manner, with the established CRMs and marketing automation platforms. In this space, Hootsuite leads the way for social media marketing. After recently launching Boost, social media content promotions on Facebook are scaling new heights in an organic manner. Roger Graham, Senior Director, Marketing and Growth, Hootsuite spoke to us about millennial preferences, B2B purchasing on social and the comparisons between various global markets for social media marketing tools.

Tell us about your role at Hootsuite and the team/technology you handle.

I am the Head of Growth and Marketing for APAC at Hootsuite with over 15 years experience in digital, brand and product marketing. Hootsuite helps brands manage all of their social networks in one place, and integrates with more than 250 widely used business applications. On a regular day, I lead the teams across APAC and am responsible for growing the online revenue, enterprise lead generation and accelerating brand awareness of Hootsuite’s global social marketing platform.

Define the state of ‘Social Media’ for B2B marketing in 2018?

As mobile, social and real-time evolve faster than ever, it is imperative for B2B marketers to quickly pick up on these shifts. According to our Digital in 2018 report – developed in partnership with industry expert, Simon Kemp – mobile currently dominates the Asia-Pacific as 41% of the population are active on social media via mobile devices. Since 2017, social media users have also grown by 14%, raising social media penetration in the region to 42%. This provides marketers with plenty of opportunities to tap on social media analytics for customer insights.

However, more can be done to translate this data into proof of tangible growth through social media. According to Hootsuite’s 2018 Social Trends Survey, 56% of respondents indicated that being unable to prove the ROI of social media made it difficult for their organization to be successful with social media. One way of addressing this issue is by driving more education initiatives across organizations around strategies to unlock the power of social to drive business results.

How could B2B vendors leverage Hootsuite to reach global audiences?

There is no cookie-cutter approach to targeting a global audience as consumer (and decision maker) behavior differs across countries and even cities. In order to fully understand the needs and nuances of different markets, businesses need to understand how people discover, research, purchase, and become fans. In addition to creating compelling and localized content, businesses can also create new communication channels through vertical offerings on social media.

What we do at Hootsuite is to bring together a variety of social networks and business applications so that we equip B2B vendors with the ability to reach out to their audience at different parts of the world in a seamless and integrated fashion – from content scheduling right through to social listening and analytics technology.

Tell us more about your latest integration with Pinterest.

Even in the B2B space, visual appeal can also be a compelling sales tool. Tapping into the success of Pinterest as a visual discovery platform, Hootsuite’s integration will help brands inspire and time their actions, by easily scheduling and publishing pins from the Hootsuite dashboard. Social media campaigns and activity are also much easier to schedule, view or edit on a single dashboard. This enables better collaboration across teams for brand and content consistency as well as a secure and integrated workflow to manage multiple social media accounts.

How is the APAC tech market different from that in the Americas?

In the Americas, software and tech consulting make up the two largest revenue streams and have the fastest-growing budgets of the tech market. Some large markets in the Asia-Pacific are currently working towards assembling the infrastructures required to support shifts in technology adoption. It’s important to remember that there is a strong need to truly understand each market within the Asia-Pacific, all of which are unique with differing levels of maturity and understanding when it comes to the adoption of technology. For instance, in Singapore internet penetration is at 84% compared to Indonesia’s 50% primarily because Singapore’s telecommunication infrastructure is more robust.

How critical is it to distinguish customer experiences in B2B purchasing cycle?

Very! Apart from the price differences, the B2B purchase cycle is much more complex, often involving many stakeholders spanning across multiple teams and involves budget approvals before purchases are made by a procurement team. Many purchases in the B2B space come with some level of change management – whether it is processes, workflow, security or automation. This type of change often requires executive support, training and the understanding your stakeholders. Companies win when they can master the art of influencing the purchasing cycle while adding value throughout the customer experience.

How do millennials impact the entire B2B ecosystem? What are the major challenges and opportunities for marketers dealing with this segment of buyers?

Millennials have partly contributed to the disruption brought on by technology. To them, seamless, rapid and consistent customer experience is not a value-add, but simply the new normal.

This presents opportunities for B2B marketers to approach this market segment with a robust digital thinking and smooth customer experience. Appealing to the millennial market by going digital and mobile is equally crucial for companies established in the pre-digital era if they want to unlock new relationships and revenue streams. This is why it is vital for all businesses to continuously review and upgrade their sales and marketing tech stack, not just to remain competitive, but also to support them in the making of crucial business decisions.

Is the gap between buying needs and deliverables from B2B vendors widening? How does Hootsuite empower customers to bridge this gap?

Buying needs like social listening and content scheduling are similar for both B2B and B2C businesses alike. As new social media channels emerge, we review the needs of our customers on a regular basis so that we can make necessary integrations to help bridge this gap, ensuring that their target audience is readily accessible. For instance, Hootsuite’s integration to different martech stacks through an open API allows users to go from CRM, salestech and even across to customer service solutions.

How do you see emerging technologies like video, AR/VR, and Artificial Intelligence further impacting the B2B buying journeys?

There are some small, yet significant shifts in emerging tech that will start to reshape the entire buying journey – and beyond into customer retention. One of the early shifts is a move towards voice being accessible across ‘daily use digital’ including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. This will impact how consumers engage with brands across their buyer journey from search to sals. It will, in turn, change the nature of advertising, too.

The biggest, and arguably the most anticipated, technological shift is the coming of age of AR & VR. Marketers around the world are both excited and terrified. As the adoption and advent reach the masses, this has the potential to have an impact as large as the internet itself. Imagine how complex your marketing program will be if you have to consider multi-dimensional universes and 3D interactive content as your vehicles for brand awareness and driving demand. Many companies can barely develop clean, powerful video, can you imagine if they have to engage in worlds that are created from the imaginations of millions of people? If you’re not curious, or at least intrigued, by AR & VR then you may be on the sidelines when this tech becomes mainstream.

Thanks for chatting with us, Roger.

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