Pagezii – Roger, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Roger – After business school, I started my career oddly enough in Korea! Selling Enterprise Resource Planning systems into the Asian market as an IBM Subsidiary. After my Asian exposure, I worked for a technology SI/VAR in Toronto for a few years, and then joined a little-known wireless company called BlackBerry! That was a once in a lifetime adventure as we changed the world – there was a time before iPhones, before Smartphones, when mobile wasn’t commonplace, and ‘apps’ wasn’t a word! More recently though, I’ve been working at Adlib – a software company in the content management space.
Throughout my journey, I’ve touched on everything from demand gen to content marketing, to partner programs and everything in between. Recently though I’ve found myself focusing more on strategic issues around market research, innovation management, and product positioning.
Pagezii – What is Adlib Software?
Roger – Adlib helps organizations in Energy, Life Sciences, Insurance, and Banking sectors, among others, enhance content-centric processes by unlocking the value in unstructured content. Integrating with key business tools and content repositories, our platform Adlib Elevate™ – improves data extraction, classification, compliance, customer experience, collaboration and the long-term digital preservation of critical business content.
As our name ‘Adlib’ suggests, we evolve and adapt to the industry as those requirements become more complex. This has become both a product and marketing mantra, but also a cultural ethos. The people at Adlib are constantly experimenting, pushing the boundary, changing the game, having fun – and getting into a bit of trouble as needed… but that’s what keeps things interesting.
Pagezii – What are some of the challenges in marketing a Technology solution?
Nothing can compare to what our industry brings to society
Roger – Technology, especially complex B2B solutions can be a challenge indeed. The audience is typically detail oriented and not always business savvy. Meanwhile, the business decision makers with the money, don’t care about the technology and aren’t interested in learning about it. Add to that a universe that is in constant flux, with changing standards, vendor acquisitions, and constant innovation… and that’s what keeps me up at night.
The other challenge, perhaps at a personal level, is that B2B technology can be difficult to explain in layman’s terms. My mom, for example, will never really understand what I do for a living – “something about computers”, I believe is her current answer. Sometimes I envy colleagues in packaged goods, consumer technology, or other ‘front facing’ industries. But then again, nothing can compare to the economic value – the person-years of efficiency, the satisfaction and the reduction in costs, etc. – our industry brings to society, even if it is behind the scene.
Pagezii – What has been your most memorable campaign?
Roger – Every campaign, even the simpler ones have their own appeal, so it’s hard to pick your favorite… sort of like a favorite kid! That said, one recent standout is a YouTube remarketing campaign. The messaging / targeting was all about helping passive prospects and past customers, not only ‘remember’ the brand, but to educate them about the pivot we had undergone and the new – significantly more complex, strategic, valuable focus of our solutions.
What was memorable, was that the YouTube video ad we posted was an interview style segment featuring myself. As a result, beyond the thousands of views we were after, I got dozens of “Oh my God, I just saw you on YouTube” type notes from friends, colleagues – even my wife, who still can’t stop laughing at my ‘corporate’ persona.
Pagezii – What must tech marketers do to stay competitive in 2017?
I gain incredible insights from customer conversations
Roger – I think tech marketers need to get more involved with the customer. Direct feedback, one-on-one conversations, focus groups, joint sales calls, etc. This is not about ‘improving SQL by 7%’, I think this is more about remaining relevant and staying in touch with what really matters.
Not only do I gain incredible insights, balanced with market research from customer conversations. But I think it improves credibility internally with sales reps and executives.
A great operational example of this might be the number of marketing teams who are taking on ‘inside sales’ type functions. Managing long term, 12+month prospects to build rapport. It’s almost the opposite of marketing automation, but there’s a huge difference between filtered white paper updates and ‘Joe’ getting to really understand your pain points and organizational nuances over time.
Pagezii – Thank you, Roger, for a very interesting and informative interview.