Best Practices

3 Award-Winning Marketers Reveal The Strategies That Won Them B2B Innovator Awards

What does it take to be an award-winning marketer in 2019? Three recent award winners share a peek into the innovative strategies that won them trophies.

It’s hardly a shock that traditional B2B marketing tactics aren’t cutting it anymore. Gated landing pages, 30-page whitepapers, and disjointed resource libraries just aren’t cutting it with today’s B2B buyers. Marketers who are still following the tired B2B marketing playbook of yesteryear are lagging behind and struggling to achieve results. Today’s buyers are demanding a better buying experience.

But innovating and rewriting the playbook is far easier said than done. B2B marketers are being given less resources than ever, and yet targets are only increasing.
In this blog, we’ll introduce you to 3 innovative, trail-blazing marketers who recognize that the path forward needs deeper content engagement, and better data. We’ll also share what they’re doing differently, and their top tips that helped them garner B2B Innovator Awards at B2BSMX 2019 in Boston.

1. Anne Wang, data optimizer extraordinaire

Who is Anne?

Anne Wang is the Senior Director of Global Marketing Operations at FireEye. She is a remarkable Marketing Ops leader because of her rare ability to balance putting customers first with a desire to collect data. She strives for a world in which buyers have frictionless experiences. But she also knows the value of collecting data because it helps improve the experience even more. Her leadership skills also inspire her team to innovate along with her, while growing their careers.

Here’s what her PathFactory CSM Alex Adams says about Anne: “Anne is a strategic and innovative marketer, and her approach is always impeccably well-planned and thoughtful. I’m thrilled that Anne has been recognized with this award, and I’m excited to see what incredible new initiatives she puts forward in the future.“

What did Anne do to bring home the award?

Anne saw a critical gap in her data set: content consumption data. Without this information, Anne’s team was very limited by how they could optimize campaigns and content performance.

Anne beefed up her tech stack with PathFactory so she could tell down to the second how long prospects were spending on content. This data set opened up a world of possibilities where she could tell which content assets, channels, and topics were top performers. By carefully considering this data, Anne and the team were able to reduce barriers for buyers and make more strategic decisions on marketing spend by investing in the most effective content. By spotlighting top performing content and continually optimizing the buyer’s journey, Anne saw a 200% increase in engagement from known website visitors.

Anne also oversaw a project where a member of her team, David Cheng, launched their annual report without its usual gate. (Read more about this project here.) They used a dismissable, time-based form that only appears after buyers spend meaningful time with the report, so only truly qualified leads are captured. This led to a 2X increase in leads, and the leads that were captured were higher quality.

Anne won a B2B Innovator Award in the category of Data Scientist & Operations Optimizers. Congrats, Anne!

Anne’s #1 tip for B2B marketers?

“Data is the king,” says Anne. “Showing quick wins will showcase business value and drive adoption. Plus, of course, understand fundamental business challenges that impact growth and identify the right technology to address the challenge.”

2. Kelsi Doran, master of partner engagement

Who is Kelsi?

Kelsi Doran is Marketing Technology Manager at Cisco, where she regularly recognized as a thought leader with an ability to bring the organization from ideation to execution. She and the team also recently won Channel Marketing Program of the Year at the SiriusDecisions Summit in Austin. The organization is considered best in class in channel marketing. Kelsi was also recently featured for this body of work on Relationship One’s Inspired Marketing podcast.

Here’s what her CSM Jenna Smith says about Anne: “Kelsi has a proactive, innovative and solutions driven mindset that is completely infectious along with her positive energy. I’ve learned a lot from the strategic approach she takes in all aspects of her marketing programs and am so happy to see her get this recognition!”

What did Kelsi do to bring home the award?

Cisco has a massive partner network of over 60,000 companies, and they account for more than 80% of Cisco’s annual revenue. This means that keeping partners educated on new offerings and continuously promoting Cisco’s products is mission-critical.

Kelsi and the Global Partner Marketing team were tasked with increasing the digital marketing maturity of these companies. Instead of leaving partners to struggle with a disjointed content experience, Kelsi used Content Tracks to create bundles of content designed to educate partners and enable them to sell Cisco products with ease and confidence.

She drove over 400 partners to five PathFactory Content Tracks that married multimedia content in one browser experience, including infographics, training videos, PDF guides, and platform log-in capability. By reducing friction for partners to access content and log into the core partner platform itself, the team saw a meaningful increase in content consumption, leading to a 25% conversion rate on user log-ins and an over 200% increase in the total engaged audience. (Read more about Kelsi’s story here.)

Kelsi won a B2B Innovator Award in the category of Content, Creative & Execution, and she also won a People’s Choice Award based on popular vote. Double congrats, Kelsi!

Kelsi’s #1 tip for B2B marketers?

“Avoid overanalyzing and overengineering a platform or campaign strategy,” says Kelsi. “Pick a small but impactful use case to begin, stand up a proof-of-concept to learn, and then worry about scaling. It is impossible to design a perfect platform without practical experience. Trying to do so will only result in lost time and more unforeseen obstacles.”

3. Kellie Vahsling, inspirational demand generation leader

Who is Kellie?

Kellie Vahlsing is Director, Global Digital Demand Generation at OSIsoft. Kellie is an inspiring leader, who continually empowers her team to innovate and improve their marketing strategy. She leads a global team, yet keeps very agile, and manages to create exceptional customer experiences across various countries and languages. Earlier this year she took to the stage at Gartner’s Marketing Symposium to tell the story of her team’s journey toward success when it came to engaging audiences in new and meaningful ways that drive results.

Here’s what her CSM Steve Mousmanis has to say about her: “It’s really impressive how Kellie continually inspires her team to innovate and improve their marketing strategy. I’m very proud of her success and am delighted to see her gain this well-deserved recognition.”

What did Kellie do to bring home the award?

Kellie and the OSISoft demand gen team had a robust content library, but they struggled to guide prospects on their path to purchase, as well as guide customers towards the relevant content they needed to have a smooth and easy onboarding. On top of this, the team did not have access to the right analytics to know how content was performing, let alone how to optimize for maximal performance.

They implemented PathFactory to get the most out of every touchpoint, and serve buyers and customers curated streams of content without depending on IT. Using curated Content Tracks, buyers can now self-educate with more relevant pieces of content each time they engage.

Kellie and her team also created curated content streams for their new customer portal, myOSIsoft, to give customers the info they needed to engage with the company for success. Using content engagement data, including how long prospects spend on which assets, Kellie’s team is now able to listen to what the buyers want and serve them more of the content they crave, on the channels they prefer. She can now access these analytics in one place without help from other teams and use them to continually optimize her go-to-market strategy.

Kellie’s efforts led to some outstanding results, including a 110% increase in content consumption, 25% increase in overall MQL conversion, and a 6X increase in influenced opportunities in 8 months.

Kellie won a B2B Innovator Award in the category of Content, Creative & Execution. Way to go, Kellie!

Kellie’s #1 tip for B2B marketers?

“When adding a new technology or process into your team or structure,” says Kellie, “keep it simple, clean, and standardized consistently with your other processes and technology.”

Hats off to these fabulous marketers

From ungating content to serving more content-per-click, hopefully these remarkable, forward-thinking B2B marketers have given you some kernels of inspiration. Follow their lead, and who knows, maybe it’ll be you taking home the prize next year!

Written By
Riviera Lev-Aviv
Riviera is Content Marketing Manager - Product, at PathFactory. Her previous gig was at Influitive, another Toronto-based martech company, and she’s pretty jazzed she gets to market marketing software to marketers again. She cares deeply (perhaps more than a person should) about solid sentence structure, impeccable grammar, and punchy copy. Outside of work, Riviera is a book nerd, world music & dance junkie, and lover of stand-up comedy. She is also on a perpetual quest to find the best Persian kebabs in the city.

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