Marketing Leadership

3 Brilliant Award-Winning Marketers Share Tips And Strategies That Won Them The Killer Content Award

What does it take to win a marketing award in 2020? Three innovative marketing leaders share their strategies and some tips that won them trophies.

What’s the best thing besides creating awesome content and using it to fuel a better buying journey?

Being recognized and winning an award for it!

The 2020 Killer Content Awards (dubbed “The Finnys,”) were handed out on  February 24th at the B2B Marketing Exchange Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Now in its 9th year, they spotlight the efforts of creative and forward-thinking B2B marketers who are setting new standards when it comes to content creation and campaign execution.

We’re excited to introduce you to 3 innovative marketing leaders and their teams, who recognize the importance of intelligent content engagement and better data insights and are sharing top tips that helped them bring home the award.

Cisco — using physical experiences to bring brand stories to life

(Channel Partner Marketing winner)

JoAnn Tillman is the Partner Omnichannel Strategy Lead on Cisco’s Global Partner Marketing team, focused on enhancing the partner experience. She has spent the last 15 years in the marketing strategy and automation spaces on both the client and the consulting side. This experience – combined with an ability to create efficiency and simplicity from complex processes and systems – allows her to present innovative solutions that position organizations for continued growth and success.

What did JoAnn do to bring home the award?

For Cisco, the partner ecosystem accounts for more than 85% of its annual revenue. Managing the content and communications to more than one million partners while maintaining brand and voice consistency is not easy.

To tackle this challenge, the company established Partner Update News Hubs which leverage PathFactory to deliver curated content through a news aggregator-style Content Track focused on the needs of their primary partner personas and key audiences like distributors.

Additionally, the News Hubs are driven by a powerful AI-engine that will sort and recommend new content based on what a partner has previously engaged with. The team leveraged a multi-channel approach to drive traffic to the experience sites including email, social, websites, and communities, as well as awareness campaigns to internal account managers for personal outreach opportunities. Once a partner arrives at the site, they can opt-in to receive email updates at the cadence of their choice.

These efforts have resulted in a surge of engagement and subscriptions to the sites. Since launching the Partner Update News Hubs, the Cisco team has seen:

  • 33% binge rate compared to a 20% average
  • 46% more views of assets compared to an email driving to a single offer
  • 52% more time spent on assets compared to an email driving to a single offer
  • 8% subscription rate by visitors

JoAnn’s #1 tip for B2B marketers

“Actively listen to feedback and be open to everything. Externally, our partners told us they received too many emails and were overwhelmed by all the resources and information available to them. Our News Hubs channel allows us to communicate critical news, promotions, and announcements in a more simplified way and actively curate the content to ensure its focused on their individual roles and needs. Internally, we’re managing hundreds of pieces of content for 7 different audiences that refresh on a weekly basis. Regular feedback from stakeholders has led to an increasingly optimized process. Deeply understanding your challenges will inform your strategy and help you choose the right tech to solve them.”

VMware Carbon Black — ungating content to help buyers self-educate on their own

(Nurture Campaign winner)

Vanessa Porter is VMware’s Director of Demand Generation in the Carbon Black Cloud Business Unit and obsessed with everything marketing. She has an innovative and solutions-driven mindset and is fueled by marketing automation, data-driven campaigns, and consistent communication with the sales team. Between chasing her daughter and dog around, Vanessa designs demand gen campaigns and think about how B2B marketers can achieve better results through human-to-human marketing.

What did Vanessa do to bring home the award?

VMware Carbon Black needed to revamp its “one-and-done” nurture strategy to boost engagement and results. The team realized that their content delivery strategy was filled with hard gates and content that left prospects at a dead end.

Vanessa and her team started using Content Tracks to create a better customer experience and get access to engagement data. To reduce friction and encourage self-education, the team used a flexible form strategy, where a form pops up after the user engages with content for a specific period of time or has viewed a number of assets. As prospects spend time with content, their engagement data is used to build a lead score, which accelerates customers through their journey, ensuring the best quality leads are passed to sales in a timely manner.

They also used Path Analytics to review account-level engagement and to find out what content is resonating most with their audience based on real-time consumption metrics. This helps them make smarter content creation and program design decisions, so they can give prospects the right content at the right time and maximize engagement. (Learn more about their strategy here.)

Their revamped approach to delivering content ultimately led to more (and better quality) leads being passed on to sales:

  • 2.5X increase in MQLS
  • 388% increase in MQL – SQL conversion

Vanessa’s #1 tip for B2B marketers

“Marketing should help people, especially busy people. We, as marketers, need to optimize every moment of engagement to provide a smoother experience for both known and unknown buyers. So, if your current Martech stack isn’t working for you and not delivering on that promise to your buyers, it’s time to reevaluate and invest in tech that’s easy to use, integrates well with your core systems, and provides actionable insights.”

OSIsoft — bingeable Content Tracks encourage and track engagement

(Measurable ROI winner)

Jennifer Valentine is OSIsoft’s Marketing Automation Manager. As an inspiring leader and an innovative thinker, her focus is on optimizing demand generation activities through effective marketing automation tools.

What did the team do to bring home the award?

OSIsoft had a lot of content but needed a more scalable way to engage and educate their prospects and customers. They identified 3 key areas where they wanted to improve campaign performance and strategically packaged assets in Content Tracks to help achieve these goals:

My OSIsoft customer portal — The team struggled to guide prospects on their path to purchase and connect customers to relevant content for on-boarding. They needed a more scalable way to engage prospects and customers with their rich content library. So they used PathFactory to develop curated content streams, known as Content Tracks, for their myOSIsoft customer portal, and to also help customers transition to this new self-service model.

Nurture program — They needed to revamp their prospect nurture streams to encourage re-engagement but didn’t have access to the analytics they needed to see how the content was performing. The team implemented PathFactory to serve buyers curated streams of content without depending on IT. Using seamless, barrier-free Content Tracks, buyers can now self-educate with more relevant pieces of content each time they engage.

Content Syndication — A new content syndication strategy was developed using time-based forms so prospects could engage with content for up to 20 seconds before filling out a form to access more. This was especially helpful during the release of a high-value white paper called “The Digital Mine: How to Implement Predictive Maintenance.”

Jennifer and her team’s efforts led to some outstanding results in each use case, garnering impressive ROI:

  • 69% increase in content consumption
  • 50% binge rate (percentage of people who consumed another asset)
  • 25% increase in MQL conversion overall
  • 3.5X increase in conversions in 30 days, especially across unknown visitors

Jennifer’s #1 tip for B2B marketers

“Have clean and accurate data to understand your customers and take them on a personalized journey. Also, develop a form strategy that removes the friction for the visitor. Start with forms on only high-value assets and let your known prospects to engage and consume content at their own pace.”

The OSIsoft team — from left to right: Elena Shevchenko (Digital Campaign Manager), Jennifer Valentine (Marketing Automation Manager), Tom Trupel (Global Digital Events Manager), Carmen Wong (Digital Campaigns Manager), Anne Ryan (Senior Global Demand Generation Manager)

A big congratulations to these amazing marketers

From creating bingeable content portals that track engagement, to ungating content to help buyers consume at their own pace, and bringing brand stories to life, these innovative marketers have given you strategies and inspiration to apply to your own marketing efforts. Go forth, and follow their lead. Who knows, maybe next year you’ll receive a coveted Finny award!

Written By
Sheida Azimi
Sheida joined PathFactory in September 2019 as a Content Marketing Specialist. Previously, she worked at two B2C companies as a content creator and marketer, and also managed the publication process of medical reviews at a medical publishing company. Sheida is incredibly curious and passionate about learning new things (archery, anyone?) When not working, you can find her reading, writing short creative stories, and watching documentaries.

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