“At VMware, BrightEdge is a fundamental part of our web strategy. It allows us to optimize our landing pages, attract quality traffic and grow our business. We cannot imagine doing it without the support of BrightEdge.” - Cindy Phan, VMware
We recently had the chance to sit down with Cindy Phan, the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing Strategy at VMware, one of our fantastic speakers at Share16 to discuss hot topic - personalization. We chatted about her upcoming presentation as well as her thoughts about the latest trends and opportunities in the digital marketing space, including what she has to say on personalization. She had some great insights, and we wanted to share them with all of you.
BrightEdge: What is the biggest trend in marketing that you see as we approach the end of 2016?
Cindy Phan: So the biggest trend that I am seeing in my personal world of digital marketing is a shift towards more coordinated campaign efforts across online and offline channels. Before, and even up to this point, a lot of people ran inbound marketing campaigns on different digital channels as well as outbound email campaigns in a very siloed way. You would have a campaign on social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and then your search and display networks campaigns separately with different sets of KPIs. At VMware, and I am noticing this across the B2B industry, there is a march towards more coordinated digital nurture efforts. For example, if you go on LinkedIn, Facebook, or vmware.com and you interact with a VMware offer, your behavior will start being tracked. We will retarget you with the next-step experience to accelerate your digital journey. You will not see the same offer again if you already consumed it regardless of which digital channel you are on. We are slowly working towards increased cooperation across all channels. I think this is the biggest trend in B2B marketing largely because the technology is improving. We can now build our own digital data hub that allows us to do this higher level of personalization.
BE: What do you think is the biggest opportunity for brands and marketers moving forward?
CP: I think the next step is to continue with the growing technological capabilities. There is now the opportunity for more personalization within the framework of digital campaigns. It is important to remember that not all campaigns are created equal, how you optimize the campaign really makes a difference. Marketers now have the opportunity to optimize the framework and their campaigns and personalize them to the customer’s experience. They now have the chance to incorporate all their first, second and third party data into the same data hub. I am excited to see where this technology and these opportunities lead in the future of B2B marketing.
BE: What is the biggest mistake you see marketers make?
CP: A lot of marketers do not look at data as much as they should because not all marketers are the best analysts. To be a successful marketer, I think you need be analytical, creative as well as technical. It is also best for marketers to have a business mindset because it doesn’t matter how much you spend or how many click-thrus you get; it’s the ROI that matters. Marketers have to be able to analyze campaigns from end to end - from vendor dashboard to their own internal funnel metrics - to come up with conclusions. When you run campaigns across a lot of channels often the data comes from different vendor/agency dashboards. For example, if you run a campaign on LinkedIn, you will get campaign performance data from the LinkedIn dashboard about how well your campaign is doing and how many clicks/engagement/CPC/etc you are getting. Then when you look at your own internal data to see how these efforts are directly contributing to brand growth and revenue, you find that sometimes things don’t line up. This is the time to pause and optimize your campaign. Marketers need to be able to look at things from multiple angles and data points. Digital marketing is like a hybrid between art and science.
BE: What are your suggestions on how to elevate SEO and content marketing with executives?
CP: SEO is an important element in our web strategy. It cannot be siloed by itself; it must be baked into the overall digital framework. I rely heavily on SEO to drive quality traffic when I create campaign plans, and marketers need to be able to show that necessity to senior executives. You need to be able to show ROI and how SEO benefits the entire campaign. For example, you can start the journey with organic and quality traffic coming to the site then build behavioral segments to better target them later. With content marketing the same thing applies. We all rely on each other. Poor content will not be read by anyone, and without SEO, website traffic will be impacted in a negative way. Before walking into a presentation with your senior executives, you need to be able to show how these elements work together to drive results and ROI.
BE: What will you be speaking about at Share?
CP: I will be focusing on the omni-channel personalization campaign framework that we’re adapting at VMware as well as some personalized digital nurture campaigns we are running. I will share slides about inbound sources that drive traffic to our web properties, how we capture the data, and how to create segments to nurture the visitor after they leave the web property. As technology develops, it will be easier for people to create these more coordinated campaigns, and I will be providing them with insight about how they can get started.
BE: Do you have any words of wisdom to share with us all?
CP: Always be curious! Without curiosity the leading marketers would never discover the next best thing. It was great to have the opportunity to speak with Cindy about personalization and the other digital marketing trends, and we look forward to continuing the conversation at Share16. She also shared with us that she might look a bit ‘different’ when you see her in October - she is due with her second child in December! We wish Cindy all the best and look forward to hearing her presentation in a few weeks.