May 01, 2018 - By Ginna Hall, Senior Writer, Visual IQ
Adopting people-based marketing requires the right team, tools and tactics. Because this is a relatively new approach, companies are at very different points on the journey. But almost all of them will face one important question along the way: Is it better to have a marketing team of specialists or generalists?
Businesses have to devote people, time, and technology to the transition to a people-based approach.
That’s a question Jackie Jenkins, director of marketing, operations, and planning for Thomson Reuters, asks herself regularly. “With people-based marketing, you really start to see the value in forgoing deep expertise so you can have a team of smart and thoughtful generalists, because now you’re marketing to the whole person,” she says.
We interviewed Jenkins to get her insights into the adoption of people-based measurement. She’s a self-described “analytical numbers geek with a mind for marketing and a passion for bringing unique products to market” who has held senior roles in product management and marketing in both B2B and B2C industries.
Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Jenkins was director of marketing operations and analytics at Bandwidth.com; senior product manager at ChannelAdvisor; and AdWords account executive at Google.
Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of news and information for professional markets. The company’s customers rely on it to deliver the intelligence, technology and expertise they need to find trusted answers. The business employs over 45,000 and has operated in more than 100 countries for more than 100 years.
Jenkins thinks generalists are especially fitting for her team, which works in B2B, account-based marketing. “To market to an individual and really understand them, you need to know a little bit about how to effectively message through email and how to measure that, and a little bit about how to effectively message through paid search or display ads or video, and how to measure that,” she says.
A team of specialists may struggle with understanding individuals, tying channels together, measuring touchpoints collectively, or all three.
At the same time, the rise of people-based data encourages marketing teams to take a more holistic view of their results. For example, a paid search channel manager may base success entirely on Cost Per Click. A generalist in a people-based environment, on the other hand, will focus on reaching goals set for a target audience segment rather than for siloed channels.
For Jenkins’s team, a broad view of each account is also important. “Even though we’re marketing to individuals, they’re often part of one decision-making process, so you have to find a way to get your value proposition to resonate with each person at each place in the buying funnel. But you certainly also want to communicate cohesively with others at the same company,” she says.
For example, the ultimate decision maker could be a prospect company’s CFO, who requires one type of functionality, while end users may need a different set of features. Both the CFO and end users need tailored, relevant messages.
As important as it is to have the right team, some companies may not have the right people or processes in place. In Jenkins’s view, most companies understand that people-based measurement is the future. “Everyone wants to be very analytics-focused and do people-based attribution, but in the short term, it’s really hard,” she says.
Businesses have to devote people, time, and technology to transition to a people-based approach, which could create challenges, especially if those resources are diverted from achieving short-term goals. Ideally, organizations would set up teams who can work exclusively on the transition, knowing that it will pay off in the long term.
“Nobody would ever ask me if I could jump in and do something to help achieve a sales target for the month, because my time is carved out,” Jenkins says. “But this is the first organization I’ve been in that valued it enough to say, ‘We know adopting a people-based approach is a long path, but that’s all this team is going to do—they’re going to figure out how to get us there.’”
To read the complete interview and see what industry experts recommend for a people-based approach, download our ebook: 8 Experts on How to Measure People-Based Marketing Impact.