Change is the word on every CMO’s mind over the last 14 months. Today’s customers and employees have had their worldviews reshaped and have developed more sophisticated, swift demands for digital experience. Even as more stores, offices and schools begin to open up, these changes in expectations won’t just revert back to “normal.” In a digital landscape, processes, tools and strategies are always evolving and CMOs need to continuously invest in intuitive technology that can help their teams deliver faster, human-centric experiences. At our recent Experience Acquia virtual event, I joined two amazing women, Kathy Seegebrecht, SVP and CMO of UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), and Lauren Sallata, CMO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, for a discussion about how multinational CMOs are redesigning their approach to marketing and technology for today’s customers and employees.
1. Investing in Content to Fuel Demand Generation
The theme of redesigning and reshaping brand and customer experience strategy is one that Acquia knows well, both for ourselves and our customers. Earlier this year, we completed an ambitious website redesign. With everyone constantly online binging new content, we’ve invested more in building out multiple layers of content to address different audiences, industries, competitors and entry points in the customer journey. Beyond the content posted to our own site, I’ve also prioritized areas like peer review platforms and analyst reports that establish trusted relationships with our core customers. By proactively offering content that speaks to the researcher persona, we’re keeping our demand generation engine running and backing up marketing claims with proof points and real user experiences.
As the CMO of UL, a global organization with more than 125 years in the testing, inspection and certification market, Kathy Seegebrecht also deeply understands the importance of keeping customer trust while undergoing a great transformation. Following multiple acquisitions and a major push to digitization, UL has redefined their brand mission around global safety and security both internally and for their customers. “We saw a need to create customer advocates to stand behind the trustworthiness of the UL certification and seal and created informative content to help people identify legit marketing claims from false ones,” said Kathy.
Kathy led an entire overhaul of UL’s marketing organization to unify all functions to meet the greater content demand from their customers. “We organized our marketing organization from the ground up and formed a brand activation team and an integrated marketing function that focuses on content operations, campaign management and demand generation,” said Kathy. UL’s marketing strategy is focused on connecting all sides of marketing from brand awareness and thought leadership to data insights and AI, so they can actively identify and act on future needs.
Panasonic North America CMO, Lauren Sallata also invested strongly in brand storytelling and value-driven content to bring the longstanding Panasonic brand to millennial and Gen Z audiences. Panasonic’s team paid attention to data on how younger customers perceived and engaged with the brand. They used this data to create messaging that was more personal and socially relevant to their preferences, launching digital content campaigns around things like environmental sustainability and activism, which were proven to be important causes to the next generation of young consumers.
2. Transforming Technical Architecture for Agility and Convenience
Since customers are the driving force for businesses to digitally transform their operations, CMOs must set and lead the strategy for what this new experience looks like. Panasonic went through a major digital transformation four years back when they built out a new digital ecosystem on Drupal. With an enormous number of different business units under their helm and a wide-reaching global presence, Panasonic streamlined all of their different technology systems and websites on an open platform. With their successful move to Drupal, Lauren says that the company’s current focus is on optimizing the digital experience through new integrations and tech innovations. Panasonic recently built out a new conversational marketing proof of concept (POC) to more effectively communicate their product value to potential customers. “Technical innovations like conversational marketing are helping us shorten the overall customer journey. We’re making it faster to turn that initial inquiry into a prospect and then to a customer,” said Lauren.
In response to the global pandemic, Kathy understood that UL needed to adapt many of their in-person services like auditing and inspection to remote formats. The company underwent a full technology evaluation and migrated all of their regional and acquired digital websites onto Acquia’s platform to prioritize efficiency, stronger infrastructure and better security to consolidate and mitigate any potential risks. UL has also embraced using AI technology to identify and act upon the next best action for their customers and focused on mastering seamless data management across all of their different systems, including web analytics and marketing automation. Recently, UL’s marketing team has been exploring how best to leverage tools like Acquia Personalization to identify opportunities to create customer relationships and “bridge the gap between data and data insights.”
3. Empowering Employees with a Better Digital Experience
During our panel, Lauren observed that for a company like Panasonic to remain agile, they should prioritize digital experience, customer experience and employee experience. “As the face of modern business has been forever redesigned, we’ve put employee communication and employee experience at the center of everything,” she said. For a brand’s mission and message to resonate in the field, the digital transformation has to start from the inside out. This philosophy was one that Acquia has also embraced as we’ve evolved our efforts for the modern world.
The vision of our new Acquia website was all about empowerment: empowering team members with the technology they needed to create the best experiences and empowering researchers and customers with the best content and support they needed in each moment. My demand generation team has the tools they need to create landing pages for their own campaigns and the global events team can make changes to their content directly on the site using our own technology. By making it easier and faster for our teams to create these experiences, our employees become another great proof point for our prospects and customers to learn from.
Embracing a stronger digital-first strategy has also earned strong results for the UL team and allowed them to find new methods to reach people. “At first having our marketing and events programs shift from trade shows and live events to digital content was a challenge,” said Kathy. “But the result of going all-in on these digital channels was a lower cost to the business, higher ROI, more leads and higher conversion rates. What we learned from getting teams out of their typical boxes and roles and having everyone collaborate in this new digital operating model was that even though face-to-face interactions will always be important, there are unique opportunities we hadn’t done yet.”
CMOs shape experiences from inception to execution and they need the right team and technology behind them to stay relevant with the changing times. Following this enlightening conversation at Experience Acquia, we were also able to show the power of unifying digital content and customer insights in action with a demonstration of how we used Acquia DXP to build individualized experiences, boost revenue and achieve our marketing goals.
To watch the entire panel and event yourself, check out the recording of Experience Acquia: The Unified Experience.