Transforming the Scope of Marketing: How-To Build Organization-Wide Marketing

Bernie Borges, CEO of Find and Convert will be in Cincinnati on February 19 to present Transforming the Scope of Marketing: How-To Build Organization-Wide Marketing. Recently, Travis Nipper sat down for a chat with Bernie to talk about how overwhelmed the modern marketing department is and how we as marketers must embrace a transformation so marketing can get buy-in and leverage all departments to achieve success. If you register for the upcoming Signature Speaker Series, you’ll hear much more on this topic. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights.

@TravisNipper: Tell us about your career, your experience in Silicon Valley, and more recently the driving force behind your company Find and Convert.

@BernieBorges: I grew up in New York, started my career there, then continued my career in California. Both are fast-paced and have lots of talent.  But Silicon Valley has the distinction of being very tech-centric. My first foray into marketing after years in tech sales was in a position created for me at a software company there in Silicon Valley.  Essentially I was asked to be the bridge between sales and marketing. My career has led me to understand that in BtoB the marketer’s job is to drive value for the sales team. Anything and everything the marketing team does needs to add value to the sales team. With that knowledge and experience, I started my own agency 14 years ago to focus on digital and helping BtoB brands take their message to customers and prospects.

@TravisNipper: You’re the author of Marketing 2.0, a seminal writing on social media. What changes has the discipline gone through since you penned that book?

@BernieBorges: In 2007, I had relocated to Florida, I was delivering a presentation to a large group of CEOs. We were talking about the explosion of social media. Afterward, I had a long line of attendees approach me telling me I should write a book. This was something I had never considered but I liked the idea. What I eventually came up with was a versatile playbook or strategy book of sorts. It really resonated because things were going to be changing quickly.  It addressed in depth how brands could embrace social media.  So as far as changes? There are many but it’s still as true today as it was in 2009 when I released the book, that brands need to engage people in a relevant way to build trust and credibility to market to them in a way that is acceptable to them.

@TravisNipper: You’ll be appearing in Cincinnati on February 19 to talk about transforming the scope of marketing so that it is an organization-wide effort. Why is this necessary? Is it because marketing has become an unwieldy proposition?

@BernieBorges: First, I have to say I’m really excited to be coming to Cincinnati. We’ve all heard great things about the marketing community there.

So why is this necessary? It’s necessary, I believe because digital has evolved so much that the deck is stacked against marketing. I’ve been saying for a few years now that companies across the nation have marketing departments that are TOO SMALL! Now that’s just a play on words, because what I mean by that is people don’t want to be marketed to from just a logo or just people in a marketing department. People want a connection with the SME’s that make it happen in the company and that’s the employees. There is tremendous pressure on the marketing department for ROI on the marketing dollar. So I really believe that marketing is not just the responsibility of the marketing department. That’s where this concept of cross-functional marketing comes in the form of a tiered approach.

Curious about learning this approach from Bernie? Register to hear him speak in Cincinnati on February 19.

@TravisNipper: Marketing 2.0. talks to “Bridging the Gap Between Seller and Buyer Through Social Media Marketing”. What comparisons can be drawn between this philosophy and Transforming the Scope of Marketing: How-To Build Organization-Wide Marketing?

@BernieBorges: Everything in the book is about reaching people in a relevant way and building trust. When we do organization-wide marketing, what we are doing is reaching end customers and influencers in ways that are engaging.

@TravisNipper: How do we as marketers get started or “break the ice” when trying to implement cross-functional marketing program at our companies? 

@BernieBorges: First of all it takes C-Suite buy-in and understanding that engagement happens through the employee.  If you are truly starting from scratch, you have to start small. I hate to use a cliche but it’s applicable here – and that is, don’t try to boil the ocean. Next, find out what is truly relevant to the customers and identify 5 employees that would embrace sharing their experience. Make sure they are hand-selected. I like the metaphor that Geoffrey Moore uses. He talks about the “head bowling pin” approach. If you hit the head pin you have good chance of knocking down all the pins. In the same way, if you find some really good employees that are excited about participating in cooperative communication strategy that encourages them to be storytellers, do that for 6-12 months and before you know it people will be lining up to share. Finally, with this momentum, continue to be methodical and let it grow from there.

@TravisNipper: Are there any cultural deal-breakers when it comes to attaining organization-wide marketing?

@BernieBorges: The biggest is C-Suite not embracing believing or understanding that it’s important for employees to make this connection with customers. I’ve seen C-Suites have the attitude of saying ‘I don’t want my employees to be visible to the marketplace at all.’ They resort to what I mentioned earlier: marketing from a logo with no human behind the brand. This is not the only dealbreaker but is the biggest.  Without that support, it’s not happening. Too fast and too big is also a dangerous approach.

@TravisNipper: When we talk about engaging employees for marketing, how do you see it that we could/should move beyond ambassadorship to ownership?

@BernieBorges: Moving toward advocacy?  I think that’s a bit of a psychology thing. Once they realize they have something valuable to share, you’ll see results. I liken it to your calf muscle. Unless you exercise it, you really don’t even realize it’s there. But it’s a very strong muscle. Once employees participate, they realize they see something back from it. Once they get a taste of it, it becomes part of who they are within the company. But let me make another point. For this to work, it has to be good for employees and work for them as much as the brand. When will they become an ambassador for the brand? It only happens when it is good for the employee too.

@TravisNipper: We know communication is key, but give us some pointers on sharing progress and results within the organization.

@BernieBorges: It’s different for every organization but you have to establish what the most viable channels are (email, internal newsletter, external newsletter, town hall) I’ll share several stories of brands that are doing organization-wide marketing very effectively when I visit Cincinnati on February 19.

@TravisNipper: While we have you, what’s on the horizon for social media? Any disruption or new trends?

@BernieBorges: There so much in the way of shiny new objects, it’s almost a weekly event. In my opinion, most industries and brands are beginning to experience “social media overwhelm”.  It seems there are too many platforms and certainly too many for most brands to keep up with. The key questions are which ones should we choose? Where should we share stories and be an advocate? So we have to begin with who our audience is.

Let me share an example. Snapchat exploded. It’s popular among young demographics. Let’s ask ourselves ‘Is that our audience now?’ Perhaps no, but it may change. You have to be careful of overwhelming your organization and jumping on every platform.

Think of a three-legged stool. Try to focus on channels of communication and engagement where you find: 1.) your customers (to maximize loyalty); 2.) prospective customers (to win them); and 3.) influencers (because they touch your customers and influence the way they behave and act).