The Martech Hero initiative, launched earlier this year, in partnership with Stein IAS is an attempt to recognise the unsung heroes of the marketing operations world. Those who are championing their tech stacks so well, driving ROI and reaping the benefits of tech. Making the tech work for them, as opposed to droves of human marketing talent working for the tech.
The Top Ten Martech Heroes, followed a judging process by a select panel of industry experts who reviewed nominees from across the globe. One such individual, however, stuck out in the eyes of Scott Brinker, a chief of martech himself, and the chairman of the award. He claimed that her story was the most “down to earth” and “organic” in terms of progressing through the martech landscape.
That individual, is Christine Aletras, crowned Top Martech Hero at The Drum’s B2B Awards in November this year. Dubbed by the judges as a “firestarter” in the martech scene, Aletras transformed the B2B side of WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers), which only two years ago, had zero marketing tech stacks in use. The WW Health Solutions is the B2B side of the well-known weight loss brand, which provides health solutions to companies who then offer and sometimes subsidise the program to their employees. These are companies who have a wellness strategy in place to improve the lives of their employees (and ultimately slimming the waist line of their medical expenses down the line).
Before Aletras came on board, the business was banking on inadequate data to find out who these companies were. Over a short period of time, Aletras transformed the perception of marketing within the brand, making it a revenue generating function, adding pounds through building a bonafide tech stack, data, and passion for marketing operations. Before that, WW’s sales team were reaching out to potential customers via individual email addresses. Now 80% of all the company’s leads are generated through marketing operations.
The Drum spoke to Aletras about her award, and how she approaches her marketing operations strategy at WW Health Solutions.
“Martech has dramatically transformed and re-prioritised the way we run things at WW. It has allowed us to really get to know our leads, who are usually HR departments in large organisations looking to improve company wellbeing for their employees. Martech has allowed us to evolve our own brand, message leads at different stages, and show them who we are and why they should partner with us. It’s allowed us to compete with competitors and hit our prospects with all the amazing things that are happening with WW through a digital way.”
Aletras claimed that transparency within the business is the best practice when approaching marketing strategy and operations. “Within B2B, it's really important to be transparent with the rest of the team who are or will be involved in the front or backend of processes. Our sales team needs to understand who these leads are, and how engaged they are. They need to know that there is a piece of martech that is running in the background bringing leads in and nurturing them forward to the bottom of the funnel for sales conversion.”
Not only that, but there is a clear drive to educate the business internally of the sheer heights tech can help them reach. “We need education,” continues Aletras. “We need to teach internal stakeholders in the business the capabilities of martech, most companies in B2B, are very much run by sales and account management. They are at the front lines of prospect and client outreach, but we have to educate them and be advocates of martech, to help gain trust and prove the ROI of the marketing operations. Advocating, metrics, collaboration and staying passionate are my best martech practices.”
It all comes down to encouraging team players to embrace something that ultimately benefits everyone in the business. “Being an advocate and being a subject matter expert and being passionate is the way to do it,” she said. “Obviously there are things you have to prove, like ROI, especially when you’re starting out you don’t have benchmarks. Showing colleagues and challenging them sometimes; challenging them by standing true to knowing what will be beneficial for the company and here’s why.”
For Aletras the award has made her thrive because “it’s helping me say, yes there are other companies doing it - if we are not doing it then we fall behind. If we aren’t investing, or passionate about it, then we will fail in our mission. We need to overcome whatever historical anecdotal perceptions there are around B2B and selling, and understand that this is the future and speak loudly.”
So, what’s next in the martech landscape?
“Like almost everything in this world, martech landscape is growing. Right now, it’s very narrow and undefined, people are very focused on martech stacks with eCRM and webinar platforms, but in the future we will see other dimensions being supported or merged such as Adtech and AI. In general, hopefully, companies will understand the need for this niche role."
“Through Martech adoption , companies will understand that martech is not something that is solely owned by the product team, or by the engineers, because it’s a technical system. It will help eliminate ownership overlap and true skillset for martech. It’s something that requires a lot of marketing strategy to utilise the tech stack properly, and be efficient for the company. ”