SAP’s Alison Biggan’s advice for B2B marketers: ‘Take risks and embrace test-and-learn’
Business marketing has arguably been evolving faster than its consumer counterpart. Many of the traditional conferences, trade shows and business dinners have given way to new innovations and creative solutions, supported by technology. In this series, Alison Biggan, president of corporate marketing at SAP, speaks to The Drum about the consumerization of business marketing, what inspires and excites her about recent B2B trends, and what she will look for in a winning entry as chair of The Drum Awards for B2B.
“There’s nothing like a global pandemic to accelerate dramatically the change that was already under way,” Biggan laughs. She believes B2B marketers have seen a shift from more traditional tactics on the horizon for a while. “Some of the traditional brand and awareness investments you might once make began moving to digital. But what we’ve seen over the last 12 to 18 months is a massive acceleration, and that has come with both challenge and opportunity.”
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As a result, the team at SAP has changed how it engages with customers and prospects, from both a marketing and a sales perspective. “There is an opportunity for B2B marketing to become an enabler of changing the engagement model on the sales front, I think that can’t be understated.”
How does digital come into it? “In a digital environment you can be specific and segmented, to be relevant and customized in your message. You can be personalized in terms of geography or role or industry, which also comes with expectation – it means that what you say to audiences when you reach them matters more than ever.” Biggan reminds B2B marketers to be disciplined: “If we don’t take advantage, we actually impact our effectiveness.”
Like most, SAP has done some things differently this last year. “We’ve all gone through the tactical shift from in-person events, from traveling around the world and talking to people, to doing [so] on Zoom and Teams.” But the changes have had an upside. Because digital allows for quicker feedback, learning happens faster too.
“That shift allows us to do new things, to move more quickly, to take more risks and to embrace a test-and-learn methodology.
“As marketers, part of how we get better is by trying things and failing at them; how you use the data and insights that you gain to make more impactful decisions and investments.”
Watch the full interview on our YouTube channel.
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