Liz Du on Balancing Outbound & Inbound Marketing [An Interview]

liz-du-seagate-demand-marketingI had a chance to sit down with Liz Du, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Seagate Global Online, and discuss her take on current marketing trends, as well as the big things going on at Seagate.

David: Tell us about your professional background and how you got into marketing?

Liz: I was an art major in school so I always had an appreciation for the creative side of marketing. Then early in my career, I got into project management and ultimately had the opportunity to marry the creative and strategic worlds with marketing programs. I’ve spent the last ten-plus years exploring different marketing disciplines in both B2B and B2C environments. Since coming to Seagate four years ago, I’ve been able to apply all that as we span across multiple audiences.

What do you see as the major differences between B2B and B2C and what have you learned from working in both disciplines?

I think in the past, people thought that B2C and B2B were vastly different, but in this day and age, you realize that buyers’ journeys, content marketing and so many of the different initiatives span across both. So, I think the same philosophies apply, and you just really need to know your personas, know your audience, and understand your data and what it tells you about their buying cycles. The same principles really carry across.

Can you describe what Seagate Marketing has been up to over the last year? What are some of your major goals, initiatives and recent achievements?

It’s been a huge year for Seagate. We’ve spent the last 12 months building and rolling out a new brand identity. And this has been a huge shift in how we wanted to be perceived in the marketplace by our different audiences – both consumers as well as IT professionals and influencers in the space.

We launched our brand and then we followed it up with a multichannel campaign. Our goal there was twofold. First, we wanted to build brand awareness among our target audience and also to build a pipeline for leads to flow into our sales team. The first wave was launched specifically in Silicon Valley and we were really impressed by those initial results. We followed that up with a larger national campaign that launched in April, and we’re seeing great traction from that as well. That’s something we’re going to continue through the rest of this calendar year.

Lately, there’s been discussion regarding the limitations of inbound marketing (driving traffic to your website, blog and landing pages via search, social, etc.); specifically, that marketers can only scale these tactics so far before hitting diminishing returns on their investment. What are your opinions on this topic?

As far as inbound marketing and driving traffic to your owned properties, I think there’s still a lot of value there, both for visibility into metrics to understand user behaviors also to ensure users have great brand experiences. But that said, I think we [marketers] must absolutely recognize that you can’t expect to reach your entire audience by just pushing traffic to your site through those inbound methods.

You need to expand your strategy to include relevant channels where your audiences are already having those conversations. You need to insert yourself and be relevant in different places. At Seagate, our approach has been an integrated strategy that strives to balance both inbound and outbound initiatives.

Why do you think so many marketers have been hesitant to test outbound demand generation?

I think there’s a couple things at play. First, marketers want to control their messages, which is easy to do when you’re simply driving traffic to your owned website properties with inbound tactics. But the reality is that with the evolution of tech and proliferation of where conversations are taking place, you simply can’t control everything that’s being said. You can be part of conversations and steer them, but you can’t own them.

Secondly, outbound demand gen used to be associated with list buys and blast emails – the spray-and-pray approach. A lot of times the ROI just wasn’t there. But the platforms have come a long way. The technology is there to help really ensure you’re honing in on targeting and trying different approaches. It’s not just a one-size-fits-all initiative anymore, so you have a lot more options as you’re thinking through various outbound strategies. 

What has been your experience with outbound demand generation?

I wasn’t always sold on outbound demand generation tactics. But after the results we’ve seen in the last few months, I see it having a big place in our lead generation campaigns. I think that platforms and the techniques for targeting outbound strategies have come a long way. And now they really allow us to engage with people who are lower in the funnel than the rest of our media mix.

And we’ve benefitted a lot from having Integrate literally integrated with our marketing automation platform. This allows us to see which leads are moving through the qualification process and which attributes are most desirable as we fine tune their targeting criteria.

What advice do you have for other marketing execs looking to scale their demand marketing initiatives?

In talking to other marketers, my advice is always to test and learn. Start small, really know your campaign KPIs and see how that performs against the rest of your media mix. It’s also critical to have a really good team in place that understands how to use those tools and digest real-time data so you can continue optimizing on a day-to-day basis and ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing investment.

Closed-Loop Marketing Era  

 

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