Robert Tas, the CMO of Pegasystems, has years of experience marketing in the B2B world. He helped bring Pegasystems into highly personalized digital marketing. He shared his advice for B2B marketers with me - read on to hear his tips.
How did you get into marketing?
I don't know that marketing was always the plan. Ironically, I always had a passion for how tech was impacting business and how businesses were using technology to engage people. I've always had this passion around technology disrupting business. I think it's kind of been a natural progression. Technology automated business, now it's automating marketing, which is then automating business again.
What have you learned throughout the different stages of your career?
Common sense. I think sometimes we get enamored by gimmicks and things like that. Go and talk to your front line to understand what your customer does and make those things work better. You start from there and work your way backward. Having that culture permeate your business is critical for success. You've got to obsess over your customer, as Jeff Bezos says. If you do right by them, good things will happen.
How has marketing at Pega evolved over the years?
Pega has been around for 33 years. The one thing that the CEO says is he's maniacal about customer success. If you look at the company's history, it's really only sold to the largest companies in the world. They'd grown it by going to those customers over and over. To do that you have to deliver, and I think it's that obsessiveness around customer success. Ensuring that those big checks are adding value to the customer. What I've tried to do is bring some layer of technology to that to make sure we do a better job of using digital to connect our company to better serve that customer. Then we need to learn from those experiences and feed it into our learning process and product process.
Before I joined, you would never have seen Pega on our site. Now, you can see over 200 different demonstrations of the product. We use our technology to connect the dots, and you can see those experiences. We've dramatically invested into really trying to change the way we go about our consumer strategy. We've very recently launched a product called Pega Express where you can try it without meeting a salesperson. We also have a place where you can communicate with your peers that we moderate. We've put an emphasis on being transparent.
What do you think are the key tactics of B2B marketing?
The B2B buyer is 65% of way through the buying journey before he meets a salesperson. That means the buyer journey is changing. That means you have to be in the business of removing friction for them. You have to focus on your customer experience and your journey. That is not a fad; that's a constant. There's no longer the world where we do a campaign, come back, evaluate it. We're evaluating daily and weekly and being really thoughtful about it. I think that's a very different approach to marketing.
With so many new technologies coming out all the time, how do you decide what is and isn't worth your time and resources in piloting?
One way is ask. We ask our customers a lot. We try to do that and try to do little cost effective pilots and tests. The two minute video on our site started off as a test. Within a very short amount of time the videos became the number one most engaging content on our site. It just shows you that people like it and it's device friendly. Number two, you've got to use your own common sense and try it out. I am not currently a Snapchat guy; I don't think it's relevant to my customer. But with Facebook, we decided to use it because one segment of our audience was using it. Over the course of people engaging, it started to work and now is a big channel for us with the developer community.
Rapid Fire - What's your take on these industry trends?
Year of Mobile: For us, mobile is a vast, growing content channel. I am continually surprised to see it growing more and more, but I think that's the day and age we're in. I think that's going to continue to grow. You can't not do it anymore. We automatically think about all of our content across mobile devices, so I think it's pivotal that our videos render and operate quickly.
Snapchat: Absolutely. It's still not for B2B probably, but I think it will be. There will be a version of it.
Programmatic: I think it's a foundational tool for reach. I think it's going to get better; clients are going to continue to invest in connecting the dots to make it more efficient. We're seeing clients who are connecting CRM with programmatic. I think a lot of people will in-source it.
Wearable Tech: I think we're going from a place where we've gone from reactive to proactive to sensors. Sensors like "my car broke down, send help." I think you'll see so many uses for the healthcare business or telecom business to take advantage of that, and say, we'll be responding before you realize you need help.
Beacons: Absolutely. I think as consumers we're in for a lot of great services. We're just scratching the surface of it.
What should marketers not be doing?
I think it's mass marketing. I think we're in an age where we've gone from mass to targeting to personalization. With tech where it is you have such an ability to make personal connections. It's this concept of trying to figure out how to be human and use digital technologies to connect the dots. You'll see companies that are anticipating the next thing that you need. There's going to be a level of intelligent context brought to our engagements. And then the ability to deliver that across the company. Companies that are going to be the leaders and winners are going to figure out how to humanize that with technology.
Robert Tas is the CMO of Pegasystems. He is responsible for leading the organization's global marketing efforts, including brand, advertising, communications, product marketing, industry business lines, and global program teams.