B2B Marketing Spotlight: Shonodeep Modak, CMO NA at Schneider Electric #B2BSMX

Shonodeep Modak

Shonodeep Modak

Shonodeep Modak is CMO of North America at Schneider Electric. He has more than 18 years of commercial experience across energy, oil & gas, electrical distribution, automation and aftermarket services where he has architected and led nimble, data-driven global teams to propel portfolio expansion and deliver double-digit returns.

At the recent B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange conference, Shonodeep presented on how to restructure your marketing department around the customer vs. around your products or services: Opening Up The Panel Door…Rewiring How Your Marketing Team Works.

During the first day of the conference, Shonodeep and I met to discuss his presentation, his experiences at companies like GE and ExxonMobil, what’s broken with today’s marketing departments and where to marketing leaders can start to fix their own organizational structure.

Shonodeep Modak Interview

Lee Odden: You’ve been at Schneider Electric North America for a little over a year now. Can you share a bit about your role as CMO?

Shonodeep Modak: I cover marketing for the North America region at Schneider Electric, which is the largest region that we have. Schneider Electric is a 26B Euro industrial automation and energy management solution provider that has been around for well over a hundred years. The company is centered around three hubs across the world including Boston, Hong Kong and in Paris, France, which is where Schneider Electric originally started.

Covering marketing for the largest organization across the different business units includes multiple industries through channel partners and alliance partners. It’s a very interesting place to be because there’s such a big transformation happening in Schneider Electric and in the industry around digitization of IoT and solutions that would normally be considered hardware, but are shifting more into software.

Lee Odden: You’ve worked at other large organizations like GE and ExxonMobil, what are some of the experiences you’ve had that have best prepared you for the role of CMO?

Shonodeep Modak: From ExxonMobil to GE and now Schneider Electric, I’ve worked in hundred year-old companies but each time, but I have had the unique opportunity to be a part of major transformations in each one. Each has taught me and helped shaped the leader I am today.

At ExxonMobil I helped them reinvigorate their go-to-market from a traditional downstream oil and gas company selling motor oils, gear oils and greases to being a more forward thinking CPG-like type company, much like a P&G.

You really have to understand how shoppers buy, shopper insights, and how people decide what to buy.  Shonodeep Modak

To be able to do that, you really have to understand how shoppers buy, shopper insights, how people decide what to buy at a Wal-Mart or go to the Quick Lube, the analytics around the demographics of cars and the interests of people and how you target them. Here I developed deep analytical analytical expertise, especially with integrating both internal and external datasets to generate high-value insights.

I joined GE supporting our B2B power generation business. At the time, GE was transforming from a great product manufacturer into one who serves a bigger purpose in the world. You may remember GE’s Ecomagination campaign that established their brand in this space. GE shifted from “We bring good things to life”, to, “Imagination at work”.

I discovered how our power generation products could serve a greater purpose. For example, you can transform the waste of cows, hogs, and even chickens into renewable energy.

I helped increase awareness of the technological capabilities in the US by uncovering how to use products in different ways. I also discovered that we had been sitting on valuable service data history that we turned into the first IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) solutions in our business. This was very transformative for GE at the time.

Now at Schneider Electric, I am part of a world class Global Marketing organization. Here I must show our customers that our digital solutions can do so much more than what our customer base knows of us today. Over the past year I have been on the journey to redesign and reimagine my team in North America.

Lee Odden: It’s timely that you mentioned restructuring the marketing team because you’re speaking about that topic here at B2BSMX – Opening up the panel door: Rewiring how your marketing team works. What can you share about the genesis of that presentation?

Shonodeep Modak: I hope that I can inspire members of the audience who may be with B2B industrial manufacturers, like Schneider Electric or could be marketers at software and service sellers trying to better understand and help industrial manufacturers.

When I jumped into my current CMO role, I realized that at Schneider Electric, we had product-oriented marketing teams. Each was responsible for serving their business but the result is a marketing team operating in product silos.

Then I observed that the digital marketing which had occurred several years ago was simply added on, not purposefully integrated into the existing team. As a result we could never realize the full capabilities. This requires rewiring the organization. And it’s beyond changing an org chart. It’s about changing how the team works together, the processes, and, most critically, the team’s culture.

I plan to hit these important aspects in my RevTalk presentation sharing my experiences of what worked and what didn’t over five organizational redesigns that I have led in my career.

Successfully rewiring your organization is much more about culture than structure. Shonodeep Modak

Lee Odden: That’s a remarkable endeavor because you have to look at it more than just operationally or from a staffing perspective, but also from a culture standpoint. What would you say is most often broken for enterprise level companies when it comes to how they structure their marketing departments?

Shonodeep Modak: The biggest issue is when companies say, “we need to shift to more digital activation in marketing” and then what happens is they add a digital team and think that the challenge is solved.

To make the digital transformation work, you have to go in and really rewire the organization.. You have to change the way the team works. Shonodeep Modak

To make the digital transformation work, you have to go in and really rewire the organization.. You have to change the way the team works. You also have to engage your business stakeholders well before you flip the switch and explain to them, “this is the reason why we need to change and what it will do for your growth.” You have to spend a lot of time here, repeating often to steadily gain the alignment before you actually hit the go button. That amount of work is extremely important to make sure that you’re successful. It sounds obvious, but so many times I’ve seen it taken for granted.

Lee Odden: Where should companies start if they’re going to evaluate their marketing organization structure?

Shonodeep Modak: First, look at the work being done today. Did the teams interact with the right function? Look at the customer success team, the commercial team, the product team and see where the strongest and weakest connections are. In many cases, you’ll find that the balance of support is missing.

Create financial and non-financial measures and talk about them as an “investment” not at “marketing spend” because that is really how the organization must see (marketing). Shonodeep Modak

Lastly, I know it’s obvious, but ensure your resources know how to measure ROI and translate the impact to your stakeholders. Create financial and non-financial measures and talk about them as an “investment” not at “marketing spend” because that is really how the organization must see it.

Lee Odden: What does an ideal marketing department structure look like?

Shonodeep Modak: The biggest thing is customer-centricity in the organization design. Shifting away from being product-oriented to customer-persona and vertical-centric. This enables efficiency and productivity because the investment spans across a portfolio of solutions that addresses customer outcomes. At Schneider Electric we have a combination of vertical and persona focus based on the industries.

Most B2B industrial customers care less about the product and it’s benefits and more about the issues they have and how the solution solves it. Shonodeep Modak

Great marketing organizations spend a lot more time listening. Doing the research on the customer interests is essential. Most B2B industrial customers care less about the product and it’s benefits and more about the issues they have and how the solution solves it.

Lee Odden: That’s like the difference between being egocentric and empathetic.

Shonodeep Modak: Yes, exactly.

Lee Odden: The CMO role is like the pinnacle of a marketer’s career. What advice can you share for the next generation of CMOs?

Shonodeep Modak: Every company is changing. They’re all transforming right now and they will always keep transforming. So, of course, you have to be ready for that. For aspiring CMOs I would say there are three things.

The first is to make your connections early on. As you jump into new roles, make connections with the commercial team and work in a grassroots way with them. That means it’s less about showing off a new, shiny martech solution, but rather it’s developing a strong commercial team relationship by getting involved and helping them. Rather than just passively sitting in a customer meeting with them, use the digital customer behavior insights gained from your martech stack to advance their relationship.

If you’re not in a start-up, the best place to gain traction is with your existing accounts. Shonodeep Modak

Number two is, it’s not all about always about the net new customers. If you’re not in a start-up, the best place to gain traction is with your existing accounts. We found in our world that expanding the existing basket and scope of purchase is an investment in time that pays off much faster than acquiring a new customer. Helping a customer with new solutions that can benefit them in a way that they had not realized can really reinforce the commercial relationship.

Number three is, don’t forget us industrial B2B companies! When you’re evaluating your career vector, consider the great impact you can make because many of us are just now advancing in e-commerce and digital digital marketing strategies. Think about the bar you can move. You could start where the bar’s already high and move it a few inches in a software services company or you can start where the bar can jump a few feet.

Lee Odden: What are some of the top resources you rely on for staying smart as a marketer?

Shonodeep Modak:: I’m learning through my own team. I put them in charge of being the experts. In fact, for the B2BSMX conference, I’ve asked them to come, observe and learn more about content marketing, account based marketing and what’s the latest. In fact, whenever I walk through these events, I ask every vendor, what’s new? Even if I don’t know them yet, I ask them, “What do you do that’s working?”

Lee Odden: Speaking of what’s next, what are some of your big marketing priorities for 2020?

Shonodeep Modak:: Our transformation is a three year journey. We’ve only just brought the new team online and are refining our processes, working to achieving stability and establishing quality output. Year two in 2020 will be more about how we test and learn to boost productivity. Year three will focus on scale and gaining an in-depth understanding of which levers consistently generate the best returns.

Lee Odden: Thank you so much!

shonodeep modak
Be sure to follow Shonodeep Modak on LinkedIn: /shonodeep/

Visit the link below for more information about the B2BSMX conference:
B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange: Boston
Follow the event hashtag #B2BSMX on Twitter

The post B2B Marketing Spotlight: Shonodeep Modak, CMO NA at Schneider Electric #B2BSMX appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

The 10 Commandments of Modern B2B Marketing – Dave Gerhardt, Drift #B2BSMX

Drift is widely regarded as a pioneer in modern marketing, and their Vice President of Marketing Dave Gerhardt has been instrumental in establishing this reputation. 

Taking on his first role as a marketing leader, he helped grow the chatbot platform from a startup with no market recognition to a $10 million company in less than two years. He also co-authored the book Conversational Marketing along with Drift’s founder David Cancel

While his company has experienced powerful growth and attained status as a leading innovator, the journey hasn’t always been smooth and seamless. Dave says there are a number of things he wishes he would’ve known before getting started, and he shared them on Tuesday at B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange in Boston, dubbing them his “10 Commandments for Modern Marketing” (with a stated emphasis on the word modern).

The 10 Commandments of Modern Marketing

1. It’s never too early to start marketing, ever.

Ever see a construction site for a residence that won’t be finished for four more years? Did you notice the sign advertising the future apartments or condos? Dave references this as an example of getting out front with generating awareness. 

“There’s too much noise and competition,” he argues. “You can’t think you’re just gonna show up and think people are gonna buy. Start as soon as you can.”

[bctt tweet=”My advice for you is: start marketing yesterday. @davegerhardt #B2BSMX” username=”toprank”]

2. You must build an audience. 

And you should do it in a way that has nothing to do with your product or service. This is a fundamental aspect of content marketing that unfortunately tends to get overlooked. People don’t want to subscribe to a podcast or YouTube channel that’s just trying to sell them something. Create things for people who are at least somewhat related to your business, and make sure it provides them with real value. 

3. You have to use social proof anytime you do anything in marketing. 

Customers are growing more skeptical and leery of brand promotions all the time. Even case studies don’t have the impact they once did, because – as Dave puts it – “they know a marketer wrote it, and then got approval from a customer.” Today’s audience wants to see what people are buying and using, so leverage your customers’ own words in the form of screenshots from review sites such as G2 Crowd, or posts on Twitter and LinkedIn. Drift’s social proof repository exemplifies this approach. 

4. Copywriting is everything. 

Dave, you’re a man after my own heart. As an avid proponent of the written word and its enduring value, it was nice to hear such adamance of Mr. Gerhardt on the matter. If you haven’t, he suggests picking up a copy of Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins. It was originally published in 1923, but remains entirely relevant today. Why? Because it’s about writing influentially for human readers.

[bctt tweet=”Copywriting is so powerful because it gives you the ability to sell without ever having to pick up the phone. @davegerhardt #B2BSMX” username=”toprank”]

5. There’s a story behind everything. 

“There’s no boring products,” Dave opines. “There’s only boring marketers.” We as people are wired to engage with and remember stories. Not only is this format highly compelling, but as I’ve written before, storytelling also builds trust.

6. It won’t stick unless you name it. 

Even the most interesting concept or idea will likely fail to gain traction if you don’t give it a name that people can associate with it. This is especially critical to creating a category. Dave emphasizes that you shouldn’t get too caught up on what the name will be – just make sure you have one. For instance, he says his team went back and forth endlessly on what to call “conversational marketing,” until they finally settled on the simple and straightforward eventual choice, which has since become an integral part of Drift’s brand. 

7. You have to stand for something as a brand today. 

The safe, conservative route of leaning toward neutrality and avoiding controversy no longer flies. In some cases, your brand’s stance can tie to more serious societal and political issues; Salesforce announced earlier this year that it would no longer do business with retailers selling semi-automatic weapons. But it can also be something less touchy, and more directly pertinent to your industry. Drift famously took a stand against lead forms and gated content, which were viewed at the time (and still are viewed by many) as mandatory elements of a results-oriented content strategy.

8. Creativity is a competitive advantage. 

The rush amongst marketers to develop the most proficiency with tools and the biggest tech stack is misguided. “Marketing technology is table stakes,” Dave says. “Creativity is the variable for success today.” He adds that while many functions of these technologies will become automated, if they haven’t already, AI and machines will never replace creativity.

[bctt tweet=”Your differentiator isn’t your tech stack. It’s creativity. @davegerhardt #B2BSMX” username=”toprank”]

9. Personal brand is the new company brand. 

This makes some executives uncomfortable. There’s a prevalent concern that encouraging employees to develop their personal brands will make them more likely to get noticed and poached by competitors, or that these employees will say something that doesn’t jibe with the brand positioning. But Dave believes these are the necessary risks a modern marketing operation needs to run. “We all want to work with real people, we don’t want to work with logos.” Effectively engaging your team will make them more likely to be aligned with your company’s voice, and less likely to leave.

10. When they go left, you have to go right. 

Or zig when they zag, if you will. Constantly trying to outdo or outspend your competitors in the same channels and tactics is a losing strategy, Dave says. “The best way you can compete in marketing is to stack the deck. Find the gaps. Go to where people are not today.” 

Heed this Marketer’s Creed and Prosper

I’ve had the privilege of sitting in on many informative, eye-opening sessions at B2BSMX, but I think Dave’s will go down as my favorite. From the moment he took the stage, informing his audience that he didn’t have any slides and would be reading off a piece of paper because he had a baby eight weeks ago and has barely had a free moment since, the Drift marketer oozed genuine authenticity, and every one of his commandments resonated with me personally. 

More objectively, given what he and his team have accomplished, it’s tough to argue with this set of guiding principles for the new age.  

If you enjoyed this recap, make sure to check out the rest of our coverage from B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange 2019: 

The post The 10 Commandments of Modern B2B Marketing – Dave Gerhardt, Drift #B2BSMX appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Dave Gerhardt of Drift Outlines the 10 Commandments of Modern Marketing

Drift is widely regarded as a pioneer in modern marketing, and their Vice President of Marketing Dave Gerhardt has been instrumental in establishing this reputation. 

Taking on his first role as a marketing leader, he helped grow the chatbot platform from a startup with no market recognition to a $10 million company in less than two years. He also co-authored the book Conversational Marketing along with Drift’s founder David Cancel

While his company has experienced powerful growth and attained status as a leading innovator, the journey hasn’t always been smooth and seamless. Dave says there are a number of things he wishes he would’ve known before getting started, and he shared them on Tuesday at B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange in Boston, dubbing them his “10 Commandments for Modern Marketing” (with a stated emphasis on the word modern).

The 10 Commandments of Modern Marketing

1. It’s never too early to start marketing, ever.

Ever see a construction site for a residence that won’t be finished for four more years? Did you notice the sign advertising the future apartments or condos? Dave references this as an example of getting out front with generating awareness. 

“There’s too much noise and competition,” he argues. “You can’t think you’re just gonna show up and think people are gonna buy. Start as soon as you can.”

My advice for you is: start marketing yesterday. @davegerhardt #B2BSMX Click To Tweet

2. You must build an audience. 

And you should do it in a way that has nothing to do with your product or service. This is a fundamental aspect of content marketing that unfortunately tends to get overlooked. People don’t want to subscribe to a podcast or YouTube channel that’s just trying to sell them something. Create things for people who are at least somewhat related to your business, and make sure it provides them with real value. 

3. You have to use social proof anytime you do anything in marketing. 

Customers are growing more skeptical and leery of brand promotions all the time. Even case studies don’t have the impact they once did, because – as Dave puts it – “they know a marketer wrote it, and then got approval from a customer.” Today’s audience wants to see what people are buying and using, so leverage your customers’ own words in the form of screenshots from review sites such as G2 Crowd, or posts on Twitter and LinkedIn. Drift’s social proof repository exemplifies this approach. 

4. Copywriting is everything. 

Dave, you’re a man after my own heart. As an avid proponent of the written word and its enduring value, it was nice to hear such adamance of Mr. Gerhardt on the matter. If you haven’t, he suggests picking up a copy of Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins. It was originally published in 1923, but remains entirely relevant today. Why? Because it’s about writing influentially for human readers.

Copywriting is so powerful because it gives you the ability to sell without ever having to pick up the phone. @davegerhardt #B2BSMX Click To Tweet

5. There’s a story behind everything. 

“There’s no boring products,” Dave opines. “There’s only boring marketers.” We as people are wired to engage with and remember stories. Not only is this format highly compelling, but as I’ve written before, storytelling also builds trust.

6. It won’t stick unless you name it. 

Even the most interesting concept or idea will likely fail to gain traction if you don’t give it a name that people can associate with it. This is especially critical to creating a category. Dave emphasizes that you shouldn’t get too caught up on what the name will be – just make sure you have one. For instance, he says his team went back and forth endlessly on what to call “conversational marketing,” until they finally settled on the simple and straightforward eventual choice, which has since become an integral part of Drift’s brand. 

7. You have to stand for something as a brand today. 

The safe, conservative route of leaning toward neutrality and avoiding controversy no longer flies. In some cases, your brand’s stance can tie to more serious societal and political issues; Salesforce announced earlier this year that it would no longer do business with retailers selling semi-automatic weapons. But it can also be something less touchy, and more directly pertinent to your industry. Drift famously took a stand against lead forms and gated content, which were viewed at the time (and still are viewed by many) as mandatory elements of a results-oriented content strategy.

8. Creativity is a competitive advantage. 

The rush amongst marketers to develop the most proficiency with tools and the biggest tech stack is misguided. “Marketing technology is table stakes,” Dave says. “Creativity is the variable for success today.” He adds that while many functions of these technologies will become automated, if they haven’t already, AI and machines will never replace creativity.

Your differentiator isn’t your tech stack. It’s creativity. @davegerhardt #B2BSMX Click To Tweet

9. Personal brand is the new company brand. 

This makes some executives uncomfortable. There’s a prevalent concern that encouraging employees to develop their personal brands will make them more likely to get noticed and poached by competitors, or that these employees will say something that doesn’t jibe with the brand positioning. But Dave believes these are the necessary risks a modern marketing operation needs to run. “We all want to work with real people, we don’t want to work with logos.” Effectively engaging your team will make them more likely to be aligned with your company’s voice, and less likely to leave.

10. When they go left, you have to go right. 

Or zig when they zag, if you will. Constantly trying to outdo or outspend your competitors in the same channels and tactics is a losing strategy, Dave says. “The best way you can compete in marketing is to stack the deck. Find the gaps. Go to where people are not today.” 

Heed this Marketer’s Creed and Prosper

I’ve had the privilege of sitting in on many informative, eye-opening sessions at B2BSMX, but I think Dave’s will go down as my favorite. From the moment he took the stage, informing his audience that he didn’t have any slides and would be reading off a piece of paper because he had a baby eight weeks ago and has barely had a free moment since, the Drift marketer oozed genuine authenticity, and every one of his commandments resonated with me personally. 

More objectively, given what he and his team have accomplished, it’s tough to argue with this set of guiding principles for the new age.  

If you enjoyed this recap, make sure to check out the rest of our coverage from B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange 2019: 

How to Get Started Building Links for SEO

Search for information about SEO, and you’ll quickly discover three big themes: content, user experience, and links. If you’re just getting started with SEO, that last theme will likely seem a lot more confusing and challenging than the others. That’s because, while content and user experience are under the realm of our control, links aren’t… at least not completely.

Think of this post as a quick-and-dirty version of The Beginner’s Guide to SEO’s chapter on link building. We definitely recommend you read through that as well, but if you’re short on time, this condensed version gives you a quick overview of the basics as well as actionable tips that can help you get started.

Let’s get to it!

What does “building links” mean?

Link building is a term used in SEO to describe the process of increasing the quantity of good links from other websites to your own.

Why are links so important? They’re one of the main (although not the only!) criteria Google uses to determine the quality and trustworthiness of a page. You want links from reputable, relevant websites to bolster your own site’s authority in search engines.

For more information on different types of links, check out Cyrus Shepard’s post All Links are Not Created Equal: 20 New Graphics on Google’s Valuation of Links.

“Building links” is common SEO vernacular, but it deserves unpacking or else you may get the wrong idea about this practice. Google wants people to link to pages out of their own volition, because they value the content on that page. Google does not want people to link to pages because they were paid or incentivized to do so, or create links to their websites themselves — those types of links should use the “nofollow” attribute. You can read more about what Google thinks about links in their webmaster guidelines.

The main thing to remember is that links to your pages are an important part of SEO, but Google doesn’t want you paying or self-creating them, so the practice of “building links” is really more a process of “earning links” — let’s dive in.

How do I build links?

If Google doesn’t want you creating links yourself or paying for them, how do you go about getting them? There are a lot of different methods, but we’ll explore some of the basics.

Link gap analysis

One popular method for getting started with link building is to look at the links your competitors have but you don’t. This is often referred to as a competitor backlink analysis or a link gap analysis. You can perform one of these using Moz Link Explorer’s Link Intersect tool.

Link Intersect gives you a glimpse into your competitor’s link strategy. My pal Miriam and I wrote a guide that explains how to use Link Explorer and what to do with the links you find. It’s specifically geared toward local businesses, but it’s helpful for anyone just getting started with link building.

Email outreach

A skill you’ll definitely need for link building is email outreach. Remember, links to your site should be created by others, so to get them to link to your content, you need to tell them about it! Cold outreach is always going to be hit-or-miss, but here are a few things that can help:

  • Make a genuine connection: People are much more inclined to help you out if they know you. Consider connecting with them on social media and building a relationship before you ask them for a link.
  • Offer something of value: Don’t just ask someone to link to you — tell them how they’ll benefit! Example: offering a guest post to a content-desperate publisher.
  • Be someone people would want to link to: Before you ask anyone to link to your content, ask yourself questions like, “Would I find this valuable enough to link to?” and “Is this the type of content this person likes to link to?”

There are tons more articles on the Moz Blog you can check out if you’re looking to learn more about making your email outreach effective:

Contribute your expertise using services like HARO

When you’re just getting started, services like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) are great. When you sign up as a source, you’ll start getting requests from journalists who need quotes for their articles. Not all requests will be relevant to you, but be on the lookout for those that are. If the journalist likes your pitch, they may feature your quote in their article with a link back to your website.

Where do I go from here?

I hope this was a helpful crash-course into the world of link building! If you want to keep learning, we recommend checking out this free video course from HubSpot Academy that walks you through finding the right SEO strategy, including how to use Moz Link Explorer for link building.

Watch the video

Remember, link building certainly isn’t easy, but it is worth it!