MarTech Interview with Ritu Kapoor, CMO at Lob

Ritu Kapoor, CMO at Lob Chats about a few of the most common martech and marketing misconceptions in this quick catch-up:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Ritu, tell us about yourself and your foray into marketing?

My journey started in Kuwait, where I spent the first 18 yrs of my life.After stints in India and Kuwait throughout my early career, I finally landed in Texas in the early 2000s, working on various marketing projects. From there I went back overseas and spent time in Singapore. Today, I call California my home.

At my previous company, Automation Anywhere, I helped build a global product marketing team and related practices to drive market awareness of the company’s product offerings, overhauled product messaging, brand differentiation, and go-to-market strategy. Before that, I built up a customer and product marketing function at Flexera for open source licensing and compliance products.

Today, I serve as the CMO of Lob, where I lead a team to, communicate, and deliver automation offerings that enable success for customers, clients, and partners. As the leader in the direct mail automation space, my team and I are responsible for evangelizing the category, and creating brand recognition by developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that helps drive awareness and solidifies our competitive advantage.

What are some of the marketing strategies (and martech used!) to help drive marketing goals at Lob?

At Lob, our marketing strategy is grounded in creating highly personalized experiences for our target accounts. We leverage multiple channels to drive engagement, from digital networks like social media to physical channels like direct mail. Specifically, we use 6sense as our account-based marketing tool to help identify buyers in the market. We couple that tool with Salesforce, our CRM platform. We use Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn ads for social advertising, Marketo for our email marketing, and our proprietary technology to automate our direct mail channel. Ultimately, our goal is to find value-adding ways to introduce sales across the digital journey and leverage direct mail as a natural follow up.

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As marketing evolves in the light of new trends, the demise of cookies, and new martech capabilities, how do you feel B2B marketing as a whole will shift?

The demise of the third-party cookie is a watershed moment for marketers. We’re going to have to shift the way we earn people’s information by focusing on fostering loyalty in potential customers first before we capture lead data.

Typically, B2B marketers are used to prioritizing securing details first and then aim to engage, educate, and nurture once that information has been added to the database. This isn’t going fly going forward because the percentage of B2B buyers willing to enter information to access content is consistently decreasing year over year. We’re going to have to flip the traditional marketing model and prioritize delivering value from the first touchpoint to generate higher quality leads further down the road. It’s going to be a huge shift in culture, process, and execution. Moving beyond gated content as a default lead generation strategy is the first step, but it is really going to be about building relationships that benefit buyers to share their info.

One of the pieces of martech we’re looking at to help establish trust and a human connection is ServiceBell. It’s a real-time video conferencing between the buyer and our sales team. Think of it as Zoom for your website chat function. Face-to-face interactions are going to become more and more valuable.

In a highlight competitive online market today, how can brands optimize their global marketing initiatives to ensure they always have an unified brand voice that stands out?

Be BOLD! There is a general misconception that brand consistency means using the same template and messaging across all markets and initiatives. While that helps with recognition, it certainly narrows the brand opportunity and, consequently, its relevance to its audience. When a brand stands for a powerful idea, it can capture peoples’ hearts and minds in a relevant, yet unified way. The brand’s promise remains consistent, but how we bring to it life, adjusts to the cultural nuance, audience, and touchpoint.

The other misconception is that B2B is boring, rational, and pragmatic. However, studies show that brand is critical to a business audience as a way of building trust and conveying longevity. We all want to be part of something that feels bigger than just buying a product or service. To do so, you must start with an untapped human insight. Then the way you address that insight is with a bold and unexpected move that aligns with your brand idea. This is how brands break through the noise, ignite conversation, and build a community. For example, in a new campaign we are launching we are tapping into the fact that our customers loved the 80s and everything they represent! The insight is that it was a great decade, but not for direct mail. This is our rallying cry to shift the direct mail paradigm and drive home the evolution of snail mail marketing.

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What are some of the top marketing hacks you’ve been seeing other CMOs use in this market to drive success?

The offline-to-online marketing model: Love or hate it, you sat up and noticed the $5Million QR code Coinbase flashed on the screen during Superbowl. That stunt generated 20 million hits in just 60 seconds. The story though is not how cool it was but how Coinbase bridged the gap between online and offline to create a fluid experience, with tremendous success.

Look for opportunities to diversify: With limited budgets, you can’t focus on all channels all the time. Research and segment your audience, identify customer journeys, and select the best channels to engage them – whether that is across email, direct mail, online and offline events, ads, search – develop the right mix of physical and digital engagement for your audience. This is key to helping brands cut through the noise.

Personalize your marketing messages: We are not talking about adding first names to the mailer or email but using all the information about the customer to create the perfect offer. Companies like Lob do this well by integrating with CRM systems to help design direct mailers that are personalized to demographics, geography, color choice, image, and previous activity.

Content Strategy: Repurpose existing top-performing content. Marketers can turn eBooks into a webinar, blog posts, infographics, and much more. You’ve already created a piece of compelling content; the goal is to now get the content in front of a larger audience by giving it new life. Repurposing content allows brands to reach new audiences, reinforce their messages, and improve organic visibility.

Foster your community: Sites like G2 were born because we trust the recommendations of our peers to make purchasing decisions. Encourage your brand advocates to post honest, detailed reviews for buyers to benefit from – nothing like a good, balanced review bank to shorten the sales cycle. Additionally, these reviews can help fuel future features, strategies, and offerings.

Five daily marketing practices every CMO should follow in your view.

  1. Customer calls: Everyone has a full calendar. Often the first meetings that are canceled are the optional customer and prospect calls as well as SDR meetings. It is critical to be the fly on the wall as your sales teams pitch your product to a potential customer. There is no better way to hear how customers want to use your product, or how your teams are pitching your solution than to be a silent participant in the discussions that either win or lose new business.
  2. Engage in social listening: Listen to what is being said about your brand and industry. Stay plugged into social channels, track industry developments, and engage with customers and prospects that are sharing their voices with the masses. If you have the opportunity, jump in and join the conversation! There is something extremely compelling and earnest when brands take part in the conversations that are driving not only their sales leads but their entire industry.
  3. Measure and analyze your campaigns: Always keep a record of campaign performance and channel attribution, both physical and digital. Study audience behavior, and how they interact with content. Don’t stop with number crunching. Leverage these insights to evolve your campaigns and strategies to reach the largest possible audience.
  4. Say thank you: This one is self-explanatory, but often missed. Your people are your biggest assets, and it can be easy to forget to celebrate the wins. While I have had to learn how to stop and smell the roses, I constantly remind myself of the importance of saying thank you.
  5. Cut the jargon: Evaluate marketing messages and make sure they are clear to someone that does not know your industry. Challenge writers to write copy without jargon or modifiers. We want to stand out, but we also want the buyer to understand what we do without hesitation or further research.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!

A true omnichannel campaign covers both physical and digital channels. When you think of omnichannel marketing, you often think of consistent messaging and connected touchpoints across all your digital channels. However, a recent study we conducted found marketers that integrate direct mail into their omnichannel strategy see an increase ROI of 27%.

As companies learn how to operate more sustainably, direct mail has followed suit. Marketers can make direct mail more eco-conscious by using sustainable materials, hyper-personalized targeting, and promoting ESG initiatives, which not only increases ROI but also serves as a major market differentiation.

Now more than ever, marketers are transforming legacy direct mail processes with automation and technology, ushering in a new era of direct mail that is personalized, trackable, measurable, and drives bottom-line impact from customer acquisition and retention, CLTV, and revenue.

For enterprise marketers, direct mail is a piece of the marketing strategy puzzle: Companies are integrating direct mail into their existing omnichannel strategy with email, marketing automation, and data from their CRMs. Ultimately, when you modernize your direct mail, you make it infinitely more efficient, and you can integrate it with your digital channels to make your existing campaigns more effective.

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