April 16, 2017

How to Thrive in the Engagement Economy

Topline Summary

At one point in our conversation, Chandar Pattabhiram says “I’ve always believed that people buy candles not because they need candles, but because they need light.” As CMO of Marketo, Chandar brings a floodlight to the world of marketing, leading to an episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite you won’t want to miss.  Among his many illuminating ideas, Chandar espouses “engagement marketing” as the only way to overcome the radical shift in power from buyer to seller and proposes that we’ve entered the “engagement economy.”

Expecting a conversation about the science of marketing, marketing automation and perhaps the latest in artificial intelligence, his focus on engagement, the art of storytelling and advocacy provided a show that is as surprising as it is informative. It also got me that much more excited about attending Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit where I’ll get to hear Chandar speak among many other great speakers.  Even yours truly will take the podium, twice in fact (Monday 4/24 at 12:15 PST and Wednesday 4/26 at 9:15 PST) and then I’ll be signing books (Monday 3pm PST).  So please say hello if you’re at this event and in the meantime, here are a few of the key takeaways from my conversation with Chandar as gleaned by Renegade’s newest star intern Magda Lewandowska:

The shift from old school marketing, to new school engagement

“Listen, learn, and engage.” – Chandar Pattabhiram

Think of the last meaningful conversation you had with a friend. The conversation probably started at one point, and ended at another. Between those two points, the conversation flowed, and it adapted to perceived feedback. Pattabhiram describes adaptive marketing similarly, in that there is a continuous loop of marketers needing to listen, learn, and engage throughout the lifespan of a consumer’s relationship with a brand. Rather than launching a singular campaign to the masses (old school marketing), it’s important to consider the needs and values of the individual (new school engagement).

The art of storytelling

“The true roots of marketing lie in effective storytelling.”– Chandar Pattabhiram

Consumers are constantly surrounded by the noise of similar and multiple brand offerings. What this has done is created a shift in the power balance from marketer to customer. Storytelling allows for a brand to not only differentiate themselves, but to also create a unique engagement opportunity. When we talk about storytelling, or brand stories, we’re not referring to the attributes of a brand, or competitive advantages. The goal of storytelling is to create an emotional connection with your consumers

Principles of storytelling in the “engagement economy”

  1. Go from product-driven to outcome driven, or as Pattabhiram refers to as, “customer-obsessed” since customers don’t care about the actual product, they care about what the product means to them.
  2. Make your story memorable–facts are less important than the epic nature of the details in a good story.
  3. Be authentic–Build connections with your consumers on an individual basis.

Engagement economy in action: Marketo and Aetna

As the marketing industry’s innovation leader and best solution for high growth enterprise businesses, Marketo is focused on helping marketers shift from the traditional styles of marketing to the new style of engagement. In today’s engagement economy, it’s important to build continuous, meaningful, and relevant relationships at every step in a consumer’s journey. This focus will allow for the growth of not only revenue, but also lifetime value. By capturing what is in your consumer’s mind, you are ultimately securing long-term engagement.

Marketo has helped healthcare organization Aetna in their engagement marketing strategies, with great success. With the altruistic goal of delivering better healthcare to people, they aimed to campaign directly to employees. They have effectively combined their social channels with their own website and associated pages, creating a unique and personalized experience for their customers. After their initial investment of $500K in their campaign, they have seen a 16x return.

Meet the Guest

From Marketo’s website: As CMO, Chandar is in charge of positioning Marketo as the marketing industry’s innovation leader and best solution for high-growth and enterprise businesses. Previously as a GVP of marketing, Chandar built Marketo’s product, solution, and corporate marketing teams. A seasoned enterprise executive, he previously oversaw Badgeville’s worldwide marketing efforts including product and corporate marketing and demand generation. Prior to that, he served as VP of product and channel marketing for IBM Cast Iron. Chandar also spent time at Andersen Consulting as an advisor to Fortune 500 companies in the high-tech, retail, and oil and gas industries.

You can find Chandar’s blog here.

What You’ll Learn

  • The shift from old-school marketing, to new school engagement
  • The key principles of storytelling in the “engagement economy”
  • How not to confuse loyalty with advocacy.
  • How Aetna is applying the principles of engagement via Marketo

Quotes from Chandar Pattabhiram

  • When I look at 2017 and beyond, it’s the shift from marketing to engagement. It’s that shift from talking at people to engaging with people at every step of the journey and doing this at scale.
  • Any company from a five-person company with one person in marketing to an IBM which has thousands of people in marketing can follow the same paradigm of listen, learn, and engage at scale to do this adaptive marketing.
  • Make no mistake marketing is still the science of storytelling.
  • People don’t buy products – they buy stories, they buy emotional connections.
  • What marketers have to do is shift from the traditional styles of marketing to the new style of engagement and building continuous, meaningful, and relevant relationships at every step of the journey to ultimately drive more lifetime value.
  • I’ve always believed that people buy candles from you not because they need candles, but because they need light.