Building Transformed Marketing Teams

Lynn Teo

VP of Global Marketing & Customer Experience at Wolters Kluwer

Learning Objectives

Please join the VP of Global Marketing & Customer Experience for Wolters Kluwer as she discuss transforming your Marketing teams & where to focus team rebuilding efforts.


Key Takeaways:



  • Tell me about yourself and your professional background. How did you find your way into Marketing as a profession?

  • Why is Marketing a discipline that's in need of transformation? What are the business reasons behind it?

  • Which areas of Marketing are prime candidates for change? Why?

  • Could you share some anecdotes or stories about your experience building "new school" marketing teams? How have they contributed to organizations in a positive way? How do you measure success?

  • Which areas of traditional marketing continue to be relevant as we evolve the discipline?

  • For mid-career marketers, what is the path to becoming a CMO or Head of Marketing? What skills are best aligned to career growth and what initiatives should he/she look to lead?


"My encouragement to marketers is to widen the aperture of the other cross functions that are either adjacent to them or part of their day-to-day."

Lynn Teo

VP of Global Marketing & Customer Experience at Wolters Kluwer

Transcript

Britt Erler

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Connect CMO Leadership virtual summit hosted on Quartz Network. My name is Britt Erler, QN Executive Correspondent. Thank you so much for joining us. Please welcome our Executive Speaker here with us today, Lynn Teo, VP of Global Marketing and Customer Experience at Wolters Kluwer, as she provides insights on how to build transformed marketing teams. Welcome, Lynn.


Lynn Teo

It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me, Britt.


Britt Erler

Of course. It’s a pleasure to have you here as well, and really thrilled to dive into this topic today, because we have seen so many changes in the marketing industry. Before we do so, if you wouldn’t mind telling me a little bit about yourself and your professional background.


Lynn Teo

Sure thing. I run a Marketing team and we help business unit at Wolters Kluwer. We’re a global company. I have a team that spans about 270 people across all regions, and our predominant market is in the US. The functional areas that I lead cut across all aspects of marketing, including the Business Intelligence team, PR and Comms, Marketing Strategy, Digital. It’s a broader remit than most CMOs, but I think it’s been great to be able to exercise all the levers to achieve business goals. I also run the Customer Experience team, which is defined by team members who run customer support. We have a 24/7 support function, what we call Customer Success, Sales Enablement, by way of training and bringing the best solutions to people who are already our customers, so Acquisition and Customer Retention.


Britt Erler

Fantastic. You really have seen all the insights as to how marketing has transformed in every aspect of the business. That’s really where I want to start our conversation today. Why is marketing as a discipline in need of transformation? What are the business reasons behind that?


Lynn Teo

I think that the key driver here is that organization, so waking up to the fact, the potential of marketing in driving the business. There was a time, I think in the evolution of marketing, where it was hard to measure the impact of marketing. I think now as we move to more digital channels, it’s inherently part of that channel, when you can actually measure things like impressions. You can measure, click throughs left. I think businesses are embracing marketing as a growth driver and a revenue generator, because you can now point very specifically to lists and business KPIs.


Britt Erler

Are there certain areas of marketing that are really prime candidates for change?


Lynn Teo

Great question. I do think marketing strategy is an area that’s primed for change, in the sense that you now have so many other channels you can orchestrate as you’re building out the flow or the journey. Whereas, previously, it might be more single touch. Now, you have to think multiple steps ahead. In addition to that, I would say, an area that people tend to not talk about as much, which I think is critical, is marketing operations. That is the hub of marketing, it’s where a lot of the measurement takes place. It’s also where the execution of marketing takes place. In complex organizations with very broad portfolios, at any one time, you could be having tens of campaigns happening simultaneously. When I look at my team, last year, it was about 300 multi-touch, omni channel campaigns, in addition to 1600 to 2000 marketing tactic. It’s all a function of your portfolio, so I would say marketing operations is the second one. The third one, I think, is very natural—is digital, because there is a whole different way of reaching people on social, on digital platforms, on all of the digital assets that you have. Those three areas, in my opinion, are primed for change.


Britt Erler

Now, has this transformation in these specific areas really come upon in the last several years, or was it really accelerated last year due to this new virtual world and the pandemic?


Lynn Teo

I think that they were already primed for change as recently as three to five years, but I think the pandemic just accelerated the need for those changes to happen. I think webcasts and webinars were such a natural channel that we all gravitate it to with the absence of events, but that’s inherently digital. How are you going to make sure that those leads are being fed through the funnel and nurtured appropriately? I would say the pandemic, in many ways, has accelerated the transformation.


Britt Erler

I completely agree. Can you share some stories about how you built these new schools of marketing teams, what your experience has been like there, where you started, and also how it’s contributed to an organization as a whole?


Lynn Teo

Okay, so let’s break that one down. In terms of new areas of marketing, I think data, analytics, and business intelligence is definitely an area of growth. A lot of times we think about data as a means to report something happened. We launched a couple of campaigns and these are the results that we received or achieved. That’s well and good because it helps you understand the effectiveness of what you did, but where that’s limited is your ability to predict. What might happen if you run the same campaign, maybe against a similar segment, or maybe a different segment. The trend now is more in the realm of predictive analytics, and that points me to a team that I created since 2019. We built this BI capability, where we are actually hiring data scientists. When I look at the lead of that function and my team, he comes to the table with a data science background, machine learning, AI, and those skills are transferable. You don’t have to come on currently in health, but those skills don’t have to match up with the industry. You could come from retail, you could come from defense—doesn’t matter, but it’s that discipline. Where we saw that really deliver value for the business was, in the pandemic year, last year, we had a 15 fold increase in the number of opportunities that were created. We will all, as an industry, I’m in health—we’re trying to do the right thing to be sure that we are equipping clinicians, medical professionals, healthcare professionals with the right information they need. To that end, we did a lot of trials. We gave out trials to people that we felt could really benefit from our products, but that led to a 10 fold, 15 fold increase in the number of people requesting trials. We needed to figure out a way to work through those leads, in a manner that whether you know, the more prime opportunities rose to the top, and that there was a stratified way of working through them, because our sales team did not multiply as a result of the multiplication of OPS. I thought that was a very real example. Applying data analytics and prediction, and grading the opportunities based on historical trends that we’ve seen, combined with the Intel that our sales reps tell us about certain color commentary about accounts, time of the year when the likely to renew. I thought that that was just a fabulous way to bring data to the fore and have that empower the ability of a business to close on the right deals more quickly. We saw also in that scenario, an acceleration of the funnel—the sales funnel. Typically, we would have leads that would take anything from 150 to 170 days, post scoring. We found that the acceleration happened. We were seeing leads convert in 115 days. All very tangible KPIs. I think it’s opportunities like that that happen, kind of in the world that really challenged marketers to be solution-focused, unique, and resourceful.


Britt Erler

How are you measuring the effectiveness, the success of these new teams that you’re putting in place?


Lynn Teo

I think some of the metrics I’ve mentioned, what we call funnel velocity, rate of conversion, at every level of the funnel. You can generate a baseline measure, and then you kind of put your programs in place, and you measure what the lift is. In some cases, you may not be able to measure sales right away, because of the cycle of sales. What you could do is measure kind of at each level when something becomes an opportunity just from a lead or when it becomes a sales accepted opportunity from an earlier stage lead. I think they’re all kind of hard business metrics that you could use.


Britt Erler

Now you’ve talked about all the different areas that marketing is transforming, the different areas that you believe should be transformed. I believe there are probably also some areas from a traditional marketing that will still be relevant moving board. Talk to me a little bit about your experience there and what you believe those key areas are?


Lynn Teo

The two that come to mind for me would be storytelling and brand building. It is an art, and it is a level of proficiency and communication, that is still very important. How do you tell a compelling story that resonates? You don’t have 10 minutes to tell someone about the value of a product. How do you crystallize the value proposition in a very succinct way, so that in the 30 seconds that someone is interacting with the brand, particularly at the awareness stage, that they walk away with a crystallized understanding of what you do and what’s in it for them? I think that’s critical. Then there’s a craft in how you tell the story. I think that’s where the balance between emotional benefit and functional benefit both have to be addressed, because you have to hit the core of how we all make decisions. The secondary that I think continues to be critical is the power of direct mail. The key here is not branding any channel as being an ineffective channel, but it’s all about increasing the efficiency of the channel or reducing waste of certain channels that haven’t worked in the past. What we’ve done is, again, overlaying data on top of it. Who are the segments that will actually react in a positive way based on a direct mail piece that they receive? There might be some people, some segments, where that has zero impact. They love your product, they have showed enough signs about their level of engagement, maybe something about the usage that tells you that they’re unlikely to face attrition. The key now is about if I had to send a million pieces of direct mail versus 5 million, who are the right people, and then you can bring it down to another level of abstraction when those direct mail pieces get to them. How do you weave that in with your digital touch points? We found, for example, that when someone receives a direct mail in about that same week that they receive an email—that has a multiplier effect. It’s that kind of surround sound. I think those are two areas that I would say, don’t discount them too quickly. I think for brand, it’s a given that still need it, but for direct mail, don’t discount it too quickly.


Britt Erler

I would assume as well, it kind of depends on your business too, and what you’re offering is, kind of pinpointing those key areas that are really going to move your business forward. As you said, obviously, all areas of marketing are constantly evolving, but there also are still traditional values that will stick with us as we move into this new normal that we’re seeing. I completely agree. I want to take a little shift here because you’ve provided some incredible insights not only how to transform teams, but also the marketing department as a whole. Listening today, we do have some upper level Executives, CMOs, Heads of Marketing, but we also have some people watching that are really in their mid-career, and they’re trying to figure out what is the best path for me to achieve that goal? From your experience, what is that path to get to a CMO or a Head of Marketing position?


Lynn Teo

I think there are many paths to getting there, Britt, but I can speak from my own experience, one would be cross training. You don’t have to be a deep expert in every single area. My recommendation is always that you hone your skills in about two or three areas where you know it really well, and then plan your career, so that you have the opportunity to go from a more analytical role to a more creative role, or something that is one channel and now you need to familiarize yourself with other channels. I would say cross training would be my biggest recommendation. My second recommendation would be to network and to reach out to more Senior Marketers, maybe someone who’s two years out and then another one who’s five years out. You kind of envision where you want to be and connect with people on LinkedIn, if you see something interesting. You’d be surprised at the willingness of Senior Marketing Leaders to take more junior staff under their wing, because I think the learning goes both ways. I find that I benefit a ton from interacting with more junior or earlier career, mid-career marketers. I believe that the benefit kind of goes both ways. Don’t discount the fact that you may get a few Senior Marketers who are willing to help and coach.


Britt Erler

Are there certain skills or key initiatives that people in their mid-career should really focus on and take the lead on to make sure they’re going in the right direction for that career growth?


Lynn Teo

I would say Marketing Strategy is a very important training ground. To become a head of marketing, a CMO, you need to understand how all the pieces fit and you need to understand how to activate channels. I would say Marketing Strategy is always a given. It would be hard to rise up the ranks if you don’t have a sound understanding of strategy, which I described as a way of getting from A to B. If the business needs to get to B, you need to have a firm grasp of what B looks like. Maybe it’s retention number or an acquisition number, maybe it’s making inroads in a brand new segment. Then you have to work backwards from there to say, what is the right marketing strategy to help me get there? How do I use the pieces that are available to me to get to that end state? Those would be the two things I would offer up to any mid-career marketer.


Britt Erler

Fantastic. I have no doubt that as we move forward in the next six months to a year, we’re going to see even more change happen in this function, and really how it affects all aspects of the business. As we wrap up our conversation today, Lynn, any final pieces of advice that you have for marketers during this time to make sure that they’re not only moving forward in the right direction for their career, but also for the business as a whole?


Lynn Teo

Great question. My encouragement to marketers is to widen the aperture of the other cross functions that are either adjacent to them or part of their day to day. One good example would be product. I think there’s so much that happens in product innovation that could really benefit from a marketers insight, because as marketers, you understand what the white space is, you understand what the triggers are. I would use that as one tangible example of an adjacent functionality. The other one is sales. Sales and marketing go together, because the effectiveness of marketing will be realized by sales if we equip sales with the right information about the leads that we’ve generated. I would say, look sideways to your fellow peers. Then, the other one, I would actually offer up to people who may not be in a traditional Marketing role at the moment, but maybe come from a data, maybe they are software developer, or maybe they’re a UX designer or UI specialist, which was what I was when I started my career. I really want to encourage other functions to embrace the potential of what marketing could be for them, but also their contributions to the evolution of the marketing discipline moving forward. Two pieces of advice, those who are in marketing and those who aren’t.


Britt Erler

Great advice, Lynn. I think this is going to be so helpful as we move forward during this new normal and crazy time that we’re seeing for all departments across the board. This has really given marketers a great starting point to make sure that they are moving in the right direction. Lynn, thank you so much for being here and for sharing your experience. Thank you to everyone who has joined us today as well. If you do have further questions for Lynn—not to worry, we will have a discussion forum underneath this presentation. Thank you again for joining us and enjoy the rest of the Connect CMO Leadership Virtual Summit.


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