Month: March 2018

Field Marketer Friday: Tim French

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Welcome to BDI’s Field Marketer Fridays where we interview a new marketer every month with the goal of sharing lessons learned, insights, and perspectives about the ever-changing landscape of field marketing. This week, Tim French of Equinix joins us and brings over seven years of marketing experience ranging from social media and digital marketing on the agency side to field marketing in the tech sector.

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What is your role and summarize the number and specific types of field marketing programs you are leading:
I am a Field Marketing Specialist for Equinix’s Americas Field Marketing Team, West Region.. This includes a territory west of Denver including Western Canada and consists of five sales teams in total. The major cities in our team’s region are Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, but extends to other metros such as Portland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Vancouver. We produce around 40 field marketing events per year and our team is also responsible for two large trade shows, one in Hawaii and one in Vegas. Our team partners with global marketing teams to identify key topics/content and incorporate those programs into our field events, which include networking happy hours, professional sports games, thought leadership lunches for customers and new prospects with BDI, C-suite conferences, executive dinners, executive race car experiences and more.

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How do you measure and track your field marketing programs?
The majority of field marketing activities we do are events. Key performance indicators include number of registrants, actual attendees, leads generated, and new contacts created. More specifically, our team is interested in the number of customers and prospects that attend the event. We use an Account Based Marketing (ABM) approach for our field marketing strategy and our team has named accounts called Star Accounts. There is a major emphasis to recruit and involve Star Accounts in all of our field marketing activities.

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We track everything using Salesforce. Each activity or event has a unique Salesforce code and that’s how ROI is measured for our team – we look to see what type of influence marketing had on the overall outcome. Today, we are more focused on pushing qualified leads down our funnel vs. top of funnel. Our Sales team is measured on their ability to add new logos while our field marketing team is also measured on the number of customer references created annually.

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What are your top 3 lessons learned about Field Marketing?

  • Be flexible. We work with a lot of different stakeholders, both internal and external, which involves working with many different types of people. Adopting to change is required for this type of role as well as the ability to set and manage expectations with everyone I work with.

  • Communicate effectively with sales teams, vendors, stakeholders, and other members of marketing. Communication is our secret sauce for maximizing our partnership with sales. We schedule weekly or bi-weekly calls with sales teams either in-person or on the phone. We use this opportunity to provide a general update and summary on marketing programs, events, and anything else that should be on their radar. We also meet with the Regional Vice President of Sales on a bi-weekly basis. Here we discuss any challenges with the sales team, plan how field marketing and sales can become more closely aligned and any upcoming events or activities the team needs to be aware of. Additionally, we send out a monthly update that breakdowns everything the sales teams in our region need to know. It includes the event schedule, partner schedule, update on customer references, sales content, partner content, and any new products the team can push to the market. It is essentially a one stop shop for all things happening in marketing that sales team needs to know. We encourage them to review it, and we do our best to keep it short and sweet with quick hyperlinks. Ultimately, communication is at the heart of everything we do with sales.

  • Be organized. We’ve created with everything the sales team needs to know. It includes event lists, email invites, sales content, folders specific to customer references, invites to global event – and everything is specific to each team. Organization is the foundation for all of our team’s success.

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ABOUT TIM FRENCH

Tim French has over 7 years of marketing experience ranging from social media and digital marketing on the agency side to field marketing in the tech sector. In addition to working on the Field Marketing team at Equinix, Tim enjoys playing sports, fantasy football and exploring all the Bay Area has to offer. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Lucy, and his 6-month-old Portuguese Water Dog puppy named Humphrey (be sure to follow him on Instagram @humphreyfrench). Above all else, Tim is a shareholder of the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers.

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Tip of the Month: How to Choose a Field Event Date

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So the good news is you have your field marketing plan including the geographies you will be hosting your event in. The next step is picking a date. Believe it or not, the event date can have as much impact on the success of the event as content and recruitment.

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At BDI we think about many different schedules including national holidays, religious holidays, school calendars, local and national industry conference/trade shows. Obviously, you need to consider your internal calendar as well, especially for the local sales teams and thought leaders who will be participating.

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Here’s how we do it:

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At BDI, we use Google Calendar which is in the cloud, easily shareable and has the basic national and religious holiday calendars built into it. We then create additional calendar categories such as internal, deliverables/shipping calendar, and industry events.

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Knowing when specific cities have spring breaks, winter breaks and when they start their summer holidays is challenging because they all differ from one another. This is very important to know because many of our event attendees will take family vacations based on their children’s calendar. You don’t want to schedule an event while the local school is on spring break. Not only do we research the specific city school calendar, we also look up the 5-10 most popular suburbs where many of our attendees live that have children, and document those calendars as well. So if we are having an event in Chicago, we also consider the school calendars of Kenilworth, Naperville, Oak Park, Clarendon Hills, Long Grove, Buffalo Grove, and Western Springs, all of which are popular suburbs where families live.

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Something else to consider is your target persona. For example, if you are targeting the finance function it is important to stay away from beginning and end of month events as they tend to have mandatory month end meetings.

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Checking in with your local sales team before you schedule a date is also very important. You want to make sure your event date doesn’t conflict with planned vacations or other work related activities. In addition to your sales team, you need to make sure your topic’s thought leader is also available.

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Understanding the major conferences and industry trade shows that your audience participates in is obviously critical. Of course, you most likely already know many of these as you may be participating in some of them. However, the lesson here is to also track the ones you don’t participate in because your audience may attend these events so you should be aware.

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In short, there are a lot of moving parts to consider when choosing the best date for your event. We hope that these tidbits of information will help guide you to determine when to host your event and all the factors to consider.

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ABM in the Field NYC 2018 Tips and Takeaways

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Date: Friday, March 9th, 2018

Author: Alyssa Downing

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Business Development Institute (BDI) kicked off our ABM in the Field series for 2018 in New York City on March 1st. In business since 2001, BDI has learned tried and true methods for producing successful, invitation-only, custom roadshow events for prospects. In an effort to share this knowledge with other bright minds, ABM in the Field was born to promote idea-sharing amongst marketers. ABM in the Field has been hosted across the country 6 times since 2017 and is expanding throughout 2018. For those of you who couldn’t attend, here are some highlights from the New York City event:[push h=10]

Smaller scale, personalized events are becoming more popular: A topic of discussion at this meet up was the movement away from large trade show, conference style events to more customized, targeted and private events. The no show rate of these more personalized events typically tend to be lower. Individuals are more likely to turn out for an event that they feel is tailored to them and their professional development, than a general conference style event that they can find plenty more of to attend throughout the year.

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Direct mail is not dead: Believe it or not, many of our attendees were in agreement that a great direct mail campaign can yield stunning events. You could really wow someone and make them want to reach out and learn more just from being impressed. Never underestimate the power of a creative, thoughtful, unique piece of mail made just for your audience!

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C-Suite outreach: Utilize your CXO or higher level professional’s influence to help event recruitment and build brand awareness. One of the tactics BDI personally employs and that other ABM attendees agreed to using is sending out emails on behalf of the CEO. This message has a more personal touch and attendees will be impressed. Even if your company is not well known, a personal email from the CEO may be just what it takes for your audience to reach out and learn more.

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Emphasize the experience: Companies that are smaller, tend to have less brand awareness as they fight to expand. If this is the case for you, your marketing needs to be all about the event experience. People won’t register for your event just for the brand, like they would for Fortune 500 companies, so you need to market these events in a way that resonates with your attendees as a memorable experience they won’t want to miss.

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Don’t be afraid to follow up: Following up with your registered attendees shows that you care about their absence. Throughout our marketing campaigns, BDI follows up with event reminders one week and one day before the event, confirmation calls and see you today emails. This helps reduce our no show rates and allows us to better prepare for who will turn out at the event. Other ABM attendees felt this tactic is very important as well and some companies go as far as to call attendees with an Uber code to ensure they can get there smoothly. By doing these follow ups, you are also ahead of the game on being able to pull those name badges that you know won’t show, which gives attendees a more realistic view of how many people they will meet.[push h=10]

We hope that these highlights can give you and your company something to think about the next time you are planning an event. Thank you to all of our attendees for coming out and sharing their thoughts with us, it’s always a pleasure learning from you. ABM next stop: San Francisco, April 18th![push h=20]

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TopicPulse: Enterprise Blockchain

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Welcome to TopicPulse, a blog series about the intersection of Account Based Marketing (ABM), Field Marketing, and Content. Since 2016, BDI has produced 160 B2B events for 36 clients in 33 cities which have attracted 3,657 leaders. Needless to say, we’ve learned a ton about which topics attract attention from business and technology executives. The objective of this blog is to simply share insights so others can benefit from our experience.[push h=10]

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For my inaugural post, I would like to focus on a very hot topic for both IT and business leaders from large organizations: Enterprise Blockchain – Beyond Cryptocurrencies. While cryptocurrencies make up most of the media hype, blockchain has the potential to offer a new method for enterprises and customers to transact. Enterprises are exploring how to utilize the underlying distributed ledger technology to achieve business objectives. Organizations like Microsoft, IBM, HPE, Oracle, SAP and many others are offering Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) to help enterprises by providing an architecture, infrastructure, and resources to maintain and deploy blockchain initiatives.

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The potential impact of blockchain is significant across multiple industries including banking, insurance, healthcare, government, manufacturing, logistics and others. One of the key applications of blockchain is to reduce cost and time related to reconciliation and disputes, resulting in simplified operations. Enterprise-specific challenges to implementing blockchain include integration with data/systems, regulatory issues (especially in financial services and healthcare), auditing/logging, and authentication/authorization.

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As field marketers, we need to get better at the art of using hot topics to attract the attention of our prospects. Instead of leading with the products and services of our companies, smart field marketers are connecting the dots between the most relevant industry topics and their own marketing and sales initiatives.

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At BDI, we have clients who push back when we suggest using blockchain as a field event topic because their current product doesn’t have anything to do with blockchain. While this is understandable, if your company provides enterprise technology products or solutions and you’re not thinking about how blockchain relates to your product pipeline, I’d strongly encourage you to reconsider. Quality field events are not solely about your company and your product. Successful field events are about driving value to your audience AKA your prospects. If you create a forum where you are educating your audience on trending industry issue and providing them with a high value networking experience, your sales team will be in a much better position to build relationships. This approach more potential to result in conversations about solving their business problems with your product, which can ultimately convert them to new customers.

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Here’s the bottom line: topics like Enterprise Blockchain get more of the right butts in seats than fatigued topics such as “digital transformation” and “the cloud”. Our job as field marketers is to attract the right quantity and quality attendees to our events. Successful sales people just need the right circumstances to start relationships and great topics maximize that opportunity.

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ABOUT BDI

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Business Development Institute (BDI) is an award-winning ABM event marketing agency specializing in producing custom, thought leadership driven, client acquisition roadshows called Accelerate Events. Using an ABM approach, we are able to successfully brand our clients as thought leaders in their industry while simultaneously generating qualified leads thorough our Accelerate Events. As a turnkey partner, BDI handles all of the heavy lifting from conception of the program content, to recruiting our client’s qualified buyers, to executing the event day of.

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