Q&A with SAP’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Alicia Tillman


30-second abstract:

  • Delivering a extra purposeful model narrative and consolidating all of the communication behind that was one Alicia’s largest challenges at SAP, to this point.  
  • Technology is the spine that permits manufacturers to run at scale. But there must be a stable course of round it, that basically works to outline your aims and the way you’ll measure success.
  • Companies have to work lots more durable to get nearer to the client and higher perceive their needs and expectations. Based on that they’ll form an operation that may appeal to the purchasers, and preserve them for all times.
  • The largest pattern goes to be round buyer expertise and the way entrepreneurs can lead the event of an distinctive expertise, that they’re providing to their prospects.
  • Marketers have to see their function in bringing worth to the corporate. If they see that and embrace it, and lead with it to drive elevated worth, then they are going to at all times win.

2019 noticed SAP being named as one of the vital influential manufacturers on this planet by BrandZ.

Under the stewardship of Global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Alicia Tillman, the multinational software program company has centered on speaking a extra purposeful model narrative, and appeared to offer their prospects an expertise that they really wish to have interaction with.

We spoke to Alicia about her SAP journey to this point, and what we will count on from them in 2020:

Q) Tell us about your background and the way you turned CMO of one of the vital influential international manufacturers immediately?

“Prior to becoming a member of SAP, I spent 11-years at American Express, the place I used to be accountable for advertising and communication for his or her journey companies model.

“Following that I used to be initially introduced into SAP in 2015 to assist remodel considered one of their manufacturers — SAP Ariba — which was included into their portfolio about three years previous to my becoming a member of.

“It was an awesome alternative for me to work with their new President to supercharge their innovation engine and actually see how we might financially develop the enterprise, which we managed to do by double digits for eight consecutive quarters!

“Based on that success, I was asked by the then CEO Bill McDermott, to become the global CMO of SAP and I have held that position for over two years now. So a very exciting journey for me, so far!”

Q) As you talked about, you’ve gotten now been the worldwide CMO of SAP for 2 years, what have been the 2 largest challenges to this point, and the way did you deal with them?

“The first actual factor that I wished to do was to make sure that we had a really clear understanding of SAP’s function, and the worth we ship to our prospects. I noticed that whereas we had many marketing campaign messages, they weren’t anchored underneath a singular model narrative. This was essential for me to repair. 

“SAP is an organization that was based 47-years-ago with the aim of serving to the world run higher and enhance individuals’s lives. That’s such a fantastic and genuine function, that basically resonates a lot immediately, based mostly on how consumers select the manufacturers they wish to accomplice with. I actually wished this to be on the core of how we inform our story. 

“So in mid-2018 we wrote and launched our first model narrative, which has served as a beautiful rallying cry for our staff, and in addition introduced an actual sense of readability across the function of SAP and the collective worth that we ship to serve our prospects.

“My second problem was to then ship this new narrative in type, that might actually resonate with many individuals. In the B2B house we spend a variety of time messaging and advertising to choice makers. But there’s a lot affect within the shopping for course of immediately and, due to that, our message must be related to quite a lot of audiences. 

“So I  labored laborious with my staff to humanize the story we have been telling, making certain that it was resonating at an emotional stage, and that once we advised our story, we have been exhibiting up in new areas and providing thrilling experiences. We wished one thing enjoyable and strange and the end result drew a really emotional connection with lots of our consumers and influencers that we wished to achieve. 

“That was a pretty significant change in direction that I led for the business. So I would say those were two of the new opportunities that I really led since I’ve come into the role here at SAP.”

Q) How has advertising expertise aided you in your function to this point?

“Technology is, in so some ways, the spine that permits us to run at scale. I will likely be fast to say that if you’d like tech to achieve success in your operations, then you definately want a stable course of round it, that works to outline your aims and the way you’ll measure success. 

“This will then offer you an concept about how individuals have to function alongside the expertise and the way it will help to allow your success.

“For instance, this 12 months we embraced the ‘experience management platform’ at SAP, and so we acquired an organization known as Qualtrics, who’s within the expertise administration house. 

“Essentially what it does is, it helps companies gain access to a new form of data that really help them to get closer to the customer. It does this by understanding the customer’s feedback, wants and needs, and then consolidating that into a system of action, which helps the companies to serve them better and give their customers what they truly want from them as a company.”

Q) Can you give us a quick perception into your course of behind implementing the tech?

“Sure, to offer you an instance, as a part of SAP’s worth proposition we provide expertise to entrepreneurs and, firstly of this 12 months, we launched a brand new advertising automation expertise in all of the markets that we function in. 

“Our deployment and implementation staff then labored carefully with the sphere entrepreneurs to  handle via and construct a course of round, how the day-to-day marketing campaign administration will work, and the way is it going to vary by market, as there isn’t any ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the method. 

“This collaborative mission helped us put in place a system that educated and assisted the marketers who engaged with our tech. By building that understanding, the users knew what was going to change and, then, what would be the process in terms of roles and responsibilities of who managed what relative to the campaign management and how we were measuring success. So it was not only technology, implementation, but also it was process, development and change management that went hand in hand alongside.”

Q) People and function have been clearly core to every little thing SAP did in 2019. Are you cheerful with what you’ve gotten achieved this 12 months? What was your favourite spotlight?

“Very pleased, sure. We positioned SAP’s story round expertise administration this 12 months. Oftentimes firms are chosen based mostly on the standard of the expertise they supply. We’re within the enterprise of serving to our prospects win on this expertise economic system, and we centered our advertising efforts this 12 months, on showcasing what this implies. I feel we’ve completed a very nice job in capturing the ‘share of voice’ round expertise administration and the way we assist our prospects win. 

“To offer you an instance, we just lately ran a marketing campaign from September via to November. We wished to base it round an expertise that basically mattered to individuals, and so we picked the ‘daily commute’. So we hit the streets in Manhattan and San Francisco to conduct analysis and located that: 78% of the individuals wished to see extra greenery of their commute; 73% wished a change of surroundings; and 88% wished a extra snug commute.

“Based on all that information we arrange pop-up activations in New York and San Francisco and provided a number of issues like an city flower backyard, the place we had SAP model ambassadors hand out flowers to commuters as they move by. We additionally created a scenic and enjoyable photograph backdrop, the place commuters might take selfies. And we created a commuter lounge, which had snug chairs, a therapeutic massage therapist and a violinist, amongst different facilities.

“All this was done to have an emotional, personal and authentic connection with our customers. And it worked. We had over a million impressions from all of the social assets that we had of the activations. Thousands of people visited the activations in both cities, as well. So we were really happy about doing something different, showing up in a meaningful way, and doing it all around this idea of understanding what people want and then creating an experience based on that.”

Q) Looking ahead are you able to inform us your imaginative and prescient for SAP in 2020? 

“There are some things that I’d actually wish to deal with going ahead. The first is, proceed to allow our prospects to share their suggestions extra deeply with the manufacturers they select to work together with, after which see how one can harness that data and motion it into one thing significant throughout our operations. 

“We  consider that issues like buyer expertise, customer support, creating memorable experiences round your model are going to stay a precedence for firms, and in order that’s the very first thing that I’d say you may sit up for with SAP, as we transfer into 2020. 

“Secondly, we’re going to proceed to display the genuine function of SAP throughout each contact level of our advertising journey. This is essential as a result of 91% of shoppers immediately say that they’d change manufacturers in the event that they discovered a distinct one, which was extra function pushed. 

“So shoppers completely are selecting manufacturers which are centered on giving again and doing good. I feel it is a reflection, not solely of our present workforce, however it’s definitely a mirrored image of the workforce that’s persevering with to return into our market as effectively, and we’ve got to concentrate to that. 

“And, finally, I would like to keep an eye on modern technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and the increased use of data around the experience — and see how these can help us provide better, and more relevant value to our customers, and how that in turn will help shape the company’s operations.”

Q) Obviously buyer belief is at a low level in the intervening time, and persons are holding manufacturers to the best requirements on the subject of their information. With that in thoughts how do you win again the patron’s belief?

“There is an incredible belief deficit proper now. Gartner’s latest report confirmed that 80% of CEOs consider that they’re delivering an distinctive buyer expertise whereas solely eight% of shoppers agree with that assertion.

“There is an enormous disconnect there and that has occurred resulting from a lot of causes. The first being misuse of buyer information. There must be continued transparency. When it involves information assortment, most prospects are prepared to share their data, so long as they know it and that information is used to offer them with a greater expertise. But the truth is that there’s been a variety of misuse of information over the latest years and so firms have lots to get well from that. 

“The second issue is the rise in competitors. There is a lot alternative within the market immediately. People are leaving manufacturers lots sooner if their expertise isn’t dwelling as much as expectations. So, firms have to work lots more durable to get nearer to the client and higher perceive their needs and expectations. Based on that we will form an operation that may appeal to them, and preserve them for all times. 

“So, those are the two biggest things that I would say are the issues that we’re faced with. But equally, there are very clear opportunities for us to think about how to overcome them, so that we can win trust and we can keep customers for life.”

Q) Can you give us your key developments, each within the digital advertising and martech sectors, for 2020?

“The largest pattern goes to be round buyer expertise (CX) and the way entrepreneurs can lead the event of an distinctive expertise, that they’re providing to their prospects.

“I feel entrepreneurs getting access to expertise and experiential information — and utilizing it to drive a stable operation which in flip drives an distinctive expertise — that’s going to be the most important focus of entrepreneurs.

“It is a marketers’ market right now to really help drive increased value to the benefit of the customer, because we live in this experience economy and I think that marketers have the ability to really help shape that CX in the companies that they work for.”

Q) With all that mentioned, how do you see the function of CMO altering and what recommendation would you’ve gotten for these simply beginning their advertising chief journey?

“I feel as competitors evolves, as belief erodes, and as firms look in the direction of progress — there’s at all times going to be stress on the CMO to stand up and assist chart the course in these environments. That is at all times going to be the case. 

“Oftentimes, the scrutiny that you simply discover on the advertising function is extra of a name for elevated worth and management in periods the place there’s excessive competitors within the market, and that’s what I feel we have to keep in mind. 

“I don’t think that the role of the marketer, frankly, is, nor ever should be, questioned. What we should be questioning is the evolving nature of the value that a marketer brings to a company. Because I do think that evolves and shifts, based on a number of factors. Marketers need to see their role in that. And if they see it, and embrace it, and lead with it to drive increased value, then marketers will always win!”



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