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Robin North

Sr. Field Marketing Manager

Confluent

Robin explains how COVID gave her an opportunity to expand her audience two fold, and what that meant for her marketing strategy.

My name is Robin North, and I found myself in the event industry by actually starting out my career in my early 20s, doing telemarketing for a computer software company. Since then I took on the field marketing roles of all the events, and spent a good part of my career at one particular company where I did many different things, wore lots of hats, whether it was a field event or a sponsorship such as this, we had an air-show pilot that we actually sponsored and did these types of things, and had a lot of opportunity to really enjoy the behind-the-scenes activity. And now, I'm currently doing some things where it's everything virtual and some hybrid, and just trying to get back into the real field marketing aspect.

 

Marketing to a larger virtual audience

So the usual marketing was, we'd find a topic, obviously, that we felt was relevant to the field or our customers, and then we'd get the right speakers and we'd have them come out and do a presentation.Afterwards, we'd have lunch, we'd talk to them, we'd find out... Do the discovery questions. And then after that, we conclude with how could we followup with you? When covid hit, obviously, everything had to pivot to a virtual type of environment. I actually feel that that gave us an opportunity to expand our audience two fold, it also gave us much more branding awareness within our audiences, and it gave us some more opportunity to do a personal touch in a way where we could follow up with them with, whether it was swag or offer them an appointment, speak to one of our technical folks to understand exactly what they wanted to achieve. So it really worked out extremely well for us, the only thing that didn't really work that well, were, I would say, the conferences, because the traffic in conferences in a virtual environment is much different than in a physical environment. And what we were able to do with that is have our virtual booths, and then actually have to do pre-marketing before and pre-marketing after, as well as during the actual conference.

 

Qualities and outcomes of a successful campaign

Successful campaign, to me, is you set your targets based off of maybe even past experience or... It was a little difficult this past year, because we didn't know what to expect, so we were gonna get how many people virtual? Again, that comes back to doubling that number because that's what we've seen, people had more availability to join us virtually versus in-person, because they didn't have to travel, they didn't have to get approval, those types of things. Also did a lot of account-based marketing, so we actually took more of our strategic accounts and had more one-to-one opportunities with them, whether it was an engagement for a virtual zoom webinar, or it was to do something specific for them in a workshop environment, where they'd get a little bit more hands-on with our tools. So right now, we're trying to figure out what's the best way for us to be able to interact with them as we continue through this hybrid type of market and stop-go type of market that we have right now.And we're talking about doing some chalk talks, so maybe trying to get them more interactive with us as we do those. So just trying some new things. Do we win all the time? No, but we only learn that from failing and/or doing it differently the next time.

I would say that, yes, we were able to continue it again, but we had to pivot. We definitely had to work with different levels and different groups, smaller groups and larger groups. We had to work with our C-levels, VP levels versus the developer technical individuals, in a different manner. And the success that we've seen from that, is again, that they would talk and say, "Hey, did you know about this, did you know they offered this?" So word of mouth within their own organizations really helped us penetrate and be able to get into those organizations in a different manner, and be able to help them solve their problems.