Croc bolsters strategic social capability with Rabin appointment

Meet Tom Rabin, the latest addition to our award-winning B2B social media team.

Tom joins from social media communications agency, 1000heads, where most recently he was working as an Account Director in their Sydney office, looking after accounts including Google, Intel, Samsung, and Microsoft.

At The Crocodile, Tom will be leading social strategy and campaigns for tier one accounts including London Stock Exchange Group, Videojet, and Verizon Media.

The Crocodile’s Account Directors are among the industry’s best, combining top-end skills across strategy, planning, client relationship management, and team leadership.

The Crocodile’s Head of Social Media, Robyn Pierce, says: “The demand for talent in B2B social is at an all-time high. We are delighted that Tom has chosen to join the team. As well as being a confident and accomplished Account Director, he is an exceptionally talented social media practitioner with a deep understanding of how social media fits within an integrated marketing environment.”

Peter Berg joins The Croc as Senior Copywriter

The Crocodile continues to attract the very best talent in the B2B market with the appointment of senior copywriter, Peter Berg.

He joins us having built a wealth of experience at the likes of Earnest and April Six working on accounts including Facebook, Cisco, Microsoft and O2 to name but a few. He hails from Minnesota, along with Prince, Bob Dylan and the Coen Bros, and (like those noir-loving brothers) has a passion for script writing (cop thrillers) as much as copywriting and creating big ideas.

Creative Director, Chris Tongeman says: “At The Croc we believe in the importance of data and technology in getting in front of more of the right people, however unlike many others we also believe in the importance of ideas, experience and creativity to convert those moments into meaningful engagement. This requires intelligence, critical thinking, customer empathy along with the bravery to make a creative leap beyond the obvious. It takes people like Peter and we’re delighted to have him on the team.”

CX Shorts: Let’s talk tech

Next in our CX shorts series, we’re diving straight into one of the key buzzwords around CX: tech. So, who better to talk to than Charlotte Kennett, Global Customer Marketing Manager at Blue Prism, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provider?

Charlotte has picked up on a key stumbling block in CX: many B2B brands are starting to talk the talk, but few are walking the walk. It’s something the industry is famous for. And for her, tech is the way to fix that.

Take a look at our first CX short, where we hear from Sylvia Jensen about the end goal for a good CX strategy. Look out for our next short coming next week!

CX Shorts: The end goal

The first in our series of CX shorts, we’re asking marketers what good CX means to them and (because true end-to-end CX is a tough ask) how the industry can get there.

After our first #IAMCX event, Sylvia Jensen, VP of EMEA Marketing at Acquia talks about the end goal of a CX strategy. ‘Loyalty’ is the obvious answer, but Sylvia believes there’s a higher goal.

Anje Pearson joins from LBi Digitas

We’re really pleased to welcome another quality strategic hire, Anje Pearson, who joins as Account Director. (That’s ‘Anya’ by the way, never ‘Angie’!).

Having spent the last four years working with LBi Digitas she brings best in-class experience in digital strategy and execution, working with the likes of Unilever and Auto Trader. Not to mention a plethora of booze brands from beer to wine, hiccup!

Managing Director, Jason Talbot says: “We have a really simple plan to build a great agency: hire people who are the best at what they do. Anje not only comes with a great depth of strategic experience she also has the human characteristics that make her a great fit at The Croc – a smart, likeable problem solver that has the courage to want to do great work. We’re delighted to have her as part of the gang.”

CX: The Good, The Bad and the Gameplan

Yesterday, market leaders from SAAS, loyalty, FinTech and professional services gathered at The Trampery, Shoreditch to participate in the first in our series of CX events.

Importantly, the speakers covered the pitfalls and problems faced when implementing a CX strategy, as well as the huge opportunities available in emerging tech, and the value of the human touch.

We were dazzled by Charlotte Kennett from BluePrism sharing hands on experience of a business that has gone all-in on CX. Organisationally they have designed an infrastructure focused around a fantastic end-to-end customer experience, with a dedicated Experience C-Suite. Key advice included reviewing where your marketing spend is directed, focussing more on post-sales marketing, and making sure you get closer to all customer facing functions, regardless of specific job titles and departments.

Leanne Chescoe from Demandbase made a compelling case for where ABM sits within the overall scheme of things. She challenged us to consider building fewer quality relationships over anonymous volume and showed the tangible impact personalisation can have.

Our own Jason Talbot made the case for why marketing department heads need to get ahead of the curve on CX, as it’s still in relative infancy in Europe. He went on to explain why it has never been more important for marketing to look at the business through the eyes of customers – to look beyond the funnel, and start thinking across the whole customer lifecycle.

Charlotte, Leanne and Jason were then joined by Sylvia Jensen from Acquia and Fraser Stark from Influitive, making for a really informative and lively panel discussion. The most important outcomes were around changing our attitudes as marketers. We need to apply more care to actual paying customers, and design relationship strategies that include advocacy programmes. Cross-department journey mapping was also identified as an absolute must, to help identify initiatives that get the ball rolling and have a positive customer and commercial impact.

CX for us is about marketing to individuals and making marketing more human. There is no one-size fits all strategy, but the way to improve your own strategy is to get advice from others going through the same process and get buy-in from the top. We learnt a lot ourselves from the event and are looking forward to putting on the next one – watch this space!

The First B2B Partner for Adobe Customer Experience Cloud in EMEA

People buy experiences. Not products. 

Customers across B2B2C markets now live, work, and play in a world driven by decisive moments. To compete, it’s essential to orchestrate customer experiences across services, platforms, and devices, in order to meet ever-increasing expectations.

To help our clients address these challenges head on, we’re pleased to announce The Crocodile’s appointment as the first official B2B partner of the Adobe Experience Cloud in EMEA.

Together we bring full-stack capabilities across brand, data, and technology to help our clients create fully integrated digital foundations to deliver revenue-driving, personalised, cross-channel experiences.

Delivering conversational marketing with the ultimate digital foundation

  • Brand: We build beautiful, strategic experiences powered by Adobe Experience Cloud, providing brand messaging, visual identity, UI/UX, customer experience design, and campaign strategy services.
  • Data:  We personalise your cross-channel experiences by intelligently organising rich customer data and blending it with the decisioning power of the Adobe Experience Cloud.
  • Technology:  We unlock the full potential of the technology, transforming it into marketing strategies that deliver exceptional customer experiences.

The Crocodile’s managing director, Jason Talbot, says: “Our vision is to help marketing departments fulfil the promise of customer experience-led strategies to create true distinction in cluttered markets. In B2B markets especially, we’re really excited at the significant performance impact this can have for market leaders looking to expand their advantage, or market disruptors trying to shake up the status quo.”

CXy Series: Part 2 – No BS fundamentals

by Jason Talbot

In Part 1 of the series I made the basic case for CX. So, if we’re building a CX battle plan, what would be our basic principles?

I think it boils down to five principles. Experiences must be:

  1. Seamless. It’s time for channel-agnostic experiences everywhere customers interact across all aspects of the business – sales, service, marketing – unified as one.
  2. Orchestrated. Every interaction must pick up where the last one left off.
  3. Contextual. Data such as location, device, customer journey, previous interactions and purchase history all needs to be considered.
  4. Convenient. Move at the customers’ pace. Don’t rush or try to force them, instead provide help and support along their journey.
  5. Responsive. Customers want it quickly – whatever it is! Conversations happen in real-time, so don’t miss the moment!

Everything on this list is familiar. Theoretically it’s charted territory. But when it comes to implementation across the whole customer journey, these principles show a business where every part works in unison – across the digital and physical, human space. It’s a bloody formidable feat.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t going to be easy – but it is achievable. Let’s consider some fundamentals first:

One: Senior management buy-in.

Now, in my opinion, if management don’t get, buy into or accept the role of marketing itself, then it might be worth trying this somewhere else. However, in my experience the best CEOs tend to be naturals at marketing and as they continue bend their heads round this you better be ready. Don’t say I haven’t warned you.

Two: Gaining a clear handle on the issue:

It’s essential to move from an abstract notion of CX and have a clear notion of what it means and how it might apply to your business.

We are still a long way off from mass-adoption and those who get ahead on this now will be ahead of most of their peers. Don’t get lost in the tactics – what’s important is to gain a perspective on the big picture. Look at where the component parts fit together.

Three: Address credibility issues:

Before taking the helm of cross-functional teams for delivering a superior end-to-end customer experience, first make sure the marketing function can already demonstrate good form in end-to-end customer marketing.

The thing is, I see a lot of focus on the funnel, but I see less in the customer phase. Back in the old BTL days CRM was a marketing strategy in itself:

Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.”

CRM is often viewed in terms of technology in B2B. Like most things tech has a role to play, but the marketing strategy has to come first. CRM is far more than just a platform.

It’s time to design strategies across the whole customer journey. Too many of us have got ourselves stuck in the funnel and have left the actual “customer” piece to other departments.

Marketing needs to reclaim CRM and design strategies with an end-to-end view that informs, rewards and surprises throughout the customer lifecycle. Try thinking a little bigger than emails or newsletters.

Let’s not be complacent and remember marketing has always been about more than one ‘P’ (be it promotion, product, placement – you name it). Let’s get the foundations in place to make marketing the obvious choice to lead the CX agenda.

Best Content. Best SME. Best CX.

The 2018 International B2B Marketing Awards shortlist has been announced and The Crocodile, with LSEG AIM, have been shortlisted in three heavyweight categories:

  • Best Use of Content Marketing
  • Best Customer Experience (CX) Initiative
  • Best SME-Targeted Campaign

Jason Talbot, Managing Director says, “when planning any programme the hope is to create high-value moments across the whole customer journey capable of driving growth and relationships. I believe the three categories we have been shortlisted for is evidence that we have been successful in hitting this balance with the AIM campaign. The collective client and agency team continue to do a great job and this is great recognition of their effort and quality”.

The Croc Sponsors 2018 B2B Marketing Awards

Here at The Crocodile – across every section of the agency – we have a culture that looks to surpass the expectations of our clients. We recognise and celebrate excellence on a daily and weekly basis, so it only seemed natural for us to sponsor the B2B Marketing Awards again in 2018, now our third year running.

The Awards are a great benchmark for how agencies and clients alike are performing, after all we’re in an incredibly competitive industry. We were lucky enough to pick up a bit of silverware last year with Standard Life in the hard-fought Best Lead Generation and Nurture category, and like so many we also go into this year’s Awards with high expectations.

This year the theme is: Artists of Change – recognising the artists crafting the industry’s best work. We like a good theme here at The Croc and last year we had great fun with the ‘Beast’:

Watch this space to see what we come up with this year. Now, which words can you put before Artist…..?

The shortlist nominations are out this Friday, so save some finger nails. I would like to wish everyone that has entered the very best of luck… including ourselves!

By Jason Talbot

Engaging with SMEs across the UK

Nectar Business and its coalition partners wanted to raise its emotional connection within the SME community. A high profile nationwide campaign was required to make SMEs feel like Nectar is on their side, acting as a secret weapon that will reward their business expenditure.

The ‘Festival of Points’ campaign strategy was able to drive top level awareness, raising the profile of Nectar Business and the partner brands, and then go beyond this by creating rewarding customer experiences with high levels of engagement across channels, including:

– Newspaper print adverts
– Paid and organic social
– Emails
– Campaign landing page
– PPC and display banners

At the heart of the campaign was an interactive points competition, boosting engagement. The competition creative used a combination of quirky imagery and animation to represent each partner brand, delivering high levels of fun, engagement and personalised rewards.

The winning mix of campaign strategy, great content execution, targeted media and cross-channel orchestration resulted in better results than ever before:

• Over 45K leads from campaign landing page
• 12.7K competition entries from social media
• Huge spikes in positive brand sentiment

Lights, camera, action: Live streaming at Ignite 2018

by Lotte Wilkinson

For the second year running, we were delighted to be the official live streaming partner of the world’s largest growth marketing event, Ignite 2018 hosted by B2B Marketing. And this year we went bigger and better!

Production…

Our carefully planned production schedule and broadcast studio were geared up to stream event highlights and exclusive content live from the 1-day event. This included opening and closing keynotes, a session on industry hot-topic: customer experience, and interviews with highly-respected B2B gurus, presenters and exhibitors – from the likes of LinkedIn, Salesforce and Marketo.

Top quality broadcasts with high production values, were achieved by our on-site team which consisted of a presenter, producer/art director, camera crew of two, a sound engineer, production assistant and social media specialist. Notice: multiple camera angles, audio quality, on-screen branding and captions, professional-standard interviews etc.

Highlights…

Opening keynote on behavioural science in B2B marketing from Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy Group UK:

The Crocodile’s MD Jason Talbot talking CXy Marketing:

Watch all videos from the day here: www.facebook.com/marketingB2B.

Impact…

In total we produced 13 live videos, which resulted in:

  • 17,000 individuals reached / online event ‘attendees’
  • 1,577 post engagements (an 18% increase on last year)
  • A strong 10% organic engagement rate
  • 24% increase in video views versus last year

The day was a challenge – as all live streaming is – but one we relish with our well-oiled production machine. The team is proud of the huge success of this year’s broadcasting, and pleased to have the opportunity to push ourselves to exceed last year’s efforts in terms of approach and technical skills.

Want to talk about how live streaming can support your campaign or event? Get in touch.

CXy Series. Part 1 – Why B2B Marketers should give a XXXX

By Jason Talbot, Managing Director

As marketers, we can get so caught up in strategy, that we forget the most important part of the process: our customers and their experience with our brand.

Speaking in the Customer Experience (CX) stream at Ignite 2018 this week, I urged B2B marketers to keep CX front of mind and to be prepared to lead the conversation with their CEOs going forward.

Much has been written about CX and when I speak to people it’s clear many see it as another lofty abstract idea or soundbite from the jargon list of marketing. I’m of the opinion it’s a big deal that’ll have positive, far reaching consequences for our profession.

And apparently I’m not alone in this opinion:

Today’s reality is that customers conduct a referendum on your brand every day. That’s across every aspect of the business, across every touchpoint. They’re not thinking in channels or departments, all they care about is the overall experience and how you make them feel.

I don’t subscribe that these expectations are exclusive to B2C – of course they apply to B2B marketing. B2B or B2C, when we start looking at the world through the lens of CX, customer expectations are set by the daily exposure ‘people’ have to – well, everything!

And the forward-thinking companies have not only realised it but they are tapping into it. They’re chucking outdated product or silo-led strategies and are pivoting to customer-led strategies. This train has already left the station, don’t get left behind.

I’ll also wager over the coming months/year the CEO party line will continue to shift from “digital transformation” to “customer experience”. It seems to be the natural progression from a more operational led statement to a benefit and growth-based statement. As marketers it’s definitely time for us to challenge our perspective on things.

Peter Drucker, called the ‘father of business consulting’, and in my mind a marketing rockstar had high expectations for the industry. I LOVE THIS QUOTE. He’s telling us to stop managing channels and platforms and realise our true value – making happy customers.

This couldn’t be more relevant right now. We’re in a world where customers have never been more sceptical about brands, about big business and are even paying to ignore digital marketing!

As marketers we should all be in the business of building trust, relevance and stronger customer relationships. The customer experience agenda should matter to us as B2B marketers, because CX is a business strategy that can place marketing right back at the heart of business. Let’s make Drucker happy, by making our customers happy. It’s what he would want.

 

Article 2: No BS Fundamentals

 

Live-streaming Ignite 2018 to the world

Being asked to live-stream the world’s biggest B2B marketing growth event to marketers across the globe is an exciting brief.

And after the huge success of Ignite Live 2017, we plan on making it bigger and better for 2018. It plays to everything that excites us: video, social, mobile – it’s real-time and it’s conversational. Viewers can get involved, share opinions and interact, which makes it a great digital event experience, second only to being there in person.

If you’re interested in taking part, drop us a line – it could be time for your 5 minutes of fame.

Jason Talbot, Managing Director says: “This is the biggest B2B marketing event in the calendar and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. Extending the event experience through social is something many try, but don’t necessarily get right. A number of elements come into play from video, production values, art direction, as well as building a non-attendee viewership. Last year was great and we expect this year to be even better.”