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Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way…

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

When it comes to securing buy-in from key stakeholders for marketing technology investments, are you preparing to deliver a pitch or to woo your audience through story?

According to Zari Venhaus, Director of Corporate Marketing Communications at Eaton, the latter is essential if you want to create understanding and gain approval from stakeholders at all levels—something she knows from experience.

“If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has,” Zari told TopRank Marketing’s Susan Misukanis in a recent Break Free B2B interview. “So, we had to learn how to storytell. We had to take our roles as marketers and turn it internally and really do that for our senior leaders.”

If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has. @zvenhaus on getting stakeholder buy-in for #martech Click To Tweet

Zari and her team essentially developed a content marketing campaign in partnership with the IT team to weave the martech transformation story web. By doing so, Zari said that, “when we went to the CIO, it wasn’t, ‘Marketing’s coming to me with this new shiny penny.’ It was ‘Hey, our teams have worked together to build a strategy that really speaks to how we can move the business forward.’”

By making content marketing part of the internal process, there has been less pushback when it comes to resource allocation. So, while Zari claims she doesn’t have all the answers, it’s clear that she’s definitely scooting towards martech transformation. What advice and insight does she have for you? Listen to the full interview below.

Break Free B2B Interview with Zari Venhaus

Anxious to hear where this story goes?  Use the following to flip ahead to the juicy parts.

  • 00:39 – Zari’s career journey
  • 02:52 – Setbacks in Eaton’s martech journey
  • 05:03 – The need for storytelling tailored to internal decision-makers
  • 07:30 – How to impress the CIO
  • 10:44 – Digital transformation requires a big step back and baby steps forward
  • 12:00 – Why marketing and IT need to be best buds
  • 12:47 – Winning in martech
  • 13:57 – Is the future of content marketing text, video, or audio?
  • 15:34 – Using metrics and more to show the ROI of content marketing 
  • 17:41 – Creating the infrastructure to demonstrate marketing ROI
  • 18:31 – The untapped value of customer marketing platforms
  • 20:43 – The future of martech
  • 22:25 – How can marketers ready themselves for the future?
  • 22:54 – Scooting towards inspiration
  • 23:32 – Breaking free in B2B

Susan: In terms of marketing technology buy-in, what is the journey that you have gone through?

Zari: I think one of the things that we learned really early on when it came to martech, is that we couldn’t come to our leaders and just talk about the next shiny new thing we wanted. We were starting to get no’s, and too many no’s. 

So we really had to take a step back and think more strategically about our technology stack. What I’m actually going to be speaking here at Content Marketing World about is how to build that business case for marketing technology, how to get your senior leaders to say, “Yes.”  

We learned really early on that we couldn’t come to our leaders and just talk about the next shiny new thing we wanted… We really had to take a step back and think more strategically. @zvenhaus on #martech transformation Click To Tweet

And that’s a process that took us quite some time. So my hope is, I’ll be able to teach the people in the audience, how not to go through the same mistakes that we went through at Eaton.  We were picking the technology and just thinking that if we said the right thing, our leaders were going to sign off on whatever dollar amount we wanted them to sign off on. 

And that just wasn’t the case. We really had to take the steps to teach them what it was we do every day. If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has. So, we had to learn how to storytell. We had to take our roles as marketers and turn it internally and really do that for our senior leaders.

Susan: You’re using content marketing internally in order to get approval on a content marketing platform? That’s great. Tell us a little bit more about that CIO approval, because I imagine a lot of marketers are dealing with this.

Zari: I see the IT space and the marketing space are starting to come together so much more—particularly when you think about martech. But you need to be able to convince your IT partners that bringing in another tool is a good thing. 

And a lot of that comes down to working on the strategy with them. So one of the things we really learned was it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process. So to convince our working team, that included both marketers and IT, of the technology direction where we needed to go, and then really have them build the business case with us. 

We learned that it was it wasn’t enough to just be marketing coming to IT with an answer. We really needed to involve our IT partners upfront in the process. @zvenhaus on partnering with IT for #martech transformation Click To Tweet

So that when we went to the CIO, it wasn’t, “Marketing’s coming to me with this new shiny penny.” It was “Hey, our teams have worked together to build a strategy that really speaks to how we can move the business forward.”…It’s built a really great partnership between our marketing and IT organizations, which is really exciting to see.

Susan: Where are the “wins” happening in martech? What is working really well?

Zari: There are two things that for us are starting to work really well. And, I wouldn’t say that we’re at the pinnacle of success yet—we are still very much on the journey.  

We’ve recently onboarded a new web management platform. And I think really thinking strategically about website content is really important. 

And, what are all the connections that you need to that system? … So making sure that you’ve got a website that can scale globally … How do you have one website that works globally where you can take your content, and you can translate it, and you can move it through the translation process.  You can have it accessible in any country… How you think about writing content is different. And we’re really, I think, starting to wrap our arms around that in a really exciting way.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Previous interviews include: 


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