The Direct Marketing Association has named Debbie Oenning, director of Americas marketing for Sterling Commerce, a subsidiary of AT&T, as its B-to-B Marketer of the Year. Oenning was honored at the DMA B-to-B Marketing Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Oenning has helped guide the enterprise collaboration software company's sales and marketing program since 2004 and oversaw the launch of Sterling's “Don't Blink” campaign last year. BtoB spoke with Oenning about marketing and the award.
BtoB: What are the trends in b2b marketing?
Debbie Oenning: The Web continues to be a main vehicle, but I think we are going to go back to true multichannel marketing. That means understanding your customers and prospects ... and building a direct marketing program that responds to that. Direct mail might work better for one audience, but an IT audience, for example, might demand we communicate with them through email.
A lot of people have talked about doing multichannel, but they are having a hard time executing it.
BtoB: Is that true for Sterling?
Oenning: We're at a point where we have a lot of systems in place to make that happen. The technology is there to support some of this. We didn't have that before; the process to get the visibility into the customer was manual. We now have much better visibility into what our customers are doing.
We [also] worked very hard to create a consistent image and look for all our campaigns. All campaigns tie to the creative platform. Our direct marketing is no longer just about generating demand. It now also has to drive and enforce the brand and our corporate message in the market. We'll see a much greater focus on segmentation and targeting. We'll see more and more testing.
BtoB: What are the best performing marketing channels?
Oenning: There's no one thing that works perfectly for one audience. People consume information very differently. It takes seven to nine touches to get people to respond. If you always hit them with email and they don't consume information through email, you'll never get them to respond.
BtoB: Why do you think you were awarded B-to-B Marketer of the Year?
Oenning: I won this award because I have this amazing team of people I work with. ... My team worked with product marketing and industry marketing to build our Americas go-to-market plan. Once that plan was done and the goals were set in terms of booking and revenue, then we engaged Babcock & Jenkins to work hand in hand with us and come up with a new creative platform for the year, “Don't Blink.”
“Don't Blink” is an aggressive campaign that talks about key business issues people are having. It talks about how things change very quickly. It's about being prepared for those changes. We enable organizations to adapt quickly to change and grow.
We had a creative platform, but multiple campaigns. We went to market by key industries. We had a banking version, a manufacturing version, a retail version and so on. Each of those campaigns had everything from direct mail, email, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, online e-media, print media and telemarketing.
We even had a product launch during this, and it took on the same look and feel of the campaigns, and we tied it all together. For example, each of the campaigns has multistages where the prospect might first get an email, then a voice mail telling them they'd get a package in the mail, then they'd get the direct mail and that'd be followed with telemarketing. M