Nicole Fidler is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Hyland Software, which sells enterprise software around the world. In this episode, Nicole shares how she takes winning user experience and digital marketing tactics and customizes them for different markets. Hear what works, what’s changing and the trends that impact how today’s digital marketers promote products and services globally.
Highlights From This Episode:
- How global marketing tactics have evolved over time
- Knowing when the time's right to add new tactics to your marketing mix
- Testing and validating new digital marketing tactics
- How to scale tactics globally
- Digital marketing trends across different markets
Full Episode Transcripts
Susan Finch: Welcome to another episode of Lead(er) Generation by Tenlo Radio, a show where we help B2B and CPG marketers generate data that turns into money. And our host Tessa Burg is the VP of UX & Technology Strategy at Tenlo. Tessa and her team at Tenlo have collaborated with data science, software, and marketing experts in the last 10 years to develop and continuously evolve how a test and learn approach can effectively and efficiently help clients bring new products to market, accelerate leads through the funnel, and test new communication and sales channels.
Tessa Burg: Hello, and welcome to another episode of RapidTesting.ai. Today’s guest is Nicole Fidler. She joins us from Highland Software where she is the digital marketing specialist. Highland Software sells enterprise software around the world and today she’s going to share some insights from testing locally and scaling globally. Thanks for being here, Nicole.
Nicole Fidler: Thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here.
Tessa Burg: Nicole and I did a pre-call and I will just say we have a lot of content to cover in this episode. So we’re going to dive right in. Nicole, tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey so far at Highland.
Nicole Fidler: Well, I’ve worked in B2B marketing since 2011, with a focus on international marketing and project management. I’ve been involved with a number of major platform migrations, rebranding projects, translation projects, and overall website optimization projects. I think that digital marketing’s really evolved just as a function over the past few years. I got a master’s in global marketing management in Boston couple years ago, and they started to introduce global marketing and digital marketing really as a core function of the curriculum. And I thought that was interesting that even they’re responding, higher education, academic facilities are responding to that as a need in the market. So I think this podcast also aligns with that as something that’s growing in demand, businesses are really seen. As my role in digital marketing at Highland, our team overall, we work with a lot of analytics tools to identify trends and areas of opportunity for website optimization and campaign optimization.
Nicole Fidler: So we’ll evaluate the company’s digital marketing against our competitors, against industry benchmarks. We work to ensure that our campaigns really remain best in class. We work with digital campaign planning and execution by verticals, by regions. Really, we try to scale our campaigns across the variety of the digital mix. So our team works with a number of stakeholders in the organization to execute tactics, across PPC, across display, programmatic. We do paid social and Google advertising, content syndication.
Tessa Burg: So you mentioned quite a few tactics and it sounds like your team is involved across the board, from finding the customers, engaging them. What is the ultimate goal of all of these tactics when you roll them together?
Nicole Fidler: Yeah, our goal is really to build demand for the product and the solutions that the company offers. Digital marketing campaigns tend to focus on building brand awareness and lead generation. Really, it’s important to have a marketing mix that gets the company’s message to the target audience and different tactics support each other and amplify each other success. So we found that it’s really important to evaluate a campaign success overall, rather than looking at the results from just an individual tactic. Like take, for example, display, that’s primarily a brand awareness tactic. So if we’re measuring the result or the success of that tactic purely on lead generation, then it’s going to look pretty expensive. But if the organization were to just cut display overall, they’ll find that conversions are going to go down. PPC is going to be more expensive because they really support each other.
Nicole Fidler: We do evaluate success in a few different ways, like for paid media, we’ll look at the B2B industry benchmarks to evaluate performance for the individual channels, whether that’s engagement rate, click through rate cost per lead. But then we’ll also look in our Google Analytics to see the trends or the outliers of particular campaigns or landing pages or sections of the site. When it comes to lead gen campaigns, we evaluate the titles and the organizations that are reacting to the ads. LinkedIn, not just for lead generation, LinkedIn provides really good data on the paid campaigns, even if the prospect doesn’t fill in the lead generation form. And so you can adapt the targeting to try to improve performance that way by looking at the demographic data that’s being provided. For lead generation campaigns specifically, though, we do get feedback from our pre-sales teams who are talking directly with those prospects, and we’ll always try to alter the audience targeting if we find something, seems to be a little bit off.
Nicole Fidler: The goal with ABM campaign’s usually focused on increased engagement among the target accounts and also the success of an ABM campaign would be measured in the shorter sales cycle. So ABM campaigns is another example where you wouldn’t really look at traditional website conversions to measure results, really trying to look at something that’s more holistic. The website, I suppose, something that has multiple goals, in addition to creating demand and supporting the business in that way, we really want the website to be best in class. We want fast page load times, we want a responsive design, intuitive website navigation, and also to provide relevant content and useful search results.
Tessa Burg: That’s great. So how many markets does Highland Software have around the world?
Nicole Fidler: We’re a global company, we have partners and direct sales also in LATAM, EMEA and APAC. Our website is in 11 different localized versions, maybe a little bit more because we really want to deliver that tailored message. And the way that you would probably see that is with the different case studies, you want to get that local feel and local message to people, to that audience.
Tessa Burg: So you have this very deep toolkit that includes display, paid search, programmatic, ABM, and then at least 11 different websites. Tell us, how do you even begin to start to test a new tactic? How do you know what to scale and when, when you have this many moving pieces and parts?
Nicole Fidler: Well, I think that when you’re talking about scaling a tactic, you really want to do a lot of research. I mean, a lot of times a new tactic anymore is a new tool in the MarTech stack. So we’ll have a cross departmental team, I should say, that evaluates the different offerings in that group. We’ll get customer testimonials and actually often have calls without the vendor on the call and get calls from their end users and see how they’re doing, especially if they’re in the B2B space, also where the technology space. I think the chatbot with Drift project is a really good example, Highland’s offered chat on their website for more than five years, the traditional chat. And the goal with that was really to have five operators available, to answer questions from prospects and get the right answers in those people. And really, I think chat just as an offering has really evolved over the past few years with automation, or they’re probably calling it AI in chat.
Nicole Fidler: But you go on any leading website, especially when it comes to any leading technology website and you see a little chat in the corner offering to help, a little chatbot. And so we were seeing that our competitors were doing that, and not just competitors, but anyone who’s a thought leader in the space. So we did go down the path of transitioning off of our current chat solution and using Drift instead. And we’ve been really happy with the results. It’s been just about six months since we’ve been live with Drift and we’ve been really happy with it.
Tessa Burg: So tell me when you say you’re really happy with Drift and you’ve seen success, what kinds of things are you looking for to define that success?
Nicole Fidler: So our goal with that project specifically was A, continue to offer that best in class website experience, personalization is crucial for that, anymore it’s become expected and it makes you feel more authentic or the end user to have that kind of offering. This really offers more opportunities to customize the message in the offer by having the customized playbooks. The other goal we had with deploying the chatbot solution was reducing the noise for the chat operators. We really wanted them to be able to spend more time on active prospects rather than spending a lot of time answering common questions. One example would be people going on our website to check the status of their application with HR. And that’s not even something that our callers can do on behalf of HR. So having these little playbooks built out to answer those common questions was really helpful for the business overall. And certainly the goal is to convert more leads.
Nicole Fidler: The Drift solution was a product that offered integration with Salesforce, so that really helped prove the ROI of the product. But yeah, so this has been live for about six months at this point, we launched in the US and expanded the playbook and the support to Spanish and Portuguese. We really focused on what we identified as the highest value offering for the tool, which was personalization.
Tessa Burg: So tell me a little bit about the playbook. When you said you expanded it into the market, is that something you’re creating internal at Highland to help stand up new markets?
Nicole Fidler: We are. So the tool had some examples of how to get started, but that’s something that we really customized for our business and our needs. We have insights into what we’re commonly being asked of chat operators to begin with, from speaking with them because they are our team. And also like looking at the results in search to see what the most common questions were in our search bar. The playbook has a couple different options, like I said, personalization was key to that. And so it’s fun to do an EB test or targeting different audiences with customized openers. You’ve probably seen some websites say what brings you to the website today? And that is a nice way to get ideas for additional playbooks, but also additional content for the website, if there is a gap.
Tessa Burg: So that’s really interesting. So by testing those different openers and personalize it by market, does that also help you generate content that’s really market specific?
Nicole Fidler: It does, you’d be surprised how many similarities there are though, rather than differences. We even see that with SEO projects, take for example, Japan, we can see using tools like Rite Edge, what searches are happening in the different search engines. And we often see that people are searching for whatever the English term is globally. An example would be case management or something that’s more branded, I think that stands out for technology. One actually nuance that we see a lot though, is people will search for whatever that common term is, that industry specific term and then pair it with their city or their country. Because I think people really like to have that local field. They want to work with a local vendor or a local rep, someone who really understands their pain point and knows where they’re coming from. Other variations, I suppose, would be for specific verticals. Certainly healthcare is very different in Europe than it is here, the way that it’s talked about and the way that people are searching is going to have to be different just as a result of that.
Tessa Burg: That is really interesting. So what do you think are the top three things marketers have to do before they look at scaling a marketing tactic that has worked here really well for them domestically?
Nicole Fidler: I wouldn’t recommend initially launching a new technology or a new tactic in a really small region that maybe has a relatively limited budget. I think what I would recommend is scaling something that’s been really successful for the broader organization, scaling that in more ways. The other thing I would maybe recommend as a best practice or rule of thumb is consider the importance of multi tactic campaigning. So inbound and outbound marketing tech are really going to need to work together to make a strong campaign. Social media is one example of that, where it’s a top of the funnel campaign, so those conversions are going to need a lot of nurturing before that prospect is ready to be contacted by sales. It’s probably not going to be a tactic where someone’s ready for a phone call right away. They’ll need to do some follow-up and often email nurture streams are a good way to do that, also, retargeting campaigns.
Nicole Fidler: I think vertical specific messaging often varies globally, like we talked about a minute ago, so that’d be something that you’d want to have those nuances to find by speaking to partners or salespeople in market, to understand what nuances need to be addressed or tailored so that you come off as authentic. It’s extremely important. Going back to the first point, I often find success with planning for any horizontal campaign into the core markets and then localizing with audience lists or the local case studies or the local variations.
Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. So you mentioned a couple of tactics that we use with our clients as well. And sometimes there’s some hesitation about social and programmatic. What would you say to companies and B2B that are just now considering starting to use social for B2B, starting to use programmatic for the same reason to get awareness, to generate leads, where should they start? And then what helps it make it more successful over time?
Nicole Fidler: So if they’re just starting out for B2B social media marketing, I would really start with LinkedIn. And the reason why is because you really have a lot of options to be very specific in your targeting, you can do it with a customized account list or email list, but it might be better off to really start by defining what organization types and job titles you want to go after. Because then you can build the audience that way, you can customize by particular geographies, but also industries. You can also do a lot with exclusions, you’ll want to exclude your competitors and perhaps consultants or someone who you’ll never sell to. They’ll just be active in the market. They could potentially fall into a retargeting campaign or something else that would be a catch all with that. With LinkedIn also, what I really like is that you can evolve it over time by getting that constant feedback on campaigns, by looking at what organizations are engaging with the ads, or just having impressions.
Nicole Fidler: They also have, this is something we’ve been doing lately, is lead gen forms within the platform, which I think reduces the friction for clicking on an ad to a landing page and hopefully reading the landing page and then filling in the form to get the asset. You just take a few steps away. So that’s something that makes, conversions will likely increase because of the reduction in form friction. That’s not to say that one shouldn’t use Facebook, but I think that the targeting options for B2B on LinkedIn justify any initial concerns with trying something new.
Tessa Burg: That’s great. And then what about programmatic display? I know one of the challenges in some B2B companies is, especially I think in software, sometimes the words are the same for consumers as B2B customers. So how do you make sure you’re getting really relevant awareness through that channel?
Nicole Fidler: I think that’s fair and I think that you need to build the audience in a variety of ways. And one of the ways that programmatic can be successful is retargeting campaigns by looking at the URLs, not just for competitors, I don’t think that’s strategic on its own. I would combine it with keywords, possibly competitor URLs, but then also industry, whether industry publications or industry sites that would likely lend themselves to someone who fits that persona. The good thing about programmatic is that you really are reaching a very large audience without spending a considerable amount of money per person, but it can’t be measured in lead generation on its own. It’s probably not going to get a whole lot of people filling in the form for a white paper, it’s going to influence the brand awareness and the goal be positioning you as a thought leader in whatever that subject is.
Tessa Burg: So tell me, what KPIs do you look for in programmatic? Are you able to do any type of attribution analysis where you can see when it’s on, it does play a role and then does anything change if it’s off or what kinds of testing have you done there?
Nicole Fidler: So UTM tagging is extremely important to see if those visitors come to your site and what they do on the site once they click through to the ad. There are tools that I’ve actually never used, where you have a tracking pixel and I think that they can get more information on what that person does just by seeing the ad. That probably fits more into traditional media buying rather than any kind of programmatic that pixel. But I think that the UTM is a good way to do it just because in Google Analytics, that code in there, it’s in Google Analytics. So you can see the kind of behavior that that user takes. If they’re just going to click through to your page and then bounce immediately, I wouldn’t consider that successful, but it also can tell you a little more like, well, why was that? What can I do on this page to make it more engaging for that user? Did the ad align with that landing page? Was it what they were expecting? Was it what they wanted?
Nicole Fidler: You shouldn’t have an ad, just go to your homepage, that’s going to offer too much information. You should probably be a little more specific and tailor the message for the goals of that campaign or that messaging.
Tessa Burg: That is really interesting. So we’ve been talking about some specific tactics, programmatic and social, which could be new to a lot of B2B marketers. And you also mentioned having a pretty deep tech stack, with the chat and email and marketing automation. Are there any considerations that you have to take from a tech stack perspective before extending any of these tactics or campaigns globally?
Nicole Fidler: I think so. I mean, the one thing is you wouldn’t want to have so many tools that they just overlap. It just wouldn’t be good for the organization in general. We do have a really technical team, fortunately, but I’m sure that there are organizations that have to realize that there’s a lot of training that goes into learning these tools and staying on top of these tools. There’s so many changes that happen just think of Google ad words, it changes, every year there’s new enhancements or new features that you really do need to take advantage of, or else the campaigns aren’t going to be as successful as they would have. Otherwise, you can’t just launch any tactic and leave it. You need to continually optimize.
Susan Finch: And that’s a good place for a break. We’ll be back in a minute. In the past year, marketing and sales have changed drastically. So where does your business go from here? Sign up for a one hour digital readiness session with Tenlo. We’ll talk about how you can meet your business goals using digital marketing. Plus, you’ll receive a digital readiness playbook. It’s a step-by-step guide to execute digital marketing tactics that drive growth. For more info and to sign up, go to tenlo.com that’s T-E-N-L-O.com. And now back to our show.
Tessa Burg: So Nicole, it sounds like you guys test a lot of different tactics at Highland in combination, integrated and at scale. Tell me about what tactic you see evolving, or is there a tactic that maybe is in some desperate need of an upgrade?
Nicole Fidler: No, I think this is a great question because I do think it’s important to have a multi-channel marketing mix in order to make an impression on the entire buying group. And while I don’t think trade shows are going away, nor should they, I do think it is important that they make up a smaller part of the overall marketing strategy as well as budget. Just because it’s important to run an always on campaign and get in front of that target audience throughout the year, not just present at an event that’s held once a year, maybe once every two years, that decision maker is always online or always active on social media. They’re always reading thought leadership and consistently looking through industry publications. So in order to make an impression on them throughout the years, I think it’s really important. I’ve heard that email is becoming less important and I haven’t seen that. I think that it needs to be done strategically. It’s a really good way to speak to your audience.
Tessa Burg: So when you talk about the role of trade shows changing in the overall marketing mix, what would you recommend marketers do differently when a trade show is coming up and how do they make it fit within that always on framework?
Nicole Fidler: I think that’s a good place to bring in programmatic, like you said, because there’s more options with that list that you can do. So a couple things you could do probably would be, A, have social media and programmatic campaigns leading up to the show and post show. You can do that by running the lists into the system and seeing what the match rate is and having a message that could be like, visit us, visit our booth or schedule a live demo, but it could also be whatever your core branding messages on that always on campaign. I think that’s something that you could do that supports the trade show.
Tessa Burg: I think that’s a great idea. Have you guys tested doing that with email in combination?
Nicole Fidler: Absolutely. Yeah, no, I would definitely always pair those with the email campaign too. Yeah. Well, the good thing about the programmatic or the social media offering is that you are likely reaching a larger audience rather than just using your email database, but no, I would certainly recommend including email as part of the campaign, pretty much always.
Tessa Burg: That’s fantastic. Well, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. We definitely covered a lot in regards to how companies can test local and scale global. I think some of the most important points that I’m walking away with is, it really comes down to paying attention to the content by industry and making sure that when you test initially it’s in a large enough market. And then change that content as you go out to the global scale to smaller markets. Do you have any last bits to add or last pieces of advice?
Nicole Fidler: I think that it’s really important to continually test and look in analytics. What worked at one point in time or for one particular campaign might not always work just because there’s going to be changes in the industry, changes in search behaviors, changes in what the consumer is doing. Think of voice search, ask Alexa. And so I think my recommendation would just to be always try to test new ideas, to validate and have that data.
Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. Well, thank you again, Nicole, for being our guest. And we look forward to talking with you again soon.
Nicole Fidler: Yeah, thank you.
Susan Finch: You’ve been listening to another episode of Lead(er) Generation by Tenlo Radio. Be sure to subscribe on tenloradio.com.
Digital Marketing Specialist, Hyland Software
Nicole has nearly 10 years of B2B marketing experience, with a focus on international markets.
As a Digital Marketing Specialist at Hyland Software, Nicole evaluates a company’s digital marketing against competitors and industry benchmarks. She also uses analytics tools to identify trends and opportunities for website optimization.
Nicole supports the business in digital campaign planning and execution for verticals and regions across the digital mix. She has been involved with major platform migrations as well as rebranding, translation, and website optimization projects.