Tessa Burg dives deep into Rapid Testing, a marketing approach that uses small, iterative tests to generate customer insights and revenue forecasts in weeks – rather than months.
In this episode, Tessa interviews Linda Owens, Digital & Ecommerce Marketing Manager for Nestlé Professional. Linda shares how her career has evolved from focusing on traditional print tactics to digital marketing strategy. She also describes the benefit of “traditional vs. digital” tests to determine the right media mix for B2B projects.
Highlights From This Episode:
- How to make the leap from print to digital marketing in B2B
- How to prioritize media channels to get the best results
- Tips for getting buy-in from internal stakeholders in your organization
- And much more
Full Episode Transcripts
Paul Roberts: Hey, welcome to the newest show right here on the Funnel Radio Channel. It’s called RapidTesting.ai with our host … Host has been on several other shows here, Tessa Burg. Hey Tessa, how are you? You there? Looking-
Tessa Burg: Yes, we are.
Paul Roberts: Okay. You hesitated. Was there any hesitation today here? And we’re looking for good conversations.
Linda Owens: Not at all.
Paul Roberts: So tell us-
Linda Owens: I was just taking a sip of water.
Paul Roberts: Oh, I see. All right. Well, we’ll let you do that. Well, we want to thank you to the Funnel Radio Network. We know this is also the first show on the Tenlo Radio Channel. So we’re going to be on, and we’re also live streaming this on OC Talk Radio. So you’re going to be on multiple places all today here. Tell us about RapidTesting.ai. Tell us about the name and tell us about the sponsor, Tenlo, as well.
Tessa Burg: Sure. So this is Tessa Burg, and Tenlo is a pipeline marketing company. Most of our clients are B2B and CPG businesses, and our goal with rapid testing is to drive revenue and help our clients close sales faster. So on this show, we’re going to do a lot of storytelling. We’re going to give examples on how you can use the process to test new products, new messages, new experiences, new sales channels. And most importantly where we’ll be starting today is how you get executive buy in and sales team alignment.
Paul Roberts: Okay, that can’t be easy. So who’d you bring along to teach us that trick?
Tessa Burg: Yes. Today my brave first guest ever-
Linda Owens: Thank you, Tessa.
Tessa Burg: … is Linda Owens.
Linda Owens: Hi, everyone.
Paul Roberts: And can I … I have to interject one more thought here. I don’t know whether Tessa knows this or Linda knows this, but we have a tradition. And that is that whoever the first guest is automatically gets to come back on the first year anniversary and be a guest again. Just a little perk that you get for being first here.
Linda Owens: Well, I am honored. Thank you so much for that.
Tessa Burg: Yeah, that’s great.
Paul Roberts: So you’re really going to teach us how to get buy in? I don’t believe it. How do you get anybody to buy in to anything these days here? The management wants everybody else to do it, but to get them to buy into it, boy, that can’t be easy.
Linda Owens: I’m still working on it, believe it or not, 15 years into the game now.
Paul Roberts: All right. Well, I’ll step out and let you guys chat here. Welcome to the show, and I look forward to hearing more.
Tessa Burg: So again, thanks Linda for being our first guest. And for all the listeners, Linda Owens is from Nestle Professional. She has been a thought leader in evolving the role of marketing and helping to get buy in and alignment in house. So today if you’re an in house marketer, you’re going to get some insights that you can use on how to get digital marketing a larger part of the budget, how to make it more effective, and how to get buy in. And for agency side people, you’re going to get a little bit of insight into what our clients need to do to make that happen. And with that, let’s get started. So Linda, like you said, 15 years in. Tell us a little bit about where you got started.
Linda Owens: Thank you, Tessa. So my career initially started in the nonprofit marketing sector, and I quickly learned that I really need to make more money, so I better get out of this. So I moved into direct mail marketing, and that was 15 years ago. And I focused a lot on helping achieve a better customer journey for our customers by sending mail, postcard, letters. And during that time, that was the thing, right? We didn’t have the option for digital. That’s something that I didn’t even learn in college until I got out is when Facebook became popular. We had so many other different avenues to explore with digital marketing.
Linda Owens: And then 15 years later, I am here at Nestle Professional. I’m the digital and eCommerce marketing manager, and I focus on the B2B side of our business. I’ve had the luxury and the opportunity for working with many companies in a digital consultant role, as well as working for a CPG company like Nestle, focusing on the B2B side of things.
Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. So Linda and I worked together for a few years. So I know she played an integral, however you say that word, integral role in getting more share of budget for digital. Can you tell us a little bit about what opportunities were you seeing internally that led you down wanting to push digital a little bit more?
Linda Owens: Yeah, so over the years, digital and online opportunities have become so much more mainstream because of people wanting to get information at their fingertips. So the mobile phone really made a huge impact, right? So as we see search becoming so much more prevalent in that, and people going to Google, people going to YouTube, people going to Amazon, you’re realizing that people are tending not to want to speak to someone to get that information. There’s a really cool stat that I saw, and I always stay true to this, is it takes about seven to 10 different marketing opportunities or marketing flashes of information for that customer to actually be willing to talk to a salesperson. So that means we need to be in front of them in so many different ways, whether it’s on print media, whether it’s on digital, whether it’s in a sales event.
Linda Owens: So it’s really important that we have warmed up a customer before a salesperson even talks to them. So this becomes more significant because now I’m putting digital into the sales cycle, where I’m trying to make sure that, “Hey, salesperson in my company, you don’t have to make a cold call anymore. You can rely on me to doing all of that warming up for you, and the customer is now going to raise their hands and say, ‘I am interested in your product.’ And they’re going to come to us versus you going to hunt them down.” So that’s really the greatest opportunities, right? When the customer comes to you as opposed to you trying to knock on doors.
Tessa Burg: Yes, I totally agree. So I am married to a salesperson, and I think when we first met a long, long, long time ago, he did not see a whole lot of value in marketing and was maybe still to this day confused as to what I did or what I do. What are some things that you do, or what metrics do you show salespeople to help get their buy in and say, “Hey, this really is helping you. This really is driving results for you.”?
Linda Owens: So as far as metrics, we are looking at so many different things when it comes to digital. For example, if people are reading a piece of content that we write, that is going to be selling our product at the end of the day, right? So showing who are these customers that are reading our stuff. That’s so important because if I’m just saying like, “Hey, I have this great number of millions of impressions and thousands of engagements,” that doesn’t mean anything to anyone.
Linda Owens: But if I’m saying, “Mr. So-and-so at this company is reading our stuff, and they are really interested. They keep coming to the same type of topic over and over again, maybe it’s time to go and call them.” Or if I can even get them down the funnel to turn them into a lead, that becomes even more significant for that salesperson. So lead gen is like the number one important thing that I can give to a sales person. And then qualified lead gen is the second most important thing, right? Because we get a lot of leads, but qualifying them and making sure that is someone that we really want to go after is key.
Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. So what has been some of the feedback as the program at Nestle Professional has evolved from executives and from salespeople? Do they want to see anything specific more? Do they want less of something?
Linda Owens: We definitely like to provide a variety of things, right? Because at the end of the day, it’s about the customer. It’s about what the customer wants to read, and see, and view, when they want to read, and see, and view it. So it’s important to have everything from a video that may be 15 seconds long, to a webinar that may be one hour long, to a report that’s two pages, to a report that’s 25 pages. There is someone there that is going to absorb this information at some point or the other. And if we are not there in front of them when they are ready to make that decision … If they’re willing to spend an hour listening to you speaking on a webinar, you know that’s probably a very qualified customer. So we want to make sure that there is variety and options that are available for many, many different customers.
Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. I love that you take such a customer-centric approach. I know in the past when I worked on the client side, sometimes we would have a lot of requests come in to just push a message because we had a reason and we needed to promote something at that time. So I love that your approach really includes what are customers doing, what questions are they asking, and when can we be there to support them? That is awesome. So I’m going to back up a little back to the direct mail years. Are there any experiences from your offline marketing days of more doing traditional tactics that you use for digital, or that you use to marry the offline and physical experience with the digital experience?
Linda Owens: Yeah, so I remember in the direct mail days we were so focused on the creative and the messaging, and then where in the journey the customer is, right? For example, if this customer is kind of becoming a lost customer or someone that we are really not doing as much business with, we probably want to do a totally different type of messaging and creative to them. And guess what? I’m doing the same exact thing in digital right now. So when we send out emails, if it’s a customer that is not really doing much business with us, or we want to attract a brand new customer, the storytelling, the content, the messaging is completely personalized to that customer.
Linda Owens: It’s just now I can personalize even to such an nth degree with the different types of technology, like programmatic and just Google Ad Word paid search, there’s so many options to personalize. So it’s important to get the information that you are trying to share with the customer right based on their needs.
Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. And what have been some … What data have you used to help drive trying new things, like trying new tactics? Have there been any a-ha’s from that data or those insights the past few years?
Linda Owens: Yeah, results are such an important part of any digital marketing campaign. Right? That’s the one big thing that I can always say. Like if I do a print campaign, I can’t tell you much other than like, “Yeah, this many people got this magazine.” But when we do a digital campaign, everything that can be measured is measured. And that’s the greatest thing. So anything from like how long … We’re using a new tool right now as well where we can tell how long someone is spending on a piece of our content. What pages are they reading? It goes to that level of detail, which is a bit scary to be honest for me as a consumer, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to use that to learn a little bit more about my customer and my customer behaviors.
Linda Owens: So KPIs as far as the level of engagement is important. The quantity and the value of leads, that’s important as well. A lot of times … I’m also going to a more of a test and learn approach. So the greatest thing about digital, and I always say this over and over again, is I don’t have to spend as much as TV and radio, and even print magazines. I can throw in $1,000 on a Google Ad campaign, or on social media, on Facebook, or LinkedIn, and learn so much about the customer, which for me is intriguing. I love to see who is engaging with us all the time. And that makes me want to do more, and I can show that to my senior leadership to be like, “Hey, these customers are engaging with us, they are interested, and we can do more with them.” So the more visibility we can show about the customer to our leadership team, the more buy in you get.
Tessa Burg: Yes, I think that is awesome. And I know from the campaigns we do with Linda, the results are almost just as valuable as the data we’re gathering along the way. Even when things fail or don’t work, you learn something more and something different about customer behavior because it’s changing all the time, how and why, and when people research. And that’s a benefit of these real customer-centric campaigns and always thinking about what they need and what they need next.
Paul Roberts: All right, so stick around. We’ve got more on RapidTesting.ai right after this. And we just want to again remind you that RapidTesting.ai is the newest show on Tenlo Radio. It’s being syndicated here on Funnel Radio Channel, and over other stations like OC Talk Radio here in Orange County. It’s brought to you by Tenlo. Tenlo is a pipeline marketing agency that focus on quickly identifying and converting high value leads. That’s the key. Don’t just find them. You’ve got to do something with them. Visit tenlo.com to learn how you can use this magical digital marketing process to get more out of your trade shows, website, and sales support groups. It’s all waiting for you at tenlo.com, just like it sounds, T-E-N-L-O, tenlo.com. Okay. I don’t know if you guys are up for another session here, but so far you’ve got me hooked here. I’m still looking to hear how we’re going to get the buy in though at the top level.
Linda Owens: I’ll make you a believer in just a minute.
Tessa Burg: Yeah. No, that is a great question. So Linda, what would you say to other in house marketers who are trying to get those initial programs off the ground and maybe move more budget either out of direct mail, I know people are still doing that, out of print ad, or supplement those spends with some digital tactics?
Linda Owens: Sure. If you don’t have the budget to try something and prove it, at least in a small test and learn, to your senior leadership, then the way I would do it is really look at the competition out there, right? If your competitors are doing something better than you, that’s first of all, one of the best ways to kind of get our senior leadership to think twice about saying no to a digital spend.
Linda Owens: Secondly, I always love to look at what else is out there in different industries because sometimes you may be working for an industry that is far behind on digital, and that’s okay because your customers are also behind on digital. And then at other times you are working for a very … Like if you’re in a tech company, you probably have customers who are very digitally savvy. They’re going online. They’re doing a lot of research there. So it’s important to see what other industries are doing well in digital, and to show those stories. That’s why it’s important as digital marketers to always learn through webinars, through different blogs that are out there, even these kind of podcasts and radio stations, because if you are not learning and listening to new ideas, then you’re probably five years behind in implementing something.
Linda Owens: So as much as we get bogged down in our everyday grind of doing our jobs in digital, and we’re like, “Hey, I need to make this happen. I need to create this webinar. I need to do these lead gen activities,” is just as important to be on top of all of the digital trends out there, because right now probably Facebook just came up with like 20 new things that we don’t even know about, and LinkedIn just came up with like another 10, right? So if we don’t know that, there is no way we can do right by our company. And by not introducing that to our leadership team, we are taking a couple steps back in sort of working forward.
Tessa Burg: Yes, that was very well said. And you said something at the beginning that I think we see with other clients be a struggle. They sometimes think they have to have a huge budget to even try something small. And what we’ve done with Linda at Nestle Professional is just pick one segment and one type of customer, and really hone that budget in, and just spend maybe a few thousand dollars to see what happens. We’ve seen people kind of go off the rails and be like, “Oh, we have to wait three months, or we have to wait six months.” No, you don’t. If you’re picking the right population and if you’re as customer-centric as Linda said earlier, it really can take a week and sometimes pay in a volume a few days. So I would say … Oh, Linda has more. Linda?
Linda Owens: While you were talking, I just remembered this really interesting story from years ago. I was working for a company that I didn’t really have any budget, but I was trying to tell them that, “Hey, you know what? This is a great opportunity for us to be a little bit more digitally savvy.” And I didn’t really get buy in at that time. So I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to do this myself.” So I started blogging about the importance of digital because at that time I was selling digital solutions. And I just started to make myself a thought leader. So people started to contact me instead of me trying to reach out to them. And I took it another step too because I was like, “Okay, what more can I do so that I’m not constantly going to try to convince these customers that thought leadership is important, lead gen is important?”
Linda Owens: So at that time the Kindle was really one of those cool devices, and then Amazon was starting to allow us to self-publish books. So I just took a bunch of blogs, and I was like, “I’m just going to make myself a self-published author.” So I put all of those thought leadership articles together and just published a book, called A Formula for Digital Marketing, because I saw that there was nothing about B2B digital out there. You just see a digital that’s a ton of activities, and I’m pro B2B all the time. I look at my B2C digital partners, and I’m constantly telling them their job is so easy, because in B2B, our target audience, it’s so layered, right?
Linda Owens: With B2C, it’s just about the consumer. Just convince the consumer to buy a product or service. In B2B, it’s a completely different layers of industries that you’re targeting. And then within a company, you have 10 different people you have to convince to buy a product, right? It’s not just one person. So the messaging is going to be different based on their needs as well. So the complexity level really takes you in a different direction. It makes you think harder about how do I really make sure that this customer is going to close? Because I have to convince a lot more of a larger group.
Linda Owens: So yeah, I just feel like we all have the opportunity to take the reins and do our thing, and to be able to convince leadership. And when I did that, I also became one of the more globally advanced digital consultants, and they let me travel the world. They allowed me an opportunity to reach more customers because I just took the reins and I did something that they didn’t tell me to do, they didn’t give me a budget to do. But now I have people reading all my articles and content, and they’re coming to us for the company to buy our products. So that makes life easier when the customer comes to you.
Tessa Burg: Yeah, that is awesome. So this is something I didn’t know. I didn’t know you wrote a self-published book.
Linda Owens: I have surprises.
Tessa Burg: That’s fantastic.
Linda Owens: I forgot about that. It’s been a while. And by the way, I never published a book again. I don’t know if that’s saying something, or I’ve just become so corporate. I’m focused on my job. I just don’t have the time anymore. But it’s something to think about.
Tessa Burg: Yeah. That’s amazing. So is there anything that’s in that book that, just out of curiosity, that isn’t the same today as it was when you published it, or is there something that has really taken off?
Linda Owens: At the time that I wrote that book, infographics were a big deal. And I remember when I created my first infographic with one of our editors. And we published it, and we got like thousands, and thousands, and thousands of hits, and we didn’t do anything. We just organically posted it, had a really cool article with all these keywords infused in it, and then we were like, “Wow, this is like the next best thing.” And we didn’t even have to write a lot. Right? It was all images and like a couple of words here and there, but people just love to absorb information in like five seconds, and they got the whole story.
Linda Owens: Now if I were to publish an infographic, I don’t get that massive feel of like thousands and thousands of viewers organically coming to it. It’s still important. I’m not taking anything away from infographics, but it’s like every year I feel like there’s something new that comes out. You have to kind of be on top of it to be like, “Oh, I’d better publish it this way.” Who knows? Before we were doing all these corporate videos that were like 15 minutes long, 10 minutes long. And then I found out these great videos that were like 15 seconds long that did the job, and we were getting so many more people coming to us, and viewing us, and interacting with us because it’s 15 seconds. They don’t need to spend any more time with us. We got to the point in the first five seconds, right?
Tessa Burg: Yeah. So Paul just sent me a message and-
Linda Owens: Uh-oh.
Tessa Burg: He must be very impressed with your answer.
Linda Owens: Am I in trouble?
Tessa Burg: He said, “This is the year of the podcast.”
Paul Roberts: I just wanted to … Yeah, this is the year of the podcast, guys. Blogs, that’s gone. This is the new … Infographics, that’s yesterday. This is the world of podcast where you can listen, because I think the power is in that smartphone that we carry with us 24/7. It’s only got a three inch screen, so it’s hard to read an infographic. It’s hard to read a blog, but I can listen and learn anywhere.
Linda Owens: I agree. And I’m sorry I didn’t mention podcasts as an example. I’ll bring that up in my one year anniversary podcast.
Tessa Burg: Well, and we’ve got-
Paul Roberts: All right. Don’t forget.
Tessa Burg: Charley, who’s our production person here with all this cool equipment, bags that we could bring this over to Nestlé Professional anytime. Then we can have the Linda Owens podcast, going down the road of publishing that next world tour book.
Paul Roberts: We could take it on the road, and you could do a world tour of podcasts. You could go around the world with this. You’ve got some really cool gear we were talking about offline here. You can go anywhere with this stuff. And from there you can stream. It was interesting. We did just a quick aside. I read all the broadcast magazines, and there was an article yesterday from a big broadcaster in Europe, and they actually use … Some of the kind of gear you’re using went out into a Tesla, an electric car, and ran a radio station from the front seat of their car, just showing that you don’t have to physically be tethered anywhere anymore. You can create content and stream it to the world from just about anywhere.
Tessa Burg: Yeah, that is awesome.
Paul Roberts: So in summary, what’s the takeaway from today here? It could be done?
Tessa Burg: I think it can be done, and I loved Linda’s story. I feel like everyone listening, whether you’re on the client side or on the agency side, is start small and just start doing it. And the thing that you’re doing, make it for the customer first, because if they find value in what you’re doing, you’ll get the right data, you’ll get results, and you’ll get learnings that you can keep building on.
Paul Roberts: So how does everybody reach the guest, and how does everybody reach you, Tessa, today?
Tessa Burg: Yeah. Linda, did you have anything else to add?
Linda Owens: Yeah, I was just going to sign off with just a few words that really kind of help me out when I put things into perspective is, as digital marketers, we really focus a lot on the what, which is the content, the creative, and then we also focus on the how, which is all the great technologies that are out there. But it is just as important to focus on the why and to be able to communicate the why to senior leadership, our sales teams, internal, and as well as to the actual customer as well. So if we can get that right, going back to my formula for digital marketing if there is one, that is mine, is to focus on all of those three key areas.
Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. And if people wanted to reach out to you, Linda, how can they get ahold of you?
Linda Owens: Best way would be on LinkedIn. You can find me as Linda Owens. I’m Digital Marketing Manager at Nestlé Professional.
Tessa Burg: Awesome. And if you want to get in touch with us at Tenlo, you can go to tenlo.com, or find me on LinkedIn, Tessa Burg. Next week we have a … or not next week. We’re not there yet. It’s only once a month.
Paul Roberts: Come on, Tessa. You’ve got the equipment now. We’ve got to use it here.
Tessa Burg: I know. Next month we’re going to be getting some details with a rapid testing practitioner, and talking about the first steps in how you can very simply, in just a few steps, stand up a test and start getting results, and start getting that buy in from your leadership and sales teams.
Paul Roberts: All right. And one more tip to help people buy in, somebody Tweeted and wants to know how to spell Tessa Burg. B-U or B-E-R-G?
Tessa Burg: B-U-R-G.
Paul Roberts: Ah, okay. B-U-R-G on LinkedIn. And Tessa, T-E-S-S-A?
Tessa Burg: Yes.
Paul Roberts: Okay. All right, well we won’t have to go through that anymore. We’ll all know.
Tessa Burg: Yes. And it’s the same spelling for my Twitter handle as well is tessaburg, all one word. I really only Tweet about English Premier League Soccer, but maybe I’ll start Tweeting about rapid testing and marketing too.
Paul Roberts: Do you really Tweet-
Linda Owens: You have to now.
Paul Roberts: I’ve got a question. Do you really Tweet about English what? What did you say? Premier Soccer League?
Tessa Burg: Yes. I’m a huge Arsenal fan, and I follow the English Premier League.
Paul Roberts: I had no idea. Well, I look forward to hearing even more about that, and even more we can learn as we peel back the onion and reveal more about your background and this show.
Tessa Burg: Yeah, sounds good. Thanks, Paul.
Paul Roberts: Okay, thanks for joining us. RapidTesting.ai right here on Tenlo Radio is brought to you by Tenlo, pipeline marketing agency that focuses on quickly identifying and converting high value leads. Visit tenlo.com to learn more, or tune in to the Funnel Radio Network for at work listeners like you.
Global Ecommerce and Digital Marketing at Nestlé Professional
An expert in delivering results through content development, search, SEO, SEM, paid media, email marketing automation, website development, social media strategies, CRM systems, ecommerce campaigns, retention programs and new technology implementation.Linda Owens, Global Ecommerce and Digital Marketing at Nestlé Professional
An expert in delivering results through content development, search, SEO, SEM, paid media, email marketing automation, website development, social media strategies, CRM systems, ecommerce campaigns, retention programs and new technology implementation.