ABM to Ivory Coast Chocolate: Victoria Morrison on Achieving Marketing Success

15th March 2022

Victoria Morrison is the Global Marketing Director for global PR and communication consultancy Hotwire. We interviewed her on marketing trends and solutions.

Knowing your “why” helps differentiate companies from the competition and stand in an authentic place. That attracts customers...

Three trends I’m most excited by right now are Account Based Marketing (ABM), social responsibility, and the rise of programmatic advertising.

Account Based Marketing is a way of personalising messaging to businesses, targeting each decision-maker with the information they need to solve their specific problems. Similar to personalised messaging to customers, account-based marketing yields a higher ROI than other formats. In B2B, particularly in large corporations, account-based marketing is one of the fastest growing trends. It’s exciting to show clients the power of creative B2B marketing backed up by significant rates of ROI.

We worked with Honeywell to refine their messaging and embed ABM as a key tactic in demand generation. This included delivering a pilot program targeting 10 key accounts across the US, Canada and Europe. The dual objective was to generate pipeline opportunities and validate the effectiveness of ABM tactics. The campaign Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) exceeded industry benchmarks and resulted in the embedding of ABM as a flagship marketing campaign tactic globally.

Secondly, there is a growing focus on social responsibility. For example, Tony’s Chocolonely has grown to become the largest chocolate brand in the Netherlands and is now available in multiple markets including the USA, England, Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia.

Tony’s has dedicated its efforts to raise awareness about the inequality in the chocolate industry. They lead by example by building direct long term relationships with cocoa farmers in Ghana and the Ivory Coast paying them a higher price and working together to solve the underlying causes of modern slavery. They want to inspire the industry as a whole to make 100% slave-free the norm in chocolate. Knowing your “why” helps differentiate companies from the competition and stand in an authentic place. That attracts customers.

Last but not least, I’m excited by the rise of programmatic advertising. Optimising digital marketing spend has been a key concern for many CMOs. Now, with insight into real-time reporting, finite targeting options, enhanced fraud protection and detailed budget spending optimisation, there is finally a solution. Programmatic advertising means we can make programs much more targeted to be seen by the right people, at the right time, and move away from the old ‘spray and pray’ approach.

2. How tough it is to work in this industry, and what advice would you give?

In marketing you can define a brand and market position, shape a company’s overall value proposition, and influence a range of areas within the business. This makes marketing an attractive career. It also makes it a challenging career!

We are asked to deliver consistent results, while still staying on top of all the latest trends. It’s our responsibility to influence and persuade colleagues across the business, while fielding occasional public criticism.

I think, in many ways, there are unique challenges in marketing that do not exist in other functional business roles and it can be hard for those without experience in a marketing role to appreciate the struggles. An example of the challenges marketing faces vs other departments is lead generation, and the changes currently taking place with privacy policies/cookies.  Marketers need to be vigilant in monitoring and understanding industry-wide acceptance of privacy protocols and updates to search, social, and display/native platforms (consumer-side and marketing/advertising-side).

My advice to others would be to invest in your skills. On a daily basis I am using strategic, analytical, research, creative, new product development, project planning, communication, persuasion skills and more. Consistent education and independent research is the best way to handle new challenges, technology and trends.

It’s also important to build your internal network and don’t be afraid of asking for support. We have the opportunity to work closely with other experts in the business – including the CEO, finance, HR, IT, operational managers etc. Some of my closest professional relationships have been built on those mutual times of supporting each other through the difficult times.

3. What are some of the pain points in marketing that you’ve experienced?

I think one of the challenges for me has been the increasing amount of stakeholders you need to market to. Traditionally, my role would be focused on marketing to customers and making sales. Now marketing the employee experience and attracting talent has become more of a joint remit between marketing and HR. I’m proud to have delivered a new global website for Hotwire which transformed the site from one global page to one global and seven local sites, with lots of new capabilities to be more targeted.

Attracting the right talent is no longer just about simply posting a job advert. Prospective applicants are much more digitally savvy now and will do their research. We need to be appealing to prospective talent in the right places, at the right times.

For attracting talent, at Hotwire we’ve launched a TikTok account this year and have seen great results. It’s transformed a pain point into one of my favourite projects to work on!

4. What’s a marketing achievement that you’re happiest about?

I’m proud that Hotwire has won an award for our campaign with Honeywell. Our pilot ABM program was recognised as the Gold Award Winner at the ITSMA MEAs. It’s lovely to be recognised with an award, but we’re most pleased with the client partnership we’ve built and the results we delivered that led to this achievement.

5. How does one improve their data in B2B marketing?

I’m passionate about helping clients improve their use of data in B2B marketing – it’s dragged behind for too long! As part of ABM campaigns, intent data is a key part of showing the response rates from target audiences and is a valuable data stream more marketers should consider.

In broader terms, it’s important to have a sound understanding of where one’s data comes from. Enterprises must be forward-looking and focus on the data necessary for accomplishing their goals. Knowing how to use data and what to utilise to inform strategy is the key to success.

Marketers must ensure that their data is coming from a knowledgeable, trusted source. Remember to perform periodic data reviews as well-we recommend at least quarterly. Unused data gets accumulated and decreases the overall data quality.