B2B marketing aims to be a strategic imperative in today's business landscape, where the onus is on data-driven and technology-powered methodologies.
LinkedIn aspires to provide B2B marketers and advertising agencies offerings to connect with thought leaders, and decision-makers, facilitating campaign leads, and building brand authority.
At the forefront of these B2B developments is Valerie Beauchamp, vice president and global head of agency education and development, LinkedIn. Beauchamp's role places her in the epicentre of LinkedIn's mission to advance marketing solutions, guiding brands, marketers, and agencies toward effectiveness.
Campaign India chatted with Beauchamp during her second visit to India. She's here to learn the requirements of LinkedIn's agencies worldwide, gaining insights and gaining meaningful connections.
Could you explain a bit about your role? Are you talking to both agencies and marketers to show the benefits of LinkedIn to them?
My role oversees two facets of LinkedIn’s marketing solutions business. The first is the agency development practice, which is dedicated to forging strong business partnerships with agencies. In this practice, we recognise the role agencies play in the marketing ecosystem as decision-makers in various aspects of a brand's marketing strategy.
Our commitment as a company is to support agencies in their endeavours, enabling them to excel in their work. Our focus is on ensuring that we provide the necessary support to agencies, many of which are current advertisers on our platform, while also targeting potential clients.
The second practice under my leadership is centred around marketer education. We want to empower all types of marketers, whether they belong to agencies, client-side organisations, or partner companies, to succeed on our platform.
We strive to ensure that individuals grasp the fundamental principles of maximising value creation within an advertising platform. Additionally, we invest in strengthening B2B marketing expertise across the industry as a whole. This commitment reflects our broader dedication to equipping marketers with the tools they need to thrive, irrespective of their role within an agency or client organisation.
LinkedIn has aimed to develop strategies for the B2B marketing sector recently. How does the platform harness research and innovation to provide solutions for marketers, brands, and agencies? Could you provide some specific examples?
This research is based on insights gathered from our platform and insights gathered through interactions with B2B marketing leaders.
For instance, in November 2022, we published a B2B Marketers Sentiment Report, which delved into understanding the macroeconomic impact on how B2B marketers make decisions, investments, and create value and returns.
This year, in June, we released the B2B Benchmarking Report, which delves deeper into the areas of focus for B2B marketers and the opportunities they anticipate in the future.
In this recent report, we identified channels that B2B marketing leaders are considering investing in, one of which is thought leadership.
In the context of B2B, thought leadership is crucial due to the complexity of buying decisions. It serves as a highly influential tool to sway members of the buying committee. We don't stop at just sharing this insight; we integrate it into our platform's ad formats and services.
For instance, we have a format known as 'thought leadership' drawn from this insight. We aim to assist B2B marketers on our platform in their endeavour to leverage thought leadership effectively, not only from their C-suite but also from experts in their team, like the head of analytics or cybersecurity specialists. We empower them to amplify their voices on our platform effectively, taking a holistic approach to communication.
So, our research isn't just for the sake of it; it informs the way we develop and offer products and solutions to marketers on our platform.
In regards to the Indian market, what B2B strategies do you wish LinkedIn should implement for brands, marketers and agencies?
Our B2B Benchmarking report shows that many CMOs in India are improving their financial literacy and ability to communicate the value of marketing investments to other members of the C-suite. Our role is to support them in this journey by providing the necessary tools to articulate the value of their marketing investments effectively.
So would measurement be key for B2B marketers in India?
Globally measurement is crucial, and it holds particular significance in the Indian market as well. Given the numerous opportunities available, we aim to simplify decision-making for marketers, helping them reach their target audiences effectively and efficiently.
What are some key trends you've observed globally and within India that brands, marketers, and agencies are adopting to adapt to shifts in the world of work?
In the B2B sphere, we observe a growing optimism, as reflected in research from the Benchmark report, showing an intention to increase budgets. This optimism indicates potential growth and health in the market, which is significant for businesses and how we can support them.
As a result, B2B marketing leaders, particularly CMOs in India, are emphasising specific skills, highlighting creative strategy and execution, as well as innovative thinking as the top two skills.
This shift towards creativity is a notable and positive development, expanding marketing activities across the entire funnel rather than focusing solely on the lower end.
To cater to these B2B trends, we are committed to providing value to marketers and advancing creativity in B2B. This involves offering the right tools, ad formats, and services on our platform to encourage brand building and creativity.
Furthermore, there's an interesting intersection between the world of work and marketing. B2B marketers are increasingly recognising the importance of their brand as an employer, which significantly influences potential clients' decisions. This means that how a company treats its employees can impact whether it secures customers. The concept of employer branding, as an apex of trust for potential customers, is gaining significance, especially in the context of B2B.
Given LinkedIn's ability to connect with professional audiences, we see the opportunity to help companies tell their employer brand stories effectively. This involves supporting companies in maintaining their brand identity and values while giving them a platform to share impactful stories that reflect their values and identity.
Intriguingly, B2B marketers are now focusing on tapping into human emotions, values, and diversity in their conversations. How can these factors be integrated effectively into marketing strategies? Could you provide examples of brands that have successfully done so?
We approach this in two fundamental ways. First, we work collaboratively with creative agencies to provide them with valuable data insights, intelligence, and engagement platforms.
We aim to assist these agencies in developing high-performing creatives for their clients. While we don't claim sole responsibility for the creative output, we believe we must promote creativity in the B2B realm. This is why we have partnered with Cannes Lions to establish a B2B Creative Lion category.
It's remarkable to observe how human emotions, values, and purpose-based marketing have found their way into B2B campaigns. For instance, in the 2023 Cannes Lions, a Gold winner, Workday, created a humorous TV commercial that celebrated decision-makers choosing their platform as rockstars. This resonated with the emotions of those making critical decisions about enterprise technology solutions.
It's a departure from the traditional model and mirrors the approaches of brands like Coca-Cola and Unilever.
Another noteworthy example is the United Nations Stock Exchange's campaign, which won the Grand Prix for B2B. It aimed to illustrate the financial impact of the climate crisis and encourage action. This campaign effectively bridged the gap between business language and sustainability goals, speaking directly to those who make decisions in the business world.
With your experience overseeing relationships with partners, how do you envision the future collaboration between LinkedIn, agencies, and B2B clients? What can we expect in terms of innovation and support for the B2B marketing landscape?
Often, the assumption is that platforms in the advertising sphere only engage with media agencies and invest in dollars there – and while we do that and need strong business partnerships in that space, there's another aspect that truly excites me. We can forge strong partnerships with creative agencies, PR agencies, and communication agencies.
It's about helping the talented strategists and creatives in these agencies paint more effectively on our canvases and formats within the B2B context. This is an area where I'm particularly enthusiastic – championing and advancing creativity in the B2B sphere, working closely with the agencies that companies trust to convey their stories.
We've conducted research through our B2B Institute, in collaboration with experts like Roger Martin, who has delved into the concept of the 'promise to the customer'. A brand essentially represents a promise to the customer, and this research equips creative agencies with valuable insights as they develop campaigns and creative concepts for clients, many of whom advertise on our platform.