Interview With DMN 40 Under 40 Winner Zak Garner
Head of Customer Success, Zak Garner, the latest addition to the 6sense team, has worked in digital media planning for B2B technology companies for the last seven years. During that time Zak has touched everything from strategy and operations to, more recently, using advertising, lead generation tactics and marketing technologies to improve ROI and customer experience.
We sat down with Zak to find out what’s next in digital marketing, get a sneak peak about what he’ll be doing at 6sense, and talk about what winning the Direct Marketing News’ 40 Under 40 award means to him.
First off, Zak, congratulations on winning this year’s Direct Marketing News “40 Under 40” award. What does winning mean to you?[ZG] It’s great to be recognized for helping marketers creatively apply digital strategies to build brands and improve customer acquisition in competitive marketplaces. It’s nice to know my team and I have made an impact! I’m looking forward to applying the knowledge and experience that culminated in winning this award to help 6sense customers further innovate their marketing and media buying to get more value out of their activities.
You’ve worked in the demand generation and digital customer acquisition space for quite some time, so you’ve been able to observe what works…and what doesn’t work. What are a few critical marketing trends that all B2B marketers should know about and be implementing?[ZG] There are a couple of strategies and tactics that every B2B marketer should know about. Account-based marketing (ABM) is at the top of that list and I’ve witnessed awesome results from companies thoughtfully implementing ABM. One example comes to mind: Last year, we partnered with a Fortune 250 tech company for a global expansion of their ABM program that included personalized communications across display, content, retargeting and email. We helped them generate better than 15:1 ROI via piped and closed deals and gathered great prospect intelligence around what target companies were most interested in from this brand. The more you know about that account’s behavior—from the products they’re interested in purchasing to the channels they use use to make purchase decisions—the more personalized, precise, and effective your marketing becomes.
(Readers-How do you find out what your target accounts want? That’s where big data and predictive intelligence comes in. Request a demo today).
More tactically, B2B marketers could benefit from a better understanding of how to leverage web data for site personalization and retargeting. Make each visit count and retain interest from your prospects by demonstrating knowledge of what they need.
Over the past few years, B2C has largely been seen as the leader when it comes to personalization in marketing. What lessons can B2B learn from the B2C world?[ZG] B2B companies can learn a lot from their B2C peers. Perhaps above all is the confidence to create experiments, test, learn and iterate. With all of the data available to marketers in near-real time, it’s not necessary to plan your entire budget at once and sit still for the rest of the quarter. You can take intelligent risks and shift your approach accordingly.
From a technology perspective, B2C companies are leading the transformation to personalized customer experiences and communications and tying this together across channels through Data Management Platforms and other marketing software. B2B companies have yet to invest as heavily here but predictive intelligence engines like 6sense now enable B2B companies to replicate this type of personalization for their business and technology prospects. The next step is to plug this data back into owned media properties, campaigns and outbound communications.
I also admire B2C marketers for their adoption of channels like video and mobile as storytelling and education vehicles for their brands. You’re starting to see B2B brands leverage YouTube for retargeting and that’s refreshing. I’d love to see them tap into geo data and even newer technology like Beacons to create relevant messaging based on time, place and action. Consider your conference investments – like everyone else, you’ll have a booth and an ad in the print guide but what is your mobile strategy? How do you reach your audience in and around the event to help them get more out of it by way of your brand? That’s the type of progressive marketing that creates great customer experiences and inspires me to keep innovating with our B2B customers at 6sense.
You’ve recently joined 6sense as the Head of Customer Success. What made you excited about working here?[ZG] For the better part of these past seven years I’ve worked with B2B tech marketers who are hyper-focused on creating demand and proving a return on their investment. I’ve sat through countless meetings where people expressed the same concerns:
- My lead gen activities don’t deliver adequate ROI;
- My ABM campaign is not bringing in new customers;
- My management wants better alignment between marketing and sales … the list goes on.
When I first heard about what 6sense could do, my jaw dropped. I thought, “Wow, there’s a technology solution for closing this gap, and I wish more people knew about it.” What really resonated with me is the realization that all of these problems that marketers are facing can be minimized with 6sense’s approach to predictive intelligence. Knowing that there’s a way to do that through data is pretty amazing.
So, how do you take this data and apply it in different ways to see how much ROI you can get out of it, how many more deals you can close, how many more evangelists you can create for your brand? Those are the questions I’m excited to explore at 6sense. That’s what my role is centered around, here—helping customers maximize the value of their data.