Peers on Point: Q&A with HP's Julia Mason-Ochinero

Introducing a new series featuring technology marketing experts

November 12, 2015

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Tech marketers have a tough job. The buying committee and its influencers are savvier than ever, and tech marketing today requires a significant investment in relevant, always-on content. Gone are the days of linear purchase paths — your CRM doesn’t stop once the deal is closed and it’s in your best interest to activate buyers post-sale, during implementation, management and renewal phases. And, to up the ante, when your marketing role leans heavily on accurate targetingprospect nurturinglead generation AND knockout customer service…well, there’s a lot at stake.

At LinkedIn, we’re passionate about digging into success stories and exploring what makes tech marketers successful. Our research and insights are powered by best practices and, as part of our commitment to supporting your efforts we’re launching Peers on Point, a new blog series dedicated exclusively to tech marketing. Over the next few months we’ll be reporting from the front lines, speaking with marketing experts and technology thought-leaders about their perspectives and go-to resources. Our first edition features Julia Mason-Ochinero, Senior Director at HP. She sat down with us to talk shop about targeting, Telecomm and the future of technology transformation!

Julia leads marketing for HP’s capabilities in the Communications Industry, specifically HP’s initiatives surrounding Network Functions Virtualization, IoT and Data.

As a technology marketing executive, what changes are you seeing when looking at better targeting to reach your Telecomm industry buyers?

Expectations of the consumer’s mobile experience are on the rise. The way people are living their lives is changing, which is yielding an exponential change in the amount of data moving through the telecom networks. Communications Service Providers (CSPs) need to more quickly not only respond to, but anticipate, consumer’s demands. The leading CSPs are changing their organization and culture to become more agile to meet these demands.

The organization of the CSP is complex. There is the network side – the one focused on delivering the mobile experiences we all enjoy. And the “enterprise” side – the one which focuses on corporate operations. Each CSP is organized differently with CIOs and CTOs housed on both sides of the organization – one side focused on the IT needs to run the enterprise side of the business, and one side focused on the technology needs to run the network side of the business. Currently, CSP’s are showing interest in applying IT capabilities and experience to the network side of their business. This means you have to be aware of business goals of both the IT and network side – and be able to navigate the customer through them as these worlds converge. The world of IT and network can often focus on very separate goals. For the enterprise side – objectives center around OPEX improvements, while on network side – you’re talking about speeding time-to-market of new services. There is a transformation in motion right now as IT and the Network come together. At HP, with our Data Center and Cloud experience on the IT side – we’re in a good position to take that expertise and help carriers apply it to their network side of the business.

How does industry transformation challenge your marketing initiatives?

Each CSP is unique - transforming at a different pace, so the dialog with the customer needs to meet them where they are on the buyers’ journey. One-to-many marketing isn’t always effective in this environment. Not only do you need to understand where they are on the buyers’ journey, but you need to understand who the key influencer and decision maker is on each path of the journey. It requires a very complex, matrix-ed approach.

What is your take on digital marketing and where it is going?

Ultimately, it comes down to three things: Always on, Always On, Always On. You need to be doing real-time monitoring and real-time communication of a dialog where you are not in total control. What is happening in social media is 24x7, global and authentic. Content without filter - you’ve got to get comfortable living a bit on the edge. So when that conversation happens coming directly from marketplace influencers and customers – you need to respond in kind. The speed in marketplace uptake on a message or event is rapid. You need to be ready to respond at all times, and communicate in bite sizes (with the option to drill down into detail).

Customers and prospects are now empowered with real-time sharing and the ability to assert their content preferences. How does this impact how tech marketers do their jobs?

People do not have the time or attention spans to select and consume deep information. Content shape is taking new forms to engage a customer or prospect. People want bite size information with a path to more in-depth information vs. only white papers (although they are not going away).   Understanding this changes your strategy. You have to be willing to actively listen and then give decision makers what they want when they want it. Last, you have to be comfortable giving the world access to your content and your experts more quickly in order to build trust and start the relationship from a point of information value.

How does LinkedIn come in to play with 1:1 marketing and having an authentic discussion with customers?

I think LinkedIn is very unique in its ability to target specific audiences. When you are in a vertical like mine, I have a specific audience I want to reach, and LinkedIn is the best avenue for that. We find that when we deploy content with LinkedIn, the performance, response and engagement is extremely targeted and we can give it to the right audiences with a much better result than other channels. I think it’s really about the authenticity that happens in this channel which has zero filtering. This makes a marketing person sit on the edge of their seat a little bit more.

What is your mantra as a marketer?

Balance speed with perfection, because our market is continually changing. And that’s the tough part of the job. There is a lot of innovation happening and you’ve got to move quickly and you’ve got to listen carefully and tweak and adjust to better understand and give your customers and prospects what they want. LinkedIn and digital technology allows you to do that.

And as I reflect on my past year, I would also say relationships are key. In technology industry in general, and in this industry in particular - no one vendor can do it all. So your ability as a marketing leader to partner, and find relationships in the ecosystem to work with on a common goal, is critical.

Stay tuned for the next Peers on Point, featuring Glen Nelson of Capgemini. Looking to learn more about the changing needs of today’s tech buyers? Check out our new research study, Beneath the Surface: Taking a Deeper Look at Today’s Empowered Tech Buying Process.

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