An interview with Geraldine Teboul at Signavio
The Global SVP Marketing for Signavio tackles the challenge of standing out when the world pivots to digital
05 Minute Read
- Joined Signavio as Global SVP Marketing in April 2019
- Previously CMO at the AI transformation solutions provider, Squirro
- Spent four years as Global Head of Communications for hybris and SAP CX
- Acts as marketing advisor for the tech investment fund, The Hammer Team
The last year has created many practical challenges for tech marketers – but also one increasingly prominent strategic one. How do you earn awareness for your brand and sustained attention from your audiences when every B2B marketer in your category is doubling down on the same channels and tactics?
It’s an issue that Geraldine Teboul, Global SVP Marketing for Signavio, has identified as critical from the very start of the pandemic. “How can you differentiate yourself in a digital world that’s suddenly so crowded, when everyone went overnight from doing physical events to doing webinars?” she asks. “How can you be different? Be more innovative? Be more creative? It’s not that easy to develop brand visibility online – and so these were the number one questions we asked ourselves.”
For Geraldine, these aren’t just short-term questions. She hasn’t been chasing quick answers to compete for attention during COVID. Instead, she’s building an enduring platform for the Signavio brand that’s based on emerging best practice in a digital landscape. And as the chief marketer for a business that leverages data to help customers understand and transform their processes, it’s no surprise that data is where she started.
Data-driven personas for a wider tech buying audience
“It comes back to technology and data and having the right access to data for different stages of the buyer journey,” she says. “You need the right tools to crunch it, to analyse it in a very granular way – so you can then build the right content to push to these people at different stages, and you can understand the formats they are favouring.”
It helps that Signavio’s marketing organisation has already developed a detailed matrix of personas, covering all of the influencers and facilitators involved in digital transformation projects.
“Our audience is pretty broad,” says Geraldine. “It goes from the C-level down to the operational group, chief transformation officers and chief financial officers, but also chief innovation officers, compliance people, innovation people. We target a lot of different personas. We have an enormous amount of data and we make sure we can break it down and make it actionable. We always want to understand why our funnel behaves in the way that it does, and why our buyer journey goes off in this or that direction.”
Watching, learning… and then activating
Despite having a data engine ready at her disposal, Geraldine was determined that Signavio shouldn’t rush its response to the pandemic. Her strategy’s biggest pivot would involve turning the brand’s annual conference, Signavio World, from a physical event for 1,500 guests in Berlin to a global digital happening reaching more than four times that number. Rather than stick to the originally planned date, she opted to push back timings slightly – to give more time for best practice on digital events to emerge.
“We didn’t want to fall into the same trap as other events and so we made sure we had time to prepare properly and learn from what others were doing,” she says. “That’s why we went for a mid-November date rather than October, when the original conference was planned.”
It’s not that the criteria for an effective virtual event are radically different to a successful physical one. “Content is still king,” as Geraldine puts it. The difference is that the bar for engaging audiences is far, far higher – and it requires a determinedly creative approach.
Generating emotion in a digital space
“Emotion is what people are looking for from these types of conferences,” she says. “The first question we asked ourselves was how we could generate that same emotion digitally. How do you keep people’s attention? How do you keep them focused on a screen when focusing on a screen is already what they do all day long? You have to have even better quality content, even more streamlined structures, even more varied formats – and even punchier, more skilled speakers. It’s really a storytelling exercise.”
Taking extra time planning the conference enabled Signavio to adapt to the digital format in two other crucial ways. Geraldine put together a speaker line-up that spanned the globe, and a two-part agenda catering to different time zones. The first content line-up was designed for the priorities of audiences in Europe and Asia and a second phase of the show was tailored to the situation in North America. Geraldine’s team designed a promotional campaign that stretched far beyond the event itself – and used the power of LinkedIn to maximise visibility for the Signavio brand.
“We work with LinkedIn a lot – and hosting the conference as a LinkedIn Live Event worked out really well for us,” she says. “We created a full promotion plan starting three months before and running all the way through the weeks following the event. We also took the decision to live-stream two of our sessions on LinkedIn Live, generating hundreds of additional views. That helped us reach a broader audience and it generated a lot of positive reactions. The fact that people register through LinkedIn Events helps you to keep a handle on the type of audience you’re talking to – but then adding LinkedIn Live meant that we could reach out to people who don’t already know us, haven’t heard of us before and haven’t registered for our events in the past.”
Emotional formats for a digital marketing world
It’s not just through virtual events that Signavio is finding new ways to inspire and engage wider tech buying audiences. Geraldine’s determination to apply creative thinking to digital formats has led her team to redefine what the webinar experience should be – and embrace other formats as well.
“We’ve launched a podcast, The Art of the Pivot, where we interview C-suite leaders at customers and non-customers about business transformation,” she says. “We just interviewed the Chief Customer Officer for SAP in North America about how she approaches the challenge of customer excellence. It’s all about finding new ways to communicate with your market at each stage of the funnel that you’ve identified through data. We know, for instance, that people are consuming 30% more video than before – and that’s giving us the opportunity to convey much more emotion in our content than you’d get through a standard webinar, or people sitting there with headphones on staring at the camera. It’s all about finding the right way to get information to people without saturating them.”
It’s this priority that Signavio will be focusing on in 2021 – and beyond. “Our objective is to keep building the brand and evangelising our message around taking a 360-degree view of business processes and transformation,” she says. “That hasn’t changed – but what has to change is the way we go about it and the path we take to success.”
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