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How one individual turned marketing on its head

Here are Mogrify we are big believers that everyone in an organisation – not just those with the right title – has a role to play in the marketing function. And when this happens, it can lead to some fantastic opportunities. In this post, we explore one such example.

As an executive of Public Safety and National Security at Microsoft, taking a lead on marketing initiatives was not something in Nichole Whyte’s role description. However, experience and intuition told her that the business was not optimising the strength of LinkedIn and that a wealth of opportunities was left uncovered - and this led her to take matters into her own hands.

The strategy

Nichole began by completely refreshing her profile to reflect the key challenges her customers faced and cared about. She then carefully selected and created a list of people she wanted to connect with and invite to an upcoming event she was running. In reaching out, Nichole crafted very personalised invitations to each individual – no ‘cold calling’ through templated invites – and was very considered in her focus on their specific needs as well as establishing a personal connection.

As her network grew, it had a snowball effect. With each new contact her “ecosystem” of contacts grew, enabling Nichole to extend her reach in more ways than she thought possible. These early results confirmed Nichole’s intuition that her LinkedIn network would become an invaluable source of leads.

It took commitment

Nichole’s number one focus was on developing trust and genuine relationships with her targets. Her aim was to “talk about pain points and how we solve them - and communicate in a way that I felt would be more effective”.  Rather than running ads, or sending bulk-messages, Nichole persisted with a very personalised approach.

“Unfortunately, much of using LinkedIn in this way is manual, so I had some late nights getting all of my connections made, and messages sent. Adding the personal touch and ensuring my messages were relevant was so worthwhile though, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.”

The outcomes

The results exceeded Nichole’s expectations and gained significant attention within Microsoft – for all of the right reasons! Nichole’s willingness to take on this challenge helped her secure over $40 million in leads from participating partners at the events. It also led to her becoming a marketing thought-leader within her organisation. Nichole’s professional network grew exponentially and she cemented her status as a subject matter expert in her industry.

When asked what made her initiate her LinkedIn drive, Nichole’s said: “I felt that it wasn’t just the Marketing’s team job to work my network, so I took the initiative”.

A warning – there are no shortcuts

When the internal marketing team learned of the success Nichole was having they organised a campaign on a larger scale. Unlike Nichole’s carefully structured approach, this campaign became an example of how not do things.

With a list purchase cost of $10,000 and a response rate of .01% the results could not compare with Nichole’s low cost, albeit time consuming, list building and a response rate of 60-65%. The campaign failed – and it ultimately suffered from two fatal flaws.

Firstly, the campaign was centred around an old-hat product message, just in a digital format. This was in stark contrast to Nichole’s focus on addressing customer challenges and leading with value-add as the basis of the conversation.

Secondly, it relied on a broad brush approach with little consideration given to crafting messages for specific buyer personas. This – unsurprisingly - led to a lack of engagement from the contacts being targeted.

Key learnings

We all learn as much from our failures as we do from our success – and that of others who are willing to share their stories. We thank both Nichole Whyte and the Microsoft marketing team for sharing theirs. Here are our key learnings:

 - A targeted, personal and consistent social media activity can reap great rewards – and is worth the manual time-consuming process!

 - Add value and establish trust first – in B2B this means helping your customers solve problems and do their job better

 - Everyone in an organisation has a role to play in marketing

Would you like to know more?

We love Nichole’s story but we have no claim in her success. We do however have a service through which we can manage your social media efforts. It’s done through our proprietary process, with your input, in your voice and – most importantly – with a consistent and personalised approach. Get in touch to find out about Social-Media-as-a-Service by Mogrify. 

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"Vision without execution is just hallucination."

- Henry Ford