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"We pushed Marketo to the limit and beyond. It has completely changed marketing with Panasonic and it’s spreading throughout the global organization"

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Objectives

  • Manage global B2B marketing from a single, centralised platform.
  • Deliver highly targeted, timely campaigns refined by region and specific audience needs.
  • Build on email and newsletter marketing with social and web campaigns.
“That’s what personalisation looks like in B2B marketing, the ability to roll out creative content in a way that’s highly targeted and relevant."
- Joerg Hufschmid, Manager Marketing, Panasonic Business Europe

 

A global tech giant that knows the value of a local story

The advanced car battery in your electronic car. The media production equipment streaming giants use to create your favourite series. The high-quality camera that allows your children to watch school lectures from home. You can thank Panasonic for all these innovations and many more.

From high tech to higher education, more than 300,000 companies worldwide rely on Panasonic’s B2B solutions to run their organisation. But with so much to offer, Panasonic is not resting on its laurels.

“We have an enormous pool of existing customers and partners, but there are so many untapped prospects out there who can benefit from our technologies,” says Joerg Hufschmid, Manager Marketing for Panasonic Business Europe. “It’s my team’s job to unlock this opportunity and help to refine our marketing on a global scale,” he adds.

This is no small feat for such a large organisation, especially one with hundreds of offices around the world and local marketing teams to match, each with its own approach to telling Panasonic’s story. To complicate matters further, Panasonic offers an incredibly broad set of products that cater to customers in virtually every industry, which means its marketing campaigns can target everyone from CEOs to on-site technicians.

“No matter how big we get, we need to stay mindful of what distinguishes the different audiences we serve, not just from one industry to the next, but also from one job role to the next. That’s what personalisation looks like in B2B marketing, the ability to roll out creative content in a way that’s highly targeted and relevant,” says Hufschmid.

“It’s also worth remembering that we’re not Coca-Cola or P&G, who have enormous budgets to roll out massive consumer campaigns,” he adds. “We need to be much more strategic in our outreach and in the way we address our customers’ complex needs.”

And then, there was one

Hufschmid and his team first adopted Marketo in 2012 to fuel their B2B marketing and consolidate all of their outreach onto a single platform. They move was also motivated by the enactment of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which called for greater control in the way companies manage and use their data to serve customers.

Today, Panasonic Business Europe alone runs 1,500 Marketo campaigns every year, delivering increasingly personalised emails, newsletters and event invites to a growing number of customers and prospects.

With Marketo proving its value in European markets, Panasonic now plans to roll out the platform further and engage prospects on a global scale.  The team has set three primary aims for the project:

1)      Automate processes and reach prospects more efficiently

2)      Drive more demand among prospects and grow Panasonic’s B2B footprint and

3)      Begin generating leads through social channels, especially LinkedIn

“Marketo is ideally suited to these ambitions,” says Hufschmid. “We want to get more personal with customers while getting rid of siloes between our teams. The key to making this happen is to work from a central platform that allows for flexibility and personalisation at the local level.”

Hufschmid stresses the importance of understanding the nuances that distinguish Panasonic’s many customer groups. “When launching a new product for retailers, there’s no point in highlighting its tech specs for chief marketers in these companies because that’s not their concern. The data we collect through Marketo allows us to automatically factor these points into our outreach, so even when we automate our campaigns we know we are speaking to our audience in a language that resonates.”

Hufschmid points to the additional value his team has seen from Marketo’s Smart Lists feature, which allows them to filter down their target lists and program dynamic send-outs to individual audiences, all from a single platform. Building on this functionality, Panasonic has also turned to Marketo’s integrated GotoWebinar feature to create a successful digital content series.

“We pivoted towards webinars at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, realising that many of our prospects could not attend the conferences and events they usually rely on to get the latest on technology in their industry. Suddenly, we were getting 700 attendees for online events that would previously attract 50 or 60 people,” says Hufschmid.

Becoming a social beast

It would be easy for an organisation with 300,000 customers to stay the course and use the same old marketing tactics, but Panasonic is eager to continue adapting and exploring new avenues of communication. Hufschmid and his team appreciate the immense value that social channels such as LinkedIn play in their customers’ lives and are razor-focused on building their presence on these platforms.

“We’ve created hundreds of thousands of pieces of content since 2012, many of which have been quite successful, but I’m the first admit, we’ve played it too safe by sticking to email and newsletters. Today’s audiences still expect relevant emails, but they also want to engage with us on social and web, which is why we’ve expanded our Marketo outreach to reach them via multiple channels,” he says.

Just 18 months after kicking off their LinkedIn promotion, Hufschmid’s team grew Panasonic’s following from zero to 3,000 followers. These are still the early days of their journey, but the positive results they have seen so far are an encouraging sign of great things to come. In fact, a number of Panasonic’s LinkedIn campaigns have achieved an engagement rate of up to five per cent, significantly higher than the platform’s average of two to three per cent.

To further illustrate how Marketo has helped Panasonic with its social lead generation, Hufschmid points to a campaign his team launched in late 2019 for the company’s face-recognition technology.

The technology is used by airports around the world for passport control and by stadiums across Europe for security and identification. In other words, it is only of interest for a niche audience that operates in less common corners of the digital world. And yet, after investing just a minimal amount in targeted LinkedIn promotion via Marketo, Hufschmid’s team was able to hit 30 per cent of this unique target audience and share 150 new contacts with their sales team.

“There is no way we could have been so targeted and precise with this campaign on our own, without the audience trends and lead scoring integrated within Marketo,” admits Hufschmid.

It’s all in the numbers

The most telling figure for Hufschmid is the number 51, which represents the percentage of Panasonic B2B sales that were attributed to his team’s marketing activities in 2019. He and his team can now measure their success thanks to Marketo’s integration with Salesforce.

“We use Marketo to target and Salesforce to track how we’re doing. In 2019, we could attribute more than half of our sales to marketing, compared with just 26 per cent in previous years,” he recalls, “To double that number is the ultimate endorsement of the work we’ve been doing with Marketo and of the direction we are headed in.”

It might seem impossible to steer a large organisation down a new path, particularly one that is already in a position of strength. But with each successful campaign, Hufschmid and his team prove that it is both possible and necessary. With Panasonic’s leadership firmly behind them and the right tools to support their efforts, they are poised to continue bucking the trend.

“In 2019, we could attribute more than half of our sales to marketing, compared with just 26 per cent in previous years. To double that number is the ultimate endorsement of the work we’ve been doing with Marketo."
- Joerg Hufschmid, Manager Marketing, Panasonic Business Europe