Makers of Modern Marketing: Kelvin Gee
This installment of the Makers of Modern Marketing series finds us across from Senior Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation, Kelvin Gee. This role takes Gee around the world as an evangelist, strategist, in-house consultant, marketing trainer, and enabler for modern marketing. He enables Oracle marketers to adapt to new marketing strategies, like account-based and content-driven marketing, by setting up a framework for success.
Transformation centers around three things for Gee: people, process, and technology. “The technology is what we gravitate towards,” says Gee, “but the people part is typically the hardest.” While technologies are capable of improving efficiency and pulling a company into the future, it also creates skill gaps. So, Gee helps marketers align technology with their business strategy and devise a plan to use the technology correctly.
“You need to think about the necessary change to the people and process in order to use that technology correctly.”
Gee says that often companies that purchase marketing automation platforms, like Oracle Eloqua, may not deploy their first nurture campaign in the first year because they made a purchase without preparing for a process change. “Most organizations don’t have the right strategy in place to actually apply their technology. You need to think about the necessary change to the people and process in order to use that technology correctly.” Here Gee brings up the idea of an infinity loop that represents the customer lifecycle, with one side representing the “buy side” and the other the “own side”—you need to nurture both sides.
With any technology purchase, it is important to ensure the company is able to employ the necessary process and people changes to ensure swift and effective deployment. When a customer can derive immediate value from their purchase not only will this boost retention and upsell, but the customer will become a brand advocate.
As an internal consultant, Gee travels to Oracle offices around the world and helps teams design the right framework and strategy that will best suit their needs. He learns what the team is trying to achieve, what tools, systems, and the process they have in place—and from there he can identify gaps and design a program to fit their needs. He conducts unique workshops tailored to the team’s needs to equip them with the right tools to manage their shift in methodology or technology.
Gee has recently been focused on helping Oracle adopt an account-based strategy in the coming years. He advises that a company seeking to make the shift to account-based have a strong and clear framework in place before they start. “You don’t need 23 and a half different strategies for your organization—you want one go-to-market strategy.” He cites Oracle’s strategy that hinges on four pillars for success: targeting, personalization, orchestration, and measurement. This ensures that everyone from the C-suite on down has a crystal clear understanding of what the goals are for your account-based strategy.
And he adds, “you’ll need the people who understand account-based strategy.” People who understand how to align with sales, use the technology, and measure themselves. “Because if you measure account-based programs using traditional demand gen metrics, your numbers might actually look worse,” but that is because those metrics don’t translate well in account-based.
“We won’t even call it ‘account-based’ anymore— it will just be marketing.”
“To be account-based, you must be customer centric,” Gee notes that with traditional demand gen, you start with the campaign, but with account-based, you start with the customer. It also requires marketing and sales to align at the top of the funnel to determine which accounts are the most important for Sales.
An account-based strategy is a great way to get both marketing and sales on the same page, by focusing on the same accounts instead of just thousands of MQLs. In a few years, Gee predicts that “we won’t even call it ‘account-based’ anymore—it will just be marketing.” Until then, there is much work to be done setting organizations up for success.
In his 7 years with Oracle, Gee says the biggest shift he has witnessed is the new focus on customer centricity, “which really starts with employee centricity,” he says. There has been a greater focus on why we do what we do—what gets us out of bed in the morning. It’s about storytelling and being a part of that story. This translates well with sales and marketing organizations that want to create more compelling content that engages customers. But in order to tell better stories, people need a framework for how to tell those stories. “There’s an easy-to-remember framework for telling better stories: defining the setting, character, conflict, and resolution.”
Storytelling is just one piece of what Gee thinks every great marketer needs to have. Data-driven is, of course, the second piece. However, the final attribute that Gee offers is not one I often hear: empathy. “You need empathy to be customer-centric—being able to see the world from the customer’s eyes.” In a world where everyone is constantly pummeled with mountains of content, marketers need to be able to understand what keeps their customers up at night.
Gee is excited to be working in marketing right now and views the transition to cloud as a once in a lifetime opportunity. “Once a company transitions to the cloud, they don’t go back to on-premise,” he explains. For this reason, Gee has positioned himself as a facilitator for change and works to make that possible across the globe.
Makers of Modern Marketing is a blog series dedicated to the drivers, architects, and risk-takers behind marketing at Oracle to give readers a peek into how we are applying our own products to drive innovation and build the future of digital marketing. Don't miss our previous episode on Building the Foundation of Digital Marketing Success featuring Patrick McGavock, Senior Director- Marketing Systems of Global Marketing Operations.