I was talking last week with Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, VP, Global Marketing at The Weather Company as we continue to prepare for the B2B Marketing Forum in October where Michelle is one of the industry guest speakers. The business solutions (B2B) division of The Weather Company, an IBM Business, provides weather and related data-driven products and services to more than 5,000 clients in industries including media, aviation, energy and utilities, retail, insurance, and government.
Peter: What two or three B2B marketing improvements over the past year are you most proud of? Why?
Michelle: During the past year, the business solutions marketing team has made great strides to become a high-performance, revenue-focused organization that partners closely with sales and other parts of the organization to identify leads, drive sales opportunities, and establish stronger customer relationships. The top three metrics that I track, as VP of Global Marketing, are the percentage of net-new revenue that we attribute to leads generated by marketing; the percentage of revenue influenced by marketing; and the return on marketing investment. It hasn’t been easy but I’m proud to say that marketing-influenced revenue is in excess of 90% because of our push to impact all stages of the buyer’s journey.
Perhaps the toughest challenge we’ve had to tackle recently is market perception. We’ve spent more than a year repositioning the company from being known primarilly for our TV network to being known as one of the largest providers of weather and related data and mission-critical solutions for our thousands of business customers. As a result of our changes to the way we measure success, repositioning the brand, and expanding the team, marketing is helping drive the business by setting priorities and participating in product decisions.
Peter: How important is customer obsession to your company's success?
Michelle: Everything we do is about our customers – both the people who leverage our products and solutions to make better decisions in the face of weather and the end customers they serve. To make better decisions, our customers need to fully understand what weather means in the context of their jobs and how to more easily act on the insights we provide so they can deliver better outcomes to their customers.
As consumers, we’re bombarded with communications telling us to buy this or buy that. The brands that break through the clutter do more than sell; they help and they solve problems. With hyper-local weather information, insurance companies, for example, can alert policyholders when severe weather is imminent, prompting them to take action to protect life and property, thus reducing and/or mitigating claims – a win-win for the insurance company and its customers.
Most important of all, we know our work is never done. The Weather Company is the best in the world at forecasting, but atmospheric science is complex and many enhancements lay ahead. The very nature of our business is constantly evolving; our customer and our marketing efforts must be equally agile.
Peter Have your marketing improvements influenced other groups in your company and caused them to change their way of working?
Michelle: Weather is very emotional and something everyone experiences personally. The Weather Company’s mission, like that of IBM as a whole, is to be essential. When we say we’re here to make a difference, we really mean it.
As marketers, it’s our job to help everyone in the company tell stories that compel action and serve our customers. We’ve helped the organization think about content in new ways, which has been especially important as we integrate our organization with the IBM sales team; we now have an entirely new channel of passionate people with which share our stories.