Interview With a SiriusStar: Gretchen Eischen, SAP Ariba
- The SiriusStars blog series provides an inside look at how select high-performing clients use SiriusDecisions research and analyst inquiry to increase revenue, meet and exceed goals, and transform their organizations
- In this edition we feature Gretchen Eischen, vice president of marketing strategy and operations at SAP Ariba
- We chatted with Gretchen and discussed what inspires her, her favorite SiriusDecisions models and tips for success she would offer to other marketing leaders
SiriusStars is an exclusive community of high-performing and highly influential clients that have been hand-picked for their exceptional work leveraging and implementing SiriusDecisions research and advice. The SiriusStars blog series is designed to share the personal and professional world of your B2B peers. In this post, we spoke with Gretchen Eischen, vice president of marketing strategy and operations and SAP Ariba.
SiriusDecisions: What is your favorite part of your job?
Gretchen: I lead marketing strategy and operations for SAP Ariba, which means I have a varied set of responsibilities across our marketing organization. My favorite part is the level of collaboration across our team. It gives me the chance to learn, which is the biggest motivation for me. I also love the creative and fun ideas that our marketers bring within their core set of responsibilities. It gives us the chance to have a strong impact across our business.
SD: If you weren’t a marketer today, what would your dream job be?
Gretchen: My dream job would be executive director of the Groundhog Club. There is a true lack of gender diversity in that Groundhog Club today – that would be my first mission!
SD: How did you first hear about SiriusDecisions?
Gretchen Eischen: I first heard about SiriusDecisions when I joined the SAP Ariba marketing team. Our CMO introduced SiriusDecisions to me as a “fabulous organization that is going to be so useful to you as you make your way into marketing.” I joined the marketing organization at Ariba following various roles in account management and roles with customer-facing responsibilities. SiriusDecisions was instrumental in providing me with the context and research to understand the different functions and roles within marketing.
SD: One of the current initiatives you’re working on is the implementation of the SiriusDecisions Campaign Framework. What caused you to investigate this? What was your business objective?
Gretchen: As we have worked to evolve our marketing strategy – to establish a core infrastructure that enables our team to work together and to align plans on what they’re delivering – we saw there was a need to enforce the expectation of collaboration. To present a clear brand and unified voice to our stakeholders and customers, we needed to drive tight alignment of our content, messaging and activities across our organization. But, unfortunately, we lacked a structure to bring these different elements and team members together in a clear and concise manner.
Last year, we attempted to launch an integrated marketing approach. We had three teams that each saw themselves as the campaign owners and were launching campaigns and creating content on their own, which resulted in extremely fractured and dissonant messaging. We have a complex business with multiple audiences that we serve and solutions we support, so trying to pull all off those things together can be really challenging. Since we lacked the structure and format to do this well, trying to establish an integrated marketing structure was premature. We recognized that we needed to take a step back and set the foundation first.
The campaign implementation process allowed us not only tofacilitate a conversation across our team, but also to align campaign objectives and needs to activities and business objectives. From there, we could determine how to measure success and align our campaigns across the customer journey so we could reduce duplication and leverage the strengths of each team.
SD: What is some advice you would give to someone trying to implement the Campaign Framework?
- Start now – don’t delay. The sooner you can host the conversation, the sooner you can bring people together to do that definition work and to lay out what your process needs to be, and the better your daily conversations will be.
- Revise often. Even though we felt like a high point for us was simply having the conversation, documenting everything and getting everybody aligned, we’ve had multiple iterations as we’ve started to implement and started to see things come across our desks or requests come our way from stakeholders. It’s caused us to think more in depth about whether what we planned actually works. It gives us a chance to validate where things are working and where we could improve.
- Have expert help. We had Craig Moore join our conversations from the beginning. He really helped to set the stage, leverage the templates and tools that were available, and make sure we completely understood the framework. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be something where you want to throw yourself overboard because you think about the amount of work it will take to get this documentation done. There’s so much rich content available that can be used as a starting point.
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