Digital transformation begins with enhancing the customer experience. Peggy Winton knows this from personal experience at AIIM International, where she is currently President and CMO. She defines digital transformation in information terms and offers four key components of instituting organizational change around Customer Lifetime Value. Winton believes that DX gains a powerful start in the marketing department. It’s all about relationship building and and the intelligence of the customers that provides the true value.
Peggy mentions The Intelligent Information Management Tool Kit during the conversation, which is available for download.
Key Concepts: Customer Lifetime Value, Marketing, Digital Data, Customer Centricity, Long-Term Customer Value, Amazon, Continuous Optimization, Culture of Innovation, Culture of Execution, Corporate Agility, Persuasion Architecture, Step Optimization, Membership Growth
Who Should Listen: CAOs, CCOs, CSOs, Digital Marketers, Business Analysts, C-suite professionals, Entrepreneurs, eCommerce, Data Scientists, Analysts, CMOs, Customer Insights Leaders, CX Analysts, Data Services Leaders, Data Insights Leaders, SVPs or VPs of Marketing or Digital Marketing, SVPs or VPs of Customer Success, Customer Advocates, Membership Organzation Executives, Membership Managers
Allison Hartsoe - 00:02 - This is the Customer Equity Accelerator, a weekly show for marketing executives who need to accelerate customer-centric thinking and digital maturity. I'm your host, Allison Hartsoe of Ambition Data. This show features innovative guests who share quick wins on how to improve your bottom line while creating happier, more valuable customers. Ready to accelerate? Let's go!
Welcome, everyone. Today's show is about the transformation of it marketing around CLV. And to help me discuss this topic is Peggy Winton. Peggy is the President and CEO of AIIM, which is the Association for Intelligent Information Management. Peggy, welcome to the show.
Peggy Winton - 00:51 - Thank you so much. It's my pleasure to be here.
Allison Hartsoe - 00:54 - So Peggy, we met at the digital transformation conference a few weeks ago where we were both speakers, and I have to say it was really delightful to hear your clear commentary on not just marketing transformation, but digital transformation more of the broader picture. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background and how you became CEO and then we can dig into that topic?
Peggy Winton - 01:19 - Absolutely. Thank you. And I feel the exact same way about your remarks on the lifetime value of the customer because I believe that digital transformation begins with this obligation we now have and this challenge we have to truly enhance our customer experience so we have to focus on the value that we provide to our customers and the value that they can provide to us and the members of our value chain and our supply chain. So maybe it's with some of those similar skill-sets and mindsets that I came to my current organization, and it was 15 years ago. So my ascension into the CEO role was in some ways meant to be. I think I wore a lot of different hats within the organization.
Peggy Winton - 02:11 - But I came to AIIM right at the time when we were dramatically changing our business model from a single, annual, typical exhibition and conference. We sold that to an outside firm and essentially had to rebuild and start from scratch with our portfolio. And I was brought in to do that. And I remember early on saying, why don't we saddled with some of these old business models? Why are we acting like a charity, a nonprofit is not the same as a charity and why are we doing all these sorts of nicely, nicely things without driving value the way around. And I remember thinking this could be the best thing that happens to this organization, or the worst thing my bringing up for profit mentality into it. So I've worn it a few different hats. As I said most recently as CMO, and I know we want to talk a lot about the marketing aspect of all of this.
Allison Hartsoe - 03:20 - Right? Right. And I think that's particularly interesting how you move from CMO to CEO, but you had that for-profit mentality. That's great. So really you came in to kick off a digital transformation before the term digital transformation was really used. Is that right?
Peggy Winton - 03:38 - You're absolutely right. The other aspect I think about digital transformation is doing things differently and doing different things, and I probably had a huge advantage in coming in from the outside without a whole lot of predisposition and a lot of biases where the typical association or not for profit models come into play. So I could look at things with a more critical eye, and I focused immediately on how do we grow this community of ours and how do we extract maximum value from that community. I should probably say that as an association, we serve both the users and the suppliers of information management technology.
Peggy Winton - 04:34 - So we sort of serve two masters, and they're in sort of lies the challenge, but also the opportunity to say we had a lot of really good content and I said about building this year-round portfolio of programs and activities that were based on curating that content and then surfacing that content and it didn't take long for me to realize that the old association model of the life begins and ends with dues-paying members because that was a subset of the thousands of people that we were touching with this content. And we set about really expanding that reach and trying to determine the value that we could place on people that for whatever reason didn't become a lifer or dues-paying member, but yet represented amazing value. Particularly for those suppliers in our space who wanted access to qualified customers.
Allison Hartsoe - 05:51 - So let me just get a quick clarification. When you talk about your users or your suppliers, you give me an example of who would be a typical member slash user and who would be a typical supplier or what type of company. Sorry.
Peggy Winton - 06:07 - Absolutely. When we talk about information management, we really got our start at looking at that unstructured stuff. That's a great word. All that unstructured stuff that's swirling around. Any business out there, all of the content that's in your emails, all the content that's in word documents, spreadsheets, even rich media, those things that don't fit tightly into a database and yet represent the vast majority of information and data. So when you think about people that are moving around, a lot of that information in their organizations, it's practitioners within financial institutions, banking, and insurance companies, people within healthcare organizations, higher education manufacturing.
Peggy Winton - 07:05 - Those would be our typical users of these tools and technologies and their functional roles within those verticals. Are It related? They could be a line of business owners, folks in sales and marketing or finance and accounting, and then a subset is what we would call records or document or content management specialists
Allison Hartsoe - 07:30 - That's really broad.
Peggy Winton - 07:31 - And then the supplier. Yeah. On the supplier side, it is both hardware and software manufacturers have all the tools that help with that, so there are document management systems providers. There are big scanning and multi-functional device manufacturers as well.
Allison Hartsoe - 07:54 - I see. Thank you for that clarity. Now I want to come back to what you were saying about expanding the reach and increasing value because I think that's such an interesting mindset. We don't always think about more solving for customer experience. We don't always think about the trade of value between the customer and our organization. So when you went about the process of thinking about how do we increase value for the organization or the value that the organization offers, how did you approach that question? How did you come to quantify the value?
Peggy Winton - 08:31 - We did, and it was kind of skunk works at the beginning, Allison, we didn't have a tool that could do that for us, but we tried to just begin with the history that we have. That's usually the best that any of us have to go on, so we, of course, had a transactional database, and we started looking at what were those products of ours that we offered and who was buying, and we could certainly put a value on that and we realized that it was not necessarily those dues paying folks who had been in the industry for a long, long, long time, felt a sense of obligation, paid their dues and then just probably didn't do that much to engage or to continue to deepen their relationship with us as a customer. We also looked at the value of those people that were consuming all of the free things that we do.
Peggy Winton - 09:32 - We do a Webinar a week. We put out a lot of things like infographics and ebooks and the folks that we're engaging with those and permitting us to own their name. Basically provided immense value for the vendors in our space through wanted access to new buyers and so we tried to put a value of that about the monetization of that extended community of non-dues payers, and that's where the real light bulb went off for us.
Allison Hartsoe - 10:07 - Did you use that as a compass to drive your decisions or was it more of just a factor that fits into the overall thought process?
Peggy Winton - 10:16 - I think it changed everything for us. We started investing in marketing automation tools so that we could really leverage what we found out and make it go to work for us and allow us to scale and we're a tiny organization about $5.7 million in revenues and about 23 people, so very small. We needed the tools to help us with that. It did become the very basis of our go to market strategy, and we were able to tell that story to those suppliers in our space to get them excited about our community and this new crop of qualified buyers that they had at their disposal. And I would say everything flowed from there. And the very reputation of marketing within our organization changed. I always say people marketing is not about pretty pictures and there's not magic that happens in that regard. It really is all about the intelligence of our customers that provides the value for us.
Allison Hartsoe - 11:24 - Wow, that's beautiful. That's a great place to start. Let's talk a little bit more about marketing, and maybe there are some examples you can share about how you went about the change with marketing or what areas you found were ripe for automation. How did you actually make it stick?
Peggy Winton - 11:43 - Well, thank you for asking that because that's probably one of the most exciting stories. It's an exciting story about the fact that the marketing automation tool in which we invested, that decision was completely driven by the business. In this case, marketing our it albeit small it bench had nothing to do with it, and I always say, but it's probably the most successful project we've ever had because we knew what was required. We knew what was needed. We gathered a blended team to set those business requirements, and we chose a tool that really represents the way I think small to medium size organizations should be purchasing low code or no code, very small cost of ownership and easy to get started with right away, but that tool is considered a marketing automation tool and it very much is built on the philosophy of what's called inbound marketing.
Peggy Winton - 12:43 - Allison, we were sending thousands, thousands of outbound emails and that's just not good. If your very value is this community of customers that have even dared them to you, you certainly don't want to jeopardize that relationship by bombarding them with emails. So that was a very, yeah, that was a very reasonable and easily understood goal that we had to try to reduce the number of emails
Allison Hartsoe - 13:11 - We call that spray and pray. Spray them out and pray for results.
Peggy Winton - 13:18 - That's right, hope for the best. And so the idea of inbound marketing is to let your content go to work for you in perpetuity by leveraging all the other outlets that we now have at our disposal to gather unknown people to us. And with that, I'm talking about social media and providing educational content so that people can find you, so when they find a piece of content that we have created, we always have a call to action that sends them to a landing page where we can capture just the details and the permissions that we need at that point and commensurate with the type of content that we are putting out there, and then we use the tool to do what's called progressive profiling, and we've deeper that engagement with nurturing campaigns that can be completely automated.
Peggy Winton - 14:14 - So Allison downloads this little checklist that's just a one-pager and then we always offer a secondary call to action to take it to the next step, and we base everything now on activity and behavior, not profile. So we let you determine the next step, and that makes for the very best customer.
Allison Hartsoe - 14:40 - I love that process because I think many people miss that subtlety of your trading value progressively over time. The progressive concept profiling. I'm asking you for a little bit of information because you're giving me just a little bit of information back and as the relationship deepens, I give you more information and you keep encouraging me to have a stronger relationship. It's a lot like classic relationship building, and that's a beautiful way to run marketing. It's what it should be, right?
Peggy Winton - 15:17 - Tell a little joke that you don't go out on a first date and ask somebody to marry you. You haven't earned that right yet, and your tablemate would think you're crazy, so that's exactly right. Marketers can no longer just take the easy way out and do the least amount of effort. They may get away with it for a little while, but everyone's more and more sophisticated, including the very customers that we're trying to attract.
Allison Hartsoe - 15:46 - Now. Are you free to name the marketing automation tool that you decided to go with?
Peggy Winton - 15:50 - I am, and there are many tools out there, but we have been absolutely delighted with a tool called HubSpot. Yeah, they. They provide more free, what I would call post-sale resources and help than any other vendor I've ever worked with. Quite frankly, their whole culture is about the absolute delight of their customers after the sale, and you just don't find that with a lot of organizations, so we really liked their whole culture as well and what's happened now, Allison, and this is kind of another digital transformation story, is when we looked at all the amount of activities that we do on a regular basis, so many of them are these free educational activities and we thought why can't we push all of the management and workflows into HubSpot so that we would have a really robust and central place for the very best intelligence that comes out, and we have even a really pushed the envelope so much that even HubSpot is working with us to say, oh, you did that. You did that, and we're on calls all the time now with prospective customers of theirs just to tell our story, and we're always really happy to do that.
Allison Hartsoe - 17:23 - You know, it's what they say happy customer will tell, what is it ten people and of course, so we'll and unhappy customer, but I'm glad that you found that tool. That's not a traditional association tool. Now, one of the challenges I think a lot of people have when they're running marketing is, okay, let's say you put all that content in place and you get some progressive profiling. Did you have to feed in some sort of quantitative piece like LTV or value in order to decide the order of operations with which you presented information because you're trying to balance the health of the organization to, as you said earlier, you're not running a charity at some point, but he does need to pay for content.
Peggy Winton - 18:07 - Oh, absolutely. And one of the things that I did when I became CEO was to get every single member of my staff comfortable with the P and l, and that sounds so simple, and it might sound crazy to some, but why not? Why have any lack of transparency when it comes to how we make money and what programs are good business from a net margin perspective. And I think that's another fault of a lot of organizations. They get just completely attracted by the top line revenues, but they don't realize all of the cost, including staff costs that go into that. So you're absolutely right, Allison, we had to put that filter on everything that we did, and I won't say for a minute that the tools that we use give us an instant view at the value of any one customer.
Peggy Winton - 19:05 - But there are a lot of different ways that we can manipulate the cumulative information to get a good picture there, and we do and for us the key is automation again, because we're just so small, and you're not going to get it perfect every time you start with the personas that you can determine again from that historical basis, and you go from there, and you determine what level they're in terms of their readiness to quote-unquote by and just what their particular interests are and you do the best you can and you keep looking and you keep tweaking and you keep doing it, but you can't get too granular, or you'll just drive yourself crazy.
Allison Hartsoe - 19:50 - I understand. I understand. That's great. Are there any other examples you want to share with us about the transformation of the organization, whether it's marketing or otherwise?
Peggy Winton - 20:00 - Someone said to me that digital transformation is rethinking the business that you're in, and when new folks come on board with us, and I'm talking about staff, I always ask them, what business do you think we're in? And people will say, Oh, well you're, you're the community for information professionals. Yes, but that's not really what I have in mind. What else? And they'll say, oh, well we're running an association. We are in the association management business. Yeah, but not really. And, and what we realize is that we are in the marketing business and all of us are sales and marketing people, and that sounds mercenary. We are still a not profit. We hope that we're still fulfilling a mission and serving the needs, but we are first and foremost a marketing organization. And when you think about it that way, you start thinking, hmm, what are other offerings that we have?
Peggy Winton - 21:03 - Maybe things we didn't even intend. And here's one example. As we were collaborating with some of the suppliers in our space to be good thought leaders and help us put on a nice educational event and then provide them with those permissions leads for their own needs, we realized why aren't we offering something even deeper as a consultant knowing what we know about our own marketing automation tools and practices, and so we started a whole other offering for those vendors in our space that wanted their own multi-touch, multi-context, deep customer intelligence story that they could tell, and so we started a subscription annuity business, but yes, it's still within our industry, but it could be completely independent for vendors who are providing all kinds of other types of tools.
Peggy Winton - 22:07 - And that's been an addition to our portfolio of programs, and some would say, well, that's sort of outside the association business. It's not because we're still serving those same suppliers, but it's an add-on using what we know and what we've learned from our own technology choices.
Allison Hartsoe - 22:23 - Well, not all like that as an add-on, but most likely it's attracting a benefit to perhaps your most loyal or your premium subscribers. People who really want to go deep with your organization, so in a way it rewards both of you, one because it's an annuity, and I love that you've used that word because many people who run businesses don't think in those terms and it's a fantastic recurring revenue stream, but also it's allowing them to feel a stronger sense of special handling or kid glove treatment. That is what we try to provide to the high-value customers.
Peggy Winton - 23:00 - You're so right, and we realize my heavens were doing such a better service to both. You're quite right. Just like we knew that we couldn't just fire off a bunch of unrelated emails. Our suppliers certainly cannot and should not be doing that and this way we respect the end user customer to say, you get to choose how deep you want to take this, and we're going to respect you in that process.
Allison Hartsoe - 23:30 - Perfect. Perfect. So let's say that I'm super excited about this idea of marketing transformation and I want to do maybe not just marketing, but digital transformation overall. What kind of actions can I take?
Peggy Winton - 23:45 - We spent probably the better part of last year gathering some of the best and the brightest in our community together to see if we could define digital transformation and then build a set of tools around that because it is one of those terms that everybody's probably tired of hearing. It means a lot of things to different people, or it means nothing to some people because it's almost viewed as a thrown way and we looked at our world, and we defined digital transformation in information terms because information is the currency that we deal in and we determined for things. Really. The first one is this whole customer experience enhancement anticipating before they even tell you what they need and we think that all things actually flow from there because the second one is innovating.
Peggy Winton - 24:43 - And when you think about the true disruptors in our space, it begins with figuring out where there is friction in the act of doing something that customers need every day. Uber, who knew that there was friction to the art or the act of hailing a taxi, but they did, and it was in the name of customers to please them. To make their lives easier, to make it more convenient that that innovation was born. So number two is innovation. Number three is we have got to digitalize all of our core processes because that again will stop good customer service in its tracks if there is a manual process that causes somebody to have to stop, get off their smart device and do something, heaven forbid paper-based or manual base. And then the fourth thing is that like it or not; we have to do all of those three things above while minimizing our risk.
Peggy Winton - 25:42 - And again with the customer in mind, we now are under greater pressure to protect the customer data that we hold and to give them full control over how we use it. So that's what we did to define the digital transformation, and I think it applies to almost any business of any size and in any industry. And so what we then did is we created what we call the intelligent information management toolkit or road-map as a way of closing that gap.
Allison Hartsoe - 26:16 - Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that because I saw that on the front door of your website and I was hoping we would be able to talk about that. So all of these things that you've just talked about are framed in the paper.
Peggy Winton - 26:27 - They are, and we talk about our inbound content strategy and things by having this really good. We think the story about digital transformation. Having a road-map for people to get there and our intelligent information management methodology that actually formed our entire content strategy for this year. So it enabled all of my team and me to align everything we were going to create regarding a research study. Everything we were going to put on in terms of a Webinar, what some of our in-person activities are going to be within this grid, this intelligent information management Matrix and oh, it's just made our lives so much easier and it's also given our customers a real clear view and a real path forward.
Peggy Winton - 27:24 - And I'd love to share that paper. That was really the culmination of some of our research work and tell us that whole story, and if the audience here would find that useful, I'd love to invite you all to download that free of course, and we're going to ask you for your email address, which, uh, you know, of course, you can opt out at anytime, but may I give the URL?
Allison Hartsoe - 27:50 - Oh, of course, we'll also post it on the page, you know, sometimes people are driving, and they don't have anything to write down, but we always put it in our transcript page as well. So we'll link right to you, but please go ahead with the URL and then let's also talk about if people want to get in touch with you personally, how can they get in touch?
Peggy Winton - 28:07 - Sure. Thank you. I hope people can remember this. We've made it as simple as possible. We are aiim.org, and they're two eyes in AIIM. aiim.org/transformation.
Allison Hartsoe - 28:23 - Oh, that is. So
Peggy Winton - 28:24 - that's easy to understand and remember. And you'll find our intelligent information management paper. It's got some good data points that I hope you can use internally is is a good marketing tool for your own efforts and to get some of your folks excited about it and on-board and then it does provide this road-map that I hope you can see yourself in, if not all those areas in many of them and gives you some places to start and remember that digital transformation doesn't happen as a big bang, so you know it's not magic that happens overnight, and that's not expected of anybody, but I promise that you will find some processes within your organization that are important, but they are ripe and easy to apply some even automation tools too.
Allison Hartsoe - 29:14 - Fantastic. I'm going to check that out myself. I want to see if there's something there. I don't know. Yeah, that would be great. So how can people reach you, Peggy? How can they get in touch?
Peggy Winton - 29:23 - Happy to email me, please. P for Peggy Winton, W-I-N-T-O-N. That same aiim.org. I'm certainly on LinkedIn, and my Twitter handle is pwwinton, @pwwinton.
Allison Hartsoe - 29:43 - Wonderful. Great. Well, we will be sharing lots of tweets with your podcast and making sure that we use that Twitter handle. Thanks for including that. So let's summarize about some of the things we talked about and Peggy, feel free to jump in if there's some more clarification you want to add, but here's what I heard that I thought was particularly valuable. First, why should I care about marketing transformation and the point we arrived at is that it's really driver of overall digital transformation that that's where you kind of gain momentum or maybe the ignition of the engine for transformation can come from the marketing department and I don't know if that's true across all organizations, but I do hear that theme a lot and I think that's because marketing knows so much about the customer and what you particularly said was about the value of relationship building that the organization discovered. It wasn't just dues-paying folks. It was free content folks and dues paying folks and looking at the comprehensive value of that whole community.
Peggy Winton - 30:48 - You're right, and I always challenge people to say what would happen if you all your systems went down and you had to rebuild. For us, we would sorely be out of commission if our customer intelligence systems went down. We would, and that is the place we would have to start over to rebuild and think about that for your organization. It's sad that a lot of organizations don't put value on their information and they need to, and for us the information is all about our customers, and I would imagine as you say, Allison, most people would feel that way and we're feeling ever more pressure to think that way in the new digital economy
Allison Hartsoe - 31:33 - For sure. So then we talked a little bit more about examples and impact and automation is the first place that your organization lends and starting with the historic personas, getting an understanding of the audience and then moving it into automation once you knew what you wanted and then there was a second aspect that we hit in the impact that I thought was incredibly important and I don't want to have lost. That's the concept of financial transparency that you said you give every single member of your staff access to the PNL and get them comfortable so that they are thinking about the business that they're in, the long-term business, the way that the organization is operating or perhaps providing value with respect to the bottom line and respect to the customers. So I think that's a really interesting balance. You're constantly pushing the customer relationship and value of the relationship, but at the same time, you're not walking away from the financials. Like we said earlier, it's not a charity. You're in business provide value, and that value should appear on the bottom line.
Peggy Winton - 32:43 - That's right. I had to sort of write this ship when I when I joined because I think the focus was too much on that top line revenue without looking at what was good business and what isn't. Much of what I did in creating this whole year round portfolio was to think in bits, not bytes, so that we could administer them and we could dispense them with the highest possible margin and why wouldn't I want every member of my team to understand where those revenues and costs derive and how to be more creative about increasing and decreasing the other and not surprisingly the very best ideas and much more creative than my own have come from my team that with that information and the power of that has really allowed them to come up with some just some great new programming
Allison Hartsoe - 33:37 - And that's fantastic, and I think what I'm also hearing there is in addition to not just looking at the top line, you're also taking a longer-term view, not by looking at the bottom line alone, but also taking those ideas from the team and looking long-term at how the organization operates. Am I correct in that assumption?
Peggy Winton - 33:56 - That's absolutely right. I mean, somebody said for the not for profit world or the association world, well, we're not really in the business to make money. I challenged that because we are without money in the bank, there's not much you can do, and I always say profit is good even in a not for profit, so you've got to have a good financial structure that will allow you to then invest in things that maybe are a little bit little bit edgier, maybe need a little bit of testing. I mean that's where the true differentiation comes. If you don't have any of that, it's pretty hard.
Allison Hartsoe - 34:34 - Yes, yes. I completely agree. And then you gave us this fantastic road-map where he talked about four different things that you should do to get moving on this process and the first one I summarized as more or less getting your customer intelligence in order. We talked about it as history, we talked about it as experience, but I think ultimately you have to understand your full customer base and you have to. I always feel quantify or put some value on that customer base so that you have the signal to make decisions, which then rolls into your second point about innovation. Once you know those customers, you can start thinking about the right areas to innovate, you have the right road-map, and you can support it with the third point, which is digital core processes, and then the fourth point about minimizing risk, which is also protecting the customer data. So I love the result that you get, which is clear decision making out of this information management matrix.
Peggy Winton - 35:32 - Well, I hope it is useful, and in the AIIM paper we've been looking at what are the things in your own ecosystem that you can change right now. One at the top of the list is how do you modernize and rationalize all the different systems that you're using. Gone. Is this ideal that there will be one place where all of your data lives and there will be one system that does it all. That's just not reality in any way but leverage the cloud. That's the easiest place to start to ensure that both your internal and your external customers have access to the information you have that they need to do their job.
Allison Hartsoe - 36:15 - Absolutely. Peggy, so as always, everything that we discussed today, including the AIIM, the AIIM. I'm just spelling out those two I's to make sure that everybody realizes there's two I's in AIIM. AIIM digital transformation paper is available at ambitiondata.com/podcast. It'll be on our transcript page. Peggy, thank you so much for joining us today. It's been a lovely conversation.
Peggy Winton - 36:41 - Well, me too. Thanks. Anytime I think you can tell I really liked talking about all of them.
Allison Hartsoe - 36:47 - Great minds think alike, right, right. Remember everyone, when you use your data effectively; you can build customer equity. It's not magic. It's just a very specific journey that you can follow to get results. Thank you for joining today. Show. This is Allison. Just a few things before you head out. Every Friday I put together a short bulleted list of three to five things I've seen that represent customer equity signal, not noise, and believe me, there's a lot of noise out there. I actually call this email the signal things I include could be smart tools. I've run across articles, I've shared cool statistics or people and companies I think are doing amazing work, building customer equity. If you'd like to receive this nugget of goodness each week, you can sign up at ambitiondata.com, and you'll get the very next one. I hope you enjoy The Signal. See you next week on the Customer Equity Accelerator.