When I think of Panasonic, I think about the TVs, cameras, camcorders, and headphones that fly off of Black Friday shelves. If you have the same impression, you’d be just as surprised as I to learn that over 70% of Panasonic’s revenue stream actually comes from their B2B business – selling automotive & industrial systems, high end projectors, electric batteries, inflight entertainment systems, etc. Panasonic was the #1 patent producer in 2013 with 2,000+ patents and is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Tesla’s gigafactory to produce the lithium-ion batteries for Tesla’s electric cars.
I had the chance to chat with Stephen Yeo, Panasonic’s European Director of Marketing about how the marketing team has helped support Panasonic’s growth. Here is a brief excerpt of our conversation:
Q (Shyna Zhang): Tell me about your role at Panasonic Europe.
A (Stephen Yeo): Panasonic Europe covers every country in the European Union, Turkey, and the CIS; we have about 10,000 employees. I am responsible for the marketing of our B2B products including high end projectors (we brought you the London Olympics), broadcast equipment (think FIFA World Cup), and security products & cloud surveillance. We have about 464 products, are constantly innovating, and need to be marketed in Europe.
Q: How large is your marketing team and what is the coverage model?
A: We have about 50 people in the marketing team across 25 countries between product marketing and in country field marketing managers. And we run 72 websites across 22 languages, with 63,000 pages that need to be kept up to date and running 24/7.
A: How do you measure your success?
A: We measure a breadth of metrics from customer satisfaction and share of voice in the press, web traffic, search traffic etc. The most important metric for us is ‘Campaign Contribution’ – how much of the sales pipeline over a defined period has been triggered from some sort of a marketing campaign. For example, if we generate 100,000 Euros of marketing pipeline, what percentage of that was triggered from marketing campaign? We measure our entire field marketing organization on this metric, which is the key to generating a marketing first organizational mentality.
Q: When you came into role, what were the challenges that Panasonic’s marketing team was facing?
A: When I started, the marketing team was fragmented and lacked a central marketing organization. Some teams reported into sales, some reported to other geographies, and there was no common structure or system in place. Marketing wasn’t even part of the Senior Leadership Team – we had to shift our mentality to become a marketing first culture.
We implemented CRM and joined 3 different companies (disparate customer and sales teams) into 1 organization to represent the B2B part of Panasonic. We put in a common customer database. When we implemented our CRM solution, we knew that we wanted an engagement marketing solution, because CRM alone only measures your pipeline and customer database, it doesn’t manage acquisition, or the renewal opportunity.
Q: How does Panasonic Europe leverage marketing automation today?
A: We installed Marketo and have built a library of approximately 300+ campaigns in different languages (emails, newsletters, tradeshows, list uploads, etc.) that field-marketing managers can leverage and clone to quickly execute professional, local, campaigns. These campaigns are linked into the Sales Pipeline. This got the visibility of sales and senior management and helped change the organizational mindset to be more marketing first because the sales pipeline is now generated quickly and efficiently from our consistent campaigns.
Q: What has success looked like over the past 18 months?
A: When we started, marketing’s contribution to the company’s total revenue was at about 7%, many of product categories were not growing and not reaching our business goals. We’re currently at 26% and we’ll close this year at 30%+. These are big numbers. Our Campaign Contribution is worth $250M to the sales pipeline. With less marketing budget and people, we’ve had a fivefold increase in the number of campaigns being executed. Currently, we’re executing about 100 campaigns a month, which is about 1 campaign every 2 hours. We’ve doubled the size of our CRM contacts in the system and we’ve generated 800 qualified leads that are going to the Sales and Channel organizations. This is breaking new ground, it’s something our organization has never had before.
Q: Those are amazing numbers Stephen, if you had 1 piece of advice for marketers, what would it be?
A: I cannot stress the importance of measurement. If you don’t measure what’re you’re doing, you cannot show the organization the benefits of what you’re bringing to the table – the pipeline, the leads – you will remain a cost center that makes mouse pads, golfing umbrellas and does pretty advertisements.
Want to hear more? Check out this webinar to hear the full conversation I had with Stephen. How is your marketing organization leveraging engagement marketing to show your campaign contribution?