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CMO of Onfido: ‘Always follow the 70/20/10 rule’

Nate Skinner is the Chief Marketing Officer at global identity verification and authentication provider Onfido and answers our questions in the latest of Press Gazette’s Marketing Maestro interviews. This series is produced in association with Lead Monitor, New Statesman Media Group’s content marketing arm.

What has been your proudest achievement in your current role?

I joined Onfido just before Christmas, and while it has only been a few months, there’s so much that I’m already proud of. In particular, we’ve pulled together the biggest product marketing launch in the company’s 10 year history – scheduled for May 25, so watch this space! As we build up to the launch, the collaboration I’ve seen across marketing, sales, product and customer success is a testament to our commitment to doing amazing work. I can’t wait to see it all come together.

Which media channels do you see as most important and best value when it comes to marketing spend and activity?

First and foremost, businesses should not overlook the value of organic search. Fundamentally, it’s how customers search and find the business, so investing time and resources into developing content that establishes market or subject authority can make all the difference in building awareness and generating leads.

But paying attention to organic search can lead to underwhelming results without an appropriate focus on the company website. If a website does not speak directly to the prospective audience and provide the relevant information to ensure they can engage with and understand the brand, the prospect is easily lost. In a remote-first world where digital is the primary engagement channel, a convoluted customer journey or confusing content will likely lose a sale.

Lastly, we couldn’t discuss media channels without mentioning podcasts. In my previous roles, I’ve built podcasts through partners and developed the branding – they are a great vehicle for customer acquisition and provide us with new prospects to engage with.

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What are the key differences between B2C and B2B marketing?

I’ve come across this question multiple times during my career and it allows me to say, with absolute certainty, that the key difference between the two is the overall objective. The intention of B2B marketing is to build the sales pipeline, support the sales division in driving new conversations and help orders to be placed with sellers. On the other hand, B2C marketers need their spend and campaigns to lead directly to a purchase. This applies across different industries and purchases. For instance, even with the most considered purchases, such as jewellery or cars, B2B marketing will focus on tactics such as nurtures, lead queues and conversation starters. In contrast, B2C marketers will be measured against the number of sales.

In your opinion, how is the role of CMO changing most rapidly?

The most rapid change has been driven by the pandemic. In his book ‘Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity’, Scott Galloway discusses how Covid-19 accelerated business transformation with traditionally offline businesses, such as higher education institutions or healthcare, moving online to stay accessible.

Now this shift has taken place, there’s little chance of it being reversed. For marketers, this means that previously useful tactics, like in-person events or automated email, are no longer as effective because customers and prospects have changed how they consume information. In many ways, CMOs need to head back to school and reconnect with the marketing fundamentals to deliver simple, clear messaging or risk losing customers. But CMOs must also be more agile and think about how to break through the noise. For example, at Onfido we’ve found hybrid events can meet the best of both worlds – those that want to connect in-person and online, while maintaining consistent, relevant communication.

What for you is the key to any successful marketing campaign – what actually makes a ‘good lead’?

The key to a successful marketing campaign is to generate awareness and demand for your product or service. Simply put, if it doesn’t do that, it’s not working. In that respect, a ‘good lead’ is an individual who has a problem and has come to you as they know you have the solution. It’s important to caveat, however, that in those first interactions with a lead, they may not want to solve the issue immediately. Instead, it’s about recognising that there will come a time where they need support. Using a marketing campaign should therefore ensure it’s as easy as possible for them to buy and use your service when that time comes.

How important is technology in modern marketing?

Technology is critical to modern marketing but it still comes second to marketers who can put themselves in their customers’ or prospects’ shoes, and educate them on how a product or service can help them. Fundamentally, if technology evolves to this point – it will be a game-changer in marketing. But as it stands, it needs to be used by professionals who can understand a customer problem and demonstrate how digital can accelerate the solution.

What are the biggest pain points in a marketing campaign?

Breaking through the noise is undoubtedly one of the biggest pain points in a marketing campaign. Between social channels, ad banners, texts, messaging and automated emails, there’s an incredible amount to compete with for a buyer’s attention. How you navigate this is not through ‘shock’ tactics or even news, but by speaking to your audience directly in clear and concise language.

And finally, if you could ask your peers for one piece of advice or help, what would it be?

Funnily enough – this is something I’ve just done! I worked with Sara Varni, the CMO of Attentive, twice during my time at Salesforce. I recently spotted her awareness advertising campaign in the Wall Street Journal and Times Square, and asked for her advice on how she justifies the expense of such a big campaign, when there’s no direct link to lead generation or sales activations. I loved her advice – she said that while her leadership team wanted to improve brand awareness, which is always helpful, she always follows the ‘70/20/10 rule’. This is where 70% of the marketing budget is designated towards pipe and demand generation, 20% is funnelled towards awareness campaigns, and 10% is left for experimentation.