Kirby Wadsworth, Vice President of Global Marketing for F5 Networks, is Chair of the final judging committee for the marketing awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards. (The final entry deadline for 10th Annual ABAs, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A., is April 25; request your entry kit now.) Here Kirby shares best marketing tips for business-to-business marketing.
What are your top 3 tips on how to make your mark in business-to-business marketing?
- Align marketing and sales efforts into one holistic effort.
Marketing must start a conversation that sales is ready and willing to carry to conclusion. Success here requires alignment of targets, content, training, process, and compensation systems. Research proves that companies that focus on sales and marketing alignment outperform those that allow the two functions to operate orthogonally.
- Measurement is the basis for alignment.
Marketing operations should be your first investment. Fill this group with experts in data analysis who are fully up to speed on modern marketing automation systems. Don’t be afraid of what you find initially. Measurement allows you to find and fix leaks in the system, and you will find many ugly ones when you first start measuring.
- Make sure you have broad cross-functional agreement on key performance indicators (KPIs).
Make sure everyone understands and agrees with the areas you are measuring and reporting, then stick to it and report transparently on a regular basis. It's important to keep educating internal audiences, especially in finance, sales, and executive offices, on the value marketing is bringing to the business, and to do it without “taking credit.” Uniquely, marketing is both a service organization and a leadership organization, but is rarely appreciated for its contributions to pipeline.
What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The evolution in appreciation for Big Data and Business Intelligence—these areas are quickly becoming the hottest topics in a decade. I'm particularly fascinated by the potential for virtually every enterprise to leverage the power of Big Data to improve customer experience, create customized offers, and differentiate themselves. In a lot of ways, Big Data feels like the Internet did back in the late 1990s: Lots of hype, but also massive underlying substance.
What is your favorite sport or hobby?
I use my time in airplanes and hotels to write. I'm 100,000 words into a paranormal novel that takes place in 1850s Nantucket. It’s a lot of fun.
If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?
Honesty and a sense of humor.
As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I get my motivation helping others learn and grow in our profession. Teaching and coaching others forces me to really know my stuff—or at least stay one step ahead of my employees and students. They push pretty hard, and keep me on my toes. My best day is the day I can help someone overcome a problem, learn something new, or take on a new responsibility.
About Kirby Wadsworth:
Kirby Wadsworth is Vice President of Global Marketing for F5 Networks and leads all marketing-demand generation and branding functions worldwide. Kirby has played a key role in many projects including the installation F5's global marketing function which delivers outbound communication, branding, PR/AR, marketing services, web experience, and global demand campaigns, introducing F5’s first marketing automation system, and creating a global revenue campaign model to align marketing with sales objectives. Prior to F5, Kirby served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for several startups including Acopia Networks, Revivio, and Storability. Kirby has been named a Stevie® Award Finalist twice, and F5 received the Stevie Award for Best Marketing Campaign in The 2011 American Business Awards.
About F5 Networks:
F5 Networks, Inc., a global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), helps some of the world’s largest enterprises and service providers to realize the full value of virtualization, cloud computing, and on-demand IT. F5® solutions help integrate disparate technologies to provide greater control of the infrastructure, improve application delivery and data management, and give users seamless, secure, and accelerated access to applications from their corporate desktops and smart devices. F5 products give customers the agility they need to align IT with changing business conditions, deploy scalable solutions on demand, and manage mobile access to data and services. Enterprises, service and cloud providers, and leading online companies worldwide rely on F5 to optimize their IT investments and drive business forward. For more information, go to www.f5.com.