5 minutes with… Arjen Segers, Marketing Automation Expert, Chapman Bright

This month I’m delighted to be speaking to a former colleague of mine from my Hay Group days, Arjen Segers, who is now a Marketing Automation Expert at Chapman Bright, a MarTech consultancy based in the Benelux.

Here is my 5 minutes with…

What is your marketing background?
In the past 10+ years I’ve been working in international marketing positions. Starting as a marketing consultant at my alma mater Utrecht University, I progressively grew into different marketing positions at Hay Group, later Korn Ferry. Working out of Brussels, I have mainly covered Benelux and the Nordics, with interim positions for Germany and UAE. As marketing manager my responsibilities included all fields of marketing, though I’ve always had a major focus on demand generating marketing strategies. In 2018 I teamed up with Diederik Martens, an expert in marketing technology, to start an advisory firm in that field, currently established as Chapman Bright.

What does your role at Chapman Bright consist involve?
Many business-to-business companies are using marketing automation platforms or even a range of martech tools. As an Adobe Marketo Certified Solutions Architect, I help these organisations with everything that involves the use of marketing technology, from discovery to business growth. Instead of one-off lead scoring or account based marketing projects, we use our ChapLoop ™ methodology to guide companies through a consistent and integrated process. The main clients I work for are DHL Express, Deloitte, Unilever and Rockwool Group.

You’ve worked previously in professional services and are now servicing all kind of clients at Chapman Bright, what have been some of the biggest changes for you in marketing, during that time?

Nowadays B2B marketers are often in the position to tell their CEOs how much money they’ll need instead of waiting for how much they’ll receive.

Business-to-business marketing is moving from marketing departments to the board room. In the early days marketing teams were just there, budgets were fixed or a percentage of revenue, and marked as an expense. Afterwards, some sales guys have been waking up their marketers by showing that their activities actually generated revenue! They started aligning, working together in business development, and sharing insights on the (financial) results. But I’m happy to see that nowadays B2B marketers are often in the position to tell their CEOs how much money they’ll need instead of waiting for how much they’ll receive, because they are able to prove and forecast how the company will benefit from the proposed marketing strategy or innovation.

Digital marketing has evolved massively in the past few years, what have been the most significant evolutions for you?
More efficient and more professional ways of working for marketing teams. I do remember an afternoon in autumn 2014, that you and I spent in London discussing large lead scoring spreadsheets that I had manually prepared for a product launch you were leading. Your team had created a range of marketing materials including whitepapers, videos and webinars to support the launch in Singapore, Brazil, the UK, US, Spain and Benelux. That was 7 years ago and yet these activities haven’t changed much, while in the background a fully integrated martech stack can now connect all kind of valuable data. Rather than spending afternoons on building scoring sheets together, we can now focus on a scalable lead scoring and nurturing strategy that reports on revenue, all supported by martech tools, and use the same resources to launch a product in a number of additional countries.

When I worked with you at Hay Group you were a central part of the Benelux marketing function, how did you used to overcome the often day to day challenges that inevitably existing between global and local and what advice would you offer to any marketers, who are perhaps struggling in this regard?
I love the dynamic of global versus local. Global teams are often well connected to key company stakeholders, while local marketers know their target audiences like no one else. Local marketers can really add value with their in-depth market knowledge and connect with peer regional marketers to find common denominators. That’s great input for global teams, to make sure they only focus on what is common between regions. Global teams on their side can easily feed local teams with corporate information or connect them to stakeholders when relevant. This creates a win-win situation.

You’re now heavily involved in marketing technology. There are over 8,000 marketing technologies now on the market, for marketers who are building out their first true martech stack, and have a limited budget, what to you would be the essential must have’s?

Make sure you don’t overcomplicate things: if you do not understand the tool you’re purchasing or do not know how to use it yourself, it will not magically start improving your marketing performance.

There is no one size fits all, so first start with a business case and keep it easy. If you know which issue you would like to solve, find a tool that solves that specific issue. Make sure you don’t overcomplicate things: if you do not understand the tool you’re purchasing or do not know how to use it yourself, it will not magically start improving your marketing performance. A great start for smaller companies would be HubSpot Marketing Hub. It has reasonable license fees, low implementation costs, it’s easy to use and has open access to e-learnings to develop your (team’s) knowledge. Its App Partner Program integrates with over 500 different technologies, so you can steadily grow your martech stack.

What have been the biggest benefits of marketing automation for you?
Marketing automation offers clients or prospects a more personalised and relevant experience, while personal data is stored in a secure way and privacy is respected. It offers marketing leaders better team efficiency, much more reporting and insights and more specific targeting, and it offers companies improved marketing and sales alignment with an increased prospect conversion rate / shorter lead cycle.

What are the fundamentals to you of a successful digital campaign?

In digital marketing you’re in the driving seat and it is all about preparation: if you want to spend your money in the right way, make a solid plan.

In digital marketing you’re in the driving seat and it is all about preparation: if you want to spend your money in the right way, make a solid plan. Check the road map before departure: where do you go and how much fuel do you need to get there? Don’t drive on the wrong side of the road (unless you’re UK-based!!), make sure you don’t burn your fuel if you’re only halfway towards your destination. Don’t show up at 3 am at your destination, because no one one will be welcoming you!

If you were to tell your clients that they could only report on 3 key metrics, what would they be?

A high or increasing unsubscribe rate is an absolute red flag on marketing performance. Assuming that your database contains relevant contacts that could possibly convert, every prospect you lose means lost acquisition money.

Let’s keep it easy for B2B: how many clients are you bringing in, how much did it cost and how much ran away during the process?
This means I would report on the number of marketing qualified leads and the customer lifetime value vs cost per acquisition. Prerequisite is a clear definition of marketing qualified leads, but with these metrics you know your absolute number of leads coming out of your campaigns and how much you can spend to attract new customers.
I’m not a fan of specific email metrics, except the unsubscribe ratio. A high or increasing unsubscribe rate is an absolute red flag on marketing performance. Assuming that your database contains relevant contacts that could possibly convert, every prospect you lose means lost acquisition money, and missing out of possible business. Even if they’re opting out because they already purchased from a competitor, your campaign timing might not have been right, you might have missed purchase intentions etc.

Finally, what’s the best piece of marketing advice you’ve ever been given?
This is advice to use within your company: speak your CFO’s language and make sure you can explain what marketing will add to the business instead of what is will cost.