TripActions CMO on Marketing Towards a Simple, Frictionless Experience
As a marketing leader, the most important responsibility you have is to align the company around a story and take it to market. CMOs can only do their best work when partnering with sales, product, and C-level executives across the organization. And this is the key to a simple, frictionless experience for the customer.
Within a marketing organization, there are three core functions: Product marketing, brand, and demand generation. Each of these play a significant role in the customer lifecycle that contributes to a superior user experience. The three core functions and the team form and deliver this story. And having a multidisciplinary team including web developers, engineers, designers, product marketers, brand, corporate communications and growth gives the organization a competitive advantage. When you work closely with product to get to know the target audience and identify the “wow” moments, you can excite and empower them as users early on.
In marketing, you have to understand the buyer, the technology, and what is leading to conversions and driving business. With a background in computer science, I found a treasure trove of information in data, reports, and dashboards that helped me make better decisions and lead teams more effectively early on in my career. I’ve observed again and again how marketing is a mix of creativity and science. I’ve built teams around that ideology wherever I go.
A critical aspect of building a modern marketing organization is incorporating the right technologies that simplify processes and make it easier to build relationships -- whether that's with customers, internal sales teams, or customer success agents. In order for this to work, tech has to work hand-in-hand with people. Marketing automation tools are an integral part of making sure that marketing can deliver the experience that it is capable of. Metrics and data are also key to understanding what’s working and what’s not. You must measure what matters and fix what’s not currently working. Insights are key to this.
TripActions is building the most advanced, AI-powered travel and expense management solution on the market. Our marketing organization communicates the sophistication of that technology in a multitude of ways, but there are four that I believe are important to building a foundation for simple, frictionless experiences.
1. Inform Them like Consumers
A consumer-like experience is needed in order to engage potential customers in today’s digital world. We’ve seen this shift across the business technology landscape — but what we don’t talk about often enough is that this expectation exists from the first interaction with a brand, product, or technology.
Enterprise apps are becoming more consumer-grade, which means they are more visually appealing, naturally intuitive, responsive, and accessible in part because users are becoming the decision-makers. The marketing that complements that product should be exactly the same: visually appealing, naturally intuitive, responsive, and accessible. People want to understand the product and its worldview before purchasing, so the brand experience — even before a demo — is of paramount importance.
TripActions speaks to C-level executives, finance and risk leaders, HR professionals, and high-stakes travel managers, but we craft content that appeals to them as curious and intelligent individuals. We don’t let the scope of what our product handles —millions of dollars in travel and expense spend -- affect the tone or approach of our content. From daily blog posts, weekly guides, and a bi-weekly podcast, our content is built to inform and engage the individual.
2. Empower Them as Participants
Our digital world is a two-way street and it would be absent-minded to build marketing campaigns that share information without creating opportunities for our community to come together and share information themselves.
This became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when thousands of our users were facing similar challenges at the same time. Our marketing team responded by creating live workshops where our users could come together to ask one another questions, share their experiences and insights, and together think about the best path forward. We also built a community forum overnight where our community, including present and potential customers, could share information as well as glean the latest insights and news from TripActions.
3. Stand by Them as Customers
Working with the engineering team is a critical part of building a 360° marketing strategy. We need to know exactly how our audience is using the product and have the data needed to highlight moments that resonate with them.
At TripActions, we're tightly coupled with product, monitoring customer feedback, and learning what the “wow” factor is to the traveler so we can align around those factors. Having systems in place to support this became even more important throughout the past six months during which the product team released new features and tools on a near weekly basis to empower our customers with the data and insights they needed to manage travel through the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the product marketing guides and tools available in our internal CMS, we also created TripActions Academy, where our users can gain in-depth, current knowledge on how to best use the product for their business objectives.
Our marketing efforts mean little if not extended to our community of users who are interacting with the product on a daily basis to make it as simple and frictionless an experience as possible. And they know how to get the most out of our solution.
4. Building a Shared World View
TripActions is a leader in the corporate travel industry, but we exist within the vibrant global travel industry at large. There are multiple ways to approach similar problems and TripActions has stood out for its modern, AI-powered approach to corporate travel and expense. We are disrupting a world run by outdated legacy travel and expense systems for too long. A world where companies found their travel and expense systems unprepared for COVID-19 and what was needed to adjust policies swiftly, control costs and protect travelers.
It is our responsibility to show our peers and the millions of enterprises and business travelers around the world that there is a better way. It is possible to gain visibility and control into travel and expenses while also enabling an incredible productive experience for business travelers, travel managers, finance and risk leaders, and C-level executives. Marketing is the channel through which we share our world view.
Most recently, we launched Open for Business: A T&E Podcast Powered by TripActions, which talks about the most important issues in travel today through a diverse set of voices. Through our multidisciplinary campaigns, we not only educate but share a new possibility for how travel and expense management can work at a modern company — whether its a startup or a global enterprise with offices around the world.
I’m excited about the future of marketing. We have the marketing technology today that’s needed to allow our teams to be more creative than ever. We can also now access the insight data needed to cut through the noise and make a big impact. TripActions is leading the way and our marketing team is providing the context and content needed before, during, and after the buyer's journey.