It’s pretty cool being the chief marketing officer of a company whose product owns a third of the international market in its space.
We know. We asked.
Doug Bewsher led the marketing teams at Skype as the instant messaging and video-chat service grew to 750 million users, including owning a third of all international calls. Microsoft bought it in 2011 for $8.5 billion.
“Skype is one of the great success stories in terms of being one of the most pervasive brands on the Internet,” said Bewsher, whose appointment as CEO of B2B social demand generation provider Leadspace became official today. “… We had a vision of breaking down barriers to communication.”
Bewsher wants to do the same at Leadspace. This time, the goal is helping B2B marketers break down their own barriers.
And he comes at a peak time for the 50-employee provider based in San Francisco. Leadspace has doubled its customer base in the last 12 months, posting record annual growth for 2013. It helps B2B companies capitalize on using social and big data insights to drive business growth.
Leadspace deploys an automated and socially powered Demand Generation solution that taps into customer intelligence in real time, listens for potential buying signals across multiple online sources and identifies new ideal customers based on this insight.
“It’s the best-kept secret in the industry at the moment,” Bewsher said. Why? Because Bewsher said organizations go at B2B demand gen from three angles:
- Data, where lots of data is consumed to help marketers
- Heavy duty analytics, where orgs build clever “black box” models but really don’t have a lot of great data
- Process perspectives, where orgs add tools into Salesforce, perhaps, and maybe get an inside view
“But the real magic happens when it connects insights and data and the ability to do analytics and understanding on top of that and then easily integrates into your automation tools,” Bewsher said. “I think Leadspace is unique in being able to do that around the idea of the ideal customer profile. You can connect those three dots and really see the ability to get change in your demand gen program.”
B2B Marketing No Small Task
Bewsher knows B2B marketing has its challenges. Consumer marketers began a deep dive into social media marketing about five years ago, he said. Though it took time to break through their skepticism, B2C marketers eventually felt social media was a must.
“B2B is much harder,” Bewsher said. “You have to connect the dots between what people are interested in, what products they are using, what you know about them. It’s a very hard problem.”
However, Bewsher pointed to the IDG statistic that 86 percent of B2B buyers now use social media in their buying decisions.
“When you can connect the dots, then we’re really starting to see the value,” he said. “It’s been some time coming, but the sense I have is we’re really at the tipping point now where B2B marketers can use social in some way.”
CMO: No Easy Role
Being a CMO is a “hard job,” Bewsher added. He was not only the CMO of Skype, but also for 12,000-employee Salesforce. He held the latter gig for 18 months before joining Leadspace. CMOs are not only dealing with branding and product marketing questions but also revenue ones.
“CMOs now have revenue and pipeline targets,” he said. “They actually own part of the sales number.”
The key, Bewsher said, is having metrics in place to help you make better decisions. Don’t wait until the final minute to start measuring. “The metrics are there,” he said.
Ultimately, Bewsher said having a great product to market is the bottom line. At Skype and Salesforce, that wasn’t much of a problem. He championed the Salesforce Communities brand.
And as for Skype, the numbers speak for themselves.
“Being part of Microsoft now, they have this interesting opportunity to connect Skype and then Yammer and some other internal tools,” Bewsher said of Skype. “To connect these in an effective way is a big challenge for them to think through at the moment.”