Voices of the Engagement Economy: Steven Wolfe Pereira
*This interview with Neustar Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Steven Wolfe Pereira by Marketo VP Karen Steele originally was posted here on CMO nation on June 30 2017.
Steven is responsible for all corporate marketing, partnership marketing, product marketing, design, agency partnerships, corporate communications, and corporate social responsibility.
In this discussion, Steven talks about what the Engagement Economy means to him, the importance of connecting with customers on a personal level, and how to keep focused on the end goal.
Q: There has been a lot of discussion about the Engagement Economy — what does it mean to you?
SWP: If you are really focused on the Engagement Economy, you need to understand how every single touchpoint is connected across people, places, and things. And it’s with trusted identity that you can truly understand how to connect all the different dimensions of your client. Only by understanding identity holistically can you provide an incredibly personalized experience that is key to winning in the Engagement Economy. The margin for error today is so small because if clients do not get that personalized experience, they will move on to one of your competitors. Understanding how to surprise and delight is where the Engagement Economy meets growth.
Q: How does that influence your approach to marketing?
SWP: I don’t believe in B2C or B2B marketing — I believe in H2H — human-to-human marketing. Business is simple: it’s about people. Your relationships and communications with people. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. So, you have to start with the why.
You need to answer, “Why would a client care?” Why would and why should someone spend time with you? If you can’t connect on an H2H level, connecting with a purpose and connecting with your why, then you’re wasting someone’s time. Only after getting past the why can we begin to explain what we have to offer and how. No one wants to be sold to, but people want to buy. And they will buy your why.
Marketing needs to connect what the client values and what the company values. Only by understanding that intersection can marketing really drive business growth. Marketing can bring the voice of the client into the company, and can help take the message of the company out into the market. It is this engagement that helps drive business.
Q: What impact does that have on the role of marketing within the business?
SWP: Effective Marketing teams become a company’s connective tissue, penetrating the whole company and connecting information across teams. To be authentic, the same language and messages that are shared internally should be amplified externally. If everyone understands our purpose and can answer the why internally, then we’ll be able to have clients and partners understand our why externally.
My employees are my biggest brand ambassadors. They are the ones that should be your biggest believers because they are your first line of both offense and defense. If they don’t believe in your solutions, products, or purpose, why should anyone else?
Q: How do you make your approach come alive in practice?
SWP: I like to start with the end in mind and work backwards. When it comes to working with data, technology, etc., these are all means to the end. Data isn’t the end; it is a happy customer or a new sale. The means are important, but they should be invisible. Otherwise, if you focus too much on the means and not the end goal, you can get distracted. The important thing is to really focus on what matters.
It’s also key to focus on signal. There’s always lots of noise in the marketplace. Lots of shiny objects. Focusing on signal is difficult and takes discipline. Understanding the macro trends that will reshape industries and your business is critical, and it’s important to not get misled by the fads.