“I believe in benchmarking more than influencers. People want to see where they are compared to their peers. Being able to look at the market with a benchmarking tool that can show, for example, the value of XYZ initiative, and where that particular organisation stacks up compared with their peers, is more valuable than anything else because it will drive competition, action and sales.“
Insightive.tv: What are the largest challenges you face connecting with key stakeholders?
Nicou: There are two primary challenges.
The first is segmentation. We need specific information about sectors and individuals to be able to understand the relevant business pains they are experiencing that our industry solutions can solve. Every stakeholder in a department or agency will have their own processes and plans in mind. The buyer persona is one of the key things we evaluate before opening the channels of communication. This segmentation and personalisation strategy must be undertaken before we engage in the sales process, but it is also necessary to set it up to be as repeatable as possible. With so much competition, organisations must stand out from the crowd and find new and innovative approaches for influencing the way customers buy. Business buyers don’t “buy” our products; they “buy into” our approach to solving their problem.
The nature of digital transformation is also evolving as digital technology matures. No one wants to totally rip and replace their back of house infrastructure in which they have already made large investments. What CIOs are looking for is the ability to extend the value of those existing investments and break information silos into an “integrated single source of the truth”. At Objective, we have responded to this new dynamic by changing the architecture of our solutions. Our customers can now extend, not rebuild…. They can digitally transform their organisation by leveraging their existing investment while extending governance to provide a better experience to staff; and better services to citizens. They can digitise manual processes and extend collaboration without a wholesale change to their existing information governance platform.
This fundamental shift means we no longer sell a product or “platform”, instead we offer a range of customisable industry solutions that streamline business processes seamlessly integrating with any document management or repository systems. We are selling our vision of true digital transformation; where great governance drives better business, by connecting content, processes and people for informed business. In essence, we are putting information to work, so they can get back to business.
The fact that our industry solutions are flexible enough to work on any repository further aids our strategy of selling to particular personas. But, this creates our second large challenge; shedding the legacy concept of Objective as being simply an information or document management system competing with other Enterprise Content Management systems. Changing the perception of the “red VS blue ocean” strategy is our new marketing positioning paradigm shift… We are now delivering elegant industry solutions that apply better governance to information and processes, driving informed decisions in the organisations that society relies on most.
Insightive.tv: How has your marketing changed to make sure that stakeholders understand this vision?
Nicou: One change we have already implemented is in how we write case studies. We used to write them based on our implementation and/or product benefits, now we focus more on the values and quantifiable benefits. We are creating snapshots highlighting the value that customers achieve from our solutions. It is about showcasing the value that our industry solutions bring to their organisation in an effective and relevant way. Our brand’s image will evolve as we continue to connect with stakeholders about the new and collaborative solutions we offer.
To aid our segmentation capability, which is a significant aspect contributing to the effectiveness of our outreach, we have invested in qualitative market research with key media players. For example, with local government, we are conducting a survey with a prominent industry publication that will enable us to position each of the local Councils as a benchmark on how well they are transitioning into their digital journey. We can use that as a segmentation model to prioritise the pains of our stakeholders. We are also engaging with several industry consultants — those embedded with our customers — aiming to discover if there is a better market for specific solutions.
Recently, we have begun a strong relationship with Microsoft. This is important because it not only aides our Go To Market and sales initiatives but feeds back into the desirability of “transparent” add-ons. Fundamentally, in addition to wanting simplicity, no one wants to be retrained on using a new software interface or use multiple sign-on details. Technology should adapt to the new CX by providing the best UX. Our new Enterprise Content Management [ECM] solution operates through Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint for this very reason. Our users can now embrace the latest Office 365 productivity applications knowing governance simply happens in the background. We are enabling users to manage their content in Office 365 ensuring information governance isn’t compromised.
Insightive.tv: How do you see your use of influencers, or general marketing strategy, changing in the near future?
Nicou: I believe in benchmarking more than influencers. People want to see where they are compared to their peers. Being able to look at the market with a benchmarking tool that can show, for example, the value of XYZ initiative, and where that particular organisation stacks up compared with their peers, is more valuable than anything else because it will drive competition, action and sales. In the public sector, maintaining a presence at events is important for brand awareness, and the importance of influencers, case studies and traditional marketing cannot be dismissed. But I think peer value driven benchmarking is the Holy Grail of new engagement.
We recently started a customer care program that allows our customers to share their workflow processes. For example, if one of our local government Councils have a good process that they are proud of, we allow them to share that idea by putting it into a workflow library that we can use to empower other Councils. The contributing customer is incentivised to participate because they are presented as a Thought Leader among their peers, and we benefit by being able to publicise a use case for our solution that is verified by a user, rather than simply our sales team. Over three months, we have grown our workflow library from about 4 to 44 workflows, and seen over 650 downloads by our customers within a week of operation.
We work to make someone realise that their peers are doing something else and we need to do that in a way where the cost efficiencies are worth the investment in the first place. You have to find the real people that have a pain, and then you need to find a means to select them — a reverse segmentation if you will. You cannot use a one-size fits all approach. It is important to consider how the profitability within one segment can be repeated within an adjacent segment. But, the primary concern is to craft a personalised message that answers an individual’s pains and provides them with a unique value proposition that will satisfy their needs.
JP Nicou is Chief Marketing Officer at Objective. A hands-on and results-driven marketer, Nicou brought more than two decades of marketing and entrepreneurial experience when he joined Objective in 2015 — having worked for global firms such as Microsoft, Cisco and Lexmark Enterprise Software, and as a co-founder of KahDo Pty Ltd. With demonstrated success driving growth in targeted markets, Nicou currently leads a holistic marketing strategy across Objective. We spoke with Nicou to gain his insights into how technology is transforming marketing and understand Objective’s use of influencers and customer networks to grow their business and cut through the noise.
Objective Corporation provides information, process and collaboration governance solutions that enable organisations to advance their digital transformation projects. Focused on providing solutions for regulated industries and the public sector, Objective has grown in both scope and size since its foundation in 1987.