Voices of the Engagement Economy: Christian Nolte, VP of Marketing & Global Business Development, Masonite International
Christian’s charter at Masonite includes strategic marketing including such functions as MarCom and digital marketing, product management, business development including early stage of the sales cycle, and international marketing including the entire lifecycle of the sales process.
In this discussion, Christian talks about the ever-changing marketing landscape in the Engagement Economy, his expectations for 2018, and his favorite word: authentic.
As a strategic marketer, how have you seen the landscape change over time?
We have needed to make several changes to improve our customer experience over the past few years. Historically, engagements were a one-way street, with us pushing content to customers and prospects. Today everything starts with a conversation, implying a two-way street, and the marketing technology stack enables us to have a more robust conversation. Rather than simply pushing our message, we’re listening, as well as speaking. In fact, I believe we have to listen just as much as we speak. As such, our content has changed. We deliver content in a personalized way and we listen to the response. How are our prospects reacting? What’s working? What else is needed? We now have the ability to act on that data quickly. There is no lag from marketing passing the information to another group, such as inside sales. Instead, we are developing an automated way to analyze, target, and quickly reply.
What expectations do you have for 2018 for your business?
I expect us to leverage our message and data in more scalable ways. Our message, “Shape Better Environments” does not overtly mention doors. It reflects an outcome that the customer wants, in language that the industry understands. While I speak at a number of events and directly to customers with this message, as a single individual I simply don’t scale. We need my message to come from more places than just me. MarTech solutions like Marketo will help us go broadly and connect more authentically in our customer outreach. As we scale our message to reach a broader audience, our ability to personalize those messages and increase our audience-based education will help Masonite improve our customer experience in highly personalized ways.
My favorite word is “authentic.” Marketing technology enables us to dramatically increase the number of personalized, 1:1 conversations we have with prospects. At the same time, those conversations are less personal than a traditional “in person” sales call. So, while those interactions are less personal, they must also be authentic. The message is the key.
Can you share any experiences that you’ve had with your favorite word?
During one of my first sales calls, I met with an architect about one of our products, doors for commercial buildings. Our sales person had tried to get this appointment for a year. During the meeting, the prospect asked, “So, what do you have?” The salesperson systematically walked through the many samples of our door offerings. After 10 minutes, I could tell that the meeting was over. The prospect concluded by saying, “Thank you very much, I’ll call you later when I need doors.”
I wondered if we had focused on the wrong target (i.e. our own products), so I interjected, asking him, “What are you trying to achieve for YOUR clients?” The prospect sat up straight and became instantly engaged, “Well, we used to build hospitals that had very clinical environments. Now we build resorts that just happen to be hospitals.” He then relayed, in great detail, all the work his firm would do with great pride and passion, and even how our doors could elevate his ability to shape better hospital environments. We met the customer where HE was, by being authentic. I followed up by asking, “Why resorts?” The prospect did not fully understand why his client was focused on resorts. However, we did a little research after the call and learned that hospitals put a high premium on the Health Care Survey that patients receive after a visit. By building hospitals with resort-like environments, the hospital expected to increase their survey results, and their resulting financial returns. The engagement, authenticity, and understanding of our prospect’s business, as well as HIS customers’ business, enabled us to secure a new customer.