How a Single Source of Marketing Truth Delivered a Transformative Year for CenturyLink

How a Single Source of Marketing Truth Delivered a Transformative Year for CenturyLink
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In 2018, the marketing department at CenturyLink overcame a challenge facing many businesses today: establishing a single source of truth for all marketing data. This achievement is impressive given the fact that CenturyLink had just closed its $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications on November 1, 2017, kicking off a variety of company-wide initiatives to combine the best of both companies.

Integration is never easy, and it’s especially difficult between large companies that have large teams, more than 30 marketing technologies, and even larger data sets. Through thoughtful planning and execution, the CenturyLink marketing operations team turned massive data silos across disconnected marketing technologies into a highly valuable toolset for the sales and marketing teams.

How did they do it?

The team listed their most important priorities for the Enterprise business, which included simplifying the marketing technology stack, creating a single source of truth by centralizing as much data as possible, setting up multi-touch attribution, and automating the data lake ingestion and refresh process. All of this enabled their data team to generate deeper insights and their marketing leadership team to make better decisions.

Let’s dive into more detail to paint an even clearer picture.

Simplifying the marketing technology stack

With multiple Marketo instances, an additional third-party instance, and processes built from over 30 marketing technologies, success was far from guaranteed.

Changing processes, integrating new teams, and retooling the marketing technology stack posed a unique challenge.

The first area the CenturyLink marketing operations team addressed was identifying what was working for the newly-acquired Level 3 Communications team and integrating that with the needs of the CenturyLink sales and marketing teams. The team needed to find efficiencies in their data. They were spending a significant amount of time pulling data, providing inaccurate reports, and focusing too much time with personalization without proving its benefits.

One of CenturyLink’s first steps was using Marketo as the center of their marketing technology stack, which allowed them to eliminate redundant technologies and streamline their data all within a single tech stack.

Kate Federhar, Senior Marketing Operations Manager at CenturyLink explains, “By choosing Marketo as the center of our marketing technology stack, we were able to eliminate duplicative efforts, downsizing from 30 to 20 marketing technologies. In addition, we established Marketo as our single source of truth, enabling us to do true multi-touch attribution, reduce the time people spent pulling data, and get easier access to data by our insights team. “

Also, Federhar’s team moved as much data as possible into the data lake to provide the sales teams the insights, they needed to close deals.

CenturyLink is also one of the first company to implement Marketo Sales Connect. Marketo Sales Connect is a much more streamlined option for multi-touch marketing campaigns that include email, telemarketing, and Salesforce tasks.

“The reps are getting notified and engaging at the right time, and not engaging when there is no reason to,” said Federhar. “This seems obvious but is so crucial to sales success.”

Current, accessible, accurate, and complete data

Prior to Marketo, the insights team was spending 60 percent of their time pulling data, when they should have been focused on analyzing and creating insights from the data instead. By setting up Marketo to push activity data into their data lake – 400,000 daily Marketo activities, to be exact – CenturyLink now has a comprehensive look at every lead’s interaction across the lifecycle.

For years, CenturyLink struggled with multi-touch attribution because there wasn’t a single source for all marketing data. In 2018, the telecommunications company finally achieved the ability to do multi-touch attribution thanks to choosing Marketo as the center of the technology stack. This new multi-touch reporting allows the marketing operations team to deliver insights to sellers, such as spikes in content consumption, helping them close deals.

It also allows the marketing team to prove their impact, by tying marketing activities directly back to revenue.

Success is in the numbers

CenturyLink has achieved substantial results with Marketo at the center of their marketing technology stack, including $1.1 million in closed-won incremental marketing revenue contribution, and an annualized marketing revenue impact of about $10 million last year.

“For me, the success is in the metrics. We extract a lot of our data into our data lake, and now we can do multi-touch attribution, throughout the entire customer journey. We can see which touch points work and which ones drive deal size up, for example. And we can see which touch points get stuck so that we can improve,” said Federhar. “It’s important to identify where the victories are, and Marketo has certainly helped us do that.”

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