Video: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise’s Head of Digital Talks Transformation, Innovation And Martech
Adobe Experience Cloud solutions are helping the company meet its digital transformation goals.
Gabie Boko is global vice president of digital at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise — and while there’s something inherently hard about marketing and selling to large companies, it’s something she’s excited by.
In this exclusive interview, we sat down with Gabie to talk about her team’s priorities in 2020, some of the nuances of marketing to enterprises, and her take on what it means to be innovative.
What is your team’s big bet for 2020?
Digital transformation. We got the chance to really start a company anew, and we are going to build, from the ground up, what digital marketing, digital operations, and that technology would look like. In early 2019 our digital transformation consisted of just pumping out a type of lead, but we weren’t really changing the dynamic of the organization… so we really want to pivot away from just transforming or digitizing our process, and move toward evolution of what we call “digital business.”
And what that means for us is that we’re intently aware of our processes, of how we sell, of how we market, of how our customers are going to buy from us, to create the best experience so that we aren’t just digitizing something, but we’re actually evolving as a company into something that will be more forward, much more aggressive, and hopefully more successful, as the years go by.
How will you meet these goals?
FY20’s going to be an interesting year for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. We’ve been partnered with Adobe for a very long time, since our birth four years ago… we’ve spent the last three years really making sure that we had the right Adobe products in place, that we were partnering to use them correctly and to drive our transformation into digital business forward.
I really like where Adobe is going in terms of adding things like Marketo to the stack and what you’ve been doing with Adobe Experience Cloud. FY20 will be about bringing the entire experience together.
What I love about partnering with Adobe is that my rep, Mike Evanson, is really great at understanding and sitting with us to talk about Adobe strategy. We talk about Hewlett-Packard Enterprise strategy and we really try to figure out what’s going to be meaningful and move the ball forward — for both of us, which I think is the right way to do it.
HPE is the enterprise side of HP. Can you talk to me about what it is like marketing to the enterprise?
It’s an extremely complex sale, whether it’s software or hardware. You tend to get lost in cycles of business, cycles of IT. And, against all of that, you are constantly trying to figure out what your customer’s doing, what your customer wants, and does it change? You’re entirely linked to your customer’s business strategy and to their sales cycle in terms of their business processes. So B2B is not as quick or as immediately rewarding, but it’s extremely interesting and exciting.
Not as quick as what? As a consumer?
B2C is immediately rewarding because a consumer will research, understand, configure, pick, and they’ll purchase. Or they’ll store it until they decide they want to purchase, which could be one month or three months later. In a B2B environment, there’s a lot of assessment and a lot of collaboration because you are thinking about your business strategy — so it takes a lot more voices across your company to make that buying decision.
Everyone’s talking about customer-centricity. Why do you need a customer focus in B2B?
If you don’t have a customer focus inside B2B, then you have a tendency to look only at the sale or only at the process, and then you’re not really selling your product the right way. You’re not selling a solution. You’re not even selling an experience, you’re selling a line item, a SKU — and that isn’t going to work for a customer if you want repeat business and want to create a relationship.
Our editorial theme this month at Adobe is Innovation. Can you give our readers a piece of innovation advice?
I think what Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has to continue to really be aware of, and I think what most companies have to be aware of, is you can do all these amazing things — but if you aren’t internally preparing your organization to receive or to do business in a different way, then it’s just innovation for innovation’s sake.
What is your advice to marketers in 2020?
Embrace analytics, embrace the kind of performance and business intelligence that you would get from that data, but also have in place a process to actually make it useful — otherwise you’re going to do your company, and yourself, a disservice.
What separates the good marketers from the bad?
I think when marketers get super hyper-focused on the cool shiny stuff… that’s myopic, and that’s what makes bad marketers and it makes for bad marketing. So if you’re a marketer who is singularly focused, you’re going to miss out on exponential scale.
I think that you have to find a voice for yourself and a voice for marketing, and I think that digital gives you that voice because it gives you that continuity, that spread or that breadth of view that a company needs and wants — and that’s what makes a good marketer.