We’re back with the latest Q&A with Marketing Leaders, our series designed to provide B2B marketers with the best insights and actionable tips on how to improve their marketing planning by learning from the best B2B leaders in the industry.
In this edition, we spoke with Aviv Canaani, VP of Marketing at Workiz.
Workiz is a business software for small to medium-sized on-demand field service businesses, such as locksmith, junk removal, carpet cleaning, and appliance repair. With Workiz, field service pros can grow their business by ditching antiquated business management methods such as pen and paper, Excel spreadsheets, and Google Calendar. Workiz provides an easy-to-use platform that allows service pros to manage their scheduling, invoicing, payment processing, phone systems, online bookings, and much more.
In addition to being VP of Marketing at Workiz, Aviv is a published author, marketer, growth hacker, communications expert, and other cool buzzwords. He started his marketing career as Director of Communications for a Member of Knesset (Knesset is the parliament in Israel) in Israel, completed his MBA at Duke University, led content and performance marketing teams for IBM’s mobile and cloud initiatives in NYC and Texas, and moved back to Israel to build Natural Intelligence’s B2B Marketing division. In September 2019, he was appointed as the VP of Marketing at Workiz.
So how did you originally get into marketing?
I kind of have a different story than a lot of other people.
About ten years ago, I was working in politics for a government minister and was responsible for everything related to legislations; for example, passing government reforms.
A few years into my career, the minister that I was working for suddenly had to leave the government and become a full-time Member of Parliament. That’s when I was invited to become his Director of Communications.
That was really the first time I got to do something in the realm of marketing. I enjoyed everything that had to do with positioning and messaging, and I quickly realized that I had bigger ambitions. I wanted to become an expert marketer and learn from the best. It was at that point I decided to move to the U.S., do an MBA at Duke, and eventually join the private sector.
Who had the most influence on your career so far?
Ever since I was a little kid, she was always pushing me forward. She’s been an incredible support system throughout my life, and especially throughout my career. I believe that if you want to take the next steps in your career and get ahead in your profession, you have to trust in yourself, and overcome the imposter syndrome. It’s the reason that I was able to make the jump from politics into marketing, and build a career for myself in the tech industry. This is especially important for marketing. The only way you can be successful is if you’re willing to take chances and risks. That’s something I learned from home, and I’m still implementing today.
Without having that kind of confidence in yourself it’s almost impossible to be successful and build an impactful career, whether it’s in marketing or anything else.
Why B2B over B2C?
My first real marketing role was at IBM – super B2B! I like the sophistication of B2B and the complexity of the buyer journeys. But after I started working at Workiz, where SMBs are our clients, I’m starting to see some things that I like about SMBs that share similar characteristics to that of B2C.
People always think that B2C is sexier than B2B because you are closer to the consumer and have a lot more freedom in ways to build connections to your audience. I see it a bit differently.
With SMBs (and B2C), I can see the impact of my marketing and tactics a lot faster. Sometimes, B2B journeys are very long and it can take a long time to know if something you do in your marketing is effective or not. Now, I can send emails or change things in our 14-day trial and see the results of what I’m doing a lot faster, which enables me to be a lot more agile in my marketing.
What do you think is the most important skill for a B2B marketing leader?
Of course, everyone says marketing leaders need to be data-driven and clearly understand what is working and what isn’t. That’s a given.
But if you want to be a great marketer and make a difference, you can’t just do more of the same things like everyone else. You can’t just say, “Okay, I’m doing content marketing, and I’m doing performance, and I’m putting money in Facebook.” You need to go the extra mile and do something that really engages your audience and gets people to pay attention to you.
At the end of the day, if you’re not creative, don’t have the right strategy in place and don’t understand your target audience- it doesn’t matter how data-driven you are. If that were the case, you’d have an accountant running your marketing department.
Let’s dig a little bit into your marketing planning. How do you set your marketing goals in your organization?
The first step is understanding what the company’s strategy is, and the person you need to talk to is the CEO. Based on that, I built the marketing goals.
I use the OKR system for our marketing department and I define three or four main objectives and break down each one of them into key results. Everything is based on specific numbers that we’re trying to reach and that I know will affect the bottom line. Usually, my objectives are based around demand generation metrics, although I do have some that are based on other metrics such as upselling our existing clients via Product Marketing or others regarding building awareness.
How do you align the company around your marketing goals?
I get the main objectives from the CEO.
Then I start creating what I think should be marketing’s objectives and key results. I also ask each one of my team members to think about what these should be BEFORE I share my own because I believe in having a team that’s smart, capable and possesses an ownership mentality.
Once I get their feedback, I finalize the list of what I think should be the objectives and key results and share that with the whole team so that we are completely aligned.
I want buy-in from my team and don’t want to be in a situation where, in the middle of the quarter, someone comes and says, “Oh, this key result was unrealistic.” I expect us to have that discussion ahead of time.
Once I have that, I go back to my executive team and get their thoughts. I want to make sure that my team’s OKRs are aligned with what they’re focusing on. It’s at this point that I sometimes have to make a few changes and adaptations to my goals.
At the end of the day, when I’ve finalized the goals for the quarter, I know I have buy-in from everyone; from my employees all the way up to the executive team. At the end of each quarter, I can see what worked and what didn’t, understand what we accomplished, what we were successful at, etc. This process prevents the team from giving negative feedback about the objectives at the end of the quarter and ensures that everyone is focused and aligned.
How do you know if you’ve planned well?
At the end of the quarter, I look at all the numbers, summarize how we did and take note of any issues that might have come up along the way. For example, noticing that we might not have been looking at the right data could cause a big back and forth discussion all quarter. I try and reduce these kinds of issues as much as possible.
In terms of results, I want to know that what I planned for and achieved delivered an impact on the business and drove us forward towards our company goals. I think it’s best practice that you hit between 70%-80% of your objectives and that’s typically the situation I aim for.
What advice do you have for marketing leaders looking to improve their marketing planning?
The first thing is to try and break everything down into OKRs. I find that this system makes it a lot easier to understand your goals and what you need to do to achieve them. It really clarifies your direction in marketing. It’s also important to do monthly planning in terms of budget and understand where you are going to invest your budget. InfiniGrow helps us out with that!
The other thing that I think a lot of people miss when planning their marketing is understanding multi-channel marketing and how each channel impacts the other. For this, you need multi-touch marketing attribution to get a full view of your funnel. Too many marketers still say “Oh, invest more in Google or Facebook” and take the single-channel view when the customer journey is so much more complex than that. Thankfully, I have InfiniGrow to help me understand the complex buyers’ journey.