In our increasingly digital landscape, the lines between the personal and the professional have blurred—and Covid-19 has accelerated this shift dramatically. Now more than ever, B2B is B2P: business-to-people.
Agile, customer-centric brands like Webex and GoDaddy understand that small business owners and enterprise decision makers alike are people first and customers second. And competing for attention alongside consumer brands means that B2B marketers must work even harder to build emotional connections on the apps, services and devices where people spend their time.
I recently joined Webex CMO Aruna Ravichandran and GoDaddy CMO Fara Howard on a virtual coffee date to hear firsthand about how B2B marketers can transform their storytelling for the digital age.
Julie Cullinane: 2020 changed the way we live, interact with each other and do business. How have you and your brands evolved—and what lessons did you learn?
Fara Howard: As marketers, our jobs are to listen to customers and evolve with their needs. In 2020, GoDaddy welcomed nearly 1.4 million new ones—so we listened and evolved a lot. We learned how to act even faster without compromising quality; to let customers have more control over the storytelling; and that pivoting, even when exhausting, is an imperative.
Aruna Ravichandran: I couldn’t agree more. Twenty-five years ago, Webex revolutionized video conferencing for people and businesses—and as the world continues to evolve, so do we. In fact, we added over 400 new features in just the last six months. And on the marketing side, we changed our media mix and shifted toward more emotionally driven storytelling.
Speaking of storytelling, you both excel at building authentic, emotional connections with customers. What’s your philosophy when it comes to humanizing your product?
We’ve always believed in brand building through compassionate, human-centric storytelling—and this investment has paid off.
Fara Howard, GoDaddy
Ravichandran: Webex’s storytelling is driven by our purpose: to use technology to power a more inclusive future for all. Diversity or accessibility are table stakes; to us, inclusion means breaking down barriers across geography, language, technical proﬁciency, socio-economic levels and personality types to empower us and our customers as professionals and as human beings.
Howard: Exactly. We know our audience doesn’t make decisions based on features or price alone. These everyday entrepreneurs increasingly seek out brands that align with their values, so GoDaddy is steadfast in communicating what we stand for. We’ve always believed in brand building through compassionate, human-centric storytelling—and this investment has paid off.
Could you share a campaign example that brings your storytelling approach to life?
Howard: I’m proud of GoDaddy’s #OpenWeStand campaign because it expanded into a movement. It provided a powerful rallying cry for small business owners as well as resources and tools to help them stay afloat during the pandemic. It also drove brand affinity to a five-year high, confirming that success is a byproduct of deeply listening and honoring our mission to empower entrepreneurs.
Ravichandran: For me, our #FutureVoices campaign is near and dear to my heart. It featured compelling personal stories from students and educators—like Zainab Hussain, a graduate student and first-time professional with dyslexia. She shared, in her own voice, how Webex’s inclusive collaboration tools help her keep up. We could never have said it better ourselves.
Given Webex and GoDaddy’s success, what advice do you have for other B2B marketers?
Ravichandran: Make sure you’re walking the walk and talking the talk within your own organization. Is the customer really at the center of your work? Are you investing strategically in diverse talent and points of view? Are you innovating, learning and building to bring your best game to the table? If you’re not demonstrating what’s possible for the future we imagine, your business isn’t evolving.
Howard: My advice to any B2B organization is to examine how dramatically the world has changed in the past year. Even those audiences less likely to be digitally inclined are spending more time online—and that is where your brand will be found as a result. Digital communication is only accelerating and being customer-centric means being where your customers are.
Speaking with Webex and GoDaddy’s CMOs was inspiring. While adapting to the ever-changing marketing landscape is challenging, these brands show us that there are steps B2B marketers can take to stand out and stay ahead amid digital transformation by putting people first.