Behind B2B #11: Andrea Clatworthy
For the eleventh instalment of Behind B2B, our series exploring the brightest minds in the industry, we meet ABM expert Andrea Clatworthy.
Aspiring artist, computer scientist, world record breaking marketer – it’s safe to say Andrea Clatworthy has worn more than a few hats throughout her career. But as talking with Andrea quickly makes clear, the ability to wear very different hats makes for marketing magic . We sat down with Andrea to discuss her unexpected journey into the world of B2B.
Andrea, tell us – what did you really want to be when you were younger? And how has that shaped the marketer you are today ?
I actually wanted to be an artist – in fact, I went to art college! But I worked out reasonably quickly that you need to be really talented (or super well connected) to succeed in that world. Sadly, ‘artist’ isn’t a job that creates financial stability for many people.
So I switched rather far in the opposite direction, and went into computing – it was clear the world was heading that way, so I thought it would be useful. I ended up studying for a computer science degree, and after I graduated, I joined an IT and management consultancy called Logica. It doesn’t exist anymore, but it was a great organisation in the tech space.
I worked there for 14 and a half years in the end – initially as a programmer, working on some mission-critical projects to do with air route traffic. To be honest, I hated that role. I found myself thinking, what have I done?! But happily, I found a fantastic mentor – and she put me in touch with some people to chat through different options.
Through that, I found myself in a sales support role. To cut a long story short, a new guy joined to head up the team I was working in, had a look around and decided: we need some marketing. Then he turned to me – presumably because I was the youngest and cheapest of the bunch! – and basically said: would you like to have a crack?
Well, I’d never even considered marketing – so I went: alright, let me go away and have a think. I did some research, booked myself in for some training with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and then threw myself into it. It’s been 25 years – and I’ve never looked back.
Has your technical background served you well during your marketing career?
Definitely. My computer science background helps me every day, particularly when I’m talking to internal stakeholders who might think marketing is a bit fluffy. When I can demonstrate that I understand what a product engineer is talking about, that’s hugely valuable – I can connect with people on the level they’re operating at, which is essential for creating impactful ABM campaigns.
It’s that old right-brain, left-brain thing, I suppose. Without getting too into psychometrics, I’m right down the middle of creative and logical, so I can flip between the two mindsets with ease. And that’s been invaluable throughout my career, where I’ve worked in some really technical, heavy areas, whether that’s hybrid cloud or near-quantum computing.
Throughout your career, what’s the work you’re most proud of?
A real career-high for me was setting a Guinness World Record with our customers. As part of our ABM work at Fujitsu, we ran this big annual event with a VIP programme for the key customers – real white-glove treatment, exclusive exec briefings, that sort of thing.
In 2017, the theme was ‘digital co-creation’. We had the senior networking event in Munich booked in at the BMW museum, and we wanted to create a really special occasion. So, working with an agency, we came up with this idea to digitally co-create a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest animated computer mosaic.
Basically, we got every guest to insert a ‘tile’ (a Fujitsu STYLISTIC R726 12.5-inch tablet) into a specially prepared wall. The final, completed mosaic showed the Fujitsu Forum image – which then transitioned into this beautiful, evocative moving landscape with a cherry blossom tree.
It was a really spine-tingling, emotional moment. And quite high stakes, because we really didn’t know if it was going to work until we did it! I was there anxiously testing it the night before. Happily, it all worked beautifully – and we had the Guiness World Record team there to adjudicate and confirm we’d bagged the record.
And the best bit? It was very nearly cost-neutral because everybody wanted to buy the tablet they’d put in. We managed to create loads of noise, because they all tweeted, they all put stuff on LinkedIn, and the influence pipeline leaving that room was huge.
What’s the best bit of B2B marketing of all time, in your eyes?
I’d have to say The Sky is Not the Limit from Gravity Global and Embraer – you know, the one where the lion runs through the sky and morphs into a plane. I think its more commonly known now as Profit Hunter. It’s so bold and memorable, and the results they achieved were astounding. To not only have that idea, but to pitch it to the customer and for Embraer to say: yeah, we love this – that’s brave.
Selling aeroplanes isn’t the easiest thing to do, so to come up with a campaign that really made Embrarer stand out and become instantly recognisable in its market was fantastic.
Final question: what would you encourage B2B marketers to stop doing, if you could?
I’ve got two – although the first is less a case of stop doing and more a case of start doing. I think B2B marketers need to work with sales much, much more closely. The biggest mistake you can make is putting your head down and working away on this incredible campaign, without getting sales involved in the planning and thinking.
As for the second: we need to stop with the vanity metrics. We’re measuring stuff just because we can, half the time, but it doesn’t actually mean anything. You need to have a real line of sight between what you’ve done through to the actual result generated. And really, we’ve got the technology to do that – we’re just not always implementing it in the right way.