By: Angela Wells, Oracle
February 9, 2018
Can you imagine a B2B company selling a $150,000 product on social media using 280 characters or less?
OK, so it’s not quite that simple. But I’ve had so much fun watching how Mack Trucks has used social media in combination with other marketing channels to launch its first new highway truck in more than 15 years.
I recently had the privilege of visiting Mack Trucks in Allentown, Penn. to understand how they’ve achieved such impressive social success. I even drove the new model, the Anthem, around its test track.
I sat down with Neil Tolbert, director of marketing communications at Mack Trucks, to discuss how its marketing has evolved and why social has been a key part of its accomplishments.
To start, tell us a bit about the history and culture of Mack Trucks.
Tolbert: Mack Trucks was founded in 1900 by the Mack brothers in Brooklyn, N.Y. Shortly thereafter, we moved to Allentown, Penn. and we’ve been here ever since, manufacturing and building trucks. Our company culture is strong, authentic. We like to say, “Mack has your back.” So it is not only the product, but also the people behind the product. If our customers need anything, we’re going to be there for them.
Let’s talk about how marketing has evolved since Mack’s last major highway truck launch. What did it look like previously, and what is the organization doing now?
Tolbert: There was a time at Mack where we didn’t have the ability to conduct email campaigns. We would leave a trade show with just an Excel spreadsheet of attendees’ contact information. There was no centralized marketing or prospect database that we could reference. Marketing digitization was especially complicated because we used many channels to serve a multitude of markets. Now, with the help of Oracle Eloqua and Oracle Social, we are able to better manage our customer relationships, as well as our marketing opportunities.
In addition, what we’re doing with digital marketing has really changed discussions about marketing spend and ROI. Not only is our content far more targeted and personalized, but we can also measure the results of our investments. We’re able to decide the best way to have conversations with customers, and how to most efficiently move them through the sales funnel.
How is social a crucial part of marketing and strategy at Mack Trucks?
Tolbert: It surprises people to realize that Twitter is the modern CB radio for our industry. For us, connecting and communicating across social provides a great platform for us to reach out and develop relationships with customers, dealers and prospects. We reworked how Mack was represented, with the mindset that we wanted to deliver one solid brand experience and pull actionable data back in to our marketing platforms. Since these modifications, we’ve experienced tremendous organic growth, which continues to generate a genuine sales pipeline. I can’t think of a more powerful lead that we could cultivate than seeing activity across our marketing channels and websites, and being able to hand those warm leads off to our sales team.
We take a lot of pride in our success on social media, especially because the growth has been 100% organic. Few B2B brands–especially those selling products that can weigh 80,000 pounds–have over 170,000 Facebook fans or nearly 24,000 Twitter followers. We want to keep those numbers growing, so we’re incredibly dedicated to providing new content on these channels. We have a very small team, yet we create an ongoing set of interesting social and video content to stay engaged with our social followers.
What is Mack Trucks’ vision for customer experience today?
Tolbert: The vision for customer experience at Mack is all about data. It’s connecting the data so we know who our customers are and where they are in the customer journey. It starts with knowing who that person is and having data to help us understand what content they’re looking for and how we can communicate with them more effectively.
What challenges do you face as you make this customer experience come to life?
Tolbert: The trucking industry can be complex. You may have a customer that will own a truck a couple of years and then move on. It could be a very complicated fleet where there are hundreds or even thousands of trucks. So it’s important for us to be able to understand, monitor and reach those customers at the right place, time and with the appropriate message. Data makes it easier to inject ourselves in this long, expensive and intricate buying process.
What advice do you have for social media managers trying to get their marketing teams and agencies to understand how social can help?
Tolbert: Find ways to deliver “quick wins” to your marketing and sales teams to help paint a vision for what’s possible. Show them how social can amplify the campaign messages they are running through other marketing channels. Use your social handles to connect with your end customers; bring their stories to your marketing team to prove how well you can connect with key influencers through social. Lastly, make the most of video–whether with a professional team or a coworker’s iPhone, use social to bring your brand’s story to life to your followers and stand out in their feeds.
Angela Wells is the senior director of CX customer evangelism at Oracle and has nearly 20 years of marketing and market research experience across various industries, including technology, consumer goods, media and more.
Connect with Angela: @AngWWells
Connect with Neil: @NeilTolbert