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Rock Your Trade Show: Inspiring interviews with Industry Insiders, Executive Leaders, Marketers and Influencers who share their insights, challenges and lessons learned so you can rock Your next trade show.

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May 8, 2017

This episode is a total WOW! Our guest is Alicia Tillman, Chief Marketing Officer of SAP Ariba. Her company delivers “the best-in-class cloud procurement solution, value for both buyers and suppliers on Ariba Network, and innovative new business models so you can grow your business.” SAP Ariba is used by over 2 million companies and they transact over 1 trillion dollars in commerce each year.  If you are in marketing, procurement or trade show events you won’t want to miss all of the information Alicia shares in this interview! 

Here are the big ideas Alicia shares in this episode:

6 Bold Moves For Your Marketing Strategy

  1. Communicate Marketing as the Hub of Your Organization: There is no other area in a company that touches every functional area. “Every function should benefit from your brand’s story, promise, value and differentiation.” Through marketing brands well, an organization’s pipeline, customer revenue and HR-employee retention all benefit.
  2. Position Yourself and Marketing as Adding Value: Demonstrate to your stakeholders that you are an asset in planning and execution of strategic initiatives. When there is a period of change, marketing should position itself-at the core of the transformation by adding impact to every area in the company.
  3. Seek Leadership Support and Respect. The CEO of the business needs to recognize marketing as a strategic asset and see it as important to achieving business goals.  In addition, the Marketing Leader when well respected  by leadership team has their opinion sought out and is asked to be a contributor when transformation is happening
  4. Stakeholder Management is Critical. It is important to meet regularly with business partners to align on what they need, how marketing can support their efforts.  Spend time with stakeholders and share how marketing is contributing to both quantitative and qualitative results.  Meet regularly to stay on track with goals and objectives.
  5. Find Marketing Influence: Look for individuals with credibility, influence and appreciation for marketing and seek out their support.
  6. Be Confident in Your Decisions. “At the end of the day, you are the expert and the owner” of your destiny.  You need confidence to help solve opportunities and challenges.

Presenting to Senior Leadership: What you need to know

Be prepared, understand the challenge that the stakeholders face and remember reporting is critical.

  1. Work to understand the requirements of the business. Find out the challenges that the stakeholder is up against-ask- “tell me your biggest challenge right now and let me figure out how marketing can support that” Alicia shared.
  2. Find out the challenges. What are problems that the stakeholders are faced with and how can you help them?  Demonstrate that you have the solution for their challenges.
  3. Be proactive about how to solve problems. Initiate conversations with stakeholders and let them know you are there to help solve their concerns.
  4. Use face-to-face marketing to help establish a brand. Trade shows might be an opportunity or a private event to drive awareness to a brand or consider doing a PR campaign
  5. Always know your details. “The most prepared and the most highly skilled team is always going to win the game, they are always going to win the championships” Alicia said. You will be challenged to get a seat at the table if you aren’t prepared

Career Strategy: Increase Your Professional Value Consider changing industries-employers have changed their perspective on needing someone who has only expertise vertically in one industry.  If you are feeling stagnant or want to expand your career options, consider leveraging your experience and changing over to a different industry.

Merger and Acquisition Success Story  SAP Ariba came together and leveraged 20 years of history on the Ariba side with the power of SAP and created the “Power of AND”.  Together they forged a new organization that leveraged the strength of both companies to create value for their customers. If you are in a merger now-consider an inclusive approach from both companies.

Diversity and Inclusion Is Important SAP has a tremendous focus on diversity and increasing number of female leaders.  Alicia shared how she is the executive sponsor and offers a program within their Ariba Live events to showcase successful women so that they can share their success and challenges to inspire others.  One way to help improve diversity, is showcasing women who are very successful and use their stories how they manage their careers.

SAP Ariba Events There are three Marquee events each year-recently held in Las Vegas for North America and Latin America, The European Region will be in June, and Asia Pacific in August.

These events provide content and a strategy-platform to bring new products and share how customers are partnering with SAP and Ariba.  The company invites prospective and existing customers to their event.  It is an opportunity to share how customers are using innovation.

They also host smaller scale, market type events to help customers and pure customer events to enable customers to share best practices with each other, network and talk about their challenges

Alicia’s Favorite Resource Harvard Business Review

HBR covers a lot of marketing topics-evolution of social media, how to create customer loyalty programs. It is a go to resource that offers relevant articles that are timely.  “Marketers need to be relevant at a point in time” and understanding corporate social responsibility.  HBR offers a perspective on what CEOs are focusing on today. 

Find out more about SAP Ariba at

Alicia Tillman on LinkedIn

Alicia Tillman Twitter: @alliciatillman

LinkedIn SAP Ariba

Twitter @SAPAriba

If you liked what you heard, join our LinkedIn group and visit us at Rock Your Trade Show for insights and advice you can use in your day to day work.

Editing Credit:

A big thank you to Christy Haussler at Team Podcast!