July 22 2019
Bulldog + Hero | Building a B2B Hub in Austin
After almost twelve years, I’m no longer going to be a Bulldog. But given the circumstances, I couldn’t be more excited about that. Let me get back to that in a moment.
I’m at a professional inflection point.
If you’re a B2B marketer, you should be too.
For many years, I’ve dedicated myself to creating highly effective marketing campaigns for a long list of the biggest B2B brands. No matter what the product or solution was, my team was responsible for making it important and urgent to the right audiences. We had no control over the products or solutions themselves – and if I’m being honest, we had limited control over the message. We shaped how the message was expressed, the overall targeting, choreography and reach. And we executed with gusto.
A couple of weeks ago, Stephanie Buscemi, CMO at Salesforce, said that the age of the “marketing campaign” is over, as good marketers shift to focus on continuous experience and storytelling. “We need to ask how we create a continuous experience in a dynamic way.”
In this new era of authenticity, transparency, and “always-on” customer-fueled content marketing strategies, it’s time for agencies to take a long, hard look in the mirror.
Houston, we have a problem.
The B2B buyer, no matter what the industry, deserves a better experience. In B2B, the clever ad has been passé for many years. It was replaced with an unconventional dose of honesty, candor, and customer empathy. In the age of transparency, brands aren’t defined by their marketing messages. They’re defined by their actions.
But even marketers that have embraced transparency are severely handicapped. That’s because most B2B marketers don’t control the customer experience – they only control a limited spectrum of the buying experience.
If modern brands are truly defined by their behaviors, and marketers have a very limited impact on those behaviors...
I was feeling this impasse.
I wanted to affect more than just the demand campaigns and related infrastructure. Sometimes, I wanted to improve the solutions themselves – not just the marketing campaigns.
<Air Force jet flyover>
And then we met Hero Digital.
Hero is the fastest growing independent CX company in the US. They combine CX consulting, design, engineering, digital marketing, and data & analytics in their delivery of omni-channel customer experiences for B2C and B2B brands. I could go on… but for brevity, I’ve included a fact sheet at the bottom of this blog.
So how is Hero any different than other “agencies” in transforming customer experience?
For one, they work inside major brands to redefine the very services they offer, expose new growth opportunities, and design new lines of business.
Real innovation that impacts actual behaviors. Not just messages. They’re the anti-agency. None of the traditional agency jargon, conventions, or perceived limitations. They’re thinking bigger. Much bigger.
To continue to transform customer experiences at scale, they wanted even more B2B depth and marketing technology expertise. They wanted to add that depth in a strategic location.
In Austin, we have a solution.
Back to where I started. Bulldog is incredibly excited to join forces with Hero Digital.
Hero has selected Austin to scale their B2B services. Austin has been called the “city of the future” by Forbes. It’s home to SXSW and furious investment from nearly every major technology company. It’s consistently ranked among the fastest-growing metro cities in the US.
Our team at Bulldog has grown with Austin. We’ve built a brand within the B2B marketing space by consistently executing ambitious work for our clients – both creatively and technically.
Our alumni are shaping the B2B industry as enterprise CMOs and senior analysts at Forrester Research and SiriusDecisions. I’ve always been proud when talented team members move on to tackle even bigger challenges. This time, our team is all moving at once.
Our team in Austin was built on two cultural values: curiosity and courage. Those values were critical to challenge the conventions of B2B over the last decade – and they’ll be equally important as we, alongside the larger Hero team, design the customer experiences of tomorrow. We’re kindred spirits. Hero has refused to be bound by the historically limited role of Marketing in shaping that experience.
I don’t know what the future holds. But one thing is certain: there is important work to be done for CMOs and CEOs that believe the future of business hinges on delivering an inspired customer experience.
Let’s get to work.
P.S. Here are a few more quick facts about Hero:
- Headquartered in San Francisco with other offices in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, New Jersey, Dallas, New York, Seattle, and now…. Austin, TX.
- Hero is an Adobe Business partner and Sitecore Gold partner.
- Major client brands include U.S. Bank, Comcast, Oracle, Western Digital, Nordstrom, Salesforce, and Sephora.
- With Bulldog, the Hero team reaches nearly 400 employees nationwide.
- Hero was ranked Top 10 hottest companies in San Francisco by Inc. magazine
- Hero combines CX consulting, design, engineering, digital marketing, and data & analytics in its delivery of omni-channel customer experiences for B2C and B2B brands.