By Lauren Meyer
Richard Milne, Global Digital Marketing Director at Life Technologies, presented at Argyle’s 2013 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum in San Francisco this past spring to share the story of Life Technologies’ new eBusiness unit. Milne delves into this story further and shares some best practices surrounding marketing automation, data integration, globalized marketing, and creating synergy between various departments.
[Lauren Meyer]: How advanced was Life Technologies’ marketing automation activity when you arrived at the company, and how has it evolved since? What value has it driven?
[Richard Milne]: I arrived at the company over 7 years ago, and at that time, marketing automation in general was very young – I remember seeing some of the first Neolane demos. Today, we are still in the early phases of our adoption at Life Technologies. Having an eCommerce channel worth more than $1 billion and a sales force of over 300 people means that we want many things from our marketing automation. Finding a system that can support both high volume online customer interactions as well as low volume strategic sales is a challenge, and I expect the promise to be much more fully delivered in coming years as the software tools become more sophisticated. It is still quite easy to find big gaps in any marketing automation platform – at the moment it feels like we are finding the best fit, not the best solution. However, I have high hopes that the options will develop pretty quickly with the likes of Adobe, IBM and Oracle all in the space.
“Creating data flows that allow us to participate at the scale we need without adding huge amounts of additional cost or manual processing is key.”
Let’s take a deeper dive and discuss data integration, which has become a key determinant of any organization’s success in today’s data-driven environment. Can you remark on the importance of efficient, effective data integration within the health and life sciences industry?
Driving value out of the data is one of the biggest changes I’m seeing in marketing right now. Creating data flows that allow us to participate at the scale we need without adding huge amounts of additional cost or manual processing is key. It’s complex and technical work, but it’s well worth the effort, as you can’t move the needle in a global enterprise if you are still trying to hand finish every customer communication. To use data well, we found that you need to be extremely solid around the segmentation model you plan to use and the customer experience journeys you are trying to support. Then you can map your data needs and flows around those customer outcomes. Focus not on what you could do with all your data but upon the outcome you are trying to achieve. Be selective.
Have you encountered any cultural barriers while pursuing seamless data integration? How do the marketing and IT departments collaborate at Life Technologies? How has this relationship driven success for the company?
We made a decision about a year ago that eBusiness needed to be its own self-contained entity within our commercial operations team. To that end, we folded together marketing, IT, Project Management and Product Management into one organization. That collapsed the boundaries between the team – we have lined our people up with responsibilities, operations, marketing, sales etc. That being said, I think the relationship between the CIO and the CMO is a very important one in modern marketing – somebody recently said to me that the CMO is the new CIO (I assume because of the rise of SaaS, etc). I thought that was a dumb comment, as it doesn’t pay sufficient respect to the differences between IT and Marketing…while IT generally excels with process, project management and structure, marketing typically drives creative thought and forward ideas. The key is – how you get those two entities to work well together?
“Focus not on what you could do with all your data but upon the outcome you are trying to achieve. Be selective.”
What challenges have you encountered in globalizing the company’s digital presence? Can you share any lessons learned with our members?
The biggest lesson is the importance of connectivity between the regions. We have teams in China, Japan, Korea, Latin America, EMEA and Australasia, so gathering and recognizing the language and local market needs whilst simultaneously holding the project together in one single deliverable project is very challenging. Making sure that everyone understands who is on first and who is charged with executing what is incredibly important.
What is your proudest achievement at Life Technologies?
There have been many. Launching our shop in China was a great project, and combining the digital operations of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems was another. Overall, however, taking the channel through $1 billion of revenue is probably the most immediately tangible thing I’m proud of, from about 2 years ago.
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Richard Milne is the Global Director of Digital Marketing and eCommerce for Life Technologies where he oversees the company’s B2C eCommerce strategy, Offsite Search and Display, Social, Online Analytics and outbound Digital Marketing program strategy and execution. As the Digital Marketing Leader, he is responsible for the global digital marketing infrastructure, global co-ordination, best practice and execution. Central to Richards goals are creating a global network of Digital Marketing experts who can operate in a globalized environment whilst maintaining the local market relevance and speed to market which is essential to modern digital marketing. Richard also leads the team which drives web sales through the corporate lifetechnologies.com website, e-commerce programs drive annual online sales of more than $1 billion – with strong double digit channel growth for the last 7 years. With more than 20 years experience in the digital and direct marketing arena, he leads a direct team of 35 people, and an extended team reaching across all major markets and numbering a further 30.
Richard joined Life Technologies (formerly Invitrogen) in April 2005 as the European eBusiness Manager, based in the UK, where he grew the eBusiness footprint from 75M$ to over 300M$. During this time he won the EMEA marketing person of the year, and TFM marketing award for his execution of CRM programs to drive a pan-European customer database audience building strategy. The innovative strategies he implemented enabled the company to create strategic partnership with principal customers and established the B2B eProcurement capabilities for the region. In January 2011, Richard relocated with his family to the Corporate head office in California to take on a global role extending a broader view over much of the work and strategy he had been pursuing in EMEA.
Prior to joining Life Technologies, Richard worked as an eBusiness consultant to the Scottish Government where he was involved in delivering the ‘Broadband for Scotland’ program aimed at ensuring entrepreneurial businesses were able to take advantage of new digital opportunities. Before that he worked on the agency side, building and executing mixed channel campaigns within a Digital/Call Center environment for both B2B and B2C customers. Richard is an honors graduate from the University of Manchester in England.
Current Role in Numbers
- Revenue through the channel: >1$Bn
- Channel Complexity: B2C, B2B, eProcurement, Distributed Content and 3rd Party Marketplaces
- Onsite Reach: >2M visitors per month
- Offsite Reach: >100M impressions per month
- Audience (registered user base): >2M
- Social Followers: >200,000
- Mobile Apps and downloads: @15Apps, @ 500,000 downloads
- Growth: Consistent double digit growth in the channel for the last 7 years
- Awards: Best Website in Life Sciences, Best Use of Data, Recognized as the leading businesses in our use of social media, search and video in Life Sciences
- Staff: >30 direct
- Budget: > 5M$
Web Marketing, Digital Marketing, Search, Social Media, Demand Generation, Mobile Marketing, Content Marketing, eCommerce, Globalisation.