Catching up with Patty Tucker

September 1, 2015

Leader of the B-to-B Center of Excellence at Edelman

By Ken Beaulieu

Keeping a global network of B-to-B content creators, digital marketers, and experts in earned and owned media in close collaboration would be a challenge for even the best-connected organizations. The solution for Edelman, the world's largest PR firm, was to establish a Business-to-Business Center of Excellence. Led by Patty Tucker, executive vice president, operations, and strategy director for the company's corporate practice across the Americas, the center not only taps into the brightest minds at Edelman across 65 offices, but provides clients with speedy access to activation teams, globally relevant insights, and real-time trends and best practices.

BMA Buzz caught up with Tucker, a BMA-Atlanta member, to learn more about the B-to-B Center of Excellence, as well as to glean insights from the latest Edelman Trust Barometer study.

Q. Trendspotting is a key component of the B-to-B Center of Excellence. Which trend is likely to have the biggest impact on B-to-B marketers?

A. Above and beyond the exciting technologies impacting our tactics and metrics, the ability to harness emotional drivers will transform B-to-B marketing for years to come. The B-to-B industry is learning the lexicon of inspiration, of purpose, of character. B-to-B buyers expect content that engages them the same way consumer brands' content does. And their personal values and emotional drivers are rising to the same level in their decision process as rational drivers. We have to trigger customers' whole brain, driving loyalty and advocacy, not leaving it to chance.

Q. How can B-to-B marketers elevate the marketing organization as a growth/revenue driver within the C-suite?

A. Stay a step ahead of the C-suite on critical business issues. Yes, we must report efficiently on key revenue outcomes, but also use our unique outlook to help the company predict and prepare for "where the puck is going." Fearlessly lean in with market feedback, highlight changing customer demands, and test and learn about evolving messages, content types, and channels. This sets up the function as a true leading indicator and an invaluable strategic resource, beyond just the source of tomorrow's leads.

Q. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer study found that countries with higher trust levels also show a greater willingness to trust new business innovations. What are some steps B-to-B companies can take to build customer trust for their new products and services?

A. By a two-to-one margin, people believe the pace of innovation is too fast. This means B-to-B marketers have to earn trust with transparent, customer-centric engagement and by demonstrating integrity. We have to prove to prospects that it's their interests that drive our business, not just our desire for profits. Specifically around innovation, we have to show that our work is tested and approved by valid third parties, and demonstrate its value, not just to the user, but to the industry or society as a whole.

Q. The study also found that online search engines are now a more trusted source for information than media. How can B-to-B companies use this medium to stand out from the competition?

A. Studies show that B-to-B prospects are 60 to 80 percent of the way through their journey before they self-identify to a marketer. So, not only is search critical as the advance sales force, it is a wonderland of opportunity. We can see what, how, and when prospects are searching, and we can then ensure our brand appears to them with the answers they are seeking. Trust is built when prospects can cross-reference a company's owned content with peer conversations and the diverse third-party validation of previous users, customers, and experts.

Q. Throughout your career, you have worked with several leading-edge companies, including UPS, Newell Rubbermaid, and The Weather Channel. What winning attributes do they all share?

A. My favorite attribute of leading-edge companies is curiosity backed by enterprise will. The marketplace is changing so rapidly that marketers have to feel safe to ask the big, existential questions. How will our customers' decision journey evolve in the coming years? How can we disrupt the status quo to gain competitive advantage? And we have to test new ideas. Only this way do brands like these evolve ahead of the competition and earn sustained leadership.


"Catching up with Patty Tucker." Ken Beaulieu. BMA Buzz. 9/1/15.