Building on a results-driven marketing strategy
Position: Chief operating officer of Vocus, a Lanham-based company that provides Web-based marketing software to companies and organizations.
Bill Wagner was a history major unsure of which profession to enter, when a professor suggested he just work with the best company he could find, regardless of the field. Wagner ended up at AT&T and rose quickly through the ranks. He later helped turn around a company struggling after the tech bubble burst before landing at Vocus, where he says he's excited to "be a part of the next wave of software."
You are chief operating officer for a company that sells marketing services. What is your marketing strategy?
I believe there are three types of marketers. There are the black turtleneck marketers, which are the idea people. They're very creative but aren't the ones you're going to build an operation around. Then there are the packaged goods people who work at Kraft or Procter & Gamble, and they're very scientifically driven, using a lot of data. I'm probably in the third camp. I came from sales, which has always given me a business-to-business perspective. I always make sure that whatever we're doing in a marketing role directly supports our sales objectives. I'm not one to spend a lot of money on media campaigns if they're not going to have a direct tie to our business results. I'm very results and data-driven. Those are two things that have brought me success.
I keep my marketing team accountable for numbers and hitting their objectives. If they're not, there are consequences just like there are in sales. Also, I will never say, "I didn't drive sales but I drove awareness 10 percent to 20 percent." That's not me. I'm going say, "I drove this many leads that resulted in this many sales." That's a big difference.
What role did you play in growing a technology company called Fiberlink from $8 to $80 million after the tech bubble burst?
One of our suppliers, who accounted for 90 percent of our revenue, decided to stop supplying us. That was a time where you knew who was going to make it and who was not going to make it. It was a real gut check. I helped guide the company out of that situation. I helped develop great products and tell a story that was different and unique in the marketplace. I led the analyst team and the crafting of our marketing, which positioned us as a leader in mobile computing, supporting our growth to $80 million.
-- Interview with Vanessa Mizell
See Monday's Washington Post Business pages for Wagner's "New at the Top" profile. Send nominations for others to email@example.com