Chief Marketing Officer

John Wiley & Sons' Clay Stobaugh on Publishing in the Digital Age

Clay Stobaugh, EVP and CMO at John Wiley & Sons, sat down with Argyle to discuss how digital has transformed the publishing industry, and how Wiley’s marketing organization is adapting and innovating accordingly.

Can you tell us about your background and role at Wiley?

My role at Wiley focuses on building a global modern marketing organization with a customer engagement framework that delivers consistent and measurable business results.

How has digital transformed Wiley?

As a knowledge and learning business digital drives our approach; in fact, 60% of Wiley’s revenue comes from digital. Our priority is to deliver high quality digital products and services, whether it is online courses or programs for universities, employment assessments for our corporate partners or scholarly journals for the research community. Digital helps us to bridge the gap between education and employment in ways never before possible; a recent partnership between Wiley and Junior Achievement is a great example, this partnership will bring digital learning solutions to thousands of students and educators using an online learning management system provided by Wiley.

What new positions have become necessary? How are these new roles being defined?

At Wiley we created the Marketing Revenue Center, a center of excellence that establishes best practices that drive revenue. Within the MRC we have roles that direct CRM, Community Engagement, Demand Generation and Global Branding and External Communications. A function of our Community Engagement team for example is SEO. As SEO drives upwards of 50% of website traffic, it was lacking the attention it deserved. So we brought together Wiley’s best SEO talent from across the organization. Aligning the team, we were able to focus on improving SEO for our top revenue producing businesses which has resulted in large savings annually.

“Wiley built the customer engagement framework, an industry best practice eight step process for engaging with our customers globally.”

Can you share some of your early failures? What did you try that just didn’t work, and what did you learn from that?

Fortunately, there are not just ‘early’ failures, as you continue to work you continue to gain insights that enables you to take action, and improve. I have learned that engaging and managing small failures is how to avoid big failures.

How has Wiley built out the channels & capabilities to support new customer preferences?

Wiley built the customer engagement framework, an industry best practice eight step process for engaging with our customers globally. The customer engagement framework provides insight into customer behavior, from segmentations and personas through to measurements and conversions; we then use this data to better support customer preferences. The customer engagement framework also enables our colleagues to really be modern marketers no matter what geography or where in the business they work, as they know they are using an industry best practice framework. This empowers our colleagues to be better marketers and ultimately improves the experience of our customers.

What challenges are you encountering in building a thorough, real-time view of your customers?

The biggest challenge would be integrating a variety of systems in order to be able to capture and share data across a global technology landscape. Our customers come from a variety of backgrounds, whether they be students or learners, educators, librarians, business professionals, or the research community and we need to be able to share insights and data across the Wiley business in order to be able to best serve their needs.

Many of our colleagues have the modern marketing mindset, the desire to move from traditional marketing to digital marketing, but are perhaps missing the skills and tools to bring this goal to life.

How is your team managing the intersection of traditional marketing and newer digital techniques?

At Wiley we talk about the mindset, the skillset and the toolset. Many of our colleagues have the modern marketing mindset, the desire to move from traditional marketing to digital marketing, but are perhaps missing the skills and tools to bring this goal to life. Part of my role is to provide this. So to equip our marketers with the skills, we developed an award winning digital certification program, a program that empowers our colleagues with the latest digital techniques available. This program is available for our colleagues online at their convenience with several hundred colleagues globally having already taken at least one of the courses. Lastly we provide the toolset; whether it is our work with, Eloqua, BrightEdge or any of our digital partners, here we carefully select the tools our colleagues need to provide great service to our customers.

Where/how have you experienced the greatest level of success with your digital marketing efforts?

I would say that three areas really stand out: certification, SEO and marketing automation. Speaking to certification, Wiley was recently awarded gold for Best Learning Program at the Brandon Hall Awards. The award was presented to Wiley for its online certification program that offers colleagues courses in social marketing, digital analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), and customer experience advocacy. The courses are available 24/7, online and on demand. In the second area of SEO, we have also had some fantastic success aligning our SEO strategy across the business as I mentioned earlier. Finally in marketing automation, by scaling our sales automation capability, we have been able to demonstrate the contribution of marketing to revenue across the business.

Have you made any strides in how you measure and report ROI?

With the integration of systems like, Eloqua and Cvent, we’re capturing actual campaign costs for email and event channels, which will help us measure customer/lead acquisition costs, We are standardizing marketing plans across the businesses, with marketers having quantifiable goals linked to revenue and capturing activity costs. The result is an ROI KPI that we can track to measure our ultimate success. Like many other companies today, every dollar of investment within the organization is being scrutinized and our long-term success as a global marketing team depends on our ability to focus on limited resources where we can quantitatively prove we’re putting our “revenue oar” in the water!

About Clay:

As EVP and CMO, Clay Stobaugh is responsible for John Wiley & Sons marketing, communications and government affairs efforts worldwide.

He leads Wiley’s revenue-driving marketing initiatives through key disciplines in the global “Marketing Revenue Center” including customer experience, demand generation, CRM, sales enablement, social media, content marketing, digital commerce, digital analytics and SEO/SEM

Focused on developing customer relationships and driving new revenue opportunities, he is helping to lead Wiley’s transformation from a traditional book publisher to a global provider of digital content and content enabled solutions.

Prior to joining Wiley, Clay led emerging technology companies in the legal, financial, and healthcare industries to successful financial exits and generated over $200 million in shareholder payouts. Previously, he served in senior management roles for Reuters and Nestle Switzerland where he successfully launched the Nespresso division in the USA.

Clay earned his BA from Tulane University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. A Certified Sommelier, he is also a life long collector of French wines.

Follow Clay on Twitter @ClayStobaugh

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's CIO/CMO DINNER: Closing the Gap Between IT and Marketing to Get Superior Actionable Customer Insights- New York in New York, NY on Jan 29, 2020

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