CMO Confessions Ep. 9: Jenn Steele of Madison Logic

Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of CMO Confessions. This week, we talk shop with Madison Logic’s Jenn Steele, who, in my opinion, has one of the more unique backgrounds as CMO. Jenn started her career not as a marketer in marketing, but as the head of IT at a few law firms. After getting her MBA, Jenn shifted into the martech space and started marketing career at a small company named HubSpot. The rest, I guess, is history.

Over the years, Jenn has gained some fantastic insight — and, more importantly, perspective — on the state of the martech space. It seems we’re of the same opinion on a great deal of things, including “awards,” compensating for shortcomings why a lot of martech today just really needs to get a grip.

Finally, Jenn has shared with us an excellent book to dig into called “The New Leader’s 100 Action Plan,” by George Bradt. I’m looking forward to digging into this myself.

You can find Jenn on Twitter at @Jennsteele and on follow her career on LinkedIn here.

Finally, if you’re interested in listening to our growing podcast series, you can find all of our episodes right here in podbean. Alternatively, you can also find us on both iTunes and Google Play stores.

Without further ado, welcome to CMO Confessions. Let’s chat.

Transcript:

Joe Hyland: Hello, and I want to welcome everyone to this week’s episode of CMO Confessions. The idea here being this is a weekly B2B sales and marketing podcast that explores what it’s really like to be a marketing leader in today’s business world. I’m pleased to have Jenn Steele, CMO for Madison Logic, hot off joining the company three weeks ago Jenn welcome to the show.

Jenn Steele: Thanks for having me.

Joe Hyland: Okay, so I haven’t said this thus far, and I said when we were talking earlier, I’m honest to a fault, and I read what I thought was the most brilliant line when I went on your LinkedIn page — opening line, so you now know what about to say, is, “I like big data and I cannot lie,” which one is a great reference to Sir Mix-A-Lot, I believe

Jenn Steele: Yes…

Joe Hyland: It was just fantastic. I think, too, it probably says a lot about you. Unless you’re just a really ironic person and you actually don’t like data whatsoever.

Jenn Steele: That would be wrong. Now, I’m obsessed with data. I have a degree in science and my first marketing role was at HubSpot, where what I heard literally every day was, “In God, we trust, all others bring data.” And so, for me, marketing has always been about data and I’ve even worked at a big data company, or multiple, ones actually, because you can count Bizible. So yeah, I cannot lie, I like big data.

Joe Hyland: Well, one, I find that refreshing. I talk to a lot of marketers who are forced into acting as if they love data and they don’t know what to do with data and they’re lost with data and, I don’t know, a lot of marketers didn’t come from a more of a science background and they get that that’s not necessarily core or natural to them — it’s not intuitive. And I think marketing has so wildly shifted in the last five or 10 years, which I think is really exciting and fun, to being more analytical. But have you come across other other marketers who struggle in this area?

Jenn Steele: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think anybody who started their marketing career before ten years ago — anybody who started their marketing career before about 2008-2009 — if anything, being analytical was exactly the opposite of what you needed, right? You needed to be creative or you needed to figure out how to make sales or, you know, you needed to drink scotch and be Mad Men. And that’s not usually the same personality if someone who’s like, “Oh give me Excel, I have a great relationship with Excel.”

Joe Hyland: Exactly.

Jenn Steele: But I always have the theory that you should hire to your weaknesses. So, for example, I am actually absolutely abysmal at design. I’m slightly colorblind, I’ve got a brother who’s a graphic designer who’s like, “Stay away, Jenn, just stay away.” And so I always try to make sure I’ve got somebody on my team that’s good at design or at least has an eye for it. Because, obviously, brand is a big deal. Well, okay, just like I have to hire somebody who has some visual aesthetic sense then if I’m a marketer without a big grasp of data, then I just hire for that. It’s not the end of the world.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, I agree. Since we’re speaking of weaknesses, mine is, operationally, I just I fight anytime I have to sit in a salesforce meeting or we go through flowcharts our Venn diagrams. I just get bored. I hate it. I’m not sure if I’m weak at it or I just don’t have the attention span for it. Like, I’ve never actually sat through and been patient enough to determine that.

But yeah, for me, it’s really important to have operationally-sound people around me. If I just have creative types around me, you know, everything’s a brilliant whiteboard session and then we all go and never execute on it, right?

Jenn Steele:  I can see that. Whereas, for me, I need to have ideas people around me because I am one of those just very driven people. And, okay, I will admit, I don’t love the detail, but I might kind of like flowcharts a little bit, but there are people who like detail. I’ll try to hire them when I can because I need them around me. But, if I left to my own devices, my marketing team will absolutely execute on absolutely everything and stay inside their little boxes because I need somebody who’s really an ideas person who can really push us to be wild and then it gets interesting.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, I think  people know where to fill-in based on their blind spots versus versus trying to force it. Well, if you’ve always been into data and, without looking at exactly when you started your career, I don’t think it’s been in the last five or six years, right? Talk about the shifting world, right? As you said, there’s another we didn’t really have data readily available to us. There was a lot of intuition and gut-marketing. When I started about 20 years ago, I remember my first boss said well we. I asked why we’re going to a certain trade show and I didn’t know enough to really ask the question on what kind of return did we get last year, I guess that’s what I was getting at.

But I was 22 and I had no idea that there was even such a thing as trying to measure ROI and the answer I got back was,” Well, if we don’t go to this event, people will think we’ve gone out of business.” And so that was our event strategy.

Jenn Steele:  And that’s still people’s event strategy.

Joe Hyland: It’s true, isn’t it? Isn’t it insane? I guess you’re right, I have perhaps — and a lot of this is just pervasive and it hasn’t left the space — but, I don’t know, perhaps that is the logic that some people still hold — but there’s a shitload of data out there. So I’d love to hear from your perspective as as a self-proclaimed data nerd and junkie how your world has changed in the last 20 years in terms of analyzing like the ins and outs of marketing.

Jenn Steele: So I haven’t have the most traditional career path as a CMO. In fact, I had over a decade of Information Technology experience and I used to be more in the CIO realm. I ran I.T. departments at law firms.

Joe Hyland: Okay, I did I did not know this. Do tell, this is fascinating.

Jenn Steele: So that’s what I did shortly out of college because it was that time when anybody could trip and fall and get into technology. And I ended up in my late twenties being the head of IT departments at law firms.

Joe Hyland: Seriously?

Jenn Steele: Yeah, absolutely.

Joe Hyland: Wow.

Jenn Steele: Absolutely, I used to be able to recover an exchange server.

Joe Hyland: Okay, I don’t even know what that means, so there we go.

Jenn Steele:  Email. But my first situation analyses — where you go in and you plan, etcetera — had more to do with servers and systems and Citrix than they had to do with clicks and click conversions. And I started getting really into social media.

Joe Hyland: Okay, and your singer still working in it at the time.

Jenn Steele: I was still in I.T. at the time. Actually, I picked up an MBA in there. Marketing classes were actually my worst classes.

Joe Hyland: Interesting, okay.

Jenn Steele: You call this CMO confessions, here we go.

Joe Hyland: Yeah. No, I like it. This is great.

Jenn Steele: And my MBA concentrated in leadership, specifically. I burned out of I.T. and law firms and I called up my career office and she’s like, “You got to talk to this, it’s a brand new company, it’s called HubSpot.”

Joe Hyland: Really?

Jenn Steele:  And I was employee number 90 at HubSpot and they hired me, a former head of I.T., they hired me to be an inbound marketing consultant and tell hundreds of other marketers how to do inbound marketing.

Joe Hyland:  Makes sense, makes sense given your experience at that time. Sure.

Jenn Steele: I can speak authoritatively about basically anything, it turns out.

Joe Hyland: Hey, you took a leadership class, so you were you were ready. You ready to tell someone in an authoritative tone what to do you just needed to figure out what it should be.

Jenn Steele: Absolutely. So, and obviously it was easy for me to rise into a management roles there and etcetera. But my first exposure to the data world — well, I started working at a company full of other MIT alums and that was very, very data-driven. But here we were evangelizing to SMBs. We were evangelizing the worth and value of data. So, I was talking to people who were in their 50s who had spent their entire lives in, shall I call it traditional marketing, right? You know, arts and crafts friends and brand and buzz and they were subject matter experts thing on everything. They just didn’t know this internet thing and they knew that they needed to deal with this internet thing. So my exposure to the big switch was more by being a change agent in the environment than it was by going through it myself.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, that must have been super exciting. What was it like early days at HubSpot? You’re creating a market, right? Did you even — I guess I’m asking a lot of questions and not  letting you answer — did you even have the notion of inbound marketing at the time when you joined?

Jenn Steele: So, I mean, we made up the term.

Joe Hyland:  Sure, I mean, early but you didn’t have it right at the start right?

Jenn Steele: When I started they were already using inbound marketing. It’s like shortly after I started the inbound marketing book came out. So they were using it, and nobody else had ever heard of the term, but we were certainly using it inside HubSpot. And, what was it? Get found using social media and blogs. I think that was one of the big taglines. Oh, Goole, social media and blogs that was it, right?

Joe Hyland: Yeah. I hear I think  so many companies, not just marketers, but companies, point to — and I think it’s a dangerous thing to do — but will point to HubSpot as as the quintessential example of creating a category. So, now everyone wants to do it. Right? No, no one wants to be what they actually are. Everyone’s trying to create a category.

Jenn Steele:  Seriously, and I’ve been hired at least three times to do that and I have convinced three different companies that it was dumb.

Joe Hyland: Yeah. Well, I think authenticity is so important and it’s perhaps difficult to tell when someone’s being authentic, but it’s really easy to tell when someone’s being inauthentic. Like, we can sniff out bullshit pretty quickly. And I think that’s what that’s what a lot of companies do with these category creation goals and initiatives. They try to create something that shouldn’t really exist and doesn’t exist in —  it’s just from their own perspective. So so you’ve been successful in talking CEOs or companies out of doing that?

Jenn Steele: In some cases, yes.So, martech, when I left it — so I went from HubSpot to Amazon and I’ll call that leaving martech — martech when I left it had fewer than a thousand companies in the infamous landscape, right? I came back and I’m like, “What the hell happened while I was gone?”

Joe Hyland:  It’s out of control.

Jenn Steele: It went from 500 to 5,000 and I was gone for, oh gosh, what was it? I was only gone for five or  six years. I’m like, in six years, we got 10x the number of martech companies.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, well, I mean I live in the land of where they all exist. I’m in San Francisco,  you bump into someone on the streets and the likelihood of them working for a martech company is quite high — doing things that don’t really make sense, truthfully.

Jenn Steele: So many of them are apps. They’re really, like, they’re features or they’re apps — they’re not products.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, or they’re not really meant to be standalone companies. And I’m not trying to call anyone out, but they raise money with the sole intent of being acquired within hopefully three or four years, right? That’s kind of a dangerous business model.

Jenn Steele: It is, it is although when most of the money these days is private rather than public I can almost see that as an okay exit exit strategy, but let’s just say that I’m not really attracted to that kind of company.

Joe Hyland: No, same. If you keep you can’t if you can’t explain the business model or how you make money or add value to your customers in 30 seconds, there’s probably a problem.

Jenn Steele: True, and that’s probably why half the martech companies sound exactly the same.

Joe Hyland: They do, right? They do. Well, so there’s the I mean, there’s only so many adjectives and descriptors for giving space, right? So, I mean like they’re like there’s a lot of Engagement overlap, I’ll tell you that much.

Jenn Steele:  And we’re all like Lemmings. It’s like engagements the new thing. Oh, and now we’re all revenue marketers. Let’s all run over there. And now let’s make sure we write that on our website. I mean, it’s so frustrating to try to differentiate yourself. At my last company, bizible, we knew we were the best, we also knew that our competitors said the same damn thing we would every single damn time.

Joe Hyland: Yeah. Sadly, I will look at my own website, or our own website, and I can go to 10 other companies and it’s hard to tell the difference. I don’t think we’re copying anyone but you know, again, there’s just only so many descriptors out there and, before you know, it you’re not differentiated and you’re ultimately you’re all Lemmings — you’re just saying the exact same thing. It’s it is a crowded space.

Jenn Steele: It is and now I work at one of the 400 ABM platforms in the world.

Joe Hyland: So, I said this at the start, you started three weeks ago, right? You’re wrapping up week three.

Jenn Steele: Yes, this is the last day of week three I started August 6th or something, yeah.

Joe Hyland: I said this to you when we first spoke, but starting at a new company is exciting. One of the things I love most about marketing is just problem solving, right? That’s what I ultimately think marketing is. You have a thesis, you have a market, hopefully, and there is hopefully a challenge or a problem in that marketing — what’s the best way to align those those two or three things?

So I’m, in some ways, envious of what you’re going through right now just because I think intellectually it’s just exciting. Do you have a blueprint or a philosophy for how you started a new organization or if you look at everyone like a snowflake and it’s completely different

Jenn Steele: So, I should have a blueprint. Or, well, okay, I am developing more of a blueprint philosophy as I go.

Joe Hyland: But it gets dangerous because they’re all different — sorry to interject — every company is different, right? So I’ve seen people come in with a playbook and it’s like, “Dude, that may have worked somewhere else,” like it’s a different problem and it’s a different market.

Jenn Steele: Well, I mean a playbook — there was exactly one marketing thing that was paramount in my mind when I started at Madison Logic and that was, “I have to buy Bizible.” Data I have and not just because I loved the company and I came from Bizible, but because in my time at Bizible I realized there was no way on Earth I could execute, again, data-driven marketing without what I consider to be the best data platform for attribution in the world.

Joe Hyland: Sure.

Jenn Steele: I swear I’m not saying that just because I used to work there. But what I actually did is — I so I’ve tried, actually, several different executive onboarding methodologies — I’ve on-boarded as an executive in two different industries, now in two different very careers in both I.T. and in marketing. So I’ve tried the first 90 days, and, this time, I’ve tried the first hundred days playbook. I can send you the reference later, if you’d like it, and a lot of what they had is it’s not about my marketing plan is going to be X and Y and Z, it’s about what are my milestone dates? Who do I need to talk to before I start? What do I need to do before I come in? And how am I going to execute the sponge period, right? Where I have to basically sit there and listen to people and talk to them until my eyes glaze over and I’m exhausted every night because I’m just trying to onboard all of the information all at one time?

And, of course, for me, working at a New York company and being in Seattle that meant two weeks in New York and then back to Seattle.

Joe Hyland: So, this is your first week back in Seattle since you started, okay.

Jenn Steele: Yes, so and I spent about a quarter of my time in New Yorker. I’m going to but in luckily I’m from the east coast of the snow is not going to kill me. But, fundamentally, it’s all about, “What are what are the Milestones?” So, I went and I attempted to be a sponge and then, on the plane flight back on Friday, I started building a functional organization of what I thought a successful marketing team at Madison Logic would look like. And, then, I have spent a lot of this week trying to tell people to just hang on a second — because I have made the mistake of coming on board and not taking a moment to plan, but instead actually jumping in on all the problems. And, like you, I’m a big problem solver, it’s something I’m super passionate about and it’s something I’m trained to do and you can make an immediate impact. So, I’m, right now, trying to balance. Yes, I want to get some quick wins and solve some problems, but I can get buried in that and not do the really big important stuff and lay out a roadmap and lay out a budget in order to make sure that Madison Logic succeeds.

Because I don’t want to simply solve problems and solve them and solve them and solve them and make little incremental steps.I want to say, “Okay, we’re here, I want to 10x our revenue over the next 10 years. How do I get there?” And without without taking that time to plan — and I’m not a big, “let me take time and go think of something,” I am far more of a, “let’s just get it done” person. But without actually very consciously taking the time to plan I know that we’d actually move slower and not faster.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, and now how mature is the organization, one, and, two, how mature is the marketing team?

Jenn Steele: So Madison Logics actually been around for a while — 2005, I believe. It was acquired by private equity in 2016. And so it’s not it’s not a start-up. Yeah. It’s about a hundred and twenty people but, and what I love about it, is that we’ve got major presence in the enterprise. And, unlike most other martech companies that are trying to go from mid-market to Enterprise, we actually just put out a SaSS product to take us down into mid-market.

Joe Hyland: That’s cool.

Jenn Steele: So, I think that’s a huge amount of fun, because, of course, I’ve spent the last several jobs being like “Enterprise, enterprise, enterprise — I get it, I get it, I get it. That’s why you’ve hired me, yes. I’ve done it and here I am.” Instead, I’m like, “Okay I can start here and then mid-market,” it’s scalability and it’s a little bit more interesting, at least for me, to not try and be going after the same five decision-makers every other martech CMO is going after right now.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, I know, it’s crowded.

Jenn Steele: It’s so crowded. The second part of your question was how mature is the marketing org? So, the marketing org is tiny. There’s only two people in there and really they’re just content creators. There’s three now, with me, and so I am effectively starting with the good content foundation and otherwise a blank slate. So it’s it’s fun.

Joe Hyland: It’s exciting. It’s interesting. So, I’ll compare it to when I started at my last company — it was a true startup — we had, trying to think of how many employees there were at the time,  about 25 or 30 I forget the exact number employee that I was. When you have a HubSpot-like exit you remember the exact number, when you don’t you can round to within five.

Jenn Steele: I think I’m one of about 10 to 15 people who claim employee number 90. I heard that Kipp, HubSpot’s CMO, claims 90. I’m like, I remember when Kipp started — he was not number 90.

Joe Hyland: That’s funny. I had Kipp on our podcast a couple of months ago. I wish the order had been reversed so I could have asked him that. So, I yeah, I was whatever, 25th or 30th employee. So, we had no infrastructure. We had under a million dollars in revenue. We were the definition of get shit done. We had no choice we had six months of cash by design. So there was no like, “Joe take 90 days. Let’s have a grandiose marketing plan. Let’s do you know to to five-year planning.” Fuck that, there was none of that. It was, “How do we get more? We have a hundred people to the next webinar. Do you have an idea for how we get 500 people?” And that was like my first project.

And anyway, I say that because — and while we did get shit done, I remember, I don’t know, four or six weeks — and so a couple weeks from now for you, I looked at my marketing plan and it was all tactics. And I was disappointed in myself, right? I’d it was a slippery slope that I didn’t mean to slide down but because there so much change that needs to happen right then that I didn’t have the luxury of drawing out a real plan. So, I carved out about three hours a week. It was less than half a day, I remember it like it was yesterday, to just do planning. And I would just go off by myself, there was really no team, I had one other person. And I just did long-term planning. And then the other 60 or 70 hours a week were tactics, which were important to us at the time. When I started at ON24, we had been around since 2001. We were profitable, we had over a thousand customers. So, while there were things that I wanted to change immediately, there was already existing team in place like operations were already set up. So, instead, I had much more of a traditional onboarding. Which, for me helped, because I could put in the proper structure and foundation. But you don’t always get that luxury.

It would be interesting. I don’t know if I would do it differently at a startup. I don’t know if I would actually put in the proper foundation because I didn’t know what I didn’t know — it was an industry. Had I taken the time to put in a ninety or a hundred and eighty day plan, I think I probably would have changed anyway.

Jenn Steele: Well, I mean, any plan only last for me about as long as it takes me to present it, fix it and send it back out again, but realize I’m not taking forever to plan — I’ve got a draft of it right now that just has, “Okay here are big challenges, here’s the values of the marketing team should strive for etcetera,” but also, “and here’s the tactics for my next 18 months and I budget please.” And the answer for 2018. I’m pretty sure, is going to be “no” at least they let me buy Bizible. So, and in 2019, it’s going to be “we’ll talk about it.”

But I think that most of us end up somewhere in the middle between, and I also think that our definition of strategy versus tactics gets a little weird and funky sometimes, too. We throw around the words a lot and it’s like, “Well is strategy just a bundle of tactics or is it just a problem statement you’re trying to solve or what is that again?”

You know, we’re all so fuzzy on what the word “strategy” means that I can claim to be strategic, I’m still not sure exactly what it is.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, I appreciate the honesty. I also like the fact that tactic for some reason has become a four-letter word for many marketers, right?

Jenn Steele: It’s just a tactic.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, I mean that is kind of like everything we do ultimately is a tactic, right? That’s what you and I are doing right now. “Oh we just want to be strategic,” like I don’t actually want to talk on a podcast, right? No, that’s tactical.

Jenn Steele: Yeah.

Joe Hyland: So, you started after your —first of all that’s amazing, I’ve spoken to no one who’s had such a major career shift before they turn 30.

Jenn Steele: Well, that was not before I turned 30 just so … I spent over a decade in I.T. and I did graduate from college so you can do some math there.

Joe Hyland: Okay, so you didn’t start an it when you were 14, got it. Okay, well, so you started in marketing and martech. I did not. I had about 15 years in marketing before my first job in martech and I was really excited. I thought, man, marketing to marketers will be amazing, which it is. I love that part of the job. What I…to say, I hate it would be too strong of a word… I strongly dislike this quid pro quo nature that exists amongst many, many marketers where it’s just a whole bunch of people buying each other’s technology versus actually trying to solve a problem and help accomplish something.

Jenn Steele: I mean, what do you mean, Madison Logic is ON24 customer, are you not a Madison Logic customer?

Joe Hyland: Exactly, we should work on that. Did I say I hate it? I meant I love it.

Jenn Steele: Okay. There we go. I’m with you. I’m like, do we only sell to martech companies.

Joe Hyland: Its feels yeah, it feels like a bit of an echo chamber and its really and for you with Madison Logic — I don’t think it’s as bad in New York. I mean, it’s a real problem in San Francisco where you’re really just not talking to other martech providers. I don’t actually think that’s a way to build a winning business. So, you’ve only been at Madison Logic for three weeks, and it was a long time ago that you were at HubSpot, I’d be curious to get your perspective on how B2B Marketing in the martech space has changed in the last decade there.

Jenn Steele: Remember, I did go from Bizible to Madison logic. So, I have spent the last year in martech. I think I was telling you before the podcast that I was actually really relieved to get back into martech. Like, it’s a really fun space to me — marketing to marketers.

I’m a no-bullshit person and that I love the fact that like we just have to be honest with each other because we’re probably going to hire each other for our next jobs or something like that, right? Or we’re gonna help each other get to quota or whatever that is, or I’m going to copy your wet messaging not saying that I’m actually going to do that, but somebody will someday.

I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten what question you asked me.

Joe Hyland: Yes. It’s what it’s like being in martech. So, you’re right. You and I, probably more so than most people, we try to be brutally honest — we have been in this half an hour. I don’t think marketers in martech are, I think there’s a lot of bullshit just being served up to each other.

Jenn Steele: My favorite is the list that we keep giving each other awards.

Joe Hyland: Yes.

Jenn Steele: Yes, and I haven’t managed to find my way onto any of those listed. I’m not sure whether I should be relieved or offended.

Joe Hyland: Yeah, well it means you’re not paying someone enough money.

Jenn Steele: Oh, darn, so that’s the problem.

Joe Hyland: Someone who used to work for me got on a 30-under-30 or 40-under-40 list by one of our vendors who we paid the most — it was vendor we paid a lot of money to. And it was really nice for him and I was happy for this guy, but it was like, “Man, this is so silly. Do people really see what’s happening here?”

Jenn Steele: Oh, yeah, it’s like nominations are open for this and that and next thing. It’s like the 43 people who are “blah.”  I’ll bet you a quarter it’s all 43 people who got nominated and I’ll bet at least 20 of those are prospects and the other 23 are customers.

Joe Hyland: Yeah. So, what’s exciting for me and what I love is I can get on the phone with someone like you and just geek out on marketing. I love that. In my last space we sold to procurement and treasury — and while I was capable of talking about financial arbitrage and working capital, it wasn’t exactly something I was passionate about, right? That was work for me.

We’re talking marketing, which is not. That part of it I love — I could just do without some of the veneer that exist within the space, I guess.

Jenn Steele: We do. Yeah, we believe a lot of our own BS.

Joe Hyland: Yeah. I know. I think it’s dangerous when you start reading your own press clipping, so.

Okay, cool. Well, this just felt like it was five minutes. We’re at the were bottom of the hour.

Jenn Steele: Yeah,

Joe Hyland: I know Superfast right? Well, this has been amazing. I am excited to hear what happens in week four for you at Madison Logic. So, please, please, keep us in the loop. I would love it. If you sent if you don’t mind sending me the first hundred day playbook. I’ll include it below the this recording so people can check it out and I haven’t actually seen it myself. So I’d love to see it as well.

Jenn Steele: Absolutely will do.

Joe Hyland: Awesome, Jenn. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Jenn Steele: Thanks for having me. This was fun.

Get your #webinerd on – All Hail the Rise of the Webinar!

By Paula Morris, Senior Director, Pi Marketing Solutions

This article was originally published on pi-marketingsolutions.com. Syndicated with permission.

Picture the scene … on a surprisingly warm and pleasant autumnal day in central London a room full of almost 400 B2B marketers were spending the day talking about webinars! ‘Surely it isn’t possible to fill a full day just talking about webinars!’ I hear you cry but as ON24’s global #WebinarWorld event came to London last week that’s exactly what happened!

And as Mark Bornstein, ON24’s Chief Webinerd (more on #webinerd later) mentioned in the opening address it really is time that we aren’t shocked about this anymore as the rise of ‘The Webinar’ in the B2B marketing space is truly upon us.

We are all trying to grab people’s attention in a very noisy and crowded space but, if used creatively and effectively, webinars can become a critical part of your marketing outreach allowing you to drive significant engagement not only within your account-based marketing activity but also within a larger target audience or segment.

As we continue to learn and analyse our prospects and customers digital body language the more we understand that these days the buyer journey isn’t necessarily linear, and that we can’t control at what stage of the buyer journey certain types of content are consumed. And this is where webinars come in to play…..buyers now want to receive content on their terms, on their time and in any order. People want to view easy to digest material when and where they want.

During the opening session at #WebinarWorld London the audience were asked: ‘How many of you have downloaded a whitepaper in the last 6 months?’ – the result, a few half-raised hands, however we are all pre-disposed into thinking that this is the type of content that we should be producing. Yes static white papers have their place but a webinar can bring them to life by turning traditionally passive content into rich media interactive experiences. For example a quick 10 minute webinar on the ‘Top 3 Findings’ of said industry white paper is a perfect webinar for a C-level audience to consume whilst at an airport lounge, or a more in depth 3 part series could be created for those subject matter experts – the key point is that ‘the webinar’ is now an essential part of our marketing mix and a fundamental medium that should be leveraged across all marketing activity and not used as a tactic in isolation. Therefore, if done well, it really is a case of ‘build it and they will come’ – but only if relevancy and authenticity are achieved.

And so on to the notion of the #webinerd (Web-i-nerd web-e-nərd noun: a person who loves webinars so much they made an urban dictionary definition). An official rallying cry was sent out to all the attendees of WebinarWorld to join the #webinerd movement and by judging by the length of the queue for the complimentary #webinerd branded t-shirts (which incidentally were printed with your choice of colour before your very eyes leaving Joel Harrison, Editor-in-chief at B2B Marketing almost lost for words) social media was awash with pictures of attendees donning their new attire declaring that they ‘have now got their #webinerd on’ – it is safe to say that the modern #webinerd is not shy about stepping forward to declare their inner marketing geek.

With great content presented, shared and discussed in the Genius, Best Practices and Execution theatres it was more than apparent that this is an area of marketing that deserves the focus of a dedicated event. The future leaning, thought provoking and insightful content really highlighted how impactful a well-executed webinar programme can be in delivering a wealth of customer insights and actionable data.

So if you are looking at how to drive customer engagement with scale, come join the #webinerd movement……the only decision you now need to make is whether you want a blue, green, red or purple #webinerd logo on your t-shirt!


About the Author

With over 20 years B2B marketing experience Paula has a proven track record of leading successful strategic marketing campaigns in the enterprise ICT space. With a focus on delivering ROI her experience includes developing and aligning marketing strategy, full persona and solution based programme delivery, behavioural based nurture programmes and leading successful teams across a broad range of projects.

Twitter: @pmorris_99

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paula-morris/

5 Ways to Make ABM About Your Audience, Not Automation

This article was originally on abminaction.com.  

There’s no doubt that ABM is the most buzzed-about “trend” in marketing today. Despite the hype, ABM isn’t really all that new. Sure, ABM provides better tactics and technologies to reach your named accounts, but once you get to them, you still must meaningfully engage with the people inside those accounts.

Marketers can’t rest on their laurels just because they are “doing ABM” in some way, shape or form. Instead, marketers need to consider how to take ABM’s principles of demand generation at scale, and then apply personalization and engagement strategies to really connect to the important people within target accounts.

Here are five considerations for how to put your audience at the center of your ABM campaigns:

1) Have A High-Value Offer

At the core of ABM is empathy — you must truly understand your audience. Because no matter how you reach an account, you still need a high enough value offer that connects with the people inside it.

You must also consider the content and messages you’re sending in relation to who they are going to. Do you really think they will pay off? If you have truly empathized with people — have been able to get inside their heads and effectively market and appeal to them — the answer will be yes.

In practical terms, the output cannot be creating 100 different white papers for target accounts; clearly, that’s not scalable. But you can make dynamic content that can be adapted at an industry or use-case level that will address the main pain points of your audience.

Marketers should work with subject-matter experts within their organization to understand how to make content specific to a use case or industry. By creating content that speaks to the trends that are hot in a specific space or executive buyer role, marketers can ensure the content will speak to the target audience. This approach is both scalable and effective.

2) Choose Vocabulary Carefully

The slippery slope that results in getting personalization wrong can start with not choosing language carefully. In many cases, marketers may think they are being effective at personalizing content for their target audience, when really the language they are using makes them sound generic.

In addition, the way one company in a certain industry might talk about their buying funnel could take on a completely different vocabulary to a competitor. Marketing can stick out like a sore thumb if the language used in the content you send people is misaligned with how they talk about the topic.

Language matters, and the best step marketers can take in choosing the right vocabulary is to pick the brain of the sales people who speak regularly with those target companies and have them advise you on their internal lingo.

3) Personalize Interactivity

Another mistake marketers can fall victim to is swapping a target company’s logo out on a piece of content and considering it “personalized.” Taking the logo shortcut to ABM is a very slippery slope, and one that often screams, “I don’t know you at all,” especially when nothing else on the page feels personal.

Rather than warn prospects you’re faking it with a logo, you should welcome them with a personalized message through a dynamic chatbot or interactive online poll that starts a dialogue and then gets passed to a human to handle for a genuine conversation.

Beginning a customer’s journey with an earnest attempt to understand who they are and what they need is much better than telling them you have their company IP address in your database. Any marketer can do that with the right amount of technology spend — it’s the companies who start to put engagement on their buyers’ terms through personalized, dynamic interactions that differentiate.

4) Create Feedback Loops

Once you have a high-value offer and personalized language and interactivity, the next step is to create a feedback loop on the content you send as fuel to further personalize future interactions. A feedback loop allows marketing and sales to glean actionable insights around individuals, rather than just at the account level.

High-value content allows your audience to self-identify the best individual prospects within your target accounts. From there, it becomes important to look at how these people are reacting to specific aspects of your content to determine how to improve and personalize future pieces in a format designed just for them. For example, if they spent the most time on a part of your guide that will be discussed in an upcoming webinar, a logical next step is to invite them to the upcoming session.

Be open to how people choose to define themselves, i.e., by their industry or by their role. Optimize the feedback loop by peppering content with opportunities for self-identification, such as short surveys.

5) Incorporate Quality-Driven Metrics Into Scoring

Many marketers use only quantity-driven metrics in their scoring. When you put your audience at the center of your ABM campaigns, however, you prescribe to quality. So, why would you measure quantity?

It’s time to bring in new metrics. On a webinar, for example, it’s important not to look at the number of total attendees, but how many are on your named account list. For a product page, impressions and page views are less meaningful than depth of consumption and how qualified the people viewing the page are.

Marketers should look to replace outdated KPIs such as number of net new leads with KPIs around behavioral intelligence. Key behavioral intelligence metrics include the amount of time spent on content and the score of the feedback given (because if you have a high value and relevant offer that’s personalized, people should be engaging back with you).

Today, there are too many startups and worthy competitors that will address your audience’s pain points in the right way if you don’t. Savvy marketers can’t afford to use ABM for automation only; it’s time to make ABM all about the audience.

How ON24’s Bryn Powell Balances Personalization and Scale for ABM

It’s getting to be late September, the temperature’s dropping and the technology community is abuzz. We’re getting close to Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce. There are sessions, panels and a small assembly of events and gatherings taking place in association with the convention and we’ll be at a few of them.

One such event, the B2B Champions Club, running from September 25th to the 27, offers attendees the opportunity to take a closer look at what a full-fledged customer view can do for marketing efforts. Our own Bryn Powell, Senior Marketing Manager of Global Programs at ON24, will speak at the gathering on Thursday, September 27. Her topic of choice? Account-based marketing and how to balance personalization with scale. It’s a topic that’s close to our hearts as members of the ABM Leadership Alliance.

We sat down with Bryn to talk about her session. What follows is a brief Q&A edited for clarity.

Q:

What will you be speaking on at the B2B Champions Club?

Bryn:

I’ll be speaking on a challenge I face personally in my role, which is how to balance personalization and scale when it comes to developing an ABM strategy.

Q:

What does that entail? What are we talking about when it comes to personalization at scale?

Bryn:

ABM is clearly a buzzword and I think all companies are trying to implement ABM strategies into their demand-gen mix. One of the challenges I found, as a marketer, is really being able to scale ABM. I think that’s a shared challenge for marketers.

One of the biggest decisions you have to make is how personalized do you make your content so that it’s still scalable. So it’s really finding that balancing act between how personalized you get with content while still having the resourcing and bandwidth to support programs.

In my session, I’ll be digging through some of my strategies as a marketer — particularly on what I’ve found and how I’ve been able to find a balance, even though it’s always a work in progress.

I’ll be sharing examples of how I’m finding that balance with my top accounts and my strategy there through the lens of our webcasting ABM strategy. I will be covering a few of my own case studies focusing on how I use webinars to actually provide that engagement and what I do to personalize that content to make relevant and high-value offers for our prospects and customers.

Q:

How does one scale from an individual, personalized level to a larger scale?

Bryn:

Our view, especially at ON24, is not only making it about the account but also the audience – to really get down to that granular level. At the point where you’re doing one-to-one ABM, that is not scalable, and that’s why you have to have a true understanding of your audience, not just the account. For one-to-one, you need to understand who you’re genuinely trying to resonate with.

From there, after one-to-one, I’ll go through how we’re slightly personalizing and making relevant content for key accounts and key users. We’ll find those aspects you can personalize verses what can be scalable. Lastly, we’ll take a look at the groups, or personas, that B2B marketers are targeting and break it down into subgroups either by industry, vertical, persona, use case — we’re looking at being able to speak to the audience and providing them with a high-value offer.

So, it’s really about finding that balance between what you need to customize completely versus what you’re able to group and bucket and create relevant content for the program at a more scalable rate.

Q:

Can you walk us through the basics of creating a personalize webcast or ABM program?

Bryn:

Yeah. So, there are a couple key things that go into my ABM strategy. You need to have that high-value offer, but to have that high-value offer you must truly understand your audience. So you need to know what’s going to resonate with them and — oftentimes this is the challenge — understanding which content will matter most to them.

So actually, you need to use your ABM strategies as well as a feedback loop to make sure that your content is resonating — that either the account you’re going after or the persona you’re going after is engaging with your content. You will also need to work with sales to get a deeper and closer look at the account. This is often, sometimes, overlooked in marketing. We can’t be as close necessarily to all of our prospect or customer accounts. So it really pays to leverage sales insights as well in this.

The other piece that’s important when looking at personalizing is understanding the vocabulary you use. It’s not just changing a logo or changing a company name but actually using their language in your content. If you are using account-specific marketing in that one-to-one, highly personalized program, you want to make sure you’re using the buzzwords and keywords that resonate with them, whether that be the key product launches they’re going after, the key metrics that they use. We have even tailored some of our messaging knowing our accounts buyer journey and how they classify their own marketing funnel.

Q:

What about connecting at the vertical level?

Bryn:

When you’re getting down to vertical level, it’s important to use the jargon that the industry resonates with. If you’re looking at a financial services company, they may not speak about prospects and customers. Instead, they may speak about potential clients and existing clients. It’s small things like this, I think, that make your audience more engaged with what you’re saying and be able to actually connect with your messaging.

I also think that it helps show that you are more credible in the space. I do attempt to find that balance in my marketing efforts with company jargon, account-based jargon but then also making sure that you’re speaking to the vocabulary of an industry or a subset of personas as well.

If you are using personas, such as product marketing versus customer marketing, there’s going to be different keywords that resonate with those folks and different KPIs that they’re looking for and ultimately you’re trying to help your customers or prospects achieve their business goals. So, really speaking to that from the upfront is key.

Q:

How important is it to, and how closely should you, work with sales for ABM efforts?

Bryn:

I work with sales extremely close. This is definitely key in developing your initial ABM targeting and understanding which accounts are a priority. It’s a balance between what sales wants provided with really actionable data from the get-go as well as continuously kind of checking in on that data. You need to make sure that the priority accounts are still aligned and that we are seeing results from a personalized approach to these accounts. But definitely leveraging the relationships that sales has with the customer accounts or prospect accounts is critical.

Q:

Last question. Are there any trends you’re seeing or anticipating in the ABM space?

Bryn:

I think for the last few years the focus of ABM has really been on tools and technologies to automate a lot of ABM. And I actually foresee a shift focusing back on the audience member and not necessarily the automation that’s in place.I think as folks really ramp up and understand personalized marketing more, we’re going to see a shift kind of away from a fully automated ABM program and back to a human focus.

In my eyes, I would say marketers have been focused on identifying who our ABM targets are and how to reach our named accounts. I think a lot of the trends in the ABM space have been focused on sort of that up-front of who should we be going after and how do we get in front of them.

What hasn’t been the focus thus far is the content and what messages you’re really reaching them with. And I actually foresee that being kind of the next step in the ABM journey. Putting the focus back on how are you actually interacting with these folks rather than just understanding who they are and driving them in. It’s now going to be about how you’re actually interacting. I also think there is going to be a shift on the individuals and less spray-and-pray of full accounts. So, really, taking ABM past just the account name and really to the targeted person in your persona.

Webinerd to Watch: NASA

It’s no surprise that NASA is on the cutting edge. From exploring the far reaches of our solar system to putting men on the moon to exploring Mars’ surface, NASA’s fingerprints and footprints are literally everywhere.

But one area you might not expect them to be leading the way is in leveraging innovative marketing and technology solutions. After all, they are still a government operation, right? And most government operations aren’t exactly, ahem, synonymous with technology and innovation.

But skeptics of the organization’s technology prowess (at least here on Earth) were recently proved wrong. That’s because NASA hosted their annual Virtual Career Summit through the ON24 platform, providing insights into their range of scholarship, fellowship, and internship opportunities, and answering prospective applicants’ questions in real-time. NASA provided details on eligibility requirements, tips for the application process, and candid advice from previous awardees.

NASA did this by taking full advantage of ON24’s many unique interactive features in order to maximize the value of the career summit. The event had nearly 1,500 attendees who asked more than 1,000 questions, including via ON24’s live Q&A feature and through social media widgets that enabled questions to come from Facebook and Twitter.

While many webinar providers are simply white label templates, NASA leveraged ON24’s customizable features to create an engaging, NASA-branded audience console. NASA incorporated video content throughout, featuring subject matter experts who discussed the career options available at NASA. The webinar showcased alumni of their programs who spoke compellingly about the excitement and benefits of working for the most decorated space agency in the world, often over B-Roll footage. The webinar was also made available afterward for on-demand viewing.

All of us Earthlings could learn a thing or two from NASA’s approach. They leaned heavily on interactive features to make the webinar feel personal, even with thousands of participants. They took the time to customize an appealing interface. And they used webinars in a unique way — for a career summit. For all of us who are strictly using webinars to educate potential buyers, we should take a step back and ask ourselves the different ways we might be able to incorporate webinars into other campaigns. Clearly, in many ways, NASA webinars are out of this world.

Want to learn more about how you can make your webinars astronomical? Check out our Webinar Best Practices Series for the latest tips and tricks to maximize your marketing ROI.

Six Takeaways From the ON24’s Regulation Webinar That Will Ease Your Mind

GDPR went into effect on May 25. With significant penalties for non-compliance, and the fact that any organisation that communicates with people in the EU will have to comply, there was a lot of discussion in the run-up to the enforcement deadline. There continues to be a lot of discussions well after. Many companies are still struggling to comply with the regulations and have questions about various aspects of compliance. What are the regulations? What do we do if our company is not ready for GDPR? Does GDPR affect other departments aside from marketing? How do we build campaigns that help gain compliance?

ON24’s Insight50 Ask About: Regulation webinar addresses these questions and more. Webinar panelists Abigail Dubiniecki, senior lawyer and specialist at My Inhouse Lawyer, Richard Preece, Director at DA Resilience and Zach Thornton, External Affairs Manager at the DMA shared their knowledge and expertise to answer questions and discuss the various aspects of GDPR and what it means to companies.

Here are just six key takeaways from the webinar, moderated by Andrew Warren-Payne from Market2Marketers.

Most attendees aren’t compliant but they are getting there

If your company is not 100% compliant with GDPR, you are not alone. Of the webinar attendees, 48% reported that ‘We are not fully compliant but are taking steps towards it’ when asked ‘Where is your company in terms of readiness for GDPR?’

On this note, one important question came from the audience: if your contacts have not opted in by the 25th May deadline, does it mean you can no longer contact them? According to Zach Thornton, if your company is already abiding by opt-in consent rules and you have a continual engagement or relationship with your customer, this implies continual consent making renewal of consent unnecessary. He believes that companies going through this re-consenting process are wasting resources and might needlessly be keeping in touch with contacts that are consenting to receive marketing.

Procrastinators don’t panic

If you are feeling a bit behind on GDPR compliance, don’t panic. Abigail Dubiniecki, from My Inhouse Lawyer, advises not to panic and to think before you act. She has a Five-Step Procrastinator’s Checklist that can help you towards compliance.

  1. Know the law

Get on the ICO website and familiarise yourself with the following guidelines and tools:

ICO Direct Marketing Guide

ICO Guide to the GDPR

ICO PECR Guide

ICO Lawful Basis Interactive Tool

  1. Know your data

Know what kind of data you have. This is important because, as Dubiniecki says, “You can’t do things properly if you don’t know what you have.”

  1. Know your legal justification and your purpose

Segment your database and identify what the legal justification is for having those contacts. You’ll want to know the following information about your contacts:

  • Provenance
  • Preference they have
  • Purpose you are allowed to market to them
  1. Trim the fat

This is where you want to use your metrics. Find out how much engagement you have had with your contacts. From that point, you can purge those contacts that do not engage.

  1. Go forth and market, but do it appropriately and maintain good practices

Establish workflows and make sure you have a record of processing activities. Most importantly, make sure you train those people involved in these workflows and processing activities.

Make privacy a positive

Many of the webinar participants polled (39%) are not sure whether GDPR would be good for business. However, the majority (54%) felt that GDPR would have a positive effect on business.

This positive outlook on GDPR’s on the state of business is refreshing and in line with the advice given by Zach Thornton. He suggests that companies make privacy a positive. Transparent, common-sense guidance allows companies to address customers’ concerns about their personal data and let customers know that they are in control of how your company uses their data. Privacy can now be a company’s unique selling point.

A good example of an organisation making privacy positive is the BBC, which uses a layered privacy approach. This method provides the most important information to the contact first at the top layer (for example, on a sign-up form); thereafter, each layer of additional information gets more detailed but still gives a clear explanation as to how that information will be used. This approach makes it easier to explain privacy information for the average person.

Email is thought to be the marketing channel most at risk but what about sales activities?

Not surprisingly, email is believed to be the marketing channel that has the greatest amount of risk in reference to GDPR. Webinars were seen as the lowest risk.

But while much talk has been on marketing practices and channels that will fall under the scrutiny of GDPR, what about sales activities?

As Zach Thornton explained, because GDPR applies to the processing of personal data that can be linked back to an individual, it does apply to sales activities such as cold calling, contacting prospects via social media such as LinkedIn as well as the use of email prospecting tools. It is important to note that GDPR also applies to human resources, IT and any other department that processes personal data.

If marketing is designed properly, compliance will happen

So how can marketers design their campaigns to gain compliance? According to Abigail Dubiniecki, the answer is to design marketing campaigns that establish a reason for engagement and encourages the development of relationships. If marketing efforts, such as webinars, are created around the idea that people don’t want to miss out and the excitement of being part of something interesting, people will sign up so they can be notified of upcoming events. If you deliver value, compliance will follow

Compliance is an ongoing endeavor

The last takeaway from the webinar is one to keep in mind—compliance does not end; it is an endeavor. As Richard Preece explained, compliance is an ongoing process. It requires you to challenge the way you do things, to understand the risk and have a clear system in place. This system will allow for continuous improvements and adapts over time to the needs of your business.

Want to know more?

If you want to know more, the ON24 Insight50 Ask About: Regulation is available now on-demand.

Wake Up Your Content with ON24 Webinars

Successful content has to engage. It has to pull your audience in, build a genuine connection and address a specific problem each audience member is facing. But far too often, content today doesn’t engage. It interrupts.

It’s time to wake up your content with a solution that works for both buyers and sellers. It’s time to wake up your webinars.

According to a recent Demand Gen report, nearly 70 percent of all buyers prefer webinars over any other form of content. What does that mean? It means 75 percent of buyers will share more information about themselves to gain access to webinar content. It means 37 percent of buyers will spend 30 to 60 engagement-driving minutes with webinars. It means 61 percent of the information a buyer takes from a webinar is shared with a colleague.

That’s because real webinars engage with their audience instead of just speaking to. Chats, polls, live Q&A sessions and more gives your brand the means of connecting with your audience. It’s no wonder nearly half of Demand Gen report’s respondents said webinars were their top choice and most valuable content format in the mid-stage of their buying journey

It’s time to wake up your content — click here to learn how.

Heading to CMWorld 2018? Stop by booth #539 to learn more about how ON24 can wake up your content — and don’t forget to see what real webinars are capable of at “Webinars That Rock: Keys to Engagement-Driven Content Delivery,” in Grand Ballroom B at 12:20 on Sept. 5.

ServiceNow’s Approach to Webinar Program Innovation (Part II)

This is part two in a two-part series on how organizations can extract more results from their webinars. For part one, click here

The push towards account-based marketing ultimately is about creating the capability to personalize go-to-market strategies and outreach. Webinars – both generic and targeted – play a vital role in ServiceNow’s focus on the Financial Services market.

There are many definitions of Account-Based Marketing going around – it’s a hot topic in Marketing these days. At ServiceNow, ABM is one of three Go-To-Market programs, in addition to Executive Programs and Campaigns.

 

Figure 1: ServiceNow Go-To-Market Model

 

Market and Account Segmentations

We segment our markets along a number of axes, and decisions on marketing spend are related to our country tiering model (Tier 1: UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands), the 50 largest accounts for ServiceNow in EMEA, the Executive decision makers (CxO level) within the Top-50, the broader market segment of Large Enterprise organisations, specific industries that historically have proven lucrative for ServiceNow, like Financial Services.

In 2018, we increased our focus on Top-50 accounts. In the first phase of our Account-Based Marketing program, we target 17 Financial Services accounts (banks and insurers) within our EMEA Top-50 account list.

Guided by our London-based ABM agency McDonald Butler Associates, we’re working side by side with Sales leadership and Client Directors to understand how marketing can help accelerate the sales strategy execution within these 17 accounts.

Financial Services: 3 go-to-market modes

To understand the role of the ON24 platform as part of our ABM strategy, I will outline our thinking on a high-level. If we take the triangle from figure 1 and we put it on its side, we see figure 2, where three go-to-market modes in the Financial Services market are identified:

1.    Content Marketing for the largest segment in the database. These are the accounts that are in the Financial Services industry, but they’re not strategic enough yet for ServiceNow to focus investment.

2.    Account-based marketing for the 17 Financial Services Accounts within the EMEA Top-50 of largest accounts, critical to the future growth of the company.

3.    Target Account Marketing for those accounts within Top-17 FS which require even more focus and investments, for instance, because they have been included in a global focus program, or because the sales strategy requires additional marketing investment.

Figure 2: Industry-to-Account-Based Engagement Model 

Content Strategies Per Mode

Now that these three modes have been established, we can start devising the content marketing strategy and resources, systems and data services we require per phase over time. To summarize six months of conversations between our sales teams, agencies, and colleagues around the globe:

Seventeen of the EMEA Top-50 accounts our sales organization is going after, are in Financial Services. If we create a content marketing strategy for our target personas in Financial Services, we can start creating an active database in Financial Services within our Tier 1 markets and track who is engaging with ServiceNow, test new ideas, and generate initial demand.

Part of the mix of assets and tactics we employ for this FS content strategy are industry-based messaging frameworks, demo environments, sales decks, blogs, position papers, storybooks, and FS industry event sponsorships – all developed in close cooperation with industry experts and Client Directors.

The ON24 Pillar

In the case of our Financial Services focus, one of the key content strategy pillars is a series of live webinars, running on ON24, reviewing the various parts of our FS value proposition with large FS customers featuring as panel speakers. The recordings of these webinars are used to populate an ON24 Target landing page, with a branded header visual, targeted introduction and the call-to-action to engage the FS discussion groups within the ServiceNow Community.

For the 17 FS accounts within the EMEA Top-50, we go the extra mile by increasing the level of localization of the content and assets. The messaging framework is reworked based on account insights shared by the account director. Co-branded design templates per account show our commitment to work with them. Our executives proactively reach out to their counterparts.

Not only is this a very scalable model, but it also feeds industry-specific content into the long-tail of accounts in the same segment, which are not yet in our Top-50 focus.

In line with the webinar performance metrics we track internally, some of which we shared in Part 1 of this two-part blog, we have seen a significant increase in target account engagement and pipeline influence. The use of ON24’s Target product for ABM has been key to creating the focused content experience, while enabling our marketing metrics to easily demonstrate the increased consumption and engagement via the real-time sync with our CRM system.

Bid Marketing Menu

Once we get to the RFP/bid stage of the engagement, a special programme of activities kicks into action, our so-called “Bid Marketing Menu”, including a targeted brochure aligned with the value themes outlined in the RFP, a branded ON24 Target landing page with messaging and video assets relevant to the offer, email and social media programs to driver further engagement in the account, and real-time engagement monitoring.

Figure 3: Account-based ON24 Target page – account logo blurred out in header visual

Targeted, Personalized Webinars

ON24 Target has enabled the ServiceNow team to introduce targeting and personalization techniques into our webinar programs. We already had the ON24 platform integrated with our website, our Eloqua marketing automation platform and our CRM system, and Tableau already has the dashboards in place to visualize engagement and business value down the funnel, which basically means that these targeted investments are automatically tracked and reported on in our systems, too. So, without much extra effort in the infrastructure layer, we’re able to create actionable insight and higher value for our sales and account teams.

Baseline for 2019 growth

Today, we can show which contacts from our target accounts are engaging our webinar program, including the stage of their engagement and propensity to pipeline and bookings – which is a great baseline for continued growth in 2019 and beyond.

Microsoft and ON24 Team Up for Seamless Webinars

At ON24, we’re all about making personal engagement at scale as easy as possible. Which is why we’re pretty excited to be selected as the only webinar platform supported by the flourishing Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 platform. And it’s a booming platform, seeing a 65 percent growth rate during the first three quarters of fiscal 2018 — even faster than Microsoft Office 365.

Dynamics 365 is a combination of applications, including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and marketing automation, hosted on Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud platform. Dynamics 365 for Marketing is an ideal solution for marketers and marketing agencies seeking to simplify their business applications on the Microsoft stack.

To get a better idea of just what this partnership between Microsoft and ON24 entails — and what everyone gets out of it — we sat down with Lou Pelosi, VP of Business Development and Partnerships at ON24 to ask him a few questions about this development. Here’s what he had to say:

Q:

Can you explain the relationship between Microsoft and ON24?

Lou Pelosi:

From a high level, we’ve expanded our customer and technical relationship with Microsoft and signed a co-marketing agreement with their Microsoft Dynamics 365 team. The goals of the agreement are to drive greater value for our joint customers and to market and sell together to obtain new customers.

Q:

What was the impetus for this partnership?

Lou Pelosi:

Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 for Marketing earlier this spring to connect sales and marketing and help them to make smarter decisions to maximize marketing ROI. Our strategies and promises — especially when it comes to facilitating both human engagement and actionable insights at scale — to marketers are aligned and complementary.

Microsoft, and Dynamics 365, in particular, has been on a tear recently. Market share is up, the stock price has tripled in recent years, and investing in new SaaS architectures and applications which have significant momentum in the market.

Q:

How will ON24 work with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing?

Lou Pelosi:

The Microsoft marketing application includes an out-of-the-box ON24 adapter allowing marketers to schedule and reserve ON24 webinars without leaving the marketing application. It also provides both the ON24 presenter and audience URLs to use in emails and landing pages for event promotion and execution. Ultimately, the marketer understands who registered, who attended and collects actionable data on engaged attendees.

Microsoft customers must still purchase an ON24 account, but the initial integration simplifies the webinar process. ON24 is making a special 30-day free trial available to Dynamics 365 for Marketing customers and prospect. You can learn more here.

Q:

How will this evolve over time?

Lou Pelosi:

Microsoft and ON24 continue to invest heavily in marketing technologies and solutions. There are several ways our relationship could evolve as we move forward. Options include improving the out-of-the-box integration capabilities to add more fields and more data for the marketer to gain more insights, improving workflows to simplify webinar management and execution and collaborating on our broader portfolio of martech solutions. We’ll be working diligently in the coming months to communicate our value to customers, prospects and partners. If there are any questions about how you can benefit from the partnership, you can email dynamics@on24.com.