Growth Marketing Camp
Growth Marketing Camp

Episode 6 · 1 year ago

How Marketing Drove a Unified Digital Transformation Post-Acquisition

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Aubrey Morgan, Director, Demand Gen at Syncari, dives into her previous role in marketing at Mulesoft during the time that Salesforce acquired them, which created an exciting challenge in differentiating brand, creating a unifying vision, and targeting personas in a different way that helped two teams meet in the middle for a successful campaign that still runs today.

Welcome to growth marketing camp, where we sit down with our favorite marketers to demistify growth and give you the insights to help turn your next campaign into a major success. Let's get into it. What's up everyone, it's bobby with growth marketing camp. I'm super excited for today's guest, Aubrey Morgan. She is currently the director demand generation at sincery. However, proud of that, she was at Mulesoft for many years and what's so neat about today's conversation is we get to talk with Aubrey about her role in life cycle marketing, which sort of went through a little bit of a transition, as Mulesoft was actually acquired by sales force during the time that she was there, and so we're going to get into some really interesting topics. I've always wanted to kind of get a peek behind the curtain here, things like the challenges and differentiating brand, creating a unified vision, targeting personas. In a way that's helped the two teams sort of meat in the middle in campaigns that are successful being executed even today. So for me this was a really special conversation. We're going to get into some depth here. I really hope you all enjoy this as well. Would love to hear your feedback, but for now sit back, relax and enjoy this latest episode of Growth Marketing Camp. Aubrey, welcome to the show. We're here to talk about a specific campaign and really the idea behind this. Aubrey's the word growth is such a nebulous word. It can mean so many things and I think oftentimes what's valuable is just give mystifying the word a little bit. Like I think people understand what it takes like to go from point at a point bat to grow, and I think by talking about a specific campaign we can help to illustrate what that word actually means in practice. I would love to just start by just a high level sort of introduction of the campaign that you want to talk about today. Tell me a little bit about what the campaign was and perhaps some of the primary objectives. Yeah, awesome. Thanks Bobby for having me. I know we go way back to the early days of open sense, so I'm excited to be here. So I think there are a lot of learning from this campaign and that I'm going back a couple of years. I didn't want to focus on last year because it was basically, like everyone was probably struggling with their campaign last year, trying to figure out how to react to the changes in the market. So basically, the first time we truly ran an integrated campaign was a few years ago, and how that worked was we started from the very top right. So the planning took a lot of work and this was post acquisition. So why I say like a true integrade campaign is because we were trying to figure out how to work within sales force as well. Sales first had their own campaign team and Mulesoft had to be its own brand, but also with sales for so how did we move away from being so reactive till sales force coming over the fence and saying hey, we're going to work this thing are we need this thing, and mull subs integration so it fits in every campaign. So this challenge where we were like, okay, how do we plan alongside them? Them same team, different function. So basically we went to the drawing board. We said, okay, grade. The coolest thing about sales versus they do this thing called a v two mom. It's vision, values, methods, measures and objectives. It's like the planning. So every individual has to do a vtwo mom and every team and department had all the way up to mark Ben y off has to do a v two mom vto it's a great way that. Yeah, it's a great you can see a sound like I'm selling a book here, but like Mark Ben up talks about it in his book about the V two mom, but I actually loved that. At first I was wondering if it's like Corporate America, but in reality it actually was a great way to think ahead. So anyways, what we started doing was, okay, how do we inform the campaign themes for the next year? We don't want to be just like spinning them up on the fly. So the first thing we did was we looked at our FY...

...twenty marketing focus areas, and that came from our CMO, and we're always a fiscal year ahead. So I'm talking about a few years ago. Then we had our go to market approach, which was run by product marketing, which was informed by the marketing focus theories. To think of it like a funnel, as all demansion is, and then we had our digital focus. There is because I was in digital. So the idea here was like how do we piggyback off of the priorities of the business. Knowing that we have slightly different focus series. It's really important to separate those but figure out how they work together. So, as an example of that, the marketing focus areas were to market too through and with sales force, like how do we this was right when we were requiet's, like how do we work better with sales force? The second thing was simplifying the message. Meal stops a very complicated thing, and also working with stals for stales force is easy for people to understand. Their brandings like more approachable. Meal stops very enterprise. That was our customer. So how did we help people, especially it sales worth it but everywhere, understand what meal stuff was doing in that the value was whether or not you're the target buyer. And the third thing was be bold. I think we were always kind of like making sure we were. We continue to be politically correct, but like what do we say that like really helps people understands. But I think of like firefest, you know, with that orange box on Instagram, that like where people were like what is that? Or read it back to my favorite ad of all time. And then we had to go to market approach, which is really just our product marketing. So we had our business initiative led functions, we have our solution led, then we have our focus verticals and stuff like that. So those were all that was going to be, all the content that was going to be spun up by Product Marketing, and then then we did the demand jen focus areas. And now was actually really challenging because, like, truthfully, Nemo, was my boss, was very focus on numbers, and we've talked about that already, like we're going to drive this much pipe and this much revenue and this. That's not like how team get the line, but we're not like hey, guys, we're all hitting a billion dollars in revenue this year. Yeah, Ye, get to work. So that's a measure part of it. So what we actually had to do is sit down and I said, what is the vision for the year, which just be two mom but then also what are the themes? What are we trying to do separate everyone else from that? So that was actually was really interesting to come up with that, which was one prove meal selts ease of use, like how do we just simply demonstrate? and that could be through videos, that could be through anything, but that helped the whole digital marketing team at the time figure out, okay, cool, like I run social ads, like how can I do a different way of demonstrating? You'll, yeah, these abuse. The other thing that was interesting was establishing neutrality, because we are a separate brand. We kept mealsoftcom, we kept our logo and we have a lot of customers that were not sales force customers. Yuh. So how do we not scare them away? And our competitors were very quick to be like, Oh, like, you want to just be part of the sales force world, like Racian Cloud Al Bat, and so we had to make sure that we combat that in a way that, you know, across our digital channel. So I thought that was super cool he said that. And then product differentiation, so more product led messaging and ensuring that people really understand, like why we're different, and then targeting customer experiences. That was actually the first time that we were really like okay, cool, like how do we take all of our efforts to make sure customers continue to be happy with us? And and that wasn't just an email, that was across all of our channels. Yeah, all that being said, so took those initiatives we also did deep persona research right on top of that, because with sales force there were they have different buyers. So we were struggling with that a little bit to be like, okay, what value the sales force bring to us and what...

...value do we bring to sales forth and where we came together was actually this notion of like digital transformation, which everyone says, but sales force really wanted to target this notion of digital transformation and truthfully, mealsoft is the company that enables digital transformation. But sales force targets a very different buyer. They target the executives, they target the CEOS, the CFOs, the CMOS of the world. We target it. And so what's interesting was we came up with this campaign theme called business as a platforms idea of aligning business and it for the strategic value of Apis, and that was a really cool campaign that still is running to this day. So that's why I actually it's funny. We were like, Oh, we'll do core really campaign themes, but in reality they last four years. Yeah, and that's actually best practice. Is like a campaign should be running for a long period of time because by the time you like get adds up and everything else is going to take those down now. So yes, we came up with that campaign theme. Sorry, that was a very long answer. Well, no, it's super helpful because there's a couple things that jump out to me a based on that answer. Number one is you have NEMA or whomever WHO's setting a pipeline goal, but then to hear the breakdown of that into actionable sort of ideas, that in of itself is like an incredibly impressive feet like we're bedding on these three or four things to the themes or the campaigns that will eventually lead to these numerical goals, which either him or you don't I think that's such an interesting thing, about melding of, you know, numbers and creativity, which I would say to some extent, like that's what digital marketing is. Maybe I think that's right, but I would actually say that. So going back to the vt mom thing, and I sound like I'm selling that, but no, I want, I always did with my team, was I said vision, values, methods. Right. So when you're planning for a year ahead, a lot of people say, okay, we're going to do these big initiatives. Those are methods. That's fine, that's good, but what's the vision for next year? And so what I would do it I took more time on the vision and like words, smithing our vision for the year. What are we as a team trying to accomplish strategically? And my team would fight, not physically, even really, not verbally, but we would just like really every single word would get nitpicked right, like, I don't think we do that. And by even having that conversation at a high level, the fact that we were debating every single word shows that, like, we had like slight misalignment, and so you jump right into the projects. We don't even agree at the top level what we're trying to do next year. That's the problem. So that was the biggest lesson that I actually took away from sales force. was like, Get the vision straight, make it a couple sentences. Use that as your advertisement for what your team does. If people are like, Hey, what is life cycle marketing, I'd be like here you go, and then you do your values. What do we care about as a team? That's a little bit easier, right, nobody's fighting over the words. The visions really important. The values are like what do we care about? Five points maximum and and that's things like we want to be a good team, we want to work together, we want to help other people, we want to whatever those are, and then you go into methods. The methods become so much easier when you get that vision. Oh my goodness that that is so awesome. I love that because just get the idea of negotiating terms in the vision amongst your team and just understanding that in absent that the slight deviations in trajectory that can occur at scale if you don't have that sort of consensus, and that is like so cool. I'm like pumped about this. I've written down V to mom and certainly be researching more, but I love that as backdrop and context for what you've described so far. One...

...other point on that is I've also seen it done wrong where you say hey, team, here's the vision, give me feedback on it, and then it doesn't feel like the I think the idea of better teaming comes from everyone collaborating, which I know it's like a very democratic process, but I felt like the team was excited for the year ahead because they had a say in the vision, versus Hey, can you guys like proofread my vision? It looks like you're an editor on the vision instead of being a part of it, and that was something that actually what was just something that I found to be very helpful for my team and very empowering. I think that's just critical to the vision is get everyone aligned and don't just pitch it, have them work on it together. And that obviously doesn't work for every team, but that helped a lot with my team. That's that's that's amazing. So presenting me alsoft is the simple solution is something I heard. Is that their trajectory? That your campaign that you that you wanted to talk about today went or to tell me about? Yeah, yeah, that's right. I mean you know, at the end of the day, where it's always going to be about what you're selling. But it was softer. Business as a platform was broken into three categories and there's like the value of integration, where we did this reporting and this was like on it analyst, like why invested integration? What's the value that you get out of it? We had this other really cool track that content marketing was working alongside technical consultant Matt mcclardy, where it was API programs joining this notion of the API economy as part of a business strategy. How do you strategically build in Apis similar to bezos mandate, into your larger program strategy, and that really was those were events even that were bringing in an it person and the business executive and really mapping out, like, what is an API strategy work? For both of those people individually will not create the same value as the two of them working together. So that was something that we worked on. And then finally, the the third kind of pillar was the application that work. That's a term that we use a lot, which is how do you expose new capabilities as you build new projects? It's very it focus piece, but that's really the core to Mulesoft. The value is we are building, or you're building, a project and it's always going to scale because the next project you're not going to rebuild that old project, you're going to actually add to an existing project, because it's easily discoverable. So those are the three pillars. And then within those pillars there were the sounds so much more complicated than it was. It kind of was complicated actually in retrospect that within each of those pillers there's always a marquee asset. Okay, so there's one core asset that tells you what that entire program is. So for the value of integration, we had a white paper that was like how to articulate the value of integration. API programs was this Apia Strategy Essentials White Paper, and then application that work was this white paper on the hands on Guide's digital transformation. Then there were supporting horizontal assets that work for Cross vertical that work for and kind of like top to bottom of funnel. And some of these it's hard to just identify a Webinar or a white paper or report as this is top of funnel. But yeah, that's what we're trying to do. And what was cool about the business is a platform thing was you could start to understand where people's interests were, but it wasn't didn't have to be isolated. So if you were value integration didn't have to be a standard nership out that was like great, thanks for downing this white paper. Here's the next assorts, here's like a series of different things. Choose your own journey, but like all these things kind of work together. And then we had vertical assets as well. Specifically in the API programs piece. It was really important to you know industries operate very, very differently,...

...and I know that's an obvious statement, but especially within theegration, manufacturing is very different, retails being completely disrupted right now. APIS are critical to running e commerce effectively and especially in the past year. Like retail just has to step up their game. And mealsoft is, like immigration in general, is really important to that strategy. Same thing with like public sector, federal government, financial services. But they're completely different end points, completely different situations. So we really needed to hyper focus on those verticals. Question for you. So business is a platform to sort of primary personas, it sounds like on the item the business side, and so you talked earlier about targeting via Linkedin, I think in the conscious of syncreery. But where were you meeting your market in terms of channel and was it different strategies for the different personas? How did you think about that and and what it all that look like? Yeah, so good question. I think simple way I would think about this is just going back to what I said like way earlier, which was when we were doing our personal research. We had sales force, which does really well with these executives and the business on the business side and we do really well with it. So they're two different properties really. There's sales forstcom and mealsoftcom, and so we want to be really intentional about using those properties and targeting personas in a different way and hopefully helping them meet in the middle. So it was actually very complicated at first and now, in retrospect I do things a little bit different La. We wanted to drive the IT buyer to Mulsoft. If, ultimately, if a non technical buyer came to Mulesoftcom, yes, they'd get that one asset that they understood, but then they'd be in this like weird sales cycle that they I'm Wayne over my head, and they'd ultimately have to bring it. So it wasn't the best experience for them and we weren't optimizing for business executive because we just didn't have this ecosystem of marketing content for them and truly a sales process that could guide them along. They'd always have to be with it. So we wanted to go it first. They're what we did, though, was enable, and this was piggybacking off of the sales force campaign plays, which were like great, we have this content, we have these ideas, let's collaborate with you on a web and I let's put snippets of meal stuff where applicable in white papers. Let's run ads for these people alongside sales force, and so those two plays were running in tendon. That was a good way for us to like work with sales force better. But, like I said, it was definitely a little bit more complicated and, honestly, internally, a little bit confusing because people were like wait, so are we trying to like, how do we find them or whatever? To your point on advertising, though, so that was a plan that we were running also on top of this right, I would I talked about content. That's the hub of like how we capture engagement. But we ran whole creative process, which was fun for me because I never really got to kick off an official, full blow on creative campaign and get some like concepts and really think through how do we articulate this message and the way that makes sense without it being like a business is a platform to normal people wouldn't mean anything. So how do we communicate that through our creative I think what's interesting also is you think of the campaign theme and you feel like, okay, that's the campaign theme. Therefore I have to publicly announce it that way, but ultimately that's not how campaigns work. You can have different content that follow under different titles but under the same kind of creative branch. It's that makes sense for umbrella, not branch. So yes, we were running ads, you're running syndication, just like enabling the field to leverage this content and all of that was working together, also working with field marketing on events and partner marketing as well to roll out these. So the themes actually just helped keep more internal alignment as well. Okay, that's pretty cool and...

I'm also curious because clearly it sounds like there were some challenges and figuring out the right go to market and the right sort of approach given the stakeholders that are involved, given the association with Sales Force. But I'm curious. So I'm assuming those are things that work fairly well. It sounds like there's some things that you might do differently. What were some things that that definitely didn't work that might be relevant, just high level, like without getting into much detail. KPIS, I think we're tough, especially as you're getting started with campaigns. They think it seems a lot easier than it is. We used them multitouch attribution model and it was tough because I think for a lot of people who aren't for familiar with like digital marketing. One targeting is tough right, like even if we were to say, Hey, we want to target these specific people, like, ultimately that's not how the Internet works. People are going to search for different things. We're going to come up for that and you can target with paid advertising. You can't control the the whole world. And there's that on the targeting piece. The second is how do you measure performance in general? I think there's a lot of stuff that just is highly successful. From your stop. For example, there's a video what is made PA that's amazing. It's not necessarily the most technical. Is People that come in through that, but it is interesting to we don't just take that down because we have a new campaign up. There's things that live on the Internet forever and when you have a multi touch attribution model you have the benefit of I don't know if I would call it a benefit, that you do have. Basically, the sooner you launch something, the better it will perform by the end of the year. So if we're trying to roll things out over time. It's like okay, well, there's a lot of factors at play here. There is when is this launching? What else is in the mix? What just organically is driving demands by itself, whether or not we're putting dollars behind it or not? So how is this going to perform? So we're trying to figure all that out, especially at the multi touch attribution model was pretty difficult. And then you have things like events, which were running almost separately in its own attribution model. You have ads on top of that. So we really had to like real look at our entire reporting structure to figure out, okay, like how are all these things going to work and how do we identify what success looks like for every individual component of this campaign? So that was tough. Another like retrospective, is a learning at least. That I've found, is the best practice, as you really need the buy in from the very top, and and we had that to some degree, but it was almost it. At first. It was tree like pitch me some campaigns, let's run it, but you have all these activities that are still happening in the background and ultimately, I think we talked about this at the beginning, which is like corporate marketing needs to come up with a unified message that we can all get a line to. I shouldn't be pitching another message on top of what we're telling the whole world, because that's weird. It also just spins up unnecessary activities and integrated campaigns truly has to be integrated, and you also have got there, for sure, but it took us a minute to realize. Okay, integrated campaigns not like this separate function that is running around asking people what they're doing and try and ring it all together. It's really like a focus area. It's a team that kind of runs the play, but there's a lot of people that ensure and enable that to be successful. Absolutely. So that word Aligne and I think that's just something like I've learned art in our limited scale. Again, it's interesting for me to extrap late or project out sort of what that scenario looks like when you're working at a company the size of meal software up on my sales force. But even in our scale, like just having that alignment top to bottom, it's imperative, and so I can't imagine again these slight deviations the impact that they might have on your overall trajectory. So that's pretty incredible. But generally speaking, business is a platform. That sounds like a pretty catchy sort of thought and idea. Like, generally speaking, would you say that...

...it was successful? Tell me who sort of with our outcome? Api've exceeded all expectations. Yeah, it was cool. Like I said, I don't think public facing. It was not obvious to a visitor that business as a platform was the campaign right. That was more of the internal term and and the content that we were putting out there. It was hugely successful and it actually carried over into the next year when we ran another campaign, which brings you back to my point of you're competing with things that were previously successful. I continue to get engagement. They're still live on the website. It was hugely successful and actually really set the stage. Phra, this is how we do it moving forward. But even better, even more alignment, get corporate marketing involved at the beginning, make sure all the teams are really planning within this campaign umbrella rather than on the side, and also some campaign things and events to like event started folding under campaign themes, and I think that's where the branding perspective comes in. As well, like how do you say? Okay, the campaign theme is our big corporate event this year. That theme should carry over. We shouldn't have to be coming up with a new theme for the event this year. So there's some work to do from a branding perspective, but it was definitely a step in the right direction and the content we created was very thoughtful and it showed in the performance from engagement with the assets. Obviously we calculate that, but also multi touch attribution because, especially compared to any other asset that we had live like, those pieces of content jumped right up to the top for revenue. Honestly, I feel like I'm walking away from that with just even more questions, to be honestly, every book. You've been so generous with your time for part two. Yeah, yeah, honestly, because again, I just feel like such a novice when I talk to you, because there's just a ton of things that you've mentioned there that I just would need to dig into real understand. But I do appreciate you diving into that a little bit as we wrap up here. I just have calum like rapid fire type questions. So great, yeah, but they're marketing oriented, so don't get too nervous here. This is the one that's the top of my list year. What's one thing that growth marketers should stop doing that they're doing now or start doing that they're not doing yet? Okay, let me see. I'm trying to think of a short answers to that. I think it's just clean your data right, like focus, re Orient Yourself around the strategy and figure out what numbers you care about before you kick off any new initiatives. If you can go into it knowing what you're trying to measure, it's much easier than getting all that outcomes and then trying to extrapolate from that exactly. It's always fun when you can get the data tell the store whatever story you want it to after the fact. That's the partick away. Don't manipulate the data. Yeah, you mentioned Nema a bunch and again. I having worked him, I have my own perspective on him. But tell me, I want to know some other marketers perhaps that you look up to, that you pay attention to on Linkedin or you've read their books. Like for the audience, who should we talk to next to? Who should we read about? Who Do you go up to from a marketing standpoint. So it's a lot of people I look up to. NAM is like my number one, I think they hate to say my own team, but Nick Bong on Figulio from this now founder and C of Sink Carey, is amazing, and then Ross Mason, the founder of Mule Stoff, who is on the board of SINC cury as well. All just like incredible thought leaders in this space. And I think why I don't say I'm marketer specifically is because integrations a core part of the pain that we're all feeling and I think we're moving more and more toward like how do we get more personalized, how do we automate things? And I think if we don't start thinking technology first and really think about the future, they're everyone, whether you're a creative or you're an operation. Yep, then you're going to be behind. You're...

...going to feel that pain, whether it's today or three years from now. Absolutely. And then last one thought leaders got Gallowa. I don't know if you've ever listened to him or have read any of his books, but he is a professor and he is incredibly he is like really great insights about how technology companies work today and where they're successful, where they're not, his predictions for the future. He did a book that he released at the end of last year on Covid but I read in about a day. Probably left than a day, so I just eat up everything he's saying. That's awesome. I had not heard Scott's name before. Definitely thought cool. Thank you for that recommendation. I really appreciate how generous you've been with your time. I've been looking forward to this conversation again just to get a peek behind the curtains, and I think you've been more than gracious and showing US really appreciate having you on Aubrey. Yeah, thank you, Bobby. Thanks for listening to growth marketing camp. If you enjoyed this episode, we'd love it if you would give it a quick five star rating or share it with a friend or colleague looking to get a little more inspiration for their next campaign. If you want to learn more about the company behind the show, had to open sincecom. That's open, sken skecom. Will catch you on the next episode.

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