12 Apr TMA Recap: Building (or rebuilding) a Marketing Machine From the Ground Up
Yesterday morning, The Marketing Alliance (TMA) held its first event of 2016. If you’re like me and have never attended a TMA event before, here’s some background. The “hear from your peers” style event allows for great conversation and sharing of ideas between industry professionals. The events are well attended by some of the most innovative marketing leaders in DC tech.
This event featured Christine Schafer, a very creative and analytical marketer, and currently the CMO of ThreatConnect. In her current role, Christine is responsible for the global strategy and execution of all facets of marketing, leading the communications, demand generation and product marketing functions as well as marketing and sales operations.
During her presentation Christine discussed both her take on the “marketing machine” as well as her strategies for putting together and managing an effective team. As someone who is (relatively) new to the real world, I found it very interesting to hear about her methodology and thought processes for designing a functional marketing department.
According to Christine, there are several functions of an effective marketing machine and corresponding key performance indicators to track success. Here are three of the big ones:
First is demand generation, the main purpose of which is to get prospects to opt-in to a certain level of conversation. Through tactics like ads, content marketing, and events the demand generation “cog” is responsible for bringing in opt-in contacts and starting conversations.
Second is the differentiator. The differentiator’s job is to make the target audience realize that your offering is better, cooler, smarter, and generally more awesome than alternatives. Using strategies like YouTube demos, analyst relations, and engagement in LinkedIn groups, they will ultimately create a pipeline of content and increase the “opportunity to win” conversion rate.
Lastly, once you have customers or prospects on the hook, there should be a nurturing function responsible for keeping the relationship going. For software companies in particular, keeping people interested and invested isn’t easy. Christine shared that this burden shouldn’t just be on the customer success team, but should be a marketing function. Tactics like email automation, Facebook, in-app communications, and events should be used to drive metrics like increased renewal rates and customer maturity.
As you can probably tell, the importance of metrics was a constant throughout the discussion. A point that resonated with me as a PR pro, was that your metrics shouldn’t be the same as the metrics your colleagues or even direct competitors use to track success. It’s always important to clearly identify and measure KPIs based on unique goals.
After identifying key functions, Christine went into her strategies for constructing the team, stressing that it is one of the most important functions of a CMO’s job. When it comes to constructing the team, Christine believes that cohesion is king. To that end, CMOs should be sure to source several different opinions during the hiring process, consider not how employees work but how teams work together, and create an environment of transparency and reliability.
Once you have your team, the focus is management. Here are a few of Christine’s suggestions for keeping the machine running efficiently:
- Be methodical – Get in the habit of daily, weekly, quarterly (etc.) practices that keep you and your team invested and inspired.
- Keep a steady pace – We all know that calendars and workflows ebb and flow depending on the quarter. Plan ahead, but be flexible and constantly work on maintaining
- Software makes the world go round – Great tools exist today for management and measurement. Christine suggested Asana, Slack, and Google Drive for task management, and SimilarWeb and Google Analytics for marketing measurement.
If you ask me, the first TMA event of 2016 was a success! On behalf of SpeakerBox, we’d like to extend a big thank you to Christine Schafer and everyone who came out and participated in the event! We’re looking forward to seeing you at the next one.