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20 minutes | Dec 23, 2020
Building relationships in the world of e-commerce with Dan Daron from Searchspring
Dan Daron of Searchspring links an improved e-commerce customer experience directly to a company's bottom line. Merchandising and improved search solutions are important to this improved customer experience, whether the company is a retailer, brand, or B2B wholesaler or SAAS company. "If a customer can't find the products that they're looking for, you've basically lost them. They have, little to no attention span these days," says Dan. Calling on his experience at Searchspring and as an e-commerce and marketing consultant for 16 years, Dan provides tips on merchandising. He also discusses how Searchspring works with e-commerce teams to provide the tools and services to enable them to succeed. He describes how Searchspring is building relationships, becoming a thought leader in the e-commerce industry, and creating a community among e-marketers. He also gives hints about what the company's recent merger with Nextopia will mean for the industry. Highlights include: Improving your search engine is a quick way to improve your bottom line. Customizing product recommendations will drive both upsells and cross-sells, while simultaneously improving the customer experience. Searchspring gains customers through building relationships. It builds these relationships through a variety of channels including Sales Development Representatives, thought leadership, trade shows, media, and developing relationships within the tight-knit e-commerce community.
55 minutes | Dec 16, 2020
Why It’s Essential Marketers Think Smaller When It Comes to Creativity with Jay Acunzo
As a marketer and a creator, you know creativity is essential in this industry. But what you might not know: You could be thinking about creativity all wrong. Now, that sounds a little oxymoronic. Isn’t creativity all about not having boundaries? Thinking big? Creating that “wow, genius” viral moment? Jay Acunzo begs to differ. The award-winning podcast host, global keynote speaker, and author firmly believes creativity is less about coming up with sporadic, disruptive ideas and is instead something that should occur consistently on a more micro level. Spoiler: Putting processes in place to help you harness your creativity is key. Jay has worked for some major tech companies, including Google and Hubspot, and he’s had a hand in helping grow startups, like Dailybreak Media and Boston Content. Now he’s doing his own thing at Marketing Showrunners, where he helps marketers from brands like Red Bull, BBC, Adobe and The New York Times best serve their audiences. On a recent episode of Tech Qualified, Jay explains how he’s rethinking creativity — plus the essential role creativity plays in marketing.
37 minutes | Dec 10, 2020
Ask for forgiveness not permission with Stephanie Cox of Lumavate
Stephanie Cox, VP, Sales and Marketing at Lumavate talks with Tristan Pillegrino about her journey as a marketer. She reflects on the challenges of making her opinions and ideas heard earlier in her career. She recounts her progress along a path of personal growth from that early career experience, which led to her ultimate adoption of a professional philosophy grounded in proactively tackling problems independently, without permission. Stephanie reflects on her former sense of relentless determination to achieve perfection on all projects, and the problem with striving to maintain that personal standard over time, especially in terms of the trade-off of speed and quality. She discusses the evolution of her mindset from commitment to incessant pursuit of perfection in outcomes to a principle of iterative stages of development. Stephanie compares the objectives of achieving top quality and providing rapid results and talks about how the switch to focus on incremental improvement through processes of iteration has transformed her project management and team leadership methodologies.
31 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Kicking Podcasting Into High Gear with Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema has spent her career in marketing, usually on branded content and improving customer experiences. She wanted to broaden her reach and explored using audio content as a content marketing strategy. However, in her previous role at a technology company, she found that the technology for marketing with the spoken word was pretty deficient. While many pieces of the puzzle existed for podcasting, nothing existed to pull all the pieces together. Lindsay wanted to create a new way of using the podcast as part of a content marketing strategy. Thus, Casted was born.
40 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Optimizing the customer experience with Aashish Dhamdhere of
According to Aashish Dhamdhere, the VP of Marketing at Skilljar, optimizing customer experience is at the core of every marketer's goal. Any interaction should add value to the company. Companies need to have a clear sense of their brand projections to ensure that they give customers the right impressions. Aashish Dhamdhere emphasizes that the number one driver of business decisions is how customers respond and interact with the products. A close second is the support and education provided by the company to the customers. Deliver content in a variety of formats. The goal is to find what works for the company. Options include webinars, question and answer sessions, and conferences. Marketers must put themselves in the mind of the customer. What type of experience is the company providing to the customer? Along with being particular about the content offered by the company, how is the content being delivered? Websites need easy navigation with user-friendly designs. Building and nurturing connections is also an essential facet of marketing. The more interactions, the more likely that trust levels improve between customers and the company. Sales and marketing departments need the same goals, which boils down to pipeline. The pipeline for sales and marketing is always the same. Aashish Dhamdhere stresses how his goal is to pipeline everything up. Sources of lead generation are less important than securing the high numbers, no matter what channel used. Collect data, but collect the right data to make high-value decisions. To achieve this, focus on designing a reliable data infrastructure.
31 minutes | Nov 17, 2020
How to grow your company by focusing on its strengths with Nathan Bliss of Kinsta
Nathan Bliss is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Kinsta, a WordPress hosting platform that knows what it does well and continues to get better at it. “We don't bend a lot on where we feel we fit in,” Nathan says. “It’s kind of like why you can't Google a discount code for a Tesla. The price is the price. So that may sound a bit standoffish, but we ultimately feel that we want to provide that level of value.” Nathan’s previous roles include everything from account executive and solutions specialist to sales coach and regional sales manager, so he calls himself a sales and revenue guy “through and through.” That background gives him a unique approach to his current position as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, in which he combines his passion for recruiting top-tier employees with his knowledge of what strengths a company should emphasize from a selling standpoint. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Nathan discusses how to move from a broad to a more targeted marketing approach, why it’s possible for a bootstrapped company to grow with the right marketing and the aspect of management he’s currently struggling with the most: delegating. “We are not institutionally backed and we have no institutional financing,” Nathan says. “So we had to use very scrappy, time-tested methods to grow the business from its historic past. And now if you go to Google and you search a term anywhere related to WordPress or building a website that kind of falls anywhere on that spectrum of interest, it's hard not to find a search result [for us] on page one of Google.”
26 minutes | Nov 14, 2020
Leveraging inbound marketing to drive quality leads with Amy King of Zaloni
Amy King’s path into marketing was a little unconventional. She got her master's in art history, and along the way, discovered it was really about critical thinking. This ultimately led her to product marketing for ad tech and software companies. Amy is now the VP of Marketing at Zaloni, a data management and operations software company that helps customers streamline their data ecosystem by making it run faster, better and at a lower cost. Amy has a multi-channel marketing approach, relying on inbound marketing to get to know Zaloni’s customers and ensure her team is attracting quality leads. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Amy talks about how marketing at Zaloni evolved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how inbound marketing became its most valuable source of leads. She also shares about the highly personalized and long sales cycle its prospects go through, using a mix of different content types, in order to get them from the marginally interested phase to wanting a demo.
28 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
Qualifying MQLs the Right Way With Lindsay Duran of Zilliant
From product marketing to corporate comms to sales, Lindsay Duran has finally settled down in marketing. As the CMO at Zilliant, a B2B data science and software company that assists large organizations with sales and pricing, Lindsay helps companies reimagine their approach to commercial decisions. Her experience in different business areas only helped her grow as a marketer, allowing her to fully understand the sales cycle and what “qualified'' really stands for with MQLs. "Moving a prospective customer down the path to becoming an actual customer is really about taking the time to understand a company's business … and helping them see how this is actually going to improve their employees' productivity, decision making and their overall business performance," Lindsay says. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Lindsay talks about her focus on finding highly converting MQLs and the in-depth content strategies she uses to provide value to customers in every industry. She also shares how she warms up prospects to the idea of overhauling a large portion of their business and what it takes to be a successful marketer.
30 minutes | Nov 5, 2020
Building a SaaS Marketing Team From Scratch With Michael McCunney of Revenue Analytics
When Michael joined Revenue Analytics as its Vice President of Marketing more than two years ago, he was a one-man team. Since then, he’s built out a small team of talented marketers, executed a complete brand refresh and solidified the company’s marketing strategy. Over time, Michael has found that rather than investing in sales and business development reps, content prevails. People don’t want to be told what their problem is; they want to discover it for themselves, and content allows them to do just that. “I like to tell our team when we’re creating something, pretend it’s for your brother-in-law or sister-in-law, someone you’re genuinely trying to help — not someone you’re trying to sell,” Michael says. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Michael talks about his trials and tribulations when building out the Revenue Analytics marketing team, and he explains what he’s learned along the way. He also shares how his team has weathered 2020 and what he’s doing to best support them (and himself) during these trying times.
21 minutes | Nov 4, 2020
Successful Lead Gen Tactics and Cultivating Thought Leadership With Crystal McFerran of The 20
Crystal always had a passion for marketing and knew that's where she wanted her career to take her. After working at Hewlett Packard and starting two of her own companies, Crystal helped conceptualize The 20 — a marketing agency for managed service providers (MSPs) that helps with lead gen, sales and scaling their businesses. The name is derived from the 80/20 rule, "as our intention is to dominate the top 20% of the IT industry," Crystal says. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Crystal dives into how she approaches lead gen for a service that requires customers to make major changes within their business and how she cultivates thought leadership at The 20. She also shares what her most successful marketing campaigns are and what it takes to be a successful B2B tech marketer.
22 minutes | Nov 3, 2020
Breaking Through the Noise While Building a Brand with Amber Herndon of Signal Insights
Amber Herndon wears many hats. Whether she's sitting in on sales calls, managing new clients, or brainstorming content strategy, Amber is always laser-focused on driving leads and building an engaging brand. While she's living the typical startup life and wearing many hats in her role, her official title is Director of Marketing and Client Success at Signal Insights — a customized "daily digest" platform that delivers news, updates, and content trends on competitors and key accounts. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Amber talks about how you can transform discussions with prospects and clients into valuable marketing material, what she did to break through the noise of countless other B2B Martech platforms, and why you should always ask for forgiveness instead of permission.
40 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
Owning the Conversation Around Data With Spencer Connell and AJ Yager of Praxis Metrics
At business intelligence agency Praxis Metrics, AJ Yager and his team harness the power of data to help e-commerce companies grow. The agency evolved from an offering AJ launched within his marketing agency Yager Media Group. Referrals have been huge for expanding Praxis’ business in the early days — and AJ found a lot of success by being a guest on podcasts hosted by people in his network. The agency grew around 400% in 2019, which he attributes largely to being a guest on five to seven podcasts that got him in front of the right audiences. With the help of Praxis’ Marketing Director Spencer Connell, the agency has increased inbound leads through an expanded content library. Once a lead is in the funnel, they go through the nurture sequence with the goal of getting them on a sales call. “All we're trying to do is get people from understanding what Praxis does, get them excited about what Praxis does, and then get them on a call. That's our marketing ideology,” he explains. On this episode of Tech Qualified, host Justin Brown talks to the duo about their latest content strategies, which includes the launch of a new podcast and videocast series of their own as well as a potential book. “Now what we're doing is saying we want to own this conversation around data. We're going to simplify the complicated subject of data,” AJ says.
34 minutes | Oct 27, 2020
Storytelling for a Global B2B Brand With Aaron Stillman of AB Tasty
Unlike most SaaS professionals, Aaron Stillman didn’t end up in software because it was a longtime passion. Instead, he wanted to drastically increase his fresh croissant intake. In other words, he saw his first SaaS job as an opportunity to live in Paris while developing his product management — and eventually marketing — abilities. That first role kept him in the global market, where he now works for international customer experience optimization platform AB Tasty as its “director of storytelling” — or, as some prefer to call it, director of product marketing. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Aaron discusses the importance of using a multitude of marketing tools to reach customers and why it’s vital to pay attention to which tools are most appropriate for a particular moment in time. Currently, the tool he finds most effective is video. “Video’s really a first-class citizen for us,” Aaron says. “I want to make sure that our story gets across in a video in a way that will have that human impact when somebody watches it. When people log in to use our platform and ... create a personalization campaign, they'll receive a video helping them understand the key value propositions and the how-tos of using the product.”
27 minutes | Oct 23, 2020
Why a Strong Partnership With Sales Should Be at the Top of Your To-Do List With Mary Ford of CENTEGIX
Half a year doesn’t seem like much time to take a marketing department from idling to racing ahead, but Mary Ford moves fast. Mary recently became the Chief Marketing Officer of CENTEGIX, an internet of things (IoT) company making emergency alert software. Its main clients are K-12 schools and hotels. School safety is a potentially heavy subject, but Mary focuses on the positives of what CENTEGIX’s product can do. “My job as a marketer is to help people understand the day-to-day value the solution brings to those who feel more protected because they're empowered to get help when they need it,” she says. Although Mary only joined this year, she’s been busy improving CENTEGIX’s brand awareness and profile. When she first came onboard, the company had a website — and not much else. “We needed to build some basic marketing competencies and fundamentals,” Mary says. Under her watch, the CENTEGIX marketing team launched a social media program and started producing white papers and email campaigns, improving internal communications (especially with sales) and hosting webinars. Fortunately, working at four startups in the past has given Mary a taste for juggling lots of projects at once. “I like to build things, and it's fun to see how our marketing function has evolved over the past six months.”
28 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
Multi-Touch Marketing Attribution & How to Go Beyond Just Meeting Lead Goals With Michelle Tilton of Infutor
Michelle Tilton fell in love with B2B marketing while working at a small boutique agency after college. It wasn't the "glamorous B2C space" everyone else wanted to get into, but something pulled her in and she's been in the B2B world ever since. Now, Michelle works as the VP of Marketing at Infutor, a data solutions company that helps its clients better understand their customers through data. Michelle uses a multi-channel, multi-touch marketing approach to drive demand and integrates processes between marketing and sales to ensure a consistent, high-quality lead flow. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Michelle talks about how Infutor nurtures different MQLs and the seamless handoff between its sales and marketing teams. She also shares about how she properly attributes lead data and the ways each team in her company works toward obtaining highly qualified leads and closing a higher percentage of sales.
34 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
How to Build Authentic Partnerships With Clients With Laura Scruggs of Mindgrub
Laura Scruggs attributes her company's "astronomical growth" to a strong alignment between sales and marketing. As the Director of Marketing at Mindgrub, a full-service digital marketing agency that focuses on tech companies, Laura tailors both Mindgrub’s and its affiliate companies’ marketing strategies to the changing needs of the B2B world. In a time when marketing budgets are slashed each quarter and most businesses are just trying to stay afloat, it’s not easy to stay relevant. "That window of relevance got so much smaller once the crisis hit because there are so many industries who are in absolute crisis right now,” Laura says. “If you're trying to approach them with a sales-forward message, they're not going to be receptive to that," On this episode of Tech Qualified, Laura details Mindgrub's successful marketing strategies, which include segmented advertising and creating content for every part of the sales funnel. She also shares about the importance of building authentic partnerships with clients instead of seeing them solely as a source of revenue.
36 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
Changing Your Messaging Based on Customer Feedback With AnnaMaria Turano of Synzi
AnnaMaria Turano is Vice President of Marketing at Synzi, a company that was facilitating telehealth services before it was cool — or, rather, before it became an overwhelming necessity because of COVID-19. “In late 2017, entering 2018, we figured out Synzi was the right name, the right brand. And then we determined the look and feel of what that brand identity should be, including the colors, including the font, etc., to be markedly different from everyone else in the telehealth space,” AnnaMaria says. “We saw ourselves as having been a pioneer of bringing forth a different type of solution and a different way of thinking about how that solution would actually work in a provider organization.” Because Synzi started using the term “virtual care” before other telehealth providers, AnnaMaria and her marketing team knew it was important to establish the company’s unique identity. On this episode of Tech Qualified, AnnaMaria discusses marketing’s role in making a company stand out, the importance of maintaining customer relationships (and adapting based on their changing needs), and how helpful it is to think of varying marketing objectives as working hand-in-hand rather than achieving separate things. “We've got all these things we're doing at once. They're all important. They all feed into each other, and there is no reason to just put one aside versus the other,” she says. “You can't drive lead gen without strengthening brand awareness, and at the same time … you're going to have to enable sales and make sure that your sales force has the right tools they need to close the deals, but also the right tools they need to get the customer started.”
29 minutes | Oct 15, 2020
How to Build a Content Library as a One-Person Marketing Team with Heather Knutson of Ascent360
Heather Knutson is a seasoned marketer who has spent the last eight years in the housing industry space and data market. In the beginning of 2020, she took a new role as VP of Marketing at Ascent360, a computer software company that supports B2C marketers with its comprehensive customer data platform. On this episode of Tech Qualified with Justin Brown, Heather explains her marketing philosophies and how she strives to keep Ascent360’s marketing strategy fully aligned with its sales team. She also shares her love for thought leadership and why it’s a big “vein” in her marketing strategy. “I'm big into having good thought leadership where ... you don't want to give everything away — but you want to give enough information that you pique interest,” she says. Heather goes on to discuss building a library of content that she can use to repurpose across the industries that Ascent360 works with. The library helps her set processes in place, reuse good content from platform to platform and better align with the sales team as they go after customers in the pipeline.
34 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
Why Showing Clients Your Human Side Beats a Hard Sell With Cassidy Shield of Narrative Science
Knowing when to play it cool and let the customer come to you can work better than a hard sell. As VP of Marketing at Narrative Science, Cassidy Shield has learned that the most effective approach for drawing customers to the company’s product is by showcasing its abilities and the brand’s values. What exactly does Narrative Science do? The brand calls itself a “data storytelling company” — its software Lexio transforms analytics data into plain language stories that people can easily understand and use without a degree in data science. Cassidy says it takes a special type of customer to understand the product’s value. “They're not afraid to make a decision that's against the norm,” he says. “We're looking for early adopters of technology.” On this episode of Tech Qualified, Cassidy explains how he’s restructured and reinvigorated Narrative Science’s marketing team since joining 18 months ago, and why a subtle marketing approach works for the brand. “It's been largely that strategy of building content we feel is valuable and providing experiences, and putting our people first so we’re seen as humans, which is critical to establishing that trust and relationship. People then get comfortable taking the next step, which is, ‘How can you help me?’”
29 minutes | Oct 9, 2020
Building Long-Term Customers through the Lens of a Sales Team with Andy Jonak of Vicom
With almost 30 years of experience in the IT field, the majority of which was spent in sales, Andy Jonak isn’t your average marketer. As Director of Marketing at Vicom, an IT solutions provider that services enterprise firms, Andy approaches everything in his work with the perspective of the sales team in mind. To strengthen Vicom’s thought leadership and expertise, Andy leverages data from internal subject matter experts and members of the sales team to give customers exactly what they're looking for. After all, he points out, “They’re talking to the customers on the front lines, talking to our customers and our prospects each and every day.” It’s thanks to these experts that Andy’s team can produce quality content across Vicom’s digital marketing channels — but that's only one piece of the company’s overarching marketing strategy. On this episode of Tech Qualified, Andy talks about how he approaches marketing in a highly competitive B2B market where differentiating factors can be few and far between. Andy also shares why he sees telemarketing as the "unsung hero" of marketing, how he nurtures prospects into loyal customers and the unique insights he leverages to establish Vicom as an expert in the IT space.
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