Every year since 2013 Bowery Capital has hosted a set of summits focused on the only thing that matters to the success of pretty much any company: revenue. As folks that read our blog know, this is the only area of focus for our firm after making investments and the Acceleration Team spends each and every day helping our companies in this regard. At these summits, we combine our portfolio companies, close friends, advisors, and speakers for a day of learning and growth. We have molded this product a bunch through the years and today do four events annually (Marketing, Sales, HR & Talent, Ops & Finance). Last week, we hosted over 100 SaaS marketers in San Francisco for our first summit of the year. What follows are four tactical learnings from our marketing summit this year.
1. Your Brand Is When Your Promise To Customers Meets Expectations. Bennet Porter, former SVP of Marketing at SurveyMonkey and Cory Treffileti, CMO at Voicera, shared thoughts on what exactly the definition of a brand is, how to build it, and how to measure your efforts. Some of the best insights were around the fact that building your brand does not always fall under marketing. Tactical ideas were outlined around creating messaging and frameworks internally that flow through to how team members build your product, sell, or recruit new team members. The speakers were eager to highlight that these are also efforts that are an extension of your brand. In short, not always thinking of your brand as a true function of marketing was one of the tactical learnings from our marketing summit.
2. Conflating Top-Of-Funnel & Bottom-Of-Funnel Metrics Creates Challenges. The group also elaborated on metrics, with Andrew Oddo, Director of Growth at Bowery Capital, moderating and leading with the fact that “Sometimes it’s detrimental to measure a top of funnel brand awareness effort with a bottom of funnel direct response metric.” As marketers, you can’t always ask “How much money did we make directly off that branded campaign?” The smartest marketers will create separate metrics for parts of the funnel and link them together. This allows marketers to ask things like, “Did we get more inbound leads this month?” or “Are more people applying to our company without us engaging first?” and subsequently ask, “Did we make more money this quarter from those inbound leads?” and “Did our NPS score go up considerably?”. The latter two questions are linked more closely to the bottom of the funnel and are more heavily affected by sales and customer success, while the former two are more often a direct result of brand awareness and marketing at the top of the funnel.
3. Be a Flexible “CM-No”. CMOs are sometimes referred to as “CM-No’s” because much of their role is focused on being exceptionally data driven to determine money-in and money-out. Jen Grant, CMO of Looker, told a story about when she was with Box as their SVP of Marketing in the early days and her 22 year old CEO came running into a meeting announcing that they were going to buy a billboard on the 101. She recalled initially being completely shocked and generally averse to the idea because there would be no way to track metrics around leads generated by the billboard and this was not being done by any successful software companies at the time. She eventually agreed though and it ended up being a huge success. This concept of being open to new marketing tactics was reiterated later by Maria Pergolino, CMO of Anaplan. “Be flexible, just because you come to an organization with a great playbook from your last big success, doesn’t mean it will work in the same way at your new company.” Understanding where to hold your ground while also being open to new ideas was a key take-away from the day.
4. Layer SDRs Under The Marketing Organization. One of the more novel tactical learnings from our marketing summit was thinking harder about SDRs and where they sit in your organization. Most B2B business have their SDRs (sales development reps) rolling up to the sales department. Matt Amundson, VP Marketing at EverString, and Tara Ryan, former CMO at Coupa, discussed the importance of having your SDR team roll up to Marketing since they’re your first line when fielding inbound and speaking to potential customers. By having them under the marketing umbrella, they are able to work closely with product and the feedback and communication loop stays more streamlined.
While there was a ton of content shared throughout the day, these were some of the biggest tactical learnings from our marketing summit.
If you liked “Tactical Learnings From Our Marketing Summit” and want to read more content from the Bowery Capital Team, check out other relevant posts from the Bowery Capital Blog.