The Great Marketing Reset How Marketers Can Thrive in Today’s Digital World

Kate Adams, VP of Marketing @ Drift

Sales & Marketing Stage
Ascent Conference 2020

[00:00:03] Awesome. Hey, everyone, welcome to the Great Marketing Reset, How Marketers Can Thrive in today’s digital world. My name’s Kate Adams and the VP of Marketing here adrift. I’m focused on demand, Jen, and I’m happy to connect with all of you or as many of you. You can find me here on LinkedIn, Kate Adams and Kate Adams, two for on Twitter. I would love to connect and continue the conversation there as well.

[00:00:31] So let’s get into it. What are we going to cover today as it relates to the great marketing reset that we’re all under? So we’re going to go over real quick, where we’ve been, where we are and where we want to be. We’re going to talk about how you can rethink your pipeline and marketing strategy, how you can turn virtual events into your secret weapon, how you can do more with your marketing offers, and how you can get close with customers and bridge the communication gap. And then finally talk about aligning and empowering your team around new initiatives. So let’s talk about where we’ve been, where we are and where we want to be. So we created this framework here adrift to start to think about exactly where we’ve been over these last six, seven months. And really we’ve gone from survive phase, which was when we moved everybody home and everybody had to get acclimated to working from home and adjust their schedules to deal with all that they may have been dealing with on a personal basis. Right. And then we went into revise, and that’s where it was like, OK, we’ve got we’ve got to adjust our messaging, make sure that everything’s not coming across as if we’re tone deaf. And then, of course, we had all of the in-person events that were no longer available to us as marketers. Right from there, we move into analyze where you really I think and and this is this phase, I think I mean, each and every single day, because the data is constantly evolving for us. But really listening to what that data is telling you about new personas, new industries, new use cases that you may have never solved before. Right. And then, of course, moved in to pivot where we can really action what the data is telling us, really creating and crafting that messaging that really resonates for people. And then also, of course, understanding as we’re pivoting which of those new channels that we’re pivoting to are working. And then we moved in to innovate and adjust. And this is really a cyclical and I’d say this is really, really where many of us are today, which is where we’re identifying new channels, identifying new tactics, identifying what investments and innovations we can make now. And as we’re innovating, how are we adjusting on those new innovations? How are we learning deeply about all of the innovations that we’re trying throughout that process? And so and also, how can we then deploy the learnings that we’re that we’re learning in one channel to all of the channels additionally? And then finally, where I hope we all get to is thrive and accelerate. You’re adrift.

[00:03:08] We’ve just finished a fantastic quarter. And it’s it’s so exciting to be in this phase, this drive and accelerate phase. But I know that we’re quickly going back into analyze, pivot, innovate and adjust. And really, it’s that cycle that we’ve been running over and over again. Right.

[00:03:25] And so but one thing is definitely for sure, we can’t go back to business as usual. So where are we really going from here? So let’s talk about how you can rethink your pipeline and marketing strategy overall. So I’m not sure if you’ve seen it, but Twilio published a report about a month ago there, covid-19 digital engagement report. And one of the things that they found in that report, so they surveyed two five hundred enterprise companies, the marketers within those companies, and they asked them, how has covid-19 sped up your digital transformation? And resoundingly, all of those companies came back and said that it has spread, that they have experienced acceleration in six months of what they would actually have seen over a six year period. So just take a step back, all of us, and let’s all just take a deep breath here. Right, because all of us have just lived through 12 months within each of the months that we’ve been living in this new reality. Right. This new normal, if you Will Forrester and Gartner are estimating it. This is about eight and 10 years different. So regardless whether you go six, eight or 10, we’ve all been through an incredible. Fast paced transformation here and so what does that really mean as it relates to how you’re going to really think, rethink your end to end digital experience? Well, for many marketers, it’s meant making digital is seamless and as convenient as real time conversations. And so if you think about if you think back to our traditional B2B ad flow or even just lead generation flow. Right. What happens? Well, we’re running advertisements. Those advertisements are pretty generic. They go into different landing pages that are also pretty generic. Right. And so it’s this law of this law of minimal conversion rates that’s actually driving people to that page. And when they get there, they’re getting the same experience as everyone else is and they’re getting greeted by that form. Right. And I’ve seen forms as long as 12, 16 fields long. Right. And so you finally get some of those people who have amazing patience to go fill out that form and give you all of their information. And then as marketers, we send them a thank you email and then we route them through our CRM customer relationship management platforms, route them through our marketing automation platforms. And what’s happening on the consumer side, I’ll tell you, they’re sitting there twiddling their thumbs, waiting for somebody to actually get back to them because it was maybe days or weeks ago when they initially filled out that form to now and then finally, a sales rep or a business development rep comes back and and and gets back to them.

[00:06:27] Right. And response to that inquiry.

[00:06:30] That’s just not good enough. Think about the experiences that we’re having as consumers today, right? I can I can pick up my phone here. I can with two clicks in the Amazon app. I can order anything and have it at my door front in 48 hours or less. Right. In the case of groceries, in hours, I can pick up my TV remote and have access to millions of different programing options for me. All that are perfectly customized to me based on my past behavior. Right. And these are the B2C experiences that I have, the consumer experiences that I have. But yet when we’re in a B2B paradigm, we think that that that the expectations change. And I’m here to tell you they have changed, but they have changed in that people expect real time experiences. They expect you to get back to them as quickly as possible. They expect an immediate response.

[00:07:31] They expect a personalized experience based on who they are and what you know about them, because they know that you’re capturing all that data. Right. And so using being able to introduce a better path to value for buyers and for customers, which means how are you creating an engaging experience once I engage in that experience, how are you recommending the right thing to me? And then how are you exhibiting that? You understand who I am and what I did and that you can help me solve my problems. Right. And so from a conversational ad flow, you can start to think about how are you personalizing those ads based on all of the different data points that you know about these people that you’re advertising to? And when you and when they get to your landing page, how are you creating an engaging experience that shows these people that you know who they are, that shows that these people that you have, that you can help them solve their problems. And then in that instance, how are you able to start conversations right away? And so the other thing that you need to think about, we’ve talked about advertising, but how are you really investing in the right channels for you? How are you adapting and meeting the buyers where and customers where they are today? And I’ll tell you right now, I know all of us know this, but customers and buyers are online today more than they have ever, ever been before. Right. And so we’re all doubling down on digital marketing that can reduce friction and streamline that experience. And so really, what does that mean for us? We’ve got some examples here where we’re running different webinar experiences because people are webinar experiences and webinar series because people are hungry for education right now. So many people I know, we’ve all seen it right. Friends that are learning new languages, friends that are taking their fitness game to the next level. If anything, this gift of time that we have all received as we’ve been from been working from home. And when I talk about time, I’m talking about you’ve saved in commuting time, you saved. Maybe you’ve gotten more efficient in your day. Right. And now what are you doing with all of that time? And here’s an example about where we are launching extraordinarily personalized ads, which is drive conversations on your homepage from your house. Right. And we’re launching these to marketers who really are thinking about their website experience. Right. Personalizing it based on these are Web marketers, digital marketers that we’re hitting up with these ads. And when they get to the landing page, we show them that they that we know who they are. Not only do you need to think about the channels, right. And then you need to, of course, as you’re launching those channels, then go back and iterate on those channels and say, OK, this one is a loser, but this one is a winner. How do we double down? How do we take the investment from the loser channel and put it into the winning channel? How do we expand our breath in those winning channels? But not only that, but we need to think about messaging. Right. And I know so many of us quickly pivoted all of our messaging and we started every email with we hope that this email finds you safe and that your family as well and that everybody’s healthy. Right. But as time has gone on, we’ve needed to pivot even more around that. Right. It now is, of course, we want you to be safe and healthy. Of course we want that. But how do you make it super relevant to me? I don’t want that throw a throwaway line in any of our messaging anymore. And not only that, but I need to make sure that my messaging lines on both the marketing and the sales side. Right. And so when covid initially hit, we did an initial message sleep. And then after that we looked at that messaging and said, OK, it’s starting it’s starting to decline. So we need to go revise that messaging again in order to improve it more. And so we started thinking about, OK. What are marketers thinking about right now? They’re thinking about digital marketing. OK, we’ve got to really embed that in there, right?

[00:11:36] We’ve got to embed that into our messaging. And then lastly, of course, I’ve talked a lot about it in terms of understanding, investing in the right channels, understanding the data as it relates to how your message is resonating, but, of course, making data driven decisions to optimize experiences that you have so understanding. This is some real data from our own platform internally. Right. That shows that we’ve seen a 57 percent increase in opportunities from newly interested segments from March until May. And so what do we mean by that newly interested segments that for us as marketers, we saw health care companies coming in. We saw education companies coming in, we saw real estate companies coming to us. We were solving problems for these industries that we had never solved before. And why? Because so many of those industries experience experiences where in-person and they had to quickly transform those experiences to digital. And so it was incredibly important that we were able that we were able to identify these new problems. We’ve got to dig into this. We’ve got to listen to these calls here. What’s keeping these people up at night here? How we can identify key use cases that we can help them solve.

[00:12:54] The next part is getting into virtual events and turning them into your secret weapon. And this is certainly been one of our secret weapons over here over the last six months. And how we think about that is that when, you know, March 15th hit, it seemed like my inbox. I know many of you did, too. Was was a flurry of cancelation notifications. Right. It was either canceled or is going to go digital or it was. Hey, just hold on. We have no idea what’s going on. But you’re not getting on a flight, that’s for sure. And so one of the things that we did after we had a little bit of a pity party for ourselves about the loss of all that pipeline that we expected to come in, was that we really identified.

[00:13:38] Hey, look, if we’re having this problem, all of the other vendors in our ecosystem are having this problem. But even more than the vendors, guess what? All of those conferences that all of those people thought that they were going to attend, that we all sponsored, it left an education gap in the market. So many marketers were thinking about how they were going to use that event to get better at their game. Right. That they were going to use that event as an educational opportunity for themselves. And so not only did we lose out on the sponsorship opportunities, but really what we lost out on was a massive educational opportunity. And not only did we lose out on that educational opportunity, but we lost out on it at a time when everybody needed to learn from one another. And so we were able to send out an email to twenty nine different partners within our own ecosystem and said, hey, how can we all come together just around our community to put on a free two day educational event to just surround and give to this community? Right. And so in within eight hours, I had 25 responses back from those partners, all coming back and saying we’re in. We don’t know what this is yet, but we’ll figure it out together and we’re in. And being able to work with those partners led us to have the single biggest event we have ever hosted as a company because we we did what was right and we brought that ecosystem, all those ecosystem players together to surround our community and provide value, which was amazing. Right? Not only that, but we also are making the event registration process and the promotion process seamless. Right. And so we’ve really thought long and hard about how can we remove barriers to entry to increase registrations by using chat. And we’ve advised so many of our customers to do this. Again, this is a brand new use case for Dreft. We really didn’t have many customers thinking about using chat as a tool to register for four events, whether they were in-person or virtual before. But we were listening to the needs of our customers, listening to how they were pivoting on their strategy and what we saw as they were able to increase their conversions by 10 percent when they used a more engaging experience to register for that program. Right. And this is just with a few clicks, you’re able to register, save your spot and add it to your calendar in a way that is far more engaging than a form in a confirmation email. Not only that, but we’ve really and this we are actively doing this the entire time, but we have been reinventing that virtual event experience and reinventing the follow up plan to that experience. So what does that mean? So it meant that you can see here that we brought in a D.J. to our events. We don’t just want a bunch of talking heads day over day. We brought a deejay that during the breaks people could listen to and and have fun. We brought in a yoga instructor to our events so that during the break people could rejuvenate themselves and get their bodies moving the entire time. And we’re constantly reinventing this along the way. Right now, I’m pushing the team to think about how do we I know that there’s a ton of Zoome fatigue out there right now and that even though you might have the best of intentions for signing up and attending live, that schedules just aren’t you can’t be in two rooms at once, that’s for sure. Right. And so we’re rethinking that On-Demand experience. Great. How do we take what’s happening live and make it more digestible? How do we do 15 minute short segments that people can watch throughout the throughout the entire time? How are we playing with the timing of our events and our webinars? Right. How are we moving them to lunch and learn sessions or even virtual events as it relates to grab a beer and learn at five o’clock or four o’clock or whatever time? But we’re constantly trying to really pivot here and learn because as time is going on, the changes are endless. Right? People didn’t have Zoome fatigue five months ago. They now do. Right. People didn’t have virtual event fatigue five months ago. Now that’s a reality. And so we’ve had we have to constantly pivot, reinvent, think about what’s driving not only educational experiences, but entertaining experiences.

[00:18:12] How are you entertaining people all along the way?

[00:18:14] And our last event, we had the director from Hamilton come on and talk about he how he brought Hamilton Hamilton to a virtual experience on Disney. Plus, we had Rainn Wilson come on and talk about how he’s thinking about the work he’s doing at Soul Pancake and reinventing that. Right. And not only that, but, of course, you need to have strong nurture track. So what’s your post event experience look like? What does that look like over overall time?

[00:18:48] So now that we’ve talked about so what did we discover, we talked about really digging into your marketing strategy, overall messaging analytics channels, right. We’ve talked about virtual events, how you can use partners. How are you rethinking that experience? How are you constantly rethinking that experience and not just settling? Now we need to look. Now let’s talk about offers. So one of the thing is for sure that our team adrift is exhausted because not only have we gone through this incredible time of digital transformation, doing things that we never thought were going to be possible in a six month time frame, that would normally be possible only in a six year time frame. But think about the emotional impact of all your teams, right? Folks have kids spouses home with them for countless hours. They’re trying to figure out day care. They’re trying they’re concerned about their health. They’re concerned, concerned about the health of their families, maybe elderly parents who are at greater risk or in different facility types.

[00:19:52] Right. Not only have we gone through this incredible transformation work wise, but we we are all taking on an incredible burden emotionally and for many of us, for those of us who have unfortunately gotten sick physically as well. So how one of the things that we stepped back and asked our team was like, how can we do more with the existing assets we have? And for us, what was really key was simplifying and streamlining our content creation process. So I didn’t want to constantly ask the team to work harder, even though we were. I wanted to also figure out how could we work smarter. And for us that meant conducting a content audit, identifying what could we reduce, reuse and recycle. What content did we have on already that we had published that needed a refresh in an update so that we didn’t have to stare at that blank page? How are we able to really identify our content gaps, so build on existing ideas as opposed to completely reinventing them? And then lastly, when we did all of that work. So when we did the work to put on a virtual summit and a virtual event, how are we then taking that work and repurposing it? I call this like really squeezing all of the juice out of that lemon. Right. So how are we able to take the virtual summit event and transcribe it and create an ebook? And how are we able to then take that e-book and that summit content and create an insider course, which for us is the educational course? Right. And then from there, how are we able to then break some of those topics that we had in that summit into that small, digestible video content along the way? Right. And then how are we able to take those video courses and potentially make them into quizzes or certifications? Right. How are we really using all of that juice from that one lemon all along the way so that we’re not constantly asking our teams to do more and more and more? The last thing that we did was we are constantly and I’ve alluded to this a couple times throughout the presentation, but getting close with your customers and bridging that communication gap. And so for us, that meant I alluded to this a little bit earlier, earlier, but it meant checking in with customers and identifying creative solutions. And so Adobe is a customer of ours. And we went to Adobe and said, hey, what what are you guys thinking about right now? What’s top of mind for you? What? And for them, it was we’ve got to bring in this Adobe summit completely online. It was like, OK, amazing, we can help you with that. So one of the key problems with online experiences is that sometimes people can get lost in that experience. Right. They can have challenges finding their way. They have questions along the way and nobody is there to answer them. So what we did was create a concierge’s like experience using Dreft in their virtual experience. Right. Until it was really able what we were really able to do was help them solve a problem. And guess what? That guess what that did for Adobe. They said, man, Dreft isn’t just a software software tool that we’ve bought. Dreft is a true partner. They understand the needs of our business. They understand how they can help the needs of our business. And they’re in that we are in this together. Right. And that was that’s an amazing ability that we all have to do for our customers. Now, more than ever, people are looking for tools. They’re looking for partners. They’re looking for advisors. They’re looking for help. And so the other thing that we did was we partnered with our customers to create content. How are you taking the success of your customers and elevating their own what what they are doing and the success that they are having and elevating that and using it within your content strategy? We’ve used our own customers on webinars, blogs, ebooks, events, of course, case studies. Right. And of course, integration partnerships. But we’re constantly taking all of that feedback that we were getting from conversations and customers, and we’re instilling all of that into our into the content that we’re creating every day. And so our customer stories are in the content that we’re publishing right now there in the webinars that we’re hosting right now there in the blog post that we’re talking about right now. And guess what? That’s another great value add for customers. Make their success, your success, elevate their stories, make them the champion.

[00:24:33] And last, talking about empowering and actioning your own marketing team, right? And so how do we think about that one of the big the big wins that we were able to think about as it related to pivoting all of that pivot time and and analyzing and changing and pivoting the messaging and all those things? Luckily, we had adopted just a quarter before a campaign program framework that really looks like this. So we identify what are those key campaigns? What are those what are those topics that we should always be talking about? Right. And for us, some of those things are topics related to revenue acceleration, topics related to sales, topics related to demand. And then we figure out what are those key programs. Right. So what are those subthemes within those broader topics? So for demand and marketers, it was how are we doubling down on digital right now for KMO as it was about how are you? How what are the skill sets that you’re hiring right now? And how do you think about team performance at a time like this? And those became our key programs. And within those programs, we were able to identify key offers. Right. So whether it was the marketing leadership ebook we wrote, whether it was the Michael is Dead e-book, whether it was a webinar that we did on digital advertising or website personalization. Right. We had all those offers. And then we take those offers and identify what channels are will be most efficient in helping us promote them. And luckily what we’re able to do here. And so this looks like a deck of cards, right? Well, what we were able to do as we were pivoting in is as different things like not only the pandemic, but different social movements, the different gender movements, different political environments have come up. We’ve been able to swap out some of those programs, some of those offers and some of those channels. Right. One of the channels that we talked about was trade shows. Obviously, we had to take that one off the table. Right. And add new ones in. Another channel that we had to swap out was direct mail. We took that off the table and swapped additional channels in. And so that has really been key for us having this framework so that you can easily slide slide some of these boxes off the screen and slide new ones in was was a key factor for helping us to be more agile. The other thing that we were able to do is we looked at our our tech stack and for us it was also our productivity stack as a team. And luckily we had invested in tools that improved our team communication. Right, because we’re not all in the office. It’s no longer as simple as just swiveling your chair and having a quick convo with somebody. It’s now slacking people. Right. It’s now updating Azana cards and tasks. It’s now hopping on a quick zoom. Or for us, it’s using Dreft video, which is a tool that helps us in a or synchronous communication with one another, because maybe I’m in a zoom. But Matilda wants to wants to be able to communicate an idea to me. But it’s going to be an incredibly long slacker and incredibly long email. It’s just well, better said it like verbally and so she can record a quick video, send it to me and when I get off that zoom, I can watch it at that point and shoot a quick video and send it right back. Of course, Google slides and Dropbox were incredibly important, and Marketo and Salesforce are always key parts of our marketing stack. But really, this is really about making sure that we had the right tools for the teams to work off of during this time when we were all in a different, completely different environment. And lastly, it’s really about being able to show your work and being able to communicate value to that to the company. And this has been something, luckily for us, that has been instilled in our company from day one. It’s really about a leadership principle of never striving for the perfect, but being able to show your work along the way. Right. And these are real Slack’s members of our own team and how they are sharing their work and you can see it here, is showing some more work this morning. I’ve got a new book, A New Decade for a New Funnel. I’m showing some work. I’ve got Dreft inside our ships today. And here’s here’s what they are. I’m showing some work of the markers, Ultimate Survival Guide for today’s digital world and recognizing the peers that worked with her on that to be able to get that done, but constantly being able to like celebrate those wins as a team and making and building broader awareness of all that is being done across the team is incredibly, incredibly important. So how do you future proof your marketing strategy? You’re going to rethink your marketing strategy and the channels that you’re using so that you can meet buyers on their terms where they are? Right. People are having experiences, consumer experiences that they expect to have the same or similar experiences in their nine to five time. I can’t stress this enough. If this time has taught us nothing else, it has merged the personal with work, right? It is. Merge them all together. I’ve now got my kids running around in the background every once in a while. I’ve got random dog barks happening all the time when the mailman shows up, right. We have merged home and professional and so there is no more. It’s simply understand having people understand or be stuck in that framework of a different experience from nine to five as opposed to five to nine is just not going to do it anymore. No, to take your best events, make them virtual, but don’t take your analog event and bring the exact same like features of it and just make it virtual. You really need to step back, rethink of it, rethink that event. How are you taking it to the next level? How are you making a more engaging experience? Marketers that I’m talking to today are talking about how they’re shipping lunches to people across the across the the entire country. Right. Sometimes even around the world, they’re thinking about how are they shipping meals to people? How are they shipping cocktails to people? How are they really rethinking that event from the ground up?

[00:31:01] Work smarter, not harder with your content marketing. Really squeeze the juice out of all of the hard work that you’re already doing and get more mileage out of it. People learn in different ways. Some people learn a lot better through reading. Some people learn a lot better through watching on video. Some people learn a lot better through audio factor for all of those things. As it relates to your content marketing strategy, talk more with your customers and invest in the tools to improve and streamline their digital experience. I know that so many of you are already doing this. I talked about digital transformation internally and how their people are transforming their own experiences. But the product innovation that I have seen over the last six to seven months has been absolutely outstanding. I’ve never seen anything like it. People are bringing products to market. Faster now than I’ve ever seen over the last 15 years that I’ve been that I’ve been a professional and it’s absolutely incredible. Rethink that as it comes to your experience as well. You’re solving new use cases for customers and for personas that you have never solved before. Dig in, listen, hear about those use cases and then make sure that you’re marketing them and telling the world about how you’re solving those problems. And lastly, empower and align your team around shared goals and keep it all transparent. Make sure that the team is celebrating each other, celebrating their wins and showing their work along the way so that the whole team understands the all of the momentum that your team currently has from end to end.

[00:32:48] Lastly, I’ve got the marketers ultimate survivor survival guide to today’s digital world, and this is a great example of how we’re squeezing the lemon even more. And it’s really about how we’ve productize these three key offers. We’ve been able to merge them all together. All of these books did incredibly well on their own. And that made us step back and say, holy cow, like if they’ve done that well on their own, what could they do all together as a bundle? And not only that, but this is the information that marketers really need. It’s the marketing and sales field guide for today’s New Digital Normal. That’s the first book. It’s how to emerge from a crisis, be more helpful, human and empathetic. The next is that Michael is dead, which is really about how marketers really need to step back and rethink that. Putting acronyms MQ into your other acronyms, your friends and your maps is just not good enough. Our fundamental job as marketers is to start conversations for our business, for our sales team and to continue those conversations across that lifecycle. If you think like that and you think instead of talking about acronyms, you start talking about people and experiences, I do not doubt for a second that you will win big time. And the last one is five email templates to make sure your marketing outreach is more empathetic. And it’s really these are really templates that you can rip and and customize on your own and use them just for you. And that’s it for me, folks ending a little early, but thank you so much for joining today. I know that it’s never easy to carve out time like this on your schedule. It’s never easy to really dig in and make sure that you’re investing in yourself in your own education. I hope that you got a ton of information from the session. And like I said, I’ll be back for the Q&A this afternoon. I would love to chat through any of the things that you heard here. Happy to to to chat through it. And I hope everybody has an amazing rest of the conference and that you’re getting everything you want out of it. Thank you so much.

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