Kelsey Krapf 0:15
Welcome to the official podcast of the next CMO hosted by Plannuh. This is a thought leadership podcast for those that are CMOS or want to become CMOS. My name is Kelsey Krapf and I'm the senior marketing manager.
Peter Mahoney 0:30
And I'm Peter, the CEO and co founder of Plannuh.
Kelsey Krapf 0:34
For this week, we have Dan Faulkner, the CTO of Plannuh, Dan just wrote a series of blog articles on marketing stakeholders and culture and how to do a self assessment of your team. I invited him on the show to discuss what exactly this means as a marketing leader. And I have to ask my first dying question is what does DNA have to do with marketing?
Dan Faulkner 0:55
Well, so yeah, the the self assessment is all about understanding Your your team's marketing or your company's marketing DNA. And I, the analogy I'm trying to draw is that, you know, in biological terms, an organism's behavior and capabilities are defined by its DNA. And I believe that there are structural organization, organizational traits that make up a marketing teams DNA. And those traits drive the marketing teams structure and behavior. So, you know, it's clear that a matrix marketing team supporting an international b2b company is going to be structured and operate differently to a centralized marketing team working in a domestic b2c company. And if your marketing DNA isn't a good match with your company DNA, you're probably not going to do as well as you could. But I think the good news is you unlike in biology, you can change your marketing DNA.
Peter Mahoney 1:56
So Dan, you've lived up to your reputation of a nerd with that analogy. You're welcome. I'm here to help. So why don't you just to set the table here a little bit you in your blog article, and we'll link the thing in the show notes. So you can go and read it to your heart's delight. Why don't you just tee up sort of these four different kinds of attributes or traits that make up the marketing DNA from your work little mind? Did I say that out loud? I'm sorry. It was a little negative. I can say you're incredibly
Dan Faulkner 2:32
I'll take little, but warped and little?
Peter Mahoney 2:35
more big mind. Sure. Go ahead.
Dan Faulkner 2:37
I'll take it. so short. The first kind of trait is you can work in a centralized model, an internal agency model and Matrix Model or an integrated model. The second is so that's what about kind of structure. The second is about the offering that you bring to market selling a service or a solution technology products or platform. The third is about how you go to market up to B or B to C. And the fourth is whether you're a domestic business or an international business.
Peter Mahoney 3:12
Great. Well, that makes a lot of sense. And obviously, those are hopefully understandable kind of concepts for people. But let's let's look at the first one to start the one about the structure of the team. Now, you and I worked together for many years, I have to remind you that frequently. And we of course, worked through a lot of the transitions through those mods. I think we worked in every single one of those models at the same company, as we went through a lot of growth. But tell me from your perspective, maybe what did you find the most effective and maybe what was the most traumatic or painful change to go through as we went from one to another
Dan Faulkner 4:00
So, the the model, I think that I found most effective
would, would probably be
what I call the integrated model, which is what happens when you have a think it's really suitable for a larger organization. So we were, we were quite a large organization when we got to that point and we had business units that had quite a large variety of offerings, they were addressing different target markets, different pricing models, different value propositions, different events, they went to or you know, just really a different kind of model. And so what happened then was the business units integrated certain marketing functions by product marketing, which made sense because they had unique packaging and value proposition for their products. They had failed marketing, which kind of made sense because feel boxing was out there doing high touch, you know, small customer events and supporting the field. But then there were other key functions that remained at the corporate level. So public relations, of course, it's a skill set that's broadly applicable. branding, corporate events, these were all things that remained in the corporate marketing team. And I think that that that I found to be quite effective if you put too much in the business unit, they get it, they they don't have the scale and they can go off and start doing crazy things. And if you centralize too much too centralized, you know, in a big company like that, the centralized team might not have the the required insights do very well targeted product positioning and field marketing. jive with what you think it does.
Peter Mahoney 5:49
I think it worked pretty well. And in maybe I'm biased because that was the model that I ended up implementing when I was in the CMO role there at nuance And but I'll tell you that transition was really painful. But the value of doing that, of course, is that you you have in fact the the thesis around the recommendation to do that was that you have the specialty areas within marketing that require a deep understanding of the customer, the market segment within the part of the company, the division that served that market. So product management, Product Marketing, even to some extent a level of field marketing where they're directly engaging with customers. And then we we were at a point where we used to use a lot of external agencies, and we got sort of a soup of different of different campaigns of different brand executions, it was sort of all over the place. So the idea was to have a very deeply specialized set of skills that went from sort of the the brand and the creative side to get some, not only consider See, but to be able to afford some deep experts in that area, the things like the system side. So the marketing tech stack was owned and driven at a centralized level, because it made sense for consistent measurement. And then also some of those things like communications to get a single message and communicate to the, to the influencers correctly. So yeah, I think it worked. Well, the change was hard, because people always have a difficult time, sort of giving up something that they might have previously controlled. And so that was probably the the hardest, the hardest part. And it never made sense for us to be completely centralized as an example. So to take the counter example, it didn't make sense because it was just, we were in a business that had very different businesses under an umbrella of a single company. And you really needed deep expertise in that area. So I think that made a lot of sense. Yeah, but it Clearly is, is the transition part is the hardest part. I think once once you're there and it's fully operated, it could probably take, it probably took a year for us to really get to the point where it was working well.
Kelsey Krapf 8:12
So how does the marketing function change as you go from, you know, service to platform?
Dan Faulkner 8:20
Yeah, so that's, that's a big,
a big spectrum, Kelsey. So you know, one end of it, I've got a service where everything's customized and built one off for customers. You go through a solution where you might have some productize capabilities, but there's still lots of professional services required, then you might have a core technology. So literally a low level capability that's not really packaged into a product that can be used by end users. Then you have a product, then you have a platform. So a platform could be a a multifunction product that's extensible that has integrations and so on. So if you're at one end of that spectrum, And you're in a professional services model like a systems integrator kind of world, for example, it's all about relationships, you're going to sell to people you're going to have, you're going to be looking for large long term relationships, which means you're likely to have a focus in your marketing strategy. On in person events, account based marketing, highly customized, maybe even personalized marketing messages, lots of sponsorships to make sure that your target audience knows who you are, you know what you do. Whereas imagine now that you kind of work your way along that spectrum. And you're now talking about software as a service product, then you're looking at, you know, a much more kind of inbound marketing digitally driven strategy. You may still have some focus on events, but maybe your focus on those events is being Seen and getting foot traffic coming through your events rather than having something really oriented around customer meetings. And then when you get to something like consumer packaged good business, that it's all about kind of multi channel advertising and branding. So it's depending on what you're selling. And depending on your go to market motion, it's going to be really quite a different set of skills that you need to own in house that you outsource and how you need to structure.
Peter Mahoney 10:32
You have a nice chart, Dan, in the blog that again, we'll link in the description that highlights some of these differences, but there's a lot to consider. You mentioned a little bit about the go to market motion, which is one important consideration sort of how you engage with the market, how you define the market, is it a limited thing is that a broad based thing etc. but also the the message in what you're selling even you know, so are you messaging. If it's services, you're really packaging up the capabilities of the company. versus if you're a, a product, then you're going to be talking about the features and benefits that that specific thing delivers to you in a very package consistent way. So everything from the target market, the go to market motion, the message, the channels, everything can vary pretty significantly, isn't go from solution to service. And it's interesting, this is another thing that is that is sensitive to change. Because you see people go through this evolution. And I think, if you're in the SAS world, as an example, a lot of people start out in one and then go to the other. It's often people either start as a service because they're trying to start from zero and build something and they want to be a product and they really struggle with the shift in marketing to do that. But the other thing you see a lot of is is people We'll go from a single point solution to more of a platform. And there's some big companies who have gone through this. So HubSpot is probably a good one, they had a product at the beginning. And now they've sort of built out to a to a platform. And then some of the HubSpot alumni that went and started drift are doing sort of the same thing, right, they had a product, they had a chat bot kind of thing. And now they're trying to build that thing out into a more sophisticated platform, in that transition requires a rethink, in the way that they they approach their marketing.
Dan Faulkner 12:32
Great, and it's something that you you really need to have a position on. I feel like something that we, in our you know, earlier in our career, certainly something I struggled with in one of the business lines I worked in, was there was this kind of endless debate about are we a product company or a services company? And the answer actually was we were a solutions business that was a solutions business, but there was this kind of dithering and it it hurt us a little bit because we didn't take a position and stay It. So it I agree with what you're saying that Peter.
Peter Mahoney 13:04
Yeah, and of course the the marketing strategy that you employ is one piece of a broader problem you're trying to solve, as you said, there's, there's the whole company or you're, in your case, the divisional strategy is is an important one to think about because that that might imply how you be on the marketing stuff, how you build the product, how you service your customers, all those things, you're going to be quite a bit different. So let's, let's move on to the next one. Because I think it's it's interesting because of the people think of you being in one box or the other, whether you sell to consumers or you sell to businesses. And that, of course, is a easy to understand distinction. There are hybrids, like b2b b2c as you're going through channels and things like that. But if you look just at that b2b or b2c, you you brought up an interesting point that, that some b2b people are acting a little bit more like b2c people. Can you talk about that a little?
Dan Faulkner 14:02
Yeah, sure. So the the classic b2b model is I think often viewed as being you know, you have a high cost high touch sales team of people who are flying all around the world or the country to meet customers face to face when you're you're going through lots of trade shows, and it's very expensive, sort of bottom of the funnel set of activities. And what's happened with a lot of the software as a service offerings that are clearly b2b software as a service offerings is, first of all, they come in at a slightly an actually often a much lower price point than customized large enterprise solutions. And they are built to be integrated and used easily. So they lend themselves well to high velocity Mark methods that so heavy use of digital advertising, heavy use heavy reliance on inbound marketing for lead generation rather than, you know, sort of highly targeted customized target accounts or the marketing and I think that's become almost the norm actually it for for high velocity SAS companies what they call product like growth companies are really trying to focus on getting that that that profile of go to market for b2b offering that looks a lot like what used to be considered a b2c motion.
Peter Mahoney 15:38
Yeah, it's interesting, Dan because I think a factor that is making people change their approach is the, the concept that companies don't buy things people buy things and, and I think more and more marketers are, are embracing that and in trading there. prospects as a bunch of people, not a bunch of companies. And as a result, they have more sort of that one one kind of market to people kind of thing which which definitely lends itself more to some of the b2c techniques that you might have before in some of it is just the increase of of digital approaches in general. But the one thing I wanted to mention too, is I've seen some of the opposite happen, meaning that sometimes there are b2c companies who need to think a little bit more like b2b companies. And in you think about this when there's a longer consideration cycle for a product, and it's funny reminded me when I was reading your blog, about some time we spent when when I was running the the dragon consumer software business for new eyes. And we always thought of it as a consumer simple consumer product because it we charge somewhere between 100 and $300 for the software, and we thought Oh, that must be That's a consumer thing. That's easy. That's that's just a simple, you know, put a website out there and someone's gonna buy it. But what we found, which is really interesting is that even for $100, it's a long consideration cycle. So people think about it, they research it, they and you actually need to build in things like nurturing in multi step campaigns for for sometimes consumer products, if they have a longer sort of education consideration process. That's part of it. So I I think the point is that your thesis here is that you need to understand which one you're at. And I agree with that, that but it doesn't mean that you have to stay in your lane all the time. In fact, you should probably want to understand, understand, you know, what, what, if you're selling to businesses, you're selling to consumers, obviously, that implies some very different, different kinds of techniques, but it doesn't mean you can't borrow from One or the other, if that makes sense to you?
Dan Faulkner 18:02
Yeah, it does make a ton of sense. And as we've, you know, many times when we categorize things we have, we don't have sharp boundaries between them. So it makes a lot of sense.
Peter Mahoney 18:13
Yep. Yep. Exactly. So that that the next area so let's see if Where are we, on our way point, right. We went through sort of the the structure of the, of the marketing thing, we went through the, whether it's a service or a product we went through, or a platform, etc. We went through b2b or b2c, and the last attribute is international or domestic and it always reminds me of my Eon story. Can I tell my own story? It's one of my favorites. Please do. Okay. You know, I feel like I have to tell this because I'm talking to you, Dan. And
Dan Faulkner 18:48
but though and you think Ian is a British name
Peter Mahoney 18:50
is that's the idea. So here's here's what happens is that I've been involved with a lot of companies who started out as a domestic company, and then they turn into an international company. And of course, this is something that's, that's, that's painful for me as I think about because I think about planning and budgeting, because that's all I think about these days. And when you go through this concept, when you start your international marketing, the first thing you do is you hire an international marketing manager. And I worked at a bunch of companies that always, for some reason said, we're going to go to Europe. So we're going to start in the UK because they, you know, sort of look and act most like us in the US, even though I know you don't want to admit that Dan. It inevitably It was a guy named Ian, maybe he was calling or whatever, but it was it was often some guy named Ian. So you hire in and that became our shortcut, you know, for for the name of the first international marketing manager. And so you hired Ian and in what do you do? The first thing you do is say, well, I've got a I've got a $5 million A marketing budget and I'm going to give $800,000 to Ian. And I saw a hand in the budget and say, here it is, here's the budget put together your plan. In as soon as you hand that budget over to Ian, it's completely opaque. You have no idea where it is, in what what happens the first time you need to make a change, you call in and you say in we we need to fund something over here or we need to cut the budget, how much of that budget is committed and what does he say every single time Dan 100%. He does exactly it so it's that the challenge that you get is this when you when you start to when you're planning and budgeting and of course it's a huge issue in in visibility in doing that, but I'm sure there are many other it many other factors beyond planning and budgeting that you had in mind. So you Give me a sense of some of the other factors that you think are important when it comes to domestic versus international marketing teams or multinational is the right way to think about it.
Dan Faulkner 21:10
Yeah, there's, there's lots and some of them are really just very pragmatic, like timezone differences. If If you so where do people where do we where the US companies go after Britain Peter
Peter Mahoney 21:24
after Britain when they go to Australia, exactly.
Dan Faulkner 21:29
They go to Australia conveniently upside down on a tub from a timezone perspective. And the the interesting thing there of course, is you want to get you want to include them in the meetings and you want in it, it's hard. It's really hard to just logistically, schedule and communicate effectively. So there's that kind of thing. Then there's scale, so it's likely will Assume, you know, for the sake of the argument that this is a company that's based in the US. And, you know, that started in the US, of course, they've got all the resources there. There's one person in Australia, and, and it's natural that the team in the US says, great, go and set up our presence at this event. And of course, we're going to need to think, you know, convey our brand and we need to do some advertising. And suddenly, there's one poor person who's trying to operate at an enterprise scale with suboptimal communication lines. So just being realistic about how much can that person do? How much are they going to rely on partners to do marketing for them or consultants to do marketing for them is a really important thing. Then, of course, there's the thing that we've discussed a lot, Peter currencies. So how your company deals with currencies and the fact that you're your If you're a domestic company and you become International, you need to be ready to understand how international currencies are going to affect your plan. You're going to be spending them, are you on the hook for the for the potential exposure to currency fluctuations or is the company and that's something that can burn you if you don't get it. Right. And it's something that your company can really protect you from as a marketer if, if it's well planned out ahead of time.
Peter Mahoney 23:30
So they're just a few. Yeah, we could probably do a whole podcast on the on the currency issues, Dan, because they're in the interesting thing that happens, by the way with with currency issues is that there's often the opposite effect between marketing people and sales people. Because when, when it's favorable for sales, accounting revenue, it's unfavorable for marketing. When when it comes to managing expense in in the opposite, obviously. So there They can be a little bit at odds. And sometimes they want to use different different techniques and in different conversion rates. You know, based on, you know, someone will want to use the current spot rate, others will want to say no, we want to use the rate that's in the plan, because that's more favorable for me that that's a battle that happens from time to time. And I ended up
Kelsey Krapf 24:22
doing something bad to you know, besides the currency and the time zone, like I would be to b and b2c techniques. They're different. And when you're going to a different international territory, the marketing has to be different to you can't just duplicate what you're doing in one region to the next because of you know, either language barriers or even laws and regulations that are in play.
Dan Faulkner 24:44
That's a great point, Kelsey, and the laws and both of those, again, are huge topics that probably warrant their own their own discussion at some point. I completely agree. Yeah, the list is long. Do remember, I think we might have actually had a head of European marketing accordion at one point. And But now what you'll also often see is that the product that you've built, even unwittingly has been optimized for the US market for the US end user. And I'm not talking about obvious things like, you know, language. I'm talking about literally, there are cultural differences and user expectations between different countries that need to be well understood.
Kelsey Krapf 25:32
like building a relationship before you solve them.
Unknown Speaker 25:35
Peter Mahoney 25:37
Yep. In case Kelsey knows from what she's speaking about, because you spent some time working for HubSpot in Australia, right?
Kelsey Krapf 25:46
Yeah, that's right. And you definitely in Australia market, you have to build that relationship before you can even send them a selling type of email, or they're just going to write you off immediately. And that's, that's true for a lot of people. regions and countries. Now going back to the DNA, so is this kind of a one and done thing? Or how do you need your DNA of your marketing environment to involve?
Dan Faulkner 26:12
Well, you clearly it needs to evolve because your company's going to evolve. companies that don't evolve, tend not to do well in the long run. And it's important that the marketing DNA is is in lockstep with the company's DNA. So yeah, definitely, it's something that periodically you should check in on and see how to how and where to make adjustments.
Peter Mahoney 26:35
So your analogy is broken down unless we think about the company as like a species versus an individual, right? Maybe that's the right way to think about it.
Dan Faulkner 26:47
Kelsey, I just want to go on record of saying, apparently, I'm the nerd here.
Peter Mahoney 26:50
Kelsey Krapf 26:54
I got tuners on the phone, maybe three.
Peter Mahoney 26:56
All right, so So let's think about this from From a strategic perspective, then Dan, we've got this evolving, evolving kind of structure and function of a company things are changing over the time, something's changed faster, some things are slower. Strategically, how do you handle that? How do you set up your team to adapt?
Dan Faulkner 27:22
Well, I count it has to be a cultural expectation that i think you know, we've talked about this before the not just successful marketing teams, but successful teams in general embrace change and should be built for change. From a kind of a tactical perspective with respect to this particular topic, what you should do is periodically and the periodicity needs to be defined by the cadence of your business. Check, check in go through that list of DNA traits and say, how are we operating? How are we started? And who are we now. And if you see a gap starting to open up, if you have evolved from being a core technology company to a solutions company, if you've started to, if you've decided to go from being domestic to international, you need to just give yourself room to set yourself up properly, rather than discover, because you're running into running into lots of problems. So I would, you know, definitely recommend a periodic check in against that, that checklist and then what needs to be done should should make itself somewhat apparent.
Peter Mahoney 28:39
Yeah, well, that's that that's great advice. And I agree, if you have a solid strategy process where you're looking, maybe it's twice a year, maybe it's once a year, but you're you're really stepping back to assess what you know what your market is, what your company is what's going on, externally in Internally, I think that's a really important thing to take on board. So great, great discussion. Dan. I think this is relevant for all of us to think about as we think about our planning, especially right now where everyone's in the middle of sort of rethinking and re planning as they as they adapt to a pretty significant shock to the market as we're dealing still with pandemic stuff at this point. But very timely, appreciate it. And I think, Kelsey, it's time to take us home.
Kelsey Krapf 29:29
Yeah, thanks so much, Dan. We really appreciate the conversation. If you haven't checked out the article, you can view it on our blog. Make sure to follow the next cmo and plan out on Twitter and LinkedIn and if you have any ideas for topics or guests, you can email them at the next email@example.com Have a great day, everyone. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.
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