I was fortunate to speak with two industry experts for A Brave New Podcast this month, and get their perspectives on a variety of topics. We covered data in marketing, upcoming trends, bringing a human touch to your strategies, and much more. Both experts have tremendous backgrounds, and I’m so grateful to them for sharing their insights with our listeners.
Below is a short recap of our fascinating discussions.
Erich Ziegler: Data-Driven Marketing
My first guest was Erich Ziegler, the Interim GM, EMEA at CircleCI. Erich possesses a wealth of experience, having led marketing teams to success at RingCentral, Intuit Pay Cycle, and Netflix. You might recognize him from the 2020 documentary, Netflix versus the World, where he was featured for helping to drive hyper growth at Netflix.
Erich was at Netflix for an action-packed stretch of time between 2000 and 2007. Marketing at the platform was all about numbers and metrics. He and Netflix CMO, Leslie Kilgore, invented flex marketing, a method of forecasting that utilized past data.
They used the phrase, “triple down on what's working and slowly back away from what's not,” frequently during this period.
When determining whether to back away or not, Erich considered, “Can it be solved by harder work? Can it be solved by messaging? Can it be solved by a different partner? Can it be solved by negotiating better rates? If something wasn't delivering the ROI on the LTV that was acceptable, that was building shareholder value, we didn't immediately give up on it … We would ask ourselves, ‘are we giving it the full college effort, the college try?’ And, try to optimize it.”
Bringing It to a B2B World
Pay Cycle, RingCentral, and Central CircleCI are all B2B organizations, unlike Netflix. But, during his time at each, Erich still leaned on a data-driven approach to push marketing efforts forward and produce results. He applied his fierce dedication to metrics to help him calculate distinct ROI and demystify conversion rates.
He also leaned on numbers to refine the process between marketing and sales. Erich said that, “Nothing beats discipline and professionalism. I come into a marketing team, I put together the numbers, and I know where every dollar is spent. When a head of sales sees that, they're pretty much at ease that I'm doing my best to optimize every dollar I'm given from finance.”
“There are too many marketers out there that I call silver bullet marketers. In the past, they had some great idea that increased sales by 40%. Then, that goes away, and they don't know their numbers … It's the numbers that drive shareholder value that you can lead on and take the emotion out.”
Heidi Lorenzen: Marketing with Purpose
My other guest this month was Heidi Lorenzen, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Accela. Heidi has held senior marketing roles at Singularity University, Mark Benioff-backed CloudWords, Autonomy, Interwoven, and Polycom. She was named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology by National Diversity Council in 2021.
Heidi came to marketing and technology from the world of media, traveling from Taiwan to Singapore, then eventually to the Bay Area. She found that her work at Singularity University was especially inspiring because of the organization’s mission-driven, tech forward focus. She explained, “Singularity is an education platform that helps executives and entrepreneurs understand the crazy pace of technological change and how to leverage it for good.”
The same qualities also drew her to Accela, an organization that offers software to state and local governments, so they can more effectively support the people they serve. Education is a big component of her work with Accela, as are highly targeted outreach tactics.
In regards to the latter, Heidi said, “You want to make the most of the market that you have. And they all have a very, very unique set of needs, both based on either their communities, or their IT strategy, or their tech stack … We need to be able to communicate to them in a way that's relevant and addresses their specific needs.”
Finding the Right Balance
When asked the key things she’s paying attention to as she runs the program at Accela, Heidi pointed out the importance of humanity in marketing. “This balance of the art and the science of marketing is so important,” she said. “Don't get so focused on the metrics that you're losing sight of where you're actually going. But, also don't just get so excited about your creative and not actually see if it's working.”
Heidi also spoke to the importance of dialing into the customer journey, understanding each touchpoint, and creating a streamlined experience for each customer. She referred to “the customer as a compass,” a powerful metaphor for every marketer to keep in mind.
“I love the word magnetic because it literally portrays what you're trying to create with a company. You want to draw people towards you. Another phrase I use a lot is, ‘pull people into your orbit.’ And that makes it easier … the things that create that pull are, first of all, to stand for something. Have a strong mission—have a strong purpose.”