Sarah Kennedy is VP of Global Demand and Growth at Google Cloud. She is a relentlessly passionate marketing executive & business leader, with a unique love for tackling the most complex challenges in B2B marketing.
She has led multiple companies through marketing transformation in a variety of ownership environments including private equity as CMO of Marketo (Acquired by Adobe for $4.75B Nov. 2018), as well as in publicly-traded environments as the CMO for the enterprise software division at both Adobe and Sabre.
This episode features an interview with Sarah Kennedy, Vice President of Global Growth and Demand at Google Cloud. Prior to Google, Sarah led multiple marketing transformations as CMO of Marketo and as CMO for the enterprise software divisions at Adobe and Sabre. On this episode, Sarah discusses the marketing efficiencies and ROI drivers she’s anchored her career around, how to navigate the macro mindset shift that every marketing team goes through, and why being a career catalyst for your customers is the most rewarding impact a B2B marketer can have.
All of your investments drive demand. [It’s important not to] view brand as one thing and demand as another. They all interplay with one another to drive growth. That's been part of the mindset shift that I've been driving really my last five years, including now at Google.
Every interaction, every second that you consume of someone's attention, you have to quantify the value of what you're bringing. Minutes are precious, so you’ve got to think about the trade-offs [your audience is] making. It's different this year than ever before and that makes the bar even higher. It always should have been this high, but I think this year we're actually seeing that come to fruition and I like that. I think that's great for all marketers and every customer we serve.
Being a career catalyst for a customer is one thing that I always say is my primary goal. If we see them get promoted or we see somebody get that next job because of the decision they made to bet on us, that's the reward of any marketer's career. It’s the biggest reward–that you can walk away from a career and look back and say, wow, I really impacted hundreds of people's livelihoods by making sure that I clearly communicated to them the value of our partnership and I delivered on it. For me, it’s a motivating way to look at the career of a B2B marketer.
Whatever you do, start with your first priority being your relationship with sales…I have found that no matter how much investment, energy, creative tactics, whatever you have, if you have not aligned with your sales counterparts on what the true objectives are and co-signed up for any targets that you're going to hit together, it really doesn't matter what you do. If you aren't already doing that, that's where you begin and end, because that relationship and accountability and alignment is the foundation for all success.
Our job is to be career catalysts for our customers, but our second but equally important objective is to be comma catalysts for our quota carriers. All I want to do is put M's in their bank account every day of the week and if I do that, I've succeeded. Having that mindset that we're responsible for their livelihood is the right approach mentally as a marketer, because that makes you focus on the right things and make better decisions that also end up better serving your customers.
(4:43) Sarah’s Demand Gen Strategy at Google Cloud
(6:14) Establishing a New Marketing Mindset at One of the Biggest Companies in the World
(8:42) Using Martech to Scale Expansion in the Enterprise
(14:22) Sarah’s Retrospective on What Worked in 2020
(18:23) Google Cloud’s Target Market
(23:36) Sarah’s Uncuttable Budget Items
(25:10) Customer Marketing’s Increasing Importance
(33:27) The Role of Google Cloud’s Website
(35:35) Sarah’s Advice for First-Time Demand Gen Leader
(41:15) Quick Hits: Getting to Know Sarah
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