Kyle Christensen is a SaaS veteran and has spent nearly 20 years shaping the marketing strategy for some of the fastest-growing enterprise software companies, including Salesforce, Zuora, Invoca, Responsys, IBM, and 6sense. Kyle is currently the VP of Marketing at Zuora, the $1.2B publicly-traded subscription service platform. He holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a BS in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
This episode features an interview with Kyle Christensen, VP of Marketing at Zuora. Prior to Zuora, Kyle served as CMO of 6Sense, SVP of Marketing at Invoca, and VP of Marketing at Responsys, where he drove the growth of the enterprise business up until the company's $1.5B acquisition by Oracle.
On this episode, Kyle shares his demand gen master plan that starts with a marketing strategy that permeates the entire company and explains why the best brand storytelling attaches you to a narrative of overarching change much larger than the company itself.
In order to do really great demand, you need to start with a compelling underlying story. Without that, no amount of landing page optimization or keyword spending strategy is going to work. The content and the message are really what drives things.
The way we think about it, this isn't just a marketing strategy, it's a company strategy. And it’s a completely virtuous cycle. The reason to go with us is that we have better data, better insights, and a better product, and we will guide you all the way through to implementation. Then we get access to better data, we find better ways to make our customers successful, and it feeds back into the top of the funnel. We translate that into learnings, content, and assets, and the cycle repeats itself and grows over time.
I think the essence of a good pitch is…what is the overarching change that's occurring in the market–in the world that you're operating–that gives your company a reason for being. The inevitable change that is happening whether or not you exist as a company. I think the best storytelling companies and the best pitch companies start there.
Don't evangelize why you have a really fantastic web-based contact management application (i.e. Salesforce), evangelize that there's a massive sea change somewhere in the world…If you really want disproportionate attention from the market and to attract the right talent, the most eyeballs, the most interest from the media and the press, you need to attach yourself to a larger narrative.
You can't do superficial content, because it’s not interesting. There's so much competition out there now for mindshare and time that you have to invest. You’ve got to have the right people, the right data, and the right narrative that you want to attach yourself to. It's not enough to put out listicles and things like that to drive conversation.
(1:59) Launching a Career with Storytelling
(4:40) Building an Account-Focused Demand Strategy
(7:49) Avoiding the Complexities of Persona-Based Demand Gen Motions
(11:40) Using Storytelling to Capture Market Demand
(15:51) Kyle’s Three Uncuttable Demand Gen Budget Items
(22:30) Why Content Syndication is Losing its Effectiveness
(32:49) “It’s Not Just a Marketing Strategy, It’s a Company Strategy”
(33:45) Zuora’s Two-Pronged Website Strategy
(37:32) Quick Hits: Getting to Know Kyle
(40:17) The Essential Elements of a Good Brand Story
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