Lauren Vaccarello is an award-winning marketing executive with a track record of accelerating revenue growth for the fastest growing SaaS companies in Silicon Valley. With a strong background in demand generation, she excels at building scalable integrated campaigns that leverage cutting edge marketing techniques. Although performance is at the core of who she is as a marketer, she believes businesses need to tell compelling stories and build a brand if they want to own a category.
Lauren also co-authored the highly-regarded books “The Retargeting Playbook” and “Complete B2B Online Marketing.” She has held executive leadership roles at Box, at AdRoll and at Salesforce. She was a member of the Google Tech Advisory Council and is a popular speaker at industry events such as ad:tech, South by Southwest, ClickZ Live, eMetrics and the Online Marketing Summit. In 2014, Lauren was honored by the San Francisco Business Times and named to their list of “Influential Women in Business.”
Lauren is an award-winning marketing executive with a track record of accelerating revenue growth for some of the fastest growing SaaS companies in Silicon Valley including Box, AdRoll, and Salesforce. She is the author of two industry-leading books and has been named one of the “Top 50 Women in Revenue” and “Most Influential Women in Business.”
On this episode, Lauren talks about how to hit your numbers in the short term while working to expand the scope of who you’re selling to in the long term. She also discusses how to leverage your executive team to build brand trust, and shares a couple uncuttable budget items that may surprise you...
- Think of demand gen and marketing in both the short term and long term. How are you going to hit your numbers while also expanding the scope of who you’re selling to.
- Demand gen must start with defining who you are, why you matter, and who you’re selling to, then you can determine how you’re going to execute.
- With large enterprise deals, it's about emotional connection as much as it's about your product and your messaging.
- Invest in the backend and the “unsexy” things like tech infrastructure, because they’ll make everything else you do easier and faster.
Investing in things like executive programs, executive engagement, and building deeper relationships with senior level executives at your target audience is the gift that keeps on giving. You’ll hit your numbers today, and the more they see you as a strategic partner, the more your deal size is going to grow.
Every CMO who comes in has to get points on the board quickly. The shine wears off our penny probably faster than any other function. You have to show momentum, and I find getting those short term wins buys you time to get long term wins as well.
What's going to make or break every single demand gen person in the foreseeable future is your ability to be agile and adapt. If you can't move quickly, you're dead in the water. The world is moving too fast...So invest in the backend, invest in the unsexy things that no one sees or understands why you're doing it, because it's those backend, unsexy, tech infrastructure things that make everything else you do faster and easier.
Our job as leaders is to remove every blocker and every obstacle and to give the people that work for us the ability to be creative.
Because what we do is so visible, every single person in your company will have an opinion about what you do. And you have to listen to every single person and you have to have thick enough skin to not take it personally.
I won't cut PR. I cannot ascribe a dollar return to my PR program, but what I've seen in the past is the anecdotal qualitative that just proves that it works...I've seen it enough times-–you're going to get better candidates, better employees, faster velocity, and your inbound interest and brand awareness just start to tick up.
(2:10) Lauren Started Her Career in Online Dating
- Lauren started in demand gen by running paid search marketing for an online dating company, long before online dating was socially acceptable
- Wasn’t known as “demand generation” back then; it was just “digital marketing”
- But today, demand generation and digital marketing are synonymous in so many ways
(5:18) Moving Upmarket from Practitioners to Business Leaders
- Talend used to be very focused on selling to practitioners and data engineers
- Realized that their product offered much more strategic business impact
- Decided to reposition the platform and entire marketing strategy to go up market to business leaders
- There’s a common misconception that demand generation is about events and emails, but it plays a critical role in aligning the marketing strategy with the overall corporate strategy
(9:21) Marketing Needs to Think Both Short Term and Long Term
- For short term, marketing needs to think about how you hit pipeline and revenue goals
- Define your ideal customer profile (ICP), then think about the benefits and problems you help solve for them
- For long term, marketing needs to think about how you will build and expand your target audience
- This includes programs like category development, thought leadership, and executive engagement programs
(13:33) How to Balance Short-Term Execution and Long-Term Planning
- Expectation setting is paramount
- Marketing leaders need to show momentum and get points on the board quickly
- One thing Lauren found critical was setting expectations around what will be accomplished today, in 6 months, in 12 months, and in 18 months
- Short-term wins buys you time to get long-term wins
(14:48) The Value of Executive Engagement Programs
- Talend has launched an executive engagement program to drive long-term relationship building
- While there wasn’t measurable impact on day one, but they’ve pulled in a lot of their own executives into the program and generated a bunch of thought leadership
- This helps drive emotional buy-in from their executive team who are able to build relationships with other executives in the industry
- Over time, the company will use these strategic thought leadership opportunities to change the narrative and be seen as trusted business partners
(25:09) Lauren’s Three Uncuttable Budget Items
- 1. Website and digital spend: Don’t skimp on your website. It is the face of your company to every single customer, prospect, potential employee, press, investor
- Agility and ability to adapt will make or break every single demand gen initiative in the foreseeable future. If you are on old technology, you are dead in the water. Invest in tech infrastructure to make everything else you do faster and easier.
- 2. Executive engagement programs: As a B2B company that sells to large enterprises, they need to invest in long-term relationship growth
- 3. PR: When you really lean into PR and have a stellar program, all the boats rise. You get better hiring candidates and higher employee engagement, which helps build better products and has a halo effect on demand gen programs
(36:56) How to Build a Powerful Thought Leadership Engine
- First thing is to figure out how you can show up differently in the market. Talend hired someone to drive thought leadership.
- Then they built a strategy for putting their executives out in the market
- It’s hard to build momentum in the beginning, but once they’ve been covered a few times, press start to ask to talk to the spokespeople
- Another key is to start with a vision, make it someone’s full-time focus, and see how it works.
(44:36) That Time Desmond Tutu Protested One of Lauren’s Campaigns
- Lauren worked on a Salesforce campaign called “The Social Enterprise” about how companies can use social media to tie different channels together and be closely aligned with their customers
- “Social enterprise” is a commonly-used term in philanthropic businesses
- Desmond Tutu — a Noble Peace Prize winner and famous anti-apartheid and human rights activist — was unhappy with the message and was going to protest Dreamforce
- They had to shut down a beautifully-executed, highly-targeted, multi-million dollar campaign
(48:43) Quick Hits: Getting to Know Lauren
- New shelter-in-place hobby: Kettlebell workouts
- Recent books or podcasts: Orphan Master’s Son (book), Alias (TV show), lots of books on Zen meditation
- Advice for a first-time CMO: Hire a demand gen expert (if you aren’t one), get close to your numbers, get close to your head of sales,
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