Vidya Peters is Marqeta’s chief marketing officer, responsible for the company’s global marketing efforts. She drives marketing strategy and execution including brand, PR, corporate marketing, product marketing, events, and demand generation.
Vidya joined Marqeta from MuleSoft where she led their 100+ person global marketing team to establish MuleSoft as a category creator with an integrated go-to-market strategy across product, field, and demand generation. She helped scale the business from pre-IPO to one of the most successful and fastest growing public enterprise software companies and later one of the most significant enterprise acquisitions.
This episode features an interview with Vidya Peters, CMO of Marqeta. Vidya is widely recognized as one of the top leaders in Financial Technology, and joined Marqeta in 2019 after previously serving as CMO of MuleSoft, which she helped scale into one of the most successful and fastest growing public enterprise software companies. On this episode, Vidya discusses the most important elements of setting your strategy for the year, how to keep up with the rapidly changing MarTech landscape, the key elements of her tech stack that she couldn’t live without, and much more.
- The most important part of setting strategy for the year is doing so in close partnership with your sales team. Name the targets that are must-wins for the year and talk openly about the personas that you think would be the most engaged in looking at your solution.
- As a marketer, you have to bring hard numbers to the discussion. The burden is on you to arm yourself with data and information so you can have the right conversations with your partners.
- Forget everything you learned in school or business school about demand generation. Even the things you may have learned a year or two ago are probably out of date. The space is evolving so quickly that the best way to learn is to talk to your peers in demand gen leadership.
The reality is when you go out and try to put your strategy to work in the market, you realize that every bullet, sub-bullet, and tiny little word in your plan can take months to execute and actually even longer to execute successfully…there's a very large crevasse between thinking about the answer and actually operationalizing the answer and making it successful.
Sometimes we make this huge mistake of saying, all right, I'm going to go bid on Google AdWords and put up a ton of money and then I'll feed those leads to the sales organization. Then what you often hear back is all of those leads were low quality. What's important is to start with the strategy first and then know that all the channels and all the technologies that you have in your arsenal are in service to that strategy.
Our goal here is to have the closest partnership with sales on the strategy up front, determine the right channels to reach those accounts–whether that's through targeted events, digital channels or a content strategy–and be the domain leader for the keywords and the topics that we care the most about.
I'm a big proponent of really leading with content and thought leadership to earn the right to be able to have a conversation with your prospects. It's less about pushing messages and ads, and more about answering customer questions and being helpful to them and earning the right to speak to them.
You still have to put money in Google AdWords and you still have to own and absolutely dominate the keywords in your category and your space. It’s about shoring up the moat. If someone were to cut my Google AdWords, I would say we just lost our competitive moat and it can take a long time to earn that back.
Technology is changing so fast in software, and so much is changing so quickly, that marketing has a responsibility to not only keep up with those changes, but to be an educator and a trusted informer to the market, because unless your buyers understand this quickly changing space, they're not going to be equipped to make purchase decisions with the right information.
(2:12) Vidya’s first job in demand gen
- Started career at Bain in strategy consulting, which set her up with an ability to break problems down into a linear way
- Then, first job in demand gen was selling support plans for a dying desktop product back when desktop was dying in favor of cloud
- Learning to sell in a variety of contexts and channels, like brick and mortar retail, telesales, website and advertising was very valuable
- But when moving into demand gen, it’s not as easy as just putting the plan into practice
- Large crevice between thinking about the answer and operationalizing the answer and making it successful
- Learned more in her first demand gen job than she had in all her working years before
(5:27) Why Marqueta
- She was attracted to Marqueta because it was solving an age old problem in a whole new way
- If you think of some of the most disruptive companies of the last decade, like Uber, Square, Instacart, DoorDash, Cashapp… at the heart of their business model is the movement and exchange of money.
- Marqeta is powering that movement, which was fascinating for her
(7:10) What Marketing Looks Like at Marqeta
- Since she joined Marqueta, has built out the marketing org, putting in fundamental pillars of product marketing, corporate marketing, rethinking demand generation and go-to-market, putting in pieces for creative design and web development
- 3 principles at heart of marketing:
- 1) Build the best tech stack. Since they are a modern card-issuing platform, the way they go to market should be as advanced as their own platform is
- 2) Build out modern thought leadership that’s useful to their customers in order to be a category creator
- 3) Whole marketing org is focused on not boiling the ocean but being relevant to target customers, being where the conversation is
(10:18) Who Makes Up Marqeta's Target Market
- They market to commerce disruptors, anyone disrupting a large existing space, they need a modern card issuing platform, like Instacart, Klarna, Grubhub
- They serve digital banks and large financial institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase
- This is an enormous opportunity, expected to grow to $80 trillion in next 5 years
(11:29) Setting a Demand Gen Strategy
- She starts with sitting down with sales and figuring out the customers that are their must wins for the year, naming those companies, industries, personas that would be the most engaged in looking for a modern card platform
- It can be easy to make the mistake of feeding a lot of money into Google AdWords and resulting in low quality leads without setting a more specific strategy
- Decide on target accounts and figure out the right way to reach those accounts; is it by joining them where they are, where those conversations are happening? Or are they better reached through digital channels, targeting a specific buyer persona through intent campaigns?
(16:12) Vidya’s Three Uncuttable Budget Items
- Starts with technology - it’s at the foundation of her marketing house. Marketo, Salesforce are critical to marketing operations, Terminus and Engagio ensure most targeted, high quality marketing
- Content - she is a big proponent of leading with content and thought leadership to earn the right to have a conversation with your prospects. Less about pushy ads, more about answering customer questions
- Google AdWords - we must own and absolutely dominate the keywords in our category, that’s our competitive moat
(18:03) What Types of Content She Focuses On
- Content varies significantly by what stage they are at in the journey
- At the beginning of the journey, they focus on educational content, what it looks like to navigate this new space
- Then deeper in the journey, her marketing team talks about what people should be thinking about when choosing a provider and how to make the business case internally
- Third stage, they talk about Marqeta's capabilities, their platform, what distinguishes them
- Final step, they present case studies, showing how customers have benefited from they platform, industry by industry
- The content varies and the format varies, but some are better suited for top of funnel than others
- It’s so important to have vertical-specific content and really high quality customer stories so that buyers can resonate with the use cases
(24:53) What She Hasn’t Seen ROI For in Her Marketing Career
- Has yet to see someone do personalization well, has yet to see the promise match the reality
- The level of lift you have to do to personalize your website and content person to person, hasn’t shown to pay off, no ROI for it yet
- Does not see ROI for paid content placement. There are often great opportunities for paid placements in big magazines, for example, but readers seem to discount them right away, so she always passes
- She believes instead in creating such great content that you earn the right to be in these spaces
(28:03) Trends She’s Excited About for 2021
- Fintech has exploded, so marketing is going to play an increasingly bigger role as an educator
- Marketing has a responsibility to be a trusted informer to the market, so buyers can be equipped to make purchasing decisions
(29:37) Favorite and Least Favorite Campaigns She’s Seen Recently
- Favorite: Uber’s Stay Home campaign, which was very timely, clear and inspiring
- Least favorite: Companies that go after competitors who have suffered because of the pandemic, taking advantage of vulnerable moments
(34:05) Bringing the Numbers
- As a marketer you have to bring the numbers to the discussion
- Arm yourself with the information so you can have the right conversations with your partners
(36:18) Quick Hits: Getting to Know Vidya
- She moved to Amsterdam in May 2020
- She got integrated into the city by signing up for a language class, volunteering at her childrens’ school to make new connections, and leaning into her network to see if friends had friends to introduce her to
- She also read 6 books about living, talking to and working with Dutch people
- Biggest habit she’s picked up during shelter-in-place: reading (Yuval Harari, Little Fires Everywhere and a series about happiness)
(39:32) Advice to a New CMO
- Forget everything you learned in school about demand generation, because the space is quickly evolving
- Instead, reach out to demand gen leaders that you admire, and learn from your peers
- What you may have learned a year or two ago is probably out of date now because the space is quickly changing
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