Grant Johnson
ROI of Everything: The Playbook of a 4-time Tech CMO
Grant discusses his holistic view of marketing, encompassing the four key levers and how they work together in an integrated marketing framework, as well as why the best strategies are customer-focused, how to be adaptable in applying your playbook, and much more.
Emburse humanizes work by empowering business travelers, finance professionals and CFOs to eliminate manual, time-consuming tasks so they can focus on what matters most. Emburse brings together some of the world’s most powerful and trusted expense and AP automation solutions, including Abacus, Captio, Certify, Chrome River, Nexonia and Tallie. The company’s innovative offerings, which are uniquely tailored for specific industries, company sizes, and geographies, are trusted by more than 4.5 million users in more than 120 countries. Over 14,000 customers, from start-ups to global enterprises, including Boot Barn, Grant Thornton, Telefónica, Lufthansa Systems, and Toyota rely on Emburse to make faster, smarter decisions, empower business travelers to recapture lost nights and weekends spent doing tedious expense management, and help make users’ lives -- and their businesses -- better.
INDUSTRY
Computer Software
FOUNDED
2020

Guest Bio

As chief marketing officer, Grant leads global marketing for Emburse, overseeing marketing strategies, programs and tactics designed to increase market leadership, generate demand and enhance customer advocacy.

Grant has a storied history working in senior marketing roles for some of the best-known brands in technology, including FileNet/IBM, Symantec and Toshiba. Before joining Emburse, Grant was CMO of cybersecurity company Cylance (acquired by BlackBerry). Prior to that, he was the CMO of Kofax and CMO of Pegasystems.

Episode Summary

This episode features an interview with Grant Johnson, CMO of Emburse. Grant is a four-time tech CMO with 20+ years of success in scaling marketing operations and building profitable global businesses. He was brought in last year to lead the group of six travel and expense management software vendors that came together as Emburse to challenge the industry incumbent. On this episode, Grant discusses his holistic view of marketing, encompassing the four key levers and how they work together in an integrated marketing framework, as well as why the best strategies are customer-focused, how to be adaptable in applying your playbook, and much more.

Key Takeaways

  • Templates, tools, and playbooks are great frameworks to start from, but they’re not the actual roadmap. Keep an open mind and be willing to adapt your playbook as circumstances change.
  • Closed-won is the key metric. Marketing’s mindset has to be that volume of leads and MQLs don’t matter if sales doesn’t make the quarter.
  • The best practices and strategies are customer-focused. You’re more likely to be successful if you understand the pain points and personas and align content and communications to the buyer's journey.

Quotes

“My philosophy is the ROI of everything. If you can't project what a return is, I'm not spending that dollar…Pre-COVID, I cut between a half million and a million dollars out of events because they were harder to measure and they didn't prove to deliver the ROI. When COVID hit and I put the brakes on in-person events, it took me about five seconds to redeploy those dollars into digital channels.”
“I tend to look at marketing very holistically. I don't think I can talk about demand gen without talking about what I consider the four primary levers, all working together to help demand gen work optimally. The levers are brand, communications, product marketing, and demand gen, and they really should ideally be part of an integrated marketing framework…those are the levers that really drive a company's positioning, opportunity, and ultimately its success.”
“For me, the best practices and strategies start with a customer focus…As a head of marketing, that's where I've had the most success. What I consider the foundational work is if we understand the pain points, the buyer personas, and we align our content and our communications to the buyer's journey, we're more likely to engage successfully, create opportunities, nurture and progress those opportunities, and win that business.”

“We have a high level of complexity because of our tailored solutions; my team is not creating holistic demand, we're creating specific demand…so we really have to understand a day in their life, what their watering holes are, what they're going to respond to…Is the value proposition resonating? Is the messaging resonating? By taking that very customer-centric, persona-specific approach, we’ve found that our demand gen tactics have worked better.”

Episode Transcript

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