NewCo, sales and marketing, SalesMarketing

Marketing Change Agents: The MassTLC Sales and Marketing Conference

By: Steve Robins, Principal, Solution Marketing Strategies

As much as last week’s MassTLC sales and marketing conference
focused on the customer journey, it also focused on the topic of “change.”
Of course, “change” is a core element of marketing and especially
modern marketing. Marketers have always focused on changing buyer and customer
behavior. But the conference covered many of the other ways that change flows
through all of marketing – from exceptional leadership to killer rebranding to
powerful nurture campaigns to more impactful content marketing and beyond.

The day opened with a presentation on “superbosses” by
professor and author Sydney Finkelstein of Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School.
Finkelstein described several characteristics of superbosses: they find, teach,
and motivate people (who may have unusual talents or backgrounds) to accomplish
the seemingly impossible.  And they
cultivate networks of former employees. 
Even more impressive is their focus on change.  Superbosses often drive change throughout
their organizations, creating new opportunities and challenging their employees
to change and achieve exceptional results. 
Perhaps most important of all, they create organizations that are not
built to stay the same, but to constantly change, evolve, and thrive over time. 
Next we heard from an impressive panel of real, live change agents
that was moderated by Sheryl Schultz, President of CabinetM: Kathie Johnson, VP
of Corporate Marketing at Demandware; startup advisor, angel investor and
former HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe; and professor Finkelstein.  Panelists described their own superboss
traits in real-life: how they may hire for capability more than experience –
which forces HR to adapt, that it’s OK to let employees leave to create great
things elsewhere and perhaps even bring you along with them, and that hiring
people smarter than you can actually enable you to move up to your next role, and
much more.
Here are highlights from three of the many change-oriented breakouts
that followed.
Inside a
B2B Brand Revitalization

Robin Saitz, CMO at Brainshark

One of the biggest changes a company
can undertake is a rebranding project like Brainshark’s recently unveiled rebranding.  Over the last few years, as Brainshark had
evolved from a product orientation to a focus on enterprise business value, it
had outgrown its brand.  The big
question: should they overhaul the company name or just change the branding and
Saitz says that “The role of
brand is to convey what you do and how you do it in a way that is both rational
and emotional.  You want to make those
connections.”   Brand
encompasses what you do and how you do it, what customers can expect from you,
and the quality of your products and services. 
Robin walked through the rebranding process from start to finish – from
agency selection, intelligence gathering, content development, and launch.  She shared the opportunities, surprises, and challenges
of rebranding.  A few tips from the

  • External agencies can often provide deeper intelligence (research) than would be possible with internal people
  •  Let the intelligence guide your decisions.  Saitz’s initial hypothesis was that Brainshark would need to rename the company. But they learned that their existing name had a strong positive association, so they did not need to change it.  Similarly she had reservations about the color red in their new logo, but testing showed it to be a positive, especially when compared against their competitors.
  • Get internal people to buy into the change and get excited – from the C-suite to everyone on the front lines, since people often represent the brand.

Data-Driven Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing

Muduli, Director of Customer Lifecycle Marketing at Carbonite

With so much talk of the buyer’s
journey and customer funnel, it’s easy to think that one size fits all
companies.  Biju’s presentation showed
how Carbonite uses a customer journey that works right for their business. 
Carbonite thinks of the complete customer lifecycle stages even
though people may jump in at different places based on their needs and
awareness of Carbonite.  Their lifecycle
follows the prospect/trialer through discover, consider, and evaluate and then customer
purchase, use, renewal and cross-sell/up-sell. 
And they use different tools, tactics and techniques for each stage.
They have also developed several tactics that have changed
customer behavior for the better:
  • In-application alerts encourage users to
    convert from trial to purchase.
  • Retargeting ads provide discounted offers to
    those who visit pages but don’t buy.
  • Monthly summaries show usage and provide tips
    to get trial users and customers deeper into the product.
  • A mix of automated personal and corporate
    emails achieve scale and improve response rates.

Content Strategy to the Modern Customer Journey
Gary DeAsi, Senior Manager of Digital
Marketing & Brand and Ryan Pinkham, Content Marketing Manager at SmartBear

Gary and Ryan described how they changed SmartBear’s content
approach from “random acts of content” to deliberate content creation
and broader usage in campaigns.  They
showed how each piece of content should have a purpose and an objective in order
to maximize the yield from the content that they create and use.
DeAsi and Pinkham described how they had adopted a customer
journey stages model encompassing prospect engagement, education, research,
evaluation, justification; and customer purchase, adoption, retention,
expansion, and advocacy.
Next they advised attendees on how to plan content with the
customer journey in mind, by developing metrics, goals and objectives, a content
audit, and finally, a content plan. 
Pinkham described how he had conducted a comprehensive content audit to
identify content strengths and weaknesses in each stage of the customer journey.
Next they showed attendees how to align multi-channel content
distribution.  For example, some types of
content can be used across different customer stages.  And they wrapped up by discussing key metrics
for each part of the funnel.
The Next Can’t Miss MassTLC Event

On April 27, MassTLC will debut the NewCo Boston business
festival.  Started by Wired Magazine
founder John Battelle, NewCo combines the best of an open studio tour and a
business conference, with the excitement of a music festival.
Over 75 of Massachusetts’ most innovative companies are
participating in this unique event by opening their doors for a one-hour
experiential session and sharing their innovation story. Participants include
Wayfair, Care.com, Startup Institute, Greentown Labs, and Localytics. Sign up to attend today!

Steve Robins is the principal
of Solution Marketing Strategies, a strategic marketing
 that helps companies to better understand and market to their
customers through targeted research, segmentation, solutions, messaging, sales
tools and demand generation. For the last 15 years, Steve Robins has been
transforming technology firms into market-leading, customer-focused solution
providers. Steve has held senior marketing roles at FirstBest Systems, EMC,
Documentum, and KANA Software. An industry thought-leader, Steve started the
top-rated solution marketing blog, writes a CMO-focused marketing tech column for TechTarget, helped grow ProductCamp Boston into
the second largest such event in the world, and was an analyst at the Yankee

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