Alex Lee, Marketing, Patrick Rafter, Prashant Kaw, sales and marketing, UNCON2015, unConference

unCon 2015 Session: How Many Marketers Does it Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?

By Patrick Rafter (Principal and Co-Founder, Rafter
Communications, and longtime MassTLC Ambassador, Blogger, @prafter)

Moderators: Alex Lee, Head of Marketing (Cantina) and Prashant Kaw, VP of Marketing
Alex Lee (L) and Prashant Kaw (R) Leading “Marketing Track Session, 2015 unConference
sessions of the 2015 MassTLC Innovation unConference brought a new
element of thematic structure missing from unConfs of years’ past: #unConf15
participants were offered an assortment of 6 role/interest-defined tracks and
invited to “ find the track that’s right for you.”  While sessions for CEOs, Customer Success,
Technology/Development and other roles were compelling, I joined the well-attended
“Marketing” session.
Ably moderated
by marketing gurus Prashant Kaw of Codeship and Cantina’s Alex
(who dubbed himself
someone who evolved into marketing after prior sales/biz dev roles with
Forrester, HP Autonomy and eRoom), the “No Agenda” Marketing session attracted
circa 50 people from companies large and small; more than one-third of whom
work full time in marketing.
While Prashant
and Alex did an admirable job of trying to capture and distill the group
members’ interests into some sort of action plan, given that marketers are well
known as formidable idea generators— it wasn’t surprising that more than 30
different subtopics were suggested by the session’s loquacious attendees and by
the two moderators!
The first
half-hour of the session centered on an interactive discussion of which topics
we might discuss during remaining hour. 
Suggested subjects came from both Alex & Prashant, and from the
group itself.
Organizers’ suggested subjects:
  • Marketing & Sales….Who should get more money
  • Managing and growing talent
  • Building an “A” team
  • Marketing my new startup
  • Who owns the customer journey? (Sales? Marketing? Customer Service?)
  • How many leads does sales lead
  • What’s in the marketing technology stack? (Free and paid tools/services)
  • The Subscription Economy SaaS
  • Transform my marketing

Topics suggested by group members:
  • Marketing
    & Sales: Can’t we just get along?
  • User
    acquisition for B2B and B2C businesses
  • Strategies
    for segmented marketing (vertical, horizontal foci, etc.)
  • Content
    marketing — a buzzword that needs to die!!
  • Campaign
    marketing or drum-beat outreach
  • Metrics that matter
  • Monetizing
    social media
  • Marketing
    for solopreneurs
  • Personable
    marketing vs. personalized marketing 

Marketing Sub-Group Breakout Session:
At 10:45AM, the large group broke into two equally-sized subgroups, led by
moderators to tackle as much as we could impossibly, collectively cover in one
hour! J
The subgroup I
joined (led by Alex Lee), was a spirited collection of people who are both
experienced marketers, but who also showed they’re perplexed by rapid changes
and possibilities foisted upon them through new marketing technologies and
As someone
who’s worked in tech marketing/PR for 30+ yrs., our discussion of the “Brave
New World” of Marketing brought to mind the fun cartoon (shown below) from @TheSpine Blogger David Waywell (better known
by his pen name, Stan Madeley). 
It was a
thoroughly interesting hour — chock-a-block with great insights, real-world
findings, from people who’ve been there/done that and are looking to the
Three of the Marketing
Track’s most resonant themes:
1)         What
IS marketing success?

Posed by Chris Carleton(Principal and Co-Founder of CHEN-PR,
longtime MassTLC corporate sponsor), the group shared their thoughts and
findings on the most incontrovertible measurable and intangible elements to
track and work toward to achieve marketing success. Alex Lee coaxed us all to
reveal our perspectives on “metrics that matter” (beyond simply driving
2)         Organizational
Building upon
the group’s consensus that marketing and sales organizations can often be out
of synch with one another, Allison Parker
(Digital Lumens Director of Marketing/Microsoft & Lotus alumna), emphasized
the importance of seeking alignment up and down the entire organization about
marketing. Businesses succeed when sales management and CXOs understand what
marketing can do/how it can best be integrated with other departments. We
discussed how third-party facilitators are helpful in running constructive
dialog to bring disparate internal organizations together for effective
3)         Building
Customer Trust
Echoing a theme
that @TimeTrade CEO Gary Ambrosino detailed in his 2012 presentation “Selling at the Speed of Trust” — building and maintaining trust with
customers was a recurrent topic at this unConf session. Describing it as
something he learned as a salesperson-turned-marketer, Alex Lee proclaimed
“it’s all about trust” – and session members nodded their head in agreement,
chiming in with comments on that Milennials don’t like to be “sold to,” on
delivering truly valuable and welcome content marketing material, and on the
importance of listening to customers and tracking “tone of voice.”
My take away from the session?
Lots of smart people work in tech marketing and sales in Massachusetts. Full of
great ideas, MassTLC marketers are pursuing new marketing strategies that are
simultaneously help their companies better connect and engage with prospects
and customers, while also driving brand awareness and revenues.

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