Juniper's CMO on Creating a Demand Gen AI Engine

In this week’s episode of the Demand Gen Visionaries podcast, Juniper Networks CMO Mike Marcellin talks AI, competition, and sales/marketing alignment.

Juniper's CMO on Creating a Demand Gen AI Engine
Maura Rivera
Maura Rivera
August 5, 2020
min read
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Apple Podcast LinkGoogle Podcast LinkSpotify Podcast Link

This week on the Demand Gen Visionaries podcast, we sat down with Mike Marcellin, the Chief Marketing Officer of $8B silicon valley tech pioneer Juniper Networks.

Juniper Networks has been a household name in the Silicon Valley since the turn of the century, when it burst onto the scene. The company sells networking products, including routers, switches, network management software, network security products, and software-defined networking technology to thousands of businesses around the world and their gear powers the data centers that run the Internet and the cloud services we all know and love. Juniper now has more than 8,000 employees.

Juniper Networks CMO Mike Marcellin sits down with Demand Gen Visionaries presented by

So what’s the secret to the demand gen machine at Juniper? A big part is the structure of a global team. He noted that when you run a large organization the key is to centralize what you can and distribute what you must. Tune in to Mike's episode and hear how he’s structures his group, and more, including:

  • How Juniper approaches pipeline generation for direct sales and channel partners
  • How the team structure enables him to drive campaigns centrally and take them locally
  • The importance of having demand gen personnel truly understand the product they are marketing
  • The playbook and his top 3 uncuttable campaigns
  • The new world of virtual events and how he split tested two virtual events at once
  • AI and it's impact on a data-driven demand gen organization

Want to skip ahead to the highlights? Check out these can’t-miss moments.

Episode Highlights

1:45 Getting Started in Demand Gen

  • One of my philosophies is that everyone in marketing is in demand gen, everyone should be generating revenue for the company
  • I’ve always had 1 foot in demand gen, but first time owning the function was when I became CMO at Juniper
  • Juniper came up serving only a few hundred huge customers, but as the company evolved and broadened their reach outside of telecom, it was the time to double down in demand gen

3:00 What is Juniper, Who Do You Serve?

  • Juniper provides network security for IT networks for the largest organizations
  • The typical go to buyer is the CIO or CTO
  • Buying centers have evolved, and now its about line of business
  • The network and IT are mission critical as every company has a digital transformation imperative, so the world we play in has become more strategic to the CEO and the board

4:45 Demand Gen Strategy

  • Obviously the goal is to drive as much pipe for the business
  • For direct sales and channel partners, and there’s nothing more powerful than handing them a lead that turns into a sale
  • The relationship with sales is absolutely critical, we have to understand their sales strategies and help lead them into new markets
  • All parts of our team need to understand the marketing strategy and be strongly interconnected

6:02 The Demand Gen Team

  • Juniper’s founder has a saying “centralize what you can, distribute what you must”
  • We have a central demand gen team that lives and breathes the targets
  • They are creating the campaigns, the frameworks, the personas, the product marketing portfolio and prioritizing where we focus
  • Distributed teams are field marketing whose job it is to land those campaigns in their respective markets, languages, cultures, and more
  • The hybrid model is key to solving the last mile and brining the campaigns to a local level
  • Demand gen has become so much more of a science in the last few years, but data science is only valuable if you can make business sense of the data
  • Robust data knowledge is super important, and demand gen leaders need to be conversant with data
  • One skill that has to be there is data proficiency
  • You have to understand what resonates with potential buyers, but you need to be proficient with the product, the portfolio of solutions and what we sell, and use the language that is going to resonate with the buyer

10:00 Importance of Understanding the Product

  • We are ultimately accountable to revenue for the company
  • Our goal is to engage customers and prospects and monitor their buying signals
  • We need to monitor when leads are warm enough to pass them to sales
  • Our demand gen marketers can’t be so in the weeds that we turn people off in the initial conversation, the first conversation is “why should I even be talking to you?”
  • What is the higher order business value that is going to resonate with a CIO?
  • Our top campaign right now is called “Lets Get Real” which is about quantifiable business metrics with our buyer the CIO

13:30 New Logos and Key Accounts

  • We have a set of names accounts but marketing doesn’t take credit for upsells in these existing named accounts, we call these “sales assists”
  • As a demand gen team we focus on new logos and new business
  • Our sales teams would rather nurture existing relationships.  Knocking on new doors is tough work and that’s what marketing can do at scale

15:50 The Importance of your Website

  • Our website is the hub of our demand gen strategy
  • It’s always an opportunity to engage with a prospective buyer,  whether that leads to an immediate opportunity or it helps them learn and start their journey
  • We own 100% of the ad space on our website
  • All of our tactics point people back to the website, it’s absolutely critical
  • People aren’t necessarily coming to our website to be sold, but it is an opportunity to engage and improve the customer experience
  • We have turned up conversational marketing and chatbots with AI that are designed to learn and get more effective about engaging with prospects
  • We knew we would learn and the technology would learn.  Bots can answer some basic questions but the more difficult questions we had off to a sales person
  • If SDRs have cycles they can reach our proactively to connect, which is a rethink about how we approach the buyers journey

21:00 The Playbook

  • The areas that are super important and uncuttable are chat on our website and our martech stack all around including data science
  • Many of our competitors can outspend us, so we have to be super smart and super targeted
  • We have to out-smart the competition because we can’t outspend them
  • Our data science team is uncuttable
  • Content is uncuttable because we have to have the expertise at every stage of the funnel
  • Virtual events have been extremely important now in today’s environment, it’s absolutely critical post COVID we need to double down in this area
  • It’s so easy to fall into the trap of saying “marketing blah blah” saying the same generic things that any vendor might say
  • What you say has to be timely, relevant, cut through the clutter, and show how you’re going to deliver value to the customer in a quantifiable way

24:45 On Virtual Events

  • Content is king, but how you deliver that virtually is the key because everyone is so tired of sitting through virtual meetings
  • You can’t replicate the in person experience, but in virtual events content needs to be quick hitting, modular, and you need to show the product, not just slides
  • Build in fun! We engage a group of prospects and bring in a wine tasting with a master sommelier or a virtual chef or bring in a new form of engagement
  • We A/B split tested and ran 2 different types of events, the online registration was more than all of the in person events we ran last year combined, and on average the attendees listed through 5 or more sessions, pretty successful
  • These events are about starting conversations that lead to revenue down the line
  • You can’t shove senior level executives like CIOs into your standard digital nurture streams, everything has to be personalized

30:30 AI and Demand Generation

  • We have market leading AI solutions so AI has to be part of our strategy
  • We have made the investment in data and it’s set us up to be a leader in AI
  • Excited about the opportunities to do better segment and targeting, dynamic content recommendations, and how the entire sales process can change
  • If you map the entire sales process, so much of what used to be touchpoints with salespeople can be re-imagined and automated
  • Websites are a crucial part of this and can be reimagined as far as their role in the customer journey
  • Marketing should not hoard data, I mean, marketing is sitting on a mountain of data, why don't we share this with sales in the spirit of complete transparency
  • Our marketing bot is an always on marketing colleague that surfaces up when there is some information or something to be shared

38:00 The Dust Up

  • There certainly are times where people need to be educated, I call them learning opportunities
  • Sales, marketing, the CEO...we’re all trying to do the same things
  • Any dust up is an opportunity to communicate, to educate, and to understand one another in a larger company this is crucial.
  • Let's talk about the objectives, the metrics, and how we benefit one another

40:00 Quick Hits, Getting to Know Mike

  • During shelter in place, we had the luxury of spending more time with my daughter and cycling
  • If I wasn't in tech I have passion around education - 10,000 degrees is an org that I support - with a focus on education and making college dreams come true
  • Juniper has been global sponsor of  the world robot olympiad, investing in the next generation of world leaders and engineers
  • Word of advice: invest in the data before you invest in your martech stack.  The company that gets the data right is going to have a competitive advantage

Episode Quotes:

“If we do our job right, we'll eventually get to a conversation about technology, but the first goal is: Why should I be talking to you? What's in it for me? How's it going to help my business?”
“AI is worthless without data. The more data, the better the AI can be, and the more value you can deliver.”
“Centralize what you can, and distribute what you must. It’s pretty profound because obviously, we know the benefits of centralization that you can get from efficiency, But you also realize that, at times, you do have to distribute things if there's a strong, compelling reason to do so.”
“Many of our competitors are much larger and will outspend us from a marketing perspective. And for that matter, from a sales perspective. They'll have more feet on the street. So we have to be super smart and super targeted, effectively outsmart them, because we can't outspend them.”
“This has become much more of a science over the years, and with the amount of data that we now have at our fingertips, that can be hugely valuable to making demand gen successful. But it's only valuable if you have people that can make sense of that data.”

Ready to hear from more Demand Gen Visionaries? You can find all episodes here.

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