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Part 6: Top CMOs Share Their Uncuttable Demand Gen Budget Items

This is part six in our special mini-series, Uncuttable. Tune in to hear from top marketing leaders as they reveal the demand gen budget items they can’t live without.

Industry
Founded
Website
Top CMOs

Guest Bio

Part six of this special mini-series features 12 CMOs and marketing leaders from some of the world's fastest-growing companies.

  • (3:20) - Anthony Kennada, CMO, Hopin 
  • (7:30) - Nikhil Behl, CMO, FICO
  • (9:05) - Heidi Bullock, CMO, Tealium
  • (11:11) - Alon Alroy, CMO, Bizzabo
  • (12:30) - Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing, Vidyard
  • (13:55) - Kevin Tate, CMO, Clearbit
  • (15:05) - Karen Steele, SVP of Marketing, Near
  • (18:40) - Ritu Kapoor & Julie Ginn, CMO and VP of Demand Gen, Lob
  • (20:21) - Mark Josephson, Co-Founder and CEO, Castiron 
  • (22:20) - Eugene Levin, Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer, Semrush

Guest Bio

Part six of this special mini-series features 12 CMOs and marketing leaders from some of the world's fastest-growing companies.

  • (3:20) - Anthony Kennada, CMO, Hopin 
  • (7:30) - Nikhil Behl, CMO, FICO
  • (9:05) - Heidi Bullock, CMO, Tealium
  • (11:11) - Alon Alroy, CMO, Bizzabo
  • (12:30) - Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing, Vidyard
  • (13:55) - Kevin Tate, CMO, Clearbit
  • (15:05) - Karen Steele, SVP of Marketing, Near
  • (18:40) - Ritu Kapoor & Julie Ginn, CMO and VP of Demand Gen, Lob
  • (20:21) - Mark Josephson, Co-Founder and CEO, Castiron 
  • (22:20) - Eugene Levin, Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer, Semrush

Episode Summary

In each episode, we ask our marketing-leader guests which three areas of investment are most important to their demand gen initiatives. Tune into this special mini-series to hear the budget items our CMO guests can’t live without!

Find parts one, two, three, four, & five.

Key Takeaways

While every CMO had their own unique "uncuttable" budget items, there were three that were consistently mentioned as top priorities:

  • Your website is the front door to your brand and customers interact directly with your brand, making it one of your most vital investments. 
  • Gone are the days of events where attendees hear a guest speaker and then leave. Events of the future need to be an immersive experience that leaves guests feeling transformed - this requires a mindset shift and careful investment. 
  • Investing in content creation can deliver more value over time vs. renting an audience.

Quotes

“In order to win in B2B marketing, you have to take the brand seriously. I can imagine some folks listening in your audience might roll their eyes because branded B2B typically meant corporate marketing, which meant whatever budget scraps go to the rest of the team after demand gets their budget to hit the number, right? It's so much more. Brand is the statement of why an audience should pay attention to your company. What do you stand for? What is the change you want to see in the world and how do you really leverage it?” - Anthony Kennada, former CMO, Hopin

“Being front and center with your customer and adding value to that customer - that's really the lens that I use in answering your question. So, our website is our number one way of actually telling our story of interacting with our customers and providing value to our customers. That's incredibly important and not something that we would cut.” - Nikhil Behl, CMO, FICO

“Recently with the pandemic, we do some really nice high-tailored virtual event experiences, almost like a field event, but they happen virtually. We're starting to do some of those in person, depending on our audience and if they're okay with that. I think for us in enterprise selling, we include customers and people that we're hoping to sell to, and I think the combination of that has been incredible for not necessarily a huge investment. That goes a very long way.” - Heidi Bullock, CMO, Tealium

“To provide this immersive experience in which people feel connected and feel transformed from attendees to participants, you really need a lot of technology to do that - but it is not just about technology. It's a mindset that the days of you coming or attending an event, listening to content and leaving are done. The term of needs have changed. Today, people will attend because of the experience, then because of the networking, and then because of the content last.” - Alon Alroy, CMO, Bizzabo

“It's a very general topic, but content, content, and content [is uncuttable]. It’s so important both for inbound and thought leadership, but also as a mechanism to support email marketing programs, direct campaigns, as well as the sales team by empowering them with tools that they can use as part of their direct sales process.” - Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing, Vidyard

“Webinars and events continue to be great ways for us to sort of meet new people and bring people into the Clearbit funnel. It's funny - one hypothesis I have as an industry participant, people used to go to a show and just sort of be there but feel connected and have that sense of collectivity. Now, I think to an extent, webinars and virtual events serve some of that role. They've been really effective for us.” - Kevin Tate, CMO, Clearbit

“It sounds obvious but you have to understand your audience. Whether you call it personas or segmentation… you have to be super in touch with the customer that you buy from. For me, this is usually led by a product marketing function that does a really good job on defining the types of buyers, the types of personas, why they care, how you sell to them, what the differentiation is, how our competitors will talk to them, etc.” - Karen Steele, SVP of Marketing, Near

“For us, thought leadership content is really important. We are helping transform a legacy industry. We're helping bring it into the future. It's important for us to really educate our buyers on how best to use direct mail, on the advantages of direct mail, on how to pivot to direct as digital becomes more saturated on how to really get the most out of the product.” - Ritu Kapoor, CMO, Lob

“We are obviously going to say direct mail, but it's because we've already seen a lot of success when we combine it with other strategies. For years, I've been relying heavily on email but what I've seen is we've had such a better pickup if we use postcards along with email.” - Julie Ginn, VP of Demand Gen, Lob

“My very first hire was a content creator, organic SEO. Period. Full stop. It's the thing we've spent the most money on, the most time on, and I've seen the greatest return on. I don't believe in renting an audience. I want to invest in content and resources that deliver more value over time. It is cost-effective and low cost to acquire, but also again, creates just real value if you do it right for your customers.” - Mark Josephson, CEO and Co-Founder, Castiron

“You can run ads, especially search ads. But, if you need to create new demand, if you need to explain to people why they should care about problems that your product is solving - then you need to create content. Figure out how to get their attention, how to make them read your blog posts or watch your videos. That's the tricky part.” - Eugene Levin, Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer, Semrush 


Episode Highlights

Episodes Transcript

While every CMO had their own unique "uncuttable" budget items, there were three that were consistently mentioned as top priorities:

  • Your website is the front door to your brand and customers interact directly with your brand, making it one of your most vital investments. 
  • Gone are the days of events where attendees hear a guest speaker and then leave. Events of the future need to be an immersive experience that leaves guests feeling transformed - this requires a mindset shift and careful investment. 
  • Investing in content creation can deliver more value over time vs. renting an audience.
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