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Mike Marcellin
Mike Marcellin
Utilizing A Demand Gen AI Engine with Juniper Networks CMO
Mike unveils the the benefits of having an automated system that assists in segmentation & targeting - and how the entire sales process can change.
Juniper Networks, Inc. is an American-multinational corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. The company develops and markets networking products, including routers, switches, network management software, network security products, and software-defined networking technology.
INDUSTRY
High Tech
FOUNDED
1996

Guest Bio

Mike Marcellin is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Juniper Networks—leading the global marketing team responsible for their product and services portfolio. He’s also responsible for stewarding the brand, driving preference for Juniper in the market, training their partners and account teams, and developing a differentiated-information experience for their customers.

Episode Summary

Mike Marcellin, CMO of Juniper Networks, dives into the AI framework that Juniper implements to create unique customer experiences, how they ensure interactions with B2B partners are memorable, and the value of information sharing between company departments for teams to learn cross-functional findings.

Key Takeaways

  • Competition in the marketplace is inevitable. Working smarter than competitors with larger budgets can put you in the same league.
  • When the market throws you curveballs, try to take advantage of every situation—even if, on the surface, it doesn’t seem ideal. It can benefit your business in ways you didn’t expect.
  • The more data, the better the AI. Focus on accurate data to give the customer a seamless experience.
  • Make the opportunity of demand gen count. When an interested customer comes to you with questions, show them how you can help their business.
  • Emphasize the importance of digital assets as you think about automating the customer journey.

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.”

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 oppty 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 ho 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 Transcript

 Ian Faison: [00:00:00] Welcome to demand gen visionaries, me and phase on host of demand, gen visionaries and CEO at Caspian studios. Today, we have special guests, Mike, what's going on. I am doing great. Well, it's been a while since we spoke last and the world has changed, but it's your first time coming on. Demand gen visionaries.

We're so excited to have you on to talk through your demand gen background as, as a part of your career. So let's get into it. What was your first job either unofficial or official in dominion?

Mike Marcellin: [00:00:33] Well, I guess I would say me and one of my philosophies about demand gen has always been that everyone certainly in marketing and even, maybe even in functions beyond marketing, need to think about it. Creating demand need to think about how do we help the company sell more stuff. And so, and really all of my marketing roles in the past, I've had at least one foot in demand gen, but honestly, my first true ownership of the function was when I started as CMO here at Juniper.

Again, I had had [00:01:00] tangential roles and it had played a part in it, but I'd never owned under that demand gen engine. Until I took over a CMO here and it was fortuitous timing because you know, the company in a Juniper came up originally serving largest telecom operators and then even more recently cloud operators in the world.

And when you can count your important customers in the one or 200 globally, you know, the role of demand gen isn't quite as important, honestly, you approach them in a different way. But as the company started to evolve and as we started to look at, we need to broaden our reach in the marketplace, focus on many more verticals than the ones we had historically focused on.

That was roundabout the time I was picking up the CMO job. And so it was great timing to really double down in a demand gen function, which, like I said, the company hadn't really done that much of prior.

Ian Faison: [00:01:50] And for those of our listeners who don't know, can you share a little bit more about Juniper networks? Like the type of customers that you work with and the type of personas that you all are selling [00:02:00] into?

Mike Marcellin: [00:02:00] Yeah, absolutely. So Juniper networks is a company that provides networking infrastructure, security infrastructure. Or it networks. And those could be for, you know, a smaller, medium size enterprise all the way up to, as I mentioned, some of the largest telecom operators, cloud companies on the planet. And so we deliver those types of solutions.

It's our typical go-to buyer is the CIO in their organization or the CTO in their organization. Like a lot of companies, centers have certainly broadened and evolved. And so now more and more. It's also about line of business. And I think probably the biggest driver for that evolution nor broadening is just that the network.

And it has just become so much more critical. Every company as a digital transformation imperative, every company is figuring out how to invest in technology to propel their business. And so the world we play in is become more strategic, even just outside of the CIO organization, to the CEO, to the board.

And [00:03:00] so that's, that's given us some more interesting personas that we can go after.

Ian Faison: [00:03:03] Okay, let's get into our first segment here, the trust tree. So this is where you're going to feel honored and trusted in our trust tree here. And you can share your deepest, darkest dimension secrets. So what would you say your demand gen strategy is.

Mike Marcellin: [00:03:21] Well, I mean, ultimately what you're trying to do is you're trying to drive as much pipeline for the business. And again, we're B2B. So you can't necessarily talk to B to C where it might be a little bit different, but for us, we've got a Salesforce, we've got a set of channel partners and there's no more valuable thing that we can do for them.

And to hand them a wonderful lead. That then will convert into a sale. So if you strip it all away, that's what it's about now. You know how you do that. Probably hits on a lot of different dimensions, which I trust we'll talk about today, but yeah, certainly you have to have a really. Close working relationship with your sales colleagues because they're targeting certain customers.

They are focused on [00:04:00] different industries. They see different parts of our portfolio that are, you know, more, any time. So understanding their sales strategies and how we can support them. And in some cases, lead them into new markets is extremely important. And then obviously within the marketing organization, making sure that, you know, we've got all parts of our team across all different functions that have any relevance to demand gen understanding where we're going and strongly interconnected.

I mean, that's been an interesting journey as we figured out, you know, how to optimize a structure of our demand gen function and how we attack it.

Ian Faison: [00:04:37] And how do you organize your team within both the marketing org and then specifically demand gen.

Mike Marcellin: [00:04:42] Yeah, I think back to actually Juniper's founder, how to saying he said it more in an engineering context, but I think it actually applies to a lot of things and that is centralized what you can distribute, what you must, and it's actually pretty profound because obviously we know the benefits of centralization [00:05:00] that you can get from efficiency.

But you also realize that at some times you do have to distribute things if there's a strong, compelling reason to do so. And so we've tried a few different structures over the years, and I think where we've landed is certainly a hybrid. It's not all one single organization, but we do have a single central team that lives and breathes demand gen.

They live and breathe the targets that we've set and they are creating the global campaigns. The frameworks they're thinking through the personas, they're understanding the different parts of our portfolio and even prioritizing our demand gen efforts. And then we have a distributed set of folks. Most notably our field marketing teams who are deployed around the globe alongside our sellers, whose job it is.

It's to really. LAN those demands and campaigns in their respective markets. So they are the closest to the buyers. They understand localization, certainly if there are cultural differences and how we should approach [00:06:00] demand, all of that is best done by people that are closest to those markets. And so it's really.

Kind of that hybrid mode, as much as we can centralize. I think we have, but then leveraging the distributed teams for that last mile. And also by the way, to run some tactics that feed into the demand engine as well. Again, tactics they're best done. Think about when we used to do in person events, which may be at some point we'll get back to, but even as we're doing virtual events, we're doing some of those on a country specific basis, for instance.

And so having those teams run those, that's a contributor to our demand pipeline.

Ian Faison: [00:06:34] Yeah. Years ago, back in the olden days when we used to do an events, seems like so long ago. So as you're looking at your demand gen team, what are the types of folks that you look for? What do you think makes a good demand Jenner?

Mike Marcellin: [00:06:49] Yeah, it's a great question. And a couple of things are certainly true. One is that this has become much more of a science over the years, and with the amount of data that we now have at our [00:07:00] fingertips, that can be hugely valuable to basically making demand gen successful. But it's only valuable if you have people that can make sense of that data.

And so one of the first investments I made a number of years ago when I took over a CFO was in a team of data scientists, and that teams still exist today. And they're not, they're not the ones building the campaigns per se, but they're the ones. First of all, I think our data architecture and creating the platform for us to.

Bring all the data together in one place. And then they're the experts. When we have questions we have to ask about the ROI or efficiency of our campaigns, or they help us with segmentation. And how do we target certain areas of the world or certain industries that really robust data knowledge, I think is super important.

Then even the folks that are the true kind of demand gen campaign architects, campaign builders campaign, executor's have to be pretty conversant nowadays. With data. So if I were looking for one skill that I would say has to be there in all cases, it is data [00:08:00] proficiency. The other one that I think is important is demand gen often sits in between let's call it the product and product marketing world and the sales and customer buyer world.

Which means you have to understand what resonates and is important buyers, potential buyers, but you also have to have be reasonably conversant in our portfolio, in our solutions as a technology company, you know, I don't expect our demand gen people to go into the weeds. On the technology, but they need to understand the portfolio and what it does and why it's valuable.

And then do that pivot and that translation into language, which into demand gen hooks, that a buyer is going to, it's going to resonate with the buyer and can get them engaged so that we can start the process of unfolding and divulging more about why our solutions are the best for them.

Ian Faison: [00:08:47] When you have such a technical product, you know, I mean, I think that that's one of the things that is potentially difficult for a lot of demand gen marketers, is that they don't have a [00:09:00] fundamental understanding of like what the product does or, or maybe not a relationship with the type of customers.

You know, we talk a lot about. How you need to actually get out there and talk to customers and sit in on sales calls and those sorts of things. But how have you approached that in terms of like getting your demand gen team and your broader marketing team, making sure that they're living and breathing the technical details as something that's potentially really complicated.

Mike Marcellin: [00:09:22] Yeah. I mean, I would say you think about for demand gen specifically, ultimately while we're certainly accountable to ultimately revenue for the company. If what we're doing is right. Yielding revenue, then we're doing something wrong, but true accountability kind of is a little bit upstream from that.

And what I mean by that is at least how we're structured. You know, our goal is to engage customers and prospects, to work with them and monitor their buying signals and ultimately get to a point where a lead is warm enough, where pass it over to a sales development rep who an inside sales person or to a partner and on occasion to one of our [00:10:00] outside sales people.

And then they will take it from there. And work that and hopefully ultimately yeah, when the business, and so it's kinda like, like you don't necessarily divulge all the details on a first date. And so we're in those, you know, where are those first, second, third date world? And then we bring in our salespeople to continue the conversation.

So I don't see that our folks have to be in the weeds. And in fact, if they're in the weeds that can take away from their ability to have that initial conversation, because someone doesn't know, no us forget about me telling you why. Our security solution is the best in the industry or why, you know why our AI ribbon wifi is amazing.

Your first question is why should I even be talking? I have a current supplier, probably we don't do too many greenfields. I have a current supplier. Why should I even be talking to you? And so your value has to start at a higher altitude than the bits and bytes of, of our biology. And so it's really kind of gleaning.

What is that higher order business value? That's going to [00:11:00] resonate with a CIO. CTO aligned a business buyer around utility of their business, simplicity of their operations, saving money, obviously can be a key element of that, helping them generate revenue or grow their business more quickly. Those are the terms that we have to talk about.

And in fact, you know, one of our campaigns right now is called let's get real, and it really is juxtaposing a lot of the hype that's in the industry with real results that we've seen from our customers. With quantifiable business metrics. And that really helps open doors. Well, eventually if we do our job, right, we'll eventually get to a conversation, enough 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?

Ian Faison: [00:11:42] Are a lot of the accounts that you're targeting are these folks that are like net new to the company? Is it, is it more of an up sell situation? Like what does that normally mean?

Mike Marcellin: [00:11:52] It's definitely all of the above, I will say. I mean, we are by far the biggest driver of new logo [00:12:00] conversations in the company. I mean, our sales folks are tasked even aside from what marketing may bring them. They're certainly tasked with trying to get into new logos. But by far we're that engine to try to do that.

And in fact, if an account is we call it named, so it's assigned to a sales person, we already have a foothold. Maybe they've already bought some of our solutions. We will still engage them with some of our marketing campaigns, but we don't even take credit for that when we're tallying up our demand gen pipeline numbers that we're accountable to for the company.

Because I don't want to get into this debate over, you know, with a sales team, like, well, wait a second, we were already working with them. How can you say that, Mark? How can marketing credit for that? So that's more of a, a sales assist that we do, but, but what we really hold our accountability toward is new business.

And that doesn't mean they could have never done business with, but there's not a sales person actively involved with them right now. And we've nurtured an opportunity and we've brought that to the salespeople, but certainly the vast majority of those leads and [00:13:00] opportunities we bring are relatively new logos because either they've never done business plus, or it's been a very long time and we have no kind of rules around that.

So that we're all clear with the rest of the business.

Ian Faison: [00:13:10] Well, you know, it's really interesting because I think when you're talking about new logos specifically in when you're selling to it or to technology leaders, it's really tough to have a strong inside sales or like outbound motion from a sales perspective because of just how unbelievably busy and, and how many emails that CIO has get and all that sort of stuff.

And senior technology leaders. I mean, like, it's, it's really interesting that you're marketing. Motions are the things that are driving the demand and the interest there.

Mike Marcellin: [00:13:40] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, at least in our space, uh, you know, our sales teams would much rather nurture existing relationships and they're actually extremely good at that. Quote unquote, knocking on doors, whether that's actually knocking on doors or somehow virtually doing that, that's tough work. And so that's what marketing can do at scale.

[00:14:00] It's not as if we have someone attend one webinar and then we're chucking that over the wall to sales. Typically it is multiple touches. A level of engagement that we believe yeah. As braided that warm opportunity and reasonably qualified. And then we hand that off to sales. And so that motion for them, when some of that early leg work is done is a much easier motion for them to take the ball and run with.

Ian Faison: [00:14:23] As you're bringing those folks in to the pipeline. How do you view the relationship with your website? Like how, what are the types of things that you're doing to get to drive interest there, to get those conversations for the warm hand off to sales?

Mike Marcellin: [00:14:37] Yeah. I mean, certainly the website is in many ways, the hub of our demand gen and there's certainly a lot of tactics off the website that we do, we clear, but if someone comes to the website, It is even if they are, they're not thinking they're in a buying mode, it's always an opportunity to engage with them.

And let me just say, engage with them. And whether that engagement leads to an immediate opportunity or whether it just [00:15:00] points them to a webinar, they didn't know about an event they didn't know about had on our website. Cause of course we have all the ad spaces, ours, so pointing them to some of our new solutions so that they can learn more about them.

All of those things are part of that demand motion. And then clearly. Anytime we have the opportunity via the tactics that we run. Point them back to the website and the respective landing page for whatever it is they're engaging with, that just gets them into the fold. So I see the website as critical.

And in fact, even beyond what you might think of as traditional demand gen, our website is used for customer support. Our website is used for technical documentation and getting started when you are onboarding a new product. And so all of those other touch points, which, you know, they're not necessarily coming to be sold or, or even to be engaged, but it is an opportunity to do that for cross sell upsell motions and just ultimately to improve that engagement, improve the customer, sat which down the road is going to pay off in the customer, buying more.

Ian Faison: [00:15:57] How do you view things like conversational [00:16:00] marketing, like both in real time or with bots or things like that on the site?

Mike Marcellin: [00:16:03] We actually have turned up a I'll call it a chat bot. I mean, I think that doesn't even quite do it complete justice cause it's got some really neat AI sitting behind it, but yeah, we put that on our website and it was very interesting to see how that technology learned. And got more effective and actually very quickly did.

So, you know, we spent a lot of time on the front end of course, getting it set up and even doing some, you know, hard coding of things that we thought we didn't want to have a bad experience out of the gate, but we knew that the technology would learn. And so now what's happening is roughly 85% of. The user's queries, I'll say.

And, and, you know, to be clear that those could be anywhere from, I want to buy something. Do I want to learn more about something? Do I have an issue with just a general question? So it's all manner of things. It's not all related to what we would call demand gen, but about 85% of those queries are solved to their satisfaction.

Cause we ask them and then the rest we can hand off to. [00:17:00] Um, you know, an inside sales type of person, if that's appropriate or a customer service person, if that's more of what they're looking for. So I think very quickly, I mean, we've had this running for a couple quarters now on our website and very quickly it's become something that's actually increasing satisfaction, increasing engagement.

You know, the worry is always people, you know, might not like this. It's going to decrease satisfaction, but it's actually been the opposite. So it's been a pretty important addition to our, uh, our website.

Ian Faison: [00:17:27] Yeah, we're huge fans of conversational and obviously the sponsor of our show, qualified.com. We love them. But it really is interesting to see the rise of folks, like kind of doing the gen one or gen two of like, Hey, we're going to put something on our site. That's going to drive some conversations that, you know, we're going to see how people interact with the bot.

And then we're going to integrate sales in some way and kind of seeing the data it's like, huh? Can't believe we never had this before. Right.

Mike Marcellin: [00:17:53] No exactly. And the important thing that we try to do with everything we do from a demand gen perspective, I was walking through earlier where it's like, you know, [00:18:00] marketing is nurturing and then we're passing leads. And that is kind of at a high level, the flow, but actually. We work extremely closely with our sales development reps.

And these are the folks that I know different companies call them different things, business development reps. These are the folks that typically are. Accepting our leads and making outbound calls, outbound emails, via social media, to try to further that. And they make it close some, or they may hand that to partner sales person or a Juniper sales person.

And so it's not, it's certainly not a waterfall mechanism where we're doing a bunch of stuff, pass it over to them. So whether it's with things like a chat bot, Whether it's just the campaigns that we do in general or the events or the other activities, the tactics that we do, thinking about how an SDR could be engaged, even throughout the process to validate interest.

Even just thinking about when, you know, you attended event, maybe we don't believe that it's quite to the point where we'd call it a marketing qualified lead. But if the [00:19:00] SDRs have cycles, maybe they can just call out and say, thank you for attending the event. Is there anything I can help you with? Very open-ended very low pressure.

So thinking about it just as, how should someone be served as they're kind of working their way through a buying process, or maybe aren't even thinking they're in a buying process, but how can we engage with them? So it's a little bit of a rethink and an integrated thinking of how we should approach this buyer's journey that we all talk about.

Ian Faison: [00:19:26] You talked about getting into the details into the tactics a little bit, and we're going to do just that. Let's go to the playbook. The playbook is where we open up the playbook and talk about the tactics that help you win. And what are three channels or tactics that are your uncomfortable? I would never in a million years.

Cut these no matter what budget items.

Mike Marcellin: [00:19:46] Yeah. So let me, maybe I'll, I'll, I'll answer that on two levels because kind of at the broad brush level, what are the areas that I think are super important and uncomfortable, and then I'll get into maybe some of the tactics that are. Working hard for us that we wouldn't think [00:20:00] about cutting. So just at a high level first, you know, I've talked a lot about technology and, you know, making sure that whether it's a chat bot on the website, whether it's our MarTech stack all up, you know, that and data science were the two big investments I made right out of the gate.

Five years ago when I started as CMO here, because I felt like that was how we were going to get a competitive advantage. In fact, many of our competitors are much larger and will, can 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. And so, you know, that technology stack and the rigor we put around bedding technology, that's one area I would say is uncredible. The hand in hand thing, as I mentioned is data and we don't have a huge data science team, but we've got a handful of folks who are dedicated and are, and are experts.

And they are a huge resource to our organization. And then probably the third area kind of again, at a macro level would just be content. And that comes in many shapes and sizes as, as we all know, but [00:21:00] making sure that we've got the right expertise at all stages of the funnel to create high quality content.

So those are the broad brush areas I'd say are absolutely invest areas. Um, and then maybe from a tactics perspective, you know, I would say we have actually had tremendous success over the past three or four months with virtual events. We pivoted extremely fast and, and by the way, we were doing webinars and things like that before, but I'm talking about big events that we previously would have done in person that we've now pivoted virtual.

And we've seen a lot of success with that. And of course, nowadays we couldn't cut that up. We want to do cause it's one of our primary mechanisms, but I would actually see going forward. Even post COVID, whatever that looks like doubling down in that area, because we've seen a lot of success. And then the other tactic, I would just say back to the content as a broad brush is, you know, just making sure, you know, it's so easy to fall into the trap of creating marketing, blah, blah, blah.

You know where you're saying things that are just generalizations [00:22:00] or things that your competitors could equally say again, because we're the primary way that this company gets engaged with new opportunities. It's got to cut through. The clutter that's out there. You said it. I mean, people are so bombarded nowadays with emails and invitations to webinars, and they're trying to do their day job.

Yeah. And are not in the mode of dealing with a lot of marketing pitches. So what you say has to be timely, relevant, cut through the clutter and just ideally be something that is. Either quantifiable or just, you know, real value that you can deliver to them business. And so creating that content. Yeah.

There's the actual writing of it, but there's also what sits behind that, which is making sure you're looking at the value that you're bringing to your customers in a quantifiable way. And we've got a small team that does business modeling. We'll do it alongside with customers actually throughout the buying phase.

But then that serves as a great source of that data after the fact. So we can say we save company X, you know, 40% by implementing this. And this is how it, [00:23:00] how, how that savings was actually realized and whether or not we could name company X it's still valuable. And certainly if we can name them, it's even better.

Ian Faison: [00:23:07] A lot of great stuff to unpack there. And I want to, I want to double tap into a few of those. So what do you think makes a great virtual event? Like what are you seeing that, you know, you said that you're never shifting off of him anymore. Like why, why is that.

Mike Marcellin: [00:23:22] I'd say the same thing that I'd say about an in person event or almost any other tactic, that content is King, but how you deliver that content? Obviously in virtual format and then in this world where we're all virtual doubt, to some extent, you know, whether that's just our day to day meetings that we're all doing via zoom or whatever the technology is, we really have to make sure that we're delivering content that is timely in the right kind of chunks and understanding that people aren't gonna, you know, whereas they might've come to one of our big events and spent a whole day with us.

Or, or even in some cases, I mean, our, our global conference was a two and a half day affair over, you know, over the better part of a [00:24:00] week when you add in travel on either end. So you can't necessarily do that. A great virtual event starts with hard hitting quick hit content that's modular. And so every single session we had including keynotes was under 30 minutes.

Most of them were under 20 minutes. And so that was super important. But within that. We were able to do demos. So why you couldn't and get truly hands on, you could feel like you were getting hands on with the solutions that we have on offer. So that's really important to show it's not just PowerPoint put online.

It's it's actually, let me just show you how this stuff works. It's trying to build in some funds. So we've done some events where. You know, we'll engage a group of customers or prospects, and then we'll do wine tasting at the end or we'll do, you know, bring it up a virtual chef and do something that they can actually do from their kitchen and with their family.

So it's all manner of things trying to actually take advantage of the situation we're in rather than lamented and pivot everything. We did slap it online. Think it's going to work in the same way.

[00:25:00] Ian Faison: [00:24:59] Did you get any like anecdotal feedback or things from those events, and then also, like what data were you using to measure the success of those?

Mike Marcellin: [00:25:08] What we did back last quarter was we took what we were planning to do as in person in a big in person events. And we put them virtual and then we ran two of them. One targeted to one of our customer segments and the other targeted to the other and big segments. So for us, I mentioned, we work with a lot of telecom and cloud companies, so that that's a very different buying decision and networking world than an enterprise would have.

So that was the bifurcation. I mean, that was important because we didn't, you know, we wanted the content to be relevant to the audience. And when you look at the attendance that we got actual attendance, not registrations, actual attendance, we got. For those two events, it was more than all of the in person events.

And there were dozens last year combined. So it was massive and certainly exceeded our expectations and, uh, you know, a sizable chunk of those attendees attended or listened through five or more sessions. So not only they come, but [00:26:00] they were engaged and participated throughout. So those big events for us were certainly again, pretty successful.

And we. Pivoted pretty quickly to get to them. I mentioned some of the other, other events with the, you know, the wine tasting or whatever. That's a smaller group where typically we're targeting like a CIO audience, including many new logos that don't have any relationship with us. And. No, the hook of course, is that we're gonna give them a nice evening with a master, some Lea, but we also spent on talking about our solutions and the feedback we've gotten from those in the event was great.

I think it added some fun to ongoing online meetings that we're all a part of now. But then the followup has been good. I mean, in many cases, if you're meeting with the CIO that doesn't do any business with us, you're not going to have a sale the next month, but you're starting a conversation that our sales teams can follow up with.

And those initial conversations have shown some really good early progress. But again, we're pretty early on in doing [00:27:00] those.

Ian Faison: [00:27:00] Well, the thing that's so fun about things like that is it gives you a reason. To follow up with interesting things. Right? So if you did a session with a Somalia. You could send them a different bottle of wine every month for the next year or something like that. Or you could let them know about like similar events or something, especially for the people who really enjoyed that event.

Like that's the thing that I think is, is so fun about it. The experiential marketing or the blend of like event plus experience or digital event plus experience is that you can now like. As a marketing team follow up with that person. So that sales isn't like, you know, being the person like, Hey, how was that bottle of wine you just had?

You know, it's like marketing can follow up. Like, Hey, you know, we just sent you something else that's new or you can continue a conversation and be memorable. And it's like, at the end of the day, if they're like, you know, it's pretty great. They know exactly what type of wine I like. And they send me a new bottle every month.

That's like, that's a pretty advantageous place to be, [00:28:00] to be top of mind.

Mike Marcellin: [00:28:01] Yeah, well, you're exactly right. And I think there are a couple of things to tease out of that. I mean, one, if you were sending a bottle of wine each month for, let's say for 12 months in the grand scheme of things, and we've done this primarily towards kind of the C suite. So the tougher folks to get in with, I mean, the grand scheme of things that cost is not that high to really have an ongoing engagement with a high value.

Potential buyer. So that's number one. And number two, I agree. Marketing can play an impactful role. The only thing I would say is you do have to think differently than normal because the biggest a mistake would be to take that initial engagement and then to shove a bunch of senior level decision makers into your traditional digital nurture streams and start spamming them or whatever else.

So it's a definitely a different kind of engagement, but it can be extremely fruitful.

Ian Faison: [00:28:46] That's a great point. And those people, you know, you should have some personalized messaging for them anyways. And I think that that's where you look at one of the other things that you brought up and obviously your company does this. So it's core to your business, but AI, I [00:29:00] mean, you're looking at opportunities with AI and personalization and things specifically with regards to demand gen to do stuff that we never.

Could have ever done, like how I know you all are using AI, you know, again, you do it as a company, but how were you looking at like AI plus demand gen?

Mike Marcellin: [00:29:16] I'd be remiss if I weren't looking hard at AI, within marketing, given that we've got some market leading AI solutions for our customers, with our products. And I'm super excited about it, partially because we have made the investment in data. I mean, AI is worthless without data. And the more data, the better the AI can be, or the more, the more valuable it can be or the more value you can deliver.

And so our investments in data over the past few years, I think set us up extremely well to take advantage of AI that is still, I'd say pretty emerging in the marketing space. But I am excited about the opportunities to do better segmentation and targeting. I've looked at, you know, some technologies that use AI, whether it's truly for content creation, like on the fly, or just [00:30:00] helping to recommend content and make the job of the marketer or the campaign architect easier.

I think there's really some promise with that. And then if you take it even a step further, you know, ultimately I talked before about how marketing and sales like that is the partnership that you have to make sure it's strong in the B to B company. And if you really start to peel back the entire sales process, inclusive of where marketing typically engages, you know, I was having a conversation with our, our global head of sales, like a month ago.

And he said, you know what? Every one of my salespeople right now is an inside sales person and that's because they can't travel around and they can't do what they usually would have done. And that is, I think, created a little bit of a light bulb moment. Yeah. Not that I would think that will, you know, a year from now have no people.

Back out traveling to see customers. But if you're, if you're actually pretty successful in figuring out how to do things virtually, it should give you an opportunity to rethink the entirety of it. And so we've started to peel that back and say, you map the sales [00:31:00] journey from the very first touch to the purchase and maybe even.

Post-sales and you looked at all of the things that people typically do, many of which historically they've engaged a sales person for, you know, what a lot of that could be either automated or at least delivered online. Maybe there is a person behind that, but all of that is fair game to reimagine the sales process.

And you asked about our website. I mean, you could think about your website and your other digital assets becoming even more important as you think about automating and digitizing the customer journey.

Ian Faison: [00:31:34] Yeah. I mean, if people are spending so much time, pre-sale online, you know, they say whatever, 70, 80% of the buying journey now, and it's not, again, it's not linear, they're jumping around and doing different things. And they're exploring at different times if all of that is happening at different times.

And then somebody jumps on your website and is like, Hey, I want more information. It's like, let's get someone talking to that person. Immediately. [00:32:00] Let's not wait until they get on a plane to go to Iowa, to sit down with them, to talk about it. They were just reading about your stuff. They're in the mode. I mean, I think the relationship with the marketing will completely change.

I think you see a lot of executives now that have zoomed to zoom meetings. The whole day. And then they put their kids to bed, you know, if they have kids or whatever, and then they log back on at 9:00 PM and then they start looking at stuff like, okay, I'm going to review the proposal that my team put together about this technology.

Well, if they have questions right, then let's answer them right. Then let's not wait until we get to the PowerPoint meeting. That you know, is going to be at the headquarters with the entire team on like, it's just silly to think that that is going to be the way that everyone wants to do business now.

And they just, they just won't anymore. I mean, we've all, it's just not going to happen that way. Some people will love that still, but other people won't.

Mike Marcellin: [00:32:54] You're absolutely right. And actually your point about the journey not being linear is dead on. I mean, one of the [00:33:00] things that I think we've done to really strengthen our relationship with sales. Is, I mean, I've got this philosophy. I mean, marketing should not hoard data. We are sitting on a mountain of data first and foremost.

We need to figure out how we harness that to make our activities more effective and our outcomes better, but equally, because that journey is not linear to your point. I mean, if someone's been on our website or attended our events, you know, download a bunch of white papers, whatever it is that they're doing, engage with us in all of those different ways.

Wouldn't it be good if our sales person knew about that. And so we have had the philosophy of having complete transparency with that. We may have talked about this last time, but we invented. The marketing bot and then we call it the marketing bot and basically it's a window into all of the data and all of the knowledge that we have about our customers.

And if you kind of envisioned the marketing bot, is this always on, you know, marketing colleague working in the background and then they surf it, it surfaces up when there's some information or some something to be shared. [00:34:00] And certainly we use that within marketing, but, but now increasingly in sales, No, they use that as a means is that they don't necessarily know if 10 people in the account they're calling on are researching things on our website or better yet.

I mean, with some of the tools that are out there, we can know whether people are out there on other, you know, non Juniper websites, but showing buying signals maybe with our competitors, or maybe just in general, that's extremely valuable information for a sales person. So we kind of roll that altogether in a consumable way and serve it up on a silver platter to our sales teams.

Ian Faison: [00:34:32] Yeah, that's great. And I think that that's such a critical insight, you know, if you know where they are and what they're doing. And how to facilitate that. I'm curious, like any best practices, there are tactics that, that you all leveraged to serve up that info in the silver platter.

Mike Marcellin: [00:34:46] The beginning of the whole story was we started, as I mentioned, investing in beta and just kind of getting our house in order, making sure we had the data. Once we had that, then it was a question of how to present it. And honestly, we started by doing. [00:35:00] Tableau dashboards that were available to salespeople posted on the site where they go to get that information either within Salesforce or on a separate kind of reporting site.

And honestly, when it was a reactive thing, We didn't get great uptake on it because a sales person had to think about going into it and then had to kind of sift through a bunch of reports. So that's where we said, all right, let's figure out how we can. This. Isn't a very nice way to say it, but not just bring the horse to water, but shove the horses face in the water and make them drink.

But in all honesty, the way we do that. Is by being really careful about when we sharing the information, I talked about kind of always working in the background and only surfacing when there's an insight, that's a value. I mean, if we're just bombarding them with information, it's going to become noise really quick.

So it really is looking at all of those buying signals, looking at all of the information and engagement we have and then serving it up to them. I mean, it is available. Always so they can always go and get it. But, you know, we have, you know, [00:36:00] plugins with their emails. So if they have a meeting coming up with an account, we proactively serve them this information about that account.

If they've scheduled an executive briefing and our EBC, we proactively in advance give them information about those accounts. So just those kinds of things. So it shows up at the moment that they need it, not just it's there and they have to remember to go get it.

Ian Faison: [00:36:21] Speaking of sales, let's get to our segment, the desktop. So the desktop is where we talk about healthy tension, whether that is with your board, your sales team, your competitors, or. Or really anyone else have you had a memorable dust step in your career? Mick?

Mike Marcellin: [00:36:34] You know, there certainly are times where I feel like people need to be educated. I treat them as learning opportunities because I don't think if we're ever at odds at the ultimate objective, then we're actually doing something wrong. So if you scan back far enough, what sales is trying to do, what marketing is trying to do with the CEO and CFO care about it's all the same thing, right?

So you shouldn't [00:37:00] have a dust up about those objectives. You may have either a disagreement or a lack of understanding about, Oh, well, what is it that marketing is doing to help me? If you're a sales leader, let's say. Um, and so, like I said, I always treat that as an opportunity to learn because a lot of times, no know Salesforce doesn't know what marketing does on a day to day basis.

We may not know exactly what a sale, how a sales person spends their eight hours, but being able to kind of walk them through, alright, these are the objectives. Okay. We agree on those. These are the things that we're doing. This is the marketing mix that we're doing to try to get those objectives. Here are the kind of marketing level metrics that we use to understand.

That we're actually contributing to those objectives or not. And this is how it benefits you as a salesperson. So those are the biggest opportunities is just some education. And, you know, if we can agree on outcomes and we can show data that proves that we're meeting those outcomes, there shouldn't be any debate about how we're spending our time or [00:38:00] what we're investing in.

Ian Faison: [00:38:01] Make your diplomat. And I appreciate it. Um, Well said, okay, let's get into our quick hits. These are quick questions, quick answers. Just like how quickly you could talk to someone in your website with qualified.com. qualified.com is the presenting sponsor. This show, check them out. We love them. Go to qualified.com to learn more.

Your prospects are on your website. You can talk with them quickly. Quick questions, Mike, are you ready? Hobby or habit? Have you picked up and shelter in place?

Mike Marcellin: [00:38:33] Um, well, I would say drinking wine, but I was doing that before, so that probably doesn't count one of the silver linings of shelter in place was that my daughter who graduated from college last year and started work across the country, decided to come to shelter in place for a couple of months with us.

So she was here, which was. Great. And then she, and I kind of got back into cycling a little bit, so been doing some bike riding, which is good because it's not hard to get out and do much. You can't go to the gym. [00:39:00] So being able to cycle is nice.

Ian Faison: [00:39:03] I saw your tweeting about llamas the other day. And I was cracking up because, uh, uh, I'm a fan. I have some llama socks. Uh, I thought you were gonna go llamas, but also I love elephants.

Mike Marcellin: [00:39:16] Oh, sorry. Sorry to disappoint you. Lamas are perfectly nice. I did get the rare treat to go to Machu Picchu a few years ago where they're like llamas roaming around, which is very

Ian Faison: [00:39:25] If you weren't a COO or in tech at all, what do you think you'd be

Mike Marcellin: [00:39:29] well would I be doing, or what would I like to be doing?

Ian Faison: [00:39:31] either one?

Mike Marcellin: [00:39:32] Is this like, wait, I'd like to be an astronaut kind of conversation.

Ian Faison: [00:39:35] Sure you can be an astronaut in this conversation.

Mike Marcellin: [00:39:37] No actually, I mean, seriously, I never set out to be a COO or say I did set out to make a material impact on the, on the outcomes of a company. So even throughout my career, they haven't always had, I haven't always been in a pure marketing role.

So, you know, I think I probably have. At least the versatility to do some of the other jobs, helping to lead a company. But aside from that, I do have [00:40:00] some passion around STEM education and we've done some things with Juniper, our involvement, like with the world robot Olympiad and girls who code. But I also am involved in an organization here in the Bay area called 10,000 degrees, which seeks to get.

More disadvantaged communities, not just through high school, into college, but through college. And so I would probably once retirement is there, you know, definitely do something to focus on education. Cause it's obviously usually important, especially as the world is changing so quickly.

Ian Faison: [00:40:27] Yeah. So I was going to ask about some of the work that you've done with STEM and perfect time, some really cool stuff that you've done in Juniper world robot Olympiad, but can you just share a little bit more.

Mike Marcellin: [00:40:37] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, obviously as a tech company, even in a pure self-interest way, it makes sense for us to invest in the next generation of innovators and engineers, but obviously just as a corporate citizen and as a. I was a human being myself. I think it's tremendously important. And so, um, yeah, we've been global sponsor of the world robot Olympiad for the last, I think three years [00:41:00] now, you know, unfortunately this year they aren't getting to do all of their in-person competitions, but it'll back up next year.

They have a similar focus, obviously on STEM, but also in. Increasing diversity in STEM, 70 countries represented in this program around the world. Many of whom actually don't have very strong STEM programs just through their public education system. So this is, uh, an important adjunct to what people may or may not get through school and keeping people interested in STEM so that they can, at least some of them eventually pursue a career.

In STEM. And so that's one example. I mentioned girls who code and a number of other organizations that we both contribute money and time to, uh, to help make sure that we're investing in that next generation.

Ian Faison: [00:41:42] For those CMOs out there that are taken on demand gen for the first time, any, uh, any advice that you'd give.

Mike Marcellin: [00:41:50] Yeah. I mean, I would definitely say, you know, invest in, I'd invest in the data, even before I invested in the, in the MarTech stack. I mean, obviously [00:42:00] you need a MarTech stack, but those exist, there are lots of solutions out there. They all have their pros and cons, so you have to have that, but yeah. But getting the data, right?

I mean, the company that owns the data and I mean, own and kind of owns the knowledge about the data and about the customer is going to have a competitive advantage over, over others. So make sure you have visibility into as much data as possible about your customers, that it's in a, as centralized a place as you can, that you can tap into it.

And the people that can make sense of it to help optimize your marketing and make it more effective.

Ian Faison: [00:42:31] Mike, this has been great. Anything that we missed here so far?

Mike Marcellin: [00:42:34] Not that I can think of. I mean, I guess the only other thing I'd say, cause you asked about someone starting with demand gen, but more of a general comment is just that I've found, there are lots of things that marketing does in a B2B company. Some of those are. More squishy as I like to say, but demand gen is one that doesn't have to be in.

Shouldn't be. And in fact, it's the, it can be the easiest conversation you can have with a sales leader, with a CFO, with the [00:43:00] CEO about the contribution of marketing. Some other things that we do are a little bit more nebulous and there's still value there, but it's harder to quantify or to put into business metrics.

Um, but this is one that. You ought to be able to say, this is how much, how many opportunities we're creating. Those opportunities are worth this amount of money. And those opportunities ultimately turned into this amount of revenue. That's pretty unassailable. So I found that that's like the one thing to anchor on.

So if you're just getting started, you know, invest in the data, invest in the tools, the carrot for you is to be able to talk to your CFO and say, marketing is delivering this value for the business.

Ian Faison: [00:43:35] Well, that's it. That's all we got for today. Thanks so much for joining the show. We really appreciate it. It's so awesome to hear everything that you're working on and the demand gen engine that you've built at a, at Juniper networks and our listeners. You know, if you, if you're talking to the CIO checkout, Juniper networks, um, you know, passing them, follow along, anything else?

Bye.

Mike Marcellin: [00:43:54] Nope. It's been a pleasure as always, uh, it was great to chat with you.

Ian Faison: [00:43:57] Take care.

Mike Marcellin: [00:43:58] All right. You too. [00:44:00]