About This Episode
In this episode of Digital Marketing Victories, Katherine and Jim celebrate the wins of Christina Del Villar, Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist at Christina Del Villar LLC.
In this interview, Christina would share her funny stories of mistakes and triumphs in the B2B marketing world and how to build marketing’s influence across the organization, which is particularly important in the current climate, considering the economy and budget cuts.
“We need to spend the time to market ourselves internally so that we can have more influence, be more recognized, to be able to showcase what we’re doing, and therefore get the resources we need to continue on with the programs and the trajectory we’re looking at.” – Christina Del Villar
With a successful 25 year B2B marketing career, including digital marketing, Christina shares her marketing touch point philosophy, which she developed over her career as she struggled in meetings and boardrooms to explain the value of marketing’s contributions across other departments and leaders at the organization.
About Christina Del Villar
Christina, a Silicon Valley marketing executive, consultant, and author who geeks out on helping companies transform, grow and scale, leveraging technology with 25 years of experience at Fortune 100 companies and more than 10 startups.
Over a few decades, Christina has developed go-to-market and marketing strategies for exponential growth, new product launches, acquisitions and IPOs, particularly for high-growth companies where she leverages her experience and industry perspective to take them to the next level.
Her book, SWAY expands more on her philosophy and concepts. It is available for pre-order this year (2021).
- How to leverage the G.R.I.T. Marketing Method to gain influence.
- How to be successful as an in-house catalyst for digital marketing change.
- How to grow your own career and your ability to influence your audience.
- How to develop a plan to boost revenue growth and, equally importantly, to be recognized as a catalyst.
- How to develop a Map of Influence that identifies all the ways you can make an impact.
- How to become a thought leader and rock star for all-things strategy, revenue and marketing related for your company and beyond.
- Christina’s acronym: G.R.I.T.: Go to Market, RPM (repeatable, predictable, measurable), Intention, and Tools to sum it all up.)
Connect with Christina
- Christina’s book : SWAY: GRIT Marketing Method to Gain Influence & Drive Corporate Strategy
- Interview with Kathleen Booth
Thank you for listening!
If you’d like to know more about change-makers in digital marketing, celebrate their wins, and discover how they built a breaking ground career, subscribe, share and comment on the Digital Marketing Victories Podcast.
Katherine: 0:00 Welcome to the digital marketing victories podcast, a podcast about the realities of digital marketing. Listen in each month to learn about the tactics and strategies, soft skills and technical requirements that go into digital marketing success. I’m Katherine Watier Ong, owner of WO Strategies LLC, an organic traffic consultant.
Jim: 0:20 And I’m Jim Keeney, owner of federal web consulting, and founder of dept, the platform for the engagement economy. Welcome. Let’s get into it and celebrate our victories.
Katherine: 0:32 I think you’ll like our next guest, Christina del Vilar. So Christina is a Silicon Valley marketing executive consultant, author. And she’s helped companies like Udacity, transform, grow scale and leverage technology. She’s got 25 years of experience at various fortune 100 companies more than 10 startups, and she’s written a book called the grit marketing method. So during this episode, she talks a bit about the book, she also spent some time talking about how to develop empathy for your co workers, especially during a pandemic to become a more successful marketer. And she gives some tips about how to actually do that during our time of social distancing and zoom meetings. So without further ado, here’s our interview with Christina del Villar.
Jim 1:14 Christina, can you tell us a bit more about yourself in your marketing background? And how did you find digital marketing? What was your journey?
Christina 1:22 Excellent. Yeah. So I have been, I was lucky enough to start my career in Silicon Valley, where I worked both with large fortune 500 companies like Oracle and Autodesk, as well as many, many startups, some of which have gone public. Elon Musk’s first startup, I worked with him for a long time, which was exciting. And so I’ve just had this really unique journey, being in Silicon Valley, where technology is being created. So not only am I marketing, or have I marketed for these startups, and these technology companies have also really followed closely the technology that’s been coming out whether that’s for financial, the financial industry, or whether it’s for marketing itself. For example, I was actually one of the alpha and beta testers for marquetta, when it first came out, which was exciting for me as a marketing person to sort of see the evolution of what what could be working at Oracle was great, because we had access to so much data as well. And again, just some of those experiences really helped me understand the importance and significance of technology and the data that comes along with that. So I’ve been really, really lucky with with that, with that journey, and then just, you know, digital marketing itself, just the evolution, I think that in order to be successful in marketing, you need to continually be learning and looking at what what is out there. What are the changes, you know, is clubhouse, the next new thing you know, as Tik tok, are we already over Tick Tock who knows, right? My Space has definitely gone. Close that account last year. But it’s sort of it really is important to understand the technology that’s out there, and how you as a marketing professional can leverage it. And again, just been really lucky to be in that in the middle of that space. That’s allowed me to really sort of gain the knowledge that I needed from a very technical person as well, which is unique for a marketing person. But I, you know, I, I’ve been, I really do understand the technology. And so, from that standpoint, it’s also allowed me to work more closely with engineers and product teams, which has really helped my career as well.
Katherine 3:36 Yeah, I have to admit that I got involved in the internet in 1994. And so sometimes I pull out that card when I try to build relationships with developers. Yeah. Pico Baby, you know,
Christina 3:48 seriously, you mine was at Stanford back in 1987. So I was had to code and indeed, you know, basically, code HTML to communicate with with our, with the government, who was the ones were funding our programs. So yeah, back Back in the day, you know, it was like this world wide web thing is going to be amazing. Yeah, and actually, ironically, I tried to convince my dad This is early on when it was about $10,000 to buy a URL, and I asked to borrow 10 actually asked to borrow $20,000 from my dad, so I could buy Oreo calm and coke calm, and he thought I was insane.
Chrsitina 4:31 Like, I think it’s gonna be big.
Chrsitina 4:36 But we’ve definitely you know, we’ve definitely progressed from from that standpoint, as well.
Katherine 4:43 You have written a book that’s about to come out a little bit more. It’s called sway implementing the grip marketing method. So tell me a little bit more about the book and how you think it’s going to help marketers.
Christina 4:54 Yeah, so I actually wrote the book specifically for marketing professionals. To help them not only do their job better and more effectively, but to be able to build influence and trust and really be able to show their value, add an impact, you know, it’s one thing to be able to create amazing programs and campaigns, it’s another thing to help the company as a whole, understand the significance of those programs and campaigns, and what you and your team are bringing to the table. And I think that that’s just been missing for a really long time, I think that marketing often, you know, is sort of seen as non essential, if you will, it’s hard for us to show our impact. And I feel that because we’re so passionate about our jobs, we just sort of like put that aside, like, that’s okay, I know I’m doing a good job, I know this campaign is going to be successful, I know it’s going to help the company, if I’m the only one that knows that, that’s okay, I’m gonna keep going, because it’s such an amazing program that I have. But I think that that has really led to marketing professionals being sort of ineffective in their own growth or own career trajectory, because they haven’t been able to show that impact. And so that’s why I wanted to write the book, it really is a framework, it’s something that I’ve been doing for literally decades with my teams and just sort of didn’t think about it in terms of a framework or a foundation, or how others could actually put this into practice. And you know, sort of the steps that you would need to do that. So you know, it took some time and really sort of thought about what this what this methodology looks like, and how others could take it and easily implement it. And again, while it’s for marketing professionals, others can easily use it. But it really is pretty specific to marketing professionals. And again, it’s not a book about how to market it’s really, it’s a book about how to market yourself, you know, market the marketer, it’s kind of like, they save up the cobblers shoes, that kind of thing. You know, we need to spend the time to market ourselves internally. So that we can have more influence, you know, be be more recognized, be able to showcase what we’re doing. And therefore get the resources we need to sort of continue on with the programs and the trajectory we’re looking at.
Katherine 7:06 Yeah, I cannot wait to read this book. Because Personally, I’ve struggled with that I told her I was let go with a job because I wasn’t selling up. They actually I knew I was doing great stuff. But marketing internally was something I was not doing.
Chrsitina 7:19 It’s it’s really hard to do. And and that’s why because you’re you’re like, I’m sure you and others who are listening, you’re so focused on your programs and making sure that they’re being executed properly. The thing that really fascinates me is, you know, in, you know, we’ve seen this with the pandemic, but just I’m sure over the the, our, our career, as long as it’s spanned. You know, marketing is often the first budget to get cut. And we’re often the first people to get laid off, when in fact, the company itself can’t function without marketing. And they’ll lose momentum. And it’s really hard to get that momentum back for for companies. And they struggle to do that. And so my initial thought was, I would write a book for C suite and help them understand what marketing does and what we bring to the table, the impact we have. And I realized that was just people have tried that before and it wasn’t working. So my goal was to help marketing professionals sort of build that themselves and help, you know, first their managers and then other leaders within the organization, and their cohorts, and their colleagues and other departments in their, in their company, really help them understand what they’re doing and how it’s helping the company overall.
Katherine 8:32 Yeah, amazing. Okay. Yeah, I’m totally fascinated. So can you tell me a little bit more, I’m a little bit stuck right now on the grid, the grid, I mean, it’s a stand for anything.
Katherine 8:43 Yeah, So for me, I feel like marketing professionals have grit. If they, if they don’t, they’re probably not going to last long in marketing, they have to have that passion. And they have to have that perseverance, which is what grit means to me. And so when I was coming up with this methodology there, it’s a again, like it’s a four step process that I take people through and was able to sort of form it into into the acronym grit. So grit basically stands for the G stands for go to market go to market strategy, which I think is critical. I feel like marketing professionals and marketing departments and marketing teams are brought into the process after the strategy has already been developed. Part of that is because you’ve built you build your company based on a product. So you have your product and now you need to take it to market which I understand that but at some point you need to think about and marketing can really help guide not only the go to market strategy, but the product itself, the features and the functionality. And so the G really stands for for good market strategy and how marketing can become more involved in that. And that gets expanded into looking at the entire customer journey from product to marketing, which you know, is the area that we already own, to how we can help sales and how we can even help customer support and customer success. Keep customers reducing churn and expand on the customer base that you’ve already basically paid for to have. So that’s really what that focuses on. And the key components for that is what I call touch points. So if you’re looking at your entire customer journey, what are the areas that marketing either is already touching, it might not even recognize that they are touching that, or areas that marketing should be touching or be more involved in. So for example, with product, if if their product is building out the roadmap, marketing has a lot of data and information about what customers are looking for what prospects are looking for, like we can tell, based on the types of shows that are out there, we can tell based on the types of podcasts that are out there, what our prospects and customers are looking for. So we can help product define products better, just by giving them that kind of information. So all those little things that we probably don’t think about, that we can actually have that impact on. And I think the other key thing to think about is, once you recognize those touch points, if you align it back to your go to market strategy, that’s really powerful and meaningful. So if you’re thinking about hitting amount of from Customer Success standpoint, in turn is a huge issue that your company is having, you’re losing revenue, you’re losing big logos, what do or what is marketing already doing that can help keep your customers, you know, is it doing webinars? is it doing, you know, product webinars? Or is it taking a webinar that you’ve already done and chunking it up into like one minute training sessions for for customers. And these are things that again, marketing is already doing, they’re not necessarily doing it thoughtfully and mindfully with intention. so that it can be more strategic and be more aligned with your strategy. So that’s the G, it’s a big one.
Katherine 11:55 We’ve got to the first
Chrsitina 12:00 Oh, we’re out of time, sorry. So the R, the R stands for RPM, which is repeatable, predictable, and measurable. And this goes again, to all the different things that marketing is already doing, but doing it just a little bit more thoughtfully. So if you are, if, from a repeatable standpoint, what what do you what have you already created that you can either reuse or repurpose? Because that’s really what you want to do you if you build what I call your pillar piece, then how can you chunk it up? How can you use it differently? Can you do one webinar that covers your entire go to market strategy, and then, you know, build out 10 different blogs from that, and then turn that into an E guide, and then turn that into 100 different social media posts, right? It’s just thinking a lot smarter about how you’re leveraging your content and your programs so that you can basically extend them. And then the basically what you wanted to be able to do is measure them, right, that’s kind of a key thing. And so that you have that predictability. So that’s what the R stands for in grid, the repeatable, predictable and measurable, the I stands for, excuse me, the I stands for intention. And that kind of goes back to what we’re saying, like be purposeful about your programs. I’m sure you guys and your audience can relate how many times a day are you interrupted with little requests that you know, might only take a minute or five minutes of your time, but it is really interrupting your productivity. And it may not align with the go to market strategy. And it may not be critical. So you know, for example, a salesperson, they can’t find the slide deck, right. And so you have to stop what you’re doing and go, you know, get them a slide deck for a presentation that they have. There’s literally I get interrupted, I don’t even know 10s dozens of times a day, hundreds of times a week. And that really does impact your productivity. And so you really need to be mindful and intentional about what it is that you’re doing, how you’re spending your time how you’re spending your resources. So that’s the eye in grid. And the T really stands for the tools and technology that we need. The systems, everything that we need to help define our programs, help implement our programs, and then help measure them. So it could be your CRM, or your marketing automation tool. Or it could even be things like your your website or your chat program on your website. So that’s what it stands for. And really, it does kind of take people through the book will take people through the the entire process of recognizing what all those are, how to implement them how to measure and then also how to articulate your results to your different audiences.
Katherine 14:44 Awesome.
Jim 14:47 That’s fantastic. And so the so the thing that I’m wondering is, I’m sure when you get customers or when you’ve come on to new companies. It’s a chaotic mess. So can you talk about the way that you wrangle, you know, and how you begin to get to the point where grit is actually effective.
Chrsitina 15:08 It’s a great question. And, you know, some of its just learnings over the years have definitely made some mistakes. I think there’s a couple of times when I’ve gone into companies and made some assumptions based on sort of interview process, and you know, what I was hired to do. So for example, when I started working at Udacity, my job was to build the go to market strategy, where they were going from a b2c model or direct to consumer model to a b2b model, right? They recognize that selling online courses in large mass to fortune 500, companies just getting is much more effective way of getting courses out there. And so, you know, I literally had asked when I was talking to them, is this is this the corporate strategy? And is everybody bought into it? And yes, absolutely b2b, that’s what we want to do. So when I got there, when I recognized pretty early on was that the folks who had focused on and built the company around this direct consumer, were like, Oh, I’m not gonna happen. We are not looking, you know, we’re not about selling to corporations. We’re about helping individuals. And that was like, oh, okay, well, that’s different. Because then what I needed to do was help these folks understand how I was going to make their courses successful individuals successful, even though it might have been through corporate sales, or b2b strategy. And, and so part of it is, again, goes back to the go to market strategy, what is the strategy? What is the overall corporate strategy, what’s the culture is everybody bought into this, so that I can come in then and help guide based on what already exists. And if we’re making large changes, because normally I’m coming in to sort of help pivots an organization. And so I really need to understand sort of, you know, what’s going on, and how to get people to, to where we need to be them again, sometimes I just have, I’ve gone in and made assumptions that everybody is on board with this, everybody’s on board with a change, and they’re not. And so I need to step back and sort of really evaluate what is motivating people and, and how I can help them through that. And I think that the big thing really is, and I think, ironically, with the pandemic, it’s come out more often. And that is just having empathy for people really understanding where people are coming from, you know, why they’re in the role that they’re in, either at the company, they’re at what it is that is going to help make them successful. And then taking that and putting things in context for them when you’re talking to them, whether you’re talking to them about a marketing program, or you’re talking to them about results, or things you need from them. If you’re if you’re empathy, if you understand where they’re coming from, have that empathy, and can share things in context with them. It’s just much easier for for them to, to buy into it, and then to buy into, you know, whatever programming strategy I’m trying to implement.
Jim 18:09 That’s the same kind of core competency required for understanding customers as well.
Christina 18:20 Oh, excellent point. Yeah. Yeah.
Jim 18:27 And you’ve done a lot of work with startups, because one of the things that I keep running into, over and over again, and Kathleen booth who was on our first she, she talked about this as well, which is when you first come into a startup, they’re like any dime from any location. They don’t have that intention. And marketing is 1000 miles wide.
Christina 18:42 And oh, my gosh, yeah, you’re trying to boil the ocean. Yeah, one, at one point, I started with a company, they had basically gotten rid of all of their marketing team, and they had brought me in, and I was again, trying to understand, like, what happened, what went wrong, what worked? And, and I was talking to them, they looked out, I was looking out the window, and I saw a car that that had a wrapper on it for that company. And, and I was like, like, what, what’s up with a car? And they were like, they’re like, you have a last marketing manager thought this would be great. So we bought a car and wrapped it, and then drove it around Silicon Valley. And I’m like, but that’s not where your audience actually lives. So like, it wasn’t very effective, but it looks cool. Like so. Yeah, and then, you know, then then they were like, yeah, marketing just goes and buys cars. It’s like that. No, that’s not what we do. Guys, like,
Katherine 19:43 I once came into an organization where the previous marketer had decided that they needed to have marketing in the voice of a dog or a cat. So I’ll take over and it wasn’t PetCo
Christina 19:58 Yeah, it’s it. And again, I I definitely I am all for innovation, no question about it. But again, it goes back to thinking about how, how does this align with your strategy and what it is, you know, that you’re trying to do and your what solution, you know, you’re you have and what customers and your target audience you’re looking at, clearly driving around a car in Silicon Valley for an audience that doesn’t live in Silicon Valley is just not going to be as as effective. And so, you know, again, knowing knowing your your audience, obviously is critical. But to that point, knowing your internal audience is also really critical for you to get your job done. I had that part in the book, you know, book goes into this, you know, quite a bit in terms of how do you relay and showcase your results to the different audiences, right, like marketing, we’re like, we have x million, you know, mq ELLs and SQL O’s. And this is what our website traffic is, but other people in the company, either don’t care or don’t understand the significance of that. So you need to talk to them, ensure the results in meaningful ways to them, like sales, cares about pipeline and revenue. So talk about pipeline and revenue. The executives really only care about revenue, so talk to them about revenue. And just really know, you know, what it is that they’re that they’re looking for, and what’s going to be meaningful to them. And that really gets into again, I think part of the problem that marketers have is they’re so excited about their campaigns, and like, Oh, we have this great webinar and the product and 80,000 people, which is amazing, but nobody else in the company understands that 80,000 people attending a webinar is actually really freaking amazing. So either have to help them understand it, or give it to them in help them understand it in a way that’s meaningful to them.
Katherine 21:55 So um, so over the years, it seems like you’ve come in and been a catalyst for change, and just being a digital marketing in general, you should have to pivot people’s mind about somebody you’re like in house or consulting, if there’s, you know, if you’re consulting, it’s like a discovery phase. So you come up with sort of like, I don’t know what listening session or something, you’re brand new to the organization, you’re supposed to pivot them. How do you meet people? How do you figure out the landmines and I asked this because I’ve, I’ve had mistakes in my career about curious if you figured it out.
Chrsitina 22:28 Yeah, it’s, I’ve never made a mistake. No. And again, that Udacity is a perfect example. And part of that was just, you know, I made the assumption that people were on board with this. And even though they said they were on board, they really weren’t right. And so you have to recognize that that pretty early on. But I think the the key thing is to have those interviews with people first, I think it’s really important that you do understand sort of the overall global strategy first, and then go have those conversations with people and have conscious guy literally have conversations with everybody, the person who finally got the broom closet, because there’s no more space and, you know, to to the folks who are, you know, coding in India to everybody, because you need them to buy into what it is that you’re trying to build. And you need them to be evangelizing it at all levels of the company. And so really, it’s just about having those, building those relationships. And I know, it sounds really cliche, but but it really is significant. And you need to understand again, like what is motivating them, I had, when I was at when I was at Autodesk I had a brown bag. So sometimes what I’ll do is I’ll do brown bags, with specific organizations, I’ll do a brown bag with engineering, I’ll do a brown bag, specifically with product. Because if you again, it kind of goes to that language, if you have everybody in a room, not everybody’s going to understand it. So I have individual brown bags, and I was having this brown bag with engineering. And to be honest, they were told to go. So I had I had a real lively audience. And and, you know, they were all kind of the they literally were like, a little bit checked out. And, and so you know, basically what I did is I tried to talk to them sort of in a language that they would understand and explain to them why what it was that they were doing was critical, and how it actually helped the company. Right, the more effective code they wrote, the more efficient the more happy, the more the better experience, our customers were having the lower churn we would have, the more revenue he would have. Like suddenly they were like, they were like, wait, what we do impacts revenue. And I’m like, Yeah, actually does. And so then we got into this conversation about that. And then this one guy who I literally thought was like, not paying attention at all, popped his head up from his phone, and he goes, You know what, I have 10 years of customer data. Would you like to go through that sometime? Because maybe we can write a white paper about it. And I was like, I’m I’m sorry. Yes, yes. Lee’s 10 years of customer data, and then all of them got all excited about it. They’re like, Oh my gosh, yeah, we know, when customer, we know when customers are going to churn because we know that they get stuck at this one spot. And then they just quit. And they don’t try to go on. Like, yeah, that’s really important for productivity, by the way. So having these brown bags, and again, kind of trying to put it in context, you’re trying to help them understand how they can help and the impact they’re having was really important. So they got all excited about it. And they’re like, you know, what we’re going to go back, we’re going to go look at our data. And now that we know what you’re trying to do, how you use data, you know, if you’re using it for webinars, if you’re using it for infographics, whatever it is, we’re going to go back, look at our data and come back to you with some thoughts on some reports that we think would be useful both externally and to our customers. I’m like, Yes, amazing. But if I hadn’t had that brown bag, and if they hadn’t been forced to go, then we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t have gotten there. So I do try to, again, have individual conversations, and then do these brown bags, and for different teams that are out there. The other thing I’ll do with, whether if I’m managing a team, I will always take my team, and I will assign people in other organizations for them to basically become, you know, besties, with, you know, whether it’s just like, you know, go out to coffee, or, again, just have empathy, just, you know, talk to them understand what’s going on, like, you know, and I will assign them a product person, an engineer, a salesperson, somebody from every department so that they have that insight. And I’m pretty thoughtful about like, who I will assign to to folks. And sometimes I’ll tell the managers that I’m doing this, I’ll tell like sales managers, by the way, I’m going to pair my team up with the folks on your team. Sometimes I don’t tell, don’t tell him and just tell my team and they go off and, you know, magically decide they want to become best friends with, you know, the product guy. But
Christina 26:59 Right, right, but but what that does is it helps my team then understand, you know, have more empathy, when we’re looking at building out programs, and we need to focus on prioritization, it just gives them a better understanding of what the other person is going through, and sort of gives them better talking points so that they can work through what that prioritization might be. And so those are some of the things that I’ve done, that have helped helped me gain those sort of better working relationships.
Katherine 27:30 So here’s the big trick question. With our online zoom world. Yeah, yeah. What what tip do you have to do this, with zoom fatigue, and only distance and only screens and phone and that kind of thing?
Christina 27:43 You know, I have always had teams that were International, I’ve had teams that are in different time zones, I, you know, I have APAC I had EMEA, India. And so I’ve always had teams that are in different time zones. So we’ve always had, you know, certainly telephone conversations, and Zoom Zoom meetings. And I think the key thing is not just to have them, to have them, but to have an agenda. And again, it kind of goes back to intent and purpose. It’s like I want you on this call, because these are the things this is the agenda, this is what we’re going to talk about this is this is what the outcome is we hope to get to, and this is why we’re doing it. And it seems like a lot of work upfront. But it makes everybody come more prepared to the meeting, it helps you get through the meeting more quickly. And then everybody kind of knows what’s what’s going on. I’m known for having like, you know, I’ll have a 37 minute meeting. It’s like I don’t, I don’t need an hour, I really only need like 37 minutes of your time. And we can get through this. And you can you can, you know, belt it out pretty fast. And so I just think it’s important to not have meetings just to have meetings, which again, if you’re talking specifically about, you know, sort of these coffee klatch type meetings that you have, it’s a little it’s a little different on zoom. But generally, I’ll have somebody say, like, Hey, you know what, I have this idea, and I just wanted to get your thoughts on it. And again, don’t make it an hour long meeting, just make it 15 minutes, right? And just start building the relationship from that. And then what I’ve noticed is, you can have slack and then those folks start coming in and having conversations on slack. But they become a support system for each other. And again, whether it’s a zoom meeting or slack or just texting, whatever it is, I found that those relationships really help sort of, you know, sort of build, build upon that trust and really help the organization grow organ. Departments grow together more quickly.
Jim 29:51 Can you go ahead and relate all that to what you call the marketing map of influence?
Christina 29:57 Gosh, yeah, that’s What a great segue now. So the map of influence is something that, again, I’ve done, I actually have a physical map of influence when I’m in organizations, and I do I divide it up between the customer journey, which generally for for us is not the product, k is the marketing phase, the sales phase, then the customer phase. And, and really, again, it goes back to looking at all those different touch points, all the different areas where you’re aligning with your go to market strategy, all the different things that marketing can influence on whether they’re building it themselves, or they’re just influencing it. And, and, and really, again, it’s a physical map, for me, at least some people, you know, can put on post its or however you want to, however you want to look at it, but it really is looking at how you can help those different pieces of that customer journey become better. And again, more strategic. So, for example, if we’re talking about, we’re talking about the engineers, right, those engineers that I talked to you in that in that brown bag, I can, I can help them make a better product by giving them information about our customers. And again, for me, and my level in marketing, you know, I have access to that information, you know, folks who are early on in their career aren’t going to have that type of information or be able to influence. So think about who you are, what your role is, and the different folks that you work with, directly or indirectly, and how you can work with them, you know, even more, because basically, the end of the day we try to do is help them do their job better, because that’s only going to make it easier for you to do your job. So it’s a little, maybe a little selfish, but but at the end of the day, what it really will do is help the overall company be much more effective.
Jim 32:01 And when you have a map of influence, you’re looking at different potential gaps or, yeah, yeah, do you have have, you can’t kind of come up with the back of the envelope strategy for which tactics are more effective with the different segments of the map of influence?
Christina 32:20 Yeah, actually, in the book a little definitely goes into this. But if you think about the product, the product phase, part of it is, again, you start a company based on a product or solution, right. So it is very product and solution oriented to begin with. And it is a, you know, it’s a mindset that you have to help them understand that it now needs to be more of a go to market strategy versus a product strategy. And so helping them again, sort of in context, helping them understand the importance and significance of what they’re doing. Because let’s face it, they often are sort of in the same situation with remarketing is where, you know, sales people are like, Oh, this product is terrible, and I can’t sell it. And you know, you guys are doing anything you’re, you know, making the changes to the product that our customers are asking for. So they’re also in a situation where they’re doing the best they can. And they’re often not given credit for the significance of what it is they’re doing with their product in the overall corporate revenue. So, you know, how can you literally how can you help them? Right? I mean, that’s, that’s really, really what it comes down to. And, and so for, for product. And again, it really does just go back to context, like helping them understand, you know, why it’s significant why prioritizing features and functionality is significant, you know, what it means to marketing, for example, I have been, in many situations with with products where they’ve built a roadmap that makes sense to them in their engineering time. However, from a marketing perspective, I can get a lot more play with it. Because there’s, you know, like, let’s say, dreamforce is coming up, and if I can release it at dreamforce, then it’s just going to do a lot better in the marketplace. So helping them understand why that deadline is critical, helps them understand, like, you know, could they potentially put push this feature functionality out and bring some other ones up that might be more critical for for launch at dreamforce. And the same is true for sales. Like at the end of the day, you know, sales, oh my gosh, like, you know, those people just get beaten up all the time. You know, they don’t have enough not bringing in enough revenue, they’re not closing fast enough. They’re, you know, not bringing in big enough deals. So how can marketing help them do a better job at that? how can how can we enable them better? How can we, you know, make sure that expectations are being set properly. Even if we’re doing an event this this happens a lot and You know, I get it because again, marketers are in this day in, day out, but not everybody is. But for example, like, let’s just take dreamforce, for example, I’ve been in the situation a couple of times where dreamforce is gonna bring in 1000s of leads. But that doesn’t mean that they’re quality leads. And that doesn’t mean that they’re ready for sales. So even before you do dreamforce, you need to help the company or everybody’s going to like, see these big numbers coming in, help them understand what that means, right? Like, you may end up only getting 100 leads sales. And the executive team needs to understand that as well. Because the executive team is like, Well, you know, marketing just did dreamforce and brought in 2000 leads, how can we haven’t closed anything? and sales is like, well, we only got 10 leads so far. Right? And so you need to really help everybody sort of along that that chain in that journey, understand, you know, what these, what these leads mean, when they might convert how they’re going to be nurtured out. And again, at the end of the day, what it means in terms of pipeline, and what that will ultimately mean in terms of revenue. And when, you know, because I know, leads from dreamforce are going to take 12 months, at least to close, right? So I’m not looking for revenue the next month, that’s great, if that happens, but it’s not it’s not likely. So again, it’s about setting expectations. And, you know, really just helping people understand what that what that process looks like.
Jim 36:21 So it circles back to what you talked about in terms of RPM, right? Because you’re trying to set up these reproducible string gaps, right, all the way from young generation through the conversion funnel to close. Right. And you can’t do that without sales. But you also can’t do that without marketing, working very closely with sales. Because, you know, if they’ve got a great funnel, you know, and they’re bringing tons of stuff at the top of the funnel, but it has nothing to do with what actually converts or closes a set L. Right. You know that why’d you do it?
Christina 36:59 Yeah, and I, you know, I’ve been and again, I think it goes to marketing, really understanding what, like I said, like to that predictability. Again, I know, if I do a webinar, those leads will close in six months, if I do an event, they’ll close in 12 months, if I do, you know, an executive roundtable that close in one month, if I’m targeting specific folks that I know are already on the fence, and we you know, send our CEO to them for lunch, whatever. But those are going to close the next day, right? There’s just some things that marketing knows that we need to explain to others so that they can be more effective as well, we had this is when I firstname.lastname@example.org, we did a webinar. And it’s really a great webinar, it was a thought leader in this, this webinar really should have done well, we had a ton of a ton of interest, we had a ton of folks who registered and attended. And then the the SDRs, who were making the calls were like, this is the worst webinar. This is the worst program ever. And I was like really, I’m not not sure that that’s like what what’s happening. And in what turned out was that it was literally at the end of summer, and people were just basically on vacation. This is when people go on vacation. So it was a while ago. But so I’m like, here’s the deal. Give all these back to marketing, we’re going to nurture them for two weeks, we’re going to send them we’re going to write a paper, we’re going to send the paper out, we’re going to you know, do a couple of emails. And we did that. And then after that two week period, when everybody should have been back and kids are back in school, go back to school. And, and they called them again. And like literally the next week when we had our meeting, they’re like, Oh my god, this is the best program ever. And I was like, so But again, we we didn’t set them up for success initially. And part of it was we just we weren’t even thinking about like, you know, the seasonality of it, or that people would be on vacation. But once we recognize that and built a program to sort of help mitigate that and nurture them. In the meantime, then it was a super successful program was like one of the most successful programs we actually had. They were converting, like within a day, which was like really phenomenal. Because we’ve taken the time to understand like what was happening, we took the time to build out more again, taking that that content and reusing it repurposing it, and to kind of build and nurture upon that, and then the sales team is ready to go in and close those deals. But again, sort of part of it is you need to get that feedback, you need to have that feedback loop. And that goes back to, you know, having that influence and having that trust, you know, so that the sales people can come to you and say, Hey, this really sucked and let’s figure out why it sucked and what we can do about that. fair to say it sucks and walks out of the room. many ways. Right? Right. It’s like okay, I can see that right. So you do need to build that trust in and ends Then, because you’ve built that trust, and you listen to them, and you’ve worked on a program together to fix it, then they’re going to continue to come to you. And they’re going to come to you with ideas as well, which is really significant. You know, salespeople can be really innovative. Like, let’s do promotion, or now let’s focus on this state this month, or whatever it is. Because they’re, you know, they’re on the front lines, and they have a really good here to what’s happening with the prospects.
Katherine 40:27 So, going back to building that relationship with your team, do you have a bit of press that you provide your team members? Especially maybe the junior ones, about the way you should talk from different teams because they sound stereotypical and I realize not every developer is introverted. But there aren’t, but generally developers have most of the time a distinctly different personality than its gregarious marketer, come in with that personality might not be listened too as well. Yeah, wondering if you have anything that’s like that that you had on like, when you talk to sales, make sure you mentioned XYZ.
Christina 41:14 Yeah, so there’s a couple things I do. Again, I actually I’m pretty mindful about who I assign and so I do. I personally take that into consideration. What I will often do is I will pick people in other organizations who I know are open to you. Know, having these conversations and learning. Like for example, if I’ve had, I’ve had developers come to me, you know, with ideas before and I’m like, oh, this is a great thing. They understand marketing enough to know that you know, maybe this is something that we should be looking at so they’re open to throw punch ideas and are open to having conversations, so I will try to find. Uhm, the same with, sales right? You have some sales. People who are really open to trying new things and being innovative. And I will often like. I’ll find those folks right away and really set them up for success and so try to identify those folks just that. That helps in general and then. Uhm, you know? I mean again, like you’re saying I have those conversations. You know this not everyone. Not every sales person wants to hear from marketing, right? Uhm? And so, I normally have them start the conversations on a more personal level, right? So, you know, figure something out about them with some of the companies you know. You know if people are like they’re into music or you know you see stickers on their laptop about, you know a band that they like. Or something like that, right? So there’s ways that you can kind of connect with folks, and so I’ll try to have my team focus on that and focus on just building that personal relationship first, so that then they can kind of get into, you know, some of the other conversations as they’re kind of building that relationship. So those are, those are some of the things that I. You know, try to try to tell the folks up. Plus, I also. Tell my team what it’s like. Well, this is why we need a product to understand what it is that we do. This is why I need sales to understand specifically. Like if you’re the contact person I need you working really closely with the product because they have the details of what the product and solution does. And so, I’ll tell my team like these are the things we do. This is why we need to have that relationship with them and what we can get from them and so that they’re kind of going about it from that perspective.
Katherine 43:43 So you said you almost sound like you have a sales background because some of that stuff is stuff that you would do if you had a one on one sales meeting with somebody you know that figuring out what their personal interest is maybe a little bit before bearing.
Christina 44:00 I, I mean, I might my background is in communication so and actually it’s nonverbal communication is one of the areas that I really focused on, so I am very much about like you know, looking at people’s expressions like either rolling their eyes or they just on their phone until they ignore you. Are they asleep? So. But it’s really, you know. So, for me, it’s a little easier to sort of recognize some of those characteristics. Uhm, and again, I just think you know it’s so important to understand both your infants and your internal audience, this as much as your external audience, right? And again, marketing records that were graded. Understanding our audience is, we just need to sort of shift in terms of you know what you know what’s going on if you think about the executives. I told you, know folks who just starting off like you get to know, get to know your company CEO like you know if you see him jogging just say hey you know what I just took up jogging. We going to go jogging with you know next Wednesday like you know that getting to know them and understanding who they are in their personality is just really critical and the sooner you can come sooner you can understand how to do that the easier your job i think will be up and so really for me it’s just , you know, observation and I, I try to help my teams as much as possible so they recognize this those little things as well.
Jim 45:28 Speaking in the skill set of the market, yeah, forget it inward as well, exactly. You know, going back to grip, right? Yeah, it’s not just what is your message and who is your audience, but it’s also can you do it on a reproducible basis for it? Well you have success getting concrete on that way So I do a lot of work with the startup that I’m the technical person, by the way, I’m a strong extrovert so I think the word you’re looking for is engineering. Not introvert. Whatever you want to believe. I guess. It really is about. Helping the organization as a whole makes this step the journey away from the product. Now that it’s yes, the market is in the shoes of the customer and then return back to the organization for that person. Yes, because he is the way I always describe it with entrepreneurs as you know with startups and they see a problem if they go. Oh, I can solve that. They build and they start building a product. All of their focus now zoomed into the product. They suggest that the whole reason why they did it is because there was somebody out there who had a need. Taking them on that quiet mark outside yeah, and that is it is really powerful. And you’re doing this same thing. It seems to me. With your internal kind of mapping of marketing is.you’re you’re helping each one of them connect outside of what they’re doing to cut a greater.
Christina 47:00 Yeah, it’s so true and again it’s so funny because these are skills that we have as marketing professionals and yet we sort of don’t think about how to apply them. I had when I was working at intact, we would have this weekly sales call and actually start with monthly sales called this particular meeting and we would talk about the previous month like what marketing did. And you know what we brought in and then we would talk about the program. So, we’re going to have it for the following month. And these meetings were just Oh my gosh. I just thought they were just painful for everybody. And you know you could tell within the first five minutes that they were at least these folks completely, they just they just didn’t. Didn’t care what we were doing. It meant nothing to them clearly. We weren’t having an impact on their jobs or lives or anything and so I kind of walked away from one meeting thinking that was really weird. And then I had on my Oh my desk. I had all of our leads for the month like in green like Oh my gosh, we’re almost, you know we’re getting our MQ else and I had some sales guy come up and he literally be like a race. He erased the number and I was like what? Would you do that for and? He’s like because you have this number up here in its huge and it looks great and it’s in green. Check the executives walked by and see this huge lead number and then they turn around the sales and say how come you’re not selling anything and now said Boo yeah, I’m like that number is just for like my marketing team to see. Like you know how many of these we have. Coming in because they converted this rate which can reach to this revenue and he’s like, well, they don’t see any of that. They just see this big number and then they come to us and say, how come we haven’t closed any sense? So, the next month when we had that meeting, I told my team like look, they only care about pipeline and revenue like what’s in it for them and we we’ve been going into this meeting with our whole funnel. This is what we use the programs we had. This is how many of these we have. This is our traffic. This is our MQ else this is our SQL’s right like I have the whole funnel laid out for them. And like flip it, just flip it like start with the very last slide which shows the pipeline and the revenue and like and if you never get to any other slides in your presentation, that is OK. So, the next meeting we went in we literally started with the revenue that we brought in and the pipeline that we developed for sales and suddenly sales is like poop. This this super interesting and I got that. Discussed conversation started like well you know what did you do to get to this pipeline where their programs are more effective and impactful than other ones we tried and we put more money into those instead and how can sales help promote those programs more if they’re actually converting you know and bring in more qualified leads and so simply by.
Jim 50:08 And it sounds so great… you would actually have crystallized the motivation for us starting this podcast. When you earlier talked about the fact that marketing professionals there is nothing equipping them for what they actually do and how critical a role they play especially as soon as the company decides it’s going down the road of digital marketing one form or another it is absolutely 100% strategic.
Katherine 50:39 I love how you talk about on How you need Moxie to be successful and I have to admit it stuck out to me because I grew up in the town where the soda was created, named Foxy. Oh, that’s awesome. That is awesome. Exactly what can you tell me a little bit more about what you mean by that and then more importantly.
Christina 51:08 Exactly. It’s a great question. Yeah, so my whole thing is grit and moxie, right? So great is sort of that. That perseverance and passion and moxie really is the determination that you need. And again, I feel like most marketing professionals already have grit and moxie. You need it to like day in, day out, sort of, come in, do your job, kind of get beaten down if you will, which often happens. You know you have your budget cuts is your job with your team and again really not have people understand the impact you’re having and yet you get up the next day and you’re like we’re just going to keep going because I know this is.The right thing to do, right? That? That’s really that really, is great in Moxie. And again, I feel like marketing people already have that. They might not necessarily recognize that they have it, or that that’s what it is, but that really is what it is and you need both of those, I think to do to succeed, and I think it’s. It really goes back to just having that passion. Having that passion about knowing your job, your role, your companies or programs, or implementing the campaign to have the rest of your team. I mean, you know and your listeners know it to like you. You want your company to be successful. You want everybody in the company to be successful, and you want your customers to be successful. And that’s really why you’re there. If you don’t have grit or moxie. I honestly mean this might mean, but I don’t think marketing is a good option for you because you really need to have both. To be successful and two. Upton be able to empower yourself, that’s one thing I learned early on. You know, for a while I was like, oh somebody empowering me. That would be great. And then I was like, wait, I don’t. I don’t need somebody to empower me. I need to empower myself. And so that’s basically what I’ve done, and I tried to teach my teams as well. It’s like nobody’s going to mom. How are you? You need to empower yourself, and so I feel like if you might be new to marketing and not really know where you fit in. And that’s OK. Uhm, but you still need to have that passion in order to sort of get through. You know, it’s a career where you kind of need to have a strong backbone if you will. And so that’s kind of where I came up with the grit Moxie ever friend who said he was going to name his kid grit and then get her a puppy dog named Moxie, and they. Walk around the neighborhood and the grit and Moxie together. He named her Maya instead, which is fine whatever. But again, i think it’s just things that i think it’s we already have it it’s just a matter of recognizing it and i think it’s important to recognize that in others in marketing teams or in companies.
Katherine 54:00 Yeah, I’ve managed in-house teams that have been younger folks, mostly trained to college kind of thing. And I actually because I’ve had roles, but it’s similar to yours. Were you supposed to pivot or make a big change? Yeah, and I actually put a calendar on my wall that the team could see and every time there was a tiny, it’s little change. Somebody internally saying the right word understanding as the oh whatever it was we literally wrote it on the calendar no matter how mild that’s amazing so that way people could see progress yeah we got to celebrate the tiniest type you know that that person that you thought would never be supportive of your program and on a call finally was oh that went on board you know went on the calendar.
Christina 54:47 Marketing understands the impact that they’re having, and I think that that’s that. That’s really, really important. And I do think that again, everybody looks at everybody’s going to look at marketing’s impact and results differently, like saying an engineer is going to totally look at it differently than the sales team or the CEO or somebody in.Obviously you have to understand you know what that looks like, and making those small victories are so, so important, like the fact that engineering literally got literally got what marketing doesn’t recognize, how they could help us by giving US customer data 10 years back. A true then you’re still excited about it now. That’s a great thing about it. Calendar mode I’m telling you, I’m telling you I’m going to write it on the calendar. Exactly.
Katherine 55:48 One is that we’re very focused on what makes our customers tick, and just wondering if you had an aha moment about your customers recently or about your internal team. Something is surprised you
Christina 55:55 . Yeah, I think a couple of things. First off, yeah I. I’ve focused mostly on BB so large; you know enterprise solutions. And one thing I learned. Early on was just stay away from the spoken customization literally. No company is that unique in that it needs to have its own specific solution developed. You know, trying to get to a point where 80% of what you’re doing is what is needed for the company, and then maybe 20% is sort of what? They want, and I think that’s really important for marketing to understand sales, to understand customer success. To understand it clearly for a product to understand the other thing that I think is important to understand is we are the ones who built that product because we saw a need and a gap right? And so, we know that. This is good stuff, best practices and so we need to help our customers understand like this is the best practice. There was a gap. We filled it in. This is what you need to be implementing and why and what it’s going to do for you. That said, I also think it’s really important to really observe how the customers are using you. Products, because there’s opportunities to pivot or enhance based on how they’re using it. There might be times where you say I’m not saying you tell your customer using it wrong, but you can say you know this. That wasn’t the intention, and that’s why it’s not necessarily working for you in that context. And again sort of help them understand best practices and.you know use cases but also you know they might be coming up with like new and innovative ways of using your product that you never even thought of and it’s just simple extension and could potentially fit into the go to market strategy and therefore you should be paying attention to that.
Katherine 57:49 I was actually head of marketing and sales force app product and we saw that everybody had this need for a statewide solution and I actually pushed product development statewide. It’s part of the reason we became the market leader was yeah, they got that blue speech that because
Christina 58:04 your customers they’re telling you like OK, yes, I bought it from this and using it. But if we could do this on top of that that would be amazing.. Actually, it’s interesting with Marketlike I said, I was an alpha and beta tester for them and when it first started out it was very product oriented. You know the CEO was very much focused on the product in and you know how it was built, but it was not usable by marketers and his whole thing was like this is tool for marketing for marketers market so easy marketers could use it.Thanks.Uh?Ha ha ha.But honestly, it wasn’t easy to use. You literally needed to have an engineer develop it for you. And that was the feedback I gave them. Was like this. I can’t use it and I’m smart and I’m actually tech savvy and it’s not usable unless I have a developer with me and so they literally. Took it off the shelf, went back and spent a year or redeveloping it so that marketing people could actually use it, you know, and so that was, you know this was it was a tense conversation I had with him, but you know, he took that information and then literally both product so that it was easier for marketing people to use because again, it was built by engineers and product teams. Not by marketing, and so things like you know, drag and drop or I want to be able to, you know. Segment my email list for things that they hadn’t even thought of because they’ve worked. Marketing folks are saying so, so really important to listen to these.
Katherine 59:36 Amazing OK, so there’s also the other couple courses they asked folks: what is the winner or resource that you want to share with the audience today?
Christina 59:45 Yes, I would love to share my book. Yes, it might be, but the book is coming out in August, so it’ll be. It’ll be a little while. I have an online course coming out with compliments that I think will take a couple weeks until I can help people walking Betsy that drink socially with only the resources in terms of some of the stuff I talked about today. But I think that there’s so many. Fascinating. Uhm C and articles and books that have come out especially in the past year. You know, folks like David Yurman Scott who wrote. You know, in accuracy that’s a great book as it talks about how to turn your customers and fans. Angela Duckworth had the Grit. You know it’s not specific to marketing. It’s just like Brit had a half bridge talk about how to measure the grid. Those are some really interesting articles and their big fan of Guy Kawasaki and all the different things. She’s talked about and you know how he came to be and where he sorts of focused on. Now. It’s always really interesting. Rand Fishkin started his new SparkToro solution, which is really interesting as well and you know again, it’s hard to say like one specific resource. cause I think people’s marketing changes so quickly. Technology changes quickly. All the digital marketing tools change really quickly, and so it’s really important to stay on top of, you know, listen to podcasts like. This and see what’s happening on Jan and other social media channels to just make sure you’re on top of it. Like I said, you know the latest is. The uh Oh my gosh, I’ve already talked about the beginning and the new social media app that you have to be invited to? Right now, the new Tik Tok you know, we’ll see, we’ll see what happens in what comes with that. But you need to understand, sort of what technology is coming out there? And then the different tools. That that may or may not impact what it is today.
Katherine 1:01:40 Great, so how can our listeners learn more about you?
Christina 1:01:44 So, they can go to my website, which is Christina delvillar.com and also you know, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn as well. I’ll be posting a lot of articles there and those are really the two best ways to reach out to me on LinkedIn. And in my website.
Katherine 1:02:03 great, thank you very much for your time today. So that’s great. I’m excited so that was helpful for folks. So, I think I think it totally is. And personally, I really enjoyed it. As you can tell. Christina Yeah, no, it’s good. I’m excited. Thanks so much for listening to find out more.