Six Takeaways From the ON24’s Regulation Webinar That Will Ease Your Mind


GDPR went into effect on May 25. With significant penalties for non-compliance, and the fact that any organisation that communicates with people in the EU will have to comply, there was a lot of discussion in the run-up to the enforcement deadline. There continues to be a lot of discussions well after. Many companies are still struggling to comply with the regulations and have questions about various aspects of compliance. What are the regulations? What do we do if our company is not ready for GDPR? Does GDPR affect other departments aside from marketing? How do we build campaigns that help gain compliance?

ON24’s Insight50 Ask About: Regulation webinar addresses these questions and more. Webinar panelists Abigail Dubiniecki, senior lawyer and specialist at My Inhouse Lawyer , Richard Preece, Director at DA Resilience and Zach Thornton, External Affairs Manager at the DMA shared their knowledge and expertise to answer questions and discuss the various aspects of GDPR and what it means to companies.

Here are just six key takeaways from the webinar, moderated by Andrew Warren-Payne from Market2Marketers .

Most attendees aren’t compliant but they are getting there

If your company is not 100% compliant with GDPR, you are not alone. Of the webinar attendees, 48% reported that ‘We are not fully compliant but are taking steps towards it’ when asked ‘Where is your company in terms of readiness for GDPR?’

On this note, one important question came from the audience: if your contacts have not opted in by the 25th May deadline, does it mean you can no longer contact them? According to Zach Thornton, if your company is already abiding by opt-in consent rules and you have a continual engagement or relationship with your customer, this implies continual consent making renewal of consent unnecessary. He believes that companies going through this re-consenting process are wasting resources and might needlessly be keeping in touch with contacts that are consenting to receive marketing.

Procrastinators don’t panic

If you are feeling a bit behind on GDPR compliance, don’t panic. Abigail Dubiniecki, from My Inhouse Lawyer, advises not to panic and to think before you act. She has a Five-Step Procrastinator’s Checklist that can help you towards compliance.

  1. Know the law

Get on the ICO website and familiarise yourself with the following guidelines and tools:

ICO Direct Marketing Guide

ICO Guide to the GDPR


ICO Lawful Basis Interactive Tool

  1. Know your data

Know what kind of data you have. This is important because, as Dubiniecki says, “You can’t do things properly if you don’t know what you have.”

  1. Know your legal justification and your purpose

Segment your database and identify what the legal justification is for having those contacts. You’ll want to know the following information about your contacts:

  • Provenance
  • Preference they have
  • Purpose you are allowed to market to them
  1. Trim the fat

This is where you want to use your metrics. Find out how much engagement you have had with your contacts. From that point, you can purge those contacts that do not engage.

  1. Go forth and market, but do it appropriately and maintain good practices

Establish workflows and make sure you have a record of processing activities. Most importantly, make sure you train those people involved in these workflows and processing activities.

Make privacy a positive

Many of the webinar participants polled (39%) are not sure whether GDPR would be good for business. However, the majority (54%) felt that GDPR would have a positive effect on business.

This positive outlook on GDPR’s on the state of business is refreshing and in line with the advice given by Zach Thornton. He suggests that companies make privacy a positive. Transparent, common-sense guidance allows companies to address customers’ concerns about their personal data and let customers know that they are in control of how your company uses their data. Privacy can now be a company’s unique selling point.

A good example of an organisation making privacy positive is the BBC, which uses a layered privacy approach. This method provides the most important information to the contact first at the top layer (for example, on a sign-up form); thereafter, each layer of additional information gets more detailed but still gives a clear explanation as to how that information will be used. This approach makes it easier to explain privacy information for the average person.

Email is thought to be the marketing channel most at risk but what about sales activities?

Not surprisingly, email is believed to be the marketing channel that has the greatest amount of risk in reference to GDPR. Webinars were seen as the lowest risk.

But while much talk has been on marketing practices and channels that will fall under the scrutiny of GDPR, what about sales activities?

As Zach Thornton explained, because GDPR applies to the processing of personal data that can be linked back to an individual, it does apply to sales activities such as cold calling, contacting prospects via social media such as LinkedIn as well as the use of email prospecting tools. It is important to note that GDPR also applies to human resources, IT and any other department that processes personal data.

If marketing is designed properly, compliance will happen

So how can marketers design their campaigns to gain compliance? According to Abigail Dubiniecki, the answer is to design marketing campaigns that establish a reason for engagement and encourages the development of relationships. If marketing efforts, such as webinars, are created around the idea that people don’t want to miss out and the excitement of being part of something interesting, people will sign up so they can be notified of upcoming events. If you deliver value, compliance will follow

Compliance is an ongoing endeavor

The last takeaway from the webinar is one to keep in mind—compliance does not end; it is an endeavor. As Richard Preece explained, compliance is an ongoing process. It requires you to challenge the way you do things, to understand the risk and have a clear system in place. This system will allow for continuous improvements and adapts over time to the needs of your business.

Want to know more?

If you want to know more, the ON24 Insight50 Ask About: Regulation is available now on-demand.

The post Six Takeaways From the ON24’s Regulation Webinar That Will Ease Your Mind appeared first on ON24 .

To view our Partner blog, click here

Why Webinars are a Powerful Instrument in your GDPR Toolkit


If there’s one law on the tip of every marketer’s tongue, it’s GDPR . The General Data Privacy Regulation, which went into effect this May, is a requirement for any organization dealing with the data of citizens from the European Union. In essence, it empowers European Union citizens to control their data and puts strict limits on what data organizations can collect and how.

Similar regulations are popping up  in the United States as well.

At its heart, GDPR is about engagement. It demands organizations to be proactive, earn their audience’s interest and to respect the time of today’s digital community. By doing so, organizations aren’t only coming into compliance with GDPR, they’re nurturing better pipeline, a better brand, and a quality one-to-one relationship that actually matters.

So how can an organization wrestle with GDPR? At a glance, GPDR looks like it’d hurt a company’s marketing and sales efforts. It could, theoretically, slash market-qualified leads and cut pipeline. But companies don’t have to take that perceived hit so long as they use the right tools to engage with relevant, interested audiences. What organizations need to do is stop interrupting and start engaging.

That’s where webinars and platforms like the ON24 Engagement Platform  step in. With interactive, engaging webinars and events, companies can both affirm consent and confirm interest with  European Union citizens. Moreover, organizations can maintain and expand on that interest through a variety of in-webinar widgets, such as Q&As, newsletter sign up and more. No other digital marketing tool gives you the opportunity to — in one event — interact with a nearly limitless audience with multiple touchpoints while both gaining GDPR-compliant consent and gauging interest through advanced analytics.

What’s more, with tools like ON24’s Gateway  — an on-demand engagement hub for webinars, white papers and more — organizations can continue to drive that interest well after an event is over — allowing on-demand attendees to engage with a brand’s message on their own time.

Why does that matter? Simple: It puts your audience in the driver’s seat and allows them to interact with your brand and your content, on their terms. You no longer have to worry about if your messaging is spot-on because your audience will tell you through their interactions with you. You no longer have to worry if you’re GDPR-compliant with consent and legitimate interest, because your audience will confirm their interest through their interactions with you. ON24 helps you to put your audience in control — the way it should be.

Want to learn more about how webinars can be a powerful instrument in your GDPR toolkit? Join us on July 17 at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST)  as our webinar guru, Mark Bornstein, explains the ins-and-outs of GDPR and where webinars fit in.

The post Why Webinars are a Powerful Instrument in your GDPR Toolkit appeared first on ON24 .

To view our Partner blog, click here

Five Tips Legal SMBs can use for Surprise Webinars

Best Practices

As a part of SMB Week, we’re highlighting the webinar tips, tricks and hidden secrets any small organization can deploy for better webinars. This article was originally published on jdsupra.com .

Most webinars are part of your firm’s long-term strategy: they’re programmed and planned out well in advance. So what happens when big news that you need to translate for your clients breaks on short notice? More to the point, how can you develop and deliver a meaningful webinar in 24 hours? Here are five suggestions:

1. Work with Seasoned Attorneys

You need subject matter experts of course, but your webinar will go more smoothly when you’re working with lawyers who are familiar with the format, who have done webinars before, who are comfortable with the pace, the provider, the ways questions are asked and answered. Attorneys who’ve already presented webinars for your firm will be able to focus their limited preparation time on the topics to be discussed rather than how the webinar works.

2. Send Personal Invitations

Mass emails announcing presentations on important topics can work when time is on your side, but on a quick turnaround it’s better to send personalized messages to those contacts most affected by the issues you’re discussing (your profiles of clients and past webinar attendees will tell you who those people are).

Craft your message to make it clear that you know the topic is relevant to the invitee – because they’ve attended similar webinars in the past or downloaded a white paper on a related subject, for example – and remember that the goal of your webinar isn’t to transmit knowledge, it’s to build and enhance relationships with the people in a position to hire your firm. Personal invites can do that.

3. Don’t Overthink the Slides

One of the most time-consuming tasks for developing a webinar is the preparation of slides. That’s because, by and large, people tend to try to cram too many ideas onto their slides, to list all the points they’re covering, to fill up the blank page with words. When you’re on a short deadline, the best way to get around this is to stick to the essentials and limit your bullets to the principal points of the discussion. Use the words – and images, if you can – to accent your presentation instead of recapping it. Leave attendees with concepts they can remember.

4. Invite the Media

Clients and potential clients aren’t the only ones who benefit from your insight and perspective on timely legal developments. Journalists too will appreciate your timely explanation of the impacts that changes in the law, for example, will have on the companies and individuals for whom they are writing. You’ve probably already got a list of reporters who cover these issues, those who’ve quoted your lawyers in the past or called you for background or attended your press conferences. Invite them to your webinar (with a personalized invitation, of course).

5. Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

You’ve heard it before, but that doesn’t make it less true: seeking perfection can get in the way of producing something good. When you’ve got less than 24 hours to develop, publicize, and stage a webinar on a breaking issue, you have to be realistic about what you can achieve. That doesn’t mean settling for a sloppy presentation or a glitchy webinar, but it just might mean letting go when things aren’t perfect.

* * *

With immediate analysis of current developments, your lawyers get out in front of the issues affecting your clients’ ability to do business. And with a well-produced webinar, you develop valuable collateral that later audiences can access on-demand, when their schedules permit and when they’re ready to act on it. That’s a win-win for everyone.

Is there anything that you would add to this list? I’d love to hear about it.

For more information about how ON24 helps legal firms conduct top-tier webinars, check out the legal section of our website. 

The post Five Tips Legal SMBs can use for Surprise Webinars appeared first on ON24 .

To view our Partner blog, click here

CMO Confessions Ep. 4: Yext’s Jeff Rohrs


Hi folks, and welcome to another episode of CMO Confessions, our bi-weekly podcast covering all things marketing. Once again, I hope everyone listening is enjoying this series and are drawing up some inspiration from, frankly, some kick-ass marketers.

This week’s guest, Jeff Rohrs, coincidentally, is quite familiar with kicking ass. Jeff is the CMO of Yext — a leading Digital Knowledge Management organization helping marketers and brands manage their image and data in the age of voice assistants — but he also has a stunning background in the B2B sector as both a leader and a writer. He’s also one of the few marketers I know with a Juris Doctorate (read: law) degree.

Pretty accomplished, right? That’s not even the half of it. Jeff has few books under his belt, co-authoring tomes like The Everywhere Brand  and AUDIENCE: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers . Additionally, Jeff has previously served as the Vice President of Marketing Insights for Salesforce and ExactTarget.

You can find Jeff and his latest insights on his Twitter feed, @jkrohrs . Additionally, you can download his latest white paper, How Voice Search Changes Everythingright here .

Finally, if you’re interested in listening to our growing podcast series, you can find all of our episodes right here in podbean . Alternatively, you can also find us on both iTunes and Google Play stores.

Without further ado, welcome to CMO Confessions. Let’s chat .


Joe Hyland: 

Hello, and good day to everyone. I want to welcome you to our next episode of CMO Confessions. The idea here is this is a weekly B2B sales and marketing podcast that explores what it really means to be a marketing leader in today’s business world. I’m Joe Hyland, CMO of ON24, and joining me today, and this week is Jeff Rohrs, CMO of Yext. Jeff, great to have you here.

Jeff Rohrs: 

Thanks, great to be here.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, you guys are on one hell of a ride. So, a little background on the Yext and then Jeff, I think people would love to hear your perspective on the company. Yext went public this past year, a leading digital Knowledge Management Platform — the DKM space. Do you want to give give a little more background on what you guys are doing over at Yext?

Jeff Rohrs: 

Sure, so folks, you know, basically understand our mission, and we we’ve had this mission since Howard Lerman and Bryan Distelburger really kind of founded this iteration of the company. And that mission is to simply give companies control over the brand experiences that their customers have across all of the Digital Universe intelligence services they use today, be it Google or Facebook or Yelp or navigation services other things.

Our own research and the way that things are evolving showcase that the consumer has moved obviously away from the desktop. Not entirely, but their time is now majority spent on mobile, whether it’s search navigation in the moment kind of the interests, and so that means we’ve moved away from a world of ten blue links to one that’s controlled by knowledge and answers.

You know, especially now that you see the rise of voice assistance — you’re often asking it, “where should I go for lunch?” and “What is the answer to this question?” And so, we really are that platform that companies use to make sure that all of their customer-critical facts are correct in the moment, be it locations, store hours, photography that’s seasonal and fresh menu items. For doctors, you know, what insurance do they accept? And so that whole world we call digital knowledge and our space we call it Digital Knowledge Management.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, that’s really exciting. And, so successful that you’re able to go public so congratulations on that.

Jeff Rohrs: 

Well as anyone who’s gone public will tell you that the beginning of the ride. So that is that’s just one wonderful date, and it was a wonderful experience, last year, to go through that.  But now it’s about meeting and exceeding expectations and making sure we continue to build kind of product that our customers need to achieve their goals.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, and working hand to hand with with your attorneys, which, I’m sure, any marketer can attest to is it lovely experience.

Jeff Rohrs: 

I shook hands with our general counsel yesterday, because one of my deep dark secrets that I’m a recovering attorney.

Joe Hyland: 

Well, actually, you lead me into my first into my first question, which is: I know a few CMOs who also have their JD. Walk us through how that happens.

Jeff Rohrs: 

Yeah, so, this being CMO confessions, I don’t have any degree in marketing. I don’t have any degree in Business. My undergraduate at Miami of Ohio was in Mass Communications and sociology, and I did a lot of stuff around radio. So, I was a DJ at a classic alternative rock radio station called 97x.

Joe Hyland: 


Jeff Rohrs: 

Yeah, if you’ve ever seen Rain Man it’s the one where they go, “Bam, 97X the future of rock’n’roll!” It was sort of amazing experience and out of that I started a music video show on campus that ran on, kinda, local cable access and got to interview all these different artists — like Trent Reznor and Bob Mould — and, basically, [I] just caught the bug for artists and artists’ rights. And so I thought, “Well, you know, I don’t feel, graduating from college, that I’ve got enough, you know, book smarts and world smarts.” And so I decided, “I’ll go to law school to do a dual degree, so I’ll get my masters in mass communication, and  also learn how to protect artists’ rights.”

I was woefully naive, got myself in six figures of debt before it was fashionable. And then discovered I had to go practice law afterward. I, fortunately, went to a great firm by the name of Baker & Hostetler, practiced there for a couple of years doing what I lovingly referred to as “whatever-they-told-me-to law,” which was mainly litigation. And the thing that turned me was — at the end of my dual degree program, my time in Boston, I went to Boston University —  they had installed, in the mass communication department, in 1994, a state-of-the-art Mac lab — power macintoshes, like fresh off the assembly line.

And I remember Jim Lingle — the instructor, who had previously worked at Apple, hauling in, you know, carrying this very heavy one-gig hard drive — and I took the first multimedia classes involving the internet in 94 at Boston University, caught the bug, but I had to go pay those debts, so I went to the DOS world of Baker & Hostetler, and instantly realized I got to pave my way back towards technology. Which I did in a series of jobs working at LexisNexis, and then an end-to-end consulting firm that burst when the bubble burst called Future Next and then — it started out as strictly an email marketing Services firm — but it grew into a full service digital agency as I became president called Optimum. That’s where I forged our partnership with ExactTarget and Scott Dorsey the founder of ExactTarget came calling after we won Partner of the Year. And he said “Hey, would you ever consider joining us?” And I said, “Hey, for the right price, I’d consider a lot of things.” And that led to a year-long conversation and I joined there in May of 2007.

Helped build-out thought leadership, content marketing, did a lot of around our annual event connections — was really kind of a bit of a, I called myself a Jack Black/Harvey Keitel, mix — so infotainment and fixer on some stuff. Had the great pleasure of working under Tim Kopp, who was the CMO and now is with Hyde Park Ventures — and has a great blog, by the way, called CMO VC if anybody’s interested — and rode that wave going public with ExactTarget. A year later where acquired by Salesforce, right in the midst of me writing a book. And that book came out in time for Dreamforce that year. It’s amazing what Wiley publishing will do when they realize they have distribution at Dreamforce. And then, lo-and-behold, two years into the Salesforce piece, I got recruited into Yext. With good timing, because I was interested in stretching my abilities and seeing what I could do and it was a great opportunity.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, that’s a cool ride, but one question I have is, I think I know the answer, but I’m curious to get your take is how curated was your career path? So here, I ask because hearing it in reverse, it sounds like you had everything planned out. Did it feel that way as it was happening?

Jeff Rohrs: 

So, I will say in a broad sense, when I got to the to the law firm, I recognized pretty quickly that I was “Which one of these is not like the others?” You know, when you get your reviews as a lawyer, and the number one common is “Jeff is very creative.” That’s not meant as a compliment. You’re thinking about what you should be doing. So, I always likened it, and I always thought in my mind as this very long circuitous path that I was going to take back towards technology and communications.

And what happened, when I left from the firm to LexisNexis, it was in the mid 90s, and this was back when LexisNexis — it’s a legal research service for those who don’t know — it had installed PCS and installed software at all of the major law schools and law firms in the country. So, the model of a rep was education, sales and tech support — so, you literally crawl around on the floor to fix, when a competitor had taken out your landline, or done something, or install new software.

Well, right in the midst — less than, I think, a year, into that role — they migrated and launched Lexus.com. We would now call it, “they moved to the cloud.” So, they changed the model from the install software to cloud-based technology. So, they’d still provide the computer, but now it’s going to Lexis.com. And I got to be on some product review teams and there was a competitive product that came out — not to get to in the weeds, but, the gold standard of citation checking in the law, the way that you make sure case law is still good for you to cite in a brief is called “Shepherds.” And Lexus acquired that and that was an editorial product — thousands of editors making sure the case law was good, updating it regularly with paper updates and then they migrated to electronic. Well, Westlaw, the competitor at the time, was innovating and they came up with a product called “Keysight” that didn’t use any human editors and purported to give you the same quality that Shepherd’s had.

But the truth was it was more like the from the school of “launch and fix it afterwards.” And in law you just couldn’t have that. So, if you were relying on the information you’ve had in Keysight at the time, there was a high degree what you were relying on was wrong and that could subject you potentially to malpractice or other very, very bad outcomes. So, to cut the story short, I created some marketing selects that were competitive and compared this, and I put him up in my law firms and my fellow reps saw them, and they said, “Hey can we use those?” And I said, “Sure here’s the files.” And they used them, and then I got this call from corporate one day that said, “Hey, did you put these together?” And I’m like expecting to get like spanked, and instead they said, “Hey, do you mind if we take this program national?” And I’m like, “Okay.” So, the light bulb kind of went off.

I interviewed for a product marketing job. Got offered it for less money than I was making in the field and I began to connect the dots that, “You know what? That world wasn’t right for me, I need to go over to the agency world.” And, so, each step was a step where I knew I wanted to get to something different — explore expand my abilities — and this was when the internet didn’t have books to train you it didn’t have rules. I mean, one of the the funny footnotes to my career as I was the first person to do paid search marketing for Sherwin-Williams, the paint company. That was a client, and I was buying the word “paint” for five cents a click on Ovature and Google.

Joe Hyland: 

Ah, the good old days.

Jeff Rohrs: 

Yeah, and here’s the here’s the punchline: they canceled the program or when it ran its course. They did not renew because we were sending too much traffic to their website, and they were embarrassed about their website at the time.

Joe Hyland: 

Love it.

Jeff Rohrs: 

This is, like, early 2000s, and so I’ve seen some things, but I’m of that generation where we grew up and had to figure out the internet —and internet marketing and digital marketing and then mobile marketing and then social marketing — as we went along. And so my communications background actually was probably the best I could have, because, at its heart, marketing is how do you emotionally connect with buyers and motivate action out of that. And there is also a huge interpersonal part to it in terms of marketing and leadership about how do you actually work with people? How do you see the forest for the trees? How do you balance short and long-term thinking? All of that.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you anymore. I think great marketing is the art of persuasion. I think in this high-growth, pressure-packed world that many CMOs or marketers find themselves in uh, it’s easy to lose that vision and being able to see the forest through the trees because you have one redwood right in front of you which is, you know, “I need to increase pipeline right now or tomorrow.”  And you very much feel that being a publicly traded company where every quarter you have to release your earnings, right? Your performance. How do you weigh those two?

Jeff Rohrs: 

Great question. First, you know, I benefit by working with one of the legendary CFOs, Steve Cakebread, who was the CFO when Salesforce went public when Pandora went public. And so, you know, his team and my team worked very close together to understand the financial implications of what we do in marketing and making sure that we’re aligned so nothing is, you know, out of alignment on that quarterly basis. And so that’s a very, very critical role, but to get to the funnel part of this, right? The demand generation piece, there, I’ve been very fortunate as well as this has evolved.

When I first came onboard I didn’t focus on demand because we had a pretty good demand process in place. I needed to focus on brand, messaging, positioning, category, and, honestly, our field marketing was critically important because we were starting to move from a centralized New York sales team to one that was regional and global. And I am a firm believer that, in B2B marketing, it is a far more emotional personal sale than anything in B2C. And the reason is that your buyers have their jobs on the line. And, so, field marketing sponsored marketing owned events are critical because it allows you to connect as an individual. And a B2B buyer ultimately wants to do business with people they like, and trust, and be a part of something. And I was fortunate in my career to see that materialize at ExactTarget, with our “orange culture” and our connections user conference and our 360 user groups, and then, through the acquisition, got to come in into a mature organization in Salesforce that was still growing by leaps and bounds, and see what they had done with their, Ohana, Hawaii-inspired culture that Marc Benioff had championed. And their community.

And to see what they’re doing right now, with the Trailblazer stuff, is phenomenal — they’ve really given their community this amazing engagement. And so now to come back to “how do you balance demand in all of this?” You have to be looking at the funnel, certainly, you have to be driving enough leads and marketing influence, but also, you know, renewal, upsell, customer referral — all of that is another piece of it that, as marketing, you often share — and I share with revenue and I share with our chief customer officer.

And, so, I feel very fortunate to work with some great people in that regards. So, we have a holistic approach. That’s not to say there haven’t been fire drills, and you know, and there hasn’t been a lot of change, but each step of the change has made us better and stronger, and we’ve got, what we feel, is a pretty good team and machine built so that we can mobilize as we need to.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah. I’m gonna go back to something you said a couple minutes ago, and truthfully is refreshing to hear, that B2B purchasing decision is emotional because I couldn’t agree with you anymore. Someone’s job, is in fact, on the line.

I’m a buyer, and I buy anything, I’m saying “I endorse this I recommended and, financially, I’m backing this.” I think a lot of people feel that on the B2C side, this is an emotional decision, but that on the B2B side it’s purely numbers — this is purely driven by ROI or a business decision And I think a lot of marketers, at least on the B2B side, are losing their way with the shift to making more data-driven decisions. Which is fantastic, I don’t think anyone would argue against using data, but I think that emotional element is as present as it ever has been because, as you said, these ultimately are decisions that impact someone’s job — and their job is their livelihood.

Jeff Rohrs: 

Sure, you know, striking that balance between the data driven and the human, emotional driven is the constant struggle I think that you have in marketing today. What we have done, and benefit from, is really aligning well with our sales and our pipeline side of the house.

So, there’s been great leadership added there and the way that I do it in my organization is I have you know direct line reports on a marketing core team. The person who owns the marketing operations demand side of that has a strong dotted line to my counterpart on the revenue side, who owns pipeline, BDR, SDR, etc. And, sometimes, you’ll see, and I saw this in my tenure, you’ll see BDR and SDR, you know that inbound-outbound layers, swing sometimes between marketing and revenue depending on the maturity of the organization, who’s who in the zoo, etc. And the key is that, that is a shared resource, no matter where it sits. They have to be on message. They have to have the right uh marketing assets. They have to have the right sales methodology. And so, that strong dotted line of that leader, she actually sits over on that leadership team, not just mine.

And that’s been a critical piece to make sure that we have that two-way street between revenue and marketing. And then we have other leaders of mine, who similarly have those strong dotted lines, reporting to other leaders in the org — some of them sitting on their leadership teams others, it’s a little bit more informal — but I have found that, A) that creates much better alignment, so there’s no “us versus them,” and B) it creates opportunities for personal growth for those leaders and their teams because they don’t just see and benefit from my experience, or what we experienced together — they benefit from greater alignment with revenue or marketing product and strategy or our experience with our CEO, and having direct project relationships with Howard Berman, our CEO.

So that’s been interesting. Because there is no one single roadmap, but in order to strike that balance I think you can’t be an insular marketing organization.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, I agree, and I think your point on cross-pollination is a great point. Which is having people sit in different groups and work with different groups and really live that. That’s how you get away from this bullshit of sales versus marketing — there should be alignment and it starts with the team. So, I think that’s a great point.

Jeff Rohrs: 

Well, and you need great leaders on that side of the fence who appreciate what marketing brings to the table as well. And, again, I have been very fortunate to have those kind of relationships with our revenue leadership.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, that’s fantastic. I wanted to go back to something you said earlier on a book you wrote, and you’ve written a couple books, right? You just released the “Everywhere Brand,” I think this past year, and then you had “Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers” right at the transition between ExactTarget and Salesforce. Any other books or just those two?

Jeff Rohrs: 

Actually, Everywhere Brand is more of an e-book that we released, so I don’t want to make people think it’s a 200 to 300 page-turner. But the Everywhere Brand, or was really one of a number of things I’ve written like that over the years. So, actually, Audience, my book that I wrote that was published by Wiley, was inspired by a lot of research e-book series I did at ExactTarget called “Subscribers, Fans and Followers.” So that was great to have that opportunity to kind of punctuate that research series and the ExactTarget experience by putting that book together.

Joe Hyland: 

Okay, when I was at Kronos, we authored a few books. We did it the opposite way, and I’m curious to get your take on this. So, for us, this was an 18-month process — we were compiling all this research, and Kronos is a workforce management company, it was it was workforce management specific in the manufacturing segment — fascinating, I know — and so after 18 months we released this mammoth book. For us, then, it was, truthfully, a demand gen asset for a few years. A guy by the name of Greg Gordon authored it and we put him out on the speaking circuit. So, you’re saying you did it [write a book] the opposite way, where you had created smaller pieces of content over the year, or years, and then towards the end said “Wow, there’s enough here for to justify a larger publication a larger book.” Is that fair to say?

Jeff Rohrs: 

It is, to a degree.

So, the “The Subscribers, Fans and Followers” came out of Morgan Stewart, and I. Who’s (Morgan Stewart) now principal and founder of Trend Line Interactive, a great email consultancy based in Austin. He and I came up with this idea that — and again this would have been, like 2000, late 2008 or 2009 — “Hey there’s a lot of talk that email is dead, that’s not true. All these emerging social channels are trying to position themselves that they are the be-all, end-all. We’re old enough and experienced enough to know the truth: that everything settles into its own kind of place — and we should do some research and ask consumers how they actually view the relationships they have with brands through Twitter, through Facebook, through email, through these different channels.” And so that gave rise to the research series. And as the data came back we realized we were sitting on multiple publications, not one.

So, we split it out into —the first series, I think, was six publications with kind of a summary — 7th, and it was at that time I realized there’s a book in this Morgan, and I both did and so we started to try and pitch. But [we] couldn’t get interest, but also, we had day jobs, and it was just hard to do. But then the series took off so well with our intended audiences of the C-suite of the marketers we were pitching, and our own sales team — they were using a very successfully in their conversations — that we then expanded the series. And we started researching other things, [like] “When is your mobile Independence Day?”

That was one of the subsequent ones — that was the idea, and you might remember this — for years everybody would predict “This is the year of mobile. This is the year of mobile. This is a year of mobile.” It’s hard to believe now. And we came out with that and we said “Look, the year of mobile is when you get your smartphone because your life completely changes and here’s what that means.”

And so as that continued then finally got an inbound call from Wiley, and they said “Hey would be interested in doing this.” And so that finally served as the catalyst.

But — at the core of what I’d been doing — I created the content marketing team at ExactTarget and we were doing content marketing before there was content marketing. “Subscribers, Fans and Followers,” you know, it started kind of right around the same time that my friend, Joe Pulizzi, was really spinning up Content Marketing Institute. He and I didn’t even know each other — we lived in Cleveland, just minutes from each other, and it took Ann Handley of Marketing Profs to introduce us — and now he’s “retired,” but that’s a whole other podcast about Joe Pulizzi at some point — but it was validating to see what he was doing and what I was doing, and trying to accomplish, because we had to educate.

And that’s often what we have to do in MarTech still today, is educate. Because all you have to do is look at that [landscape] and look at — what is it? Over 5,000, 8,000 different MarTech companies today? And, so, you have to educate as to what is your space? What is the value deliver? How are you differentiated? Why should you prioritize budget for this solution over other solutions because everybody’s knocking on your door. And, so, I feel like that was a really good thing for me to latch on as a communicator as a writer and have carried that through at Yext — because “The Everywhere Brand,” that is a piece of content that’s meaningful and generates conversation.

I’m actually going to be doing a keynote at Retail Week, live, in London, shortly about that — we have another one that my colleague Dwayne Forrester did about how voice search changes everything. So, it really is tapping into the Zeitgeist that connects with our product and our value proposition but creating something of value to that reader and that marketer.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, key word there being “value.” It’s amazing how a lot of companies want to be everything to all people. And focus is a beautiful thing and, I mean, I know, in our space, you’re right there’s —  that one Scott Brinker diagram that everyone points to —  5,500 or 6,000 B2B MarTech companies. I mean, you need to have a carved out a niche and you need to make sure our solving a real problem, or you perish. I mean, 4,500 of those companies will fail.

Jeff Rohrs: 

Well, all credit goes to our CEO, Howard Lerman. We have an annual planning process in which we have these goals, and all the teams have goals for this planning process. We also established “un-goals,” if you will, and they clearly delineate what we aren’t. And that focus was one of the reasons I was attracted to the company because it had already demonstrated — and I joined almost three years ago now — the ability to be multi-product, but then to spin off really good ideas, technical ideas, into a separate company when it wasn’t relevant to the core mission of the company.

As I’ve seen us evolve, as I’ve seen the product that strategy team grow and cement, we still have that laser focus on what is our ultimate vision. We want to put companies in control of their information everywhere. So, the customer-critical facts. What are the things that are going to allow that person from point A to point B to discover you? Whether it’s unbranded search or branded search, whether it’s you’re on a map, or you’re in, perhaps, a service like Uber. These are all the places this stuff is to be serving. You know, whether you’re using a UI, [like] text, voice or, [even], Google now has its Google Lens that you can hold it up in the real world and you can get information about places around you. So, all this is coming so fast and furious that focus ultimately, I think, is a huge way to distinguish yourself.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, focus. It’s a huge way to distinguish yourself and it’s also, in my opinion, critical to running the business.

You just gave a good example, it’s critical and marketing and sales decisions — it’s sometimes what you’re not going to focus on, or not going to do — is just as important as what you will focus on. And I think it’s sometimes easy to miss that, right? When you can sell to so many people, or quote-unquote “help” so many people.

So, Jeff, just to wrap up one final question — a two-part question. What do you love most about — and this can be marketing or your current job — and what do you hate the most? What do you loathe doing?

Jeff Rohrs: 

Sure, it’s all start there. I loathe having to sort through my inbox every day and delete the unbelievably voluminous number of unsolicited emails that I get from other company’s SDRs or sales people. I have a folder called “Bad Sales Emails,” and I don’t even — I mean, I delete some of them, and then the worst of the worst I’ll throw over there— and someday, I’ll write a book. Because there are, you know, there’s the desperation tactic of, “This is the fourth time I’ve contacted you if you don’t if you don’t contact” and then it turns into the threat tactic which is, “If you don’t respond to this, I’m gonna stop talkin to you.” Okay, that’s sounds good to me.

Joe Hyland: 

That sounds funny, I never asked you to talk to me in the first place.

Jeff Rohrs:

Exactly! You know, and then there are the ones that — I showed this to a colleague yesterday — I got this inbound email that, literally, if you would print it out, it was probably three full pages. It was so intense. You just don’t have the time to do that. And so that’s why the thing I hate most because it not only takes my time, but it reminds me of the desperation and the bad marketing tactics and the things that exist out there.

And what it drives me to do is actually partner with our revenue and our rev ops team to be involved in our sales onboarding process — and we just had our sales kickoff and I was involved in some training sessions there — because I want our people to understand and feel that pain and remember the person on the other end is a human being, so why would they respond to your email if you’re not providing any value? And “Your threats mean nothing to me, you know, select the number; Do you want me to respond? You want me to respond in three weeks?” I don’t care about any of that. And the ones that do penetrate, I was asked this by a rep as well today, are the ones that convey value and are respectful and understand who I am. That’s how you kind of get through. So, that’s probably the thing I hate most.

The thing I like most is working with you know a great team. I’ve had the opportunity to do that over the course of my career, and Yext is no exception, and, honestly, kind of a pinnacle. Because, now being in this kind of a leadership position, I’m working with some talent that I see — and they already have great careers — but, you know, they have really great futures and the opportunity to empower them to learn more, to become better marketers, to become better business people, to understand the sales and marketing gamut, but also understand the customer journey and customer pain points and all of that. That is, that’s highly enjoyable and is the reason that I get up and go to work. It’s not only to achieve our goals that we’ve set from a mission standpoint — of that idea of perfect information everywhere and putting customers in control of that —but also to work with such a great group of people who inspire me and are doing amazing things and will continue to.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah, those are two great answers. Life’s too short to work with assholes, right? So, it’s incredibly rewarding when you can help great people along their career journey. Just work with smart great people.

Jeff Rohrs: 

It absolutely is. And I want to emphasize that is not just the folks on your team, that goes down to, you know, folks on the facility staff. We have we have a killer facility staff, they are so positive. And I mentioned that because, as a marketing organization, we’re not just doing external events we’re doing internal events, too. And so you’ve got to — you’re building relationships that are going to last you a long time — and I’m always blown away by people that treat facilities staff horribly. I’m like, “I want to be friends with the person who has all the keys.” That seems to be a good relationship to have.

So, you know, it’s fun because, the organization, the other thing that we just did with our annual planning days, we had our entire crew in from around the globe and they were broken into 15 to 20 person tour groups, and there were 18 tour stops around our office, in which different groups had 10 minutes to present. Our marketing one was a brainstorm around campaigns and our “onward” theme — Onword is our annual conference — and it allowed people to see, “Oh, marketing, actually, is challenging. This brainstorming thing, like, creatively, is challenging.” But they also got to see other parts of the business in really interesting ways.

And that’s an example of — we have our fingerprints on that a little bit, that’s our CEOs vision — marketing can have an impact on the culture, and how the organization feels about itself, and how responsive it is to its folks and whether they feel empowered, and they have career opportunities as well. And, so, viewing it holistically, it’s not just about demand —although, that’s the thing you ultimately get measured on is, “Are you hitting the numbers?” — there is a much broader conversation where you can add a lot of value to the organization.

Joe Hyland: 

First of all, those are some cool ideas you guys, have and some cool things you do. Yeah, marketing gets to work on some pretty cool things, and I think getting insight into that for the rest of the company is rewarding, right?  And good for you…

Jeff Rohrs: 

We’re the guys who got to book Luke Skywalker for that last year. So, I mean, Mark Hamill isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Joe Hyland: 

Yeah — there are worse professions. Okay, Jeff, listen, this was fantastic. Thank you so much.

That’s all the time we have for this week’s episode of CMO Confessions. You can find us on Twitter at @ON24 or ON24.com. For Jeff, it is @JKROHRS or yext.com All right, incredibly exciting. Thanks so much and I’ll talk to you guys later.

Jeff Rohrs: 

Thanks a lot.

The post CMO Confessions Ep. 4: Yext’s Jeff Rohrs appeared first on ON24 .

To view our Partner blog, click here