Hi, and, once again, welcome to another episode of CMO Confessions, our bi-weekly podcast covering all things marketing. This week we have a special treat:  David Lewis, the CEO and founder of DemandGen.

If you’ve worked in the digital world in any capacity, you’ve likely seen, or even used, some of David’s handiwork. David’s rather diverse background ranges from pioneering early VoIP technology (his motivation here was to play videogames unimpeded with his brother-in-law in the 90s) to proactively guiding organizations through the — at times, dizzying — MarTech landscape.

We, of course, go over all of this in this episode of CMO Confessions, but we also take a few detours into what the marketing landscape is set to look like over the coming years. All I can say is, if you’re interested in what it takes to make data work for your marketing program, give this episode a listen.

You can find David and his latest insights — and do check them out, they’re great — on his Twitter feed, @ demandgendave .

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 welcome to this week’s episode of CMO Confessions a weekly B2B sales and marketing podcast that explores what it really means to be marketing leader in today’s business world. I’m Joe Hyland, CMO here at ON24 and joining me this week is David Lewis CEO of DemandGen. David, how’s it going?

David Lewis:

Good, Joe. Thank you very much for having me on your program.

Joe Hyland:

Yes, psyched you’re here. So, at the start, and I preface this by saying our show is not about pitching things, but I am always fascinated when someone takes the initiative and starts something. Whether it’s writing a book, starting an aggressive program. And when I get to talk to a Founder who started a company, for me, I’m fascinated to know — why’d you start DemandGen? I think the audience would love to hear that.

David Lewis:

Oh, well, why did I start DemandGen? [There’s] one primary reason that I started DemandGen and that was the success that I was having with marketing technology systems.

So, I was running marketing at a company called Ellie Mae, a very successful mortgage software and banking platform. I joined them in 2002 and from 2002 to 2007, I was implementing marketing automation, brought in Salesforce CRM, online sales and marketing and we just had tremendous success.

And my pause when you said, “Why did I start the company?” I’ve been an entrepreneur before — did another startup we could talk about if you want — but I was at a conference and Tony Robbins was on stage and just prior to him, he was talking with the founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies. And he said “So, what was her recipe for success?” And everyone was like, “the cookies the cookies!” He goes, “No, that was a trap!” And the recipe was how to build a franchise business.

And he said, “everybody write down on a piece of paper, come on, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you’ve been an entrepreneur,” you know, very Tony style. I can’t be Tony. He said, “write down on a piece of paper a recipe that you have for success that, if you shared it with other people, it would help them and help their lives transform their lives.” And I know the challenges — which we’ll probably get to — on being a CMO and been in marketing leadership my whole career, and I wrote down on a little piece of paper, Joe, “how to use marketing automation.”

And that was my recipe. Because, in 2007 and before, we didn’t have MarTech — at most we had marketing automation. So, about six months after that, I resigned to start DemandGen and take the recipes that we had done at Eillie Mae, and other digital marketing experiences, that I had and bring that to other marketers with the sole goal of making them heroes. And that’s the mission of the companies making marketing heroes and technology is just a way to enable doing that. So, there you go.

Joe Hyland:

That’s cool. I find a lot interesting about that. I was thinking, as you were as you were talking, so much has changed. So, I started marketing in 2001. I remember rolling out Eloqua in, I don’t know, 2002-2003. My company, we were a pretty early convert to the cloud, even though it wasn’t necessarily the most innovative company. It was a server company in Boston called Stratus Technologies, and so we had Salesforce and Eloqua. And marketing automation, I mean literally, changed everything we were doing.

So, on one hand, the marketing landscape has wildly changed. On the other hand, here we are, 15 years later, and a lot of shit’s still the same. A lot of the challenges of different tactics are used to solve them, but a lot of the challenges from 15 years ago, we’re still saddled with today. So how has it changed for you? You said you started in 2000, 2007, right?

David Lewis:

Yeah, the company started almost 11 years ago.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. So, walk through what a consultation looked like then versus what it’s like now.

David Lewis:

Everything has changed and then the more that has changed the more that has actually stayed the same. So, there’s been huge amounts of change and yet huge amounts of the same. That’ll make more sense in a minute.

So, truth is, back then, the work that we were doing all of our clients had Eloqua. There was no Marketo in 2007. There actually was, but it was in a lab getting coded, and wasn’t yet a product in-market. So, as you know, and, like you, I was in early Eloqua customer. I think, probably, we were posterchilds for what to do with these tools, right?

So, what has changed is that, when we first started the company, we were helping people with the use and adoption of marketing automation. We were almost, in many ways, like an Eloqua Professional Services team.

I wish I could tell you that I was brilliant or had some kind of time machine and knew that all of this was going to happen, and all of this is eight thousand marketing tools and technologies. I did not see this coming. It’s no surprise now when you think about everything that we’re doing in digital marketing and digital sales and how much it changes become a digital economy, but it really was all about marketing automation.

Fast forward 10 years, and we don’t look like ourselves from 10 years ago. We are helping people become full stack marketers and our clients, on average, have over a dozen different marketing technologies that were helping them select, implement and leverage to drive growth and to drive revenue. So, you need a whole tool chest and we help our clients with that tool chest.

So, that’s what’s changed: is the toolset what’s not changed is all the same challenges. It’s still hard to align sales and marketing. ABM is a is a three-letter acronym that, to so many folks, feels like a Holy Grail, but there’s a recipe — set of recipes that you need to do to do an effective ABM, account-based marketing and sales team. Marketing still is paid less than sales. One day, hopefully, equality there or even maybe more. That’s a B-HAG of mine is to see equality in compensation between sales and marketing because of how much marketing is doing to drive growth. That’s not changed. The shiny new toy syndrome is still alive and well, unfortunately, in that marketing isn’t really providing the same level of diligence for how to select and adopt tools and being a little bit more, Halloween candy issue, “That looks good. I’ll put that in my stack and then, “Oh that that actually is not something that’s useful.”

So, we’ve got to become a lot more process-oriented in marketing. What hasn’t changed the data challenge — that’s still alive and well. Most marketers’ databases look like an episode of Hoarders and not some pristine analytics-ready database. I could go on, but you know, the challenges are still there and yet we’ve got more tools to help us solve these problems, so the question is, “are they solving problems?”

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, you mentioned data I could talk about I could talk about data for the entire discussion. I had a conversation with Laura Ramos from Forrester on this, which is, I think, data has become quite sexy in marketing circles. I don’t know if it’ll ever change, truthfully. I mean that is the foundation of — well the more targeted you want to get, the more precise your data needs to be.

Databases are a disaster. I would say. I have friends over at LinkedIn, a company who you would think has, you know, the most accurate data on employees in the world and they were complaining and bitching about how — they were Salesforce shop — how messy their data is, and they don’t know if someone’s at a company. And, meanwhile, all they had to do is check their own technology to see if they are, but obviously those two things aren’t speaking, right? So, they aren’t syncing. So, if LinkedIn is having a problem with data, everyone is.

David Lewis:

Yeah, I know these experiences firsthand. Like, we did LinkedIn’s deployment of Eloqua. We did a ton of work for those guys. We did — get it ready for this — Salesforce’s deployment of Eloqua, which they used until about six months ago. Pretty much every high-tech company DemandGen has worked with, whether it’s Eloqua or Marketo, and you’re right, the problems are the same large or small, experienced or not, these are challenges. And, let’s look at another factor — there’s a lot of turnover in marketing, a lot of turnover in sales. So, even if you had the best team in the world building out these initial systems, do you still have that same team? Or, if you didn’t have the best team do you now have it? And, so, these systems are not set it and forget it in any way. So, the challenges will always be there.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. This is — 20 years from now, they’ll be talking about clean data. So, adjacent topic, the rise of the data-driven marketer. I think, so if data is sexy, and the Nerds are, perhaps, taking over marketing — which I would somewhat question — do you see a lot of organizations — they’re struggling with data and cleanliness of data – but how are marketers doing with gleaning insights and making decisions with that data? Because I know a few people who have a data problem. I mean, most marketers have too much data — they’re drowning in it. How are marketers doing with the data? Are they making smarter decisions? Is that full of shit? What do you say?

David Lewis:

Let me back up to the data is sexy comment that you made, because I think Laura might think — I know Laura, smart, talented data-driven — I don’t think data is sexy. In fact, from the companies that I’m advising and partners that we have in data, one of their biggest challenges is getting marketing appeal for their data orchestration platform. Which, by the way, is a domain that I registered and never used —data orchestration platform — because I think that is. I think it’s important, and I think data could get maybe sexy — JT who’s in town, Justin Timberlake, he gets to say, you know, maybe data will be sexy back, but it’s just not sexy because you can’t see it you can’t show it.

There’s no data on a black board that goes “look how wicked cool this data looks like.”

You know, unless you’re Tank in The Matrix, data doesn’t really look very cool to you. However, data is essential for success. So, if you get the right data person on your marketing team, you will be the best marketing team in the world because you can make data-driven decisions and you can segment better than ever.

So, look at Amazon. How many data scientists do you think that they have empowering the Predictive Analytics engines that they have on their site? How do they know that when Johnny down the street is buying a snow shovel because it’s snowing — data, data, data — in your town, that I’m gonna serve up ads for snow shovels on your site because you’re in the same geographic area, right? If you can become data-driven and have the right people on your team, the sky is a limit in terms of your promise and marketing of what you can do. But, I don’t think we’re there yet.

So, I’m going to challenge that thought that most marketers would rather work on a campaign or a program — the art of marketing and the science is still levels up from that data level. But it’s coming and it’s going to be incredibly important.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, and I would further your challenge, which is I think. There are a lot of marketers that it’s not necessarily their core skill set. So, bringing in a few or a team of data scientists, that’s different. I mean, they literally I have friends who are data scientists. It can be some weird people — they live for combing through data. I don’t know if most marketers would describe themselves that way. So, I think I think there’s a bit of a skills gap here.

David Lewis:

I’ve produced a couple things for the web some professional, some personal level — a lot, lot for the web. You want to factoid, interesting one: I did a mannequin challenge video with my drone and a bunch of us at a 10-million-dollar home in Cabo that had 20,000 views. People like drones, mannequin challenge. I’ve done — lots of written about lead scoring, lead nurturing, ABM — all kinds of stuff. Hundreds, if not, maybe, thousands of views. I did an article called “the rise of the data scientist” went through the roof as a blog post. I don’t even know how people found it because they’re searching for it.

So yes, these people are worth their weight in gold when you find really good ones. And ask yourself everyone listening to this podcast. Do you have a data operations manager on your team? Have you ever even heard of that title yet? Depending on when you listen to this podcast either didn’t exist or it’s now everywhere. So, it will happen, just like there wasn’t a marketing automation manager back in the day, there wasn’t a marketing operations manager, or leader, and today there’s really not a data operations manager title across a lot of different companies. But there will be.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. I think you’re right. You’re not going to see some, you know, a standard profile from you know, marketing programs manager, who’s just going to turn into that that person. So, I think this this push for marketers become more data-driven, obviously, I think few people would argue against that. I just think there’s many marketers that that’s not their core skill set.

David Lewis:

Yeah, we even marketing technology wasn’t marketing’s core skill set. It was the four Ps, right? Unfortunately, marketing’s always been seen as kind of an arts and crafts department that throws really good parties and events.

And, so marketing is getting rebranded — certainly in the roles and what we’re doing today — but for most, I think there’s a chasm, Joe. In that, you’ve got the digital natives who have been born and raised with technology — and they used it when I was driving here to the office today when I turned the corner and so the kids waiting for the light at school every single one of them had their head down looking at their phone everyone none of them were talking to each other and they’re standing right there on the corner — so the digital natives are addicted to devices and using technology and know far more pieces of software at their age than we ever knew up until our careers. But they don’t know how to connect technology to driving growth in revenue — yet.

Then you’ve got the CMOS who have been around for a long time because they’re CMOs — so they’ve been doing this for years. They’ve been doing this for a while back before there was marketing automation — and many of them are not wired for marketing technology. Some are, but many of them are not. And, in fact, I only think the reason that I’m so passionate and started this company is because I graduated with a degree in computer science and marketing and now I’m in The Perfect Storm to feed both of my passions. But once this Chasm gets crossed, where digital natives have more experience in leadership and growth and driving, marketing is going to be a breadwinner in the revenue family. I hope so.

Joe Hyland:

I’ve heard you talk about salaries by the way and compensation and how compensation should be structured and how it is today and how they’re speaking of chasms that one exists. I think part of bridging that is tying oneself to revenue, and perhaps the upstream indicator for that is pipeline.

When I started, my first task in marketing when I graduated school, was drafting letters which we then, printed — I signed for my sales rep — and I mailed out a thousand of them. And I had no other skills. That’s I mean, I literally folded a thousand folded or printed a thousand letters signed a thousand folding them put them in envelopes mailed them.

And so that was my first, you know, revenue-related task. But we were the tchotchkes department — we very much were in support of sales. Being blunt, we were sale’s bitches. We did just what they wanted — now because we were revenue focused marketing department back then. That meant doing what sales asked of us.

Now, I’m in, I mean, obviously, my roles changed a little bit, but we’re looked at as a strategic driver. I mean, I don’t know whether it’s a blessing or a curse. When there’s a pipeline challenge, our CEO or, my boss, is calling me over. And he calls over my counterpart, the head of sales, but he wants to know from me why we’re missing pipeline.

So again, I said that can be a blessing and a curse, but that’s where marketers are headed. I’m biased. But I think that’s where marketers need to get to.

So, we do plenty of other things that are screwed up in our department, but that’s one thing that I think works quite well, which is we own pipeline. We own pipeline by segment for the company.

David Lewis:

Yeah, 50% of our is — actually 60 percent of our revenue last year — 50% right now, tracking of our revenue comes from marketing and, you know, and demand gen. And if we’re not the best at tracking this stuff, you know, shame on us. So, we know exactly where everything is coming from we’ve got these systems all dialed in and I I like you I I didn’t.

Like the Kinkos mindset, you know, meaning that marketing was Kinkos to the rest of the organization — make me another data sheet, make me a brochure, print me out this. But no, we’re revenue drivers — and I mentioned I did another startup, right?

So, my very first startup was in 1999. Came home one night and I was a big video gamer my whole life — that’s how I got into computers and stayed with me — and I loved playing Shooters, Counter-Strike, Unreal, Quake all these first-person shooters. So, 1999 I came home, my wife said, “Are you going to tap the phone line all night?”

So, why did she ask that? So, this is 1999 — 9600 baud modem. You still have a landline. There’s no iPhone. You know, there’s no mobile phone — unless if you did you were like the elite or you worked in sales — and I said, “Yeah,” and she goes “I got to call my mom,” and I said, “Well, I’m playing Counter-Strike with your brother, so, can you call her later?”

“Well, how long you gonna play till two o’clock in the morning again?”

I’m like, “All right, how long you gonna be?” So, she goes “Why don’t you figure out a way to talk over the computer?”

So, my first startup was actually a product called Roger Wilco, precursor to Skype and what you and I are doing right now — painkiller.

I mean, it’s like, “let’s figure out a way.” I was, like, the Alexander Graham Bell of the internet. Why do I bring this up? It’s a neat story about Dave. But all I ever printed was a business card. All we ever had was a website and we built this company up and sold it a year later during the dot com era was pretty exciting. It was all marketing driven. There wasn’t a salesperson the company. We had an SDK, every game developer was incorporating our audio system into their games, and boom: never salesperson never even a printed piece of collateral.

So, if you’re a digital company, you’re very marketing driven and not sales driven. And if you’re a B2B company, so many companies, especially those of our clients have been around forever, they’re such a sales-driven organization. Revenue or sales people. Let’s grow more revenue. Well, who’s gonna feed all those sales people believe marketing?

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, that was that happened with us when I when I got here. We had the ratio of marketing both bodies and dollars to sales was out of whack because we did exactly what you just described it.

We wanted to grow revenue. And so, we said well, what’s the next closest thing to revenue sales reps? And, you know, we used data to say well how many how many leads does each rep need and how do we generate leads and how much does each lead cost? And before we knew it we had a justification model for increasing marketing spend — not because I wanted to fiefdom — but because we showed shit that seems to be working we should do more of it.

David Lewis:

By the way trivia question: guess who did your Eloqua deployment for ON24? You’re talkin to him. We did, and you guys no longer use Eloqua — we didn’t do your migration. But, I would say the marketing team that you have today, Joe, thanks to your leadership, and the organization is nothing like the marketing team that you had back then. The pendulum has swung to put a lot more horsepower and talent and focus into marketing because of the power that can come from having a killer team there.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, thanks. I really appreciate it. And I did not know that actually that’s pretty cool. I am honest to a fault always. Do you know the story behind why we no longer have Eloqua — which was before my time that predates me.

David Lewis:

No, no I do not.

Joe Hyland:

It was a CYA situation. I think it’s actually interesting story for any vendor technology. So, we had um a nurture stream through Eloqua — this, again, before my time — things went wrong and there were sequences, right? Things went wrong after the first email and you know, people were pissed and went all the way up to our CEO and they said, “You know, don’t let this happen again.”


David Lewis:

Sender “unknown” was it? Or the wrong language in the wrong country? And we don’t have to share keep going.

Joe Hyland:

They just screwed everything up it was it was a disaster. But it was a sequence and so, supposedly, which I actually don’t even believe — I will get the answer from you right now — there was no kill switch on this sequence and we had no ability to stop these future emails that were going to go out. I do not believe this.

David Lewis:

Yeah, that’s not true.

Joe Hyland:

So, over the course of the next like week or two all these people who are pissed off received more emails from us and that head of demand gen at the time got pulled into the CEOs office and said, “what the hell is happening?” And they explained it’s not me but the technology we’re using just isn’t working. And he said, what any CEO would say in that time, then change the technology.

And it was too late. So, they had to hire someone to come in through the migration and, you know, ended up purchasing Marketo. We’re very happy with by the way, um probably cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lot of time because, truthfully, someone was covering their ass.

David Lewis:

Yeah, not the first time I’ve heard a story like that and I want to say for everyone listening and I’m going to talk to the vendors as well, because maybe some Marketo people and Oracle people are listening as well, in most cases it’s not the tool, it’s the team. Someone used to say, “A fool with a tool is still a fool.” And there are very good reasons to switch marketing automation system. So, what I want to say is, in short, if you don’t have a marketing automation system get one because you’re going to be better off. There are best-of-breed applications and you should know your needs, but no one should hear this call, this podcast and say, “I need to switch marketing automation systems.” The chances are that you probably can get more from the technology that you have for it.

And we have migrated a lot of people from Eloqua to Marketo and made them more successful. We have also migrated some people from Marketo to Eloqua, less, less common more the other direction and Marketo certainly as a company than a lot in terms of innovation on their platform and continues to do Innovation because they came to the market later and had to compete more fiercely and it’s more focused and driven because this is all they do, that’s all Marketo does, is marketing technology. So, Kudos to them, but you know, not a surprising story – the one that you shared — and you guys are doing the right things, though, in terms of really taking the game to the next level there at ON24.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. So, I’ve never done a migration — I was part of the team that put Eloqua in, I had no idea what I was doing, so, I wasn’t that helpful, but I was in the room. I think listen there’s a right — there are certain features and there are differences in the Technologies — but you’re right if you have an existing marketing Automation and things aren’t perfect. It’s you, it’s not the technology, right? And we’re doing a lot right and ON24 and we screw up a ton of things. I mean, there’s so many ways we can improve.

So, I would I would echo your words: I would encourage you to look at your strategy and ensure that you’re executing on the right strategy before I’d say switch marketing automation. But, I thought it was a funny story.

David Lewis:

Something to think about, Joe, and marketing, because you said about failing — we’ve got to fail in marketing and we’ve got to take risk, all the time, every day. There’s the 80/20 rule and that applies to sales which is interesting that 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of the sales force.

So, sales organizations are failing every day at an individual level as well as a team level. And marketing, in most cases, doesn’t fail, but we are very good at taking risk, but we do create campaigns that don’t hit, you know, this kind of success metrics that we had hoped for, but we got to do that and never be discouraged. And sometimes, it’s as much as an image or color change or a subject line change or a whole scale different call to action or a different channel you could run ads on LinkedIn and not succeed. You could run the same ads on another channel and succeed wildly.

And so, it’s a fascinating discipline where sales is very one-to-one and transactional and engagement with a group environment they fail. That’s at an individual level. I mean, most cases, fields are lost because the individual. Very rarely is marketing failing on a program because of one person — although this email stream sounds like someone didn’t code something, right.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, definitely. Well, I’d say a couple of things to that one. If you’re not failing, like, you’re not trying or you’re just totally full of shit. A friend of mine is the CFO of a pretty big company and he said to me that he’s lost faith in marketing and I said “why?” And he said, “all they do is report their successes and they are unwilling to admit failure and I just know that’s not practical. I don’t believe them. So, when I get presented with every program was a success — an ROI was you know hundreds of percent on each investment — I know they’re not being truthful.” I mean I you got to take chances, we do things that fail all the time.

I just did a little email drop for a sales rep who I’m friends with. And said, “let me help you out, I’ll send an email to like 30 of your prospects will get a great response rate.” Zero responses, right? Okay, we tried. And the question is being you learning from them? Right? So, I think that’s what we’re marketers should focus versus trying to spin everything as a win. No one believes you, anyway.

David Lewis:

When I launched my podcast, demand generated radio, you know in the episodes 50s now because depends when you’re listening to this, you know, I keep trying to master my craft and make sure that the content, the guests, the format, just keeps getting better and better. And you know, what? The chart shows that — so the listens from where we were like the first several months have really hockey sticked in year two.

And one of the things that made a tremendous difference, Joe, was the frequency of the podcast. I mean the content continues to get better and better — I’ll let people be the judge of that. I think the guests and the way that I’m interviewing them, and talking with them, as we are as getting better, but there was just a frequency change that got a lot more listening ship.

We launched marketoassessment.com . We just launched this, which is a free assessment, and it’s version 1 — I think it’s pretty amazing. But version 2 is going to be better than version 1 and version 3 is going to be even more amazing. But you gotta pilot and perfect in marketing, and I think coming back to your, you know, if I can give everybody a piece of advice is no one good is good enough and just keep building upon it if you try to just boil the ocean and get everything perfect — what if your campaign doesn’t succeed and you wasted all that extra time? Get it out iterate and make it better.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. No, I agree. Yeah, I we adhere to the lean the lean philosophy which is just let’s get something out. It’s not even network, necessarily, testing it per-se it’s we just speed to markets really important to me. And you’re right, you could you could spend six months perfecting something and then you realize you were off and you just wasted all that time, right?

David Lewis:

You know, Elon had to blow up a lot of rockets before he figured out how to land one back on the ground.

Joe Hyland:

That’s right, that’s right. I would — and this might be a five-minute close — but I would love to know, don’t name any names or don’t feel the need to — do you have a lot of clients that you work with? So, you you’re like having a best friend who’s a physician and when you get together with them drinks over drinks, you say? Okay, tell me the good stories which of course are not supposed to do. So, I’m sure they wouldn’t.

But let’s do that here. What are think of an example or two of just brilliant things some of your clients are doing or a particular client. And, in the back of your mind, think of the opposite end of the spectrum just something that you’re shocked by — you’re disgusted with horror that you can’t believe that a client is still making the same mistake on. So, I’ll let you start with the good side first.

David Lewis:

Great question. I’m working on a book that has a working title for me called Agents of Change. So, I’ve been taking all of the lessons of our top performing clients and putting those into this book. Maybe, it’s called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective CMOs. I don’t know what the actual title of the book will be.

But I’ve been taking all of the lessons which by the way some of them fail miserably in certain projects and become exceptional through the learnings of those failures and distilling it down. So, here’s what I find of some of the things — look maybe preview of the book. So, number one, and kudos to Sarah Kennedy and the Marketo team, for Fearless, the word Fearless.

These are people, you know, that’s the theme of Marketo — the Fearless Marketer. One of the things that all of our clients are doing is — the successful ones — they are fearless, they are willing to take risk. They took the risk going to another company and it never stopped there. They retool their teams. They retool their technology. Yes, marketers come in, and sometimes do brand refreshes. I’m smiling because sometimes we go, “Oh look, it’s a new marketer in town, we got a new logo. You have to change everything, you know?

Joe Hyland:

A new website.

David Lewis:

Subway’s just did that right? I don’t know if I like the retro look or whatever look that is, but you know, we bring new and the ones that are doing it really well don’t wait a year to start bringing about change. They trust their gut, they trust their instincts and they land and make a difference.

That’s number one. Number two is they hire top talent around them. They are master conductors. They are they are the orchestra leader and they don’t try to be the sharpest tool in the shed. They will surround themselves with absolutely the top talent —the best data operations manager, the best marketing operations manager, the best analytics people, the most creative. They also work with agencies — and that’s not just a selfish plug — it is a selfish plug but it’s not just a selfish plug because they are bringing in agencies to help them get there faster and to leverage what these agencies are have been doing for hundreds of clients.

I don’t know about your resume Joe, but I don’t think I have more than seven companies on my resume, but DemandGen works with over 400. So, if you work with my team, you’ve got what to do and what not to do. The other thing that they’re doing, which is not — maybe as obvious and certainly not easy —they align like crazy. With not just sales, but with every C-executive the CFO can be your friend if you show up as an analytics driven marketer, right? You want budget? Show what you’re doing, show it isn’t working and show them that you actually know what is working. CFO can be. They’re your venture capitalist in marketing, so make sure you have a great relationship with them, same thing with the head of operations, the same thing with sales. So, they’re aligning those are a few things that that they’re working.

As I said, I wish I could tell you the stack matters. Most of it does not. I’ve seen people be successful with mediocre tools doing things really, really well. And people fail with the best tools because they’re not being very process-oriented.

I said the four Ps earlier, there’s a couple other PS, and that’s process and programming. So, one of things I said in my book Manufacturing Demand is don’t forget about these two other PS because you got to set processes and marketing. Live processes more than you ever have, and you got to learn programming. I don’t mean code I mean using technology to drive growth.

Joe Hyland:

Sure. Okay. Now, what just drives you crazy, like what do you get pulled into from your clients and you’re shocked that they still have that problem because you see the good and the bad.

David Lewis:

I think that one’s harder for me and that you hear me think about because we really try to educate our sales team on what our ICP looks like. And we will DQ, underperforming teams and cultures because we can’t fix broken and it’s harder to pour for me to find examples where we’re trying to have an All-Star cast of clients and the brands that we work within the companies that we work with are all their best in class. 60-some-odd percent of the SiriusDecisions Award winners have been our clients and think we won over our clients combined at one over 70 Marquis and Revies and Stacky awards just this past week.

So, we’re pretty selective on who we work with. But if I see a gap it’s when the leader doesn’t realize that their strength is either on the art or the science and doesn’t get that complement to their team to address their gap. I know of someone I’m thinking of right now, not a client yet, that just took a CMO role. And this person is very marketing operations and technology oriented. Well, now, they’ve got product marketing and branding and messaging and PR and if they don’t get some people that are exceptionally strong there, unless they’ve also have those skills, which is not often the case, they might not succeed in this this first-time CMO role. So, surround yourself with talent when you don’t it shows up.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you anymore. And that Echo something you said earlier on about 10 minutes ago was as a head of an organization, you don’t have to be all things — surround yourself with experts. If I was in charge of our operations, like I’m not operationally strong, it’s just not what I’m interested in is not my skill set if you had me poking around Marketo or Salesforce — we would be screwed. It’s just not my strength. We have a great marketing Ops Team, right? So, smart people know where they’re not smart and where they need where they help.

David Lewis:

So, this is Marketo assessment that we built that I told you, it’s wicked cool. At one point we needed to create an autoresponder email and need to be highly responsive. One of the guys on the team was trying to get the HTML to work. He couldn’t. He gave it to one of the other guys on the team. They got turned around in four minutes and made it exceptional.

And just, you know, having someone that you can throw something to and get back four minutes later and it’s amazing is a great just tactical example of like, “Give the ball to the person that can throw it through the hoop or get it down the court.”

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, no. No, I couldn’t agree with you anymore. All right. Well, let’s end with that. Dave, I want to thank you again, this has been fantastic. And that concludes this week’s episode. Thanks so much.

David Lewis:

All right, thank you.

The post CMO Confessions Ep. 6 David Lewis appeared first on ON24 .

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