May 19, 2022

Deep Diving into DigitalOcean’s B2B Brand Evolution

It’s not often that “love” is part of a B2B organization’s brand values, but for cloud infrastructure provider DigitalOcean, it’s at their core. It’s the reason why they have 6K+ ungated online tutorials, why their self-serve motion is here to stay, and why investors are confused when the lion’s share of DigitalOcean’s revenue comes from marketing.

In her time at DigitalOcean, CMO Carly Brantz has helped evolve this idea into a full-fledged brand awareness campaign, leading the charge on the heels of the company’s recent IPO with a rallying cry of “Get Growing.” Tune in to hear Carly talk about how DigitalOcean is making its commitment to growing alongside its customers real, making good on their brand promise in a tactical way that actually matters to their developer audience.

Want to learn more about our CMO Huddles community? This just skims the surface of what top B2B CMOs of today are solving together…come join us!

What you’ll learn:

  • How to successfully scale a self-service model
  • Behind DigitalOcean’s post-IPO brand evolution
  • How to create a powerful B2B brand promise
  • Which marketing metrics matter for an IPO

Resources Mentioned


  • [01:45] Meet Carly and DigitalOcean!
  • [3:14] Carly’s expertise: scaling self-service revenue
  • [6:40] DigitalOcean’s hook: providing value via high-quality content
  • [09:12] Wait…you don’t gate anything?!
  • [11:26] Behind DigitalOcean’s brand evolution
    • [15:00] Show Break: CMO Huddles
  • [16:27] Discovering a new tagline: Get Growing
  • [18:30] Getting employees excited about the refreshed brand
  • [20:00] Using social media to test messaging
  • [21:15] How DigitalOcean uses storytelling for organic growth
  • [22:34] How to make good on a brand promise
  • [24:39] Linking DigitalOcean’s core values and purpose
  • [27:35] “We’ve been winning business as a result of our culture”
    • [28:41] Show Break: Renegade, the secret to B2B market research
  • [29:44] A CMO’s role in an IPO
  • [32:23] Metrics that matter to IPO investors
  • [35:09] Most of DigitalOcean’s revenue comes from…marketing?
  • [37:27] “ABT” – Always Be Testing
  • [39:14] The customer’s success is your success

Highlighted Quotes

“Prior to my joining, there wasn't anyone that owned the self serve revenue number and the efforts around marketing were certainly not focused on driving that growth.”—@carlybrantz @digitalocean Share on X “You have to get the whole company behind (your brand promise) because it becomes the mission of the entire company to make those customers successful.”—@carlybrantz @digitalocean Share on X “We start with our community and we end with love.”—@carlybrantz @digitalocean Share on X “The lion's share of our revenue comes from marketing, which is also hard for investors to wrap their heads around.”—@carlybrantz @digitalocean Share on X “Marketing has changed and evolved so much that even after you do one test and you feel like you got your answer, I always encourage our team to go back and retest again.”—@carlybrantz @digitalocean Share on X “We succeed when our customers are also successful.”—@carlybrantz @digitalocean Share on X

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 293 on YouTube

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Carly Brantz

Drew: Hello, Renegade marketers. As I repeated many times on this podcast and crystallize in my new book, Renegade marketing, being a CMO today is crazy hard, but the successful ones are truly the cool cats of marketing cats being an acronym for correct. Artful thoughtful and scientific the four traits that make up the cool cats of marketing.

Unless you think the cat’s framework only applies to previous guests. I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guests, Carly Brantz, the CMO of DigitalOcean, a cloud infrastructure provider. Hello, Carly. Welcome.

Carly: Thanks so much. I’m excited to be here. So tell

Drew: me, first of all, where are you?

Carly: I am in Boulder, Colorado.

Drew: That’s a very cool So, um, one of the things I’ve been asking my technology guests is to sort of try to explain dumb down the brand or try to explain it for my 95 year old dad.

so tell us, what is digital ocean, how would you describe it to someone who has no idea, uh, about. Just even cloud.

Carly: Yeah. I’m still working on that with my own parents. I don’t think that they could explain what I do or the company that I work for, but really we focus on simplifying cloud computing, so that builders.

Those builders that small and medium sized businesses can spend more time creating software that changes the world. So those businesses are building on our platform and scaling and growing. And as those businesses grow in this sort of digital transformation, I think it, I think of it as sort of a rising tide for the success of all of them.

Drew: So you’re just basically making the business world better out there, somewhere in the ether. Yeah.

Carly: Since so businesses can take their businesses to the cloud in a simple and affordable way.

Drew: Got it. Okay. I think, I think, and I’ll ask my dad if he gets it and if he doesn’t get it and they’ll send you an email,

Carly: I need to still work on it.

Yes. The cloud in theory is complicated enough

Drew: by. Let’s dive in here and let’s start with strategy and courageous strategy. And I know you’ve been at digital ocean since January, 2020. Maybe you can start with your mandate when you arrived.

Carly: Yeah, it’s been an interesting journey, uh, joining in January of 2020, but I was really brought in, I’ve built my career around growing revenue through this end-to-end ownership of the self-service customer motion.

So I did that at SendGrid, worked on that as well at Twilio, and then was really brought in because. The self service is the primary driver of revenue at digital ocean. And prior to my joining, there wasn’t anyone that owned the self-serve revenue number and the efforts around marketing were certainly not focused on driving that growth.

So that was my mandate is to figure out what was going on in the business and scale revenue quickly.

Drew: Okay. I really want to get into this and I want to get into a deep, because in theory, in my theory, in my world, I think every purchase on every product in every category wants to get closer to self service.

And I think they should get closer to self service because, if you think about all the things that you might be wanting to buy as a business person, you’re probably not saying, gee, I want to talk to a sales person. What you’re thinking is. G I want to get the information I need so I can make a really smart decision in as short, a period of time.

So let’s break down self-service and motion. So you’re saying it didn’t really exist. Where do you even start? If you want to build a self-service motion?

Carly: Yeah, it’s interesting. I would say, especially for our developer audience, like you said, very few people want to talk to a sales person or go through a really long, complicated sales process, but certainly not developers.

They want to be able to feel like. They figured it out on their own. And so from the start, it’s really about anticipating their needs. Even through support tickets, we could find out their actual needs and then provide that information before they even have the need. so from the time they hear about digital ocean making the website experience really easy and seamless to use.

And then through the onboarding process, like I said, giving them the information, they need to make smart decisions, get onboarded, get them on our platform, using it successfully, and then finding those sort of common pitfalls or errors that they might run into and troubleshooting them. Before those errors even take place.

So it’s really, at a very high level thinking about the funnel and breaking it down step by step. And part of it is getting the data so that you can make informed decisions. And so the first part was getting the data at visitors to the website. Then. To sign up, sign ups, to engaged and then engaged to payment.

And then finally that retention and usage. So we’re also very focused on, you know, continuing the success through multi-day attach, um, and just making sure our customers are satisfied and happy and remain customers for many years to come as they scale and grow their companies. So

Drew: I mean, it’s so important because in my mind, again, I’m going to go back to this playbook that you’re describing is a playbook in many ways. Every marketer needs to be thinking about right now. And I don’t even care what it is that you’re selling because, uh, they’re doing the homework anyway. We all know that, but why not make it really easy?

So you talk about, let’s just. You have to get them there. And developers are a wily budge, as you said, you know, they, they like to teach themselves. It’s funny. We just recorded an episode yesterday with, uh, another CMO. Who’s also targeting developers, but in a very different way, I believe in terms of the kind of tools they provide, but how do we get them to your way?

Carly: Yeah, I believe that a key to that is providing value. So, at digital ocean, I was blown away really when I joined by the powerful community activities that were already happening, that were driving a lot of love and loyalty, from developers across the globe. and a big piece of that is through our tutorials.

So we have. I believe it’s about 6,000, tutorials that are really high quality content. And the intent of that is, to help developers learn, actually, there are more calls to action now in those, tutorials, since I’ve joined, but the intent is really to facilitate that growth and learning and develop.

And so really I think of it as a long tail, a developer, they might be a student or hobbyist doing a side project. They come to digital ocean to learn something. Um, and then it could be years later or weeks later, that they’re at. Startup or a small, medium sized business. And they say, Hey, we want to move this workload to digital ocean because they provided me with value.

So we get a ton of visitors to our website, um, just consuming that content on a regular basis. And so what I’ve tried to implement, um, since joining, we had all the great, powerful content. But we needed to then focus more on converting that traffic. And so that’s been much more of a focus since I’ve joined.

Drew: Got it. Okay. Um, I, I’m going to sort of step back for a second. So before you got there, they built a library of these we’ll call them tutorials that basically educating, creating a group of people. Who can use your product because they become skilled at it. Is there such a thing as certification D can you become certified on your platform?

Carly: No. And really it’s it. You could use that content to be successful on other cloud platforms as well. Um, so it’s really product agnostic, um, which is more where I’m saying that, you know, we provide that value without asking anything in return. Um, and then because of that love and loyalty, they come back for repeated use.

with established businesses,

Drew: is any of this gated.

Carly: Nope. It’s yes. Yes. I actually learned that, we had a similar approach when I worked at SendGrid is that we were creating content. It wasn’t as much of, um, these tutorials for developers, but it was more white papers, guides on specifics, but I learned one of the pitfalls to marketing to developers is to.

Get your content require information. That’s another, sort of a red flag for developers because they don’t want to be contacted by anyone. They don’t want to share that information. So now I’m a big believer in not gaining anything.

Drew: I can. I just, I mean a big amen. And I, and I tell you why, uh, personally, I don’t enjoy the experience.

I know I’m gonna get a phone call or an email and so forth. And if you give me really good information, as you’re describing, that’s helpful in my job. I promise to circle back. It is a value exchange. If we boiled marketing down and we just stopped this show today, and we just said, one thing, marketing is not messaging.

It’s a value exchange time for information. That’s part one. And what you are giving is them as lots of really good rich content, which I thought, which is admirable. It’s even a category neutral. I mean, it’s not even about your brand at all. and you built up these. 6,000 of them. And I want you to think about in your category, what would happen?

Not digital ocean, but it, you listener, if you had 6,000 tutorials, what that would mean to your target audience? You probably couldn’t come up with 6,000 tutorials. anyway, that’s amazing. And so obviously Google is your best friend because they’re driving all this inbound traffic to these tutorials and the more people who watch them, the more value that Google gives them.

And by the way, if you gate it, Google penalizes you. So you’re losing, um, if you do it. I had a, uh, an another sort of question, which is, is there a free version of your product?

Carly: No. Um, you can come in at a very low price point, but it’s something definitely that we’d like to explore is more of that sandbox environment.

That’s similar to what we had at SendGrid as well. So that’s something that I’m pursuing currently, but now it’s not available now. So.

Drew: When you’re looking at your strategy as a whole. And if I want to put the courage in there, what element of courage would you say and something that you’ve done strategically to sort of help turn and pivot the organism?


Carly: I could say a big part of that, for this year is what I’m calling, a brand evolution or brand refresh. I think, I mentioned that through these tutorials through events, like we hold the, um, uh, largest hackathon in the world called hack. Tobar fast. We have a lot of this love and loyalty, but what I was seeing is some inconsistency in some of the visual elements of our brand.

Um, long with some of our brand messaging that it just wasn’t consistent. and so we have launched a big brand awareness campaign that includes out of home and digital, advertising, but it’s really sort of rallying people around this theme of growth that this is a platform where you build your business.

And you can grow here. and we’ll be here to help you with a simple, affordable solution, to scale all of your needs. we see that we have. About 60% of our business comes outside of the U S so we want to reach more people globally, and we want to find out where these learners and developers are going to learn and try to reach more of them.

and so we’ve had success, Just after I joined and finding some of these learning communities and purchasing that content, moving it over to our platform. So we’re continuing to look for where developers are going, how they’re learning and how we can sort of foster that development and growth.

Drew: Okay. I want to ask you about the inconsistency in the branding, that you saw. Why is that a problem?

Carly: I think it it’s a problem because the end user gets to be a little fuzzy and developers. Aren’t sure. Are you still targeting me or you’re targeting businesses or you’re targeting me out of business or you’re.

Still providing this content with me. So we needed to be more crisp about, um, our value overall as a company. And so we really, I like to say that we sort of had to put our flag down and our brand flag now is all about growth. So. Because growth is at the heart of all we do and growth is so important to, technologists and developers.

and so we wanted to really plant this flag and say, businesses grow here. And then the world around us, that rising tide grows when these companies grow and are successful.

Drew: Okay. Would you say that you’re, purpose-driven as an organization?

Carly: Yes, absolutely.

Um, you know, I would say we’re a very values driven and purpose driven. I think a lot of the big cloud providers, are complex and confusing and they’re not. Selling to the builders who are driving this growth in business. So we want to provide value to the community, through all of our content and events and, um, hackathons.

And then we want to offer a real, simple, affordable, solution that is easy to use for developers to be successful in.

Drew: Okay. Uh, I’m going to take a, we’re going to take a quick break. And then when we come back, I want to dive into the process that got you to the growth theme. So stay with us. Okay. If you don’t mind, I’d like to plug CML huddles for a second.

Launched in 2020, CMO huddles is an invitation only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOs to share care and dare each other to greatness. One CMO described huddles as timely conversations with smart peers in a trusted environment. While another call that across between an expert workshop and a therapy session.

If you’re a B2B CMO that can show. Care and dare with the best of them. Visit CML or just hit me up on LinkedIn to see if you qualify for a guest pass. Okay. We’re back in. you leapt to his execution, but before we get there, I like to break down. So you talked about, I think you use a language where businesses grow.

Is there a tagline for your campaign?

Carly: Yeah, it’s get.

Drew: Okay, so we want to get growing and let’s talk about backup a little bit. How did you get there? What was the process? How long did it take to get, to get growing?

Carly: Yeah, I would say, um, you know, last year we became a publicly traded company, which was very excited.

And with that came an expanded vision, an opportunity that. that we could reintroduce ourselves to the world while continuing to be what we call this cloud that loves you back. And so we did team up with an outside agency, to really reposition how we show up in the world, refresh our brand so that it speaks more to the organization that we’ve.

so we’re not just the cloud for developers, but we can grow alongside them. as they create these small and medium sized businesses, I think there’s this notion that yeah, if you want to do a side project, you go to digital ocean, but we really wanted to introduce this idea that, you know, as you’re building these companies at every stage of the journey, This is a platform that’s designed for you.

we partnered with this outside agency.we began testing some of the messaging on the website, through our social media. And now, we launched more of this global brand awareness campaign. Can you mention the agency’s name? Yes.

Drew: Grizzly. Grizzly. all right. So it took you six months from start to finish this a really important timeframe because we get calls all the time and say, Hey, we need a new brand, but we have one we’ll give, we’ve got a month. We’ll say, great. Knock yourself out, go talk to a designer, get a new logo and call it a day.

Um, and even that’s not enough time. so use the language that cloud that loves you back, which has an emotional stand sort of, and whereas we’re businesses. So if I think about the line, get growing, it’s obviously it’s a call to action.

It is a promise, but it is also sort of a, a commitment that we’re going to have to do this. And in some ways you’re saying, Hey, let’s get this thing going. Right. So it, it, there’s a lot of activity with that. Uh, and so. First I have to ask, how did you bring this idea to life internally and get your employee base excited

Carly: about it?

Yeah, I think, you know, we created a video to share sort of the process and evolution because we wanted them to know that it wasn’t, you know, just last week we were sitting in a room and we came up with this new rally cry that we did customer interviews. And surveys and we tested things on the website and this was an iterative process that brought us to this point.

So we wanted them to get excited and then we showed them, you know, updated visuals and our plans for sort of releasing all of this into the wild. I also, um, wanted to emphasize that, you know, we didn’t change the logo. We didn’t change our primary colors. This is more of a refresh and, um, making sure this consistency throughout is clear to all of our audiences.

Um, and so yes, we’ve had really, really powerful response from employees, um, and internal constituents that they’re excited, it resonates with them. Um, and so, I mean, we’ve just launched this, but it looks like so far. It’s also resonating with developers in. We’re also focused around this message around happy developers, um, and this notion around the cloud that loves you back.

So we want you to be happy. We want you to be building and excited about what you’re doing. Um, and so we really want to delight our customers and even just testing that messaging on Twitter, um, one of our. Popular tweets already has been around. Um, you know, in three words, um, say what makes the developer happy?

Um, and so developers were engaging and excited and we, this is really resonating this idea of happiness growth, um, and success for their companies.

Drew: Love all that to keep breaking these things down. I was on, I was a guest on a podcast, uh, recently in, in remind folks that in the book, I really, I turned target audiences upside down and say, we’ve got to start with employees, then go to your customers and then go to prospects.

Because if employees don’t buy the new brand, you’re kind of dead in the water. And if customers, particularly in your case with developers, if the ideas don’t resonate with them, you got a problem, obviously that it’s game over. Um, and. There’s nothing like putting it out there on social media to sort of find out quickly whether or not something is resonating or not.

Because if it isn’t in the developer community, they’ll eat you

Carly: alive. That is very true for better or worse. But in this sense they liked it. So it was for the better.

Drew: And one of the things I talk a lot about in the book and, and sort of. Marketing is a set of actions, not just words. And I’m curious, what kinds of things as part of this program of getting growing, did you add that sort of make this promise of get growing?

Obviously the product sort of it’s inherent in there, but did you create anything new or anything that sort of brought this idea, uh, that, that made get growing somehow more real than just the words?

Carly: Yeah, I would say a lot of it is around storytelling and engagement. So we have focused more on customers’ stories that are highlighting growth.

We’ve been focusing on, um, organic social and events, focused on builders and startups, um, and their growth. And then we’re hoping to launch, um, a positive. To sort of focus on these growth diaries, um, of our customers. So to just show, um, maybe prospects or those that aren’t on the digital ocean platform, how they can be more successful and get growing.

Drew: And I think as I, as I think about this, the, the challenge with the language is. Owning it in a way that is unique to your brand, right? Because the promise of growth is obviously one that is out there. So. What are the things that you’re doing that sort of make it indelibly, LinkedIn connected back to your brand?

Carly: Yeah, I think first and foremost, it’s about, um, how we show up in our product itself. So through simplicity, having a simple and easy to use product, um, through openness, we are not the only cloud we support multi-cloud environment. We also have, um, the support function to help customers at each stage of their journey.

And then of course continuing our support of the community through more tutorials, more content, more value that we can provide to our customers. So, to show. for these builders and show them that we’re here, um, for everything that they’re building. I just think it really differentiates ourselves from some of these big cloud players that are focused on enterprises.

They don’t care as much as these small and medium sized startups and helping them to build and get growing. But that is our primary focus in everything that we do. So it’s really just extending it from. The marketing team to product and customer success and the support teams and continuing to innovate to do that even better in the future.

It’s really, like you said, you have to get the whole company behind it because it becomes the mission of the entire company to make those customers successful.

Drew: Right. It’s like, you can ask as an employee today, you can say, what are you doing to help our customers get growing? And so it does simplify their lives quite a bit.

Uh, which is what I love it. When you get what we call a purpose driven story statement. Right. It’s just so powerful because it simplifies things. I kind of sense, as you were talking about easy to use an openness, I felt like I was hearing your values being recited. and I think it is important and increasingly important that values and purpose, and even your values, your purpose statement comes out of your values.

Can you link those to. Yes,

Carly: I would love to. so we have five primary values. Uh, the first being that our community is bigger than us, so we want to foster this global developer community. And that comes through all the things that I’ve been talking about, earlier through tutorials, through the product itself to really, spur the ideas and innovation, because their growth is our growth.

So that’s a very important one is the community is bigger than just us. Um, the second one is simplicity and all we do. So we want to make decisions that eliminate complexity. We want to make sure that our customers can focus on testing their ideas and not getting caught up in the complexity of our product.

Um, the third one is we speak up when we have something to say, and we listened when others do. So this is about creating an inclusive environment. so we can bring our best selves to work every day. and we also want to listen to what our customers have to say as well. and then the fourth one is we’re accountable for all we do.

So, um, earning trust every day is a core value and then last, but, a very important one is that love is at our core. So really underlying everything we do. Love for customers and digital ocean is really essential to realizing our potential.

Drew: I, you know, that I love the fact that love is in there in the value is part of the trick on a, it’s not a trick, but when you do values and you revisit them, um, one obviously they, they need to be real and they need to come from the essence of, of the company.

Uh, But when you have something like that, that has an emotional attachment. Cause you, you linked earlier, you said cloud that loves you back. Well, there it is right from the value. if only you could, license that song from the Beatles, we we’d have it. Done done. Amazing. I’m so glad I asked about that.


Carly: me too. I would also say that, you know, one of my favorite things is talking with customers and they often cite these core values and the reason why they value, uh, what we’re doing. And so it’s great to hear love. Yes. It sounds like a strange thing for a business and connecting it, but, you know, providing.

that value I think comes through as love. And I always say we start with our community and we end with love. Um, but it’s sort of a whole process, that takes us there

Drew: and they’re there they’re deeply connected, funny. And, uh, in a huddle, just the other day one, CMOs, because this was really, he said we’ve been winning business as a result of our culture.

And we had to sort of ask him to explain, and he said, look, we’re in these beds. And they see our competitors bid and they see ours and then they see our culture and they say, we want to do business with those people. Yeah. And, you know, we all make decisions to do business with the people that we like and you just, it keeps being forgotten.

And here you are, you’re talking about cloud and software tools and digital and for heaven sakes, we’re using the word love. Okay. That is one courageous, uh, without question, I, there’s a certain artfulness here in the way it’s being expressed and the way it comes out. and then from a thoughtful execution standpoint, we started the show there because.

6,000 tutorials are an example of thoughtful marketing at the core. And if you build an entire program around educating your target and helping your target, you will not lose. You can’t lose unless you put gates on them. We’re not doing that. We’re not doing that. Okay. we’re gonna, we’re gonna take a break.

And when we come back, I want to talk about two things. I want to talk about the IPO. And I want to talk about, testing, experimentation learning and, and the scientific method. Okay. Stay with us. Have you thought about doing some market research, but didn’t have the manpower or expertise on your team to make sure the research was methodologically, valid insight, rich and newsworthy research.

That can be a tent pole for an entire quarter’s worth of marketing activities. Research that your STRs can use to help you move a lead into a genuine opportunity. It’s a lot to ask for market research, which is why more and more B2B marketers are coming to Renegade for help in this area, Renegade will help you craft the questionnaire field, the research, analyze the results, and even write it up and design the report.

If your in-house team is too busy, if you’re a B2B CMO, even thinking about market research, do yourself a favor. Visit and set up a time for us to chat. Or of course you can hit me up on LinkedIn. Okay, we’re back. And we’ve talked about a lot of things. We’ve gone through courageous strategy, artful, uh, ideation, thoughtful execution.

And now we get to the scientific method. But before we get in there, You mentioned doing an IPO. Had, have you ever been part of an IPO team before? I was

Carly: actually, at SendGrid, we also went public. and we were public for just under a year before then we were acquired by Twilio. But this one, I will say this one was the first one sort of leading the charge as, um,

Drew: And we don’t have time to cover the whole thing, but, there are some things that I have a theory that every marketer in an ideal world could think about their marketing from an IPO perspective. And the reason I think so is, is that an IPO is a forcing function that gets everybody in the C suite to align on what is the value proposition?

What is the growth plan? What are the metrics that matter? Where does marketing fit in? Right. And post IPO, what are we going to do with those dollars? That will help this company grow faster than it did. None of those things seem to happen without an IPO. And I just don’t understand it. So is any of that, which I just said.

Carly: Yes, absolutely. And I think for me personally, you know, I joined in January of 2020. It was just about six months after that, that we started to prepare to write the, think about the roadshow video and the script for that. And so it was. Certainly a forcing function. I think, you know, our mission or values, those had been established, but really getting crisp on telling that story.

And for me really understanding the value and how the business works. Um, it was a great exercise for me. I. So much about the business and how to tell, and I’m still learning, honestly, honestly, I think every earnings call the questions that we’re getting from investors, how to explain things to investors to interesting, because.

You know, there are two different types of messaging. One is for the investor community and explaining it in a way that they understand. And then of course the messaging for your core audience and for us, it’s quite different and their understanding is quite different. And so learning how to position that for both audiences, I think is really important for all marketers to understand, but another great thing that comes out of, um, the roadshow and the IPO process.

Drew: So talk a little bit about when you’re doing the road show and marketing comes up and there’s this moment where you’re saying, well, we’re currently spending X percent of dollars on marketing and we’re getting this kind of yield, but if we increase suspending and we did it in this way, we would get why yield is that?

Talk about that. And, and, and what felt. Helpful just to explain that to folks and talk about, because some of that must’ve ended up being coming public. So talk a little bit about the actual marketing metrics that mattered in the course of the IPO.

Carly: Yeah. I think the investors get really hung up on our low cost of sales and marketing, and that is.

Truly driven by this self-serve motion. So we don’t have thousands of people on a sales team that we’re providing quotas to and commission. Um, so it is really a low cost go to market model. And so I think that’s hard for them to understand. I also think it’s hard for them to understand as investors, why we wouldn’t be targeting, enterprise accounts, like most of the.

Uh, cloud players. And then I think the last one is sort of how we are not competing with those big cloud players. They are going after enterprise and we believe there’s tremendous opportunity for more of these small and medium-sized businesses. They say that I think it’s 14 million new, small, and medium sized businesses are just coming to market every year.

And that’s our first. But I think it’s hard. Those are the messages that we really needed to explain how we’re different and it’s a work in progress. I don’t know that every investor completely understands it. The self-serve motion and not having a huge sales team is hard to understand, but continuing to show the value and why that’s important.

It’s something that, we will still be doing

Drew: well. First of all, you, obviously the IPO went out. And so that was successful because I IPO’s, again, one of the few points in marketing where it’s zero-sum gain you either go out or you don’t. Now there could be a price difference, but if you don’t go out.

That’s a path,

Carly: as we all know, the stock market has been crazy. And so, you know, companies, even the week after us that were slated to go public, didn’t go public. So yes, I’m so grateful that everything went according to plan, because I know other companies have not been so far.

Drew: So a couple of things, I’m just going to put a bullet punctuation points on one.

You talked about how you have a focus as a company, on a particular type of customer. There was pressure for them to say, go up market and be like everybody else. And yet your core strength is this small and mid-size, and there are lots of them out there and being a global brand, there’s even more out there than maybe the investors in the US-based investors really recognized, but there’s the second irony here that I want to come back to, which is you have a low cost of acquisition and you don’t have a big Salesforce. So I’m guessing that marketing, if you wanted to say marketing contributes X percent of revenue, it’d be huge.

Carly: It’s cute.

Yeah, it’s the lion’s share of revenue. And actually we are adding more of a sales motion and trying to figure out how human touch could benefit our customers in certain situations. But our business will always be driven by this self-serve motion. And so, yes, it’s the lion’s share revenue comes from marketing, which is also hard for investors to sort of wrap their heads around

Drew: and that’s what’s so.

Brilliant about this. and I just, I hope in this show, we’ve covered enough of the self-serve motion because I really feel like we should run a tutorial. You need to join CML huddles, and we need to run a tutorial on the self-serve motion, because I think it’s every brand needs to get there. I’ve already said that we started this show there, but think about it from.

As you as a buyer, folks, listening to the show. If you can buy a product on Amazon by checking things out without ever having to, oh gee, I better call Nike about it. You know about the shoe. You’re not going to do it. Now. You might watch an editorial about this one versus that one, or read a review and we’re being trained to self-serve and frankly, I kinda like it.

and, and I’m not even a, a gen Z or millennial, who’s normally used to it, but I’d rather not. And part of it is salespeople are not adding value. And, you know, I interviewed Andy Paul recently, his great new book sell without selling out, uh, talks about that. And most people don’t want to talk to salespeople because most salespeople don’t actually have the customer’s interests in mind.

Drew: And we already went back to your value. Community number one. And the last one was, at our car. So those two things speak to self-serve because it’s a more pleasant experience. Absolutely.

Carly: Okay. before ranch over, but not quite. And the fourth chapter four section of my book, I talk about scientific method and you could be courageous and are full and thoughtful and still fail because you don’t have the metrics in place that will give you the seat at the table.

Drew: You need to do all these wonderful things that Carly has been talking about. So talk about first, the metrics that matter to you.

Carly: Yeah, I would say. Similar to what I described earlier is, we break down our self-serve funnel and then we look at it. I mean, I look at it every day. So visitors to the website, sign-ups, uh, conversions.

So you’re paying and then retention, at a very high level. So, you know, I. I think experimentation and testing is the most fun part of my job. I like to be surprised even if it’s something, you know, I’ll do a test that I wholeheartedly believe is going to make a huge impact and then it doesn’t.

I think it’s interesting just to sort of dig into the psychology behind user behavior and sometimes a little change that I don’t think will make a difference at all has a huge impact. So I also think. marketing has changed and evolved so much that even after you do one test and you feel like you guys your answer, I always encourage our team to go back and retest again.

Um, because things change and people change and your audience is changing and evolving too. Uh, but I, I sort of call it the ABT of marketing. Um, always be testing.

Drew: Well, and just because, uh, the, for the listeners of this show, because you’ve stayed with us this far chapter 12 of my book is called tests to triumph, and it is all about that.

And I speak to the notion of building a culture of experimentation and why it is the most fun part of B2B marketing today and how it is an opportunity. And we recommend you take 10 to 20% of your budget and always be experimenting with that. So, To wrap this up. Is there an experiment that you did recently that you can share that that either surprised you in the results?

Carly: Yeah, I would say one thing that we did with our data science team actually is, looking at our most successful customers and sort of the combination of products. And then going back into our base and saying, Hey, we noticed that you have two of the three. you should add this one to be the most successful customer.

And it worked very, very well. Um, and so that’s, again, going back to the providing value it’s yes, of course we want to multi attach and drive more revenue, but we also, we succeed when our customers are also successful. And so finding that and then giving that to our customers. Providing value and then getting revenue in return, I think is a great way to drive revenue and success for your customers, because it is all about our

Drew: customers.

And, and I, I want, I’m going to wrap this up on that because it’s so interesting. So at the beginning of the pandemic, A lot of enlightened marketers went to their customers and said, Hey, how’s it going? And none of us knew where the economy would go. And so they, you know, they bear hugged a customer and said, Hey, do we need to delay payment?

Or, you know, are you okay? But the other thing that they started to do, particularly software companies is say, um, how are you using a product. You know, there’s these three features that we notice that people aren’t using as much that could probably help you right now at that moment in time, you are doing a service to your customers.

Remember, and I talk about, let’s see, chapter nine, sell through service. It’s not that you just want to sell another product. It said, as Carly mentioned, if you use these three modules, instead of the two, you’re going to be more effective, they didn’t know that. And we all know, look, you’re you use apps on your phone.

I got a million photo apps, a million, literally I miss at least 60 photo apps in my, and I only use maybe two features in each. Because I haven’t had time and no one has bothered because there’s no relationship between me and the app to say, Hey, drew, you know what? These five features would make you so much.

And they probably get me to upgrade if I even knew those features exist. And at that point, I wouldn’t say, oh gosh, they just upgraded me and say, thank you for educating me. Thank you for helping me. All right. So. Carly, uh, amazing digital Is that the right URL and brands on LinkedIn? Please do me a favor.

And if you enjoyed listening to this show, I’m stealing this right from Douglas Burdette of the marketing book podcast. If you enjoyed the show, leave a note on Carly’s LinkedIn page and just say, God, you rocked it on Renegade. Marketer’s unite. Carly. Thank you.

Carly: Thank you so much. It was really fun to be here.

Drew: And to your listeners. Thank you for staying with us. I hope you had a better, longer workout as a result of it. And if you enjoy the show, of course, give us a rating on your favorite podcast.

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me. Audio production is by Sam back. Show notes are written by Melissa Caffrey. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceover is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about my new book and the savvy is B2B marketing boutique in New York City.

Visit I’m your host Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.