May 5, 2022

How Are Your New Year’s Resolutions Going?

Ahh, the New Year’s resolution—easily made but oft forgot. Today’s episode of Renegade Marketers Unite is here to remind you to check in on the promises you made at the beginning of the year. It’s here to recall the importance of reflection and growth at all times, not just once a year.

Tune in to hear from three all-star marketers about the lessons they learned in 2021 and planned to bring in to 2022. This conversation is equally timely and timeless, with insights into human-first marketing, battling digital fatigue, auditing MarTech, rethinking lead gen, not letting fear hold you back, and much, much more.

The aforementioned all-star marketers:

What you’ll learn:

  • Why being human-first pays off in recruiting, retention, and sales
  • How to combat digital fatigue
  • Tips for auditing your MarTech stack

Resources Mentioned


  • [04:00] CMO Katrina Klier on the value of a fully aligned executive team
  • [05:30] Getting to know your fully remote team
  • [08:23] Lessons learned from Katrina’s first year at PROS
  • [09:36] Creating engaging remote experiences with CMO Kevin Briody
  • [12:30] CMO Mika Yamamoto’s human-first approach to B2B business
  • [15:35] How being human-first benefits recruiting, retention, and sales
  • [19:28] Combatting digital fatigue at F5
  • [24:57] CMO Huddles testimonials
  • [28:08] What Mika, Katrina, and Kevin are doing differently in 2022
  • [32:20] Balancing doing marketing and leading marketing
  • [35:15] How Mika, Katrina, and Kevin approach MarTech audits
  • [38:50] Rethinking lead generation and attribution metrics
  • [41:38] Big B2B marketing tips from Mika, Katrina, and Kevin

Highlighted Quotes

“What are we trying to say and does it really matter? If it doesn’t, let’s not say it at all.” —@mikayamamoto11 @F5 Share on X “There are no silver bullets or one magic part of your MarTech stack that's going to make all of your problems go away. It's really the ongoing evolution & innovation that you have to pay attention to.” —@KatrinaKlier @PROS_Inc Share on X “We're taking a complete relook at our pipeline and lead models to understand: Are we actually driving towards the right outcomes? Are there better ways to measure that? Can we look at intent and things of that nature?” —@kevinbriody @Edmentum Share on X “You might have to do it differently than would have done it a few years ago. But different isn't necessarily bad. Different can still work out just fine.” —@KatrinaKlier @PROS_Inc Share on X “Whether it’s B2B or B2C, people gravitate towards brands that are helping them address and solve the real immediate challenges and pain points they're seeing in their lives today.” —@kevinbriody @Edmentum Share on X “There’s people at the end of that MQL, so how do create connections with those people? How do we do so by being bold?” —@mikayamamoto11 @F5 Share on X

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 291 on YouTube

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Katrina Klier, Kevin Briody, and Mika Yamamoto

Drew: Hello Renegade Marketers! Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, the top-rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing-obsessed individuals. You’re about to listen to a recording of Renegade Marketers Live, our live show featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles, a community that’s sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness every day of the week.

This time we’ve got a conversation with Katrina Klier of PROS, Kevin Briody of Edmentum, and Mika Yamamoto of F5 about the 2021 lessons they were bringing into 2022—with insights that are as relevant today as they were at the beginning of the year into topics like content, recruiting, MarTech, metrics, and more. Let’s dive in.

First up, let’s bring on Katrina Klier CMO of PROS, the publicly traded leader in SAS, CPQ that’s configure price and quote, and price optimization. Hello, Katrina. How are you?

Katrina: Thank you so much for having me today.

Drew: I’m doing great. Thank you. Since this is your first CMO role, let’s talk about what have been the biggest surprises for you thus far.

Katrina: This is my first full company CMO role. So that’s kind of exciting having done different senior leadership roles at big companies in different parts of it.

Yeah. I have to say what I’ve been it’s a pleasant surprise is how thoughtful PROS was about what they really needed in their next CMO and how much thought they put into having a CMO that would be at the center of their growth strategy and what kind of person and background would be most helpful for that.

That’s been nice. That was part of the whole conversation while interviewing. And it’s been really nice to see that whole truth. Now that I’ve been there several months and how welcoming the whole from the executive team right down to every single person in the company has been incredibly welcoming, not just polite, but genuinely welcoming.

And you just don’t find that a lot of places. I think it’s a Testament to the company and the executive.

Drew: Yeah. I mean, I, I mean, one of the things that, that we talk a lot about in huddles is the importance of the, like the CEO COO alignment. And it sounds like they hired you. They were very clear about what it is that they expected from you.

And the good news is those are things that you’re good at. That is a good news because there, it can be that awkward, oh gosh, I’m in the wrong place. Or they, you know, they don’t know what they want for me and I don’t know what they want. And so that’s all good. I know. Look, if there must have been something where you said, okay, I didn’t see this.

Yeah, if

Katrina: there really wasn’t any of that. I, other than like, honestly having moved to different companies throughout my career, and I’ve been fortunate to work for some really fantastic ones and really just the openness of people at PROS interviewing as a CMO is no small thing. Making sure you have alignment across the executive team with the CEO.

And also with the board for what you’re going to come in and do when you get there. And, you know, sometimes those conversations seem like they’ve gone one way when you’re interviewing and then sometimes they can be different way to get there. And you wonder what happens in between, but thankfully this has not been that case.

It’s really been a chance to come in. And try to drive a growth strategy and put some things in place and work really well across the rest of the executive team. We’re pleasantly well-connected into the sales organization and the product organization. And I feel like that’s kind of a gift most of the time I’ve had to build all those connections when I’ve taken a

Drew: new job.

Let’s talk a little bit about then. So what’s happened for the first 10 months, you know, you talk about putting things in place, so let’s, let’s put some meat on that.

Katrina: I came in and one of the first things we were going to do as a company was a sizable platform launch. And hers had been without a CMO for many months before I joined the company.

And so it’s difficult to do a really effective launch when you haven’t had a CMS. For most of the planning. So that was a, that was a little bit of, okay, we’re going to do it online, so let’s make sure we make it really a great one and that we don’t just meet, but we exceed the aspirations of this endeavor as a company.

So getting that put together where the team. Just met me, literally just got there and had not seen me other than zoom lens. And those kinds of things was an interesting challenge, but I’m really proud of the team coming together and within marketing and in other parts of the company for how we really pulled that long.

Well, that also helped me see places where we need a few more skills here, or we need to rebalance the team. Some there are, we need to make sure we’re plugged in a little bit better here. And they gave me a very rapid dealer of that stuff, continuous that we all built. And we started using.

Drew: Right. And that’s interesting.

So there’s this ongoing project and, and because that project has to get done in the process, you get to see and assess, which is kind of interesting because otherwise you’re just sort of assessing on a theoretical level here. You can see in practice what worked and what didn’t. So talk a little bit about how did you get to know your team a hundred per, I mean, since you’re still a hundred percent remote,

Katrina: Well, we travel for work once in a while. We’re in the same place, but not every day.

Drew: So have you actually physically met every member of your.

Katrina: Oh, no, no.

Drew: And so that’s a challenge.

Katrina: Just spend some time getting to know people, you know, you just have to find a way in this world to try and make those connections and make sure you take the time to make those connections. Usually I would, by now, That on airplanes and bent to every office and spent time with each parts of the team and, and literally gotten to know everyone, but that wasn’t possible.

So I doing now an ongoing series. Everybody enjoyed them so much CMO, round tables, which are really small. Meetings, usually within the same time zone. So nobody’s up in the middle of the night, how the teams, so we all fit within one gallery screen on your video call of choice platform. So everybody can see each other.

People have a chance to talk. And we just talk about a whole series of different things. It’s nice. I get to know them. They get to know me. They get to know each other. You know, we hired a lot of people over the last two years and many of them haven’t met each other other than through a video call. And haven’t always met people in teams.

They don’t work with immediately every day across the marketing word. So it’s been a really nice chance for us to get to know each other, every love the first round so much we’re going to, we’re just going to keep.

Drew: So, is there one thing that you did this year that kind of worked better than expected?

And one thing that didn’t just, since this is a show about lessons, I think the

Katrina: platform launch went better than I expected it to launching the PROS platform. I will say, this is the first time I took a job and on day two, it’s like, okay, we’re going to do a major product launch. And I was still trying to get to know the products.

So that was an interesting adventure. It went, it went better than I thought it was going to. So that was really, really nice on the flip side of that. We’ve had generally pretty good results from what I can see across virtually. Yeah, over the last two years, but even before everybody had to flip everything to virtual and that got a little harder this year, as fatigue set in for people, we were trying to do a mix of on location events.

Virtual events and hybrid events as everything unfolded and trying to keep peace with the change of what you can do and can’t do and what people are comfortable doing and how do you make it all meaningful and get the results out of it for everyone involved. That’s been hard this year. I think we’ve learned a lot and had some good results, but it’s definitely.

Drew: I think we’ll come back to a digital fatigue, but let’s bring on Kevin Brioni, VP of global marketing at the Center for Creative Leadership. We’ll call it CCL for short. And though Kevin, so CCL is in the executive leadership business. I’m imagining that last two years may have been like transformative.

Kevin: Yeah for us in particular. I mean the whole industry went through a lot, but I think for us, it was a big change. Just a real we’ve been around for 50 plus years, actually about a year ago is our 50th anniversary for us. It’s the hallmark of what we do has always been to these really powerful in-person training experiences.

You know, you’ve come for a couple of days or a week to one of our campuses. You interact with a really interesting cohort of peers and, and you go through this really, you know, intense leadership development experience, but that was really the bulk of our business. Then, you know, obviously March 20, 20 in-person face-to-face events that required a lot of travel, particularly international travel, all of a sudden really didn’t become very viable.

So that was a huge shift for us, really overnight, a good chunk of our business had to change. And that was an all hands on deck. We had all the right content and the right experiences. The customer relationships were really strong. It was just a question of making sure we could replicate those same experiences through what everyone else in the world was shifting to at that point, which was through zoom and teams and all these virtual experiences from a marketing front, you know, we were just not known as a brand for really compelling virtual learning experience for my whole team.

That was a huge challenge. Was working with our product teams and our, our faculty and everyone to, to really kind of build our awareness amongst our customers, that this is something we offer and we’re actually, we’re quite good at it. So, yeah, that was a pretty, you know, uh, intense, we call them heat experiences, trial by fire.

That was a pretty intense heat experience.

Drew: I’m imagining. You worked out a lot of those wrinkles and challenges and made the full conversion relatively quickly in 2020. What stands out for you about 2021? Well, I

Kevin: think 2020 was the big pivot for many folks. And with mass uncertainty, I think for 2021 has been a continuation of that.

Almost a maturity of a lot of the processes and products and things we put in place in response to the initial. Seeing a lot of growth. I think as a lot of our business came back quite quickly, it’s been an interesting year too, in that, you know, some of our business has been face-to-face as, you know, always been a traditional part of how we do training and, and some of that has actually been coming back, but, you know, often ways.

The state of the pandemic in that it comes in waves as the comfort level grows or vaccination rates go up and people are more willing to meet in person and safety protocols and all that mature. So it’s been a interesting business as we’ve just really learned to live with it and adapt.

Drew: So let’s cut in and bring on a Mika.

So Mika Yamamoto is the CMO and CXO of F5 and the star of episode seven of this show and episode 180 4 of Renegade Marketers Unite. So hello, officially Mika. Nice to see you. So what worked really well for you in 2020?

Mika: I think what worked really well for us in 2021 was a continuity from where we were in 2020.

Um, obviously the, the whole world changed in 2020 and what we had decided to do as a business to help us with a core principle of. How were we going to make our decisions about what we would do with, with customers, what we do with partners and our in on the community. And our employees was we were going to be human first.

And it helps with that just because as we dealt with trade-offs in terms of OPEX and what we were going to do for hiring, we thought, okay, what, what’s the most humane and human thing to do here for our customers or for our employees. And it helped guide us. And we continued that mantra through 2021. So myself and our head of HR, who’s Anna.

White partnered even more strongly through 2021 through this human first approach. And how that helped was that we started to think about like, how do we provide space for people and that space in terms of mental space, as we see people get stressed, what do we do? And so we provided, and we started out doing a meeting last Wednesday.

So we don’t have meetings with each other. We only have meetings with external stakeholders on Wednesdays to be able to provide some relief and a difference in terms of how our days operate. We were really intentional about providing support. So how do we provide support based on the different things that were popping up through the planet?

So, you know, we sent oxygen to India, to, you know, communities as well as not just our employees, but to the community when Israel was seeing a lot of war-torn tensions, you know, Provided support to that community. So as we saw different elements pop throughout the world, rather than have a, you know, United States centric view, we wanted to make sure we recognized and we’re there for communities and not just our own teams, but the communities where we operate and to be able to help the communities.

So we let go of the, more of the commercial focus that we have. And we did so very, very authentically and, and very, very much just to help the community. We made a lot of relationships as a result, and we established a lot of great Goodwill within the communities that we work within. So we’re really happy about providing space for our own teams, providing support for our own teams, as well as our.

Which has really helped out. And then also just within our own employee base, you know, as we know, it’s just been a really taxing set of of years. And so we’re putting out programs like mental health, first aid, and rolling that out to all of our senior leaders here at to make sure that we can, we can support our own teams and support our customers and support our partners in the best way possible so that we can keep forging ahead as we have no, probably no real end in sight to this hybrid environment.

So that’s worked really well for.

Drew: Wow. Okay. There’s so many things to unpack there, but I I’m just going to put some punctuation points on them. I love no meeting Wednesday. We spent, we had four huddles this month on time management and meetings became the number one issue. And so there were lots of conversations about fewer meetings, better meetings, shorter meetings.

And I also liked the fact that it turns back to, but. No internal meetings, but if we need to be externally facing, yeah, we’re, we’re all in for that day. I love the simplicity of space and support and thinking about that. One of the other biggest issues that came up in 2021 huddles was just employees keeping them and finding them.

So the fact that you all embraced this humanness, I’m imagining. That you perhaps at us, us less, you know, departures and maybe your peers and maybe it was easier to recruit

Katrina: as a result

Mika: of that. We’re seeing the great resignation. I think in core areas, we are able to retain a lot of our key employees because of not just what we do, but also who we are and who we are as a culture.

So that’s been great. It has been. An incredible differentiator too, for us to be able to recruit, because we don’t believe in making statements about how we help people. We believe in, you know, our actions speaking louder than those words. So we don’t write press releases. When we give away our technology for helping a university stay online or helping a hospital to be able to treat its patients remotely.

But we do let those, let our actions speak for us. So that’s helped a ton in terms of, you know, cause you can, you can see through whether a company truly it does live by its values and we do in our actions. And so that has helped us a lot in terms of recruiting. Cause that’s a really big differentiator for us to be able to attract really incredible talent who.

You know, is in such high demand and the premium that people are paying, as we all have seen on key marketing talent is, is really extraordinary. So the, how we do our work, you can’t just fabricate in the moment when you’re losing a bunch of people. It’s a history that you build and it’s a culture and ethos that you build.

And so that’s helped a ton in terms of

Katrina: recruiting.

Drew: I’m recalling a huddle conversation back in 2020. And I seem to recall now these are of course confidential. Someone in the group said, you know, the less hard we sell, the more we seem to sell. Uh, someone might’ve been here, that someone might’ve been someone else, but I’m wondering in all this goodness here and this internal focus in this wellness and putting human forward, I’m imagining good things happened on the business.


Mika: they helped us a lot. I mean, people, we have have wellness days as well, and we’ve extended those to be long weekends, every quarter for our employees. And so we had wellness days, you know, once a month through, uh, through the summer. And now we have four day weekends, once a quarter for our employees and people have been so happy to be out in the mountains, biking or sitting on their couch, reading that they’ve posted on social media.

That’s what they’re doing. And so we’ve actually had a lot of inbound requests to say, Hey, if you ever have a job, um, we’d love to work with you. We’ve had customers comment or, or former customers that have become, you know, existing customers. Um, come back to us because they’ve said, you look, we really appreciate how you work.

So it really has been a really great way to engage in a way that isn’t about selling, but definitely is, is about who we are. And I find that those connections are really what people are seeking and craving now. I mean, there’s so much going on. Finding this human connection, where you can be where you can talk about something relatable, almost supersedes, and is something that people crave in all, all conversations, whether it’s talking about the latest technology or talking about what school your kid needs to go to.

So it’s, it’s definitely helped drive a lot of conversations. I’m

Drew: curious if any of that plays out, because one of the things that Katrina mentioned, and we’ve heard a lot in huddles in the last couple of months, is, is this notion of digital fatigue. I mean, within all of this, we all know we’re tired of our zoom meetings.

We’re zoomed out. But we also know that our customers and our prospects are a little weary of another webinar or another virtual event. I’m curious, have you seen virtual fatigue, uh, in, in some of the things that you’re doing and, or, or have you been able to sort of find a way around.

Mika: We have not found a way around it.

I mean, we definitely have seen it. So we’re thinking of, you know, when we have events, how do we make sure they’re interactive? When we have events, how do we make sure that we can land content in smaller amounts of time, rather than talking for 45 minutes, one speaker talking for 45 minutes on end. You know, something that we’ve realized works really well as a mix of the virtual world and the physical world.

So we’ve sent paint kits to people and done virtual painting parties with team members and customers we’ve had. Virtual poker nights, casino nights, where there actually is a physical table that someone is working behind. And then there’s technology that works in the background to enable us to engage in a way that is less listening to someone, talk at you and more engaging in a digital way with someone who’s actually doing something physically.

So people are really innovative, a lot in terms of, you know, the types of. Physical materials that you can send to somebody that then is a part of a virtual scenario that makes the conversation richer makes engagement richer, just because we’re just not doing the same PowerPoint presentation of the same talking head talking at you.

So we have seen a ton of digital fatigue, and we’re just trying to make the moments that we have more meaningful and more

Drew: interactive. Yeah. I mean, I really think it’s going to be about not doing as much, but doing everything just a little bit better or more interesting or more fun than, than you did it last year.

Was there anything that you tried in 2021 that you’d say, yeah, it didn’t work with and maybe it’s just, we got to move on or anything. That’s on the phone.

Mika: Yeah, I, the list is long personally, professionally. I think I’ve learned a lot as a human being more than any other year, but you know, the one thing that we’re in this transformation of going from a hardware company to a software company that’s means that how we market and sell is completely different.

I mean, marketers at F5 used to be like, we arrange parties where you’re written you, we bring cookies. So events, you know, we’re very traditional activity driven marketing organization previously, and now we’re moving into, you know, marketing being on the hook to, to helping deliver revenues. And so in doing so it’s a move to use data and, uh, that’s a cultural shift.

That’s a huge shift in technology. And so we created a propensity model that essentially helped predict whether company X or company Y would be more likely to buy from F5 using first-party data and third-party data, which we were so happy. We had this model and we rolled it out and no one used it,

Drew: no one.

Oh my God. Wait. So you rolled it out and it didn’t work or they didn’t, it did work, but nobody used it.

Mika: Oh, it was a notion of, well, we didn’t give up, so it’s not something we’ve ditched. It’s something where we said, well, why, why didn’t it work? And it was a lot of actually a moment of if we build it, they will come, which we know is, is never true.

So we realized and took a step back and said, look, this is a massive cultural shift, right? For a set of individuals who have relied on their own intuition and research to say, look, I’m going to rely on. On this machine to actually tell me which customer I should focus on that that’s a massive gap. And we realize that’s a cultural gap.

That’s an educational gap on, on understanding how these things work. There was also a process piece. Was it? Wasn’t a part of sales. So in the course of a seller’s day, they would have to leave and leave outlook and go somewhere else to go find it, which isn’t really, I mean, as you to optimize time, which ironically this tool was meant to do, we created one more step.

And so we’ve taken the step back and said, look, how do we get a core set of super users who would be excited to use this? How do we incorporate this into and make it be part of the account planning tool? And then how do we actually drive like a white. In terms of education and handholding through using this tool with a small subset of super users so that they can then see the value and then they tell two friends, et cetera.

And so it’s something that we’re trying to apply because it we’re so sad. We’re so excited for this model. And we were so sad that no one used it, that we decided to use a different approach to try to leverage more data. And in terms of what we do from a go-to-market side,

Drew: And I’m so glad you shared that story because it’s such a classic.

One of this is really smart stuff. We figured out a better way to help you sell it’s like ABM. But if we go to the Salesforce and say, okay, here are your a hundred co customers go do it. And we don’t get two or three that are on board and evangelists and outselling, their buddies is never going to happen.

And so. It’s just like you, you sort of have to build a little beta for it and a trial program and get a few people excited. And then you’ve got to market the marketing and is in a way. But the other part of this is so interesting is, is that if people are in an environment and you take them out, that’s such an important observation because so many times we think, oh, well, we’ll get them somewhere else.

No, because you’re, you’re having to change behavior and having to change behavior to behaviors is really hard. Right? One behavior there in Salesforce, so let’s do it. Okay. Such a great story. Thank you for sharing that. All right. We’re going to take a little bit of break

I’d like to take a second now and talk about CMO huddles launched in 2020. CMO huddles is an invitation only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOs. And I mean, elite to share. Care and dare each other to greatness. I was in a huddle the other day, and one CMOs said, do you really think we can help work this job?

And there was a real pause and then we all went, no, but maybe we can outsmart it with a help of 99 other peers in your corner. Think of sail Moe huddles as a force multiplier. That’s going to give you a competitive edge. One CMO described huddles as an timely conversation. With smart peers in a trusted environment, while another call it a cross between an expert workshop and a therapy session.

If you’re a B2B CMO who can share care and dare with the best of them, check out CML or hit me up at LinkedIn. That’s drew Nizer at LinkedIn. And see if you qualify Katrina, Kevin Mika, you just heard this description of CMO huddles. Does that jive with your experience? You know,

Katrina: it does. I joined the huddles group drew.

Right. You know, I think a couple of months after I started at PROS and I found the peer mentoring part of it super helpful, you know, just the, the willingness and openness of the people in the organization. So like you said, share care and dare it’s inspiring. It is all therapy at times and it’s just been incredible.

Drew: Absolutely.

Mika: I mean, I agree with the Katrina is that it is a moment to share. And you get to see whether you’re absolutely on an island with an idea, or if you have commiseration on other people who are facing the same things and it’s a good therapy. And what I love about it also is that there’s a topic that’s top of mind for you, which you may feel like you’re on an island on, because you may be the only.

Feels that way at your company, bringing it into the huddles is a great way to see whether people are seeing something similar and chances are they are. And there’s an amazing cross section of individuals that may be in different industries with different experiences that can lend their support, or may have run into that before.

And so that, that type of support is I think, invaluable and a great part of the huddles. Go ahead.

Kevin: I’ve been participating in the huddles for a number of months now. And I would everything that Mika and Katrina said, I think it’s an incredible therapy. Yes, but it’s, it’s also one of those, you know, you’re not alone in going through a lot of the same challenges for companies that can be smaller or vastly larger are all going through similar challenges.

So I think it’s fascinating. Learning experience and kind of socializing challenges. The slack channel, I think is amazing. There’s just some really helpful ideas and thoughts and things being shared in there as a backstop underneath the huddle, actual meetings. So, um, yeah, it’s, it’s been a really useful tool.

Drew: That’s awesome. I, you know, it’s really been exciting because in the last three months, the slack channel has really come into its own. And I, and I just, I don’t know if it’s critical mass or just folks are sort of getting it’s just there. So let’s get back to this and let’s go around the horn. And what are you going to do differently in 2022, Kevin, you weren’t yet.

Kevin: It’s interesting. When I originally was thinking about this, it was about this idea of starting to, you know, gradually potentially reinvest in face-to-face events, less about trade shows, conferences, more about field events or experientials, you know, smaller things that you can more tightly make. I think there’s still interest there.

And I think there’s still appetite. You’re seeing a number of companies try it in our fiscal starts in a quarter into the year, next year. And that’s going to be something where we’re starting to think about, which is, is there an appetite for that? What is the pandemic looking like at that point? Is it safe to do it?

There does seem to be a lot of interests. We’re hearing from our clients and prospects out there in getting back in person and having those kinds of engagements and connections again. So that’s what I’m keeping on.

Drew: Okay. So being nimble remains there and agile, but so Mika what’s what’s what’s on your do differently for 2020.

Mika: I had mentioned earlier that the thing that went well was that we are human first and that’s a very top line message of caring and connection that we want to maintain. And then we, you know, on the pivoted really hard on looking at data and metrics, and though the propensity model didn’t work, we were, we did put in place a ton of metrics to be able to track and manage.

You know our pipeline, which is something that we hadn’t done before. But I feel like in driving this top and, and driving all these metrics, we lost sight of really driving an emotional connection around the message around our products themselves. And so it’s, it’s still maintaining this human first message.

We’re still having a big focus on the data, but really exercising more of the creative side of our brains and our hearts to create more of a connection with our products itself and putting a ton of intention around what we’re saying about our products and seeing it for differentiating and talking about things that matter most to our customers.

It seems like marketing 1 0 1 and that’s something that we should all do as we focus a lot on data and focus a lot on just the, just the top line, you know, bubble and types messages. I think that’s something that we may have lost a little bit. Um, and so we’re having a lot more conversation and intention around how do we connect with our customers?

Of course. You know what Kevin said in terms of events, but just in terms of what we’re saying. Cause there’s so many people consuming everything digitally. Are we saying things that actually matter to people? And so that’s a lot of intention that we’re placing in terms of how we continue to connect. And of course resonate what Kevin said in, in interesting and creative ways, but just what is it we’re trying to say and how do we break through?

And it doesn’t really matter, is it really matter what we’re saying? And if we’re, if it doesn’t, then let’s not say it. Okay.

Drew: You know, and this is so interesting and I, and I’m imagining there’s some debate because in theory, you could say something that didn’t matter, but it might drive some more clicks.

You know, there are these cases where you can be off-brand and see data move, and you have to have a north star, like you’re describing to help sort of shape it. Otherwise the story can break Katrina. How about you? What’s on your to-do differently. I think I might go

Katrina: a little bit more personal on you then for the answer to this one, always a significant time investment when you start a new role at a new company, right?

So that’s been a little, all consuming out of necessity to get my head around those things, to make sure that I intentionally kind of rebalance some of where I spend my time, know enough more about the business now and our customers and our products so that I can prioritize for the team a little bit better and then make sure I prioritize from my.

Drew: A little time for Katrina. One of the things that this came up in, in a huddle, and I thought it was an interesting way. You, as a leader, you have a choice of spending time leading marketing, and you have this choice of spending time doing marketing. And I’m wondering if that mix is going to change a little bit at all.

Kevin: If you really like doing marketing and being a marketer, sometimes you take on enough leadership roles that you, you find yourself not actually doing it all that much anymore. Instead you’re managing budgets and, and talking with HR and things like that. But it sounds like what you were getting at was it’s that mix of the tactics and just getting out there and doing versus kind of shaping the bigger picture and tone and approach.

If I heard you. Yeah. And

Drew: I, and again, I think it’s a really tricky balance because let’s face it. You, if you’re leading marketing, the doing part has to be going pretty well for you to sort of take your hand if you will away and step away and say, I can spend more time leading, which means, you know, working with the C-suite and building customer relationships and making sure we were the voice of the customer and all those other things.

And, and, you know, Mika, you have experience on your plate as well. I got to believe that you can spend less time in the doing of both of those things.

Mika: You know, it’s an interesting balance as Kevin said. I mean, I think that not only because you may like doing marketing, but also I think that making sure that we’re driving the impact that we want to drive often doing the marketing and getting into the weeds in terms of how are we really impacting customers?

What are exactly are we saying what exactly are literally the clicks that we want to see customers go through to be able to understand. The impacts that we’re driving. I think we need to, as leaders understand those details, to be able to zoom in a little bit, to be able to zoom out and understand those details, zoom out and to lead.

So with customer experience and with marketing, I have found that I actually am leading better. If I find opportune moments and tell the team that this is one of those moments that I’m going to zoom in and do what we do, walk the walls. And it’s essentially tell me about a customer experience. And we schedule them to say, look, if we’re going to walk the wall for, for a launch event, or if we’re going to walk the wall for how a customer is going to experience a product, and it is the literal, like walking through how a customer.

Through, and it helps, it helps me get context for what the customer is facing, what the teams are facing in terms of what they have to market. And so I think I am going to actually spend a lot more time and intention on doing the marketing and, and, uh, walking the wall so that I can lead better. So I’m trying to strike that balance, Kevin, like you, but I think I need to index into that detail a little more this year than I

Drew: had before.

Interesting. So one of the things we’re talking about are our habits. And of course, this is the moment when we ask on this show, what would Ben Franklin say? Um, because that’s what we do on this show. We asked that question and I think he would say. TIS easier to prevent bad habits then to break them. So we have to have, we have just sort of make sure that we don’t have any bad habits because it’s really hard to get rid of those other ones now with that.

And we’re just going to go sweeping past it. I am curious. So there, there are a couple of things that came up in huddles. Recently. One was doing a meeting audit and getting rid of any meeting that you could. But the other thing that sort of underlying that was also a MarTech. And it’s like, can we look at our stack and go?

Hm. And so I’m curious if any of you did a MarTech audit this year and if so, did you retire any tools? Yeah, we

Kevin: haven’t been doing a formal MarTech audits so much as this is just something, a constant looking at the different tools. You know, we’ve implemented a new ABM tool for example, this year. And, you know, we’re experimenting with lots of different.

I think it’s, it’s really just being willing to make fast calls on. It has been a critical thing for us. It’s, you know, make sure you’re putting them through their paces and experiment. Take as much as you can, but don’t get too hung up on one particular solution or one particular platform and let that get in the way of the broader strategy.

So, yeah, I think for us, it’s just an ongoing, constant, you know, experiment, experiment, experiment, but look at the tools, you know, see if there’s better ones out. See if it’s actually providing any value into the organization versus, well, we cut a checks and now we’ve got to dig in and waste six months just trying to get value out of that.

So I think it’s, it’s more of an ongoing process for us. If anything, actually, this year we’ve added more tools. Um, just as we’ve been investing in new.

Drew: Katrina anything in the, in the, uh, audit

Katrina: department. Yeah. You know, as, as we’ve been building out kind of the next iteration and things of growth strategy, you know, you always have to also take a look at

Mika: what you have.

That’s going to power part


Katrina: that and help you get there. And MarTech is certainly a key piece of it. We’ve been going through that. But I think, you know, at the end of the day, those of us that have done this many times to Kevin’s point, like he’s not really doing like an audit every couple of years, like you kind of, as part of your planning process really need to go take a look at those things.

And that planning process isn’t necessarily an annual thing anymore. It’s it’s how do you check in every quarter on what you need and what’s working and what’s not. And I think those of us in the marketing chair know all too well, although not everybody else maybe has internalized this learning the same way is that there are no silver bullets in this space.

You know, there is no one magic part of your MarTech stack. That’s going to make all of your problems go away. It’s really the ongoing evolution and innovation that you have to pay attention to.

Drew: You know, it’s interesting. I’m Mika did anything else on the, on, on the audit? Did you sunset any, any technology like.

Mika: We didn’t sunset anything. We did do an audit. And then we, we actually put some intention around each one of our, each one of our technologies and said, look, what is the bar that we want to set for each one of these? What do we want to see for each one? And then now we’re putting those intentions to test, to see, make sure we get the best out of them.

And then we’re opening ourselves up to considering what else is out there as, you know, as Katrina and Kevin had pointed out. And so we’re making sure every quarter, we’re looking at new vendors so that we’re evaluating what else? Cause it changes. Um, so we’re always evaluating new, but we want to make sure we use what we have.

Well, and so it’s a little bit like your closet. Like if you’re going to decide to add one, what are you going to take away? Cause more isn’t necessarily more. Um, so that’s sort of the mantra that we’re going

Drew: off of love that. I mean, one of the things that came up in a huddle was. When they, when they did the audit, first of all, they made sure there was somebody to own the technology.

And they realized there were several technology. They had that nobody owned. And when nobody owns it, nobody takes responsibility for it. And, and then they found that there were many technologies they had that were just understaffed. And so they could get a lot out of it, but they weren’t getting a lot out of it.

So they either had to invest more staff or. You know, jettison. So that’s technology, let’s get on our, you know, magician hats, what we have and we’re going to just magically solve it. What marketing challenge would you like to solve in 2022? I’m curious, Kevin Katrina, anything that you want to solve? You know, a cat.

I wish I could nail this.

Kevin: I think maybe Mika had touched on this a little bit earlier, but yeah, for us, it’s not about a particular tactic so much as it’s I think like a lot of B2B marketing organizations, we’re always wrestling with exactly. How do we measure leads, generated in the pipeline. And we’ve had a pretty traditional NQL model and as it flows down, but there’s always a balance because it’s very easy to set a metric of.

I want more leads. And then you have a very busy Salesforce. Who’s also screaming. It’s like, okay, that’s great. But I only want the top quality leads that are valuable. And it’s always that balance between volume and quality and you know, not flooding your sales team, but. Uh, really actionable, useful stuff.

And so that’s probably our biggest thing is we’re going to take a complete re-look at our whole pipeline model and lead model and just understand are we actually driving towards the right outcomes? Are there better ways to measure that? Can we look at intent and things of that nature? So that’s really kind of our.

I think to tackle as we were looking

Drew: at and set out one-on-one with a fellow Huddler on that they completely revamped their pipeline. And jettisoned MQL is completely just as a, as a metric, which is so interesting. But, uh, anybody, are you still using Mika? Are you using

Katrina: empty?

Mika: We are using MQL. I think the biggest thing I have is somewhat related to Kevin, not necessarily thinking of how do we remove our model, because we’re just trying to put it, put a pipeline model in, but really what we’re noticing is for every one person that’s on an opportunity that a seller would say, yes, this person is on this SQL.

We actually see, you know, 10 to 12 people who engage with us digitally that aren’t on the opportunity, but they’re actively engaging with us, likely in our hypothesis is they’re influencing the. Right. And so what, what I’m trying to do is trying to solve for this year is who’s that person that is actually on the opportunity.

That’s making the decision. And then who are those people that are on the periphery that we can see engaging in a lot of our contents and attending our webinars, but aren’t making the decisions. And how do we actually engage with them differently or the same? How do we identify the are? And then how do we engage with them differently?

Or the same at scale, we can do it in a ABM standpoint. If we look at and identify like a core set of a dozen or several dozen customers, but at scale, how do you identify the group of individuals that are influencers and buyers? So that’s, that’s the, that’s the keys to the kingdom that we’re trying to, uh, that we’re trying to crack this.

Drew: Spouse I technology, it sounds like a perfect thing for AI to model out.

Speaking of, of this let’s let me give you all a shot at final words of wisdom, sort of things, weather, any resolutions that you want to share or. Um, as we were leaving 2021 behind or marching into 2022, what’s your final bit of wisdom or inspiration. And, uh, I’m going to start with. I

Kevin: think there’s an often, uh, there’s a tendency in B2B marketing to assume it’s all about appealing to the COO or the CFO, uh, in the ultimate financial decision maker and you lose the emotion.

And I do think there’s a lot of emotion that can be had, but I think the trick for me and my, the biggest kind of words of wisdom, if I can, uh, share them would be really around, you know, particularly now I think as people are in. Two and a half or whatever of this pandemic, there’s all this fatigue, there’s all this burnout.

There’s all this just, you know, general exhaustion out there. And I think that people, whether it’s B2C or B2B, that gravitate towards brands that are acknowledging that and helping them address that and helping them solve the real immediate kind of challenges and pain points they’re seeing in their lives today, whether it’s personal or work.

And I do think the brands who can nail that and show that they’re helping. Speak to those challenges and do it in a respectful way without beating people over the head with sales pitches and product, that’s the key. And so it’s, there’s some of that emotion, there’s some of that, you know, compassion, but I think, you know, brands who can nail that are gonna be the ones who win,

Drew: We’re going to keep it real. Katrina?

Katrina: I’m going to do a little bit of a personal one drew, but I, it carries over into work as well. Uh, so in 2021, you know, I changed companies and made some big shifts from a career standpoint. And it was interesting how many people in my network, it was, it was like one extreme or the other. They were like, oh, this is amazing.

I’m so happy for you. Are you crazy to do this now? Have you not been on the same planet with the rest of us for the last year? And. The world has been really crazy and probably will continue to be some version of extraordinarily fluid going forward. But I think it’s good to just not let that stop us.

You know, don’t let the fear of what’s going on outside the window, slow you down or squash your dreams or hold you back from things that you really want to do. You might have to do it differently than you did, would have done it a few years ago. But different isn’t necessarily bad. Different can still work out just fine.

So don’t let the fear

Drew: hold you back. We’re going to be real. We’re going to be bold. Okay. Last, last tip. Mika. I

Mika: always try to think of a theme for the year to come. And this year, I think, or next for 2022, I think it’s going to be intention. So it’s a bit of a combination between Katrina and Kevin’s comments.

It’s, you know, focusing on the things that matter most, you know, personally and professionally. Cause, cause if you don’t, if you don’t get those right, you can do a ton of things and not do anything. It’s a bunch of activity. And so how do we really drive? And driving the numbers, there’s people at the end of those numbers of the, at the end of that MQL.

And so how do we create an emotional connection with those people? And then how do we do so by being bold to Katrina’s point, like, let’s just go bigger, go home. And so if it’s not worth being proud of, if you’re not going to do something and say, I’m really proud of this, or this is really bold and let’s just not do it.

So it’s placing a lot more intentional intention story around, you know, what we’re going to do professionally. And then what I’m going to personally do in my world outside of. I

Drew: love it. All right. Well, thank you. We are going to be intentional and bold and real. Thank you. Katrina, Kevin, and Mika. You guys are great sports. To hear more conversations like this one and submit your own questions while we’re live, join us on the next Renegade Marketers Live — we stream to my LinkedIn (Drew Neisser) every other week.

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.