Ian Lowe, VP of Marketing for global SaaS Web Content Management vendor Crownpeak, (who were recently recognised by Gartner as a visionary vendor) popped by the penthouse to chat to Ian Truscott about what has inspires his marketing leadership, what gets his marketing mojo working and what he would chuck into our Rockstar CMO Swimming pool…
What would be top of your rider for your next marketing gig?
The best thing a Marketing leader can walk in to is a company with a great product, a great story and a group of motiviated leaders to make magic happen. There’s nothing better than being able to create messages for a well differentiated product that really moves the needle for your customers.
What or who are your marketing influencers?
I really got hooked on the power of organizations to accomplish the impossible when I read Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras and the follow-up, Good to Great by Jim Collins. I started my career as a developer and reading these books was like getting a glimpse of the operating system of great organizations. There’s incredible power in the idea that there are winning strategies for building teams and organizations that can outperform their individual capabilities, their competition, and achieve something great.
If I was Spotify, what would I play for you first thing Monday morning to get you going?
Higher from the Score
The curtain pulls back, you step out on the stage of your new marketing gig – what do you open with?
Command and control of the marketing engine is critical. In today’s marketing environment, nothing else matters if you can’t deliver the demand that’s needed for growth. Get a hold of the people and process engine that’s getting results, make sure it’s tuned, agile and flexible, and you’ve set yourself up for prolonged success.
The audience is dancing in the aisles, it loves that track. What keeps the house jumping?
You need to have a compelling story and message. Marketing hasn’t changed in a thousand years: deliver messages that matter to audiences you understand. No matter how efficient or effective your demand engine is, if you can’t articulate a powerful, meaningful message to your customers, you’ll soon just turn in to noise.
You’re playing a huge stadium; how do you know the audience can hear your tune?
As a marketer, you want to be tied as closely to full business results as possible – pipeline or revenue – for your own evaluation. Depending on your motion and deal cycle, those values can take time to show up, so you need early warning systems to make sure everything’s humming along. If I had to pick three, I’d say lead flow (total people engaging), conversion rates throughout the funnel (how strong is our message resonating), and average deal size (going up indicates that you’re establishing more value in your product).
If there was a billboard chart for marketing trends, what would be your Number 1?
Agility. The biggest oncoming strategy change in Marketing for the next five to ten years is going to be how fast organizations, and particularly marketing organizations, can react to their customers and the market. Increasing agility is about a well defined strategy and a very loose commitment to tactics. Selecting processes and technologies that help you move more quickly – so you can test and optimize – rather than build perfect castles in the air that might never make it to market.
What would you throw from your hotel window into the Rockstar CMO pool?
Digital transformation suites are not a panacea for digital marketing. There’s this idea out there that you can just buy a technology and all of your digital marketing problems can be solved – personalization, optimization, content. Companies that buy in to that often find, years and millions of dollars later, that they haven’t achieved any of the promises.
There’s no substitute for the hard work for marketing: creating great messages and finding your audience. Figure out your strategy, then select the best of breed technologies that let you deliver that strategy with maximium speed and agility.
What’s got you rocking today?
It’s fun to be on the cutting edge, brining something new to market, which is what we’re doing at Crownpeak with bringing true SaaS to the enterprise CMS space. That can sound kind of geeky, but no matter where you are, when you feel like you’re bringing real solutions to your customers problems – and making their lives better – it’s incredibly rewarding and energizing.
If there was a marketing hall of fame, who would you induct?
Is it too cliché to say Steve Jobs? What I find really interesting about the resurgence at Apple was two complementary motions he undertook. First, really connecting with their audience with great messaging like Think Different, I’m a Mac, the iPod dancing sillouettes, and more. Second, bringing marketing in to the heart of product design and production. Making sure what they were building really worked for their customers so that what they brought to market could almost sell itself. And of course, you can’t be a great marketing leader without being a great business leader, and its hard to argue with his success.
Any final words before you drop the mic?
Marketing is a great industry to be in. We get to be creative and analytical; results-oriented and visionary; inspired and practical – all often on the same day. The modern marketer lives in in a golden age of martech with thousands of tools, services and organizations looking to help you succeed. My best advice: focus on your customer. Really get to know them. Then hone your message to really resonate with them. Do less, but make it mean more.