Sid Mistry and Andy Mowat Chat [Redacted] Marketing

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Kris Rudeegraap
Sid Mistry and Andy Mowat Chat [Redacted] Marketing

Transcript

Kris Rudeegraap: Hello everyone and welcome to the GTM Roulette podcast. I'm Kris, your host. I am the co-founder and now Co-CEO of Sendoso. And I have two amazing guests. I'll let them introduce themselves. Sid, why don't you start us off. 

Sid Mistry: Thanks, Kris, for having me. I'm really excited to be a part of this session. My name is Sid. I'm the VP of Demand Marketing at Illumio. What that basically means is it’s the crosshairs of demand generation, field, and partner marketing.

Andy Mowat: Yeah, Andy. I've run RevOps at four unicorns: Upwork, Box, CultureAmp and now Carta. I've also started Gated and worked really hard to stop the spread of unwanted email. And, came back to corporate world recently. 

Kris: Perfect. So I'm going to share my screen. We're going to spin the wheel. What are we going to get today? 

Kris: Social media! We'll get some music in the background too, to make a little drum roll action.

Kris: So social media is the channel. I think that's a very hot topic given a lot of, my recent LinkedIn post strategies, we’ll see how that turns out,. But, let's kick things off in just a general high level. How do you think social media has changed, or its effectiveness in recent years? 

Andy: A few companies do it really well. Dan Schmela, Chili Piper, then moved to Apollo, did it well. I think you're trying to build a brand that is loved. Dan is super smart around, “If you tag Chili Piper, we're going to tag you back. You know that if you talk with our brand, you can connect with us.” I see we do a really great job at Carta.

Andy: Peter Walker, is just a rock star in terms of all the content he's creating. There's a balance between like, how do you create the content on a personal brand like Peter's?And Dan's done a job of really building brand at a company. So everywhere he goes, he infuses that into the entire team.

Andy: We took a ton of that from Gated. like we wanted to be a brand that people loved, tagged. I woke up every morning and there were like 20 convos tagging Gated, including one where we got one5 followers for the company. I shut down in August, like this week. So like building the right brain on social is really powerful. Sid, over to you.

Sid: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. And, for me, just how we think about social, how I thought about social in the past as well, is really making sure that we show up where it makes sense. I think far too often, marketing departments get the, the memo from a higher up that says, “Hey, go, we need to show up on social.”

Sid: But what does that really mean? In my current role, we target, IT professionals, certainly information security professionals, and, they may or may not be present in one channel versus the other. And so I think recognizing where your buyers are, the buying groups are, is important, but also then how do you effectively track that back to pipeline and revenue? 

Sid: We do a decent job of having multi touch attribution, And really making sure that we show up at the right place. The modern marketer doesn't care about vanity metrics. And certainly, I don't think either of us on the call do as well. But making sure that social actually shows up in a way that matters to our buyer. The revenue engine is what I think is really important. People sometimes forget or don't necessarily track it back to pipeline. 

Andy: We have multi touch distribution too. I, think you can oversteer sometimes on, like, the attribution angle of social, right? Social is building a brand that people love first and foremost. Like, we rocked that at CultureAmp.

Andy: Like we literally, we would have Lattice trying to steal customers from us and [they would] be like, I don't want to leave because of the community, the social, the brand, the feel, the vibe, you can't measure that. And so I, I've been down the rat hole three times of visible, at Box, we didn't have it, we like tried to over engineer it. And, now I'm like in that, I saw this great post the other day around, if you try to go down, I forget exactly what it was, but I've stopped my team twice from going down the rat hole on attribution. So I'm a big believer in like brand investment.

Andy: And I, put, I think there's paid social. Yeah. You got to track that. I think then there's organic social, which I tend to really believe can work if done well and done right. So I don't try to track that, overly track it. It's nice to see, but I think you can just create this feel for the company.

Andy: That's just so much bigger than you can quantify. Oh, another one I'd add to is, Kris taught me this one, social takeovers, right? Like we did three or four of them at, at Gated. I think Kris did a really good job of activating his advisors, for, “Hey, today we are dropping this thing.” I think we were three or four times, like LinkedIn was our day on Gated and we just took it over.

Andy: And I think you can do that effectively probably as a smaller company. I think it might be hard to do that at Carta unless we're just releasing something absolutely earth shattering, which, of course, we're doing stuff. So. 

Kris: One of the things you mentioned community, I think, is one of the big draws to social media. And I'll give a quick anecdote of one of the things we've been doing and testing out. So we, I think in the developer community, there's this role and notion of, developer relations. You're really trying to build out this community of engineers and. And, maybe it's IT folks, and, for us in the MarTech/SalesTech space, it's not that same kind of motion for go to market.

Kris: So we ended up, building out this role, a Head of Sender Relations. And one of our initiatives was this SendFluencer program that's about six months in. And the interesting thing that we're doing there is we're going to more B2B influencers. sales trainers, marketing thought leaders on LinkedIn and, building a relationship with them, a paid relationship, and then having them post more inorganic or organically, while also putting, Sendoso in their profile as a SendFluencer.

Kris: And it's been a really interesting experiment to see if we can drive incremental leads from social and I think the early results are true and it is working, but to one of the earlier comments, attribution is tough because you know, they read about us and then go and do a Google search and then come to the site. And so that then, messes up the attribution engines. 

Andy: So I think you just have to believe. And it's, and then there's others that you can attribute and one thing we've gotten our team on is you can't change that after you launch your campaign, right? Like you got to call, is it a brand campaign or demand gen campaign?

Andy: Like when you launch it, not be like, ah, it's not really working as a demand gen campaign, let's relabel that brand. So we literally like in our naming convention forced that decision on marketers up front. 

Kris: I think another interesting topic is the kind of owned media and how that plays into the effect of social media and whether you are about driving somebody from social media to become like a subscriber of your content on your website.

Kris: I think, there was, a while, I think a period maybe, 5, one0 years ago where all this content was gated, you drive people into your content, then you'd capture it. And then everything became more ungated on your website. But then I think it's now going back to not really gating it, but trying to convince people to subscribe and then building your audience off of social that way.

Kris: Any, hot takes there? 

Andy: Anthony Canada is pushing the thinking there, right? The own versus rented media and channels, which I like. I guess I look at it, I, fundamentally won't consume content via email. So I won't subscribe to any newsletter. There's one newsletter I subscribe to. I don't personally love that strategy, but it seems to work for a lot of people.

Andy: I think, Anthony's vision really is the sexier you make the content, it's more like TikTok, and people are going to want to come back to it all the time, and if you can get them to identify themselves, you can start to really own that audience in a way that you haven't been able to before.

Andy: Ironically, there's really only one channel you can own. Which is email, right? Everything else is rented, right? So in the end, you may still have to send newsletters and everything like that to it, right? That's the only channel that you can, communicate with consistently. And so I keep waiting for somebody to invent that next channel that you can own.

Sid: I also, I'm going to just jump in real quick here. I think the fact that today's modern B2B solution, I'll speak to B2B for example, is no longer a single path to pipeline or revenue. You've got to go through 12, 14, 16 evaluators, users, buyers, influencers, decision-makers, and signers. And I think having a balance between, obviously paid, whether it be social, or other channels versus organic and earned, you have to just show up in multifacets and I think you index up or down based on where your buyers are versus where your users are versus where your other sort of segmented, profile is. And I think, social is an important element of that. Community is an important element of that.

Sid: But I don't know if any one company can isolate one channel versus. Frankly, having to show up across the board and then optimizing based on what works. So 

Andy: That's interesting, Sid. Yeah, you're right; those big buyer groups. At the same time, I feel like I've, in my own mind, separated into you're either dealing with a sophisticated buyer or an unsophisticated buyer.

Andy: I don't need ROI analysis.I was on with the vendor yesterday. They were trying to push an ROI analysis. I don't need it. Here's what I need. Are people using the tool? If it is, I feel like I’ve got the sophistication to know. And so I feel like there's sometimes you get those buyers that can, like,  “Here, we can fast track a solution through really quickly.”

Andy: And then there's other places where, “I need 12 people and I need my CFO and I need all these different things.” And it becomes really painful. So I think being able to pick that up early of what type of buyer are you dealing with in a buying cycle is really cool. I stuck an article on that recently of are you dealing with a sophisticated or unsophisticated buyer? I think it's very different.

Kris: I think in B2B we, when I think of social media, I mostly think of LinkedIn. I'm not, I think also I'd say X as well, as I think that's more so where B2B buyers, you can at least identify that audience or segment that audience in ways that it's more business focused.

Kris: Have you guys seen either personally getting targeted, or, professionally targeting people, on other platforms? Instagram, anything on any of those like longer tail ones, testing out Threads, TikTok. I even, I don't know if I'd consider Reddit like social media, but it is. Curious. Any thoughts there? 

Andy: We did, we had a Reddit bot farm for Gated that was super effective. so I think that can work for certain brands, probably more B2C. I think I've seen specific companies really rock YouTube. Grammarly was a great example where that was their primary strategy.

Andy: It was just buying YouTube ads and, and if you ever watch YouTube, you probably see them all the time. so I think it's I'm always loving, “It's not the same for everybody and you can have your channels.” I think with Carta, it'd be hard to go on YouTube. Or tiktok, because we're talking about something very, enterprise-focused.

Andy: I'd be curious. But I'm always testing and trialing out different channels for sure. The other one I'm playing with now is the number of people tweeting and then screenshot their tweet and putting it on LinkedIn. That's freaking annoying to me. So I found a tweet generator. Kris, you'll love this one where you don't even have to be on Twitter.

Andy: You can just generate fake tweets and then you can screenshot your own fake tweets and then you can do it. So the next 2 weeks, I'm going to be testing out that one. I'll send it to you. 

Kris: Yeah, I'm curious the uplift it gets and the engagement. 

Andy: I think it's annoying when people do that. I'm on a quest to stop people screenshotting their own tweets on LinkedIn.

Sid: I will like and subscribe to that. For me, I come from a predominantly B2B background, but one thing that we are trying to figure out is how do we tie back that, like thumbs up, specifically on LinkedIn, for example, into the buyer's journey.

Sid: If we post something - we were at RSA last week. That's a really big event for us. It's the, internet security Super Bowl, so to speak. We had thousands of engagements. How do we tie that back into the dozens or hundreds of people that we’re in active buying cycles with? It's, there's no one sort of singular answer and how to go about it.

Sid: I think, Andy you talked about this, I think it depends on who your buyer is. B2C obviously has different strategies than B2B. My focus primarily has been B2B. And so I, I steer away from where the other folks hang out just because it's a really easy way to lose money.  

Kris: Speaking of money, what do you think about budget allocation to social?

Kris: Are you doing it? Have you done it before? Should you do it? It's just too low on the priority list? Any thoughts there? 

Andy: We do organic social, in a huge way. I think Peter's a great example of that, we just cloned him. We do paid social for, it's great for B2B targeting, depending upon the cost per, we, spend a lot of time thinking through what's the cost per sales qualified opp.

Andy: And, and so like it can pencil, if you're able to get it really targeted. I think it's, you can also use like intent data to be able to optimize that spend, right? So you can, we're always pushing audiences from the account level into LinkedIn ads to be able to target more and more. So the more data I feed to our marketing team, the more cost-effective that LinkedIn stuff could be, because damn, they're expensive if you aren't targeted.

Sid: Yeah, we absolutely have a line item for paid social. We also have a focus around, obviously, organic unearned stuff. We've got dedicated resources there. My world is specifically on the paid side. Again, just trying to orchestrate predictability wherever possible. And LinkedIn is the core driver of that channel, and we're not feeding in a lot of data from 6Sense, and tying in the ABM overlay, particularly right now, we deal with larger sales cycle, cycles, longer sales cycles, and, I think showing up where you can measure back that, engagement on LinkedIn is always good.

Sid: It also threads the journey. So if they did X, and then if they engage on Y and LinkedIn, and if they did Z. Versus if, the engagement on social is earlier or later in the cycle, we can evolve our plays and follow up. And but, yeah, addressing your question, we absolutely track it at a monetary level.

Sid: It's a line item and we do want to tie that back wherever possible. 

Andy: I'm more skeptical. I'd be curious on your take. And this is maybe spinning the wheel again. I just dropped an article in it. I'm about to publish on intent data. I'm, super bullish on first party intent data. I think there's a ton of plays that people haven't operationalized.

Andy: I'm super skeptical of third party data. I have gotten 25 GTM folks that have lived and breathed it. And I haven't seen many people make it super effective. Again, go to market models matter a lot, right? Like it, it can work, but I'm totally taking a tangent, but is third party intent data working for you, Sid?

Sid: Yeah. I'm happy to answer that. We do both, where we use third-party intent data is to feed our account scoring model. And, we've launched it about four, five months ago, and we're seeing an immediate uptick in the velocity of opportunities that we're getting for say, cohort A versus cohort B, that we're calling Tier 1 versus say, Tier 3, and we're converting at a higher frequency. And we're closing 10x the business at account Tier 1 versus account Tier 3. So I'm not completely sold on it, but we're actively tracking it and optimizing it; so far so good. And again, I think that works for me right now because we've got longer sale cycles, identified buying groups, and we're not dealing with thousands of transactions or even hundreds of transactions per rep.

Sid: And so we can quickly evolve and refine the model as needed. So it's working for me here. I haven't used it as thoroughly in the past. I also think it's gotten a lot better in the last few years as the ability to capture data, package it, and sell it as a tool has gotten a lot easier from, say, 5, 10 years ago.

Andy: Well, Kris, when you have the next one of those, put me on for the intent one. I think you'll get on that article. I've I got another social topic for you. Let's talk outbound, on social, like I've, I, can tell you what we've, so at CultureAmp, we used it at a, I remember going to my team and I was like, you're not using the LinkedIn InMail credits.

Andy: And they all just looked at me and laughed. They're like, they're junk. I'm like, what are you doing instead? And they're like, we're just sending invites. And I think that's evolved a lot. So we actually ended up renaming our entire outbound team from SDRs to “People Geeks”, because who wouldn't, if you're, if you're running a people operations team, who wouldn't want to geek out with a people geek on, people shit?

Andy: And so I think we, we saw a dramatic uplift in acceptances off of that. I think I'm, the jury's still out in my mind on, do you put in a note or not. And, it, I personally won't accept it if it doesn't have a note. But, and then if it's not personalized as well too, it's there. But I think what I'm hearing from SDRs constantly is it's more effective if they just don't put a note and they just send it, which I'm shocked that buyers would accept from a salesperson and something with no note and no personalization at all.

Andy: But it seems to work. So I'm curious, Kris, you probably got a lot of thoughts on that one. 

Kris: Yeah, I'm following your camp of I'd prefer a note, 10 out of 10 times just so I can get some context. 

Andy: Yeah. 

Kris: Than have just a blind invite. And I, agree, if not, then I'm not going to accept it. If it is interesting and it's personalized, then I'll usually accept it.

Kris: And, to dive in a little bit further. I think, one of the tactics I think on that outbound more of, it's more of a warm up, is group messaging through LinkedIn and using that as a means to get a warm intro from a friend, a colleague, an advisor. I think that's worked better than just cold LinkedIn outbound.

Andy: Yeah, the group hack is, still exists. That's why no one should ever join a LinkedIn group anymore. 

Sid: Except maybe Sendoso’s. That's what I'm thinking. 

Andy: You can follow them. You don't actually have to, I don't know if there's like a LinkedIn, like groups are different than the follows, but yeah, that's like the most brutal hack ever. Like when people can like direct message you off of that. 

Kris: What do you think about AI as it comes to social media? I think there's chances that it could, you could create a ton of content. I know my team's playing around with some of the TikTok style text coming out, popping in your face, being more, grab your attention, using AI to regenerate and repurpose content.

Kris: But are you seeing anything interesting in terms of AI for social media as a channel? 

Sid: We're starting to use it a little bit more on the conversational side of email, not particularly on generating messages and driving engagement. Where we're using a little bit is to help round out the buying groups, and if this person has bought from us in the past, we probably need to follow or add or message. We're engaged with the same group as other verticals or other types of businesses. So we're helping to figure out who to target, not so much what to target them with. We are using that on the email side. But, no, not specifically on like outbound vis a vis AI. 

Andy: I love Darren Bird's post yesterday, which was, I've told my team to stop using AI for content gen, on the flip side, using it for image generation, like I'm at that same point where like the quality, if you're going to post something on social, take the time, make it good.

Andy: I feel like any mediocre content is just, people are going to tune it out. So I think you got to make it thought-provoking, interesting, and push the bounds and like actually do stuff that's non-conventional to be able to stand out on social and like the design of AI is to do the thing that is the most logical and the most predictable.

Andy: So I personally like, I'm tuning out. I'm not, I'm no longer using AI for content creation. I do use it for if I'll do like a Google form survey and I get a thousand responses and I want to summarize like what are the key insights. I use it for a lot of that stuff, but I'm using it for image generation constantly now.

Andy: Like I don't do a deck without using AI for image gen anymore. And I feel like on social you can have some pretty powerful images that can really pop and stand out there as well too. 

Kris: What do you think about channel fatigue on social? I know we first hit on very early the channel fatigue of email being the obvious one, and Andy being the founder of Gated, which was trying to block that.

Kris: But how do you see channel fatigue happening on social? Do you think eventually buyers will stop reading LinkedIn, but there's also the tendency to go and engage there for other purposes. Like, how do you think of fatigue there? 

Sid: I think the idea of fatigue is real. There are plenty of people that I've seen where it's, okay, I'm seeing the same cookie-cutter content over and over again, and my, propensity to intake that kind of content goes down.

Sid: Quickly is the opposite of the hockey stick. I think it's really important for brands to make sure they do not do that. And I won't name names, but I've certainly seen other companies where they're on a mission, and they're on an MO, to go drive X product event or thing. And I'm just I'm not going to engage because, you're losing me.

Sid: It's no longer organic in, in how you're going about doing it. And so I think it's a very real thing. And I also want to make sure that our brand, our company is measuring the engagement of our social posts, and it ties back to the example I use that are as showing up at RSA. I want to make sure that the people that are engaging are, in fact, the right people.

Sid: I think the people that we're engaging with should absolutely help drive either the brand, awareness, community, et cetera. Otherwise, it's not serving the core purpose of what we're trying to do here, right? Which is, find the right buyer, engage with the right people, and hopefully increase our AR at the end of the day.

Sid: I think it's absolutely real and some people do it really well. And I'm not going to name names. I don't. 

Andy: I, somebody said to me, the concept of LinkedIn, in and out, right? Try not to be in there all the time. I'd say on the notifications, I definitely have them turned off, but if somebody tags me, I'll engage.

Andy: So I find myself engaging when people tag me multiple times a day. I only go in once a day to actually read the feed for like, five minutes, and so that's like my approach now. So it's like you're ending up with your own personal version of it. But I feel like LinkedIn ads are completely, I've completely tuned them out. It helps from a branding perspective of like cool, I know that's there. But I see the same ads over and over again, and I'm never going to engage with one the other thing that like from a company perspective, this may not be exactly your question Kris. But I think there's companies that just say post stuff. I don't think that's as interesting as companies that feed in, “Here's an interesting article.”

Andy: We would love you as our team to comment on it. I think that's much more authentic. If people haven't seen Nut Tree, which my former co-founder Melissa created, it's the ability to feed interesting articles to your audience to coach them on commenting around. So I think you can start to, we did a lot of that Gated, right?

Andy: Which was, hey, there's an interesting topic, we made sure those topics trended if there was like, we had a lot of viral LinkedIn posts and those weren't just accidental. We made sure behind the scenes that people were seeing them commenting on them. 

Andy: I think there was one that blew up to a couple 100,000 and we were sending it to our supporters behind the scenes. So like we do a lot of that. We're very conscious of like, how do you make some, how do you create the right conversations? And then if it's not positive for the brand, like how do you tone it down? 

Kris: Love it. we're just up on time here. Thank you, Sid.

Kris: Thank you, Andy. Awesome episode here. Thanks for all the listeners tune in next time to GTM roulette podcast.

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