Eric Ries – Long Term Stock Exchange

Lucky to work for Flexport, we can attend interesting industry events right in our office. During one of these sessions Ryan Petersen, Flexport founder and CEO, interviewed one of my favorite authors, Eric Ries.

Eric’s first book, The Lean Startup, found many fans in different areas of the business. I listened to this book more than once after overcoming the idea that insights expressed in the “startup” volume could not possibly be applicable to large international enterprises where I worked. Actually, the insights were universal, and bureaucratic organizations could probably benefit from them more than nimble startups.

Another book, The Startup Way, addressed exactly this question: how to apply the principles of the first book to the enterprise. I listened to this book also a couple of times.

During his recent presentation at Flexport, Eric Ries explained the “evolution” of the adoption of business principles he advocated in The Lean Startup. As his first book gained popularity, he was invited to massive, and sometimes centuries old, enterprises, where he could meet with management and employees. He could observe the challenges these companies faced, which became the basis of his next book, The Startup Way.

Now he was observing the startups he knew, who adopted modern business principle long time ago, growing into slow bureaucratic organizations. Amazingly, this change could creep into companies still lead by the founders, who were puzzled to discover this transformation in their own organizations.

Eric also noticed that one important idea in his first book received very little attention. As “going public” step not only raised needed capital for new organizations but also encouraged short term thinking, the author advocated Long Term Stock Exchange as a possible solution. Few people noticed. Eric started organizing the new type of the stock exchange himself and recently the organization reached an important milestone:

On May 10, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the Long-Term Stock Exchange’s application for registration as a national securities exchange, making the exchange one of only a handful of U.S. exchanges qualified to conduct listings and authorizing the company to operate a platform for buying and selling shares.  (LTSE.com)

This is definitely an interesting development to watch. I am also hoping for another book (or two)!

ABM Virtual Summit

ABM Virtual Summit was a remarkable experience – a conference, which could be set to auto-play at our leisure with easy access to presentations. Convenient. Simple. Inspiring!

A few interesting notes are below:

  • DemandBase: twice a year SDRs participate in Marketing Innovation Contest. SDRs present ideas on demand generation and how to engage target accounts. Each one present to Marketing and Sales leadership. 2 out of 3 last campaigns DemandBase marketing executed came from the SDR team.
  • Certification of target accounts. DemandBase has an ABM certification, which is used as a marketing tactic. The certification is offered for top target accounts (and valued at about $15,000).
  • Sendoso: can not send gifts to some organizations; this can be replaced with charitable contribution to the charity of their choice
  • How to encourage SFDC upkeep? Each specific entry milestone opens an additional benefit for the rep – an additional DM budget, for example

Interesting: collaboration between marketing and support is increasing. Today only 1/3 or marketing teams suppress messages to customers with open service issues. By 2025 2/3 of brands are expected to have fully integrated marketing and service teams with common metrics, goals, and programs.

Example of a highly beneficial service initiative: Salesforce Trailhead

Introduction of ABM at DocuSign

The initial program focused on Financial Industry and took 3 months to produce (6 months in market). All program materials were new and were created for this initiative.

Program:

  1. Identify priority accounts
  2. Map out the buying team
  3. Create the story
  4. Design the engagement plan (slide below)
  5. Enable sales to win (great example of sales materials in PPT)

Conversational marketing: book and 15 examples of very innovative ways to use Conversational Marketing approach (PPT).

  • One of the session attendees was able to make connection between Drift and Bizible to evaluate effectiveness of Drift as an application
  • The best approach to making conversational marketing effective is to designate an owner of the messages and conversions, similar to assigning ownership to other channels. Interesting: Drift itself started from “everybody doing everything,” which did not generate good results.

Webinar Benchmarks – BrightTALK

Every year BrightTALK shares Webinar benchmarks to help marketers evolve their programs. The interest to webinars as a channel is strong, which is reflected in BrightTALK content growth.

One of the most interesting insights BrightTALK shares is the rank of reasons why professionals attend webinars:

and what types of content they find useful:

Interesting: keeping up with industry trends is the top reason to participate in webinars, but tips, tricks and best practices is the most valuable content. The best is probably to share industry trends, and also give advice on how to take advantage of these trends in the most ‘tactical and practical” way.

We know that series of webinars are attractive for webinar attendees and efficient to promote. And again, “tips and tricks” was the most popular choice of content for webinar series.

A few interesting points from the presentation:

  • The content of the webinar (a title and an abstract) are the most important factor in the decision to attend the webinar, however the source of the content and the speaker also play a role.
  • Though use of live video is growing, the event attendees were questioning the ROI on the investment needed to produce a good quality video. A recommendation to experiment with video without a significant investment might solve this problem.
  • Majority of on-demand views occur within 3 weeks after the live event. To extend the value of the webinar, replaying recorded webinars as live events gaining popularity and generates good results.
  • Attendees are not quite “bringing” on webinars as marketers would like to see, but cross-promotion of additional content is beneficial. “On average, 50% of viewers will return to watch another piece of content, and 33% for a third.
  • Best time for a live webinar is 8:00 am local time, but the difference in live attendance during morning hours is not as significant.

As usually, useful content!

MarTech Conference

“Expo+” pass for MarTech conference was quite remarkable! It gave us access to the Expo and one free session of our choice. Thursday Keynote was an excellent choice! 🙂

Scott presented major trends he observes while attempting to maintain the list and classification of marketing technologies.

  • Interesting to see that platform ecosystems allow us to combine “best-of-breed” with platform capabilities. Real Story Group also mentioned that in some cases platform tools are not as well integrated; integrating a different tool might require as much efforts – then… why not chose the best?
  • Blended models of software and service make sense! If the software is powerful, it is fairly complex and requires expert help to generate business benefit as soon as possible.
  • It was a pleasure to know that build vs. buy buttes were over. Now we can have our cake and eat it too with custom apps 🙂

MarTech landscape did not significantly changed. At the same time, the creators of the document we were watching over the years admitted that not all tools were included. (MarTech 2019 with downloadable list)

MarTech tools in local markets/languages? CRM specifically designed for health clubs? And an ability to create “citizen martech” with no coding expertise? Note to self – check https://airtable.com/

Real Story Group gave excellent advice on how to select vendors in the Expo theater:

  • We are at the greater risk of over-buying of technology than buying insufficient technical capacity. Trying to compare features lead to over-buying.
  • We should evaluate usage scenarios which are important for our business.
  • Eco system of the tool is important; particularly user eco-system (user conferences, user events).
  • Never buy technology before trying (I should have asked for clarification – how can you try a tool which needs to integrate with other business systems… before integrating the tool with other business systems, which can be a serious commitment in itself?)

Ann Lewnes made the most profound point during the Fireside Chat: “Customers struggle the most with people and process, not the technology.” Ah, we are human after all… no matter how much we love to talk about AI 🙂

ANA – Funnel Optimization

We did not talk only about the funnel… Though every marketer has a very passionate opinion about the funnel and rising expectations without rising budgets, the funnel performance is a result of many other aspects of the business.

Marketing technology is an excellent scapegoat. We often experience “analysis paralysis” in the avalanche of data, and the best approach might be the most simple option.

What is the trigger to buy? BDRs can ask customers this question and the insight from the conversations might be sufficient. We are dealing with complexity, but the needed insight might not be as complex.

Marketers are not satisfied with the technology they have; do not get the expected value from the technology.

Marketing technology is getting in the way of doing marketing

“We over-engineer our work…” “You can not have 45 KPIs, we need just 4…” “We are flying the airplane by instruments, why not look outside the window?”

Marketers overemphasize the data; sometimes, we are not willing to have a conversation until we have data. At the same time, because we are listening to data, we are plugging any data we have, even irrelevant, trying to make decisions…

If your spouse told you he/she was unhappy with something you did, would you require data?

Collaborate with sales on what is the most important to track. When you bring prospects to talk about their problems/needs, everybody is paying attention. This might be “small” data, but it can make a big difference.

Webinar Benchmark Report – 2019

Marketers watch carefully benchmark reports from different vendors, particularly the vendor they use. DECK 7 simplified our lives and created Webinar Benchmark Report – across several vendors.

The most insightful part of the report (from my perspective) is the registrants conversion to live attendees – across vendors and based on the webinar type.

The report also argues that the success metric of the webinar would be the number of registrants rather than live attendees, as all registrants expressed an interest in the topic and can be followed up as leads.

My guess, the best metric would depend on the company’s objective and specifics of a particular campaign. Webinar might be successful based on the registrants/attendees from specific accounts, or registrants company sizes, or actual engagement with the content, or even happiness of the sales organization with the quality of the generated leads 🙂

Another interesting point: on-demand webinars viewed differently. Viewers can skip sections of the content (lower viewing time), but more on-demand viewers will see the end of the webinar and the next steps.

Great report!

SiriusDecisions – Demand Creation Planning

SiriusDecisions is passionately helping marketers to prepare for 2019 with a few materials some of us find absolutely irresistible.

Marketers sometimes confuse programs with delivery mechanisms. A website or a content syndication effort are examples of delivery mechanisms, which support marketing programs. Delivery mechanisms include digital and non-digital channels (events, DM, etc.). I guess as we observe specialization of the marketing function, we also see a “merge” of digital and traditional delivery mechanisms into each demand-related family.

Interesting: as field marketing specializations persist, the definition of “what each function does” clarifies. Demand Marketing is probably no longer expects to evolve into ABM, but the definition of “Defined Demand Marketing” is definitely evolving. Some companies are starting to separate the roles, but may not yet fully separate the accounts.

SiriusDecisions recommend approaching marketing technologies selection from the perspective of business needs, rather than a specific task. Many technologies have overlapping capabilities, and business objectives consideration could help companies to find the best tool for the task and future needs.

Sample campaign performance report