“You need brand to create demand, period. The trick is the tactics you emphasize based on your market position, customer need and business cycle.”
“Create experiences to rise above the noise. It's the fastest way to differentiate.”“Data is critical, but your odds of success increase dramatically when you add creativity and experience.”
Lisa Hatheway is the quintessential demand marketing leader – a data geek full of creative passion with a track record of making business happen. Currently Senior Director Global Marketing at Aerohive, she and her team are on a mission to build a “demand marketing machine.”
I spent some time talking shop, getting her thoughts about marketing, tech and demand gen, and learning what she and the team at Aerohive are working on.
Scott: Give us your marketing philosophy and approach based on your marketing roles and strong background in demand gen from your gigs at Packeteer, LiveOps and IRise.
Lisa: It excites me to bring products and services to life, especially for demand generation. For me, this is all about creativity and customer focus. This is how you rise above the noise and become relevant to your prospect and customer base. It’s my mission to make it personal and more 1 to 1.
I’m a data-driven marketer and test freak, always curious to see what works and what doesn’t. As marketers, we have data and tech tools to enable this, but these mean nothing if you don’t deliver a meaningful experience. I believe the creative aspect of marketing has been lost by many marketers.
What’s the quick scoop on Aerohive and what drew you to the company?
We’re a public company celebrating our 10-year anniversary and have approximately 600 employees. Our solutions enable customers to simply and confidently connect to the information, applications and insights they need to succeed.
We think of it as “mobility without limitations” and that “every access point is a starting point.” We power some incredible Wi-Fi capabilities and experiences for environments from emergency rooms to retail stores. This capability and the passionate people are what drew me to Aerohive.
You thrive in scaling environments and have a strong track record of building “demand marketing machines.” You are 5 months in to your latest gig at Aerohive. Tell us about your process to get started.
My approach is to start with the people and marketing fundamentals, assessing the overall situation – market, customer, team and programs. I met with executives to understand expectations, sales to get a sense of their needs and customer perceptions, and of course, my team.
This round robin approach gave me a pretty quick sense of where we were and where to start. To me, people are everything because no matter how great your strategy, data or process, it’s the people that make it happen.
I also turned to data, specifically customer and program data to see what it could tell me and to identify gaps, needs and opportunities. One of the things that’s a compass for me is the health of the customer/prospect database. We looked at pipeline and sales data and we drilled down into program data too. In our case we are using Marketo and I wanted to understand what we were doing and the conversion rates required to create opportunities and customers.
Also key was the number of touches, the ways our messages were/weren’t resonating, and what type of re-engagement effort was going on to whom. In the simplest terms, I wanted to assess marketing’s contribution today and where we needed to get it to drive growth for the company to hit its targets.
What was your biggest learnings or lessons in this process? And what did you do?
One of the biggest findings was that we were sending many of the same messages with the same topics to the same people. This finding was also amplified in the message and creative review we went through. Using the data to jumpstart demand gen efforts, we selected and focused on the topics that were resonating and began to develop new themes. I put testing in place right away to assess themes, messages and formats.
It was clear we needed to “up-level” our content and bring to life the issues and these incredible stories of how we were helping our customers. A great example was in our webinar effort. We were doing a few webinars per month repeating many similar topics and even speakers. We decided to do fewer with more impact and eliminate “death by PowerPoint.”
We shifted to conversational webinars using only a handful of slides and a combination of customers and analysts having a discussion with our audience, allowing attendees to ask questions and participate. To underline my point, we recently executed a conversational webinar with Forrester. It ran 20 minutes over and we still had 85% retention to the end.
This has become our brand promise: If you join an Aerohive webinar or event, you’ll get meaningful conversation.
Take us inside your thinking and planning a bit. How do you decide which channels or demand marketing approaches to invest in?
We didn’t have strong data or benchmarks from testing. For me, it all starts with buyer personas and data so we needed to talk to customers, spend time with them and get inside their head. We asked about what they read, where they go to get content, and what issues matter to them. This info was critical to giving them an experience they can’t get anywhere else.
One of the best examples I learned in marketing at iRise. Here, our company founders had a passion for auto racing and so did many of the best CIO customers and prospects. So we built personal experiences via events using a combination of educational content and peer-level discussions followed by incredible racing experiences and all the peer networking that goes with it. Many of our digital messages had these same themes baked in.
What are some of the tactics you’re deploying to turbo charge your effort?
Contributing to pipeline requires us to get our database “in shape.” It was time to refresh. This means we needed to get higher-impact marketing programs up and running. We’ve developed integrated programs that use a combination of advertising with highly-targeted sites using rich, value-add content and content syndication to generate prospects via media partners where they're doing their research.
We’ve kept key events, as these are perfect venues to bring to life and showcase how our technology delivers great experiences. We also increased paid search to generate a steady stream of leads.
Everything was targeted with specific profiles and personas. And I have to add – NO LISTS! EVER. These don’t deliver ROI and they don’t deliver the brand promise.
Inbound? Outbound? Or both? And share what channels have been working for you and your team?
You absolutely need both – inbound plus outbound. You need to get your name out there in bigger venues. If people don’t know you, they’re not going to download. This determines your strategy, your mix and who you partner with. You can’t have demand without brand.
Lisa Hatheway is a results-driven marketing and sales leader with over 20 years of experience driving revenue and top of funnel results by developing and managing SDR and MDG teams as well as developing and executing integrated, multi-channel demand generation, social and awareness campaign strategies targeting the B2B enterprise and SMB marketplace at companies like Packeteer, iRise, LiveOps and now Aerohive Networks. Proven track record of thriving under pressure and creating ground-breaking marketing campaigns that produce 300-500% increases in pipeline and significant ROI. Empowering and approachable leader, skilled in instilling within her team a sense of individual accountability and ownership while driving significant business results, job satisfaction and retention.