CMO Insights: Thomas Been, CMO, TIBCO

April 16, 2019  |  
By The Pedowitz Group (TPG)
April 16, 2019
By The Pedowitz Group (TPG)

YouTube video

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Thomas Been, CMO, TIBCO.

In this video, Thomas talks about:

  • Using data to provide the current experience for the customer.
  • Evolving and providing a leading platform for the digital business.
  • Marketing becoming more accountable in business and digital marketing.

Learn more about Thomas from his LinkedIn profile and follow TIBCO on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos.

Related reading:

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue Marketing Television and the CMO insights series. I’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. So today as our guest, we have Thomas Been, who is Chief Marketing Officer at TIBCO. Thomas, welcome to the show.

Thomas Been:

Thanks Jeff. Hi everyone, happy to be here.  Thanks for the invitation.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Very happy to have you. TIBCO has been very busy over the last year acquisition and its growth. Tell us about it.

Thomas Been:

Yeah, no, we’ve been very busy need, we our acquisition strategy was intense so to speak, but always very focused on the strategy. We have our mission that we set for ourselves as we need to provide it leading back home vote digital businesses. And we’re looking at ways to actually complete this platform and provide the best experience to our customers. So sometimes we did a lot of it ourselves. We had 30 bottom boundaries too. And we’re also happy to onboard great capacities. Though some of the last acquisitions we made actually were fascinating on a marketing side because they opened us to new audiences. Just, you know, scientists or business users such as marketing users. So a very exciting time where we had this vision and now we have the opportunity to propose it to brand new audiences.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s, that’s very exciting. So I, I, you know, I get every week I get a chance to talk to a lot of marketing executives. There’s a lot of challenges that everyone’s facing. Three to keep seeming to bubble up to the top are driving towards digital transformation, getting more customer centric and continuing to evolve marketing to be I guess business accountable that’s the right term for it. So within those three, how would you define those at TIBCO and are you facing any of them yourself?

Thomas Been:

And I was actually listening to you, and it’s a very good description of the the journey that we took over the last the last four years. We started really by making the business more accountable and we had to the, the marketing or accountable in the business story. And we, it started with really building the ability to measure what we’re doing, understand that and how can we improve it. So having access to the data listening to best practices in the industry applying them and it also keeping our eyes on what the business needs, which in our case is rather than you and adoption of new customers. So it’s really adding it. Yeah, we need to do measure and then setting the right objectives and the way we measure our contribution is not by, by, it’s actually the revenue that we are reaching aid or influence.

And that’s something that we’ve ingrained in the culture within that, within marketing. That’s what makes us an integral part of the, of the business. The second aspect is indeed the customer orientation. We’re a company that has been around for 21 years and the company founded by engineers and cells and it’s great into Vista, what $1 billion. But what marketing brings now to the equation is really this notion of not only focusing on what we provide, that we be interesting to our audience is really focusing in on audience, determine what the best audiences for us and catering what this audience needs in terms of use cases and terms of content and making that audience educated and successful. So we’ve had to build some of the processes, some of the tools also to address this. And then that’s when digital transformation comes into play. Because if you combine those two aspects, of course you need to feel, you need to contribute to the experience, the digital experience that the company is providing.

So that’s what we’ve not only evolved what we do with digital marketing which is two, what digital marketing four years ago was basically if you emails on a webinar. So yeah, we have gotten a long way. Seeds. Exactly. But what’s been fascinating is that digital digital also brings businesses with a huge opportunity to understand way more about that context. I’m asked us, you needed about RBT. Do you pave the right experience for our customers as I am by visibly you get on it. Those customers trust us. They gave us some data. Of course we need to be responsible with it, but that allows us to then use this data, this intelligence to provide the right experience. We can understand what their intent is, what they want to learn or why they want to achieve, and then we can use this to build the experience and even make the experience compelling.

We don’t have to show all the signs and seeing not sure. We know that if consume that content, we get to the next one. We take them on the, on the path. So that’s on a marketing side of it very, very quickly. As the company also is evolving in terms of providing more cloud products and providing, as I mentioned, products too and capabilities to new audiences. We realized we had a huge opportunity to blend marketing within the product blend marketing within customer success. So we became less of a silo within your organization, which is all awareness and demand gen, but we’re really have a vision where we’re more of a transverse partner that works within the overall experience very often.

And we’re going to start the experience but aware that had passed the Baton to sales, to PSG, to customer success with not only good discussions that we’ve started and relevant ones, but also a lot of intelligence is what a customer has done before. And here’s what we’ve learned about the customer. And I think that contributes both to the focus on the customer, but it’s one of the huge opportunity that we have with digital transformation. So we started in event we were very focused on marketing, but very quickly we realized you could change, you’d be hard to work with way more of the other company to deliver it as one experience. Our customers want us to ask.

Jeff Pedowitz:

It sounds like it’s really changed the whole of marketing within the company. So you mentioned being measured on revenue, which is awesome. Many most successful marketing executives today are. But when you get into areas like digital transformation or customer centricity, how do you measure that exactly at TIBCO? What are some of the things that you’re doing?

Thomas Been:

So the, the measure, well it’s just a contribution once again to the not the energy through the revenue, but of course we have all sets of metrics that need to do the revenue revenue can come from multiple ways with the opportunities that we have. I mean from acquisitions and such. We are very focused on also onboarding new logos. Tidwell has been fortunate to have many very loyal customers and it’s a great business and we provide a lot of values with them. But at the same time you driven change you, we had as to make sure that we land new accounts, we actually got to evangelize, educate new accounts and they know the land and use maybe just getting out with these smart. And then discovered as a whole platform. They can again leverage. So we’re very focused on indeed and we’re measuring how well first of all, which are those audience we should address because the one thing that you don’t want to do is boil the ocean.

We’re making choices where we can be successful and we have to use data for this and we’re measuring how we engage with those audiences and how they are the converts up side from the objective. We kind of look at the whole contribution model and it’s, it’s beyond by it’s also eagerness, the web traffic and sesh and making choices actually in agreement with our sales partners. Where can we enable the most value, where can be the most relevant? The data that I mentioned can help us make those choices. And then we have a German strategy. Basically it becomes the foundation for the go to market and we’re tracking every step of the way and we’re really looking at it as a continuum. It starts from the initial touch points and it ends up with a contract. And beyond the contract actually the customer becomes successful to go live is just as interesting.

And it’s funny because one of the things that we’ve done, which I think is interesting is all of this intelligence, as I mentioned, now we are providing it and even [inaudible] now they can have a view, we’re on holidays on their towns, we try to touch ones, we try to people who are interested in that topic, which we feed into the strategy, they going to have to serve those accounts and then even in an even better way. So that’s where we’re accountable, not only in a hobby contribution from Edwin, but also how we support younger aspects of what is [inaudible]. Traditionally you started considered as being after marketing and marketing involvement. So it’s a whole set of metric. We’re now we’re working on closing and also other parts of the organization. Dot. Customer not really have this three 60 view of a, of customers. Not quite real time, but I mean also that’d begin at that strategy identify issues or between,

Jeff Pedowitz:

I love that. So along the way in each of those three areas, did you encounter any barriers or and, or accelerants that that drove the change?

Thomas Been:

Yeah, I, I would say that first when the first barrier actually was less culture within marketing and outside of marketing. Within marketing. I mean, traditionally you, some marketing organizations are accepted to have very set of skills. But what’s interesting is we get them to work together. How many mind things suggest that you experience? How do you mind things such as, Hey, we all need to have the same view of the customer. And this is where you need to connect with us within digital that has a lot of data. You can product marketing, we suppose that all of this knowledge, so when you connect those thoughts, you have a very different perspective. But sometimes you need to break some walls to make those people realize they’re talking about the same thing. And we, everybody works together, we’re richer and we’re actually can make a better decision.

So the culture was indeed one barrier that we have do to deal with and you get not designing culture, getting inspired or culture. So it’s education and showing examples is getting other people to talk to us. Looking at our peers and partners that are doing outside of marketing and culture was also interesting as I mentioned, the history of the company and it was just go race is really about sales and engineers and, and we need to get a seat at the table. So it also, you need to earn that trust. You need to earn that, that seat at the table by showing the value, indicating getting your champion, so to speak. People understand about your kind of selling marketing within your organization, which has been interesting and I think that in a team has done a good job in itself. That sculpture aspect has been one beyond that barrier.

And what I’m going to say is maybe a little bit controversial is it’s not GE itself. Marketing has discover technology. Marketing is great because it’s a little bit of math or limited technology. All of this mess. It’s, it’s great. At the same time, the way technology is is, is used very often people are completing his said marketing stack, but it’s really about connecting it and it requires some, some scale and approach that what has been, that hasn’t been there for him. So we actually onboarded a person who was, had the role of marketing CTO and whose role was really to look at how you can actually connect this us the value of a great black hormone Marquetto and even Salesforce and such, which is kind of the foundational or local forum for most people. They are nine hundreds of vendors. We’re going to tell you all you need my technology in addition, but it’s really the platform that you are going to build.

You’re going to assemble that, that matters. And this is what we were very, very focused on. Two things we had in mind, the social life, customer, spirits, any intelligence that we wanted to build so that we could then make the choices about the right things. Knology and how are we having them connected to feed both of those at [inaudible]. And at first when I hired that person and we started to our projects, even our police on the products, I’m like, wait, what are you doing man? That should be it of Sunday. But it worked very well with it. But this is where we had to bring on some of those skills, have a little bit of a forward looking approach, almost a roadmap to you have to do this. And then we also had to learn a few tricks along the way. You’re not to have the vision right away.

You need to test, especially marketing. I mean we talked about it, any testing that that logic applies to most of what we do. Your message or marketing stack. So also bringing that culture of doing quick and run implementations, doing quick projects on a scope you maintain, you know, well you, you manage well and when there’s value you can scale it. When it doesn’t work with Brian that, that also some of the things that we had to, we had to implement. And Ashley, that was very useful because the last barrier that we had is also the fact that I often say that as a CMO, again, easiest job in the world because I’m surrounded by 4,000 marketing experts who will tell me how to do the website or how to do this and that. Then there’s that expectation that everybody knows marketing.

So when you come with new ideas, you need to earn the trust of your ward, of you, of your CEO. And, and once we put in place that process and we started to show the impact in intention and intentional way and metrics, then we had earned that trust, which then it on expenses to be either leading all the time, but at least one to we kind of their proposal, they knew that you’ve tested it. We know in order to be validated is and has way more trust.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Curious about, so it sounds like you’ve put in a pretty good regimented approach over the last few years. How has that applied to the acquisitions? Because with the pace and the rate of some of the businesses you’ve been acquiring that brings in its own change of personnel, integrating brands, products, new strategic packaging you know, and then they haven’t been exposed to your culture yet. So it’s getting them all on board. So kind of walk us through that. How are you then taking this model and the system and everything you’ve been doing for the last few years and then kind of move over and put your arms around these companies that are coming onboard?

Thomas Been:

That’s somebody that that is absolutely a great question. It goes, that’s where maybe one of the ares, what we would learned most at the first acquisition is that we’ve made we were I think very, very cautious. Like, okay, well let’s keep the red as is. And they skip them. They’re on a side that’s not break anything but you, you kind of preventing yourself from, from getting economies of scales essentially, which are anyhow most of the part of most of the acquisition model. So we actually establish a set of best practices in terms of how are we going to manage the brand because the acquisition is getting used as a reason why you made the acquisition. So even in terms of communication, the audience expects you to have some kind of integration queasy on the on the brand side. Enablement is a key aspect.

Enablement within marketing. So then we get those new marketing folks joining us, we welcome them and explain, okay, here’s how we run things. And it’s not like regimented. I like the word and the idea behind it. It sounds very, you’re very military. The one thing that we used and we enabled them and what we’ve done, but one of the most valuable aspects that we get from acquisitions is actually also that there is something unique. That’s the reason why we acquired it. That’s probably a unique skills and things we can learn. So we did this recent acquisition on the company goes crime software, which has a very direct model with a great set of partners and also addresses a set of users, business users, which were not the most familiar with. So this is exactly the kind of things that we want to preserve and we’ll learn it and then we work with them on how do we integrate into our rec best practices into our Reggie regime of a, of running things.

So as he named immense, we’ll look at what did they bring that to the table. We establish kind of the new regime of the day or the new directions, but as early as possible, there are things that I wish were very diligent, which is to measure the value, to contribute to an airline, the metrics, because there’s nothing worse than having, okay, here’s my contribution here and there and then it gets blurry people, I mean we were talking about the culture of how people perceive marketing. I’ve heard marketing spins data way too much. My carrier, we’re using the same data as the rest of the commenting and it’s all real data. So aligning this data Aillani this visibility. So usually in our first screen month we tried to align the systems we do eat, enable people on a culture, we welcome them in a proper will be on board. Then we look at whether they’re bringing at the table, and that gives us the direction to move forward. Some of the integration activities might take more time, but at least we’d have our plans set or [inaudible] and we onboard them and we were trying to make as much money as possible. So by the acquisition, because this great need newsletter, typically two leaders join the joint forces.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Great, great stuff at Thomas. We’re going to have to bring it back around to fast today, but a very exciting to see what you guys are doing over at TIBCO. So thank you for being on the program today.

Thomas Been:

No, thanks for having me.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You bet. All right, we’ll talk soon.

Thomas Been:

Thanks, bye.

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