CMO Insights – Allen Gannett, Founder and CEO of TrackMaven, the Integrated Marketing Analytics Platform

February 7, 2017

Allen Gannett, Founder and CEO of TrackMaven, had some interesting things to say about aggressive lead scoring, organizing sales and marketing, and process.

He also shared how their whole idea of bringing together all types of disparate analytic needs that customers have, social analytics, content marketing analytics, news monitoring, web analytics, and giving it to them in one place has differentiated them from their competitors. But, given that his company’s product is marketing analytics, it was fascinating to me listen to him talk about the importance of establishing relevance with content in the different parts of the funnel.

 

He shared that the top of the funnel (ToFu) content is more broad-based and designed to create unique visitors, generate page rank etc. The content for the mid-funnel is more conversion oriented and as such it has to increase in relevance to the customer. So in the mid-funnel he advocates more industry aligned white papers, industry aligned webinars, and items aligned to the individual customer experience.

Allen shared that “the big lever that we use in our sales and marketing is relevance. And whenever we are marketing to someone, the more relevant we can get throughout that process, the better the experience is going to be for them, and the more value we are going to deliver. So we basically apply that to our funnel.” So while the content at the top of the funnel may be broad, in the mid-funnel and bottom of the funnel Allen’s team start focusing on how that channel and content might apply to a specific industry. “And so now, someone coming to that [channel], is further along, we are creating more relevant content and having a deeper experience. So we use relevance as a primary lever to bring people through the funnel.”

Watch to experience Allen’s perspective on how marketing has shifted from an artistic approach to a scientific approach and what that means for marketers and how he is addressing TrackMaven’s biggest challenge, hiring and retaining great people.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hello, and welcome to Revenue Marketing Television, the video channel dedicated to thought leadership from the world’s top marketing executives. I’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today’s guest is Allen Gannett, founder and CEO of TrackMaven. The integrated marketing analytics platform. Allen has had a robust career serving as Co-Founder and CEO of Splash Networks, CMO of Employee Insight, and General Partner of Acceleprise. In his current role, Allen advocates for all customers and ensures the company builds products that people love and makes their day easier. In addition, he focuses on company culture, working to build a company of people who love their work and are passionate about marketing. Welcome to the show, Allen.

Allen Gannett:

Hey Jeff, thanks for having me.

Jeff Pedowitz:

No problem. So tell us a little bit more about TrackMaven, and what was your inspiration for starting it? Totally.

Allen Gannett:

So I was CMO of a B2B software company and what I found was that most of my campaigns didn’t achieve their goals. And what I thought was most more interesting was that it wasn’t just me, right? So most of the people that I knew the field had the same phenomenon, this sort of constant state of failure. And there’s these crazy stats out there do a nude houses, disserving, a family of 3% of demand. Gen campaigns actually reached their lead targets. Content marketing Institute found that over 60% of content marketers do not think their content is effective. Like there’s all these amazing stats that there, how, as marketers, as an industry, we generally exist in a state of failure. And so I got really fascinated when I was a marketer on why this was and how you could combat it and how I really tied it all back to was in most marketing is still done in this gut driven sort of like artistic sort of like vein versus a data-driven science approach. And there’s so many channels out there now there’s so much data out there now that really, if you were building marketing from the ground up today, it would be a science first and an art second, not an art first and science second. And so that really inspired me to start attract me even to the whole idea of being, can you make data for marketers that’s accessible, that’s actionable and that’s easy to use. And that’s what we try and deliver to.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So how does your platform work differently than a BI stack? Like let’s say a Tablo or demo.

Allen Gannett:

Yeah. Great question. So basically our whole idea is that we’re bringing together all these disparate analytics needs that you have, some could be social analytics, content, marketing, analytics, news, monitoring, web analytics, and we have to own place. And rather than you having to wire up a Domo or Tableau just to get your data in a dashboard, what we do is of course we have sort of reporting and all that sort of stuff, but we also have all the nuance and context because it’s a marketing tool. It’s not a business intelligence tool, it’s a marketing tool. So we have things like you can go in and show me the best Instagram videos, then mention a discount or a coupon over the last 90 days. And we have all that structure in our data because it’s a marketing tool first. So you’re actually able to get all that level of detail and all that actionable data that in traditional BI tool, you’re really just staying in sort of high level metrics land. So you’re just saying, okay, here’s my stats on Instagram and here’s how I’m doing, but I don’t actually have a next step. I don’t actually know why that’s happening or how I can improve.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So what’s one of your biggest challenges that you face as a CEO.

Allen Gannett:

So I think for us, you know, as a high-growth company, I think it’s always been a fundamentally, my big lesson has been that’s all about people. So the business is powered by people, right? People build a software to sell software, the market, the software, the service software. And so even when you see a technology company, fundamentally what you see is a people company. And so that has all sorts of interesting implications, right? Because that means then my job as CEO is to make sure that we’re hiring the best people are treating people really well. We’re retaining great people, we’re developing great people. And that is just inherently a challenge just because there’s so many variables, there’s so many things going on. It’s incredibly hard to hire people really well consistently. And so for me, that’s always been sort of the big challenge and something that I think we’ve done a really great job at, but we spend a huge amount of time working on. So it’s a very intentional thing that we’ve become good at, but it’s taken lots and lots of work and lots of thought and lots of

Jeff Pedowitz:

What skills do you look for in today’s employee?

Allen Gannett:

So I think it was a big one, a few big things. So self-awareness, I think is the most important. It’s probably the one that also we find most often we’re not hiring some, someone is because they lack that, you know, there’s a lot of people right now. I think don’t have a well-defined purpose and don’t know exactly what they want out of life. And so I think you see that a lot these days, if people sort of like working jobs to work jobs, or they want to get promoted because they want to get promoted, like there’s not a sense of purpose. And so we really look for a sense of purpose, a sense of self-awareness a sense of, self-development a sort of an inward look versus an outward look. And I think that really carries people through because when people are looking inward for development, when they’re looking inward for understanding their goals in life, that makes them much more likely to be proactive, to work with people well, to be coachable, all those sort of things.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So is there a certain type of structure that you’re putting in place within sales and marketing to facilitate your growth?

Allen Gannett:

Yeah, so our sales and marketing is so on the sales side, it’s an inside sales model and we have basically a mid-market team and an enterprise team. And we use a, we have account executives and then we SDRs. And so there’s, there’s territories, basically the SDRs and account executives are assigned to a territory and they’re working through that. And then on the marketing side, we basically use a bunch of different technology for pretty aggressive lead scoring. So we’re using things like infer and EverString. I’m married with a lot of the more traditional datasets to really tightly qualify leads and who we’re actually marketing to. And then that whole sort of engine basically works in that the SDRs are doing outbound for some portion of their accounts. And then the marketing team is basically going out and marketing to this broader set of accounts that matches both our qualification criteria, but also matches a lot of this sort of new, more new age predictively scoring stuff. So we’re pretty heavy users of some of this more modern technology.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Right. So what kind of processes have you needed to put in place to facilitate the growth and then serve both of those markets?

Allen Gannett:

Yeah, so I think for us, there’s a couple of things that are interesting. So one is we’ve really done a good job at implementing challenger sales. So our sales approach is very, very value-driven teaching driven and consultative, and those are all the buzzwords that everyone always uses to describe your sales process. But I think we do uniquely good job on that. How we sell is we’ll actually bring in people’s real data on their performance, and we’ll actually bringing data from like public data of their competitors to benchmark it well, let’s just show them where they’re strong and where they’re weak. And so it’s exciting about this from a sales perspective is we can actually go in and in the call, provide all this value, right? We can tell people, Hey, here’s three channels. You need to improve your marketing in. And here’s three ways you can actually improve it.

That are data-driven that are back. And so we’re actually able to show us where the full life cycle value of marketing and Luke’s platform in a one hour call. And so I think that’s probably the biggest influence on our ability to market sell easily, that our solution is inherently highly tailored to you because we’re using your data, we’re comparing it to public data from your competitors. So you have this very relevant experience through the marketing and sales process, which makes it, I think just, it feels much less interrupted. Like we’re not just trying to get in your face and trying to sell you on like a dream in a case study. Our whole value proposition is like, let’s just show you actual data and see if you find it valuable.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So do you sell only direct or are you also setting up channel organization as well?

Allen Gannett:

We only sell direct and we typically don’t work with agencies. We’ve just found that for us, our sort of sweet spot is working with brands that are looking to implement an analytics program into their own teams. So that has been our sort of our sweet spot. Okay. So your approach to content

Jeff Pedowitz:

And going after these, these different markets.

Allen Gannett:

Yeah. Good question. So basically our content, we view there’s a few different stages. So there’s top of the funnel slash SEO content. So things that we want to generate large amount of uniques, we want to generate page rank things that get people in the sort of tippy top of the funnel. So it’s sort of a traditional model and then we have, but that’s, you’ll see things like we do. We did things about the presidential race this year. We were doing sort of fun lists that kind of content. Then we have a lot of conversion oriented and mid funnel stuff. So for that, we really focus our content on things that are most closely relevant to a customer. So we’ll do industry white papers, industry webinars, things that are more tightly fitted to that individual customer experience. So just inherently with our business, being a data business, the big lever that we use in our sales and marketing is relevance. 

And whenever we’re marketing someone, the more relevant we can get throughout that process, the better experience it’s going to be for them. And the more value we’re going to deliver. So you basically just take that sort of up our funnel. And in our, in our, if you look at our marketing the most to be top of the funnel, we might be talking about social channels or a specific, you know, SEM channel and how that channel works. So that’s a very top of the funnel content, but then mid funnel and bottom of the funnel, we’re now focusing on how that channel might apply to a specific industry. And so now someone coming to that is further along or creating more relevant content for them or having a deeper experience. So we really use relevance as this sort of primary lever that we use to sort of bring people through.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So where are some of the places that you syndicate your content?

Allen Gannett:

Yeah. So on the syndication side, we’re typically working with marketing trade publications and marketing press. So we do a lot of guest columns. We do a lot of press placements, we do syndication. And so for us, it’s really one of the nice things obviously about marketing is that marketers are very focused on career development and very focused on improving their skills. So there’s all these amazing sources out there from marketing profs, the content marketing Institute to the vendor blogs that provide really great resource for marketers. And so those are the types of people we try to.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So who do you see as your competitors in the, in the marketplace?

Allen Gannett:

Yeah, so I think for us, the biggest competitor is Excel, right? So the biggest competitor is that Excel sheet that every marketer has seen. That’s basically their here’s our weekly or monthly analytics these days. It’s like Google sheet. That for us is the primary competitor because at the end of the day, doing that in Excel literally makes no sense, right. It’s the, it’s not real time. It’s manual effort. It’s not actionable, but it’s something that we see in almost every marketing team. Right. And so our ultimate goal is taking all the Excel spreadsheets in a, in a marketing department and getting rid of that. That’s, that’s the big goal.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Now that would be a, probably a big party. I wasn’t very happy. Yeah, absolutely. So whether some of the big trends you see happening in the market over the next year or two.

Allen Gannett:

So I think a few things and MarTech has talked about this a little bit, but we’re just seeing the innovation cycles and marketing getting shorter and shorter. So we’re still, you know, marketing’s always been this very trend-driven wave driven industry. So think about social marketing, content, marketing, influencer marketing, you know, we’ve always had these sort of like these, these hype cycle curves of technology adoption, and we’re seeing those should get shorter and faster and more. And so I think marketers over the next few years are gonna continue to be stressed out under resource, under budgeted, pushed to their limits, just because there’s all these new channels, all this new technology, all these new techniques, and that’s not slowing down, it’s not going to slow down.

So I think there’s going to be the sort of fundamental reckoning with marketing, where at some point there’s going to be too many channels. And how do marketers deal with that? Right. Do we move to more automation? Do we move to using even more technology? Do we focus in saying we’re going to do less channels? We do the channels we do better. So I think that is sort of this fundamental cosmic question that the next five years of marketing is all going to be about is how does marketing exists in a world where it’s not that there’s 10 major channels? Like there was 20 years ago now there’s a thousand channels. How do we deal with that?

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah, that’s great. That’s that’s very insightful. I think it is starting to get pretty overwhelming. So what advice would you give to a modern executive? That’s starting to build their company. They’re trying to grow it. Where should they start?

Allen Gannett:

Yeah. So if you’re a marketing executive, I’d say less is better, right? So essentially that’s, I think the key thing, so my partial perspective is the way to deal with this is all this channel explosion is to really fundamentally invest in quality and not invest in quantity. Because if you look at any of the stats, the amount of content coming out is going up so much, but the engagement and the results are going down. So I think that’s sort of the fundamental thing on more broadly executives, people running companies, starting companies, leading teams. I think the basics are really what the entire thing’s about. So it’s the basics of hiring, coaching, personal development. I think if you focus on those things, everything else takes care of itself. And I think when you think about execution, fundamentally, what execution means is having great people, having them operate and be the best version of themselves. And so I think really a back-to-basics approach, in fact, in both marketing and more broadly leadership and management, I think that’s really the key.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s great advice, Allen. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you being on the show today and thank you.

Allen Gannett:

Thank you.

About Allen Gannett

Allen has had robust career serving as CEO & Co-founder of Splash Networks, CMO of Employee Insight and General Partner of Excelaprise. In his current role Allen advocates for all customers and ensures the company builds products that people love and that makes their day easier. In addition, he focuses on company culture and working to build a company of people who love their work and who are passionate about marketing.

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