CMO Insights: Caren Cioffi, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of Digital Marketing, Brightcove

July 18, 2017

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Caren Cioffi, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Marketing for Brightcove.

In this video, Caren discusses

  • Her journey with Brightcove from the very beginning when they had zero customers to today where they are a global video marketing brand
  • How the marketer will be the owner of the entire customer journey and the entire customer experience
  • Why running the marketing department like a business is critical to becoming a revenue marketing operation.

Learn more about Caren from her LinkedIn profile and follow both Caren and Brightcove on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our CMO Insights Playlist on our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue Marketing Television, the CMO Insights Series. I am your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today, we have Caren Cioffi, who is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Marketing at Brightcove. Caren, welcome to the show.

Caren Cioffi:

Thanks, Jeff. It’s great to be here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So to start off you know, you you’ve been with the company since the very beginning when I had zero customers and now you’re basically running the whole digital marketing business. What, tell us a little bit more about your role, what that’s like now, and then maybe compare it to what it was like a Oh several years back.

Caren Cioffi:

Sure. Yeah. So it’s been an amazing journey. I did start with the company over a decade ago, we had zero customers and we just had this vision that one day video would be as ubiquitous as text on the web. So fast forward to 2017 and video is everywhere. Everyone is watching hello to everyone out there watching this video. And that really is because video is the most powerful form of digital communication that we have. So kind of going from the ground level of really getting our first customer all the way to scaling a global operation with thousands of customers around the world and offices around the world has been an amazing journey. My current role is EVP and GM of our digital marketing business. So all companies who are using video for marketing purposes, primarily external, but also increasingly across every digital experience.

So that includes corporate communications, employee communications internally is part of the business unit that I lead. And ultimately I’m responsible for helping our customers succeed. I have a marketing sales product, marketing and partners directly reporting up into me. So that’s also been really fun. And one of the things that we’re particularly excited about that we’ve done in our business is really because the, the sales and marketing organizations are one business unit. We’ve really turned marketing and sales into a team sport, and that’s a transformation we’ve seen over the last couple of years. That’s been particularly exciting.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So a lot of changes for you and for the company, congratulations on your success. So, you know, people talk about the word transformation a lot and you’ve brought it up even a couple of times from your description, but so you think of bringing it home a little bit closer, what’s that really meant for you over the last couple of years and how you tackle it, you know, in, in personnel, your strategy, whether it been maybe some of the bigger challenges that you’ve had to deal with as you’ve been going through all these changes.

Caren Cioffi:

Sure. so our favorite word that we’d like to use in our business unit is adapt. And as a company we have, you know, going from zero customers to thousands of customers and zero revenue to 150 million plus in revenue, we’ve had to adapt every step of the way. And you know, technology is adapting the way that we consume information is adapting constantly. And so as a company, we also have to adapt. And I think that one of the, one of the adaptations that we made was a couple of years ago, recognizing that we really did need this business unit structure. And we really did need this focus on being able to talk to the market and the way that would resonate for each individual use case. And so that’s why in 2015, we really put together the digital marketing and enterprise business unit. And with that we’ve really had to adapt even internally within our organization. Some, some kind of more tangible examples on kind of, you know, managing the growing enterprise. When we first started out, it was really about acquiring new customers, right. We had zero. So that was the first goal that we had.

Right. And so a disproportionate amount of our marketing efforts really went into that high in the funnel and acquiring new logos. And as we grew as a business, we realized it was actually a conscious realization that, Oh my goodness, we have so many customers and we need to actually make sure that marketing is touching the customers throughout the entire journey from, you know, of course awareness and engagement and conversion, but also the retention and the advocacy that follows. And so with this you know, with this growing business, we implemented customer marketing, for example, and we really look at the CMOs role in the marketer’s role as making sure that the customer is successful, not just at becoming a customer of yours, but becoming a successful customer.

And so what’s fun for me is you know, have marketing reporting directly to me, but we also sell to marketers. So this is something that we’re seeing all of our customers start to embrace as well. I think you know, maybe five years or so, digital marketing was really about that lead generation and the conversion, and really look at today and you look at the next five years and it really is about the marketer owning the entire customer journey and the entire customer experience. And and that’s what we’re seeing both inside our company, as well as in the industry.

Jeff Pedowitz:

It’s a great proactive perspective. You know, it’s one of the questions we’ve asked a lot of the interviewees is how they are proud chewing the customer life cycle and how they’re dividing up their budget. So, you know, it seems like you’ve already started to organize your department. Tell me a little bit about talent management from your perspective, cause you’ve been doing this for awhile. What are some of the bigger changes you’re seeing as you look to hire and train people for your modern marketing organization now than say you had to deal with a few years back?

Caren Cioffi:

Sure. so I will say kind of the foundation of the culture of the company really still is the most important you know, put an element of hiring. So from day one, bright Cove has had a culture of smart, nice and gets things done. And that’s a kind of rare combination. But we we have held that those standards very high. And so a decade later I get to work with some of the smartest people in the world who also happened to be kind and who are very execution oriented who want to get things done. So that kind of curiosity and that hunger of learning is really important when we’re building a team. Because again, that word adapt, the team has to constantly adapt. We at Brightcove, like to say, we’re helping to create the future, we’re inventing the future.

And so you really can’t hire for skills that you needed five years ago. You need to hire for the skills that might be needed five years from now. Personally I love to hire leaders who really have more of a general manager type of approach and can be holistic thinkers across all of the discipline but really excellence within that one function. So for my direct reports, I actually have two former CEOs. Yeah, so it was pretty awesome and and they will be CEOs again in the future. And so what’s great for me is that these leaders can really understand how marketing fits in with sales and how product fits in with the overall picture, but can then drive excellence within that particular function.

Jeff Pedowitz:

It’s great. Now I’m hiring these CEO’s hiring general managers. Are you finding you’re running marketing more like a business than say you did a couple years ago?

Caren Cioffi:

We are definitely running marketing like a business. I will say we’ve, we’ve always viewed marketing as a strategic seat at the table in terms of driving top line results, but really kind of bringing that sales and marketing and product view together. It takes an entire company to win. And so one of the things kind of getting back to that kind of life cycle of, you know, awareness all the way through to advocacy is how does marketing, you know, when does marketing play a leading role in windows, marketing play a supporting role? So a couple of examples on that front is when you think about your marketing investments and your sales investments, you need to make sure that that both are getting the right amount of investment to be able to succeed. So when we look at our marketing results, one of the things that we realized a little bit ago is that we actually had more demand than our sales organization could follow up on now.

Well, that’s a good problem. It’s a good problem to have. But it’s still is a problem if you’re not turning that interest into, into opportunities and into the business. And so one of the things, you know, that I’m particularly passionate about is that quick lead follow-up. And if you have more leads coming in, then you have people to follow up on. That’s not going to be a delightful experience for your prospects. And so we actually made a conscious to pause, invest more in our sales development organization, get those resources in place and then turn the marketing Zack on. So I think when you’re, when you really looking at the holistic business, you can make decisions like that because you’re not constrained in just the one silo over here or over here. Another example of that is on our account management side. So we have an extraordinary account management team.

I would say they’re the best in the marketing tech industry. Not just in our industry. They’re awesome. They’ve got really deep relationships. But about two years ago, we really set off on this kind of rapid pace of innovation on the product side. And we were coming out with some, so much new product innovation that our account management organization couldn’t keep up with communicating that to the customers. So again, we kind of took a step back and we said, you know, what can marketing do to help this? How can marketing help support our account management organization? How can marketing help support the product organization? So we actually made a couple of, again, conscious investments and changes. The first one we did, which is very simple, but you have to actually like take a second and put it together is we rolled out a product newsletter to our customers.

So every month there’s the consistent communication that says, you know, here are the innovations that we’ve just released. And that’s kind of an umbrella that our account managers can use to keep in touch with the customers and the innovation. The second thing that we did, which I’m particularly proud of and, and encouraged by every day is we created a new function within the marketing organization and it’s a product specialist function. So these are experts on individual products who can go really deep on every feature. Every customer use case, they are a resource to the field, whether we’re in a prospect situation or a customer situation, they can jump on calls. They can do proof of concepts. And you know, they’re really looking at which of our customers would this new product be a good fit for which of our customers has purchased this new product, which of our customers is actually adopting it. And it’s a very focused role that the field organization can leverage as they’re helping their customers succeed.

Jeff Pedowitz:

It’s just an incredible amount of work, love of singing, all the stuff that you’re doing. So, cause you’ve always now have this accountability, this mindset, what are you being measured on now today? And then what are you holding your team accountable for

Caren Cioffi:

Sure. So ultimately it is our customer success and how we would measure customer success is our customers. You know, at the kind of basic level using our product, adopting the product, being successful from the product is that usage resulting in higher retention rates is that usage resulting in higher expansion rates is you know, is our marketing generating more awareness in the market demonstrated by more leads that are, I mean, all sales organizations want more better leads. So are they more sales ready? Leads? Are we increasing our pipeline? And ultimately, are we winning more business? So if we’re doing our job right, and we’re getting the right products to market with the right marketing support and the right sales approach, then our business will be growing and ultimately that’s what matters.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I love it. So tell me a little bit about your thoughts around the strategic application of technology. As you look at your current stack and architecture, do you think you have too much just right. Not enough. Where, where do you think it needs to be?

Caren Cioffi:

I think all of that. Okay. So we as a company have really always been an early adopter of technology. I think we were one of the first companies using marketing automation. You know, the fact that we’re 10 years old as a company we’re on the first companies using CRM. We’re one of the first companies to adopt account based marketing. So we love technology. Certainly one of the companies who’s using video the most, we believe in the power of video. So we incorporate that into all of our marketing. I would say a couple of interesting things. Sometimes the technology is a catalyst for the strategy, and I’m happy to talk about strategy separately, but account based marketing, for example, by adopting the account based marketing, it’s not just the technology that allows you to reach your market, but it’s also those conversations, you know.

Okay, well, if we’re going to do account based marketing, who is our target market, is that the right target market? Why is this our target market? And so it really, you know, kind of forces that sales and marketing alignment. And I think sometimes that’s as powerful as the technology itself. And you know, kind of as an example, when we were going through this account based marketing adoption, one of the things that we realized is, well, wait a second, we’re the largest company in our space. So if we look at our competition, their target list is all of our customers. And if we’re not doing account based marketing to our customers and the competition is doing account based marketing to our customers and our customers are hearing from our competition more than they are from us from a, from a digital perspective. So really interesting, right?

So that kind of forced us to take a step back and say, okay, well, wait a second, who should be in our target account list? And so we added a lot of customers in our account based marketing and the message there is you know, w we work with a lot of large global scale organizations where we might have business in one division or business unit, but not in all of them. And so part of it is just educating our customers that they already have a relationship with Braco and that they already have an MSA, and then it’s really easy for, to help them get up and running. So one kind of really quick example on tying a video technology in with account based marketing is we had our relationship managers, record videos for their customers to say, you know, like, hi, I’m Karen, and I’m your relationship manager. Your company is a customer of ours, and I’m really, you know, happy to help you get started and succeed with video. And so that’s you know, really being thoughtful about, you know, the technology that you’re using, what is the strategy behind why you’re using it and how you’re going to drive success from it.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Good insights. So gosh, I wish I had another 15 minutes to ask you so many more questions because your answers are so awesome. But I I’d love to know, give all a perspective of what’s next for Brightcove. What’s your strategy going forward? And what do you see the market looking like over the next year or two?

Caren Cioffi:

Sure. so because video is so effective, and even though we’re 10 years into it, we’re really just getting started. I think video is going to be the next big thing that marketers leverage throughout the entire journey. So what I see is this massive opportunity ahead. And one of the challenges that I see is the opportunity is going to outsize the ability to keep up with it. And so that kind of is what keeps me up at night, which is how do we move fast enough to be able to capture all of this demand and help all of these companies succeed and scaling that is really kind of going to be the next challenge of the next couple of years.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Very exciting stuff, Caren. Thank you. I’m so grateful as always. Appreciate you being on ,and we’ll definitely have to have you come back.

Caren Cioffi:

We’d love that.

Jeff Pedowitz:

All right, thank you.

Caren Cioffi:

Thank you.

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