CMO Insights: Carol Meyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Rapid7

August 22, 2017

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Carol Meyers, CMO of Rapid7.

In this video, Carol shares how

  • Today’s marketer has to willing to talk about measuring marketing results with various stakeholders
  • Ensuring your marketing team is focused on all areas of the funnel is critical for customer success
  • Technology plays a major role on her marketing team, especially when it comes to collaboration

Learn more about Carol from her LinkedIn profile and follow Rapid7 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:

Good morning and welcome to Revenue Marketing Television. I am your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. And today we’re thrilled to have Carol Myers, Chief Marketing Officer of Rapid7. Carol, welcome to the show.

Carol Meyers:

Thank you, Jeff. Good morning to you. Glad to be here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Good morning to you as well. And it’s great to connect again because you and I go way back in the days, the early days of marketing automation and modern marketing. So as a CMO, that’s kinda seeing it all done at all. What’s modern marketing was like for you these days. What do you, what are you focused on?

Carol Meyers:

It’s always, it’s always challenging for me to think about what has changed because so much has changed in marketing, but a lot of it happens over time, little, little by little, but I think that really the really big things for me, haven’t changed dramatically in terms of the impact and the outcome of driving for sometimes what’s changed is the methods for getting there. So I you know, in terms of modern marketing really remain focused on three key things. One is who we are as a company and helping the world understand how we can benefit security and the security community, because that’s our audience.

The second thing that I focus heavily on is impacting our ability to cost effectively acquire new customers. And then the third thing I’m always focused on is how marketing can play a role in helping our customers drive maximum value out of the products and the services that they’ve invested in with us and turn that satisfaction and success into advocacy.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Fantastic. So are you finding that marketing is being run more like a business than it ever has been before?

Carol Meyers:

Absolutely. I think that there are still parts of marketing that are very hard to measure. I do have peers and friends who feel like everything in marketing is completely measurable, but in a B to B market where sales cycles are very long. And there’s a lot of things that go into the buying decision, it’s still hard to completely measure every single thing, but overall, we are very much trying to make sure that we are running as a business, that we are always driving value and we’re able to articulate that value just like a business needs to be able to do.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So are today, I mean the skills have changed so much, right. With, with marketing and you’ve hired and trained probably thousands in your career. What’s different now. I mean, what, what does your typical employee look like today versus 10 years ago?

Carol Meyers:

Oh, great question. Versus 10 years ago, I think that some of the biggest stuff is everybody has to be comfortable with and maybe, you know, better even then to just be comfortable, but to be excited about measurement and impact and being able to articulate that impact in a way that’s meaningful. And so when you have people who are afraid of that or uncomfortable with it, I think it really doesn’t work well in marketing today. You can’t just say that ad was beautiful. People told me they liked it. There has to be a whole lot more going on than that.

And you need people on the team to be comfortable with it. I think maybe what hasn’t changed is I have always focused on attitude, aptitude as primary things, as opposed to have you done the exact job that I need done. And the reason for that is especially being in a high growth business. What I need people to be able to do to focus on and to accomplish might change over time. So I’m looking for people who are driven, they love learning, they’re adaptable and they work really well and collaborate well with other people in particular, the products team and the sales team is really paramount. And so they have to feel that their success is partially vested in helping those other people be successful and always looking for new ways to change and grow. And that I think is what makes people very successful in market.

Jeff Pedowitz:

But what about technical skills, analytical skills, financial skills data. Do you find it’s more important today or are you finding other ways of getting those things covered?

Carol Meyers:

Yes, they’re absolutely important, but not everyone is going to be a math major in marketing or be completely analytically driven because there’s different aspects of marketing that needs to get done. I need a team of people who have different strengths and different orientations, but what I absolutely need is people who are comfortable talking to the people who are driving the analytics and comfortable realizing that what they’re doing is going to be tracked and measured via the analytics. So I don’t need everybody to be awesome at it. I just need them to appreciate it, to welcome it and to use their strengths for the areas that they’re going to be able to drive the biggest impact.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. You mentioned track and measure. What are you held accountable for from your boss and then what are you measuring your team on in terms of outcomes?

Carol Meyers:

Yes. Great. Well, the number one thing that I am held accountable for which really all executives are, are meeting our goals as a company from a revenue and a profitability standpoint, but also from a customer satisfaction and satisfaction, a little bit of a loose word, but customer success. And by that, I mean, we’re all held accountable to making sure that our customers are getting the value out of our solutions and working with us as well as meeting the company’s goals. Those are paramount. Okay. And then you say, well, great. You know, what’s your role in that?

We do look at things like the marketing results. How are we contributing to those things in terms of our ability to drive revenue and bookings and our ability through marketing to drive customer upsells and engagement in different programs that we’re running that are helping them be successful. And those are some of the key things we’re looking at. We, you know, we also try to measure as much as possible, some of the softer things like are we increasing, people’s understanding of our value?

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well, let’s let’s talk a little bit about customer and customer engagement. So you mentioned cross selling himself with your customers. So how, how would you describe your marketing activities? I mean, how much is top of the funnel acquisition? How much is lifecycle marketing? Are you organized in your team to be doing marketing around the full life cycle for the customer?

Carol Meyers:

Yes. Yes. So that’s a great question. Jeff, we have a group of people who are primarily focused on new business net. New business is what we call it. So their role is to drive that top of the funnel, but actually they have various parts of what they do is also helping move people through that sales cycle and ultimately into the sales funnel where sales primarily takes over from there still with a lot of help from marketing, as much as we can give them. And then I have a separate team that focuses just on customer and they focus on customer success, cross sell and upsell as well as customer engagement and advocacy.

So they run our advocacy program, our reference program and our user groups and those kinds of activities to help our customers be really engaged. We’re big fans of believing that advocacy is earned as opposed to something that you, you get through cajoling. It’s really all about if customers are successful and happy and finding that we are doing a great job for them. They’re always happy to talk about that with other people.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s great. Now, what, from a technology perspective, what does your stack look like and how are you using technology strategically to scale?

Carol Meyers:

Hm. Sometimes I think we might have too many, but we have a number of things we do at the top of the funnel to try and find and get in front of people who could benefit from our solutions and are actively looking for solutions to challenges that we address. And, you know, those are things like our website itself, obviously. And all of the tools we use, I think one is called bright funnel. I want to say for SEO things like ad role, things like ounce exchange on the website to help drive people to the content we think is going to be most valuable for them through to account based marketing types of tools. And I would say right now we’re, we’re experimenting with a number there’s not one that I would say we’re particularly bought into at this point. We’re really trying a bunch of different things.

And then down to a series of things we use to help the sales team use content and materials that we’re creating to help when someone’s already an opportunity. And so we use something called HighSpot for content management and things like that. One thing that we put in our stack that I think has had great impact is actually infer, which is predictably scoring. And that has been really helpful for us in terms of making sure that our sales resources are focused on the people who are most engaged and most likely to have a challenge that we can help them solve.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So from a process perspective, are there processes that you’re focusing on today to scale a business that are critically important?

Carol Meyers:

Yeah, the thing that we really implemented this year, because we’ve grown so much are more project management tools to help the team collaborate better, keep track of all of the different activities that are going on and to tie them together against our goals. And so right now we are using primarily JIRA for that and trying to run sort of the agile method. And then confluence is a place where we have a calendar of everything happening in marketing that anyone in the company can go in and look at any, any point in time. And those are some of the key things we put in last year and are still sort of getting our sea legs in terms of using them optimally. But I think they’re really important to help us scale because of the complexity of the number of projects going on at any.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So tell me a little bit more about your draw, your move to agile marketing, cause that’s also been a pretty hot topic with some of the executives I’ve spoken with lately. What are you doing? What are some of the lessons that you’re learning as you’re implementing it?

Carol Meyers:

Sure. you know, and I would say we’re not exactly completely following the agile method. My solutions marketing team is probably the closest. They do a daily standup within their team. And they are breaking their work into sprints and so on and so forth. So they’re probably the most into trying to use those methodologies, but I kind of joke and say, well, and I know that’s not what agile means, but we’ve always been very agile. And so so it’s really more about using some of the tools from that, that work versus taking this very rigorous methodology that says, this is how we do things. And this is the only way we do things.

It’s just trying to use the parts of it that work really well for us, but being agile in the full sense of the word, not necessarily sort of the pure development methodology has always been very important to us. And so why we, while we may make a plan for the year, we are constantly revising what we’re focused on based on what’s in the market, what we’re hearing from customers, what competitors are up to. And so we’ve never been big on, you know, creating a big plan and then, and then kind of saying, Hey, that’s not on the plan. We can’t do that. We just shift a very nimbly whenever needed. Yeah.

Jeff Pedowitz:

We refer to that as agile with the little end. Right. So the guy taking some parts of it like that, that you really focus on. Yeah, we, we actually also use JIRA internally and so it’s, we’ve found it’s been very helpful in terms of increasing productivity. So you’ve always been a change agent yourself. What about the role of marketing and driving change for your company? Do you see that as critically important?

Carol Meyers:

I think it’s important. But I, I would say every executive in the company needs to help drive change. And so I don’t think of marketing as having more or less of a role in that. I think the goal for everyone on a market on a, an executive team is to be constantly learning, listening, monitoring, and sharing their ideas and opinions with one another about how we can always grow and be better and how we can better serve our market. So marketing definitely plays a role there, but to me no more so than all the other executives, I think every one of us has that role.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So your company itself focuses on data insights, right. How, how how are you viewing the role of data within marketing and what, what do today’s marketing executives need to do? Because data is everywhere it’s coming from multiple silos and places. So what are some things that an executive can do to harness the power of their data?

Carol Meyers:

Sure. here, I think we did something very smarter. So yo did something very smart, which was that he has centralized a business intelligence team and there’s definitely drawbacks. It can be challenging to not have sort of full control. If you might call it a resource that you say, this is my resource and I’m, you know, I’m going to do an analysis the way I want it done. Every second, you are working with a team of people who are assigned to you, but also assigned to other parts of the business. The benefit of it is that we have a group of people who one are a single source of truth using data that they carefully curate and pull together so that they know the consistency of the data and the data fields and the quality. And they’re always able to bring a perspective to each analysis that they’re doing.

That’s a little bit broader than just the team that they’re working with. And so I think the centralized BI team is really, really smart. So we use Domo. That’s part of our stack. I am in Domo every morning, first thing. And we have a host of wonderful dashboards that let us monitor how we’re doing against schools to look for oddities or changes that might warrant some sort of action, whether that’s doing more of something or correcting something. And then also let us drill a little deeper.

So generally I will rely on the analyst team to help me dig into something a little bit more that, you know, maybe isn’t quite as visible in the dashboard, whether it’s, Hey, you know, I’m, I’m seeing a certain lead source stagnating, and it really should be growing. Why might that be, or a dip in conversion rates somewhere? Well, what’s happening with that? Why are we seeing that, that type of thing? And we are adding more and more to Domo, more of our social marketing more of our PR metrics, all of those kinds of things. We’re trying to get all that data into one big dashboard. And again, we make that visible to everyone in the company. So if people anyone on exec staff or the leadership role wants to look at the marketing metrics daily, they are welcome to do so, and to challenge us on anything they see.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s great. Thank you, Carol. We’re out of time for today. Of course, I could probably talk to you for another 15 minutes or an hour, but thank you for joining our staff this morning and giving us your insights. We really appreciate it.

Carol Meyers:

Oh, Jeff, it was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Jeff Pedowitz:

No problem.

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