CMO Insights: Meagen Eisenberg, Chief Marketing Officer, MongoDB

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Written by Pamela Muldoon

May 23, 2017

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Meagen Eisenberg, Chief Marketing Officer for MongoDB.

In this video, Meagen shares:

  • How she approaches running the marketing department like a business and not being viewed as a cost center to the organization
  • How doubling her team required her to really look at skillsets and which gaps needed to be filled
  • How the right research of your audience will drive what content needs to be developed across departmental lines

Learn more about Meagen from her LinkedIn profile and follow both MongoDB and Meagen 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 afternoon. Welcome to Revenue Marketing Television. I am your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today on CMO Insights, we have a great friend of mine, and super power Executive Chief Marketing Officer of MongoDB, Megan Eisenberg. Meagen, welcome to the show.

Meagen Eisenberg:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Jeff Pedowitz:

My pleasure. So yeah, so many things I want to ask you and I’m trying to figure out where I like to start first, but I guess let’s just tell, tell us about your last couple of years at MongoDB. And what was it like when you first got there and where are you today?

Meagen Eisenberg:

Sure. So I’ve been here exactly two years. I had about a team of 26 that I inherited and we’ve grown to about 45. The company’s gone from about 450 to 800. So a lot of growth in the last two years. I, you know, I came in with my background, really being strong demand gen programs. And prior to that was product marketing solutions. And so taking on a CMO role where I had the communication side of the house and some of the other roles that I hadn’t traditionally managed was really a good learning for me. It was humbling at times but exciting just to, to be able to quarterback all the functions of marketing. And what’s cool about MongoDB is not only are we an enterprise sales business, we’re a corporate inside sales on the phone business and we are e-commerce we have a freemium offering with Atlas. And so we have the whole spectrum. When you really think about go to market while it’s not B to C it’s B to developer, and that is very different than marketing to a whole buying committee, which we do at the enterprise level on fortune 500.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So with that whole scope, are you finding that you’re needing to run marketing different weights then more like a business than say maybe a few years ago?

Meagen Eisenberg:

Yeah, my, I definitely think I’ve always thought of running marketing like a business. I never want to be seen as just a cost center. So what can I do to show that we’re driving the business? So we’re bringing people into the door and then we’re also keeping our costs down. So we are efficient about how we do that, but part of joining a new business, you’ve got to figure out what works and what doesn’t and you, you still have to do that creativity and, and put programs out there and see what sticks. And then when stuff doesn’t learn quickly, move on.

Jeff Pedowitz:

What was the most unexpected thing that you’ve had to deal with over the last couple of years?

Meagen Eisenberg:

Well, I would say a lot around just PR and I had never managed a PR firm. So I had to learn just about that process and just the power that they can have and working with media and getting stories out there and, you know, highlighting your customers in ways that the media care about. So I think, you know, that was interesting for me to learn.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So you mentioned that you pretty much doubled your team. So were there certain skill sets that you were looking for or a certain organizational approach that you’ve taken as you’ve been building up this team?

Meagen Eisenberg:

Yeah, I think that one of the things we were lacking at the beginning from a marketing standpoint is strong systems and marketing technology and just operational excellence and understanding not only your systems, but the data you have and the data you’re missing, so you can go get it. And we had not done a lot around website optimization, so I needed front end developers back end developers. We need to rebuild it ground up. And so we did within the first six months entirely rewrote it. Then about six months later, we merged our docs and.com. So our.org site and.com site together we put a lot more, a lot more tools on it. We added Demandbase for personalization. We did a lot with optimized early and just tracking with visible and just putting those, those things in place. So that was a huge focus of the team.

We didn’t have a creative director and so I thought we needed to really strengthen that side of it. So it was like I needed the science data tech side, but then I also needed to move very fast and have a higher quality about what we went to market with. And so beefed up that team and then hired a PR firm out of the gate. So those were kind of the areas I was working on. And then we, we really need to beef up our partnership with sales. And so spent a lot of time with the head of sales and the head of sales ops and building out that team and understanding the handoff between us and the SDR team and the SDR team and our sales reps. And there was a lot of work we needed to do there to make it more efficient and to make sure we were handing them people they wanted to talk to.

And we implemented serious decisions and who, you know, really looking at it, you know, often sales doesn’t really talk with wanting to talk with the developer and our business. They want to talk with who needs to run that mission critical app and production, which is it ops. And so we had tons of developers, but we needed to really build out the persona of it, operations, understand what content they needed and wanted build that out and get it out in the market. So we were drawing those folks in. So then we could have them talk with sales.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So as usual you packed so much into a single response, you’ve covered technology, covered people, you’ve covered content. So that’s awesome. Let’s talk a little bit more about content. So what’s your approach been as you scale up all these efforts and reach these personas, have you gone about developing original content and syndicating it so that you can keep up with all various demands?

Meagen Eisenberg:

Yeah. Content is definitely our number one source of leads as well as influence to our sales cycle. And so we’ve done a ton of blog work in house. We work with our engineering team, our product marketers are very strong in this space. So they’re creating blogs with that. You know, developers want to see code. So there there’s a, there’s some cycles that go around that we look at hot topics in the market. Things like microservices are hot. So we do a lot of research and public published content. That’s not really about mommy DB, but what, what people are learning in there. We certainly do a lot of customer case studies which really tie to use cases, things such as internet of things or time series. And so, you know, you’ve got thought leadership, you’ve got use cases of a database, and then we’re putting out a lot of sales content.

So proof points sales enablement, what we call PG kits, pipeline generation kits to help the field out. And then we put a lot of content of course, out around the product when we do launches. And then we’ve got, we kicked a whole cloud business off with Atlas last June. I would just build out a lot of information around that. So certainly we’ve got the content now we’ve got to syndicate it. We’ve got, we get it out. Certainly through docs, through our.com site, through the community, we use Influitive. So we’ve got a bunch of advocates and a lot of we have over a thousand developer advocates that help us get content out. They also create content for us. So I, I, the story I love is the woman that runs our hub is Francesca and it was her birthday. And she just put a challenge like, Hey, it’s my birthday. Anyone want to write me a blog?

And she got 28 blocks that month that we were able to drip out. So that’s awesome because these are all poor people. They’re not, you know, they don’t work at MongoDB and their contents authentic. And so that was cool to see. And then we do a lot of email nurturing. We’ve got over, I think it’s 60 now nurture programs, which are six to eight emails, which will drip content out. And they’re based on different personas. We have six or seven different personas they’re based on industry. So we do a lot of content specific to industry and language and geography. So we’ve done six different languages. We’ve localized a lot of these. And then they’re product specific. If you sign up for Atlas, if you’re in a trial versus if you tested it, but you didn’t buy. And so we really monitor where you are in the life cycle to try and be as specific and targeted as possible.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So as usual, you’re doing all the right things. So you mentioned the life cycle have you put programs in place that go into end? Cause I know a lot of that market is I talked to you focusing on top of the funnel, but then what about onboarding expansion, loyalty, advocacy growth.

Meagen Eisenberg:

Yeah. So I mean, it’s definitely not. We are held accountable for top of funnel all the way through keeping our customers and what we is definitely for us land and expand our deals are much larger the second or third time, once you become a customer and you understand the power of it. Now you have all these other groups that start to develop on it, applications grow, or just by nature of us being introduced into the company, we discover all these other projects. And so we are creating content, whether someone goes in and does a hackathon at a company that brings the other developers in, we have a university team with over 400,000 folks going through that. So there’s a lot of content there to continue to develop folks at an existing customer. We’ll go in and teach at customer sites. We’ve got the Influitive hub for our advocates from a customer standpoint.

And in my team partners closely with our CSM team or customer success managers to make sure we are not, you know, that we’re aligned in what we communicate. And also we want to make sure they know about our other products. They might my buyer enterprise product, but they want to use our compass tool or our BI connector, or they may want to buy some, some some services certainly, or other things around Atlas. They might want to buy credits so they can create these environments where their developers can come in and play with the tool and built, you know, new, innovative applications out on it. So we’re certainly across the board creating content where you are. We also have world our annual trade show. And so that’s a big effort for us that, you know, we want to bring our huge fans to that event because it’s where everyone interacts with our brand directly.

And so we want it to be love fast. We want our customers, they’re speaking how they’re using it, how it’s solving problems, and we want our prospects there. And so we do take a lot of that content after the event and syndicated, we record different, you know, different talks and put it out there. We do white papers. We do customer case studies off of videos. So we try to get a lot because it’s one of those events are very expensive, but there’s usually some very rich content that we can use to drive more people top of the funnel and then educate those that are early with the, with the business. And we also use products like Gainsight to help us understand our customers and how they’re using it. We look at our customer information to figure out how to find more customers like them.

So the predictive side of things. So yeah, it’s definitely what we’re thinking of the other side of it. Another way to look at it is because we have entry level Atlas, which is e-commerce, you can give a credit card and buy, we see very small companies start there. And then as the company grows, they may transition to our professional product or all the way up to enterprise. And so we see that as the full life cycle, just even on our product that we want to capture you in the beginning. And then as your company grows, we have offerings that grow with you.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So w with all that you’re doing, what are you being measured on him? Was your boss measure you want, and in turn, whether you mentioned your team on what kind of outcomes.

Meagen Eisenberg:

Yeah. So lots of metrics and marketing. I try to get, I always say, okay, I have 12. We really need to look at, and my boss is the CEO, Dave, he always wants one. I’d rather just be tied to hitting the number. Cause it aligns marking in sales really well if you’re, you’re both tied to the company number, but what we’ve landed on is SALs. So sales accepted leads the first year I was here, it was MQL marketing, qualified leads. And then I committed to going up the next stage. I don’t manage the SDR team, but I partner very closely with them. And I do think it helps my team really aligned with the success of the qualification team by having that kind of ultimate number, be SALs. As far as my team, I look at all the numbers on the funnel to understand the health of the different parts of it.

I look at share voice to understand what we’re doing in the market compared to our competitors. And we use sprinkler for that. We used Brandwatch I think before we bought sprinkler to do that, I look at downloads downloads of Atlas downloads of our enterprise product. Is that healthy. I look at traffic on our site. I look at conversions, I look at the health of our database. Is it growing? Are we being mentioned? We have a an external party called DB engines that ranks databases and there’s, you know, there’s 300 plus that it ranks and we are consistently fourth or fifth. And so I monitored that closely and we talk about that, that comes out every month. So there are just a ton of metrics and then who actually downloads and then converts to buying certainly as important

Jeff Pedowitz:

Very broad and deep as usual. So a final question for you what do you see as the next big trend in marketing?

Meagen Eisenberg:

Wow. I mean, I was certainly ABM is being talked about a ton and I think that it’s a philosophy. I think that’s very, you know, if you’re an inside sales team that’s going after more SMB, I think that’s harder. If you have an enterprise sales team, I definitely think you should be locked and understand who they’re targeting and their named accounts. And then through that you deploy ABM tactics, whether it’s outreach, it’s dinners, it’s direct mail, it’s microsites, it’s content. So I think that’s certainly something everyone’s talking about. So that’s important. I think everything around, you know, there’s a lot of buzz around artificial intelligence, I think more than anything. It’s just, are you collecting the data one? And if you’re collecting, are you actually using it to make decisions from, are you taking the insights from it? I feel like we have so much data like figuring out what’s the right data is really important.

 I think direct mail is making a comeback, although I’ve probably said that forever, just because we do see success and I open it when someone sends me something, if it’s on my desk, it’s an envelope I open, I’m curious. And I usually send it to someone else to look at like, Hey, I got this, it’s funny. Or it’s, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever gotten. Why would you say, you know, whatever it is, we talk about it in the office, right? If I love it, I give it to the team as an example, can we run something like this? Of course, I’m in marketing. I don’t know on the it side that they’re, they’re doing that. So I, I, I think the mix is there and that there’s a lot of noise out there. So creativity still really matters and how you get your message through. And even with all the technologies we’re using, I feel like as you get a mass amount of people on that technology, it’s no longer a differentiator for you. And so it’s continuing to look at the technologies that are out there that will give you, you know, help you get through the noise or get into people you care about.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Thank you, Meagen. Again, I mean, as usual, you just do so many amazing things, so I could talk to you for hours on end, but I appreciate you spending time with us this afternoon. And thank you for being on the show.

Meagen Eisenberg:

You’re welcome.

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