CMO Insights: Stephanie Meyer, Chief Marketing Officer of Connecture

October 25, 2017

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Stephanie Meyer, Chief Marketing Officer for Connecture.

In this video, Stephanie talks about

  • Moving from a large, international corporation to a mid-size company changes how agile she can be with her team
  • How her approach to technology has changed due to her current marketing situation as well as time in the industry
  • The importance of keeping a clean database and ensuring you have team members who focus on just that.

Learn more about Stephanie from her LinkedIn profile and follow Connecture 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’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today. I have a good friend and longterm, a person I’ve had a chance to work with, Stephanie Meyer, who is Chief Marketing Officer at Connecture. Stephanie, welcome to the show.

Stephanie Meyer:

Thanks Jeff, this is fun.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah, it is fun. We haven’t even gotten started yet, so we’re having a ball. So this is great. So Stephanie, tell us a little bit about Connecture. What does the company do and tell us a little bit more specifically about your role.

Stephanie Meyer:

Yeah, so Connecture is a, a midsize company that is responsible for all of the software behind. I would say the vast majority of healthcare decisions that are made in terms of insurance for consumers. So we’re kind of the Intel inside of, of the world of choosing insurance. So we try to make it simple for consumers and then ultimately to the plans and who are our customers. So let’s say you know, the, the big United Humana, those types of health insurance plans, those would be our customers. And then of course their members would be the end consumers of the software we produced.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So does that mean, then you have a limited clientele that you’re going after, or are there additional targets that you sell?

Stephanie Meyer:

There’s absolutely additional targets. You’ve got the Megan’s right. Which would be the kinds of names that I just mentioned that, but we do a lot of business to, through selling through brokers. You could go direct to employers. You could go to the new, new kind of developing market, which is the provider sponsored health plan. So as you started thinking about hospitals and the, in the space becoming their own insurance in their communities, that’s another potential target too. So it’s, it’s pretty big.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So now I have known you, of course, you worked at a very big company before here. How, how have things changed for you and just in terms of approach, working at a multinational big company now working in a mid sized company, what’s different for you,

Stephanie Meyer:

I’d say the stress level, the stress is different. Okay. Not less stressful. I was careful about, about that. The, the stress of working for GE healthcare, which I spent a huge portion of my career at, and it was fantastic. The stress there is kind of like, how do I move this massive mountain, right? How do I mobilize a thousand marketers to get them to think differently, try new things introduce technology. It’s just a different kind of internal stress, right? That happens with conjecture it, I’m having a ball it’s much smaller and the, the fun, the stress is, is kind of the, the kind of, Oh my gosh, I can do anything I want, Oh my gosh, what should I do? Should I do the right thing? What, how should I time those things? Because you don’t want to break the you know, break the system, but I just can’t go fast enough. So there’s just a different kind of stress with this new company.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So how in, you’ve obviously been running marketing organizations for a long time, what’s changed the most in your opinion over the last few years?

Stephanie Meyer:

Oh, absolutely. I would say technology, but hands down and that’s not really a surprising answer. I’m sure to anyone else who’s listening here, but I think it’s also the application of the new way of thinking about the technology that I continue to be excited about. It’s not, you know, we’re not quite ready for AI. I realize it’s it’s coming, but, you know, just kind of thinking about the ways we can engage differently with customers with an, and you know, how we better enable our marketing teams even to communicate with our internal customers through better dashboarding, better tools, just data. So I think that is, that has been the biggest change for us.

I think the other thing is, is, is really changing the mindset. And Jeff, you’ve heard me say this many times is it’s not about B to B or B to C. It’s about being a human. And we have to remember that those user interfaces are, you know, I don’t drop you know, my experience with Amazon when I come to work, I want to be able to interact with my vendors the same way, and then I want them to want that from me. So I just think it’s, it’s really asked all of us to step up our game of thinking differently about how we engage customers.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So now at healthcare, I know that you actually had an employee that was focused on evaluating technology and figuring out how it fit into your organization and advised you, what are you doing now connects to her? Do you have that, that luxury now, or do you have to approach it differently?

Stephanie Meyer:

I actually brought that guy over with me.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. He was that good. So,

Stephanie Meyer:

So he’s actually serving in the, in the same capacity, but I think what’s different in a smaller company in some of the you CMOs out there who are in kind of a mid, mid sized company will understand us is we’re kind of jacks of all trades. And when we want to make a stack decision, we think about getting the whole team together. We work with our counterparts in sales and say, you know, okay, we’re, we’re kind of evaluating this, this, this technology that can do these kinds of things. What do you think? Can we make sure that we have a lot more buy-in whereas I think it was much more plugin play at at GE and maybe some of the other bigger companies out there here it’s it’s it’s everybody gets to help be. Part of the decision is the really great thing about walking into this company though.

When, when I came a year was that they had already made great infrastructure choices on the, on the bare minimums, right? We have, I had a Marketo shop and I had a SFDC with those two things you can start bolting on as you know, and the other great thing about it is that SFDC, as strange as it sounds is actually managed and run by the finance department. So there’s not this funky sales and marketing going against each other kind of thing. It’s actually really collaborative and sales is actually then presented with the combined, you know, what we want from the marketing tech stack to what they want in SFDC. And we come to the sales people. We’re like, here’s the solution. And they’re like, cool. You know, so just, there’s been some fun things about the way that we, we were established here connection.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So tell me a little bit about your approach to people. What do you look for in building your organization today? What types of skills and how are you, I guess, shaping your team for planning for tomorrow?

Stephanie Meyer:

Yeah, but that’s a great question. I think, I think that in, in a company, my size thing, the most important thing is to have a couple of your pillars, right? I’ve got my, my hardcore Ben around the block seen lots of stuff, kinda, kinda guys. And then filling that in with the greener younger, you know, eye talent that, that is like learning to get their feet under them maybe, or maybe into their kind of next level outside of college. But one thing that we have done and I felt excited about this. We did a summer internship for the first time last year in marketing. So I was brand new coming in and we had some summer interns come in and we did it from the local colleges, right? Assuming that some people would decide maybe just to stay and work over the summer, it has really paid off.

And in fact, what we were able to do is keep them employed part time. So you don’t lose all of that, you know, and, and they’re hungry and excited and they’ve ended up being fantastic contributors because they have no preconceived notion. So they just get in there and get dirty, kind of start to make things happen. And it’s, it’s been a really, a big, a big win for us. So the right mix of green and, and kind of colored talent, I think is another thing. And then, you know, for me, honestly, it’s just about making sure that they have their runway. I don’t really do anything. Let’s face it. I’m a fan of I clear paths and they execute. Right.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I think you’re probably, you’re probably understating it a little bit. I think, I think you probably do a lot, but

Stephanie Meyer:

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I’m sorry to guys about my, my cold of course that the day that I’m doing this, I get this is throat. So Deb, let me take a drink of coup, but may want to work up a really good question. No problem.

Jeff Pedowitz:

We can even edit this part. We’ll give you that give you like 30 seconds to kind of,

Stephanie Meyer:

Those happens when you get excited, when you talk and then the tickle starts. You’re doing great. Okay. Sorry. Thank you.

Jeff Pedowitz:

All right. So yeah, Stephanie, that’s, that’s an awesome approach to handling your people. Tell me a little bit about outcomes. What are you measured on? What is your boss hold you accountable for? And then what are you in turn holding your team accountable for?

Stephanie Meyer:

So, and that’s what I, as a small company, right? I’m accountable for everything that leaves the office and faces the customer, a client, a prospect the media, the investor community, like everything from, from PR to, to employee comes is, is, is me. So the metrics vary a little bit. If, if I’m, if I’m talking about the metrics for how I wanted the employees to feel about our brands and how they’re thinking and, and, and driving things forward, how I want my salespeople to say I’m doing a good job or not. And then the customers, but I’m going to guess you mostly focused on, you know, kind of external market results. So if you’re talking to my market results, a couple of things that I found that have been interesting is that we use a lot of webinar and we really like that format and our clients seem to like it too.

So we have pretty good turnout. Every, every webinar we host, we have, well over a hundred attendees, you know, it’s kinda hard to do. And, and they’re, they’re not, I mean, outside of my industry, you know, we, we kinda geek on insurance, right? So I, I get it. Like, I, I know what we’re saying here, what we’re talking about, the ACA we’re talking about Medicare, we’re talking about, you know, and, and it’s hardcore stuff is all I’m saying, right. And we have a hundred plus attendees every time. What, what is also an interesting metric for me is that we have about a 50 to 55% registered to attendee. So we’ve had a lot more that register, which then becomes as you know, leads for us and we can manage those, you know, that part of the database, Hey, sorry, you couldn’t join us. And so you know, we, we look at registrations, we look at attendees to it. 

And then of course the leads that come as a result of that, I would say, we also are looking at the increased traffic on our website, how many people followers we have on LinkedIn. There there’s a lot of those kinds of things. I think the one that I go home and feel really, really good about, and those are all exciting, but then I feel really good, but my sales teams and our employees are like, Steph, you can’t give us enough. Like, this is awesome. We want to be part of the brand. How can I can, can we get t-shirts printed? Can we, you know, like I, that they feel proud of what we’re doing and kind of the image we’re putting out there.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Awesome. So from a scaling standpoint, whether some of the processes that you’re working on that are gonna get your, your, I guess your team from point a to point B.

Stephanie Meyer:

I think it probably on the top of most of the CMOs out there listening, they would, they agree with me our database. We have got to have a clean database. We have to have a sophistication level. We’re kind of at kind of basic hygiene right now. We feel like we’ve got that going for us. And, you know, our next step is really going to be okay, guys, you see all these shiny objects out here called ABM. And the ways we want to think about, you know, those kinds of new types of engagements or, or tools we want to add, we, we can’t get there with, without this, the sticky, middle that being figured out, right. Which is, Hey, sales guys, you got to continue to play nice in terms of how, you know, your naming conventions on, on how you interact with SFDC. So there’s all the process of, it’s not just about buying a list, guys. That was the old days of marketing. You can’t just, you know, spray and pray.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So do you actually budget to, to maintain and clean your database or just to add to it?

Stephanie Meyer:

So maintain is really kind of grunt work. I mentioned those interns, that’s what they live and breathe all the time. And we actually, you know, we do some hygiene stuff. We do have some tools that help us with some of the cleanliness. And of course we do have some industry trade trade lists that have been created that are developing better tools themselves so that when the list comes to us, it becomes something that we can be a little more living and clean, but it’s, it’s largely manual.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So tell me, okay. I mean, Hey, at least you’re doing it. So, and cause I know a lot of ’em

Stephanie Meyer:

That, that process and I’m sorry, Debbie, the other big process that we’re going after now, which is we have a pretty much a brand new sales team, right. They’ve completely turned over brand new marketing department within the last year. So we are going to work on, I think next in terms of the account based marketing, but then also sort of lead nurturing and thinking about different ways of engaging our sales people so that they can go out and be the big whale hunters and make sure that they’re taking care of their customers when, when marketing could be more of a partner on the back end. And that is really about having good, you know, whether we call them [inaudible] or SQLs or however you want to do that. But you have some sort of service level agreement between the functions of how do we make sure that we’re, we’re taking care of ultimately the customer and they’re getting what they need, whether it’s from the marketing department or it can be from the sales teams.

Jeff Pedowitz:

No, that’s great. Thank you. So tell me a little bit about your, your customer life cycle. So how much of your marketing programs and campaigns are geared towards net new acquisition versus a adoption and cross sell upsell wallet, share growth retention?

Stephanie Meyer:

I don’t, I don’t think we’re much different than, than the, I think I saw recently I’m going to quote the wrong analysts, but I was Forester 13% or so is spent on, you know, kind of the fostering, nurturing life cycle stuff in, in marketing. And you know, the rest is all about the new logo hunting, if you will, kind of out there and lead generation. So we’re working to, to kind of right-size that I I’ve not measured it to that level of specificity, but I would have a gut feel that that’s probably about what we do as well. And, and I think that, that this, this company has always felt like, well, that’s the client delivery team’s job right there. That’s there somebody down the way is now handling the customer’s needs in terms of, Oh, they want to add Medicare or they want to add a new, you know, tool or or product to their business as opposed to anything that marketing is doing. So I’m trying to change some of that as well. So I’m, I’m happy to hear from any of the CMOs out there that could offer me Sage advice on how to change that metric, but that’s probably,

Jeff Pedowitz:

We’re going to put the call out right now. Say, see if we can get on a well, we are actually at the time, so I know we’re going to have to do a second segment, so, or third or fourth or fifth. Cause you know, you know, you and I, we can go for hours.

Stephanie Meyer:

I know, I know this is fun stuff he’d done. I really appreciate the opportunity to tell a little bit about our story and just maybe be Confederated to other CMOs out there. We were kind of on the path of trying to do some of the cool stuff that we know is on the, on the horizon.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Thank you, Stephanie. Really appreciate it and feel better, okay?

Stephanie Meyer:

Yeah. Thanks. Okay. Bye.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Bye.

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