CMO Insights: Steve Schley, Vice President of Global Marketing, KrolLDiscovery

August 15, 2017

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Steve Schley, Vice President of Global Marketing of KrolLDiscovery, which rebranded to KLDiscovery in 2018.  (At the time of this interview recording, Steve was still with KLDiscovery. He is now the Vice President of Marketing for CPA Global.)

In this video, Steve talks about:

  • The challenges of moving from a regional team to building a true, global marketing team
  • Marketing’s role in being part of the revenue generation and tracking to the company results
  • Ensuring your marketing efforts meet at the axis where personas and buying journey stages intersect

Learn more about Steve from his LinkedIn profile and follow KLDiscovery 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 CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today, we have with us Steve Schley, who is Vice President of Global Marketing for Kroll Discovery. Steve, welcome to the show.

Steve Schley:

Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Thank you. So tell us a little bit, what does Kroll Discovery do?

Steve Schley:

Sure. So Kroll Discovery is the combination of two businesses as of December last year, Kroll OnTrack and L discovery. And our primary business focus is IE discovery, software and services. So our clients are a large multinational corporations or the law firms that serve them, particularly in the area of responding to litigation or government inquiry.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Fascinating. So who are some of your, of the competitors that you would see typically?

Steve Schley:

There are probably only two or three competitors that operate on a global basis. Again, they’re typically not household names, but and then there are a whole variety of regional competitors and small local competitors in this space. So if you were to add them all up, they’re probably in the hundreds. But those that focus on the breadth of service that we do in the global footprint really only about two or three organizations.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So given that, then what’s your strategy for differentiation?

Steve Schley:

Yeah. Our strategy for differentiation is really a combination of the breadth and depth of software that we provide. So that helps us compete easily against the small competitors and the regional competitors. And then the level of service differentiates us from the global competitors. So we have 42 offices in 19 countries and really provide, in fact, one of the things that we say is that we’re around the globe and across the street so that we are really providing a very personalized service to each of the companies and clients that we work with in the locations that we work with. Yet we have the ability to deliver on a global basis, which again, most of our customers, whether they’re the law firms or the corporations are operating in a number of jurisdictions around the globe. And so it’s helpful for us to be able to have that capability, but also have that approach to a real personalized service.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So Steve, is your team global as well?

Steve Schley:

Yeah, so we’ve got a little over 20 people in the marketing team globally, and we represent the major markets. So there’s a lot of business in this industry, in the U S being a very litigious country as it is. And then we have a lot of presence in Europe as well, and then Asia Pacific too.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. And so what’s your approach to managing the team globally, whether some of the processes and structure that you’re putting in place? Yeah, so the

Steve Schley:

Move towards a consolidated global marketing team is relatively new for us. So up to probably about six months ago, just pre-acquisition the group was organized by region. So we kind of had three separate marketing departments and that certainly allowed the level of localization and attention to the market that we still desire. What it didn’t offer was enough of the collaboration and coordination across regions. So that’s first and foremost, well, Oh, the base step is literally bringing the team together. So people that for years have not even met face to face have had now the opportunity in the last couple months to actually meet face to face, develop a working relationship. And we’ll continue to do that perhaps on an annual basis that will allow that team to really operate well on video conference calls on telephone conference calls. So that was the first one, just establish some base level of communication amongst the team. 

And then really, it is a joint plan. So instead of having regional marketing plans, the company is going to market as a single company in all regions. The marketing team reflects that as well. So we’ve taken on four major goals for the team that reflect the business goals of the company. And then we’re able to, within those four goals kind of localized, depending on what the region requires, whether it’s something as simple as language or issues in that particular region. And then what we’ve done is we’ve established triads within marketing functions. So you take social media. As an example, we have someone who looks after social media in each one of our three major regions, Asia Pacific Mia and North America. And those people coordinate in terms of the strategy they’re putting together, recognizing where they need to do something local social media is a great example of something that certainly has a local touch to it, but also looking at some things that might be more cohesive if we develop them globally. So for us, it might be major themes addressing our industry or something like a centralized repository of images that we use in social campaigns. So those are some of the things we focused on immediately in terms of collaboration and coordination on globally.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Steve, have you done the same thing with your technology or are you starting to consolidate the systems that you use?

Steve Schley:

Yeah, and that’s particularly interesting because it’s not only a collaboration or a consolidation rather globally. It is also frankly, a consolidation of these two companies coming together just a few months ago. The, and if you wind back a few years, that’s actually about eight different companies that have been rolled up into the current cruel discovery company. Yeah. So there’s a, there’s a wealth of data that’s had to be coordinated, particularly salesforce.com data. We also use Eloqua for our marketing automation system. So those two systems really required a lot of effort bring the data together. And I think one of the lessons we learned in that was nominating a single person to manage that effort. You know, too often, I think you have a variety of different you know, hands in different pots and all trying to go in the same direction, but not necessarily getting there in a coordinated fashion. So that’s something we’ve learned is really to put a single person that may be supported by a team as it is in our case, but a single person that really is overseeing everything that we’re doing relative to bringing all that data together.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So would you kind of call this a marketing operations function that

Steve Schley:

Okay. Yep, absolutely. And that was a function that was, so I’ve been with the company just about two years now in this role. And that was one of the first roles that I hired into the organization. I’m on the marketing team was a marketing operations person. And I would not suggest that we are terribly sophisticated in the volume of technology that we use, but one of the things that marketing operations has been crucial and fundamental to the marketing team in help on is we view marketing operations really as a, almost a consultant to the marketing team. So yes, they are responsible for the systems we use and yes, they’re responsible for data and so forth, but they also are a consultant to be to the business in general to the marketing team in general. So that we’re heading in the right direction. We’ve got goals that we’re achieving and so forth, but also to each individual function.

 So as an example, if I have an events person in North America, that’s looking at what kind of events do we want to do over the next year? She has at her fingertips with the support from the marketing operations team, an idea of exactly what sort of success she’s seen in the events she did last year, what kind of contribution that’s had to the revenue in the company? What kind of take up from the sales team that’s had so that as she goes about determining how she’s going to spend her money for the new fiscal year, she really has a good sense of some metrics that can support making the right decision because at a high level, we’re here to support revenue generation in the company. And we really measure against that. So even though on a given day, we may be talking about a hundred people coming to a, you know, a in house sponsored social event. The fact is we need to see something from that that’s as good or better than kind of our baseline in terms of revenue contribution.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So it sounds like you are being held accountable for revenue and revenue contribution.

Steve Schley:

Yes we are. I would say it’s, it is kind of self-inflicted so, you know, to take a step back, I think that you know, I saw one of your colleagues, right? That the kind of stages that a marketing team goes through from the, make it look, make it look pretty stage at the beginning which there is some element element of that historically in the company. So we have really self-inflicted that idea that we are here to drive revenue, the company we are a fast growing company, so we are here as part of that team. And that requires us to speak the language of the constituents that we want to speak to. So from the CEO’s perspective, it’s market share, it’s a top line growth from the CFO’s perspective, you know, how are you spending each dollar of marketing budget? Are you getting the best return on it from the global sales leadership? You know, what kind of leads are we getting? Are they in target areas that we want? So even though we have a bunch of metrics that we manage, for example, on events to make it a successful event, we’re rolling all that up into metrics and language that our constituents elsewhere in the business speak. Okay.

Jeff Pedowitz:

And then do you hold your team responsible also for those same outcomes?

Steve Schley:

Absolutely. Yep.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Tell me a little bit more about the life cycle of your customers and your marketing efforts is what percent I guess, is devoted to top of funnel, middle funnel, bottom of funnel, Elena and ongoing customer marketing.

Steve Schley:

Yeah. So historically there are two things that we’ve seen. One the company, historically, again, we’ve been around for 30 years and have effectively founded two industries. The first was data recovery. So the idea of getting data off of hard drives or now mobile devices that seem totally lost that then brought us into our the current industry. That’s the largest part of our company, which is E discovery. The idea of gathering electronic data in support of a litigation or a regulatory investigation. So historically we have developed a real strong position in the marketplace as a thought leader. You know, we’re the company to go to, if you need to know how things work in this industry. And as a result, we’ve tended to speak to a particular persona, which is kind of what I consider a power user, a B a litigation support person, or an it heavy person or someone with a legal background is very interested in this area of the law.

We’ve also tended to focus heavily on top of funnel material. So this is everything from kind of what’s happening in the industry and a summary of case law that’s come out through to webinars and events that are about really big issues in the industry. And so what we’ve found as we’ve looked at kind of responding to the customer and the life cycle they’re going through is we’ve missed a couple of personas and we tend to be very top of funnel. And that’s one of the things that we have really focused on as part of this joining of the two companies and rolling out a new brand is looking at all the content we put out there, whether it’s via the 40 ish websites that we have on a global basis, or all of our collateral is kind of evaluating things on a matrix.

So if you look at a one of the axes is the persona and we, we speak to probably a half dozen key personas, and then on the other axis is the buying stages. And so, you know, generally awareness and education and, and actual selection that we are lining up the most appropriate content or message with the right persona at the right point in that buying cycle.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s great. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of exciting work ahead of you and you’re doing some great things so far.

Steve Schley:

Yeah, yeah. A lot of work, that’s for sure.

Jeff Pedowitz:

All right. Well, Steve, thank you so much at the time. Went by so fast today. I still have many more questions I want to ask you. Maybe we’ll do a second interview. I’m going to check back in about six months, but thank you for being on the show today, and good luck with everything over the rest of the year.

Steve Schley:

Thank you so much, Jeff.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay, thank you.

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