When’s the Right Time to Rebrand?
“When the time is right, you’ll know.” It feels like an almost trope-ish answer to many of life’s questions, or like the vague wisdom from a mentor in a karate movie. Unfortunately, the utility of that phrase really doesn’t extend to executing a rebrand. So, how did Acquia know it was time to rebrand?
Acquia, an enterprise software company, just topped $200 million in revenue, and has achieved 57% growth in the past three years. Clearly, they’ve been doing some things right, and can feel good about their recent decision to rebrand. So, how did CMO Lynne Capozzi know the timing was right? Well, it took a quite a bit of marketing know-how, a need to stand out in the market, and a desire to really emphasize the company’s purpose: to help people “experience digital freedom.”
Tune in to this week’s episode to hear more about Lynne’s extensive marketing background, their approach to a successful rebrand, the importance of getting internal buy-in, and more.
Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with CMO Lynne Cappozzi
Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Thinkers. My guest today is the CMO of Acquia, a 12-year-old software as service company that topped $200 million in revenue in 2018, has reported 57% growth over the last three years, attracting $173 million in eight rounds of venture capital funding. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Acquia now has over a thousand employees, including Lynne Capozzi, who is actually on her second tour of duty, the first between 2008 and 2011, and the second which began in 2017. Now, that alone I think would make for an interesting conversation, but I suspect we’ll get into rebranding, managing growth, becoming a data-driven marketer, improving customer experience, and the whole world of content marketing. We’re going to try to do all that in 45 minutes, so good luck to us. Lynne Capozzi, welcome to the show.
Lynne Capozzi: Hi Drew! Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Drew Neisser: Well, thank you. And for the audience, I always like to be open and transparent. I know that’s a value that’s important to you. We just had a wonderful rehearsal like a few seconds ago, so this should be the best-rehearsed show in the history of Renegade Thinkers Unite.
Lynne Capozzi: No pressure, though.
No pressure on either of us. And no one will know because, yeah, I didn’t hit the record button on the last practice round. Now they know. Before we get to your Acquia experience, let’s hit the Wayback button and go back to 18 years at IBM, ah pardon me, it started at Lotus. There was a long time at one company and for a lot of folks, as you know, the two years feels really good, and then they go on somewhere else. What is it about staying there? Was there any value in staying there? What kept you there?
Lynne Capozzi: It was a while that I was there. What kept me there is that, for me, it was a great beginning of my career initially in sales and then also in marketing. I must have had about ten jobs during that time. So about every two years, I would move into a different role within marketing, and occasionally within sales. For me, it just gave me a great background. I got to experience event marketing, I got to experience demand gen. Then I moved up in terms of being in management and director and product marketing. For me, it was just an overall great experience of getting some great…being a well-rounded marketer is the way I like to think of it.
Drew Neisser: Yeah. It’s funny. I told you the story earlier, but I’ll tell the audience this. I had a friend, a young man who’s probably in his late thirties, who’s working for a bank, and he’s a marketer. He’s really interested marketing, and two years ago they moved him into sales. And I said, “Congratulations!” He said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Well, you know, you’re not going to get to be a CMO or a CEO unless you have a broader base of experiences.” And of course, he says to me, “Well, why didn’t you tell me that 12 years ago?” I said, “Well, you know, you were ready. You probably wouldn’t have done it.” I do think that having experience in these other divisions definitely helps you, one, just be more empathetic of the challenges. And certainly, a marketer who’s spent time in sales, that’s a really important thing.
You’re 18 years at Lotus and then it becomes IBM. When you look back on that experience, what were the foundational elements that you think have kept you going as a marketer in your career that you learned then?
Lynne Capozzi: I think I learned a few things from that whole time. Well, I like to think that I learned a lot, but I think a few things stand out for me. One is that I did have a chance to learn all the different areas of marketing, and that’s really important, that you understand the full marketing mix. And the other thing that I learned, and this was after we had been acquired by IBM, was that, from my IBM experience that the customer is always right. I’m a big believer in that. I learned that early on and I continue today to emphasize that within my team and within Acquia.
Drew Neisser: It’s funny, when I hear that, the brand person in me wants to sort of push back a little bit and say, “Okay, brands have to stand for something. And yes, they can be formed by the consumer, the feedback of your customers, and that’s great. But an example is Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I don’t think Ben and Jerry went to their customers and said, “Hey, we care about the rainforest, how about you?” Or, “We’re big fans of the Grateful Dead so we’re going to call the brand Cherry Garcia.” They understood the essence of the brand—bringing fun to a category that was stuffy—and they sort of lived that brand. They didn’t ask. There were other ways that they got customers involved. When you think about the difference between the customer is always right and branding, where do you draw the line?
Lynne Capozzi: I think there’s definitely overlap. Your brand has to have an image. Your brand has to have value. Your brand has to have things that you believe in as a brand. For Acquía, one of the things that we have in our DNA, and that comes out in our brand, it comes out in our employees and our products, is the whole idea about being open. We are an open-source software company. The concept of being open and freedom actually is big for us. That is an area that carries over into our brand. It is part of our brand messaging and it’s important to our customers as well because we support a very, very large Drupal community. Drupal is open source CMS, which we based our company on, and there are a million and a half people around the world that use Drupal. That’s a big, huge open source community, and we value that community. That whole idea about being open is part of our DNA. You can think of it as the owners or the community, the people that own the Drupal product, they’re right. When we talk about customers being right, it’s the community, it’s the people that are using the product and contributing to the product. But we definitely come back to our brand imaging as being all-around open.
Drew Neisser: It’s funny. Tim Yeaton, the CMO of Red Hat was on the show a few episodes back and they had just gone through, or were in the process of rebranding. He actually premiered on the show his new tattoo of the new logo. This would be a great time for you to share the new tattoo that you have for the show.
Lynne Capozzi: I should have worn my Drupal sneakers. I could have done that, but I didn’t do it today. Didn’t match my outfit.
Drew Neisser: I have to confess—when my daughter at one point had decided—I think she was graduating college—she wanted to get her first tattoo. I had said to her all along when she was younger, “Don’t worry. When you’re ready, I’ll go with you and I’ll get one, too” because I thought, if I get one that would make it so uncool. And of course, we go, and it was a wonderful experience, then I said, “No, I’m not going to get one.” But I do have one picked out. It would be a Renegade saw. So, yes, true confessions.
You mentioned CMS. For the folks that don’t know what that is, I’m thinking of my dad and others, what is CMS?
Lynne Capozzi: CMS means “content management system.” It’s the category of the product that you use basically to build websites. It’s the whole process of being flexible and open to be able to build websites in a complete digital platform experience. As they say, everyone needs a website, and Drupal is the biggest content management system, the biggest community for building websites.
Drew Neisser: Just to give a framework, you sort of work your way up in Acquia and Drupal as industrial strength. At some point, you can break WordPress and some of these smaller ones like a Wix. They just break and you need a more robust solution. So that’s what we’re talking about. I did read that you had… Oh, you know what? Let’s step back. I want to go back to your break. You took a break! I know that a lot of CMOs who’ve accomplished something, you’re at this startup, it’s doing really well, it’s growing fast, and you say, “Wait, time out. I’m going to go take a break.” Talk about that.
Lynne Capozzi: I did take a break. We were doing extremely well in Acquia, and we were climbing like crazy, like a rocket ship. At the time, I decided I wanted to focus on giving back some. I left Acquia. I was still an investor in Acquia, so very much involved in watching Acquia. I went on to run a non-profit through Boston Children’s Hospital here in Boston and I’m on the board at Boston Children’s. It’s still a very big part of my life in terms of contributing to the hospital and helping children on a worldwide basis. That’s what I was doing for a while.
Drew Neisser: I mentioned this idea that you’re still doing this other thing in your part-time, which makes you really Gen-Z territory because you have a side hustle. I think that’s pretty cool.
Lynne Capozzi: Excellent. I’m happy to put that on my resume.
Drew Neisser: Exactly. Side hustle, part-time job. But what brought you back?
Lynne Capozzi: I think I was ready to come back. I came back and started doing some consulting from Acquia. And literally, I fell back in love with the opportunity and I came back as a CMO. It’s not often you get to come back in the same role twice. My team calls me a boomerang. It was great for me because I got to come back. In some ways, I felt like I never left at all. And in other ways, it felt totally different because the organization had tripled. It had really grown dramatically. Our customer base had grown. The number of products that we had in the market had grown. The Drupal community had grown. People’s whole interaction with websites had changed over those couple of years. In a lot of ways, it was always a new environment, but the things that kept me here the first time were the same. The opportunity in the market, the growth, the great, smart people that I got to work with, and the whole idea of working with the open-source community, which was quite fun. It’s enjoyable and it’s very different than other corporate roles.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, it really is. It’s funny because I got to know the Magento folks and they have the same sort of passion in the developer community and another open-source. It’s a very special thing when your customers feel ownership of your product and it changes the way you think about your brand. Brands would love to have that.
Lynne Capozzi: Absolutely.
Drew Neisser: It’s a real positive strength. So you rejoin and it’s really a different company because when you left, it was two years old. When you came back it was seven, vastly larger, more sophisticated, all those other things. At some point in the last two years, you recognized the need to rebrand. Just frame for us—what were the signals that told you you needed to change and, again, whatever you decided to change in the rebranding?
Lynne Capozzi: I think it was time. I felt like it was time for us for several reasons. We hadn’t changed our image and our initial look since we launched the company earlier in 2008. It was time for us to have a bit bolder image. Our brand itself was very humble, and it kind of came back to our open source roots around that. But based on the market, we needed to be a bit bolder. We wanted to increase in terms of our general look and feel, have more crisp messaging and, at that time, be ready to talk about how do we stand versus our competition, be proud of that, and have a new “cool look,” as my team says.
Drew Neisser: In terms of the look and feel, what are we really talking about? New logo, new colors, new palette? Frame what “rebranding” means.
Lynne Capozzi: We kept our original Acquia drop logo, but we modernized it with a new color palette, an all new color palette. Then basically everything else changed. We had a new website, we had a new look, we had new messaging, we had new pillars for our messaging. It was brighter, bolder, prouder, and as I said a little bit earlier, a kind of cooler look. The new messaging that went along with it worked not just for a developer type community, but also for marketers. We had new products that were marketing-based products. We needed to make sure that our look and feel matched that.
Drew Neisser: We’re gonna take a quick break, speaking of cool. And we’ll be right back.
Drew Neisser: We’re back and we’ve been talking about rebranding. You changed your messaging. What’s the overall brand story? Summarize it in six words or less.
Lynne Capozzi: Our tag summarizes it well, which is “experienced digital freedom.” That’s what we use and that’s our claim to fame and I think it really works well for us. We haven’t talked much about actually what Acquia does.
Drew Neisser: We could do that!
Lynne Capozzi: It might be a good time.
Drew Neisser: Okay, fine.
Lynne Capozzi: So I’ve talked about Drupal. We are the company that helps people be successful with Drupal. People use Drupal as a CMS to build their website applications, to build their websites. We help enterprises, companies of all sizes, government organizations, nonprofits, and universities be successful using Drupal. We provide products and support and add-on products that work with Drupal, as I said, to help people be successful. We run some of the largest websites in the world. We run some of the largest single event websites. We help NBC Sports with the Olympics and the Super Bowl—events that you can’t mess up. You can’t have downtime during the Super Bowl. That would not be good.
Drew Neisser: If we were going to link in our show notes a couple of the… what you would say were showcase websites that are on Drupal, what would those be?
Lynne Capozzi: NBC Sports, I think is a big one. There are all different industries… Pfizer and Nestlé. Nestlé has thousands and thousands of brands, and they have thousands and thousands of websites. They use our platform to power, to be able to roll out websites with a consistent look and feel that meeting branding guidelines but yet can be different per individual brand. There’s a lot of them out there. The latest one, which is kind of fun, which I like to talk about, is actually Wendy’s. Wendy’s, in case you didn’t know, Wendy’s says one out of every 10 Americans will go to Wendys.Com. I know. It’s interesting data to know.
Drew Neisser: Why?
Lynne Capozzi: For nutritional information, and sometimes, people will go for coupons. But a lot of times for nutritional information. Wendy’s, they are very well known for their social. Their social is very, very strong, and they tie them together nicely—their social and their website.
Drew Neisser: There you go. Who knew? One of the things that is really interesting and important we talk a lot about when we’re talking to smaller companies, and yours, but when they’re looking at the B2B branding process, the first audience is employees. I know that you share that belief. Can you talk a little bit about how you rolled out your rebranding exercise program to your employees, how long it took, that kind of thing?
Lynne Capozzi: First and foremost, after we went through our own internal marketing and branding exercise of—What is our messaging? What does it look like? What’s it sound like? What are we going to roll out? We developed all that and then, first I brought in a new branding team. The branding team focused on rolling out first to employees. Our first constituents were definitely our employees. We literally had the branding team go around from department to department on a branding presentation and we showed them what it was. We got them engaged. We got them involved. We gave them swag and we got them really engaged in the new brand and got them excited about it. We did it once and then about a month later, we did it again as a review. We did that and we had some fun with, we called them the fun branding police.
Drew Neisser: Yeah. Right. There’s a contradictory term. What made them fun?
Lynne Capozzi: Well, instead of a punitive approach, we would walk around and give people swag so they could replace their old brand with the new brand, and we’d give them a prize, whether that be a bag or so forth. It became quite fun. Definitely engage employees first because we knew that that was our first step in rebranding, getting employees on board.
Drew Neisser: Why, in your mind, is that so important?
Lynne Capozzi: Because I think you want everyone in the company behind your brand, you want them to have a good feel for the brand, and you want them to be engaged in the brand and really like the brand itself. Then, therefore, you have an entire company where all your employees are focused in the same way around that brand. Everyone knows as marketers that consistency is important, so having everyone focused around the same consistency for the brand is really good. It was actually was really good for morale as well.
Drew Neisser: Sure. And that’s one of the things that is so great about rebranding. If you do it right, employees really feel part of the process. They’re proud of the company, and people want to be proud of the company that they work for. If you just treat them with enough respect and get them involved and then say, “Here it is, this is us.” When they do believe in it—and the opposite of this by the way is when you rush the campaign out to market and then you forget to tell employees about it. God forbid, you have a new promise and a new website that goes with it, and the call center or the folks don’t know what’s going on, you’re not operationally set. That’s the opposite of this. But you took six months to make sure that everybody was on board and that the company could move forward.
I’m going to add one more thing to this notion of employees first: if the employees don’t believe in the new brand, full stop! They won’t be able to persuade the customers, and if your customers don’t believe in the new brand, then second full stop! You’re not going to get new customers from it because if your customers talk about you differently, just like if your employees talk about you differently, there’s a problem in that disconnect. I’m going to emphasize this—in an enterprise sale where people are looking to turn just for reasons to get you off the list, if inconsistency happens and they hear different things from different customers, they’re going to go, “I don’t know!”
Lynne Capozzi: Right. Exactly.
Drew Neisser: Then you roll this thing out. What do you think was the coolest thing that you did to make this new brand come to life?
Lynne Capozzi: Oh, I think it was a combination of look and feel, everything together, really rolling it out into the market, communicating it to our customers so that they got a chance to see it and fall in love with it and be engaged with it. I think the other cool thing that we did that’s kind of interesting—we’re a digital experience company, right? We’re all about websites, but we actually took an approach where, when we were rolling out the brand, we did some out-of-home advertising.
We did some digital billboards in regions around the country. We had train station takeovers all about Acquia. Locally, if you came into the local Cambridge, Massachusetts train station, you saw Acquia everywhere. You picked up your phone and you went to Google, you were getting an Acquia ad. You were surrounded by Acquia in the high tech area right in Massachusetts. We did a similar thing in San Francisco. It was fun and it was interesting because we were trying to rise above the noise a little bit. Of course, we did digital as well. We did a lot of digital advertising, and I’m happy that we did it. It gave us a nice boost and we were able to see an increase in awareness around the brand.
Drew Neisser: Cool. Let’s talk about that. When you started on this program, I think in our earlier conversation, you mentioned that you did a benchmark tracking study. Talk a little bit about why that was so important as part of this rebranding exercise.
Lynne Capozzi: I really wanted to know what our starting point was. That’s why we did it. As we were first starting the rebrand, I did a brand tracking study to get our initial measurement point to see where we were at. I needed a starting point because it’s the only way I’m going to be able to measure, and I’m a big believer in, if you can’t measure it, don’t do it. It was important that we started that way in terms of where we were for our initial brand assessment. It’s been just about two years, so every year from that point on, we do a brand assessment as well to see how we’re doing and to see if we’re increasing that awareness.
Drew Neisser: And are you?
Lynne Capozzi: We are, of course!
Drew Neisser: I’m going to pause there for a second. One of the things that is interesting—I think that I told you earlier—we did a study among the B2B CMOs and they all talked about the importance of brand health but very few, less than 20% actually, had brand health tracking studies in place. I feel like, as a CMO, this is a very dangerous position to be in because there are so many other factors that could impact marketing, whether it’s a new company coming in, a recession, some other factor. Without that brand health as an underlying structural understanding of your business, you’re more vulnerable than you should be as a marketer.
Lynne Capozzi: Yeah, exactly. And I think there are different ways that you measure how you’re doing on brand and brand awareness. I think that the formal brand awareness study is one. The other is, you know, there are other proxies for how your brand is doing. Did we increase our website traffic? Did we get more exposure to prospects and customers? Did we get more exposure to industry analysts? Are we getting more engagement from our partners? I think those are all different ways that I use it as proxies for measuring our brand as well. And obviously, PR.
Drew Neisser: I want to break that down in a second. But going back to the brand health tracking, where the main metric for you on that was awareness. Was there anything else that mattered in the market in that particular measure in that study?
Lynne Capozzi: Well, it was really twofold. It was one, about awareness for Acquia. And the second was awareness around Drupal itself as an open-source content management system. There are two different brands and I was able to measure both at the same time. What was important to me was not only awareness, but also, what’s the correlation between the two brands and what happens with both of those brands?
Drew Neisser: It’s interesting. There’s such a co-existence and co-dependence between those two. All right. We’re going to take a break. And when we come back, we’re going to talk about metrics. We’re going to talk about cool other things. Stay with us.
Drew Neisser: We’re back. You just said a statement that I have to say makes me—it’s a tricky one: Don’t do it if you can’t measure it. Marketing is incredibly complex, particularly if it comes to attribution modeling and what really matters in the things that you do, in trying to figure out what really matters. You mentioned that you did outdoor, you did a train station takeover. Those things are hard to measure in terms of their impact. You get some anecdotal, but how did you measure that?
Lynne Capozzi: It is measurable, though, Drew. I mean, some of it isn’t. Some of it is soft touch, soft measurement. But the other stuff, especially on my out-of-home, I was able to measure by traffic that I drove to my site. I could tell because of the way we have our products and I use our products—we drink our own champagne—I can tell by geography. So did my traffic increase to the site on that time period from that geography where I ran those outdoor ads? I did see that spike. It was a nice, easy, easy measurement for me.
Drew Neisser: Yes, it’s true. And that was probably a bad example. How do you measure PR?
Lynne Capozzi: It’s a little bit softer measure. But I do have a metric in terms of the all-around quantity of the number of placements that we have. That’s how I measure and then I try to track that to my site traffic as well. Our website is the biggest source of our leads. All the activity that we do, most activity that we do, we’re trying to generate our call to action. It’s always to bring people into our site because I know if I can bring them to our site, I have a better chance of moving them through my funnel.
Drew Neisser: How do we measure a good presentation to an analyst?
Lynne Capozzi: Eventually it’s where you end up on the chart.
Drew Neisser: And then we end up on the chart…How do you measure that in terms of impact?
Lynne Capozzi: It shows up in ways that are probably a little bit more difficult to measure. It shows up by the number of customers. In the end, it’s how many customers are reading good reports from the analysts and then, therefore, are choosing an Acquia solution. That was one of the factors. Some of it’s a little bit more soft measure, but usually, we can attribute as much as we can to traffic flow or to sales leads or to moving a sales process along.
Drew Neisser: Are you measuring employee engagement in some way in this process?
Lynne Capozzi: From our customers you mean? Or internal?
Drew Neisser: Internal, because you took all the effort. You spent six months, how did you measure the impact of that in terms of this new rebranding? We’ll call it the employer brand, the employee brand.
Lynne Capozzi: A couple of different ways we measured it. One is that we happen to have, our talent team, our HR organization, every quarter, we do an employee attitude study. We included a couple of questions about the brand in that employee attitude survey. I know it’s unbelievable, but we have like an 88% answer rate on the attitude survey.
Drew Neisser: Wow. That’s really good. Is that incentivized at all?
Lynne Capozzi: I know. It’s amazing. Nope. We just do it as a way to gather feedback. We have questions where they can answer and then open questions that they can write in. I was able to slip in a few questions about the brand, so that gave me some good data. And also, you can see it from watching people. Are they using it on social? We’re a big social organization, so are they using the right branding in our current branding and social? Are we seeing presentations throughout or are we seeing the right templates and the right brand? Those are good ways to measure as well.
Drew Neisser: How do you measure social? It’s not necessarily great at driving site traffic.
Lynne Capozzi: Social for us is very big around awareness in general, and also being able to influence social. Social will even influence now the people that are evaluating and looking at our products, so prospects.
Drew Neisser: I know that it will influence it. But how do you measure it?
Lynne Capozzi: Well, we measure it by growth. We measured by what’s our social influence, is it growing? Are we seeing more of that over time? Are we seeing it grow this way? Are we seeing more posts and more followers? Definitely that. We can see the spikes, so I look for spikes in social and I track what makes our spikes. Then I try to repeat those, of course.
Drew Neisser: We’re measuring a lot of things. In Drew land, we need to simplify that. I’m going to give you three metrics. You decide. Help me get it down to three metrics that matter.
Lynne Capozzi: That’s a tough choice, only three.
Drew Neisser: I know.
Lynne Capozzi: How could I live with only three?
Drew Neisser: Well, because it’s really hard. I think one of the challenges that CMOs have is that they have so much data, and they often present too much data. None of it translates into language that the CFO or the CEO understands.
Lynne Capozzi: That’s true. I would say there are two different ones. In the category of employee engagement around the brand, I think I have the one big metric, which is my employee attitude survey. I have that for sure. Separate from that, on my marketing and sales-type metrics, I’d say there are probably three metrics, and I would align those with what my marketing funnel looks like. I think that first is a metric up the top-of-the-funnel, which for me would be, you know, leads coming into the top-of-the-funnel. A metric around traffic, top-of-the-funnel leads.
Drew Neisser: That’s really a proxy for reach in some ways. It’s a reflection of your reach and that’s a great top single metric—reach.
Lynne Capozzi: I would say the second metric would be…and probably the way to think about it, for me is, I do three metrics that tie to the funnel. A metric in the middle of the funnel is all about engagement and people that are in consideration mode. I’d say a metric right in the middle of the funnel.
Drew Neisser: Like sales qualified leads…?
Lynne Capozzi: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Drew Neisser: Like demos watched? If you had to pick one, the most important one?
Lynne Capozzi: A sales qualified lead.
Drew Neisser: And then the third?
Lynne Capozzi: I think the third is bottom-of-the-funnel and how we do a metric around close. Close rate and obtaining customers.
Drew Neisser: I can hear the CMOs saying, they’re out there, and they’re going, “That’s a great metric. I love sales, but it’s a 14-month sales cycle, there are 10 people in it. It’s a complicated decision. I got him to the sales guy. I got him all set-up. I told him who the key person was. They got him in the room. What do you want from me?” How do you make sure that they close?
Lynne Capozzi: I feel very aligned with sales and the work that we do in marketing. Even myself as a CMO to the head of sales, the CRO here at Acquia. I think it’s very much connected. How we influence what happens at the bottom of the funnel and closing has a lot to do with what we’re providing for them. How is marketing doing for sales enablement? Are we enabling our sales and enabling our sellers to be educated about the products, to know the products, to know what our messaging is, and to know how to sell those products? For me, marketing provides the enablement materials to make sure that that enablement happens so that our sellers are closing. It’s not just a “throw these leads over the wall and walk away.” It definitely has to be a stay engaged, know what material they need, know what other material they need at that bottom of the funnel, which is different from information you need at the top of the funnel. It’s not removed at all. It’s very much connected together.
Drew Neisser: Yes. My friend Brent Anderson of Gartner would be smiling right now. Of course, he’d be all about buyer enablement because buying is broken according to their research if the marketer is helping the sales folks and the customer make it easy for them to buy.
Now, one of the challenges that we hear a lot about are personas. I’ve been on a rant lately about that because I see them as cliches and being misused because what happens is you see these folks who have a message that goes to the CFO, a message that goes to the CISO, one for the CEO, “you will be the master of the universe,” one that goes over here. And suddenly there are five, ten different visions of the brand. This team gets together; they don’t know who you are and what you stand for even though the CFO likes your ROI and the CISO likes your security and the IT guy likes your integration things, they can’t come to a common understanding of the brand. How do you make sure that doesn’t happen?
Lynne Capozzi: The way we do it and I agree it’s very important that all of those personas align. For us, it’s easily IT. There’s typically a business person, a marketing person to make sure that every message that we give to every member of that committee or that group has a brand message that goes along with it. One example for us is, as I said earlier, we’re all about being open. What we do is relate our brand to that particular persona or individual and what the benefit of “open” means to them. Whether they’re in IT or they’re a marketer, open means they don’t have to fight the data that’s within all these silos. They can easily integrate it together. If you’re in IT, it means open, but it also means security. And so, here in IT, you get a nice, open, secure message around that as well. We have to tie back to the brand because they have to know what the brand stands for and it has to be a big part of it. You don’t have to hit them over the head with it, but I think you need to make it visible.
Drew Neisser: I think you just said an oxymoron: open security.
Lynne Capozzi: Oh, but it’s secure. It’s both.
Drew Neisser: No, I get it. I get it. I’m just thinking, “Yeah, come on in. Take our data, it won’t be a problem.” As we wrap up this episode, this has been a really interesting conversation. We’ve talked a lot about brand, getting employees aligned. We talked about getting your story straight, getting to buyer enablement. You’ve talked about thinking outside the box a little bit. It’s not all digital. You did some train takeovers and other things that are kind of cool and brought the brand to life. What do you think—if you got a bunch of CMOs here—two dos and a don’t?
Lynne Capozzi: Two dos and a don’t. I’d say the first “do” is to try it. Try it and pull it if it doesn’t work. That was big for me in terms of all of the outdoor advertising that we did because we hadn’t done it before. It was out of our comfort zone a little bit because it wasn’t digital, but we decided to try it and we tied it really well together in an integrated campaign. It wasn’t just about out of home, it was about the nice consistency that we had throughout all of our channels, our site, social, and so forth. I’d say try is a big thing because you just don’t know sometimes. Giving your team the ability to try and the permission to try I think is really important.
Let’s see. What would be another do? Another “do” would be, look at your Martech stack. I think that’s a do. I think a do is, pay attention to it. Now as CMOs, we have to be really attentive to what’s happening in our Martech stack. All of our marketing operations teams are getting bigger. Most of us are spending more money on Martech, so you can’t ignore it anymore. It’s not relegated to the corner with a couple of analysts that you may or may not have. I think it’s really important that you’re paying attention. Are you getting the benefit from your Martech stack? Are you making sure that you’re making the right investments for the problems that you’re trying to solve and really get great ROI? If you’re not, get rid of it. It’s time. When I bring something in my stack, typically I will take something else out that’s not working as well. I rotate it through the stack and I have my team—we literally go through…can we measure ROI? If we can’t, why can’t we? If we’re not, we probably should get rid of it because we’re probably not using it effectively.
Drew Neisser: Yeah. Let me stop you on that one because it’s so interesting. That Forrester study that came out recently about how companies were spending as much as one-third of their marketing budget on marketing technology. That just made me just really go nuts because when I started in packaged goods, it was like you had to keep non-working media under 10% of your total costs. We talked to the bit earlier about top-of-the-funnel. How do you build top-of-the-funnel? It’s about reach. Just read Byron Sharp. You’ve got to have reach. You’ve got to have impressions out there. You can’t buy reach with marketing technology. It doesn’t happen. You have to have reach.
The other part of this thing that drives me crazy is, and I’ve seen this happen over and over again, they get the marketing technology, but they don’t staff up for it. As a result, they get the marketing technology, and if they don’t staff up for it, they don’t get to use all the things about it. If they do, suddenly it costs a lot more. They don’t necessarily look at that real cost and the weighted cost of a new piece of software. So next thing you know, they have 28 different stacks, they’re spending well over a million dollars a year, and they don’t even have a million dollars for working and they go, “Wait, this is wrong.”
Yet the drive to have metrics and measurement, to be able to prove it, has really driven this. This is where this “don’t do it if you can’t measure it” drives me crazy. Marketing technology is built by design to answer the question where do I spend my money and how do I spend a better? Anyway, there’s a rant there. What’s the right balance right now in your mind about how much from a percentage of the budget should marketing technology take?
Lynne Capozzi: I don’t know, what I’ve seen mostly is that CMOs are most comfortable is somewhere between 10% and 15%, so I think that’s a more realistic percentage. Probably a little bit higher than what it was five, six years ago, but I think it’s I think that’s a realistic number. It’s one that I’m comfortable in my own team and it’s one that I see most right now.
Drew Neisser: Love that. That’s a great place to go and I know that, from your standpoint, if you’re going to spend that 10%, you better spend it on a good CMS.
Lynne Capozzi: Exactly.
Drew Neisser: Now, I want to go back to your first point about trying things. I love that. That’s what this show, Renegade Thinkers, is all about. But what’s important here is you need a foundation of trust in the organization before you can try things. That’s why, again, a brand health study helps you get that. Having metrics that matter helps you get it, and then you can experiment. But you need this solid brand to then go out and experiment. It’s not experimenting with brand. It’s experimenting with a tactic to bring the brand to life. Really good point. In the intervening moments between me talking, did you think of a don’t?
Lynne Capozzi: I think a “don’t”—actually, I say this to CMOs all the time when I’m not speaking—I think the “don’t” is don’t miss the boat on personalization because it’s hot right now. The brands that are not personalizing are the ones they’re gonna fall behind. We know there is a direct correlation between brands that can personalize and relate to their consumer. I don’t care whether that’s B2B or B2C, the more you can personalize and have a direct correlation and a relationship with your customer, the better off you are for customer advocacy, for brand, for people loving brands and being consistent with brands. Don’t miss the personalization both because right now it’s really important.
Drew Neisser: I want to distinguish because I do rant on personas. There’s a big difference between personas, which are job-driven definitions, and personalization, which is data-driven. “Hey, I know Drew is a history buff, so when I go to Amazon, that’s what I see.” That’s the level of personalization. To get to that, you need a lot of first-party data or you need a lot of money to buy that data. I think what’s hard when you’re a $25 million dollar company or $50 million company to build the infrastructure to personalize. As we talk about personalization, we wrap up at the show—we’re not Amazon. Amazon can do it on an infinite level. For a smaller marketer or a mid-size marketer, what should be a reasonable expectation for personalization?
Lynne Capozzi: I always tell people to start small. Start by collecting your profile data. You have to look at what’s most important to you and what you want to personalize? Maybe it’s most important that you’re looking at personalization as just around geography, making sure that you’re tracking that and they know that about geography. Maybe personalization is all about what particular industry someone’s in. Or maybe it’s most important that you think about knowing what size organization the is. I think it depends on what people want to accomplish, but it’s okay to start small. Don’t get overwhelmed by it because that’s how we all start. Start small and think about what you’re most important thing is first and then grow that because that’s what we all do. We all grow.
If you don’t have anyone that knows about personalization, get someone trained. Take someone from your staff now and have a percent of their time dedicated to going out and investigating personalization. There’s a lot going on right now. There’s a lot that everybody can learn. You don’t have to have 100%, you don’t have to go hire a new person, but typically I see in marketing teams that there’s someone in the team that’s really interested in learning about personalization. Figure out who that is and make them the expert.
Drew Neisser: Right. Yeah. It’s funny. In several conversations I’ve had this week on any possible topic, one of the things that it comes down to is, if it’s important enough to your strategic plan, then you better have a person assigned to it whose job is responsible for it. If you don’t, it won’t happen. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about personalization or customer experience or any of these things or just even data and metrics. If there isn’t a person on your org chart, ideally reporting to you the CMO, then chances are it’s really not going to be taken that seriously. Somebody’s got to own it.
Well, speaking of owning it, you’ve been awesome. You’re a terrific sport for having such a great rehearsal with me, which I appreciate. And great, great insights. I want to round some of those things out as I’m wont to do. There was a lot of good content in here related to building a brand and being thoughtful about it, taking the best of where you were, not losing sight of your core elements. But, you know, if you need to refresh after six years because you’re a dramatically different company, then do that and do it in a thoughtful way, which means go to your employees first, spend time with them, get them bought in, then get to your customers and then share it. I am not quite sure I agree with the “if you can’t measure it, don’t do it,” but I know that every CEO and CFO in America agrees with it, so Lynne has the majority on her side with that recommendation. I’m sure it would be hard to fail without that one. So with that, Lynne, thank you so much for being on Renegade Thinkers Unite!
Lynne Capozzi: Thank you, Drew. It’s fun. Thanks for having me.
Drew Neisser: My pleasure. And to all you listeners. Thanks for hanging in with us. I hope you got a lot out of the show. If you have some questions that you want to send to me or Lynne, please email them to me. Let’s see, what else. Oh, yeah. Don’t forget to go to your favorite site and review our show. We are a five-star show and we want more five-stars. So thank you. And until next week, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.