If you took every tech company logo and stacked them by color, here’s what you’d see: some red, some shades of black, grey, and white, some green. But all those stacks would be in the shadow of one color: blue. Samsung, Facebook, Lenovo, PayPal, hp, Dell—the list of blue logos goes on and on.
So what did Morgan Norman, CMO of Copper (née ProsperWorks) do? He went pink. With a dash of creative, and a spritz of data analysis, Morgan went bold and rebranded in a major way. But—a rebrand isn’t just a name and a color. The new mentality has to fill up every nook and cranny of the company, employees need to buy in, users need to be kept informed. On this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Drew Neisser talks with Morgan Norman about the keys to a rebrand, some common hurdles, and more about B2B marketing.
Tune in here.
What You’ll Learn
Why a company name change?
Before its company name change, Copper was a very successful business. It was not looking for a different name to boost sales or to pull itself out of a slump. However, there were still various reasons to change its name. ProsperWorks was a hard name for people to remember. It was even harder for people to say. Prior to its name change, it was in 110 countries, and the name ProsperWorks was hard to translate. Studies were also showing that customers were consistently misspelling its name. All of these reasons culminated in a desire to explore new company names.
Just a coat of paint, or a complete overhaul?
When ProsperWorks changed its company name to Copper, it did not just change its name – it changed its entire brand. Morgan explains that every bit of product was overhauled, from customer interactions and existing content, to its brand and the company’s roadmap of where it wanted to go. He said that with the new name, the brand changed to revolve around relationships.
How Copper used a relaunch to generate interest in its brand
Copper used its relaunch to help generate interest in its brand in several different ways:
- They launched a new advertising campaign: CRM Minus the Bad Stuff. Their ads were enough to make the public curious enough to finish the story by finding out more information on the product.
- Copper utilized billboard ads. They ran 2 at a time in San Francisco near the airport. This captured the audience of people flying in. They also put a human face to CRM.
- They produced massive amounts of content about the company and its new name. The name change was surrounded by information on the company.
- [2:30] Who is Morgan Norman?
- [5:52] Why ProsperWorks changed its name to Copper
- [7:31] Which came first: the name change or the URL
- [12:24] Why the name Copper instead of Copper CRM
- [15:43] Why Copper chose pink in branding
- [17:46] A complete overhaul: from name to product
- [21:34] Internal involvement before a name change
- [27:25] The launch of Copper’s new name
- [30:18] How to use a relaunch to generate interest in your brand
- [35:22] Top lessons from name changing
- [38:47] Key metrics that matter in marketing
Resources & People Mentioned
Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Morgan Norman
Drew Neisser: Here’s the situation. You’re a high-flying startup in the Martech space. You’ve raised over $77 million in funding since your founding in 2014, so you’re obviously doing something right—if not a lot of things right. You’ve secured thousands of customers in over 100 countries and you’re in good with Google to the point that they fully endorse your product.
You have a semi-descriptive name that isn’t all that bad compared to a lot of the bizarre ones that come out of Silicon Valley and that name was ProsperWorks. Yet, in 2018, that company changed its name to Copper. Yeah, like the metal. Copper. And just in case the name change wasn’t enough they relaunched with a new brand color—pink. To me, these were definitely renegade choices, so naturally I wanted to talk to the CMO behind this initiative and that’s Morgan Norman. Morgan, welcome to Renegade Thinkers Unite.
Morgan Norman: Thanks, Drew. It’s great to be with you.
Drew Neisser: I watched a video of you explaining Copper and I became fixated with your glasses frames. I got to know, where’d you get those?
Morgan Norman: Glasses are like a wardrobe. I’m a huge fan. I actually love this boutique brand called C Eyewear. They’re all made out of Detroit. I used to be a Warby Parker fan—still love them—but they do limited edition frames, they’re totally cost-effective, they have pop up stores everywhere. I love them to death and the colors they bring to it.
Drew Neisser: Damn I wish we had recorded this episode a week earlier because I just went to Warby to get my new ones. I missed that. Anyway, now that we’ve covered the important stuff, I have noticed of late—I started listening to some back episodes of the show—and I’ve been all business. If I can, I’d like to ask you a couple of personal questions just so we get to know you a little bit better. You ready?
Morgan Norman: Go for it!
Drew Neisser: What’s your favorite show on Netflix?
Morgan Norman: Well, my favorite show right now is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Drew Neisser: It’s amazing.
Morgan Norman: I’m absolutely addicted.
Drew Neisser: Are you watching season two?
Morgan Norman: I’m on season two and it’s got a little bit of New York flair. It’s got some amazing humor, incredible wit. I just think it’s absolutely brilliant.
Drew Neisser: You know, it’s funny. We watched I think episode four last night and what we were blown away by is the art direction—the production values of the show are phenomenal.
Morgan Norman: You know, it’s funny you say that because I was actually watching it with some other marketers the other day. They came over for a dinner party and we said the same thing. The colors they picked, how everything pairs well together, it’s absolutely mind-blowing. Half the shots could be a photograph. I agree.
Drew Neisser: It’s true and maybe because we’re in marketing we appreciate it more but it was like we were just—my wife was in advertising as well for years—it was stunningly beautiful. It was quite artistic. Have you read a book recently that blew your mind?
Morgan Norman: The latest book I read on the business side was Tien’s book, from Zuora. I worked with Tien obviously on subscriptions, it’s called Subscribe. Obviously, I was a big part of developing some of that messaging with Tien. I’ve learned a ton of things from him. And it’s really about the future of business and I wanted to figure out how he was telling that modern story now since I’m no longer with them.
Drew Neisser: There you go. Let’s see—do you have a superpower?
Morgan Norman: I think my superpower, strangely enough, is dyslexia. I didn’t realize I was dyslexic until much later. It helped me really understand how to cognize stuff in a different way, but it helped me understand how people saw information and how some people were auditory, some people were visual. Some people had to do it themselves and this really transformed how I market, how I create materials, and I have to think a lot about that. It’s been an incredible gift. I think a lot of dyslexic leaders and folks have talked about that but that’s what I’d say my superpower is.
Drew Neisser: That’s really cool. It’s funny—I had Peter Shankman on the show and he has described his extreme ADHD and if you’ve ever met him in person, it’s so obvious, it’s incredible. But he talks about that as something that is incredibly helpful once you know how to translate it and so forth. When they make the biopic about you, who’s going to play you in the movie?
Morgan Norman: I mean, I would love the Rock or Vin Diesel, but I don’t think I have the body for it. I mean if I could imagine something like that, I think that’s what I would go for.
Drew Neisser: All right. That’s funny. Well, I think we now know the real you. Yes. There we go. We’ve got that. Let’s get back to the renaming process. You started working with a company called ProsperWorks. Whose idea was it to change the name and why was that a big idea?
Morgan Norman: Well, a lot of the ideas come actually internally for us as CMOs. You know the employees are talking about maybe they’re struggling with the name or customers are struggling with the name and that happened to be the case with ProsperWorks. That was one piece.
The other piece is, as I did a lot of research in it, it was hard for people to remember the name. It was hard for people to pronounce the name especially as the company expanded internationally. The company, at the time, they were in less than 100 countries, now we’re in 110, but when you’re trying to translate a word both from a spelling perspective and as well as from a language perspective that became a problem.
The other thing that was a key sign is I did some initial research, which is, you know, from our paid ads what was actually the spend going to—30% of our paid ads were people trying to log in to the company but misspelled ProsperWorks. We were wasting money that way, so that was a really quick easy find.
But I also felt that—and I started my tech career in the CRM industry—it’s ripe for something different. There’s a lot of tradition in B2B, and I thought we’d do something quite unique that expressed how unique the product was.
Drew Neisser: That’s cool and it makes sense. Usually with names, shorter is better, but typically one doesn’t just come across Copper as a URL suddenly being available. I imagine that was an important part which came first the decision to make the name Copper or “Hey, we can get this URL?”
Morgan Norman: It’s a great question. This is the second naming I’ve done. I was at a previous company that’s now called Dialpad, I did the naming as well with a bunch of folks. So, we actually explored a lot of names and believe it or not ProsperWorks was an option in the naming, to stay with it. We explored all different types of names whether they were poetic names like lululemon or descriptive like Vitamin Water. You could go daring like Virgin, whatever you want to do, or even literary. We had this long list that was actually over 500 names initially.
We kept narrowing down what our values are and what we thought about CRM, and eventually we started to narrow it down to a set of 10 and ProsperWorks was still part of that. Then, slowly and slowly, as we were creating the brand, the name didn’t fit the brand. We were doing both in tandem—we were doing the naming, and we were looking at complete color palettes, industry palettes, mood boards—and suddenly the name just didn’t fit. That’s when we really made the call to switch over.
Drew Neisser: That makes sense. You just look at it and go: “Wait, that’s not who we want to be, that’s not who we are,” so you say, “All right, we need to change the name.” Big decision. But the actual identification of Copper—
Morgan Norman: Right.
Drew Neisser: Because I’ve been through the naming process a zillion times. It’s my least favorite part of marketing because it can be arbitrary, you get a perfect name and then you can’t trademark it in the countries that you want to use it in, you can’t get the URL…and so it becomes a balancing act of finding a right name, trying to get the URL, all of these things. So, how do you get to Copper?
Morgan Norman: Yeah. On that, I agree. Naming—I would never wish it on anyone. You’re always going to have people who hate the name until their name has association—and you can pick every name you want, and most people think it’s an awful name, and some people actually like it.
What we did is, obviously, we’d narrowed it down to about 10-12 names and we started to do exactly what you said. We did knock out searches. Can we trademark? Is the URL available? Would we go with a .com or an alternative? And strangely enough, you’re looking at cost. You know if you look at some, I’ve heard stories like companies like Ring—they’re paying millions for their name. I think Purple Mattress was another example. We didn’t want to spend that kind of money.
Copper was available, and it was a very unique name for the CRM space, and we found out from a knockout perspective it could be leveraged—Copper CRM, Copper on its own. We also looked at the cost of the URL and we looked at knock out searches like could we own it, then we looked at it also from an SEO perspective. We narrowed it down to five different names then.
We’re also making a decision based off of like, do we think this is the right name for the company? It all was available. We did deal with legal on that. We did see it’s a big international opportunity. Some challenges internationally—there are some slang words for Copper as well—but eventually we pulled the trigger.
We actually had some backup names because there’s always a shot that it’s just not going to happen, you’re not going to get the cost together. But eventually it all worked out and we pulled the trigger and multiple people were bidding on the name Copper at the time. We had to be very stealthy. We used a firm that will help you buy your URLs and that’s what I recommend doing versus going in as a privateer. And they actually do a lot of different tricks to get you the best price of the URL.
Drew Neisser: Awesome. We’re going to take a quick break, but I think when we come back, I have a couple more questions about that and then we’ll move on. Stay with us.
Drew Neisser: We’re back. And my guest is Morgan Norman, CMO of Copper. We were talking about the naming process, how difficult it is, but you secured it. One thing I heard you say—at one point it could have been Copper CRM, but you decided just do Copper. I’m curious because I think I know the answer, or I could guess the answer is that Copper set you up to be more than CRM at some point down the road. Why not go straight to Copper CRM instead of Copper?
Morgan Norman: You’ve been through this, clearly! There are a couple of reasons why. One of the things a lot of people skip in naming is they don’t really look at the entire market landscape and that’s really where I start, where you’re doing category creation or you’re doing shaping, you’re doing brand messaging. I look at everyone and I look at key analogs, like the top key partners or analog technology.
The one thing that I saw with the CRM category is that everyone was incredibly literal. I’m a fan of a lot of the stuff, but it was like Salesforce, Base CRM, SalesLoft—everything was this very literal version of CRM, and things don’t need to be that way. It was less modern versus how you think about a Zendesk, if you will.
That was one key element. The other key element is what you said: our customers—we are at 12,000 now—they’ve moved beyond just customer relationship management. They’re thinking about how they manage all aspects of things—Google is managing developers, some folks are managing investments and founders, so there is no longer just this acronym of a category that was necessary for us. I also felt like the category was going to shift as well, so we decided to leave it alone as Copper.
Drew Neisser: One other little thing I notice is that there’s a colon in front of Copper. What’s that?
Morgan Norman: Wow, it’s interesting. You picked up on it. One of the things that I really noticed in the space is there was a lack of human element across all the players and this is something we really pushed on for the brand: I thought that he users of CRM were very different today.
I think we see this in the workplace, like this millennial group or even the group behind the millennials. They operate differently, they think differently, they relate to technology differently. Most of them were raised on Gmail—that was their first email platform—and so they challenge companies in new unique ways, and they don’t necessarily relate to technology that’s top-down. They don’t really believe companies should be that way.
What we wanted to do is build towards what the ultimate end users, including baby boomers. The people are the most important assets for building relationships, so the colon symbolizes our relationships to people. It’s interesting you picked up on that, and if you look across the brand as well, you’ll see a lot of plays with that.
There’ll be even more coming up with how we wanted to leverage that. We also love playing with typefaces. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do with a brand, but the two dots really represented that for us as a company and it was a really exciting moment when that logo came together that way.
Drew Neisser: Very cool. And I’ve seen you answer the question of why pink, and I noticed it in a Q&A that your employees did. Obviously, it’s different than anybody else in the category. It’s bold, it’s bright, but I would say it’s one of those colors that’s probably not divisive but it’s certainly shocking, right?
Morgan Norman: Yes, yes. I think one of the best things anyone could do in a rebrand is to line up the core colors, whether you have your blues, you have your reds, you have your oranges, you have your greens, you have your yellows, and then put everyone’s logo under each one of those colors.
Generally, in B2B, sadly, under blue you’re going to see everyone and it’s going to need to go to the next slide and the next slide. Everyone uses the lovely world of blues in enterprise software. We looked across all of these and there were some common patterns in orange of some people we play with like HubSpot and some other companies that played in there as well from a CRM perspective.
When we looked at all this opportunity, the area that was wide open was this magenta, this pink. No one had done it. That was one reason. The other reason is: It’s gutsy. It’s modern. It’s fresh. It’s different. It brings a different air to things, a different expression to things. I think some people actually really absolutely love it, and some people are like “Wow, that’s intense.” But that actually was the goal. The goal was to be something radically different that you wouldn’t see in CRM if you stacked us all against each other.
Drew Neisser: And as they say, “Go big or go home.” If you’re going to bother with a rebrand, don’t come out softly. You did a number of things: you have a name that’s unique in the industry, you’ve got that little colon, and then you have pink.
Those are big bold things that are hard to ignore, which is really cool and cuts through. The next part of this is that all of that is a coat of paint in the sense that the service and the products are exactly the same as they were. Were you able to include anything new about the brand when you changed the name?
Morgan Norman: Yeah. I love that you said that by the way because a lot of people think a brand is like logos and colors and that’s not really true. We overhauled every different aspect of messaging—and I’m going to go into the product as well—and that informed the product. Not only what it is today and how we communicated with users—from this first-time experience, from ads, from existing content—but it also informed the roadmap of what we wanted to be.
When you go through this brand exercise, you’re learning a lot about what people believe, you’re learning about what customers believe, and you’re seeing opportunities surface in new unique ways. What’s happened with us, since then? Our roadmap has changed in a really fresh, really future-based way that people were wanting from us. The company was always based on innovation, doing things with Google, and CRM for Google, but you’re going to see some things that are going to push in a completely new way around relationships. That’s really what percolated out of that.
Of course, there are colors in the app, there are changes in how people onboard, and different language changes how you communicate to users at every touchpoint. That’s fantastic, but there’s another piece which is how you want to shape the category to benefit all your users, all your companies, and help them grow. I think that’s really important with the brand, and most people think it’s just colors, but it’s so much broader if you bring everyone involved in, if every person at the organization can help you shape the new direction of the company because all companies are evolving endlessly.
Drew Neisser: Excellent. That really helps and I imagine—was the line “CRM that works for you” new as a result of this rebranding? Or had you been using that before?
Morgan Norman: We’ve used it. We had always talked about a CRM that works for you. We had not used it from a campaign standpoint. It’s not actually our main campaign we went out the gate with. Our main campaign, we basically did billboard takeovers and digital takeovers, and it was basically CRM minus the bad stuff. We basically said, “CRM minus the bad stuff, minus the sticker shock, minus the data entry” and we went so on and so on. The long implementations and it showcased people and products. What that was based on is actually what people said to us, what they really didn’t like about, not just CRM, but enterprise technology.
Why does it take so long to go live? Why is it so expensive when things shouldn’t be as expensive with all cloud technology? Why is it so hard to use? Why am I still doing all this stuff that should be automated for me? That was the campaign we went out the gate with and it got a lot of pickup for us and made a huge impact. I always recommend that if you’re doing a rebrand come up with several different campaigns. But the concept of “CRM that works for you” is because that was really the DNA of the company. The DNA of the company was to automate all data entry from CRM using Gmail and G Suite and Drive. That’s the core of why people come to us. They don’t want to have to intercept, they want to focus on this type of stuff, building relationships with people. It’s something we’ve used and will continue to use. We might pivot a little bit off of that because we’ll always refresh campaigns that we go after.
Drew Neisser: Okay, so it sounds like you launched this thing in a big way, but I want to step back. Before you went live in July of 2018, how much time did you actually spend internally getting everyone on board, excited, invested in the new name and the new logo?
Morgan Norman: Yeah. Probably the most important factor of any brand is exactly what you said. Any brand cut, whether you’re doing a refresh or whether you’re doing anything new, whether it’s a name change or not. I think this is a huge mistake everyone makes—they go off, they don’t involve anyone. What we started with is we did 140 interviews internally. We did probably about 30 customer interviews, maybe 50 customer interviews, and we asked some basic questions. Really simple, it was down to five questions: How would you describe ProsperWorks, now Copper? Give us three words that you would describe it as? What do you think of the CRM category? What do you think of the industry? What do you think the value is of Copper?
There were some other nuances, and we did that, and we recorded these. Then we compressed these all into this massive document and we started analyzing patterns. That was the first piece. The next piece is we started to give people long reviews when we were going through some of the design cycle. But the challenge when you’re doing a brand cut—the design and a lot of the color palettes and photography and everything, it doesn’t come together till the very end, so you’ve got to narrow that down because people start to get very worried. They’re like, “Oh, this is going bad. It’s going to end.”
We started very broadly. We opened it up that we were doing this. We talked to employees, we presented that we’re doing the rebrand, that we’re researching names, and we haven’t decided this. We did surveys to them. We did surveys actually to broader groups that weren’t customers of ours and we presented that back, and then ultimately, we started showcasing along the way. You’ll notice actually very early on in the year, you’ll see me start to author around this category creation, around this relationship management, relationship era, and all of that percolated from those interviews about what people wanted out of CRM.
That messaging started right when I arrived, so by the time it unveiled, it was like, “Oh I get it. Of course. If we’re thinking about this relationship era, everyone wants to build lasting relationships. That’s how companies live and die. Everyone’s involved and everyone’s a relationship maker in your company.” And then logically they went, “Oh, of course. It makes sense that we would change the name, these colors and this is how we think about everything.”
Drew Neisser: Got it. Interesting. We’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back.
Drew Neisser: We’re back, and my guest is Morgan Norman, the CMO of Copper. Not the metal. The CRM platform that works within the Google world. Now, you’ve got this idea, the color palette comes in last, and what I love about the process you described is that you involved a lot of employees early on, so they knew something was up. That was really cool. Once you had settled on the name, the design, the pink, how much time did you have before you announced it to get employees involved?
Morgan Norman: Yes, to be truthful, it got very dicey. And it’s always been that way for me. I’ve never been in a good place when you’re doing a full rename and brand. You’re always in a rough spot and the team’s kind of stressed out from a marketing, design, and creative side. We didn’t have a lot of time and the reason we didn’t have a lot of time was because you’re waiting to buy this URL. You’re playing in tandem; the colors are going to be determined by what name you pick, right? We’re waiting in the name, so we’re negotiating this and at the same time we’re exploring three different color palettes. Ultimately, we get the green light there and we go into the first thing, just colors, logo, creation, and we’re showing that to the employees: “Here’s the palette we’re thinking about.”
But actually, then we had to go dark because we had such little time to get the designs out and we had to hit this milestone which was Google Next. We had to hit that milestone because we were going to be on stages at some of the Google events, we were unveiling it was all planned. Our booth was actually already going to say Copper so we just had to go dark and unveil it. That was a problem and I would have done it differently next time. We’re talking we went from design, meaning concept, high fidelity colors, to website. We did that probably in seven weeks or less.
Drew Neisser: That’s really fast. What I think is interesting—I get the Google Next because there’s your target and there’s your community and they’re right there. When you launch, you need to launch with the family and you need to do it in as a big a way as you can, so I get that as a deadline and that’s a great little punctuation point. In the end it allows us to talk about the launch of Copper. So, you unveil this thing at Google Next and there are a lot of people going, “What? Wait, who? ProsperWorks is Copper? What’s this company?” There’s a lot of confusion I would imagine because there’s this new company and who are they and so forth, but it’s the right people who are going to give you the benefit of doubt because they’re your users. In theory, that’s how it worked out. I don’t know. Talk to me. What happened at the launch?
Morgan Norman: Yes. Launches can be absolutely exciting and totally terrifying. Luckily, we had been prepping admins and letting them know this rebrand is coming, this naming is coming, and there were some areas where we made mistakes like we were sending emails, but some people were unsubscribed, so they didn’t get it. There were some mistakes we made there along the way, but the launch. what we did is plan it around a PR event. I always believe in launching around a physical event because it helps employees make it physical, it helps customers make it physical.
We did the launch at Google Next, we launched with several different press releases about the existing name change, several different blog articles about why we’re doing this. We published this to existing end users. They got in-app notifications and so forth. But the real part of the launch was just explaining why we did it to our users and to our customers and most people actually loved it. There are always nuances. The sad part about brands—marketing, it’s like art. Everyone’s an art critic, so everyone’s a marketing critic today. You’re going to deal with that and it’s about how you adjust around that and hear the feedback openly.
We did have some issues which we were on deck for. We did have some customer issues where some people were like, “Oh, I wasn’t aware of this” or “I liked the name ProsperWorks,” so we just mitigated that and managed that from a support side. But from a PR perspective, using Google Next as a platform or using any event as a platform, doing several different press releases and the content around it is really what helped us land this so quickly. It honestly was pretty much smooth sailing. We didn’t have any product issues; we didn’t have any website issues at launch. We were good to go.
Drew Neisser: Well, a couple of things come to mind as you’re talking. One—it is an interesting test of your customer, not just loyalty but their appreciation of your brand. The essence of the brand as opposed to the name of the brand, and those things are often hard to separate. That would be number one, but number two—an advantage that you have versus other brands that are not software companies where a product is sitting on someone’s desktop or mobile application is that you can push the name right out there. All your users, the next time they log in, it’s like, “Wait, it’s not ProsperWorks anymore, it’s Copper.”
That’s a real advantage, at least for your existing customers. You launch it in a big way. I did see one of the billboards, you mentioned a digital takeover, talk about the media exposure. How do you then say, “All right. We still want to grow our business. We’ve dealt with our current customers, but we need to grow a business”? How did you use this relaunch to generate additional interest in the brand?
Morgan Norman: Once we got live, you’ve got to figure out how to land this, and digital is a great way where you’re first testing digital ads, and that’s what we did. We first tested several different ad campaigns, and one of them was “CRM minus the bad stuff.” We had like five variants of it which eventually became our billboards and metro light bus stop campaigns as well. That was the first thing we did, and we want to see how people responded and what colors they responded to. Immediately we knew the answer to that. People were very curious about it and that’s what we’re trying to drive.
I’m not a big believer in “every ad has to tell you exactly what to do, like ‘buy my eyeglasses now.'” It has to make you curious and kind of finish the story. What we decided to do is, we did do several billboard campaigns. It went on for a while and they were all variants, and we did this around key airport cities. Obviously, we focused in the Bay Area for this one and did some stuff externally as well. We basically hit a rhythm of minimum two billboards up at a time in San Francisco. A lot of them we centered right by the airport and it had a huge impact. We had customers that landed at the airport. From France, one customer was like, “I just saw your billboard, I want to buy your product. I need something different.”
Another part that related to it is that this is really the first time in CRM that there was this full human face with things. It’s not that there hadn’t been this face, but it had been kind of glamoured over. It was so specific to the company, but it was a slight mystery who the person was next to “CRM minus the bad stuff.” There was also joy in the photos and thought in the photography. All of that combined, people were very curious about the brand and that’s really where it took off.
People said like, “Hey, what is this CRM minus the bad stuff?” A lot of people hadn’t heard of us. They’d heard of us in the Google ecosystem, but if you looked at the rest of the world, they didn’t know about Copper, they didn’t know about ProsperWorks. So we’ll continue those tactics. I think it’s very effective. Marketers miss that opportunity or a lot of times they had a bad campaign and then it didn’t work in billboards, but I think out of home stuff is a fantastic way to land your brand. There are lower-cost things like metro lights and bus stop stuff that can just be amazing, and people started talking about this very quickly.
Drew Neisser: It’s really interesting. Janine Pelosi of Zoom was a guest on this show, and Zoom has been very effective with outdoor ads. I think they’re visually kind of boring, but I love the language. It’s “Meet Happy” and I think that’s what Zoom does, so it’s really worked for them. It’s interesting that you bring up outdoor as well. I want to circle back to one thing because I think this is an area that hasn’t come up on the show that often and it makes so much sense—testing on digital first. It’s so easy, right?
Morgan Norman: Yeah, I love doing brand work but ultimately our job is really category shaping today because categories are shaping so quickly, and this goes into testing. We’re all performance marketers today because a lot of us are now driving anywhere from 70% to sometimes 95% of the revenue coming from marketing sourced stuff. Testing is a huge opportunity that’s really overlooked, and testing ad campaigns is really overlooked. I think that once you have a campaign that works—Zoom’s a great example. They stick with their campaigns for two years minimum, I would guess, and they’re very effective. They stick with that theme, they land that theme, and that’s one way of doing it.
But if you’re a more emerging, if you haven’t crossed that $100 million marker, you’ve got to do a lot of different testing and you’ve got to figure out where are those ads going to be, where are you going to serve those up and drive the right user? Then, also, what type of ads are more top of funnel, more mid-funnel, or more bottom of funnel types of ads? What are you trying to drive with display? We’re huge in testing. I think it’s the only way to perfect your messaging, and here’s the strangest part: what you think is going to work is never what people identify with. It’s absolutely bizarre, I think, as a marketer today. I might say, “I love this color” and they’ll pick a different color. I might say, “I love this copy” and they’ll pick this other copy. It’s fascinating how you can touch users and get that information. I think it can propel your growth as a marketer for your campaigns and really change the game on how you go to market.
Drew Neisser: Really interesting. When you look back at this, and it’s only been six months since you launched this brand, what do you think are the top one or two lessons that you’ve learned as a result? We’ve got a CMO audience here who is thinking about a name change and at least a rebranding. What do you think are the biggest lessons you learned?
Morgan Norman: Yeah, I don’t encourage a name change unless you absolutely have to. That’s my first lesson. I think you said this too—it’s very difficult. It could have a big strain. The other lesson I would say is, do it early if you’re going to do it. If you’re struggling with your name, I would say tackle it right on. There were challenges with this name from the get-go and I think this could have been done a lot earlier. The other thing I think from a B2B perspective is that B2B does not have to be boring. The way the historical legacy players where stuff was top-down, you could totally make things that way. You just basically are forcing software that functions on the user, but it’s a time for B2B to be much more exciting, much edgier, and I think we’re selling to people that expect this. They want to be associated with things that relate to them and are an opportunity for them to grow.
I think I said this earlier but when you look at a brand, you need to look at how you’re shaping the category. When you’re shaping the category, it’s about how you’re going to do messaging, how you’re going to land that messaging, and how you’re going to activate that through sales. We recut all our sales decks. We recut every sales tool. It is a complete overhaul, and, for marketers, you’ve got to educate people if you’re really taking a brand cut it’s not logo and colors. That is not what a brand is. A brand is so much more than that and I think you’ve discussed this. How people interact with the product, every touchpoint a customer thinks about from your help center, from your support responses, from your voice and tone. Those are areas to really think about to really get a company behind.
I do think it’s very difficult today and I’m going to plug something that is really controversial to say—I think when you’re working with agencies, they’re only as good as your team. When I talk to a lot of CMOs, or marketers, they’re strong, but if you don’t have a strong foundation, if you don’t start that research before working with any outside agency you’re not going to get the product you want in the end. You’ve got to really challenge your team on how to boost that up and that’s one of the big deltas in mistakes. They think they’re going to hire an agency, they’re going to wear a cape, and a miracle is going to happen, but the agency is going to take direction from you and from your team and from messaging and that’s going to inform whatever the brand is. That’s a critical factor where I think there are huge mistakes that most folks make.
Drew Neisser: Yep. I couldn’t agree with you more. This has been great, and I really think this is a very informative and inspiring thing. I think the fact that you’re driving 70-plus percent of the leads through marketing is amazing. A lot of the CMOs listening are going, “Wait, how big was that number?” because I know any number of them that are anywhere from 20 to 50% of marketing sourced leads. That’s a little more dangerous of a situation for those individuals.
All right. The last thing I want to ask is, from a metrics that matter standpoint, you did mention that you’re performance-driven but when you’re looking at your overall marketing, how are you assessing it from a metrics standpoint? What are the key ones that you really think matter in terms of your performance?
Morgan Norman: Sadly, or maybe thankfully, metrics have been beaten into me through just the companies I was at. I think marketing metrics are changing constantly, but the first thing I’m looking at is, “is there a dip in traffic?” which you’re going to expect. We actually didn’t get that. You’re trying to solve that one, but the real metrics I’m looking at are not just from a lead perspective like net new names. I’m really looking at MQL by source, an MQL to op, an MQL to win. I’m looking at you know opt-to-wins, I’m also looking at the amount of content we’re producing and what that content’s driving.
You’re trying to update as fast as possible and you’re trying to see if your organic searches are going up, so those play hand-in-hand because you don’t want to spend all your money on unpaid. The other side I’m looking at is “what is the cost per lead, the cost per MQL, is that going down, is it going up, is it driving larger sized deals by these different program types?” and really getting that to a raw science.
If you keep it that simple, you’re understanding at a subsystem what I would say is: What is inbound and demand driving? What’s inbound driving? What’s the demand or paid driving? What’re events driving? What’s your partner and sales team driving? How is your cost being effective in scale and how is your deal size improving? And then how long is it taking for a deal to close?
The other thing I’m looking for is how many people are going through the trials. To be truthful I’m never going to join a company without a free trial but I’m looking at what is that experience and are we getting more people, once they go into the trial, coming out? Are they adding more users faster based on the experience as well? Those are the main things at the topical level but there’s a lot more behind that when you’re looking at how people use the product, but that’s much further down the road.
Drew Neisser: All right. Well, that was a good list of metrics. I could go through all of those, but we don’t have time and I think that the B2B folks out there will say, “Yep, that lines up with their list pretty effectively.” First of all, Morgan, thank you so much for taking the time to be on Renegade Thinkers Unite.
Morgan Norman: It’s great. Big thanks, Drew. I really enjoyed it.
Drew Neisser: And to all the listeners, lots of inspirational conversation here today. Changing your name, using the color pink, creating language that is unexpected, using outdoor in a digital world. Lots of things here that we heard that are not necessarily your every day, staid B2B approach.
I loved it, I really appreciate all of that great input. And for the listeners, sharing is caring. Let your friends know that you enjoyed the show. You could do that by just liking it sharing it, posting on social. As always, until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.