Kerry OK
April 22, 2022

Auth0 Marketing VP on Developing Developer Love

Guest: Kerry OK - SVP of Marketing, Auth0

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Developers don’t want to be marketed to, you say? Kerry Ok, SVP of Marketing for Auth0 is here to prove you wrong. From day one, Auth0’s marketing mandate wasn’t about building pipeline or demand gen, it was about building trust and relationships with a vibrant community that loves learning, discussion, and things that make their lives easier.

Talk about renegade marketing—this episode is all about shirking traditional B2B marketing tactics in exchange for far more powerful and engaging ones (that just so happen to yield an 80% YoY increase in unaided awareness). From building a strong customer community to gamifying internal comms to getting silly with Loggie the anti-mascot, tune in for a fascinating episode about what courageous marketing really looks like.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to build a strong customer community
  • Why you should make strategic bets on non-traditional channels
  • More effective ways to engage employees and customers

Resources Mentioned

Highlights

  • [01:17] What the heck is identity authorization?
  • [02:28] The evolution of Auth0’s positioning
  • [05:43] You’ve identified all your different personas…now what?
  • [06:57] It’s not about demand gen or pipeline, it’s about building trust
  • [08:26] Winning via non-traditional, experimental marketing
  • [10:51] A purpose-driven promise: a frictionless, secure digital world
  • [12:18] Drew talks about CMO Huddles
  • [13:29] Internal comms are just as important as external marketing
  • [17:06] Engaging employees via gamification
  • [21:55] Developer-focused marketing and community building
  • [24:15] How COVID amplified the value of online community resources
  • [25:28] 1/3 of Auht0’s marketing team are developers…seriously
  • [27:25] Behind Auth0’s grassroots to enterprise brand evolution
  • [32:45] Want to market without FUD? Meet Loggie, the anti-mascot
  • [35:16] B2B market research that actually yields newsworthy stories
  • [36:40] Measuring Auth0’s 80% YoY increase in unaided awareness
  • [39:31] Showing up authentically for your customers
  • [40:11] Lessons learned: Building brand awareness

Highlight Quotes

“The whole focus for the first years wasn't on pipeline building, wasn't on demand gen. It was building trust and relationships with developers.”—@MsKerryOk @auth0 Click To Tweet “A lot of marketers would rather be wrong in the traditional channels than be right in the non-traditional channels.”—@MsKerryOk @auth0 Click To Tweet “What we know about developers is if we're going to engage with them, they won't trust what we as marketers and what we as a company tell them.”—@MsKerryOk @auth0 Click To Tweet “We increased our unaided awareness by 80% year over year.”—@MsKerryOk @auth0 Click To Tweet “Too often in B2B we rely on the words. That becomes really hard to translate literally globally into a meaningful message.”—@MsKerryOk @auth0 Click To Tweet “Keep the messaging simple. We don't need to use overly sophisticated language to tell a compelling story.”—@MsKerryOk @auth0 Click To Tweet

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 289 on YouTube

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Kerry Ok

Drew: Hello, Renegade Marketers. As I’ve referenced on this show many times and crystallize in my new book. Well, it’s still new Renegade marketing. Being a CMO today is really, really, really good. But the successful ones are truly the cool cats of marketing, CATS being an acronym for courageous, artful, thoughtful, and scientific. And lest you think that CATS framework only applies to previous guests. I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guest Kerry Ok, the SVP of marketing at Auth0, which was recently acquired by Okta, both being in the identity authorization space. And we’ll learn more about that in a second, but first welcome Kerry.

Kerry: Thanks so much, Drew.

Drew: Let’s do this. God bless my 95 year old dad. He still occasionally will listen to a show and he’ll say, what the heck is identity authorization? Or what are we talking about here? Can you explain what your company does for.

Kerry: Absolutely. And it’s my favorite way. So we make that login box, right?

The doorway to the digital world, secure and effortless for any user to access, whatever application is looking to access.

Drew: Okay. So the, and the login box being any site I go to. So if he’s going to, uh, the LA times.com or espn.com or any of the other places he might visit, that’s what we’re talking.

Kerry: Correct. Absolutely over time. As you see that getting better and better and better support an example, you go to one of these sites, right? And you see, oh, log in with a fingerprint scan or log in with Google or log in in a way that’s more secure and easier than remembering those, those long passwords.

We’re the company that helps make that

Drew: happen. So we’re going to divide the show up into the four parts, starting first with courageous strategy. And I want to dive into. The strategic thinking that you’ve gone through, eventually we’re going to talk about brand and just in case you were wanting where the show was going.

We will be talking about that, but you’ve been at zero for over five years. And maybe you could talk about the evolution of the company’s positioning and some of the strategic insights that you found along.

Kerry: As Auth0 was founded, we were founded as an identity company that focused on, on helping solve identity for developers by developers.

So from the very beginning, we had a laser focus prioritization on making this easier for application developers. And what I would say in that, and that was critical early because we were solving a need in the market. Right. But over time, over the last five years, we still focus on developers. We still make identity easy for the apps that companies are building.

But I think a lot of our strategy has had to expand and evolve to make sure that we’re encompassing all of the wide personas, right. That are involved in identity and application building. And so I think that charging has evolved quite a bit over the last year.

Drew: Yeah. And so I’m starting to think about the target audience here.

And you’ve mentioned developers, but developers exist at companies. So if we just tip jet blue, not that, but we’ll take an airline and I am a customer of that airline. And I go to, again, whoever created that site, that developer, if you will works for American and those folks who run that company probably take.

Identity really, really, really seriously. So I first want to make sure that we’re, we’re still is the, who makes this purchase decision for you.

Kerry: It’s a great question. And actually historically with identity, there’s a problem you have to think about and how we market or an identity in that when identity is done right to an end consumer, to any user, it needs to be invested.

That actually needs to be frictionless. So yes, while they take it seriously. Historically identity substance has been an afterthought, right? Because it’s almost, almost, I would say not complete, it’s almost like ingredient an ingredient marketing strategy, right. Because if we do it right, we make it invisible.

So historically, one of the problems with identity. Is it SIS in a different team, under a different organization, under different leadership and all of the different companies. So one company, it might be under engineering and application development and another, it might be under security teams and another, it might be under it and in some it’s under marketing.

So it’s kind of.

Drew: Yeah, it, which gives you a lot of potential target audiences who are going through different processes. Now, I, you probably heard me rant about this. Each of that one could argue you could be a different company to each of those endeavors. Because they have different needs. As you thinking about that, all of those audiences, how did you sort of find some, boil it down?

So there was some common grounds so that we had a strategic foundation that we could create a single brand as opposed to multiple brands or a man with a thousand faces.

Kerry: So it was very clear from day one with us, zero, that out of all those possible personas out of all of those possible homes, well, we cared about the most was making sure that we made identity easier for developers and app dev teams for those organizations that were building it.

Right. And so to that point, we built our platform that way we marketed our platform that way. But we did need to make sure the messaging that we could tell a tactical technical story to developers that made their job easier and pull the business value story to the CTOs and application leaders, um, to be able to show the business value of what that platform.

Drew: I know developers reasonably well. I mean, literally, I don’t know, 15, 18 years ago we were working with IBM on their whole developer works program. And one of the things that’s so interesting about developers that hasn’t changed is they are infamous for ignoring marketing, uh, in knowing messaging, ignoring just about everything because they live in their own.

But when you do get to them and you do get them engaged, they’re just so excited if you do it. Right. So still in this strategic Pope, we’ve, we’ve got a target audience. We can get to know them really well. What do you think ultimately was an insight that enabled you to sort of go to market with a better brand?

Kerry: Early on in the marketing evolution at Asaro, we made the decision that we weren’t going to market to developers. And I would call a traditional B2B marketing way. We wanted to be valuable to developers. We wanted to help them learn. We wanted to make their lives easier. And everything that was done was in pursuit of those efforts.

Right. And so what I would say is. I often hear the cliche, oh, developers don’t want to be marketed to. And I don’t believe in that actually believe in strongly and developer marketing, you have to understand the audience and what developers love is they love learning and they love discussion and they love their community.

And they love when you make their life easier. You make application building easier. So we could go into tactics and all of this, but it was very clear to us. That was what we needed to do from day one and the whole focus for the first years, wasn’t on pipeline building wasn’t on demand gen. It was building trust and relationships with.

Drew: The entire third section of the book, of course, thoughtful execution. That’s what we’re talking about. Marketing is a value exchange, and this is the understanding, but we’re not using words like messaging. We’re not using words like brand story. We’re using things like learning and sharing and community building, which is quite different.

Okay. Was there any element of courage in this. Program, as you’re thinking about it from a strategic standpoint over the last couple of years, you got, that was a moment where we did something that was just a little bit unexpected.

Kerry: I think the whole five years were based on courage. Sorry. I had to laugh or second draft on this question.

Drew: Oh. And then speak to that. Cause you know, that’s a really interesting thing to feel safe. So what was that courage? What, what was it just the fact that you decided not to market it, but you were going to just become this sort of educational.

Kerry: Yeah, I think, you know, I was listening to some of your episodes and I was listening to one recently around customer experience.

And I think it was from Dan Gingiss in the episode, he said something to the effect of a lot of marketers would rather be wrong in the traditional channels than be right in an non traditional channel. And when I heard that it resonated with me because I think from day one, Even before I started at Asaro, the whole goal was we’re going to be sometimes wrong and sometimes, right.

But all in the non-traditional channels, that’s all going to be through experimentation and testing and. Well, it takes a lot of courage to be an experiment focused team. And so we wouldn’t do all the traditional tactics. We would experiment with things like we’re going to build a website called jwt.io and a handbook, the JW handbook.

And we’re going to teach developers how to compete with us. We’re going to teach developers how to build identity on their own. And we’re going to give them the best tutorials about how to do this because when they read that 157 page manual and what they need to do to do it. They’re not going to want to build it themselves, and then they’re going to do our trial.

Right. But that’s, that’s some creative, courageous thinking. Right. And we’re like, we’re going to give them the keys for how to compete with them. That’s an example of.

Drew: Uh, no, it’s really cool. And I, and I want to come, I want to come back to that cause it’s funny. How is it difficult part? Because getting to a courageous strategy, ultimately it’s when you see the execution of that strategy is when the sort of it becomes clear.

But I love the idea that you have a really clear sense of what is it and how you want to communicate. With these folks, not necessarily where, but how, in terms of the value that you want to deliver. Okay. Last question on this strategy area, would you say your organization is purpose-driven and if so, what is that purpose?

Kerry: I love this question. Absolutely purpose-driven organization. And I say this for Auth0. I say this for Okta as a whole. The purpose we are is to enable everyone, everyone in the digital world to be able to easily and safely use technology. Now that sounds obvious, right? Okay. Sure. Anyone can pull up an application or they use their phone, but if you think about it, think about how much friction.

Identity plays in being able to access technology, usernames, passwords, remembering all those passwords, fear of your accounts being leaked or breach our goal. Our purpose is to eliminate that friction also make people feel more secure when they’re entering that digital world. And I think that’s a really important purpose that we’re on both that

Drew: officer.

I love it. And one of the things I talk about in the book is sort of little P purpose and big P purpose. And then there’s a little bit of both in yours in that there’s a practical thing is we all want to get it onto the websites that we all want to get onto. And the easier it is, the better. And if it’s pretty clear and given how many web applications and other applications there are out there, and how many of them we have to access every single day, uh, certainly making that easier, uh, Uh, I might argue profound, important purpose.

All right. We’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we’re going to get into artful ideation and a lot more good stuff. So stay with us.

I’d like to take a second now and talk about CMO Huddles. Launched in 2020 CMO Huddles is an invitation-only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOs—and I mean elite—to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. I was in a huddle the other day and one CMO said, do you really think we can outwork this job?

And there was a real pause and then we all went, “No.” Maybe we can outsmart it with the help of 99 other peers in your corner. Think of CMO Huddles as a force multiplier that’s going to give you a competitive edge.

One CMO described huddles as timely conversations with smart peers in a trusted environment while another called it a cross between an expert workshop and a therapy session. If you’re a B2B CMO who can share, care, and dare with the best of them, check out cmohuddles.com or hit me up at LinkedIn. That’s Dre Neisser at LinkedIn. And see if you qualify.

Okay, we’re back. We talked about the strategy of targeting developers. We talked about the brand purpose. We’re going to now move into artful ideation, and I want to first start with how do you engage employees and communicate to employees? And, and how does that impact the way they think about your brand?

Kerry: Oftentimes with our teams, we undervalue how important. The role clarity and communication is with our teams, right?

I’m a big believer in consistency and repetition, not just as marketers, but with our internal teams. And so I think the big. Part of the philosophy is we, as leaders should take the responsibility to put the same level of care, dedication into our internal comms and our internal leadership as we do to our external marketing and audiences.

And that includes creativity. That includes being funny and witty and entertaining and all of that. So I think that for me, that’s the most important part of internal stress.

Drew: I talk about that a lot in the book, but I’m curious, what are the barriers and why is this so difficult? I mean, in the research that we did for the book, it was like the CMOs would say that it was important, but then they’d only allow three weeks for any kind of internal launch before an external launch.

And, and the other part of it was sort of would drive me crazy is that it’s not just about communicating sometimes it’s about. Changing the way you do something to support the new promise that you’re making. And so why are employees sort of the afterthought?

Kerry: I think it’s a very simple reason. I think we as leaders, it’s just, isn’t just marketing.

If this is across a lot of executives, I think we have a bias where we undervalue organizational. And we overvalue a sophistication bias where we overvalue, maybe it’s innovation or external marketing campaigns. So things like. But the reality is if we value organizational health, which clear communications and process and change our component of that, then our teams can meet the ones out there, innovating and putting creativity into the market and doing that.

And we don’t have to do. As much of that as leaders. Right. But I think it feels like we, as leaders need to be doing these super sophisticated, super cutting edge things. When really it’s quite simple. If we communicate better and we have a better process and we have overall better organizational health, that goes a long way in our teams performing better.

Drew: Now sometimes I’ve heard CMOs say their HR person says no, no, no, I own internal communications. And I’ve heard that I find it problematic, but in doing encourage, and in my book, I talked about this and a lot of CMOs I’ve met have bridged that gap somehow where they char person finally realized, oh, you’re really clever at this.

You’re better at it than we are. Why don’t you help or let’s partner. But that is something that I’ve seen.

Kerry: Yeah, we both had Auth0 and also we see it as a partnership, right. They truly are. People teams have expertise in so many areas where we can learn from both in process and in, in how things should be approached.

But I think communications is a function most often that sits within marketing. It’s what we do. It’s what we breathe. It’s what we live. So it really, I believe it should be.

Drew: We’ve talked about internal communications. Is there any effort that you’ve done over the last couple of years where you said that rock that really helped get the employee base excited about the marketing or initiative that you were about to pursue?

Kerry: Absolutely. This one’s specific to the marketing org. So for years we struggled with our integrated campaign launches internally and getting. The various marketing teams excited and using the materials right. Shortly after launch, we would do a launch meeting and we believed would put everything of value out there for our marketing teams.

And then. Adoption wouldn’t be there and things like that. So we did a change a year ago, or we decided where you’re going to do integrated campaign internal launches differently. Right. And we were going to value retention and entertainment. So we tried a bunch of different things. The ones that work the best or when we would turn our launches into.

Trivia contests and internal things where they got to win prizes and they got to play games. The retention levels of what assets we were launching, what the integrated campaigns were composed of, went through the roofs. When we made them entertaining, engaging bi-directional.

Drew: Amazing. And there you have it.

It’s a, you know, a little game of vacation goes a long way, particularly if we’re dealing with gen Z and millennials, but I think anybody, and it speaks to this notion and engage me and you can’t bore anybody into learning anything. I mean, and that’s a, uh, on an unfortunate truth, straightforward won’t necessarily get you straight away where you want to go.

So is there anything else about. Your sort of we’ll call it artful ideation, process that in this area where we’re going from strategy to execution, that the listeners should know about, that that will help them as they think about their marketing.

Kerry: And I think where we’ve had the biggest breakthroughs in the last few years is when we take those problems to small, effective working groups that are cross-functional and cross level, and the solutions are always better.

So I think we may, as leaders be the ones who need to make sure it is communicated and it’s clear and it’s repeated enough and consistent enough that our teams have direction, but often what we’re communicating should come from.

Drew: I love that thought for several reasons. One, obviously so many companies are suffering from a retention challenges and one of the ways to keep people as in, to involve them to marketing is one of the more fun things that every company does or people at least perceive it that way.

So you can involve them in my book. I addressed this in a couple of ways. One, I recommend for every CMO to do a tracking study. It’s an employee survey. It’s better than. Uh, tracking study, we’ve got 15 standard questions. If anybody wants to just hit me up on LinkedIn, happy to share that with you. And it’s funny, we’re doing that for a client of ours right now and there we’re probably at about 60% compliance and we have enough data that we could use the data.

But what we said to the client today was, you know what, keep going, because. The part of the purpose is not just to get the information, but to help the employees feel part of the process. And so if you can get to 60, 70, 80%, those extra folks, even if they don’t change the data that you’re getting back, they will feel connected.

So what you’re describing is even better, which is after you’ve done the study and you sort of benchmark where it is. Yeah. Use this group of people to solve problems. And in the book I tell the story of Jeff Perkins and how they do it, a park mobile, and create a whole semi-annual innovation week. And it’s just such an untapped in it’s easy to do.

And, and, uh, but you have to commit to it and you have to recognize that they’re there to solve that problem. Okay. We’re going to move on. And so we’re now in this world of thoughtful execution, and you talked about how you want to deliver value learning, uh, generate discussion and the community. Talk a little bit about some of the things that you’ve done for the developer.

Kerry: So, for these communities of developers, we know three things to be true. They trust influencers in the developer community. They trust themselves in their ability to test things themselves and they trust their peers. Right. And they trust others. So that is the foundation of how we engage with developers.

So what I would say in providing that value, let’s first talk about the influence. What we know about developers is. We’re going to engage with them. They won’t trust what we as marketers and what we as a company tell them, right? So we created an ambassador community where they want to make the lives of developers easier.

So we bring them into our community. We help pay for some of their travel and expenses to go to talks and we make sure they understand. How we can make the identity part of application development easier, and these hundreds of developers across the globe, they go out and they talk about it and they, they share about it.

The second thing, in terms of like developers, trust themselves, we made sure that we didn’t do a trial that was marketing focused. It was developer-focused. And what I mean by that is it would be easy for marketing to put a bunch of forms in front of them and a bunch of blocks and a bunch of things. So we get the data instead of.

Anyone can sign up for trial of loss. All they need is just an email address and they immediately get free access to the product and a bunch of tutorials to help them. And the last thing was they trust the community. So the, one of the biggest parts we need to do is put thoughtful, useful utility content out there in the developer community to be able to.

Educate developers around doing identity. So those are kind of the three fundamentals about how we approach the development.

Drew: It’s sort of going back to my developer experience, it’s a great group because they will share their opinions. And when they believe in something, they believe it with all their hearts and they do like to aggregate.

And of course that was harder during COVID and, and that created all sorts of challenges. Were you able to support these folks in the pandemic and how’d you sort of adjust for that? We

Kerry: actually flourished during the pandemic, uh, which is interesting. And what I mean by, we grew very, very fast and in many different ways during the pandemic.

And I think part of the reason for this is because zero always felt from day one. Community cannot just exist in person. Yes. We would travel out to a bunch of conferences and events and things like that, but more so we have a blog that gets hundreds of thousands of developer visits every month. And we have online tools that help developers from anywhere in the globe through tutorials and things like that.

And so. What actually happened for us during the pandemic is once these other channels that they were used to going to for their community were kind of cut off a whole group of new developers discovered us online. Cause we were already set up and established to be able to help them out. So from that perspective, you know, we were able to double down on programs that already existed to help her develop her.

Drew: Well, one of the things that, again, there’s content and there’s content, there’s lots of blog posts and so forth. How do you make sure that the blog content is developer?

Kerry: So about a third of the team members, our marketing team, our developers developers who’ve come over to the other side. Right. Actually, when I joined us, Sarah, back in 2016, I think I was the 10th marketing employee.

And I was the first marketing employee that had a traditional marketing background. All other nine were developers who were doing this. And that’s key because you have to really understand your audience. So number one, you know, We have developers on the team who are going to hold ourselves to really high standards for what developers deserve.

The second thing, and what it is is it has to be specific. It has to be technical and it has to be useful. So we’re not going to abstractly theoretically, tell developers. You know, if they want to add authentication to an application is in Python. We can’t be theoretical about that. We have to be specific and we have to be able to give them a tutorial of exactly how they can do it and make sure it’s useful.

So there’s a lot more that goes into it, but I think those are the basics and the foundations of how you separate yourself from a lot of marketing fluff out there. A lot of, a lot of BS.

Drew: I love that specific technical and useful. You can only do that if you come from a place as you described it of knowledge.

And so you can’t fake that, you either know it or you don’t. Uh, and so having a team of developers in house who were in marketing really is, it seems so obvious, but I, I don’t know if that’s the case at every one of these companies that targets this group. So at the beginning, actually, before you and I started recording, We talked about brand and your feeling about the importance of brand.

And we haven’t really talked about it that much to this point. So let’s get at it from a brand standpoint. When you look at some of the things that you did for ortho, what are we talking about?

Kerry: Bran has been critical and foundational to Auth0 success from the very beginning. And what I would say is I think we, we had three cycles of evolution in the history of Auth0 getting to where we are today.

The first. Few years was investment in the developer brand. And that’s what I’ve been talking about so far, right? Producing a bunch of high utility, high value technical assets, both in the digital and physical communities to make sure that we were valuable and known to developers phase two, which happened starting in probably 20 16, 20 17 was layering on that developer brand with.

More traditional marketing motion. When that allowed us to be able to extend our developer brand into becoming a real mature business, right. That could speak to all different personas across app dev orgs and the company. And so that was huge. What was most critical in the last two years was our third phase, which was our investment in broader brand campaigns and broader brand marketing.

And the reason why this was important. Officer was in growing incredibly fast. We were requiring more and more enterprise companies, but the problem was at a very large enterprise, even if a couple dozen of the developers love you. If the CIO or the CEO or the CTO of the enterprise, doesn’t know if I’m staying off who it’s a really hard, upward battle to win the enterprise business.

So we also have the challenge to invest in brand marketing, where we were going to appeal to a wider audience, but not alienate our developer for heritage. Right. And so we put a lot of work the last few years into establishing our next brand halo, which is to a wider technical.

Drew: Very cool. I love that evolution.

It makes so much sense. And it’s the evolution. If you sort of have a grassroots brand and you built love among your user community, but then you go enterprise and you keep going up, you need this, this sort of halo of brand, and suddenly you need more awareness against more people, but you have this.

Challenge. And I’ve seen it before as you can, but you’re abandoning us. You’re selling out, you’re doing this things and that, and the community will tell you. So again, you have a developer advisory board who you can run things by and you can think, and you can let them know, Hey, by the way, we’re about to do this.

You treat them the same way you treat employees in the sense that you have an inside view of where we’re going and why this is so important, because really ultimately. The brand work to get the CIO to understand is all to help them. So I’m curious, how did you manage that? Hey, we’re getting bigger, but we’re not selling that.

Kerry: Yeah, it’s actually a great question. So yes, I will say the first part testing and research and developer research was critical to all of our brand campaign work. It’s always critical in what we do. And it’s very sure that when we add on these new motions, it’s always an expansion of what we’re doing and not a pivot.

Right. It’s very easy for companies to feel like they need to make a marketing pivot. It was very clear to us. It’s not a pivot. It’s an expansion. The second part of how we approached it is because it was an expansion of the brand. We actually took cues more from the consumer world and the B2C world. And we, we had a strategy in our campaign that felt on tone with developers and felt authentic to who we are and what our brand was.

But in a creative, I think, funny and innovative way that was universal much more like what consumer brands have to do. So that was the approach we took with our eight.

Drew: Talk a little bit about that. Cause I was realizing we’ve been talking, speaking of abstract and not specific specifically, and maybe in the show notes, we’ll share a link to, is there a video that you did or something that expressed this idea?

Yeah,

Kerry: absolutely. We have lots of videos and I think they’re hilarious. So in the summer of this last year in 2021, we launched our biggest brand campaign, this universal brand campaign, and the slogan of it, of the campaign was make log-in our problem, not yours. And it’s surrounded around all the problems with identity.

If you build it in house and that’s a universal problem. Yes. It’s a problem with the developers acid to deal with that. It’s also a problem for the CEO, the CIO, and for all of these app dev teams. And so I think doing that campaign in a fresh tone and style that appeals to developers, but making the story simple and universal was the key to this.

Drew: Just as I break it down. Cause I do that when I hear lines like this make login. So we’ve established the category. This is the community, this is the world that we’re operating our problem. Okay. So we’ll have to define what that is and not yours. So we’re going to take this on us, but it’s so funny because in so many of these things, it’s always sort of, there’s this fear and certain flood factor.

There are problems and that’s what you’re there to solve. But talk about how you were able to take that. Very simple idea of there are problems, but there are problems, not yours. How do you bring that to life in a, in a way that is, uh, not so fuddy painful, uh, where, where is the source of the.

Kerry: So we created an anti mascot, right?

So to be clear, it’s not a mascot because it’s not representing Auth0, it’s the anti mascot. Right. And, and this mascot, we lovingly call loggy, but it’s a comical version of a login box. And what is personified in the ads? And we’ll share these links out is what happens when active teams build identity in.

Right versus letting the experts build it. And so I think how it makes it not funny is we, didn’t the tone. Wasn’t so serious. It’s quite comical exaggerated, almost like hyperbolic versions of, of situations, but the situations are so. Real in how they manifest for app dev teams and protect Knology leaders every day.

And what I see with a lot of B2B brands is we stay away from comedy, right? We stay in the technical, we stay in this solution marketing world of. Instead of getting to the heart of real problems, we wave a magic wand and say, we’re going to make all of your dreams come true just by our product. And our solution will solve it.

We intentionally went against that. Right. And we just hit the heart of the issues of what active teams deal with it.

Drew: You dare to be distinct as a, as I might say in my book, love this, uh, love the fact that, you know, there’s so few brands out there and B2B the, take the joker, uh, our type and take advantage of it.

There’s a lot of things in life you can take seriously, but we really don’t have to take everything seriously. It speaks to the importance of likability and, and, and, you know, a humor. Is a service that we all need. We all need a little more of it. You created this anti mascot. It sort of reminds me almost a drug advertising where you create the problem that the drug sort of solves, but loggy how many different ways did you ask.

Kerry: This is a global campaign and there was a lot of, you know, your traditional placements. You would expect a lot of digital advertising, video advertising and things like that. It also went out of home. So we did out of home physical placements in the UK, in Germany, in Australia, in the U S obviously, and in Japan, this fed highly into our social media channels and a lot of our engagement there.

And. Continuing on. Right. So what I would say is we use this campaign at the highest altitude of our brand campaigns to tell this universal story throughout the last.

Drew: I love it. Okay. We’re going to take a quick break. Um, and then we’re going to come back and talk about results and, and key lessons learned.

So stay with us.

Hey, it’s true. And I just want to mention something completely off the cuff, but we’ve been doing more and more of it, and I see it keeps working. There’s a kind of market research that you can do that can generate. PR that can give you something to your marketing and sales teams to give that as a value to your customers and prospects.

It’s it’s you do proprietary market research that actually gets at information. That is really interesting. It’s something that Wrangler has been doing, uh, for, for a while. Now it’s an art form. I gotta tell you there’s some really critical steps to make it legitimate research, but still yield a newsworthy story.

So. Any of that is of interest. You do me a favor, hit me up on LinkedIn or visit renegade.com and check it out. We’ve got a bunch of case histories there on market research that cuts through

Okay, we’re back. And we only have a couple of minutes now, Carrie, we’re going to bring it home. So you launch this campaign. I love all the, uh, uh, extensions of it. Um, I’ve been a big fan of, uh, outdoor. It is a way of building awareness and delivering. If you have a succinct enough message to get a conversation started.

So talk a little bit about.

Kerry: So, what I can share is from the previous year, we increased our unaided awareness, uh, by 80% year over year. Now the brand can be, and isn’t the sole contributor to that. There’s many factors that go in and increase about eight awareness, but we know that this campaign was a huge part of it.

We get that data through third party, um, brand research studies that we do every four months. And so we’ve seen it hold true in the last two of the major studies.

Drew: Okay. Well, you could have had started at a very low base, so 80%, but nonetheless, it’s still, that’s a jump I’m going to give you credit for that.

Um, and obviously if you’re doing a brand campaign awareness matters and so for, did you do some kind of in market tracking? How did you measure unaided?

Kerry: Yeah, we did what we did with unaided awareness. We did a global study of our target markets across all of our demographics, and we’ve been measuring them for the last few years.

So we saw the increases in the ticks and the months following each of the big launches of the campaign beyond our research studies, we also saw the biggest. In our organic social channels. Right? So what we saw was our Twitter engagements in the weeks following big launches of the campaign were going up 80%.

And the content that our followers and our audiences most liking was this campaign and this comical take, right? So we could see immediately how much our audience wanted to engage with loggy and the sprint campaign as a whole overall for Twitter. As an example, we saw link clicks, go up. 40% year over year from 2020.

And if you look at the Asaro account, it’s not a small basis, starting from it’s a very long.

Drew: There you go. So, and I, I really want to emphasize this. This is such an interesting litmus test. The developer community is notoriously critical. They don’t wake up in the morning and necessarily, gee, I can’t wait to like a company’s video.

That is not what they’re doing. So for them to embrace the campaign and the things and share it is a huge endorsed. Of its its relevance. Maybe that the element of surprise and kudos to you. And I can tell you from past experience as a social media agency, uh, several years ago, we had two clients within a month of each other launch national campaigns.

Both of which we could tell were dead in the water on. Like, and it was so painful as a social agency. The last thing you want to be is not be able to support the national campaign. This was incredible. So the opposite of that is wonderful, but it doesn’t always happen. So again, kudos to you for, for getting that kind of results, because it really says you understand your community.

It really it’s such an endorsement. If they want to share it, that means they identify with it. They feel good.

Kerry: One thing on this really quickly that I do want to bring up. Cause this came back in our user research, which you were talking about when we showed the spots to a lot of our developers and research, what they said back to us as this feels authentic, they still.

Real, it doesn’t feel like the typical piece shades and tropes that are about developers. You’re not putting people in dark rooms with hoodies, with cartoon character. T-shirts it felt more authentic and real. And I think when you honestly reflect the community that you’re marketing to, it’s going to resonate.

Drew: I love it. Okay. So wrapping this whole thing up and building this brand campaign, uh, against, uh, the developer community to sort of build your awareness as you have done. Are there any lessons learned that you could share with your fellow marketers that maybe to do’s in a don’ts when approaching this kind of.

So the

Kerry: first do is if you’re going to run a global campaign, really make sure that you’re thinking about the fact that it’s global from day one, we did this, right, but we relied more heavily on this mascot and the visual aspects of the campaign. Over the words. I think too often in B2B, we rely on the words and that becomes really hard to translate literally globally into a meaningful message.

The second do is that I think will. Effective with here as well is keep the messaging simple. You notice when I said it, we didn’t call what we do, authentication or identity. We called that blog because when you actually getting to end users and people, what do they think about the login and the login box?

We don’t need to use overly sophisticated language to tell a compliant story. The don’t that I would say, you know, we rolled this out during a global pandemic, and I think don’t get ahead of yourself in the planning. We committed to some out of home placements. And again, I think they were still good, but we committed to them months out when we believe that this pandemic was on the downward slope and that everyone would be traveling and going around.

And Hey, we learned from that, right? So you gotta be adaptable. You gotta be agile with where are you going to put the.

Drew: All right. Well, Kerry Ok, thank you so much for being on the show. Really enjoyed hearing your journey.

Kerry: Thank you so much.

Drew: And to the listeners. I hope you enjoyed this as well. Lots of ground covered in this show about, from a strategy to understanding your target, to building an authentic relationship with the target many good things.

Anyway, uh, if you enjoy the show, leave a note on the under LinkedIn profile and of course, go to your favorite podcast channel and give us a five star rating.

Show Credits

Renegade market is United is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me. Audio production is by Sam Beck. Show notes are written by Melissa Caffrey. The music is by the amazing burns twins and intro. Voiceover is Linda Cornelius to find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about my new book. And the savviest B2B marketing boutique in New York city. Visit renegade.com. I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong.

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