LTI CMO: The Shoshin of Brand, Demand, and Expand
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Want to teach an old dog new tricks? Teach them shoshin. It’s a word from Zen Buddhism that means “beginner’s mind,” a state of approaching any challenge with a childlike eagerness. It’s about infinite curiosity, about the constant learning process, about being an open canvas to all the possibilities out there.
It’s the shoshin mindset that drives everything at LTI, a global IT and digital solutions company with 40,000 employees around the world. In this episode, CMO Peeyush Dubey shares how shoshin has driven the brand’s success, especially in relation to LTI Canvas, the new product that LTI developed in three months in response to the COVID pandemic.
Tune in to hear all about it in this fascinating interview, as well how LTI scales its marketing efforts under a three-pronged structure of brand, demand, and expand.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- How LTI scales its marketing efforts
- Behind the development and rollout of LTI Canvas
- How LTI encourages experimentation via shoshin
Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 269 on YouTube
- Renegade Marketing: 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands by Drew Neisser (on Amazon)
- LTI Canvas
- NYT article: “The ‘Hybrid Office’ Could Be Great. It Could Also Be Hell.”
- [0:00] Cold Open: Renegade Marketing, the Book
- [1:08] Scaling Marketing at LTI with Brand, Demand, and Expand
- [7:16] Courageous Strategy: A New, Post-Pandemic Product
- [12:48] The Artful Ideation Behind LTI Canvas
- [12:12] Thoughtful Execution: The Shoshin Mindset at LTI
- [25:30] Bringing LTI Canvas to Market Internally and Externally
- [39:41] Scientific Method: LTI Marketing Metrics
- [44:00] Scientific Method: Encouraging Experimentation at LTI
Transcript Highlights: Drew Neisser in conversation with Peeyush Dubey
[0:00] Cold Open: Renegade Marketing, the Book
Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. You may know that I have a new book out called Renegade Marketing: 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands that’s now available on Amazon in paperback, e-book, and audio. Crammed with fun-to-read stories and game-changing insights I’ve gleaned as both an interviewer and a practitioner, I can’t wait for you to check it out. In fact, for listeners of this show, I’d be happy to share an entire chapter, or if you need more, for free. Just email email@example.com and we’ll give you Chapter One: Clear Away the Clutter and our 12-step cheat sheet. Okay, let’s get on with the episode.
[1:08] Scaling Marketing at LTI with Brand, Demand, and Expand“What marketing essentially does is reduce friction to sales through brand, demand, and expand.” —@ThePeeyushDubey @LTI_Global Click To Tweet
Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers! As I’ve referenced on this show, probably too many times and crystallized in my new book, Renegade Marketing, being a CMO today is really, really hard. But the successful ones are truly the cool CATS of marketing. CATS, of course, being an acronym for courageous, artful, thoughtful, and scientific.
Lest you think the CATS framework only applies to previous guests, I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guest, Peeyush Dubey, the CMO of LTI, a global technology consulting firm headquartered in Mumbai, India.
Peeyush has been in his current role for six years and before that had lengthy stints at Infosys and Mindtree. Peeyush is a world-class thinker and doer, so I know you’re gonna enjoy this conversation. With that, hello, Peeyush! Welcome!
Peeyush Dubey: Hi, Drew. Great to be here.
Drew Neisser: Thank you. To ground the guests, even though they’re all over the world, where are you right now?
Peeyush Dubey: I’m in New Jersey, which is where home is, which is where the office is.
Drew Neisser: All right. A long way from the headquarters.
Peeyush Dubey: A long way from headquarters. This is our North American headquarters in New Jersey, and the company is listed in India.
Drew Neisser: Got it. Okay. Well, you know that we’re going to start with courageous strategy and that’s the first initial in CATS. I want to—this is really challenging. I mean, LTI is a huge company with 40,000 plus. I know it’s probably more than that. What do you do or have you done to help boil all of your challenges into a manageable set?
Peeyush Dubey: That’s a good place to start. And this is probably true for any CMO—the scope of the role could be humongous. I normally try and summarize everything into three things that marketing does.
I call it brand, demand, and expand. Brand is all about brand awareness and perception. Demand is about good quality and quantity of demand generation. And expand is all about Account Based Marketing and how we expand. So what marketing does is essentially to reduce friction to sales through brand, demand, and expand.
Drew Neisser: I love that, and it’s such a great simplifier from the beginning. Brand, demand, and expand. Easy to remember. I want to go through each one of those because, you know, we’ve talked about this a lot in CMO Huddles.
Particularly true for startups, probably less so for LTI, but maybe not—brand is a squishy word in the C-Suite. I’m curious how—I mean, you’ve been in the role for six years. When you talk to your CEO or the board, what is their understanding of brand and how it impacts your job?
Peeyush Dubey: So, when we talk of brand, there are essentially two aspects of it. The awareness and the perception. In many cases, when we start it’s the awareness which is lacking, and the reason in which you would want your prospects and customers to be more aware.
And then I think it is the perception because, in the technology world, things change very quickly. The positioning of the companies also have to catch up very, very fast. And so, it is very important for any company to make sure that the customers understand and perceive the brand correctly. Whether it is the board or the CEO, we are looking at the brand awareness and perception, how we are positioned in the minds of our customers and prospects.
Drew Neisser: I’m gonna stay here for a second because yesterday we literally did a special huddle with an analyst from Forrester. And he mentioned something that reminded me of something and I kind of cover it in the book, but I liked the way he said it.
That most measures of brand are lagging indicators. Like if you have a brand tracking, and you’re tracking awareness, it’s lagging because you do it once or twice a year. Perception similarly. Do you have a secret for the impact of brand on a more current and real-time basis?
Peeyush Dubey: I think one of the things that we have seen is, especially in the world of social media, everything is a lot more real-time. The way that we are measuring the real-time is the engagement, which is probably true for most of the marketers. The NPS score or the brand awareness or how many people are aware of the brand.
Some of those indicators may be lagging, but the engagement is real. The way that we measure it is how are customers and prospects reacting to a particular message.
At the end of the day—and as we’ll probably get to speak as we go forward and talk about some of the areas where we have implemented CATS strategy—the best proof of any brand strategy working is how the clients are reacting to it. Do we have more clients using that product or that service? That I believe is the right way for a CMO to measure the brand awareness and perception.
Drew Neisser: Okay, so real-time engagement, I’ll buy that.
[7:16] Courageous Strategy: A New, Post-Pandemic Product“We set out actually to redefine the whole idea of the future of software engineering and how software engineering will be done in a world when the pandemic is over.” —@ThePeeyushDubey @LTI_Global Click To Tweet
Drew Neisser: I’d probably throw a bunch of other metrics at you, but I’m guessing—so as a consultancy, particularly in the digital space, you had a lot of people on-premise doing this work for your customers all the time. And I bet the pandemic completely disrupted that and created all sorts of new challenges.
I’m just going to keep going on this thought. Assuming all that is true, because I know it is true for the other consultancies out there; from a strategic standpoint, did you have to step back and say, “Okay, this is changing for us.” What kinds of strategic things did you start to think about as a result of the pandemic?
Peeyush Dubey: You’re right. Many of our employees and engineers work from the customer premises or are working very closely with the customers. And so, when the pandemic hit, the realization was, it was very clear in March of 2020 that some of the things that we had on our mind were: How do we get our teams to work together with each other and with our customers? How do we build synergies in the remote workforce? Will they still be able to connect and engage with each other the way that they’re used to?
Equally importantly, because we manage the data of our customers, how do we ensure the security and the policy compliance? Especially in the stage where everyone is working remotely. Are the systems robust to handle the complete re-distribution of infrastructure and network? And most importantly, how do we strengthen the culture to keep employees motivated and to keep them engaged?
I think these were some of the strategic questions that we were facing when the pandemic hit.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, and thinking about it, it’s like, okay, major impact on people both in terms of your employees, and you said culture, but also in their interactions with the customers.
It impacted your product and, of course, it impacted your process. So that’s a lot. I’m curious—what process did you go through to assess this and say, “You know what? We need to make some changes strategically from a product standpoint and a message standpoint?”
Peeyush Dubey: It was phenomenally clear to us that every single thing, whatever we have been doing, has to be questioned again. Every process, every way of working, the way we connect with our customers. Because all of our customers were also going through the similar disruption that we were facing.
Essentially the way that we thought of it is, how do we think of software engineering in the post-pandemic world? We were already thinking of the post-pandemic world, even though we did not know that the pandemic would last as long as it did. But we knew that this phase we will go through at some point in time, maybe it would take three months, six months, nine months.
But we were also pretty certain that the way things have changed, the speed of this change, and the extent of this change—it’ll probably take us a long time to bounce back, if at all there is ever going back to the old ways. And so, we thought that this is the time to take very bold and courageous moves with the way we work.
We set out actually to redefine the whole idea of the future of software engineering and how software engineering will be done in a world when the pandemic is over. And we set out then to say that we should probably have a new way of working, a new platform which is focused on the developer experience and their ways of working, which brings the entire team together under a virtual roof, so to say.
Drew Neisser: So other than just trying to reinvent the company in the middle, it didn’t seem like that was a very bold move. Seriously, I love the fact that this happened. Most companies were forced to make changes during the pandemic. Obviously, you had workforce and leadership changes, but a lot of companies didn’t make product changes. And that’s what because suddenly, you had to do what you did.
To develop this new one, you had to do it remotely. You have this new challenge of working together, and you have this decision, we’re gonna make a new product together. So, ultimately—and you and I talked about this in the prep show—this thinking got you to the Canvas product?
Peeyush Dubey: That is exactly correct. We defined the platform as LTI Canvas.
[12:48] The Artful Ideation Behind LTI Canvas“We quickly got together, started thinking how we will achieve something which is, in terms of scale, going to be so impactful for the company, and came up with the entire plan within two weeks.” —@ThePeeyushDubey @LTI_Global Click To Tweet
Drew Neisser: Let’s talk a little bit about that. Now you’ve made the strategic decision, we’re going to launch something new. Let’s talk a little bit about what you did to bring it to life and before execution, just some of the thinking that went around it. Like, how did you get to the name Canvas?
Peeyush Dubey: Actually, yeah, these are some interesting directions for this conversation, Drew. So, there are two aspects of the whole LTI Canvas and how it was launched. One is, of course, working with our operations team. And that is where they also needed all the support and partnership with the marketing team to think of a name, to think of how it should be positioned.
They had a wonderful—we just really launched LTI Canvas in July 2020. If you look at the concept of carton, it is right between March when we realized it to July, when it was launched. First week of July with a press release. We thought of the entire thing in three to four months. We worked with the team to define the positioning of this platform, to find the partners that we would be working with. That was one part of this entire project.
The other part was the real fun of a marketer thinking of launching a new platform, which is so strategic to the company, which is so important for all our customers as well. We thought of Canvas, because Canvas brings a very, very different kind of feel in the minds of everybody who listens about it. We talk of a blank canvas. That’s how our new product, that’s how our software engineering started, with a completely blank slate. That also allowed the marketing team—if I could talk a little bit about the artful ideation aspect.
Drew Neisser: Absolutely. Please.
Peeyush Dubey: That also allowed us to think of how Canvas should be designed. And so whether it is the paintbrush, the color, the palette—a very, very colorful palette for the entire platform—to the way that the website would look, the videos would look, gave us—from a marketer’s perspective—gave us a blank canvas, so to say, to think of the entire platform.
The marketing team at this point in time was working with our ops team to think of the positioning, targeting, segmenting, the extent of the Canvas platform, how many projects will it cover? And on the other hand, it was the design and development team, which was working on the entire platform, both from the platform perspective and how it will be promoted to the marketplace as well.
Drew Neisser: So many interesting things going on there. I’m wondering, because we often learn from the bumps in the road or some of the challenges—what were any of the challenges? Because first of all, doing it in three months is obviously very fast. Doing it during a pandemic in three months is even that much more amazing. But were there any speed bumps or things that made it a little bit harder to get to the finish line with this?
Peeyush Dubey: Almost everything was a challenge, Drew.
Drew Neisser: I love your honesty. But let’s break it down. Part of it is, what was the challenge and then what did you do from a marketing standpoint? As a marketer, you’re trying to get a new product, and you have a lot of things to do on your end, but the product has to be right or you won’t be able to market it. What was an example of a challenge and how you rose to the occasion, you or your team rose to the occasion?
Peeyush Dubey: Sure. The biggest challenge comes from the fact that we are thinking of developing and launching our platform, which allows software engineering teams to work in remote and hybrid environments. The entire development of this platform has to be done remotely as well. Because the teams are not working together at all. At that point time, teams were not meeting with each other, the partners were not with us.
The biggest challenge—and that’s where the success of the platform also came from. We felt that if we can develop this, if we can launch it like this, that means there are tremendous benefits that will accrue to the customers as well.
I think the biggest challenge came from that perspective. The same was the challenge from the marketing team’s perspective as well. How do we launch something like this? Of course, we are talking about 18 months ago, the anxiety and the stress about the pandemic was probably at its peak at that point in time. We did not understand the extent of what the pandemic could do and how harmful it could be, so the teams were completely remote.
The marketing team was also remote, and we were supposed to think, launch entirely within three months, something which would change the course of this large enterprise itself. The way that we did it—of course, hats off to the teams both from the development side and also from the marketing side. They pretty much set aside almost all the challenges and they said, “Okay.”
I really liked the fact that most of us had worked together before the pandemic hit for many years. As you noted in your introduction, I have now been with LTI since last six-plus years. While many of the team members are new, we had a good camaraderie to know each other and to work with each other, understood each other very well. We quickly got together, started thinking how we will achieve something which is so, in terms of scale, going to be so impactful for the company, and came up with the entire plan within two weeks.
Drew Neisser: Amazing. Okay, I’m going to recap, we’re going to take a break, and then we’ll come back. A couple of things just to put a punctuation point on. The fact that you developed this product, it was proof of the need for the product, and proof that the product might work, which I love.
Secondly, just a note to the CEOs who are listening who have the trigger finger on the 18 months and you’re out with your CMO. Think about trying to keep them for a little while longer. Geth them through two or three cycles because you never know when you’re going to run into a crisis. And there is no doubt in my mind that if you have a team that you’ve worked with, these kinds of things are a lot easier to do.
If you have a brand-new team and they’re working remotely, it’s a lot harder. I think that’s a very understated part of the success here. We’re going to take a break. We’ll be right back. When we come back, we’re gonna talk about how they executed this and brought it to life and how they’re measuring it. Stay with us.
Show Break: On CMO Huddles
Drew Neisser: If you don’t mind, I’d like to plug CMO Huddles for a second. Launched in 2020, CMO Huddles is an invitation-only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOS to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. 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 that can share and care with the best of them, please visit CMOHuddles.com or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you qualify for a guest pass.
[21:12] Thoughtful Execution: The Shoshin Mindset at LTI“Anyone with a beginner's mind will be able to solve many more challenges than someone who is thinking like an expert.” —@ThePeeyushDubey @LTI_Global Click To Tweet
Drew Neisser: We’re back. And before we go on a little bit, I’d like to do this. My 95-year-old dad will listen to the show and every once in a while, he’ll send me a note and say, “So what exactly was that product?” Could you describe Canvas for my 95-year-old dad?
Peeyush Dubey: First of all, I have heard about your 95-year-old dad on earlier episodes of this podcast, so I’m glad that I’m finally trying to explain something to him
Drew Neisser: He’s very smart, but you know, sometimes the technology or what we talk about use terms that he doesn’t understand. LTI Canvas is what?
Peeyush Dubey: Absolutely. So, what LTI Canvas is, it’s a platform that allows the software engineering teams that have traditionally been working in a pod, in an office environment to collaborate and partner with the same effectiveness in a remote and hybrid environment.
Now, think of it as—it becomes more complex because as we go back to the post-pandemic world, as we go back to work, it is going to be very different. Because even though we will go to office, not all of us will go to office all the time. Many others will be remote completely. A few others have actually relocated to some other place.
How do you now collaborate with the same effectiveness that you had earlier when you were sitting in the same pod, all of you? That is the process which LTI Canvas enables for the software engineer?
Drew Neisser: Perfect, I get it. I know he will. I’ll send him this clip if he doesn’t want to listen to the whole show. But he should. There’s a lot of interesting things he’ll find having come from the electronics world himself many moons ago. It’s funny you should mention working remote or hybrid and so forth.
There was an article in The New York Times about how the real hell of Zoom happens when you have some people in the office and some people remote. And it’s funny because we talked about this in huddles and one of the CMOs in huddles said, “We have a policy that if one person is remote, all have to pretend to be remote, even if they’re in the office,” which I think is genius and I think it’s true.
I don’t think it’s fair to have 10 people in an office, like a conference room, and then 10 remote. It doesn’t really work. Okay, so we’re now moving through thoughtful execution. And when we talked, you mentioned this concept, I think of shoshin. I’m wondering if you could explain that because I was really intrigued by that.
Peeyush Dubey: Sure, in fact, shoshin, which is a Zen Buddhism word which means “beginner’s mind” is essentially the way that we work at LTI, the way the marketing team works, the way the entire company works. Because in a beginner’s mind are the possibilities.
A child can start a new challenge, can look at a challenge, and solve it much faster than an adult. I cannot say that about you, possibly. But for me, if somebody had told me, “Hey, you have to learn piano now or you have to learn violin,” I’ll say, “Oh, I don’t know how that would be. It sounds like it’s going to be a very difficult challenge.”
Whereas for my daughter, she’s like, “Okay, give me the violin. We’ll try and figure it out.” And that’s the power of a beginner’s mind. We believe that in a beginner’s mind, anyone with a beginner’s mind will be able to solve many more challenges than someone who is thinking like an expert. Because an expert is sometimes the biggest problem that we all face.
Drew Neisser: I love it. Well, I feel like shoshin is baked into huddles very much so and I certainly appreciate it. It goes into this notion of the importance of just general, infinite curiosity. Which is one of the reasons why I love doing these interviews because I’m constantly learning new things.
[25:30] Bringing LTI Canvas to Market Internally and Externally“It all comes down to how you will execute it.” —@ThePeeyushDubey @LTI_Global Click To Tweet
Drew Neisser: So, you have this Canvas product—LTI Canvas—talk a little bit about how you brought it to market.
Peeyush Dubey: Right. That’s where I think, of course, this is a show by a marketer for a marketer, so I’m preaching to the choir here. But essentially, once it comes down to a point where you have a bold strategy, you have thought of how you will ideate around it, what it’ll look like from a go-to-market perspective, it all comes down to how you will execute it.
And a marketer’s job, I believe, is to make sure that the message reaches every single stakeholder that we have. That is how we think of it. We say that, of course, customers are important. Prospects are important. But so are our employees. We have more than 40,000 of them. It’s a new way of working for them. It is our partners who work with us. It is of course our investors who need to understand. In many cases, it is also the governments and the regulatory bodies who need to understand how the data is being used and if the data is secure or not.
We thought of every single stakeholder and we made sure that each one of them gets the message in the right way. Of course, we have, as a marketer, all the tools, whether it is the entire sales script of a video or a brochure or a fact sheet, which we launched along with Canvas. Also the press release.
As a listed company, we inform the stock exchanges, which means that it’s a material development for the company to have come up with a new product, which we believe is going to change the way that we will work. And one more thing that we did is we worked with our partners in the launch, which of course expanded our reach a lot. In this case, we launched LTI Canvas along with Microsoft. The entire Canvas stack along with the LTI tools and technologies also got integrated into the Microsoft stack right from the Office 365 to Microsoft Teams to Azure, which allows the development environment as well. Those were some of the ways in which we started and executed the entire LTI Canvas launch.
Drew Neisser: Lots to break down there. But as I’m thinking about this—40,000 employees, a lot of them on the frontlines, you’ve got to get them using this, right?
Peeyush Dubey: Exactly.
Drew Neisser: So talk a little bit about it. Because suddenly you’re telling them, “Hey, we got a new way of working.” They’re going, “Wait, what? I’ve been here 25 years, what are you talking about?” How did you bring this to your employee base and get them excited about it, and frankly, get them trained on it?
Peeyush Dubey: Actually, Drew, this is where I’m glad we started this section or this response with the whole idea of shoshin because that is a philosophy which is deeply ingrained into everybody at LTI.
And the way that we think of it is that… Gone are those days when any one of us could complete graduation and then build a career. As in this is a constant learning process. Every year, every month, we have to keep challenging ourselves to learn something new.
That has kind of helped us in getting new—especially in the area of technology that we are in—introduce new concepts, introduce new offerings, new products, and have our employees also take them. We have several internal communication platforms that we used to share with them a very simple communication of how it will be done.
We have an internal training module, which is also completely digital and is being used on computers and mobile platforms, where we launched training modules for LTI Canvas for all our employees to go through as well.
Equally importantly is sales enablement and sales communication because these are the executives who will be talking to our customers and prospects about LTI Canvas. And so we created a separate series of communications just for our sales team for them to be able to explain this entire thing.
The way we do that is through three things. One is to read everything themselves. That is learn. Then is to present to customers and then to send. So learn, send, and present. Across these three categories, we created the entire sales script for our sales team and for our development teams through our internal learning platform, the small training modules. That is how we executed the entire LTI Canvas.
Drew Neisser: And one of the things with internal training like this, particularly on a new product, it’s very challenging from a compliance standpoint. I mean, again, we’re talking 40,000 employees. And you have a compressed timeframe. I mean, it was three months from, as you said it, from concept to box, or you had a more elegant term for that.
But that’s so fast. There’s not a lot of time in there for internal training and questions and, “Hey, what about this?” What did you do to make sure that a really high percentage of those employees that really needed to understand how to use the platform, we’re on it?
Peeyush Dubey: I think the examples of how some of the successful teams have worked on it, and how they have launched to their clients has been one of the best examples. Right out the gate, we had two or three clients who adopted LTI Canvas. Their examples and those case studies worked wonders within the company for everybody else to adopt it.
Mind you, everybody was going through this very, very strange time when they were not talking to the customers. Right now also, you are taking some notes. and if you realize that there is no way for us to take these notes or to share with somebody else who needs them, how would I do that?
These questions were on top of everybody’s mind, and when they saw a couple of examples of how customers have adopted it and the kind of benefits that they were seeing, it was a lot easier for us to then promote this and take it to many more projects.
Drew Neisser: Well, hopefully, your system is better than my note-taking system because, one, my handwriting is not legible to anybody but myself. And two, I’m a notoriously bad note taker.
But anyway, that aside, this gargantuan challenge that I’m really coming to grips with here, both in terms of the time and all the clients that you needed to touch. Is there anything else in the executional area? I mean, we’ve talked about internal, we talked about customers and getting them involved, we talked about partners, you talked about building right into Microsoft right away, which makes so much sense because that’s such a large installed base.
Is there anything else in this executional realm that you’re particularly proud of and that maybe even comes out of the Canvas idea?
Peeyush Dubey: One more thing that I can talk about Drew is how we thought of a persona-driven approach for LTI Canvas and how we how we felt that, if you are a product owner, this is how you would use Canvas. If you’re a project manager, this is how you would use Canvas. If you are a scrum master, these are the tools and frameworks that would be relevant to you.
Here is a starter kit for you. What are the protocols and processes? What are the governance and tracking mechanisms for each one of these roles? What are some of the enablers? For each persona, we defined all those in detail which helped adoption to be a lot quicker and faster.
Drew Neisser: Okay, I’m feeling a little guilty because on a show yesterday, I didn’t say nice things about persona-based marketing. My problem with it—when I see like a grid of say, “Here are 12 personas, and here are the completely distinct messages of those and their personality” and the level of detail is such that nobody can understand and appreciate it.
But what it sounds like is, “There’s this thing called LTI Canvas, here’s how you can use it.” It’s sort of like sales enablement based on personas. It sounds like you took it a little bit further than, “Hey, giving the salespeople, ‘Oh, when you talk to CFOs, be sure to talk about ROI,'” which is just sort of obvious.
Just for the listeners, if you’re wondering why I hesitate on persona, it’s because in certain circumstances where a marketer actually presents themselves so differently… Gartner’s research shows that you are 2.2 times less likely to get the sale if the different members of the buying committee see your company differently, which is fascinating, right?
I guess I could ask this as a question now for you, Peeyush, which is, was there an underlying theme that connected the dots? So if I looked at Canvas, and I was a product owner versus a scrum master, would I still be seeing the same brand?
Peeyush Dubey: Yeah, they would essentially be seeing the same brand, except that a copywriter would probably need different set of tools than an editor. That is the difference between the tools and frameworks, the profiles, or the personas that we created for Canvas.
So we said that, “Hey, if you are a project manager, the level of details that you would need about the project is different than if you are a QA person.” So that somebody is not overwhelmed or inundated with the entire product at the same point in time.
Even though we had a very short time to develop it, we did make sure that those personas or the exact roles that each person is going to be using the platform for is well defined. So essentially, that’s what I meant by persona.
Drew Neisser: And I understand it, but it’s more common. I am in the minority of it because I often see it leading to a peanut butter effect where a brand is presented 10 different ways to 10 different people in a situation where you have a buying committee.
Here, it sounds like a company might adopt it, but each individual user may use it in a slightly different way. And I realize that personas can be used very effectively. And it sounds like that you did. I just have seen them used really in a way that was counterproductive. Not to dwell on that.
So we’ve covered a lot, and I’m just trying to get a sense of—this was a massive undertaking. How many people were actually working on this? Let’s just talk about the marketing aspect, because you talked about a lot of different things being developed in a very short period of time.
Peeyush Dubey: That is correct. So, from the marketing perspective, the entire creative team was completely involved in it. The communications team was, of course, completely involved. The sales enablement team was into it. The digital marketing team, whether it is the owned assets, earned assets, or paid, the entire team was working on that. And also the influencer relations team, which also worked with it.
All the different parts of the marketing team that we have were completely involved at that point in time in July when we were launching LTI Canvas.
Drew Neisser: But even beforehand, I mean, is this 200 people? 300? Give us a sense of the scale of this because it just feels like a lot.
Peeyush Dubey: It is around 50 to 60 people.
Drew Neisser: Only 50 to 60. They were working their tushies off. Okay. So we get Canvas out there.
[39:41] Scientific Method: LTI Marketing Metrics“Around 35 to 40% of the projects within LTI are now using LTI Canvas.” —@ThePeeyushDubey @LTI_Global Click To Tweet
Drew Neisser: Let’s talk about, first of all, as we move to scientific method, we started the conversation with brand, demand, and expand. Let’s talk about, first of all, the overall metrics that matter to you. And then we can move into the metrics specifically to Canvas and why we’ve just spent 40 minutes talking about it. Let’s talk on a broad level what metrics matter to you.
Peeyush Dubey: The metric which really matters for a product launch is how the customers are reacting to it and are they adopting it? Are they finding it useful? In this case, not only did the customers start liking them for the projects that LTI was working on them, but in many cases, they said, “Hey, can we actually use Canvas for the projects that LTI is not doing for us? We would like this to be the way that we are working as we go forward.”
We have around 400 plus clients that we work with, these are multi-million-dollar relationships in most cases. Now within a few months—and adoption, especially during a pandemic is even more difficult. But within a few months, we had around 30 clients, and these are huge Fortune 500 enterprises that started using Canvas.
That, I think, is the biggest clue for us. That so many customers have adopted it, so many customers like it, so many customers want us to use it for their projects. That is the most important metric that we would look at, as to how many customers are using it.
Drew Neisser: And that happened, I’m assuming it’s grown since then because that was June. I mean, we’re now almost at the end of 2021.
Peeyush Dubey: That is correct. And now we have around… around 35 to 40% of the projects within LTI are now using LTI Canvas.
Drew Neisser: So, in little more than a year and a quarter or so. And that’s interesting because to me that sort of speaks to both internal adoption and external adoption. If we think about getting old dogs to new tricks and how difficult it is to change behavior, and change process, getting that kind of level, I gotta think that people feel good about that number. I mean, I don’t know what goals you set. Did you say our target is 40% by the end of 2021?
Peeyush Dubey: That is correct. And this is, we are completely tracking as per our target. Especially because if you see the pandemic as kind of taking his last breath and most of the places now, and most of the employees are slowly getting back to the office, the clients are also getting back to office.
At this point in time, it is not out of necessity that they have to do this. And that is the beauty of it. It is because this is the right way to do things in the new world. And that is why it is so much important for us that 40% of all projects are now continuously using Canvas and they will continue to do that. It’s a product that will remain there with them.
Drew Neisser: And did that represent a new revenue stream?
Peeyush Dubey: In terms of growth of a project, there are many of them which are new projects. So during the pandemic, many projects would not have been started because the transition process, which is a very important process in any project could not be done remotely. Many of those projects which we won during the pandemic is the new business that we have started only on Canvas. And possibly we could do it only because of Canvas.
[44:00] Scientific Method: Encouraging Experimentation at LTI“If we are not failing enough times, that means that we are not trying almost everything that we should be trying. There is scope to be doing more.” —@ThePeeyushDubey @LTI_Global Click To Tweet
Drew Neisser: Was there anything that you tried during this that just didn’t work like you had hoped?
Peeyush Dubey: One of the things that we thought would work was to look at a very broader partner ecosystem to see where else can we launch it? What are the other stacks that we could work with? That process took a little longer, though, I’m pleased to mention that now we are working with Cisco as well to launch an entire Canvas on the Cisco stack as well. But that was one area which took a little longer to be launched.
Drew Neisser: Interesting. Yeah, it would probably take a whole other episode just to assess what happened there and why that was so challenging. Because you got Microsoft in the beginning and now it took a lot longer. Interesting.
One last thing—so the last chapter of my book is called Test to Triumph. It’s really about building a culture of experimentation, getting a certain percentage of your marketing budget into tests so that you not only have things for a rainy day or a surprise, but you’re also getting your team excited about trying new things as opposed to just this optimization which grinds down marketing into A/B testing. How would you describe that in terms of your team and how you support and encourage experimentation?
Peeyush Dubey: I really pretty much feel that the marketing team or a successful marketing team should have something that we call a failure goal. It’s very much if we are not failing enough times, that means that we are not trying almost everything that we should be trying. There is scope to be doing more.
Now, when I say failure goal, that does not mean that we want to fail, but at the same point in time, we encourage new ideas, we encourage innovation, we encourage what are the new…
For example, the digital marketing team is always tasked with finding at least one or two new tools that we would add to our marketing stack, marketing technology stack every quarter. We’ll say, “Let’s just see what it does.” There is so much.
And that is how we started last year, whether it is the intent data, whether it is sniper-based tools to identify a single prospect out of which—once again, a longer conversation—but how can we take the persona and go into just one customer? I believe that it is extremely important for marketers to keep testing and to have failure goals so to say.
Drew Neisser: I love it. And I hope while you were adding these things with your tech stack, you were also looking at sunsetting some too. That’s a different chapter in my book, Chapter 11: Automate Attentively. It’s a different pet peeve. Okay, well, Peeyush, it has been an incredible conversation. I’ve so enjoyed learning about Canvas, how the rollout went. I mean, 40% adoption to me is pretty remarkable in a year and a half. Congratulations on the success of this program and thank you for being on the show.
Peeyush Dubey: Thank you so much, Drew. It’s a pleasure today talking to you.
Drew Neisser: All right, well, if you’ve enjoyed this episode, besides thinking about new products, I would encourage you to write a review, share it with a friend, give us a five-star rating. Any other things, or send me a note and just say, “Hey, Drew. Love the episode.” All right, we really appreciate your feedback.
Renegade Marketers Unite 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, please visit renegade.com. I’m your host Drew Neisser, and until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.