Carol McNerney
September 11, 2020

Rebranding Without Losing Your Past

Guest: Carol McNerney - CMO, ibi

2020 was going to be the year of the brand refresh for the data and analytics company, Information Builders. CMO Carol McNerney came on board in January to help bridge the gap between the company’s 45-year history and its desired future, and despite all of the challenges this year, they’ve successfully rolled out an ambitious (and fascinatingly unique) rebrand.

In over 200 episodes, this is the first rebrand with a logo where the old name (Information Builders) is embedded into the new one (ibi). The goal was not to erase the brand’s heritage but to incorporate it into its present and future the same way that ibi’s technology promises to embed intelligence into customer data. Tune in to today’s episode to hear Carol share how ibi rebranded successfully amidst #WFH challenges—completely redoing the website, getting employees on board and excited, and launching the brand to customers in an online event with a global reach.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How Information Builders became ibi
  • Why ibi embedded its old brand into the new one
  • How ibi is measuring the success of the rebrand

Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 205 Promo on YouTube

Time-Stamped Highlights

  • [0:29] Adapting and Rebranding During COVID-19
  • [4:07] Why Information Builders Decided to Refresh its Brand
  • [7:04] Why Information Builders Became ibi
  • [8:55] Why ibi Kept Their Old Name Embedded in the New Logo
  • [13:32] Internally Debating the “Bridge Brand” Approach
  • [16:13] How ibi “Embedded” its New Messaging
  • [18:30] How ibi Got Employees Excited for the Brand Refresh
  • [20:46] Updating the Website with New, Simple Messaging
  • [23:39] Revealing the New Messaging Via Virtual Events and Social
  • [30:00] Measuring the Success of ibi’s Rebrand
  • [33:42] Measuring ibi’s Brand Awareness
  • [36:53] Drew’s Wrap-Up: Rebranding, Transitioning, and Metrics that Matter
  • [38:54] Final Thoughts: The Advantages of Virtual Webinars

Transcript Highlights: Drew Neisser in conversation with Carol McNerney

[0:29] Adapting and Rebranding During COVID-19

“Rebranding felt more like a luxury than a necessity for most, but not for @infobldrs and their CMO Carol_McNerney.” @DrewNeisser #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: Hello Renegade Thinkers. Today’s guest started her new CMO position in January 2020, right before the world changed as we know it. Now, a pandemic was something you read about in the history books. Think over 100 years ago, the Spanish flu, 1918. Work-from-home was a rare benefit for those with long commutes. Physical events were an important source of leads for just about every B2B brand. And rebranding was an investment many companies were considering, especially as there was no recession in sight and the rising tide was lifting all ships.

But then COVID-19 turned the world upside down. #WFH was a trending topic. Physical events were off the table and, frankly, remain as a question mark for at least the first half of 2021. Rebranding felt more like a luxury than a necessity for most, but not for Information Builders (ibi) and their CMO Carol McNerney. She was given the mandate to rebrand when she arrived and by golly, eight months later, we’re here to talk about it. So, Carol. Welcome to the show.

Carol McNerney: Thank you very much, Drew. I appreciate the time.

Drew Neisser: Let’s first talk about adjusting after the pandemic.

Carol McNerney: From a personal perspective, it’s been a little bit of a refresh, just like our brand. I’m able to spend a little bit more time with my family. Although I feel like we’re all working longer hours, I at least get to see my family a little bit more without the commute.

Professionally, it’s been interesting. In my prior roles, I’ve had the luxury of being able to work from home sometimes, so that’s not too much of a change for me. But I think for the team at Information Builders, that’s a big change. Culturally, we’ve had to really shift and get people comfortable with working from home and learning how to use the technology and just trying to determine how to have calls and who should be on the call and things like that.

Drew Neisser: Zoom or Teams, whichever you use, became the default for meetings so suddenly. 

[4:07] Why Information Builders Decided to Refresh its Brand

“I was really excited to get involved and understand the perception that our current customers and prospects had of us, and how we change that perception.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: Let’s go back to January and when you first started. What was the rationale for rebranding at that time?

Carol McNerney: That actually happened before I even arrived in January. Our company is about 45 years old and founder-led up until 2017 when a gentleman—our new CEO—came in. He came in as the COO to work with the founder for about a year and a half, and then he took over as CEO in 2017. He quickly realized this was a great brand, great technology, a nice set of long-term customers. They just needed to get into the next generation and talk about the company. Because of the 45-year history, it was well known in certain sectors or industries, but we felt that the technology needed to leapfrog into the 21st century. In doing so, we thought, “What a great time to refresh the brand and have a more techie feel to the brand.”

Drew Neisser: Interesting. That’s your mandate. You arrive in January, so some work I guess had already been done. How far along were you in the process when the lockdown started in March? I always think of March 14th as that date. But how far along were you in this refresh process?

Carol McNerney: From the art side of marketing, they were fairly far along with what the new logo would look like, which is an important element—the visual element—but probably not as far along with the positioning and the new messaging, so that was where I was really excited to get involved and understand the perception that our current customers and prospects had of us, and how we change that perception so that they didn’t look at us as purely a BI and analytics firm.

Our real secret sauce was in the data side and our ability to access all that data. We were fairly close on the art side. On the science and the messaging and positioning side, we were a little further behind. By March, we were getting there.

We have a very large customer event every June where we get our customers together, and they were doing it in person for 27 years. We knew that was going to be a great date to hit with this new messaging and positioning. Between March and June 23rd, we really ramped up our efforts to get that messaging and positioning nailed down.

[7:04] Why Information Builders Became ibi

“People were calling us ibi anyhow, and then there was an ability to get that perception right away, visually, without even seeing the messaging.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: I want to go back and break things down. Refresh and rebranding— there’s so much potential in terms of all the things that can be done. Let’s just start with the logo. Why was it important to update that logo? What was the rationale? It’s such a huge investment to go and change that everywhere, so what was the rationale behind changing the logo itself?

Carol McNerney: I think there were a couple of things there. It’s interesting. When you talk to our customers and even to prospects, some people would call us Information Builders, some people called us ibi. We started to think that ibi was very short, it was easy to remember, we could have a lot of fun from a logo perspective. And again, thinking about being thought of as a high-tech company, we played with the idea of the data, the ones and zeros because data was the area where we really wanted to shift the focus.

If you look at our new logo, you’ll see the ibi, and it looks like the ones and zeros, the nod to data. We thought, just right away, visually, that people would get a different impression of who we are and change that perception. Those were the two biggest reasons. People were calling us ibi anyhow, and then there was an ability to get that perception right away, visually, without even seeing the messaging.

Drew Neisser: Right. For years, lots of companies have gone here. FedEx, you know, came from Federal Express. People just start calling FedEx, and they went, “Oh, this is easier.” I get the ibi. That makes a lot of sense.

[8:55] Why ibi Kept Their Old Name Embedded in the New Logo

“The one really great thing about our company is that everything that we do—all the intelligence—we embed that intelligence into the data and analytics process.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: One thing that you did differently, that frankly, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen, you kept the old name embedded too. At least you have a lock up of that. That to me is a really interesting decision. Talk a little bit about that.

Carol McNerney: There were a couple of factors there. One, when you’re looking at such a small “ibi,” you have to do a lot of trademark research. As we were looking into that, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to just go with ibi by itself.

We also have this very strong customer base and very strong employee base who had many years with a company that didn’t want to walk away completely from Information Builders. The one really great thing about our company is that everything that we do, all the intelligence—think about artificial intelligence and machine learning and all the data science—we embed that intelligence into the data and analytics process.

It was a nice way to take Information Builders for the people who knew us as Information Builders and embed that into this new ibi logo. It showed our past. Be proud of our heritage, of what we have done in BI and analytics, and then move and embed it (like we do with our technology) into this new ibi, high tech looking logo.

At first, I thought, “Is this just a transition logo until people get used to it?” But then when we really thought about this whole embedding idea, we liked it a lot and thought this would come across nicely to not just our existing customers, but also to prospects.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. I was thinking as you were talking that even if this is a transition logo, it’s not the rip the Band-Aid approach. I think a lot of companies, as they think about changing their name, take the rip the Band-Aid approach. There’s a real challenge with that in that you do have equity, but, you know, it’s about how you manage it. You’re having your cake and eating it too, in many ways. At some point, you could say, “Well, the embed thing is nice, but I think we just need to focus on one.” But this way, you don’t lose anybody as you bring them along. Am I missing something there? There’s some advantage here to having a transition logo, because it bridges where you’ve been and where you want to go.

Carol McNerney: I completely agree with you, Drew. I’ll tell you, the reason why I like the ibi by itself is because our technology powers a lot of applications. If you think of some of our bigger clients, they’re creating portals and it has their name on the portal, on their website, but we’re the power, the engine behind that. I thought that you don’t have a lot of real estate on those sites. The ibi by itself, like the Information Builders inside idea, would be very simple and small real estate. That’s why I liked it.

To your point, we may eventually go to just ibi when we feel we haven’t lost that brand equity, as you mentioned, and then be able to take up a smaller amount of real estate on those websites.

Drew Neisser: In some ways, you were advancing or making it easier for you all to be an ingredient brand ala Intel. In the B2B world right now, at least being an ingredient brand feels like a good place to be. Part of it is simply that it gives you an increased place to be exposed. That was sort of how Intel built this entire brand is through everybody else using their name.

Carol McNerney: Absolutely. That’s how we viewed it and, like I said, some of these very large customers have hundreds of thousands of people coming to their website every day. When I think of the challenge of our brand awareness, that really gives us an opportunity to become better known.

[13:32] Internally Debating the Bridge Brand Approach

“I think when I told this story the way I just told it to you, with this idea of giving a nod to embedded, giving a nod to data, people got it.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: In over 200 episodes on the show, we have not had a situation where there’s been this bridge brand, where you have a new name, but you have the old name and those two are connected. And you have a new logo with the old name. I really think it’s fascinating. Were there any debates internally over that approach? Were they saying, “Are you sure you want to do it this way?” Because it’s unusual.

Carol McNerney: Absolutely. Everyone has an opinion and everyone’s a marketer and everyone’s a creative genius. I had lots of people within the firm coming to me with different ideas and some people, like you said, say, “Let’s just rip the band-aid. Come on, let’s go be this new high-tech company. Let’s shed our past.”

But I had enough conversations with the employees who’ve been around a long time, newer employees—a lot of our executive team is newer. We did have these debates. I think when I told this story the way I just told it to you, with this idea of giving a nod to embedded, giving a nod to data, people got it and said, “Oh, okay. That’s actually kind of cool. And we don’t lose the brand equity that we had.”

There absolutely were debates, but I think we got the vast majority—I’m sure there are some people out there on our team who would not agree, but I’d say the vast majority people really got it and said, “We think this is the right thing to do.”

[16:13] How ibi “Embedded” its New Messaging

“We’re probably better known as an analytics company, so we really wanted to stress this idea of we are a data and analytics company and that we embed intelligence into everything.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: We’ve been talking about how Information Builders became ibi without losing their heritage. This is such a tricky part for brands because you want to be perceived as something new, but you don’t want to give up all the things from a 45-year history. Now, we’ve got a logo that bridges that transition and speaks to digital and this embedded notion. Let’s talk about the other components of the brand refresh. What’s the idea or the manifestation or the language that you used to express the rebrand?

Carol McNerney: The biggest thing when I started to think about it was this idea of “embedded.” One of the key messages that we wanted to get across was that, obviously, we’re a data and analytics company. We’re probably better known as an analytics company, so we really wanted to stress this idea of we are a data and analytics company and that we embed intelligence into everything.

It could be a company’s process. It could be their portal. It could be any technology. We’re really helping them automate how they automate their data and automate their analytics so that they can get to better decision making. I think those were some of the key elements that we thought about in our messaging and positioning.

Drew Neisser: If I go to the website, will I see the word “embed?” How did you express this?

Carol McNerney: First, you’d see it in the logo. Information Builders is embedded into ibi. In terms of the words, absolutely. When we break out our data and our analytics platforms and we talked about the two pieces. On the analytics side, there’s the augmented analytics, the embedded analytics, so we get very explicit with the use of the word embed.

[18:30] How ibi Got Employees Excited for the Brand Refresh

“The best thing that they could feel was redoing the entire website.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: One of the things that is so important with rebranding is getting employees excited about it. What kinds of things did you do to communicate that you had this new vision for the company?

Carol McNerney: A lot of marketers, I think, would say that what’s really fun is to express the new brand through swag or premiums and getting the employees excited about it, getting your customers excited with things that you can send out. Well, that was a little trickier to do since we were not going to have a live event.

We had to turn our summit event, that annual customer event, virtual. Yes, people were on Zoom calls and Team calls and you worried that those got overused and people couldn’t get excited. I tried to bring a very high energy level and get the teams excited. I would meet with the different departments and explain what we were doing so that they really understood the messaging and positioning and how it related to them.

We’d do everything from little coffee meetups for half an hour on a Zoom call all the way through to our town hall meetings that we held with the entire company. The best thing that they could feel was redoing the entire website. I would say that the vast majority of our customers and employees probably didn’t feel that our website told our story. With this opportunity to tell a new story, it was a great time to just redo the entire website.

If you look at it now, I’m very proud of it. We worked with an excellent outside firm who really helped us with imagery. Not only is it beautiful, but it really tells our story if you go to the homepage. Every marketer hopes people will walk away and say, “Wow I get what they do. I understand their value and how they’re different than the competition.” That was our objective.

[20:46] Updating the Website with New, Simple Messaging

“What we really wanted to do was get the key messages across, and it was a challenge to do it in less words, but I think that’s every challenge that every marketer has.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: Websites, particularly for a big company with all sorts of services and certain products underneath those—how long from start to finish did out a web refresh take?

Carol McNerney: This is a tough one. That was probably my biggest fear and biggest challenge. At first, I thought it would be turning an 1100 in-person event into a virtual event. I thought that was going to be my biggest challenge. I would say the website was definitely the bigger challenge.

We had a short period of time. Here I am in March and I’ve determined that I need to redo the website by June 23rd, ready to launch at the same time as our summit. We worked very quickly and split it into pieces and said, “Listen, we can’t do the whole thing by June 23rd,” so we created three phases.

Phase One was going to get us to June 23rd. I did a bulk of the work. I didn’t try to redo every case study and every customer reference and have that rebranded to be up on the website. I took the key pieces and the key elements, used the new messaging and positioning to retell the story with the imagery, and then had a few select customer case studies, customer references, some use cases for our key industries. Once we passed that June 23rd date, we’ve been behind the scenes working very diligently to get everything else built out. It’s a fuller experience for the customer or the prospect.

Drew Neisser: Got it. But it was worth thinning down, focusing on the core new story rather than worrying about a huge number of pages and all these other things. Getting a new vision, in your mind, was more important than having the depth of the website initially.

Carol McNerney: Absolutely. There’s a famous saying and I probably won’t have it absolutely right, but it’s something along the lines of, “Someone wrote a letter and said, ’I would have written a shorter letter if I had more time.’” What we really wanted to do was get the key messages across, and it was a challenge to do it in less words, but I think that’s every challenge that every marketer has. I think we did a really nice job of getting the key messages across. Then you want to just have the proof points and everything to back that up. I think it was worth doing it.

[23:39] Revealing the New Messaging Via Virtual Events and Social

“Even if it was just on product or a particular solution, we wanted to make sure that they included and really felt the spirit of the new messaging, not just the new look and feel.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: You had this virtual event in June. How did you use the new brand and communicate the new brand at your customer event?

Carol McNerney: We had a lot of fun on social media. It was a build-up with a little bit of a teaser where we would peel away pieces of the Information Builders logo to try to get our customers and prospects excited about what was happening. We knew we wanted to launch the new logo and the new messaging and positioning at the event, but not all of our customers or prospects knew that was going to happen. We had some fun with social media doing that and making the brand come to life.

Then we worked with an outside firm who’s been doing virtual events, they were really on the cutting edge, for the last 15 years. We found a great partner there and we took advantage of their platform. They let us customize that, so all the new brand colors, the new look and feel, some of the new imagery, and obviously all the messaging, we made that come to life through that platform.

We also worked with all of the presenters before we launched the brand. We had new templates for presentations, and we had them pepper all of their presentations with the new messaging. Even if it was just on product or a particular solution, we wanted to make sure that they included and really felt the spirit of the new messaging, not just the new look and feel.

Drew Neisser: It is the entire experience. How did it work out? First of all, how long was it? How many hours or days?

Carol McNerney: In the past, it was a four-day event. Live four full days. It was down to about three full days, and we just thought to ourselves, “Wow, I don’t think you’re going to get people’s attention for that long.”

We created our keynote, which we felt was going to be the most critical part of the event because we could get prospects and customers to that. We could give some of the information about our roadmap, but the rest would be very detailed in our breakout sessions for our customers. We were thrilled. We had over 3500 people sign up to attend the event. At the keynote event, about 2600 attended that keynote session, a mixture of customers and prospects. We were very happy.

Drew Neisser: Those are good numbers. Often, if you get 5000 registrants and you get 33% to show up, you’re doing well. What platform did you use for the virtual event?

Carol McNerney: A company called Intrado. It used to be West.

Drew Neisser: I know a couple of CMOs who’ve done their events on Intrado and had good experiences. They’re not paying me to say that, just so everyone knows. I’ve talked a lot and done a number of shows on virtual events. How long was the whole summit?

Carol McNerney: It was over two days. Some of the sessions we made sure that we had people live to answer questions, some of the sessions were set up where we had our ibi team members or our customers and even some of our partners ready to answer questions. But we knew you might not get people for two days straight, so we made all those sessions on demand.

The only thing that the prospect or customer would miss was the live Q&A if they didn’t attend at that particular time. Now that’s available for a year, which is fantastic. People can go back and review sessions and learn more about our products and solutions.

Drew Neisser: One of the things for the listeners to be thinking about is, it is wonderful to have a virtual event. You can get very good numbers and attendance can be good. I love the fact that you divided it up over a two-day period. One of the things that these things can do if you invest enough money in the upfront is create a lot of content that you can slice and dice down the road. Just keep that in mind.

[30:00] Measuring the Success of ibi’s Rebrand

“The bottom line is, are you getting more marketing qualified leads, sales accepted leads, and more revenue?” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: We’ve been talking a lot about the rebrand and the process, which was a very condensed process. What do you wish you knew that you know now?

Carol McNerney: My dream would have been to have a lot more time. I was able to speak with analysts and speak with customers and some prospects, but I wish I had just had a little bit more time to really feel stronger about the messaging. I think we did a good job and we’re seeing good results from it now, but that would have been a nice thing to have, the luxury of a little bit more time.

Drew Neisser: That’s such a tricky trade-off in our business. A lot of CMOs listening will appreciate that. There have been so many folks that have rushed to change their message since COVID, and some for good reason because their messaging was just tone-deaf. I think this was a very different situation for you in that you were taking a brand that had a nice heritage, but trying to say, “Hey, we’re more than what you think we are. You know us as analytics, but we’ve got this data component.” I think it just takes time to get all of that right.

You mentioned that the results have been good. Talk a little bit about the results and how to anticipate measuring the success of this brand refresh.

Carol McNerney: We did time it with our virtual summit. I mentioned this exciting social media campaign that we did to peak people’s interest. I think that helped drive a lot of attendance to our summit which helped increase our brand awareness. It wasn’t just our customers. This time it was prospects.

We look at numbers of people, how we increase our brand awareness, what’s happened with our brand-new website. We’ve seen a real increase in engagement on our website. We hoped for that and anticipated that because we had a new message, because we’ve used more video elements. That’s one of the really exciting things that we’ve learned. Everyone always knew video is a great medium, but we’ve seen a higher engagement level on our website and during our summit. People really did spend more time at the summit than we had hoped.

The bottom line is, are you getting more marketing qualified leads, sales accepted leads, and more revenue? We’re starting to see a pickup in some of our cloud offerings that we were pushing in the summit and a lot more interest in general. Live events are not here right now, but we’ve seen an incredible pickup in the number of virtual webinars that we’re doing. You get the people who sign up, and then a certain percentage of show up. We’re seeing 70 to 80% of the people who sign up for a virtual webinar showing up. We’ve seen really great numbers there.

[33:42] Measuring ibi’s Brand Awareness

“In the absence of doing a brand awareness survey where we have a benchmark and check again, we're using our website as a proxy for right now.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: How are you measuring awareness?

Carol McNerney: In the absence of doing a brand awareness survey where we have a benchmark and check again, we’re using our website as a proxy for right now. To be honest, we need to start looking at some other measures.

Drew Neisser: It makes sense. It’s one that’s thrown out there and it’s a metric that you and I know is important. There’s a lot of research that shows it, but it doesn’t always carry water in the C-Suite.

I just have to share a funny story to give context to this. A lot of times, CEOs don’t necessarily appreciate what awareness means or doesn’t mean to their salespeople or from an accounting standpoint. There’s a famous story when the chairman of Nissan checked into a hotel in the United States and he said, “Hi, I’m from this company called Nissan.” They said, “Who?” The next day, he called the agency and said, “Hey, we’re not going to be Datsun in the US anymore. We’re going to be Nissan.” They spent $100 million so that next time he checked into a hotel they’d know who he was.

It’s a long-winded way of saying that awareness is a lot more important than people want to give credit. But it is challenging to measure and it is also challenging to persuade. When you followed that up and said, “Yes, but we’re getting SQLs and MQLs,” that’s the language the C-suite understands. This is an interesting part of where marketers struggle to translate the language that they know is important into this real language of the business. Does any of that resonate with you?

Carol McNerney: Yeah, absolutely. I think this is so critical. Growing up as a marketer with over almost 30 years in the field, that is such a debate that goes on in the C-Suite. I could sit here and say, “Okay, we’ve moved the needle on awareness. We have this many more people hitting the website.” I look at social media and see if we have more followers and engagement levels on social media. I look at our impressions through our PR—if we’re getting more stories written about us. I look at circulation, etc., but those are hard things for the C-Suite, especially the CFO and CEO, to relate to.

Even some of the anecdotal stories—I’m excited that our account executives, our sales team says, “Hey, when I pick up the phone or our sales development reps call someone, they say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve heard about you guys.’” That’s encouraging, but again, those are anecdotal. Getting that translation to “I was able to get more marketing qualified leads because people at least knew who we were and picked up the phone.” I always say that it’s marketing’s job to grease the skids so that when sales go in, they can go in and at least say, “Great, I know who you are and am willing to have a conversation with you.”

[36:53] Drew’s Wrap-Up: Rebranding, Transitioning, and Metrics that Matter

“As a marketer, you have to do the best you can.” @DrewNiesser #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: So many things that we covered in the show. I’m going to attempt to summarize them for the listeners.

One. When you do decide that it’s time to refresh, there’s usually a really important business reason to do so. In this case, there was an important business reason. You needed to expand perceptions of the brand because you were pigeonholed in old school thinking about business and intelligence. You needed to connect the dots for the customers to say isn’t just about analytics. It’s about data, too. There’s a good business reason for doing it.

Number two. You don’t necessarily have to rip the band-aid. You can have a transition plan as you go through this. The transition plan, in this case, could be the plan. It could just stay there.

Number three, when you do launch, it really helps to have a big event to launch around and to set the deadline because otherwise, the scene can’t go on, but then to introduce it to employees and customers. You’re taking a chance, but you really do get a chance to expose the new thinking to your customers. If they get excited about it, you know you’re in a good place. To condense this all down—obviously, you’d always want more time. That’s key. Obviously, you’d always want to talk to your customer more and more and more. But at some point, you run out. As a marketer, you have to do the best you can.

Lastly, finding the metrics that matter to the organization. While we spent a little time talking about awareness and the need to measure that, eventually, every marketer is going to be called to task through their remit to the business. When you do this, obviously, you still need a plan for how you’re going to help drive sales. There’s just no way around that.

[38:54] Final Thoughts: The Advantages of Virtual Webinars

“Not only do you have an opportunity to get to a broader audience like we used to do at regional customer meetings, now we can do global meetings for that particular industry.” @Carol_McNerney @infobldrs #RTU #podcast Click To Tweet

Drew Neisser: Carol, what did I miss? Was there another lesson to learn from your experience that you would share with other CMOs?

Carol McNerney: I think the big thing for me is this idea of the concept of virtual events. There’s a lot more power to them than you can imagine. It doesn’t have to be the big, huge summit events. With virtual webinars, there’s a lot there. Not only do you have an opportunity to get to a broader audience like we used to do at regional customer meetings, now we can do global meetings for that particular industry. I think there’s a real opportunity to do that.

Also, people are willing to spend a lot more time on your website and on videos if you have the right content for them. If you do want to do big events, I would highly recommend one of these event apps. We used the Socio app. It was such a great way for our customers to connect with each other, for our partners. We had over 11,000 people making connections on that app and thousands of downloads of our materials, our partner materials, and our customer materials. I think it was just a great way for our partners to engage and to feel like, “If I’m going to sponsor this event, what do I get out of it?”

I think you definitely should take advantage of some of the technology that’s out there that can really make your event much better, whether it’s a large summit or some of your smaller virtual events.

Drew Neisser: That’s great. I’m so glad you mentioned that. In the old days, the marketer would get bored with their campaign a lot sooner than the consumer would. That was a legendary thing, but I think the same thing started to happen with virtual events. There was an assumption that there was virtual that burnout, but I’m talking to lots of marketers who are still having success with them. Some of the numbers might be declining, but not much.

Part of it is, “Hey, people aren’t commuting and maybe they’re willing to learn and get educated.” I definitely want to check out the Socio app and find out what that does. Alright, Carol, thank you so much for joining us.

Carol McNerney: Thank you, Drew. This is a lot of fun. I appreciate you taking the time.

Drew Neisser: For all our listeners, if you enjoyed this episode, you can thank me by writing a five-star review on your favorite podcast channel or by sharing the show with a fellow marketer.

Show Credits

Renegade Thinkers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Audio Production is by Sam Beck; the show notes are written by Melissa Caffrey. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceover is Adam Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, and learn more about quite possibly the best B2B marketing agency in NYC, visit renegade.com. Until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.

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