Isabelle Papoulias
February 21, 2020

176: Keep Calm and Acquisition On

Guest: Isabelle Papoulias - CMO, Mediafly

It’s tough enough to build a company’s marketing engine from the ground up, but Isabelle Papoulias, CMO of Mediafly, successfully navigated through not just one, but two acquisitions within a six-month period. What did she learn? Not all acquisitions are created equal: it was two weeks before their second acquisition announcement when Isabelle, in conversation with her CEO, realized they had an opportunity to completely pivot their brand messaging for the better and decided to scrap their original plan. While this would be considered risky to most, the decision ultimately elevated Mediafly to a new level within the sales enablement category.

Join us on this week’s episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite to hear all about Isabelle’s experience during these back-to-back acquisitions, how their campaign brought both expected and unexpected successes, and why ABM goes beyond marketing to give a company a surround sound approach to targeting valuable prospects. If you’re looking for additional materials on polishing a brand—which can be helpful in scenarios like Isabelle’s—take a look at our comprehensive guide to effective B2B brand strategy, here!

How was the second acquisition different from the first?

Our CEO told me he wanted a campaign, and after a lot of questions, we realized that this new acquisition was a storytelling opportunity, a real chance to disrupt the category and elevate our brand positioning. It had the potential to be more transformative than the first one. Mediafly is perceived as a premium sales enablement platform for enterprise; it’s hyper-customizable for the needs of very sophisticated organizations looking to transform the way they sell digitally. With this acquisition, we were adding to our portfolio and expanding our total addressable market so we could service the sales enablement needs of all companies regardless of size, level of sales, or where they were in the sales enablement journey. This was our opportunity to bring sales enablement to the masses and democratize it.

What are the biggest lessons you learned through two back-to-back acquisitions?

Firstly, check your biases. Don’t assume that the way you handled it before is the way you should handle it now. Don’t make assumptions about the brand architecture—just because you’re acquiring a new company you shouldn’t become, as they say, a branded house versus a house of brands. Secondly, ask the right questions, try to truly get in the head of your CEO. You think you know what they mean, and they think they’re doing a great job communicating what’s on their mind, but you could both be wrong. Everything is moving very fast, but you need to pause and think things through on the individual level. Take the time to breathe, ask questions, and have empathy.


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