Don’t hate me if you’re humming the jazz classic Take Five for the rest of the day. If there is such a thing, Take Five qualifies as a good earworm. Indelibly associated with Dave Brubeck, as it turns out the song was composed by Brubeck’s long-time musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. Recorded back in 1959, it’s one of the few jazz crossovers that still gets significant radio airplay to this day.
So, why am I bending your ear over a piece of music written 61 years ago? For starters, let’s marvel at its durability relative to most of what we create in our field. It’s also a classic that broke the rules. Written in unorthodox quintuple 5/4 time, it diverges from the usual 4/4 rhythm of most jazz recordings. With that in mind, allow me to serenade you with five jazzy lessons from recent episodes of Renegade Thinkers Unite!
Overnight Success is Rarely Overnight
Now growing 70% per year for three years running, MATRIXX Software has established itself as a top 5 software provider to the telecom industry. But, back in 2008 when CMO Jennifer Kyriakakis helped found the company, their success was anything but certain. Seeing a gap in the marketplace, Kyriakakis convinced a couple of her tech-savvy associates to take a gamble, and it’s finally paying off thanks to a relentless focus on serving one specific market. (Listen to episode 168)
Don’t Forget Your Core Customers
Every CMO wants to grow their business. Duh, right? But how do you expand your audience without neglecting your core users, especially when those users are prickly developers? That was the situation when Sara Varni took the reigns as CMO of Twilio in 2018. Looking to attract F1000 customers, Varni wisely integrated developers into her marketing, creating enterprise hackathons that also showcased Twilio’s APIs. In the process, Varni cracked the code to growing her $650 million company. (Listen to episode 170)
Real Transformation Starts with Employees
When CMO Jeff Perkins arrived at ParkMobile in 2017, he talked with a number of disgruntled employees. As often happens at startups, the emphasis on agility (read: short deadlines, quick pivots) had taken its toll on morale. Realizing that external marketing would have to wait, Perkins focused on employee engagement, creating a number of programs that catapulted ParkMobile onto “best place to work” lists. With employees on board, ParkMobile has since grown from 8 million to 14 million users, now adding 1 million new users every 70 days. (Listen to episode 171)
Create Marketing That Serves Your Customers
It started as an innovation exercise. Looking at macro trends, Karen Jones, CMO of Ryder Systems, wondered how the rise of apps, particularly ride sharing apps, could apply to the truck rental business. As it turns out, a sizeable percentage of the time, 18-wheelers sit idle. This presented an opportunity for Ryder to introduce a sharing app called Coop. Tested in Atlanta and now rolling out to multiple markets, the app has been of particular benefit to existing Ryder customers, turning what started as marketing into a genuine service. (Listen to episode 173)
Selling Tech by Emphasizing Humanity
It wasn’t a coincidence that CMO Dan Lowden greeted me wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word HUMAN across his chest. In the WhiteOps suite in Las Vegas during CES, Lowden shared a transformational story that revolved around this simple message. Rather than talk about their bot-fighting technology and deploying the usual FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt), WhiteOps has emphasized the need to keep it human, a message that has resonated with employees, customers and prospects. (Listen to episode 174)
Every episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite is meant to address a particular issue one or more of our clients are confronting. If you have a marketing challenge you’d like to see us dig into on the show, please let me know.