James Thomas is the new CMO of Allocadia, a marketing operations software company based in Vancouver. James is a long-time Rep Cap friend and client, and I recently interviewed him about his new role as CMO and the trends he sees happening now for marketers.
Tell me about your new position at Allocadia.
As CMO, I own all marketing activity: branding, demand generation, communication and customer advocacy.
What big challenges do you face in your first few months as CMO?
Allocadia is a growing company, and we’re establishing a new market — marketing performance management.
My challenge is to tell our story to the right people. Our buyers are marketing leaders who need help understanding how much they’re spending, how effective their campaigns are, and how all of their marketing activity is impacting the bottom line. I’m focused on telling our story in the voice of our customers.
What are your initial goals?
I’m a revenue-driven marketer, so my goal is to drive revenue. As a marketer, my job is to help make sales more successful. To achieve that goal, I have to think about how many leads I need, what conversion ratio we need to get to, and how sales and marketing can collaborate.
The good thing is, Allocadia helps me do that. I was a former Allocadia customer (and I wrote on our blog about how I went from customer to CMO), and I saw the value that the software brings. It helps me understand my spend and ties marketing investments to results and revenue. It helps me quickly see what’s working and what’s not, and gives me a big-picture view of ROI.
Putting science behind marketing is a big passion of mine. Modern marketers have to use data to talk about revenue.
What projects are you most excited about?
We just invested in a customer advocate hub; we’re using Influitive. We have great customers who want to share how much they love Allocadia, but until now we haven’t made it easy for them.
This new customer advocate hub really makes customers a part of our team. And it’s a two-way street: they can give us product feedback, share how they use Allocadia, follow us on our social sites, comment on our blog, and they get points that they can accumulate for incentives and rewards.
What can a marketer do to be successful at a new company?
It’s really important to understand customers and the customer story. Marketers talk a lot about leads and marketing channels: tactics and processes. But if you don’t understand who your customers are, why they’re working with you, and what problems they need help solving, you’re really missing out.
I talked to customers before I joined the company. Then in my first days on the job, I listened to a sales call every day to understand how our customers feel. Getting close to customers is way more important than understanding internal processes or tactics.
What marketing trends are you watching?
I’m interested in content marketing — finding quick, easy ways to tell the company’s story. People don’t have much time, so packaging content in really consumable chunks (blog posts, ebooks, videos, social media) is going to be a trend. People don’t have time to watch hour-long webinars or read really long white papers. Marketers need to think about speed and agility, and share stories in smaller chunks throughout the sales process.
I also think it’s important to use content marketing throughout the marketing funnel and sales pipeline — not just at the top of the funnel. At Allocadia, our sales and marketing teams are working together to build co-content for specific deals. A sales person who’s in the early stages of opportunity creation will work with marketing to create a customer profile that details their pain and challenges and how Allocadia can solve the problem. It’s a short, custom, 2-page piece of content.
If we sent a prospect a generic white paper in the middle of the sales process, it would just get brushed off. But a custom piece that answers their challenges, designed by marketing, helps move people through their decision process. Our sales team is really embracing the collaboration, and we’re building a library of information by vertical market.
Congratulations on the new job, James!
You can follow Allocadia on Twitter @allocadia.