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Read Q&As with the top B2B marketers today in Drew's Ad Age column. 

Ad Age

  • September 18, 2020 9:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 206: B2B Marketing to the Rescue

    Businesses need marketing now more than ever if they want to drive top-line growth. Why? Because marketers know how to do more with less. Despite budget cuts and the shift to virtual-only communications, marketers still know how to motivate employees, generate quality leads for sales teams, and gather customer feedback to influence product. As Drew says, “Marketing to the rescue. This is your moment.”

    Enter CMO Katie Risch of Centro, a global software provider for digital advertisers that has grown from 3 employees to 700 in 15 years. In this episode, Katie shares how the marketing team at Centro has played a crucial role during COVID—enabling the sales team via high-quality content and enabling the product team to develop a companion product for the platform. As one of the original 3 employees at Centro, Katie also shares her unique path to the CMO role, one that has made her a dynamic leader who really understands what it means to align teams to work towards the company vision. You don’t want to miss it!

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

  • September 17, 2020 10:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Marketers targeting enterprise customers traditionally struggle with a long and complex sales process, dealing with buying committees of 10 or more that can deliberate for up to 18 months, putting them through seemingly endless hoops. When the pandemic struck, enterprise sales—with the exception of essential business-continuity services including security, communications and logistics—ground to a halt. This left the rest of the B2B world scrambling for traction.

    Chandar Pattabhiram, chief marketing officer of Coupa, a business spend management platform, recognized the need for repositioning. During three weeks in March, Pattabhiram and his team revamped their messaging to place an emphasis on resilience—appealing to chief financial officers who would see the downturn as an opportunity to position their companies for future success. Since then, Coupa has been one of Silicon Valley’s high-flyers, with its stock more than doubling, a result at least partially fueled by its rapid repositioning.

    CMO discusses how Coupa sees the downturn as an opportunity to position companies for future success. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How the Pandemic Inspired a Marketing Campaign That Embraces Client Resilience

    Listen to the Episode: Today’s Resilience is Tomorrow’s Excellence

  • September 08, 2020 10:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Since the early days of the internet, cybersecurity firms have offered complex technical explanations about how their approach thwarts bad actors who can disrupt highly vulnerable computer systems. One company taking a different approach is White Ops, a cybersecurity company that protects brands from sophisticated bot attacks and fraud. 

    “People can see right through you if you are talking too much tech, using too many buzzwords, trying to oversell or sell too hard,” says CMO Dan Lowden, whose “Keep it Human” campaign has driven revenue growth and led to a round of funding from Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division and ClearSky Security.

    Why White Ops avoids buzzwords, technical jargon and the hard sell. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How One Cybersecurity Firm Keeps Its Marketing Human

    Listen to the Episode: Finding Your Brand’s North Star

  • August 26, 2020 10:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Marketing scientists are increasingly the norm in B2B. These individuals know how to stand up a demand generation engine, one that can drive leads into a nurture stream and track them through the sales pipeline. The reward is what many in the industry call “net new logos.” Contribute enough of these new customers at a reasonable acquisition cost and you are a company hero.

    One such individual is Joshua Leatherman, the CMO of Service Express, a company that maintains data centers. When Leatherman arrived 8 years ago, it was a traditional sales-driven organization with a limited marketing infrastructure. Today, marketing contributes 70 percent of the new logo pipeline—about as good as it gets. Letterman attributes success to a disciplined process, responsive sales teams and a revenue operations unit that sits between sales and marketing, providing a neutral source of actionable data.

    Service Express CMO discusses why marketing contributes 70 percent of the new customer pipeline. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How a Data Center Company Mastered the Science of B2B Marketing

    Listen to the Episode: CMO Mathematics with Service Express

  • August 19, 2020 10:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Although it seems like ancient history, when the economy was booming, many B2B brands saw themselves as growth catalysts. Promising help with acquisition, these brands offered a vision of unlimited success for customers. One such brand is Reltio, a data management platform, whose new website in February 2020 touted “winning in the experience economy” as its reason for being. Then the pandemic struck.

    For Jakki Geiger, Reltio’s CMO, it was a pivotal moment. Recognizing that the message was potentially tone-deaf as many businesses went into survival mode, Geiger asked her team to find a new promise. Mining their brand’s corporate mission, Reltio shifted from a message of winning new customers to one of serving, protecting and retaining current ones—demonstrating agility in the face of disruption.

    Reltio's CMO discusses the pivot to a new marketing message to reach businesses in survival mode.

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How the Pandemic Inspired a Strategy Shift from Customer Acquisition to Retention

    Listen to the Episode: Rethinking Your Brand Promise…In a Hurry

  • August 14, 2020 9:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 201: One CMO's System for Aligning Sales and Marketing

    With 25 years in the tech industry, Conversica CMO Rashmi Vittal knows a thing or two about sales and marketing alignment. She knows that it’s about “company-wide enablement” as opposed to “sales enablement.” She knows the value of a simplified product message. And she knows the common excuse, “Well, I gave leads to sales and they just didn’t do anything with them,” just won’t cut it.

    In this week’s episode, Drew and Rashmi discuss her nine-square “Alignment Between Sales and Marketing” grid. It’s a simple yet thorough model, one that recognizes that achieving alignment is about constant evolution and clear communication. Be sure to tune in to hear how Conversica applies this grid in action, as well as how they’ve pivoted in 2020.

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

  • August 11, 2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The absence of physical events in 2020 created a void for B2B marketers, many of whom rely on them for up to 80 percent of their leads. Marketers also count on events to educate, celebrate and entertain customers, partners and employees. Budgets are lavish, and hard-core digital marketers including Adobe’s Ann Lewnes praise their effectiveness. It wasn’t a surprise when big brands, including Adobe and IBM, staged virtual events in April.

    While the brands benefited from early-mover advantage in terms of attendance, the overall experience could not compare with their stellar physical events. Looking to do better, the CMO of Skillsoft, the learning management system software and content producer, used design thinking to reimagine a virtual event experience from the ground up.

    Skillsoft CMO discusses interactive keynotes, case studies and courses across four continents. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How a Learning Tech Company Reimagined Its Global, 24-Hour Virtual Event

    Listen to the Episode: Raising the Bar with Virtual Events

  • July 31, 2020 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 199: Today's Resilience is Tomorrow's Excellence

    What does B2B excellence look like in a downturn? When faced with this question, the software company Coupa quickly adopted a story of resilience. The decision to change its messaging allowed Coupa to change buying committee perspectives on its offering—if the prospect’s goal was to preserve capital and mitigate risk in the long-run, Coupa had the solution to get there.

    Coupa’s strategy has proven effective, and the company’s skyrocketing stock is proof. In this week’s densely packed episode, CMO Chandar Pattabhiram uncovers how they pivoted under pressure, harmonizing their messaging and releasing it to a 100% digital world. He also shares valuable insights, like Geoffrey Moore’s concept of “provocation selling,” the 4 P’s of pivoting, and how Coupa is taking action against social injustice.

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

  • July 22, 2020 11:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Most B2B marketers consider internal audiences important. Before a new campaign is launched, employees are gathered in a town hall in which the big news is shared by senior leadership. These are often followed by departmental sessions and the distribution of new sales materials. For many companies, indoctrination stops there.

    Not at IT service management company Boomi, a Dell Technologies business. After announcing its new corporate mission of “accelerating business outcomes,” the sales team was required to become accredited on the new brand story and the new sales pitch. Other employees were encouraged to share the story on social media. Explains Mandy Dhaliwal, Boomi’s CMO, “Our brand ambassadors are our staff. If we don’t believe in our technology, who will?” Unifying the staff behind the campaign accelerated marketing results for the brand, whose share of voice and lead flow increased.

    CMO discusses why Boomi focused on internal audiences first. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How Employee Buy-in Drove Results for a B2B Marketing Campaign

    Listen to the Episode: Why Dell Boomi is Booming

  • July 17, 2020 1:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 197: Rethinking Your Brand Promise...In a Hurry

    Right around mid-March 2020, every brand, B2B or B2C, had to take a cold hard look at their brand promise and consider its relevance. Was the brand promise that seemed so right in the go-go months before the pandemic suddenly tone deaf? For Jakki Geiger, CMO of Reltio, a Silicon Valley-based data management platform, the answer to that question was “yes.” Practically overnight, the idea of “winning” seemed out of step with their customers, many of whom were focused more on surviving and less on thriving. So, what’s a savvy marketer to do?

    In this remarkably frank episode, Geiger shares exactly how she and her colleagues shifted gears and found a new, more relevant message around “serving, protecting, and retaining.” It’s a story of agility, determination, customer-centricity, and fearless leadership that almost any marketer can learn from. Drew and Jakki cover a lot of ground including the role CMOs can play not just in driving leads (which she did) but also driving social change in areas like diversity.

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

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