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Episode 250: Building and Managing a Marketing Team with Kevin Alansky of Higher Logic

Episode Summary

During this episode of Tech Qualified, Tristan Pelligrino and Justin Brown sit down with Kevin Alansky, the Chief Marketing Officer of Higher Logic. The interview focuses on Kevin’s career as a B2B marketer, his experience leading marketing efforts for technology companies, the evolution of the CMO over the years and highlights some of Kevin’s goals with Higher Logic’s marketing team.

Episode Highlights

  • Kevin breaks down his past work experience before arriving at Higher Logic in 2019.
  • Kevin talks about his experience leading marketing teams for analytics companies and going head-to-head with large analytics companies like Tableau and Sisense.
  • Higher Logic is predominantly focused on two areas – associations and corporate markets.
  • Higher Logic’s online community platform has a strong customer base and the organization has expanded into marketing automation with recent acquisitions (Real Magnet and Informz).
  • When Kevin joined the marketing team, it was at an inflection point and the team was moving from a startup to a more mature model.
  • Using and analyzing data was a key component of the growth within Higher Logic’s marketing team (now consisting of 16-17 team members).
  • As the team grew, project management and communication became more vital as the team had to organize their work more efficiently.
  • Kevin experienced a bit of culture shock coming from professional sports marketing to higher education (when he transitioned to Blackboard several years ago) and he was able to learn the importance of understanding your target audience.
  • When arriving at Higher Logic, Kevin focused a lot on regular cadences with not only the marketing team, but with teams outside of marketing.
  • With 3,000 existing customers, Kevin placed a focus on improving the onboarding experience and building out the customer marketing team.
  • Kevin discusses the strong content team that’s in place at Higher Logic – which includes a strong commitment to thought leadership material that’s beneficial to both customers and prospects.
  • Higher Logic is currently in the process of rebuilding the company’s website and improving its current marketing technology stack.
  • Kevin outlined the Community Leader Changemaker program launched by the organization and discussed how Higher Logic highlighted influencers and other thought leaders in the association space.
  • Kevin talked about the evolution of CMOs in the 90s (being brand-driven) and how the role has evolved to more of a data-driven role now…especially with B2B SaaS companies.
  • One-on-ones are a big part of the communication at Higher Logic and Kevin has a focus on his team’s career aspirations and helping them along their career path.
  • If you want to connect with Kevin on LinkedIn – make sure to mention you heard him on Tech Qualified!

Key Points

  1. Kevin states “So, you know, a lot of it is just getting the team and the experience that I’ve had to be able to give them the right tools, give them the right structure, give them the right vision. And quite frankly, it’s my job to, you know, stay out of the way and let them do what they do best.”
  2. Selling to associations is very much a relationship-driven business and shares many of the same qualities Kevin experienced when selling to higher education clients.
  3. Kevin had a 16 or 17 person marketing team, but wanted to flatten the structure a bit so he could get into the weeds and understand the work that’s happening.

Resources

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