During this episode of Tech Qualified, Justin Brown chats with Laurie Hood, SVP Marketing at Mobilewalla. The interview focuses on Laurie’s experience in a B2B capacity – mostly with technology and technology marketing. Laurie takes a deeper dive into how marketing functions at Mobilewalla, which focuses on selling to B2C companies across a variety of industries such as retail, telecommunications, travel and financial services.
- Laurie breaks down her past work experience before arriving at Mobilewalla in 2018.
- Laurie started her career as a consultant at Accenture, and later on joined IBM where she was VP of Product Marketing.
- Mobilewalla marketing focuses on three primary things, driving brand awareness, generating demand, and enabling our sales teams.
- Mobilewalla is a data and insights company, with expertise in consumer intelligence solutions.
- Laurie was the first marketer at Mobilewalla.
- At Mobilewalla, the company also partners with advertising agencies to help them serve their clients.
- They help companies increase customer loyalty, grow revenue and improve the predictiveness of their models and effectiveness of their marketing spend.
- Mobilewalla places content on their own channels, website, social media properties and partners with groups who serve or try to attract the same target audiences.
- Mobilewalla is also shifting towards becoming more digital by actively participating in webinars and other virtual formats.
- Laurie talked about how her team is reaching out to local groups, who would have done in-person events, and then offering content to help them produce virtual events.
- On a quarterly basis, the marketing focuses on publishing a significant piece of content – like a white paper – and then two to three blog posts a month covering themes such as data enrichment or leveraging artificial intelligence in marketing.
- Laurie talks about how the company has developed content in a designated section on their website as “Technology Briefs” and discusses how these pieces take a much deeper dive into areas not available in traditional blog posts.
- Laurie also mentioned that she started many marketing initiatives from a standing stop…and started with a website for the most part. So, there’s been a strong focus on just creating foundational material needed for the marketing team.
- Laurie’s important lesson for marketers “What do I want to do, but what can I do and what can we do and do well”.
- Laurie uses HubSpot’s blog for staying up to date and for ongoing marketing education.
- Laurie states “ So for most marketers, whether you’re B2B or B2C, marketing boils down to the same key goals, attract, retain, and grow. I want to attract new customers, I want to retain the ones I have and I want to grow the business I’m doing with them.”
- She also quoted “And with my customers who are B2C marketers, it’s that much broader scope of attracting a consumer. Many of them are trying to leverage digital channels to do that and just that different perspective versus that much more structured sales process of a B2B sale.”
- Mobilewalla’s key tactic is content marketing and focusing on providing quality thought leadership around a variety of industry topics.
- Laurie Hood: LinkedIn
- Mobilewalla: Website
- Motion: Ultimate Thought Leadership Course for B2B Tech Companies
Intro Voice: [00:00:00] The Tech Qualified podcast is dedicated to providing B2B technology marketers with access to real world case studies and best practices. We interview industry leaders to uncover what’s working in the world of B2B technology marketing. If you’re wondering how you can position your technology company as the choice in the marketplace then follow along as we go on this journey together.
Justin Brown: [00:00:27] Hello and welcome to another episode of Tech Qualified. I’m Justin Brown and this episode is brought to you by Motion, a marketing agency that focuses on the strategy and development of thought leadership programs for B2B tech companies. Today our guest is Laurie Hood SVP of marketing at Mobilewalla. Laurie, thanks for joining me today.
Laurie Hood: [00:00:45] Thank you so much for having me, Justin. I really appreciate it.
Justin Brown: [00:00:49] Absolutely. And just to get started here, for the audience who may not know you, do you mind giving a little bit of background on yourself? Tell us a little bit about your past experience, and then what you’re up to right now at Mobilewalla.
Laurie Hood: [00:01:03] Sure. I’d love to. So as you said before, I’m the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Mobilewalla. I’ve been working in technology and technology marketing for my entire career, which has been a lot longer than I’d like to admit to. I started my career as a consultant at Accenture, and since then I’ve worked with a variety of B2B technology companies from the very large actually became part of IBM when they acquired Silverpop, a marketing technology company where I was VP of Product Marketing as well as I was employee number nine at a really small startup.
So companies I’ve worked at, span the gamut. My skills lean more towards the technology side of marketing, and I’ve held a variety of both product marketing and even product management roles throughout my career.
So Mobilewalla is a data and insights company, and we’re a leader in consumer intelligence solutions. So we’ve got this really robust data set that we can buy with our deep Artificial Intelligence expertise, and we help organizations better understand, model and predict customer behavior. So at Mobilewalla, I lead the marketing organization and we’re responsible for three primary things, driving brand awareness, generating demand and enabling our sales teams.
Justin Brown: [00:02:25] Very nice. And then can you talk a little bit about your solutions at MobileWalla who is your Ideal Customer Profile and how do you help them?
Laurie Hood: [00:02:35] Sure. So we provide consumer data and insights that address marketing use cases. So for most marketers, whether you’re B2B or B2C, marketing boils down to the same key goals, attract, retain, and grow. I want to attract new customers, I want to retain the ones I have and I want to grow the business I’m doing with them. We at Mobilewalla primarily sell to B2C companies across a variety of industries. So retail, telecommunications, travel, financial services, or some examples around the world.
We also partner with advertising agencies to help them serve their clients. The companies that are interested in our products are usually larger enterprises. We’re kind of the new disruptors. Many of those in the on demand economy. What they have in common is a focus on data and being data driven, as well as teams of Data Scientists and analysts who can leverage this data.
Our buyers come from both the Data Science side of the business as well as the Marketing side. And again, these teams are interested in attracting new customers, retaining their existing customers while growing share of Walla. What we do is we help these companies enrich their existing data or we provide features that they use as part of their machine learning efforts, building predictive models to increase the predictiveness of those models.
And what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to model customer behavior by either making offers or doing churn modeling or something to drive some kind of outcome, which is typically accepting a product or service.
Justin Brown: [00:04:23] And what’s it like having an ideal customer that’s similar to yourself? Now, they may be different, not everybody has that situation where they’re selling to other marketing professionals. And it sounds like you have a few different personas, but what’s that like selling to ones that are marketing to ones that are similar? And then what are the different personas that may have to change your messaging a little bit.
Laurie Hood: [00:04:46] So in terms of marketing to ones that are similar, it’s fun to be a marketer, marketing to other marketers and working with other marketers. I’ve come from other Martech companies, so it’s a space that I’ve been in.
You know, while we’re all trying to do the same thing. The difference between the B2B and B2C is probably where it’s most pronounced. And with my customers who are B2C marketers, it’s that much broader scope of attracting a consumer. Many of them trying to leverage digital channels to do that and just that different perspective versus that much more structured sales process of a B2B sale.
Justin Brown: [00:05:33] Yeah, that’s interesting we’re all marketers, and I’m using finger quotes here that nobody can see, but very different when you’re in the B2B space. Trying to figure out ways to break into accounts, leveraging different, buying bodies within an organization versus that B2C sale, which is to a consumer.
Laurie Hood: [00:05:55] Yes.
Justin Brown: [00:05:57] So talk to me a little bit about how you break through to these folks. What is your strategy for generating demand and interest? Is it using an SDR, BDR team? Are you using ads, organic traffic? What’s your way of getting people to get that initial interest in what you’re doing?
Laurie Hood: [00:06:20] So right now, a key tactic for us is Content Marketing. And I think we’re similar to a lot of B2B companies going in that direction. We’re focused on providing quality thought leadership around a variety of industry topics, clearly related to what we do, but going much broader beyond just what we specifically sell and trying to drive interest and drive engagement with Mobilewalla through that.
So we’re either placing the content on our own channels, on our website, social media properties, as well as partnering with groups who serve or try to attract a like audience by using some of their content channels. And then, once we engage, we have nurture programs with additional, what we feel as high value content and trying to move folks through the top of the funnel that way.
And also in today’s times with the, in-person events going away or being postponed trying to get as much out of those content assets and leverage them as well with people at home consuming more of that content. We think that’s where we’re going to continue to invest our resources.
Justin Brown: [00:07:44] And what are you doing now that those have, I guess for lack of a better word, gone away what are some of the strategies that you have pivoted to?
Laurie Hood: [00:07:54] So we are looking at, again, more digital. So webinars that we can participate in sort of digital summit kind of days where they’re often multiple sessions that are being held.
I have told my sales teams to do more. Reach out to, local groups who would have done, In -Person Events and offer up our content for what the virtual events that most of those groups are moving to. I’m involved in some local groups in Atlanta, and normally we would have done something in-person. With cocktails, and now we’re going to do conference calls with cocktails.
So looking at those sorts of things and looking at other partnerships with other providers or companies that have some synergies and what can we do together to try to leverage both of our audiences and expand our reach.
Justin Brown: [00:08:56] Yeah, absolutely. I think people are trying to figure out how to continue to have that organic feel to it. So, what is your go to Zoom cocktail?.
Laurie Hood: [00:09:09] Usually a glass of wine. Sometimes the Margarita, sometimes depending on how long the call is.
Justin Brown: [00:09:16] Yeah. Some places out here, are actually delivering. Margarita is now, I think alcohol delivery services did not exist before, but, I’m sure a lot of your types of clients are figuring out, there’s new ways that you can, get through to here, your consumers and try figuring out ways to get them the things that they want.
Laurie Hood: [00:09:36] Absolutely. It’s very much, it’s a time to be creative.
Justin Brown: [00:09:40] No doubt. So talk to me and then things may have changed a little bit for you, but talk to me a little bit about the customer journey. So I get it that, you’re generating demand through some more of the traditional content marketing initiatives, historical events, but now more of these digital summits, maybe webinar.
But let’s say that somebody either notices you and they say they’re interested, or you tap them on the shoulder in whatever way that you’re going about outbound prospecting. But let’s say that they do say, “Yes Laurie, I am interested. What next?” How do they get from that moment of interest, filling out a contact form, whatever it may be, to actually becoming a customer of Mobilewalla.
Laurie Hood: [00:10:23] So right now we’ve got a direct sales team. You had mentioned earlier in the discussion, BDRs, we are looking at adding that resource, but we’re not quite there yet. So we’ve got a direct sales team. They will reach out and engage with the customer, with the prospect, and determine what their specific needs are and whether, you know, we’ve got the capabilities to fill them.
Because we sell data, typically a proof of concept is involved in a deal. So what we’ll usually do is sort of map out kind of a time box proof of concept. We’ll give them a data set to help them do that sort of testing, and then based on the results of that we’ll move forward in terms of negotiation, that’s usually what happens if we’re selling on the data side.
If we’re selling around more of a predictive modeling use case. Sometimes when we’re selling to marketers and it’s data enrichment, they want to increase what they know about their customers. So they’re going to add some additional data to customers in their loyalty programs. You may not do a proof of concept with that.
But typically they’ll want to look at some sort of sample data, understand what the match rates are in terms of our data and the population of first party data that they have. So usually there’s sort of that step in the middle where we are exchanging data with them and they’re doing some sort of evaluation.
Justin Brown: [00:11:56] Gotcha and so then what happens once they’re doing their evaluation, what will it take for someone to actually become a Customer?
Laurie Hood: [00:12:04] So a lot of it just depends on kind of what their goals are and does our data help them achieve it. Then we’ll move to commercial terms and our data’s very easy to consume.
We don’t require you to implement a platform. We can integrate with existing, data management platforms. customer data platforms, we can work with customers who were using AWS or Microsoft Azure implementations. We can send somebody a flat files that we’ve got or a CSV. So we’ve got a whole variety of ways that we can then get our data to our customer and they can begin to consume it. So there’s not really a lengthy onboarding process. I would say more the evaluation where were the companies saying,”Is this going to provide the value that I’m looking for? And then once that’s determined, we can move pretty quickly.
Justin Brown: [00:13:03] Okay. Interesting. And then in terms of the thought leadership content that you’re producing, you mentioned that content marketing is a big part of what you do. What are you doing for content in regards to thought leadership, your blog, what are the focuses there?
Laurie Hood: [00:13:23] So the focus is multifaceted. As I said, we sell to enterprise customers and we all set partner with advertising agencies. So our content is trying to sort of answer the questions of both of those groups. And we’re usually publishing maybe a significant piece of content like a white paper quarterly, and then two to three blog posts a month.
Typically there were related around some major themes. So Data Enrichment being a theme, leveraging Artificial Intelligence in your marketing, being a theme. Things around, linking keying and linking consumer identity, building an identity graph and then general current events.
We did a webinar the other week where we had polling questions and then we just posted a blog on the results of those polls and sort of where attendees stood on leveraging data within their organizations and adopting Artificial Intelligence and their level of sophistication. So we’re writing on a variety of topics, that we think are going to be interesting, both through our blog and as well through the white papers that we publish.
Justin Brown: [00:14:38] And how are you using that content along the journey? Are there specific places where your sales team is using it? Are you remarketing, retargeting to folks online? What does that look like and how are you leveraging content along the customer journey?
Laurie Hood: [00:14:54] So at the top, if you simplistically break the journey into you know education solution selection from an education standpoint that’s where we’re using the white papers and the blog posts.
We’re going very, sort of broad, topical and things of interest to a vast number of people. We also have some more specific content that we call ‘Our Technology Briefs’, and those go a lot deeper and even a little more, I’ll say technical maybe more on the Data Science side that talk about what kind of Artificial Intelligence that we use to cleanse our data.
What are the types of machine learning that we’re applying to do matches between a Mobile Advertiser ID and an IP address. So those kind of indicate more of a level of sophistication and potentially more buying intent. So as somebody engages with this more, we’re serving up kind of more specific content as we try to move them through the customer journey.
Justin Brown: [00:16:03] Gotcha. Are there any specific pieces of content that are working better for you? What do you like to be able to use and develop?
Laurie Hood: [00:16:12] So, we’ve been very reliant on white papers, things like that. I’d love to move more into doing some more video. We just did a webinar, so I should have said I joined Mobilewalla in December of 2018 so I’ve been there a little over a year, and I was really the first marketer.
So I started from a standing stop. We had a website and that was about it. So there’s been a lot of just foundational material creation over the last year, and now we’re working on building on that. So hoping for more video, more webinars, but in a much shorter form just taking like a little specific area and maybe doing that 5 or 10 minutes. Continuing with the strategy we have because that is working for us. I like the podcast format. I think now, again, if we’re not going in person, it’s just how can you look at different types of content assets and push those out there and give people a variety of options.
Justin Brown: [00:17:21] Yeah, that’s great. I think that’s huge right now, is just finding ways to still connect with people, that may not be the traditional face to face meetings or events or what have you, but there are so many options now with technology.
Laurie Hood: [00:17:37] Yep. We’re also trying to create material at a variety of levels. I think you read all of this stuff that everybody’s doing AI. And AI has become very ingrained in our lives, when you look at chat bots and voice response and things like that. But from a marketing standpoint, using predictive modeling, it’s still relatively new.
So we’re also trying to create a lot of foundational educational materials to help these marketers understand the role that AI can play in addressing their marketing use cases, as well as providing more sophisticated materials for the data scientists. We have a large data science team they present at the IEEE conferences and submit papers. A lot of them are PhDs, so we’re kind of running the spectrum sort of educational materials as well as really detailed documents that go in depth into some of these data science techniques.
Justin Brown: [00:18:45] And it sounds like it can be tricky at times. What are you finding to be your biggest challenge from the time that somebody expresses some form of interest to the actual time that they purchase.
Laurie Hood: [00:19:01] Well that challenge has just got magnified with the current economy.
Justin Brown: [00:19:07] Tell me more.
Laurie Hood: [00:19:09] There are companies who with the current times, have very much more understood their acute need for data within their businesses. So we do get people reach out who want to move quickly, but we’ve had a lot of deals that we’ve been working for a while that have slowed down.
You know, for whatever reason and every company is dealing with these challenges in a different way and trying to make the right decisions that are best for them. I think all marketers would love to speed up our sales cycles. We find is, a lot of it just depends we get a lot of people who express interest but are still really early in trying to figure out what they want to do and really are still in that education phase and maybe in it for a while.
And then we get calls for people who have a very clear understanding of what we do and understanding of how they would use us and are ready to move relatively quickly. But buying data, it’s a highly considered purchase and the sales cycles can be anywhere from 6 months to 18 months.
Justin Brown: [00:20:19] Yeah those long sales cycles can be tough because, especially in a situation like where we are right now, just being able to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.
Laurie Hood: [00:20:28] Yep.
Justin Brown: [00:20:28] And I know you work closely with the sales team. You mentioned that at some point bringing on a BDR team which in different organizations sometimes SDR’s or BDR’s they fall under marketing and other organizations, they fall under sales.
Some organizations they’re their own department in and of themselves. But in your organization, how are you currently interacting with sales? Obviously there is the notion at times that sales and marketing do get along great then there’s the notion that they butt heads. What’s it like in your organization?
Laurie Hood: [00:21:03] I think most any place sales and marketing have sort of a sibling love, hate relationship. Sometimes we’re the best of friends and other times, there’s a lot of, “No, he did it. No, she did it” sort of. But my team has tried to build a very close relationship with our sales team.
We’ve got our team distributed around the globe. So we’ve got sellers in New York, we’ve got sellers in Singapore, we’ve got a team in Australia, we’ve got a team in India, we’ve got people in the US home office on the West coast, or people in Malaysia and Indonesia.
So yeah we’ve got a lot of folks in a lot of places with some cultural differences, so it’s been important to me to try to keep a high profile in front of our sellers be out there with “Here’s what we’re creating, here’s what we’re doing”. We do regular meetings with both the US team and the Asia team.
I do regular calls with the sales leaders. I’ve tried to encourage my marketers, and again, we’re a small team. I’ve only got two marketers working for me. We’ve got a couple, well we’ve got about 12, maybe 15, if you pull on our sales people around the globe. So right now it’s just stay close.
Listen to them try to walk the mile in their shoes and be very open to their feedback and every day we wake up thinking, “How do we help them close more busines?” Because at the end of the day, that’s what we all benefit from.
Justin Brown: [00:22:43] And being that you have a smaller team and a lot falls on your plate for demand gen purposes, as well as content developing those white papers, blog posts, thought leadership. How do you balance those two sides?
You know, it contend to be a bit of a Seesaw where if you run too far to one side trying to figure out, “Okay we got to set up a webinar and we’ve got to have this conversion strategy and this is how we’re going to bring in new leads, new opportunities”.
Then the thought leadership, especially on a smaller team. Could suffer because you’re so focused on the one thing. So you run to the other side and “All right, well, we got to get out. So we gotta find some people within our space. We gotta do some co-branded things with partners” and then the demand side can suffer.
So how do you balance those two things? It’s a lot to fall on a small team shoulder.
Laurie Hood: [00:23:34] I probably don’t balance it well. A lot of it, we’ve tried to kind of get out ahead of it and plan and be proactive. But the reality is we do end up being reactive to a lot of things.
I think the key is when you have a small team, you need people with a strong skill set. So the people on my team are relatively senior and they can just take something and run with it and that’s been important. We do have broader skills, I’d like to think we’re all a little bit of a Swiss army knife and we can write, and if I need to get into Salesforce or somebody needs to get into HubSpot, they can do that.
We do outsource some of the work as well, but I think the key is try to at least get some sort of planning down. Some sort of a process feels like a strong word for a small team but some sort of standard operating procedure, ‘how you approach all of these marketing activities, how you’re going to be successful, find some good groups that you can outsource some of this work with’ because you can’t all do it yourselves and a lot of communication.
Justin Brown: [00:24:50] Alright.
Laurie Hood: [00:24:51] And sometimes some disappointment. You can’t get it all done.
Justin Brown: [00:24:56] Yeah. I think that’s a very important lesson though, for any marketer is. Understanding, not only “What do I want to do, but what can I do and what can we do and do well” and make sure that we have results from it versus spreading yourself too thin, working on too many programs and then maybe they don’t come all the way to fruition in the ways that you would have wanted.
Laurie Hood: [00:25:20] And I think the important thing too is really aligning. The vision of the marketing team very, very tightly with the sales team’s goals and the company’s broader business goals and how does everything you are doing in marketing move the dial.
From that bigger picture, which for most of us is getting more business and getting more revenue. And sometimes as a marketer, you do need, at times, we’ve needed to step back and say, wait a minute, we’ve got these infrastructure pieces that we need to build before we can move forward doing some of these other initiatives.
And we’re just gonna have to stop and do that I know nobody likes to hear. Especially sometimes your senior leaders that you can’t do it tomorrow, but some of it as much at a small company and depending on your leadership team is educating them on. What does it mean to be doing demand based marketing and generating leads and what are the tactics of, what are some of the challenges.
Because a lot of times, like I have a Technical Founder and he is a PhD in Data Science. He was a Professor. He’s a Serial Entrepreneur. He hasn’t worked in a big organization with large marketing teams and structured marketing processes, so there’s a lot of opportunity to educate him on what we’re trying to do and get his buy in.
Justin Brown: [00:26:49] Well, that leads me to my first of two closing questions. The first being, to educate someone else. You need to probably educate yourself. What do you use to stay up to date on any marketing trends within B2B marketing, B2B tech? What are your go-to avenues for staying up to date and continuing your ongoing marketing education?
Laurie Hood: [00:27:14] So I’m sure a lot of the blogs that a lot of marketers use. We’re a HubSpot shop. They publish a lot of great quality content. Business insider has good stuff. I go to sources like Marketing Props, Content marketing and followed those blogs. I would say for me personally, I’ve got a wonderful network of marketers in Atlanta, which is where MobileWalla Headquartered. And we get together periodically and they are just a great way to share, “What we’re doing? Where we’re having challenges? Where we’ve had success?”
Some of it is structured conversation, some of it is just friendship and camaraderie. But it’s really, really helpful to meet with groups of people who are experiencing your similar challenges and know where you’re coming from. So a lot of my knowledge is just through building a really strong network of peers, and even if it’s just going to lunch, but knowing there’s a couple people that I can call and just talk through a challenge or ask them’how they’re doing something’ and that to me has been invaluable.
Justin Brown: [00:28:27] Yeah, it’s one of the reasons that we run Tech Qualified. It says conversations and the opportunity to just talk with people who are in your space and getting their real world insights on what they’re doing and be able to help you with advice. And I will say, you mentioned HubSpot and maybe some people think that is, a layup answer.
But I would go the other direction which is HubSpot to me and their blog and their insight center is like the little kid who asks “Do you know where my toy is? Or whatever it may be, and it’s like, “Well, did you check your pocket first? Because likely they’re going to have the answers on there. It may be the biggest one, it may be the one that everybody mentions, but there is just a wealth of good information. I mean, they crush it with their content marketing.
Laurie Hood: [00:29:15] Sometimes the simpler answer is often I think we get so distracted and sometimes you just need to get yourself back to the basics and start and go from there.
So I think they do a nice job. They publish on a lot of topics and it’s the right information for where Mobilewalla is right now.
Justin Brown: [00:29:37] Yup. Exactly. All right. And then last question for you here. Laurie, where can people go to find you and to find Mobilewalla?
Laurie Hood: [00:29:45] Well, the easiest way to find me is on LinkedIn and I’m Laurie Hood and I am easy to find, cause lots of people find me. And then www.mobilewalla.com is the best place to start for Mobilewalla information.
Justin Brown: [00:30:00] Great. Well, Laurie, thanks again. I really appreciate you spending some time with me today. It was great having you on Tech Qualified.
Laurie Hood: [00:30:05] Justin, thank you so much for inviting me to join you. I really appreciate it and enjoy it.
Justin Brown: [00:30:10] Absolutely. For our listeners, thanks for joining us on this episode of Tech Qualified. If you’re looking to generate engaging conversations with your ideal customers while also positioning your tech as the choice in the marketplace, then access Motion’s ultimate thought leadership course for B2B tech companies.
The online course provides a complete step by step process required to establish a thought leadership program using a podcast or video series. Get free immediate access today by visiting motion agency.io/access.