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Episode 292: Building a Startup’s Marketing Program from the Ground Up with Claudia Ring of rENIAC

Episode Summary

The startup world isn’t for everyone, but Claudia Ring can’t help but be drawn to the “craziness” of them — even after working at IBM for several years.

On this episode of Tech Qualified, Justin Brown interviews Claudia about her most recent startup adventure as the Head of Marketing at rENIAC, a data engine platform.

rENIAC is a bit technical, to say the least, but Claudia succinctly defines the company’s mission, product and target audience before walking us through her experience building the startup’s marketing department from the ground up.

A lot of teams will just start to try to run demand-gen programs without that foundation beneath their feet,” Claudia says. But you need, at the very least, a tool to track your analytics and a well-established voice and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

As if launching a startup’s marketing department isn’t enough, COVID-19 has really thrown a “monkey wrench” in things, Claudia says. But she’s rolled with it by planning a number of virtual events. Attendance has been surprisingly high, though she doesn’t expect the enthusiasm to last forever. When interest wanes, she’ll simply adapt — much like she does day-to-day at any startup she’s worked with.

Guest Profiles

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Key Insights

Episode Highlights

“A lot of teams will just start to try to run demand-gen programs without that foundation beneath their feet. What I mean by that is the backend data and analytics tracking — all the pieces you need to understand what’s working and what’s not. So you need at least a minimum viable tool stack to capture that data, to analyze that data and be able to look back and say, ‘Hmm, this campaign went well, this ad should never run again, and everything in between.’”
“… you can start to write content, blogs, start a podcast, create videos — all this omnichannel multimedia content we all know we need — but if your voice is going to change and the ICP is going to change or if you don’t have those analytics in place to see who’s clicking on what or who is watching what, then ultimately you may end up changing that so often you can’t actually see meaningful results or really test that content in the market and see what resonates.”
“There’s that strange, tenuous relationship between marketing and sales … If one’s not doing enough … or one’s not pulling our weight … the other suffers. But part of the reason I love the startup world so much is because my director of sales and I, we have no intentions of ever passing the buck. We’re in it together.”
“You can get someone interested with that fun, cool branding — flashy marketing statements, all the quick little bar charts — but when you get them in the door and you really start to talk about what that means, and they really dig into the tech, you have to prove that out really quickly and upfront. And then there’s going back to the rest of their team. … It’s about winning over that first person, and then getting all the other dominoes to fall with them.”
“In terms of creating that content, repurposing and re-dicing it, that’s in plan right now. I think we have these mega pieces, which aren’t necessarily the greatest thing to hand to everybody. Not everybody’s going to read a 20-page white paper, but it addresses all of their concerns. So we’re working on taking, ‘Hey, page seven is for you, SRE guy; and page nine is for you, infrastructure gal; and page 12 is for you, CTO.’”
“I would say we’ve gone pretty heavy on the virtual event side, and it’s worked out well. I don’t think that’s going to remain the case forever because people will tire of this probably pretty soon, and we’re going to have to get creative again. But I think overall it’s not been too terrible for the marketers familiar with virtual events to go through this little change.”
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