The Life-Long Customer

Transforming B2B Marketing through Intent Data - with Casey Carey, Chief Marketing Officer, Kazoo

December 15, 2021 Revenue Rhino Season 1 Episode 118
The Life-Long Customer
Transforming B2B Marketing through Intent Data - with Casey Carey, Chief Marketing Officer, Kazoo
Show Notes Transcript
"Intent data has transformed B2B marketing. We're still kind of early stages but truly transformational in how we think about the things we do.

We've all had first-party intent data.
People come to our website.
They fill out forms.
They read guides.
They watch videos.
They click on emails.

All intent and purpose that was intent data, right? It was first-party intent data, and it was only the data that we had exposure to, which is, frankly, a fraction of your target market's activities.

We spend a lot of time and effort and spend money on Google getting people on our websites to have more intent data.

Over the last five or six years, companies have come to fruition providing third-party intent data. They compile the data and make it available so that you can understand all those activities that aren't occurring on your website, but that is important to you within your target market."

- Casey Carey, Chief Marketing Officer, Kazoo


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Introduction: 0:04
From Revenue Rhino, I'm Brad Hammond, and this is The Lifelong Customer Podcast. We're interviewing successful sales and marketing leaders in discussing ways in which they're building lifelong relationships with their customer.

Brad Hammond: 0:20
Welcome to The Lifelong Customer Podcast. I'm your host, Brad Hammond. Our guest speaker today has spent most of his career in high tech startups and spearheaded career leading marketing initiatives for some of the biggest brands in the tech space like Google, Marketo, Adobe, just to name a few. I'm excited to have Casey Carey, Chief Marketing Officer at Kazoo on our show today. Welcome, Casey. Thank you so much for joining us.

Casey Carey: 0:44
Hey, Brad. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for inviting me. I'm really, really looking forward to the conversation.

Brad Hammond: 0:49
It's great to have you on. So to start, please tell our audience a bit more about you. Who is Casey Carey? 

Casey Carey: 0:56
Yeah, currently Chief Marketing Officer, employee experience evangelist at a company called Kazoo. As you mentioned, spent most of my career in high tech startups, high growth companies. And with a four and a half year stint at Google, which was one of the best four and a half years of my life. But good to be back in a startup company, for sure. 

Brad Hammond: 1:15
Very cool. So we like to kick things off with a bang. And before we get into the main topic for today, one of the throw-in, a crazy bonus question here, what's the craziest marketing initiatives that you've ever done in the past?

Casey Carey: 1:29
Yeah, that's a hard one, a little bit of a ramp, right? Like there's very, very few of us are in a situation where we're encouraged to do crazy things. Like we have results we have to deliver. I think a lot of the current environment discourages that, particularly if you're reporting to a board or into the C-suite. But I will talk about one though, that I thought it was an awesome idea, it never actually saw the light of day.

So we launched a large new offering.  It was actually rebranded kind of new offering when I was at Google. It was a Google marketing platform. We rebranded all the Google Analytics products and double click, which was an iconic brand in advertising into a single platform called the Google Marketing Platform. And obviously, 18 months of work, a lot of effort and sweat went into that activity. And our biggest competitor, I won't mention though, happen to have a very large event in Vegas every spring. And so we decided to launch a week before their event. 

And the great thing about being a Google is if you sneeze, everybody else gets a cold. So we got lots of press, lots of attention, lots of interviews, doing all that stuff. But as part of our plan was I wanted to buy out all the out-of-home advertising at McCarran Airport and on the way to the convention center and all that, so the following week, because all of our buyers who are currently customers of one of our competitors was going to be there. We did all the work. We were good to go. And at the 11th hour, it got shut down by the Google CMO. And you know, I get it. She basically said that's not Google-y. And it’s like, damn it. It was such a great idea, but it never saw the light of day.

Brad Hammond: 3:10
Yeah. Oh, man. Well, sounds like quite the journey, fun experience. So let's get into this today's topic. Before I even do that, can you just give us a brief overview of Kazoo? What the marketing space looks like in Kazoo?

Casey Carey: 3:25
Yeah, sure. Absolutely. So we're an HR tech company. We bring together goals and OKRs, conversations, feedback, recognition, incentives into a single platform. We're serving SMB mid-market, small enterprise customers, mostly in English speaking countries. So yeah, our current marketing model is, I would say, three strategies.

The first is demand capture. So just being really good at identifying, engaging, and capturing existing demand in the marketplace. And frankly, like, all companies should be really good at this and really focus on it. Once you've done that, your next strategies available, and that is, let's go create some demand. So let's go help our market understand the business problems they have, the potential benefits of solving those problems, and kind of what a solution would look like. And then the last strategies, truly around brand and awareness, and that is creating an awareness of Kazoo and a preference for Kazoo as a solution provider in the market. I would say today, we're 60-40-10 across kind of our strategy, moving up to doing more demand creation as well as more brand activity. 

Brad Hammond: 4:32
Very cool. So let's dive into today's topic, which is leveraging intent data. So before we even dive into this, can you give the audience an overview of what is intent data and why is it important?

Casey Carey: 4:45
Yeah, absolutely. So intent data has transformed B2B marketing. We're still kind of early stages, but truly transformational in how we think about the things we do. So we've all had first party intent data. People come to our website, they fill out forms, they read guides, they watch videos, they click on emails. So it kind of all intent and purpose that was intent data, right? But it was first party intent data, and it was only the data that we had exposure to, which is frankly, a fraction of the activities that your target market is involved in.

So we spend a lot of time and effort, spend money on Google getting people on our websites so we could actually have more intent data, right? Over the last five or six years, companies have come to fruition that are providing third-party intent data. So really compiling the data and making it available so that you can understand all those activities that aren't occurring on your website but that are important to you within your target market.

And there's really three types. There's kind of the independent websites and portals. So think of Jitu. Somebody is on Jitu, looking at your competitors, that's a very strong intense signal that if you can pick that up and use it, it's super valuable.

There's bidstream. This gets a little complicated. But basically, companies are putting ads on sites and through those pixels, they're kind of scraping the information off that site and the user behavior, and classifying that website and that behavior based on certain topics or keywords [inaudible]. So they'll create a data asset based on what they're seeing tied to a cookie, tied to an IP address.

And then the last one is kind of publisher co-ops. So a lot of publishers will get together, contribute their data to an intent data co-op. So for example, we're in the HR space. It could be, it could be ShowROOM, it could be People Management today. They have users that are consuming content and engaging in content on topics. They classified that and contributed to a co-op so we can get a bigger view of what those users are doing across those types of sites.

So those are kind of really the three primary sources.

And then the last piece, most of the providers of this data do a pretty good job of applying deep learning and data science to the data because the data is messy, noisy, inconsistent, and you can't use it raw. So they do a really great job of making it usable. And one example of one of my favorites is Bombora, it’s one of the providers. So they model the baseline activity. So for us, they would say, okay, you're interested in performance management, here's the baseline at company X on performance management. And then they'll actually give you a certain score. So if their interest changes in Performance Management, you now have that signal that you can pick up.

Brad Hammond: 7:29
Very interesting. So what are some things that you see when an organization is using intent data for the marketing versus if they're not? Like, what are some of those tangible benefits that come about in doing this?

Casey Carey: 7:41
Yeah, great question. The biggest one, and probably the most obvious is it significantly opens up your target universe. And we spend a lot of time and effort getting people to our websites and then trying to engage them and convert them. If all of a sudden I have 1,000x or 10,000x more companies that I know are behaving like the ones who are on my website, I have a much bigger universe to go after.

The other thing is that helps in prioritization and targeting. And I'm no longer going after everybody in HR. I'm going after everybody in HR showing high intent on the things I care about. So all of a sudden, I can customize my messaging. I can customize my outreach and channels, etc. So it gives me a bigger aperture, but also allows me to be much more targeted within that bigger aperture.

Brad Hammond: 8:27
Totally. So let's talk about gathering, interpreting, and using the intent data for your marketing initiatives. Sounds like gathering if you use third-party service. Interpreting, tell us a bit about that, and how you actually use this, plug it into your programs.

Casey Carey: 8:43
Yeah, absolutely. Lots of sources of intent data out there. It's kind of the new black, if you will. Everybody's claiming to have some sort of intent data. So yeah, definitely be careful. Do your homework and spend time on looking at what you're actually buying and using because quality matters. And this is data that's never perfect, right? It's directional at best, but it's significantly better than not having something, I guess, is how I would say it.

The real important thing to think about is what are the signals that would actually predict buying stage? So the signals that you would pick up, somebody who's kind of in the early awareness or consideration stage will be much different than signals to somebody who's looking at alternatives and making a purchase decision, right?

So you really have to understand that buyer's journey and almost map the available intent data to that journey, because it really change, say, how much money you spend, what channels you use, and what content and messages that you apply. So I would say one of the benefits of using intent data is it forces you to be super knowledgeable about your buyer's journey. What questions they are asking, what information they're seeking? And then how do you best address those needs to reach that public.

Brad Hammond: 9:53
Totally. For the marketers out there that maybe don't have an intent data program or maybe it's immature, what tangible steps or actual steps can they take to get started and follow this?

Casey Carey: 10:04
Great question. So I'll tell you a little bit about how we started with it. When I was at Marketo, I was fortunate enough to actually work on launching the Bombora integration with Marketo. So I got a really good exposure to the data. Marketo was a big user of the Bombora data. Saw the benefits of it.

When I came to Kazoo, what we did was I picked our most obvious use case. And that was outbound SDRs, teleprospecting. They basically had a scorcher strategy where they just basically called down the list until they got somebody to take a meeting, no prioritization whatsoever. So we said, Okay, if we know who's in market for the solutions we provide, that's where we should spend our outbound effort.

So let's prioritize our calls or emails, everything we're doing based on that set of accounts. So my point was, like, if we can't get it to work there, it's probably not going to work anywhere. And interesting, what we saw was almost a 3x improvement in reply and connect rates for outbound team, by targeting through intent data.

Brad Hammond: 11:04
Very cool. So let's talk about pitfalls. I think there's always those landmines that you want to avoid. Where are they here?

Casey Carey: 11:12
Yeah, you know, organizationally, it  depends on your org, but you kind of have to sell these things into the organization. You got to sell it to your CEO. You've got to sell it to the marketing team. You have to sell it to the sales team. And it's a little bit of black box black magic. They may not understand it, and you will definitely have the skeptics, honestly. You will have people who will find the exemption cases, oh my God, this customer just filled out a demo request. They’re ready to buy. And there's no intent data inside. Yes, that happens.

There's other cases where people are just showing tons of intent. And when you talk to them, for whatever reason, they're not in an active purchase cycle, right? So yes, that happens as well. But predominantly, just showing kind of the impact and the performance over time and being able to prove that it works is really important. And then I would say the last thing is, once you you're confident that it works, and that it's part of your strategy, embed it everywhere.

So we use intent data to predict churn on our customer support team. Because we can see if they're surging on topics that they're buying something from us, they've already bought something from us, or they’re [inaudible] on competitors topics. So there are signals that you can apply throughout the entire customer journey that helps you, obviously, just be better at what you do. 

Brad Hammond: 12:31
Totally. I think you mentioned something really interesting, too. And that's you have to really understand your buyer journey. I imagine that could be a pitfall if your intent data is let's go sign up. And you really don't have that journey mapped out.

Casey Carey: 12:45
Yeah, absolutely. And I think one of the benefits that I didn't think about going into it is, it's totally informed our SEO, it’s totally informed our content strategy, and vice versa, frankly, and vice versa. You know, we'll see strong intense signals on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics. But then we'll look and say, oh, well, we don't really have good content on our site around that. Okay, let's go build that content out. Let's put a D&I campaign together to take advantage of that intent data, get people on the website. So it definitely gives and takes and kind of your entire go-to-market strategy helps inform it, but also the other things help drive your intent data.

Brad Hammond: 13:23
Very interesting. As we're wrapping up here, what final advice would you give to the other marketers out there listening today when it comes to using intent data?

Casey Carey: 13:32
Yeah, absolutely. I would say first, data is not a strategy. Right? Data enables or enhances strategy. So stay true to your strategy, focus on your audience, focus on your creative and your offers, focus on your channels, and use the data to make each one of those steps better. So I think sometimes we’re getting hammered with data and tech and it kind of drives what we do. It's a little bit of the tail wagging the dog. So stay true to your strategy as you get into this. And then the last piece is this is a big principle of mine. Start small to go big. Start small, test it, and make it sure it works and start building it out and how you use it more comprehensive way throughout your strategy. Absolutely, it’s a good way to go.

Brad Hammond: 14:15
Love that. Well, Casey, it's been a pleasure to have you on.  Thank you so much for joining the podcast today.

Casey Carey: 14:21
Cool. It's absolute pleasure. I appreciate the time. Thanks, Brad.

Brad Hammond: 14:24
Totally. And thank you everyone listening to The LifeLong Customer Podcast. You can find us on LinkedIn as well as your podcast platforms.