Ellie Mirman is latest of our Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars. After climbing through the ranks in marketing team at HubSpot, Ellie has taken her Demand Gen prowess to Toast where she is VP, Marketing for a company redefining restaurant management software. We had a few minutes to sit down with Ellie and catch up on how she is applying her phenomenal track record at HubSpot to her newfound challenges at Toast.
Zak: At HubSpot you were marketing to a wide range of audiences. Now at Toast who are you targeting?
Ellie: Toast is an all-in-one restaurant management platform meant for all different kinds of restaurants - from cafes and bars to full service restaurants and fast casual chains.
Zak: How are you segmenting your audience?
Ellie: We're still ramping up our marketing efforts, but there are already a few key ways to segment that are emerging. Firstly, we have a few different audiences: prospects, customers, partners, and resellers. Secondly, there are different types of restaurants with different needs - a cafe or bakery may value different benefits than a full service restaurant would.
Zak: In your early state of building out your marketing, how are you approaching lead stages?
Ellie: Our funnel progresses from leads who are just looking for educational content to leads who are actively looking for a solution to opportunities who are evaluating our software and then, ultimately customers and evangelists.
Zak: And what does your initial “technology stack” look like?
Ellie: HubSpot for marketing, Salesforce for CRM. We're a lean team and use free tools like Google Docs and Trello for other tech needs.
Zak: Are you considering any new marketing technologies in the near future?
Ellie: We're a lean team and I think stating we'd add certain technology in the next year is only going to invite cold sales emails so I'll refrain from saying more.
Zak: Fair enough. How about demand gen more broadly -- what aspects do you see as particularly ‘hot’ over the next year?
Ellie: What isn't hot about demand gen??... said the marketing geek. I will say that one of the interesting things about doing demand gen right now is figuring out how to cut through the increasing noise online. Online marketing, inbound demand gen, social media marketing... these things aren't new anymore, and simply being online isn't enough.
Zak: Jon Miller of Marketo – one of your former competitors—has talked about behavioral targeting being an area he expects more marketers to get their head around in 2015. Are you doing any form of behavioral targeting or triggers?
Ellie: I agree that this has become more common - as well as more possible, given all the data that exists about user behavior. Retargeting and behavioral segmentation are likely the starting places for us as we start to ramp up our nurturing efforts. However, I must warn that this only makes sense when you have enough data and a large enough audience before diving into this area.
Zak: What’s a marketing program that you’ve done in the past year that has been particularly effective or innovative?
Ellie: While at HubSpot, we implemented holistic lead nurturing - expanding beyond the classic email nurturing into social, retargeting, and even some offline campaigns - which was one of the successful initiatives that significantly improved the lead to customer conversion rate.
Zak: We all know content creation is critical to demand generation? How does your marketing team approach content creation? Who owns it? Who contributes?
Ellie: Everyone contributes to our content creation efforts. That includes everyone in marketing as well as content contributors from other departments because they bring great expertise to showcase on the blog. We also have someone on the marketing team who "owns" content creation - from strategy-setting to editing to creating a significant portion of the content.
Zak: What are the top social media platforms you’ve found to reach your audience?
Ellie: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are our biggest networks so far.
Zak: Let’s move a little bit to the personal side -- how did you get your start in marketing?
Ellie: While getting a liberal arts degree in college, I started thinking about what I wanted to do when I graduated. I ended up taking a marketing internship one summer and fell in love with it. Through my marketing internship experience, I landed a job doing marketing at an up-and-coming startup - HubSpot. That turned out to be an exceptionally good choice early in my career.
Zak: What do you most enjoy about marketing and demand generation?
Ellie: The variety - there are so many facets of marketing that leverage different skills. I love being able to do analytical and creative work and work on a variety of things every day. It keeps things interesting and challenging all the time.
Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?
Ellie: Analytical - able to make data-driven decisions, test, analyze, prioritize.
Agile - able to stay on top of what's happening in the industry and in the sales funnel to adjust as necessary.
Communicator - able to communicate well, whether in written form or verbally, both internally and externally.
Curious and creative - able to get new ideas from unexpected places and explore new opportunities.
Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?
Ellie: Get experience any way you can. That means interning or even testing out demand gen strategies on your own personal website. (If you don't have a personal website, start one!) Results speak louder than any theories you can talk about in an interview.
Zak: For those who want to continue to learn from you, where can we find you on social media?
Zak: Thank you Ellie