Allison MacLeod is the latest of our Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars. As Senior Director of Demand Generation & Marketing Operations at Rapid7, Allison has a wide range of responsibilities and has both the blessing and the challenge of growing demand for a business that recently received $30M in investment to accelerate its growth(!).
Zak: What is the target audience you are marketing/selling to?
Allison: Rapid7 provides IT data security data and analytics solutions and we market and sell to information security professionals. That includes the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), security managers, directors and VPs, penetration testers, security analysts, and incident responders.
Zak: With that wide range of roles, how do you segment your audience?
Allison: We segment by customers and prospects, but mostly our segmentation strategy is based on relevance. We have three different solution areas – threat exposure management, incident detection and response and security advisory services. It is important that we deliver and provide relevant marketing resources to people based off of their need and interest, as well as their role. A security admin looking to scan their network likely wants different content than a CISO who has just joined an organization trying to measure the maturity of their security program. Right time, right message, right person is critical!
Zak: Absolutely. Part of that right time, right message is well defined lead stages, how have you approached that area?
Allison: We follow a Sirius Decisions model, but with a bit of our own Rapid7 twist on it. We measure each stage of the funnel and are pretty maniacal about it to make sure we are staying on top and achieving our goals.
Zak: What does your “technology stack” look like?
Allison: Our stack includes marketing automation, CRM, predictive scoring, customer advocacy, online community, analytics platforms, as well as a few onsite conversion tools.
Zak: That’s outstanding. What aspect of demand generation do you see as particularly ‘hot’ over the next year?
Allison: There are a few different areas – predictive analytics and scoring, account based marketing, personalization and customer focused marketing.
I definitely think we’ll see more of a need for predictive analytics and scoring. Being able to better identify high quality leads and increase conversion is something all of us marketers want as well as the ability to focus on quality over quantity.
I also think personalization will be big in the next year. Being more relevant and targeted in messaging and content is important. Our customers and prospects want what is relevant to them not to be served up a ‘one size fits all’ type of campaign. The better marketers are at this, the more successful they’ll be. But like others have cautioned in this blog series, you have to have enough of the right data to get it correct!
And lastly customer marketing and advocacy is another hot area. We LOVE our customers at Rapid7 – and customer advocacy is really important for us. We get our customers involved in our product programs, events, webinars, blogs and our own customer-only conference UNITED. I’ve seen a lot of marketers start to focus more on their customers and I think this will be an area that will see a lot of growth in 2015.
Zak: Jon Miller of Marketo has talked about behavior 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 and what?
Allison: This is definitely important and an area I’d like to focus on. Stay tuned.
Zak: We all know content creation is critical to demand generation? How does your marketing team approach content creation? Who owns it? Who contributes?
Allison: We approach content generation based off of the needs of our audiences, what is new and trending in the industry and relevance. We try to be very agile – so for example if there is a big security vulnerability discovered in the industry -- take your pick from 2014 like Heartbleed, ShellShock or Poodle -- we act as quickly as possible to deliver content that is educational and actionable, whether that is a blog post, video, webinar, or eBook.
Content is managed centrally out of our Marketing Communications team, but we have a lot of contributors throughout the organization. Our Community Manager is responsible for our blogs strategy, and we have many contributors to overall content including PR, product marketing and management, engineering, demand generation, our services group, and research.
Zak: What are the top social media platforms you’ve found to reach your audience?
Allison: Twitter and LinkedIn are best for our audience.
Zak: How did you get your start in marketing?
Allison: In college I knew I wanted a career in Marketing, so decided to get my Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communication. While I was working on my M.A., I got a great gig at a small marketing and advertising agency in Boston where I got to wear many hats, mainly product marketing. After I finished grad school, I started at a marketing consulting company where I worked with a number of different clients on their marketing automation and email programs. My first assignment was creating a data dictionary for the CRM and automation platforms for the client’s marketing team. I thought I had wanted to be more on the creative side, but that job was definitely a great intro into demand gen, data and analytics.
Zak: That is so cool. What do you most enjoy about marketing and demand generation?
Allison: I love working across many different departments in the organization. I get to work with sales, all teams in marketing, products and services teams, IT, Finance and more. There is nothing more exciting than knowing that the campaigns or leads you have been responsible for have led to opportunities and won business. I also love working on integrated campaigns and using new technologies to reach customers and prospects. It’s a job that gets you exposed to a lot of different areas, and no two days are the same which is something that keeps me on my toes and thrilled to keep doing it!
Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?
Allison: Data driven, analytical, results oriented, and creative are key skills. More specifically, I think having a natural curiosity about results, being able to create and design programs that are relevant and elicit interest, creating strong alignment with a sales organization, and the ability to change course or alter your programs based off of performance.
Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?
Allison: I’m in demand gen, so of course I think it is one of the most important and exciting functions in marketing. For those aspiring demand gen professionals out there, I’d suggest joining a company where you can try many things to see what suits you best and round out your experience. Get to know how marketing ops uses technology and data to drive strategy, understand how the digital team creates awareness and fills the top of the funnel, do a stint in customer marketing, content or campaign creation. One of my first roles was focused on marketing operations and it gave me a great foundation to get more involved in the creative side of demand, and ultimately responsible for both.
Zak: Where can we find you on social media?
Zak: Thank you Allison.