A Conversation with Mobivity's SVP of Marketing, Chuck Moxley
In today's MarTech Leader conversation, we speak with Chuck Moxley, the coauthor of An Audience of One and SVP of marketing at Mobivity, a unified guest engagement platform that offers data-driven text message marketing and offer management for brick-and-mortar enterprises. Chuck tells us about how he organizes his team, how he combines multiple channels for a 360 surround effect on prospects, and why one-to-one marketing is the future.
Mobivity provides what we call a "unified guest engagement platform" for brick-and-mortar enterprises. With e-commerce, it's really easy to collect data, use data, tie it all together, and so on. With brick-and-mortars, they have a lot more challenges in trying to tie it all together.
We have two main flagship products: our SmartMessage™—or text messaging—and Unified Offers™.
Our flagship smart messaging solution has really taken off during the pandemic. Our clients include restaurants like Sonic Drive-In, Subway, and Checkers/Rally’s. We also have a couple of large national and regional convenience store chains, as well as several personal service brands. All of these clients realized in the pandemic that keeping in touch with customers, letting them know things like opening hour changes, for instance—that's really hard. And text messaging is a great venue to do that, because people open texts before they open emails, app notifications, or push notifications. So, that's our core product.
What's different about Mobivity is our ability to link every text message to an actual coupon redemption and purchase, whether in-store or online. We built our platform to help drive guest frequency and spend for brick-and-mortar brands, including our patented Trusted Redemption™ technology that comes with our platform. When you get the text message, if you want to redeem an offer, you click a button and we can actually track data like the location and the date and time of the redemption, and tie that back to a point-of-sale transaction on the backend.
With our Unified Offers solution, clients can unify and manage all those offer codes. With that, they get what we call Perfect Attribution, where they can tie every redemption back to the channel it came from, start to measure which media is most effective, and start to optimize their media.
I lead marketing for the company. I'm responsible for establishing and building brand awareness, as well as driving demand generation. Ultimately, I always say everything we do in marketing comes back to sales. Our whole goal is finding out: How do we drive revenue faster? How do we scale the company faster?
In terms of our team's organization, we have product marketing, which is a part of marketing. I have a head of product marketing; for that, we're really packaging the product, defining the narrative around the product, and helping the sellers sell the product and position it with the customers.
The other side is 80% demand generation. It's all about figuring out how to drive more demand and get more awareness out there. We use account-based marketing [ABM] campaigns, because there aren't 10s of 1,000s of brick-and-mortar enterprises—it's hundreds of companies we're looking at.
In terms of measuring success, the number one thing is revenue. To me, the three key metrics are revenue (how many leads are we converting to sales?), customer acquisition cost (what does it cost us to acquire a customer?), and customer satisfaction and utilization of the product. Because, if clients are happy, then they're going to grow the program, they're going to get more people in it, they'll then add more of our modules, and so on.
We do work closely with sales. I've never been a fan of the idea that marketing drives a lead, throws it over the wall, and says, "Okay, here you go, sales!" It just doesn't work. What you get are the sellers going, "These leads are crap. They're not qualified." This is my fifth B2B SaaS platform marketing role and I spent 15 years in consumer marketing before that—so I get this world. What I've learned is to treat the SDR [sales development rep] team as part of marketing. So, as we get leads, we put them into sequences, where we're doing the follow-up as they percolate up and qualify. Then, when they’re ready to bring in an outside seller, they do it together.
I buy a ton of software. Sometimes I will exchange emails and talk to an SDR for a year before we're ready to evaluate the tool. It drives me crazy that when I get that meeting and that demo set up, the SDR is gone. And half the time, no one knows what our conversations were about. That hand-off is so clunky for the buyer.
Whenever possible, make sure the SDR is part of that conversation. The beauty of that is that when things slow down, you've got a second person who can reach out and go, "Hey, I just wanted to reach out to see how it's going with Joe." Or, if a really hot prospect suddenly stalls, the seller can move on to other opportunities, while the SDR can continue checking in with that prospect. Sometimes it can take an SDR a year to get them back to the table, but it does work.
In terms of our day-to-day work, we use Trello to manage all of our projects. We actually practice agile marketing, implemented by a new growth marketing manager we brought in. So we work in three-week sprints, like in software.
The market is exploding, especially for text messaging. If you think about the QSR space and the restaurant space, they all went all-in on apps two or three years ago. They all had to have an app. Now, the latest trend is that they all have to have a loyalty program. We actually went and looked at the top 100 restaurant brands, as reported by Technomic, which reports industry data. We found that 65 of the top 100 are promoting apps, 62 are promoting loyalty programs, 60 are promoting email, and only 20 are promoting text messaging.
So, it's really the next owned media channel for brick-and-mortar. Our goal is obviously to be at the forefront of that.
We just recently launched the industry's first-ever text marketing benchmarks, because nobody's ever actually done benchmarks on text message marketing. It's based on 15 million consumers, over 40 restaurant brands, and 500 million messages sent over three years. So it includes the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic periods. To me, that's a big accomplishment. Only 20 of the top 100 are really pushing messaging and it's because they're trying to figure out: Can you make it pay? We now have definitive proof. We've got the data and now our job is to put all that data out there to the industry and help justify why they need to be in the channel.
In terms of our challenges, for me, it comes down to this: How do we justify marketing spend? I was brought on two years ago; prior to that, the company was on the smaller side and wanted to scale up. I came on board in January 2020 and put together a budget and a hiring plan. Then COVID hit in March, and all of that went on hold, so it's still relatively new. So how do we justify all that and tie it back to sales? How do you help the exec team and the board understand lead gen and top-of-funnel versus bottom-of-funnel and that the activity that we do in March sometimes may not pay out until September or next year in some cases? Really, a big part of my job internally is to educate—because it's just a new world for the company. And since marketing tends to spend a lot of money, we have to be able to justify that spend in terms of driving opportunities that ultimately result in sales.
As I mentioned, our core strategy is ABM, so we have lots of ways of executing that. We do brand awareness in print and in digital with industry trade publications. I'm a big fan of webinars. For the last 10 years, our lowest cost per lead has been webinars, even though they're expensive when you deal with a media partner. But they drive hundreds of people into registration and viewing. We also do our ABM targeting. We're targeting people on LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on. Then we still have our paid search, and our pay per click, and all of our SEO.
So, all of that kind of works together. The best term I've ever heard for it is, it's a 360-degree surround approach. Have you ever heard a word and you've never heard that word before, and then you hear it three times in the next two days? It's because you hear it from different places. And that's why you need brand, the quality, the media pieces for it, the actual direct content, the download options on Facebook and LinkedIn. You need to see the ads when you're on Yahoo and that sort of thing—across a digital display. They all work together and suddenly people are hearing Mobivity, Mobivity, Mobivity.
The big trend is this move from mass marketing, which is really based on decades-old concepts of targeting by demographic and that sort of thing, to this concept of one-to-one marketing. There was a book written by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers in 1993 called “The One to One Future,” and the idea was that marketing would adapt and everybody would get unique messages instead of mass TV commercials. What was interesting about the book was that none of it was possible back then—the technology didn't really exist to target people on a one-to-one basis. Today, that's not the case. Everybody's addressable, so it's practical for both B2B and consumer.
The reason we're relevant at Mobivity is that we help clients build first-party data; we help them build a one-to-one media channel they own and control.
I actually have a book coming out about this that I co-authored with good friend and fellow marketing expert, Jamie Turner, called An Audience of One. It’s published by McGraw Hill and is now available on Amazon. And in a full-circle moment, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers graciously offered to write the foreword to our book!
The big challenge is building relevant content, because there's a ton of it out there; everybody's doing it. And for us, we're targeting certain industries. What's relevant to restaurants may not be relevant to convenience stores. So, how do you scale that content development so that you can have the right piece at the right time that gets the prospect to engage, raise their hand, and start to engage with you?
I think it's about finding out how you scale it, because it takes time. Doing the benchmarks, that was probably 12 weeks of effort. So, how do you do that at scale? That's the challenge.
Learn from our conversations with up-and-coming marketing leaders, published weekly.