A Conversation with Laura Kendall, VP of Marketing at MadKudu
In today’s MarTech conversation, we speak with Laura Kendall, the VP of marketing at MadKudu, a platform for B2B marketers that uses data science to simplify and power sales and marketing alignment..
Kendall explains her approach to marketing the service, her plans to build community using virtual and in-person events, and her various content initiatives at the company.
MadKudu is a marketing intelligence platform that aims to solve the complex B2B challenges that marketers are facing today.
Our platform uses predictive modeling and data science to perform audience segmentation and scoring. We help revenue leaders with things like lead and account scoring, analyzing their core ICP, assessing marketing campaign performance, determining key activation events within the product, expanding to new geographies, identifying the most likely buyer—a lot of the things that are inherently challenging for B2B marketers today.
The product itself was specifically designed with B2B marketers in mind, so what is really exciting for me as a marketer is that we bring the power of data science to operational marketers without the need for them to know SQL or any other programming language. This means marketing leaders no longer need to worry about asking engineering for resources, using valuable headcount on engineers. Creating a model in-house can be very time-consuming and so can making changes to that model. What we are able to do is help those teams—with or without very technical data science resources—move more quickly and focus on the experimentation and testing phases versus the operational and upkeep phases.
The company was founded in 2014 and we’re now around 30 people.
I would describe my role and responsibilities as building out the marketing function to assist with scaling the company. So, everything from demand gen to content to product marketing to brand, and everything in between.
Right now, our marketing team consists of three people—me, a demand generation director, and a content manager who also covers product marketing for us.
We currently do not have a sales development or qualification team. Our perspective on sales and marketing alignment is that we really think about ourselves as one go-to-market team. So we work very closely together on everything from our messaging to leveraging our own tool for sales prioritization. We really pride ourselves on being able to defy what is commonly referred to as a battle between sales and marketing.
I'm primarily measured on opportunities created or pipeline generated for sales. From a company standpoint, revenue is a team sport, but on the marketing side, we measure qualified conversions based on our own MadKudu model as a leading indicator for that primary goal of sales qualified leads.
In terms of our day-to-day activities, the joy of being a startup is that every day is very different. We are now fully remote, so we use Slack as our primary communication channel. I try to keep it as collaborative as possible so people don’t feel like they’re working in a silo.
As far as our tech stack goes, we are using a tool called Livestorm to host our webinars, which we’ve put a lot of effort into.
We host some of our videos on Wistia. We use Salesforce and HubSpot to track sales and marketing activities and a little bit of Zapier to connect everything easily.. Of course, we also use MadKudu, our own product.
A big goal at the moment is tied to building a user community. We’re starting things off with meetups and roundtable discussions—bringing cohorts of customers together to discuss a hyper-relevant topic, share best practices, build relationships with each other, that sort of thing. A challenge will be how to translate that and help them continue the conversation after that meetup.
Another challenge with our community-building initiative will be when (and how) to do in-person events given the shift since COVID-19 and the rise of hybrid events. Things just started to pop up in person in the Bay Area in September of this year. So, it’s fun to keep an eye on that and decide when to start using an in-person forum alongside virtual.
There are certainly lots of tools that could facilitate the continuation of conversations from events to online, Slack being one of them. But really figuring out what our community and our customers want and where they’re most likely to engage with each other will be something we'll need to consider.
I think PLG is really blowing up. There’s a lot of buzz around product-led growth, and leveraging that as a go-to-market motion. Even Tomasz Tunguz made a prediction that PLG will be a dominant go-to-market motion for software companies. I think this is a very interesting point.
We're seeing our customer base trending in that direction as well—either considering a free trial or freemium product or putting more emphasis to ensure that they're going to see some substantial growth through that go-to-market motion.
A lot of the time, people think about content as just being blogs and whitepapers, but I really think it’s so much more than that. It’s the message on your website, it’s the information in a webinar or a podcast, it’s the copy in your emails and social posts. And all of those initiatives combined are what make up an integrated marketing campaign. So, content is such a huge part of any marketing team’s success. And that is before you even consider sales enablement content.
Something that has worked very well for us is our “Marketing Ops Confessions” live series. This has been a great way for us to grow our audience quickly. That series is bringing marketing operations leaders onto a weekly live session where they share a bit about their day-to-day roles, lessons they’ve learned, hot takes, and so on. We try to keep it very conversational and lively, and we include an AMA component as well.
We've also seen success in taking our longer-form videos and shortening them into smaller video clips. It's really tough if you've got a recording and you're asking a prospect to spend 60 minutes watching it. But it's a whole lot easier to ask them to spend 60 seconds taking a quick peek at a key takeaway.
A content trend that I've been thinking about a lot and talking to people in my network about is the concept of gating (or ungating) content. As we scale our content efforts, this is something we’ll spend more time thinking about—and making sure that only our highest-value content are things that we're gating. While it makes it a bit hard to measure, the user experience when you don’t put a form in front of everything is much smoother.
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