Hello, I'm Kerry Guard and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders. Season Eight is a compilation around how to market to people and the importance of how we do that as buyers shift from meeting sales and marketers to tell them what and how to buy to giving the buyers the autonomy to make their own decisions. I know marketers, we’ve got to relinquish control, it's so hard. But that's where the world is going. And we got to get on board. And the beauty about season eight is it actually shows seven to eight marketers who are actually doing it, and you can too, and here are some fancy ways of going about it.
For this episode, I had the opportunity to chat with David Mundy. David and I chatted a few months ago when he was working in Rapid7, which was formerly DivvyCloud. I literally asked David one question, I asked him my very first question. And our whole episode sits there because he's got an amazing story to tell. And one, I think we can all relate to, at least most of us who didn't really set out to be marketers, and our journeys just lead us there. And that's similar to David, and in our conversation and where our conversation leads is around the importance of marketing and how he believes that a company has two pillars - the built and the marketing. You got to build it, and then you got to market it. And his vision of this is really beautiful. And it still encompasses all the other things you need to make a company run. He's not saying to get rid of everything else. He's just saying that if you can organize your company in this way, everything else will flow through. It's an interesting concept. And I'm really curious to hear what you all think. I love this conversation, David, I loved his story. And I can't wait to share it with y'all.
So let's get to it.
Kerry Guard: Hello, David, thank you for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
David Mundy: Well, hello, thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.
Kerry Guard: I'm very excited to have you and for our conversation because we're gonna stir the pot and those are my favorite conversations ever. But before we get there, why don't you tell our listeners about your story? What do you do, David? How did you get there?
David Mundy: Yeah, I don't think it's too complicated of a story, though. I've been told different, I guess, it's nuanced, maybe. I'll take back to just, you know, early decisions, which some call mature, I just more call, you know, I wasn't ready for college. Right? That's where I'll starts. I graduated college around 25, 26. When I graduated high school, I was about 17 years old and somewhere deep down inside of me, I knew I wasn't ready to take that level of learning and that next step seriously. So in that time between high school, I took you know, a couple classes here and there at a community college to keep my mind as fresh as I could. But, I wasn't diving head first into the college lifestyle yet. But, you know, I did work in various jobs, and one of the jobs I worked at for about a year and a half, two years, was at a friend's company. This small construction company, a friend's parents' company, was a small construction company, and I got into marketing and general stuff at first right? Everything from creating, like flyers and neighborhoods, promotions to going to, you know, local businesses and creating partnerships and working with them in that capacity. But, you know, what resonated throughout the span of my career, it's what, that was about 16, 17 years ago, oh God, so many white hairs ago. But is the messaging and the theme and the framing and the customer outcomes, right and the way we would try to frame that message even for this, you know, small construction company to like, you know, local customers right in the area, the regional customers, and framing that even 16 years ago framing the messaging so that it would be, so we could explain in a way that what we were offering and our services would been, how it would benefit the customer and you know, that's relevant today and what we do. You know, working for and currently today just to speed up, I work for a security company and I'm focused on the cloud security side. And, you know, we're still figuring out how do we create, you know, these campaign themes, these messagings, these frameworks. So we can really push out the messaging and the value proposition of our products in a way that resonates with the customers and explains them the value they'll get, as opposed to just saying, you know, hey, we do X, and you should just like us, because why small construction company gave me a little bit of maturity having a you know, I don't want to, having a job of that caliber, right working for a company, and I was about ready to head back into college and take it seriously. And I wanted to further my education, I didn't think I could do it on my own. Went to college, graduated around 25, 26 with a focus in our business with a focus in marketing. At one point, I wanted to do commercials, you know, I haven't actually realized that, but you know, ever seeing some of the Superbowl commercials and just thinking in my head, like, man, I could do a better job.
Kerry Guard: Never say never.
David Mundy: I don't know if I could do a better job nowadays. But it was somewhat of a dream there. So from there, college, and my first job was at Inside Higher Ed. And the woman who hired me, Kathleen Collins, whom I still talk to and have lunch with, on occasion today, took me in, so to speak, showed me the ropes of marketing, we were in higher education news for if you, for those who aren't familiar, and you know, social media was a blossoming tool at that point. And, you know, the business model is around, you know, job boards and advertisements. But it's inside higher, it's higher education news. So we had a plethora of content, obviously, that we were using, and this was before like, you know, HubSpot, whether or not they coined it, but HubSpot really amped up the the inbound methodology, the content framework, the content selling, and it was just again, you know, fortuitous, very, you know, Lucky position is that our marketing stemmed off of content, because we were content generating. So as the first you know, touch I got with really pushing content as the marketing, you know, ploys marketing schemes, the marketing strategy, in order to get buyers to to, you know, get into the advertising, and then, you know, job markets to get on our job boards. So that was the first foray into that from there. And then I helped establish and build up a bit of that marketing department. From there, I moved into GuideStar, which is a non-profit. And it is a was, they've since merged with, with another nonprofit called the Foundation Center. But they were the biggest repository for nonprofit data. And if I step back a bit, when I was graduating college, I wanted to avoid it in my head, I had complexes probably galore, but I wanted to avoid being a cog in a corporate wheel. And I also, you know, did not think I was ready to do that right, work for one of these, you know, major corporations or even like a Booz Allen or Accenture in any kind of marketing department there. I'm a DC native, so Booz Allen, Accenture everywhere, as they are everywhere around the world, actually. But, you know, I just wasn't ready. And I thought, because I worked in that construction company early on, and how complicated it was to market locally. And I had friends that were in marketing for bigger companies. And I remember just like, comparing notes. And it was in a crazy way, it's easier to market nationally, you know, a more general product than it is or at least at that time than it was to market locally. And you know, you're talking $10,000 for a full Yellow Page ad at the time, or the amount of money it cost to get these leaflets, you know, or flyers produced and then the man hours it took either hiring or you know, to pass them out or to go, you know, business to business just to even get in the door to have a conversation to begin the marketing. And it was just overly complex. So I had this thought in my head, I was like, man, if I can market in these niche markets, these smaller markets, I feel like I'll be able to market anywhere. Again, the results are still out on that one. But, you know, and that's kind of the path I lead. So I went into the and I, you know, constructed so as I went on my interviews and higher education popped up, I was fortunate enough to have a couple opportunities. And Kathleen again, was amazing just to step back into Inside Higher Ed. And I was like, that's where I need to be. And so I went and worked for her at higher education, and rolled that out. It was a lucky situation. It was a pretty awesome move from there and to guide GuideStar and this is what really and I was at GuideStar for around five years, and this really expanded my marketing knowledge across many different levels. So, the marketing team had pretty much imploded by the time I got there. So it was just me and my boss Uzma. And she was also amazing. You know, as, especially for someone like myself, who was starting off in the marketing worlds, or it only been in it for a couple years at that point. So, you know, general marketing there right, emails, getting the word out, we had an ecommerce solution that was kind of just sitting there. And I took it on with a few folks. And we took it on and we turned this e-commerce solution. And if you recall, I said GuideStar is that nonprofit repository. So data, right, in different levels of reports. And so we sold this, we sold this data in varying levels and varying reports, various levels, and we use this e-commerce functionality and we turn this you know, nonprofits, or help turn this nonprofit into a, you know, a really a for profit business model and really got the e-commerce engine churning. And it took a lot of different, you know, parts of the marketing cycle to get this e-commerce, engine rolling. And e-commerce was a thing at that point in time, right. But it wasn't like, it wasn't the end all be all that it is today. Right? It wasn't everything that it is like Amazon was established, and I copied pretty much everything they did. But yeah,
Kerry Guard: Yeah, why reinvent the wheel.
David Mundy: I mean, exactly right. I got to watch the battle between Shopify and Amazon in real time too, that was pretty cool. But yeah, and I copied pretty much everything Amazon did, or what we're doing, and just applied that, you know, changed or optimized for our business, our business strategy, and just applied that, and I was having a website optimization, telling the right story, you know, using tools like visual Website Optimizer to, show how people were interacting with our site, what messaging was resonating with them, how could we get them to convert? You know, how do we frame the specific reports or products, if you will, in that it resonates with people in that they're more likely to convert? And I got to watch all that. So not even just e-commerce and website optimization, but then moving really into data being data driven, right. And that was the data driven facet there, it was, like, how do we take this data and apply strategy to it? You know, if my conversion rate is is 13%, you know, arbitrary and 13%, and I needed to be 20%, to hit whatever the Okay, are the objectives and key results are, right, there are our KPIs more so, you know, how do we do that with this data? What's the data telling us? Well, we have this traffic data, and we, you know, weeding through the vanity metrics, right, and then you get into like, well, we have this traffic data, we have the conversion rate data, here we have the number of visitors we have to the sites into these pages, we're starting to get information about you know, what's making them converts, you know, and then general and then, you know, adding in some like surveys or customer conversations, and then starting to work and get knowledge with, you know, product teams, and sales, and we started to make that thing happen, and e commerce was successful. And we turned it into a high revenue generating machine. From there, I moved into the demand generation space, you know, the company, I guess, it seemed the success we had had with e-commerce. And we needed to kind of bridge that relationship between sales and marketing now, right, and sales was selling our API's and our hosting solutions. And now this is my first foray into, you know, loosely anyway, into tech into the tech world. I started going to, our home office was in Williamsburg, Virginia at the time. So, and I'm again, in DC. So we started driving down to Williamsburg once a quarter. And then I started meeting with the IT teams, right the technology teams and go into their sprint planning. So I started meeting with sales teams as well.
Kerry Guard: For everybody listening, I just want you to make sure you're paying attention, because this is where it's all going to come together. So keep going, David, but this is where the magic starts to happen when he starts to work with these other teams, and it's gonna lead nicely into our conversation. So just to make sure everybody's with us, because, yeah, keep going.
David Mundy: And I don't know if anyone's ever told you but these IT folks are pretty smart. They do things rather well. A lot about optimization.
Kerry Guard: And doing it right the first time, so you'll never have to go back and do it again.
David Mundy: Interestingly enough, that's a part of the value proposition for my company now, for IT, in the security teams. Anyway, I won't bore you with that yet. So I started seeing that, you know, as I was going to the sales team, you know, was in Williamsburg as well. And just to back up a step. And obviously it was the center of our IT team as well. So I started going to these sprint plannings, I started going to the sales meetings, and I started building relationships with the sales. And you know, asking, how are we going to make this thing work? Like how can I help you? What can we do, right? And I'm you know, basically being frank. It's like, look, I'm new to this. We had success, digitally. Whereas it didn't take much sales impact to help us do e-commerce, which isn't 100% true, right? Because I would go to them for at for, for messaging purposes right there on the tip of the spear, they were on the frontlines of the marketplace. So you know, where better to get my information on what the customers are doing. And we didn't have a truly evolved customer success team at that time. So it was like, Where else can I get my information, but working with sales and going to the sales folks. But the dynamic than that switch, what I was referring to was now I'm going to help them sell API's and hosted solutions, right? Things that you can't sell on e-commerce that have to be sales focused, or sales sold, right, sales lead, and then more of a B2B motion, right. Even though our reports are going into different businesses, it really had that B2C, that business to customer feel. So now I'm getting into the B2B motion with API's hosted solutions, some of the technology, the higher level technology, the more costly technology products are selling, with multiple seats, etc. And then you'll again, just the long story short, forming that relationship with them, building them and working with them to help establish this relationship in which we created this overlaying marketing funnel of, alright, well, you know, we need to attract, and, and engage, you know, this audience, we need to, essentially we need the brand brand awareness, right, then we need to get down into the marketing intelligence. And then we need to get down to like the customer advocacy and partner engagement and sales engagement. And we need to get them into the, you know, top of funnel, middle funnel bottom of funnel down into ultimately, what's the sales pipeline? And what does that look like? And that's kind of and that's kind of what led into me being, in attending also the sprint planning, right, so now I started to work with the IT team sprint planning. So now I started to see how they operated. Because I was like, you know, it's a lot of work. We didn't have a team at the time or a big team at the time. And we were slowly growing. And I'm like, how do you really just, you know, for lack of a better word, how do you do all this work? Like, how does this work happen? And like, how do you get everything done? And how do you prioritize everything? And how do you have accountability for specific folks? And how do you, like, you know what I mean? Like, how do you really like, operationalize this? Right?
Kerry Guard: Have you heard of Agile up till this point, like, have you?
David Mundy: No, I had not.
Kerry Guard: This is all a whole new world for you.
David Mundy: Completely, brand new at the time, right. And this is, you know, about 10 years ago, at this point, give or take. So this is completely new for me. And I'm like, man, even when you have kind of a more I don't want to say linear, but for lack of a better word, focus when I'm dealing with ecommerce worlds. It's really like optimizing your web strategy, your digital outreach strategy, your brand awareness strategy, right? How do you get people in that top of funnel from a digital marketing side, and then you have just full amounts of data, right? And if you're doing it correctly, in my opinion, you have all this data that you can use, and you can always be optimizing, and that's kind of your path, right? Always optimizing and using the different channels. Well, in the sales, you know, in the more B2B sales, you know, demand Gen world, you don't always have that data, right? That's not always coming in.
Kerry Guard: At least not so much of it that it's easy to make those quick decisions. It takes a lot longer to see enough data to then be like, okay, we can tweak here there we can go make this pivot or whatever. But yeah, you get a lot more data, a lot more time to get enough data.
David Mundy: Spot on spot on. Absolutely. And then so I'm trying to see what's coming up on the, you know, like going to the IT means, what products are being built, you know, or what products are being optimized that we currently have, what reports, what's coming down, and I'm not even paying attention to what the hell they're talking about, right? As far as the products, I'm so amazed because I'm watching and I'm like, learning about what Kanban boards are and I'm always saying that wrong, right? All these "Kanban". Yeah. But I'm watching them use these things. I'm watching them use these, you know, what looked like poker cards and their scorecards, and they’re rating like projects and how long they think it will take, and they're measuring all this and they're pushing it all on these different Kanban boards. And this was manual, too. They weren't using Trello at the time or any, you know, Asana or any of those. So this is, you know, actually...
Kerry Guard: Whiteboarding it.
David Mundy: Like many whiteboards, many whiteboards around the room and whiteboarding this so the conference room and whiteboard this sucker out. And I'm just mesmerized by this, right this planning process that they have, as you said that I try to avoid buzzwords as much as I can, but I can't help it right I'm gonna say pivot like 13 times. But really like yeah, and watching this like, Agile process unfold before me and I'm like, man, you guys just mapped out an entire quarter of everything... this IT team I think at the time was, I probably get yelled at by, I still am in communication with a few of them. But I'll probably get yelled at by someone. But let's just say 50 right? 50 people maybe more, maybe a little bit less, but around 50 people in this, the IT team and or the technology team, sorry. And it's just like, everybody now has their roles, the responsibilities and they use the RASCI, the RASCI model tool too so you know, Responsible, who's Accountable, Support, Consult, Inform, etc. And everybody knows what they're supposed to be doing over the next three months. They have story points for how long, so now, when I'm like, I had a few things to add, which is ultimately why I went down there, like I wanted to optimize a few of the reports, the products, some of the stuff on the website, etc. And that got implemented in there, and what the story points were exactly when it was going to be delivered? There's always delays, but they even factored in margins of error in that like, you know, margin of error in that capacity and buffered by like 5, 10 percent. So it's like, hey, it might be done on, you know, May 1st, but you know, we're adding a bit of padding, so between May 1st and May 10th. And I'm like, wow, like, this is insane. How does marketing do this? And luckily, at that time, there were some resources for applying the Agile methodology into marketing planning.
Kerry Guard: Yeah. We've done it. Yeah, we use it too.
David Mundy: Yeah. Again, new to me, right. 10 years ago, brand new to me and at that time, there were some resources. So I started looking into it, I started talking to some of our technology directors. And I was like, man, how can I adapt this, right? I don't need all the bells and whistles, right? I don't need everything. But I need like, you know, being able to map this out Kanban style and being able to apply this RASCI model and using this Weighted Shortest Job First framework, to allow us to really scope, scale and prioritize what we need to focus on, versus like our wish list versus what might not be as important. How do I do this. And I built out this, like, WSJF model, right? Weighted Shortest Job First model, and then overlaid that on top of all the other, you know, every other buzzword I just threw at you, with Kanban and all that. And I overlaid that, and we started, not only like optimizing the pricing, I had a team of like three at this point, or there was a team of three at this point. Then we started really, not only like, optimizing our workflow and figuring out what we were going to work on.
And then I actually started building this out with my colleagues it gave, and GuideStar, as well. But we also started seeing the gaps of where we needed to hire, right, where were we inefficient? Where could we not do the work? Or where were we going to lag behind? And it just, like, opened how do we fit in all of our ecommerce and digital work? How do we, you know, overlay that into this, you know, essentially demand generation B2B sales, sales connectivity work, that we're doing sales alignment work that we're doing, at the same time? How do we incorporate the different buyer personas in the different markets, you know, mid market companies, large markets, we're selling in foundations, we're selling to nonprofits filling in higher education, we're selling into corporations, we're selling in consultancies, government, etc, how do we map all of this, and then apply all the different products to that, and then focus on where and how to market and it all kind of came together. And eventually, we hired a team and got to a team of about 12, you know, 10 to 12. And it started working, you know, and it started working like clockwork, and we started mapping it all out in the sales in, and I won't bore you with any more of the details, but the sales and the marketing organization started working together and started clicking with with, you know, the the problems that always comes with sales and marketing. But, you know, easily fixable, and relationships have been established and built, and there's trust there on both sides, right, where there was none before. So over, you know, not insurmountable issues, things we can easily overcome and hop up on a conversation with right, you know, we don't have leads in my region, we don't have leads in my region, I feel like that's what I have heard my entire career. So trying to figure out that and help them with those problems. But, and then using some of the stuff we've done in the digital side, to really help position and brands, some of these products and these resources, and then take that top of funnel, middle funnel bottom, a funnel approach, and overlay that funnel into our entire process, right both on the e-commerce side and the sales side. And now you're looking at like PR and social AR and live events and contents, content strategy and advertising that we're doing top of funnel and that really like it, we bifurcated it a bit into like our e commerce strategy and our sales strategy, but then bled down into like, middle of funnel. And, you know, that was like our more in depth content, like when you're getting out of thought leadership into the more like what value can our product bring, you know, kind of solution, right? And we started like, I'm throwing a lot at you here.
Kerry Guard: No, this is great. No, I'm totally following because we're also an Agile company. I used to sit next to my husband, who's a developer. And so he, he sort of introduced it to me and then I was like we have to read this book and then we read it and then we've totally not totally adopted it similar to you've taken bits and pieces that I've and I have done podcasts on Agile, which if we haven't already defined our topic, I would that's where I would be sitting right now. But for anybody interested in how to do Agile Marketing, there is another podcast. I'll put it in the notes that y'all can go listen to with a lovely woman, Lisa Farro, who is an Agile expert. When it comes to mapping it to marketing, not to say that you are not an expert, David, what you've done is incredible. And I could totally unpack it for days. But I think what's interesting about what you're talking about and where you're leading is actually to the crux of our whole conversation. Which I'm just going to throw out there, because I think it's going to have this “aha” moment for listeners. When David and I met last week, and we're trying to figure out what we were going to talk about. He said something that I was like, we're talking about that, because it's really thought provoking, and a mind shift of how organizations are currently structured. Yes, we're going to talk about how organizations are structured, which I know as marketers, why on earth are we talking about this thing? Because what David said is, marketing should be at the center of an organization. Let that sink in for a second. Yes, marketing should be at the center of an organization. And I think, if we just take a step back and think about all the things that David just unrolled and unpacked for us, that starts to make a little bit of sense, but I think we need to start pulling it together a little bit now. David, so you as the single person have gone ahead and talked to the dev team, the tech team, the sales team, customers. Are there any other teams that you're...
David Mundy: At this point in GuideStar? Yeah, we started formatting a customer success team and building a customer success team as well. And when I say we, not the marketing team at that point, it was, you know, the powers that we at the current customer system,
Kerry Guard: And the product team?
David Mundy: Yep, the product team had been formed, but worked really in close alignment with the technology team.
Kerry Guard: So in terms of marketing, sitting at the center, what do you mean by that?
David Mundy: I feel like I'm gonna get in trouble for this from somebody. So I'll build it out a little bit. So it was at this time at GuideStar, where I started to understand, remember, marketing wasn't necessarily a new function of GuideStar. But it was an under-appreciated function at first, not intentionally by anybody, just as business alignment when it was under-appreciated. But I started to realize with everything that was going on, right, and, you know, some of the failures that I had been in companies I've been a part of, with products that they had built or brought newly to the market. And in watching, you know, those products fail, you know, as marketing, and even, you know, sales and some of that some aspects were coming in, like, behind the product being built. And with that, the data and the information that was coming in behind the product being built, I started to come to this realization, and, you know, have a lot of conversations, I don't think it's too unique, right? I mean, I've had many conversations, and I've seen, you know, articles about similar conversations, but I started to see like, there really are, in my opinion, two pillars of every in any organization. And funny enough, you'd have people like Elon Musk, or Steve Jobs, you know, not to ever not even associate myself with them in any capacity. But they would argue against this, I feel like they do value marketing, from what I've read, even though they themselves are marketable, and, you know, became their own marketers. But you know, the two pillars of any organization, in my opinion, like the beginning, two foundational elements of an organization are build and marketing. Right? You have the building of the product and or service. And then you have the marketing of that, right? So when you look at the build, right, you're literally talking about that product or service development, like, what's that idea and just imagine your startup, right, and just you have this, you have this brilliant idea. And let's, you know, however it came, like whatever the epiphany was, and whenever it happened, even if it was a gradual like, realization, you're like, alright, I got to build, I'm going to build this product, right? I'm going to build the services, I'm going to build the service, I'm going to build this product as people need this, right? Well, now you get into the value proposition, right? And then you're getting into the value proposition of why you need to build this product or why you need to do this service, or why you need to help these people. And that's the actual, like marketing of it. Right? So then that now you're getting into like, Alright, well, do I have, is this product important? Right? Do I need to build this to help people? Is this service going to optimize some, you know, some areas of people's lives? What is the value proposition? Is it different than what's already out there? Like, do I have differentiators? Is that market already inundated with what I'm trying to offer? And that's where all the marketing comes in, right? And then marketing and I feel like I'm telling you that you know, an expert in marketing and said, you know, if there's any redundancies just tell me to shut up. But you know, marketing in this kind of like, in general context is well, it's a lot of different things to a lot of different people right? I mean, in our careers, right.
Kerry Guard: Right, so this is totally the David Mundy show. This is about what you see it as, which I think is great because we're going to make, you know, I think that's what's so beautiful about shows like this is yes, you're talking to your peers, you see it so differently than other people see it, and maybe some people will agree with you. And some people have these moments of, "Oh, I didn't think about it that way". So you keep doing you in terms of how you want to define, you know, how you define marketing from your space, when you're talking about that startup. And from this bare bones perspective, a lot of the times, especially for what we're doing, when we're working with these tech companies that are pretty established at this point, we don't get that on the ground point of view, we come in later, when a lot of this is already established. So I think it's helpful to think about it from two pillars, and I was thinking while you're talking too, I was like, is it? Are the two pillars built in marketing? Or is it built in sales? And I think I came to the conclusion that I'm with you that it's marketing, but I, I wonder if some people are going to question of, I think it has to be marketing, because marketing is building while the attack is happening for the back end of how a product works, you need that front end, which is the marketing piece, that website, that user experience, how you're talking to the customer, right? You need all that before you bring in sales, to then go sell it.
David Mundy: Yeah.
Kerry Guard: Right. I think it is those two pillars. And so you have these two pillars, you have the build the people building the team, the value proposition, of why they're building this thing to begin with, which then brings in the marketing team of which is based, usually a one man show at this point. That single marketer, who's gonna figure out how to build all this messaging and the brand positioning and everything and take it to market. You know, but when you start to scale, and you start to get to that point where the shift in the universe happens, and all of a sudden you start to add people.
David Mundy: Yeah.
Kerry Guard: And more and more different teams. Right? So I have a question for you on this of, like, because you have been in that startup sort of world and then burn their teams, you mentioned that in your story. And so, when you start to build that marketing team, the beauty of Agile I heard you say it, is you start to uncover those people you need. And those people you need, are they always marketers like, okay, I need a content person. Okay, I need a social person, okay. Or is it when you start to think about it from an Agile lens? Is it different, where it's not so? Singularity, like when you're talking about that startup world? You're talking about the fact that you might bring in people who wear multiple hats?
David Mundy: Yeah, in a lot of different capacities, too, right? So look, real fast touch on startup. And you've given me a creative license here, which is dangerous, absolutely dangerous. But I'll try to walk it well, I'll try to walk it back, and then forward to where we're at. So from GuideStar, I moved to the company called DivvyCloud. And again, the single man, I've been very fortunate to work with some just brilliant, brilliant people, and have had, you know, maybe unofficially, but had many mentors, and been able to walk in the footsteps of many brilliant people ahead of me. So I've been very, very fortunate in that part of my career that I can honestly say, I have not had a bad boss. I've actually had rather remarkable bosses. And I've been fortunate, very fortunate in that factor. When I and you know, three and a half, four years ago. Chris, a man by the name of Chris Hertz reached out to my old CEO Kathleen right from Inside Higher Ed, you're following along the story. I needed somebody right to help him grow. His build is the marketing team for this cloud security startup, he reached out, she pointed them in my direction, he reached out to me, I had zero outside of witnessing GuideStar migrate to AWS, right, migrate into the cloud, I had zero cloud experience. But that didn't stop him, right, he needed to build a marketing team, he had seen or heard that I had been successful in doing that, some of my ideals around agile framework. And, you know, applying that, in the end, being very process oriented in the growth and finding the blind spots, and being able to build that capacity is essentially what he was looking for. And so you know, after a few conversations and meeting the team, and going through that process, I was brought on and just quickly, you know, I came in at that point, having been relatively successful thinking I was, you know, having an ego only to realize as smart as he was, and you know, the founders of the company, and everybody else that I knew, pardon my language, but I knew shit. And it was like a rant I'm in now. I'm in B2B enterprise cloud security, the cloud security markets right for B2B Enterprises, and I know nothing and I am back to being like a green rookie. And just under the under the weight of how intelligent the people I was working with were and it was a very humbling yet awesome experience, but I still got to apply and even see some you know, all a lot of the stuff that I worked on previously and I still got to kind of prove that, you know, budding theory of, you know, the foundational elements of company being built in marketing. And when it comes to marketing, right, it's like, and again, it's a lot of different things to a lot of different people and a lot of different companies. Right. I think we can all agree on that. And then you get into granularities. Like, what is ABM? What's the campaign? What's it's just so different, right, so nuanced, but I think we get a general definition we can all agree on is marketing is the process of getting people interested in your company's organization's product or service. And promoting the buying or selling of that product, or service or good or whatever, right? So then, like back to that, like, so builds, and marketing, and then like you when you think about it, so how does that how does that apply? Like, if you're starting a company, how does that apply? What comes first? Or do they happen? You know, or at the same time, or, and it's like, I guess you would say the product ideation comes first?
Kerry Guard: Right.
David Mundy: But the early stage, right, that epiphany stage, and I'm, again, I've not built a product. So I can't say it's just like one striking epiphany, or that gradual realization, or however it works, whatever the person's mind, you know, process is in developing that idea. But the early stages of marketing can and should come before the actual build, right? I mean, or at the very least, in parallel, right? You definitely want to go and ask potential customers, and you want to go investigate the market space, and you'd want to go to where your audience and those potential customers are. And you'd want to tell them about your idea, right, and you want to listen to their problems, and you want to see if your solution is one that might fit. And now you're sourcing it right now you're bringing that information. And now you're getting people interested in your company's product or service, if you circle back to my definition of what marketing is, and that is before the build stage, I mean, because if you're building, if you just have an idea, and you start building, you're not doing any due diligence, you're not getting any buy in. I mean, at that point, it's almost like you're going blind into the market. And maybe that works for some people. But I don't think that works as a holistic strategy as a general strategy. And that's where you get this like, right build and marketing come first.
But then when you bring up sales, that's where it becomes a little interesting. I do think me, personally, as marketing and build, being the two pillars, are the foundational elements of any company really, that sells, especially in the startup world. But any company that begins, I do think sales, customer success, I mean, all of it right? Everything else falls, a product, everything else falls under the build or marketing. All of it falls under those two pillars, however, and especially in the B2B, especially in the enterprise sales world, right. And I can only speak to what I know, marketing does work for sales. And that's a big one, it took me a long time to come to terms with that. But just to play on that fun rivalry. And I know, it's a bit of a paradox to say that, and I really haven't mapped that out in my head as to what that fully means.
Kerry Guard: There’s people who agree with you, though, I've done podcasts where this was like, literally the topic of, you know, flipping that, that relationship of, you know, sales. Sales has to close the deal. So you need to support them in whatever they need to go make that happen. So it is by having a good relationship there, and building the right content for them, and also making sure you're getting them the right leads. I know that's usually the crux of marketing and sales reps, right? Like, these leads are no good. And it's like, but it's exactly who you asked for, but they're not ready. Ah, you know.
David Mundy: And then getting more and more educated, you know, about who you're giving them, and what kind of opportunities you're creating for them. And if they're not ready, all right, well, that's a good problem identifier. How the hell do we figure out when you know, now we got the buyer, we have the segmentation. They raised their hand, they had, you know, in some capacity, they downloaded some form of content or, you know, some propensity to buy, you know, signals that they that they learned on our end. But then sales comes back and says, Well, yeah, but they're not ready, right? They're not, this isn't part of their buying cycle. Great. All right. Well, I mean, not great that you know, that's not a good opportunity at this point. But great that now we know a problem. And now we have a problem. And now we have that bilateral data relay between sales, right? Here's an opportunity for your sales. Sales, this is great. I mean, they match a lot of the requirements. Of course, a lot of the signifiers, but they're not matching a lot of the qualifications, but they're not ready to buy. All right, how do we as marketers figure that out? Like what kind of intelligence or how do we find that out with that, then when we shop for an opportunity that we're covering all the qualifications, and we can bring in that signal of, alright, well, now we know that they're ready to buy and they’re in this position. And you can use things like, you know, general lead scoring or behavioral propensity to buy right. Are they doing a lot of due diligence in your space, keywords, association, etc, and looking at competitors. But that’s part of the whole, like, thought process and theory behind marketing working for sales is its B2B Enterprise, we are behind the front lines, right and the data we are getting. It depends on how fast you believe information moves, and how quickly you need it. But I would say that we're getting information, like, on average, like what we're working on and able to actually enable to actualize and build upon, like content or anything, we're a month behind, at minimum, right? And I mean, I take it as an example, like people are, you know, and I'll do it in the cloud security space, right to say, people are looking at, you know, really want, like, visibility into their multi cloud infrastructure, right? And that's like, what they're really looking at. All right. So we get that information. Well, now we have to build content on it, right? You want to build a guide, or a white paper or blog posts or videos, get customer testimonials, or get interviews with SMEs, all that like, think about how long that takes, right? And your month, even with Agile planning and all that you're talking a month minimum, to get a full, holistic, like, campaign like you have your messaging like I will, I will give you your campaign theme, like we'll give you a unified visibility into your multi cloud infrastructure. And what are the messages of the support statements that go into that? Right? How do we support and validate that messaging theme? And then what are all the programs that come underneath it? Well, you're talking like a month, two months, three months before we can actually actionize it, or action it. Meanwhile, sales are sitting on the front lines, like, you know, where's our support? Where's our where's our weapons? Where's our tools? Like, where's our supply chain? And that's why that relates? That's one of the reasons we work for sales, like, you know, what, love it or hate it. That's one of the reasons why. And to be honest, that's one of the reasons I think it's an optimized process is that with everything that marketing generally has going on, unless you have the budget for a massive team. Really acquiring that information from the front lines should come from your SEO, you should come from your sales team, and then bring it back. And then the secondary part of that, and again, you know, as you and I have spoken about, we can probably riff on this for days. But if you look at the funnel, right, or I think there's a marketing sphere now as well, like they're there, they're optimizing out of the funnel process. I still like the funnel, though. I'm old school stuff. So I’m gonna use the funnel, but if you look at the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel, bottom of funnel, right, you have a branding and awareness, education consideration, you know, demo or conversion of some sort, down into, you know, qualified leads down into sales, qualified leads, well, the funnel doesn't end at that, like, you know, that conversion, part of when it gets into the sales pipeline, like that's not the end of marketing, right. And that by that sales pipeline actually attaches to the marketing funnel. So everything that we're doing and working towards is really to push into the sales pipeline, and push into their world. And then instead of being leaders, and you know, the people that are the propagators are in charge of making sure that funnel is working and making sure we're pulling leads at the various stages and nurturing them and converting them through the various stages with you know, messaging contents, you know, different vehicles, different tools, well, then, once they get in the pipeline, we need to make sure that the sales as we were to just, you know, circle back, what I was just saying a couple minutes ago, has all the tools and all the resources and everything they need, right? The enablement piece of that for every single stage of the buying journey now and during the sales pipeline, and we need to be working with them to make sure that they have everything that they need. And if they don't, then going back to us and explaining very clearly right and, and being diligent about it that hey, you know, we're seeing like, you know, everybody, I feel like there's different names of stages and everybody's sales pipeline, but for us, let's just say like discovery to business alignment, we're seeing like a an extra month lag, in converting people or qualifying people beyond the discovery stage into business alignment.
David Mundy: You know, and to come to us and say how can we optimize that. How can we make that flow better? How we can reduce that time to business alignment. Well, great. Because now we’ve identified the problem. And if you think about, like, a lot of marketing work we do, especially enterprise sales, problem identification is one of the biggest areas of weakness. Right? And it's like we don’t actually know where the blockers in the pipeline, where the blockers in the funnel, are we converting people, are we bringing people into the funnel, are we converting them in the middle funnel, are we converting them into the bottom funnel. Are we getting them into the sales pipeline? And all of this conversation of sales and marketing really builds into, I feel like I'm just a crazy guy that's shooting out theories out of nowhere that don't make any sense to anybody to me.
Kerry Guard: No, don't, ‘coz it almost feels like when I was talking about marketing and sales as two different teams, they're the same team.
David Mundy: Absolutely.
Kerry Guard: You could almost rebrand it if you need to to get over that hump right? Maybe it's not the sales and marketing team or marketing, maybe it's the rev gen team.
David Mundy: Exactly.
Kerry Guard: Where you're all part of the same organization working towards the same goal supporting one another and making that happen.
David Mundy: And that's why marketing… It's hard to speak to this to establish companies or enterprise companies or commercial entities so just like, take this focus from the startups, right? From what I know, DivvyCloud was acquired by a mid market company Rapid7 last April, and it's been an awesome journey. But I won't go off on a tangent there but, for the focus of startups, it leads into the idea that marketing is at the center of an organization, right? And it really should be the centrical piece of every organization. To the point where I interview, or if I interview, I haven’t been in an interview in a while, but when I interview, it's like you know, how much do you value marketing? And that's not for, I mean it is important for selfish reasons. Selfish is the wrong word but it's to see, do you actually die, am I gonna have a job, am I gonna be able to have a seat at the table. But it's also like what's your business orientation? Where are you focused, where are you headed? Do you value marketing in the sense that it can be a driving force of the company? Coz if not, then I don't know what you're doing. And it's like you know why is marketing at the center of the organization? Why is that valid? Why is that important? Well like if you go back to the early parts of our conversation when you're developing your business idea and your strategy, right? Your strategy and your business idea. One of the first thoughts should be, is like, what can you do for your potential customers? So circling back to that two main pillars but also why marketing is at the center of the organization. I'm probably biased but strategy is, I actually have like a marketing banner I'm waving right now with one of those foam fingers.
But strategy is marketing right? If you think about it right, business strategy, it’s an outline or a roadmap of the actions and decisions that the company plans to take to reach its objectives, or reach its goals. And that’s what a business strategy is. Marketing is the process of getting people interested in your company's product or service, and then promoting that buying and creating that plan for getting people interested in promoting and buying. So they really do overlay quite well. And if you look at where we are now, I mean gone are those traditional days where you could just go out and acquire customers. The digital age, where we’re at now, like the last 10 or even 15 years has turned today's consumers. And I would argue across B2C and the B2B, really all of them, and they're researchers now, right?
Kerry Guard: Oh yeah, 100%.
David Mundy: Yeah, they’re conducting these online searches, they’re doing their due diligence, they're doing their comparisons for best product, the reviews, testimonials, case studies, etc. And marketing is the external framing, right. The messaging of your company's value propositions. So if something like you know, 85% of customers, however serious you take statistics, if something like 85% of customers are making their buying decisions before ever talking to a salesperson, then I ask how would you not put marketing at the center of an organization in that capacity? Just to itemize it, you have 85% of customers making their buying decisions before ever talking to a salesperson right? So that means they’re doing all the research in due diligence online or through various sources, etc. All consumers are researchers. In order to start your business and get your business going, you need to have business strategy and business plan and outline a roadmap and that really is just marketing. And then when you go back and circle all the way back to the two pillars of the foundation elements of an organization, build and marketing. When you build and you have that epiphany for that product, you're really developing the value proposition, and the way you get the value proposition is to pre-source that with the market, with potential customers. And that's how you build the flow. That is a long, maybe crazy way for me to explain.
Kerry Guard: That build and marketing are the two pillars of any organization, and if you don't feel like they are, they actually are, whether you believe it or not, is really the case you're making, David. You know for all entrepreneurs who don’t believe in marketing, guess what guys, you're a marketer. You are. In everything that you just said in terms of how you have to go out and build that product and what you have to think about, you’re thinking like a marketer.
David Mundy: Absolutely. First, it sounds a hell of a lot better when you say it than when I say it.
Kerry Guard: No, it's right on the money. And we're gonna end there, we could keep going 'coz we're really good at that. But we are at time and I do wanna make sure we cover off of my three people-first questions. Because we are all people at the end of the day and it's nice to pull back and remember that.
Just to recap our conversation, build and marketing are at the center of organizations, and everything stems from there in terms of how marketing works for everybody else and making it their jobs basically great, is what I heard you say. In a heartbeat.
If you wanna learn more about David and what he's up to and more about unpacking this idea and backing it up for you to take to your organizations and remap how your organizations are thinking, you can definitely find him on LinkedIn and I'll have all of his information on the show notes.
Kerry Guard: David, three questions for you. Ready?
David Mundy: Let's go.
Kerry Guard: Have you picked up any hobbies in the last year?
David Mundy: Oh, men. Yes. Can I go out beyond a year, like the last 2 years?
Kerry Guard: Yeah.
David Mundy: Alright, chess. Chess, I know, chess.
Kerry Guard: Chess! Queen's Gambit, have you seen it?
David Mundy: Yeah. That's not why, I mean I grew up playing.
Kerry Guard: No, that came out later
David Mundy: Let me just say, wow, who would have thought that a show about chess was gonna be one of the best shows I've ever seen.
Kerry Guard: So good. How'd you get into it?
David Mundy: So my uncle actually, when I was a kid, we played it all the time. But there's a massive gap between that. My uncle actually passed away about 2 years ago. He was kind of like my father growing up, but not to get touchy or sentimental, and just as he was passing away, I swear it was like I'm gonna go on chess.com and play a little but, let me see where I'm at. And it just became this addiction. I start my days, when I can, I have 2 kids, and a phenomenal wife who admittedly does most of the work. I try to fit in there though. I try to start most of my days with, and so these are actually hobbies I've picked up as well now that we're on it. I start my day with a run, a mile, a mile and a half run. I hate running, but a mile and a half run, I do a light workout, a light exercise, afterwards, I meditate, and I play a game of chess. I try to play at least 3 games of chess a day. The exercise, and/or the run, it gets my blood pumpin, it gets me ready. Ready to stare at a computer for 9 hours in this COVID world we're in. And then the meditation is the focus, and I really picked up meditation over the last, really probably over COVID as well. Part of my scheme, and then like the mental acuity, and just the sharpness that comes together in the chess game. Its hyper hyper focus. In my opinion, it gets my mind ready to take on the challenges of the day.
Kerry Guard: I was thinking while you were talking today about how it felt like you were always 3 steps ahead of the thing you wanted to say. Now that you're saying that, it almost felt like this chess, anyway, we can talk about that all day.
Second question for you, if you were in an office with your team and you walk in the floor and go desk to desk and see how people we're doing, what song would want to be playing overhead?
David Mundy: Is this just like just general or we're getting back into the office after COVID or…
Kerry Guard: Just how you would feel, like, what would you want the feeling to be. What song would you be playing?
David Mundy: This is gonna be impacted by my bias of what I like but I probably do Chris Stapleton's, who I just love, but his song Starting Over. And it's just like, I don’t know if you want me to go on the reasoning behind it, but especially as everybody gets back into the office pre-COVID or as everybody had to leave the office pre-COVID or as everybody is getting back into the office post-COVID whenever that happens as the back station will allow it, it’s just a great song, great upbeat melody. And it really kind of spells it out if you apply some metaphor into the situation.
Kerry Guard: Love it.
David Mundy: You know getting into Verse 2,
"It might not be an easy time there's rivers to cross and hills to climb Some days we might fall apart nights might feel cold and dark But nobody wins afraid of losin' And the hard roads are the ones worth choosin'"
And you know, if you look at the song as a whole, it's really applicable to the team dynamic, the organizational dynamic, the coming together, the starting over. Starting over whether it be business strategy whether it be the new dynamic for the work environment, whether it was at home for the last year plus or getting back into the office or you know I haven’t even met, for example, any of the Rapid7 folks or the 30% new hires we made over the last year. So Starting Over is like diving back into this thing in a different way. So it’s a pretty cool message.
Kerry Guard: That will be on our Spotify list for anybody who wants to go, go check it out and get the vibes going.
Alright, last question for you David, if you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
David Mundy: That’s a great question. You know, traditionally, and because it's tropical right now, traditionally, I would answer that in a few ways. I would have been like, ah man, I wanna go to… the easy answer is I wanna go land on a beach somewhere in the tropics and not have any worries or concerns, which is always gonna be part of my answer. As we've spoken about before, I would love to go see some of my family hills from Scotland and UK. I've never been over there before.
Kerry Guard: Come on over!
David Mundy: Right, exactly. I would love to go there. But right now, I think and this is just me, I wanna go where there are loads and loads of people that are having fun, let's just call it a concert of festival of some sort where everybody's happy and smiling and we don’t have to worry about COVID or a pandemic, getting ourselves sick or getting our relatives and loved ones sick. Where everybody can just enjoy being personable again. Not a specific location but just more of like what I aspire, what I hope happens. Relatively soon.
Kerry Guard: I love that. Thank you so much for joining me, David. I loved it, I loved every minute. I really appreciate you being here.
David Mundy: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it as well.
That was my conversation with David. Do you think Marketing should be one of the two pillars of an organization? Do you believe that if you build it will come or do you need to let people know it exists? Such a great conversation. Thank you David for joining me. David is now Head of Marketing at Accurics, a start-up where he gets to wear all the hats again and build a new team from the ground up. How exciting for David. I can’t wait to keep following his journey. If you'd like to follow David's journey, be sure to check him out on LinkedIn. The link is in the show notes.
Season 8 is available, be sure to check out all 8 episodes. Next up is my conversation with Martina Trucco where we discuss the importance of leading with trust. Which, you can't be a human company without leading first with trust. Am I right? Let's keep going and check out my conversation with Martina.
Thank you for listening to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders, the podcast that helps brands get found via transparent, measurable, digital marketing. I'm your host Kerry Guard, and until next time.
This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing, our digital marketing agency of Agile, experts specializing in SEO, digital advertising, and analytics. Hosted by me, Kerry Guard, COO and co-founder of MKG, music mix mastering done by Austin Ellis. And if you'd like to be a guest, please visit mkgmarketinginc.com to apply.
David Mundy is the Head of Marketing for Accurics where he is leading the overall strategy and success of the marketing and communications program. He has also worked with start-up companies where he gets to wear different kinds of hats to build the team and the company from the ground up.