This episode features an interview with Genelle Kunst, VP of Global Marketing at Bloomreach. Bloomreach is the world’s #1 Commerce Experience Cloud, that combines the power of unified customer and product data, with the speed and scale of AI-optimization. On this episode Genelle share her insights into building opportunity with partner marketing, optimizing your website to personalize the customer journey, and creating a brand community.
This episode features an interview with Genelle Kunst, VP of Global Marketing at Bloomreach. Bloomreach is the world’s #1 Commerce Experience Cloud, that combines the power of unified customer and product data, with the speed and scale of AI-optimization.
On this episode Genelle share her insights into building opportunity with partner marketing, optimizing your website to personalize the customer journey, and creating a brand community.
“If you truly wan to drive value out of your partner ecosystem, you’ve gotta have some sort of like better together story or some sort of value prop for them to be working with.” - Genelle Kunst, VP of Global Marketing, Bloomreach
*(02:32) - Genelle’s role at MarginEdge
*(03:04) - Segment: Trust Tree
*(08:59) - Segment: The Playbook
*(10:38) - Building opportunity with partner marketing
*(22:46) - Creating a brand community
*(26:14) - Optimizing your website to personalize the customer journey
*(27:35) - Segment: The Dust Up
*(33:49) - Segment: Quick Hits
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[00:01:31] Ian: Welcome to Demand Gen. I'm Ian Faison, CEO of Caspian Studios, and today I'm joined by a special guest. Genelle, how are you?
[00:01:43] Genelle: I'm fantastic.
[00:01:44] Ian: Thanks for having me. Oh, I'm fantastic too because Thank I'm excited to chat about marketing demand, Bloomreach, all the cool stuff you're doing.
[00:01:52] Ian: So let's get into it. What was your first job in demand?
[00:01:55] Genelle: My first job in demand was about seven years ago when I joined Oracle Marketing Cloud. The first part of my career was in b2c, so prior to Oracle, I was at Sony Electronics, and when I joined Oracle, it was right after the Equa acquisition, so it was like bootcamp for B2B marketing, which was super fun.
[00:02:12] Genelle: I was working very closely with the sales team and just really felt like it accelerated my B2B knowledge, you know, it was like an MQL versus some of the conversion metrics we were looking at for E-com, at Sony. . Yeah, it's been a seven year ride, which has been pretty fun. Yeah.
[00:02:26] Ian: And so flash forward to today.
[00:02:27] Ian: Tell us what tech does it mean to be a VP of Global Marketing at Bloomreach?
[00:02:32] Genelle: Yeah, so my day to day can be quite varied cuz at the end of the day, my responsibility is global pipeline for the company. And so when we look at Global Pipeline, it incorporates what's coming out of marketing and our business development team.
[00:02:44] Genelle: What is our channel generating and what is our field generating and my team impacts naturally more of the marketing pipeline. Ultimately, I need to know between all three, how are we doing? How are we hitting targets? How are we performing? So my job as pipeline,
[00:03:01] Ian: All right, let's go to our first segment, The Trust Tree
[00:03:15] Ian: Where you can go and feel honest and trusted and share those deepest, darkest demand secrets. Tell us what does Bloomreach?
[00:03:23] Genelle: Bloomreach is a B2B SaaS company that offers a few different products. So one is our CDP and marketing automation. The next is our product search, and then finally we have a content management system. Lots. Lots to do with e-commerce. Lots to do with
[00:03:37] Ian: growth. Yeah. And we're your customers what? What's their size?
[00:03:40] Ian: What's their shape? Where are they located?
[00:03:42] Genelle: Essentially, because we have the three different pillars and because we are a global organization with customers in the us, mia, even Summit apac, our. ICP can span B2B B to C primarily in retail, but at the end of the day, we're focused on e-commerce companies that need to grow, which, again, broad market, but very important problem that we solve for our customers.
[00:04:04] Genelle: Yeah, and tell
[00:04:05] Ian: me about that persona. What does it look like? What are the multiple personas? What does the buying committee look
[00:04:10] Genelle: like? Yeah, it will vary depending on the product that we're looking at. So for our engagement product, which is the marketing automation and cdp, we work primarily we market to marketers and CRM managers.
[00:04:22] Genelle: The discovery and content side tends to be more with developers and merchandisers.
[00:04:27] Ian: And then how do you structure the organization to acquire that bud? Do sales and marketing look like?
[00:04:31] Genelle: So my team, in particular, we kind of fit into four global. We've got our campaigns team, which includes global campaigns, nurture regional teams, and then we have partner-customer, and then we just recently incorporated a community team.
[00:04:45] Genelle: And so we're really looking at those four buckets as like the growth engine of the company. So if I'm responsible for pipeline, then those four teams are also, we're working together with our cross-functional departments to drive. For the
[00:04:59] Ian: company. What's your marketing strategy and how does demand fit into it?
[00:05:04] Genelle: the demand strategy to me is interesting because demand can, I think, be driven by company strategy. And so if you're a sales led company, then the pressure that you're finding within demand and even within the marketing org is we've got capacity planning, we've gotta feed our reps. We're looking at like regional models.
[00:05:21] Genelle: If you're a product led company, then it's a completely different motion and a completely different pressure. So I find that marketers can join a lot of different organizations at this point. So the philosophy that I like to bring is you need to adjust to what the company strategy is. But your role, if you're doing your job as a demand gen marketer, you bring market into the convers.
[00:05:41] Genelle: Right. So you're thinking not just about feeding your reps or delivering on adoption in feature, but you're also thinking about like, where's the market going? Where are we creating demand? How are we solving the problem for the market that we're targeting? I think sometimes that can get lost, and it's not easy.
[00:05:56] Genelle: I feel like every day you have to make the decision not to buckle under company pressures and to maintain this view into the market and this view into what your messaging should. Focused on the problem that you're solving. And if you don't have that message and you don't have that solve, then you need to partner cross-functionally to get there.
[00:06:15] Genelle: And I think that's one of the kind of unique perspectives that marketers can bring and demand in particular, cuz you're just so close to the leads coming in, the conversation's happening, the pipeline being created. The
[00:06:24] Ian: great Jennifer Johnson says that you need to be the chief market officer if you're the expert in the company on the market.
[00:06:32] Ian: And really, who better to do it right. Like the sales, the CROs not gonna be an expert on the market. Obviously they're gonna know it very well, but they're not gonna be an expert on the broader market on like those sort of things. Maybe a chief strategy officer or somebody like that. Obviously the ceo, but really that's kind of marketing's job to own.
[00:06:50] Ian: And I think that you're exactly right. If you're just tied too much into paid or too much into advertising, or too much into pipe, or those sort of things, that you do lose that. And I think for a lot, Demand Gen folks that listen to this show, hearing from senior marketing leaders, That's part of how you build that other part of the skill set to be a market maker.
[00:07:09] Ian: And that's a little bit harder. Oh my
[00:07:11] Genelle: gosh. So my chief marketing officer runs the marketing org as a chief market officer. And so it has been an incredibly fulfilling experience to frankly be pushed to look at not what are you driving, what marketing pipeline are you driving, but what pipeline are we driving for the.
[00:07:30] Genelle: And where can we go find more pipeline within the market and how do we think about like our channel org as a lever for that and how do we work with them and be challenged by them and and challenge them to understand like, how are we working together to go. Dominate this market. It is incredibly challenging, but it really, it makes the day to day a lot more fun.
[00:07:50] Genelle: Yeah,
[00:07:50] Ian: it's super exciting. The job of the CMO is to bring your message to as many channels as you can, right? It's about bringing your message to those people, and if you think of the market holistically, we need to bring our message to all these people, and not just our brand message, but also the message of our category or the need.
[00:08:07] Ian: Sort of change. It is a lot more exciting.
[00:08:10] Genelle: The other piece to me with demand is that if you are that market expert, there's an entire marketing team that also you're relying on them to be a market expert. And marketing has enough that we need to know about, right? There's so many functions, there's so many metrics, there's so much knowledge just within our function.
[00:08:26] Genelle: You're then asking the team to be a product expert and a marketing expert, and so I. Potentially like the next level of this is understanding like marketing enablement. There's entire teams around sales enablement, right? Are there entire teams around marketing enablement? Is marketing benefiting from sales enablement?
[00:08:42] Genelle: Are we taking the time to enable our marketing team on the market and the product and not just saying, get after your function? So to me, that's one of the things that has to be part of your. Because otherwise you're setting expectations for a team, but then you're not giving them the tools to do what they need to do as
[00:08:57] Ian: well.
[00:08:57] Ian: Let's get to our next segment, The playbook. This is what's great.
[00:09:02] Ian: This is where we talk about the tactics that help you win. What are your three channels or tactics that are your uncut budget items?
[00:09:19] Genelle: I don't cut anything from my budget. For the record, it is all necessary. Good point. But I will say when you have to pick the levers, right? I find that, again, like it depends on what market you're in and what you're driving. But for Bloomreach we're looking at leveraging our channel. So to me, partner marketing, investing in channel.
[00:09:40] Genelle: Huge priority, not somewhere I wanna necessarily cut budget. I think paid search is just a tried and true. Like you can love it or hate it, but you have to invest in it, you have to understand it, you have to react to it, you have to benefit from it, et cetera. And then I think global events, events have obviously made a comeback and I think they've changed in a really interesting way.
[00:10:02] Genelle: And so to me, global events is another area. , maybe you're not spending the money you were before because there's not big blowout trade shows. Maybe trade shows are not performing as they were before. But global events is an important lever that we should be looking at to build community, to run hosted events, to bring people together, to have conversations.
[00:10:20] Genelle: So those are kind of the three areas where I'm looking to maximize, I think investment. Cuz again, there is no part of my budget, this
[00:10:27] Ian: school. I love it. Can you go into more details, all those and give some examples of the way that you're thinking.
[00:10:33] Genelle: I'm happy to start with partner marketing because we've talked about sort of our personas and we've talked about like the profile of our customer and the regions that we're.
[00:10:42] Genelle: And if you think about funding a marketing org to be in every single conversation across all those personas and across all those markets, like your tech ratio just gets decimated. Totally. And so thinking about efficient spend is thinking about who else is having these conversations? Like how else can we amplify our message?
[00:11:00] Genelle: How else can we amplify our awareness? And to me, channel is a super important piece of that, right? Building up partner ecosystem. For Bloomreach means building. Partners that can both use our product to support their customers, but can also do implementations. There's a lot of different ways that partners can benefit from our product, and then customers can benefit from what they're doing with the partners.
[00:11:22] Genelle: And if we're not investing in those relationships with partners, if we're not investing in being in markets with those partners, then we're not gonna. Taken seriously as a vendor either. So I think it's, it's important to just consistently fund that channel, but fund it in a way that you're focused on, you know, joint value.
[00:11:41] Genelle: And then also really thinking about partners as a, um, brand awareness mechanism
[00:11:45] Ian: too. Yeah, love it. I mean, I think that partners can be done extremely well and extremely poorly because it's sort of like, Hey, give a teeny tiny sliver of the budget. , hire a partner, marketing, give them no resources and do that.
[00:11:59] Ian: And I've seen that happen. You know, hey, we're, we're each gonna chuck a couple of dollars at this thing and say, I hope it works. Whereas like, no other marketing initiative would ever be done like that, you know? Yeah. So, yeah. How do you maximize results on that stuff?
[00:12:14] Genelle: So much of, I think what you need to start with as a demand gen marketer is the message.
[00:12:19] Genelle: Because the message feeds into the value prop, and it feeds into why people are gonna care about you, whether they should engage in your activity, and then ultimately the value that they're gonna get out of that activity. And to your earlier point, if we're just kind of throwing money at a partner, because we can say we got an activity out the door.
[00:12:34] Genelle: Like yes, we will get that activity out the door. And yes, we might get a lead list. But are we doing anything to further our message? Are we showing any value in partnering with this partner? And that's where some cross-functional alignment with the partner team is really important because they have insight into what is the joint value prop with this partner?
[00:12:50] Genelle: Why do we wanna invest in going to market with them? How are we gonna show that there's a better together story? Or there's. You know, like some sort of like joint value we can bring to the, to the market, to the people going to the event, to the people consuming the content. I think it's an easy default to, to not put that thought into it, but it happens.
[00:13:09] Genelle: It will continue to happen. But if you truly wanna drive value out of your partner ecosystem, you've gotta have some sort of like better together story or some sort of value prop for them to be working with.
[00:13:21] Ian: Yeah. Better together story. Mm-hmm. like that is so critical to these type of campaigns. If, if you are going that route is like, there's a reason why we're together, there's a reason why we're doing this.
[00:13:33] Ian: And I feel like if you don't have a better together story, it's just gonna be transactional. And like, if it's not something worth overdoing, then it's probably. Doing Right. That's part of the issue with partner campaigns. Like, Hey, we're gonna do one webinar with these people and like see how it goes. And I understand the like test and experiment type stuff, but like to me that feels like such a losing attitude.
[00:13:54] Ian: Maybe you disagree with that, but it's like, Hey, let's just do this one off thing and like experiment.
[00:13:58] Genelle: It probably depends on the stage of your. Of your partner ecosystem too. So to give a bit of background, you know, Bloomreacheach two years ago acquired Exon, which is now our engagement product. So for us, there is some level of experimentation.
[00:14:13] Genelle: What is our better together story, and should we just try maybe one webinar and test a message or one campaign, or let's just do like a joint activity together. But if you're down the path and you have this cohesive system, like my time at Adobe and Oracle, obviously like we knew exactly what we were doing with partners.
[00:14:30] Genelle: Exactly why we would partner. I was in the enviable position where partners were coming to us and saying, We wanna work together. Yeah. So that was a completely different perspective cuz it was really like, okay, is this gonna dilute the message of Adobe versus, you know, trying to find like the better together story.
[00:14:44] Genelle: So I do think that there's room for experimentation, but it's being crystal clear on what you're trying to accomplish. Your partner ecosystem, what they're trying to accomplish with you, and ultimately like what's the impact you're trying to drive if it's brand awareness versus we really need to do some leg gen versus we're trying to influence each other's pipeline
[00:15:04] Ian: sort of thing.
[00:15:05] Ian: Yeah. I talk a lot about this idea of like fight where you can win. What is the thing that you have that nobody else has that if you're to create so. No one else is gonna be able to have this, whether it's like information or unique sort of value proper or whatever that thing is. And I always feel like the best partner campaigns sort of take both companies unique thing about them and like jam 'em together, right?
[00:15:27] Ian: I feel like when you see a well, you get that moment where it's like, Hey, we have this super unique data set about the developers. They have a super unique set about CISOs and here's this really cool intersection of like how these two play together. For example, our data plus their data, or this event that we did that we got this really interesting tool that people have been using and we tested this event is working.
[00:15:53] Ian: So anyways, I feel like that there's, those type of things are really unique and they might not be a better together story, but they are a unique framing for someone to say, Oh yeah, I haven't thought of it that.
[00:16:05] Genelle: Yeah. The other way to think about it too, and maybe this is particularly with tech partners, but there's also some good like extension stories.
[00:16:12] Genelle: This is how you can get more of the product by working with. This particular partner solution. And that sometimes I think is the new perspective. Like I'd never thought about combining X and Y to get to this place, but finding that story and finding that magic, I think is the difficult part across the board of being a marketer.
[00:16:29] Genelle: What is that story that's gonna resonate that's gonna actually solve a problem that people didn't even realize They.
[00:16:36] Ian: And then the other thing that you mentioned, which I find fascinating, is when you are the big person, the big company, and you're like, Do I really want to delete my message? So if you're a younger company trying to make partners in roads with some of these bigger partners, what would be your advice to say this isn't gonna delete your message?
[00:16:54] Ian: What's the
[00:16:54] Genelle: strategy there? So there's a few different things I think you could try. So one is understanding the button you need to push with a big company. And I think, I feel like coming from a big company, that's the only reason I have this perspective because sometimes it's as simple as like, you know, that some of your marketers need to spend by end of quarter and you can come to them with something that fits into their like campaign themes for the quarter or their strategic.
[00:17:18] Genelle: And you're presenting to them on a platter, a way to spend budget. So I think being mindful, the big company rhythms and what they're trying to get into market, it's almost like a hack. Great advice. Right? And you can kind of get in front of their customers. But the other, I mean, I think the other thing to think about is, again, like.
[00:17:35] Genelle: Assuming that you can go to some of the bigger companies and say, Hey, I wanna do this. This is a great idea. They're probably not short on great ideas. What they are short on is like creative ways to bring those ideas to life. There might be markets that they're not really focused on getting into, but if you present a solution to get into like a city or a region or whatever it is, they're willing to spend some testimony there.
[00:17:55] Genelle: So I think sometimes it's not even really about the message, but it's more almost like hacking their business a little bit and understanding where they're at. Planning a budget cycle. But then too, I think if you're coming to them and you're understanding what their story is and you can plug into it, that also makes it easier for them to say yes.
[00:18:13] Genelle: So asking up front what are your campaign themes for the year, you can then go back to them and say, Hey, I've got this great activity or event and I wanna launch a landing page and a joint story, and et cetera. And it fits exactly into what you're trying to do. The theme I'm hearing myself say is, you've just gotta make it easy for them to say yes and coming with your own agenda and perspective.
[00:18:34] Genelle: You'll get shut down.
[00:18:34] Ian: Yeah. I think that the ask is, Hey, we're, we are already gonna do this really cool thing with your money. We can take it farther. It's gonna be an easy way for you to plug in. We can make it bigger. Mm-hmm. or we can make it better. Right. We see this lot obviously with like podcasts and video series is like, someone will have an existing show and they'll bring in a partner or they'll want to make a show and they'll say, go to a partner and they'll say, Hey, we can do 20 episodes alone, but if you come in we can do 40.
[00:19:01] Ian: Or like, you know, Hey, we can do 20 episodes alone, or we can double the marketing budget for the. Or whatever with your money. So we see that like a lot across our shows and there's a lot of big partners that have money, like you said, end quarter or whatever, but just have this money earmarked and like you said, are looking for something just cool and fresh.
[00:19:23] Ian: Like, Hey, what are the kids doing these days? And I think that that's just a lot of like stale marketing, not because people don't have ideas, like you said, they have them, but it's like, okay, who's gonna. Execute this. That's where the younger company, Yes, or the smaller company or whatever it is, can just say, Oh no, we can run with this.
[00:19:43] Ian: We can take it 80% of the way there and like you can add that extra 20% and like your dollars are gonna be well spent with us. Mm-hmm. ,
[00:19:51] Genelle: I think that's a great point because the smaller companies are fragile. I'm living it and I love it. And there's so much more that you can get done. And there's advantages and disadvantages to both, but also understanding, like going back to kinda the rhythms of the business, like bigger companies, there's more approvals that need to happen.
[00:20:07] Genelle: There's, there's just more. So making it easy to say yes and being able to share like something new and cool. That's a great like break in strategy because then you can be a bit of a go-to and, and if they can rely on you, then that's your in, and then you can start to build more into what you're doing instead of just being like the.
[00:20:24] Genelle: I'm gonna get this done and spend your budget for you kind of partner. , but then at least you have an opportunity to start talking about like joint message, joint value prop, that sort of thing.
[00:20:33] Ian: Yeah. You really gotta wow 'em with the first engagement, unless they're someone who's established Yes, you, If you've been working with them at xyz, you know it and you want to try something crazy, that's fine, but you really gotta wow 'em with the first engagement.
[00:20:46] Ian: And I would say, I mean, you could disagree with. What I've seen in my career is that the first engagement, the results don't necessarily matter as much as the, the experience like partner experience. Like was this a pain? Yeah.
[00:20:59] Genelle: I think there is always a benefit to people enjoying working with you. Yeah. And it's a fine line, but I don't know if I would agree, cuz I think you need to show value from the get go because frankly there's a.
[00:21:12] Genelle: iterative, creative, agile companies. So being the kind of cool kid on the block and do and executing on something cool experience might not be enough because the next vendor might be delivering results as well. I would never take your eye off the prize
[00:21:25] Ian: on that. Yeah. I guess what I meant more like is, You have two partners that do a campaign and then, and I feel like this is where I hear the other side of it.
[00:21:34] Ian: You get off the call and they're like, I freaking hate that person, . And I'm like, All right. So that's, I think where I hear it is like from the other side, which is two partners who are working together. Like I'm never doing something with them. At the end of the day, if it's gonna be a huge pain every day, it's gonna take 25% of my time.
[00:21:53] Ian: I have a million other partners to deal with. I have a million other things going on. This person's a pain. Yeah. I got results. So anyways, I think that's where I was coming
[00:22:01] Genelle: from. I think that's a fair point. That's the relationship building part of partner marketing that we haven't even talked about, like.
[00:22:08] Genelle: Part of the partner marketing role is building relationships with partners. I don't like the term easy to work with cuz then that makes it sound like you do whatever they want you to do, but they don't enjoy working with you. You're right. Like they'll move on. Great
[00:22:18] Ian: stuff on partner marketing. Any other thoughts on uncut on events or anything else?
[00:22:23] Genelle: I think just from an events perspective, like we have a global events function, but we run events out of every single one of our productions, like customer, partner, trade shows, et cetera. I think my final thoughts on events, It's potentially an easy channel to allocate money to trade shows and sort of be one and done.
[00:22:41] Genelle: You get a big list. I think some of the cool stuff that the Bloomreach team is doing with events is thinking about the experience about extending the event into brand awareness and into partnering customer, and so thinking of events is almost like an in-person integrated campaign versus like a one-off events is over there doing.
[00:23:00] Genelle: So I think that's another way to kind of like maximize your budget with events. Don't think of it as just a lead list that you're getting with a booth, which I don't, I can't imagine people think of it like that anymore, but there's so much you can do with events creatively to further your brand.
[00:23:14] Genelle: Further the experience. To involve partners and customers. That's another area I'm actually really excited about. I feel like I've come full circle on events and I'm like fully on the event drain.
[00:23:22] Ian: Yeah. We hear total mixed results. Some people want to piece it out. It's such an exciting space to watch what happens next.
[00:23:30] Ian: Yeah.
[00:23:31] Genelle: It feels kind of fresh again, which
[00:23:33] Ian: is interesting. Yeah, cuz it's upended and so it's like a big spring rain. Right. Is there something that you have not invested in yet that you really are excited?
[00:23:43] Genelle: Oh, that is such a good question. I'm gonna say actually like our community team. Yeah, so we incorporated the community team in in July, super fresh obviously, and I think there's so much investment that we're going to make in our community team, but we're working through like strategy and what's the phases of community and what's the impact of the investment that I think that is an area where I'm really excited to double down and figure out how to both resource and.
[00:24:10] Genelle: To drive results that are more focused on like organic and like direct traffic and referrals and advocacy and all that great stuff. I'm excited that we carved out a piece of our marketing business that's solely focused on community.
[00:24:23] Ian: So I love it and I'm super excited to hear how that goes. I'm like the biggest fan and steward of how the heck do we build these communities?
[00:24:31] Ian: So, okay. Let's talk campaigns have a favorite campaign that you've done either here at Bloomreach or previous. Yeah,
[00:24:38] Genelle: I love the campaigns we're doing at Bloomreach. We pivoted to no forms in the spring, so we've had basically two quarters running no forms campaigns, and it has just like unlocked creativity within the team because we have the different pillars and personas, like there's a lot of opportunity for variation.
[00:24:55] Genelle: But within the engagement pillar, we ran this holiday campaign over the. Like getting ahead of our personas, buying cycles, and it was all about understanding multi-channel and how multi-channel can help you for the holidays. And they created this awesome advent calendar where you open a door a day and you get tips and tricks and little videos.
[00:25:12] Genelle: And we have a super creative in-house. Content and design team too. So the way that we can ideate on campaigns and then bring them to life, I'm so excited about them. And I would say too, the other benefit of running no forms has been like the increase in organic and direct traffic. So we're finding that our campaigns are actually more efficient now too, which is super, super exciting.
[00:25:33] Genelle: There's another campaign all around our enhanced search and. Discovery capabilities and they were just basically showing the difference. Like if you're searching chocolate milk versus milk chocolate, if your search tool is smart enough, it can recognize the difference. But the way that they brought it to life on the no forms landing page, like I still will sometimes go back and look at them when I need like a bright spot in my day.
[00:25:57] Ian: I love that. Where's that at? Those are some of my start on Blue Moon. It's
[00:26:00] Genelle: in our learning section. Oh, love it. Oh yeah. Those will live on forever because they're also, they're like evergreen material. They're always gonna be useful. So
[00:26:07] Ian: the ultimate guide to search relevance. That's so fun. Speaking of your website, how do you view your website?
[00:26:12] Ian: Bloomreach.com
[00:26:13] Genelle: I mean, the website is like the central nervous system of the marketing org. I would say. I mean it, the website has to serve so many different purposes, the way that we bring our campaigns to life on the website. So we've actually moved from kind of one off landing pages to bring it onto the site to make sure that we're directing traffic in one way.
[00:26:30] Genelle: But then you think about the way that it's gotta show brand, there's gotta be sort of like bottom of funnel content and pushing people through the customer journey. I think ultimately, at the end of the day, you should approach a website. Your customer journey, you've gotta serve up content so that they understand where to go next, but then you should be dynamically reacting to what the content is that they're consuming so that you're getting ahead of whatever it is that they need to know next.
[00:26:53] Genelle: I also think about the website in the customer journey context, right? If you're landing on the homepage, right, that's how you talk about yourself, but you sort of immediately need to kind of redirect to pages like use case pages that are how should the customer think about the product in the context of your problem.
[00:27:08] Genelle: And then following that, you wanna go directly into case studies, like what's your social proof, right? Like, how do other people talk about how you've solved their problems? I think that's one of the most organized ways to think about the website and the customer journey. And then from there, you can plug in the content, you can do your testing and your optimization and all that good stuff, but that should never change, right?
[00:27:29] Genelle: The customer journey is the customer journey.
[00:27:31] Ian: I love it. Okay, let's get to our next. The dust-up
[00:27:51] Ian: So we talk about healthy tension or that's with your board, your sales teams, your competitors, or anyone else. Do you know, have you had a memorable dust in. I have,
[00:28:01] Genelle: I think, come full circle on my sales and marketing alignment, and I think it took some dust ups early in my career, particularly with sales is definitely from personality type, very different than mine.
[00:28:12] Genelle: So it's been learning how to work with sales orgs that if they're the kind of sales people that can close, they're the kind of sales people that push, right? And so early in my career, I was like, Why are they being so pushy with me? Why are they trying to tell me what to do? And it took a dust up for me to understand.
[00:28:29] Genelle: That, that's good, that's healthy. They should be pushing. But I should absolutely be pushing back because I have knowledge and insight that they either don't have or need to hear. Mm-hmm. . So I think generally that's my sort of like career dust up progression, but it's brought me to a good place and I feel like I can have healthy conversations with my sales leaders and disagree.
[00:28:50] Genelle: It's fine. Like we should be disagreeing, we should be pushing each other. That's ultimately like the sign of a trust filled relationship, I think. Yeah,
[00:28:57] Ian: for sure. Like, and you both want to get to the same place. It's like both of you want more revenue and the way that you're going about that might be different, but I like the idea of when they push the, like you jujitsu poll them, right?
[00:29:10] Ian: It's like turn them back around and throw, throw 'em heading off on another direction. . Okay. What's your process? going into building a community. So
[00:29:22] Genelle: I think the, the first thing you really need to think about with community is audience. Yep. Because we found quickly that particularly if you wanna align internally, community can take up a lot of different like perspectives and expectations.
[00:29:34] Genelle: And if you start talking about community, it's like, well, is that our users? Is that our customers? Is that like the developer community? Is that practitioners? Do we invite prospects? And if you are trying to build a community that incorporates all of that, You will never get off the ground. So it's been an interesting process to think about community in phases.
[00:29:52] Genelle: So phase one is like, is it a product or practitioner led community, first and foremost, right? And then once you move past that, it's like you have to also think about really like staffing this community because at the end of the day, it's gonna grow if you are engaging with it and you're feeding. And what does that mean?
[00:30:10] Genelle: If you have a community manager, they're probably great at building an audience and they're probably fantastic at engaging, but are they product experts? Are we gonna expect them to be monitoring forums and answering questions? And that's where like bringing the rest of the company along is so critically important.
[00:30:24] Genelle: And then if you're, if you are drawing in customers there, are they going there instead of some of the relationships that have built within the company? So I think one of the maybe fallacies of community is it's. You can build up a digital presence and it's, you think about all the marketing pieces of it, but the ramifications for the business without the support cross-functionally, it won't take off.
[00:30:44] Genelle: That's been one of the more interesting learnings having done community in previous. Roles like at Sony, there were some learnings I had there, but it's, it's definitely a completely different beast in a, in B2B SaaS.
[00:30:57] Ian: I like to think of it that there's like your total addressable community. So would it be hashtag developer or hashtag like Marketo Bill Marketing Nation, Right.
[00:31:07] Ian: Like that's like the, Would you wear the T-shirt? Mm-hmm. , right? Mm-hmm. . That's the. Overarching community of which there's all sorts of sub communities, some of which you're gonna build, some of which are already there, some of which you're gonna combine the two, Yeah, your customer advisory board, that's a tiny little community that you build your customer community, that's a bigger community.
[00:31:27] Ian: Within that community, there's what I call like the movement community, which is are you building a movement towards this next future thing? And I think that community is so differentiated and like content and community. I think that those two. Like content is meant to both pull from the community but also push for like thoughts and ideas and out of their comfort zone or push people into their comfort zone and like how do you coordinate these people meeting and discussing and then also sharing those insights to broader people and all that stuff.
[00:31:55] Ian: Like it's super nuanced and complex and I like, I obsess over it and I love it.
[00:32:00] Genelle: It really. Same. I Same. Because every time you think about community, you can think about it from a different angle because all of those things you just mentioned, particularly content. Why would the community give you content if you're not adding value for them?
[00:32:13] Genelle: Yeah. Right. And, and, and the automatic, like it's easy to think about what you're going to kind of get out of community, but it's more important to think about what you're going to give to
[00:32:21] Ian: community. Well, yeah. It's like social, right? All these social networks were created and then we were like, Wait, I can push all of my thoughts out there.
[00:32:30] Ian: And then you look at. The vast majority of the ones that have horrible engagement, and it's all push content, right? There's no pull. Yeah. There's no engagement, there's no, Those accounts are not going and commenting on stuff, and this is why we see user generated as like so much more popular and why all the platforms prefer that.
[00:32:47] Ian: It's cuz they don't want brands to just push, push, push, push, push, push. Right? They want you to mm-hmm. engage and they want that to come from people. And ultimately, like there are mavens and centers of influence within community that come back to people that they trust, right? So you have to steward those relationships.
[00:33:07] Ian: And like the community manager is a relationship manager first and foremost, right? Mm. What do you want to quote, unquote, control versus what do you just want to influence? Right.
[00:33:17] Genelle: Oh, that is, that is super uncomfortable tension there because thinking of that sort of like gold of the engagement and, and the content they're creating and even just kind of like their thoughts and opinions.
[00:33:32] Genelle: Marketers are lying. They say they don't want to control it. So it's more like how do we help our. Not interrupt what's happening. You know
[00:33:40] Ian: I mean? Yeah. Great conversation. We'll continue. We'll have to check in after a few months as you've been doing the community piece. Okay. Let's get to our final segment.
[00:33:49] Ian: Quick hits. These are quick questions and quick answers. Just like how qualified.com helps companies generate pipeline. Quickly tap into your greatest asset, your website to identify your most valuable visitors. Instantly start sales conversations quick and. Just like these questions, go to qualified.com to learn more.
[00:34:11] Ian: We love qualified. Check 'em out. Genelle, are you ready? I'm ready. Number one, do you have a hidden telling or skill that's not on your resume?
[00:34:20] Genelle: I am a fair to middling surfer. Ooh,
[00:34:23] Ian: that's a fun one. . It is. Do you have a favorite book, podcast or TV show that you checked out?
[00:34:30] Genelle: I actually just listened to the final installment of the Serial podcast.
[00:34:34] Genelle: Oh yeah. Where Anon was released. I think everybody listened to that. And hearing the final chapter, I think, is a podcast episode that's stuck
[00:34:42] Ian: in the beyond cathartic, very satisfying, favorite non-marketing hobby that maybe makes you a better marketer reading. What advice would you give to a first time VP of marketing who's trying to figure out their demand strategy?
[00:34:55] Ian: Dig into the. If you weren't in marketing at all or in business, what do you think you'd be doing? I'd be a writer. Genelle, it has been wonderful to have you on the show. For our listeners, go to Bloomreach.com. If you know someone in the e-com industry, check them out, Bloomreach.com Any final thoughts?Anything to plug?
[00:35:15] Genelle: I'm super happy to be here and, uh, let me know what you think of our search relevance campaign and our no forms, because I think that was a fun one. And, uh, hopefully we'll catch up in a few months on more community.
[00:35:27] Ian: Yeah, milk chocolate or chocolate milk. Different but the same. Awesome.
[00:35:31] Ian: Thanks Genelle. Take care.