Featuring guest speakers from Forrester and Cisco
Disparate spreadsheets, slides, and data sets make it nearly impossible for marketers to pivot at the speed required to keep up with market disruptions or shifting customer preferences. And with increasing inflation, supply chain issues, and possible economic downturns, it’s critical for companies to have a better way to plan and manage their marketing investments.
Uptempo’s guest speakers—Forrester Principal Analyst Katie Linford and Thomas Gunter, Director of Cisco Marketing Planning and Operations—share best practices for creating visibility, velocity, and agility through connected marketing operations.
Cisco will also share how they leverage insights from Uptempo to optimize strategies and continuously drive higher performance.
AMY BEAUDOIN Hello, everyone. We are just going to give everyone a quick minute here just to get online. But welcome to Today’s fireside chat proving business impact through connected marketing operations.
AMY BEAUDOIN So just give a second here before we start to make sure we get more people online with exciting session that we’re really thrilled about.
AMY BEAUDOIN Alright, Deployment passed. Well, hello, everyone and again, Welcome to Today’s fireside chat uh session proving business impact through connected marketing processes. I’m Amy Bodeway very nice to meet you virtually. Um, and i’m the director of product marketing here at up Tempo.
AMY BEAUDOIN I’m delighted to also be joined by Katie Lindford.
AMY BEAUDOIN Um. She is a Forrester analyst on the B Twob. Side
AMY BEAUDOIN uh Katie has over eighteen years of broad marketing experience um in solutions, implementations and operation really across quite a few different industries. Um! Prior to serious decisions, which is now Forrester. She was a senior marketing technology leader at one of the most dangerous place for me to shop
AMY BEAUDOIN whole foods. I think everyone can agree. Um, She is focusing on platform management and gave deep uh expertise in technology, selection, evolution and efficiency and business and technology process design in an agile environment. And again, we all know we need to be agile today prior to whole foods you that uh digital marketing technology at Amd.
AMY BEAUDOIN It has prior um technology experience before that as well. I’m also delighted to be joined by Thomas, who I was able to meet in person in Austin. He’s very tall, by the way. Um! And he is here, and also actually Katie is also from Austin Texas. He’s a director of planning and operations for Cisco marketing. His responsibility spanned from planning enablement,
AMY BEAUDOIN investment, strategy, budget management to spend operations and compliance Thomas and his team really facilitate across organizational community of strategy, planning and operational years across Cisco marketing. So thank you for both of you for being with us today.
AMY BEAUDOIN Katie is actually going to share a little bit more around in a perfect world. What parking operations would look like, and Thomas will share his learning from their journey at Cisco towards marketing operational excellence.
AMY BEAUDOIN So before we jump into this exciting discussion, I just want to share a little bit about who up tempo is, we actually just rebranded recently? Um! But up tempo delivers marketing business, acceleration, and that’s really a new operating model for marketers. It really gives Cmo’s clarity on the financial and business impact of their marketing efforts.
AMY BEAUDOIN And up Temple does this with our marketing Operation Suite um, which really integrates planning, financial work, financial management work, management, performance management, and that really allows teams to better plan,
AMY BEAUDOIN pivot faster, spend, smarter, and execute with confidence, and also report with confidence, and of course, gaining visibility, velocity. Agility is more critical today than ever. We all know that we’re in a higher inflation market uh with me or budgets, so it’s very important to know what you’re doing with every dollar.
AMY BEAUDOIN Some of our customers include big brands like Cisco. We also have autodes best by Charles Schwab Juniper networks land of lakes, you again make amazing butter. We have quite a quite a mix of industries that we serve
AMY BEAUDOIN at the end of today’s session. We also want to welcome you to remain on the line. We will provide a live demo, and it will be within context of the Cisco use case. Um, so you can stay for that. It’s a ten minute demo at the end of the session. If you wish to ask any questions, you can do so at the bottom of your screen. You’ll see there’s just a little Q. A.
AMY BEAUDOIN Button there, and you just have to enter it that in, and we’ll enter it at the end of we’ll. We’ll answer it at the end of the presentation. The recording will also be sent to you. Um tomorrow as well. So again. Thanks for joining, and let’s dive in to this exciting discussion. One hundred.
KATIE LINFORD So just to start with Katie, my first big question, Why is it essential for marketers to connect planning through to performance. Oh, boy, this is a big one uh B, two B marketing teams, as i’m sure all of you listening now are under so much pressure to demonstrate the return on their efforts and show that marketing is an investment, not an expense,
KATIE LINFORD and structured marketing. Planning is critical to making marketing. Successful. Effective planning helps leaders align their resources to the areas of business that are going to have the highest impact, as well as of course, prevent disruptions, or at least help limit them.
KATIE LINFORD And this planning cannot be done in isolation.
KATIE LINFORD Planning should always be a really highly collaborative effort that incorporates and takes into account the companies grow strategies um portfolio offering roadmap um quantifiable annual business targets. Things like that to help build out the approach that marketing should take um, and where they should focus.
KATIE LINFORD Now, one of the key elements here is a clear understanding of the Company’s goals and strategies. So without this it’s, and we see this all the time. I know I’ve worked in organizations that
KATIE LINFORD this has happened. Different marketing functions and teams can really easily in interpret or misinterpret. Um, you know their own.
KATIE LINFORD Take on what those goals mean, and this leads to marketing. Sprawl, disconnect silos, um, and a lack of this cohesive um strategic direction for marketing.
KATIE LINFORD So um! This clear identification of this strategic direction um is important as well, because
KATIE LINFORD marketers and i’m guilty of this as well um have a tendency to bypass this kind of guidance on approach, and really go straight to selecting tactics right? It’s easy. It’s something that you can align on It’s it’s actionable.
KATIE LINFORD Um! And you know these are often created on. You know, net new demand things like that. Um, and that may not be the direction that the business wants to take.
KATIE LINFORD So along with, you know, reducing the silos um. The strategic direction also is going to give the marketing leaders uh what they need to establish their priorities. This is really important, because marketing serves many internal and external stakeholders, and it’s it can be difficult to know. What do you do first? Where you commit the most resources? How do you find this balance?
KATIE LINFORD And this is where understanding Um! The goals to get this prioritization comes in.
KATIE LINFORD No, I’ve just said a whole bunch of stuff, and Haven’t even really mentioned planning, and it seems like a lot of work upfront, but it. It’s so important because, as we talked about, this is all about marketing, showing the value that it provides, and to do that with a marketing needs to ensure that the goals and objectives are really focused on the work that is going to have the greatest impact to the business
KATIE LINFORD then marketing can get into. What is this plan? Look like to accomplish that? Um! How are the different parts of the organization going to help achieve those objectives? And, of course, How are they going to be measured?
KATIE LINFORD Um, you know marketing also, as those alluding to kind of has this impulse to um use the planning process to do the new exciting stuff, this new demand, and stop the current campaigns that are running,
KATIE LINFORD and we all have been through this right. We get bored with our own, our own brand and our own campaigns before our our customers do so. Having this solid plan that is really clearly aligned with this business outcome. Um help mark their stay focused on the highest priority work that needs to be done.
KATIE LINFORD Um! And this may sound like a lot, and you know it’s it isn’t simple, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be hard.
KATIE LINFORD So one of the ways that you can set yourself up for success to do. All of this is to get a tool that can help you, centralize, optimize, probably communicate, and manage all of the work that you know marketing is going to do, and this can’t be done in spreadsheets, even if your spreadsheets are in a shared location, we need a much more robust tool.
AMY BEAUDOIN Okay, that’s awesome. Thank you.
AMY BEAUDOIN Yeah. And I guess with that Um, you know, we’ve seen, and you know, especially in the past, and I know myself and other industries as Well, we’re relying on these antiquated kind of tools of really excel to be doing all of our budgeting all of our planning.
AMY BEAUDOIN Um. But really there’s been a lot more investment on the what we would call the do side of marketing and and less on the run side of marketing. So can you maybe talk about? Why, um! That is what that’s been the case.
KATIE LINFORD Um, Because the do part is more fun right where the action happens. It’s where you know marketing actually gets to, you know. Put something in front of customers, and that’s what you know. That’s what they’re there to do, and and and it’s great, and we love the excitement around the do. But
KATIE LINFORD for without having that well established running of marketing um, you know, this can lead to to use the you know, kind of old cliche, the random acts of marketing, and it’s really easy to mistake this like set of activities, you know, especially if they have due dates right, and you’ve written it down like That’s as a plan, right? That’s that’s not a plan. Um. So really thinking about making sure that
KATIE LINFORD then you’re talking about a marketing plan.
KATIE LINFORD Um! It is per purposeful, and it has this strategic direction. Um, for these marketing efforts. Um! And you know, make sure that the resources are allocated in the best way. Um, you know, to get the best return to help marketing. Meet the goals, and I will say it again. This can’t be done in Silos um Marketing organizations have this tendency to um to this fragmented planning,
KATIE LINFORD and and when this happens the planning is happening in marking, but it’s happening it uh, you know, and maybe an individual team level. And what can feel? Um, you know what can feel off about this and where it seems kind of misleading is that a lot of times this
KATIE LINFORD practice of of planning at this level first is fostered by um budget allocation. Um, and you know kind of where marketing resources are distributed within the organization instead of thinking of the larger business priorities. So this disconnected planning leads to this misalignment which leads to you know, mismatch priorities, and least of this kind of marketing sprawl, and it really dilutes the that that marketing can have on the business. Um,
KATIE LINFORD so um! And another reason. Um Why, I think that this running, you know marketing and this planning doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. Um! Is that a lot of organizations? Um, you know that I’ve spoken to, and also that you know I some that I have um been in as well
KATIE LINFORD don’t have a really clear idea of what a good plan looks like. Yeah, because, mark it, it, it’s hard right. It’s hard to get there. Marketing plans can be um overly complex, and they can contain way too much information, and it makes them hard to read and hard to understand, and
KATIE LINFORD really hard to maintain. And then they’re they’re out of date, and they become more relevant or um like I was talking about earlier. They end up kind of being too simple and end up being this list of tactics. And then they’re really just about delivery and not strategic. And
KATIE LINFORD you know they’re not up level to the impact um that marketing can have on the business, and making sure that’s all aligned. Um! But this one can be fairly easily uh remedied by again getting in place a good tool that can support
KATIE LINFORD robust templates that you need that can be distributed to the teams that can be linked together. So you can get that broader picture of what marketing planning is going to look like, you know, across all of your teams um and done in a consistent way. So it’s easier. Um, It’s easier to manage. And everyone has that visibility.
AMY BEAUDOIN Yeah, it’s more standardized. Format. Yeah, we’ve definitely been using the forest or plan on a page. We find that just even like I know if you use that as all Thomas, but we just find it. It’s easier to share, especially with other teams like sales, for example. So
AMY BEAUDOIN um yeah, it just sort of distills it down. And it that’s easier to if there’s changes right. That’s the main thing to like if you think about companies that might have multiple brands or something. There’s a lot to manage there, so it’s just easier to have your strategies kind of listed out. Yeah, thank you for that. Um. So I guess really what’s the best place for a lot of um. Well, just in General B to be marketing operations to start really on this journey of like, in a sense, modernizing and connecting all the operations across and planning all the way through the execution.
KATIE LINFORD Um start at the beginning. Marketing efforts need to really be aligned to how the business plans to grow
KATIE LINFORD um and marketing leaders need to use this information that they get upstream, and and from you know, their counterparts to really inform the effort Right? They need to understand the corporate strategy, the the product. Roadmap um Revenue planning. All of this is essential for informing.
KATIE LINFORD You know what marketing does, and ensuring that marketing is again doing the things that um that move the needle. So if you don’t have this information um, you not pass. Go, Do not collect two hundred dollars. Do not start your marketing plan until you understand what the organization’s broader goals are.
KATIE LINFORD Um, and I know that’s easy for me as an analyst to sit here and say, Um, I also know that not all organizations have well-defined um corporate goals. So in in this case you know, do the best with with what you have. Um, at least you know it. Within marketing you can set goals. You can set that direction and give your teams something to um to ladder up to right. That gives them this, this prioritization that
KATIE LINFORD that lets them know um where marketing is going to have um the greatest impact. Um! And that makes it a lot easier to see how the operations need to start connecting across um across marketing. Everyone is. Everyone’s pointed in the same direction. Everyone’s focused on the same priorities makes that connection so much easier.
AMY BEAUDOIN yeah, they’re all on the same page. Essentially. So that’s good for sure.
AMY BEAUDOIN Um. So how do you quantify? I guess this, you know, once you’ve got everything connected. And obviously Thomas is going to share a little bit about this, because they’ve taken the journey there. But I know isn’t always easy. But um! Once you get there, how do you sort of look at, hey? This is, you know we rolled it out, and it’s Now, you know, we’re able to look at our um results in context with our plans, et cetera. How do you sort of quantify the that outcome that success, whether or not it really is successful to have connected all your processes.
KATIE LINFORD Yeah, I I mean it,
KATIE LINFORD you know. Really, it all comes down to being able to deliver for your audience and for your buyers. Right? That’s that’s what we’re here for. That we’re focused on. That’s what we’re looking to do. Um, and
KATIE LINFORD those by our needs, as we all know, are constantly changing and constantly growing. Uh and marketing has to be able to move faster and pivot with intent to not just spin, and and you know, point at whatever tactic seems um easiest or most comfortable. Um, and again can’t do this if you’re working in silos uh, and one of the um one of the places that may not
KATIE LINFORD seem like the most obvious place to look to really start to foster this? Um, you know. How can marketing um, you know, really be connected? And and and how can you drive this impact and and measure? It is is actually marketing operations. Um,
KATIE LINFORD you know, we think that marketing operations is in a really unique position. They understand, with various stakeholder needs right. Their involvement across marketing with the stakeholders is is broad, and because of this visibility um, they can influence alignment and help drive prioritization when there’s conflict and really kind of help um uh drive that direction coming from this this bigger picture. Um, and not just focused on
KATIE LINFORD um. You know the important. But you know maybe kind of individual. Um, you know tactics, or or you, you know, even campaigns. Um!
KATIE LINFORD The The other thing that marketing operations professionals have is a really deep subject matter, expertise in marketing, in data and in the technology. And so when um, when they combine these things together, um
KATIE LINFORD marketing operations is really the one who can take a look at what the marketing organization is doing, where it’s going. Um! The capabilities that it has, what it needs to accomplish and really help um put together this vision of these unseen possibilities.
KATIE LINFORD Um, And this is where um, you know, measuring this impact as well, is going to come with how productive and efficient and effective. Um, marketing is
AMY BEAUDOIN um, And I I guess one thing that people really struggle with to like. We’ve seen it with our own customers where it can take them, even sometimes like three years to get to. True. Roi. Um! But I guess i’m just wondering where most customers are at that. That you talk to
KATIE LINFORD um, and if they’re not there yet Um, where do you think you know? Where are they on their journey, I guess towards or Why, yeah, this is um. This is, I will just say, this is a tricky one. Um, traditional roi calculations
KATIE LINFORD really add some unnecessary complexity, for most Bdb: used cases um like textbook marketing. Roi was really designed for B to C where it’s um. It’s quick um transactional sales, um, and you know you can see this more immediate return on. You know these incremental marketing um elements.
KATIE LINFORD It doesn’t mesh very well with the longer sales, cycles of B to be, or you know, including a a sales team, you know. Oftentimes it includes a broad definition of an investment that has a kind of narrow return, and it doesn’t it doesn’t Recognize this um interdependence of the multiple tactics that are really super critical for
KATIE LINFORD B to b um, and all of that, just, you know, makes like said makes it really hard um for marketing to get there. And there really isn’t at this point A. You know, a one size fits all
KATIE LINFORD definition of marketing roi that every B to B and business needs um. So it we really recommend that you start with. You know the business question, The what are you trying to assault to excuse me? What are you trying to solve? And then adapting um? You know the roi calculation in a way that um that fits for you. And when we see organizations um kind of
KATIE LINFORD open up to that a little bit more because it feels it can feel uncomfortable at first right? Because it’s like, you know it is like our Why is the thing? And you know this box. And again, that that box wasn’t made for B to b um. So when um
KATIE LINFORD when you can um adjust and kind of pivot the thinking toward you know what is meaningful for you? What are the outcomes that are meaningful for you and and adapt the roi equation to that. That’s when we start to see um b two B teams get a better understanding of um the impact and the value that marketing is providing
KATIE LINFORD right. That makes sense. And it does. It does take time. Um! And And and, as you said in part of what adds to the uh to the time that it takes is really defining. What does this roi mean for your organization?
KATIE LINFORD Because there are so many steps and so many people involved in a B to B sell things like how much credit should marketing receive for the success. Um. You know how much we turn is being delivered by an individual tactic? Um, you know there are, You know there are things like that. That Um! It’s up to, you know, organizations to to really um better understand
KATIE LINFORD um. You know what again this looks like for them, and you know, using the foundations of the roi, but adapting it into a way that that makes sense. Um, that makes sense for them. Otherwise it’s the you know, square peg round whole um.
KATIE LINFORD And yeah, and like I said I, I and I will say again, understand that it takes time right? There’s a lot of data to be collected. There are a lot of steps involved. There are a lot of people involved. Um! And give yourself the bandwidth to to get there and get there in the right way.
AMY BEAUDOIN Exactly. I think the main thing to you is just like zeroing in on. What was it that you know someone sealed the deal You’re looking for that right? It can take, you know, ten or twenty touches before that happens. So you know, we would always say influence to the pipeline as a way to get cover. That marketing got some. Yeah, Yeah, definitely.
AMY BEAUDOIN So okay, And then guess really in terms of um performance. Um measurement. Obviously, that’s a huge part of uh, what for her talks about, and and a lot of your reports, but just wondering, really. Um! What does that feature look like there, and what’s going to be expected of Cmos because their role is really shifted. They’re supposed to be, you know they’ve got a growth mandate now all time um have sales reporting to them, too. So
AMY BEAUDOIN i’m just wondering on the performance management what we expected in the future.
KATIE LINFORD So we are going to, you know. Continue to see Cmos play um play a a big role in um in delivering this as well as as driving it. Um, So again, all has to come back to understanding how the business plans to grow
KATIE LINFORD and how marketing is planning on helping them reach that. So um! With this there’s a lot of information that the Cmo needs, and a lot of things that the Cmo needs to understand.
KATIE LINFORD And you mentioned this. You know um that sometimes there’s sales reporting in um. This idea of Rep. Of Rev. Ops. Whether it be an organizational structure or mar just kind of process. Ways of working is really critical for B to B right. The silos that we’re talking about. We have to break down the silo between marketing and sales as well. We need to understand who our customer is throughout the entire. By our journey
KATIE LINFORD we need to know what impact we’re having through each of these steps, and how these steps impact one another right. These steps also can’t be looked at in silo. So, having a good relationship with um with the the Cso. Understanding the sales cycles, um, you know, starting to to again break down those walls. Um is going to be critical. Um. Also having a good relationship with the the Cfo
KATIE LINFORD um. This is a newer thing and something that that I know we’ve talked about uh as as well. Um, the Cfo. And you know the the executive group really needs to understand
KATIE LINFORD what marketing is, what marketing is doing, and it needs to be more than a line item in the budget, and so it’s um, very likely on the shoulders of the Cmo to really move forward and start building that relationship with the Cfo
KATIE LINFORD um, and and having it be more than than just, you know the spreadsheet that gets sent over helping helping the organization Understand? Um, You know what these things mean beyond like the marketing influence, um, or whatever it may be
KATIE LINFORD so along with this um we hear a lot about dashboards as well. It’s very.
KATIE LINFORD I’d like to say it’s very buzzy, but I think It’s been very busy for a while now, but it’s um with this mandate and this pressure that the Cmos are under to um really demonstrate this value, and to make quicker decisions. They need the information readily available in a way that is easily consumable for them, that they can understand that they can find what they need. Um, so they can respond in a more timely fashion.
KATIE LINFORD Um! So we’re seeing a lot of emphasis there on making sure that um you know. Not only do we have these great plans in place. We’re understanding the goals. We’re tracking everything from, you know, from first touch to you know um completion of the sale and and beyond through customer success. Um! That the Cmo needs to have visibility into those elements that are um
KATIE LINFORD impacted by marketing, and that marketing impacts. So it’s a It’s quite a bit of of pressure. But you know our Cmos are are ready to take it on. Um. I think that they have, uh, you know, to some degree been kind of waiting waiting for this right? Because this is really
KATIE LINFORD putting them um stepping up front right? They are not just again this line. Item. It’s, you know, All right marketing. What are you delivering? And it’s a great opportunity for the Cmos to
KATIE LINFORD to take it to the next level, and to really show um how marketing is changing the business.
AMY BEAUDOIN All right. Well, thank you for that. That was a really good overview of again. How great question, Yeah. And Thomas has been for the trenches himself. So i’m gonna pass it over to um, Thomas. Um, But thank you, Katie, for those insights. Um: So yeah, I guess, Thomas. Uh, obviously you’ve You’ve got up tempo’s uh marketing operation. Software
AMY BEAUDOIN And i’m just wondering how that has reshaped some of your internal processes, because, as we know a lot of times when you go through this, there’s some change management involved as well. So Yeah, That’ be my.
THOMAS GUNTER You know we’ve been on a journey, and we’re still on that journey uh to to reshape those processes. So what our tempo has allowed us to do is kind of lay a standardized foundation on where we record a plan of record, and in doing that
THOMAS GUNTER it’s driven us to standardize on. How do we think about planning? How do we call campaigns and programs and tactics? What are those looks like in forcing us to sit there and really work across the teams and in standardize in the way that we talk about marketing
THOMAS GUNTER the way that we invest in marketing
THOMAS GUNTER the planning process itself. So it’s helped by that foundation where we’re now recording that information and leveraging it in the decision making process. So through that standardization and developing this foundation, it’s allow us to become more deliberate in our planning,
THOMAS GUNTER I’ll find in our planning. This helped us to draw more realistic timelines on what is the planning process? Look like where the key decision milestones, what happens when? And it’s allowed those decisions that are made, and recommendations to be uh
THOMAS GUNTER much stronger in how they’ve been informed with the data that’s coming from the teams or historical data that we’ve seen uh from prior years.
AMY BEAUDOIN Okay. And so you’re seeing, I guess, with all this visibility and and having everything tracked living plans, if you will. Um, so your Are you able then to make changes to strategy a lot faster as well.
THOMAS GUNTER Yes, yes, we, you know, as we come into this uh our ability to see what that impact is or could be in making those changes is starting to light up for us. We’re able to do that a lot more effectively than when we didn’t have a standardized platform when we’re living off of slide, where to make decisions and to roll up the information.
THOMAS GUNTER And so it absolutely has enabled us to be very thoughtful in the process, and thinking about what our overhead costs First, How does that, you know, impact our envelope and then starting to look at? Okay, what does this really mean for our activation dollars. How do we
THOMAS GUNTER um think about those investments to maximize return? You know, How do we think about G uh geographic specific investments versus vehicle or or tactics specific investments. Uh, it’s it’s allowed us to be a a lot more deliberate, and to make those decisions uh faster in the process.
AMY BEAUDOIN Um, and I guess, in terms of quantifying success. I guess, in operations or the areas that you’ve seen You’ve mentioned some of them now, but just the areas of the biggest gains. Can you maybe talk a little bit about that?
THOMAS GUNTER Yeah, you know, when I think of marketing operations in in this bigger role. Um,
THOMAS GUNTER you know. First, I would say that you know at least that Cisco for us marketing operations is there to really enable the business to get to work and to effectively and efficiently get to work. So we look at success as a variety of things. When you look at directly more planning specifically in operations. We look at success as have we enabled a data based decision making process for our leadership team
THOMAS GUNTER that’s occurring in a time of manner that allows them to make informed decisions in time for us to then implement those decisions into plans and to go and execute. And so we are the backbone of How does that process really work? What are those decisions that’s talking about earlier? That that you have to have along the way we help build that planet, and we have to lean on tools to help us do that. And so success for us Looks like,
THOMAS GUNTER did we do that? Did we? Was the leadership team able to make these trade off decisions early enough to be able to understand the impact. You have to communicate that impact and then
THOMAS GUNTER to to eventually convey to the teams. Okay, let’s let’s go Execute these plans. Here’s where they are, and, as we all know, getting as far down to as well. Now I have to go open up purchase orders that have I lost any time there to actually execute.
THOMAS GUNTER So the the big piece for us has been uh the kind of the number one uh piece there is enabling that process and a timer with accurate data uh allowing us to to to run uh at an appropriate time.
AMY BEAUDOIN That’s awesome. That’s great to hear that you don’t to be honest, I don’t know if I can go back to spreadsheets after you have the information at your fingertips. So we go. Um! So what were some of the critical steps that your team needed to uh take into consideration, I guess, in order to ensure success,
THOMAS GUNTER change management as critical. You know, understanding who the stakeholders are, who the different audiences are that need to hear what type of information, and when it it cannot often be an afterthought, because we’re compressed on time.
THOMAS GUNTER And you’re sitting there working through? Well, what is the planning process? What do I need to do by the end of October, and you’re just working to get the deliverables and get the meeting set up to communicate it and decisions, and you’re not thinking about. What about the greater audience? So
THOMAS GUNTER do we need training materials. Do we need a newsletter? Do we need a You know a chat space, you know not the deliverable. It’s not just the decisions. Um! That is a huge piece for us, and it’s it’s a skill that’s not uh inherent in most people. It’s something that you have to really think for. We we tend to think of project management, but not necessarily change management.
THOMAS GUNTER And so for us it’s. It’s a learning as well learning that skill, and sometimes having to slow the planning process down in order to ensure that we are effectively communicating the change uh across the organization. So you know, that has been probably one of the most critical steps, and then I would say, secondary to that is back to kind of the alignment on data in understanding.
THOMAS GUNTER You know the taxonomy and marketing. Um what we’re actually measuring. How granular did we need to be in data collection in um in a planning process, you know. Um
THOMAS GUNTER really getting that alignment across the organizations uh which then allows us to really refine that process. So i’d say that’s probably our our second biggest area.
AMY BEAUDOIN Did you have a lot of resistance, I guess. Just curious internally, the change management, or did you do people get on board relatively fast when you describe benefits?
THOMAS GUNTER I would say, uh, I wouldn’t say we had a lot of resistance. Uh, I would say more skepticism, because we we’ve tried this before, you know, and and we’ve gone through several cycles. Of what does our operating model look like. How do we talk about our framework?
THOMAS GUNTER And and some of those have lasted several years, some of them not so long, so it’s a little bit of skepticism upfront that through change management allows us to um
THOMAS GUNTER show progress in our thinking, so that we are actually delivering. And over time we’re using the same language or using the same planning process
THOMAS GUNTER uh building trust in the organization. That Yeah, this is. This is really how we work together, and it’s being adopted across the board.
AMY BEAUDOIN Oh, that’s awesome. Glad to hear that um. Was there anything that you learned along the way? That was a surprise.
THOMAS GUNTER Yes, so Um!
THOMAS GUNTER We’ve had
THOMAS GUNTER several different platforms in the past that were intended to line on kind of the investment side of marketing
THOMAS GUNTER in the planning piece of marketing, and they’ve they haven’t been very successful at all. They They usually last about a year to two years before they this allow, and what we observed when we started down this path now with a tempo is when we look back at what caused those projects to fail
THOMAS GUNTER uh a lot of it was getting too granular to quick,
THOMAS GUNTER So we wanted to be very deliberate and to take it slow and to understand. In year one
THOMAS GUNTER the data is gonna be directional at best, And that’s okay. We’re gonna learn more about ourselves and what we really need to that process in a year or two. It gets a little bit stronger in your three. It’s stronger.
THOMAS GUNTER So we’ve taken deliberate, slow steps in this process, so it’s not to lose the momentum,
THOMAS GUNTER not to lose the interest, and to have time to learn and adjust.
THOMAS GUNTER But what was surprising to us is kind of. Once we’re a couple of steps, and the pace that we want to move as kind of a steering committee on How we do planning is a little bit slower than what the rest of the business wants to do.
THOMAS GUNTER And so we started to see this turn, where, uh, you know, in a the business. And then by I mean what I mean by business is like the field marketing teams, the the functional marketing teams are
THOMAS GUNTER now starting to ask about to deliver more detail, Or can we give you more detail on the plan. It’s really important. So now we see them putting pressure on us to move a little bit faster to that level of bring it already, and that was a surprise uh to us.
AMY BEAUDOIN So a great game traction pretty quick. That’s great. Um, yeah. What were some of your initial goals? Um. And did you achieve them,
THOMAS GUNTER Sure, uh. So one of our initial goals would be, you know, or or was it still is
THOMAS GUNTER uh data really looking at data aligned to key dimensions. So of interest. And
THOMAS GUNTER we we have definitely achieved that where we were several years ago in spreadsheets. Uh, with, you know, everybody having a different view On
THOMAS GUNTER How do you refer to paid media versus social media? Or uh, you know even what what different campaigns are we running? And how do you walk through that? Um.
THOMAS GUNTER It was important for us to build on that. That’s something that was not good. And if if we didn’t have that basic structure in place. Then we couldn’t really model Roi effectively. Couldn’t enable the leadership team to make decisions. And um, so that I would say has been our our strongest achievement, where we are today,
THOMAS GUNTER in our ability to articulate what we are invested, for what purpose? Where we went, for how much and for what outcome? Uh, we are miles of miles out of where we’ve been. Um, not just in capability, but also in consistency and standardization. And how it hat’s been uh one of the biggest goals that that we’ve had, and it’s really a primary goal for us that we are.
AMY BEAUDOIN Were you having? I’m just curious about that. Were you having some oversaturation in certain markets before?
THOMAS GUNTER Is that something you experienced? Well, hard hard to tell. Yes, we can see that. But we didn’t necessarily always um This the scale of of our marketing, and the breadth of what we cover it was
THOMAS GUNTER uh not always clear you know. Are we over-invested or underinvested in certain areas. It’s hard to decipher that information. So um
THOMAS GUNTER bringing that clarity now allows us to do that
AMY BEAUDOIN awesome. Um, Okay, and then the other one I just want to ask in in terms of. Was there any other um benefits that you achieve that you didn’t expect um like? For example, you know the world that we’re all in um, you know. Are people able to on board faster? Was there anything that you didn’t expect out of that, and that ended up.
THOMAS GUNTER Yeah, um. So uh it was touched on. Katie touched on. This was the partnership with the Cfo. So we’ve got a strong partnership with the Cfo yet. But what I will say is that our partnership with our financial controllers the next layer down has really really strengthened
THOMAS GUNTER in the past. You had marketing operations who really had to help tell, help, finance, tell the story of what it is we do. What’s the impact? What does that mean?
THOMAS GUNTER You know, when you talk about account engagement, what does that mean?
THOMAS GUNTER And
THOMAS GUNTER we have brought finance along the way with us in this process, and they are in a tip of. They are working in the plans and and seeing it. Um!
THOMAS GUNTER And now our finance team is no is is learning and knowing marketing, and it’s not just
THOMAS GUNTER yeah. The marketing guys over there. It’s they really understand it. And there’s in there a partner with us and helping us to to articulate the impact. You know, when you put a dollar into marketing, what did we get out? And so that’s a growing relationship that will help them support the Cmo
THOMAS GUNTER working with the Cfo, and to really bring and deliver that a dollar and get you this out of the system. So I would say um, you know that was uh, you know that was a a benefit that we knew we needed, but didn’t expect to necessarily see mature so fast,
THOMAS GUNTER so absolutely. And And then, in addition to that, I think the tool and of itself, our ability to bring somebody onto a tempo and how to do it is very quick. The user experience is is easy uh to pick up and understand
THOMAS GUNTER um in the ramp time, you know, to get somebody on up and running and understanding, and whatever coaching we need to. However, it’s been a lot faster than
AMY BEAUDOIN Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely a bit of both right. You’ve got the marketers learning more finance and finance for any more about. But at the end of the day it’s for the the common good of of driving revenue. Um, So what? What’s What’s next for a cisco’s marketing team
THOMAS GUNTER going going deeper. So you know I talked about finding the right level of granularity to step into it. So now, really, looking closely at this tactics and um aligning that uh depth to what did we actually spend our budget on? Is it? Um!
THOMAS GUNTER In a world like ours when we open up a purchase order with the media company that may span multiple campaigns and programs and countries, and when you’re in a system you start to you, can. We can plan for that. We can articulate that. But then
THOMAS GUNTER the spending actually changes. So how do we then bring in that data, and in we we talk about
THOMAS GUNTER Our ability to stay is we could come in, and we can say, I intend to invest a dollar in this campaign,
THOMAS GUNTER and during execution I can show, you know i’m opening up those i’m. I’m uh Cross charging within the organization. This amount of money in support of that campaign, and then. So our next step now is really bringing in the financial ledger.
THOMAS GUNTER Bring that connection into the process to be able to say, and what I actually did, if it’s this, and really getting to that true roi piece. Now, instead of just return on our investment intent, being able to display a return on actual investment
THOMAS GUNTER and leveraging that back again into the planning process, being able to look backwards. That results model forward looking expectations based on investment levels,
THOMAS GUNTER you know, bringing that together back into the planning process. Um, which ultimately gives us the information we need to make the
AMY BEAUDOIN so it sounds like a little bit more predictability before you deploy resources or dollars out. Okay, that’s excellent. Yeah, um. So that really wraps up our reception there. But if you had any uh any other comments, Thomas, let me know. But yeah, i’m glad. I know that we you know our services team is really good, and and hopefully they helped you a lot through that change management process, because we’ve had a lot of companies in the same boat as yours, so I will. I will tell you. Um!
THOMAS GUNTER The services team has been phenomenal, and they have been extremely responsive any issue, whether you know or not issue, but question or capability. Ask that we’ve had whether it’s super small or really big. They have been great about um
THOMAS GUNTER helping, guiding us, and sometimes challenging us to say, Do you really want to do that? Here’s why you may not want to do that. So the partnership that we have uh with up tempo, is It’s been
THOMAS GUNTER uh it’s probably one of the strongest partnerships that we have that relationship uh compared to some of the other platforms that we use in the company.
AMY BEAUDOIN That’s correct. Which? Yeah, I find that that’s super helpful. Well, thank you very much for sharing your sorry. That’s very interesting, Jeremy. Again. I know at the beginning there is usually trepidation in any of these type of projects, and a lot of times marketers. Don’t want to be doing bunch of things right. But but but yeah, like, I say, I know myself once I’ve had it because I’ve been in other companies where they’ve actually overspent in certain areas, and then the rest of us had to kind of make up for it, and it was. It was very difficult, and then we couldn’t shift anything. Um, for the rest of the year. So
AMY BEAUDOIN yeah, thank you very much again. Uh, Thomas and Katie for joining us today. I really appreciate it. And um definitely um wanted to see if there’s any questions here from the audience. So just gonna see if there’s anything,
AMY BEAUDOIN All right.
AMY BEAUDOIN Um, I guess. Uh yeah, I guess with that Um, Katie, with a lot of the inquiry like people that are calling in uh for you right now. Um are a lot of them. Just still. Have they tried other solutions because the one thing I also know that some have tried their own
AMY BEAUDOIN solutions uh on home, grown, if you will, but then they weren’t they had an issue with scaling, so i’m just curious as to whether that’s something that you hear um as well. That’s something that I know that people I’ve talked to have said they’ve done it, and then sometimes the developer leaves as well, and then the good one was support it. So that comes up
KATIE LINFORD it. It does it, and it just you know it. It runs the the gamma, and then it’s one of the um. The interesting things and things that I really enjoy about being an analyst is, I get to talk to so many different um, you know marketing operations and marketing leaders and different companies all over the world of different sizes. Um!
KATIE LINFORD And so with that, of course. Yes, scale is um. Is it an issue? Um for and for a number of organizations? Uh, I rarely encourage building your own software Um! There are, uh, absolutely some companies out there who have built themselves up to be able to do that and to be able to support that. Um! There is a level of understanding that needs to
KATIE LINFORD uh be there across the entire company around what this takes and what it means, and
KATIE LINFORD and all all of that and um it’s. It’s a significant um investment. It’s a significant level of effort to it’s It’s not just building right. It’s then maintaining and enhancing and it evolving um involving the product. And um, you know, and getting a really good understanding of what the needs are, so that the development teams knows when to say yes and no way to push back a little bit. Um,
KATIE LINFORD so it’s it. Just it ends up being a lot um for a lot of organizations so definitely. Um, definitely talk to some who have either yeah homegrown. Um, you know, home built uh applications or things that are kind of
KATIE LINFORD cobbled together, you know, with spreadsheets, and you know with you know um, you know, file transfers from one system to another that happened, you know Fridays at midnight, or you know, or it may be um, but um having a purpose built platform in place that
KATIE LINFORD you know, offers all of the features that you’re looking for, and can integrate well with um. The systems that you have can really help speed um this process along and get you to a place where you are. Um on this jury that Thomas has been on right where you can start moving forward and and making progress.
KATIE LINFORD Um, But yeah, it’s um. Don’t wanna let the tools slow you down. Um, you know. Also, you know the tools need to be brought in for the right reason. So don’t let them drive the requirements, either. Um. And if you want to build them, just
KATIE LINFORD make sure you really understand. You understand what that means, and you’re ready to take it on.
AMY BEAUDOIN Yeah, it’s a definitely a lot for sure. Um. So Thomas question for you, is It’s really around the reporting side is, Are you using reports through up tempo or something going to a data lake, and then a bi tool. Or how do I guess the rest of the executive see what’s going on in marketing
THOMAS GUNTER it. Currently, we’re using uh the reports that are in the platform itself, and we are moving to starting to Now, bring that data into a data like can bring it through uh up into the dashboard uh, so that we can see uh different areas in the dashboard where we can
THOMAS GUNTER um to control access to the right information to the right audience and and really build out. And since we we use the platform, not just for
THOMAS GUNTER execution dollars, we use it, for overhead costs for total operational budgets. Uh allow us to kind of build some financial views. In addition to then, the marketing effectiveness, views, budget utilization, um people program ratios things of that nature. So we do most of that now in the platform itself. And yes, we’re moving it to integrated now with the metrics.
AMY BEAUDOIN Okay, So the rest of the executives have access to, too. And then you mentioned around, like, you know, just really again solidifying that trust um with the finance team. Has there been any um really great benefits out of that, like in terms of,
AMY BEAUDOIN I want to say, unlocking more budget. But you know. Are they sort of less, you know, because I know in the past, you know. Sometimes they’re very um concerned about loosening that the her strings, if they don’t have the confidence. Um, But are you seeing you seeing that kind of open up
THOMAS GUNTER we we have, we have seen, especially with with finance uh our ability to articulate impact for them to trust that impact and understand it. Um has definitely strengthened. And so
THOMAS GUNTER uh, it’s allowed our kind of our more local finance folks that we work with on a day to day basis. To be strong advocates in our business case allowed us to kind of
THOMAS GUNTER partner with them more to to deliver a stronger business case, and for them to be that advocate for us for the uh. You know the Executive Level finance team. Uh, and as that’s taken shape of the last couple of years, we we definitely have seen um
THOMAS GUNTER more benefit uh to that uh, not just being treated as an expense, but really being treated as an investment area of the business. That that kind of pendulum has started to swing towards that investment view of marketing and what it
THOMAS GUNTER come out of marketing. So it’s. It’s been instrumental in helping us make our case for what we can do for the business.
AMY BEAUDOIN Oh, That’s fantastic. That’s so great. Okay. So i’m just going to share my screen again. Here, Um,
AMY BEAUDOIN give me a sec. So really, right now, we’re going to move into the demo portion. So for those that want to stand the line, and we’re going to show you again a demo that will actually highlight um. Thomas’s use case, but he’s walked us through,
AMY BEAUDOIN and um so definitely. If you have any feedback for us as well at the end of it, though there will be a survey that pops up on the screen. Um, we’d love to get your feedback on this session.
AMY BEAUDOIN So just before our conclusion, i’ve just spread red to conclude. Now, Amy, So if it’s good for you. I will hand it right back to you. I know that was one hundred miles an hour. I hope you all appreciate that. Yeah, Thank you very much. Well, just yeah, thank you all for showing us how it actually works, how it comes together again. It is a very easy to use a solution, as Thomas said. So again. Thank you, Katie and Thomas. I had the pleasure of meeting you guys in real life which is really nice and hopefully. Um, I can. I will see you shortly.
AMY BEAUDOIN But um yes, thank you very much. Everyone for joining us today. And um again there will be a survey that pops up now. So please give us your feedback, so we can make sure that we can make these better. And thank you again. Have a great day.
Senior director of product marketing
Director, growth marketing planning and operations Cisco
Principal analyst, marketing operations
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With budgets being slashed and economic turbulence shaking up the marketing plan, the relationship between marketing and finance is more important than ever.
No recordings. No screenshots. No sales pitches. This is a space for marketing operations professionals to have an open and supportive exchange about the topics that matter.
Uptempo’s guest speakers, Forrester Senior Analyst Jessica Liu and Jackie Massmann, Marketing Budgeting Planning Analyst at Land O’Lakes, share best practices for creating better visibility, velocity, and agility through connected marketing operations.