Hamburgers, Vests, and Account Based Marketing / Amit Bivas, Optimove
You know the way you tell the dentist you floss every day…but the dentist knows that on a good week, you floss it once or twice?
So yea, that…but account-based marketing.
There are so many marketers who embrace ABM but don’t necessarily go all in. Heck, I’m one of them.
In this podcast, we talk to Amit Bivas, the VP Marketing at Optimove, about what differentiates great segmentation from “eh” segmentation (this is literally what they do), their recipe for product-oriented ABM, the specific tools he uses (hint, you already use one of them), and more.
Amit knows the importance of building a brand (and shows it with his vest) but isn’t afraid of getting technical – and it shows, whether it’s launching their own publication (Post Funnel by Optimove), billboard marketing, or talking about why impression marketing is the way to do.
Amit’s opening intro (“Goodbye, Customer Centricity”) from their annual Post Funnel Summit, focusing on CRM and relationship marketing
Oh, and one last thing? That brand-heavy product-related ABM they were doing? See a sample ad for Lululemon below and the corresponding landing page right here.
Eytan Buchman: [00:00:00] [00:00:03] You’ve got to love a marketer who markets marketing software to other marketers. And not just because it’s a great tongue twister. In today’s episode, it gets even more interesting. Our guest markets segmentation tools for B2C marketing to millions of people while leveraging some really, really sophisticated account-based marketing tactics to dominate an addressable market of just about 3000 companies.[00:00:23] It’s both sides of the coin – mass market, very, very tailored. So today we’re going to talk about that. Yes. I’ve talked a lot about account based marketing ABM on this podcast, but our guests drinks together, a very coherent product based marketing approach with some very cool brand plays. And he does it all while wearing a vest. But before we take a stroll down account-based marketing lane, my name is Eytan Buchman. You’re investing, sorry, and listening to another episode of Marketers in Capes with GCMO. And I am done with his intro. Let’s meet Amit.[00:00:54]Optimove (Amit): [00:00:54] My name is Amit Bivas. I’m the vice president of marketing at Optimove. Optimove is a SaaS solution for enterprise brands that want to make sense of their CRM marketing,[00:01:07]Eytan Buchman: [00:01:07] Okay, so with the perspective of nine years at Optimove, can you unpack for me why CRM marketing even matters? Why is it such a big deal?[00:01:15]Optimove (Amit): [00:01:15] Let’s do this top down. So if I’m a marketing executive and I have my budgets, I can invest in two different ways either acquisition or a CRM. So I’m talking about that branch of CRM marketing, investing in your existing customers.[00:01:29]The competition is becoming fierce over the customer. More and more brands are joining the markets and it’s the same pool of customers. So the more competition over the customer, the cost of acquisition goes higher. Now, if 10 years ago, a brand could buy a customer, for example, in for $10, and then they’d come in and buy in $15. They’re profitable. Today, it’s not $10. It’s a hundred dollars. And then if they just buy for $15 and churn, you’re losing money.[00:01:56]Eytan Buchman: [00:01:56] So for the context, for the rest of the interview, how does a platform like Optimove ensure that you can improve the relationship and upsell or nurture better? How does that all work?[00:02:06]Optimove (Amit): [00:02:06] I tend to explain Optimove from a more technical standpoint as a hamburger, like the patty and the hamburger. So underneath it, you have data that’s siloed and spread out in a whole lot of different systems. So Optimove would take all of that data put in one place and make sense of it and make it accessible to the marketer.[00:02:25]Marketers aren’t naturally data scientists. So they get chewed data, they get direct access to it. They can start building their segments and start getting insights on their customers and such. The layer above the patty is execution channels, so how you communicate with your customer.[00:02:40]So any channel that can communicate on a one-to-one basis could hypothetically be a channel for Optimove. So say SMS, push notifications , Facebook ad campaigns, direct mail, email, obviously, and so on and so forth. So think of it that marketer gets the data they’re able to build their segments, able to get a lot of insights on those segments and start sending them a campaign across multiple channels.[00:03:03]One of our marketing messages is we’ll help you scale from tens to hundreds of segments. Today we know that the more segments you have, the higher uplift you can create on their customer lifetime value.[00:03:15]Eytan Buchman: [00:03:15] Let’s talk segments. There are so many ways to slice and dice users. It can get really complicated and now please don’t base your users. Can you give us a good example of what unsophisticated segmentation looks like and what outstanding segmentation looks like? Just so I can really get what the difference is.[00:03:32]Optimove (Amit): [00:03:32] The usual suspects for, the smaller segmentation are always demographics, right? People between this age, at that age that live in this and that territory or area or neighborhood or whatever. So those usually are the immediate suspects for the let’s call it basic, less effective campaigns, the higher you climb in the effectiveness ladder then you have, you have behavior-based segments. So people that purchase this and that and the past a few weeks that reside within a certain area.[00:04:00] So you’re mixing behavior with demographics and then the higher you go, you also add predictive elements. So a customer that purchased this and that item that is interested in this and that category and has the likelihood to churn of more than this and that percent. So those are the more advanced segments.[00:04:20]Eytan Buchman: [00:04:20] Remember supporting mass marketing doesn’t mean that Optimove itself practices mass marketing, B2B marketing, especially with focused audiences is so different. Amit, can you explain how that shaped your marketing and how you built up your marketing strategy?[00:04:36]Optimove (Amit): [00:04:36] so building sales pipeline, right? So that’s the main objective. And from it, you derive a lot of different initiatives. Self enablement, lead generation and so on and so forth. The idea with Optimove is that it’s a solution that’s quite challenging to explain because yeah, you can say CRM marketing, but that means a lot of different things.[00:04:54] And then you can say segmentation, but that’s, narrowing it down too much. So you need to find that balance of how to tell the story and not to freak out the prospect, but then again, not to over-simplify the solution that we’re bringing to market. So I think that’s the challenge, the ability to tell the story to the right person in the org.[00:05:12]Eytan Buchman: [00:05:12] How much does that story actually fundamentally change between those different types of users ?[00:05:17] Optimove (Amit): [00:05:17] When I speak with the budget owner, usually the marketing executive, and think about COO in a fortune 500 company, then to the person that would be the user, the practitioners that would use the software, if, and when that prospect buys the solution, total different narrative, total different pitch. Everything is totally different in the stories that we tell each level and function.[00:05:38]Eytan Buchman: [00:05:38] And this is where account-based marketing – ABM – dada comes in Optimove, all in across methodology, tool stack, sales coordination. Here’s how the grand concert plays out.[00:05:49]Optimove (Amit): [00:05:49] We’re not as advanced as what is what we sell our customers, we don’t manage hundreds of segments, but we segment based on a vertical and a job function. So we have, say for example fast fashion. So we have the executive, we have the we have the mid management and we have the user. And then we convey different messages to each one of these functions, right? The executive, he doesn’t care about functions and features. He cares he, or she cares about the business case. Our agenda is working on inch wide, mile deep. So our addressable market is quite narrow and then we want to make sure that with each one of these companies we maximize our win rate, because you don’t get a second shot when you get into these conversations.[00:06:34]Eytan Buchman: [00:06:34] So even if you’re going a mile deep across those users, it’s a huge undertaking. How does one pull that off without exploding into a million little pieces of marketers?[00:06:44] Optimove (Amit): [00:06:44] We create contents that are vertical agnostic. We do create them for the for the level, but not necessarily for the vertical. And then we use a practice that’s called atomic content. It’s pretty much like a think about a template that you just drag and drop different content assets, and then those get published and served to the account. So we create a lot of templates and then a lot of different building blocks and the amount of permutations that you’re able to generate from this mechanism are almost endless.[00:07:13] Just to think of an example. So for, we have use case, a template, right? And then you have a few different use cases and it has an intro and an outro. And you can even change the name of the company and the case that you want to make. And then you drag and drop a few different use cases. You’d edit them lightly as a PDF and send it to the specific prospect in a specific company. And that usually comes after a discovery call with the prospects of the sales would go to the prospect and understand exactly what’s there a need or what are the cure objectives. And then they build from this template, a very personalized set of use cases that are fit to what they need.[00:07:53]Eytan Buchman: [00:07:53] Is that a work philosophy or an actual program?[00:07:57] Optimove (Amit): [00:07:57] It’s not a technology. It’s an approach. I think Gartner speak about it a lot. The way we do it is we just build PowerPoint templates. And then you drag in new slides and a big tip and hack is that you can build the size of the slide in any slide and the size you want.[00:08:14] So we build like A4 size of a slide. And then they can just drag and drop, right? And then you get a nice PDF that looks like an ebook with all of these use cases or even a white paper as if it was created for that specific account, that specific person.[00:08:29]Eytan Buchman: [00:08:29] So earlier on you talked about how the end goal of this whole great marketing game is a sales pipeline, not being a hundred percent aligned with sales is a gigantic blocker. How do you structure that coordination?[00:08:40]Optimove (Amit): [00:08:40] One of the best definitions that I’ve heard is that ABM is the perfect alignment between sales and marketing. The idea is to have, this type of SLA with sales that, you know together.[00:08:52] We’d agree on the accounts that we’re targeting and it’s a long process. And it’s like a, it’s a handshake. Okay. So these are the accounts we’re targeting. This is the point in time where I would hand off the the lead to you guys and continue with sales enablement. And what are the criteria?[00:09:08] Once you have a buy-in and you agree on all the framework and the type of logic of when the lead is handed off to sales and what do we do post handoff? How do we create that sales enablement in order to help them push it through the pipeline and so on and so forth. Once you agree on the framework, it becomes easy .[00:09:28]Eytan Buchman: [00:09:28] And what is that actual handoff point?[00:09:30] Optimove (Amit): [00:09:30] So we built a funnel that has four stages. It starts with unaware. Then it goes to aware that it goes to engaged and then it goes to opportunity. Now we also split down our addressable market into three tiers, tier one, two, and three. Tier one and two are led by sales. They own the account. They get notified whenever marketing touches that account.[00:09:55] And usually they get a notification from marketing that this is the right time to reach out right with tier three. That’s what we called rest of tem is the is the space that we do all of demand generation. We would lead the conversation and then there’s a handoff point. Being ready for handoff to sales means that two people within the company have visited our website within two weeks, where at least one of the two we know to identify and we have their email. Only then is the account handed off.[00:10:23]Eytan Buchman: [00:10:23] What are the pieces that go into this magnificent ABM stack?[00:10:26] Optimove (Amit): [00:10:26] So we built a crazy stack around that, and we have many vendors. We work today with the vendor called Influ2 that could do a person based targeting. We work with a vendor called Triblio, a whole lot of automations on HubSpot and HubSpot is connected with a lot of different systems with Zapier.[00:10:44]And then also we’re fortunate that HubSpot is also our CRM. So there’s no link between marketing automation and CRM. They both reside within the same system. So that gives you a whole lot of data from sales, into marketing. But yeah it’s a one crazy stack and we use Slack for notifications. .[00:11:04]Eytan Buchman: [00:11:04] One of the most interesting aspects from my side is that ABM is typically associated with brand level marketing. Just don’t even think about 60,000 feet. We’re talking about stratosphere level tectonic industry trends for Amit, not so much[00:11:18]Optimove (Amit): [00:11:18] First and foremost, we have our our total addressable market which when I’m saying total addressable market, a list of companies we have around almost 3000 companies that we have there. And then those are obviously funneled down. So we have different narratives to different verticals, say for example, a online game. So we’re probably the one of the strongest defenders for CRM in that space. So our narrative in offer unaware accounts is FOMO. We we create this type of formal with our ads and email marketing that, you’re not using Optimove? You’re quite behind, man.[00:11:54]Eytan Buchman: [00:11:54] So that’s really buy intent, that’s pushing your product.[00:11:56]Optimove (Amit): [00:11:56] This has done in gaming. We’re a very well known brand and gaming. We work with almost, I’d say 30% of the entire industry. So I do bank quote unquote, off on the different operators that we’re reaching out to that they know what Optimove is.[00:12:10]With retail, which is a much more competitive. And we have a competitors that are bigger than us are smaller than us, the content narrative would be mapping out the the problems that we solve. Usually you might not aware of this problem that you have and which option was solved. So we guide them through, okay. If, even if you’re not aware of this, this might be a problem. For example are you able to manage more than 15 segments? And then the case would be, if you click on that, you go to a blog showing you how much the N+1 segment is worth for you.[00:12:45]Eytan Buchman: [00:12:45] My read on this is it’s actually much more product oriented marketing to the right audience than brand marketing. And that’s interesting.[00:12:52]Optimove (Amit): [00:12:52] If you’re creative is strong enough and is distinguished , the more impressions you get – and we usually bid on impressions, we don’t do clicks because our thesis is, and we also prove this with control groups that even though the your prospect might not click the ad, they would see that and then come to your website.[00:13:14] So we bid on impressions. And put your logo out there, put your creative brand out there. People would see you and resonate with you. So that’s the side of the brand, and it and we leverage it with that very specific even tactical content.[00:13:28]Eytan Buchman: [00:13:28] Obviously performance marketing, even sophisticated ads, like those isn’t everything.[00:13:33] Optimove (Amit): [00:13:33] So another thing that we did that’s, yes, ABM, but less of the performance one is billboards. So it also in gaming, when there was a specific account that we were after. Malta is a very big gaming hub and happens to be that the out of home advertising there is very cheap.[00:13:52] So we bought assets outside of offices of big operators and put a huge billboard of Optimove for them. So that’s like a lot of, the tech of more classical brand marketing, but a leverage for account based.[00:14:04]Eytan Buchman: [00:14:04] And let’s not forget that Optimove literally has its own publication.[00:14:08]Optimove (Amit): [00:14:08] If you’re a building, a new business, you’d bring in new customers, you’d invest in acquisition. It’s not as intuitive to invest in CRM. So we invested a lot in building a voice and making the case for investing in your existing customers. We were always doing very well with content and at some point we wanted to, think of how do you double down on your content.[00:14:27] So what we decided to do at that point is start our own publication – we call it Post Funnel by Optimove. We write about everything and anything that is relevant to the CRM marketer, not to CRM, marketing. That’s super important distinction because you can write about a certain topic, but when you’re writing for a certain person, it’s a whole different thing.[00:14:46] When we started heavily investing into ABM. We leveraged this in order to poke the brands in our town. So we would write reviews on how their CRM is working, we would interview their executives. Any brand that we mentioned in Post Funnel by design, must be a brand in our addressable market. And obviously when we write about them, we’ll tag them on social media and so on and so forth. So it’s another way to poke them or get their attention or whatever you want to call it.[00:15:15]Eytan Buchman: [00:15:15] And at the end of the day, Amit walks out and feeling like he is getting serious ROI off of this.[00:15:20]Optimove (Amit): [00:15:20] We can show that we have a traffic from our time on Post Funnel. We can see that these brands are interacting. I could put a number on it, but end of the day, I do think that it’s more of a quality play than a quantity play. It’s easier for us to approach these people. We see a higher response rate when we reach out to unaware accounts under the hat of Post Funnel versus under the hathead of Optimove,[00:15:45] We see higher let’s call it email marketing metrics for our newsletter, as there’s always like a lot of call to actions in the type of emails that we send or the articles there and so forth.[00:15:58]Eytan Buchman: [00:15:58] Really important question. I’ve never seen you at a conference or speaking at an event without a vest. Is there a story behind that? What is up with it?[00:16:05] Optimove (Amit): [00:16:05] That’s a great question. So there’s no special story about the vest as a, as an individual. And as a marketer, I think the biggest trait is the ability to stand out when there’s a lot of clutter. So if you go to a conference and everyone’s putting the jacket on, put on a vest, if everyone’s putting a tie on put on a bow tie. The idea is to stand out in marketing your personal brand. That’s pretty much probably what I’m doing in these events where I wear that Fest those vests yeah, it’s about creating a memory, hopefully a good one.[00:16:35]Eytan Buchman: [00:16:35] It works. I want to flag something interesting that I picked up here. Optimove is crushing it with a relatively simple framework of a few verticals and a few core personas. Great marketing does not need to be complicated. If Google Slides does the trick, fire up that browser, amigo. If you want to see some dashing pictures of Amit in a vest, or see some of their best content head over to buchman.co.il/optimove. If you want to see some pictures of me in a vest, you’ll have to find that awkward picture of me from when I took a three-month clown course in third grade. My name is Eytan Buchman, you’ve been listening to Marketers in Capes with GCMO and yes, I also wish I used hamburger analogies more often.