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AMAs

Evan brings extensive marketing and sales expertise to her role at Promoboxx, including proven success building winning teams and driving growth at technology companies.

Prior to Promoboxx, Evan led demand generation for Acquia during a period when the company experienced dramatic growth from $13M to over $150M. Her impact in scaling demand generation and corporate communications positioned the company to be recognized as a leader in Web Content Management by Gartner and Forrester Research.

Earlier, Evan held several roles at e-Dialog (acquired by GSI Commerce and later eBay Enterprise), a leading provider of advanced e-Commerce and online marketing, database technologies, strategies, and services solutions.

Evan received a B.A. degree in History and Philosophy from Union College, and she loves the Red Sox, traveling, and spending time with her husband and son.

You can follow her on Twitter: @ekbrett 

She will be live on Sep 5 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • LL

    Lidia Lüttin

    about 1 month ago #

    Hi Evan, excited for you AMA!

    I have two questions:
    1) What demand gen channels were most successful for growing Acquia from 13M to 150M? Which type of campaigns made the biggest impact?

    2) Do you have experiences with introducing processes into a fast growing marketing team, and which ones have been most effective? E.g. new content creation process, or product marketing - creative - copy writers - messaging...

    Thanks
    Lidia

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      And on to #2...

      I am a big believer in process when it is actionable and impactful. We have a saying at Promoboxx that we never want to fix a problem by creating another problem. We try to identify team issues or bigger company challenges, and then decide if a process will fix them.

      One process we recently introduced is a way for our sales and account management teams to request marketing materials (a presentation deck, a case study, etc.). Before, requests would come through over the company slack, and would inevitably get lost. Now, we have a google form that alerts Marketing every time a new request comes in, and we vet and prioritize each request in our weekly team meeting.

      Service Level Agreements (SLAs) can be really impactful too, especially working across different teams. Promoboxx sales and marketing are defining some of these now -- for example, we're defining what's required to become an MQL (a marketing SLA), and we're also defining the timeframe that a BDR needs to follow up with each new MQL (a sales SLA). I like SLAs a lot because it's a way for us to set expectations and make sure that everyone on the team, no matter their level or tenure, knows what's expected. And when something goes wrong, we have a way to pinpoint where it happened and fix it fast... without just pointing fingers as a distraction.

      4 Share
      • LC

        Lingling Chen

        19 days ago #

        I love the thoughts about using google form to prioritize sales request! Right now we do it via email and again very easy to get lost...Thanks Evan!

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi Lidia! Thanks so much for your questions, and for participating in today's AMA. I really admire the work your team has done at Bynder.

      Let's get into the questions...

      1) Our demand gen channels at Acquia evolved with the business during every major growth phase. The channels that helped us achieve $20M were very different than what helped us reach $100M, and so on. In the early days, for example, we targeted Web Developers and IT Managers, and so channels like Quora and Stack Overflow were important. We also ran 6-7 webinars per week across multiple timezones. As the company and our product offering evolved, though, so did our target buyer. Eventually, we were targeting CMOs and CIOs in the Fortune 500, and channels like events and Account Based Marketing became important to our growth.

      I think we were successful in part because we embraced this change in our strategy when it needed to happen. We had a really strong team that was focused on results, and many of those awesome people are still at Acquia! We weren't emotionally tied to any one channel or another. We invested in whatever helped the sales team increase and close pipeline.

      There are a few channels, though, that always needed to perform no matter what stage of growth we were in.

      The 1st was the website -- Our website was critical in helping Acquia grow at each phase. Acquia.com is a showcase of what customers can do with the product, as well as a top source of revenue. We invested the time, people, and technology we needed to make sure the website converted while we were sleeping. We added things like website content personalization, online chat, and really great content resources to fuel that growth.

      The 2nd is a combination of SEO and PPC -- A solid keyword strategy that helps potential customers find solutions to their problems is really important. A prospect searching on Google has already identified a problem in their organization, and so that makes that account much more qualified than a cold lead.

      And the 3rd was a great event strategy -- Whether hosting our own events (live or in person), or participating in tradeshows, having a solid event strategy helped us grow our brand awareness, increase site traffic, and was a great place for our sales team to make connections and build relationships with prospects and customers.

      2 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    19 days ago #

    Bonjour Evan,

    At several companies where I worked whose indirect revenues largely depended on a fragmented network of independent local retailers, and/or more established franchise retailers, I noticed that the processes and systems to align the brand with this indirect channel had taken years to build out.

    At one of these companies, a satellite network selling subscription TV, they even had a 24/7 training TV channel any retailer could tune in at anytime to get a refresher on the current promotional mix. And all marketing leaders, including myself, had a direct interaction via another internal TV channel which allowed us to speak directly to all retailers and answer any questions they had live.

    This was a lot of work.
    This was a well oiled process.

    So here are a few questions for you, Lindia:

    1) Do you factor in the size of the organization to define your must-have customer persona?
    2) If you have must-have customers with well established brand-retail alignment processes, how do you go about acquiring these accounts?

    Merci!

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Bonjour Arsene! Merci pour votre question.

      You are right -- Retailers are so important, and as marketers it can be challenging to connect with them because marketing is one of many functions required to operate a successful business, on top of managing inventory, finances, staff, etc.

      1) At Promoboxx, we *do* factor in the size of the organization in our ideal customer profile. We are targeting brands with a certain revenue and in certain industries because they have problems engaging with (and selling through) retailers that we know we can solve.

      2) For some of our larger target accounts, we use an account based sales and marketing model that is also aligned to verticals. We prospect to those accounts through industry associations and tradeshows. For some of our smaller target accounts, we also plan more traditional inbound tactics, like content marketing, social media, SEO and PPC, and marketing automation. We also have an excellent referral process that helps us build new relationships through existing customers.

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    19 days ago #

    Hi Evan,
    What tools are you using at Promboxx for experimentation & analytics right now? Where does your data live?
    Also, what has/have been the most recent one(s) you'll have added to your toolset - and why?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi John! Thanks for your question, and for hosting me today!

      We are using a few different tools today for analytics, and we make sure that these systems talk to each other so we have a single view of the customer at all times. We use Pipedrive for CRM, Client Success for customer success and account management, and we are currently implementing Hubspot for Marketing Automation. Eventually all of our marketing data will live in Hubspot.

      We decided to go with Hubspot because it will give us a broader set of marketing tools that can be executed on from a single system. Hubspot is also going to help us dramatically improve our team productivity through automation, in terms of how we qualify, nurture, and eventually hand MQLs over to Sales.

      We're also testing AppCues to help guide our customer users to success with the platform. AppCues will help us with new customer onboarding -- We'll be able to automate more of the ongoing product training, while also giving customers faster access to what they need to be successful in the product. Whether creating a new campaign, or reporting on an old one, etc. AppCues will also help us get real time feedback on how customers are using the product.

      4 Share
      • LC

        Lingling Chen

        19 days ago #

        Hi Evan,

        May I ask a follow question on this one: does your marketing team drive the decision making on what systems to buy, or the IT / engineering team?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi Lingling! I'm not able to reply directly to your comment, so I hope you'll see this here. It's a nice mix of decision making in our technology process. Each department has autonomy to purchase the right platforms and products for our teams as long as they will integrate the existing tech stack and don't do the same thing that another existing platform already does.

      We often consult each other, too, which I think is nice. Recently the marketing team decided we needed to move our website to Wordpress so that we could update it more independently without IT's help every time. We're in the process of building that out now, but we consulted with IT on the needs and they helped us arrive at the decision on Wordpress.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    19 days ago #

    Thank you for joining us today, Evan.
    I hadn't heard of Promoboxx before seeing your AMA page.
    Can you share what your process/playbook has been so far for building brand awareness?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Thanks Glen, for your question and for inviting me to participate today! I sort of felt like the first day of school jitters, but having fun so far. =)

      Promoboxx is in a really fun stage right now because we are starting to enter the scale phase. This means we need to build brand awareness faster than ever before! One of our marketing priorities for the 2nd half of the year is to introduce Promoboxx as the best place to work and next pillar tech company in Boston (USA). Defining and standing behind a lofty goal is step one. We believe with every fiber in the company's mission, and we're up for the challenge.

      2017 has been all about experimentation. We're building out our awards, social media, and PR strategy in particular. We were thrilled to be recently named one of Boston's Coolest Companies by BostInno -- We were really proud of this one in particular because we won "Most Retweetable" thanks to our Marketing Comms leader (Isolde Decker-Lucke). We're in the running right now as a finalist for Tech in Motion's Best Tech Startup.

      We are also really making our go to market model crisp and well defined. This is incredibly important so that the team has a clear operating plan before investing a ton of precious budget. Part of that go to market is rallying around our core verticals, and investing in events and industry associations to build out brand awareness.

      2 Share
  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    19 days ago #

    HI Evan
    I have some questions regarding the Aligned conference.
    From what I can tell, you'll started in 2015.
    a. What prompted the decision to start hosting a conference?
    b. What are the top 3 things you/your team do/have done that year over year result in either:
    i. An increase in paying attendees to the Search Love conference and/or
    ii. An increase in how much attendees pay to attend

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi Tri! Thanks for your question, and of course for hosting me today. =)

      A) We started the Aligned Conference back in 2014, which was before my time at Promoboxx, but I'm super happy the team did it when they did. Back then, there was a real gap in the marketing conference circuit for brand manufacturers like New Balance, GE Appliances, or Patagonia. These brands invest significant resources in their independent retailer network, and there was really no industry event that allowed them to all come together to innovate and solve problems related to their retail marketing channel. The Promoboxx team knew we had the experience and the expertise in-house (working with big brands and local retailers every day), and so we felt like we were the best ones to start that event. It actually also falls in line with 2 of our company core values: "Focus on Big Things" and "Be a Leader."

      B) The 1st and most important thing we can do as event sponsors is create an agenda with valuable content that attendees feel like they can execute on as soon as they get back to their desks. We try to have a mix of visionary content, and tactical best practices. For example, our Day 1 keynote this year is "The Future of Local Commerce in Retail" (visionary), and another session that same day is "5 Reasons Your Retailers Aren't Engaging, and How to Fix It" (best practices).

      Aligned is an industry conference, which means that there is a nice split between Promoboxx customers and potential future prospects. A 2nd thing we've done this year, which is different from prior years, is to offer pre-conference workshops that are tailored to either a customer track or a prospect track. This will allow us to deliver really great content and have productive conversations with two very different attendee profiles.

      And a 3rd thing we've done really well, I think, each year is communicating the value of the conference internally. We train every single person in the company on why the conference matters, and what their role is in helping make it successful. We put together enablement kits with scripts and other content pieces that our sales and account management teams can share out with prospects. And we also use Promoboxx's own product to share content out with the rest of the company that they can Tweet or post to their social channels. The entire company rallies around Aligned, and we're really grateful for their support. This passion and focus absolutely turns into higher attendee numbers and ROI.

      2 Share
      • LC

        Lingling Chen

        19 days ago #

        Kudos to your team Evan! I love the vision of the Aligned Conference. I can tell you that I work in the CPG space and we have thousands of independent stores that have our products. I also found it super challenging to find any events to talk about how to balance e-commerce & retail activation. All the growth marketing events in the SF area focus on user growth for online tools/services and we also feel left out. Activating retailers is extremely costly yet it is something we have to keep doing in a cost-efficient way.

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi again Lingling! We'd love to have your team at Aligned this year if you can make it. It's coming up fast (September 20-22). Email me if you want to talk more! evan[at]promoboxx[dot]com

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    19 days ago #

    So great to have you on today, Evan.

    What is Promoboxx's North Star Metric?
    How have you been able to rally the team & keep them aligned around this metric?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Thanks so much Dani! I saw you studied at Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires -- I did a 3 week course there in 2007, and I still remember all the beautiful trees that covered the streets in that neighborhood. =)

      Our north star metric at Promoboxx is Growth MRR, which is New MRR + Expansion MRR - Churn. This metric is critical to the success of the business because it touches all of our critical customer-facing groups, which makes it a good one to rally around company-wide.

      We do a number of things to keep the entire company focused on Growth MRR, and what their role is. Here are a few:
      - Goals: Every team is goaled on MRR as part of their MBO program.
      - Perks: If we hit the Growth MRR target in a single week, we get a half day the next Friday. If we don't hit the target, we have a full day. We have a big whiteboard that we track in real time as deals come in.
      - Knowledge Sharing: We do Friday lunch-and-learns, where every week a different department presents what's happening in their area of the business that contributes to Growth MRR.

      2 Share
  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    19 days ago #

    Hola Evan,

    The "Get Reach" tool on your site reminded me of HubSpot's website grader.
    I tried out the flow and after it gives you a potential reach you get a modal asking to sign up for a demo.
    Some questions based on this:
    a. If someone doesn't sign up for a demo, can you talk about what happens if they don't? I assume its some sort of drip campaign, but can you provide detail on what happens as part of it?

    b. On clicking on the "Demo" CTA, I was expecting to be taken to a calendar where I could pick a slot. Instead I got taken to another page where I was asked for more info (some of which I'd already provided the tool) and videos that looked to convince me more to sign up for the demo.
    So I'm very interested to learn about what sort of testing you'll have done around this "request demo" flow that gets people to ultimately sign up for it. Can you talk about any memorable tests you've done around this area?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hola Javier! Thank you for your question. This is a good one.

      A) If someone doesn't sign up for a demo, right now they are dropped into a nurture if they meet certain criteria. For example, Promoboxx sells to brands, but we often have independent retailers downloading content and requesting demos. Right now, we are mostly focused on nurturing brands in our program. BUT... After we complete our migration to Hubspot, we do plan on taking a look at our nurture programs and building them out to reach more targeted brands and retailers.

      B) This is great timing, as we are actually starting to implement appointment setting on our website now. We are partnering with a company called TimeTrade to do this. Our sales reps are already set up on the platform, and now we are going to integrate it more into our .com site. One of our challenges is that, when inbound leads come in, they are qualified and MQLs are eventually routed to one of 3 BDRs, round robin style. And so one of our challenges right now is how do we integrate 3 different google calendars into a single view so that the experience is great for customers, but also helps route the lead effectively based on our model and team. We are in the build phase right now, and so hopefully we will have that live very soon!

      At Acquia, we were always testing on the website, especially around our best performing pages like a demo request. We would test the # of fields, and we would also test proactive chat. For example, if someone sat on a high value product or pricing page for a certain amount of time, we'd pop up a form or even an online chat window to try to convert them if they were lagging for whatever reason.

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    19 days ago #

    Hey Evan,
    What is Promoboxx's "Aha moment"?
    I assume the demo is the primary means to getting people to that moment (pls correct me if I'm wrong)?
    Can you share what specifically you do to get people to that aha moment as quickly as possible before/during/after the demo (as applicable)?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi Danielle! Thanks so much for your question, and for hosting me today.

      The aha moment happens when the brand prospect sees how easy Promoboxx makes it to effectively market and sell through their vast retailer network -- and that retailers love using the platform.

      Many brands (and retailers alike) are frustrated with traditional co-op advertising or digital asset management products that are confusing, hard to sift through, and ultimately not adopted by the retailers. Promoboxx makes digital marketing easy and fun for retailers (who have a lot on their plate running a business besides marketing!), while also ensuring that the content is brand-approved and consistent with their national tier advertising.

      This aha moment can happen through a demo, or even by getting referred by another brand or retailer. We get 100s of requests from retailers every week to add more brands to the platform, which is a great conversation starter for our sales team. ;-)

      We try to get prospects to that aha moment as quickly as possible, but also on a timeline that works for them, too. Many of our brands have industry-specific buying and selling windows, and we try to engage them when it's the right time for them to evaluate vendors and make a technology purchase. We also align with their goals so that the evaluation and onboarding process is completed in enough time to make them successful for their next big retail selling window, whether that's Black Friday 2017 or the Spring Sale 2018.

      In terms of tactics, we are big believers in content marketing and sales enablement. We try to tie our content to core themes that are aligned to our prospects by industry, and that also helps our sales teams have productive conversations and win deals. We help the sales team with their presentations, scripting, and hosting webinars to do all that.

      2 Share
  • JD

    James Dunn

    19 days ago #

    Hey Evan,
    Can you share a growth experiment (at Promoboxx or elsewhere) that was a big win for you or led to some big insights?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi James! Thanks so much for your question. This one takes me down memory lane.

      One of the biggest and scariest growth experiments I ever participated in was at Acquia, probably about 3-4 years ago now. One of our biggest sources of revenue at the time was from leads that downloaded our product documentation resources. We had this amazing reporting on a source that was critical to our business, and that we could measurably report on its impact to the business. And we eventually decided to remove lead capture forms from that source.

      Our belief was that this content was important to help our customers and prospects thrive, and they should have access to it independent of lead capture forms. Our hypothesis was that we would get more downloads without the forms (especially from an IT centric audience), and we knew that it had been a strong source of revenue, and presumed it would continue to be even if we lost the form reporting.

      It turns out that it was an excellent decision for the business, even though it was terrifying at the time (as the demand gen leader) to take forms off one of my team's best sources of revenue. It led us to rethink our form strategy, which eventually lead to more innovation in our marketing stack -- like progressive profiling on our website and other forms. And we also ended up moving all of our developer-focused content to a microsite that had zero forms. All of these changes had a positive impact on our conversion and revenue thankfully! It was a great experiment to go through, and one that involved many really smart people inside and outside of marketing at Acquia.

  • LC

    Lingling Chen

    19 days ago #

    Hi Evan, I am a recent graduate and I am curious to learn your thoughts on:

    1. Should modern marketers be more generalist (focusing on strategy and product) or specialist (focusing on PR, communications, SEO/ SEM, email etc.).
    2. Do you find it helpful to stay in the same industry for a long time or transferring across industries is better?

    Thank you!

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi Lingling! This is a great question, and the answer is really going to be different for every person.

      1) Think about what gets you excited and motivated to get out of bed every morning. If it's data and analytics, you might love a career track in Marketing Operations. If it's copywriting or branding, you might love Content or Product Marketing. I think it's also important to note that if you do specialize, you can still build out your skillset in other areas. For me, I joined Promoboxx to lead all of Marketing, even though my background is largely in demand generation. And so one of the most important things I can do is hire really smart, talented people to lead the areas of the business that I am not as strong in, say Product Marketing for example. And I'll learn from my team every step of the way.

      2) I think it depends on what you're passionate about, and what you want to do in your career. I've technically always worked for software and SaaS companies, but each company has been very different. I started my career at a marketing agency in account management, for example. I loved that role, but I also knew I wanted to learn what it takes to build a business, and that's what led me to Acquia. For me, I like to be in companies with high growth potential, and so that might lead me to different industries within software / SaaS over time.

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    19 days ago #

    1) What do you consider your best growth channel, today?
    2) Where do you see Promoboxx 3-5 years from now?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi Mark Anthony! Thanks so much for your questions.

      1) At Promoboxx, we are really just beginning to rev up our demand gen engine, and so I think we only have upside. We have an excellent customer referral program, where brands and retailers can refer new brands to Promoboxx, and they also introduce us to the right person at that brand organization.

      2) This is a great question. 3-5 years from now, Promoboxx is the premiere digital marketing and commerce partner for manufacturing brands to sell through their retailer network. We will continue to deliver amazing customer service with an unmatched commitment to service and support for retailers. We will also have grown to partner with and support 500+ manufacturing brands (our internal mantra is "the road to 500 brands" coined by our VP Product Joe Bracken). We'll continue to meet and exceed our Growth MRR targets, while also being an awesome place to work that really believes in, values, and rewards our employees for outstanding work. We'll continue to innovate on the product, building our our commerce and ad tech features... while also sustaining growth and profitability.

      We have a really impressive, passionate, hard-working team... I know we can do it!

      2 Share
  • SK

    S Kodial

    19 days ago #

    Does Promoboxx have a dedicated growth team?
    If yes, who is on it and where does it sit within the organization?
    If not, why not?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi there! We don't have a dedicated growth team (yet) because we are a small company, but growing fast! We have about 50 employees total, and growth targets are shared across our marketing, sales, and account management functions. And we do have an excellent Director of Marketing who is in charge of demand generation in particular. But, everyone in the company is still responsible for growth and has a role, say for example, in developing the right products that satisfy customer and market needs (which in turn improves renewal and adoption rates!).

  • KM

    kunal mathur

    19 days ago #

    What are your thoughts on using Radio as a demand generation channel?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Hi Kunal! Thanks for your question. I am a big believer in putting content wherever your target audience is going to be able to easily find and consume it. If your target customer is a heavy radio listener, then test it out. Whenever I'm taking a risk on a new channel, I always do a small pilot before going "all in."

      I haven't personally used radio as a demand gen channel, but I do get served ads all over Spotify, for example, when I'm at my desk at work!

  • EB

    Evan Brett

    19 days ago #

    I am signing off of AMA for now... Thank you so much to everyone who participated and asked great questions. You made me really think hard, which I like! If you do leave more follow ups, I will check in over the next few days to try to answer!

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      19 days ago #

      We really appreciate your time today, Evan - you gave us a lot to chew on for sure!

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    19 days ago #

    So cool to finally have you on, Evan!

    A couple Qs for you

    a. What was it about Promoboxx that led you to say yes to that opportunity?
    b. What is your biggest growth challenge right now and how are you (thinking of) tackling it?

    • EB

      Evan Brett

      19 days ago #

      Thanks Anuj! And for all your help prepping me today. =)

      A) I actually was a Promoboxx customer about 7-8 years ago, and so I met the founders way back when and I really enjoyed working with them. When we reconnected about my current role earlier this year, what also really impressed me about the entire Promoboxx team is that they got to $5M in ARR before taking their Series A funding in 2016 -- and they did this all while delivering a great product, signing brands like GE Appliances, Chevy, and The North Face, and also while being profitable. It's a responsible, passionate, and driven team that cares deeply about supporting brands and retailers. Every single person in the company believes in our mission and company values wholeheartedly. And so for me, there was a great product, a strong executive team, and a culture that I felt I could make an impact in. And then on top of that, it was an opportunity to lead marketing at another promising early stage company.

      B) Our biggest growth challenge right now is dramatically scaling marketing-driven pipeline to help the company grow 30%, 50%, 100%, etc. year over year -- with a small team and a small budget for now. But this is also the sort of challenge that gets me excited and out of bed every morning, so I'm all in.

      In terms of how we tackle this, it's all about having clear, measurable and achievable targets at every stage of our funnel. In marketing, we hold ourselves accountable for hitting monthly lead, MQL, pipeline, and closed won MRR goals. And from there, we plan the right tactics, events, and other campaigns to source leads that will predictably convert in our sales cycle.

  • AN

    Audrey Nkirote

    18 days ago #

    Thank you Evan for making the time. I enjoyed reading through & learnt plenty!

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