Lessons from Jess Iandiorio, VP of Marketing at Drift

I recently stumbled upon across a great interview with Jess Iandiorio, VP of Marketing at Drift, a company founded by ex-Performable founder David Cancel. If you can, I highly recommend heading over to John Bonini's podcast and listening to the whole thing yourself.

In the meantime, here are my Cliff Notes, and why it resonated with me:

Setting a purpose for your marketing team. Drift as a company demonstrate its values not only in obvious ways like its family-friendly company culture, but also in the way they market themselves. Hearing things like "We made a commitment not to spam people or buy lists" and "We wanted our content to reflect our brand" was a refreshing change from the way so many companies go to market. Iandiorio is also keeping her team focused on companies they want to sell to, not just bringing anyone and their mother into the marketing funnel. 

Focusing on smaller experiments. Bigger isn't always better. Iandiorio talks about how her team is segmenting their prospect and customer base into narrowly defined segments, sometimes with as few as 100 people in a segment, and sending them personalized messages and content that are relevant for their contexts. One of my favourite experiments? Her team is loading up 10 Kindles with David Cancel's favourite books, and sending them to their target customers. 

Looking beyond customer acquisition. I wanted to jump in the air when she talked about customer acquisition being only 1/3 of the marketing equation - marketers also need to think about customer retention and customer growth. When you are a very early stage company, you need to acquire customers of course, but many marketers wait way too long before they think about how they want to treat their customers post-purchase. She described one scenario where a segment may be your unhappy customers. Instead of trying to upsell them, your goal should be to gather feedback, and ideally address their concerns. You can't achieve this with a one-size-fits-all email marketing list.

Her approach makes a lot of sense for B2B companies with high customer LTV, and for a company that has a decent runway in terms of funding. Some of her tactics are more work upfront, but I bet her results show the difference. One very small example - Drift's newsletter, which has over 7,000 subscribers has a 50% open rate and 10% CTR, well above industry average. Drift's newsletter also has great word of mouth referrals and sharing stats.

If you like what you hear in the podcast, I also recommend checking out Jess' Slideshare on developing a Go to Customer Strategy.