SEMpdx SearchFest 2013 Mini-Interview: Joanna Lord
Joanna Lord will be speaking at the “Digital Evangelism Inside & Out” session at SearchFest 2013 which will be taking place on February 22, 2013 at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click the following link.
1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.
I’m VP of Growth Marketing at SEOmoz, which means I spend my day working with amazing marketers helping drive customer acquisition, engagement and retention for SEOmoz. I also work to build our brand, grow our community and evangelize a better way to do marketing.
My background is acquisition driven with a focus in paid marketing. I kicked off my time in the search industry consumed by all things PPC, and have since dabbled in SEO, community, social media marketing, analytics, and brand marketing. I have found as the years swing by I am constantly jumping into areas outside my wheelhouse. This industry breeds curious cats, and I love how supportive SEOmoz is of me trying my hand at something new.
These days I spend my time supporting a stellar team, and looking forward. How can we do things better? How can we be more efficient? How can we improve revenues? How can we help the community and our customers succeed? It’s a ton of fun. I feel super lucky.
2) What are some effective techniques for marketing to internal stakeholders?
I think internal evangelism of both mission and data have become critical to success for any organization. The last few years have shown me that it can literally make or break a quarter. As companies grow the number one risk that comes up is “a disconnect of purpose.” How can you get legacy employees to stay passionate about your goal and how can you get new employees on board and grooving fast? So much of this comes down to how you market your team and their purpose internally.
At SEOmoz we test a lot of different methods — we do digests, all hands meetings, internal documents, etc. We put top level metrics up on a huge screen in the middle of the pit. We consistently talk about how things are doing, and how we could have improved. Transparency is a great way to keep awareness of both success and challenges alive across the company.
While every company might be set up a little differently, the challenge to keep a cross-company conversation going is common. For us, it has always been about over-communicating, and then finding the best way to efficiently scale it back to be digestible. You find the data evangelizes for you. Roadblocks become clear, successes get shared, and so on. It’s a network effect to be honest. The most people you get excited about one project or result, the more people they pull in and BAM — company wide excitement and awareness euphoria!
3) How do you evaluate prospective channels for growth marketing?
This is a good one. At SEOmoz, we try not to assume too much when a new channel comes our way. The more open we can be the more chance the channel has to succeed. We do keep a piece of our budget open for testing new channels — explorative budget is key. We aren’t held to ROI for this budget so we can get creative on how best to approach a new channel – maybe its direct spend, maybe its commissioning a great piece of content for it, maybe its resourcing or staffing creative for it (designers, dev, etc.).
Evaluating a channel is as simple as running a test campaign, checking out return (which runs the gauntlet from revenue to engagement to brand awareness) and then deciding whether we have the resources to push another a test based on that first return. We are super lucky to have a culture that supports both intuition and data, because its the combination that usually guides us to either double down on a new channel or postpone investment.
I think the key piece for us is to not swim the current too often. Teams can get caught up in “the next big thing” syndrome. We continue to optimize what is working and allocate only a portion of resources and investment to new channels. As they prove worthy we throw another chip in and then another and BOOM…a new channel is born.
You have to be okay with failing at times too. Sometimes we put a channel on the docket for a quarter and it’s a wash, but you learn a lot and you get better…and that’s all you can do. That’s how great intuitions are built.