006 | The True Value of Marketing Fundamentals with Elana Anderson | Studio CMO
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The Episode in 60 Seconds
Elana Anderson, CMO of Veracode, sat down with us at RSA 2020 to discuss the essentials of effective marketing leadership.
Elana has had an unexpected journey leading up to her current role. She began her career as a consultant at Accenture and led many marketing and product teams before accepting a position at Veracode. According to her Twitter profile, she is the “marketer marketing marketing to marketers.”
This interview delves into:
- How Elana’s unique perspective strengthens her marketing leadership
- How Veracode has grown since its last acquisition
- The value of revisiting marketing fundamentals
- What enables Veracode to be a great partner
- The marketing advice all CEOs and CMOs need to hear
Elana Anderson’s marketing background spans nearly three decades as a marketing executive, industry analyst, and consultant working with Fortune 500 B2C and B2B enterprises. Previously, Elana led global marketing for the SaaS e-commerce leader Demandware and was Vice President of Strategy and Products at marketing tech provider Unica.
“Elana’s success building global brands in established and emerging markets is testament to her deep technology expertise and marketing prowess,” said Veracode CEO Sam King.
At Veracode, Elana implements go-to-market strategies, creates programs to drive customer growth and advocacy, and amplifies Veracode’s global presence to reach new audiences and expand its geographic footprint.
Check out Veracode’s newly released case studies:
Veracode Enables Cox Automotive to Integrate Security into the SDLC and Increase Speed to Market
Automation Anywhere Leverages Veracode to Secure their Leading RPA Solutions
Advantasure’s Secure SW is a Competitive Advantage
YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A TRADITIONAL HISTORY IN MARKETING TO BECOME A GREAT CMO…
…just a unique perspective.
Elana’s first marketing role was Head of Marketing at Demandware. Before she was the marketer, her buyer was the marketer. She essentially marketed to marketers.
Elana’s background has allowed her to work with many, many companies on many different aspects of marketing.
“I was building a business. I wasn’t a marketer. I was advising marketers, I was building our consulting practice and our consulting offerings. I was building our portfolio of services to marketing organizations.” – Elana Anderson
ELANA’S TENURE AT VERACODE
Elana’s team has been focusing on strengthening Veracode’s voice in the market.
Before the impact of COVID-19, Veracode was at RSA launching a new brand platform and visuals that inspire boldness and confidence to create software that changes the world.
Read more about Veracode’s impressive booth display at RSA 2020.
Elana has made structural changes to her team that bring out the strength of each core pillar of marketing.
Achieving growth in your organization means plotting a vision for the future, getting people to recognize it, and fostering excitement within your team.
MARKETING FUNDAMENTALS WILL ALWAYS REMAIN THE SAME
Fundamentally, it’s about understanding what makes your customer tick and engaging them in conversation.
Who is the customer? What do they want? What do they need? What do they feel? How are they moved? What’s their pain?
“The idea of conversational marketing or customer engagement isn’t new. We’ve been talking about it for years.” – Elana Anderson
VERACODE SECURITY LABS
Veracode’s Security Labs enables developers to work in an interactive coding environment to find and fix appsec vulnerabilities.
In launching the tool, Veracode’s mission is to empower developers to change the world while providing them with the skills needed to prevent attacks.
VERACODE IS ALWAYS LISTENING
Since Veracode can see how developers are integrating and interacting with the platform, they are able to use that data to provide valuable feedback and guidance.
Veracode’s Customer Advisory Board enables customers to provide feedback on the product and engage directly with product managers.
“Our business model behind what we do enables us to be a better partner.” – Elana Anderson
THE MARKETING ADVICE ALL CEOS NEED TO HEAR
Your CMO needs some independence in order to do their job effectively.
Avoid silo marketing. Allow your CMO to focus on moving the business. A great CEO-CMO relationship resembles a strategic partnership.
Many CMOs get stuck on the tactical implementation, the micro-view of marketing. You must consider the business as a whole and what it means to move the company forward.
It’s about understanding the market, understanding the customer, and understanding what you’re trying to achieve as a business.
“I’ve always been a student of marketing. I don’t bring a recipe book to the job.” – Elana Anderson
HOW MARKETING LEADERS SHOULD FORM RELATIONSHIPS WITH ANALYST GROUPS
Building rapport and trust with your analyst is essential. The relationship should never be transactional.
It’s about getting to know each other. It’s about understanding tendencies and being able to engage and use that resource to help you further your business.
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Mark Whitlock (00:02): Whether you’re watching a sports movie or a cooking competition show, at some point you’re going to hear the concept, if not the word. At one point hall of fame coach Vince Lombardi addressed his team after a major loss. He held up an oblong spheroid and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” So what concept are we talking about? What’s the word we’re talking about? Fundamentals. Elana Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer at Veracode gets fundamentals.
Elana Anderson (00:31): I’ve always been a student in marketing. I don’t bring a recipe book to the job. It’s about understanding the market, understanding the customer, understanding what we’re trying to achieve as a business, and then crafting the right solution to help us get there.
Mark Whitlock (00:45): Today, the fundamentals of taking over marketing in a major company, the fundamentals of analyst relationships, the fundamentals of building a relationship with your CEO.
Mark Whitlock (01:12): Welcome to Studio CMO. I’m Mark Whitlock. Our host is the CEO of Golden Spiral, John Farkas. My cohost is Angus Nelson and we’re going to play back an interview recorded right before the world shutdown. We attended RSA 2020 in San Francisco and we had the privilege of sitting down with Elana Anderson, CMO at Veracode. Let’s go ahead and join that interview.
John Farkas (01:33): I would love for you to tell us what Veracode does.
Elana Anderson (01:35): Oh, absolutely.
John Farkas (01:36): Just give us a little overview for those who are not living in the security space. Tell us what Veracode does.
Elana Anderson (01:43): Well, Veracode is an application security testing provider. Um, so if you step back from that and you think about how software is impacting our lives on a day to day basis, I mean, when bank of America added the ability for me to take a picture of a check and automatically deposit, that changed my life for the better. That’s a very simple example. If you think about how software is affecting our lives today, it’s fundamental. Every company is essentially becoming a software company, but all that software also increases exposure to us as consumers, right? From bad actors out there. So what our software does is allows you to scan your, the code you’re building up front to identify potential security threats. And there’s lots of tools in the cybersecurity marketplace. But a great analogy is if you’re building a house and you’ve got all the walls up and then you find out you have a plumbing problem and you have to tear it all down. Our technology, our software testing pulls in right at the upfront, so before the walls are up. And it’s much, much cheaper to fix an issue of vulnerability, a threat if you find it when you’re coding rather than after it’s already in production. So that’s the whole basis behind what we do. And we are a Veracode is the largest independent provider of application security technology.
John Farkas (03:00): And so here’s what I’d want our, uh, non-security ecosystem listeners to know about barcode. You know, I’ve been at RSA for, I don’t even know how many years now. Uh, when Veracode came on the scene, they appeared as one of the most dynamic, upfront, bold, fun brands in the cybersecurity universe. They, you know, cybersecurity a lot of times is built around fear and these heavy ideas that are foreboding and dark and concerning. And they weren’t, they were fun. They were energetic. Every time I encountered the brand, I was invited in and it was an exciting new fresh look. And so one of my questions for you is coming in now after this big movement has happened within Veracode and the and the acquisition, the re re formation and all that, what’s your perspective on a balding, a brand strong brand, lots going on, lots of recognition in the industry. What does it mean to take the next steps to take a strong foundation and build on it and keep it fresh and exciting?
Elana Anderson (04:02): Again, I think the market has changed, right? And so we need to change with the market. We can’t rely on sort of where we were. I was perhaps a good way to address that is I was talking to one of our customers yesterday who she joined. Um, she’s from a venture, she’s one of the, uh, they’re one of our, our recent case studies that we’ve done. And in just literally a year and a half, they’ve sort of taken their AppSec program from chaos to very far along the maturity curve in terms of integration with their developer behavior. So one of the changes that we have to make in terms of keeping up with the market is it’s not just about that security ivory tower anymore. It’s about engaging with the developer, enabling the developer, empowering the developer. The message that we’re trying to create. You mentioned a second ago about a scaremongering, if you will. Our message is really about inspiring because software is truly changing the world and everybody who’s creating that software. If you’re in a development organization, you don’t want your software to get hacked. So we think about how do we empower the developer, how do we provide them with the skills so that frankly they don’t even introduce the issues in the first place. We just launched a new offering here called our security labs and that’s a tool that enables developers to literally work in an interactive coding environment and find and fix the vulnerabilities that they create. That it’s not your typical classroom e-learning, it’s a labs based tool set that enables you to learn and the whole idea behind that tool. I mean, yes, we provide software scanning technology, but the whole idea behind that tool is to empower the developers so they don’t create issues in the first place.
John Farkas (05:45): I would love to hear, you’ve had a pretty interesting backdrop leading to this moment, so I’d love to hear your story leading into now, like tell us a little bit about the road that brought you here.
Elana Anderson (05:56): Ah, okay. It was a very and winding road. I have to say.
Mark Whitlock (05:58): Cue the Beatles.
Elana Anderson (06:00): And uh, you know, I think if, if I look, I can, I can tell this story now as if it was purposeful. Of course. Of course it was. But, uh, you know, I think if you had asked me when I was in school, if I was going to go into marketing and be a chief marketing officer, I don’t think the answer would have been yes. I think it was premed back in the day. I started life at Accenture as a consultant and I spent about 10 years as a consultant after that sort of formative experience. I went and worked for a company, a startup that worked with marketing organizations. And back in those days it was pre CRM, not to age myself, but the pre, the pre-CRM days, the pre-Salesforce days. And what we did as consultants was work with marketers to better understand their data and how do we understand consumer behavior and customer data to build better interactive relationships with customers. So all of this stuff that we still talk about today in marketing around being interactive and being conversational, engaging the customer, man, I was talking about that stuff in the early nineties. So you know, so I spent my career as a consultant back in those days working all around marketers from a strategic perspective, from a customer analytics perspective, mostly on the B2C side. Um, so some of my biggest clients were like Eddie Bauer and AIG and in the financial services and the retail sectors primarily somewhere around 2001 again, I’ll date myself, but I said, Hey, I want to go be a product manager and a software company. And at that time, nobody wanted, no software companies wanted to hire consultants as product managers. Why? Because they didn’t view consultants as being able to understand sort of the many as a consultant, you work with a few and being able to just to build a product for the many. So I went to Forrester Research, which is sorta happened there. And uh, I joined a great team of analysts and I covered marketing technology and customer analytics. And, and in a year or two I actually became a leader of that team and built the marketing practice at.
John Farkas (08:10): Because that was a fast time of expansion at Forrester.
Elana Anderson (08:10): Oh yeah. And our team was a, we had the, uh, let’s see, we won a lot of best research awards. We also won the, uh, most productivity award and highest productivity is not necessarily a good thing ’cause it literally means that we’re all working our butts off. And then we also one of, uh, George Colony’s big things with multiplicative collaboration. So my team also won the Multiplicative Collaboration Award. Um, but we, that it was the fastest growing part of the business at the time of the day. Multiplicative collaboration.
Elana Anderson (08:47): Well we credit George Colony with that one.
Angus Nelson (08:49): That’s awesome. And that was a lot of superstars came out of the kind of that era. Yeah. As a sub to spin out there, the O G and have gone into other areas and bringing that kind of perspective. I think now in roles that you’re serving today bring more of a holistic approach that it’s not just marketing, it’s not just building your marketing stack, but it’s also looking beyond all of that. And what is all that mean? Can you kind of unpack that for where you’re at today?
Elana Anderson (09:16): Yeah, so you know, from my perspective, I don’t view marketing and I didn’t grow up in the marketing role. So I joke around that. My first real marketing job was when I became a head of marketing at Demandware and 2013 but I always worked with marketing organizations and I have a unique perspective in that I’ve been able to way back since the consulting days and through the Forrester days I’ve been able to work with many, many companies on many different aspects of marketing. So I’ve seen the function from, you know, every 360 degrees, if you will. And some of the work that I did at companies like Forrester, I was building a business. I wasn’t a marketer, I was advising marketers, I was building our consulting practice and our consulting offerings. I was building our portfolio of services to marketing organizations. So I’ve had that. I bring that unique perspective. When I left Forrester, I actually went to a company called Unica, which was a marketing technology company. And I didn’t join the company as head of marketing. I joined the company as head of product. So I own the strategy, product management and product marketing. And again, my buyer was the marketer. So I’m interacting with senior marketers on a day-to-day basis. And uh, you know, ultimately I decided after Unica was acquired by IBM in 2011, um, and I was at IBM for a few years and learned a whole lot of stuff working at IBM, but ultimately said, “Hey, I need to make a lot of swimming on myself.”
Elana Anderson (10:39): I’m going to go become a marketer, a real marketing person. And that’s what I went to a Demandware.
Elana Anderson (10:43): That’s interesting.
Angus Nelson (10:44): And all that too is so marketing also shifted. The trends change, the technology change and so now there’s the power of social and all these other channels that’s dynamic.
Elana Anderson (10:57): So I don’t think the fundamentals of marketing have changed because at the end of the day, yes you have new tactics and new ways of doing things and technology has evolved to enable you to frankly do some of the things that we were talking about in the 90s much more effectively and much at scale. But fundamentally it’s about understanding your customer, what makes them tick and engaging them in a conversation. And this idea of conversational marketing or customer engagement again isn’t new. We’ve been talking about it for years and years and years.
John Farkas (11:29): Yeah, it’s, I’m glad to hear you say that cause I, it’s been one of my, and my team will tell you why I say this a lot, you know, demand generation is the vogue term right now. And I’m like, I’m pretty sure that’s marketing. Pretty sure that’s what that means.
Elana Anderson (11:45): Marketing is even vogue-ier term. Oh wow. It is now. She turned, yeah,
Angus Nelson (11:53): We’ve got a lot of hashtags pouring out today.
Mark Whitlock (11:55): But I’ll tell you what I mean, you just, you sing our song and the fundamentals remain the same. Yeah. Got to engage. We pull back to the fundamentals all the time of who is the customer? Who are we talking to? What do they, what do they want? What do they need? What do they feel? How are they moved? What’s their pain? So we’re, we’re all smiling and really going, you’re saying the right thing.
John Farkas (12:13): So you’ve jumped in to Veracode and a lot has happened in the marketing universe since you’ve been there. You want to kind of take us through what’s happened in your tenure at this point?
Elana Anderson (12:25): I’ve been at Veracode, I think, it’s seven months now, and it’s like five years of work by, and I had, I feel for my team, we’ve done just a tremendous amount of work. You know, Veracode is itself, has been on an interesting ride over the past couple of years. So we were, um, the company was acquired a couple of years ago by CA. And then after CA’s acquisition by Broadcomm was uh, acquired and spun out as an independent company just over a year ago with Tama Bravo. You know, one of the things that happens when a company has sort of been through that change is, you know, you sort of naturally lose your, your voice in the market, right? And so that has been a major focus of the first number of months we’ve just here at RSA were launching a, our new brand, our new brand platform and visuals where it’s about being bold. It’s about, you know, what we do is we, we give our customers confidence to create software that fundamentally is changing the way that the world works today.
Elana Anderson (13:22): So we’ve done a whole bunch of brand work, we’ve done a whole bunch of a better understanding who our buyers are, who our audience is. One of the other major changes that’s happening in this market is this shift from you know, security teams sort of being that ivory tower to um, you know, in order to really ensure that today’s software is secure, the developers have to be integrating tools into their day to day coding activities. And so really building those stories to tell a much more effective message. I mean we just launched three new case studies at this event as well. Really incredible stories about how our customers are maturing their applications security environment.
Mark Whitlock (14:05): And if you want to see those video stories, those case studies, we’re going to link to those from our show notes. So come to StudioCMO.com. Click on the interview for Veracode and you’ll be able to see those case studies. And you hit on three words that are really important team and on team. You hit on brand and you hit on customer. So we know that you’ve made a lot of changes. You said all the right stuff.
Angus Nelson (14:27): And she did that in a multi, what was it? The multiplicative multiple, sorry. You carrying that culture, collaboration, this culture into Veracode.
Mark Whitlock (14:37): So teams is something that you’ve done in the past. You’ve built and develop teams to really be more efficient and, and grow. What have you done at Veracode? How have you changed the marketing structure of the team to be more effective and to accomplish your
Elana Anderson (14:51): First off? I have to say is it’s a really great team. You know, so I walked into an organization that I would say was probably one of the highest functioning organizations that I’ve joined in terms of they add our reverse waterfall built down to individual territories. You know, you don’t really see that typically in teams sitting, you know, under the parentage of other companies. Nobody has stepped back and really said what are the skill sets that we need across the teams and what’s the best way to organize those teams. So, you know, we’ve, we’ve made some changes in the team structure to have what I would call a more typical marketing organization structure. You know, with corporate marketing that owns corporate events and MarComm and, and content marketing. You know, so that’s, that’s a team and demand gen with all the pieces, you know, the typical piece of sitting together with digital and website and you know, making sure that all of our digital activities and we’re leveraging our digital properties, you know, in a contiguous way as opposed to sort of doing very hub and spoke kinds of activities. So we’ve made some structural changes to really sort of bring the strength of each of the core pillars of marketing to bear.
Mark Whitlock (15:56): You had a vision for that and you knew what it was going to produce once you had the teams aligned. But change is always difficult. How did you manage the change?
Elana Anderson (16:06): Tell you I have a lot of energy. I think it’s about plotting a direction, you know, a future state of here’s what we’re trying to do and why, because it’s not organizational change for change sake. You know, I didn’t join a company and then go bring in all my peeps from, from the outside. Right. I think it’s critical to I, you know, and again, it was an incredibly well-performing organization from my perspective and it’s about leveraging that. But plotting a vision for the future, you know, getting people excited about it. And the wise, I mean we have just a tremendous, we’re in a, we’re in a fast growing market. We’re a fast growing company, we’re the largest independent app sec provider, you know, in the market space. And we can double the size of this company and the next couple of years. It’s a tremendous opportunity. So getting people to see that and getting people to believe it, that’s how you shift the org.
Elana Anderson (16:55): Another thing that’s unique about the way we go to market or the, our business model is that we are a SaaS provider. So first off, we as a SaaS provider, you’re inherently partnered with your customers, right? So we see how our customers are using the platform. We know what percent, you know, how developers are integrating our tooling into their CIC pipelines. We, uh, know, um, what types of, how they’re scanning their software. If it’s integrated, you know, if they’re doing policy scans, how often they’re scanning. And so we can use all of that and then, you know, provide feedback back to them and show, you know, Oh, well the more, the more you scan actually, the better you’re remediating, you know, the issues that you’re finding. So certainly just the business model behind what we do enables us to be that better partner because we’re always listening.
Elana Anderson (17:48): We’re watching, you know, we, we understand, you know, if something’s not working, you know, if they’re not remediating, uh, faster than sort of the average, you know, we can provide that guidance back. Um, I think that’s one major way. You know, we also have a community of developers and security professionals. We have a customer advisory board, you know, our, our customers can log into our community and provide feedback on the product and our product managers are engaged with that. So, you know, it’s a very interactive, you know, from the, the way that our product runs to the conversational pieces that we put around it.
John Farkas (18:22): Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with your CEO and how that, you know, what that dynamics like, how do you view that relationship and your role and how that works?
Elana Anderson (18:32): One of the reasons I came to Veracode was because of Sam. Sam King, our CEO sounds like a very masculine name. Sam’s a woman. Uh, she’s, yeah. So, um, I, and this is frankly and tack, this is the first time I’ve worked for a, a woman CEO and actually for other members of our exact team are also women. So it’s a, you know, for me it’s a unique, um, experience this time around and frankly, I love it. Um, she’s very sharp. You know, personality types are probably a little bit similar, but she’s very direct. She’s very sharp. She’s a lot of fun. You know, we, we have a dialogue too. Um, it’s been refreshing and I’d extend that also to the entire exec team, um, at Veracode, this is a fantastic team and going to work and loving to go to work every day. You know, honestly, that’s one of the, you know, the best things about it.
John Farkas (19:24): And so functionally, as you are looking at that interaction and CEO setting direction, Sam is, is kind of setting the meta. What’s your role in taking that baton? How’s that work functionally for you all?
Elana Anderson (19:36): You know, I think one of the things that she does best is she listens, you know, and she’s relying on me to be the marketing expert, you know, and uh, if something happens or she has an idea to consultative, it’s not a directive. Um, and frankly at this point in my career, that’s what I was looking for as well. You know, I, uh, I’ve always been a student of marketing as I described my, you know, career path, my long and winding road. I’ve always been a student of marketing. Uh, you know, I don’t bring a recipe book to the job. It’s about understanding the market, understanding the customer, understanding what we’re trying to achieve as a business. And you know, that’s a big piece that Sam provides and then crafting the right solution to help us get.
John Farkas (20:16): So based on your experience, if you had a piece of advice to offer a CEO as they thought about marketing, this is your moment, what would, what would you, what would you tell a CEO, what would you want to see, you know, to know about the mantle they should give their CMO?
Elana Anderson (20:34): Yeah. I think, uh, the mantle that a CMO needs to do their job effectively is, uh, some independence frankly. But at the same time, what a CMO needs to be thinking about is not as a marketing silo because there’s an awful lot, and I know this from being an analyst, but there’s an awful lot of marketing organizations that track things like how many Twitter followers do I have and how many leads am I throwing over the wallet sales? Not looking at the quality of those leads per se. And so what a CMO needs to be thinking about is the business. It’s not that marketing silo. It’s how am I going to move the business? Whether that’s the business in the short term and in terms of helping drive, uh, you know, the, the bookings number or if it’s the business in the long term in terms of saying where do we need to add products or move into new geographies and being that strategic partner. So a good CEO/CMO relationship is that strategic partnership.
John Farkas (21:34): Yeah. Love to hear you say that. I think that’s really true. And where I see a lot of CMOs get stuck is focused on the tactical implementation and the, and the micro view of marketing and not considering the whole business case and what it’s gonna mean to help the company be successful, but is the critical mix. And that vision, your background with Forrester, it makes it a really interesting mix. I would love for you to tell us a little bit about how you see analyst relationships, how you leverage those for success in the context of where you are now in Veracode and what input you would have for CEOs of tech organizations and how they should view analysts and how to leverage those to their benefit.
Elana Anderson (22:14): Well first, I mean analysts are people, right? And, and they’re not all created equal, you know, um, for sure as a former analyst what I wanted to be was a strategic partner to my clients. I was also very interesting and learning about new technologies, you know, I felt very strongly as an analyst. Um, and, and I would defend most analyst firms on this today that as an analyst you are independent from, from the business. And I know that’s not the reputation certainly with, with some firms, but you know, when I was at Forrester for example, one of our customers didn’t do so well on one of the waves that I did. And they complained and, uh, my management supported me and that was good. That was the independent. So analysts needed to be independent. The worst way to do analyst relations, it started with a negative, I suppose, is to just let me just brief you, brief you, brief you, brief you. Like I’m telling you what I want you to, I want, I’m telling you, I’m telling you, I’m telling you again, like with a customer, it’s a two way dialogue and so absolutely, absolutely. And analysts do have a unique perspective because typically they’re talking to hundred s of companies, they’re talking to lots of vendors and they’re also talking to lots of end user buyers. And so they bring that unique perspective to the table. Um, and so at the end of the day, it’s a conversation wit h the analyst to and, uh, identifying, you know, who are, who are the influencers in your space. And you know, I use the term influencer because, you know, sometimes there individuals who are not, you know, with an analyst firm, but we consider them sort of part of our analyst relations, um, world because they’re very strong influencers in the space. So, you know, we talk to them about what we’re doing, we get their input, we get their feedback, you know. So with the new branding and the new product messaging that, that we’ve been rolling out, you know, I use the analyst as a test market. They give me feedback, but that also enables us to build a better, you know, a stronger relationship. They know us better and they’re part of our inner circle. And I think, frankly, that works well with analysts. But you know, I got, I met, it worked well with me. Right.
John Farkas (24:21): So if you were kind of writing a script for a marketing leader, starting a relationship with a new analyst, how would you initiate that relationship? What would the dialogue look like? Oh, this is inside baseball?
Elana Anderson (24:32): Well, you know, it’s, it’s very pertinent because, um, in the, in our space, uh, we have new analysts, brand new lead analysts at both Forrester and Gartner, um, that we’ve been working to get to know the dialogue starts with sit down and you understand their background, you understand their perspective. Um, some of them come from a more technical background, right? Some of them come from a more product marketing background. So we first want to understand who they are so that we can establish, you know, what type of collective program makes sense with them. We then work to help them get up to speed on our product, our message, you know, what it is that we do. And all along the way we’re getting their feedback. You know, I can tell you on the recent messaging that we just launched, you know, analysts were like, no, you should move it around this way. And then they came back and saw and they’re like, Oh, you moved it around, you’d leave. You listened to me while I’m like, I don’t listen to everything. You know, I don’t, I don’t, I do listen to everything. That was a wrong way to put it. I do listen to everything. I don’t do everything, but you know, you gave me some great feedback. So yes, you’re going to see that reflected in our messaging.
John Farkas (25:37): Well, I think it’s, I mean it goes back to the idea that this is a relationship, right? I mean, and it’s about getting to know each other. It’s about understanding tendencies and how they’re going to see and their, and their point of view and being able to engage and use that resource to help you further the business. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re, we’re trying to do.
Angus Nelson (25:55): As you’re respecting an analyst and their opinions, you’re building a rapport and a trust, which is very important. Versus, I need you to speak very highly of what we do so that we can accomplish our goal. Right? That’s a transactional piece that has no business in 2020 and a few brief you brief for you, right? Yeah. As everything is changing, you’re also unfolding new markets and Australia and Japan. So all of that’s happening in the midst of all this as well. I would love to hear a little bit about that as well as like how you manage your day to day cause you got a lot going on and you’re spinning plates.
Elana Anderson (26:31): There are a lot of plates spinning. Um, but it’s fun. I’m definitely one of those people who are energized by a little bit of chaos. Um, I consider it to be fun. I think
John Farkas (26:41): That’s requisite in marketing
Mark Whitlock (26:45): A little bit. We lost our hair. I might resemble that. Yeah.
Elana Anderson (26:48): So, you know, as I, uh, I look at Veracode, um, we have significant opportunity to expand into new global markets. We, uh, you know, first and foremost, it’s really building out our European practice and Western, Northern and Southern Europe. So a huge amount of focus there. We’ve, uh, we’ve built our team there. And then we’re also stepping into parts of Asia. We’ve got boots on the ground and, uh, in Singapore and in Australia, Latin America as well, you know, and in those markets where here in the U S market and the Europe, most of the European markets, Veracode is pretty much a ubiquitous name, right? But in some of these other markets, it’s very Veracode. And who are you guys? You know, what do you do? Um, so we have to really build our brand there.
Elana Anderson (27:35): And in some cases, in some markets, you know, everybody’s building software, but in some markets, an understanding of secure coding and what is a application security testing. So in some market you’re still educating, right? So you have to drive your approach based on the maturity of the market, how well, you know, your brand is known. And in some of these markets, the really, the way to scale is working through partners and channels. Um, and so we have a, you know, big emphasis in Latin America and also in our Asian markets of working through large distributors and partners. And then the job of marketing actually shifts to how do you educate and tool the channel and you know, to your point where we’ve had conversations about the cross cultural communication of your brand and how the way you communicate that has to change according to their perceptions in their vernacular.
Angus Nelson (28:27): And you know, I love the fact that you use partners because obviously there are boots on the ground who already understand all that can kind of translate and be. Yeah, exactly. So then let’s talk about, you’re navigating all that now. Let’s just talk about you. How are you navigating your days as a responsible leader in the context of delegation and facilitation of your leadership?
Elana Anderson (28:51): Yeah, no, that’s good. And it’s uh, yeah, when you’re still trying to get to know the team and everybody’s skills and, you know, in some cases we’re trying to build some new muscles that we didn’t have before. It’s a busy day, let’s put it that way. It’s about, uh, identifying the hot spots, you know, that you gotta dig deep on in some other areas, you know, saying, okay, that’s good enough. Let’s not focus there. You know, there for now. So, you know, when I joined the company, I can’t, I think it was not quite 30 days, I think it was more like 24 days. I came in and I said, you know, okay, here are the things I want to focus on first. You know, we’re going to focus on the brand, we’re going to focus on the product messaging, demand gen. you’re always focusing on, you know, that’s sort of table stakes and uh, you know, so we’re going to focus on these, these few things first and happy to say, you know, those are now starting to come to, to fruition. And so, yeah, next I’m going to pick the next hills to climb.
Mark Whitlock (29:44): And we’re grateful that she took some time out of a busy day here to sit down and talk with us and talk with our audience. So grateful to have Elana Anderson from Veracode on Studio CMO today. Again, thanks for sitting down with us.
Elana Anderson (29:58): Thank you. Enjoyed it guys.
John Farkas (29:59): Absolutely.
Mark Whitlock (29:59): You’ve been listening to an interview recorded at RSA 2020 with Elana Anderson, CMO of Veracode. As promised, if you visit studio cmo.com/zero zero six you can find those video case studies Elana referred to. We’ve also posted leaks to Veracode security labs, so you can check that out too. That’s studiocmo.com/006 while you’re there, subscribe. You’ve listened to this episode. Just know we’ve got great voices already in our library and we’ve got more lined up coming to you in 30-minute bites once a week.
Mark Whitlock (30:41): Subscribe there at studiocmo.com/006. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the button of your favorite podcast app. Or you could go to our subscribe page to see even more options. We need you on board. Hey, in our last episode and in a recent article on our site, we talk about the four groups of companies that exist right now and B2B tech. Some of you have seen your company blow up over the last few weeks. You’re running as fast and hard as you can. Some of you have evergreen products that are just as in demand now as they were before the pandemic and will continue after. Some of you are fighting to be heard amid the noise. Your solution can make a difference right now, but getting the word out is difficult. But for the bulk of companies and B2B tech, we’re in the fourth category.
Mark Whitlock (31:30): We’re on hold now is the time to maximize and fortify your marketing infrastructure. We address what you can do in an article and in our last podcast episode featuring our digital expert, Chris Turner, you can link to either one in the show notes studiocmo.com/006 next week, we’re sitting down with Drew D’Agostino, the cofounder of Crystal. He’s going to take us behind the scenes at his company so we can learn more about why understanding your customer’s personality makes you a better marketer, and he’s going to talk about how the pandemic has changed how his customers are interacting with their product. Drew D’Agostino on the next episode of Studio CMO. Until then, remember, dive deep and understand your buyer’s true problems. Lead with that empathetic understanding and always, always, always make your buyer the hero. We’ll see you next time on Studio CMO.