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Our marketing morsels interview series with the titans of digital marketing continues with today’s insights from Joanna Lord, the VP of Growth Marketing at SEOmoz.org, a leading SEO software company out of Seattle, WA. Joanna heads up the lifecycle marketing efforts for Moz’s 20,000 member customer base and is also a well-known social media enthusiast and frequent conference speaker. Her diverse experience in data analysis, performance marketing, inbound marketing, and retention programs enables her to produce effective tactical strategies.
Title: VP of Growth Marketing
What’s the first metric you check when you start work for the day?
I check our free trial count from the previous day. At SEOmoz, we actually have an email that goes around daily that highlights our three most important numbers: total paying PRO members, total free trials from the previous day, and the settled revenue from the previous day. We also show any drastic changes in momentum compared to the averages from the last seven days.
Using this as our gauge, we can quickly identify if things are off. From there, I usually check our in-house dashboard that shows off where trials came from the day before, how cancels looked, etc. I spend about 30 minutes every morning just checking those health metrics to make sure all is well in the world of data.
What’s one metric you rarely bother to check?
I feel really fortunate to say this, but I spend a lot less time these days looking at visitor totals, pageview totals, etc. We have a great marketing team in place, and our SEO, Ruth Burr, and content specialist, Ashley Tate, are on top of traffic trends. We have seen steady traffic grow over the years, and I somewhat take that for granted here at SEOmoz.
With that said, I have also learned over the past few years that traffic really isn’t as good an indicator as many marketers use it to be. While it’s important to know if you are getting new eyeballs, and where they are coming from, I find myself far more focused on engagement and activity metrics.
If you had 10 million dollars to invest and you could invest in Google
or Facebook stock, which would you pick, and why?
Wow, this is a great question. Honestly, I would invest in Facebook. They have ambitious growth goals over there, and they are thinking about things that are very near to my heart – user experience, ad platforms, mobile experience, etc. They have recently launched an app store, and they are investing in staffing support around that and their advertising opportunities. I think they are just beginning on a road that will be very lucrative. They have high standards around what makes it onto the site, and into the user’s experience.
High standards, ambitious goals, and a plan around customer support usually adds up to a lot of awesome.
What do you think will be the most important marketing platform in 10
I’ve spent the last decade spending money with search engines. I don’t see that changing much, except that those “search engines” might come in different forms. Right now we are shuffling a lot of our spend into social media advertising and inbound marketing. We are operating very differently than we used to. The landers are different, the triggers need testing, and the models need refining, but it’s still spending money to get in front of someone looking for something whether that be with an ad, a content piece, a video, or whatever.
I honestly believe the most important marketing platform in the next decade will be a platform that helps marketers do marketing better. I think the software that helps small businesses succeed, helps middle-size companies better prioritize efforts, and helps big businesses better understand the full picture will be the most important platform. We are working on that here at SEOmoz, but a lot of other companies are too. It will be an interesting and exciting decade, that is for sure.
I predict the most important platform will be one that is passionate about empowering good marketing. Marketing you can be proud of.
What’s your favorite advertising campaign (e.g. Betty White Super
Bowl ad, Got Milk billboard, etc.)?
Confession time – I’m obsessed with marketing campaigns. I feel like I see them and talk about them all the time; it drives my friends nuts. As a child, I used to write big brands (i.e. Nabisco, Russell Stover, Keebler) and tell them how much I liked their products but give suggestions on ways to describe it better, or pictures to use. I was weird.
Some of my favorite campaigns over the years:
Velveeta did an amazing “Velveeta versus Cheddar” campaign back when I was a kid. The jingle was contagious. I still hear it in my head when I look at the box.
I also love pretty much anything Nike has done over the years. They are so dedicated to the human spirit. They are masters of emotional triggers. Some of their best are the “Leave Nothing” campaign, and of course the infamous “Inspiration” campaign. I literally feel stronger when I lace up my sneakers; now that is marketing.
What are the three most important qualities of a good account manager?
I love this question, I talk a lot about this, and I think over the years I’ve really nailed down (for me) the traits of a solid account manager. My top three would be: a good communicator, a curious marketer, and an organized person. I think diligence and inquiry lead to great things, particularly with account managers.
When you are tasked with growing an account, it is a balancing act – you need to do well now but plan for later. You need to communicate things effectively, but also not bombard people with so much information they glaze over. You need to be organized so your processes scale and could be handed off at any point. The sign of a good account manager is if he/she could be out for two months but the account can be managed by a coworker and continues to see growth.
If anything keeps me up at night worrying about my company, it’s…
Scaling, in every sense of the word. Right now we are adding new Mozzers like crazy. We are almost at 100 people, and that is about 90 more people than when I joined the team. We are growing so fast, and it can cause a lot of challenges. You want to cultivate growth, but you also want to keep some stability and hold onto your culture. This is a lot at once.
I also say scalability in the technical sense. We have 20,000 customers now, and keeping them happy involves a lot of things. Our product needs to perform, we need to innovate, and we need to execute on big plans. It’s a fun time at SEOmoz, but lots of challenges face us on a daily basis.
What’s the one marketing lesson you wish you had learned earlier?
Pitch your “why.” I started in marketing with a very churn-and-burn philosophy, mainly because it was the early days of AdWords, I worked in performance marketing, and my verticals were very competitive. I just got people in the door. That was my sole responsibility – traffic and eyeballs. But that’s not marketing. That’s lead gen.
I learned over the years that if you spend days and nights nailing down the “Why” of your company and then build beautiful vehicles for communicating that why, you are going to win hearts over. Eyeballs become supporters, those become customers, those become loyal customers, and those become family. I like to think, these days, that marketing can be about introducing something to someone that changes his or her life. Ambitious, I know, but that’s what I’m going for.
If you could invest in one marketing technology company, which would it be and why?
Honestly, it would be SEOmoz. We have huge plans for our technology, product, and team here at SEOmoz. We’ve got some fun things coming out pretty soon, and I’m all about seeing it come to life. I’d invest in us and our Mozscape API.
I think, as many have suggested, that marketers these days need to both get organic and paid marketing to be team superstars. I’m a performance marketer at heart, so I love data. We have a lot planned around data and the future of inbound marketing.
In three words or fewer: the future of SEM is…bigger than search.