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How to Be an Agile Marketer and Pivot in Hard Times

Jass Binning
Jan 22, 2021 10:23:25 AM

Growth Marketing Camp, Ep. 2

How to Be an Agile Marketer and Pivot in Hard Times

If you are just starting out in growth marketing, trying to look for your next job in growth, or simply trying to be better at your craft, consider this podcast as a peek into how leading marketing experts think about their campaigns, metrics, and what’s important to them.

 
powered by Sounder

 

In the 2nd episode of Growth Marketing Camp, Bobby Narang sits down with CMO of Lionbridge, Jaime Punishill who was responsible for completely shifting the company’s marketing strategy to focus on the one thing that he believes should matter most to marketers: Revenue. Learn about the recent growth marketing campaign that helped Lionbridge scale their business amid the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Here's what you can expect on today's episode…

  • 4:00 - 3 years to digital transformation at Lionbridge.
  • 8:00 - Turning the demand generation engine off.
  • 14:00 - A marketer’s commitment to revenue.  
  • 25:00 - The key to modern marketing.
  • 27:00 - March 2020 marketing play 

Read the full transcript:

I want to go ahead and dive right into it, Jaime because I know we're  approaching Christmas Eve here and this is arguably the last thing both of us have to do this week. So don't want to spin wheels here, but let's just get started.

We'd love to have you just start by sharing with our audience today, a little bit about yourself. You’re the CMO at Lionbridge today, but tell us a little about your journey to get to that position, and some of the things that you've accomplished along the way. Yeah thanks so much for having me, Bobby. It's great to be here and on Christmas Eve to Christmas Eve. So such as it were yeah, look so, I'm CMO of Lionbridge and for those who don't know Lionbridge is one of the world's largest  translation and localization companies which is a fancy way of saying we help companies who operate in multiple markets really address the design, their experiences and their communications specifically for all of the markets they operate in. If you ever asked or thought to yourself, wow, isn't it amazing that a company like Apple could launch the iPhone in 40 countries, on one day? And then you think to yourself, how do they get that product to work in all those languages and all that, the product marketing materials, how did they get their supply chain to do that? That we're key part of helping organizations like that,  do those kinds of things. As far as my background goes, I have a relatively non-traditional background for a CMO.

I actually started my career as a salesperson and in fact, my very first job was a no draw, 100% commission job. And I only did it for a couple of years , but  shared, even though it was  many moons ago,  because I think particularly in, any kind of an intermediate at sales or sale process business, or buying business, particularly in the B2B world really understanding the sales.

Organization and the life of a salesperson,  and the challenges, the blind spots, the great parts, etc.  I think it's really important for them perspective  I bring, and I push our organization to bring in the way in which we work with sales in the go-to-market motion to drive revenue.

Because in the end, and the subject of the podcast is growth. There's only one metric that matters and it's revenue and it's growth. And, we can talk about impressions and leads and,  likes and all these other  marketing metrics that are important in their own, but in the end you either move the dial or you don't. And so I think that sales mentality and that sales experience I had, ways in much of my career was actually spent in digital transformation. I built the first online brokerage for bank of America back in the mid nineties, because I was much younger. I was 25 and I knew what the interwebs were and have made me qualified. But what that really has done is it's put me at the forefront of digital transformation since just about the beginning. 

And I really just followed the river of digital transformation and for a while, that was about product, and then it became content and it was experiential and an over time, actually more and more of these things started to move in the marketing discipline marketers took on onboarding, 

they take on product, they're taking on CX , they're taking on digital and so on. And so the natural home became  marketing,  and then along with that came more traditional marketing activities like brand or demand or growth, and what have you, and that's how I ended up here. I'm glad that you mentioned digital transformation.

I think in some of our prerecording conversations you talked a little bit about the transformation at Lionbridge since you joined back in '17 and I would love to cause,  I think it'll help set some context for a campaign that we'll talk about shortly, but maybe you can give us a little bit of background on what the last three years have looked like for you at Lionbridge and perhaps even how your investment in time and effort and strategy over that time, maybe uniquely prepared you for, I think, a more digital world today than perhaps we've ever experienced before?

Yeah, it's been a fun journey,  and I'm literally just past my three-year anniversary. I joined in mid November of '17  and I think there's a couple of interesting starting points,  I inherited an organization that it was doing all of the right things. If you took some checkbox, from a serious decision things that you should be doing in marketing or, pick your organization and your list. Was there  an ABM program? Yeah, there was something right. Is there marketing automation?

Yes. Is there attribution? Yes. And so on and so forth. But they  were really disconnected by an large, I think from  the business units  and  the business objectives that the general managers had and there was really not a great relationship with sales.

I came in and said, okay, great. Show me the dashboards  and what do you have? And I say, Hey, look at all these leads we've generated and look at all this pipeline that we've influenced. And then I go out and I start to talk to the leaders and they talk about how they're getting no leads, marketing having no impact, etc.

I'm like, wow, how could this be? Because I'm seeing data that says one story. And so I think you see that in a lot of organizations where they're doing all the right activities, but they're not necessarily connected  to the company and the company isn't proceeding it's help driving it forward, and I think  that's an important marker for what  the CMO of today and tomorrow has to do to be, have the right seat at the table, put gap marketing in that strategic set and really part of that go-to-market motion  is really understand how the company thinks about 

it's key priorities, whether that is valuation and perception, or that is revenue growth, net new logo versus existing, etc.  where are those key  levers that you can then help and pull,  so you've  got that relationship with sales so you drive revenue. And the second thing that was important as a foundational step for Lionbridge is it really had, and some of this was market-based and some of this was company-based, it hadn't grown organically in a decade.

And so it'd been, been rolling up companies and buying things, etc, but if you looked organically and this is actually an industry dynamic, it's an industry that is very operationally focused , and with only a few exceptions, do you see companies that are successfully really driving growth?

And  we were purchased by a PE firm taken private. And one of the key things was, Hey, let's get this organization growing organically. So that kind of sets the stage for, the North star and the objective set  and  the first thing I did was start  talking to lots of folks and I brought in a couple of leaders.

We needed some  key leaders, new head of demand gen a new head of brand and content and the three of us really, just assessed the landscape and came up with really effectively a three-year turnaround story. And there was such a disconnect between sales and marketing 

as I said to the point where we had something like 11,000 leads sitting in Salesforce that hadn't been picked up. So I've got a marketing, he came screaming, we always were generating. And I got sales saying, we've got no leads and I'm showing salespeople, Hey, but look, they're right here. And they're like, yeah, we had no idea. Yeah. And that's where, and I tell you that because it led to some really interesting conversations with the CRO and the CEO where we all, we actually looked at each other and said, it was turned it all off. It's not like anybody's going to notice. And so I made, I'm not sure I would do this again, honestly, in retrospect, but we turned the demand gen engine off for 10 months.

The benefit of that is it really allowed us to take this three phase approach, which, I roughly bucket as assess, tear down build was kind of year one.  Strengthen and optimize was year two. And the goal was year three, which was going to be 2020, which was really scale. And really just turn the flywheel. And so that's what we did. And so when I say,  assess and tear down, we basically concluded we should rip everything out. And so we took the whole marketing tech stack out with the exception of Marquetto and even then it was like a remodel or I left one wall up even Marquetto we ripped all the data out.

Deduped it cleansed it enriched it, rewrote, redid lead scoring, redid  lead routing, and then put it all back in. We even changed how it sinked with Salesforce, and  that was not a small undertaking,  that took us a little while. And then we systematically started laying in new pieces of infrastructure from sales enablement tools to actually we did two digital rebuilds, 

we did a temporary, we tore a website, 1100 page website down. We just wiped it down to eight pages and then said, we're going to rewrite every piece of content, every word, every new, every content is going to be recreated and then stages, we just rebuilt. Even though we knew we were going to take a hit in SEO and the, and some other things where we're like, it will be better to be completely fresh and new than to try to remove all of the old stuff that was just not working the way it needed to. And so that's kinda what we did. We demolished it and keep up Q3 of '18. I rebranded one of the very first things we did, and that was because we had something like 75 brands and sub-brands and attribute brands, product brands, and it was just a mass.

And so what I had was I couldn't even get the 6,000 Lionbridge  employees to tell the same story. Yeah. And if I couldn't get it internally, we couldn't get the same story. How would we expect externally to be a good understanding of who we are? And, as my old boss used to say, branding starts at home. And so for us,  the rebrand was really important right out the gate in other places that might not be. The first need.  But for us, it really was the foundation stone, and then we just built really everything. On top of that first we launched a new website that we moved into full fledged localization.

Which obviously we do for folks, but we hadn't actually been doing a good job. Our whole industry actually doesn't do a good job or all were dentists who have no teeth. How many industries do you know who do that? I'd love to know. Does Bombora use its own data? Do your salespeople use their own intent data?

I bet I'd be surprised at that kind of thing. And I'm not picking on Bombora. You could probably run all the way through to see all these companies who don't do their own stuff. Absolutely. That they're preaching. And we were no different and a lot of testing and learning in year two. That's really what we did. Okay. Let's go really understand the buying behaviors, what do we get? That's inbound. Wha what do we get? How do we land and expand? What's our real penetration in some of these customers.  And is it, is it one product? Is it multiple services?

Really how well do they understand the breadth? We did a big brand study to  and to really get a sense of how does the market perceive us and what we do.  And all of that was designed to lead up to, like I said, year three here, where we could really start the flywheel. Oh, by the way, we ended up with about a 95% turnover of people. And most of that was voluntary. That was, folks just feeling the change and saying, I don't know that I fit. Or that I want to go through this change and that's okay. I actually love transformations. I've led a few of them. I love them when people say, you know what, this isn't the home I had and I'm okay not being a part of it. I'll go find another home that's better for me.

No problem. I actually once heard a story that when Andrew Carnegie would buy a steel mill the first thing he would do is fire everybody. And the second thing he would do is put a table right outside the factory with a stack of job applications. And not that he didn't want, he didn't want the employees. He actually didn't want people to leave. What he wanted them was to not feel like something had happened to them. He wanted them to opt in to the new journey. Oh that's a, that's empowering. That's pretty smart. And it is, it's a choice.

You can either be a victim. Oh, new leader. Oh, he doesn't get it. You'll always get that. I got that on my first day. And, but it's much harder to be a victim when you've chosen to be there.  And that's what we ended up with. We actually had people from other parts of the organization choose to come into marketing and take on new great roles. And with that sort of new culture and reinvigoration we also, I had the luxury because I was tearing everything down to really architect against. I think what most of us would think of are the key attributes of modern marketing, right? How do I really have a super agile, very responsive process that turned out to be incredibly valuable in 2020 given the crazy year we've had?

We know buyers are so digitally oriented.  Great. Do I have the right infrastructure? Am I helping my sales team understand all of the grade in sales intelligence, customer intelligence as a good example, as we've been rolling out our ABM orchestration this year and intent data, we were able to see a really big RFP that we got from an existing customer that the sales team didn't know was coming. We could show them with the intent data and with our own web traffic, two weeks in advance. This is all rolling through.  And that was part of the, Oh wow. The marketing has got all kinds of really interesting information. That's gonna help us kinda move forward. So it's been it's been one heck of a ride.

Let me tell ya coming into this year. I want to ask you before we get into it, the specifics of this year, and again,  how you've been able to leverage the work that you've put in over the last three years to execute effectively this year, I ask you, three years is a long time 

and one of the things I heard you describe or mentioned earlier in our conversation was that, you're a marketer who commits to revenue, not to impressions, not to leads, not to some of the leading indicators but frankly, the indicator that matters. Potentially the most, thinking maybe in a private equity situation, maybe even more than usual.

 But but I'm wondering for marketers out there who are maybe listening to this and who are looking at a, are frankly a transformation within their own organizations. I have to imagine that the commitment to revenue, is cover. Ultimately if you're not committing to revenue as a marketer why would I as a business owner or a leader grand you the time to execute.

And so I'm really curious, and this is maybe a little bit tangential to our core of our conversation today, obviously there's going to be growing pains there. How do you appease  your. Your stakeholders internally beyond the commitments that you're making revenue along the way, because there have to have been ups and downs. I'm just asking just from your own experience, like, how do you deal with sort of the, I guess that's a political thing and internal politics I don't know.  How would you describe that, that problem and having managed that over the last three years ? You've got about 10 questions in there Bobby. Sorry about that. It's all good. Yeah. Oh, that's great. They're all the right questions. And they're all stacked up next to each other. I got, I guess I'll say a few things. I don't know. Maybe it's because of my, my what's called again non-traditional backgrounds, yeah,  I don't know how you don't focus on revenue.

I don't even, I don't actually, I literally do not understand the conversation business that I don't work for a not-for-profit. So my business's objective is quite simple. It is to generate revenue and a profit for shareholders. I'm pretty sure that is the objective of almost all other corporations. There's other objectives that go along with it. And again, PE firm and, PE owned firm and, we'll have a liquidity event at some point as all PE firms will. And so I know that valuation it's an important thing. And like any leader should have understand the corporate objectives and then say, okay, how can my function be in service of those objectives?

To me, that's entirely self-servicing so still self-serving by the way, right? How many marketers do you know that complain? The CEO just doesn't understand. They don't get why brand is important.  To which I say, you're not doing your job. That's your job to go educate them and prove it and prove if I can show that awareness goes up and six months later, top of funnel grows and 12 months later I'm making dates up,  and 12 months later, more revenue throws through the pipeline. I have just made the case for why brand matters. Okay. Without having to sell people on why it's, the emotions of brand and why it's important. And so I don't want to, when I say revenue is the ultimate metric, in the end, I've got stakeholders, a, CEO's got to answer to a board, a CFO who holds the keys to the funding kingdom.

And what are the metrics that they're measured on? If you're not, if I'm not managing to that, I'm talking about swimming upstream, and frankly, even having a more difficult conversation with stakeholders than, and this is where I think, a lot of marketers get themselves, they're challenged, particularly with CRO's.

And like I said, this at our very first, SKO two months in, guys, I understand how we sell here. We really are primarily a big, big enterprise, big relationship, big partner  oriented organization. Those are long sales cycles. They are relationships that grow and develop over time.

We are a sales led industry in a sales led service model. Okay, great. Then my job is to help. Is to get people in front of our sales people who want to buy more and faster. Like it's just that simple. I got to build a world-class marketing organization that does that. And in the end helps the salespeople believe, wow, look at marketing is helping me do more and also convince them, Hey guys, when you listen to me and you do some things I'm asking you to do like social selling, which seems like some fruity stuff, but maybe it' s important , no, this is all in service of ringing the commission check for you  and the revenue bell.

 And that's,  that's how, our CRO and I. Like we came together quite nicely because it was super simple. Same  objective. Jim, how do I help you hit the number? Yup. Whether I formally own that number or informally just committed to it. I know he's got to go do it. So I've got to help him see, here's how I'm going to add a hundred million dollars to your pipeline so you can go hit the number. Yep. The board wants to hear. Yeah. So it's a hard one for me, cause it doesn't seem so complicated. Cause I know the CEO isn't measured on brand awareness. Yeah.

This all goes back to what you described as an early part of your career, which is that it started in sales and aligning yourself with, an understanding of how salespeople operate. What's important to them. Your willingness to collaborate with the CRO seems to be prerequisite for your ability to be successful in the things that you've done over the last several years.

And so that's definitely a takeaway that I'm hearing. You always hear the, the, what was the famous, there was a very famous phrase over the last couple of years, bridging the gap between sales and marketing. That seems so intuitive. What the heck are we talking about here to your point?

Like  the primary objective of corporation is grow revenue  in most cases. The key stakeholders are obviously need to be in alignment. That makes a ton of sense. I think actually it's more than a willingness, in this case, or I think in many cases, it's not just willingness, it's a prime directive.

And so if he's in, so I, I work with a CRO really talented CRO smart guy, but he operates from a position of skepticism, right? It is, I won't believe you that the stove is hot until I put my hand on the stove. Okay, great. Now I know that and my job is to go build an array of data and proof points to show him, Hey, this is how it works.

That's not just willingness. I've got a, I've got to figure out how to sell him and bring him along to get,  have him say, you know what? I want to come to the table because what I've got is a marketing organization and a marketing CMO who is my key partner, so that, because I also need him to do some things, I need to salespeople to adopt some behaviors or to support the activities because otherwise I'm going to do it all off.

Again. I go back to, I can generate a lot of leads if nobody picks them up, I'm just pitching into the backstop and it doesn't matter. Yeah. There's a trust. There's a trust that's built there. The other thing that, that sort of jumps out to me is,   The idea of instant gratification, I have this great idea for how we're going to transform the business and I want to execute it well. You're not always going to be able to just go and execute. You'll have to, you'll have to basically prove it. Maybe in, in small bits and pieces along the way to get the stakeholder buy-in required to execute the grander vision And there was plenty of pain, to, and you ask this, right? This was, one, I turned the demand gen engine off, so that is a race against time because, and I knew the whole thing was, and I kept saying this to my team. Okay.  We have the right plan. We have to survive long enough for it to really start bearing fruit.

And every year that goes by, yeah, they got that fruit better be getting riper and better and get more of that. Yeah, cause that is the race.  And last year, we had some. Tough moments. We had some wins and a bunch of losses. Sure. We just weren't quite, we weren't ready.

We weren't at full maturity where I could very confidently start to turn the flywheel and go from, a more reactive. Survival mode into a proactive leading mode. And that's really what's happened this year. I'm going to ask one more question. I promise we'll get back on track here, as you're going through the ups and the downs and you're experiencing the pain and you know that you have that ticking clock, how do you manage doubt?

As a leader, when you have an entire. Set of stakeholders that have bought into you. You said 95% turnover and new staff. You're the person that's saying we're turning off demand gen and I, and my, and we're going to execute this plan. How do you, as a leader and again, that's not related to growth, it's just personal.

How do you deal with doubt? When things don't go your way and in an acute situation I think, you have to be as much of a duck as possible,  calm on the surface, even if your legs are going crazy underneath. And there was a lot of that. There's a lot of that.

In my case I always, I really try to be thoughtful ahead of time. I'm not a, let's just jump in and do stuff. I don't come in with a preset. View of the universe. Not with any levels of specificity, I've gotten sort of big principles that I use, but, I took my time. To understand this organization, its culture the people, the problems.And I try to do, like in any kind of transformation at whatever level it is, if you're like it's not life or death, but you're like a trauma surgeon, right?  You're the goal that you have to keep the patient alive long enough. To let, ultimately to let the patient heal itself.

Cause that's the real magic of medicine, right? These doctors don't actually save people. What they do is they prevent death so that the body can heal itself. And I think that's a lot of the mentality is how do I, how do I. Avoid death as long as possible, and just keep saving things and, keep a little bit more surgery and a little bit more repair and a little bit more healing until you can then move into, Hey, let's get strong and let's become an Olympic athletes.

And those kinds of things. I don't know that there's any magic other than I knew I had, I knew I had hired good people. I knew we'd been super thoughtful. About the end state. We were clear on the end state. And in some sense, I guess there's like a, how to founders know. If you have your idea and you're committed to it, you're going to have a lot of doubters and a lot of missteps along the way.

You've got to pivot you pivot appropriately. Don't just swing in the wind, but recognize when circumstances have changed or victory can come. This was some luck along the way, but luck is usually not missing. The things that happen in front of you, cause things are always happening that you can take advantage of.

And and then, and surviving the tough, there's gonna be some tough periods where it just doesn't go. Keep going back to are my principles, right? Is the narrative, is the end state, right? Yes. Okay. Then the only thing that needs to adjust is the path I take. How I, sometimes say this, I think this is the, to me, this is one of the keys to frankly, this could be about any conversation, but I think it's one of the keys to modern marketing, think of it like a GPS.

And so I live in Connecticut,  Lionbridge was headquartered in Massachusetts. And so I was driving up almost every week  to the Boston area. Every time I got in my car to go the same two things were true. My starting point was true. Say the same. And my destination was the same. And that was true every week for however many years, what  wasn't the same almost ever was the drive.

Yep. Traffic is different, wheather it's different construction is different and the GPS makes adjustments and it doesn't just make adjustment week to week. It makes adjustments drive to drive minute by minute in the drive. And that I think is modern marketing, right? The objective was clear, right? The information is coming in real time. You're choosing what to adjust to what not to adjust to. Sometimes you can't control it. There's just a. 10 car pile up in front of you and you're going to get stuck. That's such a great analogy. That's such a great analogy. I really appreciate you sharing that.

That's a good one. And I'm going to be thinking about that one all weekend. I want to get into a campaign because a big part of what I'm hoping this. Podcast enables in the marketplace is a demystification of growth to some extent. And I think one of the easiest ways to convey that is by just sharing a specific play that you've run or a specific campaign that you've executed and talking a little bit about, perhaps what objective it set out to address and.

The methods and outcomes. Look at me and asking another four questions in one year which I guess is maybe my style or something. I just need to work out. But I'd love to get into that. And I think, you've built up the story of the last three years at Lionbridge and again, I think it sets you up for an ability to get on that offensive in 2020, in a year where perhaps many other companies.

Maybe caught flat-footed. But maybe we can talk a little bit about how you leverage the position you gained by working the last couple of years to put yourself in a position. And maybe we can get into a specific campaign that you think might be helpful for our audience to understand some of the tactics and some of the nuances to executing.

Yeah, no, 2020 has been so interesting, cause again, if take what we've lived through out of it for half a second. We were already teeing ourselves up for, this was the year of scale. We went into the budget season saying, all right, we've earned the right. We've learned a bunch of things.

Give us a bunch more money. I got a CRO who's basically saying. Okay, man, like I've been patient and you've done. Okay. But I really need you to be cranking this year. So that's how we're coming into the year. We're still negotiating some of that as we come into January. And as it turns out for us, and I think this was a little bit of luck, but played really well.

We actually have a facility in China, not too far from Wuhan. And so very early in January. We've got the flares going up because we're hearing word from the facility and as an organization. And again, this is, as I said earlier, luck is a lot about seeing what's in front of you and not missing it.

On multiple levels. The first is an organization. Yeah. Very quickly going into, okay. Is everybody okay? What do we do? This starts to raise the bigger question. Okay. What's our business continuity planning. For the facility in China. Now as weeks are going by and we're working through this suddenly it's geez, what's our business continuity plan generally because this thing might get bigger.

 And, We saw where we were strong, we had a few weaknesses as a leadership team, the CEO rallied all the leaders around and we are diving deep, could we go work from home? How would we pivot? How do we take care of employees? How do we operate? And  when the shutdowns happened, we literally got the last of the  laptops to the last crew in Mumbai before Modi shuts the country down.

And now I got 6,000 people operating,  from home and that was really early. So we weren't caught flat-footed by it and then having to respond to it because we responded to the signals and we pivoted. And that part of what that did was we then went through what we looked at.

And I said, every company is about to go through this. Every company is now about to. One have to think about how the heck do I start communicating with my global employees when I don't have local town halls. Oh, you know what they're going to need. They're going to need internal communications. So by the second week, maybe the third week of March, we launched our first campaign.

And it was free internal communications translation. It wasn't a big  it was a small dollar amount. I can't, but I promise you, we have multi-billion dollar corporations who send us thank you notes for what amounts to a couple of thousand dollars of a free product, because right there at the moment of pain, which is what any good marketing should do. I understand pain. I have a solution to your pain it isn't here buy my stuff, you have pain. I have solved. And so that was the very first thing was a little free offer for internal communications because we knew everybody was going to be going through it.

And we had hundreds of customers take us up on that. And we knew right on the other end of that was going to be external communications. So the first thing I would do was get all their employees together. Okay. Here's what working from home looks like. How do we take care of everybody? We have to rewrite policies and then quickly it was going to be okay, what do we do about customers?

And there we were with our next campaign offer. And again, part of this was mirroring what our own journey was because we had been leading, but we also could get the sense that this was happening and we quickly pivoted that to offense. And so my next campaign out is free external communications.

Offer along with a money back guarantee, which isn't something you see a lot in this industry. If you have a problem with one of your other providers and you want to switch to Lionbridge, we have a rapid 60 day onboarding program with a money back guarantee. If it doesn't work out for you. So what do I do? I know you might have a problem. We could, we actually, we're starting to hear. From some customers that some other providers hadn't been prepared to work from home and do some of the other things. Now they needed help. Could we help? We said, great. Let's tell everybody we can help. And by the way, we will de-risk for you, which everybody needed in this environment was to de-risk it.

So again, very self-serving on one level, but very. Also meeting the pain of, wow, I'm an organization. How do I find a new vendor really quick? Can I dig into these a little bit? I'm so sorry to interrupt you, but but there's some interesting things there. So your initial offers were made to, it sounds like your existing customer base is that right? Now what we put it out in the broad universe. In fact, we turned on, we started. We probably spent more in March on digital advertising than we had in almost any other month in the previous two years of my team, except for one past we had run, but we'd running a relatively low burn. But we were ready.

We were already transitioning to more digital.  Engagement and media spend anyway that was already the plan for this year, based on, the data we had learned about some of the other tactics or all of our tactics set. And we said, this is the best way for us. The best mix is primarily digital. And then of course it became all digital,  this year, but it was it wasn't just internal. We knew if I put it out there, Everybody was gonna need it. And so I could use it both for new logo acquisition, as well as my existing customer base.

What were the, it's another two-part question. What were the channels that you found or that you executed and found to be relatively successful? And the second part of that question is you mentioned you're service oriented. Business model are the channels that you executed in uniquely optimized for your specific business? The translation services business or in general, do service centric businesses execute within similar channels? I don't know if that question makes no, it does. So let me take the second one first.  I'm not sure that. Across most let's stick with B2B buyers for a second. It'd be a little simpler just to put it inside of that box.

And I always, I do my own belly button research on this. Okay. How do I find new vendors? What am I doing? I'm trolling through Google. I'm reading a couple of content specific sites. I'm going through thought leadership and analysis, etc. And none of this is rocket science, right?

 There's hopefully nothing I say today is rocket science. This is, what's simple to understand. Isn't easy to execute. Necessarily and, so much of this is just fundamentals and basic, right. Everything I talk about  is like such a game of fundamentals.

And, we talked about this before. I'm a, I'm a new England guy, I'm a Patriots fan  part of what I think makes Bill Belicheck. So great is just about and  Nick Saban for that matter. And those guys are buddies. What do they do? Unbelievable stress on the fundamentals. Don't give away the easy stuff. And then hopefully you're in a position to take advantage of the big stuff as opposed to go for the big stuff. So what were we doing? B2B buyers,  they're consuming so much information. Trying to be smarter, but they're also overwhelmed by information. So now you've got to go back even pre-campaign we set a strategy where we said, look, globalization is actually still  growing as a concept.

Most companies actually operate as multinationals, not as globals. Okay. So  they start  to think about go back to the Apple example. That's real globallity, right? Every market one day, as opposed to the old days where, the iPhone would be announced. And then four months later, it'd be available in America and six months after that it'll be available in the UK etc, and cause it's very slow cascading rollout across the globe.That is not the world that we live in right now. I think about 2020, right? The digital landscape is flat and you put it on your us website. Every customer around the globe can see it. So 7 billion people are watching whether you want to or not, because we no longer have this sort of the geographic boxes.

But, we're not limited by physicality.  And even almost time, I can publish it now in a few hours, somebody's going to see it in Asia kind of thing. And so that's a little bit of a different mentality. So we knew we needed to be a very content led value, ad story that we then look to syndicate propagate and then amplify, right?

For me, media is just a way that we get our thought leadership and our content and our ideas out in front of more eyes, draw you in and get you into a conversation with one of our salespeople who can understand your circumstance and match it. So that gets to. The channels we knew  I'd spent years, the last two years building up and massive content repository.

I've now got lots of ammunition to work with. Now. I say, great. What is it that people are talking about right now? Let's amplify that in some sense, because of where we were in our journey. But I think this is partly about discipline. Two is we had really spent last couple of years, optimizing SEO and doing it in 10 languages.

And we are, we're killing it, especially relative to our industry who haven't paid as much attention. So I'm already where are people going to go when they're stuck at home? Yeah, they're going to the search engines. I'm already in the catbird seat. Before I've even started to spend a dime of media because we've optimized for that. And then we said, great so let's start with the engines and let's amplify where we're having success. Where can we find buyers? We know. Okay, great. So let's move over into LinkedIn where I can go by. I can do named accounts and I can target buyers. And again, every industry to your point will be a little different.

The right home for different industries probably, but really where I think that happens is in the next year where I start to say, okay, where do I find other places? Find those buyers, is it on, the, whatever, is it the MarTech. Community is it the the localization buyer community? Is it the, we serve many verticals.

We do. We support games, publishers. So you got Xbox and PlayStation, that went out this year. Okay. Where am I going to find those guys who are building.  Minecraft in, a hundred languages or whatever, whatever the hot game is.  And we've worked on a bunch of them, if you're playing a game, not in English the odd is really good we've helped with it. And so we've got different buyers in different places, but they're all going to be on Google and bing. Many of them would be on LinkedIn with a few regional differences. There's different one in Korea.

But we tiered it out that way. And we've really leaned in hard to those core tactics. And we haven't gotten asymptotic yet. So we were just having this conversation about next year's budget, where we can see, yeah, I could spend probably twice as much money, still have a commensurate growth in the pipeline and we'll hit saturation at some point, but we haven't hit it yet.

I hope that answers the question. It totally does. It totally does. And I, and one of the things I'm enjoying so much about this conversation is just learning more about your business. It seems so, the idea of having the website in 10 different languages, for instance I don't know, obviously, right? Like it makes a ton of sense. You're a translation services company, like duh, like that makes obvious sense. Okay. So let's go back. Cause, cause I think what's so interesting so far about this 2020 approach number one, it leverages a digitally transformed marketing organization, which we've talked about a little bit here, but number two,  it's fascinating that you would've had an office.

Like near Wuhan by the way.  That's mind blowing. I can still remember in February, I was believe it or not in India for a wedding. And that's a country over from China and it still wasn't real yet. There was no sanitizers at the airports or anything like that. So it's interesting that you have that little bit of lead time because there's still a lot of confusion. I feel like here in the States, but then you start pivoting your, or you start spinning up these. These sort of really relevant campaigns for the situation. How did they pan out? Did you get some early success buy-in? These seem like things that naturally like to one of your earlier points about digital transformation, that this might be the time that sort of. Catalyzes a lot of that in, in many organizations. So these, I'm assuming as a lay person here, that these would have been successful how would you judge that? And they they were, and one of the beauties of the digital channels. If you constructed it, is you get pretty instantaneous sense of what's working and what's not working. Do we get take-up absolutely right. I can see the traffic, I can see the lead flows. And I get an, I even just have even anecdotal sense is the Salesforce feeling like. Activity is happening, right? Because sometimes you can see stuff in the salespeople for whatever reason still aren't feeling it.

So it's a little bit of art and science here. And, one of the things we did our CEO did very early, was set up daily. Stand-ups all across the organization. But we did it in marketing. And actually all, we ended up going all the way through the year with it, 30 minutes every day with my team.

We, and we, we started really ad hoc and a lot of it was just. So that we could have, I could get it. We can have instantaneous response. What was he hearing? What was he feeling? What were we seeing? And if I needed more budget or we needed to pivot a tactic, there was no delays and decisions or those kinds of things.

So CEO, CRO, and me with some part of my team on the phone every day for 30 minutes, usually at the start of the day. And again, we started that at crisis response. And after about two months, Cause that's a lot of work prepping for those meetings and etc. I said, Hey, can we stop this now? And they actually said, no. They're like, this is our favorite meeting of the day. You guys, you come in, we've got data, we're being responsive. We're affecting the business. It's smart. It's thoughtful. I said, okay we're going to have to organize this a little bit differently. And so we ended up picking themes, right?

Monday was sales enablement. And text that conversations. Tuesday was all about paid media. Wednesday was all about sort of the content plan. Here's what's been published. Here's what's resonating. Here's what we have in the queue. Kind of thing, right? Thursday was a vertical dive, Friday was, about our core business and really thinking about campaigns end to end so that we weren't  looking at just little pieces of the marketing stack and that ebbs and flows. And now you think about go back to the revenue. The growth mindset, the revenue objective and how many organization. And I didn't have, and, I think our CEO would say he didn't come into the year with a great understanding of the team or a lot of the tactical mechanisms of how marketing works.

It was not his background. The kinds of companies who've come from, etc. And and he's. I, it had been wildly successful. Oh, this is why you guys do this. Oh, that really is quite impactful. I can be quite helpful over here.  And so now you've got real tight alignment that makes budgeting conversations, strategic conversations, so much easier.

I can get a sense from him if something's pivoting, right? The board is, shifting or something happens in a new direction and I can have my team bonds. And that gets to the heart of. I think one of the other key things, we talk about agile marketing. Lots of people are trying to move faster. How many people can respond that quickly? That is that's. Do you have the right people? Do you have the right process? Have you even, do you even have a mindset that says, how do I both take data in not be buffeted by every wind? That cause you don't want to do that either. Cause you, you do get because you want some consistency. And we even had to work with them to understand, Hey, I can't change this campaign every week. Like I can't write content that fast  and a week isn't enough for you to know we're gonna have good weeks and bad weeks. It's the stock market there's no  soft for my stock market days.

Watching the stock, market's like watching a man walk up a hill while he's playing with a yo-yo. Everybody focuses on the yo-yo and misses the fact that he's very slowly walking up the hill marketing's a little like that. And so even in the weird year where we wanted to be highly responsive, we wanted to make sure we were still walking up the Hill. Absolutely. And the process. And I think going back to the GPS example, having a good sense of key verticals, key buyers, we knew, for example, like we have a bunch of travel and hospitality clients. We knew exactly what was going to happen there. It was just a question of time before revenue went.

And we still, okay. How do we reach out to them and be supportive, knowing that we want them to  survive and come out the other end and they will come out the other end. We want to be a strategic partner, but I'm going to approach that quite differently than, all of a sudden, every retailer discovering that e-commerce is the most important thing ever.

 

I hate that it took 2020 for some people to have that realization, but they did now, how do I make sure that wherever you are in your journey, as you're waking up to global multi-lingual e-commerce you start? I've never thought about international SEO. Oh, I better. Cause by the way, how somebody searches for the same product in German is not how they search in English. And so just translating the content, doesn't just work, but  you have to rewrite your whole content strategy to pull that off. And so that, go back again, simple stuff. I knew, we knew our customers it's the same set of customers, and we just were turning dials who was going to likely buy more stuff who would likely buy a little less, what was their pain?

 

How do we anticipate and help? And how do we be ready? And make sure that they know that we're there to help. Cause again, in these days we didn't, nobody knew what the status of their vendors were. Can you take more capacity? Can you help me? And we had a few, like I said, we had a few competitors who at various points in the year slipped and as soon as we heard it, boom, instantaneous campaign going straight at that we're here.

We're ready. Come onboard. We can take your capacity.  It's just fascinating to hear all of this because the patient that you need to keep alive sort of analogy. It sounds to me that, this year, maybe you had them, with their IV drip walk into the bathroom. Okay. And then maybe they're starting to shed that even and put their socks on and maybe go for a jog outside. Cause it sounds like. You have a game plan going into 2021 that is oriented around optimizing for the situation, which is just the reality that companies are being forced to move. Digital and in doing so are now operating on a global scale, thereby creating a massive opportunity for Lionbridge and in your industry in general, by the way. Yes. And which, by the way, this has been true for 20 years. And this will sound like a quick aside, but I. I think about this a lot. There's a great documentary on Netflix about general magic. I don't know if general magic. You might have to be as old as me to remember general  magic, but general magic was the original was the first sort of PDA smartphone.

And it's like 1989. That's how long back it goes. What's fascinating about general magic. One is it's a compelling story, two everything you know about mobility, smartphones, iOS, Android, iPod, etc. Everything you can. All the people, the team that they assembled in the early nineties, all went on literally to lead Google, lead, Apple, lead, Microsoft, etc.

They were way out ahead of their. The consumer, they were way out in front of the technology. And it's one of these 1950s world fair videos when you watch this and you realize like these guys created emojis. They saw everything. The world just wasn't ready and globalization is a phenomenon.

I can make the argument that almost everything we're going through right now in the world. All started in the late nineties, late eighties and early nineties was the internet goes commercial. We start to move into a software world, you get the Wintel Alliance. We cell phones really start to jump the shark, and gets, get small enough to get the world trade organization.

You get the EU, the ISI, the EU and  the Euro China and India. Start to modernize and pick up the, all the outsourcing deals. And so really what we have is, we're 30 years in now to this great big globalization phenomenon, which is where the company got founded. We're founded in the mid nineties. With this vision probably ahead of its time. And it sailed along with it. And and you really, as I go back, because it is our 25th anniversary next year, so we're doing a lot of studying of the history and you get to see, wow, these guys were so right, but there's so many general magic moments just ahead of the curve that then put, if you're patient to your 

point we know the vision is right. It's frustrating that it doesn't necessarily catch up cause it never goes at the pace you want. This year, what a catalytic event to wipe out all the resistance because the buyers are ready. We're becoming digital.  Here's a stat that I love to throw out  that I think, blows my mind every time I say it, half  the US workforce is pretty much under the age of 45.

If I like, if I go to 43 and this isn't been the US workforce, it works for Western nations, writ large. Okay. That's a generation born after 1977, which means their entire adult life. So you dominate information, organizational paradigm is Google or is search. Okay. Think about that. Half the work for us when they need something.

Their first thought is to search for it. Yep. How many companies have organized, have thought about their content and the buying process, starting with search as the dominant input sets. And that part of is how we structured the strategy is thinking that through now it's all coming together and.

Don't miss the picture that comes across the plate. Absolutely. Absolutely. You've worked the last three years to get to this opportunity, this point. And it sounds to piggyback on the baseball analogy, it's teed up for you. So that's really exciting. Jaime  you've been super generous with your time. I promise I just have one or two questions left just to wrap up here and then I'll let you on your Merry way. If you've got the time. I do, let's go. I'll keep it super brief. Yeah. The first question of the last two is and just thinking about growth as a subject matter as a sort of a business objective, I feel like what does it really mean? And so one of the goals that I have in having these conversations is trying to understand from folks like you, like when you come into Lionbridge three years ago, Are you coming in, looking at the business, how it's operated for the previous 21 years and coming up with a set of goals, objectives, KPIs, strategies, based on what you're observing, or when you think about growth, do you have a set of guidelines and principles that you maintain or you've developed and that you believe in that you bring to frankly, any organization or growth opportunity that you might be addressing?

How do you think about that? So I think about that a couple of ways.  Think a younger version of me. Who would have been really quick to throw. Everything from the past out and come in with a mindset, Hey, we're going to, we're going to figure this out. It's all going to be forward etc.  And I've had enough experience now and a few opportunities to, to operate differently. And I think  it's a challenge for, some really young, smart guys to understand how much value there is and the history and the heritage and my mindset coming in.

It was really an inquisitive one. And after just a couple of weeks here cause, cause I could look at the numbers were not great. The story was not awesome. The PE firm was able to buy, Lionbridge for frankly a discount because the numbers hadn't been great. So the numbers suggested a lot of problems.

When we dug in and underneath, I said to my boss, I remember saying this just a couple of weeks. And I said, I can feel it already. If you ask, there's not a question we'll come up with or an idea that we're going to come up with that hasn't been asked here before. And doesn't have a very thoughtful set of responses or a response.

If we dig around, we're going to find it all here. Here's some really smart, really talented people. They are where they are for a whole host of reasons. It wasn't for lack of vision or understanding customers or some of that other stuff, which was great. What we had was great ingredients that hadn't necessarily been.

Prepared into a good meal. And I'd rather have that, there wasn't like a great veneer and hollowness and toxicity underneath. It was the opposite. It was like the, I joked it was like the high schooler who thinks they're ugly. So they're huddled, in a hoodie hiding and they're convinced they're horrible, but actually they're really awesome and beautiful underneath.

Yeah. Yeah.  They just needed to be re-convinced of it and, we had some execution issues, etc.  And so that I think was super important was to really understand what you have. And then I think that, which gets to the second piece of the perspective, I don't have a set playbook because every situation is different.

I tell this to my team all the time, like you want to sit in my seat, do not follow my career path. Because that was my career path that worked for me and the time and the situations learn what you need to learn from it and then adapt it for your time and your situation and your personality, what works for me, risks.

I will take with my career, you shouldn't or won't be comfortable with.  And I'll go back to the Bill Belichick example, because I think it's part of what makes him so successful. And I like to try to incorporate. Really is, you can only work with what you've got. You've got the players, you've got the people, you've got the circumstances, you've got the industry, you've got the tools you've got, etc, trying to force that into a prefabbed system.

You can do it.  I think the odds of success are a lot less than if again, I've got principles. There are key things. I know the buyer is the buyer and the buyer is going to be digitally centric and the buyers going to be retained centric. And I can bring that anywhere. That is, if there's a universal playbook, it's.

Modern marketing principles. What we know about buyers, that should be true everywhere. What I really then need to see is, okay, what are the levers here? What are the ingredients? Where can I get wins? Where can I stop bleeding? And I healed the patient a little bit and where can I buy myself time to find the places where we'll have real success, or we can find real advantages and bring the organization and the position that when.

The, when the matrix all becomes clear and it all dials in I'm ready and my team is ready and then the organization is ready and I go back to, we were set up to, I think, have a good 2020. No matter what the universe saw fit to give me a set of conditions that were even better than I could have asked for in some ways, because it's stripped, to the extent again, my sales folks were just beginning to do social selling, but Hey, I can just get on a plane and go meet with people.

Now I can't. So the resistance is less, Oh, I have a solution for you to help and so on and so forth. And I think part of why that works is, I may have said this to you before. I think a lot of people are going to the Kabuki theater of modernization, there's a lot of customer centricity written in annual reports from organizations.

None of us would describe as actually customer centric. Lots of marketers who talk about agility, they talk about digital, they talk about customer centricity. They talk about being data-driven and so on and so forth. Talk is cheap.  And it turns out that a lot of not great behavior or not real adaptation was hiding underneath just most sheer momentum.

And then in one fell swoop. The momentum got like just completely eliminated. And I spend, I took the time this year to spend a lot of time with my peers and these round tables and councils, etc, partially because I really wanted to learn like, how are other people adapting, etc, and what I really learned was we were right.

And the principals we sat and we had put ourselves in a good position and a lot of people were frozen or not sure, or suddenly found themselves needing a two year turnaround, but having two weeks to do it. Yeah. And which I think goes back to fundamentals, stick to your fundamentals, adapt to your situation, work with what you have commit to your plan execute, execute.

Yep. Just to recap what I heard you say, there are two things that stood out to me. Number one was, again, this idea of sustaining yourself long enough to see the long tail effect of the effort that you're putting in. So basically winning small battles with the victory of war, on the horizon.

And then the second one, and this is a lame phrase, but success equals. Opportunity plus preparation. And you've, that's how I bet you could describe You know what you're confronting and going through as an organization, right? Like I said folks look for magic bullets and magic pills.

And it almost always is just fundamentals  and a lot of it's paying attention, right? If I look forward, we all know, right? Like our whole lives are about to change with data privacy. GDPR was the first torpedo in the water and it's had some effect. But it's, we're just starting to really feel it, CCPA is on its way, frankly.

COVID distracted. A lot of us from what's happening underneath the new European, digital protections are going to take this even a step forward and how many people are ready, really ready for the first party world for  we've been lucky. I could get information about you.

Whether you wanted to give it to me or not. Which allowed for a lot of lazy marketing. What's going to happen when I actually have to earn the right. I have to get you to give it to me now, which is going back to the old days. Really. We all know it's coming. It's actually, it's the old William Gibson line.

The future's already here just unevenly distributed. This has been coming for a couple of years. How many people are really prepped for it? Oh, I don't have to worry about that yet, etc.  So it's just understand your environment. Lay your foundations, do the basics. Just  learning a ton today.

I appreciate that. The last thing you mentioned, the round tables for folks listening to this today, who are some of your peers that you recommend they pay attention to? Is there a particular marketer that comes to mind to call,  that you admire look up to or someone that we should pay attention to?

Oh man, there are so many good people out there, I think, yeah. Oh boy. Latane Conant  at 6 ense  I think is, got a super good sense of the space she's led, with Matt Heinz, some really great, Friday morning regular meetings actually wish I'd been able to participate in more of those.

They just kept colliding against them, internal stuff.  Who else Mark Tack who's actually sitting really as  a fractional CMO now he was at Integrate for awhile.  And we'll get really focused on this idea of revenue enablement. Another guy who's in that category, Steve DiOrio, who's done some really amazing work on marketing accountability and revenue enablement, in  fact, he's just created the Revenue Enablement  Institute and.

I could go on there's. There's so many, there's so many really good smart folks out there that,  just try to take the best of what they've got and adapt it to, again, to my principles and my situation, not some of it's great and I can't use it. And that doesn't mean I shouldn't learn it.

Yeah, it goes to, what people talk about a lot, but I still don't think a lot of people do, which is you have to be in continuous learning mode. And you think about how much we've all learned just in 2020. I think it's leaking out of my ears. So much good stuff so quickly. And hopefully will be a little less frenetic pace in 2021. Yeah. Yeah. I was like I don't think leaking from your ears is a symptom of COVID, but  maybe it is in some capacity, neither here nor there.  I really appreciate you sharing that.

I think there's a couple of names on the list that I recognize  and one or two that I don't, so I'm looking forward to researching that. And I think to your point, I've personally learned. A lot in the last an hour or so. So I really do appreciate your time. One thing I'll leave you with is I met you in person at this event in Chicago, and I don't know how many people with a C in their title spent all day at a booth talking to prospects.

One-on-one I recognize that about you and certainly admire that and respect that about you. But just wanted to let you know that I feel that way because we're there, but  we're a relatively small company, but for you to be there talking to customers, prospects all day, I think is probably goes back to that initial theme of alignment between sales and marketing.

You're basically selling at that point.  Yeah, thank you. And I think that one goes even more right. Which is be close to your customer. And I'm certainly not the first to do this, I love the stars of, guys like Ned Johnson, who was,  the CEO of Fidelity for so many years, he was on the, when the call center, when the calls were coming in, he's in the calls taken like there is no, I think this is always the challenge of being an executive.

Is getting too far away from the edge. And whatever that is, whether that's, you use  a military hierarchy anywhere,  anywhere, you've got a hierarchy. And I actually think with the fluid environment that we have right now, so many new disciplines and things, and so many coming down the pike that, the, I think one of the things that has made me successful is just about everything we're doing.

I built. As a more junior person in some way, shape or form, right? Whether it was social media or it was digital or, experiences or plans or products, or what have you, my team, can tell you, I will go down to five feet. And debate,  various, very specific thing. I can't obviously do that with everything. I can't do that with everything, but I can, which gives me an understanding. And so I think things like that event are, I can't be there 365 days a year. But can I take a couple of days out of the year to go sit there and say, okay, so here's all the stuff we created and we set up, how's it going?

What's the response. That's real-time data input for me to then go back and take that context. And either it's a pulse check that says, Hey, wow, we are really right on it. Or might even be the slightest pivot. Of a story or something that ultimately allows me to scaleably and leverage, create, leverage throughout the organization with this little pivot, because I align it just a little bit better.

Yeah. Knowledge and credibility, I think is the other thing, is that when you get that close, When you could pick up the phone and talk to customer that carries a lot of water, I think as you were guiding an organization I do pride myself and I tell the sales, but you want me on the phone with a customer anytime, any day, anywhere I'm there to support you and help tell this story, etc.

And again, I think with that revenue mindset, of course, that's what the organization needs to sell. Sign me up. And it's easy. I, this is little like,  say this, the CRO has to come along for the ride. Some will some won't everybody, in divorce divorced, you can have a friendly divorce.

Why, if you say the kids are really the most important thing, everybody says it. Do you live it if you hold that principle high, it's actually quite easy. So things like going to spend a day in a booth, super simple, if revenue is the most important thing, understanding customers is the most important thing.

And so on and so forth because you get real clarity of purpose at that point. Absolutely. Otherwise it's just a Kabuki theater. Hey, there's the Kabuki theater. That's exactly right. Which is unfortunately where too many people are. They're either too distance or it is the appearance of whatever, not the actuality. Jaime, I really appreciate your time today. I enjoyed this conversation tremendously. I feel I learned a lot about your business, about your approach about some of your tactics this year. And  I'm excited to be able to share this with our audience.  So thank you again for your time. Thanks for having me. I love doing these particularly good when there's good questions and in a nice back and forth. And so this has been great. I'm happy to come back anytime and, whatever crazy ideas are in my head. Yeah. And I'm sure there are other amazing stories to share as well.

So we may take you up on that anytime. So Jaime wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas stay well and safe, and we'll catch you in the New Year. All right. And the same to you and yours and to everybody in the audience. Thanks, Bob. All right, take care. You too.

All right, everybody. Hey, this is Bobby Narang from Opensense.  I'm joined today by Jaime Punishill CMO at Lionbridge. This is the Growth Marketing Camp podcast, and we are so excited to have you today.

I want to go ahead and dive right into it, Jaime because I know we're  approaching Christmas Eve here and this is arguably the last thing both of us have to do this week. So don't want to spin wheels here, but let's just get started. We'd love to have you just start by sharing with our audience today, a little bit about yourself. You’re the CMO at Lionbridge today, but tell us a little about your journey to get to that position, and some of the things that you've accomplished along the way. Yeah thanks so much for having me, Bobby. It's great to be here and on Christmas Eve to Christmas Eve. So such as it were yeah, look so, I'm CMO of Lionbridge and for those who don't know Lionbridge is one of the world's largest  translation and localization companies which is a fancy way of saying we help companies who operate in multiple markets really address the design, their experiences and their communications specifically for all of the markets they operate in. If you ever asked or thought to yourself, wow, isn't it amazing that a company like Apple could launch the iPhone in 40 countries, on one day? And then you think to yourself, how do they get that product to work in all those languages and all that, the product marketing materials, how did they get their supply chain to do that? That we're key part of helping organizations like that,  do those kinds of things. As far as my background goes, I have a relatively non-traditional background for a CMO.

I actually started my career as a salesperson and in fact, my very first job was a no draw, 100% commission job. And I only did it for a couple of years , but  shared, even though it was  many moons ago,  because I think particularly in, any kind of an intermediate at sales or sale process business, or buying business, particularly in the B2B world really understanding the sales.

Organization and the life of a salesperson,  and the challenges, the blind spots, the great parts, etc.  I think it's really important for them perspective  I bring, and I push our organization to bring in the way in which we work with sales in the go-to-market motion to drive revenue.

Because in the end, and the subject of the podcast is growth. There's only one metric that matters and it's revenue and it's growth. And, we can talk about impressions and leads and,  likes and all these other  marketing metrics that are important in their own, but in the end you either move the dial or you don't. And so I think that sales mentality and that sales experience I had, ways in much of my career was actually spent in digital transformation. I built the first online brokerage for bank of America back in the mid nineties, because I was much younger. I was 25 and I knew what the interwebs were and have made me qualified. But what that really has done is it's put me at the forefront of digital transformation since just about the beginning. 

 

And I really just followed the river of digital transformation and for a while, that was about product, and then it became content and it was experiential and an over time, actually more and more of these things started to move in the marketing discipline marketers took on onboarding, 

they take on product, they're taking on CX , they're taking on digital and so on. And so the natural home became  marketing,  and then along with that came more traditional marketing activities like brand or demand or growth, and what have you, and that's how I ended up here. I'm glad that you mentioned digital transformation.

 

I think in some of our prerecording conversations you talked a little bit about the transformation at Lionbridge since you joined back in '17 and I would love to cause,  I think it'll help set some context for a campaign that we'll talk about shortly, but maybe you can give us a little bit of background on what the last three years have looked like for you at Lionbridge and perhaps even how your investment in time and effort and strategy over that time, maybe uniquely prepared you for, I think, a more digital world today than perhaps we've ever experienced before?

 

Yeah, it's been a fun journey,  and I'm literally just past my three-year anniversary. I joined in mid November of '17  and I think there's a couple of interesting starting points,  I inherited an organization that it was doing all of the right things. If you took some checkbox, from a serious decision things that you should be doing in marketing or, pick your organization and your list. Was there  an ABM program? Yeah, there was something right. Is there marketing automation?

Yes. Is there attribution? Yes. And so on and so forth. But they  were really disconnected by an large, I think from  the business units  and  the business objectives that the general managers had and there was really not a great relationship with sales.

 

I came in and said, okay, great. Show me the dashboards  and what do you have? And I say, Hey, look at all these leads we've generated and look at all this pipeline that we've influenced. And then I go out and I start to talk to the leaders and they talk about how they're getting no leads, marketing having no impact, etc.

I'm like, wow, how could this be? Because I'm seeing data that says one story. And so I think you see that in a lot of organizations where they're doing all the right activities, but they're not necessarily connected  to the company and the company isn't proceeding it's help driving it forward, and I think  that's an important marker for what  the CMO of today and tomorrow has to do to be, have the right seat at the table, put gap marketing in that strategic set and really part of that go-to-market motion  is really understand how the company thinks about 

it's key priorities, whether that is valuation and perception, or that is revenue growth, net new logo versus existing, etc.  where are those key  levers that you can then help and pull,  so you've  got that relationship with sales so you drive revenue. And the second thing that was important as a foundational step for Lionbridge is it really had, and some of this was market-based and some of this was company-based, it hadn't grown organically in a decade.

And so it'd been, been rolling up companies and buying things, etc, but if you looked organically and this is actually an industry dynamic, it's an industry that is very operationally focused , and with only a few exceptions, do you see companies that are successfully really driving growth?

And  we were purchased by a PE firm taken private. And one of the key things was, Hey, let's get this organization growing organically. So that kind of sets the stage for, the North star and the objective set  and  the first thing I did was start  talking to lots of folks and I brought in a couple of leaders.

 

We needed some  key leaders, new head of demand gen a new head of brand and content and the three of us really, just assessed the landscape and came up with really effectively a three-year turnaround story. And there was such a disconnect between sales and marketing 

as I said to the point where we had something like 11,000 leads sitting in Salesforce that hadn't been picked up. So I've got a marketing, he came screaming, we always were generating. And I got sales saying, we've got no leads and I'm showing salespeople, Hey, but look, they're right here. And they're like, yeah, we had no idea. Yeah. And that's where, and I tell you that because it led to some really interesting conversations with the CRO and the CEO where we all, we actually looked at each other and said, it was turned it all off. It's not like anybody's going to notice. And so I made, I'm not sure I would do this again, honestly, in retrospect, but we turned the demand gen engine off for 10 months.

The benefit of that is it really allowed us to take this three phase approach, which, I roughly bucket as assess, tear down build was kind of year one.  Strengthen and optimize was year two. And the goal was year three, which was going to be 2020, which was really scale. And really just turn the flywheel. And so that's what we did. And so when I say,  assess and tear down, we basically concluded we should rip everything out. And so we took the whole marketing tech stack out with the exception of Marquetto and even then it was like a remodel or I left one wall up even Marquetto we ripped all the data out.

Deduped it cleansed it enriched it, rewrote, redid lead scoring, redid  lead routing, and then put it all back in. We even changed how it sinked with Salesforce, and  that was not a small undertaking,  that took us a little while. And then we systematically started laying in new pieces of infrastructure from sales enablement tools to actually we did two digital rebuilds, 

we did a temporary, we tore a website, 1100 page website down. We just wiped it down to eight pages and then said, we're going to rewrite every piece of content, every word, every new, every content is going to be recreated and then stages, we just rebuilt. Even though we knew we were going to take a hit in SEO and the, and some other things where we're like, it will be better to be completely fresh and new than to try to remove all of the old stuff that was just not working the way it needed to. And so that's kinda what we did. We demolished it and keep up Q3 of '18. I rebranded one of the very first things we did, and that was because we had something like 75 brands and sub-brands and attribute brands, product brands, and it was just a mass.

And so what I had was I couldn't even get the 6,000 Lionbridge  employees to tell the same story. Yeah. And if I couldn't get it internally, we couldn't get the same story. How would we expect externally to be a good understanding of who we are? And, as my old boss used to say, branding starts at home. And so for us,  the rebrand was really important right out the gate in other places that might not be. The first need.  But for us, it really was the foundation stone, and then we just built really everything. On top of that first we launched a new website that we moved into full fledged localization.

 

Which obviously we do for folks, but we hadn't actually been doing a good job. Our whole industry actually doesn't do a good job or all were dentists who have no teeth. How many industries do you know who do that? I'd love to know. Does Bombora use its own data? Do your salespeople use their own intent data?

I bet I'd be surprised at that kind of thing. And I'm not picking on Bombora. You could probably run all the way through to see all these companies who don't do their own stuff. Absolutely. That they're preaching. And we were no different and a lot of testing and learning in year two. That's really what we did. Okay. Let's go really understand the buying behaviors, what do we get? That's inbound. Wha what do we get? How do we land and expand? What's our real penetration in some of these customers.  And is it, is it one product? Is it multiple services?

 

Really how well do they understand the breadth? We did a big brand study to  and to really get a sense of how does the market perceive us and what we do.  And all of that was designed to lead up to, like I said, year three here, where we could really start the flywheel. Oh, by the way, we ended up with about a 95% turnover of people. And most of that was voluntary. That was, folks just feeling the change and saying, I don't know that I fit. Or that I want to go through this change and that's okay. I actually love transformations. I've led a few of them. I love them when people say, you know what, this isn't the home I had and I'm okay not being a part of it. I'll go find another home that's better for me. No problem. I actually once heard a story that when Andrew Carnegie would buy a steel mill the first thing he would do is fire everybody. And the second thing he would do is put a table right outside the factory with a stack of job applications.

And not that he didn't want, he didn't want the employees. He actually didn't want people to leave. What he wanted them was to not feel like something had happened to them. He wanted them to opt in to the new journey. Oh that's a, that's empowering. That's pretty smart. And it is, it's a choice.

You can either be a victim. Oh, new leader. Oh, he doesn't get it. You'll always get that. I got that on my first day. And, but it's much harder to be a victim when you've chosen to be there.  And that's what we ended up with. We actually had people from other parts of the organization choose to come into marketing and take on new great roles. And with that sort of new culture and reinvigoration we also, I had the luxury because I was tearing everything down to really architect against. I think what most of us would think of are the key attributes of modern marketing, right? How do I really have a super agile, very responsive process that turned out to be incredibly valuable in 2020 given the crazy year we've had?

 

We know buyers are so digitally oriented.  Great. Do I have the right infrastructure? Am I helping my sales team understand all of the grade in sales intelligence, customer intelligence as a good example, as we've been rolling out our ABM orchestration this year and intent data, we were able to see a really big RFP that we got from an existing customer that the sales team didn't know was coming. We could show them with the intent data and with our own web traffic, two weeks in advance. This is all rolling through.  And that was part of the, Oh wow. The marketing has got all kinds of really interesting information. That's gonna help us kinda move forward. So it's been it's been one heck of a ride.

Let me tell ya coming into this year. I want to ask you before we get into it, the specifics of this year, and again,  how you've been able to leverage the work that you've put in over the last three years to execute effectively this year, I ask you, three years is a long time 

and one of the things I heard you describe or mentioned earlier in our conversation was that, you're a marketer who commits to revenue, not to impressions, not to leads, not to some of the leading indicators but frankly, the indicator that matters. Potentially the most, thinking maybe in a private equity situation, maybe even more than usual.

 

 But but I'm wondering for marketers out there who are maybe listening to this and who are looking at a, are frankly a transformation within their own organizations. I have to imagine that the commitment to revenue, is cover. Ultimately if you're not committing to revenue as a marketer why would I as a business owner or a leader grand you the time to execute.

And so I'm really curious, and this is maybe a little bit tangential to our core of our conversation today, obviously there's going to be growing pains there. How do you appease  your. Your stakeholders internally beyond the commitments that you're making revenue along the way, because there have to have been ups and downs. I'm just asking just from your own experience, like, how do you deal with sort of the, I guess that's a political thing and internal politics I don't know.  How would you describe that, that problem and having managed that over the last three years  ? You've got about 10 questions in there Bobby. Sorry about that. It's all good. Yeah. Oh, that's great. They're all the right questions. And they're all stacked up next to each other. I got, I guess I'll say a few things. I don't know. Maybe it's because of my, my what's called again non-traditional backgrounds, yeah,  I don't know how you don't focus on revenue.

I don't even, I don't actually, I literally do not understand the conversation business that I don't work for a not-for-profit. 

 

So my business's objective is quite simple. It is to generate revenue and a profit for shareholders. I'm pretty sure that is the objective of almost all other corporations.

There's other objectives that go along with it. And again, PE firm and, PE owned firm and, we'll have a liquidity event at some point as all PE firms will. And so I know that valuation it's an important thing. And like any leader should have understand the corporate objectives and then say, okay, how can my function be in service of those objectives?

 

To me, that's entirely self-servicing so still self-serving by the way, right? How many marketers do you know that complain? The CEO just doesn't understand. They don't get why brand is important.  To which I say, you're not doing your job. That's your job to go educate them and prove it and prove if I can show that awareness goes up and six months later, top of funnel grows and 12 months later I'm making dates up,  and 12 months later, more revenue throws through the pipeline. I have just made the case for why brand matters. Okay. Without having to sell people on why it's, the emotions of brand and why it's important. And so I don't want to, when I say revenue is the ultimate metric, in the end, I've got stakeholders, a, CEO's got to answer to a board, a CFO who holds the keys to the funding kingdom.

 

And what are the metrics that they're measured on? If you're not, if I'm not managing to that, I'm talking about swimming upstream, and frankly, even having a more difficult conversation with stakeholders than, and this is where I think, a lot of marketers get themselves, they're challenged, particularly with CRO's.

 

And like I said, this at our very first, SKO two months in, guys, I understand how we sell here. We really are primarily a big, big enterprise, big relationship, big partner  oriented organization. Those are long sales cycles. They are relationships that grow and develop over time.

We are a sales led industry in a sales led service model. Okay, great. Then my job is to help. Is to get people in front of our sales people who want to buy more and faster. Like it's just that simple. I got to build a world-class marketing organization that does that. And in the end helps the salespeople believe, wow, look at marketing is helping me do more and also convince them, Hey guys, when you listen to me and you do some things I'm asking you to do like social selling, which seems like some fruity stuff, but maybe it' s important , no, this is all in service of ringing the commission check for you  and the revenue bell.

 

 And that's,  that's how, our CRO and I. Like we came together quite nicely because it was super simple. Same  objective. Jim, how do I help you hit the number? Yup. Whether I formally own that number or informally just committed to it. I know he's got to go do it. So I've got to help him see, here's how I'm going to add a hundred million dollars to your pipeline so you can go hit the number. Yep. The board wants to hear. Yeah. So it's a hard one for me, cause it doesn't seem so complicated. Cause I know the CEO isn't measured on brand awareness. Yeah.

This all goes back to what you described as an early part of your career, which is that it started in sales and aligning yourself with, an understanding of how salespeople operate. What's important to them. Your willingness to collaborate with the CRO seems to be prerequisite for your ability to be successful in the things that you've done over the last several years.

And so that's definitely a takeaway that I'm hearing. You always hear the, the, what was the famous, there was a very famous phrase over the last couple of years, bridging the gap between sales and marketing. That seems so intuitive. What the heck are we talking about here to your point?

 

Like  the primary objective of corporation is grow revenue  in most cases. The key stakeholders are obviously need to be in alignment. That makes a ton of sense. I think actually it's more than a willingness, in this case, or I think in many cases, it's not just willingness, it's a prime directive.

And so if he's in, so I, I work with a CRO really talented CRO smart guy, but he operates from a position of skepticism, right? It is, I won't believe you that the stove is hot until I put my hand on the stove. Okay, great. Now I know that and my job is to go build an array of data and proof points to show him, Hey, this is how it works.

 

That's not just willingness. I've got a, I've got to figure out how to sell him and bring him along to get,  have him say, you know what? I want to come to the table because what I've got is a marketing organization and a marketing CMO who is my key partner, so that, because I also need him to do some things, I need to salespeople to adopt some behaviors or to support the activities because otherwise I'm going to do it all off.

 

Again. I go back to, I can generate a lot of leads if nobody picks them up, I'm just pitching into the backstop and it doesn't matter. Yeah. There's a trust. There's a trust that's built there. The other thing that, that sort of jumps out to me is,   The idea of instant gratification, I have this great idea for how we're going to transform the business and I want to execute it well. You're not always going to be able to just go and execute. You'll have to, you'll have to basically prove it. Maybe in, in small bits and pieces along the way to get the stakeholder buy-in required to execute the grander vision And there was plenty of pain, to, and you ask this, right? This was, one, I turned the demand gen engine off, so that is a race against time because, and I knew the whole thing was, and I kept saying this to my team. Okay.  We have the right plan. We have to survive long enough for it to really start bearing fruit.

 

And every year that goes by, yeah, they got that fruit better be getting riper and better and get more of that. Yeah, cause that is the race.  And last year, we had some. Tough moments. We had some wins and a bunch of losses. Sure. We just weren't quite, we weren't ready.

We weren't at full maturity where I could very confidently start to turn the flywheel and go from, a more reactive. Survival mode into a proactive leading mode. And that's really what's happened this year. I'm going to ask one more question. I promise we'll get back on track here, as you're going through the ups and the downs and you're experiencing the pain and you know that you have that ticking clock, how do you manage doubt?

 

As a leader, when you have an entire. Set of stakeholders that have bought into you. You said 95% turnover and new staff. You're the person that's saying we're turning off demand gen and I, and my, and we're going to execute this plan. How do you, as a leader and again, that's not related to growth, it's just personal.

How do you deal with doubt? When things don't go your way and in an acute situation I think, you have to be as much of a duck as possible,  calm on the surface, even if your legs are going crazy underneath. And there was a lot of that. There's a lot of that.

In my case I always, I really try to be thoughtful ahead of time. I'm not a, let's just jump in and do stuff. I don't come in with a preset. View of the universe. Not with any levels of specificity, I've gotten sort of big principles that I use, but, I took my time. To understand this organization, its culture the people, the problems.

 

And I try to do, like in any kind of transformation at whatever level it is, if you're like it's not life or death, but you're like a trauma surgeon, right?  You're the goal that you have to keep the patient alive long enough. To let, ultimately to let the patient heal itself.

 

Cause that's the real magic of medicine, right? These doctors don't actually save people. What they do is they prevent death so that the body can heal itself. And I think that's a lot of the mentality is how do I, how do I. Avoid death as long as possible, and just keep saving things and, keep a little bit more surgery and a little bit more repair and a little bit more healing until you can then move into, Hey, let's get strong and let's become an Olympic athletes.

And those kinds of things. I don't know that there's any magic other than I knew I had, I knew I had hired good people. I knew we'd been super thoughtful. About the end state. We were clear on the end state. And in some sense, I guess there's like a, how to founders know. If you have your idea and you're committed to it, you're going to have a lot of doubters and a lot of missteps along the way.

You've got to pivot you pivot appropriately. Don't just swing in the wind, but recognize when circumstances have changed or victory can come. This was some luck along the way, but luck is usually not missing. The things that happen in front of you, cause things are always happening that you can take advantage of.

 

And and then, and surviving the tough, there's gonna be some tough periods where it just doesn't go. Keep going back to are my principles, right? Is the narrative, is the end state, right? Yes. Okay. Then the only thing that needs to adjust is the path I take. How I, sometimes say this, I think this is the, to me, this is one of the keys to frankly, this could be about any conversation, but I think it's one of the keys to modern marketing, think of it like a GPS.

And so I live in Connecticut,  Lionbridge was headquartered in Massachusetts. And so I was driving up almost every week  to the Boston area. Every time I got in my car to go the same two things were true. My starting point was true. Say the same. And my destination was the same. And that was true every week for however many years, what  wasn't the same almost ever was the drive.

 

Yep. Traffic is different, wheather it's different construction is different and the GPS makes adjustments and it doesn't just make adjustment week to week. It makes adjustments drive to drive minute by minute in the drive. And that I think is modern marketing, right? The objective was clear, right?

 

The information is coming in real time. You're choosing what to adjust to what not to adjust to. Sometimes you can't control it. There's just a. 10 car pile up in front of you and you're going to get stuck. That's such a great analogy. That's such a great analogy. I really appreciate you sharing that.

That's a good one. And I'm going to be thinking about that one all weekend. I want to get into a campaign because a big part of what I'm hoping this. Podcast enables in the marketplace is a demystification of growth to some extent. And I think one of the easiest ways to convey that is by just sharing a specific play that you've run or a specific campaign that you've executed and talking a little bit about, perhaps what objective it set out to address and.

The methods and outcomes. Look at me and asking another four questions in one year which I guess is maybe my style or something. I just need to work out. But I'd love to get into that. And I think, you've built up the story of the last three years at Lionbridge and again, I think it sets you up for an ability to get on that offensive in 2020, in a year where perhaps many other companies.

 

Maybe caught flat-footed. But maybe we can talk a little bit about how you leverage the position you gained by working the last couple of years to put yourself in a position. And maybe we can get into a specific campaign that you think might be helpful for our audience to understand some of the tactics and some of the nuances to executing.

 

Yeah, no, 2020 has been so interesting, cause again, if take what we've lived through out of it for half a second. We were already teeing ourselves up for, this was the year of scale. We went into the budget season saying, all right, we've earned the right. We've learned a bunch of things.

Give us a bunch more money. I got a CRO who's basically saying. Okay, man, like I've been patient and you've done. Okay. But I really need you to be cranking this year. So that's how we're coming into the year. We're still negotiating some of that as we come into January. And as it turns out for us, and I think this was a little bit of luck, but played really well.

We actually have a facility in China, not too far from Wuhan. And so very early in January. We've got the flares going up because we're hearing word from the facility and as an organization. And again, this is, as I said earlier, luck is a lot about seeing what's in front of you and not missing it.

 

On multiple levels. The first is an organization. Yeah. Very quickly going into, okay. Is everybody okay? What do we do? This starts to raise the bigger question. Okay. What's our business continuity planning. For the facility in China. Now as weeks are going by and we're working through this suddenly it's geez, what's our business continuity plan generally because this thing might get bigger.

 

 And, We saw where we were strong, we had a few weaknesses as a leadership team, the CEO rallied all the leaders around and we are diving deep, could we go work from home? How would we pivot? How do we take care of employees? How do we operate? And  when the shutdowns happened, we literally got the last of the  laptops to the last crew in Mumbai before Modi shuts the country down.

And now I got 6,000 people operating,  from home and that was really early. So we weren't caught flat-footed by it and then having to respond to it because we responded to the signals and we pivoted. And that part of what that did was we then went through what we looked at.

And I said, every company is about to go through this. Every company is now about to. One have to think about how the heck do I start communicating with my global employees when I don't have local town halls. Oh, you know what they're going to need. They're going to need internal communications. So by the second week, maybe the third week of March, we launched our first campaign.

 

And it was free internal communications translation. It wasn't a big  it was a small dollar amount. I can't, but I promise you, we have multi-billion dollar corporations who send us thank you notes for what amounts to a couple of thousand dollars of a free product, because right there at the moment of pain, which is what any good marketing should do. I understand pain. I have a solution to your pain it isn't here buy my stuff, you have pain. I have solved. And so that was the very first thing was a little free offer for internal communications because we knew everybody was going to be going through it.

 

And we had hundreds of customers take us up on that. And we knew right on the other end of that was going to be external communications. So the first thing I would do was get all their employees together. Okay. Here's what working from home looks like. How do we take care of everybody? We have to rewrite policies and then quickly it was going to be okay, what do we do about customers?

 

And there we were with our next campaign offer. And again, part of this was mirroring what our own journey was because we had been leading, but we also could get the sense that this was happening and we quickly pivoted that to offense. And so my next campaign out is free external communications.

Offer along with a money back guarantee, which isn't something you see a lot in this industry. If you have a problem with one of your other providers and you want to switch to Lionbridge, we have a rapid 60 day onboarding program with a money back guarantee. If it doesn't work out for you. So what do I do? I know you might have a problem. We could, we actually, we're starting to hear. From some customers that some other providers hadn't been prepared to work from home and do some of the other things. Now they needed help. Could we help? We said, great. Let's tell everybody we can help. And by the way, we will de-risk for you, which everybody needed in this environment was to de-risk it.

 

So again, very self-serving on one level, but very. Also meeting the pain of, wow, I'm an organization. How do I find a new vendor really quick? Can I dig into these a little bit? I'm so sorry to interrupt you, but but there's some interesting things there. So your initial offers were made to, it sounds like your existing customer base is that right? Now what we put it out in the broad universe. In fact, we turned on, we started. We probably spent more in March on digital advertising than we had in almost any other month in the previous two years of my team, except for one past we had run, but we'd running a relatively low burn. But we were ready.

We were already transitioning to more digital.  Engagement and media spend anyway that was already the plan for this year, based on, the data we had learned about some of the other tactics or all of our tactics set. And we said, this is the best way for us. The best mix is primarily digital. And then of course it became all digital,  this year, but it was it wasn't just internal. We knew if I put it out there, Everybody was gonna need it. And so I could use it both for new logo acquisition, as well as my existing customer base.

 

What were the, it's another two-part question. What were the channels that you found or that you executed and found to be relatively successful? And the second part of that question is you mentioned you're service oriented. Business model are the channels that you executed in uniquely optimized for your specific business? The translation services business or in general, do service centric businesses execute within similar channels? I don't know if that question makes no, it does. So let me take the second one first.  I'm not sure that. Across most let's stick with B2B buyers for a second. It'd be a little simpler just to put it inside of that box.

And I always, I do my own belly button research on this. Okay. How do I find new vendors? What am I doing? I'm trolling through Google. I'm reading a couple of content specific sites. I'm going through thought leadership and analysis, etc. And none of this is rocket science, right?

 There's hopefully nothing I say today is rocket science. This is, what's simple to understand. Isn't easy to execute. Necessarily and, so much of this is just fundamentals and basic, right. Everything I talk about  is like such a game of fundamentals.

 

And, we talked about this before. I'm a, I'm a new England guy, I'm a Patriots fan  part of what I think makes Bill Belicheck. So great is just about and  Nick Saban for that matter. And those guys are buddies. What do they do? Unbelievable stress on the fundamentals. Don't give away the easy stuff. And then hopefully you're in a position to take advantage of the big stuff as opposed to go for the big stuff. So what were we doing? B2B buyers,  they're consuming so much information. Trying to be smarter, but they're also overwhelmed by information. So now you've got to go back even pre-campaign we set a strategy where we said, look, globalization is actually still  growing as a concept.

 

Most companies actually operate as multinationals, not as globals. Okay. So  they start  to think about go back to the Apple example. That's real globallity, right? Every market one day, as opposed to the old days where, the iPhone would be announced. And then four months later, it'd be available in America and six months after that it'll be available in the UK etc, and cause it's very slow cascading rollout across the globe.That is not the world that we live in right now. I think about 2020, right? The digital landscape is flat and you put it on your us website. Every customer around the globe can see it. So 7 billion people are watching whether you want to or not, because we no longer have this sort of the geographic boxes.

 

But, we're not limited by physicality.  And even almost time, I can publish it now in a few hours, somebody's going to see it in Asia kind of thing. And so that's a little bit of a different mentality. So we knew we needed to be a very content led value, ad story that we then look to syndicate propagate and then amplify, right?

For me, media is just a way that we get our thought leadership and our content and our ideas out in front of more eyes, draw you in and get you into a conversation with one of our salespeople who can understand your circumstance and match it. So that gets to. The channels we knew  I'd spent years, the last two years building up and massive content repository.

I've now got lots of ammunition to work with. Now. I say, great. What is it that people are talking about right now? Let's amplify that in some sense, because of where we were in our journey. But I think this is partly about discipline. Two is we had really spent last couple of years, optimizing SEO and doing it in 10 languages.

 

And we are, we're killing it, especially relative to our industry who haven't paid as much attention. So I'm already where are people going to go when they're stuck at home? Yeah, they're going to the search engines. I'm already in the catbird seat. Before I've even started to spend a dime of media because we've optimized for that. And then we said, great so let's start with the engines and let's amplify where we're having success. Where can we find buyers? We know. Okay, great. So let's move over into LinkedIn where I can go by. I can do named accounts and I can target buyers. And again, every industry to your point will be a little different.

The right home for different industries probably, but really where I think that happens is in the next year where I start to say, okay, where do I find other places? Find those buyers, is it on, the, whatever, is it the MarTech. Community is it the the localization buyer community? Is it the, we serve many verticals.

 

We do. We support games, publishers. So you got Xbox and PlayStation, that went out this year. Okay. Where am I going to find those guys who are building.  Minecraft in, a hundred languages or whatever, whatever the hot game is.  And we've worked on a bunch of them, if you're playing a game, not in English the odd is really good we've helped with it. And so we've got different buyers in different places, but they're all going to be on Google and bing. Many of them would be on LinkedIn with a few regional differences. There's different one in Korea.

But we tiered it out that way. And we've really leaned in hard to those core tactics. And we haven't gotten asymptotic yet. So we were just having this conversation about next year's budget, where we can see, yeah, I could spend probably twice as much money, still have a commensurate growth in the pipeline and we'll hit saturation at some point, but we haven't hit it yet.

 

I hope that answers the question. It totally does. It totally does. And I, and one of the things I'm enjoying so much about this conversation is just learning more about your business. It seems so, the idea of having the website in 10 different languages, for instance I don't know, obviously, right? Like it makes a ton of sense. You're a translation services company, like duh, like that makes obvious sense. Okay. So let's go back. Cause, cause I think what's so interesting so far about this 2020 approach number one, it leverages a digitally transformed marketing organization, which we've talked about a little bit here, but number two,  it's fascinating that you would've had an office.

 

Like near Wuhan by the way.  That's mind blowing. I can still remember in February, I was believe it or not in India for a wedding. And that's a country over from China and it still wasn't real yet. There was no sanitizers at the airports or anything like that. So it's interesting that you have that little bit of lead time because there's still a lot of confusion. I feel like here in the States, but then you start pivoting your, or you start spinning up these. These sort of really relevant campaigns for the situation. How did they pan out? Did you get some early success buy-in? These seem like things that naturally like to one of your earlier points about digital transformation, that this might be the time that sort of. Catalyzes a lot of that in, in many organizations. So these, I'm assuming as a lay person here, that these would have been successful how would you judge that? And they they were, and one of the beauties of the digital channels. If you constructed it, is you get pretty instantaneous sense of what's working and what's not working. Do we get take-up absolutely right. I can see the traffic, I can see the lead flows. And I get an, I even just have even anecdotal sense is the Salesforce feeling like. Activity is happening, right? Because sometimes you can see stuff in the salespeople for whatever reason still aren't feeling it.

 

So it's a little bit of art and science here. And, one of the things we did our CEO did very early, was set up daily. Stand-ups all across the organization. But we did it in marketing. And actually all, we ended up going all the way through the year with it, 30 minutes every day with my team.

We, and we, we started really ad hoc and a lot of it was just. So that we could have, I could get it. We can have instantaneous response. What was he hearing? What was he feeling? What were we seeing? And if I needed more budget or we needed to pivot a tactic, there was no delays and decisions or those kinds of things.

 

So CEO, CRO, and me with some part of my team on the phone every day for 30 minutes, usually at the start of the day. And again, we started that at crisis response. And after about two months, Cause that's a lot of work prepping for those meetings and etc. I said, Hey, can we stop this now? And they actually said, no. They're like, this is our favorite meeting of the day. You guys, you come in, we've got data, we're being responsive. We're affecting the business. It's smart. It's thoughtful. I said, okay we're going to have to organize this a little bit differently. And so we ended up picking themes, right?

 

Monday was sales enablement. And text that conversations. Tuesday was all about paid media. Wednesday was all about sort of the content plan. Here's what's been published. Here's what's resonating. Here's what we have in the queue. Kind of thing, right? Thursday was a vertical dive, Friday was, about our core business and really thinking about campaigns end to end so that we weren't  looking at just little pieces of the marketing stack and that ebbs and flows. And now you think about go back to the revenue. The growth mindset, the revenue objective and how many organization. And I didn't have, and, I think our CEO would say he didn't come into the year with a great understanding of the team or a lot of the tactical mechanisms of how marketing works.

 

It was not his background. The kinds of companies who've come from, etc. And and he's. I, it had been wildly successful. Oh, this is why you guys do this. Oh, that really is quite impactful. I can be quite helpful over here.  And so now you've got real tight alignment that makes budgeting conversations, strategic conversations, so much easier.

I can get a sense from him if something's pivoting, right? The board is, shifting or something happens in a new direction and I can have my team bonds. And that gets to the heart of. I think one of the other key things, we talk about agile marketing. Lots of people are trying to move faster. How many people can respond that quickly? That is that's. Do you have the right people? Do you have the right process? Have you even, do you even have a mindset that says, how do I both take data in not be buffeted by every wind? That cause you don't want to do that either. Cause you, you do get because you want some consistency. And we even had to work with them to understand, Hey, I can't change this campaign every week. Like I can't write content that fast  and a week isn't enough for you to know we're gonna have good weeks and bad weeks. It's the stock market there's no  soft for my stock market days.

 

Watching the stock, market's like watching a man walk up a hill while he's playing with a yo-yo. Everybody focuses on the yo-yo and misses the fact that he's very slowly walking up the hill marketing's a little like that. And so even in the weird year where we wanted to be highly responsive, we wanted to make sure we were still walking up the Hill. Absolutely. And the process. And I think going back to the GPS example, having a good sense of key verticals, key buyers, we knew, for example, like we have a bunch of travel and hospitality clients. We knew exactly what was going to happen there. It was just a question of time before revenue went.

And we still, okay. How do we reach out to them and be supportive, knowing that we want them to  survive and come out the other end and they will come out the other end. We want to be a strategic partner, but I'm going to approach that quite differently than, all of a sudden, every retailer discovering that e-commerce is the most important thing ever.

 

I hate that it took 2020 for some people to have that realization, but they did now, how do I make sure that wherever you are in your journey, as you're waking up to global multi-lingual e-commerce you start? I've never thought about international SEO. Oh, I better. Cause by the way, how somebody searches for the same product in German is not how they search in English. And so just translating the content, doesn't just work, but  you have to rewrite your whole content strategy to pull that off. And so that, go back again, simple stuff. I knew, we knew our customers it's the same set of customers, and we just were turning dials who was going to likely buy more stuff who would likely buy a little less, what was their pain?

 

How do we anticipate and help? And how do we be ready? And make sure that they know that we're there to help. Cause again, in these days we didn't, nobody knew what the status of their vendors were. Can you take more capacity? Can you help me? And we had a few, like I said, we had a few competitors who at various points in the year slipped and as soon as we heard it, boom, instantaneous campaign going straight at that we're here.

 

We're ready. Come onboard. We can take your capacity.  It's just fascinating to hear all of this because the patient that you need to keep alive sort of analogy. It sounds to me that, this year, maybe you had them, with their IV drip walk into the bathroom. Okay. And then maybe they're starting to shed that even and put their socks on and maybe go for a jog outside. Cause it sounds like. You have a game plan going into 2021 that is oriented around optimizing for the situation, which is just the reality that companies are being forced to move. Digital and in doing so are now operating on a global scale, thereby creating a massive opportunity for Lionbridge and in your industry in general, by the way. Yes. And which, by the way, this has been true for 20 years. And this will sound like a quick aside, but I. I think about this a lot. There's a great documentary on Netflix about general magic. I don't know if general magic. You might have to be as old as me to remember general  magic, but general magic was the original was the first sort of PDA smartphone.

 

And it's like 1989. That's how long back it goes. What's fascinating about general magic. One is it's a compelling story, two everything you know about mobility, smartphones, iOS, Android, iPod, etc. Everything you can. All the people, the team that they assembled in the early nineties, all went on literally to lead Google, lead, Apple, lead, Microsoft, etc.

 

They were way out ahead of their. The consumer, they were way out in front of the technology. And it's one of these 1950s world fair videos when you watch this and you realize like these guys created emojis. They saw everything. The world just wasn't ready and globalization is a phenomenon.

 

I can make the argument that almost everything we're going through right now in the world. All started in the late nineties, late eighties and early nineties was the internet goes commercial. We start to move into a software world, you get the Wintel Alliance. We cell phones really start to jump the shark, and gets, get small enough to get the world trade organization.

 

You get the EU, the ISI, the EU and  the Euro China and India. Start to modernize and pick up the, all the outsourcing deals. And so really what we have is, we're 30 years in now to this great big globalization phenomenon, which is where the company got founded. We're founded in the mid nineties. With this vision probably ahead of its time. And it sailed along with it. And and you really, as I go back, because it is our 25th anniversary next year, so we're doing a lot of studying of the history and you get to see, wow, these guys were so right, but there's so many general magic moments just ahead of the curve that then put, if you're patient to your 

point we know the vision is right. It's frustrating that it doesn't necessarily catch up cause it never goes at the pace you want. This year, what a catalytic event to wipe out all the resistance because the buyers are ready. We're becoming digital.  Here's a stat that I love to throw out  that I think, blows my mind every time I say it, half  the US workforce is pretty much under the age of 45.

 

If I like, if I go to 43 and this isn't been the US workforce, it works for Western nations, writ large. Okay. That's a generation born after 1977, which means their entire adult life. So you dominate information, organizational paradigm is Google or is search. Okay. Think about that. Half the work for us when they need something.

 

Their first thought is to search for it. Yep. How many companies have organized, have thought about their content and the buying process, starting with search as the dominant input sets. And that part of is how we structured the strategy is thinking that through now it's all coming together and.

Don't miss the picture that comes across the plate. Absolutely. Absolutely. You've worked the last three years to get to this opportunity, this point. And it sounds to piggyback on the baseball analogy, it's teed up for you. So that's really exciting. Jaime  you've been super generous with your time. I promise I just have one or two questions left just to wrap up here and then I'll let you on your Merry way. If you've got the time. I do, let's go. I'll keep it super brief. Yeah. The first question of the last two is and just thinking about growth as a subject matter as a sort of a business objective, I feel like what does it really mean? And so one of the goals that I have in having these conversations is trying to understand from folks like you, like when you come into Lionbridge three years ago, Are you coming in, looking at the business, how it's operated for the previous 21 years and coming up with a set of goals, objectives, KPIs, strategies, based on what you're observing, or when you think about growth, do you have a set of guidelines and principles that you maintain or you've developed and that you believe in that you bring to frankly, any organization or growth opportunity that you might be addressing?

 

How do you think about that? So I think about that a couple of ways.  Think a younger version of me. Who would have been really quick to throw. Everything from the past out and come in with a mindset, Hey, we're going to, we're going to figure this out. It's all going to be forward etc.  And I've had enough experience now and a few opportunities to, to operate differently. And I think  it's a challenge for, some really young, smart guys to understand how much value there is and the history and the heritage and my mindset coming in.

 

It was really an inquisitive one. And after just a couple of weeks here cause, cause I could look at the numbers were not great. The story was not awesome. The PE firm was able to buy, Lionbridge for frankly a discount because the numbers hadn't been great. So the numbers suggested a lot of problems.

 

When we dug in and underneath, I said to my boss, I remember saying this just a couple of weeks. And I said, I can feel it already. If you ask, there's not a question we'll come up with or an idea that we're going to come up with that hasn't been asked here before. And doesn't have a very thoughtful set of responses or a response.

 

If we dig around, we're going to find it all here. Here's some really smart, really talented people. They are where they are for a whole host of reasons. It wasn't for lack of vision or understanding customers or some of that other stuff, which was great. What we had was great ingredients that hadn't necessarily been.

 

Prepared into a good meal. And I'd rather have that, there wasn't like a great veneer and hollowness and toxicity underneath. It was the opposite. It was like the, I joked it was like the high schooler who thinks they're ugly. So they're huddled, in a hoodie hiding and they're convinced they're horrible, but actually they're really awesome and beautiful underneath.

Yeah. Yeah.  They just needed to be re-convinced of it and, we had some execution issues, etc.  And so that I think was super important was to really understand what you have. And then I think that, which gets to the second piece of the perspective, I don't have a set playbook because every situation is different.

I tell this to my team all the time, like you want to sit in my seat, do not follow my career path. Because that was my career path that worked for me and the time and the situations learn what you need to learn from it and then adapt it for your time and your situation and your personality, what works for me, risks.

 

I will take with my career, you shouldn't or won't be comfortable with.  And I'll go back to the Bill Belichick example, because I think it's part of what makes him so successful. And I like to try to incorporate. Really is, you can only work with what you've got. You've got the players, you've got the people, you've got the circumstances, you've got the industry, you've got the tools you've got, etc, trying to force that into a prefabbed system.

 

You can do it.  I think the odds of success are a lot less than if again, I've got principles. There are key things. I know the buyer is the buyer and the buyer is going to be digitally centric and the buyers going to be retained centric. And I can bring that anywhere. That is, if there's a universal playbook, it's.

 

Modern marketing principles. What we know about buyers, that should be true everywhere. What I really then need to see is, okay, what are the levers here? What are the ingredients? Where can I get wins? Where can I stop bleeding? And I healed the patient a little bit and where can I buy myself time to find the places where we'll have real success, or we can find real advantages and bring the organization and the position that when.

 

The, when the matrix all becomes clear and it all dials in I'm ready and my team is ready and then the organization is ready and I go back to, we were set up to, I think, have a good 2020. No matter what the universe saw fit to give me a set of conditions that were even better than I could have asked for in some ways, because it's stripped, to the extent again, my sales folks were just beginning to do social selling, but Hey, I can just get on a plane and go meet with people.

Now I can't. So the resistance is less, Oh, I have a solution for you to help and so on and so forth. And I think part of why that works is, I may have said this to you before. I think a lot of people are going to the Kabuki theater of modernization, there's a lot of customer centricity written in annual reports from organizations.

 

None of us would describe as actually customer centric. Lots of marketers who talk about agility, they talk about digital, they talk about customer centricity. They talk about being data-driven and so on and so forth. Talk is cheap.  And it turns out that a lot of not great behavior or not real adaptation was hiding underneath just most sheer momentum.

And then in one fell swoop. The momentum got like just completely eliminated. And I spend, I took the time this year to spend a lot of time with my peers and these round tables and councils, etc, partially because I really wanted to learn like, how are other people adapting, etc, and what I really learned was we were right.

 

And the principals we sat and we had put ourselves in a good position and a lot of people were frozen or not sure, or suddenly found themselves needing a two year turnaround, but having two weeks to do it. Yeah. And which I think goes back to fundamentals, stick to your fundamentals, adapt to your situation, work with what you have commit to your plan execute, execute.

Yep. Just to recap what I heard you say, there are two things that stood out to me. Number one was, again, this idea of sustaining yourself long enough to see the long tail effect of the effort that you're putting in. So basically winning small battles with the victory of war, on the horizon.

And then the second one, and this is a lame phrase, but success equals. Opportunity plus preparation. And you've, that's how I bet you could describe You know what you're confronting and going through as an organization, right? Like I said folks look for magic bullets and magic pills.

 

And it almost always is just fundamentals  and a lot of it's paying attention, right? If I look forward, we all know, right? Like our whole lives are about to change with data privacy. GDPR was the first torpedo in the water and it's had some effect. But it's, we're just starting to really feel it, CCPA is on its way, frankly.

 

COVID distracted. A lot of us from what's happening underneath the new European, digital protections are going to take this even a step forward and how many people are ready, really ready for the first party world for  we've been lucky. I could get information about you.

Whether you wanted to give it to me or not. Which allowed for a lot of lazy marketing. What's going to happen when I actually have to earn the right. I have to get you to give it to me now, which is going back to the old days. Really. We all know it's coming. It's actually, it's the old William Gibson line.

 

The future's already here just unevenly distributed. This has been coming for a couple of years. How many people are really prepped for it? Oh, I don't have to worry about that yet, etc.  So it's just understand your environment. Lay your foundations, do the basics. Just  learning a ton today.

 

I appreciate that. The last thing you mentioned, the round tables for folks listening to this today, who are some of your peers that you recommend they pay attention to? Is there a particular marketer that comes to mind to call,  that you admire look up to or someone that we should pay attention to?

 

Oh man, there are so many good people out there, I think, yeah. Oh boy. Latane Conant  at 6 ense  I think is, got a super good sense of the space she's led, with Matt Heinz, some really great, Friday morning regular meetings actually wish I'd been able to participate in more of those.

 

They just kept colliding against them, internal stuff.  Who else Mark Tack who's actually sitting really as  a fractional CMO now he was at Integrate for awhile.  And we'll get really focused on this idea of revenue enablement. Another guy who's in that category, Steve DiOrio, who's done some really amazing work on marketing accountability and revenue enablement, in  fact, he's just created the Revenue Enablement  Institute and.

I could go on there's. There's so many, there's so many really good smart folks out there that,  just try to take the best of what they've got and adapt it to, again, to my principles and my situation, not some of it's great and I can't use it. And that doesn't mean I shouldn't learn it.

Yeah, it goes to, what people talk about a lot, but I still don't think a lot of people do, which is you have to be in continuous learning mode. And you think about how much we've all learned just in 2020. I think it's leaking out of my ears. So much good stuff so quickly. And hopefully will be a little less frenetic pace in 2021. Yeah. Yeah. I was like I don't think leaking from your ears is a symptom of COVID, but  maybe it is in some capacity, neither here nor there.  I really appreciate you sharing that.

 

I think there's a couple of names on the list that I recognize  and one or two that I don't, so I'm looking forward to researching that. And I think to your point, I've personally learned. A lot in the last an hour or so. So I really do appreciate your time. One thing I'll leave you with is I met you in person at this event in Chicago, and I don't know how many people with a C in their title spent all day at a booth talking to prospects.

 

One-on-one I recognize that about you and certainly admire that and respect that about you. But just wanted to let you know that I feel that way because we're there, but  we're a relatively small company, but for you to be there talking to customers, prospects all day, I think is probably goes back to that initial theme of alignment between sales and marketing.

You're basically selling at that point.  Yeah, thank you. And I think that one goes even more right. Which is be close to your customer. And I'm certainly not the first to do this, I love the stars of, guys like Ned Johnson, who was,  the CEO of Fidelity for so many years, he was on the, when the call center, when the calls were coming in, he's in the calls taken like there is no, I think this is always the challenge of being an executive.

 

Is getting too far away from the edge. And whatever that is, whether that's, you use  a military hierarchy anywhere,  anywhere, you've got a hierarchy. And I actually think with the fluid environment that we have right now, so many new disciplines and things, and so many coming down the pike that, the, I think one of the things that has made me successful is just about everything we're doing.

 

I built. As a more junior person in some way, shape or form, right? Whether it was social media or it was digital or, experiences or plans or products, or what have you, my team, can tell you, I will go down to five feet. And debate,  various, very specific thing. I can't obviously do that with everything. I can't do that with everything, but I can, which gives me an understanding. And so I think things like that event are, I can't be there 365 days a year. But can I take a couple of days out of the year to go sit there and say, okay, so here's all the stuff we created and we set up, how's it going?

 

What's the response. That's real-time data input for me to then go back and take that context. And either it's a pulse check that says, Hey, wow, we are really right on it. Or might even be the slightest pivot. Of a story or something that ultimately allows me to scaleably and leverage, create, leverage throughout the organization with this little pivot, because I align it just a little bit better.

 

Yeah. Knowledge and credibility, I think is the other thing, is that when you get that close, When you could pick up the phone and talk to customer that carries a lot of water, I think as you were guiding an organization I do pride myself and I tell the sales, but you want me on the phone with a customer anytime, any day, anywhere I'm there to support you and help tell this story, etc.

And again, I think with that revenue mindset, of course, that's what the organization needs to sell. Sign me up. And it's easy. I, this is little like,  say this, the CRO has to come along for the ride. Some will some won't everybody, in divorce divorced, you can have a friendly divorce.

Why, if you say the kids are really the most important thing, everybody says it. Do you live it if you hold that principle high, it's actually quite easy. So things like going to spend a day in a booth, super simple, if revenue is the most important thing, understanding customers is the most important thing.

 

And so on and so forth because you get real clarity of purpose at that point. Absolutely. Otherwise it's just a Kabuki theater. Hey, there's the Kabuki theater. That's exactly right. Which is unfortunately where too many people are. They're either too distance or it is the appearance of whatever, not the actuality. Jaime, I really appreciate your time today. I enjoyed this conversation tremendously. I feel I learned a lot about your business, about your approach about some of your tactics this year. And  I'm excited to be able to share this with our audience.  So thank you again for your time. Thanks for having me. I love doing these particularly good when there's good questions and in a nice back and forth. And so this has been great. I'm happy to come back anytime and, whatever crazy ideas are in my head. Yeah. And I'm sure there are other amazing stories to share as well.

 

So we may take you up on that anytime. So Jaime wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas stay well and safe, and we'll catch you in the New Year. All right. And the same to you and yours and to everybody in the audience. Thanks, Bob. All right, take care. You too.

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