B2B Innovators Series: Bill Macaitis

August 29, 2014

After stints at Salesforce.com, Fox Interactive Media, and Zendesk, here is one key thing Bill Macaitis has learned: “I’m a hundred percent data-driven, customer-focused believer,” he said. “I think those words really sum up the new paradigm.” In 2012, Macaitis jumped at the chance to be the CMO at Zendesk, a cloud customer service software company, because it offered the unusual opportunity to build a data-driven, customer-focused marketing team without having to grapple with any legacy silos.Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 1.02.48 PM

“The primary reason I came there was they didn’t really have a big marketing organization,” he said. “It’s really kind of a rare chance to build a marketing org almost from scratch. It’s a new age marketing organization that doesn’t have any traditional silos... I came to build the most sophisticated B2B marketing team ever.” Macaitis recently left Zendesk after helping the company to a successful IPO. He talked with us about how he built his data-driven, customer-focused marketing team at Zendesk.

LinkedIn: What was the first step you took in building the new marketing organization at Zendesk?

Bill Macaitis: We made a couple of really big investments. One of the first teams we created was a dedicated content team. We hired about six full time content people. All they focused on was creating content left and right. We also gave them a significant budget. I said, you can use this for freelancers, you can use this to localize content, you can use this for infographics, for images, for whatever you need. We create the content to target people higher up on the funnel, to create an early interaction with them, to start to build the relationship.

LinkedIn: And what was the next step?

Macaitis: The second was the analytics team. They were the guardians to building the marketing technology stack. They were in charge of all the attribution, the reporting, a lot of the insight, and training the rest of the team to use the tools. They make sure that they are leveraging all the data out there. We built out a pretty sophisticated marketing technology stack. There are about 32 different pieces in the stack.

LinkedIn: What are the cornerstone pieces of the Zendesk marketing stack?

Macaitis: We use Infer specifically for lead scoring. We’re moving over to Eloqua for lead nurturing. We use Optimizely for website optimization. I think the cornerstone is something that not a lot of people pay attention to, attribution. We use Convertro for attribution and it has given us tremendous insight into our marketing spend. Attribution, especially here in B2B marketing, is so important because so much of the buyer’s research comes before a person arrives at your site. You have to interact with them 10, 20, 30 times before they even became a lead. We see where someone will interact with our brand and content via paid display ads, e-mail, paid social, organic social, SEO, and SEM. With Convertro, we saw how much display really was a big influencer for us.

LinkedIn: I wanted to return to content marketing. How would you describe content marketing as part of a data-driven approach?

Macaitis: In the past, when you thought of content you would think very qualitative assessments. Was this content good or not? I like that article, or I dislike that article. Now, what data allows you to do is understand the types of content you create: What it is that’s actually resonating, and how can you actually translate that to leads opportunities, pipeline, and revenue. We look at here are the 50 pieces of content we created, which ones actually drove the most leads? Which ones actually drove the most pipeline? Which ones drove the biggest deals? Which ones helped accelerate the deal velocity? Which ones allowed us to get giant deals that made our quarter? There are really interesting lessons to be learned, and it’s not an arbitrary process or a philosophical call.

This post was originally published on the Bizo blog. In July 2014, LinkedIn + Bizo joined forces to build the most robust B2B marketing platform available to marketers. To learn more, check out David Thacker, VP of Product at LinkedIn’s announcement blog post.