We’re highlighting some of the best and brightest marketers in one of the country’s hottest tech hubs (and sharing their favorite growth hacking secrets to boot).
Gone are the days when Austin was considered an “up-and-coming” tech hub city. With a flourishing ecosystem that boasts some of the tech world’s fastest growing companies, several high-profile IPOs (HomeAway, BazaarVoice, RetailMeNot, Indeed.com), and an influx of venture capital, it’s safe to say that, as a tech scene, Austin has arrived.
So it’s only natural that in our search for the best startup marketing talent across the country, Austin’s “Silicon Hills” would be one of our first stops. See our picks for the Top Demand Gen Marketers in Boston here.
The ten professionals below represent the new face of B2B marketing — a demanding hybrid of old-school know-how, new-school data science, and critical technical and analytical expertise required to optimize the process of generating qualified sales pipeline and driving revenue growth. The backgrounds of the people who fill these demand gen roles tend to be varied, but they all share a common purpose: improving brand awareness, facilitating solution discovery, increasing buyer interest, and, ultimately, driving more sales.
The Top B2B Demand Gen Marketers in Austin
Scroll through the list below to see some of the top demand generation marketing professionals in the Austin area, along with their favorite growth tips, hacks, or tactics.
Amanda McGuckin Hager, PeopleAdmin
What She Does
A long-time resident of Austin, Amanda is a B2B technology marketer with over 19 years of experience. She is currently the Senior Director of Product Marketing at PeopleAdmin, the leader in talent management solutions for Higher Education and Government. Amanda developed her business acumen by repeatedly scaling metrics and creating value for a number of VC-backed startups and established technology companies. Amanda believes in integrity, the value of community, and the power of connection.
Amanda’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“When building a business, know that marketing’s main objective is to help drive flow into the sales funnel. When you are building a marketing plan, organization, and/or business, it’s your responsibility to create value, deliver it, and capture the return.
My one of my favorite tactics for startups is press coverage. As a startup, no one knows you exist! Getting to the top of the highest hill and shouting down to as many of your prospects as possible can be very valuable for driving flow into the pipeline. We could talk at length of how to get that done — in-house, with a boutique agency, a PR consultant, a high-end firm — there are lots of options. You’ll need to assess which is best for you and your organization.
Finally, be sure to map your sales funnel out, and shake hands with sales to agree on the definition of a ‘lead’ or a ‘marketing qualified lead’ or a ‘sales qualified lead’ — call it what you will. The point is, you need to agree on what gate the lead passes through before the hand off between sales and marketing. Is it a demo request, a ‘contact us’ form, a download of a white paper, a call-in to support? Whatever it is, put that call-to-action everywhere. And I mean everywhere — your press release boiler plate, in every email, on every webpage, on every piece of collateral. You’d be surprised at how many opportunities to drive pipeline are overlooked.”
Connect with Amanda on Twitter @Shoogie and her LinkedIn.
Lara Hendrickson, Umbel
What She Does:
Lara Hendrickson is currently the Director of Marketing at data rights management platform Umbel, where she oversees comprehensive marketing strategy. Prior to Umbel, she launched thought leadership program The Hiring Lab at Indeed.com, and ran global marketing communications and press at Dachis Group (acq. Sprinklr). Lara has a passion for creating brand buzz, with a simultaneous focus on hard metrics. She has never met a board game she couldn’t win.
Lara’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“For so long in my career, I worried about publishing only the hardest hitting blog posts, the smartest sounding white papers, the most thought provoking emails. And it was debilitating, and not always scalable in an inbound heavy model.
“Once I inevitably ran out of things to write about, I still had a content calendar to which I needed to contribute, and so I started writing copy I found more personally compelling. Interestingly enough, I found time and again that when I inserted my personality into my content, or even just wrote a lighthearted blog post, people responded favorably. ‘Smartest guy in the room’ certainly has its place, but it’s okay to mingle that with your own voice and personality. Behind every business is a consumer, and most consumers won’t run from a relatable voice.”
Connect with her on Twitter @larahendrickson and on LinkedIn.
Doug Kern, nFusion
What He Does
Doug Kern is Director of Marketing at nFusion, a digital marketing agency in Austin that helps brands create change and transform their marketing efforts. Prior to nFusion, Doug was VP of Marketing for Dachis Group, a social analytics software company acquired by Sprinklr. In a previous life, Doug raced sailboats with two lifelong friends as part of the US Olympic Team.
Doug’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“My favorite lead-gen hack is something I call ‘the Great Recycling Play’. Start with a meaty piece of top-of-funnel content, like a webinar, and recycle the content in large and small chunks to fuel your inbound marketing. Place the webinar replay video and slide deck on the landing page. Upload the slides to Slideshare. Peel off the webinar audio into an mp3 and have it transcribed, and repurpose the bits into a white paper, blog post, LinkedIn post, and contributed article.
“Starting with something like a webinar instead of a whitepaper or eBook works well since many find that putting together a slide deck and talking through the key points is easier than writing the content from scratch. As with any hack like this, you’ll want to take advantage of marketing automation platforms to test performance and trigger immediate, personalized responses to optimize your lead generation program. Happy recycling!”
Connect with Doug on Twitter @doug_kern and his LinkedIn.
Kirsten Knipp, Bigcommerce
What She Does
Kirsten Knipp serves as Bigcommerce’s Vice President of Marketing, Product Marketing, and Brand. She and her team of brand, creative, and product marketers are tasked with educating and empowering clients to build business dreams via their own online stores. Prior to joining Bigcommerce, Knipp held sales and marketing leadership roles at Solarwinds and HubSpot, where she led the creation of HubSpot’s Inbound Conference, a massive industry event for marketing professionals. In 2012, she was named one of SLMA’s 20 Women to Watch.
Kirsten’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“There’s inbound and there’s paid — and many think they shouldn’t mix. But in my eyes, taking your best inbound content that is resonating organically and converting well and then applying paid promotion to it is a no-brainer. Companies should not create silos between the two. Rather, test organic content and then ‘juice’ your best material with systems like Outbrain, DemandMedia, and classic PPC to get the most lift and yield possible.
“As always, compare the ROI to other channels to ensure its a good bet, but don’t assume inbound means you can’t give your content a little boost at times.”
Connect with Kirsten on Twitter @kirstenpetra and on LinkedIn.
Sarah Moore, Spredfast
What She Does
Sarah is Director of Revenue Marketing at Spredfast, the leading social relationship platform. Recently merged with Mass Relevance, Spredfast helps brands and media companies engage any audience, anywhere — at the speed of now. Sarah leads the company’s global demand gen programs across all channels. She’s been immersed in Austin’s technology boom since the early stages, with deep experience driving the sales and marketing engines at Socialware, Lombardi Software, and more.
Sarah’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“I’m a big believer that delivering great social experiences is key to building lasting relationships. Social media is the new wave in demand gen, there’s no question. No other channel lets you have more meaningful conversations with your current and future customer base.
“Remember that someone is talking about your company at this very moment. Scan social media for mentions of your brand, your product or service, even the competition. Conduct ongoing keyword searches to find prospects who aren’t specifically mentioning you. You can turn any of these opportunities into conversions by engaging in a timely, real-life and appropriate way. And with our new Spredfast Spark, you can keep a pulse on social trends and conversations worldwide, to uncover more moments to connect and stay relevant.
“What’s more, with its immediacy and all of the metrics at your disposal, social can teach you the best way to reach, nurture, and convert your audience. No other digital channel can match that.”
Connect with Sarah on Twitter @sedmoore and on LinkedIn.
Kate Morris, Outspoken Media
What She Does
Kate Morris is the Director of Client Strategies for Outspoken Media. She has been a digital marketer for over a decade, specializing in search engine marketing. She has worked with multiple kinds of companies over the years, from big brands like Staples and EA, to startups like Lookout Mobile Security, and small companies alike.
Kate’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“Know the big events in your space and right before that event and during (a few weeks before is fine usually), purchase PPC advertising around the name of the event. It’s a great way to get your brand and products in front of people looking for the event information before they get to the event.
“This works great for industry conferences for B2B companies as well. Case in point, try a search for ‘SMX Advanced agenda’ in Google. It’s one of the biggest events in search and there was no advertising even on the first day!”
Connect with Kate on Twitter @katemorris and her LinkedIn.
Megan Neely, RetailMeNot
What She Does
Currently in a new role as Channel Marketing Manager at RetailMeNot, Megan previously served as the Director of Marketing & Platform Partnerships at Get Smart Content, where she managed the digital marketing team and guided all campaign initiatives with the goal of increasing brand awareness and generating inbound marketing qualified leads for the business development team. She has past experience in digital marketing and advertising for the digital agency VM Foundry and in communications/social media management for the agency PulsePoint Group. She received her Bachelor’s of Journalism and Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin.
Megan’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“Make your content ‘smart content’. With smart content, you are immediately served content that contains all of the information you are looking for. As a result, you have your needs met quickly and accurately. What’s even better is that the next time you visit that website, the system remembers your information, providing you with everything you need to help you continue on in your purchase decision journey.”
Connect with Megan on Twitter @meganneely and on LinkedIn.
Parker Short, Jaxzen Marketing Strategies
What He Does:
As the business development and technical lead at Jaxzen Marketing Strategies, Parker (who’s also a co-founder) brings to the table a unique skillset that allows him to empathize with client’s needs for lead generation and understand how integration between sales and marketing makes a program successful.
Parker’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“Nurturing your newsletter subscribers. Sending out a welcome email when people subscribe is a good first step, but I’m a fan of sending out your “greatest hits” of blog posts to keep people engaged. Spreading them out over the next month or so is a great way to use your old content that’s still relevant, and keeps you from having to worry about whether every post you put out is relevant to new subscribers.”
Connect with Parker on Twitter @Parker_Short and on LinkedIn.
Russ Somers, Invodo
What He Does
Russ Somers is Vice President of Marketing for Invodo, which provides visual commerce programs for major brands including Verizon Wireless, Lenovo, Sports Authority, and more. He takes a data-oriented and content-driven approach to driving demand from enterprise-level clients. Russ’ background includes marketing and analytics roles with Dell, Hoover’s, SolarWinds, and Sabre Holdings.
Russ’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“Marketers sometimes talk about ‘eating their own dog food.’ That doesn’t sound tasty to me — I’d rather talk about ‘drinking our own champagne.’ Since Invodo’s in the visual commerce business, that means taking a visual-first approach to demand generation.
As an example, a recent campaign featured a visually-oriented eBook and a series of videos. Used in outreach, those videos drove interest in the webinar series that followed. That delivered a record-high CTR on the webinar invite emails. And we’ll cap it off with an infographic to keep the ‘visual first’ theme.
Humans are hard-wired to pay more attention to visually oriented information. As a B2B marketer, I take advantage of that by making the most of the fact that rich visual content can easily double CTR and conversion rates.”
Connect with Russ on Twitter @rsomers and on LinkedIn.
Amber Quist, Spredfast
What She Does
Amber has spent the past twelve years building fast growth brands through unique storytelling and progressive digital strategies. As Vice President of Brand Marketing at Spredfast, she is responsible for leading corporate marketing, digital and social strategy, and brand communications. Previous to Spredfast, Amber served as the VP of Marketing for Mass Relevance, and lead the campaign and demand generation team at Bazaarvoice. Prior to Bazaarvoice, Amber ran marketing for Nike’s Asia Pacific Division in the Vision, Timing, and Technology Group.
Amber’s Favorite Demand Gen Tactic
“Find ways to ‘market at the speed of life”. Consumer attention is fleeting, so make content sharing a daily habit. Find ways to attach your brand to micro-stories and enrich those stories through unique data perspectives. This may take dedicated resources — a marketing analyst and someone focused on real-time content publishing — but it can have a huge impact if executed effectively.”
Connect with Amber on Twitter @amberquist and LinkedIn.
Photo by: Earl McGehee