We are back with another installment of QA with Marketing Leaders, a series designed to provide SaaS marketers with the best insights and actionable tips on how to improve your marketing planning. For this installment, we were really fortunate to be able to sit down with one of the most impressive professionals in B2B SaaS marketing – Gal Fontyn.

Gal is the VP of Demand Generation at WalkMe™, pioneers of the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) that enables businesses to simplify the online experience and eliminate user confusion. Numerous enterprises like PayPal, eBay and Adobe use WalkMe™ to accelerate employee training, boost usability, automate support and enhance productivity.

Gal has extensive marketing experience in both B2B and B2C, and is obsessed with customer journey testing & optimizations. He was never a “guru”, a “hacker” nor a “ninja”, but he currently runs one of the most successful demand generation operations in B2B SaaS. When is he’s not marketing, you can catch Gal riding waves and he estimates that 93% of his spare time is spent in the ocean.

What was the best marketing advice that you’ve gotten in your career?


The best marketing advice I got was to always market benefits over product features. Too often, we see companies extensively marketing their product and its features but ultimately, it is the overall benefit and the value of your product to your target audience that will convert and retain users. It’s such a basic concept, but it’s so true!
If you cant focus your marketing efforts on specific groups and market segments, you’ll find it absolutely impossible to efficiently structure and scale your marketing efforts.

What is the most common marketing mistake that you see?


I think the most common marketing mistake that I see is the “market to everyone” strategy. Generally, this comes from the belief that a product will be used by everyone in the future. It can be a really bad and costly mistake for a company, yet it seems to be quite common in today’s marketing environment.

If you can’t focus your marketing efforts on specific groups and market segments, you’ll find it absolutely impossible to efficiently structure and scale your marketing efforts. This will have a detrimental impact on everything you do in marketing, from paid campaigns to SEO and everything in between.

How has your role and the marketing landscape changed in the last few years?


In my view, my role has gone through 2 major shifts.

The first was the “data revolution”. By this, I am referring to the growth of the role that data plays in marketing. With the understanding of the importance of data to marketing and the tools built to harness marketing data, marketers now have near real-time visibility into their web assets and campaigns’ performance. For me, this shift had a large impact on my role. I am now able to perform detailed, structured testing like never before to drive performance at WalkMe.

The second revolution was mobile. People are now connected all the time and are increasingly engaging more online. This major behavioral shift now means that marketers have many more opportunities to understand their target audience, to market to them and to capitalize on this. On the other hand, the digital environment has gotten so noisy and competitive that it takes great knowledge and skill to reach the right people, at the right time and with the right message.  Mobile is also having a tremendous impact on the different placements and formats that marketers must explore in advertising on a monthly basis, but that’s a different topic.

In your opinion, what is the most important skill that marketing leaders need to have?


Without a doubt, it’s focus!

As I mentioned earlier, we are flooded with unprecedented amounts of data and opportunities. There isn’t a week in which we don’t get 5 different offers to try new tools, new integrations, new channels for advertising. If you don’t know where to draw the line between relevant, actionable insight, and just another A/B test, you’ll be wasting a lot of time and resources.

Additionally, if you don’t know how to measure the real added value of an additional tool, you’ll be overwhelming your team, and your CISO, with an influx of software.

What is your biggest challenge in terms of marketing strategy and planning? 


The biggest challenge for me is really understanding the complete customer journey and being able to accurately measure and attribute every touch point to the right channel. The common journey nowadays is made up of various online and offline touchpoints, in which prospects almost randomly chose the level of personal info they’re willing to share.

When it comes to attribution and budget allocation, you need to have a clear picture of what those valuable common journeys look like so you can effectively plan your marketing and act accordingly.
If you don’t know where to draw the line between relevant, actionable insight, and just another A/B test, you’ll be wasting a lot of time and resources.

What is one mistake that you’ve made in terms of marketing strategy? 


One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in the past with marketing strategy is relying too much on pure performance marketing and neglecting brand campaigns.

Establishing your brand is very important for companies, especially in B2B SaaS, and it should be high on the priority list for marketing teams. Performance marketers tend to neglect branding because it can be difficult to assess and measure direct impact on results.

What is your best advice for marketers in terms of marketing planning and strategy?


From my experience, the best planning and strategy advice is don’t be married to your marketing plan!

To continually drive great results, marketers must be dynamic in their approach to planning and strategy. We must be ready to change and tweak according to predefined decision rules while also leaving room for complete surprises that will inevitably come down the line. By being married and overcommitted to your marketing plan, you become inflexible and you will miss great opportunities and be unable to adequately address challenges.
When it comes to attribution and budget allocation, you need to have a clear picture of what those valuable common journeys look like so you can effectively plan your marketing and act accordingly.

What is your process when planning your marketing strategy?


At WalkMe, this is a joined process that we perform with all of our department directors. We sit together and reverse engineer our own targets from our general company goals and targets.

According to what was determined by this analysis, we aim to be as meticulous as possible in breaking down the results that we need to generate. This is done by geo, verticals, company sizes, and the specific decision-makers that need to be reached.

The next step is to examine the benchmarks that we already have from each marketing channel’s capabilities and performance in the last 2 years. We really place emphasis on the trends over the last couple of quarters. The purpose of this is to get an understanding of where we stand with our existing capabilities and our future goals. For us, this is the most effective way to identify the areas in which we need to innovate, grow, and improve and the ideal channel or channels to drive that.

Our final step is to assign specific targets for each channel and analyze the entire workflow to understand which resources are needed to achieve those targets: the team, internal processes, budget, and the necessary tools.

What marketing channel do you think is the most underrated in today’s marketing mix?


I’d probably have to go with Bing, Microsoft’s search engine!

It really has “bad PR” and no buzz around it whatsoever. Most marketers either forget entirely that it exists or just flat out write it off as irrelevant and unimportant. If you know your audience well, you’ll really be able to take advantage of it.
To continually drive great results, marketers must be dynamic in their approach to planning and strategy.

How do you know if you’ve planned your marketing strategy well?


If we hit our numbers, stay within our budget and still have room to grow, test and/or tweak, then I know we’ve done it right.

Achieving your goals isn’t enough though. It’s also really important to look back and examine whether or not you could have set the bar higher or grown differently. Perhaps there were opportunities you’ve missed? Those provide great lessons and insights for the next time we sit and review our strategic plan.

How often do you adjust your marketing plan after you create it?


When we build our marketing plans, we always leave room for adjustments in advance but always revisit our plan and update it on a quarterly basis.
You can follow Gal on LinkedIn.

What do you think of Gal’s perspective? How do you plan your marketing activities? Let us know in the comments below.