We’re back with another Q&A with Marketing Leaders, our interview series built to provide SaaS marketing leaders with the best insights and actionable tips on how to improve their marketing planning by learning from the best marketers in the industry.
In this latest edition, we got the chance to speak with Ramel Levin, VP Marketing at Stratoscale.
Stratoscale delivers a software-defined data center platform that enables IaaS, DBaaS and CaaS in data centers and edge locations. Stratoscale delivers a suite of managed open-source platforms for developers to accelerate application development and delivery. By offering public cloud APIs, Stratoscale enables multi-cloud and hybrid applications and supports DevOps and Infrastructure-as-Code in enterprise environments.
Ramel is responsible for the Stratoscale brand, marketing communication, marketing acquisition and retention. He has over 20 years of experience in Hi-Tech Development and Marketing in companies such as CloudEndure, Clicktale, Panaya and IBM. Ramel holds an MBA from Hebrew University and a B.A. in Psychology & Computer Science from Bar-Ilan University.
How did you originally get into marketing?
I got into the hi-tech industry back in the days of my army service where I served in the Israeli Defense Force’s Center of Computing and Information Systems. From there, it was a natural transition into Israel’s startup nation.
My passion lies in creation. In the software development days, I would create software…then I moved to product management where I created products until I found my true calling – a marketeer creating markets!
How has your role – and the marketing landscape – changed in the last few years?
Most of my career has been focused on B2B and B2B marketing has changed dramatically. From interruptive marketing to content, social media and permission-based marketing. From pushing emails to building relationships. From mass lead generation to driving impact at the bottom of the funnel.
What do you think is the most important skill that today’s marketing leaders need to have?
Marketing started as an art and crossed the fence into science over the past decade.
To achieve success in today’s B2B marketing environment, marketing leaders need to stand on both sides of this fence. They need to have a high degree of creativity but also need to be analytical and driven by testing and optimization.
I really believe that the best marketing leaders master both departments.
What are some factors you consider when building your marketing strategy?
We like to reverse the process of building a marketing strategy.
By reversing the process, I mean that we start with the end goals that revolve around market penetration, bookings, awareness and thought leadership and work backward to build a tactical plan to hit those goals.
How do you decide what channels to utilize in your marketing plan?
Testing plays a large part in determining what channels we utilize in our marketing plan.
We’ll test (almost) anything, particularly new channels and tactics as they hold the secret potential of lower marketing noise (for a short while). We’ll measure and evaluate their impact across all stages of the funnel (top of the funnel for quick feedback to make sure we’re on the right path and mid-bottom funnel for more accurate feedback).
What marketing channel you think is the most underrated in today’s marketing scene?
There is so much noise in B2B marketing today because of the number of channels that exist!
Of all channels, B2B word of mouth is still a tough nut to crack and isn’t emphasized enough. Building the right content and harnessing the right ambassadors on social networks is how you can build a word of mouth effect for B2B companies.
How often do you adjust your marketing plan after you created it?
As a general rule, we review and adjust our marketing plan at least every quarter.
When we have significant campaigns and initiatives running, we’ll review our plan sooner than that so we can evaluate the results and react to them quickly.
How do you know if you planned well?
Hitting your goals is how you know if your marketing planning was successful.
If we meet the quarterly and annual goals that we set at the beginning of our journey…that’s the primary indicator of successful marketing planning for us.
What marketing planning advice do you have for other marketing leaders?
Lewis Caroll said in Alice in Wonderland that “we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that”.
When it comes to innovating in marketing, you can’t run endlessly. You’ll end up running in circles. But you certainly cannot stand in place. The marketing landscape keeps changing under our feet and we need to constantly learn, test and adjust.
You can follow Ramel on LinkedIn.
Ramel spoke a lot about testing and iteration when it comes to marketing planning and selecting channels. How much does testing factor into your marketing planning process?