Jun 22nd, 2023

How New Relic uses marketing moneyball to move the needle [VIDEO]

Marketing is a numbers game (and not just in the “you better hit your numbers” sense).

You’re constantly analyzing the best ways to drive traffic, generate leads, and generally keep your KPIs moving up and to the right. Sometimes that means doubling down on what works today. Other times it means taking calculated risks and placing big bets for tomorrow.

The idea behind “marketing moneyball” is to do everything you can to give yourself a data-driven edge. In other words: follow the numbers, not your gut.

Common Room’s COO Jake Randall talked about that and much more with Andy Ramirez, VP of Growth Marketing at New Relic, in our recent event: Marketing moneyball: driving growth with limited resources.

Here are three of the top takeaways from that conversation, including:

  • Why you must move on from traditional tracking methods
  • Where to focus your marketing efforts for optimal results
  • How to build trust with today’s customers

1. Learn to climb the ‘walled garden’

Marketers have more metrics at their fingertips than ever before. The question is what to do with them.

“Data isn't just so you can report on your results,” Andy said. “I actually think it's less for that. Data is so that you can take action, figure out what's going on, and go do something about it.”

And here’s what the data tells us: Multiple market trends—from third-party cookie deprecation to AI-powered search results—are eroding the effectiveness of traditional techniques for identifying and tracking high-value digital activity.

“The ability to attribute marketing data across websites we all know is going away in a very meaningful way,” Andy said.

Meanwhile, modern buyers are spending less time visiting company websites and more time sourcing solutions via private communities of peers, online forums, social media, and other digital touchpoints.

Walled gardens—closed digital ecosystems you don’t always own or have visibility into—are on the rise. It’s a dark funnel, and your job is to tap into it.

What it means for marketing teams: The marketing playbook is getting rewritten. You have to invest in strategies and technologies that will help you climb over walled garden walls, track digital activity across dark-funnel channels, and engage prospects where they spend their time.

This strange new world is actually quite similar to the early days of the internet, when getting in front of your audiences was all about finding the right websites, forums, and online communities, not trying to keep up with the latest algorithm changes.

“Companies like [Common Room] that can help bridge the gap between what's happening in those walled gardens, in those communities, and give me insight so I know where to go reach out and where to spend my money, are going to win out in this whole cookieless future because they're the ones that can market to these companies and these users,” Andy said.
💡 There's a difference between owned and unowned communities. Owned communities are dedicated spaces companies host and manage on owned channels, such as Slack or Discourse. Unowned communities—the ones we're referring to here—encompass all activity across digital channels that's unrelated to official company programs.

2. Focus on fit, not just reach

If it feels like your customers are moving to a new digital channel every day, you’re not far off. There’s no shortage of online watering holes where modern buyers congregate. That makes it hard for marketers to keep up.

But it’s important to focus on depth, not just breadth. Audience fit is arguably more crucial than audience size.

“You can go find very niche communities that don't seem like a good investment because they have maybe 3,000 users, and you're like, ‘Why is that going to be good?’” Andy said. “Well, every one of those users is a high-value target for you, so your capture rate of people you want to see your ad or your offer is 100%.”
What it means for marketing teams: You want to be everywhere your customers are, but it’s important to focus your efforts. The more sources (or gardens) you track, the easier it will be to spot opportunities. Then it’s time to concentrate on the channels and communities that best align with your ICP and target personas—and where you're seeing the strongest results.

You can’t control the dark funnel, but once you have visibility into it, you can work to influence it. At New Relic, that includes investing heavily in a developer relations program.

“They're out there just being there for people and being not just champions of New Relic, but actually champions of technology and improvement for people, which then garners trust and garners people wanting to talk about us because we're doing good by them,” Andy said. “And so then we show up more in places where we normally can't pay to show up.”

And remember that your dark funnel isn’t just a source of leads—it’s also a treasure trove of actionable intelligence you can use to inform your marketing (and product) strategy.

“It's more than just a funnel,” Andy said. “It's a customer satisfaction survey that's ever-growing. It is an idea farm for your next product solution or implementation. It's all of those things, so you should be listening.”

3. Bridge the customer trust gap

Today’s buyers are more sophisticated, digitally savvy, and cost-aware. They’re also more than capable of doing a deep dive analysis into your product on their own.

There’s a reason sales teams now only get 5% of a buyer’s time—your customers are spending the other 95% making up their minds elsewhere.

Providing a space (or supporting existing spaces) for them to do that free of hard sells is a great way to get more visibility into the customer journey and build brand trust.

“There are lots of people talking about you on Twitter and Reddit and LinkedIn, but they also want to be able to have a spot where they can come talk to just you or just your users,” Andy said.

Getting your own community program off the ground—whether it’s a community of product or practice—will help you serve your customers and make it easier to influence activity in the dark funnel.

“It gives you not just more people to talk to, but it also gives you the ability to ensure that people have that enablement as they go out to the external communities,” Andy said. “They know what's what, they have access to you, and they can correct misinformation or provide new information to customers that you might not otherwise be able to reach.”
What it means for marketing teams: Owned communities give marketing teams a chance to build brand trust and surface champions who can act as brand ambassadors across the dark funnel. The key is to serve community members, not treat them like leads.

Communities (and community teams) can provide marketers with valuable insights to help them hit their numbers. Likewise, marketing can help communities grow bigger and engage more.

“I see my team as a service for all of those kinds of teams, whether it's the community team […] or the DevRel team,” Andy said. “What you do is enable them. So give them the tools to maximize attendance at whatever events they're at, and to get the right customers, to make sure that if you're in a city where you've got high-end customers, that those high-end customers know that your DevRel team is there doing something cool.”

Modern customers would often rather connect with peers than brand representatives, especially as they’re just starting to explore a new space or solution. But with the right tools and tactics, community drives more than just connection—it drives results.

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