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Ep25: Amy Millard, Chief Marketing Officer at VTS, Inc.

The Marketing Revolution

Episode Summary

"We need data that informs better decisions," is Amy’s main focus when it comes to strategy. Companies that prioritize alignment of sales and marketing strategies make better decisions to reach desired goals and outcomes.

In episode #25 of our Datavana Podcast, Amy Millard, CMO at VTS, Inc. discusses the evolution of marketing and the transformative role technology and data has played. The rise of tech has given us tools that empower sales and marketing, acquire more accurate data, and help businesses accomplish objectives efficiently. "Marketing today is a completely different job than it was three years ago. We were limited by our tools and as the technology has evolved, our dreams can evolve for what we can accomplish."

Amy also gives insights into how she works closely with sales ops to keep her team strategic, solve problems, and keep an eye on the prize. "I constantly talk about this with my team - to only focus on the things that you can impact."

Ep25: Amy Millard, Chief Marketing Officer at VTS, Inc.
Name: Amy Millard
What she does: Chief Marketing Officer
Company: VTS, Inc.
Noteworthy: Volunteer - MBA Enterprise Corps Warsaw, Poland Peace Corps (1992 – 1994)
Mentor for LGBT entrepreneurs - StartOut
Where to find Amy: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

Strong Operational Planning

"You have to change out the infrastructure, put the new stuff in, continue to hit your numbers while you're planning. But next year's numbers will be 50% higher and you're building the infrastructure for that. And so you really need a strong person on your operations team. They need to be strategic."

Informed Decisions

"We need data that informs better decisions and you have to really focus on that because it is fascinating. For example: ‘Will they press on this button or that button?’ But if in fact, both buttons lead to the same outcome, you know, it's interesting, but not informative and people get really caught up in that. So you have to go back into it, it always starts from the strategy. What are you trying to accomplish as a company? Your tactics fall from that and the data should inform which are the correct tactics. But people are like, ‘Start from the bottom, what data can I find out?’ And they work it backwards. But if you start with a strategy, it follows."

Your Sphere of Influence

"I constantly talk about this with my team to only focus on the things that you can impact. Right? If you worry about how sales is doing, or how the product is doing. ‘Look, you don't work for them, they don't work for you. What can you impact?’ And the same thing relates to data. It's like, ‘Yes, we could go and try and figure that out. It would take six months, you'd be distracted or what can we do in a reasonable amount of time to make a better decision?’ I constantly talk to my team: ’let's just be better marketers today than we were yesterday.'"

A Whole Lot of Precious Time

"And last year I hired the marketing ops person and in the interview I said, ‘Here's my three problems I need you to solve.’ And a year later, I finally have, it doesn't mean she wasn't doing anything else the whole time. It just takes time to completely rip out the guts of something you were doing wrong and put something new and so you can actually instrument it. And so it takes incredible patience. And to understand that if you're building a foundation, you know, to use the building analogy, it has to be strong if you're going to keep adding things on top of it."

Deaf Ears

"As marketers. We understand what our audience needs. But when we turn internally, sales does the same thing. You know, that we all just say one message to each other and we think the other person has understood it. But we have so much patience for our prospects and customers, but not for each other."

Key Insights

  • TRUST. Collaboration and Leadership is Amy’s voice of reason when it comes to marketing-sales alignment. She divulges the importance for managers to build relationships of mutual understanding first as part of the company strategy. Once true transparency and alignment is achieved, sales and marketing sit in a better position to make informed decisions based on the data. "It isn't about proving your point with the data. If you haven't built the relationships in sales and products in various places, it doesn't matter how right you are. It doesn't matter how right the data is if people don't understand how to act on it or don't have the trust to act on it."
  • The Tool Revolution. Technology has come a long way in the world of marketing and has made it easier to accomplish objectives, explains Amy.Technology has had a huge impact on the marketing industry in just the last three years, you only need to look at how far we’ve come in the way we advertise. There has been a huge shift to engage the customer and build a relevant experience. The aid of technological advancements has made this process effective and efficient. "No marketer just wants to say irrelevant things to the wrong audience and so what we've gotten good at is, is understanding segmentation, understanding interests, understanding the tie between interest and eventual purchase."
  • The Data Strategy. Data is a tool that is essential for all businesses. It is the wind to our sails. Although it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of its purpose, it’s important to keep on track to have data to inform decisions and reach goals. Ultimately, the point of data is to serve your strategy and not the other way around. "It always starts from the strategy. What are you trying to accomplish as a company, your tactics fall from that and the data should inform which are the correct tactics."

Top Quotes

[05:52] "Over the years, marketing has become more and more data-driven."

[09:44] "It's really fascinating. Marketing today is a completely different job than it was three years ago. And it was a different job three years before that and data has had such a phenomenal impact on our ability to just be better marketers."

[11:09] "We need data that informs better decisions."

[11:34] "It always starts from the strategy. What are you trying to accomplish as a company, your tactics fall from that and the data should inform which are the correct tactics."

[14:42] "“I think data serves you and you completely lose perspective if you're serving the data."

[25:45] "Sales and marketing are the two roles that everybody thinks they can do. I was like, ‘Nobody walks up to an engineer and says, move over. I'm going to start the coding!"