Before she founded the category-creating attribution software Full Circle Insights and before she was CMO at Campaign Monitor, Andrea Wildt was a print-maker. She spent her days designing and transferring intricate patterns onto silk, paper, and wood. It was exactly this sort of forethought and meticulous coordination of disparate systems that primed Andrea to thrive in the world of marketing analytics.
“Say you’re doing a screen print,” Andrea says. “First you develop your image concept. Then you have to get a little creative to design a process. You pick your colors, design each element, then finally, you layer them atop one another to produce something harmonious.”
“It’s very similar to what marketing operations does,” she explains. “Both are all about asking yourself: How do I get from point A to point B in the most effective way?”
Today, Andrea is Co-Founder and Principal Consultant at Interimly, a growth marketing agency, where she uses her knack for coordinating complex processes to unlock revenue growth for some of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies. Swapping vibrant florals for optimized funnels, she has retained her love for the art of a well-designed process.
We sat down with Andrea to learn the inspiration behind founding a ground-breaking attribution software, why data quality needs to be a top-down initiative, and what fine arts can teach you about business.
Nick: What inspired you to found Full Circle Insights?
Andrea: The story starts over a decade ago when I worked in demand generation at Salesforce. This was way before Pardot, or any of the sophisticated functionality they have today. At that time all they had was leads and campaigns—and the campaigns were really limited. Every quarter, I had to justify my marketing spend on campaigns. But it was just an impossible task because it’s never just one touch that closes a deal. It’s always multiple touches working together to generate revenue, but there was no way to access attribution data.
Full Circle Insights came out of a lot of the work that I did in my career trying to get to this attribution data. Eventually I met Roan Bear [who would become Co-Founder], and we did several consulting projects together trying to solve this issue. Finally we got to a point where we said, “You know what? Let’s just productize this.”
What’s the biggest shift you see happening in B2B marketing today?
Marketers are evolving away from evaluating program performance based on cost per lead, and instead looking at how much revenue it drove. This shift has been happening over the last 10 years, but we still have a long way to go as an industry.
In demand generation, your job is customer acquisition. Just generating leads doesn’t necessarily translate into customers. It takes a certain program to generate a lead, another program to educate and help mature that lead and get it ready for sales follow up. Then you run totally different programs to help close deals, which are incredibly important to sales reps, especially in the mid-market and enterprise space. Ultimately, more marketers need to measure their success based on pipeline or revenue to drive in the industry forward.
Your clients absolutely rave about the audits you do at Interimly. What are the main things you look for, and common shortcomings you find?
When we take on a new client, we start with a comprehensive look at their campaigns. For each one, we’re ruthless about asking: Are these programs working? The first step is understanding what goal the program is designed to drive. Then we search for the data to understand whether or not it’s delivering on its goal.
For top-of-the-funnel programs that are intended to build awareness and drive traffic, it’s very easy to measure success. All that data lives in Google Analytics. Bottom-of-funnel programs are much harder because a lot of organizations use platform data. For example, if you’re running a program on LinkedIn, you’re simply looking at if it was successful based on a conversion in LinkedIn, not based on whether or not it touched pipeline or an actual sale.
When we find a program that isn’t meeting its goal, we revamp it. But part of the process usually involves re-instrumenting and architecting their systems so that they actually can start to track that data down the funnel. Things like using Salesforce campaigns, tracking every form submission, making sure that those campaigns are tied to opportunities, et cetera. We also build a reporting framework for them because for a lot of early stage companies, reporting is ad hoc. We want to standardize things from day one so that the entire executive team understands what the data means so that we can get some consistency month over month and quarter over quarter.
How can organizations move past data silos into a more integrated data ecosystem?
It needs to come from the top down. Somebody in the organization needs to be empowered by leadership to solve the data issues. Without that, it’s just frustrations across the organization. Because marketing cares, sales cares, customer success cares, finance cares. But they all care about a different piece of the data pie, which is often what prevents these issues from getting solved. Somebody needs to coordinate all of these teams to solve the company-wide data issue. They need to be empowered with the budget for certain tools, but also they need to have enough influence over the process because many data issues are rooted in process.
What’s something that you believe about marketing that few others do?
I don’t believe that you have to be good at marketing yourself in order to be a good marketer. I get really frustrated when I see those posts on Twitter that say, “If you can’t market yourself, then you’re not a good marketer.” That’s not true. Just because I’m good at promoting myself on Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to be good at analyzing data for a client or building a brand. There’s so many types and approaches to marketing. So if you’re shy, or averse to it, just know that doesn’t make you any less of a marketer.
How can forward-thinking organizations improve data quality?
It has to start from the top. Leaders need to be bought in. Everybody across the organization feels the pain of poor data quality. It’s just hard for one person to feel it enough to be able to say, “I am going to make this a priority.” If leaders build an organizational structure that makes data quality central, and somebody is empowered to drive change, then it can unlock a world of difference for a company.
What can fine arts teach us about revenue operations?
Fine arts teaches you a different way of thinking and of observing the world. And in operations this is crucial—there’s not just one way to look at things. The industry talks a lot about best practices, but it’s important to remember that what’s a best practice for one organization may not be a best practice for the next one. Every business is so unique, so we need creative minds to approach each business in a unique way. Ultimately it comes down to this: Never stop being curious, creative, and inventive.
About the author: Nick is a CEO, founder, and author with over 25 years of experience in tech who writes about data ecosystems, SaaS, and product development. He spent nearly seven years as EVP of Product at Marketo and is now CEO and Founder of Syncari.