Marketing To a Very Targeted MarketThe Next CMO Podcast

This is an interview that I did with The Next CMO Podcast – we talked about marketing to a targeted market and how to build awareness and demand when your buying committee influencers cannot be easily found.


When it comes to marketing, most would argue that all marketing is target marketing. However, what does it mean to market to a very niche market?

In this interview, I share my thoughts on target marketing with Kelsey and Peter from The Next CMO podcast show. Some key pointers include:

  • Marketing Tools
  • ABM Strategy
  • Key Relationships In The Workplace
  • Sales Funnels
  • Lockdown Marketing in 2020


“That’s more than just being empathetic or being a good partner with the sales head or the chief revenue officer or whoever is primarily driving sales. It’s about really understanding the psyche, the process, understanding the buyer.” – Mark Donnigan

“There’s a couple of things that are just amazing about this kind of new world that we’re in. I think what it’s done is freed all of us up to allow our humanness to be seen.” – Mark Donnigan

“Pick a major, understand the ecosystem, and learn to sell. I think that’s fantastic advice for those people who want to be the next CMO out there.” – Peter Mahoney


[00:00:10.720] – Kelsey

The official podcast of The Next KMO, hosted by Plana. My name is Kelsey and I’m a senior marketing manager here at Plana and we have Peter, as well. Yes.

[00:00:21.520] – Peter Mahoney

And I’m Peter Mahoney. I’m the founder and CEO of Plana for this week. We have Mark Dunning as our guest. Mark is the VP of Marketing at Beamr. He currently leads corporate and product marketing, some global growth initiatives, and digital PR events. We’re so excited to have him on our podcast today. How are you doing this afternoon?

[00:00:41.200] – Mark Donnigan

It’s great to be here. I’m doing well. Thank you, Peter. Thank you, Kelsey.

[00:00:47.130] – Kelsey

Well, can you tell us a little bit about Beamr and what you do there?

[00:00:51.490] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, absolutely. So we’re a really interesting company. We enable media and that would be videos and photos to be delivered on the Internet without harming Internet stability. We’re a video software technology company and our solutions are used by some of the largest video streaming services in the world. The space that we focus on is called video encoding. And specifically, we have proprietary technology that enables videos and photos to be reduced by half without any perceptible change in visual quality. And so this is what the company does. We’re ten years old and really having fun right now.

[00:01:37.810] – Peter Mahoney

That’s great, Mark. I spent a lot of time in the video business myself. I worked in the 1990s for a company called Picture Tell that did the video conferencing and we had highly lossy compression. And you have lossless ish kind of compression, I guess, in your mode. And I can tell you, as the parent of several young adults, they are all very happy that you’ve been able to keep their streaming services alive over the last couple of weeks here. So thank you.

[00:02:10.880] – Mark Donnigan

It’s remarkable, isn’t it? You know, with everybody at home now and there really is a very significant test, if you will, that’s happening on the Internet. But the Internet’s holding up very, very well, going towards Beamr and really your marketing strategy. So as a streaming service provider and movie studios, how do you bring your products to market? Yeah, so we have a relatively constrained market in the sense that even though the streaming video ecosystem, the video ecosystem is massive, especially when you take into account social networks and video conferencing and all of the various applications, but we primarily address entertainment, video distribution and then the largest user-generated platforms. And so that would be like social networks effectively. So our universe, if you will, or, you know, to use marketing speak our TAM is relatively constrained. It’s more than dozens. It’s, you know, maybe in the low hundreds, but it’s not even approaching the high hundreds or thousands. And so that allows us to approach the market directly. We have a very or very connected to the ecosystems that we sell to. And, you know, really, this is just just a one on one effort.

[00:03:47.920] – Peter Mahoney

Is your marketing approach aligned to more of a classic ABMs strategy or to use something different?

[00:03:56.190] – Mark Donnigan

Hundred percent. It’s it is ABM. And what’s interesting is, of course, there’s a whole there’s you know, there’s companies that have been started as ABM companies. It’s a category. Right. But in reality, if you really got to the foundational elements of how we approach the market, what we’ve done, what our tactics have been, what our strategy has been, you’d say, oh, you’re executing ABM. And I’d say, yeah, 100 percent. You know, we don’t walk around and, you know, necessarily use all that same terminology. But it is about really if you think about account-based marketing, it’s really nothing more than clearly understanding who the influencers are. I’m not even going to use the word buyer because the buying process now is so fragmented at the really all B2B, but especially in the world that we’re in, it’s not uncommon that we could map twenty influencers in an account.

[00:05:00.070] – Peter Mahoney

How do you do that in a digital world? Especially when you’re dealing with sometimes anonymous people inside, who are inside your prospects, you may not know who they are. So, do you just really do a persona-based messaging on your website? Or can you target in a more refined way than that?

[00:05:18.530] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah. So that’s a good question. So I like to think of, you know, one of the things I shifted my thinking around is Hox about their sales process or their sales funnel. Right. And certainly, I think depending on what we’re selling and how transactional that sale is, it is it’s always good to map your process. I’m not saying that, but I think the more transactional, the easier it is to have a step one, step two, step three, and you really kind of corral the buyer into that. So, you know, they don’t jump from step one to step three, step four. And some of that’s just required as part of your process. But what we’re finding and again, I think a lot of marketers are finding, as is, that the buyer is in control and they’re going to enter the funnel at the point they darn well please.

[00:06:19.250] – Peter Mahoney

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And what you’re saying is not inconsistent with what a lot of B2B marketers who deal with a complex buying cycle are going through. They’re mapping personas to buying journeys and it’s almost maybe a buying checklist versus a buying journey. Right? Because they can do it in whatever they want. They’ve just got to check most of the boxes.

[00:06:44.990] – Mark Donnigan

So I totally agree. You still ultimately need them to check the boxes, but hey, check them in the order that you wish.

[00:06:52.700] – Kelsey

I think a lot of your understanding, too, between the functions come from your experience, you know, in the marketing and the sales are also, you know, understanding these two functions and the importance of the alignment. How are you creating that real relationship between the two?

[00:07:08.450] – Mark Donnigan

That’s more than just being empathetic or being a good partner with the sales head or the chief revenue officer or whoever is primarily driving sales. It’s about really understanding the psyche, the process, understanding the buyer. It’s ringing the cash register today, whatever that looks like for the business that you’re in. And then it’s also being strategic and laying the groundwork for, you know, for a foundation so that the market ultimately not only continues to see you as the leader and as the number one choice and hopefully, you know, if category design has been done and done well, then as kind of the only choice, the default choice and that in that space. But balancing that strategic and the immediate is a challenge. Now, I think a couple of thoughts that I have on this, you know, based on experience is this is where a relationship with the chief executive and a relationship and I’m speaking from a CMO perspective or vice president marketing the relationship with a chief executive and a relationship with, again, the head of sales is is absolutely essential because that is a team of three that’s a three-stranded core there, that if that relationship is solid and if there’s trust and if there’s respect and if there is agreement. Not saying that it always has to be, you know, in fact, it shouldn’t it be everybody just agreeing because then, you know, maybe that means that it’s the easy way and that there’s actually a better path. You know, I think I think healthy debate and discussion and disagreement is actually a very, very good thing between those leaders. But at the end of the day, there has to be a disagreement and commitment. And if that is in place, then that’s how you balance that need for marketing to do, shall we say, the shorter-term things while also balancing and getting the support for medium to long term. Without that, the marketing leaders going to really struggle and it’s unfortunately probably not going to end that well.

[00:09:39.160] – Peter Mahoney

Well, that’s great advice. I appreciate that, Mark. And I think you take a very strategic view into the function, obviously, which we really appreciate. And one of the things we try to do with this particular podcast is, mixes some of that strategy with some practical and tactical stuff. So we wanted to kind of as we wrap toward the end of our session here, bring up a couple of things that are just super practical and tactical that we can take to our audience. So first, I wanted to start with video. You’re a deep expert in video. Obviously, you’ve certainly you probably were before, but you’ve certainly had to become one working at Beamr. But as you generically look at applying video to marketing, obviously marketers are applying video technologies more and more into their marketing mix. It may not be directly in your space, but I bet you know a lot about it. What are a couple of things that marketers should think about as they’re applying video to their marketing tactics?

[00:10:36.760] – Mark Donnigan

Well, I don’t know that I’m going to say anything that nobody has heard already. I mean, in other words, everybody’s already heard, one must say. But there’s a couple of things that are just amazing about this kind of new world that we’re in. I think what it’s done is freed all of us up to allow our humanness to be seen. And what I mean by that is and you see it, you know, I’m on LinkedIn. I think all the listeners, you know, everybody has seen this where, you know, it’s the Zoom call where there’s a tile video window or 16 windows. And you look across it. And here are, you know, here’s a team of people, in some cases a wide range of disciplines and maybe the levels are senior people on there, et cetera. And yet, you know, there are people clearly in their gym clothes. There are people with kids’ stuff in the background of the camera. There’s, you know, in other words, it’s our life. And I think what’s really awesome is before this, you know, there was a little bit of maybe a hesitancy or a concern like I need to present a certain kind of an image to the market. And yes, I want to do video. But, you know, we need somebody to do some editing. We need green screens. We need all this equipment. And even if it wasn’t so much feeling the need to go invest in a lot of video gear, it just required the feeling was it required a level of professionalism that maybe that marketing team didn’t have. Now, let me tell you, I think some of the most effective is is to just do what we’re doing now, yet set up a camera. I happen to have a slightly upgraded, little more expensive, you know, streaming webcam. But at the end of the day, it’s just a webcam and it’s just Zoom. And, you know, you can see part of my home office bookshelf here, you know, my environment looks into my into one of my eating areas in the house and, you know, like I’m in my house, you know, and this is my world. And this is primarily where I work. And this is absolutely professional enough environment that I can create videos that talk to again, you know, it’s not B2B, it’s H2H; it’s human to human. And that’s what we’re doing. So my kind of number one advice, I guess, around the area of video for marketers is just do it. Just get started.

[00:13:16.060] – Peter Mahoney

Yep. I think authenticity makes goes a long way and clearly, they won’t see this on the podcast. But Mark is a hoarder and there are giant piles of – I’m kidding! But it’s a very authentic kind of experience that we’re that you communicate when you use video, especially when you use it from your home office. But just in general, if you don’t try to overproduce things like it’s got to be good enough, the audio has got to be clean enough, but. As long as you can communicate, then then I think you’re good.

[00:13:54.410] – Kelsey

Yes, you know, talking about being human, we as marketers, it’s so easy to make mistakes, right? You redirect someone to a broken link or you send the wrong personalization token with an email. So I got to ask you, Mark, what is the biggest mistake you’ve made in marketing?

[00:14:11.750] – Mark Donnigan

Oh, wow. This one actually is embarrassing because I did it for way too long. I knew better. And yet, you know, and what it was, was trying to move people from zero to 10 in a single interaction, you know, driving everyone to a CTA, everything having to be some catchy headline and then driving them to a CTA, which ultimately was like one step removed from asking for radio. If I’m trying to drive everybody through a CTA, but I can’t assume that somebody is coming in already with a certain level of knowledge about us or about their need or, you know, about other technology options in the market, etc. and so that was that’s probably one one of the biggest mistakes. I mean, I’ve made all the other typical blunders. As you say, you know, broken links and stuff that, you know, autoresponders send the wrong things like that.

[00:15:22.000] – Peter Mahoney

I can tell you, Mark, that that is not only incredibly common, but it’s common across marketing disciplines. So when I was in my last role, I was the CMO of a pretty big public company. And we had a bunch of direct to consumer kind of sales motions, too. And we would put in front of people selling them voice recognition software for two hundred dollars. And we’d always want to put the buy button and take the credit card. And the reality is that for a consumer, two hundred dollars is a lot of money. And it turns out that even when you think of something as a quick impulse purchase, the reality is that you have to court them a little bit first and you have to get to the point where there’s a long consideration phase. So it happens in consumer things. That happens probably a lot more in business things where people don’t have patience. And some of it is we’re all feeling pressure to move things along. So let’s talk about your success, though. I know you’ve had a storied career, but give us one quick example of something. It really is a great successful campaign that you’ve run in the past.

[00:16:29.480] – Mark Donnigan

We chose to launch a podcast and we did a couple of things that were a little bit unique. We did not hide the brand. So in the end, we say that it’s sponsored by Beamr, but we agreed internally. And this gets back to where internal agreement as the CMO having trust and agreement between the CMO, your CEO, who presumably you’d be reporting to or certainly whoever you report to, and then the sales head agreeing on the strategy is critical. So I said, look, I want to do this podcast, but I don’t want to hide Beamr. My co-host is going to be our CTO. We are well known enough that people are people know, hey, it’s Mark Donnigan and George Will they work for Beamr. So just by that association, they know it’s a Beamr production. But I do not want I don’t want to talk about Beamr. I don’t want this to always be sort of a pressure that we’re going to find a way to connect, you know, to be news or to be an announcement. I want this to be about the industry and building the industry. And we’re going to bring thought leaders on. We’re going to interview them. And by the nature of setting the stage, and then hopefully we will have sufficient listenership who will then listen and then naturally they are going to explore us and it’s going to open up opportunities. And this worked like gangbusters. We have people listening and giving us feedback on the podcast who we previously would try to approach, and they were very difficult to get business meetings with. They never wanted to meet with us. And yet they will send a note and say, hey, I liked your episode on such and such. Now, do you think that is an amazing connection for Beamr to have this person thinking about the value that they received on this podcast that was presented by Beamr? Yes, absolutely. The answer is yes. It’s done so much for us. And really, it’s the number one mark. And it’s a channel. It really is a marketing channel. That’s how we think of it. About it, and yet we don’t talk about Beamr, and so now we are forty-two episodes in, we were one hundred and twenty-seven which sounds like, well jeez that’s not good. But on the technology charts for iTunes, which when you consider out of the two hundred thousand podcasts and you know how many there are out there… We were like, wow, some people actually are listening, you know. So we’re really happy.

[00:19:21.850] – Peter Mahoney

That’s amazing, Mark. And now and now even you’ve got more reach because you can now reach both of our listeners, which is pretty exciting.

[00:19:31.480] – Mark Donnigan

Well, you know, I’m going to promote this. And so, you know, Will. So we’ll get four. We’ll get it.

[00:19:37.420] – Peter Mahoney

There you go. Well, my last question to kind of wrap up the formal part of this mark is my favorite one because one of the reasons we branded this the next CMO is not only because we want to talk about what the future of the CMO will be, but we want to address the future CMO’s people who are earlier in their career, who really are going to be the future of the field going forward. So with that in mind, what advice would you have for someone earlier on in their career who might want to be a CMO sometime in the future?

[00:20:12.880] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, I have three pieces of advice. Number one, I already said it, learn to sell and I literally mean learn to sell, go out on sales calls. If you don’t have a sales background, that’s OK. You have to start somewhere. But get out on sales calls, learn to call, be the number one executive in your office who, when someone outside of sales is invited to a big meeting, be that person. It’s critical. So number one, learn to sell. Number two, learn your industry. But it goes beyond, I think, anybody who’s functioning, especially in a marketing leadership role, you know, your industry. So you’re kind of like, yeah, well, I already know that. But learn your ecosystem. And I use the ecosystem word very intentionally because the ecosystem is different than competitors. You probably also know your competitors and you probably know very well maybe even their product better than they do. That’s not what I’m talking about. Yes, that’s important. I’m talking about the ecosystem. Where do you fit in the ecosystem when you are on a sales call when you are listening to feedback and somebody is giving you an objection or explaining why you’re not relevant to them? If you don’t know the ecosystem, you don’t know if they’re right or wrong. And half the time, more than half the time, they’re wrong. Now, obviously, we don’t tell them they’re wrong, but you have to know the ecosystem. And if you don’t know the ecosystem, then, you know, I’ve fallen into this trap of running back. Hey, we need this feature. We need that feature. Oh, we’re missing this. Oh, we’re overpriced here. Oh, we’re underpriced. You know, and but because I didn’t understand the ecosystem, I actually was bringing back feedback that was not accurate. It wasn’t correct. So no one learned to sell. So, learn the ecosystem. And number three, as a marketing leader, you know, I’m going to assume because there’s just no way you can assume the role without being great in at least one of the functional areas of marketing. So maybe you’re an excellent writer. You’re an excellent verbal communicator. Maybe you just have a ton of brand. Maybe you’re creative. So there’s probably one area where you are legitimate. You’re an expert, but you need to be able to function in the rest of the positions. Now, I don’t mean to be an expert, but you need to be able to function because if you for two reasons. One is it will build credibility and loyalty among your team. So if you can sit down and you can actually go into HubSpot or you can go into Pardot yourself and you can and you can say, hey, you know, maybe, you know, I don’t know this tool very well, but here’s a chat flow that I came up in HubSpot. What can you guys take that a little bit further? Boy, that that’s going to give a whole another level of willingness for the team to pull together than just saying, hey, we need to go, go do this, go figure it out. It’s very different. Also, I found it to be very, very helpful in designing tactics because, you know, we’re talking about tactical things so that then when people are giving me feedback, I have a more accurate grid to process that. And so I found that being obviously excellent at one thing. And if you’re excellent at more than one thing, that’s awesome. But, you know, is table stakes, as they say. But you need to be able to fill the other roles as well.

[00:24:00.760] – Peter Mahoney

I agree. Pick a major, understand the ecosystem, and learn to sell. I think that’s fantastic advice for those people who want to be the next CMO out there. And I think they will all appreciate it and listen to Mark because he seems to know what he’s talking about. Well, with that, Marc, I wanted to thank you for some great insights, a great opportunity to get to know you a little bit better, and get to know Beamr a little bit better in the research that we did. Super excited about what you’ve done in your career and what Beamr is doing. And I think with that, Kelsey is going to take us home. Right, Kelsey?

[00:24:36.340] – Kelsey

Yes. Thank you so much, Mark, for your time today. It was such a pleasure talking to you, learning a little bit more about Beamr, and just your strategy as a VP. So make sure to follow the next CMO and Plana on Twitter and LinkedIn. And if you have any ideas or topics, or guests you can email them at [email protected]. Have a great day, everyone.

It's time for legendary marketing.

I knew that Mark could help us based on his background and high standing in the video streaming ecosystem, but I was not prepared for the depth of his contribution. Working closely with our marketing and sales leadership, Mark expertly guided us in creating a new category called ‘Video Experience Automation Platform.’ This was a missing component to our previous efforts where we strived to clearly define how what we did was different and, better. As a scientist and technologist, it is rare to find a business and marketing leader with the command of a market and technology, which is why I can recommend Mark highly.

Abdul Rehman image
Abdul Rehman
CEO & Co-Founder, SSIMWAVE

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