The “Marketing Manager Insider” series takes a look into the achievements and challenges of marketers at successful companies.

This week we’d like to introduce you to Katy DeLeon, Vice President of Marketing of Narrative Science.  Narrative Science is a advanced natural language generation company based out of Chicago, Illinois that provides software solutions for data analysis.

Here’s an inside look at how Katy organizes Narrative Science’s digital marketing presence and navigates the challenges that come with the territory:

Q: Could you share a little about your business and your customers?

Katy: We are an enterprise software company based in Chicago, with offices in New York and Washington, D.C.

Our advanced natural language generation (Advanced NLG) platform, Quill, helps companies automatically transform data into narratives, enabling them to improve decision-making, increase employee productivity and provide a better customer experience -- all through the power of storytelling.

We have over 70 enterprise customers such as USAA, Deloitte, MasterCard, and the U.S. intelligence community and over 15,000 small-to-mid-sized businesses and marketing agencies using our Google Analytics reporting application, Quill Engage.

Q: What challenges come with marketing to this customer segment?

Katy: Advanced NLG is an emerging technology category that requires us to focus on both brand and category awareness.

This presents a challenge for a start-up company in that a big portion of our marketing must be spent on broader, high-level education. We must first help companies understand what Advanced NLG is and then show how Advanced NLG can deliver value to their organizations.

As Advanced NLG has so many applications, we are communicating to many different customer segments that span across functions (sales, marketing, finance) and industries (financial services, healthcare, software).

Q: What kinds of strategies has your company implemented to overcome these challenges?

Katy: There are three primary strategies we have implemented to overcome these challenges. They include:

  • building awareness among industry influencers and the mainstream business audience through PR and thought leadership,
  • educating enterprise organizations about our solutions with content and case studies, and
  • providing ways for companies to experience our technology via partnerships, like those we have in place with Qlik, Microsoft, and Vermillion.

Q: What kinds of strategies has your company implemented specifically to get more website traffic?

Katy: We’ve undertaken a combination of SEO and paid media.

For SEO, our team did a keyword mapping exercise. We developed a keyword strategy aligned to our brand, technology category and business solutions. Then, we set goals to rank high (1 to 10) on all topics, tracked keywords bi-weekly to both identify increases/decreases in page rank and to find trends for keyword values and traffic increases within Google Analytics.

We utilized paid media, retargeting and email campaigns to convert anonymous visitors to prospects and convert prospects to qualified sales leads.

All these efforts increased website traffic.

Q: Which of those strategies were the easiest to implement? Which of those strategies showed the most success?

Katy: The easiest to implement was our retargeting campaigns.

We were seeing a segment of visitors who hit certain pages on our website but did not convert, so we retargeted these specific visitors with relevant CTA’s to bring them back to relevant assets and pages within our site.

The most successful strategy has been our SEO keyword mapping, designed to drive traffic to our solution pages. Our ability to rank high for solution-specific keywords has helped us both increase traffic and the number of qualified leads from these pages.

Q: What processes does your company have in place/ tools do you use to make your marketing more efficient?

Katy: We utilize a mix of programmatic, CRM/MAP and content platforms to make our marketing activities and marketing/sales tech stack more efficient.

This includes a core MAP and CRM software integration to monitor lead lifecycle progress, multi-touch attribution, and pipeline contribution/forecasting. We also integrate a number of best-of-breed solutions into our MAP/CRM core to ensure all data and lead records are flowing to the same data source and can be easily analyzed and mined for progress patterns and efficiencies.

We use this data in frequent discussions to inform decisions on where to quickly pivot toward success and rectify areas of inefficiency.

Q: How do you keep your CEO engaged in the results of your marketing efforts?

Katy: We have a monthly operations meeting with functional leads to share results of agreed-upon metrics and KPIs, also published in a report.

The report includes insights related to lead lifecycle metrics over the past 12 and 18 months and traffic and conversion data for activities and assets (web pages, blog, SEO, content engagement, paid media.)

It also highlights marketing contribution to pipeline and bookings either sourced or influenced by demand generation activities.

By having an integrated view of our sales and marketing efforts, it gives our CEO a comprehensive view of how our strategy is performing towards our broader company goals.

Q: Which blogs and publications do you make time to read to help you keep on top of upcoming marketing trends?

Katy: I have a few - I highly recommend subscribing to Seth Godin’s blog and the Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) blog. Also, Marketo, Moz and HubSpot all have informative, topical blogs with applicable advice.

Thank you for sharing your insights, Katy!

About Katy DeLeon

With over 15 years experience in marketing industry-first technologies, Katy leads the Narrative Science brand strategy and oversees corporate communications, solutions marketing, and demand generation. Previous to Narrative Science, Katy led marketing efforts at Mattersight Corporation along with executing on a full brand launch. From 2000 to 2011, she held a number of marketing management roles at Adobe, including leading the global campaign marketing efforts for the Customer Experience Management and Digital Marketing businesses.

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