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Growth Marketing Insights: An Interview with Peter Zawistowicz
Gremlin’s Peter Zawistowicz is responsible for growing and optimizing the sales and marketing funnel. Some of Peter’s top priorities this past year have been to define and grow the emerging Chaos Engineering market while generating a steady stream of qualified leads for his sales team. InfoQ recently sat down with Peter to get his thoughts on how Gremlin’s first InfoQ ad campaigns have performed, as well as what products and tactics have been worked best.
InfoQ: Can you talk a little bit about your particular role at Gremlin?
Zawistowicz: Yes, absolutely. At Gremlin, I lead growth marketing, and that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but at Gremlin basically what that means is that I own growing and optimizing the sales and marketing funnel all the way through to onboarding and expansion. I’m always looking for different ways to get the message of chaos engineering at Gremlin out into the world and to reinforce Gremlin as really the best way of doing that.
InfoQ: Gremlin has been advertising on InfoQ for almost a year now. Can you talk a little bit about how your experience has been overall?
Zawistowicz: This is actually my second company working with InfoQ. I used to advertise on InfoQ when I was at MongoDB so – coming to Gremlin – I was familiar with the platform and with the advertising options. I was also sponsoring the QCon series of conferences at the time so InfoQ and QCon are definitely brands that I was comfortable and familiar with.
In terms of how Gremlin got started advertising on InfoQ, last Fall, I had learned that your editorial team would be producing an eMag on chaos engineering – a topic of strategic importance to us – so it made perfect sense for us to work together from a sponsorship standpoint.
This was a unique opportunity where a trusted source like InfoQ was saying, “Hey, we think chaos engineering is going to drive some really transformative change” and we were able to latch on to that.
InfoQ: How did sponsorship of the Chaos Engineering eMag work out for Gremlin?
Zawistowicz: In terms of pure organic interest in this topic, it performed really well. The challenge of being in a position like Gremlin is that we’re basically trying to build out a category. There are actually very few opportunities for us to work with a third party to generate pretty high intent leads. Most of the content that’s middle-bottom of the funnel is something that is exclusively Gremlin. There aren’t a lot of trusted third parties thinking about the topic of chaos engineering right now. We obviously expect that to change and we’re already seeing the change.
In terms of actual results for us, you know, it was ROI positive. All in all, it was pretty successful.
InfoQ: The campaign that Gremlin is currently running is a combination of both an eMag sponsorship combined with a traditional content syndication program. How has this “dual approach” – generating top of funnel leads from the eMag and more mid-to-bottom of funnel leads from your white papers – been working for you?
Zawistowicz: Because we’re as early as we are, we have to work higher up the funnel than a lot of other companies. You know, we could basically get away with only bidding on brand terms and we could still hit our number; however, because we’re still educating the market on what chaos engineering is, we really have to take the dual approach. We know that InfoQ has a fairly loyal reader base so it’s a way that they can be introduced to a topic and then dig in further.
InfoQ: Can you shed some light on Gremlin’s approach to lead nurturing? What are some of the tactics that are working well for you?
Zawistowicz: The biggest thing that we want to do when we’re nurturing – which we do primarily through display retargeting and through email nurture – is to make sure that we have a good understanding of the initial impetus for the research in chaos engineering.
There are a number of different reasons that people start to look into the topic:
They’re on the back of a pretty serious outage and people at the company are saying, “Hey, we can never let this happen again. What changes can we make to ensure this doesn’t happen?” Preventing outages is a pretty big use case and there’s a certain way that we want to message to that.
There are also folks who take a slightly more proactive approach where – if they’re making a pretty significant change to their architecture (maybe they’re migrating to Kubernetes or to microservices for the first time) – they want to ensure that, you know, they’re not making breaking changes.
Then there’s people who want to just use chaos engineering in a slightly lighter-weight way to ensure that things like alerting and monitoring are set up correctly. They may not have a good way to perturb those systems to know, for instance, that Datadog or New Relic are actually picking up on CPU spikes and alerting within a time frame that’s reasonable.
InfoQ: What have some of your strategic goals been this year and how has InfoQ helped make progress on these goals?
Zawistowicz: Building out the various use cases for chaos engineering has been a big strategic messaging goal. The top-of-funnel lead volume that InfoQ has generated has made it much easier for us to implement and experiment with the types of nurture paths that we were just talking about.
As far as defining those different use cases and tying them to a specific pain point, that’s also something that we’ve been able to do with our InfoQ leads. This is in part due to your ability to contextually target our assets by topic. Not many platforms provide you the opportunity to position yourself next to relevant topics in that way.
InfoQ: How would you describe the quality of leads that you’re seeing come in from the InfoQ programs?
Zawistowicz: Once we do get a lead that’s within our ITP, they are generally pretty well versed in the space. The level of education that we have to do for an InfoQ lead is probably lower than someone who found us through some of our (other) advertising programs.
InfoQ: Were the leads in line with your geo-targeting requirements?
Zawistowicz: The audience on InfoQ is certainly quite broad, especially in terms of geography. As a smaller company, we don’t do business in all parts of the world: we’re focused mostly on the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. We are certainly able to reach that part of InfoQ’s audience.
That being said, we also see quite a lot of interest from other parts of the world that we’re not yet doing business in. It’s very promising for us because when we are able to expand internationally, we’ll have an audience that’s primed.
InfoQ: Would you recommend advertising on InfoQ to a peer? And if so, why?
Zawistowicz: Yes, I’d absolutely recommend advertising on InfoQ to a peer. I mean, in the enterprise technology space, there are a lot of different channel options but the thing that I look at most frequently when evaluating a new channel is the audience, how well it fits with our target customer, and the maturity of the advertising platform in terms of the different formats and targeting options.
The reason I recommend InfoQ is the strong overlap of both: the strong audience and IT decision-maker profile along with the variety of different ad formats and targeting options that are really not available from most content syndication and advertising outlets in this space.
I view myself as a discerning consumer in the publications that I choose to read and one of the things that I personally like about InfoQ is that it’s a very credible source of information along with the fact that you do really strong (content creation) work with your advertising partners. Neither is a detriment to the other because you maintain a strong church-state separation. You’re also able to provide a really good sponsor experience, and I think other publications are really struggling to strike that balance.
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