Episode 3

Marketing Operations with Valma Tikkakoski

Show Notes

In this episode I’m joined by Valma Tikkakoski, an experienced Marketing Ops practitioner working to combat online fraud.

Valma Tikkakoski’s Links:

Jacques Links:


Jacques: [00:00:08] Welcome to, the marketing operations podcast.

All right thank you very much for joining me Valma tell me a little bit about yourself.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:00:19] Yeah, well, first of all, thank you for having me. I’m always happy to do podcasts and webinars and whatnot, but, yeah, my name is Valma, I’m originally from Finland have been in London now, oh my gosh. 11 years. And you know, my entire career has been in marketing from studies to now, my career. And in tech marketing specifically, specializing in B2B marketing. And currently I’m head of marketing operations at a FinTech startup called Ravelin, which is online payment, fraud, detection, and prevention. So, we use machine learning to fight the criminals and fight fraud.

Jacques: [00:00:58] So, what do you do as head of marketing ops?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:01:00] It’s quite broad. We maybe have not the most typical kind of structure or hierarchy in our marketing team, but I actually manage the team. So, there’s a CMO who sits above me and then I’m head of marketing ops and then the rest of the team kind of reports into me.

I’ve got a digital lead, a content lead, a junior copywriter, and then a web developer currently in my team. We had SDRs and now About to rehire those. I guess from a day to day, it kind of varies from, you know, team management to you know just ensuring all of our processes are working well.

I’m in charge of our campaigns and different projects and sales and marketing alignment, which is the key focus. So just really ensuring that, you know, the, the engine is working and, and everyone’s going towards the same goal and in harmony to be fair.

Jacques: [00:01:53] And what does your tech stack look like?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:01:55] So our tech stack is, so from a marketing perspective, you mean,

Jacques: [00:01:59] yeah, so marketing and sales, I guess.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:02:01] We kind of base everything on HubSpot at the moment. So obviously we have other technologies as well, but I think it’s safe to mention that HubSpot is kind of our Bible, as you might say. So, so at the moment we are using it for both our marketing automation, as well as our CRM.

When I first joined, we migrated from Salesforce to HubSpot As a CRM system. we do a lot on HubSpot from social posts, landing pages, email marketing, email marketing workflows to, to our CRM deal pipeline, whatnot sales cadences.

And then we also use, Trello is kind of our project management tool, from a market perspective. and then we also use Notion which is kind of our hub for Well, the content and whatnot, kind of for internal purposes only. And at the moment we’re kind of looking more into intent platforms.

You know, I’ve been looking into them for a few years now and you know, there’s been really varied results. but they’re improving all the time. So, kind of looking into, into adding that to our tech stack as well, but I think those are our main ones.

Jacques: [00:03:07] Yeah. When you say intent, do you mean things like lead scoring, lead qualification, that sort of thing.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:03:13] so while we have lead scoring from a HubSpot perspective, right. But when I mean intent you know, where you can kind of see what our target audience is searching for, or we can see if they, if we haven’t tagged them as target accounts, we can see like, okay, large enterprises who aren’t, your target accounts are really at the moment, searching a lot about fraud detection.

These kinds of job titles are searching about fraud detection or different keywords. And then from that, we can kind of get more insights about intent of maybe companies that might have a fraud problem or trying to solve that challenge that they have. And we could help with that. but yeah, we, we do lead scoring from a HubSpot perspective but intent, it’s more intent data intend to purchase kind of,

Jacques: [00:03:52] Yeah, that makes sense. so, what drove the, the change from Salesforce to HubSpot?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:04:01] it was decided just before I joined, so I kind of joined while we were migrating. So, I can’t give you too much insight, but I think we just were not using it properly. I think that’s, that’s the main reason like Salesforce, you know, you kind of have to get it right from the beginning. Cause otherwise you constantly do addons addons, addons, and then it just doesn’t work well.

And we kind of wanted to go to HubSpot from the marketing automation perspective, we used to be on MailChimp and, you know, we were a startup, so we were using multiple disparate platforms and we just kind of decided that let’s put everything under one hub, so we can track everything. we were really, really focusing on sales and marketing alignment and obviously, you know, we see everything from a sales perspective as well. So, it’s worked really well for us. Like obviously HubSpot has its limitations to some extent it is originally a marketing automation platform and not a sales CRM system. but you know, it’s, it’s worked well for us.

Jacques: [00:04:57] And so I guess from process standpoint it’s pretty interesting that you say you try to aggregate, I guess, all of your marketing technology into one platform where everything is linked together. have you seen that that’s been an effective strategy? Are you thinking maybe, you know, it makes sense to move to more of a bespoke technology per use?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:05:17] Well, it’s, it’s worked well for us. Uh, but you know, Yeah. As I said, it has its limitations and might go-to a point where we do kind of change our CRM system, because we are really focusing on large enterprise sales and large enterprise accounts. So, it might need a different kind of tech stack for that, but obviously that’s more of a sales issue rather than a marketing issue.

So from a marketing operations perspective, HubSpot is great. we’ll never leave HubSpot, but the sale side of things, it works well, but it has its limitations, and it might be something that we transition to in the future, something to support like large enterprise sales, et cetera.

Jacques: [00:05:56] That makes sense. I guess it’s fairly unusual to see someone in marketing operations actually kind of almost leading the marketing team. how are you finding that?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:06:05] Yeah, well, I wouldn’t say I’m leading. Well, yeah, they report into me. Um, but it works really well for us. Right. Um, my, my boss who’s, our CMO is like, he’s great. You know, giving me all the responsibility. I started managing a team. Once I’d been there for three months so I made it very clear that it’s something from my personal development, that was, that was really, really important.

And he’s there always to support but kind of the day to day managing them and, you know, all of their reviews is, is done by me. And, and yeah, as I said, it’s unusual, but it works really well for us. And, you know, he has more time to kind of focus on strategy, I guess a bit more where I do more operational things.

And if there are any challenges with the team or anything I just talk them through with him. And now we’re starting to do more frequent kind of biannual reviews as well with him so yeah, it’s a very flat hierarchy, so it’s a really weird kind of structure to our company, but it works for our team at the moment.

So, yeah I enjoy it.

Jacques: [00:07:03] you talked a little bit about your own personal development. how have you found that in marketing in general? how did you get to do marketing operations?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:07:12] Yeah, it’s really weird to be honest First of all I never thought I’d end up in technology to begin with you know, girl at uni I was studying or as a student young student, um, I was studying management and then I did a marketing module, and I was like, oh my gosh, you know, I love marketing.

And then, of course in those modules, you learn more about like the cosmetics industry or fast-moving consumer goods, and you just always have this kind of vision that, you know, that’s my field, I’m going to work in PR or something in the fashion world. And, um, I even did, you know, my first internship was for a cosmetics and skin care company.

And I was kind of, I was going down that route. And then I kind of accidentally ended up doing an internship alongside my master’s studies, kind of a venture platform of like early, early-stage seed kind of investments. And, you know, they were, so that was kind of my introduction to the tech space.

And, I always knew I wanted to do marketing, but then that kind of went into, I started working for a tech startup. then I went from one tech startup to another. it started off as kind of marketing and comms, which is, I guess, more like generic then yeah, then it went into more like campaign focused and then through campaigns that kind of.

Jacques: [00:08:28] Was that focus from a comms perspective or from kind of more of a technical perspective. So building emails or, you know, putting copy into emails and that sort of thing.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:08:38] Well kind of both, because when I was a marketing and comms manager at my previous company, for example, I owned HubSpot as a platform. So that was my first introduction to HubSpot, but there we were only using it from a marketing automation perspective. And I was building the templates, I was adding the copy, I was scheduling the social posts. and I guess through kind of really owning the whole HubSpot platform that was my initial kind of first steps into the operational side of things, the more technical side of things. And then when I joined Ravelin I initially joined as the head of campaigns, because I had been doing campaigns through these comms and owning all the processes.

I got more heavily involved in campaigns and I joined Ravelin as Head of Campaigns and then that kind of just evolved into a marketing ops role. so yeah, that’s kind of. How it happened. It wasn’t, yeah, it wasn’t a clear path at the time. Like it was a clear path in terms of, I want to work in marketing, I studied marketing. I always worked in marketing, but then it kind of somehow just ended up in marketing ops and I, I really, really enjoy it. I really, really enjoy it.

Jacques: [00:09:45] What do you think is next? Where do you want to go next? What do you want to do?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:09:50] Oh my gosh. Tough question. I don’t know. I feel like in a few years’ time, hopefully, I have that experience to completely head a marketing function. as I said, the entire team reports into me at the moment. So, I’m involved in all of the different branches of marketing at the moment from digital to content, to web development.

I think that’s my next move, to really head up the entire function. I love technology. I think I’ll stay in tech, definitely. Obviously, I’m B2B as my specialty. I’ve never really done B2C. So yeah, I love going to startups. see the company grow, grow with the company, put the processes in place.

I’m all about processes and that’s been quite interesting what we’ve done during my time at Ravelin, like really, really changing processes and Seeing how it’s taken us to where we are today. So really excited to at some point, not yet, but at some point do that, you know, at another startup, possibly payments because that’s where I’ve now been for quite a few years or the FinTech space, but maybe some other tech start-up who knows.

Jacques: [00:10:58] when it comes to managing a team, how, how do you handle that? I’ve done it in the past with a small team. It can be very rewarding. It can be a ton of pressure. how are you finding it?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:11:09] Yeah, I think I’m really lucky. I’ve really hired great people around me. I tried to keep it quite structured. We work in two-week sprints as a company. I have weekly one-to-ones with all of my team members, I try to give them feedback, mainly obviously constructive, positive, more of a check-in as well.

Just especially during these times, you know, really check-in and ensure that everything’s okay. I am quite a friendly manager. it’s just my personality type, compared to my boyfriend who is a very different kind of manager, but also a great manager. I find it really rewarding, obviously sometimes it’s kind of, I’ve had my challenges.

It’s sometimes been challenging, you know, handling expectations of your team members, or you don’t want to let them down, but yeah it’s rewarding. It’s really rewarding., And, you know, trying to introduce more of these socials as a team and quarterly reviews and annual reviews and all these kinds of things.

Just to get that flow of feedback both ways, to ensure that it’s really flowing. so that’s how it is currently.

Jacques: [00:12:14] That sounds great. you mentioned there that you work in two-week sprints, how does that kind of process work with marketing?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:12:22] we do kind of a weekly sprint catch up. so we work in two-week sprints on Trello. It’s always kind of that sprint and we kind of have the tasks for that sprint. And then every week we check where we are against completing their tasks. and then after the end of the two weeks, we have a company All hands and demos and here we would present what we’ve done during these two weeks. We don’t obviously present everything by usually a specific project or a campaign, whether built this campaign, these are the results, or this is a campaign we’ve built were launching it, these are the expected results, or at the moment we’re doing this survey, we’ve created like a super cool interactive data visualization landing page to showcase the results. We’re going to be demoing that, for example this week, Thursday at demos. So, so that’s kind of how it works. It keeps us really focused on the task at hand and then we get to showcase them at the end of the sprint to the entire company.

Jacques: [00:13:17] That sounds really exciting. From personal experience, I’ve worked in a number of marketing teams where there is no structure particularly in that kind of sprint basis.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:13:26] I think it’s, I think it stems from, you know, it was in place when I joined, I must say, I’m not going to take credit for this. Uh, it’s like, it’s a company-wide thing. And a couple of our founders have an engineering background. So I think it comes from that, that we obviously have a lot of engineers in our company and they like to work this way, but I think it works really, really well. And I wouldn’t change it. I love working in these sprints It gives a nice structure.

Jacques: [00:13:52] I’ve worked in companies that are founded by engineers and there seems to be much more of a. I guess more of a process or an approach to process that percolates through the entire company. Is that something that you’ve kind of seen as well?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:14:10] yeah. Yes and no, like some things. Absolutely, but. You know where we’re now around 80 people. So I think they laid good foundations and it’s obviously evolved and developed since then, but they definitely have helped with creating some of these, these great, great processes that we currently have.

Jacques: [00:14:30] one of the things I see with marketers is that there’s often a strong focus on technology and tactics to kind of detriment of the big picture. How do you keep that big picture in mind when you’re operating in a technological world where things are often changing on a yearly, if not monthly basis.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:14:50] Well, you know, we are a startup, so I guess we have kind of the blessing, if you can say, so it’s a blessing and a curse that we can be quite reactive and we can do things quite ad hoc. we obviously try to plan and at the moment, I’m in the process of finalizing our plans for next year and my entire operational plan, including live digital budgets, content plan everything. but we are fortunate enough that we can be very reactive and ad hoc if need be, we don’t need to get approval from five different departments. we always try to stay on top of things. We try to follow our plans as much as we can but if new requirements come in, et cetera, or things change, we are able to be pretty reactive but obviously we’d hope to be more proactive than reactive, but it’s, it is what it is.

Jacques: [00:15:41] this year has been a proving ground for everyone really, in terms of how, how they can manage to that. How have you found things that your company?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:15:50] I think we’ve done a pretty good job. So we were really quick to, again, react to going online with our events. our marketing strategy is very content driven as well as events driven or has been in the past. And, you know, we were very quick to build a virtual events page on our website.

We used to host these monthly round tables, where we took our prospects and clients for lunches and wined and dined them and talk about industry trends. And fraud trends what’s happening. And we decided to bring them online so we were doing them weekly, eight to 10 people among four different topics all around the world, and those were really, really successful. and we decided to focus more on webinars. We were always doing webinars because we were always doing these things and we already had a webinar software. we use text 2 meeting, for that, and it was just making it all work for this new primarily online world. we had big hopes to organize another conference again, we organized our first ever conference last year in May, and we were supposed to do bigger and better this year in March, actually end of March, we already had, I think over 600 registrations and obviously we had to cancel that.

But it’s just thinking outside the box. Now we’re being a lot more creative with content as well. as I just mentioned we’ve done a survey which we’ll now make into a proper research paper and we’re thinking of different ways to make it into a lead generation piece.

As I mentioned this data visualization project, it’s, it’s, it’s really cool, you know, it’s interactive showing all the key stats. Um, and yeah, uh, we have like a global regulations map, around PSD2 like where each country is according to the legislation and the extensions and whatnot, and just always thinking out of the box how we can differentiate ourselves from our competitors or anyone else in the industry just being creative and just being out there.

So I think we’ve done fairly well, you know, you can always improve and we don’t have the biggest marketing team, for example, compared to some of our competitors who have a lot more resources, but considering what we have I’m really, really happy.

Jacques: [00:17:58] Fintech’s been one of the lucky industries, particularly in London. I’ve just come from a FinTech company and I know despite businesses being shut they’re pretty much at a point where they have the best kind of monthly sales they’ve ever had which is interesting.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:18:14] It is obviously it depends on the FinTech but yeah, I’ve heard that as well. It kind of depends who your clients are as well. You know, people who only have clients, for example, in the travel and hospitality industry, probably aren’t doing that well, um,

Jacques: [00:18:26] You’d think that, but I mean, the company I worked at who are, you know, very heavily leaning towards hospitality and pubs restaurants, et cetera, they were doing exceptionally well.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:18:40] Oh really? Oh, well, good for them. That’s amazing. Yeah. Well, yeah. And I think some fintechs I know, have kind of had to reinvent also their revenue models and you know, and that’s worked well for them as well. So yeah, no, and we are really lucky as well as the company, we had our series C funding come through In July, we announced it.

So, you know, mid a pandemic, we had even more money coming in. Um, you know, we have. Thank you so much. And we had kind of really big client wins, for example, in April, which was kind of the worst month of the year for most companies. And we just had the strongest month ever. And it wasn’t, obviously it was kind of luck that everything fell, um, or a lot of, a lot of, um, deals closed that month.

But yeah, we’ve been lucky as a company, um, while also working hard to get there.

Jacques: [00:19:34] yeah, I’d say you all worked hard to get there.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:19:37] Yeah. No, absolutely. Absolutely. But just I am very aware that some people maybe started their fundraising a bit too late, for example, and then hence, you know, otherwise would have been striving, but because of that and the pandemic are no longer, um, existing.

So that’s also happened.

Jacques: [00:19:55] How have you found that as a manager, how have you found managing staff during this time?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:20:04] I must say that it’s, it’s been quite challenging. as I said, I’m quite a friendly manager and I maybe, care too much, but if I’m allowed to say that. I really care for my team and if someone’s not feeling well, I take it upon me and I, I try my best to kind of ensure that they feel better.

It’s been a difficult time for everyone. Everyone’s had their challenges during this time. And just so, yeah, I think that’s. It hasn’t been easy for me as a manager, I must say, because I’m quite empathetic and I really, really do care maybe a bit too much. but also it’s been super rewarding when you’ve seen it get better for everyone.

And everyone kind of goes through these stages and phases, but we’re trying as a team, um, to, you know, we have our daily stand-ups, we try to have team lunches every two weeks minimum. we’re doing a bit of social thing, kind of virtual social stuff to try and keep the moral up.

But I’m not going to lie. It has been a challenge.

Jacques: [00:21:03] I just received in the post from my company, a, uh, Halloween’s on Friday, so they sent round a cocktail kit to all the employees and we’ll have a cocktail making session on Friday afternoon.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:21:16] Oh, that’s so fun. Yeah, no, it’s super important. And, and I think at the beginning people were a lot more enthusiastic to join virtual poker nights, or we had kind of after work beers or whatnot to kind of virtual socials. And then the fatigue just hits everyone, but maybe you just have to force people to actually attend, like, no, but we also have the celebration on Friday.

I actually ravelin turned six years this week. so we have kind of a Halloween slash sixth year celebration on Friday. So that’s really nice.

Jacques: [00:21:50] That’ll be fun.

where do you see marketing operations and marketing as an industry going?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:21:56] so first of all, I think it’s important to say that marketing operations, maybe it wasn’t a recognized role a couple of years ago, even a couple of years ago, or even a year ago, I’d say, yeah. I think now more and more, you see large enterprises or large companies, but also smaller companies really hiring actively for marketing operations roles.

And I think it’s been really, really interesting to see that change. And I think it speaks about the trend for itself. marketing is evolving and developing and technology is key and there’s more and more machine learning based platforms are becoming available. data is King and you just really need someone to join your team who understands these platforms, understands the data and when this can kind of help take your marketing to the next level.

So I think that’s kind of where it’s going. It’s going to become an even more important role. I think maybe at some point it might kind of. Yeah, I don’t know. I think it’s going to be having more of a like growth marketing kind of mindset as well. more of a mix with a marketing ops and growth marketing, because I don’t really code.

So for example, I don’t have that background, but I think that might be a requirement in the future for marketing ops to some extent. but yeah, that’s where I see it going, you know, data just rules and we can’t really do anything without it. And more and more interesting kind of platforms and solutions are coming out there.

I think the whole intent buying platforms will develop, and that’s going to be a big thing. I think at the moment, they’re a bit Not that great, but I think there will be a huge improvement in those as well.

Jacques: [00:23:37] On the subject of data, how have you found things changed since the GDPR went into effect? If at all really?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:23:47] well obviously we lost a bit of our database because, you know, we had to, um, you know, you had to ask them to opt-in again, et cetera, et cetera. But apart from that every form that we have on our website, there is the GDPR box that they need to tick otherwise, they can’t subscribe to our newsletter or download any piece of content.

So. In that case, not really, nothing else has really changed that much, HubSpot is great. It has this kind of GDPR toggle that you can kind of switch on and it, it helps, I think it was a huge stress and panic to begin with. but once we got people to opt-in again to our database, it’s still been building database.

It’s been fine, to be honest, sometimes they’re scared. but it’s fine.

Jacques: [00:24:35] do you find that from a data protection standpoint, working from home is being challenging or actually because you have everything in the CRM, you’re finding things a lot easier than perhaps businesses with less maturity in that point I would have.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:24:52] I think for us it’s been fine, from a data perspective, working from home has been absolutely fine obviously our client data because, you know that’s Holy and you know about, you know, I don’t have access to our client data in that way. so that’s fine but from a marketing perspective, No, it doesn’t really make a difference.

I don’t mean to be in the office to do my role, but I do think it’s super important. This has nothing to do with data, but just, you know, that face-to-face interaction, is key. And as I said, we work really, really closely with the sales team. I’m usually in the office, we sit right next to them and there’s that Instant bouncing of ideas and hearing their conversations and it’s just all instant.

So I do think that is super valuable and that will never go away. But apart from that, like from a data standpoint, we have all the tools and all the platforms to extract the data we need to do the reporting we need, so that’s all good.

Jacques: [00:25:45] how do you work with sales teams? typically I guess you might think that the marketing ops role would end at the MQL and the handover between that lead or that opportunity to the sales team. How do you, how do you handle that?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:26:00] Yeah so funny you ask. we’ve changed the process A couple of times, but this is where we’re at the moment. So we try to separate inbound and outbound. Right. and from an inbound perspective, whether it’s one of their target accounts or another kind of account that fits our ideal customer profile in terms of transaction volume, geography, et cetera, et cetera.

We’d have an SDR who does the qualification from when it comes in. So let’s say the lead comes in. in the marketing team they’re called an MDR and they would qualify that lead. Is it a good fit? Is it not? If it’s a good fit, it’s an MQL. and then try to book a meeting. And once the meeting is booked, it would become an SQL.

And only at that point, it’s handed over to the sales managers. So we are constantly nurturing them in the background. anyone who downloads any piece of content or fills out any form gets enrolled into our nurture workflow. We’re not trying to sell to them in our workflow we just, you know, try to provide them with more kind of good content.

And yeah. That’s how we pass over the inbound leads to the sales managers, but basically not until, the meeting has been booked, so it’s fully qualified and yeah, HubSpot lead scoring, is kind of working in the background as well. we used to have that system in place that we’d score them.

And only at once they approached a specific score we’d hand them over, but we were in all honesty, we were missing out on a lot of good leads that were coming in but weren’t scoring high enough but they were the perfect fit, perfect job title, perfect company. So we kind of nurture them a bit and then hand them over to the sales team.

Jacques: [00:27:36] It’s interesting you say that because there is within the industry, I guess there is this approach to scoring where until a lead hits this threshold, they’re not qualified. and your experience is very much that that approach is wrong or it just doesn’t work as well as it could or should.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:27:55] I’d say that we’re still finding the perfect solution, but what we have at the moment works really well. yes, there is a requirement for an MDR to do that qualification in between. some might say that, um, you know, and it is true. Like sometimes we do contact them too early because they’re not ready to be sold to because they just kind of downloaded a piece of content to educate themselves about something.

But hence the MDR first reach out would be based on that. It wouldn’t be like, Hey, let’s jump on a call. And do you want to hear more about, rather than it would be more like, Hey, I saw that you downloaded our guide on machine learning. Would you want to learn anything more about it?

Do you have any questions? I’d be happy to answer any of the questions you have, blah, blah, blah. so yes, we kind of went against all marketing best practices. we implemented them but yeah, we just, I’m not saying it doesn’t work. It didn’t work for us. They were just, there was so much good stuff coming in that just didn’t score high enough.

So hence, we went with this approach and at the moment it’s working really well for us.

Jacques: [00:29:04] what kind of process do you follow when building these automated flows?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:29:10] so we, we used to have a lead to an MQL first workflow, and then we tried them to convert again. And then they’d go to, from a MQL to SQL workflow, or maybe we could say like more of a top of the funnel workflow, and then Middle bottom of the funnel workflow.

And we would separate it between, because we target online merchants as well as payment providers. So we’d kind of have separate streams for both so for a small time, we kind of combined the two because we realize it’s not that different, the content, but I think we’re kind of, we’re now looking to, slice and dice it a bit more, but that’s how it’s been, how it’s been structured.

So a top of the funnel content to more bottom of the funnel content. and then customizing a bit more based on whether they’re a merchant, whether they’re a payment provider, whether they’re, a financial services company. So that’s how we do it. And we send an email roughly every two weeks during COVID we put the links between the emails a bit, a bit shorter.

And sometimes we’d do an ad hoc send if we had an announcement, for example our series C announcement, we just sent to our entire database or if we had an event coming up like a conference, we might send a one-off email as well to the database, but that’s how it’s structured.

Jacques: [00:30:26] are there any campaigns you’ve worked on that you feel particularly proud about? or maybe even kind of any campaigns you’ve worked on that have been a failure, but you’ve learned something really interesting from.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:30:37] Yeah. So when I first joined it wasn’t a blank canvas, but pretty much so. And as I said, when I joined, I was a head of campaigns and I said like, look, let’s go after a vertical campaign approach. So let’s go through these verticals. We identified our key verticals and we created vertical specific pages on our website. So there was a page for all of our different verticals and vertical specific content from a guide to a product gauges sheets, blah, blah, blah. So it would really speak to the audience that we were targeting.

But then. It didn’t really well. so hence, hence I decided after going to a few ABM courses and understood that that was the new thing. so then we started doing the more account-based marketing approach to really focus on our target accounts and work really, really closely with sales and that has really, really paid off. as well. So I, I think that’s kind of the biggest change that we did. from like a campaign perspective, so changing from vertical to ABM and it was, it’s just difficult, right? to get from a vertical perspective, from a marketing perspective, it didn’t work.

But then again, for SDRs, for their outreach, it was valuable because they can attach a relevant kind of PDF into their outreach emails. And that was so targeted to that individual. And you knew that they were a retailer, for example. So it worked for sales, but not for marketing.

Jacques: [00:31:58] How have you found the, I guess ABM as a concept is a relatively new one in digital marketing, how have you found the switch to it?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:32:09] So I was just Reading about it. It was kind of, I don’t know. I was just reading about it and then I got really interested and then I had some companies reaching out to me, you know, their cold outreach to me. And then I saw a couple of conferences and then I felt there was a training course and I was intrigued.

And then I did a couple of demos and then one of them invited me to go to their workshops and, I learned a lot and I was like, Whoa, like. You know, I really saw the value in it. we didn’t end up taking the solution that they provided and we were like, look, we can do this ourselves. We don’t need a platform to do ABM.

Like we can do it ourselves if we use LinkedIn et cetera and HubSpot properly to begin with. and yeah, that’s how it kind of happened. And now it’s everywhere. I think everyone’s talking about it every marketing conferences it’s like ABM, ABM, ABM, and we kind of started doing it almost three years ago.

Obviously we weren’t the first ones out there. Absolutely not, but I think there’s been a shift to ABM in the recent years,

Jacques: [00:33:12] Yeah, I would kind of agree with you. I have seen certainly a lot more over the recent years than I would have seen probably 10 years ago or something.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:33:23] Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Do you guys do ABM?

Jacques: [00:33:27] So we, it’s something we’re talking about. but we’re not currently doing but we currently target a lot of SMBs and I guess where ABM really shines is with the larger enterprise accounts. but I was, in my previous role our channel marketing manager was targeted by an ABM campaign for snowflake the data warehouse company.

And everyone was like, wow, this is so cool. And it was, it was really interesting seeing even people in the marketing team being so impressed by this thing that is, you know, it’s something that isn’t rocket science.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:34:04] no, it’s not, it’s

Jacques: [00:34:05] it’s yeah, it’s pretty impressive if it’s done right. It’s done. It’s really impressive.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:34:11] Yeah, absolutely.

Jacques: [00:34:13] Yeah. What else are you seeing in marketing along the lines of ABM that you think are really interesting that you’d like to test, or you’d like to experiment with.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:34:22] Well, yeah, I think I mentioned the whole intent data side of things. I think that’s interesting, like HubSpot have launched a bit of an intent side of things too. Like you can tag your target accounts and see how they interact with your website and whatnot. LinkedIn has now launched kind of a company engagement reports, so you can upload your target accounts and see which ones are like most engaged with your ads or come to your website or whatnot but I’d be interested to get it more on a more granular level. And there are some providers that kind of provide that. Either they’re like super expensive and I’m not really sure about it. but that’s something that I would be keen to explore a bit more. And I am currently exploring. I’m seeing how that could complement our existing ABM strategy. And even if we are doing our marketing to them and sales are doing outreach to them, but we’re not having any luck, but we might get an intent reports and see that they actually are really heavily searching this topic or whether it let’s say it would be account takeover or refund abuse or whatever, but it would give us an additional layer of insights. So that’s something that I’m interested in to explore further.

Jacques: [00:35:38] and I guess as a final question, what do you think your biggest success has been to date?

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:35:47] I might have to say the conference I mentioned. So we called it RavCon. That was our internal name Ravelin conference, RavCon, yeah, very, very original. It was called the secure growth conference but RavCon was a lot catchier and you know, I went from never having organized a conference before I was organizing these smaller round tables around the world, they were global, but they had such a good kind of response from prospects and clients.

So just organizing a conference from scratch and we did it last year in May, we partnered with Google, so we’re a Google Cloud Platform client spend a lot of money on them. We speak at their events. So, I asked them to return the favor. And they gave us their events space in San Pancras, which is their new office building.

We had an amazing venue catered, followed by a networking reception with food and music and caricaturists and whatnot. and we had I think it was over 300 people who attended going from never having an event to the company apart from lunches, it was, for me, it was a huge success, and it went so well. The feedback was amazing, there was a campaign leading up to it, right. It was a very focused campaign leading up to drive and registrations, building the agenda. We filmed the whole thing, kept generating leads from the content that we filmed from the events.

Everyone loved it. I think when you have so much great feedback from people who attended plus also your colleagues that just, yeah, it just puts a smile on my face every time I think of it. Well, when I think about it from this year, because we had to cancel that in and fight for our money back, but I think that’s one of my greatest accomplishments at Ravelin especially.

Jacques: [00:37:24] Well, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciated talking to you. it’s been great so thank you for taking time

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:37:31] yeah. No, absolutely. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed this.

Jacques: [00:37:35] Great. Well, thanks very much.

Valma Tikkakoski: [00:37:37] Thank you. Bye, you have a good day. Bye.