Ops Cast

Product Led Growth (PLG) and Marketing Ops with Dave Rigotti

October 10, 2022 Michael Hartmann, Mike Rizzo, and Dave Rigotti Season 1 Episode 71
Product Led Growth (PLG) and Marketing Ops with Dave Rigotti
Ops Cast
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Ops Cast
Product Led Growth (PLG) and Marketing Ops with Dave Rigotti
Oct 10, 2022 Season 1 Episode 71
Michael Hartmann, Mike Rizzo, and Dave Rigotti

On today's episode, we are joined today by Dave Rigotti to talk about Marketing Ops in Product Led Growth (PLG) organizations. Dave is the CEO and founding team member of Inflection.io, a startup developing software for marketing teams at product-led companies. Previously, Dave was a Director of Marketing at Adobe, responsible for account-based marketing supporting Marketo and Magento. Dave made his way to Adobe via two acquisitions. First, he was the VP of Marketing at Bizible. Bizible was acquired by Marketo, which was subsequently purchased by Adobe in 2018. Prior to Bizible, Dave spent nearly 5 years at Microsoft introducing Bing and Bing Ads to the world.

Tune in to hear: 
- Major trends that are happening in PLG.
- Dave walks listeners through how MOPs and marketing are different in PLG compared to traditional GTM.
- What skills are needed in marketing and MOPs to be successful in a PLG company.
- Lessons that non-PLG marketers or MOPs professionals can apply to their “traditional” business.


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Show Notes Transcript

On today's episode, we are joined today by Dave Rigotti to talk about Marketing Ops in Product Led Growth (PLG) organizations. Dave is the CEO and founding team member of Inflection.io, a startup developing software for marketing teams at product-led companies. Previously, Dave was a Director of Marketing at Adobe, responsible for account-based marketing supporting Marketo and Magento. Dave made his way to Adobe via two acquisitions. First, he was the VP of Marketing at Bizible. Bizible was acquired by Marketo, which was subsequently purchased by Adobe in 2018. Prior to Bizible, Dave spent nearly 5 years at Microsoft introducing Bing and Bing Ads to the world.

Tune in to hear: 
- Major trends that are happening in PLG.
- Dave walks listeners through how MOPs and marketing are different in PLG compared to traditional GTM.
- What skills are needed in marketing and MOPs to be successful in a PLG company.
- Lessons that non-PLG marketers or MOPs professionals can apply to their “traditional” business.


Episode Brought to You By MO Pros 
The #1 Community for Marketing Operations Professionals

MOps-Apalooza is back by popular demand in Anaheim, California! Register for the magical community-led conference for Marketing and Revenue Operations pros.

Support the Show.

Michael Hartmann:

Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of OpsCast, brought to you by the Mo Pros, powered by marketingops.com. I'm your host, Michael Hartmann. Joined today by just one of my hosts, Mike Rizzo.

Mike Rizzo:

Hey everybody. Glad to be here. Sorry, Naomi's not with us. We know you appreciate her insights.

Michael Hartmann:

You know, we'll have to get her out, out here again.

Mike Rizzo:

She'll

Michael Hartmann:

I'm sure she'll say yes. All right, so today we are joined by Dave Rigotti to talk about marketing ops in product led growth or PLG organizations. As I'm sure if you're a listener of ours, you're in the community, you've heard this term. Um, and if you're like me, you. Kind of think, you know what it is, probably don't. But Dave is the CEO and a founding team member of inflection.io, a startup developing software for marketing teams at product led companies. So previously Dave was a director of marketing at Adobe, responsible for account based marketing, supporting Marketo and Magento. Dave made his way to Adobe via two acquisitions for Steve was the VP of marketing visible when after Visible was acquired by Marketo. Um, Marketo was then of course, Purchased by Adobe in 2018. So prior to visible, Dave spent nearly five years at Microsoft in introducing Bing and being ads to the world. So quite a background here. Dave, thanks for joining us today.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah. Thanks so much for having me and uh, thanks everyone for listening in.

Michael Hartmann:

Awesome. So, Dave, you know, since we first talked, I've done a little bit of research, uh, in all the spare time I have, but, um, intrigued about your career journey to this point. You know, it's a little bit of, we, I think we only gave. Really a thumbnail sketch there. Why don't we start with this? Why don't you share a little bit about your career journey, uh, with our listeners, and then maybe a little bit about how that ultimately led to the, the founding of inflection.io.

Dave Rigotti:

Sure, yeah. Happy to share a bit about my career. Um, as you mentioned, I started the first part of my career working at Microsoft on Bing and Bing ads, and was very like blessed to and privileged to be able to work there straight out of school. And it was an awesome place to. Honestly learned how to do marketing. You know, I studied marketing in school, um, but I didn't really know how to do it. And so what a great like, environment and, um, company to go learn how to do marketing. So I absolutely loved it. It was a great time. Um, got to play in both, um, kind of B2B and social or b2b. And, um, consumer marketing and, and just learn a lot that, Hey, I actually really love B2B marketing. And that sort of, um, took me to visible. I I also study entrepreneurship in school. I love startups. I wanted to get to a startup and so I joined Visible when it was, I think I was the sixth employee. I was the first marketing hire. It had just started, just gotten. The products had just launched. It's not even the product that people kind of really know today. Um, this was in 2013 and um, that was an awesome ride for, for five years. We grew the team, the marketing team to I think about 10 people. The whole company was about 120 and was, um, I, I think doing marketing for marketers is, it's really hard, um, but really rewarding and really fun and.

Michael Hartmann:

especially marketing ops, who is probably who you were primary audience was, right.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, yeah, we had, um, it was mostly marketing ops or demand gen, um, kind of depending on the, on the company. And it was, it was awesome. It was, it was really cool to, um, just go create content all day about something you're passionate about and. Gosh, it's, it's probably like being a developer at a, at like a dev tools company. Like it's, it's like the whole car hell of, of the work, at least to me. Um, so that was an awesome ride. And then, you know, we had a fantastic exit to Marketo and then a very quick, um, kind of turnaround from there into, um, Adobe. So I spent most of my time when I was working at Marketo, actually under Adobe. Um, you know, was, was an awesome place to be, especially during, during Covid and Adobe took great care of, of so many folks to the acquisition. But, um, two, just, just shy of two years ago, you know, we knew I wanted to get back to startups. Absolutely love startups. You know, I had some great insights about, um, just the kind of changing dynamics and go to market from kind of like content driven go to market models to. More product led, driven, go to market models and, and just kind of have this insight that there really isn't a lot to kind of go help people do that really well. And so, um, I teamed back up with a few of the kind of other folks from, from Visible era and, and now we're off doing inflection.

Michael Hartmann:

Very interesting. Uh, what I, One follow up question from that, so you mentioned. I'm at Microsoft. I think specifically you talked about was a great place to learn and all that, but curious, were there any specific, like did you have key people that were like you think of or maybe you still work with, you know, are still kind of people you go to as mentors or whatever people you trust that were key to that kind of evolution for you?

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, yeah. It, it took me like, um, probably eight years or nine years into my career to. To realize how important those relationships are. Um, it's crazy. My, like my first boss at um, At Microsoft when I was right outta school is somebody I still talk to because she's very involved in kind of running marketing at various startups and she's been our, our, I think our customer before at visible and, you know, she just keeps coming in and out of my life. And there's plenty of others that are, that are like that too. You know, a boss for six months, your first job outta school, it's like wow. That they can still have such an impact on, on your, your kind of professional life and, um, Yeah, it took me, it took me a long time to realize that. Um, and, uh, yeah. So I, I try to remember that for others that are just starting their careers too.

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah, it's a good call out. I think just in general, paying, paying, like paying heed to the, uh, idea that the relationships that you build at any stage in your career can be beneficial long term. Right. So, um, don't burn a bridge, folks.

Dave Rigotti:

It's wild.

Mike Rizzo:

I agree completely. Like, I, I still have really good relationships with folks that I, you know, I was even laid off from a role one time, and I still want to be friends with those folks. Right. It's

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, you don't have to be friends, but.

Mike Rizzo:

Well,

Dave Rigotti:

be surprised. Do situations change? You know, five years later people come back into your life. Like, I dunno, when you're starting out the, this, this world of like marketing ops and, and just like B2B marketing in general feels so big, but it's like in reality, so much smaller

Mike Rizzo:

Oh,

Dave Rigotti:

than you maybe realize. Yeah.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah,

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's great. I mean, like, look at the journey to, to you and I being connected, right, Dave? Like, like the, I I think if I could do the short story for those that don't know the way that Dave and I know each other, it's when he was running the community for marketing operations professionals back in the day, uh, with marketingops.com, as as the tool, right? That's how I came across this, like Dave and I met back then,

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, it's like a half decade journey of just coming in and out of each other's lives. I love it.

Michael Hartmann:

That's

Dave Rigotti:

fun.

Mike Rizzo:

I reached out to Dave and I was like, What happened to the domain? He's like, Oh yeah, so and so we were just leasing it, so, and I was like, Oh boy. Okay, here we go.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah.

Mike Rizzo:

Oh, and fun fact, the Twitter handle that we have for marketing ops, uh, Dave was like, Oh yeah, I still have that here. you

Dave Rigotti:

yeah. Luckily I like didn't change my email address cause that was like a five year later, you know, password reset. But glad you got it. Yeah, glad you got it.

Mike Rizzo:

was, it was good. So full circle,

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, I, I think it's, it's just always interesting to me cuz we've had a number of people on where some, where we specifically talked about sort their journey. In or out, into and out of, uh, marketing ops and other roles. And it's been, I, I keep finding a lot of commonality in the fact that there's a lot of people who have, like, there are key people who, you know, saw something in them or, you know, supported them. And, and, and I think it's a really important piece. I mean, it's part of why I think, you know, marketing apps I com the community. Is a good place for that. And I think there's the, That's why I think it's gonna be huge. Like I always talk, say like if I, if this had been around 15, 20 years ago, it would've been, I think, I'm not even sure that I would be in the same place. Right. It would be a very different experience and from a career standpoint.

Dave Rigotti:

totally true. Yeah. I went to like a state, a state university that, you know, Microsoft doesn't recruit out of. And I don't know why they hired me over a lot of the other candidates that I, you know, I saw their resumes or who they were, and that's it. You know, you have like five people in a row who take bats on you, and that's how you grow the career, and it comes down to that. I see.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah. Awesome. All right, well let's get into product led growth. And, uh, for me, I think, I think I have my own sort of idea of what that means. I think it's probably accurate, but why don't we start with, when we, when you say product led growth, plg, like what does that mean to you? And let's like at least get that sort of a baseline for us.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, I, I love the question because I also run a podcast through the product led.marketing community, and that is the first question I ask everyone, which is just like, what does it mean to you? Because everyone's definition is different. Nobody's on the same page, and I will ask a hundred people and I will get a hundred different responses. So I, I like that. You're, you're pretty mean in the hot seat on that question. The way I think about it is, um, it, it's really just letting people use a product without having you to go through a sales team. And so in, in kind of practical terms, that just means being able to sign up for a product online, um, and, and get started yourself. There's a lot of different models for product led growth from freemium to usage based, like, um, AWS to like seat pricing, like Sprout social, um, to even open source models like you can go, you know, download something from, from GitHub and get started without having to talk to a sales person. Great. That's product led growth. So I, I tend to take a little bit broader perspective. Then some people that might say it's just, it's just freemium. Cuz I think those are, that's just a, a pricing or packaging kind of difference on product led growth. But it, it's all consistent that you're able to use the product without having to, you know, go through a sales process.

Michael Hartmann:

So, um, So I just want, So I think I wanna replay it, so just make sure I'm unsafe. So it's, yeah, it's a service offering or product offering that you, you can sign up for without going through a salesperson. And it may be free initially or it may not be right, So you could have a low, low cost kind of entry point. And is it, uh, so I think I, that, that makes sense. Is it, is it apply? To B2B and B2C or sort of hybrid models, like, uh, the reason I'm asking, I'm thinking about like streaming services that I might add onto what I use at home, for example, a lot of'em have, yeah, a week trial or something like that.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, totally. The, yeah, there's of course B, B2C and BDB kind of, um, offerings, like a yeah. A Netflix, you know, you'd say is, is, is product led and kind of a lot of consumer products are product led. Um, I think for purposes of marketing ops and thinking about it, we can think, think kind of more of the, the B2B side and, um, that tends not to be quite as straightforward and, um, is a, is a good conversation that we can, we can get into.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, I, I was talking to somebody. Actually earlier today somebody on my team about like that B2B is like if, if you are going from B to C, cuz he had heard something about, uh, somebody predicting that they're gonna be more like B2 C marketer leaders moving to b2b, which I think is an interesting idea. But I've always thought that B2 C is relatively. Um, well, the other way, B2B is a much more complicated environment. Yeah. For lots of reasons. Right. Um, but, and it's harder to move. I, I, my, my assertion is that it's hard to move from B2C to B2B than it is to go B2B to

Mike Rizzo:

I've always said the same thing, and uh, it just feels like there's, you know, I've done some B2C marketing at an agency, and I will tell you from my experience, I'm like, wow. This, There's a lot of flexibility here. like there's sort of a lot of different stuff you can try and then in, in B2B you're sort of like, Yeah, like I'm limited There's only so many places to go.

Dave Rigotti:

Not only limited, but you have to like prove it out like very fast. Like, okay, is it working? It's like, it just went out like yesterday, you know, Um, it's, yeah, especially true to smaller company. It's like, it's, it's pretty hard to, you know, kind of shift careers. Maybe, maybe easier, bigger companies. I don't know.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, it just, it's sort of an aside. Um, Okay. So I think we've got a pretty good working definition. So, and, and I've like, probably all, a lot of our listeners, like I've heard the term thrown around a lot on LinkedIn or other, you know, through emails, whatever, What, um, I guess kind of a couple of related questions, like why is it becoming big in terms of it, I hate to use the word hype, but I'll use the hype like why is the hype there? But, but more importantly, maybe what are some of the base sort of me, meta, meta trends, I had to throw that in there. That are happening in, in the space.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, it's, it's a good question and I, you know, I shouldn't. Um, transition to this by saying, you know, when you talk product led, you, you, you, you talk first about, you know, hey, you can just sign up without talking to a salesperson. You can just use the product. Like, you don't need an onboarding manager, maybe. Um, and that's, that's, that's basically all true, but that's not the only motion for product led growth. And every product led company has a fantastic sales team. The marketing team is using product data to create some great outbound campaigns and ABM campaigns. And there's this like whole kind of sales on motion at, at product led companies that that's very robust and very, very strong, um, that we can get into. But, uh, So being product led does not mean being only product led. Um, there's, there's obviously a, a sales led component to it. Um, and then, you know, why is it, why is it hot right now? Um, if you look at all of the, the biggest, most valuable, fastest growing. Kind of bdb startups out there. They're, they're all product led. Um, go look at, you know, AWS is the great example. I could surround startup, but great example. Twilio, Atlassian mural Figma, um, ly, you know, goes on and on. Um, and if you can really crack it, it's a, um, it's, it's a total accelerant to just building a. Great company. Um, a really, a really big company. Stripe.

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah, Stripes won. I mean, there's some original players out there too. Um, back before we were even referring to it, right, like, um, was a Dropbox. Right. Like the Sean, Sean Ellis was there at the time and he sort of crafted the like, hey, give and get right. And, and there was a whole bunch of PLG stuff there where they suddenly were like sharing, uh, you know, files through this thing. And we were like, What is this And,

Michael Hartmann:

Isn't that

Mike Rizzo:

then it turned into, I think they struggled a little bit. It took'em a while longer to move from that like self serve payment model to the, to the enterprise. Right? There wasn't an emotion for that at first, but now companies. like recognizing, hey, we're building these sort of simultaneously,

Dave Rigotti:

It's a super hard transition. I see a lot of startups get to like three to 4 million ARR just on. Kind of inbound product led motion. Um, maybe, I think I've seen one get to 10 million ar just, just on that. So it's a great way to, you know, get to your series A, series B, you know, you're getting the flywheel MO going, and then you have to go out on sales. You have to start selling bigger companies. And now sure, they'll still sign up for your product, but you have to turn it into a, a bigger deal and some companies can figure that out and, and some can't. Um,

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah. Yeah. I was just talking to, uh, to some folks about this idea of, you know, capturing in that PLG motion, capturing the upside potential for an account. Right. Um, cuz it's like being built into

Dave Rigotti:

The Tam account, you gotta look at the tam of, of your signups. Like somebody just signs up for a Gmail. Like you're probably gonna wanna treat differently than if you've got 30 years users at Microsoft Hammer away. And your product, like, you need to layer on the, the, the kind of personas, the roles, um, and the usage. And then the tam as part of the firmographics. You know, you didn't care that much about when you were, If you do traditional B2B sas, you're kind of like, okay, yeah, they're in our icp. They're between, you know, 50 and 200 employees. Like, great. That can be very different when you're looking at product led tam, just in that

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah. Yep, totally.

Michael Hartmann:

it's just curious like, so I think one of. One of the advantages or one of the things I think that something like private, like growth can address is, uh, I know as a buyer of marketing technology in the past, I've always been, yeah, usually you can get, uh, you can get a trial or a proof of concept that's good for a relatively short period of time before you're asked to make a commitment. And it, and in sometimes you get sort of more of the capabilities than you actually can afford, so to speak. And I've always struggled with that, like looking for options for if I was gonna give. Tech companies wanted piece bit advice, like make an available, a paid longer term, one that, you know, does a couple things right? It gets you invested in actually going through the effort of evaluating it. Well, and it on the, the, the, the tech company side, right? They get a little bit of revenue even if they don't ultimately sign for the something I just, this maybe product like growth helps kind of bridge that gap for someone like me who would like to see that.

Dave Rigotti:

Right. How, Yeah. It's like, how many times have we been burned buying software? Like every, everyone, like it's a, it's a rite of passage and being in marketing ops is, you've, you've bought software for vendor area and it didn't live up to the expectations that the salesperson, um, had for, or that you had for, for. For it shaped, you know, just directly by the, the salesperson, or you get pushed off to success after buying and it's like, you know, good luck and you have to restart this whole conversation about what you're trying to do. And. Um, it's hard like now think about a product led company where you can just go in and you can play around with it for a couple of hours. Try your scenarios and know very quickly, Hey, is this kind of what I was thinking? And it, it doesn't work for all companies. Like not every company should be product led. Um, but if you can, it's, it's pretty awesome. And it's like the most valuable content download ever. Basically like the, you know, it's like I spend so much time in my career thinking about intent data sources, and third party intent. How do you triangulate to, like, who's in the market? It's like they're right there. Like they're using your product. They signed up. You could see exactly what they're doing in your product. Like

Michael Hartmann:

it's the ultimate first party

Dave Rigotti:

It's the ultimate first party cookie. Like Totally. Yeah. It's a total gold mine for like doing great marketing. Like you know so much about someone and you can really help them.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah. Wow. So this, okay, so this is really interesting. Uh, okay, so let's, for our audience, Yeah. Being primarily marketing ops folks. Let's talk a little bit about, um, or maybe talk us through, like, how do you think, uh, like how do you think that this kind, you've kind of touched on a little bit, right? That there's more than one motion typically. Um, how does like, but maybe get, go a little deeper on what the, like what the differences are in product led go to market mos versus. I'll call it traditional if there is one, unless I guess we can keep it to b2b just to, to keep it a little bit contained.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, maybe, maybe I'll answer this, putting it in context of systems and that might be, um, like a good anchor for this conversation.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah,

Dave Rigotti:

I think, um, for. You know, quote unquote traditional B2B marketing. You know, you have forums. Somebody comes in, you have ads, those forums, they're downloading eBooks, you're running webinars, It's all getting in your marketing animation, you're scoring them, you're pushing it into a crm, and then sales qualifies and converts that into pipeline for the most part. That's your, you know, your, your mode of, of. Transit, if you will, for, you know, how somebody goes to the sales cycle. And for the most part, marketing's job's done after pipeline create. Sure. There's like field marketing, there's some stuff you might do for customer marketing, but it's more like customer love marketing. It's, it's not like, um, it, it's comes the lightest weight kind of customer you could do. Um, so you have two main systems, right? Like marketing automation and crm. Now get into a product lab where, That motion still exists. Um, you still have that motion for the most part because there's lots of buyers out there that, yeah, in some cases can't use your product like it does not let them install Slack on their machine. And so if you wanna go sell a big company Slack, you need to go, um, have

Michael Hartmann:

that. That hits that hit. That hits so home at home right now.

Dave Rigotti:

And so, you know, you still have that motion, okay? And now you have like this whole other set of infra for people who can just sign up for the product and use it. And now you gotta figure out somebody who's signed up for their product and how do you convert them over into, you know, revenue or pipeline, you know, from just using your product. So now you gotta think from a, a mobs perspective. About, Okay, great. Like, you know, I need to figure out how to like tap into our product activity data from Segment or Amplitude. Okay. The data team has set up that data into the data house, like Snowflake. So we gotta get that data, we gotta figure out how to go get, do something with that data. And then we have to figure out, you know, what are the, what are all the, the journeys and communications we need to send to someone to convert them from a free plan to a paid plan or a. Middle tier plan to an enterprise plan and like inviting people to, you know, just a webinar is not, not, not gonna do it. And so you need to get really contextualized about who they are, what are they doing in their product, You know, are they hitting the limits, their free plan? Great. Tell them that so that they can upgrade and make it easy for them to upgrade. And so you started to get into this whole like, set of things beyond. Marketing automation and, and CRM with product data, data warehouses. And then like teams, like data teams, um, engineering teams has gotta go tag the product with your product events you need to be successful, um, and, you know, goes on and on. So, um, I've talked with a lot of marketing ops leaders at, at PLG companies and a lot are super burned, super, like, super burned out. um, it, it's been a heck of a couple of years for some folks as part of just hyper growth. And then on top of that, having to learn so much new stuff and set up new systems, especially when it comes to, to product activity data, which isn't new for, for product teams, but is pretty new for, for marketing teams.

Michael Hartmann:

So is it, I think, it sounds like if I, if I'm hearing this right too, there's also a new channel that that marketers and marketing apps have to deal with for communication, which is the app itself, right? So some of this might happen in the app. So you have to coordinate not only data capture in your marketing operations system, you have to be able to push some back to it.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah. Yeah. I didn't even, didn't even mention in-app, but there's like a whole in-app channel too. Um, totally true. But it, it's like, it's a whole separate funnel. I think. Um, Megan, he were from, she's now winning by design, you know, she's, she's, you know, spent some time at Sirius and then at kgo, and she's now winning by design, creating some fantastic. Content around plg and she has this, it's called the, I think it's like the bow tie framework or the bow tie method, which on the, the left hand side of a bow tie is your traditional, you know, marketing funnel. It starts out wide, it gets really small. That's when it gets small. That's the kind of moment of a sign up, and then on the right hand side of a bow tie where it starts small and then it becomes like a big triangle. So sort of like an opposite funnel. That's your like PLG motion. It only makes sense to, to like do this if you can expand accounts. And if you can't expand accounts, then like, why are you, why are, why are you plt? You should, you should stop that. And so you have all this set of marketing, um, that is this the, the right hand side of, of the bow tie, Um, and it's all about instead of. Just the initial purchase. You know, in a traditional B2B, SAS kind of marketing world, it's about expansions and how do we make this a worthwhile customer for us to, you know, be spending so much on cogs just to have them in the, in the product.

Michael Hartmann:

I'm curious, given all that is there are, do you I would, I'm gonna make it a little bit of assumption cuz I haven't worked in like. Software companies directly before. So in a tradit called traditional software company, I'm assuming like marketing basically takes, here's product or product marketing is saying, Hey, here's the features we've got. Go figure out how to promote that, and then sales sell it, where it sounds like there needs to be a much more of a, a tighter connection between. Marketing, it may be sales to marketing and product in terms of providing input on feature sets and capabilities for the, for the, for the software. Is that my,

Dave Rigotti:

It's even more, it's even more extreme than that. Like in a, in a traditional sense, like, yes, you need to get your features and benefits from product marketing and the product team, but like it's, you're running a webinar. Like you, you don't need product to actually execute the webinar. Like you can just set it up, you can run it, you can just send an email, you're good to go. Like you need input on the copy and the content, but like you don't need input really to like go execute it. Um, or you don't have a dependency on the execution, you a hundred percent have a dependency on the execution for product led. Like if you can't access the product data, like the, um, the log of what people are doing in your product, like how are you supposed to send them an email when they've hit their limit on their free plan? Um, if, you know, and that has a dependency on, it's like there's a product team involved in that. There's a data team involved in that. There's like probably engineering teams that need to go add those events if they don't exist. You know, you need to figure out like, how do I get, how do I logistically get the data? How do we connect it in Is do we go through the warehouse? Do we get it through the crm? Is there some other way to do it? And then, you know, set up all of these communications for that. That's just to send an email. Like, that's not even like crazy. That's just like, you know, sending an email. So this is, I, I, you know, I, I talk with a lot of folks and they're like, you know, we have a new, we have a, we have to make an announcement, we have to do a feature release, We have to get our announcement out. You know, it's like product to engineering, data teams are all involved to send that email. And that just doesn't, like, doesn't, that doesn't make sense to me, like,

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah, yeah. Where I, I, I've been faced with this challenge, uh, I've been, unlike, unlike Mr. Hartman, I've been solely in early stage sort of SAS companies for the most part. Spent a little bit of time in agency and a little bit at a, at a ad tech industry. But even then the, the latest one was around product usage and we were trying to build an engineer sort of growth tactics, um, and, and, I mean, it's really complicated, right? Like the tools and, and I'm perfectly okay with like, it makes a lot of sense for you, Dave and inflection to be doing what you're doing because what we've been faced with in marketing operations is like, how in the hell do I like stitch this thing together? And how do I talk to my engineers, right? Like I worked with the growth team, quote unquote at Maven Link back in the. Who were your, your growth engineers? And we said, Here's all the data points that, you know, they advised us a little bit. It was really just me, so there's no, there was a team of one, no surprise there. Uh, and she says, you know, here's the data we have access to right in the product. Um, what else, Where do you need me to send this? And I said, Okay, I need you to sync that to HubSpot and I need the, the run to happen, you know, every x number of minutes. Uh, I need the start stop dates or your trial. Uh, and then I will try to manage like alongside you, I'll engineer the sort of workflow to deliver the trial onboarding sequence. But then that's still not intelligent, right? Like that's just basic. Basic level of data integration, then it's like, well, are they actually using it? What do you do from there? These systems aren't built for, for sending those types of things, and so

Michael Hartmann:

Well, it's so

Mike Rizzo:

is working on is like fundamental to changing the game for folks that are trying to enable the function of deliver based on sort of the current value state of that customer

Dave Rigotti:

And, and quickly too, I, I talked like, you know, being delayed by a couple days because you have to wait, you know, overnight for data to get in. You know, data warehouse or to get that data in or talk with a lot of companies they do, they pass email lists around. So there's a data team that'll run at SQL Query on the data warehouse, and then once a week pass a new list over into, into, uh, Market Mation. If, if you're waiting like. A week to send your welcome email to somebody. You know, it's like maybe they've already even turned or they've already set up their product and you're telling them to go do all these steps for something that is already kind of long past and it's, it's like a, that's a negative experience.

Michael Hartmann:

like this just physically hurts right now to listen to that. Like just.

Mike Rizzo:

and just like, you know, for those listening to this episode, right, We're just talking about the front end of the final here, folks.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah.

Mike Rizzo:

Uh, once we became more mature, I ended up boomerang Boomeranging back to the Mavenlink side of things, and I worked under client success and their development of that team and program was, was tremendous. Right. Um, but your, your growth in Mr. Andr should come from growing accounts and those signals, right? The

Dave Rigotti:

it has to.

Mike Rizzo:

And so, uh, those signals need to come from product usage. And then low and behold, you're suddenly moving from plg like top of funnel, you know, conversion to sale, to you've got client success who needs to be alerted of the fact that their, their key account that they're in charge of is trying to do something in the product that they're running up against a barrier, or boy, they're using the heck outta that feature. And we really should try to like make this. Transition to this upgrade or, Or what have you. And like so land and

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, I know all

Mike Rizzo:

they're asking for something totally different. And then how do they send emails? They're not in charge of Marketo or HubSpot

Dave Rigotti:

right. Yeah, that's, that's right. All of this is like, you know, obviously a great opportunity for us from a software side and, and why we started inflection, but it's also a great opportunity from a career side. Um, you know, I think part of my reason for, um, kind of doing pretty well in my career was when I started at Microsoft, my first, you know, this like two. Nine. Um, my first job was like running like social media accounts, like every, you know, 2009, like every, you're just, you give your college grad, your, your social media head, say, Have fun and you get this, like, all this kind of authority that you like really should not have.

Mike Rizzo:

I feel like back then that was the qualification though. Like

Michael Hartmann:

right.

Dave Rigotti:

yeah, we're

Mike Rizzo:

Oh, you grew up,

Dave Rigotti:

We did great.

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah.

Michael Hartmann:

know how to spell Twitter.

Mike Rizzo:

media, so you know what a hashtag

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, you're not adding a period to every, like, every social post at the end. And like, that was the test, you know, But like, you know, it ended up like growing and being a big thing and like that was a great kind of wagon to hitch to, you know, for a while. Um, or a, a cart to hitch to. So, um, I kind of think PLG is the same. Um, it's a booming business. Um, this, like this product led space and, um, there's a, there, this is a, I think, a, a. A big shift in the foundation for marketing and especially in, in kind of marketing office with all the foundation. So anyways, if anyone's listening in your, in your new, your career or you're trying to figure out, you know, different things to kind of go learn about and really stand out, I think learning about product data is, uh, awesome. And there's some great content out there from amplitude and segments and heap and rudder stack and fresh pain. There's, there's so many vendors, um, Amplitude and Segment have some of the, the kind of past content out there to go, go learn from. And, you know, if you go in an interview and you're talking about, you know, track calls and identified calls and product events and kind of how a marketing team should be thinking about them, or better yet go to market team should be thinking about them and kind of how to take advantage of. Quote unquote gold mine of first party data and translate that into, you know, business growth. You're hired, like you're hired because that, a lot of people don't know that, all that stuff and it's, you can go take some courses online and you know, go crush it.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, I think, I think there's probably a number of our listeners who, who might be sitting there listening to this, like, I am here going like this. Some of the things you're describing that we can do, like, that you have to go through with a, I'll call it traditional, you know, marketing ops platform with, you know, a CRM on the other side of it or whatever is it? Yeah. There just. Like they haven't kept up and they now, especially now that they've all sort of become really big part of big companies, I don't know that they can move as quickly to enable the kinds of things that, you know, you're able to do. But I, Yeah, I think, I mean immediately was, as you were describing some of that stuff, it remind me of. Yeah, having done a high volume custom integration to Marketo from some operational systems at one, one stop. And it was, it was, it was a six month project, right? And then it was ongoing because we had to clean up stuff we didn't expect. Right. Um, and then way back in my career, Um, talking about it wasn't quite the same as like product data, but it was, I worked for a telecom company and part of what we, I had, cause I was building the, the customer database for it and both for, for acquisition and retention, is that we had all this access to all this data about how people were using the network and um, yeah, we had a team of guys, they would probably be called data scientists. Now, back then they. Statisticians, but they were doing, you know, churn models and things like that to try to identify who was likely to churn on the acquisition side, like likelihood to, to be acquired and like that is the kind of stuff that it sounds like I'm, that's like what my mind's going to those kinds of things. And what you're describing just in a much faster pace.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, Yeah. Now, now, now layer on hypergo startups and marketing owning the post purchase journey. Um, and yeah, it gets, it gets hairy fast and with, you know, no more team members, like these teams are like the same size.

Michael Hartmann:

right.

Mike Rizzo:

all the same. So I do have a question around teams, uh, and responsibilities. Just, I mean, I don't know that there's necessarily right answer, but just, just like curiosity sort of. From your perspective, Dave, um, you know, we talked a little bit earlier about the PLG funnel and you know, sort of activation and sell through, right? You sign up for free, you see usage. You want to nurture that person to try to buy. Um, you know, if you had a title to put on that, it is as a marketing ops rev op person. Your responsibility is to usher data into the right places and allow it to be activated, right. Um, and understand what the requests are. So, so your responsibilities to make those that magic happen. Um, but when you think about who is responsible for sort of owning that, That cta, right? The buy now button, or the upgrade now or what have you. Is that a growth marketer quote unquote? Is that a product marketer, quote unquote? Like what would you think that sort of, if you had to bucket it into a couple titles that you think are generally applicable, you know, I'm, I'm also trying to get you to say it is not marketing

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah,

Mike Rizzo:

and agree with that

Dave Rigotti:

right?

Mike Rizzo:

but, who is it? Right? Who is it? So that the marketing house people listening go, Look, I can help try to activate this data, move it to somewhere, but someone's gotta go and the rest of the way. Right.

Dave Rigotti:

I don't know. Um, I'll tell you what I've seen, but I don't know, um,

Michael Hartmann:

Mike, why? Why did we get Dave on this

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I think this is

Mike Rizzo:

Nobody knows

Dave Rigotti:

right. I think this is, this is the, um, Well, depending on who you are, this can be the, the, the fun part of, of product led, and it's a little bit of of pain too, is like nobody really knows a lot of these answers. There's no, like, you know, serious decisions demand waterfall for like, how everything should work. Um, so like, companies don't know. I like, I've talked to a lot of product line companies and everyone is.

Mike Rizzo:

Mm-hmm.

Dave Rigotti:

a different setup and, um, nobody's very confident that it's the right setup. Like when I talk with folks, they're like, Oh, but you've talked with everyone else. Like, what are they doing? So this is what we're trying to do with our product led market community, is to help educate and we'll make some great content and frameworks to help people understand kind of what we're, what we're seeing. But I don't know. And like, so to answer that question about kind of who's owning a lot of the stuff, there's like the. I'll say there's like the foundation owner and then there's the kind of ex execution kind of owner. Um, Marketing apps owns a lot of the foundation or activation of that foundation. So, you know, in product and engineering, like have to own the product activity data and the kind of data warehouses if, if they have one. Um, Because using it for product like growth purposes is just, is just one, one reason. Like it's just one use case. Um, there's lots of other, other reasons that they kind of should own it. Um, and not marketing, but um, so they kind of own it. You know, marketing should influence how a product should be tagged and what events should be tracked. But, um, they're not the owners of it. But more often than not, marketing Ops is the owner for, Okay, you have this data, like how do you go. activate it, at least for, definitely from a kind of email communication perspective. Now who's in there actually creating the emails, designing the journeys, and kind of figuring out, you know, what kinds of campaigns should be run. And I call'em like growth loops. You know that it's gonna get people to use the product more, upgrade them. It's very consistent. So sometimes it's a life cycle marketer, sometimes it's, um, You know, like a life cycle being like a full funnel demand marketer, basically. Sometimes it's a pm like a product person. Um, sometimes in product there are marketers. There'll be like growth marketers under. So, yeah, any other company, they would be in marketing. They have a marketing background, but they happen to sit in a product. Um, sometimes I've seen it's actually like success, like they own post purchase. They consider a sign up to be that point. And so CS is in there kind of owning, owning that, and kind of designing. So it's the, I say don't know because, um, I've seen it all. seen it all. And this is a, this is a challenge we have with our product marketing. You know, you go to our site, it says, talks about market animation. It's like, kind of like, but also like, kind of not like we have companies that are using, like it's in CS team using our product or its product. Like does a, was a, a VP of product and a PM using our software. Like, would they call it marketing animation? No way. So we have to figure that out.

Mike Rizzo:

the category We are in

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah,

Michael Hartmann:

I think what you're saying is like if you're in marketing or or marketing hops and probably like growth, you know, there's probably a lot of or, or a lack of clarity about roles, responsibilities across this kind of stuff and how to use it. Just think of what I'm hearing.

Dave Rigotti:

I, I'd say there's clarity in the companies, but lack of consistency across companies.

Michael Hartmann:

Fair enough.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah. And I think this is like, this isn't a marketing, a product led growth is not a like marketing initiative. It's not even a like go to market initiative. It like has to be a company initiative. It's like impossible. I've never seen a marketer or even a marketing leader be like, We need to add this motion and here's what it is. Um, without like the support.

Michael Hartmann:

The

Dave Rigotti:

kinds of stuff. Cause like if you're not product led, you wanna get there, like you're gonna have to, you know, change up a lot of stuff. Like people need to be able to self-service the product otherwise, like, what are you doing Card?

Mike Rizzo:

It's really, I I like to see when, Yeah, I, I agree. Right? The top down the entire org needs to be sort of involved, and I really like it when you start getting the, the product designers trying to think in terms of that PLG motion. Like where, where do we put the intentional growth loop, right? The intentional little hook to, to put the notification that, or the barrier to entry, like they're engineering the little stops along the way. With intentionality that there's still enough value in the product, but up to a point we're going, Oh, there's a little bit more you have to do in order to get going. It's those progressive form fills that we

Dave Rigotti:

Exactly. Yeah, it's exactly right. There's like, I was talking with a, a company, uh, yesterday and they, um, didn't have any, like, essentially we would think of it as like progressive profiling or progressive form fills. In their product. So people sign up and they, they just get an email address. They're like, We don't know anything about these people. We don't know who, like their level, their title, um, their type, their industry. We don't know what kind of use case they're coming in to kind of solve for. And they're like, Oops, we made that mistake. We need to go back and work with product. So when people sign up, we put them through, you know, we put three forms in front of them, getting that information so we can actually go.

Mike Rizzo:

Yeah, like complete your profile,

Dave Rigotti:

Exactly. Exactly.

Mike Rizzo:

profile version inside your product and, and, you know, and the product might go well then they're not using it cuz they, they fall out and it's like, well we can't market

Dave Rigotti:

Right. Yeah. It's the right, it's right product. Might not think to go ask people their title, but you know, marketers like obviously do and need that.

Mike Rizzo:

This is, uh, one of the things that I talked about very early in my career. I was like, if you can get product folks to start thinking about the needs of the marketer to do the selling piece earlier on as they engineer the product, um, there's a, there's a lot of potential win for the

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah,

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah.

Mike Rizzo:

Um, but it has to start like the sooner the better. Right?

Michael Hartmann:

I would, I would, I would argue, just like I, I, years ago I got a book, it's like a, who Moved My Cheese type book about marketing and sale sales and how, how to be a marketing superstar. There's a, there was a one chapter that was like two basic pages. It had basically said, Yeah, this is customer money. It, it has changed kind of how I thought. The term customer a lot, but basically said everybody's paychecks should have on it, right? This is customer money to kind of try to drill into people's head, like whatever they're doing is in service of getting new customers who are actually gonna enable them to have the jobs that they have and right, so the company to grow. So I think that's just another version of that.

Mike Rizzo:

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Michael Hartmann:

so, um, So we talked about like, this is a different kind of motion on top of existing stuff. It, so for our audience who are in marketing apps mostly, right. So what, what are the things that, what are some of the things that, um, that you would kind of advise them to start learning about more? You, I think you mentioned a couple of things early on, but maybe. Kind of recap those that they can, you know, so if they wanna be interested, if they're interested in something like this and what the differences are, and then maybe the flip is like, are there anything lessons from plg, you know, uh, companies and organizations that, uh, we could apply in other non PLG companies.

Dave Rigotti:

Cool. Yeah, I love it. Um, for, for learning, um, I think there's, there's a couple things. Definitely go in and learn about product activity data, very like, Be a student. Learn it. Learn it intensely. You can do that and don't mean go spend a hundred hours on it, but, but really like, sit down and, and like try to understand it. Don't, don't go through a training to say you got a certification. Go through a training by segment or amplitude to be like a a, a learner about it. So AC go in and kind of actually learn. A couple weeks ago, I put out a product led growth vendor landscape. There's some technologies that are very specific to product led companies. Um, If somebody's looking to go learn more, you can download, um, or go view the landscape. You can see some of the categories that are specific to kind of data and being product led that maybe you haven't kind of come across debt. So you can kind of go learn about the categories. Then, of course, if you want, like go learn about the vendors, but at least learn about the categories. So when somebody asks you about, you know, ETL or V ETL or product sales, Whatever, um, you know, you know what they're talking about. Um, and then for, you know, what, what can you learn if you're not a product led company from those that are, um, kind of being product led? I think, um, I, I think, I don't think customer marketing's the right term, but the, this. I felt like we were, in my career, I've, you know, run marketing teams, you were doing customer marketing, we're doing great job, supporting our customers. And then I look back, you know, it's like, yes, we had, you know, 10% of our, of our marketing team in customer marketing and, but we had, you know, 95% of our budget for due logo acquisition and. You know, the customer marketing team was doing great work, but like it was more turning our customers into superstars and, and not, and that's different than like helping them with the product. Um, I think product that the best product led companies are are just so good at getting people. Really into the product, like using the product, adding more users into the product. Like I don't, I don't think we ever once did any, had any effort at visible to, to have companies go add more like, like more, um, people into visible, you know, like maybe there was just a company would have just one, one login. We didn't even charge seat. Like it wouldn't cost them anything to go get more people into the product. Like we never did that and it just wasn't a. A big party for expansion, and that's, that's all the game for product like growth. It's all about taking this like crazy med scientist stuff that we do every day on funnel conversions from a content download to this mql, to this like go, like, you know, to have that brain, but like now for your customers and it, it unlocks some pretty cool stuff.

Michael Hartmann:

That's awesome. Yeah, it's like I, I think we're gonna have to wrap it up here now, just out of time, and I feel. Coming into this now I realize like, I didn't know what I didn't know. Right. I feel like I could, we could continue on for another hour, but, uh, unfortunately we're not able to. So, uh, you mentioned the, uh, the landscape document, but let, let me, um, so that plus if people wanna like, Keep up with what you're doing or learn more about you or inflection, like what's the best place for them to do that and where can they get that, uh, that doc.

Dave Rigotti:

Yeah, you can, you can learn more about inflection, just inflection.io. Um, and then we have this, this community that we, that we run for, it's mostly marketers, um, uh, including marketing ops or rev ops at product led companies called product led.marketing. Um, and it's, uh, you know, a public free community. It's not a, it's an industry group. It's not a vendor group. And so there's a lot. Great conversations there can always post to if you have a question or wanna learn. And we publish a lot of content there. So again, that's product led marketing and inflection io.

Michael Hartmann:

Fantastic.

Mike Rizzo:

uh, Dave's summer camp session is available@marketingops.com. So if you want to do, um, we, it was a, a little bit of a different spin on what we talked about today. Um, some more information there. Uh, and so if you want to go a little deeper into PLG and watch his presentation as a pro member, you can have access to that. It's included. Um, and, and you can go, you know, sink your teeth in even further there. But yeah, full faith in Dave and his ability to run a community that's really valuable. Um, credence to, you know, the stuff that he did earlier, uh, with marketing op.com and all that stuff. And so, yeah, please go check it out. It's really, really good. We appreciate you.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah.

Dave Rigotti:

it. Thanks for having me.

Michael Hartmann:

Dave, this is like super helpful. I know I learned a lot. I think our listeners who were in my same shoes not as familiar, will have learned a lot as well, so, Um, with that though, uh, thank you to all of our listeners. Uh, we always appreciate this continued support, feedback, and, um, ideas for topics and, and guests. Um, hard, hard to believe that this is now episode 71. Uh, we're almost two years into it, so thank you all for that, Mike. Thank you. And we, we miss Naomi. But, uh, with that, we'll talk to you next time everybody. Bye.

Dave Rigotti:

Thanks everyone. Byebye.