“Today’s marketing leader has to think in terms of transformation. The business doesn’t need what it got last year. It needs better, and our B2B marketing-as-a-service (MaaS) model delivers a more impactful revenue function and enables marketing to operate with more impact at a significantly lower cost.
Before we proceed, our readers are eager to gain a deeper understanding of you. Could you kindly share some insights into your personal journey and background?
I started my career path at SAP as a Marketing Specialist, Team Lead. I held multiple marketing leadership roles within SAP and Siemens, including demand creation, marketing ops, analytics, and account-based marketing (ABM). After that I went to Unify, where I held a Marketing Manager, ABM Strategic Accounts position from May 2011 to October 2012.
Later that year, I became the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at WGroup, a U.S.-based IT management consulting firm, where I led the company to a 30% per year revenue growth rate, with 56% of sales bookings attributed to marketing. At WGroup, I identified an opportunity to deliver a better organizational model—B2B marketing as a service (MaaS)—to do that. In 2017, I decided to cofound 2X, the leading B2B MaaS firm, where I’m the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
How has your personal background contributed to shaping the culture and vision of 2X, and what values do you prioritize within the company?
I’ve always been a CMO focused on revenue impact and growth, and I started 2X as a way to enable marketing to operate with more revenue impact at a significantly lower cost.
Through that, I’ve built one of the fastest-growing marketing services companies in the industry. 2X has ranked for the third year in a row in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S.
Naturally, one of the core values at 2X is “Growth-minded.” Another is “Outcomes-focused,” which means we value doing meaningful work for our clients by knowing its purpose and impact.
How has the implementation of MaaS transformed your clients’ ability to align financial goals with marketing objectives, and what measures are in place to track their progress and success?
Our mission with MaaS is to help companies generate more revenue from marketing while dramatically reducing operating expenses. It’s possible to do both—all clients we work with get both.
In the current world, expenses matter, efficiency matters, and I don’t think marketing organizational models have evolved as much as they should to make sure all activities are driven toward the goal of generating revenue.
With MaaS, you can align financial goals with marketing objectives by rethinking the organizational structure. You evaluate what is core competency work you should be doing internally, and then buy the best-practice work from an expert firm like 2X that can dramatically pull down the cost of doing non-core competency work.
How we track progress and success is by measuring outcomes like cost savings and increased productivity of our marketing work. Separately, if clients need help measuring results, we support them with that. A lot of organizations don’t have good visibility and reporting around the impact and outcome of marketing investments, and we are able to provide that transparency.
How do you identify the right accounts to target, and what criteria do you use to determine whether an account is a good fit for your ABM strategy?
A lot of times ABM target account lists are just a combination of profiling criteria, like company size, geography, and industry. This isn’t the best way to do it. In the current environment, it’s very important to use engagement data and intent data to drive targeting for your ABM strategy.
The best way is to figure out which companies are an ideal fit for your product or service. Then, you use intent data to find out who is “in market,” or showing signs of interest in getting help to solve the problem that you solve.
Intent tools like 6sense and Bombora provide visibility into what accounts are searching for the solutions you offer, and 2X partners with both. In fact, we have a large pool of talent certified on those platforms. If you layer on your ideal-fit criteria with an account that’s in market, that should drive who you go after at top-of-funnel. If you’re also able to layer in who’s had some engagement with your marketing—website, campaigns, social, emails, ads—then you know who is in a mid-funnel conversation with you and how to market to them.
How does MaaS contribute to or increase the effectiveness of a marketing organization’s ABM strategy?
Having a higher level of personalization in your ABM strategy will help break through the noise and increase the chances a prospect will engage with you—but you need more content, more channels, more effort to do that. Without the resources to deliver that level of personalization, it’s difficult to produce the impact you want.
With a MaaS model, you can access execution capacity and brainpower with world-class, certified B2B marketing talent that can produce more personalized content and campaigns.
Of course AI can also help with productivity, but our stance is that AI doesn’t eliminate the need for humans who know how to prompt and use AI effectively to boost the outcomes of your ABM strategy. MaaS and AI are levers that the modern marketing leader can use to do better marketing.
How does the MaaS playbook differ from the typical strategy of a marketing agency?
MaaS is very different from an agency. We’re in the business of doing “run” work. We sit in the execution lane and keep things stable with standardized, best-practice processes, and our goal is to operate with more efficiency and cost effectiveness. We think about continuous improvement, and we love to get into the technology you’ve already invested in to get more out of it—all of which translates to higher revenue.
As a CMO, I worked with many agencies, and I think they play a critical role in the marketing mix. They’re great for big, one-off projects like a new website, new brand, new product launch, or for doing very specialized things like PR or SEO. But agencies don’t generally to want to do the day-to-day execution work, and if they do, it tends to be at a higher rate or with a pool of resources allocated to multiple clients.
Managed services is 2X’s core business: it’s the pushing out of email campaigns, creating content, managing technology, generating reports, engaging prospects, updating the website. MaaS makes these tasks more efficient, which means it will be less expensive than doing it yourself.
All of these things need to be done really well, and we take them off your hands to allow you to focus time and energy on what you need to be the best in the world at, like product marketing, messaging, and building relationships with customers.
“By embracing the B2B marketing-as-a-service (MaaS) model, organizations can leverage specialized expertise to optimize marketing efforts and achieve their growth objectives. The current market dynamics demand efficiency and impact simultaneously, and MaaS is perfectly timed to help marketing and revenue leaders do both.
KPIs are essential for measuring marketing performance. Which key performance indicators does the finance team focus on to assess the effectiveness and ROI of MaaS?
In today’s climate, the best way for CMOs to think about their KPIs is to measure impact on the revenue model. Marketing should be measured in terms of revenue contribution and all the metrics associated with that—so customer acquisition cost, marketing ROI, marketing revenue impact, pipeline generation—these are the major metrics. I think it’s also important that marketing is measured on its efficiency and productivity, meaning unit-cost economics and looking at how much it costs to do things. MaaS reduces operating costs to help with those metrics.
Does MaaS require new technologies and tools? How should the finance department evaluate and prioritize investments in marketing technology to ensure a positive impact on the company’s financial performance?
We can recommend new tools and technologies, but we use whatever our clients have invested in. We do, however, partner and work closely with industry-leading platforms like 6sense, Jasper AI, Adobe Marketo Engage, Salesforce, Bombora, and Drift, and have trained and certified marketers who have access to the best practices from hands-on expertise.
MarTech can drive positive impact on revenue, but finance departments often don’t see the impact they’re hoping for on a company’s financial performance because they don’t have people with the skills or capacity to unlock its full potential. There was a Gartner CMO annual report that found 71% of CMOs believed they lacked sufficient budget to carry out efficient and successful campaigns strategy, and this is part of that. You need people with expertise and capability to use that technology better and produce more value so that you can drive more revenue out of those investments.
Could you share the inspiration behind the ideation and founding of 2X? What motivated you to create the category of B2B marketing as a service?
I identified a need when I was CMO at WGroup for a different type of services model in B2B. Marketing leaders are under constant pressure to create more value with fewer resources—it’s a term I call the “marketing resource paradox.” And 2X’s MaaS model and our Revenue Marketing Resource Center was built to solve it.
Most marketing departments have internal resources doing the bulk of the work, or they have an agency doing things around the edges. But there are things you don’t need to build and create from scratch when there are others that are best in the world at—that’s what you outsource.
A Gartner study found that only 5% of current sales and marketing services are outsourced, compared to 54% of IT services and 44% of finance work. I think there’s a missed opportunity here.
What are your long-term aspirations for 2X? How do you envision the company’s growth and influence in the industry over the coming years?
2X is a marketing services firm that delivers more impact than any before it, and my long-term goal is to build the biggest B2B marketing services company in the world.
I think MaaS is going to be the B2B industry’s primary service model in the future. I think it’s disruptive to the agency model—and in some ways, the internal marketing org chart—because we’re helping marketing leaders increase their revenue contribution and dramatically decrease the cost it takes to do that by transforming their operating models.
We’ve built the playbook for how to do this, and as evidenced by the nearly 100% year-over-year growth we’ve had for the first five years of the company, I think the market has told us we built something special.
I think MaaS will be the B2B industry’s primary service model in the future. It’s disruptive to the agency model—and in some ways, the internal marketing org chart—because we’re helping marketing leaders increase their revenue contribution and dramatically decreasing the cost it takes to do that.
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