Mad Men No More— How Marketing Has Changed: Interview with Jackie Yeaney

Glenn: Hi, everyone. I’m Glenn Gow, Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Welcome to Moneyball for Marketing where we talk about the incredible changes happening in marketing organizations around big data and marketing technology. We feature marketing technology insights from the top marketers in the world. The reference to Moneyball is from the story of how the Oakland A’s baseball team were able to win and win and win because they figured out how to use data and technology to their advantage. If you’d like to learn about how to use big data and marketing technology and marketing to help you win visit us at or email us at And now on to our podcast.
Today I am very pleased to welcome Jackie Yeaney, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Red Hat. Jackie is responsible for orchestrating Red Hat’s strategy formulation and planning, brand, global programs, global partner marketing, marketing services, marketing operations, and global field marketing, that’s a big role, Jackie. So, how does Red Hat describe themselves? Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions taking a community powered approach to reliable and high performing Cloud, Linux, middleware, storage, and virtualization technologies. Jackie, it’s great to have you here.

Jackie: Oh, thanks so much, Glenn. You know that description of my role makes it sound a lot more dramatic than it is, but I’ll have to work on that.

Glenn: All right. Well, it is broad and I think that’s helpful and it’s interesting, I thought, in your title you have both strategy and marketing.

Jackie: Yeah, I love that about my job, I really do.

Glenn: Good, and to that part let’s talk about this topic of understanding your customers that you and I spoke about earlier. I think that’s a fantastic place to start for any marketing podcast.

Jackie: Yeah, absolutely. The reality is, of course, marketing shifting from that traditional advertising, creative, copywriting business which all still matter to much more of this customer driven, user driven, and a technology enabled one, although, I will admit I already miss Mad Men. I’m like, “That was the job.” But it’s no longer the job. So, now the power is back in that customer’s hand and in my head I kind of view it as now it’s kind of a pull world instead of a push world, and if you pay attention carefully, usually, with a lot of the technology that we can now use they are telling us what they went, what’s relevant to them, how you can better engage with them, but it’s a lot of work to use a technology to capture the data, but that’s the name of the game.

Glenn: Tell us a little bit about that, about how are they telling us?

Jackie: I think because of where they engage and what conversations they have and what communities they choose to engage with. So, people aren’t just reading, they are commenting, they’re writing their own blogs, they are responding and you have to kind of be there in order to see what they’re talking about, who they’re engaging with, watching who they follow and engage with on Twitter, what kind of list they’re creating, what topics they care about. So, it’s there, I mean, that can be a little scary for all of us, our lives are kind of out there in the open online 24-7.

Glenn: Oh, they are.

Jackie: Exactly, but you know, used in the right way for business, of course.

Glenn: It’s fascinating you say that because it also means that you have to be a listening organization.

Jackie: Yes, absolutely and it is a culture shift. I’ll tell you one way we at Red Hat kind of got the ball rolling was we hired this company called Motivequest which is a technology driven insights company and they go out and they monitor over a year timeframe all the conversations in your industry and all the online forums.

Glenn: Oh, beautiful.

Jackie: Yes, it’s amazing information. So, you can see what the conversations are, who is having them, what companies, what products, is there positive sentiment, is there negative sentiment? So, that then we can be more thoughtful about what topics we talk about and how people are thinking of us today and we can better position ourselves.

Glenn: That’s great, thank you for sharing that. And related to you talking, we talked a little bit about thought leadership and before you jump into thought leadership I just want to say I’m a big, big fan of thought leadership. I guess I should be being the host.

Jackie: Exactly, you do it well.

Glenn: Well, thank you. And yet a lot of companies are a little bit reluctant to invest in thought leadership because it’s so hard to measure and given that we’re in this measurement mind-set in marketing how do you make the case for investing in thought leadership when it’s pretty hard to measure?

Jackie: That’s a good point. Actually, on this particular area I haven’t made the giant case on measuring. I’ve gone more into talking to more to my technologists in the company and the marketers, although they’re not quite as hard to convince, and say, “Look, the market expects Red Hat to be leading, there’s an area called OpenStack, so we need to be loud and confident in that area.” And then I show them the data on, “If decisions are made based on trust, not on the speeds or feeds of your product, and you, Mr. Salesperson, product owner, need to build that trust. One of the ways to build trust is to be credible in the content areas they care about.”

Glenn: Right.

Jackie: So, I haven’t had as much pushback on how we’re going to prove that’s effective. We’re more rallying the resources of getting that content out there. They’ll probably come back to me in a bit and say, “Did that work?” But I’m right in the middle of it.

Glenn: Well, we have to acknowledge as marketers there are some areas that are pretty difficult to measure, brand is one of them even though you can do surveys. Thought leadership is a really big one and yet I really encourage companies to invest in thought leadership and I know you guys have and I want you to talk about that in a second because that’s what the buyer wants to hear from you. They don’t want to hear about your product until they’re ready to hear about your product. What they want to hear about is you talking about the issues that are important to them.
Jackie: That’s right. I mean, somebody was telling me the other day the sprays of the customers thinking, “Don’t sell me, engage with me.” And the way to do that is in these topic areas they care about.

Glenn: So, talk to us a little bit about what you do in the area of thought leadership.

Jackie: So, like I said, we use this Motivequest company to help get us started. We had a list of way too many, like, 30 categories we thought we wanted to be thought leaders in. So, we took some time to narrow that down to a handful. Say, “Let’s be really critical in a couple of the big areas right now and then move onto these other topics later if they’re still top of mind for folks.” So, then we picked experts that could be the voice piece, if you will, out in the media because I think the more you can have a person or two as the true thought leader then it gets heard more often. And then we use a tool called PeopleLinx with Salesforce and we put the thought leadership there for them to be able to get it out in their own voice.

Glenn: Oh, excellent.

Jackie: Hope that made sense.

Glenn: Yeah.

Jackie: We have a Friday Five, we call it, where every Friday we send the company the top five leader areas for them to get out there whether that’s social or in their meetings and such, so it’s kind of across the board. And then we have the priorities, of course, with the AR and PR team and they kind of match the thought leader categories and once a month we’re deciding to focus on one area and highlight that on the corporate website. So, it’s kind of all in for a moment, if you will, on a topic and then kind of move on to the next one.

Glenn: And what’s interesting is you’re getting the whole company, or at least a big chunk of the company, involved in it.

Jackie: Yeah, you know, I have this belief that winning this marketing game no longer relies on how much money we spend which is lucky for me because Red Hat competes with companies much larger than ourselves like VMware, Microsoft, and Oracle. So, that’s the good news and I have passionate employees here at Red Hat and if I can get 8,000 employees behaving like a chorus instead of like a cacophony then I believe the market is going to hear that much better than me throwing ads around whether that’s online or offline.

Glenn: What a great phrase, “Behaving like a chorus.”

Jackie: Well, I had to do that at Red Hat because at Red Hat we are kind of a hero mentality culture, so people would have their cape on and go think they could do their own thing and it took me time to convince them that no one’s going to hear you if you’re standing up on stage with thousands of people and yelling your thing and the person next to you is yelling something else, but if we’re all singing from the same sheet, but having our own version of whether I’m a soprano or alto then people will hear it.

Glenn: Oh, that’s fantastic and I guess it requires focus, you had mentioned that earlier, right? Because you have so many things you want to say to the market and you have a complex set of products and solutions.

Jackie: And it’s moving so quickly. I mean, there’s this one area called containers that two years ago wasn’t talked about at all and now it is the thing everybody wants to talk about, so it moves faster than I’ve ever seen in another industry.

Glenn: But that means that you also have to be a leader inside the company to help the rest of the employees understand what is important to the marketplace.

Jackie: That’s right and to say, “I’m telling you this.” And I’m used to, in my previous marketing roles, to be able to kind of craft that out and project it and then keep going with it for a while, and at Red Hat that’s much more of a three month effort rather than a year effort. So, I’ve been in this role four years now. Other companies I was at, by year four you feel like you’re a little bit kind of turning the crank, but now that our industry and marketing is changing so rapidly it’s not like you can lay out a corporate or a marketing or a brand strategy and just leave it and go once you get people engaged. We keep having to reengage, if you will.

Glenn: Yeah, sure. Well, the market is changing so quickly. So, to the point of other marketing, you and I had also spoken about account focused marketing which is a very different topic than thought leadership which is very broad. So, talk to me about what you’re doing there and why that’s important and even how you layer those two together, the thought leadership and the account focused marketing.

Jackie: Yeah, that’s funny because at first, in my head, when I think about account based marketing it sounds old, right? Like, “Isn’t that what we used to do?”

Glenn: Right!

Jackie: But, again, with kind of the new technology tools out there it is becoming a lot more sophisticated and in our industry the number of people within a company involved with the decision making process is becoming exponential, so we can’t just go to a CIO, we have to go to the CIO and the CMO and the CTO and the CEO and all their people to actually figure out how to engage with them as a company.

Glenn: But you’re talking about your customers, your potential buyers.

Jackie: Exactly, exactly. I was telling you too, that you say that and that sounds great, but we had some issues where we had the sales data, the CRM data, the customer support data. We had lots of contacts where some of them were just procurement people, whoever signed the contract, right? Not, who we’re really engaging with. So, we’ve been on this journey of a project we call Customer 360 to bring all those things together and into kind of one source of truth which sounds a lot easier than it is as all of have tried, of course, can get very frustrated, but we’re not waiting for kind of the end-all, be-all. We’re taking what we’ve figured out so far and then we’re using kind of the done numbers to help us create the links between contact and companies and get real people in there. And then we’ve been able to use a company called Mintigo to help us create kind of profiles of these customers, who’s more likely to buy from us, and why and how can we better follow up?

Glenn: Yes, and I just did a podcast with the CEO of Mintigo.

Jackie: Oh, did you? They’ve been great to work with. Yeah, we weren’t sure we were going to use them at first. We tried Mintigo, Lattice Engines, and Infer.

Glenn: Sure, sure.

Jackie: And ultimately landed on Mintigo and they’ve been great to work with. We’ve been able to create ideal customer profiles, or as ideal as we know right now, and then match leads to that, and look at the engagement they’ve had with us to get better scored leads into the lead development area.

Glenn: That’s great. And talk to me just a little bit, Jackie, about this data issue because most CMOs that I talk to are not sitting down at the table with the IT organization and saying, “Hey, guess what? We as marketers need to own some either data itself or view of the data so that we can manage it from a customer prospective.” It sounds like you’re doing that. Tell us just a little bit about the challenges around that.

Jackie: Yeah. So, I guess I have not gone as far as Red Hat as saying, “We need to own the data.” I’m not sure I want to. I have gone the view of the data.

Glenn: Sure.

Jackie: And have worked with them, although, it did take some convincing so we have set up a marketing data mark.

Glenn: Okay, good.

Jackie: Yeah, they were worried about allowing us to do that for a while, but I have a great marketing operations leader now who builds a lot of confidence in what will and won’t do with that data so they don’t need to worry. So, that’s actually been working pretty well. And then we can put tools like ClickView on top.

Glenn: Sure.

Jackie: And then get a lot of data into the hands of the marketers in the field around the world and even some of the salesforce because I have this issue that I know a lot of marketers have where it’s hard for a sales person to understand there’s this longer journey going on in engagements all across. You know, they want a webinar to happen, a contact, put that into the lead development, we make a call, we talk to them, we show up and have a conversation, we sell something, and it just does not happen that way. So, we create views of showing the different stages of the journey and the types of interactions that people are having and they can look at that through this ClickView lens to the marketing data mark.

Glenn: That’s excellent and that’s one of the challenges between marketing and sales organizations is that sales is actually designed to make something happen quickly and marketing has to acknowledge that, well, we’re here for the long haul and we have to think over multiple quarters as it relates even to just the buying process and then even longer as it relates to the customer relationship.

Jackie: Yes, exactly. I always say there’s always tension between sales and marketing and if a CEO doesn’t want that tension then have one report to other, fine, you know? You’re not going to get the best answer, but if you don’t want to deal with that. Yeah, we end up on these forecast calls three weeks before the end of a quarter and they’re not quite at their number and they turn to us and say, “What are you going to do?” And the truth of the answer is, “I’m not going to do anything for you to get you to close deals over the next three weeks.”

Glenn: Right, not in three weeks.

Jackie: And they have a hard time not focusing on that traditional sales funnel, so I’m trying to move away from that, but that’s what they’re all used to, something pops in the top and flows out the bottom and they want to be able to measure marketing’s impact just on that funnel. And like you were saying earlier, some of these efforts like brand and thought leadership are so hard to measure and yet are so much of the energy. So, to just look at the marketing qualified leads down through to the wins is not the right way to go. If I was selling something that was $50 maybe.

Glenn: Right.

Jackie: Then I could get them to work.

Glenn: And talk to me about one other complexity that you’re managing as it relates to measuring the impact of marketing and that’s the channel.

Jackie: Yeah, it’s been difficult. So, I have both on the marketing side and the sales side about almost 70 percent of our business goes through the channel. So, that’s another reason why not just to look at the direct salesforce funnel because you’re missing a lot of the point, and so I’ve had a lot of angst about that throughout the company and I haven’t made a ton of progress yet. What I think we’ve decided to do, and we’re just starting on this effort now, is to do some pilots with some companies because it’s all about how to get the data back from them.

Glenn: Right, right.

Jackie: So, they do go in and register the deals, but right now they don’t get tied to any sort of campaign or marketing effort ever. So, we don’t have that visibility so if I can find five to 10 companies, and we’ve got some great partners that will sit and work with us on how to–, so that will be manual at first, I know, on how to set that back and forth, but I think it’ll be worth it in the end.

Glenn: Yes, and I love the pilot concept to try to pick the channel partners that are going to work with you so you can show some early successes and then you can develop a process that’s going to work.

Jackie: Exactly, yeah.

Glenn: Beautiful. Jackie, talk to me a little bit about where you see the future of how you’re running the marketing organization and how data and technology is going to apply to the things you’re going to be doing in the next few years.

Jackie: Yeah, one of them we touched on a few minutes ago and it’s just this notion of the CIO-CMO partnership, and I feel like right now I partner very well with my CIO on a project-by-project basis, but it still feels like a loose collection of tools. It’s more like we tend to find something we think we might want to do and then they say, “Yeah, we’ll help you do that.” Where what we really need to do is sit down and create a couple year vision of where we think we’re headed with the marketing technology and the infrastructure and it won’t be exactly right, and that’s not the point, but to plan for it instead of this reactive, “Oh, there’s something new and cool out there,” and I hear that from pockets around marketing. It doesn’t just come to me from marketing operations, right, I get it from everywhere and then you start chasing, and then sometimes you end up with a tool over here and a tool, I got something in APAC and something in headquarters and it turns out they’re really doing the same thing whereas if I had some sort of roadmap any time it comes up I could say, “Where does it fit?” Or, “Does it not and why and why not?” To at least make it a lot more thoughtful, and my CIO is willing to do that with me, we just need to do it instead of getting so bogged down in the cool thing of the moment, if you will.

Glenn: Well, we’re big believers in that for a few reasons. One, it’s sort of the other side of the coin of pilots is that sometimes pilots are so easy to run, you just buy it for $17 a month with a credit card and boom you’re going and testing on your website.

Jackie: And before you know it, yeah, it’s out of control.

Glenn: It’s out of control, so we call it “The Shiny Object Syndrome,” a vendor shows you something really cool and you want to try it, it looks really good, and yet we also find that a lot of companies already have most of that capability inside the software they’ve already purchased and yet because that team isn’t interacting with that particular vendor they don’t even know about that capability. So, I applaud you for thinking about a roadmap and we’re big, big believers in that for the very reasons that you and just discussed.

Jackie: Yeah, exactly. And I’d say one of the big areas is there’s this whole struggle between global and corporate and local.

Glenn: Sure, sure.

Jackie: And so, I believe more and more we need to and must put the power in the hands of the local marketer of, say, the local marketer in France which I think is very plausible especially with some of these tools. There’s one we’re using now called Outfit and it allows us to put all the messages and assets of like our brand campaign into this tool and then they can manipulate it, use it, and render however they need in their country and change, translate, and all those sorts of things. So, I end up with a lot of delay in process of going back and forth between my corporate marketers, even my regional demand centers, and then a couple of people in the country whether it’s translations or PR approvals or edits, all those sorts of things.

Glenn: Well, I applaud you for that philosophy and your right tools enable tools to happen much more easily and I wish we could spend more time on it, but we’re actually out of time, Jackie.

Jackie: Time goes fast, yeah!

Glenn: Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us.

Jackie: It was a joy, thank you.

Glenn: All right, talk to you soon.

Jackie: Have a great day, bye.

Glenn: If you like this podcast please subscribe and rate us on iTunes and tell your friends about us. You can also go to our website,, and sign up for our free monthly newsletter featuring the very best of our marketing insights, featured Moneyball for Marketing podcasts, and one of our favorite features called, “Bad Marketing,” or email me at Thanks for listening to Moneyball for Marketing from Crimson Marketing. Have a great week and let us know if we can help you in any way.