Be a Commercially Creative Marketer (with Apex Group's Rosie Guest)

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This is a podcast episode titled, Be a Commercially Creative Marketer (with Apex Group's Rosie Guest). The summary for this episode is: <p>Rosie Guest, CMO of Apex Group, joined the fintech company when there were 300 employees and no marketing structure.</p><p><br></p><p>Fast forward seven years, and she now leads a team that's part of an 8,000-person company, that has endured 21 acquisitions in four years, and that has become one of the biggest asset management companies in the world.</p><p><br></p><p>A lot has changed for Rosie and the Apex Group in the past seven years, so in this episode, she shares how she's used the power of being a commercially creative marketer to establish marketing's role as a critical function in the company.</p><p><br></p><p>Like this episode? Make sure to leave it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and hit subscribe, so you never miss when a new episode drops.</p>
Apex's go-to-market and funnel structure
00:54 MIN
Influenced vs. sourced marketing pipeline
02:29 MIN
How to encourage sales teams to adopt new technologies
01:00 MIN

Dave: Hey. What's up everybody? Thanks for listening to another episode of Pipeline. On this episode, we have a great guest. Her name is Rosie Guest, and she's the CMO of Apex Group, a very large financial services company. She was there for the last seven years. She rose through the ranks as a marketing leader. Now as CMO, she runs the whole thing. She's awesome. We talked a lot about her career path, the importance of measuring marketing on influence revenue instead of sourced revenue in a very field sales, enterprise type sales motion, six months plus. Great episode. She's an awesome guest. I think you're going to really enjoy it. Here we go. All right, Rosie. For people that might not be familiar with who you are and what you do, can you just give everybody a little bit of a background?

Rosie Guest: Sure. Yeah. My name's Rosie. I'm the chief marketing officer at Apex Group, which is a global financial services provider, predominantly servicing asset managers. But what's really unique and nice about Apex is that it has a really solid purpose that's focused on driving change. Driving change in our industry, driving change in terms of we've got a strong focus on the environment, society, and also for me personally, about bringing females up within the financial services space, which is still underrepresented at a senior level. That's me.

Dave: There's about 15 things that we could spend a good time talking about in that bucket. First, just talk about, were those all values that the company had before you joined and that's what made you join or has that been a part of change that you're driving?

Rosie Guest: That's been a part, a big part of change that I'm driving alongside our founder and CEO. We've been on a massive acquisition journey over the last four years so we were recapitalized by a large private equity, U. S. private equity firm, about four years ago, which has led to a massive injection of support in terms of cash flow. We've made 21 acquisitions in the last four years. It's been chaotic and what that looks like in practical terms is, we've increased our employees from about 300 to, at the end of this year, around 8, 000. In terms of the size of the business, we work on assets and we've gone from 60 billion to nearly 2. 2 trillion. Huge, huge growth. Yeah. It's a different company-

Dave: Okay, this is so far out of my league. I'm like a startup marketing guy. There's 20 people in the company, whatever.

Rosie Guest: That's exactly what it was when I joined though. There was no marketing function at Apex. For me, it's been like a super exciting journey to establish the function itself, and now we've got to this sophisticated arena where, to your point, we're now starting to be able to focus on that purpose piece and bring those elements in.

Dave: How, have you personally... It's interesting, because I think a lot of people in your situation don't ride that wave from the beginning, because typically you join because you're more of like a builder and now you're at this massive company. Can you just talk about, people that listen to this show are really interested in growing their careers, and so just from the marketing leader side of it, how have you had to evolve as a marketer and marketing leader? What's different about Rosie today than startup Rosie?

Rosie Guest: Oh, well huge amount. I mean seven years of age to start with, but-

Dave: Yeah. That's a lifetime. Yeah.

Rosie Guest: Exactly. No, I mean, I think when I joined it was very financial services. Traditional financial services is quite behind when it comes to marketing and comms. The first thing was just getting that function established and to be taken seriously. And so I've made it my mission at Apex to demonstrate that marketing and comm is a strategic partner to the business. It's not this subservient order based situation where sales go- to- marketing and request something and there's no strategy behind it. For me to be able to drive my career through the business has very much been about proving those points. In financial services, numbers talk, so the first thing I did was establish the demand funnel. And then from there, when you're able to prove that you're adding to the bottom line, you're creating revenue, you get more investment, which enables you to bring in other elements of the function. For me it's always been, and I say this to my team all the time, make sure that you demonstrate the value of marketing before you try to do anything else. I think also talk the language of your stakeholders. For me it was always our, luckily enough, I report directly into our CEO, who's the founder so he holds the keys to the kingdom and if you can negotiate well with them and get on the right side, then that's the way forward.

Dave: Okay. I got to get my post- it notes out because there's like 16 follow up I want to come back to. Can you talk us through the go- to- market and the funnel for your business?

Rosie Guest: Yeah. The way that we've structured specifically marketing, I guess, the way that we've structured the team is, is first of all obviously my role in dealing with our product teams and our sales teams to establish the strategy alongside the senior leadership team. Actually I joined the executive committee January this year. A seat at that table really helps in understanding the direction of the business. Then we've got portfolio marketing so we're really trying to drive that audience centric piece and that's around go- to- market positioning of our products. We have a really complex service, which I'm not even going to try and explain. It's rarely understood why anyone outside of our industry. In that respect, the go- to- market is different for every region, different for every type of client that we have. Really complicated. Our role as a marketing team is not only to educate the market, but also internally our stakeholders. Also when you're growing at that rate, bringing in different, diversified products, blah, blah.

Dave: Let's go deep on the portfolio marketing then I'll remember and we'll talk about the rest of the team. That seems like a tough job too. You mentioned that, just from a storytelling perspective, you mentioned product marketing. You've made 20 something acquisitions, there's multiple products. How does that all fit together?

Rosie Guest: We really had to strip that back. First of all, for us it was about, where a lot of our successes come from in terms of product marketing and really getting close to the product team and the sales team was about looking at content. For us that's where everything stems from because it's how we demonstrate the value of our business. We did a big content audit early on to understand how the content was being used, what was being used at what stage of the sales cycle. That's actually really weirdly because it's not necessarily what you would particularly associate with product marketing or portfolio. But that's structured how that team operates. Then from there, the value proposition, the personas, and really understanding how we personalize content for our different audiences. I think that that team, their sole alignment with our product segments and our business leaders has enabled us to help drive revenue through product marketing or portfolio. That's been an important step in the journey.

Dave: Okay. You got portfolio marketing as one team, what are the other teams?

Rosie Guest: Yeah. They then feed into our demand team. Our demand team is hybrid at the moment. It's almost like field marketing, demand marketing, because we're split, we've got 50 offices worldwide. We split them by region, but they are focused on demand and actually looking at how we can regionalize our content, but generating leads targeted with that, targeted with revenue so they're real hunter gatherers. They also are facilitated by digital. And then over the top we have marketing operations and brand and corporate comms.

Dave: Got it. You said, key term that I heard was facilitate digital. And so it seems like, is it a very field driven, in person selling? Is most of the demand generated from sales, and marketing is offsetting that or what's the mix?

Rosie Guest: No, twofold. I mean, because it's a complex sales cycle. Our sales cycle is about six months minimum, sometimes two years. For us it's much more our marketing influence than marketing source. We do source revenue through the full chain, through the full funnel, but that number is much smaller in comparison to the influence piece. That's why the buyer's journey is key for us. That's why digital is more of a facilitator of what the demand team put together campaign wise.

Dave: Okay. I'm going to come back to that. We got portfolio marketing, we got demand. What else? Creative?

Rosie Guest: Well, interestingly, we outsource a lot of creative at the moment. This is our next focus area. As I said, building the case for marketing and investment in marketing was really focused on those demand roles. Now what we are doing is investing in those other areas that link into purpose and how do we evolve our brand messaging creative? We've outsourced creative support up until this point, but next year the plan is to really bring that in- house and hone that further within the team.

Dave: Okay. I tried to talk for you there, and I said, creative and I swung and I missed. So portfolio, marketing, demand, inaudible.

Rosie Guest: Portfolio, marketing, demand. The digital team sits separately from the demand and they're focused on all of that website stuff. We have five sub brands so there's a lot of administrative stuff that goes into that in addition to optimization, attribution modeling, all of those kinds of things. And then for us, digital actually sits under marketing operations, which is a relatively new function for us. New function for financial services as well so it's difficult to find those candidates. Our sponsor was the ABM, also sits within that marketing ops piece for us.

Dave: Couple things that are interesting to me. Number one, that you have demand and digital split out. That's probably intentional because you've been there for a while. Why is that?

Rosie Guest: It's a good question. I think some of the way that we're structured is needs based. When you're moving at this velocity, reporting lines and the way we segment the team is sometimes irrelevant. I was actually having this conversation with one of my management team earlier today. In that the team is so integrated and so hybrid, because it's small, it's still less than 30 people. For the size of business that we have, we're really lean. Those reporting lines are sometimes inconsequential. If the machine is operating in the way that it should, it's irrelevant where the function sits. But, yeah, it was intentional. It's also skills based. Also when we say our demand team, they do get involved in digital so they'll put together ad campaigns. It's all very integrated in that sense.

Dave: Got it. Okay. Portfolio, marketing, demand, digital marketing ops. Do we miss anything?

Rosie Guest: Branded comms.

Dave: Branded comms. I guess the size and stage of your company, I'm assuming that brand and comms is a pretty busy role.

Rosie Guest: Yeah. I'm doing a lot of that myself actually at the moment. It's an area, as I said, that we're focused on building out next year. But I love that element of it because I've spent so much of my time with the operations, the revenue, it's now exciting and particulary as we are getting the investment and there's an appetite to look into those things. I mean, I appreciate you Americans this might not be exciting for you, but we are doing things like sponsoring cricket teams, so the West Indies cricket team of the T20, which is a big deal. But we're being their sustainability partner. The creativity that we get to bring into it now on the branded comms piece is good.

Dave: That's awesome. No, I do appreciate it. I love it. I wish I had budget to go sponsor a sports team, that'd be amazing.

Rosie Guest: Well, this is it. My case for budget is get the demand in first.

Dave: You're thinking about the brand and you have come up through more of the revenue ops side of things and now you get to put that brand hat on. How is that influence? How are you thinking about the goal of this or the measurement of this? Not measurement, like you're not doing this to generate direct sales, but you must be thinking about, where does this fit in the broader marketing and company goals that you have?

Rosie Guest: Yeah. Well ultimately there's going to be some exit with our private equity investor at some point. I have to be prepared for every eventuality. If that's an instance that our company could potentially IPO at some point, that's really the way that we need to be thinking. Outside of our close knit industry of financial services, why should anyone care about Apex? In order to translate that we have to be more than just a service provider. There has to be... And also just to be an attractive employer as well, it's not enough anymore to just talk about service and say all the same things everybody else is saying. You've got to have something more tangible to play with and also something that's got a bit of integrity behind it.

Dave: Like your reputation?

Rosie Guest: Exactly. Yeah. How do you change reputation? Because this is the other challenge we have when you've gone from that mid tier provider to this huge or nearly the biggest in our space now and also moving outside of our space. How do you change brand perception in such a short space of time? It's a question we ask ourselves every day. Some of that's investment and eyeballs, but there has to be the authentic message behind it as well.

Dave: I also think a lot of it can be also perception too. You might not have a measurable way of changing overnight, but by you associating yourself with this cause and you actually back it up and do the work, I think you begin to shift the story, you begin to change the context that people should use to tell your story. So then when they see Apex with the, I forget the team name, but working on the sustainability cause, you can start to piece that together. It is just harder, one, because there's no hardcore measurement for it, but you have to do it by association.

Rosie Guest: Yeah, exactly. There are things, I mean, brand is always one of those difficult things to measure, isn't it? There are things you can do. One of the things that we've noticed over the last year in particular, is we are being invited to pitches with some of the biggest asset managers in the world. We would never have got a seat at that table before. Those are intangible, but it's all linked.

Dave: I love that. That's a perfect example of that. People ask like so much, how do you measure brand? There are ways to measure it, but one of the best is you feel it right. Is the sales team getting meetings that they were not getting a year or two ago? That's the ultimate measure and it's just like, doesn't show up in this perfect row in your spreadsheet but that if the exec team knows and the CEO probably knows and the product person probably knows, then you don't need to argue about it. How do you stay sane? Maybe you're not. And so I don't know that, but-

Rosie Guest: Yeah, maybe not.

Dave: Hundreds of employees, products, you mentioned 50 different regions. You can't possibly get to everything as the CMO.

Rosie Guest: No.

Dave: Or maybe you do, but how do you sleep at night?

Rosie Guest: This is something I was actually talking about the other day. I used an analogy which went down quite well last time so I'll use the same analogy. Well, I did a course on short story writing as part of my education. One of the things I learned in writing short stories, was you have to kill your darlings. It's about being able to let go of those things that you're really passionate about, you really wanted it to work. I think as marketers it's really difficult, particularly on creative things, it's our baby and we really want to make it, take it to fruition or whatever. But I think you have to be, A, comfortable with change and ready to kill your darlings.

Dave: My interpretation of that is, you have to basically say, yes, there's a hundred things that we could be doing, we're only doing these five. Are we in agreement that we're only doing these five, CEO, whoever else? Yes. Okay. I'm asking, this is like therapy for me because I manage much smaller teams than you have, but the hardest thing for me is there are so many good ideas, there's so many things we could... We should fix that website page. We should have a presence in that region. We should be at that event. But also the team is burned out. Everyone's doing a million things already. Is it just a discipline thing, that you have agreement with the team on what you're going to focus on?

Rosie Guest: Yeah, and a continual reminder for them as well to prioritize the right things. It's so easy to get distracted. I think it's a culture thing as well. You've got to get the right people that are in interested and excited about that environment because it isn't for everybody. If you are the kind of person, and similar to what you do, Dave, and the fact that you're startup, you must be familiar with this inaudible. If you want to do long term campaign planning with big budgets, it's the wrong place. If you really want to get involved, make an impact, see what you're doing, tangible change, it's a good place.

Dave: So true. It's so true. I have a community with a bunch of marketers and people ask lots of questions about planning. I always say it's tough to give you planning advice unless I know the context of your company, because for example, 2015, Drift, we didn't really have an annual plan, we literally were making up the marketing plan month by month. It was like, let's see if we can get a thousand people to sign up this month. That was perfect for that stage of the company. But at a bigger company, like if the company right now planned in one month cycles, everybody would go crazy. But at your company or at Drift today, planning is done in that context. And so yeah, that's great advice. Okay. I have 16 other post- it notes that I got to ask you about. This is what I do. You mentioned influence, we focus on influence versus source. Can you go back to that?

Rosie Guest: Yeah. Also that's a challenge to measure some time. Also I think buy- in from senior management, what that actually means is important. What we look at-

Dave: I asked you a question then interrupt you. Sorry.

Rosie Guest: That's fine.

Dave: But I think it's also, I wanted to ask you with the context of your model, which is you have this field motion and it's field sales, it's you said six months sales cycle. That's a long time. And so it's much easier for marketing attribution if you're in a very highly digital model. People are coming to your website, they're signing up for the free version. It's much harder in your model. And so that's why I was going to ask you the question about influence versus source. Now I'm going to shut up.

Rosie Guest: Yeah. No. It's just about multiple touch points. For us it's a big education program. To your point, it's not a subscription model. They don't sign up. There's no freemium. Although we have brought that in, in a separate element. But traditionally is this big complex sales cycle. Going back to the brand piece, first of all there's, do they trust your brand? Do they know about you? Are the investors going to know who you are? And then that big, long nurturing session. Getting in front of them from an event perspective, what... Ours is very, very content driven, very content heavy. We usually have our big rock of content as everybody does, and then you repurpose. But for us it's looking at multiple touch points using that, to see what level of influence have we had. We can see the tangible results. Usually in terms of marketing influence, we look at, is the deal size bigger? Yes, it is. It's 50% bigger than the deals that are just sourced by sales with zero marketing involvement. Is the deal length or the times to closed shorter? No, not really. It still requires that amount of nurturing on both sides. Is the ability for the sales team to upsell and cross sell bigger? Yes, because marketing is supplementing with that additional data. Part of our acquisition strategy has been bringing all these new products, impossible for our sales team to understand or know them all. It's our job to help serve them up to the clients as well, to increase that deal size. It's not all about pipeline or closed revenue, it's all of those other nuanced measurements that are really important when it comes to influence.

Dave: That's a great stat by the way. The deals are 50% bigger when they're sourced through marketing.

Rosie Guest: When they're influenced by marketing as well. But both. Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. Sorry. Influence verse source. Makes complete sense. Someone coming to you verse sales going to them. That helps you justify the case for marketing around the business. You mentioned content being a big piece of that. What are you using to measure that influence of the digital touches? How do you actually do that?

Rosie Guest: From a sales enablement perspective, we use Seismic, which is, I don't know if you're familiar with, but it's one of those sales asset management tools that, one of the cool things we've recently done is integrate that with Salesforce. We had some adoption issues. Our sales team is relatively mature so they've all been doing it for a long time. They're not really interested in new ways of doing things. They don't want to learn this new technology. We struggled with that until now we've integrated with Salesforce and they can see their served up content that says, hey, this is relevant at this point of the sales cycle, this has worked in the past. It's suddenly this really data driven insights are really helpful for them. I mean, we try to integrate any piece of technology that we bring in, including Drift with Salesforce.

Dave: How are you measuring that influence? What actually happens?

Rosie Guest: Well, a few things. What we'll look at is marketing touch points outbound marketing. We'll look at, have they visited the website? Have they downloaded anything? All those traditional things are all of us do. And then we'll aggregate the data together. This is something that we're just starting to do now, is looking at how many times on average are we having to touch them before that looks like a marketing influence? Because the worst thing you can do, I think as a marketer is hope that it's had an influence and really you just lose all credibility with the rest of the business. And they're like,"Well, marketing had absolutely nothing to do with that. That was my friend from school or something." You need to be really careful about how you define what that influence is. It's all of those things that we're bringing to be. I'll be honest with you, it's also work in progress. There are some areas where we're like, was that really marketing influence? I'm not sure we can claim that. I think it's about refining that, making sure that you're okay on your touch points, using scoring as well, scoring and grading, being close to the sales team. That's the other thing we've just starting to think about, is commission based plan for our demand marketers so that they're seen more as hunter gatherers like our sales team and also kept in further down the sales cycle with sales. I think that's important for marketing. Now we can't just sit at the top of the funnel.

Dave: Are those content assets that you're creating? Is the goal of them to funnel people to sales or is it open ended and hopefully someone will read it and then reach out to the team?

Rosie Guest: The goal is always to funnel them to sales. Always. I think sometimes we do it too soon. Again, this is a conversation we are having at the moment is, we don't want to funnel someone straight into sales just because they downloaded a white paper. They're definitely not ready. That's not a hand raiser. What do we then do based on the data we have to continually nurture that person over a said sales cycle? Then probably at some point, because there's multiple different stakeholders, it's a buying group for us, it's never just one person so the influence is not just about the person, it's about all of the personas within that account. We might be influencing the user versus the decision maker, so how do we attribute that at the end of the funnel?

Dave: You mentioned having a mature sales team, those are your words, not mine. That's something that comes up a lot, the hesitation for digital, and especially what's happened in the last two years has completely changed the field and enterprise sales function. What advice would you have for people who are in a similar situation to where you were like, I got this field sales org, we got all these tools, we got Seismic, we're using Drift. I can't get them to use it. What approach did you take and how did you actually make that stuff happen?

Rosie Guest: For us on the adoption piece, it was continual education. We were doing, we still do actually, with Seismic we've had it for about a year and a half, weekly office hours. Because there's always new features coming out or there's a new salesperson or there's a salesperson that just hasn't bothered to use it in a month or whatever it is, I think it's continual education. You have to have that ongoing. And then also proving the data. We always have a slot. On every Monday we have a global sales call, which has a 10 minute slot right at the start for marketing. We'll use that opportunity to say, hey, here's a great example of when sales worked really closely with marketing, they used this software and this was the solution. We'll prove it to them with figures in fact. Because ultimately I think for a salesperson to want to use something, there's got to be something in it for them. So training and then proving and giving them examples of inaudible and just keeping on that because you can give them 10 examples and if it's not their own example, maybe they don't care.

Dave: Also when you show someone else's success on their team, like, hey, this is Rosie, she's on the sales. She did this thing using Seismic. Then if I'm a rep who's not, I'm like, oh, that helped her close it, okay. I'm going to try. I think like using those examples. You report to the CEO?

Rosie Guest: Yeah.

Dave: How are you measured? Can you share how you communicate to the CEO regularly about what you're doing?

Rosie Guest: It's an interesting flip reverse, because I push for the measurement. Going back to what I said at the beginning... Yeah.

Dave: That's great.

Rosie Guest: Yeah. Going by what I said at the beginning, marketing was really not, it was seen as, go get some banner stands printed, make us some flyers. I've driven that measurement piece and I'm like, please give me targets. I mentioned-

Dave: Measure me.

Rosie Guest: Yeah. I'll prove it. I mentioned this earlier, the SAS piece, it was something that we brought into our business. It's a freemium model to introduce investors and GPs. I said it's a revenue stream that should sit with marketing, give me that target. I always think when I show my funnel, you mouths open because they don't expect marketing to be contributing to that in that way, or to be giving them that level of insight. And then also it's far ranging for me, the remit, we also have CSR, employee advocacy, employee comms. There's that other element. And then the second slide, I'll always do core initiatives or core priorities, which are things that I know will resonate with that stakeholder group.

Dave: Love it. This is one of those take notes podcasts that we're getting schooled from Rosie today. Also, the thing you mentioned is so important, any anybody that's in marketing that's listening to this that wants to grow into a marketing leadership role. I've been lucky to interview a ton of CMOs like yourself and they have had one trait in common, which is at some point unless they were already being measured that way because the whole company got marketing, they were the ones that raised their hand and say, measure me. Here's how we should think about marketing. Here's how I want to be held accountable. Do you feel like that was a key piece in your career and you taking ownership of your career path as a CMO?

Rosie Guest: Huge. Yeah. I think it's still today. You have to push the envelope for your function, particularly in this environment. But I'm pretty sure it's true of most environments and marketing's changing all the time. We know what's going on, but you have to keep pushing that with your CEO or whoever it is you're reporting to or whoever you're accountable to, to show the value and demonstrate what you're actually bringing to the business. Because I don't know what it's like for you, but marketing is still seen for us. Yes, we're in the C- suite now, but probably not seen as quite as serious as finance or as operations. And so you still have to keep finding ways to demonstrate why you're core to the business.

Dave: I don't ever want to be as serious as finance though.

Rosie Guest: Our finance director's secretly not serious.

Dave: No. I think any successful marketing leader has also had an amazing finance partner who doesn't just understand finance, but understands what you're trying to do from a marketing perspective. That is a huge advantage.

Rosie Guest: Huge. Actually you've really hit on something there because I think sponsors, people talk about mentors a lot. For me, I have a mentor, but not a mentor, a marketing mentor, a comms mentor at all. For me, my success has been through that social capital piece and having sponsors at that C- suite that aren't in your realm. They aren't marketers and that's not their concern, but they can back up that what you are doing is serious and contributing, and that's been invaluable for me.

Dave: Well, and that they want to work with you. That product is like," We got to go get with Rosie's team early because we think this is going to be huge." Or the customer success team or we know whatever function you have like that, they want to partner with you. It makes it, even on the finance side, I'm not a finance guy, but I've been lucky to have to work with finance people who get excited by the marketing things that we do. They're like," Look, you're good at this stuff. I'm good at this stuff. I can help you. We don't have to battle on this. We can work together on this." I think that was something that was very liberating for me as a junior marketer growing my career, which is like, I don't have to be an expert at all these different areas. But you have to know how to work with other people and get influence and influence those teams and have them respect what you're doing in marketing. Those are the keys. If you don't have that respect and authority or whatever, and you don't know finance or those other areas, then you're in trouble. But if you can get that, you can build this relationship and work with those teams super effectively.

Rosie Guest: Yeah, I do you think you... I totally agree. I think one element that marketers now do need is to be commercial. You can't just be creative. You can't sit to the side, you have to be commercial. A great example of that, and again, I've been lucky because I've been building the function as the company has been built. It's like driving the train whilst building the tracks, which I love. But one of the things that stuck out to me at the very beginning was budgeting. I was like, this thing is all over the place, we need to strip this back and rearrange how we're going to centralize the marketing budget and how we're going to deal with that with finance. That has now formed the template for all of the other group functions. I get someone sent to me like inaudible, " Hey, go speak to Rosie about how you need to sort your HR budget out," because if you take the initiative in those things, it really just solidifies that marketing. We have brains as well, commercial brains.

Dave: Commercial and creative is a great line. That would be a cool brand commercial.

Rosie Guest: It would.

Dave: Okay. I got two questions that we're going to wrap up with. First is, what's something that you wish as a CMO. We got all this digital, it's 2021, we got 10, 000 SAS marketing tools. But what's some pain point that you still wish that you could get solved as a CMO that hasn't really been solved yet?

Rosie Guest: Data. Data integrity. I'm sure you'll get the same answer from all of us, but I mean, you are so dependent on it and to being dependent on sales people updating contact or a data team making sure it's right. It's just, I think that we haven't found the solution to that yet. We're moving there. There's data rooms and there's that stuff's coming down the pipe, but you need a lot of investment for that. For the everyday marketer that's not available. I think that, yeah, if someone can wave a magic wand and sort data out, that'd be great.

Dave: That's a good one. It is a good one. People don't often say that, but damn, if that is not the foundation of being successful. It's like, if we just had one source of truth for data, there would be arguing, and the amount of time we spend on attribution and who's credit for this, it's insanity. Okay. Last question and then we're going to wrap up because you got lots of more important things to do than talk to me all day. The audience for this show is international, but I'm an American, what are some misconceptions or things that I get wrong or biases that I might have, that can piss you off?

Rosie Guest: Oh my gosh. This is a controversial question.

Dave: No. I mean, it can be. It depends on what your answer is, but crosstalk.

Rosie Guest: I always say.

Dave: I'm asking to broaden my approach.

Rosie Guest: As a Brit, one of the things I find I'm used to now, but I used to find really jarring with the Americans because we have a lot of Americans in our business, and I don't know if I'm the only one that thinks this, but the end of a conversation it's just like, okay, there's no bye, there's no have a nice day. It's just like great, done.

Dave: I'm glad you told me that because I totally would've just hung up after this and be like, see you.

Rosie Guest: That's one for me.

Dave: Oh you do the small talk after the call?

Rosie Guest: No small talk, but just at least say bye.

Dave: All right. Okay, that's it. That's not so bad. That's not something that-

Rosie Guest: I like Americans. Yeah. I find Americans really full of energy. Pretty straight down the line I like working with people like that. For me-

Dave: But is there a big difference in approach to marketing that you'd take in if you were like-

Rosie Guest: Yes. I mean, one of the things actually we do do and I learned early on was just around spelling. As a global business, we actually, in our tone of voice have a rule that you cannot use a word that is spelled differently in British English versus American. You have to find a creative way around saying that. Yeah. Or things like, we use the word bespoke in the UK and you use tailored. It's just finding a word around the side.

Dave: I don't use either of those words.

Rosie Guest: What do you use?

Dave: I don't know. Tailored. I don't know. Often I use tailored. No, that's great. Do you do that because it's just easier to have, so then you don't have to go and change copy every time?

Rosie Guest: Yeah, exactly. For efficiency.

Dave: Cool. Okay. Rosie Guest, this was awesome. I'm not going to hang, I will say bye to you after we hang up, I promise. Where can people find you, connect with you if they want to just say you awesome on this podcast, or just follow up with you?

Rosie Guest: Get me on LinkedIn. It's my favorite social media platform, which is really sad but it's the truth.

Dave: No, there's nothing wrong there inaudible. Don't listen to these TikTok, whatever inaudible. LinkedIn is awesome. All right. Rosie, thank you so much. We'll talk to everybody on the next episode.


Rosie Guest, CMO of Apex Group, joined the fintech company when there were 300 employees and no marketing structure.

Fast forward seven years, and she now leads a team that's part of an 8,000-person company, that has endured 21 acquisitions in four years, and that has become one of the biggest asset management companies in the world.

A lot has changed for Rosie and the Apex Group in the past seven years, so in this episode, she shares how she's used the power of being a commercially creative marketer to establish marketing's role as a critical function in the company.

Some highlights:

  • Apex Group's acquisition journey (1:50)
  • Rosie 7 years ago vs. Rosie now (3:30)
  • Apex's go-to-market and funnel structure (5:00)
  • How Rosie thinks about measuring brand (11:56)
  • How Rosie stays sane (15:08)
  • Influenced vs. sourced marketing pipeline (17:49)
  • How Apex measures content's influence on pipeline (20:41)
  • How to encourage sales teams to adopt new technologies (24:03)
  • How Rosie communicates to the CEO (25:45)
  • The importance of financial sponsors (28:30)
  • Rosie's take on American culture (32:24)

Today's Host

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Justin Keller

|Vice President of Revenue Marketing, Drift

Today's Guests

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Rosie Guest

|CMO, Apex Group