Cloudflare TV

📊 Marketing Analytics at Cloudflare

Presented by Chandra Raju, Rebecca Graeber
Originally aired on 

Learn how the Business Intelligence (BI) team leverages big data technologies and analytics methods to help Marketing discover critical insights and maximize Marketing effectiveness.

Business Intelligence

Transcript (Beta)

Hello. Welcome, everyone. Welcome to today's live segment in Cloudflare TV. Today's topic will be Marketing Analytics at Cloudflare.

I'm going to be joining Becky from Marketing Retention and Expansion Team at Cloudflare.

Thanks, Becky.

Thanks for joining. A quick intro of myself. I'm Chandra. I'm the Data for Data Engineering and Analytics at Cloudflare.

I'm based out of Austin. I've been in Cloudflare one plus years.

This is my favorite segment today, talking to marketing teams.

Always so fun, exciting, because we have been partnering with a lot of critical initiatives.

Thanks, Becky, for joining. Please share your team. Of course, Chandra.

I'm very, very excited to join as well. The BI team is one of our team's absolute core partners.

And so I'm excited to have this chat today and be with you.

Thank you. The topic of marketing, marketing is a very wide group, different groups of marketing, like expansion, digital marketing, online marketing.

I'd like to know, since we have some audience watching live, what is expansion marketing?

What does your team specifically focus on at Cloudflare? Yeah, that's a great question, because marketing is a very broad domain.

And we do it actually a little bit differently here at Cloudflare.

And most of that just stems from the fact that with Cloudflare, we have a very core land and expand strategy to our company growth.

So very strategically, that's something that we're focused on as a company.

Because of the pace of our product innovation and the new ways that customers can get value out of Cloudflare, it means that we need to be just constantly communicating with our customers.

And so our marketing department is aligned, basically, to that company strategy by creating our team, the expansion and retention side of the business.

And as you pointed out, there's a lot of different functions within marketing.

And ours covers a lot of traditional customer marketing, demand gen, digital activities, growth marketing tactics, all basically focused at our existing customer.

Great, that's great to hear.

I think it kind of gives how your team centrally focuses on a lot of key initiatives.

And talking about marketing, you mentioned expansion marketing, a lot of different groups.

How did you even start your marketing career? You would have thought about graduating from college.

There are multiple ways you can go start a career.

How did you end up marketing being your career path? Yeah, it was not a linear path to it, that's for sure.

I actually didn't bring any extensive marketing background into Cloudflare.

So it's really just evolved during my time here.

Based on the needs of the company and our customers. My background is actually in finance and business analytics.

So very, very far apart from what I do today.

And I joined here really in more of like a GM type of role, working with our pay-as-you-go customer base.

And at the time, what we were doing was very kind of growth marketing driven, very data driven, hyper scale, because we have so many customers.

And so what I ended up building kind of looked like growth marketing, the operations and platforms that we need with our customer data to be able to build up that customer base.

And so eventually just the fit with the marketing department made sense and led me to what I'm doing now.

Wow, that's great.

I'm glad you mentioned a lot of words, data, growth and innovation technology.

That leads very well fits our segments like scope. We're talking about business intelligence and marketing, how we collaborate together.

That leads to the next interesting question, like how does marketing team, expansion marketing specifically, talk about how do they leverage data and technology to accomplish the business goals?

Because data is such a huge asset for a team, especially marketing, to make a lot of decisions.

How do you leverage them and how do you help them to achieve your business goals?

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you've really nailed it for us.

Data and technology are just absolutely fundamental to what our team does and needs to be successful.

And it has a lot to do with just the nature of customer marketing.

So what I joke with our team and a lot of my marketing colleagues is that we have this really unfair advantage because we're dealing with customers and we know so much more about our customers than you could ever know about your products.

Like what they're using, which products they've already purchased, how much value they're getting from them.

And I think importantly, what else they could get value from Cloudflare by adopting our solutions.

And so that gives us a ton of information to harness, but it's also challenging because customers have a very high bar.

Like they expect you to be able to use that intelligence to talk to them and market to them.

There's nothing worse than like being targeted for an ad of something that you're already buying.

It's like, that's silly.

Why'd you do that? And on top of that, as you're very aware, our customers are very savvy.

They're very technologically proficient. And so just like generic marketing fluff is not something that is compelling to them to adopt our products.

They really want very evidence-driven, insightful communications to help them make decisions.

But like it's complicated. We've got a lot of customers. We have a huge and diverse customer base.

So you can't do any of this manually. And we've also got a very diverse product set and that keeps growing.

So what we've ended up doing over time is to meet those customer expectations, to make sure that we're running efficiently is to use that data and technology to scale.

We're working on a lot of really cool personalization and automation programs using those technologies in order to kind of build up what our team is doing.

Great, great, great to hear that.

I think a lot of keywords, like if you notice like personalization data, like different customers, like different behaviors, that's a lot of work.

I think a lot of data to consume. And you mentioned about the diversity of customers, like different industry, verticals we support.

There are a lot of areas like marketing focus, like with those kind of use cases.

Any good example you want to show, like how you use those data to target a customer and what kind of initiatives that you have accomplished?

Yeah, I mean, you're super into these ones as well because your team has been really integral in getting them off the ground.

But I think the team has built some really impressive examples of this in the past.

I think one of my favorite ones that is relatively newer is around our bot management platform or our product solution.

What we're able to do with Cloudflare's product inherently is we know all of the traffic coming across our network and based on our own machine learning internally, the likelihood that any one of those requests is coming from a bot or probably a person.

And so we have this intelligence that we can help provide to our customers automatically.

And so if you're an existing customer at Cloudflare, we can harness that data, as you said, profile the customers that are seeing as an example, really high spikes in bot traffic from one period to the next or a higher than expected proportion of automated traffic than they would maybe otherwise anticipate on their domains.

And if we can use that and personalize emails and advertising and in-dashboard experience to tell customers about those types of situations, it starts really good conversations with our account teams.

And so those are some examples of campaigns that we've done recently that take a lot of that first-party customer data and brings it out to our customer base through our marketing comms.

That's great. I could see like, you know, like amount of personalization and thought process goes into like what is the use case for the customer, targeting the right customers, segmenting the customers, how we target them the right way in a timely manner, end -to-end automation.

A lot of things goes into the picture in setting up those campaigns.

It's not like you can just, okay, I have the data, go and set up a campaign.

That would be collaboration with multiple teams, products, sales, marketing, BI, and like PMM teams.

That's kind of all being done at scale. Like great to see that kind of initiatives going through marketing team.

And that leads to my question again, like since it's like more of a data and intelligence insights, how does marketing leverage data?

And some of the decisions you take, more data-driven decisions, like what is it making marketing to be more data -driven?

Because I've seen many marketing teams are still behind on like how they adopt technology and leveraging data to be more data-driven to drive their business goals.

How is your team adapting to working with BI team to be more data -driven?

Yeah, I mean, I think that last piece of that question is really the critical one, which is that we rely super heavily on relationship with the BI team to do it.

Like that partnership, the types of programs that we're working together on harnessing that first-party data, leveraging the insights that your team is able to provide to power our campaign, measuring the results of all of those activities.

But I think the first part of your question is, that's all kind of on the execution side, but there's so much more that we derive from that type of partnership that helps make us more data -driven.

Having a close relationship with your guys' team brings about that like data-first mentality.

It gives us the tools that we need that think about our customer base in that really programmatic way.

And then it just becomes a part of our strategy. It gives us the confidence to be able to use that with our customers, experiments, build really, really key experiments and make our program successful.

Yeah, that's awesome to hear that.

Yeah, hopefully you guys feel the same way about the partnership. Yeah, I think that is the kind of motivation with BI team when we work with different team members within BI.

We have different folks who we are engaging closely with HAZ, Naimisha, Kalpana, different members of our team.

So we all work, encourage working with marketing because marketing comes with a data-driven mindset, which helps us to think about, okay, how can we further augment support marketing to be more data-driven?

What are different ways we collaborate together? That helps us, having the close collaboration is what I feel it's a success for building successful engagement and programs that we implement.

Understanding what business wants and how BI analytics team can empower us as a team to work with partners to make it happen.

That felt from different people. Yesterday, even one of our segment we had with our new grad, Naimisha, she mentioned about having the close relationship with marketing helped her to further develop her skills and deliver an end-to-end product, which she felt very comfortable because that level of confidence a new grad can get, that's where we feel like as a team, we kind of collaborate and make this a success for both things.

Oh, I love hearing that. We've absolutely enjoyed partnering with Naimisha and everybody else on the team as well.

It makes, I think, the whole ecosystem better, I guess. On that, I'd love to hear, too, some of your feedback.

Are there things that our team could be doing to even further improve that partnership or ways that we can continue to facilitate that relationship?

Yeah, that's a great question. I think your team has been great in doing it, like especially partnering with BI team, Victoria.

We work with Eric and everybody, like Adenis, we work with Ahmed. It's kind of, they wanted to see how can we work together to make it help, like in terms of they getting some SQL training, because we are heavily on data sets, storing in cloud, how we can get the data in a more quicker way.

Some of the self-serve tools that we work, automation framework that has built-in for automating a campaign, how that can be all leveraged to make it marketing to be more self-sufficient.

What are the ways, like they always keep asking for the feedback, which makes it great, that collaboration of them asking what they want and how we can empower them to adopt our tools and keep frameworks that we provide to them.

So that way, end of the day, we want this like democratized data.

So how we can work with our partners to achieve that goal.

So that makes it more interesting. It keeps us more thinking about what we can do next, how we can make this partnership more better.

I love hearing that.

I think that our team being able to be more autonomous and building our skillsets, like the SQL training classes that you guys did, it helped with it.

It really improves everybody's skills and just lifting up what the team is able to do, the velocity, efficiency, it's awesome.

And another part, like we have a very unique interview process in terms like some of our team members joining your teams, like marketing interview panels and marketing team joining BI interview panel, which makes it easy that we even get to know the candidates who we're going to work with, the marketing or BI team, which makes it easy.

Like when they join in, oh, I know you already spoke to, I know more. Like, no, let's start from day one.

That's it. Like, it doesn't need an intro. Like you're going to kind of go through that initial intro phase.

It works out very well that way.

We know like kind of technical or collaboration or like what are the cultural skills that we need as a team, like we need from both sides.

Yeah. I'm such a firm believer in partnering through that hiring.

It's like, it sets the tone for the relationship from the very first day that somebody starts.

And it's not just about hiring and looking for the right skills, but it's really like, hey, when I join, I know that I'm the step in the door and the BI team is going to be somebody that I know I have already built relationships with, which is just great.

I'm curious, like tactically, I'm trying to think of other things that our team has done really well to be able to foster this relationship over time.

I think the skillsets, the hiring, I know one of the other things that our team appreciates a lot and has valued are your team's willingness to dig in and do things like cross-functional tiger team.

So when we have projects, we're pulling you guys in again from like day one, it's about setting the tone, understanding that everybody's got the visibility across departments about what we're trying to accomplish, what roles everybody is having and being able to bring and share those ideas from a lot of different perspectives.

I think that's been huge. And I'm really excited to hear your team has enjoyed that as much as our team has.

Yeah, that really helps actually.

That's why getting involved from the initial phase of the discussion helps us to kind of understand, okay, how we can bring in a resource earlier to kind of help teams to kind of, okay, this is our problem.

How can we do it in a more efficient way?

Rather than getting an end where everything is already decided, we feel like, okay, there's no room for improvement.

This is like what we needed. Getting engaged early, having the discussion, building that kind of trust and relationship that helps us to build more scalable solutions.

And I think we think like, okay, not build anything for short term, think long term.

So whether, because marketing requires a lot of data, we get data from first-party sources and third-party data sets, right?

How we bring that data so that when we build something, like I think about any solution we build is like always long-term that teams can benefit, not only marketing in the things like other teams who really did sales or other teams who want to lay on the data, how can they kind of bring in that kind of value?

Yeah, well, and it also prevents us from hitting roadblocks down the line.

It just, if you've got that domain expertise coming in from different directions, you avoid problems and setting it up, I guess, in a way that's not going to work or scale in the long-term by just consolidating at the beginning, which is great.

That's great. We talked a lot about our past experience and like I'm excited, like it all worked out.

We want to continue the momentum.

What makes you excited, like to kind of, what, how we can partner next? How can we further engage the, like further engage our relationship with BI and marketing?

And what is your? Yeah. Oh, that's such an interesting question because I feel like the world is our oyster.

There's so much that we can still do to improve a lot of the work that we're doing.

I think the biggest one for me that makes me very excited is the possibilities of data science and a lot of the different models that we could build to, I don't know, just improve and be more predictive.

I think, you know, you and I have been talking for a long time about, you know, are there turn prediction models or next likely product recommendation, things like that so that we can not only improve the way that our team is doing our activities, the segmentation, the personalization that we talked about, but it also just will help improve the experience for customers too.

And I think that's the thing that we're really anticipating is kind of the next frontier of our work.

Yeah, you've mentioned great.

I think the key words, like customer experience, which always your team thinks about it, like enabling them in a more like advanced instance, when it's like a data science kind of models that can help.

And our data science team has done a great job in kind of engaging the partnership with you and started already building some models, which some are already being adopted right now.

Yeah, that will be further scaled and going to the next level. Great to see that.

Even with that, like saying, like we're going to see data science, where do you see like expansion marketing going next five years?

Like what kind of growth pattern do you see?

Because a lot of things happened pre-COVID and post-COVID. How do you see that we'll see in the next five years?

What are the roadmap you have, high level?

Yeah, I mean, that is a big weighty question that I think about quite a bit.

And I'm excited for it, honestly. Our team is growing really fast. I think the impact that we will be able to have is really large.

Also just that I think we all are very aware that as our customer base continues to grow, that's going to be such an important component of Cloudflare's growth over time.

So the next few years, I think a lot of our marketing strategy, it's basically going to be kind of an account-based marketing strategy that we want to have built around a very sophisticated understanding of our customers.

So basically the 360 view that we've been trying to kind of build up with your guys' team and the insight that that's going to be able to provide us will help us do a better job of segmenting our marketing.

And I think there's kind of two big ways that I talk about this. The first is the side that is going to be relying super heavily on platforms for automation and scale.

That's where we're going to use a lot of this data science as an example to curate what that marketing journey needs to look like, scale it very programmatically intelligently.

And that's going to be kind of the efficient motion, I guess, of how we'll do our marketing going forward.

The second piece though is then, you've built that foundation, it actually will free up the ability to invest really heavily in some of the more bespoke marketing, the one-to-one ABM types of activities where we can partner closely with our sales team, provide really curated experiences for customers.

And the reason I think that this direction or strategy is so critical for us going forward is that it scales.

So like at the top of this meeting, we said there's two real big problems with Cloudflare.

Like we got a lot of customers, they're not all the same, and we've got a lot of products and those are going to grow.

And so we have to be able to build this engine to scale and meet that over the next five years.

Yeah, I'm excited like that. I kind of see that grand vision, what you have team, and that keeps us feel motivated.

And like when we look into your new candidates and they say, well, this is what our marketing team vision, like how we can find the right candidate to meet that goal.

And that keeps us excited to see what we can do more to make your team achieve that goal.

And that's great. And a lot of things you mentioned about, like I previously mentioned, like measuring results, like a lot of things you do, how to measure.

That's one of the factor, because you've been setting up a lot of campaigns, you want to measure the effectiveness of the campaign so that we can improve on the process.

Always there's a continuous improvement feedback loop that happens.

What are the key metrics or key various factor that you track to check the effectiveness of your campaign and what are the things you measure?

Yeah, it's a great question because our team ultimately is very data-driven.

We are a result oriented group.

So this is what everything we do is kind of building towards.

I think that the biggest one is understanding the contribution of what our marketing activities are doing to create basically pipeline and bookings or revenue, essentially.

That gives us a baseline for ROI, which is how we are held accountable to what we are investing in and what that's doing to contribute to company-wide metrics like dollar net retention, which is something that we obviously report on a quarterly basis to the street.

But those outputs, I think, are only one really bit of the story.

I know that what we get challenged on and working with your team a lot is thinking about how do you actually predictably generate those results?

What's going into building those outcomes? So thinking about that funnel of customers and their interaction with marketing activities, how they're interacting with our products, sales touch points, marketing touch points across all different channels.

So things like email open rates and click-throughs and CPC on paid advertising.

We've got to be able to see how all of that funnels into ultimately the outcomes.

And as you know, that's been quite the challenge for our team to be able to stitch that together and understand that funnel and what it does for our KPIs.

Yeah, that's kind of sees like marketing has so many key metrics to track.

And I'm excited, we have a few projects lined up coming quarters to build that kind of end-to-end funnel to capture all those additional touch points to make it more to effectively track all those engagement activities, which is key because that's where marketing can effectively tune their campaigns like to me, like more to which is effective and how we can take it forward.

I know like a lot of things, your team is continuously growing. As a Cloudflare, generally all the teams are growing.

We've been hiring aggressively and your team is actively hiring and like a lot of roles and moreover your team is like always global.

Like what are some of the key skills that you look for in your team?

You say, if I, somebody want to, yeah, create marketing game engine, this was the key skills that I look for during my interview and evaluation.

Yeah, I, it's absolutely amazing how quickly Cloudflare is growing.

And as I mentioned before, our team is no exception to that.

Right now, the areas that we're really looking to hire for is in kind of that, the data -driven programs and around a lot of the automation.

So I think the background and skillsets that we're looking for here, people with a lot of that growth marketing, lifecycle marketing type of experience, it's going to come down to core skills that are being very data -centric, understanding programs and how they scale.

And ultimately that mindset of being very outcomes oriented.

I think those are all kind of key pieces to profiles of people we're looking for.

So yeah, I, if you know of anybody that's good, they'll accept them my way.

We're actively looking for people with those types of skills.

Yeah. So kind of that kind of leads to look, because of your team kind of spreads like workers or different teams, like technical and then analytical and then business domain skills.

Are there specific kind of areas of like domain you look for, industry they come from, or like, okay, I would like to have this coming within some analytical background or like someone with email marketing experience.

Are there specific channels that like you look for that will help your team to further like upskill like whatever?

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think one of the things that is very unique about Cloudflare is we do have a little bit of that combination of B2B and B2C about the way that we go to market.

And so having people that have an understanding of those general business models and the levers that you pull to generate outcomes there, that is one kind of functional background.

You don't necessarily have to have been in enterprise staff per se.

It certainly does give you a little bit more of an understanding of how that customer journey generally develops though.

So that is one key kind of experience and area.

In terms of channeled background, I think right now, a lot of our digital marketing activities and as you would imagine with COVID moving many things to more of a virtual experience, those are areas that we're bolstering up quite a bit.

What we try to do here in hiring for, let's say you called out email marketing, I'm less focused on the specific tool set perhaps that somebody has maybe used in the past and more focused on just the competencies to be able to build up different types of effective communications for customers.

You don't have to have used Marketo in the past as an example, but I think those are definitely just mindsets that we look for in terms of functional background and experience.

Great, that's great. I think surely I'll see more applicants post this segment and you see, oh, this is exciting.

I want to join like a expansion team at Cloudflare.

Great. That kind of comes to kind of questions like we had done with a lot of questions.

I want to go funny part of lightning round because like I've been asking a lot of questions which are like too much in work.

Let's get into the funniest part, Becky.

Okay, keep it light. Yeah. So I like, I know COVID, post COVID, a lot of people develop their hobby and like, this is what like I wonder, what is your COVID hobby?

Like what your passion, what you're doing more than during your COVID times?

I love that you asked this because when I get candidates who come in and they're like, what's, how would you describe the Cloudflare culture and what's your favorite part about it?

I always say that Cloudflare people tend to be really curious and just interested in learning new things.

And COVID is one of those times that that's really come out with our teams.

And like my favorite COVID hobby, I've gotten into woodworking and building.

I built myself some furniture. I built some shelves, like starting from zero tools, building all the way up.

I've had a lot of time on my hands.

That's been a lot of fun, but our team's also been doing just amazing things like knitting and gardening and baking.

It's just so funny how this time has brought out all these new hobbies.

No, that's great to hear. I think that's kind of people developing those hobbies like because we're getting now spending like time and we want to use it effectively, keep ourselves away from the work.

Otherwise we tend to then, oh yeah, let's get the laptop and do something.

This keeps us away from that. And you talked about team, like when you say Cloudflare is global, one example is your team.

Your team is like, it's a global team.

Can you, what is it? Where are your team located? Where are the different locations your team are spread out?

Yeah, I laugh because I feel like our team has really become very dispersed very rapidly in the last year.

Goodness. We've got, well, I'm in San Francisco and we've got kind of the San Jose Bay area represented.

So that's here. Then Seattle, Montana, right now working fully remotely. A lot in Austin, which is obviously a growing hub for Cloudflare in general.

Boston, North Carolina, London, and soon Singapore.

So we're, I mean, I counted nine just now all over the place.

It's like a global network, Cloudflare's global network.

You can put your map there. Very, we should start just like one of those maps with the little pins in it so that we can keep track of where everybody's at.


And that will lead to my other favorite question, which I've been keep asking you.

What is your favorite work location? Your team is global. If you want to pick a spot, this is my favorite location.

I want to start my remote work. My remote life.

I will say I did work from Sun Valley, Idaho for a couple of weeks earlier in the fall.

And just to be able to go to this like quiet rural place, it was awesome.

Wow, that's good. I seen the background. It was awesome. Again, thanks so much.

It was great talking to you and really looking forward to another segment with you, like, you know, having this kind of casual conversation.

Thank you so much, Vicky.


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