Q&A with Erik Newton, Vice President of Marketing at Milestone Inc.

Media 7 | October 12, 2021

Erik Newton, Vice President of Marketing at Milestone Inc., is a full-stack marketing leader driving acquisition, engagement, and retention from messaging to product to acquisition and through renewal. He is a marketing thought leader with more than 150 blogs and pieces published. Erik has managed marketing teams, covering product marketing, acquisition, retention, media, mobile, advocacy, display, search, affiliates, e-mail, web development, and site content management, e-commerce, multivariate testing, and sales forecasting and budgeting. He is also the proud author of the book, Hack the Corporate Fast Track: Accelerate your corporate maturity.

Marketing has to strike that balance between internal and external focus more than any other department.



MEDIA7: What inspires you the most about the marketing industry?
ERIK NEWTON:
There is a lot of variety in what we marketers do with 10-20 programs running all of the time, and that keeps it stimulating and engaging. Marketing has to strike that balance between internal and external focus more than any other department. We always ask ourselves: “What problem are we solving for the customer? What is the right thing to do for the customer?” Marketing requires both creativity and quantitative skills to succeed. I lead Milestone Research and use statistical modelling regularly to develop original findings and value for our community, but I was an English major in my undergraduate studies. Marketing shapes the storytelling the company uses, which is a mix of art, science, and social proof. I am starting to experiment with non-linear flexible presentations that will allow the prospect to influence the direction and content in a dynamic, interactive presentation.


M7: Milestone is the first to have an SEO-first CMS in the industry. What are some of the different benefits marketers can get from using this?
EN:
SEO is the largest channel by far, contributing about 60%+ of the traffic (excluding direct). An SEO-first CMS enables customers to build and maintain a high-performance website that has built-in discovery support. That means the site infrastructure helps improve visibility and clickability to bring more customers to the site. More specifically, the Milestone CMS provides: fast page load speed, schema markup, AMP, FAQs with schema, and accessibility that affect both discovery and conversion. All of that adds up to more search impressions, more search traffic, and better conversion. There are more than 3 trillion searches on Google per year. Understand that all search queries are questions, all search results are answers and make sure your content answers the questions that your customers and prospects are asking. That is why FAQs as content are such a huge and ripe opportunity for customers.


Remember that the customer is the hero of any story you tell, and your product is a guide for that hero.



M7: How is marketing different than ten years ago?
EN:
So much more of the customer journey is self-curated, so companies need to invest even more in their websites and the assets it provides for that journey. Brands and vendors should be keeping their websites fresh and updated and plan for redesign about every two years. Many of the new start-ups use product-led growth, which often means free trial and an effective value gating and conversion system. Email is most effective when the recipient is fully aware they have given permission to be marketed to. Bulk email campaign impact has been blunted by excess volume, spam controls, and the Focus/Other Outlook Inbox. Paid is still significant and growing but has become more sophisticated in its use of retargeting and AI-driven logic to find and engage the relevant prospects. Marketers need to prepare for paid marketing that does not rely on third-party cookies within the next year or so.

No one wants to admit it, but AI is already creating content and will contribute an increasing share each year.
This will create more volume and content clutter, so marketers need to compete with human originality and leverage their ability to answer questions and solve problems. Database hygiene has always been important and continues to be, especially when used as a driver for account-based marketing (ABM). Garbage data degrades the decision making and campaign performance. Marketers need to identify and focus on customer problems first, value creation, and product promotion after that. Remember that the customer is the hero of any story you tell, and your product is a guide for that hero.


M7: How does Milestone’s Schema Manger provide better SEO and omnichannel results?
EN:
Entity search is the basis of modern organic search strategy because entities are topics and connections Google use to understand, index, study and retrieve answers from the Internet. Structured data and schemas are fundamental to that function. The Schema Manager enables customers to deploy and maintain error-free advanced schemas. That means they use about a dozen schema types and dozens of attributes in a nested architecture that makes it easier for the search crawlers to find, index, and rank the site content. The Schema Manager makes it easier to select and deploy the right schema types and attributes and monitor them to make sure they are error-free. Milestone drives customer acquisition by enhancing the digital experience and content visibility through SEO, Local, Website, Paid, and Social. We offer a marketing platform called the Milestone Presence Cloud and can provide managed services as needed to supplement customer team and resources. We work with more than 650 customers across industries, including Fortune 100 banks, restaurants, and technology companies.


Remember to focus on the prospect experience more than the channel and the media.



M7: What are some of your preferred marketing channels, given your target consumers?
EN:
We use most of the channels but focus on SEO, Local, Referral, Email, Webinar, Events, Paid, ABM, and Social. We are kicking off some new virtual event formats this quarter: SEO Office Hours, Audience Roundtables, and Knowledge Competitions in small groups of 10 to 20 customers and prospects. We find that people are saturated with Zoom presentations and would enjoy a more interactive format. Remember to focus on the prospect experience more than the channel and the media.


M7: What is your advice to young marketers stepping into the industry today?
EN:
Start your career with something specific and difficult that not many other people want to do, like email marketing, analytics, SEO, or ABM. Consider starting in an agency, so you can work on many accounts and learn faster. Learning on the brand side usually goes way slower, especially between campaigns. Learn the popular platforms: Google Analytics, Salesforce, WordPress, Hubspot, and Adobe Suite. Get good at Excel and PowerPoint—no one loves it, but it is not going away. Focus on your own corporate maturity. Optimize your relationship with your boss, listen carefully, and do what you agreed to with high quality and on schedule. Be very transparent and avoid people in the company and in life who create drama, complain, and gossip. Listen, follow directions, and be coachable, especially in your first 5 years, if you want people to help you succeed. Pick a growing company as probably the best way to accelerate your own advancement. Find and solve problems with a positive attitude. No one likes being told, “no, that won’t work.” Learn how to use commas and apostrophes correctly; not many people can do it consistently.

ABOUT MILESTONE

Milestone helps businesses create, organize, and amplify their digital information by enhancing their digital presence to make data more accurate, consistent, and visible. They do this with a digital presence platform and add to it as much or as little service as needed to help our clients be everywhere their customers are. They work with major brands and mid-size businesses across industries to drive traffic, engagement, and revenue through omnichannel marketing fueled by SEO. Learn how to leverage their proven approaches at www.milestoneinternet.com or email them at sales@milestoneinternet.com.

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Nutanix Unveils Partner Program Updates and Incentives

Nutanix | September 26, 2022

Nutanix (NASDAQ: NTNX), a leader in hybrid multicloud computing, announced the next era of Elevate, a global partner program designed to re-define the partner engagement journey. Nutanix has evolved the Elevate program focus to provide a better experience for the entire partner ecosystem and customers throughout the customer lifecycle, while staying true to the program’s unified framework. This includes an expanded benefits package to build a partner profit continuum. “The IT industry is at an inflection point in how customers want to procure and consume technology,” said Christian Alvarez, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channel Sales at Nutanix. “With our updates to the Elevate program, we’ve addressed many of our partners’ needs to engage with customers through their lifecycle - not just selling the technology, but enabling them to adopt, perform, expand and ultimately renew. Elevate now supports and rewards partners along this entire journey through purpose-built benefits and incentives.” In the past year, Nutanix has re-architected its go-to-market strategy, programs, and tools to provide partners more control, insights, and efficiency over sales cycles. New updates to the Elevate Partner Program include: Enhanced and expanded incentives framework to reward partner ecosystem throughout the customer lifecycle For the first time in Elevate’s history, Nutanix has extended program incentives to include not only partner organizations, but individual sellers and systems engineers to ignite new customer acquisition growth. The New Business Individual Incentive will reward individual sellers and systems engineers at eligible resellers and services providers each time they sell Nutanix into net-new accounts. In the coming months, Nutanix will begin to roll out a pilot program for an Elevate Program incentive designed to reward select partners for the delivery of consistent, on-time renewal rates with their Nutanix customers. New incentive for partners that lead sales cycles autonomously Nutanix launched a Channel Led Selling Rebate Incentive for Elevate, built to reward resellers who drive deals through the entire sales cycle autonomously. Nutanix is enabling partners to realize this selling motion through new tool sets like the recently revamped Sizer 6.0 capacity planning tool and enhancements to Nutanix’s Performance + Deal Registration program. A continued focus on building partner competencies through education and certifications The Elevate program requirements introduced a new Sizing Associate accreditation requirement for all levels, designed to enable partners to speed up sales cycles through rapid capacity planning, quoting and order fulfillment using Nutanix Sizer. For more information about the new updates to Elevate and how to join the Nutanix partner program, visit: www.nutanix.com/partners Supporting Partner Quotes “As a Nutanix Champion partner, we are excited about the enhancements to the Nutanix Elevate Partner Program that drive new market opportunities for Winslow Technology Group”, said Scott Winslow, president at Winslow Technology Group. “The Elevate Program provides a value-based, partner-first approach to enable ongoing success for both our company and our customers.” “The Nutanix Elevate Program has been the framework in which we have been able to develop our skills, to position ourselves competitively in the market and to help us grow profitably,” said Arturo Moncada, Country Manager at SCC Spain. “Nutanix’s commitment to enabling its partner ecosystem to capture new market opportunities and build profit continuums really sets the Elevate Partner Program apart,” said Atul Gosar, Managing Director & Co-Founder at Network Techlab (I) Pvt Ltd About Nutanix Nutanix is a global leader in cloud software and a pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, making clouds invisible, freeing customers to focus on their business outcomes. Organizations around the world use Nutanix software to leverage a single platform to manage any app at any location for their hybrid multicloud environments. Learn more at www.nutanix.com or follow us on social media @nutanix.

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MARTECH

Grip Security launches first partner program to drive sales of their SaaS application protection

Grip Security | September 27, 2022

Grip is looking to add partners who understand the differentiated value of their offering, and the uniqueness that it will provide to customers looking for improved SaaS security. Grip Security, which makes a SaaS security solution that unifies discovery, access control and data governance, has announced the Grip Security Partner Program. Grip emerged from stealth in April 2021 with a SaaS security solution designed to go beyond the limits of traditional CASBs, while at the same time making it easy to cover a large number of apps, overcoming a problem that exploded with the number of apps where many apps were simply not covered. “The company has grown by 300% and has seen a 500% growth in engagements with Fortune 500 companies,” said Lior Yaari, Grip Security’s CEO. “The company has grown by 300% and has seen a 500% growth in engagements with Fortune 500 companies,” said Lior Yaari, Grip Security’s CEO. “There has been a lot of change and a lot market change.” Because SaaS is closely tied to identity, Grip made it a top priority to establish deep integrations with as many identity providers as possible. That phase has now been completed. “We have extended our integration to almost every identity provider in the market today – almost a dozen,” Yaari said. “We are now looking at bringing joint offerings with large security vendors to market. Many of these joint integrations have been signed, but have not yet been announced, as we are still building out joint value.” Grip started out briefly selling direct in their proof of concept stage, but the pivot to the channel was in their plans, and that too has already taken place. “We have a channel-focused Go-to-Market strategy,” Yaari stated. “14 is the number of partners that we have right now, and that is growing fast. Our third U.S. hire was our director of channel sales. This is a critical part of our strategy.” The plan is for a fairly rapid channel expansion, not just to work with a small number of partners until they become successful. “We aren’t looking to work with 10,000 partners, but we do want to find enough key partners,” Yaari indicated. “We are not looking for logos on the web site. We are looking for partners who want to work with us so that we can make each other successful, and where they can position themselves as a source of innovation with us.” Insight is one of their initial partners. “With Insight, we are not part of a special innovation program,” Yaari said. “They are an example of a partner that we have a good relationship with, who understand how to drive need and who knows that SaaS is becoming bigger.” The problem many partners face is that since SaaS is relatively new, as they think organizations don’t have the right solutions to fix it, and they themselves lack the right backdrop for channel sales to explain it to the customer. “For the partner, they keys are understanding the problem space, understanding the market and the patching that is used today, and understanding how we are unique and the right questions to ask to get a meeting,” Yaari said. The program begins with a single tier, but Yaari said that they intended to expand that as the program builds out further. Simplicity is a dominant feature of the new program. “Our product is very different from other security products,” said Young-Sae Song, Chief Marketing Officer at Grip. “It takes 10 minutes to install. It is simple enough to be demoed by a channel sales person. You don’t need a technical person with deep training to demo it.” Grip also supports partners with jointly funded programs to promote Grip, as well as co-branded sales materials. Song said that because Grip isn’t heavy like most SaaS solutions, the channel can go to market very quickly with it. “It is probably faster for them than any other enterprise security product,” he stated. It also provides support for more than 20,000 SaaS applications, allows for 80% reduction in analyst workload, and has five times more SaaS application discovery compared to CASBs.

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