Startups

Episode 9: Ginny Tonkin - How Co-Marketing Can Grow Your Business

Ginny talks about how to grow your business, different types of successful co-marketing campaigns and tips of taking your business global.


This week on The CoSell Show Podcast, we are excited to switch gears a bit and talk about co-marketing, a close relative of co-selling. Who better to talk to than our guest Ginny Tonkin, the Senior Demand Generation Marketing Manager at Iterable in San Francisco.

 

Topics Covered:

    1. How to Grow Your Business with Co-Marketing
    2. Different Types of Successful Co-Marketing Campaigns
    3. Tips of Taking Your Business Global

 

More questions for Ginny?

Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brought to you by our host: Taylor Baker from CoSell.io 

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Follow Along With The Podcast Transcript

Taylor Baker:
Hello, listeners and welcome back to The CoSell Show. I'm your host, Taylor Baker and today we are going to talk about CoSelling's very close relative Co-Marketing with our guest, Ginny Tonkin of Iterable. Thank you for taking the time, Ginny.

Ginny Tonkin:
Thank you so much Taylor. Very happy to be on today.

Taylor Baker:
Wonderful. To get us started, can you tell our listeners a little bit about your background and your current role at Iterable?

Ginny Tonkin:
Of course. So I have experienced little bit of everything when it comes to marketing and comms. One fun fact though, is that I used to live in China and I did a lot of things while I was living there including working for Edelman, which is a large American PR firm there. But I've been working and living in San Francisco for the last three and a half years. And as you mentioned, I'm currently with Iterable and I'm their senior demand generation marketing manager.

Taylor Baker:
Oh, very exciting. That's a great title. So you said that you worked and lived in China, so you may have kind of already answered this question, but this was technically on your LinkedIn. So our favorite question to ask here is what is something fun about you that cannot be found on your LinkedIn profile?

Ginny Tonkin:
Well, something that you can't find on my LinkedIn profile is that I'm a news junkie. In particular, I love pop culture news, which I don't think a lot of people would get if they just were chatting with me. But like, Oh, I love celebrity gossip.

Taylor Baker:
Who is your favorite celebrity couple?

Ginny Tonkin:
Oh my God, so many. But, but I love Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, they are both super talented actors and Emily Blunt is just like a goddess. And I really appreciated watching both of them In a Quiet Place, which John Krasinski actually directed, directing his wife, which I think is probably a real challenge for a director.

Taylor Baker:
Oh, definitely. I mean they are a dream team extraordinaire. And I think the whole world will shed a tear if and when, I won't even speak what could possibly happen, but I don't know about you. But when Chris Pratt and Anna Faris said that was a pretty world shaking thing for me.

Ginny Tonkin:
Like I was very upset. I was really upset. I like came into the living room and Louis was like, what is this? I can't believe it.

Taylor Baker:
I mean absolutely not even for the sake of celebrity couples, but for couples in general, I feel like we all held a candle for them.

Ginny Tonkin:
Oh, totally. It's like they both had dead bug collections. It was like meant to be, but you know, nothing gold ever stays right. So happy for what you have in the moment.

Taylor Baker:
Hopefully, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski will stay gold because wow- We can only take so much Hollywood, calm down. I could go on forever talking about that. But, so we are The CoSell Show, but you are offering some exciting light on something a little different co-marketing. So in your mind, how would you define co-marketing?

Ginny Tonkin:
Yeah, totally. Thank you for asking. Well, co-marketing to me is basically just working with another company to amplify your efforts. And that's typically making and promoting a joint piece of content. Doesn't always have to be content. It could be something like events, but it's basically putting your efforts together to get more promotion, to get more exposure from similar, but different audience.

Taylor Baker:
Wonderful. So you've kind of just answered this question, but what are the benefits of co-marketing with partners?

Ginny Tonkin:
There's a lot of benefits to it. So the biggest benefit that I see to working with a partner for co-marketing is lead generation. At the end of the day, like what is the purpose of marketing besides just awareness, right? Why does a company exist? To make money, revenue, right. And so if you're getting leads specifically, working with a B2B company, if you're looking to get leads, lead generation is how you do it.

Ginny Tonkin:
Working with another company to do that works really well. So for example, if you're working with a partner company on a webinar, you should be working with overlapping or complimentary ICPs. So it's not like, "Oh, we're a B2C company and we're partnering with a B2B company just because we think their logo is cool or their brand is cool." Make sure that there's a good overlap and there's a good overlapping audience that you want to get to.

Taylor Baker:
The business dictionary called, and we are happy to answer. If you are new to The CoSell Show, welcome to our micro segment where we demystify notable business vernacular. Today we have ICP, which stands for Ideal Customer Profile. Two bonus words, we have B2B and B2C, which are respectively Business to Business and Business to Consumer. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Ginny Tonkin:
In addition to lead generation though, amplification, of course, you want to bring a larger awareness to your company and there's something else that I think is really important. I think there's something called the halo effect. If you are partnering with another company specifically, if that company is maybe better known or maybe a little bit more highly-regarded in your space, that's going to make your company look even better by that association with that partner company.

Taylor Baker:
I've never heard it called that though. I liked that, the halo effect. So you mentioned webinars, events and rolling out content together, but like can you talk a little bit more about the different types of co-marketing campaigns and the different purposes and/or outcomes that they have for your client?

Ginny Tonkin:
Webinars are great. We've been talking about them. Events are lovely, small events are great. Large events are great. I actually love a highly-targeted event. So maybe you only have 20 people that you've invited to a dinner, but that event is, that list is highly-curated. You have a good group of people in there. Maybe you bring a mix of mostly prospects along with a couple current customers so they can talk up your product a little bit. I love a good targeted event. Something else that is really good that you can do is you can do a joint email send with a partner, as well.

Ginny Tonkin:
At the end of the day, like what is your most powerful marketing channel? Like email, of course. People are like, "Email is dead." And like, "Well, is it or are you just using it incorrectly?" Email is very powerful. So if you can leverage partnership with another company and say like, "Hey, do you mind linking a important piece of content in your email send that is very powerful for you." Perhaps you'll have a joint email send where you might have a joint integration with another company and then you have a targeted email send where you are targeting customers or prospects, and you talk all about your joint ICP together.

Ginny Tonkin:

There's a lot of different ways that you can work with a partner. But I think leveraging your partnerships can be very powerful when trying to reach out to a larger audience.

Taylor Baker:
Oh, definitely. I specifically love what you said about targeted events and doing smaller dinners and hosting things like that, because I find a lot of companies will hold these huge blowout events where thousands of people can attend or the Event Bright tickets are just open. But I think even something as simple as elevating that event and making it a little more personal actually results with more leads and more connections, which is what we're all looking for.

Ginny Tonkin:
Hopefully. I totally agree with you. It's funny, here in San Francisco we have the big Salesforce event, Dreamforce, and wonderful, right. But if you go in, it's very overwhelming and at the end of the day, I can only really remember one or two people that I've spoken to, but I almost feel like there's this huge cottage industry of side events that pops up around larger events like Dreamforce or whatever. And I really do think that those events, I think they work very well in tandem with those large events because at the end of the day, would those people be in the room if they weren't already there for the larger event? Maybe so, maybe not. But getting the right people in the room can be really beneficial. You have a good conversation with them. You can really go a little bit deeper with them and you have and make a real connection with that perspective client.

Taylor Baker
Oh, that's such a good way of looking at it. I've been to South by Southwest probably 10 times now and it is growing astronomically every year and they won't actually release how many badges are sold or how many people come into the city. It's really overwhelming and there's just tens of thousands of people and it's easy to meet someone in line for something, but then it does nothing. But this past year I was invited to a few round tables, more focused in on the type of work I was doing and there were maybe 10 people in the room. I left that round table not only learning more, but also meeting more and making more real connections than I had in probably 10 years prior of going to this festival.

Ginny Tonkin:
Right. You probably could make LinkedIn connections with the majority of those people in the room, whereas years prior you didn't know anybody.

Taylor Baker:
Exactly. So wonderful point. Thank you for bringing that up. So what has been your most successful co-marketing venture?

Ginny Tonkin:
Well, that's a great question. I got to do a lot of interesting co-marketing work at my last company Instapage. I was tasked with leading our webinar program, which I was able to grow by three times. That meant a lot and it was really rewarding work. I had maybe four to five webinars get over 1,000 registrations and one get nearly 2,000, which is really insane for a webinar, especially for the company of our size. So really being able to see that was really cool.

Taylor Baker:
Congratulations.

Ginny Tonkin:
Thank you. I appreciate that. That being said, success really does depend on your metric. What are you measuring? What are you valuing? At the end of the day, you're really building pipeline. You're building revenue. One webinar may get a lot of registrants, but they may not give you a lot of opportunities for sales, so it's just really important to, as you are building your program to really set up A, which metrics you're tracking and then B, which metrics really mean the most for you in your company?

Taylor Baker:
Oh, that's a really good point. I've heard a lot of my guests mention that people go into partnerships, whether it's co-selling, co-marketing, reselling, and they just want something vague, like more money. And you really need to be specific about what it is you want because then that frames the partnership and helps both you and your partner reach a more successful pairing.

Ginny Tonkin:
I agree 100%.

Taylor Baker:
On the other hand, have you ever experienced any co-marketing errors, miscommunications or straight up fails? And how did you overcome that?

Ginny Tonkin:
Yeah, I mean learning is failing, right, or failing is learning, or one of those, one of them. So of course, I mean we learn as we grow. So actually I experienced, I guess this was like a good problem to have, but we were working with a webinar platform that was maybe too small for the size of the program that it grew to. So our bandwidth was just not large enough to handle the amount of registrants that were on the webinars. So actually, the platform kicked off one of my guests on the webinar. And I mean, I'm a bit of a perfectionist and of course I'm producing the thing, I'm guest hosting the thing, I'm doing all the things, and I'm like sweating bullets because of course it's embarrassing. They're there for the guest and so we did work it out. Something that I do before any event is I do actually just get the cell number, so I can text the guest in case anything were to happen. And we got back online fairly quickly. And I think what I did while I was multitasking to try and get him back on, I was just riffing a little bit, talking about our topic while he was getting back online. So not everything is going to be perfect all the time and expecting that there will be challenges is always good. So you don't feel bad because at the end of the day, it's okay if it's not perfect, but it's good to anticipate challenges that might come up.

Taylor Baker:
Yeah. And with technology in live events, you're just cooking with gas there. That's a lot of things that can go awry. But you got to be cool under pressure like you were and then you, like you said, you come out on the other end being like, "All right, now I know how to prepare for that. That won't happen again." I know you've worked and studied internationally like you mentioned earlier. Can you talk a little bit about how co-marketing can impact your business on a global scale?

Ginny Tonkin:
Yeah, I think that's a great question. We were talking a little bit before about the halo effect. I think it can be very challenging for a company to just drop into a foreign market. I think what we've seen a lot of the time I'm using America as the example here. You'll have an American company kind of drop into a foreign market, and they don't have anybody on the ground. They don't have any local presence, and they're trying to market to this completely different market. What can you do to counteract that? Well, if you work with local company, or a regional company that's already really well-known, that's a really good way to start to familiarize your brand and your company with that new market so it doesn't feel as strange or foreign if it's already a well-trusted market that gives you better access.

Taylor Baker:
Yeah. It's sort of to flash back to our celebrity conversation earlier, it's like if John Krasinski is in a movie, we love him, we trust him so we are more likely going to go see that movie.

Ginny Tonkin:
Exactly, exactly.

Taylor Baker
On that same note regarding international business, how has your global work impacted your approach to business and marketing here in America?

Ginny Tonkin:
I think that's a great question. Like I was mentioning previously, I think it's really made me aware how important it is to have people on the ground, local people who really understand the business and the market. You really just can't parachute into another country with the same success template that you're using in your current country and expect it to work in the same way. You still have to earn trust. You still have to earn brand awareness and if you're using the same tactics in one country, that just won't necessarily translate. So I think just being very aware of the people, of the culture, and having real local people on the ground who understand the market and how to market to that target audience. On a different note, that's specific to marketing and to co-marketing. But really the world is constantly changing. This is more of like a meta observation, constantly changing. And so the thing that in my career that I've been able to take away is the jobs that are kids in high school and college are studying for, might not exist, right. And so it's just important to always be learning, to always be challenging yourself, acquiring new skills because things are just always changing. And I think learning, the ability to learn and the ability to be adaptable are two of the most important skills to have in a global economy.

Taylor Baker:
That is incredibly smart advice. I mean, I feel like I can't even keep up with the changes that are happening in my own country, my own state, my own living room. I'm like, "Wait, that wasn't there when I was here yesterday." So a lot of our listeners are at small companies and startups. What advice would you give them about creating a co-marketing partnership ecosystem, in addition to the great advice you just gave?

Ginny Tonkin:
Oh, I think that's a great question. I mean, of course, I believe before starting any venture, before starting a new job, before reaching out, and starting a new company, of course like informational interviews are always really important. So if you do see someone or a company that does have a really successful co-marketing program, ask them up, hit them up for coffee, chat with them about what's worked, what hasn't worked for them. But I'll say this, be flexible as you're building your program. Every partner is different and you don't know what you don't know. So you're really learning as you're going here. But as you do grow, it is important to start to give yourself guide rails and iterate as you go. I will say one thing that was very helpful to us, so at first when we were starting to build up this program, we were just ecstatic if like a good brand was working with us, which is obviously important and great, but as we grew, it became more important for us to ask for a minimum number of leads that the partner company would have to help get.

Ginny Tonkin:
Now, I mean you can make exceptions of course. Like if Google for example says like, "Yeah, sure I'll get on your webinar," like you'll have to decide what's more important. But I think having a good brand or logo will sometimes be enough to get a lot of people on, but sometimes it won't. So having a minimum lead requirement has been very helpful, as well. But again, be flexible as you grow, but find those things that will help you succeed and iterate to make your program as successful as possible.

Taylor Baker:
A flutter of great advice there, but something that really stood out to me where the informational interviews. Maybe talk a little bit more about how you actually make those happen because like wanting to partner with Google, it's easy to be like, "Yes, Google will be a great addition to this webinar." I would love to know how the CEO of Google made Google so popular, or like how do you actually get these people to talk to you?

Ginny Tonkin:
No, I think that's a great question. I mean obviously your network is so valuable and I've really gained a lot from taking continuing education classes and learning from those people and creating a network there. But I think it just starts with asking people. You sometimes just need to put yourself out there and ask, ask the question. If you don't ask the question, then it won't ever happen. So sometimes just like being a little vulnerable and putting yourself out there can be helpful. That being said, if someone is in partnerships, this is what you do every day, whether it's partnerships or co-marketing or whatever, like it is literally your job to network and make more connections on behalf of your company. So people who are in partnerships are used to networking and meeting new people, so it shouldn't be a crazy and wild request. I feel like a lot of people would be open to that.

Taylor Baker
Sort of wrapping things up, do you have anything exciting coming up that you want to share with our listeners?

Ginny Tonkin:
Well, I just recently started this job at Iterable, very excited there. Oh, you know what, in addition to the fact that I'm new at Iterable, my birthday is in October so I'm excited for my birthday coming up.

Taylor Baker
What day is your birthday?

Ginny Tonkin:
October 19.

Taylor Baker:
I think birthdays are very worthy of celebration and especially we in the month that officially in my eyes, dawns fall. So I'm very excited for fall to happen and all of the pumpkin things. So congratulations on being born on October 19th. Finally, because you are such a gem, I'm sure all of our listeners are going to want to talk to you. Want to put it out there in the universe, how they can reach you?

Ginny Tonkin:
I have an unhealthy obsession with Twitter so do feel free to follow or connect with me there. It's my handle is just my name. So @GinnyTonkin, and of course, feel free to look me up on LinkedIn and connect with me there. Always happy to connect with like-minded individuals.

Taylor Baker:
Wonderful. I will listeners connect both of those in the about on this podcast, so you can reach out to her, tell her all your thoughts on celebrity gossip, in addition to working all the partnership and co-marketing game because she is great at it. Ginny, thank you so much. You have been an absolutely thrilling guest here at The CoSell Show. Thank you so much for taking the time.

Ginny Tonkin:

Thank you so much for having me. This was a real pleasure. Thank you so much.


Taylor Baker:
And to all of our listeners out there, thank you for listening and be sure to tune in next week for even more exciting CoSelling content. Now go get your partnership on.

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