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Strategy | Measuring The Effectiveness of Marketing and Predicting Revenue with Pranav Piyush

27 May 2024
Strategy | Measuring The Effectiveness of Marketing and Predicting Revenue with Pranav Piyush

Show Notes

Dave is joined by Pranav Piyush, CEO and Co-Founder of Paramark. With 15 years of growth and marketing experience at companies like PayPal, Dropbox, Adobe, and BILL, Pranav is convinced that CMOs deserve better measurement solutions. That’s why he started Paramark, a tool to help Marketing leaders become more confident about how to invest their budget for maximum returns across all types of marketing—brand and performance, online and offline, paid and owned.

They discuss things like

  • Why marketing attribution is hard
  • The essential elements of predicting marketing results
  • Which leading indicators to follow and how to tie them to revenue
  • Correlation between reach metrics (like community members and subscriptions) and output metrics
  • How to use and measure LinkedIn in B2B 


  • () - - Intro to Pranav and Paramark
  • () - - Identifying Market Needs through Research
  • () - - Broken Measurement in Marketing
  • () - - Importance of Email Audience Engagement
  • () - - Audience Tracking
  • () - - Technology's role in analyzing marketing metrics
  • () - - Experimentation and Failure
  • () - - Marrying Ideas and Measurement in Marketing
  • () - - Connections for Startup Growth
  • () - - Executing Ideas in Marketing Leadership
  • () - - Focusing on Profitability and Product

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Dave Gerhardt [00:00:15]:
All right, so Pranav is here, and I guess, I guess we can break, we're breaking the rules and we're having a CEO on the podcast, but.

Pranav Piyush [00:00:26]:
I still don't know if I would call myself a CEO yet. It's a three person startup. Like, you know, CEO of what?

Dave Gerhardt [00:00:33]:
You have me beat. I promoted myself a month ago to CEO. And there you go. It's great. It's great with all the employees and everything. All right, so. But you're building a company. I saw some, I saw Kyle Lacey came on as an advisor.

Dave Gerhardt [00:00:50]:
Yeah, I saw a bunch of other things going on around the company. So before we, I want to talk to you about your background a little bit, but let's start with Paramark, actually. So right now you're the co founder and CEO of Paramark. What is Paramark?

Pranav Piyush [00:01:05]:
Yeah, great question. So we help cmos with marketing measurement, experimentation and forecasting. Now, we started this journey to help marketers and always be on the side of the marketers. That's really important to me. I've been in the shoes of ABPF marketing and individual contributor as a marketer and really just felt that there wasn't enough in the software space that was truly sort of helping scale the impact that marketing can have. Marketing's underutilized, misunderstood, sidelined. And we want to change all of that with Powermark. So happy to talk to you more about that.

Pranav Piyush [00:01:45]:
But that's in a very, very sort of high level marketing measurement for fast growing businesses.

Dave Gerhardt [00:01:52]:
What was it that led you to want to go start this? Because you've been ahead of marketing in B two B SaaS usually, I mean, I wrote a book on this topic called founder brand, where, like, usually the founder of a startup started the company, you know, not because they were just, you know, sitting around the house being like, I should start a company. What should that company should be about? But usually it's because there's some problem that keeps coming up over and over. And, you know, if I, if anybody goes to your LinkedIn and they see Dropbox magento comma dot, now youre starting a measurement company. What led you to here? What were the frustrations as a marketer?

Pranav Piyush [00:02:29]:
Yeah, totally. I would call myself a reformed marketer. And what that means is I used to judge marketing from the outside. I was a product manager for a long time. I was a growth practitioner for a long time. And I used to always look at marketing and be like, well, what do those people do? What do they do and why isn't it driving more business and so on and so forth. And so I was a little bit arrogant, I think, about I could do a bunch of things in marketing that marketers aren't doing. And I finally got into marketing and I realized how hard that job is and how misunderstood it is.

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:04]:
Was this like a pm, growth, growth guy kind of mindset?

Pranav Piyush [00:03:09]:
Totally, right. You can measure everything. You can, you know, of course you can, like track everything. Like, what is this marketing thing? Like, they should be able to do it. But this is like, early on in my career, I hadn't really studied. Like you always say, right? Like, nobody goes to school for marketing. B two b marketing. And I hadn't really sort of understood the basics of marketing.

Pranav Piyush [00:03:28]:
So when I got in the job the first time, it was out of arrogance. And then I got my butt kicked a little bit by just the reality of how hard it is to do good marketing. And as I kind of did that, both as a growth practitioner, but then also as a marketing professional, I realized that the state of software in marketing is still quite bad. I'm going to let that sit there and say the salespeople, product people, engineering people, finance people, have really good software supporting them. And when I look at marketing, yes, we all see the 11,000 apps and all that fun stuff, but there's a lot of just mediocre software. And when I started thinking about what I wanted to do next after Bill, I spent some time just thinking about, okay, what are the different ways in which we can make marketers lives easier and talk to a bunch of people? Spent like six months talking to vps of marketing and cmos. And this question of ROI and attribution and measurement kept coming back up again and again. That was not the original sort of intent or idea that I wanted to work on, but we pivoted into it because of just the sheer pain that we felt very viscerally from our initial sort of audience.

Pranav Piyush [00:04:50]:
And I thought about it myself, like, yeah, it's actually pretty bad. Like, I never had good software to solve that problem. Here we are.

Dave Gerhardt [00:04:57]:
Before I called this whole operation exit five, I had a, three years ago, the version of this podcast was called b two b marketing leaders. And I would interview cmos and I would ask them very, like, I came up with 20 questions and I'd ask them all specifically. And one of the questions that I asked at the end was always, if you could wave a magic wand, or like, what's one thing that you would solve? And almost all of them said attribution, right?

Pranav Piyush [00:05:19]:
Yep. There you go.

Dave Gerhardt [00:05:21]:
I agree with you completely. And I'm not trying to poke holes in your, in your argument. I'm just trying to like build, build the case here. Like maybe we can figure out why. So we all agree that that's a big issue, and yet there is, however many, I don't know what Scott Brinker's like. Martech landscape. I stopped at 10,000. It's maybe 20,000.

Dave Gerhardt [00:05:39]:
There's 20,000 Martech tools or whatever it is today. And then there's companies that have tried, that have done this. Like I, people love bizzabull as an example. You had some time at Adobe, so I'm sure you're familiar with them.

Pranav Piyush [00:05:52]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:05:52]:
Why has nobody solved this? There's 12,000 tools, but one doesn't exist. What's missing in getting to the answer here, do you think?

Pranav Piyush [00:06:02]:
Yeah, I think it's a couple of really interesting things that have happened over the last couple of decades, since the advent of search advertising, social media advertising. You look at Google and Facebook and all the others that have come about, there was this idea that you can track clicks and touches and view throughs through all of these digital platforms and you're going to get this very deterministic, this person did this thing, clicked on this ad, and therefore they are, we give all the credit to that Google search ad or that Facebook ad. And in reality, marketing doesn't work like that. And so I think that pretty much all software vendors who have tried to approach this, have tried to take this view that you can get very deterministic. Like, I can tell you which ad contributes to, like, pipeline. And our view is that that is not how marketing works. You have to have multiple parts of the journey, multiple parts of the story that have to all come together. And you can't look at one specific ad, one specific email, one specific blog post and try to attribute credit that way.

Pranav Piyush [00:07:11]:
That's just a failing proposition. And software vendors have never been able to look at that from first principles and build software around that. And that's the downfall. Now there are some people who are doing it right. And funnily enough, the technology and the methodology that we're using is not new. It's actually pretty old. It's existed since the seventies and the eighties and using statistics and advanced math and probabilities to understand the correlation and causation between all your media spend and your sales numbers. But it became a lost arc because everyone thought that, oh, we're going to be able to track every single touch point.

Pranav Piyush [00:07:50]:
And that's just not happening. And it's getting worse because of all the privacy changes. Right? I don't know if you heard this one. Recently, Apple has started to strip out UTM codes from Apple mail and Apple messages. So good luck. If you're relying on UTM codes, like.

Dave Gerhardt [00:08:06]:
Good luck, I just delete them all out anyway. They don't like how they look.

Pranav Piyush [00:08:10]:
Exactly. Same here, same here.

Dave Gerhardt [00:08:13]:
I read this book once. It's called insanely simple. It's about Steve Jobs and Apple and just his. I don't know if it was in this book. I'm conflicted. May have put together a bunch of things, but I think with like tv commercials, the marketing team or whoever the agency would always be like, we need to come up with a URL so we can track this. And he's like, track these. Like, we're going to know how we, you know, we're going to know if it works.

Dave Gerhardt [00:08:34]:
The URL is And I've always thought about that. And even just in growing something small like exit five, we know where the growth comes from. We can tell. And then, you know, analytics, obviously you're starting some new, but the analytics platforms have gotten good enough where we know referral traffic from this source or that source or socially. And then the thing that has always felt broken to me, and this is, granted, I didn't come up through like hardcore demand gen or conversion marketing, but the measurement thing always is broken to me because the measurement assumes that the market b two B marketing is not direct response marketing. There are some things that are direct response. And so the direct response channels are easy to measure.

Dave Gerhardt [00:09:19]:
Right, search SEO. But so much of what works in b two B marketing is not direct response. And then, so then fundamentally, like the whole way you're going to measure that is broken. And even on the direct response channels. Right, exactly. Someone might convert on a search ad, but then they might hear you on a podcast and go see you at an event and then three months later get an intro from a vc and they hear your tool is great. And then they're in exit five and someone recommends it and that's why they buy. And then your analytics is going to say search.

Dave Gerhardt [00:09:48]:
So there's so much in there when it comes to b two B, specifically with bigger deal sizes, longer sales cycles that. Yeah, the whole measurement thing has always.

Pranav Piyush [00:09:57]:
You'Re 100% right, you're 100% right. And this is the problem that, like you said, direct response channels have this, this attribute that they seem that they're easy to measure. Right. You can, like, see the clicks in real time. And so there's a vicious cycle that you only invest in those direct response channels. And what's happening there, if you think about it, everyone's bidding on the same keywords. Everyone's competing for the same direct response, bottom of the funnel stuff and gets more expensive every year. There's no way to break out of that if you don't think creatively about all the other ways in which you could be doing marketing.

Pranav Piyush [00:10:33]:
And this is the hard part. That stuff is hard to measure. And what I would argue is it's not actually hard to measure. And there's methodologies to measure all of those things. People have been doing this for ages. You look at Coca Cola and PNG.

Dave Gerhardt [00:10:45]:
And like, yeah, okay, let's talk about that. So how do we, instead of two people, like, which is my, this is my. That's all. My whole brand of two people ranting about how things are impossible to measure, I'm fortunate enough to have somebody who's smart enough to be figuring this out. So let. What is that methodology? How should you be thinking about it? No, it's great because, look, I, I like to rail on this. I would also, and I like to say I'm, I'm the creative type. I don't want to measure everything.

Dave Gerhardt [00:11:08]:
But, like, don't get me wrong, if I could measure everything and it was easy, I'd, I would love to do that. So.

Pranav Piyush [00:11:12]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:11:13]:
What is the methodology? How do we get there?

Pranav Piyush [00:11:15]:
Love it. Okay, so let's get into it. Step number one, you got to know, what is the thing that you're trying to optimize for? And almost everybody in b two B says revenue pipeline. Like, duh. Well, yeah, that's why you have a business, right? You're going to optimize through a revenue. Like, yeah, but marketing and sales are not the same thing. Marketing is inherently different. And you have to have ways of measuring the right metrics in marketing that are leading indicators of that eventual revenue, but also move in real time in fairly quick succession of any marketing investment that you're making.

Pranav Piyush [00:11:55]:
So that's step one. And that answer is not going to be a cookie cutter answer. It might be different for every business. Depending on your sales cycles, depending on the ACV, depending on the different sort of go to market motions, PlG to sales led to marketing, led to 15 day trials, to three month pile, your marketing metric is going to be different. That's number one. If you get that wrong, everything else in your measurement plan is not going to work.

Dave Gerhardt [00:12:18]:
Do you think about that like on a channel basis? Like, hey, I'm starting a podcast, I'll.

Pranav Piyush [00:12:23]:
Take a great example. Right. For you all, it's probably two things. It's probably your community members. That's probably a metric that you care about the most. And there is some amount of memberships and maybe now that you're starting to do some sponsorships and stuff like that is probably some amount of pipeline or number of leads or whatever it is for that side of the business. So it's two or three very basic things.

Dave Gerhardt [00:12:47]:
Yeah, you got it, you got it. It's those two, it's subscriptions and then sponsors. Those are the two big metrics. But where I get stuck is there's lots of other little metrics that matter in there. And so one hypothesis is like, well, if there's 3000 paying members, how is it possible that we only have 14,000 people on our email list? Like that seems really low. And so a hypothesis is, I really want to grow the email list this year and I think we should have an email list of 30, 40, 50,000 people. And so I don't have a perfect math for like how those people convert. I just have a feeling that, and I believe in owning, owning our audience and building out that own channel, that if we have an email list of 30, 40, 50,000 people, that's going to be a good thing.

Dave Gerhardt [00:13:27]:
So, okay, boom, there's another KPI. Right?

Pranav Piyush [00:13:30]:
Perfect. And what I would do if I were in your shoes, and you're obviously, I would argue, way more accomplished than I am in my career with marketing, I think you're 100% right. If that email subscription number is the North Star, then I would put all your measurement towards that and say, how do we drive x thousand email subscriptions? And I'm fairly sure, and you would be too, that going from 14,000 to 50,000 is automatically going to improve your subscription count number. And that's just the nature of the business now where people get hung up is when they believe that moving some other KPI is not going to move your actual revenue number. Right. So if you were to tell me, somebody might come into your business and say, well, you know, Dave, great, you have 50,000 email subscribers, but you still have only 3000. Well, then your premise was wrong and your hypothesis was wrong about it doesn't matter how many people you have in your email audience because they're still not subscribing to the community.

Dave Gerhardt [00:14:29]:

Pranav Piyush [00:14:30]:
So that's something that you just iterate. Like, that's the core part of your business model. That's not a marketing measurement question.

Dave Gerhardt [00:14:37]:
Right. And I think that, I do still think that you can measure everything, but I think, like, the part of business, you have to make bets. Right. And it's not going to be like a paint by numbers approach. And so, like, one bet is exactly. I want to make that. Okay. So we're going back to this methodology for measurement.

Dave Gerhardt [00:14:50]:
Number one is what. Step one is what's the thing that you're measuring?

Pranav Piyush [00:14:54]:
Yep. Step two is now looking at all of the different marketing channels that you have paid, owned and earned. So this is not just about advertising. This is about everything that you do in your marketing mix. And what you really want to measure on a daily or a weekly basis is the number of people that you are reaching through each of those channels. Very simple. How many eyeballs, how many people are you reaching through every single channel on a daily or weekly basis? You can literally do this on a spreadsheet. You don't need software.

Pranav Piyush [00:15:28]:
Right. Organic, social. How many people are in your LinkedIn audience? Email. How many people are opening up your email? If you're doing any advertising, if you're doing community, then how many people are actively engaged in the community on a weekly basis? Now, when you track this on a daily or a weekly basis over a period of six to nine months, you can now see which channels have the maximum reach. And this concept of reach, you know, this has been around forever. This is not a new thing of, that's how advertisers and marketers have thought about, I need maximum reach with the right audience. So I'm not saying reach people that are not part of your audience, but maximize your reach within that audience.

Dave Gerhardt [00:16:12]:
Yeah, that's step two. Is there a way to filter that? Right. Because all reach is not created equal. I could write some viral LinkedIn post about my kids or something, but the audience for that is not going to overlap for the, there's only a universe of 100 accounts that might be eligible, that might be a good fit to buy my software. So how do you, how do you think about that?

Pranav Piyush [00:16:33]:
Again, that's a question of just good versus bad marketing. Yeah. Like, of course, if you're gonna do irrelevant stuff that doesn't apply to your brand, then, you know, what are you doing? You shouldn't be a marketer. But that just goes without saying, like, I don't think that you need to measure the quality of the reach. Like, please don't do stupid things use common sense and market to the people that are actually part of your audience. And I don't think you need to measure that. That's my take.

Dave Gerhardt [00:17:02]:
Got it. So you could throw those out because it's like you reached a lot of people, but that's not who matters for us.

Pranav Piyush [00:17:08]:
Yes. You really want to care about who's in your audience and are you reaching more and more people within your audience every day, every week? And that's a number that you should be tracking and you should be doing this across all of your channels. That's the most important thing because most people don't do this. Right. Most people only look at clicks and form fills on these direct response channels. Okay, step number three is where things get interesting. Now that you have your output metric, which is your subscriber, your email subscriber list, or your community paid subscriber list, and now you have all the input metrics, which are reach metrics across every single channel. And you can even do that at a campaign level.

Pranav Piyush [00:17:52]:
You can now start to see the correlation between the two. Now this is a very simple way of explaining it. When your reach on LinkedIn goes up and to the right, do you see a corresponding increase in your email subscriber count? When your reach on PR channels go up, do you see a corresponding increase in your email subscription count and the vice versa? Right. When your reach goes down, like for whatever reason you didn't do a bunch of organic social, do you see an actual decrease? And this is where the technology comes in. It can actually detect the statistical correlation between all of your channels and your campaigns and your output metric. And it puts all types of campaigns on equal footing. So this whole conversation of brand and performance and direct response and offers and all of that stuff, you don't have to think about. You can compare all parts of your marketing mix and get a good statistically sound answer on what is contributing the most to your subscriber count.

Pranav Piyush [00:18:56]:
So that's the third part. Now we can talk a little bit more about it, but very simple. It's just math.

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:02]:
Someone's going to listen to this and be like, no, this is too simple. This is the kind of work for me. What would you say to that?

Pranav Piyush [00:19:07]:
Well, you got to try it, right? If it's too. I love simplicity. I don't know about other folks, but there's so much people talk about, first touch, last touch, w u, linear time decay, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, you don't need 90% of that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:24]:
You just don't all right. So the first one is, what's the thing you're measuring? Second one is look at all the marketing channels you have paid, earned and owned. Would you headline this one? Or how would you title this one? The third bucket, it's correlation. Correlation.

Pranav Piyush [00:19:36]:
It's find the correlations between all your marketing channels and that output metric. And you can do this in a spreadsheet if you're good with Excel, or you can find a software vendor, or you can hire a data scientist or a business analyst to do this for you. There's a variety of different options. We're not the only ones. We're one of them. But there's a multitude of ways of solving this problem.

Dave Gerhardt [00:20:00]:
Well, this is the game in the simplest form, which is like, let's measure all these things and see what we should do more of and then go do more of it. I think the other thing that has always frustrated me about measurement and attribution is it's just going to be another data point. It's not going to say if you magically do this, here's where your next 50 customers are going to come from. It's going to give you ideas of what might be worth spending your time, but none of this is going to lead to this, like, boop. Here's this. Paint by number, okay? Post on LinkedIn five times, send two emails, do this thing, and then here you go. The business doesn't, customers don't, you don't get.

Pranav Piyush [00:20:42]:
You're 100% right. And this is where I would argue step number four comes in. Step number four is, okay, you've now got a sense of what you're optimizing for all your inputs. You've done your correlation. You understand which parts are contributing to that output metric. Step number four is starting to get into forecasting. This is the holy grail of what a CFO and a CEO want is, okay, this is all great.

Dave Gerhardt [00:21:06]:
Oh, you're telling me. When I, in the early days of drift, when I worked there, we brought on our first hops guy Will Collins, if you're listening, I love you. The first year, we grew really fast and we just did a lot of stuff organic, you know, Twitter, LinkedIn, podcasting, whatever. And he's like, I need you to help me build a forecast for next year. I'm like, forecast? I'm like, you can't forecast this. This is all creative. This is all just like, stuff. And he's like, no, no, you can forecast it.

Dave Gerhardt [00:21:31]:
He's like, how many blog posts are we gonna write? How many social media. I'm like, oh, man, I don't know. No. And he's like, well, we gotta get smart at this. And this was my first, you know, the maturation of Dave G as a marketer was like, all right, yeah, I guess I understand, like, why all of the organic, random stuff is great. It doesn't work great if you're trying to grow a business, right? And so I couldn't just be like, I'm the creator. We're just doing random stuff on social media. It's like, no businesses thrive on predictability and repeatability.

Dave Gerhardt [00:22:00]:
And so, like, what I like about how you've approached this even further, from the couple minutes we've been talking, is like, you need to have a philosophy. And so I should have grown up a little bit and been a little bit wiser on, like, it's not direct response, but roughly, we need to publish this much, right? And I. I even know that now, like, with LinkedIn, I know roughly, we need to be publishing, you know, three to five times a week. Okay, great. Boom, there we go. We can start to build a little bit of a forecast, right?

Pranav Piyush [00:22:24]:
And you're 100% right, right. Like, when you think about how businesses grow, it's that predictability and repeatability. And I don't mean that. That's. You're not gonna get that in your first couple of million dollars of revenue. Like, that shouldn't be the goal. Like, there, you're just, like, making big bets because you don't know what's going to work, what's not going to work. When you're 1020, 5100 million dollars in revenue, predictability is extremely important because you're on that path to going public or having an exit.

Pranav Piyush [00:22:51]:
And if you can't forecast well, you have a problem. You have a massive problem. And marketers are equally on the hook for the forecast of the company. And so, forecasting, when you have a set of correlations from your historical performance, you can actually now say that, okay, this is what my trajectory looks like for the future. It's very repeatable, and it's all based on math. And finance professionals are going to love you, because that's to your point, right? That's what they thrive on. They need that for their p and l. And then the last piece after forecasting is experimentation.

Pranav Piyush [00:23:26]:
Now, experimentation is how you unlock new levels of growth. You kind of already mentioned you got to place bets, and some of those bets are going to come from the outputs of that correlation. I'll give you an example for one of our customers. We see that this one specific campaign within Facebook has the potential. It's a massive contributor and it has the potential to do really well. You can actually design an experiment to see what happens if you double the spend and do it in a statistically sound manner to see if that actually works. And guess what? 70% of your experiments are going to fail. That's just the nature of experimentation.

Pranav Piyush [00:24:08]:
That's just the nature of anything creative. And that's the last part of the puzzle of finding new campaigns or channels or strategies to help you unlock more growth. And I'll say one last thing before I hand it back over to you. None of this is going to work if you don't have great ideas. So going back to your original point, measurement is not going to solve your growth problems. Great ideas and a great value prop and a great offer is what's going to solve your growth problems. I say that to every customer. Don't come to us and say we're going to solve somehow I magically identify a ten x growth idea.

Pranav Piyush [00:24:48]:
That's not how measurement works.

Dave Gerhardt [00:24:50]:
Yeah, I think you're right. And, um, I also think that, and I'm saying this because I'm strongly on the other side, which is like, if you could have two marketers, you could have the Dave marketer who's like, lots of ideas, momentum, speed, we're shipping things, we're doing things, we're getting attention, we're growing awareness, right? That's going to bring in new customers faster than the other bucket, which is like, hold on, hold on. Before we do anything, we need to make sure we can measure this. However, I do think that the best place is to marry the two things together and meet in the middle. And like, even now, I've said if I were to ever go be like a CMO somewhere else or go do a new startup or whatever, or I guess now, even with exit five, like, I know that because coming up with the ideas is not going to be the issue. Like, if exit five doesn't grow, it's not going to be for lack of ideas and things we could do. Whereas, like, I need to skew. That's just because of my bias.

Dave Gerhardt [00:25:43]:
I need to skew more towards, like, let's be able to measure this, let's be able to scale this. So I think, I think you need them. You need them both. But it is refreshing to hear you say that great ideas are going to solve the growth problems, not the fact that you can measure it because you could be great at measurement. But if the if the reading on that is going to tell you zero, then you're not in a great spot.

Pranav Piyush [00:26:02]:
Agreed. 100%. And I would have the same bias as you. Right. So as we're building out Powermark, we don't need measurement right now. We're a three person startup. We have great pipeline, we have great customers, we're doing a bunch of sales and outbound. I'm not going to invest in marketing measurement for my three person startup.

Pranav Piyush [00:26:19]:
I'm probably not going to invest in measurement ourselves, probably until I get to five or 10 million in ARR, because I don't need it. We know what is working just viscerally being part of the day to day. That's what I would actually recommend to all startups. You don't need fancy software. What you need is great ideas and invest in that until you get to a scale where now you have a complicated mix, right? You're doing pr, you're doing events, you're doing advertising, you're doing billboards. That's when it gets a little bit harder to know, okay, should I pour another 500k in a billboard or should I not? What's the return on that?

Dave Gerhardt [00:26:56]:
Yeah. And it's just, it's so different depending on the stage of a company too, right? Like a HubSpot or a salesforce is going to be able to spend more and do things, run studies about recall to figure that type of stuff out where the early stage you all are not going to go spend and try to do that stuff.

Pranav Piyush [00:27:16]:
That's exactly right.

Dave Gerhardt [00:27:17]:
What's your perspective on something like self reported attribution, where in addition to all the measurement, you can let people write in, hey, how did you hear about us?

Pranav Piyush [00:27:27]:
I'm a big believer in getting that data point. I think of that as qualitative research and I think it's incredibly useful and valuable. The problem is that it is not free of bias. So this is a very simple thing called recency bias. It's a cognitive bias of like, you only remember the things that are most recent. So am I really going to remember how I found, you know, I used this opal camera, so free shout out to Opal. Am I going to remember how I bought that camera? Like, where am I here about it first? Probably have no clue. I probably saw it like ten times.

Pranav Piyush [00:28:01]:
I probably saw it on multiple channels. And especially in this day and age, a LinkedIn video versus a YouTube short versus a TikTok versus an Instagram reel all look the same. I have no way of remembering where I saw that thing. For the first time. So I think use it, but please don't think of it as ground truth that's going to get you in trouble because that's just not how human brains work.

Dave Gerhardt [00:28:24]:
Fair. I like to use it just directionally. Like, wow. A lot of people tell us that they heard about exit five through LinkedIn. Okay? So therefore, it's important for me to. It's given me like a. For a while, I felt like I was just kind of playing the LinkedIn game, just to play the game. And this was more when I was in between things.

Dave Gerhardt [00:28:41]:
And now that I'm focused on exit five, it's like, oh, no, no. When you post there, it brings in new members. Like, let's. Let's just keep doing that. I don't need to overly over measure it. I just. We just know that it works, right? Yeah.

Pranav Piyush [00:28:52]:
And I think in general, for the field that we are in. Right. When you think about b two b marketing, b two b SaaS, b two b sales, LinkedIn is great. I think they're doing really cool stuff. They're helping both organic and paid. I think they're innovating at a fast pace. So I'm a big believer in just. You shouldn't have to need measurement to know that LinkedIn is the place to be, especially if you're in b two B SaaS or sales and marketing.

Pranav Piyush [00:29:17]:
You gotta invest in LinkedIn.

Dave Gerhardt [00:29:19]:
So how are you thinking about as the marketer or CEO or head of growth of your company now, Paramount, how are you getting customers? I haven't talked to somebody that's at early stage in a while, and it is one of the questions that comes up often inside of the community. Let's talk about going from zero to one.

Pranav Piyush [00:29:37]:
Yeah, it's a great question. I'm fortunate and privileged. I spent 13 years working at really good companies before I had to ever even think about starting paramark. I had a network and that's where I started, is literally looked at everybody that I know that is a vp of marketing or a CMO or a finance person or a sales leader, they all care about this problem and just reached out to them and said, hey, we're working on something new. Would love your take on what we're building. And that led to the first million in pipeline. Pretty straightforward. We leveraged our entire investor base and we raised the friends and family type of round.

Pranav Piyush [00:30:19]:
So that was the same equation. Every investor who believed in us was excited to make some intros. So it was all sort of what I call warm, outbound and that was it that got us going. We started to do a little bit of marketing, right? We got our website up in like three months ago or something and started to post on LinkedIn more actively when we knew what we wanted to put out there and what we wanted the narrative to be. And that has resulted in a little bit. And that's been pretty much it. We're going to start doing a bunch of content marketing at this point, but that's like after a million in pipeline.

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:53]:
Tell me about LinkedIn specifically. How are you spending your time there? And how does, how does a busy, important CEO find the time to be posting on LinkedIn?

Pranav Piyush [00:31:02]:
Oh my God.

Dave Gerhardt [00:31:04]:
Sorry. I'm so bitter about that.

Pranav Piyush [00:31:08]:
Well, so here's what I think. I think if CEO's confined time for marketing, that's a problem. And LinkedIn is not the only answer. I don't think that as a CEO, you have to invest in LinkedIn only, but you gotta find time for marketing just like you find time for product, just like you find time for sales, just like you find time for HR and finance and all that other stuff. So you gotta invest in marketing and how you do it, whether that's by putting your own narrative and story out there, whether it's by supporting the narrative that your CMO or VP of marketing is coming up with, or whether there's something else. Right. You got to figure out the tactics, and LinkedIn is one of them. That's not the only one.

Pranav Piyush [00:31:53]:
But you have to invest in marketing. Now, there's a flip side to it. I would also say that I used to be of the opinion that, oh, like CEO's who don't get marketing, don't ever work for them. And somebody really smart, somebody way smarter than me, reeducated me on that topic recently and said that, hey, if you're a VP of marketing or CMO, it's your job to educate your CEO on how to do marketing. Right? And yes, of course they have to be willing to learn and adopt those lessons, but it's your job as much as the CEO's job. And so I've changed my opinion on that. And I think all director and above marketing leaders need to be those internal marketers. And that's what you got hired for.

Pranav Piyush [00:32:37]:
Right? That's why you have a job.

Dave Gerhardt [00:32:39]:
This comes up a lot in the community, and we've talked about it a couple of times on the podcast. But I think one thing that stood out to me in making the jump from director of marketing to vp or CMO is as much as we talked about earlier, great ideas win. Unfortunately, inside of the company, if you're the marketing leader, you actually got to spend. It can't just be all the great ideas. I fell down a bunch of times in my career because of that. Where you need to know what the CEO cares about, what the CFO cares about, you need to know how to influence change in the product, or you need to be able to work with the head of product. You need to be able to work with the head of sales and sales enablement. And there's just so many people that marketing.

Dave Gerhardt [00:33:17]:
I love the job. I think marketing is super fun, but it can be. It's frustrating at times because, like, you're often asked to, like, present the dish to the world, but, like, you didn't go shopping for the groceries, you didn't come up with the recipe. You didn't even cook it right. That's where a lot of that breaks down. I think the times that I've been the most successful inside of a company, it's been when I've been the closest with the other key executives, and they were like, marketing is our superpower. We want Dave and the marketing team involved in this project. I've been on the other side of it where they're like, no, don't.

Dave Gerhardt [00:33:51]:
Don't involve them. They're going to blow this up. They're going to change everything. And that's toxic. It's got to be like, sales wants you in the room. Product wants you in the room. I had an amazing relationship with this guy Craig, who was a VP of product when I worked at drift. And he would be like, he would text me.

Dave Gerhardt [00:34:05]:
He'd come out a meeting, he'd be like, text. He's like, I need to meet you right now. I got to show you something that we just talked about. And at other companies I've been in, it's like, wait, we're not ready to tell marketing what we talked about in the engineering meeting yet, where he was like, no, come in. Now. We got to show you this. And that's where you want to be. I think.

Pranav Piyush [00:34:21]:
I think you're 100% right. And this is where that internal storytelling, both sort of marrying the creative and the analytics together is the secret superpower that you got to have. And you don't have to have that as a vp of marketing or CMO. You can have that as a right hand person to the CMO who understand the analytics pieces and brings that to the table on a weekly basis. And so that's what it takes to scale again. You don't need that in the early parts of a business, but you need that at a scaling business.

Dave Gerhardt [00:34:52]:
All right. Anything else on your mind before I let you out of the hot seat? I want to make sure you have a chance to. If there's something that, you know, you wish I asked you, this is a good time for us to have a discussion about it.

Pranav Piyush [00:35:02]:
Oh, I appreciate that. No, I think, you know, I love what you all are doing with exit five. Big believer. I remember, this is a fun story. I started following you, I think, three or four years ago when I saw your ten laws of copywriting course. So that's where we go back, and I think everybody should take that course. I don't know if you're reviving that as part of.

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:24]:
Thank you for teeing that up, because I've taken everything that I've done for the last three years, and we put it inside the exit five community. And so if someone has access to exit five, you can go into exit five community, scroll down the left side, go to resources on resources. If you go into templates, I have my laws of copywriting in there, and so a lot of people don't know that, but we put that in there. There's a bunch of other copywriting stuff, too. Okay, that's cool. I appreciate. So you're. That was the first online thing that I did.

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:50]:
Like, that it was. I launched it on my 33rd birthday, and I said, today only is $33 for my 33rd birthday. And it went really well.

Pranav Piyush [00:35:57]:
Yeah, I remember something like that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:58]:
Yeah, yeah.

Pranav Piyush [00:35:58]:
So great job. And think about that. Right? So one last thing. People remember great marketing like that. And it's been four years, but I can. I know exactly where I heard about Dave the first time. It was that course.

Dave Gerhardt [00:36:12]:
What's funny is I for, for something like that, like, I had the idea. I had the idea for the launch and the content and the domain, everything before I even created the content. And I think I learned so much from, from drift, working for David cancel about this, which is like, back to the good ideas part. I feel like the execution part is like, creating the content of that course was the easy part. I had just spent however many years doing this. Like, I got that all. But it's like, oh, what should I call this? I'm going to call this the laws of copywriting, grabbing the domain, creating the landing page. Like, how am I going to do a launch? Oh, what day I'm going to launch it on my birthday, because I know that on social media, on your birthday, everybody.

Dave Gerhardt [00:36:47]:
If I say, oh, today's my birthday, everyone's going to comment. And so if everybody comments on that day, it's my birthday, that post is going to get a ton of reach. That's the stuff that gets me fired up, is thinking of that and then the execution of how we're going to go and create it where I know for many people, it's like you go spend six weeks recording all these videos and you're like, oh, man, I just spent six weeks on this. I think before I even recorded the first video, I had a waiting list up and so people could get on the list for email. Stuff like that, I think is so important from a marketing standpoint.

Pranav Piyush [00:37:16]:
Agreed, 100%. And then last, plug everyone, check out Powermark and give us feedback. If you like what we're doing, let us know. If you don't like what we're doing, let us know. Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt [00:37:27]:
Who's the ideal customer for, like, where the product is at today.

Pranav Piyush [00:37:31]:
Yeah. So we're actively working with some of the largest brands in both b two B and B two C, people who are spending between ten to $100 million in marketing across paid earned unknown. We work with CMOs VPs of marketing, CFO's. One of the things that I say always is we're always on the side of the marketer. We're here to help you tell your story at the board, at the executive leadership to your entire company and how you are driving growth for the business.

Dave Gerhardt [00:37:59]:
That's smart. To me, that's the best b two B marketing strategy is like, how can you help your customer get smarter about the thing? And so, like, if you, if Paramark is not just like, um, an analytics company for marketers, but it's like, oh, this company taught me how to like, present to the board and they happen to have the software that I can use to do that. I love that approach. I also like this manifesto on your, on your website. This has a sale, like sales letter vibes. You have your little signature, you have you and Pete there, the signature. I like that. It's nice.

Dave Gerhardt [00:38:30]:
Nice touch. Have you raised money?

Pranav Piyush [00:38:32]:
We have, we raised a couple of million dollars just as we got started. It was the worst timing. We did this in Q one of 2023. So just as SVB is going down and we were expecting wires that week, and I'm like, oh, this is not going to happen, is it? But then, you know, things worked out.

Dave Gerhardt [00:38:50]:
Yeah, it did happen.

Pranav Piyush [00:38:51]:
Well, I mean, you know, it wasn't in the now, in hindsight, it wasn't such a big deal. Right. So things panned out. Everything worked out, and people had access to their funds and they were able to wire. It was a nerve wracking situation back in Q one. So, yeah, it's been. It's been a fun twelve months.

Dave Gerhardt [00:39:08]:
Well, now, hopefully, hopefully, like, the rockiness is over and I don't want to lead the witness, but, like, are you bullish about b two B SaaS? What side of this do you fall on? Obviously, you're going to say yes because you're the CEO of a company trying to grow this thing, but, like, give me some positive.

Pranav Piyush [00:39:24]:
Yeah. Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt [00:39:25]:
I want to have some positive. Yeah. All right, so fine, be real. You can be real. That's okay. I'll accept it.

Pranav Piyush [00:39:29]:
I'm a realist. I think about if you look at the public markets and you look at the most successful, you know, b two B SaaS companies, what do you see? You see everyone is moving towards profitability and everyone is sort of moving towards shoring up their product, their core product, and doing a good job with that. And I think those are the two things that are going to matter in 2024. If you're not thinking about profitability right now, every day, every week, you have a problem. And if you're not thinking about building great product, you have a problem. And so that's what I would say. Our focus is getting to profitability and breakeven and building a great product that serves cmos and helps them drive impact. So I'm bullish about our ability to do that.

Pranav Piyush [00:40:21]:
I think there's a lot of folks in B two B SaaS who are not thinking enough about it, and that's going to be challenging for them.

Dave Gerhardt [00:40:28]:
Love that push to profitability. I also feel like it makes marketing much easier when you know what, when you have clear metrics, right, so.

Pranav Piyush [00:40:35]:
Exactly, exactly.

Dave Gerhardt [00:40:37]:
Yeah. Cool. All right, Pranav, is nice to finally get you on camera and say, hi. I wish you a bunch of luck this year. I'm sure we'll. We'll see more of each other. Maybe. Maybe we'll have you back on at some point.

Dave Gerhardt [00:40:49]:
And I'd love to do, like, what people really want from exif. I want to do, like, how to present about these med, like, how to present to the board. You just mentioned that idea that that topic comes up all the time, how to present to leadership, how to talk about measurement to your CEO and the board. Like we should think about. We could do something that in the future that'd be really valuable.

Pranav Piyush [00:41:07]:
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Big fan. And, yeah, would love to come on and talk about exactly that. Love it.

Dave Gerhardt [00:41:13]:
All right, cool. Thank you. And, hey, look, if you like Pranav's point of view on things and his notes, don't just go check out Powermark, go find him on LinkedIn, send him a note, and be like, hey, I heard you on exit five. That type of stuff brings me a little bit of joy. All right, thank you for listening to this episode. We will see you on the next one. We're out of here. Exit.
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