26 50

CMO50 2020 #26-50: Daniel McDermott

  • Name Daniel McDermott
  • Title Marketing director A/NZ
  • Company Mimecast
  • Commenced role June 2018
  • Reporting Line VP global marketing
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 15 staff, 5 direct reports
  • Industry Sector Information technology
  • 2019 ranking New to CMO50
  • Brand Post

    Sometimes doing the right thing for your customers means stepping outside of the conventional practices of the organisation you represent.

    Daniel McDermott is one marketer who has taken on this challenge in the past year. As the marketing director for A/NZ at IT security company, Mimecast, he leads a team of 15 dedicated to building the Mimecast brand and driving sales opportunities.

    So it came as some surprise to his corporate colleagues when he launched a new Web property, (GCR), outside of Mimecast’s corporate marketing and IT infrastructure. McDermott says this strategy was the right thing to engage the local market and positioned Mimecast strongly as a ‘good corporate citizen’. And it won some fans further up the hierarchy.

    “While always being transparent and informing corporate, delivering on the vision still surprised many in our corporate HQ,” McDermott says. “Interestingly, one of our biggest advocates is our founder and CEO, who has regularly featured the site in internal updates and often engages with our LinkedIn posts.”

    Launched in August 2019, now publishes on average two to three articles per week on threat insights, practical applications, and Mimecast’s thought leadership series Point of View on the latest issues in cyber security impacting the ANZ market.

    It has attracted over 20,000 article reads and a 15-times higher newsletter subscription rate than that achieved by the existing global blog and has since been expanded with the creation of a complementary podcast.

    Business smarts

    With the COVID-19 crisis closing offices across Australia, in the past year McDermott has found himself in the unusual position of having hired two staff members yet to meet any of their colleagues in person. That comes on top of the other issues commonly faced in managing a work-from-home workforce, and the pivot from physical to virtual events.

    “Despite this level of disruption, I couldn’t be prouder of how the team have rallied together, adapted to the new working and market conditions and been able to continue to deliver the required business outcomes,” McDermott says. “The majority of us are based in Melbourne and have battled through the tough lockdown. In some ways, the challenges of COVID have created a more supportive and collegiate team that rally together and know when to throw a supportive virtual arm around one another.”

    With virtual engagement the new reality, McDermott says one questions marketers must ask as they move from physical events to virtual and online sessions is how they will continue delivering the same level of engagement while imparting the same amount of knowledge.

    “Providing the equivalent experience in a virtual world has certainly been the key part of that,” McDermott says. “Thinking of those things has accelerated the way we think about data, technology, and how we use content more holistically across our business and weave it into our processes and our engagements with customers.”

    A new initiative he recently started is a monthly webinar focused on the threat intelligence insights we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic. At time of CMO50 judging this had 1000 registrants, showing the need for local knowledge and guidance.

    Cross-functional collaboration

    While maintaining team coherence has been a priority, McDermott has also been working to develop the mindset of his team members. He summarises this as ‘to be world class’ in terms of delivery.

    “This is a high bar to aim for, but in an ultra-competitive faced pace marketplace we need to strive for this excellence to standout and deliver an exceptional experience that underpins our brand value,” McDermott says.

    This ties closely to his thoughts on marketing innovation, specifically as it asks his team to continue to learn by reviewing best practices and their own performance.

    “This starts with asking ‘how do we deliver the best customer experience possible?’ and then working backwards from that vision, to ensure we have the right approach, use of technology, data and content to deliver that exceptional experience,” McDermott says. “You can only achieve this by constantly innovating.”

    This approach is also represented in McDermott’s implementation of what he calls an ‘Account Based Everything’ (ABE) program.

    “The ABE agenda is designed to establish credibility at both a senior decision-making level and broadly across key influencers within strategic accounts,” McDermott says. “The implementation of our ABE program required intricate coordination between our strategic B2B marketing agency, technology vendors/partners, our media agency, and other global teams.”

    McDermott says the objective is to ensure that Mimecast is not just being brought in as a comparison vendor by would-be clients when assessing the merits of a preferred supplier, but to become that supplier of choice. This program has required senior stakeholder buy-in and resulted in a fundamental shift in Mimecast’s approach to how the marketing, prospecting, and sales teams’ function.

    “I have driven the focus on a core set of 100 accounts, working hand in glove with the sales team to define those targets, recommended changes to the sales remuneration program to support the ABE program, and I got this approach ratified through Mimecast HQ,” McDermott says. “These changes are designed to ensure that prospects are better qualified and developed through to closed won customers and expansion to increase customer lifetime value.”

    As a result, marketing is now much more closely aligned with sales, with regular ‘orchestration’ meetings to ensure that the two teams are reviewing target accounts’ activity and following up with pre-agreed communications and messaging.

    “My efforts have generated new energy around this go-to-market model that is still embryonic in this country,” McDermott says.

    Data-driven approach

    With marketing already playing a strong role in enterprise revenue and sourcing, McDermott says the ABE program will enable Mimecast to cover more of the buying party within large accounts, and do more to influence senior decision makers early in their buying journey.

    As such, it is being supported by a propensity model being developed from multiple data sources to identify and prioritise marketing, sales development reps and sales activities, and will include firmographics, competitor insights and understanding surging intent topics from across the internet.

    “By having this focus and data-driven insights, we are creating a hyper-personalised experience for these accounts where each account will get their own branded version of our cyber resilience hub, and receive customised content just for them,” McDermott says. “We are using technology to be able to identify which accounts individual contacts are form and targeting them with account-personalised advertisements and offers to bring them to their account hub.”

    McDermott believes delivering a tailored experience for these accounts and crafting an orchestrated cross-functional follow-up from Mimecast staff will enable the company to significantly increase its coverage within these accounts, be able to better reach senior decision makers earlier, and ultimately, increase its customer win rates.

    Innovative marketing

    As if that isn’t enough, in his two years with Mimecast McDermott has also transformed its demand generation program, taking an outside in view and looked at how a buyer would react to the content and how do they actually want to engage during the buying process.

    “As such I introduced the idea of all campaigns being centred around the buyer's journey, with an integrated end-to-end framework that talks about how we uncover the problems that they have, and how we show that we can effectively solve those problems,” McDermott says. “By engaging buyers in an integrated multi-touch campaign, we have radically transformed our conversion rates from inquiries to pipeline to closed won business.

    “This has resulted in marketing’s sourced contribution to new annual recurring revenue from 17 per cent in 2018 to 40 per cent today.”

    McDermott also introduced a governance framework to manage that, including creation of a Demand Generation Council that brings together all of the go-to-market function.

    “Based on that buyer’s journey and Mimecast’s objectives, we determine what we're going to put into the market on a rolling quarterly basis,” McDermott says. “We decide together as an organisation and get behind those objectives. The importance of the DGC is signified by the fact it is co-chaired by Mimecast’s country manager and myself.”

    This program is being assisted by the creation of a Customer Advisory Board (CAB) for Mimecast’s most senior contacts in key accounts, which meets on a quarterly basis to discuss trends and provide feedback and advice on what Mimecast needs to do.

    McDermott has not been afraid to get deeply involved in the process. “I am an active member of the CAB, regularly running workshops and actively contributing throughout the sessions,” he says. “This has built trust and personal connections with leading CISOs who have then volunteered their time to be guests on our podcast.”

    In July this year, Mimecast launched and accompanying Technical Advisory Board in Australia – the first of its locations anywhere in the world to do so. Last November 2019, the company also launched another locally driven innovation, a customer loyalty and reward program, called the Wingman Program.

    “The objective of the program is to amplify our customer advocacy by encouraging customers share their stories, participate in interviews and recommending Mimecast to peers, for which they receive rewards,” McDermott says.

    All of this work is vital, McDermott says, as he strives to be a future-fit CMO for the years ahead.

    “The innovation in martech and the use of data continues to evolve quickly and being able to understand these new opportunities and translate them into how they align to achieving our vision and business goals will allow me to keep challenging the status quo and continue to propel business growth,” he says. “To do this, I stay connected to smarter people than me who are on the leading edge of what’s possible and I learn from them. The next step is to take these market innovations and turn them into new revenues streams.”






    Share this article