Transcript: Why Behavior Change is Key to Measuring Your Retention Efforts with Janet Dulsky

On this episode, I was joined by Janet Dulsky, Director, Global Retention Marketing at Adobe. Janet describes her team as the “marketing arm” for customer success and has a cutting-edge approach to engagement. She shares why their framework starts and ends with talking to customers, how email and in-product guidance have become some of their strongest channels and why behavior change is key to measuring impact. Without further ado, here’s my conversation with Janet. 

Margot Leong: Janet, I am so excited to have you on the podcast. Thank you so much for joining us. 

Janet Dulsky: Margot, thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be here and talk to you and your listeners. 

Margot Leong: Yes, this is going to be a really exciting conversation all about customer marketing, retention, all the good stuff. The first thing that we always like to start out with here on the podcast is hearing a bit about your background. So can you tell us about your journey to where you are today? 

Janet Dulsky: Absolutely. My entire career has been in marketing, Margot, from product management to product marketing, to now retention marketing, and frankly, kind of everything in between, but the thread that has connected all those roles is really my passion for customers. Whether it was building products that customers wanted as a product marketer, whether it was creating content they would engage with as a content strategist, or now helping them get the most out of the products they’ve purchased, for me, it really always comes down to customers and helping customers.

My interest in adoption or retention marketing was actually sparked when I was at Marketo. Marketo had and Adobe still has a really amazingly engaged online community in what we call the Marketing Nation Community. And from the moment I learned about the community and saw it in action, it was as if a light bulb went off, honestly. 

I knew it was an opportunity to really drive adoption and retention for customers as I watched all that engagement. I went and I pitched that opportunity to our then VP of marketing and she hired me onto the customer marketing team to turn the community into a true adoption and retention channel.

Once I kind of got started with that, I realized there was an opportunity to leverage more marketing channels for that same adoption and retention work, and I began to build my team. My current role is sort of the culmination of my entire career. I’m leading a team that I built from the ground up, which is completely focused on helping our customers post-sale in that journey.

Margot Leong: Yes. I love that. And, you know, I touched upon this a little bit during my conversation with Julie Perino, who, of course you also know and who introduced us. I love this concept of really thinking about everything post-purchase and not necessarily just advocacy at the end.

And I really liked what you said about realizing like there’s so many channels that we can use to engage our customers and actually turn them into advocates. Like every step of the way as turning someone to advocates versus just hoping they’ll become advocates. And I love that more active role. 

Janet Dulsky: And I’m sure you heard Julie talk about the work my team does in adoption as the on-ramp to advocacy, and I truly feel that it’s true because as we help customers learn to get more out of the product and they feel more successful, then when someone comes to talk to them about advocacy and being involved in our advocacy programs, they are in a much better place to want to, and also be great advocates because they do feel successful. They’ve learned how to use the product. And so it’s building toward advocacy. 

Margot Leong: Would you say that is pretty indicative of where the entire marketing world is at right now, or would you say that this is a bit more of newer thinking about marketing being involved in kind of that entire piece? Where would you say that your approach to this lies, right? 

Janet Dulsky: I very much feel that we’re sort of on that cutting edge. I would say, customer marketing has evolved and evolved very quickly, even in the last three years, if I look at what’s happened, customer marketing used to really just be all about references and stories, so really supporting the sales motion. Recently it feels like a lot of organizations are starting to add advocacy to that mix, really thinking about post-sale and how do we build and create programs that help support customers who are willing to advocate for the brand and the product. But still a lot of times that’s thinking about that in relation to the sales motion. 

Where I think that the ball is going and that’s where my team really lives, and I feel like we are still very early days, is that whole idea of, okay, once the sale closes, how do we start talking to our customers to help them be successful? And as we talked about, build them into a place where they want to advocate for us? And that feels like that’s the new component. 

 I’ve been reached out to by many folks in different organizations wanting to understand more about what we’re doing at Adobe, and as they start to think about how do they build that part into the customer marketing org so that, to your point, you have sort of the entire life cycle from pre-sales all the way through to retention and advocacy. 

Margot Leong: What does your current role entail and how do you kind of think about the charter or the philosophy that you’ve outlined for your department, what you focus on?

Janet Dulsky: We’re actually leveraging all the marketing channels, whether it’s email, webinars, virtual and in-person events, in-product guidance, many of the same channels that are being leveraged on the pre-sale side, but we’re leveraging it for the post-sale journey. And our goal is to help our customers learn to use and be successful with our products.

And by using these marketing channels, we’re doing that at scale and sometimes I actually, when people say, I don’t get what you do, I say, well, think about it as we are the marketing arm of the customer success management. Those folks are post-sale helping our customers be successful. We are their marketing arm, if you will. We’re doing that at scale through typical marketing channels. 

I’m going to sound repetitive, but the customer is the center of everything we do. I’ve actually built a framework that we use for all our programs that enshrines this philosophy that every program we create both starts and ends with the customer. Starting with the customer by understanding, and I’ll talk a little bit more about that later, and then ending with the customer in that we always go back and talk to customers who’ve been through our programs. How do we make this better for you? How do we keep making these programs be the best they can be for our customers and serving them well? 

I think a great example is a program we built for new users of our Adobe Analytics product and the woman who was managing those retention programs spent several months interviewing customers really in depth to understand where were they challenged and learning to use the product, especially early on when they first got into analytics, into the software, where were they having problems, and what was it that they found helpful in the learning process? 

And one of the really interesting things that was very consistent through all of her interviews was the fact that customers were saying hands-on learning was absolutely critical to success. They said, just get into the product and start trying things. So what she did with that insight was then we structured the email program for these new users with two components, it has a see it component, which is linked to a short form video tutorial, and then a try it component, which actually offers users an exercise to try what they just learned, what they just saw. And we’ve seen incredibly successful change in user behavior in that product for those that have engaged with this email nurture program. 

Margot Leong: So this is a fantastic case study. This is something that I’m thinking about myself in my current role is, you know, a lot of those pieces around engagement, activation for new users. I was actually curious, especially during the current situation with COVID and everything, I’ve heard email marketing, even though it’s been around forever, is actually still one of the strongest channels, if you do it correctly, to engage your customers. And I’m curious what your thoughts are on this.

Janet Dulsky: I actually completely agree. If I look across all the channels we use, email is absolutely one of our strongest channels in terms of the engagement we’re seeing and the resulting change in behavior that we’re trying to drive. I agree with you, and if you look at, where most marketing organizations have gone with email programs, it has become way more sophisticated.

And I think that’s the right thing. People will engage with it, but they’re not going to engage with it if it’s completely irrelevant, comes at them as just like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever. But if it’s relevant to them, you have the right content, you’ve given it to them at the right time, it has something that’s valuable to them, people will engage. And we do see that. So I do agree that we heard years ago, email’s dead, it’s over. Just bury it, but I don’t believe that. And I, frankly, based on any one of us, the emails we receive in any one day through our programs means that on the receiving end, we know it’s not dead.

People are continuing to send them, but I think what is happening and that’s companies that are being successful with it is where that is coming with, again, relevant content to the right people versus just sort of everybody gets the same thing. 

Margot Leong: Are there any other learnings, right, that you had when it comes to doing well on the email side of things that you think would be good to share and feel free to share specific examples, or you can also sort of keep this a bit more high level. 

Janet Dulsky: In our world, what we’re trying to do is move customers through a path, right? To take them from the moment they become a customer for Adobe, for a particular product through that journey of you’re a new user, you become more familiar with the product and then you become more advanced. And this concept we use in all the other channels but very, very much in email is we develop programs that are focused on each part of that journey.

What we do is actually move them through that. So for example, with our Marketo Engage programs, we have programs for a new marketer in email. Once they get their log in, they’ll start to receive this nurture program. Once they’ve completed that nurture program, we move them into the next program, which is for more familiar users.

So it goes more deeply into the core parts of Marketo that they need to use as a marketer to be successful. Once they’ve completed that program, Margot, knowing there’s these core pieces of the program that are really important, like reporting, or creating engagement programs like we’re doing, we do have data that’s around adoption scoring to see it actually shows us whether a accounts are actually using this part of the product or not. And based on that, we’ll then start to move them more deeply into more advanced email nurture programs in those areas based on whether they’re doing them well or not.

So, for example, a marketer who’s moved through our core familiar program and we see that they’re not using reporting, we will then move them into our advanced nurture program that just focuses on reporting and goes much more deeply. That’s one of the things that we have found to be really successful is actually helping the customer all along the journey and continuing to move them through by providing them sort of that next pieces of content and information they need to be successful.

Margot Leong: Got it. And so then basically I’m assuming that as part of these programs, it’s a mix of different channels that make up those touch points, right. So like, the program could involve, okay, like email touch here and here, and then you also have these webinars that are maybe promoted to these customers via the emails or other situations, or maybe you’ve got the in-person events. So it sounds like the world is your oyster when it comes to figuring out what are some of the most effective channels and what’s the combination of these as well that is most optimal. 

Janet Dulsky: Exactly. And your point, Margot is a perfect one in that as we look at the various different channels, we say, look, we’re all different. People want to engage in one channel or another. So I may be an email person and somebody else may be like I don’t do email, but I really like to attend events or whatever it is. So that’s one aspect of the multi-channel is to make sure that our programs and this learning content is available wherever our customers choose to engage. 

The other element of it, which you touched on, is a way to really help customers reinforce that content. So maybe you did engage with the email program, but it’s been awhile, or you looked at a few of them and put some others in a folder and you haven’t gone back. Well, a webinar might be another way for you to dive more deeply into that content and reinforce it. In product, you might receive a piece of content again, similar to what you had in the email, but it’s just a way to reinforce that learning and continue to build the skills. 

Margot Leong: Yeah, absolutely. Something that I’ve found right with thinking about engagement and it seems to be a common theme is that there’s so many variables and not only what you’re controlling with your customers, but then let’s say that, product makes a change on their end, or maybe there’s a change on the website or something, right. There are other things that are outside of your team’s control that affect their experience and that may then have ripple effects in terms of the lovely journeys that you’re building.

When you look at and try to measure the success of your programs, how do you think about either separating those or how those work together? There’s so many factors in the customer experience that sometimes I’m privy to, and that sometimes I’m not. So I’d love to hear some thoughts there. 

Janet Dulsky: You’re right dead on, Margot. It’s, you know, we’re part of an ecosystem and, you know, I don’t pull all the levers in that ecosystem. Absolutely. And I think the biggest challenge I have around that is splitting the hairs in that ecosystem to understand like, okay, what I’m doing, where is that really impacting?

Probably the biggest challenge to that is sort of the end game. We’re all after, at least in our case, which is retention revenue dollars because my success services team comes in sometimes and does consulting. And I know my customer success managers are talking to the account and helping them along the way and they might call support. So all those things and many, many more are part of that ecosystem. 

So if I back it up that’s my end game, right? And that, one’s the one that’s a little more challenging to say, oh, this exactly is what we have done, but where I am much more confident in our data and the impact is every one of our programs we are focused on: are we moving the needle when it comes to behavior? 

Behavior in the product, at least from an adoption retention perspective, that’s the end game. Are our customers doing what we want them to do, doing more of what we want them to do, not doing what we don’t want them to do? That is really where we look first and foremost as our primary KPI for all of our programs. Albeit not totally clean, it’s cleaner than this broader ecosystem around the revenue. So that is where we, we do lean that’s our first and primary focus to understand the impact of our programs.

Margot Leong: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, if you think about the literal definition of engagement, that is behavior, like behavior you know, maybe hard to extrapolate out, but you know, at the very least, you know, it leads to stickiness. They’re doing something in the product, it means they’re a day longer or minutes, longer hours longer versus not having gotten that email or whatever to do those things.

So sounds like you guys are incredibly intensive about how you approach this and that’s that whole customer centricity piece, right. Every program starts and ends with the customer. If I have this correct, we either have a program that we think can move the needle or we want to improve an existing program, so then you basically talk to the customers that are already successful, then you take that, implement it, and then you test, measure, right? And then you maybe talk to customers at the other end to then start that cycle anew to see how you can further make that better. Do I have that sort of understanding correctly? 

Janet Dulsky: Yeah. Exactly, Margot. It’s constantly customer at the center and everything swirls around the customer.

Margot Leong: There’s some elements here that are a bit more, of course, obviously data-driven you know, a bit more, I would say analytical then the typical advocate profile and I really liked that aspect is that there’s more measurement. And then there’s some of those growth related aspects as well, which is just constantly like test and measure, test and measure. So it seems almost like a never ending cycle towards just continual improvement essentially. 

Janet Dulsky: That’s probably, certainly for me, one of the things that I love about this work. As I said earlier, I think we’re still really foundational. There’s so, so much upside. But just in thinking about a customer’s journey through a particular product, there’s ways to continue to improve the programs that exist.

And then there’s also, as we’re learning and talking to customers, our customers are constantly changing. And we just had a really interesting learning this year about that. And I can give you an example of what we did with that, but our customers are constantly evolving, right? So that means the programs that we want to provide a need to provide for them, that’s shifting too. And so I love that because that means like there’s a never ending, it’s like I can always do more, which is always exciting for me. 

But this example, which might sort of bring us home is for our Marketo Engage application, we had done some interviewing as well as done some surveying. And what came out of both the survey, which helped to identify some key areas of the product, which our customers wanted more help, some of which is, and this goes back to my earlier conversation around the sort of moving the customer through these email programs, that core program had eight different topics it was focused on. 

This survey actually elevated a couple topics that we had not included and that program was built actually, frankly, in 2018. So it’s been out for a while, but I think that starts to show where not only the product continues to evolve, but our customers are evolving and they were identifying areas that, when we first created the program, were not as important, so that was a change. 

And the other really interesting thing we heard in the customer interviews was that customers were consistently talking about wanting to go faster and deeper into topics. And this was kind of unexpected because we had a definition of here’s what a new user would need. Here’s what a more familiar customer would need, but what we were hearing is customers were saying, look, I need more advanced topics sooner. 

And so the interesting thing is the gentleman who is running this program actually has built what we’re calling a “choose your own adventure” in product guide nurture series. It’s in development right now. But the idea is here are these topics and a customer basically chooses their path through these various nurtures. At the end of each topic nurture, they get served a survey from which they can choose the next topic that they would like to learn about based on whatever’s going on in their work, in their business.

And they can kind of keep choosing all the way through the path until they exhaust all the various different topics, but it was a really interesting, creative way of what he’s done with that to serve our customers who are now telling us, we want more deeper stuff and we want it sooner. And so we’re going to let them go at that in their own way in this particular program. 

Margot Leong: I like this idea of this choose your own adventure, which is really, really a very creative way of going about that. And I can imagine can be really fun as a concept. I know that it’s still in development, would this be served up into the normal program or would this be through a third party platform? 

Janet Dulsky: It’s first going to be launching in product guidance, we use third party software for that. You know, we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to test it. We’ll see how people like it or not. But I could see that concept could certainly be served up in many other channels. It could be served up in email, right. There would be ways to allow customers to move through a nurture in the different topics as they choose. There’s probably ways to do that even in webinars or virtual events, like there’s probably a lot of different ways that you could allow customers to kind of choose that adventure, so this is where we’re starting. Brand new for us, so we don’t know. It could go well. It might not. We’ll learn things, but I agree with you that it’s a concept that has legs that could probably be served up in other ways. 

We’re definitely about risk taking it. And part of that, Margot, I think is just born of the work we’re doing is pretty brand new. There’s not a lot of people we can go out, here’s a hundred page ebook on how you do this. So that’s part of it. Part of it is we’re kind of making our own way, which means you take some risks and some things work and some things don’t, but also I think this goes back to what we were talking about is our customers keep evolving, right?

So as our customers evolve, we need to evolve to, and that is also part and parcel of us looking at different ways to serve our customers as they continue to evolve on their journey to be successful. So how do we keep helping them along that journey as their journey changes as well?

Margot Leong: Trying to talk to customers, it sounds like you have that mix of both quantitative and qualitative. How do you think about what data you want to glean from qualitative versus quantitative? 

Janet Dulsky: So quantitative tends to be, you know, it’s easier to process, obviously, Margot. With a survey you’re going to get so many responses and depending on how you set it up, you’re going to have some really specific quantifiable pieces of information.

I still lean personally, and I know my team, we do hundreds of one-on-one interviews each year. The value in talking to a customer, I feel like it can’t be replicated anywhere because you don’t know what they’ll tell you. And there’s research out there that says this: probably by the time you’ve talked to, say seven to 10 customers, you’ll start to hear that themes that will repeat. And that’s really, as we look at interviews, that’s what we’re looking for. Like what are the things that we kept hearing over and over again, which would indicate this is something that’s probably common to many of our customers.

And then there’s always like one customer will just say something that’s like that big aha, like, wow, hadn’t thought about that. But generally that’s the core of how we come through those interviews. I would say my team on general, before we build a program, we most often talk to 25 to 30 customers. So we’re well in excess of seven to 10, so the themes will become very, very clear but there’s always those great nuggets that one customer says that frankly and they might really be responding to you not even a question you asked, but just something that came up on their own. So those are always the gold nuggets that come from those conversations. 

Margot Leong: How do you think about taking some of those nuggets that you’ve learned and distill those almost to the rest of the marketing team as well? Do you share those? 

Janet Dulsky: So the interesting thing is, and that’s a great point, we will share most of our interview insights and results actually with our product teams. We’re kind of like those non-marketer marketers, we kind of live in this weird zone, unlike our demand colleagues who are so closely aligned, appropriately so, with our sales team. We work very closely with the customer success org, but with the product teams, a lot of the conversations we have with customers, there’s a lot of really wonderful, not only understanding about the customers and what they’re doing in the product, but customers always like to tell you what they like, and don’t like about a product. That’s also really great information we serve back. 

So generally that’s the team that we’re sharing our interview and insights with. To be honest, I’m not sure how relevant it would be to our demand team folks, but that’s probably something we should explore and we haven’t.

Margot Leong: That makes a lot of sense. I’m sure the product team must be also quite thankful because that maybe sometimes helps to reduce the amount of interviews that they have with customers. 

Janet Dulsky: Exactly. 

Margot Leong: We’ve talked a little bit about email marketing in general as a channel but something that we really wanted to chat about is in product guidance. We talked about in our pre-call that this was one of your strongest channels, so I’d love to chat a bit more about that. I think that this is probably still more on the cutting edge for most marketing teams or maybe they think that this is something the product owns, or maybe they just tweak copy or something.

So I really like this idea of applying this marketing lens on scale and education and all these things to in product guidance. Tell me a little bit about how this channel has been working and why you think that this has been very effective in terms of your guys’ approach.

Janet Dulsky: Sure. And actually there’s sort of an interesting, hidden gem story for us, for my team in the in product guidance. Frankly, I didn’t even know this existed. But in the beginning of 2018, as my team was coming together, we were getting our first email adoption nurture programs out. We met someone on the product team who was responsible for in product measurement.

And most of these in product measurement tools actually had this other side where they can deliver in product guidance and we were talking to him about it. And he sort of mentioned this. I was there with one other woman on my team and we literally had like a shared light bulb moment because like, wow, that is an amazing opportunity.

And the interesting thing was the product team was not even interested. They’re like we’re focused on measurement understandably, but we realized that was a really amazing opportunity to start to deliver helpful content to our customers when and where they need it the most. When they’re actually like working in the product.

So this woman on my team started to evangelize this opportunity with our stakeholders and we actually launched our first in product guide in the second half of that year in 2018. The power of in product guidance delivered with a customer centric approach is really effective because you are engaging with customers in the place they’re actually doing their work, so they don’t need to leave to open an email or watch a webinar or attend an event. You’re there in the moment where they are. 

The other piece is you can really be very precise with your targeting of your content to ensure the right person has seen it at the right time just when they need it.

So for example, one of the things that we have learned is that when a new admin, a business owner comes in and takes over or inherits a current Analytics implementation at a company, it’s a really important and critical inflection point because if that person struggles to figure out how the data is flowing, how the implementation was structured, then they’re floundering.

And as a result, the company is going to struggle to get the value they need from analytics. So when we see a new admin log into a current analytics implementation for the first time, we actually can then deliver them at that moment in product guidance to help them audit the analytics implementation they’ve inherited. It includes a list of activities that they should be completing those first critical 10 weeks on the job, how to create a data governance plan, which we know is really important and how to make sure that the product they’re collecting is consistent and correct. All elements that we know based on talking to our customers are really important those first moments they’ve taken over the implementation.

But if somebody doesn’t have that information and they just kind of get stuck and swirl that’s when that account can be in jeopardy. So that’s the kind of thing that you can do in product that is much more challenging to do in some of the other channels. 

Margot Leong: Absolutely. And as you said, right, like it’s kind of a, no-brainer in my opinion, but I’m surprised by like how few companies actually utilize it. You’re spending the majority of your time in the product. That’s literally what you have paid for. Why not surface the things they need at the time that they need them? Would love to sort of wrap my mind around what this looks like in execution. What does that kind of look like? 

Janet Dulsky: Going back to that new admin coming into the analytics implementation, so we have created this guide nurturing. And one of the things I think I’m very proud of that my team has done, which is really different than even those that are doing it, is we actually deliver in product guidance in many ways in the same way we would deliver an email nurture.

So what it would look like for this new admin is they come in for the first time, they log in and they’ll receive a little pop-up, a guide. And that guide will say, here, download this spreadsheet that contains everything you need to do an audit of this brand new implementation you’ve just taken over. Great. So they’ll do that. And then usually it depends on the guide. We may deliver the next guide the next week, which I think it what it does, or you can set up how many times afterwards. 

So the next week then when they come back into the product in a certain area, they’ll get the next guide. And it says, here’s a list of activities that you want to make sure you do. And here’s why you want to make sure you do these the next 10 weeks. And again, the next week after that, when they come into a certain place, they’ll get the next guide that talks about data governance and so on. So we are literally nurturing these customers in the same way we would do an email. We are doing it in product with these little pop-ups.

The content in those popups could be a download of a spreadsheet. It could just be words. It might have a link out to a course that exists on our experience league where, Hey, go take this little course, it will help you learn this particular topic. It might have a little mini video there that’ll show them how to do something or have a customer talking about why this is really important. So there’s a lot of different kinds of content you can serve up. But if you think about it as an email nurture, it’s kind of the same thing. It’s just showing up actually in the product itself. 

Margot Leong: What sort of emails or like other touches do they get from other channels as well. Do you mimic that in email, in case they didn’t follow along with, in product guidance to try and catch them there. Or how do you think about that? 

Janet Dulsky: That’s exactly what we do. This, this actually is fairly foundational right now with our Adobe Analytics product, but I have someone who is literally going to take this content that’s showing up in product for these new admins and turn that into an email nurture. You know, if somebody didn’t want to engage in product, but they might want to engage in email, we’ll provide that. It could just be a way to reinforce that learning, they’re like, oh yeah, I downloaded that spreadsheet, but I kind of forgot about it until I received the email. Like, oh yeah. That’s that spreadsheet. I need it. 

And they’ll probably be other content that we’ll add because of nurture, we can provide probably more content. There’s very little you want to provide when you’re interrupting somebody within their workspace, but we have more leeway in email, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Margot Leong: We’re talking about all the different touch points, the ways in which you’re reaching out, trying to get these customers to do specific actions, guiding them along the journey. When you think about some of the content that you would link to to help them with that, whether it’s a video or a blog post or, or whatnot is that something that’s created by your team. Or do you pull from other teams, like, how do you think about that? And of course, I know that some of that is also user generated as well. So I’d love to hear more about this. 

Janet Dulsky: When we look at a program, when my team starts to pull the strategy together for a program, whatever channel it is in, one of the key pieces once they’ve sort of identified what that strategy looks like is they’ll go out and we’ll do a content audit. And I know most organizations, like there’s a ton of content that’s usually out there, there’s a lot of content for Adobe products that exist on our experience league site. And there’s a lot of courses. So there’s a lots of great content that comes from Adobe experts. And we definitely include that information, but one of the things that we have found over and over again, as we talk to customers is they tell us, Hey, we want to hear from other people using the same product.

Like people just like me. They find that incredibly powerful, very engaging and interesting and helpful. In fact, our metrics have seen that user generated content engages users 3x that of Adobe expert generated content. They want to know, I’m a marketer using Marketo. What are other marketers doing in Marketo? How are they using it? Do they have some interesting fantastic use case that I never even thought about? You know and if I’m an analyst using Adobe Analytics, what are some of the tips that other analysts do to make reporting more effective, easier to do. So customer generated content, I call it our secret sauce. We do include Adobe generated content, but we always have customer content in all our programs. We have programs that are a hundred percent customer generated, others it’s more of an even mix. 

Margot Leong: Is the segmentation around? Okay. Like if I’m this type of marketer or if I’m at this stage, then I’d want to hear from someone who mirrors that persona that I also am? 

Janet Dulsky: Exactly. So there’s sort of two core personas that our programs are designed for. One is the marketer and the other is the admin. And the kinds of content that we deliver are different based on those two personas. We also acknowledge you can go even deeper because on the marketer, it could be I’m a field marketer or I’m a demand gen person, So there are some even further variations that we could get to. We’re not quite there yet, but we absolutely. If we’re going to do something for our admins, our operations folks in Marketo, we’re going to pull content from other operations folks. And the same with Marketo, those people that are using it for the same way that another marketer would, that’s the kind of content that we want to pull in.

Margot Leong: And I’m assuming right, that basically the way that you source some of this customer generated content is through another program that you guys also have, I think on a separate team, which is like an advocacy platform or program as well in which you’re kind of engaging those advocates. And then they can submit that content. Is that correct? 

Janet Dulsky: Yeah, we have various different ways that we identify expert customers. That is absolutely one of the main ways we do that is we go to Julie’s team, she has champion programs and other advocacy programs where they’re building and giving a platform for customers, so we’ll tap into those folks. We have online communities for all our different Adobe products. We also go there. So we look and see who’s responding to a lot of questions, like who’s answering these questions for our customers online. Those folks are likely the experts we would like to pull. As we talk to people in our interviews, oftentimes, we’ll close out and say, Hey, would you be willing to provide content? Would you be interested? Contacts through our customer success team, product team, consulting team. So there’s a lot of different ways we uncover these expert customers to provide us content.

Margot Leong: I know that we’re coming up on time here and so what I’d love to finish out on is an understanding about what your vision for the future of these programs look like. What are you excited to explore going forward? 

Janet Dulsky: I feel like my team has really just begun to scratch the surface of helping our customers be successful with the Adobe products they purchased. What I’m really super excited about, as we go into next year, one of the areas that we’ll be doing some exploring and proof of concept and testing, taking some risk, is how we can start to truly personalize our customers adoption experience across the various channels we use.

So what that in my mind looks like is using our own Adobe technology product. Understanding if a user, for example, does not engage with an in product guide about Marketo Engage reporting, maybe they don’t do that. Then we would like to deliver them an email program focused on reporting and have those things happen very close in terms of time. If they engage with that email program, then we know that they want more information about reporting. So then we’d like to send them an invitation to an in-depth reporting webinar. Also if they’re engaging with that email program about reporting, and we know that they’re actually in our online community, we’d like to serve them recommendations for interesting reporting discussions that are happening in that community when they go back in.

In this way, really personalizing each user’s experience with our programs based on what they’re doing in the various different channels, how they’re engaging or not. It’s sort of like my gold vision of where we’d like to go, but next year we’re definitely going to be trying it out. As I said, we’re going to put together some proof of concepts and see where that takes us. But it feels to me like that’s the ultimate vision of a truly personalized experience that the customers want, like know me and then give me what I need and want as I move through my world. 

Margot Leong: Got it. So it’s currently you’re at the stage where you have these journeys to move from one stage to another. And so then what you’re thinking is how can we take the data that we’re learning from about these customers in terms of preferences to further, as you said, personalize that in order to make it even more effective and serve them more of what they want versus what they don’t want.

Janet Dulsky: Exactly. Currently our channels don’t really like talk to each other. We can serve you in product nurture and we know how to how your behavior looks there. We can serve you email nurtures. We know how your behavior looks there. But the connection between those two right now doesn’t exist. And that’s what I want to do is start to link that. This is the vision of all marketers, right? What you do in that one channel. I can respond differently in another channel and provides you the right information, depending on where you are in that world.

Margot Leong: That’s really exciting. It’s cool to hear that you’re just continuing to push forward on that vision. And yeah, I really appreciate you taking the time and giving us a lot of your wisdom and knowledge here. I think this will be really valuable to a lot of people who are listening. Where can our listeners connect with you if they’d like to learn more about what you’re doing? 

Janet Dulsky: Thank you again, Margot, for the invitation. It was wonderful. I’ve enjoyed it. And happy to share what we’ve learned. It’s been a process and there’s lots of things that need to happen, but I’ve really enjoyed being part of your program. I love to connect with folks and I’m always open to conversations, so please feel free to reach out on LinkedIn and connect with me and send me a note and continue the conversation. 

Thanks for tuning into this episode of Beating The Drum. For more interviews with advocacy leaders and tips on creating customers that will sing your praises, head on over to our website, If you enjoyed today’s show, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts and don’t forget to rate and review us. If you know someone that would be a great fit for the show, I would love to hear about it. You can reach out at Take care, everybody. 



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