20 min read

From Marketing Book Group to Corporate Cohesion

Learn how the Ansys product marketing team shifted from siloed activity to a unified marketing language and became one of the company's most respected groups.


 

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Rich Goldman, Ansys Director of Product Marketing, has enjoyed a storied career journey in semiconductor, photonics, and electronics design. It seems that wherever he goes, he creatively and effectively solves challenges. He's helped the country of Armenia recruit tech businesses by establishing a presidential award in engineering. He's co-authored a book amongst the likes of famous scientists and astronauts on the symbiotic relationship of the space and technology industries. And in his latest role, he's inspired a large marketing organization to adopt a common framework and processes to be more strategic in their content marketing efforts.

During the episode, you'll hear how each business silo was using its own planning framework and vernacular for content marketing, making collaboration difficult and overwhelming corporate marketing resources. To solve this, Rich and Ansys CMO Scott Davidson held an organization-wide, 12-week workshop group based on the book Content Marketing, Engineered. The timing was perfect with marketing planning held directly after the conclusion of the workshop.

Through this approach, the product marketing and corporate marketing teams are now aligned on foundational marketing principles, including a planning framework, vernacular, and metrics. Planning is now conducted in a rolling 12-month quarterly calendar, helping teams to prepare by looking ahead while still being nimble with shifting business needs. Not only did this effort lead to revenue growth, but the product marketing organization is also now recognized as a strongly performing group.

Rich also shares details about the company's writing process, rolling 12-month planning approach, and a big 2023 focus on measurement and attribution.

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Transcript:

 

On today's episode, you'll hear from a leader in product marketing who was faced with a chaotic situation where each product marketing group was working independently of one another. And while they were doing great things, they were doing very different things than the next business unit over. And this caused a lot of chaos and inefficiency internally, and it wasn't a very strategic way of working in general. So you'll hear how he lacked this chaos and brought in frameworks and processes so that everyone could be on the same page and you'll hear the results of these efforts. And as an added benefit, I've asked for some detailed backstory from this individual because he has a storied career where he has developed relationships with heads of state and astronauts and talks about a lot of very famous people that you will know. So it's a fascinating story. I can't wait for you to hear it. Let's do this.

 

Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. Your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.

 

Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend, challenge, or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories. And I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit trewmarketing.com. And now, on with our podcast.

 

Hey, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing Engineered. I'm joined today by Rich Goldman. He's the director of product marketing for Ansys. Welcome to the show.

 

Thanks, Wendy, and thanks for having me on.

 

It is so good to see you. And wait a minute, what's this crazy background you have going on behind you?

 

This is the Blue Angels over here and they come to San Francisco every year. I do a show over the bay and we take a boat out and they come right over the boat. So I managed to capture them on their last show.

 

Awesome. How fun. Well, I love that you're honoring them with your zoom background today. I just have my boring home office here, but that's okay. Well, Rich, I know we have a lot of ground to cover over content strategy development and developing processes as a corporation for how you guys manage content and develop strategies. But before we get there, I know a bit about your career, and I know that you've had a story journey throughout your time in semiconductor and photonics and electronics design. And I just wanted to spend some time talking about some of the key events and turning points that you experienced in your career that led you to where you are today doing what you do at Ansys. So I don't know how you Cliff Notes this, but I'm going to just put it in your hands.

 

Okay, I'll try. Well, I started at Syracuse University, where I went for computer science. So I'm the technical side engineering. And I went to do an internship with IBM in Austin, Texas.

 

I've heard of them and I've heard of that place.

 

And the winner in Syracuse convinced me I wanted to move somewhere warm. So I moved to Texas. Worked for Texas Instruments for ten years. When I was 28, Texas Instruments sent me to India to open up the India office for their semiconductor division. So spent a bit of time in India and also visiting Ti in places like Japan and Europe and all. After ten years at Texas Instruments, I moved to Silicon Valley to work for Synopsis, which is an electronic design automation company, also a semiconductor design, and ran their semiconductor vendor program. They are working with semiconductor vendors from all around the world. Japan and China and Europe. Eventually became the vice president of corporate marketing there and along the way started their site in Armenia and did a lot with Armenia, with the President of Armenia and the Prime Minister in order to help develop the high tax economy there. They were a former Soviet republic and just kind of struggling and learning about capitalism and all. So one of the things we did there, I wanted to build this high tech economy so that we could have it around us, rather than having to go to Kazakhstan to support our PCs.

 

That was really TREW. We had to do things like that. So we developed an award with the president. It was the President's Republic of Armenia's award for contribution to humanity through it. And we created this great big metal, beautiful metal with Armenian eagle with a diamond in its eye. And the metal was all gold, and the box was the rest of them. It was gorgeous. And the idea was to bring one high tech person a year to Armenia and award him this award for the president, and we'd bring him to the Armenian White House. And I would do a speech, and the president would do a speech, and then he'd put the award over his head. And that's all we wanted was just that photo, that money photo, so that we could then get that published in newspapers around the world. So that when people like say intel or someone else is thinking, I need a new Rd site in a low cost area, they think, oh, I remember that picture, maybe I should look at Armenia. And so that actually worked well. I brought people like Craig Barrett, who was the CEO of intel.

 

I brought Steve Wozniak to Armenia, and Wise was incredible hit in Armenia, people were crowds following us everywhere we went. It was great. I brought Federico for Gene, who's the inventor of the microprocessor. So just some great people there. And then while I was in Armenia, our CEO, Arthur Jas, called me up and said, rich, you're in the same time zone. Why don't you also run our site in Dubai? So I was the general manager of Dubai, Silk and Oasis, and we did a design center there, designing chips, really the first high end chips designed in the Middle East, which was really cool. So through all this, I got to work with presidents and prime ministers, sheikhs Arabia, rock stars. We did the first rock concert in the Garro Karabak, which is this disputed area between Armenia and Azerbaijan with Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple and Derek Sherinian, who's just one of the best progressive keyboard players in the world. And I also got to do a talk on semiconductors and space travel in the Canary Islands with people like Niro Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and George Smooth, who won the Nobel Prize for The Big Bang Theory, and just incredible people, just great opportunities.

 

And I got this through all through this high tech career. And while I was at Synopsis, it occurred to me that, well, engineers are great, but they really like to work on hard problems in their queue, maybe in the dark with a computer, not working with a lot of people. And I kind of like to work with people, and I like to communicate. So I turned it over to marketing. And like I said, I became vice president of Corporate Marketing. And my team there really taught me a lot about what marketing is all about, because I didn't know. And this was in the early two thousands, and the social media thing was just starting, and I was pretty clear that we needed to get involved in that. I wasn't quite sure what it was, but we need to get involved in it. And so I investigated it and realized you can do a webinar pretty much any day of the week. Not sure. We actually called on Webinars back then. In Silky Valley, you can go through a session pretty much every single week on the social media stuff. It really didn't apply to us because we were selling to companies, we were selling to engineers.

 

So B2B, and most of these were on B2C. How do you sell people more Coca Cola or sugar water? And so I started investigating that and realized that you could sell to engineers through social media. You can market to them, but you have to do it differently because how do you market to someone who, first of all, social media marketing. They're not social.

 

Except for the odd ones like you, that happen to have both sides of the brain working right.

 

Sometimes the media part, they actually invented the media. The engineers invented on it and everything. And then marketing, an engineer sustains marketing. They just sustain it. So if you send them messaging, that's pure marketing. Just turn off your channel and never come back. And so we figured out how to market to them. And I coined a phrase called G2G geek to geek. Really what our customers wanted was be connected to our tech people for us to send them information and help them do their job quickly. So I called a geek to geek. We wrote a book called G2G social Media Marketing and Get. Buy it on Amazon. I wrote the exact intro to it and starts out with, I am a geek. So after I was at Synopsis for almost 25 years and I left there to go to Silicon Catalyst, which was a new startup for an incubator for semiconductor startups. So we're helping semiconductor companies get started, get funding, give them mentoring on how to actually build a business. And I was there for two years, and one of the companies I built an ecosystem. One of the companies that we work with is called Lumerical.

 

And Lumerical is like the leading photonic design company. They're out of Vancouver, Canada, and they asked me to put an ad in our little newsletter for someone to head up their marketing. And instead of doing that, I told them, hey, I'm the best guy for that. I'm most qualified. And they eventually agreed. So I worked with Lumerical up in Vancouver and it was great because they had built this great business and hadn't done any marketing at all. Typical engineer. If I build the best product I can, I'm going to support my customers as well as I can. Everyone's going to come by that, of.

 

Course, they'll just inherently know about it and love it, right?

 

Exactly. They were quite successful. But then when I found out what their actual revenue was, I was like, I think we could do a lot better. And so there's two really good things about it. First of all, they're a great company. Secondly, since they hadn't done any marketing, any marketing that I did was like, wow, that's awesome. But the third thing was that since they hadn't done any marketing, I could start from a clean slate. I could do all the planning and everything. I could do it all the right way and do all the right things. And most of it was intuitive. And yeah, we increased our growth rate by like 20% to 40% to 50% to 60% with Ansys. And Ansys acquired the company after two years. So now I'm with Ansys Ansys has a semiconductor department called Electronic Design Automation. And when I arrived at Ancest was like, oh, hey, I know everybody in that department already because they all work for Synopsis or competitors, and everybody knows people in the industry. So it made it very easy for me to integrate back into that. One of the things that I learned during that transition was I bought that book that's on your shelf that was very intriguing to me called Content Marketing Engineered.

 

And I read the book and it really resonated with me because it was like exactly what I had done at the miracle and so it was what I had done. It must be, must be good.

 

Absolutely. I should have just shortcutted it and interviewed you back then and put the train script in manuscript format and done right.

 

Yeah, but I thought it was really great because I've really had a hard time finding marketing materials, marketing books that are targeted at engineers. And we know you have to market to engineers differently than I was about to call normal people, other people. And that's what Content Marketing Engineer does. And so when I got to Ansys, actually I didn't realize it then, but they were just starting in product marketing. Actually, I learned a fairly new field. I really didn't know that. And I saw that Ansys is a great multi physics company, the number one multi physics company in the world. And pretty much any physics that exists, ants simulates it. That's all they do is simulation, but they simulate every physics that exists and does it the best. And so I found this product marketing group and all these product marketers that were either been at Antis a long time or new there, or they had been acquired and they were all really, I was really impressed by the team, but they were all doing their own thing and calling things different things and getting different results. And I was like, wow, what are we doing here?

 

So one of the first things I did with the help of my boss, Scott Davidson, was to take that book, Content Marketing Engineer, and run a workshop on it every week we went through one of the chapters in that book. So twelve weeks and we would have I bring in the expert, I find the expert on that chapter within the company, which was good because that got us to meet the people in corporate marketing that we needed to work with that didn't really work yet. And we'd have a homework, you have to read the chapter first and then we'd go into session with that person. They did a presentation, we might have some workshops if there was some work to be done from that chapter. And I think really critically, we had open office hours. So after the presentation, the presenter would have an hour sometime later in the week and everyone could come in and just ask them questions. And that worked really well. And you were good enough to come in and talk to our group too. And that was wonderful. Everyone really enjoyed that and really appreciated that. And we ended up with a very effective product marketing team with the same vernacular and doing all the best practices, which was really great.

 

And so that team is actually, I would say, one of the most respected teams in the company today and has provided resources that when asked for, provided and we have grown that team to be a very substantial team from what it was.

 

I find it interesting that you touched on the fact that now everyone has the same vernacular. So just something as simple as, let's all call this X, let's all get on the same page about what we're asking for, what we're doing, and how powerful even that can be. Now, at the same time, it seems like the outcome of this book group, I don't know if it was caused a disruption or just fueled the flames of one that was already there, but you have an internal content development team that was getting overwhelmed by requests. Tell me a little bit about that team and what was going on over in that part of the business.

 

Well, they're still overwhelmed by requests because now we have so much content that we know we need to create that we go to them for help. But we have found other sources of content. So for one thing, it seems like in general, the best source for our content, which is technical content, is applications, engineers or Rd teams. It's SME subject matter expert. The problem with that is, number one, they got their own job.

 

Oh, yeah, they do, don't they?

 

Do. Number two, they're in that field because that's what they do well, and it's likely not universally, but likely writing is not one of the best skills. And a lot of them, they don't have that desire either to write. And so what we've done is we have found resources that have engineering background, maybe not in that particular subject, but they can relate to engineering and are good writers. And we'll take the SME and say, let's do an interview for half an hour. I need a half hour of your time. Interview with this person. They will write it up, and then we'll give that back to you. We can make any edits, any changes you want. Either edit it or tell us what needs to be changed, and then I'll get it published for you. You're the author, right? I'll get it published for you in a good publication. And we're able to create content that way. And that's the way we work today. And not to show for you, Wendy, but some of the best writers that we have are from your company.

 

Well, thank you. I appreciate that. Tell me, so as this subject matter expert gets pulled away from her day job, so to speak, you do mention the benefit of having their name as the author. Are there any other ways in which you either incentivize them or encourage them with, I don't know, results, data, or how do you just make sure this is a positive process for them?

 

Really? Good question, Wendy. You got to see what incentivizes people. What incentivizes different things. Incentivize different people. Usually it's fame or fortune.

 

Fair enough.

 

Okay. So I take care of the fame by putting their authorship on there fortune. I could give them like a $20 Amazon card, but that doesn't go very far. Or maybe Starbucks at my cofounder. So, yeah, the numbers are good. So they're competitive, right? Engineers are typically competitive. And if we can give them feedback on numbers, which we track, then they can say, hey, I got 5000 views and you only got 3000.

 

Absolutely. That's great. Tell me a little bit about your content strategy. So obviously you guys, you have different business units, you have different campaigns you run, you have all kinds of applications that Ansys addresses. So it's sort of a matrix, right? And I'm sure you have some things planned and then life happens, business happens and things come up. So how do you guys structure your resources so that you get good coverage?

 

Well, I think the planning is really important. So creating content willy nilly and just putting it out there doesn't get it done. And so what we have been doing was doing annual planning. This is what we're going to address through the year. These are our conferences. These are webinars white papers and all that's not good enough. We've changed that to a rolling four quarter plan so that every quarter we detail out this quarter and next quarter, pretty much complete detail. And then the third quarter and fourth quarter from there, there's less detail. As we get closer, we fill that in so that now everybody knows what content we're going to be creating. Share that with everyone across the company that's concerned. So Film Marketing knows they can plan their activities. Application Engineering knows where they're going to get activity because of the information we're putting out there. And it also allows us to plan much better leverage the content that Field Marketing and Application Engineer is actually creating because they create content too and we can promote it. So we go into this process of planning and a lot of it is the TREW marketing.

 

You guys have shown us the way on this, which has been terrific, where we take the product and put out all the topics, basically pillar topics, and then draw the subtopics, and then we make sure that every subtopic, we have content for it. And we map that against the funnel, top of the funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of the funnel, and make sure that we have content in all the right places in the funnels and enough content for each one of those. And then we go execute.

 

There you go. It's easy, right?

 

Simple. It's continuous planning. It's not just one day planning. Yeah, we're tightening that down. We're continuing and tighten it down and tighten it down. And again, we're using common formats here. So common content calendar, common funnel, so that everybody can share their plans and understand it very well from what everyone else is doing.

 

Yeah, and I could see for the corporate groups that are supporting across all these business units how much more efficient it is for them. Okay. I've seen this same framework and this other PowerPoint. I know what to expect. I know which box to look at for my channels or whatever it is.

 

I got to tell you, now that we have this format and this planning and I've been sharing it, pretty much the universal feedback I've been getting is that this is so useful. I've never seen anything this detail before, and please give us more of this.

 

Great.

 

It's really terrific.

 

Yeah. Good. Well, what advice do you have for those listening that either lack strategy altogether or maybe they're stuck in reactive chaos mode when it comes to content creation?

 

Well, first, get your act together. I'm not showing for you, Wendy, but read that book, Content Marketing Engineer. And then do as much of that as you can because it's solid. Implement it. You can only implement a chapter two. Do that and then expand on that. But it's a framework that helped us get us to where we are today.

 

Yeah. Thank you. I didn't expect this to be a big promotional thing for TREW, but I sure do like to hear the feedback, so I thank you for that. Rich, do you want to know where we're going next? Heck, yeah.

 

Okay, so now we've got all this great content that we planned out, and we're putting it out there, and we know we got content in each area of the funnel. We cover the funnel. Is it effective? I don't really know. I can't really measure it well. I know how many hits I get. I know how many people come to our webinars and all. But the fact that they went to that webinar, does that move them from the top of the funnel to the middle of the funnel? Are they following our CTAs, and are CTAs taking them to the right place? So is our content being effective, moving people from just a lead to an MQL to SQL and more importantly, to closing a deal? Are we actually doing that today? I really can't tell you. And so what I want to do next is figure out that journey. What journey are our customers taking? Are they taking a journey that we have anticipated through our content and down through the funnel or not? And if not, why not? Where do we feel? What is our most effective content? What kind of content most effective so we can see where we can focus more going forward.

 

So that's the next thing that I want to do is understand the actual buyer's journey. So that's the next step on our product marketing journey.

 

Great. That's a big thing to bite off, as you know, because not everybody's journey is the same. We've seen that famous Gartner slide that's all messy with all the different circle backs and steps and buying teams, and then you have, of course, part of the journey that's not online. So it's easy for us to get stuck in these digital tools and think, okay, like you said, visits and engagement time on site, things like that. We have those metrics. But how effective was that PowerPoint presentation for that salesperson? Did it truly help them overcome objections? And so how do we incorporate some of our sales enablement content into our measurement? So I encourage you to add, not to make the burden even greater, but I think to get a full picture, some of that sales feedback is important as well.

 

Yeah. So now we're talking qualitative data and how to deal with qualitative data and not just quantitative data.

 

You mean the sales guys won't just put all that information in the CRM for you to measure?

 

You believe that? Can you believe that? Yeah. They're trying to sell and close deals and all. They won't take the time to help someone. That is a challenge. That is a new challenge.

 

Yeah. While you're working on the future state, what is your present state? So you said visits and CTA. Like, how many people are clicking on CTA? Okay.

 

Yeah. So what we're trying to do, and we've been trying to do it for a couple of years, actually, is to track through our systems in salesforce, and part of which we're just really getting our arms around attribution.

 

Got you.

 

If a guy went to a webinar here and then purchased something three months later, can we do that attribution through our system?

 

Yeah.

 

That'S a difficult task. For one, just what you said. Sales guys are not incentive to put in the information that we need to say, hey, marketing gets credit for that. And secondly, we acquire a lot of companies that answers, and somehow they didn't have the foresight to use the same systems that we're using.

 

So rude. I see. Well, you're not alone in trying to solve this, and I'm glad you're turning to your system first and thinking about, okay, what are those contributing factors and what can we measure, what can we get our hands on? And then figuring out, are we interpreting this correctly and then adding to it. Sounds like I need to bring some measurement experts on the show for you.

 

Yeah, please.

 

Okay, I'll do that. All right, well, hey, Rich, where can people get in touch with you and learn more about Ansys?

 

You can LinkedIn at Rich Goldmanor you can send me email. rich.goldman@ansys.com.

 

All right, very good. And I encourage everybody to look at Rich's LinkedIn page because it reads like a short novel, career novel. So if you want to learn more about our mania and the award and all of his rich history in our industry, it's a good place to go to just scratch the surface and then what is the name of your book again?

 

Well, I have two books.

 

Oh, that's right.

 

One is G2G Social Media Marketing, and it's a quick read, and there's some nice cartoons and all in there. The second book is called Starmus, Stars and Music. I have a chapter in there, and the chapter is about semiconductors and space travel. It's actually the seminal piece on that topic, largely because I'm the only one who's ever written anything about it. But I have a lot of great co authors. Stephen Hawking is the motor forward. Neil Armstrong has a chapter. Buzz Aldrin has a chapter. Alexey Leonov, who is the first man to walk in space, has a chapter. Brian May has a chapter. Brian May is the League Guitar Queen and many other very illustrious people. And then there's me. Everybody else in that book has a Wikipedia page except for me.

 

Well, we need to fix that.

 

I think it's a little bit around that. But that book is called Star, Must Stars and Music and also available on Amazon, and it is a fascinating reading. Maybe not my chapter, but the other guy.

 

Oh, come on now. All right, well, it sounds like I have two more books I need to add to that bookshelf over there. So I'll do it. I'll get on Amazon, and I'll, of course, include links to all those in our show notes. Thank you so much for coming on the show today, Rich. It was great seeing you.

 

Wendy, it's been a great time. Thanks for having me.

 

Thanks for joining me today on content marketing engineered for show notes, including links to resources, visit trewmarketing.com podcasts. While there, you can subscribe to our blog and our news letter and order a copy of my book, Content Marketing Engineer. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast. So please, when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks and have a great day.

 

Wendy Covey

Wendy Covey is a CEO, a technical marketing leader, author of Content Marketing, Engineered, one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America, and she holds a Texas fishing record. She resides in a small Hill Country town southwest of Austin, Texas, where she enjoys outdoor adventures with her family.



About TREW Marketing

TREW Marketing is a strategy-first content marketing agency serving B2B companies that target highly technical buyers. With deep experience in the design, embedded, measurement and automation, and software industries, TREW Marketing provides branding, marketing strategy, content development, and digital marketing services to help customers efficiently and effectively achieve business goals.