MarTech Interview with Hunter Montgomery, Chief Marketing Officer at ChurnZero

In what ways should marketers be preparing for the rest of 2021? Hunter Montgomery, Chief Marketing Officer at ChurnZero shares his thoughts while taking us through a few marketing learnings in this quick chat:


Tell us a little about yourself Hunter…we’d love to hear about your role, a typical day at work?

I’ve been in B2B marketing for over 20 years with a majority of that time spent in B2B SaaS. In my current role at a small(ish!) high-growth company, I’m involved at the tactical and strategic level.  This an exciting place to be a marketer.  I get the opportunity to be hands-on with the day-to-day marketing functions while also being able to step back and look farther out to take advantage of new marketing ideas and innovations.  There will always be a need to understand what your team is doing and make sure their actions align with the larger organizational goals.  It’s easy for a marketing leader to become disconnected from the everyday.

What are some top trends / predictions you’d like to talk about for marketing and marketing technology in 2021 – suited to the tech and B2B marketplace?

First-party data is key! As data privacy requirements increase and become more rigorous, marketers will need to rely on  tracking direct brand engagement  with their audiences and customers.  Focus on outreach to your current database while expanding your first-party data sources. Use this engagement to fill in the whitespace and build profiles to personalize and better target your audience.

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What are some of the key plans / customer strategies you have in mind at ChurnZero for the rest of 2021; a few best practices to share on customer success that more teams in B2B need to be following?

First, host events specifically for your customers – online webinars, networking groups (in-person and virtual), and annual conferences too. People want to feel like they’re part of a larger community. The goodwill nurtured from investing in these peer-to-peer relationships compounds over time and pays off in the long term.

Second, to reinforce the first strategy, make customer engagement frictionless by not gating any content. You want customers to feel like they’re part of your organization and not just an email to capture.  

Third, include customers in your broader marketing efforts (not just case studies).  When your prospects see and hear advice from your current customers, it helps to validate the value and motives of your brand.  Also, giving your customers an industry platform reflects your commitment to their professional success (outside of promoting your platform) and allows your prospects to see themselves as a part of a positive and supportive community. 

We’d love to hear about some of ChurnZero’s most successful marketing / customer campaigns so far and the biggest takeaway you have to share, especially from during the pandemic?

As in-person events were pushed online, we created a tiered event structure that served customers AND prospects based on their location in the customer journey.  Our “awareness-stage” event focuses on thought leadership, meaning a mix of strategic topics and broader themes within an industry that bring new perspectives to our audience.  We want our audience to see us as, not only as experts in our market, but also as innovators and sources for new ideas.  

For our “consideration-stage” events, we narrow the topic to a specific area relevant to Customer Success leaders. Hosted by our internal Customer Success leaders, these more targeted events employ a panel of customers to create an open discussion.  Topics are sourced from the hundreds of customer conversations we hear every day.  

Lastly, our “decision-stage” events address common customer pain points, and the business use cases for a Customer Success platform.  These events focus on prescriptive solutions to specific issues, such as how to create a customer health score, onboard new customers, or identify the KPIs that matter to a Customer Success leader.  While these events are primarily geared towards prospects, we do find ways to bring in topics that are relevant to our customers.

Take us through ChurnZero’s latest funding round and what the rest of 2021 is (being planned) to be like for the team?

We’ve seen significant growth in the last three to four years and built a solid foundation to support it.  This funding allows us to elevate our marketing programs and skillset, expand our reach within the market, and optimize our operations as we transition to that next growth stage.

A few takeaways for marketing leaders in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year?

Be ready for in-person events starting in the second half of the year.  Have a plan and budget approved.  If the economy has a setback, you can adjust but you don’t want to be sitting on the sideline when everyone is participating and hosting in-person events.

Prepare for new demand to be unleashed. When the economy starts to heat up, you need to be positioned to take advantage of it.  As an exercise, see how you can handle a 100% increase in all your programs.  Where do things start to strain?  Where are you best poised to capitalize on this new demand?

Double down on your customers.  This last year showed the economic value of retaining customers.  Don’t slip back to the “demand gen first” mentality.  Net revenue retention should be a number that your company tracks like a hawk.

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ChurnZero helps subscription businesses fight customer churn. Its software solutions allow businesses to understand how their customers use their product, asses their health and their likelihood to renew, and give businesses the means to personalize the customer experience through timely and relevant touchpoints.

Hunter Montgomery is Results-driven marketing professional with more than 25 years experience developing, executing and measuring global sales and marketing strategies and campaigns. Proven leader and problem solver with excellent organizational and team building skills.

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