MarTech Interview with Joe Chernov, CMO at Pendo

Joe Chernov, Chief Marketing Officer at Pendo shares a few marketing and martech tips and thoughts in this quick catch-up with MarTech Series:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Joe, tell us more about your journey through your various marketing roles so far? We’d love to hear more about what it’s like being CMO at Pendo? 

Thanks for having me! I generally alternate between leading a content function and leading marketing itself. I oscillate back and forth between appreciating the depth and focus afforded by specializing, and enjoying the every-day-is-an-adventure pattern-less-ness of leading a marketing department. Right now, I think I’m in the right spot. Being CMO at Pendo is exciting because we have such a strong product-market fit for our core product, and, at the same time, enormously ambitious plans for our newer solution.

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Marketers today face the big challenge of marketing in a crowded online world – a few content marketing best practices that have helped you in your marketing efforts that you’d like to talk about? 

Understanding your buyer and those who influence your buyer — that’s central to success in content marketing, or any other marketing practice for that matter. I think content marketers can tend to stray too far from the coop so to speak when they create content. The pursuit of views can sometimes come at the expense of relevancy. There’s no shame in writing about your product. I think the best content marketers strike this balance naturally.

What are some of the biggest concerns facing CMOs of today in B2B, in your view? 

We’re caught in this vicious cycle right now. There are very few in-person events to sponsor, and virtual events don’t seem to have the same revenue impact as physical ones. So marketers are shifting more money into digital channels which is driving up the costs and fatiguing buyers. Breaking out of this loop is a major concern.

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As 2021 draws to a close, what are some of the biggest marketing and martech predictions you have in mind for the upcoming year?

Is it already “the close of 2021”? You’re telling me I’m already behind on my holiday shopping? Haha! I think you’re going to see many more marketers aligning with product teams to play a role in designing product-led experiences, whether those are lightweight self-guided demos on the company’s landing pages, or full-on freemium, marketers are realizing that in many ways, the product itself is the company’s most valuable “content.”

A few marketing strategies that you’ve often relied on (ABM/etc) and the martech that helps drive your initiatives? 

Marketing is a portfolio. Different assets perform well at different times and under different circumstances. When live events come back in full force, we’ll see a revitalization of event marketing, for example. I think each company needs to balance their portfolio based on their stage, market, budget and external circumstances. And then re-balance all over again as circumstances change. All that said, I do think the most durable strategy is accelerating value discovery inside of your product. That’s one you can take to the bank.

Some last thoughts and marketing / martech takeaways before we wrap up? 

I appreciate where we are as an industry right now. The pendulum can swing pretty wildly in tech marketing. We can go all-in on one practice, like Inbound a decade ago, events after that, and more recently ABM. I think in the end it’s balance, a portfolio as I mentioned earlier, that matters the most. Just make sure you include a healthy investment in product-led growth within that portfolio.

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PendoPendo helps people adopt software more quickly and successfully. Pendo customers include the world’s leading software companies and digital enterprises, including Verizon, RE/MAX, LabCorp, OpenTable, Okta, Salesforce, and Zendesk. Founded in 2013 in the heart of Raleigh, North Carolina, Pendo is backed by Battery Ventures, Spark Capital, Meritech Capital and Sapphire Ventures. Through its ProductCraft and customer communities, sponsored events and podcast, Pendo aims to support the success of product and digital leaders everywhere.

Joe Chernov is CMO of Pendo. Joe has been the CMO at several venture-backed tech startups, as well as a marketing executive during two successful IPOs (Eloqua, HubSpot). The Content Marketing Institute awarded him “Content Marketer of the Year” and AdWeek named him one of the 100 most creative people in advertising. Joe is part of Flybridge Capital’s advisor network.

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