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Wait, Did You Mean Nurture, or Drip? Must Contain Ep. 7 with Amanda Thomas

New year, new episodes. Season 1 of Must Contain continues with Amanda Thomas, Senior Marketing Operations Consultant at Etumos, joining Kristin and Kristin to talk nurture. A long-running marketing topic favorite, you might think you know all there is, but you might also learn something new: the actual difference between drip and nurture, strategizing backward, and you never know what other tidbits you might glean.

Short on time? Skip to 19:00 to hear our 3 takeaways on nurture.

A reminder that we have an open call for guests. Submit your buzzword using this form or type the link into your browser –  We can’t wait to hear what topics you want to break down with us. 


Hosted by Kristin Crowe (OGK), and Kristin Anne Carideo (KAC)

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:00)
Hi everyone. It’s Kristin Crowe. Before we get started with our new year, new episodes, I wanted to remind you all of our open call for guests. If you have a marketing or corporate buzzword that you can help break down or a buzzword that you have no idea what it means and want us to help you figure it out. We’d love to hear from you. You can pitch us your buzzword and your idea in the form at We’d love to hear from you and have you on in a new episode in season two. And now here’s the show.

Theme Song: (00:33)
Intro Theme Music

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:08)
Hi, I’m Kristin Crowe and I’m Kristin Carideo. And this is Must Contain the podcast from Etumos where we help explain the how of marketing, although we can’t always explain the why.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:19)
Join us every two weeks as we break down marketing and corporate topics, and discuss what they really mean.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:24)
And if you enjoy this podcast, please remember to like, follow, or subscribe in all your favorite podcast platforms.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:33)
And we’re back with episode seven of Must Contain

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:37)
Lucky number seven?

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:40)
Sure. Lucky number seven. Our guest today is Amanda Thomas senior marketing operations consultant here at Etumos.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:47)
That’s right. And we’re making it Amanda’s lucky day because she’s here to talk about something. I know she feels really passionate about, nurture programs.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:56)
You mean drip campaigns?

Amanda Thomas: (01:58)
No, no, no, I do not. No. I mean nurture. Hi Amanda.

Amanda Thomas: (02:04)
Hello, Kristins. Super happy to be here. I have a lot of experience in Marketo and nurture is definitely my passion. A little bit about my background. I am a senior marketing operations consultant at Etumos, lucky me. And I am a certified solutions architect, five-time Marketo champion. Co-Lead of the Houston Marketo user group. So I’m very, very involved around marketing operations and the community within marketing operations and so happy to be here.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:43)
And we are so happy to have you. And since there’s a lot to talk about, let’s get right down to it with how we always get right down to it. What is a nurture campaign?

Amanda Thomas: (02:54)
It’s a loaded concept for sure.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:56)
Aren’t they all?

Amanda Thomas: (02:58)
Yeah, but to put it in the most simplest form nurture is definitely communicating to records that can be potential buyers or even your current customers with a specific set of content to get them to an end result or take a certain action trying to get them to complete an action, like a “contact us” form or getting customers to participate in a podcast.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (03:34)
Okay. So we said we didn’t actually mean drip campaigns, right. But that’s a phrase that we, that we hear a lot when it comes to nurture. What’s the difference between a drip campaign and a nurture?

Amanda Thomas: (03:47)
Yeah. So yeah. Drip campaigns are a form of nurture. They’re just not the most sophisticated form of nurture. So it’s just a kind of like a series of a few communications that you’re sending out. And sometimes that’s usually following something simple, like an event or you know, a form fill out or something. It’s just definitely not the best way to actually nurture people.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (04:20)
Well, I’m sure, you know, this is coming, what is the best way to nurture people if it’s not drip and it’s not what people might typically think of as nurture? What is it?

Amanda Thomas: (04:31)
So I think the best way to actually execute could involve a drip nurture. But it would first start with an overarching strategy that can span across different channels within your marketing department. And can leverage those to, again, encourage those records to take a specific action or for your company to actually reach a very specific goal that they have in mind. So nurture is not drip. Drip is kind of somewhat part of a nurture. It could be, but again, it’s not the best way to just set up something and think you’re nurturing. You definitely need to start with the strategy.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (05:10)
So you mentioned channels other than email. And I know we’ve had encounters with some clients, some folks in our professional lives that maybe have tended to think of nurtures as like an email-only activity, or really starting with email. How do other marketing channels play into a nurture strategy?

Amanda Thomas: (05:33)
Yes. So another buzzword in the industry is “omnichannel marketing.” And this usually refers to nurturing throughout all of your channels or leveraging all of your channels to actually nurture records. And again, nurture meaning, encouraging your records to take some sort of action or complete some sort of goal. All of the different channels are usually leveraged throughout marketing campaigns. If you see like a campaign manager that you work with, they’re leveraging all channels, right? So they’re trying to promote like a new feature for a product and they’re going to paid media and they’re going to social media, they’re going to your web team. They’re going to the email team. They’re going to the sales team to make sure that those new features are promoted throughout all of the channels that you actually have available to you. And I think it’s often missed or nurture is very much spoken of with the email channel in mind because email is somewhat thought of as a free channel.

Amanda Thomas: (06:38)
It’s definitely not paid media expensive, but it does cost money. And I think that’s where you need to make sure that when you’re just starting a nurture or you wanna do something different with nurture, you wanna accomplish a different goal or get your records to complete a different action. You should look into all of the channels that you have available to you. And if it just comes to your marketing operations team as just like a ticket or something, you definitely wanna understand the strategy behind it. How is this playing into what’s promoted on the website? How are we actually getting records into this? Is that through, you know, contents, syndication, or PPC, it could be a multitude of different channels kind of feeding into that. And you just wanna make sure what you are executing on. And the nurture that you’re building through the email channel is actually leveraging all those other channels, as well.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (07:34)
As per many of our other guests. You’ve talked a lot about strategy and how that should be at the core of developing your nurture program. And you just mentioned a lot of different teams and groups of people that are doing marketing and getting involved. And so, you know, it sounds to me like there’s a lot of moving parts as with most things in marketing ops. So how does a company develop a strategy? How do they get started with thinking through their nurture plan and their, their nurture strategy?

Amanda Thomas: (08:04)
Mm-Hmm, with a lot of different buzzwords and I’m sure with different podcasts, people that I’ve spoken on. These podcasts. I have an answer of like strategy usually starts at the top and we’re trying to, you know, something, but then they’re just like, okay, we can leverage email as well for this. And then it kind of just gets passed down until where marketing operations is kind of coming in at the end of that strategy. And I think marketing operations definitely needs a seat at the table at the start of this conversation. So it’s definitely with a goal mind, usually, your CMO or your VP wants to get more MQLs to sales. They want a good tight bond with the sales team. And in order to do that, they need to feed them records to actually call on and give them opportunities. And I think that’s where nurture kind of spins up is they’re like, okay, how do we get MQLs?

Amanda Thomas: (09:02)
Let’s put a nurture in place, but we actually need very specific action items that we’re looking for within that nurture period. And I think that’s where the marketing operations mind can come into play and actually develop out some of those tactics to reach that strategy. But the strategy usually feeds into what your quarterly goals are for like revenue or new product launches. All of these different things can kind of spin up the conversation of strategy with nurture. It’s just kind of getting marketing operations in there to kind of expand it out a little bit more to actually get action items out of that strategy.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (09:47)
So as someone who’s worked with many of our clients on building nurture programs, what’s something that you see get forgotten in the process of building some of these programs out?

Amanda Thomas: (09:59)
The goal. For sure. again, just coming off of talking about strategy. I think the end goal is usually missed a lot. If they’re looking for more MQLs sometimes by the time that strategy kind of like trickles down the content and the way the nurture setup is not resulting in more MQLs, meaning they’re not actually, there’s no way even if they clicked and did everything you asked them to within the nurture, they could get scored up to MQL. That actually happens quite often to where, what is built for your nurture is not actually accomplishing the goal that you’re trying to accomplish. And sometimes the goal isn’t even defined, it’s just like, I think we should keep records warm and I’m putting warm in quotes, you know, for a specific period of time. So let’s send them out some emails, but they actually need to have an end goal in mind.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (10:54)
So, we talked a lot about what people should do, so you should have a strategy and you should work backwards and you should have a goal in mind. So can you talk about some examples where you’ve seen companies do this correctly and how they’ve actually managed to do nurture well from strategic development to execution?

Amanda Thomas: (11:16)
I think a scenario that a lot of companies, I at least have worked with plays into doing it well or doing it correctly is companies that have free trials. So they usually, you know, set up a free trial, and then they know that in that end goal, by the end of the free trial, they want that record to actually purchase the product, right? So they give them this free trial and they have that end goal in mind of getting a purchase at the end of the free trial. And then we come in to kind of develop the tactics around that. So how do we get them to get a free trial? Well, we get them to actually use the product. We get them to experience every feature within the product. We get them really sticky into that free trial, to where they know that they actually need this for their day-to-day job for what they’re trying to actually accomplish within their own company.

Amanda Thomas: (12:12)
So that always has a very specific goal in mind when it comes to nurturing for free trials. And I think that’s a very like common use case that other businesses, even if you don’t have a free trial, just a very common use case that they can break down and kind of apply it to what they’re trying to do. So is it, you are trying to get customers to discover a new feature in your product. That’s a very specific goal in mind in which you can work backwards from and actually develop out a series of content to get them to explore those new features. I think that’s always a great example of how companies are doing it correctly. Yeah, I think that’s my best, my best example that I have for you.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (12:56)
We’ve talked a lot about kind of the overarching goal of the nurture program and making sure that you have a why and you understand that. And I love that free trial example, cuz that is such a like concrete example. Like we want people to engage with our platform, so here’s how we’re gonna do it because they’re in a free trial. But I think, think we’re also talking about specific actions within each piece of the messaging of the nurture. So in each email or within the retargeting ads and that kind of thing, is that what you’re saying that you, you recommend a specific action item for every single piece of the messaging?

Amanda Thomas: (13:31)
Yes, definitely. Yes. So every email, every webpage visit all of that interaction, social media, LinkedIn interactions, they should all have a very specific action or call-to-action that you’re encouraging this record to complete to get them one step further to the end goal that you have in mind for nurture. So those emails should definitely not be like, oh, Hey, hi, what’s up? you know, I have this new thing. No, that’s it.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (14:03)
Just wanted to say hi.

Amanda Thomas: (14:04)
I wanted to say hi, just checking in yeah, just putting all that aside and actually delivering something to the record to take on. And that can, that can definitely be like a like we have this white paper or this new industry report that compares us to other products, please, you know, check it out, like click on it, read through it, cuz this can definitely get you to the next step and asking more questions about our product or it can be, Hey, we really want you to sign up for a free trial, can be as aggressive or as passive as you want it to be, but it definitely still needs to be a call to action at the end of the day, that in combination with your other call-to-actions actually helps that record reach the end goal.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (14:53)
Speaking of goals, again, we hear about a lot of, you know, our clients and just general marketing. You hear a lot of people talking about, you know, mapping their nurture to the buyer’s journey or the funnel, the sales, marketing, and sales funnel. How do you approach creating a nurture strategy or a nurture execution plan with content that actually moves people down the funnel through the buyer’s journey?

Amanda Thomas: (15:19)
I think my favorite tactic and phrase is just working backwards so you definitely wanna work backwards. You wanna see what actually has worked. Like what do you have proof on of right now in your system? So I would start with the opportunities that have been opened in the past like a few months or six months or the customers you’ve actually acquired over that time period and see how they have actually interacted with your marketing. So this can be through a very fancy system and attribution modeling and all of that, or a simple dashboard, or even kind of scrolling through or listening to stories. You don’t have to have everything in place to actually get the ball rolling on this. You can just actually manually click into people and see what their activity has been if you need to. But yeah, you wanna see is webinar or webinars, a common theme with people that have had an opportunity opened or is a certain white paper resonating with people that have signed recently, wanna get those pieces of information on how the people that have gotten to the place that you want your records to get to have actually interacted with your marketing and then use that as your guide for the content that goes into your nurture and the guide for putting that information in front of your records.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (16:45)
So let’s go back to the phrase, work backwards and talk a little bit more about what the data or the information is that folks should really be looking at when, when they’re trying to map back what the, what the journey was to a closed one, opportunity

Amanda Thomas: (17:03)
Data is a very important piece for this and having the data to work backwards is very important. You don’t always have that, but the data and the information that you need to help with the nurture. I mean, you can get any kind of piece that you have available at your fingertips and use that to your advantage, to construct this nurture. And so that could be well, first of all, you should always have your content associated to an opportunity. So you can phrase that money backwards into actual interactions with your content and your marketing initiatives. So associate your contacts with your opportunities and then look at those attributes on the contact. So even if you don’t have multi-touch attribution and a fancy tool outlined, you can go through and see, here are my 100 customers that signed in the past six months, and here is the demographic breakdown for them.

Amanda Thomas: (18:03)
They were or firmographic breakdown. They work for companies about this size with this much revenue they’re, you know, located they’re in this specific industry or they’re located in this specific area. It could be all of this information that you can actually collect to see what is actually resonating with people that sign up for an opportunity or actually buy your product or your service. So I would definitely look into collecting more of that information if you’re finding, oh, we actually don’t have the industry. So we can’t tell how this content is resonating per industry. Then you wanna make sure that that’s something that you have on your forms or you get in a data enrichment tool to help you out with that information. You definitely need the data there to be able to trace back what marketing initiatives and content is actually resonating for the customers that you have.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (19:00)
Yeah, I think trying to work backwards like that, it’s a really good way to uncover all of the little data holes in your system. yeah. Well, thank you, Amanda. I think that’s a good place to wrap it up and talk a little bit about what we’ve learned.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (19:17)
So here are the three things you really need to know about nurture campaigns. If you know nothing else, you should know these things, but we’re pretty sure, you know, other things about nurture campaign, but here are Amanda’s three takeaways:

One is an ongoing theme of this podcast. Make sure you have a “why” a goal and a strategy before you build your nurture. From there, the architecture and the execution, the parts that marketing operations typically get involved in should be pretty clear.

Two nurture is more than just an email drip campaign in conjunction with knowing the why and the goal and the strategy. You should also be taking into consideration other channels where you’ve seen success with marketing. If your marketing team asks you to build a nurture and they are just looking at email, maybe help them look at the data and look at other channels as well, where they could see some success with their nurture program.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (19:59)
You should also be taking into consideration other channels where you’ve seen success with marketing. If your marketing team asks you to build a nurture and they are just looking at email, maybe help them look at the data and look at other channels as well, where they could see some success with their nurture program.

And number three, to get to your why or goal and strategy work backwards. It’s Amanda’s favorite phrase for a reason. If you really want your content to move people down the funnel, make sure you are looking at reporting that shows the content consumed by buyers who have had closed one opportunities and make sure that data is accessible

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (20:39)
And that’s Must Contain Nurture. Thanks for listening. We’ll be back in two weeks with another great MOPs topic until then remember just try logging out and logging back in again. This episode was produced by Kristin Crowe, Kristin Carideo, Ali Stoltzfus, and Lindsay Walter. It was edited by Kristin Crowe, theme music by Rusty Hall, special thanks to Amanda Thomas. And that’s it for Must Contain I’m Kristin Crowe. And we’ll see you in two weeks.

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