Interview With Yoni Tamler – LinkedIn’s Senior Manager of Marketing Operations

I’ll say it straight out. I LOVE LINKEDIN

In my opinion there has never been a more business friendly environment to work with. No more Rolodex and working hard to find key personnel to reach out to.

Linkedin takes care of all that for you and with great ease and potential. 10 years running, they have yet to scratch the immense potential that lay within this amazing concept.

Hungry with questions I requested an interview with Yoni Tamler, Senior manager of marketing operations to bombard him with my never ending questions.

The results are as followed:

Interview With Yoni Tamler – LinkedIn Senior Manager Marketing Operations

Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you choose your line of work?

I’ve been working in one marketing capacity or another my whole career, beginning in media relations, then copywriting, then database marketing, until I wound up specializing in the operational side of database marketing — all of which is detailed in my LinkedIn profile,
of course.

Where I’ve landed is as much a product of chance as of choice, but it’s worked out because it combines the discipline of marketing — which was a logical use of my college degree in communication studies — with just enough technical know-how to be
relevant in the internet economy.

What in your opinion is the most important marketing principal for
social media success?

One that springs to mind is the notion of social proof, which is the idea that you can most effectively motivate your audience to take action on your website by demonstrating that others in their social network have done the same — and with favorable results.

This is a more democratic way of getting your message across in a model that
places its trust in its community versus the corporate entity.

Linked in has grown into one of the most leading business social
platforms, what makes it so unique?

I think being first to market was a key factor: The company started by soliciting profile data on professionals, which snowballed into the official place to publish, and thus advertise, one’s resume, something which didn’t exist before.

Once the company built up that database, it monetized it in diverse and sustainable channels: premium subscriptions, advertising and recruiting tools.

Over the past couple of years, in addition to growing those business, the  product strategy has been relentlessly innovative around content — LinkedIn Today and Influencer Network are two prime examples — that is making the site a daily destination for professionals regardless of what’s happening in their actual network.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing new SaaS
startups today and have these challenges changed in the last 3 years?

I don’t follow the startup space, so here’s a few evergreen challenges for SaaS companies, which also answers your last question on one tip for SaaS startups:

1. Invest in account management: Given that any SaaS migration is a complex project (at least where database integrations are involved), switching costs are a major barrier to customer churn. This is great for the SaaS vendor, because they’re able to lock in business for several years, but it often manifests in subpar account management.
In my career, I’ve been retained by a vendor whose product failed to meet our demand, as well as turned my back on a vendor whose product was excellent but the account relationship non-existent.
The better the account relationship, the more likely the client is to invest in the product, so this should be viewed as a business incentive rather than a post-sale obligation.

2. Plant many guerilla marketing seeds: Traditional means of marketing don’t cut it in our highly fragmented media landscape. To succeed, companies need to invest not just in traditional marketing channels — otherwise known as “paid media” — but also owned and earned media.

Owned media are blogs, microsites and so forth — Saas Addict is a great example of this in action on behalf of the WalkMe brand. Earned media are the likes, posts and tweets generated off owned media.

The bottom line is that all brands, not just SaaS companies, need to be in the business of promoting themselves through value-added content. Otherwise, they are putting all of their stock into commercial advertisement, a vehicle which will always be viewed with skepticism by both consumers and B2B prospects.

3. Building flexible architecture: My team uses 2 different SaaS vendors to manage our email and display ads programs. While the email tool is best-in-class, there are many things we’d like to do with it that are challenged by customization development, and some of which the vendor can’t support on its own.

For such use cases, I wish they provided an open API to their platform so that we could configure the tool to our needs. While I understand why licensing-based SaaS providers don’t allow this, SaaS startups ought to think about how to build modular products that can enable customization and functionality that would never occur to them through market research, because they’ll never be able to keep pace with their clients’ needs through releases and customization jobs.

*The views expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, LinkedIn, Inc.

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Omri Erel
Omri is the Head of Demand Generation, as well as the Lead Author & Editor of the SaaSAddict Blog. Omri established the SaaSAddict blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to SaaS and cloud migration.
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