Welcome to CMO Secrets. This series will feature genuine insights and advice from today’s exceptional marketing leaders. Some names will be easily recognized and others may be new to you, but every single one will have been hand-picked for their experience and knowledge in the world of startups, technology and marketing. No pretense, jargon or PR spin here. We asked our most burning marketing questions, and they answered. Get their unfiltered thoughts and opinions and find out how these
gurus rockstars marketers got to where they are today.
(Note: This content was previously published on Mautic.com in May 2018 and has been updated for accuracy.)
Today, we welcome David Meiselman. David is CMO of ezCater, the only nationwide marketplace for business catering, and he has spent over 25 years building awareness and driving demand for innovative technology products of all kinds. After receiving his Master’s in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University, David began his career with Merrill Lynch before moving into marketing with technology growth companies like Nobilis, Transparent Language and Actifio. In addition to driving growth for tech companies, David makes a solid Manhattan, cooks a mean risotto and has coached over 400 youth soccer games.
Tell us about ezCater, why you were excited to join them and the role marketing plays there.
ezCater is the only nationwide online marketplace for business catering. We connect businesspeople to over 60,000 reliable local restaurants everywhere in the United States. Whether you’re a salesperson bringing in food to a client’s office, an executive admin feeding a meeting, or an office manager feeding a whole office, we can help. ezCater’s award-winning app and website, our 2 million+ ratings and reviews, and our 24-7 customer service team will make it super easy for you to get awesome food delivered on-time. I joined ezCater for three primary reasons.
First of all, ezCater is disrupting a huge market. $22 Billion is spent on business catering every year in just the U.S., so the opportunity to build something big is enormous. Second, I love marketplaces and I’m a bit of a foodie. My wife was actually a caterer years ago and might still be if something like ezCater had existed then. Finally, ezCater had a great team with an amazing culture and already had product-market fit, but didn’t really have a marketing department.
I was attracted to building a modern marketing function from scratch. We’ve built an incredible marketing team here who has a massive impact on our business. In addition to core brand, buzz and messaging, our team drives both direct acquisition of customers through digital marketing and also drives demand into our sales teams on both sides of the marketplace. Finally, we use data and automation in some pretty complex and interesting ways to optimize the customer journey for our buyers and deepen the engagement of our catering partners over time. It’s a lot of fun and I am hugely proud of our team.
Transitions tend to bring many lessons. Is there one lesson you can share from your transition from B2B marketer to a business that serves both B2B and B2C audiences?
So, I have previous experience as both a B2B and B2C marketer and the biggest lesson I have learned from all of those transitions is that there are things in all types of experiences that can inform and help the things you do today. It might not be exactly the same, but it helps to map those things you have seen be effective before and figure out what version of that same thing could help you in your current situation. For example, B2B marketers can learn a lot from how B2C marketers nurture an individual through a customer journey. Likewise, B2C marketers can take a page from how B2B marketers attempt to create trust and credibility through the validation of awards and analyst reviews.
What are a few of the key differences between a dual-sided marketplace and a strictly B2B organization, in terms of the makeup and approach of the marketing team, the technology needs, etc. And are there any similarities that you have found that you may not have anticipated?
The biggest difference is that you need to measure the success of sales and marketing in ways that go beyond just acquiring new customers and driving sustained growth in purchase volume. You need to build both the supply and the demand to grow marketplace transaction volume. Consequently, you need to define different personas for each side and organize your activities to drive those different outcomes. We have teams that focus on buy side acquisition and customer retention and we also have teams that focus on restaurant acquisition and engagement. On top of that, we have some more functional teams that serve both sides, like MarCom and marketing Ops and Automation. Some things in those functions behave much like straight forward B2B businesses, like creating the right tech stack or building company level awareness. Other aspects, like building a multi-sided and leveled data model or routing workflows can get pretty complex. It’s certainly never boring.
Are there any types of marketing decisions that you struggle with? Or, put another way, marketing opportunities or decisions that create the most debate among your team? And what advice would you offer to other marketers on how to move forward as a team when there are differing perspectives?
I’d say the biggest thing we wrestle with is determining when and how to shift and allocate resources to broader awareness activities away from more response-oriented, lower-funnel programs like search. Whenever smart people disagree, the best way to find your way forward is to use testing and data to validate and illuminate things. ezCater has a strong culture of testing and tracking things and that works well for us. Only testing frequently and using the data to learn can really help you find the best path forward.