Marketing Gets Real Episode #6: Pillow Talk with Sandra Freeman

Make it happen. It’s Sandra Freeman’s personal motto. And let us tell you, she’s made a whole bunch of kick-ass campaigns happen for some of the biggest names in B2B marketing and tech. You’ve heard of Apple and Marketo, right?

Now, she’s the VP of Strategic Marketing for Demandbase, where Sandra and her team masterfully weave technographic, firmographic, and intent data together to create radical account-based marketing (ABM) strategies.

In between her fabulous accomplishments, Sandra’s experienced a few of those messy, stomach-churning “oh shit” moments that taught her major lessons about marketing, people, business, and life. She shared a few with Cari and Dana in a fast-paced 30-minute Episode #6 of the Marketing Gets Real podcast. First up, a wacky webinar blunder:

“This totally made me cry.”

Sandra was running her first webinar at Marketo on a platform she had never used before. She could see all of the participants in the webinar on her end. That’s a good thing, right? Not quite. Turns out everyone in the webinar could see the full participant list, too. That led to one piece of super-catty feedback on social media. According to Sandra, “Someone posted, ‘I can’t believe these Marketo numbskulls are sharing all the rest of the people in this webinar. Eloqua, pay attention and you can nab all of these people!’”

Sandra was mortified! But after a good cry, she made two vows to herself. One, always do a dry run before a webinar. Two, don’t hold grudges. “The person who posted that is Maria Pergolino,” Sandra says. “And the reason I call her out is because we’ve since worked together for a long time, became super friends — and she’s my daughter’s godmother!”

“It was chocolate! I swear! I swear!”

Room drops are a dynamite way to create buzz among attendees at your in-person conference. But sometimes you get people saying the wrong thing. Sandra learned this at one of the first physical events she sponsored.

“I thought it would be great to leave chocolate on pillows,” she says. Only problem: The chocolate came in a silver foil. And it was round. And that gave her attendees the wrong idea! Next thing you know, people are running up to Sandra and saying, “I can’t believe you guys were giving out condoms!” Once the embarrassment ended, Sandra retained this takeaway: “Always get a sample, people!” she says.

This tale reminded Dana of her own room drop flub, this one involving some fortune cookies that weren’t so lucky. We’ll let Dana explain:

“I don’t care if you call it XYZ — It’s what your plan is to get to your objective.”

Sandra must be great at improv, because when Cari and Dana hit her with a curveball question about a thorny issue — ABM vs. targeted marketing — Sandra dove right in!

In Sandra’s words: “It’s really about different levels of focus — where will I focus my resources?” She sees ABM as a long-term payoff with enterprise accounts. She tells the story of a friend who implemented an ABM strategy three years ago. He didn’t see huge returns in the first two years. “But by year three … he saw a 40% increase in ACV!” she says.

There are so many more amazing insights, true confessions, and belly laughs in Episode #6 that you’ll want to hear them all. Tune in and find out Sandra’s take on edgy marketing … how her warm-up campaigns at Demandbase bring quick wins … why she says she’s due a trip to the Silverado Resort in Napa … and why she’ll never forget that time she almost misspelled her CEO’s name. It’s all in Episode #6. Listen now. And don’t forget to smash that subscribe now button!