Generally speaking, someone who is a CMO has learned a tremendous amount about marketing through years of experience. A CMO is in a perfect position to know what is more likely and less likely to work when it comes to marketing. What are the top 5 tried and true marketing strategies that CMOs recommend to other business leaders? As a part of our series called “CMOs Share Their Top 5 Tried + True Marketing Strategies,” we had the pleasure of interviewing Rehmann Rayani.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I took an indirect path to my role as a chief strategy and marketing officer. I started my career in consulting, mostly for tech companies. Throughout that time, I was exposed to many B2B tech marketing strategies. From there, I earned my MBA and worked at a startup before returning to tech in a strategy capacity and gradually took on more responsibilities and leadership roles.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mentor for the last ten years has been Model N’s CEO, Jason Blessing. He hired me at his previous company and brought me with him to Model N. He’s constantly inspiring me to do new and interesting things, and from him I’ve learned what it takes to be a good manager, leader, and role model. We have built a strong friendship along the way.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Model N stands out for its strong customer relationships and advocacy. We supply our customers with solutions that provide significant value. For example, our proprietary 2023 State of Revenue Report provides insight into the current revenue optimization and compliance landscape. Model N creates opportunities for customers also to share their successes and learn from one another in digital and in-person settings, which is significantly more impactful than leaning on traditional marketing.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Model N has created a function specifically dedicated to customer advocacy so we can better leverage our customers’ stories and give them a platform to share with their peers. This new role and function works within Model N to speak and advocate on behalf of our customers, and so far, we’ve received very positive feedback about it! I believe it’s also important to empower our customers to inform our product and strategic direction so that we keep innovating for them. Giving customers a platform and voice is far more powerful than anything we as a company can say directly.
There are so many different types of marketing, from digital campaigns and content to influencers and PR. In your experience, has any one area had a bigger impact on business over the rest? Have any of these changed over time?
In 2022, webinars were the single most effective marketing tactic at generating engagement and building pipeline. Over the past year, we learned that you must give your customers and prospects a good reason to engage, and that reason must center around customer education — whether in a webinar format, a traditional in-person event, social media, or a digital campaign. Before moving forward on a new marketing initiative, we always ask ourselves, “How can we help our customers add value and be more effective at their jobs? How can we make our customers look good in front of their peers and colleagues?” That’s what creates engagement and opportunity.
Public relations plays a key role in sharing your message beyond just your immediate customers and prospects. Through the help of modern PR, you can establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry and share your experience through credible subject matter expertise to strengthen the value of your brand.
The underlying theme to generating business success is adding value through customer education and advocacy. There are always opportunities to help your customers and to arm them with the tools to make them more successful, which often helps drive long-term business.
How often do you try a new marketing strategy, and which ‘boxes’ does it need to tick before you’re willing to implement it?
We try new strategies often. Market needs are always changing, and we are all learning as we now move through a post-pandemic era. The most important check mark is whether a new strategy provides significant value-add for customers.
In your opinion, is it better to try out new marketing tactics or to stick with what you know works? How do you decide where to allocate your budget and resources?
We are always trying new things because we always strive to achieve more — more pipeline, more brand awareness, and more customer success. You can’t reach your goals by doing the same things in the same way while the world around you changes. Eventually, the market and competitors will pass you by. I empower my leadership team to bring and execute new ideas and I’d rather they ask for forgiveness vs. permission so we can move and learn quickly.
Can you please tell us your top five most successful marketing strategies? What kind of results did you see? Can you please share a story or example for each?
1. Webinars, panels, conversations
Webinars have been Model N’s most effective marketing tactic to generate engagement and pipeline. The subject matter is not always about Model N, and we often bring in third-party experts or organize an external panel to focus on industry topics. We also feature first-hand customer stories and conversations, which strengthen credibility.
2. Customer advocacy
We’ve placed a concerted effort on advocacy in the last year by creating a platform for customers to share their success stories and case studies. Research and feedback shows that people want to hear directly from customers, their words being more powerful than any marketing campaign. Additionally, engaging with customers informs Model N’s business strategies in the future, including product focus and development.
3. Public Relations and media
PR and media are massively powerful resources, especially given the niche environments and communities that cater to the specific audiences we aim to reach. Targeted media efforts promote Model N’s deep industry expertise, thought leadership and strong point of view, as well as state-of-the-art technology.
4. Engaging with customers in person
We believe in-person experiences are the best way to build and nurture new and existing relationships. Marketing doesn’t have to be all business; we frequently run social events at conferences, as those are the experiences that build connection. Rainmaker23, our signature user conference, is our largest marketing investment, which we are excited to host in person this year!
5. New proprietary research
We firmly believe in providing value for our customers. By conducting proprietary research on key market dynamics and trends, we offer new insight to inform business strategies. Our 2023 State of Revenue Report is a prime example of our efforts. Organizations can only get this information from Model N, helping us stand out from our competition.
Can you share a time when a strategy didn’t deliver the results you expected and what you learned from the experience?
Last year, we began to observe weaker attendance at certain events, whether in-person or virtually. Virtual events suffered from Zoom fatigue. In-person events were tricky to execute, given continuous new Covid variants — but also, people have raised their expectations about what would make them leave their house to attend a business event. That’s when we began to understand the value of educational content. Today, we put that proposition front and center to give potential event attendees a compelling reason to join us.
What expert tips can you share with those just starting to build out their marketing strategy?
As you create your marketing strategy, focus on your customer. You are not building this plan for yourself. The best way to accomplish this is to engage your customers and your cross-functional team in all aspects of your marketing strategy.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Having meaningful data and creating awareness is the key to driving change. Data allows you to present the status quo in an unemotional and objective way, which can then catalyze change if we agree we want to improve. Data can also be tracked and measured to demonstrate the rate of impact, which serves to hold teams accountable but it can also be a powerful motivator to build positive momentum. I strongly believe that the more you track and measure, the more you can build understanding and get everyone focused and aligned on the right set of things to move forward. And it doesn’t have to be in a business context — you can relate to how a simple activity monitor on your smartphone and smart-watch can have a significant impact on how active you are throughout the day. Having the data and creating awareness is key to driving change.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can follow Model N on our website and my Marketing and Strategy journey on my LinkedIn.
Rehmann Rayani is Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer and joined Model N in 2018. Rehmann is responsible for leading Model N’s Corporate Strategy function and all aspects of the Marketing function across corporate and growth marketing, product marketing, and communications. Rehmann brings 18 years of experience in enterprise software and technology as a strategy and go-to-market leader. Prior to joining Model N, he spent over 4 years at Plex Systems in a variety of senior management roles including VP/GM of the Supply Chain Business Unit and VP of Corporate Strategy. Earlier in his career, Rehmann was a management consultant at Oliver Wyman and an investment associate at ValueAct Capital.
Rehmann holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a degree in finance and physics from McGill University.