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After Varun Kohli (LinkedIn | Twitter), Head of Strategic Marketing, PMO, & Global Demand at Symantec, launched one particular campaign early in his career, it nearly crashed the entire IT infrastructure of the company he was working for at the time, because of the huge amount of traffic it generated. How did he manage to create such a groundswell of interest? By combining story and data.

On this episode of Marketing Trends, Varun talks about how to tell data-driven stories, how to surface great customer stories, his best tips for marketing at startups and at scale, and much more.

5 Key Takeaways:
- "My belief is very simple. Don't have data without a story and don't have story without data." - Varun Kohli
- When there is an acquisition, stick around. There will be voids that you can step into. There are always opportunities after acquisitions and mergers.
- "Keep on raising your hand, don't run away from the fire, keep on running towards the fire and good things will happen to you." - Varun Kohli
- As a brand becomes larger, third-party validation becomes more and more important. You can say whatever you want about yourself, but if others aren't saying it, it doesn't matter.
- Customers will find novel ways to use your product, so it's important to talk to them and hear what those stories are so those stories can be told.


Bio:
Varun Kohli is the Head of Global Demand Generation, PMO and Strategic Marketing at Symantec Corporation. He joined Symantec via the Skycure acquisition, a leader in Mobile Threat Defense. At Skycure, he was the employee #1 in the U.S., and as their CMO led all aspects of marketing, operations and account development. Varun has held leadership positions in marketing, product management, and product development at both startups and large companies, and is on the advisory board of many startups. Varun earned his Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India, a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside and studied marketing at University of California, Berkeley.

Notes & Quotes:
Varun's Background - (2:00)
- Varun attended the Indian Institute of Technology and got a degree in engineering there.
- After graduate school in the U.S. and working for a year in engineering, he was approached about the idea of doing product marketing, and decided to give it a try.
- 16 years later, he's still working in marketing.

Combining Data & Story - (3:30)
- "My belief is very simple. Don't have data without a story and don't have story without data." - Varun Kohli
- One example: Varun and his team looked up free public wifi networks at the most popular tourist destinations and ranked the top 50 travel destinations by their maliciousness. The report ended up getting picked up by USA Today and The Today Show. Their app got twice as many downloads in an hour after The Today Show as it got in the previous year.
- You can't always focus exclusively on your market and your customers. It is also valuable to make impressions on the people around them.

Marketing at Scale - (16:00)
- When there is an acquisition, stick around. There will be voids that you can step into. There are always opportunities after acquisitions and mergers.
- "Keep on raising your hand, don't run away from the fire, keep on running towards the fire and good things will happen to you." - Varun Kohli
- There are advantages and disadvantages to working for a big brand. Name recognition is higher, but people already have a defined idea of who you are, and it can be difficult to change that perception.
- As a brand becomes larger, third-party validation becomes more and more important. You can say whatever you want about yourself, but if others aren't saying it, it doesn't matter.
- Too many marketers forget about the customer once they're sold. It's important to take care of them throughout the entire customer journey.

Customer Journey - (22:00)
- Too many marketers forget about the customer once they're sold. It's important to take care of them throughout the entire customer journey.
- "Customer stories should be backed by data." - Varun Kohli
- Varun's framework for customer stories: Situation, challenges, impact, product, actions, benefits.
- Customers will find novel ways to use your product, so it's important to talk to them and hear what those stories are so those stories can be told.

Lightning Round - (31:00)
- Most fun app: Nextdoor
- Favorite One Day Getaway: Napa Valley
- Ad Campaign Envious Of: HubSpot
- Book Recommendations: 1. The Hard Things about Hard Things 2. Zero to One 3. How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Most excited for about the future of marketing? Voice technology.
- Best advice for a first time CMO? Don't get fired.


Marketing Trends is brought to you by our friends at Salesforce Pardot, B2B marketing automation on the world’s #1 CRM. Are you ready to take your B2B marketing to new heights? With Pardot, marketers can find and nurture leads, close more deals, and maximize ROI. Learn more by heading to www.pardot.com/podcast.2

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