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Mark Emond is the Founder and CEO of Demand Spring, an integrated revenue marketing consultancy working with B2B marketers in building and implementing the marketing strategies and technology stacks that drive transformation and top-line results. The firm works with organizations ranging from high-growth Series C companies to Fortune 500 organizations.

Before founding Demand Spring, Mark spent 15 years in marketing leadership roles at IBM, Cognos, Watchfire, and Corel. He also serves and supports the development of young people as the VP of Competitive, Player and Coach Development with West Ottawa Basketball, the Head Coach for the Capital Region’s female team at the Ontario Summer Games, and the Head Coach of the U16 Girls West Ottawa team.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [03:39] Mark Emond introduces Demand Spring and what it does
  • [09:34] Identifying buyer journey to create targeted content and tailored marketing strategies
  • [12:01] Demand Spring’s customer success stories
  • [15:00] Mark explains Demand Spring’s business model
  • [18:33] Marketing strategies for firms in the financial services industry
  • [23:19] The main challenges CMOs face in B2B marketing and how to overcome them
  • [28:50] Mark shares his entrepreneurial journey and how he acquired his initial clients
  • [32:26] Demand Spring’s pricing model
  • [33:32] Techniques for hiring and maintaining great talent
  • [40:36] Utilizing a board of advisors for guidance and growth
  • [47:28] Mark’s experience as a sports coach

In this episode…

Marketing is the backbone of any successful business, but it’s not always easy to get it right. So, where can you get the partner you need to take your marketing to the next level?

According to industry expert Mark Emond, understanding your customer’s buying journey is the key to building effective marketing strategies that drive results. By analyzing customer behavior, identifying key touchpoints, and optimizing marketing strategies, companies can create tailored marketing solutions. However, given the complexity of the process, many businesses lack the expertise required to achieve this. With years of experience in content, digital marketing, and technology, Mark shares how he’s built an integrated revenue marketing consultancy to help businesses transform their marketing practices and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz chats with Mark Emond, Founder and CEO of Demand Spring, to discuss how companies can take their marketing practices to the next level. Mark talks about Demand Spring, identifying buyer journeys to create targeted content, marketing strategies for financial services, and the main challenges CMOs face in B2B marketing and how to overcome them.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “Understand the buyer journey stage at which someone is at.”
  • “The B2B buyer is much more in control than they were before.”
  • “If you create value for others, and what you say and do help them, your engagement will be just fine.”
  • “If you have really good things to say and you’re adding value through your content, then you’ll stand out in the market for good reasons.”
  • “Hire for scarcity.”

Sponsor for this episode

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz  0:22

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of inspired where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different at Mark Emond of Demand Spring and Mark before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out of the podcast. You also Yoast This is probably the top agency series I had on Ian garlic I in garlic runs And he talks about how he creates amazing customer stories. And it was interesting as he has a background. His dad was an entrepreneur, Mark and his dad had a restaurant. And they had live dolphins in that restaurant. It was kind of fascinating to hear. And I would think that’s kind of that’s odd in general, because he’s from Orlando, but actually that restaurant was in Wisconsin, which makes it even crazier. So check that episode out. There was another one I do with Adi Klevit. Adi Klevit specializes in helping companies create SOPs. And so Adi and I kind of geeked out on our top productivity tools tech stack. And so that was a really good one, it was a fun one to listen to with Adi and her company. So check those out anymore on and this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25, we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. And how do we do that? We actually do that by helping you run your podcast, we’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast. We do the strategy, the accountability, the full execution, for the podcasts and Mark, we kind of call ourselves the magic elves that run the background and make it look easy for the company so they could create great content, develop great relationships, and that’s all they have to do. So for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. I have found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions, and go to I have lots of episodes for free that people can check out on any question imaginable that I’ve had to answer about podcasting, so I’m excited to introduce Mark Emond. He’s Founder and Executive Chair of Demand Spring and Demand Spring is an organization who works with b2b marketers in building strategies, content and technology stacks that drives most importantly, Mark right top-line results and they work with organizations ranging from early stage to even Fortune 500 organizations. Some of their past clients include companies like Fidelity, LogMeIn staples, Vinyard, and many, many more previously actually worked in corporate at companies like IBM, and Cognos, and we’ll talk about some of the experiences there. He also serves if you are watching the video, you can see some basketball hoop over his shoulder and a basketball over his shoulder. That sign serves as player and coach development with West Ottawa basketball and his head coach for the capital region’s female team. And that was one of them at that Interio summer game. So, Mark, thanks for joining me.

Mark Emond  3:20

Yeah, thanks for having me on, Jeremy. It’s a delight to be on and looking forward to chatting with you.

Jeremy Weisz  3:25

So we’ll talk about I want you to start off by talking about Demand Spring and what you do. But I’m sure we’re going to talk some basketball as well and how that the leadership of the company bleeds into sports, but talk about Demand Spring.

Mark Emond  3:39

Yeah, so I founded the company. As you mentioned, I had been on the client side for 17 years in the technology industry, in marketing, really growing the demand function in organizations with organizations like Chorale and company Watchfire That got bought by IBM and then I went to Cognos, which was Canada’s largest software company. I’m based in Ottawa, Canada, and our nation’s capital. I had been with Cognos for a few years, and we had really done some amazing things in creating much better alignment with sales and becoming much more consequential to growing the top line of the business. And also using marketing automation. We were a very early adopter of marketing automation technology. We were Eliquis first million-dollar client. In 2007 we had about 1400 inbound nurture streams running which still by today’s standard is pretty outstanding. And then we got bought by IBM. We were IBM biggest acquisition at the time, I think second still behind Red Hat and worked at IBM for about four years and really had the itch though, to start my own company to bring what we had done at Cognos and becoming a much more strategic marketing organization much more consequential to the top line in building a strong sales and marketing relationship to other b2b organizations. And I also felt that at the time that in working on the client side, I’d worked with some great agencies at the time. But what they really weren’t great at was brand, they made their money on brand. And their most experienced, strategic people were on the brand side. And I found that there was a gap on the demand side of marketing. And so I felt like if I could create an organization that had experienced strategic demand marketers, that can really help grow pipeline and revenue and help the CMO meet their commitments to growing pipeline and revenue, that we could have something that would add value in the marketplace. And so that’s what we did back in 2012, we created Demand Spring, stepped out on the ledge to become an entrepreneur, and it’s been a good story. Company is still going very strong. Here in 2023. As you mentioned, we’ve worked with a number of great b2b brands from high growth scale up organizations to a number of fortune 500 brands that we still work with today in the technology, industry, financial services, life sciences, consulting services, the education industry and others.

Jeremy Weisz  6:19

Mark, it’s funny, because so you saw a gap, right? And we’ll talk about stepping on that ledge and what you did, but I think we should spend the next three hours talking about all 1400, inbound nurture strings. But what were some of the things that you saw at that point, some of those nurture streams, those inbound streams, that you then use and help companies with?

Mark Emond  6:47

Well, I think overall, back when I started Demand Spring, if we go back to the 2000s, in the early 2010s, there was really a shift going on in marketing, historically b2b marketing was really about building brand and providing sales support. And largely driven by great technology advancements, like marketing, automation platforms, marketers back then, and still today, were much more instrumented, they understood the engagement, the behavior, and could really personalize marketing strategies at scale using technology. So it was really a transformational time to be able to understand where somebody might be at in their buyer journey, or their client lifecycle, and be able to personalize communication at scale to them and content at scale. And that was something that we’ve never really been able to do, right? If you look historically, at b2b Marketing, b2b marketers would place ads and publications like BusinessWeek, or Ink Magazine, for example, or fortune, or Forbes. And you’d be able to reasonably target personas based on readership and subscription data, but you never knew and you can never really target where somebody might be at in a buyer journey. Are they actively searching for a solution like you’re offering or not? And if they were actively searching, where are they in the buyer journey, and what marketing technology platforms and analytics enabled us to do is to really precisely identify the personas, the buying groups, the stage of the buyer journey, or client lifecycle they’re at, and really tune at scale, the type of content you put in front of them. And so that was what we did with our nurture streams back then. And really, the premise for what Demand Spring still does today is strategy and technology that enables really precise targeting, at scale, to be able to drive down the cost of customer acquisition, and the contribution that marketing is making to the buyer journey.

Jeremy Weisz  8:47

Yeah, so I could see that, you place an ad in Inc. and Forbes or Fortune and you get some response, but you’re not sure where they’re at and you don’t necessarily specifically target the targeting maybe it wasn’t there. Can you give an example of what you mean by okay, I put something out there and now I know exactly where they are in the buyer journey. I guess I’m picturing you put something specific piece of content specifically out there so only people who would be in that segment of that journey would actually click and consume it but I could be totally off on that will be an example of okay, we put this out there and this showed us they were in this part of the buyer journey and went from there.

Mark Emond  9:34

Sure, yeah. No, you’re pretty bang on actually Jeremy. There’s driven by and one of the services we offer that in organizations have really in the last 10 years, invested in is buyer journey research, really understanding through primary research and tertiary research and data analysis, the types of content that people engage in different stages of their buyer journey. What appeals to them when they’re first considering changing the status quo all the way through to when they are signing a contract and beyond when they’re a client, right? What type of content, what type of channels, are they going to marketing channels are they going to consume that content. And so organizations that we work with will line up their content to say, this type of content could be information that is more industry-centric, and more business value-centric, might be something that might help organizations understand things at the start of their buyer journey. Whereas more product-oriented feature value content might be more middle of the buyer journey, where they’re really evaluated doing technical evaluation of doing business evaluation of certain solutions. So we know certain content appeals at different stages of the buyer journey. And marketing technology now enables us to read that, given individuals engaging on your website, or through your social channels, or through email, or at events or in webinars with that content, and we’re able to triangulate that data with all the other data that we see an individual engaging with, and at that point get a get a relatively clear picture of where they may be at in their buyer journey. And then serve them up content that nurtures them, like content that is contextual to that stage in the buyer journey to nurture and drive better conversion, faster conversion, will lower the cost of customer acquisition and improve the buyer experience, right? Much like on Netflix, or Amazon, when we get served content that is more relevant to us based on the behavioral signals we’re giving off, we tend to have a better experience.

Jeremy Weisz  9:41

I want to walk through a couple examples so people can kind of get an idea. And you worked with a company Rapid7, what did you do with them?

Mark Emond  12:01

Yeah, we worked with Rapid7 really on a lot of their nurture strategies. So you know, deliver looking at the people that were coming into the top of their sales funnel, and really trying to drive better conversion throughout the buyer journey through contextual relevant communication that was tuned to who are they, Rapid7 is a security software vendor. And they deal with a lot of security personas from Chief Information Security officers to security analysts, different roles that get involved in different stages of the buyer journey. And so what we really strove to do with Rapid7 was look at, you know, who was engaging? What stage might they be in, in their buyer journey? And then how do we build nurture strategies that help drive that conversion, and drive down the cost of customer acquisition, drive up the amount of influence that marketing is happening. The other thing I haven’t touched on, which is certainly has become much more prevalent over the 27 years that I’ve been in b2b marketing now is the b2b buyer is much more in control than they were when I first started my career b2b sales really managed the buyer experience to a large degree, right, they got most of their information from sales. And those tables have changed dramatically in b2b and consider purchases and b2c, right? The last time you bought a car, I’m sure your experience in buying a car and where you went to for information was dramatically different from probably when you were a little bit younger, right where you would use the internet now, for much of your information gathering for much of your purchase consideration. And you probably pick up, you’d go into test, drive the car, and negotiate with the sales rep at the dealership. It’s much the same in b2b today, where marketing and sales are much more interdependent, and the buyer is really in control going back and forth between marketing channels and sales channels. So, all of that for a company like rapid seven, they were looking and many of our organizations, the relationship between marketing and sales is in a state of transformation where marketing is much more involved in all stages of the buyer journey. So it’s about really kind of pivoting the way that marketing and sales works to be much more interdependent.

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