Erika Barbosa

Erika BarbosaShare

Head of Growth Marketing, Observable
Seasoned online marketing professional with over 15 years of experience and a passion for data-informed strategies. Areas of expertise include search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimizat...more
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Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 30

From my perspective, it's not about the amount of tactics but rather how impactful the channel is based on your goals. More channels does not mean better results. Rather than thinking of a count of tactics, ask yourself the following:

  • What is the goal of the campaign?
  • For each tactic you are considering, what is the estimated outcome or impact you believe it will drive?
  • How are you layering in organic efforts?

I recommend getting your bang for the buck based on this criteria. Select your mix of tactics based on what is smart for your goals.

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 29

The strategy will differ by the tools, tracking, and performance reporting you’ll use. Since the desired impact differs (revenue versus awareness), the tactics too will typically differ. Here’s my perspective:

  • Pipeline revenue: The type of tactics I recommend for this would be more mature and higher converters such as SEO. It is rare to see an SEO program that does not support revenue successfully.
  • Increasing brand awareness: The type of tactics I recommend for this would consist of a mix of awareness touch points. I would answer the question of, where do our customers like to hang out? Where do we need to have a presence to get in front of that type of audience?

I’m personally not of the belief that there is only one approach to this. There are so many variables I would customize my recommendation based on the perspective above.

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 27

I recommend thinking about demand generation as having a toolbox. Depending on the goal, you will select the appropriate tactics. Here is how this impacts the areas outlined in the question:

  • Company's industry: Some tactics are more appropriate for specific industries. This is also dependent on regulations and more sensitive privacy concerns. Where do your customers hang out? Is it somewhere that can be targeted? I recommend viewing this from the perspective of how do you meet your prospective customers where they are?
  • Products/services: This also will impact the mix of tactics you select. Is this a local or SaaS type of product as an example? Are you offering an enterprise solution that may be a request for contact or is it a self-serve PLG model?
  • Organizational goals: This is arguably the most critical element. What outcome are you trying to drive? How will you measure performance? Do you have an experimental budget? If not, you'll need to select tactics that you are more confident about that can drive results.

Lastly, I recommend continuous performance reporting. Respond to the data and adjust accordingly.

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 27

I believe the best way to overcome a legacy mindset is to approach the situation from the perspective of empathy, facts, and data. Don’t just try to shake things up. Take a very strategic approach and be mindful of your team’s perspective.

When trying to set up the organization for scale, focus on why it should matter for them. Don’t focus on solely why you think it’s important. You need to gain buy-in and to do so you have to reframe for them.

At the end of the day, you’ll be able to shift perspective faster when they feel it is their idea. Focus on facts and data balanced with a reframe of scaling the organization which will be beneficial for the entire team.

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 26

Some channel combinations I have tried that unexpectedly underperformed include taking a mature program such as Google Ads or SEO and combining it with an experimental platform. The hypothesis is that the mature platform would help boost the experimental platform some, but it didn’t work.

Some of the combinations were with Reddit and Quora most recently. To be fair this was more of a conversion play over branding and one could argue that’s not fair for these platforms, but at the end of the day it was not worth the investment.

As a believer of testing, oftentimes you can use these types of situations as a learning experience.

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 25

Partnership with sales is critical. It’s important to have an open line of communication with them for unified success. How do you articulate the importance of collaboration?

  • Constant feedback loop. Express the mutual benefit of a constant feedback loop. This will benefit sales / revenue equally.
  • Respond versus react. With collaboration you can respond in a meaningful way to what’s most impactful and continue iterating.

Sales are on the front lines. Understanding their feedback on how customers are responding is critical. This helps you to respond appropriately to what’s working and what’s not working. Similarly, sales feedback on your ABM strategy is like gold.

None of this would be possible without communication and partnership.

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 24

For a campaign that is truly integrated, I recommend thinking of this from the perspective of no matter what touch point you have with the user, it will make sense for them. The visuals and messaging have to be able to work as a unit and also independently.

Is this easy? No. However, it’s important work. Think of some of the brands you love interacting with. They make you feel delighted across all touch points. If you see them in social or while you are searching on Google, the message and story are consistent.

As you start to build out this strategy, be able to answer, why should the user care? If you mix up the messages and visuals along with their order, does it still feel cohesive? Does it still tell the same story?

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 23

SEM is helpful at a variety of stages. I wouldn’t say there is a specific moment when a company should focus on an SEM strategy though. It depends on your goals.

Here are some questions to consider for when you should launch SEM:

  • How much coverage do you have from an SEO perspective? SEM is helpful while you are building your organic strategy.
  • How healthy is the company from a budget perspective? SEM oftentimes is a profitable tactic, but I wouldn’t say it is absolutely necessary.
  • What’s your company’s tolerance level for experimentation? While SEM is a more mature tactic, there is still a level of experimentation that comes along with it.

As someone who has built campaigns from the ground up, I’ve seen a lot of success with SEM. One pro tip to upgrade your SEM is to really think critically about tracking and reporting. If you can gauge performance through to retention you could really speak to what’s more impactful.

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 22

It all starts with communication as simple as it sounds. Understand the customer journey and the various touch points you'll have with your customer. This takes preparation even if you are the sole person running the tactics.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an ad placement that didn't make sense? Perhaps I pay attention since I'm a marketer, but it isn't a delightful experience on the consumer's end.

Stress test your strategy. Be mindful of how the tactics interact. Is the messaging aligned? Does it tell the same story? The customer journey is not linear so preparation is necessary to ensure cohesiveness.

Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Head of Growth Marketing, Observable | Formerly Issuu, OpenText, WebrootNovember 21

From my experience, the step from the Senior to Director level focused on a few areas:

  • Having a deep understanding of metrics and the tracking setup associated with these metrics.
  • Not always but often this includes being a people manager. I did a ton of research on leadership from people I deeply respect like Brené Brown.
  • Being able to tell the story and articulate performance and strategy to varying types of stakeholders. Know your audience and tailor the story based on what matters to them.

As for leadership career tracks, this is forever ongoing. I believe it is important to continue to study areas such as communication, how to be a better leader, and areas such as DEI. As you continue to grow in your career, emotional intelligence is key. Don’t just be a manager, be a leader. Help elevate others through your work. The natural byproduct is you too will see growth in your demand gen career.

Credentials & Highlights
Head of Growth Marketing at Observable
Formerly Issuu, OpenText, Webroot
Top 10 Demand Generation Contributor
Lives In Los Angeles, CA