Ever wonder what it takes to make a user group wickedly successful? Yes…using a little Boston jargon.
Today, I sit down with Paul Green and Jody Spencer, leaders of the Boston Marketo User Group. Learn how they helped evolve the user group into one of Marketo’s strongest communities with over 600 members.
Make sure to stick around til the outtakes when Jody almost takes out Paul’s eye with the nerf gun.
- Paul: I’m Paul Green and this is Jody Spencer, we’re the co-chairs of BMUG (Boston Marketo User Group). The group has been around for a little over 5 years, we’re one of the largest BMUG groups in the world so we have over 670 members in the Boston area, over 300 members in community…
- Jody: Close to 400 at this point.
- Paul: We are volunteers, this is because we love the product and we love you guys. We enjoy bringing these types of sessions to you and honestly, the BMUG, it’s all about the knowledge, it’s all about using tools like Marketo to help us do our jobs better. We are in the trenches like all of our users are so at the end of the day, it’s all thought leadership, best practice distribution.
How the Boston Marketo User Group Has Evolved
- Paul: So when I got involved 4 years ago, we were I think around 70 users and now we’re up around 670.
- Jeff: How did you guys start the group? It just doesn’t start on its own I mean you guys took the initiative and got the group together.
- Paul: Yeah, so Michael DiPietro, one of the early users of Marketo was the original guy behind this, so he got together with Marketo and at that time it grew from probably 20 to 70, maybe 20 to 100 under Michael. And then I got involved and then about 2 years later, Jody got involved. And so the growth has been like that (steep incline hand motion) and obviously Boston is a hotbed of activity for Marketo, so the user group here is a natural offset of that.
I think what keeps people coming back is the content, great people like yourself who are involved, who have real great use cases. Paul Green
Behind the Scenes of Putting the Night Together
- Jody: A lot of back and fourth communication. I think one of the things about our group that’s unique is we have, even though we’re the Boston Marketo User Group, there’s two distinct locations. So you have the city group and then you have the group that’s outside the 128 belt, and it makes it really interesting trying to get everybody in one location. So what we try to do each meeting is bounce back and fourth and do city and 128, city, 128. When we come into the city, space is a premium. It’s not like there are office spaces that can house, our meetings tend to draw a larger crowd so we can get 50 plus people at our meetings, 70 people at a meeting.
There’s not a lot of customers who have that type of space that can offer it up so it’s really about trying to find a place that is going to be able to hold the people as well as have a presentation space, which is a little bit difficult. Jody Spencer
Topics for Boston Marketo User Group Events: Multi-Channel Marketing
- Jody: Tonight, I’m really excited about tonight’s topic because this blends a lot of different channels, talking about how direct marketing and creating the lists, augmenting your database, using Marketo to really go full circle on all avenues of a full channel marketing program. How you get the lists, how you put it into Marketo, how you send out those personalized emails, how you drive a direct mail campaign.
- Paul: I think the genesis of this meeting- all of our meetings come about from our user feedback, so ultimately we want to produce meetings that give people the knowledge they want. So over the last couple of months, people started talking about direct mail, PFL has been doing a great job- I know you do a lot of work with PFL.
So it was at a meeting that someone said, “I’m kind of interested in this PFL thing.” “How many people are interested in direct mail?” Everyone raised their hand. 3 months later, we’re here. Paul Green
Sample of the direct mail piece that helped drive attendance to the Boston Marketo User group event
- So this is a really special meeting because we have 3 sponsors: RevEngine, PFL, and Oceanos, and each of you are going to be here today talking about what it takes to do direct mail. I’ve been in marketing a long time, direct mail at one time was kind of the only game in town. Then all of a sudden the internet, digital automation, and direct mail has taken such a back seat, and now it’s the re-birth-I view it as the re-birth-of direct mail. I think it’s a really exciting time to take all of the great work we’ve done digitally with direct automation and then look towards direct mail to be another avenue. ABM- what a perfect chasm of things happening.
- Jeff: And Jody, you have the piece right there.
- Jody: I do. This is the secret weapon using Marketo. When you open it up, you have your little Nerf gun, and tell me, who doesn’t love, right? So when you open up the direct mail and not shoot the eye out of your colleagues and friends, it goes into a little bit about the meeting where you learn about the sponsors who are presenting.
- Paul: And I think the essence of something like this-we’ve always done email or we’ve always done LinkedIn messages or community message-now we’ve done a direct mail piece.
And if you think about what it takes to pull something like this off, it’s the participation of the vendors. PFL mailed this package out to 1,000 local Marketo users. Paul Green
- Jody and I can’t do these types of events without help. Ultimately, who’s going to benefit? Everyone who attends today is going to leave with probably 10 or 15 ideas of what they can do with direct mail and honestly, if they didn’t come today, I don’t think they’re going to be thinking about it.
So, if we can portray some really cool ideas and someone leaves and executes, or maybe they don’t even execute but they put it into their 2017 planning, we win.
What’s Down the Pipe?
- Paul: We are delivering our first webinar in November. The demand is so hot for knowledge transfer, and we can only do these meetings today every other month, so we’re starting a BMUG webinar series. So in the months when we’re not meeting, we’re bringing knowledge via the airways. It should be really fun, and we’ll be doing our planning now for 2017, so we’ll be sending out a user survey, taking all of that information back and then planning ’17.
Favorite Cartoon Characters?
- Jody: Scooby Doo.
- Paul: Tasha Tudor’s the Corgis. I’m a big fan of Corgis, the dog, and Tasha Tudor has old children’s book series around Corgis. Here’s an interesting note, when I grow up I want to be a children’s book author.
Thanks very much for joining today, thank you for all your hard work with the user group. We learned how to get everyone together for a user group meeting, we learned Jody has very good aim and we learned everyone’s favorite cartoon character.
Get Involved – Apply for the Group
- Visit the Linked in page and request access.
- Login into Marketo and go into the Marketo Community. Navigate to Marketing Central > User Groups >View User Groups.
- Follow on Twitter at #BMUG.