Origin Story: Plannuh and The Next CMO Rowan Tonkin, CMO of Planful

nextcmo29 Jun 2023
PodcastsThought Leadership

In this episode of The Next CMO podcast, Peter turns the host microphone to Rowan Tonkin, the CMO of Planful. Rowan interviews Peter and Plannuh co-founder, Scott Todaro, about the origin story of Plannuh and The Next CMO.

In this episode of The Next CMO podcast, Peter turns the host microphone to Rowan Tonkin, the CMO of Planful. Rowan interviews Peter and Plannuh co-founder, Scott Todaro, about the origin story of Plannuh and The Next CMO.

We talk about the idea that sparked the creation of Plannuh, the role of “The Next CMO” book and thought leadership marketing in the Plannuh story, why Plannuh sold to Planful, and much more.

Learn more about Rowan Tonkin

Learn more about Planful

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Produced by PodForte



Peter: The next CMO podcast explores topics that are on the minds of forward thinking marketing executives from leadership and strategy to emerging technologies, and we bring these topics to life by interviewing leading experts in their fields. The next CMO is sponsored by Planful for marketing. A leading marketing performance management solution that automates marketing, planning, financial management, and ROI optimization.

In hosted by me Peter Mahoney, an experienced C M O C E O board member and executive advisor.

In this special episode of the next CMO podcast, I’m joined by Scott Todaro, my co-founder at [00:01:00] Plannuh and architect of the next cmo, and Rowan Tonkin, the CMO of Planful, and I do something different this time I’m gonna hand over the host microphone to Rowan, and he’s going to interview me and Scott about the origin of Plana and the next C M O.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy this special show.

Hey Scott and Rowan, welcome to the next C M O podcast and this super special episode, and we’re gonna do something different in this particular episode. And I’m gonna hand the baton over to Rowan and he’s actually going to interview me and Scott. So Rowan, take it over. You’ve got the controls of the next cmo.

Rowan: Thanks Peter. An honor. Glad to be back on the next C m O and this time as as the host of a conversation. So, I dunno about the folks listening, but I’ve always wanted to hear the story of of how the next C m O came about and how Plannuh came about. I’ve obviously spent a lot of time [00:02:00] working with with Peter and Scott recently and hearing about this, I think it’s a story that needs to be shared more widely.

So I I asked Peter, Hey, can I take over the next CMO so I can interview the founders of the next cmo. And and that’s what we’re here to do today. So, Scott, welcome. Have you ever been on the next CMO as a guest? Has Peter ever interviewed you? No.

Scott: A couple times.

Rowan: Good,

Scott: Yeah. I’ve been on. I’ve been on

Peter: Scott was just saying that it’s been a long time and I think he’s a little put out by that for some reason.

Rowan: He might have been on a little band, you know, he’d been put in the naughty corner, so.

Scott: Yeah, I know. It’s everybody’s looking for glory anyways. All right. It’s good. Don’t worry. I.

Rowan: All right, so let’s talk starting about how the idea and the inception of the idea to create a platform for marketers, which which became the Plannuh brand in the end. I know Peter, we’ve got a [00:03:00] little story to tell about the actual name, but how did that opportunity a come about and the idea come about?

Peter: Well, I had been. In a role for many years where I was the C m O of a pretty big company, a couple billion dollar public software company. And we’d done lots and lots of acquisitions. We did a hundred while I was there. And I kept seeing the same kind of pain and suffering. And for a long time I thought it was just me.

And the. The broad idea of the pain was, it was really difficult for people to to one, stay on track. No one even had a plan or really a good coherent plan. And then staying on track and really being able to optimize their plan based on based on the return on investment of the specific investments that we’re delivering.

The best results was everyone’s pipe dream that never seemed to be happening. And we just seemed like a million miles away. And I’ll tell you, there was this one moment that really kind of pushed me [00:04:00] over the edge. And I I had this theory that we were just chaotically doing marketing and what we now call random acts of marketing.

And I walked over to this the office of this young woman who was running a pretty big part of the plan because it was more of a kind of a direct to consumer business. She was spending, I don’t know, 10 million bucks a year or something like that. So real money. And I was trying to figure out what the return was on a specific event that we spent a fair amount of money on.

And so I went up to her office and said, Hey, Amy can you gimme a sense of what we spent on this event and what the return was? And she said, well, let me just pull up my list. And she pulls up this spreadsheet and it’s this like random list of stuff. And she said, well, if I add up this line and that line, I said, well, it doesn’t even include this other stuff.

And I looked at the thing more closely and I realized that literally it was just this list of [00:05:00] stuff. And I said, what is this? And she said, well, it’s my plan. And this plan was literally this random list of stuff that she was working on. And I thought, who, wow, she must have the world’s worst C m O. And I said, oh my God, that’s me.

So I saw that there was this fundamental problem. And I started looking more and I kept seeing that people had sort of declared bankruptcy on maintaining a solid plan. And and it was really rare for people to have a really tight plan in almost. Non-existent for people to be able to measure it.

So one of the first people that I called is, I called Scott Cuz Scott and I had worked together for many years and been close friends, and Scott was the guy who always was sort of the the guy who had a, you know, a process and a template and a standard for everything. If I needed a, you know, the best approved standard process I’d call Scott and Well, we ended up having lunch [00:06:00] together at Seasons 52 in Burlington.

And and I told him a little bit about this idea and and I, he likes to say that I had him at Hello and he was like jumping over the table with excitement saying, oh my God, we gotta fix this. This is just a, this is a huge issue. And I’m all in. So that’s how we all started.

Rowan: Awesome. Scott, is that how you recall that lunch happening?

Scott: 100%. That’s exactly how it happened. Yeah. Actually, we that that lunch that we had, we, I think we filled about six napkins full of ideas that we had to to build into the product. But it was very exciting because, you know, honestly marketers need a lot of help. There’s no one set way to plan, and if you look at a lot of the other in, you know, functions inside of business, so guardrails to how to approach planning, but there really aren’t in marketing.

And so it was a huge opportunity for us to really help and shape the industry.

Rowan: Yeah, so. So I want to step back a little bit ignoring some of the product concepts. I [00:07:00] think that might be another podcast on some product-led growth you know, podcast. But this podcast I wanna talk about the marketing strategy really behind Plannuh. So as a as someone in this industry, you know, B2B software we see a lot of marketing technology and what brought me to Plannuh was all of the great content and And so I wanna unpack that a little bit.

So how did the idea to lead with the content strategy and be almost content first? You know, I heard more about the content than I did about the product originally. A la kind of hub HubSpot, you know, for years I thought HubSpot was like a media company. It didn’t realize it had software. How did that idea come about?

Scott: Well,

Peter: in, in the beginning. The, so we should talk about the beginning because the beginning, even before Scott was here full-time, right? In, in the beginning we had no money, right? So we had to figure out how do we engage in with the audience in a reasonable way. I’ve always been this big fan and Scott’s [00:08:00] been a big advocate for the idea of kind of building, engaging a community.

And you build a community first, and then you can figure out sort of the right way to. Address their needs, cuz you’ll learn a lot from them when you engage. But interestingly we didn’t initially package everything under this concept of the next cmo. In fact, we had a very a different sort of brand approach.

It was a little bit wonkier. In fact, Scott reeled against it. And when he joined full-time as the cmo, he fixed that. But we we initially had sort of a newsletter strategy and it was called the Marketing Nerds Letter. And it was sort of a very wonky, kind of nerdy kind of approach to to marketing.

In fact, it’s probably why my Twitter handle is still nerds, C M O, right? It’s sort of a nod to the wonky kind of analytical side of marketing. But the big aha that we had is after we launched the first version of our product, In in 2019 the the [00:09:00] initial intent was that, hey, this is gonna be a PLG strategy.

We’re gonna have this free version of the product out there, and people are just gonna, you know, use it for free and then decide, hey they’re gonna upgrade to a paid version when they see all the value as they get their plans up and running. What we realized when we had thousands of people sign up for this thing as soon as we got it out in the wild.

So we knew, wow, there was a big need for this idea. But then people struggled and some of it might have been, you know, the product probably wasn’t perfect back then. But when we really started talking to people, we realized that they actually needed. Help. And they needed advice to figure out how to build a plan.

And that’s when, you know, Scott and I, and Dan at the time who was our cto, really put our heads together and said, how are we gonna do this? Because we. Can’t expect to just build it. And not only are they gonna come, but they’re gonna be super successful. And we realized we had a lot of work to do and a big opportunity and a responsibility to educate.

So that’s what really [00:10:00] kicked it into high gear. And Scott came up with the idea of writing a book to be sort of our centerpiece. And maybe, I dunno, Scott, if you want to talk about the origin in your history with books, because that was the thing that I think really professionalized our content at a different level.

Scott: Yeah I think when you have a very complex technology and you have a technology that needs methodology associated with it, you know, that’s always important to have. A point of view. Right. And I think what we found is that as our product got more complex, because the needs associated with budgeting included a lot of planning elements, and then people wanted to be able to measure those successes that they had and make sure that the budget is being optimized we needed to come up with a point of view so that people could start to apply it.

And also it fed into a great strategy. Of helping people understand the problem. What we found is that actually there were a lot of marketers out there that didn’t even understand what the problem was. You know, they didn’t understand that not having a plan going into the [00:11:00] year was kind of a problem.

Not having goals was kind of a problem. Just doing random backs of marketing, as Peter said, where you’re basically just doing channel based marketing. That was not really all that satisfying, not knowing what the ROI is on your marketing. Is kind of pointless, right? You’re reporting on impressions and leads and nobody at the company knows what the value of that is.

So we created you know, a book that takes you through the whole process, what the problem is, and defining that problem, understanding you know, how to build a plan by setting your goals, creating your strategies, applying your campaigns, understanding how to allocate budget, manage and optimize it through the year.

And then really looking at what that return was. And so that became the focal point with the book. Now, we were shocked to see that you know, over 40,000 public are in circulation right now of the book. But, you know, people have enjoyed it and it’s kicked off a community that now we have over [00:12:00] 6,500 members of marketing leaders that participate in it regularly.

We kicked off a workshop Series now where people can come and get education, their certification associated with it on a variety of different topics that are related. To the product. And so it, this dynamic of being, you know, having good solid education and methodology, understanding the problems and then being able to automated to the, with the product worked very well for us.

And so that’s where the book came into play. And then everything kind of got named around the next CMO community. The Peters Run podcast is over a hundred episodes now. And we’ve have over 200 blog posts. So the content is rich, the community is active and hopefully, you know, people are starting to really understand the problem, being able to solve it.

Peter: And I, I think there are a couple of things about that. They’re really important, by the way, just to, to add on to what Scott was saying, there were a couple of things that were critical for the success of this initiative, so, One is that[00:13:00] it had to be good. So you see a lot of content programs where people throw stuff together.

I mean, today, they’d go to chat g p t and say, Hey, gimme some content. And it really has to be thoughtful and well researched and we. We put a lot of pain and effort into making sure that the book was deeply grounded from our experience. We fought about a lot of things and really wrestled through the content to make sure that it was right.

And the second thing is it had to be non-promotional. So it had to be authentic. And the first thing we wanted to focus on, Was educating in creating valuable content that the audience that we were trying to reach ultimately was was gonna connect with. And that’s why li literally, the book does not have the word Plannuh in it outside the bios of the authors.

That was really it, because it’s meant to be a. A what it is, which is a really a guide to [00:14:00] how a contemporary marketing executive could lead the function. And then the third thing was really about targeting where I love the idea of the next C M O because the next C M O, not only the. Speaks to the contemporary C E O C M O in the world, but also the aspiring cmo.

And because those people are really important for our message because these are people who are the most ambitious people, who are literally gonna be the next cmo. And we wanna make sure that we’re educating and supporting them as part of our content strategy because we know they’re gonna have huge influence in the future in the companies that they’re part of.

Rowan: Yeah I want to touch a little bit and go, continue to go deeper on. On. So I love the next cmo, the aspirational part of that a as a CMO myself, it’s like I don’t want to be the old cmo, right? I want to be the future iteration of what a CMO needs to continuously become. [00:15:00] And where I loved the book when I first picked it up was the word educate has been used by both of you a couple of times here, right?

Was how. Practical and pragmatic. Every chapter was you know, the way that it’s structured in terms of, you know, every chapter has a very specific topic and how rich and deep each topic goes into. I think it, it is the guide for someone. What does A C M O need to do and how do they need to think?

And so firstly, congrats to both of you. I’m you know, I think it and obviously Dan, the other author, it is a fantastic practical guide and as I go to events now and show off the product and continue to evangelize the brand. I hear from so many people saying, I love that book.

It helps me all the time. I’ve, you know, I’ve got sticky notes all through it and that is a testament to the education inside of it. Why? Like you could have done a lot of things with a book[00:16:00] and going down that deep, rich educational experience. Like you didn’t take any shortcuts in doing that.

Explain a, the rationale and the strategy behind that, because I think that is one of the biggest takeaways that I’ve had learning from both of you is, hey, like you can put out content for content’s sake, but the value and the depth that, that the next CMO has gone to is a step beyond where most go.

Peter: Yeah, and I think that came from a couple of places. You know, one is, you know, Scott spent a lot of time, a lot of time in his career as a, as an educator. You know, he was a marketing professor for many years, and hopes to go back to that someday. Hopefully not in the not too distant future. And so he, he really brought that pedagogical kind of approach to how we do it, right?

So how do you actually how do you actually comprehensively cover a topic and teach it? So I really I really give a lot of credit to [00:17:00] Scott as the architect for a lot of the way that we put the content together. And the other thing that I’ve seen a lot in my career is that the best content programs are really deep and sincere.

And if you invest the time to make it right it can last for a long time. And what we’ve done here is we’ve merchandised the content and this approach into a lot of different things and. When I was in my last C m O gig we made healthcare technology and we had, we did a lot of content and the content actually came from, we had on staff about a dozen medical doctors.

And we saw that when you had really deep content that came from the someone who’s very credible in the domain. And that’s one of the things we all brought to the party, is that we’re deep in the domain. Then it’s just, it’s much more valuable over time. And it’s got huge lasting power.

And that’s what we’ve seen with this content.[00:18:00]

Rowan: Scott as the the crazy professor behind this. Anything to add?

Scott: Oh, I mean it the great thing about content I think is just in general is that look in b2b, a lot of people are looking. To understand things right. You know, it’s difficult. B2B marketing is incredibly difficult to do well. You know, I started my career out in b2c. It was a lot more straightforward.

You had a lot more control over a lot of different elements of the business. And you know, I think when you start looking at creating a content strategy, Peter mentioned, you know, we, you have to have it, you know, solid, good quality educational things that people can apply. I mean, the thing in our product in the book is that there are actual templates that people can apply, but also for people that are looking to build a content strategy, the great thing is if you start with a large content asset, It can create your whole entire content strategy, right?

You have a book, you can break the chapters into eBooks, you can break the chapters into blog posts, and you can [00:19:00] create an entire year’s worth of content out of one content asset. So for those of you that are looking to create a content strategy, start with large content assets, put a lot of time and energy into it, and then on the other side of it, you can start to.

Chunk that those pieces up and start to create a groundswell and repeating those same messages over and over again is critical. I think too many marketers today try to create unique content all the time to go out outside of their zone, right? You gotta be creating content that’s re relevant to the problem you’re trying to solve.

And so the book is relevant to what? The Planful for marketing product does it solves very specific problems around planning, budgeting, and roi. And that’s what the book carries those messages across so they can be applied to the product. So everybody that has products like that, they should be looking to tie the content directly into what their expertise is and the product that they offer.

Peter: So he, here’s the other thing on [00:20:00] top of that was really valuable about this approach we took with the book is that it actually was our roadmap. So, So when we wrote the book, we started and started the company from what Scott and I had developed o over decades of being marketing executives as is our view in sort of the right way and the best practices to do this at scale.

And we realized that there wasn’t really there wasn’t really a system out there. People cobbled together a bunch of different things or there were a bunch of. Of tools people use. That did part of what marketing was. But when it came to running a marketing function, there wasn’t really a platform to do that.

And we agreed that sort of the spine of this thing was the plan and the money that you use to apply against that plan. And so that, that’s where it’s, it started and it’s incredibly valuable to one, really write down in an [00:21:00] incredibly detailed way. What you think the right answer is, how are we gonna do this?

Because what it does is it makes the product a lot better, cuz it’s, the product will use the book all the time. You know, the product team will be flipping through the book saying, well how do we do this here? How do we do, what are we saying we’re gonna do this? And it makes sure that the so many products are built to basically make bad practices happen faster.

But the reality is that if you build a product based on well-researched, thoughtful, grounded practices that all hang together, then you’re gonna have a better end end experience with the product. So that was hugely valuable for us in, in a way that, again, it went it’s all about it’s company strategy.

It’s content strategy, it’s product, it’s all integrated together.

Rowan: Yeah, I think the thing that I took away from the book was, It was the one piece that has really kind of taken [00:22:00] every disparate part of marketing and said, well, this is how you put it all together, right? This is how you kind of glue all of these things together, because as you go in your marketing career, you know, you’ll become a great individual contributor either in, you know, demand gen, product marketing, corporate marketing, somewhere you’re in ic, and then you become a leader of a department or a function, and then next thing you know, You’re running the whole department and you’re like, oh, how does all of this work together?

Right. You’ve seen it from the sidelines and in your peer group, but no one’s ever taught you how to run the whole thing in one cohesive strategy, and so you know, it, to me it’s a shortcut into kind of how to think about running the whole function. As its own discipline, and that was the power for me of the book.

I, I think inside of that, there’s a lot of great educational, co educational content on the other areas that, you know, marketers just don’t grow up being [00:23:00] great at. Not many people in marketing have an accounting degree and it takes you through some of those core concepts. It’s so that you can understand the conversations that you’re having with your peers Now as the leader of a function about revenue forecasting about.

You know, cash based accounting or accrual based accounting, all of those concepts are in the book and help you then say, oh, that’s why we do these things these ways. So, that it, for those that have, are listening and haven’t read the book, go and read it. How did the book then lead to the podcast and ultimately to the community?

How did that concept and those strategies evolve under the next CMO brand?

Peter: Well, we knew that we had something with the book. In fact the way we built the book again, was I give Scott all the credit to one coming up with the idea of. We gotta write a book. And then two, the approach that we use. So he talked about sort of the deconstruction of the book, where we merchandises the pieces after.

But we [00:24:00] actually built the book by writing a series of blog posts. So basically what we did is we said, Hey, We need to write a book in about six months. And and it’s all us, right? So we, there’s no, there was no outside writers. It was literally all us. So what we did is we got ourselves in a room for a couple of days and said, and hammered out the the outline of the book.

And then just said, who’s gonna write this? Who’s gonna write? And that became our content calendar for the next several months. So we built this thing up and it was a great way to do it because when we publish stuff. In advance you could see what people connected with. And it, one, it got us really excited cuz people were immediately connecting with some of the content, but it also allowed you to tweak it.

So we didn’t literally take a bunch of blog posts and just stitch ’em together. We used it as sort of the core content and there’s a lot of work in editing it to make it all flow and come together. But that’s how the book [00:25:00] came up. But when we were writing it, It was just really clear that there was a huge response.

And like you said it’s funny, it reminded me of the way you and I met Rowan. We met through a mutual friend by the name of Dave Gerhardt and on what’s now called Exit five which is his community. And he talks a lot about the fact his big saying is no one ever went to school for B2B marketing.

And. And he really addresses how do you be a marketer in in his content. But even more, no one ever went to school to be a marketing leader, right? No one teaches you this as it all comes together. So we knew we had a. Resonant piece of content. And I’m a big believer in merchandising an idea across multiple channels.

So we said, how do we make this go further? And so we brainstorm all the different ways we could do it. And we came up with a whole bunch of channels. And in fact the one thing that we didn’t do you know, was[00:26:00] as part of the strategy. So we did a podcast and we we we did the community.

And the one thing that we didn’t do that we wanted to is actually do live in-person events and in live and in-person courses. And we didn’t because of the pandemic, but if there was no pandemic, we actually would’ve had. In-person kind of events because we saw as part of this that the idea of sort of the, this community element was really huge.

People wanted to talk about this. They wanted to learn from others. They wanted to discuss these topics more. So that was, we thought something that we really needed to lean into.

Rowan: And we’ve actually started doing that, right? We had the plan for user conference what, two months ago now. A month ago. And that was Scott was doing some fantastic live in-person workshops in Chicago and for those listening, we’ll continue to do those back in person now and obviously continue with a lot of the [00:27:00] online content as well.

So let’s talk about that the acquisition. I know we’ve talked about it in a number of different ways, but so from your perspective, Why was Planful the partner that you wanted to work with? I.

Peter: It was super obvious to me and. You know when I went about the the process of of looking to looking to merge the company with something else, cuz I knew that was what we were gonna do for us to, we realized to solve the problem in a more fulsome way. We needed either a lot more capital or we needed to be part of something bigger.

And and the right strategy at that point was to be part of something bigger. It was just painfully obvious to me that really leaning in to the financial performance side was the way it was gonna work for a couple of reasons. One is that, One of the things that people [00:28:00] resonated with most in all of our content, definitely they connect with the idea of sort of goals and alignment and campaign strategies, putting that all together, there’s this huge gap though in a lot of marketing marketing teams in general was.

Depth in really understanding the financial side of the business. And I’m a huge believer that the future C m O will be quite financially literate. And having that connection will be incredibly differentiating. And and having met you Rowan before and some other senior leaders from planful, It just seemed like the most obvious thing.

And the funny thing was, you know, I was going off and it’s like doing any investor thing. You go kiss a bunch of frogs and you see which one is gonna be a prince. And sorry for the graphic there, Rowan. And the and you were literally one of the first people I reached out to cuz you know, you and I had met before.

I knew this was the right connection and we [00:29:00] reached out and what did you tell me? You said, God, yeah, we gotta talk about this. But I’ve got perform coming up. If you remember correctly can you wait? And I’m like, dude, I’m busy. I’ve gotta get going on this. So I started talking to all these other people, had all this other interest in the thing.

And then you guys came back from perform as you said. And and it just it just was such an obvious fit. I think when. When we got together and and you and I and Dan Fletcher planful, c f o just immediately said, oh my God this is the right thing. We gotta figure out how to make it work.

And we actually put the entire deal together in closed, in record time. I think it took 90 days, which was incredible for this kind of thing.

Rowan: Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about you know, what you mentioned was the financial literacy of CMOs and how that. Really is a lot of the future of of where we need to go. I saw a stat recently I forget who actually put it out there. But you know, the number [00:30:00] one gap for for marketing professionals and marketing leaders right now is not enough budget, not enough resources, right?

Who can help us solve that problem, his cfo. And the and the second part of that slide was where are marketings? Priorities right now and who do we have the deepest relationships with? And the CFO was last on the list. So Scott, I want to talk to you. You’ve worked with a lot of CFOs.

As we think about the CMO and CFO alignment, what does, what about the acquisition really changes in your mind as we, we talk about financial performance management being a team sport.

Scott: Well, I mean, as of right now, you have CFOs that constantly will ask the head of marketing, like, how are we doing? And you’ll see that the marketers will turn around and say, well, I created 8,000 leads. And like, well, what’s the value of a lead? I don’t know. What’s the ROI on this stuff? I don’t know.

And what you find over and over again [00:31:00] is that the CFOs just don’t trust they’re CMOs there. There’s no trust there. I mean, we see stats out there that, you know, only 24% of CEOs trust their cmo. I would love to see a survey out there, how many CFOs? Trust their cmo. I mean, cuz they’re spending money and you know, there has to be fiscal responsibility for that.

And, you know, marketers have been getting away by just kind of saying, I don’t know. But here’s the problem is that on the flip side, if they could show the roi, they would see their budget start to increase. Right? I was, I had the luxury of talking to 12 CFOs a while ago and I said if marking could show you.

Gross margin adjusted ROI of say, three x on every dollar that they spent, what would their budget be? And the first CFO said, in theory unlimited, right? And this is the friction, right? It’s because marketing can’t show it. They don’t trust it, so they have to cap it because if they’re blowing their money, Then you are actually just losing money, right?

Because [00:32:00] revenue is great, but there’s margins associated with it, and it’s, so you’re basically throwing cash out the window, and this is the type of fiscal discipline. Peter mentioned it earlier, right? This is the type of fiscal discipline that needs to be put in place for marketers. They have the largest discretionary spend of anybody.

At most companies. And so it has to be spent properly and when spent properly, it’s amazing how much they can move the business. And I always say this to marketers, you know, why do you not want to see how you’re doing? It’s like playing a game of basketball. And say, we’re just gonna track how many passes we make.

We’re not gonna track the ball going in the net. We’re gonna not gonna find out who won, right? And if, but if you could say, you know, look at all the wins that I had, then you’re gonna find a partner in the cfo. The other thing that you know, the CFO and the c o really needs to start working on is planning up front.

You see too many marketers like hiding in the background, you know, creating their plan in a bubble. Go talk to the CFO and build that together. Set [00:33:00] those goals. Those financial goals show how the money’s gonna be spent, and you work. You’ll get a partner. And when these two audiences partner together, there’s gonna be magic at companies.

And you have a, you know, a partner that, you know, if you have big ideas in the future, that they’ll be supportive. Those big ideas at trying to drive the business. And if you don’t have that alignment, you’re gonna still have this friction and you just, you’re actually hurting the business overall.

So this is exciting about these two products coming together, having that visibility. Planning from the financial side, planning from the marketing side, now fully integrated. Now we have this business view as opposed to just a marketing and a finance view. So,

Rowan: A hundred percent agree. I think what you talked about there was you know, marketers spend a lot of time talking to CFOs about their operational metrics. And not about their commercial or their financial metrics. And the objective of this joint merged company is that, hey, like we need to, as marketers know all of [00:34:00] our operational metrics inside and out, right?

That’s our job. Sales leader knows their operational metrics inside and out, and but. Finance don’t talk in those terms. They talk in commercial and financial outcomes. And this joint offering this merged entity planful is all about helping businesses a plan and build driver-based plans that might be either operational or commercial, but then record and manage and track all the financial processes and the financial metrics within the business.

And when you can do that you can reduce a lot of the friction on the finance side. Whatever your company objectives are you can accelerate them. Whether that’s growth, whether that’s profit. Being on the same page from that business strategy perspective is just so important. Peter, what other advantages as you were evaluating?

Where do I wanna partner and bring the Plannuh business to the fore? Were there other advantages [00:35:00] outside of kind of synergies of name? You know, we only had to change two letters. So obviously the C M O and CFO relationship was there, but what about product gaps that maybe Plannuh couldn’t fulfill in under its umbrella?

And what? What were you thinking from that perspective?

Peter: Yeah, there, there were a lot of. Synergistic opportunities. And there are a lot of ways that you evaluate the right partner to to for an acquisition in our case, a sale. And you know, one of them is sort of the product gaps. The other is the target market. You know, the other is the.

The potential of this company that is gonna be basically the vessel that you’re gonna sit your company inside over a period of time. So, so all those things are really important to consider. And all of that stuff was really well aligned and super excited. So we knew that Planful was a super successful company, you know, backed by great investors growing like a weed.[00:36:00]

And very focused on the same kinds of companies that we were focused on at Atlanta. So that meant that we had really good alignment. And on the product gap side, we knew there were a whole bunch of things that we needed to do better. One was really deeper in real time, kind of financial reporting.

How do we really connect in real time with sort of the big plan for the overall company financial plan? With the specialized version of that plan that the marketers need to operate with. So that specific thing in getting that realtime connection was incredibly important. The second thing is there were some big ideas that we had that we just did not have the resources to get.

At this point, so some of the things I’m really excited about is the idea of leveraging some of the really AI based features inside planful. Like the idea of coming up with these insights and warnings and triggers to say, oh my God, something is happening. And in really getting sort of, leaning into [00:37:00] the future of kind of generative AI and and saying, well, let me figure out how to take everything that’s in here and create a, an output that is human readable more than just data tables so that we can communicate this in a more interesting way.

There are all these great ideas that we had and we just didn’t have the resources to get it done. So with a company that was very well-resourced because it was very financially successful, much bigger than us, growing really quicker and also had the right kind of synergistic alignment with where we were going, all that stuff came together to to one.

It was just the painfully obvious decision where we needed to go. In two, it was in my mind, the perfect marriage to solve the problem in the way that Scott and I wanted to solve it from the beginning. We wanted to solve this in a bigger, more holistic way. We were trying to always shrinking [00:38:00] the problem because we had limited resources with more resources, and with this fantastic foundation of planful for finance, we have the opportunity to solve this problem.

The way that we think it deserves to be solved for our customers.

Rowan: And there, there’s a huge number of adjacent opportunities as well. So, things that I talk to a lot of CMOs about is, oh yeah, like we, we really need help working with a. Accounting team separate to our fp and a team, and some of the accounting capabilities that we’re going to connect is going to be huge and free up huge amounts of accounting, resource time and marketing resource time.

Additionally, you know, working with HR teams, right? A common scenario for marketing leaders is, do I go and get an agency for this or do I go and hire internally? All those, what if modeling assumptions about those, answering those questions around resourcing can be done. And then the what if scenarios around planning.

So modeling all of that [00:39:00] analysis, connecting it into a sales forecast, bringing in your pipeline data and augmenting your. Predicted R oi. So there’s a huge opportunity and a huge universe of things to come when we have the two platforms merged together, which we’re doing right now.

And so really exciting to free up a lot of the, you know, I would say they’re secondary or tertiary processes that impact a marketing team, but they create a lot of friction. They slow you down as, as you’re trying to solve for them because they’re on the edges. And as you can solve them, you really free up the time to, to run fast as a marketing org, which is ultimately what the vision of of Plannuh and the next CMO has always been about.

How does marketing teams run fast and execute at their best?

Peter: Yeah and Scott brought. Up the right point, which is trust. And and if you can become ultimately part of a [00:40:00] single collaborative system of record for the way that you plan and operate your business with specialized version for marketing, specialized versions for finance, specialized version for people planning and accounting, whatever it is, then it.

You just get much more trust and you with better trust, better visibility, better agility, you’re gonna go faster. And that’s super exciting for for us to start to see this the vision come to fruition here with the combination. So we’re super excited about it.

Rowan: Well, I know I’m the host of this this conversation today. So I, number one, I want to thank Peter and Scott for being guests on the next cmo. This is probably weird for you, Peter.

Peter: Little bit, but that’s okay.

Rowan: and also I want to thank them for the a the community the content. You know, it has helped me in my career and I know many others out there who constantly talk to me and they’re like, oh, you know, you guys have the next cmo.

What a great book. I read it all the time. [00:41:00] It’s doggy. It’s got notes all through it. So, from the community to both of you thank you and and Peter, what’s next for the next cmo?

Peter: Well, we’ve got a lot on the next C m O path and we’re gonna continue the podcast, obviously. We’ll continue with the great content we’ve done before. The community is thriving so we’re expecting great things out of the next C M O and and so there, there’s a lot more to come.

Rowan: Yeah. So on the from the planful perspective, we’re going to absolutely continue everything that we we have, you know, acquired or merged with from the next CMO and the Plannuh team. We’ve got a great vision ahead for this community. For this podcast for the community itself. And, you know, keep looking for more from us.

There’s a lot more to come and we’re excited about continuing the journey that, that Scott and Peter started and and taking it to the next step.

Peter: Great. And so now I’ll wrestle control back [00:42:00] Rowan so we can wrap up the way that we always do. So Rowan, thank you so much for being our special guest host today. Thanks for being a great partner. Through this entire process and being a great shepherd for this, Scott, thanks for being here.

Being a friend from the beginning and being the architect for all of the good stuff that came out of the next CMO that really has Scott’s fingerprints all over it. So he was there and if you haven’t had a chance to see one of Scott’s courses there, there’s a reason he was cont has consistently voted one of the most popular professors at University of Massachusetts, cuz he’s really great at doing that.

But with that if if you have ideas for future episodes of the next cmo send ’em us along. Send them along to us at the next cmo@planfold.com. Make sure you follow us on all those social media things, and thank you both for being part of this special episode. Thanks guys.

Scott: Thank you. We’ll see you.

Rowan: Thanks, Peter.

Scott: Bye bye.[00:43:00]

PodForte Overlord: A Pod Forte podcast.