154: Exabeam’s Tim Matthews on the power of curiosity

Tim Matthews CMO at Exabeam & Author

This week on the “Marketing Today,” podcast, Alan talks with Tim Matthews, CMO of security software company, Exabeam, and author of “The Professional Marketer”, a handbook that can teach marketers the critical skills they need to get the job done. Exabeam uses machine learning and analytics to track the complete timeline of a cyber-crime so that security teams catch criminals in the midst of their attack.

In this episode, Matthews, discusses his own journey to the marketing industry which started first in computer science and then sales. His ability to break down technical issues and simplify them was good for sales, so he scaled this skill into a successful marketing career.

Matthews believes that “you can build a good marketer” when he talks about the fundamental skills, such as curiosity and commitment, that he looks for in people as he grows his marketing team.

Highlights from this Marketing Today conversation include:

  • Matthews says his technical background has helped him in marketing: “Good marketers really understand their products and their buyers.” 2:46
  • Matthews encourages marketers to figure out a way to get into the field to understand what makes buyers tick: “You really don’t understand your business until you witness a sale” 3:17
  • Matthews on what drove him to write The Professional Marketer: “I was looking for a handbook that could teach marketers the critical skills they needed to do the job.” 5:10
  • Matthews’ handbook was inspired by a handbook given to professional chefs at the Culinary Institute of America: “They don’t teach you recipes…it teaches you fundamental skills and you put these building blocks together.” 7:10
  • Matthews: “I would encourage anyone who is thinking of writing a book to write a book!” 7:55
  • Matthews says it took 5 drafts to get to a finished result he was happy with: “The first draft wasn’t great.” 9:22
  • Matthews shares his thoughts on hiring people remotely and in different regions to compete with Silicon Valley behemoths: “I’ve become more open-minded” 11:02
  • Matthews provides a recent case study to illustrate the power of curiosity in buyer persona research 13:30
  • Matthews provides a recent case study to illustrate the power of curiosity in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) 15:15
  • Matthews sets a realistic cadence for his team by breaking the annual marketing plan up into 12 monthly plans: “The team likes to be able to cross stuff of their list” 18:20
  • Matthews says his summer jobs developed humility in him and hardened him to better withstand the bad days: “I can still feel the heat” 25:06
  • Matthews on lessons learned early in his career: “I probably could’ve failed faster” 28:10
  • Matthews on how his competitive drive fuels him: “I want as big a piece of that (TAM) as possible” 29:20
  • Matthews shares his respect for the branding and marketing tactics of brands like Tesla, Chipotle & The Ocean Cleanup 30:50
  • Matthews shares his thoughts on the future of marketing 34:05

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