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Tips and Tricks for Building a Powerful Marketing Platform

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This episode of Sunny Side Up is all about the power of marketing – and the unique obstacles associated with it. As Chief Marketing Officer for Veracode, Elana has built her career on some key fundamentals, which she shares with Asher in this engaging conversation. If you’ve ever wondered how to become a CMO and what it takes to excel at the job, this is the podcast for you. Elana reveals tips and tricks for building a powerful marketing platform and making sure that everyone company-wide understands the value it brings. Marketing ROI may be hard to measure, but Elana will equip you with smart strategies for getting the message across, both inside your company and out in the marketplace.

About the Guest

Elana Anderson is the chief marketing officer at Veracode. She heads Veracode’s global marketing, branding, and communications programs to help the company achieve its growth strategy. Anderson’s marketing background spans nearly three decades as a marketing executive, industry analyst, and consultant working with Fortune 500 B2C and B2B enterprises. Notably, Anderson led global marketing for Demandware [now part of Salesforce] and Unica [IBM] and was sought-after marketing thought leader as an analyst at Forrester Research. 

Connect with Elana Anderson

Key Takeaways

  • A bit about Elana’s professional path, including stints as a consultant, tech analyst, product manager, and e-commerce marketer. 
  • Key elements for any successful marketing mission:
    • Do your homework!
    • Know your customer
    • Study their language
    • Figure out how your product can deliver value
    • Study/follow the data
    • Deploy strong process skills
    • Understand your strengths
    • Assemble a team to support and supplement
  • There is no one specific framework for effective marketing, but knowing and understanding your audience is a non-negotiable baseline essential.
  • Successful CMOs bring strategic skills, the ability to execute, a willingness to take risks, and a passion to learn.
  • An important concept Elana picked up along the path to her role as a CMO:
    • At the VP level, you’re focused on your team and fighting for them every day.
    • At the executive level, you’re now optimizing for the entire company.
  • For Elana, the best way to get buy-in across the enterprise is by constantly looking ahead and being explicit about the concrete ROI that marketing dollars can bring.
  • There is no marketing tool more valuable and compelling than customer advocacy.
  • Measuring results and demonstrating ROI is a perennial challenge for marketing – one that can be mitigated by a supportive CFO. Invest in building that relationship and conveying your value-add.
  • Elana shares her experience with marketing into the very specific world of cyber-security, where the tolerance for fluff is very low. There are strategies that help:
    • Be authentic
    • Have technical chops 
    • Provide detail matters
    • Adjust to your audience


“The more data you have behind decisions, the stronger those decisions will be.”


Highlights From the Episode

Think About Your Career as a Series of 18-Month Stints

Career development isn’t always unidirectional and definitely not mono-focused. Elana and Asher share their perspectives on the importance of making transitions as you build your resume and knowledge base. You’ll end up with a broad portfolio of skills and also keep up with emerging and evolving business requirements.

Moving On Up

In taking on a c-level job, the playing field changes. You’re no longer focused on your individual team and fighting for them. The mandate now extends to the whole company and your choices must always be made holistically, in the context of corporate best interests as a whole. It’s not easy to relinquish control, but essential as you step into a CMO role.

Thoughts on Driving Company-Wide Support

Marketing often meets with resistance from executives who would rather invest the resources in, most often, sales. But Elana combats this mindset by taking a forward-looking approach. She highlights the role her team has to play in leveraging long-term financial goals, staying ahead of competitors and industry trends, and demonstrating measurable ROI.

Figuring Out How to Communicate Marketing ROI

It’s easy enough to measure an individual campaign or activity, but in the aggregate, it’s very difficult to assess the value of marketing overall. Sales bookings are an easy metric to follow, but the pay-off for increased marketing spending is harder to quantify. Building a relationship with your CFO can be a critical strategy for securing buy-in and support for the marketing function’s bottom-line value.

Recommended Reading/Resources

Elana confesses that these days Google is her best friend. She receives an overwhelming number of newsletters and books, emails, and digests but hasn’t had the time enough to read any of it religiously. Instead, she targets searches to resources based on her specific need at any given moment. It’s a time-saver that helps cut through the clutter!

She also agrees with Asher and one of his recent guests that Strunk and White’s Elements of Style is essential reading!

You’ll also find her blog here.


Jessica BergmannVice President, Content & Customer Marketing

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Sunny Side Up

B2B podcast for, Smarter GTM™

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