Software, Cloud Computing, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, Venture Capital
General Partners; Marketing partner; CEO & CMO's of leading Cloud Computing companies, GigaOM, VP Research, Wikibon, Silicon Angle analyst team
Boston-based North Bridge and former North Bridge Growth Equity [re-branded GuidePost] actively partner with founders and entrepreneurs providing seed-to-growth financing for innovative companies looking to disrupt and reinvent big markets. The firm funded more than 170 companies creating many billions in market value. Among those firms are Acquia, Actifio, Cool Planet, Couchbase, Demandware, Mavenir Systems, Proto Labs, Reval and Starent Networks.
The Future of Cloud Computing thought leadership program was launched in 2010 by North Bridge with Gigaom Research as a key partner. 2016 was the 6th and final year for North Bridge’s leadership of this study. Its corollary program, the Future of Open Source program ran for 10 years and was then continued under a new brand, Black Duck 360.
The 2016 study was the largest ever and the program represents the industry’s deepest and broadest examination of the cloud technology revolution. It analyzed the inhibitors and drivers behind cloud adoption, separating the hype surrounding the cloud from genuine industry trends and real world cases across a sample of over 1,350 respondents, 60% of which were users and 20% from companies over 5000 employees. The program was vendor-agnostic and supported by cloud companies large and small. The final Webcast hosted by Silicon Angle (Wikibon) featured Stu Miniman, Holly Maloney McConnell, and Paul Gillin.
Business Growth Challenge
Based on the success of its predecessor program the Future of Open Source (FOOS), North Bridge sought to launch a corollary program to engage in critical discussions around Cloud Computing. Cloud Computing has shown an explosive growth in every category making it an imperative for companies looking to transform their businesses.
In this engagement, MarketingRecon was given the opportunity to take the learning from the FOOS program and the challenges facing the Cloud sector to design, from the ground up, an industry collaboration, survey, and thought leadership initiative to match the intensive growth rate of this movement. In this engagement, MarketingRecon made detailed recommendations and implemented each segment of the program alongside the key partners including software partner, Michael J. Skok and Marketing Partner, Eric Jones.
Deliverables and Results
Among the first key objectives was to secure and engage a partnership with a major Cloud industry analyst. The initial choice was GigaOM and later Wikibon/Silicon Angle. The study results premiered at the 2011 Structure Conference and were part of the event in 2012, 2013, & 2014. In 2015-16, the study was revealed in Webcasts with Wikibon. In 2014, Gigaom’s head of Research compared the study results to its own “early leader” survey results. These results were then further validated in a live voting segment at the event.
Using the mirror image of the Future of Open Source “sales channel model” – collaborators were recruited to grow the programs’ content, marketing reach, and impact. The Marketing Recon engagement included identifying and project managing a virtual team of tacticians to increase the program’s visibility on the ground (via events) and online (via social media and online engagement).
The 2014-2016 programs involved and engaged 72 collaborating organizations. The programs included a full suite of marketing activities (see below) and was considered the most widely endorsed program of its kind in the industry. Via Slideshare the studies reached over 100,000 viewers.
Marketing opportunities for collaborators in the program included:
- A distinct “FutureofCloud” Twitter channel with online discussions around the slide share, twitter channel, and blog posts.
- Inclusion of through leadership, influencer quotes and case studies inside the master slide deck and press releases
- A LinkedIn FutureofCloud community group
- Co-marketing of the collaborators in all activities – throughout all the program’s collateral.
- Ability to repurpose and industry leading, high quality slide deck with socially tagged slides for key data points
- On-site interviews at leadership dinners and industry events.
- Webinar and panel participation opportunities
- Access to key data points and slides from the presentation for use in their own presentations
- Inclusion in key North Bridge events such as leadership dinners
Jackie has been instrumental to the success of the North Bridge Future of Cloud Computing study. With Jackie’s involvement, the study has become the industry’s most comprehensive and widely cited assessments of the state of cloud computing. The numbers tell the story: in 2014, we had over 1300 survey participants, 90,000 Slideshare views, and participation from 72 collaborating cloud companies and luminaries. Each of those statistics continues to outpace the previous year, demonstrating that the program is continuously being improved upon and growing in reach. Jackie has had a hand in all aspects of the study’s success, from fostering close relationships with collaborators, to helping me with the study’s content, look and feel, to promoting it for the greatest possible impact. It is rare that a week goes by without someone reaching out to us to use the survey’s content in some way – it’s a tremendous piece of true thought leadership that the entire tech and especially the entrepreneurial community can use.Eric Jones, Marketing Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners
CloudBees has been a collaborator in the North Bridge Venture Partners annual cloud survey and thought leadership program for the past several years. As a company focused on on-premise and cloud solutions, both, it has been interesting for us to see the survey results and to be part of such a unique initiative.
The expansion in reach that the program has received each year comes not only from the overall growth in usage of cloud offerings, but also from the tireless efforts Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco (MarketingRecon) puts forth to fine tune the survey, solicit collaborators to help promote it – and then to make it easy for us to promote. The post-survey analysis is also compelling and, again, the MarketingRecon promotion engine working with North Bridge, ramps up to communicate the results throughout the industry. It is a mountain of work – but it is clear that there is a finely-tuned process behind the project that gets better and better every year!Heidi Gilmore, Marketing Communications, CloudBees
The collaboration between North Bridge and Gigom involved an industry-leading analysis of cloud computing trends. First-ever comparison of leading-edge and mainstream cloud adoption. Conference and Gigaom Research content creation. Gigaom Research branding. Gigaom has collaborated as a partner with North Bridge Venture Partners on the Future of Cloud Computing for several years now, deepening the partnership with Jackie’s help each successive year. When I came on board, Jackie helped navigate some significant fine-tuning of the research methodology across the partners. She was our communications hub, and chief project manager, and we would not have been able to improve the project each year without her. The project began as a relatively simple, smaller scale survey written up and presented at a Gigaom event. It has since evolved into a multi-part survey, with live polling, and an extended scope of coverage and detail. Jackie coordinated different partners over time, and kept us on schedule. She also helped ensure rich collaboration and give-and-take among sizeable egos and varying objectives.David Card, VP Research Gigaom Survey design and analysis. Panel moderation, presentation at Gigaom Structure conference.
Jackie’s relationship to North Bridge and to me personally spanned nearly seven years of collaboration to create and implement a wide range of marketing and thought leadership initiatives – often several happening simultaneously. Marketing in a venture capital environment is unique, involving a careful balance of relationship management, tenacity, and timing in order to be well placed with entrepreneurs and innovators. As the investment climate is constantly in flux – one has to be prepared to change direction and emphasis when needed. To that end, Jackie showed incredible dexterity – dealing with all levels of the firm’s relationships, engendering trust with me and my partners.
Among my favorite characteristics of Jackie’s service to NB was her ability to balance strategy and action, keep to deadlines, source and lead teams of marketing specialists, and leverage her own network to strengthen the projects. The results are evident in the growth of several key multi-faceted programs – the Future of Open Source and Future of Cloud Computing programs plus other significant “firsts” such as the large gatherings for keynote events such as Geoffrey Moore, Andy Jassy of AWS, and Jim Whitehurst of Red Hat, part of my Startup Secrets series at the Harvard iLab. She also strengthened keystone relationships with major partners such as AWS, Microsoft, Gigaom, and over 150 companies to design industry collaborations that made each program a success. An entrepreneur in her own right, she melded well with our portfolio companies, CEO’s, and marketing teams, raising their comfort level while being persistent about their involvement with the programs. As the firm did not have an internal marketing lead for most of Jackie’s engagement with North Bridge, she was particularly resourceful and creative in her approach.Michael J. Skok, Investor