The Future of Marketing is Organic Search with Nate Skinner, CMO of Onfido

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Future of Marketing is Organic Search with Nate Skinner, CMO of Onfido. The summary for this episode is: <p>This episode features Nate Skinner, CMO of Onfido, an AI-based technology that’s creating a new standard for online identity services. He discusses why it’s financially smart to build a long-term organic search strategy and the importance of making continuous content creation a key component. Plus, Nate shares insight into closing the gap between sales and marketing, and much more.</p><p>---------</p><p><strong>Quotes</strong></p><p>“The first indicator that [organic search] was working was we were paying way less money in paid advertising... That was huge. That lets you do other things. Let's take those dollars and put them in events, or let's take those dollars and put them into customer advisory boards, or anything else that marketing needs to drive outcomes. It literally created space to do more.” - Nate Skinner</p><p>---------</p><p><strong>Key Takeaways</strong></p><ul><li>Invest in organic search marketing for a more cost-effective long-term strategy.</li><li>Extensive analysis only results in first-page rankings if paired with continuous content creation.</li><li>Stay up-to-date knowing what questions your customers are asking in order to offer solutions with value.</li></ul><p>---------<br /><br /><strong>Time Stamps</strong>:</p><p>* (1:15) Meet Nate Skinner, CMO at Onfido</p><p>* (3:30) Biggest gaps in how marketing teams execute </p><p>* (5:32) Nate’s role as CMO at Onfido</p><p>* (8:30) When SEO first came on Nate’s radar</p><p>* (14:05) Mastering customer-first marketing to increase organic search traffic </p><p>* (16:25) Closing the loop between sales and marketing</p><p>* (20:10) How to view SEO in the modern age</p><p>* (23:32) Account-based marketing vs. broad-based marketing</p><p>* (31:20) Quick Hits</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Sponsor</strong></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by <a href="">DemandJump</a>. Tired of wasting time creating content that doesn’t rank? With DemandJump you know the exact content to create to increase 1st-page rankings and drive outcomes. Get started for free today at <a href=""></a>.</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Links</strong></p><ul><li><a href="">Connect with Nate on LinkedIn</a></li><li><a href="">Connect with Christopher on LinkedIn</a></li><li><a href="">Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="">Onfido</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="">DemandJump</a></li></ul>
Mastering customer-first marketing to increase organic search traffic
02:20 MIN
The constant creation of content helps build authority and credibility
00:56 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to Page One or Bust, your ultimate guide to getting on page one of search engines. This week meet Nate Skinner, the CMO at Onfido, a technology company that provides identity services for a digital world. Nate has built and led marketing and sales teams for B2B tech companies for more than two decades, most recently Oracle and Salesforce. In this episode you'll hear how the CMO of a $ 100 million revenue company strategizes page one positioning for an IPO and much more. But before we get into it, here's a brief word from today's sponsor. Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump, get insights, drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started creating content that ranks at demandjump. com today. And now, here's your co- host Christopher Day and Ryan Brock.

Christopher Day: Welcome to Page One or Bust. This is Christopher Day, your co- host, the CEO of DemandJump. And also joined by Ryan Brock, our chief content Officer here at DemandJump. How you doing, Ryan?

Ryan Brock: Yo, not bad. How are you?

Christopher Day: Doing awesome. Today we are super excited to have Nate Skinner with us, the CMO of Onfido, over 700 employees. Onfido is the new identity standard for the internet. How you doing today, Nate?

Nate Skinner: I'm doing great, Toph, thanks for having me. I can call you Toph, right? Because you introduced yourself as Christopher, which threw me off.

Christopher Day: You're exactly right. And a lot of times I say at the beginning of these podcasts, now that we're friends, if someone's listening, just call me Toph because nobody wants to say three syllables. Way too long. So welcome Nate. We're super excited about today. For over 23 years, Nate has been building and leading marketing sales teams for B2B technology companies. Roles have included the SVP of global marketing for Oracle's advertising and CX business, along with other senior roles at AWS, Salesforce, and Borland. And in full disclosure, Nate also currently serves on the DemandJump board of directors and it is quite an honor to have someone of Nate's caliber on our board. Nate has also been named one of the 20 most important executives shaping the future of marketing technology by Business Insider in 2020. So with that, let's hand over to you Nate. And kick it off, maybe tell me about your role at Onfido.

Ryan Brock: Keep in mind Nate that we did pick you because you are on our board and we want to make this a very easy first podcast. So go easy on us.

Nate Skinner: That's an easy one for me for lots of reasons. Actually, it's interesting, Toph, your intro. When I met you through the Endeavor process that you all were going through at Demand, I remember hearing you talk about what DemandJump does and how it helps content marketers and ranking and getting to page one. And then I saw the demo. And I about fell out of my chair because I had used all kinds of things to try to increase our performance of non- branded keyword search terms. And to mixed results. And so I think an interesting sidebar here is I was like, holy cow, this is going to change my life as a marketer. And I reached out to you and said, " Hey, I don't know what's going to go on with this Endeavor thing. I don't know what your plan is, but I'd love to be involved with this company." And so here we are, whatever, a year later. It has changed the game for me in lots of different ways. I'm looking forward to talking about how.

Ryan Brock: It's amazing how similar that is to my own story of how I got here. The first time I sat down in a room with Sean Schwegman and he showed me the demo, it was like 90 seconds before I was like, " Hey, just let me play with it. I got to see it because this looks amazing." And now I'm on the team, so that went pretty well.

Christopher Day: That's awesome. So Nate, having been a marketing leader in multiple large companies, let's talk about that. What have you seen as the biggest gap in how marketing teams execute? And one of the things that you mentioned on that first call when I first met you, and it's one of the reasons we were building Demand Jump, it's like how do we go from guesswork to just knowledge? But how do you think about that, and the biggest gap in how marketing teams execute?

Nate Skinner: Yeah, what's interesting is that I think if you read the Scott Galloway post Corona book, there's so many things that the pandemic has accelerated. We all can see them and feel them in our lives. You can order Chick- Fil- A before you show up and they'll bring it to your car. That wasn't true in 2019. All of the ways in which the world has changed, in many ways bad, in lots of ways good. And one of the things that's required from marketers over the last two years is if we're all in this onscreen environment all the time, we started to learn that, whoa, I can get answers to lots of questions without talking to someone. And what is the tool by which marketers can reach you then? It's content and keyword ranking and search terms. We're all searching for things like the closest Chick- fil- A to me, content solutions that help me rank on page one. These are the ways that humans think about the problems they're trying to solve and finding solutions to those problems. And in a post Corona world, it's more and more of that is done online in front of our computer. And so the timing of me being introduced to DemandJump and the capability that it brings to me as a marketer, it was perfect timing. Because we needed to really crank up the help people looking for a solution to a problem find us in a very noisy world. And that's what this does. That's the need for it. I hope that answers your question. It's like every marketer out there, B2C or B2B needs to be thinking about how do I reach people that are looking for me and they don't know my name? And that's what content and SEO is brought together. And I think DemandJump really drives that in many ways for my effort, at least in my own experience.

Christopher Day: No, I think that's spot on. And real quick, just to back up maybe because I didn't follow up with you Onfido. Give us a few minutes about what you're up to, the problems you're solving at Onfido. I know you guys are on fire, you're growing fast. Maybe talk a little bit about your role there Onfido, what you guys are trying to tackle, and how you organize your team. And then we'll take a little road trip on some other questions.

Nate Skinner: Onfido is one of these post Corona accelerants, in a world where human beings aren't going to walk into the bank or into the mortgage lender's office. And, " Here I am, my name's Nate and here's my ID." How do you know your customers are who they say they are? How do you verify their identity? And we all have been experienced with this with the clear line at the airport or at an event, biometric verification. This has all been accelerated. It's a big part of why I joined Onfido is the capability to deliver that for customers, to simplify identity for everyone is why I came here. But we have challenges. The challenges are relatively in this context of life or generations, it's relatively new. So companies that need to verify a person is who they say they are with documentation or biometric verification, they may not know exactly how to go about that. They may not know of the vendors that they can choose from. They probably don't know that Onfido exists. And that's the opportunity that's presented to us. How that drives into our SEO strategy and the way we take advantage of products like DemandJump is a core component to our marketing strategy and how we organize our team. So you asked me a couple questions in there, let me just drop a couple things. Number one is SEO is job one. In a world where everyone's trying to find the solution to the problem, how do we make sure when they search for the solution that we can provide, they find us before everybody else? And that strategy paired up with content that helps people learn about this space is why it's so critical for us today. And in the journey that Onfido's on as we go 90% growth year over year and we continue towards our path and our vision, we want to make sure that everyone that needs to go simplify identity for their customers can do that with us. And it starts with SEO. And so we've organized our team around DemandGen that has a content inaudible, and the content component is the crank that helps people understand what is ID verification? What is facial biometrics? How do you authenticate documents in Brazil? We need to help people find that we are a leader in this space and they can solve their problems with us. That's the crank that we're turning in content and SEO strategy.

Ryan Brock: That's brilliant. And that's a really nice segue into really our first segment here, I guess. We like to use the journey metaphor here when we're talking about Page One or Bust, it's like it's a vacation, it's a road trip. So the first thing that we like to talk about with our guests is just what that road trip has looked like for you so far. What has your journey been to figuring all of that out? Right now you're in a state where you're understanding what your best customers are looking for and how to deliver them content, but where were you in your career when SEO first came onto your radar?

Nate Skinner: Oh yeah, that's a great question. I came from a number of different companies in marketing. So I spent the first chapter of my career, the first 10 years, 99 to 2009 in the field. Selling as a sales rep, as an SE, sales engineer, doing proofs of concepts, things like that. And to be completely transparent with you and your listeners, I thought marketing was just not useful. I didn't understand what went into it. Now, keep in mind that was a different time. This was before marketing automation products and landing pages and retargeting and all mobile devices. The iPhone didn't ship till 2007. So that was my sales experience. Then I joined a company called Salesforce in 2009 and that's when I tell people all the time, I spent five years there from nine to 14. I got a master's degree in marketing, B2B marketing specifically from Salesforce. And that's when it first occurred to me that there was a lot that we could be doing to rank. And I went out to I'll never forget, I had lunch with my friend Lauren Vaccarello, who's a very well known CMO and aspirant. We should probably get her on the show. And she was like, " Yeah, the Google team's going to take us to lunch." And I was like, " Huh," this was 2010 or something. And a big part of why was that Lauren had a relationship with Google for paid search performance and ranking. And it was my first experience with what that's all about. And so as time's gone on, and again into the everyone's online, 62% of people make a buying decision before they ever talk to a human. That evolution over the last 10 years, it's become very clear to me that a dollar spent on page one ranking can translate into literally millions of dollars in pipe and demand for your product or your company almost immediately. And these things don't take years. They can be done, with aggressive focus they can be done very quickly. But I hope that answers that question. When I was exposed to it, I'll never forget Lauren taking me out and saying, " Well, Google's paying." That was a long time ago. It's totally different now.

Ryan Brock: Let's take that super, super specific. You glazed over where you started caring about it, you realized what it was. But was there a moment in your career where you were like, I need to care about this. This needs to be something that I do and I do well.

Nate Skinner: Yeah, the moment was particularly... I led marketing for the product at Salesforce called Pardot. And we had as powerful as the engine of marketing is at Salesforce, inside of that big company was this product called Pardot we needed to create awareness for it and demand. And it was in a pretty crowded field of other marketing automation players. And this was 2017, it became clear to me that, yes, we're going to get the halo effect of Salesforce marketing at the high level, the Dreamforce and all the things Salesforce does. But we needed to market our solution in a very specific way to a very specific buyer. And that's when SEO became obvious to me. Oh, I know what we need to do. People are searching for how do I lead nurtures? What is a marketing automation product that works with Salesforce? These were all natural language searches people were doing. And we looked at them in a Google analytics view and said, " Well, why aren't we ranking? When I do that in my browser, I don't see Pardot." And it was like, ding, we have to be the first page, number one, two, or three in organic results for what's a marketing automations product that works with Salesforce? We should have owned that spot. And at that time we didn't. So we spent the next nine months to a year implementing content strategy that drove that result to a higher level.

Ryan Brock: At that point in time, when you talk about conversions or even leads, what percentage were you shooting for from organic? Was that a big part of the overall play in the market or did it have room to grow? How quickly did that become vital to the product's entire strategy?

Nate Skinner: Well, interesting, because of course the demand should come from the result being higher. If you're looking for a marketing automation product and you find us first, that by definition is going to lead to a long tail of better conversions. Because people are searching for the solution and you've provided it. But it's an interesting answer though if I turn it sideways, we didn't know. The first indicator that this was working was we were paying way less money in paid advertising. Our paid dollar budget was like this. And after about a quarter we were like, " Hey, we don't have to spend that anymore. We can spend this much because we're inaudible."

Ryan Brock: You can go down by what? Three or four x?

Nate Skinner: Oh, it was massive. And it was like, wait a minute, hold on. Why did we just get back hundreds of thousands of dollars in display and search? Oh, because we're ranking organically. Okay, that's big. And then I took that with me, that lesson and that experience to Oracle where to this moment in time, and I don't want to speak for them because I'm not there anymore, but there's an initiative across that company to increase the amount of people that can find the solution to their problems that Oracle can provide. And the last job I had there on the CX and advertising business, it was a huge initiative for us and we started to see the results bare fruit. And the same metric was the one that we were able to really double down on was we're reducing our paid spend over time and those dollars are being earned. And that was huge. And that lets you do other things like, well, let's take those dollars and put them in events, or let's take those dollars and put them into customer advisory boards or anything else that marketing needs to drive. So it literally created space to do more.

Ryan Brock: Toph gets real fired up, we talk about this all the time. I'm the chief content officer so my lane is organic, but we're always talking to marketers about how if you're doing it right, this approach that we're taking to pain driven content, pain being a strong word of course, but answering the questions the customers have. That customer first marketing approach is not about just organic. It touches every part of your marketing.

Nate Skinner: It's such a good point. So by the way, to bring it circling back when I said I'll tilt it this way and I'll bring it back again. So you asked about pipe gen and demand gen and relating SEO and organic search efforts too, there was a direct correlation. If you laid our SEO ranking chart as we went through this, whether it was at Salesforce or at Oracle or now at Onfido as we begin. I just got here in November so it's new, or still new for me and we're still getting the plumbing laid for a real aggressive move here. But as you lay that SEO organic performance down next to your demand gen, every single time there's a direct correlation. And the interesting thing is it's allowed me to care less about credit when it comes to attribution for pipe. Because I know if we get this right for the top 20 keywords that matter, that the demand will come. And I don't care if it's not attributed to marketing, it will happen. I know it. I've seen it three times over the course of the last eight years. So I don't care as much about credit, which that goes miles for my relationship with our sales leader. Because we're talking about pipe, and pipe is not just marketing. So at B2B companies like ours, pipe is a product of sales, SDRs or sales development reps and inbound, the chat, download a white paper, go to an event, join a webinar. All those are inbound channels. But as the CMO, I own the responsibility for all of the pipe even if I didn't generate it. Well, what SEO ranking and performance does is it allows me to say I don't care as much because I know there's a correlation. And if we get this right, the downstream effect is massive. I've seen it three times. So I don't have to sit there and go, hold on to analytics folks, we should be getting credit for that deal. It doesn't matter. We're going to drive the result we need to drive at the organic level.

Christopher Day: That's so true. Closing that loop between sales and marketing, which all of this very much helps with is the kind of thinking that the CMO or the CRO need to think about. It's not me, it's we, we, we.

Nate Skinner: Yeah. Well, and the other thing is that the sales teams, as smart as they are in any company, and I assume this is true with everybody because I've been to a number of them over 23 years, they can understand something like search. Why? Because they're people and we're all doing it all the time.

Ryan Brock: Right. You don't have to introduce this opaque black box strategy.

Nate Skinner: Exactly.

Ryan Brock: Which some people still think it is, but at the end of the day when you're just getting down to the human level, it's absolutely natural.

Nate Skinner: This is exactly right. So I mentioned I just recently joined, I've been here going on two months or closing in on my two month anniversary. And we went to an exec offsite to plan our 2022. So what's the plan, and organize and align. And I used SEO ranking performance, and Toph gave it to me because I didn't have my license of DemandJump just yet. And I was like, ID verification, doc verification, facial biometrics, those are the keyword terms that I wanted to show where we are today and where we want to go. And I used them in the meeting I took our e- team, our exec team through, to say, this is what I mean/ people are looking for these things and they're not finding us. We're going to change that starting right now. And everyone understood, I didn't have to take them, like you said, the opaque black box of MQL conversion rates from landing pages, all this nonsense. It was like, you can open a browser and you can type those search terms too and you can see where we show up, and they're not where they should be, on page one. And it was automatic. It was like, yep, totally get it. Next question.

Ryan Brock: It's definitely a difference between your take on marketing 20 years ago versus now. This is me getting a little bit poetic here, but I want to feel like I'm contributing something to the world. I'm not just hawking stuff and I'm not just selling something. But when you're doing marketing right in 2022, you're telling a story and you're solving a problem. And I think the people who deserve to win are the ones who are genuinely solving problems. And that's what I love about this is it just gets away from all of the jargon, all the technicality, all of the I need to prove myself by measuring this against whatever you're doing. It's just answer a question and do it right.

Nate Skinner: That's it. Answer the question, and answer the question the way your customers are asking it. What I've observed, sorry, Toph, were you going to say something?

Christopher Day: No, go ahead Nate. I just wanted to add on a question for you and Ryan.

Nate Skinner: Well, let me just finish that one thought then. Because one of the things that I've noticed, and this is probably common for most technical kind of products or solutions out there. In the B2B space it's almost always complex, because your buyer is an enterprise. The decision isn't just a human, it's a committee. So there's more complexity. But what I can say is that the ability to think about the way our prospective customers are looking for the solution to the problem is not always obvious to people that are inside the company. The product folks, the people that are writing the code and building the tech, they're thinking about the problems they're solving, but they're not thinking about the way the customers are looking for the solution. And so that's our job is to help them understand, look, when I'm sitting at home as the fraud officer at Barclays, a customer Onfido, and I search for facial biometrics providers, that's the way I think about it. A facial biometric provider. Well, if we're not ranking for that then they're going to miss us. And that's not the same thing as what the product team might be building, which is a totally different named capability. That's the marketing's job too. This brings your point, Ryan, is doing that translation and speaking on behalf of the customer is a big part of this job.

Ryan Brock: SEO as UX?

Nate Skinner: Right, exactly.

Christopher Day: Yeah, I think this goes back just the way the internet was born, and you think about search engines and social tools. But search engines were built for people, us as individuals, for people to find any product, service or information. They were not built through the lens of the business that has the product, service, or the information to find the people. And I think that's why SEO has lived, sets this nebulous weird, crazy black box life. Because we didn't have computational power and database structures, et cetera to understand this beyond spreadsheets, beyond downloading some data, throwing some macro formulas in there and trying to understand it.

Ryan Brock: And guessing a whole lot.

Christopher Day: And guessing, it'll just never work. Because the internet is not linear, search engines are not linear. They're very complex graphs and networks.

Nate Skinner: Yeah, and I tend to oversimplify because this is not an easy job. We have people on our team who this is what they're thinking about every day. And not only is it not easy to understand all those algorithms and backlinking and all the things you need to do, but the other part of it is, and Ryan, I think you'll appreciate this one, you got to crank out content. That content has to keep coming otherwise your ranking will not go where you want it to go. You can do all the analysis until your head pops off, but if you don't start putting content into the world, you're never going to rank.

Ryan Brock: And that translates to real world experience anyway. It's everything we're saying, where you don't have to overthink this. Set aside the internet. If you're thinking about who's an authority on a topic, is it someone who shows up to give a speech once a year and then disappears? Or is it someone who's writing a column in a newspaper? Or is regularly publishing a book? Or is speaking all the time? All we're doing here is mapping normal human behavior to a digital life. And then so of course if you want to be an authority in the eyes of the search engine or the eyes of people, you've got to just continue commenting on what's going on.

Nate Skinner: Or you can do ads which everybody hates. Well look, let's just take what you just said and translate into an experience that every one of us knows. And I know your audience is probably advanced marketers or mid- level learners or whatever, but if I moved last year, I don't have a primary physician in my new location, what did I do? I went and searched for primary physicians near me. Well, I guarantee you the doctor who I actually have, which he's great by the way, I promise you he did not think for a second about where he ranked in that search result. Why? Because he doesn't need to, because you go to the Bay Care or you drive by it or whatever. It's a different problem. But in the world where he wants to start doing telemedicine and offering his services to people that may have moved away from his location, he needs to be thinking about this. Because someone that's in Colorado, I live in Florida now, they're not going to find my doctor even though he's awesome unless he starts thinking about this problem in a different way. And so I think there's something to that about your point around if you're an expert, you don't just show up and say I'm the doctor. You have to actually make sure people know that you're an expert and put yourself out there in ways that help them find you and create awareness of the fact that actually I'm the best doctor for your needs and here's why.

Ryan Brock: In academics they get in trouble if they don't publish regularly. You can't just teach, you have to continue publishing. There's real world analogs for everything we're talking about.

Nate Skinner: Yeah.

Christopher Day: So what do you guys think about, there are markers out there who say, I'm all in on ABM. Account based marketing, period, full stop. That's all. I don't even want to talk about anything else because I am going to arrive in glory by singular going through ABM. What are your all's thoughts on that about account- based marketing versus ignoring organic align with the customer journey, SEO at all costs?

Nate Skinner: So I have a very specific opinion about this, and it may not be quite exactly what you're looking for. So let me say it.

Ryan Brock: And then we'll cut it out if we don't like it, that's fine.

Nate Skinner: Exactly. Account- based marketing is very useful for certain kinds of, especially B2B companies. And I'll give you an example is the one I work for now, Onfido. Not every company out there, every business, every entity out there is a candidate customer for us. It's customers who need to verify that a human being is a human being for lots of reasons, policy reasons, regulations, security, InfoSec or whatever. Banks are a great example. Bitcoin vendors and the coinbase of the world. These are great examples of where if I let you use my service, I need to know who you are and have proven that I did that work. By definition that means not every entity out there is going to buy this product. For us, account- based marketing and an account- centric approach to marketing is a good thing because it's a known universe of entities that we want to market to. So if it's a known universe of entities, which ones are they? Let's put together content that maps to those entities and directs our traffic and our agenda and our effort at them and not everyone else. I'm not going to do a Super Bowl ad. Number one, it's too late. But number two is because everybody will watch it, be like, " What? I can't buy that and it's not for me." So there is a place in a specific kind of shape where account- based marketing is awesome, but there's a lot of places where that's not true. Anybody could buy this thing or any business could buy it, and all you got to do is get more and more awareness about what you sell and what you do to get them to buy it in spades over and over again. I talk about it like broad- based marketing versus account- based marketing. They're one in the same thing, one is just those entities only, one is everybody else. I think the answer though, Toph, to your question is how I think about that plus content or SEO, they married to each other.

Christopher Day: I totally agree with that. Totally agree.

Nate Skinner: So if we're going to target 2000 entities on earth, it doesn't mean the SEO goes out the window. It actually becomes even more important, because how do those entities talk about themselves? What industry are they in? Who are the buying committees at those kinds of companies? We can get really specific with the content we create that drives SEO results for those audiences in a way that if we didn't have that focus, we probably wouldn't get.

Ryan Brock: And this is where that human context is so important. I represent the creatives in this equation, and I'm always trying to find opportunities to reassure myself and my team of writers that we're not replacing you with technology anytime soon. And this is one of those times where I've seen time and time again, customers, marketers, they make a mistake of saying, well, here we've got two different topics we could go after. And one of them has three times the search volume, which means that's the winner, that's the one we got to go after. Whereas the other one is a longer tail keyword that is just so pitch perfect to what you're going for, that you could put all your money into that and probably make twice the return than you would going after that broad inaudible. So understanding the context and learning to move between the broad and the specific is crucial to this kind of marketing just as it is to account- based marketing.

Nate Skinner: And I think if you're doing account- based marketing and you're deciding you're going to do that and not SEO, not optimization, not content optimization, you're losing. On the other hand, if you're not doing account- based marketing and you're not doing SEO and content optimization, you're losing. So one plus the other in both cases is absolutely necessary.

Christopher Day: So I always thought about this a little bit through the lens of like, okay, so I'm the CEO of a SaaS company, high growth SaaS company, and what do we all care about in SaaS? We care about lots of metrics, KPIs. There's very specific things that we measure and watch on a daily, weekly basis for the health and the growth of the business. All the time, maybe not quite once a month, but every two months I'm searching what are the most critical SaaS metrics? What are the most important SaaS metrics? Something around SaaS metrics? Because I want to keep myself informed about what's changing in the industry, who's talking about what? And so I use that as an example, because a lot of times people say, marketers might say, " Well, that persona." The CMO is not asking that rudimentary question. And I think they are. And if they're not when they're laying in bed at night or in the office during the day feeling some pain and they just want to get freshened up, they're tasking their team to, hey, go out and find me X. And so that team, those humans go ask questions. And if the marketer doesn't know what those questions are, they're going to miss the boat.

Nate Skinner: That's 100% true. The biggest hurdle to overcome in my new job was understanding the way our customers talk about the questions they're asking. Because I spent the previous 12 years marketing products to marketers. I understood that perfectly. I knew exactly what I needed to find, but now we're marketing a solution to a problem that I don't actually myself have to solve for. So the first question I asked is, well, how do people think about this? And the answer they're looking for, what are the words they use? And again, this brings back the thing I said earlier, the product team's perception of that was not exactly the same as the way the sales team, when I talked to our CRO Terry, here's what they say when we talk to them, here's how they speak about the solution. Those were the words that I really wanted to start to juice our SEO approach. Because they're talking to people who have found us somehow. And so let's put that on, turn that to 11 and make sure we're reaching them. It doesn't matter how we think about it, it matters how the world outside of our walls thinks about the problem.

Ryan Brock: I sometimes give lunch and learns and do some education with writers, and I talk about audience context all the time. And the way that I anchor my approach to it is imagine one person that you're trying to reach. If you want to understand the emotional tone that you should take with your content or the problems you need to solve in that content or the length of it, the technicality of it, all of these things, if you can imagine one real person that you know is your best possible customer, latch onto it, just latch onto that until you learn something else. And I think that's the same thing that you're saying right now. It's like if you could find a real world source of truth, that's always going to be better than just imagining things.

Nate Skinner: And marrying up that with what products like DemandJump tell me about those keywords. If I just heard and Terry told me this is what they ask about, this is what we keep on hearing in our conversations on the sales side, great, that gives me something to go check. And I take that and I marry it up to where does this rank, how much volume is there for these words in the space we're in? And you start to look for those magic winners. This is the way they said it and these are the keywords, and the combination gets us massive volume and gets us on page one. It's not to say everything else we're not going to do, but I don't know about your audience or you guys, but we can't do everything. So if we're going to do the most important things first, well, then the most important keyword search terms that our customers are searching for are the ones we should rank page one. All the other 99 different terms, we'll get to them someday, but right now it's these five or these 10 or whatever they are.

Christopher Day: Yep, that's exactly right. Nate, this has been absolutely awesome. Thanks for sharing all of your wisdom and your experiences. We have about a half a dozen quick hitter questions. So if nothing comes to mind, just say pass, but we have about a half a dozen quick hit questions that we'd like to ask. Who's creating your content? Is it outsourced or inhouse?

Nate Skinner: Inhouse and outsourced?

Christopher Day: Any SEO myths busted along the way? What's the biggest thing that's top of mind as an SEO myth that's been bust open?

Nate Skinner: The biggest SEO myth that I've seen busted is if we know what the keywords are we can affect page one performance. That's actually not true. You can know them all day long, but it's like a COVID vaccination. You can put them all in the warehouse, but until you get them in somebody's arm, nothing's happening. And so the myth was we know what the words are, now we got to churn out the content. Where's the content? Who's driving the content? That machine's got to start cranking and marrying those two things is critical.

Ryan Brock: And no, you can't just use that term 700 times on a page and assume you're going to rank inaudible.

Nate Skinner: You just can't put it in your footer and say you're done.

Christopher Day: What is the last thing you searched for?

Nate Skinner: Last thing I searched for.

Ryan Brock: That you're willing to admit publicly.

Nate Skinner: Actually the last thing answer for before this call was a flight to London. We have a lot of folks in London and customers in London, and I'm going there end of the month.

Christopher Day: Awesome. What is something that you want to test but you haven't tested yet?

Nate Skinner: Ooh, good one. Something I want to test that we haven't tested yet is some air cover campaigns around thought provoking concepts in our space that are very niche but also kind of, whoa, these guys are talking about something in a different way. I haven't tested that yet. We'll get there this year, but I'm still, again early in my days here.

Ryan Brock: Interesting.

Christopher Day: That's awesome. Top three marking tools you can't live without?

Nate Skinner: Besides DemandJump? Look, I'm on the board. I told you the story about why DemandJump is absolutely critical. Helping us understand exactly what to write to achieve our page one ranking is why this company matters to me. The other one is Qualified, qualified. com, the chat widget that we can put on our website that lets us not only understand what people need to talk about, but which accounts are there and what they're doing. It's huge, game changer. And the third one is a CRM solution that you believe is true for you and your sales team. In our case, that's Salesforce. There's nothing worse than having the sales team looking at a system or record that's different than the marketers. We don't have that problem here and it's massively differentiated for us.

Christopher Day: What is the best piece of advice for a first timer?

Nate Skinner: Listen a lot, but don't just wait for people to talk. Have the series of questions you need to get answered. I came into this role and I knew I needed a bunch of questions answered. And I probably wore people out, but I did what I would call a listening tour. Because I think if you seek to understand, what's that old quote? Seek to understand before you seek to be understood, you can make the change you want to make as fast as you want to make it. If you come in, storm around, this is how we did it there and this is how we did it there. No one wants to hear that. And ears start to close and people start to not be checked into what you're trying to do. So seek to understand than to be understood would be my advice to a new CMO.

Christopher Day: Well, excellent. Thank you very much. And ladies and gentlemen, Nate Skinner, CMO at Onfido doing some exciting things. And until next time, we will see you On Page One or Bust.

Nate Skinner: Thanks, Toph. Thanks, Ryan.

Speaker 1: Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Know the exact content to create to increase first page rankings and drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started for free today at demandjump. com.


This episode features Nate Skinner, CMO of Onfido, an AI-based technology that’s creating a new standard for online identity services. He discusses why it’s financially smart to build a long-term organic search strategy and the importance of making continuous content creation a key component. Plus, Nate shares insight into closing the gap between sales and marketing, and much more.