Interview with Scott Horn, Chief Marketing Officer at PrismHR
Scott Horn is the Chief Marketing Officer of PrismHR. He is responsible for PrismHR’s Brand, Demand Generation, and Sales Support Strategies. Scott has extensive experience in Marketing, Product Management, and Revenue Operations across a range of markets and customers and has successfully led large-scale engineering and marketing teams in bringing numerous version 1.0 products to market. He has extensive experience in SaaS software, cloud services, wireless communications, embedded systems, enterprise solutions, and developer tools. Scott previously was the Chief Marketing Officer of 7.ai, the Vice President, Global Marketing at Seagate Technology Inc. and was the General Manager of Marketing for Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business Group, where he successfully developed and marketed multiple new products to consumer, small business, enterprise and developer audiences. Prior to Microsoft, Scott held software engineering positions at Broadband Technologies and Nortel.
Scott holds an MBA at The Wharton School and Bachelor of Science degree in Information and Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.
I’ve loved tech and computers since I was a kid. I went for a Computer Science degree and was a software engineer before going back to Business School. That experience of actually building products, writing code, creating schedules has been incredibly helpful as a technology CMO. I went to business school and did an internship at Apple which was amazing – they were short-handed and asked me to dive in on an acquisition they were working on. It was my first exposure to doing real marketing – everything from naming/positioning, pricing, forecasting, product features, go-to-market – that helped me get a role at Microsoft out of school. I never intended to stay for a long period but the company was growing so fast and there were always new fun things to do – I went back and forth between Marketing and Engineering – although most of the time was Marketing. I also learned a bunch of things there that they don’t cover in school – how to leverage PR strategically, the importance of data-driven marketing and other areas. I had a bunch of great managers who I was able to learn from.
After 17 years there I was ready to do something else and joined Seagate to lead their marketing. It was an opportunity to be the Marketing leader for a Fortune 200 public company. Going from software to hardware was a great learning experience – things like supply constraints, how the product gets shipped, timing product launches to availability all become critical. I also saw how much great marketing and sales tech was available if you were open to it. I left there after 4 years to join 7.ai and that again a great learning experience – hardcore enterprise (Fortune 500) marketing and selling. Things like Account Based Marketing really mattered and I ended up leading much of the Sales organization which was a fantastic experience.
I was interested in joining a company that was earlier in its revenue growth journey and I landed at PrismHR. We provide a SaaS HR platform that helps HR Outsourcing organizations and Small Businesses recruit, pay and provide benefits and performance management for their employees. We have over 85 thousand small businesses and over 2 million employees in the US on the platform. If you consider that many of those employees have families or others who rely on them then we enable millions of people to support themselves and those they care about – it means a lot to me and the people who work at PrismHR. PrismHR is super-interesting from a marketing perspective – we do partner marketing with our HRO partners and B2B marketing with those partners and to SMBs on behalf of our partners. We also do B2C marketing offering a very fast growing set of 3rd party applications and services through our Marketplace. So every day is different and interesting – right now I’m focused on building out the team and doing a larger # number of integrated acquisition and cross-selling campaigns so we can scale Revenue through Demand Generation. We’re also doing a lot of work to augment the tech stack we use to help everyone on the team be as productive as they can be. I’ve seen what happens when you combine great people, well thought out processes and enabling tech – wow… It’s a lot of fun.
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?
At this point in my career, I’m hard-pressed to think of a marketing channel my teams and I haven’t worked on. My advice is always the same – start with a set of quantifiable goals. Everything – seriously everything — can be measured if you choose to and it’s worth it. (There’s a good book – How to Measure Anything that covers that). It’s OK to miss your goals – having them is ALWAYS helpful and it forces you to think through why you’re using that particular channel.
With that said I like channels that are measurable for Demand Gen. Channels like digital and search engine marketing can be very good. I’m less of a fan of things like radio and print – b/c they are a LOT harder to measure.
I’d also say that the toolbox and channels you use are going to be very different from one situation to another. B2C and B2B are very different from having done both. Things that work in one country don’t work in others – and some countries have unique channels you can leverage. It also helps to be skeptical about some metrics – for example when a media agency talks about “impressions” I always cringe – impressions don’t drive revenue – form fills on the landing page do. So if the impression metric is great but the form fills isn’t then you’re just wasting money.
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?
Again, it really depends on what type of customers you’re marketing too and what your focus is. At PrismHR we’re marketing to HRO Service Providers, SMBs and to some extent individual consumers. The first two are really most of the work so it’s a B2B focus. We use Salesforce for our Sales and Marketing efforts, we’re using Hubspot currently as our Marketing Automation Platform (I’ve had teams on Eloqua and Marketo previously). LinkedIn Sales Navigator for our Sales Team and SDRs. We just added Moz for SEO and we’re using Hotjar for Website Heat Mapping. And we’re looking at a bunch of other techs – for example, contact management platforms for SDRs/Sales, ABM tech, Sales onboarding/enablement software and Lookalike Lead Matching tech (Please anyone reading this don’t send me a sales mail – we know what we want, we’ll call you :-))
Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.
Prepare to relearn marketing every 5 years or so. Be very comfortable with data and technology.