Our most recent guest was Lucian Lui, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Iron Mountain Incorporated. He gave us insights into how a company with a solid, decades-old brand in the physical storage space is making the transition to digital, and how technologies such as blockchain will accelerate this transition even further.
About Iron Mountain
Headquartered in Boston, MA and founded in 1951, Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM) is the global leader for storage and information management services. Trusted by more than 225,000 organizations around the world, and with a real estate network of more than 85 million square feet across more than 1,400 facilities in over 50 countries, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of valued assets, including critical business information, highly sensitive data, and cultural and historical artifacts. Providing solutions that include information management, digital transformation, secure storage, secure destruction, as well as data centers, cloud services and art storage and logistics, Iron Mountain helps customers lower cost and risk, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and enable a more digital way of working.
Background and Career
Lucian started his career as a software developer on Wall Street. His interest grew on the business side and he pursued an MBA at Dartmouth. After his MBA, he accepted a product marketing position at Microsoft. He said he enjoyed being at the center of many aspects of a business that product marketing involves, and his time at Microsoft gave him broad exposure to many sides of both marketing and sales.
Lucian mentioned three mentors who helped shape his marketing career:
Ted MacLean, who worked together with Lucian at Microsoft and is now an Executive VP and GM at Iron Mountain; Jon Perera, who also worked with Lucian at Microsoft and is now a Vice President of Product Management at Adobe; and Mike Risse, another Microsoft employee who is now VP/CMO at Seeq Corporation.
Lucian began his role as Vice President of Global Marketing at Iron Mountain just over 2 ½ years ago, managing across all the functions and disciplines of marketing: branding, demand generation, content marketing, events, customer experience, product marketing, marketing operations, and digital marketing.
We discussed why someone who spent 16 years at Microsoft, a well-known technology company, would move to a company that has been primarily known since the early 1950s for storing physical assets. Lucian said that his transition is logical when you consider that “Iron Mountain is at a crossroads of digital transformation. Information is at the heart of every organization around the globe and its proliferation is truly remarkable. Every organization, including government, is going through this digital transformation.”
Lucian mentioned that Iron Mountain has a very strong brand and customers stay with them, on average, 15+ years. “The Iron Mountain brand has become synonymous with securing the assets that matter most for customers,” he said. The challenge that Lucian finds most interesting now is “how to take this company at the crossroads to the next stage, to continue to solve customer needs around information management and secure storage, in a way that blends and blurs the line between physical and digital.”
Customer Segmentation and Lead Generation
With Iron Mountain’s scale and breadth, they segment their market several ways. One is by size of company, dividing between global accounts, enterprise accounts, midmarket and small businesses. They also segment between B2C and B2B accounts. The next level of segmentation is by verticals, with a high priority on regulated industries where data privacy and security is critical, such as healthcare, financial, energy, legal, pharmaceutical, and federal. As a large global company, they also segment by geography, particularly as rules and regulations differ from country to country.
- Every business is going through digital transformation
- Lead generation varies from market to market
- Most important is to understand your buyers’ personas
- Build an effective tech stack to support scalability
- Blockchain is an emerging tech
We asked Lucian about the best methods for generating leads. He said tactics vary from market to market. In North America, where Iron Mountain’s brand recognition is very strong, he said PPC (Pay Per Click) and other traditional direct marketing techniques work well. In some international and emerging markets where the brand is less well known, they focus more on investing in thought leadership pieces and leveraging paid media, content syndication, and aligning themselves with partners who already have the trust of the target audiences and personas, including sponsoring or sending speakers to third-party events and webinars.
Lucian said that “the critical thing is understanding your buyer personas, who you are selling to, what are their pain points and motivations, and what ‘Watering Holes’ do they go for information?”
To help the entire range of information management personas deal with today’s challenges and to prepare for what’s next, Iron Mountain created a thought leadership site, infogoto.com, as a free source of news articles pulled from numerous outlets and blogs written by internal and external subject matter experts. It’s the most comprehensive “watering hole” for our industry.
Key Marketing Technologies
We also discussed what marketing technologies are key to their current efforts. Some of the technologies Lucian mentioned were:
- DemandBase – they integrate this with their website to identify if someone is, for example, a small business or a large enterprise, a chief compliance officer vs a finance officer, to provide a more customized experience
- SiteCore as a content management system
- Eloqua for marketing automation
- Full Circle Insights – this enables them to focus not just on the traditional “last touch attribution” but to also measure more details of how a customer engages. They can evaluate Demand Gen campaigns more holistically to see the multiple touches along the way from a suspect, to a qualified lead, to a closed deal
- Integrate – this allows them to manage third-party lead gen programs by validating, sorting and automating lead delivery into their marketing systems, making sure they only pay for leads that are validated. Lucian said they run 50 simultaneous inbound campaigns at any one time, and he “doesn’t want his team having to spend their days on data hygiene.”
We asked Lucian whether blockchain is a technology that may impact Iron Mountain’s business in the near future. He said there are exciting opportunities for the company and their customers, but it is still early days and they are in the exploratory stages. One area of exploration is how blockchain could be used with precious artwork, where there are concerns around counterfeit art and authenticity. He said they are exploring if blockchain could play a role in providing secure authentication of priceless artwork. Another potential application is workflow, for example at banks or mortgage companies, where the workflows involve multiple parties internal and external to a lending institution.