Citrix’s new language and the digital workspace
In this episode, host Shahin Hoda chats with Danny Deck, Head of Marketing at Citrix, to discuss how tech companies need to adapt their message to better reach their audiences.
Under the COVID-19 pandemic scenario, they will also explore how Citrix has improved their own message to deliver solutions for digital workplaces and how companies are rushing into digital transformations.
This episode’s guest:
Danny Beck, Head of Marketing for Australia-New Zealand at Citrix
Passionate about technology, Danny defines himself as a geek. He has an extensive career working for the IT market in leading software organisations.
He is currently the Head of Marketing for Australia and New Zealand at Citrix, where they define the true meaning of digital transformation and what a digital workplace really is.
Conversation segments on this episode:
- [1:04] About Hexagon and Ljubica's role as Marke[0:47] About Danny and his work on Citrix
- [2:28] The digital workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic
- [5:01] Three elements to have a truly distributed workforce
- [8:09] Changes into how Tech companies message to market
- [13:53] How Marketing needs to adapt their message to their audience
- [17:52] How Citrix changed their language
- [23:30] How Citrix improves the employee experience in remote work
- [27:56] How Citrix built their brand to new personas
- [31:54] What digital transformation is all about
Resources mentioned on this episode:
- What is digital workspace?
- Citrix survey to IT leaders
- The new digital worker: Designing an exceptional employee experience
About the Growth Colony Podcast:
On this podcast you'll be hearing from B2B founders, CMOs, marketing & sales leaders about their successes, failures, what is working for them today in the B2B marketing world and everything in between.
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Episode Full Transcript:
[0:23] Shahin Hoda Hello, everyone. Welcome to another show. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth, and today I'm talking to Danny Beck, Head of Marketing ANZ at Citrix about why B2B brands should probably work harder on simplifying their message to their customers. And if they're planning to do that, how should they approach it? On that note, let's dive in. Danny, thanks for joining us.
[0:45] Danny Beck Thank you. My pleasure to be here.
[0:47] Shahin Hoda It's great to have you. Now, Danny for those who might not be familiar with yourself or might have been under a rock and don't know about Citrix. Can you give us a bit of background and intro?
[1:00] Danny Beck With pleasure. So look a little bit about who I am. I have been working in the Asia Pacific and ANZ and IT market for pretty much my whole career. I think, if I look back now, about 25 years, I've had the privilege to work for a number of different market leading software organizations, and most recently joined Citrix in the capacity of Head of Marketing for Australia-New Zealand. And my passion has always been technology software, I guess, really, I could define myself as a geek. And that's what really gets me out of bed in the morning.
[1:41] Danny Beck In terms of Citrix, it's been an amazing company to join. And I think what I've noticed is culturally, the organization really aligns to my own personal values and, and that's typically what attracts me to a lot of organizations. And so Citrix has been on a journey for many, many years. We've been in market for 30 years, we've got a lot of customers in the Australia-New Zealand region, we've got a lot of customers globally. We're pretty well known brand. But we're well known within the IT part of the business and even the end users who log in to their workstations remotely using Citrix technology. So overall, I'm pretty excited about wastage exists today and where I might be able to take it in the future.
[2:28] Shahin Hoda That's amazing. And well, as some people might know, Citrix is heavily focused on helping people work comfortably from remote environments and in remote places. And that has been a very hot topic of discussion. Because of the current pandemic that we're at. I mean, if anyone listening right now it's 26th of June 2020.
[2:54] Shahin Hoda And what the first thing that I wanted to ask is, you know, considering being at Citrix, can you tell us a little bit about a maybe a perspective that you have that you think other people would have a difficulty would have difficulty seeing this the situation that we're in? Because they're not in your position is there? There's something unique that you see in the market right now? That might not be evident to everyone?
[3:24] Danny Beck Yes, it's a really good question. And I think you know, we get blinkered because we work in often in silos but but what I think this whole 2020 current environment has proved to me and to Citrix, but especially the way I think about just telling customers about where the markets going, where Citrix is going is that the digital workplace is now front and center.
[3:50] Danny Beck Technology companies have been talking for the last few years about something called digital transformation. But nobody really knew what it meant and if you ask them Microsoft, they'd have one perspective, if you asked Citrix they'd have another, if you ask Google, they'd have a slightly different take on it. But I think one things become really clear to me is that the digital workplace is now front and center. And companies need a strategy for creating a truly efficient digital workplace. And I'm not sure they've had that. They've talked about it. They've toyed with it, but they're not really sure how to have, you know, gone about it.
[4:30] Danny Beck So, you know, I think it's pretty rare these days, that a business hasn't been materially impacted by the spread of COVID. We know they have, and both employees and leadership have really had to learn and in some cases, for the first time, whether they really truly work at home people will say we like to work at home. But there's a difference between liking to work at home and thriving when you work at home. And I think that's also presuming you've retained your jobs.
[5:01] Danny Beck But for those organizations that embrace digitally way moving forward, those rewards can really outweigh the challenges. So we at Citrix have been talking a lot to people about, you know, the challenges that business leaders need to identify in order to really have a truly distributed workforce. And three things that become really clear to me. Number one, you really need to align strategy throughout your leadership organization.
[5:32] Danny Beck You know, leaders play now a very, very vital role in that employee experience. And when I talked about that, I talked about IT and HR and the two rarely meet in the middle. I think often there's a lack of mutual understanding between IT and HR. And there's some inefficiency between the two at the best of times. But now with teams being physically spread,it's a liability if the two aren't really talking. You have this, what I call this a custodian vacuum, which can result in no real responsibility for the employee digital experience. So we really need alignment between the CIO, the CEO, the COO, the CFO, CEO, any CXO any senior manager, really management at all levels. That's the first thing.
[6:25] Danny Beck Secondly, you need to prioritize digital wellness. I know for me personally, when I talk about digital wellness, it really refers to you know, my mental health, staying positive working from home can be incredibly productive, but also incredibly isolating. And the technology enables us in some cases really to work from anywhere at Citrix, we talk about work is an outcome we drive, not a place we go. And so digital wellness is really important now ensuring that your workforce can achieve what they need to, but they feeling mentally well. So that's the second thing companies need to really, really think, think about.
[7:08] Danny Beck And then thirdly, it's adopting the right tools and tech for success, that convergence of global technology, business trends, we've got 5G, we've got information overload, we've got embedded smart tech, we've got real time analytics. So we've got all this technology, you know, coming to market being thrown at us. And we continue to march forward, but with lots of these global disruptions, so we really need the right tech at the right time for success. So these are the things that I guess I've been thinking about from a perspective that, you know, maybe others don't, that I think will really reshape 2020 and beyond.
[7:53] Shahin Hoda That's very interesting. I really like the concept of the custodian vacuum and I've personally seen quite a lot in a lot of organizations. And, and it's it's really fascinating to keep these in mind as we go through this period.
[8:09] Shahin Hoda Now in, you know, in your conversation and what you were saying you touched on a few very interesting points where, you know, digital people, tech companies, we're talking about digital transformation they're talking about, they're throwing these phrases out there and different people have different definitions around this.
[8:29] Shahin Hoda What I really like to dig in is, you know, in the past few years, how have you seen these technology companies’ message to market kind of evolve, like, how that transformation has happened in, considering you've been in the scene for a long time? How have you seen that change?
[8:50] Danny Beck Yeah, look, I guess marketing like any profession is constantly evolving and what I've seen over the years is tech companies were talking to tech companies. The marketers were technologists, the language was feeds and speeds, the go to market strategies was all around pushing product, pushing specs, and, and IT people talking to IT people and that's where the relationships were born.
[9:26] Danny Beck So if you think about it, if I think about it 20-30 years ago, tech companies were talking to IT professionals like themselves. So the language had to align and IT were typically the buyers. They were the ones who went to out, they did the tenders. They basically said well, we need a payroll system. So let's talk to you know, an SIP or an ARP supplier in Oracle, whoever it might have been a Siebel, and we need a payroll system, we need an ARP system, let's talk to them.
[10:02] Danny Beck And so the language was always tech people talking to tech people, because tech people with a buyers. That's not the case anymore. Now the buying cycle and the buying, there are buying teams. And when I think about it, that makes sense, right? Because if I'm trying to buy a HR system, or I'm buying a payroll system, the users of both systems is not IT, the users is HR, the users is finance. If it's a marketing automation platform, then it's marketing.
[10:35] Danny Beck So why would IT make the decision on the usage of technology that they're not using, they're just really managing and implementing. So the language has had to change. And so you've had to go and take technology products and flip them to be able to talk to marketers, to talk to HR, to talk to finance, and in fact, what I've noticed is salespeople.
[11:01] Danny Beck Now if I want to sell to a financial solution, the greatest, some of the best sellers is not the actual account managers or the salespeople. It's your Finance Director talking to your finance customers or the CFO, or it's your marketing director.
[11:19] Danny Beck So if I'm the Marketing Director for and HubSpot or a CRM solution, then potentially I'm the best person to go out and talk to the marketers of my customers because I can talk in their language. And so the technology companies have had to tell a story based on the decision makers who are varied across the organization that the language has had to change quite considerably. And I think that's been the biggest change that I've seen in marketing over the last 10 years.
[11:51] Shahin Hoda That's very interesting. And you're right. I mean, IT has been a massive buying center for a long time, do you think going forward, the the the say that IT has is going to be further and further reduced in terms of buying decisions and and and and going through that buying cycle?
[12:17] Danny Beck I don't think their decision making capability is reduced. I think it's just more shared now. And the reason I say that is because at the end of the day, they're still managing the networks. They're managing the infrastructure, and they have to make it all work together. And you don't want to buy a bespoke solution that is not going to integrate within your existing infrastructure.
[12:44] Danny Beck And so if you can buy technology that aligns better with what you've got, it's going to make it more cost effective. It's going to make it easier to manage, it's going to reduce the security gap so we know security is top than front and center of all organisation these days, whether you're small, medium or large, so I think the responsibility to come back to your question of it is just as great.
[13:09] Danny Beck But it's, they've got other stakeholders they need to manage now. So they're learning now to negotiate and navigate your organisation probably develop skills in terms of teaming, and I guess, working with HR, marketing, finance, senior leadership that they didn't have to do before. So in a way, this stakeholder management has grown. So their ability to purchase, they've got to have, I guess, more influencing skills now be able to sell, I guess themselves internally, and they're not as siloed as they used to be. That's the biggest change that I've seen.
[13:53] Shahin Hoda Right. And what does that mean from marketing to an organization from that perspective? Does that mean that you know marketers have to have multiple different messages for different people within an organization? Does that mean that they should maybe start focusing on the department that is going to be the user of their solution? What do you think that means for, for marketers, of these technology companies?
[14:25] Danny Beck Look, marketers have to be able to tell multiple stories, depending on the audience, basically. So obviously, if I'm going to be going out as a Citrix, as the Head of Marketing for Citrix, and I've got an audience of HR people, the story that I'm going to tell around how Citrix can help the HR division is going to be a very, very different story, to if I'm in front of finance, or if I'm in front of IT.
[14:56] Danny Beck So basically, pretty much I need to be able to talk Like any good marketer in the language of the audience of the people that I'm speaking to, and so marketers have to think, more broadly, who am I talking to? How do I talk in their language? And is that gonna resonate?
[15:15] Danny Beck I can't talk generically anymore. So I've got to have potentially industry, an industry perspective, as well as a segment perspective, because if I'm talking to an SMB, the challenges there are very different in terms of, well, SMB typically have less resources. It's a jack of all trades, I probably need to have a different discussion to if I'm talking to the CIO of, you know, a large bank, or if I'm talking to the education sector.
[15:44] Danny Beck So I think that basically, marketers need to really get very clear on who is the audience, what is the segment they're in? What is the size of the organisation, and even potentially, what competitors are they talking to, because that's another factor you have to consider. We don't operate in isolation. Customers are looking at multiple organisations, they partner with multiple suppliers. And so it's not always a rip and replace strategy. It's, well how do we work better together? So at Citrix, we work very closely with the likes of Cisco and Google and Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, because we need a better to get a story. So you need to become very, very versatile.
[16:32] Shahin Hoda And that's messaging changing on so many different levels, to the stakeholders and competition. That's, you know, it's starting to become really complex and more to the reason why marketers should start to think about their messaging and, and humanizing that message.
[17:52] Shahin Hoda I'd love to touch on what is happening with Citrix. I mean, we spoke about a little little right here. Especially around the competition and working with the competition. But this approach of humanizing and dehumanizing a company's language and message and making sure that it takes multiple different layers of consideration. How's that? How are you implementing that at Citrix? How does that look like at Citrix today?
[18:24] Danny Beck Yeah, look, it's a really good question. I love what Citrix is doing. I talked to our VP of Marketing and our product marketers and even our sellers on a regular basis. And look at many years ago, we just, you would have hit our website and the first thing you'd see is Citrix products. And you'd doesn't matter who you were and what you would see there would be virtualization, application delivery, content, collaboration, Citrix manage desktops, endpoint management, Citrix analytics.
[18:58] Danny Beck You know, you'd see all these are getting acronyms. Three letter, four letter acronyms. And, you know, we still talk products, don't get me wrong, we sell products. But what we've had to do is really take a step up and elevate the initial discussion. So when we talk to customers initially, we don't talk about products. We don't talk about app and desktop virtualization or content collaboration, or analytics or endpoint management, because that's kind of the outcome at the end of it.
[19:28] Danny Beck What we talked about now in our journey is transforming how people work, reimagining the employee experience, making employees productive, enabling people to do what they need to do on any device, anywhere at any time in a secure manner. That's the language that Citrix now uses. And that's the transformation that has happened over, look not over 12 months, but over probably 5-10 years and it's slow.
[19:56] Danny Beck So when I think about how we go to market now, we really break up our story into three quite distinct phrases, simplifying users and their access, networking, keeping what you've got up and running no matter what, and then stopping security threats before they become real. So three very distinct areas.
[20:22] Danny Beck And then you can map those areas back to what we call our digital workspace, our networking technologies, our analytics, and then you can deep dive those but when you keep it at a really high level, when I think about simplifying, and securing user access, that really is about how the future works. Work is no longer a place. It's dynamic. We've got digital workspaces at Citrix, they're adaptable. They offer the freedom and security for workers to do what they want, how they want, whether they're on site, on the road, in the cloud, in a cafe, we really give you that confidence without compromise.
[21:04] Danny Beck So that's kind of the language change, was years ago, it would have been very much feeds and speeds around the technology, we really have kind of shifted the language and that resonates with not just IT, but with, you know, finance, with marketing with the way customers talk these days. So really quite a big dynamic shift.
[21:27] Danny Beck And I guess as a marketer, somebody says to me, when my friend said to me, what do you do? The way I like to have, I guess what I call the barbecue conversation is I tell stories. Sometimes I told them to HR, sometimes I told them to finance, sometimes a lot of the time I tell them to IT. But I'm really here about telling stories. And you know, I told that to my mom and dad all the time, and they still look at me with a blank face.
[21:54] Danny Beck And I think one of the most challenging job interview questions I ever got was, you know, here's a product, how would you talk to it to your five year old son if you had one, which I did at the time? And I gotta tell you, it was really hard to, to how would you tell your son about cloud services? That was the question. And I've got to tell you, I went white as a ghost for a moment because I'd never really thought about it. But if you can, if you can tell a story succinctly at a barbecue, then that's kind of the way you should be often telling it to people outside of it.
[22:31] Shahin Hoda I love it, the barbecue question. That's such a great way to explain it. I've, I've been in that position before people have asked me what you do. And you know, I think at least I've been able to develop a story now but before you know everyone ,every single time somebody asked me what I do, I'm like, Oh my god, here we go again. I'm gonna say something and they gonna be like, okay, that's cool or you know, or anything.
[23:00] Danny Beck And then their head, they're thinking, I guess somebody has to do that. So I totally resonate with explaining something simply and how difficult it is to do that. And, you know, one of the things that you've again, briefly touched on and we spoke about before is the importance of HR for Citrix and how that is starting to become a very important buying center for Citrix. Is that correct?
[23:30] Danny Beck Look, I think, with full transparency, we still are very much in the IT shop, but we have over the last six to 12 months, started to think about how do we start to tell our story outside of IT, especially to HR and I think In 2020, with COVID, and I don't like to talk a lot about COVID because it's so over spoken about these days, the office space, becoming the digital space instead of the physical space, what we know is that there's, you know, that continuity plan for mass working from home.
[24:19] Danny Beck And I think HR is, you know, it's got to be intimately involved now because HR is not in an environment anymore where they people are walking around where you can check on them, you can look at their physical and mental well being everybody's remote now.
[24:37] Danny Beck And so, when I think about employee experience, if I'm remote, if I'm working outside of the office, under these pandemic situations, HR have no real feel for how am I how are people doing? Yeah, they've got the tools to actually work remotely but how are they doing as I've mentioned from that, you know, physical, and emotional, and mental well being?
[25:02] Danny Beck So we want to talk to HR people about how the Citrix technology can really improve that employee experience to give basically, their employees the best environment to work remotely, so that they can not only have great physical, emotional, mental well being, but talent, you know, retaining talent.
[25:27] Danny Beck If I'm struggling as an employee to do my job remotely, because the tools aren't working well, and I don't have a great experience, then I'm going to not want to work for that company, and I'm going to resign, I'm going to move it elsewhere. And then HR are faced with recruitment and having to replace people. But if the tools and the Citrix technology is really enabling me to work anywhere seamlessly, then hopefully that talent will stay within the organization, meaning that HR and recruitment and keep people employed and happy, well, that's one less thing that HR have to worry about.
[26:04] Danny Beck So that is going to be a really, really big audience for us moving forward. We really want to talk about that seamless employee experience, both working remotely and within the Office. So that's one, I guess, our audience that we want to talk to. But we're also starting to branch out now and talk to.
[26:25] Danny Beck There's a lot of new titles coming up, you know, the Chief Digital Officer, chief security officers, we want to talk to all those C-suite executives around how Citrix technologies can really enable that digital workplace whether it's for your IT people, your marketing people, your sales people, your operations, your back office, your your HR staff, we think we have a story to tell slightly differently to all those different, I guess job titles. But with still developing it, don't get me wrong, we are not perfect. We've come from it. It's still the major majority of the relationships that we've had. But we are starting to think how we broaden that discussion.
[27:13] Shahin Hoda That's, that's very interesting. And that's really cool. I mean, look, our again, first hand experience, I totally know what you're saying in terms of not having visibility on the team and how the team is doing and, and we're not a massive, massive organization. But at the very start when, when we had to go fully remote and half of our team were already remote, but we had to go fully remote. It was very challenging.
[27:37] Shahin Hoda It was productivity, it was a challenge. And you know, we had to put systems in place and processes in place to check in with one another and make sure that we're, we stay in touch, though now I think we're going to have a hard time getting people back in the office. But that's it. That's a different conversation.
[27:56] Shahin Hoda With regards to adding these new people or positions or people that are not IT, right? And you're trying to, for example, incorporate HR into your marketing. What kind of challenges have you experienced incorporating these new personas in the marketing mix of Citrix? Does anything come to mind?
[28:24] Danny Beck Yeah, absolutely. I need more budget to be able to go and run events and talk to these customers beyond what I normally have. So it's a different audience. And it's, it's obviously, you know, the Citrix engine. We're very familiar with the engagement models on how to reach those traditional IT audiences.
[28:46] Danny Beck But if you're talking to marketers or finance or even HR, then the go-to market strategy the to go to them to reach them to talk to them. It's a different channel. And so you have to get involved in associations, marketing campaigns, working, you know, with third parties, that maybe you didn't work with traditionally. So if you take aside I guess the financial pressures of budget and stretching it making it go further, you have to develop new relationships with third parties, industry bodies, industry associations, and be present.
[29:29] Danny Beck And here's the other thing, Citrix and this is the same for a lot of IT organisations. We have no brand recognition with HR. They don't know who we are. They might know us from well, I've taken my laptop home, and I've remotely connected into my network and I might fire up a piece of Citrix technology and we see our logo, but other than that, they don't really know who we are.
[29:56] Danny Beck They don't really know what we stand for. They know we give them access maybe to the network when they're working from home. But there's no real brand recognition there. So we're really starting from scratch. And we literally have to go and build brands, build our brand, build our story with an audience that really doesn't know a lot about us.Whereas with IT, we've had a heritage of 30 years, they know us intimately, they know what we stand for.
[30:25] Danny Beck But if I go to an HR manager, or even a marketing director who remotely connects in using Citrix digital workspace, or you know, our virtual private networks, or whatever it might be, they just know our logo, but they don't know anything about us.
[30:42] Danny Beck And look, I'll give you a personal example. I was having dinner last night with my girlfriend. She says to me, what is it you actually do? I don't actually know what you do at Citrix. I know your brand when I dial in remotely. But I don't actually know what the company does. And that kind of got me thinking. And she works in insurance in operations. Now, that's going to be the same when I go and talk to HR, Finance, Marketing, any third party customer outside of IT. So that's a really big challenge that Citrix has. And I don't know whether we have the answer to that yet, but that's something we need to think about.
[31:21] Shahin Hoda Gotcha, gotcha. It's always challenging to start penetrating to new markets. And it's a really good point that you make that I think a lot of marketers make this mistake where they have something that has worked in a certain market, and then they say, you know what, I got the recipe for this and then copy and paste that into a new market or for a new persona, and it just completely flops and it doesn't work for that persona, just like you said that the go to market strategy needs to change based on who you're targeting and who you're going after.
[31:54] Shahin Hoda Now, Danny, this has been absolutely amazing. Do you think there is anything that I did? cover that you think it's worth talking about around company messaging, especially in the B2B space and humanizing that message a bit more that I didn't cover that you think it's valuable for us to touch on?
[32:14] Danny Beck Look, I think we've covered a lot there is, as I said, there's a lot to cover. I think the main thing what I've seen from where Citrix is to where we going is that the way of working this is transforming how people work. It's never going to be the same again, as I mentioned before, we've had digital transformation, but people didn't know what it meant.
[32:40] Danny Beck It's really unfortunate, but I think with COVID-19 and what's happened over the last three, four months, people get now what digital transformation is all about. It's really about changing the employee experience, making them productive, giving them a way to engage with the organisation, physically, remotely, cloud services becoming more important.
[33:06] Danny Beck It's really fast track. It's kind of ironic. But in a way COVID has been the greatest facilitator of digital transformation more than any marketer could have done, or any organization could have done over the last five years. And that's a really, you know, I don't say that lightly because, you know, I think about the people and the lives and the businesses and the economies that have been impacted. But I think it's been a wake up call for a lot of organizations, in education, in public sector, and commercial, to realize what digital transformation actually means.
[33:43] Danny Beck And you know, we could have a whole another discussion on digital transformation in itself, but this has been a real wake up call and I have no doubt, the way we work moving forward will be fundamentally different to the way we work, we have worked over the last five years and Citrix is in a really, I guess unique position to not just not benefit just financially take that aside, but to really open support and change the way customers think about enabling their employees to work in the office work remotely work on any device.
[34:18] Danny Beck So it's a real inflection point in time. I get, I guess, this fourth industrial revolution will be fast tracked. And, you know, I guess I would leave you with this point is that we've done a number of surveys with our customers over the last several months and IT budgets are not shrinking. A lot of organizations are continuing to invest in the same level but also increase their IT budgets because they recognize that it will keep their businesses going. It's an enabler. So it's a really interesting time at the moment.
[34:55] Shahin Hoda It's very interesting, absolutely at the time that all the budgets are getting caught and everything is shrinking. It's very interesting to hear that's the case. And, and I'm sure you've seen the main that it's the question of like, who's driving digital transformation is in your organization? Is it the CIO? Is it the CTO? Or is it the founder? Or is it COVID? Which I found a bit funny.
[35:21] Shahin Hoda But Danny, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. This has been a very insightful chat. Now if some of the listeners have more questions or want to know more about Citrix or about yourself, what's the best way for them to find out more?
[35:35] Danny Beck Oh, look, I mean, you can email me at Danny.Beck@Citrix.com or you can, you know if you want to find out a little bit about my background and profile, as I said, I've been 25 years in the industry. I've worked for companies like Novell WordPerfect, Microsoft and our Citrix. You can look me up on LinkedIn, my profile is publicly available.
[35:56] Shahin Hoda Fantastic, Danny, thanks a lot for jumping on the show.
[36:00] Danny Beck My pleasure. Thanks for having me
[36:01] Shahin Hoda Cheers
[36:02] Danny Beck Bye