Podcast
Episode
8

Dave Dabbah shares marketing insights from his extensive experience

Dave Dabbah is a seasoned marketer who believes in the power of carefully crafted storytelling: delivering the right message to customers at the right time, and connecting those messages to a company's business mission is crucial in developing highly successful brands. 

In this conversation, he talks about his passion for marketing and shares thought-provoking insights into the field.

Episode Highlights

Dave’s marketing journey so far
Lessons and learnings from the field
Exclusive takeaways for aspiring B2B marketers

Kishore:

Welcome to Backstage with Zuddl. I'm your host Kishore from Zuddl's very own marketing team. And this is a podcast where we share eventful stories from thought leaders across industries, to give you epic insights into the world of events and beyond

Hi guys welcome back welcome back. It's time for episode eight of Backstage with Zuddl and this time we're featuring Dave Dabbah who's the CMO of RoboCorp and the seasoned marketer. 

We had a lovely conversation with him where he spoke about everything from being passionate about marketing, as a kid, you know, being curious about how brands put themselves out there right from there to his experience with the virtual and hybrid event world. So without further ado, I'm going to take you right to the conversation so gear up and enjoy.

Dave:

Happy to be here. Um, big fan of, uh, of, um, of what your company is doing and, uh, was, was super excited to be on the show today.

Kishore:

Awesome. Super glad to hear that. So to start off, that'll be a good idea to kind of, uh, hear from you about your journey so far, uh, into the marketing space and the different companies you've worked with, uh, in, in your own style. So please go ahead. Yeah,

Dave:

I, uh, I, I like to say it all started, uh, uh, back in a, in a, in a barn, on a farm in, uh, in the state of Minnesota, uh, when I was born, um, <laugh> some, uh, some, uh, 40 or 50 years ago, I'll let you do the, uh, uh, do the math on that. Um, but, uh, my, my kids have, uh, have, have uncovered that I was actually born in a hospital, not in a barn, but, uh, that I started my, um, uh, uh, career in, uh, in marketing, you know, a long time ago sort of grew up in a family where, uh, business and, and, and marketing and, uh, marketing analytics and analysis was, was sort of the norm. Um, you know, back, back in the day, my, my friends would get copies of sports illustrated. Um, there was, there was another magazine called sport and, um, I was getting copies of at age and, uh, and, and, and media week as, as a child.

So, um, sort of grew up, um, you know, hearing all about brands, um, what makes a brand, um, how to bring a brand to market, um, and, you know, um, uh, lots of, uh, interesting things from a, a finance perspective on, on what it really costs, um, uh, to bring something to, uh, to market and both the, uh, consumer and the B2B side, um, uh, I'll sort of go quickly here, you know, into, um, into my, um, ex work experience into the, uh, uh, Silicon valley, uh, made my way up to the Silicon valley back in, uh, may of 2000, um, and joined a, um, uh, a startup, um, which was called email labs. Um, and, um, so this was a, what I would call the second wave of, uh, email marketing ESP, um, that had hit the market. And it was a, a, a great education, um, you know, working with email labs, um, and, and some of the other companies I worked with after that as well, um, in the, uh, email space.

Um, and so I learned a lot on the, uh, sales, uh, business development, um, and, and marketing side, um, through those, uh, through those, um, uh, eight years I spent in the, uh, in the ESV space, um, and really trying to, uh, trying to figure out how to, um, how to compete with a lot of competition, um, was, uh, was definitely one of the, um, uh, early lessons. I think I learned in the, um, in the Silicon valley, um, you know, how do you set your brand apart? Um, what is it that, um, makes somebody want to purchase your product over somebody else's product? Um, and having had a, a bit of, um, a sales background and a business development background, sort of coming into the, uh, into the Silicon valley. Um, I felt like that really benefited me, um, a lot. And, and one of the things I tell, um, you know, young marketers today, when, when I get asked and it's the best, you know, like to hear from somebody that, um, is, is just graduating from college. Um, you know, I say, you know, don't, don't be afraid to go into sales, uh, for, for a couple years, you know, experience what the sales people are experiencing. Um, and that will make you a, a far better, especially B2B marketer. Um, if you can do that,

Kishore:

Wow. That's a fascinating insight. And, uh, interesting to know that you always had the curiosity to get into marketing before you started working even as a kid, as you said. So, yeah. It's awesome that you with that

Dave:

<laugh> yeah, I mean, it was, it was, it was fascinating, you know, cuz like you'd be reading, you'd be reading about products and then, you know, uh, two, two months later you'd actually see the television spot, um, you know, uh, you know, come up and, and so it was, uh, um, you know, you felt like you had some, some inside sort of knowledge about, um, what was happening with, um, you know, brand development, um, even at a, even at a young age. Um, I, I, I think like, you know, marketing in the, um, uh, marketing B2B brands is, um, and I've said this on other shows in the past and, and I've taken a little bit of, uh, uh, slack, um, if, if you will or slack, uh, for the statement. But, um, you know, I always say marketing B2B brands is, is really hard.

Um, you know, significantly harder, um, than, um, you know, marketing a consumer brand. Um, those are, you know, sort of two different things, um, entirely and, um, a lot of what we've, um, we've seen with some of the really successful big brands in, in the Silicon valley and the enterprise software space over the years is they end up using, um, a lot of consumer marketing tactics, um, to put their brands into, um, into the marketplace. And, um, that's great, you know, when you are, um, you know, IBM and you have, um, you know, uh, you know, a hundred million, you know, television budget, um, for a 12 month period, but when you are a, a startup in the B2B space, um, you know, how do you really get your brand message out, um, in, in an effective way. And, um, I think, you know, over, over the years, that's something I've gotten, you know, pretty good at, um, trying to figure out.

Kishore:

So, and I'm sure like most of us the last couple of years must have changed things a bit, um, like going through the pandemic, how, how much of this had to be redefined in the B2B marketing space to kind of adapt to these virtual and hybrid ways of things.

Dave:

Yeah, it was the, you know, I mean, and we all experienced this, it was, it was definitely a, the sky is falling <laugh>, you know, sort of, um, uh, sort of, uh, sort of thing. And, um, uh, I mean, uh, you know, in the United States, the only, um, uh, sports broadcast was, it was a game of horse, um, which was, um, uh, uh, which was done via zoom, um, between, you know, a w N B a player and an NBA player. And they, they ESPN set up a whole tournament around it, and that was live sports, you know, during the, uh, uh, during the pandemic. Um, but in, in the, in the business world, I think there was, um, uh, a lot of uncertainty, uncertainty. We just didn't know how things were, were gonna work out now as, as somebody that has been working in a, in a home office, you know, on and off for 10 years, I wasn't terribly concerned about the home office experience.

Um, you know, I, I was, I was, um, certainly happy to, um, not have to drive an hour and a half each way, um, to, to, to get someplace. Um, and so the real question was, you know, how do you, how do you work with a, a diverse team, um, and, and make sure that there's still those, um, which, which I think is really important, those water cooler moments, um, uh, between you and your, your colleagues, because the work is the work. Um, and, you know, you've got your project management system and you've got your goals and you, you know, if, if you're running a, a well organized, um, team, you know, everybody knows what they're supposed to go do, and they're either doing it or they're not, and it, it becomes pretty obvious and easy to manage. Um, but the, the, the water cooler moments, the, um, ability to, um, uh, connect with your team members, um, you know, that was definitely an adjustment, I think, for a lot of people.

Kishore:

Sure. And, um, how, uh, how did you leverage, uh, say technology to kind of achieve that? Was it like, uh, something that was sort of a challenge initially, or, uh, something that came naturally, uh, do you,

Dave:

Yeah. Um, yeah, <laugh>, it's, uh, it's a, it's a great question. I, I, you know, it's, it's sort of funny too, cuz you look back on, um, the, the, the COVID era and it, it seems almost so long ago now. Um, you know, and it, and it's, and it's not, um, it, it, it really isn't. Um, I, I think, you know, um, I, I definitely try to put more of an importance on project management systems, um, and, and really making sure we were, um, uh, you know, trying to keep everybody aligned, uh, with what everybody was, um, supposed to be working on. Um, if it does become really challenging if you have a international, uh, international team. So if you have a, if you have a marketing team, um, uh, that has, you know, 40 plus employees in it, and they're spread out across, you know, five different continents and, um, and you're trying to figure out how do I get two more people on the other two continents?

Um, <laugh> and you, you, you, you're trying to figure out, like, how do you, how do you manage all of this and how do, how do you bring this all together? So, you know, the, um, the, the team meetings became really important. Um, the, the, um, individual one-on-one, uh, conversations became very important. Um, I think like designing things, um, was difficult. Um, and we, we, we definitely, um, struggled. Um, I struggled with that at, at times. Um, and so, you know, if you're doing a website refresh or if you are, uh, trying to put together a new explainer video, um, you know, trying to get that sort of like mocked up in a way, um, where, you know, before something goes into production, you feel comfortable. <laugh> about what you're, what you're spending time and money on, um, was, um, was, uh, definitely at times a, a leap of faith as opposed to, um, you know, something more than that, because in the old days, um, you know, the web designer, a graphic designer, a UI person, and myself, and some other team members could have sat in a room with a whiteboard and we could have spent two weeks, you know, just talking stuff through in person.

And that was hard to do, um, you know, out of the gate, um, with, um, with zoom, um, and zoom technology. I think we, we overcame it, but it, um, it took some time to adjust.

Kishore:

Sure. Yeah, that's understandable. And, uh, from a marketing perspective, uh, did you, uh, how was the experience like say launching a product or something, uh, to like a virtual hybrid, uh, audience, how the classic approach was <laugh>,

Dave:

You know, um, truthfully it was fantastic, you know, I mean, like, I, I didn't have to, uh, I didn't have to burn, you know, a hundred K uh, to fly a team out, uh, to an event that might or might not be the right event for us. Um, you know, I, I, I sort of quickly learned that, um, uh, you know, virtual events, if, if done, right. Uh, if you, if you managed the expectations of what you were, you were looking for, uh, from those events, um, then those things were potentially going to be wins for you. Um, and you, you just don't like, know what's gonna work and, and what's not gonna work, um, from a, an event in a, in a product release standpoint. Um, so, you know, that gave you, um, you know, virtual events and webinars and, um, uh, you know, those things give you a lot of, um, opportunity post event as well.

Um, uh, so we, um, we produce our own podcast, uh, at, at the company I'm at, um, uh, which is, uh, you love the title robo Corp and beyond. Um, and, uh, um, and, uh, uh, so we, um, you know, in, in order to, um, you know, we'll, we'll shoot an episode, we'll release it, um, and it will, we will go out into the world. Um, and so, you know, the hope is, you know, that, you know, you get a couple hundred listeners, you know, you eventually build some sort of following behind it, um, and you'll be successful. Um, a podcast is, is much like a recurring event. Um, and you have to be willing to, um, to, to sort of throw some, I, I think, some dollars behind it in, in order for it to be, um, uh, to be for it, to gain some sort of attention, uh, especially in a world where, um, you know, everybody on their brother and sister has multiple podcasts that they're producing also. So, you know, you, you, you do need to, um, uh, consider the, the promotional dollars. And so when we, we got back to events during the, uh, the, the, the pandemic, um, you know, really, uh, not just spending money on the, uh, event, you know, before the event, um, uh, during the event, but actually getting, um, content out of the event that could be repurposed and reused, um, down the road, um, was, was definitely, um, definitely key.

Kishore:

This was Backstage with Zuddl, if you'd like to hear more episodes, don't forget to subscribe. You can also listen to our episodes on Spotify, Google, or wherever you stream podcasts. Don't forget to visit zuddl.com to know more about how you can begin humanizing events.

Meet the guest

Dave Dabbah

CMO, Robocorp

Dave is a full-stack creative marketing leader with depth of experience in messaging, growth marketing, brand-building, communications, media-relations, market-analysis, storytelling, social media strategies, executive leadership, and team building.

Meet the guest

Meet the guest

hosted by

Kishore CS

Content Lead, Zuddl

Kishore is part of Zuddl’s very own Marketing team. A content creator and enthusiast since 2012, Kishore’s experience ranges from web content and internal communications to copywriting and brand identity.

Kishore CS, Content Lead, Zuddl