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The Importance of Brand Consistency ft. Ricky Luo, Palo Alto Networks

Pierce sits down with Ricky Luo, Senior Manager of Global Email Marketing at Palo Alto Networks, to chat about joining a start-up, launching a start-up, and coming to Palo Alto Networks when he thought he was done with email marketing.

Show Notes

Ricky Luo went to school for electrical engineering. He was working for a power company in Chicago when he was approached by a group of entrepreneurs that asked him to join a marketing start-up in Silicon Valley. He accepted, and before long, he had moved from Chicago to California, from a high-paying engineering role to an entry level marketing position.  

Ricky thought he had been hired to write emails, but the truth was a bit more complicated. The start-up had no UX, and everything was built on shell scripts and Linux. Since he was just the third employee on the team, he was involved in designing the UX and the platform, and he helped scale the email team to 40 people. 

“There’s a lot more to emails than hitting the send button”

With his newfound email marketing experience, Ricky seized an opportunity to branch out, and he spun off to start his own company.  

Starting a company is intimidating, especially when the threat of having no income is a real possibility. But through uncertainty comes learning, and Ricky soon found that despite the multiple hats he had to wear, his engineering background – and the technical skills that came with it – gave him the tools he needed to be successful. 

Once regulations changed, Ricky wanted to make a switch. He started a consulting practice, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay in email marketing or start from the bottom and work his way up in a different area. He was looking into B2B demand generation when an opportunity arose to work with Palo Alto. He realized that a move to Palo Alto would expose him to the other side of email marketing and allow him to focus on user journey and customer experience. It was the new challenge he was looking for, and he decided to join their team. 

Today he runs a global team at Palo Alto and is very involved in their marketing stack. His team owns the messaging and the customer experience, and he has a much more intimate role with the database than he did in previous roles.

I think the biggest thing is having a very clear brand for your company, especially for a bigger enterprise company, not having that brand recognition. It’s really important to have that brand.”

Currently, Ricky and his team are focused on increasing automation and decreasing email blasts. Working with Knak has allowed them to scale operations and improve automation, and he’s quick to note that larger enterprises need to double down on building brand identity. 

A platform like Knak allows Palo Alto to customize their emails while staying within brand guidelines. Each region can maintain their own look and feel while still being recognizable as a Palo Alto email since they’re all still using the same base modules. 

Palo Alto sends about 1000 emails each month, and Ricky points out that they currently have no dedicated email developers on staff, nor are they working with an agency to build emails. Instead, their developers are focused on scaling and building out long-term optimization strategies. His marketing team has a diverse skill set, and they are able to shift from building out automated nurtures to supporting events to hands-on problem solving, which has allowed them to successfully scale up to meet demand. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why marketing automation should expand beyond your audience’s first name
  • The importance of brand consistency at the enterprise level
  • What roles you don’t need on your marketing team

Check it out to hear all that and more. Enjoy!

Follow Ricky on LinkedIn 

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Join the Conversation

If you have any feedback, or want to chat, feel free to reach out to Pierce on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @marketing_101.

Pierce Ujjainwalla has years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur, and marketing leader. He has lived in the marketing trenches at companies like IBM, SAP, NVIDIA, and Marketo, and he launched Knak in 2015 as a platform designed to help Marketers simplify email creation. Visit his personal blog, Unsubscribed!, for more of the insight he’s gained as founder and CEO of Knak.

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