Develop the digital strategy to drive INQ’s and MQL’s that lead to SAO’s for GitLab full funnel campaigns across all segments and regions. Our core competency is to deliver a plan inclusive of the best digital channels in order to maximize the dollars and closely monitor campaigns and their assets for peak optimization.
Digital marketing managers own the INQ and MQL number that drive SAO’s for the region and segment they align to. They are responsible for daily monitoring of campaign goals and the digital strategy component of that lightning strike. Their plans are representative across all funnel stages and each have unique channel expertise. The team is broken down as follows:
Sara Valko: PubSec, ENT, EMEA, Auto-SD, Security & Compliance, brand strategy & visual brand
Joon Shin: SMB, MM, AMER, APAC, Auto-SD Test, team enablement, digital experience & All Remote
Zac Badgley: (parental leave through Nov so some assignments are TBD), ABM and Campaigns teams
End to end campaign management
Asset performance optimization
Paid traffic conversion rate optimization
Out of scope:
Pure brand awareness
We take a unified approach to long term planning. We are given our direction from the focal topics/areas that product marketing has deemed market worthy. They engage the campaigns team who pull us in to develop the key tenets of the campaign. Prior to a lightning strike kickoff call, we conduct research to validate campaign key terms, their effectiveness, and the addressable market for the various channels that comprise our digital marketing plans.
Upon agreement and alignment with the research findings, we develop a recommendation of the number of assets and asset types that are most effective in digital across all media types. We feed the core planning team this intelligence at the beginning of the campaign kickoff so that they can plan the asset creation and campaign accordingly. With these recommendations, we encourage the core team to consider whether or not assets already exist and simply need to be refaced or if they need to be developed/net-new. The SSoT for content is PathFactory and internal assets SSoT is HighSpot. The digital marketing team is not responsible for allocating budget to the creation of these assets however we will happily support applying budget to adjust an asset for improved performance in a digital channel. (ex. Asset size, color, etc). This content creation must be baked into the overall planning timeline we review later on this page.
Once the types of assets are identified, the digital marketing issue should be created using the digital campaign request template in GitLab. Historically similar design requests and ad copy requests have been made by multiple teams so it’s the teams hope that by placing this request at the beginning of the planning process will remove such instances of duplication.
While the digital marketing team would love to support any and all requests that are asked of us in support of the business, we have a finite budget and finite resources and will do our best to maximize both. Sub-region campaigns or campaigns to drive event attendance have proven ineffective in many historical cases and are an example of where we are currently unable to afford these low outcome campaigns.
The digital marketing manager will need to be briefed on the campaign by the core team in advance of the kickoff call to define the “elevator pitch” for the campaign (ex. This campaign targets mid market IT Directors who need x pain point solved) so we can work with our agency to determine the market opportunity within digital and validate keywords across multiple channels to focus on. Understanding the source of this elevator pitch came from (i.e. market research, sales feedback, customer advisory board, etc) is important for the team to know when crafting their marketing plan recommendations. We expect this research (inclusive of competitive updates and options as well as campaign naming conventions) to take 2 weeks to return back to the digital team who will then share key learnings with the core planning team. At this point, we should be no sooner than 12 weeks prior to campaign launch.
T-12 weeks to campaign launch:
Note: Some of the following labels only exist on the Digital Marketing project level.
#digital-marketing: General digital marketing conversation and questions
#integrated-marketing: For the wider Integrated Marketing team, to share and discuss issues, projects, trainings, and resources that connect the Digital, Campaigns, Field, and Partner Marketing departments.
Click here to see channel definitions and where they fit in buyer journey.
The Digital Marketing team’s strategy & execution ultimately leads to filling pipeline, while closely analyzing down-funnel metrics & results in order to influence & optimize top of funnel strategy in a feedback loop.
We work with external agencies to help support campaign execution including competitive research, media buys, campaign optimization and reporting. GitLab is responsible for campaign set up and monthly and quarterly read outs to our core planning team members.
GitLab Digital Marketing works directly with agencies within the GitLab Digital Advertising project, which is strictly for Digital Marketing & agency communication only.
For more detailed information on our partnership, communication, and invoicing, please see our handbook page.
We don’t invest in assets, we invest in campaigns. We need to understand the campaign's objectives and goals. We triage each request and analyze and with the required information to develop a point of view as to what we can reasonably do with the dollars we have.
We need to understand the buyer persona we are targeting, the segment and the region and with that information, develop a point of view that determines what’s possible.
The segment and regional goals are built from the TOPO model so everything we do, maps back to that. The goals we align to, add up to the ultimate goal so if we get there through campaign A or B is irrelevant. We need to get there in the most efficient way possible.
By monitoring these campaigns regularly we’ll be able to dial up and dial down the investment to make sure we are getting maximum performance. We are laser focused on driving high volume balanced with high quality, so if an asset is not performing, we take it down, right away. If it’s exceeding expectations, we put more money behind it. We need to be able to shift on a dime and have developed criteria and a process for evaluating these assets.
Each sales segment and region have varying ASP’s and average sales cycles - those are taken into consideration as we set the goals for the campaign and as we begin to track results. For a campaign that has just gone live, we need to be sure to set the expectation upfront about when we will start to see results and will they come in the form of INQ’s, MQL’s or SAO’s By setting the expectations in advance, we can track to those goals and keep all pertinent teams apprised of results.
Finally, each campaign will have an end date that will prompt further discussion and evaluation. The end date is determined at the time of issue creation and should not exceed 6 months. Assets will be consistently evaluated for effectiveness, need for refresh or revision.
We need to have connection points into and from other teams. Our team sees this engagement as catch and release.
Catch: Who are we catching info from - who do we need insight from to understand what they are doing, why they are doing it and how it might factor into the work we do?
ABM (understanding who is being targeted so we can omit from digital marketing efforts) - Zac
Campaigns - Zac
Customer References - TBD
PR - TBD
Digital experience - Joon
All remote team - Joon
Brand strategy - Sara
Visual brand- Sara
Release: Which GitLab teams should have visibility into the campaigns we are running in an effort to align messages or understand how the public is responding to campaigns.
ABM: sharing the content we are using in segments and regions for awareness purposes.
Digital Marketing will recommend specific channels based on your campaign goals. The most common type is Paid Social based on robust targeting criteria and successful performance in reach and inquiry volume.
Paid social ads are sponsored ads that we show on social platforms. The three social media platforms that we primarily advertise on are Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn (including LinkedIn InMail & Conversation Ads), and Twitter. LinkedIn is our top platform in general due to its firmographic targeting, allowing us to target more effectively toward specific segments & job criteria.
As people are researching or exploring keywords relevant to GitLab, we used Google AdWords to promote responsive search ads on the Google search engine to drive people to specific GitLab landing pages. We do this by bidding on targeted keywords and phrases based on the assumed intent of the person, triggering the ad relevant to a specific user search query, and leading users to a related landing page that matches that intent.
Display ads are banner ads that we mostly run are through the Google Display Network (GDN). GDN will show banner ads on websites that have Google Adsense set up on their website. There are no specific websites we show banner ads on - we earn the ad space by bidding on placements based on specific targeting criteria such as demographics, topics, and interests. On occasion, we run banner ads on specific websites through direct buys, but this is handled more in the publisher program.
Publisher sponsorships are when we engage a specific publisher in order to purchase placement on their web properties. Generally, we make sure the publisher's website(s) and audience closely match the profile of who we want to advertise to before engaging with the publisher. Sponsorships are less turn key than our other programs - while they require longer planning and execution, heavier lifts in content creation, and manual reporting, the long investment results in more qualified leads that are aligned with our goals & target audience.
Project Managing Publisher Activities:
list clean uploadand relate them to the epic. Follow instructions for the remaining issues.
program trackingissue to the Campaign Manager that supports the region and assign the
list clean uploadissue to Jameson
Our key stakeholders for ongoing reporting include:
Campaigns teams and product marketing
GEO Sales leadership
It is important to work through the digital marketing team for your paid media reporting requests as we have significant challenges that are currently being addressed. Please do not pull your own dashboard data, the output is very familiar to us and we want to be sure our stakeholders are pulling the right information, in the right format for ultimate accuracy.
We will also provide insight into asset specific performance and what we should expect from an asset should that differ greatly from the goals that are set. This should prompt an open and collaborative discussion.
Allocadia is the single source of truth for Digital Marketing's planned and forecasted budget throughout the fiscal year.
Each month's forecast is locked around the middle of the current month, so Digital will confirm planned budgets by this date and also update the forecast based on shifts between certain line items. We monitor the Pipeline X-ray report to find gaps in coverage for specific regions & segments, so if we see a shortage in the current quarter's pipeline, we can strategically reallocate funds to ultimately generate more inquiries & MQLs for the region(s) or segment(s) that need it most. For example, if we are not utilizing our full Publisher budget for the month, we can move the remaining budget into LinkedIn for the Enterprise segment within the APAC region if it's experiencing low pipeline.
Once our monthly plan is locked in Allocadia, Digital will review their tab in the monthly Marketing AvB file for any further changes necessary before the end of the month.
Each quarter's plan is locked in Allocadia at least 2-3 days before the next quarter.
Since our budget is originally planned to accommodate our quarterly goals, we need to reconcile spend with Allocadia every month to make sure we are on pace to spend our planned budget. Since budget is strictly fluid within the quarter, Finance will alert Digital Marketing if we are pacing behind budget for a quarter in case we need to redistribute those funds.
Due at least 4-5 business days before the end of the month, Digital Marketing works closely with PMG to prepare accruals (estimated billing amounts) for end of the month. Aside from the core Digital campaigns, PMG will notate which department (such as Field Marketing, ABM, Corporate, etc) is responsible for accrued spend, and Digital Marketing will verify the Allocadia IDs and Coupa POs related to each line item.
Once the month has ended, PMG will update the accruals sheet with actuals (final invoice amounts) with related invoice numbers, and there is typically a small buffer between estimated accruals & actuals. PMG will email PDF invoices to Digital Marketing and GitLab Accounting, automatically pushing invoices into Coupa for approval. Digital Marketing will verify that invoices are 1:1 match with actuals in the accrual sheet, then approve the invoices in Coupa.
For information on the Financial Planning processes & timelines for Digital Marketing, please follow the Marketing Finance handbook page.
Each paid channel has its own unique design specifications, ad copy character limits, and recommendations for their ad types to ensure ads can run at their optimal performance. If you do not yet have creative assets secured for your campaign, the design team can use this section as their guide when producing your creative. The standard requests for paid social images based on PMG recommendations are 1080x1920px, 1080x1080px, and 628x1200px.
All URLs that are promoted on external sites and through email must use UTM URL tagging to increase the data cleanliness in Google Analytics and ensure marketing campaigns are correctly attributed.
We don't use UTMs for internal links. UTM data sets attribution for visitors, so if we use UTMs on internal links it resets everything when the clicked URL loads. This breaks reporting for paid advertising and organic visitors.
You can access our internal URL tagging tool in Google Sheets. You will also find details in this spreadsheet on what "Campaign Medium" to use for each URL. If you need a new campaign medium, please check with the Digital Marketing Programs team as new mediums will not automatically be attributed correctly.
If you are not sure if a link needs a UTM, please speak with the marketer who is managing your campaign to ensure you are not interrupting the reporting structure they have in place.
UTM construction best practices:
We run digital ads on the following channels:
Because everyone at GitLab works remotely, it makes it difficult to restrict ads from being shown to GitLab team members. In a brick and mortar environment, we can easily block IP addresses to accomplish this. Because everyone at GitLab has a different IP address, and even dynamic IP addresses, there is no way to implement an exclusion rule that would block all GitLab ads to GitLab team members.
If you would not like to see GitLab ads, you are able to opt-out of ads as you see them. Below is the process to remove GitLab ads. Please note that if you use both your personal and work accounts on your devices, you will need to exclude from both your personal and work accounts.
Google Paid Search: When you see a GitLab text ad in Google search engine results
Google Display: When you see a GitLab ad on a third-party website
Facebook: When you see a GitLab ad on Facebook
LinkedIn: When you see a GitLab ad on LinkedIn
Twitter: When you see a GitLab ad on Twitter
Localization is a core tenet of the campaign managers GANTT chart that serves to manage the campaign and the digital team will do our best to support localization if we can ensure it doesn’t severely impact campaign efficiency. Future versions of our investment model will contain a workback formula to help us evaluate whether or not localization would be effective, and affordable.