In B2B Marketing: Tomorrow’s Best Practices Today, we feature expert interviews about the state of B2B Marketing and what the future holds. In this post, I interview Liz Kokoska, Sr. Director, Demand Generation, Americas at Okta.

Tell us about yourself?

Liz Kokoska headshot

I’m a child of the ‘70s, born in SF, raised in Sonoma County. 

I’m a graduate of UCSB – go Gauchos! I’ve traveled to 25 countries and next on my list (once Covid is under control) are Thailand, Bali and Vietnam.

I’m happily married to my wife Kim and we are proud moms to our daughter, Riley who is 6. 

We currently reside in Mill Valley. During shelter-in-place, I’ve taken up making bread. It’s a lot more work than I expected, but it’s fun, especially sourdough.

This week, top of mind for me is the racial injustice happening around me and how I can affect change – this needs to end. I’m committed to continuing to listen and to do my part to solve. 

Note: Follow Liz on Twitter (@koko_liz).

Tell us about your background in B2B marketing?

My marketing actually started out in services, not B2B.

My first marketing job was at a hot investment bank (IB) where I was an event coordinator for tech IPO closing dinners and technology conferences. At the time, these events were major boondoggles – no expense spared. 

This was my first exposure to the tech start-up world. From there I moved to New York City and managed events for UBS. Almost 10 years ago, I moved back to San Francisco and made a conscious decision to move to a marketing role in-house at a tech company.

This is where my true B2B tech marketing career launched.

Tell us about your career path at Okta?

Okta logo

I started out at Okta as one of our first field marketers for North America and APAC. 

Since then, I’ve had the honor and privilege to grow the North America field marketing team to 35 marketers focused on different segments and verticals. 

This year, the Sales Development Reps for North America joined my org and it’s been an awesome learning experience to have our frontline pipe generators on the team. This entire team inspires me daily.

Tell us a best practice of tomorrow that B2B marketers should be doing today?

Look beyond the qualified lead (QL).

We’re great at tracking QLs and conversion rates. Our next frontier as B2B marketers is to focus on later stage pipe, deal acceleration and overall pipe health in general. What programs would we run that are further down the funnel to ensure deals continue to move and close.

How do virtual events help you and your team meet business goals?

We had to pivot to virtual events when Covid hit. Before that, other than webinars, all of our events were live. That said, in our current environment, virtual events are critical in our marketing plan.

They help us get our message out to and capture the attention of our target audience – both prospects and customers. They also allow us to interact with them in a more dynamic and meaningful way. 

Note: Liz and three of her Okta colleagues recently presented (virtually) to the Bay Area Content Marketing Meetup. Here’s a recording of their talk:

What’s one thing B2B marketers are NOT doing with virtual events, but should be?

One of the benefits of virtual events is that recording the sessions is much easier than a live event.

We’re looking for ways to serve up this recorded content in a more meaningful way – like a Netflix experience – “if you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy…”. This gives the virtual events legs AND our target audience a more enjoyable experience – it will put the relevant information at their fingertips and saves them time. 

Note: Here are some upcoming virtual events from Okta:

Also: Liz gave a fantastic keynote presentation at EventGeek’s Reboot 2020 virtual conference.

How do you stay current about Marketing?

I read articles that come my way via LinkedIn, recently your Content Marketing Meetup and blog 😉 and the Sunnyside podcast. I attend marketer/sales focused conferences like Integrate, TOPO and Sirius Decisions. My favorite way to learn is talking to peers at other organizations and networking.

What’s the future of demand generation?

Demand Gen will continue to become a more and more important part of the marketing motion. The more closely SDRs are aligned to the demand gen motion, the more effective the motion becomes, and the more Sales has visibility into how marketing helps them reach their goals, the more valuable demand gen becomes. 

Demand Gen is an essential part of the sales motion if executed in alignment to the company’s growth goals.