Laura Dolan (00:00):
Hello everyone and welcome to Optimizely's podcast, Content Intel. I am your host, Laura Dolan, and today, we are joined by our Senior Director of Product Marketing, Anthony Aiosa, who will be talking about the recent acquisition of Welcome and its integration into Optimizely's Digital Experience Platform, as well as go into more detail about the digital asset management or DAM. Hello Anthony, welcome to the podcast.
Anthony Aiosa (00:23):
Hey there Laura, and hey there everyone. It's great to be with you all today.
Laura Dolan (00:28):
How are things going?
Anthony Aiosa (00:29):
Good, good. It's a bit of a cloudy, rainy day on Tuesday here in New York City, but otherwise I cannot complain.
Laura Dolan (00:36):
Nice. Yeah, that's how it was here in Ohio yesterday, but today it's actually a nice spring, sunny day, so you never know around here.
Laura Dolan (00:44):
Well thank you so much for joining me today. I know you have a very busy schedule so I'm just thankful for the time. Why don't you start out by telling us a little bit about your background and your experience working at Welcome?
Anthony Aiosa (00:54):
Yeah, of course. So Anthony Aiosa. I've been with Welcome going on four and a half years now. And for those that may not be familiar with the name Welcome, we were formerly known as NewsCred. For the content marketers and web marketers out there, you may know the NewsCred brand. But we rebranded to Welcome in 2020. And for those that don't know, we're a marketing collaboration software. So we help marketing teams of all kinds, whether it's content teams, web teams, product marketing teams, demand gen teams. Ultimately, our goal is to help bring those marketing functions together and help them plan campaigns, create content, store assets, all through a single workspace.
Anthony Aiosa (01:42):
Like I said, I've been with the company now almost four and a half years leading product marketing and content marketing. And I'm sincerely so grateful for that time. As a product marketer, the product marketer in me that loves marketing technology, it's been a really unique opportunity to market and promote software to who are effectively my peers. And the software is just so amazing and being an active daily user, it's really changed how I do my actual day job, so to use the tool, to go through everything that we've gone through over the last several years, the rebrand, redefining our go-to-market, achieving category leadership, and having it all culminate in being acquired by Optimizely, now, I just feel very fortunate.
Laura Dolan (02:37):
That's fantastic. It's very nice to have that one source of truth on one platform. I'm currently also getting onboarded onto Welcome and doing all these training sessions every week, so it's really exciting. I can also totally empathize with you on the acquisition front as the company Zaius that I was a part of also got acquired by Optimizely. How has your experience been since joining Optimizely?
Anthony Aiosa (02:58):
Yeah, it's been interesting for sure. From an individual standpoint, this was my first time going through anything like this, and if I can be candid, I feel like mergers and acquisitions often get a bad rap. I'm not sure why, but I think it's natural for maybe people to feel a little opposed to change, and maybe some of that friction can be uncomfortable. But frankly, I'm on the other side of the spectrum with this experience. I just feel so invigorated ever since we've joined, and I think the key in any acquisition is finding the right suitor. Making sure that there's a match. And it's not just from a business and product standpoint, but I also think from a people and culture perspective, it's just so critical. We've been really fortunate on the Welcome side that I think we've retained nearly 100% of our Welcome employees through this acquisition, so we came in and we're hitting the ground running. It's been an awesome start to 2022 and I'm so excited to see what the second half of the year has in store.
Laura Dolan (04:18):
I appreciate you speaking candidly about that because acquisitions can be scary, and congrats to your team for everyone staying intact coming over, because I understand with acquisitions, that's always the fear. It's like, "Is my job going to survive? Am I going to survive this? Are they going to keep me? Do they see my value?" So, everyone I've met on the Welcome side has been extremely amazing and valuable and a great addition to our team, so I'm so happy to have you guys and yeah, again, just welcome Welcome, I can't say it enough.
Anthony Aiosa (04:52):
We love that pun. That pun will never get old.
Laura Dolan (04:53):
Right? Never gets old. So can you go into more detail about Welcome's content marketing platform and the features it provides? I know you touched on it a few minutes ago, but I just want to hear a little bit more about it.
Anthony Aiosa (05:05):
Yeah, of course. Welcome certainly covers a lot of surface area. One category we play in, which is really our bread and butter, that's where we made our name originally, as I mentioned, as NewsCred, was in the "content marketing platform" category. And that really spans everything from ideation to measurement in the context of helping marketing teams create amazing content. So, as the marketer in me likes to simplify things, and I usually think about it in the context of the life cycle that we all go through as marketers. Usually that starts with ideating around a certain topic.
Anthony Aiosa (05:52):
Well, we've got data-driven keyword recommendations that help you figure out what campaigns and content to create. Then we've got really robust planning capabilities and calendering so that you can kind of visualize all of your campaigns and all of your content activity on a really flexible calendar and a really flexible planning module that allows you to pivot your strategy in so many different ways. Then of course, we've got everything that is required to facilitate the creation, review and approval of content. So all of those intelligent workflows, the editors, the proofing, the annotations, and then the ability to tag and store all that content natively with the Digital Asset Manager that we've got built into the system.
Anthony Aiosa (06:41):
Of course, then it's not enough just to plan and collaborate and create your content, but you also need the integrations to publish all of that content and distribute it downstream, whether it's to your CMS, to your social channels, to your sales enablement platforms where your field reps are going to consume content. So, getting the content out the door is critical. And then of course, the analytics to see how the content on your website is performing, what's driving the most conversions. So, again, it's a bit of a mouthful, but if you really think about it in the context of that marketing, planning, and execution life cycle, it's almost like an infinity loop of sorts where marketing teams are coming together to plan, execute and measure.
Laura Dolan (07:33):
That's awesome. And I know you mentioned the integrated Digital Asset Manager, which is also referred to as DAM. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and how it is leveraged?
Anthony Aiosa (07:43):
Yeah absolutely. It's been a huge area of investment for us over the last several years. And I think what we found was that the marketing teams out there really need a purpose-built DAM. So, I think for the longest time, we've all been using... Digital asset management is a category that is not specific to marketing and it's a legacy term. It's been around for quite a while. Funny story, I mean I actually remember... When I started my career, I was using these generic DAMs like Dropbox or SharePoint. My boss was always like, "Yeah once you finish that PDF, just drop it in the folder." And I'm like... Back then, I didn't really think anything of it, but looking back on it, it seems so silly just to drop these assets somewhere into the ether and never to be seen or heard from again.
Anthony Aiosa (08:39):
So what we've done is kind of redefine how we think about digital asset management for marketing teams, and we've built it directly into our system. So what that means is, it's fully integrated in the sense that you have all of the context upstream of where did these assets come from, what campaigns were they part of, who worked on them, what tasks were they part of, and then you've got all of the downstream context where you can say, "Well"... You look at the lineage of it and say, "Well where was it utilized? Which markets repurposed it? Where was it translated?" Because it's all built-in together, and you can easily just find, discover, repurpose assets that are readily available there in the DAM for you. Just to kind of bring it full circle, combining a lot of those core content creation, content production capabilities that we talked about earlier, with this ability to centralize the management of all those assets, we're able to help marketing teams get more mileage out of every piece of content that they produce.
Laura Dolan (09:56):
That's amazing. It's such a valuable tool and I love the multifaceted, multipurpose use behind it. It's so awesome. Well now that you've joined the Optimizely family, how do you see Welcome being integrated into our DXP? How does it benefit marketing and web teams going forward?
Anthony Aiosa (10:13):
Yeah it's exciting because Welcome really is so complementary to the Optimizely product suite. I'm sure many of your listeners, Laura, know Optimizely's products really well. It's been recognized as a leader in DXP, now again, with really strong offerings for CMS, experimentation and commerce, and that is really everything that goes into helping brands create an amazing customer experience across all of those digital touchpoints. So when you think about what Welcome can bring to the table is, everything that happens before those assets and before that content reaches those digital touchpoints. And so while I referred to Optimizely as the customer experience, what we like to think of with Welcome is more around the marketer experience.
Anthony Aiosa (11:12):
It's that first 80%... It's everything that happens leading up to the content being published, so giving marketers and web teams a single workspace to ideate, plan, collaborate, and then seamlessly push all of those assets, all of that content into Optimizely Content Cloud, for example. That's an integration that's going to be available in very short order later this summer. It's going to give teams the ability to do all of their work in Welcome and then seamlessly push it out to their Optimizely CMS, so... And that's just the first phase of integration. There's going to be a lot more in the context of experimentation and program management that we're going to be excited to tell everyone about, but I think the short of it is that when you think about these two experiences, the marketer experience and the customer experience coming together to really manufacture amazing digital experiences, that's what we're all so excited about.
Laura Dolan (12:17):
That's awesome, I can't wait for that. I cannot tell you how in favor I am of something being efficient and streamlined and taking the fewest amount of steps possible to get the end result, and I love that. I didn't even know that we were going to be integrating our CMS with Welcome, so that's actually really exciting news. So you heard it here first folks. Awesome.
Laura Dolan (12:38):
Well switching gears here, I do want to mention that Welcome appeared Gartner's CMP Magic Quadrant report for 2022 as a leader for the fifth year in a row. First of all, congratulations Anthony, that's incredible.
Anthony Aiosa (12:52):
Laura Dolan (12:52):
Second of all, what does it mean for your content marketing platforms and critical capabilities to be ranked this high?
Anthony Aiosa (12:58):
Yeah, I mean it is certainly not something we take for granted. I think we're humbled every single year and now, the fifth year in a row, frankly, I mean it keeps us hungry. We owe so much to our customers, our partners, our daily users, our champions. Everyone who gives us feedback and helps us push the needle further. But it's been a remarkable run and I think, I mean I alluded to it before, the content marketing platform category has really been Welcome's bread and butter now. We've evangelized the category, we've been a leader there for five years in a row, so I'd encourage everyone to... You can go out and get a free copy of the report. Visit optimizely.com and absolutely download it. I think there's a lot to learn around how teams are thinking about consolidating some of these subsystems in the spirit of more streamlined efficiency, better measurement, and more collaboration. So, again, it's been a wild ride, but we are just so humbled to be named the leader for the fifth year in a row.
Laura Dolan (14:19):
Yeah it's fantastic. I will be putting the link to the report in this blog, so be looking for that as you read along. Anthony, is there anything else that we didn't cover that you'd like to talk about before we wrap up?
Anthony Aiosa (14:30):
Oh, I don't think so. I mean it's been so awesome. Thank you so much for the opportunity to join you today and to talk a little bit about Welcome, one of my favorite subjects for sure. If you couldn't tell, I am very much a believer in the product, even as a daily user. I mean, it truly has transformed the way that me and my team run our campaigns and create content, and I wouldn't be here today if I didn't sincerely believe in what it's going to do for that next generation of marketers. I would encourage anyone who's interested, if there's something that you heard today that piqued your interest, please visit us at optimizely.com. We actually have a free version of Welcome, so you can get started entirely for free with a few folks on your team. Start small. I think there are some fundamental things that we can all start doing by sharing calendars and facilitating some of that visibility across our functional team. So check us out, we'd encourage you to give us feedback, we're open to it, and yeah, excited for big things to come in the next half of the year.
Laura Dolan (15:47):
I second that as well. I encourage anyone to go on and just give it a try. You're not going to break anything. Just play around with it, see if you like it, and test it out with your teams, and yeah, it's a great platform. I'm looking forward to using it in my daily operations going forward, and having our companies merge and be successful together and moving along in 2022, so I'm very excited to have you guys on board, and Anthony, I can't thank you enough for your time today and thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Anthony Aiosa (16:17):
Thank you so much Laura. Take care. Bye bye.
Laura Dolan (16:19):
Thank you all so much for tuning in to this episode of Content Intel. I am Laura Dolan and I will see you next time.
Laura Dolan (16:26):
Thank you for listening to this episode of Content Intel. If you'd like to check out more episodes or learn more about how we can take your business to the next level by using our content, commerce, or optimization tools, please visit our website at optimizely.com, or you can contact us directly using the link at the bottom of this podcast blog to hear more about how our products will help you unlock your digital potential.