February 9, 2023

How to Automate Marketing KPIs with John Miraglia

Barry Burns

In this series, we sit down with analytics leaders who are successfully automating key tasks across their teams and businesses. Today we talk with John Miraglia, Director of Marketing Operations at MariaDB, about automating Marketing KPI's.

Barry Burns, Co-Founder at Savant

Hello. My name is Barry Burns. I work at Savant and I want to welcome you all to the first installment of our “Interview with the Savant”series. Today, I'm joined by John Miraglia. He's the Director of Marketing Ops at MariaDB. John, how are you doing today?


John Miraglia, Director of Marketing Ops at MariaDB

I'm good, Barry. Thanks for having me.


And thank you so much for joining us. So John, to kick this off. Maybe you can just tell us a little bit more about MariaDB.



Sure, my pleasure. So MariaDB is an open-source database company. We really focus on the cloud database. And similar to the way thatUber has changed the way the mode of transportation, MariaDB has really changed the way that data is stored and accessed. It's the backbone of services used by people every day. And it's the heart of critical applications that clients have really relied on. It's a new generation of cloud database companies and it can be deployed in minutes. And it is used for most of today's modern applications.It's secure, it allows for repetition, scale for performance, it’s capable of expanding as needed as needs arise, traditional and analytic services processing. We have been able to support any workload, any cloud, any scale, and we are able to save approximately 90% of database costs with our solutions.


That sounds like a fantastic offering, John. Why don't you tell us a bit more about yourself? What path led you to MariaDB in the first place?


Sure, well, I have a long history. I've been in the industry for probably 30-plus years. It's hard to believe that it's been that long, butI got my start shortly out of college, probably two years after college.


I kind of dabbled in a couple of different things based on my education. And I landed with a company out of Boston and that was focused on database marketing. And I started as an operational person, did a lot of processing of data for some of the key clients, and that just turned into a career, actually, in marketing operations.


So I moved from the East Coast out to California and worked with some major players in the database industry, Epsilon being one of those, where I got my original start. And then I have moved along, worked for a consulting firm focused on database marketing and building out applications and doing needs assessments and requirements. And then shortly after that, I moved into a role as Marketing Operations Director at Informatica. And I was therefor approximately four years where I just focused on the installation, the implementation of Marketo, which was our marketing automation system. So I owned that application and all the data in reporting information for that.


And then after the Informatica experience, I did move over to MariaDB. So I've been with MariaDB for four-plus years and I manage the marketing automation system and all of the data, the KPIs for the marketing department. Also all of the data that flows into our CRM system, which is Salesforce.So I own all of that integration, all the processes, the integrations from multiple systems in that. So I wear many different hats. We're a lean team. So you definitely have to roll up your sleeves and definitely get involved. So kind of in a nutshell, a very short, brief, 30-plus year kind of background in my history.


Yeah, 30-plus years in a minute and a half, I'll take it.And I will argue that the move from East to West coast is the right direction for that move, but I'm just personally biased there.


I agree too. My plan was to stay in California for one year and it's turned into more like a 25-plus year experience.


Very nice. So you mentioned that you run a pretty lean team and that you quite often roll up your sleeves. Maybe you can give me a bit more information about your core responsibilities and your role as Director ofMarketing Ops.


So as I said, Marketo is the marketing automation system that we do use. But a lot of the focus is, our business is changing and it changes fast in that we're rolling out new products. We have SkySQL, which is our core product. Also with Expand, those two products are our focus and the direction that we are focused on our cloud products. The SkySQL product was rolled out two years ago and it's ever-changing and growing and expanding and just evolving. So in addition to just the data and the marketing automation process, you think of marketing automation as programs and execution. There is so much reporting that's involved and that reporting is being requested on a daily basis, new business requirements, new asks, new requests. So a lot of time is spent in analyzing data and understanding who is either downloading ourSkySQL products, who is using the SkySQL product, what types of databases they're actually using, and the requests keep on coming. Every day there's anew request. So a lot of time is just looking and analyzing and reporting data and feeding that up within the marketing organization. The sales organizationalso leverages it as well as the executive team.


All right, and what would you say were the key challenges that you faced in meeting those reporting needs for your business that started your search for an automation tool?


So a lot of the reporting that was being done and the requests coming in, a lot of it was manually created. We have multiple systems where we have to collect data and then manually consolidate data to actually generate reports. So it was a combination of using, like at the beginning, it was Excel in that and manually grabbing data, analyzing data from multiple systems, bringing it together, throwing it into Excel, and then creating pivot reports and generating that and speeding it up, but it's not sustainable in doing that.


So from there it was, as I said, lean team. And you have to reduce the number of hours you're spending in this reporting and you have to look for automation to ways of improving the process and being able to respond to a question in days or hours, not in days or multiple days or a week. It was like, “Well, it's going to take me a week to pull that together.” That was the focus of looking for more automated processes in that to reduce the hours spent on generating key performance indicators, being able to handle new requests, but to be able to do it fast and for it to take hours or days, not weeks in that process.


So we definitely started to look for more ways of doing this automation. And so that's where we started to do the look. And we identifiedSavant as a solution for us and it has been a great solution for being able to take these types of requests, to build them rapidly. With the Savant application, we can create and join multiple data sources together quickly and to be able to analyze our KPIs in minutes once they're built. You can analyze data in minutes and get it refreshed in minutes rather than having to generate and go back into all these different systems and manually create and crunch all the data again and that and spend another two or three days trying to generate.


Yeah, we obviously, certainly appreciate that you look towards our platform as you search for an automation tool. I'm curious what initially stood out to you about Savant.


It has been the ease of use in the ability to- you know, it doesn't have to be an analyst per se that is using the tool. Almost anyone can leverage the tool and build out canvases, being able to join different datasources and bring that together, build the logic and generate the reports. The visuals are great that can be built within.


Yeah, and speaking of that, you mentioned that you're usingSavant to drive some of these operational reports. Can you give us an example of a specific report, sort of what it looked like in the world prior to Savant and how that's changed now that you've automated with the platform?


Yeah, we have a couple of different flavors of reports that we do. We have actually weekly reports that are generated and shared with executives. And it's just looking at the growth of our database and kind of like the funnel of our data from what we consider net new names coming into our database and how they flow through the system into our CRM system and how they go through from being “marketing engaged” all the way to “closed won” and being able to track that information and looking at revenue information that's associated to it to say, “What is marketing engagement performance on the pipeline?” And so we have pipeline reporting that we definitely have leveraged, and we look at that every like two weeks, and then we have to present to upper-level management on a monthly basis. So all of this is now automated through theSavant tool and we can just quickly open it up, run the report, and it's at your fingertips.


We also have, as I had mentioned earlier, SkySQL being our flagship product and being able to track and report on the state of our SkySQL business. So we have a number of reports that have been built just to focus on SkySQLand looking at the statuses of the number of free trials, the number of people who have converted from a free trial to an actual paying customer. All of that is being tracked, which databases are being launched, how frequent they're being used, how frequently they engaged- regarding SkySQL. So all of that now is being reported up actually almost on a daily basis of looking at that information and sharing it with the key players and the stakeholders associated with this SkySQL.


That's great, John. So for someone out there that is in a similar role as you, that is looking to justify investment in similar automation tools, could you maybe talk through some of the return on investment or the benefits that you see out of having those reports automated?


Yeah, I would say the biggest thing has been time savings in that is the number of hours that I personally have saved and been able to focus on other higher-priority projects. In my days of the manual efforts, I was spending 40 or 50 hours in every two weeks of just manually generating reports. And I've been able to reduce that to almost spending, you know, five to ten minutes, an hour looking at the data. Most now is analyzing the results and looking for the key findings within the results, rather than having to spend the effort of building something new every time. I can now analyze the data and share results and findings, make changes, make suggestions to the team as we move forward. So it's just part of it, the automation is just time savings, the amount of information that can be generated and looked at and reported on, and there's so many different ways that you can filter the data in the Savant tool and see results instantaneously rather than multiple pivot tables and reports and so forth.


Well, I really appreciate that, John, and I really appreciate you kind of walking us through sort of how you started, what business challenges that you identified in building these reports for MariaDB, and how you were able to meet those challenges with Savant. I think we should close with just one last question, which is: what advice would you give for other directors of marketing ops out there that are in the place that you were at a year ago and are looking to start their own automation journey?


I would say that a big part of it is just understanding the business and overall the big picture of your business and understanding the needs and finding tools that really work for the business. But looking for a tool like Savant, and the ease of use of setting it up. It's lightweight, it's quick and easy to implement the product, the number of data sources that you can bring into your canvases, it covers pretty much any application system that you can think of. And there's the ease of use, even when an application is not available, where it can be implemented and added on pretty quickly and easily.So ease of functionality, ease of use, but also being dynamic in the ability to generate pretty much anything that you can think of, any type of report, anyKPI, there is a way of building it in Savant. So that's part of what we looked for when looking for a tool in that we've been pretty successful and happy with the Savant product and solutions.


Well, we've been very grateful for the partnership with you,John, and with MariaDB as a whole. It's been great working with you so far and looking forward to many things to come. I want to thank you one last time for sitting down and talking your use case through with us. It's incredibly helpful for us to hear first-hand how our users are implementing their own data flows for their businesses. So thank you so much. And yeah, thank you all for listening in as well. Have a wonderful day, everyone. Thanks, John.


You're welcome.

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Barry Burns
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