Epic funding by Sequoia solidifies tech unicorn’s position as the gold standard in the Customer Experience Management spaceWithin industry circles, Medallia has been regarded as the market leader in Customer Experience Management (CEM) software. In July 2015, however, the SaaS leader raised a massive $150M round led by Sequoia Capital, bringing its total funding to $255M and its valuation north of $1B. Silicon Valley minted another unicorn. Sterling and Medallia agreed that the time was right to approach business press about covering Medallia as the clear frontrunner in the rapidly growing Customer Experience (CX) space.
Medallia turned to Sterling to come up with a media strategy that would garner coverage in Tier-1 business press, broader tech industry outlets, and CX trade publications. The catch? We had just three weeks in July to both craft the messaging and orchestrate a series of media interviews with Medallia executives, the lead investor in the new round, and a Medallia customer—working around a quarterly business review offsite, business travel, and summer vacations. The tight timeframe was driven by two factors: 1) the desire to avoid having an informal “leak” occur once the funding had closed; and 2) the need to have the news hit before the doldrums of August and the start of corporate earnings season.
Our goal was to use the funding as a launch pad to both tell Medallia’s corporate story and shine a bigger spotlight on the CEM industry. Since Sequoia is such an iconic Silicon Valley investor, our strategy involved leveraging the Sequoia brand to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, Sterling worked with Medallia to get a customer—Tommy Bahama—to talk about the business benefits of using the CEM software as a way of broadening the funding story into more of a corporate-level feature. Working behind the scenes, Sterling prepped the forward-facing personalities for interviews, getting everyone comfortable about their roles.
Due to the tight timeline, we parsed the media targets for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. Borge Hald, Medallia CEO and co-founder, acted as the business press spokesperson; Dorian Stone, Medallia’s VP of customer experience strategy and marketing, took on the CX and trade press interviews. By dividing and conquering, the Sterling-Medallia team made the best use of limited time and ensured target media saturation on announcement day.
Medallia CEO and co-founder Borge Hald
During initial outreach, Sterling received several media requests to do an exclusive, but after carefully weighing the options, decided that the level of interest shown would ensure meaty coverage in a number of top-tier outlets, and that wider coverage would better meet Medallia’s objectives of broadening visibility for both Medallia and CEM in general, and attracting potential new Medallians.
The strategy worked as intended, giving Medallia and the CEM category broader awareness (coverage reach of 52.5M), and attracting a large number of potential new employees (1K+ searches for jobs at Medallia on July 21). In fact, Medallia saw breakthrough engagement numbers across the board:
- July 21 Stats
- Nearly 1M visits to the Medallia website, 2.5X the average daily visits
- 3X core visits
- 7X visits from leader brands
- 10X more product views
- Record number of visits to Open Positions page
- 1K+ searches for jobs at Medallia
- Intern Game Night at Medallia sold out in 4 hours
Three months later, the momentum of the news continued, as Medallia graced the cover of Forbes in a feature highlighting four particularly disruptive tech unicorns.
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