Leads, Gotta Catch ‘Em All: B2B Marketing Takeaways from Pokémon Go

Fun! Social! New! Pokémon Go ticks all the boxes of the perfect viral storm. The game has caught on like wildfire not only with people that grew up with Pokémon, but also first timers who just found out about it. In a matter of days, the Pokémon pandemic has dominated my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds and drowned out politics and civil rights issues. I’ve overheard chatter about it while making iced coffee in the cafeteria of The Yard on the Upper West Side. I saw two boys discussing tactics and showing each other their iPhone screens while I was walking my dog Iggy through Central Park. Long story short—the success of Pokémon Go is any marketer’s wet dream!

Tweet Police Pokemon Go

You probably heard about Pokémon Go from all of the ads you’ve been seeing on Facebook, Hulu and TV, right? Wrong! Actually, Niantic Labs together with Nintendo and Pokémon Company, have done relatively no marketing whatsoever to drive the success of their game[1]. In fact, the only real marketing that was done was by Nintendo America when they tweeted its availability in the US.

B2B Marketing & Pokémon Go

Many marketers frequently forget that the people that B2B marketers market to are still people. That’s right, they may be marketed to in a certain capacity, but at the end of the day, they’re still people. That means that they like the same things as people and respond to the same hierarchy of needs as regular people.

Exposure kicks off the beginning of the B2B funnel. It’s the point where prospects start developing their emotional gut response to your brand. This is a make or break moment for most of your first-time prospects that may not be familiar with your brand. If we take the example of Pokémon Go, we can learn a few things from our first exposure to Pokémon plague that has swept across the nation at exponential speeds!

Pokémon is Fun & B2B Marketing Has Room For Improvement in the Fun Department

Everyone likes fun! Not just kids (or 33-year-olds) playing games on their phones, but CEOs, CTOs, managers, directors, doctors, janitors, lawyers, programmers—everyone! I won’t go into what makes Pokémon fun, but we can say that it’s lightheartedly enjoyable and amusing.

People want to be delighted and entertained. Games and fun build brand loyalty. They leave the audience with a positive gut feeling about the brand—one that makes them feel good inside. B2B marketing should do the same. All too often campaigns are dull and heavy and void of any fun or enjoyment.

Jethro, where I hail as head of marketing, is a software start-up that accelerates business intelligence performance on big data, most notably Hadoop. I probably lost you at that one (in its most basic sense, we make charts and graphs load fast in Tableau). We cater to a very niche market and our main personas are comprised of Database Architects, Database Engineers, System Architects, CTOs… you get the point. Let’s just say that I’m not marketing Coca-Cola to kids in the summer time. Despite the extremely technical nature of the marketing, I’ve been toying with ways to make lead generation and brand exposure more fun.

We’ve had various gated white paper campaigns running on Twitter and LinkedIn for some time. I’ve A/B tested the artwork, text, colors and fine-tuned the audience. I’ve seen some solid results from these campaigns, but nothing like my last marketing endeavor, a quiz.

Big Data Quiz

Instead of the usual boring content, I crafted a big data quiz designed to appeal to the personas that we market to. I wanted it to be short and sweet, but also challenging—I’m marketing to tech peeps, who love to solve puzzles and quantify their worth (by proving they know everything, of course!). The quiz brought in thousands of new visitors and generated hundreds of leads, which is a formidable amount for a B2B niche market. It generated enough buzz online to be liked on Facebook 3.7k times and shared 56 times—not bad for B2B on Facebook! The comments were relevant and opened a discussion about the product. Soliciting users for a boring white paper would never generate such a viral response.

There have been amazing B2C campaigns revolving around having fun. One that comes to mind is Volkswagen’s “Piano Stairs” from 2009. Their theory is that the easiest way to change people’s behavior is by making it fun. Most B2B marketing campaigns that attempt to be fun, really miss the point and end up being corny and not cute. Us B2B marketers need to try harder and think of ways that people will want to be exposed and engage with our brands without feeling like they’re being “sold.”

Pokémon is Super Social. B2B Marketing Can Be Too.

Social indicators are a powerful marketing force. In B2B customer testimonials play an important role and many times even just a co-branded logo from a big name can go a long way in generating leads. Trust icons aside, customer webinars and other customer-focused content, like videos and use cases, go a long way in earning trust. If you see other companies using your brand, it must be good!

One of the reasons Pokémon Go spread so quickly because it is social in nature. The game encourages users or “trainers” to go out in the world and interact with other players and landmarks, which the games transforms into Pokéstops and Gyms using the games layer of augmented reality. People see that their friends and other people are playing this game and immediately they want to join the party. They know that other people are using it so it must be fun. More than fun, however, is it’s interactive and social—and social in the old-fashioned face-to-face sense and not just the virtual one.

I’ve been to myriad B2B conferences in diverse areas including Travel, Casinos, Forex, Hadoop, Business Intelligence and more. Most of these shows have been impossibly boring. The production was impeccable, and all of the booths were lovely. But they weren’t very fun—and aside from people pouncing on attendees, they weren’t very social either. I’ve seen attempts at fun—usually in the form of a “games area.” I was at a show once with a rock-climbing wall that nearly no one touched the entire event. It seems like they didn’t really know their audience.

One notable exception is the Tableau Conference, which I had the pleasure of attending last year in Vegas. Yup, that’s right, THE PLEASURE of attending. I’m not sure if I can say that for most shows. The shows were not only fun, but they were social! Tableau’s marketing is clever in that it fosters a sense of community. To use Tableau is to belong to a tribe of Tableau users.

Tableau Conference

Our company, Jethro, was exhibiting at the conference and one thing that really stood out was how many of the prospects at the show were either novice Tableau users or have yet to even use Tableau. WHAT?! These people are actually paying upwards of a grand to go to a convention for a product that they’ve yet to even use? Yup. It’s true. Genius. Just like in Pokémon Go, they want to join the party.

Most People Have Anxiety In New Social Settings

If you’ve ever been to a B2B meet-up, or any gathering for that matter, you’ll notice that people want to be social and talk to people but they’re simply too socially awkward. The same can be said about dating and is probably the reason why liquid courage and wingmen are such a necessity in the real-world.
If there’s one magic thing that Pokémon Go can teach us, it’s how to bring the introverts out of their shells. Marketing is all about engaging people and shaping their opinions and actions. This game has accomplished just that. Using a game to bring people together and engage with one another could prove very beneficial–especially at meet-ups, which are usually fraught with socially awkward people. The same goes for conferences. If we take a cue from the dating world–it would be like a guy using a game to hit on a girl on Tinder.

Pokémon Uses New Technology – So Should B2B Marketers

Novelty is a powerful and seductive force. People love to see and try new things. Us marketers know this–it’s the reason why they write “New & Improved” on the same cereal that’s been around for 70 years. A lot of Pokémon’s meteoric success rests in the fact that it brought a new technology to the masses. Yes, augmented reality has been around for a few years, but no one has really figured out how to make it really catch on.

We should always be on the look-out for new and novel ways to market our brands to our prospects. Don’t be afraid to try new technologies and marketing channels and think how they can work for you. Perhaps be literal and try to market your brand using augmented reality. Maybe just figure out how to gamify your product or brand and make it fun. Perhaps host a meet-up and get everyone to play a game on their phones and the scores show up on a leaderboard–acting as an ice breaker and a competition.

It’s Time to Stop Extracting Data

The below article was originally posted in the Jethro blog.

Boost BI Performance without Data Extracts

It’s Time to Stop Extracting Your Data

You’re sitting on multi-million or maybe multi-billion rows of data just waiting to visualize, analyze and mine for insights. But before you have your big data eureka moment, there’s a catch.

No, you can’t always analyze what you want!

First, the performance of your BI tool is under the mercy of your database. Even if all of your dashboards and workbooks are running optimally, they still can’t perform faster than the database can stream queries. Think of this as a “database speed limit.” Sure, there are fast databases and slow databases, but if you want to interactively analyze your data at the speed of thought, you will need to extract a portion of your data and work in-memory.

Bummer. Who wants to extract a portion of the data and not access all of it at the same time? Maybe it’s due to a cognitive bias hardwired into our brains called “loss aversion,” but none of us likes to give up anything that we’ve already acquired. It was the same with sharing your toys as a kid and it’s the same thing with that shirt in your closet that you haven’t fit into since your sophomore year in college.

On the other hand, if you don’t forfeit some of your data with the extract and access the entire dataset live in a database, you’ll end up staring at the loading spinner of doom and gloom for your queries to return. We all know the agonizing frustration when the internet is running slowly. Could you imagine working like this every time you would like to refresh a view?

You’re faced with a choice of either waiting minutes (or far more) for your big data visualizations, or you’ll have to extract a small subset of your data and lose invaluable business insights. Sounds like a lose-lose scenario.

Yes, you can always analyze what you want!

In order to avoid extracting data, the best solution would be to remove the database speed limit that’s stifling your BI performance. Easier said than done, right? But with Jethro, you can do just that. The reason is because Jethro acts an acceleration layer that’s unobtrusively sandwiched between a data source, like Hadoop, EDW or Amazon S3, and a BI tool, like Tableau, Qlik or Microstrategy. Sounds too good to be true, right?

The secret to Jethro’s database performance acceleration lies in its architecture. Jethro indexes every single column of the dataset. An index-access architecture enables Jethro to surgically retrieve only the needed data for each query and stream results back to the BI dashboard. Since all columns are indexed, no extracts are needed and no precious data is forfeited from the queries.

Take for example a US insurance company that wants to visualize and analyze claims going back five years. The data is far too large to fit in memory and accessing it via a direct connection to a database would perform at a snail’s pace. With an extract, say by state, you would have to analyze the data in a disconnected way instead of naturally flowing from state to state. You would potentially miss critical insights because you aren’t looking at a full picture of the data. With an index-based solution, you would be able to access all of your data and not have to pick and chose and know what you would like to analyze in advance. After all, you can’t predict your big data eureka moment!

Jethro Explainer Video


Jethro is a technical product that delivers database performance acceleration. The product needs to be marketed not only to a database architect who will implement the solution, but also to business users, analysts and potential investors. The product, which is essentially a dry and technical solution, needs to be humanized and easy to relate to.


A short overview video that explains Jethro’s technology without diving into too much resolution. This video packages a dry product in an entertaining video that serves to whet the palette of technical people who would want to know more. The video humanizes the brand with its cartoon appeal and use-case of leveraging Jethro to save endangered wildlife.

BI on Hadoop in 2016 – The Elephant in the Room

The below article was originally posted in the Jethro blog.

BI-on-Hadoop in 2016 – The Elephant in the Room

Last year it seemed like every organization was talking about harnessing the power of big data to gain the crucial business insights required to make data driven decisions. The need for people and groups to blend together big data sets and analyze big data with the finest resolution has become standard practice. However, the pursuit of gathering and analyzing big data has ushered in a new set of challenges. Despite data sets burgeoning to larger and larger magnitudes of size and complexity, people still expect to interact with the data using their BI and visual data discovery tools (Tableau, Qlik, Microstrategy etc.) at the speed of thought. In our “world of now,” no one likes to try and drill-down into their data only to sit agonizing minutes waiting for queries to stream back from Hadoop to their data visualization or BI tool.

In 2016 we are going to see individuals and organizations demanding that the data discovery process accommodate more massive and more varied datasets as well as allow for more complex analysis—all at interactive speeds. Business users are demanding self-service tools without requiring any IT assistance, which will enable superior flexibility with their data exploration in order to derive actionable business insights. The rigidness of partial extracts and predefined cubes of yesterday are not going to quench the business user’s thirst for complex data discovery and analysis. IT will no longer be able to keep up with the business users’ demands leaving them to seek out a more flexible and sustainable solution.


Hadoop by design was not intended for interactive BI use and SQL-on-Hadoop tools scramble to serve the full range of analytic and ETL use-cases. Each SQL-on-Hadoop solution has its own unique properties and best use-cases. For the unique needs of BI and data discovery, however, Jethro takes the cake. TPC-DS live benchmarks using Tableau and Qlik have shown that Jethro has the fastest query response time. Even on 2.9 billion rows of data, Jethro enables business users to interactively analyze data at the speed of thought. Jethro also gives BI users the most flexibility, as its index-based architecture indexes every single column alleviating the need for limiting predefined extracts and cubes.

Certain BI tools, like MicroStrategy, can tap directly into Hadoop via native connectivity with HDFS, but big data performance issues surface while dealing with large and complex data sets. These users would benefit from an indexing and caching layer that would accelerate the queries from Hadoop.


Data will always exist in multiple places with a variety of sources—even as Hadoop becomes more widely adopted. In order to allow for boundless data discovery and the highest granularity, SQL-on-Hadoop solutions will need to ingest data from both Hadoop and non-Hadoop sources. Jethro grants BI tools access to any data required, as it ingests data from any data source including traditional structured data.

2016 will be about addressing the elephant in the room and finding ways to overcome the BI on Hadoop hurdles in order to empower the business user to discover, visualize, analyze and derive priceless data-driven business insights to propel business forward.

Jethro Visual Identity Rebranding


Logo Jethro Data Old

Jethro Data’s visual identity, including website, logo and colors looked outdated and unpolished. The usage of red was exciting and bold, but also uninviting and didn’t connote a sense of trust. Other companies in the same space also used nearly the same shade of red in their visual identity and it was important to differentiate Jethro Data.

Outdated Website

Jethro Data August 2015 Website


Updated Logo

Jethro LogoThe old tri-color red black and grey logo with it’s “launching ‘o'” gave way to a contemporary looking solid bold slab-serif logo. The lower-case lettering is more inviting and playful. Jethro’s red gave way to a shade of blue-teal that sets the company apart from other in the space. The teal is more friendly, less alarming and works well with the company’s slightly off-beat name.


Updated Website Design

The  The website was completely revamped from the ground up to give it a contemporary feel. The updated look and feel of the site establish trust as a technology provider selling cutting edge solutions.

Jethro Website Updated

Jethro Visual Identity Rebranding