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Wendy White: CMO at Daxko - Brand, Demand, GoToMarket, Revenue, Marketing

Wendy White is the CMO at Daxko. The Daxko Nation includes several distinct brands: Daxko, CSI Spectrum, Club Automation, AAC, GroupEx PRO, SugarWOD, and Zen Planner. Through these brands, Daxko delivers comprehensive technology solutions and experienced services to health & wellness facilities. Since they began in 1998, Daxko has grown to span 68 countries, 10,000 facilities and over 20 million members. Sherry Peak talks to Wendy about her recent appointment at Daxko, how she approaches marketing and brand growth, and what she sees as emerging and re-emerging trends.

Wendy White 00:00

The following podcast is intended for listeners who are intent on growing the business. Welcome to Innovate Marketing where we are bringing you interviews with those that are making waves in the world of marketing, branding, and business growth. We are brought to you by MyPodcast.Media. If you're wondering how podcasting can help you unleash your marketing strategy, visit And now, I'd like to introduce you to your host for Innovate Marketing, Sherry Peak.

Sherry Peak (host) 00:42

Welcome to Innovate Marketing. Today, our special guest is Wendy White, and she is the Chief Marketing Officer at Daxko.

Wendy White 00:55

Wendy is a four time CMO with over 25 years of software and services experience. Her expertise spans brand, demand, customer strategy, and go-to-market as well as revenue and marketing operations. She has served as the CMO for Daxko, TigerConnect, Egencia, and CenturyLink Cloud. Her tech leadership positions include world-class brands such as Microsoft and Intel.

Sherry Peak (host) 01:26

Hi, Wendy, thank you for joining us today.

Wendy White 01:28

I'm so glad to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Sherry Peak (host) 01:32

Oh, you're welcome. We've been looking forward to this conversation and to just glean from your knowledge and to learn about the work that you do and how you're servicing businesses. And so we're gonna just jump right into our conversation. So as the Chief Marketing Officer, can you tell us a little bit about what that entails with your work at Daxko?

Wendy White 01:54

Yeah, first of all, just to frame Daxko up for your audience who might not know us: if you have hit a gym, a YMCA, a Jewish Community Center, if you participate in activities at a Boys and Girls Club. Or if you you know, love to do martial arts and have been to your local dojo, you've probably interacted with Daxko software. We power about 40% of the fitness facilities across the United States. So we're everywhere you are when you're getting healthy.

Sherry Peak (host) 02:27

Oh, I like that. You're everywhere where I need to be, Wendy. But in any case. So you're known as an expert at positioning companies for accelerated growth. Now while laying operational foundations for scale, can you talk a little bit about how you approach this in your new role with the company that you're with?

Wendy White 02:47

Yeah. Well, Daxko is a great company, and it's just gone on a massive acquisition tear over the last handful of years. So for the Chief Marketing Officer role, one of my biggest challenges when I joined the company is thinking a little bit about how we do better at integrating all these brands that we've acquired, both from, a brand narrative in the market, the actual brand naming, but also just from the execution standpoint, of how you get the disparate marketing teams across the acquired companies to collaborate now as one joint marketing team with a more unified mission across them. So those are some of the big challenges that I've been facing day to day, and spending a lot of time on, you know, working on since I joined the company a few months ago,

Sherry Peak (host) 03:38

Okay, so as we talked about, Daxko is a name that might not be known to the average person, but you all do some really great work that supports organizations that many of us use. Can you tell us a little bit about the history? And what did it take for you to come into a company such as this, and to begin to reshape it, if you will, to position it to align with the vision that you had for the company?

Wendy White 04:04

Yeah. Well, I'm lucky enough to have joined a management team who I think is very visionary about how to bring acquisitions together. So I came in already to a place where the product roadmap was already strategy around how to integrate the products and how to bring a service delivery together for our customers. So what I had to really evaluate and what I'm still I think evaluating in many places is what brands do we need to how many do we need across the acquisitions that we've had? A brand that serves your local martial arts studio might be different than the brand that talks to a very large nonprofit organization like YMCA. So really ensuring your understanding how customers perceive you, what they want out of your software, out of your services, and then building brands that really resonate with each of those markets is a critical part of my job. Is part of what I'm doing right now.

Sherry Peak (host) 05:02

So what type of things are you most excited about working on, you know, coming into a new job, if you will. I'm not sure what your prior experience was, but what were some of the things that excited you about coming to work with Daxko?

Wendy White 05:19

I'm a super operational CMO. I really love to get my hands dirty in the data, the tools, the systems. So one of the things that I love about a company that's been acquisitive, is there's a lot of spaghetti to unwind in those tools and systems, right? Getting your your leads to flow all together into the CRMs, getting your websites and your CRM to talk to each other, bringing in a new strategy around things like data, health and hygiene. Those sound really mundane after you spent time talking about brand, but there's so foundational and so important to marketing. Marketing runs on data, you know, sales, modern sales runs on data. So getting that right is critical. And I love getting my hands dirty, getting in there and figuring it out - improving it.

Sherry Peak (host) 06:07

Can we talk a little bit more about the data as far as, because for companies to saying hey, I need to collect data, you mentioned some of the industries that you work with, with as the CMO, what kind of data are you finding that customers are finding most valuable to collect so that they can grow their businesses?

Wendy White 06:25

Yeah. Well, you know, for both us and for the customers that we serve- gyms, and, you know, the studios that I spoke about, people need to get their prospects. You know, identify their prospects, who their ideal customers are, pull those names through their website, their other marketing channels really seamlessly into modern tech stacks, modern marketing automation. Now, I'm lucky at Daxko that I'm an expert in doing that myself using our data. But I love one of the things I love about Daxko is we have products that do that for our customers,. You don't have to be be thinking, "Oh, it's all SalesLoft, and HubSpot and Marketo," which I think a lot of b2b marketers will relate to those terms. But if you're in a gym, those systems are not right for

you. They're not purpose built for you. And I'm lucky that our products are purpose built for our customers to do just those things: collect the right data from their customers, leverage it to automate amazing sales and marketing journeys to grow their membership. And then also engage their members attach additional services like you know, PT, or maybe schedule a class, or if you're a part of a Y, get your kids in a camp. You know, all that is important. Those marketing motions are built on data. And that's what helps these gyms, these club owners survive and thrive, especially in this kind of post-pandemic world where we're still bringing the volume of people in those gyms back up to where we were pre-pandemic to really make them profitable so they can continue to contribute to their communities.

Sherry Peak (host) 08:09

You spoke about the pandemic... So what changes have you been seeing and implementing since the pandemic?

Wendy White 08:14

Oh, well, in the in the Health Club space, I think you're not going to be surprised to know that 2020 was a pretty hard year for many health clubs through forced shutdown, through folks leaving health clubs and not returning. And so all of those clubs have had to think about how do we reengage members and bring them back in the door? How do we offer them new services such as virtual classes or a hybrid model? How do we offer them the programming they want in apps. Like one of our applications is called Sugarwod. It's kind of a workout of the day application and your members can use that app and access virtual programming. And those things I think, have taken off dramatically since #COVID. And I don't see that stopping. I think that people now have a lifestyle where they want to access their health and fitness wherever they are. So be that right back in the door of their gym, which I'm one of many that has made my way back into the gym this year, but also through those virtual apps. And so for us as marketers, helping our customers understand how they can leverage those solutions to grow and serve their their members.

Sherry Peak (host) 09:33

Talking about social media, I know there's been a rise in use just on many different platforms. So what do you want to focus on in social media moving forward? Is there a particular angle a particular platform? What are your thoughts about that?

Wendy White 09:47

Well, in #B2B, no one can deny the rise of LinkedIn for B2B. You know, it's it's incredibly important and we're going to be there talking to the those large gym owners. But one of our very, very important audiences a solo entrepreneur and this is probably somebody who is a fitness aficionado of their own, and they just have a desire to be an entrepreneur and maybe start their own gym, start their own yoga studio, start their own dance studio. And those solo entrepreneurs, they get their ideas on social media. They're right out there on Tik Tok and Instagram with everybody else, learning and interacting with others who are just like them. And so those platforms are super critical for me as well.

Sherry Peak (host) 10:34

Now, when we started talking today, you mentioned that you've done some podcasting before. Besides #podcasting... (laughing), you like podcasting?

Wendy White 10:43

I do. I love listening to them. I have participated in many. And it's funny because... podcasting is like a community. You know, you get to know folks that do podcasts, and you build a relationship with them, even like the ambient intimacy of listening to them, but then you get to interact with them. So I've really been lucky to know several people who do bad podcasts, yeah.

Sherry Peak (host) 11:07

Are you leading your #customers or clients down that road to podcasting, because that's another great way or stream, if you will, to kind of help with that marketing, or B2B branding that most companies are looking for.

Wendy White 11:20

Yeah. We have our own podcast for what we consider our our larger clients, these larger health clubs and clubs across the country that are going through the same thing. How do you bring members in the door profitably? How do you grow your membership, retain your members? So we talk a lot about that on our our podcast called The Experience, which is designed for club members. But you know, we also have so many entrepreneurs in our portfolio of members that we're also going to start a podcast downmarket for, just those folks I talked about, those solo entrepreneurs who want to learn from others across the country who have made a great experience out of starting their own crossfit box, their own local yoga yoga studio. So we're gonna start a podcast for them, teaching them how to grow and really contribute back to their community with just profitable growth for their own entrepreneurial operation.

Sherry Peak (host) 12:22

Well, that's pretty neat. So besides podcasting, what are some other post-pandemic communication channels that you are utilizing that might not have been on the radar before, or some of the new and trending methods of communication that you know about?

Wendy White 12:36

Well, I mean, people were surprised to hear that direct mail I think is making a really nice resurgence... I like that direct mail because lot of times we think some of the original, if you will, or former ways of communicating and marketing have gone out of style. So even myself with the direct mail, I was kind of surprised to hear you say that's been one of those trending things that's reemerging.

Sherry Peak (host) 12:44


Wendy White 12:44

Yeah, and I think this is because a couple things have happened. So companies that saw this as an emerging opportunity pre-pandemic... You know, there was a real big focus, especially in B2B software, around what we call outbound marketing, which is getting a sales team, an inside sales BDR team, set up to reach out and find prospective customers, even before they know they're ready. And one of the things that you can do when you do that is use direct mail, and be that a gift, send a bottle of wine to invite them to a virtual event, as a lever to get your customers to engage with you. And frankly, I don't see that going away. I've seen that just nothing but increasing. So you'll see all kinds of great companies in this space now that just focus on dedicated sending platforms for direct mail to make it incredibly easy for you to use direct mail as part of your strategy. We do it now. like a good example is company called Sendoso. They integrate with your CRM and your marketing automation and they just make it easy. Click to send, you know, a Starbucks gift card to say thank you for taking my meeting or click to send to something more meaningful. Big resurgence. Yeah. Big resurgence. Yep.

Sherry Peak (host) 14:25

Oh, that's pretty neat as I often have used direct mail in the past, and when you start to talk about some of the things that you can receive through direct mail, direct mail, it makes sense because I just think about how many things I get through direct mail. So it totally makes sense. So as we talk about your vision for Daxko, how is the time that you've been able to spend there since you first joined the company? How do you see your vision aligning with the mission that you came in with for the company?

Wendy White 14:55

Oh, yeah. You know, I think I was clear on the charter when I came in. But you know, every job when you join as a new CMO, you have to spend that first 90 days on your intense listening tour, right? Listen to your sales teams, listen to your internal stakeholders. If you're lucky enough to have a solution like Gong where you can easily listen to sales calls, listen to the sales calls, or call up your CRO, your Chief Sales Officer and say, "Take me out, you know, take me out, I want to go visit customers, I want to go listen and learn." And when you do that, there's always something that surprises you that you need to, you know, know or do better than when you join. So for me, it's been really nice. I've been in my role about four or five months now. To use that listening time as a way of, you know, continuing to refine whatever ideas I have, when I came in, you're never gonna figure it all out. So I'm figuring it out. I've used that, for example, to think about some market expansion strategies with my team on international expansion. Using that now to think about customer marketing in a new way, like what is the opportunity to engage our customers both on our brand, but on, you know, cross-sell opportunities, or even getting them to understand and utilize the features in our platforms better. So there's all kinds of things that marketing can do. It's not just about lead generation, it's also about really, you know, carrying that brand experience end to end and, and then helping your customers grow end to end.

Sherry Peak (host) 16:31

You mentioned when we first start talking about the different companies and organizations that you work with. As a B2B service provider to the nonprofit sector, how do you approach marketing strategy differently than that for a for profit organization?

Wendy White 16:47

You know, their care abouts are very different, right? Nonprofit organizations have a whole level of thinking around fundraising and gift giving, that they need to think about. So you have to help them in a different way, understand how to use your tools and technology not just to grow their prospects and their members, but also to build their their database of folks they can fundraise from or potentially use data to apply for grants. And so you're talking to them about different business challenges. You know, if you're talking to some of our nonprofit customers, obviously they care a lot about supporting the communities they serve with programs like camps, or could be they could run a senior care facility. So there's all kinds of--- or a local community center. So all kinds of things they care about that are very different than, say, a for profit company,

Sherry Peak (host) 17:57

I have really enjoyed our time and learning from you. And I want to talk about this one thing really quickly before we kind of wrap up our questions. I learned that you're a veteran of the US Army, Intelligence Officer. Let's talk a little bit about that, Wendy. Because I'm really interested to know, how does that work that you've done in that area, how did that feed into the work that you're doing now? Or was that create a path for you to become the CMO for Daxko?

Wendy White 18:27

Well, that's a really great question.

Sherry Peak (host) 18:31

Thank you for your service.

Wendy White 18:32

Oh, thank you. I did start my career in the military. So I think fundamentally, a lot of leadership principles I learned during that period helped the kind of servant leadership principles that you learn when you're a military officer, carry forward as you become a manager, or an executive in the corporate world. But also, my specialty in the military was psychological operations, which is propaganda development. So that applied very directly to being in communication. So I'll never forget, actually, I'd started working at Intel early in my career after I left the military, and one day, I got a call from a woman who was the Chief Communications Officer and she said, "I want you to come meet with me." And she took me in her office and she said, "Tell me all about this PSYOP stuff you used to do. And next thing you knew, I was working in communications, because she loved it so much so and she could see the parallels.

Sherry Peak (host) 19:31

So as we begin to wrap up our time together, thank you for sharing that about your military experience. And I could see the connection from when you serve there to how that led you on the path to what you're doing now. And again, thank you for your service. We really appreciate all of our US servicemen and women. So as we wrap up, I want to know are there any final thoughts that you would like to leave with our listening audience today?

Wendy White 19:58

I guess the final thought is I just consider myself a B2B marketer, right. And I have worked through my years and marketing infrastructure like servers and networks, to marketing software like health solutions. And here I am now working in a company that does Health and Fitness. And you know, I never thought as I went through this journey that I would end up marketing software for health clubs. Right? And what I take away from that is you can't always peek around the corner to know what is next for you. But as a good marketer, the fundamentals are the same no matter what your marketing. That whole need to understand your customer and kind of love the the market you're serving. And you can do that. You know, I've changed my market many times in my career, just be open, or be open to ideas, be open to opportunities, you never know what's coming for you.

Sherry Peak (host) 21:02

I love that. That's a great way to close out. Be open to opportunities and be open to ideals, because you never know what could be coming your way. So after our time together here, Wendy, today, how can our listening audience stay connected with you?

Wendy White 21:18

Well, we'd love to serve at any of them who need to get a good workout in. So if they want to go over to the SugarWod website, they can go there, download the app, and we've got multiple free options for free classes and programming from many of our partners. So please reach out

and do that. And then anybody can reach out to me on LinkedIn, that's Wendy White at Daxko and I would love to hear from folks.

Sherry Peak (host) 21:44

Okay, well, Wendy, thank you so much for spending a part of your afternoon with us today. We really appreciate learning from you and about Daxko and how we can get some freebies, if you will! I'm going on that I'm going on that site so I could get some free resources. So thank you very much for sharing that. We appreciate your time today. After our conversation today with Wendy, there are two takeaways that are going to stay with me and one is that direct mail may be making a comeback. Just when I thought it was gone. It just might be making a comeback. And then another thing Wendy said is you can't always peek around the corner to know what is next for you. Just love your customers, be open to ideals and be open to opportunities. That's a great way to approach life in general. So friends, that's all that we have for you today. We encourage you to go connect as Wendy has shared the information with us and until next time, we ask that you please stay great and be safe.

Wendy White 22:29

Thank you. That brings us to the close of this edition of innovate marketing. We're glad you tuned in. Innovate marketing is brought to you by my podcast dot venia. MyPodcast.Media produces podcast for brands, influencers and nonprofits. Find us online at https://MyPodcast.Media. Your producer for innovative marketing is Beth Fried. Executive producer Shawn Neal, and your host is Sherry Peak. We'll see you next time. Be sure to tune in...

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