marketer of the month

EPISODE 167: Marketer of the Month Podcast with Luiz Piovesana

Hey there! Welcome to the Marketer Of The Month blog!

We recently interviewed Luiz Piovesana for our monthly podcast – ‘Marketer of the Month’! We had some amazing insightful conversations with Luiz and here’s what we discussed about-

1. Embracing Mistakes: Emphasizing the importance of embracing mistakes as a key aspect of growth, particularly in SaaS and marketing.

2. Exploring the shift from engineering to entrepreneurship, experiences in a junior enterprise, and the early stages of a startup.

3. Balancing Short-Term and Long-Term Goals: Discussing the challenge of balancing short-term results and long-term brand building during the entrepreneurial journey.

4. Team Leadership in B2B Marketing: approach to building and leading high-performing teams in the B2B marketing and sales space.

5. AI’s Impact on Hiring: Addressing the use of AI in hiring processes, dispelling myths about AI slowing down hiring, and emphasizing its role as a tool rather than a replacement for humans.

6. Involvement in Analyst Relations, PR, and Branding: Sharing insights on leveraging analyst relations and PR, especially in the enterprise software space, and highlighting the importance of consistency in branding.

7. Success Story at Nuvem Shop: focusing on building a PR engine that highlights stories about SMBs and their impact, contributing to the brand’s awareness.

About our host:

Dr. Saksham Sharda is the Chief Information Officer at He specializes in data collection, analysis, filtering, and transfer by means of widgets and applets. Interactive, cultural, and trending widgets designed by him have been featured on TrendHunter, Alibaba, ProductHunt, New York Marketing Association, FactoryBerlin, Digimarcon Silicon Valley, and at The European Affiliate Summit.

About our guest:

Luiz piovesana, CMO at Nuvemshop, specializes in steering startups to operational success. With expertise in account-based marketing, event management, inbound, and SEO, he leads high-performing teams in B2B marketing and sales. Renowned for leading top-performing B2B marketing and sales teams, Luiz has earned recognition as a speaker at major events such as rd summit, B2B forum marketingprofs, and CMO summit.

Embracing Mistakes: Nuvemshop’s Luiz Piovesana on the Value of Mistakes in SaaS Marketing & Growth

The Intro!

Saksham Sharda: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. I’m your host, Dr. Saksham Sharda, and I’m the creative director at Outgrow. co. And for this month we are going to interview Luiz Piovesana, who is the CMO at Nuvemshop.

Luiz piovesana: Great to be here. Thank you.

Don’t have time to read? No problem, just watch the Podcast!

Or you can just listen to it on Spotify!

The Rapid Fire Round!

rapid fire

Saksham Sharda: So, Luiz, we are going to start with a rapid-fire round. Just to break the ice, you get three passes in case you don’t want to answer the question, you can just say pass. But try to keep your answers to one word or one sentence only.,

Luiz Piovesana: Let’s do it.

Saksham Sharda: At what age do you want to retire?

Luiz Piovesana: Probably never. A hundred percent. So never.

Saksham Sharda: How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?

Luiz Piovesana: About 40 minutes.

Saksham Sharda: Most embarrassing moment of your life.

Luiz Piovesana: Probably presented some paper on this in high school. Probably. That’s when I most felt it.

Saksham Sharda: Favorite color.

Luiz Piovesana: Purple.

Saksham Sharda: What time of day are you most inspired?

Luiz Piovesana: Morning surely.

Saksham Sharda: How many hours of sleep can you survive on?

Luiz Piovesana: Six. But rather seven and a half.

Saksham Sharda: Fill in the blank. An upcoming marketing trend is ____.

Luiz Piovesana: Do I wanna say AI?

Saksham Sharda: Sure, you can say that.

Luiz Piovesana: Yeah, but overall we’re talking too much. And, it is too little.

Saksham Sharda: The city in which the best kiss of your life happened.

Luiz Piovesana: Camp. That’s where I live in Brazil.

Saksham Sharda: Pick one- Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg.

Luiz Piovesana: Mark Zuckerberg.

Saksham Sharda: The biggest mistake of your career.

Luiz Piovesana: Loing and SAB were set in early 2009. Too early in life.

Saksham Sharda: How do you relax?

Luiz Piovesana: Playing with my daughter.

Saksham Sharda: How many cups of coffee do you drink per day?

Luiz Piovesana: Three- four plus too many.

Saksham Sharda: A habit of yours that you hate?

Luiz Piovesana: Beth.

Saksham Sharda: The most valuable skill you’ve learned in life.

Luiz Piovesana: Embracing your mistakes.

Saksham Sharda: The last one is your favorite Netflix show.

Luiz Piovesana: Three things I would say.

The Big Questions!

Big Questions Anca Iordanescu

Saksham Sharda: Okay. Alright, well that’s the end of the rapid-fire round. You only had one pass, so that was very good. Do you want to elaborate on any of the answers you gave in the rapid-fire that you wanna talk about in more detail?

Luiz Piovesana: Yeah, I  think we talk as marketers, we don’t talk enough about making mistakes and you, you, you ask about the biggest mistake of my career. And it was a mistake. It was probably the biggest because then it changed the course of the startup we had, which was to sell the part that worked and close the rest and go in different directions after that. But as marketers, especially in SaaS we have to make a lot of mistakes. So it’s not about suffering, but it’s about embracing, as I mentioned in the end, what we can learn from them and building on top of that. And that’s the mess, the most valuable input you can have to grow anything beyond what we’re doing right now. So talking about more mistakes, I believe it’s key, to embrace them and accept them and learn how to move on and build on top of them.

Saksham Sharda: And so tell us something about the drum set you have in the background. It’s like the elephant in the room. Do you play drums?

Luiz Piovesana: Yes, I do play the drums. It’s been 25 years now, so a long time. And there’s an interesting story there because when I was in high school I was a really good math and physics student. So after that, I ended up going to engineering school, which was the classic, oh, someone is good at math. So they go and go be engineers. And I told my father, I said, okay, probably you’re thinking that I’m doing engineering, but I’m doing, I’m studying music and I’m being a, a rock drummer, etc. And then he asked me the one question that made me, at that time at least, change my path, which was do you need a university degree for you to be the drummer in a rock band? Or that’s just a plus. Okay, so would you rather go all in? So he was playing safe, but in his head, he told me afterward that it was panicking or would you rather have a backup safety plan and, give a shot to a different direction than you’ve been doing your whole life and try your music business on the side. And that’s the path. It was logical to do that for me at least. And being a musician is not an easy job to do or to create a living. And it was really clear after a few years from that. So I appreciate how my father coached me. He didn’t give me the answer. Of course, he was directing me towards one, but he was not confrontational or he wasn’t trying to put his will onto me. He just tried to make me think about the choices and, and how he knew me, how I could react to that. So, nice story there.

Saksham Sharda: So what inspired you to become an entrepreneur and pursue a career in marketing and sales in particular?

Luiz Piovesana: So, after I got into school engineering, I realized that I didn’t want to be an engineer, which is ironic considering what I just told you. At the same time, I enjoyed doing the whole five years of engineering, the engineering degree. However, I was engaged in an extracurricular activity called junior enterprise. Junior enterprises are really common and, and famous in the university circle both in Brazil and in Europe. So there’s a big confederation in Europe called, it was called Jade, now it’s called Junior Enterprise Europe. Because of that, I got the chance to be an entrepreneur while studying, and that beat me somehow. So I got the entrepreneur virus right then and there, and that’s, and, during this experience, I got the chance of working a bit with finance, but at a really fast pace. I moved to marketing sales. My father was in sales his whole life and said, oh, maybe I can do that. And is not an introvert, but a really big extrovert among introverts in engineering. So, that’s the kind of role I got pushed into even by myself. And then once I got the feeling of doing a sale and, being in a role there was a customer-facing role or partnership facing and being the front person for that, I just got inspired. And then when I started my startup, a few years later, I immediately got myself the product sales. And then within the first few years, I saw that if we were not building a marketing engine, my sales role would be very limited, and would have a really low ceiling. Because I was not creating demand. I was just getting the demand that already existed into the pipeline and selling to them. But I was not positioning, I was not creating more interests. I was not creating conversations so that my pipeline and my potential market could grow. So that’s how I got from sales and then into marketing. So I am suffering from that, from the pace.

Saksham Sharda: In this entrepreneurial journey of yours, how do you balance the need for short-term results with long-term brand building and sustainability?

Luiz Piovesana: So first, it was five years that I ran my startup. So first, from launching the product, from first customers, getting an engine, a group of angel investors into growing the team, and then to selling it out. So probably we thought zero about brand building during this first or this only first five years, but at the same time. And that’s important, not only for startups but also for marketing professionals, in every kind of company. The brand new elephant in the room is what people say about you when you’re not there. So it’s a perception you create for someone, and that always starts with the product or service you’re offering them. So that’s the basis of the branding you have and the way you’re delivering this value proposition into your customer’s life. Surely in the beginning you have founders and these founders will set the tone culture-wise, and that culture will set the tone for the brand and this experience customers will have. So that’s the easy part because then it’s a really small group of people doing that directly and chatting amongst themselves. As you grow your reach also has to scale. I believe more of a cultural proof that you need to go through how you’re scaling the team and how you do business, how you create some more materials from content to customer relationships. And for me that’s values-based, and that’s not brand building as per se because they’re not thinking specifically about that, but you’re thinking about, oh are we working as a team as we thought we wanted and, and is that how we want to keep growing? And eventually, we’ll get to that part. But during my own company, we never got that. And, and, and now I have a completely different scenario and, and we can talk about that later, but it’s about the cultural aspects and then the mixing of long-term goals with short-term goals that you do have. We did have a death clock on our board, on our main board therein, in the office. And for how much are we gonna die? And when, as an early startup founder back then we knew that maybe some things for the long term wouldn’t be, wouldn’t have any effort towards that directly or at least at that moment. But some things could kill it. So if you don’t put out the fire, or if you don’t prevent the fire from happening, it won’t be able to fulfill your path towards the long term. Surely that’s the balance that you start to make every time you get funding or you get a little more of a runway toward cash, and then you start rebalancing that. But it is what it is in the beginning, you can die if you do not deal with the short term.

Saksham Sharda: And what were some of the tough moments where it was not possible to balance it?

Luiz Piovesana: So early on, we did have an investor after one year, but then they pulled back. So that put us in a really difficult position because we already had a cost structure of two people, plus the three founders. The three founders were zero-cost. When this kind of trouble happens, because the founder’s salary in the beginning is the first thing you cut when you have this kind of trouble. And, then we already had two or three more people. We had an office, we had customers, and then we had to rethink everything we were doing in terms of midterm. We were having some midterm projects going on. And then, we had to rebalance everything. So, okay, how are we paying these people when we need to wrap up this pipeline that we have right now? And we thought they were going longer, but we need them to close right now and make sure that they’re paying right now. We also understood how B two opened a loan with our current bank at the time and how to balance that like, the interest will be good enough for us. And financial services in Brazil have just a really big margin, so it’s not easy to do that. It’s an early startup. So these are the moments when you have an inflow of cash projected, and then out of nowhere you just don’t have it anymore. So plans have to change quickly. And I think that’s the key. So how do you rebalance everything when these certain apocalyptical events happen and that’s it?

Saksham Sharda: And so in your current scenario, how do you approach building and leading high-performing teams in the B2B marketing and sales space?

Luiz Piovesana: So now I have a completely different scenario. So now I’m the semi of NUVI shop. NUVI shop is the leading e-commerce platform in Latin America. We have around 120,000 SMB customers across Latin America, especially Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. We are a team of about a thousand people in the company. The marketing team is a little bit over a hundred people. So let’s say I’m talking about all of that, too, to give the context, and to create this context because it’s a different scenario. And when you think about this, the organization or this scenario where we are still a high growth company scaling up and with a huge vision of being a secular company, then we come back to the reality and it’s the first thing I have to say is about how you hire people, the leaders that are becoming your direct reports, and how are they skilled and experienced enough to create their organizations and, build on top of what has already been built before, but building the organization that is gonna deliver the results for the next 2, 3, 4 years. So it’s a lot about the people you hire and how to help them, their evolution as professionals, as leaders themselves. ’cause Okay, you’re hiring someone really exceptional, real experienced, but you hire for, of course, for behavior, and technical skills. In terms of behavior, you can find people who fit your culture and get along with how things are done. But they don’t have the same history as the company and don’t have the data for a while. And even if the behavior fits well, they won’t be a hundred percent. So there’s still a lot of work to be done there. And then after starting to work with them for a while, start to see some gaps in how you can coach them to, for them to self-improve. Because after getting into a certain level of seniority, my team probably has technical skills better than I would have if I were doing their jobs specifically. So I think that’s key because If I were able to do, I dunno, product marketing better than my head of product marketing, then I didn’t hire well at the same time, there are other things that I can help him with, and also coach him to help him see and find his path. So hiring working together as a peer and coaching so that you can make that go further and, how they actually will do all of these three things with their respective teams. I think that’s the key for me.

Saksham Sharda: And has there been any slowing down in hiring because of AI or is that just a myth?

Luiz Piovesana: Not yet. We have built teams in the past two to three years. That’s when they have grown the most. We’ve been hiring them, at the same pace. We planned to hire late last year when we didn’t know about the AI explosion that was gonna happen. At the same time, we are indeed in several teams testing AI not only to catch PT prompts and improve them but also specific tools for specific teams so that we can gain productivity. So e either it helps you spend less or, gain more, either either or. So what I believe is that if we prove how this can deliver value, then we’ll understand, okay, so how much are we investing in tools versus people, or because we found this new way of doing this, we need more people to do that. I believe there will be a change of roles and a change of how people operate, but I don’t think there’ll be a slowdown or a deprecation of the marketing role in any specialty. And yeah, there’s still a lot of time to see and, and understand how that’s gonna work in reality. But I believe it’s more about roles changing rather than jobs being slashed out. So I’m talking about this because for as long as I remember, I have talked about this. After all, as an engineer I was doing automation, so all the time that was a kind of subject I had to deal with. I was never a real engineering engineer, but in school, that was the kind of topic we needed to deal with in several cases. And that’s what has happened throughout time. Of course, gen AI can be a huge thing and can change, will change the ceiling, or how we, the parameters we have for understanding what is repetitive work, what is needed, and what is not needed. But I believe it’s about understanding that as a tool and not as a replacement for humans.

Saksham Sharda: So speaking of roles then could you elaborate on your involvement in analyst relations, PR, and branding and how they contribute to a company’s success?

Luiz Piovesana: Surely. So before the BIKE shop, I was for almost six years in a company that used to sell software to big enterprises. And now I’m selling basically to SMBs, even if I am a starting entrepreneur out of his ring or a medium-sized company of, so tens of employees. So a different scenario. And I think when we understand that B2B has this different spectrum of possibilities, and this also changes not only brainy or analyst relations, pi, all the public relation parts, but also dimension, but talking first about analyst relations, pr, etc. So firstly, as a marketer and, and, and former sales executive, I believe that everything depends on the maturity, not only of the market, but also of the company you are in. So if we’re just building the marketing functions out of nothing, you start building from the ground up. So from the bottom of the funnel up. So you need to understand what customers you have and how they got in. You have to work closely with sales, and then, you start building your demand gen engine, how you’re attracting people, and then you remove one layer above and then one layer above, etc. So understanding that you already have those areas with sales and demand gen built it’s about how you can direct more attention to a business or more leads, to your acquisition machine. And then air if I talk about enterprise sales if, if you’re talking about software, for example, you have to talk to the analyst firms of the world, the gardeners, the foresters, the ID cs. So at Ciid, which was my previous company, there was a line that we crossed, and saw a different way people were perceiving our brand when we got into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for API management, which is their main value prop. So, we made a lot of effort because as a Brazilian company doing business only, Brazil was not easy to get noticed by Gartner. And there were some criteria that they put into place so that they would not have a quadrant with, I dunno, 50, 60 players. They would narrow it down to about 15, 20. So there was a lot of work to put that, to put that live. And after that was a different ladder we were climbing. So the first part was really steep, really difficult because a lot of enterprise companies do them, their selling pro, their buying process they get from Gartner, they do their shortlists from, from the quadrant, and that’s it. So it was a really tough way in before, but after being in the quadrant and Obole working our way up into the best part of the quadrant got a huge advantage. And of course that came together with being the leaders in Brazil and then expanding internationally. So, we saw that there was a huge, huge effect of actually being considered by Geer or being mission by the analysts. That also happened in parallel with Forrester talking about software purchases. So for us, that was a much bigger lever than basic PR, which was being the press, especially because the press was not that interested when you’re talking about API management, of course, you can talk APIs, you can talk about integrating different systems but then we saw that the real niche PR vehicles would be the best one for us because then they would be read by our buyer personas and that would help us. So we were doing some basic PR so that we could get some more credibility from those vehicles. And then at the same time, get more credibility from the answer from the analyst firm. So in the end, when you talk about public relations or analyst relations how can you pick up the credibility from the people that are buyer personas trust the most? I think once you understand what are the lower-hanging fruits you have there? So, not only, the most influential people there, either journalists and analysts but also the ones that are most reachable by you right now on the other end, not on the other end, but as an additional part, the braining, as I mentioned before, it’s something you, you try to create an experience regarding your value prop. But, if we’re already working towards this top-of-funnel activities and, and, and, and and initiatives the brainy has to be clear. So what are key messages and what kind of perceptions are we gonna create? So, the kind of questions you asked in the beginning, but then how can you create the putting-to-work consistency across the company, not only the support team or even in the product, the UX, but also how your sales team is approaching their behavior when selling, how your marketing team’s communicating what are doing in events or in any kind of workshop or, live interaction you have. So the brand will be perceived through all these touch points. It’s really important, for me, the key therein, in this kind of effort to create this perception, it’s consistency. So you cannot create your brand around, I know five different aspects. If you came for it really around one, you’re lucky if you do it, really well. Perhaps up to three could be possible, but I don’t recommend it. I would say it’s about how you can use the levers that are customer-facing and create this kind of consistency. And, when I say consistency, it’s not, it’s really about repeating, and marketing people get tired of repeating the same message. But once you start as a marketer getting tired, that is when probably the first few closer customers are starting to get a message. So you need to be, I dunno, 10 times more tired than you think so that you can get the message through and get the perception you plan out to have.

Saksham Sharda: So could you then share a memorable success story of a brand or business that has consistently transformed and thrived through the marketing and sales strategies that you implemented?

Luiz Piovesana: Okay. So that’s, you know, a growing challenge. So for example new at newbie shops especially in Brazil, which is our biggest market in Latin America as Brazil is more than half of Latin America’s economy. One of the things we’re doing, it’s a brandy part, but not especially for customers. I’m talking, I’m giving this example for outsiders for the market. Because we didn’t have a reputation when I got there, so, the fourth or fifth player back in 2019 and what, but we already had a great volume of customers. We had really valuable data and we didn’t, and we didn’t have the year or, the access to any journalists, although we did have really valuable data and stories to tell about customers, about really small entrepreneurs who changed their lives and through commerce, through digital commerce. And then one of the things that we started back at the end of 2019, and of course during COVID got an increase in profile, but then we managed to keep them at a really strong pace. Right now it’s about how we tell the stories about how consumers are behaving, but especially how that behavior is impacting small businesses. And that’s a topic that journalists always like to tell because small businesses are the majority of Brazil, they are responsible for, I dunno 70 plus percent of all the jobs. So that’s the kind of topic they like to talk about. And we just needed to find how we could bring a VE shop and, and be, the voice of small businesses in that sense. And we’ve been doing that for that long and notoriously, and now we have, I dunno, and it was how we built a PR engine that now talks about one particular state. We have 27 states in Brazil, so we talk, we have data about the specific state and how they are, whether they sold versus this Mother’s Day versus the last one, or how they’re improving versus the Christmas period. So we managed to create this bringing, I mean, important and, and, and a big volume level of awareness of how SMBs are doing in the digital world. And I believe that has positively impacted us in the past three and a half years. So I think that’s one way.

Saksham Sharda: The last question for you is of a personal kind. What would you be doing in your life, if not this right now?

Luiz Piovesana: If I were going back, I would say being a drummer going forward would be unwise of me not to take advantage of the experience I’ve gathered over these past 15-plus years. I believe I could be an assistant to other marketing leaders who are at different levels of maturity in how they’re creating their teams or their levers. Because I had this, I created a startup from Zero and then I got a, really, small company of 20 people and got them and managed to create my team from zero to 15 people. And, revenue was up by Tenfold and then a moving shop also we got, I got from that point. So it was a continuous line for me. Although there are three different companies now, I also do the scale-up part of the process, and now having a more mature team and more mature leadership, I believe I could be of value. I dunno, working at a venture capital firm and as an advisor to growth or marketing teams. I am also really passionate about animal rescue organizations. So really believe, a more marketing specialist kind of advisor could help this kind of organization drive. So, I dunno, working with NGOs of sorts, but also being a patch for me.

Let’s Conclude!

Saksham Sharda: Thanks, everyone for joining us for this month’s episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. That was Luiz Piovesana, who is the CMO at Nuvemshop.

Luiz piovesana: Great to be here. Thank you.

Saksham Sharda: Check out the website for more details and we’ll see you once again next month with another marketer of the month.

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