Dave King
Dave King
How to Turn Your Customers into Your Greatest Advocates
Dave King discusses how to add value, engender trust, and deliver such a remarkable experience that your customers become your greatest advocates.
How to Turn Your Customers into Your Greatest Advocates
Dave King discusses how to add value, engender trust, and deliver such a remarkable experience that your customers become your greatest advocates.
Asana helps teams orchestrate their work, from daily tasks to strategic initiatives. With Asana, teams are more confident, move faster, and accomplish more with less, no matter where they are located. More than 75,000 paying organizations and millions of free organizations across 190 countries rely on Asana to manage everything from company objectives to digital transformation to product launches and marketing campaigns. Teams do great things when everyone has clarity and is empowered to do their part. Asana will give you the confidence to plan, organize, and execute your most ambitious work from anywhere.
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Guest Bio

Specializing in B2B enterprise marketing and growth, Dave King oversees Asana’s global marketing efforts, including product marketing, communications, analyst relations, sales enablement and customer marketing. Prior to joining Asana, Dave led the marketing teams at Percolate, Highfive and Salesforce. Dave received his B.S. in Cognitive Science from Duke University and MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Episode Summary

Dave joined Asana in 2017 to oversee global marketing efforts that have since catapulted the company's reach to millions of users across 190 countries.

On this episode, Dave breaks down Asana’s unique, hybrid demand gen strategy that starts with a core belief in building an exceptional product experience. Dave discusses how to add value, engender trust, and deliver such a remarkable experience that your customers become your greatest advocates.

Key Takeaways

  • How to tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing
  • Why giving away the product for free is Dave’s number one demand gen tactic
  • Which channels marketers should focus their efforts on to create impactful experiences with targeted audiences


“Some of the best marketing is not creating things from scratch, but seeing the bright spots–what is working organically, what’s happening naturally–and creating programs to amplify or facilitate that. Our most creative ideas come from what we’re seeing in the community, versus us thinking them up in the lab.”
“We like to say great marketing is about education and delivering an experience. So how do we help people be better at their jobs, and how do you make it an experience that people want to talk about?”
“Word-of-mouth marketing is the future, but it’s really untapped. More people hear about us from word of mouth than they do from any of our advertising or marketing tactics.”
"What is the scarce commodity in society right now is trust. There is so much information out there, but we make emotional decisions and we make them based on trust. And I think that's ultimately what a brand is, is how do I deliver trust."

Episode Highlights

(4:43) Asana Demand Gen is Built on a Hybrid Go-to-Market Model

  • Unlike many other SaaS companies, Asana has a self-service engine and a direct sales engine
  • The self-service engine gives away the product for free, which has helped Asana scale to millions of customers. This allows customers to see value from day one and is a huge driver for word of mouth.
  • The direct sales motion feeds from the self-service momentum. The sales team takes a consultative selling approach to help self-service customers get even more value from Asana.

(7:49) A Marketing Team Aligned to the Customer Journey

  • The Asana marketing team is organized by stages of the customer journey.
  • Growth marketing team: Focused on driving visitors to asana.com to sign up for the free product. This team operates on a massive scale and includes paid acquisition and organic marketing.
  • Revenue marketing team: This is the more traditional demand gen team, which includes integrated campaign managers and regional teams. This team is responsible for driving pipeline, and their number one goal is ARR.
  • Engagement marketing team: This team builds strategies to help customers get value from the product, including how to educate and engage existing customers. This includes the lifecycle email marketing team and community team.
  • Product marketing team: Responsible for ensuring Asana has great product-market fit.
  • Corporate marketing team: Generates awareness and crafts Asana’s story
  • Brand team: Delivers an elevated brand experience and ensures brand consistency across the entire customer journey

(10:32) How Asana Drives Revenue from a Self-Service Free Model

  • Identified that Asana’s core persona is a team lead or project manager who is responsible for coordinating work across an entire team
  • Asana’s self-service motion is catered to them, and then the direct sales motion narrows in on key departments (such as operations, marketing, sales, and account management) by providing consultative guidance on how they can optimize workflows and expand their Asana usage.

(15:38) Asana’s Success is Based on a Consultative, Community-Based Approach

  • Every team at Asana uses the Asana product. This enables them to experiment with new use cases and share learnings and successes with customers.
  • Asana created a community where they facilitate connections between companies and teams with similar use cases to share successful strategies
  • Some of Asana’s most creative ideas come from what they see in the community

(20:37) Dave’s Uncuttable Demand Gen Budget Items

  • Free product: Drives significant word-of-mouth impact. Even if a free user never pays Asana, the research shows that this audience is still a huge influence on brand awareness and reputation.
  • Paid marketing: Search and review websites
  • Brand: PR, analyst relations, advertising, community programs

(21:23) How Asana Accelerates Building Customer Advocates

  • Asana maniacally instruments and tracks NPS. This helps them measure their success in building a product that customers find remarkable.
  • They’re also heavily focused on customer education. They actively think about how they can help people be better at their jobs. This is brought to life this in several ways, such as giving away Asana Academy curriculum for free, facilitating connections in the community, and building delightful experiences that make people feel good (for example, when a customer completes a task, a magical celebration flies across the screen)

(28:08) Marketing Tactics that are Diminishing in Value

  • Dave is finding that big ad platforms are starting to peak in their payoff. They’re still successful, but he believes they’re approaching the height of their influence.
  • What’s emerging in influence are podcasts and internet radio. These create a more intimate experience for a targeted audience.
  • Dave also can’t wait for the end of asset gating. It’s intrusive to the customer experience. Soon marketers will adopt ways to eliminate gates, deliver tailored customer experiences, and still benefit from gathering data on the backend.

(30:34) How Dave Prioritizes Asana’s Website

  • Positioning: It’s important that when people visit Asana’s website, they instantly know who they are, what they’re all about, and what they stand for. This must be very clear and above the fold.
  • Performance: Their website is the front door, so they need to make it as seamless as possible for visitors to sign up. 
  • Education: Deliver learning journeys catered to a variety of visitors, which extends beyond potential buyers to prospective employees, community members, and investors.

(31:49) How Asana Built a Demand Gen Campaign in 48 Hours

  • When COVID hit, Dave and team launched a campaign called “Asana is here for you”
  • The campaign had three pillars...
  • First, it got Asana in the hands of any team that was working to slow the spread of COVID (i.e. humanitarian organizations, hospitals, medical research labs, and churches)
  • Second, it helped teams adapt to remote work. The sales team stopped prospecting activity and offered free consultations to any team that needed help adjusting to remote work.
  • Third, it provided economic relief to any team that needed it. Encouraged teams that were heavily hit to continue using Asana when they needed it most, even if they couldn’t afford it.

(37:56) Quick Hits: Getting to Know Dave

  • Favorite podcast: “Pivot” with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway
  • Current TV show: Watching “Treehouse Masters” with his three kids. In every episode, they build a treehouse 
  • Alternative career: He would love to teach at a community college
  • CMO advice for someone trying to figure out demand gen: Demand gen has to be tailored to each company’s unique audience and business needs

Episode Transcript