Refine Labs CEO & Founder
Chris Walker is the Founder and CEO of Refine Labs, a progressive demand generation firm that challenges the status quo in B2B marketing. Fueled by marketing execution at scale, Refine Labs uses real data from real customers to create demand strategy and research for their clients. Before launching Refine Labs, Chris led marketing at two B2B firms where he built the foundation of his unique perspective on demand generation. Chris also hosts the State of Demand Gen podcast where he chats with today’s top B2B leaders to share tangible advice and tactics to over 15,000 marketers.
Why Start Refine Labs?
Several years ago, marketing teams needed to collect phone numbers and email addresses for their Sales teams because there wasn’t a more effective way to get new customers in the door. Flash forward 10 years, and most marketing teams are still doing the same thing, albeit with new technology and better tracking. But it’s essentially the same thing - marketers generate a high volume of inexpensive “leads” with no buying intent, so their Sales teams can go outbound to people that don’t want to buy right now.
This outdated demand gen model is broken, and Chris noticed three key themes when evaluating how companies should shift their marketing strategy to fit what buyers want in the modern day. 1 - Buyers have access to an abundance of information at their fingertips, which empowers them to navigate most of the buying process on their own. 2 - Buyers have been trained by B2C/DTC for easier purchasing, and those expectations have bled into B2B. They are less patient and now know how to get the information they need on their own time, when and how they want it. 3 - We are in the “word-of-mouth” era of marketing where B2B buyers discover and evaluate products on the internet and their own network, not a Sales rep. A cold call used to be helpful and informational, but quickly has become a disturbance and met with resistance.
Chris challenged the things companies were doing that weren’t buyer centric, as well as the “best practices” that clearly were not working. He was set out to change this in the organizations he was working for, but was met with resistance and excuses. Therefore, Chris determined that if he was going to change the way B2B marketing was done, he would have to do it himself. Refine Labs was founded in 2019 under that premise - we are changing the way B2B companies go to market.
Chris Walker grew up in Boston, MA and graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. He started his professional career in the MedTech industry, migrating then into Product Management before making the move to marketing. Chris is also a serial entrepreneur, always finding ways to make an existing product or service better, or market a saturated product in different ways to break through the noise.
The majority of his time is now spent growing the Refine Labs team and hosting the State of Demand Gen podcast. In his free time, Chris is an avid runner, running 2,000 miles per year and waking up at the crack of dawn to get a workout in. He resides in Boston with his dog Arya and enjoys traveling and unplugging once a quarter.