Today, we reach the conclusion of our interview series, “Inside the Demand Generation Agency”. In part 7, I’m speaking with HiP Marketing Director, Matt Leap. Matt heads up all of our content marketing endeavors, supporting both new customer acquisition and customer development. As importantly, he’s proven himself quite valuable in strategic planning and in the development of our efforts in branding, promotion, reporting, lead generation, and lead nurture. You’ll also see much of Matt’s thought leadership throughout HiP’s blog, with insightful and original posts such as “Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation: What’s the Difference?”
Let’s hear what Matt has to share about the traits of an effective marketer for an agency in the digital space.
Matt, you previously were in marketing management with a consumer brand. Can you tell us what is different in your day-to-day when you compare that experience to working for a B2B agency?
At my previous job, I primarily focused on eCommerce. My top goals were driving qualified traffic, optimizing the website for conversion, and reporting on my efforts. Though we certainly worked toward repeat customers through our subscriber base and remarketing efforts, things centered on the individual transaction. Our analytics made things incredibly transparent – the success (or failure) of a campaign could be put into very definite, monetary terms. It’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, very clear ties to revenue made it easy to justify the costs from efforts like AdWords. On the other hand, it creates a temptation to overlook efforts that didn’t have as direct a role in revenue.
Here, in the B2B world, purchase decisions are simply more complicated; there are longer sales cycles, greater educational needs, larger purchase amounts, multiple decision makers, smaller target audiences, and so on. To compensate, we have to put a much greater emphasis on content and strategy. Conversions in the B2B marketing/sales funnel aren’t as cut and dry as a transaction Content marketing efforts are notoriously difficult to measure. We have to spend more time ‘reading tea leaves’, so to speak. We look at measurable behaviors that we believe are precursors to the purchase and assign relative value accordingly. Through segmentation and personas, were then able to monitor and shape the buying vision with as much relevance as possible. This type of focus on individual prospects is something that you wouldn’t see in a lot of B2C industries, especially eCommerce.
These days, a marketing manager has to be a technologist as much as anything. What tools are you using to measure SEO, assess deliverability, manage social media, etc.?
That’s a very accurate observation. Today, digital marketing has really taken center stage – it’s become more prominent than many traditional outlets. With this shift comes new capabilities for placement, personalization, and reporting. Pair that with an industry-wide fixation on data and you can see why technology has become so important to marketing.
There seems to be marketing technologies for just about anything these days. There’s no shortage of information and communications around these offerings (as my inbox can attest). Finding useful tools certainly isn’t an issue, rather, it’s the evaluation and prioritization that proves to be a challenging. Just about any tool out there will provide some sort of value, the key is to weight that value in terms of implementation time, impact on workflow, compatibility, and opportunity cost.
At HiP, we have several tools to support core areas of our marketing efforts and our business as a whole. We recently subscripted to Moz Pro to help us improve SEO on our new site. Moz allows us to track links/mentions, optimize for specific keywords, and compare our efforts to our competitors. As for deliverability, we use a tool called SendForensics (both for our own marketing communications and for clients). SendForensics allows us to judge the deliverability of a message before sending. It provides a deliverability percentage and recommendations – both in terms of content (word choice, tone, coding syntax, etc.) and infrastructure (DKIMs, IP reputation, etc.) – to improve. Finally, we use Hootsuite to manage our social media accounts. Hootsuite allows us to schedule posts across multiple accounts and networks, as well as provides some reporting capabilities. On the horizon, we’ll be adding a marketing automation system to help tie our efforts together. By integrating with our sales team’s Saleforce instance, this system will help us to more intelligently and effectively nurture our leads.
In 2015, implementation of content marketing is the standard by which many brands and agencies are gauging their success. At HiP, can you share what your mission is in that regard?
Essentially, our content marketing efforts have five key goals, which we often refer to as pillars. Those goals are brand awareness, lead generation, thought leadership, process differentiation, and demonstration of value. Each pillar has a set of sub-goals and tactics associated with it.
Each pillar of our strategy (and its associated activities) is measured independently. For each pillar, we have a “scorecard”, which allows us to track key metrics over time. Though these metrics don’t tell the whole story on their own, they provide reassurance that we’re moving in the right direction for each of our major goals.
As HiP’s Marketing Director, how do you find the execution of content marketing for lead generation to be different from its use in raising brand awareness?
As I mentioned, both lead generation and brand awareness are separate pillars of our marketing strategy. Accordingly, both have different sub-goals and tactics associated.
For example, for lead generation, we currently use a combination of inbound and outbound tactics. On the inbound side, we use gated content, blog subscriptions, and contact forms to generate leads, while on the outbound side, we use primarily events and email marketing.
As for brand awareness, we use blogging, social media marketing, and SEO optimization to help establish a strong web presence. We also do some event sponsorship, promotional items, and various cobranding activities to help promote our brand.
Let us know what you think:
- Do you have any questions for Matt?
- What marketing tools do you use?
- What are the pillars of your content marketing strategy?