B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1787 · 3 months ago

Build vs Buy | The Journey

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

James and Dan provide a behind-the-scenes look into what's working and what we're trying here at Sweet Fish and B2B Growth. Today's discussion: The pros and cons of building media organically or going out and buying it.

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is B two B Growth. All right, welcome to the journey here on bTB Growth, where we're documenting our journey of turning this show into every BBB marketers favorite show and hopefully showing you how you can do the same. So, Dan, today we are talking about should you build a media company or buy a media company? We've been talking about this offline a lot. There's a lot of stories about companies that have acquired media companies. Everybody talks about HubSpot acquiring the Hustle. I think we hear a lot about Outreach acquiring sales Hacker. But you've got Penn National Gaming that million dollars buying Barstool Sports. Yet Stripe bought indie Hackers. You guys app here buying maker Pad, Digital Ocean acquired Scotch dot Io. So it's happening. These massive companies are just straight up acquiring audiences, like, screw this whole, like spending years to build our own media company, We're just gonna go buy it. What do you think whenever you hear this list of companies that are just going out and acquiring audience, I'm glad you were recited like the lists, and there's even more than that, right, because there's like Amazon bought the Washington Post, Like these things are happening, and they've kind of happened before. It's not like acquiring media properties is new, like Disney acquired ABC like thirty years ago, Like okay, but it's new for this community, especially since we're we tend to speak to all B two B companies, but especially a lot of tech companies are listening to this, like this is kind of new to this space, and it's happening way more than people think. So I tell people this whole time, like media companies the future, and they're like, oh, okay, so HubSpot acquired the Hustle, Like where else is this happening. It's happening a lot, Like dozens of companies are making this and this is still like a drop in the bucket compared to like all the smaller acquisitions. These are just the big names acquiring other big names. List right, because I think what we're starting to see is a fundamental change in content marketing. In fact, I like this quote farm dar Mesh from HubSpot right, who said, modern media companies have a software company embedded inside next gen software companies will have a media company embedded inside, which is says a lot to me, and then he went and did it. HubSpot is like like the freaking poster child of content marketing. Like they had a lot of attention. They rank for every freaking marketing term there is, right. They have, They've built courses, they've dropped books, they have their own they have multiple podcasts, they have YouTube channels. They're doing all the content marketing. Yet something was missing, something massive, And it's called an audience right, because people were checking in on all...

...those things and kind of being like, oh, that was good things, Oh that was good things. But they didn't have their like undivided attention that when they dropped something, people are like, oh, when's the next one coming, like the Hustle did, which I was. I was reading the Huspital for a while. I really liked that newsletter, and then eventually I got burned out and just stopped. But I really liked it. Every time it dropped. It had a different affinity. I listened to the Hustle show, their their podcast, the Hustle's Daily Podcast. I listened to it probably three days a week. Maybe it's nice, little bite size I mean, what helps us to with the podcast network is fascinating. So when we talk about this though, Dan, you know, obviously these are massive behemoth companies buying other really big media companies, and they're doing that for a reason, right, they have the financials to actually go and do it. But when do you think it's smarter to try to buy I mean, maybe you don't have to go buy maker Pad like Zappier did, but you know, we're obviously trying to build B two B growth. What keeps us from going, Hey, why don't we just try to go secure financing to go by marketing profts or you know, buy exit five, Like, how do you think about that? As we have really honed in on our own strategy to like we're gonna build BOB growth as opposed to trying to buy something. I mean, one of it just becomes constraints. And it's just when you're when you're taking on a lot of debt to do it, if you're securing financing or your wrench, if you're raising venture capital for it. Right, it's there is massive constraints on how you can run your company at that point because it's well known, like the constraints of of giving away equity brings to your company. In a bootstrap situation, it makes all the sense. But even then sometimes it makes more sense to even build it, even if you do have the cash, because you want to pump that cash into things like and building building your product, and there's just opportunity costs across the business. The other advantage you have in building it is that you just understand your customers better in the process. If you buy it, well, hopefully you fired a bunch of people that understand your customers better than you do. But if you build it, it's because you know you have to go through the kind of like the painful process of actually knowing what your customers want and need and think about from a content standpoint, which gives you a broader scope than just your tiny little niche and positioning on your product. You actually have to understand the more holistic picture and place your buyers are playing. Actually feel so grateful that we talk that this podcast that we're talking about on now isn't the BBB podcasting show, it's the B two B Growth Show, and therefore we talk about all things that BBB marketers are interested in, so we have a much better understanding of what B two B marketers care about because we're producing the content, we're having conversations with them, We're talking to them on LinkedIn, trying to get the ideas that resonate with them. So we have a much better understanding of our buyer, which then makes it easier to actually build a product around the buyer rather than building it in the shop and then saying here it is right. So there's a massive advantage and the intimacy you gain with your customer that...

...way. So that's one major reason why you would want to build it rather than just buying it out right buying it. One thing that I've observed just in my own as I assess what I have affinity toward. You know, I listened to the Hustle Daily Show three or four days a week. When I listen to that show, I don't think I necessarily I mean, they talk about HubSpot because Hubspots position is like a sponsor of the show, even though they own it. I don't know that I necessarily like feel affinity toward HubSpot. I look at HubSpot like, oh, that was really smart what they did, Like they took a format, they took host talent, they took an ingredient that's already working. But I questioned, I'm like, man, do I feel affinity toward HubSpot or does it just feel like they're a sponsor of this show when it would have been cheaper for them to just buy up a bunch of ad slots on this show as opposed to acquiring the whole thing. But when I think about what you do when you acquire a media company, you're bringing that talent in house so that now you're like starting to shape your culture around. Now we're we're going to start thinking like a media company, And we just accelerated that process by probably three or four or five years by going and bringing one that's already figured this stuff out in so that it can infuse and and like start to shape our culture to be a culture of folks that know how to do this. So I'm really interested to see how the next three or five years play out for HubSpot, because I think going out and acquiring a media company that got bringing it in the long term benefit is, like I mean, the short term benefit is obviously the the immediate audience of the shows that the media properties that already existed, You now own that immediate audience. But I think there's a lot of power in in the talent that you bring in so that it can shape your ability to actually replicate what they did to get successful. And now you know how to do that. It's it's in your DNA as an organization, and it doesn't happen instantly. And I don't think we've you know, yea, with HubSpot, but I think they're getting there. I think there's another point to be made to around buying a media company and that you can actually acquire a business model that's already working. Like imagine having a whole content marketing arm that pays for itself. Right, So when they bought the Hustle, yes, they forked over you know, tens of millions of dollars for it, but the Hustle is profitable yea. So now they just bought this marketing engine that's a self contained unit that they get essentially free marketing from imperpetuity. Right, this thing continues to advertise for it, and they don't have to pay for it again because they have other sponsors and other advertising going into it. So that kind of makes a big difference. You just bought a little marketing machine and it's a one time fee, one time fee for unlimited marketing. Fantastic, It's kind of nice. Yeah, I do love the I mean, that's that's something again we've been talking about a lot offline. Is this idea of you know that this is the direction we're going and sweet fish, I mean,...

...we want to eventually be able to help companies not just build branded shows, but we want to help them like put a media asset into their business that has independent value, independent of their company, and something that pays for itself over a four to thirty six months window, like it pay us to build this media property for you, and we know that over amount of time this thing is is going to end up paying for itself and then some so it becomes a profit center instead of a cost center. And that's the whole I mean, Joe Politzy has been talking about that with his book Killing Marketing, and this idea that your marketing can actually be self sustaining is fascinating to me. But that's an element of like the building a media company conversation that I don't I'm not hearing a lot of people talking about it that way, but it's certainly a problem that we're trying to figure out and trying to solve B two B growth will be right back. There are a lot of questions on marketers minds right now, and analyzing the latest trends can be a full time job in itself. Can an a R filter really improve brand awareness? Why are streaming ads so allowed? What do viewers really think about shoppable ads? Marketing Group does the hard work for you, dropping a quick to read, free newsletter in your inbox every weekday, covering essential topics from influencers and advertising to social media and more. Marketing Group never misses a beat. Get the answers you've been looking for, along with the ones you haven't even thought of yet. Upgrade your game alongside a growing community of over two hundred and sixty five thousand marketing professionals. Check it out by clicking the link in our show notes right now. But that's an element of like the building a media company conversation that I don't I'm not hearing a lot of people talking about it that way, but it's certainly a problem that we're trying to figure out and trying to solve. Yep, And when you talk about building a media company, and this is what we're hitting with B two B growth is that it's just because you're building it doesn't mean it's free. No, it kind of requires investment in staffing or hiring an agency to help you produce it. Either way, it's gonna cost you money. But sometimes it's like, do you have enough money to be able to pay tens of millions of dollars for it? Maybe? Maybe not. But if you don't, then are you willing to invest forty k into it a month in order to build it to that point and grow with it organically? It's take it's a little bit of a longer road. But again, like I said before, there's some advantages of doing it yourself and the learnings you get in doing it. And of course there's lots of companies like like sweet Fish, but other companies like consultants that have done it before, so you can you can go and acquire essentially talent yourself and start building it from the ground maybe somebody who's done it before, right if you wanted to do it in house. So there's a couple different ways to go about it. Like I even heard that the Record, you know, just when hired some journalists that knew what they were doing and just started putting together the Recorded Future. No, I think it it's um the Recorded...

Future, put together the record right, which is the media property, and just have a handful of journalists writing stories that matter to cybersecurity, and it's become a really niche but favorite website news site for cybersecurity professionals. So I think a lot of people are going to start doing this, And there's even a whole movement around before you even launch a product, you build an audience first, right, I mean this is becoming a more well known play across famous influencers like The Rock and Mr Beast and stuff. Build the audience first, and then you can launch whatever products you want. So there's an audience first movement taking place amongst creators and soon you're gonna that's gonna eventually make its way over into B two b um where these creators are just going to launch companies to their massive audiences. Shoot, Ran Fishkin did already was Spark Carrow. They don't have a marketing budget. They just use marked Rand Fishkin's existing audience and uh fame essentially to build that company. When they hired an influencer in the marketing space, Amanda not at Dad, I think, who was already very influential with Marketer, and so they brought her on as the marketing leader. So they have some symblance of a working budget. I don't know if she's a team of one or if she's got a little team, but you know they're they're a small but mighty I mean they're punching way about their way you think about base Camp. Base Camp doesn't get talked about a lot in this in this way, but they're I mean, the blog posts that they're that they are founders, I mean made them famous. I've actually got a call with their CEO later this afternoon, and I'm really excited about they came inbound and I'm excited to like, I don't know what they built from a from attention amassing machine. I mean, they're like a fifty person company and millions of people know about base camp yep. And it's funny. I've never read their blog posts, but I have because I've read their books, which are literally just their blog post readpackaged into a book. Um, and it was freaking amazing, amazing. They're amazing books that they've written. More than one now they've read both of them. So this is becoming a thing, and I want to talk about more about how we're doing it, because this is the journey we talked about behind the scenes and how we're doing this. We're lucky, I guess we're kind of a rare case where an agency who actually has done what we proclaim our customers should do with bTB growth. We actually have this show, we actually have an audience, so we're not starting from scratch, which is kind of nice. We're branching off into building something bigger. But we want to take it from more than just this podcast and actually make it into a full robust media property. But obviously it's very podcast focused on the in the beginning, and that's how we're planning on doing this now. Luckily, like there's enough downloads happening to this show that we can even begin monetizing it and actually using some of that revenue support other initiatives. But we want to launch into more focused social media, a newsletter soon and blogs, lots of blogs that are ranking for s c O in a way that actually isn't commodity content, is actually useful, helpful expertise, so that it becomes a more robust media property in and of itself. What do you think, James, when you as we're building this proper pretty what are...

...the things that get you the most excited about building turning BDB growth from just a one one channel show into multiple shows? And what are some things that like you're like thinking of you need to be careful of as you as we grow this property. Man, That's that's a great question. I think we've got to be careful about getting stale. I was just talking to somebody last night about the importance of continually like, you know, adding new or somebody my my friend called this content franchises yesterday in a conversation. You're constantly like coming, like, what what's a new content franchise or a new series or a new like I think variability matters a lot when it comes to affinity building. And you know, you look at what drift Bit did whenever they were you know, dominating the B two B marketing conversation. Uh, and they were doing these like marketing splashes every month. I've heard Dave Gearhard talk about this and how he was intentional to create these these splashes, And I think I don't want us to just like kind of Okay, we've figured out what our three content franchises are. With Bob Growth, we kind of get in this rot and we don't continue to innovate, We don't continue to to think creatively about how we can make a splash for the show in the minds of our buyers. And so that's that's one thing that I think we've really got to be careful of of avoiding. Um, what was your other question? Dam what are you that is what you're looking forward to? But what are you looking forward to? Like the things that get you excited about doing it this way? I think it's just the opportunity to really control the narrative. And when you own the audience, you get to control the narrative. And so as B two B Growth grows and we start to have more and more attention than you know, our story of of the importance of building affinity, the importance of obliterating commodity content from your marketing strategy becomes the centerpiece of conversation and becomes what our buyers are talking about in their boardrooms and talking about on their you know, on their all hands. And I think that's such a powerful place to be. Like when when you get to control the narrative of an industry, or at least shape maybe not control controls, probably a little bit too aggressive war, but you get to shape what people are talking about. I've seen it. I mean I'm seeing it literally happened with Chris Walker, like he is. He is shaping the narrative and B two B marketing right now because he's he's played this playbook and he's got really really good insights. So I love so much about this. It's like we look in two or three years at Bob growth and and kind of where we've where we've gone. It's did we have quality insights? Did we truly add value to the market in the content that we're sharing? And if we didn't, that's gonna show up. It's gonna be pretty painstaking obvious, like, hey, we we are not anywhere close to where we thought we'd be, and so we've got to reassess. And so I think going back to like mistakes where things that we should avoid. I think we've constantly got to be critiquing ourselves and asking ourselves after we record episodes like this, like hey, where did that miss? Hey we rambled a little bit here, We could have probably been a little bit tie her in our prep. Man, this episode felt a...

...little flat. We didn't you know, we just when we were recording early today, I was like, man, that it just didn't feel like there was a lot of energy there. Tweaking the way we're doing intros and outros and and trying to inject more personality into it and just constantly evolving. I mean, that's that's the game. That's why I love business. It's just this constant evolution. It feels like every week we're doing something in the business and I'm slapping myself in the head, going, how the hell is it taking a seven years to figure this out? But that's I've said that to myself so many times. At this point, it's like it's the evolution of the game. Like you learn, you get better, you keep pushing forward, and and that's so much of the joy of this is in that, and I don't ever want to lose that. One of my favorite parts about actually building a media company is that there's like never an end to like things that you need to try, But in the media company you can try, and gosh, dang it, if the blog post doesn't hit, it doesn't hit, that's okay. Tomorrow is a new day, let's post a new block. You know, it's kind of like if it doesn't slap on LinkedIn, that's okay, it's gone. It's not even gonna be seen by a lot of people, like they didn't make it. That's okay. You just keep trying new stuff, and then of course you start to get some attention on things and you double down on that and ride that wave. You know, if you have something that works really well, you write it for the season as long as you can, and then it starts to lose momentum. But you have to find that. It's kind of like writing waves. I like that analogy. All the times you always have to be finding the next rate wave to ride. But in immediate company, you kind of get a lot of that bats to test it in your social and your emails and then your podcast shows, in your YouTube videos. If you're going in that route. By doing it ourselves, we get to ride the waves with our customers, and like I said in the beginning, you build that intimacy because you're you're in the trenches with them trying to figure out what's what's working, what's not. Usually creators are much better at this. The solo creators, But I think businesses can be just as good at it. You know, if you have a couple of really good people, like two three four people in the company that are kind of trying to figure this out all the time and are experimenting a lot, just like solo creators do, especially on the B two B two C side, right like the Mr beasts that are always kind of experimenting, obsessed with what's what's going to hit, what's going to work, what's going to capture and retain people's attention. So that's what I'm honestly so excited about. Dan with you saying that makes me think about how we've you know, the construction of our marketing team. You know, We've got Benji here, he's you know, producing this series in the background. But we've got Emily Brady who's on maternity leave right now, but she gets back in December. She's gonna be focused on her newsletter and on social Emily thinks like a creator. Benji thinks like a creator. You think like a creator. I am thinking more and more like a creator, and I think creating that culture of kind of creator thinking in our marketing team is what actually is gonna propel us into building a media company and building a legitimate media property and B TWOB growth that, regardless of what happens with sweet Fish, GDP growth is going to have independent value of sweet Fish in a few years because of the effort, the way we've staffed it, the way we're the way we're approached building it. We're taking the marketing out of our content and we're just...

...trying to be as helpful as we possibly can to B B marketers. Yep. And that's the way that's their approach we're taking is hiring people to have more of a creator bent that understand marketing UM so we can have really understand what we're talking about when it comes to B two B marketing, right, And of course there's different routes. Some people are just scooping up the people that already have audiences and slapping their logo on their T shirts because they're paying them a huge salary, right like Stream is with a lot of um dev's developers. Right, they're hiring people who have YouTube audience, TikTok audience, blog audience and just making them part of the Stream team, and then they marketing is funding their salaries it's a great mode. That's how they're doing it. So there's so many ways to build the audience. This is just the way that we're doing it here in BDB Growth by building it all around the BBB Growth Show dot Com with multiple channels reaching out there. So I'm excited to see where this goes. And hopefully this has been in a helpful episode As we're talking about how others are doing it a firing some are building it differently than us. This is how we're building it internally by doing these kinds of episodes. Hopefully it's giving you some insight into how we're thinking about this and processing it. Yeah. Alright, So so that's it for today's episode of the Journey. Join us next week we're gonna be talking about a very provocative topic in gating content. Dan's got some hot takes on gating content. We're gonna be We're gonna be talking about that next week. Remember, there are a lot of ways to win. Commodity content is the enemy, focus on affinity over awareness. You can find all things BDB Growth at GDP Growth Show dot Com. Make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn's Dan Sanchez, myself, James Carberry, We're out. B two B Growth is brought to you by the team at sweet Fish Media. Here at sweet Fish, we produce podcasts for some of the most innovative brands in the world, and we help them turn those podcasts into micro videos, LinkedIn content, blog posts, and more. We're on a mission to produce every leader's favorite show. Want more information, visit sweet Fish media dot com.

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