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

Episode 2057 · 4 months ago

Why Customer Marketing is the New Demand Generation

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Timmy Bauer talks with Nina Butler, Director of Demand Gen at Alyce, about customer marketing as a demand gen strategy. 

Yeah, what's up to be growth? It's me, yourhost, timmy Bauer. I'm the content strategist at sweet fish and today I amtalking with Nina Butler, she is the director of demand gen at Alice Nina.Welcome to the show. Thank you, timmy for having me. I'm so excited to talkto you Nina. Last time you and I talk, you said something that I latched onto,I was like, that's just so tactical, practical and also a real stake in theground statement that I felt like it would make a great episode. You said ifyou're a marketer and you're not on to customer calls a week, you are missingout on huge opportunity. So first of all, what do you mean by that? Yeah,before even dive in there, like this is my new mission, my new crusade um onthat like customer marketing is the new demand generation. Like tell me whatyou mean. So what I think about what exactly unlocks a brands, brandawareness, brand recall, you know, positive intent. It's if you are ableto success, if you are able to get so close to your customer and leave such alasting impression on them that then they go out and do the marketing onyour behalf and you make them look like rock stars to their customers. That'syour demand generation strategy right there, right? Like if you shift yourfocus and your, your spend away from just like classic top of funnelactivity and reinvest it back into your customer base and just continuing tocreate those personal bonds and memorable moments with them like thatin turn will get you what you need top of funnel. So that's like kind of whyI'm on this is hot, hot topic right now. But when I, when I specifically talkedto you about like the opportunity, I think marketers are missing out on ifthey don't carve out time and and brain space for those customer conversationsis like, you just truly will never be able to empathize with your buyers whenyou go to create your demand generation or or um, lead generation strategies ifyou don't actually know what a day in...

...the life of those folks are and it'ssuch like a Noda idea. But I think oftentimes organizations, the biggerthey get, the more and more walls developed between you and that andcustomer. And it's just a little bit harder to prioritize that face time. SoI think whether you're you're an earlier stage company, a moreestablished company, like it's just mission critical that you are coming upwith those engagement strategies with your account management and CS teams tomake sure that you're prioritizing those conversations. Yeah, I like thatstatement. What did you say is the new demand generation customer marketingand what, what led you to come to that conclusion And how come other marketersdon't believe it? I think it's something it's similar to like a Ceoright? Like it's a long play. You don't see results out of the gate. It takesyears to cultivate the types of relationships that then motivate yourcustomers to sing your prices unprompted from the rooftop. And so Ithink when you are in earlier company, it can be hard to advocate forinvestments like that because you don't see the return right away. When Ijoined up Alice about 2.5 years ago, um, we were a much younger company at thatpoint, I was only the second marketer. And so naturally there are a millionand one things to do when people don't even know how to pronounce the name ofyour company at that point in time. But we had the forefront to understand weneed to start building a customer marketing muscle now because we wantedto pay dividends for us years into the future. And so we launched things likeit's called Alice All Stars, and it's essentially just a way for us tohighlight and nominate people in our ecosystem that we think really embodyAlice's values. And we started that several years ago and now to this point,we have, like, people are joining us from from other companies, like workingfor us because they were former All Stars. We have all stars that are thefirst ones to raise their hand and speak at an event on our behalf orwrite a customer testimonial, right? So it's like you get to you establish theFoundation now because you never know in the future when you're gonna need toborrow from that from that um customer base. So I just think That's my twocents. I love it. What do you think are...

...the essential components of doingcustomer marketing? Like let's say that I'm a marketing leader and I want thisto be a primary focus. What are the most? Like, give me like step one, steptwo and what the essential things that I need to be doing our. Yeah, well Ithink first off, you have to figure out how exactly do you want to activateyour customers, right? Like what is your ideal customer? What makes themreally successful with your product? Like figuring out what that looks like.And then once you're able to hopefully earn that business and keep it, how canyou create strategies to not just like maintain it, but grow thoserelationships? So that's like step one. You can't have a customer marketingfunction if you don't have growing customers, right? Like that's just thepoint point period. I'd say step number two is thinking about how do you wantto drive community with that customer? Right. Like I imagine most folks don'tjust want to like, you know, collect their check at the end of the day.Thanks. See you later, Right? How do you instead create opportunities tobring your customer base together to share ideas? Your thought leadership,get to know each other better, Right? Like trade industry secrets. So how canyou create forums to create that community? And it can be in an eventsetting. It can be in slack channels. It can be something like kind of thatcustomer advocacy program I talked about. Um, so whatever it's going to bebest fit for your brand and the way your organization is structured likethat's on you. Um, but I think it's important to start thinking about howto create that community early on. And you don't just instead wake up with 100and 10 annual customers, right? And then you're like, oh, shoot, how do weactivate these folks? Right. Well then you're too late to the party, I'd saythe final thing there and this is like more of an obvious one. But actuallyyou might be surprised by how many folks that have an aha moment when Italk about this is how can you use your customer base to a not just like keep apulse on the market, Right? But furthermore, how do you leverage theirchallenges and their roadblocks using your own product to then inform yourcontent marketing strategy? How can you make their lives easier? Right. How canyou make them look like rock stars to...

...their boss? How can you, you know whatI mean? Give them opportunities to earn that promotion or that title change?Like how do you just make them get more out of their day to day using yourproduct and then how can you create content that helps them get there morequickly and more effectively? Yes, I love that. You're talking so to mepersonally, as a content strategist, the most obvious thing that you said islike if you're on calls with your customers, it's going to help youdevelop content. And sure enough, I've experienced this like I was on a callwith a customer uh two weeks ago and the customer was nervous about hostingtheir podcast and they're like, we're beginner hosts. We've never hosted apodcast before. And my time at Sweet Fish, this is almost all I've everthought about. So I'm like, yeah, let's, let's talk about it. And I just talkedthem through all of the different strategies that I use, especially whenI'm talking to somebody about a topic that I know so little about. There'ssome pretty basic things that I do so that I don't feel like such an idiottalking to this person. Um, one of them is transparency. I'll be like, hey,just so you know, we're talking about something that I haven't thought at allabout. But so to just going through the strategies that I use, it's a, there'sa P. O. V. Discovery process for getting unique ideas out of your guests.And there's a, what, why, how journalistic process for unpacking iton a podcast episode. And as I'm going through it, I'm like, do we need to bemaking more content about this? Um, so anyways, that was the most obvious onefor me. But yes, then also making the users of your products more of a rockstar to their boss. That's also a pretty obvious way to get yourcustomers to become advocates of you. That's exactly right. And I think tolike, it's, you know, we were unfortunate to be enrolling which I usemy own product every day, right? So I'm the aspirational user of Alice andsometimes I take for granted just to your point, right? Like things that aremaybe commonplace to me or just a part...

...of my everyday or things that I thinkare no brainers are actual like novelty insights for customer, especiallycustomers just getting going and wants to reduce that learning curve, right?And so I don't have those kind of ah ha revelations until I'm speaking with acustomer and I'm like, oh, there's something here. And furthermore, if Ipackage it once It's going to prevent me from having to get on the next 20calls into about the same thing, right? Yes. I love what you said about like ifyou watch your the customer that you're talking with, if you watch their facialexpressions and see like light bulbs going off, it could be something thatyou've said internally 100 times and never thought about it as a uniquepoint of view or something. And then you see an aha moment in the customerand you're going, oh crap, this is a, I guess this is something that's worthmaking content out of its totally right. And I think like, sure, you know folks,folks have gone or call listening tools, right? They have some sort of, I wouldimagine like content request briefs where where a seller or a supportperson could ask for a piece of content, but there's just like unless you hearit right from the source, right? Especially on that period appear levellike me as a marketer is going to be able to interpret and ask of a marketera lot more effectively than a seller trying to reinterpret that right? Or metrying to listen to the subtext, no facial cues or anything in a gon call.And so like that's why I'm so adamant about getting on those live customercalls because that's where the magic happens. Exactly. Why do you think it'stwo a week? Is that just an arbitrary number? I mean that's like what myschedule permits, right? It's it's an arbitrary number. But I think the mostimportant thing there is the consistency, right? Like it's not justlike, you know, parachuting in once in a blue moon and getting one anecdotalpiece of feedback, right? And then be like perfect. I did my customerlistening for the year, right? It's like, no, you, it needs to be bakedinto your repetition. Um, and I think furthermore, like the more frequentlyyou can do it, the more quickly trends can emerge and you can kind of beatsome of the potential, like go to...

...market, I don't know, revelations thatyou might have with an upcoming product launch or feature thing, right? If youjust have like accumulated a bit more of those conversation points, hey,everybody Logan with sweet fish here. If you've been listening to the showfor a while, you know where big proponents of putting out originalorganic content on linked in. But one thing that's always been a struggle fora team like ours is to easily track the reach of that linked in content. That'swhy I was really excited when I heard about shield the other day from aconnection on you guessed it linked in since our team started using shield.I've loved how it's led us easily track and analyze the performance of ourlinkedin content without having to manually log it ourselves. Itautomatically creates reports and generate some dashboards that areincredibly useful to see things like what contents been performing the bestand what days of the week are we getting the most engagement and ouraverage views per post. I highly suggest you guys check out this tool.If you're putting out content on linkedin and if you're not, you shouldbe. It's been a game changer for us. If you go to shield app dot Ai and checkout the 10 day free trial, you can even use our promo code B two B growth toget a 25% discount again, that's shield app dot ai. And that promo code is Bthe number to be growth all one word. All right. Let's get back to the show.I agree wholeheartedly. I'm curious what are some of the big ah ha is thatyou've personally had from doing these customer calls? I I think the biggestone, truth be told is just how much knowledge I possess that I have neverthought to to create in any sort of form. You know whether it's long formshort short form video like whatever it might be right, the medium'sindifferent but it's more just so like the capturing of those ideas and thendistributed them in ways that are effective for the type of customer thatwould use that type of insight. Like that's been the biggest ah ha For me Ithink furthermore to like one of the...

...big aha is that I've had is just howbeneficial establishing an additional line of trust and credibility with akey customer account can be when you introduce other folks to thatrelationship and I think that can be tricky right? There's certainly um Ithink the sentiment is like either the account manager, the customer successmanager like they hold that relationship really tight to the chestbecause that's their customer right? And and the growth number or the churnrisk like that falls on them at the end of the day. But I think if you have astrong working relationship with those functions in your business, you can say,hey when you hear things like this, invite me in, bring me in right, I canbe a value additive resource. I can validate some of the ideas you'resaying like I can't tell you how often um you know someone on our team more oflike the support or enablement side or like I've been telling them this everyweek for months and they're just not getting it but then I come in and it'smore like a peer to peer delivery and that's when the market is like oh Ididn't think about it right that right? And it's like I'm not saying anythingdifferent but I'm just adding a different level of emphasis to it um ormore of like that relatability component to it. And so that's been mybiggest thing to me and then furthermore right like when we go torun um a webinar or when I'm looking for I don't know pull quotes for astudy like well now I have 2030 40 marketers that I have more of apersonal connection with and I can call on them for favors. I can see if theywant to participate and then they have like that that positive, hopefullypositive. Like association between like, oh Nina right? She's a marketer atAlice and she wants me to be on this thing. Like I do that. She puts on coolstuff, right? I understand what she's, she's trying to produce and I'm morelikely to participate. Yeah. Honestly, just talking about this, I'm realizinglike I've needed to do a better job of getting with the producers at sweetfish and just being like, hey, anytime you have a nervous host, feel free toinvite me into the conversation and it's too late now because I'm leaving,but which I have done a better job of that. There have been a few producersthat have that have included me in that...

...and it's been really awesome. Whatabout specifically like ideas for pieces of content that have sparked inyour brain from recent customer conversations? Yeah. So I'll give you aconcrete example here we and for folks who might be unfamiliar with Alice,this isn't a pitch, but more so to like orient folks into the convo werepersonal experience platform that delivers 1 to 1. Gifting experiences toenterprise marketers, sellers, anybody you want to get closer to in business.And so after listening to a lot of customer calls and even just like goingthrough my own demand jin motions. I'm like, listen, everything's gone.Virtual people. Um, I think marketers love a good theme that shouldn't be asurprise to anybody. But this concept of like themed experiences is becomingmore and more popular because folks are missing out on that in personactivation. And like it's really like that emotional resonance that you, thatyou earn from in person experiences was gone and themes are a great way toreplicate some of that virtually. And so I'm like, all right, we have amarketplace of 30,000 plus gifts. There are some themes within their right. Wehave gifts that are all about like coffee and tea breaks. We have giftsthat are all around like book clubs. Right? What if we just packaged thoseup into an inspirational e book and then we could give those to themarketers to be like cures like stumped on your next campaign idea, right? Ornot sure how to make this more like a holistic experience and to end and havegifting be a component of that. Like here are some sample ideas and it tookme like an hour maybe because these are ideas I had already worked through oror things that I had already personally done in our product and then we youknow produced it, published it disseminated it. And then it was liketheir minds melted because they're like, I just haven't thought about using youryour platform in that type of context. And so I only truly have thatrealization after talking to so many marketers and all I kept hearing waslike one events, book events, barbecue events, right? And I'm like wait aminute. There's some like emerging...

...trends here and we can kind of be firstto market on that type of um like thought leadership. Um But I wouldn'thave gotten that insight from like listening to a gong call once everyquarter. Right? That's So good. It reminds me there's a similar thing thatwe're doing called original research where um and you did some of it Nina. Iasked you 15 rapid fire questions to answer from your gut. The goal there isthat I'm basically gonna listen to 100 marketing leaders answering thosequestions and it will hopefully spark a very similar thing in my brain where Igo, oh wait a second, I've heard that 13 times now. How come we haven't mademe content around that? And then the thing is to write like you make it onceand then you can slice it and dice it like 10 ways to sunday and it can, youknow, live in perpetuity and all these different ways and so you just get morebang for your buck. So it's like you get to shortcut, like your ideationprocess and then you also get to shortcut like what am I going toproduce for content for the next several weeks? It's like, well thereyou go. You have your cornerstone piece of content right there by way ofcustomer inspiration. For sure, Nina There has been an awesome conversation.Thank you so much for being on this podcast. How should listeners connectwith you? Yeah, happily. So you can find me on linkedin Nina Butler. Um oryou can happily reach me via email Nina at Alice dot com and it's A L Y C E.Awesome. Thanks for being on. Thanks for having me. To me is your buyer at BdB marketer. If so,you should think about sponsoring this podcast. BTB growth gets downloadedover 130,000 times each month and our listeners are marketing decision makers.If it sounds interesting, send Logan and email Logan at Sweet Fish Media dotcom. Yeah.

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