How To Scale a Media Company Within B2B | The Journey

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the Journey on B2B Growth, where we document our journey of turning B2B Growth into every B2B marketers’ favorite media brand…and how you can do the same for your market. Today James and Dan discuss the role of an Executive Producer as the next evolution for modern B2B marketing teams.  

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Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is B two B Growth. Welcome to the journey here on B two B Growth, where we're documenting our journey of turning B two B growth. This show into every B two B marketers favorite media brand and how you can do the same for your market I'm joined today by Dan Sanchez, our executive producer, and my name is James Carberry. I'm the founder of sweet Fish, and today we're gonna be talking about a post that I actually put up on LinkedIn on Saturday. So one of the posts I think had over a hundred and thirty or a hundred and forty different engagements, lots of comments, and so I'm just gonna kick it off by reading what the post was that I posted on Saturday, and then Dan, have you kind of chime in with your thoughts Looking through of the...

...comments, We've got some really affirming comments in this thing. So here's how it starts, and said, the next evolution of marketing is media, which means the next evolution of the VP of marketing role is the role of the executive producer. Modern marketing teams needs someone that can architect the media brand that becomes your markets favorite source of information on the Internet, developed compelling concepts and formats for the content franchises within that media brand, so newsletters, podcast, YouTube channels, etcetera. We've in the company's points of view into the stories being told inside the various content franchises, connect the media being created to the business objectives that need to be achieved. The executive producer is ultimately responsible for creating an irrational bias towards your brand, a bias so strong that your competition doesn't matter because the media you produce creates an affinity that can't be beaten. Dan, why do you think this kind of point of view? This post did as well as it did? Man, that's soon as I saw it,...

I was like, yes, this is it essentially is it's a baby step towards flushing out our hypothesis abound building a media brand. You're like, yes, let's define the roles within a media brand, like who's the new this? How does it all work? And of course I think the post did well because there were some people who freaking loved it. They're like, Oh, I've been looking for this, Like I've been wrestling with my role on how to define it and clearly articulated. Then there's some others that are like, is this just the new thing for marketing? Is this the new black? Like, what are we talking about? We're just throwing around terms. So there's a kind of a lot of people on both sides of the aisle saying yes or no, and those are what posts usually do well. James, you actually approached this topic a while ago, even just a few weeks ago talking to me about it. What triggered in your mind when you first thought about changing marketing titles over to media titles. Yeah, so as of a few weeks ago, we really made the decision that our marketing that...

...sweet Fish is marketing would become we were putting all of our chips into B two B growth and so having Benji, Emily and you all focused on B two B growth and that was really our marketing spent was are we growing B two B growth? Are we tying the business objectives of the company to the results of BtoB growth? Is BDB growth tangibly doing the work that it needs to do to actually drive revenue for Sweet Fish? Now we're starting more and more to think about like monetizing B two B growth as a standalone asset. So because knowing that affinity takes time to convert to revenue, but affinity is absolutely the best path toward revenue. It doesn't show up on a spreadsheet quickly, and even when it does convert to revenue, it's sometimes often hard to attribute it to the work you did with the media brand, because the media brand is kind of the tip of spear, and it's how somebody starts to...

...get acclimated to your ecosystem in your world. But then it could be a blog post that they read three weeks after getting introduced to the show that really put them over the top. Or it could be a conversation that they had with somebody one of our people on LinkedIn, so they attributed it to LinkedIn instead of it being attributed to they found B TWOB growth first. And so I think the more I've thought about our own marketing being really dumped into B two B growth, the more I thought, and this is how modern marketing is going to work. I think traditionally you've had a lot of marketers that have focused on funnels and focused on conversion metrics, and I think that is still needed. This post wasn't intended to say that everything that the VP of marketing was doing before isn't necessary. And I think some people kind of took it that way by saying, Okay, is this just the next fad? Is this just us kind of giving marketing another name yet again. I think there's certainly some tiredness to that, with all the talk around strategic narrative,...

...old game, new game, category creation. I think marketers in particularly are getting a little bit iy rolly about that stuff because it's like, Okay, sure, tell me that marketing is completely changed yet again. But I think that this approach to marketing really focusing on the media is actually what content marketing intended to do. I think when you look at Joe Politici and what he intended to build whenever he built the content marketing category was that you would put so much effort into the content and making the content so good that it would give you that a rational bias, It would give someone that affinity towards your brand. But I think a lot of marketers kind of bastardized that, and not always because being their own fault, because they've got senior executives that are breathing down their their neck about needing m q L s and and needing to justify what we're doing with this quote unquote content marketing thing. We need revenue, and so content marketing started to resemble more and more product marketing. It's...

...just like, how can we figure out how to talk about our product in a disguised way? And this is really a retreat from that and saying no, let's go back to the original intent of what content marketing should be. And do we name it something different? I don't know, but one of the things that I'm thinking about is like starts by roll definition and if you're going to treat a media property differently than how we've traditionally been treating content marketing, it's way more than just blog posts that rank for keywords. It's funny the original I remember watching um that content marketing documentary. Right, it's a if you haven't seen it, like just google content marketing documentary. It's a great little video about like the origin of it, and it goes all the way back to like John Deere rolling out their magazine The Furrow. Right, it's over a hundred years old, and they weren't even talking about John Deer detractors they were, or good equipment. They were just talking about stuff farmers found relatively useful they knew, like John Deere put it out, but it wasn't a product thing. It was a media brand. It was a magazine...

...in and of itself. And that's ultimately where we want to bring it back. And I think you're right in that it's a lot of content marketing has become product marketing. But even when it's not, even when it's a how to list that's broader than the product that they sell, it still has this flavor of marketing in it, right. It still has marketing in its goal, and you can feel it by the five pop ups that jump out. You know, it's kind of like and it's on the company blog and it's branded across the top and a big footer, and it's written by somebody who's not actually a subject matter expert and what the customer cares about. It's written by a content person that the company hired to put this out so that they could get traffic to their website. And the whole thing has a flavor to it that just feels like marketing, right, and it's not even as helpful as it needs to be. So I think by repositioning it a little bit is actually useful, and that's our take on it. Of course, some people there's always, like you said, I rolls when you trying to change...

...the way people talk about things. Because marketers are good at that, we do it a lot um, sometimes more successful in others. Some of the pushback that I've heard in other posts whenever I talk about companies needing to become media companies. One of the guys I'm thinking of right now is I think a friend of yours Dan, But he's basically pushing back on that because media companies are a really hard business model, like creating content that is so good that other companies trying to reach your target audience are willing to pay you to get talked about or to get in front of the exact people that your content reaches because of how good it is. And so the investment that you have to make in making that content and then what you can actually sell in terms of what people are willing to pay to get in front of that audience, that business model is. It can be very challenging, but I think it's actually helpful at least since we've started having these conversations with B two B growth and thinking about how we can start doing this for our client shows. I think gets actually helpful to think about how can you monetize the media itself,...

...because it's a forcing function for you to make sure that that content is good in and of itself. Curious to get your thoughts. Do you think that that departure of trying to tie your media brand directly to revenue is like do you think I've swung too far the other way and trying to make the media brand pay for itself? No? No, I think that should be everybody's goal. Not everybody will get there, and that's okay because it will still work and generate revenue for your business. But if you can make it big enough and attractive enough for other people to sponsor and essentially create like a perpetual marketing machine, I think of like perpetual emotion. I'm a nerd. I love studying how people have made perpetual emotion machines, and even though it's technically like impossible, right, but still, I just love the idea of it in physics, of something that just never stops. I'm like, man, I want that in marketing. It's also impossible marketing for the long term, like eventually like you have to put massive effort or things into it to make...

...it go again. But like, if I can get it to the point where a marketing channel that's making revenue for my company pays for itself, I want to call out a few things here, Dan some comments that popped up on this post. One was really really encouraging to me from Tyler Lossard, who, in my opinion, might be executing this whole media brand strategy that we're advocating for better than anyone and B two B right now through a media brand called sales Feed. Now, Tyler Lessard is the CMO of Vidyard, so like a video email platform, and they've created a separate media brand called sales Feed. They've staffed it with I thinks Will Aikin was actually a sales influencer and so his comment on the post was, Oh my gosh, I've been trying to figure out how to articulate the evolution of my role and this is it off to update my LinkedIn profile. Another comment my friend Obed Dorani. He said, easy dream job, Where do I sign up? Oh?...

Oh? Bet is the living embodiment of thinking about content this way? Him him, Todd Klausser Emily Brady, you know, from our team, is kind of in that crew. They hang out with Will Aching a lot too, so they're living and breathing this. There was one comment here from David Uraguay. He said, it sounds about right to me. Head of brand strategy times head of product marketing equals modern VP of marketing. I struggle with that common a little bit in terms of like brand strategy times head of product marketing, that's a lot of product marketing in the mix there. I mean, you're basically just saying it's a combo of brand strategy and product marketing. I think the product marketing has to be lesser. I think that's the mistake we've made traditionally, is making product marketing too much a part of the media brand, and it ends up breaking trust with the audience because people can see that, oh, you're just really trying to sling a product, and I think there's a line there. You don't want to pretend to become copletely...

...unbiased. We talk on Sweet Fish a lot about how like we're not mother Teresa, We're not just doing this because we've got this altruistic heart to try to help marketers get better at their job. No, we know that if we help marketers create an unfair advantage in their work, then that affinity towards sweet Fish is going to result in dollars for our business. And so that's my one issue with that comment from David is a man. Maybe it's brand strategy, it's strategic editorial meets you know, a light version. Maybe it's head of product marketing divided by two would be the closer to the equation that I'm thinking of there. And then another comment from Asher Matthew. He says, is this another case of what's old is new? Was this true for vps of marketing before demand gen became such a focus for them? I think the way I responded to Asher's comment was, I actually think that by executing a media brand strategy, well, I think it's still demand gen, but it is. I think you first got to create demand for your media,...

...and then once you've created a raving desire for your media, then it expedites the effectiveness of the demand that you're going to create for your product when you do strategically figure out how to integrate your product into that media. What are your thoughts there, Dan, I think you're writing that you're setting up a separate brand. It is a separate brand, Should it tie it nicely to your other brand? Yes, but it doesn't even need to be like a sub brand necessarily of your brand and like creatively all fit together a nice package. You can just needs to be a separate brand to create separations so you can position it differently than your other brand. Right, the positioning on these two things are probably going to be different once. Probably your media brand is gonna be broader, right because you should have tooken a niche positioning within whatever industry you're playing in. Yours is going to be brought. The media brand is gonna be all encompassing for everything your buyers love. So you're actually creating marketing for your media and treating it like its own little mini copenny within your...

...company. And I think you can do that with just a few employees, like it doesn't take a huge media team. That's the other pushback we got is, oh, this is too expensive. It's too expensive. I don't think it needs to be. I mean, we're executing this with B two B growth, with a three person team. We're gonna wind this one down. But I love having these conversations I love kind of giving a peek behind the curtain of how we're thinking about this at sweet Fish and how B TWOB growth is playing into too our company strategy. It's not just this kind of side piece that so many companies look at their podcast. It's just like this little tactical thing over on the side. Now, this is central to our company's growth strategy, and I think that should be how other marketing leaders are looking at their media brand as well. So thank you all so much for listening. Um Dan, thanks for jumping on here and talking through this. That's it for today's episode of the Journey. Remember there are a lot of ways to win in B two B marketing, but commodity content is the enemy. Focus on affinity over awareness. Don't just be this able, be memorable...

...for all things GDP growth. Visit GDP Growth Show dot com and connect with us over on LinkedIn. We're out.

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