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

Episode 1734 · 5 months ago

What a Record Label Can Teach B2B Marketers About Building a Brand, with Alex Heddle

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this replay episode, we talk to Alex Heddle, Vice President of Publishing at Big Machine Music.

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is be to be growth. Welcome into Friday show. Excited to share a featured conversation with you, a replay episode from our Archive, as we always do on Fridays before we get their friends. Have a bit of an announcement here now. As you know, for sweet fish media and for be to be growth, we are on a mission to help in house be to be marketers, continue to innovate, create amazing content and we want to help feel your growth. So, that being said, we are going under construction as a podcast, and what I can say for now is that I am excited about what we're going to do between now and the end of two thousand and twenty two, but we need some time to make it happen. So in this pivot season we're going to move from five episodes a week to three episodes a week and we're going to start that next week. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for each and every one of you for listening to the show, for supporting it, for giving US feedback last month on our survey. Always feel free to connect with me on Linkedin and can't wait to share all that we have coming down the road for this podcast. All right, so going from five to three episodes. But what are we doing today? Today we're going to share a throwback conversation what a record label can teach be to be marketers about building a brand with Alex Hedel. Let's talk about brand building. Let's learn from the music industry. Let's dive in to today's featured conversation. Here we go.

Welcome back to be tob growth. I'm looking lyles with sweet fish media. I'm joined today by Alex Hedel. He's the VP of publishing at big machine music. Alex, welcome to the show. How's it going today? Man, thank you so much, Logan. It's going great, beautiful day in Nashville. Absolutely so. As as listeners can probably tell from your title, you are not a b Tob Marketer, at least in in your current role, and so people might be thinking. Will hold on a second. We are normally interviewing marketing leaders at BEDB tech companies. Why are we talking to Alex here from from a record label? And what we're going to be talking about is what marketers in BETB can learn from the tactics, in the strategies that you employ every day at a record label. So for a little bit of context, Alex, tell us a little bit about your current role, what you're doing at the record label and and some context to kind of tea up this conversation. So my current role at big machine music is I lead creative for the publishing arm of the of the label group, and so that's very much the career great of side of of the company. I manage and develop songwriters and also develop artists who write their own songs. We currently have, I think, around twenty songwriters or were songwriter artists on our on our roster, and it's really our job to, you know, develop them for the market. So these are people with talent, people that write songs on a daily basis and really just making sure that they are producing songs that are competitive that then we can take and shop out two different artists or TV shows or movies or video games or really anywhere a copyright can make make money. Where we've really excelled is just in the country radio and now pop radio game though. So you know, whether it's yeah, like you know, finding a young luke combs or a young Brett young and believing in what they're writing and then and really just focusing on making sure that it's competitive sonically for the market. And then, of course, then you are selling it to different...

...people within your own company, making sure people are prepped with right information. You know, on that side we're very much in product development, I guess you would say. We obviously we call it artist development, but with songwriters it's kind of the same thing. And then yet even more where we are instructing them on what is competitive in the market. We're keeping them fresh on what artists are doing well right now, what we think that we can we can go after. I mean, whether it's an artist that you know doesn't write their own songs and you know they're writing songs in a room, and then I am taking those songs and pitching it to the artists in our person the artists themselves, their producer, really anyone who's involved in that decision making process around them. Or if it's an artist that does write their own songs, then I take one of our his songwriters try to make an introduction in a natural sense, which is, you know, really where sales comes in. You know, whether you're pitching a song, I mean you're built a relationship. You got to report reputation that you can put forth and really leverage to, you know, then make sure that there are giving you the time and respect that you need to really show you you know, hey, I have a great product. He please take this seriously. And then or, you know, if you're shopping your songwriter to collaborate with an artist, then you're really just kind of trying to work on style, you know, lyrics, things that you know these this artists are definitely going to connect to in order to try and make that connection for them to get in a room together, or really pedigree. So it's if it's a hit songwriter that has written a bunch of hits. Well, like sometimes like, let's say, I'm, I don't know, kind the sky, like a guy like Sam hunt or something like that, that, you know, I'm trying to shop one of my writers over to write with. Well, I know Sam, you know, certainly likes more artistic, you know, forms of contemporary music, and so somebody who can really write great lyrics. So somebody who really respects and slows down the creative process. I mean just thinking about these kind of micromoments in a room. And then, you know, really just marketing that...

...towards person's you're making this connection to two people that can create together and in a way that hopefully yields a hit. So I love how much relationships were just woven throughout kind of that background and context, Alex, and I'd like to dig into that a little bit because I do think there are some parallels for bb sales and marketing leaders, because you know, in bb we usually have a very targeted list, a targeted focus of the market that we're trying to serve. We're trying to serve, you know, VP's of sales at technology companies or operations managers at manufacturing companies. We kind of know that profile and in bb we're not trying to reach the masses, we're not trying to reach millions, billions of people. And when you think about a record label you think about all the consumption on the consumer level of the music. But really in your role it's about focusing first on those key relationships and then being able to identify how do I build those relationships, how do I open open those doors to new relationships, how do I foster them, and then how do I connect what I know about them, not in kind of a baetan switch sort of way, but what I understand to match what I have to offer to them. So what are some of the things that you think have been helpful for you and in both opening those doors to new relationships and continuing to foster those with the folks in the market that you're trying to serve? You mention a couple key personas that you're building relationships with, for for your company and for the songwriters that you represent. What are some of those things that have been your secret sauce? I mean really it's just managing what I'm putting forward to people. I mean I always my goal is to always be bringing value to somebody. I never want to hustle anybody because honestly, they want to work with me again. And the music community, I mean the country music community, is small but like if you really look at the music community, like you can when we go to the grammys ever every year, you realize how big of a world of music it is, but you also...

...realize how small the community of success it is, and so if you want to play ball then you better bring your best every day. So that's why I focus so much. I'm, you know, just knowing intimately the people that I'm working with, you know, my songwriters. I need to know what they love with it, how they represent themselves in the room, how they want to win as a big thing for me too, because, you know, if they are passionate about the direction that we're heading in, then I have, you know, somebody who's making our quote unquote, product that is passionate, feels inspired, knows that every day they're going in and doing something that is very purposeful for them. So, you know, once you have that, once you have somebody that is excited to, you know, go in and make a collaboration happeners writing these songs that then I can, you know, become passionate about and bring to these people, I think that that is just kind of a contagious factor, you know, when you have something that is so real to, you know, already a few people and then you're bringing it to the buyer, which is, you know, really an Aar person at a record label or a or producer or an artist or, honestly, sometimes on pitching stuff to video games and film and TV and stuff like that too, and that's a bit of a different game, but it's still great that you believe in your products. I mean, if you really believe in your product, other people will start to leave as well. Hey, everybody logan with sweet fish here. You probably already know that we think you should start a podcast, if you haven't already. But what if you have and you're asking these kinds of questions? How much has our podcast impacted revenue this year? How is our sales team actually leveraging the PODCAST content? If you can't answer these questions, you're actually not alone. This is why I casted, created the very first content marketing platform made specifically for be tob podcasting. Now you can more easily search and share your audio content while getting greater visibility into the impact of your podcast. The marketing teams at Drift Terminus and here at sweetfish have started using casted to get more value out of...

...our podcasts, and you probably can to. You can check out the product in action and casted dot US growth. That's sea St Ed dot US growth. All right, let's get back to the show. Absolutely I love that you talked. You know, we kind of started down this trail talking about relationships and you touched on something. They're knowing what the the people in the market that you're trying to serve what they're passionate about and I think in in BB marketing we kind of skip over the emotional aspect of it with you know, if you're selling a crm software or a sales engagement platform, it's well, we're missing this time and and this feature fits this problem and solves and provides this benefit. But what's the emotional situation of the people that were selling to? What gets them fired up, what gets them frustrated, what really takes them off right and and how can we determine where their emotional state aligns with what we're passionate about as a brandon and what our what our why is? And then in telling a story where your product or your service weaves in, weaves into that. You kind of mentioned another thing that we're very passionate about here, Alex I. It was kind of subtle and what you said there, but you essentially alluding to playing the long game, that you're always adding value. You're not looking to every interaction. I deposit this, I get this back out right. I'm going to deposit, I'm going to deposit, I'm going to deposit. Like Gary V says, Jab Jab Jab right hook. It's not Jabb Right Hook, Jab right, Hook right. I'm going to give and take, give and take. It's give, give, give, and then it's probably going to come back to you before you even ask if you're if you're giving enough. At the same time, you do, you know, as marketers, as salespeople, we've got quotas to hit, we've got pipeline to generate. There is a responsibility for the business results. So how do you balance that mentality and being competitive and somewhat aggressive, passionate about out what you do and getting that message to the right people,...

...without coming across as hey, I'm just trying to hustle? It's that's really my end game. How do you balance that? What do you think other sales and marketing folks could learn their Alex? I mean, I think it depends on the context of first of all, there's a quote that I love from our CEO. He always says like, you know, welcome to the music business. Like how long do you want to play, as in like welcome to the Casino? How long do you want to play? Do you want to throw all your money down and walk away in two weeks, or you want to learn the game? You want to figure out how you can play the longest, how you can be involved and how you can make the biggest impact. And you know, I think it depends on the context. With us, when we were starting this company out eight years ago, we were we were small. We had a budget that had kind of been set out in front of us of money that we're going to be able to grow our company with, but it wasn't through acquisitions. It was it was really through signing and development. So I mean really for us it was like, you know, when you have like three or four or five songwriters early on, you have a lot of places you can go. And so, yeah, there is always a need to be in front of people in selling, but you know, if you have other avenues, if one if one area is not appropriate just yet, well, you can still build a relationship by like, you know, sharing good content with that person or sharing time with that person or just honestly becoming a friend or at least building reputation where you're showing, Hey, I'm doing this over here and I'm going to come come to you at some point. But you know, there's other for me it was always I can go focus on this over here, build more reputation for our song where to build more of a story over here, so then eventually I can bring it over here to a place that, you know, I couldn't go over and try and hustle, but I'm just not going to do it. I'm going to go when it's appropriate and when I'm really bringing value to them. So I think it's just being really respectful of timing, because it really does play so much into into growth, you know. I mean it's knowing, knowing when you're we're when you're ready to take advantage of the right situation. Yeah, absolutely makes sense that I hit the nail on the head there. Yeah, absolutely, and I have a follow up question to that, Alex, because I think that the stage you describe kind of talking...

...about the earlier days of the company, when you're kind of that that disruptor you're not the the biggest player in town yet, that sort of stuff. There are a lot of companies that we talk to that are maybe at that stage in their own start up journey. Maybe they've got their seed round or they've got a series a of funding and they're just starting to kind of try and take on the bigger names in the in their space and in very different industries and so they've got to make a decision. How do we go to market? Do we do we try to, you know, run a bunch of ADS and and try to get a bunch of direct response? Do we go the the long game of creating more content and building very strategic relationships, it sounds to you, as opposed to kind of pounding the phones and making a ton of sales calls and and and try and say hey, do you you want to work with us? That was that was not the them that you took, even though it's like hey, I'm I'm responsible for you know, we've got to drive new business. Do you think that that's a leadership thing that at some organizations, I can imagine, you know, the CEO saying, well, we don't have time to kind of play the long game, like we've got a sink or swim. Now, as much as I see kind of this long game that you want to play building relationships and in adding value without that direct ask was that a struggle to kind of balance that for you in the early days or not? And and how did leadership kind of play a role in that? I mean, no, they were. They were definitely on our tails when, I will were losing money, but luckily we were able to turn that around pretty quickly. I think that it can. You know, it depends, once again, depends on the product. Some things you just had to mass market, you know, sometimes you sometimes you have to spend that money just to freaking honestly shove it down people's throat until they know that they need it, they know they want it. But I think that there's a happy medium there because, you know, when you're not able to play the long game and you, you know, do have that pressure of maybe some finances and or bosses or owners or whatever partners,...

...whatever you're dealing with, I think that there's, you know, a strategy that we like to use so much is, let's identify, you know, the tastemaker, like let's identify that that point in the market that can of make ways and let's people make a fan of of that person. So it's like for us, it's like yeah, okay. Like on our creative side, you know, I'm marking usually to marketing, usually two individuals and trying to get them to you know, record a song or to take my song and put it, you know, in a room with another artist. But I think more than anything it's like, you know, we also use publications. You know, we buildboard, we use rolling stone, we use various professional music publications and songwriter magazines, stuff like that. People things that we know that are you know, our industry, you know, pays attention to and we folks on making sure that our songwriters are regularly doing interviews, they're they're making there's themselves more of a public profile over time. And then, you know, really if it's, for instance, Scott or Chet who's the CEO of our company, you know, if we need get something done really quickly, will we can go right to him, because we do that relationship and he can make big ways. You know, there's sometimes you're looking to kind of build a grounds, grounds well and sometimes you looking to make a splash. And you know, I think that having the ability to do both and having respect for the timing of each of those situations and for what situation it's appropriate is very essential. Yeah, absolutely, Alex. as we ground out the conversation today, I want to draw one more parallel between your world in the music industry and be tob sales and marketing and something you alluded to earlier. It's the relationship between taking taking your product market and then giving feedback. So in a beebe context, that might not it's not going to be songwriters, but it is going to be your your product development team, your product team who is providing updates if you, you know, have a Sass platform something like that. And so I think the lesson there for sales and marketing teams is is to if you don't have that line of communication into...

...your product team at at some level to be able to provide some feedback. We're hearing this about our service. We're we're seeing demand for this in the market, but we don't have an answer for it. To make sure that you open those lines of communication. Do you think that's that's kind of the lesson there as we try and bridge that gap between music industry and be to be a one more time today. I mean I think the close, the closer your product developers are to the actual market, the better. You know. I really think that you know people that are creating creating a product. For me it's, once again, songwriters. I am constantly telling them, Hey, so andso is getting ready to record a new album, hey, so andso is getting you know, looking for a hit to put on the radio. So and so it's looking for, you know, a song for their new EP. You know, we're always informing people on this and then we're also informing of like what's coming up. Oh, there's this new sound over here that you should check out. I think she's really take take a look at this and see what you can add to it, to see where you can take this because honestly, if they're just you know, some people can create magic in a dark room, in that you know, in the back corner or someplace in Silicon Valley or Nashville, Tennessee, or in New York City or you know wherever it is. But more often than not we're improving on existing ideas and so we have to know what those existing ideas are at the market in order to really take that next step. So I really, I really believe that sales teams, and once again I'm kind of a bridge gap. Ay, I do a little bit of both, but I really believe that, you know, the more informed, the more information that's going from your sales staff, it's your product development company. With respects, that is important because that relationship can become contentious. The better because that's how people grow, that's how people are challenged, that's how people think creatively and don't get complacent. Yeah, absolutely, and that's how you create products that the market actually wants. You know, I love one of the I forget where this quote is from, but don't don't take your product and try and find people to to buy it. Find what people are wanting to buy and...

...create a product to offer them. I'm at really not quoting that well, but hopefully I get the point across there. That kind of sums up what you were talking about there, Alex. well, this has been a great conversation, man. I really appreciate you being down for this. I think it was a little bit of a changeup episode, and a fun one at least. A great conversation for me. I hope listeners got some value out of it. Alex, if anybody wants to reach out, get connected with you, or just anything else exciting that you guys have going on at the company that you want to share with listeners today, what's something you want to share their I mean what's going on the company? Last week was our eighth year anniversary and we've actually in the same week we celebrate our thirty number one hit song as well as currently we're, we've been thirty five weeks straight at the top of the billboard hot country songs chart, with two songs, specifically tenzero hours by Justin Bieber and Dan and Shay Co written by our writer, just you're, Dylan and Laura Velt's co wrote the bones by Mary Morris that then took over for that mistaken it. So we're having a hell of a birthday.

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