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

Episode 2096 · 10 months ago

Traditional Messaging Is Out, Direct Mail Is In

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we talk to Laura Sweet, VP, Marketing at Kneat.

Yeah. Hi everyone welcome back to be to be growth. I'm Olivia Hurley with sweet fish media and today I'm joined by laura suite of neat. Hey laura, how you doing? I'm great. Thanks Olivia. Thanks so much for having me. Oh of course. I'm so glad we get to talk today before we were recording. We talked about Some things that you were thinking B2B marketers should start and stop doing and you were saying they should stop with the traditional old school messaging. The companies that are winning are the ones who are creative for humanizing their messaging. And you are saying that you think and you've seen a lot of success around direct mail to support A B. M. And that its trending that way anyway. But it brings that 1 to 1 element. I love that and I want to unpack all of that. So let's start really basic. Let's start at the top. What does traditional old school messaging look and sound like? Well, you know, I think that there's a variety of different elements around that, but more what I refer back to our just, there's still a lot of people that are coming from that almost, you know, smiles and dial zero and it was really just activity based in about volume and just like how much you can get out in a day and so you'll get a lot of the repetitive copy and paste messaging or the old cadences, You know, where it's not personalized and it's often just trying to push someone down a funnel, you know, like the traditional like tofu tofu, both food, like, you know, like that we've really evolved in that era. And some of the examples, you know that I think might resonate with some people is that you get messages where it's the wrong title, you know, like they know I'm in marketing but they put the wrong title in there. So you know, again, I know it's automated. You know, I get a lot of that. Did you get my last message? Like unfortunately I have not had time to read your last message, but thank you for reaching out. You know, one of the ones that really hit me or at the end of a cadence, I see this more and more is the, you know, I see this is not a priority for you right now. And I'm just like, no, that's that's not the case. I'm just not not responding to your mail, you know? Um it's actually funny directly before we started recording this today, I had an in mail come through in linkedin and you know, the poor person, we leave them anonymous. But they started off their messaging with, I like what you guys are doing and you know, at your company and I'm pretty sure that you're using these types of tools which totally neglected to say what it is my company does or that they've even confirmed I've used one of the tools they're talking about. So again, these are just copy and paste messages that are used time and time again. And so when I talk about old school, that's kind of what I'm referring back to is just that very activity based copy and paste, cadenced messaging and marketing. So what do you think that traditional old school messaging breeds? I'm sure mistrust. Well, I think you nailed it right there was saying mistrust, right? And it's interesting too. I always I always tell her and I'm not, I'm a focus group of one, right? And add on top of that. I'm a marketer. So I do feel bad for those out there that are approaching me, you know, when you're marketing to marketers, so there's that context to consider, but yeah, exactly that like I get inundated, you know, with marketing and sales efforts daily and when I'm getting, especially as a market or knowing what it is that they're doing in their tactics. You know, I'm not going to take that same time back. If you can't take the time to reach out to me, you know, to understand my challenges, why am I going to take the time out of my day, especially in my role to respond back to you? You know, it's really only if you've caught me at a good time that I'm really looking at that right now that it's going to happen so right away, it just doesn't give me that, you know, that relationship with someone when they do, you know, really miss the mark when it comes to say job titles or challenges or my company, you know, it...

...does breed that mistrust like, you know, I'm not going to pay attention to you in future. Why do people generally neglect humanizing their message? And on the topic of why people neglect the humanization of the personalization from what I've seen? Honestly, I think it's twofold. I think it's just not taking the extra time thinking that it's not necessary, right? Um people get results one way or another. You know, why would you take more steps to get the same results? But I think a lot of that also comes from how marketing is still measured a little bit. So, you know, I do see that marketing BDR str activities are still very much measured off of volume and activity based. So when you've got people in these rules that need to hit those metrics, that's where again they lose the incentive to do that. Additional personalization and humanization and I think it's a bit of habits we gotta get out of right. We have to sort of shed that like you know we're in this new cycle of marketing and sales right now and so we really just need to step into it um and get everybody on board. So what do marketers stand to lose by not personalizing and humanizing their message? I know we mentioned trust the opportunity for trust. But what else? Well revenue really is what it comes down to. You know there's a reason that account based marketing is blown up in this new wave new era marketing if you will. Um You know there's a reason that companies are moving towards personalization um and relationship building and creating moments for people. You know it's like that experiential You know marketing like boom that we saw years ago but it's not that 1-1 basis now. Um and the reason is because it works so you know I think we need to look back at what the business results are and what drives those business results and that's revenue for most companies. So in that case that is why we should be shifting towards you know this type of marketing and messaging because it does work. So how do you start humanizing your messaging and adding creativity that gets people's attention. So it does just take a little bit of time and research whether it's doing a full blown account based marketing plan and I didn't say account based marketing and sales whatever you want to call it. You know that targeted precision approach, it is just taking a little bit of additional time to do the research to get to know not only the account but the people behind the account. Um and I think that's a huge miss to write. A lot of people will create the personas around their companies or the accounts that they're targeting. But again you really need to think about it that it's still people you're marketing to right? You know like I spent my early career and be to see. But I take a lot of lessons out of that. It might be to be marketing because even though you've identified a persona for a specific account, like the people you engage with across the different departments, decision making levels are all going to have their own individual motivations. Yeah. So it's just just taking a little bit of time to dig and find out what actually motivates them what their pains are and speaking to them directly as humans. I'm curious to to go down a little rabbit trail here that's with knowing it takes time with knowing that it's individualized. Can you speak to maybe how do you do that at scale? Yeah. Well, so this is sort of this new, this new world that we're living in because relationship building and marketing and sales is not new, right? Nothing that marketers love to create new new topics, new, you know, new hip, new marketing trends, right? That's what we do. But it all really is just cyclical back to what we've already seen. So relationship building is, you know, think back to the seventies eighties. That is how people sold. So this is now we've come back to this because we went through a period where it was very much activity based and numbers based. And now we're seeing our consumers in the...

Bdb world as well as be to see our consumers are just a little bit immune to those tactics. So we're circling back to that relationship. But the challenge with that is it takes time. Um you know, we can't always be face to face, we can't always be at a conference in front of people. So what's actually think enabled us to move towards um doing that at scale. So still giving that like 1 to 1 moment or experience to people um without having to physically be in front of them is through a lot of technology automation. That's that's you know, started raised its head so that either through like A B. M. Platforms or some of the really cool ones I've been watching are the like gifting and sending platforms that have, you know, popped up over the last five years or so. Yeah, any great examples. People should check out people who are doing this companies that are doing this really well. Yeah. And I'll just maybe take it a bit of a tangent myself because I find it funny, I spent my early career specializing in direct marketing, you know, and at that time that was when email, you know, probably aging myself a bit here. But email is like really the big thing, like email workflows and automation and oh my goodness, you know, everyone said direct mails is done, it's dead right like and emails, you know, big, big thing and automation around it. And then, you know, I've been through that phase where all of a sudden like email, you know, it's gone where we're done with email and we just got through these waves, you know? And so I find it funny now that we're back into this sort of account based personalization where all of a sudden direct marketing and direct mail is coming back into trend. And I'd say that's because it was kind of neglected for a long time by a lot of companies. So what has been catching my eye because I think, you know, I have a bit of bias from that specialization in my early career are companies like Sandoz, oh Alice, like, you know, they've come up in the last five years, both of which have raised series bees in the last year. Um I think Alice was just a few months ago. So that's again speaking to the fact that this is working, there's traction there. Um and I can give a personal example and so again, speaking as a market or not even talking about some of the audiences that, You know, are more talent that are less challenging to sell to. But one of my like, things that have stood out to me in my career. So as you know, someone who's worked in B2B like high growth companies, gas companies where I am, you know, I get pulled in multiple directions, you know, many, many days, days and hours of the week. So one that actually caught my eye in the last six years was I received a direct package sending package that I don't know if I can say this on the podcast, but we'll call it the darn it doll. Uh this is a real thing. I didn't know, I didn't know this existed. I received one of these darn it dolls will say and the entire concept around this doll is that you can just like whack it like, you know, you're just having a frustrating day and you're tired and you're like just done and you can just like whack it on the desk, whack it on the wall. And I thought so first I thought that was hilarious, had never seen anything like this. But the company that sent it to me sent me this dull with the personalization, I'm like, look, I understand that you're an executive in a fast case B two B saAS company, hypergrowth company, you probably don't have a lot of time on your hands. We just thought we'd give you something to help you, you know, expend some of that, you know, registration that you may feel in your day to day work. And I'm definitely paraphrasing the message and they did a much better job than what I'm saying now, but that I probably received that package I want to say three year 23 years ago and that still stands in my head as one of the best examples. They caught my attention in marketing to me, josh, what do you think is the most irritating thing for B two B buyers right now, man, Logan, I love talking to you about this. You know that The # one Challenge right now is that many Customer facing teams in the B2B space right now are forcing their potential buyers too by the way that they want to sell, buyers don't want to buy that way. Right now. They want to, by the way they want to buy. We need to enable those buyers, we call this buyer enablement at sales reach.

We need to enable those buyers to make better decisions quicker in a comfortable environment that's more personalized for them to move forward with that process. Dude, that's awesome. I couldn't agree more since I've been using sales reach in my own sales process. It's allowed me to really enable the buyer to move more quickly and really two ways one, they don't have to download a bunch of attachments. I can send them to one page with the proposal case studies different resources because let's face it, the proposal is just one part of the sales conversation and probably only one sales enablement piece of content that you're sending. So it makes it easier on them. And then the other thing Is, you know, we're selling to our champions and then we're making them have to re give our pitch to the entire buying committee. So one thing I do is put a custom 2-3 minute video on the top of my sales reach page that says, hey, here's all the resources, tie it back to the conversation. Here's the proposal. Let me know if you have any questions. And it allows me to give a little bit of kind of a mini pitch to the rest of the buying committee, introduce myself, which helps me build trust and credibility and helps the buyer not have to repeat the entire pitch from scratch. So if anybody is looking to do the same thing in their own sales process, I'd highly suggest they reach out to you and the team over at sales reach for anybody listening. Just go to sales reach dot Io to talk to josh and the team. So talking about direct mail, I want to dig into this a little bit. So with it coming back on trend, it's been neglected for a while. We don't want it to fall back on its origins in terms of traditional old school domestic. So so taking, taking direct mail, How do you breathe life into it? And then why is it such a valuable tactic? Obviously very personalized as we just have heard from the darn it doll? But yeah, yeah. Just to add on as far as how those automation and tools allow you to do this at scale. Is that through the platform you're able now to take, you know, targeted segments and send out those very personalized examples? It is similar to like my darn it doll example. Like I'm sure I'm not the only marketing executive that received that. But to me that was a very personalized 1-1 moment. They created that experience they created for me. But they were able to do that for that segment that they sent out, you know, through whatever methodology that they did. And so, you know, platforms like gifting and sending platforms like Alison Santoso. Like they they just enable you to do that 1 to 1 experience for someone at scale. You know, I'm not saying that it's still the most like budget friendly channel you have, and that's why I think it is more targeted towards account based marketing. We're doing smaller, targeted tactical approaches, but it enables you, instead of just having to literally do it 1 to 1, you can make people feel like it's 1 to 1, but you're doing it at scale. So that is how I find that that's evolved from, you know, the old old days when it was, you know, the direct mail you received in your mailbox, You know, I love that, I love that. So it's been neglected, it's coming back, but we don't want it to fall into this old school messaging and tactics. So outside of the example you just gave, how would you breathe life into direct mail in addition to the darn it doll well. And I think it comes back to the just the the ideology behind it though. And it truly is just to remember that you are marketing to people because that's the thing. As soon as you find something that works, the immediate reaction is like double down, blow it out. Like, let's see if we can use this for other segments, other people, etcetera. And that's where I think we get into the cycle of then starting to move towards like volume and activities and then lose that personalization. And I think right now, like, you know, consumers businesses like I don't know that they're actually going to now accept marketing in the future that doesn't have this. I think they're...

...going to we're going to continue to see technology trends um for marketing tools come out that just enables us further, right? You can dive into conversational marketing, right? And the tools that exist for that now where you're really just speaking to a human as a human. So I think that's the most important thing that marketing leaders ceos just need to continue to reinforce into your team's is just remember you are marketing to people and then knowing that those people and trends and challenges change as they're like as your business and function changes. So it is theirs, there's a lot of information available online. Another great example. This was not part of any specific tactical plan. Um I worked with an A. E who was very, very strong at what he did and he noticed, I think it was promised a linkedin or some social media platform for someone. He was he was speaking within an opportunity. Really, really liked Notre dame football, like really, really liked it. And so he went on to amazon and found, you know, like this model helmet. So I do not follow football and for college football unfortunately. So I'm not going to get this right. But you know, a helmet that was of some importance to Notre dame and, and, and just sent it to him through. I was like just on his own and you know, that was just such a game changer an opportunity for him and really advanced it. So like that, that it's almost a culture that you have to instill Into your company and your, your teams is just to remember that you're speaking to humans. And then that's how you have to always come back to in anything you're planning brilliant way to go to that 82. That's fascinating. Right? So what results have you seen from taking this personalized plus direct mail approach? Well, again, it's back to the result right in the business results. So we speak a lot about leads, um, and conversion rate. So I can tell you all day, you know, there's stats out there that talk about the increasing conversions. I actually just read a report that was just released this year that, you know, stated that direct mail is getting 90% open rates. So think about your again, you know, there's many studies out there, but I think of your cold email this, you know, if you're happy to get like a, you know, 10 15% open rate, Whereas, you know, you're gonna 90% for direct mail. So, you know, in addition to these results were seen when it comes to say direct mail. You know, I I know one of the sending platforms has said that they, you know, you see a five X increase in your conversion rates from using personal gifting specifically in your A. B. M. Tactics. So those would be yes, those are the answers ever wants to hear, right? But again, it comes back to me is the opportunities you're generating, the customer experience, you're generating the ease in the customer journey that you've now created for that customer and then is it converting to revenue? Right. So I think that that that is what everyone needs to focus on and that is what I have seen with the personalization. Now, I'm not saying ignore, you know, general marketing tactics or you know, more broad spread, you know, wider net based approaches if you will, but when it comes to being able to go after a niche and a subset of companies, You know, in B two B if you're ignoring account base, you are going to be missing out on revenue that's sitting there, whether it be, you know, a net new opportunity or you know, increasing the value of that opportunity in some larger, you know, be to be enterprised sales. So we we've definitely seen some of those increases in numbers and results, but like I said, it turns out in just a better overall customer experience. Um you know, right from introduction of the buyer journey on to on boarding the new customer. So at this point do you, I feel like if I asked you for someone wanting to do what you're suggesting, what a step one, step two does that, do you feel like you've already covered that? Do you feel like you could kind of walk...

...through some of that? Well? So this is your college because one of the things I was going to try and fit and if it made sense was there is a difference in who your marketing to for a B. M. And I think that that's something that doesn't get spoken about enough. Like you know when you read articles about a B. M. Programs or how to set up an A B. M. Program like I've heard people speak and it's just like well that's not going to work for me, right? And so I think I can get I have very two distinct lenses because I am a marketer, they get Mark gets marketed to heavily. Right? So I see what's happening in that space. But equally I work in like a enterprise BTV SAS company that has very large deals and we're currently nichd into an industry that's like highly regulated, not used to being sold to. And it's very different right? How you approach that Laura for somebody wanting to do what you're suggesting, what is step 1? Well, I think before we dive into step one, there's just something that's very important to understand in regards to account based marketing and what I don't think it's necessarily spoken about enough when you read about, you know, the how twos or the steps into account based marketing or personalized marketing or you know, targeted market, whatever you want to call it. It's really the context. So I live a very interesting, you know, kind of duality in the sense that I'm a marketer. So I get targeted quite frequently by companies B2B context. So you know, which I love because I get to stay up to date um you know on some of the newest tactics because you're having marketers market to marketers, it's wonderful from that perspective. But I exist in my role in my function in you know, a very different world in the sense that in the last six years I worked for BTB Enterprise SAS that has sold, you know, very, very high ticket items into very highly regulated industries and you know the functions that we sell into in the industries and verticals are not marketers and in sales people right, they're not used to being sold to um you know, we sell into large companies that are very Matrix and global and you know, there's so many different complexities around it. So I don't think that there is a prescribed like step 123 that just everyone can walk away with. I think there's great insights, you can learn that way but really it does, you know, you do have to consider that context. So I think that a lot of the time when you, when you read about a VM it does tend to come from marketers, you know, and it's great and I do take a lot from that. But I think one of the things that I can add additional context to outside of what you could just, you know, google online is that when it comes to these very highly regulated, um you know, complex sales, it is a different world and you do need to think differently because they care a lot about relationships, they care a lot about trust. Thought leadership is incredibly important to differentiate yourself and to gain that trust. They still do the face to face, they still pick up the phone in a lot of these roles and functions. So when you're building out your plan, you really need to take that context. So it's not just doing the research, you know, like you'll hear the step one is okay build your account list, you know, figure out who is the priority to go after and people have different opinions on that, right? It could be, let's go after the accounts that sales is getting no traction with. Let's go after the accounts that sales getting traction with. But like there's just nothing to moving along. So let's try and escalate that. Let's target existing customers to try and expand. So you can, you know, discuss the priorities and build your list. And the next one tends to be like research. Okay? So now that we've got who we're going after, let's find out everything we can about them, Right? Do your account mapping. So there's those very typical steps. But I think what's most important is to understand is how those people actually interact, right? Do they answer phone calls? Do they like to see people face to face? Do...

...they? You know, like I've seen a great approach where it came to more account based tactics where, you know, you couldn't get someone on the phone, but hey, they love to have lunch. Like, you know, in their, in their role, they tended to go take extended lunches. So it's like, that's great. Let's buy them lunch and chat with them over lunch. You know, you just really need to understand how they like to be communicated to. So it's not just their pain points and messaging. It is the how and the channel so that, you know, is part of that research phase and then, you know, you continue on from then you build out your plan and then you execute. And I think one of the other things that's important to understand is that, you know, don't spend too much time building out those plans, right? You need to actually get things into practice so you can quickly fail fast, right? You've got to be able to figure out what actually works so that you can continue to iterate and optimize them until you can start to get some data. To help support some evidence. If you will does not necessarily be data, just any evidence to demonstrate what you should continue to do to optimize your your account based marketing. So if somebody tries those steps and implements those steps, what's a way that they could easily get it wrong or what's a warning sign that they're getting it wrong? So I think that if you do, you know, put a lot of thought into the front end and again, it doesn't a lot of thought does not equal a lot of time. So I just do want to clarify that. But if you if you do put that thought in, you know, put yourself in your customer's footsteps, do the research. You shouldn't get anything overly wrong if you will. I think it's when you skip those steps and you're too quick to just like build out a plan for the sake of billion a plan and just, you know, do do what you do you typically are told to do in a cavity start. I think that's where you're going to get mistakes, right? And you'll see that in, you know, you're going to see your metrics across your channels, not not work and you're going to see, you know, conversions. So the intent is to shorten your fires, rain and increase your conversions. So you're going to see that not happen right. And it's again, building that relationship with that company is just not going to happen. So those are going to be your triggers, but it's almost too late at that point, you put so much effort in. So that's why I just think it's really, really important to think about who you're marketing to and make sure that you're you're on their level first. Absolutely. If there was one thing that you'd want listeners to take away from this episode, what would it be? I I think i it truly is just to remember you're speaking to humans and I know it's easier said than done, like, you know, you can find that anywhere but to actually do it and put it into practice. I think that that's something that that still needs work on, right? Like, I think anyone could repeat that if you were to ask them, but actually having it into practice and what you're going to see is you're going to get results, you're going to get people engaging with you. And that's when you know that you you got it right. So if I, if I get anything, that's it true to people like people. Oh man, There you have it, folks, Laura, thank you so much for joining me today. Where can people go to learn more about you and neat? Uh, you can find lots of information about need at meat dot com. And I will say it is a neat with a silent case, so it's K E A D dot com uh, to find out more about our company. Um, and for myself, you can see me across social media, either laura, sweet or laura and the sweet um, across all platforms, you know, please feel free to reach out. I'm very happy to chat about marketing or anything else at any time. Oh, this has been awesome. Thank you again for joining me on the tv growth. Thanks so much for having me Olivia. I really appreciate it. Is the decision maker for your product or service at BBB marketer. Are you looking to reach those buyers through the medium of podcasting? Considered becoming a co host of GDP Growth. This show is consistently ranked as a top 100 podcast in the marketing category of apple podcasts, and the show gets...

...more than 130,000 downloads each month. We've already done the work of building the audience so you can focus on delivering incredible content to our listeners if you're interested, email Logan at sweet Fish Media dot com.

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