Brand & Revenue Marketing: A Delicate Balance

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Marketing leaders have long struggled with the seemingly conflicting demands of building brand and driving revenue.

In this episode of Marketing Spark, Steve Watt, V.P, Marketing with Grapevine6, talks about the importance of branding, messaging, and positioning as important foundational elements that underpin marketing and sales success. 

A highlight of the conversation was how content such as eBooks, case studies, and Webinars should be un-gated (no email addresses required) to drive distribution as widely as possible.

For more about Steve and this Marketing Spark episode, check out the show notes.

Welcome to market e spark the podcastthat delivers insight tools and tips from marketers and entrepreneurs andsmall doses by small doses, on talking about conversations that are fifteenminutes or less with marketers about their successes failures and whatthey've learned along the way today, I'm speaking with Steve Watt Experiencebt B marketing leader, whose expertise ranges from messaging and strategy toab M Steves, currently VP marketing with grape vine. SIX WELCOME TOMARKETING SPARK Steve, I'm thrilled to be here mark thanks for having me onthe show one of the things that you've been writing a lot about on linkedrecently linked in recently, and that I've been commenting on your on your onyour post is the balancing act or the Union Yang between brand and revenue,marketing or performance marketing. You know on one side of the on the on thehouse: You've got the people who are about the brand experience and a brownbrand awareness and of a building a brand aura, and then you got people whoare it's all about revenue? It's all about driving revenue and brand is lessimportant. So how do you balance at to as as a marketing leader? How do youmake sure that what you're doing at grape fine six straddles both camps? It's great question, because a lot ofpeople do think of it as this versus that scenario, and I reallydon't- I, I think it's a false Tychon, reallythis idea of brand marketing versus revenue marketing as actually thinkwhen you do brand right. It drives revenue. It's like the rising tide thatfloats all boats. You know brand is the tide that floats all your revenuemetric, so I don't see it as this or that you know I see it as you've got to nailbrand, or else you are trapped forever in high volume, low quality, transactional sales andmarketing, and it's not a good place to...

...be so. I guess fundamentally I say it'snot one or the other. It's not even so much about the balance. It's about getbrand really really strong such that it drives revenue. You know what I findinteresting is that right now people are very distracted, as you can imagine.They've got different priorities, they're, probably doing a lot more withfewer resources, and so it's tough to get their attention and from where Icome from brand, is important, because brand makes an impact brand makes adifference. So even if you've got a great product you're going to struggle,if you've got a weak brand, do you see brands maybe having one one hand tiedbehind their backs, because they've they're trying to they're trying tosell on the strength of their product? Meanwhile they're being handicapped bythe fact that their brand is not as strong. I do and I think they'rethey're handicapped in many cases, by senior leadership that has a very shorttime horizon. You know they want. They want to measure tangible outcomes fromevery piece of content. They want to know every activity you do. How manyleads is that driving how many m q ls is that driving and the result of thatpressure coming down into the marketing organization? Is that you just say allright forget about anything? That's not just a quick transactional win. Sowe're not going to do that. Big Rock content. That's going to changepeople's mind, sets and get people to see the world in a different way,because it's going to take too long, it's too much of the left, let's justpound out a whole lot of little things and try to capture some email addressesand get a pat on the back and we're not going to write that book or we're notgoing to do that. PODCAST or we're not going to do that series of videosbecause they're hard to gate. We got to...

...get everything, everything's capture, alead capture, an M Qll, and you get this race to the bottom of crappymarketing. And I don't blame the marketers. I blame those who set up themeasurements and the expectations and the incentives that drive them to dothat, drive them to to feel that that is necessary, so yeah. I do think thata lot of marketers have one arm tied behind their back yeah. One of thethings that wrote recently is that being a marketer is kind of like beingthe it's kind of like being a professional sports coach. Is thatyou're hired to be fired, and I think right now because of the focus onmetrics and M Q l's? Is that a lot of marketers they don't perform thenthey're under the gun, right away and there's so much pressure? I believe onmarketers, because they're being assessed with us with a very focus lens,as opposed to all the other things that make a brand powerful that driveyourselves in marketing, which is about brand affinity and brand loyalty andbuilding an army of advocates out there, and it's really unfair to a lot ofmarketers, because you know it's a different set of rules and maybethey're not fair. More importantly, I mean fairness is important, but, moreimportantly, let's face it. They don't drive the right outcomes for thebusiness over time. They drive short term outcomes. I was in one role anumber of years back where it was all about. MLS Ores, like two hundred mls amonth, will fire you and get someone else whowill get us two hundred mtal a month. There's like well hang on a second Imean these things were calling mls our crap. I mean they're not turning intorevenue they're, creating busy work for stars to harass these people, andeverybody feels like they're doing something because they're busy, butthey're not actually driving revenue. Meanwhile, how about we do this overhere? You know we have opportunities to work on things that are going to savecustomers that are in jeopardy of...

...churning and other things. We can do togrow advocacy and expand our share of wallet in some of our best customers. Imean that. Will that will put money in the bank is like what part of MLSaren't you understanding go, get us m kalls and it was. It was a reallydemoralizing situation to be in and it just drove a lot of low quality, shortterm behavior. Okay, I guess we're doing content syndication, because wecan capture some M qll. I guess we're gating everything, even though we knowninety percent of people are going to bounce when they see that form well,but we're going to get a few mals out of it. So we have no choice and we weredoing the wrong things for the business, but we were doing the right things forthe metrics that were hung around our necks yeah. That's what I find reallyinteresting is this whole idea of mq wells and weather. In fact, MLS- and Isay this a little bit tongue of cheek or relevant these days, or maybe thereare anachronism because when you think about it, downloading a knee book orsigning up for Weben or or giving your email dress. So you can see a casestudy. It doesn't suggest that you're necessarily interested in a product. Itmeans that maybe you want that e book. Maybe you know your creas about whetherit's going to deliver some value, maybe that Weben R is interesting, but youmay or may not go, but as organizations we look at m q ls as gold, the more youget, the better you are, and it's almost made us. It's almost distractedus in a sense, it's distracted us from the things that matter. What do youthink the futures of the MQ L and as important? What do you think? Thefutures of gaited content, whether in fact we should get content, kill the MLand free your content. I mean seriously if you're, making quality content thatreally tells the story of your successful customers tells the story of Your AmazingProducts Really tells the story of how...

...you see the world differently and howyou're making your clients world a better place. Don't you want maximumnumber of people reading that and hearing that, and watching that andsharing that? Why are we doing something that is cutting off ninetypercent of our traffic and then we're pissing off the ten percent to fill outthe gate? In most cases, it only makes sense to me if your content is garbage.If your content is an excuse to capture an email, if there's no realnutritional value to your content. Well, I guess you may as well get it and thenplay the numbers game of cadencing, the hell out of people who are, you knowfoolish enough to give you their email address and their phone number, but I'dreally rather create amazing content that really inspires and really helpschampions advocate and really get maxim. A number of the rightpeople reading that and not artificially restrict that throughgating them. So you know, let's, let's create better content, let's promote itinto the right industries and the right roles through the right channels andlet's measure our success on the consumption of that content, because weknow that it's really really good yeah. That's a great point. In fact.It's ironic that I was I'm working with a client and we're doing account basemarketing, and I wanted to improve my knowledge, get some more insight. So Idid what you do is I went on to Google and I search for abmednuggar acrossthis content. From this I believe they're, a UK agency called aliaspartners and their content is completely ungated and it is fantastic.It is probably some of the best cont and best design content. That's writtencontent that I've seen- and it's sort of reminded me of the fact that contentfor the safe or content is a waste of...

...time. But if you can create contentthat delivers value delivers insight that provides perspective, then that'sgoing to drive your sales and marketing forward, and so I'm curious to get yourtake on how you're approaching content and how brands in general shouldapproach content to to really embrace the whole notion of content marketing.I am doing my very best to walk the walk of what I'm talking about here. I've really tryingto put into action exactly what I'm saying now. I have the benefit ofworking in a sixty person scale up where we are figuring out a lot ofthings as we go and we don't have a whole bunch of legacy metric andexpectations. We don't have a big team of str to feed. We are very much inenterprise sales motion and we also have really superior product. I mean wehave fantastic product and I've heard time and time again from our sales teamthat when we get in a serious head to head due diligence process, we win theproblem. Is it's hard to get there? And that says to me loud and clear, allright. We we need to get ourselves into the consideration set of all of the allof the deals in play in the industries that matter to us, but a tremendousnumber of those people in those roles in those companies in those industries,don't know who we are so we need to. We need to create compelling content thatis signal from the noise that disrupts their sleep, walk into renewing withthe incumbent disrupts their sleep walk into looking at a couple of big brandsand saying that they've done their job, we need to disrupt that sleep walk andmake damn sure that we are in their...

...consideration set. So I'm not trying tocapture email, addresses and MLS. I'm trying to change the way our coreindustries see their world and see their options and recognize that thereis a really strong contender here that they don't knowabout. So I want to create the best possible content and I want to get itinto the hands and into the mines and into the hearts of the people we needit to. So I'm not going to get it or do other things. That's going to cut downmy ability to do that, but here's the question, though, on here's, the andhere's the this is the tough questions. Everybody says that everybody says thatI'm going to create high quality, high value content and believe me, I'm anadvocate for all that that kind of thing. But how do you actually do it?How do you create content that makes an impact because there's a there is somuch content these days and there's a lot of good content, there's a lot oflike an awful lot of crappy content. So walk me through how you would puttogether content. That's going to resonate with the people that matter toyou. I think the key is you need to lead to your product, not lead withyour product and to me the litmus test of where the content is any good iswhether it's actually valuable to someone. Even if they choose not to buyyour product, you look at, engage you and demand base and terminus and othersthey create content. That is educating a generation of bet, marketers aboutaccount, base marketing about how to flip the funnel and think differentlyabout their entire go to market motion and whether they ever buy that productor not. They are better for having read that content attended that Weben orlisten to that podcast. That is quality content. That's the kind of content youshare with your peers, that's the kind of content you go back and you startbinge consuming multiple things they do and then, when you move into a buyingmotion, they are a hundred percent in...

...your consideration set. How could theynot be? You know they like I'm, not saying you're going to immediately buythem, but they're in your top two or three or four for sure, and that's ahuge part of the battle. So I think where marketers go wrong, Oh yeah we'regoing to create great content, and then you look at what they actually createdand it's just a sales pitch with a thin veneer of valueand if you strip out the by our product aspect of it, there's nothing left.There's there's fumes right. So so does the content have real value, even ifthey don't shop with you, that's the litmus test. I've been there done that,and I've been in situations where senior executives have said we're goingto do an e book and it's a sales pro shure and that's a killer for amarketer and a story. Teller like me: that's a sales, it's a killer becauseyou're so deflated you go. It's that's not about the customer. It's about you.We've got a few minutes left because I promised people that I would II wouldkeep this to fifteen minutes or less one of the things that I'm- and I thinkthis is one of the reasons we reconnected is that you in the as thepandemic, this global pandemic became front center in everyone's lives. Yougot a new job and it was like hold on a second. You become the VP marketing atgrape vine six and was it march or April when everyone else is sort oflosing their jobs and you're stepping up and getting a new job. Tell me aboutthat journey, a D and when it's been like to be a new employee, when Isuspect you're never going to the office or you've never been to theoffice, I haven't been there yet yeah. I started in April there's this wholecool Hort of people out there and I'm one of them who on boarded into a new company entirelyremotely in in the midst of a pandemic, and I think we were kindred spirits inmany ways and it's been it's been challenging and it's been fun and it'sbeen. It's been great in some ways, and I look at so many of my co workers whoI feel this really strong bond with and...

I feel like. I know them really welland he is a back on reflecting a I've, never met that person and I've nevermet in the main. It's so weird for me to realize that the great majority ofmy colleagues who I work with every day- and you know I will I will considerfriends forever. I have never met them so yeah. It's been really interestingin that regard, but I mean it sure has proved that I mean I think techcompanies by and large were pretty good at work from homework remote. We alltraveled a lot. We all worked from hotels and conference lobbies andairports and Obers and everything anyway, so I don't think it's been ahuge stretch for a lot of TEP companies that I think it's really cool, how alot of companies in other industries that we were quite convinced that theycouldn't work remotely, have learned that you know w h with necessity comeswhat is it necessity, the mother of invention and entring in here they areabsolutely working remotely in a lot of cases more productively and moresuccessfully than ever before. So it's been a really. It's been a reallyinteresting time. I mean I'm loving the ride. I'm loving the opportunity, greatfine. Six S is a extremely high potential organization, with amazing,big brands as clients and tongue white space, yet to conquer and and reallystrong product and amazing people, an amazing passion for for what we do andwho we do it for. So I consider myself extremely luck to. Let me ask you themost difficult question of this entire podcast. I gotta an answer reallyquickly. Here we go explain to me in very simple terms: what grape fine sixdoes that's the test. You know that's what we we've all got to get better at,including me, and that's actually been a big focus of my time. There isdistilling down to the real core message. I mean at the heart of it. Weare an enterprise, social engagement platform. We help people engageeffectively and confidently on social...

...media on Linton, face book and twitterin particular, and we focus on regulated industries like wealthmanagement and banking and insurance, where that's really hard, they don't onone hand they want to empower their people to leverage social media tobuild their personal brands, build the corporate brand and grow their book abusiness, but two things hold them back: a lack of content, lack of knowing whatto share and what to talk about is one thing and compliance is the other thing.There are so many regulatory hurdles and fears, legitimate fears aboutfalling on the wrong side of regulatory compliance, and we solve for both ofthose the right content to share and done in a compliant way, and it enableslarge banks and wealth managers and insurance companies and others toactivate their people in social media, which can be really transformative forthe organization that was terrific to you. You know really appreciate yourinsight. We covered a lot of ground in a real, fully short period of time.This is an amazing marketing landscape. Right now, it's terrifying and exciting.At the same time, it's great to have you on marketing spark your energy andyour enthusiasm is palpable and I'm sure you're going to be doing someamazing things: a grate, fine, six, thanks for listening to another episodeof marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, please leave a review aswell subscribe by I tunes or your favorite podcast Aff. If you havequestions, feedback would like to suggest a guest or you're looking forhelp with me to be marketing, send an email to mark and Mark Evans, Docia Seunext time. I.

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