Leading with edutainment, B2B buying, & balance demand capture/creation | Tim Davidson @ Directive

January 20, 2023

Episode Description

In this new episode of Demand Gen Chat, I spoke with Tim Davidson, Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Directive. Tim started his time at Directive working with clients at software companies looking to source more pipeline and revenue from their paid channels, his focus now is growing Directive’s own marketing. You won’t want to miss this episode if you’re a marketer who’s looking to grow your own following or if you’re trying to start posting more creative content on your company’s LinkedIn page. We chat about how to approach figuring out the right mix of demand creation and demand capture programs for your business. Tim also shares common areas B2B marketers are wasting spend and how to identify and cut these programs immediately.

Show Notes

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Follow Tim: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tadavidson41/

Check out Gaetano Nino DiNardi’s content: https://www.linkedin.com/in/officialg/

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Demand Gen Chat Demand Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Tara Robertson. Join us as we sit down with B2B marketing leaders to hear about the latest tactics and campaigns that are driving pipeline and revenue. If you’re looking for tactical ways to improve your marketing, this podcast is for you!

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to a brand new episode of Demand Gen Chat. I'm your host, Tara Robertson and I have a fun guest for you today, Tim Davidson from Directive. Tim is the Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Directive, and you've probably also seen some of his fun videos on LinkedIn or maybe TikTok if you're following him there. So Tim, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me. I'm super excited, super excited.

Awesome, me too. Yeah, it's always fun to talk to someone who not only knows their stuff when it comes to marketing, but knows how to make it entertaining, which I think people are trying to do a lot more [laughs] in B2B, but it's kind of an uphill battle sometimes. I'm curious to hear from you.

Oh yeah. No, uh, the, even in just like probably the last six months, there's been a big change in like edutainment. Um, I'm-

Mm-hmm.

... it's pretty exciting.

Yeah, it's funny. I feel like for a long time, at least from my perspective, edutainment kind of got a bad rap. Like people would say, "I wanna actually learn something, I don't want to be like edutained." [Laughs] "I wanna like get into the nitty gritty of things."

That's really interesting that, yeah, the, the, exactly, the shift. And like, now people want edu- edutainment, or they don't, like say they want it, but they want it. You can tell.

[Laughs] I mean, yeah, it's, it's social media, and so it makes sense if they wanna have-

Yeah.

... some fun and not just learn. Um, so you've been at Directive for almost three years now. I'm curious just how your role has evolved from what you originally came in to do there and what you're focusing on now?

Yeah, absolutely. Um. So I actually, I come from the B2C side. I, at one point I thought I was gonna be the la- law firm HVAC marketing king of the world. Um, I then switched the, quickly changed, um, into B2B, but I came in actually as, uh, for the client side. So working with clients on ba- basically-

Mm-hmm.

... anything with paid media. Mostly Google ads, LinkedIn, things like that. Um, as I started in though I was, 80% of my time was on the client side, 20%, uh, internal. And I quickly liked the internal side of it, where I was just working with sales all the time, and it was just a different dynamic than being on the client side. So over the last, the first two years, it, it's slowly changed from 40% to 60%, 70, 30-

Mm-hmm.

... and then now I'm full time. All this year I've been, uh, just full time internal. Um, and now I'm the director of marketing and what that means, it's mostly still paid media, um, but also brand and however you want to define that.

[Laughs].

But I, I handle, like, all of the social media, I try to make a lot more content. Um, my sh- priorities have definitely evolved, um, which I like. I like the evolution of things like that.

Yeah, it sounds like you like to have your hands in a lot of things, which [laughs] I am kind of that kind of marketer too. Um-

Yeah.

... but I'm curious, I know a lot of the content you're making, it looks like it's just you, at the least the way that you're presenting it. But is there a team that you're working with internally on all of that, or is it really just kind of a one-man show?

Yeah, so, my content, it's just me. And then, and I go pretty far as to make it just me, because I'm very, uh, sub- I'm very, I'm very embarrassed, like, I won't even film in front of my wife. Like I'm very embarrassed in that way.

[laughs]

So some of the skits I'll try to do as much as like possible where it's just me-

Mm-hmm.

... or I'm with a second person. Uh, some of the more, like, directive content, I will use, uh, a team, like a video production or a freelancer or something like that to help with that production side of it. Uh, but all my videos, it's all through the video, or through my phone. Uh, I'm editing and all that. I have used freelancers for like subtitles and things like that. I'm trying to evolve my, uh, team, I guess ,you can say, like personal brand team, whatever you're gonna call it-

Mm-hmm.

... um, but it's mostly me.

Yeah, that's cool. Yeah, I definitely feel you on the, I don't want to say embarrassment, but [laughs] it's almost like you feel kind of cringey posting your own, or making your own content sometimes. Where, if I'm watching someone else's, like when I watch yours I don't feel that cringe at all, but when I go to hit publish on my own, it's such a hurdle [laughs] to get over. Um, do you have any advice for people that are kind of new to the, I guess, creator, like influencer space on just kind of getting over that and making it happen?

Yeah, just do it. Uh, sorry, it sounds really but-

I feel like that's-

... but I think, like-

...that's it. Yeah.

... but like, yeah. Like you, like you said, you might cringe at your content but you won't cringe at other, or like you don't even think twice about others.

Mm-hmm.

Everyone, no one thinks twice. You put something out there and they might be like, "Oh, that's an okay video," but they'll never even remember. So, as you, but as you keep doing it, you'll get better at it and you'll get comfortable with it. So that's why my advice is always just start. And-

Mm-hmm.

... to be more like specific, put out like five to 10 videos, like on LinkedIn, on any platform you are, and you'll get the feedback. If it's on LinkedIn, I'm pretty positive if you actually, if you don't get any feedback, or it's gonna positive feedback from people that you even know. They're not gonna give you bad feedback anyway. Unless you make something con- controversial, obviously.

Yeah, and I like feel like, it's funny, 'cause obviously the controversial or the like contrarian posts on LinkedIn tend to do the best, because they're just more interesting than someone who's kind of like medium and agrees with everything. Um, but do you ever post anything where you're thinking after like, "Ooh, that was maybe too far," or, "Maybe I should have held back a little bit [laughs] on that one?"

Many are times, and so a lot of times when I post something about, um, the B2B buying process or like marketing and s- or basically like marketing and sales, essentially.

Hmm.

I posted a lot about the B2B buying process, and I would probably say I've had one post where half the comments were like from people in sales or people at different organizations that have that process that were not happy with me. And it's funny how just the, the bad comments, I'd just get obsessed with those.

Mm-hmm.

But outside that, for the most part, even salespeople are saying, "Yeah, this is actually the great ... This is how we should be doing it, but we're not doing it because of X, Y, and Z." So it's been interesting to see that. Um. I also say, but like you said, the ones that, where I do get half not happy with it and half happy with it, you get a lot of views, and then you get a lot of engagement, um, and you get, you learn a lot too. It's, the comments are very interesting. You learn their perspectives, and you can learn from that as well. It's just very interesting.

Mm-hmm. Yeah, I feel like it's tough because a lot of the time people that maybe they agree with it but their boss doesn't, so they're nervous to post like, "Hey, I love this. I wish we could follow this process." [laughs] 'Cause it's LinkedIn, right? So you're connected with your boss-

Oh, yeah.

... and your boss's boss. So often, I feel like that, if that was me I would just not comment at all. But I guess some people just like to, you know, like to have the negative [laughs] comments on every channel.

Yeah, i-it depends. Uh, I feel comfortable enough for I, I could say something that is, goes against what, you know, my organization says, but I also, I'm not, not in a bad way though. I always, if I do do it, it's in a funny way, um-

Mm-hmm.

... because we have a good trust, so we, we have a good feedback loop together. I've also gotten DMs from people that said, "I agree with the, what you're talking about. I've tried that and I got, uh, written up for it." Obviously they didn't wanna-

[laughs]

... put that in LinkedIn, but-

Yeah.

... you know. So, to your point, they didn't want to put that out there 'cause someone could see it.

Mm-hmm.

But some people just say, you know, "This is the way it should be," and they just wanna make sure they, they're, they're not, they don't want their team to maybe see it or maybe they do. Maybe that is the reason they're commenting.

Yeah, I guess sometimes you can just post hoping that your network sees it [laughs]. Or comment hoping that someone-

Nail it.

... sees it and thinks like, that's a different way to look at this process [laughs]. Um-

Yeah.

... you mentioned obviously like comments, DMs, but what are the main metrics that you're looking at every, either every day, every week for both your own platforms and then, I'm assuming you look at directives numbers as well?

Yeah. So for me, I really, it's probably the... Uh, I've looked at a lot of things 'cause I do-

[laughs]

... I do look at engagement impressions and following count, like, that does, stuff does matter 'cause it does, it is an indicator that things are working well. Especially like on specific content, you can see those metrics, and you can see what, where you get more engagement and the-

Mm-hmm.

... the comments and that guides what you wanna make more content about. Uh, for me to put the time in- investment and I, I spend money on it too, that, the DMs I get that are like, "I wanted to make a video because of this or I like your video on this," and they ask follow up questions about that, that stuff I love, right? And that, that stuff's, it does make me feel good, but also-

Mm-hmm.

... I know it's helping people. And I know I've been in the business world long enough where I know that stuff does correlate to some sort of ROI, whether it's feeling good about it or money or whatever it is-

Mm-hmm.

... that is all always going to track. Like there's also stuff where I can look at, you know, clients that we've had or people that mention it or customers, they mention my content, I can look at that stuff. I don't, I'm not really worried about that. That stuff's great and it's great to say I'm going in the right direction, but it's more about the stuff like the comments, the engagement. The things you see from people that, and the friends you make, you know, I think that stuff is more, that's the stuff I more, look at more.

Hmm, I like that metric, new friends [laughs], that's a fun metric to have.

Yes. Well, it's-

Yeah, I like that.

He- here's an, and this one sounds weird I guess, I don't go to a lot events, I'm trying to, but I went-

Mm-hmm.

... to one event, it was a small event, and three people came up to me saying they've seen my content that I've never talked to before. That, that was the solidification, that like-

Yeah.

... I made friends because of that. It was, that was just like, "Alright, why not keep going? There's no reason not to."

Yeah, and to your point, like maybe those people didn't feel comfortable commenting for whatever reason on your videos, but they remembered you enough to come up and say hi and introduce themselves. So that's something for sure.

Yeah.

Even if you can't say you got 10 comments on this video and it led to this revenue, yeah. Um-

Yeah.

... do you have any advice for, uh, I feel like a lot of B2B marketers wanna do this more fun [laughs] content that we've been talking about, but either their exec team or their head marketing is just very stuck in, "Hey, we just have to talk about our product all the time, and we have to talk about the very specific use cases maybe," but not really stray with the, the lines of that. And how can they kind of push back on that and show, "Hey, we're never gonna hit our goals if we're sticking in this very safe like product marketing message way?"

So, I mean, one way you could do it, and I, I personally in my videos I rarely talk about Directive, if ever.

Mm-hmm.

But I do talk about the things that we would be the reason for or something, right? Or I do talk about things that I see and that our customers would resonate with.

Yeah.

What you could do is actually basically test, right? One message that's just talking about the product messaging, you know, the classic, just talk about it, maybe some animations around it. It's just like, "Here's our product, here's what it does, and this is why."

Mm-hmm.

You could also try a different route. You could do like a TikTok style or a funny style. You can still use the same kind of messaging, but put it in a style that's edutainment, and test that, but look at the metrics like engagement, and people mentioning it. Um, you obviously don't wanna look at like direct attribution to it 'cause that's just not how it's gonna work-

Mm-hmm.

... but you could look at the comments, engagement, people that have mentioned it and say the sales Cho- or Gong, like you can listen to Gong or Chorus. That's probably the best way to do it if, if your exec team or your boss is saying, you know, "We gotta stay down this route because it's just how we've always done it," or this is what has worked, or they think that's how it's worked, they just don't know the other side of it, is testing them against each other.

The other, the other side of it and if they don't wanna listen, I mean, truthfully, sometimes you gotta find the organization that's right for you. Um, or you gotta prove it out. So you can test it and prove it out or... Okay, so this is... I've always, I've tried to live by this, which is, ask for forgiveness, not permission. So sometimes there is, don't, you know, walk the fine line, but sometimes you could try it out, see how it does, maybe spend your own money on it. I've ran ads where I spend my own money on it to see how the-

Mm-hmm.

... the engagement is, and then you could have that data to come back to it.

That's sneaky. I like that. So you're using your own money basically to avoid going through like an approval process and just kind of getting it out of the door to show those results. Is that how you-

I have in the past, yeah.

Yeah.

Uh, luckily, um-

You don't have to do that anymore [laughs]. It's all right.

I don't really have to do that, yeah.

Yeah.

But there is like, like one recent thing was something, it was like a mention to Blockbuster that was gonna be a funny thing. I haven't done anything with it, but I've thought about like-

Mm-hmm.

... messaging in my own ad to see how it would perform.

Yeah.

Because they just, yeah, we just didn't go down that route. We didn't wanna go down Blockbuster route.

Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think that's pretty much every, I mean especially if you're reporting into a co-founder of a startup, the way that we are, they're pretty much always open to testing and getting the data-

Mm-hmm.

... before they make a solid decision either way. So, I would definitely agree with like, try to test it if you can and maybe they won't be super sold until they see the numbers. And if you can prove that out, then that's even better.

Yeah.

Um, I feel like one other piece I'd love to touch on is, obviously you have a lot of extensive background in paid search and paid social even before your time at Directive, but I'm curious if you've noticed anything changing recently with B2B. Obviously, we're not the only ones that are trying out this whole edutainment space, but videos are just huge across all different channels now. Um, so if you've noticed any changes maybe in the past year or two on just kind of what people are spending their budgets on and anything that you think people should maybe be looking at differently?

Yeah, there's definitely been a big change in probably last year, year and a half, two years of obviously like we mentioned like edutainment, so-

Mm-hmm.

... and it even goes back from like marketers being measured on leads to pipeline and revenue. So like the, what we do in, at the beginning has changed. It's less eBooks and Google ads and paid social. It's less gated content. Uh, and it's more like e-education. There's been a big shift there.

Mm-hmm.

And even like the videos, like you mentioned, there's a lot more videos. I think people have unders- or are starting to understand because of probably TikTok and, and Instagram and, and these other social platforms where you don't need a big production budget-

Mm-hmm.

... you can just take your phones 'cause they're really good, they have great cameras. You could take a $45 camera from Amazon and put it on your computer and do a product demo. You can create videos without this big production value, which takes a lot less time, and you can make more. So you can test more, you can make more things based off of what you're seeing.

So I've seen a big shift there and I think it's working. I, we test TikTok style videos and ads and I think they work better than the, the high production ones. I think it's a-

Mm-hmm.

... very interesting thing to see in, in terms of like, I, I think people should just try. Your phones have really good cameras, just try that. You don't need the big production value. I, I think it'd be interesting, and it'd be very interesting to see what, what happens.

Yeah. I think there's so much you can do, like you said with a phone. I mean, the new one just came out, and it's even better. I don't have it yet-

Yes.

... but my partner does. I love it. I-it's already like night and day better than mine-

Cool.

... and I thought mine was great. [Laughs] It's just like, it's always gonna get better and it's just so convenient. And-

All right.

... just the videos, people are able to shoot at events now, it's crazy to see the quality that's coming out. Um, you did mention, talk, kind of moving away from leads and gated content, one of your posts that really stood out to me was, you had a video on, it was basically like a marketing team brainstorming new ideas, new campaigns, and then there's the one person in the room that the, how many leads will we get kind of person. And for me personally, like that was me a couple years ago and I obviously, it's kind of cringey to look at it now, but that was me being like, "We have to prove ROI, we need the leads, we need the form fills."

Um, so I think I've seen the same shift as you where people are trying to move away from that. But at the same time, we're now in this weird space where people wanna do more creative things, but maybe their budgets are really tight right now, their hiring is frozen and so they can't hire like, again, that video person maybe or the creatives. Um, so I'm curious if you're noticing that with customers that people are now kind of trying to move back to lead gen forms and moving back to gated content, or if they're really kind of sticking to their guns and sticking with the more fun edutainment stuff that we've been talking about.

Yeah, I, I, the, the truth is, it really depends because there is some industries where demand capture, you could spend a ton of money on dema- demand capture and make a ton of money off of it, because-

Mm-hmm.

... there isn't the Salesforce or HubSpot that's taken over the space of CRM, right? There isn't the, but there's a lot of, uh, demand for that, that category. So there is some industries where you could spend tons of money on the demand capture areas and make a bunch back, which is all a trivial and so it makes it easier to do that, right? And then you spend X amount on your brand or demand creation, uh, content, and where it's just like edutainment and then you try to see, uh, over time what happens.

Where you have less demand in a category, we are seeing, we, you know, a lot, for a lot of the, our clients, we, we are seeing, you know, budgets either be cut or the stay the same-

Mm-hmm.

... while, while their goals increase, which is just craziness.

Of course [laughs].

Um, yes, classic. But then there's also teams are getting smaller and again, the goals are the same, so it doesn't make any sense. But you, I wouldn't say they're completely going towards like legion forums or anything like that, I think they are just very ruthless on where they're spending their money.

So like, you can, you can spend money in demand creation and just find the area like, yeah, it's not completely attributable, but like how did you hear about those fields or looking at those certain engagements people are, people are talking about. And like, I think Gong and Chorus have changed the game too because you could hear what they talk about in sales calls, you could hear them talk about the podcast, you could hear them talk about this video, this person at your company, your organic posts.

So, where you can track those back, they're just gonna keep them running. But things that like, like maybe it's, I'm, I'm just using an example and it's not a real example. Reddit that you have no idea is even working and you're spending X amount of dollars on it, at these-

Mm-hmm.

... times you're just gonna cut that, 'cause you just don't know what's going on. And you're spending, you're just spread thin because your team's smaller now anyway.

Yeah, I think Reddit's funny 'cause we've been talking about that internally [laughs] this month of like, why aren't we doing anything on Reddit? Um, but again, it's one of those channels where we're on so many channels already with paid and it's, is now the time to try something new that doesn't have direct attribution. We don't know for sure if it'll work, so yeah, it's, it's a tricky one.

I like your idea of if it doesn't come up in a Gong or Chorus call and you're not seeing it in your attribution software, then just turn it off. Like, I think that makes a ton of sense right now for marketers who are looking to either maybe their bu- like budget's cut or to your point, same budget but much higher goals, which a lot of marketers are used to, [laughs] but it's-

Yeah.

... it's a tough battle for some of us.

Yeah, it's, it's, and it's, it's more about just squeezing on what's working-

Mm-hmm.

... and then, and then using the extra time and budget on the thing, on the, the test things, the, however you wanna describe them, the things that you think they could be something at some point but you just don't know.

Mm-hmm.

When your budgets are lower, just there's no reason to do that or, or do a lot of those, maybe one, not three.

Right. Yeah, start with one, and see if we can-

Yeah.

... get something out of it. That's, that's fair.

Exactly.

And you mentioned demand capture, so I'm curious, obviously, like pretty much every software company we have demand capture ads running, but have you seen like a certain ratio that people are trying to stick their budget with of, "We know we need to build brand affinity top of funnel and we also need the brand capture side, so how should we s- either be splitting budget or even just time and resources internally?"

Yeah, I hate, I hate this answer, but it's the truthful answer ever for everything. Uh, it depends on, you know, how much demand there is, right? There are some things like-

Mm-hmm.

... if you are only a CRM software for FinTech, people don't search that.

Mm-hmm.

Right? Rarely. You can do things around and you can do like upload lists or something like that, but people don't search that. So you have to, you, you can't spend all your money on, y-you shouldn't spend all your money on the keyword zero or a CRM software, it just doesn't make sense. So when you're capturing those kind of things, it doesn't make sense a ton of, to spend a ton of money there. So you wanna spend more on the creation and paid social and things that are gonna make, create the demand. So, the truthful answer is, it depends.

[laughs]

But I, I would probably say at a, let's just say you do have, there's a lot of demand for the category-

Mm-hmm.

... I think a good rule of thumb is probably like 70/30, like 30%, like, if it's working obviously, right? Like if, if the demand-

Mm-hmm.

... capture is working, capture it, hit your goals and then you can increase the budget and then spend more there, but also leave enough like thir- let's say 30% to create more demand for it to capture. Does that make sense?

Right. Yeah. No, that makes sense. I think I feel like people are always hesitant, at least I am too to say, it depends. But if you had just said, "Oh, it's always 70/30," then-

Yeah, it's not how it works.

... I feel like I don't know if I believe you. So like-

It makes sense, yeah. It's just-

... it's good to go into it with, yeah, you need a grain of salt with every kind of marketing advice like that, right?

Right.

Yeah. And you brought up the B2B buying experience as kind of like a controversial-ish topic that you've posted about. But I'm curious, you've worked with so many different companies now, um, why do you think so many B2B companies are stuck in that old model of fill out a form, wait for someone to call you, hope that they'll, you'll pass their quiz of [laughs] qualification and then move on to actually see the product?

They haven't evolved and, and a lot of times I'll probably say it's just how it's been working and how it's been done-

Mm-hmm.

... because they just haven't evolved. Uh, it, it makes the, the current process where it's like, you know, just fill the demo, we're gonna wait for 24 to 40 hours and we'll reach out, you have the SDR call or BDR, whatever you wanna call it, and they qualify you and then you go to AE and then maybe a sales engineer. That worked when markets were measured on leads because there would just be tons of volume. You can't give them all the AEs, and the, so the quality was also a lot lower. So it actually made sense to do the qualification.

It also made more sense when you didn't have technology that can actually route, you know, leads, right? If they say they are the VP of marketing at an enterprise account, don't send them to an SDR. You can figure that out with technology now where you can actually send them to a AE. So, it made sense in the past, so people just, a lot of companies just haven't evolved. Or they have a big SDR team and they have to keep them doing stuff, or they don't know of AEs, or it's just how their comp packages are set up. They just haven't adapted yet or they're still-

Mm-hmm.

... measured on leads. So there is a big influx of companies coming to them, so they have to still have the qualification.

Mm-hmm, it sounds like a good problem to have in some ways to have a big influx, [laughs] but I think-

Yeah, no it does. But I think [inaudible 00:24:48]

... but I think it's usually like a low barrier-

Yeah.

... for it to be a lead, right? In that case.

Yeah, but even if you are doing that, the routing is, is where, 'cause you're gonna-

Mm-hmm.

... you're gonna see your close rates go up if you route the right people instead of making them fall off because they have to take three calls instead of two calls or one call. That, using that technology is gonna be, it's gonna help even if you do have the high volume.

Yeah, and when you say they are stuck in the past, do you think it's, like, is it the sales org, usually the sales leadership, is it marketing, both? What have you seen?

It, so it can be the sales leaders but really it comes down to whoever is calling it. So, a lot of times it could be the founder, CEO, if they say, we're changing it, it'll change.

Mm-hmm.

The sales leader will have to listen, right? So-

Yeah.

... either it's the sales leader or the CEO that wants to do it, or the fo- founder or the CEO or founder is out of it, they wash their hands with it and let you deal with it and then it's the sales leader or whoever set it up.

Yeah, I think [laughs] it's tricky 'cause you, like you said, if the founder is on board, then it's getting done-

Okay.

... either way [laughs] even though it doesn't matter-

Oh, yes.

... who's on board, it's happening. Um, but I think, at least from what I've seen, to your point earlier, it worked for Salesforce, it worked for a lot of these big companies way back when, and some people just wanna still follow that playbook because, "Hey, it worked when this AE was at Salesforce, so let's stick with what we know and what works. And who cares if it's not the greatest experience for the customer, we just wanna follow this playbook that we know."

Yeah, and no, no, no, if you're Salesforce or HubSpot and I don't, I don't know what HubSpot's, uh, process is now anymore or Salesforce, but if you're those-

Mm-hmm.

... companies that are very well known, you can probably do that. 'Cause a lot of people, most companies have Salesforce or HubSpot or both. So you could probably do that and get away with that. But the companies that are trying-

Mm-hmm.

... to innovate don't have that brand affinity, you need to change it up. Or if you are doing it, it, maybe is still working but you just don't know what the upside is.

Mm-hmm. Yeah, you don't know how much better it could be-

Yeah.

... if you're only passing through the qualified. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Cool. Um, is there anything else you've noticed? Obviously, switching from kind of working with customers, helping them hit your, their goals to now having your own goals, goals internally at Directive, um, just being on the other side of things, has anything just been standing out to you whether on social or just what you're hearing from people?

Yeah, so, I won't go back to the client side first. It's the first thing to mention.

Mm-hmm.

But I like the internal marketing part of it way better because I am able to work with sales, and I am able to work with product, and I am able to work with a team, and I don't have to be siloed into the one thing that I know. Right? So, when I was on the client side, it was very hard to talk to sales people, because they just thought we were the agency that was helping out the marketing team.

Mm-hmm.

A lot of times also, I did find a lot of clients had, their marketing sales team did not get along. Because it, i-it could have been many of different things, but it could be like, they don't like their leads or, you know, it's the classic like, "Oh, marketing leads are, are crap and sales doesn't know how to close," and, you know, we're fighting for a budget from the CEO or, and we're both reporting to the CEO, and we are not even working together on that because we have different goals. I found it very hard to do your job if you couldn't talk to sales.

Mm-hmm.

And that was kind of something I didn't like. There's a way to work around it and try, but like, it was like, it was really, really hard to talk to anyone on sales because they just didn't want to talk to you.

So the relationship was already kind of burned-

Yeah.

... before you could-

Oh, yeah.

... get in there and yeah, and fix it. Um-

Yeah.

... do you think that's unique to Directive that you're working so cross functionally, or do you think that's just something that is more of an agency style of working and that's what you like?

Um, I think, no, I think there's a lot of teams out there where it's just they call themselves the revenue team or the growth team and there's-

Mm-hmm.

... a lot of alignment. I, I think a lot of people, there's been a lot of people that have mentioned they, they have great, you know, marketing sales alignment, I think it's getting a lot better over the, you know, the last couple of years. So I think you do see the evolution of that, um, because it probably does stem down to marketing being measured on revenue and you need sales to close that, right?

Mm-hmm.

It's just a way, a way around it. Um, it probably also starts with the CEO, they, or the founder. Again, they will, uh, if they want your team to work together, they will force it

Mm-hmm.

If it comes down, if they don't want, if they don't care about it and they wanna measure you on different things, then they won't force it and you're gonna have that disalignment.

Yeah, you'll be fighting every quarter if someone's not hitting numbers. Yeah, it'll be someone else's fault, for sure.

Oh yeah. And when things are going well, everything's fine. If everyone's hitting their numbers, it's fine, but when things-

Mm-hmm.

... don't go well, you have, the budget is getting cut, market's weird-

Yep.

... that's when tensions start getting weird.

Yeah, I'm curious if we'll see more teams either reporting to kind of one CRO and having marketing and sales ladder up to the same person just because, to your point, like times are pretty tough right now, they're getting tougher. So I'm curious if that'll change either the structure or hopefully shifting more marketing teams to be working just more down funnel.

Yeah, you, you, you'd think so. You would think so.

Yeah.

I'm, I'm hoping so, but we'll see. Um, sometimes it's hard to make that shift depending on how big you are and-

Mm-hmm.

... the levels you have to go through. Sometimes it can be hard.

Yeah, for sure. Do you have any other advice for, I know we talked a lot about like content creation type of thing on the influencer side, like do you have any advice for marketers that are looking to, again, moving away from lead capture or just spending all their budget on demand capture and they know they need to grow their market? How can they kind of make that case to their head of marketing? They have goals like this month that they're supposed to be hitting, but they're trying to shift that mindset at the same time?

Yeah. So, if you have goals this month, it's gonna be tough-

[laughs]

... um, depending on your sales cycle. Uh, if you have, [laughs] you know, maybe you, you have goals that you have to hit for the quarter, right? What you could do is like split it as like, "I wanna, you know, half our budget's gonna be in this kind of format where it's mostly demand capturing and then half of it's gonna be on like demand creation."

Mm-hmm.

And then you can see, you know, what the close rates look like, the pipeline, the, the leading metrics look like, and just see how that changes over time. Because it's a, it's a long, it's a longer process. You, you can't just look at it in a, a month, two months. You have to look at over three, six months because sometimes, you know, it's gonna take three months for that to get in the groove of the demand creation of figuring out what's working and what's not.

Mm-hmm.

So it's kind of like, uh, making the case. Like, "I wanna spend X amount of budget," let's just say 20%, and seeing, and then you can show over time like what that looks like. Uh, if you have to hit it within your month, if you have to hit your goals within a month then you're, let's say your sales cycle is less than a month-

Mm-hmm.

... you need to look at like low-hanging fruit, like closed loss accounts, um, there's a software out there called UserGems, uh, their whole premise is, like, people that have, you know, past customers and they were moved on to new, uh, companies, like finding those people and doing what you can to like make the case. Uh, if you have to hit so- something within a month, yeah, it would feel low-hanging fruit there.

Hmm, so look for that low-hanging fruit while you're starting to think of ideas and ramp up maybe the brand creation-

Yeah.

... side of things. Yeah, and if then-

Yeah, and if like, if you're hitting your goals, it's a lot easier to make the case to spend more on the demand creation. Uh, so like-

Mm-hmm.

... you can optimize, you know, your demand capture and even spend less and hit, hit the same goals. 'Cause a lot of times there's gonna be waste in whatever platform you're using anyway. If you can find that waste and spend it on demand creation and make the case that way, it, and if you're just spending the same amount of budget, your head of marketing's not gonna hit, get, get on you if you're hitting goals.

[Laughs] And when you say identifying that waste, is that, are you talking paid search or is there a specific channel where you see that happen a lot?

Oh, it's every channel. Um, but yeah, you know, paid search, it could be keywords, it could be you're not using, you know, like, uh, offline conversion tracking, so you're tracking, you know, the keyword level or search term level to, uh-

Mm-hmm.

... actual pipeline revenue, like through a Salesforce data or Hubspot data and CRM data. Or, you know, paid social. I've looked at a lot of accounts, a lot of people are not targeting the right things. The targeting is just really bad or the creative's really bad-

Mm-hmm.

... or it's not changed out ever. Or, you know, narrowing down on what's actually working. 'Cause if you go into a, a lot of LinkedIn ads or anything like that, or then you look in your CRM, you're gonna find certain industries, certain places where you, 80%, 90% of your revenue is coming from. Narrow down on those and stop spending as much on the 10% that's not doing much, and then spend that on the demand creation. So, i-it's pretty much any platform.

Mm-hmm.

It's just finding that, those areas where you're, you, you are just spending waste.

Hmm, and is that what you look at first? Like say, I know you're not on the client side anymore, but when you were looking at client's accounts for the first time, were you just looking to find the waste first so that you could decide, "Okay, we're wasting 10% of budget, we can reinvest this elsewhere?" Or what would be that first step when you're looking at a new client's accounts?

Yeah, no, i-it's a, it's a great question. Uh, so I think that is, it is probably either the, the basic stuff. So, whether, if it's like paid search, just making sure they're using the right match types and they're, uh, using like offline conversion tracking and having, having all the fundamentals set up, right?

Mm-hmm.

I mean, most did not have them set up, so it's like a low-hanging fruit there. But then it's finding like where you're wasting money because then you can reinvest it, whether it's back into the channel because you're not spending appropriately in these areas or it's a new channel. That's always the easiest way is, finding the waste-

Mm-hmm.

... and spending it on a new channel to prove that out and then you can keep going from there.

Yeah, that makes sense. Reinvest the money that you were spending anyway instead of asking for more money [laughs] that you're just gonna possibly waste on the wrong targeting or wrong queue.

A lot easier.

Yeah, it's easier to make the case to say, "Hey, I saved us [laughs] 10% of the budget."

And it's usually a lot more than 10%. So [laughs] it, it makes it a lot easier.

Nice. What range were you seeing when you were working with customers of like, that was that low-hanging fruit of like, "We should just pause this right now or stop spending?"

It's, um, yeah, it, it, it's a lot. Some of it was 50%, 60%. I mean some... And it's not, it's not really the, the company's fault a lot of times, it is just that it's not their expertise. You, you have a-

Hmm.

... marketing manager or marketing director who's trying to do everything, right? And that's, that's a problem. You, you're spread thin. That, that's not their expertise, it's something they're managing, they're handling, but it's just not.

Mm-hmm.

They're also trying to do events, they're trying to do all these other things and they don't have the time, and that's why they hire an agency, that's why they do, they look for something because they don't have the expertise in-house because they're trying to do so many things.

Mm-hmm.

Or if they do have the expertise, they're just spread thin.

Yeah, I think it's tough when, I mean, almost everything I've been on has felt spread thin.

Oh.

Even if we're hiring-

Oh, okay.

... even if we have up to 20 people, there's just, there's new, there's always new channels, there's an event we wanna sponsor, it's, it's constant, right? So-

Oh yeah.

... yeah, it's good advice to have some outside eyes and outside perspective on your accounts. Great. Well-

The events have been crazy, just so you know.

Sorry, our events?

Your Chili Piper event, Piper events.

[Laughs]

I haven't been to one but I've been noticing its party theme in LinkedIn, and it's uh, the, it's very interesting.

Yeah, it trickles down from our founders. I think they like to party so [laughs] it helps.

That's, yeah.

Um, I haven't been either but yeah, and maybe next event season I'll be at a few. We've been trying to, what I've been act- actually thinking about because I manage our paid accounts is how can we amplify some of that fun content that they've been creating on the ground.

Mm-hmm.

And again, I'm just one person so it's tough to walk my week to do that kind of thing, but there's so much low-hanging fruit there which is really cool, the videos they're creating and stuff on the floor.

Oh, I bet. And you got some really interesting content there.

Mm-hmm.

I've seen Arthur's stuff, like you, you probably have so much you could do over that.

Did you see his red hot Chili Piper thing at the-

Mm-hmm.

Yeah, that was my favorite.

Oh, yeah.

And we were all laughing about that this morning. Yeah, I have to do something with that. I need to figure it out, but-

Did you, you didn't, you didn't hire Red Hot, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dreamforce did that, right? Or did you do that?

Yeah, so Dreamforce just happened to pick them-

Okay.

... this year as the [laughs].

It's all right. Okay.

Yeah, that's out of our budget, 'cause I would see [laughs] that increase our-

[Laughs]

... budget probably. Um, but we had to jump on it 'cause it's just too perfect.

Oh yeah.

The one year, we haven't been to Dreamforce really before, so it was great timing for us [laughs]

That's perfect.

Cool. Um, well, I'd love to move on to just our quick fire around. So a couple quick questions for you that we can get through. So is there any other marketer that you follow that our listeners should go follow or read their content?

Yeah, so there's always the classics like your Dave Gerhardt's. Um, I think one that I really like, he doesn't post as much as he used to, is Gaetano DiNardi, SEO background, VP of growth at, at Aura at one point, um, but he's got really good, I like his takes on, on things. He's really good. He's really interesting.

Nice. We'll put his link in the show notes. People can go follow him and check him out. And is there an under the radar channel or it could be a tactic that you're checking out or that your team is really investigating right now?

I think, I'm trying to figure out TikTok. Organic, yes, but also the paid side, the targeting's not that good, but there is ways that I'm looking at it right now, um, I think there's a lot of opportunity there.

Mm-hmm.

But again, the content really matters. So, you know, just creating TikTok style content, edutainment, and then the advertising part. Um, but TikTok I think is gonna be a really interesting one for B2B.

Nice. Yeah, I'd love to see if you find out anything on the targeting side, [laughs] please post about it-

All right, yeah.

... 'cause we're starting to dip our toes, but I'm, it makes me so nervous, the targeting options are just so broad and I don't trust it yet, so I'm hesitant there.

Yeah, they are. But yeah, I'm trying to figure it out too.

[Laughs] Cool. And lastly, where can we go to follow you? I know you're obviously on TikTok and LinkedIn too, right?

Yep, LinkedIn and TikTok are the biggest. Um, I'm on the other ones too, but really LinkedIn and TikTok are the best place to find me.

Great. Thanks so much, Tim, for joining me today.

Thank you. This was awesome.

Great. Thanks everyone for listening. We'll be back in two weeks with a brand new episode.

 

About DGC
Demand Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Tara Robertson. Join us as we sit down with B2B marketing leaders to hear about the latest tactics and campaigns that are driving pipeline and revenue.
If you’re looking for tactical ways to improve your marketing, this podcast is for you!
About Mastersaas live
MasterSaaS Live is the interview series that takes you from Bad SaaS to badass, with host Alina Vandenberghe, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Chili Piper. Tune in to learn about music for marketing, B2B on TikTok, why different is better than good, and so much more. Alina chats with CEOs, Founders, CMOs, and CROs to dig deep into hot-bucket sales and marketing topics that will leave you begging for more.
HOST
Tara Robertson
GUESTS
Tim Davidson
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