B2B tech marketers today face an almost endless selection of technologies, tools, channels, and tactics to navigate on a daily basis.
When we also consider the pressure to deliver almost-immediate results in a start-up environment, things can sometimes feel slightly overwhelming. Thankfully, this week’s guest has some valuable advice to help ease those challenges.
In this episode, Jason Bradwell talks to Matt Dodgson about a strategic approach to B2B tech marketing which will help set you up for success.
Who they are: Jason Bradwell, Senior Director of Group Marketing and Communications at Deltatre.
A bit of background: As well as being a marketing leader in the B2B tech space, Jason also hosts his own podcast, called B2B Better, and regularly publishes plenty of insightful articles on his own blog.
Where you can find them:
Here you’ll find some of the best advice from the podcast that you can easily digest and learn from.
Long gone are the days when all B2B marketing consisted of was a sponsored stand at a conference or trade show each year, and perhaps sending out the odd press release every so often.
Marketing has evolved exponentially in recent years, and we now have a vast range of innovative technologies and digital tools at our disposal.
Of course, having so many channels to choose from can be both a help and a hindrance in equal measures. At times, it can be a challenge to even know where to begin.
But Jason believes this gives stand-alone marketers and small marketing teams a big advantage.
He explained, “Nowadays, marketing is everything from social media, community, digital, content, and all of these things have a relatively low barrier to entry. If you’re in a start-up and trying to get your marketing machine going, you don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds anymore in booking out a big trade show booth, and that being the only way you can get in front of new customers. You can start a newsletter, you can get your CEO posting on social media, you can start a Slack group with your target buyers.”
So, yes, the sheer amount of options available can be slightly daunting. But considering how easy it is to get things up and running, it also means you can launch a marketing function quickly and cost-effectively today.
The key thing to note here is that the decision of which channels to pursue should be approached with care. You should first do some fundamental research, understand your audience, and determine which are the right areas to target so you can achieve your own specific goals.
“Your real challenge is to cut through. How do you compete with those bigger, more well-funded organisations? The tools are there, but what’s the strategy that’s going to cut through the noise?”Jason Bradwell
So, let’s next look at how Jason would approach a marketing strategy for a B2B tech start-up.
Jason suggested that any marketers going into a new role with a B2B tech start-up should organise their first few months into three key phases:
“At first, you really shouldn’t be doing any ‘marketing’ until you truly understand the market in which your company is operating in, the product or service your company is selling, and the customers that hopefully are spending a lot of money in acquiring that product. I like to think, if an encyclopaedia was being written about your company they should be coming to you to author it.”
And Jason also advised to resist the temptation of trying things out before you understand the “what, who, and why” of your strategy.
“It’s very tempting for new marketers to go into a business and just want to get some stuff out there. Particularly if you’ve got an executive team or a CEO who wants to see immediate results, that pressure can be immense to just post on social media or sponsor a partner report. But that kind of ‘product marketing’ research phase piece is fundamental to nail right at the very beginning.”
Once the research phase is complete, you should then move on to what Jason refers to as funnel mapping. When you’re just getting started, use a simple marketing funnel of:
And try to see things from your customers’ perspective when analysing how their journey down the marketing funnel will play out.
Jason said, “Your goal as a new marketer within a start-up is to grasp exactly where your customers are engaging. Not just with your company, but with the industry and the problems that you’re trying to solve, how they evaluate the solutions to those problems, and what’s going to convince them to make a purchase.”
“Only once you’ve got that understanding of exactly where your customers are spending time, and where they’re doing this evaluation, can you start to map that information against your marketing funnel. That ultimately guides where you choose to invest your budget.”
Finally, Jason explained how to handle the campaign planning phase of an early-stage marketing strategy.
“This is more of your bread-and-butter marketing,” he said. “Your goal is really to validate a hypothesis, like with an experiment. I like to map out a three-month campaign versus a full year campaign. It’s very likely, in doing that, you’re going to learn something that will then impact what the next quarter’s campaign is going to look like.”
“I structure those campaigns against what I call my ABCDE framework. You should basically outline these five things:
When discussing common pitfalls which you should be wary of, Jason circled back to his first point about being spoilt for choice, or not knowing where to start.
Jason said, “What I’m learning more and more as I grow as a marketing professional is the importance of being deliberate and intentional about what you’re trying to achieve. You can go in 100 different directions as an early-stage marketer, in terms of where you’re putting your focus. But you ultimately need to choose something. Even if that idea doesn’t pan out the way you intended it to, you need to focus on something specific.”
“So be deliberate, not just within your team but also with your superiors in the executive team as well. Because I’m sure we’ve all worked with CEOs who want to be known by every possible person on the planet. That’s just not achievable, and you’ve got to crush that stuff when you’re being intentional about your targets right at the get-go.”
It’s also worth touching back on the earlier point about the importance of doing plenty of research before launching into anything too soon. This is another common pitfall you should be working hard to avoid.
It’s always tempting to skip the fundamental research phase and move straight into a cadence of getting some activity out there. But, as Jason said, it’s crucial to first understand the what, who, and why of your marketing strategy.
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