The Top 10 Virtual Events for Growth Marketers in 2020
We’re definitely living in strange times.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the event marketing industry has taken a hit.
After all, with social distancing restrictions still in place across much of the country and the world, live events like music conferences, sports games, and – of course – marketing and growth conferences are by and large shutting down.
But – and this is a big “but” – virtual events are flourishing.
The Virtual Event Revolution
We’re definitely living in strange times.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the event marketing industry has taken a hit.
After all, with social distancing restrictions still in place across much of the country and the world, live events like music conferences, sports games, and – of course – marketing and growth conferences are by and large shutting down.
But – and this is a big “but” – virtual events are flourishing.
Growth marketers don’t have to despair.
We can still learn the latest best practices, most effective growth strategies and tactics, and even network with our peers and industry leaders.
All from the comfort of our homes (or offices, in some cases) too.
And this year, we have a really incredible lineup of virtual events to choose from.
Here at Growth Marketing Conference, we’re doing the favor of compiling the best ones for you, so you can make the most of this year in (virtual events)!
So without further adieu, here are the 10 virtual events you simply can’t miss!
Get ready to learn the best practices that are currently driving record-breaking growth for the world’s most successful products, as well as the latest, most industry-defining trends in AI, IoT, eCommerce, telehealth, remote work. What’s more, you’re also going to get on a first-name, hand-shaking, business-relationship-minting basis with world-leading companies interested in recruiting professionals just like you. You’ll learn how to build an agile growth model so you can come out a winner during these uncertain times – and in the years to come.
INBOUND 2020 will go beyond simply broadcasting content sessions. INBOUND 2020 will be more than a singular, individual experience. INBOUND 2020 will bring attendees together no matter where they are physically with connection, energy, personality, and excitement.
We believe that events should create a shared moment in time that unites a community and create space for uplifting energy to percolate, enabling conversation and connection, allowing everyone to feel part of something bigger, something that’s worth getting excited about and rallying around, no matter the medium.
That’s the secret sauce that has always made INBOUND special and as we think about how we are going to deliver INBOUND via this new, online, immersive experience, creating a way for this to happen is top of mind for us.
TechCrunch Disrupt is five days of non-stop online programming with two big focuses: founders and investors shaping the future of disruptive technology and ideas and startup experts providing insights to entrepreneurs.
It’s where hundreds of startups across a variety of categories tell their stories to the 10,000 attendees from all around the world. It’s the ultimate Silicon Valley experience where the leaders of the startup world gather to ask questions, make connections and be inspired.
Disrupt Digital Pro Pass: $245
Disrupt Digital Pro Pass – Investor: $245
Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package: $445
Disrupt Digital Pro Pass – Student & Government/Non-Profit: $95 & $125
The B2B Online Virtual Event is an online free-to-attend forum, bringing together top minds in B2B manufacturing and distribution eCommerce and omnichannel providing the latest insights with the convenience of an on-demand digital event. B2B Manufacturers and distributors are faced with unprecedented challenges in response to COVID-19, but rapidly adapting and innovating in this new reality is critical.
The B2B Online Virtual Event is designed to offer invaluable insights on the challenges, trends and strategies that will revolutionize ecommerce and omnichannel in both the short and long-term. B2B digital and marketing experts will share their views about opportunities that arise due to the crisis, lessons learned and how to pivot your B2B organization.
Featuring easily accessible presentations, group panels, interviews and Q&A, all available digitally and on-demand, gain practical insights to implement now at the B2 Online Virtual Event, without having to leave your desk.
MozCon 2020 has gone virtual. It wrings our hearts that we won’t be able to welcome you to sunny Seattle this summer, but the well-being and good health of the community is our number-one concern. And while the world changes around us, SEO doesn’t stop — searchers keep on searching, and marketers need to stay sharp to meet their needs. With an event date of July 14 & 15, we’re still bringing you all the MozCon magic you know and love.
Join us at MozCon Virtual for a journey into the deepest realms of search marketing. Connect with an incredible community of experts and uncover tactical advice from industry-leading practitioners in the vast world of SEO, mobile, conversion optimization, local search, and more.
The GrowthHackers Conference 2020 is a two day online event for professionals and entrepreneurs who are looking to push the boundaries of growth innovation.
These range from growth-stage startups (Series B and C funded) to large public corporations. Some large companies that have embraced growth hacking include Wal-Mart, IBM, and Microsoft, who recognize that their stock prices are driven by customer and revenue growth and want to tap into the potential that the growth hacking process has delivered for their upstart competitors.
At this conference, attendees will get in touch with The Future of Growth! Our great lineup of speakers will share their first-hand knowledge and experience gained from growing some of today’s fastest-growing companies.
Our ContentTECH conference mission is clear: We want to show how the effective use of technology and better processes can help your strategic efforts to create, manage, deliver and scale your enterprise content and provide your customers with better digital experiences.
Join us for ContentTECH Summit to learn how new technologies and innovative processes are fundamentally changing what our work will look like in the next two to five years. Attendees of the 2020 ContentTECH conference will learn from practitioners and experts in content technology and marketing strategy. The best news? Both speakers and attendees are trailblazing pioneers who have set the bar for epic content marketing through technology.
Today’s world events have changed how businesses communicate with their customers. This EEC Virtual event keeps you on the cutting-edge of email marketing by providing the best practices designed to ensure the vitality of a channel you’ve come to rely on. Join leading thought leaders and innovative brands for an in-depth look at the critical issues today’s email marketers face, how to address them head-on, and how to excel in a complex digital marketplace.
Marketer and Platinum Tier Member Company Pass: $299
Marketing Solutions Provider Gold Tier Member Company Pass: $349
Marketing Solutions Provider Silver Tier Member Company Pass: $399
Individual Members or Non-Members Company Pass: $499
Growth Marketing Conference is the leading, globally-focused event for B2B and B2C growth marketers. We host world-class thought leader speakers and workshop instructors to teach 1,700+ attendees the actionable, no-nonsense growth strategies and tactics that drive rapid, cost-effective, and sustainable revenue and user growth – in 2020 and beyond.
You’ll learn the strategies and tactics to grow your company from industry-leading brands like Google, Microsoft, IBM Watson, Salesforce, Uber, Lyft, Box, Airbnb, MongoDB, PagerDuty, New Relic, SurveyMonkey, Box, Vimeo, and many more!
All-Access Pass: TBA
All-Access Team Pass: TBA
What a lineup!
You certainly have no shortage of extraordinary virtual events this year.
And that’s good, because you don’t want to miss out on all the business-revolutionizing benefits of attending events – learning new, high-performance best practices, discovering the latest tech and service vendors, networking with the industry leaders who can really transform your company or career, and more!
And thankfully, you don’t have to.
You can get it all on your favorite desktop or mobile device.
The world may be suffering this year under the weight of the COVID-19 outbreak, but your business doesn’t have to.
See you at the shows!
When a Pandemic Teaches You What You Really Need
A Note to Growth Marketing Readers: When I shared this with Vasil, he was interested in bringing this to the GMC community because of the role marketing played in our response to the pandemic. Having a narrative that people can hold onto as you help navigate them through uncertain times is critical. Sometimes, the individual […]
A Note to Growth Marketing Readers: When I shared this with Vasil, he was interested in bringing this to the GMC community because of the role marketing played in our response to the pandemic. Having a narrative that people can hold onto as you help navigate them through uncertain times is critical. Sometimes, the individual events don’t matter as much when they feel like a part of a hopeful story. Knowing the narrative, the values, the priorities, helps give people hope and reason to fill voids and respond to unknowns with the hopeful outcome in mind. I started my career as a marketer; and the things I’ve valued and learned as a marketer have served me well in helping guide teams and companies through some extraordinary circumstances. With that as a backdrop, I hope you find the story below, helpful and also, illustrative of the role you can play when the organizations you work with face their own challenges.
I have impeccable timing.
When I was in high school and would try and sneak back home after curfew, I always managed to do it just as my parents had decided to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water. Cursed by either side of hydration.
In the past 10 years, I’ve joined four organizations at a Leadership level only to have them immediately hit their worst performance month within weeks of my joining. That’s just curses.
In January of this past year, I joined Boldr, a mission-driven outsourcing company based in the Philippines after serving on their Board for nearly three years (from effectively the day they were founded). I don’t need to tell you what happened next as we’re all living it now.
The effects of COVID-19 on the entire world are crushing (isolation, death tolls) and humbling, with subtle silver linings (like the people in India seeing the Himalayas for the first time in decades). Those silver linings are hard to find, I assure you; but we need them to get through the rigors of full-time work, full-time parenting, and full-time quarantine.
One of the things that’s gotten to me the most, is the number of out-of-the-blue, downright random, calls, texts, and emails I’ve received from peers and friends asking me for advice on how to navigate what’s ahead for their organizations. It happens when you’re an old man, with gray hair, and sporadic experience across a wide array of challenging professional contexts.
“We’re about to initiate a RIF (Reduction in Force).”
“I have no idea if we’re going to be able to make it past next month.”
“Yo yo, quick question on layoffs.”
I’ve worked through September 11th, the 2008 recession, a few private equity-based bloodbaths, and a poor response to a VC fundraise. I’ve seen and then had to lead and orchestrate many difficult pivots and hard conversations. I spent almost a year working on alternate housing options for families affected by Katrina. The benefit of time has given me experiences, and those experiences taught me a few things that have thus far helped us navigate the world leading up to and post COVID-19, and helped me quickly and clearly articulate advice back to those who reached out during challenging recent times. If helpful, based on feedback from Stephen Fusi, Managing Director for the Center of Entrepreneurship at Duke University, my alma mater, I wanted to encapsulate some of that advice and guidance here for our community. There’s so much more than what follows here; and so many people to thank and acknowledge. For now, I wanted to just start.
Step 1: Get incredibly clear about three things: your money, your time, and your values.
Look at any successful company, and you’ll see that the Executive Team and ideally the entire company, have strong alignment along these three levers. Look at any failed company, and you’ll often see dissonance in those same places. On a more individual level, the same can be said for successful and disgruntled team members — alignment means the former, disconnect leads to the latter.
Which is why I always recommend, in a time of change and now especially in a time of crisis, spending your time getting laser focused on three things:
the money you have to work with,
the time you have before your next set of critical decisions, and
the values you want to embody as you navigate forward.
Recent announcements have talked about two options or two choices; I disagree. The smartest discussion and the best results result from triangulating against these three levers.
These three levers are what you will use to contextualize your vision. A vision is an ideal. These three levers define the framework for how you go about pursuing and realizing that vision.
At Boldr, as a self-funded services business investing ahead of growth, our cash was lean. As a result, our timing was immediate. Yet as a mission-driven company — one who’s placed an emphasis on our people first and was built as a response to traditional, more exploitative outsourcing models — our values were clear: take care of our team members and honor our commitments.
This may sound like a challenging problem, but for our leadership team, it became immensely clarifying. We didn’t have many options.
We had to find ways to preserve cash (this meant leaning into client relationships, protecting revenue, eliminating excessive costs).
We had to find ways to buy time (this meant identifying time horizons with clear objectives, while not wasting a moment).
And we had to be clear about our values: from the moment COVID-19 shifted from an existential threat to one that would soon force a disruption in our team’s lives in the Philippines we went public that every decision we made would be focused on two things: (1) team health and safety, first, followed by (2) honoring our commitment to our clients.
In a few quick moments, our framework and our playing field had been clearly defined. We were clear on how we had to move forward.
Step 2: Pick the Best Next Step.
In times of crisis, the most impactful decision is understanding how much time you have to make your decisions. I can’t explain the approach abstractly, so let me bring the concept to life with an example from our experience.
Within 48 hours, the Philippines had gone from a country monitoring COVID-19, to a country on the brink of massive social constraints being implemented. On March 17th, all forms of mass transportation were suspended indefinitely, movements across cities were limited and regulated, and strictly enforced curfews made it challenging to operate as a 24 hour company. The government also required us to produce proof of employment for our over 300 employees to allow them movement to and from their residence as we were transitioning to remote work.
Boldr followed suit. We similarly had gone from monitoring COVID-19 in the abstract (as far back as early January) to jumping into action based on a Presidential address signalling the start of restricted social movements within the country.
Our critical decision happened going into Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s first address. In response to the President addressing the Philippines as a whole, we focused less on his immediate message (some short-term restrictions on movement) and took the initial regulations to their logical extension and extrapolation: we had to plan for a total lockdown where people were unable to leave their homes. Instead of focusing on the incremental and progressive lockdowns we asked the right initial question: what would it take to flip our entire 300 person company from working in an office, to being set up to work fully remotely. And by doing so, we prepared for the worst case scenario while preparing ourselves — and our team members — for everything in-between.
Among extensive uncertainty, we had identified a clear path and a clear decision point. A decision that gave us flexibility in the short-term while also preparing us for the largest and most extreme outcomes that we could possibly face: what happened if everyone had to work from home? By solving that problem, we ended up solving everything in-between. If some people were restricted. If some people were affected. If some regions were off-limits. We were equipped to handle all scenarios. By picking the right decision we were able to give the team clarity while also managing against incremental uncertainty. We made an absolute decision to give people clarity.
It worked out well. Over the course of the next week, the Philippines government evolved its story and progressed its restrictions. As we understand it, many companies who under planned were caught in a constant state of iteration, chasing the most recent set of rules the President would release. We were able to proceed undistracted because we’d set the highest bar and standard and then built a plan against it. Our clients acknowledged us for it; but more powerfully, our team members were happy about it. While their friends and family members were scrambling, our team members were transitioned, set up, and ready for what was coming next.
Even though nobody knew what precisely that would be.
The team built a plan to flip 100% of the company remotely in 1 week. We pulled it off and went live without disruption to our clients due to Herculean efforts by many team members. Clarity eliminates noise and distraction, which gives people confidence in their work as well as clarity and constraint within which to problem solve and innovate.
Step 3: Communicate about the Uncertainty, with Certainty
Five weeks ago, nobody could have predicted where we’d be today. If they’d attempted and were right, people would have assumed they were crazy to begin with. If they’d attempted and were wrong, well, people would understand but they’d still have been wrong and operating against their predictions would have been disastrous.
As a leader, it’s important to make sure your team continues to operate with clarity as you move to the next step. At Boldr, we leaned into the uncertainty and used that to create some aircover and space for the broader decisions we needed to make. But before getting to those broader and longer-term decisions, we focused on making sure the team had clarity on their short-term and immediate actions. Eliminating any noise and uncertainty around what they should be focused on at the moment created comfort and clarity for them and space for us to start planning more broadly.
One of our most beneficial decisions was acknowledging that the full value of our business rests in the hands and on the shoulders of our team members working on the front lines for our clients every day. As a result, we spent an extraordinary amount of time profiling every team member in extraordinary detail. In 36 hours through surveying, shoulder tapping, and downright annoying persistence, we knew everything about every team member, from their locations (so we could map our changes to quarantine restrictions based on neighborhoods), to their at home setups (who could work from home, who needed support and setup to work from home), to the clients they were currently working with and the skills they brought to the table in the event we needed to reprofile. This robust data set put us in position to respond to any changes and obstacles the world would throw at us.
Lego pieces. The data sets we had on team members mounted to individual lego pieces that we could break apart and reassemble on the fly as needed to fit into new constructions and solutions.
Think hard about your business? What are your most important lego pieces?
We were clear with the entire team; nobody knew what was going to happen 1, 2, even 3 weeks out. But we knew that if we weren’t serving our clients well now, and if we weren’t equipping team members to safely and successfully work from home in 1 week — nothing else would matter. It was a clarifying and galvanizing first step for that reason.
Foundational. Overcommunication gets you rolled eyes. Undercommunciation gets you lower productivity and missed opportunities. Especially in times of crisis; where people’s thoughts and ideas naturally and unavoidably expand to fill the spaces between what you tell them so clearly.
Always take the rolled eyes.
With our team ready and setup, we shifted to client communications. We had to get client approvals, explicitly, for this shift to remote. The communications we had drafted for internal purposes served as the basis for our communications to clients. They appreciated the level of thought and care that went into our planning and in 48 hours we were able to secure approvals for every team member to work remotely — except for two teams working with highly sensitive information. For them? We responded quickly, and secured housing for them, and set up remote offices for them to work in fully secured environments as if they were in the office.
What’s amazing is how fast this framework allowed us to move. We identified Steps 1-3 as priorities in a few hours; and we had mobilized against them in less than 24 hours. Doing so equipped us to move 290 of our 300 team members into motion against a unanimously agreed upon plan to work remotely — in days.
Organizing and moving against this so swiftly, and communicating so transparently, required upfront work but created downstream space. By overplanning and over communicating early, we created space for leadership to start scenario planning atop this new, full modular and fully flexible, remote work team.
Step 4: Create Space for Longer-term Scenario and Contingency Planning
With the team moving aggressively against clear plans, a handful of Executives were able to take a step back from being involved in immediate business operations and instead focus on scenario planning. What if clients went out of business? What if team members got sick? How would we manage in all of these scenarios?
What I found most beautiful in it all, was that though we all had a variety of scenarios and sensitivities around risks and impacts; reconciling across team members really clarified what could happen (clients would leave us, we wouldn’t be able to serve clients) and within what range (we projected 30-50% impact on our business).
In 48 hours Boldr has shifted from monitoring, to crisis management, to scenario planning, to implementing contingencies.
What would happen if team members were unable to perform their duties (they got sick, they lost connectivity)? We identified backups, cross-trained team members, and even spoke to clients about prioritizing work streams and compromising on KPIs if we needed to. Our clients were wonderful, appreciative of the level of thought we were putting into maintaining our commitments.
What would happen when we lost business — not if, but when? We immediately set a target of 40% cost reductions to the business; and then, we went after it. Freezing non-client facing new hires. Eliminating variable costs. Reducing fixed costs. Then, we cut deeper. The Executive Team cut salaries by 80%. The Management team was invited to help us bridge the divide in a way that worked best for them and in a way they could tolerate — the result was a collective salary cut of 36%. This was great. But we needed to cut more so we focused on shifting as many team members as possible into new client-facing roles (instead of hiring new team members, we’d focus on reallocating, retraining, and repositioning existing team members first.)
One of our most powerful moments happened when, after announcing all of what was ahead, a number of team members proactively messaged us and asked to contribute part of their salaries to the cause. Specifically, several team leaders asked us to reduce their salaries, if, in return, their team members could stay fully salaried and fully employed.
In a time of crisis we were witnessing our company pulling even more tightly, together.
Note: I want to say that I was extraordinarily proud of how we used our values to respond to our clients. We focused on working with every client in trying financial circumstances to mitigate their risks as well. Some of the most challenging, and some of the healthiest discussions we had, resulted from an honest discussion around our client’s pains — not about our contract, but about their needs and pains. The human side of this doesn’t start and end with team members, it should flow through the entire supply chain.
Step 5: Continue to Work Against the Above Steps in Progressive Cycles
We’re now 60 days out from the initial situation I outlined above. We have seen client losses in the projected ranges. However, by continuing to operate with the above framework, we were also able to identify new opportunities to mitigate losses. More important than revenue losses, we’ve put an extensive effort on reprofiling our existing team members and finding them new homes.
We’re 60 days out, and we’ve played out the above cycle over ever-expanding timeframes. When this first started, we were operating in 2-4 hour windows and cycles. That shifted to 12-hour cycles. Then 24. After three weeks, we were able to shift to thrice weekly and this week, we’re operating in cycles that carry us between Mondays and Thursdays.
At the end of every cycle, and at the start of every new one, we start by objectively understanding our financial situation, our next critical, date or event-driven timeframe, and our values. Always, our values.
As a Leadership Team, is finally able to think beyond the current moment. For April, we were able to look up from the hours and days in front of us, and start to think about the entire month as a whole. As we enter May, our goal is to start setting plans through the end of June.
It feels right at this moment, but we know that things can change dramatically and we need to be ready, again. At the end of this cycle, or when the next haymaker comes our way.
No matter what powers the next cycle, we’re committed to being more deliberate and disciplined as a company. We’re committed to continuing to focus on our financial situation, the time we have until our next big moment (losing one of our biggest clients, having team members struggle with mental health issues at isolation, addressing prolonged quarantine measures), and most importantly, the values we have as an organization.
Team health and safety. Followed by commitments to our clients.
60 days later, can you believe it? We may be better off financially. We may be on a healthier trajectory today because of all the necessary work we did that we’d otherwise put off or found a reason not to do. 60 days later, we too can see the Himalayas.
Returning the Word “Need” to Its Purest and Most Powerful Definition
What I’ve written here cannot capture all of the work, coordination, effort, and sheer magic that went into our work as a company over the past 60 days. I’ve cried a few times at work in my life; always associated with saying goodbye. I’ve been moved to tears more times in the past 60 days than I have the past 20+ years because of the work and approach to work of our team. I’m struggling to find the words to celebrate and honor them. But I need to find them. In the purest sense, I need to find a way to let the team know how I feel.
There’s that word again. Need.
What COVID-19 has reminded me is ultimately, that we overuse the word need. So many of the things we needed: to survive, to do, to be, all washed away as the context changed.
As a business, there are only a handful of needs. Everything else is a choice. We’ve all heard so much about essential workers in recent weeks; not all of us can stake that claim. But we can all do better at focusing on essential work.
You need to know how much money you have to work with.
You need to know how much time you have to work with.
You need to know what kind of values are going to guide your work.
It’s amazing what truly is essential, too. What’s essential ends up being the answer to whatever fundamental questions you’re asking. If your question is “how are we going to 10x revenue”, well, what’s essential (and what your options are) will point in one direction.
But if your question is “how are we going to take care of our entire team” or “how are we going to honor our commitments and partnerships with our clients”, well, you end up with a very different definition of what’s essential.
I think companies, as we re-emerge after COVID-19, are going to be asking the latter questions more than they do the former. More on that in a different post.
We allow ourselves to be distracted by so many reasons to avoid operating with such clarity. We find reasons. In the midst of this incredible and unprecedented time, I find a silver lining in this simplicity. And this clarity. And this focus.
When we find a normal. A new normal. A return to the old normal. I plan on continuing to carry these simple principles with me; and to honor and pursue and manage against them with vigilance.
I am committed to returning the word need, to its purest and most powerful definition.
From COVID-19 to New Initiatives, What GMC Is Doing for You in 2020
Growth Marketing Conference have always taken care of you in the past, and we’ll keep doing so now. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine, you need help more than ever. So, we’re introducing several new Growth Marketing Conference initiatives to keep your growth numbers strong during these trying times, along with evergreen growth resources you can deploy – whenever, wherever – even after this crisis is over.
What a rocky last few months!
And if most of the current COVID-19 forecasts come true, the next few months will be rocky too.
But that doesn’t mean your growth – or your bottom line – has to suffer.
Your friends in growth at Growth Marketing Conference have always taken care of you in the past, after all, and we’ll keep doing so now.
Because in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemicand quarantine, you need help more than ever.
So, we’re introducing several new Growth Marketing Conference initiatives to keep your growth numbers strong during these trying times, along with evergreen growth resources you can deploy – whenever, wherever – even after this crisis is over.
After all, we’re a community.
And when any of us succeed, we all succeed.
So, let’s get started!
Actionable Virtual Events
Events are the future of marketing, and the current lockdown doesn’t change that.
It’s just made us a little more resourceful and inventive – the kind of outside-the-boxing thinking that Silicon Valley is known for.
But it turns out the answer is pretty simple – we’re going virtual.
We can reach a larger audience that way – at a much lower cost, no less – all over the world.
In fact, one of our last virtual events, the B2C Growth and Innovation Virtual Summit, had 7,000+ attendees.
And it’s not hard to see why.
This B2C Growth and Innovation Virtual Summit teaches you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the strategies, tools, and tactics that are actually making a difference at the world’s fastest-growing companies – despite all of the challenges we’re facing today.
It’s streaming live to your favorite desktop or mobile device, August 12-13.
In this interactive Virtual Summit, you’ll learn How to Launch Growth-Ready Products & Build Agile Growth Models for Spectacular Business Success in 2020 – and Beyond!
Whether you’re a CEO or founder; an event marketer, field marketing manager, or demand generation professional; or you just want to master what really works in growth marketing, you should definitely check out our virtual events.
Virtual Library & Weekly Podcast
That said, we’re not limiting our growth education to just a few events –comprehensive though they are.
We’re also offering on-demand, tactical-actionable growth video tutorials, too, as part of our exclusive Virtual Library.
From B2B to B2C, marketplacesto e-commerce, mobile apps to social media, and so much more, the Virtual Librarywill teach you everything you want to learn – streaming on-demand and in high-definition.
A wealth of best-in-class growth marketing education– 250+ actionable video tutorials and growing! – is waiting for you.
In it, we cover a single case study or growth strategy with our high-profile, industry-leading guests.
We distill everything down to the best 15 minutes, too.
We’re not trying to waste your time, after all, and as we all know time can be very hard to come by in our industry.
Every week, we give you everything you need to really supercharge your growth and send you on your way, so you can get back to work armed with new growth strategies, tactics, insights, and trends that will add a few more zeroes to your bottom line.
And who doesn’t want that?
As we all know, networking – or the lack thereof – can really make or break you.
The right connections can open doors you didn’t even knew existed to incredible jobopportunities, better talent pools, high-value customers, profitable business partnerships, and more.
Similarly, if you don’t network at all – or worse yet, network with the wrong connections – your company or career can really nosedive.
Thankfully, Growth Marketing Conference, being the community-based company that it is, knows a lot of great people.
High-flying Fortune 500 executives, rising-star startup founders, well-established investors, and so on.
We’ve created a more intimate format with growth leadership sessions designed for multiple rounds of interaction with speakers and your talented peers.
At the end of one day, you’ll walk away with actionable advice you can immediately implement at your company.
This exclusive, mentorship-focused and networking-driven event is your passport to the heart of the growth marketing community.
Due to the intimate format, this event is limited to 200 seats.
So, make sure you check it out as soon as possible! After all, you don’t want to miss your opportunity to get on a first-name basis with many of the top thought leaders working in growth marketing today, do you?
Exclusive Hiring Opportunities
We’re also pleased to announce one of the most exciting partnerships we’ve signed in recent years.
Growth Team is a comprehensive, easy-to-use job board for performance marketing, demand generation, product marketing, and growth marketing professionals.
They’ve built a one-stop-shop for all your job-hunting needs, and we at Growth Marketing Conference are proud to help them expand their reach – so you can get the jobs you really want.
Which, of course, is all the more important now during these trying economic times.
Together, Growth Marketing Conference and Growth Teamcan even make personal introductions on your behalf, so you can cut through all the noise and start connecting with the decision-makers who will actually be hiring you.
So, take a look.
There are quite a few incredible opportunities waiting for you!
And, of course, we have to turn your attention to our newly launched – and all modesty aside, already very successful – Events-as-a-Service (EaaS) product.
As you probably know, Growth Marketing Conference has been in the events business for a very long time.
We’ve produced more than 500 successful events – including 300+ virtual events and webinars – so know the industry backwards and forwards.
We’ve already done the same for IBM and Pantheon, and you could be next.
For now, we’re focusing exclusively on virtual events, and this is the perfect time for them.
In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, there’s no better way to capitalize on that incredible event marketing ROI – while still keeping everybody safe – than through hosting a virtual event, after all.
Just let us know what you need help with.
We can take care of event logistics, run marketing campaigns for you to promote it, bring in high-value speakers, and more.
Or, we can produce the whole thing for you – start to finish.
Whether this is your first event and you don’t know quite what to do, or you simply don’t have the resources to dedicate to event marketing right now, we’ll care of you.
All that aside, don’t forget – we’re all in this together.
Not just in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak, but in general.
We’re a community, after all.
When one of us succeeds, we all do.
And I’m very happy that Growth Marketing Conference can do something to help you or your company perform better.
It’s why I got into the events business, after all.
If you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask.
Inverted Unicorns: How to Think Outside the Box for Unexpected Facebook Ads Success
It's no secret - Facebook ads are getting more expensive and the market for them more competitive. Luckily, there's another way. Forget the usual Facebook ads playbook - targeting people who are obviously relevant to your ads - and start getting creative. Join Larry Kim, Founder & VP of marketing at MobileMonkey, on this podcast to learn all the unorthodox tips and tricks he's personally leveraged - or witnessed firsthand - for finding Facebook ad success in the most unlikely places.
AO: What was one unconventional growth tactic that you ran that did support surprisingly well?
Larry Kim: Hey Adam, thanks for having me today. Today I want to talk a little bit about Facebook ad costs and how to drive them down, using some weird tricks. Let’s face it, Facebook isn’t cheap, audiences used to cost a dollar CPMs like five years ago or closer to a hundred, $150 these days. So if you’re doing Facebook ads kind of the normal way, I think that it’s going to be very expensive and probably you’re losing a lot of money on that. So I’d love to share with you some weird growth hacks, ideas to kind of get more out of your ads by just employing clever ideas.
AO: We get the problem, we hear it all the time. Could you tell us some of the impacts? How would you quickly summarize a strategy that you have, that’s going to help us get around this?
Larry Kim: Let’s see here, in Facebook ads, I think there’s sort of this playbook where you sort of target the people who you think the ad is relevant to. But I wanted to explore a different angle, which is targeting people that are who have no relationship, where you’re targeting interests that don’t necessarily correlate to your target buyer or it doesn’t really, really make sense, but let me explain you a little bit. So you’re going to have to use your imagination a little bit. A friend of mine showed me this ad and the ad was to buy a t-shirt. Okay. And the t-shirt said, “Life took me to England, but I’ll always be an Arizona girl at heart”.
So this girl, friend of mine, she’s living in London and she was born and raised in Arizona, but that was like 20 years ago. OK. And somehow, some clever advertiser is targeting her in London with this ad that says “life took me to England, but I’ll always be an Arizona girl at heart”. And she’s like, WTF is my phone listening to me? How do they know this? And so that’s an example of what I call inverted unicorn ad targeting. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this, it’s just a made-up word that I’ve termed.
But in a nutshell, it’s a recipe that you can copy to create really, really crazy ads that you know, where people are like do a double-take and they’re like, how do they know about that? And it’s actually really simple, Adam. If you break it down. The first thing that ad is doing is it’s targeting people who live in the UK, who are women because it has to have like the image, it had a woman’s shirt on. There’s a demographic that you can overlay. It’s called recently moved. So women who live in the UK who’ve recently moved, but the question is, how do they know that my friend was originally from Arizona? Cause that’s kind of the punchline there, like “life took me to England, but I’ll be an Arizona girl at heart”. How do they know that? Basically, it’s very clever, they’re targeting unrelated interests.
So what I mean by this is they’re targeting people who live in England, who recently moved and who like a local business or club or organization that’s located in Arizona. So it could be a high school, it could be a sporting team. It could be a bar but like the combination of those three kinds. If your audience meets those three criteria, it’s not a bad bet to guess that that person originated from Arizona. Why? Because why else would they like some random school or bar or sporting team, like way out, so far away from the UK. Do you see what I’m saying, Adam?
So this is kind of goes against conventional advertising theory. So conventional advertising theory says, well, you’re supposed to go after related audiences. There’s a suggestion bar in Facebook ads where it says “type your interest”. And you could type in people who like marketing. And then it’ll say suggest more interests. Like people who do email marketing or people who like HubSpot or people who like SEO, you see what I’m saying? But these are all related interests. Like they’re kind of a subset of each other. Or, at least they’re sort of concentric circles. In terms of the Venn diagram, what I’m suggesting is that there’s a new way, there’s a possibility of coming up with ad targeting where you target unrelated interests. There is no correlation between people who recently moved and live in London, but who originated from Arizona.
They like a certain high school in Arizona, there’s no higher propensity for that person to be from Arizona than it is from Massachusetts than it is for Canada. Do you follow me here?
So what this targeting method does it does two things. The first thing it’s doing is making an educated guess by thinking if these two things, these three things apply I think I can spin a narrative of your life. The second thing that it’s doing is it’s making something, it’s creating goosebumps. Like people are commenting on this ad. They’re saying, “WTF, is my phone listening to me?” How many Arizonians are actually live in the UK? Why am I seeing this? It’s just, it’s just crazy.
So when you make these guesses about someone’s demographics or interests or behaviors, based on what a plausible scenario targeting certain areas and kind of extrapolating some kind of a hypothesis about their identity and then that you’re usually right. Those tend to get very, very high engagement rates, like people commenting, liking, sharing, clicking, and then, of course, the way the Facebook algorithm works is higher engagement rates that means more impression share. That means more the ad server will be more likely to serve it at a lower, effective cost per engagement because you’re generating so much engagement from the impressions that you’re you’re accruing.
AO: One quick question that I have is just the size. It sounds like in this example, the limit, it’s like a super limited size. Is that been a problem for you now?
Larry Kim: So what you would do is you would roll this out, in a thousand campaigns, as “Life took me to Canada, but I’ll always be an Oregon girl at heart” or “an Oregon guy at heart”. It’s just an exercise in cloning, a gazillion campaigns with ultra-high engagement rates. Do you see what I’m saying here?
AO: I did it, I mean, this is it’s brilliant and it makes so much sense. Could you help us with even more examples potentially around B2B buyers? Because I know I can think of examples in my head, but I’m curious if you can help us, like sure, sure, sure, sure, sure.
Larry Kim: Look, I use this in my marketing all the time. My company MobileMonkey, we’re a Facebook, we’re the world’s leading Facebook messenger marketing platform as well as SMS and SMS and webchat. But like a lot of B2B companies, we’re trying to get our name out there. And so we do a lot of content marketing like just blogging. And one of the things I wrote like a year and a half, two years ago. This was during the election, just after the 2016 presidential election in the US. It was just an article on fake news and how easy it is to spread fake news on Facebook. I thought that was a relevant topic because we do Facebook, our core audience is Facebook marketers. I just thought that was an interesting topic to write about.
And so we just wrote about it a story, how I just create a fake website called, “Citizens news networks.org” or something like this. And then I created a fake news article on that fake website. And then I created a fake Facebook page and posted the fake articles to my Facebook page. And then I just ran an experiment and showed how Facebook makes it very simple to like, boost posts, and then generate an insane amount of clicks and views and comments and likes and all this stuff. So that was sort of research. And then I wrote it up as a case study. So the blog post was written, “Here’s how you create fake news on Facebook and in four easy steps in 10 minutes or less”.
So that was the article that I wanted to create as kind of a PR stunt for link building and trying to get attention to your business. You see everything. So this is kind of a B2B brand building kind of thing. And so now I have this really great article that kind of goes through the step by step approach to spreading fake news. And I think that it’s going to be interesting to a wider audience of people. Now, I just need to promote the article. I need people to read the article so that they start sharing it and stuff like this. And the problem is I don’t want to spend a lot of money on this stuff, I’m cheap. So I limited the promotion budget to 50 bucks.
But we generate tens of hundreds of thousands of views for the article. So the question is, how did I do it? And the answer is I did it with Facebook ads, and I did it using the same inverted unicorn ad targeting method that I just described to you a minute ago.
Adam, I had a hunch that this article would be more interesting to liberals. Because they were upset about the election, rightly so. And like, they thought they were going to win it and this unexpected thing happened. And naturally, people want to point the finger at somebody “Oh, see, it’s Facebook’s fault”. You know, like this is all because of Facebook’s and the Russians, and they’re doing all this nasty stuff on Facebook, and that’s why this happened, you know?
Like they want to sort of explain things. Does that make sense?
All right, I’m going to target this ad for my blog story on my blog. I’m going to target it to liberals. All right. Like people who donate liberal causes, people who vote democratic, these are all targeting options in Facebook ads. The problem with that approach was that there were 55 million of these liberals. It tells you in the audience estimator how many people you’re targeting here. All right. And I was like, well, wait a minute, like 55 million people in this audience. And I only want to spend 50 bucks on this, on this PR stunt.
So that’s kind of what I describe as a sort of like your audience size is not commensurate with the amount of money you have to spend. If you’re even close, if you’re only spending 50 bucks, then you have no business targeting such an enormous audience. You’d be better off whittling it down from 50 million to 50,000 or 5,000, even. So that’s where the inverted unicorn comes into play. So I need some way to slice and dice these 50 million people. And conventional advertising says, well, why don’t you get the really, really, really like liberal people, like people who, what’s a liberal publication? Like people who also like MSNBC or something.
You can find even more liberal people who are more likely to eat this stuff up. And I was like, no, let’s try a different strategy. Let’s try an inverted unicorn strategy where we target something that’s completely unrelated. So in this case, and this is kind of ridiculous. I targeted people who like a television series called “Star Trek. Deep Space Nine”. It’s like a very modestly popular show, like 20 years ago in the nineties. The Star Trek genre. And there was this one episode where there was some kind of a Romulan Senator who, his name was Senator Vreenak.
And the whole point of that art or that episode was basically like fake news was, about fake news kind of using, how fake news was used in the 24th century to get these, the species into a war. So this is like a real niche, who the heck is going to know? Only a very, very small number of people. This is so niched. So I went after liberals, who also liked the steepest deep space, nine fan page, and it cuts it down to the audience to like 100,000 people. And basically in the ad copy, in the image, I used an image of that Romulans Senator Vreenak where he’s saying “this is fake”.
It’s like a meme. But it’s a very, very obscure, it’s an obscure meme. I don’t expect anyone here listening today to understand that need, because it’s just such an obscure show, but that’s okay. Because I only have $50 to spend. And I don’t need all 50 million of my audience to recognize this. If it’s even just five or 10,000 or a hundred thousand, I’m fine with that. You see what I’m saying? Cause I’m only spent 50 bucks. So I combined this kind of imagery of an obscure, Romulan Senator saying “this is fake”. And then using that as the hero image for this article on fake news in, on Facebook for the 2016 election.
And that was my experiment, going after unrelated interests rather than correlated interests. That’s the inverter unicorn ad targeting method. And basically the thing went bananas. So within minutes of posting this thing, it generated, hundreds of thousands of impressions and tens of thousands of clicks to the website. And you can even see like the Facebook posts, it’s, there’s thousands of comments and likes and shares and I know that it worked because people usually don’t drop comments on ads. But there was hundreds of comments in the ad saying like, “ha ha ha. I love that episode”. Someone even incredulously, wrote a comment to the ad saying, “I don’t get it, how so many people in the world even know what this obscure reference means?”.
But yeah, he’s opining in the comments saying ”how is this possible? Like, the person is so happy to be on the inside of that inside joke. But what he didn’t realize was the only reason why he’s seeing this ad is because I have had a hunch that based on the fact that you liked such an obscure fan page, that you, you would be in on this joke.
AO: So good. And the fact that we know that he’s potentially liberal in that, in the way that Facebook categorizes it. So you put those together and it’s just like an explosion of, like, I can’t believe that someone gets it.
Larry Kim: This is an article that I’m interested. And it’s a cultural reference that I actually understand. And look, you just have to think a little outside of the box here. You asked for a B2B example and every B2B company is doing content marketing. And every B2B company has a small budget for content promotion. this is an example where a little bit of creativity, targeting unrelated interests and then reflecting that back in the ad copy. So that it’s not just one interest that is drawing the viewer of your ad to engage with your content, but multiple interests simultaneously. So love of “Star Trek. Deep Space Nine Plus” a love of like political content. Those are unrelated. That it just opens up kind of new opportunities to engage with users in a much more effective way, than what every other freaking advertiser in the world is doing, which is targeting you based on your more obvious interests you’re following.
AO: I, man, this is so good. And I, like, I know that we can directly apply this just as growth marketers here immediately. So I thank you so much, Larry, for going through this example. And I love the humor in it. I think that’s a piece that we can’t miss and just the creativity and like, you just, you did a great job connecting something that, that you knew that that audience would find funny. And like, it sounds like you nailed that. And that’s something we can’t overlook that I know that’s probably the hardest part here. You didn’t pick, you pick the right thing to show them, but you did, but yeah, you nailed it. And I can’t believe that you spent $50 on that and got that kind of impression.
Larry Kim: So there was one other crazy thing that I did with Facebook that had a really amazing impact. It was kind of inspired by the Russians. The Russians weren’t just trying to promote content that was very one-sided to people who have held those biases. Like they were trying to create a fight. They were trying to create a food fight. The meaning is they would create content and then they would promote that content to the people like the vis of content, on the vis of social issues, they would then promote that content to people who held very strong views that were both for, but the genius part was both for and against that point of view. So what they, they kind of correctly inferred was that these Facebook algorithms, they really, really weight comments and comment replies, in terms of the weighting of their, ad and newsfeed algorithms.
So if you’re, this is going back to this point, if you’re just targeting the people who are interested in something. Then the comments which are so valuable, they have nowhere to go. They’ll just be like, I agree or great posts, but the stuff that the newsfeed algorithm likes to show to the surface is where there’s like lengthy, comments and comment replies. And comments, uploading, or downloading, like thumbs up or thumbs down of those comments.
Another experiment that we ran was just trying to promote content to both people who would eat this stuff up, but also people who would have an allergic reaction to that content. I did this with an article called, “Harvard study shows that working mothers, generate, oh sorry, raise more successful daughters”.
So “Working moms raise more successful daughters“. So that’s an incredibly divisive study because, first of all, stay at home moms hate that. Because they’re working moms too. They just happen to not be working in a conventional office setting. They might have it harder, and of course, you have the working mothers too, who will have mommy guilt. So they feel bad for having a nanny raise their children. And so they want to clean, they want to validate their life choices. So they see this article saying like, Oh, Harvard study shows that working moms, raise more successful children. So they’re going to engage with this. They’re going to write long comments.
Like, “this is why I work so hard, it’s to provide a great example to my daughter”, we targeted this, this piece of content to people there’s people who are female, but have CEO titles or managing director titles, really high powered women, parents. Everyone has children and home. So that’s kind of the people who are gonna eat this up and want to support and share this thing, like crazy. Right? Cause they want to validate their worldview. And then simultaneously we were spending 50 bucks to promote the content to the opposite. There are all sorts of targeting things like a stay at home mommy. There’s one Mommy CEO group worked for, for stay at home moms, just targeting the opposite, people who are not employed in a workplace, but have children and are raising their young children. And we just put 50 bucks to each group, then the sparks just flew, there were 64,000, reactions on that one post. Well, it’s because the magic is the comment replies and then the common engagement. So I just wanted to share that.
AO: It’s amazing. I mean, it just makes me think, man, it’s just, so it’s so creative, like you’re in touch with, with your audience.
This is what the Russians used. Like literally, they just wanted to create a food fight. Now, in terms of your own marketing, I’m not suggesting you start a food fight, but, there are definitely ways to spur legitimate discussion. Like if you’re promoting the keto diet, there’s going to be people who want, I don’t know, the paleo diet or something, so you can target others, people who have different strong views on something else. And a little bit of civil discourse, I think, goes a long way for these algorithms. So you just need to sort of think beyond this idea of targeting kind of the people who are likely to be interested in the ad. In the first example with the inverted unicorn, I was suggesting targeting unrelated uncorrelated interests in order to create a more, kind of captivating ad experience. And in the second example, I was suggesting targeting people with the opposing view in order to generate comments. And if you combine those two together, I think that’s a very effective way of using Facebook ads that still works in 2020.
AO: Larry, I’m excited. We got to try stuff like this in terms of just the two principals you said, and I cannot believe the low amount of money you spent. I mean, I just like it when I’m here 50 bucks, I’m like, Oh man, that’s not going to go far in, like, this is incredible. I wonder the equivalent, to get the equivalent traffic that you generated, how much money you had, would had to have spent in a traditional way of viewing ads. Yeah. Yeah. That’s like, you can’t, you can’t do it that way anymore because the costs are just too high. So you gotta get creative it, man, this is incredible. Our audience is gonna love this. Thank you so much, Larry. that’s all I got, man. We’d get, we got to have you on the show again and maybe a year or so when, as you continue with these really cool experiments,
That’s it. Another great episode The One Growth Show the official podcast of Growth Marketing Conference to learn more about upcoming events visit growthmarketingconf.com and subscribe to the newsletter. If you enjoy this episode, let us know. We’d really appreciate if you give us a 5-star rating, it’s super easy, just click the last star on iTunes and also share this episode on social media after all you want your network to know you’re the person they can always turn to for the best growth and marketing content, don’t you?
How To Turn LinkedIn Into A Personalized Growth Machine.
Melinda Byerley, Founding Partner of Timeshare CMO, explains how she finally cracked the code on LinkedIn. No, it was not some hack, she went back to the basics with a single post offering 4 hours of her time to anyone that met her target criteria. She said a high percentage of these calls turned into deals, but it wasn't about that. It was about serving people and learning from their challenges.
MB: Till one day it occurred to me that what people really wanted was to spend time talking with me. And so I basically put out an offer to speak with people who are in our demographic. I laid that out very precisely and then I said “this is why I’m willing to give free time to talk to and to solve certain problems with” and for the first time I really started to see LinkedIn generate results.
Adam O’Donnell: Boom, welcome to The One Growth Show brought to you by Growth Marketing Conference. We are the only podcast in the world that breaks down a growth experiment or delivers an actionable growth strategy. No fluff no nonsense so you can get back to your day and start making a real difference to your bottom line.
AO: Melinda explains how she finally cracked the code on LinkedIn. No, it’s not some hack. She went back to the basics with personalization. She created a single post that offered four hours of her time to anyone that met the target criteria. She said “a high percentage of these calls turned it into deals”, but it wasn’t about that. It was about trying to serve the people that she loved serving and learning from their challenges.
MD: Well, I think there’re a lot of misconceptions about growth tactics that they have to be scalable, they have to be fast, they have to be impersonal and really the most recent growth tactic that I’ve used is to actually be very personal with people. So as I thought about who our customers were at Timeshare CMO, they were senior-level marketers and many of them are used to being approached by people all the time all day every day in their LinkedIn invites and I tried the advice that was given to me by many different sources on the internet until one day it occurred to me that what people really wanted was to spend time talking with me.
And so I basically put out an offer to speak with people who are in our demographic. I laid that out very precisely and then I said “this is why I’m willing to give free time to talk to and to solve certain problems with”, and for the first time I really started to see LinkedIn generate results.
So, what’s the takeaway here?
I mean, we’ll talk about some of them but it’s really about being human. I think this is going to be the counter-intuitive narrative, which is really getting clear about who your target audience is and making sure that what you’re offering is uniquely tailored to them.
AO: Oh my gosh, this is going to be fun to talk about because we use LinkedIn all the time. So you’re saying what you basically did was an initial post. Or you had to change your title on LinkedIn? What was the initial thing that you said: “these are the people that I’m trying to talk to”? Could you dive into that?
A slim little book, just like most of what Seth writes, but it’s just it’s pure distilled wisdom delivered like mainlining and I kept stopping and making notes. And one of the things he talks so precisely about is when you segment your audience, we spend a lot of time talking about where do they live and how much money do they make, and are they men or the women, and how big is their company. And instead of talking about who they are, what they believe in, who is like them, and why they are like us, and why we seek to serve them and literally in the middle of reading that book I was inspired. And so I logged in to LinkedIn at that moment and I made a post with this offer and it blew my mind like how it was the first time that any tactic I had really tried on LinkedIn seemed to have tangible sort of results.
AO: I love it. Can you tell us the actual post that you wrote or something as close as you can get?
MB: Well you have to know, this is the beauty of it Seth says “if you tell people your tactics they can copy your tactics. If you tell people your strategy they can’t copy your strategy because very few people are willing to put in the time and effort to think through what their audience wants and who they are”. So I could say well I’m not going to tell you that because if I tell you that you’re all going to try and do it. But the fact is that you can’t all do what I did because your customers are not the same as my customers.
So here is the insight for me. Was that my customer from Timeshare CMO is not even a CMO. Every CMO is not my customer. My customer is a particular type of CMO. They have certain things in common. They have certain things that they believe, they have certain ways that they work and act and think and so with that in mind the post that I offered was “four hours of my time to anyone who was new in a CMO role to talk about how to be more successful and how to keep their job.”
And I offered that to only two people in my network or people who were referred by my network. So you couldn’t just call me up on the phone and get this offer or you had to be someone who was known to me directly or known by somebody who knew me.
And it worked gangbusters. I positioned it as a gift. It was like it is a gift because I don’t do this, I don’t give away my time, I’m very protective of my time.
And so it was hey, you know, you’re doing a favor for a friend of yours because they’re getting four hours of free coaching essentially free support with no strings attached.
No sales process. No hassle. Just four hours of time with me to talk about how to keep their job and how to be successful in the role that they’re in and that worked.
You know people who wanted to refer to their friends. I had people in my network call me. I had people who heard about the offer and begged to be spoken with. Even though they weren’t in my network and I made an exception in a couple of cases because it made sense.
AO: This is so cool. I mean it’s so basic but it’s so insightful at the same time. I’m just already thinking about how we can apply this and just what we’re doing as well.Help me with those actual calls. You obviously weren’t doing a four-hour time thing. This may be like, hey, let’s have an hour a week at least…
MB: Yes, and this doesn’t work for everybody because not everybody out there has 20 years of marketing experience in Silicon Valley to make the first hour with the top CMO value-added.
The point of this tactic is not that everybody listens to this should go out and do this. Because chances are unless you have had 20 years of experience in Silicon Valley or whatever you’re doing, if CMOs are your target it will ring hollow, it will ring fake.
That’s why I’m able to talk about it or not be possessive about it because you can’t get away with this unless you can deliver. If you get on that phone call with that CMO and you’re not delivering value in that hour you won’t get another phone call or another one.
So the point of all of this, of the growth tactic, is to slow down for a moment and really think about who your customer is and what do they have in common with each other? Not just their demographics, but their what we call psychographics.
It affects their beliefs, their attitudes, what they’re afraid of, what they need, what they want, and how you can be useful to them at that moment. It’s a point of service. It’s really thinking about how to serve your customer well.
So the tactic may not work for everybody and that’s not the point. The point is the strategy which is really getting at who you seek to serve and trying to make your offer combined with that.
AO: I love it. Yeah. This helps us kind of paint the picture for our listeners. They are trying to ask themselves this question, wow this worked for Melinda. But how do I apply this to what I’m doing? Because I’m not as well known or maybe my company is. But how can I take this same method?
So do you want to talk about creative things that you’ve seen that could be similar? I mean obviously rooted in like I want to serve my customers if you don’t want to serve them then you probably shouldn’t be in that business.
MB: That’s right. That’s exactly right. And that’s where the creativity comes into play. So one of the things that has really sort of concerned me in the sort of growth marketing movement is the sort of like repetition of tactics and that’s what makes them feel like spam.
That’s what makes them feel impersonal because they are impersonal. And you have to be willing to say who is not my customer. So who is not your customer who is not the person you’re seeking to serve and to take a risk with who you seek to serve and be only towards them.
Every time I put out something like we serve some very high-end clients like DVD Netflix, GitHub, Stack Overflow, like if I just put that out there that wasn’t enough because there are lots of great agencies out there that serve top brands.
But the people that want to hire Timeshare CMO, look at the world a little bit differently.
It’s not everybody. Everybody is not your customer and that’s going to feel strange to anybody who’s all about scalable growth tactics. But the first step in this strategy is to accept that not everybody is your customer and to be very clear about who is not your customer so that you can really drill in and talk to the people who are. One way you can do that, for example, is to create a matrix. A 2 by 2 matrix where you plot two attributes, again, this comes straight out of Seth Godin’s book. It’s two attributes that you were thinking you said, it could be your price. It could be your service. It could be all kinds of things with certain features. It could be anything. But figuring out where you are and where you want to be.
You can’t just go out and copy what I wrote on LinkedIn, because, first of all, my customers may not be your customers, there are CMOs that I serve that you may not want to serve and vice versa.
And so go after the customers, see what your customers have now, what do they have in common. It is not just like their companies so many agencies focus on industry. We serve companies in many different Industries because we serve people and people. Look for the commonalities.
AO: I got it. When I ask these questions I know that it’s just a weekend-long to get a categorical answer here. But what was the conversion of the people that you talk to that became business down the road?
MB: Well, it’s another thing, my customers take a long time. This is a relationship business.
So my conversion rate is irrelevant really because it’s been successful for my business and that’s my point.
So I can’t say to anybody that if you go do this your conversion rates are going to be X. I can tell you that it blew me away that a wild idea that I got after reading a book, posting it on LinkedIn at 10 o’clock at night yielded, you know, probably half a dozen or a dozen phone calls with people within 24 hours.
That was unheard of for me up until that point.
I really felt like I hadn’t understood LinkedIn and even though I was very successful on Twitter and I’d gotten a lot of business off Twitter. I hadn’t figured out LinkedIn yet. And this one worked for me. It may not work for everybody but I do think the takeaway is the power of Seth Godin’s book, which is really understood and finally figured out who I served and why I served them and then the people who wanted to be served in that way. They found me.
AO: That is so good. Yeah, could you share some of the learnings that you did learn from those calls that you had?
MB: Well, I mean, I do think that you know, again it reaffirmed there were some calls where it became very obvious after a couple of hours that this person was probably not going to be a client from for us, but that’s okay because they might refer someone else to us, or they might call us when they are at the next job.
Second of all, I learned about other Industries. So some came out of industries that we had no experience with so that was interesting I could learn about what was going on in a particular field and some became clients quickly, some very quickly converted into clients, some are still in discussion some are you know taking their time and sometimes it’s obvious there’s a perfect fit.
There are some commonalities with dating in the work, I would say one of my biggest learnings is that the thing I spent my whole life learning to be an expert at which was scalable marketing was exactly the opposite of what my company needed at this time.
AO: Wow, that is really interesting.
MB: So you have to be willing to say, you know, once you have this tool that not, you know if you have a hammer everything starts to look like a nail and you’ve got to be careful about that marketing is service business to top CMOs, consumer packaged goods, B2B, Financial Services like that is not something you do in a scalable way. It is a relationship and it is a completely different approach.
It took me longer than it should have to learn that but the faster you can really grab onto that the faster you’ll be successful
AO: So good. So, I mean, let’s just say that this is the right approach for someone like in terms of this LinkedIn Outreach just sincerely saying hey, I really just want to talk to people in this category.
What were some of the roadblocks that you found?
MB: We kept it simple like everything I think again growth marketers tend to over-engineer things, especially if you have an engineering background, the whole point is to be human, the “be human”.
So it was a simple Zoom call. There was nothing to mess up.
I do have an assistant who helps organize my calendar and most of these people have assistants as well.
So that went pretty easily sure there were people who didn’t show up but usually, it was by accident and so we learn to send out reminders the day before to say “don’t forget you have a call tomorrow”. But nine times out of ten, you know by the second or third call we were talking on cell phones, you know, I would be talking to people while they were walking their dogs or renovating their apartment or you know, cell phone numbers were exchanged and it got casual very quickly.
I think you know there’s real power in the human approach in the and so thinking about you know, even if you are looking for a scalable tactic, I think the extent at which you really can try to be human with it will determine your success.
AO: No doubt. Well, just a final question. Can we talk about the agenda of that call? And I know I’m sure that word may be too structured even considering what you’ve been sharing so far, but could you just kind of discuss like the beginning of how you would start a call?
MB: Well, it’s again, you know, it depends on what you do for a living but in my case, I serve CMOs who are typically new in their role or seeking a change in their company. And as Seth Godin says “marketing is about change”. And so hearing a lot of its listening and I think that’s a good marketer should be a good listener.
So again, who are these people you seek to serve, and what are their problems? How are they solving their problems? What are their pain points? What are their fears? And every conversation I had just kept reinforcing what I was learning about what our customers have in common and what they don’t have in common and it’s made it easier for me to do some of the more classic LinkedIn tactics that were not having success before so if I’m now doing an inmail now I can talk about maybe I don’t use an email maybe I only use second-degree connections and I send something very personal. I like congratulations on your new role and I’m and it’s and it’s a very personalized thing. It is not something that’s done by bots or by a link farm or by some people who don’t even know me or know the customer.
There are just some things that I won’t do at this point.
We’re trying to build relationships with people because they’ve seen it all. These people have seen it all and there’s no fooling them. They know what a bot is. They know it’s a fake spammy automated outreach email, they know and most of them don’t even go on LinkedIn anymore because of that. Because they’ve been overwhelmed by spam. So how do you deal with people who have that mentality you have to be personal and you have to end. You have to be patient and sincere and it’s really about asking questions about the pain points and seeking to solve them the minute you get into this mindset.
Say, if I have to sell something you’re dead. Because you know, I can’t outsell McCann, Erickson, or BBDO, you know, those guys are great. They are the world’s best at selling services to large companies, marketing organizations. They’re great at it.
But that’s not what the people I talk to are looking for. They’re looking for human and real and very supportive marketing services.
AO: Love it all. I mean at the end of the day, you’re basically just saying like is your purpose genuine like start with your heart there in terms of art. Do you actually want to serve these people and then work from there? And then we’re not using the words tactics and hacks and do this and do that. It’s like hey, I honestly just want to know these people because I relate with him and I love being able to interact with them and just start from that and the answer becomes a lot more obvious.
MB: Yeah, and then if you start to do it, you can find ways to automate the process you can find ways to save time over time. But until you actually do it you can’t automate it. It and I see so many startups make this problem.
That’s what the founder will say. Oh, I just need to hire a salesperson and then our sales problem will be solved. No, if the founder can’t sell. no outside salesperson can solve that problem for them.
They have to sell first, they have to learn how to sell it because they know the product better than anyone else and if they don’t know how to sell it they will never be able to teach someone else and that was the way I felt about where we were in the growth of our firm.
I knew that I wanted us to grow but I also felt like our growth has been so organic. We are blessed to have been grown organically over the last five years through word of mouth, through the networks.
And I knew that I couldn’t just hire someone to go fake that.
Otherwise, we’d be moving away from everything we stood for. So it was I have to go out and learn how to sell to people who don’t know me and until I understand how to sell to people who don’t know me how could I ever ask a salesperson to do it for me?
AO: So good. Yeah, this is the ultimate qualitative way of understanding your customer so that you can put things that are more scalable and placed in the right way.Yeah. I love it. This is amazing. I’m going to take these things for myself as well. And I know our listeners going to be able to apply this immediately. So thank you so much, Melinda. This is amazing.
MB: I’m glad I could help have a wonderful day.
That’s it. Another great episode The One Growth Show the official podcast of Growth Marketing Conference to learn more about upcoming events visit growthmarketingconf.com and subscribe to the newsletter. If you enjoy this episode, let us know. We’d really appreciate if you give us a 5-star rating, it’s super easy, just click the last star on iTunes and also share this episode on social media after all you want your network to know you’re the person they can always turn to for the best growth and marketing content, don’t you?
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[Free Virtual Content] Best B2B Sessions from Growth Marketing Conference
Here are three of my favorite sessions from Growth Marketing Conference 2019. You're going to learn about AI, a better way for sales and marketing to work together, and why your SEO sucks and what to do about it.
Best B2B Sessions from Growth Marketing Conference" ]
You can’t make every event, and these days, there aren’t any events anyone can make…
So one thing you can do while you’re stuck inside, is review world-class presentations and reminisce of great events with great networking, you know… when a handshake wasn’t considered “Assault.”
Here are three of my favorite sessions from Growth Marketing Conference 2019. You’re going to learn about AI, a better way for sales and marketing to work together, and why your SEO sucks and what to do about it.
And if you like these sessions, we have 5 more free on-demand as part of our virtual library, you can check them out here.
Autodesk’s Unfair Strategic Advantage: How AI Quadrupled Their Conversions & Doubled Their Content Engagement – Siarra Nazir
These days, AI is ubiquitous – powering everything from Alexa to mobile apps – but too many marketers are ignoring it, mostly because they don’t understand it. Autodesk, however, didn’t make that mistake.
They invested in learning how AI could help their business, and discovered more than a few creative ways AI could drive their demand generation goals, breakthrough periods of stagnant growth, and ultimately quadruple their conversions and double their content engagement.
Just ask Siara Nazir. In this session, she’ll teach you cold hard best practices for leveraging AI to create and convert traffic, including some hard-won tips for choosing the right vendor she learned along the way!
Artificial Intelligence is truly in its infancy and the opportunity is staggering. That being said, even with Watson’s AI marketing engine increasing your conversion rate by 30%, you’re still not going to hit a 55% year over year growth goal. You’re going to need more than just website optimization…
So what can you do with AI to continuously increase growth? Use it to analyze your customers, their behavior, and develop key insights and ideas.
Jon Miller Katie Martell -Fireside Chat: What’s Next for B2B Over the Coming 10 Years & How You Can Be Successful Through Them All
From co-founding Marketo (acquired by Adobe for $4.8B!) to co-founding and running as CEO Engagio (ranked #1 ABM solution by Research in Action!), Jon Miller is something of a living legend in the B2B space. After all, he’s the man who literally invented marketing automation and coined the term “lead gen.” And in this visionary fireside chat, he’s going to leverage his considerable B2B experience and success to forecast what’s going to happen in B2B marketing over the next 10 years, along with teaching you practical strategies and tactics for making the most of these new developments. Your 10-year plan for B2B success starts here.
Jon explores the changes in the sales department and limitations of 1-1 conversations per rep at scale.
A rep could maybe manage 16 accounts at one time… And it turns out most sales reps aren’t that great at having 16 conversations with leads at various stages of the funnel.
But Jon realized that marketing is really good at keeping the conversation going. So in the past, the rep had to maintain those conversations, and marketing was done once they passed off the lead.
Now, for Jon’s team, marketing helps sales close the deals and keep leads warm through the sales process, not just before.
Eli Schwartz – Everything You Know About B2B SEO Is Wrong
SEO isn’t a monolithic thing. Depending on your objectives – and your industry – you will have different priorities and execute different strategies. Just ask Eli Schwartz, Director of Growth & SEO at SurveyMonkey. He makes a point of investing in search strategies that drive top-of-funnel user acquisition in service of SurveyMonkey’s larger growth goals. And in this session, he’s going to teach you how to write your own B2B SEO playbook (because what works for B2C doesn’t always work for B2B!), with your specific business needs in mind, so you can start reaping the search returns you know you deserve.
Page speed is important, but once you implement the best practices, you don’t need to worry about every tenth of a second.
Mostly, great SEO is still about getting backlinks. Quality backlinks. Getting a Forbes writer who usually writes on science to write about marketing tech is probably not going to be very valuable. Google knows.
SEO is not an acquisition channel. It’s a brand and growth channel for generating awareness.
Don’t chase rankings, chase revenue. Ranking #1 doesn’t matter if it isn’t generated tracked revenue.
Honestly, just rewatching these sessions has inspired me to take some action in my own business. And I thought I knew these things already…
What did you learn? What are you going to do in your business, this week, that you learned from these sessions?
Would you like to see the top three keynotes from Growth Marketing Conference 19? Sign in to view
34 of the Best Tools for E-commerce Growth
Below I explore the most powerful, tested and vetted, e-commerce growth tools designed to help you grow your business starting at the top of the funnel and working our way down.
A Guide to Growing Store Revenue From the Top of the Funnel to the Bottom
There are only two ways to grow revenue for an e-commerce store…
Increase traffic or increase conversion rate.
(Okay, there is a third—increasing average order value/ lifetime value. But technically, you could put that under “conversion.” And while we’re at it, we should consider growing an email list the equivalent of increasing traffic, because that’s ultimately how it’s used.)
There are a ton of tools out there targeting business leaders like you. And no one has the time or budget to vet every single one of them.
So I’m going to save you a bit of time.
Below I explore the most powerful, tested and vetted, e-commerce growth tools designed to help you grow your business starting at the top of the funnel and working our way down.
I will compare similar tools to give you a few options and allow you to find what’s right for you.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, I recommend demo’ing at least two tools in a category before committing it to your e-commerce technology stack.
Before we dive in, I must say…
Make sure you have the resources you need to execute a thorough strategy. Use the tools below as an extension of your resources, not a substitute.
The same way a person uses a hammer to hit a nail, you don’t simply buy the hammer, sit it on the table and expect it to drive nails on its own…
Prefer to watch instead of reading? Here’s the full breakdown.
When you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic, putting together a giveaway can make a lot of sense.
The basic strategy works like this:
Gather a handful of brand partners that serve the same audience (you sell dog collars, they sell dog leashes, etc.).
Everyone agrees to give away $200 in product (or any other mutually agreed amount). Each deal may vary slightly based on contribution level, reserve the right to share the email list with only your top contributors.
You and your partners email your respective lists (and post via social media) to drive registrants.
Optional: Run ads that drive attention to the giveaway.
Announce the winner and sell product to the subscribers on the backend typically via an email drip.
There are a few tools that work really well for this type of strategy, any of which could be the right fit for you.
Here are a few viral giveaway/contest tools for e-commerce:
What I like about them: Supports very robust campaign types and integrations; a long-time favorite in the industry.
Pricing:Free Trial; Starts at $49/mo
Multiple Giveaway Types
Social Media Integrations
[Top of Funnel] Referral / Affiliate Software
A few things to know before you launch an affiliate or referral program:
You get out what you put in (most people put in nothing and then complain about the results).
If your product or commissions suck, no one will want to work with you.
Your goal isn’t only to get sales but to convert someone else’s audience into your own.
The bottom line: The deeper the relationship with affiliates and customers, the better an affiliate program will work for you. This strategy works best if you can have at least one dedicated person to affiliate marketing (or at least grow the role to one full-time person).
What I like about them: One of the most popular affiliate tools and marketplaces. You can set up an account quickly set custom commissions, and join the marketplace to open up your offer to thousands of affiliates.
What I like about them: More of a site than a software, but a very popular place for merchants to share their products and setup an affiliate account on. They have a network of affiliates, you simply post your product and allow others to share and make their commissions.
What I like about them: When you need more than just affiliate marketing, GetAmbassador has referral, influencer, and partner software all geared towards leveraging other people’s audiences to grow your own.
Pricing: None disclosed on website. Demo required to view pricing.
Unique Commissions by product
[Top of Funnel] Influencer Marketing Software
This method is the third cornerstone of good referral marketing: the influencer.
In all three of these examples, we’re using other companies existing audiences to drive traffic to our own.
(By the way, that’s all Facebook ads are doing. Facebook is simply very, very big influencer, and they have an organized way to bid for their audiences attention.)
Influencer marketing comes in three flavors:
Product in exchange for a review/social post.
Money in exchange for a promotion. This could be for $500 or $500,000.
Endorsement, typically of the celebrity type, for a 1-year+ contract. (Most e-commerce brands don’t do this.)
What I like about them: For getting product reviews from your existing customers, I really like Carro, which helps you identify influencers that are already following your brand. They also have a tool that allows influencers to shop on your site, select what they like, and then request the products from you, so that you’re shipping/logistics is taken care of the same way as any other customer (if you’ve ever had to ship 100 influencers a product, you know it can be time consuming, so this helps).
For larger promotions and more upmarket solutions, there are a few platforms that can help you find and manage influencers…
What I like about them: A true management platform with its own network of influencers, they have detailed stats on each influencer, account size and growth, demographic, etc. For those who have a sizeable influencer marketing budget and want to take their program seriously.
What I like about them: Previously known as “Revfluence,” they have an influencer marketing platform, and help with content creation or will do managed services for you.
Influencers on Platform: 500,000
[Middle of Funnel] Improving the Product Detail Page
Once a user visits the site, you only have a few seconds (maybe a minute) to get the right information in front of them, to convince them to stay long enough to purchase.
The only way to really know if you’re improving your site, and your product detail pages, is to split test—A/B test. You can do test on individual pages or across all product detail pages. And any site doing over 25,000 visitors/month or $50k/month should invest in spending the time and money on split testing, as it really helps with long-term growth and improving the overall customer experience.
A great tool for conversion rate optimization and split testing.
Fera.AI is a flexible platform that can create urgency, pop-ups, banners, social proof widgets, and over 100 other “skills” that you can use to improve page design and UX based on a users behavior, location, etc. Most importantly, Fera allows you to A/B test your pages and figure out which changes are actually improving conversion rate.
Other sections will contain some more specific opportunities for increasing on-site conversion rate and improving your product detail pages.
[Middle of Funnel] Social Proof
Showing happy customers is an instant trust builder. Now, a 5 star review isn’t all that exciting these days, but a picture or video review explaining the real “why” behind the value of the product, that will move product.
Collecting social proof is a mandatory part of your post-purchase sequences. Displaying it on site, in ads, and anywhere else you can is the art to increasing conversion rate.
Sidenote: The “testimonial” page is dead, don’t make a boring page of all your happy customers, incorporate testimonials into your homepage, category pages, and product detail pages.
Here are some of the more popular social proof tools for e-commerce.
What I like about them: Advanced functionality for collecting picture and video reviews, and integrates with most major loyalty programs for providing the customer with bonuses and incentivizes for completing their review.
What I like about them: Another great solution for collecting and displaying reviews. They also have a Net Promoter Score tool for gauging overall product and company feedback, separate from the public review system.
Pricing: $0 – $199/month
Video Reviews: Starting at $69/month
Net Promoter Score
[Middle of Funnel] Collecting More Emails
Not everyone wants to buy from you right away…
There is a portion of your website traffic that’s convinced enough to join the tribe / start believing in the brand, but they aren’t ready to buy just yet. This audience benefits most from some form of a newsletter, discount, or other lead magnet piece of content, where they can give their email address (or phone number or Messenger opt-in) in exchange for a perceived benefit.
From there, you can nurture these leads, and you’ll see a portion of them convert into customers, increasing your overall conversion rate, and building a large audience pool for long-term nurturing, retargeting, and brand building.
Here are some of the most popular pop-up tools for e-commerce:
What I like about them: A “spin-to-win” pop-up tool that helps engage and convert visitors.
Pricing: $0 -$299/month
Interactive opt-in forms
Advanced triggers and segmentation
[Middle and Bottom of Funnel] Displaying the Right Shipping (Landed) Dates
I had to dedicate this section to one really great tool that I haven’t seen anything quite like: FenixCommerce. Now, while that is my favorite tool for solving this specific problem, it may not be practical for your store, due to pricing, integration restrictions, or your specific shipping situation, so I’ve listed a few alternatives.
FenixCommerce answers one burning question that every customer has:
“When will I actually get this product in my hands?”
This tool takes in your shipping information, inventory (amount in-stock and warehouse location) information, the user location information, and even the weather and seasonality is taken into account… And it turns all that into a predictive answer to the question:
What I like about them: Truly predictive landed date.
What I like about them: This tool covers some of the shipping side, making sure you are charging the right amount for shipping and upselling shipping options, but none of the predictive landed dates.
Seasonality and Weather: No
[Bottom of Funnel] Upsell / Cross-selling
If you have a core product that sells really well, you should be able to find a complementary product that some percentage of your customers will buy, increasing your overall average order value, lifetime value, and profit. Put another way, if you don’t have an upsell/cross-sell funnel, you’re leaving money on the table.
Quick definition: An upsell is when you get someone to buy more of one thing. Like going from 1 lb of coffee to 2. A cross-sell is when you get someone to buy something else with their purchase. Like buying coffee filters with 1 lb of coffee. Most of the time, you’re looking for cross-sells, unless you’ve got products like coffee, that are consumable and people can easily get more of the same.
What I like about them: Perhaps a simpler tool for understanding which of your products are typically bought together, then you can easily create bundles or pre and post-sale upsell/cross-sell offers. They don’t do the full-fledged product recommendation engine, but they do allow you to create your own pre and post-sale pop-ups and suggestions for increasing average order value and conversion rate.
Smart Product Recommendations and Bundling
[Bottom of Funnel] Abandon Cart / Checkout Retargeting
There are a lot of different ways to hit your prospects with abandon cart messages, and it has been proven that the more channels you have to communicate with them, the more likely you will get them back to purchase.
There are 3 typical “abandon” sequences that you want to enable:
Abandon product view – this is where the user simply browses a product and you want them to go back to that product to purchase. They weren’t interested enough to buy, so this is the lowest intent audience.
Abandon cart – they added a product(s) to their cart, and life got in the way, they didn’t check out.
Abandon checkout – they started to purchase, but maybe they didn’t have their credit card nearby, or they just got distracted before completing the transaction. This is obviously your highest value target.
The larger your store, the more time you should spend segmenting your efforts and using different copywriting and discounting for each segment (and different ad campaigns as well).
Now remember, the most import parts to a great abandon cart tool are:
Showing the image and price of the products they viewed or added to cart.
Being able to give a dynamic discount code (time-sensitive offer customized to that user).
Being able to track whether or not they purchased and automatically disabling the sequence once they purchase.
If you have these 3 functionalities, you can create urgency, be specific in your messaging, and capture more value with price sensitive offers (time decay discounts).
One of my favorite tools for abandon cart is Omnisend, which currently does email, web push, and SMS. And I’m sure they will have more channels available soon. Omnisend is great because you can coordinate all of these activities from one campaign flow, which improves your time efficiency and reduces the ‘noise’ that can be caused when each tool operates independently.
But switching your email service provider isn’t always practical, and if I’m being honest, Omnisend doesn’t have the depth of features on each individual tool (but they are getting better every day).
For that reason, here are some other great tools that will likely plug into your email service provider and help reduce abandon cart rates, and provide additional post-purchase retention value as well:
What I like about them: One of the leading platforms for Push Notifications. They have slick opt-in tools and out-of-stock notifications, and make it easy to share images and GIFs in your push notifications.
What I like about them: A large player in the push notification space but not originally created for e-commerce, they have AI backed personalization components which help scaling businesses increase conversion rate.
What I like about them: Abandon cart sequence, shipping and purchase notifications, and retention. Also, they charge based on tracked revenue generated, not users or messages, which is a really cool way to be billed, because, if you pay them anything, you always know you made money from the deal.
SMS Integration: No
As mentioned above, Omnisend and Octane do SMS marketing as well, but here are a couple of the main SMS-only tools in the space:
What I like about them: A newer tool with less functionality (but that’s changing quickly). They are great for just the basics, and they take a marketer-centric approach to their dashboards and feature roadmap.
Pricing:From $47/mo + $0.005/message
Opt-In Integrations: Checkout and Campaign
Two-way messaging using a dedicated phone number
Automatically deflects 87% of responses
Advanced attribution reporting with View-Through Conversion and Click-Through Conversion breakdowns
A lot goes into researching, plugging in, and getting value from the tools you use to grow your store.
So if you ever have any questions about which tools are right for you and your e-commerce store, hit me up, I give free tech stack consultations. There is literally no catch. Book a time with me here.
And yes, I didn’t get to mention every single tool in every single space. There are many other great tools not listed, if you think your tool should be added to the list, send me a message at derric at ecommercetech.io.
How to Supercharge Growth Marketing by Strengthening Your Brand
A strong brand makes your marketing initiatives exponentially more efficient and effective, yielding compounded returns over a longer period of time. So, what do we mean when we talk about branding and marketing? Let’s start with some practical definitions.
As the CEO of a branding agency, I’m
often asked about the ROI of branding. “What are the real-world business
benefits of investing in my brand?” clients wonder. “How is branding going to positively
impact my bottom line?”
I’ve written extensively on this
subject, but one of the biggest takeaways is that a strong brand makes your
marketing initiatives exponentially more efficient and effective, yielding
compounded returns over a longer period of time.
The inclination to put too much
stock in short-term marketing activations at the cost of long-term
brand-building is a trend that’s put the sustainability of more than a few
major brands in jeopardy. More on that later.
But exactly how can a strong brand
impact your marketing? To answer this question, it’s best to start at the
beginning. The difference between branding and marketing is something not
everyone understands. Even fewer could clearly explain the distinction if you
put them on the spot.
So, what do we mean when we talk about branding and marketing? Let’s start with some practical definitions.
Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Every industry expert worth his or
her salt has taken a stab at defining branding at some point in their career.
The fact that no two answers are ever quite the same says something about the
discipline itself. Here are a handful of worthy attempts at defining brands and
branding that I’ve come across over the years:
“A brand is a person’s gut feeling
about a product, service or company. A brand is not what you say it is–
it’s what they say it is.” – Marty Neumeier
“A brand for a company is like a
reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
– Jeff Bezos
“A brand is the set of
expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account
for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” –
“Brand is the promise, the big
idea, the expectations that reside in each customer’s mind about a product,
service or company. Branding is about making an emotional connection.” – Alina
“Your brand is the single most
important investment you can make in your business.” – Steve Forbes
At my agency, we define brands as perceptions. Your brand is how your company is perceived by those who experience it. Specifically, they are the perceptions of your employees, your investors, your board, the media, and, perhaps most importantly, your customers. Branding, then, is the act of shaping these perceptions.
As a general rule, definitions of
marketing tend not to be as esoteric as those of branding. People are more
likely to have a working understanding of marketing simply because it is more
“Marketing refers to activities undertaken by a company to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. Marketing includes advertising, selling, and delivering products to consumers or other businesses.” – Investopedia
“Marketing is the process of getting people interested in your company’s product or service.” – HubSpot
“Marketing is the activity, set of
institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and
exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and
society at large.” – American Marketing Association
Marketing, then, is ultimately about promotion. It often leverages insights from research to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of promotional efforts whose ultimate goal is the sale of a product or service. As Business Dictionary puts it, marketing is “based on thinking about a business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction.”
How to Build a Rock-Solid Brand Framework
The reason investing in branding is so important is that a strong brand will always translate into more efficient and effective marketing. Branding ensures a consistent, cohesive, overarching brand narrative that ties each of your marketing touchpoints together.
The value of consistency when it
comes to branding and marketing cannot be overstated. Consistency leads to
familiarity and familiarity leads to the most ultimate goal of branding and
marketing: brand loyalty.
So, in order to get the most out of your marketing, you need a strong brand. But how do you build a strong brand? With a rock-solid brand framework.
Building a rock-solid brand framework starts from the inside out:
At the center is your Brand
Compass, which includes core messaging components like your Purpose,
Vision, Mission, and Values. It’s important to think critically about this
foundational messaging, and know which questions to ask when creating them:
Purpose: Why does your company exist beyond making a profit?
Vision: What is the ideal world your brand hopes to bring about?
Mission: How do you plan to achieve your Vision? What are you going do to? How are you going to do it? Whom are you doing it for?
Values: What are the underlying principles and ethics shared by your team?
The next layer is your brand’s Positioning,
which includes differentiating statements like your Value Propositions,
Competitive Advantage, and Brand Promise. Again, the definition of each of
these concepts starts with a question:
Value Propositions: What are the areas of value your brand purports to offer those it serves? What are the needs and challenges of your target audiences and how do you plan to address them?
Competitive Advantage: What does your company do better than any of your competitors?
Brand Promise: What is the solemn pledge you make to your customers?
The third layer is your brand’s Personality,
which is the set of human characteristics expressed by your brand. Personality
is defined by adjectives such as “trustworthy,” “intelligent,” or “fun” that
are critical for designers, copywriters, and other creatives to understand when
bringing your brand to life. We typically have our clients brainstorm dozens of
ideas before narrowing them down to four defining attributes. These attributes
answer questions like:
How would you describe your brand if it were a person?
How would you want a user to describe your ideal website
How does your brand look, sound, and act when it engages with the
Next up is your brand’s Name,
which should relate to your audience on a deep and personal level. Naming
extends from your company name to your products and services as well. Naming or
renaming a company, product, or service is an in-depth process that starts with
extensive competitive research and ends with rigorous trademark screening. The
brainstorming that happens in between can be an arduous task. With that in
mind, is a rename right for your brand? If the answer to any of the following
questions is “yes,” you should probably explore a rename:
Are you being legally compelled to change your name?
Have you outgrown your current name?
Is your name failing to stand out?
Are you facing an unforeseen PR disaster?
Have you expanded beyond your current name’s geography?
After your name comes your brand’s
visual Identity, which is its face to the world. It includes your logo,
color palette, photography, and more. As the cornerstone of your visual
identity, your logo should embody a few key criteria:
It is aesthetically simple. The best logos are uncomplicated, easy
to visually process, and even easier to remember.
It is authentic. It’s true to the elements of your Brand Compass, it’s
born from the elements of your Positioning, and it embodies the attributes of
It is a single idea. A logo shouldn’t be expected to embody much
more than a singular, central idea. The more ideas you try to pack into a logo,
the more confusing it becomes.
Finally, story is the verbal language of your brand. It’s expressed in the voice and messaging that brings your brand narrative to life. The words that make up your brand story should convincingly convey:
who you are (your Brand Compass),
what you offer (your Value Propositions),
what sets you apart from your competition (Your Positioning),
…all in a way that fosters a meaningful relationship with your
It’s critical to define the above
components of your brand framework before you spend the time and money it
takes to create the outermost layer of your brand experience: your various marketing
touchpoints (website, collateral, signage, advertising, etc.)
In a world saturated with
marketing, it’s the meaningful messages that cut through the noise. Branding invests
your marketing with layers of meaning tied to the authentic essence of your
company. By understanding who you are as a company and why you do what you do,
you can develop marketing initiatives that resonate with customers on a deep
and lasting level.
A solid brand framework gives you the foundation to tell stories that customers actually want to hear—stories they want to incorporate into their own identities. Branding gives you the tools to create marketing that is often more meaningful than the products or services it aims to sell.
How to Leverage a Strong Brand for Better Marketing
Once you’ve strengthened your brand, the next step is to leverage that brand with effective marketing.
Branding is the foundation on which good marketing is built, but without marketing, even the best brand is a fallen tree in the forest with no one around to hear it.
The functional relationship between your branding and marketing is dynamic and ongoing. Here are 5 of the most important things to keep in mind, when leveraging your brand in your marketing efforts:
There’s an analogy that’s often
used when talking about how hard it is to change a large system: “It’s like
trying to turn an ocean liner on a dime.” Because your brand encompasses every product,
service, employee, and touchpoint your company has to offer, branding has to
think in ocean-liner terms.
Branding isn’t concerned with the whims of the market because a brand is too big a ship to try and turn on every trend. Marketing, in contrast, is dynamic and nimble, always at the ready to capitalize on shifting tides.
2. Branding is the reason someone buys. Marketing is the reason someone thought of buying.
Marketing is continually in the
customer’s ear, urging them to buy (or take a specific action on the road to
buying). Branding is what gives them the confidence to make the final click. Marketing
delivers your message to the world; branding is what remains after the
messenger has swept through town.
Branding is the lasting impression in a customer’s mind, which is why a strong brand makes marketing all the more effective. Branding is the meaning behind the message, the promise delivered.
Marketing is designed to elicit a reaction. Look, listen, try, drink, eat, go, buy. Its purpose is to convince an audience to act in a certain way.
Branding, on the other hand, is designed to engender a connection. Its goal is to position a company so that its customers identify with it on a deep and lasting level. Marketing gets you to buy your first used Subaru at the age of 18. Branding is what gets you to continue buying Subarus for the rest of your life.
4. Branding is macro. Marketing is micro.
Entrepreneur, author, and activist
Dan Pallotta once said, “Brand is everything, and everything is brand.” It
might sound like a lofty assertion, but it’s true. Branding is a big-picture
discipline because your brand encompasses everything within your
organization—every last employee, webpage, service vehicle, flyer, and
If your company was a tree, branding decisions would be made at a root level and affect each and every branch, tendril, stem, and leaf. Marketing initiatives often involve multiple branches, but rarely extend to the roots themselves.
Branding is long term. It generates the equity your company has in the minds of its most loyal customers. That equity is generated over years of experiences those customers have with your brand. They grow to trust your brand and see themselves within it. That’s the value that branding creates.
Marketing is what keeps your brand front of mind when those customers go to make a purchasing decision. It makes sure that the value you’ve created for is cashed in on at the register.
Branding gives customers the knowledge of what you stand for, the understanding to determine whether they like your company, and the insight to decide if they’d like to do business with you.
At the end of the day, marketing promotes and branding reinforces. Marketing is ideal for drumming up short-term leads and sales, but only branding can enhance long-term reputation and strengthen customer loyalty.
How to Strike the Right Balance Between Branding and Marketing
Once you’ve understood the
difference between branding and marketing, how to build a strong brand, and how
your branding and marketing work together, the question becomes “How much
should you invest in branding versus marketing to maximize the impact and effectiveness
The unfortunate reality is that most businesses spend far too little on their brand, choosing instead to allocate the majority of their marketing budget on short-term marketing activations. There’s even a term for it. Coined by industry experts, “short-termism” describes the increasingly common phenomenon where business owners place outsized value on short-term marketing. Short-termism stems from the misguided assumption that short-term growth automatically leads to long-term growth.
The reality is short-term
marketing tactics often stand in direct opposition to sustained, long-term
growth. Short-term marketing activation is centered on behavioral prompts that
urge customers to buy now. By their very nature, these initiatives—typically
deals, offers, news or seasonal messaging—are easily forgotten. Facts, after
all, are never as memorable as feelings.
Because they’re not memorable,
short-term marketing activations rarely have lasting influence on future
purchasing decisions. They don’t accrue brand equity in the minds of customers
and, as such, require frequent reminders. It’s a highly inefficient approach
that requires continual re-delivery of the same message and does nothing to
make future sales targets any easier to reach.
By comparison, brand-building is a long-term approach fostering mental brand equity that primes customers to choose your brand. Winner of the Nobel Prize for his work in behavioral economics, Daniel Kahneman showed that our behavior is most readily influenced by triggers to the part of our brain driven by feelings. The overwhelming majority of our decisions are based on what feels right, not what makes the most rational sense.
We choose brands based on the
positive feelings they elicit. We simply believe the brands we like are better
than brands we don’t. Branding is designed to appeal directly to customers’
feelings, reinforcing these positive associations over the course of long-term
It takes time to build the type of
positive associations that are the result of brand-building. It’s no surprise,
then, that business owners who are hyper-focused on short-term returns often
fail to appreciate the value of a strong brand.
The reality is that the memory
structures that are created by sustained, long-term brand-building are
immensely durable, and only strengthen over time if invested in.
So, how much should you be investing in branding? The solution isn’t to divert all of your marketing spend into long-term initiatives, after all. As we’ve seen, branding is highly dependent on marketing to realize its full potential. The goal is to find the right balance between short-term marketing and long-term brand-building.
Studies have shown that the ideal
ratio of budget allocation is typically around 60% for branding and 40% for marketing.
This ratio varies depending on the
type and circumstance of your brand and market landscape. Financial services
industries, where consumers are relatively less confident, often require ratios
closer to 70:30 branding:marketing.
In industries like travel and food service, where products and services are highly perishable, the ideal ratio of investment shifts to 50:50 branding:marketing. The median, rule-of-thumb target should generally be close to 60:40, though. Diverging too far from this ratio hampers your brand’s ability to accumulate the necessary brand equity for future sales growth.
One of the most surefire ways to
supercharge your marketing is by investing in your brand. That’s because
branding and marketing are highly dependent and interconnected. A strong brand
is the foundation on which consistent, compelling marketing is built. Well-defined
branding makes each and every one of your marketing initiatives more efficient
and effective, positively impacting your bottom line for years to come.
5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Miss Global Growth Marketing Conference
If there’s one marketing conference you must attend before the year is out, it’s Global Growth Marketing Conference (GMC) 2020. Why? But ask yourself, how many conferences have the potential to impact your bottom line directly? That’s what growth marketing is about. IBM Growth Strategist Jason Barbato and former GMC speaker said, “[Growth marketing is […]
If there’s one marketing conference you must attend before the year is out, it’s Global Growth Marketing Conference (GMC) 2020.
But ask yourself, how many conferences have the potential to impact your bottom line directly?
That’s what growth marketing is about.
IBM Growth Strategist Jason Barbato and former GMC speaker said, “[Growth marketing is about] doing things that can result in explosive growth for your business, that is the underlying theme. That’s what makes it different from traditional marketing is that you’re informing something that’s intended to drive growth, not just drive numbers.”
So if you’re keen to unearth frameworks specifically designed to grow your startup, your enterprise, your agency or your small business, then get yourself to San Francisco for this December 9 – 10 event.
Not convinced yet?
Here are our top five reasons you don’t want to miss Global Growth Marketing Conference 2020.
1. Glean From Trendsetters Making Big Growth Curves
Slack, Lyft, Airbnb, Pinterest, Postmates, Robinhood, Poshmark, Uber…all went public in 2019.
Wouldn’t it be great to just get inside their growth leaders’ heads and learn the marketing strategies and tactics that brought them from humble dorm-room beginnings to trading-room-floor success?
Yeah, we thought so, too.
So this year’s conference features industry-leading speakers who represent some of the most recognizable brands in the world, including Google, Microsoft, and these recently-public organizations:
Zoom | Hilary Headlee, Head of Global Sales Ops & Enablement
Postmates | George Revutsky, VP of Growth
Uber | Ali Wiezbowski, Head of Driver Engagement, Product Marketing
I mean, what better way to obtain hyper-growth strategies than from global trendsetters making it happen day in and day out?
Kady Srinivasan, Global Head of Digital Marketing at Dropbox, said this about GMC, “it’s always a good thing to learn from other people who are doing it and who are also evolving in the field. The technology landscape is changing so quickly, so I find so much value every single time I attend one of [GMC’s] conferences, speak at them, or go to [GMC’s] networking events.”
See our growing roster of previous handpicked growth marketing tacticians and thought leaders here.
2. Get Narrowly Focused with Vertical-Specific Content
If you’ve been to GMC in the past, then you’re familiar with our B2B and main stage tracks that are jam-packed with immediately actionable takeaways for your business.
There, our speakers will present on a range of topics including growth process and experimentation, product marketing and management, and onboarding and engagement.
This year, we’ve expanded our offering to include vertical-specific tracks that make for an even more well-balanced program. Those tracks are:
Data & Analytics
Mobile App Growth
So in addition to the main-stage program, you’ll be able to choose that path that best fits your industry and niche.
3. Harness the Power of Targeted Networking
Networking at conferences can sometimes be hit or miss. And that can be quite a bummer for many attendees, as networking has been rated one of the top three reasons for attending in the first place.
That’s why we’ve made connecting with your peers faster and simpler with the support of Brella.
Once you know who (or the kind of person or business) you want to talk, use the Brella app to request and then schedule a time to meet up while you’re on site.
Want to exchange ideas? Broach a partnership? Get one-on-one time with speakers? This tool is how you get it done.
4. Maintain Momentum with Post-Event Training
Fair warning: you’re going to need a little time after the conference to go through your notes and take it all in. But what happens once you’re back in the office and to your regular day-to-day tasks?
Keep learning and challenging yourself with access our on-demand library containing more than 200 training modules available right at your fingertips.
This free ongoing training and webinars designed to keep you at the top of your game are available to every attendee and provided by our conference partners.
5. Elevate with Like-Minded Professionals
We also offer Global GMC attendees paid access to our exclusive online membership community. Filled with hundreds of senior- and executive-level marketers, you’ll be able to…
take advantage of exclusive partner and trial offers (free or deeply discounted)
gain access to free consults to help you when you’re stuck, and
connect with conference alumni and speakers on an ongoing basis to collaborate and learn about new industry trends
Global Growth Marketing Conference 2020 will be what everyone is talking about all 2021. Grab tickets for you and your team today; your bottom line will thank you.
Got questions about the conference? Chat with us on our website or email our team directly.
Not sure where to stay for GMC 2020?
Good news! Our team has secured a special rate for Global Growth Marketing Conference 2020 (GMC Conference) attendees at the historic, luxury, 5-star Fairmont San Francisco Hotel. Contact us for more details.
Centrally located, this luxury San Francisco hotel is a short cable car trip from the bustling Downtown, Financial District, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. In fact, Fairmont San Francisco is the only spot in the City where each of the cable car lines meet.
With its numerous hills and spectacular bay, San Francisco welcomes you with natural beauty, vibrant neighborhoods, and contagious energy. From the trendy Mission District to the historic Castro, from bustling Union Square to enduring Chinatown, the dynamic City by the Bay thrives on diversity. From San Francisco’s hot arts scene, tempting boutiques, parks perfect for outdoor activities, and all the authentically local restaurants & cocktail bars, it’s the ultimate destination.
6 SEO Growth Levers for Higher SERP Rankings; Growth Marketing Conference Summary
Tom Casano is the founder of Sure Oak, one of the fastest-growing SEO agencies in NYC. They’ve grown clients’ organic traffic by up to 500%. Google conducts 3.5B searches every day — SEO is still one of the strongest long-term growth strategies. Anyone can start here and become an SEO expert. HOW TO: Bring cutting-edge SEO tactics […]
Tom Casano is the founder of Sure Oak, one of the fastest-growing SEO agencies in NYC. They’ve grown clients’ organic traffic by up to 500%.
Google conducts 3.5B searches every day — SEO is still one of the strongest long-term growth strategies. Anyone can start here and become an SEO expert.
HOW TO: Bring cutting-edge SEO tactics to your website to spur more conversions
1. Keyword research: find 2-10K keywords related to your company and divide them into topic “clusters”
Clusters are groups of similar content surrounding the pillars of your business, connected by internal links. Group hundreds of keywords in different clusters to establish authority on each topic.
Find keywords related to your main cluster content →
2. On-page optimizations: rewrite URL slugs, header tags, and title tags; internally link related articles and check keyword density
Tags carry a lot of weight with Google; ensure they match the content of the page so searchers aren’t misled. Internal linking also helps guide web crawlers, strengthening authority on groups of related keywords.
Check your keyword/phrase frequency to ensure you’re continuously mentioning keywords →
3. Content: create long-form content on evergreen topics — at least one per cluster
Long-form consistently ranks higher than short. Hack: If you have several short articles on the same topic, combine them into one long-form version. Compile the articles on the highest ranking URL and open with a short summary for visitors looking for quick answers.
Find the highest ranking URL to reorganize the article on →
Vasil is a growth marketing and startup event entrepreneur, who has produced over 500 in-person and virtual events, as well as built a 90K+ network of tech entrepreneurs and marketers. He’s the founder of Growth Marketing Conference, one of the leading growth marketing events in the industry, and he’s the CEO of startup professional network Startup Socials (as seen in Forbes). He’s worked with big brands like IBM, Adobe, Microsoft, and Delta Airlines, high growth startups such as Intercom, Pantheon, Gainsights, Instapage, and Zendesk, and digital marketing thought leaders like Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin, and Larry Kim to help them produce high-quality, successful events.