Keeping it real: cutting the fluff around what works and what’s next for content marketing
Our latest Marketer in the Showcase is Tim White, Director of Marketing for People.ai. While striking the balance between realist and visionary, Tim’s perspective provides B2B marketers with the “real-talk” of what matters most in demand gen. Check out Tim’s refreshing realness and clear vision on what works and what’s next in B2B marketing.
How does content marketing fit into your overall marketing strategy?
The old sentiment of content being “king” rings true today more than ever before. I am a firm believer that content is the fuel behind all of our digital marketing efforts. Whether it’s an email, social post, or a web ad, it all needs to drive to a solid piece of content that speaks to the pain point of your ideal customer.
What are your top performing pieces over the past year, and what are the KPIs used to measure the performance of those assets?
In the B2B marketing world, top performing assets are, first – typically an eBook, and second – not always what you expect.
Over the past year, my highest performing asset was aimed at not the primary buyer in my buying groups, but rather, the primary user or admin.
With enterprise software, it’s important to recognize that the person paying for the software isn’t always the person who’s going to be using it – so all of your demand gen content shouldn’t be pointed towards them. Users consume content and ultimately can help influence buying decisions.
How has content marketing evolved over the past few years?
I think this is a little of the chicken and the egg. Did the content evolve or is the garbage just being sorted out, so you can’t see it anymore?
When marketers first started developing content online, they were incentivized to play SEO tricks like “keyword stuffing” to rise to the top of Google search results. Now, Google is looking at things like “bounce back rate” and “duration on page” to rank your content. These new factors in SEO from Google change the incentives to less “gaming” of content, and more the production of quality content that people want to read and find valuable.
So now, before I even start typing the first word, I begin with the reader in mind.
In addition to using NetLine, what are your other strategies for lead generation?
While NetLine does help drive quality leads, it’s only one piece of our digital marketing mix. We also leverage a lot of other channels including social (paid and organic), email, PR, long-form organic content for the blog (with retargeting), proactive digital ABM, and general SEM.
How has content syndication affected your approach to lead generation?
I’m a big believer in not having all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to marketing (yes, I know that’s my second egg metaphor). Content syndication is a great way for marketers to expand their total addressable market (TAM), as well as provide targeted leads to their sales team reliably and sustainably.
If you need to deliver “x” number of MQLs a month, and Google decides to change their algorithm, you might be in for a panicked surprise when your organic leads take a sharp nosedive.
Just like your stock portfolio… diversify.
Describe the normal path a lead follows once it has been captured via one of your gated assets.
Once we capture a new lead there are several different paths it could go down. For content syndication, we’ll typically want to warm these leads up with an email nurture drip. This drip generally lasts several weeks, with the goal of “warming the lead up” to the point of needing (or wanting) to speak with a sales rep to learn more.
Once we have the warm leads in our system, we monitor our sales team’s lead follow up with People.ai’s Campaign 360 tool and review the follow-up (or lack thereof) weekly with our sales team.
Of all the marketing approaches available, which has staying power in your strategy?
The only approach to marketing that will last forever is the mindset of always being willing to search for a better way.
The marketer who doesn’t embrace tactics like programmatic marketing and tools like artificial intelligence will be left behind and end up burning through their marketing budgets.
You may like a specific strategy, but if it’s not converting, you have to be willing to change.
In your marketing career, what has been your biggest marketing success? Why?
Pinpointing just one success is difficult. I prefer to look at my career as a whole as my most significant marketing success.
When I look at where I started as a proposal writer, to starting my own company, to now running digital demand generation for one of the fastest-growing companies – I think that’s my biggest marketing success.
Any words of wisdom to share with your marketing peers?
Remember: you’re always marketing to two audiences – externally and internally.
Externally, you’re probably already marketing with your paid acquisition, PR, and regular marketing mix. But, if you’re leaving it there… you’re only doing half your job (and you probably won’t be around for long).
You need to be marketing the work of your marketing team internally to your company. You need to tell the story of all the great things you did to help move ‘x’ by ‘y.’ You spent marketing dollars for those leads, what happened to them? You had that webinar, who came? Did anyone convert into MQLs or SQLs?
You’ll never get more headcount or budget if no one knows what you’re doing.
Describe your workspace.
My workspace is usually clean, but covered in SWAG and stickers.
What productivity tech/app do you rely on the most?
GSuite, Slack, Wrike, Lattice, and of course, People.ai.
Who are your greatest marketing influences?
Coffee or tea?
Several cups of coffee.
When are you at your best?
When I have a clear goal and a path to get there. Whether it’s training for an Ironman, building backlinks, or writing content, I need to have a goal. Once I have my goal in mind, even repetitive mind-numbing tasks have their rewards.
People.ai helps sales, marketing, and customer success teams uncover every revenue opportunity from every customer. Companies like New Relic, Tanium, Lyft, Okta, and Mulesoft choose People.ai to capture all customer contacts, activity and engagement to drive actionable insights across all enterprise revenue.
Founded in 2016 and based in San Francisco, People.ai is backed by Y Combinator and Silicon Valley’s top investors, including Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed Venture Partners.