Ep 67: Serious Social – Big picture marketing + leaky social = Growth

In this episode of Serious Social, Katy Howell and Zoe Gill explore how best to spin all marketing channel plates and how to optimise and create a marketing engine for growth with social as the oil in your engine! Listen now and learn how to fix your wider marketing programmes for 2022, and how social integrates to accelerate and enhance the impact to your business.

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Full Transcript

KH- And welcome! We’re back with a Serious Social Lives after a very long summer break. And this time we’re going to talk about a little bit more about big picture thinking because for many of our clients and brands, they are now beginning to think about planning for next year. So when you work everyday in social, it’s really easy to think. The whole world is just about social. Of course, it isn’t. In fact, social is terrifically leaky, and gets everywhere, touching all the channels and melting into all your campaigns. So if you’re smart, then you’ll consider social as the oil in your marketing engine. That means having a wider view of marketing, a better understanding of how they all fit together and ways to uncover the kind of synergies that will make things work better. So to help her see where the broader marketing plans are heading in 2022, I’m joined by Zoe Gill of Little Moot Marketing, a fabulous B2B marketeer with experience from, oh gosh, I have so much experience from strategy to execution and together we’re going to talk about planning. Let me bring Zoe on board together. We were talking about planning. Hi Zoe. Hi. Why don’t we start with you just giving us a little bit more background about yourself?

 

ZG- Sure. No worries. Thanks Katy. And thanks for inviting me along today as well. So yeah, I’ve been really fortunate. I’ve worked in marketing for nearly 20 years now, from everything across events, business process outsourcing, in-house agency, but, but fundamentally it’s given me this really nicely rounded view, not just the marketing, but actually the commercial aspects of the business, which I think are really important. So now I get to work from sort of end to end. So research and diagnostics, planning and strategy, but the actually actual doing and execution and importantly measuring as well to see what impact it’s having. So I guess really I’m a marketing generalist is, is where we’re sitting at. So yeah, that’s me in a nutshell.

 

KH- I love it. And I, and I don’t know how you hold, I have enough trouble holding social in my head. I don’t know quite how you hold all that in you head, but, and that’s really interesting for many B2B marketeers and businesses, the chaos of the last 18 months and the jumping through very short term goals, because we it’s been very hard to plan hasn’t it, means now we’re kind of getting back, you know, assuming things are getting back slightly more back to normal, to really serious planning and fixing all the things that we kind of broke last year. What do you see as the biggest challenge and how do you start to fix these these issues?

 

ZG- So, so I think one of the biggest challenges is, is where a lot of companies used to have historic data that they knew what sources went well, what sources generate leads. The pandemic has kind of basically just taken that, giving it a good shake and muddle things up into a different, into different trends and different patterns. So I think one of the biggest challenges initially is understand what impact your activities are having now. Don’t assume they’re going to perform in the way they always did pre-pandemic. So spend a bit of time in data, in analytics and just, just understanding what your users are up to now, but don’t do it once I do it every month, keep doing it. And, and then you’re going to start understanding those minor and major shifts that take place on an ongoing basis.

 

KH- Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. And, and in fact, you know, we did, we created this report from interviews with other marketeers in the B2B world. And one thing that was very clear was data is at the heart of everything. And you really can’t be looking at old data. People are changing. I mean, we’ve seen in social to give you an example of a more integrated approach is the move away from, you know, lead magnets, you know, the old fashioned download my white paper. We’ve kind of had enough of that as buyers. So your, your buyer community is, is not so keen to hand over data without something of a value exchange. And that means that in social, you need to think much broader and brand matters. This idea that it’s not just about capturing those that are ready to buy right now, but those that, that it’s making you memorable. So when they are ready to buy, they remember you and come to you. So I think there’s, there is a sea change we’re beginning to see certainly with buyers and that more advanced B2B brands are beginning to think like that think bigger scale rather than down in the bottom of the funnel.

 

ZG- Yeah, I think that the trust aspect and building that trust has become even more important. I think, you know, last year people became really nervous of making decisions that normally they’d make in the click of a finger. So, you know, so I think people are a little bit more risk averse. They know they need to take some risks, but they want a safe pair of hands to guide them through doing that, to give them the confidence, say that completely agree, completely agree.

 

KH- So one element we cannot ignore that it’s accelerated now we’re able to talk about the wider marketing things is digital transformation. Everybody seems to be either doing or do, a massive topic, but in a top, yeah, it is huge. But in a top line way, what are the priorities for companies, you’re speaking to what, what what’s kind of to the fall, because we’re, you know, it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.

 

ZG- Yeah. So I think, you know, tying in with actually what we just said, like people were expecting more now they, you know, they want that content. They want to feel educated. They want to feel like they’re learning. They want to feel like they’re getting value. And actually to do that, it has to be that omni-channel approach. It’s not just about the multi-channel, it’s about making sure there’s this consistent experience through everything so that they get that value. And I think behind the scenes, it’s actually about getting the right systems in place to make that efficient. So you, haven’t got a marketing team behind the scenes doing everything manually, you know, you’re, you’re building in automation, that’s accurate throughout the process as well. And just speeding up that, that engagement, you know, making, getting people to engage, you’ve got a customer there. What can you do to continually engage them and fundamentally bring them back in when they’re ready to make that inquiry and not just in, in research stage?

 

KH- Well, that’s just, it’s so true actually. And I hate the term omni-channel because people throw it around without knowing what they, what they mean. But in the respect of what you’re getting at is, is that whole coordination, the spinning of plates in the right way. And it’s really interesting. Eight and 10 B2B leaders say that on Omni channel. So again is as, or more effective than traditional methods. And I think this is growing quite sharply as the understanding that, you know, I talk about social being leaky, but actually everything is moving together and it’s, it’s not like we, the way we used to plan, you know, 30 years ago where it was very clear, there was almost a demarcation, the part of digital transformation. That’s really hard to get your head around is the fact that everything sort of melts together. I’m not expressing it very well, but you know what I mean, it sort of everything has an impact on everything else.

 

ZG- It does. And I think actually from, from going back to that kind of, omni-channel the experience being at the centre of all that, if you haven’t got all of your channels telling a similar story, you know, then someone’s going to hack on you, expecting me to go from chapter one to chapter five, but you haven’t told me the middle bit. So it being joined up is so important to be consistent and use everything consistently.

 

KH- And that’s, that’s even more interesting because even in social, so LinkedIn say that, you know, it’s somewhere between five and nine touchpoints, you know, that the idea that you can, you can immediately push people to sale is, is, is a real fallacy. And it also misses that opportunity. So we, we talk when we talk about B2B social much more in terms of nudge, nurture. Yeah. Which kind of brings us quite nicely round two. Cause we talked about what brands want to do, but actually what are our buyers doing and how do we approach our audience where tell us where you think business, you should be in terms of personalization.

 

ZG- Yeah. So it, obviously it’s going to vary for every business, but fundamentally for me, brands have to make that emotional connection with the end user, again, even more so after last year, like I hate keep referring to last year, but I think what it’s done is people who are searching and looking for solutions to their problems, that they’re even more focused. They don’t want to waste time consuming content that isn’t relevant and they will probably move on even more quickly than they ever did before. But I think understanding customers, what their pain points are, what their challenges are, what keeps them awake at night, they want to feel like despite the fact you’re having a one to many conversation that it’s a one to one conversation. And I think that’s the key thing for me in terms of personalization, where you’re trying to hook them in is make them feel like you are talking to them. One-to-one despite they want money. Obviously, you know, there’s lots of tools that can help with personalization once you’ve hooked them in, for me, those tools kind of, you know, approach with caution, test them a lot, you know, the exam results of 2020, were a perfect example of how, you know, AI can skew things and go off piece. So, you know, just, just test, but try and make sure those interactions are as personalised as possible.

 

KH- And in fact, that’s a really good point. I think quite a lot of planning for next year should be around testing alone. We have audiences shifting so much that, you know, because of the change in travel, the changing, whether we’re at home or not at home or change your business means that we’re going through those shifting sands. And I’ve done this once when we went from analogue to digital. So, you know, we’ve gone from recession to back up there again, and, my general feeling is that if you cannot stick to a solid plan, you have to test and learn all the way through.

 

ZG- And I think it’s, you know, that testimony absolutely. So I think that’s an ongoing part of marketing, you know, building a small test each month, whether it be a new Ad, or a new market on paid or, you know, a different piece of content, but, but test quickly and learn quickly, you know, so do short tests, if you can gather enough data in two weeks, do a two week test and then make the decision, do you tweak and go again? Or actually, is it just a no-go so yeah, ongoing learning without that.

 

KH- Absolutely. Another interesting part is that we’re seeing in social is that rise of neuro-marketing and B2B, which kind of focuses more on the psychology. And we’ve been terrible at this in B2B. We tend to go, oh, they’re buyers and their job title is this. And they work in this country or in this kind of enterprise or wherever it is rather than actually thinking about the psychology of key buyers. And decision-makers are a shift from kind of the topic driven, you know, here we are, and we’re going to talk cloud to persona driven and psychographic marketing. So when we talk about personalization, it’s not like, you know, Hey you with the two kids living in Guilford or wherever it is, you know, it’s, it’s much more, I’m just making stuff up now.

 

ZG- I like it. That’s a cool persona.

 

KH- And it matters because only 21% of buyers believe that they’re given relevant information from vendors, despite them spending more time researching their purchases in social and beyond and, and more important if it’s relevant, your B2B buyers are more, something like 85% of them are more likely to share with the wider decision-making unit. We know more than anything now, but for the majority of B2B companies, that there is not one person making the decision to buy.

 

ZG- Yeah.

 

KH- So I found some really interesting data from HubSpot, some insights from, from HubSpot, looking at buyers and they say 56% of respondents say they consume more types of sales and marketing material than they did pre-2020. And marketing marketers are reporting that they spend more than 40% of their budget on content production. One of the really big challenges faced by marketers is content creation, whether it’s for social or email or any other promotions. So how should they approach this challenge?

 

ZG- Big question now. So for me, the headline of this is keep it simple. Like don’t try and do content for content sake. You know, there is nothing worse than going, oh, we’ve set the target of producing, you know, three assets or three resources or three bits of content and then go, oh, it doesn’t feel like we’ve got a solid topic, but we have to produce it. Like just don’t make sure it’s quality every time, you know, make sure using doing it regularly and doing it consistently, but always quality. It has to be relevant. Like you said, there’s so much more content out there than ever before. You want your content to be that piece that really does give them sort of educates them, provides them with insights and, and adds value. That’s really key as well. So research your topics, you know, most organisations have the experts for the services you’re selling, grill them, interview them, listen to calls they’re having with customers or prospects. So you can hear first-hand what those people are saying and then create the content around it. But one other bit of advice I’ve got is once you’ve created a bit of content, don’t just publish it and move on. Revisit that bit of content. Can you create a graphic off the back of it, a video, so many blogs and a mini-series, you know, make the most milk, milk it, I guess is the way to go, but yet easy to consume quality over quantity and make the most of the content you’re producing as well. Those would be my top tip.

 

KH- Ahhh super, super, absolutely. And one of the key parts to working out, whether your content is good is a value exchange is, is to really, and it’s quite a hard exercise, often you have to do it with other people because you need more brains in the, in the mixes. Why, why does this matter to your audience? We’re, in B2B we’re, we’re, we’re very features and benefits led. It’s the way we’ve been taught to think, but actually the world has changed different to a different perspective. And it’s, if we can nail the why, why does this matter to the CTO? Why does this matter to the FD? Why does this matter to, to a marketing manager, whoever it is you’re selling to. My point is, if you can nail that, then you actually begin to understand how the customer fits into that journey to purchase and what their expectation is at each level. And it’s, that’s the depth that you need to go to now with all content in my view. And whenever we see those ads that do so well or those promotions or that content that does so well, when you really look at it, you think somebody has really thought about this, really thought about what matters to the customer or the viewer or whatever it is has really given it some thought it’s not an easy job, but it’s better to slow down, do less. And as you say, shutter, it atomize it afterwards.

 

ZG- Yeah, and I think, actually content-wise, it’s social is a really good tool to use, to see what topics are resonating as well. So I think it’s where we were talking about testing before, you know, there’s no harm in testing some topics on social. If you can’t get a feel, you know, put, do some tasks, put it out there, see what people engage with and let that help drive it again. It’s going back to that data piece, like let data help guide you into the right, right direction.

 

KH- So I want to just switch to another piece of which actually plays into a lot of conflict because trade events have been the staple of B2B marketing toolkits for ever. I think 97% of B2B marketers say that in-person events are critical to the success of their business. What do you think will happen next year?

 

ZG- Hmm. So I think events, I think events will make a return. I think there’s a real appetite. I think some, some industries probably more so than others, but I do think there’s a real appetite for events, you know, where those that are socially very sociable where we’re kind of craving those social aspects. And I think, I think it comes back to what we’ve been saying about content. I think there’s just a lot more thought and detail that has to go into not just what, what you’re going to say at those trade events, but the why, again, you know, that that why piece is so important, but what’s going to make your stand more appealing. And how are you going to engage with them both before, during, and after the event, you know, keeping them engaged. I said, I don’t know about Katy, but it feels like some decision-making processes are, are a little bit slower than before. So that, that need to keep them engaged after that initial conversation is, is really important. You can’t, it’s not on them to remember you, you’ve got to keep reminding them of, you know.

 

KH- Yeah. That’s the whole nurture part of, of the module nurture, which we, we sort of trips off our tongue, but it really is the nudge to the next level, the nurture, nurture, nurture, because not every product is bought, you know, every week. And it’s, you’ve also got, you know, the issues of, of some stuff requiring more than one person to purchase. So nurturing is, is, is super important. I agree.

 

ZG- I’m that personalization piece, you know, if you’re in a position where actually you can, you know, the account manager, the sales person, the product, whoever had that conversation can actually send a one-to-one email that it’s like, it was great to chat to you about X, Y, Z. Like if you can personalise that post event follow up, then do, you know, make them feel like someone has made the effort to, to speak to them on a one-to-one basis. It really helped help with that stickiness. I suspect.

 

KH- So we talked a little about test and learn, but I’d like to know the way you learn is through measuring isn’t it, but rather than going to the nitty gritty, I wondered whether or not we could just have a quick conversation about when we look at the big picture, everything is because you look at everything. What are the core metrics you look for? Should we think about attribution models as it, as a kind of defacto standard? I don’t know what the answer to this one is.

 

ZG- So in my opinion, the answer is yes, there should absolutely be, be a picture of that kind of overall peace and assisted conversions, you know, reporting that I’ve done for clients. If you look at that traditional last click, the reality is the majority of them are either going to be a direct visit to your website, or they’re probably going to be through an organic Google search. You know, there will be others, but on the most part, that’s what you see. And if you look at that, there’s a real risk that anyone especially sort of in the finance arena could go, well, why are we spending money on paid? And why are we spending money on this? So actually viewing, viewing inquiries, or visits, whatever your goals and metrics are as the whole journey is so important. Because as soon as you start picking away the interactions from first to last and everything in between, you start building the picture about actually where social comes into it and where paid comes into it, and you will quickly see if one of those cards is pooled. Actually, you’re probably going to reduce your overall, you know, sort of inquiries leads, what, whatever your measure may be. So absolutely in my opinion, you know, always look at the full journey, not just the last click.

 

KH- Yeah. So true, absolutely so true because we, one of the things we see in social is that social connect throughout the journey, but it has different impacts and, you know, couple it with something like email marketing and it, it doubles the impact of email marketing, or it gets open rates better, or it increases search demand. And if you’re not watching everything, you won’t see that, that where those, if, how everything works together, that.

 

ZG- Yeah, it’s really easy to pull something without having that insight and then go, go what’s happened. So, yeah, it’s pretty important.

 

KH- So we’ve seen some departments get quite marketing departments get quite small over the last couple of years and they’re building back up, what, what are the skillsets for the future? Are we going to be hiring that, you know, what talent do we need to achieve success?

 

ZG- Yeah. So, so I think there’s a real balance. And I’ve seen this, you know, through the roles I’ve done in the last couple of years and also clients I’m working with now, but there’s a real need, both for that generalist piece. So almost kind of the conductor, I guess, of a team that can kind of understand all the areas of the mix, but there has to be the experts as well. You know, you do need people, you need people who live and breathe, social who live and breathe, paid, who live and breathe SEO to really make those things work and work well. And I think it’s the kind of job of the generalist, the head off the manager to feel comfortable and confident in going that isn’t my expertise, but we need it to make this plan successful. You know, that’s okay. We can’t all know everything. So, so yeah, I think it’s a real blend, but it’s the, the confidence to go. That’s not my bag, but we need someone who’s is.

 

KH- Yeah. I always remember ages. And I mean, years ago, Ashley Friedline really picked up on the T shape marketeer, you know, that has broad knowledge, but, but specialises in one thing. I, I always, whenever I hear this, I was thinking yet you can’t know everything. I mean, even in social alone, you can’t know everything. I, I love insights. I actually love social media, but when it comes to paid, I know experts. I have colleagues who just know this stuff when it comes to that. And just, that’s not me. I just, it’s just, not me.

 

ZG- It is building your team tactically. Like they would in the sportswear would, you know, get the right players in the right position who were really good. And they’re built for that. And they’ve got the minds for that, you know, build, build your team to, to, to its strengths.

 

KH- Yeah, yeah. So much. So what do you think of a big priorities for 2022 then what should, as we, as we roll into the end of the year?

 

ZG- So I’m, I’m potentially a little bit biassed, so I’d be interested to see what your, your take on this is. Katy also said it, but for me, it’s content, you know, the old phrase from the early two thousands content is king, I think is, you know, going to ring true. And the phrase is going to come back more and more but meaningful metrics as well. So like I said, you know, you use the data and if you haven’t got the data, focus on finding out how you access it, for me, plans are tweaked and changed on a monthly basis for clients based on what we’ve seen through the data. You know, we react to it or we do more or something. Can we do less of some things? So keep your metrics simple. Don’t get lost in 500 things that you want to track every month, you know, pick a dozen, pick a dozen that when you look at them each month can give you meaningful and actionable insight, not just a number to capture it on a spreadsheet because you know, that, that, that becomes time consuming for the wrong reason. So yeah. Content of metrics.

 

KH- Yeah. For me, I would, yeah, absolutely agree with everything you say and all pretty much what you’ve threaded throughout this, which is, you know, yes. Personalization, yes. Data. Yes. About Najah nurture, but also brand, you know, for B2B marketers now brand has got to play a larger than majority play in, in the content we produce, which means a lot more thing. And I I’m, when I talk brand, I’m really not talking about your logo. Okay. It’s not that okay. And I think, I think there’s that side of it and the need for building relationships and trust, because maybe it’s because we all been locked away. I don’t know. It feels like it, but with the desire to create relationships with the brands that we’re buying from is, is, is definitely very high. So I think that’s, that means relationships with your employees, which brings in things like employee advocacy. We did a webinar on that yesterday. Things like community, all of these things are much bigger picture thinking that bleeds into culture and employee kind of happiness.

 

ZG- Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

 

KH- Well, thank you so much for joining me Zoe.

 

ZG- Thanks for having me.

 

KH- I love, I love the bigger perspective because it reminds all of us in marketing, but that it’s never just one thing. And it’s part of the joy of marketing. Isn’t it is that we get to juggle so many things. I mean, it gets chaotic sometimes, but, and you’ve been a star helping us kind of navigate how best to do that. Its been a pleasure. So, going forward. We are, we’re not going to be running our series social lives every week because we’re not shut away anymore and we’re out and about, so we’ll be doing some real world events in between, but we will be doing, we will be doing Mumford. We’ll be back next month, other than that. Have a lovely weekend. Thanks again Zoe. I’ll see you soon.

 

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