All things B2B marketing & growth with Yam Regev, CMO

This FINITE Podcast episode is a conversation with Yam Regev, a seasoned CMO and co-founder who has led the marketing and growth of a number of B2B technology businesses.

Yam’s a passionate marketer, and we had a great conversation about a number of areas of driving marketing growth, from entrepreneurship in marketing to marketing team structures to content marketing and much more.

This episode covers: 

Listen to the full episode here: 

And check out more of the FINITE B2B marketing podcast here

Full Transcript

Alex (00:07):

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another FINITE Podcast episode. My episode today is a conversation with Yam Regev, a seasoned CMO and co-founder who has led the marketing growth of a number of B2B technology businesses. 

Yam, as you will hear, is a passionate marketer. And we had a great conversation about a number of areas of driving marketing growth, from marketing team structures, to content marketing, and much more. So I hope you enjoy.

FINITE (00:32):

The FINITE community and podcast are kindly supported by 93x, the digital agency working exclusively with ambitious fast growth B2B technology companies. Visit 93x.agency to find out about how they partner with marketing teams and B2B technology companies to drive digital growth.

Alex (00:53):

Thanks for joining me today.

Yam (00:55):

Thank you so much for having me.

Alex (00:56):

I’m looking forward to talking. We’ve got a varied conversation coming up, covering lots of different elements of B2B marketing. I know you’ve got a lot of experience and lots of learnings to share, but as we always begin, tell us a bit about yourself and your story up until now, and a bit about what you’re working on at the moment.

About Yam’s background in B2B marketing from founder to CMO

Yam (01:14):

Sure. Yeah I’d love to thank you for that. We’ll start with my moustache first of all, so that’s you know, it’s not always there, but it’s Movember so I hope that most of the listeners and viewers can relate. So in Movember we grow a moustache in order to increase the awareness for men’s health, especially for prostate cancer. So if you are, I think over 40, just go and test yourself, see if everything is fine over there. 

In most cases we are not sharing as men, right? We are not sharing thoughts and feelings and all that. So if someone is whatever, feeling down, depressed, in a tight spot or in tough situations, just go ahead and speak with someone. But yeah, a little bit about myself. 

So yeah, I’m 40 years old. I turned 40 a week and a half ago. It feels, it feels good. Feels like, you know, better than I thought. I’m not still covered with tattoos, I still didn’t buy a holiday. Something like that might happen later on, but originally I’m a farm boy from the Northern part of Israel. I then turned into the tech industry. 

I founded a web marketing agency that grew to be quite a big corporation. I was 26 at the time and we ended up having 50 people working in the company in Israel and around the world. We grew the company to have around $11.5 million annual. I was the CEO of the operation, then I sold my shares to my co-founders of the company still. 

I understood that I’m in the service aspect of things, not in the product aspect of things in marketing, so I then joined successful startup Webydo. Webydo is like a Wix platform but for B2B, so if you’re a plumber and you need to build your own website you will go to Wix. But if you manage 10,000 websites for your own customers as an agency, or you have like a marketing department and you build thousands or hundreds of websites, you have some different kind of requirements from your code free platform. So that’s where Webydo came in. 

I joined them as a CMO and I supervised the whole global expansion of the company. We raised 18 million dollars over there and the company grew to be almost 80 employees at its peak. I founded the marketing department and the sales department and the customer success department. 

And of course later when we brought in chief executives that took the sales department and customer success department from me, and I managed only the marketing department eventually. I’m a marketer in my DNA, it’s all about marketing. 

Over at Webydo I was able to generate 300 hundred thousand B2B leads. Again, not huge enterprises of course, but of course agencies and big companies with hundreds of employees and all that, so that was my target audience. We would speak about the bottom up approach and ABM and everything is B2B growth. 

It fascinates me how we see companies can grow so fast and how we can take some methodologies from B2C and implement them in B2B and build new methodologies. And then in Webydo, I met my co-founder and CTO at Zest Idan Yalovich, and me and Idan co-founded Zest, the platform that can unify all the enterprise knowledge information sources. To know how to make the information knowledge accessible across any time and team. 

We boosted the company until we got a few tens of thousands of users. And then we raised $758,000 pre-seed round. And from then the company is just growing. My function today is a board observer at Zest. I consider myself to be the digital strategist, these days I’m consulting to growth stage startups, and a few known CMOs of how to grow their company to take them to the next level and say for 10 million dollars ARR, to $100 million ARR and beyond. I think that’s my sweet spot. 

And I’m all about leadership, I really love leadership. I think that everything that we do eventually comes down to that. So you know, the people that we are responsible for whether they are our team members, employees, colleagues, users, clients. So I believe that we have as CMOs and as executives or leaders, we have some sort of personal responsibility on each. So probably again, we’ll touch these kinds of issues later on.

Alex (05:53):

Cool that’s a great intro I think you’ve covered off a lot of stuff there. You mentioned marketing is in your DNA. What makes you feel that? I mean lots of marketers that I speak to very few of them actually have a formal marketing education or marketing background in terms of their training. 

I think the number of routes into marketing is so diverse, but is that something that you can touch on? Do genuinely think it’s almost deep inside you or were there things that happened that sent you towards marketing and I guess opened up the world of marketing for you?

Why you don’t need a marketing qualification to be a marketer

Yam (06:27):

Great question. I’ll try to divide my answer into two. So the first one, I think that marketing is all about psychology and the human to human kind of interactions. So it’s all about technical skills, like let’s do SEO, let’s do paid acquisition, let’s do growth, product marketing, brand and all that. 

I think it’s all about understanding, needing to know what your target audience is, but you also need to think how they think, what makes them tick. Whether handing out digitally, where they’re coming from, what are their aspects, the given solution that you give for their pain. 

So I think it’s all about psychology and human interactions. I feel that I’m more connected to my emotional aspect of my personality rather than my rational, but I’m using my rational abilities but I’m not letting it manage me. Of course I’m very data winded and all my marketing activities are business oriented and it’s all about revenues eventually. But if you need to engineer back, from the revenue or from the ARR itself and how to grow your funnel and pipeline. 

So I think it’s all about understanding humans and that’s something that was implemented within myself since I was born. That’s the first answer, the second one is that, no way, no formal education, no nothing. I’m dyslexic. I have a few disabilities in this perspective. I think the last book that I read, it probably was something when I was four or five years old or something like that, I cannot read books. 

I was probably the worst student in school. I even almost didn’t finish my school degree. But that was a tight spot back then. Then in university, I tried to learn economics and East Asia studies and Chinese and all that. And East Asian studies and Chinese was all right, give or take, althoughI spent tons of hours learning to be better but when I started to learn economics, I understood that I did have some big issues or big problems trying to learn something at a technical level and it was just too much. 

This is when I dropped out and then I founded my own company, the web marketing agency that I told you before. And since probably 2016, now I’ve probably reviewed more than 20,000 different CVs and I’ve interviewed hundreds of people, mostly of course in the marketing industry. But a lot of sales and support and customer success and so on. 

I just don’t believe in degrees, I prefer to have a failing entrepreneur in my marketing department than the best staff from Ivy league universities that have theoretical knowledge. They might be super bright, but they still need to learn a lot, not about what is the profession, but how to be a professional. A professional is that we schedule this meeting for 2:00 PM, so a few minutes before, of course I opened it and made sure that everything is alright. 

It doesn’t matter if I’m a plumber or a marketer or whatever, that means that I’m a professional, I respect your time, I respect my time. And you can take it as a reflection for other things. If we would work together on projects and we’ll have milestones, and we’ll expect from you and for myself to flag if something is wrong, if we’re not going to reach a milestone, if something is missing, that we don’t wait for us to hit the wall. 

Again, it doesn’t matter if I’m a marketer or a plumber or whatever, it’s all about the professional aspect of my personality. So I think that it’s more important to have professionals that have some sort of entrepreneurship kind of experience than who are going to have a lot of theoretical knowledge. Of course, it’s something that I only believe. I think it’s what’s good for me, it’s what works for me. I’m not saying that you need to copy paste it. 

Whoever listens or watches can just take it and then adopt it with their own effort, but please don’t copy paste my tips and all that. They will not work for you as they work for me of course.

Alex (10:59):

I think that’s great advice. I think it’s too easy to, particularly in the digital world now where you Google any marketing issue and you probably find a HubSpot article on it, and it’s easy to just steal ideas and copy and paste and assume that because it’s worked for someone it’s going to work for you too, but it’s not always that simple.

Yam (11:16):

No, if you have all those Googles and people who share the knowledge and knowledge sharing, I think it’s crucial, but it’s so important to take all those tips with a grain of salt. To make sure that you adapt them to your own. You know, I think it’s taking a mathematical formula and trying to inject some biology elements into it. 

You cannot copy paste some case study or use case and hope that works for you, whatever you’re doing, whether it’s management, leadership, marketing, sales, whatever, try to customise and adapt it a little bit, run some water through the pipes, make sure it works you, and then you can scale. And then you can also tell others about how it works, but just remember to add the disclosure of course.

Alex (12:02):

You talked a little bit about being professional and some of the characteristics that make a good marketer. I guess a lot of our listeners are at a wide range of points in the journey of scaling a business. But there’ll be a number of listeners who are maybe one marketer, maybe one to three marketers within that business who are looking at scaling out that team. They’re going through that awkward phase in the middle where you don’t quite have enough capacity for lots of specialist roles.

So you have a few more generalist roles, but there’s pros and cons to that. I think I’ve always had the belief that just being organised and communicating well, I guess just fundamental things, some of which you touched on, actually make the best junior generalist marketer. But then maybe that changes overtime as you potentially need more specialist roles. What’s your experience of that in terms of different sizes of teams?

How to overcome overthinking throughout your marketing career

Yam (12:58):

Communication. I’ve got goosebumps because it really comes down to that. Everything can be nice, we can be super professionals in what we do. Eventually, if we don’t know how to communicate with each other, whether it’s management and team, whether it’s within the team, whether it’s the marketing team with the sales team or the product team whatever, it’s all about communication and setting expectations. 

I just published a LinkedIn post a few days ago about overthinking, how overthinking is killing your professionality. And you know, overthinking is quite a thing because once you click send, if you send your whatever, your Gantt, or go to market plan or whatever, your quote for a client, and you send it to the recipient, you cannot do anything about it. 

But what usually is going on in your mind is that you say, “I could have… I’m not sure that they will approve it. I’m not sure if I calculated the cell in Excel was correct, all the formulas were right, it’s all tied and accurate.” You cannot do anything. Just think overthinking about it is killing your personal life. What I discovered, and because you said you mentioned communication. 

So I think if you communicate it right, you can kill the overthinking kind of experience after a while. And you know an example is that if you send whatever, a quote or a plan, strategy or whatever, you can just write in the email, please know, that it’s not the final version tomorrow together in the meeting, we’ll run through it together and we tighten up things. 

Another thing that works great for me is that I can say, here’s the Gantt. It’s very comprehensive or very insightful, please don’t go through the doc without me properly onboarding you to it. And then in the meeting they can see me, they can see my reactions, they can hear my tone, they can engage because when you send someone something, the first thing is not understanding and trying to comment and say it’s not that. I don’t understand the thought process. 

So when you communicate it that way, you are able to engage them and then think concrete. If their sense of marketing is all about understanding how human nature works, and your nature of course, as well, your advantages and disadvantages, if I were to bypass them or to harness them to your own purposes. I think that as professionals, we are all comprised of probably three main elements. 

The qualities of a good marketer 

It’s all about knowledge for me. It is all about knowledge, experience and network. So all those three elements, I know that I need to develop them. I need to make sure that I’m progressing and to make sure that I’m walking on each, because if we just nurture one of these pillars. So you know, the platform that I should put on it will just slide out, so I believe that as professionals, we all should develop our knowledge, that’s for sure. 

We need to keep our finger on the industry pulse, whether it’s by reading stuff, listening to podcasts, watching videos. So you need to filter down all the resources and make sure that you follow the people that you believe can contribute to your own progress and knowledge with experience. 

Of course, it’s important to make sure that you walk in the right place in the right position, something that is a little bit out of your comfort zone, that will push your limits a little bit. It’s all right to make mistakes. I love mistakes. I think that I walk by my legs and hands so many times by making a lot of mistakes. I really don’t think that I would be able to progress my career without making a ton of mistakes and then just to appreciate them and learn. I really believe in learning by doing. 

About networks, I think it’s important and you said it as well, as a budding marketer or even CMOs, what I’m usually doing, or when I’m consulting for companies or CMOs, I’m telling them, try to meet each week with two people that are like 10x of you. They can be 10x in whatever, in their personal life, because they’re great mothers and fathers, they can be 10x because they are CMOs of large companies, they can be 10x because they have more business orientation, they succeeded in whatever. 

So if you go and meet those you will not just add a lot of resources to your network, but you will also learn a lot and it will increase both your experience and knowledge. So that’s something that works well for me, and I see it for others as well.

Alex (17:47):

Before we talk about some of the more tactical stuff, I was going to ask you about the entrepreneurial side of things. So I think this is something that, again, at least here in the UK, I think gets debated quite a lot in terms of, I guess, when you’re hiring roles full-time internally, but marketers in particular, how entrepreneurial do you want them to be? And does that mean that they’re going to start their own business? 

Or they’re not actually that interested in working for another company, they’re more interested in themselves or their own business or their future plans. Is that something that comes up for you? I get the sense, having been out to Israel too, and knowing how much innovation is happening there. 

And I think you’ve got an entrepreneurial culture on a whole other level beyond the UK in some respects. And so maybe things are perceived a little bit differently there, but I’d love your view on that.

Three types of marketers: service, product and entrepreneurial 

Yam (18:33):

I believe that maybe for Israelis or I’m not sure, but I cannot quantify. Maybe other people can do that, I cannot quantify how a nation is more innovative than others. We can take the amount of startups per capita or something like that. But I believe that eventually what we are being able to do in Israel, because it’s such a vibrant entrepreneurship environment, what I was able to see, and again that’s my personal point of view of course, and I will tie it really closely to marketing. 

So there are a few personas for marketers, they are the service based marketers, right? The marketers who keep services, agencies and all that. That’s one type of animal and the other type of animal are product marketers, or those marketers working in startups. 

But you need to market the product, go through marketing for the product. It’s a totally different kind, you need to know how to work with different departments. You cannot release a newsletter without going to the customer success, sales, product, R and D, and let everyone have their own stuff in it, so you’re not living in a lonely Island anymore. And you need to get the buy-in from everyone. 

And of course, if you’re the chief executive or chief marketing officer, we need to get the green light from the CTO or from the CPO or from the CCO and all those CXOs. And that is building a different kind of set of soft skills. And for you, it’s all about communication because you learn how to communicate with others. 

When is the right time to go to the CPO and tell them that now we need to open the microcopy for the onboarding. There is a special point in time in a given week that it’s the best time to go to this person, because eventually he’s not, or she’s not CPO, she’s a human being, with a lot of stress on their shoulders. And if you know that Wednesdays are going easier for her so you need to find the right time, a little bit after lunch, this is the right time to go and tell her and get her consent about it. 

And that type of marketer are marketing entrepreneurs, those are marketing that have entrepreneurship experience. It’s not about knowledge, it’s about experience. You cannot see the scars on my face, but I’ve been there, I’m still there. 

I believe that what is useful as a marketer, it’s another layer of soft and hard skills, and it’s not just about getting tougher skin. It’s really, I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a freaking roller coaster that’s for sure. The other thing is that you really need to operate a business that is supported by other entities, right? 

So as an entrepreneur, you’re doing marketing for another type of persona. And I’ll give you an example, first of all you have the users, I hate the word users because it’s so narcotic, but the people who use your product, so you need to target them of course, in a very human manner. 

And then if you work in collaboration with brokers and all that, we need to target bloggers and we’ll speak about these methodologies later on, you also need to target investors for the company itself. It’s not just the brand awareness, it’s also about how to acquire investors. 

A good marketer, or a good CMO knows how to use the same marketing methodologies to acquire investors for the company. So you’re taking the same methodologies, same psychology elements, but you implement them in a totally different kind of environment. And I think that that’s something that an entrepreneur, if they do really good, I think that they call it investor relation managers and stuff like that, but that’s just another persona that you need to communicate with, how to target, how to convert later on. 

So, I think that service marketers, product marketers and entrepreneurial marketers are totally different kinds of animals. And I really love to have someone that has all those kinds of personas within themselves. I think it’s a very loud kind of persona on one end, on the other end, those people, and I think me within them, they might find a new opportunity. They know what they want, so they might push for a given milestone, although it wasn’t really properly discussed or agreed or something like that. But I think you get what I’m saying, and I love those kinds of hot personalities, right?

Alex (23:31):

Let’s talk a little bit about the tactics and channels. There’s two areas that I wanted to talk to you about, one is account based marketing and the other is the kind of content marketing side of things. Maybe they interlink in different respects, but we’re actually running a FINITE event next week on ABM. 

I think ABM is an ever increasingly hot topic that lots of marketers are looking at and with the way that the ABM world is moving forwards and the data that everybody has now, there’s a number of ways of making ABM more accessible and maybe scaling ABM in certain ways. Tell us a little bit about your experience of account based marketing and kind of where you’ve used it and how you’ve used it.

Why bottom up account-based marketing is a lucrative strategy

Yam (24:06):

I think account based marketing is a very one dimensional kind of methodology for B2B. But there are a lot of elements in B2C that are wonderful and they need to be retained. Take them and try to plant them within your B2B methodologies. I think that it’s good to use ABM methodologies in B2C as well. If you’re a budding startup and you’re just starting, trying to kickoff your venture. 

Even if it’s B2C, I prefer to take ABM methodologies, to start with one persona, map a few targeted companies or people, just to see how it works with them. There’s a lot of methodologies that can be done with that. But eventually I think that we all should remember as marketing leaders, especially in the B2B spectrum of things that we’re marketing to and for people. And that’s the basic, it should be a basic assumption in the strategy of the go-to market that we build. I think that it’s very different if your approach is bottom up, or top down. 

I love bottom-up, I think it’s the best approach. You cannot implement it in every place, but in many places you can and you have those companies that already did it before. If it’s Slack or InVision and many others.

Alex (25:39):

Just to clarify what you mean for the listeners, just to clarify exactly what you mean by bottom up. Just tell us what you mean by that approach.

Yam (25:46):

Bottom up for instance, you take Slack, Trello and all those other productivity kind of tools. It’s not that you’re knocking on the COO office door of a given organisation, and you say, “we have a great communication software for your teams. Would you like to give it a spin and see how it goes?” 

So that’s one thing , a very old fashioned kind of B2B. That’s maybe the essence of ABM today, but this is a top down approach, right? So you need to speak with a decision maker. You’re targeting a decision maker when you’re building your persona. So you have a buyer persona, for the bottom up approach you should have two personas. 

You have the buyer persona and you have the user persona, right? So the buyer persona is the one that will make a decision and put down the credit card and pay, but it doesn’t mean that they use the product. And it doesn’t mean that getting them to buy is to make them use the product. Maybe their employees or their team members should use the product. Then they can pitch your product to the decision-maker or the buyer persona. And then they will make a decision. 

So a top down approach means you go to the decision maker and you are working on them. It’s very B2B, those are kind of long cycles or buying cycles. I think it works, again it’s very dependent on the product and the service and all that. But in most cases, there are the disadvantages and advantages of this methodology. 

Bottom up approach, I love it because it means that you have two personas, the user persona and the buyer persona and you’re targeting first the user persona. For instance, Trello and Slack, if I was in the marketing department and I need to communicate with a colleague, I will hear about Slack and I will try it by myself, and then I will invite another colleague and then we’ll communicate using Slack and then we’ll invite another one for the department. And then our whole team will communicate by using Slack. 

And then more people than in the marketing department will see that and then all the marketing department will use Slack, and then we’ll go to the CMO and we’ll tell them, we’re using this beautiful communication platform. We are preaching for the solution, so we took down the amount of emails, we are communicating better, we’re working faster, but we know we need to upgrade to premium or to buy more seats. It’s like a trojan horse but in a good way. 

So you’re already there, they’re using you, you got the users to word of mouth you, or to preach you to the decision maker. Then the sale is happening. You can convert those users when they use it as well. Of course, before we were doing company expansion, but that’s a great way to penetrate a company. And then what’s usually happening is that you are told that you’re expanding to other departments as well. So that’s a bottom up approach. 

I think the bottom up approach means that you are taking the persona like you’re doing with the ABM, you’re targeting specific users within a given department. Then you start from there and then you expand slowly but surely. Another great example is InVision, the designer will tell the marketer that we’ll give them feedback about the design or about the copy cannot work on InVision alone, so they need to invite the marketer. 

And then the marketer can say, but what about the product manager? So this is how we expand across departments. This is the InVision way. I think that eventually what’s going on with B2B these days is that a lot of them see marketing as supporters and not as fighters, sorry for the military example. 

But, I think that good marketing, especially in B2B, is that you drive a lot of business. They shouldn’t be just creating collateral for sales, something like that. In the companies that I’m building in consulting to what I’m creating, it’s a different kind of organisational structure. I’m working with the CMO and then we build the marketing department, then we build the sales department and we build the customer success and support department, all the departments under the CMO. 

I really believe that all the user faced departments should be under the CMO. A good CMO and a good marketing leader knows how to deliver a cohesive message from the panel, from the article or from the PR or whatever, through the website, the reflection process, the on boarding process, the user flow within the product, eventually help sales to sell more, of course, and to make sure they know how those users got there to ask for sources and all that. 

Then of course converting the users and then having the customer success on board them properly and to increase their churn and eventually the KPI that marketing should work by should be expansion of MRR. MQLs are a good indicator, but they’re not the main KPI. I think that customer success should deliver the expansion MRR KPIs. 

A good CMO knows how to deliver it, not only in the marketing department and also in sales department and the other kind of user face departments. In many cases, we have also the product department to be under the CMO as well. I know it sounds a little bit weird, but, product is a very user faced kind of department. 

And I think that good marketers today also spend a lot of time in sales or with sales reps, they develop sales departments and methodologies, and they’re also very product oriented. They know how product is important, and without PMF without product market fit, they cannot get the organisation to bring more business in. So I really believe in this kind of organisational structure and I find it very useful, especially for growth stage startups.

Alex (32:09):

Interesting. And I think that point about product under marketing is an interesting one and maybe more relevant in SaaS companies. I think SaaS products are so aligned with marketing, but yeah it’s an interesting one to think about. You talked about this kind of bottom up approach, and I guess that to some extent leads nicely into the content side of things. 

And I think some of the companies you referenced, companies like InVision and I’m sure Trello and Slack and others, produce a relatively kind of inbound approach to content whereby they provide a lot of actionable, useful content that educates and supports. And I guess that’s a big channel I assume for lots of them in terms of driving that bottom up approach. Tell us a little bit about the significance, importance of content marketing in the B2B environment from your perspective.

How to create a lead generation machine through content 

Yam (32:57):

Content is my secret love. I really believe in this channel. I’m less engaged with not the performance marketing, but paid acquisition. When I took the CMO role in Webydo it was in 2012. So targeted B2B personas and clients, so we spend a lot of money on paid acquisition. I went to the CEO and I told him, listen man, I’m breaking your startup apart. I feel that I’m giving a lot of money to those money sucking machines. 

And eventually I understand that we’re creating business and we’re growing but it makes no sense that the CAC is so high. The customer acquisition cost is so high. I also feel that a startup that just raised like five or six million, you can calculate LTVs and all that, but it’s not like you know if you’re on track or not, except for benchmarks. And again it’s a lot about the formula. It’s about the biology as well. 

And I banged my head against the wall a few times and then I said I read about content marketing and I understood how it works. And then I said that we should move all our efforts to do content content marketing to make sure that we’re all aligned. 

So content marketing relies on three elements. You have the planning, you have the creation and you have the distribution. So content is not good just for brand awareness. I think it’s the best element in your marketing that is capable of tying together the brand marketing efforts that you do and demand generation. 

If you build a machine, I call it a content machine, beautiful things can happen. And I will give an example of what I did at Webydo and what I did in other startups, mine as well. But we defined the persona, we worked with R and D team and the product team to define the persona itself, who are those people? 

And then I brought in a few students to help me to create what I call digital bottle necks. Digital bottle necks are the places where my target persona is hanging out on the web very often. If you try to zoom out a bit, you have blogs, publications, all those places where the target persona is consuming content or professional knowledge. And then you have a social element which are things like phones and Facebook groups and all that. 

On the same perspective, you also have those influencers that your target persona is following. And eventually it comes down to a few thousands of digital bottle neck points, where if you work with, you probably will be able to generate some good amount of traffic to your website. 

So what I did back then is to take only the blogs and publications tab in the Excel that we created. And we listed around 10,000 of blogs and publications in this doc. I think it’s all about funnel. So in full funnel, you need base. So if you’re looking at users, you need to have a user base and then you need to target it of course, by the different marketing means. 

I told my marketing department that we are now targeting, we are now building a bloggers acquisition funnel, right? So we created this list of 10000 listings of bloggers, blogs, publications. We sorted them out by calling them. So you get some sort of quantified element that you can work with, and then what you can do to solve them? Sort them from A to Z and create tiers to display all those publications, like tier A with a great web link and they have 100,000 subscribers and all that, then you have tier B, tier C and so on. 

And what we did is we reached out to all the tier A ones. And you’re reaching them out, and they never reply because you still didn’t create your brand or the brand awareness is not that great. And then what I tell to my team is to reverse the reach out process and to reach out to all those tiers that are blogs, bloggers, individual bloggers that have medium publications or a medium blog and they blog from time to time. 

They want to build their persona, they want to build little bit more fame, they’re more hungry for fresh content or for unique content for the blog. And we reached out to them and we got the reply even before we click the send button, because those people really want to network. And they also need content. So either we created the content for them and then they published it or they wrote and publish it for free. 

And this is how you start to get the content machine. So you’re creating a network of bloggers in this case contributors, editors and all that. And once they are starting to write about you, then tier A will reach out to you and say, all right, I see a lot of blogs writing about you. Can we hear more about the company and yourself and all that? 

Of course, a lot of tactical elements and offerings and copy that you need to tighten up before you do those kinds of things. And you know, in the course of like six weeks or seven weeks we focused on this effort for a lot of time. So in the course of like six or seven weeks we saw that in one week on average, between 15 to 30 articles either mentioning us or actually reviewing the product a little bit. And then those blogs are sharing all those blog posts on social media, and then they share it with their subscribers and their lists and all that. 

And you’re targeting a very specific persona. And if the profile is very targeted and very focused and you’re targeting where they are reading content, and all those blogs publishing content about you, you’re able to build brand awareness very fast in a very credible manner because those people write about it and you are able to create demand generation. 

Because you get links from those blogs to the websites and people read and click on your new product and your new brand. And this is how you can quickly tie together brand awareness in a very credible manner with demand generation to create traction that is not just based on intent in ads and all that. 

But someone actually put a lot of effort into consuming content about yourself, and your brand. So they are coming well-educated. I think it works really well. I see it in other startups as well, but we’ve been able to see around 300% growth in user acquisition month over month for almost 18 months, even in the good scenario. 

And the last two quick things is that this is an evergreen kind of lead generation source. The content will always be there. I know that users are reading the articles I published some eight years ago about Webydo are still coming, the articles still generate leads, and the best thing that can happen is that it builds up your SEO. 

You’re getting a lot of SEO juice because of all those mentions whether they’re linked or without links. It’s not what you focus on right now, but it really helps your SEO efforts. And SEO is like the Holy grail of marketing. Once you nail the SEO value, so you’re building not just your marketing asset, but the business asset for the brand and product, no one can take it from you. And those are three things that you’re getting in one effort. 

It is a comprehensive effort that’s for sure, but really worthwhile. And for B2B, it’s so important because it’s shortening the buying cycle. So I know it was very overwhelming, but I hope that people can get something from that and use it.

Alex (42:24):

Yeah. That’s what we love and I think you’ve laid out a really nice, clear, obvious framework there for something that people can listen to and hopefully take away and think about implementing, which is perfect. It’s the best way for podcasts like these. I’m conscious of time, so we’re probably gonna have to wrap. 

I feel like we need to get you back on the podcast another time in the future to talk about other stuff. I know we were going to talk a bit about the human side, which I think you’ve made reference to. I guess there’s, on a few occasions throughout your answers to other questions, around the importance of the emotional side, the biological side, the fact that marketing is much more than just data, and maybe there’s an episode for another day. 

But for now, I just wanted to say a big thank you for being generous with your time and sharing your insights and approaches with our listeners because I’m sure they’ll appreciate them. So thanks again for joining me.

Yam (43:10):

Good stuff. And thank you so much for having me Alex. Bye.

FINITE (43:14):

Thanks for listening. We’re super busy at FINITE building the best community possible for marketers working in the B2B technology sector to connect, share, and learn. Along with our podcast, we host a series of events, so make sure you head to finite.community to subscribe and keep up to date with upcoming events.

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