B2B companies keep getting told that they need to invest in marketing but most still see it more as a ‘nice to have’ not a ‘ must have’.
It has the look and feel of an expensive with an uncertain ROI attached to it.
While its true that today its difficult to move the needle on sales, let alone building brand recognition for your product or service, marketing can be effective and budget friendly - if you become more flexible about staffing.
And it can help improve sales in a more tangible way - when you know what things to focus on.
In this episode I’m speaking with Amy Anderson, co-founder of Wild Coffee Marketing, which focuses on transforming businesses through a diverse set of disciplines and tailor-made teams.
Amy has had more than 25 years of experience at brands such as Calvin Klein, Seventeen, and The New York Times Digital.
We’re going to be discussing …
- How a fractional CMO and outsourced marketing teams can bring in greater expertise while helping companies control their marketing costs.
- The key marketing KPI’s that B2B companies should focus on.
- Why marketing during an economic downturn can give companies an opportunity to pull way ahead of the market - at a lower cost.
And a lot more …
Wild Coffee's website: https://wildcoffeemarketing.com/
Connect with Amy Anderson: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-anderson-17abba2/
Learn about The Current Situation in Sourcing: https://thecurrentsituation.net
A Seat at The Table website: https://seat.fm
Visit A Seat at The Table's website at https://seat.fm
Jane Singer 00:02
B2B companies keep getting told that they need to invest in marketing, but most still see it more as a nice to have not a must have. It just has the look and feel of an expense with an uncertain ROI attached to it.
While it's true that today, it's difficult to move the needle on sales, let alone build brand recognition for your product or service.
Marketing can be effective and budget friendly, if you become more flexible about staffing, and it can improve sales in a more tangible way, when you know what things to focus on.
I'm Jane singer. And thank you for joining me here on a seat at the table. It's great to have you as part of our growing international community that now includes leaders in over 100 countries. In this episode, I'm speaking with Amy Anderson, co-founder of Wild Coffee Marketing, which focuses on transforming businesses through a diverse set of disciplines and tailor made teams. Amy has more than 25 years of experience at brands such as Calvin Klein 17, and the New York Times digital.
Today we're going to be discussing how having a fractional CMO and working with outsourced marketing teams can bring in greater expertise, while helping companies control their marketing costs.
We're also going to talk about the key marketing KPIs that B2B Companies should focus on. And then we'll dive into why marketing during an economic downturn can give companies an opportunity to pull ahead of the market, oftentimes at a lower cost.
And there's a lot more we'll be covering. So let's get started and learn about how we might want to start looking at marketing.
Amy, I'm really happy to have you on a seat at the table. And thank you for taking the time to join us.
Amy Anderson 01:40
Thank you so much for having me.
Jane Singer 01:42
So you know what, let's just jump right in. Because I think what you're talking about marketing is really interesting to our audience here, which is B2B. And I think that marketing is something that gets talked about, but we never really get serious about it, and the critical role that it plays, I'm really looking forward to being able to get some of your insights.
Now you refer to marketing to your marketing foundation. What is that? And why is that critical for success?
Amy Anderson 02:13
Well, as a 30 year veteran of doing marketing in house for many clients, and now having a consulting firm, you have had the opportunity to in the B2B and b2c world sort of have an inside view. And what we find, especially in a lot of our consulting engagements now, is that CEOs and CMOs and marketing teams will actually dive into marketing tactics and activities before they've built a strong foundation.
And before they have built a strategy, right, so what do we mean by that? And it sounds sort of basic, Jane, but a lot of people are not sort of tackling where they sit in the market. Right? If your customers had competitive alternatives, who would they use? Right?
And why would they go to them? And what differentiates you in that market? What key features make you different and stand out from your competitors? And why do people care? Right, sort of what value does that bring your target market? And what competitive set sort of are you in?
So unless you really sit and understand sort of why people are choosing you, who your ideal clients are, where you sit in the market, and build that strategy, you really shouldn't be diving into any sort of marketing activities, because then things get a little bit disjointed. They're not coming from a solid foundation.
Jane Singer 03:34
Yeah, I think that's a really good point. And we don't think about it typically, right? We just go about marketing, and then subsequently advertising sort of hit or miss, look at what other people are doing, do the same thing. So I'm really glad you brought up that you need to sort of figure out where you are, you know, and then where you want to be, so to speak.
Amy Anderson 03:55
Why are people choosing you, right? Look at your ideal clients, why are they choosing a lot of times you can go and ask them, we'll start a consulting engagement, we'll say to CEOs, can we please interview your top five to seven ideal clients, right?
And then why they are choosing you and how they perceive you may actually be different than why you think they're buying from you. And I think to get into the minds of those clients, and really understand that, and then what do they think you do, especially in B2B sort of SAS models, financial services, and fintech, you know, the reason they might be buying you is a completely different reason than you're putting out there in the market. And then you can adjust messaging, you can adjust advertising that way, but to get into the hearts and minds of the why and build that strategy and then stem from that, then you have something to refer back to always.
Jane Singer 04:43
Yes, yeah, absolutely. Now you talk about the need for fractional CMOs, an outsourced marketing team in today's sort of digital versus digital or digital first environment. In your opinion, why is that something companies should be considering?
Amy Anderson 04:59
I think Every business needs a CMO. Okay, no matter how big or small, that strategy, again, has to really be the foundation for what people are working from. Right. So I believe everyone needs a CMO. But you don't necessarily need one full time. Or that's not always affordable, especially in today's market, right.
But to have a fractional CMO, and to hire someone on a consulting basis to come in and say, okay, you know, and you sort of lift the hood, and understand who the customers are, what activities are happening, what the acquisition costs are, what the underlying technology is, when you go in and look at all that you build that strategy, the CFO can exit, maybe you check in quarterly with them, you know, and you sort of revisit that strategy and look at the KPIs and the metrics and see how things are going.
But then you can have a team, right, that implements that strategy. But in this world, and especially with all sorts of marketing sits in the C suite, because we own the customer experience and digital world, right? Your clients are encountering you online. And we sort of own that UX UI of the messaging there, the customer journey, right?
So more junior marketing folks really, maybe don't have the skill set to look at the customer journey through awareness through referral. Right? And a senior strategist has that ability to do that. So we find that very important to sort of build that foundation. And then you can build the plans and sort of work off of that.
Amy Anderson 06:25
Yeah, exactly. I mean, you might have talented people on the team. But can they pull together the multiple pieces from each of those talented pieces in a cohesive strategy? And then see where that's going that may be more difficult?
Amy Anderson 06:41
Well, think about all the skill sets required, right? In a digital environment, your SEO, you have paid digital, you have organic, social, you have blog writing, headline writing, website development, all of these things PR, right. So it's our belief, really, in this model, that it's really hard to build an in-house team, that's economical, right?
That covers all of those skill sets. And then do you need all of those skill sets all the time? Do you need a full time SEO person on board, you know, and sure, you can outsource pieces to agencies, but then you need someone in-house who's really skilled at managing agencies, holding them accountable, negotiating contracts, right.
So if you outsource all of those pieces, and then you draw from a fractional team as needed, based on the needs of the business, then it's more economically sound. And then you're covering all those skill sets that you need.
Jane Singer 07:33
I completely agree with you, we implement that in, in our company as well, the value of having people exactly in that role, where you don't necessarily need to own that person as a full time employee. And this gives you a lot more flexibility, a lot more adaptability to respond to different needs that you might have from time to time, and bring in expertise as needed and when needed. Exactly.
Amy Anderson 07:59
And you know, that's a challenge, right, finding those people, freelancers, by nature are freelancers. And they're flexible, and sort of working with different clients. And so that's where we created sort of a model where all of that talent is on board on one team.
And then you can draw from it as you need. And then you don't have to go to an SEO firm, two different freelancers for design, we sort of created that in house. And it's really sort of my vision to transform the model and help bigger companies outsource, most, if not all of their marketing, we have clients doing $50- $60 million in revenue without a single marketing person in house.
And it saves them money. It creates efficiency, it helps them draw on skill sets, they wouldn't be able to bring in house. And I think that that's needed, you know, especially going into sort of this uncertain environment that we're all looking at with rising interest rates and digital stocks doing what they're doing.
How do you sort of shore up against that and contain costs, while not sort of losing your marketing muscle and your share of mind? And this environment? Outsourcing is one of those ways that you can do that.
Jane Singer 09:04
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that, for companies that are used to having a full time person on board in different roles, it's a leap of faith, because in some cases, they feel they're losing that control. And it does take time to establish good people who were what you might call contractors, for lack of a better word.
I don't like to use freelance because that sort of makes it sound like Here today, gone tomorrow, but sort of that long term relationship with a person who is not a full time staff. You know, it's a job to find that kind of a person to build that relationship and that level of trust. But as you're pointing out, I think quite correctly, it's critical because it helps you manage cost.
Amy Anderson 09:48
Absolutely. And you may need five of those contractors. And then how do you assemble a team of disparate contractors, get the skill sets right, negotiate the price and then keep the costs when you have one firm who's doing all that we can say, Okay, in this quarter, our emphasis is organic traffic growth. And in this quarter, we are going to layer on a really strong inbound marketing program through Salesforce, with marketing with email automation. And we're going to build those sales funnels at a really strategic level together with your business development team, right?
So it is there, especially in a B2B environment, there are complexities with inbound systems sales and marketing, alignment, and then layer on all of the design and sort of social media on LinkedIn and all those things that you need to be doing.
Jane Singer 10:33
Yes, absolutely. I mean, the flexibility aspect of it, like you're saying the ability to shift from different programs without having to deal with the fact that you don't have that huge talent pool in house, and maybe you don't need them all the time. You're right, it's a lot to manage unless you're a huge operation.
So this ability to have fractional people really can be game changing for many, many companies. For some of ours, right, we have a franchise client actually consumer based, but what's consumer and B2B because their franchise, right, you have to get new franchisees. So that's the brand downside, right development.
And then you also need to get leads for local locations. We were with them when they had 50 locations, and now they have 300. So we have, we have augmented our team and our engagement grow with them. But the needs of a company with 50 locations, and the needs of a company at 300. Different yet we're able to meet that as a team because we add more resources onto an account and things like that.
Jane Singer 11:34
Yes, exactly. I think it's a new way of looking at things, but it will increasingly become a survival tactic. Really, when you think about it, for companies who need to manage costs, while also trying to, in a sense, scale up on expertise.
Amy Anderson 11:51
Absolutely. Because the needs are becoming more sophisticated, right? Especially, you know, during times where how do I contain costs? Right? How do I contain costs while still continuing to grow?
We know that 95% of people's sort of cognitive choices are happening at a subconscious level. Right? Yeah, so if your clients and consumers are choosing like that, and you take away your mindshare, because you're choosing to cut back on marketing, you have a lot to make up for because we know that there are periods of expansion after periods of contraction, right? We saw it in 2007-2009. We saw it in 1991, and 1992.
So I think really, you have to decide if you're going to go on an offensive strategy in this environment, or a defensive one. And you need to really look at, you know, taking away your share of voice now. It costs you a lot of money after a time of expansion, because you're playing catch up and your clients have gone and chosen someone else because you weren't part of that consideration set.
Jane Singer 12:50
Yeah, it's a good point. And it's something that a lot of companies are going to be struggling with. Because we are heading into what certainly appears to be an economic, you might say, downturn or recession quality, you know, as you which depends upon, you know, who's looking at it. But it certainly will be a time when companies will become more cost conscious. And typically, what gets caught, right, are marketing budgets, it just always seems to be the first thing to go. So, you know, I think what you're pointing to here is that companies need to be thinking long term.
Amy Anderson 13:25
Yes. I think of acquiring resources for the expansion period after a downturn, right. Understand that it is going to be much more costly to pay like ketchup. There was a study done in the 9192 recession where McDonald's cut across the board, their advertising budgets, and Taco Bell, and I think it was KFC that went and expanded theirs. And McDonald's ended up losing significant market share for that, because they weren't part of the consideration set. Right. So it's sort of a simplified, quick service restaurant sort of example.
But you know, this is the time to really look towards the future. Understand that there's going to be an expansion, acquire resources, the talent market, we've all struggled in marketing in the last two years with the great resignation. Now we have quiet quitting, right and right, all happening, right?
So you know, and it forced us to build some resilience, really look at our talent, how we manage our people, I think this is a period of building business resilience, understanding where you can sort of dream big and separate yourself from competitors. And it's an investment in the business, not just cost cutting, there's certainly places where you can look at access, but giving up your share of voice and being out there is not something that the studies recommend that you do.
Jane Singer 14:44
That's very true. And it touches on the saying that you can't save your way to success. And a lot of the smaller midsize players tend to go in that direction, whereas the ones who end up winning, I'm not saying that they don't think about what they're saying. anything because everybody has to think about profitability and so forth. But they're more judicious in terms of cutting back on things so radically, that maybe again, like you're saying, paves the way for the future?
Amy Anderson 15:13
Well, if the short term cost savings are shown not to impact the business in a positive way, over the long term, right, much more expensive to play catch up. Costs typically will increase after it's interesting. We have a client in the formal where business was 65 locations in the central quarter of the United States. And they went through all of their cost cutting and integration of these brands. But they don't even have numbers, historical numbers to really compare things to because 2019, the marketing costs were very different, right than in 2022.
So they've done all of their crosscutting. Where do you go from a growth strategy, and we have to grab back some sort of market share from not investing in being out there. And digital too if you look at people on Google ads, Google AdWords, you have to own your real estate from an organic perspective, and a pay perspective at a minimum with your brand terms. Right?
Right, that real estate, because your competitors will get in there and own it. So that's it, it's very easy for CFOs, and CEOs to sort of look at a line item of marketing ad spend. And it looks like an easy cut, but they're not considering the implications behind that in many cases. So as consultants, we're always fighting for our jobs. Right, right.
That's what I love about it, is that you have an in-house team. And there's no I'm not saying there's complacency there. But there's a bit more security, because that's going into a payroll budget, right? Ours, you're looking at a balance sheet and going oh, well, there's 300, there's 500, we can come so we're always sort of fighting for that. And I like it.
Jane Singer 16:43
Yes, well, there's certainly a lot more accountability. And absolutely, you know, you made a good point about the fact that when there's a downturn and more people pull out of the market, that's where you can really not only grab market share, but prices for everything tend to come down because you have less competitors.
And certainly the amount of noise is less, because everybody else is cutting their marketing budgets, right. Anything that you do is going to have a lot more visibility just because you have less people in the market. So it's sort of the time when companies really have that golden opportunity to seize the moment. And I think you know, what you're saying is true, the moment the market picks up, wow, the price of everything goes up again.
Amy Anderson 17:26
Right. And you're absolutely right, just from a clutter perspective and nice perspective and a cost perspective, it makes absolute sense. And I see even at a minimal, you know, it too, as a defensive, if you want to be on a defensive strategy, I mean, maybe keep your budget at one level, or want to go on an offensive strategy, go grab it, right.
So, and really, an exciting digital transformation is another area that you really don't want to decrease.
This is a time where you create cost efficiencies, business efficiencies, operational efficiencies, through digital, especially sort of in a manufacturing sector we're seeing, but it's a place to really get innovative and get excited, and not to come from a place of fear. But to anticipate right now is the time that we should all be looking at it, we're looking at it in our business, you know, we tend to bend, we tend to thrive during these times, because people are less apt to bring people in-house to do marketing.
Right, they are more likely to outsource for a cost, you know, sort of a commitment, perspective, cost effective. So this is the time that committees and executives should be looking and saying, what are we looking at? Where can we find innovation? Where can we find costings where we're going to be offensive or defensive? And where are we gonna take the company?
Jane Singer 18:40
Right? Yes, I think so too. It's funny, people look at this coming recession, or maybe it's already here, in a negative way. But as you're saying, it also opens up massive opportunities. And oftentimes, this is the time when these midsize companies or even small companies can really actually grab market share that otherwise they couldn't have gotten their hands on.
Amy Anderson 19:05
Absolutely. And I think it just requires some foresight, you know, some resilience muscle that hopefully a lot of companies developed during COVID. Right, right, we were forced to, you know, sort of thrive or die and sort of that environment, you know, so I think it's, it's a really interesting time for investment.
Jane Singer 19:23
Yes, that's so true. Now, you've had extensive experience working with leading brands and building your own marketing company. What do you see are the top marketing mistakes that companies make and why
Amy Anderson 19:38
I think engaging in activity versus progress. Okay. And what I mean by that is a lot of companies and executives think if they have a lot of activity and a lot of sort of tactics happening out in the market, that somehow that is beneficial to the firm.
I think what people forget about is that it must be built on a strategy that addresses this. cific target markets and market segments. And that may be five KPIs no more than that needs to be followed.
So I said to my team, you know, yesterday, what are the five KPIs for every client and your book right now. And they all knew it off the top of my head.
And so they know that if you are not driving towards five performance indicators, that are telling you how marketing is going at all times, and be able to take those numbers out of your pocket, that you're not really engaging in effective strategy, graphic design and post on LinkedIn, or blogs on your company, unless those are rooted in sound organic traffic growth in keywords, right, a digital acquisition, what is your current acquisition cost of your clients?
And what is the benchmark for last quarter last month last year? Right. So I think that really sort of building that foundation and that strategy that we talked about, but also having these KPIs so that at any point, they know, how are things going?
Jane Singer 20:54
Yes, I think that's very important. And I think that a lot of people overlook, number one you need to measure but what you need to measure, because so often, and I think you've probably seen this, too, and I'm guilty of this myself, is that you get lost in the vanity metrics, so to speak, right? How many people looked at your LinkedIn post?
Or how many people gave you a like or whatever? And you tend to forget that, that doesn't necessarily move the needle? I mean, how are you seeing that?
Amy Anderson 21:27
Well, we have the vanity metrics, that's a term that we use quite a bit. Because oftentimes, it's so visible, and clients care about that,
Amy Anderson 21:35
right. But to tell them
Amy Anderson 21:37
is really we're looking at impressions and reach on social, we're looking at overall exposure, because if you don't have engagement with those posts and brands then and they're not sort of translating into sales, and that's important.
A lot of times it's the less glamorous things, right? Yeah. What is the bounce rate on a website? What is your conversion rate with forms? How are you tagging data in Salesforce? Or whatever CRM you're using? You know, what is a marketing qualified lead versus a sales qualified lead? And what is the follow up looking like and what sales triggers and reminders have been built.
So it's a lot of systems process and strategy, versus sort of the front end sort of beautiful design, it matters, right? Your brand, and I, I am a brand strategist for 30 years, it's very important to me sort of how it looks. But I think that looking at sort of customer journeys, sales and marketing alignment, how that process happens, and what those measures are, that you use to indicate the health of the business perspective, right.
And as consultants fighting for our jobs all the time, which is what we love, you know, we have to prove our value all the time. I'd rather be in that place than sort of be in house and work on one brand and Rhino. But you know, to know those KPIs is really important. So I think people need to ask themselves, what are my marketing KPIs? And how often am I looking at them?
Jane Singer 22:59
Yeah, exactly. And like you said, sometimes the things that really move the needle are not the fun, glamorous things, the social media can be more entertaining, so to speak. But sometimes, as you point out, and I think quite correctly, it's those things like bounce rate on your website, or conversion on a form that actually is going to land a sale.
Amy Anderson 23:22
Absolutely are in the B2B world. You know, we love business development, and salespeople. We cannot be successful in those engagements.
And the last B2B sales people believe in what we're doing. And the systems are aligned, where the leads are coming from, where are they going? Do they have templates for emails that they can use to do outreach follow up?
Do they have the materials that they need, right? So for some marketers, especially on the consumer side, that doesn't maybe doesn't feel as glamorous? But that's, that's what's going to move the needle? How have you supported that business development team in a way that enables them to sell?
We call it sales prevention. Last thing we ever want to practice as marketers, I do not want to prevent a business development person from doing their job. I want to absolutely help the loser systems. Jamie, that's not so fun stuff. But it's really critical in that environment.
Jane Singer 24:12
Yeah, absolutely. Well, Amy, you've shared so many interesting things. And so many things that I think all of us listening, myself included, need to take to heart, especially as we're entering a new phase, so to speak economically, how can people connect with you? Where can we find you?
Amy Anderson 24:29
Well, my company is wild coffee marketing. So wild coffee marketing.com. And I am on LinkedIn, as Amy Anderson at Wild coffee. And we publish a lot about our work and sort of our opinions of what's happening in the market. And I think our team does a good job sort of sharing what they know and what they love.
Jane Singer 24:48
Well, that's wonderful. And I'm going to make sure all of those links are in the show notes so that people can connect with you. And I want to thank you so much for joining us. It's really been wonderful to have you on the show.
Amy Anderson 24:59
Thank you. So much for having me again,
Jane Singer 25:00
Thank you for joining me here on a seat at the table.
If you've enjoyed this episode or learn something from it, I'd love to hear about it.
If you'd like to support the show, please hit the subscribe button. And if you can take a minute to leave a review on Apple podcasts or other channels, that would be fabulous.
A new podcast course that will show you step by step exactly what you need to do to land those prestigious guest spots on podcasts.
Being a guest on the podcast is a great way to gain visibility and grow your authority. Your Seat at The Table gives you a detailed roadmap with templates to teach you exactly how to achieve this.
So head on over to seatpodcast.com. And if there's something you'd like to share ideas, suggestions or comments, please feel free to reach out. I'd love to hear from you.
Thank you again for joining me today and being part of our international community. I'm Jane Singer, and I'll see you in the next podcast episode.