Nobody said marketing was easy. Depending on your audience, you have to learn the nuances of a niche community, understand what kind of messaging appeals to your prospects, and work hard to beat back against the rising tides of other marketing messages that are bombarding them from every angle. It’s no piece of cake — and it gets even harder when you’re marketing to … well … marketers.
That’s the challenge that confronts Tara Robertson every day. As the Inbound Marketing Manager at Uberflip, she works hard to create compelling email campaigns and demand generation programs that appeal to anyone using content in their marketing mix. And she’s got some pretty fantastic experience to back it up.
“I started out in the PR and events side,” said Robertson, “working at a few different startups in Toronto. I decided that wasn’t for me, and moved into a digital marketing role, working on demand generation.” Robertson worked with innovative brands like Polar Mobile and ScribbleLive before making her way to Uberflip, just in time to help launch their first user conference, The Uberflip Experience. As an added bonus, you can save $250 on your ticket to this awesome event with the promo code TARA250!
Uberflip’s branded content hubs are used by companies like GE, Gartner, and Microsoft to create content experiences that appeal to different stages of the funnel, and different buyer personas. Robertson’s PR background and digital experience makes her a perfect fit to create standout marketing for this audience, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cakewalk. To find out how, exactly, one markets to marketers, we asked her a few questions — starting with the biggest one:
What are the challenges of marketing to marketers?
Marketing to marketers is obviously a challenge, but it can be really fun, too. I notice that marketers really appreciate the small things. For example, we had really fun swag at Marketo’s event last year, like flip-flops and sweatbands, and everyone thought that was really fun and different.
One thing we’ve really noticed is when we use too many buzzwords or acronyms, marketers are not so much a fan of that. They’re really savvy and they’ve heard all these things before, so they don’t want to hear buzzwords on buzzwords, they want real takeaways. As long as you’re delivering real takeaways people can use in their jobs to make themselves look better to their boss and deliver great results, then you can get on a marketer’s side.
How does video fit into your customers’ campaigns?
It’s really interesting in the B2B space, as you wouldn’t think that video comes into play as much as it does. A lot of our customers use video for testimonials, which is a lot of fun. Instead of just a dry case study, you can see a video of someone explaining how they use a product. Especially in software, video is really key to explaining your value proposition, and product videos are really huge too. We see this especially on a hub where you may have blog posts here and there, and then a product video interspersed so people get a solid view of what you do.
What tactics do you find work well that others may not be using?
One tactic that we use regularly here is just plain-text emails. I don’t see too many marketers doing this, although I’ve seen it more this year. One example of this was for an event, we sent an email from our COO, and obviously it’s an automated email — you can tell, as it’s got the unsubscribe — but we were kind of cheeky about it.
In the “P.S.” we said “P.S., this isn’t from me, our marketing automation manager sent this, but if you reply I’ll get back to you and book some time with you at the conference.” So people really liked that. It was very up front, and I find with marketers when you’re doing something sneaky, like a plain-text email from a VP or a CEO, you have to be upfront about it and not B.S. them. We get really great results with stuff like that. Here’s what that email looked like:
How does Uberflip use webinars for lead generation?
Obviously we get the majority of our leads from the live webinar, because there’s a clear call to a action and urgency there to sign up for a webinar that’s coming up. But, recorded webinars are huge for us, too, and we have them automatically pulled into our hub. We gate them as well so we’re getting leads from every single recording.
When we see a webinar that’s doing really well in terms of conversions, we’ll also put some paid advertising behind it. One channel that we use is BrightTALK, which is basically a slideshare for webinars. You can go in and browse tons of different webinars on different topics like marketing, business, HR, etc. We find that’s a really good channel for bringing in people that are not only qualified, but looking to learn more about marketing. And most of them are really intermediate marketers.
How do events fit into your marketing strategy?
Events are really huge for us, especially in the past year. Our demand generation team has grown, and we’re now four people, so we have a lot more resources to put towards things like getting ROI instead of just going to an event and hoping that our sponsorship works out. We’re really planning months ahead of time. In the spring events season, we actually worked closer with our sales team and helping them with post-event messaging. We also integrated that with our marketing follow-up to ensure there wasn’t too much cross-over, but that everything was still on theme with the event. That’s really helped with ROI, and we’re already seeing great return from events that were only two months ago.
Have you ever had a campaign not perform quite as well as expected? How did you learn from this experience?
One thing that we tried out, kind of as a test last year, was doing a webinar every single week. It didn’t go quite as we planned, and the lead volume started to go way down. We weren’t getting as many people watching our webinars, so we decided to cut our losses, and do one every two weeks instead. It’s been working out so far, but it was something we had to test to know whether it would work. We took a chance on it, but once a week ended up being too much for our audience.
Another funny one happened during my first month at Uberflip. I sent an email on behalf of our sales team, so the signature was supposed to be something like “John at Uberflip,” but I made the mistake of not checking the list first. Normally when I send an email I do a quick export of the list and double-check that all the fields are filled in. But I was kind of new and in a rush, so I went ahead and sent it without doing that. Some of them had, instead of the sales rep’s name, from “Salesforce Assign” (the name of the filler field) if they weren’t assigned a sales rep yet. So obviously that backfired, but I got to write a really fun “Sorry we screwed up!” kind of email, and just took the heat for it because I was new. It was a great way to meet everyone on the sales team and get them to know me!
What was your favorite marketing campaign you’ve run so far?
One of my favorite campaigns we did was our holiday hub. It was right around Christmas, obviously, right in time for the holidays. We had people subscribe, and every day we would email them a little present. So they would click on a little tile in their email and get taken to a free eBook, a video, sometimes they got swag like T-Shirts and headbands and other stuff from our partners. It was fun because nothing was gated once you subscribed. Just free stuff, which everyone likes.
As an added bonus it helped us get into the holiday spirit. We had a really great brainstorming session of what we could give away. For something like this it’s harder to track the ROI, but sometimes it’s worth doing a fun campaign just to be memorable and acknowledge and thank your subscribers for being part of your list.
What resources (blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.) do you turn to to become a better marketer?
Since I email thousands of people per day in my role here at Uberflip, I’m always looking for resources that can help our emails stand out. Some of my favorites are Litmus, Emma, Mailchimp. Those are my top 3 on the email side.
We also recently switched to Marketo, so I’m spending tons and tons of time on the Marketo blog, and Marketo’s partner blogs, so those are my big ones right now.
I’m pretty new to Podcasts, but I really like Buffer’s CultureLab podcast, which is a really great one about diversity and inclusion. We also host our own podcast here at Uberflip called Flip the Switch which has had some really fun guests so I’m looking forward to spending more time on that.