Customer acquisition

Brand marketing vs. performance marketing for IoT companies

[00:00:00] Thorstein Nordby: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Customer Acquisition Podcast. My name is Thorstein. If you are in marketing or sales and you want to increase demand, build more pipeline and acquire more customers for a B2B product, this podcast is for you. In this podcast, we will mix together webinars, live streams, interviews, and everything else in audio format.

[00:00:29] I also recommend registering for our weekly  live sessions on Wednesdays at one Central European Time. Here we cover a different topic related to customer acquisition, such as content marketing, advertising, sales, and much more. You can sign up at nettly.co/live. Now on to this episode.

[00:00:53] Hello and welcome today. I am joined by Lynette Grinter, VP of marketing at Hologram. Lynette, welcome!

[00:01:01] Lynette Grinter: [00:01:01] Thank you. Great to be here. Thanks for having me. 

[00:01:04] Thorstein Nordby: [00:01:04] Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do at Hologram? 

[00:01:09]Lynette Grinter: [00:01:09] My background is in digital marketing. I started off in consumer marketing at Orbitz and jumped to a startup called TicketsNow, which was acquired by Ticketmaster since then.

[00:01:20] I've really been in more disruptive startup phase businesses. And most recently. jumped to a B2B role at Hologram. That's really exciting to me because it's just exploding with growth and the internet of things category. So I'm here today to chat with you about marketing in that category.

[00:01:43] And what Hologram does is we are a cellular platform for IoT devices and, the internet of things, devices could be anything. In any industry, such as, scooters and e-bikes and the [00:02:00] micro mobility category, robots and retail stores all the way over to wearables, where you're tracking, things like dogs, you can track your dog through an IoT device, or sensors, in manufacturing. Tou can track things like your water heater or your thermostat all through the connectivity that holograms network. 

[00:02:22] Thorstein Nordby: [00:02:22] I came across a presentation you did on YouTube. And you said that you were a B2C marketer turned B2B marketer. And I think a big distinction between B2C and B2B B2C marketers, I would say in general, take brand more seriously while B2B marketers are in general, more focused on the transactional measurable side of marketing, such as the number of conversions generating market qualified leads and so on.

[00:02:49] Do you agree with that? 

[00:02:51] Lynette Grinter: [00:02:51] Not necessarily. I've been in consumer marketing that's really performance driven. You need to build your brand at the same time. The old adage of being [00:03:00] marketing, being art and science to me is very true. I have to build interesting creativity, whether you're B2B or B2C and you also have to make sure it's driving performance and it's doing what you expect it to do, and you're reaching customers with the right message at the right time. So I really view it as a combination of both that art and science and being able to drive performance. A lot of marketing now is so digital that you're able to see how the creative does and how consumers are responding to it or clients.

[00:03:33] And you can really optimize and learn from that. I'm working with a team of designers. Everyone's really hungry for that information. So it's a really exciting time in marketing to me because everything is so measurable that you're able to make a big impact that way. 

[00:03:50] Thorstein Nordby: [00:03:50] And brand such a vague term. Could you maybe define brand marketing and how it's different from branding? 

[00:03:57]Lynette Grinter: [00:03:57] Marketing to me is [00:04:00] identifying your value proposition with respect to the competitors and really building that into a positioning statement and then your campaign. So those are like the words, the look and feel.

[00:04:12] Branding and your brand book is really more the look and feel of all of the assets. So maybe it's the colors on the website, the fonts, the logos, the layout, the design of everything. So it's like, how does that sort of feel as opposed to the actual words and the positioning in the marketplace is more brand strategy.

[00:04:36] Thorstein Nordby: [00:04:36] I believe that having a great brand is just as important for a B2B company that sells complex products or services such as I take companies for example. 

And it's just as important for a B2B company as it is for a B2C company, however many executives, they don't take brand seriously. What do you think having a great brand is just as important as performance marketing?

[00:04:59] Lynette Grinter: [00:04:59] I think [00:05:00] because consumers as well as clients, when they're shopping around for what they need are just, completely in this fragmented media environment where they're constantly bombarded with messages, whether it's on social media or news alerts. Or Slack alerts, clients are constantly pressed for their attention.

[00:05:21] So it's really important that what you're saying and what your brand is representing, it's very clear. And I think being consistent across all of your messages is really critical. I think that integrated marketing across all of your channels. So whether it's your ad, your landing page and your email, It's really important that all those things sort of align, not just from the messaging standpoint, but the look and feel so people remember it.

[00:05:50] And that stands out a lot more. So it's really consistent with the messaging, but also throughout the entire process. So people start to build that trust in your [00:06:00] brand. 

[00:06:01] Thorstein Nordby: [00:06:01] In my experience, many companies object to investing in a brand and building awareness because you cannot tie it necessarily to revenue and it's not always easy to measure. How would you convince an executive for example, to invest in building a brand? 

Lynette Grinter: Yeah, absolutely. I know it is a really common discussion among CFOs, and marketers. And I would say, I start by tracking what you actually can measure so you can measure the website traffic. You can measure marketing ROI by looking at your marketing, spend offline, linking that to the number of leads you're driving, linking that to the number of, or the amount of revenue. So you can say, Hey, here's the activity that we are doing that is driving revenue. And then really on top of that, I've measured brand awareness in a few different ways.

[00:06:52] You can, You start to add, if you're doing some advertising, start to look at the impacts of Google searches on your [00:07:00] brand. That's really a fact of, you can look at the click through rates. I've seen click through rates on ads go higher, just because you're doing more brand awareness and people start to recognize your brand right away when they Google also your conversion rates, your website.

[00:07:15] So as I started, at Ticketmaster, when we were acquired, I was in that retail space. So back then consumers were really skeptical buying tickets online. And by integrating that, that message about Ticketmaster verification, that really helped us build the trust with consumers. So what Ticketmaster verification is, you're able to validate the ticket was real when the seller uploaded and when the buyer downloaded it with their name, it had the stamp of approval on it.

[00:07:48] So by leveraging that information and building that trust, we were able to improve the conversion rate to the website by 40%, so as much as you can start to look at some of those metrics, [00:08:00] and then lastly, really the customer feedback, you start to measure that if people are aware of your brand, and you're tracking that at the end of the day, that's really useful.

[00:08:09] Once you have all these metrics. Just, I always share with them, think of your own experience, buying something, having such a linear experience where you go to Google, you search for something. And that's that often people are looking at reviews. People are looking at competitors.

[00:08:27] People look at media articles to really start to build that trust in a brand. And when you start to point out people's own experiences is when they start to relate to it, okay, it isn't. people don't make these brand decisions and these buying decisions in a funnel, especially when they're writing a big check.

[00:08:44] Thorstein Nordby: [00:08:44] It is interesting that you mentioned Google ads I have access to about twenty-five different HubSpot portals. And I can view all of the different campaigns in Google Ads from within HubSpot, for different clients and those clients who have [00:09:00] done a good job building a brand, they get a lot of their best opportunities.

[00:09:03] Lynette Grinter: [00:09:03] Exactly. From branded search terms for the company, for a company name or product name that makes acquisition costs per opportunity so much lower than other keywords they are bidding for. So, branded terms are both cheaper and convert higher. 

[00:09:35]Thorstein Nordby: [00:09:35] A highly debated topic for the last few years have been attribution, and the big CRM and marketing automation platforms such as Salesforce, HubSpot, or Marketo all have multi-touch attribution reporting. Do you think all marketing can and should be measured? 

[00:09:39] Lynette Grinter: [00:09:39] No, not all of it, but I find creative ways to do anything to measure anything. Here's another example in doing PR. Our PR is probably one of the hardest things to measure if you're looking at justifying that, in measuring that one thing you can do is look at all of the exposures at one media article can get, so you're getting [00:10:00] exposure, of course, to that media audience.

[00:10:03] But also the number of searches when people do so for your brand, they'll start to see that article come up and that helps to build a trust with your clients that it was covered in a publication. And then also, sharing that on your home page, sharing that with your audience throughout the buying cycle, it helps to really have that third party validation.

[00:10:25] So there's all these examples of how one media article could actually help. A buyer makes a decision and you see that come through, in your direct traffic to your website as well. I always attribute PR and brand awareness to that direct traffic on the website 

[00:10:41] Thorstein Nordby: [00:10:41] As a VP of marketing. I'm sure you have many metrics to track. Which KPIs or metrics do you focus on? 

[00:10:50] Lynette Grinter: [00:10:50] Yeah. In the beginning, I looked at the last click method and that shows anyone who's clicking on the website. What's the last channel that they touched, but I also think [00:11:00] looking at first click, once you get into the funnel, and drive people through the life cycle is really interesting because I do find in B2B, it is a longer buying cycle and there's a lot of education involved.

[00:11:12] So people are clicking around on your website, more they're responding emails or looking at blog posts. They're doing a lot more research and education before they become a customer. So looking at the first click in those cases is really informative and understanding how you can move the needle? How can you draw some conclusions and insights from what your customers need based on just really looking at your quick methodology, and what their path to conversion is.

[00:11:40] Thorstein Nordby: [00:11:40] And do you mesh them more on the individual contact level or do you focus more on the accounts? 

[00:11:48] Lynette Grinter: [00:11:48] It's such a good question. I've done both, right now, I'm rolling everything up into the channel level and then once you get more sort of directional information on the account level, [00:12:00] being able to drill down to that level.

[00:12:02] I think that's so important, right? Because the more personalized you can build your creative, if someone is an engineer versus a product manager versus an operations manager versus finance, you can really tackle the messaging accordingly. And that's what people remember is that your message is really tailored to what their needs are.

[00:12:23] Thorstein Nordby: [00:12:23] And if we look at hologram, you're doing many different marketing activities, but what are your favorite ways to drive brand awareness?

[00:12:32]Lynette Grinter: [00:12:32] I would say, we are, we're working on thought leadership right now. So really expanding where we think we can go. And, the industrial revolution 4.0 and sharing that broadly.

[00:12:44] What I think in IoT resonates so much is our customer stories. So we're sharing a lot of our client's stories. One example is thl digital powers Smart RVs. And as with people not flying so much [00:13:00] during the pandemic, a lot of people started doing road tripping all throughout the US, and they started renting RVs.

[00:13:07] And people don't necessarily know, or they're not that familiar with how to drive such a big vehicle. And so with the smart RV is, what it will do is tell you, Hey, you're cornering too hard and you're driving too fast for getting to this corner. so helps guide you. but through that connection to the internet.

[00:13:27] So that's just a really cool customer story for us to share how people understand the IoT space better and all the innovation that's occurring. 

[00:13:45] Thorstein Nordby: [00:13:45] Another thing I wanted to ask you is how does a good brand help you get more inbound opportunities, sales, qualified leads, revenue and so on?

Lynette Grinter:  [00:13:51] You'll start to see your customers, giving you that feedback. It starts really with, as we were talking about earlier, Google searches on your [00:14:00] brand, increasing all the way through to your costs on your ads are lower. Your conversion rate to leads on your website is higher. And then, at the end of the day, the sales team's feedback is so important because they're sharing, Oh my gosh, this customer saw this story, or they heard this about hologram.

[00:14:20] When I started getting those kinds of, that kind of feedback from our sales team is when I know that the marketing's really resonating. I think that creating memorable marketing is so important these days, because it is so complicated because when you're selling a complicated product, breaking it down into simple steps is really important for consumers to remember and clients to remember.

[00:14:44] Thorstein Nordby: And of course you have a budget, but how do you split your budget between brand activities and performance activities at a hologram? 

[00:14:53] Lynette Grinter: [00:14:53] Yeah, I think it depends on what stage of the business you're in. If you're in a startup, you really want to [00:15:00] cut through the clutter and create that brand awareness. So if you can put more dollars there, that's how I would think about that.

[00:15:07] Or on the flip side, when it's a very mature market. You need to cut through that clutter with competitors and spend a lot on your brand at that point. So somewhere in the middle is where I think you can reap the benefits of past brand marketing and dial that back to, rely on the brand awareness and your direct response.

[00:15:29] Thorstein Nordby: [00:15:29] So my last question that I wanted to ask you was, when it comes to B2B marketing, what do you think IoT companies today should stop doing in their sales and marketing? 

[00:15:41] Lynette Grinter: [00:15:41] Yeah. I think it's really interesting right now how everything's about, There's no more in-person trade shows or events.

[00:15:47] And so we have to really think through better ways to do a leave behind or a brochure, or there's no more brochures. There's no more handouts or chotchkies are cool. Fun things [00:16:00] to share with people. you have to think through other ways to get people, to remember your brand without a physical takeaway.

[00:16:07]the other thing I think is just really breaking down that messaging. So people understand that. I see so many examples of this where content is overcomplicated. And I really like to see. Speak to our clients as if they're a friend and make the creative very easily understood and a step-by-step approach so that it's much more memorable and it cuts through the clutter.

[00:16:35] I think in that way too, I think that's a higher likelihood that you'll get referrals and you'll have people share your brand. when you are speaking to them in a way that is super simple to understand. 

[00:16:47] Thorstein Nordby: [00:16:47] Okay, this has been very interesting. If people want to find out more about you or Hologram, where can they go to find you?

[00:16:55] Lynette Grinter: [00:16:55] hologram.io. You can check us out there. You can find me on Twitter at [00:17:00] Lynette Grinter. 

Thorstein Nordby:  Thanks for joining me. 

Lynette Grinter: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. 

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