Toan Dinh knows better than to use his own phone to make the calls. That would be too obvious, and risky.
Instead, the CMO for Demand Generation at point-of-sale software maker TouchBistro uses someone else’s device to cold call his competitors — calls in which he walks through a specific list of questions based on what he’s heard directly by talking about the concerns and issues of his own firm’s existing customers.
“To me that’s an actionable thing you can do that’s low cost. It’s not hard, it’s just effort,” Dinh told a panel during the Growth Marketing Conference that took place in Toronto on Thursday. “I can almost guarantee you it’s the best competitive intelligence exercise you’ll do.”
Dinh’s secret shopping idea is just one example of growth marketing, which spans everything from acquisition, activation, retention and engagement. While enterprise B2B firms might have traditionally looked to their sales teams as the primary driver of growth, Jocelyn Brown suggested a shift was happening, at least among small to mid-sized software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies serving corporate buyers.
“When you look at the opportunity to remove friction, to delight customers such that they’ll advocate for you and speak about meaningful things — those things live in marketing,” said Brown, senior vice-president of customers as revenue at Vancouver-based marketing performance software maker Allocadia.
Brown’s current approach to growth marketing is less about trying to raise awareness among prospects looking for former customers and opening up a dialogue about why they left and whether they might come back.
“It’s showing some good early returns. It requires actually talking to them, spending some effort to always know where they are and to bring value to them,” she said. “I don’t believe customers aren’t always right. But I think they’re always important, and you always can learn.”
Joep Leussink, head of growth and analytics at PagerDuty, agreed, noting that while there is a lot of information in data, there’s a lot of growth marketing opportunities based on what’s said within boardrooms and meeting rooms.
“The relationship with customer support and sales is extremely valuable,” he said. “You might have said in the past, ‘Well, the salesperson only talks to one customer,’ but there’s absolutely a lot of value you don’t see when you look just at the web analytics and your own database.”
That said, growth marketing teams will need some standard tools such as tracking, analytics, data visualization and applications to handle A/B testing, Leussink said. Picking the right one is less important than ensuring you get the right value out of it, however, a point Dinh made as well.
“If you’re under 100 people, you probably don’t need all the bells and whistles,” he said. “People buy Marketo, Eloqua, all these fancy tools, and maybe 20 percent actually use it for what it’s meant to be used for. You might as well use ConstantConsact or MailChimp, which are much cheaper.”
Brown recommended “instrumenting the journey” customers take first, and then figuring out what tools you can use to react to milestones along the way that grow the value of your relationship with that customer.
“It’s also about having a plan for how (martech) is going to change things,” she added. “Our marketing ops team have what they call their ‘tool garage’ — there’s something on dev all the time to test. There’s lots of light stuff out there that does a small task, and it can be relatively cheap and easy to test. You mindset should be ‘testing,’ for sure.”
Growth Marketing Toronto wrapped up Thursday.