How can people and teams in fast-growth companies keep up with marketing and branding well enough to avoid making mistakes? What’s happening at the intersection of brands and technology? Why is seeking a specific multiple the wrong approach and how can you get to that multiple anyway?
Today’s guest, Dave Knox, provides hard-won knowledge on how to avoid marketing and branding mistakes while driving fast. He also hints at a future in which technology and branding will become more intimately tied and identifies trends that make B2C marketing more like B2B marketing and that make B2B marketing more like B2C marketing.
Concentrating on startups and venture capital, Dave serves as a strategic advisor for Predicting the Turn, hosts the Predicting the Turn podcast, and authored a book called … Predicting the Turn! He’s well-branded.
If you and your team driving fast in a high-growth and dynamic environment, you must predict the turn in order to avoid fatal mistakes. And few people are better prepared to guide you through that than Dave. Enjoy our conversation!
How To Avoid Marketing and Branding Mistakes While Driving Fast
Because we embed the full audio recording in each podcast episode’s blog post, you can also listen to the episode with Dave Knox right here…
Customer Experience is Everything the Customer Sees
Because of the range of disciplines and backgrounds each guest brings to The Customer Experience Podcast, we ask each person to define customer experience. Dave uses some smart language we haven’t heard on the show before, delineating the front of house (marketing, branding, sales, retail, etc.) and back of house (engineering, development, etc).
He mentions in this video clip below that the customer experience is created by “anything that directly touches the customer” …
“Every touchpoint” might sound familiar as it’s become a common theme throughout previous episodes. Knox also discusses how customer experience is a relatively new language that’s only become available to the public eye over the last decade.
What’s the relationship between customer experience and branding or brand experience? In his experience, they overlap very much because they were originally one and the same. “Creating a great customer experience was the essence of branding,” Knox says.
The Right Feeling for the Right Brand
Customer experience has grown as a focal point of good branding. Part of this is thinking about how we evoke emotion and create meaningful touchpoints. If a customer experiences a brand, hears about a brand, or sees the product of a brand, how do they react? If it sparks joy with that customer, then you know that the branding is powerful and effective.
Dave explains in this clip …
He references online retailer Zappos and how they create this feeling of happiness with their customers the moment you hear their name. They address all touchpoints that connect with customers and spark joy through their brand recognition. From their website to shoes delivered to your door, each moment feels thoughtful and customer-focused.
But Zappos is a B2C company, most of which have focused on brand building for decades. What about B2B companies, in which branding hasn’t been as much in the forefront?
So, let’s bring it around, because there’s been an interesting flip. B2C companies have become more focused on direct response and direct customer relationships while B2B companies have increasingly worked on building brand.
Their branding and marketing efforts have inverted a bit, perhaps as they move toward a more appropriate and balanced H2H or human-to-human approach.
Dave describes this shift right here …
Predicting the Turn (Knox’s Guide To Avoid Marketing Mistakes)
Starting his career with the Proctor and Gamble group as a Brand Manager, Knox is classically schooled in branding and marketing; he earned the equivalent of an MBA through on-the-job training. He estimates that 90-95% of his colleagues that were assistant brand managers held MBA’s from top-tier business schools.
For every sales promotion, every month, there were training and education sessions. The benefit was that he was able to put learnings into practice, running 20 million dollar campaigns the next day. Today, as he lectures at colleges and other settings, Knox always tries to encourage students to follow in his footsteps. He cautions against trying to start a business right after college with your own funds when you could make mistakes on the budget of an eight-figure company and have a wider safety net as you learn and grow. With a bigger company, your mistakes are a rounding error, but on your own, as you’re driving fast, any mistake could be a fatal one.
Speaking of mistakes, Fortune 500 companies like Ford Motor Company, Unilever, and P&G must work to make a shift. What was once their strength has become a liability. They’re not in the same business they were just a generation or two ago.
Watch the clip below to see how he thinks about this dynamic and how these companies might predict the turn and adapt to meet this new challenge …
Being an expert marketer, Knox also provides us a list of what he believes are the top marketing and branding mistakes we must avoid if we want to succeed.
Check out the next clip for his three biggest offenders (and then read below to catch a fourth we picked up along the way!) …
Mistake 1: Hiring Less-Talented Marketers.
This might sound simplistic, but many times team leaders won’t assess their biggest weakness and try to hire with the intention of filling in these talent gaps. Often, people hire to hide their deficiencies rather than to solve for them. If you hire great marketers, they’ll elevate the team to a higher standard.
Mistake 2: Trying To Do Everything Yourself.
The number one signifier for this is believing you’ll get credit for doing everything yourself. The problem? You don’t. Instead, you get credit for success; it’s won by effectively using all of your available resources – and that includes knowing when to bring in outside experts. Rather than going it alone in pursuit of being credited with the win, take advantage of partnerships and watch complex projects be completed in half of the expected time.
Mistake 3: Failing to Build Credibility with Your Peers.
If you truly want to succeed as a marketer, go over to Sales, Product, Engineering, Development, Customer Success, and other teams and ask them how you can help. Understanding how these departments operate and informing them what you’re able to provide them builds a clearer picture of what marketing can do to help the business succeed.
Another Mistake: Investing In Your Product But Not In Your Brand
Dave has watched far too many startups and fast growing companies fail because of this mistake. By creating and delivering a great customer experience, you demonstrate that your brand stands for more than just the product. You create a lifestyle in which your customers want to participate; they want to engage with you again and again.
In this clip, he also makes a great point about focusing on brand over metrics and winning the long game …
A B2B Brand That’s Doing It Right
So, where can we look for an example of a company that’s executing marketing and branding in a smart way? Dave offers up Terminus, an account-based marketing platform whose approach is captured in the statement “if you’re not building a community, you’re just a commodity.”
Why does he respect their work? Here are two reasons he provides:
1. “Account-based marketing is one of the more interesting trends we’re seeing in marketing today.” The art and science behind an ABM campaign requires you to be a great strategic marketer.
Here’s a short clip in which Dave talks Terminus …
At the close of every episode, I give each guest the opportunity to thank or mention a person who’s had a positive impact on her or his life or career and to mention a company that’s delivering customer experience the right way. Give this episode a listen to hear Dave double down on Terminus.
Keep up with this ongoing CX conversation by subscribing to The Customer Experience Podcast.
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Happening on The Customer Experience Podcast
Hear These Conversations Right Now:
- “Why Friction Is A Customer Experience Killer” with Brian Gilman (VP of Product Marketing, Vonage)
- “The Holy Grail of Connecting with Your Customers” with Ann Handley (Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs)
- “Why Customer Experience Is The Only Differentiator Left” with David Cancel (founder and CEO, Drift)
- See overviews of every episode by clicking right here
Great Guests Coming Soon:
- Co-author of Customer Centricity and Executive Director of Wharton Interactive Sarah Toms (The Wharton School of Business)
- Customer success leader Mike Redbord (HubSpot)
- Director of Customer Exprience Luke Owen (Formstack)
Email me: Ethan(at)BombBomb(dot)com
I welcome your podcast feedback or guest recommendation.
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