Ep. 71 – Interview w/ Yaagneshwaran Ganesh

How to Improve B2B Content Marketing for Revenue

Being able to implement a content marketing strategy based on your understanding of your customers and their pain points is paramount for every B2B marketer. But how do you implement B2B content marketing initiatives with the aim of generating revenue? It was our privilege to have this thought-provoking conversation with renowned global marketing technologist Yaagneshwaran Ganesh (Director of MarketingAvoma).

During our discussion, Yaag talks about some major shifts in B2B content marketing that marketers should be aware of, what mistakes to avoid, the misconceptions linked to the different stages of the sales funnel, what metrics marketers should be measuring, and what B2B marketers can do right now to improve their content marketing to generate more revenue.

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Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Yaag talks about some of the most common mistakes that B2B marketers make when it comes to content for revenue: [8:07]
    • Creating content in a silo
    • Spreading yourself too thin across different channels
    • Investing too much in in-person events 
    • Writing the way you speak
  • Yaag explains why he doesn’t agree with the way most B2B marketers are developing content for each stage of the funnel. [15:50]
  • How to measure the ROI for content. [22:19]
  • Yaag’s advice: Invest in a good conversation intelligence tool to get to know your customer better. [29:36]
  • The biggest challenge in the world of B2B content marketing: Having realistic expectations. [34:54]

Transcript

SPEAKERS

Christian Klepp, Yaagneshwaran Ganesh

Christian Klepp  00:00

Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discuss thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK Consulting, Christian Klepp.

Christian Klepp  00:26

Okay, welcome, everyone to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast, where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. This is your host, Christian Klepp. And today, I’d like to welcome a guest onto the show who has made it his mission. Well, one of his many missions, I would say, to help B2B marketers and startups to bring clarity to their strategy and develop the right content for revenue generation. So coming to us from Chennai, India, Mr. Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, I hope I pronounced that properly.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  00:54

Absolutely.

Christian Klepp  00:54

So, Vaṇakkam nikaḻccikku varavēṟkiṟōm, welcome to the show.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  01:00

That’s amazing Chris. I love this. You know, I love when somebody greets me my mother tongue. So, so nice of you to do that background research and get this right. So thank you so much.

Christian Klepp  01:11

It’s an absolute pleasure. And it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. I mean, like, you know, we really hit it off, I have to say in the pre-interview call, and I am so looking forward to this conversation because it’s such a pertinent topic, to B2B Marketers out there.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  01:27

Absolutely. My pleasure.

Christian Klepp  01:28

Okay, fantastic. So Yaag, I mean, here comes the understatement of the year, your, your name or your reputation needs no introduction alright. You’re an accomplished global marketing technologist. You’re a published author, and you specialize across different B2B marketing disciplines. Yeah. But for the sake of this conversation today, let’s just narrow down to the topic of B2B content marketing for revenue. So I’ll say that, again, for revenue. So just from your own perspective, and your own experience, tell us about some of the major shifts that you’ve seen in this area, and why you think B2B marketers should be paying attention to them.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  02:06

Right. Absolutely. So this is a very important and also fun question, because, you know, we are recording this in November. And as we get towards the end of every year, this is one a topic that pretty much everyone starts to write about – trends to expect in 2022, what are the things that have evolved and things like that, but to be honest, you know, I’ll put it this way. Not a lot has changed in any form of marketing when it comes to the fundamentals. So, for example, when you look at specific things, or when you look at specific predictions that you hear every year, it is usually a combination of couple of things. One, it’s either extreme wishful thinking that people are wishing for something to happen, or the other way around, people are looking at, say, they are trying to promote their product or their business, and including that as part of, you know, the things that they expect in the upcoming year. So it’s a packaging that comes in the form of prediction. So if you stay away from all of that, and just purely look at what has consistently happened every year, regardless of COVID, is that there has been a continuous increase in the budget that content marketers have got year on year. And then again, there has always been a problem and demonstrating ROI of content, to your marketing to the kind of revenue that it generates. These two are going to happen every year regardless. So let’s talk about that. Why is this happening? And why is that a problem? So fortunately, or unfortunately, I would rather say unfortunately, marketers tend to, you know, play this game of attention all the time. So when you go onto LinkedIn, you will see topics like, Hey, I got X number of followers, like 20,000 followers, 100,000 followers doing this, this, this. Do you want my playbook? So, at the end of the day, when you go in and check out that playbook, there is nothing new there. You get the same old data. But just because you know, you were intrigued, but by that clickbait you’ve gotten, and that happened. Now, the clear factor that you need to have in mind is that you are never going to win the content marketing game from a revenue standpoint, or whatever you’re trying to achieve by playing somebody else’s game, you know, the generic game or the generic playbook that one has, if you’re going to follow that, I’m sure you’re going to get the same kind of results that you have been getting so far or in the past. So ultimately, it boils down to just one fundamental thing. Do you know who your customer is? And do you know what they are expecting? And are you contributing, you know, marketing efforts towards that? One of the first things that my CEO told me as I joined the company Avoma in 2021 April, the first thing he told me was Yaag, just remember this one thing, forget all the other measurements, ensure that you are keeping the customer experience and their interest in everything that you do. If you’re doing that, everything will fall in place. So that’s, I think, very basic. If you keep that baseline, you will know whom to market to, you will know who your content should target, and you will know what to write. So I’ll start there today.

Christian Klepp  05:29

Oh, that’s a really interesting point. And you brought up a point earlier, which I thought, you know, let’s jam on that a little bit. Like why do you think B2B content marketers are so seduced by… Well, let’s jump on the bandwagon or jump on…. let’s use these latest tools because, you know, we heard that this is gonna help our game when it comes to content marketing. I mean, why is there so much of that going on out there?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  05:53

Right. At the end of the day, everybody got to sell what they want to sell, right? So that’s, that’s where it typically starts. So for example, take martech as an industry, so this entire industry, and if you can, if you can look at ABM as a product, or ABM as a domain, this has been consistently happening. There are different tools, and every tool has a different story as to how they contribute to the ABM journey. And if you directly started your ABM journey by looking at one of these tools, you’re going to sandbag yourself into… you know how that tool is built, or what it tries to solve for. So if I can give you an example, I’ll say that, hey, if you’re going to be using programmatic ads tool and if you think that ABM… then you’re going to think that ABM is all about, say running ads at targeted accounts, say tier one, tier two, tier three accounts and then attracting them by running ads and bringing them into your funnel. Or if you’re going to be driven by marketing automation tools for ABM, then you’re gonna think that yes, you know, it’s all about sending out those cadences in a personalized manner. And from there, if you go to a chat tool again, is it recognizing somebody coming into your ecosystem as an existing account? If I say that, hey, hey, Chris, I recognize you from this company. Welcome. How can I help you?  Is that ABM? Not really. And the same thing happens with, say anything for that matter, pick any tool or any domain, this is the common problem. So everybody is going to say that this is how you go about achieving something. But the reality is, unless you have clarity as to where you want to be what problem you want to solve. And if you can get that across manually first, because any any problem that you try to solve for in the initial days, be it the product or be it a problem that you’re solving for, it’s your your starting point is going to be bare bones, you know, you’re just going to think about how do I solve this. So you’re not going to have too many factors there. Unless I can crack this manually and know what to do. Only then you will know that what are the different places I can bring in a tool. And this is happening across content. This is happening across, say marketing automation, this is happening across product marketing, like regardless of whatever field of marketing that you talk about. This is pretty common.

Christian Klepp  08:15

Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. And, you know, speaking of which, that’s a beautiful segue into the next question. And you’ve touched on some of these already. But like some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions that B2B marketers make when it comes to content for revenue, what are they? And how do you think they should be addressed?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  08:35

Right. This is a very interesting question. Maybe the best way to answer this, maybe I’ll talk about some of the mistakes that I have done in the past over the last 12 years or so. I think that’s probably the easiest to answer. Number one, the number one point I would say, is not listening to your customers enough, okay? What happens is, when you’re in content marketing, you’re more often than not, you know, you’re not talking to anybody, you’re creating content on your own. And you’re working in a silo, which is very dangerous. So it’s happened in one of the first companies that I worked for. And I was in a room where I was an intern, and the person that I was reporting into was in a meeting. And he was the marketing head. And there was this other sales team, who’s also in the team, and there was a discussion about how to launch a product. After the discussion, the sales had asked my manager as to who was going to work on the content. And then, you know, my boss said, hey, we have a bunch of content, marketers will take care of all of these things. And the number one question that came in immediately in that discussion was, okay, so somebody who has not been part of this discussion and who has never spoken to a customer? Is that person going to be writing the content for you? That made me really think wow, yeah, that makes absolute sense, right? And then when I looked at how those content marketers were actually doing their work, it was more like translating the product into product features into problem statements and offering the same product as the solution. So that that approach is not helping anybody. And when I started working for Avoma, one of the things that I really, really enjoyed or how my content now comes from, is, on a daily basis, I use Avoma to listen to, you know, what prospects ask my account executives, or what our existing customers ask to our customer success managers. So, when you listen to these conversations, you understand, hey, what your customers are asking for? Or what are the kinds of questions that your prospects are coming up with, then you’re gonna build your entire content strategy around that. So you’re, you’re going to make sure that everything that you write is meaningful for your audience. That’s one. The second problem is that as marketers, we get too enticed by all the different channels that is available. You know, the question that often we have is, hey, should you be on Tik Tok? Should you be on Twitter? Should you be on Instagram, but the point is, Hey, be there where your audiences that might seem the broad, easy answer. But more realistically, what you want to figure out is, you’re going to be there on one channel at a time and figure out if that works for you or not. So if you’re going to spread yourself too thin, you’re not going to put your efforts anywhere. So if you’re investing on LinkedIn, stay there for you know, at least about six, seven months, invest properly, you know, be there, build the right contacts, it’s not just about going on commenting on certain posts, or pitch slapping somebody and saying do you want to buy my product. It’s about building those relationships and investing your presence over there at the same time, building those relationships with the target audience that you’re looking at. So that’s number two. And the third one that I came across, you know, as part of my recent readings, is a report from Content Marketing Institute that says that about 52% of the marketers have said that they are going to be increasing their investments on in-person events in 2022. And I’m like, really? Does that even make sense? And the reason why I’m questioning this is see, even in the pre-COVID days, the reality is that, hey, you’re there, standing in a booth, you’ve invested about a 20k or 30k dollars, and you get a 10 by 10 booth. And you have to realize that the number of people who have come to the booth are actually come for two reasons. One, they are there for either networking with their peers, and trying to understand what’s happening in the industry, or they are here to listen to a keynote that they came forward to, or they came looking for. And the last thing that they had in mind is what are the different booths that I’m going to be visiting to, you know, see the softwares that are available. Yes, the shopping around is mostly going to happen. But the fun part that you will realize is the shopping around is going to be happening by your competitor, who is trying to kind of understand what you’re doing to, you know, get better. And at best, you might get about, say 50 or 60 business cards through that entire journey being there for about two, three days through the conference. And what you realize is, after all that, when you reach back to this audience, they are not going to respond. Right. So what’s the point? At best, you know, all these details for just two things. They either give their contact just to get your goodies, because it was interesting. That is all. Right? And the fourth point, probably I would also say, something that I see often on LinkedIn or on social media is this point that people talk about – Write the way you speak. Okay? Write the way you speak. Yes. Makes a lot of sense. Because, you know, you don’t want to complicate the way they speak. But here’s another caveat to that. Do people really understand the way you speak? Right? So I speak…

Christian Klepp  14:10

(laugh) That’s absolute truth. Yeah, yeah.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  14:13

Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. And the point is, you know, internally, me and my colleagues are probably going to refer to some parts of our product in an internal jargon. And if nobody from the audience is going to resonate with that are not going to understand. Like, say, for example, there are two ways of saying what I’m gonna say, either you can say that, hey, you know, connect all your channels and get it in a single pane of glass where you will be seeing things end to end. Or I can say that, hey, enabling marketing orchestration. Now, which one is more simple? Which one do you get? So at the end of the day, it’s about making sure that you know who your audience is and communicate in a way they understand and more importantly, communicate the set of things that are important to them and not to you. So yeah, these are some the things that I keep coming across.

Christian Klepp  15:02

Yeah, those are pretty spot on. And you know, and thank you for sharing your experience because, you know, we all started from somewhere, right? We all made these mistakes. But um, man, you know, to your point about… Yeah. I totally agree with you. You like going into next year or even the year after. Like, are people really going to fork out so much money and to invest in a tradeshow booth? I mean, I still find that very questionable. I mean, I know it depends on the industry, but highly unlikely. Right? And the other one, I totally agree that this whole right the way you speak, I would say it depends, right? Because does everybody really want to listen to your very jazzy and casual tone when you’re posting on LinkedIn? (laugh) Yeah, Yaag, you brought up something, and it was a topic in our previous conversation, I thought it was interesting. And it will be worth discussing a little bit further. And it’s about the sales funnel, right? It’s all this like, top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel business. So you said something that I thought was quite interesting. You said, you don’t necessarily agree with the way that most B2B marketers are developing content for each stage of the funnel? We’ve all seen them, right? This exhaustive laundry list of like, okay, we should, we should develop this kind of content for the top, and for the middle, and for the bottom. So, please explain what you feel that way? And what B2B marketers should be doing instead?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  16:27

Yeah, absolutely. So um, the reason I say that is, in fact, even I started with the funnel model back in like, say, 2009, 2010. And here’s the point about that, right. So when you talk about parts of the funnel, you talk about, hey, I should be creating an awareness piece, I should be creating a consideration piece, I need to be, you know, developing a piece that helps them and decision and all of that. So you have seven or eight stages as part of that entire funnel exercise. And the entire set of things is developed based on the understanding or probably the expectation that a prospect is going to consume about seven to eight or, you know, according to some researchers, it’s also even 12 pieces of content before they’re going to make a decision. But let’s be realistic, you know, would you and I do that? Would we be reading 12 different pieces of content, or even seven or eight different pieces of content before buying something? Not really, you know, what we do is, when the pain becomes a real pain, we go and search. Either it could be Google search, or it could be, you know, reaching out to a friend and asking that, Hey, how did he solve for that problem, or how did she solve for that problem, or look at a couple of review sites and see what people are saying about different options that are available. We do things like that. And when we line up on like four or five solutions that we want to compare, the simplest thing that we will be doing is probably go and read on a few blogs, or a few white papers or a few pieces of content on the website. And based on the set of products or set of things that we align the most to, we’ll schedule for the next level of conversations with those companies with their AE or whatever the process is, right. And that’s how the process goes. So my whole point of talking against the funnel idea is that I don’t want people to spend so many, so many hours or so on so many pieces of content to get there. Rather, my point is, can you reduce that entire sequence? You know, can I combine multiple levels of layers of the funnel into one piece of content? Right? So when I talk about something, like say how to do, how to do something like in one of our blogs, I talk about how to use conversation intelligence to say, reduce potential customer churn. Okay, so in this entire process, I can do two things. I can tell you, everybody in the SaaS world knows that churn is a big problem, and everybody wants to solve for it. And I can talk about, hey, what happens if you don’t solve, and here’s how you go about solving it. Now, while I give you the solution as to how to solve, I can show certain screenshots of how I solved it, there is no need for me to be out and out saying that, hey, Avoma solves by doing this, I need not sell Avoma, but I can simply show certain screenshots of the entire process, so that I can convincingly tell you that this is how you solve this problem. But at the same time, I’ve also shown that, hey, my product can do it without explicitly saying it. Now what I’ve done is I’ve made you aware of a problem. I’ve also shown you a way to solve the problem and I’ve also given you the solution as to use this product this way to solve this. Now, there are three or four steps that have already concluded as part of that journey. So if we can think about ways like this, it may not be just in the form of written content, you know, it can be in videos, it can be, you know, creating a set of video demos for people to talk about different use cases and then do it that way. So whatever way you want to do it, you can. But my only whole point about the funnel is don’t expect people to, you know, come in again and again, to take the same kind of action and consume more content because people don’t have that much amount of time. Let’s be realistic. And let’s understand the people’s journey. And as marketers, you know, there’s no point in marketing yesterday’s style, where, you know, people are working for what, people are looking at what they want to do tomorrow, using today’s technologies.

Christian Klepp  20:36

Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. I mean, it sounds to be like, what you’re saying is, you know, trying to find a smart approach to help reduce that sequence a bit, because it sounds to me and we’ve all seen it, right? There’s a bit of an overproduction of content, right. And maybe more often than not, you know, these marketers fail to take a step back and say, okay, so what are we producing all this content for? Is it even worth it?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  21:02

Absolutely. We’re always producing tons and tons of content? And is it even useful? You know, at the end of the day, again, when you go back to the initial content marketing trends, you know, everybody’s gonna say that, hey, the amount of content created is increasing. That’s, that’s true. And the same time?  Have you ever thought out that, hey, is the content that we are creating useful for people? You know, I don’t need to create a piece of content to tell you how to create a GIF. You know, there’s, there’s absolutely no reason. And at the end of the day, if I know that, who my customer is, and what are the problems that they have on a daily basis. And if I can precisely talk to that problem. Now, I’m being helpful far more, because, you know, this is, again, another school of thought, where, instead of writing for the prospect, it is always better off to write for a customer, because you will clearly know what their problems are and how you have solved for them. And that becomes a very clear solution, you understand their context than aspiring to solve somebody’s problem that who you don’t even know.

Christian Klepp  22:04

Who you don’t even know and might not even buy your product? (laugh)

Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.

All right. I mean, because we were talking about like content for revenue. Talk to us about the goals that you think B2B marketers should be setting when it comes to content marketing, and specifically measuring the outcomes for content from a revenue standpoint. So what metrics should they be measuring?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  22:26

Right. So this is, again, you know, a brilliant question. Because when it comes to content, as I initially spoke about, the number one problem that we always have is, how do I give you the ROI for my content? Right? So that’s where the core metrics comes into. And here’s the thing, right? So again, when it comes to content, content is going to be one area that is not a silo, you know, there is sales enablement, there is product marketing, then there is your podcast. And then there are sales, and there are multiple different functions in your organization. And content is a horizontal piece that goes across all of these things. Think of this as a, you know, as a T shaped funnel with multiple vertical layers, and one horizontal layer called content going across all of this. Now, the way you got to think about this is, okay, let’s take product marketing, how does content contribute to product marketing? Product Marketing has four, four interfacing layers, a product marketing team interfaces with customer success, a product marketing team interfaces with the product team. And then they also interface with the marketing team and the sales team. Now, using content, how do I enable product marketers to improve adoption, which is a layer that the product marketers, you know, have a dotted line reporting with the product team? So they care about adoption? What do I… What are the kinds of things that I do in terms of onboarding, or in terms of go to market? So what are the kinds of things that I do there to improve that adoption? So influenced adoption is one metric that you can look at, and the next sector is if you look at the same product marketing interface with sales, you know, let’s look at the sales deals. What can I do for sales enablement? You know, what is my influenced revenue there? In that case, you know, when you hear, again, using the using a tool like Avoma, what you can do is you can consistently hear the top three or four competitors that your prospect often compares you with. So, as a content marketer, what I can do there is in that interfacing piece, I can create three or four battle cards for sales enablement, and say that, hey, these are the pieces whenever people ask you questions around how do you stack up against this competitor? You can, you know, enable them with those things. Then again, think about what I can do with… what I can do with renewals when it comes to customer success, you know, how do I… How do I continuously keep our existing customers see value in our product? You know, what are the kind of pieces that I can create? What are the, you know… Or can I keep sending them few nurture emails? Is it… again, think about if it adds value? Or is it going to be coming across as yet another email that they will eventually mark as spam and, you know, push it away? So, so those are the kind of things that you look at when it comes to product marketing. Now, again, think about even if you had to broadly think about the entire blog was in itself, you know, I would say instead of thinking about the number of visits that you’re getting, or the traditional click throughs, and all of that, I would simply look at two simple things, I would look at what is the time on page, you know, time on page for each of these blog posts. So what that tells you is very clearly tells you that have you attracted the right audience, right. So if the time on page for each of your content pages, like blogs is more than about three to four minutes, you can be absolutely sure that you have attracted the right people, because they spent enough amount of time. Okay. And then another thing as an extension that you need to look for is, how many pages are these people visiting? Right? So after visiting, after spending about five minutes on my blog post, are they visiting another five or six of my product pages, okay? That means I’ve influenced that journey in the right manner. And they are taking the desired course that I would want them to, or at least, you know, they came looking for that. And this was helpful. So if you zoom this out, and look from the holistic marketing investment into the zone, what happens is, you might have spent 10s of hundreds of dollars in driving so much of traffic to your website. But ultimately, what you want to know is have you attracted the right ones is. It’s not about, you know, burning money, and getting more because just even if you right now, if you randomly search for any topic, you are always going to see two or three people consistently appearing for almost every topic that you see, okay. And the point is, the moment you go into that page, if you did not find the actual content that you were looking for, regardless of the click bait of a heading that it was, you’re going to bounce off, you’re not going to spend time there at all. So ultimately, again, I’ll keep coming back to just those two things, do you understand your customer? And are you talking or creating content solving to their problem, and all of those metrics that I just mentioned as a measure will definitely aligned to understanding, you know, the, if it’s the right audience or not, by getting these numbers right.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  27:54

Well, that’s absolutely right. And you know, thanks for sharing those. And, you know, back to what you were saying earlier, I think what you’re also referring to as dwell time, right? So like, you know, how long, how much time on these visitors, like spend looking at your content? Looking at the page, right? versus Oh, look at all these click throughs, or these MQLs? You know, like, there’s, you know, this topic has been discussed more times than I care to count on on LinkedIn.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  28:17

I have a interesting thought on this, you know, based on the kinds of people that you see on, you know, social media, it becomes an interesting debate as to, hey, MQL is bad, this is good, this is bad. It’s, you know, lead gen versus demand gen and all of that. But, fundamentally, let’s, let’s, let’s look at things from first principle’s standpoint, you know, at the end of the day, it is not MQL versus SQL, or PQL, or whatever it is, at the end of the day, what you simply want is to be clear about how you want to define that particular, you know, contact or account coming into your ecosystem. Now, if you are looking at that sign up, who spent say, who came into your product, who signed up and created a few accounts or took a few desired action and became active, you’re looking at them as an MQL. That’s, that’s still fair enough, you know. Whereas if you’re just considering some eBook download and giving those contact to the salespeople and saying that this is MQL, that’s not fair. So ultimately, it boils down to how you call qualified, and what is the SLA that you have within the company. You can call it MQL. You can call it SQL, whatever you want. But ultimately, it’s the definition that you have internally, that drives the sanity of how things should work.

Christian Klepp  29:33

Yeah, well, that’s a fair point. That’s absolutely a fair point. You’ve given us a lot of great advice already, but give us something actionable here. And what I mean by that is like what can B2B marketers do right now to improve their content marketing with the aim of generating revenue?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  29:47

Yeah. So one of the points that I discussed some time back, I’ll probably reiterate that as the core key action items here is maybe invest on a good conversation intelligence tool, wherein you can… because as a marketer, it is important for you to be talking to your customers, and knowing what is important for them and creating content based on what is of importance to them rather than your assumption. So, by investing in a conversation intelligence tool, what you can do is you can consistently understand trends as to what are the kinds of things your prospects are looking for? What are the kind of questions that your customers are asking? What are the kinds of feature requests that are often coming up into your ecosystem that you can even discuss with your product team or even float out growth hack to test if it’s it’s going to work? Or even, you know, you look at some of these specific details as to… Well, in fact, I’ll give you one of the experiments that we did internally. You know, for us at Avoma, we wanted to invest on… we do support quite a few conferencing tools like, say, Zoom or Google Chrome, I mean, Google Meet and all of that. But one of the things that we wanted to do was, we wanted to build an app, specifically for Zoom, wherein you would get this entire in app experience without going out of Zoom to experience Avoma. So the reason we decided to do that was when we consistently heard what was the most used conferencing tool by our customers, as part of these conversations, that data kind of became very clear. Okay, so once we had this data, then it helped our product team to invest more on that, it helped our marketing team to develop more things around that do our research, and things like that. And even when we proposed this tool, or app to Zoom, we had data to show that, hey, you know, what, X percentage of our customers actually use Zoom. So it makes sense for you to get these many people into your ecosystem through Avoma. So, you know, at the end of the day, that’s why I keep harping on to understanding your customers and prospects. Today, it could be a conversation intelligence tomorrow, it could be something else. But the fundamental factor is know your customer, there is no substitute to that.

Christian Klepp  32:11

Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. You know, rather than playing this like guessing game, right, which can be not only dangerous, but quite costly. Right? You’re gonna have a lot of fun with this question. Because this is probably something you don’t get asked a lot. If you had 10 times the marketing budget that you have now, what would you spend it on? And why?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  32:35

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. This is a very interesting question. And also, I have never got this question before. And I’m thinking on my feet, but I’ll… Okay. What I’m going to do is, right now, my entire marketing thought process is based on what my current budget is, and what my internal resource structure is, right. So if I have 10x the budget, I’ll be looking at multiple channels, or more importantly, I’ll be, you know, testing out a lot of many different things and building out specific teams for that, for example, today,  I’ve invested on content marketing, and performance marketing, then, if I have an extra budget, I’ll, I’ll try out few different options as well, or establish systems around say, for example, product marketing, which is a fundamental thing that I want to look at. And then I’ll be investing on, say, advocacy programs, I’ll be investing on partnership programs, which is very important. And then I’ll be looking at doing a set of virtual events, that is, you know, more like a webinar, to improve our brand presence, and probably also invest some of the money on PR as well. So because you know, at the end of the day brand is a significant part of all of the things that you do. And if your brand becomes visible to the right audience, you know, in an enough manner, then your overall CAC is going to come down. So yeah, these are the possible four or five different places I’ll expand on and, more importantly, I’ll invest majority of these resources in bringing the right people into each of these systems. You know, sometimes what… in fact, most of the times what matters the most is if you have the right people on these right areas that including that they are most passionate about those things and solving those problems. I think most of the things can take care of itself.

Christian Klepp  34:36

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, that was a great list and I’m gonna sound a little bit biased because me myself. I’m a brand strategist. So of course, I’m going to agree and say yes, brand is a very important asset. (laugh) So you’ve brought up a couple of these already in the past, you know, a couple of minutes in this conversation, but what do you see is the biggest challenge right now in the world of B2B content marketing?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  35:03

Right. So, again, it’s a recurring problem, two problems. One, I would say is always are we talking to the right audience or attracting the right kind of people? But most important problem to solve for, or what I see as a challenge is, it’s important to have realistic expectations from your content marketing, you know, sometimes we can go too overboard. And we can… we might start thinking that, hey, what how many leads has content marketing contributed to? Or, you know, we have invested on SEO for an example. Okay, so we’ve invested on SEO, it’s been a month, but you know, what is the revenue from SEO? There are certain things that are gonna take its own time. So you need to be realistic about your investments there. And maybe I can give you an example with a content piece that I wrote recently, and compare two different content pieces and tell you about the expectations there. So one of the blog pieces that I wrote today and published was on Team selling, okay, the blog on Team selling has a very different approach, or it’s written for a very different purpose, versus the other blog, where I earlier spoke about using conversation intelligence to, you know, reduce your potential customer churn. Okay, so the blog number two, which I spoke about reducing churn is going to show you how to solve a problem. Whereas the one that I spoke about on Team selling is going to give you an awareness as to, hey, you know, you cannot be closing deals all alone all the time. Because things are going to vary because you’re depending on the size of the deal and the kind of support system that you need into the system. So you need to be aware of this, this, this. So that’s, that’s the purpose of first blog, where I’m not trying to sell anything, I’m not trying to push anything, but I’m just trying to share an idea saying that, hey, if you are looking for a solution to this problem, maybe this is an approach that you might want to take. Whereas the second problem is entirely different, where I’m saying that this is how you go about it. You see, this product can solve this. That’s very clear. So if you’re expecting signups from a blog, like Team selling, that’s not going to happen. Whereas on the other hand, if you’re expecting awareness from the second blog, that’s not going to happen. So one is written at the customers, and the other is written towards a certain kind of people who are looking for an approach to solve a problem.

Christian Klepp  37:43

Yeah, no, those are definitely some very interesting points. And I’m curious what you think about this guy’s like, do you think that commoditization is a key challenge in content marketing?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  37:54

Um, so I have given some thought about it. And in the past, and there are certain parameters that you come across. When somebody when you talk to somebody, and they’re talking to talking to you from the perspective of I’ll pay so many dollars per word, they’re typically talking about run of the mill content. And, and in my experience, what I’ve often seen is that good content marketers, do not talk about it that way. You know, the good content marketers are generally experts in one particular domain. Like, say, for example, if you asked me to write about a business product, or a martech product, I’ll be in my comfort zone, I’ll be like, Yes, I understand this domain. Well, I can write. But on the contrary, if you ask me to write a cybersecurity related blog post or white paper, I’m going to tell you, No, that’s not my area of expertise. Because, you know, I can still read and write a few things. But it’s still not going to come with that kind of authority or conviction with which I would tell you that, hey, this is how you can do something. So that conviction is very, very important. And commoditization discussion also comes a lot because of, you know, there’s AI writing content for you. There are people writing content for you. There’s that angle as well. But see I’m not necessarily worried about who writes the content, as long as the content is useful for people. So I’m not against AI, as long as it’s augmenting your purpose, and not going away from the thing that you’re trying to solve for.

Christian Klepp  39:29

Yeah, no, absolutely. And it’s going back again to what you’ve been saying many, many times in the conversation. Who are you writing this for? Right?

Christian Klepp  39:37

Yup, absolutely.

Christian Klepp  39:37

Who’s it for? Who you are appealing to.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  39:40

Who’s it for and what’s the problem. Yeah.

Christian Klepp  39:41

Exactly. Exactly. Okay. You probably were already up on your soapbox, but please stay up there for this question. What is a status quo or a commonly held belief when it comes to using B2B Content Marketing for revenue that you passionately disagree with and why?

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  40:01

Okay. Wow, you must have put a lot of thought to each of the questions that you have come up with today. All right. So in this area, if I have to pick one point that you generally see a lot of people talking for it, is this factor called personalization. Okay? And I’m dead against this idea of personalization. And I’ll tell you why. So, personalization is, again, one of those martech stories where, you know, Martech vendors try to pitch you and tell you that, hey, these are the kinds of data that you need to know about people so that you can personalize this experience. But the reality is, okay, the best way to explain this is I’ll give you an example. Now, you get a pitch slap on LinkedIn, where somebody says that, Hey, I saw you on LinkedIn, you know, you and I went to the same school or, you know, we support the same club. Do you want to grab a coffee? And do you want to talk about how my product can solve your problem? I’m like, Heck no. The personalization there is not to understand whether we went to the same school or we support the same Football Club. The point is, how you pitch is relevant to what I’m solving for right now. Yes, I’m open to purchase. But the point is, the pitch should be talking about a pain that I might have, you know, you pick up some of the things that I have done in the past and put yourself into the equation and say that, Hey, I saw that you’re talking about these things. And you were trying to say, for example, it could be as simple as hey, Yaag, you were trying to hire a product marketer now for quite some time, and I might know somebody who might be interested, do you want to talk to them? That’s, that’s a great pitch, you know, that’s actually helping my course. Or you could it could be something like, Hey, you know, you had that particular problem. And I came across this product that solves for exactly what you were looking for. And they have a 14 day free trial, maybe give it a spin and see if it works for you. Still a good pitch, you know, so the point is, relevance matters more than personalization. And so just don’t go behind personalization because it sounds fancy, or, you know, you have invested a lot into it. But again, you know, goes back to the same factor that we have been discussing the entire day, is, does it really help the customer?

Christian Klepp  42:28

And Amen to that, especially with the pitch slapping because, you know, like, I was talking to somebody else about this last week, and a lot of this so called like, personalized approach on LinkedIn is actually nothing more than a veiled sales pitch. Right. And it’s not even veiled properly enough. right.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  42:46

Absolutely, yeah. Yeah.

Christian Klepp  42:48

But Yaag, thank you so much for coming on. And, you know, sharing your, your, your thoughts and your experience and your insights with the audience. So please do us the pleasure of introducing yourself and letting people out there know how they can get in touch with you.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  43:02

Absolutely. So for all the listeners, you know, thank you so much for patiently listening to me. My name is Yaag. Full name is Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, but you know, you can call me Yaag, that’s the easiest. Everybody outside of my parents called me Yaag. So that’s about it. And I have about 13 years of experience in the marketing space, especially in the world of software. And precisely over the last seven or eight years, I’ve been in the SaaS side of the world. And most of my life, I’ve been with startups, and about 80% of the companies that I work for, I’ve been the first marketer or the only marketer for the first six months of their journey. So I enjoy building things from scratch, and I enjoy a little bit of chaos. And apart from that, I have published about eight books. My recent book is called The Collaborative Crow. It’s free on Amazon, if you if you’re interested. Check it out. It’s about you know how to democratize Customer Intelligence across your organization. So that’s the core theme of the book. And then I run a podcast called the ABM conversations podcast. I’ve had some really great guests like sage garden Guy Kawasaki, David cancel Rand Fishkin. And the best part about this entire journey is like I’ve had these people talking about specific topics going deep on specific topics as to how to solve a particular problem. For example, you know, Seth Godin talks about modern marketing or the most recent episode where we had somebody called player who speaks about how to go and solve for or build customer-led growth for your company, you know, we are these days, we are discussing a lot about product-led sales-led, do we do this? Do we do that, but once you understand your customers, then you will be able to build the right ecosystem for them. So there are so many things like that. And the best place to connect with me is on LinkedIn. I’m quite active there. If not, you can also check out my website which is yaagneshwaran.com. It’s yaagneshwaran.com. So happy to connect. And once again, thank you for your time here.

Christian Klepp  45:12

Fantastic. Fantastic. Yaag, it was an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. So thanks again for your time. Take care, be safe and I’ll talk to you soon.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh  45:22

Absolutely. Thank you so much, Chris. Was a pleasure.

Christian Klepp  45:24

Alright, bye for now.

Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.

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