The Pivotal Role of Branding in B2B
In this interview, we have an engaging as well as passionate discussion with Steve Watt (Vice President of Marketing, Grapevine6). Steve talks to us about the importance of branding in B2B: How it helps companies to build trust in an already crowded marketplace, why it’s important for organizations to empower their people, how brands can leverage the power of social media, and why sometimes measuring results isn’t enough to build a truly remarkable brand.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- How branding can play a pivotal role for B2B companies during tough times. [6:36 / 10:38]
- How shall CMOs address the ROI question? It’s about the timeline and aperture of the measurement. [29:10]
- What’s the most impactful thing we marketers can do right now? [35:09]
- Top advice Steve got from his mentor. [39:20]
Christian Klepp, Steve Watt
Christian Klepp 00:08
Hi, and welcome to the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. I’m your host Christian Klepp, and one of the founders of EINBLICK Consulting. Our goal is to share inspirational stories, tips and insights from B2B marketers, digital entrepreneurs, and industry experts that will help you to think differently, succeed and scale your business.
Christian Klepp 00:29
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of the B2B marketers in the mission podcast. I’m your host, Christian Klepp and today I’ve got a special guest on the show who up to about two weeks ago was a complete stranger. And that’s the power of LinkedIn, connecting with equally passionate individuals for you. So Mr. Steve Watt, welcome to the show.
Steve Watt 00:49
Thanks, Christian pleasure being here and it was really great to meet you over LinkedIn. Take it on to zoom as what does these days, Get acquainted and realize we’re fellow travelers and a lot of aspects of marketing and customer experience and other things. And, here we are. So this is great. Thanks for having me on.
Christian Klepp 01:10
No problem. All right, let’s get this party started. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Steve Watt 01:17
Sure. I’m VP marketing at Grapevine6, which is a enterprise social engagement platform. We empower people, primarily people in large financial services firms and tech companies and professional services firms to make the most of LinkedIn and other social platforms by helping them find the right content and to share it and engage with it in a very compliant way, which is a big issue in financial services. So I lead the small but growing marketing team here and we’re a 60-person company right now. That is powering through the COVID environment, powering through recession or whatever was going on, and we’ve got a pretty ambitious future ahead of us.
Christian Klepp 02:11
Well, that’s amazing. Thanks for sharing that. So Steve, what are you currently working on that you’re that you’re really excited about?
Steve Watt 02:22
Well, it’s really interesting at Grapevine6. I mean, the company’s had a lot of success over the last few years. And no thanks to marketing. I mean, the company has been thriving and growing based on great product, great client service, and great sales, and great selling, and marketing really hasn’t been there. And so I just joined a few months ago. And really, my mandate is to build that engine of growth and help lead us into the next phase of growth. And it’s really interesting because I’ve been in large companies. I’ve been very small early stage startups. And here we’re in this nicely in between place. And we’ve got some amazing customers and powerful product and, but really no marketing function. So it’s really going back to first principles about what does an organization need to build in terms of a powerful marketing function. But I get to do it in an environment where there’s people and there’s clients and there’s revenue and all sorts of stuff that’s missing from an early stage startup. So it’s a wonderfully exciting opportunity.
Christian Klepp 03:39
That’s fantastic. And you spoke about it right now like in the past couple of minutes but what do you think prompted Grapevine6 to suddenly like realize like, Hey, you know what, we’ve been experiencing phenomenal growth. We’ve got great customers, but, there is something missing and that’s marketing. So what what prompted that change?
Steve Watt 04:00
I think it’s just the natural evolution of the organization. I don’t think there was any particular prompt for it as much as this is the natural path. I think every organization starts out being, whether it’s really strong on product or really strong on sales, or in some cases really strong on marketing. And then as the business grows and matures, you got to build those other legs of the stool. And in our case, it was just marketing. It was marketing’s time, I guess. And so no particular change, no particular catalyst, just the needs and the opportunities of a growing maturing organization.
Christian Klepp 04:44
So I mean, it certainly sounds like a phenomenal opportunity and, good for you for being in that situation right now. I mean, it’s definitely an exciting place to be.
Steve Watt 04:55
It’s certainly. Yes, I couldn’t be happier. Grapevine6 is a very high potential organization. I mean, we look at the fact that we have clients like SAP, Merrill Lynch and UBS, I mean, giant organizations that young startups don’t sell to companies like that, let alone have multiyear extensive relationships with them. So hats off to the team that has got us here, because it’s really quite exceptional. And the future is tremendously bright if we continue to execute and continue to do all the right things for our clients.
Christian Klepp 05:39
Absolutely. You know, that’s for sure. I mean, that’s really amazing. Steve, we’re gonna jam a little bit on a topic that you and I started discussing, as you know, as we connected on LinkedIn, and then we jumped on to zoom and it’s on the topic of branding, because there were a couple of ideas that you and I exchanged that, we weren’t I would say intensely passionate about. So I’m just gonna like, dive right in.
Christian Klepp 06:06
So the first question being, the current pandemic and ultimately the recession that it’s left at Swick has disrupted sales and marketing across different B2B industries. So, that being said, how do you think branding can play a pivotal role during this period where a lot of companies are out there that we’ve seen who’re struggling to ensure the continuity of their operations or even their existence for say?
Steve Watt 06:36
Yeah, it’s tough times for a lot of organizations and with those tough times also come opportunities. And I think that in an environment such as where we are today, where there’s a lot of change going on, there’s a lot of need to justify every dollar spent. There’s a lot of pressure on leaders and organizations, I think that if your offering can be very clearly tied to a core priority of an organization, you can actually see an accelerated sales cycle because they have to take action on critical things. And if your offering is not clearly tied to one of the top two or three priorities in a prospect organization, you’re not going to get a sale. You’re just not. There’s no money, there’s no time there’s no focus, there’s no attention. So I think it’s more critical than it ever has been, to become signal from the noise and to clearly enunciate a distinct and powerful vision of the future and distinct and powerful value proposition that very clearly shows how your client organizations excel. And that’s brand, right? What brand is? It’s who are we? And why do we matter? And why are we distinct? And why are we who you need to be talking to. So I believe that brand has always been important. I think it has been woefully neglected in a lot of areas, particularly in tech. And I think we’re seeing an increased respect for brand now, because it is that critical piece that can help you become an essential purchase for an organization as opposed to just one of hundreds of options.
Christian Klepp 08:49
Indeed. And I think you’ve brought up so many good points and one of them, it goes back to the overall perception that the target audience has in the market of your company, your products and services and how branding help you cut through all that noise because even in places like in spaces like tech, for example, there’s a lot of noise out there. A lot of companies trying to sell the same thing. There’s quite a bit of me too positioning. So it’s always a question of like, Okay, so how do I stand out from the crowd? How do I differentiate myself? Right?
Steve Watt 09:25
Absolutely. It’s crazy. I mean, you just look at the marketing tech space. Scott Brinker famously does his annual report of that giant eye chart of logo that’s like eight or nine thousands logos or whatever it is now. In marketing technology alone, that’s only one place. That’s one part of it all. And there’s literally thousands and thousands of companies and I often remind myself that every one of those companies is somebody’s baby, every one of those companies, founders have poured their heart and soul into them and other people have joined them on the journey and they’ve worked around the clock to build great products and to market it, and sell it and serve their clients. And yet, in the vast majority of those they have failed and they will fail ever emerge from that incredible noise. It’s a limited few who rise above and achieve that escape velocity. And I think back to our conversation of a moment ago, I think brand is a critical part of that. It’s not the only part, I mean, you have to have amazing product and you have that amazing people and take exceptionally good care of your clients and all that stuff, but that’s necessary, but it’s not sufficient. I think brand is and can be that critical X Factor. That if you do all that other stuff right to, and then your nail brand, that’s where you start getting that escape velocity.
Christian Klepp 11:09
I couldn’t agree more. And I think it’d be, it’d be great to like, discuss that a little bit further. But before we do, let me highlight some statistics or some key research. And in fact, this was the research is coming from an article that was written at the beginning of the month, and I think it was the one that you shared in LinkedIn, which kind of jumpstarted the conversations. So let me read these to you. So according to an article written by marketingdive.com and the consulting firm Gartner group, they brought up three points. So point number one, 33% of CMOs ranked brand strategy as one of their top three priorities. And that’s for this year. So in 2019, it was at the bottom of their list. Point number two, pre-pandemic marketing budgets were flat coming into 2020, making up 11% of company revenue. And point number three, 73% of CMOs surveyed expect the pandemic’s effects to be short lived and have a positive outlook for the next 18 to 24 months. Now, you’ve spoken extensively about why you felt that branding has suddenly become so important in B2B. But the next question is why do you think there was so much resistance from CMOs within B2B industries? Pre-crisis to prioritize branding?
Steve Watt 12:34
I think there’s a lot of answers to that. Let’s say that I’m sure that some of those CMOs have always appreciated and cared deeply about brand but we’re not given the leeway to do that, because senior leadership, the CEO, the board, or over-rotated on short term transactional outcomes and metrics. How many leads you driving this month? How many SQLs, what’s the pipeline created this month. And anything outside of that was out of bounds. So I think on one hand, that’s probably the reason in some cases, I think in other cases, it’s probably not that the CMO doesn’t appreciate and care about brand as much as they got overwhelmed by so many other things that seemed critical, and perhaps some of them are in the near term. You think about, you spend so much money on your MarTech stack. So, there’s a lot there’s a big focus on: No, we’re bringing on new tools our way, we’re bringing on intent data or predictive data or content portals are personal video and, on and on and on and on. So you spend a lot of time and focus making sure you’re bringing on the right tools. And then you’re probably also spending some time on like tech stack rationalization. What else is like what’s in our stock that we don’t need? What’s becoming redundant? Where are we wasting money, and then the integration of all of that, and then the attribution and you spend a lot of time trying to measure things and, and attribute everything is in such a granular way. And then you’ve got all these data and analytics challenges and then, you’re trying to on top of that, you’re trying to create more personalized experiences and more lead gen. Oh, and also, we’re building account based marketing over here. And so it’s like, overwhelming and you’re on your own time, and that of your team gets just maxed on so many things. And it’s not that at any point you ever said, brand doesn’t matter. It’s that like, of course it matters. We’ll get to that later. Like we’ve got more you know, we’ve got bigger fish to fry right now. So I would imagine that’s the case. So I imagine because on the surface that the stat is crazy, right? How on earth could a CMO, a self-respecting marketing leader, say brand is at the bottom of my list? It seems crazy. But when you look a little closer and you say okay, in some cases, they were kind of driven there by the Board and the CEO, in other cases, they were just a little overwhelmed by all these other things. And then I would think the third case is… I think the third category here is a misunderstanding of what brand actually is and I hope this isn’t the case for CMOs, but it certainly is the case for some people think brand is advertising or their brand is logo or they think, you know brand is a slogan or a color scheme, or you know, that they have a superficial understanding of what brand is. And well, that doesn’t drive revenue so who cares? But I think those who truly understand what a brand is realized it’s far deeper than that it’s really at the heart of who the organization is and who they serve and why and how and why it matters in the world. And it’s pretty hard to… it’s pretty hard to deny the importance of that stuff and to recognize that stuff drives your revenue. I’ve found myself sometimes in debates with people where they say, Oh, I don’t care about brand, I just care about revenue. Well, hang on. That’s a false dichotomy. I mean, it’s not brand or revenue. Its brand for more revenue. When you get brand right, it drives revenue in numerous measurable ways.
Christian Klepp 16:57
Wow! You are on fire, sir.
Steve Watt 17:01
He asked me a question and then there I go. Are we having time yet?
Christian Klepp 17:06
No, we got plenty of time. Look. Such incredible insights. Thanks so much for that. And you brought up so many good points and I’m just gonna read some of them back to you. You talked about overwhelm. You talked about there being KPIs and many organizations being profit driven and boy have we heard that story before. Right. The other one is, of course, and you’ve rightly alluded to it and not to offend anybody or, insult anyone but like, their misconception of what branding is, or what the difference is between branding and marketing. And that brand isn’t just like a logo and a strap line and so forth. It permeates all of that. It’s so much more, right. So it’s incredible. How many obstacles there can be when it comes to branding. But would you also say… Would it be fair enough to also say that part of I guess what impedes prioritizing branding and organizations is also… Well, one is buy in from the key decision makers. Certainly. Another one being that they fail to see the connection to your point, brand for revenue, they fail to see the connection with regards to how brand actually helps the organization to succeed.
Steve Watt 18:33
Yeah, definitely. And it can seem like a bit of a Catch-22. It’s like you as a marketing leader, maintain that ‘brand drives revenue’ and will increase deal sizes and increase win rates and will shorten sales cycles, and we’ll lead to greater client retention and will lead to greater advocacy and all these things that are concretely measurable. But they don’t necessarily happen overnight. And it’s hard to show that one to one. Well, this did that. And I think that’s the crux of the debate in a lot of organizations. It’s like, okay, you say that stuff, but how can you prove it and in my opinion, you need to give a marketing leader and a marketing function, a bit of time to prove that and not limitless time and not limitless budget. And I do believe that marketing is absolutely accountable to revenue, full stop. But it’s not revenue that you’re gonna see tomorrow or next week or next month or even next quarter in a lot of cases. So I think those short term horizons are very damaging for organizations and they cycle through marketing leaders in some cases, they cycle through marketing approaches and strategies. And then they say, Yeah, see, none of it works. Cuz you’ve got to stick at these things. If you do it right, and you will see these tangible revenue metrics moving in the right direction. Absolutely. You will. But it’s that time lag can be really difficult and frustrating.
Christian Klepp 20:37
Right, exactly. I’m totally with you. Steve, what kind of advice have you been giving your clients since the pandemic started. We’re basically on the fence about whether they should review their brand strategy or put their dollars elsewhere like, for example, analytics or marketing technology.
Steve Watt 21:00
We really focus on elevating and empowering the people within the organization. I mean it’s fundamental to our worldview as an organization that the power has shifted in terms of where the brand really lives. The brand lives more at the edge of the organization now It lives more in your client facing and prospect facing people, your sales team, your service and support team, your implementation team if you have one, your marketing team and others. And that the collective power of those people, collective voice, the collective brand that those people represent can absolutely substantially, out power any corporate meeting channels that you have. People don’t tend to engage with brands, they engage with people, and people that they like and respect and because they trust. And so I mean, fundamental to everything we believe in everything we do as an organization is that there’s a huge untapped opportunity in pretty much every organization to truly empower their people to show up on social media and show up in an authentic way and spark conversations and engage and build new relationships and nurture existing relationships. And then a tremendous amount of good flows from that for the individual, but also for the organization. And I’m absolutely certain that this is a large change that is happening in the world. And it is being embraced by more organizations. But it takes time. I look at some of our client organizations that are absolute leaders in this regard. And they’ll be the first to tell you, they still have a long way to go. But they see the power of that. And it’s at the heart of what they believe in terms of their future as well. So I mean, I think it to me in so many ways, everything else falls in under that all the good things that you do, and that you are and that you believe, as an organization when voiced by your people, it’s going to be far more authentic and far more impactful than if it’s just voiced from a central broadcast, your corporate megaphone.
Christian Klepp 23:55
All right. I mean, those are some really great observations. And those are things I think, we’ve read about them, we’ve heard about them, we’ve probably discussed them with other colleagues in the industry. And it’s just amazing how things have shifted, I think is what I’m trying to say. So for example, the thing about authenticity, probably 15-20 years ago, it was kind of okay to just like, do the whole corporate broadcasting megaphone thing. And then now you have things like, for example, like a couple of days ago, I believe you and I probably commented on that post on LinkedIn, but somebody was saying, CMOs are missing out, if they’re just posting their own corporate content. Yeah. And they’re not like curating or not necessarily just curating content, but commenting on another piece, which is outside of their organization. So for example, there’s a piece in industry media, that the voices are expressing their opinion that they are extremely passionate about. And more often than not a lot of people are just not doing enough.
Steve Watt 25:07
It’s funny to me how sometimes people’s behavior on LinkedIn and social media is not in any way, they would behave, or we suggest anyone ought to behave outside of that environment. Can you imagine a friend who only talks about himself or herself and only self-promotional? How long is that person going to be your friend, right? You’re gonna be really excited to talk to that person like after a while you’re gonna be so dis-engaged from them, you’re gonna cut them out of your life, actively or passively. Or imagine you go to a cocktail party or a business function and you just like, you’re handing out brochures. And actually, it’s like people are gonna be backing away from you. I mean, a rich diet of communication is what we all know makes sense. In real life, you take an interest in other people, you take interest in things going on in the world, you take an interest in trends within your industry and within technology. And yah sometimes you talk about yourself also, sometimes you talk about your company also, but you earn the right to do that by just being interesting and engaged in other things too. And then we get on LinkedIn, we just promote our own webinars, and then we marveled at the fact that nobody engages and we wonder why? You would not behave like that in the offline world. Why don’t you behave that like online, so yes, back to your initial point in that post you’re referencing. I fully agree a rich diet of engagement on LinkedIn and on other social media if you do operate on other channels, this is important and you ought to engage with other people and comment and contribute value to conversations and you ought to share some of your own thinking and your own unique voice and you ought to share relevant high quality third party content, the things that you’re reading, the things that are impacting the way you think about the world, or think about your industry, you ought to share those things and you ought to add your voice about why are you sharing this. Because it challenged the way you were thinking about this or you learn that, and then by all means, promote your webinar too. But just like, have a diet here. Don’t be a one. a one trick pony.
Christian Klepp 27:55
Christian Klepp 27:57
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in 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 who will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
Christian Klepp 28:26
You spoke about this a little bit already, you know, in the earlier part of this conversation, but I’d like to expand on this topic a little bit further. And in fact, it’s addressing the elephant in the room when it comes to branding. So you spoke about it and you mentioned that one of the biggest push backs that CMOs get when it comes to branding is the ROI word, right? We’ve all heard it before. What’s the ROI if we do that, like if we spend this amount of dollars, like how many dollars are we going to get and, in terms of sales conversions. So what’s your take on that? And what can be done to put those thoughts to rest?
Steve Watt 29:10
Yeah, it’s a fair question. It’s a fair challenge. And it matters, right? Marketing organizations operate within companies to serve a purpose and that purpose is the growth and profitability and success and revenue of the organization. So it is a fair challenge. I just look at it. It’s sort of the time horizon and then the end the aperture of that question and what you’re measuring and it to say, look, we’re going to make a strong initiative into a particular industry or a particular function or a particular geographic region. Yeah, you need to show ROI for that. Of course, I fully agree with that. But where I push back on it is when people want to get either too near term on that, as I said before, or they want to tighten the aperture too much down to what was the ROI on that piece of content? What was the ROI on that email campaign? What was the ROI on on this particular activity or this particular channel? Because I think that’s where you start, as I said, before killing things that are contributing to the overall win. What’s the ROI on doing a podcast? Well, I’m pretty hard to measure, isn’t it? Why? What’s the ROI on being a leader in your space? What’s the ROI on being known and respected in your industry? Oh, well, that’s probably really high. Well, would a podcast contribute to that? Well, it’s certainly might. But if you’re going to try to say, I released the podcast episode this morning, how much money is not going to make us by next week? Or you’re going to end up canceling your podcast. Yeah. But if you instead said, look, we’re entering this new industry, we are going to interview dozens of leaders in that industry, we’re going to build our brand, build our engagement, build our reputation within that industry, and then we’re going to measure the sum total of that impact. Well, now that’s an entirely different conversation. The ROI questions are always difficult and I just think the devils in the details about timelines, about the aperture of that measurement. And you can’t, as a marketing leader, you can’t avoid that conversation or refuse to participate in that conversation or you won’t be a marketing leader for long, but sometimes you need to redirect that conversation. And get people thinking and then ultimately measuring in a way that they weren’t before you change their mindset.
Christian Klepp 32:11
Right. That’s absolutely right. One thing is like leading that conversation on facilitating it, measuring what matters so that you can quantify what returns these endeavors are going to have, right because everyone outside of the outside of the realm of branding is going to wonder if we spent this amount of money, how many sales conversions can you guarantee us. If we decide to go ahead with it, more often than not, it’s very hard to link those two, but you can measure or quantify the results of branding in other ways that are going to show that the organization is making progress by having made this decision.
Steve Watt 32:58
Yeah, take two companies that have strongly overlapping product and market focus. And imagine that one is well known and well respected by the audience that matters to them, and are perceived as being highly credible leaders in their space. And the other one is unknown or misunderstood. I will absolutely guarantee you that the one that has that respect, and has that appreciation for what they do is going to have a higher win rate, they’re going to have shorter sales cycles, they’re going to have larger deal sizes, they’re going to have less churn, their cost of acquiring a new customer is going to be lower because they’re going to have far more authentic referrals. So there are many tangible ways that you can substantiate the power of that brand. But if you want to substantiate it in the first three months of the first six months, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Christian Klepp 34:07
Yeah, of course. I might throw in one other measure which I’ve seen, with some of the clients I’ve worked with over the years, if the competitor starts to copy you.
Steve Watt 34:21
I love that. Christopher Lochhead, one of the pioneers of category design and an amazing writer and amazing podcaster and he does lots of great stuff. He says, one of the hallmarks of great marketing is when your competitor starts having emergency board meetings. That through the grapevine, you’re doing something powerful.
Christian Klepp 34:49
Yeah, that is, you’re definitely doing something right. If it’s grabbing their attention in that way. Well, fantastic. Steve, short of stating the obvious, this has been a year for the books. But if you could implement one branding initiative this year, which one would it be and why?
Steve Watt 35:09
I think one of the most impactful things that we or anyone else can be doing right now is having more conversations with your customers and prospects and doing it in a public forum, doing it in a podcast, doing it in a LinkedIn live series, doing it in a series of YouTube videos what have you, but taking the kinds of conversations that you already have in private and making them more public. I think that can be profoundly impactful. You’re going to learn a lot, you’re going to enrich your relationships. But you’re also really signaling to the market that you’re not entirely self-serving. You’re not just in the transactional sales and marketing business that you actually care a whole lot about the success of the entire industry or industries that you serve. And that your strong point of view on how clients can succeed is authentic and you want to share it freely. And I think that I’m not alone in thinking this or saying this, but it is certainly a minority opinion. There are not a lot of organizations that are greenlighting that kind of thing. I mean, back to things we’ve already discussed. It’s hard to measure. It’s hard to get it and say how many MQLs you captured. I mean, you could do that, but then you’ll dramatically reduce the reach and the impact of it. So it takes some faith to do that. But I think that there is a tremendous opportunity to really walk the walk in terms of really delivering value to the market that you serve in a more open way like that, and I think that there would be tremendous payoff from doing that. Well, it’s just gonna be hard to measure.
Christian Klepp 37:45
Yeah, that’s true. But you know, I’m looking at it from another point of view, once you establish something like this forum that you were talking about, you will also set the precedent for like being seen as someone in the industry who is initiating these, these conversations that people need to have. And that’ll get you not just exposure, but that will also get you closer to potential customers, closer to potential partners. Help them to have more confidence not just in your ability to deliver but also for them to see that you’re a person that genuinely cares and is passionate about what you do.
Steve Watt 38:26
Absolutely. And then to go back to what I said a few minutes ago about amplifying this through your people. I mean, that’s another big win. I think it goes without saying because I think I was pretty clear on it earlier about the tremendous power of empowering your people to really show up. So think about the power of those two things together. If you are having really high quality, high value conversations that are truly helping people in your industry and then your amplifying that the content that comes out of that you’re amplifying that through all of your people. You become unstoppable.
Christian Klepp 39:09
Exactly. Well, that’s really awesome, great observations. So Steve, the one best piece of advice that you received from a mentor and how does that apply to your professional life today?
Steve Watt 39:20
I think one of the most important things I learned from Mark Wright, CMO at Firmax. He was my boss a few years ago. And as I was going through this transition from marketing practitioner to marketing leader, a really great piece of advice he gave me. He said, you got to get a lot closer to the finances of the organization. You’ve got to get a stronger grasp on really, how we spend money and how we make money. And a lot of marketers lack that. They lack it entirely in some cases, because they’re wholly focused on driving marketing metrics without any appreciation for how the company actually makes money or more likely they’re not entirely naive about those things, but they have less than a fully sophisticated understanding of… not just the unit economics of client acquisition which any good demand gen leader is going to have. But a deeper understanding of every aspect of the way the company is funded. Because it’s a very different the expectations of marketing are very different in say, a VC-funded organization versus private equity funded versus a bootstrapped organization versus a subsidiary of a global giant, and on and on. So really understanding the financial underpinnings of the organization, which drive so many expectations and then really understanding the fully loaded implications of everything that you do. And sometimes marketers just think about a very narrow thinking about customer acquisition cost, and they’re not thinking about the fully loaded cost of the sales team and the customer support team and all these other things. So his advice to me was as you continue to evolve as a marketing leader, you need to improve your understanding of finance and you to build closer relationships with the CFO, and you need to get better at this stuff and he was absolutely right, and he needs to be right. And I’m still not all the way there, but I’m a lot further along that road than I was. And I greatly appreciate that advice.
Christian Klepp 42:10
Such valuable advice too, because failure to follow that advice would be like, you’re going to get sucked back into that silo, which happens a lot, in especially larger organizations, and then you fail to see the picture of the entire ecosystem, right? So it becomes a little bit of an out of sight, out of mind affair.
Steve Watt 42:32
And you can overspend or underspend or spend in wrong ways or allocate time and allocate headcount in all sorts of ways that seemed logical. But when you have a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the financial underpinnings of the organization and the financial expectations of the organization, you realized that was not the most appropriate way. Imagine you’re in a VC funded organization that expects hyper growth and you’re being very prudent in your spending and very prudent in your headcount growth. Well, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure. Whereas were in a founder-led bootstrapped, self-financed organization and you start spending like in a VC funded or you’re setting yourself up for failure in an entirely different way. So I do think that I have got I have become better as a marketing leader as I’ve gotten a better grasp on that but I still have a long way to go.
Christian Klepp 43:44
Don’t we all my friend. Steve, this has been such an extremely insightful and fun session. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing. So final question is what is the best way for people to out there to connect with you.
Steve Watt 43:58
I’m all about LinkedIn, Christian. I think people probably picked up the breadcrumbs on that answer. I spend a fair amount of time engaging with people on LinkedIn. I’m a big believer in connecting with people where we can add mutual value and that doesn’t mean don’t just connect with me and pitch slap me. You get we all get those right, it’s connection request, pitch, pitch, pitch. That’s not adding value, that’s not a good time for anybody. So I very much welcome connection requests and engagement with people who have conversations and who share content and celebrate other people’s content. And that makes us all better marketers and better business people and I think I even go so far as to say makes us all better people. So come find me on LinkedIn, if you want to add value.
Christian Klepp 45:07
Come find Steve on LinkedIn if you want to add value or if you want to just like read the passionate exchange that he has with other B2B marketers.
Steve Watt 45:16
LinkedIn is the greatest ongoing, global business conversation the world has ever had. has always we’re fortunate to live in an era where that is true. I have learned so much and I learn more every day. Meet interesting people such as you Christian and seriously, it’s right there and far too many people. They just don’t participate. So I’d say, jump in the water is beautiful.
Christian Klepp 45:53
Steve, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on and jam with me. So, thanks so much for your time. Take care, be safe. And I’ll talk to you soon.
Steve Watt 46:01
Christian Klepp 46:02
All right, take care.
Christian Klepp 46:05
Thank you for joining us on this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.