We can all agree that in today’s fast-paced world, interruption is the enemy. With this in mind, B2B marketers need to continuously improve the way they are building trust, credibility, and likability for their brands among members of the target audience.
In this week’s episode, we have a conversation with B2B marketing expert Tom Hunt (Founder and Head of Account Management, Fame) about what marketers need to do to stay at the top of their game. Tom elaborates on how using a niche-focused podcast adds incredible value to a B2B target audience, what mistakes to avoid, the trends and shifts that are impacting B2B marketing, and what marketers can do right now to improve their revenue-generating activities.
Topics discussed in episode
Companies and links mentioned
Christian Klepp, Tom Hunt
Christian Klepp 00:03
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for changemakers where we question the conventional, debunk marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp.
Christian Klepp 00:44
Welcome everyone to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today I’m joined by someone on a mission to make your B2B business famous in a specific niche. So coming to us from London, England, Mr. Tom Hunt. Welcome to the show, sir.
Tom Hunt 01:08
Chris, absolute honor to be here.
Christian Klepp 01:12
Great to be connected, Tom. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation. If you don’t mind. We’ll just dive right in. Because we’ve got quite a bit of ground to cover.
Tom Hunt 01:21
Yes, please. Let’s do it.
Christian Klepp 01:23
So Tom, I’d like to go back to something we discussed in a previous conversation. And I really liked that quote you mentioned. So let me see if I can quote you accurately here. “Interruption is the enemy,” couldn’t agree more. In fact, you wrote two posts about it on LinkedIn. And that got some pretty decent engagement. So for the sake of the audience that are not aware of these posts, could you just elaborate a little bit more on why you think these interruptions are doing more harm than good to B2B brands?
Tom Hunt 01:53
Yeah, I think the fundamental difference between B2B and B2C marketing is like the sales cycle. So you can convince someone to buy, my flat mate, he sells deodorant online, and he runs Facebook ads, and he’s putting the ads up, he gets the buy, because it’s like a 10 pound by subscription deodorant. But if I’m trying to sell a 50 grand a year podcast service to B2B company, then that’s like a long sales cycle. And so for me, then what this means, in the B2B space, when we’re trying to do a marketing is all we really want to do is make people like and trust us. Because if we do that, when they do finally come round, to wanting to buy our thing, then they’ll come to us. So it’s not just the length of the sale cycle, it’s also the fact that the majority of the buyers are not necessarily ready to buy at that point, like I could buy deodorant. And at any point, maybe I’m only going to buy a podcast service, like once every three years. And so if we can get people to like, and trust us, then they’re going to come to us when it’s time to buy. And so what the absolute, like wrong thing to do in this case, is to make anybody that could be a buyer, unhappy with you or your brand. Because if you do that, the opposite of them liking and trusting you, they’re not going to buy from you. And so then we have to understand how we could possibly make people not like us, and one of the ways is through interrupting. And what we’re essentially doing is stealing someone’s attention for something that they don’t think is valuable for them. So what form could this take, it could be a LinkedIn ad that is not relevant. It could be an email that is not invited. Or it could be a piece of content with an audio video or written put on the internet, that it like isn’t good. And so really, the antidote to interruption is to truly understand these people that you’re trying to make, like and trust you. These people that are trying to help in their careers or in their lives, and then create information that will actually make them like and trust you. Because if the information is good, it doesn’t matter what mechanism you’re delivering it to them, whether it’s like Facebook or LinkedIn ad or a cold email. If the information is good, then it’s not an interruption, because it’s welcomed. And that means… and being welcomed is the key to being liked and trusted, which is then the key to getting that inbound demo requests, lead form generation, etc.
Christian Klepp 04:18
Absolutely, absolutely. You touched on something here. And I’d like to go back to that and discuss that a little bit further. Because you’re talking about creating information that’s relevant to the target audience, the potential prospects, I mean, whatever you’d like to call them. I’ve heard other people on the show, say, Oh, you’re going to add value to the target audience, but we all know that, that that that can be so many things, right? But give us an example of you talked about, like and trust. How can you get them to like and trust you through content?
Tom Hunt 04:56
Yeah. So the I’d like to try and understand what words mean, right and the word value, you’re getting value thrown around so much I don’t think people truly understand. If you really break down what the word means, value is, especially the de-normalization of the process, to value or valuing. And to value something is simply just to prioritize it. And so if you’re trying to create something that somebody values, then it is just their own subjective prioritization of that thing. And so therefore, in order to create something that people like, you have to understand what their problems are or what they’re trying to achieve. And so this is where… here’s probably the biggest thought I see in like any marketer, B2B or B2C, is not really understanding the problems, or the goals of the person they’re trying to sell to. Because if we really understand that, it’s going to be much more easier to make information that is going to add value to their lives, and then make them like or trust you, maybe I’ll try and get like more specific. So probably the best… I’ve been in like the marketing game for like 10, 12 years. Probably the best content I’ve ever created was about three years ago, I started doing like really big, deep dives into how SaaS companies have grown. I actually started this, I actually started as a daily email, where I do like one little staff growth hack, but then that transition into being like big two to three to 4000 word blog posts on how Click Funnels, or Zapier or SEMrush had grown. And I would spend like a week writing the things. That’d be like 17 steps. And it would be screenshots. I’d speak to the companies if I could to get there and hacks. And I’d write them all out into these monstrous, like very actionable blog posts. And so, and these were, like wildly successful, I had people trying to like by the site, I had people trying to sponsor, people trying to pay me to write them for their own blogs that I did that for Nathan Latka’s blog, or what one click funnels. And so the question is, let’s put this through the filter what we just discussed, like, who was the ideal person I was trying to get, trying to help out or get the attention of, he was a SaaS marketer. And what for, what are they trying to achieve? What’s their biggest problem? They probably just want to increase like signups or demo requests for their software. And so what did I do? I went to find companies that had done this well, spent hours and hours and hours studying, and then wrote up that information in a in a unique or different way with like, it wasn’t too wordy. It was like loads of screenshots, very, like clear and actionable. And that ultimately produce something that SaaS marketers valued. Because these case studies got a lot of views. So like, I won’t say, I’m perfect in creating content, and not all of my content really like crushes, and therefore, by definition is not valuable, and may even be interrupting. But that was probably the best time, that was the best. The most valuable piece of content I ever created. And we can link below to that blog well there if people want to check one out.
Christian Klepp 08:01
Yeah, no, absolutely, absolutely. No, I love that. And that’s such a good example. Because if I’m thinking back to what you’ve been saying in the past couple of minutes, what you’ve done by creating this type of content is you’ve saved these people time, right to do that research by themselves. And this isn’t something that you just came up with on a whim. Like, I’m just quoting what you just said, you actually went and spent hours or perhaps even days or weeks, studying and probably talking to these people and understanding what their problems were and then creating these, you know, this content that’s actionable that they can act upon. Like if I’m reading Tom Hunt’s article right now. And I walk away from it, what are like the top five things that I can do? Right, right at that point in time. Right?
Tom Hunt 08:49
For sure, I think what you have to understand is you’re in competition with every other B2B marketers that are trying to add value to this person. And so it’s like just an arms race, who can put in the most effort to make the most valuable stuff because that’s the stuff that’s gonna get attention. Fortunately, for me, I think I chose the three, four years ago, SaaS marketing wasn’t as popular as it was. Now, there wasn’t any content like this. So I was like, I was one of the best. Maybe I got lucky there. And so I think the big challenge is, people not having the time or the money like to put in the work to become the best to get the attention. So the the solution there normally is just to make less content so you can put more effort and cash into less pieces, but those pieces will be more valuable and will probably end up with more attention overall.
Christian Klepp 09:38
Absolutely. I have a follow up question for you Tom, you kind of answered it already. But I’m curious because I don’t think that this is a problem unique to SaaS. But why do you think so many B2B companies out there are a little impatient in terms of getting results from marketing, which is why we’re seeing all this interruption.
Tom Hunt 09:56
Yes, probably a personality trait of like the founder. They want everything now. I’m kind of like as well, but then if you lay on top of that, like fundraising dynamics, then I think this can get quite stressful. So what I mean, I’ve never raised money, but what I can imagine happens, founder raises money, maybe they’re more of a product person than a marketing person. They are because it’s their baby totally in love with their product. So they don’t understand maybe how, where it sits in like the actual marketplace. And so then they raise money, hire marketers, pressure marketers to hit big goals, because they now have to hit these goals if they’re gonna keep the company going. And maybe the the product isn’t like what it needs to be in order to hit these goals. And maybe they’re also bringing people in to do things that are like very complex, like designing marketing strategies, sales processes, category creation, or positioning, it’s a really complex work. So maybe they’re not hiring the people that have had the skills. And so then this puts pressure on the marketers to hit these goals. And maybe that’s why everyone’s now moving away from like, the whole eBook thing, because that’s what people were pressured to do beforehand. So I think it’s probably like, founder personalities, fundraising dynamics, that lead to, to some of this impatience.
Christian Klepp 11:15
Yeah, no, absolutely, absolutely. And I think if I may add to that, I think it’s also like a fundamental lack of understanding on the founder’s part about, like, how marketing actually works. Because whether they, whether they accept this or not, it’s not about them or their product. It’s about what the product does to make the customer’s life easier, or what does it do to help solve that customer’s problem. I think, I think that’s the piece, at least in my experience, that you see it out there that’s missing, right? And that’s why I wouldn’t say that’s why the marketing goals aren’t right. But sometimes that’s why the marketing goes down the wrong path.
Tom Hunt 11:52
Yeah, totally agree. This is why when I see when I look at a software company, I see the founder has a background like sales or marketing at least one of the founders, then I’m probably like, a little bit more, more bullish about the company.
Christian Klepp 12:07
Absolutely, absolutely. On to the next question, which I think you will have no problem answering at all. Um, talk to us about how you think, you know, with that context in mind, how you think using an approach like a niche focused podcast, how does that add value to a B2B target audience?
Tom Hunt 12:26
Yeah, so I think this ties in very well to what we’ve just been discussing is, can we create information that is valuable to the person we’re trying to, to make like and trust us, and is better than everything else on the market. And so the first thing that we need to make sure we do is… the ability for us to be the best increases, the more narrow our content is, the more narrow the focus is. Because if we start a marketing podcast, we’re up against companies that have a lot more time and money than us probably, well, if we create an email marketing podcast, that’s even better. If we create an open rate focused podcast, then we’re going to be number one in six months, and our content is going to be the best email marketing open rate content on the internet. And so if we are able to do this, create the show, create content that’s better than any other shows in that niche, then in theory, the people that listen to the show are gonna like and trust us more. And as we said, before, B2B buyers are probably only in the market for a solution, I don’t know, maybe 5% of the time. And their sales cycles are really long. So we just need to ensure that when ideal buyers come into the market, they like and trust us, and we do that by giving information to them, that helps them in their lives or in their careers.
Christian Klepp 13:51
Yeah, yeah, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. You’ve touched on some of these earlier, but um, this is an opportunity to like, just showcase your company as well, like, talk to us about a challenge that you’ve helped the client to solve in the past 12 months? Just one?
Tom Hunt 14:07
Yeah. So we really do one thing, I guess the challenge that all of our clients have is that they want to be more well known in specific niches. And so how we attack this process is by following why you like to call the fame formula. Two steps, very simple. The first step is, and if you think about anybody who’s ever got famous, they do it this way. So first of all, you just create a lot of content consistently. That’s really good. And consistently means like, yes. So if we think about Taylor Swift, for example, she got really, really good at creating country music. And then she got really good at creating pop music which is great and that this will get you on the road to becoming famous but isn’t everything because you needs step two. Step two is being seen around other famous people within that specific niche. And so Taylor Swift obviously, she did then country then she went on other country music artists albums, she brought them on hers. And then she just did that in pop music as well. She went on Ed Sheeran songs that Sheeran brought her on her songs. And so the here’s exactly what we would do with one of our clients is that we choose a niche that specifically small so we can create the best content in that space and become the number one show. And then we just want to be all get really good at releasing that content get better and better every time. But then speed up the fame process by being seen around other famous people in that niche and we do that by bringing other people that know about the topic, ideally have an audience or some brand awareness on that topic and bring them on the show. And the people in their market consistently see our brand or our host, which is normally someone from the client exposed by creating this content and then being exposed or connected to the other famous people, then this is how our clients would become famous. And so then the question is, why would the client want to be famous. We spoke throughout this whole so that clients or your ideal customers want to, you want them to like and trust you. The step, the precursor to being liked and trusted is being known. And so first we have to get known and then we have to get liked and trusted. So there is a process that we implement for to solve the client’s problems, which is not being known in a specific niche.
Christian Klepp 16:22
Yeah, no, that’s a really great example. And this is one of many ways, I suppose you can interpret that, but I had a guest on the show that would say like, Okay, well, if people are going to Google you, what, what, what are they going to find? Right? Are they going to find something good? Or they’re going to find that content that you’re talking about is that going to help them? Right? I wanted to go back to something that you said, because I think it bears repeating. Also for the benefit of the audience, when you’re talking about creating content that that’s, that’s really good. Please break that down a little bit more for us. Define in your own words, what good content should be or should look like?
Tom Hunt 17:02
Yeah, super interesting. So the third thing, it goes back to this competition piece, like good, in the same as the word value is just being subjective in the eyes of the people we’re trying to help. And so therefore, you have to understand their other options for their attention. So when we say good, what we should really be saying is they should be better than other people in the in the space. But let me try and make that a bit more actionable. So I think there’s a number of ways, but let’s split it down into the information itself, and then the format in which the information is delivered. I think having you engaging or interesting formats can be a way of taking information that’s like kind of average, and making that content more valuable, for example, like, creating TikTok style videos for the information could work well, or getting really, really good at copywriting. And posting that to LinkedIn could work really well. Or instead of having a podcast that’s recorded, having like a live Q&A with people there, to share that insight. So I think one relatively easy way of making content more valuable is experimenting with the format. And that can mean we have to do less of the hard work, which is actually making the information good. And so this to make the information good. You need like, insights, thoughts, or wisdom that is slightly new or different or cutting edge. And you typically only get that if the person who’s making these insights has like, a lot of experience in the space, I don’t want to say years because someone could like really immerse themselves in in a space and get really good insights in six months, or someone could be working it in a part time for 10 years. So I think the most important thing here is that you as the marketer, who maybe have only been in the industry, that have the company you’ve just joined for two years, are probably not gonna be able to come up with these insights. And so you have to go into your organization and find the person who maybe it’s the founder, maybe it’s someone else who spent 10 years in the space, and then you can get the insights from them. Because if the people you’re trying to reach have a similar, like knowledge level as this person, then there’s no way your content that you can create is going to do that. So going back to the question of good content, A) I think it’s quite easy to improve the value of the content by experimenting with formats, but then B) to actually make the information good. You need those like uncommon, new, insightful, cutting edge insights that only come from deep expertise.
Christian Klepp 19:34
Well, just give me a second, just furiously writing notes here as you’re providing this answer. Fantastic. I love how you talked about experimenting with formats because I’m short of stating the obvious, especially when it comes to B2B. There’s still plenty of opportunities. I’m going to say opportunities for improvement, right? I think more often than not, B2B marketing tends to, not all, but many tend to veer into the play it safe zone and then they start, like focusing too much on the product features. And you know, they go down that rabbit hole instead, right?
Tom Hunt 20:07
Christian Klepp 20:08
Yeah. No. Excellent, excellent. What are what are some major trends or market shifts that you’ve seen out there that could impact the wave of marketers are rolling out revenue generating activities?
Tom Hunt 20:25
Christian Klepp 20:27
Maybe top three to five.
Tom Hunt 20:30
Yeah, that’s the trend like the, the attribution problem that’s been popularized by Mr. Chris Walker, which I think is definitely a trend. And we see this, like, the solution is basically put self-appointed attribution on your on your demo or free trial form, basically, that’s what you need to do. Because then people will actually tell you, they’ll give you much better information, and then Google Analytics or any other any other tool. So that is an interesting one. But that also, it kind of is really enabling the power of good information, because the better your information, the more likely it’s going to be shared in these areas that you can’t track. And so I’m not sure how these two connects. But it’s basically a really big opportunity, I think, for B2B marketers to create amazing information, put it out, without any gating, just get as much consumption as you can. And then it will get shared in areas that you don’t see. And then you can track that back using self-appointed attribution. So I think that’s one. I think that continuous, like shifts to, to the price of attention on social platforms is quite interesting. So LinkedIn, for the last five years in B2B has been like the place to get attention for cheap. But I’m seeing this now, other people are also seeing like decreases in impressions. And so it makes sense. Whenever a platform has cheap impressions, people find out about it, they rushed to the platform, and then it’s get harder to get the impression, see the price of the impressions go up. I mean, here’s for both paid and organic, right. And when I say the price of an organic post is, you should be able to post something that was like 6 out of 10 and get 10,000 impressions. Now you post that and you get 1000. So the price is the time you have to put into the organic content versus the dollars if you’re doing paid spend. So I think that’s interesting. And we’ll see like, what happens, what were the next one is that there are a lot of talk about Tik Tok for B2B. So that could be the next one. So I think that’s just interesting for B2B marketers to be aware of, I think, obviously, the chatGPT thing. I haven’t made, like, a real decision on this, it obviously is gonna save a lot of time for writers. But, and yet, so actually, going back to the point I was making about, like good content that comes from like deep insights, which, by definition, chatGPT can’t deliver, because it’s only looking at existing information. So new original insights can’t come. And so maybe this means that the power or the reward for good content is gonna skew more to the to the heart to the higher like quality of content, because more people can produce the average stuff. So that’s the third one. You know, I think we can leave it there. So it’s the it’s the attribution problem. Is the ever shifting attention prices on social platforms, and then AI and writing?
Christian Klepp 23:25
And all those really great points. And I wanted to go back to the third point. Just what are your… you talked about a little bit, but what are your thoughts on automation and AI? Right? When it comes to like, improving what marketers are doing? Because like, I find, at least on LinkedIn, there’s two camps. Right? There’s one camp that agrees that it’s important to scale. There’s the other camp that’s like vehemently against automation and anything to do with artificial intelligence. Your take on that?
Tom Hunt 24:03
Yeah, I think there’s so much work in the marketing department that doesn’t need to be done by humans, or A) it doesn’t need to be done by high paid people in the West. And then after that, it doesn’t need to be done by any person, it can be done by computers. And so I like I see this like a lot of waste in the marketing department, where there can be automated or moved offshore, for example, fame, is like we get like 100 requests a month, have like 2 million ARR, our marketing team is one person who just does sales, and then one person in the Philippines who like organizes the stuff, and then me, probably like 25% of my role. I’m not sure if that’s like a big for marketing. It feels like it’s a small marketing team for a 2 million plus company. We’ve got like 40 people full time. So and so. I feel like it’s a massive opportunity for marketing teams to automate and leverage ChatGPT in order to, like just cut costs. And what this means is that the budget can be reallocated to areas, that’s going to add more value. So here’s what I would do if someone’s listening and they have like a 10 person marketing team is based in the US, I would fire half of them. And then I would hire one or two people in the Philippines, then I’d also hire one person who’s really good as API automations. And so the team would have the same output for, let’s say, 30% of the cost. And then with 30% of the cost, I would go find the most famous expert in the industry, even if not marketing, hire them, it’s like the evangelist Head of Community, whatever. And they’re gonna fuel the whole content machine that we’ve just been speaking about. And so the marketing team is gonna, it’ll be the same cost as the 10. person team before, but we’re going to be so much more effective.
Christian Klepp 25:56
If you don’t mind me saying that answer may or may not make you unpopular with some members of the audience. But I mean, jokes aside, Tom, I think you’re highlighting a reality that we’re seeing on the market right.
Tom Hunt 26:08
Yea, for sure.
Christian Klepp 26:09
It’s not necessarily just with marketing alone, but you’re seeing all these companies, you know, with these massive layoffs and whatnot. Right? I mean, obviously, there are several factors that have led to that, you know, the company’s going down that path. But certainly, some of the points that you’ve brought up in the past couple of minutes, undoubtedly, are part of that, right? So it’s a bit of a cause and effect cycle.
Tom Hunt 26:35
And we call this episode “why you should fire half your marketing team?”
Christian Klepp 26:39
Whichever, whatever you like, whatever you like.
Tom Hunt 26:43
All right, that’s the title.
Christian Klepp 26:44
All right. Okay. So stay up on your soapbox for a second. Because here comes the next question: What is the status quo in your area of expertise, that you passionately disagree with, and why?
Tom Hunt 27:03
It probably what I see, like the majority of B2B companies doing in the, in the content in the content space, and maybe it’s a function of bigger companies like not actually being allowed to, to create things like cutting edge or interesting, but just literally producing, where they have been distributed through official on their blog, because the information there is just not valuable, like, and if it compared to other people in the space, like, it’s just really not going to do anything for the person they’re trying to help. And so I think the big opportunity here is for the B2B marketer to spend more time understanding who they are trying to help. And then, using someone who’s an actual expert in the space, if you are great, if not, then finding that person in your business, or and if they’re not, in the business, make a business case to the CEO to go and hire somebody, or even use some other consultant to produce the insights, they’re gonna make people like and trust you. So I would say it’s the lack of information of content marketing that’s like actually good.
Christian Klepp 28:18
Yeah, and it also, it also goes back to what we were saying at the beginning of the conversation, right? It’s this whole, like, playing it safe. Focusing on product features, focusing on solutions, features that are specific to the company itself. And there’s, there’s a bit of that in there. Right. It’s almost like they have to fulfill some kind of quota and check that box to make sure that okay, we’ve, we’ve written about these products, and okay, so, so then we’re good.
Tom Hunt 28:43
Yeah, I think so that’s just an awareness of like, our clients as well, actually, we talked about our products and podcast, we just have to understand what type of content we’re creating, right? Because as soon as you mentioned your product, you bring back that content further down the funnel, there is place, there is a place for the bottom of the funnel content, probably on your website, product pages, whatever. But if we’re trying to get attention and make people like and trust us, no one cares about the product. And so the top of the funnel content, and so we would never, that would never be included. Right? And so I think people just understanding like, maybe people not in marketing, or like, Yeah, let’s write this blog post about a product and get loads of views like obviously not, I mean, there’s bottom of funnel content, any people there in the buying process are going to want to read this.
Christian Klepp 29:25
Absolutely, absolutely. Um, this was such a great conversation. And you know, thanks so much for your time and for sharing your expertise and experience of the listener. So please, quick introduce yourself and how people out there can get in touch with you.
Tom Hunt 29:38
To find me on LinkedIn, Tom Hunt on LinkedIn, Confessions of a B2B Marketer Podcast. Fame.so is the company we’ve been speaking about today.
Christian Klepp 29:50
Fantastic. Fantastic, Tom. Once again, thanks so much for your time. So take care. Stay safe and talk to you soon.
Tom Hunt 29:56
My pleasure. Thanks, Christian.
Christian Klepp 29:58
Bye for now.
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