Ep. 130 – How to Build Owned Assets that Perform w/ Casey Hill

How to Build Owned Assets that Perform

When it comes to content marketing in B2B, there’s something to be said about building owned assets like newsletters. Many of these assets fall flat if the content is too company-centric, not shareable, and if there is a misalignment of expectations. How can B2B companies develop content that is interesting, relevant, shareable, and will ultimately generate good results?

Join us as we go “behind the scenes” with B2B content marketing expert Casey Hill (Senior Growth ManagerActiveCampaign). During our conversation, Casey highlights the importance of setting the right goals and performance indicators, and how to think about attribution thoughtfully. He also highlights the pitfalls to avoid, the importance of segmentation and personalization, and some recent trends that B2B marketers should be aware of.

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Topics discussed in episode

  • Casey talks about the major challenges of building owned assets [2:34]
    • Being too company-centric
    • Not setting up a timeline and KPIs for the specific objective
  • How to address pushback for owned assets within the organization [9:09]
  • Casey explains the types of segmentation available and provides examples on how to segment your subscribers [12:46]
  • The “hierarchy of importance” with regards to email newsletters – opens, clicks, page visits, and replies [15:47]
  • Recent trends in content marketing and building owned assets [20:33]
    • The importance of specificity in building trust
    • Make things skimmable and accessible
  • Casey’s actionable tips: [24:53]
    • Identify formats that have been successful
    • Have clear expectations 
    • Provide a concrete plan
    • Set leading indicators
    • Explain the potentials of the owned assets to get buy-in
  • Metrics for building owned assets: [28:16]
    • Subscriber growth
    • The engagement metrics: opens, clicks, page visits, and replies
    • Direct attribution and last touch attribution
  • Casey explains why he disagrees with the notion that marketers should only ask minimal questions to potential customers [30:57]

Companies and links mentioned



Casey Hill, Christian Klepp

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 the 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.

Okay, folks, 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 am joined by someone on a mission to break from the mold in B2B content marketing. So coming to us from Carlsbad, California, USA, Casey Hill, welcome to the show.

Casey Hill  01:09

Thanks for having me, Christian. I’m excited to be here.

Christian Klepp  01:11

Likewise, man, this, this interview has been long in the making. So it’s finally happening. Looking forward to it. And you know what, I should have hit record when you already got on because we started having this really intense discussion. And it’s pretty relevant to what we’re going to talk about today. So looking forward to it, man.

Casey Hill  01:30


Christian Klepp  01:31

All right. So let’s dive in. So Casey, I think this is the understatement of the month, right? That you are a content marketing expert in every sense of the word, so you not only work for Active Campaign, which is a company that has about 185,000 customers across the globe. That number might have increased since the last time we spoke. And you also teach marketing at UCSD. So that’s University of California, San Diego, for those of you that don’t understand that acronym. But um, for this conversation, I’m going back to what we were saying earlier, let’s focus on a topic that I think has become a big part, not the only thing, but one big part of your professional mission. So how B2B companies can build owned assets like a newsletter, and help it to perform? So let’s kick off the conversation with this question. When it comes to building owned assets, where do you think most B2B companies fall flat? And why?

Casey Hill  02:34

Yeah, it’s a great question. I think there’s a couple major flaws. And I think email has changed dramatically over the last decade. So I think one of the first major challenges is folks keep things too company centric. And really, it’s just speaking to their existing audience. So we’ll maybe unpack and get a little bit into the importance of setting goals and having newsletters that are tailored to a very specific audience. But connected to that problem of being too company centric is that the content that is built isn’t inherently shareable. And that is a very big problem, because the name of the game with content today is around distribution. It is around sharing ideas that can be proliferated by in other places, by partners, by customers. And if stuff stays too system agnostic to company centric, you are going to suffer from that.

The other major challenge that I see is that it seems they are not getting their time horizons, right? So you go with this mission of I’m going to launch this new newsletter. And then companies often a month, two months in, might look and say either the subscriber growth isn’t sufficient, or we’re not driving enough end revenue, and they pivot away. And really what needs to happen is for folks to have that clear goal, to have an understanding of what is the purpose of this email strategy? Is it around conversion? Is it around pipeline generation and new leads? I mean setting up a timeline and setting up KPIs that make sense for that specific objective. Because one of the beauties of email is that it can serve both these purposes, I’ve seen firsthand at Active Campaign, an incredible amount of email campaigns that are bottom of the funnel and are driving conversions, a lot of direct revenue attached to email. But then there’s the other side, which is about new lead generation, it’s very different type of content. It’s a different expectation. And so if I was to start out with the two buckets of biggest problems of where people are falling flat, those are the two that I would highlight off the bat.

Christian Klepp  04:34

Wow, you started that one off strong, man. Well done. So couple of things there, Casey. And I think you brought up some really great points there. I think let’s go back to the one about time factor. All right. Because you’ve probably seen that more times than you care to count. I’ve seen that as well. Why do you think companies have such unrealistic expectations when it comes to timeframe and what I mean by that is, to your point, they release a newsletter out into the wild. And in two months, they look at the numbers and say, well, it’s not performing. So why do you think that is, is that the pressure to deliver results is a combination of different factors. What is it?

Casey Hill  05:15

I think part of this comes to the problem with expectations. So one of the challenges is you bring a bunch of content marketers into the room, and all the content marketers kind of feel the same way. We need more financing, we need longer timeframes. But I think it’s important to understand the flip side of this, which is executives, or the CFO, these kind of folks are smart people, too. So why is there pushback, I think it’s important, we don’t just assume that these people are dumb. But we acknowledge that one of the problems is what you don’t want to have happened is to go spend a year, two years, and you keep pumping all this energy into something and you see no end business results, right? Nothing is attributable, nothing is attached. So there has to be some sense of what is a) the goal of this? Like, are we really looking at how many subscribers we can get? Or are we actually looking for how many sales we can get like, what are the metrics that are going to make sense for this goal? And those are going to be different if my focus is let me build pipeline, let me build topical authority. Or how can I convert 20 more people that are already in my flow? And so the first problem, I think, is that there isn’t a good expectation set up front. And so then people are kind of just choosing out of a hat. Oh, we went from zero to 480 subscribers. And I don’t know if that’s going to be sufficient. So start with that clear expectation, connected to that, start thinking about attribution, thoughtfully, meaning have direct attribution, be asking people on intake, how did you hear about us, be trying to look very specifically at what are the highest performing emails in terms of things like say, click, or page views? Right? What is getting the most replies like, really be thoughtful about that, I think that can be really helpful. I won’t go too far off on a tangent. But when I built the LinkedIn program at my company, one of the things that we did, I thought was really helpful, is I said, as a starting point, I want my team to post about whatever they’re passionate about, whatever they want to post about, I want to start completely open. But then what we started to do is we started to study each week, how many views people were getting, how many inbound DMs that were actually related to business that people were getting, what partnerships were started. And we started to map it to the type of content. So instead of me walking in, and just saying this type of content wins, we took a data driven approach where we said, actually write about whatever you want. But now we’re going to pick out these three types of content are getting the most views, the most, inbound DMs. So how do we start to center the team more around that behavior. And also, the team was so much more inspired, because a) they got to write about whatever they wanted initially. And then when we told them, I want you to shift gears a little bit, it wasn’t just the company being like, you know, let me just kind of toe the line, it was data driven, they can see it too, that this is the content, it was performing the best. So it made complete sense. The reason I think that’s relevant is email connect the same way, as you build these emails. And you’re testing different strategies, what subject lines are winning? What type of content is winning and actually driving results? And you’re able to take a very data driven approach there.

Christian Klepp  05:45

Yeah, no, no, that’s absolutely right. And I love how you brought up the topic of data driven approach. And we’re gonna go back to that in a second. The follow up question I have for you, Casey was, and you, you brought it up. It’s almost like a keyword “push back”, right. So you’ve probably dealt with this many times before. But companies get like… B2B marketers internally might get pushback for things like owned assets, for example, people don’t see, for instance, the value and having it or it sounds like a lot of work. It’s gonna take too long to see a return on that. So what would you say to those folks out there that are listening to this saying, Oh, we would love to put out a newsletter. I’m just worried we’re gonna get pushback for that. How should they address that issue?

Casey Hill  09:09

Yeah. So I’m going to start at the top again, just as kind of solidifying what I’ve said, but just be really clear with whoever you’re trying to sell? Is your focus to generate pipeline? Or is your focus to convert leads? Start there, just ask them that simple question. Based on that, then I would basically paint a vision that was very different between those two. So if someone said, my focus is revenue, I would say phenomenal. So what I want to do is I want to start bring in customer stories. I want to start bring in use cases, I want to start bring in very data rich comparisons, not in the fluffy way that those are always done, which is like, not realistic doesn’t build any trust these like matrixes that… but actual real rich conversation that fairly paints these. I would start going deep into all of those bottom of the funnel motions. Right. On the flip side, if someone said to me, I want to generate eyes, I would take a very different approach. One example that I loved, there was this boot company, I think it was like Salomon or something. And what they started to do is they had a newsletter, where each episode of the newsletter, each send of the newsletter was a customer’s incredible epic journey. And that customer was wearing, you know, the boots, but it wasn’t this dry generic, like, let me send you a newsletter about what boot you can buy next, it was getting that affinity building where someone was able to read a story that independently was super interesting, and was shareable and was like, it’s almost like a, like a sports journalism piece. This person summiting this crazy mountain, going through all this adversity, super interesting content. And of course, they were wearing that specific type of boots. But that is a good example of something that can function very well at the top of the funnel. So I guess what I would say here is that newsletters have changed. What you need to sell internally to your organization is that the company updates plus new product releases, plus customer stories, plus new hire, you can’t just have this amalgamation of everything stuffed into a newsletter, that will not work. So number one, we need to have a clear focus. And just to be clear, it is absolutely okay for you to have multiple newsletters, and for you to divide and say, you know, I was working with a university that did an awesome job here. They were like they had one newsletter that was talking about innovative stuff coming out of the university, they had another one that was talking about alumni doing interesting things, and one about like sports. So absolutely feel free to have different ones for different purposes, but don’t shove them all together. And the final kind of connective tissue that I would also say here is around that importance of clear expectations. One thing that is so important, and if you’re taking something away, I hope that you go and look at your own newsletters, and you do this: Have a clear literally on intake expectation, we will be messaging you each Friday at 9am. And you’re going to get a use case about XYZ, that specific, you create that super clear expectation, your engagement is going to go way up, because people aren’t guessing when they’re going to hear from you next, right. And they know when they’re going to get that email exactly what they should come to expect or be excited about. Whether it’s a customer story, and whether it’s, you know, an exciting epic, or whether it’s how we went from zero to 1 million at my agency, whatever your focus is, they have that clear expectation.

Christian Klepp  12:31

Fantastic. Fantastic. Absolutely love it. Talk to us about the importance of segmentation and personalization. Right? You touched on some of these things already. But when it comes to building owned assets, what are some of the key things that B2B marketers need to keep in mind?

Casey Hill  12:46

I love that you asked this question, because I think that there’s this problem where everyone says personalization, personalization, segmentation. And I can tell you, because I’ve been on the practitioner side for 10 plus years, half the companies that are espousing segmentation aren’t even segmenting themselves. The majority of people getting out there and saying personalization is so important. They’re not even doing themselves. So I think we need to start with what is the actual barrier to segmenting, and it’s not the complexity, it’s not any of those things. It’s literally that people aren’t gathering the data. You can’t segment if you’re not gathering the data. So the first thing that we have to kind of have a conversation about is where are you going to actually capture data that is usable to the customer. So we have to start there. One of the most common questions I get is folks say, well, Casey, should I segment on industry? Should I segment on company size? Should I segment on role? Like, I don’t want to ask them a million questions, right, I think that’s a totally fair, a fair note, what I would say is, you need to understand what is actually most relevant to the type of content you deliver. So for example, a 1000 person B2B company might be more similar to a 1000 person e commerce company, than a 1000 person e commerce company is to a 10 person e commerce company. So in that case, if that variable, it’s actually not industry, it’s company size that’s more relevant to their needs. Then what you should do is you should ask the company size question, because what you’re going to deliver in the content is going to be more relevant to be divided by that. On the same note, if it’s like, no, it really is industry, because we’re going to talk about fulfillment and shipping and all these things that just aren’t relevant the other side, then make it about industry. So the first, the first kind of litmus test that would be having is focus on what are you going to actually functionally change that is relevant to the customer, right, based on that input. And then I think you should bring that up front. And you should be asking that question on intake, so that you can have that journey be more tailored. And when I think about personalization and segmentation, there’s two buckets. There’s what I call static and dynamic segmentation. So static is what we gather upfront, it is industry, it is pain points. And that’s what you can segment in much the way that I was describing. Dynamic segmentation is also important. So dynamic is what are they opening? What are they clicking? What are they engaging with? What pages are they visiting? And how do we say, Look, if someone hasn’t engaged with our content for three months, we should not treat that person the same as someone who engages every single week with what we’re putting out. And so changing the tempo, changing the frequency of when we reach out to people and how we reach out to them based on those is super important. But if you aren’t at a top level, gathering the right information, that of course, you’re not going to segment because you don’t have the info to do it in the right way. So that would be the kind of pillars of that. And one thing I’ll leave folks with is, I want you to think about the hierarchy of importance, when it comes to email like this. Opens is the bottom of the barrel. That is the least reliable metric. After changes with Apple and others like open rates, Apple auto opens all the emails on every major ESP, which has inflated open rates by 10 plus percent. So clicks are better than opens. page visits are better than clicks. And replies are better than page visits. So when you think about those four engagement metrics, replies are king. Replies are the very best thing that you can get. And so with that in mind, also started thinking about, can I ask targeted questions in my newsletters? Can I involve my audience in some sort of meaningful way, not only will that be a proxy for true engagement, and making sure this is not bought opens or even bought clicks, but these are real people engaging. But it also gives you that opportunity to be tailoring, to be modifying, to be learning about what people care most about. And the final cherry on the top is around deliverability. One of the major ways that inboxes decide what content hits into folders is based on reply, the people that wrote the algorithms were smart, and they said, people who send personal email to each other to your family and friends have an 80 plus percent reply rate. One of the easiest way to spot any kind of automated email is that the reply rate is like 2-3%. It’s such an obvious signal that during the last modifications, they massively elevated reply rate as a metric for inbox placement. I have worked with dozens and dozens of brands that are not landing in promotion folders, even as their newsletter grows from 1000, 5000, 10000 subs. And the secret to it is they have incredibly high reply rates, especially on the very first email that they send out. So as that final nugget for folks, in your heads be thinking about that, as you design out your email strategy.

Christian Klepp  17:48

Casey, I think you inadvertently came up with a title of this podcast episode “replies are king”, right? And there were so many things you said there that really resonated with me. But you’re absolutely right. Like if people don’t reply, then, you know, there’s so many other metrics to look at. But if they don’t reply, then what’s the point? All right. I wanted to go back to the data driven approach, because you know, you spoke a lot quite a bit about data in the past couple of minutes. But just going back to that, how important is this data driven approach when you’re building owned assets? I would imagine that it does have a high priority.

Casey Hill  18:29

Yeah, yeah, I think that you want to be able to make decisions as a company, when you’re building these assets based on reality. And to me, the data becomes what is reality. So again, going back to this side of as marketers, as people in content, we’re asking for more budget, we’re asking for more allowance, connected to that, we need to show momentum in the areas that are meaningful. So data is our greatest ally, to be able to be an advocate to show the impact of the work that we’re doing. Right. And so I think it’s super important, like I kind of shared earlier in my LinkedIn example. That is what builds confidence within the executive team in my organization, that we’re not just throwing darts at the wall, we’re being very calculative. Because a lot of times, if you say write about whatever you want, companies get really nervous about that. They’re like, Well, what do you mean, write about whatever you want? Why is someone writing about their dog? Why is that relevant? Well, the beautiful part about it is we look at the data. If that person who’s writing about their dog, if they get 100,000 views and two inbound DMs about the company, then awesome, amazing, we can say keep writing about your dog. If they don’t, well, then the data showed that that wasn’t something that had that kind of topical relevance to drive that momentum. And so I think when you’re building an owned asset, and you’re trying to set that expectation and you’re trying to get add, buy in within the organization and build that advocacy, data is your greatest asset to help you there.

Christian Klepp  20:01

Absolutely. All right. Talk to us about maybe like the top three to five, like recent trends that you’ve seen in content marketing, because like every other discipline that’s evolved in the past couple of years. So talk to us about some recent trends that B2B marketers should be aware of specifically when it comes to building owned assets.

Casey Hill  20:23

Yeah, for sure. So I think one of them, we’ve covered on quite a bit, which is just the importance of kind of specificity. Moving on past that, I think it’s really important to have a conversation around trust. So often as marketers, we spend so much time around awareness, and how do we grab eyes? How do we grab attention. But a really good example is if you have a subject line, and man, that subject line drives so much curiosity, because it’s just so clever, and you get people in there. But then actually, they expect one thing and you give them something totally different. Sure, you might get some great open rates, you might get some great eyes, but you don’t drive any actual action. Action comes from trust. And trust is built with a couple things. It’s built with specifics. It’s built with context, right? Let’s imagine that you’re a company, let’s say you’re trying to build an agency, right, and you’re at $300,000 a year, brand new, just starting out, and you get an email that says how to go zero to 1 million for your agency. And here’s the exact go to market pillars that we did. And here’s a breakdown of the tools that we use, and you get really specific, that is going to build an incredible amount of trust, because the person looked at that. And they’re like, that’s exactly what I need right now. I don’t need the agency that went from 10 to 100 million, right. I don’t need the story about getting your first 10 followers. That’s the exact next step that I want. And you bring that trust forward. And so I think one of the things that I encourage folks to do, really spend some time unpacking statements. You know, it’s almost like website copy, if you say we increase demos by 114%. To me, I’m like, that just feels like filler. But if you say this, over the last six months, we took the amount of demo bookings we had from 120 to 285, we actually hired two new AEs to take this new kind of volume. And here’s kind of how we did it. You’re adding those layers of specificity where I’m like, Oh, they didn’t just pull a number out of a hat. They’re giving me real specifics that build the trust and confidence that that’s an actual thing, right. And so one of the best things that you can do when you’re designing content, you’re trying to build trust, is to be really specific.

The final pillar that I would say is, we live in a time of short form content, we live in a time of fractured attention, right. So you absolutely need to make things as digestible, as skimmable, as accessible as possible. So a couple of very top line things, do not have a ton of CTAs, literally one to two CTAs in your email, keep them focused. Number two, use bolded headlines that encapsulate exactly what you’re going to talk about, make it clear, I always call it the skim test. If someone spends two to three seconds, literally two to three seconds, just glancing at your email, what will catch their attention and want to make them read more. The third thing is have a summary at the top. And like a good example. This is a company called Mutiny. So Mutiny runs a newsletter, and they had a summary and they say, we’re going to talk about these six things. If you have a newsletter that’s a little bit longer. Having that summary at the top is another way that you make your content very skimmable. Because someone can go, nope, nope, nope. Oh, yeah. Point number four, that’s actually something I’m really interested in, boom, jump there. So if you do those three things, your content becomes digestible, you start to build trust, and you have that clear top line expectation. I think those things are going to make your email strategy generate a lot more pipeline and revenue.

Christian Klepp  24:04

Amazing. Thanks for sharing that. And I mean, you know, one of the key aspects of the show is providing the audience with actionable tips. And if I was gonna ask you this question, Casey, because you’ve given us so much up to this point in the conversation, in terms of like, what people can act upon. And these are most of the challenges and this is what you can do to address those. But let’s just say for instance, there’s somebody out there that’s listening to this conversation that you and I are having, and they’re, they’re facing this dilemma. But they need to take action on it right away. So how would you… to summarize all the advice that you’ve given, like what are maybe some like the top 3 things you tell them to do if they only have if they only have one to two weeks, for example, to pull this together?

Casey Hill  24:53

Yeah, for sure. So one of the things is exactly isn’t higher, low buy in examples. So one of the great places to start is find examples of newsletters in industry that are doing well. And there’s a lot of public information folks will share all the time, because the people who run newsletters want to highlight the size of their newsletter and all these different things. So you can go out there and look at newsletters from top performing companies and use those as a blueprint, right, to say, hey, we’re finding success with these different formats. Then underneath that, you set the clear expectation of what you’re going to be focused on. And you give them that clear concrete plan and you say, Look, over the course of the next quarter, or maybe two quarters, right, our plan is to have a newsletter that’s going to be going out every single week, and it’s going to be talking about these specific topics. And then you set, what are those leading indicators that you’re going to be looking for. And again, these are different depending on the nature of what you’re trying to accomplish. But let’s say you’re trying to build just that top of funnel, you might be saying, look, the barometers that we’re looking at to find whether the momentum of this is building in the right way, is we’re adding 300 Subs per X period of time, right? Like, again, this is all variable. So I don’t want to throw out just filler numbers and benchmarks. But the point is, when you now give them examples of folks that have done it, right, you give them a clear plan of a goal and focus of this owned asset that you built. And you give them a timeline of what it can become. I think that is incredibly powerful because these owned assets are slower moving. And so like one aspect of this is as an owned asset grows, it can actually open up a lot of interesting things that people might not expect. For instance, you can advertise on top of your owned asset, you can use it as part of a Partner Exchange, you can use it as part of an Account Based Marketing Strategy for a client that you want to land you can have him on as a guest. There’s all of these powerful things you can build. But oftentimes, it takes time to get to these pieces. So you having that clear goal where look, we’re just trying to grow size and exposure from this window to this window, then we’re going to also try to use this potentially, when we get to 10,000 subscribers, we can actually start advertising across this, and it will be relevant like those pieces. If you do that, and you have that clear plan, I think you’ll get buy-in quickly and folks will give you that green light to move forward and start to run this, whether that’s a newsletter is what we’ve been talking about. But I think the same thing is true of a podcast or other owned assets that you might create.

Christian Klepp  27:31

Absolutely, absolutely. Oh, thanks for that man. Those are basically the Cliff notes of what you need to do, right? Do people even use Cliff Notes anymore? I wonder I’m probably I’m sure it’s a digital version of that now right.

Casey Hill  27:45

I remember it from school. Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s been a little bit.

Christian Klepp  27:49

Right? It’s been a little bit, it’s been a hot minute aging myself here. But you know, it is what it is right. The next question, my friend, we can go deep down a rabbit hole with this one, metrics, right? Just give us some top level metrics, because I know, you’ve got 100,000 metrics out there that people are looking at. But what are, again, linked to the previous question, what are the key ones that marketers should be looking at to get stuff off the ground now?

Casey Hill  28:16

Yeah, 100%. So the first is, I want folks to remember that hierarchy that I gave people, which is that clicks are better than opens, pageviews are better than clicks, and replies are better than pageviews. That is what I would think about in terms of engagement metrics. So when you start anything, especially something that’s top of funnel, you got to be talking about engagement metrics, those are going to be a relevant part of the equation. So obviously, you’re looking at subscriber growth, that’s something that’s going to be relevant to building any kind of owned asset, whether it’s a newsletter, or podcast. But when you think about engagement, which is really going to be the hook, if you add a bunch of subscribers, but you have a 9% open rate, obviously, something’s wrong, there’s something missing there, right. And so you need to be looking at engagement metrics as part of that equation. And that’s the four that I would start with. In terms of all these activities. If you start one that is about conversion, you’re going to need to more quickly move to direct attribution of Trial and Paid. If you sourcing it’s top of funnel, it might be a slightly slower build to that where the engagement metrics are the leading metrics, but then everything ultimately needs to culminate and come back to actual business generated, right. I mean, that is, I think the key. The time horizons can be different, but we still need to get there. So for that I am a big fan of direct attribution as one piece of the puzzle. I don’t think it’s the whole piece of the puzzle. I do encourage… there’s obviously lots of challenges that direct attribution has, it won’t catch everyone. So it’s one part of a strategy where you’re also using UTMs inside of any links that you’re putting inside of email. So you’re having some, you know, being able to attribute revenue, for example, that comes specifically from these clicks. You can do that with UTM tracking. So you also want to make sure that your keeping get an eye on that, and there’s a lot of different systems that can help you do that. And so I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of all the tools that you can use. But I would say combine direct attribution, which is just asking people with some sort of model, right. And again, at university, I teach the difference between time decay versus linear first touch, last touch, we could have an hour discussion just about attribution. But to keep it simple, be looking at potentially something like last touch attribution, as well as direct attribution. Those would be the two that I would start with from a direct revenue perspective.

Christian Klepp  30:36

Fantastic. All right. Casey, I kind of get the feeling that you’ve been on your soapbox the whole time? Well, you know, we’ve been having this conversation, but please just stay up there a while longer. What is a status quo on this specific topic of owned assets, Right. So what is the status quo that you passionately disagree with? And why?

Casey Hill  30:57

Yeah, there’s a few that I fight battles around. So I’ll say one is, there is a mentality around path of least resistance when it comes to marketing in general, they say only ask her email, don’t ask additional questions, don’t create an additional barriers, right. And this goes across to so many different aspects of the marketing journey. And I actually disagree with that. I think we need to double down on the best experience for high intent folks, I think that we have the power now with technology to create these personalized, these segmented, these really curated experiences. And I think, ultimately, what we care about is that end result. And so I think it’s a mistake. Some folks might say, well, if I add this additional question, or I add these additional barriers, instead of 1000 leads, maybe I get 700. And I say, I don’t care whether it’s 700, or 1000, how many customers at the end of the day, how much actual real business at the end of the day, and if that’s 20% higher, even though we have 300 less leads to me, I think those 300 leads, they don’t have high intent. They’re not at that stage, maybe we bring them in later, but they’re not there now. And so I’ve fought this battle with marketing leaders and with folks for such a long time, that are really pushing for that path of least resistance. But I spent a lot of time in the trenches, I’ve looked at a lot of data. And I have conviction that that data paints a picture that asking a couple questions to gain specificity can be a huge benefit for brand.

Christian Klepp  32:35

Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, you could almost say that it’s kind of human nature, right. Let’s be non-confrontational. Let’s avoid, let’s avoid any potential friction. But I think it’s to your point, right? It kind of defeats the objective of the exercise, or you’re just adding in, like, extra layers in terms of your marketing efforts, right, like, so you only capture a certain amount of data. But that doesn’t help you to get over that hill. Right. Sorry. I’m oversimplifying everything that you’ve just said.

Casey Hill  33:03

No, I think I think that encapsulates it perfectly.

Christian Klepp  33:07

All right, Casey. So here comes the bonus question. And this is a new one on the show. But like, you’ve got quite a bit of experience, you know, teaching at the university, and you’re teaching marketing at UCSD. So let’s just say that, you know, it could be this show, it could be any other show, somebody listened to you, or to the conversation that you and I had, or you had with somebody else on another podcast, and they give you a call, maybe after this interview, and they say Hey Casey you know what. You really know what you’re talking about. I love your stuff. And I am going to give you money and a plane ticket that you can go on teach marketing, anywhere in the world. Wherever you want. So the question is, if you were given that opportunity to teach your marketing class at any institution in the world, where would you go and why?

Casey Hill  33:59

Mm hmm. Great question. So I think the first thing that jumps to mind is Stanford. And I’m going to get some serious heat for this because I’m from Berkeley, the arch nemesis of Stanford. And so, you know, drilled into as kids but the reason I say Stanford is specifically because of the depth within the institution around entrepreneurialism, and this is something that I’ve been passionate about throughout my entire life and career. I’ve focused on working with small businesses. I come from a family, my dad ran a business, my grandpa ran a business, my cousin’s ran businesses. And so I’ve seen this entrepreneurial energy growing up as a kid. And I genuinely find it incredibly exciting for folks to take that passion to take that interest and translate it into something that they can own and have kind of possession of in the world. And so, I love entrepreneurship, and I think that if I was speaking at a program like the MBA program at Stanford, which is kind of known as the number one in the world around entrepreneurship, specifically, I would have that platform to be able to kind of amplify and get more out there. So I think that’d be really exciting. And as just a small kind of a side note, since we last chatted, I actually am teaching a demand creation course through the Stanford extension. Wow, I’m not not yet on the inside as a tenured professor, but I’m going to be teaching starting in April, it’s going to run eight weeks, and it’s around how to think about demand creation. And I am going to be doing that with Stanford. So I’m kind of starting to get a little bit started in that direction.

Christian Klepp  35:39

It’s amazing. Congratulations.

Casey Hill  35:41

Thank you.

Christian Klepp  35:42

So you could even maybe just you’re the virtual foot in the door. Right. So..

Casey Hill  35:48

Yeah, exactly, exactly. It’s just like UCSD, it’s going to be taught online. So not on the inside yet. It’s always a little bit of challenge when it comes to academia, if you don’t have a PhD, and you don’t have that doctoral kind of experience to get in on a professorship, but to give credit to UCSD and Stanford and other universities that have been reaching out, there’s been this huge appetite that I’ve seen recently for practitioners. And so I think it’s really cool that the university is realizing, hey, these theory components are awesome. But we also need to bring folks that are doing these things in practice right now. And they’re starting to do more of that. So I think that’s awesome.

Christian Klepp  36:31

Fantastic, fantastic. Casey, this has been such a great conversation. I mean, we could we could have gone on for another five or six hours. But you know, in the interest of time, thank you once again for coming on the show. Introduction to yourself and how folks out there can get in touch with you.

Casey Hill  36:45

Yeah, absolutely. So, again, my name is Casey. I’ve been for kind of 12 plus years, working in the Martech space working with email marketing, marketing automation, owned assets, as we now call it, in the kind of content space. And if folks have any questions, you can send me an email Chill@activecampaign.com. My name is Casey Hill. So it’s just, I’m chill at where I work. So Chill@ActiveCampaign. Active Campaign is a marketing automation and CRM platform. So that’s where I work. That’s my day job. And then you can also follow me on LinkedIn, I talk about a lot of these concepts. I talk about firsthand experiences of what I’m learning, running experiments in the kind of organic growth world all the time. And so Casey Hill, you can go find me on LinkedIn and the insights there as well.

Christian Klepp  37:34

Fantastic, fantastic. Once again, Casey, this has been an incredible conversation. Thanks again for your time. Take care, stay safe and talk to you soon.

Casey Hill  37:41

Thanks Christian.

Christian Klepp  37:42

Alright, bye for now.


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