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Value-first Content

Too many companies out there are producing “Look at me” content. You’ve likely seen content like this.

This kind of content often talks about:

  • How wonderful the company is
  • How they recently won an award
  • How their founder struggled and came out a better human being (LinkedIn is full of these stories)
  • How fast the company is growing
  • How revolutionary their technology is
  • How much better their solution is than the competition

This kind of content can feel like brand-building work. But it’s not.

It builds little affinity with customers because of one reason: it’s not about helping them.

Customers build affinity with brands that understand them and use their content to fulfill the mission of helping them.

Companies who understand this create content that instead focuses on:

  • Talking in the second person
  • Resolving real pain points with real solutions
  • Educating customers so they can achieve their objectives

This kind of content inevitably ends up building...

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Marketing Led Budgets

Looking at marketing budget splits by activity tells you a lot about marketing organizations.

Sales-led organizations put a heavy focus on traditional marketing activities like Events, Sales Enablement, PR and Comms.

Marketing-led organizations put a heavy focus on Demand Generation and Content. There's still room for the traditional marketing functions, but the focus on revenue is clear.

Shifting from a Sales-led function to a Marketing-led function does not imply adding additional budget. It can simply involve refocusing the same budget and allocating it towards revenue-driving activities.

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Payback Period

CAC Payback Periods should guide marketing decisions inside companies a lot more than they currently do.

At the micro level: If Channel X is breaking even in 6 months, while Channel Y is breaking even in 18 months, it's clear where spend should be allocated and scaled.

At the macro level: If Marketing as a function is breaking even in less than 12 months, then spend should be scaled aggressively. Where you scale spend within marketing should then drill down into channels and campaigns.

While some marketing activities can't be measured, looking at Payback Periods can unlock significant growth levers for marketing teams.

That's why in order to be able to make decisions at this level, the right data infrastructure needs to be created in order to measure Payback Periods at both the micro and macro levels.

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Content Trust Curve

Lack of content creates a major objection to overcome during the sales cycle: should the customer trust that you will deliver?

The more content you create, the more trust you build. As the trust barrier is lowered, deals become a lot easier to close because you no longer have to convince customers that you can help them.

Instead, they find you because they have a pain point and your content has signalled to them that you likely have the antidote.

Crossing this trust barrier is when organizations shift from being primarily sales-led to marketing-led. There are:

  • More referrals
  • More inbound appointments set
  • Higher conversion rates at every stage of the funnel

When this shift happens, customer satisfaction gets better because the organization has to spend far less time convincing more people to buy.

Those additional resources can be invested into improving end solutions offered to the client and to create even more content at scale.

Over time, more leads come inbound and close at...

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Paid Media + Content

The room to spend on paid media in most industries is finite. After a while, you always hit a ceiling on spend.

Similarly, if you’re creating content purely for SEO, you will hit a limit on how much traffic your content can drive.

It’s not that these plays are ineffective. They work and need to be implemented inside most companies.

But the real value to be created is when content and paid media to work hand in hand to target ideal customers to create demand.

This kind of marketing takes a true understanding of customers, a belief in the power of content and a willingness to invest paid media dollars to build a longer-term affinity within an industry.

In a paid social driven demand engine, content + paid is how you get to infinite distribution to scale revenue significantly faster.

Your competitors can’t just bid up where you’re investing like they can on finite, zero-sum channels like search because you’re never playing the same game.

It’s also...

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CMO-CFO Alignment in Portfolio Companies: Why It Matters, and How To Achieve It

When you bring on new portfolio companies, defining titles, setting expectations and clearly assigning responsibilities in the company is usually among the first things you do. This should include identifying and optimizing areas of alignment between the leaders in the company. But, too often, this gets pushed to the back burner because there doesn’t seem to be a direct connection to the investment thesis or because investors are cautious of interfering with the company’s internal dynamics.

However, without alignment between function area leaders, the company could be:

  • Missing out on budget efficiencies
  • Spending dozens of hours on overlapping work
  • Losing potential customers in the cracks between departments
  • Pulling the business in multiple different directions

You can’t assume the executive team will be aligned just because they’re in the same office. These relationships need to be proactively managed, with clear communication requirements and goals...

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Best Fit vs Bad Fit Customers

Your best fit customers are significantly more valuable bad fit customer base. They are also more valuable than your overall customer base (including those who are a good fit).

That's why you need to tailor the following to your best fit customers:

  • Product Roadmap
  • Demand Gen
  • Sales
  • Content
  • Onboarding

...and more

The more you focus on your best fit customers, the more you will build a differentiated position in the marketplace with super fans and power users.

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Total Customer Value

Understanding the core drivers of Total Customer Value are critical to building the growth engine of any business.

Companies constantly under-estimate what a customer is truly worth by not capturing all the value acquiring a customer brings.

Common drivers:

  1. Higher ACVs / Average Deal sizes
  2. Increased Usage / Functionality which drives expansion revenue
  3. Lower churn, higher retention and higher LTV
  4. More upsells
  5. More cross-sells
  6. Increasing pricing
  7. Driving more referrals with higher NPS / satisfaction
  8. Better onboarding to increase conversion rates and usage

Correctly understanding Total Customer Value is the key to scaling sales and marketing. It tells you how much you can truly spend to acquire a customer.

The higher the total customer value, the more you can spend. The more you can spend, the more of the market you can capture.

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Continuum of Marketing Accountability

The quickest way to measure the maturity of Marketing within an organization is to look at its core accountability metric.

In less mature organizations, Marketing teams report on leads generated, MQLs and even influenced pipeline as their ultimate accountability.

In more mature organizations, sourced pipeline and revenue are the ultimate accountability metrics.

A good way to figure out where on the continuum a company's marketing team sits is to ask what reporting they have.

If they have:

  1. Connected marketing spend at the top of funnel to sourced pipeline and revenue
  2. Analyzed ROI by channel, campaign, cohort
  3. Established baselines for acceptable cost per lead by channel and campaign based on conversion to opportunity $ and pipeline

Then, they are on the more mature side of the spectrum.

If they haven’t, the organization likely needs a cultural transformation to shift revenue accountability from just sales to both marketing and sales.

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Equilibrium of Optimal Marketing Investment

LTV to CAC ratios are incredibly high in many B2B companies. Yet the same companies hold back on ramping up marketing spend.

If your LTV:CAC ratio is well above 3 (in many companies this number is north of 10) and your Payback Period is below 12 months, ramping up sales and marketing spend aggressively can create a tremendous amount of enterprise value.

Why hold back any spend when you'll recover your investment in less than a year and generate returns for 10+ years?

If your break-even point on marketing spend is at the 18-24 month mark and your LTV:CAC ratio is still above 10, then it's time to optimize and analyze what's working and where spend is being wasted. Once optimized, scale aggressively again.

If LTV:CAC is below 3 and Payback Period is north of 12 months, it's time to go back to product and customer feedback before you think about investing more into acquisition.

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