GrowthFit Interview series
Episode #22

Choosing marketing channels like an investment portfolio

Choosing marketing channels like an investment portfolio

Right after college, Madhav Bhandari stepped into the industry with his entrepreneurial mindset. He worked with companies like TouchTechno and ClinchPad in the first two years of his career as a founding member. He worked towards building a product, raising funding, and did many other things. Then, he moved into HubStaff which was the post-product-market fit. He got hands-on with growing the business to $5 million in revenue. He took all his learnings and started publishing them for access to a larger audience. That brought him to connect with more exciting companies. Bonsai is one such company that he was associated with which aims at taking away all the boring work for freelancers. Remote marketing is a personal side project that is today a hub for some great marketing resources. He shared his learning and interviewed people to talk more about remote working and creating remote marketing teams.

Some Highlights:

  • The story from $100 K to $10 million.
  • Top mantras for demand generation
  • Scaling your SEO
  • Using personalization the right way
  • Data points used while designing a campaign

The story from $100 K to $10 million

Madhav: Bonsai is used by over 300,000 freelancers. I worked primarily on the demand-gen side of the story. This involved increasing sign-ups and awareness. And, this involved scaling the top of the funnel in a cost-effective way. Remote marketing is around for 5 years. I have led and created 100% marketing teams.

Top mantras for demand generation

Madhav: Things change rapidly with the revenue milestones. Marketing is different for different stages of a startup. When a startup is in a 100K to a million revenue band, we use, let’s say, 300 different marketing tactics, test them and find out what marketing channels work for you. We need to find out the foundational channel that works for you and could mature on it. And then, it is different for a 3 million milestone. There could be a cap for channel or the customer LTV for a product can’t go beyond a certain point. Some channels need specialized expertise and then for a specific channel, you need to bring in the right team.

Tackling the strategic work, always look at what is the price point of your product. A 100K product is a high-touch product. Based on that you need to define your marketing strategy.

Scale your SEO

Madhav: There are just three things to great SEO.

  • Create great content that solves problems for your customers.
  • And then, how quickly do they get the information that has got to do with the page load.
  • Link building is the third one.

One mantra for a content marketer?

Madhav: Ask a lot of questions, be inquisitive and curious. The point about asking great questions is it helps you get breakthrough ideas. And these are ideas that you get even before anyone else gets them. You need to look at analytics data and start finding answers to why the numbers look the way they are.

Using personalization

Madhav: We choose an audience and look at different topics that work for them. We then try and cover every aspect of it through different verticals. So we use the 5 stages of awareness and align this for every content that is being created. The real value of personalization comes when you are able to give the right information, at the right time to the right person.

Remote marketing teams always help in a situation like COVID. But, our aim was also to cut costs without having to let go of anyone. So, we cut down ads budgets, and where ever possible we work with freelancers. Because we want to be flexible with our variable costs. Anything that was only heavily profitable stayed. I see that if the foundation of any core marketing is strong, with or without pandemic there will be only a variation of 10-20% in the results and you will still have the majority of the revenues.

Partnership marketing

Madhav: It is a great channel. The only challenge is that there is not enough information about where the affiliates are. It is different for every company. As your company grows, the number of affiliates grows. So, you need to be creative enough to make the most out of the affiliates associated with you. It helps a great deal with brand awareness.

The best way to do this is you should be thinking about how to be a topical authority with a unique positioning.

Data points used while designing a campaign

Madhav: With low-touch SaaS, we care about a number of new customers and signups. With a high-touch SaaS, we care about the number of MQLs. If we want to explore and expand channels, we spend money and gather the data. We try and understand if it works with it. If there are certain articles that are giving us better traffic, then we double-down on content similar to that. The same thing is with backlinks.

So one should really care about the number of sign-ups, high-quality leads, and customers.

Advice to fellow marketers

Madhav: Think of marketing as your investment portfolio. So, you need to go with the lowest risk and the highest return. You need to look at unit economics and understand what is working for you.

Spend a lot of time doing your own critical thinking.

                                    "Go with the lowest risk and the highest return."

Contact Madhav Bhandari