GrowthFit Interview series
Episode #19

Build an Authentic Brand that your Audience can Connect with

Build an Authentic Brand that your Audience can Connect with

Nick Harley is the growth marketing lead at Auror, a retail crime intelligence platform for retailers to report, solve and prevent crime. The platform streamlines the crime reporting process and connects the dots on criminal activity, transforming how retailers, law enforcement prevent crime in real time.

Highlights of the conversation-

  • Being a self taught marketer and building a marketing career from scratch
  • Focusing on personalization is crucial
  • Make your brand connect with your audience
  • In this new age of content, one should be hyper specific

Tell us about your journey

I have got quite a varied background, really a very unconventional background as I started off in the construction industry before ending up in marketing and I give credit to a B2B software company where I learned a lot of lessons while building the company and eventually selling it. Overall I've been in and around startups for 10, 15 years now mainly through the marketing stack. The challenges I've kind of managed to cross is not having any kind of education in marketing. I'm purely self-taught and I Google stuff every day, to solve a new challenge and get up to speed with a new technology or tool.

What marketing philosophy do you follow?

Auror is like an enterprise retail platform. So there's a lot of account-based marketing that goes on. We have lots of conferences and events for lead generation among other things. However, we're starting to get a lot smarter with our digital marketing, lead scoring etc. One philosophy we have adopted, which is not very marketing specific, is that we want to work in small teams of highly capable people. So we don't have many people in the marketing team, but everyone is highly experienced and we believe we can kind of move faster that way.

Working smartly with data

So what is your source of information to stay updated in marketing?

Looking at data and making sure we're optimizing conversion rates. I'm starting to get a lot more involved with the SEO strategy now. We use a standard tool set as well like Google analytics, Salesforce campaigns, for marketing automation. Our datasets are getting smarter all the time, but we also have a lot of in-house built tools as well, that track usage across the product and more.

Do you recommend any specific platform that can do wonders for SaaS in lead generation?

I think it really depends on your individual needs. I was a big fan of Autopilot for managing marketing automation for a while. I think the one that's most exciting that I want to look at next is 6Sense which is a lot more on account-based marketing when it comes to the marketing stack. So I think that's got some real potential, and it'll be very good for account-based marketers.

Personalization is crucial for your messaging

When it comes to content what is your take about personalization?

I mean, it's extremely important that with content in particular, you've got to really kind of decide on who it is and what persona you're going to market to. Who does your website speak to? Who does your content speak to? Is it a specific role? Is it a specific, or authority like a known manager or VP or CIO?

  • Personalize it in voice and tone, to kind of connect a lot more closely with the target audience and also using tools to be smart about that.
  • Use tools like Demandbase and Google optimize as well to personalize content based on the visitor. And that's quite important as well as you get a bit further down the funnel, because you really don't want to make the mistake of speaking to nobody. You want to speak to the target persona that actually buys your solution.

What data points do you consider when you are designing a campaign or you are particularly targeting a niche segment of audience?

I think the metric that you target can be very different across what campaign you're doing. I would really recommend that people decide up front what metric is important to that particular campaign then track that because there's nothing worse than tracking something that isn't actually that beneficial to the marketing funnel.

It really varies on the campaign and the medium as well. If your focus is brand impressions, measure that a lot differently to other campaigns that are a lot more, further down the funnel for how many sales leads did we get, how many conversions did we get and so on.

Email marketing is here to stay

According to you, what's the importance of email marketing?

It's hugely effective. We can see all the data, email marketing does work. With email marketing the open rates and also the click through rates are low however, you can still track the activities and measure the effectiveness of your campaign and that's still valuable.

I think you just have to make sure that you're doing best practices. Like your subject lines are enticing for people to open and click through, also CTAs are relevant to the individual and personalize it. I think if you're just going with email marketing and blasting emails not personalizing them, then that's when you won't really get much success.

What is one marketing advice that you dedicatedly follow?

I don't think there's anything that stands out in particular as one thing I've continually followed, but I feel like there's plenty of people I follow on Twitter, like Rand Fishkin. However, marketing is constantly shifting and the technologies we use are constantly changing, staying up to date with what's happening and what's working is very important.

Which is your favorite - paid or organic?

It's, without question organic, it is the most satisfying outcome that comes from finding a keyword, building content and seeing results over time for organic. The beauty of getting a machine that works off organic traffic is hugely satisfying, because you're not continuing to pipe that traffic and it just works for you forever. Organic for me is certainly close to my heart and I do love digging into SEO tools and finding opportunities, and then seeing the organic traffic increase.

Make your brand connect with people

What do you think is the most effective way of increasing a brand's online presence?

It is tricky these days because there are so many ways that people are competing for attention.

“Brand authenticity is something that I feel quite strongly about. Having your brand stand for something that people resonate with, speaks in their language. So they want to follow that brand, because it's quite close to their own way of thinking.”

You've got to make your brand connect with people, and your target persona, otherwise they just went, they will not listen to you.

Success mantra with ABM

How do you know which accounts are responding to your campaign and product?

It's about lead scoring and you can see on an individual level and there's probably other tools you can do this by tracking in Salesforce campaigns, the activity of the leads in the context you can then roll up the lead schools into more of an account view and then use engagement history dashboards to see which individual accounts are contributing, the most active and then which individuals on those accounts are most, engaged as well. That's really kind of given those data-driven insights into kind of getting a bit smarter around who's engaging with what and kind of putting a bit more insight into salespeople's hands, so to speak.

How do you understand on which platform your user persona is engaging on?

It really starts with research, you can probably get a bit of an idea about who you sell to, but you've really got to kind of go deeper and look at customers that you have managed to sell to in the past. What did they look like, what are the common traits about them, and then you can always interview them.

You can kind of play around with that as well with the messaging around who's resonating with what, so I guess for most markets out there where to start as you all have a fair idea already based on your current style. However, I have a look at the sales history and find out where that first interaction came from.

Whom do you look up to in your day-to-day life as a mentor?

I used to read autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs and they weren't particularly marketing focused, but I got a lot of inspiration out of people who have, kind of come from nothing and achieve something.

People like Rand, Fishkin, Neil Patel are the kinds of people I follow now. They share some industry insight or document or link off to some other website and then, and then it is just great content. So I read content from all over the place just to kind of keep up to date with the latest marketing tactics.

New age marketing: Get hyper specific with your content

What would you suggest to fellow marketers in 2020?

I think going forward competing for attention will be more difficult. It's very easy to be kind of all over the place and be everywhere with no real strategy. It was the case a while ago that everyone was kind of spinning up podcasts and now podcasts are kind of overwhelming. I think it's similar with platforms like TechTalk and things.. like they might have a lot of people, they're not your audience most of the time.

So I would advise -

  • Get hyper specific : Go to the events and conferences of your ideal persona and the people that buy your software or your solution, or your widgets, tailor your content for that audience and market on the platforms they are on. It's not just about being vertical specific, but it's really trying to get granular detail on who that persona is, and then being in the places that they hang out.
  • Beating competition : If you can do that and you can kind of create a bit of a mini brand that people resonate with, then it's only really a matter of time if you've got a good product that they'll discover and start using. The challenge is going to be yourself as a marketer to really get specific on who you're going after and where they hang out, because there's so much competition right now.

Contact Nick