Aashish Dhamdhere is Director of Global Demand at Apptio. If you've heard of neither, you will soon.
Apptio was named the 64th fastest growing company in North America by Deloitte's 2014 Technology Fast 500. Apptio is the leading provider of cloud-based Technology Business Management (TBM) software that helps CIOs manage the business of IT. Apptio's suite of applications uses business analytics to provide facts and insights about technology cost, value, and quality, so IT leaders can make faster, data-driven decisions.
In this post, Aashish shares the 7 principles of demand generation used to acquire customers and drive revenue at Apptio.
"The Aim of Marketing Is To Get And Keep A Customer." -- Peter Drucker
A focus on customer acquisition and retention is the first principle for successful demand generation. Apptio applies this principle to its marketing investments by measuring their performance in terms of 5 Revenue Performance Indicators (RPIs).
These RPIs help Apptio trace every single $ of investment back to the pipeline for the company. It also helps the company make adjustments to investments in order to optimize and improve performance.
"Content Marketing Is All The Marketing That's Left." -- Seth Godin
Content marketing drives the majority of the pipeline at Apptio, says Aashish.
Many SaaS startups rely solely on the sales team and outbound marketing to grow. While these tactics have helped the company acquire customers, Apptio wanted to build a low-cost and sustainable channel for continued growth. They've found this in content marketing.
"Content marketing was a leap of faith, and it paid off for us," says Aashish.
"People Don't Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It." -- Simon Sinek
The "why" message is the foundation for good content. Drill deep into your messaging and understand why you exist as a company, says Aashish.
IT is a function, and CIO's often struggle to understand and communicate the value of IT to their business stakeholders.
But according to Aashish, "We believe CIO's help the business innovate, and we want to give them the tools to do just that."
"Brands Need To Take The Phrase 'Acting Like A Publisher' Literally." -- Dietrich Mateschitz, CEO of Red Bull
"Stop thinking like a marketer. Think like a publisher," says Aashish, "What is your audience trying to learn? What problems are they facing? What can I give them to help them solve these problems
The blog is your starting point for your content marketing strategy. Have your blog writer(s) interview people in the organization, curate, and ALWAYS MEASURE what's working.
Other tracking tips: Each asset should be tied to a Salesforce campaign. This will help you measure things like the content that's best at generating qualified active opportunities and the keywords that are converting to revenue.
"We used to use click-through rates, but that doesn't tell you everything," says Aashish, "You want to measure what's converting on your side, and Bizible gives us that information."
Creating demand using different content mediums and connecting content to conversion & revenue data is how Apptio succeeds with content marketing. Apptio uses content not just for lead generation but also for lead nurturing and upsells.
"Content Is King, But Distribution Is Queen. And She Wears The Pants." -- John Peretti, Founder and CEO of Buzzfeed.
If you write it, they will come.
That's a fable says Aashish, "No one is waiting out there for you to write content."
That's why Apptio uses a variety of inbound channels, especially paid search. For example, pointing paid search ads to blog posts and white paper download pages.
"We love search. We spend a significant portion of our budget on search and that isn't going to change," explains Aashish, "And, if you're in B2B then get on LinkedIn."
The audience targeting capabilities on the ad platform make it the ideal paid social channel for B2B marketers.
Think direct mail is dead? Ping Aashish because direct mail marketing drives a quarter of Apptio's pipeline.
Here's a short case study:
Demand marketers at Apptio send promotional kits, called "Black Boxes," to key decision makers.
Aashish hears anecdotes that CIO's have to use this content in presentations and meetings to discuss IT costs.
There are a few requirements for making direct mail work. Unless the content has real value, these tactics will fail. Direct mail also won't work if it isn't designed well and it doesn't catch the eye of the recipient.
Apptio also follows up on different channels and uses inside sales reps.
"If you don't do inside sales right, content marketing falls apart," says Aashish.
"Email Is The Jason Bourne Of Online: Somebody's Always Trying to Kill It. It Can't be Done." --Anonymous
If you send the right content at the right time, and don't abuse the relationship, then people will want to hear from you," says Aashish.
Apptio engages with their prospects using email through the sales channel. This content is meant to educate the prospect and help them make an informed decision.
"We're All Learning Here; The Best Listeners Will End Up The Smartest." -- Josh Bernoff
The three key takeaways from demand generation at Apptio are the following: Use LinkedIn, use email, and use inside sales to complete the content marketing cycle. Very straightforward.
It's the best time to be a marketer. You've got the opportunity to learn fast and execute fast. That's how Apptio does demand generation, says Aashish.
And I'd say it's working pretty well for them.