Organic Marketing: How to Turn Your Marketing Team Into a Media Agency
By: Ilse Van Rensburg
Demand Generation, Content Marketing, Marketing
Forget everything you know about B2B marketing...
In fact, throw out the idea of generating leads!
Nope, we haven't been hacked.
We're just going green.
And by green, we mean:
But not in the way you think...
In this article, we're looking at what it means to change your marketing focus to:
✔️ Create awareness
✔️ Drive differentiation
✔️ Influence product consideration
✔️ Build brand affinity
✔️ Create demand
So say goodbye to low conversion rates! Scroll 👇 to start creating a solid brand that creates demand, or 🖱️ click one of the following topics to go directly to it.
Lead generation VS demand generation | Capturing demand VS creating demand | Creating revenue VS generating leads | Content to educate VS content for lead generation | Content attribution VS content distribution | Word of mouth VS content marketing | Listen to the podcast
Lead generation VS demand generation
You know how the older you get, the harder it is to grasp new technology?
Marketing is a lot like that.
We're set in our ways, unwilling to embrace newer and better ways of doing things.
This is something Chris Walker, CEO of Refine Labs, talks a lot about on his podcast, State of Demand Gen.
Another thing he speaks a lot about is not doing lead generation and focusing more on demand generation:
“Many companies build their marketing around transactional conversions of contact information so they can do outbound sales. This is a model they've been running for about 20 years now. But, it was hard to get contact information back then, so they started gating content, and it worked! But, gated content leads close at a low rate causing unproductivity across sales organisations.”
But, if it worked in the past, why can’t it still work today?
Well, as Chris puts it:
“When you strive to measure things, you often do things that aren't the best things to do.”
For instance, you’re forcing your marketing team to pull in leads who really aren’t interested in your product.
- An imbalance across teams: marketing crushes target, but sales can’t make target because the leads aren’t good.
- The leads are cheap, but the customer acquisition cost (CAC) is high.
- Overall, it’s expensive, takes a lot of time and creates poor funnel conversion metrics.
- Buyers get annoyed, leading to a bad brand reputation.
This is why as new-aged ‘green’ marketers, we need to start thinking less like marketers who only focus on results and more like business leaders who only focus on revenue.
- Perfectly balanced teams: marketing and sales crush target because the leads are good.
- The leads are more expensive, but the customer acquisition cost (CAC) is low.
- The funnel conversion metrics are higher, your teams smaller and more productive.
- Buyers are happy, leading to an excellent brand reputation and more sales.
Capturing demand VS creating demand
If you want the fantastic results we discussed above, you’re going to have to focus on creating demand, rather than simply dangly some bait and hoping your prospect bites.
Chris Walker says:
“Most marketing teams only focus on capturing existing market demand. They wait for people to look for them. Then try to capture it with SEO, SEM, review sites, and retargeting. They spend all their time and effort and money fighting over the 0.1% of the market that is actively buying.”
But here’s the thing, if you create demand, you’ll be in demand…
To do this, you need to:
- Change the way you think - by building a well-liked and well-known brand, you can create demand to better attract leads that actually convert.
- Change your marketing execution - look into reaching out to your audience and offering them value for free, rather than gating your content for leads that will never convert.
- Start tracking revenue metrics - stop focusing on how many leads your team brought in; instead look at how much revenue they brought in and realign your goals based on these marketing metrics.
- Go to your audience - you need to go to where your buyers spend their time and use that space to educate and inform them, rather than simply selling to them.
Another great point from Chris Walker is:
“What if instead of gating an eBook, we push it out to everyone on social? How many more results will you get that way? To me, SEO is a distribution channel, just like social or email. It's reactive because someone needs to go to your site and take action, whereas I'd prefer to go out and get them by being proactive with the information I'm trying to deliver. This approach drives more people into buying decisions.”
Creating revenue VS generating leads
Remember, just because your marketing team is capturing leads doesn’t mean they’re creating revenue.
And revenue is what we want here.
“If your SDRs are calling 1,000 people, and 999 are not going to buy, that’s a BIG PROBLEM.”
Because you’re wasting time, resources and revenue by chasing a conversion rate of 1%.
There’s no point in generating a high volume of leads if your conversion rate is going to be so low - volume means nothing if it costs your business money.
“Lots of marketing teams are trying to transition to Demand Gen but regress back to Lead Gen during this adjustment in go-to-market strategy because executives get scared that “leads” are going down.”
But there’s a reason for that:
“90% of leads that go down don’t convert because they’re on a lead gen model with no buying intent & never make it to a qualified opportunity.”
Now, if you focus on measuring revenue gained rather than the volume of MQLs you have, you’re going to notice a lot more success in the long run.
“When your sales team isn't chasing around thousands of "leads" that don't want to buy, they can focus on closing the people that do want to buy.”
It’s really a win-win game plan:
Your team’s resources are focused on a smaller volume of leads who fit your ICP and are actively engaging with your brand. This leads to higher conversions and more word-of-mouth sales because you’re creating demand rather than trying to capture it.
“Leads should be classified as anyone who fits your ICP and comes to you on their own and says: ‘I want to speak to sales about your product.”
Here’s how you can focus on bringing in organic leads:
- Start measuring your marketing team's success on monthly recurring revenue (MRR) rather than MQLs.
- Stop putting money into attracting leads, instead focus on creating meaningful content that educates or adds value in some way.
- Put an end to gating that content and place that extra effort and cash flow into improving and optimising your channels.
To get an idea of how creating revenue vs generating leads feels, Chris provides the following exercise:
“Reach out and have a 15 to 30 minute conversation about your product with 5 of your customers and 10 to 15 people that aren't your customers but are in your ICP. How does it feel?
If you do this all in one day, you'll be a much better marketer. You'll be able to figure out what the differences are between the people who use your product and don't, what they think of your company and their thoughts on your competitors. It's not cold calling; it's marketing, and when you speak to those people that aren't your customers and they don't want to talk to you, you'll know how they feel when you send them to your MDRs without having shown any intent to buy.”
Content to educate VS content for lead generation
“If you're creating an eBook with the sole intention of generating a bunch of leads so you can cold call them, I think that's wrong. You're spending money to get people to download that eBook and then just annoying your customers by cold calling them. On the other hand, if you switch up your intent and create an eBook to educate or grow your brand - that's cool.”
Gated content can be just as bad as relying on MQLs to scale. Just because someone has downloaded your whitepaper or signed up to your webinar doesn’t mean they instantly want to jump on a demo.
What they do want is to learn; it’s why they downloaded your eBook in the first place.
If you provide this knowledge for free, they’ll keep coming back, and they’ll refer you to their friends and colleagues - people who might want to do business with you as a result.
The key here is to remember that when putting this content together, you shouldn’t be thinking about creating it for sales or anything other than simply sharing value with your followers.
Once you master that, the world of organic marketing will blossom for you.
Take a look at Chris Walker. He has over 60,000 followers on LinkedIn.
Because he shares his knowledge for free! His brand and identity have become a household name within the B2B marketing world, and he’s sure to have attracted thousands of customers as a result.
“It’s not the medium; it’s the content. Take traditional webinars, for instance; attendance is dropping. Why? Because they’re not providing enough value. What if you take the very same technology, a live presentation with Zoom, and create something that is of real value to your audience?”
So start thinking out of the box; how can you, as a marketing leader, provide value for your brand’s followers?
Content attribution VS content distribution
Chris has two rules for content distribution:
- Don’t measure content based on leads.
- Do start experimenting with strategies and tactics based on your marketing data, common sense and intuition. Then put custom processes in place once you know how it correlates to REVENUE.
A common mistake with marketers is that we rely on attribution software to show us whether our content is lead-worthy, when we should be distributing it to drive value, meaningful conversations and brand awareness.
According to Chris:
“90% of our revenue is attributed to organic search, and we do zero SEO. And that’s why channel attribution is completely broken.”
But, here’s why content distribution is important:
- Content distribution ensures you meet or exceed your targets by putting your brand in front of your customers, rather than making them come find you.
- You get out what you put in. The more you distribute, the more people talk about your brand, and your following grows.
- You're building on channels that yield compounding gains, where results accelerate exponentially over time with the same amount of effort and investment.
- You understand your audience, their pain points, and what they’re looking for to solve said pain points.
“What I do is not ‘social selling’. It’s content marketing with effective distribution. Most marketers have transactional intent because of their company’s KPIs. So their content has the intent to sell instead of to help, so people tune it out.”
So how can you get on board with content distribution?
Here’s what Chris advises:
“Start pushing your content out on all social platforms, including LinkedIn and your podcast. You need to bring your content to your audience and not the other way around.”
Content distribution is significant for creating organic traffic.
For example, if you like someone's post and they see what you do and how many followers you have, they might connect and share one of your posts with a friend...and then they both enter your funnel!
This is just one of the many effective ways of finding leads without waiting for someone to come to you.
And it can't be measured...
Many companies won't do a marketing or sales podcast because they can't measure its success, but it's an important part of marketing today.
This just shows, shying away from certain content just because it isn’t ‘measurable’ only limits how far your marketing can go and the success you can gain from it.
So start distributing!
Word of mouth VS content marketing
Speaking of content distribution, one of the most important factors driving B2B buying decisions is word of mouth.
Think about it:
You have a happy customer who can’t stop singing your praises.
What’s going to happen?
Everyone they speak to is going to think, “wow, John had such a great experience with that company. I want to experience that too!”
But it’s not as simple as delivering a great product; you need to do more.
“We don’t try to convert people who aren’t ready to buy. Instead, we educate them through content as a way to create attention, product consideration, and some of those word-of-mouth actions inside of channels that we can’t necessarily measure or see.”
To achieve this, he follows a six pillar strategy:
1 - Customer success
Ensure your customer success team is doing a good job communicating and engaging with your customers, so they always think highly of your company. This way, they will continue coming back and want to tell everyone else about your product.
Remember - the better the experience, the more likely you’re going to get a referral from them.
2 - Content distribution
Content is one of your best assets. It's so shareable. If someone finds something you've published funny, relatable or informative - they are going to share it! This leads to more people discovering your band.
Content distribution is going to play a big part in marketing strategies, so make sure you're sharing on every channel available to you.
3 - Events
This doesn't just constitute live events. Events of all kinds can create a lasting impact on your customers. No matter where you are - streaming a live webinar, sharing a video on social or at a convention, you need to ensure you give your audience a good experience.
Give them that, and they'll be talking about your brand for months, maybe even years to come.
4 - Community
Creating or joining a community of like-minded individuals is always a good idea. You need to become an active member of your buyer's world if you really want to offer them a valuable product.
Not all companies find this step useful, as it can't be measured by metrics, but what you're doing is building important relationships and getting to know your buyers on a more human level. Ultimately, this will get you a lot farther than staying blind to their needs.
5 - VIP customers
Identify your top customers and reward them with a VIP program. This will build loyalty and encourage referrals. Offer networking events, specialised webinars and limited-edition swag.
There's no limit to what you can offer, just listen to what your customers want and give it to them.
6 - Influencer marketing
Another option is to get an influencer to distribute or talk about your content. If you're unsure who your audience listens to, ask! Then choose the top five and reach out to them.
Influencer marketing can be an authentic way to drive brand awareness.
Recognise any of these pillars?
Of course you do! You might already be doing them, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it right.
As Chris says:
“A lot of companies do content marketing, but not many do them like us. It’s not about what tactics; it’s about HOW you do them.”
Listen to the podcast
Found value in our article?
We’ve got so much more to share with you over on our Revenue Champions podcast.
Listen to our full interview with Chris Walker - press ▶️ to get started.