A Napier Podcast: Interview with Emma Valentiner - CanIRank

In this podcast episode, we interview Emma Valentiner, Director of Strategic Content at CanIRank, an SEO software platform that uses AI to provide specific action recommendations.

Emma shares how the platform supports B2B marketers with improving SEO, why it's so important to layer SEO into other marketing activities, and why small search volumes in B2B can drive valuable and qualified leads.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

Transcript: Interview with Emma Valentiner - CanIRank

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Emma Valentiner

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b Tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Welcome to marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today, I'm joined by Emma Valentiner. Emma is the director of strategic content for CanIRank. Welcome to the podcast. Emma.

Emma: Thank you very happy to be here.

Mike: Awesome. Well, great to have you to join us and tell us how we can all rank on Google. But before we get there, you know, I'm really interested, can you give us a little bit of background about your career and how you've ended up with a career in SEO?

Emma: Yeah, so, I think probably like a lot of folks in marketing, it's been a bit of a winding path, I started working in advertising and marketing in around 2004. So been hanging out for a while, I was doing copywriting. And eventually, that took me into working in marketing and startups, that took me into working for a very large corporation doing product content, and from and I was not an SEO at the time, so writing a lot of blog content and a lot of sales type content, but with no understanding of kind of where that fit into the ecosystem of SEO. Um, and then after I left that, I ended up interviewing with Kanye rank and getting this opportunity to learn kind of SEO from the ground up, they have a really great training programme for new employees coming on, you kind of learn about all the different areas of SEO, and it just was a perfect fit for everything that I was interested in and the things that I had done previously. And getting to kind of use that in a way that really helps clients get visibility.

Mike: Sounds great. But then you left and then came back to CanIRank. So tell us a little bit about what happened there and what you learnt in your little holiday from the company.

Emma: Yeah, so I was offered an opportunity to work with a startup that was based in San Diego, and they were doing some really interesting technology around AI. So kind of identifying your ideal customers using this really interesting AI software. So I was an in house SEO for them for about 10 months. And they did a bit of restructuring. And so I was, you know, on the market, again, looking for another opportunity and got in touch with a Kanye rank, folks. And it was just a perfect fit for what they needed at the time and what I thought I could bring to the table. So it was an interesting experience to go from working on the agency side of managing multiple clients and putting together different types of campaigns to doing kind of that in house work. And I think it helps me get a much better understanding of like the b2b challenges for SEO because it is a whole different animal. So I think I can come into my work with Ken, I rank clients with a lot more perspective on those specific challenges for b2b.

Mike: That's fascinating. I mean, is there? Is there something you pick out that you see, agencies or technology suppliers not doing that really would help clients?

Emma: Oh, probably a few things. Um, one big thing that I think a lot of companies struggle with is, you know, b2b, the search volumes around b2b, the the, I'm talking specifically the keywords that matter to your business that are going to drive conversions. They're tiny. So I, you know, I'm a huge fan of SEO, I think it's a really important piece of a marketing campaign. But as a b2b, you have to kind of layer that in with the other aspects that you're doing. And I think a lot of companies see those small search volumes, not realising the cost per click is massive. So they're really great for conversions, but they're like, well, it's only got 50 searches a month, or 70 searches a month, that doesn't seem worth our time. But it can actually drive really valuable and qualified traffic.

Mike: That's a great point. I think, you know, from my point of view, the other thing that a lot of people forget in b2b is you don't need huge numbers. If you look at Napier, we get you know, several 1000, over 5000 visitors a month to our website, we can only deal with about two new clients a month. So we actually care about a very small proportion of the traffic. Is that sort of typical, do you think with b2b Or do you think people just go for the big numbers? Because it sounds good.

Emma: I think that's a problem kind of industry wide in terms of SEO. It's a lot of focus on kind of those marquee keywords like oh, this has 40,000 searches a month. Yeah, but how many relevant people are going to come to your website from those 40,000 Because they're so broad, typically those kinds of keywords that you're getting a lot of traffic that actually doesn't have value for you. And I think that kind of skews your data into terms of what people are looking at on your site, what they're engaging with. And I think those smaller, more qualified, you know, visitors are going to tell you a lot more about who your target audience is and how to best speak to them.

Mike: Definitely. And actually, our websites are, you know, a case in point in that a lot of our traffic goes to a SMART goal generator that writes goals in smart, you know, the smart format. And it's like, I can tell you, virtually none of those people are ever going to be clients of Napier. And most of them are students trying to pass their their various courses. But yeah, chasing volume doesn't make a lot of sense in SEO,

Emma: You are doing good things for students and their goals. So there is a win there.

Mike: Yeah, actually, the truth is, I used to do some guest lecturing, part time lecturing, and actually produced it for the students because I got so tired of them not being able to write smart format for goals. Anyway, I think back back to your career and back to Can I rank so i You're back at Can I rank? And now I'm going to ask you the question. Aren't there enough SEO tools in the world? Why do we need another one,

Emma: I am a huge fan of can I rank all I'll put that out, I use it every day. It is filled with data. So it can feel really overwhelming when you're getting used to it. Because there's so much to look at. And I think that's in general true of marketing, there's a gazillion things that you can do to get your company's name out there and to connect with your people, or your future people. So it's one of the things I really enjoy about can I rank, they have an opportunities feed, that tells you really quickly, I have one content piece that I can do this week, what's it going to be and I can look at opportunities, feed and filter through opportunities that the machine has created for me, here's a keyword that your competitor is targeting that you don't have any content on. So you know, optimizations are also in there as well. And I'm also a big fan of that as a tactic. So I like it, because it gives me the information that I need. And I can run with it. I think a lot of SEO tools aren't quite as good as that like actionable steps, piece of the puzzle. I also frequently use sem rush a lot for the visuals, I love to share their their kind of the keyword graphs. And when I'm reporting with clients, I think it's really easy to understand and see really quickly where you're at with a campaign Moz. Of course, I use Moz. Local a lot to see kind of where brick and mortars are struggling with their internet presence. So I mean, every there are a tonne of SEO tools out there. And they all do certain things really, really well. And there are certain pieces of data that maybe I'm not getting from them.

Mike: Now, you said something really interesting about can I rank because most of the SEO tools have got complex dashboards and things. And you talked about an opportunities feed. What do you mean by that? What does that look like in practice.

Emma: So when you first sign up with CanIRank you enter your website. It also works for agencies. So you could be managing multiple sites. And you'll put in your homepage URL, you'll put in your seed keyword that you're going for probably some competitors. So once the software once that's in there, the software kind of goes and pulls all of the companies that are ranking in that general domain. So if I'm selling a software, it's going to go and pull from my competitors sites and see what keywords they're ranking for. It's going to pull from the the number one rank or the page, one rankers right now and see what they're ranking for. And it's going to score my site based on that information. So it will tell me, okay, compared to competitors, right now, this is your strength and content, this is your strength than con optimizations. This is how you rank in authority. And here's how you're doing and social. So I can tell really quickly, okay, so I'm, I haven't about the same amount of content as my competitors do. But man, they've got a tonne of backlinks, their authority is really high. And I need to focus there. So all of that information is kind of crunched behind the scenes using algorithms I do not understand. But they're magic. And it comes up with this opportunities feed. So you can filter that feed by content opportunities, promotions, opportunities, optimizations opportunities, and that'll just really quickly say, Hey, here's a great idea for a piece of content, it's going to take you roughly this amount of time and this is the keyword target that you want to aim for. And then it will tell you what the value of that is if you write this piece, you have the ability to attract X amount of people to your website a year and drive X amount of traffic value. So super easy to use, especially if you don't have a lot of time.

Mike: Okay, so you talked about three different opportunities. So content presumably is isn't new page, so a new blog post or something? And then can you just talk through the the other two optimization I think there's one other.

Emma: Optimizations and then promotions opportunities, so the optimizations people It will look at your existing rankings and give you ideas for where you can improve them. So you've got a page that's ranking on page two or page three. And with a few tweaks, you can get it over to page one. And so then it will tell you exactly what you need to do add these related terms, use your keyword, this amount of times have this much content on your page, maybe answer these frequently asked questions. So it's really robust in terms of the exact things they're telling you to do, it's not going to be broad, like, you know, use your keyword one time, and maybe use, you know, two or three of these related terms, like it's very specific, you can see in the reporting down to how many times your competitors are using any given related term. So that's really helpful. It gives you the keyword density, like, like I said, it's a lot of data. So it has that in there, it has like high potential pages. So it might be a keyword that's crazy valuable for you, it's really relevant to your your brand, but you don't have a page that's really focused on that keyword, whereas your competitors do. So that one will, it'll bump it up and say this is one that you should focus on. So that's the optimizations piece, there's a corresponding improve my rankings tool within the software that really helps you kind of dig into that. And then there's the promotions piece. And this is probably the piece that I am the least familiar with, just because I don't do a lot of promotions. But we have it connected to like journalists pitches tools. So it'll say, hey, this journalist writes a lot about laboratory software. And since your client does that, you might want to reach out to them and see if you can get, you know, feature with them. Or, you know, here's a guest post opportunity that might be a great fit for you. This corresponding tool for that is promote my content. And I think there's about 20 different strategies that are listed in there that you can pursue. So, especially for promotions, folks, I think it'll it'll be really valuable to bubble up some stuff that they might not think of otherwise.

Mike: So it's amazing. See, you've got a tool that from what it sounds like it's giving you advice based on content you should create or how to drive new backlinks. But it's specific to that keyword is looking at what competitors do. Is that Is that right?

Emma: Yeah. It's specific to the keyword like your seed keyword in your industry. I think that's one of the things that kind of sets can I rank apart from the other tools is that it's very focused on No, not only like your industry, but your website and how you compare to the other folks that are in your industry and or ranking for the terms that you're aiming for.

Mike: That's cool. So, I mean, obviously, you're working with a lot of companies and presumably talking to a lot of companies who are struggling with SEO, which is why they come to any vendor. I mean, why is it that so many companies struggle so much with SEO? Do you think?

Emma: Well, I think as an industry, we don't do a great job for ourselves, we can't, it's kind of positioned as this dark art, with a lot of verbiage that most people are just like, I don't have the time to learn another thing. Um, I think when I speak about it with, with new clients with, you know, folks that I work with on my team, I like to position it as like our job as SEOs is to help a search engine do their job better, they want to give their users the very best information for their query. So as much as we can do that provide that best information for the given query, the better we're going to rank. So like, take all of the like the Voodoo out of it, that at the end of the day, we're helping a search engine do their job.

Mike: That's a really cool way of looking at it. And I mean, you hear a lot about the challenge of ranking and the number of people investing in SEO? I mean, is it getting harder to rank?

Emma: Um, I mean, potentially, I think that there's a lot of a lot more companies are adopting SEO, there's a lot more jobs for in house SEO is I think a lot more like compared to five years ago, 10 years ago, it is as a marketer, as a digital marketer, you're expected to know, at least SEO fundamentals when you take on a job. So I think, in that aspect, we have a lot more people with expertise that are that are working for companies and working to get their companies ranking. And also, you know, SEO, it is it's challenging. Like you'll change something on a site, you'll get a page one it's very exciting, and then your competitor changes something and they take over your space. So it's like a constant, constant dance.

Mike: And I mean, one of the things also we hear about SEO is the wide range of different ways you can appear on the search results page. I mean, how does Can I rank you know, look at those different opportunities, can it pick out opportunities to appear in different places rather than just the organic list?

Emma: There isn't right now. So um, for like, if you look at sem rush, they've got it broken down by like the additional features So you've got like your featured snippet you have or position zero, you've got, you know, image links, you've got frequently asked questions. And can I rank doesn't have that yet they have built out like a Frequently Asked Questions module for that improve my rankings, which I think from a content perspective is really helpful. Especially you're looking at the blank page going, I don't know how to write about this. And that's kind of a good jumping point there. I would love to see the addition of those SERP features, because I think it's, you know, we get so focused on like, I just want to get a page one ranking, which has now become, I just want to get a top three ranking, I just want to get positioned zero ranking. And it's like, there are so many other opportunities to catch somebody's attention. And you know, the old school marketing adage, you have to be in front of somebody X amount of times before they really recognise who you are. So I think any time you can get a SERP feature is going to be valuable.

Mike: But of course, I guess once you start talking about those features, it then gets more complex for people who are perhaps less skilled in SEO.

Emma: Yeah, I would say I think one of the best, best tools that's just out there is using a search engine, like search your your target keyword, search your industry, see what kind of content people are sharing what their page titles look like, what their meta descriptions look like, if you're wondering how they got position zero, go look at their code, and just get a feel for did they format that in a certain way? Did they say that in a certain way that made Google kind of are a search engine in general, pay attention? And give them that spot?

Mike: That's, that's really cool advice. I mean, it sounds, it sounds in a way that you've got to replicate, what can I rank doesn't look at your competitors, rather than try and follow what's deemed to be common knowledge? I guess?

Emma: Yeah, I think it's one of those like, kind of fundamental easy things to do that people often forget about. We're so focused on the data and what the data is telling us. And it was like, you have like, in real time, what a search engine feels is valuable for this query. So why not take advantage of that and see what you can learn from it? Are they looking for transactional pages, informational pages? Is this? Are these all local businesses that are ranking for this query? So there's a lot of value that you can take from just doing a simple search?

Mike: And when you look at SEO, I mean, who do you see as being responsible? Is it is it responsibility of the SEO team? Is it people generating content? I mean, who do you think should be driving the SEO? Or is it or is it everybody,

Emma: I'm really biased, I work with a really great team. And we're kind of everybody has their specialty area. I think it works best when everyone is working together. So I think you know, you have your director of marketing, or your director of SEO, that setting the strategy and then you've got your technical person making sure the website is working, right? Everything looks good core web, vitals are solid, all that fun stuff. You've got your content person that saying, Okay, what content is relevant in this industry that we can create that engages people that are searching for keywords, you've got your optimizations person that's, you know, keeping track of the rankings and looking where those opportunities are? What can we do better here to engage people, and then you've got your, you know, either social or promotions, those kinds of folks that everybody is working together. So if I'm, if I'm optimising a page for sample tracking software, I've got my content person who's writing a couple of supporting blog posts on sample tracking. So what what does a lab need to know about sample tracking and 2021? And then I've got my promotions person who's going to make sure that that blog post is shared in relevant LinkedIn groups or, you know, other forums that are out there, maybe reach out to journalists and say, Hey, we're writing about sample tracking, you might be interested. So I think it works to get much better together when everybody is rowing in the same direction.

Mike: That's cool. I mean, I think one of the challenges I see particularly with our enterprise clients is everybody wants the same thing. But quite often, because of the sheer size and complexity of the website. You've got people who are not SEO professionals, generating content, maybe for blogs and things like that.

Emma: I've never seen that.

Mike: What do these people do? I mean, they're not they're not SEO experts. How can we do a better job?

Emma: I think talk with your SEO team, especially if you're building out new pages for your website. I think we've we have a tendency to silo ourselves specifically for for in house SEOs. You've got your product marketing team, you've got your design team, you've got probably some you know, corporate marketing that's wanting to make decisions and like get everybody at the table, including SEO and say okay, so we understand this is the design, we understand copy would really like this to be their h1. And here's what we're, what our data is telling us would be valuable here because I think you can have the best design in the world. But if nobody's visiting your website, doesn't you know where the value there is going to be hard to sell?

Mike: Yeah, and I think I think that's a great point is the people who are writing a lot of the content who aren't the experts, they actually really want people to read it so that they're desperate for that knowledge. Yeah. So if we go back and talk a little bit about can I rank? I mean, you talked about the different people in, you know, the SEO team? I mean, who is can I rank designed for? Is it designed for, you know, content specialists in the team? Is it designed for people with other roles, or maybe people who are who aren't perhaps SEO specialists,

Emma: It was initially designed for non SEO specialists. So a lot of like, we have a lot of DIY clients, we have a lot of like, smaller agency clients. Because we've all been trained up on it and and understand the data that we're seeing, like it is a you know, it's kind of our go to tool for everything that we do, whether whatever department that we're in, we're using Kenny rank in some format during the day. But I think it's especially for folks that are new to SEO or don't have a lot of time, I think that that's when that opportunities feed really comes into play in terms of like, here's what, what the priority is right now.

Mike: Yeah, I love the fact you sit down and the tool says, this is going to give you the best bang for the buck. I think that that's a great feature of can I rank? So, I mean, we've talked a little bit about the product. You know, it's amazing. I mean, I've had a look at it, and I think there's free trials on the website. But is it expensive?

Emma: Um, it's, I don't know, the price points offhand. I think there's three different tiers. Um, I would say compared to some other tools that I use frequently, it's on the lower end of that, I'm there, like with anything, there is a bit of a learning curve. So I would just let people know there's a Learning Centre on each tool, that's super helpful. So do take advantage of that. But I would say, you know, you'll see some SEO tools that are 100 $150 a month for a single use licence. And that this is not that you can if you're an agency, you can get your whole team on. And I think it's I want to say like 200 a month, but I could be wrong.

Mike: Oh, so actually, in terms of cost, per seat, it's really cheap.

Emma: Yeah. And you share the information. So like, for me, for my clients, we all share the same access to the client data. So because it's based on a machine learning module, like everything, every keyword search that I do, that goes out to the whole team. So even if I'm not, if I'm working on content strategy, even if I'm not talking with the optimizations person, I can see the keywords that they're looking at, and the things that they're tracking and focusing on same with promotion. So it can be really helpful, especially if you're, if you have a busy team, if you have a team that's distributed and your time zones don't quite match up, you still see what's going on in the client account in real time.

Mike: Awesome. Actually, one thing I love that you've only just mentioned, machine learning, it seems like everybody has to mention AI and machine learning when they talk about tools. And and you've not done it in the first answer, which is brilliant. I mean, obviously, there's there's some AI or learning within the tool in order to work out what's what's important. But I mean, it sounds to me, like you kind of hide that and people don't have to worry about it, it's just about getting the results,

Emma: We could probably do a better job of messaging it upfront. But yeah, I think my my focus is on SEO can be really challenging and intimidating for folks that are new to it. And they don't necessarily need to know what's going on behind the scenes or care to know what's going on behind the scenes, they want to know how they can get their website to rank and how they can start their organic traffic going. So I think it does a really great job of that kind of demystifying SEO for folks and you know, finding the like the grow my content tools, kind of our keyword research tool, great opportunities to drive organic traffic with like long tails in there. So I think that's more of the focus on like helping people feel more confident, rather than like, the amazing technology that's happening behind the scenes that does all this stuff.

Mike: I love that. I mean, the grow my content tool, so that that's all about understanding your industry and then working out what people are looking for, you know, a company like yours will be searching for.

Emma: Yeah, so that's, you know, again, if I'm selling software, it's gonna say, Okay, you're in this industry. So people are writing about cloud based software, desktop, software apps, you know, all those kinds of different things and it's gonna bubble up even those longtail terms, so like software suites for laboratory software suites for healthcare, things like that. So it's just kind of like a good brainstorming tool, but you also happen to get the search volume and the value that you might not get otherwise.

Mike: Amazing. That's great. So, I mean, looking forward, you know, I'm interested to know, what do you see as the future of SEO? Where do you think the SEO industry is going? What do people need to know to be successful in two years time,

Emma: I would say to be as focused as possible on giving site visitors the best experience. So if you're writing content for a specific query, be very clear on the information that you're sharing, there is a time to be clever. And sometimes there is a time to just give them the information. So I would say as much as possible, like increase your page engagement include a lot of internal links to other relevant content, that's something I think a lot of companies forget is there's no internal linking. So it's like, I found this great blog post, and I read it, and now I'm done, because there's nowhere for me to go. So that's something I think that that is gonna continue to be important. Um, Google tracks everything, they track your time on page, they track your bounce rate, they track your exit rate. So as much as possible, focus on how you can improve those numbers. So if you're seeing a high bounce, something's not your either your page is loading really slowly, or they're not seeing the information that they expect to see. Or maybe your site design is a little bit old and needs an update. So I think just paying as much attention to the actual user experience, and I in my belief that will bubble up the best content on search engines.

Mike: That's great. That's really good advice. And, and in terms of the content itself, um, you talked a little bit about internal linking, making sure that you give someone somewhere to go after they read the blog post or whatever. Is there any other tips that you have for people generating content, that might help them rank a bit higher?

Emma: I would say I'm a big fan of the content spec. So that's a process that we use for our clients. We'll spend about 45 minutes before before writing a single word on deciding what that keyword is going to be doing research around that keyword. So, you know, what are the page titles look like? What kinds of pages are showing up in Google what common terms are, so I say related terms. So what terms would come up naturally, if I was speaking about this, as a topic, so I mentioned basketball a lot as my example, if I'm talking about basketball, if I want to rank for that, I'm probably going to mention hoops and net, and B ball and Michael Jordan, and you know, the Boston Celtics, all these things that would naturally come up when I'm talking about the topics. So I think, you know, creating a list that content spec has a list of about 10 to 15 terms that we want to work in. And then making sure that we've got really smart headers, so H twos and H threes that are the all the content is really clearly formatted. So it's easy to read, adding images is really helpful just to kind of keep people engaged and on the page. And just think about your own search experience. When you land on a website, looking for information, and you see, you know, four pages of like 12 point, text, nobody, nobody wants to dig into that you want something that's like easy to scan and that you feel engaged with. So, you know, consider your own search habits, when you're doing content for your website.

Mike: That is brilliant advice. I really appreciate that. And we're obviously coming to the end of the session that I guess, you know, is there anything else we should have covered, or anything else you feel, you know, people should know?

Emma: I would say don't be intimidated by SEO, there's a gazillion guides out there that will make it seem really, really challenging. But SEO like there is a tonne of marketing things that you can do. But SEO is really valuable for long term organic traffic. And I know we often call it free. It isn't that it takes time and investment and resources and strategy to get there. But it will serve you for a very long time. I've got clients that i i optimise their page three years ago, it's still driving the majority of their traffic today. So there's a value there.

Mike: Definitely. And I would say you know, try some of the tools as well. I mean, if you look at Can I rank you know, I you log in, there's a free trial. And it just says do this and things will be better. I think that's an amazing tool. It just gives you a list of things that are going to improve performance. So it's amazing. This has been really good. I really appreciate your time. If people have questions what's the best way they can reach you?

Emma: I can be reached at Emma.Valentiner@canirank.com

Mike: That's great. Straight to the email.

Emma: Yeah, I'm terrible with social media. So if you blinked in me, it could be a long time before I get back.

Mike: This is has been an amazing discussion. I think it's really interesting. And a really challenging subject. I mean, lots of people struggle with SEO, particularly people who are working with it, but maybe not the professionals. So I'm sure they will appreciate it. Thank you very much for being on the podcast.

Emma: Thanks very much for having me. It's been great.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b Tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you'd like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.


A Napier Podcast: Interview with Ike Singh - Social27

In this podcast episode, we interview Ike Singh, Co-founder and CEO at Social27, a virtual and hybrid events platform.

Ike shares how event platforms can accelerate revenue, how Social27 uses an AI recommendation engine to recommend content to the right people, and why he thinks there needs to be a change in the way we deliver content due to COVID-19.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

Transcript: Interview with Ike Singh - Social27

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Ike Singh

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b Tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Welcome to the latest episode of marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I'm joined by Ike Singh, who's the co-founder and CEO of social 27. Welcome to the podcast Ike.

Ike: Thank you so much, Mike, for having me. It's a pleasure.

Mike: So you're into virtual and hybrid events in social 27. So if you want to give me just a quick overview of what social 27 does, and where your market is.

Ike: Certainly, Mike. So yeah, social 27. We focus on all sorts of events these days is primarily virtual events. But certainly a lot of our customers are planning for hybrid events in the very near future. Are we all provide a platform focused on providing the content, matchmaking and networking, which is powered by AI, and also a pretty robust Expo solution so that people can actually find amazing solutions and services in the ecosystem? So it's all about really connecting people, building communities and the big factor around accelerating revenue, the revenue cycle? So I mean, we'll talk more about that in just a bit. Yeah.

Mike: Fascinating. I mean, I'm intrigued to know, you know, a little bit about yourself, how you got here, what your career was like, and why you decided that events was the place to be?

Ike: Okay, certainly, Mike. So I'll go back a little bit. So I did about eight years at Microsoft, that was starting around 2000. You know, and when I was at Microsoft, I actually did a bunch of events, I used to work in the global partner marketing teams, so I would be on aeroplane every two weeks, somewhere in the world, it was a great time to see the world, but also meet lots of people. But what I found was that events certainly did not have the best ROI, you're spending a lot of money going everywhere. Sometimes you'd find like 500 people at an event and sometimes 50 people, you know, so just, you know, it was just all over the place. So I think for me, it was more around being able to build something which would bring people together, irrespective of where they were located. But also kind of be able to extend the in person events, you know, the so that if even if there's an in person event, the people who can't come there can still somehow participate. So that was what I left with it with Microsoft, you know, and then around 2012 was the first version of our virtual events platform. I'll be honest, it worked for about a year or two years or so but did not go where I wanted it to go. Just because I think the technology wasn't there yet. Streaming was really expensive. At that time, it was only the very, very big companies who could afford it. So we didn't get as much traction as I wanted. So then I kind of did a few different things. You might check them out on my LinkedIn, I've been all over the place. And then in 2019, is when we kind of came back to the board on our side and said, Look, there is a lot of advancements that have happened in from a technology perspective, streaming, as well as AI is becoming more real, we can actually use some of this stuff, you know, which is provided by the big cloud vendors. So we re architected and created a new version of our platform. And that is what is in market right now, since the last year and a half, two years. That's kind of the backstory.

Mike: And I'm really interested when you decided to go back to that business. And you know, I guess trade again, with the new technology, was there something specific that that drove you to do that? Was it something you were seeing in the market? Or was it a particular aspect of technology?

Ike: Certainly. So whenever it comes to b2b, I always think about how do we use technology and or just do stuff in our daily lives as just regular human beings, you know, so what I refer to is, as the consumerization of IT is what is kind of happening in the world right now. So a lot of the experiences that we have in our daily lives, we also want some of those same experiences at work. So what I was seeing, as a paradigm shift in the last few years was how people consume content and how people collaborate. You know, so what are events? Right? I mean, events are all about consuming content and collaboration. That's what they're all about networking. So consuming content is equal to Spotify is equal to Netflix, Amazon, you know, movies were prime. So the whole point behind some of these content consumption patterns that we see in the world right now, as in our personal lives, there's one thing which is very clear among all of these, that is that they provide us with tonnes and tonnes of content, but then they also provide us with recommendations and help us personalise our experience. So give me a lot but pay system, please understand what I want and give me exactly what I want. You know, so I don't have to waste my time, you know, just finding things right. So that was the kind of the North Star that we were going for, which was like how can I create an event perience where the event isn't in the middle, and the people are kind of like circling around it like, you know, shift from one room to the other. I think it's more about the, the human being being in the middle, and the events circling around the human being in terms of what they want, just like it happens in our daily lives with Spotify, and with everything else. And then plus the collaboration piece was more around LinkedIn for that matter, right. So think about if you could put LinkedIn from a collaboration online collaboration, perspective and networking perspective, and add some of that content consumption, aka Spotify style. That's exactly what we set out to create. And we've done that and our customers love it.

Mike: That's fascinating. It sounds like there's, I mean, there's lots of elements there in terms of the delivery of content, it says terms, one is delivery, which pretty streaming has become much easier. But you also talk about the AI in terms of being a recommendation engine, I'm, I'm really interested because historically, with physical events, we've not really had the AI recommending it. So I mean, do you see that as being your big, unique selling point for hybrid events, as well as online events?

Ike: Absolutely, Mike. So again, what the experiences that I believe in again, irrespective of our platform, right, so the whole goal is to give people the opportunity, especially in a business environment to get to what they want as fast as possible. You know, you hear things like Netflix binge, but believe me, nobody wants to binge on event, you know, b2b event videos. So the point is, you know, you have to get them to what they need to go to really, really fast. So the goal is to really understand who they are, you know, and there's lots of information available for that particular purpose. There's third party data, but in many cases in our environment, we actually create, give the opportunity to people to also self select some of those things, just like on Spotify, I'll give that example one more time. So as you go on Spotify, you choose your genres of music, that you're interested in soft rock, but I also like hip hop, okay, well, you come in there, and you choose certain categories of that you're really interested in, and then we kind of based upon that information, their actions, plus, based upon some of the information from their second party and third party data, we were able to pull together some pretty amazing recommendations. So that just really kind of helps, you know, reduce the friction, in terms of getting them to exactly what they're looking for. And as they like, start liking things in there, our algorithm starts sharpening its recommendations accordingly.

Mike: And I mean, this is kind of hard. But do you see your recommendations as like, showcasing interesting content that people might not have necessarily looked at before? Or is it more about removing the irrelevant content?

Ike: I think it is, the first one is more around giving them recommendations around what we think they might like, because it's also again, be put them into a cohort in the backend with other people who have similar profiles, you know, and it's just like, hey, this, there's 1000 other people who really liked these sessions, I think there are similar to you. So you might like this as well. So yes, and then again, the the recommendations become better as we see their actions inside. Right. So that's a starting point. But then it's also a lot to do with their own actions. So yeah, that's how that works.

Mike: Fascinating. So one of the things I've seen is that, you know, with COVID, particularly, obviously, a lot of stuffs moved online, but in general, companies have tended to go towards easier content webinars. And a lot of the event organisers have actually, you know, to some extent shut down during COVID. I mean, how do you see things coming back? Do you see events being run by large enterprises? Or do you see it going back to trade show organisers?

Ike: So I think, irrespective of who runs these events, I think what needs to happen is that there needs to be a change in how we think about delivering content. Events are just again, one more way to deliver content, right? So again, I'm just going to go a little bit broader, because I know your audience is not just events, right? They're more than that. So but delivering content. So now right now, in most cases, you're delivering content, mostly online, you know, and it will continue because people do want access to you know, content easier faster whenever they are variant of the or any device, all that fun stuff, right. So the point is, when it comes to in person events, and or virtual events I from based upon every everybody I've talked to, in my industry, as well as among the bunch of CMOS that we have from our customer side, these are companies all over the world, right? What they are telling us very clearly is that going in the into the future in the near future and onwards, every event is going to have a virtual component, you know, and yes, some of them very few of them might be in person only, but mostly everything is going to have some virtual component because people are used to it now. They want it and also the value that most corporations as well as exhibitor, exhibitor companies have found like the scale that they can achieve with, you know, some of this having a virtual component attached to it. So how we think about the world in the near future is that every event will have pre, during and after phase, in the pre phase, everyone is virtual.

And I think most organisations who are doing events, irrespective of their company or their a big event company, whatever be, they should put a bunch of that 100 level intro content online before the actual event happens. Why would you want to rent out a bunch of rooms and pay so much money for just delivering intro level PowerPoint doesn't make any sense. And nobody enjoys the nine to five on those uncomfortable chairs, looking at PowerPoint, right? So the goal is to achieve Do it fast, get it done online before the actual event happens, Spot the minds of the people, get them interested in, you know, the value of what's going to get delivered, and then also get them networking. So once you are delivering that content, people are already going to be there they meet others who are similar to them. So that once they go to the actual event, that is the question is not Oh, what do you guys do? Because that's the one question that's asked a billion times at every event, there's that's just such a waste. If they should know that intro stuff should happen pre event, during the event, rolling up your sleeves or getting deeper into the content, attending some exclusive workshops and things of that kind. You're having your side meetings with people you've already met before you go into the booths where you've already seen the demos before, right?

So it just completely changes the game. And you find a lot more value in person. And so for us, the way we think about events is let's take the events away from being email list generators, because that's what they are today. That's all you get from an event is an email list from that email list generation two more like revenue acceleration, where you actually getting business done not asking what do you do? Right? So that's all that what do you do sure happened in the in the pre event phase, and then post event is all about, you know, seeing some of the content you might have missed out on and or reconnecting some of those people and having a connection always on community until the next event happens, you know, so it's kind of like, that's our approach and strategy towards hybrid. And a lot of our customers are very aligned to that.

Mike: I love that idea of thinking a lot about before and after the event. I think that's, you know, that's something that online can give us that we really couldn't do before events were becoming hybrid. So that's great. In terms of, you know, one of the challenges of virtual events, I mean, one of the biggest complaints I hear is about networking, you mentioned there working, where, quite often it's very easy to network with people who want to sell you something very hard to network with anyone who's, you know, from your point of view, an interesting contact? I mean, have you seen this? And what do you see event organisers doing to overcome that problem?

Ike: Now, certainly a very, very valid question I, you know, I do say this many times, I'll repeat it one more time. It's not like that buyers don't want to buy, it's the process, the process of buying, especially in the upper mid market, and the enterprise is pretty tedious. I think it's tedious even feel buying, like, anything for your personal life. I mean, you go to a bunch of reviews and check out a bunch of videos. I mean, that's what people do. So it's that process that has the friction in it. Buyers want to buy it, that's what they've been given by a charter by their boss go buy me XYZ, you know, solution. It's the they have to kiss those 100 frogs to find the prince. That's where the problem is, right. So now, as the event owner, slash, you know, the platform, there is tonnes and tonnes of information that I have on both the parties, the buyers and the sellers. So I think the what I could do best for the buyer is first of all Q rate, what the kind of people I can connect them with. So we are many solutions and ways to do that. Yes, the recommendation engine certainly helps.

But then we do a further curation, where we do something called Online speed networking, in which you know, there's a, for example, you might be in the market for, you know, I'm looking for a CRM solution for healthcare. So you know, the, the event owner will find you eight or 10, so called solutions and partners who want to talk to you, and they'll be given three minutes on a quick video call. And you talk to them. And if you like someone, you continue the conversation beyond that, right. So that that's the kind of like do your pitch and then see how it goes? So curated? I think experiences for networking will certainly help. The next thing I think, from my perspective of the sellers is, well, maybe there isn't any curated stuff happening at all, networking, speed networking, what else do I do? Well, it's all about giving them an access to the information. So let's say out of those 5000 people at this event, here's the 50 people that have the highest propensity on what you're trying to sell. So basically, that is an interested party, because all they've been doing is looking at content and meeting people around that topic area. It's they love working for home solutions that are compliant with the healthcare system. Great. So that's what they're looking for. Don't send them a cybersecurity ebook, send them exactly the one pager on that solution, and it will strike. So that is the kind of information we're able to provide to both the parties where it becomes relevant in terms of having that connection. It's not a spray and pray kind of style stuff that happens mostly in events right now.

Mike: That's awesome. And I love the idea of that speed dating because I think that reflects very much an in person event where you could have two minutes talking to someone you You know whether you're a fit or not, and you either continue or you move on. I love that idea. So I'm moving on. I mean, one of the things I'm interested in is companies running their own events and how much work is involved? Because obviously, if you're looking to create the event and the pre and post event experience, do you think that the bar has been raised for what people are expecting from events in b2b now?

Ike: Yes, the bar has been raised, I will not say it's been raised, essentially, I think that the bar is a little different, you know, so it's, there's been some additions to it. So the whole point out here is that still I've seen over the last year and a half, since people have really gone in with virtual events, because of COVID. They're still doing what used to happen in E commerce back in the day, where, you know, people would take their, their catalogue book thing, and you know, just take pictures of that and put it on a website and say, Here's the phone number, call me if you want to buy something. Now, that was the beginning of E commerce, right, but then became Amazon, the recommendation engines, and you know, everything else in between. So that is where the event work needs to go as well. You cannot just take your offline content format, we're gonna do three days, I'm gonna do 50 sessions at the same time. And that's what we're going to do. Like, why would you do that? It seemed I mean, there's no, you know, there's no limit on how long you can have this thing. There's no limit on rooms that you can have, why would you bother, like, just change the thing? And next thing is around the time, it's like, oh, we'd normally do 45 minute sessions. That's what we should always do online as well. Well, nobody listens to anything 45 minutes online. I mean, yeah, if they're sitting on a chair, in your convention centre, and they are your so called captive audience, because they flew in there, and they stuck there for three days, they might do it, but they'll be on their phone for the most part. So the point is, let's understand that we have to start looking at the best practices from the digital world. We're living in the world of tick tock and Instagram right now. You know, and so the goal is, Listen, give them content, which is, which is very much in tune with the digital world.

Best example could be TED Talks. The TED talks are the best, you know, most watched content online, there's a format to it, but 15 ish minutes, not super salesy. Hardly any PowerPoints, and yes, let's do that 15 minutes session. Plus, you can also do your deep dive a one hour session, as a as a link, you know, so they, if they want to go super deep, they can go there. So those are some of the things that we just talked to our lot of our customers about. So the bar has not been raised, it's just that we have to start thinking differently, the medium is different. The ways that people are interacting and looking at all this stuff is different. And I mean, always listen to people saying using the word zoom, fatigue, and so forth. And people always say, well, people are kind of like zoom fatigue already. I don't think anybody wants to stuff anymore. And I always say to them, Have you ever heard the term tick tock fatigue, or Netflix fatigue or Instagram fatigue? No, people watch, look at their screens all day, they have no problem looking at screens, they just don't want to look at bad content. They look at they're used to looking at good content. So guys, I mean, come on, everyone, please, let's rethink this thing. And let's not be so lazy.

Okay, so the goal is, and then one more thing I want to bring up is the best thing about online is participation from the audience. Okay, so now a traditional event, or any of those kinds of events that happened as we choose, like, few people, which are roughly about two to 5% of the entire audience, and they're given the podium and 95% plus of the people just sitting there, like kindergarten kids looking at them. Right. So the point is, that's wrong? Why are we wasting the collective intelligence of this massive community. So with online and the way online works, it's all about participation. So let those chosen few speakers ignite that fire. They're just the spark, they're not the fire, the fire is the community, and so have a bunch of avenues and give the opportunity for the rest of the audience to actually chime in. And they can do their own, like small sessions in there. Right. So we have the ability, for example, in our platform for anybody to start a six person or a 30 person, mini session on any topic that they want, again, so aligned with the you know, the bigger topics or the event, you know, but the goal is that, you know, they can start their own mini sessions inside there. So now you've got, you know, hopefully more than 5% of the people contributing content, and it's coming from the community. And that is certainly more interesting. So there's two good parts about it. Number one, the you don't have to work as harder. So it's not like oh, it's online, I have to produce this whole new kind of content. No, you don't, you have to just do what you do. Do it in an online format, but give the mic back also to the audience so they can add as well. Right. And that will create an amazing event. And yes, it's not going to be a bunch of work from your side. If Instagram and or Tik Tok were supposed to create all the content themselves, they would have, I don't know a team of a billion people working there. They don't The point is, that's the new word. Let's look at that. Let's not just, you know, put our heads in the sand and pretend it's you know, 1984 it's not you know, so let's let's move on. You know, that's a That's brilliant.

Mike: I love the idea of that kind of unconference approach where, where the the delegates can actually form their own events. I mean, leading on from, you mentioned bad content. I think a lot of b2b companies over the last year and a half have really struggled with exhibitions. So where exhibitions have gone virtual. Typically the the format's are not very inspiring, and there's not very much interaction and generally speaking, the, the quality of leads is pretty poor. I mean, what do you think's going wrong? And how do you think we can fix it?

Ike: Okay, again, very good question, Mike. So quality of laser start with that, in the past, you know, both nauseous in the past, and generally traditional style events, you go there, you collect a bunch of business cards, you call them leads, and you come back home, and you put that into a Marketo, and you start dripping them. So the question is that the number of leads, so call him at a collector, maybe 100 cards with everybody you met at a coffee shop, you know, everybody met at the drinks, you know, Stan, and whoever came to your booth. Now, I've got 100 leads from there. And look at the all of them are directors and CVPs. Well, we all know how many of those people actually do a deal with you, maybe 1%, maybe five, you're really lucky, right? I mean, I've been to so many events, I know that rice representing Microsoft. So I mean, it was not too bad.

The point is, it's the way the virtual, you see those leads in front of you then in there, and you're able to measure more. So that's the reason why people are feeling this, like, oh, the Vert the leads are not great, well, just depends. I mean, brilliant. Blimey, in most cases, they were the same before. But then the best thing about works alone and or hybrid on that other side also is that, as I said earlier, the ability to create those experiences where you can curate on both sides of the audience and give them the right connections to each other. I think that is something which a lot of the event owners have to really take onus off. Again, I don't want to put people on the, you know, bid on the on point for this. But mostly in traditionally, the event owners have all been about, hey, I've got all these people coming, this 5000 People coming there, the booth is, you know, $50,000 come in, and you figure it out after that, it has no responsibility whatsoever for anything, and you just take the money, right. So the goal, I think now, because everything is so much more transparent, but digital, you can measure things better. So the point is that it's all going to come out.

So you have to have, you know, an experience that you have to work for you. Because he as the event owner, you're the only person who actually knows both the parties, you got to connect them in the best possible way using technology, right. So I think the old event owners have to step up their game just a bit, you cannot just say I have an event. So give me money, I think it's all about all MLOK more to do with giving them real value. The other thing, I think also is, from a digital perspective, I really believe in micro transactions. So for example, in the traditional event world, you would say, Okay, you got to pay me $2,500 to come in here, otherwise, you can't come and what's gonna happen there? Well, here's 10 pictures of amazing speakers, that's what's gonna happen. And the rest is up to you. You know what, now in the digital world, it's not like that, if you go somewhere, you you know, you engage a little bit you like it, you pay a little bit more, you like it more, you pay a little bit more. So I think that whole micro transaction has to come to the virtual world and hybrid events world as well, where you get access to, you know, keynotes and the basic stuff. But then if you want to indulge in some of that matchmaking, some of that, you know, speed network, and you just pay elaborate extra, you find value a little bit more extra, you know, and that way everyone feels the value. So yes, everyone, from event owner perspective will have to really be more responsible for what they're doing. And from the event, you know, attendee perspective, I mean, I think we will get a better value going forward.

Mike: That's fascinating. So it sounds like you know, one of your messages is flexibility. And the other one is around, really trying to curate things and using AI to make sure that people get the right content. So tell me, how does social 27 achieve this in practice?

Ike: Yeah, so again, we are still the platform, I don't have all the control or the content that comes in. But again, I'm very lucky to have some very amazing customers. I mean, the kinds of customers I have Microsoft, Salesforce Capgemini, you know, the UN and, and so forth. We have lots of really, really amazing customers, and most of the customers that we are dealing with are digitally advanced, because they've been doing digital for a while, you know, and so the point is, these companies already have people in their teams who understand digital. And so it is easier when we talk to them or some of these best practices, that they actually believe in them and want to do something about it. I then yes. And so I think as a as a platform, our main responsibility is to first of all Yes, provide the best possible service from a platform perspective, but then also share a lot of best practices from across our entire audience and also connect our customers to each other. You know, where they can share best practices, right?

So we do our best try to do our show at least in that particular regard, I will still say that, um, there is still a lot more work to do, you know, the tools are there. But I think people, you know, are slowly, slowly getting warmed up, you know, to this whole idea of doing things a bit differently. And not just using events as number of registrations, but after using events as how much influence did we create for revenue perspective, right. So I think events have are traditionally the highest, or the biggest line item on the marketing budget for the expense part of it, the ROI certainly isn't very clear. And the point is, in this world, where we hardly get any response on emails, so using events just for email list generation is probably not a good idea. So use the events, because that is the only place where the customer is out in the open, you know, otherwise, they're going to go back and hide behind their desk and never answer email. So the point is, they're out in the open, give them what they want, understand their needs really, really clearly give them the option of finding the right people making the right connections and do a lot more off your revenue. You know, cycle can happen in the event itself, it does not need to be just an email list, right? There's a lot more conversations demos, you know, giving them the ability to just kind of do their own thing in there, you know that I think all lot of those things will help. But yes, going back to your question, yes. Even though I have amazing customers, I think all of us are trying slowly, slowly to kind of unfold this new world.

Mike: And so I mean, you mentioned some really impressive customers there. But do you think Virsh events are just going to be the domain of these huge enterprises? Or are smaller, midsize b2b companies able to organise their own events successfully?

Ike: I think it is everyone. I mean, just I mean, again, look at the spectrum of things, right. So in reality, if you really think about it, online events, or online experience of this kind is the domain of individuals right now. It's the people on Youtubers, it's the Instagramers. And everybody else, I mean, there's a bunch of kids doing pet dog videos all day. So the thing is, it's actually the domain of the individual person, the tools are available, they're pretty cheap. I mean, they're very, they reach very far. So that I think it really comes down to is all of us embracing this new medium. I think very found some of the hesitation has been around the control that you know, a lot of the teams, a league, legal teams, and so forth, they have on every word that goes out, right, actually. So in reality, I think there's more hurdles in the upper mid market in the enterprise space, because the control on what content has to go out, versus, you know, the SMB space, I think the the small and medium businesses, well, they don't have a crazy team of lawyers sitting there, you know. So the point is, you know, I mean, learn from, you know, from what people are doing individually every day on the social media platforms, I'm even seeing so much of that happen on LinkedIn right now. There's a lot more people a lot more waster. So I think it's just all about, you know, getting out there, like the what we're doing right now, Mike, the point is, you know, just get get to get your word out there talk to people, I think there'll be, there'll be some interest, hopefully, especially from the if you make, you know, a sense to the relevant audience.

Mike: Fascinating. So, I mean, if somebody is excited by this, they want to, to launch their own event. I mean, what's the best approach? I mean, is it just sign up for the platform and build your event? Or are there better, more effective ways to make use of social 27?

Ike: As far as Social27 is concerned? I mean, yes, you know, I think the best way to be is, you know, just come to our website and just, you know, fill out a contact us form, maybe we'll do a demo, understand your needs, and then give you the right solution that works best for you. Again, we work with events that are 100 people and events that are nearly 100,000 people, you know, so it just depends upon what you're trying to do. For us, again, the goal is to have a long term relationship. So you know, all of our agreements are more or less than the you know, and we'll arrange and we find the best possible package that works for your organisation now.

Mike: Amazing. So get in contact on the website. If people have specific questions about what you've said today. I mean, is there a way for them to contact you on LinkedIn, LinkedIn, perhaps?

Ike: Absolutely. I mean, I'm on LinkedIn every day, you know. So the point is, please send me a quick message on LinkedIn more than happy to answer any questions and or discuss anything that might be of interest.

Mike: This has been great. I mean, I've really enjoyed it. I love I love the focus around improving the quality of the content and the fact that actually, it doesn't have to be more work because the expectations in terms of the length of time is probably shorter for for each presentation. So I think there's a lot there that that's really positive.

Ike: No, absolutely. Mike. I think it's the new world. And again, it was already coming. We just were dragging our feet, you know, so I think it's just a Yeah, it's here now. So let's, let's get started all of us. Yeah.

Mike: Thanks so much for being on the podcast. I've really enjoyed it.

Ike: Thank you so much, Mike. It was an absolute pleasure. Thank you.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b Tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes or on your favourite podcast application. If you'd like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.


Influential Entrepreneurs Podcast Interview

Mike Maynard, Managing Director at Napier recently sat down with Mike Saunders, host of The Influential Entrepreneurs. In this episode, Mike discusses goal-driven marketing, and why it's so important for successful campaigns.

Listen to the full interview here, or via your favourite podcast app, and don’t hesitate to get in touch and let us know your thoughts.


A Mixed Outlook on the Future of Trade Shows

With SPS cancelled with just a week's notice before it was meant to go ahead, it's been a stark reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is still a threat to trade shows. With increasing infection rates in Germany resulting in tighter restrictions for events, the show had no choice but to cancel due to the new limitations put in place.

But up until this point, SPS was predicted to go ahead successfully. Events such as productronica were able to go ahead in mid-November and did see around 20,000 visitors from nearly 70 countries, which were required to either be recovered from a COVID-19 infection, be vaccinated or have a negative PCR test result.  Although the number of visitors was about half from the heady days of the mid 2010s, this has shown that there is definitely still life in shows, and people are prepared to travel to them. In fact, the number of visitors was much higher than expected by the productronica events team, and visitors travelled from across Europe, with the top 10 visitor countries including Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

With the outcome of productronica presenting the viewpoint that there 'is no alternative to personal contact', trade shows are making a valiant effort to ensure face to face conversations between exhibitors and visitors can go ahead once more. But with COVID rates going up for winter, there is still a huge risk around attending events, particularly as European governments introduce lockdowns as the infection rates go up. Only time will tell whether trade shows can return to their full strength once more, and we know many in the industry will be looking forward to this day.


A Napier Podcast: Interview with Kate Terry - Turtl

In this podcast episode, we interview Kate Terry, Head of Demand at Turtl, a content automation platform.

Kate shares why she thinks content is essentially communication, and why Turtl is persuading marketers to move away from webpages and PDFs. She discusses how the platform encourages an interactive and personalized approach, and how Turtl provides data that marketers can use to optimise content.

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Transcript: Interview with Kate Terry - Turtl

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b Tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Welcome to marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I'm talking with Kate Terry, who's head of demand at Turtle. Welcome to the podcast, Kate.

Kate: Hi, Mike, thanks so much for having me. And great to be here.

Mike: Awesome. So I'm really interested, you've ended up at Turtle, but how did you get there? Can you talk us through your career and what you've done?

Kate: Definitely. So I have done marketing in quite a few different industries, and actually in quite a few places around the world as well. I started out doing marketing for a law firm in Austin, Texas moved into actually a life science consultancy in Denmark alongside a master's programme, where I was studying cognition and communication. So the way we communicate and think and how we interact with technology. And then after that, I actually went to into marketing and higher education in London for a little bit, I was quite interested in the research and goal and kind of continuing on in that. But I wanted to get into technology marketing, in particular. And actually, I came across the perfect company, because it pulled together my interest in psychology, my interest in kind of understanding the way we think and communicate, and then my desire to kind of be in a really fast paced business working with really innovative products. So that was when I moved over to turtle. And, you know, as I said, It originally stood out to me, because the technology is built around psychology, it's an innovative product, it looks to kind of really improve the experience for those of us who are both making and reading business content. So I'd say it's something that we can hopefully all benefit from one day. And, you know, I think at the core of it content is essentially just communication, it's kind of the glue of business, and especially in a remote first environments. It's the way that we're all kind of sharing our knowledge, sharing our expertise, sharing the solutions that we have, and kind of getting getting through to the people we want to reach and communicate with. So it's it's really essential. And I think having a different approach to it and understanding kind of engagement, understanding psychology, understanding what really works, you know, we're kind of approaching it with different ways to democratize content across the organisation. So it's just a really exciting mission to be part of and, you know, kind of ties into my background in a really interesting way that makes me excited to work.

Mike: It's interesting, because you're trying to persuade us marketers to move away from web pages and PDFs.

Kate: Yes, yes, that's right. The PDF is a classic and known enemy of turtle, we, you know, there, there are quite a few challenges, I think, with PDF that, you know, we can probably get into. But at its core, it's just a legacy format that isn't, and was never really designed to be a real time easy to optimise easy to engage with digital format, it was designed to replace print and to kind of be something that fit in with that idea of like the print cycle of production, where you would go to press and get it out there. And then it's there. And just That's it, you know, so I think what we see in so many domains is that online, we act in a much more on demand and responsive way, we need to engage with content in that way. And the PDF just hasn't really caught up. Not to mention, it's just likes engagement. You know, I'll get into it a little bit later. But we've got some interesting stats about how, how much engagement you actually lose when you send out content in a PDF.

Mike: That's interesting. I mean, I guess one of the first things, you know, somebody cynical, might say, as well, people are running content marketing campaigns, and they're running them to generate leads. So doesn't everything really start and end with the title and getting that lead? Does it really matter whether people engage with the content because your sales team can follow up?

Kate: Yeah, I mean, I think that's a great question. And it kind of goes to the core of what are we trying to accomplish with content with content that we're sending out? You know, is it that we just want to get the names and emails of people who we think are interested in it? Or is it that we really want to know who is properly engaged, who is kind of, you know, using and, like, found our content useful, actually spent time with it actually kind of took some value from it? And yeah, I think that there's kind of, there's a place for lead gen where you are looking more at a surface level to say, well, who's interested in this at all, but it comes down to also being able to prioritise those leads and say, Well, you know, are they really that qualified? If we have no idea what happened to them after they kind of initially downloaded that content? We don't really know anything about The timing or how to follow up with them, or, you know, the priority that we should give them if we don't have any additional kind of data on their actual engagement. So it just gives us kind of a higher quality, spin, I guess, to lead gen if you think about adding that on as a piece of intelligence. But more generally, I do think it's important to assess the value of content and say, Well, what is really the value of this content we're sending out, we really want people to read it. And that should be kind of the end goal. And if it's not the end goal, it's kind of, you know, content being utilised in different ways. But I would say there are other ways to do that, that aren't necessarily creating a nice and really compelling piece of content.

Mike: So I love the fact that you're talking about benefits, both for the reader in terms of more compelling content, but also for the marketer in terms of more data. So can you just unpack a little bit about, you know, what kind of data you can give marketers? And how they can use that to understand whether someone is a hot lead? Or maybe not quite such good luck?

Kate: Yeah, definitely. So I think the big difference is that it's data after the that first kind of, you know, download, what you can see with a PDF is typically that someone downloaded the content. And that's kind of where the journey ends, a lot of the time, it's just like a straight up piece of static content. So what we want to provide as an alternative is data about how long people read for the different sections of the content that they actually read and engaged with versus those that they didn't, and, you know, specific returns for each of those, we want to be able to link that to companies and individuals as much as possible. So we want to be able to see exactly who did that and what their individual level of engagement was. And I think crucially, we want to be able to pull all of those insights into our CRM in real time. And that's what a lot of I mean, I'm in demand gen. So that's kind of the gold standard, for me is real time engagement data that automatically gets synced into my CRM gets mapped against my lead scoring and can help to prioritise that without me ever needing to take a look at it. So ultimately, that integrated piece is really important. And that's kind of where a content automation platform can come in, as is giving you all of that data against your own contacts and accounts, and then being able to sync that in real time. And yeah, I think for the people creating the content as well, just being able to actually take a look at how the content is performing, which sections of it work well, which sections of it don't, being able to, you know, move things around or change things up as needed to test is super valuable, and not really something that content marketers have had access to until now. So just being able to optimise your content against the actual ways that people are engaging with it is really, really valuable.

Mike: That's fascinating. I've got to ask this. Do you find some marketers pushback? Because they actually don't want to know which bit of content isn't working?

Kate: Yeah, I do think there is a lot of that mindset of just, you almost Yeah, you don't don't necessarily want to know what works. And I think an interesting application of that is companies who provide content for other companies. So whether it's a syndicated piece of content or something like that, I think there's a little bit of reluctance to actually have that data, because you might find out that the content didn't work as well as you think it did. And you might have to report those results back. So there's more transparency, which can be you know, it might shine a light on something that you don't like, and I totally understand that perspective. But on the other hand, you know, you do want to know if your content isn't working. And I think it's really important. And from that maybe advertisers point of view, being able to, you know, I think people first of all are asking for it, like people want to know, is this content actually working? What's the real value here? What am I really getting out of it. So you see people moving into different types of models to try to kind of pull more value out of content. But really, if you can show them and say, Hey, listen, this got this much engagement from your core audience that's so much more valuable. And it actually does give you like, a really important data source that I think proves the value of content. So it shows you what might be wrong. But on the other hand, you've got a starting point to improve and actually start to prove the value of content as well. So I think it's maybe a tough bandaid to rip off, but an important one.

And I think proving the value is a really important point as well, you know, people can actually show that particular content has been read rather than it's just been sent. And maybe that that's a great segue to something I think you teased earlier, which is, you talked about the things you lose when you send a PDF, I mean, we're all sending PDFs at the moment, pretty much. And so, tell us what the problems are with delivering content as a PDF. Yeah.

So, um, you know, thinking back again to this idea of what we're trying to accomplish with a piece of content, ultimately, we want people to read it. We want people to understand and ideally be kind of motivated and educated by it. Right? So, um, you know, it shouldn't necessarily just be a vehicle to get an email address, it should be valuable and kind of really engaged with. So without some of those metrics, it's hard to say how effective your content actually is. But, you know, actually, there are ways to find that out because we work with an independent research agency called lumen research. And they are doing a lot of research into this challenge of attention for marketers, so they're looking at it in different ways. And they use a combination of eye tracking studies and kind of some mixed methods survey data to understand this challenge of attention. And they're kind of putting out a lot of research around, you know, how are we actually gathering attention online? And what does that mean? So they studied digital formats, and they took the PDF and turtle doc, they put the same content in both of those formats. And they ran eye tracking studies and survey data to find out like, what is the engagement, that that's kind of happening across both of these formats. And the findings were pretty startling, actually, they found out that the PDF loses out on 90%, of possible engagement when compared to the turtle dock. So just due to the fact that it's not interactive, it's not in a format designed around psychology, and it's not responsive, they were looking at mobile as well, it loses out on quite a bit of engagement. So you know, if you put that into context, every time you send out a PDF, via your kind of paid lead gen campaign, you are losing out on 90% of potential engagement. And you know, going back to the real value, if you're if you are really wanting to engage your readers there, you're missing out, I think if you send out PDFs,

Mike: Fascinating, so I love that about being responsive about it being interactive. But the other thing that turtle offices personalization, so how important is personalization, in terms of grabbing reader's attention? Yeah,

Kate: I mean, there's a lot of stats that speak to this kind of the power of personalization, I think some of the key value that I've kind of, um, you know, been most interested in and followed is this idea of increasing customer loyalty and sort of upsell opportunities. There's some stats around how it improves engagement, you know, from various companies who have their own form of personalization. So I think at a high level, it's something that marketers kind of know, and understand and recognise the need for, you know, there's this idea, even at the heart of marketing, that if you're marketing to everyone, you're marketing to no one. So personalization is effectively, you know, marketing in a lot of ways. But what we need to be able to do, of course, particularly in b2b is do that. But for so many different personas, so many different types of buyers who are all in different places, in terms of their timing, their interests, their requirements. So without personalization, and what I mean by that is sort of being able to personalise the right message for all of those different people at the right time. You know, it's very hard to market, especially in b2b. So I think it's something that is sort of a necessity for b2b marketers, in a lot of ways. So the question is, how are we going to do it? And how are we actually going to achieve this level of personalization that we know we need?

Mike: I guess that that's a great question to throw back at you is, I mean, what works in personalization, you know, you see some people doing simple things like just putting the customer's company name onto a document. And you see other people basically changing the content to try and reflect an individual's interest. And then you've got pretty much everything in between with names and things like that. I mean, what do you think works? And how much time should a marketer be investing in personalization versus generating the content originally?

Kate: Yeah, I mean, so I think of personalization as going beyond that surface level. So I do think the surface level of personalising it for that person is important, at least in terms of grabbing their attention, right. So you've got a little bit of, you know, you have some stats around how people respond to their first name, and how people kind of respond when something is made. For them specifically, there's just an extra bit of attention that they'll pay to that. So at that level, you know, even if it is just that level of personalization, I think it can kind of uplift what you're trying to do. However, I think where it really becomes more meaningful is when you have that added layer of syncing up the data and the insight you have on people with the right content to send them and you know, that can look like a lot of different things that could be the right piece of content. Or you could get a little bit more granular and say it's actually the right combination of content pulled together for them, you know, so there's different ways to do it. And I think when you think about the time to invest, you know, I always suggest starting with what you have available and trying things out seeing what works best seeing what actually moves the needle, you know, testing, whether it's testing out trying the first name and trying that out, you know that there Ways to kind of establish whether something works and then dive in a little bit further when you find out that it does work. So, you know, for us, we've run quite a few different tests on let's try it with just the first name versus not, let's try it with the right content versus not. So there's there's always different ways to kind of engage with personalization. But for me, the most meaningful level is when you combine, it's made for them, and it has the right content for them sent at the right time. Crucially, it's very much relying on your data, to give you that insight and be able to then send it off in real time that say, I really like this idea in data, and I guess in like, kind of workflow management of the next best action. So based on what they're doing, and the signal that you have, what's the next best thing you can send them and that starts when you think about like a personalised buyer journey. If you take it to the high level, you're kind of trying to build their own journey that sends them the right content at the right time, with maybe their name and a video for them on it, that's great. But the kind of heart of it is sending it at the right time with the right message.

Mike: And that's interesting, you talk about you know that the right content the right time, and obviously, turtle, I think is known for creating the right content, customising the content for each individual. How do you get the right time is that by integrating with other systems like marketing automation?

Kate: Yeah, that's exactly it. So it's it's very much about integrations and using the data that you already have to be able to deliver something very timely and relevant. Um, there's another interesting way to do it as well, though, which I think is actually delivering content that people can engage with and give you data back. So having more of a conversation and making it a little bit more collaborative, let's say you don't necessarily know what exactly they're interested in at that time, you know, you can just ask them and use, we call it public personalization. But it's basically delivering content that can be customised in real time by that reader to create exactly what they need on demand. So timing, I think can be both ways, your own data, integrating that and using, let's say, rules and workflows to determine, like, at this time, as soon as they do this, let's send them this personalised piece of content, or flipping it back and saying, like, let's send them this content, and they can determine what the best thing that they need to see right now is so making it more of an on demand experience.

Mike: I mean, I'm intrigued by this public personalization. So presumably, you're doing a lot more than just sending a PDF and hoping person goes to page 103, if that's what they're interested in. So can you just unpack a little bit about how this works, and how a reader would choose the content that's relevant to them?

Kate: Definitely. So I'll give a couple of examples. One of them is, with Amazon ads, their marketing team, and they were looking to send out content just before their busy kind of shopping season to across our customer base, they identified six different audiences with that they kind of needed different pieces of information. And they had to actually put it into nine different languages as well. So it was a pretty big kind of content challenge in front of them, where they needed, you know, really timely information, they didn't necessarily have the data to say exactly what each person would need. But they knew they had kind of six different audiences that they wanted to deliver it to. So they decided to use public personalization, to give them the kind of, you know, way to sift through that and actually find the right information very easily. So basically, that looks like setting up the content behind the scenes, in a modular way. And using a form at the top of that. So kind of an engaging user facing form where they're asked a few questions to self segment, really, they can be questions, as fun or as you know, like practical as need be really depends in Amazon's case, I think it was asking about, you know, what type of vendor they are, the type of information that they needed, you know, going into the shopping season, and then it delivers them a personalised piece of content on demand. So they've got that piece of content that has just the right information for them. It's actually localised automatically as well. So it's in their language, and, you know, something that they can hold on to bookmark save, it's their own kind of piece of content, because it's a personalised ID for them. So they've now got a fully personalised piece of content. So, you know, Amazon was able to deliver against these pretty tight timelines content to six different audiences, nine languages, and it's, you know, they seen some really impressive engagement figures from that. So I think that's basically the core of it, you know, as an example, just this idea of, you know, understanding your audience, giving them the choice, letting them fill in and kind of make their own choose your own content journey, let's say, and then you actually get that insight back as well. So that data can be fed back into their CRM. Now they know a little bit more about that segment of customers. So the next time they send a piece of content, they've got that as a reference point. Okay, last time they selected as a vendor, I'm going to keep them on this vendor track and send them the next best piece of content to follow up with.

Mike: So that public personalization is a great way to profile contacts.

Kate: Exactly. Yeah, definitely. If you don't know, like, if you kind of have the challenge of like, we've got a huge email list and we don't know is interested, giving people the chance to actually yeah, opt in and say, Yo, I'm interested in this is great.

Mike: Cool. That's great. I I'm interested as well. I mean, one of the things I think the people who are, you know, still wedded to PDFs will say is, well, what about printing? You know, you mentioned bookmarking. But what about if somebody wants to print out some turtle content? Is that possible? Or do you lose all the benefits?

Kate: Yeah, it is possible. And, you know, it's possible to download turtle as a PDF as well. So we're not, we're not forcing people not to do that. It's definitely possible. I think, you know, there's also the idea that if you really want to kind of have a print version of your content, you could put it into a print version, and, you know, publish that and maybe have a digital version as well. I think that's totally possible. Obviously, print is still, you know, an important medium that people use and kind of want to want to, you know, reference and print out and totally get that. That being said, I think, you know, the digital world evolves so quickly and being able to update things in real time. So things don't go out of date is, you know, from a marketer's perspective, I think much more important than kind of having something that's immediate. I mean, you could print a turtle lock, I guess, why not?

Mike: It'd be crazy. But. Yeah. And then, at the other end, I mean, obviously, a lot of marketers are seeing some good results with video. So are you doing anything with video, particularly video personalization?

Kate: Yeah, video is really an interesting use case. So we partnered with a company called video card and I think some other solutions as well to embed personalised videos in personalised content. So for example, our sales and SDR team have the ability to record their video or video for a prospect or for an account, and then upload it into their personalised turtle doc and send out that whole thing. So it's got their video on the cover, and then it's got the relevant content for them contained within. So I think being able to do that, first of all, to just enable your sales team and on a one to one basis, they can send that out. But also thinking about more scale, you know, you can do you can take an account based approach and have an SDR record a video for an account and then, you know, set that up at an account level to be sent out to all the all the individuals. Yeah, I think videos is definitely a good kind of tool to use. And that kind of links back to the value of interactive content as well. I mean, being able to embed things like videos and polls and, you know, different pieces of interactivity that can be, you know, changed around and moved and engaged with adds a lot to the content as well.

Mike: That's fascinating. And it sounds like you've got, you've got quite a lot of integrations. You've talked about integration with Mark automation, you've talked about integrating with video to incorporate video. Are there any other integrations that help marketers, you know, make use of turtle more more effectively or with less investment of time?

Kate: Yeah, I mean, I think the main integrations that we're really focused on is, you know, thinking about the, the marketing tech stack, but also the sales tech stack. So I think what we're really interested in is kind of like the tech stack across the buyer journey, I would say, from the marketing teams perspective, we integrate with CRMs, we integrate with marketing automation tools. So being able to, you know, centralise all your content data in a CRM, or maybe a customer data platform, that's all possible, and then being able to deliver it via marketing automation. So you can push the data into that and, you know, be able to deliver it automatically, you know, personalization at scale through marketing automation, as well. We're also really interested in ABM platforms. So thinking about the ABM tech stack and being able to kind of, you know, gather account inside and then push that into turtle to personalise content, you know, I think there's there's quite a few integrations is is absolutely where we're headed with content automation, because in order to get your content out into the world, to get into the hands of the right people, you really do have to rely on the whole kind of biotech stack. And then I think in terms of adding like additional layers of engagement, there's like videocard, and tools like drift, which allow you to maybe embedded chatbot in it and add a different experience or engage people in a different way. That's very much conversational content. So there's different types of integrations kind of adding to the engagement of the content, but then also just thinking about the whole content production workflow and how you get it out to people simplifying, streamlining and making that much more automated.

Mike: Wow, is that there's a lot there all over the place. I love the idea of a document that has chatted bedded that's very cool. Yeah. and perhaps the most interesting thing that I think you said was you talked about market automation and CRM. So presumably, Turtle documents are basically the thing that qualifies contacts to become sales leads for a lot of your customers is that is that what you see happening? People are using engagement with the document to say, this is now sales ready?

Kate: It can be I think it has to be layered with other types of data that you have about your contact, of course. But what we do see is some interesting ways to use gates. So getting away from the kind of traditional, you fill in a content form, you're kind of engaged and you get passed over to sales, I think what we're seeing is people who are trying to find out, you know, yeah, qualify that lead a little bit further before handing it over? Or maybe maybe it's just part of the journey. You know, it really depends on the type of content and your other data, of course, but I really like some of the different uses of gates that people are doing, whether it's to add in, you know, Midway gates to say, here's some added value, do you want to sign up for a webinar on this? Do you want to sign up for a newsletter? Do you want to sign up for this ecourse we have, and that just kind of helps to nurture people along, immediately, making them more of a qualified lead, or maybe it is adding kind of a demo form or a way to get in touch with sales into your content as well, where it's relevant, I think, you know, there's different ways to think about that.

Mike: Awesome. That's, that's, that's really interesting, lots of opportunities there. So, I mean, if people are excited about this, and thinking, you know, I'd love to be able to do something I love to better create interaction. I mean, what are their alternatives? I know, I've seen some people create more interactive documents using Adobe Spark, which obviously isn't personalised, but, you know, give gives you some degree of interactivity, what would you advise people to do? If they were, they were wondering what the first step to take would be?

Kate: Well, I think in terms of creating that interactive content, you probably do need a platform of some kind to, you know, allow you to pull that all together, I think there are probably ways to do it, for instance, using your web, you know, web platform to just try out different interactive elements. For instance, if you just want to start somewhere, and for instance, try out different things, you know, different ways to embed videos and things like that in your blog, of course, you can always start there. But yeah, you know, I also think interactive content, it's an interesting, it's very broad term in some way. I mean, you could try starting with social posts, you know, put a poll around, you know, something and see what you get back and start to just engage more with your audience in different ways. And you'll start to see the value of that, I think so interactive content in terms of the what we think about with like a turtle dock, that's one way to do it, where your content, like your long form, content itself, is quite interactive, engaging all the way throughout. But as you know, if you just want to start to engage more with your audience, and learn more about them, and get them, build more of a two way conversation, start on social stir on your blog, you know, try out different ways to kind of get feedback from your audience, and get them to Yeah, comment, you know, answer a poll, watch a video, whatever it is.

Mike: That's cool. That's that that sounds like a, you know, we shouldn't stress too much about starting, we should just really start and try to be more interactive. I mean, treat them as if somebody starts and they gain traction on the poll, and people are watching more videos, and they decide they need to take the next step to, you know, to content automation platform. I mean, that, to me feels like quite a big step. And I know a lot of enterprises have had migrations to marketing automation platforms that have taken, not just months, but sometimes years. How much of a challenge? Is it to migrate across to a content automation platform? Does that have a lot of pain? Or is that something, you know, you could be producing content very quickly.

Kate: So you can produce content very quickly, we have what we had what we call our content automation maturity model, which is essentially to say that there's a journey between starting and producing your first piece of interactive content all the way down to having a really sophisticated kind of fully integrated content system that at the hub of it is this, you know, great engaging content. So there's, there's, you know, a lot of points along that journey. And I think starting where you are is super important to say like, we always kind of encourage, you know, start just start somewhere, right. So wherever you're at in terms of the level of resource and kind of complexity that you have already and want to introduce, I think that there will be kind of a meaningful starting point along that content automation maturity model. But essentially, what it might look like is, you know, at its core turtle is a better, more engaging format that allows you to really quickly produce interactive content so you can start putting more content out and you can start already getting that feedback from your audience in terms of what they're interested in the title content that you should make more of how to improve it, and you start getting data back as well. So you start learning a little bit more about your audience. And you know, you can pretty easily integrate that and connect it up to say, Okay, I've learned a little bit more about my audience now. So what do I do with that, um, so then that's kind of where personalization comes in, where you can say, well, we've got all this great data, let's structure it, let's, you know, use what we can to actually create maybe the, you know, send people the next best piece of content, or customise their journey a little bit, or start to add in elements that will particularly be interesting to them. And then, you know, getting even further, you can look to fully integrate other pieces of your tech stack, like your customer data, like your, you know, CRM and marketing automation. So, you know, it's always just this thing that kind of builds any learn along the way, you gather insight along the way. And you're able to do more advanced personalization along the way, as well. Like maybe at the beginning, you just start out by doing let's do an account base personalization campaign, where we just sort of pick a few industry segments, personalised each of those and send it out great, you know, that's a really good starting point, because you can learn a lot, you can kind of get feedback, and from there, you might make it a little bit more complex and more tailored next time. So yeah, always gonna be a journey. But you know, it's, it's great to great to get started on the journey.

Mike: I love the fact that you're, you're coming on the podcast as a vendor, and you're not saying, buy our product, and then you're done. You're actually saying, Well, you can start before you buy our product, there's things you can do. And once you buy the product, there's still this journey to go on. And still these things you can do I love that as a way to, you know, see how you can always keep getting better. That's fantastic. And I guess, you know, people listening to this, you know, will have seen turtle may have seen turtle they know that turtle, I mean, historically, I think has been very strong in the enterprise. And what about sort of midsize smaller companies? Is that something you think content automation platforms are going to service? Or is this going to really be the preserve of very large enterprises?

Kate: Yeah, I mean, we, like I said, you know, if you think about that journey, right, I think a lot of small to medium businesses can definitely benefit pretty quickly from being able to create more engaging, more interactive content. And that's definitely something we're seeing in our customer base. So we do have a kind of mid market proposition. And we've got quite a few customers who are using turtle to simply create better, more engaging content, you know, and I think that's, honestly, you know, that that can be a great and in some customers who really, that's kind of their bread and butter, and that's, that's what really works for them. And that might be, you know, where their content automation journey stops for now, you know, let's see. And then we've got other kind of customers coming in. And actually, they do have quite a bit of data and quite a bit of, you know, aspiration to personalise, and there's this real interest in it. So I think there's a segment of businesses who are really, really interested in doing more with that. So, yeah, there's there's absolutely a lot of different ways to engage with turtle, but depending on where you're at, in the size of business, you know, might depend where you're at on that journey.

Mike: Awesome. That's amazing. So I mean, we're running out of time, I'm really intrigued to know you've given us some really great advice. But you know, do you have like three top tips for people who are looking to make their content better?

Kate: Three top tips. Okay. So I think the first one would be user data. I know data is something that we all talk about. And I think we tend to try and use it, but I'm not I don't know, I have a feeling that content in particular is it is an arena where we could think more about the data on what what people are interested in, and what we should kind of serve them up next, using all this great data that we have as marketers, I think the second one would be turning your content into a conversation, you know, thinking about interactivity, and maybe the very beginning of that is just how can you open it up and make it something that, you know, instead of you're broadcasting content at people, it's like, you're sort of asking for feedback in various ways, whether that's just collecting information about how they engage with it, or whether that's directly asking a poll or, you know, maybe maybe a personalization for power advance, I guess, but just thinking about different ways where you can start to turn it into something where you're getting feedback and giving people the chance to feed into what you're doing as well, because ultimately, our audience kind of knows best what they want to see and read about and hear. And I think there's a lot of ways that we can think about turning content into a conversation. And I guess a final point would be if we go back to this idea of lead gen and what the value of content is, I always prioritise quality and saying that content at its core should be really engaging. So I don't really hold with the idea that we can get away with just sort of, we got their email and we'll call it a day I really think that, you know, we really need to think about what is the value behind the content that we're putting out there? Is it resonating? Is it really working? Is it getting people? Like, is it doing what we want? Is it getting people like very interested or motivated or inspired or whatever it is? And I think there's a little bit of interrogation that we can do there.

Mike: That's brilliant. So, I mean, data interaction and quality are the three things. I think that's a great message. Thank you so much for the advice and the tips. Is there anything else you feel we should have covered? Or we've missed during our conversation?

Kate: No, I mean, I think I think it was a really interesting conversation. Thanks so much, Mike. Again, yeah. Thanks for having me on the podcast. I think we talked through quite a few different interesting topics. So always happy to dive in further with anyone who is interested.

Mike: That'd be amazing. I mean, if somebody did want to come to educate, what would be the best way for them to go about that?

Kate: Yeah, I think LinkedIn is the best way. If you search for Kate Terry Turtle to you, RTL, you will probably find me. But that's definitely where I'm most active socially. And we'd be happy to have a chat and yeah, speak further about it.

Mike: Well, thanks so much for all your time and insight. It's been fascinating. Thanks for being on the podcast. Kate. Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b Tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you'd like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.


DFA Manufacturing Media Launches New Online Portal

DFA Manufacturing Media has launched a new online portal and social media information resource, under the brand Smart Futures. 

With current publishing titles such as Drives & Controls, Plant & Works Engineering and Hydraulics and Pneumatics, DFA Manufacturing Media has launched Smart Futures to provide readers with an opportunity to learn and stay up to date about smart technologies across all sectors.

Offering an immersive and interactive experience, Smart Futures aims to support the ongoing digital transformation currently being seen across the UK and globally, for a wide spectrum of sectors, including manufacturing, medical, building, agriculture, energy, security, transport and materials.

The online portal will explore emerging best practices and will focus on being an information resource centre with the aim to provide readers with insights on a range of digitalisation topics.

Here at Napier, we are always happy to see a launch of a new publication.  It's clear to see that there is an ongoing shift as more publications invest in digital alternatives, and it's great to see DFA Media Manufacturing launching Smart Futures to address this digital change.


BEEAs Entry Deadline Extended

The British Engineering Excellence Awards (BEEAs) has announced an extension of its entry deadline, with entries to be submitted by midnight on Friday 3rd December 2021. 

The BEEAs celebrate the most innovative design engineers in the UK, and this year there is a total of 12 awards up for grabs.

Entries are assessed by an independent panel of judges drawn from a cross-section of electronic and engineering design disciplines, and the awards ceremony will take place on the 18th March 2022 at the Landmark Hotel in London.

To submit an entry, register here and complete the online submission process. Good luck to everyone entering! 


Napier Named as 'The Most Outstanding PR Agency' at The Electronics Industry Awards 2021

Some members of the Napier team at the EIA ceremony.

We are delighted to share that Napier was named as the winner of ‘The Most Outstanding PR Agency’ category at the Electronics Industry Awards for the second year running.

Announced at the awards ceremony at the Tower Hotel in London on Thursday 21st October 2021, we feel privileged to have been recognized by the industry and to have had the opportunity to celebrate with our peers in person.

Mike Maynard, Managing Director at Napier, commented on Napier’s success: “We are thrilled to be named as the ‘The Most Outstanding PR Agency’ at The Electronics Industry Awards for the second year running. I'm am extremely proud of our amazing team and grateful to our wonderful clients".

Congratulations also to Microchip Technology, Fluke Corporation and Tektronix who were all recognised for their achievements at this year's awards ceremony.


A Sad Goodbye to Gloria Langham

gloria langham We were sad to hear the news about the passing of Gloria Langham. Having spent most of her career working in advertising, Gloria was well-known in the electronics industry and will be missed by many.

Born in the UK, Gloria moved to the US, and was well-known to many in the electronics industry with her role as Media Director at Media and More. A lovely obituary is available online.

Our thoughts are with Gloria's family and friends at this difficult time.


Drives & Controls 2022 Announces Return of Robotic Demonstration Area

Back in October 2020, we reported on the postponement of the biennial co-located events, the Drives & Controls Exhibition, Fluid Power & SystemsAir-Tech, Plant & Asset Management and Smart Industry Expo.

Postponed due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were delighted to hear of a successful return for the in-person Drives & Controls exhibition, with nearly all exhibition stands sold out.

With over 13,500 visitors expected, the event showcases the best of British manufacturing and engineering, bringing together the industry to cover critical areas such as energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, and robotics and automation.

2022 will also see the return of a live 'Robotic Demonstration Area', which highlights the fast-growing sector of robotic technology across the industrial landscape. The event will also feature a full conference programme, and EPDTDA and Gambica Pavilions which will focus on automation and the trends affecting manufacturing.

It's great to hear that so many members of the industry will be getting involved in the Drives & Controls Exhibition. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a hold on live events until now, we look forward to seeing what we are sure will be an outstanding exhibition in 2022.


Growing B2B Agency Napier Welcomes Two New Hires

Napier, a leading B2B PR and Marketing agency has welcomed two new members to its growing team.

Elana Bryan joins the team as a Client Services Manager with over five years of marketing experience working both in an agency and client-side. Elana has overseen national and international campaigns within the B2B sector, and her expertise lies in using marketing and creativity to deliver tangible results for her clients.

Napier has also welcomed Natasha Websdale as Marketing Specialist. Since graduating with a degree in media production, Natasha has focused her attention towards building a career in digital marketing. She brings marketing and programming expertise to support the Napier team in delivering successful digital campaigns for our clients.

“It’s great to be able to add these two amazing people to the Napier team,” commented Mike Maynard, managing director of Napier. “Their experience and expertise will be an asset to our clients. In particular I’m excited about Elana’s experience of managing creative projects, and Natasha’s front-end development skills.”

Napier is delighted to welcome both Elana and Natasha to the team and we look forward to them settling into their respective roles.


Elektronik Journal to Become Part of Elektronik Industrie

Elektronik Journal will cease publishing at the end of the year, as it is absorbed into its sister magazine elektronik industrie which sits under the umbrella of the online portal all-electronics.

elektronik industrie will feature new specials in 2022 covering topics normally featured by the Elektronik Journal.

It will be interesting to see the changes elektronik industrie make as Elektronik Journal ceases publishing, and we look forward to seeing the revised magazine in 2022.

 


Why Napier is Exploring the World of TikTok

Yes, you read that title right, Napier is trying out TikTok. Are we nuts?

Not quite.

Napier has a reputation of delivering results, not jumping on the latest trends and TikTok dances, so why is it worth our time?

Well, with 42% of TikTok users aged 30 and above, the mainstream view of TikTok being only for teenagers, and wacky dances isn’t quite correct. Although there’s no denying that this is a significant part of the platform, there is a world of B2B, albeit quite small, which is beginning to grow a presence within TikTok.

With a quick glance through the platform focusing on search terms such as 'marketing', you can see some key business players already making an impact.

Gary Vaynerchuck is a prime example. With 9 million followers, Gary’s content ranges from providing tips and insights into how to run a business to repurposing content from podcast interviews that provide an ‘insider’ view into the decisions and culture at Vaynermedia. Using a mixture of useful, informative videos as well personal content which links to trending hashtags, Gary walks the line between business and TikTok ‘fun’ to achieve credibility and views on the platform.

Grant Cardone is another good example. Although only featuring 1.2 million followers on TikTok (significantly less than Vaynerchuck), Gary has found a format that results in 600K views plus on the majority of his videos. His approach although similar to Vaynerchuck in terms of reusing podcast interviews for content differs in the way each video answers a specific question highlighted clearly in a branded subtitle box in both the thumbnail and beginning of the video.

As for B2B companies, Tiktok offers the opportunity for marketing teams to be bold, clever and even a little bit weird with content strategies. Sage was a prime example of this, running the UK’s first B2B campaign on TikTok, inviting TikTok’s SMB community to share videos on how they were ‘bossing it’ in 2020.  Making full use of TikTok’s advertising forms to maximise impact, including a branded hashtag challenge, and a premium TopView placement, the campaign received 8.2 billion views and one million entries into the challenge.

B2B agencies are already making the move to the platform too, with Leadit marketing a good example as a company that is achieving between 200-600 views per post with only 86 followers. Content includes helpful tips and tricks on different areas of B2B technology marketing and focuses on key topics such as sales and marketing alignment, as well as integrated campaigns and content marketing.

So, although there are some B2B brands on TikTok making an impact, the truth is that creating B2B content on TikTok is mostly uncharted territory. There’s no guarantee that TikTok will be super successful for B2B, or that it will become more mainstream, and are we a little bit crazy for giving it a go? Probably. But TikTok does allow B2B companies the opportunity to share content in a unique format, and who knows perhaps it will be a trustworthy platform in the future to reach key personas. Only time will tell…


New Website for Power Electronics Industry Launched

everything PE is a new website that has been launched to address the power electronics industry. Developed by the creators of everything RF, the new everything PE website sits within the network of publications such as the PCB Directory, the EMC Directory and GoPhotonics. 

Developed to meet the growing demands of the power electronics industry, everything PE will aim to help solve the problems that engineers are facing, and will provide updates via the latest news, products, whitepapers and upcoming events in the industry. All content will be tagged with relevant keywords to make it easier and simpler to search on the website.

everything PE also features a parametric search tool, enabling engineers to find products from leading manufacturers in each category based on their requirements. Currently, the search tool features 15 categories, which allows users to see detailed product specifications, download datasheets, compare products and get pricing or request a quotation. The products are sorted by relevance and launch date allowing users to view the latest and the most up-to-date products that meet the requirements, and any inquiries generated via everything PE are directly routed to the sales contact at the relevant company and their distributors.

At Napier, we are always pleased when a new website is launched to address growth within the industry, and we look forward to seeing the content the new site will provide.

To find out more about the new everything PE site, please click here. 


Editorial Changes and Updates from UK Electronic Publications

It's been a busy month of editorial changes across the UK Electronic publications, and we have several key updates to share.

Electronic Specifier Updates

Joe Bush has announced that he will be moving on from Electronic Specifier, with his last day taking place on the 30th of September 2021. Joe has been Managing Editor at Electronics Specifier for over five years and will be taking over as editor of The Manufacturer Magazine. 

Electronic Specifier has also welcomed three new members to its editorial team. Sam Holland joins the publication as Editor, whilst Kiera Sowery joins with a focus on expanding Electronic Specifier's targeted site, www.student-circuit.com. She will focus on developing content by connecting with students from universities globally and working with them to create a portal for projects.

Beatrice O’Flaherty has also joined the Electronic Specifier fold and will support existing editors in keeping the website up-to-date to support electronics engineers throughout their design processes, by increasing the volume of industry-relevant content.

Electronic Specifier has also announced a roadshow, as they plan to visit the top Electronics Engineering UK Universities. Over the next few weeks, the Electronic Specifier team will be visiting 10 universities starting with Glasgow and Strathclyde, followed by Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool and Surrey, closing with Southampton, UCL, Imperial and Brunel. They will be inviting new and existing students of all relevant electronics courses to receive the Student Circuit newsletter, as well as running a competition to win a drone.

Movement at Datateam

Niamh Marriott, previously an Editor at Datateam's Electrical Engineering, Converter and Components in Electronics publications, has also made a recent move, leaving her role at Datateam to take on the role as Deputy Editor at KHL Group.


Success for Industry Tech Days 2021

Industry Tech Days 2021 recently took place between the 13th and 17th September, and the virtual conference has been declared a huge success, with the events team revealing some impressive figures.

The five-day free digital conference and trade show hosted on the All About Circuits website received a total of 40,122 attendees, a 60% increase from 2020. The event hosted 50 live sessions, five keynote forums, and provided 245 pieces of technical content, with a total of 3,300 hours watched during the keynote and exhibitor live sessions.

Industry Tech Days certainly achieved a global presence with 210 countries represented by the attendees, and figures showing a high level of engagement throughout the virtual conference.  A total of 650 questions were asked by attendees, and a staggeringly low 2.58% bounce rate was achieved; a significant result with the average bounce rate on industry media sites sitting in the 60%-75% range.

With 97% of Industry Tech Days attendees confirming they would participate in the event again in 2022, EETech continues to prove that virtual events can be a huge success. These results definitely show that Industry Tech Days are doing something right, and it would certainly be interesting to be able to dig deeper to understand the ROI for exhibitors.

Industry Tech Days 2022 has already been confirmed and will be taking place from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd September.


Global Industry Focus Magazine Announces First Issue

In May 2021, we reported on the launch of a new digital magazine, Global Industry Focus, launched by the same team behind What's New in Electronics (WNIE) online. So we were delighted to hear the news that the first issue of the new publication will be live at the end of September 2021.

As a bi-monthly publication, the magazine will explore new ways of connecting with its audience and readers, by evolving static editorial content and presenting it in a more engaging way. The publication will be a fully optimised digital magazine offering readers an in-depth look at companies, their people, and their unique journeys across the whole electronics sector. The magazine will be printed only for major trade shows to save on paper and postage.

Featuring guest editors from across the electronics world, Global Industry Focus will provide regular updates from industry associations and trade bodies, via news, technical articles and opinion pieces.

Kirsty Hazlewood, WNIE content creator and Global Industry Focus editor commented: "Global Industry Focus is a new digital magazine that will offer a functional and immersive editorial experience for our audience. We’re looking forward to bringing our readers extensive coverage of the whole electronics and off-board industries using a new immersive and enhanced approach.”

We look forward to seeing the first issue of Global Industry Focus, and the direction the editorial team has taken.

 

 

 

 


Electronic Component Show Going Ahead in May 2022

Back in April 2021, we reported that the Electronic Component Show (ECS) which had originally been meant to take place in 2020, had been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. So, we were delighted to hear the news from MMG Publishing that the ECS will be going ahead in 2022, taking place on Thursday 19th May at the Kassam stadium home of Oxford United football club.

Mark Leary, MMG’s publisher & founder said ”The interest for a one-day tabletop exhibition and educational seminar presentations is very positive from visitors and exhibitors alike. We have been searching for the ideal venue and location for the show and the Kassam stadium ticks all of the boxes for everyone. The exhibition area is spaced out more than usual with a 1-metre space between tabletop stands, and with a one-way system and more internal space, this will provide a safe environment for all.  The seminar programme will consist of educational presentations for design engineers and purchasing professionals and 55% of the exhibition tabletop’s have already been sold from exhibitors who originally booked into the 2020 event".

The show will be open from 10am-3pm, and visitor numbers will be restricted to provide design engineers and purchasing professionals the opportunity to network with electronics manufacturers, distributors and service providers in a safe environment.

The return of exhibitions and trade events were inevitable, and it's great to see shows such as ECS moving forward, and providing professionals and exhibitors with the opportunity to return to a 'face to face' format safely.


The Engineering Network Ltd Acquires Industrial Technology Magazine

Industrial Technology, the design engineering magazine has been sold by its previous owner George Bennett to the engineering publisher The Engineering Network Ltd (TEN).

Effective since 1st September 2021, Industrial Technology and its associated website join brands such as MachineBuilding.net and Fastening&Bonding.net under the leadership of TEN's Managing Director Luke Webster and publisher Mark Newby.

The acquisition sees engineering design veterans in the shape of Luke and Mark adding valuable experience and expertise to a team that includes Industrial Technology Magazine's widely respected and experienced editor Mark Simms. Commenting on the change of ownership, Simms said "The timing is perfect, and the new, expanded team likewise. I am delighted to be entering a welcome period of resurgence for a superb journal that I have helped build for more than 20 years!”

Luke added “Few would argue that Mark Simms is recognised as being amongst the very best Editors in the engineering design press and we’re so pleased to be working with him on Industrial Technology. We are also delighted to say that Industrial Technology sales stalwarts Mark West, David Harman, Jan Anderson and Steve Brotherton are also part of our team. Coupled with our experienced circulation management team headed by Andy Kirk and our Creative Director John Fisher we’re looking forward to taking an already excellent magazine and website to a new level.”

With hints of plans that are already in motion to enhance the Industrial Technology brand by developing the magazine, website and newsletter as well as refreshing the circulation, this is certainly an exciting move from TEN as they continue to build a portfolio of leading brands in the engineering sector. We look forward to seeing the direction Industrial Technology will take moving forward.

 


BEEAs Still Open for Entries

The British Engineering Excellence Awards (BEEAs) is still open for entries, with a deadline of Friday 5th November 2021. 

Produced in association with Eureka! and New Electronics magazines, the BEEAs features eight new categories for this year's awards, including design project of the year, digital innovation of the year, and engineered product of the year.

With a total of 12 categories, entries will be assessed by an independent panel of judges drawn from a cross-section of electronic and engineering design disciplines; and the awards ceremony will be taking place on the 18th March 2022 at the Landmark Hotel in London.

It's great to see the changes in the engineering landscape being reflected in the new and updated categories at the BEEAs, and we look forward to celebrating some of the most innovative design engineers in the UK next year.

To submit an entry, register here and complete the online submission process.


Webinar Best Practices: 5 Things We Learnt From ON24's Webinar Series

It's no secret that the use of webinars has accelerated in the past year, as many businesses had to adapt to a new virtual approach, in order to communicate with potential customers.

With nearly 70% of B2B buyers preferring to research online on their own, and an expected 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers to occur through digital channels by 2025, it's never been more important to ensure your digital tactics and communications such as webinars, are optimised for success.

We recently attended a webinar by ON24, the digital experience platform, which delved into the results of a recent study they had undertaken to understand the best practices and current benchmarks for hosting webinars. Analysing 100,482 webinars held by companies between January-December 2020 across Europe and the US, the study aimed to discover webinar best practices and benchmarks for success.

In this blog, I'll explore the top five things we learnt from the webinar and best practices to consider in the future.

A Webinar is an Experience

With the capabilities of digital platforms continually expanding, companies now have the option to provide more than just a traditional PowerPoint webinar. Webinars can be anything we make of them, and although the primary focus is to generate leads, it can offer many more additional opportunities.

Over the last year, webinars have become more approachable, with content that is interactive and provides a multi-touch experience. Webinars are no longer a tactic that can just be used for top of the funnel activities. Instead, they now have the capabilities to provide your potential customers with a positive experience throughout each stage of the sales funnel. They can be used as a top of the funnel tactic, but also as a bottom of the funnel tactic, by providing content such as product demos.

Long Term Promotion isn't as Important as it Seems

ON24's study revealed that there is a change in the notice needed to attend a webinar. Instead of long term promotion, it seems there is the immediacy of 'now', with 45% of companies finding that when promotion takes place 1-7 days before the event, they achieved more registrations, compared to the 20% of companies that promoted more than 15 days before the webinar, resulting in fewer registration sign-ups.

As a 12% increase from 2019, this was an interesting finding, offering companies the option to be more flexible with the promotion plans they put in place, and in fact, suggesting the tactic to do a 'big push' of promotion closer to the date of the webinar.

Tuesday and Wednesdays were revealed to be the best days to send promotional emails, sitting at 22% and 21% respectively, followed closely by Thursday at 20% and surprisingly Monday, with 18% of companies voting for this as the best day.

There's Flexibility to the 'Right' Day to Hold a Webinar

The study revealed some interesting results for when best to hold a webinar. Although Wednesday and Thursday were revealed to be the clear winners of when to host webinars, there was also a surprising increase in people wanting to watch webinars on Monday and Friday. This can almost directly be related to the shift of working from home we've all undergone the last year, especially Friday, which previously never would have been a feasible option.

Reassuringly attention spans for webinars have also increased since last year, with 57 minutes being the average viewing time in 2020.

Steady Increase of Engagement Tools and Videos

With the expectation for a webinar to be engaging and interactive, it was not surprising to see that there has been a steady increase in the use of engagement tools and videos. 86% of companies used Q&A throughout their webinar, (remember to encourage engagement you can do Q&A in the middle and end) with 70% uploading resources within the platform for listeners to download while watching the webinar.

There are several opportunities for customers to use engagement tools to their advantage. 43% of companies used surveys to generate content for their presentation, whilst only 22% used polling as a tactic to integrate their audience and start conversations throughout the webinar.

Several companies also missed the trick to include links to their socials within the webinars, with only 22% ensuring they did this. Unsurprisingly, video has become a key tactic, with 66% of all webinars in 2020 featuring some type of video.

On-Demand is the Future

Although encouraging registrations for a 'live' webinar is extremely important, it's also vital that an on-demand version is made available.

The study revealed that an average of 53% of registrations watched the webinars live, with 43% of registrations watching the same webinars on-demand. The stats show that the gap between live and on-demand is close, proving that your content can still be significantly valuable once the live webinar is over.

On-demand webinars can be used to link to similar content by personas type or industry, or to create snackable content that can be used on social media channels. Surprisingly a low 29% of respondents shared that they integrate their webinars into personalized landing pages, while only 43% are currently using on-demand webinar hubs to promote webinars after the live event is over.

Conclusion

With 89% of respondents believing that webinars outperform other channels in creating qualified leads, and 66% of respondents sayings their sales teams prioritise leads that come from webinars, it's clear to see the impact webinars can have on the sales funnel. In fact, 72% of respondents said that webinars directly impacted their revenue and pipeline!

At Napier, we run our own webinar series, and we've taken note of where we can improve to ensure we are optimizing our webinars for success. If you have any questions regarding tactics you can implement to make your own webinars successful, why not get in touch with us? We have extensive experience in helping our clients generate high-quality leads via webinars.


Power Systems Design Launches New TechTalk Area

Power Systems Design has launched a new area on its website named TechTalk. The new section provides readers with a range of content focusing on how new technologies and applications are making a difference across the power industry.

Hosted on the website as a department, the content will also be shared in Power Systems Design's weekly newsletters.

Here at Napier, we are always delighted to receive news of publications expanding their content and focus. With the new department live, there are already several informative articles available on the site.

To find out more about the new TechTalk department, please click here. 

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