BC Startup Sales Podcast – Growth Marketing During COVID-19 with David Rodnitzky (3Q Digital)
We kick-off the podcast talking about how a growth marketing leader should approach the current situation. David walks us through a few key questions to think about: what is my current runway status, how have my customers’ behaviors changed, what are my competitors doing (at a macro and micro level), and what is happening to ad pricing and the cost of other unique marketing opportunities.
Filling top of funnel after cancelled in-person events
Next we dig into how to make up for the lost leads that were going to come from in-person events. David stresses that the most important thing is to identify where your customers are spending their time now. Instead of attending a conference, those same attendees are now presumably sitting at home at their computer. Many companies are reinvesting their resources into content, and David has seen a rise in webinars and white papers as a result. There are also other opportunities within media where other companies are pulling back. For instance, David has seen some clients pause media spend nearly 100%. What’s that trend mean for you? Well, two months ago, you might have been lucky to get the fourth or fifth position on Google and paid advertising for a really high-value keyword that would drive a lot of conversions for you. Now that same keyword may be available in first position for 75% of what you paid for in fourth position. When thinking about taking advantage of lower cost-per-click (CPC) rates, David emphasizes the importance of also taking into account the LTV of the new cohort of customers you are signing on. CPC (and CAC) are just one side of the equation and are not enough information to make a decision by themselves. For instance, if your CPC is down 50%, but LTV is down 70%, then piling more money into paid search/media is not a good decision.
There are also plenty of levers marketing leaders can leverage that don’t require more money for growth marketing during COVID-19. David is seeing 3Q clients reinvest their time in the following: enhancements to their SEO, going through their site and cleaning it up, writing content that’s going to get them ranked organically so they don’t have to pay for the traffic, conversion rate optimization, testing their homepage, testing their landing page, testing their messaging, etc.
Navigating webinar fatigue
There has been a record surge in the amount of free webinars produced in the past couple of months. You can hear a guest speaker give a keynote that you would normally have to pay thousands of dollars to see at a conference (plus travel costs), for free on a webinar that you can watch from home. So the question then becomes – with so much good content out there and webinar fatigue starting to set in, is this event/webinar/etc. worth producing? The best piece of advice David has heard is if you received an invite to your own webinar in your email box, would you read about the webinar and would you share it with six of your business colleagues? If the answer is no, it’s probably not content that is going to get a lot of traction. Use yourself as a litmus test to narrow in on the highest value content and virtual events.
The second big piece of advice here is to use your own unique insights and data to make the webinar actionable. For instance, at 3Q Digital they have been mining their own data to provide actionable insights as to where things are directionally going and aggregating the content on a COVID-19 page. Instead of using a generic title like “COVID-19: How this will change SaaS marketing forever,” try something like “COVID-19 Spending: An analysis of $20M of spend over the past six weeks.”
Avoiding common mistakes
The top mistake David sees is the emphasis on the macro, not the micro. For instance, some companies are using the “overall economy is down” as the main point of optimization and not the data they’re seeing from their own accounts and their own analytics. Another common mistake is not looking at your data on a very regular basis (much more frequently that you otherwise would). 3Q Digital encourages their clients to look at their data on a daily basis and pivot if necessary on a daily basis. This includes query identification of what’s trending and acting on that, adjusting budgets based on how LTV is changing, and tweaking messaging to make sure that it is appropriate to the times. Lastly, another big mistake is to isolate yourself and not be concerned about what competitors are doing. A lot of companies are changing their offering (offering free trials) and discounting their pricing. It is imperative that you stay on top of what your competitors are doing so that you can keep up.
David often talks with customers about messaging in their ad texts. He has historically said that there are four emotions that will sell anything: fear, greed, vanity, and exclusivity. However, in these times those emotions in ad texts would come off as tone-deaf. David has come up with a new set of four emotions for growth marketing during COVID-19: safety, ease, risk-free, and flexibility. As you think about what you’re messaging to consumers, think about how you can create ad text, landing pages, emails, and webinars that are making them feel in some ways better and less stressed out.
We wrap up the podcast with David’s final tips and tricks: 1) avoid herd mentality, 2) strive to be a profit center not a cost center, and 3) the person with the best data wins.
David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital, a leading growth marketing agency, that works with the world’s most innovative clients. Prior to 3Q Digital, David held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including Rentals.com, FindLaw, Adteractive and Mercantila. David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies and is a regular contributor to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, Marketing Land, Search Engine Land, MediaPost and Search Marketing Standard.