Martech Fireside Chat

Martech Fireside Chat: Jennifer Montague, TwentyThree

Digital Marketer Jennifer Madigan Montague stops by to share her tips on Hubspot's Inbound conference, growth tactics, marketing traps & much more

Diana Daia
September 24 · 8 min read

First-hand tips from a fellow marketer can make a conference experience a lot easier. Here's what we've learned from Jennifer Montague, Head of Growth at TwentyThree about Hubspot's Inbound, growth tactics, AB testing, video & more.

You’re an active marketer and seasoned conference attendee who just came back from Hubspot’s Inbound in Boston. What are your tips for getting the most out of conferences?

The first thing I would advise is to take the selection of your breakout sessions seriously. At a conference like Inbound, there are literally hundreds of breakout sessions with great speakers sharing valuable knowledge, so be sure to set aside adequate time to see what the sessions are about and where you’d get the most value to bring back to your company.

I also don’t just look at my immediate track (marketing), but also what’s on offer in other tracks such as customer service and sales. I find I get the best results when I collaborate with other departments, and this is a great way to get inspiration.

Once you select your sessions, be sure to add the speaker on LinkedIn (we speakers ❤️ it!).

What have you learned at Inbound 2019?

Ooooh where to start?! I think the main takeaway for me from Inbound was the emphasis on personalization in marketing and, overall, aiming to improve the experience of the prospect or customer. Gone are the days of impersonal mass emails and cold calls. Now the key is to demonstrate that you understand the prospect’s unique needs and can provide true value for them.

Gone are the days of impersonal mass emails and cold calls. Now the key is to demonstrate that you understand the prospect’s unique needs and can provide true value for them.

What are 3 growth tactics that you find meaningful when it comes to driving a successful marketing strategy?

1. Reframing awareness levels

This is something I spoke about at Inbound 2018, and really helped elevate my growth strategy. Particularly if you work with a new technology, remember that people have different levels of awareness of not only your product, but also of the fact that your technology even exists in the first place! Therefore, I like to segment ads and audiences using the UPSYDME strategy that I adapted:

U: unaware - people who don’t even know they have a problem

P: problem aware - people who know they have a problem, but not that a solution exists.

S: solution aware - people who know a solution exists, but not that your product exists.

Y: your product aware - people who know you exist

D: desire your product And then, after closing, remember to maintain your customer base and expand upon it with upselling or increasing of subscriptions.

And then, after closing, remember to maintain

(M) your customer base and expand

(E) upon it with upselling or increasing of subscriptions.

2. Use video

Of course I probably sound biased, but it’s true that video is the way forward if you want to stand out amongst the crowded digital marketplace. Not only that, but from a growth perspective, video is going to give you a ton of valuable data that will really help shape your strategy. Studies suggest you get 12xs as many social engagements from video than text and images combined. In AB tests I’ve run, I have seen 5-7xs more engagements with video than other digital assets. This data is crucial for me to incorporate into my strategy in order to better understand what resonates with my target market at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Webinars are also a great way to use video in order to drive engagement and educate your target market on what services your business can provide and establish yourself as a thought leader. Best of all, if you have the right webinar tool, it’s relatively low-cost to run webinars that can then be shared far and wide, both live and on-demand. We currently run a webinar a month and see around 54% of those who register actually attend the live version, and 42% of those who register are entirely new to us. Guest speakers are also a great way to get some free cross-promotion in order to keep down your own advertising costs.

3. AB test and optimize - optimize - optimize

In every single campaign I run, regardless of placement or channel, I am always AB testing something. Whether it’s different headlines, creative assets or copy styles, it’s a great opportunity to learn what works, and then optimize from there. But I suggest only testing one variable per campaign, otherwise the results can get too granular and it can be hard to understand what’s really working.

With too much data, it can be overwhelming as to where to start and what to glean from it.

As digital companies, we’re privileged to have a lot of data at our disposal. And yet, many businesses are struggling with making sense of that data, as well as collecting & using it effectively. What is a big challenge for you in regards to data management?

The struggle is so real! With too much data, it can be overwhelming as to where to start and what to glean from it. That’s why I only test one variable at a time for my campaigns. Perhaps I will have a video that starts off with a person talking to the camera, and test it against a video that just shows the product - and see which performs best and optimize from there. Sure, it’s slow, but at least I get a solid learning from it that I can use as a starting block and optimize from there. Another way to action data effectively is to combine sources. For example, check your AdWords for your best converting keywords, and then incorporate those into your social ads and see if it improves performance.

What are the high-level lessons that you’ve learned about scaling marketing?

I guess overall what I’ve learned is to never rely entirely on hunches or assumptions. Of course there is “best practice”, but every business is different. People can give opinions, instincts, etc, but until you actually run the tests yourself and see the data, you are only assuming what is working. A combination of previous experience and solid data analysis will get you further than just one of those things on its own.

Could you name one trap marketers are currently facing?

One trap I see is marketers currently facing are high level lead targets that don’t take into account lead quality. They are just told to generate X amount of leads in a given month, which are then passed on to another department (usually Sales) to qualify and then try to close. This approach is sometimes referred to as the NMFP approach (“Not My Fricken Problem”), and is not conducive to an efficient strategy. Companies need to collaborate across departments to identify their ideal customer profile (ICP), and reverse engineer the buyer’s journey to figure out how to win more customers who fit that ICP. As such, companies who base marketing performance on qualified leads find that, although the volume may be less, the time and effort put into closing those leads is reduced, and ultimately, churn is reduced because the customers who are won are more likely to be a good fit. This makes everyone’s lives (including Customer Support, Sales, Marketing and your customers) much easier.

One trap I see is marketers currently facing are high level lead targets that don’t take into account lead quality.

What are the 3 metrics you can’t live without in your work?

  1. AdWords conversions (to understand keywords / copy that best resonate)
  2. Social engagements (to understand what assets / copy, etc best resonate)
  3. Cost per conversion (to better optimize spend on channels that work best)

What advice would you give to fellow marketers to drive more impact?

AB test and don’t just listen to your instincts! AB test everything and optimize from there. Also, know your ICP and target those who are a good fit for your product. Sure, getting those leads in to meet your monthly targets may feel good at the time, but if it’s a bad fit, it’s only going to cause a headache for your Sales and Customer Support teams - and if those unhappy customers go to social to complain about you, that headache will be transferred over to you. You’re all in this together.

You have to spend money if you want to scale. I have often been asked by marketers in smaller companies how they can increase awareness and conversions without a budget. In my experience, organic reach will only get you so far. If you want to expand your audience and global brand awareness, you will have to run some paid campaigns across either search or social - ideally, both.

What are the tough truths that we don't talk a lot about in the analytics & martech ecosystem?

1. Good instinct alone isn’t going to get you where you want to be. If I had a coin for every time someone told me their assumptions about how something would perform, I’d be very rich indeed :) It’s great to take into account assumptions and opinions, but ultimately it should come down to what the data tells you. Even if it means you were *gulp* wrong.

2. You have to spend money if you want to scale. I have often been asked by marketers in smaller companies how they can increase awareness and conversions without a budget. In my experience, organic reach will only get you so far. If you want to expand your audience and global brand awareness, you will have to run some paid campaigns across either search or social - ideally, both. And in an increasingly expensive and crowded market, the better you optimize your ads, the more chance you have to stand out on a budget.

If you were to predict 2020’s biggest marketing trend, what would that be?

Video! The use of video has increased every year over the past 3 years and is only set to continue to do so, but not everyone is being strategic about what kind of videos they create and where they place them. Video can take many forms, from more top of funnel: social video, how to guides, etc. to also middle funnel with relatively low-cost, high engagement webinars and bottom funnel tutorials.

Start making the move from a form-driven approach of video creation where you just say, “hey, we should make a video” without any strategy in mind. Instead, focus on a strategic, goal-driven approach of identifying what objectives you hope to achieve for your business (brand awareness, conversions, customer success, etc.) and what is the best way to achieve that using video. Then know your video engagement data (ie. average watch time) to optimize that video for whatever channel you launch that video.

According to Cisco, 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2022, but currently, our research shows that only 38% of marketers are actually measuring video performance. Get ahead of the curve and start being strategic about your video strategy now!

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