I recently had the pleasure of chatting to Morgan Barnard on the Moneyweb Grindstone podcast.
We spoke about everything from bridging the gap between sales and marketing and the challenges we’re seeing brands face in the B2B sphere, to common mistakes marketing managers are making and much, much more. Read on for the interview’s juiciest nuggets – but you can also read the original version here.
Fed up with traditional marketing, MPULL was set up to offer a better solution
Daryn, my co-founder, and I were fed up with old-school marketing (billboards, TV and print adverts) and decided to do something about it – so we set up MPULL, a B2B inbound marketing agency. Our aim was to bridge the gap between sales and marketing, so that it could be easier to nurture leads into loyal customers for our clients. B2B marketing was where we had seen the greatest success, and so that’s the niche we decided to target.
The entire marketing to sales process is treated differently in inbound marketing
B2B brands face their very own marketing challenges – actually generating revenue. To do this you’ve got to start at the beginning: creating demand, generating and creating leads and helping the sales team actually turn those leads into business. In the past, marketing and sales departments were seen as two distinct units. In our model, the marketing team would be involved in part of the sales process to really understand the buyers, not just the initial branding phase. Once they really understand the buyers, they can focus on creating content for these buyers that will ease them down the sales funnel. The digital landscape makes all this possible.
Inbound strategies that work best for B2B clients
Unlike B2C marketing, short-term campaigns aimed at driving spikes in traffic don’t work so well for B2B. For B2B you must really understand the process your prospects take from first discovering your product to eventually buying it. This process can be a few days to a year. If you know the process, you can craft content tailored to these prospects that will help educate and inform them, and coax them down the sales funnel.
MPULL’s work with clients in the UK have helped the agency gain valuable experience
Inbound marketing is already making inroads for B2B clients in the UK. The great thing is about inbound marketing is that it’s all measurable – you can gather all kinds of analytics that will help you determine exactly how your prospects have interacted with your content. South Africa is behind the curve when it comes to inbound. We’re gaining experience working alongside our UK clients and bringing that experience back to the South African market.
Digital marketing can be used perfectly alongside traditional marketing methods
One of the biggest mistakes that marketing managers are making is not using digital as much as they should be – they’re sticking with the traditional avenues of print ads and the like, which the people they’re targeting may or may not even see. Digital marketing is a cost-effective solution that can be used alongside traditional marketing tactics – that’s what we’re trying to educate marketers in South Africa about.
Being able to understand and use data is an essential digital marketing skill
That said, traditional marketing skills and qualifications do still cut it in a digital marketing agency. A lot of our staff come from a traditional marketing background. We run internships that introduce them to our processes and digital and inbound marketing. Being able to understand and use data strategically to get measurable results for our clients is an essential skill needed for inbound marketing. And, of course, understanding technology so that you can really create the content that will draw your prospects down the sales funnel.
A startup isn’t the same as a small business – as an agency, MPULL is learning this
MPULL has just come out of the startup phase and into the operational business phase. Contrary to what many might think, a startup isn’t simply a small business – it’s an experiment to see whether this business idea will work, whether people are interested in it and whether we can add value. Because we are still a young business, we’re really going to benefit from the mentorship that Grindstone provides, as well as learning how to scale our business as it grows.
A bit of parting advice
It’s a tough environment out there for entrepreneurs. The best advice is not to be an 80 percenter – that’s someone who has a great idea but doesn’t put in enough to get over the first hurdle. Once you’re in the game, be agile, work at adding value to whoever you sell to and, most of all, have fun. Because that passion is what’s going to get your through the hard days.