Blog post

If I Had a Million Dollars

By Todd Berkowitz | January 06, 2015 | 1 Comment

StorytellingMessaging and PositioningMarketing OperationsLead ScoringGo to MarketDemand and Lead GenerationContent Marketing

Why do I instantly think about the song from Barenaked Ladies? I have no idea! But Hank Barnes, Tiffani Bova and I (all members of the Tech Go-to-Market and Sales Strategies team) decided to all publish a blog at the same time about this same topic. I suppose if I personally had a million dollars lying around, I would blog more frequently. But that wasn’t the challenge that Hank gave me. I’m putting my old technology provider marketing leader hat back on for this post. If my budget went up by a million bucks from 2014 to 2015, how would I spend it?

There are obviously a lot of nuances here, first and foremost that a extra million means a lot more to a smaller company that a very large one and would dramatically change how I spent the money. So let’s look at a common use case. Pretend I’m the CMO for an emerging technology provider, growing rapidly in a hot market. We just raised another round of VC money (which is why my budget basically doubled). We have some bigger, more established competitors as well as newer market entrants. We need to continue to expand in our current areas of strength, but also move upmarket and better compete with the big guys if we want to justify our valuation. So how would I spend the money? Here are my thoughts:

  • Hire a rock star head of product marketing- As a former product marketer, you know I have a soft spot for this function. But as I’ve written about before, this role is becoming more and more important in light of the changing buying cycle. Things like storytelling, win/loss analysis, sales enablement, segmentation and product strategy are all critical if we’re going to beat the big guys, so this is the first thing I do. Really good directors and VPs of product marketing don’t come cheap, so I’m prepared to pay for one.
  • Better understand my customers and how they want to buy- Hank and Tiffani both allude to this as well, but I don’t want to spend any more money on inbound or outbound campaigns until I have this information. I can spend this money with analyst firms, hire a third-party consultant and run some focus groups or informal advisory sessions with my existing customers. My gut tells me the first one and the third one, but I need to have this information.
  • Utilize predictive analytics- I’m not likely at the point where I have so many leads that my sales team can’t handle everything they are getting, but I do want to better understand who is (and is not) likely to buy from us. And traditional lead scoring isn’t working as well as it once did.  Until I have that luxury, I can use predictive lead scoring to ensure sales is focusing on the hottest leads, but also to optimize my marketing spend by investing in activities and sources that bring in leads that are more likely to convert.
  • Beef up sales enablement- Now that I have my new product marketing leader and better understand the buyer and the buying process, it’s time to build a more professional and more robust sales enablement process. In the future, it might be worth looking into a sales content management tool, but right now, it’s probably a combination of bringing on a consultant to help create some compelling content and improving the training.
  • Create more case studies- When we survey buyers, case studies are always way up the list in terms of the most influential type of content, no matter where a prospect is in the buying process. Not only will I want to hire a freelancer to create more case studies, I’m going to drop some cash into a couple of video case studies with high-production value
  • Commission a survey- When it comes to content market, not all content is created equal. Gartner recommends data-driven content and surveys are a great example. I’m not going to just throw something up on a free online survey tool. I’m going to work with a well-respected firm and co-brand the survey with them.
  • Increase my PR spend- Public relations (including proactive outreach to influencers) isn’t as sexy as a lot of inbound activities, but it’s still really important and can have significant influence on the buying process. Maybe I stay with the same agency and just increase the spend or look for a more experienced (and expensive) firm, but either way, my spend is going up,
  • Double down on the right content and activities- After spending money on the first seven items on the list, I should have some cash left, probably several hundred thousand. Once I have my segmentation nailed, better understand the buying cycle and have the predictive lead scoring in place, I’ll have a much better idea as to what should work and what won’t. I’m going to spend the rest of the money there.

Even though I was given a million dollars, I recognize that many of you might not be as lucky. But a lot of these things could be accomplished with a smaller infusion of cash. Food for thought as we kick-off 2015.



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1 Comment

  • Amrita says:

    Very interesting premise to this post…Great idea!

    One thing I didn’t see in your list that I’m curious about -> customer/community advocacy and marketing.

    I found in my last startup gig that spending money on getting our customers together, giving them more of what they needed to succeed (free training, conferences, etc..) and having them co-create content, made a huge difference in our market (B2B tech).

    I’m curious whether you considered this kind of spend and why it didn’t make the list.