B2B Marketing Strategy

The Modern Day Mentality When Marketing to Your Users

Brett McGrath

February 24, 2022

The Modern Day Mentality When Marketing to Your Users

The list of growth ideas at The Juice is never ending. 

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a lot of different types of teams in my career that worked on a myriad of problems. Sometimes those problems were solved and we grew as a company, but most of these cases were failed experiments. 

This is life working in startup land. You have to get comfortable with losing and learning from the mistakes. Most of the time these failures are outside the control of any individual and a subject of the market conditions that we operate in. 

I’m optimistic regardless of the conditions. 

I’m always optimistic. 

Don’t I have to be as the brand guy? 

Maybe not, but I think you’d see right through the BS and go follow someone else’s content.

Probably someone on LinkedIn who does it for the “likes”...  

We got together in person as a team last week to discuss goals and priorities for the upcoming quarter ahead. We are on the February fiscal calendar. It’s nice to not have to stress over the holidays. I’m sure some of you reading this can agree. 

There are 2 primary questions that we’ve been asking ourselves as a team: 

  1. How can we grow our user base? 
  2. How can we grow our revenue? 

The answers to these questions might seem like the same thing, but they are very different.

Here’s the Sparknotes version of how we think about growth. 

Member growth

This is the number of people who sign up for The Juice and become a member. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up. We have a dedicated role responsible for member growth (Shout out Alaina!), but we view it as a company wide responsibility. It’s exciting to work in this type of model because it opens the door for product-led growth opportunities…more on that later.

Brand growth:

This is measured by the revenue that we receive from brands who partner with The Juice for content distribution, intent signals, Creator Pages (coming next week), and more. 

I’m excited about the squad that I work with to try and answer these questions. 

Everyday that I open my laptop it feels like I’m working in a climate where the conditions support the growth trilogy. 

The right product with the right team at the right time. 

We’ve seen members of The Juice become customers of The Juice unprovoked. 

The team and product is only a year old. We are still trying to identify how and why this happens. If we already knew that we’d probably be sitting on a beach somewhere in Hawaii right now. 

I think in the simplest terms members gain value and insight from the content of their industry peers over a period of time. They realize they could be distributing their content through The Juice and then want to talk with us about how to make that happen.

It’s an exciting opportunity that often leads us with more questions than answers.

We all are rallying around this idea that if you create an amazing experience for your members then more will come and this could lead to revenue growth opportunities. 

While we have been testing a lot of different assumptions I had an epiphany a couple weeks back.

Why don’t I use The Juice to search for content around the topics that we are trying to solve for and learn from creators and brands who specialize in this area? 

Call it a lightbulb moment. 

I’ll call it an opportunity to explore a product-led path. This is a model that I haven’t spent a ton of time working on in my career. That doesn’t bother me because I know plenty of other people have been there and created content for people like me. 

That’s why we built The Juice. 

Here’s how I used it to find a piece of content around PLG that hit me so hard I recorded a podcast episode about it. 

The Evolution of Marketing to Your Users 

I started to think about marketing to users in a different way a couple weeks ago. 

I wasn’t thinking about it from a PLG perspective. I hit rewind on my career and thought back to the old way to communicate with your product’s users when I was tagged in this tweet by Simple Strat, CEO Ali Schwanke a couple weeks back.   

Ali’s question out to the community was a really good one. I didn’t respond right away. 

I took some time to think about it. As the tape was rewinding in my head I thought about how nurture tracks used to be the vehicle that all B2B marketers used to get their new content pieces in front of the users in their database. I’d work with the team and about once a quarter we’d hit refresh on the workflows in HubSpot and we’d be off to the races. 

I hadn’t put together or thought about nurture tracks in the past couple of years. 

I remember bringing up nurture tracks to my boss’ boss when I first started my career and I’ll never forget the response I got back:

“Nurture tracks? You mean the black hole where leads go to die?”

You can imagine the impact that had me. 

Were building these worth my time? Did anyone care? Was anyone actually clicking the content? 

How about an even better question?

Was anyone learning anything from what we were doing?

I thought about this moment as I reflected on a public response back to Ali. I started to wonder why I had not thought about or put together a nurture track for my audience in a few years and wrote my response. 

Did I answer her question?

Not really.

It seems like every answer to any marketing related question these days for me is CONTENT DISTRIBUTION!!!! 

It’s because I think it’s the opportunity that we all have to maximize our content investment and start making stronger connections.

So what’s that have to do with lead nurturing?

I think it has everything to do with it and why it doesn’t work anymore. 

Consumer expectations have changed and people don’t want that 17 step automated drip anymore…or if ever. 

People want content curated for them based on their role (Hey we do that sign up for free here) or delivered by a trusted source on Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack communities, or other channels where they go to learn. 

This is why we have gone all-in on creating articles, podcast episodes, and a weekly newsletter and been laser focused on distribution. 

This is one of the many first steps that we believe helps start the conversation that solves our question of, “how do we grow our revenue?”.

Now it took me 2 weeks, an article for inspiration, and a podcast recording to better answer Ali’s question about nurture tracks while addressing our other company's question of, “how do we grow our user base?”

The answer. Know your hand raisers.

Finding Your Hand Raisers 

There’s a combination of factors that I’ve been thinking about that helps me understand why nurture tracks don’t work anymore while thinking about how we can grow our membership at The Juice.

The factors: 

  1. Consumer access to content: people distribute content on Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack communities, and several other channels. It’s everywhere and curated for us by our networks. 
  2. B2B product-led growth adoption: your future customers want to try it before they buy it and the PLG strategy is growing from this. Do you want to become an expert in PLG? Just go read OpenView’s content. It’s excellent. 

I wanted to learn more about PLG and went to The Juice last week and did some searching. 

I found a very helpful article by Janet Choi at Clearbit called, “Know your hand raisers: why marketing to your user base isn’t working anymore” 

This article was so helpful that I decided to record a podcast episode about what I had learned. 

My primary takeaway was you can’t think about all of your product users in the same way. 

This might seem obvious, but I still receive the same batch and blast communications that started to fill up my inbox a decade ago.

Nurture tracks aren’t as impactful because people aren’t driven by a 1-to-many communication. 

Content consumers are learning in Slack communities (and The Juice) and being referred to great content by people they know and trust or creators who they admire. 

This notion is why we believe in our launch of Creator Pages next week. Content creators are building stronger connections with their audience through distribution. This is a trend that we want to help support. 

Also, we believe product-led growth is the direction that our industry is moving in. 

Buyers have the control. They don’t want to be put through your stale B2B sales process.

They want to try your app and raise their hand if they think this is something that can help them out.

We are thinking hard about how we can make the roads to raising your hand to learn more about content distribution easier. 

Start-up land is as challenging as it is satisfying. 

Having a team who can help you work on questions that can move your company into a new trajectory is key. 

Also, making a habit out of learning from others through their content can lead to breakthroughs…

If you are looking for a place to do that I think I might know a company. 🧃

Check out how to start enjoying a less boring and more bingeable experience with B2B content and sign up for The Juice.

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