The Virtual CMO

Using Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business with Saunder Schroeder

September 13, 2021 Eric Dickmann, Saunder Schroeder Season 6 Episode 10
The Virtual CMO
Using Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business with Saunder Schroeder
Show Notes Transcript

In episode 91, host Eric Dickmann interviews Saunder Schroeder. Saunder is a digital marketer and the Chief Marketing Officer of Disruptive Advertising. Throughout his career, he has been able to help grow hundreds of businesses by creating digital marketing strategies to drive traffic and generate leads. Saunder has created and executed digital marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies, including Adobe, Citrix, Dell, ESPN, Time Warner Cable, Lynda, Blendtec, Groopdealz, Salesforce, Pluralsight, and many others. His mission is to grow people and brands that he believes in.

For show notes and a  list of resources mentioned in this episode, please visit:
https://fiveechelon.com/using-digital-marketing-grow-your-business-s6ep10/

A fractional CMO can help build out a comprehensive marketing strategy and execute targeted campaigns designed to increase awareness and generate demand for your business...without the expense of a full-time hire.

The Five Echelon Group - Fractional CMO and strategic marketing advisory services designed for SMBs looking to grow. Learn more at: 

https://fiveechelon.com


Eric Dickmann:

Welcome to The Virtual CMO podcast. I'm your host, Eric Dickmann. In this podcast, we have conversations with marketing professionals who share the strategies, tactics, and mindset you can use to improve the effectiveness of your marketing activities and grow your business. Hey Saunder, welcome to The Virtual CMO Podcast. I'm very glad you could join us today.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, thanks for having me. Excited to chat more.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah, I'm excited about it too. You know, we talk a lot about digital marketing on this show and strategies there, and around paid advertising. And I'm really interested to pick your brain on this topic because. I think a lot's changing out there, you know your company is called Disruptive,. right? And I think there's a lot of disruptive forces going on in advertising right now. And I'm curious, you know when you look at the marketplace, at the landscape of just what's going on in the digital advertising world, what do you see? I mean, what is really disruptive right now?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. I think what we've seen recently is a lot of saturation on Facebook, which is starting to cause a lot of other players to be more relevant. So, uh, think of Spotify advertising, Hulu, LinkedIn, we're seeing a lot of B2B businesses advertising more and more there. So yeah, I think when there just becomes a saturation point and things become more and more expensive, it's usually an opportunity to figure out other channels that perform better.

Eric Dickmann:

I know it's hard to generalize because every business is going to be a little unique, their target customers are going to be located in different places. But have you seen a trend sort of away from traditional web advertising and more towards mobile or ads within these platforms that you're talking about, or are you finding that each is still very relevant just depending on that target audience?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, good question. I would say they're still very relevant. You know Google. Is still our biggest channel, you know? And that's after six or seven years of introducing social. So Google is still for us is the king just because it is so bottom of the funnel, and then 10 is so good there. And then as far as mobile goes, the platforms do such a good job of just optimizing for mobile just within the platform. And so strategies tend to not change that much. Now, I will say when you're doing video ads, that does change a lot. That's where we tend to go more the one-to-one ratio versus the traditional 16:9 or you can do like a 4:3. So these are your aspect ratios so a 1:1 just looks good on mobile and desktop, so it's a good like universal one.

Eric Dickmann:

I know we're recording this episode in early July, and I just read an article yesterday where they were saying that because of Apple's changes to the opt-in tracking and across website tracking,. That a lot of digital advertising dollars are now being focused on the Android platform because advertisers aren't being able to track the effectiveness of their ads across multiple channels the way they were before. Do you think that this is a blip as people just figure out new ways of doing that tracking? Or do you think that this is going to force maybe companies like Apple to rethink some of those policies?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, it's a very interesting question. It's a very interesting time right now with these changes. II definitely think we are moving more towards a privacy first world. And at the same time, I mean, I would say I'm very guilty of this, I feel very pot committed when it comes to cookies and privacy. And it's like, everyone already has all my data and info and it just feels like a hassle to have to almost hit the reset button on all of that. And so I mean, we've seen about a 2% to 3% dip since Apple came out with iOS 14.5 on Facebook.

Eric Dickmann:

A dip in spending you mean?

Saunder Schroeder:

No, just a dip on more or less your conversion tracking. So your end to end results and just not being able to have full attribution like we had before. And so you know, I think it will be interesting. I mean, how Apple gets by this is by more or less uploading their algorithm directly to the device. And that's where all your personalization and preferences happen. And so it feels like, I mean, this is, uh, you know, Facebook just hit a trillion dollar market cap. So it's a trillion dollar problem for them to solve and combined Google, you know, we're probably talking closer to 2 trillion. And so it feels like that's probably where things will start to move is maybe a more personalized algorithm on everyone's phone. Now, I think we'll kind of see how Apple wants to play there. I saw a tweet actually yesterday that Apple, a lot of executives at Apple are almost calling war on Facebook and going after them. And so that'll be interesting just to see how it all pans out.

Eric Dickmann:

No, it wasn't that long ago when the only thing that you could really look at were Nielsen ratings and subscriber numbers, right? You had very little data about where your advertising was going and how it was being absorbed by the target audience. And in many ways we've become spoiled as digital marketers. There's so much information that we've had access to. That it does feel like the tap is starting to be turned off a little bit, but we've been spoiled.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, 100%. It's been. I mean, it's been great that we have this data and it's first party and right there. And obviously there's, the platforms tend to overshow or exaggerate, I guess really what the data is with retargeting and different things, but it's still been nice to have access to all that data.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah. Well, and I think, especially in the B2C world, right? There are so many different platforms that you can use, whether they're the Instagrams, the Facebooks, the TikTok, Snapchats, all that, or just places on the web where you can go to put your ad. But in the B2B space, when I talk to clients, it's often a little bit more frustrating for them because they're trying to figure out where their buyer is hanging out and you know, for personal use, they're probably checking Facebook and doing those things like everybody else typically does. But for more business focused, it seems like their mind just goes to LinkedIn and that's where it stops. When you work with B2B customers, how do you help them sort of get their head around the choices that they have on where they can put out their message?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. You know being a CMO of a B2B company, I can speak from firsthand experience and with our clients you know we tend to maximize as much of Google as we can. And we, we do that with end to end tracking. So we understand what keyword is actually generating close deals because you can get a lot of clicks and traffic that just doesn't convert from Google as well. And in the B2B space, it tends to be very expensive. And then you know, another great avenue that is outside of platform is sponsored listings. So like your G2s, and really just maximizing and rating there. That just tends to be at some point where someone's going to end up in the buyer journey and just comparing and making sure they're making the right decision. If not, you know, going directly there just to search for solutions. So maximizing platforms like that is great. And then, you know as far as retargeting goes, we say retarget everywhere you can, so Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. And you're right, even if someone who's been to your website is on Facebook at night, you know, they're probably not in the best buying mindset. And you know, we also think that's a good opportunity usually for them to click on it and you know save that article in their tab or you can always retarget them again based on time on site to get them to come back. So yeah, I would say that's, as far as the paid strategy goes, typically where we like to start.

Eric Dickmann:

I like that you brought up things like G2 crowd or Trust Radius, and the Gartner sites. There are a lot of them out there. And of course that's a challenge as well, right? Which one do you go to? Do you go to them all? Are you paying some of them, you know, you can pay and have your listing show up at the top. Others, you've just got to work to try to get those reviews up there. So you'll be in whatever they term their magic quadrant so that you show up near the top. How do you advise clients there? Do you say select one or two or do you think you've got to have a presence on all of them?

Saunder Schroeder:

No, I think eventually definitely getting a presence on all is beneficial. And I think where to start is, I would start with your highest value keywords. And so you know, for us, that would be you. I taught PPC agency and then I just look and see, okay, which ones are rating or ranking at the top. And so if you're yeah whatever industry you're in, I would just essentially Google that term and just see where, where you're showing up. And so if that's G2 crowd has the number one spot there, that's probably where I would invest because they're probably getting the most organic traffic there. And so that's what I would recommend.

Eric Dickmann:

I think that's an interesting thing that you brought up because oftentimes I think people look at that and say, well, you've got to go to the G2 site. You've got to, you know look around for your solution and see what it's rated. But actually a lot of traffic that goes to G2 is coming from Google, right? They have done very well with their search engine optimization so their listings tend to show up very high in the rankings for certain keywords like you're talking about. And that's how people end up on G2, not necessarily going to the site and doing a search there.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah I think that's more or less how they've started and how they've created this monster is through SEO and they now do a very great job across the board with our digital marketing. But, yeah, that's at least that's what we're seeing for the keywords that we more or less want to rank for. And I just think we're getting kind of to this age of transparency and really, I guess more like user generated content and for B2B, yeah sure there's like case studies. But a lot of people tend to not love case studies because they know you're going to show your best foot forward or put your best foot forward. And so we love the third-party validation of like a G2 or a clutch or, you know these other ones that you've mentioned.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah, I agree. And I've seen some good results come from those, you know, Their cost varies just depending on what kind of a relationship with you have you have with them and what kind of leads you want. But yeah, it can be very valuable, especially I think in the B2B space. And you also talked about the importance of retargeting and I think a lot of businesses miss that opportunity. We certainly see it a lot in the B2B space. You know you go look for that pair of shoes on Macy's site. And next thing you know, you've got shoe ads popping up all over the place, right? But I think a lot of businesses miss that opportunity. So if somebody came to to your firm and said, Hey, I want to start a retargeting campaign. Walk me through what that looks like for a business that is new to doing retargeting ads.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. So we tend to like to focus on three stages of the funnel which I think most people are familiar with, but top of funnel, mid funnel, and bottom funnel. And we like to define those stages usually by how they're interacting with the site. So a top funnel audience would be someone who's visiting the site. You know, maybe they've come once or twice, that would be very top funnel. Probably have come to blog content, maybe they saw an ad for an ebook, but that's what we would consider very like top funnel. So very introduction to the brand. Middle funnel would be someone who's maybe opened up a form but hasn't converted or maybe they visited the site four or five times and then bottom funnel would be similar like form engagement, but has been to the site, you know, probably 8 or 10 times. There's also other tools that you can use, like Clearbit or Zoom Info that allow you to really segment your audience based on company size or industry. And so that, that adds another layer of personalization. You can add into your top, middle, and bottom funnel ads. And then as far as content goes, for top of funnel, we like to just continue to put out blog posts and helpful. I'd more call it, I guess, value content. So at that point, you're typically not wanting to show, come be a client of Disruptive or come be a client of you know, whatever company you're in. And so, yeah, we tend to focus on value. Whereas when we get to bottom funnel, it's, you know, that's where we're highlighting more of our case studies or that's where we're highlighting more of our, I mean, still content, I would just say maybe more brand-focused content. So like you know, recently we helped consult a client on their website redesign and we don't do that ourselves. We just, you know, that was a good, like value thing for us based on conversion data we were seeing and testing and helping them optimize. And so just more, I guess, highlighting the partnership aspects.

Eric Dickmann:

Okay. And then even for a B2B company, you suggest that people do the retargeting, even off, you know things like Facebook or an Instagram, more sort of consumer focused channels, just to get that message out there. Even in front of people, when they may be you know, just surfing for leisure?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. Yeah. 100%. And I think that's where the content really matters based on where they're at. Because if you're just able to give them more valuable content. It's not necessarily an annoyance, right? I mean we want to keep an eye on your frequency and make sure they're not seeing the same ad probably more than three times. And so maybe that's the one caution I would give, but yeah,they've been to your site, they've shown some interest, and who knows, they may have been to three or four of your competitors as well. And so just staying top of mind and being relevant, and really focusing on value I think is a big differentiator.

Eric Dickmann:

What's your view on account-based marketing platforms? You know, something like a Terminus where you're actually targeting people at certain companies with these same type of value ads to try to pull them into your side. Have you seen some pretty effective campaigns through a company's marketing strategies?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, we have. I would say, so account based marketing, I'll probably call it ABM the acronym here, but you know, I would say it's very hit or miss. And I would say it's very hit or miss based on expectations. I think most people want to see it working in three months where we found it typically takes one to two years to be working and to get people in the funnel. And I think that can also vary depending on the industry you're in or what you're selling, and what the buying cycle looks like. So if most companies are in a 12 month contract, then you should probably assume you at least have, you know a 12 month test period of testing it out and seeing how it works. Where you know, Adobe is one of our clients and we manage a lot of their LinkedIn spend. And that's all we do for them is ABM, and they have their lists and that's the only people we advertise and market to, are people on their lists. And so we're able to track through Adobe analytics, how many contracts we're actually influencing and how many pieces of content they've seen it through our advertising. And so that has been very effective. But that's on Adobe, right? And they have a very recognizable brand. And so that's more or less what you're going up against is educating during that one year period, as well as selling them on why they should switch to you. And so I think that's more or less, I guess the caution I would throw out with ABM is. It works. You just have to have the right expectations to go along with it.

Eric Dickmann:

Hey, it's Eric here and we'll be right back to the podcast. But first, are you ready to grow, scale, and take your marketing to the next level? If so, The Five Echelon Group's Virtual CMO consulting service may be a great fit for you. We can help build a strategic marketing plan for your business and manage its execution, step-by-step. We'll focus on areas like how to attract more leads. How to create compelling messaging that resonates with your ideal customers. How to strategically package and position your products and services. How to increase lead conversion, improve your margins, and scale your business. To find out more about our consulting offerings and schedule a consultation, go to fiveechelon.com and click on Services. Now back to the podcast. You're so right too about recognizable brands, you know they have a distinct advantage because you don't sort of have to sell them or educate them on the brand itself. They can jump into a little bit more about some of the value that their products are creating or offering. But if you're an unknown brand, you sorta have to establish that brand presence as well, which does take some time.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. Yeah, a lot of time.

Eric Dickmann:

So when you get new customers and especially customers that may have already engaged on some sort of a Google strategy, maybe they're doing some PPC or maybe they're doing Facebook ads or whatnot. What are some common mistakes that you see people making? I know people can spend a ton of money on Google very quickly if they're not careful. So what do you see as people making, you know, just little simple mistakes that are pretty common across clients?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. You know, I would say probably the most common mistake are people accepting the changes Google is recommending.

Eric Dickmann:

Oh, really?

Saunder Schroeder:

So, I mean, Google wants you to spend more and more money, right? That's what parents send advised by. And so, and not saying not all their recommendations are bad. So you know, I would say that's one of them. And I think that ultimately ties to end to end tracking and just understanding what keywords are actually converting. And so whether you're using you know, Salesforce as your CRM or HubSpot or Zoho, you know, whoever it might be. Just making sure you have the right tracking in place to really understand where your SQLs, SALs, Ops, and ultimately close deals are actually coming from. You know to me that's usually what a lot of companies are missing. They're typically tracking like their MQLs, but you know that's kind of it in platform. And so, you know, Google is actually done a great job, similar to what Facebook has done of being able to optimize for conversion events within your CRM. And so I think that's usually where most people fall short is the tracking and then accepting changes or maybe, you know, going a shotgun approach for too long, instead of optimizing, you know, more snipering in on the ones that are performing. So probably it's probably those three things.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah, campaigns can just sort of sit on autopilot for a while. It keeps spending money without really ever taking the time to go back and seeing what's working. What's not which ones can you get rid of? Which ones are maybe, should you put some more money behind? And when you talk about tracking. Uh, you know, one of the things that I've seen is that, you know, people will spend money on certain keywords and then they will, they will take them to some generic page. They won't have created good landing page content that really helps, you know, convert that lead once they get it. Do you see this as a big problem as well?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think a lot of people would just take their leads to a homepage, right? Which typically is more like a branded page versus like a solution page or you know, and so yeah, I think that's a huge missed opportunity I think. You know we're not seeing it as much now as we were like seven years ago, and I think there's just been a lot of good solutions. You know, you have Unbounced, you have Squarespace, you have a lot of just tools now that you can use to easily populate a landing page. HubSpot does it. You know, Salesforce has some ways you can do it. And so, yeah, I think, and it still is a very big pain point because a lot of companies, especially newer companies you know, don't have the time, right? To create a landing page. And so they just say, well our homepage is good enough, so we'll just send them there. And I can resonate with that. I mean, it's hard to prioritize everything and you know, I think sometimes you definitely need to get to the 80% completed before turning things on.

Eric Dickmann:

Have you seen better success with some of the tools? Like I know Facebook offers you know lead capture right within the ad itself. So you don't have to push people to a landing page with some of their lead forms. Do you recommend that people do that? Is that shown to be more effective because it's less friction or do you then lose the ability to really drive people to your website and then have them explore around some more.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, great question. You know, for companies that may have, it tends to work better I guess, for B2C where they're looking for like a lower cost per lead. I mean everyone wants a low cost per lead. It's great at generating quantity and tends to not generate quality. And one way we've been able to make it work for ourselves is through eBooks and for our clients. And so it's an easy way for someone to download an eBook right through the app, instead of having to go to the landing page, and then you can just use, you know like Zapier that connects to your CRM or marketing automation software that just sends it directly to them. And then you have all their info that way. And so that tends to have worked the best. Now, when they first introduced it six years ago. I mean it was an amazing tool and we were seeing great results. I just think maybe it comes back to that privacy or trust. We're not seeing it be as effective as we were when it first came out. So.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah. I can believe that. I mean privacy is definitely in people's minds, it's in conversation daily in the news. And I do think people have looked at it. I mean it's pretty typical for businesses when they have these forms, right? That people are using kind of dummy email addresses because they don't want to give away their most cherished email address, right? To some company. And I think even in the next Apple update, they're going to make that even easier to create sort of unlimited sort of random addresses so that you don't actually have to give away some of your information. So marketers have to work around that, but it just makes a little it a little harder to tie things together sometimes.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yep. I agree with all of that.

Eric Dickmann:

Yeah, privacy is here to stay. It's not something that's going to go away tomorrow. And you know, you talked earlier a little bit about content types and this creator economy that we're in right now, have you really seen an impact too, in the use of video in advertising? Where does that sort of fit in with what people are doing today?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. I would say video is definitely the preferred content. So yeah. I mean it's huge. And you know, we're seeing with a lot of our clients across every industry. B2B, B2C, e-commerce B2C lead gen that user generated content is what performs well. And I think it needs to be organic. I think going back to just that trust. People don't want like a full production, like you've brought in your customers or clients, you know, and you're doing a documentary, interview, kind of you know, mini doc, whatever you want to call it. Where it just feels like almost like tacky and of course, they're going to say positive things. It's a lot better when you can incorporate other members of your team that are at stuff that's like, I see X wrap or a customer service wrap, or something that's actually interacting or engaging or an account manager with your customer client and just keeping it organic or you know if it's more B2C, then it's actually showing like an unboxing or you know, a try-on, or things like that. But I think almost like bad video quality, it's not bad, but you know, just like your front camera versus your rear camera, right? Like I think just showing, making it just look authentic and real is what is really working right now. I think people are just kind of done with the big video productions in there. Don't get me wrong. I guess there's a time and a space for it. They just tend to not perform as well, and they're way more expensive to produce. And so I think a lot of people tend to get intimidated by video because they see these, you know big dollar signs productions. I think most people like jump to like a commercial or Super Bowl or you know, whatever it is versus yeah just keep it simple, film on an iPhone. It doesn't have to be like a DSLR, I mean and you know, there is a time and a place for it.

Eric Dickmann:

We all forget you know that these cameras have gotten so incredibly good in our phones. You know that the quality of video that comes out of them is the equivalent to what used to be a production quality video just a couple of years ago. So yeah, you're really not taking that much of a step backwards, but there is something much more authentic about it. And, you know, I guess the final area that I wanted to really get your thoughts on was around that same topic of video. How should businesses view YouTube and being able to run videos or advertisements on YouTube as pre-roll videos or insertions in the middle of other content? How do you view YouTube as a platform?

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. YouTube is huge and we've seen a big uptake the last, I'd say probably two or three years. That's just becoming a great place for long form content. I mean, you have at least this up and coming generation.You know, I think more my generation is using it for how to fix things in the house or you know things like And I think we also subscribed to other hobbies and things as well. Um, but we kind of have this rising with TikTok and Snapchat, and even Instagram, just very like short form content. Very quick to the 0.6 seconds to 30 seconds.YouTube is where people are going to really like sit down and consume lengths of a video. I don't know the stats of like, what's that the average duration of someone who goes to YouTube, but you know, I would anticipate if someone's casually going, it's probably a couple hours. And so getting your video in front of them is very beneficial. And I think just a good way to stay top of mind. I think retargeting is a great place to start and see how it performs. And then as you start to see more and more success with different video there. I think that's when you start to create more of your targeted pre-roll ads and things like that.

Eric Dickmann:

We know as we've discussed all of these things today, I'm sure if you are a business owner that really hasn't done much of this at all, you listen to all the different things that you could do, whether it's getting on G2 crowd or doing something on YouTube or PPC or Facebook ads. And your mind starts to melt, right? You know, there's a lot of things that you have to not only learn, but spend money on. And that's why I'm such a big fan of bringing in experts, people who really know what they're doing to say, Hey, you know, just tell us what your budget restrictions are, we'll put together a plan because we know what works and we can help you execute it. And I know that's part of what you guys do at Disruptive. So I would love it if you could just give the audience a little bit of an overview of the company and what you guys can do for businesses.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, great. Yeah so Disruptive Advertising. is about a 160-person agency. We have about 500 clients, um, and, and typically our average client spends about 30 grand a month, but we tend to work with clients who are spending 5k up, and the services we offer, we started as a Google paid agency. Um, We're one of Google's top agencies, top 10 agencies, I guess is what we can say there. And then you know, we've since then grown to a lot of other paid channels, so all the paid social channels. And then we also do conversion rate optimization, landing page testing, and email marketing. So once we're getting leads in the door, making sure we're nurturing them and getting them to be customers or once they become customers, making sure we're helping through the onboarding program there. So yeah, that's Disruptive Advertising. Our mission is to grow together and you know, to us that means, you know, hopefully out of the gate showing some great business results, but evolving their relationship to actually being partners and almost being a part of your team. And we like to visit our clients and have working sessions and like I said, help on things that we actually don't provide as a service, but that helps you be a better business and get the customers you're looking to get.

Eric Dickmann:

I love that. And where can they find you online.

Saunder Schroeder:

Um, so you can find us at disruptiveadvertising.com. You can find me. ,You can email me if you have any questions or thoughts, [email protected] then all social media is Disruptive Ads. So you can find us there as well.

Eric Dickmann:

Perfect. And I'll make sure that we all have all that stuff linked in the show notes. But again, I think this is so important. Advertising is a critical aspect of a marketing strategy, and you can spend a lot of money experimenting on your own or you can bring in the professionals who can really help you put that money to work in the most effective way. And so I'm such a huge advocate of bringing in those professionals. Sure. It's going to cost you a little bit of money, but you're going to save a lot too because it's a big learning curve. There's a lot that you have to know to make this successful.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah. We've been through a lot of the pain and learnings, and growth, you know with a lot of different clients. And so I think there's definitely benefits in working with an agency that aligns with your goals.

Eric Dickmann:

That's great. Saunder, I really appreciate you being a guest on the show today, it's been a fascinating discussion. There's certainly a lot to talk about in this realm. So I appreciate you coming on the show today to talk about it.

Saunder Schroeder:

Yeah, thanks so much. It was great chatting and you know, thinking through where marketing's going and you know, B2B and everything else.

Eric Dickmann:

Perfect. Thanks. We'll talk to you again soon. Thank you for joining us on this episode of The Virtual CMO podcast. For more episodes, go to fiveechelon.com/podcast to subscribe through your podcast player of choice. And if you'd like to develop consistent lead flow and a highly effective marketing strategy, visit fiveechelon.com to learn more about our Virtual CMO consulting services.