Martin Brath has gained his marketing experience while working in B2B SaaS advertising, his expertise lies in enterprise level Software marketing, demand generation and ABM. He is currently working as a growth marketing freelancer for B2B SaaS clients.
You can find him on LinkedIn here.
Why did you choose a career in marketing, how did you start?
I’ve always wanted to be able to make business work, to take an idea and make it a commercial success. Career-wise that essentially boiled down to moving into sales or marketing. It turned out to be marketing. I started off by dabbling with online campaigns, setting up ads for friends, until I eventually got a job as a full-time marketer.
Tell us a bit about your professional path until now.
My professional career started in corporations, from which I took a pay cut to be able to work for a B2B marketing agency, which was aiding some of the fastest-growing tech companies in Europe. After a few years, I moved on towards building something on my own, first in a freelance capacity, edging towards building a marketing agency.
What advice do you wish you got when you started your career in marketing?
That years of experience do not necessarily translate into knowledge, so feel free to challenge conventions of even those senior to you. If you think that something does not make sense to do (just because it has always been done so) then say it. If the answers don’t satisfy you, defend your point further. There are quite a few outdated methods used in B2B marketing that either make sense only in a B2C context or make little sense in any context.
Top 3 learnings in your marketing career that brought the most value?
1. Best practices are important but are not enough if you want to stand out as a company
Mastering the best practices is a must, but that’s not the end of the game. Best practices are followed by almost everyone and if everyone does it then they’ll not be enough to excel in standing out and getting attention.
2. Demand generation is important
Generate your own audience. Until you can create your own demand you tread on borrowed land, and your source of new customers is at the mercy of the marketing channels you use.
3. Own a category
It’s a cliché, but it’s true. While you fight against a clear market leader you will be at a large disadvantage, since they’ll be perceived as the better product, whether or not that is true. If you’re not in the top 3 then you need to look for space where you could be in the top. If there’s no clear market leader then your goal should be to be perceived as one. If you can’t own the category then at least own a key pain of your audience.
One result you are really proud of as a marketeer
My first B2B client I got to lead on my own in the agency. The agreement was for collaboration for a few months, to jump-start their lead generation mechanism and then hand it over to their in-house team. The results of the campaigns were able to provide a proof of concept, which prompted them to stick with us, which resulted in years of cooperation, which, also personally, was very enjoyable.
What’s one important B2B marketing trend that will gain popularity in 2021, in your opinion?
Account-based marketing and demand generation.
Which is the strongest social media channel in 2021, and why?
For B2B – LinkedIn, in both organic and paid. It’s not even close. The fact that you can really narrow in and target specific companies, then filter further for e.g. job titles makes it a very powerful tool to communicate to people fitting your ideal customer profile. The fact that you can pay per ad clicked (in contrast to Facebook’s CPM bidding) also allows to communicate without necessarily paying for it. The downside is its high cost, and the low volume of impressions when the CPC is attempted to be kept low.
What would you recommend to businesses that want to grow in 2021? What about the tactics they should avoid?
This is dependent on the acquisition channels the company has running. How you can grow as a company (in whatever stage you find yourself) has three parts – optimize the things that are working, cut out the things that are not working, do new things that will lead to acquiring customers.
If you are doing nothing to acquire customers then the sequence should look as follows (for some companies the order might be different or some points might not apply) – capture demand through pull channels, capture demand through social media, start account-based marketing to support the outbound sales efforts, start demand generation efforts.
Start the sequence correctly, get the momentum going and capture existing demand. That’s the lower hanging fruit, they convert faster; but demand generation is where your options become limitless, and you can see the coveted hockey-stick growth. It’s also where most marketers fail.
Can you name one digital marketing tactic that you find overrated?
High funnel lead generation, the hunt for marketing qualified leads for the sake of lead quantity. I see it all the time and I’ve done my share of it throughout my career. I’ve yet to see it work well.