Baby Steps by Big People

We now realise that the future is all social and digital, and that future is now!

Marketing can no longer be a catch-all, and it probably never should have been treated that way.  We have to put relevant content in front of the right people at the right time, as well as engage them about their own problems, rather than simply promoting ourselves.

But what is the right content, who are the right people, and when is the right time? We knew we needed a new marketing strategy, but we also knew that we knew diddly squat about any of this.

Having identified the problem, we realised that the problem was bigger than us, and that we couldn’t solve it on our own. One-tip guys, when you can’t do it on your own, ask for help!

We did our research, went out to the market to identify the experts we could speak to, who could work with us and show us the way to transform our marketing and messaging.

Agencies big and small came and pitched over several months. What a minefield of information. Every “expert” had an opinion, and rarely were two the same, and all the time we are trying to get our heads around the source of truth in this emerging and complex space. Fortunately we hit pay dirt when we were introduced to Anthony Reed and his team at Pepper Marketing. Pepper just seemed to gel with us. They understood our challenge, our appetite to get it right and a willingness to be absolutely collaborative in the process. We fist pumped in triumph at finding the ideal partner for us, and successfully jumping over the first hurdle on this journey.

We also decided that our internal marketing talent wasn’t going to cut it in our new world of social and digital marketing so we quickly cut those ties.

Turns out, as we were so focused on the first hurdle, we missed the root sticking out of the ground and tripped when we realised that we had to persuade our leadership team to undergo this massive transformation with us.

How do you convince non-marketing people that marketing is a necessity in running a successful business, and that their participation and contribution is critical? Our technical leaders are not marketers, and they don’t necessarily see the full value of marketing, but we needed to bring them along on the journey, as they were going to be the main contributors to the outcome, as thought leaders and brand ambassadors.

Most IT companies cringe away from having multiple brand ambassadors, as they are scared that if they leave, they’ll take their brand with them. We chose the path less trodden.

We want to be thought leaders in our industry. We have the most skilled consultants and practice managers, who are passionate about what they do. Why shouldn’t we brandish them to the world to help get the messaging out there.

Explaining the massive transformation in our thinking, and the reasoning behind it, our excitement became contagious as slowly the whole office buzzed with the thought of new content, more exposure, and a fresh start in marketing, where efforts should be able to be directly linked to outcomes (refreshing concept).

As the road grew wider and more people joined in, we hired a freelance IT journalist to help create content to support our new marketing efforts. Let’s face it, most techo’s can’t write great content. They have great ideas and working with a professional IT writer we started putting content together. The decision not to burden our team with the writing responsibility was a massive win. Let them stay focused on generating revenue and running their teams. Engaging each of them for an hour each week with our writer was the smart money.

Words like blogs, videos, whitepapers, articles, webinars, and info graphics were being shouted out, as we crammed into this car and let it take us further on our journey.

Of course, eventually, we would need someone in-house to manage all this external help, and ensure that the message is consistent and relevant across all the marketing efforts. Since we were future thinkers now, we knew that our staff would be too busy upholding the quality of our service to focus their efforts on marketing.

At the risk of sounding older than I am, we knew that fuddy duddies like us would get nowhere with social and digital marketing. We needed some Gen-Y blood; some digital natives that live and breathe all things Internet.

Couple the native thing with fresh, enthusiastic minds that soak up information like a sponge, and we get University Marketing graduates! Unsure with how to go about finding these grads, we stumbled upon a student version of Seek, called GradConnect.

Posting a job listing online, vetting through resumes, suffering through interviews, and reading reports we asked the candidates to prepare on our website and how they would improve it, eventually led us to two bright, enthusiastic marketing graduates that are going to become so much more than they ever imagined.

So the major pieces of the puzzle are now in place:

  1. New vibrant marketing team who have social and digital running through their veins
  2. A marketing agency specializing in social and digital who we can work with us to develop the over-arching strategy, assist us with a marketing automation platform and develop campaigns
  3. A freelance content writer who can work with our leaders to produce quality content
  4. Designer, video production and web developer on hand to assist with the creative stuff for future campaigns
  5. A leadership team fully embracing the transformation
  6. And two awesome fresh marketing graduates full of enthusiasm & ideas

Although we held back posting content until we had a strategy in place (really helps with the relevancy thing), we had to share the beginning of our journey – our origin story. Journey with us over the next several months, as we learn how to make our small tech business a force to be reckoned with.

Let the games begin.