SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Fiona Stevens

demio saas breakthrough featuring fiona stevensAbout Fiona Stevens:

Fiona Stevens is the Head of Marketing at LoyaltyLion, a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform for fast-growth ecommerce merchants.

She has over ten years’ experience in Marketing, having worked in-house and agency side across functions including PR, SEO and content.

She has specialised in loyalty for retail and ecommerce brands for the past five years.

 


Show Notes:
02:50
Helping Businesses Use Their Loyalty Data To Increase Customer Engagement And Retention
"We look at it slightly differently now and a loyalty program is about more than points and rewards. It's about driving engagement with customers in between purchases. So an e-commerce loyalty program now should look at incentivizing your program members, not just to purchase, but also to leave reviews, to refer their friends and family, to follow you on social media. So it's much less about just rewarding a purchase now, and much more about creating a community of customers that are actually really helping you get more customers and come back and repeat purchase with you all the time."
04:40
Engagement Will Become An Even Bigger Challenge For Ecommerce Brands
08:20
The Ecommerce Espresso Webinar Series Initiative
"I just thought we need to do something different here. We can't just do more of these hour long presentations (...) the idea was really just to combat that webinar fatigue with shorter snappier interview style webinars, that would become a regular fixture in somebody's diary, but wouldn't take up an awful lot of their time. You know, you can even listen to it on-demand fast-forward and they'll only take up a few minutes and we really wanted to create something that people would just come back to again and again. It's actually evolved a little bit in the last few weeks. We've just launched the double espresso where we have a speaker from a partner, but also a speaker from a client. And we interviewed both at the same time."
10:25
Webinar Shared-Promotion And On-Demand Recordings
"Where we see more success is actually the on-demand recordings afterwards. So we've created a playlist on YouTube as well. So hopefully people kind of go there to find one and then ended up going down a little bit of a rabbit hole watching them and seeing all the different episodes as well. But yeah, the social promotion of those on-demand recordings is where we're seeing a good deal of traction at the moment."
11:10
The Right Metrics For Educational Pieces Of Content
13:25
The Role Of Content Champion
"As a marketing team, you're fully aware of how much effort is going into that, that content and the creation of it. And launch day comes and you send out your email and you post it on social and then that's it, you've put all this work into this amazing content and you shout about it once. And then that's really all that happens to it. Obviously it might go into a future newsletter, bits and pieces, but it just, I felt that it wasn't having the full impact across the business that it could have. (...) we've become very proud of the level of content that we're actually producing. It's based on data and research, it's good stuff. So I really wanted to look at how we could get the rest of the business using that, to improve their conversations as well. So the idea now is that whoever is creating the content is also responsible for getting it to work hard in other teams. So it's up to them to brief a content champion from each team and then to hold them accountable for the correct and the frequent use of that content. Just trying to get the materials that we're making to have a little bit more impact."
15:05
Creating Content Feedback Loops Within Departments
17:45
Content Distribution The Organic Way
18:40
Leveraging Unique Pieces Of Content Like Score Sheets
20:31
Working Of A Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Motto
"We tend to work on a bit of a MVP motto, so we have an idea and we want to get out there. The Dev team isn't always, doesn't always have the capacity to help us get out there in the most beautiful or interactive way. So it's about finding ways to get, get something live and make an impact until you can make it a bit more beautiful."
21:05
Planning Which Content Tests And Experiments To Implement
23:25
Just Keep Testing, Improving And Having The Ideas
26:20
Innovating To Fight Webinar Fatigue: Ask-Me-Anything Sessions
"We've already kind of touched on, but it is webinar fatigue. Physical events, won't be coming back for a good few months yet. And as an industry, everybody needs to innovate, find new ways to run these sessions so that they stay interesting and they stay relevant. And I really hope that marketers are not going to be, and myself included. I hope we're not going to be lazy about this because the more bad webinars that are out there, the more we all loose our audiences. And I think it's such a great opportunity to think outside the box. So, as I said, we just tried these ask me anything sessions in the last few weeks. And the engagement from our customers was huge people, submitting questions ahead of time, that kind of thing. It was a new format for us, but it really was, and I'm concerned, but I'm also really intrigued to see what other kinds of formats we see come out this year."
29:00
The Thing You Need To Remember When Marketing To Marketers
"Not everybody's in the same boat, but for lots of them, we're marketing to marketers. So what we really need to remember to do, and we forget all the time is to look at ourselves, what emails do we open? Which subject lines work for us? What do we enjoy in a webinar? You know, it's easy to forget to put yourself in the customer's shoes, which is so ironic for us particularly because our customers are actually the same people as us."
30:00
Ligthning Questions
Transcript:

DA (02:43):
Hey Fiona, thanks so much for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. How are you doing today?

FS (02:49):
I'm really good, thanks. Thanks so much for having me.

DA (02:50):
Yeah, I'm super excited to have you and LoyaltyLion on the show today. We have a lot of talk about a lot of cool topics that I'm excited to dig into, but before we do that, why don't you explain a bit about the company LoyaltyLion when it was founded, who your customers are and what you're all are doing uniquely in the marketplace?

FS (03:09):
Yeah, absolutely. LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty engagement platform. We were officially founded in 2014 and our first customer was onboard on platform around 2015. Today we've grown to over 6,000 stores using us. So some really rapid growth in the last couple of years. We work with fast growth e-commerce merchants who are operating on platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. So we help them take their loyalty data and use it to increase customer engagement and retention, but also to help make sure that their loyalty programs aren't just sort of an add-on, but helping them get more out of their other marketing channels and tools as well.

DA (03:47):
I'd like to just get a better understanding of just loyalty programs in general, for those of our listeners who are not in e-commerce or doing any type of program like this, like what would be the goal? What would be the point of having a loyalty program in their SaaS product or their e-commerce store I should say.

FS (04:00):
Traditionally, a loyalty program is just points and rewards. So a customer makes a purchase, you award points and they redeem it for a discount. We look at it slightly differently now and a loyalty program is about more than points and rewards. It's about driving engagement with customers in between purchases. So an e-commerce loyalty program now should look at incentivizing your program members, not just to purchase, but also to leave reviews, to refer their friends and family, to follow you on social media. So it's much less about just rewarding a purchase now, and much more about creating a community of customers that are actually really helping you get more customers and come back and repeat purchase with you all the time.

DA (04:39):
I love that. That makes a lot of sense. Obviously, building that engagement, building that loyalty with your brands, a lot of brand community building there. I love that. And when did you actually join the LoyaltyLion team?

FS (04:50):
It's exactly pretty much three years ago today, which is kind of terrifying and amazing, the company and the marketing team in particular kind of changed beyond recognition in that time.

DA (05:00):
That's incredible. Well, congratulations on the anniversary there. When you joined, was there marketing already going or were you guys kind of just trying to figure out that product-market fit?

FS (05:10):
There wasn't really anything happening. There were some partnerships with other Shopify technology partners and things, but there was nothing in the way of content, CRM, email strategy. It was building it from the ground up really.

DA (05:24):
And when you were coming in, did you have to go through that process of trying to figure out who the proper target market was, the ICP, the persona, did you have to build that stuff out? And how have you developed that over time? You talk about e-commerce stores themselves, but how did you guys dial in, what was that proper ICP?

FS (05:41):
I think that's actually one of the most interesting things about my role within LoyaltyLion cause actually our customer hasn't really changed that much. I think the great thing about the space we operate in is that the market just grows more and more every day. So barriers to entry are getting lower and lower in ecommerce. The market just keeps on growing, particularly with COVID sort of making e-commerce boom in the last year. But the thing is that retention and engagement is a huge challenge regardless of how big or well-known your store is. And it's a problem that's getting more and more serious as more and more competition hits the market. And also people like Amazon can do things like next day delivery that is an average struggle to compete with. So sorry, long story short ideal customer profile has changed slightly as we've added a bit more sophistication to our product. And also as the platforms that we integrate with like Shopify and Shopify Plus have gotten more sophisticated, but we've really just been improving and iterating on where we started rather than changing direction and our ideal customer, we learn more and more about them all the time. And as the space evolves and there are more tools available, more tactics, more channels and everything, we learn with our merchants. But in fact, our actual ideal customer hasn't really changed that much since I joined.

DA (06:54):
Is there ever any fear that the market continues to grow so much that it like flattens the competition in the e-commerce space because as more and more e-commerce sellers come in, is there any fear that the whole like macro environment for e-commerce sellers will drastically change and you're going to have to pivot and adapt to that?

FS (07:14):
I mean, it's, it's a huge challenge for any e-commerce brand to find something unique. And to find their point of differentiation, we're seeing a lot of brands do that in really interesting ways now. If the last 12 months or anything to go by, it's just going to keep on and on growing. And that just means that retention will become an even bigger challenge for people. I think Forbes said that they saw something like 10 years e-commerce growth in three months in 2020. So it might not have been 10 years, I can't remember the exact number, but it was high.

DA (07:47):
Listen, we're in webinar, you know, video communication space too. We saw an incredible tailwind in 2020, all like your industry too saw a jump light years ahead, right in the industry. I just also have this question to myself, looking at the marketplace. Like, do you ever hit a point of saturation where things change. But to your point, what you're saying is it's not about maybe changing the macro part of the market. It's more about how do we find creativity and uniqueness with the brands and products that are coming out there. So it's just about continuing to help these sellers find unique ways to keep retention, keep their customers happy, create these great brands, which makes a lot of sense. And from a marketing point of view, I know you've been running some webinars, obviously a topic we love to talk about at Demio being webinar platform ourselves. And I think this is awesome. You guys run a initiative called the Ecommerce Espresso Webinar, loved the idea behind this, very creative, just like we were talking about. Why did you guys create a series of webinars? And why did you look at creating them, quote unquote, shorter than your coffee break?

FS (08:48):
As you know, this actually goes back to kind of beginning of last year. I think I got on that January bandwagon of wanting to sign up to lots of webinars and carve out time for learning and all of that. And I just got bored really quickly with the webinars that I was going to. They were all just presentations. They were all an hour long. And I just, I know sure, a lot of other people in the space were thinking the same thing, but I just thought we need to do something different here. We can't just do more of these hour long presentations. And that's where the idea came from. Really, I can't take credit for the e-commerce espresso name. I think that was one of my team, but the idea was really just to combat that webinar fatigue with shorter snappier interview style webinars, that would become a regular fixture in somebody's diary, but wouldn't take up an awful lot of their time. You know, you can even listen to it on-demand fast-forward and they'll only take up a few minutes and we really wanted to create something that people would just come back to again and again. It's actually evolved a little bit in the last few weeks. We've just launched the double espresso where we have a speaker from a partner, but also a speaker from a client. And we interviewed both at the same time. So it's nice to see it moving a bit forwards as well.

DA (09:58):
I love the idea. One, I think it goes back to just what we were talking about, the creativity like overall strategy doesn't have to change. Like the mechanisms of strategy in marketplaces, don't have to change. It's a webinar, but the creativity came in. How do we give digestible information that our audience has the time to listen to, will digest, will like, builds that brand awareness and loyalty exactly what you guys are doing. So I love the idea and I'll have to sign up for a double espresso webinar. That sounds so cool. To see the format you guys are doing. As far as the channel like this, how have you decided to promote it? Is there any specific channels that you use to drive engaged registrants throughout?

FS (10:36):
Because we always have a guest speaker from a partner, it's a shared promotion really. They invite their customer base as well as us inviting ours. So that helps us get us out there. But typically we do email and social media, but funnily enough, where we see more success is actually the on-demand recordings afterwards. So we've created a playlist on YouTube as well. So hopefully people kind of go there to find one and then ended up going down a little bit of a rabbit hole watching them and seeing all the different episodes as well. But yeah, the social promotion of those on-demand recordings is where we're seeing a good deal of traction at the moment.

DA (11:09):
That's amazing. That's amazing. And shameless plug for Demio's on-demand webinars just throwing it in there. Well, what about results? So, you know, you can do these different content channels. You can just create content all day, but it's also about the data. How are you actually engaging these customers? So you talked about getting them on social. How are you tracking the metrics, its always a tough part with webinars, right? Like what are the metrics that matter? How are you seeing growth from them? Are you tracking them from registrants to sign up of the product or you just tracking like total views of the webinars themselves?

FS (11:41):
Is this something I talk about quite a lot with my team actually, because each webinar has a slightly different goal and actually the purpose of E-commerce Espresso, isn't so much to get people through to demos of the LoyaltyLion platform or signups. It's more about the educational piece and actually trying to provide some really useful information. So where typically I would jump straight to the, well, how many good conversations did we get off the back of these webinars, with this one actually is a little more the vanity metrics. You know, we want to know how many signups we got. We want to know how many, as exactly as you say, how many views the webinars have had. And also how many times are the people who signed up, come back to the site and looked at the blog, found another bit of content that's helpful. If we send them a follow up email, have they opened that. It's those kinds of things. It's more the ongoing education and engagement that I'm interested for this one. And also a conversation I've had a few times with the team is don't be upset if people don't dial in on the day, you know, they know they can get it on-demand now and they know they can get it from a YouTube playlist or something. So that's not the right thing to hang your hat on anymore.

DA (12:50):
Yeah. I love that. We had a great conversation, I believe maybe even near the end of 2019 with Kristen Bryant from Wistia who really just talked about their drive for brand affinity and the shows that they're creating. And I think it's totally in line with exactly what you're saying, right? It's about views, just getting brand awareness out there, getting brand affinity, people liking your brand. You're a knowledgeable brand source. And I think it's a great, great initiative. It's something that we want to do as well. And it doesn't have direct tie into SQLs, MQLs, but it does create that brand awareness. Now that's, that's kinda how I view content overall is I see content as that ability to build brand affinity. And continuing that line of conversation here just about content initiatives, you guys recently brought in the role of a content champion. What does that role entail and how do you implement someone like that?

FS (13:41):
Yeah, this is a bit of a pet project of mine recently because I got very frustrated over time and not just at LoyaltyLion and in previous roles as well, of marketing on the content side, operating and slightly too much of a silo. So you're running these amazing campaigns. You're putting together these enormous eBooks, white papers often supported by webinars, et cetera. And as a marketing team, you're fully aware of how much effort is going into that, that content and the creation of it. And you, you know, launch day comes and you send out your email and you post it on social and then that's it, you know, you've put all this work into this amazing content and you shout about it once. And then that's really all that happens to it. You know, obviously it might go into a future newsletter, bits and pieces, but it just, I felt that it wasn't having the full impact across the business that it could have. Over the past two years since we hired someone into the team to focus specifically on content, you know, we've become very proud of the level of content that we're actually producing.

FS (14:38):
It's based on data and research, you know, it's good stuff. So I really wanted to look at how we could get the rest of the business using that, to improve their conversations as well. So the idea now is that whoever is creating the content is also responsible for getting it to work hard in other teams. So it's up to them to brief a content champion from each team and then to hold them accountable for the correct and the frequent use of that content. Just trying to get the materials that we're making to have a little bit more impact.

DA (15:09):
Let's get a little bit more detailed on that, cause it it's a great idea. I just want to know how this actually works. Give me an example of someone in a content or your content manager, I guess, is kind of their role and how they work with the content champion. And let's say sales.

FS (15:23):
Yes. So for example, we recently run while it's still running really, our Accelerate 2021 campaign, which is three weekly eBooks. And then an ask me anything session per week with 11 of our different technology partners. As part of that very beginning campaign brief, a content manager would have put together a sort of publicly facing document that said, this is what's coming. This is the date you can expect it. And this is what will be included. These are the different assets, depending on the campaign. It might also have, this is our message around it. This is why it's relevant to loyalty. This is why it's important for people with loyalty programs. That would have then been briefed into the content champion. So there's a good meeting rhythm, so they know what's coming and they know exactly what they're expected to do with it. And then there's a kind of follow-up process where the content manager says, and have you done that and does a bit of a spot check of how the messaging is being used and everything as well. So it's, it's turning into a full feedback loop and it also allows us to hear from the sales team exactly what's working and what's not working from that perspective as well. And what kind of content they would like us to create.

DA (16:32):
Well, that was super great. I love when we start creating, you know, feedback loops within departments like interdepartment feedback loops, it's so helpful. So to get this right, the content champion in sales disseminates information, that's handed off from the content manager into their different team members, let's say the different salespeople in sales. And then they're trying to find a way to track and review how much of that messaging is spread and then the results and feedback from that along the way.

FS (17:00):
Exactly.

DA (17:01):
I love that. That's super helpful. Well, that's a really cool idea. I think we've done that, you know, typically we're just our marketing director is just dropping off information to like our support team. So if people are asking in support or you know, the customer account management they can talk about it, but we've never done anything where like there's actual roles across the board where everyone can talk about that. So I love that idea for interdepartment kind of sharing their of information. That's fantastic.

FS (17:25):
It kind of came from, it was a double, a double whammy really. We found that a, we were frustrated that people weren't aware of what we were doing, but then on the other hand, we also had people just coming to us and asking for things all the time and we'd be saying, but we have that. It exists. You just don't know about it yet. So it was kind of yea, trying to bridge that ready.

DA (17:45):
Yeah. It's always great. When you have those pain points and then you find like that internal process to do it. Now for distribution itself, what are you guys typically doing? What does that content manager typically doing with a lot of these big pieces? Are you running advertising to new pieces or are you just putting it up on the blog, driving organic and SEO? Like, I'm always curious on people's distribution strategies.

FS (18:05):
We mostly focus on the organic side of things to be completely honest. We do put a little bit of paid advertising forward, but for us it's mainly about either good relationships with our partners and encouraging partners and influencers to share the content or it's getting out that to our email list. We've got a very good database and quite an engaged one.

DA (18:28):
That's fantastic. Do you guys do that on a standard cadence or is it just like a monthly or bimonthly newsletter?

FS (18:33):
We have a monthly newsletter, which is kind of tweaked customer versus prospect. So hopefully people get the stuff that is most relevant to them, but then the campaign is almost always done as standalone.

DA (18:44):
Fantastic. That's great. Super helpful. Now, I know you also created a unique piece of content called the Customer Retention Score Sheet. Something you have gated on your website. Tell us a little bit about this and why you decided to create this experiment.

FS (18:59):
Yeah, this is, and again, I won't take the credit entirely for this idea. This is something that I saw somebody else doing in a complete different arena and thought it was really nice. You know, people love to be able to gauge themselves. If you think back to when you were a kid and you saw a quiz in a magazine and it spits out your fitness score at the end or the kind of flowchart journey you can go on. There's some really, really cool ideas like that around. And so all our customer retention score sheet is, is it's a downloadable Google sheets or Excel doc, we have both, where an e-commerce merchant essentially takes a quiz and gets given a score and then they can see how their retention strategy stacks up. It also, you can see where you said yes. And where you said no.

FS (19:43):
And it almost gives you a bit of a, to do list or a roadmap going forward with your loyalty program as well. Hopefully it's just something a bit different. It's available on our website, but we actually see the best engagement when we use it after a webinar or after a piece of content as a follow up thing. So people tend to come away from a webinar really excited and inspired about their loyalty program, future or current, you know, they've got lots of ideas, but this gives you something tangible, something to immediately ground that excitement and, say, okay, these are the things that I need to do to get this working properly.

DA (20:14):
I think we recently had an episode with Saksham Shardara from Outgrow and they create basically viral quizzes and stuff like that. Have you guys thought about, instead of gating, something like this, where it's a download, like actually just having the interactive quiz right on the website?

FS (20:31):
Definitely. That would be the dream, but we tend to, at moment, we tend to work on a bit of a MVP motto, so we have an idea and we want to get out there. The Dev team isn't always, doesn't always have the capacity to help us get out there in the most beautiful or interactive way. So it's about finding ways to get, get something live and make an impact until you can make it a bit more beautiful.

DA (20:57):
Well, I love that. First of all, I love the minimum MVF minimum viable funnel. Look at Outgrow. I think it's a plug and play system. It was a really great episode to hear on the podcast. Could possibly save your engineers some time as well. But speaking about the minimum viable kind of marketing product or marketing funnel, how do you guys do that? How do you decide on what becomes the minimal experiment to get out there and what type of hypothesis or metrics do you need before you double down into that experiment?

FS (21:27):
A lot of it comes down to the planning, you know, at the beginning of the year, sitting down and working out you know, do you have a leaky funnel? Which part do we need to focus on? What are the tests and experiments we could do there? Do we want to try some new channels? What channels are they, what are the tests and experiments you can do there? And you quite quickly build a picture of where to focus. And then exactly as you say, it's about having a hypothesis, what do you believe the effort and the impact of these activities will be, and then ranking them in that and kind of how much effort is it and what impact do you believe it will have. And then going from there, really. In terms of when to turn something from an MVP into a fully fledged idea, have to make sure you set your KPIs before you start.

FS (22:08):
So for something like the customer retention score sheet, it would be how many people have actually downloaded it. If it's not getting any traction and no one's really doing anything with it. And also it would be if we found that the sales team aren't sharing it, success team aren't sharing it, then it's probably not worth in that format, it's not worth pursuing. However, it could be that just, you only put it in the front of your website and you haven't given it enough of an opportunity. So I guess you also have to set your timelines and you have to maybe have several phases of the experiments, say, okay, we'll try it here. If it doesn't work, this is option two. And this is option three and aggregate the results of all three of those sort of small tests before you make a final decision. I.

DA (22:51):
t's not easy, is it?

FS (22:53):
It's not nice.

DA (22:54):
A lot of variables go into that equation. And I really do like the idea that you're thinking about how is the rest of the company utilizing this content? Because like you said, it's not just siloed in marketing anymore, not just siloed in content because these marketing materials should be used by the sales team. It should be used by anyone that is in touch with the customer. And so that becomes another great kind of metric or KPI for you to understand, like, how is this, how is this experiment working? Is this something that's going to be worth invaluable from a company perspective to invest more time into? So that's incredible. What about over the past three years? I think it's three years you said, since you've been there hard lessons, experiments that didn't work out the way you thought they would, or lessons learned that you found from missed opportunities?

FS (23:42):
Well, I'd say that definitely been some missed opportunities, probably about once a month we try something and it doesn't work. Particularly in the last year, it's been hard to know whether that's because the idea was flawed or whether it's because of external factors like a global pandemic, which is kind of changed the goal posts a little bit. There's definitely, there's been content pieces that we expect it to completely fly that didn't, there's been ad campaigns that we thought really resonate, but didn't really deliver much. All sorts of things like that. And I think the really important thing is to just keep testing, keep improving, keep having the ideas. And in terms of missed opportunities, I felt like that happened all the time purely because we can't execute on every single idea that we have. So what we have is a long list of ideas that we go back to what, you know, if we have some capacity, it's like, okay, let's pick something off the long list. What should we work on next?

DA (24:30):
How do you make that decision?

FS (24:31):
Again, it's effort versus impact most of the time.

DA (24:37):
Do you guys have an actually score card like do you use ICE?

FS (24:39):
A little bit. Yeah. Yeah. And it sometimes it's gut feel, sometimes it's instinct. You just, sometimes you have a feeling that if you don't push ahead with this thing, then someone else will do it before you, which can fuel a little bit fire in your belly sometimes.

DA (24:52):
Definitely can, especially in your competitive marketplace. And I think we have this huge backlog of ideas and experiments too. And it's just like, to your point, there's so many variables to the equation. There's cost, there's impact, there's time and there's other experiments and opportunity cost of missing other experiments. So it's never easy to pick those different decisions and you're right. Sometimes it's just a gut decision on what you think is best.

FS (25:14):
The interesting thing about for almost certainly every, every place I've worked is that marketing will have more ideas thrown at them than any other part of the business. At

DA (25:23):
Every new product.

FS (25:27):
You're right (inaudible) product, but everybody has an idea of what you should be doing, what content you should be creating, what platform you should have tried, how you should be communicating the brand. Everybody has an input and everybody has an idea. So that's where the scoring system and having that long list comes really in handy because you can look at it and say, okay, but there are these 10 things that we actually think would have a greater impact. And it just gives you the ability to kind of prioritize, but also say to people, we really have taken your idea on board, this where it sits in the priority order.

DA (26:00):
Yeah, it does a couple of things, right. It like takes, it makes people feel like their opinion still matters and that they're not just being ignored, but you're also utilizing data and a system to leverage, you know, the right decision. And sometimes like your own personal bias has to be removed from that equation. And you just have to, you know, utilize that. So it always is helpful. And then this is a big one. We kind of talked a little bit earlier, but, you know, are there any challenges or maybe brand new opportunities you're seeing out there in the marketplace as the e-commerce marketplace explodes continually here in 2021?

FS (26:37):
Yeah, I think it's definitely a challenge. As much as an opportunity. I think there are two big things in 2021 that I would consider challenges, but they're also really big opportunities. And the first we've already kind of touched on, but it is webinar fatigue. Physical events, won't be coming back for a good few months yet. And as an industry, everybody needs to innovate, find new ways to run these sessions so that they stay interesting and they stay relevant. And I really hope that marketers are not going to be, and myself included. I hope we're not going to be lazy about this because the more bad webinars that are out there, the more we all loose our audiences. And I think it's such a great opportunity to think outside the box. So, as I said, we just tried these ask me anything sessions in the last few weeks.

FS (27:18):
And the engagement from our customers was huge people, submitting questions ahead of time, that kind of thing. It was a new format for us, but it really was, and I'm concerned, but I'm also really intrigued to see what other kinds of formats we see come out this year. And then I think the second thing is just standing out from the crowd, particularly in SaaS, your content and your emails have to work so hard not to get lost in thousands of other companies stuff. So I'm personally going to be really pushing my team to just be more creative and have more fun. So the campaign that we just ran called Accelerate, it was full of puns and great subject lines, like put your pedal to the metal. Don't let yourself get lapped and things like that. I think there's a real opportunity to start kind of themeing content a bit more and have a bit more fun with it. I think audiences will really welcome that.

DA (28:07):
It takes like these hard moments like this when, especially when like the marketplace is so crazy right now in B2B SaaS for you to really dig deep and remember like how fun marketing can be with creativity, like we've done. Our newsletter is like our subject lines are all joke base, like they're marketing jokes. And we really try to think like, how can we be unique and creative through this process? And it does take more time. It's harder, but you know, that also is going to force all the, all of us to uplevel our ability to connect with our audience. And to your point about webinars, I've seen some incredible ones in 2020, people doing all kinds of great engaging activities. I love your ideas. I love that you're bringing on customers to have like customer generated content. You're doing these different, like ask me anythings, this is leveling up the entire playing field. So to your point, it's not boring webinars anymore. It's how can we create engagement? Which for the customers of B2B SaaS companies is great. That's what they need.

FS (29:04):
Yeah. I think it's really important, certainly for, not everybody's in the same boat, but for lots of them, we're marketing to marketers. So what we really need to remember to do, and we forget all the time is to look at ourselves, what emails do we open? Which subject lines work for us? What do we enjoy in a webinar? You know, it's easy to forget to put yourself in the customer's shoes, which is so ironic for us particularly because our customers are actually the same people as us.

DA (29:29):
That's such a good point that that made me laugh. It's so true. It's like we're marketing to us and it's like, we overcomplicate it sometimes, right? Like that's really, that's really funny, but what I want to do now, Fiona, is I want to jump to our lightning round questions just for the sake of time. And I want to ask you five quick questions and you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You ready to get started?

FS (29:51):
Yes, sounds good.

DA (29:52):
All right, let's do this thing. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?

FS (30:01):
Sales alignment. It's never too early to start working with your sales team. Get that going from day one. Is one of the hardest walls to break down once it goes up.

DA (30:10):
Is that a conversation with them is that meetings, is that just doing calls together?

FS (30:14):
I think it can start as simple as just communicate, tell them what you're doing and why it's important, ask them what they're doing and what they need from you. But I think building in sales requirements to your marketing from the very beginning will put you in a much stronger position when it comes to converting leads and things. And you'll have less of a direction change when you suddenly realize that you have to fit in all the sales content and things that you haven't really planned for.

DA (30:38):
I love that. And you've talked a lot about like interdepartment communication here, which is a critical piece of company alignment. And I love that we're talking about it. What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

FS (30:52):
I think that comes back to something we've already talked about, but being comfortable to put something out there that's not 110% perfect. I think as marketers, we are perfectionists. And so you've got to be comfortably uncomfortable with things sometimes. It goes against our nature, but it's a really great skill.

DA (31:09):
And I think it goes back to that point of like the minimum viable funnel, just really being able to say, okay, let's test this before we invest in it heavily. It's hard. Especially I think like for us, we struggled with too, because like we love great design and it's like, you know, sometimes when you're putting stuff out there fast, you don't have the time to design all the way, but you got to get it out there. So I think that's a great answer. What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing or growth?

FS (31:32):
Personally, I am obsessed with the Drift insider community and all of that content. So Drift is that the messenger marketing tool. And they've got this amazing, I don't know, I can't remember what they call it, whether it's an Academy or what, but yeah, just the content on there is amazing. The podcast I've my poor team, I'm sending them literally three or four podcasts to listen to a week that you have to listen to this one. You have to listen to this one. Something I listened to just for inspiration. And I come away with pages and pages of notes every single time.

DA (32:06):
That's amazing. That is you know, Ashley, our director of marketing just showed it to me literally, I think Monday, yesterday or Friday. And I was blown away by everything. And I think something that we're interested in building out ourselves too, I think it's awesome. Great, great example. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

FS (32:24):
Well, this is actually really changed for me in the past three months. It would have been my pen and paper up until about November, but I finally caved and I started using Trello to organize my work life and I haven't really looked back and it's just been, my to-do lists were just getting longer and longer and longer, and things were just hanging around on them for weeks and weeks. But with Trello, you can just organize it so much better. Nothing gets lost, it's all there, but you just move things into the right places at the right times. So, and the team actually use it to collaborate and manage different projects as well. So highly recommend Trello.

DA (32:57):
Have you played with Notion yet?

FS (33:00):
It's on our list of things to look at, actually.

DA (33:03):
It will blow Trello out of the water. We used Trello for everything too in the past, and we moved to Notion about a year and a half ago and haven't looked back, but I'll let you guys, yeah. What about a brand business or team that you admire today?

FS (33:18):
Oh, good question. There are so many, two that immediately spring to mind and that probably not that original, the big ones, but HubSpot just do everything so well. They've got the head of demand gen absolutely down pat, but I love that they lead with education and information instead of sales. I just think it's brilliant and Intercom it's the other one that I've really admired. They just help marketers, not just with conversational marketing, but with every part of marketing, you know. Again, they're just, they're creating stuff that is so useful rather than just trying to convert sales.

DA (33:54):
I love it. I love the mention of Drift, Intercom, HubSpot, all amazing brands, all doing really great inbound marketing, using content, a big channel. We talked about a ton today. But really great examples and Fiona, I just want to say thank you so much for your time today for coming on and sharing a little bit more about LoyaltyLion, the experiments you're running. It sounds like you're doing an incredible job over there and we're excited to see your growth continue as the e-commerce marketplace evolves and expand. So very exciting time for you all. And thank you again, Fiona.

FS (34:24):
Thanks for having me. I love talking about this stuff, so thank you for the opportunity.

DA (34:28):
Yeah, absolutely. That's the hard part about this podcast, right? We could just go on for three hours, but you know, lots of talk about, but Fiona thank you again for your time, have a great day and we'll talk to you soon.

FS (34:38):
Thank you.
(...)

Resources:
Learn More About LoyaltyLion:
https://loyaltylion.com/
Connect With Fiona:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/fionastevens1/
Follow along on Our Journey to $100k MRR
A shaky start? No doubt. Yet, three years later, we've got our eyes set on $100k MRR. We'll be sharing everything along the way.