SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Nick Harley

demio-saas breakthrough featuring nick harleyAbout Nick Harley:

Nick Harley is VP of Growth at Raygun, a B2B SaaS company that offers a range of application monitoring products, used by thousands of software teams globally.

Nick manages the Business Development, Marketing and Customer Success teams, and has extensive experience in digital marketing strategy and execution.

Nick mixes technical knowledge with innovative marketing skills and tactics. With 10+ years of experience selling to technical audiences, Nick has a passion for growing businesses, focusing on early stage, high growth B2B tech during his career to date.

He is involved in the Wellington startup community and enjoys helping cultivate the next generation of business leaders.

meetdemio · How Raygun Embraces Adaption as a Key Trait Towards their Market Dominance

Show Notes:
03:00
Application Monitoring Software that Provides Greater Speed and Accuracy
04:30
A Product So Successful That It Gets Rolled Out As a Company
05:30
Morphing From a Developer-Led Audience Into Decision-Makers
"So you can either go, bottom up where the developers are using the product and they kind of advocate it upwards in the organization to say, we should buy this thing, or you can go top down more senior level. And then they dictate to the organization, we're going to use this product because it's going to help us with all our software delivery. And so right now we're kind of have this hybrid model of we're both going kind of bottom up and top down. So we have these kind of two different audiences, but they care about different things. Developers care about how's it gonna affect me in my job and make my life easier. Then the more senior people care about how do we show to stakeholders in the business that we're performing well."
09:05
Doing Events That Fall Into Four Key Categories
15:00
Deciding Success Metrics Up Front Will Set Marketers Up For Success
"One of the key lessons for us was different people in the organization might have different measures of what they see as success with these conferences and events. You're going to spend a lot of money, but then you got to decide as a company, do you want it to be an awareness play? Do you want the success metric to be the amount of leads you get? Do you want it to be the amount of direct sales you get off the event? I think deciding that as a company up front will set you up for success because as marketers, we know that it's just one touch point. But for the rest of the organization, they might be expecting different things. So I think that's a key lesson. If you're going to spend this money, decide upfront with the rest of the company and the stakeholders, the exact success metrics that you want and what you deem as good ROI or not."
16:10
Turning Offline Events Into Online Events
18:00
The Tricky Part In Success Metrics For Events
19:30
Every Marketer's Nemesis: Attribution
"Attribution's a tricky topic because it's kind of every marketer's nemesis. And I always think about attribution is like, who are you trying to prove it to? Because there's not many marketers out there that would say, I'm trying to prove all this attribution and these multitouch, these multiple multitouch data points to kind of say like, I'm trying to prove this to myself. It's usually somebody in the organization, whether it's a manager, a stakeholder, somebody else who's not in the day-to-day marketing function that wants to see a report. Right. And absolutely they're right too, because they want to say that is, is the money that marketing is spending actually creating a return for us. You know, they want, they want to keep people accountable to, are they actually succeeding? And what should we double down on? What should we pull back on."
21:40
The Attribution Trap
"I think we've kind of fallen into this attribution trap over the past 10 years because people historically would do TV ads. They do newspaper ads. You couldn't kind of track all this stuff, but because we can now, you can say, how many impressions did we get? How many clicks did we get? How many conversions did we get? That great for stuff that people click on and you can have this digital footprint, but there's a hell of a lot of marketing channels and activities that aren't so easy to track. So you've just got to do the best you can possibly do with this stuff, because you are accountable as a marketing team and you are accountable to leadership and stakeholders to report on this type of thing."
22:30
The Three Stages Of Attribution
"Getting started with attribution, stage one is really to use UTM links on everything you possibly can and then track them in Google at Google analytics campaigns, source medium, all those kinds of reports in Google analytics, that's kind of the basics everybody should be doing (...) Stage two would be then to start doing a little more complex things such as creating specific URLs and pages on your site.(...) And then stage three is kind of where we're starting to get to. And there's a little more complex where you're actually capturing that data yourselves using tools like maybe Segment and putting in data warehouses and having business intelligence teams manipulate and try and see patterns in the data and things like that."
"I think it's important that marketers know that you are accountable for your spend and you have to try and prove in as much data driven way to stakeholders (...) The trick with attribution is often there's a lot of context missed from people who aren't in it every day. So sometimes you've just got to say, I can make a correlation and that's good enough. You can kind of be pointed in the right direction with attribution to kind of say, we think this is working for these reasons and you try and make those data driven decisions. But ultimately a lot of marketing is done on instinct."
24:55
The Greatest Superpower For Anybody In Their Role
27:40
If You're Not Experimenting, You're Basically Losing
28:10
Harder and Harder To Break Through The Noise In Social Media
32:40
The Challenge For Brands and How Perceptions of Value Changed
"There was some data from ProfitWell that was published a while ago that people's perceptions of what they see as value is changed. So it used to be very much about making money. You know, that's why you would buy software is to help the company make money and that's come more about cost saving. And so a lot of our kind of messaging has changed, especially in the sales cycle to kind of say, this tool is going to save you money. It's going to make you more efficient."
40:15
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

DA (02:56):
Hey Nick, thanks so much for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough. How are you doing today?

NH (03:00):
Good. Thank you. Thanks for having me on the show.

DA (03:02):
Yeah, I'm super excited. I'm really excited to talk about Raygun,what you guys are doing. A lot of crazy things happening this year, I think it'll be really interesting for the show, but before we do that, why don't we take a step back, explain a bit about Raygun when it was founded, who your customers are and what you're doing uniquely in the marketplace.

NH (03:21):
Raygun was founded in 2013, here in Wellington, New Zealand, and we sell application monitoring software for developers and software teams, so they can detect, diagnose and resolve issues in their web and mobile apps with greater speed and accuracy. So basically any customer that's experienced an error with the application or the application has been slow to load Raygun's monitoring the application and then would tell developers exactly what the problem was, who it happened to all, the diagnostic details, so they can actually fix issues faster. And what we do really in the market is a lot of the monitoring software that's out there currently only go kind of a few levels deep into the diagnostics, but Raygun's real superpowers that we go right into the code, we profile code and we give developers much better answers rather than just clues. And because a lot of monitoring software out there might give the developer a rough idea of where the problem lies, but Raygun, really gets to the kind of line of code the root cause and helps them solve issues a lot, a lot more quickly.

DA (04:29):
And how long was Raygun founded, how long ago?

NH (04:33):
So it was started in 2013, but the actual company was called Mindscape before that, which started in 2007 and Raygun was a product of Mindscape, but it was so successful that we rolled the company out and basically switched the company name over and now known as Raygun.

DA (04:49):
That's fantastic. That's awesome. I've heard that story a couple of times when people were like one product just continues to out perform as it solves a really strong problem. And when did you actually join the team?

NH (04:59):
So I was pretty early on the product, had only been at, in the market for around six months. So I joined in mid 2014. So yeah, when, when I started, we had no budget, no real kind of customer attraction, and I've kind of seen that whole growth journey, which has been hugely rewarding. Not only for my own career and experience, but just to see that and solve problems as we go and learn. And you just get kind of boots on-the-ground experience over those those years. It's been great.

DA (05:27):
The name of the game is that experience kind of just learning and growing on your own. So that's fantastic. You mentioned it was kind of, you know, just getting started when you were coming in, you mentioned that the product is obviously built for developers and that makes a ton of sense, but I think marketing and developer landscape we've heard before in this podcast, that can be a little bit tricky. How did you guys find product-market fit? Did you have to figure out a certain role that you had to sell to? Was it just a developer or was it like a certain person on the development team? Like how did that whole process go?

NH (05:58):
Well, the company founders were, were from software engineering backgrounds themselves. And so when they actually built the product, they knew that there was this pain point that they build applications, and then when errors occurred, they would have to email themselves the error notification which was usually kind of cumbersome. And they would end up with 20,000 odd emails, spamming their inbox and things like that. And it just, it just wasn't useful. So they decided to create the Raygun product basically to solve their own pain point. And then when we launched it, obviously with developers having similar problems, they immediately jumped on the product cause it solved a real pain point for them. So in the early days it was very much a developer led audience. My early days were very much about targeting developers in our marketing channels.

NH (06:48):
But over the last few years, it's kind of morphed more into decision-makers product people, higher more senior people in organizations that have a lot more impact on the organization and they know how software errors and performance issues can actually affect business metrics. So we've kind of shifted a little bit in recent years from going purely after the developer and more into the most senior people that are still technical, but very much around business decisions. So that's kind of where we've shifted in the early days it was, it was very developer led as a product.

DA (07:24):
Was that shift made because of business economics, like the developers weren't at a high enough level to bring them into the business pipeline, or they just sometimes didn't get the same value that someone higher up would when it relates to the business metrics, like you said, like keeping up time and knowing what that means for like business units and stuff.

NH (07:43):
Yeah. So developers fundamentally are the end user of our software. They get the most benefit out of it. But what we found with trying to talk to more senior people is that they, they care about less about the diagnostics and more about showing the stakeholders in the organization what's happening with the software, how it's affecting business performance, things like that. So you can either go, bottom up where the developers are using the product and they kind of advocate it upwards in the organization to say, we should buy this thing, or you can go top down more senior level. And then they dictate to the organization, we're going to use this product because it's going to help us with all our software delivery. And so right now we're kind of have this hybrid model of we're both going kind of bottom up and top down. So we have these kind of two different audiences, but they care about different things. Developers care about how's it gonna affect me in my job and make my life easier. Then the more senior people care about how do we show to stakeholders in the business that we're performing well. And so they're very kind of different conversations to have when we try and market to both, but with different messaging.

DA (08:50):
That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I absolutely get that. So now that we kind of understand where Raygun sits and the primary fit that you guys have, let's talk about the marketing channels and obviously brings in that messaging that you just said. And I guess with those two different personas, these marketing channels will really relate to who you're talking to. Now I know last year 2019, you were doing some major conferences, but you also have a smaller event series called Tech Leaders in, in New Zealand there where you're, where you're located, but also in the United States. We'd love to know, you know, more about the decision to do the bigger events, also the smaller events, why you decided to do them, what the process was likeand any results you saw. I know this is a strange year for events, but still very interesting to know cause we can still do, you know, the virtual bigger summits versus a smaller either online event or right now offline event in some locations.

NH (09:41):
Yeah, sure. And it is, is a difficult year for, for events and the landscape has really changed, but I would say our kind of reasons why we did them was pure experimentation. You know, we wanted to see what works and what doesn't work. So I think our events fell into four key categories. The first being meetup groups, which are very easy, certainly when you're an early stage company to get out there, sponsor some meetup groups, have your team speak at these meetup groups and just go and kind of network with your potential customers. But we found meetups usually had more of a junior audience, usually more senior people in the organization have family commitments or meetings after work or they're going to dinners and breakfasts and that's their networking opportunities, but it worked quite well for that developer audience. Cause they want to go to these meetup groups and learn more about that job and the latest technologies and frameworks and things like that.

NH (10:42):
So we did meet ups for quite awhile, and that was reasonably successful for us. But when we're pitching to a more senior audience, we started to morph that into the second key type, which was mini conferences. So we went to smaller conference events that were maybe 1000 to $2,000 to kind of sponsor and have a small booth. So it usually was like a little table and, and that was quite successful for us. But it was also quite expensive for us cause we had to have a lady based in the US went round to all of these conferences. And so you've got salary costs, sponsorship costs, you've got travel costs, you've got collateral and sweat costs to give out the event. But it was very good to do a lot of conferences for a reasonable spent. Whereas when you go to the more expensive conferences, they're obviously a hell of a lot more expensive.

NH (11:39):
And so I think for early stage companies, they can be really useful to just target some of the smaller events and get to talk to people that are your target customer. And then the third one we did was the Tech Leaders series. So that's been hugely successful for us because we essentially set up a panel of industry experts. And then we will have maybe 50 to a hundred people come along to the event. We can live stream it. And we can talk about a topic that resonates with our target audience. Now that gives you kind of two key advantages. One is you get the content from it so you can have the panel discuss it. You can then record that, you can video it. You can create blog posts out of it. And it's all very relevant to the product you sell. But then the second thing is you can get you a business development teams and sales teams in a room with target customers and even your customer success people can connect with customers, invite them along to this event.

NH (12:39):
And it's about being educational in your approach. So, so these are reasonably low costs to put on. We've done them in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, Seattle, San Francisco, like, you know, we've been able to scale that quite easily and the ROI is quite easy to point to because they're relatively low cost and you can have these really good conversations with people face to face. So that one's been certainly a success for us. And then the fourth one, the last one is the major conferences and these are hugely expensive. And it's always a very tricky thing for marketers to go like I want to put tens of thousands of dollars to go to this event, but you've got to think about what are the reasons you're there. And then once you kind of get more into these kind of enterprise focused conferences like Reinvent is one that's, that's usually big in the software world and we've been to Microsoft events as well.

NH (13:36):
And they are big, they're huge on scale, but they're rarely a branding exercise. We saw them as a way to get in the same room, in the same conversations as the companies we want to be pitch next to. Because they'll, they'll throw thousands of dollars each year at these events and they're talking to these customers, but we want to be seen at these events in the same room competing against them. So that's kind of why we initially decided to go to these events. They are expensive, especially to get to from New Zealand cause we have to fly the whole team there. But I think what worked for as well was we generated a lot of leads from these and the first events that we went to, we kind of fell in this gap of, we collect a load of leads and then we'd want to set up a demo with somebody who's really interested at the booth.

NH (14:29):
But when we tried to like outreach to them, email to them, that kind of conversation goes quiet in between. So what we did with the second lot of events is we just adapted our approach and we had people interested at the booth and we got them to book a meeting with us there and then at the booth using Calendly. And so they were able to check their calendars on their phones, say, yeah, I'm free in a week's time or whatever. And then we booked the date at the booth, that was really effective for us. And it's a lot more effective than just scanning leads and then handing them over to sales. And, but I think one of the key lessons for us was different people in the organization might have different measures of what they see as success with these conferences and events. You're going to spend a lot of money, but then you got to decide as a company, do you want it to be an awareness play?

NH (15:24):
Do you want the success metric to be the amount of leads you get? Do you want it to be the amount of direct sales you get off the event? I think deciding that as a company up front will set you up for success because as marketers, we know that it's just one touch point. But for the rest of the organization, they might be expecting different things. So I think that's a key lesson. If you're going to spend this money, decide upfront with the rest of the company and the stakeholders, the exact success metrics that you want and what you deem as good ROI or not. But yeah, having said all this, you know, it's a, it's a difficult year with a lot of face-to-face events getting moved to online now and we've had to adapt our tactics to go more onto can we do events that we stream, online conferences, things like that. So, yeah, that's kind of where we got to.

DA (16:11):
Have you been able to move Tech Leaders over to a online type of conference?

NH (16:16):
Yeah, we are doing one in November and that's in Oakland and we're quite lucky in here in New Zealand, the COVID situation means that we don't have many cases, so we don't have that many restrictions, but what we're going to do with them going forward is to stream them online, have online registrations, record them and then make them digital events as well. So it's all about thinking on your feet as marketers really, you know, you've got to, you've got to try things and we're constantly trying to innovate and, and it doesn't always work, but certainly with the Tech Leader series, we've seen it succeed in person. So why not try and move online and then it might be more scalable even.

DA (16:59):
I think it will definitely be, you know, we do obviously we're we're digital events or webinars here at Demio so. I think it'll be fantastic. You mentioned all of those different things, like networking was such a big part of that. So that may be the only thing that you guys have to kind of rethink is like, how do these events work with the networking, utilize, you know, more engagement and comments and follow ups and personal touch points. But yeah, it's really exciting. You mentioned that each of these four events have different success metrics and that really comes from you guys brainstorming the initiative itself, what you're trying to get out of it, awareness, direct sales, like leads. All of that kinda stuff obviously is very important, but what would be like, what is the success metric for Tech Leaders versus obviously that bigger event where you're doing a sponsorship and you're like, okay, we need to get up demo. We need to have demos to get a direct ROI. Where something like Tech Leaders sounds more like, you know, thought leadership, brand awareness, building relationships. What is that measurement when something is kind of like a smaller initiative with a longer tail kind of gold there.

NH (18:03):
Yeah. And that's, that's really the tricky part, isn't it? Cause it could have many different success metrics. But we're kind of judging them based on the amount of opportunities we're creating for our business development team out of those, because they are quite intimate events and we can get the right people along. You know, we can target specific people that, that, that fit our main buying criteria that they want to speak to. We can get them in a room and then we can have a lead list. And we know that that's a touch point that they had with us. And then we will measure how many opportunities we've created off those events. So that's, that's the main one for us, but we also measure things like, you know, once we have the content and we publish a blog post and we maybe put the video online, we'll still track how many engagements we had.

NH (18:51):
It's still great content for us that gives us an inbound tactic as well to play on. So it's tricky to decide exactly what you're going for. But I think having the agreement with your team around what you would see as success, like how much is it costing versus what return you get is hugely important. And that's what the stakeholders in your company are probably going to want to know as well. So you need to kind of decide these metrics and track to those so that you can kind of say, we are tracking, we know what we spent, we know what we kind of got in written and then you can base on whether it's a good idea or not to continue.

DA (19:29):
Yeah. I love that. And so much of that is communication. It's alignment, right? With your, with your leadership team or your directors and then with your actual team itself, building this stuff out. So it makes a lot of sense. And speaking about tracking, you know, one of the key topics you've been talking about a lot in recent episodes and things that we're working on here too, I like to ask about it, is the importance of attribution, really having that tracking, being able to see where people are coming from so that you can learn where to scale, where to build up your marketing. And, and for you guys specifically, when you're doing these events or, or paid marketing, I know you've been focusing a lot on attribution. What's been your approach here to do this successfully?

NH (20:11):
Yeah. Attribution's a tricky topic because it's kind of every marketer's nemesis. And I always think about attribution is like, who are you trying to prove it to? Because there's not many marketers out there that would say, I'm trying to prove all this attribution and these multitouch, these multiple multitouch data points to kind of say like, I'm trying to prove this to myself. It's usually somebody in the organization, whether it's a manager, a stakeholder, somebody else who's not in the day-to-day marketing function that wants to see a report. Right. And absolutely they're right too, because they want to say that is, is the money that marketing is spending actually creating a return for us. You know, they want, they want to keep people accountable to, are they actually succeeding? And what should we double down on? What should we pull back on. The first role of attribution is really to say that you can't track it all.

NH (21:06):
It's very hard to track somebody walking past your booth and seeing your name, billboards and direct mail stuff. Anything that people see with their eyeballs or hear with their ears, you just can't really track it. Like let's say somebody was listening to this podcast and then went recommended Raygun to their development team. And then the developer went and Googled Raygun and then came on the site, that'd be down as an organic, organic inbound lead for attribution's purposes. But the way they actually heard about the software was very, very different. So I think knowing that you can't track it all. The second one is like, should you track it all? And I think we've kind of fallen into this attribution trap over the past 10 years because people historically would do TV ads. They do newspaper ads. You couldn't kind of track all this stuff, but because we can now, you can say, how many impressions did we get?

NH (22:02):
How many clicks did we get? How many conversions did we get? That great for stuff that people click on and you can have this digital footprint, but there's a hell of a lot of marketing channels and activities that aren't so easy to track. So you've just got to do the best you can possibly do with this stuff, because you are accountable as a marketing team and you are accountable to leadership and stakeholders to report on this type of thing. So I think if you're early stage and you're getting started with attribution, stage one is really to use UTM links on everything you possibly can and then track them in Google at Google analytics campaigns, source medium, all those kinds of reports in Google analytics, that's kind of the basics everybody should be doing. And then you can kind of report on those numbers. Stage two would be then to start doing a little more complex things such as creating specific URLs and pages on your site.

NH (23:01):
So that let's say somebody hit this specific URL, you know that they came from Twitter, you know, that they came from LinkedIn cause nobody could ever get to that URL unless they came through that channel. And then you can have that as a touch point for a specific channel, you could set up tools like Heapanalytics, Mixedpanel, or a lot of marketing automation tools do it now to kind of track sources and things and start to report on those. And then stage three is kind of where we're starting to get to. And there's a little more complex where you're actually capturing that data yourselves using tools like maybe Segment and putting in data warehouses and having business intelligence teams manipulate and try and see patterns in the data and things like that. But I think it's important that that marketers know that you are accountable for your spend and you have to try and prove in as much data driven way to stakeholders.

NH (24:02):
Are you being effective? But the trick with attribution is often there's a lot of context missed from people who aren't in it every day. So sometimes you've just got to say, I can make a correlation and that's good enough. You can kind of be pointed in the right direction with attribution to kind of say, we think this is working for these reasons and you try and make those data driven decisions. But ultimately a lot of marketing is done on instinct. It's on feeling of like I put this campaign live the other week, I've seen an uptake in organic traffic. I'm pretty sure it's kind of working, but actually correlating the data and putting a spreadsheet can be quite hard. So attribution's hugely important. But if you're making decisions purely off the data and taking that as fact, I think you, you won't end up in a good place because there's a lot of stuff you can't measure as well.

DA (24:53):
Yeah, that's true. That's absolutely true. I think that was such a great point and I love your, your kind of emphasis on starting in stages, doing it step-by-step as you kind of get there. But looking at other baseline metrics like, you know, organic just uptick or MRR growth, ARR grow, stuff like that when you're running these experiments, I guess my only question then becomes when you're creating your experiments and you're kind of quote, unquote, creating a hypothesis of what you think is going to happen. Do you kind of take that into account that you may not be able to count everything. So kind of you know, under promise that hypothesis of what you think those metrics are going to be, cause you're not going to be able to track everything?

NH (25:30):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it goes back to, to that point, we said earlier, like agreeing this, this kind of stuff upfront, because the greatest superpower for anybody in their role is to, basically to just do what you said you were going to do. So if you say like, we want to spend $20,000 on this particular campaign, you can go to a CEO or a leadership team member, or even your manager and say like, I just think it's a good idea. And then they're going to be like, well, how do we measure it? How do we prove it? And so if you, if you have an idea of like, well, if we do this like don't think we're going to see a direct conversion, but maybe we can see it in Google analytics or other tools in a different way.

NH (26:15):
So what I meant kind of mean by this is if you did a billboard, for example, and you put a specific URL on it, that's different to your main company name, you'd still know that people came through that campaign cause they went to that specific URL. Or you might see an uptake in traffic from a certain country or a region, if you're doing a regional campaign, there are ways that you can bring data to the table. But if you slightly unsure or you want to kind of do these experiments, you really have to kind of say upfront how you going to measure it and the kind of data points that are going to point to success or not because as a marketer, fundamentally, they just want success and anybody who's a stakeholder just wants success. Right? So they want to know that their spend was a good use of spend and are you tracking it in the best way possible, but it's gonna fundamentally come down to agreeing those success metrics up front so everyone's on the same page. And then if you go out and do exactly what you said, you're going to do that gives you credibility, even if it fails.

DA (27:19):
So much of that again, to the point we made before alignment, expectation setting, communication. And I think that's exactly what you're saying here is just that you gotta make sure that you're able to do those things, even if it fails, but at least you have the expectation set early, you kind of creating those guidelines and roadmaps to what successful look like. And I love that. I do want to ask about you know, kind of your time over the past few years, any hard lessons or things that didn't work out as expected, things that you just wish you could maybe go back and redo or you learn from?

NH (27:54):
Well, there's so many, I mean, there's so many failed experiments. If you're not, if you're not experimenting, you're, you're, you're basically losing, some of them have used successes and some of them have completely bombed on us. And I think one that kind of sticks out would be around social media. So like we did, we did put a lot of effort around a year ago into creating a better social media presence, just to have a bit more fun with our brand. We started doing video creation fun campaigns, and we got a lot of engagement on our, on our social channels. But I think ultimately when you look at the numbers, they were all pretty much vanity metrics. You know, they were, we got a lot of impressions. We got a lot of clicks, but pulling it back to actual conversions for the effort required was difficult.

NH (28:46):
And I just don't think it really worked for us. But I think social media is a funny game at the moment because obviously the world as it is today, I think social media has really changed for marketing and for brands. And I think social media winning, what I would call four waves. It used to be the promise was to connect with your friends and family. And that that's kind of what we were all sold in in the early days. And then it kind of became a place to connect with your favorite brands. And I think that worked really well for a lot of brands for a long time, but then it kind of morphed more into connecting with advertisers and news. You know, it's become more of a newsfeed type platform. So to get your brand to breakthrough that noise is starting to become harder and harder.

NH (29:37):
And then in kind of recent times, it's kind of become a place for, to kind of connect and argue with strangers almost it's, it's become quite news driven and quite argumentative in certain circles, especially on places like Twitter and things like that. So how do we as marketers approach that? Because if you're putting your brand in these feeds all the time and you're talking about your product it's starting to become a little less effective I think. I'd be struggling to kind of find a current brand that's doing really well on social and I'm sure other people maybe listening might, might have a few examples, but even Slack in the early days, they were having a lot of fun with their brand and that's kind of tailed off a bit now. And I just wonder if social media is as effective these days. So I think we, we had a bit of a, an expectation that, that, that kind of creating more fun and putting the, the money in the content creation and doing these cool campaigns would have a bigger effect for us than it really did. But then since then the whole world is shifted around a bit. And I think if we were to go back to that, we'd have an even less of an impact for us. I don't know, you know, maybe we'll try it again as an another experiment, but I just think the amount of effort involved to break through some of this noise on social media right now was, was probably poor timing on our part.

DA (31:06):
I definitely agree. I think there's a lot of interesting things, a lot of takeaways from what you just said that are very poignant and I think we could do a whole episode just about that and the opinions are, I think you're absolutely right on so many of those things, I think B2C is having a lot of success right now with social media being able to connect to your brand still. I think B2B is definitely in a weird spot. One of those things that we're also kind of thinking about but yeah, I definitely agree with you. I think lots of valid, valid beliefs there and one of those really tough experiments to track with attribution or anything as far as conversions, cause it's just a relationship builder. And then looking forward this year and this very, very unique 2020, where it feels like it's been six years, but it's only been a year. What are the challenges and opportunities you're looking forward to maybe for the company or the industry from a marketing point of view, kind of wrapping up this last quarter?

NH (32:01):
Yeah, I think, I think in this current year, in this current climate, the challenge for most brands including ourselves is how to remain relevant. And there's so much noise at the moment. There's so much kind of content out there. You know, we spoke about the social media aspect. How do you, how you actually can connect with people, especially can't do it face to face so much now. So it's kind of moving more online. So one way to look at it is like, everything's terrible. We can't do anything. Or another way is to go like this presents some great opportunities. It gives us a chance to experiment in new ways. Do new activities, learn a bit more, you know, increase our skills as marketers. And I think what we've seen success with is we probably weren't quite as early as I'd have liked on recognizing this, but there was some data from ProfitWell that was published a while ago that people's perceptions of what they see as value is changed. So it used to be very much about making money. You know, that's why you would buy software is to help the company make money and that's come more about cost saving. And so a lot of our kind of messaging has changed, especially in the sales cycle to kind of say, this tool is going to save you money. It's going to make you more efficient. And that kind of prize creates an opportunity to kind of just change the game, change your messaging around, try do few different things. Cause I think we, we got to this point with certainly the COVID situation where a lot of brands we're, we're emailing their, their customer base and saying like, we understand it's a hard time and is for everyone. And here's what our company is doing about it.

NH (33:38):
And it, that came really tiring really quickly. Like it's just the normal now. So you've got to think like this presents some kind of opportunity for every company and every marketer listening to this. Think about the situation is what it is. The climate is what it is. Don't think about the negatives, think about the positives. What's what can it do for your company? How can you change your messaging? How can you go out there and create value for these people and what they're doing in their businesses right now. Use it as a positive thing. And I think that creates a lot of team building as well around like we have this problem now let's get together. Let's let's, let's solve it. So I think that that's been quite a, it was initially a doom and gloom situation. Now it's turned into more like let's, let's turn this into a positive thing.

DA (34:28):
You've said it a couple of times on the, on the show so far, but adaptability is such an important quality for marketers, right? Being able to just kind of roll with the punches and find that silver lining or that, that positive outcome that you can, or the positive messaging to resonate for the times, but so much about it. You know, it's just staying up to date saying relevant to your point. So I love that. It's just a wonderful, wonderful little segue there, but you said some really amazing things. What I want to do now for the sake of time is flip over to our lightning round questions. Just five quick questions that you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You ready to get started?

NH (35:06):
Yup. Let's go for it.

DA (35:07):
Alright. You got this. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?

NH (35:14):
Oh, I definitely feel it's it's the no-code revolution. I don't think there's been a time that that's better to use tools like Webflow, Zapier, Airtable and anything you can do to not, not build software. You can use templates, you can use all these tools that are kind of no code solutions and I would start there and I would I would use all of those as much as possible.

DA (35:42):
I love that. It's a really good idea. Just move fast and kind of get more speed behind you without engineering. What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

NH (35:53):
Oh, I, this, this, this one comes up a lot, you know, because when we, when we train interns and when I'm kind of talking to more junior marketers and stuff, they always ask this question. But for me, it's writing, like if you're a good writer, you can write great emails. You can write great marketing, copy sales emails, marketing collateral. It is a bit of a superpower. So concentrate on, on great writing, especially copywriting for web pages and things like that. That is an art. It takes a very good marketer to boil down a sentence into four or five words to fit on the page. And then if you're not a good writer, I would focus more on the data side. So can, can you whip around Excel spreadsheets and find what's working with data, but writing for me is, is a real superpower for any marketer.

DA (36:42):
Agreed completely, two amazing skillsets to have. What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing growth or maybe copywriting?

NH (36:52):
I'm a big fan of SaaStr, Jason Lemkin and SaaStr content that they put out. I've also found a recent one in the last couple of weeks called Forgetth funnel. It's led by a couple of ladies called Georgiana and Claire who are a couple of female marketing leaders well worth following and found that pretty useful and some good content. And it's like, Forgetthefunnel.

DA (37:15):
Yeah. They're highly recommended. We talk about them almost every episode. So they're, they're a great resource. Definitely check them out. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

NH (37:25):
Oh, I spend most of my day in Google Docs just absolutely love Google Docs for collaboration with the team. And also a marketing automation tool called Autopilot has been pretty powerful for us to, you know, mainvalue we've got of that has been, has been really good. So that that'd be probably the two that spring to mind.

DA (37:43):
I love it. And what about a brand business or team that you admire today?

NH (37:48):
Oh, quite a few. I think with the New Zealand connection, there's a, there's this sustainable shoes called Allbirds that were founded by a guy who's from Wellington and, and have done really, really well. I think they've executed really well. They have a great product. They have a good brand. They've raised a lot of money and that's quite rare for people to get out of New Zealand and, and kind of go global. So they've got a lot of respect for, for what they've done as a company and as a brand and the product is really great.

DA (38:23):
I love that. Is there a pretty large entrepreneurial community in New Zealand?

NH (38:27):
It's surprisingly large. Like a lot of people wouldn't probably pick it there, but there's a big tech scene and we're quite innovated and forward thinking as a country as well. And, and the tech industry is really growing here and has continued to grow. It used to be very much that that dairy and farming was the kind of main thing that New Zealand is known for. But the tech industry is really starting to kind of take off now and hopefully it will be number one at some point as the, the main exporter for New Zealand.

DA (38:57):
That's amazing. That's incredible. I had no idea, but it makes sense. There's some really great companies coming out of there like yours. But Nick, I just want to say thank you so much for coming on sharing so much. You were a fabulous guest. We got to talk about a lot of good stuff. So thank you for your time and your wisdom shared with us today.

NH (39:14):
We really appreciate it. Thanks.

DA (39:16):
Thank you, Nick. And we'll talk to you soon.
(...)

Resources:
Learn More About Raygun:
https://raygun.com/
Connect With Nick:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickharleynz/
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.