How do you take a B2B brand mainstream? It’s a question that’s been rattling my brain, and I can’t quite figure it out because performance marketing has limitations. And I’m saying that as a performance marketer. When I look at Directive, Directive has been pretty successful. It grew from, you know, single digit millions to the multi. Mostly it came from performance marketing. Right. We spend a lot on LinkedIn. We spend a lot on the Meta products. We spend a lot on Google ads. We spend a lot on programmatic. We spend a lot on CTV. We spend a lot on everywhere.
But it’s very transactional. We’re using incentives like gift cards. We’re using hard call to actions. We’re trying to get someone from apathy to action. We’re trying to get someone into our sales pipeline, and we’re actually really good at it. But there are only so many accounts you can get into your pipeline. There’s only so many users on the platform. There’s only so many people searching a query. And eventually you get diminishing marginal returns on your performance marketing. You either have to try to go after new personas that aren’t as good of a fit. You have to enter new channels that don’t have as good a targeting or the right audience. You just eventually get to a point of waste because you’re trying to chase growth out of these performance marketing channels that these channels just don’t have for you. And frankly, that’s the reality of Directive right now. We’re in this weird little spot. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars every month on marketing. We gave away over $300,000 in gift cards last year. We really, really invest in building our pipeline. But I think it’s time for Directive to pivot to more of a brand marketing reality. But that’s hard to do, right? How do you measure it? How do you know if it’s even working? Because brand marketing isn’t something you sign up for and you’re going to test LinkedIn for six months. Like you could do it in the performance world. Or we’re going to, you know, advertise on one query on Google ads and we’re just going to leave it there. We’ll spend three, five, six, seven, 20 grand a month. Well, you know, SAS marketing agency, we’re going to spend on that query. It’s not like that. It takes a lot more. You have to start actually learning your audience everything you thought you knew about your audience becomes more difficult when you try to write a brand tagline. How do you make Directive?
In my case is my thought process. How do I go from being a niche service provider to the tech marketplace to becoming a brand that everyone in tech knows about? So I think one of the ways we could do that is me just, you know, talking out loud we’re riffing a little bit today. So welcome to my world would be through B2B influencers. Marketer Hire has done this. I thought they’ve done it really well. They’ve identified essentially This is what I would imagine they would do. Right. If your… market higher is a marketplace. So they connect essentially freelance labor to people who need talent. It’s like staff augmentation almost right. Or consulting. And so they, I would imagine, have certain service lines that are more profitable for them, certain talent pools that are deeper and have better customer experiences. And they can drive demand for those things.
And how do they drive demand for those things? They find the top influencers in a category in a in a vertical. Right. So if they really like, let’s say email and they feel like they have a ton of email consultants, they might find the top five influencers in email marketing and pay them to promote marketer hire. I love the concept. Something I want to try out Directive is how do we find influencers in tech marketing and pay them to essentially promote Directive? in tech marketing and pay them to essentially promote Directive? And it has to be authentic. It has to be real.
On the original marketing podcast. Last week, Brady was talking about a partnership Last week, Brady was talking about a partnership Canva did with an influencer on YouTube, and I thought it was a brilliant campaign and things like that start to get me inspired Canva doing that because they have a little bit of B2C and B2B like a freemium type model. The other thing that I think is really exciting about B2B brand building, that’s not necessarily mainstream, but it’s kind of like mid-stream, let’s say is like Substack Newsletters, Marketing Brew, for example, could be a good newsletter podcasts that have maybe know top ten marketing or business podcast. Not all podcast, but those are to get you more into that broader landscape.
Now I think the real moment you go mainstream is you have to forget about your persona. In other words, you have to run a Super Bowl ad because eventually you’ll get your persona. You have to run on a top ten podcast that has nothing to do with marketing because you know that people in marketing listen to the podcast. You might sponsor an athlete or a sports team. You can do these types of things. The question is, in my opinion, is does it get buzz from PR? I don’t know if these mainstream tactics, if you’re a B2B niche service provider like myself, will work if I don’t get the after effect. In other words, I think whatever I do to go be creative has to be so creative in the brand marketing sense that it has add on effects, it has retweets, it has reposts, it has PR coverage, it has news coverage. I think to get to that essentially, mainstream esque nature of a brand where people know about it, you have some type of brand equity in the global consumer’s mind. You have to do things that are creative or interesting enough or relevant enough with current social events that it goes viral.
So I guess it’s a long way of saying if you get your agency past $20 million, you might need to start spending on things that aren’t just performance marketing. If you want to get to 50 million or $100 million. If you want to really get to that larger size. I think brand marketing is going to be a critical part. And I would really think through your brand marketing to ask yourself, what are the add on effects like Am I going to get virality? Am I going to get coverage? Am I going to get these other things that will allow your campaigns.