In a short time, Marcia expanded its agency from ‘Marcia and a few freelancers’ to what on paper is a marketing agency, but which looks more like an enthusiastic club of young, ‘bold’ marketers. This branding fits with the philosophy that Sky10 sells to customers: first establish a recognizable, stimulating brand and only then work with content and campaigns. Practice what you preachsay.
“That’s right,” Marcia says. “You’ve worked with me so you know I have very high standards. If you really want to have a distinctive outward appearance, everything has to be done in your marketing. synchronized to be. Communication, design and behavior. If that’s not true, you can start shouting anything you want, but then you’re one of the many companies shouting something. It does not help. You should only do marketing if your branding is good. It takes time. And energy. And money. But then beats it does. That’s why we’re a little more expensive than the rest of the agencies: We’re not just turning on your online channels. No, we want to embrace your entire organization. Go to the bottom of your proposal before we throw something online. “
“You should only do marketing if your branding is good. It takes time. And energy. And money. “
I last checked and there are about 70,000 IT companies in the Netherlands *. They are not that far yet, I guess. Can you see that this is being taken more seriously now?
“Yes. More and more executives in IT companies are realizing that positioning is extremely important. IT is becoming a commodity product, so you have to do something to stand out, to stand out. I do not have percentages, but it what I see and hear is that our story – about daring to communicate differently, highlighted to be, to embrace its own character – is attractive in relation to other agencies’ offerings. Businesses get energy from it, want to do something. And that’s ultimately what it’s about: getting groups of people moving. You do not do this by placing an ad on LinkedIn or Google. It’s just too simple. ”
Are the challenges you see for IT companies the same as they see? In other words, if you tell them what you think is going wrong, is it really a total eye opener for them?
“Sometimes yes, sometimes no … Often the first question is: we need leads. Or: we do not know how to get IT talent. What is clear in any case is that the marketing trick is not They have tried with another agency or with an internal marketer and it will not work. Then they ask me: are they our people? Are we not spending enough money on different advertising channels? What’s wrong with him not being able to do it? 9 times out of 10 I do a little research on how they position themselves and I say: we need to take another step back.We need to work on your brand and positioning first.They are usually open to that conversation. But it also happens that a company already has that insight and asks us to help with it. ”
You have already mentioned working with external and internal marketers. What would you advise IT companies in terms of team composition: what should they have in-house, and what should they outsource or buy?
“Smaller IT companies often do not hire marketers. Such a business should actually start right away with an agency. Because an agency can make an impact much faster, with all the different specialties in the team. And then create a campaign. All-round marketers often work for midsize companies. Then they do everything. Organizing events, creating content, scheduling ads or socializing, running HubSpot … Sometimes things go well, sometimes things do not. It is a little different from company to company. ”
And what is the best way for them to work with an agency like Sky10?
“I would advise those companies to outsource campaigns that require a little more creativity. Campaigns that require more time and energy than your own team can handle. Especially when it comes to creativity. For people who are in an IT business, can often and dare not think differently. An office can. Thinking creative campaigns out of the box that you would not otherwise dare to imagine internally. As outsiders, we dare true. To come up with something that really stimulates. ”
“You should outsource campaigns that require more creativity than you can handle.”
Do you also see the use of marketing technology increasing or changing?
Most IT companies now have a data-driven platform like HubSpot or ActiveCampaign behind their website. And some still think it’s the Holy Grail, but I’m talking it out of their heads quickly. Because it’s just a tool to work with. To get something out of it, you need to create really good campaigns. It’s just the old fashioned story of marketing: start with one Goddamn good positioning, in addition a very good suggestion and only then See-Think-Do or Press Tell sell† no matter what† Most people just want to go too fast. Marketing does not go fast. It is not a business case of ‘I put 1 euro in, 2 euros come out’. That’s just not how it works. ”
“So first a damn good positioning press tell sell or whatever. “
We are both in IT marketing, but I wonder if all these considerations just apply to all B2B companies?
“Correct. I happened to read a very interesting article recently about dark funnel† For the past 15 years, marketers have felt the need to measure everything. There has to be a business case behind everything. But there are many marketing channels that you do not able to measuring. If you look at customer journey and the function of channels such as events, PR, word-of-mouth advertising … You can not measure these, but they are becoming increasingly important in B2B marketing. And that ‘Dark Funnel’ is nothing but branding† You simply can not measure it very often. You notice that companies call you more often if your branding is good. That they will act faster with you. But direct measurement is not possible. And I just think we should stop. In part, you just have to believe in marketing. ”
you ever here wrote a blog about it and then you got a lot of bullshit of ‘yes, but data is incredibly important’. While I know you as someone who really has his eyes on the dashboard …
†Of course I’m looking at dashboards. I also need data to send. But it is not only Which one. it is also feeling. It also looks at how the world is moving. It’s a popular business. I think you need to take a much more holistic view of your marketing channels. For that’s how the world works: There’s not one thing that makes a campaign successful. Behavior is also a factor. Typical IT people, and also the directors of IT companies, are simply not used to being on stage, to communicating, to going out. It’s outside of them comfort zone to communicate a little more bravura about their own business. The average manager of an IT company often has a business background and is very good at making technical suggestions and managing the company. ”
“It does not have to be bravado. Above all, be yourself. “
“Or they come from technology and are very structured, very much on facts. Also often very internally focused and sometimes introverted. These are people who are not used to establishing a business on a marketing mind. And it’s not a bad thing, but it’s important to out in to start thinking and letting go inside out to keep thinking. That is, from your customer and not from your company. It is in behavior and character, but also in leadership. The CEO of Tech also talked about the latest edition that management is the best positioning strategy. It does not necessarily have to happen with arrogance. Above all, be yourself. “
* I fact-checked myself later, and in principle this is correct (in the first quarter of 2022, according to Statistics Netherlands, there were 71,985 IT service providers), but the vast majority of them are freelancers or have fewer than 5 employees. So, in fact, Marcia and I are in a market with a few thousand companies.