Throughout the history of modern civilization, marketing has consistently proven to be a critical pillar in the growth of any successful business. The emergence of digital marketing, in particular, has led to a proliferation of new marketing ideas and strategies.
This episode focuses on the need for a diversified, strong marketing portfolio to improve brand awareness and increase company leads. Our distinguished guest for today is Joei Chan, the Director of Brand and Marketing at 360Learning. She will share her journey in the content creation and marketing field, as well as the invaluable lessons she has acquired along the way.
Joei Chan is a highly accomplished marketing professional with a wealth of experience in developing and executing successful branding and content strategies. As the Director of Brand and Content at 360Learning, Joei is responsible for leading the company’s marketing efforts, with a focus on driving growth and increasing brand awareness.
Joei Chan further discusses the importance of understanding the scope of work before making a hiring. As she says, you need to understand the result you want so that the new hire can assist in answering the “how” question.
- Trying new ideas
- Setting Milestones for Company Growth
- Inter-departmental dependency
- Creating a Marketing Portfolio
- Doing the hard things
- Building an effective team
- Marketing in the age of AI
- Check out 360Learning
- Connect with Joei Chan on LinkedIn
- Connect with Omniscient Digital on LinkedIn or Twitter
Listen to the podcast:
Trying new ideas
Don’t be afraid to implement new ideas, regardless of how scary they may seem
[16:01] So yeah, anyway, so the whole that’s the whole pitch of the I have the show. And at that time, it was pitched to me by the head of video then who was like, I need a new idea, I need a big break, basically, because I’ve been doing these, like how to videos, nobody’s watching them and you know, just want to take a big risk. And either it works great, or I lose my job, you know, and I do something else. And so I, you know, I was new to the company, I was like, Okay, well, there’s not much for me to lose here, either, like, only three people watches it, like, watch it, and then forget about it, or, you know, maybe it works, who knows. And the content marketer in me is also curious about this, like new format and want to kind of be a part of an experiment. So you know, went ahead and did it. And, you know, it was just him, follow me around with an iPhone, most days, and then we do one sit down interview per week, and then he edits immediately and publish in real time. So it’s really like following me along. So you can see, it’s happening. And so everybody in the company was also excited because they see things happening and see it on the screen. And then I think the most dramatic part of all that was not in the story line was that COVID happened, and then everything shut down. We didn’t even know if we could continue the show. And then, you know, so we had to real in real time, like kind of one step at a time figure out what’s going to happen next. And I think that was really what blew the show up. Because then everybody was home, and they had nothing else to do to get there. They watching this person going through COVID as they are themselves. And so I think that’s what created the resonance probably.
Setting Milestones for Company Growth
Use current and past experience to envision the future
[20:50] Um, so I think there are probably some things that I’ve done before I joined 360Learning that helped me get the role. The first role actually, so I joined as director of content and then I a year in I got promoted to director of brand and content. So I think all the jobs that and before three, six learning I’ve worked in, like four other startups, also in b2b, also in SAS, also in content. So that’s really been my like, career trajectory and passion. So I think everything that I’ve done before that helped me get the job as director of content. And in my past experiences, it’s mostly companies that don’t have a huge paid budget. So content is well, ad mentioned, for example, it is basically the marketing team. So content is doing growth, it’s demand gen, it’s inbound, it’s SEO, it’s, it’s co-marketing, it’s influencer marketing, it’s everything. And there’s no basically paid budget to amplify. So it’s all about like, how do you how do you get more awareness and leads just with organic activities… So when I joined, I started to, you know, build the common strategy, from scratch to design it as an acquisition channel, build the blog, SEO, and work started building our mailing list because it did not exist. So the newsletter subscriber lists are, you know, doing cool marketing to get to grow our email list. And so that kind of started from there. And then we saw, you know, good results and some success.
Various departments in the company can work together to achieve their specific goals
[32:53] Yeah. Or like, you can’t actually achieve your numbers, if not, for what everything that we do. We were looking at. So I mean, for the audience listening, our company uses first touch attribution. So today, we, the way we do reporting for the whole marketing team. So dimension or, or content is through this first touch attribution. And we have like all these different channels that generate generate our MQL for SQL is and content is considered one of the channels, which in itself is already a bit of a programmatic way to think about content, because it’s right next to like, directories, SEM, and then content. It’s one line, and then you know, and yeah. And so today, based on this model content, or organic, contributes to about 20, or 30% of the total pipeline. So it’s not bad already. Yes, based on first touch is 30% of total, pipe generated, and that is like free, versus, you know, a directory lead, which may cause a few costs a few $1,000. And, to me, like, so I’ve been kind of us playing by the rules and saying, Okay, so this is our contribution based on the model that, you know, you deem fair, but there’s already a lot of problems with that. But then even if we use this, like, model, there are things that basically, if you see something, attribute it to SEM, and then you click on, you know, you dig into it, and then you actually see oh, it’s it’s a brand sem term. It’s not actually a keyword. So then, to me, it’s just people typing 360 elearning. And they clicking on the first ad, because they’re lazy, the scroll down, but then this attribute it to pay dimension. And then we’re over here saying like, Hey, why is the brand team, so brand cluding content team, not generating making their target? And then like, and then if they say, like, okay, let’s fire the whole brand and condensing or cut their budget, then I’m like, well, actually, you’re gonna suffer in your sem targets numbers, too, if you do that, because a lot of it is just not being, you know, seen. And, yeah. So we try to mitigate that a little bit by now, including, how did you hear about us field and just continuously saying, like, reminding the higher ups that you know, there’s more to this to the spreadsheet? There, you need to kind of look at the data with a bit of context and you know, these things, but I think it’s, it’s a long, it’s a long process.
Creating a Marketing Portfolio
A good marketing portfolio increases the number of leads
[39:32] So I, the way I see it and kind of sell it is, we, we do the basic things, what I consider, like the business of business as usual content, marketing things. So we have a blog, we have an SEO strategy. We’re doing webinars to make sure you know, there’s a steady stream of leads, we’re growing our email list. So to me, it’s really like content marketing, one on one basics, like that’s the basic playbook, we do it, it shows results is our foundation for our kind of organic acquisition strategy. And then, because of this, and because this, you know, give us kind of good steady flow of leads, and growth, we have some liberty to take some risks and, and be bold, here in there. And I think it’s also like a matter of winning trust with your, with your boss, your manager, to show like, Hey, I’m not just here doing random acts of marketing, I know what I’m doing. There’s this, like, steady feeding of the pipeline. So we have, like, we earned ourselves this freedom to take 10 20% of our resources to do something different every once in a while. And I think so onboarding, Joe is actually like, more than two years ago now already. And, and what’s I think that’s, it’s kind of crazy in a few ways, like, first, thanks to that big risk that I actually participated in but did not initiate our company has, you know, it’s given our company that appetite for kind of more out there projects. So I’m super grateful for that. And that’s how we’re able to do learning Adria, which is the same concept, but featuring someone who’s more within our buyer, Persona and a bit closer to to our value prop basically. And also, we’ve kind of developed this kind of skill set to produce videos. So you know, that’s when we did Master class. … But really, I think it’s like, you know, getting your your basics, right and there and, you know, hitting your targets and then and then basically being okay, that all of these things might not yield, return, you know, sooner ever. But like, you know, giving, building the trust, so then you’re able to try those things. And even if it don’t like it in the end, even if it doesn’t drive any ROI, which will be quite unlikely. You know, you learn from it, your team usually gets a kick out of it, because it’s doing something different and creative and you know, marketers get tired of writing books. I post over and over again running webinars over and over again. So we need that to fuel all soul, I think for the long run the long game. And, and if it works, it just, you know, puts you in a spot so far away from your competitor that it will take them years to catch up because it’s so hard to copy.
Doing the hard things
Doing the impossible sets you apart from your competitors[45:34] I think that it’s like everything in life. It’s it’s what they say like, Oh, if it’s easy, everyone is going to do it. And it’s the same in marketing. If it’s like, oh, the ROI is sure. And you can measure it. And it’s like, no brainer, $1 and $1 out, then why wouldn’t everybody do it? And if everybody’s doing it, then how are you sending out? And how are you winning? And it’s, that’s my belief in especially for creative marketing. You need to you need to put in more work than other people to stand out. Like, sometimes, it’s not just like more work, meaning like more hours and work harder, but more like more thought, more intention, more creativity. And, like thinking outside of what your industry usually does, like getting inspiration from other, like completely different field and space. You know, in our case, it’s like copying reality TV or like yeah, trying to, to make b2b marketing more human, more personal and more interesting and less boring and less corporate. And yeah, so So I think it’s, it’s just thinking about what that looks like for your brand and your company. And what is the hard thing to do that your competitors cannot do? And, and go go in that direction
Building an effective team
Hire with a specific strategy, not just to have a big team[51:03] So that was insane. That was an insane experience. Really great in the sense that I love a challenge I like to to grow. So so it was very, it was not boring at all. But I think the what I, like I’d learned so many things during that period, on like, recruitment, managing, managing up, communicating. So all of those things, so many, so many things that I think I need to start a podcast talking about it. But I if I have to kind of condense it. And a few things, I would say that in the beginning, I thought the win was to hire as many people as possible. I thought that it’s about having a big team. And that is how you show growth and success. You know, like, Oh, I’m managing this big 10 15 17 People team. That’s, Wow, great. I made it. And then I realized quickly that that is not the winner at all. And that I mentioned this briefly earlier, how important it is to have each of the scopes well defined, and the strategy somewhat defined before you hire the person. So this was kind of a change in mindset in the sense that I thought, it’s about hiring the best person who knows the job better than I do, like, you know, they always say hire someone better than yourself. So then they can do it, they can do what you can’t do. So I was really holding on to that belief and being like, Okay, well, I’m gonna hire an expert, and they’re gonna define a strategy. Why would I define a strategy when I don’t know anything about community or social media or bread or PR? It turns out, that’s a mistake, because you don’t know what profile to hire if the strategy’s not clear. I actually had a bit of an argument with my CEO about that. And now I’m like, You were totally right. Which I hate when that happens. And but who knows? And basically, you, I think, maybe the word strategy is so loosely defined that, you know, we were not thinking about the same thing. So the, I believe the strategy of the how needs to be defined by the expert, the person you’re going to hire, but the strategy of where you need to go needs to be defined by you, like the hiring manager. So so that’s the part that I think I got confused and mixed up.
Effect of AI in Marketing
Use AI to humanize your content
[57:40] Yeah. I think that I mean, I’m still just starting to understand the full extent of what, you know, Chat GPT could do for our lives, you know, let alone marketing. I think that, well, first, it’s probably going to make a lot of that marketing go away. So in a sense, I think that’s good. Like marketing. When I say bad marketing, it’s like content that it’s just, you know, it’s just a vomit of, you know, the top five search results of that keyword. And things that have no perspective, opinion. Flavor. That’s how I would describe it. So so that’s a good thing. I think it forces us to step up our game on like, really how we’re differentiated not just from a competitor now, but from a robot. So that means, you know, thinking of marketing that has more personality has more humanness in the sense that and I think we’re already heading in that direction, at least the way I think about our brand. With the Docu series with the masterclass we’re always featuring the person and it’s always about creating that relationship of the audience with the people that work within our company.