Growth Marketing Camp
Growth Marketing Camp

Episode 18 · 1 year ago

The Power of Leveraging a Secondary Brand to Build Your Market

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sometimes two brands are better than one. Dan Ahmadi won’t take credit for it, but he’s been a major factor in some incredible growth stories. His current employer, Branch, was named the 3rd fastest growing company in North America for 2020. One of the incredible plays he’s run? Building secondary brands for category creation and market growth. Dig in!

Welcome to growth marketing camp, where we sit down with our favorite marketers to D mystify growth and give you the insights to help turn your next campaign into a major success. Let's get into it, all right. Welcome to another exciting episode of Growth Marketing Camp. So pleased to be joined by Dana Maddie, senior director international marketing and demand generation at branch. Dan, welcome to the show. Thank you, REX, happy to be here. Yeah, it's interesting your title. We're going on like nine hundred and ten words here. When your family or friends outside of tech world, when they ask you what you do for work, what do you say? Oh my gosh, it's very difficult. I tell them that I help find people who want to buy things nice line and I build things online, and they kind of get that, but I kind of leave it there. Yeah, no, that's great. kind of make it a mystery. That's cool. Well, it seems like from your career history success just follows you around. Man, you were a Mulesoft pre IPO. You're an outreach, which is one of our favorite customers and tools that I've used for years, and they carve their freaking name in stone and sales engagement. I mean they're known your service tighten a behemoth in their industry and the now, obviously you're a branch which is, as I just learned, the third fastest growing company North America last year. That's incredible. What is your secret, and I promised to shout up for the rest of the episode. I wish I had a secret and I wish I could claim credit for our knowing how to choose them every time, but honestly I've kind of just been lucky. The right opportunity is popped up at the right time. But I think a lot of this is luck and you know it. Start ups you're really kind of gambling with. Do they have the right product market fit? Do they have the Tam? Think they do. Do they have the team that can go grab it? I'm kind of just been lucky to work at the really great colleagues helping us get there. Yeah, I mean it seems like you were pretty early. It's some of these companies like before, they were the household name in their space, which...

...is really exciting. It's got to be a lot of fun to kind of see that, looking back on the team that you're a part of back then and now, I'm sure that's a lot of fun to meet up with them, or at least chat with them. Yeah, I mean specifically for mealsoft. To remember, I brand wasn't as well known at the time that I joined and I did have some of my friends and family kind of make fun of it, like, are you sure you want to work for company that has the name of an animal in it, and so it was kind of an interesting gamble to make and enjoying the company at that stage. That's too fun. Well, I have to ask, because you started your career not as a marketer but as a chemist. That's right. What got you there? And then why the switch? Oh Man, I think it started more in high school. I Love Biology Chemistry, so I chose biochemistry, thinking give us the combination of the two. Later Learning College, it's not was not that interested in it, but I did want to be a chemist and helped change the world. became a chemist for a while. Learned that it is really hard to change the world that way. It is possible, it just takes a very long time, it's very slow moving, and that's kind of where I got exposed to massive amounts of data that are analytical machines, are essentially pumping out and we needed to crunch them and I found it a love for Excel and visual basic and macros and, okay, taught myself how to basically create micro apps for our team and then an opportunity popped up for me to join marketing team in the city I wanted to move to and I sort of just took a leap of faith. I knew I was leaving my education and so far two years of career track record behind, but I think in hindsight is one of the best decisions I could have made for my career, was to switch over and then apply a lot of the tactics that the strategies that I learned with data analysis and running experiments and testing hypotheses against marketing initiatives. So no, that totally makes sense. There's like the scientific method that you're applying to marketing. I'm sure in demand generation and in other spaces within marketing that you know that kind of focus and deliberate practice and just the...

...structure of the thing probably had to help you. I imagine that definitely overlaps very closely. We come up with the hypothesism and marketing will this thing generate meetings, generate pipeline, we throw some money or resources at it, we tested out, we report back. Did it do? It doesn't make sense to continue. And it's exact same process in science as well. The only difference is it is way faster in marketing, as most people in demandion now, you can spend tons of money very quickly and you can get a lot of results in data very quickly. So if you have the right KPIS, you can make decisions quickly as to whether something is working or not. Not The same in Chemistry, Huh. I mean the experiments could be fast, but the general process is slow. You have to innovate and that comes at a slower pace. Yeah, well, I'm excited to dig into some of the innovation that you've both, you know, found from the folks around you and your career, but also maybe engendered or fostered as a leader yourself. Let's start digging into this. It's not, you know, the traditional campaign right, not starting stop, not this budget for this conversion rate. Well, let's talk about, you know, the idea that you wanted to share with the audience here today. Please, you know, jump into it where you think is most appropriate. But it's this idea that goes beyond an individual brand. Absolutely. So one of the things that I've seen work really well in my career so far, especially with companies that don't have a really strong brand presence on their own, is the use of a more industry neutral side brand. And so at brand you'll see US use the brand mobile growth very frequently and it's a side brand with its own website and own logo that is completely separate from our company. But it becomes sort of this theme and container that you can put other programs within. So, for example, we do the mobile growth survey every year where we survey leaders in our space and collected and we then release a mobile growth handbook that is the results of that survey and what's going on in the space. We have mobile growth meet up events,...

...we have mobile growth round table. So a lot of things actually fall under that brand and not necessarily our own, which make it a little bit easier to reach out to people cold that don't know our brand and involve them. And it's a stage that is now very well recognized and in some years we've run over a hundred in person events under that brand. And at previous companies I've also leverage other side brands as well, like outreach you mentioned. They're very well known for sales engagement. Well, they are also the owners of sales engagementcom and the brand behind it, so they wrote the sales engagement book. So associating yourself to a side brand that really speaks to your space gives you tremendous power in shaping the industry and your space and essentially owning a category, being the leader in that category, at least in the way that it's perceived by your prospects. Yeah, I really like the idea around education events. You know the research and surveys that you're talking about. That seems like the perfect place to leverage a almost less commercial brand, right, like slightly less commercial, or at least it doesn't appear to be as commercial. I think that's a really smart play. Have you been a part of any of the conversations where that idea came up for the first time, where this is like birth, because I imagine that was not necessarily the easiest sale to make internally. Yeah, I branch. I can't take the credit. This brand existed before I joined team. Did a great job of nurturing it and then once I joined that something I could leverage and what's part of a conversation at outreach where we had to decide what the phrase was going to be called. I specifically remember the meeting where we got to room but the team and asked, hey, so do we call ourselves sales engagement? Do we call ourselves sales communication? What are we what do we want to settle on? And I think it's important to look at what language your competitors are using. This is the one time that actually might make sense to align with your top competitors. Yeah, see what is already, you know, kind of having a little bit of traction in the space, what meetups exists, what linkedin groups are out there and what can you align to? And ultimately we felt...

...like sales engagement was the right phrase to stick with going forward for the first few words on the website and also just the brand that we were going to continue creating. So I can't take credit for for all of it, of course. I think this is a team effort. It required tremendous lifting, you know, throwing events and messaging and heaving. Credit goes to the product marketing team there to carry the torch forward, but I think it ultimately, yeah, I think it was ultimately the right choice. Sure, phrasing absolutely. I mean we talked about sales engagement. Now that's a category right, it's its own thing. It's a very real thing and I think outreach was a very big part of that category creation and it makes sense that sales engagement is the brand behind it to yeah, it's awesome. How do you split Reso cources or share resources when you're thinking about, okay, you've got your primary commercial brand and you've got this other brand. How do you know when it's time to engage the other brand and then how do you kind of share resources? Are there specific teams set up that cover that brand, or do you kind of all work on both? So I think companies can take this variety of ways. You could nurture the brand knowing that you will leverage it later down the road, and in those cases it makes sense to allocate some resources. Perhaps you have somebody running the podcast right under that brand and you just keep doing it until you're ready to start dipping into it for cross pollination with your main brand. In general, I think it's fine to mix resources and I don't think there's a right answer for how much you should be spending, especially if that side brand is directly helping you raise awareness. For the space of the term. It almost is irrelevant whether you spend all your resources behind it or just a percentage of what you have, because you benefit from it either way, whether they engage with your main brand or your side brand. Sure, how are you doing it today? I mean you cover international marketing, which I think would be interesting just to hear. Do you do use this brand across the globe or is this a local national so brand? We try to keep the brand consistent across the world. So same logo,...

...same branding, no real reason to change it as you move internationally. However, I would have to say some of the event for mats are not well known globally. So, for example, we use the word round table and North America. We recently learned that in South America round table has a different connotation and people don't quite know what it means. So it's better to say networking session or be a little bit more explicit about what it is. So there are regional differences, but the brand itself can remain the same. Okay, that makes sense. And thinking about where you've seen this before. You know you were part of it an outreach and you're now doing this a branch. What did you learn from the experience with that secondary brand and outreach that you carried through to branch, because obviously it already existed before you came on board a branch. But but what did you know from our reach that you maybe wanted to deploy or change by the way it was being run a branch? So I knew it would be tremendously powerful that you can leverage it against cold prospects. We had some questions at branch when we launch our podcast of will people who don't know US speak on this podcast, and they absolutely do, especially when they could look at the track record of what that stub brand has been doing in the space. I think it's very powerful and can be leveraged really for a lot of use cases. So I think what I brought to it was, I mean you can definitely expand its usage, for sure. You can publish books under it, you can introduce new types of programs, so it's all there. I love that. If you could restart it all at either, you know, at any of your past companies, if you could do it again, is there anything you would maybe framed differently or like a place that you would start art the brand. Would it be research? Would it be events? Is like their one particular like, Oh, this is where it's got to be born, because that's our most you know, successful area. Yeah, I think what I would do is, and to a certain point we have been doing this, but I think it's just really important for people to know that the where you start it is really important. Who are your first few podcast guests? Who are your first people who...

...attend events? I mean, who are you involving as part of your category? Really makes a difference for where you start out and attracting others. So one thing that we've heard is sometimes people, and I did this with with your podcast actually before, I looked at who else is spoken down this podcast and I saw some names are recognized and I said, okay, great, this is good. I want to be part of this community. So I think it just really matters that you go out with the bank. I like that. So rather than, you know, maybe starting with a slow burn and building up to that exciting, you know event or participant or speaker, really trying and launch the thing, is what you're saying. Yeah, put a lot of effort up front, get resources from across the team, use your connections, use your sea level connections to kick it off in a very strong way. I love that. That's great advice. Well, the results of building a secondary brand. Has It taught you anything about your primary brand? Have you learned anything from Oh wow, that the event was so powerful because we did in this way? We've got to do all of our you know, primary branch or outreach or whatever your past experience to teach you something about that. Yes, when we serve a people, we learned something kind of interesting that one of the best parts of our community events is the networking aspect, and that's what we learned. We brought into our regular events and programs as well. That people want to connect with others, and so we have taken extra effort to connect people. So in some cases we create linkedin groups and we invite everybody together. We share the linkedin IDs with everybody on the Linkedin Link so that they can connect. We've tried creating slack communities. We essentially try to make lasting connections as a value add because that's why we learned what was the main draw for people coming to our meetups is really connecting with others and feeling connected to the ecosystem and feeling like you know what's happening in the space, you know the leaders and you know the people who are playing in it. That's fascinating. Are there last question? I promise I'm...

...peppering you with these about this particular strategy, but are there any strategies that you're trying with a secondary brand that you wouldn't try with your primary brand, like, is there anything that you're like, oh, we couldn't do this with branch, we have to do with our other brand? The one that sticks out to me is if you are trying to hold an industry conference and really try to bring in a lot of voices from the industry, it's more powerful if it is not specifically under your brand, because it gets perceived as a customer conference or, you know, something that you can only attend if you have a relationship with that company. And Yeah, I think that would be that's something that really delineates the two. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Now, zooming out from this, you know experience this stop process of building a secondary brandon and just talking about what you've got going on a branch. Today a lot of folks are going to want to know how big is the team there? I mean, my Gosh, to deploy resources over there and over here. I mean you guys are one of the fastest growing companies in North America. How big is the team and how are you guys structured? Today? We are bit over three hundred. We maybe over three hundred and fifty. I should double check. It changes frequently. Is that the marketing team? Oh, company, marketing team is no, no, forgivy, that would be great. I don't know if that would be great. Actually, I take it back. We are probably closer to twenty twenty in the marketing team and we are broken down a headquarters in Redwood City, but we have folks in Seattle, in Bangalore, in Beijing, in London, so we're fairly spread out. Even in North America. We're split between New York and and Redwood City. So we're quite a global team, of which it's good and bad and mean somebody's always available for you as on the unless it's Saturday, but also makes it really tough to integrate really well. We have one hour per day we're almost all of us can attend a meeting right and even then it becomes really tough for China, but we really try to...

...stick in acted with any means that we can, with documentation, with videos. Sometimes we have audio recordings we send to each other. So that's the main challenge for it, for sure. But it also allows us the ability to know in market. We have people in market that can understand the local nuances of how to market in a region. Yeah, I can't imagine how powerful that is versus trying to break into a region where you're non natives and really like Hey, I didn't realize it was this way and now we got to switch all our plans and change everything we budgeted and built. Yeah, yeah, it's tough. I mean I'm still learning a ton from my team. What recent learning is we held a direct mail campaign in London and from out of London into the General European region and in some countries we got tax on those gifts that we sent out and the recipient had to pay the tax. So then we had to follow up. They will help you, will pay you back for the taxi had to pay pay for the gift that we sent to you. I mean it was a little clunky and that it will always be that way because of local taxation loss, but it's just something that I wasn't aware of until we had to actually do it. So now now I on board the understand like how we would do it potentially present it that way and say we will send you something, but will also pay for it. There's a lot of nuances that take place, fascinating. Well, that totally makes sense that you're a global team. You're getting the advantages of that and of course there's challenges with it. If you had so, let's say at three choices, right. You could double your staff, you could double your budget or you could double the amount of time you have to get stuff done. Would you pick staff, budget or time? Great Question. I wouldn't do budget. I know that one's out, because I just feel like there's always creative, scrappy ways to get results you don't need. It's not just money. Yeah, I think it would be time. I think it'd be time, and I'm saying that not because I don't think more staff would be great. I just think currently we have really sharp staff on the marketing team and I think the biggest blocker we have is not enough hours in the...

...day for each of them to leverage themselves. So I think it would be time. A hundred percent. It's a great answer because it makes perfect sense when you've got amazing people and you feel like your leverage fully, if you just had those, you know, another few hours a day. Yes, just to knock out more of what you're ambitiously excited to get done. No, that makes total sense. I love that you use the process of elimination. Felt very scientific. So, coming back to your chemist foundations here, thinking of other marketers in the space, people that you look up to that you've learned a lot from. Anybody you want to maybe give a shout out to or we should be paying attention to? I guess first person that comes to mind is ANMA AST rock lavy. He was one of my managers at meals off that I look up to a very frequently to give me advice, and he comes from an engineering background as well, so we definitely nerd it out on basically everything, but mostly I learned a lot of team management from him and I look up to him a lot for building really high performance teams and maintaining them right, like keeping your best talent on board. Yeah, amazing. Well, we would love to connect with me of that sounds awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show. If anybody wants to go and follow you, Dan, where should they find you? Where do you like to spend time online? Probably these days on Linkedin. I have a twitter, but I can't think of creative things tweet, so probably be on Linkedin. Please follow and connect. I'm always on the talk shop, so if you want to just get together and we'll talk thirty minutes or an hour about the mansion strategies, are growth strategies, or really anything else, I'm always down to connect and talk through things. Awesome. And if folks want to learn about branch and how you guys are growing, what's the the site for them? Absolutely branched out. Ioh. We are hiring for a ton of roles, so please take a look at our brand and then take a look at who we're hiring for. I would love to have you joined the team. Very good, Dan, thanks again and hope you have an next one weekend. Thank you. X Youtube. Thanks for listening to growth marketing camp. If you enjoyed this episode, we'd love it if you would...

...give it a quick five star rating or share it with a friend or colleague looking to get a little more inspiration for their next campaign. If you want to learn more about the company behind the show, had to open sensecom. That's open, skeneskcom. Will catch you on the next episode.

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