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About This Episode
If you’re not spending loads of money on PR, you’re doing marketing all wrong.
…Or are you?
“We help collect intelligence so that you can make more confident decisions in your security workflows,” Tom said. “We are an intelligence provider who helps make all these other security products work better,” he adds.
PR is overrated
Tom started out by debunking the myth that content marketing has to be hard.
Actually, his story of how the Cyber Daily newsletter started out was brilliant:
They were already collecting interesting data on HubSpot and just realized they could dump the latest entries into an RSS feed.
That automation trick yielded 40% of their pipeline at its peak success — and took 0 additional work hours.
So this brings us to Myth #1: You have to spend massive loads of money on PR to look like a legit company.
The tongue-in-cheek Wentworth Law goes like this: “The more you have to spend on PR, the less interesting stuff you have to say.”
Tom’s view is that you should spend your money on having something interesting to say and hardly any on pitching it. Like the data they were already collecting, which they knew would be of interest to their potential clients.
“Once you have good things to say and you have a reputation, the actual pitching part of it is pretty easy,” he pointed out.
Best case scenario, you do some market research on the audience you sell to and discover some original research that only you can provide. Then, the journalists will be begging to cover you.
“Before I even think about PR, I would be thinking about finding ways to tell interesting stories,” Tom said.
A real life case study in FOMO
One of the best types of original research that Tom mentioned is what his competitors are doing.
“It’s that type of research that gets me. The number one thing for me is FOMO,” Tom admitted.
If he hears that a super smart marketer at a high growth company is using a product or service, then he wants to be doing that, too.
Advice to other marketers: If you sell a product that Snowflake uses, you should be using that aggressively right now. Leverage the competitive aspect to the max.
Tom said he’d take a meeting based on that info alone.
He also loves a very short email:
Hey, Snowflake used our product to grow at 100%. Now they’re public and worth $130 billion on the market. Do you want to learn how they did it?
If Tom got that email, he’d absolutely take that meeting.
“Tell me I’m doing something wrong. Create some FOMO,” Tom said.
BDRs under sales or marketing?
Short answer: Managing BDRs is hard no matter which side they land on…massive respect for BDR leadership.
“We have a BDR team at Recorded Future that doesn’t work in marketing — and shouldn’t work in marketing,” Tom said.
Myth #2: BDR teams have to belong in sales.
With respect to sales, Tom positioned marketing as the “SQO” factory: sales qualified opportunity. Marketing will hand sales a certain number of opportunities a week, which a rep will have to verify for that lead to count. Checks and balances.
But honestly, a lot of BDRs don’t want to be in marketing. The job description and career path is more appealing under the sales umbrella.
This myth isn’t set in stone, though. It’s kind of up to what works best for your organization.
Everything changes in SaaS when you hit $100 million
Tom joined Recorded Future just in advance of that milestone. He’s been at other companies when they passed that mark.
Myth #3: $100 million is the tipping point.
Actually, before $100 million, bubblegum and duct tape processes are fine. You can make things happen with brute force.
After $100 million…that just doesn’t work.
“When you start to get to $100 million, your demand gen numbers are going up dramatically. All of a sudden, with the processes that you ran before, how are you going to generate a $300 million pipeline next year?” Tom questioned.
The stakes are higher now. What you could muscle through earlier, you have to think through now.
“Predominantly, you have to think about putting processes in place and people in place who can help you mature all the things that got you there,” he explained.
So, not a complete reboot.
But you probably will have to rip out some things that used to work and replace them with repeatable or scalable processes.
At Recorded Future, they made it to $100 million with 2 people in demand gen. Absolutely heroic work — but not sustainable.
“A lot of what happens is that automation just doesn’t scale. We hit breaking points,” he said.
A CMO’s first 3 hires
- Product marketing (aka, a subject matter expert)
- Marketing ops (build analytic processes for scaling)
- Generalist (can execute stuff, build content, etc.)
Runner up: Content writer
If you have to make a call about systems vs. analytics, go for the analytics.
“Analytics is a skill set that’s undervalued in marketing,” Tom said. “We have marketing ops people who are great at the systems; I don’t think we’re doing a good enough job of teaching marketing ops professionals how to be good at analytics.”
3 marketers you should be following
Reach out to Tom on LinkedIn (or send him a very short email).