Dan Sirk is a marketing executive and strategist who specialises in data-driven campaigns and building brand awareness in new markets. Following a successful career at Bose, he transitioned to B2B and today works as VP of marketing at Anyline (a data-capture software provider).
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Important to your brand is the news media (both B2B and B2C)?
News media can be critically important, but its effectiveness can be different from one region to the next, and this is important to remember when building media campaigns. For example, securing high-quality coverage can be a huge component of finding success in Europe, while here in the US, landing that one big piece in USA Today may not move the dial much on its own.
I find that on this side of the pond, small and growing firms need to understand the importance of consistency with how they approach news media, especially by making the most of the B2B publications in target verticals to create a steady drumbeat of awareness around the brand.
When it comes to new and emerging tech like what we’re working on here at Anyline, getting the right coverage can play a critical role in validating the performance of your product. Having an audience engage with your product and impartially judge how it performs relative to the marketplace cannot be underestimated.
What’s been your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievements have always been learning-based. In marketing, ideas often fail, and we shouldn’t be afraid of that. The best successes I’ve seen came from finding where the issues lay hidden, and then delivering an outcome that was exponentially better in the end by solving them.
For example, in my previous position with kununu, we had decent customer renewals, but after close examination, I discovered that we weren’t focused enough on what customers exactly wanted out of the platform. When we realised this and made it easier to customise the service to customers, we increased renewals by over 30%.
That’s been a key learning for me as I move forward in my career. Everything you do in marketing has to focus towards creating a deep understanding of your customers and prospects to ensure that your brand is truly connecting and delivering value to them.
What media channels do you see as most important and best value when it comes to marketing spend and activity?
Choosing the right media channels always depends on your business model and what you’re aiming to accomplish. You can find some that will cost you $20 per click, others that are 2 cents, and everything in-between!
Moving forward with Anyline, I think there are going to be particular channels that are vital to drive engagement with the brand. When it comes to lead generation and potential prospects LinkedIn and paid search will play a large part in driving activity. From a brand awareness standpoint and getting our name out there in the US, we will look further downstream and go for some high-volume clicks – paid social, Taboola and a variety of different channels to get folks to engage with the brand in a ‘softer’ way, before graduating them into a form-complete and downloadable content.
What for you is the key to any successful marketing campaign – what actually makes a ‘good lead’?
The most important thing is for leads to fit with the desired outcome of your business. If not, your spend against ROI can fall badly out of balance. That’s why having end-to-end measurements in place is always necessary, otherwise you can end up evaluating marketing campaigns in a vacuum, and that never works.
With the right data and knowledge about your prospects, it’s then possible to invest more per high-quality lead to get the engagement you need with exactly the right people, at the right company. This is a mentality shift that takes time for many to get comfortable with, but definitely pays off.
How important is technology in modern marketing?
It’s fundamental to what we do. In recent years, marketing tech has enabled us to evolve how we can personalise and measure the outcomes of our messaging. And while there is a fine line between great targeting and ‘too much’, consumers want better ads as much as we do, so getting it right benefits everyone.
Companies want to deliver value, and put the right thing in front of the right prospective clients at the right time, and that’s when users want to get it. In my experience, companies that are most successful are those that are consistently delivering value to their customers – not just in the product, but also in the communications that precede the delivery of that product.
What are the biggest pain points in a marketing campaign? And how do you overcome them?
The primary pain points come from campaigns not achieving their outcomes, followed by a lack of proper follow-up. Great marketing campaigns are iterative, and acknowledging that things aren’t going to work out at least half of the time.
The skill of a great marketing leader is to make sure your team is consistently measuring and understanding the outputs of those plans so they can continuously refine and move the ball forward from a performance standpoint. If you’re not doing that, you’ll never be sure what is working and what isn’t.
To achieve this, you have to understand the outputs associated with your work. The first step is getting the right data, and the second step is applying creativity and problem solving exactly where it’s needed. You have to work through issues with discipline, without this you’ll be flying blind. It comes down to data, process orientation and having the discipline when you try something new to see how well it works.