DAZE is one of Israel’s leading digital marketing agencies for B2B clients, providing a wide range of lead generation and sales optimization services for global SMB and enterprises alike. I had the pleasure of interviewing DAZE’s knowledgable founder and CEO Gali Soudak, who revealed some of her most valuable secrets for getting B2B marketing right in 2019.
Please Describe the Background, Vision, and Evolution of DAZE So Far
I founded Daze about 10 years ago. We started very small but grew very quickly. Within 1-2 years of operation, we became very B2B oriented, and the leading if not the only online marketing agency in Israel to focus on B2B clients.
This was true 8-9 years ago. To say the situation in the market has changed would be an understatement, but since we had the first-mover advantage of being experts in B2B and being pioneers in LinkedIn marketing, many of the big brands in Israel were attracted to us, including companies like IBM and Nice.
This changed us completely because it forced us to become global, so all our employees had to be native English speakers. Linkedin is just one of many platforms that we had to specialize in, in order to perfect our work. There are many agencies in Israel either for B2C or mixed, but when you focus on B2B you have to be very different.
The vision of the company is to continue providing excellent services to global B2B clients and mostly to tech-oriented companies, both startups and corporations.
What’s Unique About DAZE?
Firstly, Daze grew mainly from becoming a LinkedIn pioneer. It seems that even though we are a full-stack agency providing all digital services, we are mostly known for our Linkedin power, for our methods and systems and to be honest, no other B2B agencies that I know of in Israel are really providing the same exact services that we offer.
One of the things that we grew from was outbound marketing. We are experts in articulating the right outbound messages and delivering them effectively, whether through Linkedin or using other channels like email, twitter, and messenger.
Unlike many other things, outbound marketing requires a very proactive approach. Think about telemarketing or telemeeting. That’s a pure outbound channel, it means you go out there and get the client. You call them, you email them, you text them, throughout the years there have been many different systems and tools to do this but it’s basically direct outreach to your target market. People also do it through mail and SMS today, they do it through many channels.
When you focus on B2B then obviously LinkedIn and Twitter are the main tools, but if you learn how to target wisely you can also do it through Facebook and Email.
Of course, you have to be very aware of the spam laws and legal limitations, but you also have to do it in a fair way. Most companies that try to do outbound marketing fail to reach their desired results, and it’s obvious why, because when you reach someone who hasn’t been nurtured, who doesn’t know your brand, most people don’t like it. They don’t like to be sold to, they don’t like to be bugged, and they tag you as a spammer.
There are systems and best practices to do it in a way that actually works and creates business opportunities. The advantage is that it’s very immediate. Usually, It takes about a month to set up the system in the right way, but once it’s set up and you launch an outbound campaign, the next day you have leads, and I’m talking about sales qualified leads, people who are ready to schedule with you.
This is a big advantage when you operate in markets like Israel, where people are not very patient to long term marketing. They want ROI the next morning and this is one channel that helped us grow significantly. We were the first in Israel to offer it and for years we were the only company that did it. I know that now there are a few other agencies who offer it but because it’s such a tough channel to succeed in, I don’t think they were able to really crack the best practices on how to make outbound work.
The other thing that is unique about us is that we offer a channel we call Thought Leadership.
Unlike many other agencies who are involved in brand awareness, generating content, inbound marketing, and managing company pages, what we do on top of that is that we take personal profiles of senior management, and instead of promoting a brand we promote the senior management of that brand.
We call it Thought leadership but basically, it’s turning those seniors to become industry experts. It’s different because all of a sudden it’s a lot of work on groups. A lot of posting on groups and forums, debates and discussions, it’s a lot of content that is opinionated and personal.
In this video, I explain some of the fundamentals of Linkedin B2B marketing (in Hebrew):
Why Should You Promote the Senior Management Instead of Just the Brand?
What we found is that people like to follow people more than they like to follow brands.
This works whether you like the brand or not. So I can give you 2 names: Microsoft and Apple.
I’m pretty sure that when I say Microsoft, you don’t get a pleasant feeling in your body, but when I say Apple, that’s a completely different story.
So people are in love with Apple, and still, most of them would rather follow Bill Gates than follow Microsoft, and when Steve Jobs was alive, one of the reasons Apple was so successful is that he did Thought leadership and influencer marketing. They liked following Steve Jobs even more than they liked following Apple.
When you upload valuable content and participate in group discussions, you show your target audience that there are expert leaders in this company; thought leaders that your target market wants to follow; so soon enough you will start attracting inbound leads, meaning, prospects who start to ask you questions and want to consult with you or meet you.
This means it’s going to be very easy to sell your products and services later on because these people are well nurtured, they come with the knowledge that the people who manage this company are experts.
We see amazing results in this channel, and very few agencies are engaged in such services. They Mostly focus on brand awareness, ad exposure and inbound marketing in general but not through personal profiles. So I would say Outbound and thought leadership is what makes us unique.
The last thing that makes us unique, and I don’t think that we’re the only one, but it’s definitely a must-have today, is that we are very data-driven so everything we do is measured: whether it’s outbound, thought leadership, brand awareness, SEO, everything is measured to the extent that very few agencies do. We optimize our results on a weekly basis, just to improve the campaign result. At the bottom line, it makes a big difference.
What are the Fundamental Tools that Every B2B marketer Should be Using, and Why?
I guess to answer this question you have to define a B2B marketer. An agency is definitely a B2B marketer, but it’s slightly different from being a CMO because usually, you are not the executor. You may be the general manager, in charge of the budget, but those that are executing the B2B strategy have to use a variety of tools that are available today and were never available before.
For example, monitoring tools that allow you to see what are the trends today, and what people in the industry are talking about.
You can monitor discussions, competitors, or industries, but you have to be able to know what are the hot topics in order to generate a good content plan.
If you’re doing SEO you should use tools like SEMrush to give you an advantage over your competitors.
One of the tools that make a big difference is a very good reporting tool that lets you build a dashboard, because the only thing that separates digital from the offline world is the ability to measure and optimize, if you have a good reporting tool like Google data studio, you are able to see in real-time what’s going on and react appropriately.
There are also social media publishing tools. If you’re publishing on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, and managing both brand and senior management profiles, whether it’s your brand or you’re part of an agency, you have to use some kind of social media publishing tool.
Since these tools are so important, Daze is now providing access to such leading tools that we’ve helped develop, to other agencies and clients.
If you’re running inbound marketing campaigns, you have to be using a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) such as Hubspot. MAP tools help you automate marketing processes and nurture leads in a highly sophisticated and efficient way.
But, I guess the one most important tool, that too many times is not in use by leading marketers, is CRM.
A good marketer understands that all they do ends up in measurable ROI and that a proper handoff to the sales department is extremely critical. MAP and CRM systems work together and need to be integrated – there really isn’t any other way to fully succeed.
Those are just examples of basic tools that every B2B marketer has to use today.
What are the Current Challenges in B2B digital marketing, and How are They Different from B2C Marketing?
It’s actually very different. Firstly it starts with the target market and the way you define your audience. B2C is based on standard parameters like geolocation, interests, age, gender and so on.
With B2B you have a completely different set of targeting parameters: job titles, industry, company size, annual revenue, and sometimes other parameters. The targeting already limits you on how to track them. Linkedin is obviously the best tool to do this with, but there are tons of other channels. Generally speaking, you are very limited with your targeting.
Another challenge is the audience, and the marketing messages you can use. It’s a much more sophisticated audience, so the general parameters or tagline is not emotional and you have to understand who you are talking to.
For example, if you’re selling to geo-plastics engineers, they are looking for a certain language that is more technical, so even if you convey the message through video, you still need to think of how to talk to this audience. In B2C it’s a simple language, more emotional marketing text.
The third challenge is that the sales life cycle is very long. It can take 6 months, 1 year, or even 5 years if they get government projects, from lead generation to the closure of the deal. So it makes the life of the marketer very hard.
How can you optimize a campaign when it takes so long for the deal to close?
You need a good way to measure the lead quality score based on general parameters like:
Are they from the target market?
How large is the project?
What’s the estimated time it would take to close a deal?
By answering all of these questions, you get a general lead score number that tells you whether a certain campaign is worth your efforts, and what it would take to optimize it.
B2C E-commerce campaigns, for instance, are much more instant because you only need to answer one question: did you sell or not? So obviously it’s a lot easier to measure and optimize. I found that the life cycle with B2B is a lot longer.
So those are the three major challenges in B2B: how to target your audience, how to find the right content, sometimes you need an expert or an engineer to produce the right content, and how to optimize campaigns with such a long life cycle.
How would you advise online brands to keep up with the constantly changing scenery of the online marketing arena?
I would say they can educate themselves. Marketing managers in companies need to understand digital better because the marketing world is changing rapidly.
Only 15 years ago when I graduated from my MBA with a major in marketing, we didn’t even have one course on digital marketing. Today the complexity of digital marketing is so immense that it feels more like 200 years old rather than 15.
Not all marketing managers have realized this rapid change, and many of them are not fully educated. My advice would be to find a blog that works for you and read it once a week, take online courses on Udemy or Lynda or other online courses that can give you a general understanding of digital marketing because it’s changing on a daily basis.
Every day we find something new. So you can either do that, just to be able to work with an agency or you find an agency that is really there. It’s hard because you need to be sure they are doing a good job. Unless you have a trusted partner and you know they are on top of things, even then you should always audit them and make sure they are doing what needs to be done and that they are aware of new tools.
Some of our clients are big brands, sometimes when they ask for a quote they include that fact we will educate them on the new tools and platforms that are out there and they are very smart about that. Education is the key here.
How do you envision the future of digital B2B marketing?
Things that are happening today will continue to happen whether it’s inbound’ outbound or SEO. But there are two trends in particular that have been growing massively and will continue to grow. One is obviously video. Using video in your content strategy will definitely grow in the future. Even today, there’s not a single brand who can afford not to use video.
Another thing that is growing, which isn’t as big as video yet but it is growing and will continue to grow is thought leadership- optimizing personal profiles of senior management and distributing their content.
More and more brands realize they have to be part of the discussion in social media groups and forums, producing webinars and things that are really promoting senior managers in order to provide comfort to the target audience that the leaders of this company are really experts. That’s definitely a big part of the future of B2B marketing.