Hinge’s Managing Partner, Lee Frederiksen, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share his insight on strategies to improve marketing automation. The series explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
Lee joined me to discuss lead generation strategies, lead nurturing tips, and marketing automation strategies.
Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:
TECHNOLOGYADVICE: How have you used Behavioral Psychology as your secret marketing automation ingredient to help companies grow?
Lee: There are really three different ways that it plays in.
One is, of course, is the basic understanding of people and how they make decisions. The science on that has really improved—everything from sequencing the human gene, to MRIs, to experimental psychology—and deepened our understanding of human decision-making.
The second way is that we use the research methods developed by psychologists to understand how buyers of professional services select their firms and how they go about deciding which firm they’re going to trust— or who’s an expert and who’s not an expert.
What we’ve been able to do is really understand how we can direct our marketing efforts. So you don’t waste time doing things that aren’t going to be productive, and you do spend your time on the things that really drive growth—the same things that high-growth firms do.
The third way that it really plays in is that automation and technology is so dynamic. That’s really allowed firms to implement things that would have been unthinkable just ten years ago. There was no way you could personalize things. There was no way you could reach across geography as easily as you can today.
TA: What are some of the “Aha!” moments that your clients and customers have experienced?
Lee: A firm we were working with was headquartered in the south. They were thinking of themselves as a regional firm within their state. That’s the furthest their ambitions went. We were able to understand the real benefit that they were offering to their clients, then developed a content marketing program around that benefit and made that available.
Advertising doesn’t just promote your services – it can also play an important role in driving content downloads, increasing both your expertise and visibility.
Within the first 60 days that they started this program, they got a call from a prospect that was probably a Fortune 20 firm. That one contract paid for over two years of the program going forward. Based on just one contract— because they understood their buyer and because they used content marketing and the technology that allows them to distribute it—they got a client they thought was completely out of reach.
TA: Because marketing automation is an investment of both time and money, how do you help clients determine ROI?
Lee: That’s a great question. There are two levels by which we do it: macro and micro. So we look at the ROI overall, across firms. One of our studies, for example, looked at over 500 firms and how they used technology and automation and different marketing tools, like analytics, SEO, these kinds of tools. What we found is that there was a relationship between how they used technologies and how fast they grew.
For example, companies that grew the fastest used the most SEO and implemented it the best and saw the best value of it. So, that’s really what this is: it’s educating on a macro-level, then on a micro-level when you look at what a specific firm is really trying to accomplish and the best way to go about doing it. Then you can see where technology fits into it, where an overall lead generation and lead nurturing program fits in, and how that helps the firm really achieve their goals.
TA: As you look at the future of marketing automation software, how do you think lead nurturing is going to change and evolve?
Lee: There are a couple of things that we can already see if you look backward and you look forward. You can see pretty quickly that consumers of all types, whether they’re individuals buying their own personal things or whether they’re in the B2B role, they use information to help understand issues that they’re facing.
So one of the big trends that we see, is that firms hiring professional services are doing more research to understand what problems I’m facing, what the possible solutions are, who can do a good job of it, and how I can educate myself. With professional services, you are fundamentally selling your expertise and you’re demonstrating that expertise to your potential clients through content marketing.
This allows you to attract leads and nurture them, but there’s another thing that’s going on: you’re qualifying too. If you’re writing content about a certain topic that is only of interest to people who would be your potential clients, those prospects self-qualify. So it really changes the entire sales process and the notion of how you go about looking for professional services.
There’s a second trend that we think is going on besides the use of content marketing: the collapse of geography. This is a direct result of the evolution of technology where firms are no longer just local. In the past, when I started in professional services, all professional services were generally local. You had to be face-to-face. That’s not true anymore. So many firms operate across geography. They have employees in many states and they’re communicating with each other using technology on a daily basis. So it’s nothing unusual that they’re working with a vendor who is hundreds of thousands of miles away from them.
We began to develop an international practice without really trying to because people accessed us from countries around the world. It is a national development. The consumer’s desire to understand who they’re working with is changing, and that really drives specialization where you’re looking for what’s the best solution for my firm, no matter where they are geographically. That levels the playing field in a way that just has never been possible before.
Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download this interview to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes. You can also subscribe to just the Marketing Automation category.