Bringing Emotion Back Into B2B Marketing
http://www.inc.com/jonathan-lacoste/bringing-emotion-back-into-b2b-marketing.htmlBrad Brooks leads DocuSign's marketing team. I talked with him about marketing in a competitive industry, rebranding from an enterprise brand to a human brand, and more.
How did you get into marketing?
I was thrust into marketing. Most of my background was very much on the product side - management, planning, development. Microsoft was going through the existential threat from Apple and basically I was tapped on the shoulder by my then-boss, and he asked me to come in and work with him on the marketing function. That pulled me out of product and put me square into marketing.
How did you approach marketing amongst competitors?
The thing that we came back with was first off, you've got to know yourself and your product. The core of all great marketers is they start with the truth. No matter how painful it is and how much you don't like it, you've got to go with it. Apple was beating us up as a brand at that time based on how their product functioned and how customers perceived it. But we knew that our customers trusted us as a brand, they were familiar with it, and it was easy for them to use. Switching to an Apple device required a switching cost, so it wasn't as easy as Apple portrayed to make the switch. And that became quite powerful - focusing on simplicity and trust. You saw that coming out in our campaigns. It was finding the fundamental truth about who we were.
In the last two years, what are some of the marketing initiatives that you've been a part of that have been really exciting for you?
When I first came in, DocuSign was very much an enterprise or a business brand. The site just had "the global standard for digital transaction management." Then you saw a Forrester block and enterprise business use-cases. How we showed up was as an enterprise IT organization. But we went back to what was true.
DocuSign has millions of users and we are very much an individual brand. One of the things we quickly started to look at was experience. Everybody has experiences with an emotional connection with DocuSign. We started to see that across our customer base whether they were using it for enterprise, personal needs, or real estate. If you go to our site today it's very much about the user experience and what DocuSign unlocks - your ability to buy that new house, get that commission check, or take your business to the next level. The emotional connection has really been part of the messaging in the past couple years.
You can still see how we can do it faster, at a lower cost, and with new features, but the other big focus for us (which you see from the aesthetic to the demos) was around personalizing it and creati