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Marketing

Pivoting Your Marketing Strategy to New Audiences with Kelly Cheng

We delve into how to identify new markets, how to best serve those new customers, and how to stay nimble in a changing landscape.

January 7, 2021

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Our guest Kelly Cheng knows the importance of staying nimble in a turbulent marketing landscape. We talk through how to get new audiences in your door, and how to pivot plans to meet those changing needs. 

The following interview is an excerpt from our video series, Marketing - In Conversation. To watch the full interview and see more video content, click here. Or you can listen to the Shift In Conversation podcast here.

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Kelly Cheng - Director, Growth & Media - Wistia 
Grace Amodeo - Program Manager - Shift

Grace:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career to this point. 

Kelly:
I'm originally from Hong Kong, but I did start my career in Boston working in different ad agencies, specifically in media planning. From advertising, I pivoted over to B2B tech where I worked at a company called PagerDuty in San Francisco. I moved back to Boston last August and landed at Wistia. 

Grace:
What kind of company is Wistia and what do you do there?

Kelly:
Wistia is a video marketing software company. Our product is a video player, and now an audio player as well since we recently released our podcasting feature. Our capabilities are also visualizing your media in a beautiful gallery without any dev work requirement. Our goal is to empower marketers and leverage media types like video and audio to tell a brand story and make your brand more human. I am on the marketing team and I head up the growth department within marketing. My role really is to bring in new customer acquisitions, making sure those new customers activate their accounts, and making sure that they end up purchasing. 

Grace:
How has your previous experience at ad agencies informed your work at Wistia?

Kelly:
Within the growth team at Wistia, we do manage all of our paid advertising and digital advertising. So that background really came in handy, just understanding the whole foundation of the media landscape and how Wistia can leverage and capitalize on different opportunities that are out there to really fit our business goals. With advertising, I learned a lot about B2B but also bringing consumer marketing into the B2B world.

Grace:
What do you think is the biggest change that has hit B2B marketing in this past year? 

It's really hard for B2B brands to break through that clutter. I think the brands that are doing it very well are the ones that are staying very true to their identity.

Kelly:
Probably the biggest and most obvious change is the displacement of physical events and needing to replace those physical events with digital events, which then causes the digital space to be extremely cluttered. I don't know about you, but every time I'm on LinkedIn there is another webinar, another virtual conference. And so it's really hard for B2B brands to break through that clutter. I think the brands that are doing it very well are the ones that are staying very true to their identity. An example that I really love is Buffer. They had an audio-only conference, like a podcasting conference, which is the first I’ve ever seen before. They were able to use that podcasting medium to their advantage. 

Grace:
Has the pandemic brought any positive effects to Wistia and your business?

Kelly:
Absolutely. The nature of Wistia’s business is in video marketing, and naturally we’ve seen a huge surge in marketers that are moving to digital video because of physical events not being possible. We saw a lot of demand from different brands across the whole world, and even in industries that we’ve never truly served before. It’s been an interesting journey to see who’s been reaching out to us. 

Grace:
What are some of those new audiences that you have seen come into your platform, and how do you think they are finding you? 

Kelly:
Wistia's always had a very good understanding of our data and our customers. We keep a really good pulse on our volume of customers and our segmentation. As this pandemic started, we saw that both real estate and e-learning had a really strong interest in Wistia and video marketing. It was interesting looking at the different sources that were driving them to Wistia’s website. A majority of them are through referrals. On all of our video players you can right-click on the actual player and it will show you the technology, so a lot of people discover Wistia by checking out our tech. Another way that people are discovering us is actually through review sites. So we have been making sure that we are relevant across the major review sites, like TrustRadius and G2 Crowd. Testimonials are really important for us. Our customers really love us, so we’re using that to our advantage and attracting new customers through those reviews. 

Grace:
Once you identify a new sector or new audience, how do you test that audience to see if they are a good fit for your platform?

We’re watching them very closely to see how they’re engaging, what content they’re clicking on, what emails are attracting them, and what subject lines are working well. 

Kelly:
Our testing approach is pretty much in our DNA. Pretty much everything that we do, we have at least two variations of -- so we at least have an A/B test, if not a multi-variant test going. It is the only way for us to know what's working and what's not, and to be able to continuously improve. In terms of testing and targeting for these new audiences, we’re watching them very closely to see how they’re engaging, what content they’re clicking on, what emails are attracting them, and what subject lines are working well. 

Grace:
How do you then turn all of that data into a strategy? 

Kelly:
After looking at these new sectors and watching how they are engaging, we then customize what we’ve learned from them to actually implement. So in e-learning, for example, we understood what specifically their pain points are, what language those individuals are using to address those pain points, and putting that language directly into our messaging. With the surge in on-demand webinars, for example, a lot of B2B companies were coming to Wistia looking to create Channels to host their on-demand webinars and collect lead information. We had to restrategize the positioning of our Channels from a Netflix-style gallery for your viewing pleasure to more of a video gallery for your webinars. When they see that message, B2B marketers are much more likely to engage. 

Grace:
Talk to be about staying agile in a changing landscape. What does agility mean to you in your work, and why is it so important? 

Kelly:
The way that I define being agile is to be always ready to change, and to adapt quickly to that change. It’s never easy, but it’s something that is very much necessary. Wistia did a great job pivoting, we were lucky to be in a space where we saw a huge surge in demand but what we found challenging was managing that demand. We didn’t want to lose our brand, our personality, or our human touch to every single contact that might come into our database. What we decided to do together as a marketing team was to put on weekly demos for people signing up for the product. We plan them on a week-to-week basis and we were able to get a large number of registrants and attendees, proving the value of us being agile and serving our customers first. 

Grace:
Tell us a little more about Wistia’s transition into a podcasting platform, and the success of the new campaign you just launched. 

Kelly:
So the actual campaign idea was to do a two-part release. The first part being an early access to our existing Advanced customers, and then a general availability launch. We wanted to create an exciting moment that broke through the clutter, and we found that through a Crowdcast live event format. The team did a really good job producing the event, we had very creative ideas to make sure that the release event was fun-filled and that everyone was actually enjoying it. So coming off of that momentum from the early access event, a lot of coordination had to happen. We had to have the product locked and ready for those specific customers, we had to make sure all of our email marketing was ready to go, all of our web pages, all of our design creative work had to go on simultaneously. It really was like coordinating a live event. 

Grace:
What was the early marketing strategy leading up to the live event? 

Kelly:
About three to four months before the launch event, our content marketing team started putting together calendars for when to drop little breadcrumbs and hints about podcasting. They did a great job putting together top-of-funnel educational content around the medium, because before we released the software we really wanted to champion the podcasting format. Getting more people on the podcasting train, more people using the podcasting medium meant that when we launched we had a larger target market to go after. We also launched our own podcast called “Talking Too Loud”, hosted by our Founder and CEO Chris Savage. We’ve been able to learn a lot about podcasting, the pain points on the product side, and how marketers are using podcasting. 

The one thing that I'm taking away from this year and focusing on next year is how to make my marketing more empathetic, how to be more human with my marketing.

Grace:
What would your advice be to marketers planning and strategizing for the year ahead? 

Kelly:
There's so much that has changed this year that impacts the marketing discipline overall. And I think the one thing that I'm taking away from this year and focusing on next year is how to make my marketing more empathetic, how to be more human with my marketing and not too aggressive. Given a time where so much is going on and we don’t really know what tomorrow is going to bring, we need to make sure we are speaking to humans and not just companies that are looking to buy.

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Would you like to participate in a future In Conversation video interview? Email grace@shift.io for more information.

 

Grace Amodeo is a Content Marketing Manager at Shift. She is a graduate of Emerson College, where she studied film with a concentration in directing narrative fiction. Grace lives in Los Angeles.
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