Matt Heinz is a marketer and entrepreneur from the Seattle-area with powerful insight into unclogging the sales pipelines for B2B marketers.
With over 12 years of experience working with companies like Microsoft, Weber Shandwick and Boeing, Matt has become the bonafide “sales and marketing problem solver.” He has fittingly applied his accumulated knowledge and talents to creating Heinz Marketing Inc. in 2007, a company focused on helping start-ups and fast-growth businesses increase their customer acquisition and retention strategies.
When Matt is not repairing a client’s sales and marketing processes or running the day-to-day operations of his company, this journalism major enjoys writing and blogging.
Matt has opinions and insights on programmatic, marketing strategy and the future of digital that we believe are definitely worth sharing. So, he took some time out of his busy week to spend with us:
Programmatic Advertising: Thanks for your time this morning, Matt! In your opinion, how is programmatic advertising changing the world?
Matt Heinz: I think it is doing a number of things. Firstly, it is changing the balance of power in marketing from media to technology and content.
Historically marketers in B2B and B2C have had their focus in buying media and figuring out models for where to buy the media. That model still works very well today, but programmatic allows for companies to better take advantage of relationships with customers. By creating better processes with programmatic and creating content within those platforms, we are seeing companies drive significantly better, more efficient sales pipelines. We are seeing them do it while decreasing their marketing spend, and you don’t have to generate the same lead over and over again; you can significantly increase the yield.
Programmatic Advertising: In your experience, how long does it take to find your target audience and leads online?
Matt Heinz: A lot of companies are doing that work for you. Even if they are doing the media planning, they are finding out who your consumers are and where they hang out. In the past, you had to use other people’s media content to do this. There are an awful lot of programmatic advertising tools that take advantage of third-party media. You use your own website to generate a higher lead yield. I am finding that those companies that can take a foundational customer understanding, and, instead of renting attention, create their own content on their own media, have a higher yield. They have a blog, webinar and social media. Have the sales teams participate – it gives the companies the ability to turn themselves into thought leaders.
The best sales people position themselves as information marketers, not just based on what their own interests are, but the interests of their demographic area.
Programmatic Advertising: In your opinion, is programmatic disrupting how marketers ideate and communicate with their audiences?
Matt Heinz: I think our shift from analog to digital has not changed what we need and why we buy.
Digital changes the speed at which we operate, but the fundamental needs, wants and processes we go through to buy and the means by which we can understand and act haven’t fundamentally changed.
We like to say, “Oh my gosh. Social media has come, and now everyone that interacts with us is a lead.” Just because someone is on your Twitter, it doesn’t mean that they are a qualified lead. The problem is that for most B2B marketers, they are looking at actions that they want to interpret through the lens of marketing automation tools alone. Most companies are far too narrow to look for what we call “buying signals” and “trigger events.”
Buying signals are behaviors indicated by someone who has explicit interest. With trigger events, a type of consumer has historically demonstrated interest during a particular change or a need state. Because you’ve seen this movie before, you know that when someone is in a certain situation, they are on the road looking for alternative solutions for building a better outcome. These trigger events tend to be a bit more subtle. They don’t lead to quick sales, but I think the benefit of programmatic advertising is that we can decrease our media costs, so theoretically we are more open to building those relationships to an early stage. With the right content and the right people, you can nurture that relationship and gain the sale.
Programmatic Advertising: How is this affecting our culture, and is this for better or worse?
Matt Heinz: If we are doing it right, it should increase people’s satisfaction with the experience and their interaction with brands, marketing and companies.
Programmatic Advertising: Can you tell us about any campaigns over the past year that have caught your attention in a good or bad way?
I use Target as a great example – they use analytics and technology to understand what their consumers need next. However they were a bit too direct and got themselves in trouble. They’ve exclusively shown prenatal- and pregnancy-themed content to people they felt were in that life stage. They’ve sent customers coupon books with nothing but baby gear. Consumers didn’t like being so narrowly defined. They felt like they were being spied on.
Versus, if you send someone coupon books with baby gear sitting next to lawnmowers and other seemingly random content, as consumers, our perception of that brand improves. Instead of seeing coupon books entirely full of prenatal offers, Target now just has books with a higher percentage of prenatal goods next to other products. Your coupon book still looks as diverse as always, but you just have more things related to the lifestyle situation of the brands you are in. What Target has done with their pregnancy campaign has significantly increased their sales.
This is a lesson – just because we have information, it doesn’t mean we should be explicit about using it. Have a more fitting consumer conversation by giving content and offers that better match the range of a consumer’s brand interactions. When done well, it is appreciated and drives more conversion. Our opportunity to use, interpret and follow up on big data to make our lives better and increase the likelihood and execution of what we want is immense. Through trial and error, we will find both good and bad ways of executing. If you want to increase your success rate, you have to increase your failure rate.
Programmatic Advertising: What might be the biggest growth areas for advertising?
Matt Heinz: It’s got to be data. We are swimming in data about our customers and about our prospects. Our challenge is not getting more data, but fast data and the right data. Our ability to make decisions and increase the velocity of our customers and prospects can be impacted by that data. I think not renting attention through social media, but creating our own content and proprietary data sources is also important.
The other piece of the equation is marketing becoming increasingly segmented based on the stages in the buying cycle. The first stage in the buying cycle is what you can call “loosening the status quo.” Stage 1 is, ”I acknowledge that what I am doing today is not what I should be doing.” Stage 2 is actually committing to a change.
Those first two stages have nothing to do with the seller. If I am deciding that what I am doing is giving the result I want, once I realize the cost to change is lower, I’ve committed to a different outcome. I’ve committed to making a change – I don’t know if I even need anyone to get there; I just commit to getting there.
If your company can help others navigate those first two stages by not “selling,” you are far more likely to get their business because you now understand your client.
Those early stages are your opportunity to target, in addition to putting more product in front of those people. The most important metric is attention.
If I, as a customer learn everything I need to know about building a shed from Home Depot, they have done something important as marketers. That’s why we are seeing a lot more companies invest in internal content. The next few years we are going to see more companies creating content exclusively to engage different types of buyers.
We should have the ability to own attention and harness our data. I don’t know where that opportunity ends, and I think I am seeing just the tip of the iceberg.