This interview is part of a Boardroom Insight article series exploring the marketing consulting landscape from the perspective of industry executives. Darren Magarro is the founder and president of DSM, a full-service digital marketing agency headquartered in New Jersey that works with B2C and B2B brands.
BI: A typical consulting company uses several different marketing channels to reach clients: paid media, earned media, offline advertising and so on. How does a company’s marketing agency decide how much resources should be invested in each channel?
DM: Can’t speak to other agencies, but in DSM’s case we do a deep dive into the competitive set of our client. We’re big believers in a 360-degree approach that creates an amplified message across channels. We develop the overall strategy based on what the data is telling us. From there, like anything else, it’s about testing, analyzing the data and shifting according to what’s doing well and what’s not.
Sometimes as marketers, we overcomplicate things and analyze until we’re paralyzed. In my humble opinion, marketing is the art of failing quickly to succeed exponentially. We test and tinker with our clients’ campaigns to ensure we’re doubling down on the wins and eliminating the least successful campaigns to ensure their money is spent as wisely and efficiently as possible.
BI: Marketing a service, like a consulting solution, comes with a different set of requirements than marketing a product. Please provide some insight into how marketing tends to be different for companies that focus on providing services.
DM: Marketing for companies that are providing service is all about building trust. Don’t care who you are or frankly what you do, marketing a product is what it is. The widget is the widget, it serves a purpose and has a definitive shelf life. Marketing a service is focused solely on trust and accountability of said service to the consumer. You get one shot at creating trust and value. If not done properly, the brand can suffer serious detriment both in the present and future. Providing value, developing brand authority and showcasing both a skillset to achieve a desired end-result for the consumer is paramount in the creation of a strategy.
BI: More broadly, how does marketing a B2B solution (be it a service or product) differ from promoting a consumer brand?
DM: My feelings on this stem from not only the difference in audience structure, but the actual sheer size difference of the audience from a B2B brand versus a B2C brand. B2B marketing needs to be way more “sniper-like” in nature. The potential customer pool is probably much smaller in size than a B2C brand and the product itself has the potential to be more elaborate (thus more research being done by a B2B brand). This usually calls for B2B brands to engage in a “higher level” of content as well as support that goes along with a longer sales process.
Piggybacking on my answer in Question Two: B2B brands predominantly focus on a relationship-driven sales process and thus this is usually at the core of the marketing strategy as we embark on a campaign with a client. Bigger ticket, longer sales process, a rational decision to purchase based on hours of research go into crafting B2B strategy at DSM.
BI: You see the major consultancies, like Bain & Co, make significant investments in high-quality video content as part of their brand positioning campaigns. Why should a B2B company consider incorporating video into its digital marketing and how can it ensure that it’s going about the project the right way?
DM: I think every brand – big or small – should be making a concerted investment into video in their marketing strategy. In our world, most campaigns have a very, very short window to capture a consumer’s attention. Partner that with the nature of B2B marketing and the complex nature of the products – you’re looking at a better way to not only communicate your brand’s equity, but also the nature of the product in a simple, succinct way.
We express to our clients that video production is like a gym membership – you get out of it what you put in. In almost every client case study we have, video is at the core of content creation. We can utilize one 3-minute video and chop it up the long-form into short-form, social (both organic and paid) and videographics.
BI: When should a company with an in-house marketer or marketing team consider bringing in an external agency?
DM: Great question. DSM focuses on companies in the $50-$200MM range. Companies are usually mature, but almost always have smaller marketing teams (less than 10 people). Nine times out of 10, they come to us because they have a deficiency on either the strategy side or the execution/analytics side (because they simply don’t have the manpower or tools to glean the info they need) to be successful in their marketing endgame.
As a full-service AOR, we are able to not only bring expertise, but also a coordinated effort to help an in-house team reach their potential. In reality, we’re not everything to everybody, but we work extraordinarily well with in-house teams to be a robust add-on to their existing capabilities and provide value beyond the means that they do have with regards to software or research available to us through subscription or in our daily learnings from client-to-client interaction.