Our story is telling yours. As a B2B marketing agency, that’s our remit, but just for this blog we’ll delve into the story behind the story and tell you a little about us. Specifically how we pivoted our position in the market and broadened out our service offering. Perhaps it might spark some ideas for your own brand.
Some background context first...
Plenty of B2B brands grow by being the only, the biggest or the best. Others grow by taking a me-too or probably-fine or pretty-cheap position instead. Many (perhaps most) don’t really consider their position in the market at all. Instead, they start out with a solution, and just plow ahead and see what happens.
But this rarely works in the long term as the market inevitably floods with competition, and in the blink of an eye, your brand loses relevance. And when that happens, it can be a real challenge to keep momentum going. Trying to generate leads, website visits, conversions or hitting any marketing KPI becomes a bigger challenge by the quarter.
Our advice - and the preach that we practised - is to stop chasing your tail, assess the bigger picture and rebuild from the ground up, starting with your positioning strategy.
More than a marketing pivot
Squaredot started out as an Inbound Marketing agency, and Hubspot partner. We wore the orange lycra, drank the Kool-Aid, and churned out the content. Over and over. When that didn’t work, we religiously stuck to the manual with an attitude along the lines of - “Is there anything to be said for another blog Father?” And so the cycle continued.
We had success stories, but we had bigger ambitions for ourselves and our clients. It wasn’t growing the business fast enough and it didn’t play to our strengths.
We had backgrounds in strategy, positioning, branding, websites, creativity, design, copy, advertising and B2B tech, but we never got to properly unleash the full collective expertise within the tight confines of the inbound model we had been following.
So we made a decision to pivot and play to our strengths.
Fast forward to today and Squaredot is Ireland’s leading B2B marketing agency where we get to demonstrate our full range of talents and bring a much more strategic focus to everything we do, and have a much bigger impact on our clients’ marketing ROI.
It was more than a marketing pivot, we refined our services, removing some that weren’t our strengths or profitable, and doubled down on services that we are great at and have a much bigger impact on our clients’ results.
Here is how we got there.
Find your pole position
Unless you’re a unicorn start up, the likelihood is that you’ll have a lot of competition in the market. A Google search (or a social media feed) will throw up any number of companies who all offer pretty much the same thing or the same services to the same target market. And all claiming they are the best.
Whatever about your circumstances, this was certainly the case facing us as a marketing agency. So our first task was to find our ‘white space’, our positioning strategy in the market.
If you want to dive deeper into B2B positioning, here is the ebook you’re looking for, Positioning, the lesser known B2B superpower >>)
What makes us different?
In layman’s terms, take in the bigger picture and work out what you do - that the market needs - better than the competition. Find that unique competing space and pitch your tent there.
For Squaredot, if it’s not B2B, it’s not to be (sorry Carlsberg, Coke, Nike etc.) But we wanted a sharper stake in the ground, because our niche expertise is specifically B2B tech.
But that alone is not enough to separate us from all the competition. In marketing and communications, brand personality and tone are critical parts of the service we offer and it’s an area we wanted to compete on. So we researched the competition and assessed the landscape from this perspective.
We plotted the chart and saw the white space open up that played to our strengths and differentiated us. Even if you don’t necessarily find a white space, at least you will see where your new brand fits naturally and the competition you face. This gave us a direction for our rebrand that would inform both the visual identity, our website presence and our communications going forward.
It’s revealing to plot such charts - the axis parameters will change depending on your industry and offering, but it’s good to get this all down on a whiteboard, so you can visualise success and the journey you face.
Be bold and Impactful
This personality and tonal shift for us impacts on more than words. It’s the backbone of our visual identity and our creative expression.
From a slight logo refresh, to our new colour palette, website design, social media presence, videos, slideshares, everything sings from the same bold and impactful hymn sheet.
Bold and impactful is how we view the potential of our clients also. B2B tech companies are having a huge impact on the business world, helping to ramp up digital transformation in every industry. To make a bold and impactful statement to them, and to help promote our rebrand and new website, we put together our ‘love letter’ (video, actually) to B2B tech. It was another way to introduce the new look and feel of the new Squaredot brand.
A rounded, grounded and balanced approach
Having started out as a purebred inbound marketing agency, the emphasis back then was on content, lots of it, to generate leads. But we knew that the more famous the brand in their category, the more successful their inbound and lead generation results. We had previously focused on the latter but we wanted to influence the former also. This balanced approach also played to our multi disciplined strengths, from positioning strategy to website design and development, content, creativity and campaigning.
Indeed, we found validation of our new methodology and approach, and its need in the market, in Binet and Field’s groundbreaking research into marketing for B2B growth, where they identified the importance of a balanced approach between brand building and lead generation activations.
(The golden ratio they identified for B2B is roughly 45/55, if you’re asking.)
We also knew that without the right marketing foundational assets in place (your website most importantly of all), all your best efforts are likely to fall short.
In Squaredot this was the trigger for a pivot away from pure activation focus of inbound marketing and playing to our strengths as a full blown creative B2B tech marketing agency.
(And we changed our URL adding .agency to be a little more descriptive of what we do.)
B2B tech brands grow faster with fame
This insight might seem pretty obvious, but it can get lost when you’re focused on generating leads and other short term KPIs. Our balanced approach addresses this, and the aspiration excites us and like minded ambitious clients. We want to build long term collaborations and we set the bar high. If you’re with us for the long haul, we keep this insight front and central from the get-go. Fame and growth are the bold and impactful results we aim for.
Get your house in order before you invite guests over
With our unique competing space nailed down, all of it needed to come alive and be clearly signposted and communicated on our website. It’s your most important marketing asset, so treat it accordingly. You’re on ours now reading this blog. Have a look around after if it’s your first visit. If you’re one of our target personas, you should find our content insightful and your website experience informative, engaging and hitting all the right (bold and impactful) notes.
Speaking of insightful content; here’s a killer slideshare on why there has never been a better time to inject imagination and creativity into your B2B brand building storytelling.
View Killer B’s in B2B series - Brand >>
Squaredot’s new positioning in the market was years in the making and behind the scenes the transition was complete before we launched our rebrand and new website.
We now make a significant part of our revenue from positioning strategy, rebranding and website design and development, and brand building campaigns that are unified in purpose and execution.
We still create lots of content and use Hubspot’s automation tools, but everything has much more strategic focus and purpose. Our pricing and deal size has significantly increased since the early days and we now have more big ticket deals which is easier to deliver on for numerous reasons. Our work is more bespoke, taking more time and resources but the results have greater impact. Client relationships last longer, there is a greater chance to deliver great work, and there's an appreciation that brand building takes time, where in the past clients were looking for a quick fix lead generation campaign.
The journey has been an exciting one for us. We’re building a business, in a meaningful way, and we’re in it for the long term. We’re in it to deliver memorable B2B marketing that fuels growth by pushing creative and technical boundaries, being brave, getting the plumbing (technicalities) right, valuing the balance between left brain and right brain thinking, playing to our collective strengths and making our clients famous.
Right, that's enough about us. Our story is telling yours from here on.
Perhaps we’ve inspired you to have a rethink about your brand’s position and potential?
If so, think big.
You’re going to need a bigger sales team.