Episode 201: Navigating the New Normal with Drift’s Kate Adams

The world has changed, and it’s left many marketers with questions about how to succeed without access to the usual routes. This is painfully obvious in event marketing, as events worldwide have been brought to a halt. When the digital world becomes more important than ever, how do SaaS marketers stand out?

In this episode of SaaS Half Full, Drift’s VP of marketing, Kate Adams, covers the big digital switch — including where to reallocate your former events budget — and advice on how to navigate this new normal.

Event Marketing Goes Digital

While in-person events are out for the foreseeable future, marketers are still under pressure to perform. Kate needed to revisit her company’s plan and figure out how Drift could support not only their own growth but also their partners’.

“This is a time when we need to surround our community of marketers and salespeople with an opportunity to educate themselves and take their game to the next level,” Kate said. “They need us now, more than ever.”

Drift’s answered this need with a two-day virtual event: RevGrowth, a global sales and marketing conference hosted in April 2020. Once announced, partners signed on to participate immediately. The event drew over 8,000 registrations.

RevGrowth allowed marketing pros the chance to share more about their situations and experiences in an open format. “It’s not only what are you doing to achieve your business outcomes, but also what are you doing to help your teams not just survive but thrive in this environment?” said Kate. “How are you pulling these people together and giving people a positive work experience?”

Double Down on Digital

Going digital doesn’t stop at events. With everything moving online, Kate suggests you reallocate your event marketing dollars into digital. But that doesn’t mean you should just buy more of the same ads to reach your customers.

“What you also must do is raise the bar because not only are they online more than ever before, but you need to captivate their attention while they’re online,” she said. “Being able to do that means that you need to get really, really, really creative with what you’re doing, and stand out and test and learn.”

She suggests marketers should run the tests they never thought they could do before. Landing page tests, experimenting with conversions rates, tweaks to newsletters — it’s all fair game.

Regardless of what digital route you travel, showing ROI still matters. For Kate, that ROI comes from investing in relationships and getting customers to return. “How are you bringing that nurture experience to life when they come back to your website for the second, the third, the fourth time?” she said. “I think a lot of B2B is built on relationships. So how are you constantly building and progressing that relationship over time?”

New Opportunities for Marketers

Out of this new normal, Kate sees new ways forward for marketing. For example, the ever-present gap between SaaS marketing and sales suddenly looks much smaller. “Now is the time when I as a marketer have to be listening to the market,” Kate said. “One of the ways to do that is to be talking with my sales team. Not a single day goes by where I’m not constantly circling up with those folks.”

That’ll be important especially as the future unfolds. Kate believes most companies will have to operate somewhat remotely through the rest of 2020 — and events will still be few and far between. That means marketing will need to exercise serious brainpower to meet customers where they are. “A big piece of that has got to be that you are not contingent on the place one of your buyers is going to be at, whether that is at an event or whether that is at their office,” Kate said. “Wherever they are, you have to go figure out how to take the physical component out of the mix and get more creative to dig deeper.”

To hear more of Kate’s insights on event marketing and the new normal for SaaS marketers, listen to Episode 201 of SaaS Half Full.