Coming up through the technical ranks to leading a business, how do executives ramp up and keep up with inbound marketing?
Matt Eurich, COO of Genuen and former President of WTI, is an engineer with a business mind. As he moved up the ranks from engineering to business leadership, he knew that the company's approach to marketing had some gaps.He thought that perhaps those gaps would be addressed by a once-every-three-year website project. He laughs now at the old him who just didn't know what he didn't know, and credits his trusted partnership with TREW for bringing him and the organization along to where they are today.
During the episode you'll hear how, over a decade, WTI went from a trade show and brochure website approach to a holistic inbound marketing model where content investment made the greatest impact. He describes some of his a-ha moments and tools that were most helpful to keep things on track, such as a marketing scorecard and content editorial calendar.
You'll also learn that WTI's high-performing marketing program helped raised its valuation when seeking to be acquired and what happened next to the WTI brand and other entities that were acquired.
His advice to other technical leaders? Find a strategic marketing partner and trust them and their process. Even if some of what they bring to the table sounds odd at first (you'll hear him poke fun at persona development), trust in your marketing partner and their proven experience. (Spoiler alert: he now thinks personas are one of the best things that has ever come out of marketing planning).
- Matt Eurich on LinkedIn
- Genuen rebranding case study
- Genuen application pillar page and interactive imagery
- WTI product launch case study
On today's episode, you'll hear from a business leader who came up through the technical ranks. He knew that his company needed to do marketing better, but he didn't have much knowledge of what activities to invest in, how much to invest, or what expected outcome he should count on. And so you'll hear how he ramped up on inbound marketing over a period of over a decade, some of the key investments that made all the difference to business growth, and even how his marketing investment helped the company achieve a larger evaluation when being acquired. This is the perfect episode if you are a marketer trying to work with technical executives to understand how modern marketing works, or if you're a technical executive yourself and you're not sure where to start or what ROI is to be expected from inbound marketing, let's do this.
Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. Your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.
Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend, challenge, or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories, and I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit TREWmarketing.com and now on with our podcast. Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing Engineer. I'm joined today by Matt Eurich. He's the chief operating officer of Genuen. Welcome to the show, Matt.
Hey, thanks for having me. It's good to see you again, Wendy.
So I was thinking back to when we first met and started working together, and it was in the late 90s. Can you believe we've known each other that long?
No, it's hard to believe, given how young we are. We must have been children back then.
We were babies. Oh, my gosh. So you were. I think it date apply at the time. And I was at National Instruments, now known as Ni, and we did some trade shows together. We had conferences together at Ni Week. And there were some good times on the trade show circuit, weren't they?
Oh, yeah. It was a lot of fun back then, and I was still blazing the trail. And I remember spending a lot of time following National Instrument Sales people around and chasing new leads and trying to develop this test and measurement market we're in now.
How are those leads passed over to you back in the 90s?
Pretty much by hand or maybe a phone call, but yeah, sometimes you would go to a seminar or something and actually shake some hands and get some business cards and chase those leads as well. But yeah, it was a good level of hand to hand cooperation and face to face meetings that we didn't really have the last few years during Covan.
No kidding. Boy, has the world changed so many times since then. Well, you're AEE, and I know you started your career on the engineering side of the house, but then later you were promoted into several company leadership positions. And it was at this time that we really started working with you more directly as part of TREW marketing when you became a leader and the President of Weiman Technology, which later became WTI, and now as COO of Genuen. So just a diverse path here. Tell me about when you first moved into a business role. What was that like? What did you have to learn? And specifically, when did you start to engage with marketing more directly?
Yes. I think even when I first graduated from College, I was always somewhat business oriented. So the company dataply. I had four people there when I started, and I was the only one that was kind of focused on testing, measurement, and national instrument stuff. So I was doing all my own sales and all my own project management and doing programming and the whole thing. And then I hired a couple of people to work for me when I was there. And we eventually grew that company to over 50 people, and we had several offices, but I had a taste of the business world then, but I never really did any marketing until I got here at Wyman. And that happened when I started a role as VP of engineering here.
So what led you and the company to want to more formally invest in marketing and be more strategic with your mix of channels and how you are investing in marketing as a whole?
Yeah, I think it was a website that really got our attention. First of all, we had a website, and like many companies, it wasn't very high performance. It didn't bring any leads into the company. I don't think we got any sales through it, but it was almost like a necessary evil. And we really wanted to change from a company that just had a website to a company whose website really worked for us. And we met with you at Ni Week, and I think that was way back in 2008. And you were just starting your company. Yes.
Those were the days right there. Right. As that great recession was about to hit. So what a great time to be talking about marketing and building a business. As I recall, there were different levels of knowledge of what modern marketing was about at the time in the company, and a lot of education was involved in getting you guys up to speed in digital marketing, inbound marketing, what websites should be doing. So maybe you could speak a little bit towards that and some of the internal discussions you guys had over how to invest in budgetary trade offs.
Yeah, that's a great question. I'm trying to think of what my answer is. I would say I was pretty much a novice, and I had no idea. And all I knew is that we needed someone who could put a plan together. And my original thought was, well, we'll hire someone and they'll do the website, and it'll be done, and it'll be good for four or five years, and then we'll invest in it again in four or five years. So we came up with a budget with you, and we had a plan for what we're going to do to the website. But it never occurred to me that the website was like this ongoing thing that you always had to pay attention to, and it was a living, breathing part of the company. And that was something I think I learned during that first year working with TREW was that we really needed to have a plan for how we keep it up and how we monitor the performance of the website and how we know if it's working for us. And then I think there are some other people in the company who thought if we invest some dollar amount of money in the website, that it just ought to produce tons of leads for us.
It just happens, right? Yeah. And I think we all learned that that's not really the truth and that it's a long term game, and you got to continually invest in it and evaluate what's working and what's not, and you got to be willing to be flexible and change your strategy as things progress at your company.
Yeah. Another thing I remember about that time. So remember educating you guys on inbound marketing and kind of this holistic approach, not just like you said, build it and they will come on the website, but also the desire and need to measure what's working. But we almost got too deep into measurement, and it almost took the focus off of high level strategic things. And so it became, is this particular AdWord working? And how can we optimize this one little keyword? And so it's like measurement was both helpful and a hindrance at times.
Yeah. There sometimes it was death by measurement, for sure. And I think you taught me a whole new vocabulary. Like, I didn't know what time on site was or click throughs or anything. There was a whole marketing vocabulary that I had to learn, and we put together a scorecard. And just like engineers typically do, there's a lot of detail on that thing, and you could get lost in it. And we tried to do some measurements. And thinking back, I mean, the idea of a scorecard was extremely valuable, but learning what needed to be on it was definitely a challenge. And I think as we progressed and you started to look at things like individual pieces of content and how they performed and time on site going up and the number of visitors going up. That's when I started to really get excited about what could happen with the website.
Yeah. One of my favorite stories I love to tell people is about when you guys first started doing gated pieces of content and there was a presentation that I think one of the sales guys had given and it was called Introduction to Dynamometers, and it was this evergreen piece of content. And we said, okay, just record yourself presenting this on like go to webinar and let's put it on the website in front of a form. And I remember this particular piece of content did really well the first year, really well at the time being maybe 150 leads. But then within the next two years it did over 1000 leads. And again, this evergreen piece of content that already existed. And I thought, wow, this is such a cool story of inbound marketing working for you and just the power of content.
Yeah. And I think keeping those things fresh has been a challenge, but we still have content from back in those days that we just keep updating and reusing.
That's wonderful. Well, it's now been like I said, that was 2008, we're here in 2022, so a lot of time has passed. And so WTI adopted inbound marketing for a decade or more. And then there was an interesting business challenge set before you, which was the owner and chairman of the board, decided that it was time to sell WTI. And you, of course, were also an owner in the company also on the board. And you were personally charged with making this happen, right?
Yeah. And I knew nothing about that when I started down that process either. So there's a whole new set of vocabulary and processes I needed to learn for that.
So were there any ways in which your marketing program helped you during this time frame?
Yeah, definitely, for sure. One of the things we did is we hired an outside firm to come in and give us advice and help market the company. So one of the things they helped us understand is what we had at the company that were assets. And one of the things that wasn't asset was our marketing program, because I think we were running something like, I might get this wrong, 8000 leads a month at that time, maybe 6500 somewhere like that coming into our website, individual people visiting. So we had a lot of traffic and then we had some degree of marketing, qualified leads that were coming through so we could document all that and show it to prospective buyers. The other thing we found a lot was there are companies that weren't in this industry that didn't know us that we would need to market to. And when those companies went to our website, they always made one comment when we met them face to face as well. Your website makes you look a lot bigger than what you really are. And I think those were powerful things the marketing program did for us.
Yes, I love to hear that. I hadn't heard that before. Cool. So you were eventually acquired by a company called Sirtech, and they at the same time acquired another company as well. And you join the leadership team. And then I know that we work together to evaluate the brand equity in each of the individual companies. And tell me about that process and what you guys decided to do in terms of the brand of the combined entity.
Yeah. So we brought three companies together, and they were all pretty similar. All of us did test and measurement. We all did national instrument stuff. We had some differences in areas of focus, and we had kind of three different names. Two of them were based on the previous owner's name, and then one of them was Sertec, which was the main company that was doing all the purchasing. And we never loved any of those names. We didn't feel they were descriptive of where we were headed as a company and what we wanted to do in the future. So when we thought about that, we started to look at is there another name that we feel would better represent the company? And we picked Genuen through a process, and it definitely helped us as a company come together and rally behind a new name because it felt like a new company as we grew and added people on and we've added a subsequent company that was a little different. And I think we're going to stick with using their existing name and not rebrand them completely under Genuen because they're a little bit different focus, and we want them to have their own space in the marketplace, and we want to really be able to focus a Genuen name on what we do as a test and measurement company.
Great. So it sounds like it brought a lot of cohesion to the internal culture. I know that can be a scary thing when you're an employee and somebody purchases your company and say, what is my place here? So that sounds great. Were there some challenges, too, with having a new name? I bet there's a lot of logistics challenges, at the least.
Yeah. It's a tremendous amount of work moving everything over into companies name. You have all the things you think about from the marketing business cards and websites and letterhead and that, and then all your customers and trying to inform them and keep everyone up to date with the changes and emails. And this was all happening during COVID. There's no face to face meeting. So you're emailing people and hope they read it, and we still have some customers. Now that said, oh, I didn't realize you had a new name, and there are still challenges. It's definitely something you need to weigh both the pros and cons before you just jump into rebranding. But for us, it was the right decision, and it has provided lots of benefit.
Good. Well, when you think back over your journey and your progression as an executive learning marketing, what advice would you give to the young mats when you were first needing to engage in marketing and decide how much to invest and what to do? What do you wish you would have known then, or what advice do you have for marketers that are trying to bring their technical leadership up to speed?
Yeah, I think trying to get realistic expectations for everyone in the senior management team is really important. And getting the CEO or the President on board right away and trying to make sure they understand this is a longterm game. You're not going to see a lot of results in the first year. This is not going to be something we're going to throw some budget at in the first two years and get where we want to be and trying to set them up for success, because if you don't have their support, it gets really hard. I would say definitely hiring TREW was a huge part of our success because we didn't know what we were doing at all. And I knew I needed an expert. And for me, I found someone who aligned with what our goals were and could explain it to me in ways I could understand. And I trusted your advice kind of right out of the shoe. And I remember one time I was working with Lee Chapman and she was talking about personas, and I'm like, for an engineer, personas were a hard thing to get my mind around. Right. Why do we need to write down and describe, like, a caricature of our customers?
It's just so fruit.
Oh, yeah, it's way too right. I just couldn't get it. And I finally said to her, Lee, I'm going to do this because you're asking me to do it. But I don't understand it at all. And I don't believe in it. And it was like a year later when I said, Lee, remember when we did personas and I had no idea why we were doing them? I'm like, yeah, I totally get it now. It aligns all of our content. It helps us find the holes. It helps us figure out who we're speaking to. And there are so many benefits of it, but there are a lot of times during the process where I just had to say, all right, Lee, you're the expert. I'm going to trust you, even though I don't see the wisdom in this. And I think that was probably like the single biggest lesson was just as engineers, we have a tendency to think we know it all and we don't. And hiring somebody you trust and that you can work with and has your vision is very important.
Yeah. But then that partnership right back to you is so important, too, because what you guys are doing is highly complex. And it's not something that as a non engineer, we will ever totally wrap our heads around. And so that partnership of having, whether it's the subject matter expert that we can interview or the technical leadership that's helping us understand where the business is going and how marketing fits in, it's been such a great partnership. So I'm so happy that we've continued on as you guys have expanded and into Genuen. And I'm so excited about some of the new marketing areas that you guys are focused in today. Lots of video on your website now, some interactive graphics to help enhance someone's user experience on the website. And who knows, maybe even a podcast this time next year. That would be pretty cool.
I think Todd Vancouver, or VP of sales, is going to do a podcast. Oh, a ToddCast, I think we have that in the works. And when you said that, you reminded me the other thing I definitely learned is how important content is and knowing what content performs and what doesn't perform. And it's a whole company effort to get content. I mean, we have people from all areas of the company that develop content with us because the people in marketing, whichever people those are, are not going to be the experts at everything you do as a company and getting those experts to really weigh in and help you with content and buy in. And that's a long term game, too, because engineers don't love to write, usually. And so finding the ones that will and will do a good job for you was also part of the process that I had to learn and which content really works for you. And don't be afraid to try stuff. Right. We tried a lot of things that didn't work at first.
That happens. You have to settle on what works for you and resonates with your personas. Yes, your website has a ton of content at this point. And again, we started way back when. Right. So you've had all these years to develop it. And I'm very proud of your long scrolling pillar pages that you have in your application section where you can fully see, no matter where someone is in the buyer's journey, there's a piece of content for them. And I know those pages do really well in search because there's so much content supporting them. Even the FAQs do well. So anyway, somebody listening that's new to content marketing and trying to figure out what that looks like, holistically should go to your website and check it out, because I think we're pretty proud of it, aren't we, Matt?
Yeah, we are. There was the other thing is doing content inventories and those I talked about and making sure that you have content for them. And then when we first started doing the content calendar and we had an actual plan, like in March, we're going to do this article in July, we're going to do this article right. I mean, those were huge steps that now I look back on it and it seems obvious we should have done that. But all that stuff we figured out as we kind of went through the process and it's amazing how much content you can accumulate if you just keep adding a little at a time.
A little at a time, one persona at a time or one application area. Yeah. Well, cool. Well, any parting advice to, let's say, the engineer leaders out there listening?
I would just say manage your expectations and keep them realistic. You're not going to go from zero to tons of leads in a year and find an expert you can work with and trust and listen to them and be willing to try some things you don't think will work. Because if I wouldn't have done that, we would have done the wrong things for sure.
Well, thank you, man. I really appreciate your time today. This was a fun walk back through history together and can't wait to see what we all do next.
Yeah, me too. And it's always good talking to you, Wendy. Thank you.
Thanks for joining me today on content marketing engineered for show notes, including links to resources, visit TREWmarketing. Compodcast. While there, you can subscribe to our blog in our newsletter and order a copy of my book contentmarketingengineer. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast, so please, when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite Podcast subscription platform.
Wendy Covey is a CEO, a technical marketing leader, author of Content Marketing, Engineered, one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America, and she holds a Texas fishing record. She resides in a small Hill Country town southwest of Austin, Texas, where she enjoys outdoor adventures with her family.
TREW Marketing is a strategy-first content marketing agency serving B2B companies that target highly technical buyers. With deep experience in the design, embedded, measurement and automation, and software industries, TREW Marketing provides branding, marketing strategy, content development, and digital marketing services to help customers efficiently and effectively achieve business goals.