When most people think of marketing, they think big energy, big talkers, big ideas and even bigger results. And while this may be true, building an effective marketing strategy—and team—is about starting small and ensuring quality always overrides quantity. It’s with this mentality that Charlotte Bohnett, senior director of demand generation at WebPT, and Brooke Andrus, content marketing manager at WebPT, have helped develop an extremely effective inbound marketing engine that has led WebPT to become the third-most sought after resource for compliance and billing in the rehab therapy industry.
In this episode of The SuccessLab Podcast, Charlotte and Brooke talk about how they got their start in marketing and how they’ve built a powerhouse marketing engine that has helped grow WebPT from a bootstrapped startup to a rapid-growth tech company. This dynamic duo also explains the pivotal role WebPT’s content marketing strategy plays within the team’s approach to demand generation as well as why marketing teams should own more of the funnel.
Read on for a selection of questions, and listen to the entire interview by clicking the player above.
What led you to WebPT?
Charlotte: I started at WebPT eight years ago. I finished graduate school in Northwestern Ohio and was working at a B2B company that was a distributor of media to public library systems in the US and Canada. They had just expanded into developing a software that libraries could use for checking out video content so I started dabbling in software as a service in the B2B space. My husband and I both wanted to spread our wings in marketing so we applied for jobs all over the country. Fortunately, WebPT reached out to me for a copywriter position. I had a really good feeling about it, so my husband and I packed up and we drove across the country. I knew it was the right fit for me.
Brooke: I went to journalism school at the University of Montana and started out my career as a community newspaper reporter and photographer. The parent company that ran our newspaper was constantly reducing newsrooms across the entire organization and I always felt like my job was in jeopardy. Me and my editor were doing the work of six people so I burned out really fast and I decided that it was time to look for something else. I expanded my reach beyond journalism and dabbled in some communications and media relations roles. The company that I was at before WebPT was basically a startup that ended up failing right in the middle of my contract with them. I started looking around and saw the listing at WebPT and was immediately struck by how different and fun it was. I had no idea what an EMR was. I didn’t know what SaaS was, but the style and tone of the listing spoke to me so I applied. They called me an hour later to set up an interview. I ended up taking the job, driving across the country and started a new life in Phoenix.
What have you been most proud of during your time at WebPT?
Charlotte: The team. I have played a hand in hiring every single person in the marketing department. It’s my top highlight because without this team we wouldn’t have been able to demonstrate the overwhelming value of marketing and of intentionally crafting a very human brand. Without this team, we wouldn’t see month-over-month and year-over-year success regardless of the economic or political climate. WebPT has been a juggernaut for over a decade and it is in large part due to this marketing team.
Brooke: Making our “Annual State of Rehab Therapy Report” into what it is now. Originally, it was supposed to be a product marketing project to survey the industry and find the data they need to make sure what we were developing was solving our industry’s needs. In the middle of the survey our product marketing manager ended up leaving and nobody was stepping in to close the loop on the project. Even though I didn’t necessarily want to, I knew it needed to be done so I ended up taking the reins and seeing it through. It turned into this really awesome report and over the years it’s evolved into our flagship content marketing piece. We’ve now done three and I’ve become the point person for the entire project, from distributing the survey and collecting the data to turning it into this beautiful, polished book.
What role does content marketing play in your go-to-market and demand-gen strategies?
Charlotte: Content marketing is the foundation of everything we do. Roughly 60% of our leads come in through pure inbound. We wouldn’t get so many leads on our website if we didn’t have so much traffic coming in organically and that traffic is purely because of how stellar our content is. We wouldn’t amass the email marketing leads that we have if our email marketing wasn’t fueled by a fantastic monthly newsletter, weekly blog digest, and a webinar series. We also use marketing automation to drip anybody who interacts with any of our content. We have figured out how to make connections to our products with content at every stage of the funnel. Without our content marketing program, we would not see the volume of leads that we are driving.
Brooke: Our enterprise sales development works a little bit differently than everything else. Our reps are working bigger accounts for multi-location practices or hospitals. Those are longer sales cycles so they have to do a lot more outreach to keep those leads warm. Everything from blog posts to the industry report has helped give those reps the tools they need to reach out and keep the conversation going.
What connections along your journeys have made the biggest impact?
Charlotte: One person who has majorly impacted both me and Brooke is Heidi Jannenga. She is an example of an executive who has figured out how to be one with the people. She’s honest, transparent, tough as nails and absolutely brilliant. She trusts and respects other people and prioritizes surrounding herself with people who are going to teach her things and then she empowers them. One other person is Mike Manheimer. He’s one of the people who fought to hire me at WebPT and he worked with me closely for the entire time he was at WebPT. Before he left to lead demand gen marketing at Gainsight, he fought to promote me to an official manager title and give me authority. After he left, I felt empowered to lead that team. Without Mike showing me that a boss could be somebody who can treat you as an equal, I don’t know if I would have known that that’s the kind of team that I could create at WebPT.
Brooke: I definitely owe my start in marketing and the progression through my roles in the marketing team to Charlotte. I had zero management ambition when I started, but Charlotte recognized the potential in me and it is a huge reason why I ended up pursuing a leadership path. She believed I could do it even though I had no experience managing people and I wasn’t confident in my natural leadership abilities. She helped me make that transition and she’s always had my back. No matter what happens, whether I feel like I made the right or wrong decision, Charlotte’s there to help me turn it into a growth experience.
What is one piece of advice you would give to marketers who might be struggling to scale or operationalize content within the organization?
Charlotte: Make marketing own more of the funnel. Don’t hand over prospects who download a white paper to sales. Keep those people in the marketing funnel, nurture them and get them to commit to a demo because then you’re able to control more of the entire funnel and you take a load off of sales, which demonstrates the value of marketing. Marketing is proving that we can qualify the leads through marketing automation.
Brooke: Start small. Our content marketing program is a multifaceted, well-oiled machine at this point, but it was not always that way. It’s a process. The first step is getting in tune with your audience, understanding what they want to consume, when they want to consume it and how they want to consume it. Create a plan for a month, then try to plan for a quarter, then try to do a high level plan for a year. Keep in mind you don’t have to publish something every single day. I think that’s a mistake that a lot of content marketers make. Be thoughtful about the content that you’re producing and focus more on quality than on quantity.
Are you a coffee drinker, yes or no?
Brooke: Yes. I have one or two cups of coffee first thing in the morning and nothing after that.
Charlotte: Yes. I consume all my coffee before noon, but I drink coffee all morning long.
What is one marketing tool you are geeking out over right now?
Charlotte: Our company is very into Drift right now.
What is your favorite piece of technology?
Brooke: Garmin watch
What’s one book you would pass along to a fellow marketer?
Charlotte: The book that I would give people is no book at all. I would tell them to be more observant of the marketing world around them.
Brooke: This isn’t really a marketing book, but a writing book that I recommend to people is “Eats, Shoots & Leaves.” It’s incredibly entertaining but it also teaches a lot about writing in a clear, concise manner.
Who’s one person you’d like to make a connection with?
Charlotte: Jameela Jamil
Brooke: Barbara Walters
What is one of your favorite ice breakers when you’re introducing yourself to someone?
Charlotte: Talking to people about the food and drinks at events, which actually works out very well because people always want to critique whatever they’re eating and drinking at that moment.
Brooke: If you see somebody with cool swag from the trade show floor, you can ask them where they got it.
How many hours of sleep on average do you guys each get each night?
Charlotte: About 7 hours
Brooke: 7-8 hours
Connect with Charlotte, Brooke and WebPT:
You can go to webpt.com. You can follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest. If you want to get in touch with me or Brooke you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re both on Twitter— @charbertos and @brookeaandrus.