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Hello from Portland, Oregon. Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More. My guest is Melissa Romo, a global head of content, social media, and customer advocacy at Sage. Today, we are going to talk about how to build a strong brand community, and how to use it to drive organic traffic. Melissa, welcome, so happy to have you.

In this episode:

  • Find out more about the Sage community and how did the company got started?
  • What is the role of a third-party platform in community management?
  • What are the benefits of the invitation-only brand community?
  • How can brands grow strong communities organically?
  • What does a strong brand community look like?
  • When a community is invitation-only, what are the selection criteria?
  • Should communities use paid media to drive awareness and membership or stick with organic growth?
  • How does that paid media impact the quality of the users or the audience?
  • What are some of the challenges brands encounter while trying to grow their communities?
  • Once established, how can a strong brand community be used as marketing and sales channels?
  • How to leverage content for the community?
  • How to customize and localize content for the global community?
  • What is the role of gamification, and how can brands use it to engage customers and community members?
  • How to launch a community within the enterprise or a fast-growing SaaS space platform company?
  • What kind of budget and resources do companies need to get started?
  • How should marketing professionals prepare for the future of community management?

Quotes from the episode:

“When people trust you, they don’t see you as a roadblock. And once you’ve built that trust, then you can come in and be a little more prescriptive about what you think is the right thing to do. The relationship building is just what you have to do. And you will get nowhere if you’re in an essential leadership role and don’t build the right relationships.”

“There are all kinds of tech that enables us. But we have to remember the human side of marketing. It doesn’t matter what tech is introduced. You’re you still go back to the person. At the end of the day, [marketing] has to involve some kind of human connection.”

A big hello from Portland, Oregon. Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More. I talk about everything B2B marketing related to content marketing, sales enablement, paid media, social media, even community management. Today, we are going to talk about something related to community management. And that’s a great way to drive organic traffic for your brand.

I have a very, very special guest. Oh my God! I love her! Melissa Romo is a global head of content, social media, and customer advocacy at Sage. Sage is a $2 billion public company with a SaaS-based platform for accounting, EPR, and HR, with Payroll. So Melissa, welcome. So happy to have you.

Melissa Romo: Thank you, Pam. I’m thrilled to be here and from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Pam Didner: Oh, yes! How is the weather over there today?

Melissa Romo: Gorgeous, almost 80 degrees.

Pam Didner: Oh my God!

Melissa Romo: And it’s the middle of October that we record this, so it’s pretty nice.

Pam Didner: Oh my goodness! Wonderful! Wonderful! I’m in Raleigh, North Carolina, now, and the weather is fantastic. I mean, the leaves started falling but, yeah-

Melissa Romo: That’s gorgeous.

Pam Didner: … it’s gorgeous, yeah.

Melissa Romo: Yep.

Pam Didner: Melissa, I know that you have a wider rate of experience, especially in the field of content marketing. But today, we’re going to talk about something a little bit different. It’s about customer advocacy, social media, and also community management. So can you tell us more about the community that you are leading and managing at Sage?

Melissa Romo: Our community is called Sage Champions

Pam Didner: Okay, I like the name. I like the name.

Melissa Romo: The name was inspired by really what the program’s mission is, which is to make our super fan customers feel incredibly special.

Pam Didner: Right.

Melissa Romo: So the Genesis of the program is really about recognizing the customer and creating a closed community. It’s an invite-only community that we bring these super fans into. And the main thrust of the activity is to present challenges to them that they can compete and receive rewards. And with the reward points, they can receive gifts. They can participate in special experiences, the way they can ask us to donate to charity. There are all kinds of things they can do with their rewards. And we have a leader board so they can track their rewards with other customers. So it’s really about customer recognition. And it has a very careful design to make sure that the people we’re bringing in are the ones we want to reward and recognize this way.

Pam Didner: Yeah, that sounds like the community management part of it is not just people asking questions. It’s more or less you have multiple different tools and an incentive to help your super users engage.

Melissa Romo: That’s correct

Pam Didner: So can you tell us, how did you get that started? Are you using a third party platform to manage this? Or do you build that in-house?

Melissa Romo: Yeah. So we are using a third-party platform. I can’t say who it is.

Pam Didner: Okay, that’s fine.

Melissa Romo: But I could tell you, if you Google leading customer advocacy SaaS platform, you’ll come up with the name of this platform we use. So it’s no big secret. Many, many companies use this platform. It’s not proprietary to us. And I would say, if we think about lessons learned, I know we’re going to talk about it towards the end. But-

Pam Didner: Yeah.

Melissa Romo: One of the big lessons I would say about people thinking of starting a community is if you start a community, and you don’t have a platform to support you, there is a limit to how big and how active you are that community can become.

Pam Didner: Definitely!

Melissa Romo: Because you will be doing everything manually, and you will get to the point where very quickly, where you cannot engage the community the way you want to.

Pam Didner: Yeah. So given that this is invitation only, I assume you grow the community organically. Is that true?

Melissa Romo: Yeah. It is invitation only and grown that way organically. So we go into areas of the business where we know we’ll find our super fans. So we’re hunting for our super fans. So we look at the NPS surveys.

Pam Didner: Yep.

Melissa Romo: This is one of the best places to go. And anyone who rates us a seven to 10 on NPS will invite them to become a part of the community. And one thing I’ll say on NPS is, it may seem intuitive to invite just your nines and tens into your super fan community because the seven and eights are on the border.

Pam Didner: Yeah.

Melissa Romo: But your seven and eights are the people where you can make up the most ground in terms of improving their experience. And these are your future super fans. So they have the potential to be super fans, and it’s important to bring them in. And so far, we’ve had a good experience doing that.

Pam Didner: I love that you share your selection criteria, which is based on NPS. I think that’s fantastic. So do you use any kind of pay media effort to drive community awareness and try to promote it?

Melissa Romo: We don’t, because we know who we’re inviting, right?

Pam Didner: Got it.

Melissa Romo: With paid media, you post an ad, and you support it with paid media because you’re trying to publicize something to a broader group of people, a broader audience. But we know who we’re going out to find. We have their contact information, and we don’t need the paid media to-.

Pam Didner: To support it.

Melissa Romo: … do what we’re going to do. So in the future, when I think this program has reached a critical mass, it could become a proof point to become a customer of Sage. I could see us promoting this program externally with some paid media behind it, but we’re not at that point yet. We’re very focused on recruitment right now.

Pam Didner: 100% agree. I’m very happy that you mentioned that whenever I talk to many B2B marketers, they always juggle between how much is it? We should focus on organic growth. And if we want to grow the platform much bigger, should we inject or infuse pay media dollars associated with it. And if you do that, how does that impact the quality of the users or the audience? There’s always a continuous discussion. But I do agree with you to some extent. If you want to grow and scale in the long term, pay media does play a role.

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: But you are making that call as you walk that journey. And then you can determine when it’s the right time to do that. I like that a lot.

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: One of the challenges, or one of the lessons learned you mentioned, is that you need to have a third-party platform to manage your community management well. And depending on the company, some company if they are a fairly decent and sophisticated SaaS-based platform, might already have developers in-house that can develop that for themselves. But I do agree with you having a third party platform is supercritical. In addition to that, what are some of the challenges you encounter while trying to grow your community?

Melissa Romo: Well, one of the interesting things we learned early on, and we’re still grappling with how we address it, is people are not dying to be in our community, right? Even the super fans, people are busy.

Pam Didner: Right, people are very busy. They use accounting software just because they use it for their job, right?

Melissa Romo: That’s right.

Pam Didner: It’s not like you join a hiking community. You join a movie-watching community, right? That’s much your passion that-

Melissa Romo: Right.

Pam Didner: … will infuse that, but it’s a job. So I completely understand that they are not necessarily crazy about joining that. But you know what? Keep going, sorry to interrupt you.

Melissa Romo: Yeah. So we realized early on, people are not crazy to be in our community. And it just underscores the point that you have to sell it to your customers. You have to make sure they understand what’s in it for them. It has to be fun. As you said, Pam, I mean, this is not a movie-watching community, or a hiking club, or something like that. Still, it’s about accounting, and it’s about your business software.

Pam Didner: Yeah.

Melissa Romo: So it has to be fun and there, and I would just tell people, don’t forget what people love about communities, and that is communing with other people. So-

Pam Didner: Talking to others, networking.

Melissa Romo: Talking to other people. And what I would say, I wouldn’t call it a challenge, but it’s something we have our eye on, is once we’ve got people in, it’s amazing how starved people are for the community, right?

Pam Didner: Right.

Melissa Romo: Once they’re in there, they’ll talk about everything. They’ll talk about the coffee they had this morning. They’ll talk about what they’re doing on the weekend. They’ll talk about what their kids are up to. I mean, they talk about many things that are not directly related to our software or business at all. And they need that communal experience. And so I would tell people, don’t forget the communal part of the community, right? And that’s what people, I think more than ever, are craving right now. We are seeing, while it’s difficult to get them to carve out the time. Once they do, they talk about everything.

Pam Didner: Yeah. So with that, you said, can you tell us how big the community is or confidential information?

Melissa Romo: Yeah. So well, I can tell you we’re in the thousands. We want to be much bigger than thousands. So I mean, we’re building towards that trajectory. It’s nine countries, as I mentioned. And I have three community managers. So each-

Pam Didner: Oh really? Are they all full-time, right? Are they in-house?

Melissa Romo: They’re all full time. They’re all full time. And so we have one person managing the community in North America, one person in AMEA, and one person managing the English language communities in the UK, South Africa and Australia.

Pam Didner: Got it.

Melissa Romo: So that trio of managers works very tightly together to learn from each other. They have very different dynamics in those regions, but they learn from each other about what customers respond to and how customers behave. Our recruitment strategy is something that we have centralized. So we make decisions centrally about how to recruit. Then land in that country, execute with a lot of help from the marketing teams on the ground – in each country. But what’s important to Sage to have this be a scaled program is that there is an essential strategy and central decision-making about growing that community.

Pam Didner: I love it! I wrote a book about global content marketing talks about how to—

Melissa Romo: I read it cover-to-cover.

Pam Didner: Thank you. Thank you, Melissa.

Melissa Romo: Loved it.

Pam Didner: Thank you. It’s really about that delicate balance between the central versus decentralized. And that sounds like you have three local community managers that managing it. But in terms of recruitment, that’s very much a central decision. But there’s a lot of communication that needs to happen at the local level. The community managers at the local level will take their leads and talk to their fans. But I love it, that in terms of the recruitment is centralized. That makes perfect, perfect sense to me.

Melissa Romo: Yeah. And the community managers, I should mention, are geographically located on the ground in those three regions, but they report to me.

Pam Didner: I love it! Yeah, I love it!

Melissa Romo: It’s been working so far, but I can’t underscore enough. And I’ll go back to your book about content marketing. The relationship building that you need to do when you’re in a centralized job is, I can’t underscore enough how important that is. You have to build trust. You have to say yes to a lot of things-

Pam Didner: A lot of things.

Melissa Romo: … in the early days. So people trust you and don’t see you as a roadblock. And once you’ve built that trust, then you can come in and be a little more prescriptive about what you think is the right thing to do. But its relationship building is just what you have to do. And you will get nowhere if you’re in an essential leadership role and don’t build the right relationships.

Pam Didner: Oh my God! Music in my ear. And seriously, everyone, you don’t need to read my book. Melissa just summarized it. It’s that important to build that relationship with your local team. And to have that sense of trust is so important. If you don’t have that, it’s very hard to move things forward. And you know what? If you have many countries that you have to work with, you don’t have that trust. They will end up ignoring you.

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: Especially in a global enterprise. It’s very hard, yeah.

Melissa Romo: And listen, they can ignore you because those local countries have their marketing budget. They don’t have to.

Pam Didner: They don’t have to listen to you.

Melissa Romo: … answer your calls.

Pam Didner: Yeah, Exactly! I 100% agree.

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: So talk to us, now you build that community is pretty established. And do you use that community as one of your marketing channels?

Melissa Romo: Yeah, we do everything with that community.

Pam Didner: Really?

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: How do you manage that, and especially for content marketing? I know one of your expertise is content. And you do tons of content marketing, and you are leading Sage’s global content marketing efforts. So how do you leverage the content for the community? Do you have to customize and localize content?

Melissa Romo: I mean, especially in AMEA, the content is going to be in French, German, and Spanish, and Portuguese. So content-wise, it’s very customized by language there. But what I would say is, how do we manage the community doing everything? So the first thing we did was we decided there were certain things that we wanted to happen in the community, make the community feel good, and feel like they were getting something out of the experience. And so, 60% of the things that happen in the community are what you could call fun.

Pam Didner: It’s gamification, you get people in-

Melissa Romo: It’s gamification, yeah.

Pam Didner: Yeah.

Melissa Romo: It is gamification; everything we do is gamified. But the 60% is very focused on what’s valuable to them, right?

Pam Didner: Got it!

Melissa Romo: Share your expertise, network with exclusive communities, come to our keynote speaker just for our champions, right? So things that are really about making them feel recognized and special.

Pam Didner: Exclusive, yes.

Melissa Romo: Yeah, exclusive. And then 40% of the things we also do gamified, are what I would say have more direct business value for Sage. So we may ask you to refer a friend for Sage software. We may ask you to be a sales reference for a sales conversation, and we need your expertise to talk to a prospect. We may ask you to leave a product review. We may ask you to participate in research or talk to an analyst. In that bundle of activities, our champions are more than happy to jump in and get involved in those things. Because they are our super fans, and they have so much expertise about our products.

Pam Didner: Yep.

Melissa Romo: But if that’s all you do, then your community is just going to start to feel used after a while. And they’re just not-

Pam Didner: I get it.

Melissa Romo: … going to feel like there’s something really in it for them.

Pam Didner: Yeah.

Melissa Romo: So you have to be careful to balance what you’re doing on sort of that 60/40. That’s the way we’ve set it up. But we’re constantly checking ourselves to make sure that people feel the recognition they need to feel.

Pam Didner: Got it. I think that’s a perfect point. And you’re trying to find that balance. With that being said, how do you plan? For every quarter, do you have some exclusive programs, or certain kinds of events, or certain kinds of, like the highlights or whatnot, that you engage with your community members?

Melissa Romo: We do plan a fit. And what I would say is we understand at the high level, what… take the UK, for example, the process we go through is we understand commercially what is important to the UK, let’s say in this fiscal year. And then, we understand what the major initiatives happening in each quarter are. Like where there might be a new product introduction. There might be an event happening, things like that. So we understand the marketing calendar in the country. And then we say to ourselves, where does a Champion fit into this marketing calendar, right? So if there’s a new product introduction, let’s get the product in front of champions first. Let’s release a beta to champions first.

Pam Didner: Through them, so they can provide feedback

Melissa Romo: Let’s get feedback.

Pam Didner: Yep.

Melissa Romo: Right, and let’s make them feel special by having them see the product first. If there’s an event, can we do an exclusive velvet rope experience for our champion? They may get to meet the CEO, or they may get to meet the keynote speaker or something like that. Or have a private lunch or something like that. So-

Pam Didner: Yep.

Melissa Romo: … where does the champion fit into the marketing calendar? And then we design what it is we want to do with those champions. It’s important to start with the commercial plan in the country or the geography that your program is across. And then slot in things that you would want to do with the champions. Because if you plan your content by itself and say, “Well, today we’re going to talk about kittens, tomorrow we’re going to talk about vacation plans.” Yeah, you know what I mean? Well, there’s nothing wrong with talking about kittens. And actually, sometimes communities love to talk about their pet, actually a lot. They love to talk about their pets. But if you plan your content just by yourself and your team, and then you go off and do it. You miss all these opportunities to make the community feel special.

Pam Didner: Amplify it.

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: Let me paraphrase it. You take care of the community members well. And there are multiple different layers of elements to engage with the community members. But at the same time, when you create a marketing plan, especially for the launches or your integrated campaigns. You will look at that holistically and then determine where the community or the super fans can fit into specific elements.

Melissa Romo: That’s right.

Pam Didner: And so it’s trying to connect different dots. And so, you are not just treating the community as a separate island of its own. It’s another marketing channel, but you want to use it wisely and have a discussion. And it sounds like that discussion is happening at the local level. Is that right?

Melissa Romo: Right, that’s exactly right.

Pam Didner: So another thing I would like to ask you specifically is how long has this community been around?

Melissa Romo: It’s only been a year in the US and less in the UK, a year. And it’s only been about six months in EMEA. So it’s very, very new. I know I have a lot more to say about it. Give me another year or two on. I think we’ll have a lot more to say about it. But these are early days-

Pam Didner: You are going to come back.

Melissa Romo: I’ll come back, yeah. I think the early days are the most instructive and hopefully… I’m glad I’m recording this with you. Because I’ll probably go back and listen to it next year like, “What did I learn again?” Yeah.

Pam Didner: So it sounds like you do put quite a bit of budget to it, right? But the budget is in terms of headcount. And the budget is in terms of content consumption. How do you manage? Or can you help us to understand if anybody wants to launch a community within the enterprise or a fast-growing SaaS space platform company? How much budget do they need? And how do they manage that? I mean, you don’t have to share with us in terms of how much money you spend, but maybe the range will help. Like what kind of budget and resources they do need to get started?

Melissa Romo: Yeah, it’s well into the six figures. It’s not over half a million. How do you do that? So here’s my advice. So if you follow the 60/40 split. So 60 is fun, and 40 is, let’s call it, business value. And when I say business, it isn’t that our customers having fun doesn’t have business value. It does. But I’m talking about bottom-line business value. So if-

Pam Didner: I agree.

Melissa Romo: If you think about 40% business value, you need to forecast. Okay, how many sales references do I think I could get with this program, once it’s at a run rate that makes sense? How many sales referrals? How many product reviews? What impact will this have on conversion and the funnel? What impact will this have on reducing churn? Things like that. So you need to forecast what business value you think this program could logically deliver with that 40% of activity focused on business value. And once you do that, you can step back from that and say, “Okay, if this is what I think I can get out of it, then I can afford to spend X.” Whatever that business value is. And that’s exactly the exercise that we went through. We had an exhaustive… I mean, I won’t tell you how many spreadsheets, exhaustive in is this case.

Pam Didner: I get it.

Melissa Romo: Yeah. I mean, so we counted every penny, right? What did we think we could get back from this program for the company just to justify an investment in a platform? But anybody can do that. So I would just tell you to start with where you think your business value will be, and add that up, which will tell you the range of what you can realistically spend. And then the other thing I’d say about cost, there are two principal costs for us. One is the platform and the other, our marketing promotion costs. Like there’s just a big bucket of marketing promotion, but that includes all the SWAG, right? So if you get certain points, we’ll send you a Sage hoodie, we’ll send you a water bottle. We’ll whatever-

Pam Didner: It’s a merchandising—

Melissa Romo: It’s all the merchandising. I feel strongly about that, and I’m going to plug this into all marketers out there. We, marketers, need to de-swag ourselves. I say that because of all the sustainability things discussed right now in business, politics, and the world. Every decision we make as a business, we need to look at it much more critically and ask ourselves, do I need to order 1,000 water bottles right?

Pam Didner: Yeah.

Melissa Romo: I probably don’t. And so what does that mean, as far as gamification? It means that I mean, couldn’t we reward our customers with things like experiences or donations to charity? And won’t the customer feel as good, maybe even better with experiences and donations to charity, than they would get a Sage water bottle, right?

Pam Didner: I 100% agree with you. You were talking about, look at the environment. I mean, how much trash-

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: … or how much waste that we generate? How many water bottles that we need? And I hear you.

Melissa Romo: Yeah, I don’t want to get my team in trouble because we are still sending out Sage water bottles, and we aren’t immediately going to stop doing that. But my vision is that we will get to a point where we find non-material rewards that will be as valuable to the customer. So this is what we are looking, and what we want to be committed to doing. And we’re going to work our way there. And I think all marketers should be trying to do that.

Pam Didner: That is such a great point. I did not even think about that, honestly. I don’t think for my clients when they are talking about merchandising — especially trying to start a conversation or engage with their prospect. In addition to content, there is always some sort of merchandising, right?

Melissa Romo: Yeah, right.

Pam Didner: It’s like really customized merchandise that you send to somebody. And somebody goes, “Oh, this is nice!” So merchandising is a means, if you will, like a conversation opener. But I like that you are looking from a slightly different perspective. Can we not do that? Are there any other ways that we can do that a little bit, even more effectively, and yet still provide that sense of value, and release those-

Melissa Romo: Right.

Pam Didner: … that emotional touch that’s needed with your prospect?

Melissa Romo: That’s right, yeah.

Pam Didner: Good point!

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: Thank you for thinking of that, and that we need that-

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: That’s a lot—

Melissa Romo: I think this would be a very good episode for you to talk about… I would love to hear marketers talk about merch and how to demerch ourselves because we love merch.

Pam Didner: We love merch! I mean, I love stuff. I mean, a lot of time, I will, but we are also very selective in terms of what kind of-

Melissa Romo: Right.

Pam Didner: … merch we want to get, right?

Melissa Romo: Right.

Pam Didner: But we love merch. Sometimes I was like, even a nice pen, I’ll still take that.

Melissa Romo: Yep.

Pam Didner: Okay. What are some of the new initiatives that you plan to do in 2022?

Melissa Romo: Yeah. Well, there’s two that I’m excited about. I mean, the vision for non-merch is one. My team is probably going to hear this and go, “Oh my God! Has she lost her mind?” But that’s fine, that’s water. The second one is working even better with our sales teams. Because right now, we are semi-automated with our reference and referral process. And our passing references and referrals across to sales.

But I don’t think sales are quite equipped to receive them and know what to do with them. And to see the champions program as a really powerful tool in their toolbox. And so, I want to spend a lot of time with sales teams and make sure that my team understands what they need. And that we’re getting that out of our champion community and bringing that to the sales teams. So that’s a really important thing. The second one is automating a feedback loop to product marketing and product marketing and service-

Pam Didner: Love it!

Melissa Romo: I would say customer service because we learn so much about our products, how customers use our features, what they like and what they don’t like, and what’s missing. What they wish they had, all of this kind of stuff. And again, we do feed it back to product marketing and our customer service teams. But we do it in a mainly manual way. And I would like to find a way to automate that. So it’s just continuously flowing back to the teams that need to see that feedback and that those teams can act on it right away.

And the Nirvana for us would be that a customer says something on Monday. “Gosh! I wish I could have unicorns in my app.” And we give it to product marketing. And then Friday, there are unicorns in the app. That we can say, “Thank you, John, what a great idea.” That’s Nirvana, right? Because then the customer’s like, “Wow! These people are paying attention to me, the customer, and they’re talking to each other in that company. And then that gives me so much more confidence as a customer.” Right?

Pam Didner: Yep. When I was asking, you are using this as a marketing channel in the back of my mind, is sales actively engaged? But I’m so happy. Oh my God! You made my day. That you brought in terms like engaging with sales as one of the major initiatives for 2022. Oh my God!

Melissa Romo: Yeah.

Pam Didner: You are fantastic!

Melissa Romo: I know a book I can recommend, a book about sales enablement, that’s somebody wrote.

Pam Didner: (laughs) Oh my God! I love you!

Melissa Romo: You can pay me later (laughs)

Pam Didner: You know what? Whenever I’m in New Jersey, not New Jersey. We don’t have to go there. But when I’m in New York City, I’ll let you know, and we’ll go off for a drink. How does that sound?

Melissa Romo: I love it! I love it! Yeah.

Pam Didner: All right, so many aspiring young marketing professionals are listening to my channel. And do you have any career advice for them?

Melissa Romo: Yeah, I mean, I’ve been in marketing for 25 years, and half of that has been in content, and the other half has been in the old days of Mad Men, TV-style, Madison Avenue, advertising.

Pam Didner: Yeah, traditional style, yes.

Melissa Romo: So I had a career that’s been in both worlds. And what I would tell people coming into marketing today is; marketing is technology; technology is marketing. So if you are somebody who is not comfortable with technology, or you think you’re not comfortable with technology. I would tell you that if an old dog like me can learn how to use Salesforce, everybody can. So get your head around the tech. There is so much technology in marketing. It’s really important to just sit with it, understand what it does. If you don’t want to touch the technology with the Eloqua or whatever, you’re going to struggle as a marketer because this is the time.

Pam Didner: I 100% agree with that, yeah.

Melissa Romo: That said, what I will observe as an old-style marketer, is that the tech has dehumanized marketing in my view, right?

Pam Didner: Yeah.

Melissa Romo: I think marketers today are very focused on all the bits and bobs of the technology. And very seldom do we stand back and go; who’s the human on the other end of this experience, right? And how are they feeling? And we have to remember that marketing is about one human communicating with another human.

Pam Didner: Yeah

Melissa Romo: There are all kinds of tech that goes in between, and that enables us. But we have to remember the human side of marketing. It doesn’t matter what tech is introduced. You’re you still go back to the person like that’s what marketing, marketing is getting a person to want something, right? And then it’s getting that person to want that thing and to take action. And that at the end of the day, it has to involve some kind of human connection. And if you let the tech get in the way, you’re not going to get there.

Pam Didner: I love it. You brought a very good point. On the one hand, you need to embrace technology. On the other hand, you need to have a certain insight and wisdom. How are you going to maximize that? But it’s not maximized to the point that it’s 100% automation and leave the human element out of it.

Melissa Romo: Right.

Pam Didner: It’s not like you created a lot of auto-responses, but even within the auto-responses you created or the workload you set up. That copy that you decided to write needs to be very personable needs to be-.

Melissa Romo: Right.

Pam Didner: … engaging, needs to be able to segment it, right?

Melissa Romo: Right.

Pam Didner: But you’re automated to the point that everything is automated; a bot writes everything. But when people are talking to you, they feel like talking to a bot.

Melissa Romo: Right.

Pam Didner: So I completely understand that you mentioned that, and thank you so much for doing that. It’s really like the technologies, arts, and science, and that as a marketer, you have to somehow find that balance between the arts and the science.

Melissa Romo: That’s right. That’s right. And I’ll give you an example, our platform automates our program, which is great. But when you go into the program, like let’s say first thing in the morning, it’ll say, “Hi, Melissa. How are you doing today?” Or something like that. We have a greeting at the top of your dashboard. And if you go in a few hours later, it says, “Hi, Melissa, it’s great to see you again.”

Pam Didner: Yeah.

Melissa Romo: Right? So it’s all automated, but it’s just we set rules to make a person feel welcome and to feel like there’s a human on the other side.

Pam Didner: And also the copy is very important.

Melissa Romo: Yes.

Pam Didner: Like how the copy is written. A lot of people are like, “Writing is dead.” Trust my writing is not dead.

Melissa Romo: Nope.

Pam Didner: All right, fantastic! I love it! Hey, thank you so much for coming to my show, and your wisdom, your insight. And also, you provide very specific know-how. I am very grateful for that. And I’m sure my listeners and the people watching the videos love it as well. So can you talk to us about how they can reach out to you? Or how they can connect with you.

Melissa Romo: Probably the best way is to find me on LinkedIn. Melissa Romo at Sage, if you search that, you’re going to find me on LinkedIn. I love to connect with people. I love to get massages and hear what people are doing. So absolutely for sure, reach out to me through that channel. I’m on Twitter as @romowriter too. So if you just want to ping me, I’m there too.

Pam Didner: So happy to have you on my show. Again, if you like the show, subscribe below. Comment anytime, I will respond to your comment

Melissa Romo: Great talking to you Pam, Bye!

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To expand your knowledge about community management and how to grow a strong brand commuity, check out some of my previous podcast episodes, blog post, and videos.

Podcast episodes

Where Marketers Can Better Help Sales Boost Revenue

Growth Hack Strategies For Your Startup

Social Selling As The New Business Necessity

Blog post

How to Lead and Inspire Your Marketing Team

Video

How to Change, and Adapt Your Marketing Strategy

 


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