In today’s MarTech conversation, we speak with Catherine Fournier, the marketing manager of event software company inwink. The company helps organize data for both in-person and online B2B events.
Fournier tells us about her content-first approach to marketing and explains why providing quality content is crucial for companies to zero in on their target market.
Tell us about inwink
inwink is a SaaS platform to support companies as they orchestrate their events, whether they are in person or online or a hybrid of both.
If you're a company and you're organizing your event on inwink, you will be able to create an event website, which will be 100% customized for your brand. You can handle registrations and ticketing, you can send emails to your participants, you can manage your partners or sponsors, you can organize the lead generation and the networking during your event. The idea is that you centralize all of your event data in one place.
The product inwink was launched at the end of 2016. It was developed for three years within a company called Infinite Square. It was initially developed for Microsoft, as they needed an app for one of their big events. Then, they realized that there was a need for an event data app on the market.
inwink is a little unusual as we have only developed our sales force and incorporated a marketing strategy in the last year. Before that, all of our first customers came from word of mouth.
In the past year, the development team has managed to take amazing strides as far as the digital features are concerned. Before COVID, no one was really doing online events. We were able to switch the focus of our product and keep up with our customers’ demand for online features as things changed.
What do you do in your day-to-day work as the marketing manager of inwink?
There are two of us—two marketing managers—and we both report directly to the CEO. I have a content writer who reports to me.
I am more in charge of the content and my counterpart is more in charge of the growth and associated tools. So, she is in charge of, for example, the acquisition campaigns and the CRM.
Our marketing approach is pretty typical of a SaaS company. The first objective of our team is to make inwink as visible as possible and to develop thought leadership. We want the whole market to know that we are the experts on event marketing. Our three complementary goals are that we want to generate qualified leads for our sales team, we want to be able to nurture the leads we have, and we want to keep developing the loyalty of the customers we already have.
As a result, we have plenty of strategies and campaigns ongoing as a marketing team.
We handle the website and the blog. I write articles in French and they are translated into English. And there is an associated newsletter with this. We also work on customer case studies to use as a resource that we can share through the website, but also throughout the sales process.
We’ve also recently launched downloadable content, which is another way to get leads on the website. So, things like checklists, ebooks, and infographics.
We are in charge of the PR, as well. We're working with an external agency that can share our content with journalists. Then we have paid acquisition campaigns to improve paid traffic on the website.
We also organize user groups with our customers. We have a really close community of customers, which is something I love about inwink—the fact that the customers do actually love the product and they are really engaged.
What are some of your goals and challenges at inwink?
In terms of revenue and growth, the company's targets are quite ambitious: We're talking two-figure growth—in terms of revenue, in terms of staff, and in terms of customers. The marketing team is trying to make this happen.
The main KPI that we follow in the marketing team would be the sales results. So basically, how many qualified leads we can provide to the sales team. And when I say qualified, I mean the ones that will end up signing.
We really have this approach that we are here to support the sales teams before anything else. What customers and the ecosystem think of us is also really important, but this is more qualitative than quantitative—it’s harder to measure.
One of my big challenges to overcome daily is that it’s often difficult to prove ROI in advance. You can't know if it's gonna work or not. Marketing is always an investment and sometimes it's difficult to show that it’s worth it. So, you are always trying to convince your boss that what you’re doing will work, or at least that you should try it.
It’s particularly difficult in content marketing, where the ROI is really difficult to measure. It is not measurable in terms of direct leads, because the sales cycles are long.
I'm really lucky that I have a boss who understands that marketing is essential—it’s an essential investment.
What has been most effective and why?
Content, rather than outreach, has been most effective for us. The thing is, we are working on a very specific topic. We are talking to marketers who want to organize B2B events. There are many of them, but not so many that we could implement an outreach campaign without precise targeting. Content is a way to make sure that people who are actually interested come to you.
What new initiatives or trends are you considering?
We mainly focus on content marketing, so from that perspective, I would say that LinkedIn is really bigger than ever. You can’t afford to not be doing some big stuff on LinkedIn. So, lately, we've decided that we want our CEO to post on LinkedIn because we realized this type of thought leadership is something that you cannot afford to lose. And the fact that it’s him speaking rather than the brand as a whole, that’s very powerful at the moment.
On top of that, video and audio content are trends that we would love to explore.
How does content marketing fit into your strategy?
I come from the world of content. I even used to work in the publishing industry. I believe that content is the key to everything. For me, content is king. And all your marketing strategies will depend on whether you have something interesting and original to say.