In this episode of The Business Gay Podcast, host Calan Breckon speaks with Yousuf Allidina.
Yousuf is a marketing leader and consultant in the B2B technology space who has over 12 years of experience developing and honing demand generation and digital marketing strategies for leading technology brands, particularly in the conversational AI space.
Currently, he heads up Account-Based Marketing at LivePerson, a leading Conversational AI brand. He’s passionate about fostering inclusive and empowering corporate culture and advocating for LGBTQ representation in the workspace so that people can feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.
► Today’s Sponsor is SparkLoop – Lead Generation On Autopilot!
Get a FREE Website SEO Audit from Calan: CalanBreckon.com/audit
Links mentioned in this episode:
Key Takeaways for quick navigation:
- [01:10] New businesses often limit their audience by focusing only on ready-to-buy customers, missing the potential of educating a larger audience.
- [03:32] Startups need to measure demand beyond self-identifying buyers, recognizing latent demand that requires education.
- [08:49] Invest in long-term strategies like SEO and content creation for sustained growth, even if immediate quantifiable results are not apparent.
- [12:54] While demand capture tactics like paid ads may bring initial success, transitioning to demand generation is vital for long-term growth.
- [15:26] Establish thought leadership for long-term success and loyalty, achieved through activities like research studies.
- [17:55] Find an equilibrium between demand capture and generation; successful companies measure and balance both strategies for sustained growth.
- [18:23] Research and track spending, finding a balance between different tactics for sustainable growth.
- [19:46] Use Buyer Journey mapping to understand your audience’s path to purchase; identify channels, messages, and engagement points.
- [22:34] Slow down, research, and explore various marketing options; costs can be managed, and success is achievable with awareness and effort.
[00:00:00] Calan Breckon: Today’s episode is sponsored by SparkLoop. SparkLoop is the number one newsletter growth platform. I’m in the SparkLoop Partner program and within the first week I saw my email list grow by over 12,000%. That’s insane. Their newsletter growth strategies and options are the most affordable rates I have ever seen on the market. I’m no longer paying between five and $10 per acquired email through online ads. Now I pay as little as $1 for warm emails that stay on my list and engaged for over 30 days. Everything is customizable in SparkLoop and they will set you up with a team member to help you through the process. Head on over to calanbreckon.com/SparkLoop for more details or just click the link in the show notes. Now, let’s get into today’s episode.
Welcome to the Business Gay podcast where we talk about all things business, marketing and entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Calan Breckon and on today’s episode, I have Yousuf Allidina. Yousuf is a marketing leader and consultant in the B2B technology space who has over twelve years of experience developing and honing demand generation and digital marketing strategies for leading technology brands, particularly in the conversational AI space. Currently, he heads up account-based marketing at LivePerson, a leading conversational AI brand. He’s passionate about fostering inclusive and empowering corporate culture and advocating for LGBTQ representation in the workplace so that people can feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. Y’all, This was a fantastic podcast recording. I am so excited for you to learn more about marketing with Yousuf so let’s jump in.
[00:01:46] Calan Breckon: Hey, Yousuf, welcome to the podcast. I’m so excited to have you. How are you doing?
[00:01:50] Yousuf Allidina: Hey, Calan, thanks for having me. I’m doing well. How are you?
[00:01:53] Calan Breckon: I am doing great. It is sunny here in Toronto where we are recording for the first time in a little while. So I think everybody’s feeling a little bit happy today.
[00:02:02] Yousuf Allidina: 100%. It’s Friday and it’s sunny and so you can’t really go wrong.
[00:02:06] Calan Breckon: Yeah, definitely. So I’m really excited to jump into this conversation with you. I nerd out and geek out on this stuff all the time and I know my listeners do as well. And we are going to be talking about marketing and lead generation and all the things for all the marketing stuff, especially the things people are doing wrong, because I think it’s really fascinating because people do shit and they don’t know what they’re really doing.
So saying that, let’s jump right into it. Lead generation it can either make or break your business. What is the biggest mistake that new businesses make when they are entering the market when it comes to their business leads?
[00:02:45] Yousuf Allidina: I think that a lot of new businesses mistake the interest in the marketplace as the only type of interest that is available for them. And so, for example, a lot of new businesses, they’ll create a product, they’ll launch their products in the marketplace, and they’ll make the mistake of assuming that most people that are engaging with them are already ready to buy. Already ready to purchase.
They’ll sort of limit their audience size to just this group of people that are already pretty well informed about what their products can do and are ready to either request a demo for the product or talk about pricing or whatnot.
The mistake is not realizing that there’s a whole big audience out there that just needs a little bit more education or just needs a little bit more help kind of getting to that point. Right.
[00:03:40] Calan Breckon: We also spoke about before, earlier when we were just talking nerd stuff about how the existence of the market that is there isn’t going to always be there at that current level. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
[00:03:54] Yousuf Allidina: Yeah, I think a lot of startup founders, what they do, they realize that there’s a need in the marketplace for a product, and they create a product to solve a problem that they’ve identified in the marketplace. They launch it, and there’s pent up demand. There’s like early adopters. There’s already a bunch of people that already have experienced this problem and know the details, the ins and outs, and they know what they need to do to solve it. And so there’s this mistake that people are making where they’re essentially just going after this group of people and not investing the time to actually educate people that maybe might be experiencing that problem but don’t know what options are out there to try to alleviate them. They don’t know what might happen if they don’t act on these sort of warning signs that are coming up. For example, leveraging chat bots for your organization.
There’s a lot of organizations that were slow to adopt this sort of AI approach to servicing your customers, and the ones that didn’t jump on that and didn’t do something about it are kind of left behind some more innovative companies that already kind of made those moves.
[00:05:12] Calan Breckon: Yeah, definitely. So when it comes to demand about your product or service or whatever, how are people measuring that demand versus how should they be measuring that demand?
[00:05:25] Yousuf Allidina: In my experience, I find that startup companies are often measuring demand based on people that are self identifying as ready to purchase. So, for example, they’re measuring demand by people that are Google searching their brand name, or they’re measuring demand on people that are clicking on ads that are like, hey, if you want to trial this product, click here. So they’re mistakenly assuming that the entire demand for their product is just people that are doing these few tactics or these few activities. Which isn’t correct. Demand exists outside of these things.
There’s other things that buyers can do. So, for example, if you’re looking to purchase a car, you’re not just going to type in cars for sale and click on the first link that shows up for a car agency or per car dealership.
You might be like, okay, what are the different options? Do I want an suv versus sedan or whatnot? That is a type of a demand as well.
That’s you indicating that you’re in the purchase mindset and there’s things that brands can do to capitalize on that and be part of that process, to kind of educate you and be in that conversation with you so that you think of them once you actually get to that point of purchasing.
[00:06:50] Calan Breckon: So let’s dive into that a little bit more. What’s that difference between demand generation and demand capture?
[00:06:58] Yousuf Allidina: So I think demand capture is just what we talked about. Demand capture is just doing that one thing to snag that person that’s at that ready point to purchase. Demand generation, though, is contributing to the build up of the need to purchase in somebody. Right? So it’s creating thought leadership around the need to purchase a solution. So companies that do well, essentially are companies that invest in research.
They’ll build white papers or they’ll build research studies and whatnot to educate the market and say, hey, this is a trend that’s coming up. This is why you might need this particular solution in the future. So that’s creating that demand that’s planting that seed or that’s fertilizing that seed that’s in that buyer’s head that, hey, you need to maybe look into an investment or you need to maybe look into a solution for this problem that you’re having. They’re not just going after people that have already indicated, hey, I know what my problem is. I know what the solutions are.
I just want to know what the companies are out there that can provide a solution.
[00:08:10] Calan Breckon: Yeah. So why do you think so many businesses miss or overlook the investment piece when it comes to demand generation?
[00:08:18] Yousuf Allidina: I think it can be hard. Right? I think that if you think about demand capture, it’s just doing one thing right.
If you think about demand capture digitally, like online, it’s just creating ads that are targeting people that are searching your brand name. For example, if somebody’s searching my business name, I’m just going to create an ad that pushes my ad in front of them and it immediately capitalizes on them expressing their interest. The harder game is investing in the tactics or in the activities that build up that demand. So for example, creating content or creating authority online with your website, that takes that time for Google to kind of pick up and rank you for. It’s often hard to measure as well. It’s really easy to measure the ROI of paying for an ad, right? Like, it’s really easy to say, okay, I spent $1,000 on this ad campaign and I got $10,000 in sales. That’s easy. When you spend money on a billboard or you spend money on a press release or you spend money on a white paper or you spend money on a research report, that’s often not as easy. It’s not as directly correlated with the sale. And so it’s not that easy to go from, hey, I spent this much on creating this thing and it yielded this much profit or revenue for me. So it’s harder to quantify the results. It takes longer to do effectively, and it’s often, it’s more cumbersome to do overall, but it’s about building a foundation. If you take the time to slowly build the foundation the right way, then in the future it kind of leads to more stable growth. If you cut corners from the beginning, it’ll lead to a shaker, shaker building at the end.
[00:10:23] Calan Breckon: I love what you’re saying because the main work that I do is SEO specialist work. And so everything you’re saying right now is so much of the work I do is educating the client on the long term strategy of it all of like, you can’t just put up ads and just capture that market because eventually it’s going to run dry. Eventually those leads are going to be gone because you’ve already saturated that market, now you need to create things and that’s when they backtrack and they go, okay, well, now we need to invest in our website. Now we need to invest in SEO. Now we need to create all this content and do all these things that had you been doing from the start.
By the time that happens and your initial client pool dries up of people who are already ready, you’ve already built that know, like and trust factor with the content with whatever you’re putting out so that when that happens, your organic content and organic reach calan then start to take over for the fact that your ads aren’t performing as well as they used to perform. Does that sound?
[00:11:31] Yousuf Allidina: Yeah, 100%. That’s hitting the nail on the head and I understand it as well, right? I understand long term gratification is a hard concept for a lot of people, right? Especially as a business owner, it’s an even more difficult concept. You’re a startup, you have minimal funds available, right? You’re really scrappy. The idea of investing thousands of dollars either by hiring somebody to do your SEO or creating a piece of content or doing whatever it takes and not being able to say, hey, as soon as I launch this, it’s going to result in this and that unknown that’s there. I get why it’s difficult for people to make that decision. Also, I realize that startup businesses, startup owners, people that are making these decisions at these early stages for these companies, they’re not marketers often, right? They’re people that are really passionate about the product that they’re building, but they don’t understand, they’re not living and breathing these things as much as like yourself or other SEO experts or other marketers are. And so it’s such an unknown and that’s why they default to the one thing that kind of makes sense to them, which is the immediate cause and effect related to paid ads or just capturing the existing demand. I totally get it.
If I didn’t spend the years that I’ve spent in marketing and I started a business, I would probably make those same mistakes. But I do think it’s important to rely on the expert opinions and also the data that comes that we’ve generated thus far in the marketplace around why it actually is fruitful and beneficial to play the longer game and invest in some of those channels that are not as easy as paid search, but also investing in creating messaging, creating content, or just putting effort into not only going after people that are ready to buy, but going after people that might possibly have a connection with this pain point and hey, let’s educate them about what the implications are like sort of that longer game.
[00:13:42] Calan Breckon: Yeah, I think you brought up a really important point about finances as well, is when you’re starting off, you don’t have as much to use or to utilize and invest. And so you focus on really bootstrapping and putting that money where you think it’s going to make the biggest impact. But then there’s a problem that happens is that a year goes by or time goes by, but then the business fails to recognize that it’s time to shift to a more demand creation model. So what happens when a business fails to recognize, hey, it’s time to make that shift? Or it’s time to say, we’re now making money, we now have to invest in these things.
[00:14:20] Yousuf Allidina: So what I found, so I’ve worked with a number of startup companies and I found, hey, they have this glory days where we’re spending not too much on paid ads and we’re getting a lot of business, and it’s like, hey, it’s profitable. It’s making sense for us right now.
I won’t bore you with too much complicated technical terms, but things like LTV to CAC, which is like the lifetime value to a customer acquisition cost ratio, it makes sense. Essentially, spending, however much they’re spending on the easy tactics, paid ads or whatever it might be, is profitable at that moment in time. Very quickly that curve balances out, though, and it no longer is as profitable. And the reason why that happens is because they’re yielding the low hanging fruit and there’s not much more left. So it very quickly becomes expensive for a lot of them.
When you don’t jump in and do something about it, when you don’t diversify your channels in time, you’re kind of stuck with the scenario that you’re in and you didn’t spend the time to actually build up the demand in the marketplace.
You’re stuck having to spend more on the same amount of business or the same amount of interest that’s in the marketplace. Essentially, you’re now competing with bigger players in the game as well.
There’s fewer people that are searching your name because the ones that were searching your name initially, you’ve already kind of spent that money to capture their interest.
So it quickly becomes unprofitable for a lot of businesses.
[00:15:58] Calan Breckon: Yeah. Do you have any examples of maybe businesses you’ve worked with or companies that you see out there that made that transition really well or that you could tell made that transition well?
[00:16:09] Yousuf Allidina: I think there’s a lot of success stories out there. Right.
We know of all the big tech brands, and what separates these big tech brands that are innovative from competitors in the marketplace is that they establish themselves as thought leaders. And establishing yourself as a thought leader is doing exactly what we’ve talked about thus far, is investing in marketing that’s not just designed around capturing demand in the marketplace. It’s about actually educating the marketplace about what’s needed. So it’s tech brands or other brands that invest in. Actually, I don’t know what the word is for it, but they invest in the long term research, studies and stuff that actually open people’s eyes to problems or to needs that might come about in the future.
[00:17:09] Calan Breckon: Yeah. And it’s like what I’m doing with this podcast, yes, I’m an SEO specialist. I could sit on LinkedIn and do cold outreach emails until I’m blue in the face. But what I decided to do was go, well, personal brands perform a lot better. People like a story, and I love podcasting. So let’s create a podcast around these things, these topics that I love, while also providing service and education to people around these topics that will also feed my bottom line. But in the long term, it’s building out a giant library of content for people who don’t know, like or trust me yet to go through that library of content to understand, okay, this is who he is, these are his competencies, and then this is all the great value he’s put out there. But that takes a lot of time to consciously invest in that, knowing that payoff will be coming on later down the road, but not seeing that instantaneous payoff coming in, it can be really hard for people to definitely do.
[00:18:13] Yousuf Allidina: Yeah, it’s all about building that authority. Right. And I think once you do, once you establish yourself as authoritative, where it’s like people are coming to you not just to purchase your product, but for advice on what product to purchase or like, hey, what’s going to happen if I don’t do this thing that you’re telling me I should do? And they trust what you’re saying about it, not only will it lead to an easier sale at the end of the day, because if you’re researching a problem you’re having in your role in a company or in your life, and you’re turning to, like I say, let’s say I’m starting a business and I don’t know how to do SEO, and I’m turning to you to educate me on how to do SEO, you better believe I’m going to come to you once I’m ready to invest in SEO. But I think most times as well, when you invest in building up that authority, when a person or when a company does purchase your products, they’re going to be stickier as well because they’re going to be really well informed and they’re going to have a lot of trust and loyalty with you people that purchase your solution, but did it not having that sense of security with your authority, they’re going to jump ship as soon as anything kind of doesn’t match up with what their expectations were. It’s like, oh, okay, I was expecting this to solve this problem by this date, and it’s not doing it by that date. I’m jumping ship because I never really trusted you to begin with. Right. So I think building authority, which is the theme of what we’ve been talking about, building authority and spending that time taking the foot off the pedal of trying to drive sales and actually taking the time to build authority, it pays off in so many different ways.
It’s not to say that you just do one or the other. It’s not to say that, hey, you don’t need to be generating business. You don’t need to be capturing demand while you’re doing this. There’s sort of an equilibrium of doing both. And typically the companies that do it really well are the ones that are able to accurately measure the results and be able to track how much am I spending and how much is it yielding. And they have those sort of data insights that show those things. But there is sort of a sweet spot of investing in both tactics or multiple tactics to help you grow in a sustainable way.
[00:20:21] Calan Breckon: Yeah. So to continue on with this train of thought, what advice would you have for businesses that are listening right now and they’re about to make that switch because they’ve listened to this podcast from not just doing ads and kind of hoping for the best, but switching into that demand creation mode, what advice or tips do you have for those people?
[00:20:40] Yousuf Allidina: So number one, I would do the research. So if I was a startup or a small business owner, and I was conscious of the fact that, hey, I know that in six months time, I’m no longer going to have the pool of potential business that I have right now, what am I going to do? I’m going to research. I’m going to look online and see, like, okay, chances are there’s another organization that’s doing exactly what we’re talking about, that’s taking that time to educate your market, your audience group. They’re usually bigger, right? They’re usually like the companies that can afford to do it often, but just seeing what they’re doing and seeing how they’re kind of educating the marketplace to identify, hey, what can I do to add my voice to that crowd?
This is harder for a lot of business to do, but there’s this practice called buyer journey mapping. I know it’s a technical term, but to sum it up, it’s essentially researching and understanding the path that your ideal buyer takes to purchase. So which channels are they on? Social media? Are they engaging with you on social media? Are they using a review site? Are there influencers that are influencing their decisions? Which pages on my website are they engaging in? Are they clicking on my ads? All these kind of things, finding out what are these things that people are doing along that path to purchase? When are they doing these things along that path to purchase? Which message that I’m putting out there is resonating with them.
Taking the time to do that will then make it easier for you to then diversify your activities and your tactics and you’ll have a much more confidence in investing in different things rather than just investing in something as simple as paid ads.
[00:22:28] Calan Breckon: Yeah, because then you’re going to know, are they reading blog articles? Are they listening to podcasts? Are they watching, where are they? Are they on YouTube? What are you going to create for them to continue that journey of learning and education, to start bringing people in who weren’t necessarily ready to buy, but they’re like on that cusp, taking it back to that car. They’re looking around for the car. They don’t necessarily want to buy one right now, but they’re starting that journey. They’re starting that process. And if you can create and generate that demand in that creation mode of creating content, putting things out there to capture that, it’s going to make it much better for you in the long run. I’m probably biased here, but I think a lot of it also comes down to creating that content. In regards to blog articles, SEO, building out that library of content for people to come and find you. People can discover you organically on Google, doing a podcast, having somebody on your team or a specific person or a style or a corporate podcast that you put out.
I think podcasting, I heard a crazy stat grew by like 25% in the last year, which is huge. I mean, not every podcast is obviously a great podcast, but it just goes to show like, the mode at which people are listening to things or doing things. It’s definitely a great idea to invest in. And if you do it correctly, it can also add to your SEO and your bottom line if you’re making sure that you’re putting it on the website and doing it correctly and all of those things. So there’s definitely lots of ideas and options. Is there anything else that you’d like to add on this before we wrap things up?
[00:24:08] Yousuf Allidina: No.
I would be happy if the one takeaway that your listeners and your readers take from this session is that it’s worth it to slow down and take a breath and actually invest the time to do a bit of research before you go. And also, there is hope. If your costs are starting to rise and you’re only doing one thing to generate leads for your business, there is hope that they’re not always going to be high, that there’s some things that you can do to try to bring those costs back down. There’s some other marketing investments that you can make, there’s other things that you can create, there’s other channels you can leverage that might provide new opportunities for you.
If I could just relay that to my audience, I’d be happy and you’d be surprised. I’ve worked with a lot of brands that just are unaware that they spent two, three years after starting a business, only kind of doing a certain type of marketing and not really knowing the art of the options.
[00:25:13] Calan Breckon: There’s so many options.
[00:25:15] Yousuf Allidina: So many options. Just like what you said, podcast TikTok for a lot of business, there’s just so many channels that are just popping up these days.
[00:25:22] Calan Breckon: Oh.
[00:25:27] Yousuf Allidina: Yeah, there’s a lot of ways to be successful as a small business that just a lot of small business owners or startup owners are just unaware of.
[00:25:37] Calan Breckon: Yeah, especially small business owners. Like if you’re a small business owner, you’re probably the face of your business and you shouldn’t be afraid of that. Because if you want your company to grow, it’s going to need to have that in some regard. Whether it grows to be a big company, there still needs to be. There’s the CEO, they’re the outfront person that is their job for a reason. And so if you want to be that person, you can think about doing events and going to conferences, speaking on stages. Or if you don’t want to be that person, finding somebody for your business or company, that will be that person. Because these are also different ways to start those capture or create that demand. Create that capture early on so that they start down the rabbit hole of who you are, what you offer and all that good stuff.
This has been a fantastic conversation. I can geek out on this stuff forever.
[00:26:29] Yousuf Allidina: Me too.
[00:26:30] Calan Breckon: Where can people find out more about you, your offerings and how to work with you and all that jazz?
[00:26:36] Yousuf Allidina: So I’m working with startup tech companies these days to educate them just on these same principles.
What’s the art of the possible in terms of getting your brand out there and helping brands build a roadmap to success in terms of diversifying themselves in the marketplace or in the digital marketplace. So you can find me on LinkedIn.
I think if you’re able to share.
[00:27:04] Calan Breckon: My LinkedIn profile, I’ll have the link in there. Don’t worry, everybody. I’ll get the links in there so you can have all that access. And do you do consulting like one on one and that kind of a thing?
[00:27:15] Yousuf Allidina: Yes, I do. And I also just love to, like you said, just geek out and just have conversations about these kind of things. And so if there’s ever any questions or just desires to chat about these things, I’m always game. Awesome.
[00:27:28] Calan Breckon: Well, thanks so much for being a guest today, Yousuf.
[00:27:31] Yousuf Allidina: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
[00:27:34] Calan Breckon: What a phenomenal conversation. I could talk about this stuff for hours. I absolutely love it. Thank you so much for tuning in today. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button. If you really enjoyed it, you can give it a star rating and hey, maybe even share with a friend if you got value out of this.
The business Gay podcast is written, produced and edited by me, Calan Breckon. And if you’re trying to do this whole crossover to create some lead generation from organic content and you’re trying to use your website and it’s not performing and you don’t know why, well, head on over to calanbreckon.com/audit and I will help you figure out what’s going on with your SEO on your website to make sure that you are set up for success or just click the link in the show notes. That’s it for today. Peace, love, Rainbows.