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Episode 306: Being Human in a Changed Marketing World with Ewa Baska of Buildout

Episode Summary

For Ewa Baska, Marketing Director at Buildout, a SaaS company that creates marketing software for commercial real estate brokers, the marketing fundamentals she learned in school and early jobs have always been her inner guidebook.

“I always knew that I wanted to go into marketing just by always wanting to know more about brands and studying all the exciting things that companies can bring to humans,” she says.

But some things you can’t learn from school — like what to do when a pandemic hits.

In such circumstances, it’s important to think before you act, Ewa says. For Buildout, that meant taking a step back to reflect and create a strategic marketing response plan rather than reacting hastily. It was a move that’s made all the difference in connecting with new customers and retaining current ones.

On this episode of Tech Qualified, Ewa shares how her team conducted an audit to adjust their marketing strategy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. She also discusses the value of adding a human touch to Buildout’s brand messaging, one that focuses on being humble and genuine.

Guest Profile

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Key Insights

Episode Highlights

“This is definitely an industry that is somewhat antiquated. Commercial real estate has never really had great technology to begin with, not a lot of great top tech companies have come out of commercial real estate. That has changed over the last five-plus years. There’s a lot more investment in commercial real estate technology, but it’s definitely been hard. So the biggest thing that we do is to make sure we understand our target audience and really understand their pain points and how we fit into those pain points.”
“The two products were very interesting in developing our strategy because with the marketing product, which was the first one, we were really starting a category of software from scratch. And what that means is there were not a lot of marketing automation tools out there, so brokers and marketers did not know that a tool like ours exists. So we had to do a lot of brand building and a lot of educating the industry that something like this exists and they don’t have to do everything manually.”
“Now we’re getting into a competitive space and so how do you differentiate against that? It really goes back to those fundamentals. It’s understanding what your competition is doing, what messaging are they doing, what are the brokers and what are your customers looking for in a tool, making sure that the product is built in that way and then using that to advertise that we are one of the systems out there, why we are better, how we differentiate.”
“We as a strategy leadership team had to come together and figure out: where should we start, or invest most of our effort into? Is it acquisition? Is it getting new business or is it keeping our current customers on and investing in that retention? And we made that decision to kind of balance — especially from the marketing team’s perspective — balance our time between 50 percent customer retention work and then 50 percent new business demand gen work.”
“We did an audit of our expenses and then we also did an audit of our current campaigns. It was really important to make sure that we looked through everything that is on auto sender, any drip campaigns, any nurture campaigns, any future emails that we already have scheduled and read through them to see if anything could be offensive or could be not very well perceived.”
“Hearing what other SaaS companies are doing right now really spurred a lot of ideas for me. I joined a marketing leadership council for Chicago — so a lot of tech companies in Chicago and then marketing leaders — and we get on a call every week and discuss: what’s your company doing? Or how are you guys responding to this? How are you dealing with still trying to sell but yet not sound tone-deaf or not offend anyone?”
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