Tuesday 2¢: Not all Subscribers are Equal

This week’s half-baked thought: have you got world leaders in your email list?

On my walk today, I was listening to a podcast that featured an interview with the CEO of the New York Times, and during that conversation, the podcast host mentioned that world leaders read The New York Times, the good ones and the dictators and autocrats.

This got me thinking about how important these subscribers might be to the newspaper, are they more important than regular Joes like you or me? Which then got me thinking about the different kinds of subscribers in our prospect databases.

A world leader is not going to share NY Times content on the socials and encourage more people to subscribe, they are unlikely to engage with ads and subscribe to more products and I suspect Putin is not a massive fan of Wordle. You could argue that commercially, these world-leader subscribers are worth less than others.

However, having a world leader as a reader of your newspaper is an indicator of the quality of the publication and its impact on the world. One world leader subscriber is more important as a metric of the publication’s success as a whole than adding one to the commercial metric; the subscription count.

And in B2B marketing, we have the same. Our audience is not just a potential buyer or a buyer; each subscriber or consumer of your content potentially makes a different contribution to our marketing and has a different value beyond a vanity metric of a web hit, download, subscription, like or follow.

Why is this important? It’s really easy to make assumptions about where someone is on a customer journey or their value to us if we apply a blinkered view of value that is based solely on whether someone is a buyer or not a buyer.

We send bottom-of-funnel nurture to the folks who are not buying now and getting an education on the problem, make daft decisions about the content we gate, or embarrass ourselves by sending sales emails to influencers and analysts. 

Or worse, we ignore them completely if they don’t respond to our opening salvo of poorly targeted nurture emails.

My chum, Robert Rose, on one of my favourite podcasts (The Marketing Book Podcast) this week shared an anecdote that underlines this point.

He shared that while he was CMO of a software company, they noticed they had someone who would come to every webinar and every event they held and was very engaged in their marketing but never contacted sales.

Robert had the opportunity to confront this person at an event, and he asked why they were so engaged and yet not moving towards buying anything.

They responded that they did not have the budget for the software; they were too small. But he was getting a great education from their content and events, and it transpired that the chap was not only consuming the content but was sharing it and recommending the solution to marketers in his network who did have a budget.

On further analysis, Robert discovered that this one, highly engaged, not-a-buyer, was responsible for thousands of dollars worth of revenue.

I can personally share my own relationship with Hubspot, which is similar way back in the day when I was transitioning from techie to marketer, their content educated me years before I was in a position to even use their software, let alone buy it.

So, you may not have world leaders as subscribers, but not all subscribers are equal…

Aside from my ongoing argument with Grammarly, robots did not write any copy, but they did create the image, which was created using A.I. through NightCafe Creator

Originally published as a LinkedIn Newsletter. <– Why not stop by and subscribe, especially if you are a world leader 🙂

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