James Samuels Interview – Marketing expert with experience from VW, Audi, Peugeot, HP and Intel.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is James Samuels and I help companies create and accelerate predictable revenue growth. I focus on small /medium companies in the tech and service sectors.
What key experience do you have that helped you get where you are today?
I started out in marketing, working for Ad agencies in UK, Europe and Middle East. I was lucky enough to work with some great clients such as VW, Audi, Peugeot, HP and Intel. I loved the research, strategy and planning and seeing the companies I worked with grow rapidly and sustainably. I then founded a SaaS procurement tech business, and took it from start-up to fast, profitable growth and I exited the business in 2018. The critical step to achieve revenue acceleration was the creation of a ‘predictable growth engine’. This capability is based on automating every step in the customer journey and continual monitoring and refinement of processes and conversions. As a result, the company could maximise its return on marketing spend, optimise acquisition costs and grow predictably.
What do you think the key is to a good marketing campaign?
Measurable results. Nothing else matters. I believe the best marketers have real empathy with the customer and therefore can create compelling content for each stage of the customer journey. A customer who is at an early stage of problem recognition is not interested in overt sales messages. Equally, content needs to make the product or service easy to buy (not just easy to sell). That means, giving re-assurance to the buyer that the product will deliver the desired benefits to their business whilst minimising the risk of failure. For many B2B purchasers, a bad decision can affect their career. Good marketing resonates with the customer and results in a measurable outcome such as a product demonstration or sale.
I’m a big fan of data. Measure results, what worked, what didn’t and continually test and refine. The good news about much of today’s marketing is that it’s performance can be measured and improved continually. There’s not much room for subjectivity in marketing these days – test everything, measure results and improve.
It is essential that as businesses scale, they focus on the Key Performance Indicators that matter. Good marketing keeps the entire organisation aligned to achieve critical growth milestones – whether its business development, sales, client success, product, R&D and management.
How do you establish the right audience for each campaign?
Getting the right message to the right individual at the right time and via the right channel does need experience to get it right – but more importantly it needs a coherent strategy and a plan. My starting point is always to identify target markets (company size, profile, location, sectors and other criteria) and audience (who buys, how do they buy, when, how are they influenced etc). It’s also very important to really understand customer personas – this is about knowing your customer, their background, education, lifestyle, motivations, constraints, pain points and many other factors which help to communicate effectively. This is more strategic and typically only reviewed occasionally.
Deciding which audience is right for each campaign, is the wrong way around. Define the objective – then the audience. The objective of any campaign needs to be clear, realistic and measurable. For example, we need to increase product demonstrations from X per month to Y per month. Or, the company needs to acquire X customers in a specific sector by a defined date. Without defined goals it will be impossible to assess whether the marketing is effective or not.
Only once the objectives have been defined, can marketing establish the right audience to target. If the objective is to double the number of product demos per month, the simple answer could be to double the activity that is already working such as email marketing. It could be to improve conversions from 1% to 2%. That’s why performance data is so key – with the numbers the answers are (usually) obvious.
So, the ‘right audience’ is the audience that delivers the marketing objectives.
How often do you think you should be engaging with your audience?
Again, frequency of communicating with your audience will largely be based on the profile of the product or service in question, where the customer is in their purchasing process and the objectives of any campaign.
For example, a good friend of mine is a senior procurement officer in the Ministry of Defence. He has a budget of several billion pounds and purchasing decisions are measured in years (or even decades!), so he has long standing relationships with very large defence contractors and as a result engagement in very high value contracts may only be a few times a year.
However, at the other extreme, I only want to hear from car insurers, as and when I’m considering my renewal. I’m happy to be contacted by insurers a couple of weeks before I make my renewal decision and only once, possibly twice. Any insurer who bombards me with too much information or at a time when I’m not considering my options is wasting my time and their money.
My advice is to really get to know how and when customers make their purchasing decisions and communicate the right message at the right time via the right marketing channel. There’s no one size fits all!
How do you think that JeffreyAI could help with marketing?
As more marketing and sales becomes automated, tools like Jeffrey AI become more and more valuable. Continuous demand generation and lead qualification are ongoing challenges for most businesses. Historically, these activities have been handled separately by marketing and sales – often resulting in poor quality sales performance and low marketing ROI.
Now, with sophisticated marketing automation tools, new lead generation and nurturing techniques as well as the increased global reach of many businesses mean that more sales opportunities are being identified. Potential customers need prompt responses to their questions, and this may require a response within minutes in the customers own time-zone and language.
Jeffrey AI solves this problem, by being able to accurately qualify leads 24 x 7. It’s always available to respond – when-ever the customer needs a question answering. Jeffrey AI will become more cost effective than traditional human conversations, therefore enabling businesses to find more potential sales opportunities, reduce cost of sale, test new value propositions, enter new markets, improve profits and grow faster.
Equally, unlike humans, Jeffrey AI is consistent in its responses. So, sales and marketing can expand the conversation to address more requirements and continually optimise responses to convert marketing leads into qualified sales opportunities more efficiently. By analysing the questions customers are asking and monitoring the performance of every conversation, marketing can create and share more compelling content, provide easier access to useful information and as a result help to convert more leads at lower cost.
What parts of JeffreyAI do you think could help most in your line of work?
What excites me most is the potential that Jeffrey AI has. Artificial Intelligence in the customer acquisition and retention process is already making an impact in all sorts of ways – from optimising advertising performance and chatbots to automatically generating content and conversational AI.
The team at Jeffrey AI is focused on automating lead qualification email conversations and it won’t be long before the product reaches a stage where it can augment human activity in this area. I’m really looking forward to when Jeffrey AI incorporates voice qualification – to see how ‘humanlike’ lead qualification can get.
With every conversation, Jeffrey AI builds up more and more powerful data – so marketing can optimise processes and share valuable insights with sales, implementation teams, client success, product owners, R&D and identify more compelling messages to communicate with customers. Jeffrey’s conversational AI gives marketers an unprecedented ability to learn more about prospects, customers, pain points, motivations, objections etc and to continually test and refine messages in order to increase sales conversions and improve efficiencies.
Any added comments or points you would like to mention.
As with most early stage technology, sales and marketing AI has a long way to go before it reaches main stream acceptance. However, for forward looking businesses there is a huge opportunity to get ahead of their competitors and implement sales AI early.
Jeffrey AI is seeing huge early demand coming from companies with a range of challenges that Jeffrey can solve. Traditional organisations in mature markets often have large B2B sales teams but trade on ever decreasing margins. By deploying Jeffrey AI, these businesses can increase their sales capacity and reduce their cost of acquisition. Fast growth companies (such as fintech) need tools such as Jeffrey AI to expand their sales reach rapidly – they can enter new markets, test value propositions and grow faster with Jeffrey AI. Another sector where Jeffrey AI is set to transform is B2C sales such as financial services and insurance, where compliance is essential. By automating conversations, managers in these businesses can ensure the right response is given to consumers consistently, without the risk of ‘rogue call handlers’ giving the wrong information. Finally, many lead generation and telemarketing agencies need to continually innovate and deliver more and better quality leads to clients across a wide range of sectors and geographies. Tools such as Jeffrey AI can deliver significant competitive advantage to these agencies resulting in higher profits and faster growth.