Get the story on how Replicon used LinkedIn to deliver hyper effective marketing
Brett Chester and Victor Lin are leaders on the marketing team at Replicon, a company that produces a software-as-a-service time management system. The two spend a lot of their time trying to crack each other up.
For instance, here’s Brett, vice president-online marketing, and Victor, manager-demand generation and digital marketing, responding to an email prepping them for the photo shoot they did for this project. In that email, the photographer offered this advice: "Let them know to not wear any tight patterned shirts. Solid colors usually look best."
Brett saw an opening in these instructions and replied by cracking wise: “Re attire, I will wear my best muscle t-shirt. My guns aren't as big as [LinkedIn sales executive] Ben [Faw]'s though. So I hope you have some good Photoshop people.”
Victor piled on. “Super excited that I now have a chance to pursue my dream of becoming a model,” he said. “J. Crew holiday collection, here I come!”
Brett and Victor clown around – no doubt. But it’s the powerful results they deliver at Replicon that have the company’s executives smiling.
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Replicon: A 19-Year-Old Silicon Valley Start-Up
When Victor is asked how he would describe Replicon at a cocktail party to people unfamiliar with either the company or software-as-a-service, he takes the opportunity to go full-jargon: “So we’re a disruptive wannabe unicorn company that is disrupting more industries, blah, blah, blah…”
He pauses and adds, “Okay, I’m kidding.”
In reality, Replicon is anything but a typical Silicon Valley start-up. In fact, it’s not a start up at all. The company was founded in 1996. As far as SaaS businesses go, it is a mature company with offices in Silicon Valley, Canada, India, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Companies deploying Replicon’s software include marquee names such as Deloitte, FedEx, and Moody's.
Despite having thousands of customers worldwide, Replicon sees a huge opportunity for growth, and it wants to boost its revenues big time. Two years ago, Replicon raised $20 million in its first round of funding. The goal was to expand the use of the company’s time sheet software in Europe and Asia. “We’re growing at a fast pace,” Brett says. “We’re averaging 40 percent year-over-year growth in the past two or three years.”
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Data-Driven Hybrid Marketers Drive the Replicon Demand Gen Engine
Brett and Victor’s marketing team is a key driver of Replicon’s growth. “Lead generation is the primary goal (for the Replicon marketing team),” Brett says. “Traditionally, marketing is responsible for about 90 percent of the sales funnel.”
Replicon’s target audience comprises human resources, payroll, and operations executives primarily in the financial services, technology and project management industries.
In reaching Replicon’s markets, Brett and Victor deploy the data-driven techniques of hybrid marketers. They are comfortable with a variety of data-driven tactics that can be adjusted in minutes. These tactics include content marketing, search engine marketing, lead nurturing via email with the HubSpot platform, event marketing, and LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and LinkedIn Sponsored InMail.
They regularly scrutinize the data on how all of these elements are performing. “We religiously analyze the data day in and day out – it’s absolutely key to our success,” Victor says. “Every morning, Brett and I come in and take a look at our dashboard. We see how we did yesterday, how we are doing right now. It’s kind of obsessive in a sense, but you have to know what you’re currently doing and how things are performing in order to be able to continually improve upon and try to beat your previous performance day in and day out."
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Using Event Marketing as Part of the Replicon Demand Gen Strategy
Recently, Replicon’s data indicated that the company, which was using a marketing approach that relied on free trials and product demos, was showing up on certain prospects’ radar screens far too late in the buyer’s journey. “We were pushing (prospects) immediately into a 14-day free trial or demos,” Brett says. “Seventy percent go through the free trial. In a world gone by, free trial users would engage with sales people and they would influence a buying discussion. That kind of world is disappearing. Because of this, we have to be engaged in the buying decision earlier. That will lead us to sell value propositions rather than having cost-benefit conversations.”
To get into the conversation earlier, Replicon began holding events designed to boost awareness higher in the marketing funnel. The company also wanted to support these events with additional marketing that would build awareness -- but also drive attendance.
Replicon’s six “Culture vs. Compliance” events were held in 2015 with four in the Bay Area and two in New York City. The featured speaker at the events was Brian Dixon, an attorney specializing in labor law compliance at Littler Mendelson, a law firm.
Brett explained the thinking beyond the “Culture vs. Compliance” events to Kate Maddox of Advertising Age: “These are very hot topics in the Bay Area and in New York, where start-ups are flourishing. A lot of organizations are pressing for culture to be the driving force of how they make decisions in their employee systems, for instance having unlimited vacations – which is a great thing to have, but how does it affect the company from a compliance perspective?”
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After developing the event concept, one goal of which was to put the sales team in the same room as potential customers, the trick for Replicon was to drive registrants to actually show up – no easy feat. In San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, it’s notoriously difficult to drive registrations for events and then even harder to get those people in the room. 30 percent attendance is considered the benchmark.
Brett and Victor set a goal for Replicon to drive better than 50 percent attendance. And they used LinkedIn to both build interest in the events and drive registration. They also deployed LinkedIn to boost actual attendance.
The Replicon program using LinkedIn combined both LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and LinkedIn Sponsored InMail.
Using LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities, Replicon was able to tailor its messaging precisely to its audience. Attention-grabbing headlines – such as, “Your company culture might get you sued” – didn’t hurt either.
How good were the results of LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and LinkedIn Sponsored InMail together? Does generating a cost per lead 73 percent lower than AdWords sound good to you? See how Replicon achieved that result using LinkedIn by downloading the detailed guide below. Do that, and you’ll see why Brett calls LinkedIn “a must-use tool in any marketers’ arsenal.”