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E209 | How to Hack Growth Marketing with Kurve Founder & CEO, Oren Greenberg

If you’re struggling with your marketing efforts, or you’re concerned that what you’re doing isn’t working, or is a waste of time and money, then don’t miss Oren Greenberg, founder and CEO of Kurve, a digital marketing agency, on this episode of Mind Your F**king Business Podcast. 

Now, Oren may specialise in search marketing, but he splits his time between getting companies to rank in Google, and being a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer with FTSE 250 companies such as Canon, Investec Bank, Lenovo & HomeServe, and supporting a number of the world’s fastest scale-ups.

So, if you’re looking to hack growth marketing in your business, if you’re wondering where to spend your money – distribution or content, if you’re unsure about Account Based Marketing, if you don’t know where to start with building your marketing tech stack or even your marketing team, download and listen to this episode. 

On today’s podcast:


How to Hack Growth Marketing with Oren Greenberg

Oren Greenberg is the founder and CEO of Kurve, a digital agency. But he also works with a number of clients as a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In some cases, when he’s brought in, the marketing team doesn’t even exist. And he has to not only look at routes to market, but he has to build a team, put together a marketing tech stack, as well as look at creating a content strategy. Other times he’s displacing a team that’s been dysfunctional. 

Given all that he does, you may think that Oren has a 100% hit rate, but, as he reveals, he only gets it right 20-30% of the time, and he considers that a good result. 

Being a fractional CMO

So what type of problems does Oren solve as a fractional CMO? Well, first and foremost, if there isn’t one in place, he builds a really great team. 

He then deploys the marketing budget on the tech stack, the channels, the creative, the analysis. He makes sure the company is getting the right message in front of the right audience and is building awareness for the brand. He builds the sales pipeline, generating sales qualified leads, and positioning the brand to become a category leader. 

“A kind of end to end all the way from business objectives and the translation of that down into marketing, and then how that interconnects to the product on the other teams, engineering, sales.”

The difference between scale ups and corporates

What’s interesting, says Oren, is that the challenges he’s brought into help with tend to be the same whether the organisation is a startup or an established corporate – and that is typically a growth challenge. 

Fundamentally, both types of organisations have the same principles, but it’s the day to day operations that are actually very different. 

“Because of the political complexities that corporations have, which scale ups don’t suffer from. If I was to sum it up, I think the biggest problem for corporations is internal coordination. And I’d say for scale ups, it’s resource limitation.”

How to market in the current economy

What should business leaders be doing to improve their marketing, given the current market and the changing economy? 

Don’t cut down on marketing spend, warns Oren, if you do and your competitors don’t, you won’t be around at the end of the phase. And don’t throw all your money into Google ads either. While this channel captures demand, it doesn’t create awareness around your brand. 

It’s simply not how marketing works, says Oren. You have to grow brand awareness and you do that by taking people through your funnel and on a journey. 

“Businesses need to find the balance between demand creation and tapping into that existing demand in the market. There is no generic advice, though. It’s for that business in their sector, according to what’s happening in their space.”

Shift your messaging 

The other thing businesses should do is shift their messaging. For example, if people you’re targeting are more conservative, shift your messaging from: ‘we help you make money’, to: ‘we help you save money’. 

You aren’t changing the benefits of the features you offer, says Oren, you’re simply shifting the narrative with the same offer, to cater for the change in mindset. Saying that, you need to go on what’s right for your organisation and your industry. There is no one size fits all solution here. The best thing to do is carry out customer research, advises Oren. 

“Talk to the customers, engage with them, ask them questions. And then if they say, Hey, you know, we’re conservative or worried about budgets, then you know categorically, it’s a narrative shift you need to focus on.”

What has he seen that’s working well to draw customers in? Paid search and paid social, says Oren. There’s also lots of examples where product-led growth is helping to build awareness, but if it’s not right for your business, don’t force it. 

“Digital marketing still performs well, social selling works well, fundamentally getting the right message in front of the right audience and finding that right channel that resonates for that specific audience.”

How to create customer personas

How do you find out who your ideal customers are? Or what their pain points are? Easy, says Oren, you do customer research. Ask questions to discover:

  • What problem they’re coming to you to solve, or could come to you to solve?
  • Who are the competitors that you perceive in the space? 
  • What are the pain points that you perceive? 
  • What is the language that your competitors are using that then gets used in the messaging? 
  • What alternative did they have before they considered your option? 
  • What do they like the most about your product? 
  • What was their journey and discovery process for how they came across your product? 

You need to really understand your customers, to get into their minds, to figure out how you can meet their needs, then extract that information and package it up for them. 

The trouble with hiring 

It’s easy to find generalists across the board, Oren says, it’s harder to find deep experts. And it’s super hard to find both at the right price. 

“Sometimes I have to hire people at high price points who are not as good or deliver as much value as the price that we pay because of supply and demand forces. And that’s a very frustrating position to be in as a CMO when I’m building a team for a client.”

Generally, finding people is easy. Finding good people is hard. Finding exceptional talent is really difficult, he says, because everyone wants to buy and hire exceptional talent. 

The marketing tech stack

Oren doesn’t have favourite marketing tools for a tech stack – it’s not advantageous to his clients, he says, to have preferred tools. Because what works for one client might not work for another. And sometimes, when he inherits a ‘monstrosity’, he just has to get on with it. 

“The team needs to use the tools they’re very skilled at. I don’t want to give a sniper an M16 and then say: best of luck mate, you’re really good at the sniper gun so I’m sure you’ll make the most out of this, because that’s not his tool of choice. That’s not what he’s skilled and trained on.”

Because available marketing tools can be so complex, Oren says he’d rather have an average tool and someone who’s really skilled at using it, than a top tier tool that takes someone 12 months to get to grips with. 

HubSpot is always an obvious choice, Oren advises, it’s quick and out of the box easy to deploy with good support infrastructures. Same with WordPress. 

“I do try and ask, what does a client need? And what is the best tool for that client, rather than us trying to take this and shove it in there, even though it doesn’t belong. That’s why I love trying new tools, because I’m always curious to see if this is going to deliver a better result. So I’m always adapting and changing.”

The benefits of marketing tech stack tools

If you’re debating whether investing in marketing tech stack tools is worth it or not, the real question is, what’s my alternative cost? Says Oren. 

When you think about your existing marketing tech stack, how much do you pay for it? £100k? £200k a year? How much is a full time hire? £100k? 200k? Can the marketing kit do what 4 people can do? Automatically? Then yes, investing in marketing tech is an economically sound decision to make. 

The other question is – are you paying all this money for technology and then not deploying it correctly? Are you creating content and then not distributing it, for example? And it’s not necessarily about how big you are, or the market you’re trying to target. The simple value of using certain tech tools is that some businesses can’t be reached through digital means. 

The truth about marketing success

Don’t be hard on your marketing department if they don’t have a 100% hit rate, says Oren. The truth is, he himself gets a result 20-30% of the time. Anyone who says they don’t have failures is lying. Marketing is hard. 

“All the people I know who are super smart and capable, if their failure rate is not higher than their success rate, they’re not really working hard enough or doing enough.”

And successful marketing isn’t about who does the job for you, there are so many variables at play, says Oren. It’s the brand, the audience, the awareness, the need, the product, the innovation, the features, the service, the technology, the design, the user experience etc. 

The honest answer is – if you were the first in your category, you’ll likely be the category leader, because the evidence shows the first one there is the one who tends to win. And that’s because you are the first to build enough brand recognition to be the go to brand. 

“And that’s been the same way for the last 80 years. It’s hard to disrupt an incumbent, you have to be better, it’s very hard because incumbents tend to be larger and more established with a reputation and better, bigger, deeper pockets.

So, how do you work with Oren?

The one thing you need to realise, says Oren, is that he doesn’t provide the silver bullet that will magically fix all your problems. He wants to be very clear – we don’t live in fairyland. If you have a digital marketing problem, call him, but know that he can’t re-engineer your engineering department, or your product department, or improve the UX of your product. 

If you’re underfunded, you don’t have an infrastructure, your audience don’t know who you are, and you’re not differentiated, you’re probably not going to get on well with Oren. If however you have a great product that differentiates you, well, you’re off to a good start. 

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