Today’s guest has been at the forefront of the creator economy since 2018, aka he has been on the front lines since day 1.

Now the Marketing Director at ConvertKit, the brand powering some of the biggest internet personalities in 2024, meet Derrick Hicks.

I recently had Derrick on the pod and I quickly realized he had some awesome takes on how B2B companies can leverage creators in their Marketing playbook.

Soooo here are my 5 fav tips from the episode in Derrick’s own liiiiiiightly edited words.

1. The Creator Economy:

“The creator economy is on fire. It’s a $250B/yr industry already and Goldman Sachs is predicting it’ll be half a trillion per year by 2027. ($500B by 2027?!!)

What we’ve seen over the years is the shift of consumers following brands to the rise of the creator economy and people more inclined to follow people than they do brands. 

We’re seeing dollars follow that influence, we’re seeing more money being generated in the creator economy because creators have the eyeballs, they have the influence.

It’s a huge opportunity both to tap into sponsoring creators in their newsletter or doing other partnerships with them. 

Something we tell a lot of professionals to do is to build a personal brand, become a creator themselves (this is NOT a threat to your business, employee personal brands can be a huge asset).

There’s just so much opportunity to help drive growth for whatever company you’re working at through your personal brand. 

You can tap into the creator economy from an advertising perspective and that’s lucrative, but the longterm play is building personal brands for the people on your team. 

Even if you’re a brand that’s been around a long time, you can deepen your connection with your audience by leaning into the personal brand side.

2. A Hidden Funnel You NEED to Hear:

A really unique approach that I’ve seen work for a brand where they have leveraged a persona to directly funnel back to their business is an agency called Multiply.

There’s a Twitter profile called the Ad Professor that has over 150K followers and is solely dedicated to posting some of the most unique ads on the internet.

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But behind the scenes what people may not know is that the agency, Multiply, is the one behind the profile (this is GENIUS).

They created a persona and turned it into a MASSIVE funnel and distribution channel for the agency.

They post really unique ads and have a strong point of view of what they think is the right way to make ads. 

It’s all infused with how they approach building their agency, but it’s not the face of the company, they don’t have a bunch of messaging or brand imaging for Multiply, it’s all about the Ad Professor. 

(It’s an interesting way to bridge the gap if brands are unsure about getting into the creator space.)

You can create these unique personas like the Ad Professor that feel like individuals talking on the timeline. The ability to connect and see the benefits of organic social are way more likely this way.

3. Who to Build Personal Brands Around:

The reality is if you’re going to encourage people on your team to build their personal brand, you need to be okay with the fact that someday they’re going to leave and that personal brand is going to leave.

That is a challenge that you’ll need to address. 

Figuring out how you wrap your mind around that as a leader in the company is an important first step. A second step is you have to find people that want to create content.

To see the benefits of creating content online, you have to be consistent (your output of content is THE ONLY thing you can control online).

The CEO of ConvertKit, Nathan Barry, shared this approach that I think is a fascinating way to get started as a creator who wants to build a business long term. And it’s to create a 5-day email course.

So rather than needing to start a newsletter that you’re going to publish every week, instead take the time to create some great content, turn it into a simple 5-day email course. Package up your insights, your approach, or something that you’re going to teach that’s relevant to the business.

Turn it into an automated evergreen email sequence and then you pick a platform like LinkedIn or Twitter and you post regularly about topics that are ancillary to that initial 5-day training piece (absolutely love this). 

And that’s a great way to get started as a creator because you don’t have to be committed to a weekly newsletter, which is a lot of work, and you can still start to build some momentum. 

You could even do that with a few different people on the team. 

And if you’re still afraid to have your employees post content on their personal brand, then you hired the wrong employees. 

4. How to be a Better Creator:

Another method to overcome that hurdle of creating content consistently comes from Matt Ragland. 

Matt is a creator who teaches other creators how to build a successful creator business and he has the 10 rep rule. 

His whole idea is just commit to 10 reps, 10 publications, 10 podcasts, 10 posts on whatever medium, commit to that under a certain time period and then reassess.

Once you do it 10 times, then ask, how did this go? What did I learn? Do I like this? Do I want to keep doing this?

The next commitment is 100 reps and then 1,000 reps (BABY STEPS). 

That’s the biggest stumbling block that I see with creators that are just getting started, just breaking through that initial resistance of consistently creating content. If you can do that, then you’re onto something.

5. Marketers MUST Know These Metrics:

The first metric that Marketers need to get their hands on is their LTV to CAC ratio, the lifetime value versus your customer acquisition costs. 

That ratio, in a SAAS business, you want to be between 3-4, that’s a sweet spot. 

But if it’s above 4 that probably means you’re under investing in your growth and you need to step on the gas. If it’s below 3, you’re probably being too aggressive or your Marketing’s not efficient. 

Then the second metric is your payback period. So when you make an investment in Marketing, how long does it take for you to recoup that investment?

That’s really important in the SAAS world, because you’re investing now to acquire a customer and if it’s going to take a year to recoup that cost and churn rates start to rise, then you’ve got a problem with the way you’re acquiring customers.

I recognize that getting a really good CAC estimate, especially when you’ve got Marketing and sales working in partnership with each other, it’s tricky. But if you can master that, and your payback period, you will be in such a strong position to communicate the impact that you’re having through your Marketing

Ultimately where we want to get to is understanding the value of the customer longterm and making appropriate investments to acquire customers in a healthy way, that’s your LTV to CAC ratio. 

But early on you live and die by that payback period, because you’ve got limited cash reserves for the investments you can make. 

If your payback period is 15 months, that’s going to be a challenge if you are a bootstrap company and you’ve got a small runway of eight months. 

But if your payback period is six months, then you’re looking pretty good.”

Daniel Murray
Daniel Murray
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