The Quest to Be Different in Marketing

A Conversation with Benoit Bouteille, VP of Customer Experience at Tinyclues

In today's MarTech leader conversation, we sit down with Benoit Bouteille, the VP of customer experience at Tinyclues, a CRM platform that aims to help B2C businesses reach the right customers with their product promotions. In our chat, we discuss the need to be radical and innovative to stand out from the crowd, and why following the old attribution models no longer works.

Tell us about Tinyclues

Tinyclues is a CRM technology platform that helps marketers to identify audiences and improve the marketing strategy for their clients. We are working with B2C customers in two different industries: retail and travel. The company was originally founded in France and headquartered in Paris, and we now have an office in New York. The company started in 2010 and we've been on the market since around 2013.

Essentially, we help our clients to be simultaneously customer-centric while also helping them serve their business needs. A marketing team needs to promote products: They need to push this shirt, sell more of these TVs, whatever it may be. Every business has the same needs: to achieve your goals by promoting offers on products. So what we aim for clients to do is to start from the product and the offer that they want to promote, and then identify the right audience within their database. We work with first-party data from their current client list, but instead of pushing the communication to everyone in the database or relying on segments—which is kind of old school—we help them identify the right audience for this specific offer for every single campaign. This way, we help them to provide a really customer-centric approach: For every single offer, they will be able to contact only the people with real interest in that offer. Because it's not always the right time to contact your customers.

We're in an interesting position. In some ways, there is no competition and in other ways there is. There is no competition in the sense that we are unique in what we are doing. But there is competition in terms of budget, projects’ prioritization, and strategic vision. There’s no direct competition in terms of what we actually do. This also means it isn't always easy to explain and to promote what we do and where we are in the market, because we are not in a well-known category. 

What do you do in your day-to-day work as VP of customer experience?

Customer experience can be defined in a lot of different ways depending on the company. In early 2020, we brought marketing and customer success together, regrouped in a Customer Experience team. This means that we are always helping each other. Because our customer success team talks to our clients every single day, we can help to create content for marketing to help future clients better understand what we do, and, on the flip side, marketing helps the CS team produce that.

In total, there are 20 of us. In marketing, there are people doing digital marketing, content, and product marketing. On the customer success side, we help clients through their entire process. It starts with the pre-sales phase with some workshops, and we also manage the clients with the goal of keeping them happy and coming back. 

Client renewals really are our definition of success. Because, of course, you always need new clients to grow, but it makes no sense if you sign new clients that are not staying. If you keep your renewal rates really high, every new client represents growth; if you have a leak in your revenue during the renewal process, you don't scale up and you don't grow the company. To ensure that we are able to better serve them and that they really get the best use of our platform, the CS teams need to make sure they understand what we do. And that enablement starts from the sales team but also from the marketing team. That's why we focus on the global customer experience from the first touchpoint to the renewal stage. 

In terms of my day-to-day work, my day is really a lot of back-to-back meetings and catch-ups with the different teams and with my direct reports. Plus content creation—I'm involved in a lot of the content creation. We have a podcast, and every week we record an episode. We also do webinars, reports, infographics, and so on. 

The tools we use include Notion for documentation, Zoom for meetings, and ClientSuccess to centralize clients’ information.

What are some of your goals and challenges at Tinyclues?

Today we have clients in Europe and North America. The plan is to grow the database and grow the business with more clients in these areas. We have more clients in Europe because of the history of the company, so we definitely want to continue to grow in the US. 

One of our biggest challenges is that we don't sit in a defined category. So, we need to share, educate, and explain what we do—really present ourselves as the other way of doing things. We are a small company compared to the big players out there and so we don't have the same marketing budget or the capacity for production and distribution. So we need to make choices and find ways to stand out. That means doing things differently.

What has been most effective and why?

Our podcast is a good example of how we try to take bigger risks and do things differently. By releasing one episode a week, we've been able to learn very quickly about how to communicate with our clients. Doing a weekly podcast rather than a monthly one means we've received a lot more feedback and collected a lot more data. And being this efficient has worked well for us and helped us to create a podcasting strategy that really seems to be working.

Another thing we've done that has worked well is to produce a magazine using our content. It included some of the main pieces that had the best impact and visibility when they were published individually. We distributed that at physical events or sent it to people if they requested it. I think it worked pretty well, because everybody's digital now, so getting a magazine at home for marketers about their job, about new ways of thinking, it stands out—people loved it. And that's another illustration of what I was saying about doing things differently.

What new trends are you noticing?

I have no idea what the best way of doing marketing will be in the future. Because that's marketing! You have to be able to follow the trends and try new things to see what will work. That's really the way I think the work should be done in order to be successful and to keep up the pace. It's the only way to be on the front line of new practices—because as soon as it becomes a best practice, it's listed on every blog post on the internet. And then it's no longer a best practice; it's not something that will help you stand out from the crowd. 

How does content marketing fit into your strategy?

Content is king, for sure. And that's not new. But the way to do it, especially for B2B, has changed. People are no longer buying after just one or two touch points. These days, they buy because they talk to peers, they see reviews, they see content, they see quality in the product and quality in the content. They are doing 80% of the sales process on their own, at their pace. They gather their information, and then they get in contact with the vendor. 

Still, a lot of companies are not grasping this and are not changing their approach. They are still applying the same recipe as everyone else. And this is often because they are using the wrong attribution model. A lot of the time, if you ask leads where they heard about the company first, the reply is totally different from the analytics. The analytics will say SEO, direct mail, organic, or Google ads, but when you ask the client, they'll say podcast, content, LinkedIn, blog posts, and so on. That's because the attribution models are not built to capture the first field. It is an issue, because people aren't investing in quality content, as it's not always reflected in the KPIs in their dashboards. The only real way to measure it is to ask your clients.

Connect and find out more

You can find Benoit Bouteille on LinkedIn and Twitter and get more information about Tinyclues on their website.

We hope you enjoyed this industry spotlight. You can learn more about our series of interviews with MarTech leaders on social media. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

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