MK Getler
Sonciary Honnoll

Sonciary Honnoll

#givefirst for Marketers: The Marketing is the Gift

In our #givefirst series, we’re showing how the philosophy of “giving before getting” in four different key roles—Sales, Marketing, Engineering, and Customer Success—can help your SaaS company better connect with customers and drive growth.

For Marketing, #givefirst means giving without the expectation of a sale, a registration, or an email sign-up. Instead, the focus is on how to offer as much help as possible to build relationships and trust with customers and prospects. Here, we’ll show you how (and why) it works.

Why Give First in Marketing?

In his book Give and Take, Adam Grant argues that the greatest untapped source of motivation is a sense of service to others. Focusing on the contribution our work can make to other people’s lives makes us more productive than just focusing on helping ourselves.

Not only that, prospects and customers tend to be leery of marketers, and the #givefirst philosophy gives marketers a way to align with consumers instead of standing in opposition to them.

MK Getler, Head of Marketing at the AI-powered personal gifting and swag platform Alyce, has some incredible insights on this philosophy—so we spoke with her to share how you can put #givefirst to work in your SaaS company.

#givefirst gets creative to help customers

Marketers always help customers by offering the information they need to make the right decisions for their businesses. But sometimes customers need more, and #givefirst companies step up in creative ways to provide it.

For example, when COVID hit, Alyce shared all their playbooks to help businesses weather the pandemic. And because live educational events had to be cancelled, the company published a series of webinars called “Let’s get Phygital” to “talk through strategies for keeping that face-to-face feeling in a digital environment.”

“It was meant to reassure prospects and customers that nothing is thrown out the window,” says Getler. “Everything is an opportunity…you just need to take two steps to the side and then reexamine it from that perspective.”

Are there creative ways you can reach out to customers in need? Consider how your SaaS company’s products, resources, and marketing assets position you to help. You don’t have to run a gifting platform to practice #givefirst!

MK getler quote

#givefirst helps customers help others

Helping others has been shown to benefit the giver as much as the recipient: It can help you live longer, feel happier, and enjoy a sense of purpose and satisfaction. So empowering your customers to give to others doubles the power of the  #givefirst mindset.

When COVID forced many people into quarantine, Alyce saw that their customers were scrambling, struggling, and feeling helpless—and they decided to empower them by helping them help others. They sent gift cards to their customers and encouraged them to spend the money on a business or cause in their community that had been impacted by COVID.

“We said, ‘We don’t know where you are in relation to what you need right now, and we don’t know what your community needs. But here’s $50, so you can give to someone who has been impacted by COVID…and make a difference when you’re feeling so helpless,” says Getler. “That was a moment that we had with our customers to just let them know that we were there for them.”

#givefirst makes marketing a gift, not an imposition

When the experience a customer or prospect has with your brand is positive—and when a marketer connects with them as humans instead of as dollar signs—that’s a true gift. Consumers get the information they need, they get it in the way they prefer, and they’re able to connect with you and your company in a way that benefits everyone.

The key is to consider how to add value to customers. “I think we have a big responsibility to think about what we give to the marketplace,” says Getler. “How can we think about our brand as a value-add to the folks that we want to do business with, or are currently doing business with? How can we market without being interruptive or disruptive with our marketing tactics and strategies?” 

Here are four ways to add value to your marketing—and turn it into a gift:

Marketing Gift #1: Personal Experience

The Personal Experience approach is to create and strengthen personal bonds with everyone you do business with by being relatable, relevant, and respectful. “We believe the key to creating sustained growth for a company is creating a personal experience for its customers,” says Getler. “You create repeat and net new business by building rapport, earning trust, and driving loyalty.”

A big part of this is relating to customers and prospects as people. Getler believes too many marketers today have lost the “humanness” in their marketing. “I think marketers who solve for velocity and scale are starting to see the quality of what they’re doing depreciate,” she says. “Their landing pages feel stiff or stale, their emails feel inauthentic and jargony.”

Marketing Gift #2: Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

In ABM, your business works and communicates with high-value accounts as if they’re individual markets. This means you personalize the buyer’s journey and tailor all communications, content, and campaigns to those specific accounts, improving both ROI and customer loyalty.

But Getler tweaks ABM a bit to make it fit #givefirst: she takes it from personalized to personal. Sure, you can merge someone’s name into an email, and you can even include information on their job or their favorite hobbies. But this is just more automation.

To be truly personal, you need to solve for the person over the persona, Getler says. “You want to get one-to-one, not one-to-many. You want to get to where you really care about the individual you’re trying to do business with…where you have an emotional resonance with them that goes the extra distance.”

Marketing Gift #3: Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is all about immersing consumers in live experiences that make them feel a connection with your brand—and make them feel like a person, not a customer.

“I love to push the envelope and say that every time someone interacts with your brand, it should be an experience for the positive,” says Getler. “The experience should leave a positive emotional mark on the person interacting with you.”

Experiential marketing is not only a good way to connect with customers in a #givefirst way, it also improves sales: 65% of businesses that practice experiential marketing report a positive correlation with sales.

Marketing Gift #4: Immersion Marketing

We’ve all (sadly) seen “shotgun marketing,” where marketers throw everything and anything out there to reach as many people as possible. This makes people feel like targets, not valued humans. Immersion marketing is the opposite: advertising, PR, and marketing teams all work toward treating the customer to a holistic message that focuses on their needs.

Quality content is one aspect of immersion marketing. According to Getler, content should be educational, exciting, or immersive. You’re not throwing content at people just to get them hooked; you’re creating content you know they will enjoy.  

#givefirst reimagines the customer experience

Whether you’re helping them support causes close to them, opening up your playbooks, or creating personal (instead of personalized) marketing, #givefirst is about reimagining your interactions with the customer.

“Think about the person who’s on the receiving end…and focus on giving them an experience that is above other experiences they’ve ever had,” says Getler. “They may not be a customer today…but they might be down the line if you’ve built a relationship with human-to-human marketing.”

Ready to practice the #givefirst philosophy by going from personalized to personal with your customer success team too? Schedule a time to chat with us. We’d love to share how Quala is powering today’s intelligent, top-performing, human-first customer success managers.

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