Ed Bardwell

President, Rainmaker Digital Services

"Casual professional communication or personal communication is going to become very important in B2B. This will include things like personalization and data substitution."

Ed Bardwell, President, Rainmaker Digital Communications Tweet
Ed Bardwell, President, Rainmaker Digital Services
Ed Bardwell, President, Rainmaker Digital Services

Ed Bardwell is the President of Rainmaker Digital Services (RMDS)™ and Nimble Worldwide. RMDS is the provider of the Rainmaker Platform™, a one-stop digital solution for managing your online presence. Their sister company Nimble Worldwide is a digital marketing agency. In this interview Ed announces Rainmaker’s new Andromeda release and explains how you can use it to leverage emerging B2B marketing trends.

What’s your role in the company and what does your firm do?

I am the senior executive and President at Rainmaker Digital Services and Nimble Worldwide. Nimble is the traditional agency that’s affiliated with Rainmaker Digital Services. Those two organizations work on parallel paths with a similar objective. That is to help our clients tell the story of their brand and build a relationship with their customers, whether that’s B2B or B2C.

I guide these organizations on the Rainmaker side, and our management team looks very traditional in terms of technology including dev ops, client services, support and things like that. On the Nimble side, the management team is more like an advertising agency with creative directors and account services.

What products and services do you offer?

On the Nimble side it’s traditional marketing activity. This includes everything from out of home and television spots to digital marketing. Our digital services start at digital marketing and amplify that all the way to content marketing which is our primary differentiator. This provides customers and clients the opportunity to use Rainmaker Digital Services.

We still provide the Rainmaker platform which is the largest content marketing platform in the market. There are now competitors with similar suites of functionality. But our new Andromeda release is in client beta and will be released in mid-July. The idea there is to recognize that content marketing has moved beyond simply a blog, podcast or vlog and is now a strategy that embraces all aspects of your digital presence including social media.

Who do you help?

We can service anyone from the side gig solo producer up to global fortune 500 clients. And I’d suggest the technology and thinking really doesn’t change between the two. What does change is the bureaucracy or complexity of the volume that’s required for different types of clients. The Consultant, the Dentist’s office or the small retail location may still be at a DIY level, but our technology makes their job a lot easier.

What challenges do your customers typically have?

Some of the do-it-yourselfers come to us with an audience and a website. And they think that’s all they need. We want customers that are thinking bigger, such as creating some kind digital commerce, subscription membership or a community where they’re trying to activate and engage their audience. We’re not catering to someone who just wants to build a site and walk away. It’s not the best use of our technology.

An example of our type of customer would be the consultant who is one step above the DIY paradigm. They know that spending 50 to 100 dollars a month is an investment, not just a hosting expense. And they expect a return on that investment.

What are your thoughts on B2B marketing trends for 2020?

I would say there are three things we’re going to see in B2B. First, the veil of formal communication will continue to be ripped apart. We have a concept we call P.I.I. (™) It stands for Promotion, Information, Inspiration. It’s an old B2C communications idea that’s becoming important to B2B. It does away with the perception in the B2B space that it’s just about the information, or that you don’t need an offer. That’s just not true.

Also, technology has made it so that meaningful communications, whether sent from my office or a friend, is going to be consumed in a very similar manner. What we now call casual professional communication or personal communication is going to become very important in B2B. This will include things like personalization and data substitution. An example of data substitution would be when you’re on the East Coast and I’m in central time, and we both get the same message except you get a good afternoon message and I get a good morning message.

Second, there’s the growth of LinkedIn as a B2B arena where larger and more meaningful conversations are going to be held. This leads to a third trend that telling the story of your brand is going to be more important in 2020. So, those would be the three things; informal personal communication combined with promotional informational and inspirational content, and the continued growth of Linked In.

These trends lead to the idea of a ubiquitous content marketing strategy which must touch all aspects your digital channels. Instead of ‘Dear Sir’ in B2B emails it’s going to be your personal name. And this message will marry up with your LinkedIn conversations, and the links in your email will go to the latest blog. This will be true whether I’m a Fortune 500 company or a small retailer.

How does Rainmaker Digital help customers take advantage of these trends?

We’ve opened the Rainmaker platform to connect with other technologies like social sharing and access control for membership levels. Also, things like sales funnels that can be tracked from one end of the digital experience to the other. So, your data won’t need to be reconstituted from other email software or sales funnels. The Rainmaker platform will continue to evolve in this direction.