"Marketing is no longer meaningful unless what it does is relevant."
German Ramirez is Co-Founder and Chief Relevance Officer of full-service blockchain marketing agency The Relevance House. This fast-growing firm based out of Switzerland acts as an outsourced marketing department for start-ups. In this article Ramirez shares what he believes are the four biggest trends in B2B marketing.
What’s your role in the company and what does your firm do?
I’m one of the two company founders and my position is Chief Relevance Officer, which is a little bit funky, and has to do with the fact that we don’t like titles. Mostly what I do is take care of strategy development as well as client management.
This includes everything related to business development and representing the company to the outside world. I do quite a lot of public speaking and write articles.
The Relevance House is a full-service marketing consulting company based out of Switzerland supporting companies operating in the blockchain space. Most of the time it’s start-ups. We develop their brand, their communications and marketing strategy, their storytelling strategy and everything related to their approach to launch in the market. And then we support them in executing it all. We have a team of 15 people now. We’ve been growing quite heavily. And positively.
What’s unique about your services?
What’s different about us compared to other companies are three main things. First, the level of strategic depth in which we work in this space is something that you very rarely encounter. The level of marketing that has been applied to blockchain has been mostly quite speculative, short sighted and not strategic.
The second is the way we operate. We don’t consider ourselves an agency. We’re more like a plug and play marketing department. So, we literally take over everything related to the strategic operation of marketing for our clients and become an integral part of their team. That allows us a completely different level of understanding of the project and completely different level of support.
An agency would receive a brief, wait a couple of weeks and then come back with a proposal. You would eventually approve it and then they’d execute it and go on to the next project. We are integrated within the operations of our clients. And it’s not that we speak with them daily, we speak with them several times a day. Every one of them.
Our third difference is that based on our pricing we have a lot of skin in the game. Which basically means we work with our clients based on a model with a very important component related to the success of the project. Bottom line: If our clients don’t succeed, we don’t make money. We might even lose money. That allows us to be absolutely aligned with the interests of the client and the project.
More so than an agency that might be eventually interested going for an award and being overly creative or going for higher billing and being overly slow in order to bill hours for a given project that could have been concluded already. Those are those are key differentiators. And all of it is backed by a team of excellent professionals with nearly 250 years of combined marketing and communications experience, which is also difficult to find.
Who do you help?
Our customers and mostly start-ups or projects of new creation that are operating in the blockchain space. In other words, they’re the companies that are trying to leverage blockchain technology to change the world.
What challenges do your customer typically have?
Their main challenges consist of building a business and a brand then launching a successful product. Also, building a community of clients and supporters around it. And very often, all that is related to the funding. They must generate enough visibility, value and credibility to attract investors and raise the funds that help grow and back the project to develop their products, go to market and start acquiring customers.
Can you share a brief success story?
We started working with a client last year that has managed to multiply their evaluation by five. We’ve helped them with their positioning, telling their story, explaining their product, reaching their community and building their brand in a way they were not able to do before.
What are your thoughts on upcoming marketing trends for 2020?
There are a couple of different trends I see coming up. First, there is a need for accountability in marketing. That’s not a new trend, but the pressure is increasing significantly. The days are over where a CMO or someone running marketing would be granted a budget and be able to spend it at their discretion. Pretty much everything related to what we do in marketing today needs to have a clear impact and a visible measurable return. There needs to be more science and more accountability.
The second trend are integrated customer experiences. We used to sell products and communicate the benefits, but now marketing is mostly about trying to design a rewarding experience for the target group. This requires that everyone working in marketing has a significantly deeper understanding of the target group and their usage of channels. The customer experience tends to be highly complex with touchpoints that need to be orchestrated in a more integral and fluid way than it has been in the past.
The third an observation I have is the increased need for a profound understanding of technology within the marketing function. Marketing used to take care of campaigns, positioning, branding, advertising, budget and research. Now you cannot be a successful marketer without an understanding of how technology is consumed by your target group and how it’s influencing their decisions.
And fourth, the most overarching trend of all is that marketing is no longer meaningful unless what it does is relevant, which by the way is the reason we called our company The Relevance House. People can skip ads and use pop-up blockers. So nobody is paying attention to your ads even if you reach them. Nobody wants to be bothered. Whatever people consume needs to be relevant to even move the needle.
In B2B you must think of content marketing in the sense of adding value as opposed to a campaign about how amazing your products or services might be. And technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and predictive marketing are a bit like teenage sex. Everybody’s talking about them, but nobody’s doing them or knows exactly what they are.