Today I had the privilege of speaking to Howard Sewell, President of Spear Marketing Group. Spear has been a strong presence at the Marketo User Summits for several years and Howard continues to offer the community his expertise in a variety of ways. If you haven’t heard of Howard, you probably have come across Spear’s free Marketo template offers and Top 10 Webinar papers. Howard probably doesn’t realize this, but he is one of the people I continue to look up to in the Marketo Community because he took the time to speak with me way back in 2010 when I had just started with Marketo. Here’s what Howard had to say about his work in the B2B marketing world.
How did you get started in marketing automation?
I’m an old-school direct marketer. I started my marketing career in direct mail back in the late 1980s at Oracle. After Oracle, I ran my own agency for 19 years – at first, focused on direct mail, and later expanding to demand generation, and clients were always asking how we could help filter, qualify, and nurture the sales leads we were generating for them. Those questions led to getting involved in marketing automation, and ultimately to joining Spear in 2010.
Tell me about your approach to client engagements.
Our most successful client engagements are those where we’re a genuine partner and not just a vendor. Much of the value we bring to the table is in the area of fresh ideas and best practices, and so we’re most successful when we’re involved from strategy to execution. As an agency, if you’re executing on someone else’s vision, you’re simply bandwidth for hire.
What’s your favorite platform?
Most of our clients run Marketo. There’s no one platform that’s right for everyone, but we really like Marketo’s functionality, the user interface, and the fact that it enables our clients to measure the true revenue impact of demand generation programs. Plus I think they’re a great company.
What’s been your favorite engagement so far?
Navicure is a small, growing software company in Atlanta – we’ve been working with them for years and they make us feel like we’re part of the team. That kind of trust and confidence allows us to do great work. For pure cool factor, we’ve done a lot of work for Google, and they’re absolutely a fun company to work with. I appreciate the way they empower their people to make decisions – it gives a marketing agency like us the ability to really push the envelope.
How many people do you have on your team?
By the time this is published, we’ll be at 30, which will mean we’ve tripled in size in a little over 3 years.
Why should people choose you?
We’re one of the only true, full-service marketing agencies that really knows its stuff when it comes to marketing automation. Most service providers in the MA space – many of whom do really great work – are basically systems consultants, whereas clients hire us more for things like lead management strategy, campaign development, and creative execution.
Which areas do you specialize in?
We’re a very specialized agency. First, 90% of our clients are B2B technology companies. Second, the work we do is generally either demand generation (e.g. feeding the funnel) or lead management. We help our clients generate, nurture, and convert leads to revenue. On a day to day basis, that means we’re designing or building everything from PPC landing pages to lead nurturing emails to large scale, global campaigns.
Do you have a Package or Pricing Summary?
We really don’t – every engagement is unique. We work on both a project (fixed fee) and retainer basis.
What kinds of firms would find you the most helpful?
If you’re a B2B technology company that needs to generate more leads, generate better leads, or do a better job converting the leads you have, we can help.
What do you do for fun?
Cooking, cycling, and watching our two kids grow up.
What’s the best way for marketers to get in touch?
Email, definitely. I don’t answer my phone! howard (at) spearmarketing.com
I’ve noticed B2B marketing leaders eschew their phones because of too many cold calls or sales calls. Understanding this behavior vs. other functions would be an interesting research project for a marketing automation firm’s content team. – Josh
And I’m back to full time consulting with Marketo and Demand Generation. Let me know if you have a project – hello [at ] marketingrockstarguides.com.