Smart B2B Tech Marketing: Philip Say

To celebrate the Content Bureau’s 20th anniversary, we’re seeking wisdom from 20 rock star clients whose serious B2B marketing cred, brains, and heart have always inspired us. Next up: Philip Say.

  • Name: Philip Say
  • In: San Francisco
  • Hired the Content Bureau at: SAP, ServiceSource, Joyent, VMware
  • For: Tech marketing content
  • One word to describe the Content Bureau: Enterprise-grade
  • Best marketing asset ever produced: Surge management playbook
  • Why: We recently produced a Medium post to help customers manage giant surges or spikes in usage—think streaming companies during a hugely subscribed event, or healthcare companies during open enrollment—which are so expensive to staff during peaks. We raised surge management as a business issue that people should be aware of, and shared best practices in a playbook style. Customers are saying, “Thank God someone’s finally speaking my language!” Plus, it’s new and original content, so we’re capturing feedback and owning the SEO terms.
  • Biggest challenge facing B2B marketers today: Attention! And authenticity. Readers are so savvy now; they’ll stop reading anything that’s not unique, on point, and practical. It’s really hard to hit all of those qualities—open rates are lower than ever.
  • B2B marketers of the future should: Have firsthand experience using the product or service you’re marketing, then help people using true authority and expertise. Be like a community leader, not a salesperson.
  • If some extra budget fell into my lap, I’d produce: Really effective new web copy and experiences.
  • Where I go to learn: I go to some unusual places, such as Hacker News (what are the “alpha” devs talking about?) where the conversations are more authentic. I’m on Medium a lot. The quality is better curated. Once it hits the mainstream tech news, it’s old news.
  • Smart ask: More good case studies, done in a documentary style. Showing someone’s experience using the product—real people, pitfalls and how you got around them, a little drama—is more useful than an “everything’s perfect,” second-party, marketing point of view. The tone should be, “I tried this thing, and I’m giving you advice as to what to do.” Like a reality show, with more truth. From that, buyers can make more-objective decisions.

Smart, succinct, and highly monetizable thoughts from Philip Say (anyone need a documentary-style case study video? I know this great agency…)! Phil and I go back a long way—high school, childbirth class (different spouses/babies), many years of B2B tech marketing collaboration—and now our daughters are in high school together. I’m beyond grateful for this kind of relationship that transcends work.

Want to discuss anything here? Call me, or check out our technology marketing services.

By Stacy Crinks