Like winning? Then you’ll like SmartBug Media. A HubSpot elite partner, SmartBug is an intelligent inbound marketing agency with more than 100 clients on retainer. It could also be the outsourced demand generation secret that takes your marketing to the next level.
Jen Spencer, SmartBug’s VP of Sales and Marketing, says, “A prospect will come to us and say, marketing was responsible for generating 10 percent of revenue last year. This year it needs to be 30 percent. The prospect needs help, first, figuring out how they do that and, second, actually doing it from a bandwidth perspective and a talent perspective.”
SmartBug’s got a lot of experience under its belt with all sorts of clients: “Our clients really run the gamut. We work with startups that are VC-backed, [and] we might also work with a major bank or credit union building a six-figure website.”
“We’re 100-percent remote. We’re 85 employees, all geographically dispersed across North America. And I don’t have a storage closet of swag.”
— Jen Spencer, at SmartBug Media
The human factor
So what brought SmartBug to SwagUp?
“We work with our clients on a daily basis. And often [our consulting team, our marketing strategists and consultants and project managers] would say, ‘Gosh, this client is so awesome!’ Then they would say, ‘Hey, can we send them something? Do we have any swag, you know, marketing stuff we can send them?’ ” says Spencer. “And we just didn’t have anything. We don’t really have anything because we’re 100-percent remote. We’re 85 employees, all geographically dispersed across North America. And I don’t have a storage closet of swag. So there was that.”
Luckily for SmartBug, Spencer had some experience with swag. “I knew exactly what I was getting into,” says Spencer. “At my last company — we were a startup — I had a closet full of stuff. I had T-shirts in all different sizes. I had pins and pens and notebooks, I had custom-ordered tape, and I had this whole assembly line. So I figured, ‘Oh, no big deal, I’ll just throw these together.’ But it is a big deal!
“I’m looking over my home office thinking, I don’t have any place to put any of this stuff. I also don’t want to be the only one in the company who is responsible for it. As we grew, I knew it probably didn’t make sense long-term for the VP of Sales and Marketing to be sending these things out. … I was looking for a solution that I could store [and] that had items that appealed to me. But most important was that I could ship on demand.”
“It humanizes the relationship. Especially being fully remote, we typically would never meet in person. When they receive that box of goodies, it reminds them we’re more than just a piece of paper, more than just a contract they signed.”
— Jen Spencer, VP of Sales and Marketing at SmartBug Media
Low effort, high impact
How do you stand out from the crowd? It’s pretty simple — deliver more value. “There are a lot of [marketing] agencies in the world. Anybody can spin up a pretty website and put their most talented person on a call, and then give their clients over to an intern base or people who are fresh out of college. That’s not our model,” says Spencer.
“We hire seasoned marketers who have been in the business for at least five years, if not more, like seven to 10. [We take] the time to send a high-quality gift with our brand. We’re clearly not a fly-by-night entity. … Every other solution, they wanted just to send [the swag] directly to me, but then I would have had to take that order and ship it all out. With SwagUp, I was able to say, ‘Here’s a spreadsheet, here are the people, here are their addresses, here are their sizes,’ and you handled everything else. You made it so easy for me and that was awesome.”
For SmartBug, sending swag isn’t just about getting branded gear. It’s a heartfelt gesture. “When a new client comes onboard, we’re forming a long-term partnership. They’re signing an agreement with us; they’re agreeing to work with us on retainer for anywhere from six to 12 months. We want to welcome them into the fold,” says Spencer.
“That was the original concept with the gift box. Let’s send them something that welcomes them. Since it can be a few weeks between when someone signs their contract and when they actually get started … a gift makes for great continued communication from us. And it gives them a taste of our culture and what they can expect.”
SmartBug’s emphasis on the human part of its business model was the same reason it chose to work with SwagUp. “It was really about finding a company that would be able to support us,” says Spencer. “I’ve appreciated how easy it is to work with SwagUp. If we have questions, if I need extra support with anything, if there are any challenges or issues, SwagUp’s response has been over-the-top, ridiculously timely. I remember getting responses back from Kia late—definitely after-hours—quickly turning around quotes, mock-ups, whatever we needed.”
“I was able to say, ‘Here’s a spreadsheet, here are the people, here are their addresses, here are their sizes,’ and you handled everything else. You made it so easy for me and that was awesome.”
— Jen Spencer, VP of Sales and Marketing at SmartBug Media
“[Clients are] always excited. They’re always thankful and surprised. It’s not something they’re expecting. Especially if they’ve worked with another marketing agency before, it’s not something they’ve received in the past, so yeah, they’re always just really, really grateful—and it’s a nice little treat for them,” says Spencer. “I’ve seen the way it helps brighten a day or gives some context to the fact that there’s this bigger team behind them.”
SmartBug also discovered another benefit to being on Team SwagUp: “Over the holidays, I actually made an order that was more internal. We wanted to do something for all of our team members. I needed to be able to place an order and have items drop-shipped to 80-plus people around North America. SwagUp was really helpful for me. … I’ve received true white glove service from everyone in the organization. And I’ve purchased branded merchandise from other vendors before, and at those times, I felt like I was just a number. I don’t feel that way with SwagUp.”
What would Spencer tell others considering SwagUp? “What I’ve learned over my career is, yes, the product needs to be great — which it is — but also, you need to think about who are the people you’re going to be working with. Because it’s the people, it’s that human element, that matters when you need someone jumping in to help, or answering questions, or addressing whatever concerns you might have,” says Spencer.
“When you think about partnering with a company like SwagUp, you know that you’re going to be working with them on an ongoing basis, because you’re using this type of approach to continue to build rapport with your customers. And I can’t say enough about how important it is for there to be good people who you enjoy communicating with working for that organization.”
As they say, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Ready to see how SwagUp can help you go farther? Talk to a Swag Expert today.