DEMAND Community AMA Recap: Heather Samee

Katie Ray

Welcome to our “Ask Me Anything” blog recap, where we pull together the best insights and advice from the best (and brightest) minds in B2B marketing. 

Our #AMA Slack channel is a safe space for DEMAND Community members to connect, engage with, and learn from some of the best leaders in B2B marketing. Since community is all about learning, what better way to do that than by giving members some extra exposure to share their knowledge on what works, what doesn’t, and ways for all of us to level up our marketing.

We recently did an AMA with Heather Samee, Growth Marketing Manager at Armorblox, a tech company offering cloud email security that detects and remediates sophisticated email threats and prevents data loss.

Besides spending time with her horses and binging her favorite reality shows, Heather’s role is focused on growing brand recognition and generating leads by blending the right mix of demand gen and lead gen ads to tell a compelling story.

Let’s look at some of the questions asked and how Heather tackles these issues:

  1. Anyone who works in security knows it’s a tricky space to find your audience (let alone advertise to). Where did you find your audience hangs out most often, and how did you come to that conclusion?

Heather: It’s tough to get security experts to respond, especially when asking them to complete a lead gen form.

However, we limit the forms to only lead gen ads, which offer a demo and a $100 gift card upon completion of the demo. Plus, we keep our lead gen campaign audiences very tight— meaning they must meet stringent persona qualifications to be added to an audience. It seems to be working.

  1. How are you managing rising customer acquisition costs and optimizing ROI by demand gen channel?

Heather: For demand gen ads, where website engagement is the main goal, we spend a large portion of the budget on display and Facebook ads, which are cheaper than LinkedIn. The lead gen budget is more skewed to LinkedIn.

  1. How are you measuring ROI of demand gen and how are you protecting this budget line item?

Heather: Great question. The first place money is taken away is the demand gen budget.

Success is measured by website visits and engagement (not as sexy) — as opposed to the lead gen budget which yields product demo requests (very sexy).

But, if we don’t spend enough on demand gen, we don’t pick up as many people to re-target with lead gen ads. My leaders understand this delicate balance.

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  1. I spend A LOT of time hanging out on LinkedIn, and I have made connections with a ton of cybersecurity pros hanging out there too, except it doesn’t appear to me that they’re especially interested in talking about their business problems on LinkedIn as much as their job searches, mental health challenges, work stress, leveling up career, and doing general networking. However, what I also notice is that every single cybersecurity company’s LinkedIn business page and associated employee profiles continue to (mostly) advertise webinars and push other PR announcements for various deep tech topics which generate practically zero organic engagement. Am I alone in seeing a disconnect between the content businesses are publishing and what the target audience is interested in hearing about in the LinkedIn context?

Heather: You are very right about people being disinterested in ‘company news’. I don’t work on the organic social, only paid, so I can tell you what is working for me:

  • My ads talk only about solutions that I know my audience is looking for (we use 6Sense to know who is searching the market for my product category).
  • My ads answer a need that every company has — email security — and most companies know that they may not have enough protection if they are relying on native security controls.
  • I am offering $100 to take a demo. Who wouldn’t want that money for about 20 minutes of their time, especially if they have had a recent security breach?”
  1. Do you ever use actual website pages (product or industry pages and the like) as a destination for demand gen ads, or do you always have dedicated, campaign-specific landing pages?

Heather: We don’t have any campaigns with a zero click goal.

Our website is not set up effectively, which is why we are in the process of a redesign. We generally send people to dedicated landing pages that focus on the solution offered in the ad.

We use Instapage and I can create them on the fly, whereas it takes a developer to edit the site pages.

[Community member]: “We are currently testing out offer pages vs our pillar pages on the website, specifically for Paid Search and Paid Social. But I will say it’s very dependent on the post-click experience and whether the copy and experience on the page matches to the search intent or ad creative more than most.”

  1. For those that use 6Sense intent data, do you only advertise to these audiences across your digital platforms (LinkedIn, Google Display, Facebook?) i.e. You sync accounts in awareness, consideration, decision, purchase stages and narrow in to ICP by layering platform audiences when you can. I know with FB it’s not easy to layer in ICP criteria like it is on LI, so I’m curious if people do actually advertise to these intent segments there or just use things like Clearbit or don’t advertise at all.

Heather: We use our 6sense data (all stages) for our lead gen demo ads, in addition to a retargeting audience. We use the same 6sense audience for demand gen (awareness) ads, plus we use a firmographic audience for these ads as well. This is for both LinkedIn and Facebook ads.

Make sure to keep an eye out for our next AMA recap as Executive in Residence at Scale Ventures, Sydney Sloan, flexes her B2B marketing mastery with the greater DEMAND Community.

Ready to join the only community for demand gen marketers, built by demand gen marketers? Join the DEMAND Community today.

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