Episode 25: Rami Essaid and Melanie Fellay

In our 25th Episode, Olivier L’Abbé, President at Metadata, talks category creation with two B2B leaders from the financial modeling and digital adoption categories.

Panelists for this episode include:

  • Rami Essaid, CEO of Finmark and leader behind the financial modeling and planning category
  • Melanie Fellay, CEO of Spekit and leader behind the in-app digital adoption and enablement category

Or watch the video

You’ll walk away from this episode with an understanding of leadership hiring, customer reviews, and keyword research.

Takeaway 1. Hire a VP of Marketing as soon as you see signs of product-market fit

A VP of Marketing is one of the first critical leadership hires you’ll need to make when growing a Startup. Many variables influence the timing of the hire. But in most cases, it’s a good idea to wait until you start to notice some signs of product-market fit before bringing a full-time resource onboard.

You can determine how close you are to product-market fit by first looking at your Net Promoter Score. Once you have a benchmark, look at how your user acquisition costs change over time. More specifically, the amount of money you spend to acquire a new customer relative to how much money they spend throughout their lifetime as a customer. You probably know this as your LTV/CAC ratio.

Your LTV/CAC ratio will likely be close to 1:1 when you haven’t reached product-market fit. This is okay in the beginning as you validate your product and experiment. But it’s not sustainable in the long run because it means that you’ll end up spending too much to acquire new users. A better LTV/CAC ratio would be in the range of 3:1 or better. Once you’ve reached this milestone, you can be confident that you’ve reached some level of product-market fit and are ready to hire a VP of Marketing.

Takeaway 2. Use software review sites to define your category

Review sites have been proven to be effective channels for early growth. They are especially great for targeting a mid-market audience. And compared to analyst firms, they offer a more cost-effective alternative for building credibility.

Ask users who leave positive NPS feedback to write a review. Most will follow through if they’re happy with your product. You can even offer a gift card or a similar incentive in exchange for their time. Their reviews will not only help you build a massive amount of social proof, but they’ll also benefit your inbound strategy.

Every time someone searches for products in your category, they’ll see your brand show up. You’ll generate a ton of organic visibility without having to create any content yourself and kickstart your SEO strategy on the right foot.

Takeaway 3. Invest in keyword research early

The role of SEO in category creation can’t be understated. It’s one of the most effective ways of getting qualified traffic and reducing the time to close new leads. The problem? You need to be really patient before you start seeing any ROI with SEO. Depending on your domain age and a bunch of other technical factors, you could be waiting for 6-12 months before your keywords start to rank on search results.

Instead of trying to find ways to shorten your time to rank on search results (because there are no shortcuts to SEO), focus on consistently producing high-quality content and building a solid narrative around your category instead. You can also use keywords in adjacent categories to get an estimate of the potential traffic you could generate from your SEO strategy.

The sooner you commit to understanding how SEO can benefit your growth, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Your advertising costs will reduce as your organic traffic increases and so will your costs to acquire new customers.

For more insights on keyword research, review sites, and leadership hiring, listen to this episode of B2B category creators.


Melanie explains the steps involved in developing a differentiation strategy for category creation.

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