Interview with Ruth Plater
Tell me who were you before you started your business?
I was VP of Global Marketing for a software and network company. I’d been in the telecoms/digital infra industry for a few years, working in senior sales and marketing roles. The industry was going through a significant change and new business models were starting to emerge (IoT, Blockchain, more software and subscription based models).
It was clear to me that, with the drastic change, the industry wasn’t really sure how to market new products and solutions and the old ways of PR and attending events, whilst still relevant, weren’t going to sustain them in the future. I wanted to setup a marketing agency that could provide intelligent and more forward-thinking and creative lead generation and nurturing campaigns for the tech and telecoms space.
What do you do and what is your company called?
Radial Path started in 2017, so we’re in our third year now and experiencing all the usual growing pains of a start up. Our ideal customers are those in the tech and telecoms space with similar values to us and drive to change the status quo.
They can be start ups that are well-funded, or bigger corporates with new innovative solutions that need go to market launch plans. Those guys tend to use us for very specific tasks, bulking up their resources with our team, and/or tapping into our digital campaign architecture know-how and skillset since driving top of the funnel leads and generating awareness for new solutions is a major undertaking.
What’s the story behind your success?
Really for me, it was being frustrated with companies blindly continuing with the old ways of doing things and expecting incredible or new results for the same (or safe) approaches to marketing.
In B2B, people tend to play it safe and safe can be very unimaginative, which isn’t going to make you stand out from the crowd or drive huge increases in lead generation. Really, I wanted to challenge the industry I was from and dare people to mix it up a bit. Those that get it are our best clients. If prospects we speak to about marketing don’t get excited about this sort of thinking when it comes to marketing, then we tend to struggle.
What’s been your life’s biggest lesson so far?
One of the biggest challenges we’ve had at Radial Path was scaling the team for what we thought was a solid and substantial contract. It was a big step for us to grow the team off the back of that contract. Unfortunately, this particular startup, about 4 months in just stopped paying all of its suppliers (us included). This was my biggest fear in our first couple of years coming true. We took stock of the situation, pulled together as a team and grafted. We grafted really hard to make up the shortfall, which took us several months to do, but we did it.
We also looked at what we could do in the short term to block the haemorrhaging of money, rather than getting rid of a winning team, which led to us packaging up some lead generation and digital campaign architecture solutions. These were solutions that were easier to deliver and had much shorter sales cycles.
We’ve ended up pushing this quite hard, as it’s very popular with our clients as it shows incredible returns for them on their investment, in comparison to other marketing plays. It’s now forming the direction of our business and we’re working on expanding these solutions and building our own marketing around them. So, not all bad situations are…well, bad.
What three tools makes your business run better?
We are huge users of asana. This is essential for project managing all our marketing projects, both internally and for clients. We started with Trello and switched as asana suited our needs for marketing more comprehensively.
We also use InVision, for designing and creating a great approval process for our clients – they can jump in there, add comments and see everything before we build anything (web, ads, etc..) or fully execute. A recent tool we found via ProductHunt is Whimsical.
This is essential for building digital campaign architecture workflows and we often live edit this with clients to make sure they’re 100% happy with it. It’s so user friendly and efficient…I personally can’t live without it.
“Never forget to be kind. People will be loyal if you treat them well. “Ruth Plater
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t worry so much, don’t over think, just take each challenge in your stride. The business is never ‘done’ it’s always evolving, changing and improving and that’s sometimes that’s hard to get your head around when you feel like you’re trying to get somewhere or finish something. Doubters will always exist, but you need to maintain resilience and listen to your own gut. Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s easy to do nothing and not fail of course, but where’s the fun in that!
Never forget to be kind. People will be loyalty if you treat them well.
Tell us three advice tips a startup should know?
Start somewhere. It needs to look good and be thought through, but there’s no point making it perfect based on assumptions, to have to later change it completely after lessons are learned.
Once you get out there, you’ll fail, learn, fail again and learn..this is where you’ll find paths to improving and growing your business. Be ready to fail a lot, but don’t see it as a bad thing, see it as an opportunity.
Try not to compare to other businesses too much, every business grows differently and at a different pace.
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