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How to be a Passionate B2B Marketing Director and Generate Consistent Demand
How to be a Passionate B2B Marketing Director and Generate Consistent Demand
by The Luupe
Maven’s Senior Marketing Director Amanda Raines discusses her unexpected career path, the power of using images to shape data, and the importance of feeling connected to what you’re selling.
Demand marketing is a robust and complex role that requires strengths ranging from lead generation and analytics to content development and event marketing.
Amanda Raines, who leads demand generation for Maven, the largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health, has a tried and true experience.
She started her career in 2010, moving to NYC on a whim with a marketing degree and few connections and soon got a job as an account executive at a PR agency. Raines quickly and strategically navigated marketing roles at a range of brands from stock photography agencies to fitness startups before landing in her current role at Maven.
We caught up to learn more about her career, what keeps her passionate, and why images and data go hand in hand
Meet Amanda Raines
The Luupe: You mention getting into B2B marketing kind of happenstance - "which no one even tells you is a career path." At what point did that become a reality for you, something you felt connected to long term?
Amanda Raines: No one tells you about this career path because as a major in marketing in college the assumption is that you will be marketing some type of physical, consumer products. At least those all were most of the examples or products we discussed. I vividly remember a case study on Land O’Lakes butter.
I landed my first job in b2b marketing and truthfully had to wing it. I was the only marketer reporting into the CEO of a small SaaS company. It felt like getting a new education in marketing.
B2B marketing became more than just a job to me once I realized there were a lot of companies selling incredible products that catered beyond the financial software I was selling. There’s nothing wrong with financial software but it wasn’t my passion.
When I started at Shutterstock and realized that I could feel more of a connection to the product I was selling (as well as to my buyer), that’s when I knew I could align my talents in b2b marketing to a long term career.
The Luupe: What excites you most about what you do?
Raines: The thing that excites me the most about being in demand generation is the impact I know my work or my team’s work has on the overall business. Our efforts immediately impact pipeline and revenue. I love watching other teams like sales and client success be more successful because of our support.
And doing that work at Maven has given me the most satisfaction in my career because every company I help connect to our sales team means more families have access to Maven. That means better outcomes for those planning, starting or raising families.
The Luupe: It sounds like you found a deeper niche working in fitness and wellness-related marketing with your work at ClassPass, and now Maven.
Raines: Prior to making the move to ClassPass I had already been hooked on the boutique fitness industry. I was taking group classes 3-4 times a week. I had heard about ClassPass but had never considered working there as I knew their focus was on a consumer audience. When they reached out looking for someone to scale their studio partnership acquisition it felt like the stars aligned.
When the pandemic hit in 2020 ClassPass was severely impacted by studio closures. My team was laid off which gave me time to think about my next step in a way I’d never done before. I knew I wanted to join a mission driven company that focused on women. Digital tech was, and is, growing rapidly.
The products out there, including Maven, are really driving clinical outcomes and providing services to members that the traditional healthcare system does not. It’s inspiring to wake up every day and think about our members and how we’re changing their lives.
The Luupe: We covered this a bit already, but for those just jumping in, what does a demand marketer do?
Raines: It’s all in the name, a demand generation marketer drives demand for the business. At Maven my role entails managing all acquisition channels, digital and event marketing, as well as the campaign strategy. I also manage the marketing operations organization, as their work is deeply aligned to driving demand.
While there is a lot of creativity to demand gen there is also a lot of left brain work to make sure that you’re spending your dollar wisely and optimizing for results.
The Luupe: To that point, on the surface, lead and demand gen might not seem directly tied to visual culture, but we know it does. Can you talk about how imagery ties into how you think about working with, and learning from data?
Raines: It’s always strange to me when people don’t understand the impact that creative work has on demand gen. My team is the largest client to our internal creative team. From our website, to advertising and events, every part of my team's work uses imagery and design.
I have always felt very passionately about the use of imagery in my marketing campaigns. The images we choose shape the brand we will portray and how our customers will interact with us.
We use testing to determine everything. Image vs illustration, green vs blue, etc. We test on all of our channels to understand what will resonate with our customers. We collect data on our creative to understand what works, what doesn’t and how we can shape each campaign moving forward.
I am so deeply passionate about creative that for a while at Maven I stepped in as interim producer. I love the creatives and have always been a huge proponent of a strong in-house team.
There is nothing better than fresh asset designs for a new campaign being delivered and sitting down to find your favorites. Until there are beautiful assets, the campaign hasn’t really come to life.
The Luupe: That’s amazing. It’s always inspiring when people cross over into different areas to get a better understanding of their own roles and goals.
Shifting gears a bit, we ask this in a lot of interviews and I imagine you'll have an interesting response given your roles at Class Pass and Maven - can you talk about how the pandemic shifted your role and priorities?
Raines: Well, the pandemic certainly shifted the way I think about everything! I’ve spent most of the pandemic marketing to HR managers and CHROs. They are some of the folks who have had it the hardest during these past few years.
They had to manage every single “unprecedented” event without a playbook. They had to manage their teams’ feelings, while falling apart themselves. I spoke to an HR manager a few weeks ago who told me she was essentially playing the role of therapist - for which she has no formal training.
So when it comes to marketing to an audience who has most likely hit their own breaking point, you need to make it worth their while and you need to make sure you are offering them value. Creating resources that were simple for our customers to share with their team so they didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting was really successful.
In terms of prioritization we were limited to our digital presence for so long. Digital channels became expensive and our customers were feeling a lot of zoom fatigue. Once things started to open back up, we knew people would be eager to get back to in-person events. We prioritized investments in events and made sure our activations were top-notch.
The Luupe: The past few years have also witnessed a powerful shift and attention to diversity and inclusion. Brands can no longer get away with overlooking representation. Are there any specific ways you and your team address these issues at Maven?
Raines: As a marketer, especially a white woman, I take my role in making sure we are showing equal and full representation of our customers and members very seriously. We all have inherent bias that is subconscious. I make sure to always consider mine and never let that impact our brand.
Maven is a digital health solution for anyone looking to start and raise a healthy family. We support all paths to parenthood whether that be through adoption, surrogacy or IVF.
Diversity and inclusion is at the core of what Maven offers. We cannot serve our members if we aren’t properly representing them in every aspect of our work, and that goes for our marketing.
The Luupe: Having been at Maven for a couple years now, can you talk about a particularly exciting project you worked on?
Raines: One of my favorite projects since joining Maven was overhauling the website. I joined Maven when we were already well on our way to shifting from a b2c to a b2b centric organization, meaning we don’t prioritize selling direct-to-consumer. However, the website wasn’t entirely reflective of that shift. We spent 8 months creating an entirely new website from scratch.
I love working on websites, and this one in particular, because it’s the most publicly facing part of any organization. It’s telling the world who we are and what we stand for.
Maven is unique in that we are serving a lot of different audiences: from our buyers (employers and health plans), to our providers (offering their services on our app), to our members. It was almost like a puzzle determining the right language and imagery to speak to all of these audiences and ensure they understood our offer.
A lot of b2b marketers now-a-days have figured out that their b2b buyer and consumers are all the same people (shocking right?!). The shift to treating those buyers like people has been one of my favorite because it’s opened up new doors when it comes to creative storytelling and the use of imagery. I think building the site was the biggest reminder that these buyers, providers, members are at the end of the day all just people.
The Luupe: In closing, what advice might you have for folks considering a similar role or looking to switch things up?
Raines: My first piece of advice is always to give b2b a try! There are lots of incredibly sophisticated b2b marketers today but it still seems like a small circle where marketers can carve out a strong niche for themselves.
I think my best advice for folks starting out or making the switch is to remember to humanize your audience. B2b buyers are just people at the end of the day.
They don’t turn into robots the minute they arrive at the office void of feeling but so many marketers treat them as if they do. Treat them as if you would any other audience and use incredible creative and storytelling to connect with them on a human level.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Luupe is a one-stop production company that is raising the bar for professional brand imagery on a global scale. With a highly curated and diverse network of professional women and non-binary photo and video creators across 80+ countries around the world, we are reinventing how brands produce original, local, and authentic visual stories that connect with a global audience. Our mission is to champion and amplify diverse perspectives from around the world — in front of and behind the lens.