Marketer Danny Greer on Scaling the Smart Way and Creating Useful Content
By Susan Johnston Taylor, Freelance Writer
All By Word Of Mouth
Video editor-turned-content marketer Danny Greer has worked in marketing for tech brands including PremiumBeat (where he was the first employee hired), Shutterstock, and InVision before launching Growth Pursuits, an online marketing and e-commerce consultancy, this past year.
We turned to Greer to find out how he set up his own consulting firm, what challenges he’s faced along the way, and more. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.
The Beat: Tell us about your path to starting Growth Pursuits.
Danny Greer: Currently, I've got a small consulting firm focusing primarily on online businesses. I have an emphasis on small to mid-sized startups that are funded, and software as a service startups. I actually just started Growth Pursuits in May of this year. Before that, I ran a marketing team for InVision, the productivity software, for about a year and a half. Before that, I ran marketing and customer experience for Shutterstock, a stock photography company, for about two years. That was specifically in the stock music and stock video business.
Before I got into Shutterstock, I was the first employee with a production music startup called PremiumBeat which provides music for all sorts of videos and films and commercials. I was the first employee there and it was good to have a couple of years before we sold it to Shutterstock in 2015.
What do you love about the work that you're doing now?
It's a lot of fun working with a variety of companies: different types of products, different types of customers. I'm challenged every single day. I have to kind of switch paths on a dime. I go from one meeting talking to a CEO about their blogging strategy, and then five minutes later I'm designing emails for a small real estate software company. I love the range of work I get to do, and I feel that I'm able to make an impact.
How was the transition to running your own consultancy?
Working at larger companies, it’s sometimes harder to see the immediate impact of your work. That's one thing I was missing. I had almost a decade of experience with successful tech companies and had helped grow companies successfully. I wanted to spread my wings. It's only been going on six months, but I haven't had to do a lot of marketing for myself. All the clients I've gotten up to this point are word of mouth, which is kind of surprising. If you hustle and if people see the impact of your work, that bodes well for future business.
What challenges would you say that you've overcome to get where you are professionally?
I'm what you could consider a non-technical marketer. I'm not a coder. I don't come from an engineering background or anything like that. Before I got into tech, I spent the first five years of my career as a video editor. One challenge is building my technical skill set. It’s important to be able to gain the respect of technical people and be able to talk intelligently about programming languages.
Another challenge is I didn't start my online marketing career being very data-driven. It became important, especially when I was with a private company that would get acquired by a publicly traded large tech company. They have shareholders to answer to and they have big budgets and we need to be able to show results of the work. A lot of what I do today is what I've had to teach myself over the years about making these data-driven creative decisions.
Are there any projects you're especially proud of?
The company where I started my career was called PremiumBeat. At the time, it was just the founder and me. I'm proud of that period for a number of reasons. One, we grew it from basically nothing to a profitable business. That whole experience was something I'm extremely proud of in that I was able to be an integral part of that operation. We built one of the biggest video production and filmmaking resources online. The PremiumBeat blog generates far more traffic than blogs of much bigger sites. I was able to make a lot of great connections. With that strong piece of content marketing, we were able to use that to even better understand our customers and form relationships with them.
We built that company without external investors, so we were not subject to investor demands. We were our own judge and jury with our customers. We took the long, hard road and we could have made decisions really quickly to drive up revenue, but instead, we were really thoughtful about how we scaled that business.
What do you think makes good content marketing?
There is a quote that empathy x utility x inspiration = great content. And I think that's why we were successful with PremiumBeat. The success of the content programs that I've been involved with is because there's a lot of authenticity in it. People who are writing it live it and breathe it. The fact of the matter is nobody cares about your product as much as you care about your product. I think where a lot of companies go astray is that they over-promote products and use their blog as just a PR tool. With PremiumBeat, for instance, we did a lot of tutorial-based content. Those are things that people find really useful.
Where do you see content marketing headed in the future?
I think video will continue to play a major part. More companies are utilizing videos as a way to create and to gain an edge, to promote the topics in conversation that are relevant to their product and to their brand.
It seems like every day there is a new kind of analytics or data platform that's being created specifically for content marketing. I do see that it's slowly becoming more data-driven with things like multi-touch attribution, having some kind of modeling to make sure that the content efforts are successful.
Is there anything else that you'd like readers to know about you and your work?
I always welcome conversations with folks who are out in the field and learn from the challenges of other folks.