A few weeks ago, I got to see Omar Johnson – founder of Opus United and veteran marketer at household name brands like Apple, Beats by Dre, Nike, Campbell’s Soups, Chips Ahoy!, and Coca-Cola – present at Drift’s RevGrowth: Account-Based Engagement virtual event.
My favorite part was when he talked about how he grew Beats by Dre’s revenue from $20 million to $2 billion (with a B) in only six years. How’d he do it? By keeping the human at the center of every marketing tactic.
That really stuck with me.
You can watch his full talk on Drift Insider, but if you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, I’m giving you a breakdown of my three biggest learnings from Omar right here.
What I Learned from Omar Johnson at RevGrowth: Account-Based Engagement
1. Manifestos Matter
Beats By Dre came up with a set of rules, a manifesto if you will, that they follow for every marketing campaign they do.
“We were always very consistent, and it’s what created that voice that consumers got to know and love,” Omar said.
So what does a marketing manifesto look like? Beats by Dre’s manifesto has six parts:
- Product Is King – Instead of logos, Beats always shows the actual headphones you get when buying the Beats brand.
- Always Be Young – Omar believes youth is a mindset, and Beats caters to this mindset no matter what physical age you are.
- Be Authentic – Find the authentic moments in your story – that’s what people will relate to and remember the most.
- Be a Leader – Beats by Dre was far from the first headphones company, but they knew they wanted to become the leaders in the space. By instilling this mindset internally, every team member gained the confidence needed to push boundaries.
- Live the Connection – No matter what department, every employee should make sure they experience what their customers experience.
- Move Culture – Beats by Dre doesn’t want to just become a part of culture, they want to change it. And a big part of that revolves around catering to every audience.
2. Who You Hire Directly Impacts Who Buys Your Product
When Omar left Beats, the company was 55% female, and he takes a lot of pride in that fact. Why?
“I don’t know how you get from $20 million to over $2 billion in revenue with only men, or only Black, or white, or Hispanic people in the room,” Omar said.
Omar believes people form the basis of a great brand, and this means building a team that looks like the consumer base you want to sell into. Well, Beats by Dre has a consumer base of the entire world, so their team is just as diverse. By working alongside a diverse group of people, you hear a wider array of stories that help you meet your buyers in their world. And who knows, you may even come up with more use cases for your product.
For example, when Omar and his team looked at a pair of Beats headphones, they didn’t just see music headphones. They saw noise blockers, fashion accessories, pride and identity, the best gift ever, free media generators, and (as Omar said) a woman’s best friend (more on that in the next section). They only saw all of these things because they thought about the story behind the people using the headphones.
3. It’s Not About B2B or B2C – It’s All B2H
Omar is an avid believer that B2B and B2C are no different. Either way, you’re selling or marketing to a human –and you need to look at your product through the lens of how it will help that person with a problem they face. By taking a business-to-human (B2H) approach, you’re able to develop a narrative that relates to your buyer’s daily life.
For example, by listening to their consumers, Beats found that they could market themselves as a woman’s best friend.
Why? Because even if they weren’t listening to anything, by wearing their headphones, women give off the perception that they were busy and shouldn’t be bothered. With this insight, Beats did what most headphone companies didn’t do, and they marketed about not listening to music.
“Not too many sound companies were confident enough to talk about using headphones for not music. We were, because it was real behavior that we saw,” Omar said.
Focusing on B2H also led Beats to global expansion. When the sales team approached Omar with a request to go global, he thought back to a conversation he had with professional soccer player Mario Balotelli. Mario had talked about wanting to find a way to block out noise during practice. Omar took this insight and used it as inspiration for a marketing campaign during the 2012 Olympics in London.
The idea? Omar’s team created a personalized Beats experience in the Olympic Village just for athletes.
The result? Beats broke into the athlete persona like no other headphone company ever had before.
These takeaways are just the tip of the iceberg. Click here to watch Omar’s full talk on Drift Insider.