Anu Ramani is Managing Director of Isoline Communications, a London-based independent content marketing firm specializing in the technology B2B industry.
1. What is the name of your business? What does your business do?
Isoline Communications. We provide content marketing services for technology and business-to-business companies. For each client we carry out extensive research, and immerse ourselves into their product or service offerings. You wont find any superficial campaigns here!
With our industry knowledge and experience we can offer much more than just content development and marketing services, often forming strategic marketing partnerships for the long term.
2. Why did you get into this field? What opportunities did you see?
I started off in advertising and moved into PR about 20 years ago. Over the years PR as an industry, particularly in B2B tech where I specialised, changed significantly.
Journalists and publications were slowly disappearing for various reasons, with fewer and fewer journos spread very thinly, and PR practitioners were doing a lot of writing. Simultaneously, technology was becoming more complex and fast changing.
I became convinced that tech companies addressing B2B audiences would invest more and more into speaking directly with their customers through clear, compelling content that would be essential for both sales and positioning. I saw this as the biggest need tech B2B marketeers would come to have: and there was nobody out there fully focused on addressing that particular need.
Eventually, I took the plunge into entrepreneurship.
I started the company in 2015. In the face of transformational technological developments like blockchain and IoT, I saw an opportunity to use my knowledge and experience in an exciting and quickly growing sector of the industry. Since then we’ve been growing and expanding the company to meet the needs of our clients.
3. What have been your biggest challenges?
Initially – self-doubt. As I’m sure some other entrepreneurs will have experienced. I had the idea in my head but hesitated for ages wondering if I could actually make it happen. I am an inherently cautious person so perhaps this makes me reach lower than I potentially could achieve. I keep this in mind all the time and try to balance caution with appropriate risk-taking. It’s an ongoing challenge though!
The most difficult aspect of business for me has always been administration. I knew it was in my best interest to get help early on this so I could focus on growth and what I do best.
I think this is an important realization. It’s necessary to have support in place from the beginning even if you think you should be able to handle everything on your own.
The next hurdle was getting the right talent onboard which is such a challenge even today because content marketing in my niche is not as scalable as PR or social marketing. It’s tremendously hard to find people who have that specific skill set. As we continue to grow, a large part of my job is finding new people that will add value to our team.
4. What has been your greatest reward?
As the founder of a start-up, I am used to thinking I had to do it all myself. I always feel incredibly fortunate and honored when clients trust Isoline with their business and seeing the company grow steadily every year has been incredibly fulfilling for me.
Another major high is seeing my team develop and grow to a stage where I can see that the agency has become a self-running machine with a team that’s as invested in its success as I am.
5. If you could change something, what would it be?
I’d have started expanding the team much sooner, I think. It took me some time to gain enough confidence in my proposition and abilities to the point where I felt able to give people jobs. If I could change anything I have done, that would be it.
6. What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Take small steps, as focusing too much on the big picture things can be a bit daunting. If you break down everything that you need to do into manageable tasks, you’ll be able to focus on getting each done.
Focus on your strengths and hire the smartest people you can find to support you. Ask for help – believe me, everyone needs help and advice when venturing out on their own.
Reach out to anyone trustworthy for advice and guidance: bosses, colleagues, clients, suppliers, they can be anyone. Don’t be afraid to change your mind –working and reworking an idea leads to the best results.
And lastly, push for excellence – creating your own company is not small job, it’s going to take everything you’ve got, but any job worth doing is worth doing well.
7. Social Media. Yay or Nay?
I’m going to answer this question from the point of view of an tech organisation addressing a B2B audience. And my answer is – a qualified yay – what any organisation does with or gets out of social media depends very much on their objectives, sector, products and a number of other factors.
8. How do you market your products or services?
As with most agencies, referrals are a big part of getting new clients. We run our social media profiles in house and have an SEO agency help improve our search presence.
9. What is unique about your business?
Savvy storytelling for tech and B2B brands. Our unique selling proposition (USP) is very much our deep roots in the sector, which enables us to become deeply engrained into a client’s technology and a partnership approach, which means we get deeply entrenched into clients’ products and services.
10. Sell me your product/service.
Did you know that 43% of companies say their sales cycle has slowed in recent years? Buyers today prefer to do a significant amount of research on their own before engaging with a rep of any kind: 47% of buyers read between one and three pieces of content before talking to a sales rep, with 60% of business managers saying they believe content helps them make better decisions. If you’re looking to engage with your audiences better, establish a thought leadership positioning, or sell more in tech B2B with content marketing, we’d love to talk further.
11. How can people get in touch with you? What’s your website url and contact information?
You can also email me direct on firstname.lastname@example.org