How the Best Brands Use 3 Categories of Paid Advertising to Grow

Posted on October 6, 2020

In this episode of the GrowthTLDR, we talk to Shane Murphy-Reuter, who heads up marketing for Intercom. Shane leads a marketing team of +70 people at Intercom, helping the company to move upmarket.

We talk to Shane about paid advertising and how companies can more effectively split their budget across direct and brand advertising. We get into how most B2B brands don’t do brand advertising well and give examples of companies who excel in that area.

We then discuss the three categories of paid advertising, brand, problem, and product, and how companies should use them.



Time Stamped Notes:

[3:30] – At PaddyPower, Shane was responsible for direct response. In his first year, he grew new users by 45%; in the second year, that growth dropped to 5%. That decline was the result of reducing the brand advertising budget in favor of direct response. 

Shane describes how they remedied that problem using a share of voice studies to more effectively allocate money across direct and brand advertising.

[9:35] – Shane gives some examples of how PaddyPower calculated their share of voice. 

[10:30] – When you spend money on brand advertising, you should see the unit economics of your direct response ads improve. 

[13:15] – Shane talks through how heads of marketing can segment their budget between brand advertising and direct response. Shanes talks about the three categories of advertising – brand-led, problem-led, and product-led.

[16:35] – The ratios of how you allocate the paid advertising budget across brand, problem, and product would change depending on your company size.

[19:40] – To do great marketing, you need two core insights, an emotional insight, and a functional insight. B2B brands are great at the functional insight, how the product works, but not as good at the emotional insight, how it should make their audience feel.

[23:40] – The content team at Intercom directly reports into Shane. The team’s goals are split between brand metrics, demand metrics, and revenue influence.

[25:45] – Intercom has a single centralized content team, and that team works across different company goals. Shane talks about other team structures companies could adopt for content marketing.

[28:00] – The priority for Intercom’s marketing team is to help move the company upmarket. 

[30:30] – We talk to Shane about how the marketing team at Intercom had to adapt to an ever-crowded market.


– Shane on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Kieran on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Scott on Twitter / LinkedIn