#0012 Kevin Derman of Kaskade

Civitas Team

20 business ideas on digital marketing, automation and using tech as a competitive advantage.

Kevin Derman calls himself a technology and human potential evangelist. Before building his two tech start-ups Kaskade and IntelliCred he headed up the Partner and Channel Strategy both for Microsoft South Africa and IBM for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. A Civitas team member sat down with Kevin to discuss the mindset you need to adopt for effective selling, content marketing and the three principles he founded Kaskade around.

Summary of the best ideas from the discussion
  • Try and get everybody in the organisation into a selling mindset.
  • Use digital marketing to put yourself and your business out there.
  • Be persistent and consistent with your brand messaging.
  • When sharing information on social media, always add value to it.
  • Specialising in a specific type of technology means your people are highly skilled and you can offer a lot of value with your solution.
  • Automate as much as you can.

On selling

  1. Try and get everybody in the organisation into a selling mindset. Every time you’re interacting with a customer, you're selling.

  2. The two most important things people want from the person selling to them is trust and honestly. That needs to come through in your business.

On digital marketing

  1. Digital marketing is an important skill as it puts your business out there. It gives you the visibility you need to play in the online space.
  2. Our digital marketing strategy is based on this concept that you need to be persistent and consistent with your messaging.
  3. There's so much noise that's coming at people that they will need to see a message from you at least seven times.
  4. Make sure your marketing message includes emailers, a web presence, and knowledge sharing.
  5. Create content people find valuable and be consistent with your social media posts. 

On planning content

  1. Don’t just click on the share button and post another article. Ask yourself how you can add value to it that your audience will appreciate.
  2. When you share an article, focus on why it’s important, or what are the pitfalls but also include a call to action. It's far more subtle marketing messages that you're delivering to the market. 

On Kaskade's strengths

  1. The business was founded on three key principles: focus, intelligence and possibility.
  2. Have a focus in your business. Like mastering one type of technology, so your team becomes experts and highly skilled. 
  3. Structure your business around automation. 
  4. Focus on the development of your staff. Help people grow into their careers within the business itself.
  5. Ask yourself how you can elevate the possibilities of your customers, how you can improve their business and help them reach their goals.

On automation

  1. Hire developers to write API integrations between your different systems to boost automation.
  2. Or use software like Hubspot that can integrate with your website and your CRM system.
  3. Zapier vs Bespoke: it depends on the level of complexity in what you're trying to achieve. So we've used things like Zapier, and we've done bespoke development for automation as well.

On habits

  1. Make sure that you're getting enough sleep. It’s easy to burn out if you are working from early in the morning to late at night. You need to be rested to counter decision fatigue.

  2. Use exercise and mindfulness like meditation to reduce your fight or flight response that comes with stress
  3. I have always had this belief that everything will work out for the best. However, with the entrepreneurial journey, I think if you balance that with a bit of reality and don’t always expect things to go smoothly, it makes it for an easier ride with less disappointment.

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