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A How-To Guide On Getting Inside Of A Customer’s Brain

A How-To Guide On Getting Inside Of A Customer’s Brain written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Nancy Harhut

Nancy Harhut, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Nancy Harhut. Nancy is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at HBT Marketing. A frequent conference speaker and author of Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive Customer Action and Loyalty by Prompting Instinctive Responses.

Key Takeaway:

Behavioral scientists have studied how people make decisions and what they found is very often people aren’t making these well-thought-out, well-considered decisions. What people are doing instead is we’re relying on decision-making shortcuts, which are these automatic, instinctive, reflexive behaviors that humans have developed over the millennia as a way to conserve mental energy. In this episode, Nancy Harhut joins me to talk about how we as marketers can increase the likelihood that people will engage with and respond to our marketing messages.

Questions I ask Nancy Harhut:

  • [1:29] How do you define instinctive responses?
  • [4:00] Do you ever worry that people might learn behavioral science and create instinctive responses that are not necessarily for good?
  • [5:45] Where do you see marketers getting this idea of using behavioral science in the marketing realm?
  • [6:46] How do we create emotion so that they get the opportunity to back it up with logic?
  • [10:47] A lot of times we will do things to avoid pain or immediate loss before we will do things that are good for us. I’ve heard marketers talk about people will buy painkillers instead of vitamins. How does that one play into a marketer’s ability to get an instinctive response?
  • [11:48] Are there positive ways to use scarcity and urgency?
  • [13:45] How does reciprocation come into play with humans?
  • [17:23] How do you bring some urgency and scarcity to businesses that have a very long sales cycle?
  • [19:33] Do you find that any of these techniques or these approaches are more effective visually versus words or stories?
  • [21:18] When a client comes to you and they’re struggling with a challenge, do you have kind of a checklist you use, or is every case unique?
  • [22:23] One of the things you’ve done in the book is that you kind of break down at the end of the chapter with action steps. Do you also have some checklists and things that people can download as well?
  • [23:22] Where can people learn more about your work, connect with you, and get a copy of your book?

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

An Action Plan For Embracing Change

An Action Plan For Embracing Change written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Jason Feifer

Jason Feifer, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Jason Feifer. Jason Feifer is the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine and the author of the book — Build for Tomorrow: An Action Plan for Embracing Change, Adapting Fast, and Future-Proofing Your Career.

Key Takeaway:

The moments of greatest change can also be the moments of greatest opportunity. We experience change in four phases. The first is panic. Then we adapt. Then we find a new normal. And then, finally, we reach the phase we could not have imagined in the beginning, the moment when we realize that we wouldn’t go back. In this episode, I talk with the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine, Jason Feifer, about how to make change happen on your own terms.

Questions I ask Jason Feifer:

  • [1:19] What does an editor-in-chief at a magazine actually do?
  • [3:23] Your book is essentially about embracing change, and there are four phases. As I was reading I saw panic and adaptation, and that sort of reminded me how that’s exactly what we’ve been doing these last two years — right?
  •  [6:28] Would you say that when you read and write things you’re always looking to answer the question – “where’s the insight in this?”
  • [10:30] You talk about the payoff for change being – you wouldn’t go back. Could you describe that idea and then share what a wouldn’t go back moment for you?
  •  [13:35] What would you say is one of the greatest benefits of change?
  • [19:24] What do you mean by future-proofing your career?
  •  [23:54] Where can people connect with you, learn more about your work, and grab a copy of your book?

More AboutJason Feifer:

More About The Agency Workshop:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Marketing Against the Grain, hosted by Kip Bodner and Keion Flanigan is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Look, if you wanna know what’s happening now in marketing, what’s ahead and how you can stay ahead of the game, this is the podcast for you, host and HubSpot’s, CMO and SVP of Marketing. Kip and Keion share their marketing expertise unfiltered in the details of truth and like nobody tells it. Fact. A recent episode, they titled Half Baked Marketing Ideas They Got Down In the Weeds, talked about some outside of the box campaigns with real businesses. Listen to marketing, its grain wherever you get your podcasts.

(00:55): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Jason Feifer. He’s the editor in chief of Entrepreneur Magazine and the author of a book we’re gonna talk about today, build for Tomorrow, an action plan for embracing change, adapting fast and future proofing your career. So Jason, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks for having me. Appreciate it. So I’ve always wondered what is an editor in chief at a magazine Actually do it. It is confusing. I mean all of media is confusing to people. I totally understand that. So I mean, look, it’s a little bit different at every publication, but generally speaking, an editor in chief is responsible for the editorial direction of either the whole brand or you know, at least certain parts of it. And in my case, that means that I am directly overseeing the day to day operations of the print magazine.

(01:54): I also am very involved in the editorial direction of digital, though we have a digital director who’s involved, who’s really running that day to day. And then I’m involved in very high level decisions about the brand more broadly. And I, I work very closely with the ad sales team. I’m often on calls meeting with clients and I’m also the face of the brand. So I’ll go out and represent the brand on television or radio or in podcasts like this. So that’s, you know, that’s what it means. Basically I’m, you know, part of, I’m part a director of brand, I don’t know, connection. I’m trying to come up with corporate language here, but I don’t, you know, I don’t really know. But basically I’m the guy who decides what we should be covering and why and the tone and feel of the brand. Yeah, so you might be the one saying, you know what, sometime in the next quarter we need to do an issue on AI or something like that.

(02:46): Yeah, that’s exactly right. And then what are those stories exactly gonna be and who should we assign to write them? And now that they’ve come in, let me read through that, you know, and give feedback and work with the other editors to make sure that everything is really up to stuff. And also make sure that, that I’ve set the tone for, you know, well if we’re gonna do a thing about AI then we gotta make sure we have a nice mix of these stories and who’s gonna be on the cover and now I gotta go negotiate with some publicist about which celebrity we’re gonna put on and on. And you were, uh, as if Memory serves me, you were a fast company in that capacity at some point as well. I was not as editor in chief, I was a senior editor of Fast Company.

(03:21): Yeah. So that, you know, sort of in the middle of the totem pole there. Okay. So let’s talk about your book. I’m gonna jump right into the middle of it. You talk about change, which essentially that’s what the book’s about, right? Part of the subtitle Embracing Change, you, you talk about it in four phases, panic, where do I have it? Panic, adaption, new Normal wouldn’t go back. And it’s funny, but as I read that component, I was like, well that’s exactly what we’ve been doing the last two years, isn’t it? It sure is and, and I, and that’s exactly where the observation came from, was watching how everybody went through the same change at the same time that started the Pandemic and then all I think went through the same emotional journey but all diverged quite radically in how they responded to it. Yeah. What’s interesting about that is, I mean, rarely do we get the chance to experience that so sharply and maybe in such a quick timeframe, right?

(04:12): I mean often, I mean, change is happening to us all the time, but in sometimes it’s just so slow we don’t really perceive it. So, so that was a great exam. I mean that was a great sort of laboratory, if you will, for, you know, how it actually happens, wasn’t it? Yeah, it sure was. And it was incredibly instructive. I had gone into the pandemic thinking a lot about this subject and I had come to this conclusion that the thing that drives success more than anything else is somebody’s ability to be adaptive. But I hadn’t quite gotten down to what they’re doing and my big theory of the case, and that really came because of the pandemic. And in particular, funny enough, it came because, you know, I had mentioned a minute ago that I have to go on all these or have to, is not the right phrase.

(04:59): It is my pleasure to go on all these sales calls with entrepreneurs, sales team talking to clients. And I was being asked all the time during those calls, especially in the first year of the pandemic, well what is, you know, what’s on entrepreneurs’ minds and what are they doing and how are they reacting? And because people kept asking me, I was trying to come up with a kind of simple narrative of what it is that I was seeing. And as I told this story over and over again, it just sort of coalesced into this little four phases of change thing. And as I said it, people responded very positively and said, you know what, that makes a lot of sense. And I started to share it with entrepreneurs who were going through major changes or had gone through major changes and they said, yeah, I think you’re really right about that.

(05:40): So I started to try to map on top of that all the lessons and insights that I was gathering from people and it just felt like a real progression of, of what the experience was. And I came over with a couple things from that, but one of the big ones was how incredibly powerful it is to be able to take observations and turn it into narrative form. That when you’re trying to share insights and information with people, whether it’s in a sales call or a book or anything in between, being able to map insights on top of a story is incredibly valuable because it helps people understand conceptually what you’re talking about. And it also helps them find themselves within your story. And that’s where I think you can really hook them and start to have more interesting conversations. Well, you probably have become possibly become more aware of that in the editorial copy that you write, that you read I’m guessing, is you start looking for those, like where’s the insight in this?

(06:39): Oh yeah, all the time. I mean, I am obsessed with how my theory of media for whatever it’s worth is that I don’t think that anybody wants to read a magazine. I don’t think that anyone wants to read a book. I don’t think that anyone wants to listen to a podcast. I think what they want is valuable information that they can use and or a useful experience, right? Right. I mean, sometimes people are just doing things for entertainment and that’s fine, it’s an escape or whatever the case is. But you have to be aware that the medium by itself is not the reason that people come. Nobody picks up the magazine because they love a magazine. They pick up a magazine because they love useful information and a magazine just happens to be a good delivery mechanism for them. So I try to take that insight and really remind myself of it on a minute by minute basis.

(07:25): So if I’m having a conversation with somebody or if I’m, you know, if I’m on stage being asked questions, I understand that even if you’re asking a question about me, you’re really asking a question about yourself. So I better in my answer, make sure that I’m taking insights and then turning them back and making them useful to you. Um, it’s, it’s why, you know, if you ask me on this podcast, you’re welcome to. So sort of personal question I’ll answer it. But what I’ll try to do is instantly search for the way in which whatever you asked me, whatever I’m talking about myself, how can that offer some kind of insight for an audience? Like how could this be useful to you? Cause again, I’m thinking just like, I don’t think that you care about picking up a magazine. I don’t think you care about me or there’s no reason that somebody’s listening to this right now because they care about me.

(08:09): What they care about is that I might say something that’s useful to them and that’s great. That’s exactly how we all should think. So I and everybody else who creates any kind of content or anything that people consume, we should be very aware of that at all times. So, so now we are going to continue our show on cynicism. , it’s not cynicism it’s, but you know, it’s funny but people sometimes interpret it like that, but it’s not cynicism, it’s optimism. It what it is. It’s a belief that you have an audience that is deeply engaged in something powerful to them, right? Everybody is trying to build something for themselves and they should. And so what they’re doing is they’re going through the world looking for insights that can be useful to them. And we, we, as the people in front of them, in whatever way we’re in front of them, whether we’re trying to sell them something or market something to them or speak to them or write something for them, we have to be incredibly aware of what is so important to them so that we can make sure that we are paying off on that.

(09:05): It’s funny cuz I, that reaction that you gave is one that I get a lot when I say things like this, but I don’t mean to say that this is, this isn’t a cynical thing at all. This is like, know your value. Yeah. Because if you know your value, you can pay off to people incredibly well. Yeah. And I was completely getting, um, you know, I understand because it could be interpreted that way, but I’ve said for forever as a marketer, you know, nobody wants what we sell. They want the problem solved. And that’s really how we have, that’s absolutely the right framework to look at it. Are you an agency owner, consultant or coach that works with business owners? Then I want to talk to you about adding a new revenue stream to your business that will completely change how you work with clients.

(09:41): For the first time ever, you can license and use the Duct Tape Marketing system and methodology in your business through an upcoming three day virtual workshop. Give us three days and you’ll walk away with a complete system that changes how you think about your agency’s growth. The Duct Tape Marketing System is a turnkey set of processes for installing a marketing system that starts with strategy and moves to long-term retainer implementation engagements. We’ve developed a system by successfully working with thousands of businesses. Now you can bring it to your agency and benefit from all the tools, templates, systems and processes we’ve developed to find out when our next workshop is being held. Visit dtm.world/workshop, that’s dtm.world/workshop.

(10:31): Going back to these phases again. Yeah, I, my personal favorites panic, I mean I like the messy, but you, you’re talking about wouldn’t go back as really the payoff, you know, for going through the change.

(10:42): So maybe two, two part question here. Maybe describe that idea or that you know what’s in that and then maybe talk about, you know, put you on the spot a little bit. What’s a wouldn’t go back moment for you? Yeah, so wouldn’t go back is what I say is the real payoff of the four phases of change where you reach a moment where you say, I have something so new and valuable that I wouldn’t want to go back to a time before I had it. And what this really is recognizing that there was more than one way to do something and that in fact that these other ways that maybe you were forced into through some kind of crisis or disruption or that you were proactive in trying to figure out how to grow beyond whatever it is that you initially built. That this requires discovering something that wasn’t on your original roadmap, but that once you get there you recognize it has tremendous transformative transformational value.

(11:37): And, and one of the ways I think people can do that is to do what I like to call to reconsider the impossible, which is to basically take stock of the ideas that you had discarded because they possibly are actually the ones that are gonna be the most transformational. I think we all build these filters for ourselves and, and we say the good ideas are in here, the bad ideas are out there, but you know, those filters are faulty, they’re understandable. We can’t consider every idea at every moment of the day. We don’t have the time for it. But we have to recognize, especially as we build systems and we start to incentivize the people around us to, you know, do everything better, faster, and cheaper, that we also have to make sure that we’re building systems that take into account that, that people are gonna have new needs.

(12:18): That, that the way in which we operate is going to shift and change and we better make sure that we’re alert to how to be adaptive to that or else we’re gonna become irrelevant. You asked about me, I mean, one of the things that I, when I started at Entrepreneur Magazine, my background is in media. So I was at, as you mentioned, fast Company, but also me, men’s Health Maxim. I freelanced for everybody from GQ to Slate to whatever. And, and so I got to entrepreneur, I really thought of it as a media project. You know, I’m here to remake the magazine, I’m here to make media and, and then people, when I would go out into the world, they wouldn’t treat me as a media person. They would treat me as a thought leader in entrepreneurship. And I was deeply uncomfortable by that at first because, you know, I just did, I felt like a fraud.

(13:01): But eventually I realized there was a massive opportunity if I could just understand what it was that people wanted for me and also find the honest way in for myself. Because look, I’m not the guy who can tell you exactly how to grow your business from a, you know, $1 million company to a $10 million company to a hundred. That, that’s not me, that’s not my background. But my background is in people. I understand people, I understand how they think, I understand how they process information and I can take those lessons and I can turn them into value for other people. So I wanted to figure out where’s my place in all this and if I could do that, then I could remake the way that I think about myself and also seize the larger opportunity, which is really the reason I’m talking to you right now.

(13:43): Nobody asked me to write a book, nobody asked me to be on all these podcasts or to go, uh, you know, do keynote talks for companies. But that was the opportunity available and I wanted to make sure I was able to rise to meet it. What would you say is one of the greatest, ultimate benefits of change? I mean, sometimes change is hard, sometimes change hurts, sometimes change ends you up somewhere that wasn’t as lucrative, for example, as you previously were, but there’s a payoff isn’t there to going, having gone through that or can there be Oh, I think, yeah, certainly there can be, and I think that there often is, you know, I mean look, oftentimes when we’re talking about people navigating change is sometimes of their own making a decision. And a lot of times it is reactive. It’s that we were doing something for a long time and it stopped working and so we had to do something else.

(14:32): So look, part of part of the value of it is not drowning is is building this kind of knowledge that things are going to change into the way in which you operate so that you don’t leave yourself vulnerable to a disruption that is incredibly hard to overcome. That’s really the power here is to be thinking is the reason I called the book Build for Tomorrow, is like, what are you doing today that is anticipating tomorrow? Because Harvard Business Review ran this piece a couple years ago that asked this question, which is why do big companies stop innovating? And the answer that was offered was because big companies start with an innovation and then over time they shift all of their energy and all of their incentives towards efficiency. How do we make things better, faster and cheaper? And that’s fine, nothing wrong with efficiency, but the problem is that if top to bottom everybody’s incentivized towards efficiency, then nobody is thinking about how this company is gonna have to change because you know, your blockbuster and Netflix is coming along and that’s how you see complete destruction, not just disruption.

(15:41): So I think that’s one, one way to think about it. The other way to think about it is that, is that they’re, I think oftentimes we sell ourselves short. I think that successful people sell themselves short because they say, you know, maybe the reason why I have this level of success was some combination of luck and timing that doesn’t exist anymore and there’s just simply no way that I could recreate it. And I just don’t, I just don’t think that’s true. I think that’s a good, that’s a way in which people end up holding onto old things for too long. But if instead you give yourself some credit and you own some of your success, then you say, you know what? Maybe I have something here and I could build even more than I have right now. Or I could build even bigger. I could solve problems that I can’t just let sit around until they eat at the foundation that I’m standing upon.

(16:26): The more that we just accept that new does not equal bad, then the more I think we can liberate ourselves to try to build that new ourselves. Well, I mean in a way it sounds like you’re advocating that, you know, if somebody’s been in a job, been in a career, been doing something for, you know, a certain period of time, that it may still feel comfortable, but maybe you almost need to force change that to put yourself out there to say, Hey, I need to do new things because I’m starting to do mediocre. I mean, I think this is a concept to call work your next job that I think everybody should be doing. Whether you own your own company or you are working for someone else’s company work, your next job is to remind that in front of you you have two sets of opportunities.

(17:12): Opportunities set a opportunity, set B opportunity, set A is everything that’s asked of you. So you have a boss or you have clients, whatever it is, like your ability to deliver on their expectations is opportunity. Set a opportunity set B is everything that’s available to you that nobody’s asking you to do. And you know, that could be within the work structure you have that could also be outside where you say, oh, I like podcasts, maybe I should start a podcast. My belief and the way that I built my career and the way that I watch others do too is that I think that they, I believe that opportunities set B is always more important. Opportunities say A, you know, doing the things that are expected of you, those are not unimportant, you have to do those. But opportunity set B is where growth is gonna happen.

(17:58): That’s where you’re going open up additional opportunities that you hadn’t seen before. I mean, you know, you look at the greatest companies in the world and what they tended to do was start in a very narrow space, prove their model and their understanding of what their value was, and then start to expand outward from there by understanding what people need and therefore building that back into who they are. And companies transform as a result, right? What you’re watching is really people who are, uh, leaders who are recognizing that the greatest thing that they can do for their company is test something now so that they can understand what’s going to be of value tomorrow to people. There’s just, you know, look, there’s nothing wrong If you have something and it works for you, I’m not telling you to throw it away, that’s ridiculous. But what I am telling you is that the, there’s a high likelihood that the thing that you’re doing right now is simply not going to work as well tomorrow as it does today because the world changes.

(18:52): And if you don’t change with it, then you become outmoded slowly but surely. So let’s build that reality into what we do. Let’s build systems in which we’re recognizing what’s changing around us and then running little experiments. Let’s make sure that, you know, if we’re running a business, that we’re constantly talking to our customers and understanding where they are moving towards so that we can take those insights and build them back into the way that we serve them now. Because everything has to be an evolution. And if you don’t think of it that way, then you’re gonna be stuck in the past. Yeah, and you know, again, um, subtitle the book, future Proofing Your Career. I mean, what you’re talking about there is really, I mean there’s probably always gonna be a market out there somewhere for that plan B, bucket B stuff you’re working on, right?

(19:37): If it’s not appreciated where you are, that’s really how you, I mean, I’m guessing that’s an element of future proof proofing your career, isn’t it? Oh yeah, without question. And I think that you, if we’re just talking about individual people and individual careers and individual skill sets, then, you know, then, I mean just to simplify it then it’s so interesting because what, look, think about your own career or the careers people who you know you’re close with are very impressed by it. And what you’ll see is this kind of wacky zigzag, right? Where they did one thing and it led to something that seemed completely different, which led to something else. I mean, how am I running Entrepreneur Magazine? It, it’s not because of some straightforward path, it’s because of like all of these random roles that I held over time that, that, that have a logic to them because I worked at Men’s Health and that taught me this particular kind of writing style.

(20:25): And then, and then I went to Fast Company, which fine, I worked at a magazine, but really the value there was that I worked at the video team and, and I got in front of the camera and I learned how to present, which many years later, the CEO and president of Entrepreneur Media would see that stuff and say, oh, this guy can be a good representative of this brand and that helps us feel confident that he should be an editor in chief Chief. So the more in which we are embracing this little zigzag path, while being mindful that some of the greatest opportunities are the ones that we aren’t going to have anticipated, the more that we’re really clearing the way for success. Malcolm Gladwell told me, I interviewed him, you know, bestselling author and podcast her and all sorts of things. Malcolm Gladwell, he told me when we were speaking for the magazine a couple years ago, he said, self concepts are powerfully limiting.

(21:15): And I mean, I just, I love that so much. I wrote it down and stuck it on my wall. Self-conception are powerfully limiting that if you have two narrow a definition of yourself, then you will turn down all the opportunities that don’t meet that narrow definition and therefore you will actually limit your ability to grow. I try to take that to heart pretty much with everything that I do. His audiobook with Paul Simon right up there with one of my favorites. Malcolm Glad was what you just said is interesting though, because there’s a fine line between that idea of limiting yourself and staying focused on, you know, not just chasing every new thing that comes down, you know, and that’s, that’s the real trick is under, is understanding where to get off path, what to chase, what not to chase, where, how to stay focused. And I think that’s, that that’s the part that many people stumble and have trouble with.

(22:06): Yeah, I think you’re totally right and look, it depends upon your circumstance, right? I mean, I hear lots of different versions of that problem from, I’ve been speaking to a lot of college students lately and cuz of the book, I’m going to a sort of college tour and there was a kid at Drexel University who just came up to me and he was like, you know, he wants to do seven different things and they’re all like wildly different, you know, and so which one is he supposed to do? And, and I hear that and then I also hear companies who have 10 different ideas of what they should be doing right now is not the resources to pursue all 10 of them. And one of the, I mean look, there’s, there’s all sorts of ways to answer that question, but I think one of the foundational things to think about is it came from conversation I had with Katie Milkman who studies sort of how people change and make decisions at Wharton.

(22:55): She’s a professor there and she said, you know, one of the greatest mistakes that we make is that we think of everything that we do as permanent. And, and so, you know, she told me, she was like, look, this advice is not gonna sound revolution. It kind of is because people often overlook it, which is to just give ourself, give ourselves the permission to run experiments to, to simply think, you know, I’m going to try something and it might be of value and it might not be of value. And both of those are, okay, so let’s go into something and maybe let’s set a three, three month check in and a six month check in and see if there’s value here and if there is, let’s continue. And if not, maybe we move on to something else. But you know, there’s no fault in having tried it. The more that we can just think of what we’re doing as experiments, the more in which we give ourselves the freedom to just explore some of those avenues and see whether they’re worthwhile. But we have to pick some of them and we have to go down that path. It’s the only way to know whether there’s value there.

(23:53): Speaking with Jason Feifer, the author of Build for Tomorrow, Jason, you wanna tell people where they can connect with you, obviously in other than the mass head of the magazine, there are other places you might send people and of course to get a copy of your book as well. Yeah, sure. So built for Tomorrow, you can find in any format you like. So, uh, hardcover, audio book, ebook, what basically any retailer you like. So anyway, again, it’s built for tomorrow. And then otherwise my website is JasonFeifer.com. It’s got links to all sorts of stuff that I produce from podcasts to free audio guides and, and also you can find me on LinkedIn or Instagram where I’m extremely active and responsive. Awesome. Well thanks again for taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road. Hey, appreciate it.

(24:38): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

Effective Ways To Differentiate And Scale Your Business

Effective Ways To Differentiate And Scale Your Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Debbie Howard

Debby Howard, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Debbie Howard. Debbie is the co-founder and CEO of Senior Living SMART, a full-service marketing agency focused exclusively on the senior housing and care industry. Debbie is also a proud member of the DTM network for the last 3 years.

Key Takeaway:

A major challenge many businesses face is trying to find ways to differentiate and scale. And in order to do that, it starts with having a proven process and systems that works. In this episode, Debbie Howard shares how licensing the Duct Tape Marketing system gave her business the runway and framework to grow, scale, and thrive in her industry.

Questions I ask Debbie Howard:

  • [1:31] How did you get to where you are now?
  • [3:36] As anybody with aging parents will probably tell you certainly, senior living is a really emotional purchase – how does that kind of color your thinking in terms of marketing?
  • [5:34] Do you find that in some ways that the industry you’re in needs to come into the modern age? And do you also find though that some of what we might call the old school or traditional or offline marketing approaches are a significant part of what you need to do?
  • [7:17] What’s been the hardest thing as you’ve grown and what has been a constant struggle for you?
  • [10:20] As you’ve grown your business, what’s really been the most rewarding aspect of where you are today?
  • [11:24] Are there pros and cons to working in one very narrow niche?
  • [15:30] What would you attribute to the growth of your organization?
  • [17:13] Are there any trends going on that you’ve spotted over the last year or two that you’ve really been able to take advantage of?
  • [21:01] What are some places you like to turn to to get personal development and business development?
  • [22:35] Where can people connect with you and find out more about your work?

More About Debbie Howard:

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Marketing Against the Grain, hosted by Kip Bodner and Keion Flanigan is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Look, if you wanna know what’s happening now in marketing, what’s ahead and how you can stay ahead of the game, this is the podcast for you, host and HubSpot’s, CMO and SVP of Marketing. Kip and Keion share their marketing expertise unfiltered in the details, the truth, and nobody tells it. In fact, a recent episode, they titled Half Baked Marketing Ideas, they Got Down In The Weeds, talked about some outside of the box campaigns with real businesses. Listen to marketing, its grain, wherever you get your podcast.

(00:55): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Debbie Howard. She is the co-founder and CEO of Senior Living Smart, a full service marketing agency focused exclusively on the senior housing and care industry. It’s also a proud member of the Duct Tape Marketing Network for the last three years. So guess we’re gonna probably talk about that too. So Debbie, welcome to the show.

Debbie Howard (01:20): Thanks, John. Such a pleasure to be here.

John Jantsch (01:22): So tell me how you got your business started. Not everybody wakes up one day and says, I think I’m gonna start a marketing business that caters to the senior living space. So how did you come to where you are now?

Debbie Howard (01:34): Yeah, never my dream either. John , so well, myself and my business partner Andrea. We grew up in the senior living industry, and we both started at the single community location. I was in sales and marketing, and Andrea was in operations and dementia care. And we just kind of rose through the ranks with some of the largest senior living operators, publicly traded companies in regional divisional, and then national VP positions. And before starting Senior Living Smart, I was a national VP of sales and marketing for Five Star, which was the fifth largest senior living company. And we just decided that we thought we had something that we could bring the industry from the perspective of having worked in the industry and then translating that into solutions that were more realistic than what people were proposing who really hadn’t grown up in the industry.

John Jantsch (02:25): Yeah. So it’s funny you were kind of on the other side. I mean, you were being pitched by people like you right now to now today. And so did you have that kind of moment where you just said, what people are pitching us is not where we could do so much better? I mean, was it kind of that aha, I guess?

Debbie Howard (02:45): I think the aha was just that we always had to bring them the ideas. They were a marketing agency that just kind of said, oh, well, what do you want us to do this quarter? ?

John Jantsch (02:55): Right, right,

Debbie Howard (02:56): Right. So because they didn’t know the industry, they just didn’t have that ability to come into the conversation with something innovative. And so we just found that the industry was just borrowing examples from other people within the industry. And we are not a tremendously innovative and technology savvy industry. So all that we’re doing is looking inside of ourselves to get those ideas and concepts and marketing strategies. We’re probably just gonna look a lot like everybody else. And it was very just vanilla. It was all very generic. We thought there has to be a way to really elevate the conversation within our industry.

John Jantsch (03:37): As anybody with aging parents will probably tell you certainly. And that’s again, a lot of the people that are making the decision with their parents. Hopefully it’s a really emotional purchase, probably one of the more emotional purchases anybody will make. How’s that kind of color your thinking in terms of marketing? Obviously you’re not marketing a $29 product or even a very expensive course or program. You’re marketing something pretty expensive, but also something terribly emotional.

Debbie Howard (04:05): It is. It’s so emotional. It’s not transactional at all. And so the approach has to be relational. And I think that the difficult thing is you’re really pitching to two audiences kind of simultaneously. So mostly for assisted living in memory care, which is more needs driven, your primary audience is the adult children, usually the adult daughter, John . The guys are like, well, maybe my sister will take this conversation. And so mostly it’s the adult daughters or daughter-in-laws, but then you still have to have a compelling message for your future residents so that they’re going to see the value and benefit of moving into a community environment. Whereas if you’re dealing with active adult 55 plus Margaritaville, it can be a lot more aspirational, a lot more creative, and a lot more fun. And those messages, the primary audience is then the older adult who’s gonna be living in the community, but they’re always gonna have to be supported by their adult children. Influencers who still need to be part of that conversation.

John Jantsch (05:06): Well, when the decision’s been made and it’s time to call somebody to put the move together, you call the guy then though, right?

Debbie Howard (05:13): Oh yeah. You call the guy . Yeah. And when it’s time to sign the contract, pay the bills, .

John Jantsch (05:20): So you know, mentioned the idea that the industry was a little behind in the digital space, a lot of industries, again, you talked about this relational aspect, the fact that there’s a physical location as opposed to say a virtual purchase. Do you find that in some ways, while they need to come into the modern age and digital is here to stay, do you also find though that some of what we might call old school or traditional or offline kind of hybrid approaches are a significant part of what you need to do?

Debbie Howard (05:53): Yeah, it’s definitely a hybrid approach, and certainly direct mail is still in the mix and is very effective. Our audience still gets the newspaper and still goes out and gets that mail and responds to it. It’s just a matter of integrating it. So use of QR codes, things like Bit Lees that can track the engagement event, bright other event type systems that you can get RSVPs where maybe the initial point might be a traditional marketing might be newspaper or direct mail ends up being a digital transaction. But the fact that it is so relational and it’s so emotional means that you have to be on all channels all the time, but with different messages. And I think that’s really the compelling part. And the length of the sales cycle, especially with the assisted living, has increased their sales cycle by about 36%. It takes, wow, over 200 days and 22 touch points to go from maybe a realization that I’ve gotta have a different solution, or dad’s not as being successful at home as they were. They needed a more supportive environment, 22 touchpoints in like 200 days to get to decision. And so there’s a lot of marketing within those 22 touchpoints,

John Jantsch (07:07): . So let’s talk a little bit about your journey some more too. You know, start your business five years ago

Debbie Howard (07:13): Ish. Actually it was 10 years, but we just became a marketing agency five years ago.

John Jantsch (07:17): Okay, so let’s start there. What’s been the hardest thing as you’ve grown? And again, maybe it’s like, well, next week is the hardest thing, but , what do you find that has always been a constant struggle for you?

Debbie Howard (07:32): I think for us is just trying to differentiate and then scale. And I think that’s really why we entered into conversations around Duct Tape Marketing Network because we were trying to figure it out on our own. We’d never owned a marketing agency. It wasn’t our intention that it was really just people kept saying, Deb, your background is all sales and marketing. We just need leads. We just need occupancy. Why don’t you just focus on marketing? And so it was really external forces that kind of narrowed our scope of our work, which was more general consulting in nature operations and dementia care and everything else. So we landed about five years ago on, okay, all you need are leads. Okay, great. I can do that, we can do that as a team. But then we really lacked, I think having the system to scale. And to me, we were looking for, okay, now we’ve gotta figure out how to do contracts and what our processes is and how to document our ways of working and how do we make things turnkey and scalable, and how do we onboard new clients and how do we onboard new team members?

(08:36): And we just didn’t have the time to start from scratch. And so Duct Tape Marketing really offered us the ability to go into versus that our, it’s much easier to be an editor than to start from scratch so I could go in and download something and then make it work for our team or for our industry. So that really became the biggest focus for us was I feel like we’ve licensed a system that gives us a framework. And that framework resonates with prospects who most of the time don’t understand. Marketing feels kind of fluffy into a system that they can really understand. You can’t argue with the fact that you need to be on all these channels and they need to integrate. No one can argue with that. And it also gives us a framework as a team as well.

John Jantsch (09:19): Are you an agency owner, consultant or coach that works with business owners? Then I want to talk to you about adding a new revenue stream to your business that will completely change how you work with clients. For the first time ever, you can license and use the Duct Tape Marketing system and methodology in your business through an upcoming three day virtual workshop. Give us three days and you’ll walk away with a complete system that changes how you think about your agency’s growth. The Duct Tape Marketing System is a turnkey set of processes for installing a marketing system that starts with strategy and moves to retainer implementation engagements. We’ve developed a system by successfully working with thousands of businesses. Now you can bring it to your agency and benefit from all the tools, templates, systems and processes we’ve developed to find out when our next workshop is being held, visit dtm.world/workshop. That’s dtm.world/workshop.

(10:20): So as you’ve grown your business, I guess the flip side of what’s been a challenge, what’s really been the most rewarding aspect of where you are today?

Debbie Howard (10:28): I think it’s just really seeing the results. Talking to, we’re into our quarterly or our quarterly reporting and talking to clients saying, thank you for bringing us these ideas that we would never have thought of on our own. It’s, it’s really helped. Other agencies have just executed to what we’ve kind of laid out in terms of a roadmap, but you’ve really come in and said, Hey, why don’t we try this? Whether it’s virtual events that was totally new to our industry before it was all driving people into the community and we had to reimagine that whole experience. And so being creative and innovative within the space that probably isn’t known for being creative and innovative is probably the most rewarding. You

John Jantsch (11:15): Have chosen a fairly narrow niche that’s a lot of people give that advice for marketers. I’d love to hear your opinion. Do you feel like working in one very narrow niche? I mean, are there pros and cons to each? I mean, do you sometimes wake up and go, oh, it’s great we got another new client, but wouldn’t it be interesting if we had a client that did something we weren’t familiar with ? So again, obviously you’re happy where you are, you love the niche you’re in, that’s why you chose it. But I’m just curious if you have ever thought to yourself, there’s kind of pros and cons to that, that

Debbie Howard (11:53): There definitely are pros and cons, and I think you would go crazy in a niche industry, John, you’d be like, I’m bored. I need to learn something new. For us, we’ve grown up in this industry, we know it inside out and backwards, and it just really makes sense. I don’t need to go out and learn about people who have carpentry companies or car repair companies. It really is that expertise. I think where it can really be a con is if you allow it to get kind of that wash, rinse, repeat, yeah. And you end up, there’s advantages to being turnkey and to have some packaged strategies that work consistently, but then you’ve gotta tie into each individual client and really understand their personas, their better and different story. And then I think you have to constantly be intentional about innovation. And that’s another thing I really appreciate about being part of the network is I don’t have the time always to go out and demo a million solutions. I get pitched a lot. I’m sure you get pitched a lot. And to be able to go and have a network and say, Hey, has anyone tried this? Are you using it now? Or can you gimme some insight into how you’re applying? It’s a great time saver because we have to constantly be fresh to keep our teams engaged and keep our clients engaged for year after year. From a retention standpoint,

John Jantsch (13:14): And I’m sure every industry has these players. I know that in your industry there are people that focus on that niche also. But I, you’re right. I think some people take that approach and think, oh, we can just template this entire thing and we’re basically just selling a product then without any strategy behind it. I’m sure you encounter that all the time, don’t you?

Debbie Howard (13:32): Yeah, especially we have in our industry, some website providers that, here’s five templates, pick your website. They all look alike. They’re terrible, they don’t perform well, but people feel like it’s an easy button and you’re basically renting your website. You really don’t own it. And so I think for us, we’ve kind of developed three sub niches. So we have the for-profit senior living space, which is rental. We have the Not for Profit, which is a buy-in kind of life plan guarantee. And then we’ve actually evolved into business to business companies that serve the senior living industry. So we kind of have three different sub-verticals, and that also keeps it really interesting and really fresh.

John Jantsch (14:17): And one of the things that drives me crazy when I’ve come across some of those, the legal profession is notorious for them as well, is that they also lock people into these websites. And then if you wanna leave, it’s like, well, okay, see you later. But you’re starting from scratch now, and people don’t realize 3, 4, 5 years down the road how damaging that’s gonna be for their business, do

Debbie Howard (14:37): They? They don’t understand the consequences. And in our industry, they do two year contracts, which autorenew, if you miss that window, you are stuck . And we’ve had clients that have had to pay $60,000 to buy out so that we can build up something good on WordPress. And really, it just breaks my heart that people are still kind of falling for that, oh, here for 500, $600 a month, we’ll do your website. And then you try to get reports and they’re like, oh, you don’t need those . And then we try to get in to run Google AdWord campaigns, and then the client finds out they don’t actually own their Google ad account, they don’t have access to their Google Analytics. This website company really owns them, which is not a good place to be .

John Jantsch (15:25): Well, I mean, it’s basically extortion . Yeah. Quite frankly. So let’s call it what it is. So talk a little bit about the growth of your organization because you’ve shared some numbers with me or some percentages with me, and you’ve had pretty significant growth over the last couple years. What do you attribute that to?

Debbie Howard (15:43): So yeah, I think when we first started, John, we came into the network, I think there were four people. It was myself, my partner, and then one full-time person, and then one con contract person. And now three years later, we are a team of 26 full-time employees. And then we do some outsourcing of copywriters, graphic designers, just kind of for overflow when our full-time team might get overwhelmed. And I would say bringing things in house. I think when we first started, John, the reason we were able to do that is we did outsource a lot to some white label agencies that would kind of do the work. And that worked for a while. But honestly, I think as an agency owner, we just came to realize that the only way that you can really maintain the quality of your work is you have to bring it in.

(16:31): And so making that decision was a huge thing for us. And frankly, conversations with you and other mastermind folks really kind of gave us the conf to go ahead and make that adjustment. But we double in size every year in terms of revenue. And I think a lot of that is we have found a way to make it scalable, to leverage the Duct Tape Marketing System, mapped out the prospect journey. Retention is really important. So we have clients who’ve been with us for five years, which I think is unusual for agency life. But I would say that those are the things that have really kept us, I think, competitive.

John Jantsch (17:13): So you talked about, I think, coming up in the industry, but that you’ve really had this approach where you want to continue to be innovative. Are there any trends going on that you’ve spotted over the last year or two that you’ve been able to take advantage of or that, or maybe they’re even, it’s just a gap in the market that people aren’t filling?

Debbie Howard (17:33): Yeah, there’s a lot of gaps. I mean, senior housing and care, it seems to be kind of the last adopters. So probably things you were talking about five years ago on this podcast are things that our industry’s going, Hey, there’s chat and there’s bots, and there’s these other things that maybe we should try out. So in our industry, I would say 2023, really leveraging SMS is something that we have to do. People just, that’s where folks are, right? Search, social, email, and text. And so I think building those types of campaigns and really using video more creatively or two of the things that we’re focused on, we just had a call with a vendor who was, we’re all trying to figure out about the anonymous traffic and the traffic that we can no longer track and we can no longer retarget. And I think that’s gonna become an increasing need is, I think right now we can only probably track and retarget to about 30% of our website traffic.

(18:29): Google Chrome is kind of the last bastion, and only 50% of people are on that, and 40% of those folks block the tracking. And so really you’re down to about 30%. And so things like being able to reverse IP match back to physical addresses, or using longitudinal longitudinal to get a household address, whether that’s to serve up direct mail or to even serve ads to the devices that reside at house. I think some of those types of things where you’re really blending that hybrid marketing model and really personalizing, to your point, it is a relational sale. And you’ve got to personalize that journey down to the individual and their motivation and their timeframe and what level of care they’re interested in. And so I think the better job we can do with that, hopefully the more we can impact that very long sales cycle to build trust a little bit quicker.

John Jantsch (19:23): It’s funny, of course, this is gonna come to SMS and it’s certainly email marketing, all the privacy things that are mm-hmm. coming out there in terms of what you talked about retargeting. But it’s funny how the old school direct marketing, you and I’ve talked about this, I mean, you can go by a mail list that has a lot of data on it that you could never get or capture or track or keep online. And I think that we’re gonna maybe see a resurgence of direct mail because of that.

Debbie Howard (19:50): Totally. I mean, we can get, unfortunately, or fortunately, I guess for us, it’s a good thing. I don’t know , but we can get ailment criteria. So I can purchase a list of people who have self-identified and have agreed to share certain diagnosis and dementia and all of the things that typically trigger the need for a more supportive environment as people age. And we can even look at people who have a senior in their home . So we’ll be able to know that this person is probably taking care of a family member. And we know that there’s a timeframe where that may not be possible. And we can have a very specific campaign that just goes to those households where there is one senior within a household, or people who have different diseases or certain needs. It’s amazing how much information, there’s no privacy on the list side. And if you have a really good, we have a great list, guy .

John Jantsch (20:47): Yep. And again, this is, you’ve been a great member of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. You’ve been a great collaborator and share, and I appreciate you saying kind things that you say about Duct Tape Marketing. Having said that, what are some other places where you get personal development, business development, what some places you like to turn for that?

Debbie Howard (21:09): So I do listen to a lot of podcasts and webinars. I would say just from a timing standpoint, the in person things, unfortunately have certainly minimized in our industry. So it’s really, it’s reading and it’s webinars and it’s podcasts. I would say even listening to master classes, they have amazing master classes, which, you know, can always find those nuggets in those types of learnings, I think. Yeah,

John Jantsch (21:38): I don’t commute anywhere and , so I sometimes find it tough. I’m not a person that can sit down and watch a video course. I get bored very quickly, but I find that going out, walking or driving for a long distance or something, if I ever end up having a trip that I’m making or something, that’s really where I can consume a lot of audio content. But I do find it, this is really sad for a podcaster who’s done as many shows as me to say I don’t listen to many podcasts because I just don’t worked into my habit.

Debbie Howard (22:08): Well, you’re a big reader though.

John Jantsch (22:10): I am a big reader, .

Debbie Howard (22:12): Yeah, and I think you read and listen at the same time, so you’re doubling your intake.

John Jantsch (22:16): I do that sometimes. You’re right. You’ve heard me talk about that not really not listening and reading two different things. I’m actually listening to the audio version while I’m reading it. And so I feel like I really retain a lot more by doing that. So Debbie, I certainly appreciate you taking time to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. You wanna, is there anywhere you want to send people, if they heard this and they thought, oh, I’d like to follow that, Debbie, or connect with her anywhere you wanna send folks to learn more about what you’re doing. So

Debbie Howard (22:44): Probably LinkedIn, very active on LinkedIn. That would be a good spot. Or on our website, senior living smart.com.

John Jantsch (22:50): Awesome. Well, Debbie, hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days soon again, out there on the road.

Debbie Howard (22:56): I hope so, John, thank you so much.

John Jantsch (22:58): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it@marketingassessment.co,. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

How To Unleash Your Best Ideas And Create More

How To Unleash Your Best Ideas And Create More written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Becky Blades

Becky Blades, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Becky Blades. Becky is an entrepreneur, writer, artist, and philosopher of creative, adventurous living. Since selling her first company, an award-winning public relations firm, Becky has studied what she has coined “stARTistry,” the art of creative initiative. She’s also the author of a book — Start More Than You Can Finish: A Creative Permission Slip to Unleash Your Best Ideas.

Key Takeaway:

Becky Blades offers a powerful new mindset which is: acting on more ideas makes us happier – and reveals our highest creativity. For those of us entrepreneurs who may feel that our plate is already full, this idea to start more than you can finish might seem counterintuitive. However, Becky shares her process for mastering the art of the start which will help you unleash your best ideas and create more.

Questions I ask Becky Blades:

  • [1:41] Y have one person out there that thinks this is a terrible title for a book because it is sort of counterintuitive, right – are you getting similar pushback from people?
  • [3:02] Is there a danger in constantly treading water working on so many things at once?
  • [5:43] What does the term “stARTistry” mean?
  • [7:51] You’re a creative person, and you’ve raised a couple of really creative kids too – want to brag about them for a moment?
  • [9:17] Creative people are likely more guilty of starting things that they don’t finish – what would you say about this for the person who doesn’t see themselves as creative?
  • [13:19] What stops people from taking action or starting things?
  • [15:24] A lot of entrepreneurs would say that they’re too busy to start new things – how do you decide is truly an obstacle?
  • [18:20] What are some of your practices for getting outside that bubble?
  • [20:19] Could you talk a little bit about how we should practice?
  • [21:57] Where can people connect with you and get a copy of your book?

More About Becky Blades:

Learn More About Strategy First:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00):
This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Marketing Against the Grain, hosted by Kip Bodner and Keion Flanigan is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Look, if you wanna know what’s happening now in marketing, what’s ahead and how you can stay ahead of the game, this is the podcast for you, host and HubSpot’s, CMO and SVP of Marketing. Kip and Keion share their marketing expertise unfiltered in the details of truth and nobody tells it. In fact, a recent episode, they titled Half Baked Marketing Ideas They Got Down In The Weeds, talked about some outside of the box campaigns with real businesses. Listen to marketing, its grain wherever you get your podcast.

(00:56):
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Becky Blades. She’s an entrepreneur, writer, artist and philosopher of creative, adventurous living. Since selling her first company and award-winning public relations firm, Becky has studied what she has coined Starry, the Art of Creative Initiative. She’s also the author of a book we’re gonna talk about today. Start More Than You Can Finish a Creative Permission slip to Unleash your Best Ideas. So Becky, welcome to the

Becky Blades (01:28):
Show. Thanks. Glad to be here.

John Jantsch (01:30):
I have to warn you that when my wife saw this book come through the door and saw the title, she said, You’re not allowed to read that book because nobody needs to give you permission to start more than you finish. So I have to tell you that, you know, have one person out there that thinks this is a terrible title to a book stuff sure that because it is sort of counterintuitive, right? I’m sure you’re getting some similar pushback from people.

Becky Blades (01:54):
Exactly. But you know, are my people, John and my people get it. And it’s also tongue in cheek. In my first book was the title, Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone. And sometimes I ask people why they bought it and they say just the title and they, they hated it, but they wanna know what it was about. So no, I mean the bottom line is when our parents said all those things to us, don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s not what you start, it’s what you finish. They were likely trying to prevent us from making a mess, getting out the paint or starting a Legos project before dinner. And they did not accomplish getting us to finish more. They just got us to start less. So the beginning there, I’m not saying don’t finish, never anywhere do I say don’t finish. But the more you start the more you will finish. Yeah, yeah.

John Jantsch (02:56):
Again, I don’t wanna push back on this too much, but I know that some pushback you will get from people. I mean, is there a little danger in then us just constantly treading water because we have that mindset of like, Oh, I’m gonna go over here and do this now. Oh, I’m gonna go over and do this now. And Lord knows there’s enough things distracting us as it is

Becky Blades (03:15):
That, That’s a valid question, . I think when we know treat starting as a skill and a strength, which I think it is, then we will get better at kind of curating our ideas. I mean, you’re an excellent curator of ideas, don’t done, you’ve made a lot of stuff. I’ve only seen your finished stuff, so I’m sure that you have a lot of things that didn’t get finished. But don’t you think they led up to two things. One, you making better calls on the ideas that you do initiate and two, they likely led to richness in new ideas and a courage three, this is three things. a creative courage just to move forward.

John Jantsch (04:00):
Yeah, It also led to me having to added a detached garage to store some things in. But the money line from the book, my favorite line from the book that I wrote down is Take, when we take action, we bump into answers. And I think that probably in some ways is at the heart really of what I think you’re trying to say is that sometimes you’ve just gotta start some things before you realize what’s the right thing,

Becky Blades (04:26):
. Exactly. And does the idea have legs? And I mean, I think in organizations especially where you’re sitting in a meeting and the goal is to make more money and it’s time is money. And so the initial instinct is to shut things down, stay on the road, but we don’t know what we don’t know. And until we know can answer a few questions, we don’t really know what the idea’s made of. And so what we do in organizations and some of us personally is we plan them to death. And we all know, especially in lean organizations, that the finish is never what the plan originally designed. Yeah. It’s hopefully better. So we don’t, do you wanna wait two months to look perfect plan is in place, or is there a way that we can talk to the customer now? Is there a way that we can fashion a prototype now?

John Jantsch (05:27):
Yeah. I love these folks that start out by saying you need to have your 10 year vision to me. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having a goal of what you want life to look like maybe in 10 years, but boy, how would you have a very clear vision of even next quarter sometimes it feels like.

Becky Blades (05:43):
Right.

John Jantsch (05:45):
I read in your to the term Starer Street, you want to talk a little bit about what you mean by that? How address that, what that implies?

Becky Blades (05:55):
. Well, starry came out of the term Stardust, which came kind of out of a situation at home where my kids were trying to figure out what I was after I sold my first company and I’m a visual artist. And after I sold my first business, I came home and amped up the painting studio and I was an artist, but I also had some projects in the work. I was mentoring some entrepreneurs and stuff. And so every once in a while they’d see me dressed up like a business person. And one daughter came down and said, Mom, what are you now? Are you a business person? Are you an artist? And my other daughter from another room said she’s a star . Or I think I said, I’m starting this and I’m starting that. So the other kids said, she’s a star. And I love that word.

(06:47):
And to your earlier points, not finishing things did not make me feel good. And I wasn’t proud of, at that point in life, in my forties of all of the things that I hadn’t finished, I didn’t really know where they had taken me. But after some study of my own unfinished work, I realized that I am, if there’s one thing I am good at, it’s starting things and I start pretty fearlessly. And there’s all kinds of reasons for that. And I was starting to shame myself for such a that some of that. So I started then to go the other way and to really try to find the dignity and worth in that and found it in spades. And it’s just like the term artistry. It’s this vague kind of, it’s a skill and a strength and an art. And I think it deserves its own word be because starting is its own process.

John Jantsch (07:51):
So this is a little bit of a segue or off topic segue, I should say. Since you mentioned them, have you’ve, you certainly are a creative person. In fact, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the beautiful illustrations in the book. Should somebody get the book, which you did as well. But you’ve also raised a couple pretty creative kids, haven’t you?

Becky Blades (08:08):
Yes, I have two daughters. And

John Jantsch (08:10):
Go ahead and brag cause you’ve got some stuff to brag on.

Becky Blades (08:13):
Oh, well they’re both kind of in, honestly, they didn’t take after me. They took care after their hus. I’ll restart that. Honestly, they didn’t take after me. They took care after their dad, who is a speaker and performer. I mostly write and do art in my basement. So one of them produces comedy shows and improv, musical improv. Places like the Edinburg Fringe. And then the older one is a writer for the John Oliver show, her dream job. And she just got this year and she won an Emmy for comedy writing. And I talk about ’em both a little bit in the book because we had a lot of their statistic skills were inspiring to me. If they wanted to start a play, they’d start a play .

John Jantsch (09:09):
Well, so part of my point in going there is that I think a lot of people would look at what you’re talking about as being a trait of a more creative person. Creative people are always coming up with ideas and new ways and probably are more guilty of starting things that they don’t finish. I don’t have any research that suggests that, but So how about that person that’s out there going, Yeah, okay, I can see the validity in this, but I’m just not that creative.

Becky Blades (09:35):
Well, I think we all have to read up on creativity. . It’s not art and music only. That’s certainly the fun part of it. But creativity is problem solving. It is. It’s the product of our imaginations. And our imaginations are the best of our lives. I think the best of us lives in our imaginations. So we come up with ideas that we might not think are creative out of the sum of our experiences, our knowledge. And so those ideas manifest only if we can be creative, cuz that’s, we’ve gotta make something out of nothing. That’s all creativity is walking up to a blank page. And anybody who does that has to admit that they’re creative. Anybody who doesn’t do that, I think might have to admit that they’re not living their best lives. I know I started the book kind of thinking, Ooh, I’m gonna find the accountants who are poets and I can’t think of those.

John Jantsch (10:46):
Pick on

Becky Blades (10:46):
Engineers, very linear jobs

John Jantsch (10:48):
Pick on engineers. They’re easy ones. But

Becky Blades (10:50):
Engineers, no, they’re the inventors. Oh my gosh, I found out the most fascinating people are engineers, but they work differently. Their ideas emerge differently and the creative process looks different for them. But the tinkering, I think we just need to take this out of thinking that creativity is art now. Yeah. So I think I just learned this. Are you a woodworker or something? What are your, what’s in the garage that you were just talking

John Jantsch (11:23):
About? I do. I build furniture. Yeah. Yeah.

Becky Blades (11:25):
. So I mean, you are still, you’re creative in your business, but I think of you foremost as a business person, but you’re an artist as well. And can you see how one that your artistic skills in one area maybe helps you and the others?

John Jantsch (11:45):
Oh yeah. Yeah. I’m not the problem. There’s other people out there that we have to work on. I have a whole, Oh, I see musical instruments on there.

Becky Blades (11:53):
Oh cool. Okay.

John Jantsch (11:55):
Let me ask you a few things. Do you feel like what differentiates your business from every other business out there? Can you confidently charge a premium for what you offer? Are you working from a plan, a marketing roadmap that allows you to know precisely what to do next? Look, don’t worry if you can’t answer yes to any or all of these questions, you’re not alone. See marketers today get so focused on the tactic of the week, staring them right in the face that they forget to look at the big picture. The overarching strategy needed to consistently grow their business. Over the years I’ve worked with thousands of businesses helping them do just that. Create the perfect marketing strategy and plan that gives total clarity about what to do next, Confidence to charge ahead and charge more and complete control of the marketing tactics they choose. I would love to help you and your team do the same. Look to find out if our strategy first program is right for you, visit dtm.world/grow and request a free consultation. That’s dtm.world/grow.

(13:04):
All right. So let’s get back to, I’m sure there are people out there listening that 10 years before Uber was designed set, had the idea for Uber , just did nothing with it. So you hinted at this a little bit, but what do you think stops people from taking action on or starting things?

Becky Blades (13:27):
Yeah. Well I think it’s, it lurks in the finish whether or not they think they can take the idea where it needs to go. So if somebody has a big idea like that, they honestly will. Smart will. Honestly, we can start our smaller ideas easier than our big ideas. But what I found, this was a survey of art and art students. I started asking them why they didn’t start their best ideas. Cuz I thought, these are creative people, they don’t have any responsibilities. Do they have things they haven’t started? And they all did things they wanted to start that they hadn’t. And I asked them some open-ended questions and then I paired it down to seeing that it was a question of enough. They didn’t have enough confidence, they didn’t have enough money, they didn’t have enough space, physical space, whatever it was. There’s a list of about 10 most common. But then when I ask, Do you have enough just to start, the answer was always yes. And then they went to the work of figuring out, well what is the start of a bridge mural? Oh, I guess it’s a sketch. And then I guess it’s getting permission to paint on the bridge. And once they start the momentum, just another whole process. I mean that magical switch that flips everything from neuroscience to providence supports us in that. Yeah.

John Jantsch (15:06):
You know, mentioned some of the reasons that they said not enough. I mean I would say most entrepreneurs would say, I’m just too busy to start something. Not

Becky Blades (15:13):
Enough time.

John Jantsch (15:13):
Not enough time. Not exactly. Not enough time. So I mean, if you are that entrepreneur that it actually maybe your life or growth or whatever you want to call it, depends on you creating some new things. How do you prioritize, decide if time is truly an well?

Becky Blades (15:29):
I think we all have to build our own processes. And I talked through that in the book. One easy one is to chunk it down to the very smallest way you could begin and feel like the idea has a little spark. But let’s go back. The decision to start, I think for busy people has to start to rely a little bit on a gut and a process that you’ve set up and declared for yourself. One year I declared, I’m gonna say yes to any idea this year that somebody else gives me. Or that how people are always saying, John, you should write a book about this. . Yeah, . So I didn’t say yes to any books, but my rule that year was if somebody suggests something and it’s really doable, I’m just gonna say yes. I’m not gonna think I’m not overthink it. So anyway, that is, I think the decision and picking the best ideas are key. And so somebody that just has says is at that place where I cannot handle one more thing then and an idea comes along. And that might be the big idea. That might be Uber. Yeah, I think that’s where we separate the men from the boys and the girls from the women is you have to put, you can delegate something. I mean, one guy runs ge, how does he get it all done? delegation.

John Jantsch (17:01):
. Well, you know, I mean I’ve, a practice I’ve always had is that whatever you have on your task list will fill up the day. And so I’ve always time blocked impact time is what I call it. Or I will intentionally, because I can get my to-do list done in four hours or I can take eight hours exactly. If I don’t have anything else that’s planned for the day. But if I block off that what I call impact time, I’m gonna do it and I’m gonna get my to-do list done faster. So I think that’s a practice that certainly worked for me in that category.

Becky Blades (17:33):
. So just to one other answer that one rule I set for starting new ideas is if it’s gonna overflow into another idea and make it better. So in business, yeah, if I think of an idea that has a collaboration with somebody that’s a good client or somebody I could benefit from spending more time with, there’s an ancillary benefit and

John Jantsch (17:57):
Natural multiplier.

Becky Blades (17:59):
I don’t know why your time management thing made me think of that, but it’s kind of killing two birds with

John Jantsch (18:04):
One of the other things. I think again, this idea of new ideas, innovation comes for me. I can spend all my time talking to marketing consultants, , and we’re gonna all talk about the same thing. I mean we’re gonna all copy what we’re doing. So what are some of your practices for getting outside that bubble? Because I think that’s where innovation really comes from.

Becky Blades (18:28):
I think the ideation process comes from ideation. And so we have to bark up some really strange trees. I think that’s where our art and our extracurricular, extracurricular activities come in. And I also think cross training with other star. So just getting away from the business and the recommended thing I call a star salon, which is something I just do as almost, it’s almost a book club group I have where there’s a musician, there’s an inventor, there’s a woman who has these cool popup book clubs. It’s just people who are start things in different ways because I know I’ve learned things from doing my art that I apply to my business. And I think, well if I’m both people and getting ideas, what could I get from a lot of other people? It might feel like a waste of time. It might feel like a luxury, but I think it’s a good practice.

John Jantsch (19:34):
Always tried to, I mean, I’m not the greatest at it and now that I’m old I’m really bad at it. But I really try to force myself into new things, new places new. My book reading is so eclectic. I read about wolves and I read about calculus and I read about architecture, which has no seemingly practical application for my work, but I always get amazing ideas from those other places.

Becky Blades (20:00):
Exactly. And ahead. Go ahead.

John Jantsch (20:04):
I was just gonna say, I want to end with giving you the opportunity cuz I think that there is no question a lot of things are people that are wired this way, maybe, or they grew up in an environment where it was very encouraged and so they, it’s quite natural. But I think that you, not justly, you say in the book that you can get better at this, that you can practice this, this can become a habit. So talk a little bit about how we practice.

Becky Blades (20:31):
I think it’s making a game of it. Start as many things as you can. Maybe keep a log, make it a 10 in a day, Start a limerick, start a conversation, Start acknowledging the things you’re starting. Because what I think people don’t realize is how many things they’re already starting and how much courage they’re using to do that. And pretty, the stakes of every start reduces. If you start a hundred things in a week, the stakes of that one thing are lower. And so pretty soon starting that big idea and talking to a person you’ve never talked to, part of it is muscle memory. It’s like stage time when you speak. And in the book I go to, I offer some examples and it’s hard to do this because you don’t wanna tell somebody sketch, you lose ’em. Because if they don’t fancy themself an artist, well this is just for artists. So you really have to go into your own world and remember the things you started when you were a kid. I mean, we could all do a drawing, we could all do a limerick. We could. And after this book is launched, I wanna probably start some kind of repository for those ideas so people can get go on and have a menu.

John Jantsch (21:51):
Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. I’m speaking with Becky Blades, the author of Start More Than You Can Finish. So Becky wanna invite people to where I know the book’s available in a lot of places, but to where they might connect with you as well.

Becky Blades (22:02):
Yeah, go to becky blades.com. That’s Becky and Blades. Like Razor Blades. Awesome.

John Jantsch (22:09):
Well it was great catching up with you. I appreciate you spending some time with the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and hopefully we will run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Becky Blades (22:16):
Okay, thank you John. I’d loved

John Jantsch (22:18):
It. Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

Why Email Marketing Is (Still) Important In 2022

Why Email Marketing Is (Still) Important In 2022 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Laura Goldberg

Laura Goldberg, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Laura Goldberg. Laura is the Chief Marketing Officer at Constant Contact. Before Constant Contact, she served as a Chief Revenue Officer for Cabbage, a leading cash flow management and data platform for small businesses acquired by American Express. Prior to that, she was the Chief Marketing Officer at Legal Zoom. Laura has held leadership roles in product and operations with leading e-commerce companies, such as the NFL and Napster.

Key Takeaway:

Email marketing is still as relevant as ever. But as marketing evolves, your approach to it needs to, too. In this episode, I talk with the CMO of Constant Contact, Laura Goldberg, about the state of email marketing, what effect channels like SMS are having, and how to utilize email effectively today to build trust across the generations who use it.

Questions I ask Laura Goldberg:

  • [1:36] How has the role of the CMO evolved?
  • [3:41] What would you say to a room full of peers that the missed opportunities in marketing are – especially in the Chief Marketing Officer role?
  • [5:08] What is the state of email marketing in the overall mix today?
  • [7:36] How is SMS as a preferred behavior channel now impacting your thinking as an email channel?
  • [9:10] How is AI going to impact what you’re doing at Constant Contact?
  • [10:48] Is having more of a learning technology built into email currently on the Constant Contact roadmap?
  • [13:51] What are some of the effective ways that you’ve seen people merging digital and non-digital?
  • [16:30] How do use email to actually build trust?
  • [18:19] Have you noticed a generational difference in terms of what people want from email?
  • [20:08] What should we be doing as email marketers for the holidays?
  • [21:33] Is there somewhere you’d like to invite people to connect with you?

More About Laura Goldberg:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Marketing Against the Grain, hosted by Kip Bodner and Keion Flanigan is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Look, if you wanna know what’s happening now in marketing, what’s ahead and how you can stay ahead of the game, this is the podcast for you host and HubSpot’s, CMO and SVP of Marketing. Kip and Keion share their marketing expertise unfiltered in the details, the truth, and nobody tells it. In fact, a recent episode, they titled Half Baked Marketing Ideas They Got Down In the Weeds, talked about some outside of the box campaigns with real businesses. Listen to marketing, its grain wherever you get your podcast.

(00:55): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Laura Goldberg. She’s the chief marketing officer at Constant Contact. Before Constant Contact, she served as the chief revenue officer for Cabbage, a leading cash flow management and data platform for small businesses acquired by American Express. Prior to that, she was the chief marketing officer at Legal Zoom and has held leadership roles in product and operations with leading e-commerce companies such as the NFL and Napster. So long line of marketing officer jobs. Welcome to the show Laura.

Laura Goldberg (01:34): Thank you for having me.

John Jantsch (01:36): So let’s start there. With CMO role in the span of your career as a cmo, how how’s that role evolved? I have a lot of leadership folks in marketing and I always like to ask when I get that chance for you. That role evolved.

Laura Goldberg (01:50): It’s evolved a lot and in fact I don’t have any of the cred of of building my way up through marketing. I build, my early career was in finance and product and sort of operations slash general management. And it’s funny, when I was offered my first marketing role, I was like, I’m not a marketer, why do you wanna hire me? And the answer was, we need someone who thinks about the customer and someone who is numbers oriented. And so specifically on your question, I think the role has evolved certainly as internet marketing has evolved, as e-commerce has evolved to having to balance both what we think of as traditional marketing brand and image and what do we look like and what messaging are we conveying. But coupled with how are we doing, what’s the ROI on our spend, how are we using media dollars, email, text, the messaging in our product to acquire, engage, and retain our customers. And so 20 years ago, no one would’ve hired me as a cmo. But now as what’s expected has changed and maybe shifted it a bit, it’s perfect role.

John Jantsch (03:14): Well what’s so funny, I mean I’m talking to chief marketing officers now that roles that we’re traditionally in HR are falling under them. The employer branding and even diversity plays. I, I think the role is and just the fact that you spent time as a chief revenue officer. I mean there are a lot of organizations that think maybe marketing ought go there. So if you were sitting in front of a room of peers, what would you tell them that you think the missed opportunities are in the marketing, especially in the chief marketing officer role?

Laura Goldberg (03:48): I think marketers sometimes sell themselves short in terms of strategy and analytics. And it all depends on the story you wanna hear. There are sometimes the less interesting stories. But I think marketing, particularly in commerce led companies, it very much depends on the company has a role that is strategic across functions and is really driving through revenue and top line, the p and l, it’s usually marketing is driving the revenue, it’s generally the bulk of the non-human costs, right of it and pretty large portion other in my world other than tech and maybe support of the human costs. And so I think there’s an opportunity for marketers to sort of step into that broader voice, if you will, of the strategic direction of whatever company they’re in.

John Jantsch (04:55): So we’re in agreement that every department should report to marketing then

Laura Goldberg (04:58): Definitely not

John Jantsch (05:00): . So let’s talk about email as a channel has certainly matured over the last, I don’t know, let’s say 20 years for sure. When you talk about email now, what’s the state of email marketing in the overall mix today?

Laura Goldberg (05:16): I think you’re right. It’s sophisticated, middle aged. I don’t know how we’d say that, but it is, I mean always tried and true when we survey customers, we just did in our small business now survey, when we ask people how they wanna hear from the small businesses that they do business with, they say email right Over half of ’em say email. And I think it’s comfortable if it’s from someone, someone you’ve opted into or a company you’ve opted into, it’s there. You open it, you look at it, right? Open rates are high, ROIs are high now it is low dollar to get into. I also think we think of email marketing as the silo thing. I send you an email with a coupon in it and you either click on it and transact or not, but it’s kind of the gateway to lots of things.

(06:17): So I may send you a happy birthday email just because I may use email as a way to get you to sign up for event that I’m having. And then you go to the event and your affinity for my company or my product increases, we use email to confirm that you’ve signed up for a list. I think we think of it as, oh, email marketing, I offer you something and you respond or you don’t. But it is this much broader communication channel that I kind of view as the center point of everything you’re doing. Now you may also do advertising or SMS or other kinds of marketing, but it’s really this key part and it’s such a, I don’t wanna say easy nothing. It’s relatively has that relatively easy and low risk to get started.

John Jantsch (07:14): Since you mentioned sms, I kinda wanna throw that in there because I’m seeing a lot of people moving. For me example, I’m, I’m a terrible example cuz I’m a boomer who thinks a millennial when it comes to some of this stuff. But particularly younger audiences mean they would actually rather they wanna schedule that appointment and get the reminder and never talk on the phone they wanna text. So how is SMS as a preferred behavior channel now impacting your thinking as an email channel?

Laura Goldberg (07:45): So we agree, we think it’s very important. We see that SMS is becoming a little more used in the small business space, still nowhere near as much as email, but when you talk to consumers, right? Something like 83% of them read texts that are sent to them by a business. And it’s generally with the feelings about it, almost 75% are say things like it’s helpful. Now I do think you have to balance that. How much of it is functional? I need an appointment, remind me my appointment, maybe send me that NPS survey versus buy now, et cetera. So I think marketers need to find that balance, but it is absolutely growing in importance and we need to make it easier and easier for small businesses to get started with sms. The hurdles are a little higher than email, but we added it to our offerings in August and we’re super excited about it. We think all of our businesses would benefit from implementation.

John Jantsch (08:58): I think it’s a lot of things. I mean if you have a segment of your market, of your client base that that’s how they want to communicate, then you have to be there. It’s just a gap if you’re not. Right. All right, let’s go to another technology. How is AI going to impact what you’re doing in constant Contact and you know, see a lot of people AI washing right now. So how is it really going to make a meaningful impact in terms of learning? Right.

Laura Goldberg (09:23): Well so I think, so learning is exactly the right frame because if you think about the data that we have from the billions of emails that our customers send out, the responses that opens, you know, can learn about what works. And so I think a lot of the applications for AI are around, they run the gamut from as simple as subject line suggesting you may type something and an engine can say back to you, Oh this line might be better. There are certainly ways to test what you’re sending out to people. And then I think really interesting more around list segmentation. When should I send you the next email? Maybe you’re an occasional buyer, can I space my emails? Or maybe you tend to buy on Fridays, so can we send emails around that? So I think there’s a lot of ways in terms of list segmentation, when to send what messages to send. And then also AI gives you a way to personalize. You can say, John, you may like the red sweater, I really like a green sweater however. So there are a lot of great applications that can be applied to email and other parts of the digital

John Jantsch (10:48): Marketing platform. I mean is that currently on the concept contact roadmap to have more of that kind of learning technology built in?

Laura Goldberg (10:56): And we have some of it now I do not to our customer marketing saying things like AI powered, cuz it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s like subject line suggestions and smart reporting and things like that. So it’s absolutely sort of part and parcel what we do. I I think how you market it is another interesting, yes, I think it’s a very investor buzzwordy, but it’s, you think about the intel inside if you will, right? Which is like I try in our marketing to market the benefits of what our product does as opposed to the sausage making.

Mike Michalowicz (11:40): It’s Mike Michalowicz here and you are listening to Duck Tape Marketing the podcast. Now here’s two things that probably came to mind. First of all, who the hell’s Mike Mcit? It doesn’t really matter. I’ve been a guest. What does matter? Is this your other thought? I’m not subscribed to Duct Tape Marketing, I’m not downloading it. Should I? Yes, yes. This is the authoritative podcast on marketing Done. And your guide, your host for the show is John Jantsch, the Authority on marketing. The first marketing book I ever read was Duct Tape Marketing and it transformed my life. Small business leaders, business owners, anyone can effectively market on a duct tape budget. You can compete with anyone at any size if you simply follow the method you’re about to learn. And this show reveals all, it’s not the carte blanche, hey this is what people do on social media, you should replicate and do the same thing. It is the essential stuff that works, the timeless strategies that differentiate you, that make you become the authority in marketing and get noticed. So there you have it. Two things to note. John Jantsch your host and you should consider yourself lucky. And secondly, for all that’s holy subscribe to Duct Tape Marketing the podcast.

John Jantsch (12:58): Yeah, it’s real tempting I think for the tech space because we sit around in Bubble and we talk about this stuff and we think it’s cool, but the tip concept contexts built literally on real small businesses, the backs of real small businesses and they could care less. They just wanted to do solve the problem that they want solved. And so I think it actually gets in the way, doesn’t it?

Laura Goldberg (13:20): And I think as long as you benefit, we’re gonna save you time, we’re gonna make your emails more effective, we’re gonna improve your roi, then you’re, you’re talking about the right things. That’s

John Jantsch (13:31): Right. Cause now you’re solving my problem with it .

Laura Goldberg (13:33): Exactly.

John Jantsch (13:35): One of the trends, if you will, that I’m seeing we swung so far to digital that I’m actually seeing a return to. I mean, who gets mail anymore? I’m seeing a return to some more, I don’t even wanna call ’em traditional because digital is traditional now. So let’s say hybrid market. What are some of the effective ways that you’ve seen people merging digital and non-digital?

Laura Goldberg (13:58): So we don’t do a lot of it at Constant Contact, but at Cabbage we were big direct mailers. And it’s interesting when you don’t get as much mail, you actually see the male that you get. It’s interesting, I just got one from Cabbage from Constant Contact. So poor targeting, but interesting that, and that’s what worked for us was like that letter that looks like the bank was sending it. So I think there’s a lot of opportunities. Look, we at Constant Contact at Cabbage, at Legal Zoom, we use linear television. Yeah, it’s more news and sports, but it still gets watched. And if you’re talking news live sports, there’s less recording of that so people are watching. So I think there is an opportunity to blend those things. Look, people still go to trade shows, so I think it’s always healthy to keep an open mind to what worked in the past, what’s coming in the future, and how do you balance those things. Cause I don’t know anyone who’s successful just marketing one way.

John Jantsch (15:18): Yeah, I mean, as goofy as it sounds, cuz a decade ago we were talking about QR codes and we were kinda laughing at how people jumped into it. But now simple thing, sending out a postcard with a QR code, just subscribe to a newsletter or to donate to a non-profit or to get a personalized video. I mean, that kind of blending I think is really effective.

Laura Goldberg (15:39): A hundred percent. We ran an outdoor campaign where, yeah, you’re on bus stops and we had a QR code there and there was special content and fun stuff, so absolutely.

John Jantsch (15:49): It’s kind of funny because they kind of died out and then the Pandemic basically made them. Yes, really, again,

Laura Goldberg (15:57): You can’t go to a restaurant

John Jantsch (15:58): Anymore, can’t order your food. Right, exactly. So now everybody knows how to use that was always one of the hurdles was you had to get a reader to do it first. I mean, it was like when podcasting first started, people, it was just as hard to get people to listen as it was to produce a show. But then once it became ubiquitous, it’s like podcasting took off. Let’s talk about trust because I know that at Constant Contact, you guys talk a lot about building trust with email, but it’s also an amazing way to erode trust. So how do you deal with the fact that a lot of people, because we get so much spam, we get so much stuff we didn’t ask for. So our trust is way down on brands necessarily on email or a lot of channels. How do you use this channel to actually build trust?

Laura Goldberg (16:50): Yeah, so I would say a couple of things. So one, it helps that we serve the small business market. I think when you look at those, do you trust these brands? It’s definitely skewed to bigger brands. And in our small business now Survey, you see this amazing propensity of consumers to wanna want to support small businesses. So that just helps in general, Constant Contact has been in this business for a long time, which is a plus and a minus, but we’re really good at delivering email. Yeah, we are very good about email hygiene, about making sure you can’t buy a list and put it in constant contact. You have to grow your own list. And we offer a lot of services and whether it’s through humans or articles about how to email, how to construct a good email, how often to email, et cetera. And our customers are amazing. They’re really great about it. And if you, it’s like any trust relationship. If you as a small business owner respect your customers, they will respect and trust you back. And so I know it sounds potentially simplistic, but that’s how you build trust in any situation.

John Jantsch (18:17): Just don’t do crappy marketing. Okay. Have you noticed a generational difference in terms of what I want from email? So does Gen Z particularly want something different than all the way up to maybe my generation?

Laura Goldberg (18:31): Yeah, I mean look, I think your I’ll say are, and I don’t know what the exact age cutoff is, the older generations are definitely reading their email and they’re on top of it. I think the younger ones are more, Yeah, I got to that today and oh I have to, right? It’s not urgent, but I think that’s okay, right? If it’s urgent, if it’s like, hey, your package is outside, come get it, that’s text, right? Yeah. But if it’s, Hey, we’re having this sale for a week. If you don’t read that immediately, that’s okay. But they still read it. It’s not sure you’re having a two way conversation through email, but it gets read and it gets processed. I think it might just be on a different timeframe.

John Jantsch (19:23): Well, and can we also make other very broad generalizations instead and say shorter is better?

Laura Goldberg (19:30): A hundred percent,

John Jantsch (19:31): Yeah. Okay.

Laura Goldberg (19:32): That I think that’s true for everyone. I always do. If I don’t get the gist in this much, you’ve lost me. So I think it’s graph, visual, visually arresting to the point, relevant, personalized. I think that’s not even generational. That’s what matters no matter what. And those are the important things no matter how old you are or frankly what the medium is.

John Jantsch (20:03): Yeah. So it’s probably too late if you’re listening to this show right now, but I’m gonna ask Laura anyway, what should we be doing as email marketers for the holidays?

Laura Goldberg (20:13): not too late. Now is the perfect time though. It’s so interesting not to keep bringing up our survey, but we did find that people are on it earlier. You see advertising earlier and earlier, but people are getting on holiday. I think it’s one, you know, wanna engage your customers and remind them that you’re there and the great offers that you have. I think you also wanna assure some reassure people. I always think about this, Should I buy this now or should I wait for the big sale that’s gonna gonna be after Thanksgiving? Reassure them that this is great and this is great for you at the right time. And to just be, I think the other thing is, particularly if you’re in a retail business, being operationally ready for the urgency speed and then sometime, I don’t know, not great behavior that happens around, happens around the holidays.

John Jantsch (21:12): Well, and I was half kidding being too late, but it just feels like the big players are black Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, in October. And it can feel like the holidays just get pushed on us so much for sooner.

Laura Goldberg (21:25): Right, Agreed.

John Jantsch (21:27): Well Laura, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and sharing some thoughts on the state of email. Is there any anywhere you wanna invite people to connect with you or check out Constant Contact?

Laura Goldberg (21:38): Yeah, people should check out Constant Contact, constant contact.com and we are there to answer questions and I am Laura Goldberg pretty easily findable on LinkedIn.

John Jantsch (21:49): Awesome. Well again, thanks for taking the time and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days soon out there on the road.

Laura Goldberg (21:55): Awesome. Thank you so much. It was really fun.

John Jantsch (21:57): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

The Secret Sauce For Smarter Marketing Execution

The Secret Sauce For Smarter Marketing Execution written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Clare Price

Carolyn Rodz, guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Clare Price. Clare is the President and CEO of Octain Growth Systems, the systems, process, and tools company that helps you take control of your marketing through smart execution. She’s also the author of a book — Smart Marketing Execution: How To Accelerate Profitability, Performance, And Productivity

Key Takeaway:

Questions I ask Clare Price:

  • [1:26] What is your backstory and entrepreneurial journey?
  • [3:43] How do you differentiate between a tactic and what you’re calling strategy?
  • [4:41] What have you found are some of the biggest growth killers, particularly for small businesses?
  • [7:15] How do you manage the fact that somebody is hiring you to do marketing, but you can’t really do marketing if you don’t get into every aspect of their business?
  • [10:20] How do you differentiate between execution and planning?
  • [12:00] How do you help somebody prioritize what’s on the roadmap?
  • [12:52] How do you help somebody understand the importance of brand development?
  • [15:17] How do you help folks not just clarify a message, but clarify a message that matters and that differentiates them?
  • [17:40] Let’s talk about expansion – how do you help people hone in on smart ways to grow?
  • [20:30] Where can people connect with you, find out more about your work and get a copy of your book?

More About Clare Price:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Marketing Against the Grain, hosted by Kip Bodner and Keion Flanigan is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Look, if you wanna know what’s happening now in marketing, what’s ahead and how you can stay ahead of the game, this is the podcast for you, host and HubSpot’s, CMO and SVP of Marketing. Kip and Keion share their marketing expertise unfiltered in the details, the truth, and nobody tells it. In fact, a recent episode, they titled Half Baked Marketing Ideas They Got Down In the Weeds, talked about some outside of the box campaigns with real businesses. Listen to marketing, its grain, wherever you get your podcast.

(00:54): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, my guest Clare Price. She’s the president and CEO of Octane Growth Systems, the systems, process and tools company that helps you take control of your marketing through smart execution. And she’s also the author of a book we’re gonna talk about today, Smart Marketing Execution, How to Accelerate Profitability, Performance, and Productivity. So Clare, welcome to the show.

Clare Price (01:23): Thank you John. Very nice to be here.

John Jantsch (01:26): So gimme a little bit about your, I gave kind of the bios scripted bio, but gimme a little bit of your backstory, your entrepreneurial journey. How’d we get to here?

Clare Price (01:36): Well, I started developing the system about 10 years ago. I released a series of what I would call playbooks about for small business marketing because you see, well first of all, I wanna say something why I’m so honored to be here with you , because I consider you to be the pioneer of small business marketing systems. And I think everything that I have in my book and what other people have done was really built on the foundation that you laid. And before I get into my stuff, I had to say that. So looking at that, about 10 years ago, I started seeing an issue with small business marketing. And that is a lot of small business owners lacked strategy. They lacked a ability to do, they got goals, whether they worked with a marketing agency or with a coach or whatever. They got goals and they dived right into implementing those goals. What I found was missing was that there was a gap between strategy and action. And I started looking at ways to help business owners close that gap. And that is what led eventually over the last 10 years, really experimenting with different approaches, different systems, to being able to develop something, which I believe right now anybody with marketing experience, a little bit of marketing experience can take the book and really learn how to develop a strategy for a smaller, medium sized business.

John Jantsch (03:16): Obviously you’re preaching to the choir here. I mean, I’ve said strategy before tactics probably 6 billion times in the last 30 years. But one of the challenges, and I’m curious how you’ve encountered this. One of the challenges I find is that you can say the word strategy to people until you’re blue in the face and they don’t really know what it means. And in fact, the part of the challenge is that if you Google the term marketing strategy, you will find a list of blog posts that basically 15 tactics will be listed. So how do you get somebody, do you differentiate between a tactic and what you’re calling strategy?

Clare Price (03:49): Well, the way that we do it is we’ve developed six canvases that focus on six core areas of business growth. And that’s brand development, brand power, customer acquisition, message clarity, market expansion, sales enablement, so marketing and sales working together and product marketing or product innovation. And the way that we develop strategy, I think is very unique for small businesses is we ask a series of discovery questions. And the way that we get to the answers of those questions is by having our clients work through a series of worksheets, assessments and tools. What that does, John, is that actually has them developing strategy while they’re thinking everything through. And at the end they do have a strategic blueprint for those specific areas.

John Jantsch (04:40): Right. So what have you found, and you have a section on this, so I’m gonna go there and let you kind of talk about it, but what have you found are some of the biggest growth killers, particularly for small businesses?

Clare Price (04:52): I think the biggest growth killer is the trial and error marketing churn and burn marketing going out. And imagine, I know you’ve had this experience, I bet everyone in your audience has had this experience where you, you gotta do goals. Okay, we’re recording this at the end of October, so everybody’s thinking 2023 planning. So people get into the room, it’s an offsite, maybe there’s great food, there’s pastries, and everybody settles into their chair in front of a huge whiteboard and there’s a facilitator, sometimes not, and they scribble furiously for two or four hours and the whiteboard is completely filled and everybody’s got their goals and their desired approach or the direction circled. And at the end of that exercise, the CEO or the CMO marketing director stands up and says, Okay everybody, let’s get it done. What happens then is everybody jumps outta their chair and goes and does what they know how to do, what is missing.

(05:49): And what we really focus on in smart marketing execution is looking at the alternatives. Not just jumping into the tried and true, let’s go do social media, let’s go do Facebook ads, let’s go do you know, video advertising or whatever. But let’s look at the alternatives for the goal that you wanna set or that you have set. And then we benchmark those alternatives using a set of data. And that data includes looking at team capabilities, looking at resources, looking at timeline, looking at budget. In fact, in my book in chapter nine, smart execution chapter, there’s actually a formula where you can benchmark the projected revenue minus the cost, divide that by the timeframe and come up with a growth score. And when you do that, you can actually literally using data show what is likely to have a better return on investment than something else. So that’s the approach we take.

John Jantsch (06:54): So one of the things that I certainly found early on working with small business owners is that I had my toolbox of traditional marketing things. But when you work with a small business, and you’ve alluded to some of these, I mean, you get into operations, what is traditionally seen as operations, maybe you get into what is traditionally seen as finance. I mean, how do you manage the fact that somebody is hiring you to do marketing, but you can’t really do marketing if you don’t get into every aspect of their business?

Clare Price (07:24): And that’s why one of the things that I’m doing with is developing what I call a ecosystem of right partners. And so if somebody does, I do see a finance problem, I do an operations problem, I have perhaps a fractional CFO that I can refer them to or a fractional business coach that can address that problem. And the key part of having the ecosystem is we work together. We don’t just hand off a referral and say, Okay, you go do your thing and then when you’re done, we’ll come start, we start marketing. We’ve worked really out the team and I’m really looking for preferred partners that, and some are already listed on my website that can be part of this ecosystem.

John Jantsch (08:09): And I actually think that’s a practice that more marketing consultants, more consultants in general ought to do. You know, think about all the various areas that every client you work with, whether they probably have an accountant already and they maybe have a coach, an executive coach. And I mean, I think all of these professionals that serve a client, wouldn’t the client be served better if we all work together

Clare Price (08:27): , Exactly. 100%.

John Jantsch (08:31): And it’s odd because they’re rarely done and sometimes what you might propose gets pushback from another professional. And I always pick on accountants cuz it’s so easy to do that where if they truly understood what you’re proposing, they might be behind it. And so I think it really, instead of being counter, it’s like you’re all working for the mutual good.

Clare Price (08:54): Exactly. And one of the things that we say that Octane is really a marketing operating system because we are not looking at it from a standpoint of just being, let’s find a program, let’s find a campaign and try it and see if it works. It’s a combination of strategy, execution, and in our case automation. So we will also look at the automated systems that are in place when you can explain to a financial professional or a business professional the idea of marketing from an operation sense, which is very common at the large corporate level, not so common that the mid-market level, I think they have a better understanding and I think they’re more willing to get into that partnership.

John Jantsch (09:41): Well, and I think that your growth score, for example, that you just mentioned, you know, take an account in the growth score and basically say, we’re talking about this investment because it will return x. I think that’s as opposed to, oh marketers just wanna spend money on ads. I mean, you’re now basically showing here’s what this investment is going to return. And that’s obviously, that’s an argument that’s gonna go a lot farther with a financially business owner, but certainly with an accounting professional, isn’t it?

Clare Price (10:11): Absolutely.

John Jantsch (10:13): So I meant to actually ask this a little earlier. You know, specifically have the word execution in the title of the book. How do you differentiate between execution and say planning?

Clare Price (10:24): The way that we differentiate it is that we call the planning of the blueprint, our strategic blueprints. And the execution is the roadmap. So the blueprint is how are we gonna build this? And the roadmap is once we know what we wanna build, how are we actually gonna get from where we are today to the destination? And the key part of smart Execution is actually building that roadmap out so that people are, again, not just doing what they know how to do or what they’ve scrolled on a napkin or a whiteboard, but we’ve actually, we do roadmaps for clients that are similar to customer journey, similar to a product development roadmap so that they actually can see month by month what their goal, goal is, where they’re going.

Jay Baer (11:11): This is Jay Baer marketing and customer experience, author, advisor, and expert. And I’m not just an occasional guest on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast, I’m also a listener. Why? Because in my estimation, the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is one of the finest business resources available in any medium. The guests are tremendous. John knows just about everything about marketing and business. And if you can’t improve your business after listening to this show for a while, I don’t know what can.

John Jantsch (11:43): So we do similar, have done similar kind of approach for years. And one of the things that often happens is there’s huge gaps, there’s huge things they’re missing, they wanna do it all. How do you help a business owner prioritize? Again, if they throw enough money at something, obviously everything could be a priority, but in real life, help somebody prioritize what’s on the roadmap.

Clare Price (12:06): And that comes into, comes, the gross score comes into that. And it also just in general, what the likelihood of success is, also what the urgency is. Those are some of the ways that we help them priorit. Yeah,

John Jantsch (12:20): You mentioned the accelerators and really there’s a good half of the book is really built on unpacking those. And by the way, great tools, worksheets in the book. I’m sure that we’ll at the end all invite you to tell people where they can find those in real life as well as in the book. But let’s talk about a couple of the growth accelerators. A lot of small business owners, when they hear brand development, all the brand kind of words, they either feel like it’s a bunch of fluff or it’s not for them, or they minimalize it. Say, Oh yeah, I’ve got a logo, that’s my brand. How do you help somebody understand the importance of brand development?

Clare Price (12:58): We have a tool as part of the Octa Grow system, as part of the brand accelerator called the value grid. That is my core tool that every client has to go through. And what it does is, again, it replaces the traditional, I will call it agency approach. Cause if you think about the traditional agency approach, what happens when you’re gonna do brand values, right? Again, everybody’s in that room, they throw a bunch of words up on the whiteboard, they circle the words, everybody agrees on the top three, five or seven, and they leave the room and the agency puts a sentence against them. That’s what I’ve experienced in my career. Yes. What we do is we have our value grid starts with those values. So same start, but we also define the value based on a dictionary definition. So everybody has the same definition of the value and they’re not self self-defining the value.

(13:49): Sure. That’s number one. Number two, we ask them why that brand is important to the company and we ask them to really give us a reason behind the value. How does that change the company culture? How does that change the customer experience? How does that really relate to the day to day employee experience? And then the fourth step is we asked them to give us the what, the why and the what. So how are you living that value every day in your business? And that’s actually put in a grid style with a lot of detailed information. And the values do come out of that. And then they’re tied to the company culture, they’re tied to the employee experience and they’re tied to the customer experience.

John Jantsch (14:39): I think people really underestimate, a lot of times when they think of brand, it’s like, what’s the public face? I think they really underestimate the internal culture of the employee experience because that’s really when it really, really comes down to it. That’s in, especially in small businesses, that’s how your brand is experienced is through your people. Absolutely. Probably less from your television ads. So really an important part that I think is missed often chapter five talks about, and it’s one of the accelerators, you talk about a message clarity. I find for a lot of small businesses, we have to actually start with message period. Because a lot of times it’s just like, here’s what we do. And it’s like a race to be the same. How do you help folks not just clarify a message, but clarify a message that matters that differentiates them?

Clare Price (15:24): So again, we use the message canvas, which is in the book, which has the six areas that we look at. So we look at, well, first of all, what’s the big idea? What do you really want to communicate? And the other thing I think that’s important, John, and I think this is the core big mistake that business owners make when they’re looking at their message, it’s a translation error. They know what they do, they know how they speak it, they know how they live it, but the customer doesn’t necessarily live and speak the same way the business owner does. For example, I had one client who sells software to 12 schools, and they had a real problem with their messaging because they’re an engineering company. They were selling to superintendents of schools, public information off, and a whole different culture of people with a whole different set of ways of looking at the world.

(16:19): And so they would come in with speeds and the school people were like, Well, we don’t understand this. What is this? So we ended up doing a lot of work on the messaging there to translate the true benefit, the benefit to the customer, the benefits that the customer was living day to day. And I think that’s the other mistake that a lot of happens with messaging is people go with a very surface message like, Okay, what’s our benefit? Okay, well our benefit is faster, cheaper, better, but what’s the actual lived experience, that person, that customer’s having? What’s gonna change the way that they do their business, live their life or live relationships? And then once you find that you find that real deep desire, motivation, then you can really provide the right message.

John Jantsch (17:14): After doing thousands and thousands of interviews with customers of our customers, one of the things that’s become very clear to me is most businesses don’t understand the real problem they’re solving for their customers. And that’s kinda what you’re getting at. Or at least have no ability to put it in the words or the voice of the customer. And when you can do that, it really sends sort of a magical message to the person you get me. Exactly. I think that’s why it’s such a great starting point. Let’s talk about expansion, which is again, another one of the accelerators. A lot of people just traditionally, it’s like, Hey, we’ve gotten to a certain point. Do we go after a new market? Do we just make more products? Do we go into a different geography? How do you help people hone in on smart ways to grow, I guess?

Clare Price (18:01): Well, I look at market expansion and I’ll use an overused term and hopefully you’ll forgive me. The land and expand approach to expansion, which is finding your core niche, finding that core area where you’re the strongest, and then moving out from there. I tell my clients it’s a pie, not a circle, because what I typically find is that people wanna get customers everywhere, especially when they’re startups. And so they’re sort of creating dots in a circle that never ever get connected. But if you look at it as a pie where there’s a starting point and from the starting point you sort of expand out from there, you look for related niches. And I do have a chart in my book that talks about when my first consulting after leaving the corporate world was in real estate marketing and branding. And it was great until 2009 came along .

(18:57): And then, oh, I will never forget, I was driving to one of my clients, Ke Williams in living in Sacramento at the time, and I’m driving up to the office and look across the parking lot and financial title company, which was one of the largest title companies in the Sacramento region. Their doors were bolted, were literally chain locked, and all of their file boxes were outside the door permanently closed. The real estate marketing and branding that I was doing disappeared very quickly, as you can well imagine. Yeah, I had to find a new niche. So what I did was I looked at what are the characteristics of what a real estate person is dealing with in terms of branding and then what are similar, what would be similar professions? So for example, real estate they’re all selling the same product, so they have to brand on their person, their own character, their own style of working. So who else has to do that? Well, insurance representatives for example, and financial representatives. So looking for related segments that have the same characteristics that you’re already serving. So the product is likely to be a good fit or a good fit with small modifications, I think is a really good way to go. And it’s particularly valuable for those companies that don’t have a huge marketing budget who need to take it slow so they can take advantage of the next door neighbor, if you will, in terms of the customer segment.

John Jantsch (20:29): Awesome. Well, Claire, we’re, we have run out of time, but I’d sure love it if you’d invite people to where they could find the book, where they can find out more about your work.

Clare Price (20:39): Okay, well I wanna let your audience know, John, that I do have a special offer for them. If they go to octane growth.com/my offer and click the link, they’ll be given free download of the first chapter of the book and they’ll also be able to set up a 30 minute discussion consulting call with me if they wanna purchase the book. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all of your regular channels. There’s also links to those on my website and I just wanna, again, thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you and with your audience.

John Jantsch (21:14): Well, thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Clare Price (21:22): I hope so.

John Jantsch (21:22): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

Helping Entrepreneurs Get To Where They Want To Go Faster

Helping Entrepreneurs Get To Where They Want To Go Faster written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Carolyn Rodz

Carolyn Rodz, guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Carolyn Rodz. Carolyn serves as the co-founder and CEO of Hello Alice. Hello Alice is a free, data-driven, and multichannel platform helping small business owners on their entrepreneurial journey by providing access to relevant funding networks and technical assistance tools while increasing owner success rates. Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn launched Hello Alice with the goal of helping entrepreneurs thrive with access to funding, resources, mentorship, and more.

Key Takeaway:

As a business owner, how do you find the right resources at the right time? Carolyn Rodz co-founded a free digital platform that connects business owners with the resources they need to launch and grow. In this episode, we talk about how HelloAlice helps small business owners on their entrepreneurial journey by providing access to relevant funding networks and technical assistance tools along the way.

Questions I ask Carolyn Rodz:

  • [1:30] Could you give us the background of how this Hello Alice came to be?
  • [2:20] Why the Lewis Carroll reference?
  • [2:59] What’s your history like and what brought you to decide that you were going to do this?
  • [4:30] Did you have an aha moment where you knew where you needed to start or how was the business born?
  • [5:13] What’s been the biggest challenge?
  • [6:09] Do you refer to yourself as a marketplace almost or more of a membership organization?
  • [7:03] What’s been the most rewarding thing to date?
  • [8:31] Can you describe what the typical member looks like?
  • [9:19] Is there an equity emphasis?
  • [11:06] How do networking and peer-to-peer connection play out in what is kind of a technology platform?
  • [12:50] So how does the process work for businesses who want to join Hello Alice?
  • [13:37] How does Hello Alice make money if joining is free?
  • [14:39] Is there an art to getting a grant?
  • [16:24] What type of networking have you found the community responds to?
  • [18:16] Why do members stick around if they choose to stick around?
  • [19:40] Have you seen a maturity of a business through this?
  • [20:44] Where can people learn more about Hello Alice and connect with you?

More About Carolyn Rodz:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Marketing Against the Grain, hosted by Kip Bodner. And Keion Flanigan is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Look, if you wanna know what’s happening now in marketing, what’s ahead and how you can stay ahead of the game, this is the podcast for you, host and HubSpot’s, CMO and SVP of Marketing. Kip and Keion share their marketing expertise unfiltered in the details, the truth, and like nobody tells it. In fact, a recent episode, they titled Half Baked Marketing Ideas They Got Down In the Weeds, talked about some outside of the box campaigns with real businesses. Listen to marketing, its grain wherever you get your podcasts.

(00:55): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Carolyn Rods. She serves as the co-founder and CEO of Hello Alice. Hello, Alice is a free data driven and multi-channel platform helping small business owners on their entrepreneurial journey by providing access to relevant funding networks and technical assistance tools while creating owner success rate, increasing owner success rates would be a better way to say that. So Caroline, welcome to the show.

Carolyn Rodz (01:26): Thank you. Thanks John for having me. One of my favorite topics to talk about.

John Jantsch (01:31): All right, well, so I guess let’s just start with the history of Hello Alice, and I know you hit a pretty important milestone that you might want to share as well in terms of membership. So give us just the background of how this, uh, Hello Alice came to be.

Carolyn Rodz (01:45): Yeah, hello. Alice started back in 2017. I always say is the answer to what I wish I would’ve had when I started my very first company as a small business owners many years ago. But the plan was really how do we help connect business owners to the right resources at the right time based on where they are in their journey, all based on who they are as a person and the type of company that they’re trying to grow. And we’ve continued to do that ever since, helping to bridge them through the capital that they need along that journey, and then surfacing all of the right opportunities and resources and learning experiences to help them deploy that capital in meaningful

John Jantsch (02:20): Ways. And why the Lewis Carroll reference?

Carolyn Rodz (02:22): Yeah, when Elizabeth and I were starting this company, we started it with young kids in our homes. We were actually living together. I moved my family in with hers. We were out in, in the North Bay as we built the first iteration. And we happened to be reading the story of Alice in Wonderland to our kids. And we realized there were so many similarities between this entrepreneurial journey of all these unknowns. And sometimes you feel big and sometimes you feel small. And it’s this crazy journey for everybody. And thus the Hello Alice.

John Jantsch (02:51): It’s funny, the, you know, my company is called Duct Tape Marketing. And it’s similar sort of metaphor, you know, like what it’s like to be, you know, to start a business. What’s your history like? What brought you to deciding I’m gonna do this thing?

Carolyn Rodz (03:04): So I started out actually my career as an investment banker and jumped into entrepreneurship quite blindly. I had been exposed to it a lot as a child. My grandparents ran a very large cookie and bread factory in Bolivia. My dad was an entrepreneur and I started my first company but really struggled with cash flow management. I struggled with inventory management. There were so many pieces of the actual business side that I just didn’t understand. And I ultimately ended up closing that company. It was in the retail space. After a couple of years, I then started a second business in the digital media space. And I grew that with everything that I had learned from that failed experience in really leveraging my network the second time around and asking for a ton of help along the way where I knew, I knew, at least at that point, I knew what I didn’t know.

(03:54): And I grew that company slowly and steadily over about seven years and then sold it. And it was really at that point I started mentoring and supporting others. I then met Elizabeth along that journey and she was coming from this background with the working for the United Nations, leading their global entrepreneur council. She had this big macro view of what entrepreneurship really could do for a global economy. I saw a very micro view as an individual business owner, what the impact would be. And when we brought that together, we just saw this huge opportunity to help both individuals and to help the world at large.

John Jantsch (04:30): Yeah, I mean, did you have that like idea, uh, aha, you know, it’s like this is what we need to start, Or was it really more the mentoring turned into somebody asking for help and you figured out how to get them that help and the business was born or

Carolyn Rodz (04:43): Definitely the latter. And I think often the greatest businesses start when you just keep seeing this need like glaring in front of you. I had just had my first child, I was ready to take a break. I’d sold my business like I was burnt out on entrepreneurship to be honest. I was ready to take it slow and slowly instead it just, it kept coming up and it kept coming up and I kept seeing this need. Um, and then, you know, I, once I met Elizabeth that was like, All right, this is, let’s do this. Like we can’t not because nobody else is doing it,

John Jantsch (05:13): So. So what’s been the biggest challenge so far?

Carolyn Rodz (05:17): It’s changed a little bit along the way, but I would say early days it was certainly access to capital, like many of the business owners that we support. And probably not surprising to you since you talked to a lot of entrepreneurs raising money was really difficult. We are not a cookie cutter tech company. We never have. We’ve been this blend of community and a technology platform and we’d often get bucketed very much into one or the other. And so it was really hard for us to get traction. We had some people that just bet on us early on. Now I would say it’s really, you know, as our team has grown, it’s just making sure that we’re focusing on the right thing. We have, this is a rare business and that there’s a lot of opportunity thrown at us and a lot of things that we can be doing. But always really challenging ourselves to stay as focused as possible so we can keep a growing team all moving in sync in the right direction.

John Jantsch (06:09): I mean, do you think of yourself or refer to yourself as a marketplace almost or more of a membership organization?

Carolyn Rodz (06:16): You know, I would say at our core, we’re community, A community above all else. We always say if we can’t, you know, keep that real sort of human to human component, we’ve sort of, we’ll, we’ll lose our way at the end of the day. We have to have trust. I think what’s made our company so strong is this fierce loyalty. However, it is all tech driven, right? And so it’s how do we kind of layer technology to support the community in meaningful ways? And in that sense, it is a marketplace, right? We have, we’re a place where you can come to find the right loan for your business, you can get the best credit card for your company. So there IT solutions and discounts and grant opportunities. So there certainly is that marketplace component. Yeah. But all of it is really driven by having a solid understanding of who are we actually serving as an individual, not as a conglomerate.

John Jantsch (07:04): So I asked you the challenging part, what’s been, now, you know, I mentioned a milestone of over a million. Do you call ’em members or

Carolyn Rodz (07:11): We do, yes. Okay. We were refer of ’em as owners, but we never say users on our purpose. So we remember like the big journey everybody’s on.

John Jantsch (07:18): All right, so million owners. So what’s been the most rewarding to date?

Carolyn Rodz (07:21): Oh my gosh. You know, I think this is the coolest job in the world because the second I feel like I’m starting to get worn down or anybody on our team and we’ve been going like, we’ve been working so hard, it’s like at that moment we hear these incredibly inspiring stories. But you know, one comes to mind of Jessica’s balding, the owner of Harlem Chocolate Factory, who has gotten over $120,000 of grants from our platform. She’s gone through, you know, learning and educational experiences really. Like there’s these businesses that we just helped get through Covid that would’ve never otherwise, you know, made it necessarily, and not because of like, you know, we were some like magic band-aid for them. But just surfacing the opportunity, opening the door for them to put the work in to go get the solutions that they needed. That to me is the most rewarding part. Cause I’ve been there, I’ve closed my doors on a company and I know how incredibly exhausting it is when you’re in, you know, right at that precipice of are you gonna make it or not? And to know that we were, the small part of helping somebody make it is, it’s like a very emotional connection for me with our community.

John Jantsch (08:31): I imagine there’s a little celebrating that goes on when people hit some sort of milestone in part of the community. What’s a typical member owner, typical member owner? I mean, is it a startup or is it somebody trying to scale or is it just everything And

Carolyn Rodz (08:45): We’re very traditional main street small businesses. Yeah. So everything from a retail operation to, you know, a dry cleaner on the corner to a consultant, it’s really typically most of our business owners are less than 10 employees. Mm. They’re, we always say small and growing businesses. They’re, they’re businesses with very big goals and ambition. And there are business owners that work incredibly hard every day, but they’re in the early stages of growth and really need that guidance to unblock those big initial hurdles.

John Jantsch (09:19): Is there, uh, an equity emphasis, I mean, obviously give people access to capital that maybe traditionally are just not getting access to capital?

Carolyn Rodz (09:29): Yes. We have a lot of really cool initiatives in place. We are working on a, an equitable access to credit fund where we’re starting to unlock capital, really utilizing grant funds. We’ve deployed over 20 million in grants over the years where we’re starting to utilize those grant funds now to actually de-risk some credit for these owners so we can start to get them into sort of mainstream opportunity. Our goal is always how do we bridge that gap from their first credit card, their first loan that they need to walk into a bank and have the power of choice that many entrepreneurs have the luxury of starting with. But the reality is the majority don’t. That’s the piece that we focus on and we’ve gotten to partner with banks and corporations and incredible companies and foundations that are doing great work out there to be that bridge between the resources they have and the business owner needs.

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(11:06): So we’ve talked a little bit about the funding aspect of the loans, the grants, but there’s also a networking like peer-to-peer connecting, you know, teaching knowledge. I mean, how does that aspect play out in, in what is kind of a technology platform?

Carolyn Rodz (11:20): Yes. So we have a bunch of learning opportunities for us it’s always, capital is wonderful and it’s a piece of the solution, right? But the reality is most business owners aren’t even ready for that. You know, they’re not ready for venture capital, they’re not necessarily ready for that first loan. They’re looking for that initial traction to open the door. So we have a lot of programs. We have our Boost Camp experience that’s coming up in January as an example, which is a mini accelerator. It’s a three day accelerator that brings owners through how do you grow revenues. And it takes them through a series of automated guides that are very dynamic. We bring in incredible speakers that, that come and share their expertise and then they’re carried through this online experience that continues into perpetuity. So it helps ’em to build their plan and build that foundation, but then they go through tracks inside the hello s platform that are carrying through the details each of our how-to guides.

(12:09): It’s very dynamic. So we’re asking questions along the way as that business owner answers that we’re learning more about them and putting them on a path that’s really tailored to their needs. So the solution that you’ll get recommended for you in your business is very different than the solution that I’m gonna see for my business at the end of the day. And everything that we’re pushing to those owners is really tailored to their own, their own unique needs. Cuz as you know, all of our journeys are so different and to put a cookie cutter approach just doesn’t work. But we’re also learning what’s working for entrepreneurs and for certain segments of entrepreneurs and how do we help guide people on those paths that are actually opening doors and actually showing increased revenues and actually showing improved opportunities for funding.

John Jantsch (12:50): So how does the process work? I mean, how does a business come to you and say, Oh, I listen, I listen to John’s podcast and I wanna join Hello s how’s that happen?

Carolyn Rodz (12:58): Yeah, it’s totally free. So you just go to hello s.com, you can sign up for free, you’ll go through just a really quick onboarding experience where we’ll ask some basic questions about your business and from there you’ll get recommended opportunities that’ll help your company grow. So it’s everything from a grant that you should be aware of and we really take into account who you are as a business owner. If you’re a black female business owner working in manufacturing, here’s the right recommendations for you. If you are, you know, a veteran, you know, working in tech in Arizona, you’re gonna get different recommendations based on where you live, based on the industry that you’re working on.

John Jantsch (13:38): So you said the mo the the adjoining aspect is free. So the sort of the logical entrepreneurial question for me is what is the hell, How do we make money? Business model

Carolyn Rodz (13:48): , people ask us it all the time. We make money in a variety of ways. One is through affiliate partnerships. So as business owners are making purchases along the way, we are receiving commissions off of those. We also have premium experiences. So there are certain paid experiences. Uh, we work to get the best pricing on all of those if we can. We certainly also for credit card holders an example, there’s benefits. If they have a hell elses credit card, there’s opportunity for us as well. But at the end of the day, it really is, we’re always looking for ways of how do we help business owners and make money off of the things that they’re doing anyway. We don’t wanna put additional spend into their pocket. Everybody’s so bootstrapped and so tight on dollars. All of our monetization comes from our, the business partners, a corporate and enterprise partners that we work with. So we’re never taking money out of the hands of business owners.

John Jantsch (14:40): Grants are obvi, as you’ve mentioned, a big part of what you help people acquire. I, is there an art to to getting a grant or is it really just right place, right time, right need? Or is it a more competitive , you know, type of thing that, that you really have to get good at?

Carolyn Rodz (14:56): It is competitive and there’s certainly, I would say both art and science to it. One is just actually filling out your application fully. You’d be surprised how many people submit a grant and don’t answer all the questions and actually taking time and thoughtfulness. I think that’s a very simple thing that will really set your grant application apart. We actually have guides on Hello Alices, on how to go through the grants process, how to optimize your grant application. And then we also run workshops really helping people figure it out. And I’ll say for our own company, I built both Hello Alice in previous companies with grant funding and we’ve applied for, I mean, hundreds of grants over the years and it’s, it is a numbers game, so it’s not, it’s unlikely the first or second or even probably 10th grant application will result in money. But we try to keep the applications as streamlined as possible, as simple as possible for people so that they’re not spending a a ton of time on it. Most can be filled out in 20 minutes or less. And then also you can reutilize a lot of the data fields. So if you filled it out once for the next grant, we’re not gonna ask you the same questions again. So to save people time, we know time and money are various scarce resources for entrepreneurs.

John Jantsch (16:03): So I’m seeing like the bot, you know, to help the application is like the Cheshire cat or something.

Carolyn Rodz (16:09): We have our rabbits, so you’ll see our white rabbit a lot throughout the platform, but the white rabbit is really the guide for the entrepreneur. So where you see that rabbit pop up, it’s sort of pulling those entrepreneurs along the right path and the recommended path for them.

John Jantsch (16:24): So, So what type of network, our backend

Carolyn Rodz (16:27): Platform we

John Jantsch (16:27): Do, you know, in my experience that’s one it’s not necessarily the most valuable is Definitly the thing that people enjoy the most that are kind of in, in this, you know, struggling together. So what type of networking do you have you found the community response to?

Carolyn Rodz (16:42): Well we do lots of different affinity groups that we’re pulling together, right? So one of the biggest roles for us at Hello Alice, how do we convene business owners together in ways that are meaningful to them? And sometimes that is who are you as a person? So we, for Hispanic Heritage Month brought together a group of Hispanic entrepreneurs. We also will bring people together by geography. And so we just had an event in Atlanta, for example, with in partnership with MasterCard that brought owners together. But we do a ton online and it really is, I think those smaller groups are so critical. We also leverage ecosystem partners. So we work with, you know, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. We work with the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We work with a ton of organizations to, to push owners out and say, look, this is a network on the ground that’s very helpful for you. And those have become great partners for us. They are constantly referring people over to Hello Alice. We’re always referring people out to them. And we’ve built a really incredible ecosystem of organizations like DI Inc. And I mean there’s so many, there’s thousands of them. Yeah, they’re so critical to the ecosystem. I think we are a technology and we can certainly help expose the right resources for people, but there is so much that we cannot do as a technology that will never replace that human human touch.

John Jantsch (17:57): So, and, and this would only come sort of anecdotally from you talking to members I suppose, but do first off people probably join for a very specific reasons. I mean typically probably drawn for the capital is that

Carolyn Rodz (18:11): Yes, capital is the number one draw in for sure. Yes.

John Jantsch (18:16): Why do they stick around if they choose to stick around?

Carolyn Rodz (18:19): They stick around often I would say a combination of guidance. It’s just where do I go next? What do I need to be focusing on? And then a specific solution. So we work again with all of our corporate partners, say, Okay, we’re gonna bring you, you know, we, you know, we need a payroll service for your business. We’re gonna, we’re gonna filter down what are actually the really viable and good ones for your company. But also how do we take the volume of 1.2 million business owners on our platform and go leverage the very best discount for your business to help you make that purchase for us. We make recommendations, many recommendations, Aren a platform that we don’t get any affiliate. Yeah. Fee from. Our big belief is that if you’re with us over the journey, that there’s gonna be some that are beneficial to us, mutually beneficial, there are gonna be some that are not, but at the end of the day, we have to have the trust of the business owners or none of us win.

(19:12): Like we are all very aligned around how do we help these business owners grow and succeed. It’s what we need as a business. It’s what the business owner needs for their own company. It’s what the corporate ecosystem needs. They need those businesses to grow. The foundations we work with need those businesses to grow. So there’s such alignment that we get to be, you know, we have the luxury, I will say, of being a very mission driven company. At the end of the day, every decision we would make, we say, is this best for the business owner or not? And if it’s not, we won’t do it.

John Jantsch (19:41): You’ve only got five short years under your belt. But have you worked with somebody that came to you maybe in total startup mode, needed some money to get going and now you know, you’ve connected with them and they have 50 employees or something. I mean that, have you seen a maturity of a business?

Carolyn Rodz (19:58): Yes, we had, one of my favorite stories is Sia Scotch a company. It was one of the first female owned scotch company owned by a Cuban American. And what was so cool is that she was on Hello Alice, used Hello Alices to support the growth of her company. Ultimately ended up selling her business and then came back and funded grant funds for other business owners. It was like this really cool full circle story of so neat to be a small part of her journey and then to get to see her actually getting back and fueling the ecosystem. I think it’s just an example of one, how much entrepreneurs are rooting for each other. Like, sure, we all know this is tough and everybody’s cheering each other on. And I think that’s sort of the essence of the community that we’ve built.

John Jantsch (20:40): Awesome. Well Carolyn, thanks so much for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. You wanna tell people, obviously we’ve mentioned the name Hello Alice, but uh, you want to tell people where they can, uh, connect with you and find out more about Hello Alice?

Carolyn Rodz (20:53): Yes, please check us out@helloalice.com. You can follow us at hello Alice or hello alice com depending on the platform. I mean myself at Carolyn Rods.

John Jantsch (21:02): Awesome. Well thanks again and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days when we’re both out there on the road somewhere

Carolyn Rodz (21:08): For sure. Thank you so much, John, I appreciate the time.

John Jantsch (21:11): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network and Air.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

 

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Using Data, Experience, And Intuition To Drive Your Decisions

Using Data, Experience, And Intuition To Drive Your Decisions written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Paul Magnone

Paul Magnone, guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Paul Magnone. Paul is Head of Global Strategic Alliances at Google where he is developing a growing ecosystem of partners that will unlock the next generation of business value via the cloud and related technologies. He’s also the co-author of — Decisions Over Decimals: Striking the Balance between Intuition and Information.

Key Takeaway:

Amid streams of data and countless meetings, we make hasty decisions, slow decisions, and often no decisions. Successful decision-makers are fierce interrogators. They square critical thinking with open-mindedness by blending information, intuition, and experience. In this episode, Paul Magnone joins me to talk about striking the balance between intuition and information.

Questions I ask Paul Magnone:

  • [2:17] Is “Decisions Over Decimals” a little bit of a play on like paralysis via analysis?
  • [3:48] Is there a person that can do what you’re calling quantitative intuition?
  • [5:59] Could you unpack the “I Wish I Knew” (IWIK) framework?
  • [10:19] You spend a lot of time talking about this idea of working backward and having the end in mind – do you find that that is kind of counterintuitive for people?
  • [12:39] How do you fight the bias to actually just use the numbers to validate what you’re already thinking as opposed to maybe steering you away from what you’re thinking?
  • [13:55] You spend a lot of time on the idea that you’re gonna get a better decision almost based on how much time you spend framing the problem – could you talk more in-depth about this idea?
  • [16:07] If someone spent so much time making a decision, does it make it harder to reverse it?
  • [17:28] If you were consulting with somebody and you were advising them on this process would you say that one benefit of this process or going through a process like this, would be that it helps eliminate some of the risks?
  • [19:03] Would you say that this process takes practice or is this something that you ought to actually use as a framework?
  • [20:27] Would you go as far as to say that quantitative intuition should almost be viewed as a culture?
  • [21:02] Where can people connect with you and get a copy of your book?

More About Paul Magnone:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Marketing Against the Grain, hosted by Kip Bodner. And Keion Flanigan is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Look, if you wanna know what’s happening now in marketing, what’s ahead and how you can stay ahead of the game, this is the podcast for you, host and HubSpot’s, CMO and SVP of Marketing. Kip and Keion share their marketing expertise unfiltered in the details, the truth, and like nobody tells it. In fact, a recent episode, they titled Half Baked Marketing Ideas They Got Down In the Weeds, talked about some outside of the box campaigns with real businesses. Listen to marketing, its grain wherever you get your podcasts.

(00:56): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Paul Mannon. He is the head of Global Strategic alliances at Google, where he is developing a growing ecosystem of partners that will unlock the next generation of business value via the cloud and related technologies. But today we’re gonna talk about the fact that he’s a co-author of a book called Decisions Over Decimals, striking the Balance Between Intuition and Information. So Paul, welcome to the show.

Paul Magnone (01:27): Thank you for having me, John.

John Jantsch (01:30): So this book I mentioned you were a co-author. You actually had two other authors as somebody who’s written a book, I can’t imagine the circus that is three three authors, although I know you, you have written another book with Christopher.

Paul Magnone (01:42): That’s right. Yeah. So it’s a very good question and the fact is it’s less of a circus because Chris and I go way back. We went to college together and we did write that first book, but the three of us have been teaching together for seven years at Columbia. So in some ways we’ve written down what we’ve been talking about with each other and with, you know, thousands of, of students in business professionals for some time.

John Jantsch (02:04): And you added a data scientist just

Paul Magnone (02:06): We, we added a preeminent data scientist . So OED Netzer, Yes. A PhD outta Stanford. And he is now the Vice Dean of research at Columbia Business School.

John Jantsch (02:17): So I, I’m guessing the decisions over decimals is a little bit of a play on like paralysis via analysis, like kind of idea, like a little bit of a nod towards close enough is maybe better than not doing anything.

Paul Magnone (02:35): Yeah. At the end of the day, you know, if you think about a decision represents change Yeah. And humans are not wired for change, right? And most of us are risk averse. So what happens is we retreat to one side or the other, some dive into the data, and then once they have the data, they want more data and you know, just keep feeding them spreadsheets and they’re happy. Other people say, I don’t wanna see any of that. I just, I’m gonna make a gut call. Which always sounds good in a movie . And at the end of the day, uh, a an exceptional decision maker balances both. So we tried to capture that in the title.

John Jantsch (03:12): Yeah. So, so quantitative gut calls or as you’re calling it, quantitative intuition,

Paul Magnone (03:18): Right? And that by design seems contradictory. And before I say anything else, I will point out that all three of us authors are technical. We have engineering degrees, we love the math, we adore the math, but it’s like prospecting in the wrong hole if you don’t orient properly first. And that orientation, that deciding what to focus on is a blend of both sides.

John Jantsch (03:48): So is that, you know, it’s kinda like the engineer who can sell, you know, joke. I mean, is that like, is there a person that can do, can do what you’re calling quantitative intuition? I mean, is that, is there a human being wired that way or is it more a matter of like, let’s bring a team of people that have this and they have this and we’ll like fight over where the middle is?

Paul Magnone (04:08): Well, I, so I think large organizations do bring cohorts that are on one side or the other, and that’s sort of natural within org design. But notice what I said at the top. I said, most of us are risk averse and we retreat to our comfort zones. Yeah, Right. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the other gears. Right? So the majority of people, they have intuition and they don’t listen to it if they are really technical because they stay close to the numbers because that’s what they’re comfortable with and they don’t listen to their intuition. Other people say, Well I can’t figure out the math. Yeah. And they say, I’m just gonna make a gut call. And then you show them some of the numbers and they say, Well wait a minute, I really wanna look into that. Oh, so you actually do understand numbers , and so much of this is about giving yourself permission to operate in both modes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because it’s inherent in as we have that ability.

John Jantsch (05:03): So, you know, I will, you know, blatantly say that I err towards the gut call. Intuition aside, probably my favorite part of the book, however, is really your, I think it’s your bridge to getting those together. And it’s this idea of the questions rather than going in with answers or assumptions or even hypothesis. It’s like, are we asking the right questions? And I think that, uh, that element is probably sorely missing in most leadership decisions, isn’t it?

Paul Magnone (05:29): Yeah, very much so. And fact is the smartest person in the room, as we like to say, it’s not the person who blurts out the answer and has the encyclopedic, you know, calculate our memory kind of thing. Yeah. But it’s the person that says, Well wait a minute, have we thought of this? It’s the person that asks the powerful question that cuts through a lot of what the noise is, that you have that aha moment that crystallizes and synthesizes everything.

John Jantsch (05:59): You have a couple, I already mentioned one trademarked kind of term quantitative intuition. You’ve got another one I w I k I wish I knew. You want to kind of unpack your framework for that?

Paul Magnone (06:11): Yeah, absolutely. So at, so many folks talk about getting to an essential question. And you hear people like Elon Musk talk about it. If you go far enough back into the classics, you see it with Plato and Socrates and everything, get to that first principle. That’s wonderful. How do you get to it across a group? And most conversations before you into the first couple of sentences, you’re already anchored on something because the boss already planted the anchor inadvertently . So if you start conversations with, well, yes, we know a variety of things, but we’re trying to interrogate a particular choice that we need to make. What is it that I really wish I knew about that? And you just let that breathe. And the magical word there is wish, because let people use that their wonderful brains and have that open slate and say what it is that they’re really observing as opposed to spitting back what everybody already knows.

(07:16): Cuz that’s what happens so much of the time. You go from there into what we refer to as divergent questions, open it up, collect all of the observations, and then start to aggregate them and say, Well, you know what, now that we’ve had the open conversation that you’ve said what it is that you wish, let’s start to organize that a little bit. And you may want to know, well, is there a market for my product for millennials? That’s a real simple question, but you may find out after going through an exercise like this that I want high net worth individuals, you know, millennials that live in a certain demographic that also like this kind of music that wasn’t in your first question, but when you go through the steps Yeah. Pull that out.

John Jantsch (08:04): Well I think one of the things I, like you already pointed at this idea, a lot of times people are biased by, you know, coming in, people saying, here’s what we’re trying to do, setting the table. But that I wish I knew sort of gives everybody the permission to, I mean, you’re ba first off you’re saying, I don’t know. And so you really then I think give everybody the permission to bring some fresh ideas.

Paul Magnone (08:24): Yeah, exactly. And it’s interesting how it requires people to be brave to say, I don’t know. Yeah. Right? And you shouldn’t have to be brave. It should be known that the world is moving fast, technology information is moving fast, How could you possibly know everything? So having, having an open conversation to say, you know what? We’ve done the work to analyze what we know. Here are a few things we don’t know know, and we think that this is an area to go investigate, as opposed to, let me put a little bow on the answer that you already expected and let’s move on to the next thing. Yeah. Which happens too often.

John Jantsch (09:07): Well, yeah. And you know, just as a leadership trade, it’s pretty empowering, I think, you know, if everybody’s waiting around for you to have the answer as a leader, that could be, that can be hard work. Right. But if you basically are empowering people, go get me the answers. You know, what a great way to lead, Huh?

Paul Magnone (09:23): Oh, you, you know, we hire brilliant people out of tremendous schools. Yeah. And then put them in roles where they’re not allowed to really say what they think. Yeah. So a smart leader maybe sets the parameters, This is what we’re trying to investigate and then doesn’t talk until the end. Yeah. You know, let the conversation flow, let the ideas come forward. Now that doesn’t, that could seem unruly, but it’s not. If you put boundaries around it, you put a framework around it, you time box it and you say, Listen, we need to go investigate. Go be brilliant. Do the things that are your God given abilities that we hired you for.

John Jantsch (10:05): And like all good consultants, you have your A, B, C, D process for ask, brainstorm, capture deliberate, you know, to kind you said put, you know, give it some structure so that’s not just, you know, come to me with any idea you have.

Paul Magnone (10:18): Right.

John Jantsch (10:20): You, this is probably the hardest, I think this would be the hardest part for some people. And that you spend a lot of time talking about this idea of working backwards and it’s, let’s have the end in mind now. Let’s go work backwards and find out what the story really is. Isn’t that, do you find that’s kind of counterintuitive for people?

Paul Magnone (10:40): It, it’s kind of counterintuitive for sure. However, it’s not difficult, right? If you know that, you know, this weekend we’re throwing a party that’s very different than, you know, this weekend we’re getting on a plane trip. And you start to plan accordingly. Similarly, in business, you need to know what that end state is. We didn’t say what kind of dinner party or how many people, but you start to orient your thinking a particular way. So the structure that we talk about with backwards thinking is have that end in mind, build branches to the tree, and then start crossing off the branches that are irrelevant or not going to be fruitful. And you can quickly whittle down to, ah, here is the path forward.

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(12:26): So, because data is such a big part of this, and I think, I can’t remember the exact quote, but you know, I’ve heard it before, I’m gonna butcher it a little bit, but, you know, essentially you can make data say anything, right? You torture it long enough and you can come up with any answer you want, right? So, so how do you fight the, not necessarily the urge, but even the bias to, to actually just use the numbers to validate, you know, what you’re already thinking as opposed to maybe steering you away from what you’re thinking?

Paul Magnone (12:54): Well, yeah, that’s an important question because with these tools and techniques, like any tool and technique, you could use it to drive in the wrong direction, right?

(13:05): But if you have the right group of people, the right cross section of people, you will ideally not be biased, you will be open up to surprise. We talk about that a bit. And as you discuss what is surprising, what is kind of the illuminating thing that I’ve suddenly discovered? Yeah, if somebody had an agenda, the agenda probably falls by the wayside. If you follow the instincts, right? If you follow the going back and forth between, here’s the data, here’s the judgment, here’s the business acumen, and you’re going back and forth. And I suppose a, a super talented person that controls an organization can still jury rig the decision process , but ideally you’re gonna be further along.

John Jantsch (13:55): So one of the, the, I meant to actually ask this a little earlier, so I’m getting this a little bit of out of order here. But you spend a lot of time on, on the idea that you’re gonna get a better decision almost based on how much time you spend framing the problem. , you know, creating, really creating and thinking through the problem is how you’re gonna ultimately get to a better decision. It’s kind of like sharpening the saw before you go try to cut down the tree.

Paul Magnone (14:19): Yeah. It’s, you know, measure twice, cut once. It was, uh, I think Einstein that said I’d spend 99% of the time thinking and 1% doing. Yeah. And that’s really the case. It’s, I see it all the time. Here’s a spreadsheet that answers the question. Isn’t that the spreadsheet we used last week,

John Jantsch (14:37): ,

Paul Magnone (14:37): But what, like, how is that relevant right now? So taking that step back and saying, well what are we really solving for? And not taking that first answer because the first answer is probably not thoughtful enough. And you know, it’s interesting how the lessons from childhood come ringing through. Keep on asking why until you’re exhausted and there’s no more why’s. Yeah, yeah. Well, why is that? Well dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper. And the mindset that we think the majority of folks should have as they go through this is to be an interrogator. Now you can be an interrogator without being annoying , but it is to be an interrogator. Much like a journalist looks and says, well what is the core here? What, what is it that I’m really seeing? And do I trust this data? Is it reliable? Where did we get it? Who brought it forward? Did that person have an agenda? Now let’s take that, put it in context. Hey, we just sold 12 shovels. Well the guy in the store next to you sold 20 shovels. Oh, well we need to do more next week. Hey, it was a fluke snowstorm in August, right? Understand what’s happening and put it in context and does that change the strategy of your business? And so then, you know, just ask those questions. That pressure, if

John Jantsch (16:08): I adopt this process and I spend a whole lot of time framing the problem and I get the right data and I, you know, I ask the right questions and I get everybody brainstorming and I make a decision and it’s pretty clear that it was the wrong decision at some point down the road. Right? Does this, I’m really teeing this up because this will, you know, this will be a softball for you, but I’m imagining somebody saying the fact that I spent so much time making the decision, does it make it harder to reverse it?

Paul Magnone (16:39): Well, you know, decisions, first off, understanding if a decision is an absolute or it is reversible is an important right point, right? Most often people lock in because they think, Well I’ve gotta make this decision. And once it’s done, I see other organizations where every single decision is reversible. Either way, you’re bogging down progress. Yeah. And so there’s no guarantees here that gonna absolutely get the right answer, but what you’re going to ideally do is move crisply, be more thoughtful and stop wasting company resources as you’re trying to move forward.

John Jantsch (17:28): Now if you were, say you were consulting with somebody and you were advising them on this process, taking this process, would you say that one of the things that this process, one benefit of this process or going through a process like this, would be that it helps eliminate some of the risk?

Paul Magnone (17:45): It should, It should. And we talk about a decision moment model is something else we talk about, which is another little framework where we think you can map every decision along three dimensions, time, risk, and trust. Mm. So do you have no time or do you have a lot of time? No time, it’s maybe it’s a crisis. A lot of time it’s congress or parliament. Low risk or high risk, right? No time, low risk, get the sandwich, get the salad. No, a lot of time high risk, you are gonna be in a committee for months.

(18:25): The third dimension is trust. Do you trust the information? Do you trust the person that gave you the information? Do you trust the organization that stands behind the person? And you then start to think, well, is this reputational risk for me? Or like, what, what is going on here? So as you start to triangulate on time, risk and trust, you can say, is this a critical decision that needs to be made? And how crisply can I move through it? Or is this a decision that we don’t have to apply our top resources to in the moment?

John Jantsch (19:03): Would you say that that this process takes practice and that, you know, rather than once a year when you have that big decision to make, like the annual planning or something or the creating new product, you trot this out? Or is this something that you ought to actually use as a framework, you know, for maybe almost every little decision so that when the big decision comes along,

Paul Magnone (19:24): I think it’s a habit that it is both a habit that you can start to pick up and start to use right away. But yeah, getting an entire organization to start using a decision moment model or an IIC framework takes a little bit of effort to get there and start small. Find that one ally that wants to give it a shot and then find that second ally. The fact is, a lot of this is just very much around mindset. And we talked about surprise before, when you leave a party, what are you talking about? Are you talking about the food? Are you talking about the playlist? Are you talking about what surprised you? Yeah. So you and your, the friends that you went with, you’re talking about, oh, did you notice that? So in our personal lives, were open to talking about surprises, but in our business lives we bury that because while that’s not what the boss wants to hear or we don’t have time for that, meanwhile that might be the real essential thing that unlocks a better decision. So it is about that mindset.

John Jantsch (20:28): I mean, would you go as far as, I think you wrote, I think you wrapped the book up, you know, where you started with this quantitative intuition almost as culture

Paul Magnone (20:38): I, I think so at the end of the day, we’ve been asked why write a book ? And you know, as I said, we’ve been teaching this so we figured, hey, let’s finally write it down. But we do see incredible waste out there in the business world in decision making. And so ideally we’d like to see a tribe of better decision makers. If nothing else, maybe I’ll have a better meeting down the road. I’ll run it to someone else from the tribe, right? Yeah,

John Jantsch (21:01): Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Well Paul, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. You wanna tell people where they can, I know the book is available wherever you buy books, but where they might connect with you as well.

Paul Magnone (21:13): Sure. You can find me on LinkedIn, Paul Manone, M A G N O N E, I’m out there. You can come and take our class at Columbia and we teach it both in the exec MBA and the exec ed court. And that is entitled Leading In a Data Driven World. Of course, the book is out there on your favorite local independent bookstores, ideally, but you can find it, the major players out there and the, let’s see, what’s today. I believe the audio book is issued tomorrow the 25th.

John Jantsch (21:44): Yeah, so depending upon when you’re listening to this, we’re recording it October 25th. So book will be available by the time you hear this’ll be available everywhere. And then I believe you also have a website, Dod

Paul Magnone (21:54): Yes, do od the book.com. So decision over decimals is the do od the book.com.

John Jantsch (21:59): Awesome. Well, Paul, again, thanks for, uh, stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and uh, hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Paul Magnone (22:07): I appreciate it, John. Thanks for the time.

John Jantsch (22:09): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

The Communication Secrets Of The World’s Greatest Salesman

The Communication Secrets Of The World’s Greatest Salesman written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Carmine Gallo

Carmine Gallo, guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Carmine Gallo. Carmine is the bestselling author of Talk Like TED and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. He is a Harvard instructor, CEO communication coach, and keynote speaker known for transforming leaders. He’s the author of a new book we’re talking about called – The Bezos Blueprint: Communication Secrets of the World’s Greatest Salesman.

Key Takeaway:

What fueled Amazon’s astonishing growth? Effective, clear communication. Jeff Bezos turned a bold idea into the world’s most influential company, a brand that likely touches your life every day. As a student of leadership and communication, he learned to elevate the way Amazonians write, collaborate, innovate, pitch, and present. He created a scalable model that grew from a small team in a Seattle garage to one of the world’s largest employers. Carmine Gallo joins me in this episode to reveal the communication strategies that Jeff Bezos pioneered to fuel Amazon’s growth. Bezos reimagined the way leaders write, speak, and motivate teams and customers. The communication tools Bezos created are so effective that former Amazonians who worked directly with Bezos adopted them as blueprints to start their own companies. Now, these tools are available to you.

Questions I ask Carmine Gallo:

  • [1:57] Why did you choose Bezos to focus your book on?
  • [6:20] You start off the book with – “Simple is the new superpower.” Is this the premise of the book and can you break down this idea?
  • [10:07] Would you say that this is a writing book?
  • [12:08] You break the book into three parts. The first part is about discovering why strong writing skills are more essential than ever – can you unpack that idea?
  • [17:12] Part two talks about story building and story structure. How do you feel like this book will bring structure to the conversation?
  • [19:32] Part three then is about delivery. Can you talk through this idea and how to deliver with impact?
  • [23:18] Can you unpack the Day One concept?
  • [25:07] Where can people pick up a copy of your book and connect with you?

More About Carmine Gallo:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Content Is Profit hosted by Louis and Fonzi Kame, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. Discover the secrets and strategies of how your business can achieve the frictionless sale. They talk about frameworks, strategies, tactics, and bring special guests to bring you all the information you need in order to turn your content into profit. Recent episode, The power of just one big marketing idea and How to get it really brings home this idea that instead of chasing the idea of the week, really lock in on one big idea to differentiate your business that can make all the difference in the world. Listen to Content Is Profit, wherever you get your podcasts.

(00:55): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Carmine Gallo. He’s the best selling author of Talk Like Ted and the Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. He’s a Harvard instructor, CEO, communication coach and keynote speaker known for Transforming Leaders. He’s also the author of a new book we’re gonna talk about today, The Bezos Blueprint, Communication Secrets of the World’s Greatest Salesman. So Carmine, welcome back to the

Carmine Gallo (01:26): Show. Hey, John, Nice to thank you for inviting me. I’ve been a fan of a lot of the recent podcasts, especially I see you had Paul Zack on on one of your podcasts not too long ago to the neuroscientists. So he and I exchange emails and ideas, especially when it comes to storytelling and oxytocin and all that good stuff that he does the

John Jantsch (01:48): Research and we got into some pretty, pretty deep stuff. No, no question.

Carmine Gallo (01:52): So I feel my oxytocin levels rising already those dopamine levels.

John Jantsch (01:58): So, so let’s jump into your new book, and I’m gonna start off by asking maybe what might be a gut reaction by some people, kind of why Bezos, I know you’re gonna tell me why, but there’s also not everybody loves him . So as a human being perhaps, but maybe we’re not gonna talk about him as a human being and more about it as a salesperson. So I’ll let you, I’ll let you start there.

Carmine Gallo (02:20): When, if you ask 10 people for an opinion on whoever it might be, right? Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, you know, any of these visionaries and entrepreneurs here in America, if you ask 10 people for their opinion on Jeff Bezos, which I’ve done over the last three years of doing the research for my new book, you get 10 different opinions. Right? Wide variety of opinions. Yeah, yeah. Running the gamut. If you asked 10 people who worked side by side with Jeff Bezos, their opinions are very consistent. They even use remarkably the same words. They all start with the, the most visionary person they’ve ever met. Then they move into demanding a person who demanded excellence of himself and others around him. And the, and John, they always end with the same observation. They say, Carmine, I would never have traded it for the world. That’s what, that’s where I picked up. Yeah. Why, What did you learn from Jeff Bezos that you adopted and carried over into the companies that you started? So really, my book, The Blueprint is not based just on Bezos, but it’s based on interviews and conversations with former Amazonians who have adopted the leadership and communication strategies that Bezos pioneered to build Amazon. And copied, blatantly copied some of those systems and used them to build their own companies. That’s what fascinates me.

John Jantsch (03:54): Yeah. Yeah. And I assume you probably had some similar research, and maybe even you could have answered this question maybe the same way in your previous book about Steve Jobs, didn’t you? I mean, there a lot of people that felt absolutely very demanding. Yeah. Yeah.

Carmine Gallo (04:08): I, If you want to have a conversation on the role of Amazon in e-commerce or retail, there are plenty of books and articles on that subject. If you’d like to have a conversation about billionaires and or income inequality, whatever it might be. There’s plenty of Bo, there are plenty of books and essays on that subject. What I wanted to focus on is, what, one of the things that intrigued me is I was watching an interview with Walter Isaacson, the famous biographer of Steve Jobs Einstein, uh, Ben Franklin and his other books, and he was asked, who of today’s contemporary leaders would he put in the same category? And without missing a beat, he said Jeff Bezos, because Jay Bezos was not only a visionary, but he was also creative and invented so many mechanisms that startups and managers and leaders use today. So plus John, look, we’re storytellers. I’m an author, The story is irresistible. Yeah. A guy with a bold idea and really no contacts and no funding at that time. No name for a company transforms the idea into one of the world’s most admired brands. And we can argue a company that has more impact over our lives than almost any other single company other than the company you work for. So the story itself is irresistible. Can’t, don’t tell me not to pursue that story. That’s a good story.

John Jantsch (05:43): So yeah, I think arguably you could say, you know, you’re talking about more on our individual consumer behavior and lives, but certainly the entire behavior, e-commerce for sure, retail, in general.

Carmine Gallo (05:55): John, if I had nothing to teach you from studying Bezos, his writing, the strategies he put in place to fuel Amazon, I would not have written the book. It took me into so many different places that my other books that just didn’t afford me, and I continued to learn. I’m constantly learning from some of the strategies he put in place, as did many others. That’s what fascinates me.

John Jantsch (06:20): So you start out the book with this, and I’ve heard you say this, the Bezos blueprint, the readers will learn why simple is the new superpower. So you could argue that’s, I mean, you’re really kind of starting with that as the overall premise of the book, aren’t you?

Carmine Gallo (06:35): Yeah, I could have titled the book Simple as the New Superpower, because a lot of it really falls under how do we simplify complex information. So in an age when we are being bombarded by information, all of our customers, our clients, now let’s focus on marketers and the people who are listening to our podcast specifically, How do you rise above the noise? How do you cut through it? Well, the secret to cutting through the noise is not necessarily to add more noise, but to go in the opposite direction and to cut through it. So there’s a number of different ways to stand apart that appear kind of, or sound counterintuitive early, early on, at least to me. And one is to use short words to talk about big ideas or to talk about hard things. Yeah. And that, to me, that is simple as the new superpower.

(07:36): So I have an analysis in the book, and I have a graphic that goes along with it. I reviewed 50,000 words that Bezos wrote in a shareholder letters over time. And a lot of experts and a lot of CEOs and company founders tell me that those shareholder letters were models of simplicity, which kinda led me in that direction. I analyzed all the, all of the letters, put them through software tools. And here’s something remarkable. As Amazon grew bigger and much more complex, you’re talking about adding artificial intelligence and cloud computing. The writing got better over time. And the, And how did it get better? If you look at readability statistics or readability software, it’s measured by grade level. Yeah. So you probably know this, but what grade level should you be writing for to reach a wide and the largest and widest variety of readers and listeners? What grade level do you think that would be?

John Jantsch (08:37): Uh, probably not post-graduate thesis level.

Carmine Gallo (08:41): Absolutely not. Right?

John Jantsch (08:42): Like little lower. I mean, I, I’ve heard sixth, seventh grade.

Carmine Gallo (08:45): Yeah. It’s eighth grade. It’s eighth grade level. So if you write at an eighth grade level, you are still writing for intelligent adults. That’s the whole, whole counterintuitive notion about it. It doesn’t mean that you’re dumbing down the content. It means that you are allow giving people the opportunity to use less mental energy to absorb what you’re writing. Yeah. Right. That means short words to replace long words, uh, ancient words, one syllable words to replace those Latin-based words that fill up legal contracts, , shorter sentences, the active voice. So 90% of the Bezos letters are written in the active voice. Yeah. Subject verb object. After 2007, his letters became easier to read, even though Amazon grew more complex over time. That whole area, to me is so fascinating. And it was intentional, John. That’s what I learned from talking to people who had worked with Bezos. He is, he has that growth mindset, always learning, always developing, always getting better, writing, public speaking, delivering presentations. That’s a skill. And like any skill you can improve on it.

John Jantsch (10:07): Yeah. I guess we didn’t say this at the outset. I think it would be easy for people to think, Oh, you’re gonna teach me how to build an e-commerce business or something. And what this book really focuses on is writing, developing stories, writing storytelling in a way that gets your message across. And so it, it really is a, Would you say that it’s really a writing book?

Carmine Gallo (10:25): Oh, yeah. If you’d like to learn how to be a third party seller on Amazon, it’s not gonna teach you that . No. These are very actionable tips and strategies that anybody can use any level of an organization or just starting out. Remember, Bezos did not have a name for his company, and he didn’t have a company. It was just an idea. Yeah, it that he built in the garage of a rented home in Seattle. So it, it applies to everybody. A 1 million person company, and a one person company.

John Jantsch (10:54): And now a word from our sponsor, marketers are a key part of business. Um, funny I would say that, right? But that’s because we own the conversation with our customers and having tools that help us have meaningful conversations with our customers at scale, all while maintaining a personal touch is our white whale point solutions can be easy to set up, but difficult to manage and maintain, and all of a sudden you find yourself with disconnected teams and data leading to poor customer experience. Yikes. HubSpot is an all in one CRM platform that is impossible to outgrow and ridiculously easy to use, meaning you never have to worry about it slowing you down. That’s because HubSpot is purpose built for real businesses. Businesses that test and learn, pivot and push and do it all again next quarter with customizable hubs and tools that you can add or subtract as you grow. HubSpot is ready to help you stop chasing the white whale and start connecting with your customers at moments that matter Most. Learn how HubSpot can help your business grow better @ hubspot.com. So, so you break the book in three parts, and the first one is really about think. You talk about, I’ve heard you talk about this, that the first part’s about discovering why strong writing skills are more essential than ever. So you want to kind of unpack what we’ll meet in part one?

Carmine Gallo (12:23): Yeah. Especially about, well, that the first chapter is called Simple is the New Superpower because we kind of go into those writing skills. But I also did, I wanted to make this approachable. So I did go back to class myself. I interviewed some of the top writing authors. People have written books on grammar and English grammar and how to write well because eh, a lot of writing books are kind of boring. It’s not like those are the first books that we go to all the time. And so I definitely wanted to, just to understand some of the themes that each and every one of us could use, not just in writing, but whenever we are trying to simplify complex information, whether that’s in written word or in the way we articulate and present our ideas and information. And that’s why simple could be the words you choose. That’s one way of making it simple. How about metaphors and analogies? I have an entire TA chapter just on analogy and an entire chapter just on metaphor, because Bezos, Warren Buffett, and many other leaders who are considered excellent communicators in their own way, tend to use metaphors comparing something that’s abstract to something that’s familiar. And there are a lot of famous metaphors that Jeff Bezos introduced at Amazon that continue to be used today, not just at Amazon, but many other companies.

John Jantsch (13:49): It, yeah, I mean, I think one, one of the things metaphors, you know, really can do for is take a complex idea and have people get it right away. And, you know, in a handful of words, I think they also can be mixed. That can be misused, , you know, it’s kinda like a lot of things. You try to use humor in your writing and if it, you know, if it’s not actually funny or if it falls flat than it actually does the opposite for you. I think that’s, that can be, you know, a lot of me, a lot of metaphor use actually falls into cliche, which I think then probably works against you, doesn’t

Carmine Gallo (14:18): It? Oh, thank you, John. I actually talk about that again, if a metaphor is too cliche, it’s a, it’s not going to connect with people in any, any meaningful way. So it’s a little too long to get into. But Bezos chose the analogies and the metaphors he used extremely precisely. He was very deliberate about the metaphors he choose. He chose, So he took the flywheel concept. I’ll just give you one quick example. Yeah, yeah. He took the flywheel concept, which he read from a book. He’s a voracious reader, Read a book by Jim Collins. Yeah. And took this whole idea of the flywheel mechanism and used it as a metaphor for how to grow a company, how to create growth momentum within a company. So it’s a metaphor that has to become an analogy in order to be explained. He has to be able to explain it a little bit.

(15:14): And that’s sort of the difference between a good metaphor and an analogy. An analogy is more of an a tool for education, but that if you look up Amazon flywheel or even the flywheel effect, it’s often tied back to Amazon. And a lot of people use it in different organizations. But if it wasn’t for Jeff Bezos reading a book, adopting something from a different discipline and applying it to his company, it wouldn’t be nearly as popular a buzzword as it is today. Yeah. So reading, thinking, always growing, applying ideas from different fields, different disciplines, different books, that was sort of the secret sauce that helped fuel Amazon’s strategy and align teams from 1994 all the way to today. They still use the very same metaphors and strategies that Bazos put in place decades ago.

John Jantsch (16:10): Yeah. Flat, you’ve flywheel, you know, in every startup, you know, Silicon Valley, you know, entrepreneur is using, you know that as Exactly

Carmine Gallo (16:19): Sean, what was fascinating to me is for years I live in Silicon Valley, so for years I hear things like flywheels. I hear two pizza teams. Yeah. That’s another Bezos metaphor. I hear that constantly in startups. I also hear them talk about six pagers, which are narrative memos that, again, Bezos buy at Amazon. More often than not, when I tell people that, Oh, you know, that’s an Amazon thing, it really got started at Amazon under Jeff Bezos. They look at me like they’ve never heard that idea before. I mean, I got this blank expression on my, on their face. And so that’s why I realized that there were a lot of things that Bezos created, these mechanisms that he created at Amazon people use today, and not even aware that it’s directly tied to his vision.

John Jantsch (17:12): The part two talks about story building and story structure. You can’t really pick up a marketing book today that doesn’t talk about storytelling . It’s really become the, the thing. But I don’t find too many, This is ironic. I don’t find too many of those books that are actually able to tell people how to do it, how to use it. Everybody says you should be using stories. But a lot of people then go, Well, how, So what do you feel like this book will bring to the story structure conversation?

Carmine Gallo (17:40): I hope I can add something to it, because I have a feeling some of my writing was responsible for creating some of this as storytelling is a buzzword. Cuz I wrote a book that talked like Ted, which really went into storytelling. Then I wrote an entire book just on business storytelling called A Storyteller Secret. And I get that book quoted back to me quite a bit. When people talk about storytelling, You’re right, it’s now become a buzzword, but it’s still abstract. Yeah. I don’t think a lot of people understand what it is. So I try to give people some very simple, actionable tools that they could use. The ver the simplest thing, and very few people understand this, maybe your audience does more than other leaders. Yeah. And that’s the three act structure. So I’ve got at least the whole chapter just on the three act structure, which Bezos follows meticulously when he talks about the Amazon story.

(18:37): And the three act structure is the same structure as most Hollywood movies Follow, which is, act one is the setup. Act two is the challenge or confrontation. Act three is the resolution. Very few people break their presentations up into a three act structure, introduce products as a three act structure. Steve Jobs was very intentional about doing so. So I try to break down how to, what we mean by storytelling and how to do it simply. Yeah. I feel like the three act structure is something that many people are not aware of, John, but it’s simple for them to implement and it helps them understand what we mean by storytelling.

John Jantsch (19:18): Yeah. I think a lot of times just giving people an outline, a structure, you know, like that makes it easier for them to go, Oh, okay, now I know where to start.

Carmine Gallo (19:25): Yeah. Don’t just say, do storytelling, you gotta be a storyteller. I hear that all the time. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t think the average leader understands how to implement that.

John Jantsch (19:32): Yeah, totally agree. Uh, so part three then is about, okay, I’ve got my story. I know what I’m supposed to say. How do I deliver it in a way that is going to have impact, which is I think essentially what part three is about.

Carmine Gallo (19:44): Yeah. My favorite chapter in part three is make the mission. Your mantra again, I think is a, is an area that very few people understand or they certainly don’t, it’s not an element of their communication that they’re v it’s that’s very obvious to them. We all have a mission. Okay. Almost every company has some kind of mission or purpose. Often as you know, they’re just gobbly cook. It’s a mission statement that’s drafted by committee and put into a drawer somewhere. And that’s why I never was a big fan of mission statements because most of the people I interview or work with can’t even remember their own company’s mission statement. Yep. So I didn’t put a lot of stock into that. Then I started researching Bezos and Amazon. I’m looking at it differently now. Don’t look at it as a mission. Think of it as a mantra in 1998, in a second shareholder letter, or 1999 Yeah.

(20:43): Second shareholder letter, Jeff Bezos began to articulate this idea that Amazon would be the world’s most customer-centric company, the world’s most customer-centric company at the time. John, it may not mean a lot to you today, but at the time it certainly did because most people had the question, what’s the internet? And now you want me to buy something and put my credit card into this thing? They didn’t understand it. So everything had to be customer obsessed. But what Bezos did over 24 shareholder letters and in every interview, every presentation, everything I could get my hands on for 30 years, he always brought it back to the mission. We are earth’s most customer centric company and that’s why when we developed the Kindle, this is what it means to the customer. We are earth’s most customer centric company. And that’s why when we developed our new cloud division, this is what it means to the customer.

(21:46): Yeah. Everything was about bringing it back to the central mission. And today, this was 19 98, 19 99. When you go onto Amazon today, what’s the mission? Earth’s most customer centric company? When I heard Andy Chassy, who was the new CEO of Amazon, when I heard him in his first interview, he used that phrase several times. It’s internalized Bezos isn’t even there, he’s on the board, but he’s now he’s running, you know, Blue Origin a space company, but it’s still internalized within the company and that, that’s what I mean by a mantra. Yeah. Forget about this mission statement, Turn your purpose and mission into a mantra that is simple, easy to understand, and something that the leader repeats. Yeah. If you don’t repeat it, it doesn’t mean

John Jantsch (22:34): Anything. Yeah. I mean, you you, one of the things about the mantra idea is, you know, it inherently brings in simple, but you’re right. A lot of times, even if people are passionate about a mission that they have, if it’s not baked into everything, people just, people forget about it. They don’t, you know, if the leader’s not saying it every day, why do I have to remember it? . So, so I think that’s part of what happens, You know, when I first, I think, Is that your wife or,

Carmine Gallo (22:59): Uh, my wife Vanessa. Yeah. She works with, with you, me and co-teaches at, at Harvard, some other places with me.

John Jantsch (23:05): So, so when she kinda sent me, Hey, you know, Carmine’s got a new book out, here’s what it’s about. And I’m thinking, ah, Amazon, you know, Apple, like what do they have to do with small business? I have a lot of small business owners show whisperers. Oh yeah, absolutely. And but when I dug into it a little bit, particularly, you know, one, one of the concepts, the day one concept, which is another term that I think you’re gonna suggest was Coin by Bezos. You know, that’s something that really, I don’t care what size company you are, that is really a pretty brilliant idea, isn’t it?

Carmine Gallo (23:35): Absolutely. And talk about the mission. So on day one, Day one is not a thing, although if you go to Seattle, it’s a building, it’s called the Day One building on the Amazon campus. day one is not a thing, it’s not a building, it’s a mindset. That’s how it started. Day one is a mindset for always learning, always growing, always approaching every day, no matter how big your company gets or what area goes into. Always thinking about it as this is day one always growing because day two, as Jeff Bezos later said, means stasis complacent complacency, which leads to irrelevance at a slow, deteriorating, painful decline. So again, he’s ta that’s something that’s consistent. It started in 1997 with his first letter and his last letter in 2000 that came out in 2021. He ends it with, and remember it’s always day one. So if you have a vision or you have values that run your one person company or your small business, you’re the one that needs to keep that center stage. You need to shine a spotlight on your vision and your values, both among your partners, your team, and certainly your customers. But it, it has to come from somewhere and, and that’s what leadership is.

John Jantsch (25:02): So, Carmen, I appreciate your stuff about the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast to talk about the Bezos Blueprint. You wanna invite people where they might find, obviously the book will be available everywhere, but where they might connect with you or find out more about your work.

Carmine Gallo (25:14): Yeah. Please visit me online. If you can remember a good Italian name like Carmine Gallo. You could find me online. You can go directly to to my website and that has my books and how you can contact me. And please for any of our listeners jump on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn and I love having interactions and I talk to a lot of people every day on LinkedIn. So I think I’m the only Carmine Gallo in California. Ah. So I think I’m pretty easy to find.

John Jantsch (25:43): Well my, uh, freshman in high school Latin teacher’s name was Father Mario Perelli. So

Carmine Gallo (25:49): Yes, you, you,

John Jantsch (25:50): Speaking of great Italian names.

Carmine Gallo (25:52): I know a lot of Marios

John Jantsch (25:54): . Well, awesome. Well, again, Carmine, it was great, uh, for you to take the time to, to catch up with us and hopefully we can run into you again one of these days right out there on the road.

Carmine Gallo (26:03): Yeah, thank you. Great opportunity. I love your podcast. I love the platform and, and your listeners who I feel connected to. So thank you, John.

John Jantsch (26:12): Thank you sir. Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

 

The Best Way To Communicate With And Convert Your Website Visitors

The Best Way To Communicate With And Convert Your Website Visitors written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Ben Congleton

Ben Congleton, guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Ben Congleton. Ben is the Chief Executive Olarker (CEO) and co-founder of Olark Live Chat. For the last 13 years, he’s helped thousands of organizations communicate with visitors on their websites, including many small businesses.

Key Takeaway:

How can you effectively serve your customer? How can you wow them? How can you show them that you actually care? Real-time communication. Website live chat has evolved an incredible amount since its inception. In this episode, CEO and co-founder of Olark, Ben Congleton, talks about the building of Olark and how they’ve differentiated themself in such a competitive industry.

Questions I ask Ben Congleton:

  • [1:21] Would you say Olark was really early on in the live chat space?
  • [1:51] What you did do in your previous life that had you want to start a chatbot company?
  • [3:27] What was startup life like in 2008?
  • [5:16] Was there what was the point where you started to say, “I think this is gonna work”?
  • [7:22] How has chat evolved from a consumer behavior standpoint?
  • [11:49] What is the emergence of AI doing to the live chat space?
  • [14:38] I’ve noticed a number of the chat-related companies are really focused on driving people to SMS/text – where do you stand on that?
  • [18:02] What role does a chat play for somebody that might have sight or hearing impairments that might make the traditional web not as navigable?
  • [20:15] You alluded to a few things you’re working on – what’s coming down the pipeline on the roadmap?
  • [23:09] Where can people connect with you?

More About Ben Congleton:

Take The Marketing Assessment:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Content Is Profit hosted by Louis and Fonzi Kama, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. Discover the secrets and strategies of how your business can achieve the frictionless sale. They talk about frameworks, strategies, tactics, and bring special guests to bring you all the information you need in order to turn your content into profit. Recent episode, The power of just one big marketing idea and How to get it really brings home this idea that instead of chasing the idea of the week, really lock in on one big idea to differentiate your business that can make all the difference in the world. Listen to Content Is Profit wherever you get your podcasts.

(00:54): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Ben Congleton. He’s the chief executive o Larker and co-founder of O LA Live Chat. For the last 13 years, he’s helped thousands of organizations communicate with visitors on their websites, including many small businesses. So Ben, welcome to the show.

Ben Congleton (01:18): John, it’s a pleasure to be here.

John Jantsch (01:21): So we were talking before we got started, the space website chat bots, you know, we’re gonna get into all that, but OAR was really early on, like maybe before anybody,

Ben Congleton (01:32): Right? We were early, we’re back when it was technically hard to do. I think things had gotten a lot easier since then. And you know, there’s a lot of people in the space, but I think, you know, as a company that hasn’t raised a lot of money and is kind of focused on being that growing small business, we’re still here. We’re still at it and there’s a lot of exciting things we’re working on.

John Jantsch (01:51): What did you, I’m curious what you did in your previous life that had you say, I’m gonna start a website chat company.

Ben Congleton (01:58): That’s a good story. It’s, there’s like the long version and short version of that story. So I’ll try to condense it down for you. The quick version of the story is in 2019 99, 19 98, I started a web hosting company. Okay. And back then there was just a couple of live chat providers on the market. In fact, one of them was this Israeli company called Human Click. And Human click ended up getting bought by live person and taking and becoming the technical backend for everything the live person has done. So all their engineering is now based in Israel At that time they discontinued all the good SMB solutions. So it was only like really kind of unstable, janky p p things that weren’t very good. And so I had that experience in the late nineties and then 10 years later I had this consulting firm and still had the web hosting company kind of going and was looking around at projects to do and decided to go after failing at a couple of other ideas and looked at like, Oh, let’s look at chat again.

(02:55): And this was 2009, 2008 and not a, a lot had changed in the last 10 years. It’s still basically the same five players. They’re all focused on enterprise Fortune 500 Comcast. And I wondered like, hey, now that we’ve gained like a little bit of skill, can we go back as if in a time machine and build that tool that we needed 10 years ago? And, and I think we did a pretty great job of that. We built something that was so easy to install that anyone could put it on a website. I think arguably we kind of defined how chat works on the internet today and that’s, that’s a big accomplishment.

John Jantsch (03:27): So go back to I guess that 2008, you know, what was startup life like at that point? I mean, you know, everybody’s envisioning the like teams of engineers sitting around, but I’m getting the sense it was like you and another

Ben Congleton (03:41): Coder. Yeah, I mean I’m, I am, I have a computer science degree. I got a master in computer science, but I’ve always been stronger on the business side. And so in 2008, I mean, it’s funny right, because that was another kind of recession year, right? But as someone who was,

John Jantsch (03:54): Wait, another reception we’re not going,

Ben Congleton (03:57): Well, I guess we have

John Jantsch (03:58): Recession yet,

Ben Congleton (03:59): But not yet. Right? But all right, well we’ll see what happens. But point being is, yeah, it was just me and a couple friends and we had just been in, in college and I was working on a PhD and I had this consulting firm on the side I, this hosting company kind of running. And it was really just, you know, hacking away on Sunday and just working on just writing code, trying to create an MVP before people had terms for things like that. And getting something out the door that we could start playing with and showing the people. And it was basically a completely free product for a year before we had any monetization scheme. Cause I’m pretty bad at, uh, monetization and revenue. Like I would say the things that I care about are product and solving problems. Like that’s what gets me up in the morning.

(04:42): That’s what I’m excited about. That’s, you know, the thing that I get to do basically every day. Cuz you know, you build a company, right? You’ve been at this for a while. Like you talk to people and they’re like, Oh, like why haven’t you sold this thing? Or whatever. I mean, I think about it like I get to work with really smart people working on important problems that I care about doing meaningful work. That’s all I really want to do in this life. And I think that if I can do that and make impact for our customers and you know, innovate and do new things, like I’m pretty happy. And so yeah, we got some excited things that we’re working on now that, you know, keep me up at night and that’s fun. That’s a fun place to, Well

John Jantsch (05:17): Don’t get ahead of me cuz I’m gonna ask you that one. But was there, what was the point where you, and maybe you haven’t got there yet, , what was the point where you said, I think this is gonna work? You know, I, uh, people are paying us. I think we,

Ben Congleton (05:28): Yeah, that’s a really funny story. Maybe we haven’t got there yet. Like I am, I’m like the most optimistic person, but I’m also like deeply fearful, right? Like I, you know, I mean I think that we’re, as a small business, as a provider in this space up against giants with millions and millions of dollars. Like I think that, I don’t know, I don’t think anyone’s safe. I mean look at Slack, right? Slack is a product that was arguably super successful and they still felt they had to go sell it to Salesforce in order to have a long term home. And so I think that like, I, I don’t, the macro level story is like, I don’t think you’re really ever there. At least I don’t feel that way. Some of their companies might, from a like early days standpoint, I mean we were right outta college, We were used to making like $30,000 a year and that was good.

(06:13): Like, that was like, you got the fellowship, right? That was what you’re getting paid as a grad student. And I think this guy’s now make 50 to kind of account for inflation. You know, I, I think when we got to the point where we could hire our first employee was a pretty big milestone cuz OAR was o it was kind of a weird company. Like we, we went through our Combinator in 2009. We raised a total of $85,000. That includes the money at Y Combinator gave us, So Y Combinator gave us 25,000 and then we raised another 60 from just like a friend’s dad, an early Google guy and like a couple of people we met through the YC network. And so we had a little bit of money so we could pay rent and buy food and we just kind of sat there in a house and did that.

(06:54): The old version of the start story where you don’t need a bunch of money and just sat there in a house and built things for our customers and shopped at Costco. Like, that was basically what we did for the first couple years. And when we got to the point where we could hire our first employee, like that was pretty exciting. We would have this graph like that, we’d get emailed out every day, be like, we hit this line, the graph we’re gonna go buy grill so we can sit out back and grill . Like that’s what the kinda revenue charges we’re targeting .

John Jantsch (07:22): That’s awesome. So, so other than the fact that you’ve now got a lot of competitors in the space, how has chat evolved maybe even from a consumer behavior standpoint?

Ben Congleton (07:32): That’s a, it’s a really interesting question to ask. I think arguably I want, I don’t wanna say that the well has been poisoned, but I think that the act in the early days, right? When you got a little chat box in that low right hand corner and what we innovated was really saying where there’s gonna be a person there to talk to you on the other end of it. Yeah. A lot of folks like would just have that and you’d click and be like, Oh no one’s here but we were, ours would always be accurate. And so we really wanted the set the expectation that like as a customer, if someone says they’re there, they’re there and you can go like talk to them and get a question answered and that’s better than the phone. It’s better than waiting on hold. It’s, you know, a direct line to someone who can actually help sell you the good, solve your problem.

(08:10): And I think that what has happened over time is that more and more folks have added little things in that low right hand corner that don’t actually get you to a person. And I think that is damaging holistically to user behavior across like these things. Cuz they’ve become, like many folks have kind of turned them into little qualification bots and there’s nothing wrong with a qualification bot, but there is something wrong from my opinion of a qualification bot that there’s never gonna be a person there because some folks kind of act like there’s a person there. And I know like Drift is pretty well known company with space. I think they basically coined the idea that you could have like a little thing over here that never rowed to a human being. And and it’s so easy, so much easier to sell that because you don’t have to staff it and it’s just like magic. But it actually changes all the customer behavior cuz you aren’t gonna answer 10 questions if you can’t actually talk to a person on the other end of it. So that’s one challenge that the space is facing.

John Jantsch (09:09): It’s interesting, it’s, it’s a tool that was actually created as a service that a lot of people have turned into friction.

Ben Congleton (09:18): Mm-hmm . Yeah. I mean I’m always curious to figure out how to reduce that friction as much as possible and you know, from the business side, right? It kind of makes sense, right? Because the business is oh this is a cost center, this is, you know, talking to my customers, it’s expensive. I think that is one way of looking at the one mindset you could use. The other mindset you could use is every person that I communicate with is a relationship that I’m building. I’m build, I’m recruiting people to my team. I’m trying to like build an ecosystem of folks that believes in me. And I think that the way you approach communicating with your customers and showing that you’re different and showing that you care is the way that all of us differentiate in this incredibly busy world that we live in. I mean, why is anyone in business, they’re in business to serve their customers. And so let’s think about like how I can effectively serve my customer. How can I wow them? How can I show them that I actually care? And you know that real time communication is probably about as good as it gets in the sense that like no one’s gonna call your one 800 number and pick up the phone every time, right? Anymore like it’s

John Jantsch (10:22): Uh, yeah, I mean sometimes it’s a challenge to find the phone number on the website.

Ben Congleton (10:27): Yeah, no I think, I think that most have disappeared and if you’re lucky, at least get a chat that’ll route you to a person occasionally. I mean it’s short term versus long term playing.

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(11:49): So we’re talking about the evolution, but you know, what’s the emergence of ai? You know, and you know, bot technology which is often driven by aai sometimes. Yeah. Uh, you, what’s that doing to this space?

Ben Congleton (12:02): Well I think it’s interesting. I think I went to this talk I know a couple years ago south by Southwest and had like, you know, the guy who created Siri in a couple other AI folks talking. And I mean, what I like to do is use a thought experiment. Well just imagine that Google has the best stuff, right? Imagine that Google and Apple and these billion dollar account in Microsoft, right? They basically have the best AI tech that you can possibly get and they’re building personal systems with it. Now imagine how well that stuff actually works in practice, right? Yeah. Imagine like the breadth of questions you can ask Siri Now that’s basically stay the art, that’s as good as it’s gonna get. Everyone else is selling a dream of trying to get to that thing using tech from open ai, which is funded by Microsoft, using tech from Google and Amazon and of dialogue flow and all this various like NLP processing.

(12:55): So I would argue the state of the art is still getting there and there’s a lot of people that are selling the dream and you can probably go look at like live person stock price, which is down probably sub 20% is is down 20% from where it was like maybe five years ago or something like that. So, so like they’ve been betting on this. I think that the uh uh, there are some cool stuff happening with ai but arguably most implementations of AI at this point is basically intent detection, which means I can take something you write in text.

John Jantsch (13:28): Yeah. Did you, did you say yes or no? ?

Ben Congleton (13:30): Oh

John Jantsch (13:31): You said yes. Well no, I was gonna say it’s

Ben Congleton (13:33): Yes or no, but it can get more, It can get better than that. It can get better, right? It could be like, what are you asking about? Right? Like if I say like, you know, I’m looking for a new car, it can probably determine, I’m looking for, I’m looking for a car in a more confident way than just looking for the keyword car. So that that works pretty well. And that’s some, you know, AI tech support by Google and Amazon and that that’s more or less state art, what chatbots are using today. And then you can also build trees where you take, you know, a series of questions and you move through ’em. You can think of ’em as kind of like phone trees with a better ui cuz it’s like way easier to like navigate through a series of questions. You can have phone trees where some nodes in those tree are a plain text answer and that can solve and that stuff can solve real business problems. And I think that if you have that kind of interaction then you have context around what’s actually going outside of your company. Like are folks available? Are there experts on this topic? You know, is this person coming in on a high value ad campaign? Maybe I don’t wanna run ’em through this like complicated flow and I wanna just get ’em over to a salesperson in sap. You can build some pretty great stuff.

John Jantsch (14:38): Let’s talk about the emergence of SMS in this equation. Mm-hmm , I’ve noticed a number of the chat related kind of com companies are really focused on driving people to text off the website, you know, off the website chat. But to text, where do you stand on that? I

Ben Congleton (14:54): Think it’s a use case question. I think it’s like what, what are you trying to achieve with that goal? I understand why marketers like it, right? Because marketers want another channel that they get folks to listen to you on and email is saturated, right? Right. SMS is not yet saturated. It’ll get there, you know, we’ll have better spam prevention et cetera. You’re already seeing some of the stuff happening on phones today, right? Of making it harder for unknown numbers to text you and handshake stuff required to use that SMS stuff. So I think that the, the main reason from a business standpoint is businesses like it because now I got a phone number and I have a way of getting your attention, right? That’s the main value for the business, the consumer, but don’t can kinda benefit a little bit.

John Jantsch (15:37): I’m there on the phone anyway, you know, doing it.

Ben Congleton (15:40): Yeah. So the consumer side, it’s a little bit, it’s interesting, right? So if I’m on a mobile device, right, like SMS is gonna probably be a better way for me to communicate with your business than over than over the web

John Jantsch (15:51): Chat form or quite

Ben Congleton (15:52): Honestly, right? Yeah. But if you’re doing b2b, you’re probably not on a phone doing it. Like a consumer I think is primarily like it’s a good consumer bio like Facebook who seems to have lost a lot of our trust, right? Like had their little floating thing, their floating messenger, messenger widget in the corner. It was basically accomplishing that same SMS goal, you know, is mostly adopted inside e-commerce for transactional thing again because marketers really like the ability to target based on the information you get from filling out that. So I think that, I think that that use of SMS and the use of Facebook are largely driven by marketer behavior rather than consumer behavior. But I think that there are some use cases where SMS makes a ton of sense. I think when you’re dealing with online offline transactions, it makes a ton of sense.

(16:42): Like if I’m hiring a, like a service that’s gonna come to my house or a plumber or things like that. I think if I’m buying things on a website and I just want to have some for a one off transactional situation as a consumer, I don’t think SMS makes a ton of sense as a business. Obviously I wanna be able to reengage you via the SMS channel. So it’s, yeah, it’s interesting. I think when O Ark looks at this we, you know, we’re working towards having way better SMS support. I think the use cases that we care mostly about are the longer term relationship use cases for sms. Though I think that there’s plenty of marketing tools for just blasting out an sms. Sure. We wanna be the tool that helps you create those lasting relationships and like a little bit less automated, a little bit more personal, that type

John Jantsch (17:26): Of, so, so where you really staked your claim is the person that’s gonna put this tool on the website with the idea that you’re gonna build relationships and have pretty much real time conversations with a real human being.

Ben Congleton (17:40): That’s what I want to do. I mean that’s what I care about. Yeah, like, I mean I think ultimately like what’s the point of business? I think it’s a series of relationships that you have with others and you want those relationships to be positive. And so that’s the part of the problem that I wanna work on as an individual. And I think that that’s the, that’s the company that, you know, founders a Boots job founder. I’ve gotten the luxury of being able to build up around me.

John Jantsch (18:02): Yeah. Let’s talk about it. Accessibility a little bit. Yeah. What role do does a chat play for somebody that might have site or hearing or you know, other issues that make the traditional web not as navigable? Mm-hmm

Ben Congleton (18:19): , I think that broadly speaking, like chat is one of the most powerful accessibility tools you could possibly have. They’ve done right. I think that part of what’s been going on with OAR recently is that uh, for a long time we had this mission to make business human and I think it took us so a while to figure out what that actually meant, but over the last couple years we’ve incorporated as a public benefit corporation to advance accessible tech. We’ve become more active in that community and learned how much we have to learn. Like there’s a lot to learn around like doing accessibility well and doing it right. It’s far more than a checkbox in an audit, which I think that many folks kind of approach that as. Sure. And so when I look at, you know, chat on a website, I think about like this is a communication channel, right?

(19:04): This is a channel that I think arguably anyone should be able to use to communicate with anyone. And so you’re trying to figure out, you know, if you’re vision paired, like how do you communicate using this channel? If you’re using a screen reader, how do you communicate using this channel if you are, you know, mobility impaired, like how do you simplify that UI and that navigation inside of it? And I think that list goes on and on. So there’s a lot, there’s a lot there that you can do that we can control inside that little box no right hand corner. Yeah, we can’t control everything else that’s on your website, right? But I think we can control that channel and we can also allow you to hire folks on the other end that uh, can staff it that have lower vision. And I think that’s kind of the journey I’ve been on recently where I realized how few of these tools that may meet accessibility standards, like there’s a bunch of standards out there, the most well known is W C A G and you can go look that up, but a lot of standards around that.

(19:59): But to actually make the operator experience accessible well, so you can actually hire folks who are visibility impaired or you know, it’s kind of inside that space to me. Like that’s when you start creating some real wins and that’s sort of like the direction I’m trying to take this company.

John Jantsch (20:16): So you alluded to stuff you’re working on, maybe you just talked about it there, but what’s coming for oar if you’re out there looking at, Well,

Ben Congleton (20:23): There’s a couple things that I think are new and exciting for oar. Like one is we’re kind of on this journey right now to be a leader in accessible communication. I can’t say we’re anywhere near that today, but that’s kind of where I want to take the company. I think that we’re going to see over the next couple years a lot of regulation around accessibility. We’re seeing digital ADA already enforced. We’re seeing some legislation being passed in Europe and uh, I think there’s a real opportunity to not just check the boxes, but really show how far you can go there. So that’s one kind of 10 of where we’re headed. The other place that we’re headed in this is that, you know, we talked a lot about automation on this call and about, you know, say the art of ai. We’re interested in kind of doing more that we’ve done a lot of ai, we have a tier, it’s called our pro tier for O A C.

(21:08): And so we’ve worked with folks basically building, doing, I wouldn’t call ’em like custom bots, but a lot of tailor, like a lot of tailoring of that AI tech and machine learning tech to help people solve problems and make it simple for that user, be able to work with non-tech customers and really help them realize their vision. And I think that’s something we’ve been doing some of and we’re gonna be doing a lot more of. I love the concept of like if I, if someone can sketch something on a piece of paper like a workflow or a process, it should be that simple. That’s how easy it should be for someone non-technical to have their vision realized via automation. And then the third thing I think that’s going on is adding more channels. I mean, we’ve talked a little bit about sms. SMS is really on our list for the first additional little channel that we’re adding.

(21:49): We’ve been rebuilding our operator experience to make it not like a tacked on thing, but like a core piece of how alert communicates with folks. And as part of that operator work, we’ve also been investing heavily in accessibility to make it accessible. But once we get those initial pieces in place, you basically have, uh, I would call it like a, like an AI enabled user interface that is incredibly accessible that works multichannel. And that’s kind of, I think it’s kind of like where things need to go with the key piece being like there’s a human in the loop. We’re not just trying to build some system that you like, stick there and put in the corner. It just like magically builds relationships. Your

John Jantsch (22:25): Customers, you never have to, to talk to anyone again,

Ben Congleton (22:27): this plenty of people selling that, John, there are plenty of people selling that dream. And to me that is, I don’t have the metaphor on the tip of my tongue for it, but I think it’s, it is not the road that you want to be on as a small business entrepreneur. If you want to go build Comcast from five years ago, 10 years ago and create that kind of customer service for your customers and you happen to have a monopoly, like I think you’ll be doing great at driving your costs down. But I think ultimately your customers and your relationships with your customers are the largest asset of your business. And your job as an entrepreneur, as a founder, as a small business owner is to leverage that asset to generate as much value as possible. And that comes through deep relationships.

John Jantsch (23:09): Awesome. Well Ben, thanks for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Do you wanna tell people or invite people where they can connect with you?

Ben Congleton (23:16): Yeah, you can. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn, so you can just add me on LinkedIn, say you saw me here cuz I got tons of requests. But if it’s coming in from John, like on or from John’s audience, I, I know you guys, I wanna talk to you so you can message me there. You can follow me on Twitter at Jam and Ben, um, or just, you know, drop by oar.com and talk to someone there and just ask for me like we’re staffed. We got people there. You know, I can pretty easy get in touch with for if you wanna chat more. Awesome.

John Jantsch (23:41): Well I appreciate you taking that time of your day to stop by and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days soon out there on the road.

Ben Congleton (23:48): Absolutely, John, it’s been a pleasure.

John Jantsch (23:50): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketingassessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

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