Hey, Dave, I am so excited to have you on the next CMO podcast. In the first question I have to ask you about this book that we're going to talk about is why in the world did you write the book? Dave,
Dave: Because I saw how well your book did. And I was trying to keep, I wanted to keep it. I wanted to create a lead magnet like that for my, for myself. Uh,
Peter: wait a minute. I called you. I copied you because you did. the conversational marketing.
Dave: you did. And that book, that book was really meaningful to drift, but I think, um, I just, I think I liked your strategy with the book. Like it felt. It felt self-published in a good way. Like it was, you did it on your own. It was thinner, smaller, super tactical, tactical, no fluff actionable. And, and I really, I really liked that.
And honestly, the reason why I wanted to write a book is I knew that after I kind of left working for companies, I did want to write a book about marketing at some point. Um, [00:01:00] and I was kind of torn between a couple of different topics. And I was trying to think about like, what is, I just think in marketing and in business in general, like, you know, if you can teach, it's really powerful to be able to teach a framework or name something.
And I was like, I wanted to try that exercise for myself. And so I'm like, what, what have I done over the last five to 10 years working in marketing? Because I kind of have a certain way of doing things as we all do. Like, you know, your, your flavor, right. We can make the same dish. Come out differently and taste differently.
And I thought about, wow. I went to, when I went to drift, very first thing that I did, we were six months before launching the product. I was not like head of marketing, Dave. I was not CMO Dave. I got hired as marketing manager, Dave, and we were six months to launch. And my aunt, my mission was to build an audience for, for drift.
And the way that we did that was through David cancel, who was the CEO. And he, he had been a well-known founder in the space at the time. And so we'll talk more about that later, but, um, I did. And that that was [00:02:00] transformational for drift and like in, in telling us story. And then I went to another company four years later called privy and did a similar thing with Ben who's the CEO there.
And I've kind of felt something in my personal life, through my own social media. And I was like, there's something here to like marketing the founder and building a brand for the founder. And I've just seen that like, As someone who, who is running marketing teams, the marketing team has so much stuff to do already.
You've got to deliver on pipeline. You've got to deliver on revenue. It's not to say that this strategy doesn't, it's just, it's just different. It works in a different way. And typically inside of a company, um, we kind of only focus on the product story. We only focus on the demand gen short-term goal today.
And I wanted to write this book because I wanted to give marketing teams and founders. This playbook, because I think it's, it's really powerful. And I think it's more important than ever today because we live in a world where people want to buy from people that they know like and trust. And we want to buy from brands that kind of exists for a reason, right?
Like Peter didn't [00:03:00] start planet because he was a CMO and he wanted to get super rich after and go start a startup. Startups are hard. It's you have to be crazy to do this. You have to be crazy to do it. You have to have some deep connection or passion or some past experience. And so like the founder's story can be used as such an advantage.
And I've found that like 90% of the founders, at least that I know, I'd say 99% of them have some deep story. David and Elias. They started drift because they had 10 years of sales and marketing software experience. They built a product, the HubSpot blah, blah, blah. Right. You started planning because. Okay.
In your past life, you saw how hard it was and how inefficient marketing teams were at operating, um, uh, Shopify, uh, uh, Toby, the founder of Shopify. He was an engineer and he was trying to find a way to like sell snowboards online. And there wasn't an easy way to do that until they built Shopify. There's there's always seems to be some story.
And I think that it can be such a powerful ingredient to marketing. So I wanted to give, give people a playbook. Steal from, [00:04:00] and then the last thought on this is I still think that most founders either don't take social media seriously, or they don't use it in the right way as a, as a brand and company building tool.
And so I wanted to give people some like actionable, no fluff, because we do live in the YouTube and Tik TOK era. But the two channels that I recommend. In the book, our Twitter and LinkedIn, and those are just text-based channels that you could be, you know, writing messages while you're, you know, sitting in your car, you know, waiting or sitting in the kitchen table for two minutes.
So I want to make it super actionable for people.
Peter: And it is super actionable by the way. the book found a brand is amazing. Uh, and, uh, I got the pre-release manuscript nearly done with a couple of a screenshot. We'll go here, pictures. I'm looking forward to screenshot
Peter: the one you sent me and.
Dave: you can tell here, Peter, we have a very buttoned up approach to this book tour that we're doing. So, um, you know,
Peter: Well, and, and [00:05:00] I, I only had a couple of days to read it And uh, but I got through it in the first one, uh, because, uh, one, it was just really well-written, I'm not surprised because Dave, I love the way you're right in the way you advocate that people write, uh, and, uh, Super clean and clear. And, um, but it's also the kind of book and we were talking before we hit the record button, then I'm just going to go back to a lot because, uh, you also get very specific, which is pretty cool, but I, I wanted to make.
Dave: like one lesson that I learned just as like a side note on there, like one lesson that I learned about reading and learning that was really transformational for me was. I used to like, obsess about reading books and be like, okay, I got Peter's book. I gotta, I gotta memorize every page.
I'm gonna read, you know, all 200 pages of this book. And I, I, I don't know what he said in chapter three. If you're going to go and spend 12, $16, whatever on a book like to me, it's can you get one or two new [00:06:00] ideas and new lessons? Is that worth it? Would you spend $15 to get a, a new idea? And so like I wanted to, and I've I've, I didn't felt that way as a marketer.
Right? If you do an event, we sweat so much about all the event details, but it's like, it's kinda like, it's kinda like the wedding, like, you know, at my wedding, we kind of felt like people are gonna remember. Was the music good. And was the food good? And did I have fun? They're not going to remember the minute by minute details.
And I think if you take that approach to learning, I don't expect people to sweat every detail of this, but if you get one thing, Hey, this, this section and you had in chapter one really helped me rewrite my explainer for my company or your book was the thing that pushed me to actually start my podcast.
That would be success for me. I don't expect people to try to go and memorize every word of this. No way.
Peter: Well, I love the basic fundamental premise that you have David. And again, you've done this a few times and there's also something meta about this, of course, because you're now doing this for yourself, uh, which is kind of interesting, right? You're creating your own [00:07:00] brand and your own story. Uh, what, and, uh, But th but the thing that's interesting is, uh, is that it's this universal thing.
I think founders tend to be really interesting. In fact, I noticed at one point there was an interesting juxtaposition between an example that you had of drift and Spanx right next to each other. And, uh, you know, I, I don't know how David would feel about that, but he, well,
Dave: No. I told I still that from him, he, he, he loved, uh, he loves Sarah Blakely and, and, and that story. And so, like, I guess the reason that I put that in there was because that was an example of a, of a, of a founder who had built a brand, you know,
Peter: Well, exactly. And for, for, uh, anyone who's heard anything about that story, it's a perfect example of a, a well-told sort of mythical founder story, where she personally felt a problem. She went and she solved it and made herself a billionaire, uh, and made a lot of happy [00:08:00] women, which,
Dave: Simple by the book founder brand, you will become a millionaire. You will become a millionaire overnight.
Peter: I thought we were
Dave: Uh, oh, sorry. I just, I'm just interested in the M's first, but yes. Thank you.
Peter: Excellent. So I, I liked the way you frame this because the, the thing that's interesting about a founder, um, and you said you talk about three things, uh, content, personality, and relationships, uh, and maybe you. can expand a little bit on, on those three things that really drive the sort of the purpose and the theory behind why building up a founder brand makes.
Dave: So, so, okay. So, so on the, on the content side, I think me market, the marketing team is struggling so much for, for content or, you know, what are we going to put out, or even maybe don't have a marketing team or just a founder. I think that inherently the founder is the one who is. And in any one day could be doing a podcast interview, um, doing a recruiting call after this, having a call with investors and [00:09:00] advisors, uh, speaking at a key industry event, talking to two customers that that's like an average day.
You're thinking about the transformation of your company, your technology, your product, you're, you're deep in your customer's world, every single day. I think like that, to me, that is the best content. And I'm just asking you to basically turn it on, switch on and just think about how can I be sharing some of that.
And so, um, if you're, if you're Peter and you're building a software company, uh, for B2B marketers, You're living this world all day. I don't just want you to just be pumping out, like, Hey, go to this webinar from planet. Tell me like, tweet about, like, talk about that. We did this podcast. Talk about you just in, you know, you've been interviewed, you've been looking for, uh, a director of events for six weeks now, and you're noticing one trend across these interviews are the best candidates or, you know, you're you're you have some strong point of view on the market.
And you do because you're the founder. If you don't have a strong point of view on the market and where things are going, then you probably, [00:10:00] you're not going to be in business very long. And so most founders are already thinking about those things. And so I'm just saying like, can you turn some of that on?
And then, um, the personality piece is, is, is related to that. I think as brand, as, as consumers today, we will. Buy from brands that like, we feel like we, we know. And I think I see this in my personal, you know, we see this on our personal lives and I think the same is true, no matter what you're selling. And so like the brands that I like the most today are actually not even big companies that you might recognize, but.
There's like a, I got really into yoga over the last year and I found this YouTube channel called breathe and flow yoga. And, um, there's, it's, it's like this guy, this guy and his wife, but he teaches yoga and he has a whole 20 minute videos called like yoga for men. And that was amazing. And that got me hooked on his stuff and now I'm following them and, um, They're having a baby.
I have little kids, they're sharing a lot of stuff about their pregnancy and their life and their routine. Now I'm hooked. And I love that. Then I, [00:11:00] then I joined their Patrion. Next thing you know, I'm buying, I'm buying merchant gear from them and like that's how we do things in our personal lives. It's no different in the B2B world.
And I'd actually argue that it's more important in the B2B world because B2B buying, as you all know is complex, right? There's 18 to 20 decision makers in a buying process. We're not talking about spending $50 on a yoga video. We're talking about spending 50,000, a hundred thousand 500,000 on a, on a, on an enterprise level deal for the year.
Don't you think that having a, uh, having someone know like, and trust you during that process would be beneficial and. I think that's, that's such a key ingredient of where buying is going and you have the channel. This is not 20 years ago where the only way people would be able to know Peter as the CEO of planet is if you know, Kelsey and the marketing team happened to get him a big interview on CNBC, right?
You can reach your direct customer. You can reach all your customers online directly today through Twitter, through LinkedIn, through having a podcast or having an email list group through doing events and [00:12:00] creating a community. I think the bigger change here is like, Using that content and personality to, to build your own audience and not have to rely.
I have to rely on, on, on, you know, third party outlets to get your message out there.
Peter: Yeah, I think you're you're right on about a Dave. And a question though, that come comes to mind is. Do you have to have a really compelling founder to be able to take the strategy? What is your founders kind of lame?
Dave: Well, then I wouldn't work at your company. Sorry about that.
Peter: It's probably a good point.
Dave: Um, look, so I think, I think that, um, this advice, I don't want it to get mixed up with like that you have to be very extroverted or love seeing yourself on camera or love doing speaking. And it's, it's actually why like here's, I think Dharmesh from HubSpot is a great example. He would tell [00:13:00] you. That he is one of the most introverted people and that guy is prolific on social media.
And so I think that's one of the reasons why I recommend Twitter and LinkedIn and the book and not Tik TOK and YouTube and Instagram. And those are all great channels. And I, I plan on using them to build my business, but for the sake of a founder, uh, if you're, if your natural inclination is not to do a podcast, you don't want to do these zoom calls or interviews and stuff.
That's why I say tax because you're. You're writing emails all day. You're in slack all day. You're communicating to people all day, take some of that and put it out online. And the powerful part is like, you, you, I think you're probably not lame. You might not be, you know, um, Steve bomber level energy, and like, and, and bring that.
But, but you probably have some, some deep unique take. And so if you, if you're not the super extroverted founder, what if you are an expert, a super deep expert in your new. can be sharing that stuff. And when you do that, you're going to [00:14:00] attract like-minded people. And so even if you come from a cybersecurity background, you have some deep technical thing, you don't have to turn that into some super catchy YouTube, YouTube channel to get tracked.
And that's not what it is. It's about. You probably have a really unique point of view on the market and some very strongly held beliefs about what you do. Share some of that stuff, and there's a way to do it where you're not, you're not giving away your trade secrets, but, but you should be sharing, um, you know, your point of view on the market.
And so my, my point is don't, don't hire a, uh, 20 grand a month PR agency to do it. Use, use Twitter and LinkedIn to do that. And when you do that, you're going to get direct feedback and start to learn what's working anyway, and then you can choose to invest in those channels. As you grow over time,
Kelsey: So I'm going to play devil's advocate here, because say you have a founder that's, you know, ready to tell their story. But the bottleneck here is the marketing team. The marketing team is so tactical. They don't understand, you know, how to tell this story. What are some of those common objections that they face?
And how do you get over that to understand [00:15:00] how important it is to tell that founder story.
Dave: The common, common objections from the marketing team. Okay. So I think the most common objection is probably time. We want to do this. We're busy, either were busy, or we can't get Peter to sit down and, and give us any, any time. Um, one thing that we did at drift that was really, really effective was, um, I would just get David.
In a room for 30 minutes a week and I would interview him. And that was actually the thing that led us to start in the podcast was I would interview him in the room and that audio ended up becoming conversational. It became, we were like, huh, there might be something here. And we ended up turning that into our podcast called seeking wisdom.
And so in the very early days though, I would interview him for 30 minutes and then I would go back and sit at my desk and I would literally listen to that and verbatim I would go through and try to ghost write content for him. And so he didn't have the time to do it. I was forcing his hand, but then on my end, yes, I did [00:16:00] have other things to do, but this was maybe an hour or two hours out of the week.
Um, I also think. It's one of those habits and routines that you have to find a way to make it a thing. And there's trade-offs to anything, but it's like, Hey, I want to get in better shape, but I don't have any time to work out. Okay. So you can just take the magic pill that makes you in shape and makes you healthy, right?
Like you're going to have to decide. And, and I would argue that I've seen I'm around a lot of marketing teams and I made this in the nicest way possible. We're not always doing meaningful things that there there's, there's, there's lots of fat that can be trimmed out at any given time. And so I would recommend like trying this for three months and seeing that, and like, instead of doing.
Instead of doing that monthly webinar, that six people attend. And you're not really sure how much ROI you're getting from that. Like, why don't we cut that and start, like, try to use the founder as a, as a megaphone and see if we can get them to publish. Um, I would also, I also think like, [00:17:00] there's just, there's other ways there's other things from around the company that you can use to stitch together if you're the marketing team.
And so, um, At, at drift and privy, the founders would send out, they send out updates internally. They write Wiki posts. Here's my point of view. I would kind of always be thinking what's in there that I could pull out, tweak it, to make it okay. To post publicly and share that. Because even if you don't have the time, the founder is no doubt communicating in some form, uh, internally.
And so like in this case, There's probably some notes in a, in a, in internal plan, a slack channel or Wiki or something where some things happened in the market, Peter or whoever has commented on it. Can you take that and be like, whoa, this is a gem. Let me take this and, and, and use that. And like a drift, um, David would send like a Sunday night email with something like inspirational or something on his mind to the team.
And like that became gold from a marketing standpoint. Yeah. I'm not gonna, we're not gonna share our internal [00:18:00] roadmap, but like, If some big thing happened in the market and he, and he comments on an internally to drive product strategy and roadmap and this and that, I'm just kind of always, and this is, this is how I've become a marketer.
Um, my, my angle is always like, how can we take this and turn it into something that we can use? And so I think maybe you could just, um, start to think about that a little bit. Like how, how could I take this existing thing?
Peter: You talk a lot
Dave: another thing you can do by the way, on the, on the interview side of things, this is a, an approach that I would have done now had I had it been more of a medium, but like you could also interview, like I could have interviewed David on, on video for 30 minutes, just us on video, like on zoom and I could have made.
Glint like clip video clips of him saying things and like those clips I could have, we don't even have to ha you don't even have to get anybody to go on your podcast or, Hey, nobody's inviting me on my podcast. Great. How about record a zoom call with someone on your team yourself. Cut those clips out yourself and chop them up into little sound bites.
Like there's enough you can do [00:19:00] on your own without, without others.
Peter: like some of the, uh, focus that you just highlighted there. Dave is the idea of, of making a habit. Consistency. Uh, and, uh, I liked the idea that you, you talk about sort of reuse and repurposing of content. You know, you create, I think you said you create a podcast. There should be two other pieces of content that you get out of that.
Uh, and, and I think that's exactly right on in, and I find, uh, over my. Many years of doing this, I've seen a lot of marketing people spend a lot of time creating something and they use it once and they don't realize that there's some really great derivative work that you can use there and recut and republish.
And it's far more efficient to take something that's great and cut out a bunch of gems and repurpose it then to try to come up with that initial inspiration from the beginning. [00:20:00]
Dave: I, I I've said this, I've said this a lot. If I had like no budget or very, very little budget, like hundreds of dollars in budget, and I had to build a brand from scratch, I would say doing a podcast would probably be the only thing that I would do, because like the leverage that you could get from this one hour interview, you know, we'll, we'll get video clips from it.
We'll get a transcript from it. Maybe this episode does really well. And we learn that this is a topic that our audience likes. And so we should do a webinar about this, you know, next week. I think it's why I love this, this channel so much is that you get, you get lots of leverage from it.
Peter: And you really inspired me to do our podcast. I don't know if I ever told you that, uh, Dave, but you, you said one thing at one point that I said, holy cow, I need to do that. Uh, and it was, if you ever want to learn something about a subject. No credit podcast. And then just invite all the smartest people in the world to tell you about
Dave: I think about this so
Peter: free education. [00:21:00]
Dave: I think about this by the way, how H how has the podcast been from a, from a business perspective? How long have you been doing and how, how, how, what type of, how do you talk about the impact that it's had on the company?
Peter: Yeah. So this is episode 67, uh, that we're doing so we've been doing it for about a year and a half now. Uh, and it's mostly weekly sometimes depending on sort of backlog and things that it'll go every other week. Uh, and I think it's had a huge impact. We've got many customers who've cited. The podcast is how they've learned about.
Uh, for, for the first time. Uh, and, uh, so I, I know there's significant amount of customer acquisition that we've gotten from the podcast. I think it's really helped get our message out there and people engage with our content. And part of what we're trying to do is. Is create a community. And this is often sort of the entry point to our community.
People listen to the next CMO podcast and then they join the next CMO community, uh, on, on, we've got a circle of [00:22:00] community and they, uh, they then collaborate and talk to each other and, uh, and then they become part of the movement. And so we think it's got huge.
Dave: And when, when you, when you say customers tell you that, is that like a, is that a detract, like, is that an actual trackable thing that you have, like you ask customers where they came from or is it a anecdotal, like, you know, you just hear it.
Peter: It's more anecdotal at this point. Uh, the, uh, but we had, uh, the, the fact that I've had, I think three customers offer that to me, uh, that they, they learned about me from the podcast the first time. So how many have not told me about it.
Dave: Right. Well, this is, I love, so I, um, not to hijack your inner bell. I love just asking people about this because. It's cool to hear the impact, but I think your, your business and your podcast, it's like the perfect niche that you focus on where this can be effective. And you don't have to have a podcast that reaches.
And I talk about this in the book. You don't have it. You don't have to have a mill. You know, my guess is your podcast does not have hundreds of thousands of [00:23:00] downloads. And that doesn't matter. It's a very meaningful in your, in your niche. Um, it could be hundreds of downloads and that can be really, really meaningful.
But I also love that. Um, from what I know about you, you're, you're very analytical and data-driven, and I think a lot of people in the surface that, that have your makeup would be like, well, let's do the podcast for a month, but I need to see the ROI on it before we continue. And what I tell people is like this, I see this over and over and over again. have to just do it because you feel it and then you feel like no, no team, we got to keep doing this. I don't know the number. Maybe it's one customer, maybe it's that. But there's also these like, benefits that are harder to quantify. Like you mentioned the smart thing, right? So you've now as the CEO of this company done 67 interviews with customers in your ICP, in addition to the things that you're doing.
Right. And so that's great content. So I think. I, [00:24:00] I want to, I pushed people to like, just go and do it and you have to do it for months and months and, and shut up and not think about it because the benefits are so often these intangible things. And like, we used to joke in the early days of drift, it became like an internal meme.
We joked whenever we'd get like a comment about like, oh, I listen to seeking wisdom and I bought drift or I listened to seeking wisdom and I sent it to a friend or whatever, we'd screenshot it and we'd put it in slack and we would. And I would joke to each other in front of the whole company, how are we ever going to measure the ROI on this podcast?
And it became this like internal meme that like years later we would the company be 300 people. And we'd like, have this Monday metrics meeting, we'd show screenshots of somebody who said they loved the podcast where we'd be like, how are we going to measure this? And so I think it's like the internal team has to also feel it and.
Uh, some people don't like this, but I did it anyway. I use a lot of, in addition to data and hard numbers. I like to, I like to, as a marketing leader, use a lot of screenshots of stuff like that in board [00:25:00] decks or management decks, because I do think that's a lot of marketing. Is that feeling. And like, I like to, I just love sharing screenshots of somebody who has.
Interacted with our content in a meaningful way and gotten really value a ton of value from that. And then I wrote down in my notes cause I like to ramble. And then like, I have something that I want to come back to smart. And you mentioned that and I think, I actually think I'm a very average marketing leader.
I, but I've, I've done over the years. I've talked to hundreds of people. Like I get to talk to you three, four times a year for an hour. And then by osmosis you start to soak some of that in. And so I think that I, yeah, I have gotten better at marketing because of that. Um, I'm really into golf and fitness right now.
Kind of thing. Um, I really, I haven't launched it yet, but I, I have this idea. I'm like, what if I apply that same? Like doing a podcast in marketing for the last basically six, seven years has been such a game changer for me. What if I took that same approach to like something that I want to learn personally, like golf or fitness.
Right. And I'm like, my secret, like my Trojan horse for, for, for learning is like doing this podcast [00:26:00] because I get to talk to a hundred, a hundred experts. So it's really cool to hear you bring that out because that's how, that's how I measure this beyond the hard sales ROI, like be the founder, that's on pace to do a hundred interviews with your dream customers this year.
And by the way, you also get to use that as media content for your company. That's really.
Peter: So it, It's it's amazing trying to, uh, corral the Dave Gearhart brain here. Uh, you know, you, you can see the, you go, it is, you go a million miles an hour in a million different directions. Uh, and, but you, you you're able to communicate these points, which is interesting. And in fact, what, what you've done in your book, I find really interesting is that, uh, it is.
Uh, it's a very thoughtful, thorough well-organized and complete approach to your book. So if you think about it, it's not just this idea of creative founder. Uh, it's creative found a brand. Why you do it, how you do it, how you create the message and the story [00:27:00] around the Firebrick founder brand, and then actually how you communicate it and send it out.
So it is actually an end-to-end, uh, functional guide to get there. And in one of the things you mentioned a minute ago, um, that I wanted to highlight, which I think is super smart, is the idea of, of niching. Uh, and, uh, and I think it's a really important concept for people. If you want to be, uh, in, if you, if you want to be a leader in the market, sometimes you need to find your, your wedge in.
So can you talk a little bit about how, how you think about niching down?
Dave: No. I want to talk about tennis because my brain is going crazy. I'm now just
Peter: I just didn't sell to Dave or you're right.
Dave: by the way, the reason that the book is organized into coherent thought is because of the magic use of working with an editor.
Dave: Like I didn't roll out of bed and was like, here's the perfect framework. It's like, thank God. [00:28:00] Thank goodness for Chris who helped me edit this, uh, which is amazing. She, she was very instrumental and we organized it into nice three nice sections. Um, and now, and now I even lost what we were going to talk about.
Okay, so everybody loves it. This is not a rail against category creation, but I just think that everybody loves talking about category creation today. And I think if you actually go and read the play bigger, Chris Lochhead stuff, like what they're talking about is like apple, Google, Tesla level category creation.
And I think that that's great to have those ambitions, but. What if you want to build like a nice $2 million business for yourself, that's highly profitable or your goal as a SAS company is to do 50 million in rent or whatever. And so you don't have to, it doesn't have to be this massive thing. And so I think a lot of people run to the category approach, but what they miss is like, and, and, and Chris Lochhead has actually wrote something amazing about this called niche down.
And I love that [00:29:00] term is the real, the most powerful thing to me is, is, is owning a niche and, uh, 'cause when you, when you it's so it's so easy to try to be everything to everyone, because you know, your products can do these 30 things and you got these types of customers and you got this one big customer who's Hey, look, you know, we don't sell to finance, but we have one huge customer and finance.
And so how do we angle our story? The most powerful thing you can do is own a niche and be specific to somebody. And then you can use that niche. If you have greater ambitions beyond that niche over time, you can use that niche as like the wedge to get into these other places. And so like early days of drift, our focus was we wanted, we were a B2B sales and marketing product.
We didn't go to the whole market at once. We focus exclusively on product marketers, because we had a hypothesis that. Product marketing on the website. We needed to get this chat widget on the website. If we could get to product marketing, we could probably then [00:30:00] get drift installed and have success. And if we have success, we could probably then expand to demand gen and to content and to sales and to customer success.
And so, um, it's really important to, to, to focus on a niche and, and, uh, You know, if, if I was going to go do this, like a golf thing that I've talked about, I couldn't just go start another golf podcast. I would have to find some niche and that could be like, it have to be something like the working dad, pod, the working dad, golf podcast, or golf in Vermont podcast.
It's just, it's always more meaningful. Um, you, you will get traction quicker. The, the, the more you can niche down.
Peter: So, another question I had is that you've now done this founder brand approach. You could argue this as your, at least your third time, because you're doing it for yourself. Uh, and, uh, you did it with David. Uh, you, you did it with Ben. Uh, so take those two examples. Where [00:31:00] were they meaningfully different? So what strikes you as, as either what you've learned going from David to Ben, or just how different they were as you started to deploy some of these techniques between those two Very different
Dave: different people. Yeah. Yeah. Were there, they were definitely different. So, so, uh, even even the, the. The stage was different. And so at drift, we basically did brand founder brand first company built alongside it at privy is the opposite. When I, when I went to privy, they had 500,000 users on Shopify, close to $10 million business, but they didn't have a store.
They didn't, the founder didn't have a. Uh, it wasn't well-known by, by customers and people in that industry. And so that, that part was different. Um, the other part was different was, um, Ben did, Ben was like, I love this. I've always wanted to have a podcast. I'm going to do this I'll record. I'll do [00:32:00] a daily podcast.
You want to do a daily podcast? You think that'd be. Are you serious? That'd be amazing. Sure. Let's do it. And we created a really simple system and he loved it and he had the whole spreadsheet himself of topics and people would be, you know, he would be, it was amazing. His system for this was like he was in it.
Like he would be go, he would go do in a meeting with an investor. I have an idea from that call, put it in his spreadsheet of like topics and then save it for later. And then he'd see an, an anecdote from a customer who like did something to improve the conversion or the website. And he'd write that down and put it in a spreadsheet and he would basically take an hour or two a week and just kind of batch record.
Five to 10 soup. They were like, you know, little snacks, like e-commerce, it was e-commerce marketing school. And so it was very tactical and he was very tactical and that was the, he had built this company and he had kind of grown up through the company, giving advice on the phone to customers like, and that's how he won.
Hey, Peter, I'm gonna help you and fix a conversion rate of website. Whereas, uh, David was much [00:33:00] more of the. Industry veteran thought leader. He's not going to record a five minute podcasts every single day. We could, we could maybe chop that up and do it. And so the angle for drift was more about, um, here's a guy who's later in his career in Ben.
He's had a couple of exits. He's had a lot of success. What, what angle do we have? He's not going to be the one in the weeds talking about marketing nuts. He's really passionate about learning and personal development and self improvement. Is there an angle there? That's interesting to our customers as marketers.
And so we took a completely different angle where he was doing, you know, book reviews and, and, and life tips. We, that was not a podcast that was very tactically marketing focused. Both of those work to grow their respective companies. They were just different angles. Um, and it's, I, I actually haven't even thought about that too much, but it's, it's kind of cool to see.
You can take the approach and I think it comes back to the hook and the hook is Ben knew his audience and knew his, his audience was. Small businesses who don't have a lot of time, there's too much noise in [00:34:00] the market. They want one source that they can learn from. So he came up with this very tactical five to 10 minute.
Um, Kelsey, I'm going to give you two tips right now to grow your email list. And that's what the podcast is about. Whereas David, his approach was like, Hmm, how can I create a podcast that's like about the selfish benefit? So like, How can I help you become better? And if I help you become better and we kind of skew it towards sales and marketing people, you'll, you'll eventually create an affinity for drift and maybe you'll, you'll try our product at some point.
And so that was much more focused on personal development. Um, then kind of the tactical day-to-day stuff.
Peter: Yeah, well, it seems there's a lot of authenticity that comes through that. And, uh, in that they. It was clear hearing the, I love to seek seeking winds wisdom stuff, and David is awesome. He's got a great voice. He's got, I mean, not only a spoken voice, but the way he communicates is, is just amazing. You know, you feel like you're talking to some Oracle. somewhere.[00:35:00]
Uh, and so it really fits is that was a spit take from Dave. So. it really fits and works with the, with the brand. And I think finding that connection is really important.
Dave: well, that, that was the fun. That was the fun part. Like we, we played, we played into that. That totally was the angle. And, um, you know, this is the, this is the stuff that I love about marketing that I just don't think enough companies does. Like, this is the foot what's, what's the hook. Like I hate giving that advice because it's like, but I think most marketers, don't it.
What is the actual hook? Like, I'm not going to listen to your podcasts everyday because you're going to talk about you. So what's the hook. And we had this cool hook, which was. Here's average marketer day. 28 years old thinks he knows everything. Here's, here's David canceled, founder entrepreneur in his forties family.
We had these two people kind of at opposite ends of the spectrum. And we just, he basically lectured me in public on this podcast, you know, a couple of times a month. And that became amazing content. And so I think like, uh, the more you [00:36:00] can reverse engineer this and think about like, what's the, it's not just about just, just tweet about what you're doing is not, it's not the advice of the book, but like, What interesting angle.
And this is why I talk about like building a media company, because if you're a media company, you would think about who, who is our audience. And I think. You have to really understand they're being marketed to and promoted to a million different channels. And everyone has a podcast and everybody's on social media.
So how can, how will yours be different? And so back to like the, the topic of like niching down, I think that's where this is really important. Like reverse engineer this from the beginning. And this is where the magic is. It's not in the, like what platform will we use to record the calls? Uh, where will we host a podcast?
How often we'll record to me the magic. What's the hook for this show. What's the reason someone's going to actually spend 30 minutes out of their day and hang out with us and listen to this. And that's, I think that's where like 80% of the success comes from not so much in the, like the day-to-day execution of it.
Like you [00:37:00] will succeed, whether you pick Riverside or Zencaster, I promise you it's, it, it, the, the, the reason you will succeed gets done in the hook phase. Not, not this phase.
Peter: When you mentioned media, it's funny. Sometimes if you're old like me, you think in sort of this old school legacy, almost this broadcast world, but you mean something different from that? Uh, in, in it's funny, it is very generational where, uh, We're my generation would think of, oh, it's the New York times and those printers and things like that.
And the reality is that it's much more community and collaborative focused. And it's actually one of the things that's really compelling about, uh, about, uh, becoming a media company that actually creates community at the same time. And one of the things I wanted to ask you about is, um, the, your, uh, DGM G your marketing community, which now.
3000 people in it or something like that is, uh, [00:38:00] is, seems to be a really, really important source of feedback for, for you. So talk to me about how you built that and how that sort of that community, uh, helps you sort of get inspired and create more content.
Dave: Um, well, one of the things that I wanted to mention to you and I just, I had this thought, I literally in my sweat pants and I was making a coffee before, before coming to this. And I'm like, um, I'm doing a bunch of books, podcasts interviews, like the next week or so. I'm like, this is kind of like, um, this is kind of weird.
Like I'm sitting in my house doing a book tour. I haven't hired a PR agency. I haven't not working with anybody on this. And I have a schedule full of podcast interviews to do about the book. I have 15,000 people on my email list that I'm going to email on Tuesday. I have a hundred thousand, some odd LinkedIn followers.
To [00:39:00] promote the book to some Twitter followers in that vein. Those are whatever vanity metrics. But my point is, I've built up this, this audience. And so I'm here doing a book tour and my sweat pants. I'm not like, you know, pulling my hair out, trying to be like, how are we going to get people to pay attention to this book?
And I'm living firsthand the power of having an audience and, and building an audience. So one of the values is. The what's the marketing strategy for the book. I don't know. The marketing strategy for the book kind of has already been done. It's like, I've built up a community of people who were like, like-minded people in marketing.
And I now have my own audience and I'm going to hit publish to on, on Tuesday. And I'm going to send a book. I'm going to send an email and hopefully people will buy the book and tell their friends. I think that part's like, That's the ultimate, that's the ultimate like meta part of this as, as you were talking about.
Um, but I, but I also think that the huge value in having a community is the feedback that you get from it. And so I even like I put screenshots in this book, but early on in the process of this book, found the book [00:40:00] that the title founder brand turn your story into a competitive advantage was basically crowdsourced in my Facebook. I had a sense for like what I wanted the title to be, but I posted like, Hey, I'm writing a book. Here's kind of, you know, um, here's kind of three things that I'm thinking about for the title, which one do you like best? And I got like 50 comments on that of people giving their own, uh, ideas and opinions.
So like you, you get the feedback loop from the community. That's really powerful. The way that it got built over time was kind of doing exactly this. I've only talked about marketing on social media for the last five, six years, and specifically focusing on, on B2B marketing. And I talk about creativity and copywriting a lot, but I would say 80% is about B2B marketing.
Cause that's what I've done as a result of publishing consistently having unique takes or strong point of views about, about marketing. I've attracted an audience of like-minded people who either want to learn marketing, or maybe they follow me because they disagree or agree or whatever. It's attracted [00:41:00] like-minded people.
I built up an audience and social media two years ago. I decided I wanted to transfer that audience from social media to actually a place where I could own and communicate regularly. And so, um, I launched, uh, I launched DGG, which is my marketing community and, and a couple other channels with it. And, uh, a couple of thousand people have come over there.
And so what's powerful is like, yeah, it's great to have a hundred thousand whatever followers on LinkedIn. The real powerful audience is like that a thousand to 2000 super active people in the community. Um, and that's just come from over time. I don't, you know, this isn't going to happen overnight. And I have, I have a tiny audience compared to like some, some very big people out there, but. Having that community has become like a cheat code for figuring out what to do and what to create. And I'm sure you all feel it from your community. How many content ideas have you gotten from your community? How many podcasts ideas, how many product roadmap, ideas, like there's, there's more ideas of things that come from GMG.
And I just, I feel like it gives me my finger on the [00:42:00] pulse and in a really cool thing that's happening now is that, um, I'm doing a lot of consulting right now. And so I'm working with a bunch of different companies in the B2B SAS space. I get these learnings from these calls, then I get to go into community and be like, here's this trend that I'm seeing about product marketing?
What do you all think about it? And then we have this amazing discussion. So I think like when you're actually in the weeds doing this stuff every day are involved in it, um, you can create really unique content and, and generate unique insights. And what I'm doing is exactly what I think. be doing if I was a startup founder, and this is not also, it's not also for everybody.
It's not for everybody. If you're very allergic to marketing and you have no appetite for marketing, then this book is not going to be the one to like convince you to do it. But if you're like, I've wanted to get some value like that. I believe in this idea that I think it's probably a better fit.
Peter: It's interesting. You, you mentioned the, uh, the learning from the, from the consulting stuff as an example. And one of the things that I've, I've done over the last year or so is [00:43:00] I have this concept of open office. Uh, and I put a link on my, my Twitter bio, and you can schedule 15 minutes and ask someone who purports to be an experience, uh, any question you want.
And, and I find it amazing. And, and I do, you know, two or three of these. Uh, and they're 15 minute sessions. They usually last more than 15 minutes, but that's what I commit to. And people say, wow, this is amazing. Why do you do this? And I said, well, I learned from it So much.
about what problems you're experiencing and, uh, gaming things out with you.
I learned from them as much as they learn from me. So it's, it's really amazing. Um, but unfortunately we're, we're at the end of, of our time and we need to, we need to try to wrap, uh, and this as usual, Dave has been an amazing conversation. Uh, I have to say one more time. The book is fantastic. Uh, the founder brand is.
Highly highly recommended. You should definitely check it out. [00:44:00] Uh, we'll make sure there's a, there's a link in when we'll publish sometime after the launch of the book. So the book will be live, uh, in, we'll have a link to the book, so definitely go get it. Uh, and, uh, I highly recommend it and joined Dave's community DGM, G uh, and there'll be links to do that too.
Uh, it's just an incredible fountain of knowledge and a lot of fun along the way, which is, which is the best
Dave: This is embarrassing. People are going to think that I paid you to say that please.
Peter: didn't know.
Dave: Oh, it's amazing. It's it's really, I've learned so much from your stuff and, uh, you've been an amazing country. So you've been an amazing contributor to de JMG. It's cool to see you hop in and like give thoughtful answers to people.
And, uh, the other benefit of the community is you get to meet people like you and Peter. And I think like we've created a relationship through that, and yet we don't hang out in person, but we have these interactions and it's awesome. So I appreciate your, your help and your support of the book. And Kelsey, thank you so much.
And, uh, it's really kind of you to have me on here and [00:45:00] if you want to buy the book, do it. If you don't, it's fine. It's okay.
Peter: No, you have to just, uh, Kelsey always has their one wrap-up question. So Kelsey, why don't you, uh, ask Dave your quick wrap
Dave: My favorite color is blue.
Kelsey: great. Me too. But, um, yes, our favorite question, this has been excellent. I love being a fly on a wall for some of these conversations. Um, but what advice would you give to those that are CMOs or aspiring to be.
Dave: I would say don't care so much about, um, How you get there? I think a lot of people get tripped up on like, okay, what's my path to see them all going to be. I think the best path to CMO is to become an ex. In one field of marketing, like for example, you, and I've, I've seen them from all examples. You became CMO because you were head of product marketing or headed demand gen or head of brand or head of comms.
You can come up through each one of those because you need to have that deep expertise. And basically when you, when you get to the [00:46:00] VP or VP level of each one of those departments, you're not just running product marketing, you're basically acting like a business owner of product marketing. And when you get to that level, You have to work across the team anyway.
And so when you become VP of product marketing, for example, you're, you're going to start to know you're gonna start to collaborate with demand gen and content and PR and, and finance and ops. And so I would focus on becoming an expert, becoming a director, VP level marketing person in, in, in a specific focus area.
And then over time you learn how to translate that. And then. Once you become CMO, you don't have to be an expert at each of those areas, you know, your strength. And so I came up through kind of brand comms, product marketing. My very first hire when I went to privy was a very strong demand, gen revenue minded, analytical, uh, person.
And you know, you have to, you have to think about how are you going to build a team around what areas you have expertise in. You know, don't, don't sweat it. Number one thing I see in DJs, people ask like, how is it possible [00:47:00] that I can be an expert in all these areas you don't, you don't need to be. Um, once you get to that level, you you're going to be working cross function anyway.
So, so focus on becoming great at that thing. That you're, that you're already starting to be good at.
Kelsey: Excellent advice, niche, niche, niche, basically as what I, what you're saying, but this has been great. I love being part of your community and looking forward to getting a physical copy of your book. The next GMO and planet on Twitter and LinkedIn. And if you have any ideas for topics or guests, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great day, everyone.
Peter: Thanks, Dave Kelsey.
Dave: Thank you.