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Ethan Beute: Rehumanizing B2B Digital Marketing | Episode 011

Ethan Beute: How Video Messaging Can Rehumanize Your Business

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Ethan Beute Show Notes Page

Show Description

With technology advancing and our world rapidly changing, automation and digital communication becomes the modern approach to marketing. However, this modern approach can sometimes lead to a situation where everything is automated and communication becomes too digital and faceless. The human connection is gone and marketers are no longer able to build a relationship with their customers.

Ethan Beute shares in this episode how we can use modern technology, specifically video messaging, to make our communications more personal and rehumanize our businesses.

Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, coauthor of Rehumanize Your Business, and host of The Customer Experience Podcast, Ethan has collected and shared video messaging success stories in a variety of formats for a decade. He’s even sent 10,000 videos himself.

Prior to joining BombBomb, he spent a dozen years leading marketing teams inside local television stations in Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Colorado Springs. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and UCCS in communication, psychology, and marketing.

Timestamps/Outline

01:23 – Ethan Beute and his passion for B2B Digital Marketing

03:43 – Building a relationship with the customer and addressing the problem of a faceless, digital communication

05:40 – The opportunity in video messaging and making it more common

10:57 – The 3 benefits of using video messaging

12:04 – 1. Personal Connection

12:54 – 2. Emotion or Tone

14:30 – 3. Detail or Complexity

15:59 – The best place to start in video messaging

19:29 – Why the modern approach to personalization is backwards and overrated

23:05 – Budget allocation and attribution

25:13 – The feedback loop

28:50 – The importance of focus and clarity

31:04 – Investing in customer research

35:52 – The one question every B2B digital marketer should ask themselves

40:08 – Connect with Ethan Beute

Memorable Quotes

“Anytime I want to build trust, rapport, or relationship with someone, I want them to know there is a human behind this machine.”

“When you send a message as a video, you get to control the emotion and tone.”

“It’s important to start small and focus.”

Links and Resources

Ethan’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ethanbeute/

BombBomb website: https://bombbomb.com/

Fast Leader Show Episode 236: Steve Pacinelli: It’s the beginning of rehumanizing business

Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay. B2B DM gang. I’m excited today because we have somebody on the show. Who’s going to actually give you the opportunity to totally rethink what you’ve been doing and seeing if you’re putting the human in your marketing. Now, Ethan Beute is the chief evangelist of BombBomb and the coauthor of the book. Rehumanize your business. And I also had his coauthor on my other podcast, the fast leader show Steve Pasa, Nelly. It was episode two 36, and we had a really good discussion. And I think we’re going to tap into a little bit here, but we’re going to give this discussion, you know, a Jew, a really clear focus on how we can impact the BTBY digital marketers life, uh, and overall ROI and impact on the business. So thanks for joining me, Ethan.

Ethan Beute (00:46):

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I’m looking forward to it. We’re getting to know each other so well, I also, uh, spent some time with you on a previous podcast and it’s been a pleasure.

Jim Rembach (00:55):

That’s right. Uh, Ethan is also the host of the customer experience podcast, which I had the pleasure of being on. We had a good time there. And so we’re just expanding this relationship who knows what other things coming down in the, in the future. But, uh, if you could give us a little bit of background on this particular topic of B2B digital marketing and some of the passions that you have for

Ethan Beute (01:17):

Sure. I, I came to it a bit by chance. I came up in local television, marketing and promotion. So I was creating campaigns and spots for television stations like your local, ABC, or NBC or Fox station and running teams with people doing the same. And I met the two cofounders of BombBomb, loved what they were up to. I was doing a bunch of project work at the time anyway, cause I was bored of television and uh, ended up joining them. And it’s been a really, really interesting journey. I was not as in touch with sales historically as I should be. I was, I spent my first dozen years in my career with a, uh, in a business that had two audiences. One was the advertiser where the revenue is and what, you know, the general manager of the station and what most people cared about most, but they also depended on what we generated, which was the viewing audience.

Ethan Beute (02:05):

So this idea of having multiple audiences kept me a little bit away from the direct relationship between product service, value and revenue. And so the, the journey with BombBomb from, you know, a hundred customers when I joined to over 55,000 today has been very, very interesting. And that journey has gone from selling one account to one professional at a time to, uh, you know, selling large accounts, uh, in it kind of account based marketing approach to building relationships with the appropriate audiences, creating familiarity with the problem that we solve, which is not necessarily intuitive to everyone. I think as soon as you hear about it, you’re like, Oh yeah, we have been doing that. Oh yeah, maybe we should address that problem. Uh, so it’s been a really fun and interesting journey for me. I came to it by circumstance more than design and, uh, and it’s awesome. I think we’re seeing so many trends in B2B marketing that are just a better way to operate. Then maybe we have been over the past 10 to 15 years.

Jim Rembach (03:06):

Well, I think that’s a great point. And some of the things that you were mentioning in there that we’ll get into a little bit more clearer is, um, I think for me, it is the situation where you, and what you’re doing at BombBomb is, is double doubly impacted. And what I mean by that is first of all, you’re helping the B2B digital marketer and marketers period, uh, you know, with something that you are having to do yourself, which is build relationship, build, trust, make a sale. I mean, it’s, to me, it’s like, Hey, I’m doing what I’m having other people do.

Ethan Beute (03:42):

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s really fun. My role in particular, you mentioned my title, chief evangelist, which we don’t have to spend a lot of time on, but you know, I’m, I’m a step outside of marketing and sales directly, but all the work that I do is generating conversations, opportunities, awareness around the problem. And so, um, it has been really interesting. So the problem we solve for people who are listening is that every day you’re clicking send or machines are shooting emails out on your behalf. And it’s true, whether you’re in marketing, whether you’re in sales, whether you’re in customer success and customer support and customer service, whether you’re in leadership or management. And so much of it is faceless digital communication. And so when you think about that, you think, okay, what’s a better way. And of course, video allows us to be ourselves. I know you understand this.

Ethan Beute (04:30):

I know you’re a practitioner and you know, all the benefits of it, which we can detail if we want to, but a part of what I’m doing in this B2B sales and marketing environment is just creating awareness that this problem exists talking about some of the solutions, providing some training and education, but not in a Hey sign up for this right now type of way. So it’s a really unique position it’s fun to be in. And it gives me a different perspective on the work that B2B marketers and B2B salespeople are doing every day, while I’m also participating at, as you said,

Jim Rembach (05:03):

Well, and, and so for you, I mean, you’re doing the long tail stuff, right? Uh, which takes time. However, it is also some of the most important work when you start also thinking about stickiness, right? So it isn’t just, Hey, I signed up real quick and I have this thing cause I got some special offer and, you know, try for 30 days or whatever the case may be. And then poof, it’s gone or you didn’t modify your behavior, which I think is really important cause you actually have a psychology background. And so when we start talking about B to B digital marketing, you know, we want to stand out and we want to do something that causes people to, you know, raise their curiosity level, draw them in all of those things that are, that are critically important, but we have to modify what we’ve been doing in order for that to happen. So tell us a little bit about some of the behavior modification that has to happen in order for people to fully leverage the value of what you’re offering a BombBomb.

Ethan Beute (05:53):

Yeah. So again, we have a tool set that allows you to easily record send videos in emails, in text messages, in LinkedIn messages and Facebook messages, our primary philosophy and practices around true one-to-one Hey Jim, it’s Ethan. I just want to say thank you so much for the time on the podcast again today, when you ask me X, Y, or Z, it really, I’m still thinking about it now. And it’s just a really provocative question that I look forward to carrying throughout the weekend into the weekend. I appreciate you so much. I love the way you think. And I look forward to this podcast releasing right? A truly personal video message to do any of a variety of things that you need to do. Things that you’re sending blocks of plain typed out text to get the job done right now. And so when you think about that, my vision for it, and one of the reasons I started writing rehumanize your business and was fortunate enough to be able to successfully rope Steve into participating in with me, uh, is, is that I see this opportunity to go to the record button as part of what you do more broadly.

Ethan Beute (06:54):

It’s just a GoTo. Like none of us thinks twice about opening up Gmail, hitting compose and typing up an email and sending it generally. None of us thinks twice about picking up the phone and calling someone whether it’s our dentist or whether it’s a potential customer or whether it’s a teammate. None of us thinks twice about jumping on zoom and chatting with a fellow team member or scheduling an appointment meeting by zoom. We don’t think twice about any of this stuff. Now there was a day, years and years ago. Uh, it’s about a hundred or 110 years ago when the sales huddle broke up, everyone turned around to go back to their desks. And there were these phones on the desks. People were like, what the heck is this about? Well, this is part of how you sell now, right? You don’t stop sending letters and direct mail pieces and product catalogs to your potential customers and your customers.

Ethan Beute (07:43):

You don’t stop showing up at their doorstep in like what, 1910, 1920, you don’t stop showing up at their doorstep. But by the way, some of what you do now is you use the telephone and it allows you to reach more people more quickly and be able to talk to them. Right? And so we think about that now. It sounds ludicrous to put it in those terms, but we don’t think twice about that now. And that’s where we are with this video messaging opportunity. I want it to be as common as these other things we’re doing. Not that you do with all of the time, you don’t stop doing these other things, but as you’re relying on that, send button, you’re thinking, would this be better if I set it face to face, would it help build trust and rapport and relationship? Would it help me communicate more clearly?

Ethan Beute (08:24):

Would it help me explain the situation more effectively? Would it allow someone to feel closer to me? Could I emote more effectively? Whether I’m trying to mitigate a negative situation and break bad news or make an apology and be more clear because my sincerity, like I’m not, I’m not just typing out these words. I actually mean these words of apology or again, thank you. Good job. Congratulations customer, you hit a milestone employee. You’ve been with us two years. All of these things are opportunities. And so a lot of people will hear a like this or they’ll join one of our webinars or they’ll talk to a friend who’s doing it and they’ll say, Oh man, that’s so awesome. And they’ll, they’ll maybe start the free trial. Or there may be by a monthly or an annual subscription with us or one of the other companies that provide something approximately similar.

Ethan Beute (09:11):

And they’ll do it a couple of times and they’ll get a couple of wins, but you know, three days later, are they still doing it 90 days later? Are they still doing it 180 days later? Are they still doing it? And I’ll give it back to you here in a minute. But one of the most painful things I hear and I hear it from time to time is every time I use BombBomb, I make money, but gosh, I haven’t used it in awhile. So I know I didn’t directly answer the question. I just wanted to tee it up there, but this idea of making it a habit, which we can go deeper into, I’ve got some very specific strategies based on working personally and directly with hundreds, if not thousands of people, uh, over the past decade, but you’ve pointed to the biggest challenge here is you understand, okay, I’ve been over reliant on plain typed out text. Oh, I now understand that there are solutions to this problem. Oh, I’ve evaluated a couple of different vendors and realized that I like this company or that company or BombBomb, and I’m going to subscribe and I’m going to actually try it out a couple of times, but how do we bridge that gap between I’m aware and I’ve tried it too. This is how I operate now.

Jim Rembach (10:20):

Okay. Now you opened the door. So yeah, I think I said, I think you opened the door, so let’s go a little bit further down the path of what, how did I do that?

Ethan Beute (10:32):

Sure. So, um, you know, the key thing is, is knowing when is this going to be beneficial? And we have some frameworks around that, a very quick one that I won’t spend a lot of time on is three things to look for. When you look at all of the touch points, let’s just say, um, you’re a marketer and you’re responsible for generating opportunities and moving them up to a particular point. Uh, let’s say it’s whether a sales accepted lead, let’s say from, from an inbound opportunity or maybe even an outbound opportunity, depending on how your company is organized. Sometimes outbound is in sales. Sometimes it’s in marketing and you want to move them from, I don’t know that this problem exists, or I don’t know that this company exists, or I don’t know that the solution exists to sales is ready, willing and able to say, this is a sales accepted lead, and we’ll take it from here.

Ethan Beute (11:20):

You’ve got a number of touch points there. And so a few things you’re looking for to say video would be better than what I’m doing. Now. The first one is personal connection. Anytime I want to build a little bit of trust, rapport relationship. I want someone to know there is a human behind this machine or a human behind this website, or a human behind this logo, or a human behind this really shiny well-written copy and graphics that are on this webpage or whatever. Um, that’s a great place to add a video and you can use it in conjunction with a phone call voicemail. You can use it as a followup to a form fill, and that can be truly personal or it can be evergreen. You can record it once and use it over and over again. And as someone does a particular action, it can be triggered automatically or, or, or the, the, the act that a human being becomes aware of can be the trigger for the human descend, a truly personal or an evergreen video.

Ethan Beute (12:14):

There’s so many ways to do that, but personal connection is one another one I already spoke to, which is emotion or tone, either very positive or very negative. When you send a block of text to somebody, a our brains do not recognize it as being written by a human writer, even when they see your email signature, maybe if you add a face to your email signature, they might start to tie that together. But, but in a natural intuitive way, humans, don’t assign blocks of typed out text to a human being. And so when we send our messages, she’s in that way, we’re giving away control of how that message is read as well. So if I send you a two paragraph email, Jim, about an opportunity or a question or something else that I’m corresponding with you about your ability, the way that you read my message and take my intention and maybe even assign motivation is based on, did you just find out that a family member is ill or did you just find out that a family member just had an amazing, when did he just have an amazing when yourself and your business, or did you just find out that, um, you know, a client you’ve been working with has separated their relationship with you, right?

Ethan Beute (13:19):

So these things that are happening in your life dictate how these emails are received and read. And sometimes, especially in the negative, you don’t want that associated with you and your name and the opportunity that you’re presenting. So when you send it as a video, you get to control the emotion and tone. You get to control by emoting the message. While you’re saying the words, it’s not just about the words, it’s about how you’re saying the words or how the words come across. And so you get to retain that control. So first is personal connection. Second is emotion or tone. Third is detail or complexity. You know, where your clients are hanging up or your prospects are hanging up. Where are they confused? Where are they frustrated? When do people tend to reply and ask questions? Where are you in maybe a demo or a pitch where you see the confused look on their face, whether it’s in person or over a video message.

Ethan Beute (14:12):

These are points where you can use video and potentially even a screen recording their screen recordings everywhere you are in BombBomb to show what’s on a screen. You could walk someone through a presentation. You can walk someone through a report. You could walk someone through a contract. You could walk, you can show and tell this to break down detail or complexity, or even just as a talking head and what we’re talking about here, by the way, I haven’t mentioned this yet is simple, casual, conversational videos. This is not about lights and scripts and editing and production and taking two months to get a script written, a script approved, to get to figure out who’s going to be in the video to get the, the shooter and the lighting person lined up to get the video edited, to have it go in front of a committee, to have it go back into editing, to have a comeback out.

Ethan Beute (14:59):

And now we can release this video to our prospects. This is 35 seconds. Boom done sent, right? And so, um, whether it’s a talking head video or a screen recording video, you can break down detail or complexity. And so you need to look at those touch points and figure out where these videos belong and start with one or two opportunities. And so, as to the question that got me here, I know I’ve been monologuing a bit. This is the single best place to start with this style of video, this casual, conversational, personal video, two videos a day, make a commitment to spend five minutes or less sending two videos every day for a month. Let’s say weekdays only, that’s going to be about 20 to 25 videos depending on the way the months and the days break two videos a day. And all you’re looking for is a family member, a friend, a coworker, a customer that you’re really friendly with, or someone in your personal or professional network.

Ethan Beute (15:58):

And all you’re looking to do is say, thank you. Good job. Congratulations. I just noticed, I’ve been thinking about you. I am, I I’m concerned for you are worried about you or I was sorry to hear, right? It doesn’t all have to be positive. And all you need to do is look at your social media feeds and they are loaded with timely and relevant reasons to reach out to people. And the reason you’re going to start in this way is that the reason most people hate video. Uh, the first time they tried it is that they’re their own harshest critic. They don’t like the way they look and sound. They get all hung up. Did I say it right? Is my equipment good enough? Am I good enough? Is my lighting good enough? And all these other things that like our minds just start spinning on and you quit before you ever start in earnest by lowering the threat of sending out to a stranger or to someone anonymous.

Ethan Beute (16:45):

This isn’t about putting it on your YouTube channel. It’s not about putting it on your LinkedIn feed or LinkedIn profile. This is about a one to one video to someone, you know, and who knows you, someone you like, and who likes you. And you’re reaching out with a message that doesn’t require a script, really none of these do, but it’s, um, thank you so much for this kindness you’ve done for me be specific, uh, congratulations on this accomplishment or this good news that I saw that you achieved. It’s a promotion. It’s a, your daughter made captain of the volleyball team, whatever the case may be. And, uh, and you’re going to a forge the habit right through repetition. You’re going to get comfortable with your recording environment, whether it’s BombBomb or another platform, you’re going to get familiar with the software and the interface and some of that stuff that slows you down and makes you feel like you’re not on top of the situation or that you’re not a master of it that hurts your ego.

Ethan Beute (17:36):

You’ll knock some of that stuff down. You’ll get comfortable seeing yourself and hearing yourself on camera. And most importantly, you’re going to get, if you do this for one week, if you send 10 of these messages over the Monday through Friday, I promise you, you will get at least three or four replies that say something like, Oh my gosh, it was great to see you. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for your email, by the way. No one has ever thanked you for your email before, unless maybe it contained like a legitimate amount of money that wasn’t from like a Nigerian Prince. Right. Um, and, and thank you so much for the video. It was great to see you. Oh my gosh. That was fantastic. You’re going to see some, all caps. You’re going to see some exclamation points. You’re going to see some emoticon smiley faces.

Ethan Beute (18:22):

And all they’re trying to do is give back the unique energy that you were able to provide in that email, by being yourself in a casual, conversational video. And so start with people, you know, and who know you look at your processes, find one or two ways to start using video. As soon as you feel comfortable by doing that initial habit, start doing them in a proper full on business context. And then over the next several months or several years, you’re going to expand, and you’re going to have dozens of use cases, but it’s important to start small and focus.

Jim Rembach (18:52):

And I think this is critically important at this time. All of us also with all of us getting forced to be virtual and a lot of the face to face types of interaction going away. When you start talking about the marketing and sales, um, you know, processes and activities. And so for me, I also have to look at what we’ve been doing in the past. Uh, also what is currently getting attention. And I start thinking about the whole hype, you know, Hey, I need to be doing this right. And so if I think about things that are overrated, you know, given what we’ve been going through, what’s one thing that you think is overrated that we need to rethink.

Ethan Beute (19:28):

Um, you know, I think a lot of people are approaching personalization a little bit backward. I think personalization is good. It’s a hot word. If you Google it or you search it on a search, the hashtag on LinkedIn, or maybe even on Twitter, you’ll get, you know, it’s, it’s hot, hot, hot personalization is all about personalization. I think it’s a little bit backward because we take what we want, which is I’m targeting, I’m targeting and I’m hunting. And then we use personalization to say, I’m going to find one or two nuggets about this person that allow me to have a reason after I’ve already selected them. I’m going to use personalization as my justification for targeting this person. Whereas if we think about personalization in the form of earlier in the process, right, I’m not looking for, okay, I’m going after this guy because of his title and where he is in the country and that’s my territory to generate leads or opportunities.

Ethan Beute (20:26):

And so I’m going to go to his LinkedIn profile and I’m going to see that he went to college at Creighton in Omaha. And so I’m going to come up with some convoluted hook to Omaha or to Creighton, right? The fact of the matter is that dude showed up on your list. And so now you’re just, you’re trying to figure out the personalization element. I think if we do a better job, being honest with ourselves and create good feedback loops with sales, with customer service and customer success about which customers are best, we can refine our personas a little bit more specifically. And the more specific we can get, the less convoluted, the less we have to stretch, the less we have to contort to personalize the message in hopes that they’ll get it because we are actually reaching out to the right person for the right reasons at approximately the right time.

Ethan Beute (21:15):

And the trick is then, you know, you are reaching a smaller group of people, but when you do it the right way, and with a more legitimate, I don’t want to, uh, make any assumptions about anyone’s ICP or the groups of people that they’re reaching out to with emails and targeted ads and these other things. Um, I would also say that, uh, intent, uh, there are a lot of tools that are providing intent where people are in market, uh, not just in your customer profile, uh, that would add to this as well. Um, so I guess I would, I would say personalization in terms of, um, you know, I have a, I have a long sales cycle and a very, very high dollar value products. I’m going to go look at where she went to school and, uh, you know, send her a, uh, really nice hand stitched blanket with her Alma Mater’s logo on it or something, you know, uh, these assumptions that we’re making in order to justify the fact that, that we want to reach these people, rather than really looking at what are the criteria that make this, the time, make this, the person make this the right role and make this type of company, the right company for the problem we solve or the opportunity we provide.

Jim Rembach (22:28):

Well, I think, I think you make a great, great point because oftentimes we think of the whole personalization that we do in marketing as some type of technology activity. And you actually just made it more of a human activity, like rehumanizing your brand. Right. So perfect, perfect connection. All right. So when we start talking about where we have budget to spend from a digital marketing perspective, uh, you know, we have to really also think what we’ve been doing in versus what we have to do. So if I have still the same budget and I needed to do some reallocation, where would you take from, and what would you place to,

Ethan Beute (23:06):

Oh gosh, that is so good. That’s such a great question. I think the easiest thing to say is that the ease attribution is so hard. I just had a conversation like this. It wasn’t recorded for a podcast, but I was talking with another B2B marketer who has a B2B marketing podcast. And so he’s talking with a bunch of people like you are, and like, you know, deeply steeped in this as you urn and attribution was such an important part of our conversation, attribution is so difficult. So the easiest thing to say here is we’re attribution is easiest. You look at where you’re doing paid spending and figuring out not just which one is producing the best cost per lead, but which one is producing the best cost per customer. And you can shuffle there. I think another place that I would invest time and energy and money, and you might do this with other teams depending on who else is doing it, but I don’t think that we’re talking to our customers enough.

Ethan Beute (24:00):

I think we’re getting a lot of survey data. I think we’re getting a lot of verbatims may be in surveys that we might not be spending enough time with. And I definitely don’t think that within most organizations that we’re picking up the phone and talking with customers outside of a, uh, direct sales function or outside of a direct service or support function. And so I think marketing needs to be on the phone more, and that’s more of a, an opportunity cost, right? Like which people need to be doing this and what activities are they going to be taking away from? I feel like I kind of cheated that answer a little bit, but I hope there was something of use to, to, to listeners there.

Jim Rembach (24:37):

Well, as you were talking for me, I started thinking about what I have run into with some of my clients is we have the discussion about sales and marketing, and then I expanded into client success or customer success or member success or whatever it is. And then it kind of goes quiet. And, and so for me, it’s like, uh, how are, how are we doing what you’re talking about, connecting with those customers to be able to feed back, you know, all of that into the very front end. It’s not just the middle of funnel if we’re talking about that, as far as moving people down, um, it’s also the whole awareness piece because it’s that insight that will allow you to feed that back to the front end and have some of those better conversions that you’re talking about.

Ethan Beute (25:20):

Yeah. I think, um, I will add one thing, the, the, the feedback loop. So, so typically we’ll, we look at like cost per lead or how much did it cost us to generate something that sales would accept, whatever that looks like, whatever you call it, whatever it looks like. And of course the next step is to go, you know, cost per customer, right? Like the ultimate conversion, like w you know, cause there’s some drop-off from handoff to close and then, you know, we need to follow it into CS. And so another activity we might pursue that as a little bit, like talking with more of your customers more often is, um, lifetime value of, you know, of the top 20% of your database that has the highest customer lifetime value, you know, because they’ve been with you the longest or they expanded their purchasing, or however you look at that, it’s really hard to look at that population and say, okay, what were the lead sources?

Ethan Beute (26:11):

And what were we doing in marketing that generated this opportunity 37 months ago or 54 months ago? So that attribution piece is really, really hard, but what we can do is look at who are these people? Why did they come to us? Let’s get those people on the phone. Um, what were some of their characteristics at the time of close? If we can figure that out, what were some of the marks, you know, what were some of the key points along their journey, either presale or post-sale that made them so successful? What are the, that are common about these people? And then you start working a process of where can we find more people like that, or where can we identify them earlier in the process? What is this top 20% look like at the sales accepted lead I’m using that kind of generically to say, at the point of handoff, from marketing to sales, what is this, um, what does this type of person look like at that point?

Ethan Beute (27:06):

And can, what do they look like at, at the point of sale and what are the most important characteristics of the first 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and how can marketing support, service and success in that onboarding process? And so, you know, we’ve been doing a lot of those things that BombBomb, obviously everything we do, I, I wish we were doing better. I think we do a pretty good job at a lot of different things, but, you know, as I’m seeing this out loud, I’m like, you know, we have worked on some of these types of projects and it really is critical that marketing is tied to the end result. I know that we want to high five each other. I know that people are punished and praised based on, you know, lead generation and lead and movement into the next phases of the process. But quality is more important than quantity. Obviously when you start looking at cost per Dow, cost per lifetime value or whatever, you know, when you start looking at it that way, as opposed to just cost per lead and you start acting and behaving a lot differently, and there are so many efficiencies to be gained there in terms of your time, energy and actual hard spend.

Jim Rembach (28:13):

Well, I think that’s great. That’s a great insight. And it’s something that I think oftentimes we fall victim of, because we get the pressure or the KPI of how many leads have you brought in today, right. Or this week, or this month, or, uh, I think that’s an important point is, okay, well, let’s say that is a metric, right? But then let’s look at the pieces where it is sales accepted. It is converted. It is all, you know, all of those things, you know, right. The whole retention piece. I mean, those are more important components when you start talking about, you know, the proliferation of solutions today. I mean, I’ve got to make sure that I am the one that gets them and keeps them.

Ethan Beute (28:50):

Yeah. I mean, you, and you might see some of the raw numbers go down and you should, in theory, if you are refining these things, you should see some of the conversion rates go up. And so if you are seeing the volume go down and the conversion rates stay flat, that is obviously not a sustainable situation. You need to work one or the other, but I think there’s so much an overemphasis on the raw number and less of an emphasis on the conversion and the value of that conversion. And so, and I see the same thing in a lot of seats, especially as I’m talking with business development reps and sales development reps, um, there’s a lot of, uh, what I call activity worship, where we’re looking at, you know, number of calls, number of emails, sent number of this number of that, and not so much at the quality of those activities that I there’s a give and take there.

Ethan Beute (29:37):

And I know it’s easy to say, and I know it’s a lot harder to do, but it’s the kind of discipline that we need, because that is where the real efficiency comes. Like, especially if your total addressable market has some real limitations to it, you cannot afford to burn these opportunities. You can’t afford to be reaching people in shallow and kind of stupid ways. You can’t afford to be engaging people at times that are just plain wrong. You can’t afford to be engaging accounts at the wrong place inside the organization, such that you’re potentially denigrating your brand name, um, and burning the opportunity with the right person. Um, and so the, the, the smaller, your total addressable market, the even Mo more important, uh, all of this, this focus and emphasis and clarity and efficiency become

Jim Rembach (30:27):

That’s so true. Okay. So now let’s take the constraints off, or we’re not talking about, you know, allocating funds and move, or you’re saying, you know, what do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter resources, money, you can have it all. What would you look at investing in,

Ethan Beute (30:43):

Um, customer research? Honestly, it, again, for all the reasons we’ve already talked about it, it would be customer research within BombBomb. I want to know more about, uh, you know, we have sales and marketing personas. I want product usage, personas. I want to know what, you know, what are the four or five categories of the different ways people engage. I know that when someone signs up for BombBomb, I have a, and this is intuitive. There’s like an 80, 20 rule. 80% of the value comes from 20% of the environment. Um, you, Jim might, I have not analyzed your account from a, from an administrative dashboard perspective, but I know you’ve sent a lot of videos. If you fit with what I’ve observed with some of our best customers over the years, you’re probably sending 80% of your videos from Gmail. For example, we worked directly in the Gmail inbox or from the iPhone app or the Android app, or you might be doing 80% of your video recording and sending with the Salesforce integration.

Ethan Beute (31:45):

And so it’s this, you know, what is this path from? I get the idea to now I am successful. I’m doing it habitually. And where am I doing it? If you are an iPhone app user, what is your coincidence using the Google Chrome extension to record and drop videos into LinkedIn or into Slack, or some of these other ways to use it. And that will allow us to onboard people so much more effectively, Hey, it looks like you’re doing this. You might also like to do that. Not because they, because they’re like 15 different places and ways to record and send videos with BombBomb, it, we need to figure out the fastest way to help you find your best situation. Find your best use cases I could. We could have spent this entire time together just talking about use cases across the customer life cycle.

Ethan Beute (32:33):

We could spend another 45 minutes or an hour talking use cases across the employee life cycle to find better employees, to engage them, to get them, to choose you and your company, to onboard them successfully, to coach and train and develop them to turn them into your source of all of your nest next best employees, just like we want to turn our customers into our next source of our next best customers. Um, we can also talk about how to use it within your personal and professional networks. There’s so many ways to use this in so many different types of people that we serve, that I would use it to deep, deep, thorough analysis of our customer database. Who’s successful who isn’t. And it’s just hard to do that when you’re, you know, we’re, we’re, you know, we’re not growing as fast as we were when we hit the inc 5,000.

Ethan Beute (33:20):

I mean, you’ve got to have triple digit growth there and, you know, but we’re still growing very, very aggressively. We are still a bootstrapped company. We’re still more ambitious than we are, uh, resourced, you know, and, and I think most healthy companies are, I think if you have more resources than you do ambition, there’s something wrong and you’re not going to be operating a very well or very long. And so, you know, it’s hard to carve out. We don’t have a team dedicated to this. We do have a business intelligence team, but they’re analyzing all kinds of stuff for all kinds of stakeholders. We do have research going on inside marketing. We have research going on inside product, but it’s, it’s hard to, to do all this. So if I had, you know, a couple head count or a chunk of cash to hire a contractor, um, that would be where I would spend more, more money.

Ethan Beute (34:09):

I wouldn’t necessarily spend it on more ads because you could take the exact same ad spend and generate. You could dramatically, if you had some of the types of things I was talking about in terms of customer understanding for your product or your service, you would be able to probably dramatically increase lifetime value or dramatically increase, uh, referrals. You could probably dramatically increase conversion to customer because you would have more refined prescriptions for people. Uh, we would probably create a better trial experience that would get people to convert automatically more often. You would probably create more success in that first 30 to 90 days. Um, there’s so many benefits to it that, you know, even if you kept the same raw number coming in, same website visits, same conversion on page, same number of direct purchasing, same number of free trial, same number of demo requests. We would generate so much more value for the customer and so much more value for the business. I think we’re, we’re again, it’s just, this is thematic to the, to the raw number activity, worship theme that I’ve been talking to

Jim Rembach (35:15):

Well, and the reality is you gave multiple points to where we can now take and change what we’ve been doing. And that’s what we’re talking about is not just rehumanizing, but doing things that are necessary in order for us to stand out and then disrupt our marketplace. So I have to ask, um, you know, from a psychology perspective, from a business perspective, from a process, everything that we’ve talked about, people have to stop and ask themselves a certain question before they take the step in the right direction. So what should a B2B digital marketer be asking themselves?

Ethan Beute (35:52):

I’m going to steal this one from a great book that I read recently by Matt Sweezey of Salesforce. He’s been there for years. He’s a marketing researcher there. I think his current title is like a director of market strategy at Salesforce. And he wrote a great book called the context marketing revolution. And he also has a fantastic short podcast series. It’s beautifully produced. It’s like eight or nine episodes called the electronic propaganda society. And the whole premise of it isn’t how do I make my marketing more effective? The premise is why isn’t our, my marketing working. And he calls for a new definition of marketing. And so I think that question is super, super provocative. I heard the podcast series before the book was released and they really compliment each other nicely. I think if we’re really, really honest with ourselves, and we look at the conversion rates on our ads, when we look at the conversion rates on our web pages, yeah.

Ethan Beute (36:48):

We can optimize them and create a continual iteration process where over time we can push it from 2.3, 7% to 3.6, 4% and move real revenue. We can actually do that, but he calls for something so much more interesting and provocative, which is why isn’t marketing, working. I forgot I’m going to lose. I don’t have at the top of my head, some of the bigger numbers he offers, but, you know, ultimately our success rate is, you know, when you take that 2.37% and then move that through the other points of conversion to a point of sale, and then ultimately to a point of retention, we’re failing at a massive, massive rate where we might do slim, be doing slightly better than we were before, but ultimately, you know, some tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of people who we initially engaged with, uh, are actually continuing to see value and understand what we’re doing and say yes again, right?

Ethan Beute (37:45):

That’s what we want when just a series of yeses. So people stop saying yes at different points in the process, even post-sale. And so I think the ultimate question is why isn’t our marketing working? And if you, if you don’t buy that or, or it doesn’t make sense to you again, I encourage you to check out the context marketing revolution or the electronic propaganda society. And the theory is we’ve entered a new age of infinite media as opposed to limited media. And we’ve all seen this before. When you think about spammers, they’re typically approaching email marketing, like they were approaching direct mail. I haven’t addressed, therefore I can send to it. I can send to it as often as I want, well, hitting my physical mailbag box on the front of my house has a lot of different implications. Uh, and it’s culturally different. Um, it’s emotionally different than hitting my email inbox.

Ethan Beute (38:36):

And it’s definitely different than hitting my text messages. I hate. And I’m sure you do too. I hate getting unsolicited text messages even more than I hate getting unsolicited email, which I hate more than I get hate getting, uh, unsolicited direct mail or mail in my mailbox. And so, you know, we come to these opportunities with the old models. And so he’s really calling for, uh, a complete tear down or reevaluation. And I think most people listening to a show like this would find it interesting and provocative and would cause them to be very reflective about what they’re doing and what they’re not doing, what they would do if they had an extra 10 grand or a hundred grand, or if they had to take 25 grand from somewhere and put that 25 grand somewhere else, how they would do that. I think this would be provocative in that process.

Jim Rembach (39:24):

I had a fun time with you today. Can you please share with a B to B DM gang they can get in touch with you?

Ethan Beute (39:30):

Yeah, absolutely. I welcome direct communication. It’s Ethan ethan@bombbomb.com. A welcome a connection on LinkedIn, especially with a note. My last name is spelled B E U T it’s Ethan Beute on LinkedIn. And, uh, you can learn more about the book and more about us@bombbomb.com or bombbomb.com/book.

Jim Rembach (39:47):

Now, for those of you who have listened to this episode, please go and make sure that you rate review and subscribe this episode. Fantastic. Ethan, thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, and we wish you the very best.

Ethan Beute (40:00):

Thank you so much, Jim. I appreciate it. And best to all the listeners.

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