Noah Brier
August 6, 2019

Percolate Founder’s Best Practices for Content Marketing

Guest: Noah Brier - Co-Founder, Percolate

In last week’s episode, we traced the career of Noah Brier from a copywriter who didn’t know what copy was, all the way to co-founder of an immensely successful content marketing platform that’s, to date, received north of $100M in funding.

In the second part of the interview, Drew and Noah take a closer look at brand positioning and content marketing. Noah shares his thoughts on where brands are going too exclusive, and how orchestration is a thorn in content’s side. He also dives into the key storytelling alongside the customer journey, and in one ten-minute stretch, shares a veritable boatload of illuminating advice on how to improve your content. Listen in!

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Full Transcripts: Drew Neisser in Conversation with Noah Brier

Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. This is part two of my interview with Noah Brier, who is on the advisory board of Percolate… What exactly is your connection with Percolate right now?

Noah Brier: I’m the co-founder, I am on the board of directors, and I remain a strategic advisor to the company. Obviously, I know all the folks there, I’m a large shareholder. For Percolate, I want nothing but success, so I continue to try to do whatever I can. But I left Percolate in very good hands and I’m pretty excited about the future.

Drew Neisser: Well, one of the signs of an entrepreneur is the ability to actually leave their company because you set it up and got it going and you brought in management that knows how to do it.

We’re going to shift gears. At the end of part one you mentioned Byron Sharp. Both of us are fans of Sharp. We are Sharpians, I think you might say. What are some of the key takeaways from Sharp about how brands grow?

Noah Brier: There’s a long list. Obviously, the key takeaway from the whole book is the idea that everything is about market share. The key concept of double jeopardy is that the first in the category, the top market share brand, also gets bought the most frequently. The reason for this is that they have physical and mental availability. So, if you’re top in market share, then you’re probably the most places, and that matters because most brands are bought by infrequent buyers. For example, I buy soda 10 times a year. When I go to buy a soda, if I end up at Taco Bell, I buy a Pepsi, even if I like Coke. I end up splitting my purchases basically in line with the market share. I buy Coke the most, and then second most Pepsi, and then you move on down the list. I think the idea that market share is the critical driver was a big eye-opener. I’ve spent a bunch of time doing research into where those ideas came from originally, Andrew Aronberg, and even before that.

The second one is about positioning. One of the more bombastic things that Byron Sharp says is, “Positioning doesn’t matter.”  And I had some cognitive dissonance there. I spent my career doing strategy, I think positioning is important. But what I have interpreted that to mean is two things. One, he’s saying that what many people do when they’re building a strategy is they position themselves out of markets instead of into markets. They try to position themselves against the smallest possible customer. They’re like, “Well, I am selling to people like Drew when they’re wearing a blue checkered shirt rather than just people like Drew when they’re wearing a shirt.” Instead of thinking “How do I be inclusive?”, they’re thinking about “How do I be exclusive?” Obviously, you need to draw a line there and part of where that line is drawn is going to be based on the amount of media money that you have to actually reach those people. But start by thinking about how you are inclusive in your positioning and in your targeting and thinking about how you move those people into buying your product.

The third part, which is not in the book, but my building on it is that while I think he’s mostly right about that first positioning point that you should position yourself in the markets— 

Drew Neisser: Now, this is really true for mass brands more than, say, a super-premium brand. For example, if you are Mercedes, you can’t go super mass with a brand like that.

Noah Brier: I still think that the idea is not to go super mass. The idea is that you start with, “What is the largest population of people who might buy my product?” Rather than, “What is the smallest population?” I think his point is that we generally target way too narrowly. We position ourselves out of markets instead of into them.

Drew Neisser: I think part of it was his research showed that it wasn’t your heavy users that make a difference, it’s your marginal users that make a difference. So, therefore, the heavy users buy in the same amount of share from you every time, no matter what, which I think is problematic in a dynamic marketplace because brands are changing and the marketplaces are moving faster. I just wonder if that’s true as much right now because, with a heavy user of Burger King, can Burger King really take those folks for granted?

Noah Brier: I think they have to.

Drew Neisser: I guess the focus on the light user. What’s interesting is if you look at Burger King, at one point in time, it was all about creating new products. It was all about, in that market, creating new products to attract attention, creating cognitive dissonance or, creating something new about it so the users will say, “Oh!” But those new products should have been for light users, not heavy users?

Noah Brier: Right. Well, the first thing about that market is location.

Drew Neisser: Right, convenience.

Noah Brier: Burger King is a place that, for the most part, people stop at to get a bite, so you’ve got to be in places where people are going to stop. 

Nobody’s better at this than Starbucks. The most important marketing vehicle Starbucks has is the fact that they’re on every corner you walk by, but they’re very, very purposeful. When you see a Starbucks store close, it’s not uncommon to see it open across the street. They know which side of the street you take on your way to work because that’s when they’re gonna get you.

Drew Neisser: You’re right. They’re not getting you on the way home.

Noah Brier: I think that one of the things he does well in articulating is saying, “Hey, let’s make sure that we’re thinking about the 70%, the 60%, the 80% things, like location, and even if you can’t affect those with marketing, if you’re not aware of them, then you’re going to miss out.”

Drew Neisser: So let’s translate this to B2B for a second, because a lot of the examples are B2C. When you were thinking about Percolate, the category of content management platforms didn’t really exist, right?

Noah Brier: Yeah, I thought about this a lot with Percolate. We were building the content marketing platform category there. But the challenge that you have when you’re building a new category is that people don’t know about it yet. They’re not looking for it. And the first desire, the first idea is to say, “Hey, this is what we are.” We are targeting this very small group of people who want content marketing platforms, but nobody wants content marketing platforms yet, or they didn’t when we came up with a category five years ago.

My interpretation of Sharp for B2B purposes was to notice that there are these peripheral categories, like digital asset management, where many companies are looking for a content marketing platform. They just don’t know it yet. They think they want a digital asset management platform because they are looking to manage their content and create better ways to work with content and get it to the right places, but if what you’re doing is content and not just very specific photos, a marketing platform is probably a much better option for you. We don’t want to lose those people. The idea is, how do we capture digital asset management buyers? And how do we funnel them into our content marketing platform? We want to funnel out the people who actually want digital asset management because we don’t want to sell them the wrong thing; but if you are only thinking about how you target content marketing platform buyers, you are going to miss out on this whole other landscape of people.

Drew Neisser: So you had to make sure that in the content you were creating and the work that you were doing that it recognized this larger world. We exist in that world.

Noah Brier: And we exist in this world and there are two or three other categories, so it’s about “How do you create?” You’ve got a core content marketing platform and that’s pretty easy, those people show up at your website. But then there’s a set of people who don’t know to show up there, and you’ve got to be able to take those. And there’s only two or three categories. I always thought about it as a kind of judo; you want to take their energy from that category and you want to redirect it into yours. Again, you’re going to lose some of them because they actually want you to manage a bunch of photos. You know, they’ve got a big photo library in them and that’s not what we did at Percolate. But for the folks that do, you want to move in and let them know.

Drew Neisser: This is a really interesting thing. I would like to talk about this before we wrap up this section of the conversation. You’re a content marketing platform and then there are these other things that people are looking for until the category got bigger, until you actually had competition. How did you decide where to put your dollars from a marketing standpoint? And, how did you decide to separate how to spread the word?

Noah Brier: Well, we did some funny things. Some of them we are more well-known for than others. One other place we spent our money was on taxi top advertising.

Drew Neisser: I remember that!

Noah Brier: Which is not something that’s so common for startups, but it was actually really powerful for us because it was a way to let people know that we were there and make people think we were bigger than we were. 

I think what we did was we chose a couple of key categories, digital asset management was one of them, where we felt like there were enough buyers. You know, I when I think about the tactics of marketing at this level, I think a lot about search keywords, because for me that is the easiest tactical connection. Where is the search traffic? What are people searching for? What are the keywords that they are going to be looking for? And, nevermind whether you’re actually executing it from a keyword perspective, but it always makes it easier for my mind.

Digital asset management is a real thing. You have people who are looking for digital asset management platforms. That’s a category. That was one place where we put energy against capturing those people, there are a couple of searches, obviously, one of them. There are other places. But you also create messaging, where you talk about and you try to convert people who are in the market for digital asset management. 

Drew Neisser: I see. You can say, “We know you’re thinking about this, here’s a broader idea that may help you.” I think it’s amazing that you did that taxi top advertising. One of the guests on the show was Janine Pelosi from Zoom, and they built that brand with outdoor. Their brand was a little bit broader in that anybody could use Zoom, but it’s a B2B brand and that’s where the revenue is based. They built it on outdoor. And in fact, I’ve talked to a couple of other folks and outdoor really works.

All right. We’re going to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to dive into, dare I say, content marketing best practices. God forbid there is such a thing. Stay with us.

BREAK

Drew Neisser: We’re back. My guest is Noah Brier and we have been talking about strategic approaches to category with your content marketing platform. Let’s talk about content marketing and where it is today, why is it so ineffective for so many brands? Let’s start there, and you could go through your tensions if you want. Is that a good place to start talking about content in the world?

Noah Brier: Well, I’d love to ask you a question, which is, why do you think it’s so ineffective for so many brands?

Drew Neisser: Well, I think, first of all, most of it is crap. It’s re-Googled material that’s not original. It’s not based on any original research; they haven’t done their homework; they haven’t hired good writers. I think the quality level is poor and it’s way too focused on the product versus the buyer. As we talked about with Clayton Christensen’s “Jobs to Be Done” and the whole Brent Adamson world, we’re way too focused on trying to talk about ourselves and not focused enough on helping them by buying our product.

Noah Brier: Yeah. That’s a funny one. I actually spent a lot of last year talking to folks in marketing organizations. In 2017, I wrote a little booklet called The Content Bottleneck, which was all about the operational challenges marketing organizations have around content. And it was largely inspired by a book called The Goal, which is a famous business school book about factories and about bottlenecks.

Drew Neisser: It’s a parable. Yeah, you mentioned it to me. I started to listen to it and got lost in the first five minutes. I’m going to stay with it now.

Noah Brier: I didn’t tell you—get the graphic novel. That’s the secret. 

Drew Neisser: Oh, I love it!

Noah Brier: It took me five years to read it and then finally, Stuart, who is our Chief Product Officer at Percolate, told me about the graphic novel and I read it in one plane flight.

Drew Neisser: I love it. I’m going to order that right away.

Noah Brier: But The Goal is all about the theory of constraints. I put this thing together and I said, “Hey when we talk to customers, we hear about this content bottleneck. They all have a bottleneck.” The first time I presented it at our customer advisory board, I said that we hear about the bottleneck in two key places. One of them is that people say, “We want more content.” And one of them is people say, “We want better content,” describing the two things that you just said. I had all these customers—it was like a record scratch. I had all these customers stop me to say, “Actually, we have this other challenge that is not either those two. We have an orchestration challenge, which is that we have so much content, we have many people creating content, a lot of it’s really good; it just never gets where it needs to go.” I thought that was fascinating and I kept talking to people. I kept hearing the same thing, they kept talking about this orchestration thing. 

As I dug in and as I really talked to people about it, I found that a big part of it in B2B marketing is a disconnect between the brand marketing organization and the product marketing organization. I think a lot of what you’re talking about is exactly that. Rather than getting themselves aligned and agreeing on where they’re going to fall in this sort of hierarchy of messaging—are we going to be more customer-focused, value-focused, product-focused, or more realistically, how are they going to do all of those and effectively connect them?—the product marketing team and the brand marketing team just go their own ways and they make their own content. 

The product marketing content, naturally, because product marketers spend a lot of time talking to customers, is very product-focused. It’s very technical-focused. The thing brand marketers love to say about product marketing content is that it’s feeds and speeds. The product marketers say, “Well, of course, that’s what it is. We’re out talking to customers and this is what they ask us, so we’re making content for them.” The brand marketers, on the other hand, say, “We need to raise the message; we need to move more towards value; we need to tell bigger stories; we need to be able to communicate customer first.” I think the reality is that both sides are kind of right. You shouldn’t have either one as your only type of content.

I think Brent Adamson at Gartner articulates this well as he talks about early, mid, and late-stage content and the tasks that you need to accomplish. But, when you get to the late stage and you talk about late-stage tasks, when are people coming back to your website, it’s very product-focused. It’s demos; it’s security; it’s the things that you just have to knock off their list.

I think the most important thing to remember about B2B marketing is that, in most cases, especially when you’re selling big, complicated, expensive products, your buyer is also a seller into their organization. They’re trying to manage this sort of thing internally. They have all these buying groups. They have all these people. And so, you need to deliver very, very product-focused, very in the weeds content for them, so that you enable them to manage that whole thing. But you also have to have the whole other side. What I found in these organizations is that their big challenge was not that they were wrong in what they were producing necessarily, it’s that they weren’t actually talking to each other. 

Drew Neisser: The product marketing and the brand marketing organizations felt like they were from different companies.

Noah Brier: They were effectively from different companies.

Drew Neisser: For the listeners, a couple of things—I’ve done three interviews with Brent (1,2,3,4), and as I’m thinking about what you’re talking about, I’m thinking about two different CMOs I interviewed recently. One when I asked the question, “What do you wish you knew? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?” He said, “You can do both. You can do brand and you can do product. You can do brand and you can do demand generation. Those two aren’t mutually exclusive.” It’s interesting because as I was listening to another CMO who I’m going to be interviewing, I saw her speak and she said, “You can’t.” It’s funny that in these controversies, there are high powered, highly successful CMOs at complete opposite ends of whether or not you can drive brand and drive demand. I would argue that drive demand and product often get blended.

We’ve talked about strategically the issues with content to some extent, but I’m wondering, in some of the problems, what are some of the solutions? Let’s talk about your tensions, for example, revenue versus profit. How does that impact content marketing? 

Noah Brier: Sure. Revenue versus profit comes from this booklet called The Five Tensions. I was really trying to pull apart this orchestration challenge and I was trying to understand why everybody is so focused on talking about customer experience because I think content marketing is a subset of the customer experience conversation. That’s my interpretation of where we’re at.

Drew Neisser: Before you continue, I want to make sure I understand that. Content marketing is part of the customer experience, so when I think about customer experience, I think about them using the product. This is the customer experience before the purchase.

Noah Brier: Prospect experience.

Drew Neisser: Okay. That helps me. In prospect experience, content plays a role, of course, because that’s how I gain an understanding of feeling. If I have a buying committee, it’s how each of the members has sort of come to know the organization and the product and the promise.

Noah Brier: What I was thinking about is, why is it that everybody is so focused on this? And what is it about customer experience? One of the things I noticed, as I was digging through the research…sales, I think the number is from Forrester, 60% of sales leaders were asked to raise both revenue and profit in 2018. Generally, those are two sides. You pull on one or you pull on the other, and it’s hard when you’re asked to do both.

I think that’s just the reality of the environment that we live in. I see that in big companies. I see that in small companies. When you talk about a lot of the big, especially on the CPG side, a lot of the big companies we saw there are all doing zero-based budgeting. It’s a big trend. Everybody is effectively being asked to do more with less. When you think about how you apply that to marketing, I think there are two key pieces there. One is the customer journey. It is thinking about journey, thinking about how I can target people, not just who might want to buy my product, but at the stage they want to buy it, is a way to make more effective marketing, which is sort of directed at revenue.

On the profit side, as you start to think about customer expansion, you start to think holistically. We were talking in the last episode about Renegade and being multi-modal by default, but I think a lot of these brands still think in their single channels. As you start to look at marketing in a holistic way and you start to look at all the channels and you start to realize that you’ve got a lot more levers you can pull. Actually, this is something that Brent said at Gartner says a lot, your website is a way more critical part than you might have believed before. The nice thing about your website is while it certainly costs money to make content there, it doesn’t cost money to put it there. There are no media dollars attached to it.

I think that the content conversation starts with, ‘Why are we producing content in the way we are? Why have things moved? Why are we so focused on one side on journeys and on the other side on being multi-channel, omnichannel, whatever you want to call it?” I think that really does come back to the pressures that exist now which, in the most basic terms, are about revenue versus profit and about trying to raise the bar on both of those things. The challenge here is that this is, of course, a totally new way of operating marketing.

Drew Neisser: Right. We’re going to take a break, and when we come back, we’re going to plow through best practices, if there is such a thing, for content marketing.

BREAK

Drew Neisser: We’re back and we’re going to wrap up this segment. We’re just going to kill it. We’re going to give more advice in 10 minutes than anybody could imagine in the world of content. Now, one of the things that’s interesting to me is you are a content management platform, and you really emphasize that, in order to sell this, you had to sell content; in order to sell content, you had to make sure that people were effective; and in order to do that, you had to get back to strategy. A lot of what you wrote about is strategy because you have to solve the problem. We have to make content be effective in order to make it worthwhile to invest in our platform. What do we need to do today, given all the content that’s out there, to make our content programs more effective? Let’s assume we have a good strategy.

Noah Brier: I’ll try to boil it down to a couple of reasonably actionable pieces of advice. One of them comes back to something we were talking about in the last episode, which is about making strategy actionable. I’m a big proponent of thinking about building content against journey stages. I don’t think you need a lot of journey stages, but I do think you need to think in journeys, and those journeys need to be more than sale stages. They need to be the journey that someone buys on, not the journey that you sell on. The really critical question to ask against each of those journey’s stages, which too few people do, is, “What is the strategic intent of the content at this stage?” 

If you’ve got early-stage content, a lot of people say, “What is a business objective we’re trying to drive?” The challenge with that is that the answer is always the same: leads or sales. If the answer is always the same, then something is not strategic. The real question is, “What is the strategic intent of the content at this stage?” And if you answer that well, then you arm people in your organization to create the right kind of content. It comes back to the conversation we are having about brand versus product. There are times where the strategic content is going to be much more brand-focused, and there are times where it’s going to be much more product-focused, but being right about those things and being clear about them is the most critical part to me. 

That’s all about translating strategy to action. I think that question of “What is the strategic intent of the content at this stage?”, we wind it up with each stage. That’s a very simple question that I think people can ask themselves and include in their marketing strategies that will help everyone in the organization do better in marketing.

Drew Neisser: Is there somebody out there that’s using your platform that you think is killing it with content, doing a great job? Some brand that just has amazing content?

Noah Brier: Yeah, I think that Cisco does a really good job. Land O’Lakes is also a customer of Percolate, who’s been a customer for a while, and is a really fascinating company. They are a B2B company; most people don’t know that. Everybody knows the butter brand, but actually, the majority of their business is in B2B farm products.

Drew Neisser: Oh, interesting. 

Noah Brier: For most of us not in the market for B2B farm products, we wouldn’t get there, but if you look at the things they’re doing and the way they’re approaching marketing, I think there’s a ton of interesting pieces there to explore.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, I’ve looked at Cisco and I will check out Land O’Lakes. Putting the strategic intent at every stage—there is a lot of controversy or discussion about how long videos should be. What’s funny to me is, if you focus on the story and making sure that it’s good, length doesn’t matter. Are you in agreement with that?

Noah Brier: Yeah.

Drew Neisser: It doesn’t matter. 6 seconds. 15 seconds. 15 minutes.

Noah Brier: Yeah. I think the only other variable here is the channel. There are places where people are more likely to watch long videos and there are places where people are more likely to watch short videos. Don’t put the long videos in the short video place, don’t put the short videos in the long video place.

Drew Neisser: But if someone is really into it and doing research and they’re buying a million-dollar software product, they’re going to spend the time and watch the video assuming it’s not boring and that you haven’t lost their attention. Length doesn’t matter. A couple of other things, just off the top of your head—what are mistakes that you think people are typically making in content?

Noah Brier: I think another one that’s just pretty simple, and this, again, I took out of some of the Gartner work, is to think about tasks, think about buying tasks. One of the things I said is, “Make sure your journeys are buying journeys not selling journeys.”

And another thing I said earlier, which I think is really critical, is, “Make sure you always remember that your buyers, especially in complex sales, are also sellers and you’ve got to arm them.” You’ve got to think about the tasks at each stage. There are early-stage tasks, which are really discovery tasks, they’re definition tasks. There are late-stage tasks which are much more about the technical details, the buying committees, arming them with the things they need. And you don’t have to have content for every task, you probably won’t be able to do that, but make sure that you understand the key tasks that your buyers take on and you are creating content for those key tasks and that you are making it accessible. Just do a quick assessment and understanding where you have gaps and what’s accessible and what’s not accessible to them easily and in what way.

Drew Neisser: Accessible, when I hear that I think, gated, not gated. 

Noah Brier: Yeah, gated, not gated. 

Drew Neisser: Are we gating anything anymore? 

Noah Brier: Default to ungated. I think that historically we’ve defaulted to gated. And it makes sense like we’re in the lead generation business, whatever. I think that if you default to ungated and you ask yourself, “Should I gate this?”, it’s a better than defaulting to gated. You might gate most of it, but at least you asked yourself the right question.

Drew Neisser: My opinion on that is simply if it is worth paying for, it is worth gating; but if it isn’t worth paying for, it’s probably not worth gating. That’s a simple way of looking at it. What else? What other issues are out there on content that we can solve today, wave a magic wand, and help these folks do better content?

Noah Brier: Well, one of them I said is just make sure your product marketing people and your brand marketing people are talking to each other.

Drew Neisser: Shouldn’t they be together? I mean, one insight driving all of it?

Noah Brier: Ideally they have one insight driving all of it, but certainly they are in agreement for how these things work together because otherwise, they’re just going to go off in their own directions. I’ve seen the tension firsthand; I’ve seen it in many organizations. I’ve even seen it at Percolate at times. It’s hard, right? They have different objectives and they talk to very different people, but making sure that they are aligned is really, really supercritical. I know you agree with this one; but, even though it sounds like a lot of the stuff I’m saying is complex, don’t overcomplicate things. I have a chart that came from Gartner actually in my booklet which is this crazy customer journey.

Drew Neisser: Yes, the spaghetti chart.

Noah Brier: I think there’s a desire to get a chart to make the perfect customer journey. You can’t. The perfect customer journey, there’s a famous quote, “The map is not the territory.” There’s a great Borges short story about a map that’s the same size as the town it was mapping. By definition, you’re going to simplify things and you just have to agree on where your simplifications are and be smart about those. Those are some of the big ones.

Drew Neisser: Well, a couple of notes. I say this a lot, simple is hard. It takes discipline, just like strategy, it’s being able to say no too. One of the things I thought was really interesting about the Gartner research was that, if you design, I think this is where the persona-based thing has become problematic. You say, “All right, well, the CFO thinks this way, so we should give him this kind of information. The security guy thinks this way, so we should give him this kind of information.” If there’s no common thread when they’re coming together as a committee and they’re looking at five different companies, you’re going to fail. You lose. You actually decrease the likelihood if they come at it and say, “Oh, I like them because they’re cheaper.” “Oh, I like them because they have this.” They won’t agree. They have to come back to the same rationale for why. The same insight. This gets back to the fundamentals of marketing—stand for something and repeat it over and over again. Over and over again, through all your communication channels. That’s pretty simple, and that hasn’t changed. I think that’s what Sharp brings full circle. That’s what Sharp was really talking about too.

Noah Brier: 100%. The only thing I’d add to that is, make sure that there’s always a connection back to the brand. I think that this is more of a B2C challenge than a B2B challenge, but I think there are times when brands produce marketing in an effort to be a part of the cultural zeitgeist where they end up producing marketing on behalf of someone else. I think that you can see that if you watch commercials for a lot of phones right now and you turn the sound off and you cut the end logo, would you know that’s not an Apple ad? Everybody is trying to make ads look like Apple and in doing so, they’re making ads for Apple.

Drew Neisser: Yes! Exactly! 

Noah Brier: And so to your point of stand for something and repeat it, I just say, don’t be afraid of connecting it back to your company. Your logo always has to be there. Don’t outsmart yourself on that one. That’s a marketing rule for a reason. There’s a joke about making the logo bigger for a good reason. Because logos matter.

Drew Neisser: It’s funny. In an earlier episode I did with Ben Stuart at Bank of the West, as part of the process for developing this strategy, they put a bunch of banking commercials together, turned the sound off, and said, “Name the brand.” They couldn’t. Nobody in the room, this was the board of directors, could name the brand. Let’s look ahead. Can we talk about what you’re thinking about in the future?

Noah Brier: I can certainly talk about it. I started a new company with James, my co-founder from Percolate.

Drew Neisser: Here we go again.

Noah Brier: It’s called Variance. It’s inspired by some thinking I’ve done around an idea called the Variant Spectrum. The Variant Spectrum is a way to think about how processes work in an organization. The new company is really focused on helping companies, especially marketers, get more out of their software. It’s in very early days. Very, very early days.

Drew Neisser: Will you be writing the code?

Noah Brier: I will not be writing the code this time, thankfully for everyone. But yeah, we’re getting back on the horse. I have a ton of meetings this week, talking to a lot of marketing ops folks and sales ops folks. If there’s anyone listening to this that wants to be part of some research, please get in touch. We have a pretty good sense of where we’re going and what we’re building. We experienced a lot of different challenges about the role software plays in organizations, especially marketing organizations, that we think we can help solve, so that’s what we’re going to be running after. But it’s still early days. I don’t mean to be vague.

Drew Neisser: As know, I’m working on a book, a second book, the ridiculously simple playbook for B2B innovators, and one of the challenges that businesses face right now is they have a marketing tech stack and it’s like a tech on a tech on a tech. Very few of them can say with a straight face when I ask them, “So, was all that working added together?” The answer is generally “No.” But they have people who are dedicated to trying to do it, and it’s patches and things to connect and make it all work together.

Noah Brier: I think that what we’ve been seeing inside these companies is that the role of IT has been splitting off. IT is really focused, first and foremost, on security nowadays. That’s the thing that takes up most of their time. And then the focus on these horizontal services. A lot of the application layer has been moved out to marketing ops and sales ops and you have owners of software building stacks for the first time that have never really done that before. To your point, they’ve cobbled them together, they’ve sometimes got some sort of wire and bubble gum holding everything together. How do you help them get more value out of those systems? The reality is that we’re increasingly living in a world—I mean, you know, Marc Andreessen said a while ago, “Software is eating the world.” 

Companies are seeing real value out of these systems. The reason they’re investing the money they do in Percolate or Marketo or any of these other systems is because they see significant value out of them. But how do you help them work through? How do you continue to do that? How do you continue to add to those systems and adopt new ones, adopt new functionality within them? We’ve got what we think is a pretty clever idea of how to do that. But, you know, day two, I’m not quite ready to reveal the whole thing.

Drew Neisser: All right. Well, we’ll have you back when you’re ready to launch. In summary, when you think about your content programs, content, in my mind, it’s part of your larger strategy. It’s not its own thing. It’s part of the broader prospect experience, but we can also call it the customer experience, because content has a role after purchase, a significant role after purchase. It starts with strategy and clarity, and from there, it’s really dissecting this prospect journey and aligning with it. All right, Noah. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Noah Brier: Thanks. That was great.

Drew Neisser: It was really fun. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.

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