Awareness is Delicious: B2B Content Recipes
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“You can’t eat awareness,” says the non-believer.
“Awareness is delicious,” says Josh Machiz.
On this Renegade Marketers Unite, Josh blows the lid off B2B content marketing. With a penchant for going viral, Josh shares success stories from 9 impressive years at NASDAQ and how he’s brought his turn-content-into-revenue skills to his current role as partner at Redpoint Ventures.
It’s about being bold, about being funny, about the power of becoming a newsworthy brand. It’s about deciding where to invest your time. It’s about how a short-form appetizer can increase long-form consumption. Any maybe… it’s the best argument out there for why B2B brands should be on TikTok!?
Tune in to this fascinating episode ASAP.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- How to take your B2B content to the next level
- The business value of newsworthy content
- How to make short and long form content work together
- Renegade Marketing
- Share Your Genius
- CMO Huddles
- Spacestation (production company)
- Cultural Capital video series
- Mission Driven video series
- Cartoon Avatars podcast
- Founder Confidential video series
- People Mentioned:
- [2:51] Lessons from 9 years at NASDAQ
- [5:18] Why Josh chose to go to McGill
- [7:19] From PR to Head of Client Engagement
- [9:15] Career advice: “Take that leap”
- [11:24] MTV Cribs for offices spaces
- [14:53] Ad Break: On CMO Huddles
- [15:53] How Josh became partner at Redpoint Ventures
- [21:08] If you want to blow the lid off things, do this.
- [23:10] A VC brand on TikTok!?
- [26:35] The business value of newsworthy content
- [32:24] Ad Break: B2B market research at Renegade
- [33:16] Deciding where to invest your time
- [38:50] What’s next?
- [39:43] Short form content leads to long form consumption
- [41:52] A case B2B for TikTok
Highlighted Quotes“If you want to blow the lid off things, you actually have to make fun of yourself a little bit, take yourself a little less seriously.” —@Machiz @Redpoint Click To Tweet
“Short-form video is the way that the modern consumer decides if they actually will give the time of day to the long-form content.” —@Machiz @Redpoint Click To Tweet“Awareness is delicious.” —@Machiz @Redpoint Click To Tweet
Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 314 on YouTubeFull Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Josh Machiz
Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. And I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you also enjoy audiobooks. Well in that case, did you know the audio version of Renegade Marketing: 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands, was recently ranked the number one new B2B audio book by Book Authority? Kind of cool, right? Anyway, you can find my book on Audible or your favorite audio book platform. And speaking of audio, before we get into today’s show, I do want to do a shout out to the professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with them several months ago to make this show even better, and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at ShareYourGenius.com and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode.
Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite. Possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser
Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers, as I’ve referenced on this show many times and crystallized in my book, Renegade Marketing, being a CMO today is really, really hard. Still, the successful ones are truly the cool CATS of marketing. CATS being an acronym for Courageous, Artful, Thoughtful, and Scientific. Unless you think the CATS framework only applies to previous guests, I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guest, Josh Machiz, who takes the idea of renegade marketing to another stratosphere. Josh is a partner at Redpoint Ventures a VC firm that invests in startups. And as you’ll soon learn, has a unique approach to helping these companies grow. Prior to joining Redpoint, at the end of 2021, Josh was the head of client engagement at Nasdaq. During his 9 years at Nasdaq, Josh worked with over 100 companies to go public honing a skill set that I’ve referenced on this show as being invaluable. So Josh, welcome to the show! How are you?
Josh Machiz: Drew, I’m great. Thank you so much for having me.
Drew Neisser: I’m delighted. Now I always like to ground the listeners. Where are you?
Josh Machiz: I am in New York. I live in Union Square. And I’ve lived here my entire adult life and I love New York.
Drew Neisser: There you go. Well, this is the New York to New York show. Now before we get too deep into your current marketing job, we’re going to check the Wayback Machine. What was the toughest job you’ve ever had? And what did that experience teach you about yourself?
Josh Machiz: Oh my gosh, I’ve had a lot of tough jobs. But certainly, starting at Nasdaq when I was very young on the PR team was super intense. Of course, working in an environment where you had to be there not just for the market open, but to make the IPOs happen. Which often meant being in at 7am and not leaving till you know, late nights. It was a really great way to cut my teeth and understand the rigors of the business world. It was, honestly, I think the most shaping thing of my entire career. And the vantage point of getting to sit at an exchange day in and day out was—just to learn from the best. Whether it was marketing, sales, founders, just great people who are great with press, learning from these incredible icons, I think has been, honestly, the great pleasure of my career.
Drew Neisser: I want to dig into this a little bit because you had this experience where you were working intensely with people physically. Can you imagine learning the same amount today if you had to do that job virtually?
Josh Machiz: Oh my gosh, it would take me years longer. I mean, that is the danger of remote work right? Like what I learned on the job, sitting there in the Nasdaq. Sitting there being like, “Oh, this company is coming in to ring the bell I’m gonna work with their team, they’re gonna be right here with me, I’m gonna meet them in real life. We’re gonna have an interaction, develop a rapport.” All of that stuff that we had, that magic, those magic moments I feel for every young person today who doesn’t have that opportunity. But that’s not to say that that there isn’t great ways to grow in a remote environment. But it sure is hard compared to the incredible opportunity I had.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, I mean, I think about it early in my career, the mentors I had and the quick conversations and the, “Am I crazy?” And the relationships that were built just because we were face to face and the trip to the bathroom or the sidebars or the other things where you just got to know people. So my only thought for folks listening is while you love the idea—and I do too—of working at home, if it’s early in your career and someone says maybe you should come in 2 or 3 days a week, don’t resist it. It’s probably the best thing that will happen to you.
Drew Neisser: Anyway, enough of that. Okay, speaking of pre-career, I have to ask you, you ended up at McGill University. You don’t sound Canadian. How did you end up there?
Josh Machiz: I am not Canadian. You know, when I was looking at colleges, a friend of mine recommended McGill. And it was on my shortlist of colleges to apply to. And when I was looking at all the different schools in the US that I—you know, of course, you know, you go with your parents, and you go and you check out the school and see what the experience is like. If you ever want to go, go to Montreal, it’s the most beautiful campus, at least in my opinion. Of the major top schools, it’s one of the most beautiful. It’s at the top of the city, the buildings are iconic, the city is such a vibrant one. It was almost like, as soon as I went for that visit, my decision was made up and you couldn’t tell me otherwise. And I think it was a great choice. In hindsight, the biggest drawback was the US brand recognition. I thought a lot of people knew McGill, but then I remember when I graduated from college—I’ll never forget that in New York City, I went to a job fair that Yahoo was putting on. And a recruiter from the New York Times asked me if McGill was a technical school. And I was like, “Oh, it’s super technical.” And then I realized that she meant like a Vo-Tech school or something of that nature. And I was like, “Oh, wow.” So the brand that I invested my entire college experience into is not known by the head recruiter for the New York Times. So I realized that right then that they had a brand problem—and maybe they still do a little bit. But I think a lot more people know them today than they did back then.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, I mean, it’s funny. I know. I also have friends whose kids went there. And I know people who went there. It’s a great school, top school in Canada. We’re doing a shout out to McGill right now on this show, because it ranks, it’s definitely a quality education.
All right, given that you spent 9 years at Nasdaq, let’s talk about your unique path into marketing. I know you mentioned that you started in PR. But your title when you left was a “Head of Client Engagement.” How’d you get from helping out with PR to becoming Head of Client Engagement in those 9 years?
Josh Machiz: But when I joined the PR team, back in 2013, I was at the bell. And it was such an incredible moment to see all these companies come in and ring it and tell their story. And I was like, “Where does all this footage go? Like, where’s this landing? Is it on Twitter? And I was like, I don’t see it. And I didn’t see it on Instagram…” And I was like, there’s this opportunity. They’re like, “Well, we have an intern that posts the photos on Facebook the next day.” and I was like, “Well, the next day is dead on social media!” And right then and there, you know, because I had to be at the Bell every day being that was part of my job.
Yeah, so it was a really long and incredible journey. So when I started at Nasdaq, it was actually after I had worked for the CEO of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange as Chief of Staff. And I had this interesting moment where essentially, I came in through acquisition from the Philadelphia exchange that it was acquired by Nasdaq. And I had an interesting view where I was able to see it from a little bit of a different perspective.
I literally picked up the keys to Twitter and started posting at the bell from my phone. And it literally started where we had next to no followers. I had to get the keys from our Instagram back from a kid that was named “Nasdaq Jack.” I had to get Instagram to give us the keys back. Like they just didn’t have a very thoughtful social media strategy. And it was also just so nascent that they probably didn’t think that it was really that important to the exchange because you’re already on CNBC, what do you need to be on Instagram for?
Drew Neisser: Right. So let’s pause there for a second because there are a couple of things that I just want to put punctuation points on.
One, starting as a Chief of Staff, for the kids who are listening or coming out of school is a really interesting place because you get to see a lot more than you might in a very junior level.
Second of all, what you did in grabbing the reins when you saw the opportunity, I gotta say is unusual. Not everybody does that. You had peers who were in PR who didn’t do it. So kudos to you for grabbing it.
So there was a point in time where you’re doing these things and that’s cool. And they’re going, “Yeah, that’s nice.” Was there a tipping point where suddenly the social started to become something that the marketing folks recognize as, “Whoa, this is important.”?
Josh Machiz: Yeah, I think that’s actually my advice to any young person in marketing is taking that leap, grabbing the keys. Doing that is something that maybe my Chief of Staff history taught me to like, “Oh, something’s not working, let’s fix it.” But what that did, especially in the early days of social, was all of my marketing colleagues were a little bit just like, “Oh, whoa, now there’s this thing. And it’s something that Josh created from nothing.” And it really helped accelerate my career.
So, you know, I think the other thing it did was it accelerated my career within the industry. A lot of people started posting about how much Nasdaq social media was great, and how we were like, really just being so much more out there than our competitor at the New York Stock Exchange. And it went from this point of essentially something that wasn’t being used to this point of differentiation. And that, I think, is the magic of what happened with my career and why it was so important. You know, it’s funny, it’s like followers are a type of currency. But there’s so much more than that, right? Like, it wound up being this great opportunity to collaborate with our public companies, with private companies with the next generation of public companies. It really lent itself to building this incredible platform.
Drew Neisser: Okay, so then you sort of built the platform, and then when you left, your title was Head of Client Engagement
Josh Machiz: Chief Digital Officer and Head of Client Engagement.
Drew Neisser: And so how was that sort of a marketing role in some ways? And just talk a little bit about—because again, you had social, you had PR, you had social and now you get to Head of Client Engagement. What’s that look like?
Josh Machiz: Yeah. So you know, after building the followers, the next thing I started to build was really shows and content. So the first show that I launched for Nasdaq was called “Cultural Capital”. Every episode had over a million views on Facebook, it was essentially MTV Cribs for office spaces. And it all started because Facebook came to me as one of their bigger creators in the space—at least in the financial business world—and they said, “Hey, can you produce content?” And I said, “Of course I can. Let me get back to you.”
And I did the thing that I did way back in the beginning, when I started at Nasdaq, which is let me see if I can figure out how to make beautifly produced content. And so I hired an incredible production company called Space Station that I absolutely love—and quite frankly, still work with today—to help me produce this show. And it was a runaway hit. And what it did for our public companies was show them that they’re a great place to work.
And then we started expanding it to private companies that would soon go public. And what it did for my brand at Nasdaq was turned me from a marketer to this sales-inducement, funnel creator. Because all of these CEOs would come into Nasdaq and say, “You know, I did Josh’s show, and it was so great for our brand, we got so many leads of new hires, and all this stuff.” And I kind of flipped the funnel that didn’t really exist previously, in terms of engaging with the private companies in this way. And so it really became this big competitive differentiator, which is how I knew I didn’t really necessarily belong as a core marketer and actually joined the listings team to actually be a part of the process of pitching companies to go public.
So I was so involved once they made the decision side before where I was working with them on their social media strategy as they geared up for their listing and all that stuff once they’d already made the decision. But what it really did for me—what content did for me is it solidified that I wasn’t just great at marketing. I was great at like helping companies decide that they should choose Nasdaq as their listing venue.
Drew Neisser: I’m gonna pause on that for a second. So in the book, the “T” in CATS is for thoughtful. And within that there is a chapter called “Selling Through Service”. And I want to talk about, here’s a fun trick that a lot of podcasters have figured out, but not all of them. If you’re thinking about starting a show, you’re thinking, “Oh, what are we going to talk about? And how many people can we get to follow?” That’s not the goal, folks. Sometimes the goal is to get your customers and make them on the show and make them look good, so they feel really good. Or—and/or—get your prospects on the show as a way of breaking the ice. What did you do? You sold through service, you provided something of value that enable them to then go, “Oh, maybe I should talk to them about doing business. As a podcaster, I will admit that there have been guests on this show that ended up joining CMO Huddles or hired renegade to do research because of the conversation. While it’s nice to have downloads, really this conversation is the conversation that matters. So it’s a wonderful little insider tip on how to sell through service.
We’re going to take a quick break and when we come back we’re going to dive deeper into how you took this expertise to make it work for your new company. Okay, we’ll be right back.
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Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back. So Josh, you got all this experience and you suddenly were at this intersection of client engagement and sales. And you became an asset of Nasdaq in helping them in getting the deal and closing the deal. So now, let’s talk about the move to Redpoint and what attracted you to that?
Josh Machiz: Yeah, so I think like anybody during the pandemic, I had my share of downtime, right? Like I went from this crazy job of like working with companies on their IPO every single day and getting so excited about what we were going to do in Times Square, or on billboards, and like all of these different methods to promote their listing in the public markets. To locked down and being at home and feeling just a little stuck in terms of what I was going to do with my time.
And while the markets were frozen, I kind of sat in ideation mode. And the first idea that I focused on was doing a show from home. Knowing that my other show going on the road to offices was not going to be a thing, I had to come up with something different and differentiated. So going back to your pillars, similar to like, as you said, thinking about service. I was thinking, okay, well, I’ve already done the show on what companies need when they’re trying to get people to come to their office.
But it seemed like there was this pivot and just the culture of people caring about working for companies that actually are trying to do good, and are actually giving back in a meaningful way. So I came up with this new show idea called “Mission Driven”, which is a show I hosted for 2 years at Nasdaq during and then after the pandemic. Where essentially, I interviewed CEOs of purpose led companies about how they give back to the world, how they think about their product is actually, you know, moving us into a better direction. And it was really kind of even furthering of the idea of what I’d done before at Nasdaq, but then taking it to a whole nother level of purpose really was like a true attractor for kind of attracting the right types of companies to Nasdaq. And then there I am in the IPO pitch being like, “Hey, remember me? We did this show about being a purpose lead founder. And here you are at this moment. And here I’m going to tell you why you should choose us and how we can really guide you along that journey as a public company.”
After that moment. I think like everybody else, I had moments at home of just like thoughtfulness where I was dreaming up new ideas. And I came up with this idea that I had this really interesting opportunity because I’ve had so much knowledge from so many incredible founders, CMOs, CFOs, CIOs that have taught me so much that have made me such a good—not only interviewer, but business person. And I think there’s so much knowledge that just isn’t out there for starting great businesses. I felt like so much of it was locked up in Silicon Valley. And the pandemic, kind of bringing people to different parts of the country just made it even more sporadic. And the knowledge—it spread it out even further. And I just felt like there was this opportunity for somebody to come in and start to deploy knowledge around building great businesses.
And so I developed a pitch deck that I was going to take out to pretty much every venture capitalist that I knew that was going to be essentially a media vehicle for learning entrepreneurship. And I was going to have, you know, the greatest minds that I have known over the last decade, teach their little learnings of their entrepreneurial journey and be really, you know, I’m a big show not tell person. And I really wanted CEOs to focus on not the theory, but the practice of building businesses. And so that was what I was going to do.
I took it to a few friends, one of them being one of my best friends, Logan Bartlett, who is at Redpoint Ventures. And I was like, “Look, I got this great idea. I think I can really make this work. I’m not sure I would leave Nasdaq to do it. It might be like a side thing that’s more of like an extension of the giving back that I want to do with “Mission Driven”. And he was like, “Well, you know, this is really cool. But in our business in venture, we like you with the New York Stock Exchange need to differentiate ourselves from the pack, it’s incredibly competitive to win the best deals. And content is increasingly becoming a part of that.” And he kind of explained it to me, in the streaming Wars universe that like venture capital kind of started in this, you know, VHS and DVDs movement. But then once we moved into the streaming era, there were all these differentiated players with various bespoke niches, and a lot of them generating content. And I’d spent a lot of time with the venture industry. So I understood the landscape and the opportunity. But it wasn’t till he convinced me that I really understood that I could bring this and some of the exciting things along with it into Redpoint as a partner.
Drew Neisser: So rather than start your own business, you went and joined them, which is cool. And that was a little more than a—almost a year ago.
Josh Machiz: Yeah, it was a little more—it was December of last year.
Drew Neisser: All right.
Josh Machiz: And I joined with—being the marketer that I am with a very detailed plan, right? I came in with not just the pitch deck that I was going to take out to investors, but a more nuanced approach around the entire idea of how Redpoint could differentiate ourselves from the rest of the venture capital industry.
It all kind of boiled down to this ethos of everyone in VC takes themselves very seriously. And if you really want to democratize entrepreneurship, if you want to blow the lid off things, you actually have to make fun of yourself a little bit, take yourself a little less seriously. And I think it was actually through the interview process, when I was talking with each one of these incredibly, brilliant managing directors who run Redpoint was that they all seem really relatable. I dealt with a lot of VCs at Nasdaq, where they had that kind of like robot Silicon Valley feel to the conversation. And that’s not who these people were, these are real people who relate to—I think the companies we work with in a different way. And that was what, as a marketer, was like, “There’s something here, there’s a little bit of magic that I can spin into something much bigger.”
Drew Neisser: I’m gonna pause for a second because again, I gotta let the folks that are doing their workout right now. Let them breathe and take this in. What I’m hearing is a sense of courage on the point of Redpoint, that they would actually differentiate themselves, they would dare to be different, they would dare to be distinct. And they would do it by having a personality and a voice that didn’t take itself too seriously. Maybe not a jester or a joker brand, but close. But with a sense of humor, which is often missed in the B2B world. Certainly, you don’t ever put the word VC and comedian next to each other…
Josh Machiz: Never.
Drew Neisser: Right. No, it’s like, “Hey, what’s your CAC? And let’s talk in dollars and cents.” Not anything to do with what a lot of entrepreneurs feel is like, “I’m starting something important here. Can we talk about that first?” Which is interesting.
Okay. So strategically, at least from a brand voice standpoint, you said, we’re going to talk differently. That’s part one of the strategy. What else would you say were the strategic underpinnings of where you wanted to take Redpoint?
Josh Machiz: Yeah, so I think the biggest leap to get everybody on board with was hiring Rashad Assir, who’s @corporation on Instagram and Tiktok, who everybody probably already subconsciously follows without even realizing. It is one of the kings of corporate comedy on the internet today.
It’s a pretty big leap to go from the typical venture firm that is mostly creating content that is kind of self promotional, to go into making content that is humorous and perhaps poking fun at the industry and some of the outsized returns and some of the doublespeak and acronym talk and all of the things that happen in corporate America. And just be willing to go out on that branch was just—I am still impressed by our team’s reception of it. But they’ve seen kind of the, you know—in the months since he’s joined the incredible dividends.
So really the big leap was pushing the brand out into Tik Tok. There weren’t really other VCs on Tik Tok. There were perhaps 1 or 2 but not really taking it all that seriously as a thing. And hiring someone full time to do short form content, but also mentor our portfolio companies on how they can up their content game was a big, big, big step forward. And I think it’s really shown. We hired him in January and he’s just taken the VC world by storm.
It started with smaller follower gains in January, but it just went up in like an exponential fashion starting in around March of this year. We had a video on Instagram that has over a million views, we just crossed 10,000 followers on Instagram and we’re nearly at 20,000 on Tik Tok. And this is kind of interesting because it’s almost a study in taking a brand that was really well known to a very super intelligent cohort of technical founders. But then lifting the lid off the brand and saying, “Now we’re going to expose this not just to the technical founder, but to every founder, and then not just to every founder, but all millennials and Gen Z, and really see how the brand evolves when it’s taking up that much more space.”
And it’s really paid off. I mean, we get founders now that email us saying, “Oh, my gosh, your Tik Tok is so funny.” Or, “I really related to this. It’s just like, what it used to be working at whatever company the video was.” So it’s this game changing thing that that is not just shifted our perception, but kind of gone back to that underpinnings of like, how do we make a venture firm that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but also has seriously intelligent things to say, and incredible knowledge to give out, but that we can kind of appeal to the Gen Z/millennial demographic that really just appreciates things to be a little bit sillier.
Drew Neisser: Love the differentiation by tone and voice clearly. And again, I am now all in on you’re definitely a—what would be called the Joker brand archetype—Very cool, unexpected Tik Tok. Also, kudos for being there first.
I can imagine that some of the listeners are saying, “That’s cool, but. Anecdotes are nice, but what about leads, deals, other metrics that might matter to a CFO or CEO?”
Josh Machiz: Absolutely. And look, I mean, it is not for the faint of heart. It’s a bold move, right? If you want to decide all the sudden that you want to shitpost as a brand. I mean, could you imagine what it took for Wendy’s to start doing what they did on Twitter, right? It is a Herculean thing to do with—particularly at a big—and I worked with every A-list public company that you can think of, to decide to do that with your brand and to be bold enough to make that choice.
Drew Neisser: You know, this is just such a great reminder of if you want to get PR if you want to get news, you got to do something newsworthy. But when you do, particularly in estate industry, it really—because it’s like, “Oh, my God, there’s somebody different in a category.” And we were joking with financial service firms, or like all blue or red. And that’s it.
Josh Machiz: But I can tell you that the payoff, at least on the ROI side, is pretty high from a brand awareness perspective. Not just in the industry, but it’s pretty hard to become a press darling with out moving the needle in a big way. And I think we managed to get a lot of news, you know, we’ve been quoted numerous stories now just about our forward facing content initiatives. And I think that’s something that just wouldn’t have happened organically without this initiative, or some of these types of things. Because let me tell you that some of the other things that I’ve launched, while they’re incredible. They don’t necessarily are gonna get the fanfare that Rashad on Tik Tok gets. Or when we launched Logan’s podcast, “Cartoon Avatars”, that it really is a weekly digest of what happened on tech Twitter, but also kind of interviews with some really incredible Herculean figures in the tech industry.
Drew Neisser: I interviewed a guy who just decided, “Okay, we’re gonna be something different, maybe orange!” Whatever it was, I mean, just the value of differentiation cannot be underestimated. And doing it in a way that is, of course, newsworthy.
So I’ve had CEOs have actually heard someone say—not that I believe this—that “You can’t eat awareness.” And what fundamentally—I believe they’re wrong. Because every time you are presenting Redpoint now, if they’ve heard of you, “Oh, you’re the guys that—” You have a way in. And if they haven’t heard of you, you’re one of, “Oh, we’re a VC firm.” You’re a generic, you’re just a VC firm. Talk a little bit about how awareness—besides turning into PR—is actually turning into either enabling doors to be open or enabling doors, you know, deals to be closed.
Josh Machiz: Yeah, that is such a good point. You really can eat awareness, right? And you can also bet the farm on at either. I also would say the most interesting thing about this is that we now have companies coming to us saying, “Can you help us with our content strategy,” right? Like, this is not just about brand awareness. This is us actually showing our future portfolio companies, “Here’s how we can help you. Look at what we’ve done for us. We can help you in those early innings of whether you’re a seed stage company and your ideas just getting off the ground. Or your series A and you need help kind of putting getting a big outsize return on that first big funding announcement and your go-to-market.” All these things are things that we can accelerate with our team at Redpoint.
And so we actually led a workshop. Rashad had had one on Tik Tok for brands. And we’ll take companies in our portfolio and out of our portfolio through some of these strategies around building brand. And building your brand awareness amongst your competitors.
And so this is kind of the way I think about it. You use brand awareness to showcase expertise. And the reason people are going to come to us and choose us I hope is—and I think we’ll hear it a lot more. And we’ve been starting to hear it is like, “Hey, we want to learn from you guys, how do you get all this free engagement?” Especially now, right? Like we live in an economy where everything is super tight, right? The most important thing is free marketing, free PR, free brand awareness. Look at also what’s changed in the game, right? Like Apple as a result of all of their privacy focus has really taken a lot of the meat away from doing a Facebook or Instagram ad. And so if you think about the reduced value of paid advertising over the last couple of years, coupled with the pullback in the economy, and people just trying to be tighter with their belts overall, what other way could you really just focus and capture a little bit more attention for yourselves, then doing what we’re doing.
Drew Neisser: Sure, another example of selling through service. But I think the thing that I really want to emphasize—put a pin in if you will, is that you can be—and brands need to be when it’s appropriate, your own best case history. Judge our firm. If you come and we choose to invest you and you let us invest in you, we’re going to bring all the expertise of marketing that you’re going to need to the table. So it becomes a differentiator, and then you back it up with with service. So there is an argument to be made always to be your best case history and whatever that means, right? And in this case, you’re providing that.
So we’re gonna take a quick break and then when we come back we’re going to wrap up with some of the most important lessons that you’ve learned along the way. Okay, we’ll be right back.
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Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back. So you’ve got the brand voice. You’re doing a lot that differentiates your brand. But one question that I always like to ask; have you tried anything that just didn’t work?
Josh Machiz: That is such a good question. So I’ll take you on a little journey. So we hired Rashad in January with launching Tik Tok and social. And then we created “Cartoon Avatars”, Logan’s podcast that’s doing tremendously well and is building like a real community online.
Then I started experimenting a lot with doing kind of Twitter spaces with founders in the industry. And it was one of those things where I—instinctively I thought that this was going to be a great place for us to play. I love Twitter. Twitter’s like a second home to me. It’s always where I get my information. And particularly with like the kind of downfall of clubhouse, I kind of felt like Twitter was uniquely positioned to sort of take that live conversation moment. And so we did a few of them. And there was a couple that did well, but not enough to justify the investment of investors time researching. You know how much time, Drew, it takes to put together like all the questions before you do an interview of someone. Like there’s just a whole lot of investment beyond just the tangible costs that might make things not worth your time. And when we could be cutting “Cartoon Avatars” into all these short form pieces and putting them out across Tik Tok and Instagram and LinkedIn and all these other places. Versus investing our time into doing something like another Twitter space that had low tune in. It was one of those things where I was like, “I really wanted it to work. I really believe in the platform and I wish that they presented the offering in a way that made it easier to tune into the ones you want, not the ones you don’t.” But it was just one of those things where I was like, “Look, this is not working.”
When I launched our new show, “Founder Confidential” a few weeks ago, my biggest worry was that it wasn’t going to work on short form social. That we’d made this brand where all of the “Cartoon Avatars” bites are somewhat humorous. All of Rashad’s incredible work is for the most part humorous. And we know that that’s working on Tik Tok and Instagram Reels because we see it. But the jump of is edu-tainment going to work? Are people going to want to learn how to build a company based on short form insights on Tik Tok and reels? That was what I was most worried about not working. But it actually seems to be working pretty well. It’s not working, as well as the humor content. But as you think about Redpoint, we can’t just be about humor, right? We have to also be about providing founder knowledge, investor knowledge, we need to be sharing all of the insights that we can to really draw in those best founders that understand our points of differentiation, that we can be the first call to that incredible founder, who knows that our investors have the knowledge to help them, but also that we have the team to help amplify their messaging and really get their message out in the biggest and widest way we can.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, I mean, putting on my brand hat for a second, I would say that humor is a secret weapon that is breaking the ice and making you a very likeable company. Which you know, I don’t again, likeable and VC are not always words that are put together. Shark might be a word that would be put together, right? So if you’re creating the most likeable VC firm in the world, then I think that that can inform everything that you do. And whether short form or long form. And that gets me to another question I was just thinking about because you develop various properties, and you’ve listed them on the show, and you’ve elected to have different brand names for each of those. And it just curious the decision on that, relative to say, trying to keep them closer to Redpoint, or trying to sort of tie them together a little bit more.
Josh Machiz: It was actually something I learned at Nasdaq. When I was naming the show for “Mission Driven”. If it was Nasdaq’s Mission Driven, might not have gotten every private company CEO to sign on to it. Because maybe it would have scared them away and saying, “Oh, this means we’re listing with you and not listing with the New York Stock Exchange.” And I would say, “No, don’t, don’t do it for that, do it, because I’m a great marketer, and I can help you. But this show is just called Mission Driven. And it’s about purpose led founders. And it doesn’t indicate whether you’ve made a decision or not.”
Drew Neisser: Got it.
Josh Machiz: I think one of my my core tenants is that brand is kind of a dirty word. And as soon as you put the brand on top of whatever you are trying to say, it immediately either confuses the consumer or makes them feel disingenuous. And one of the things that we’ve learned most with doing all this work with Gen Z and Millennial audiences, is that their number one thing is authenticity. They don’t want all the smoke and mirrors, they don’t want to feel like they’re being sold the line, and they certainly don’t want anything cringy.
And those are the core things that I’ve learned from this next generation. And particularly in my role, you know, my prior role, I was always, what’s the next thing? What are the next—what’s the next generation getting excited about? Because those were going to be the future products that we’re gonna go public with us. So I’ve really had to live in the zeitgeist world. And I think it’s taught me how to think like the consumer I’m marketing to.
Drew Neisser: Nothing cringy. Just putting an emphasis on that.
Josh Machiz: Nothing cringy.
Drew Neisser: Nothing cringy. Okay, we can do that. What is next? What’s on the horizon?
Josh Machiz: Oh my gosh, so much. So Rashad has a show in development, that he’s going to be interviewing incredible creators from the creative creator economy. I’m working on a new show called “10 tabs”, where I’m going to go back to some of my favorite CEOs that I’ve taken public, and just ask them what’s in their Chrome browser and what they’re working on. And then we have a future podcast coming up with 2 of our female investors that I’m really excited to call it, “The Company You Keep”. All about building incredible and dynamic teams.
So it’s more around the theater of entrepreneurship, knowledge, entertainment, more of what we’re doing. We’re gonna do a second season of “Founder Confidential” and continue to create more content for that generation of future founders that are coming up.
Drew Neisser: Very cool. I want to go back to the short form long form thing because it’s funny. So I’m gonna say about 3 months ago, we took Renegade Marketers Unite and we have this other property called Tuesday Tips, and we just put the Tuesday Tips which are 3-5 minute little snippets in our feed. The result was remarkable in that it attracted so many younger listeners, and who then went back to the back catalogue, and sort of, “Oh, I’m interested that, oh, I’m interested in that.” And so I think there is, you know, let’s face it, if you have a subject—like you and I are talking about a whole marketing program, your life, your thing, it’s hard to do, you’re not gonna do that in 3 minutes. But it’s worth listening to, because you get to hear the whole story. So I think the point in the things that you’re talking about having bite sized content, but not relying on it 100% it totally makes sense. I mean, the notion that nobody listens or reads long form content is silly. They just may not consume it right away at that moment. And it may not be the way you get the conversation started with them. You got to give them an appetizer before the main course I think is the analogy.
Josh Machiz: Absolutely Drew. And if you ever want to talk to another incredible renegade marketer, my friend Brendan Gahan, who has a huge Tik Tok following now, is actually I think one of the core experts in this exact area. And he actually just wrote a piece on it, which was that you’re seeing that essentially short form content, doesn’t mean they’re not tuning in for the long form content. It’s that appetiser, it means if they watch 4 or 5 of those short form pieces from the long form piece, they’re coming over to YouTube, they’re coming over to your website, they’re coming there for that longer form content. It doesn’t mean that long form content is dead. It just means that short form video is the way that the modern consumer decides they actually will give the time of day to the long form content.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, start me right and then we’ll get going, if I like you. And again, this is where sense of humor comes in. Do I like you and likeability is so underestimated as the icebreaker for brands.
It sounds like you have a culture of experimentation, that you’re allowed to take chances and try things, which is amazing. You’ve already shared an example of something didn’t work. Let’s wrap up with—so CMOs are thinking, they’re hearing about all of this. And they’re saying, “Ah, our targets not on Tik Tok, our targets not on Instagram, they’re not there yet. What do you have to say to them?
Josh Machiz: You know, that is such an easy question to answer because it’s the same thing I’ve been seeing in the marketplace for my 10 years as a marketer. The next generation, if you think about why Mercedes Benz advertises on Snapchat and Tik Tok, it’s not because that 14 or 15, or 16 year old is going to go out and buy a Mercedes Benz. But it’s when they can afford it, when they’re in their 20s and 30s. They want them to think of Mercedes Benz as the car that they want, that they aspire to own. And so if you think about it, we’re thinking the same way. I might be advertising right now, about Redpoint, to the future founders who are 14/15. And maybe they’re not starting a company for 4 or 5 years, or 6 or 7 years, but I’m hoping and banking that when they do, they’re gonna be like, “Oh, you know, I learned pretty much everything I know about starting companies from the Redpoint Tik Tok.”
Drew Neisser: Interesting. And I so I’ll push back a little on that, because again, I’ve talked to so many CMOs, and they’re gonna say, “6 years from now? That horizon is too long for me.” It shouldn’t be. And they might even say that horizon is too long for my CFO and CRO. So unless you work with folks that are really interested in building a long term company, they’re going to say, “You gotta give me something that I can work with that’s going to have an impact in 1—I can live with impact with 1 and 2 years. Is there something that we can point to that would say, “Yeah, we’re having impact in weeks.” So we’re not having to rely on those kids growing up into being in customers. I’m just trying to help these folks experiment.
Josh Machiz: My target demo, it totally does. Because you know, that typical founders is anywhere from 20-35 or so, right? So even if you’re thinking about the millennial demographic, which is a big consumer of both Tik Tok and Instagram Reels content, that person is 41 years old, right? Like, these are not young people we’re necessarily talking about. We’re just saying, if you’re not on these 2 platforms, engaging with people in a human way that you might be missing out on this huge market potential to market to your potential customers in a human way.
And then what I would say about that younger demographic. Anytime people forget about advertising to people in high school, high school is always going to be that demographic that is what’s setting the culture, right? So it’s like it’s high school kids talking to their parents about what the hot thing is, right? Even if you’re advertising to Gen Z, you’re actually just advertising to younger millennials and Gen X. And that that’s the way I think about things is that word of mouth with this is a huge, huge generator. We’re not seeing, for the most part, people that are super young just engaging with Rashad’s Tik Tok content but, you know, kind of across the spectrum.
Drew Neisser: You know, I also think there’s probably a notion of—I mean it’s not—Tik Tok isn’t universally young, and those that are, say millennials that are on Tik Tok, they’re certainly going to be the right kind of folks because they’re going to be pressing the envelope a little bit. So forth. They are maybe early adopters or whatever.
Okay. So I’m going to quickly summarize. You heard here CATS (Courageous, Artful, Thoughtful, and Scientific).
Courageous strategy, just saying, “We’re not going to be like every VCs, we’re going to hire a Josh to help build us, basically media properties that are unique in the category.”
The artful part of it is doing these different properties that they’ve developed. And recognizing that putting the brand on it would actually be a problem.
The thoughtful part is really thinking about how they can help their customers grow their businesses.
And then the scientific part. Well, you know, building awareness matters. And you can see it at the end of the day, it does show up. The guy who said, “You can’t eat awareness.” Is wrong. You can, it grows the business relative to any company that you’ve never heard of those salespeople, those people struggle. Okay.
Josh Machiz: Awareness is delicious.
Drew Neisser: Awareness is delicious. So thank you, Josh, really great to have you on the show.
Josh Machiz: Thank you so much, Drew. It has been such a pleasure. I’m such a fan. Thank you so much for having me on.
Drew Neisser: And thank you listeners! If you found this episode of value if it sparks some thinking, please thank our guest Josh Machiz on LinkedIn. And do me a favor and rate us on your favorite podcast app.
For more interviews with innovative marketers, visit renegade.com/podcast and hit that subscribe button. Thank you!
Drew Neisser: Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! Audio production and show notes are by our friends at Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceovers is Linda Cornelius. To find all the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about my new book and the savviest B2B marketing boutique in New York City. Visit renegade.com. I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those renegade thinking caps on and strong!
For more interviews with innovative marketers, visit renegade.com/podcasts and hit that subscribe button. Thank you.
Renegade marketers. Unite is now a production of share your genius. Melissa Caffrey is our content director. The music is by the amazing burns twins and intro. Voiceover is Linda Cornelius to find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about them. And the savvy is B2B marketing boutique in New York city.
Please visit renegade.com. I’m your host Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.