B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1723 · 3 months ago

Forget "Product-First". Become an Audience-First Company, with Dan Sanchez

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Dan Sanchez borrows another concept from the startup world to uncover why audiences grow. He takes the popular company methodology of "product-first" and goes one step further and applies the thinking to audience growth.

You'll learn about:

  1. The pros and cons of being a "product-first" company
  2. How starting a company with an audience-first mindset works better.
  3. Practical steps to become more audience focused with your company

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is be to be growth. Hey friends, welcome in. Excited today to share with you an episode from another one of our sweet fish podcasts, attention, and the host of that show, Dan Sanchez, you will know very well as he was a host here and you definitely still hear his voice from time to time on be to be growth. But attention was started out of this realization and this passion that without attention, our marketing actually flat lines, our business could can go belly up. And with whether we say it or not, attention is like this oxygen that were hoping for and we're trying to get the right kind of so...

...it can often feel like there's not enough of it, that we don't know how to get attention and that you have to pay a high price for it. But maybe there's a way to actually attract a consistent stream, and that's Dan Sanchez. That's his pursuit in this podcast, is to have conversations and to give some thought provoking ideas around how to build an audience and how to get attention. And so today what I want to do is want to share an episode called forget products become an audience first company and you're going to learn the pros and cons of being a product first company, how to start a company with an audience first mindset. That could really, I think, work better and then also, Dan, provide some practical steps just to becoming more audience focused right now in your current company. So some really good takeaways here. Wanted to remind you of one housekeeping item before we jump in. We are running an audience survey. We would love your input and if you go...

...to be tob growth podcom, you're going to be able to just, I'd say three minutes or less, fill out the survey have your voice be heard. It helps us pick topics for future episodes, decide who we want to have as guests on future episodes and just a general direction of the show. How are we doing? What can I be doing better as a host? I would love to hear your voice and get your feedback again. That's be tob growth podcom. All right, let's jump in to today's episode. Forget product first, become an audience first company with Dan Sanchez. Welcome back to the attention podcast. I'm Dan Sanchez with sweet fish in today we're going to be stealing yet another concept from the starter world to help us improve our audience growth. That is the product first company, and in this episode I wanted to throw out the idea of an audience first company to start. Let's quickly...

...recap, though, what it means to be a product first company. It's a reaction to the sales driven company, which has been most companies throughout history. Right. Every company wants to make money, every company needs to have some revenue going, so they look to sales and they've looked to marketing, working together to drive new users, to drive new sales of new product, new acquisition. But the product first company emphasized instead the product over the sale. Let's make the product so good, they said that it will market itself. It optimizes for products usage and engagement. And it makes sense because if you're getting new sales all the time, but people try your service or product or Sass or whatever it is and try and say, uh, it's okay, they're probably going to move on, they'll probably forget about you and they'll probably never buy again, even for just a C plus experience. So the product first movement has been fantastic because it's because it says, let's make something...

...remarkable, so that not only do we retain our users longer, making more money, but those users are more likely to become raving fans sharing the product, making it so much easier to grow. Now, naturally, the freemium SASS model has been the pioneer of this movement. We think of a few examples, like mail chimp, who of who were early to adopt like making it easy to send out an email newsletter and then putting in little kinds of little delightful things in it that just made it fun to use, because before, and I don't know if you can remember this, like making an html email was a freaking pain. Mail chip made it easy and they made all kinds of little illustration and copy thing copywriting decisions in the product to just make it fun. So not only did it become hard, but it actually became easy and fun to use, and I was a big reason why male chimp was able to grow. A less used option is a college by the name...

...of Western governor's University. The reason why I know about it was because I'm an alumni of the college. They spend hardly any money on marketing because all their marketing comes from the alumni. Like I'm talking about it right now, and it's because they focused on building an awesome product. They focused on building something people would want to talk about. And the thing that Wgu does better than anybody else is creating a competency based program which means essentially, if you know the material, you can essentially test through or quickly jump to the papers that you need to write in order to test out of every class, or not test out, but work your way out of every class. So a class could take a day, it could take a week, it could take two months if you don't know the material, allowing you to go as fast as possible, and the faster you go, the less it costs. Actually went through my whole bachelor's degree in eight months and only paid about on fourteen hundred bucks, with some help from the pail. But you hear things like that and you're like, Oh crap, I paid fifty grand. So when...

...you share this with other people, all of a sudden the value proposition just starts to look really good right, and that's a product driven model. It's a great thing. But today I want to explore a different concept, one we can take from this awesome model of being a product driven first company and question if there's maybe a better model. I'd like to call an audience first company. Now I think there's room for both the play. I think you can have a product driven company. I think you can actually also have a audience driven company. Let's look at some of the comparisons I'll make in order to make the case. One thing I've noticed with product first companies is they tend to get out of the building a little bit too late. There's a lot of product first companies out there that we never hear about. We only hear the success stories of the drop boxes and the mail chimps, but there's a lot of product first companies that never make it because they focused all in on the product and they never actually talked to the end user until it was...

...too late. They invested too much of their time, their energy, pop potentially lots of VC funds and or if they did get out there and finally got a little something going, they never talked to the audience enough, so they never really developed an intimacy and a really strong understanding of what their target audience like, what their life is like, what they think, what they feel, what keeps them up at night, what they wish could be what they'd haven't even considered that would excite hate them because they don't spend enough time with the people. Not Audience First Company is focused primarily on the people, because the whole goal is not to sell them something, but just to capture their attention. And the only way you're going to capture their attention is by having a deep understanding of what they think and what they feel and what they want out of life. Or is specifically in the little corner of life that you're trying to capture their attention in. May Be related to their career,...

...may be related to their job, may be related to their finances, may be related to their nutrition, whatever it is, you want to intimately understand how they think about that area of their life. With an audience first company, in building an audience before you even build the product, the go to market is actually remarkably faster right because if you have an audience you can build rapid feedback into testing your product because you have thousands of people, maybe more tens of thousands, over a hundred thousand people, who are willing to give you feedback on any product idea you come up with, and it's built in marketing. An Audience Focus Company doesn't have to beg for attention from publications. The publications comes to you. There's a reason why you're attracting an audience and if you're attracting a crowd, usually the media entities in the industry are curious to see what you got going on. So one of the things I learned from Chris Walker this last year is he's growing an audience and seas forget.

Pr will comes to you if you have an owned media entity, if you have at tension, the media will come to you and they will publish your story. Another thing is an audience first company only has to pay for advertising when the price is right because they don't depend on advertising. They're not addicted to facebook ads or Google ads or whatever the paid media of the day is. They don't have to pay for it, they already have it. Now I don't I'm not saying paid media is bad. Paid media's fantastic. It's a great way to grow an audience, but you're not dependent on it if you already have your own audience. And I think my favorite part about an audience first company is that it's not dependent on the product. What company can say that what company can say look, we don't need this product, we have this massive audience and we can just launch a new product. Not Very many, but that is something that is more valuable than even like a solid productt going forward, because if you have a lot of attention, you can...

...come up with new products and tell you find one that really hits. It makes it so much easier to launch a product that it almost thinks it almost makes the product first focus look vulnerable. So two examples of an audience. First Company is sweet fish for starters, the company that I represent, being a BDB PODCAST agency. A lot of our growth comes from our own POD CAST, be to be growth and hopefully soon this podcast. A lot of it comes from the audience that we've developed on Linkedin and social media. If it weren't for those things, sweet fish wouldn't have the product that does today and honestly, if our agency went away, we would still have the audience to be able to market something to we could come up with a SASS product, we could come up with more resources. We have an audience in order to talk to and actually make things better and better or to launch new products. To another one that comes to mind and is talked about on Linkedin all...

...the time is refined labs. Chris Walker is a very strong personal brand with the massive audience. If Chris Walker launched a new product offering, I'm pretty sure it would go well and if it didn't, he'd be able to iterate very quickly because of the feedback of his devoted audience. So how do you become a more audience focused company? Here's three ideas to get started. First, if you want to be audience first, then it has to be a strategic priority. It has to come from the top. We have to have buy in from leadership in order to make this change, because the whole company has to be around it in order for the company to be audience first. If you want to actually play and be like a media company, yet come up with products like a product focus company. If you want to walk and talk like a media company, then you need to have an orientation like a media company. Number two is you need to prioritize more of your marketing budget just to audience growth. Just us towards the content development, just towards promoting...

...the audience channels, just towards conversion rate optimization to drive people down the funnel to becoming a subscriber. Yes, you need your own funnel just for your audience growth initiatives. And lastly, become obsessed with your target audience. You need to be in constant conversations, both in person conversations, or zoom at least, and on social having engaging conversations daily, hopefully, but even weekly would be better for some companies. That way you're always in tune with what the audience is thinking, what they're fearing, what's priority for them, and you can take those insights and turn it into better content and, of course, use it to inform your products. Thanks for listening. Since you've made it this far, I'd like to ask for one favor. If you could, please just leave a rating for the show, whether it's on apple or spotify, which now has ratings. Praise God, every single rating apps be...

...tob growth. Is brought to you by the team at sweet fish media. Here at sweet fish, we produce podcast for some of the most innovative brands in the world and we help them turn those podcasts into Microvideos, linkedin content, blog posts and more. We're on a mission to produce every leader's favorite show. Want more information, visit Sweet Fish Mediacom.

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