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

Episode 1665 · 3 months ago

The Science, Art, and Voodoo of Marketing with Steve Hartert

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji talks to Steve Hartert, Chief Marketing Officer at JotForm

In this lively conversation, Steve breaks down the 3 core pieces of a marketing strategy and details the necessity of laser focus on your customers. 

Conversations from the front lines and marketing. This is be to be growth. Welcome to be to be growth. Today I am joined by Steve Hardart. He's the chief marketing officer at jot form. Steve, welcome to the show. Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you for having me. What got you excited about marketing in the first place? Let's start there, Steve, go back to the origins. What got you into this thing? I'd love to hear just a brief summary of what really got you going when it comes to marketing. Well, you know, it's a boy making me dig dig way back into my memory, franks, from that one, but I mean it goes back. Honestly. It's just as a kid I was always kind of fascinated with the creative part of business. I wasn't being an account it wasn't the other types of things, it was more the creativity. So I enjoyed that part of it. That's where I kind of like the art part of the world as always been kind of something for me. The other part of it, the is my father was a little coach for like twenty five years and as part of one of the things I did to help me out as I kept all the stats. So I was kind of like this metrics person before I think people knew what metrics probably were. Was a term baseball. Knew about metrics long before the rest of the world. Oh yeah, but as like a ten year old, twelve year old kids run around it and doing these things. And just to age myself, this is pre date spreadsheets. All the stuff was done by hand and anyway kept all the stats for the team and I al thought it was real fun that we could look at all the numbers and see at the end of the day what happened. And so, anyway, as you know, continue to moving into things, like got into college. I start at they're going like anybody else, ticking off a lot of classes, and marketing just fascinated me. I thought it was just this really interesting a bit of again, art meets science and how you put all of this together and route to business. Right. So not only from the advertising point of view, but there's the other part of it where you're leading up to the advertising news. If you look at it advertising to the end of the whole process, and I just found it absolutely fascinating and have just been doing it and loving it for you know, really my whole career. It's has been something that's been fun. As an industry it continues to grow. It's not stagnant. You're not doing the same things over and over again. Every day. There's something really literally every day there's something new because you might have a new social media channel, there might be a new technology, you might have a better metrics tool, stats tool, something that you can crank your numbers with. So that the industry is extraordinarily dynamic, and that's the thing that I I love about it is you're just never going to get bored in this world and and continue to do so. I mean, they're here. I've been doing this for almost forty years now and it just every day I feel like I learned something new. You just realize that there is just so much in this industry that changes. The like constant is change. That's really what it is and it makes us so much fun to kind of come in and try to figure how you're going to solve problems every day. Yeah, with how fast marketing is changing, I did really appreciate, when we were talking offline, the sort of the Lens that you see marketing through having three core elements, essentially, which is science, art and Voodoo. I want to take some time to go through those three today, but before we break down each, tell me, like, what happens if you don't have one of those three core ingredients? Like what if we're missing science, were missing art, were missing Voodoo? What? What tends to break down really you'll fall over. The whole thing kind of collapses. It's like a three legged stool. You have to have all three pieces there to make it work and make it work right, because if you, if you again, you could have all the great metrics and all the great analysis and all just the great numbers behind it. If the execution of it, and this is where the art comes that up, the execution is poor, and trust me that the world is littered. Would beat execution of sure marketing activities,...

...it's going to fail. I mean it's just it doesn't matter how solid the numbers are, things just aren't going to work for you. And you could have the other two write you know, you could have your science and your art correct, but the timings wrong, and this is sometimes where I say the Voodoo part of its and it's just a little bit of luck involved. And if your timing is off by maybe a year, two two earlier too late. The opportunities either are not ripe yet or they've passed you by, and so you've got to kind of also figure out how you're going to drop yourself into that, into that calendar of activities, and make things happen for you. And sometimes some as you can plant it, it can you can plan as a look, it's like you're not going to be selling bathing suits in the middle of December, like you're not going to be selling snow skis in July. So you know when you're going to be putting things out there, and you did and you launch them at that point and sometimes you just you get lucky, because you might sell those snow skis in July, but something really happens that just you didn't foresee it, the world didn't foresee it, and and again. I I call that the Voodoo where you just get lucky sometimes and you're at the right place at the right time with the right product and that's when the magic happens, which one of those cases kind of was jot form in the covid season right because while it's not a great thing for the world, and there was a lot of change that happened for you guys. It was sort of a Voodoo moment where you it was like everyone all the sudden needed your product. Yeah, it's very true. I mean, and by no sense were we in a not to gross mode. We were actually a very strong gross mode for four years up and leading up to to covid situation. But you know, two years ago, when all of this really kind of start breaking out everywhere, companies realize they had to change their ways and they start looking for solutions. They said, look, we still need to collected data somehow, and they used to use paper and paninates and people out with clipboards and whatnots all. Yeah, exactly. You know, facetoface material is went over went away overnight, and they realize. They were like, how we going to do this? We still have to run our business with still have to collect the data somehow. What are we going to do? And venders, our customers and vendors out there went looking for solutions and they said, I just need an online form, I need a digital form, I need something, because I I need help. And so what they end up doing is they found us and in one respect it pulled who. Sometimes we look at and see it pulled demand forward rapidly. And the other part is we've always had this product. Now they actually had to find it, and this is work say, where that Voodoo part of it comes into plays. We were very fortunate. We had positioned ourselves in such a way that when that opportunity arose, we were able to provide people with a solution. So, as horrible as Covid, and I do not want to downplay that, all covid was has been an absolute horror around the world, yeah, but for certain businesses it's actually been you know, it's something that worked for people that were we're able to kind of show the world that there's a different way to do things and and unfortunately for the world, it was by force, because they just could not do things the old way anymore and they were rapidly looking for a solution. So by US being there at that right time, our business basically went up by about three X. and you know, and and within a year, and then it did and then the second year we did like another three x. So it's your were kind of like, Oh my God, what happened? But again, it's just this is what happened. Sometimes, as you just find yourself in those unique positions where you're there, where you've got that right product. But again, if you don't have the science behind it and you don't have the art behind it, when that Voodoo strikes, you're not going to be able to take advantage of it. Yeah, I can't, can't wish for Voodoo all on its own still won't carry you. So let's break down the three in each individually. So specifically, when it comes to science, what all fits within that? Obviously, data numbers, but walk us through some of what comes to Steve's mind when you think of the Science of marketing specifically. Yeah, I mean it really comes down to there's there's I mean obviously, as I said, there's a number of things you can do. You can do to sort this out, but it comes down to you. First of all,...

...you kind of go, okay, what's the total size of market? How bigger, how big of a potential market are we looking at? It can be head count, it could be a revenue count, so you looking at that. So kind of start off with this, how big is this opportunity that's presented itself to us? And then you start looking at looking, now, who are those customers? How do they buy their product, how do they buy the product? What's their behavior patterns look like? What price points they look at? Where they buying it? You know, comes back to the old classical for piece of marketing, right with the consumer at the center is how do you identify who that customer is and where they're, where they're shopping, where they're getting information? At what costs are they going to do it? And and there's other things I go with. You know what size color? Well, you all sorts of other things that might come into play in it, but those are your basics, right. So you you you look at that and you come up with this customer, you know, persona, this profile of a have a solid customer basic you think is going to be at eight, that twenty percent that's going to drive eighty percent of that revenue. Who's going to do all this for you? Once you would identify that group and you find out you know who they are are. Now you start, you move into that art part, but before that you've got to spend all that time doing you know what's the what's the lag time on something to purchase? How long is it going to take them be? How involved is to purchase? Is something they can buy quickly? Is it something named? It's going to take two months to do a purchase process? How many people are involved in the purchase? You know, because we're getting we're in the be to be exactly. That's what we do is so we do have some impulse buyers, which is true, but if they're like less than five percent of our total purchasing circle. So when you put all that together, you have to stair and figure what is that from start to finish? What is that going to look like? What's your time involved to do that and all these things. So it kind of you know, it's like how long is it going to take for the money to come in? And so once you start putting all that together, you go, all right, we can put this together. We know where the you know the velocity of the revenue is going to look like, we know how people are going to purchase, we know what our delivery outlets look like, etc. Etc. Then you just start putting together at your marketing plan, which because obviously on top of the business plan, but you've Gott to build a marketing planet. Is, how are you going to reach these people? What tools are you going to use them, or what pieces are you going to use the measure them? What the effect of us and what you're doing? you start really grinding those numbers down on a very grandular level, because you might look at it and go, well, was to say, you're here in the United States, he's because versus West Coast? How different are they and how they make their purchases as it by? They faster or slower? Are they more? And for us, you know, we're work with a very technical world. Maybe it's it directors versus h our directors, who might have it people on the East Coast and HR people out here in the west coast, those kinds of things. And and so you know, when you start putting this together, you realize, okay, each of these markets is its own kind of little I don't see submarkets, because that's good. They're still a homogeneous into the bigger market. But you start identifying how those individual markets function within the bigger market of yourself. In some ways it's like a micro niche right, very much so, very much so, because even though you look at it, and I mean for example, here at Jot form, we've got very large we have companies are in the Fortune Twenty five that use us, but then we've also got the also state mom and pop bakeries that they just might sell literally they're selling cupcakes and are taking orders online. But one of these fortune twenty five is might be selling product online. Now that's the same problem. They both have the same thing they're trying to solve. How do they sell product online? Now, the scale of that product obviously is massively different between the two of them, but at the course the same problem. So we look at that and go how do we make it easy for someone to collect names, addresses, things like that for a mailing list? How do you make it easy to get somebody to register for your for an event? How do you make it easy to go ahead and sell, you know, cupcakes or sell widgets or whatever it is you're selling? How do you make it easy for someone to do that? And again, doesn't matter the size of that company, there's this identifiable issue that they're all wrestling with. And how do you in get how do you solve that core problem? That's really what you're looking at. Is, when it boils all down to it, who what's the core problem? And then what's that core problem for someone with...

...lesson fifty employees, lesson twenty five employees, more than Fivezero employees. And then as you put that together, then you start the marketing plant starts to kind of write itself on top of that, because now you know who they are. How you're going to address that problem that they're dealing with right there's this pain point that needs to be solved. How are you going to fix my problem? That's what they're asking really and when you start putting all those together, you understand what are those key words that you need to put in there, what phrases, what that buying cycle looks like, and then from there, now you've got this whole world of metrics that you're sitting on top of and you understand how this whole machine starts to work. Now you got to put together the art part of it, and that's the messaging and the launching of the product through the channels and things like that. So you have to build that solid foundation first, US at all, because if you don't have that, it doesn't really matter how good your messages, it's not you're not going to it's not going to be sustainable, it might just be a flash in the pand you know fad that happens and you see these all the times I'm being just shoots up and then it just falls off the cliff the next week, and those happen all the time. What do you think is overlooked most when it comes to the Science of marketing? What are some of those things that are easy to kind of gloss over but aren't very necessary? I think it's really understanding your customer really is how to how to customers behave and people, and this is where I think a lot of companies, and I want to say marketers, because it's a lot of companies in general, kind of fall down on this is a they lump the whole customer base as one. Back to the micro niche. Yeah, this is comes back to the micro niche. Comment that that we've talked about just a minute ago is everybody has their own individual types of needs and wants. They might have the same problem, but how everybody's going to solve it comes from old points on that compass, and so for us it's how are you handling it? For an educator? Right, let's educators. You've got principles. You might have teachers different, both in the same building, but they both have different priorities of how they want this thing solved. If you're dealing with a large corporation, you've got it directors versus h our directors. One might be worried about security, one might be worried about ease of use and training. And so how do you get in there and start solving all these problems for people? And that's and again, that's where we come into and that's where you've got to have this really good science underneath it to understand. How does that teacher want information? How does this teacher want what's the message that's going to resonate with that teacher versus? How's it going to resonate with that principle? Now, the more you scale, like you're gonna be able to in some ways you'll have more of an ability to niche down into some of those specifics. When you go teacher verse principle hr like you can go and hire four more of that. When you're first starting, you're probably not going to go quite as micro niche you're going to be. You still want laser focus. You want to set science up to work for you and down the road. But how have you seen that evolve for you guys at job form and been able to maybe scale this up. Well, I think when most companies start up and it doesn't matter, you know, whether you're a jot form or your Apple Computer, Microsoft, you're just happy to have customers and what you do is used when you kind of hang that shingle out there and you want people to come by and they start buying your product or your service. Once they start doing that, you know you're just like here's make online ordering easier, make online forms easier. That's you know, you could just that could be your message here, like a job form, because you're trying to solve a problem for a whole bunch of people at the same time, because you haven't termined yet where your niches are right. I mean, obviously, if you mature company, it's much easier to look at those some of those niche, those niche customers to micro markets. But as you're starting off, you're just selling the main paint, the main pain point. But then, as time goes on, you constantly should be measuring who your customers are and what brought them into the mix. Now, what brought them to your door and cause them to open up their ball open our wallets and pull out their credit cards and buy your product? So you need to cut. Be Measuring that all the time. And once you start doing that, you start seeing that persona...

...and I'm like, what we do is and we'll have we have a team that actually then, will you know, they'll interview customers. What do you like about us? What do you not like about us? What do you think about this? We're thinking about doing that. Do what do you think of this? And so we start understanding, like why they came to us, why they purchased you know, what was that? What was the problem they were trying to solve? What was that pain point that was so important that they reached out and willingly gave us money to solve that pain point? And that's and again then there o lies to channel on for any company, and what I find for companies that don't do that is they don't have the patients to do it. There this they did again. They just want to sell. Maybe they've got investors or shareholders that are just give me a good quarter. So I got to do I got to solve. We got to have a good quarter to keep the stock price up, or I've got investors I got to keep happy, things like that. So it's just they're more concerned about this velocity of the sale than they are about anything else. And sometimes those things will work. Granted they will work. But there are also far worthy exception than the rule. Those that are fairly methodical and really understand their customer base can survive when things get tough, you know, and bill and shakeouts and industries. happened. Just happens all the time. It happened as my almost forty years ago down the personal first wave of the computer industry when it came up. Then there was a big shakeout and you know, a few people were left standing, but they had done the research, they knew their products and knew their customer basin. They are able to survive and and that's just types of things that happen all the time. Things pop up and then they just know what's that what's popular today may not be popular tomorrow, and so if you understand who your customers and I mean really understand the customer and their motivations, that's what you need to be doing. So if you're, you know, let's say you're just focused in on the on the education market exclusively, you've got something you're selling into schools and school districts and let's just say, schools, for right now, you who's your primary buyers. You got principles and you get a teachers and you need to understand what the motivations are for each one of those because as you go talk to them, you need to you be able to speak their language, and the more you can speak their language, you know, know, know the key terms and all that, the better off you're going to be on this whole thing. Talk to me about mindset for a second, the mindset of a marketer when it comes to science and art, because I think I would love your take on are you looking for a specialist on the science side and then other specialist like designers, on the art side, or is it that that special kind of having both? You mentioned you've always loved the art side but happened to also be obsessed with the numbers. I can see that being a clear advantage in marketing. I wonder how you think about it as far as hiring and what sets marketers apart. Yeah, I think there are. There are two different skill sets and it's very rare to find someone that has strengths in both of those areas. Sometimes, you know, it's like a left brain, right brain, kind of a situation. People that are really good at metrics, really understand number crunching. There, you know, obviously moved their advanced statistics kind of backgrounds, things like that. They really understand how to run numbers and how to spend all their time doing things. Versus you've got people that are maybe a copywriters and and and they're more of the creative type, but they're not. They're strong suit does not spreadsheets or running statistical packages, those kinds of things. and that's fine because everybody's got a different kind of a talent. It's very rare to find someone that is as hardcore number cruncher that is a brilliant copywriter and the graphic designer or you know, all that's all the art part that goes with it's much it's much more difficult to find that, as most almost at the Unicorn in some respects. And so but you know, when I talk about writers, there's also different levels of writers. She might have like a copywriter that's good at writing, add copy, but in you've got some way that might be really good at writing, say seven hundred and fifty word blog posts, and then you've got somebody it's even better at writing. You know, a seventy five hundred word. You know I'm going to say block post, but like a, like a, like a major make a major article, almost like a white paper or something like that. Each one of those three pieces right there takes different skill sets...

...within the within the creative side of the world, because writing seventy five hundred words was a challenge. It is a big challenge and but there are people that do it and do it very well. And you know, if you put somebody in there and you say I need to twenty five words for for an ad, no thanks, they might favor lock because they're not used to writing into twenty five words. But if you get that twenty five word persons, I need seventy five hundred words by next month on this, they might just I don't know how to do that. They're so used to be in very concise and precise and very particular about, you know, the old deal help first's assist argument, that kind of thing, which words are stronger in a very short world. Again, different skill sets that applied everything so like for exactly. I think it's always interesting and it's not so much now anymore. I think people a shouting to kind of understand marketing. But I know when I first got into the business, years and years ago, and even till probably like in the last ten years, people were shocked that I spend most of my time when my nose buried in the spreadsheet. Then they think you're out running advertising, like shooting ads, commercials, TV, print ads, because they quite at marketing with advertising and that's the end process of the entire marketing world right. That's what that's the creative part of it. So if you looked at it like as an iceberg, almost right below the surfaces, like two thirds of what's happening in the world, and that's all your metrics. You've got to have good, solid metrics. And then on top of it is that creative part of the world sees no one's looking at go hey, tell me about your sales. You know, between and the length of no one sees it, but they'll be hated. You see that commercial on the Super Bowl? Did you see that commercial last night or did you know people talk about that kind of stuff? That's the art part of it and that's what people react to. Well, let's go there. Let's talk about art. When it comes to what you feel is included there, obviously you want to craft a message based on the science, based on the ICP. It's channels, it's collateral. I mean, there's a lot going on when it comes to art. But but walk me through what you're thinking. Yeah, it's all. For example, if you're looking at a customer basin, and let's more, let's not go purely like an online kind of world wide work it, but let's look at more of a kind of a generalist kind of a business to be to be thing, let's say you're a retail store. So you've got a couple different chant work cuffs, types of business customers are dealing with. You've got suppliers, you've got delivery people, you got warehousing and you got a whole bunch of different kind of things you're working with. Each one of those has their own particular again, pain points are trying to address. And so maybe it's, you know, inventory control, maybe it's sales deals, things like that. Right, you got salesmen going out in the field and they're selling the product to the local to local establishments, those kinds of things. Each one of those people have their own individual kind of a channel. Right. You may be facetoface it. Maybe email. It maybe a direct you know, the old fashioned direct mail works really well sometimes. So when you look at that, go what's the best way to reach what's to say it's a warehouse manager, right, consumers are not to going looking for a warehousing space, but a but if you're Jeff Bezoh, she probably are. So you're looking at how to what's important to them. And maybe it's price for square food, maybe it's, you know, utility costs, could be many different things. Right, number of truck bays, anything like that. Rail Spurs and are nearby, anything like that that they could be a they could be worried about. So you're not going to be talking to them about what a great packaging you have. You're going to be talking to him about, Hey, we can, we can get our materials in here their box in a certain way, you can store these, you can get them out fast, things like that. Right, that's the stuff that they're concerned about. So you have to speak their language and that's the art part of it, right, as you have to be able to craft the message in a language that it's going to resonate with that buyer. And and how do you reach them? Will you have to investigate. What's the best way? Is it a facetoface? Is a dropping patent material off? Is it going to trade shows? What is that channel that you're going to be able to reach that kind of a person? And same thing if you're going to be talking about you know, you're going to store, for...

...you're going to be going to stores and you're trying to get like a buyer at a major department store would say, it's Nord strums. You're talking to that buyer. How are you going to handle that? Right, it's again a completely different mindset, because you now you're dealing what's trying to sell the somebody else. What do they want to say that? They want to see samples. They want to see how fast you can deliver product to them. I. They want to see if they have orders over. You know, how fast can you get in order to us? How fast do you get spoiled inventory? What's your return policies like? Oh, you know, all these things. That's important to them. And so now you can you have to address those issues, right. It's like. So that's again when you're crafting that message, address all these points, and this is the types of things that people, you know, people don't understand. In Our world, like one of the things we deal if we have two different flavors of job form. For example, we have what we call our standard, which is for like single users. So those might be more than on the same the SMB world, probably more in the s and the lower end the m markets. And then we have enterprise, right, enterprises, more for larger corporations. They might have hundreds of employees, but they have greater needs and one of their biggest needs is online security. So the first thing they started asking us is we need to see these kind of security reports, we want you to complete these kind of security documents, things like that. They're before they even really start looking at the product. They've already kind of said we like the product, but we need to take a look under the hood, and so that's what they then they want to take a deeper dive into it. That's a very involved process, but for that the even get to that process, we've had to tell them we have this level of secure, do we have these kind of systems in place to protect you, etc. Etc. And now they're going, okay, really cool, but I need you to answer some more questions for me now. You can you don't do that. Consumers don't walk into the Apple Store and say, well, tell me about your sock to compliance. They don't care about that kind of stuff. But a B Tob, if you're the CETO at Apple, you do care about that. If you're going to be working, if you're going out let maybe going to at least a server farm someplace or something like that, you want to make sure everything secure on on things. How do you protect yourself against ransomware, hackers or backups of a dry fail someplace? So those things are important to to like a B Tob Company, because we could ask that all the time. Is Tell us about your security. What happens? How does how is my data protected? If I've got, you know, sensitive health data for my patients, I'm I'm a medical group. How do I protect that from getting out into the open? Those kinds of things. Right, and and we and we can answer though. So when we this is again that micro nitching on everything, right, is when you're talking to them. You have to be able to address all though, these individual types of pieces, because if we're talking to say in the healthcare world, we're talking first one might talk to an HR person, but then we're going to end up talking to a security person. HR is going great and I'll to train anybody, so my training cost go down. Not a security guy, the the it guys going. This is fantastic, but you had to prove that you guys are solid underneath the hood and that's where and that's where we can step in, right. So, A. So, when you're micro aniching that much, obviously communication on the marketing front and on the art side of things, it's like, okay, great, you got the science down, you know you want to reach all these different people, but but the art side and making sure you have properly equipped, right those that are going to talk to those people, becomes, I mean, most important. So how do you go about equipping anything that you would recommend there to make sure that there's the access from marketing and in the art that's been created, that everything, everything that's been compiled to really inform the buyer, potential buyer? Well, we it was a couple different people like just off those kind of collateral items right now. So we have website. On our website we have a whole section dedicated security, not just to secure. We go into great detail about the types of security we have, whether it's Pieci compliance, are hippoc compliance, those kind of things, right. So if you're interested, you can take a deep dive into it and see what's there. We also have things like a one sheet writes, a pdfone she we can send out to somebody if they will say, tend me some information about your security. We have that too. So we've now we started address to security issue from two different...

...angles. Right. So if you want to just browse online real quick without interacting with a salesperson, you can do that. If you actually interact with somebody here, you can have you can grab this piece of this piece of document that we have, or you can even download from our website if that's what you want to do. And you've got different choices how you can do these things. But that's just like one angle. We also can get people, you know, they can talk to some of our it guys will have demos and they might have an it person like they're security person talking to one of our tenticle people will us about this, tell us about this, and it becomes a know, alphabet soup and everything else, and the most of our eye all kind of glaze over because they get their sure really deepen the weeds. Yeah, I got to prove it out, but it's important, right. I mean this is this is it, because you're talking their language now and this is the language that they need answered. If somebody comes in there, like you know, the layman, if somebody came in ask me go deep in the weeds on PCI and sock to compliance, I'm going to be like, okay, let me go, let me go get my security guys to come in. I won't be able to do it because again, I don't speak that language. But again you've need to that customer is de Banding, that you have someone in can speak that language them, and that's and that's where you want to be able to provide to them. Do you think our kind of can be? I think you had mentioned this in our last conversation, but you had mentioned that you you think art could be like the steepest hill to climb, that it there's a complexity there to actually distilling the message that maybe people take for granted. Explain that a little bit. You know, it's true. It's too too sometimes. You look at it, you go the easy part is figuring out who your customers and how you're going to talk to him. The hard part is how you can to execute this is where that the really that and I it is a steeper climb because now you've got people that are going, well, what message? We only have twenty five words to get across this bigger idea. How are we going to do is we only have ten words, because we have to capture somebody's imagination. How are we going to be able to capture their imagination? And I vary with a headline and maybe twenty five words into graphics, because all we have is enough to fit on a night they have byleve and sheet of paper. I'm going to trade show. I'm not going to get people to stop by my booth. So you've got to figure what's going to be a compelling enough statement that you can make that's going to resonate enough to sa they're going to stop and want to talk to you. When, whether it's even online, how are they going to even to stop and they're going to spend time on your website? And so you have to spend a lowful lot of time really understanding who. Then again, this comes back to the science. What types of pain points are they having? Listen to what they're saying to you. When you talk to them, really listen to the words that the customer is using, because once you have that, it starts telling you. You'll see these common threads start to develop and you will understand what terminology would phrases, what sentences even you need to be able to address and say in a certain way that they're going to go. Yep, that's exactly what I'm what I'm trying to solve here. This is my pain point. How do I do this? And it doesn't matter if it's on you doing a TV commercial, doesn't matter, if you're doing a radio spots doesn't matter. If you're doing direct mail, direct the email you're doing. You know, a youtube video, twitter adds, anything like that. It doesn't matter. You still help because boils back to you. Got To have the right message to go out to people because if you're trying to reach the audience of principles, you're not talking about you know how to handle kids in the classroom, how to say that's not the principles not there. Yes, it's important to them, but that's not their day to day driver. They've got budget issues and staffing issues and things like that. They're wrestling with and so those are the things that you have to againning, when you understand that audience and you've talked to them, when you understand what they're saying, listen to those words, because those words will help you craft that message that you need to put out there. And that's the art. And that's where a lot of people fall down because they go, oh, yeah, my neighbors a teacher right, talk there at that. I already unders all the time and they tell me, Oh, yeah, that's like and they don't understand that's that's a that's a population of one, and tell us a much bigger population. So the more, the more you talk to your customers, the more these things present themselves and start to write themselves. So we have science, we have art...

...and we touched on Voodoo a little upfront. But I love that that idea because it is true. Sometimes you feel like you got science and art down in the timing is just well, it's not the right moment. So kind of take US home here, Steve, and walk us through all that encompasses that that space called Voodoo. Yeah, and if we do, you can't define it. It's like somebody says, yeah, I want to make a better video. Well, you don't plan on making of our real video. You you get lucky and you catch lightning on the bottle on sometimes, and that's Voodoo right as you just get lucky sometimes. For us at job, for him, we had a very solid product, we had a very strong base and we were growing well and when when covid hit, people were looking for that solution. I mean they were scrambling almost in panic mode, and they found us. And we look at any say we brought years of growth forward and a compressed it into about a eighteen month window, and that's amazing. The lame that's that's tough for any company to survive because that's just such, you know, such a magnitude, more of a business that hits you. But you you certainly don't plan for that. You don't say, well, you know what, in two years we're going to have a pandemic, so let's market towards that and we'll just no one. No one knew it was coming at us, and so you you'd sometimes you just get lucky on a situation. And I don't mean to say covids a lucky thing, I'm just saying the situation around it was was fortunate for job form, because the these things just happen. Sometimes it's sometimes something will happen externally you have no control over and it just a customers eyes just turned towards you and you're there, you've got your product, and people go that's I didn't even know it was there. And this is sometimes we get. We get comments from this from people say, I didn't even know I had a problem until you, guys stands, getting marketing with me. What a solution. So then I realized I had a problem. And again, when everybody was scrambling, how am I going to get patient information or student information or sales or I am I gonna do this when I can't be face to face with a customer anymore, it's like, well, job forms got a solution. They they are, they known, they understand what my problem is and it's a really easy thing to do and this will work for me outside of job form. What g there any other good examples that come to mind where you feel like they're getting the mix of the three right, where you're like maybe they're they're top of mine to you, where like man, I really like what they're doing. There's there's actually there's a couple I mean, and some of them are a little bit older, I think, then they know and I think part of it was I'll just go back to when the apple launched the iphone. Everybody hate did their cell phones. They weren't easy to use. If you wanted a text, they were tough to use. I'm not talking blackberries or you know those kind of I'm talking about if you had a nokia deal, nokio phones or a Motorola phone, they were just not very easy to work with. They just were not comber some they just they just didn't work. I mean that you make calls, but anything beyond that you were you know, good luck to you. And I think what the genius between behind that for Apple was they understood of what the frustration was of the market place. They understood that that something seismic needed to happen and they talk to them. They even talk to themselves, for really that's what they really spend most of the time talking to different team members. What do you hate about your cell phone? What would you wish it could do? Those kind of things and they and so there was this whole frustration of the of a cell phone market which was in the billions actually at the time and they went here's a better solution, and I mean the world's never look back. Yeah, not even just solving the phone problem, but it's like hey, well, just give you a device that does everything in your hand, right. I mean we've all seen that photo where they there's a fixture of the iphone and it is said, this is what it all the stuff you used to have to have, rights a VCR and a cam and a Cam quarterer and Stereo, and talk about consolidate those with it. Right. Yeah, I mean all that and you look and I sit through and I was talking to one of my son's a couple months ago and I said, I can imagine, this is like twenty five years ago. I imagine what the next twenty five years will look like. You know what you're going to be able to have and things like that. So there's products like that that that just sometimes they move the mark at themselves because they recognized as a pain point. But, like Nokia,...

...wasn't going to do them because they were in the business that they were going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. I mean blackberry was the bear, remember that, at the time. And in between the ating, the IPHONE and Android, they'd completely knock blackberry out of the box and a very short will term right, and blackberry had no answers for that market. When that, when that, when that shift happened, you realize how fragile blackberries grasp on the market was. And I'll give you an example of the company I work for. This is twenty years ago, that we're the food who didn't work for us because we were doing online education and we had we had a great product. We even had a good message where we when we got in front of a school and could actually talk to schools, they got it and they understood it. But we spent it, seemed like, because it also had to appeal the teachers. We had deal administrators and the with teachers. When we were talking to the teachers, the first thing out of mouth was you're trying to put us out of business. It's like, no, we're not, we're trying to compliment what you're doing. This is what the whole part of it is. But then also for like educators, they they understood that there was a need for it, but they had a wholly desert meet standards as to do all these different things that they need to apply for. But in the same token of all of this, because we were cloud based, we spent most of our time discussing what the cloud was, as opposed to they were so used to here, put a CD in and then stall our floppy. That's going to install software. That's how they equated. What we were trying to do is like no, no, you don't need the word. There's no software. What do you mean? What's a Web Browser? What's this? So we spent most of our time educating the world on cloud based. You know, Sass, what the world now? This doesn't even think twice about right and so and if when I look back at that, I even talked to some of my former co workers from that company, we realize we probably were two years too early to market, and that's what hurt us. HMM. So you feel like in that case, science was partially right, but you also were still working on some of the messaging. Right, and maybe that falls into art because you ended up having to educate on what? So there's there's part of the art that's probably missing. You had the science down actually, now that I think about it, but then that Voodoo piece to where it's like well, the timing of this is causing a trip up. Yeah, it was really it was a time issue because once week explained this is the thing, right. So with this the science was there, we understood the market and we were and we were making deals, we were making sales for people, and then we're doing quite well. The the actual, the art part of it took a little longer than we had a shift messages a lot because we then we realize we couldn't just talk about the product. We talked about the whole background world of cloud computing. But eventually you get there and then you're still too early. Yeah, right, is by time you sometimes we got past the cloud part of it, we had lost their attention, right, those that kind of just could skip over that one. Oh, perfect, I don't need to worry about any of these kind of things. That helped them out tremendously so. But now, you know, online education is ubiquitous. Everybody's got it and but at the time it was only in the in the upper you know, and the college and university level and higher so upper education had it, but there was nothing like in the high school and Middle School level. And that's what that was our market and we understood what the buying cycle was. We understood what the budget things were, but I'm think anybody, and this is where we have we really fell down as understood that they don't understand what cloud computing is. There was a certain niche that did, and that niche we did quite well then, but when you went to the Creator market to move to the next level, that's where you ran into some serious headwinds. Well, it's been a really insightful conversation. I love the mix of the three and just thinking about it that way, it's, I think, science and art. I've heard marketing describe that way. But the truth is there is that third piece that we're all kind of aware of but maybe we don't name. You know. So I love I love hearing the breakdown of the three. Steve, I appreciate you spending time here with us on B Tob Growth and for those that want to stay connected to you and how would they...

...go about doing that, and tell us a little bit more about a jot form as well. Yeah, I mean the best way to reach me is through probably linkedin. Just look for Steve Harder to I think I'm the only Steve Harder Tom on linkedin. So makes it kind of easy. You can look. I mean, if I be find me through the jot form linkedin part of it too, if you want to go that route, but job form itself. We've been around since two thousand and six. So we're not. You know, we still treat ourselves like we're a startup. We still work for your hard as a startup. But you know, if you look at it in in years, we're not a start up anymore. We're unique and that we've never taken any money, any VC money. It's all's been bootstraps and stay one, which is a very unique in this world. And we continue to grow. We're growing like crazy. We have customers and a hundred nineties, three countries or something. I mean it's incredily credible. And I look at where our customer base comes from and who our customers are. It's quite amazing to look at who who is there and and who comes in and they daily basis like an enterprise product asking hey, we want to talk to you about something you just like and that's awesome. You want to love it to us. It's like, okay, you know, it's like the prettiest girl at school wants to talk to you. All of a sudden you're kind of like, all right, I guess, and then they go we've heard a lot about you, and you just like this is really it's one it's massively flattery. But the second thing, as you go again, when you have a good product out there, sometimes it will lead for you, and so that's, you know, we're fortunate in that respect and we just don't see the growth slowing down are really anytime soon because as more people have adapted to, you know, the online world and what jock something like job farm offers, more people are picking up on it and it's just going to continue to grow and it's just, you know, everybody's got, you know, one of these things in their pockets and so they're running around with those kind of things, trying to trying to and we can we adapt to that right. So somebody can fill a form out on their phone and they can get just as well. So it's it's we don't see an end to this. We just see continue to get bigger and bigger and bigger, which is fantastic for us. Well, thank you so much for taking time for being here. On B Tob Growth and we're always having insightful conversations like this one. So if you have yet to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that wherever you're listening to this and you can connect with me on Linkedin to just search Benj block over there. I'm probably not the only one, but but you can find me pretty easily if we look up be tob growth. Steve, thanks for being on the showy, my pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity. Be Tob growth is brought to you by the team at sweet fish medium. Here at sweet fish, we produce podcasts 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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