#45: Our Approach To Content Marketing

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This is a podcast episode titled, #45: Our Approach To Content Marketing. The summary for this episode is: If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. --- Some quick thoughts on our approach to content marketing at Drift. Please subscribe on your favorite podcast app. Connect With Us: Follow David (twitter.com/dcancel) and Dave (twitter.com/davegerhardt) on Twitter. Come hang out with us at seekingwisdom.io and on Twitter @seekingwisdomio. Learn more about Drift at Drift.com.

Dave: So, we've got the love from Israel, Italy. We've got everybody. Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, my brother's in Brazil. Wassup? So, today on Seeking Wisdom, we're going to talk about our content strategy here at Drift.

Speaker 2: Strategy?

Dave: Yeah.

Speaker 2: All right. Let's bring it.

Dave: You're like, I didn't know he had a strategy.

Speaker 2: Damn. All right. Drop some science on me.

Dave: This one could actually be... This one's actually more about, I call it, why we do what we do from a marketing perspective.

Speaker 2: I like that.

Dave: So, we don't always talk about marketing, but last week-

Speaker 2: Or Drift.

Dave: Or Drift. Yeah. We don't, we don't. But you can go check us out if you want. I got a message from somebody, a founder, last week and they said they want to know... They're starting a spin on marketing and they want to know about how we're doing content because they seem to like what we're doing. And you know what his first question to me was?

Speaker 2: What's that?

Dave: He said, how many conversions do you get from your blog?

Speaker 2: Young grasshopper.

Dave: The first- That was the first question. Now, on the surface that's a good question to ask. Can you measure it? Can you track it? But that hit me because immediately to me that felt like the wrong question to ask, and that is exactly the opposite reason. That's the opposite of why we do content at Drift.

Speaker 2: You've got to flip it, reverse it.

Dave: Yeah.

Speaker 2: Flip it, smack it, rub it down, poison.

Dave: Yeah. Whatever. Oh, you're poisoning it. Okay. So, this goes all the way back to earlier episodes, we talked about why we want it to kill forms. Why you wanted us, to push us, to see if we could grow a business without doing gated content-

Speaker 2: Because it's dead.

Dave: ...on all the gimmicky stuff. And so, this is what I want you to talk about. Your mantra for us, like you said, hey. Here's your guard rails for marketing. Basically everything to be free, and I want all the content to just spread as far as possible. Why did you want to do that? And why do you think that's so important today?

Speaker 2: Good question. So, the reason that I want us to do that at Drift, and why I think it's so important, is because I think we've... I don't think, I know, we've entered a new era in SAS.

Dave: Okay.

Speaker 2: Did you hear that? New era in SAS. So, the first era for those of you who were around for it, was pretty much the playbook of a company called Salesforce. And B2B SAS, that was the first era. So, basically it was a movement from on- premise, downloadable software that you bought, usually from a sales rep or a VAR, to cloud everything. And when you think about cloud- based software, you think of many companies, but especially Salesforce. And in that world, you were moving from, again, on- premise software that was sold by Enterprise reps to software that was sold mostly through inside salespeople, cloud- based software. In that world there were a few, still few choices. There were more choices than they were in the old world, but there were still a few choices. There were the names that you all know today in the SAS world. And because of that, consumers, all of us, if we wanted to buy from those kinds of businesses, we had to jump through hurdles. The hurdles that you described. Filling out forms, being a lead. I don't want to be a lead. I hope you don't, Dave.

Dave: Don't treat me like a lead.

Speaker 2: Don't treat me like a lead, bro.

Dave: So, the company had all the control.

Speaker 2: The company had all the control and made you jump through all of these hurdles.

Dave: So, saying," Hey, you want to buy this for your business, I'm going to talk to you when I'm ready. I have a couple of other calls and then I'll get to you when you're in my queue."

Speaker 2: Absolutely. So, it was the typical car dealer model, where you walk into... Where there's no price transparency. You walk into the deal or lot. Even if you've done your research, your little research you can online, you're confused. You have to go through a sales rep. They're dictating the terms. They control the experience. And at the end of the day, you have to follow their process and then you have to buy a car. Not the car you wanted, Dave. Not that silver hot rod that you wanted, but-

Dave: Whatever's there.

Speaker 2: Whatever's on the lot. You've got to take it. That's all you got, boy. So, that was the old model. That was the 1.0 SAS model. And the queues for the SAS... The clues, I should say, for the SAS 1.0 model where things like MQLs, marketing qualified leads, forms, up the ying yang. Sales reps having most of the control in the relationship. And software that you couldn't try before you buy. That was the old world, demoware. We are in the new era, the 2. 0 era. And that is the era that I think that we need to play towards. That's an era where you see companies like Slack.

Dave: Yeah.

Speaker 2: LaSeon, other companies like that. Shopify. These are the new... This is the new era of SAS. An era of SAS where consumers, all of us, have all the control. There's not one or 10 competitors in the market, there's usually hundreds, if not thousands.

Dave: Right. And you can find... And even of those thousand, you can go find every single little detail about any one of those companies without ever having to talk to someone that actually works at that company.

Speaker 2: Exactly.

Dave: Yeah.

Speaker 2: Your expectation is that you can try all of this software long before you buy it, through a freemium funnel, through some other funnel that you go through. And the sales rep in this case, if they do exist, and in some places they don't exist anymore, they are there to help the person after they decided to buy.

Dave: You used a new analogy to me this morning in a message. You said, this is the Ikea model.

Speaker 2: This is the Ikea model. So, if the 1.0 version, if you're still running a business that way, that is the car lot, the car dealer model. The super opaque buying process. We at Drift are the Ikea model. So, you come on in, everything's out for display. You sit on that chair. Damn, it's comfy.

Dave: Maybe grab yourself a meatball, if you want.

Speaker 2: Or three, three meatballs. Walk around, see how this furniture would look in your apartment. Try it, use it, when have you. Then you go downstairs to the warehouse, then you can either by it yourself, or you can ask for help from a clearly marked person or greeter that you go to, and you ask for help in ordering something. And you may, depending on the location, even have help delivering and installing. Drift is the Ikea model. And in this model where you have hundreds, if not thousands, of competitors, you look a lot more like offline consumer packaged good companies, where you dominate by great product and great brand. And because of the branding aspect of it, we need to get out there and want our content and our information and everything that we give away to be free and openly accessible, because we are trying to build a global brand.

Dave: Yeah. And the thing that we try to do... So, the reason why, yes, we want to convert people from our blog, for sure. But that's not the number one goal, because it goes back to something that you always talk about, which is aligning incentives. So, imagine from a marketing perspective here at Drift, imagine our marketing team, imagine our incentives were conversions from our blog. Then what will we do? We would gate content.

Speaker 2: Exactly.

Dave: We would put call to actions in every single post signing up for, get Drift now.

Speaker 2: Tell them, son.

Dave: We will only write stuff about getting Drift right now.

Speaker 2: Exactly. It leads to bad behavior.

Dave: It leads to bad behavior. But because this model is, today everything is free and we want you to try our stuff, the goal from our content perspective is not conversion actually. We use our blog, this is the way that we think about it is, our blog is like you're window shopping for Drift. So, you're walking down Newbury Street here in Boston, and you see, oh, that store looks interesting.

Speaker 2: Come on in.

Dave: You know what? Next time I'm down here, and I'm interested in buying that fresh pair of Nike's that I want to get, I'm going to go in the store. And then once, only once you're in the store... We still don't even hard sell you though. At that point, somebody from our team will just come up to you and say," Hey, David. Let me know if you need anything, I'm here if you need any help." And that's how we think about it. And I think that has been a game changer from... It's the reason why our stuff has spread so wide already.

Speaker 2: Yeah. It's the reason we build the product we do, because we think this is the future. We think the future is about starting those relationships with those customers early, inviting them in through the process, and being there as a trusted advisor throughout their entire buying journey and customer journey.

Dave: Right. So, the entire goal of us producing content at Drift is awareness and brand. That's why we don't gate it. We want to spread as far as possible. Now, I know that there's people that are listening and they're going to say," Yeah, but how do you know-"

Speaker 2: "Thatworks for you."

Dave: "Howdo you know what's effective," or," That works for you. How do you measure that?" We measure just as many things as everybody else.

Speaker 2: Totally.

Dave: So, we're still looking at traffic. We're still looking at keywords and we're still able to say of 5, 000 people that signed up for Drift this month, here's how many people have read at least one of our blog posts.

Speaker 2: How many have read six of our blog posts.

Dave: Yeah. Those are are the metrics. And from a sales perspective, our team is able to say," Wow. When I reach out to people who have read six posts, it is such a better conversation." And the feedback we've been getting from our sales team is like, when they reach out to people who have that, they almost get a free pass. They get a free ask, because they've been with us for so long and we haven't given the hard sell.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. Because they're rooting for us.

Dave: They're rooting for us. It's an organizational change, and so here it helps that you set that from the top down. But I just think a lot of people that are listening, just think about the way that you behave as a consumer, as a person online. And think about what are the things that you want, that you react to. Who are the brands that you follow, who are the companies that you watch, who are the people that you follow on Snapchat and Twitter? And try to emulate more of those people.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Think about, if you're a marketer, think about your content and your work assisting, like in basketball terms do an assist. Assisting the conversion, not leading from reading a piece of content to one- click conversion because that never happens, hardly. Not in the SAS world, maybe in e- commerce. But think about it as assist. It takes me back in time. We had this popular report back in the day at Perform inaudible and it was called the assist, and it was basically built around the same concept. So, to show which parts of your content, which parts of your website had the most assists in the conversion process.

Dave: So, what did an assist mean? Like they converted, but on the way they did this, this?

Speaker 2: Yeah. So, looking backwards at the people that had converted, what was the content that they had consumed, ranked by the number of times it had been seen by this cohort of users over time? So, we'd see like, oh wow, look. These five blog posts, everyone who's converted or a disproportionate number of them, have read these five blog posts.

Dave: Yeah. And I think that's an important point, because I think it's a crutch to lean on it and say like," Oh, we can't do this approach because we can't measure it." The tools that are available today, you can measure just about every single thing that you want.

Speaker 2: Exactly.

Dave: You're just going to have to change the way that you think about it.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Think about it assist, think about it as helping. Helping is the new selling, customer experience is the new marketing.

Dave: Those are two things.

Speaker 2: Even though people try to steal it, that's our stuff. Helping is the new stealing.

Dave: Yeah. I mean, we see it.

Speaker 2: Customer experience is the new marketing. It's amazing when you see that stuff copied. It's all right. You can copy it.

Dave: Thanks for the five stars.

Speaker 2: But just leave a five star. If you copy it, at least leave a five star review. Come on now.

Dave: Oh, we've got to tell people to subscribe.

Speaker 2: Damn. You're right.

Dave: Tell them.

Speaker 2: One way you can help us out, beyond leaving a five star review only, is to subscribe to this podcast. You can subscribe on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, there's no excuse.

Dave: Overcast. We got it.

Speaker 2: Overcast. We got it all.

Dave: For non-tech people, we have regular old iTunes, wherever you want.

Speaker 2: So, you can just seek it, listen, subscribe, tell a friend, stop someone on the street, harass them. Say you've got to listen to Seeking Wisdom if you want your game to be tight.

Dave: That's it. All right.

Speaker 2: See ya. You sit on that chair.

Dave: Yeah.

Speaker 2: Damn, it's comfy.

Dave: Maybe grab yourself a meatball if you want.

Speaker 2: Or three.


If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. --- Some quick thoughts on our approach to content marketing at Drift. Please subscribe on your favorite podcast app. Connect With Us: Follow David (twitter.com/dcancel) and Dave (twitter.com/davegerhardt) on Twitter. Come hang out with us at seekingwisdom.io and on Twitter @seekingwisdomio. Learn more about Drift at Drift.com.