#84: Unconventional Things We've Done To Grow Drift

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This is a podcast episode titled, #84: Unconventional Things We've Done To Grow Drift. 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. ----- Breaking down 5 of the unconventional marketing strategies we've used to grow Drift. Two Ways To Support The Show: 1. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app. 2. Leave us a five-star review. Here’s how to leave a review: http://bit.ly/5-Stars-Only Connect With Us Follow David (twitter.com/dcancel) and Dave (twitter.com/davegerhardt) on Twitter. Come hang out with us on Twitter @seekingwisdomio. Learn more about Drift at Drift.com.

Speaker 1: Today on Seeking Wisdom-

Speaker 2: What's up.

Speaker 1: We're going to talk about some of the unconventional things-

Speaker 2: What are you talking about?

Speaker 1: The unconventional things-

Speaker 2: There it is. There it is.

Speaker 1: That we have done crosstalk to grow drift.

Speaker 2: Secrets?

Speaker 1: Secrets.

Speaker 2: Damn.

Speaker 1: We're going to give out some secrets.

Speaker 2: I told this guy no more secrets.

Speaker 1: I have a list. Yeah, then I got inaudible now who's been on the podcast once and he thinks, you know, whatever. He's tweeting out secrets left and right.

Speaker 2: Left and right.

Speaker 1: He's a new man. He's a social media ever since crosstalk he's been on this podcast.

Speaker 2: He's a guru. I know.

Speaker 1: I love it.

Speaker 2: He discovered Twitter after this podcast.

Speaker 1: Incredible. He got like six Instagram followers from this show, and he's like thinking he blew up a little bit.

Speaker 2: inaudible.

Speaker 1: All right, so I have a list of things that I wanted to go through.

Speaker 2: Yep.

Speaker 1: But I want to see if maybe you can beat me to the punch. Do you have something off the top of your head? What's one, steal my thunder crosstalk and my preparedness. Now what's one of the unconventional things that you think that we've done to grow so far?

Speaker 2: I think the, you know, just one is this podcast. Betting on this podcast, betting on video, betting on our conference, betting on a whole bunch of stuff like that is unconventional. I'd say number one though, is that we killed our forums, right? That was from the very beginning, and set our content free. I hope that's on the list.

Speaker 1: It's on the list. It's on the list. I actually bucketed that... There's a couple of different ways I bucket that. But I think the number one thing is like the focus on... And there's two things, number one is brand. So that's the focus on brand. That is the podcast, that is content, that is video, that is throwing a conference with a thousand people in the first year. It's all those things.

Speaker 2: Okay. Now I have one.

Speaker 1: Okay what?

Speaker 2: I have a better one.

Speaker 1: What?

Speaker 2: So I think the most unconventional thing we've done to grow this is to have this approach from day one, that we are going to scale this one person at a time.

Speaker 1: Ooh.

Speaker 2: One community member at a time, one fan at a time.

Speaker 1: What do we call that?

Speaker 2: A hand- to- hand combat.

Speaker 1: Never fails. I think weekly, you have to remind me of this even though-

Speaker 2: Yeah, it works.

Speaker 1: And I think, it works every time. It's work to get thousands of businesses crosstalk using drift. She knows crosstalk she's doing it right now crosstalk. She's sending hand- to- hand combat. The number one thing and I can't wait to write this story after hyper growth. Talk about how we got a thousand people to our first conference. It's all going to be about hand to hand combat.

Speaker 2: One person at a time.

Speaker 1: The highest leverage thing that we've done is, actually do research, see who might be interested in going, reach out individually, whether it was from Danielle, whether it was from me, whether it was from you, and move tickets that way. There hasn't been one magic email that we've sent that sold hundreds of tickets.

Speaker 2: Totally.

Speaker 1: You know, nobody's just waking up, comes to the website and buys. It's been the hand to hand combat.

Speaker 2: And by the way, DHD's conversion rate, crushing ours.

Speaker 1: 36%. Skyrocket.

Speaker 2: I know, I don't want to disclose mine.

Speaker 1: Check your outbound, crosstalk check your outbound game and rethink it.

Speaker 2: 36%. DHD.

Speaker 1: So hand to hand combat is one, brand is another. You know, the whole like, and this is something that I've been telling more people about now, the emotional mode thing.

Speaker 2: inaudible.

Speaker 1: I think when you tell them that, I think when you tell them that-

Speaker 2: Secret bro.

Speaker 1: I think we can give that one away because this one's too damn hard.

Speaker 2: Okay.

Speaker 1: You can't fake it.

Speaker 2: Got it. Right.

Speaker 1: If you suck at video, if you turn the camera around and you're not good at it, if you're not good at this podcast, people aren't going to listen.

Speaker 2: Amen.

Speaker 1: So it's hard.

Speaker 2: So what's the emotional mode?

Speaker 1: The emotional mode is like, is the whole, it's this right? No, the emotional mode is like, there's so much competition. My favorite example is because we're in the sales and marketing software spaces. There's that chart, the eye chart from Scott Brinker from MarTech, with crosstalk thousands of vendors. What's up Scott? Should have had me speak, but it's okay.

Speaker 2: It's all right.

Speaker 1: We will talk about it next year. crosstalk we need that chip on the shoulder.

Speaker 2: Needed to fuel.

Speaker 1: It's that eye chart with thousands, and thousands, and thousands of vendors on it.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: And so on the surface, how the hell are we going to compete in that world? Right. If we came out with a feature checklist that said we can do X, Y, and Z-

Speaker 2: Forget about it.

Speaker 1: is that, and the problem is even if we are right, even if we do really do that, people are so skeptical today because we live in the world of get rich quick, right, four hour workweek... So if I tell you that-

Speaker 2: Five minute abs.

Speaker 1: Five minute abs.

Speaker 2: I'm still working on the five minute ab.

Speaker 1: Me too.

Speaker 2: Yeah, it's not coming.

Speaker 1: If I tell you that we are better in X area, nobody believes it. So the only way is to reverse engineer, and say let's get you in through this podcast. Let's get you in through video. Let's get you in through our blog. Let's get you at the conference and say, you know what, when I am ready to buy, these are the people I'm going to go buy from.

Speaker 2: Because they got my back.

Speaker 1: They got my back.

Speaker 2: All right.

Speaker 1: Couple of other things, that talk about why we positioned our product the way we did as far as free versus paid.

Speaker 2: Interesting. So we, came out initially April 2016 is when we went to market. We came out with a freemium product, and we want to do a couple of things. One, we wanted to take price off the table. Right. We wanted to spread. And we wanted to see if people had found value in what we were doing. So we put it out there. Right? And then we, so we took down that first barrier between the person with getting our content, getting information, and learning what we were doing because we took away forums. And we took away the second barrier, which is price, right?

Speaker 1: Yep.

Speaker 2: And we got people using the product. And then what we wanted to do was, instead of charging people upfront, what we wanted to do was like, let's show people that it's useful, and that they're successful with it. And only then, price for the value that we're bringing to them. And that's how we try to align our price right now, with the value that we're delivering. Over delivering, by the way.

Speaker 1: Way over- delivering.

Speaker 2: Way over delivering.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: People are looking at these numbers. They're like, you're way over, this is too cheap.

Speaker 1: I was at a company this morning, one of our customers, and in front of a room with-

Speaker 2: Is it a small company?

Speaker 1: A public company. Crosstalk Publicly traded company.

Speaker 2: Oh. Okay. Okay.

Speaker 1: There's a room. They asked me to speak at their marketing kickoff, their marketing offsite.

Speaker 2: You?

Speaker 1: Yeah. I don't know why.

Speaker 2: Did they know you from inaudible?

Speaker 1: They must listen to the podcast.

Speaker 2: Oh. Okay. Okay.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Shout out to Worcester. They have generated in a month, a month of using drift$ 600K in pipeline.

Speaker 2: US dollars? US currency?

Speaker 1: So I couldn't even help myself. So when they told me that I said, hold on, hold on, hold on. I'm not going to tell everybody what you guys pay for drift right now. A couple of you in this room know. I can tell you it's damn near not close to crosstalk$ 600K a month.

Speaker 2: That's in one month. Come on now.

Speaker 1: So yeah.

Speaker 2: That's the kind of value were bringing.

Speaker 1: So there's the value. There's the value, but-

Speaker 2: Way too cheap. Hashtag too cheap.

Speaker 1: Did you think that, so right now, so outside of brand freemium, the virality that we get from drift is our number one marketing channel.

Speaker 2: Yep.

Speaker 1: Did you think that that was going to happen? Was that a bet?

Speaker 2: That was just a bet we had. We were just trying to see if it was possible if we had this freemium approach, would that drive usage, and referrals. And it turns out that it did.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: Right. Directly and indirectly. And so that is a big lever for us.

Speaker 1: And I don't think we thought this at the time, but the combination of a strong brand, plus free, like we thought of them separately. But now I think we see the power of them together. Because what happens is, people might read the blog, watch a video, go listen to podcasts. Then they happen to be browsing on the internet, and see powered by drift.

Speaker 2: Totally.

Speaker 1: And they're like, oh yeah, that's them. Right?

Speaker 2: Yep.

Speaker 1: That's the thing that's really hard on an attribution model perspective.

Speaker 2: And we felt that pretty early on when we went to market with the freemium approach. We had people coming in who wanted to go straight to buying drift. And when you would ask them why they'd say, oh, drift is everywhere. It's everywhere. And it's like what crosstalk. Is it everywhere? And it just, it happened to be in the apps that they use every day. And so it kind of reinforced every day that drift was everywhere, was surrounding them. And so they wanted that capability on their own site.

Speaker 1: I love it. And around the same-

Speaker 2: They wanted, I think they wanted a virtual assistant for their website. So they came to drift.

Speaker 1: Somebody said, it's like rocket fuel for your sales funnel. That's pretty good.

Speaker 2: That's pretty good. Rocket fuel.

Speaker 1: Another thing that we did more tactically is, we didn't choke the funnel.

Speaker 2: Yep.

Speaker 1: Right? You talked to so many companies, founders, startups, entrepreneurs. One of the big mistakes that they make, is that before they even have a single lead, or a single customer, they're worrying about attribution. Or optimizing this, or the workflow for that. And we made a conscious decision to open up the top of the funnel as wide as possible. I remember an exchange with you that I was like, all right, so now we've got all these leads, should we be nurturing them. How do you want to build out these workflows? And you're like, you don't remember what you said. Do you?

Speaker 2: No.

Speaker 1: Can you guess what your answer was?

Speaker 2: Who cares?

Speaker 1: Who cares? You said the best nurturers pick up the damn phone and talk to them. crosstalk and that was the DC bomb. And I was like-

Speaker 2: That, I said for sure.

Speaker 1: You definitely said it for sure. And I said, okay.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Cross it off my list. We're not going to do it.

Speaker 2: He's like, how do I model this? crosstalk. Did they buy? Yes? No?

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: Okay. Yes. Okay.

Speaker 1: Sure.

Speaker 2: It's modeled now.

Speaker 1: Now we know.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: We talked to everybody, and talking to everybody was super influential in getting us here. Along the same lines of talking to everybody, we had every single person in the company do customer support.

Speaker 2: Yep.

Speaker 1: We still do.

Speaker 2: We still do. Yeah.

Speaker 1: And that's something that's like in your DNA, that's a core belief.

Speaker 2: I'll never get rid of that crosstalk ever. No, we have to be close to the customer. We have to feel what it's like on the other end, and to deal with our customers and prospects, and leads. So that's a core tenant. We're building, we're starting at the customer, and we're building outward. And that's how we approach building software. And that's our way, that's our religion. So that will never go away.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And so I think the way that we, I think when you talk about talking to customers, that's a very like buzz wordy thing. And people are like, I have to block off four hours on Tuesday to go drive out to Waltham, to go talk to some customer. And I think the way that we hack that is we just had everybody crosstalk on drift. And we said, great, DG your shift is from 9: 00 to 1: 00 or 9: 00 to 11:00 on Tuesdays. And you deal with it.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: And it started to feel the pain. Oh my God, we got to fix this. Oh, you don't know that blog post doesn't make sense because you wrote in from drift on that. So I think that was something that was like in our DNA now, and every new hire.

Speaker 2: Yeah. It's that feedback loop right? It teaches everyone the importance of the real- time feedback loop with the customer. And taking that, doing something with it, and then seeing the response when we did fix something, or when we did clarify a blog post. Right. You see it immediately.

Speaker 1: And you feel it firsthand.

Speaker 2: Oh Yeah.

Speaker 1: You sit next to the engineer who's like, I know every Tuesday I'm on this support shift. And every Tuesday people ask the same three questions.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: I'm going to be the one at the next meeting like, Hey-

Speaker 2: I fixed that.

Speaker 1: Are we going to fix this damn thing or what?

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Speaker 1: And same thing, they come back to my way. They say DG, nobody knows that we have a salesforce integration on the website. And I'm like DG, nobody? So then I can go and fix it.

Speaker 2: He's never heard of that before.

Speaker 1: Never heard it. All right. Last one.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: This is something I'm passionate about.

Speaker 2: What's that?

Speaker 1: You and inaudible, when you started Drift, you made a conscious decision to start marketing before you started selling. And that's a pet peeve of mine because you talk to a lot of people early stage, and they're like, oh, we're not doing marketing yet. crosstalk No, we're in stealth mode. We don't have a website up yet.

Speaker 2: Like seasoning, put it on top.

Speaker 1: Yeah. But that's a fundamental belief that I think that crosstalk.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Because you got to start by building the community. One, you got to test the message, see if anyone cares, build a community. And then once you have the community, the community can help you back to the customer driven way. The community can help you shape, and define what the product is and the problems are.

Speaker 1: Do you remember what we did?

Speaker 2: How we started it?

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: No. What do you mean?

Speaker 1: You don't remember?

Speaker 2: How we started everything?

Speaker 1: What did we do. Do you remember what the tactic was that we used before we really had, like how we build that community first?

Speaker 2: Oh, we started by blogging. Right?

Speaker 1: Yeah. It was the first wedge. The first wedge that we thought was product marketing.

Speaker 2: Yes.

Speaker 1: Right? Back in the day.

Speaker 2: And so we started blogging. We created a slack group. We created this community. We brought in a bunch of people from that community.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: And we started to learn from them.

Speaker 1: It's actually still, if you Google the term" product marketing", we have the number one spot for that, from this deck that we made, what is product marketing?

Speaker 2: Yep.

Speaker 1: There was no product. You could buy from us for sure. But you couldn't go to the website, click login, click sign up, we hadn't built that stuff out yet.

Speaker 2: Nope.

Speaker 1: But we started to build this community of marketing people who are like, I'm not really sure what you know, what the product is yet. But I like the blog, I'm on their email list. And we had this audience primed for when we were ready, when we did go to market in April that year. We said, hey-

Speaker 2: We have this community. And we did that because product marketing, because we thought the best entry point into a company was either through marketing and sales, or through product/ engineering, and product marketing was this kind of hybrid approach. And so that's how we started. It led us more towards traditional marketing and sales, then product marketing, but that's still part of our community.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And it's morphed, but I think the lesson from it is like, you just go. Just go and start creating something, and creating an audience because you're never going to wait for that perfect opportunity.

Speaker 2: And that audience helped shape where we are today. Right. So there's a direct line from starting there to where we are today. So there was no mistake, right? It was part of the path. They helped us refine our pitch, refine our product, and we'll find the problems that we fixed.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I mean and that's like the most valuable thing that we did in the early days is like, I remember I sent the emails out, like literally reply to every single person who replied to me.

Speaker 2: Remember those days?

Speaker 1: Because I say, I can't do it anymore. I told DC-

Speaker 2: He used to tell me, I'm going to reply to everyone.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I'm going to reply to everybody. Here's my email. I can't do it.

Speaker 2: Nope.

Speaker 1: I'm out.

Speaker 2: You're finally out?

Speaker 1: I'm out.

Speaker 2: Oh man.

Speaker 1: But that was super important because people are so willing to talk to you.

Speaker 2: Yes.

Speaker 1: And so it wouldn't just be, hey thanks for this article. It'd be like, by the way, how'd you find out about us? crosstalk and what company are you at? Oh, what role are you in? And they're saying, oh, and what's your biggest pain? And so it becomes, it all comes back to conversations with people which has now gotten us to where we are in sales and marketing.

Speaker 2: And what's that, the leading conversation driven marketing and sales platform in the world?

Speaker 1: Drift. com.

Speaker 2: Oh Okay. Yeah. Yeah. That's right.

Speaker 1: This show, this podcast is actually sponsored by-

Speaker 2: The leading, conversation driven, sales and marketing platform in the world. Drift.

Speaker 1: That has a nice ring to it. That has a nice ring to it.

Speaker 2: It flows right?

Speaker 1: Yeah. We should get out there and do some more speaking and-

Speaker 2: Let's do it.

Speaker 1: And PR.

Speaker 2: Let's get out there. So don't forget to leave that six star rating.

Speaker 1: Only.

Speaker 2: We're going to break apple. We're breaking the man, we're breaking them down.

Speaker 1: Maybe now that you give them, they're doing call them apple podcasts. That there'll be nicer to us, and feature us A. And B unlock the sixth star.

Speaker 2: Only for our podcast.

Speaker 1: At some point in time, they got to be like, this five is getting boring.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Let's give them the six

Speaker 2: Lets go. This is like going to volume 11, right? Not just 10. We go to 11. Six stars, leave some feedback for DG. Look at his Instagram stories. crosstalk inaudible weighs about one pound, two ounces crushing this.

Speaker 1: Broken me.

Speaker 2: Broke this man. Is leasing sympathy for him.

Speaker 1: Thank you.

Speaker 2: So fatherly advice, ask Amy and DHD what's up?

Speaker 1: Some wise words.

Speaker 2: And ask them where you should hang out and go out to dinner when you come to Boston September 25th for hyper growth. inaudible promo code seeking wisdom.

Speaker 1: You've become really a poet with the outros.

Speaker 2: Lets do it.

Speaker 1: It's all connect the dots.

Speaker 2: Yeah. My specialty now is outros.

Speaker 1: I love it. Peace.


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. ----- Breaking down 5 of the unconventional marketing strategies we've used to grow Drift. Two Ways To Support The Show: 1. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app. 2. Leave us a five-star review. Here’s how to leave a review: http://bit.ly/5-Stars-Only Connect With Us Follow David (twitter.com/dcancel) and Dave (twitter.com/davegerhardt) on Twitter. Come hang out with us on Twitter @seekingwisdomio. Learn more about Drift at Drift.com.