Hello, I’m Kerry Guard, and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
Welcome back to season 11!
I hope you were able to catch my conversation with Kaya Adams and Alexandra McWethy. If not, be sure to skip back and hang out with us as we talk about how Kaya and Alex were able to build a team of Business Development Representatives in the marketing department.
In this episode, I chat with Hana Jacover, and she gives me my first lesson in Web3. She's so passionate about Web3 that she has left her previous company to be able to dedicate time to digging into Web3 and becoming an expert.
Hana is a technical demand generation marketer with a proven track record of strategies and programs that accelerate revenue. She has deep experience in optimizing high-performance tactics and marketing automation technologies that build and measure pipelines. She has a strong client loyalty and retention history with marketing and sales executives at B2B tech companies. And she has a thorough understanding of marketing strategy, the importance of data attribution, and execution. Most importantly, she can clearly articulate KPIs to decision-makers.
Kerry Guard: Hana, thank you for joining me on Tea Time.
Hana Jacover: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Kerry Guard: I'm so excited to have you. It’s going to be an awesome conversation. Before we get there, I always like people to kick off with their stories. What's your story? What do you do? How did you get there?
Hana Jacover: I wear so many hats. However, I have been focused on demand generation, marketing operations, and revenue acceleration from a marketing standpoint for my entire career. I started working on the agency side, and it was a great experience for me and helped me be good on my feet at first. I started running into some problems marketing leaders are experiencing, from marketing technology to team development to understanding which marketing strategies to employ, why, and how to roll them into bigger revenue goals. It has been my focus over the past ten years, and I enjoyed my time on the agency side for the majority of my career. And then, in the last year, I worked at a startup called MadKudu, running and heading up their demand generation.
Kerry Guard: I have so many questions. So, before I dive into those, what's one challenge you're currently facing?
Hana Jacover: One challenge that I was facing in moving from the agency to the in-house side is how you need to up-level communication and the level of detail to bring. You go through these peaks and valleys in your career saying, “Okay, you need to give as much detail as possible, tell me everything that's happening, and be able to communicate that” That’s what we tell people to learn how to do. But then, as you progress in your career, you need different levels, so when you're communicating with executives, get to the point, summarize, and ask whatever you're asking for a friend. Helping people to go through those different peaks and valleys is top of mind for me and something that I also experienced myself because you want to give all of this information, but you want to be still very clear and concise. We teach people to do it the opposite way, so it's hard to go backward, and it's hard to say, “Okay, I was taught to absorb all of this immense amount of information and decide what to do with it. And being told not to bring all of that to the table even though I spent all my time absorbing, learning, and practicing it. And now I have to summarize it for all these different people. How do I do that? What's the right way? How do I summarize it for different types of people and communicate what I want to communicate without having them fall asleep and without going into the weeds without saying the wrong thing? It’s a big challenge for me and everybody who is engaged with me. It's a big challenge for people.
Kerry Guard: It's hard, especially when you are on the agency side. You need to show up with all the information because you need to give as much context to your clients as possible about what's happening behind the scenes. As what you're saying, you can take all of that information and then sort it out and be like,” Okay, who needs to know which piece of this?” And it's the same with data. We absorb all this data and then feel that we need to share it all like, “Here's all the data that we found. Oh, but we only care about this one piece that's doing anything that we're going to act on”. Tell that story, and if a client needs all the other stuff, put the appendix, and they can dig into it later. When trying to tell a story, it's hard to take out which information and tell it all right.
Hana Jacover: Simplifying over the last year has been like, how does everything feel so overcomplicated? How do we undo some of that?
Kerry Guard: What happens so hard? Let's talk about where you are now. You made a shift, and you're no longer working for MadKudu.
Hana Jacover: Yes. I'm no longer with MadKudu and on the agency side. At the beginning of the year, I made a shift and decided to bet on myself. I'm branching out, taking all of my years of what I have been doing and turning it into a consulting business. However, I can do the same things that I have been doing on a one-to-one basis. My goal here is to go directly to the people I want to help and impact their business, which means removing third parties. I'm trying my best to get as close to that one-on-one interaction as possible because I know that my impact can be bigger.
Kerry Guard: Who are you looking to work with? Or who are you working with?
Hana Jacover: I'm working with a few different agencies and filling some fractional roles. And then also consulting for their clients under the umbrella of demand generation and marketing operations. Startups and teams that don't have enough people or resources are trying to succeed in the B2B tech space for demand generation marketing operations, and that is an umbrella. I've spent a lot of my career doing professional development, mentoring, and coaching informally through being a manager or working with nonprofit organizations. I'm wrapping into my business, coaching, and professional development element, which I'm excited to offer.
From my perspective, there's a serious gap in how we coach people on our teams. You hear the term executive and leadership coach, focusing on the C-suite executive level. We've done such a disservice to our mid-level to senior managers and young directors, and we've skipped over them, and instead, we're trying to solve the problem when their executives versus where they are today. My goal is to get close to the audience and help close the gap because it is critical that we close it because it can change the trajectory of an individual, an organization, and the technology space as a whole. We are supposed to be the leaders of this innovation in how we shape the world, and we must address those gaps today and be able to make an impact.
Kerry Guard: I wholeheartedly agree. You've found this calling, especially in what we're all facing as marketers from the Great Resignation, and you need to fill these seats, recognizing that we don't have these seats because we've left a generation behind. We need to help them catch up, and we need to do it fast. I love how you're approaching this one-to-one mentorship. It’s so powerful and inspiring. However, I can help and wish you all the best.
We wanted to talk a little bit from the demand generation standpoint and bring a little more of what you do around that. In our initial conversation, you were incredibly passionate about the community that's coming through leaps and bounds and these challenges. You're trying to solve a problem for your clients in the community when we talked about brands and building communities. And the impact of that on brands can be really powerful. Can you talk a little bit more for our audience? I feel like I'm doing a terrible job of giving it the light it deserves. What do you mean by community, and how can brands lean into that?
Hana Jacover: We've gotten a little distracted. As I was saying earlier, we've overcomplicated things, especially when it comes to marketing. It's not hard in terms of concepts to understand, but we keep drilling it down, taking it apart, putting it back together, and building all these new tools. There are a lot of people, brands, and organizations that are starting to get back to you. Relationships drive everything. The relationships between our employees, customers, and every individual that touches our organization or that we want to engage with, are the driver. And from the perspective of pulling in the coaching aspect, do we have the right people who know how to build these relationships and the know-how to pull up the best of these relationships to move the business forward.
I think that community is so important from that lens that we get back to relying on those relationships and allowing what we learned from those relationships to make decisions about our businesses. Data is important, but it will come down to what the customer wants and what the customer is experiencing at the end of the day. And in their own words, they are not necessarily passed through all these various parties to get to some result. Focusing on the community is extremely important in developing a business and understanding what people want and how we remove all of the lingo and technology and get back to the basics to understand the real challenges and what they want. If we just ask somebody what's on their mind today and what's keeping them up at night, or preferably one question at a time, we need to ask some of those questions to those engaged in our business. And if you're engaged in our business, you are a part of the community. And that’s how I define it.
Kerry Guard: Engaged in the business. What does that mean that you've talked a lot about conversations and connections? As marketers, I wonder if there's a lot, and I'm not saying I agree with this, but the mentality of “Is that a sales job? We're more of that broad messaging stuff and sales. Are we encouraging? Are we stepping on toes? What does it mean to go out and have conversations with our audience?
Hana Jacover: There are many different ways you can define it. I'm in the business of people, and I don't care if you're in sales or marketing. If you’re in the business of people, you should always be concerned about having those conversations and building those relationships regardless of whether you sit in sales or marketing. I honestly think some salespeople ask the questions that marketing should be asking. I help people with their lead management; essentially, how is a lead moving through their process, both from a process perspective, and how are we operationalizing it within your tools. Most of the time, we hold these lead management workshops where we bring together sales and marketing. We hear from each person in their role, what the challenges they're facing, the information they need to move forward in their tasks, and what their blockers are, and about 90% of the time, I hear from SDRs, AEs, or anyone on the sales team, asking questions that should have been asked way earlier in the process. As a result, they're less efficient, and we can't prioritize the right people and send them the right people.
We're having the wrong conversations. If we had that information ahead of time, we would be able to have the right conversation because we already know enough about what they're looking to do. We are removing some of that responsibility, freeing up time for the salesperson. We're just learning more about them, and we're being much more efficient in this process. When you ask me if it is the job of sales, it depends on the information that we're trying to obtain and, if it's reasonable, ask for marketing to take that on, then it's more efficient for everybody. If you're in marketing, you should be able to be a good salesperson learning from sales, asking discovery questions, and understanding what makes people tick and what solution they need so that you can help. In the people business, it's about people, psychology, and communication, not about sales and marketing. It all starts to make a little more sense if you look at it through that lens.
Kerry Guard: You said that sales come back to marketing with many questions. What are some of those questions? What are they asking?
Hana Jacover: It depends on the context. A lot of sales folks, when they're getting information from marketing, a lot of it is, "Why this person?" or "Why did this person come to me?" or "What does this mean?" and "What do you want me to do with this person?" It aligns with having process and service level agreements in place and clear definitions of “I'm going to do this, and then this is the expected results, and here's what that results should mean.” If anything doesn't align within that, then we have a conversation, and we have these guardrails that help us stay within that, and those questions are usually what you want me to do, why did I get this, and how do I prioritize all of this. It’s just normal questions.
Kerry Guard: It’s very normal. I get that, and it's incredibly valid. In terms of marketing and talking to your audience, this is at the heart of everything we're saying when discussing building community. How do you understand why it's important? We've talked a lot about why you want to build community, listen to your audience, and care what they think versus what we think they care about, which we tend to do a lot, thinking we know better. But we work with tough audiences in B2B; we're not working with the consumer, we're working with information technology people, developers, and engineers, and they think very differently. When you're talking about community, you're talking about these people and understanding what they want. What does that mean?
Hana Jacover: You need to take a step back and think about who that community is because we have multiple audiences, or most people do. You can't have a community necessarily that's going to capture all of those audiences. Nor should you have multiple communities and try to do everything all at once because that's crazy. It's really about understanding what community I can serve and add the most value to.
We learn by talking to our customers and the people closest to the challenges we're trying to solve most of the time; hopefully, those are your customers. But there are also advisors or people that have the experience of working through these similar challenges. It might start by forming a customer advisory board or forming customer community meetups where you just get your customers together and start conversations. Your customer base is a community, and it's more just activating and engaging that community. You can be pointed when you have these discussions around who it is that we can help serve better, and even your customers might say, "Well, we can't get aligned with our marketing operations team or our sales team." And we think there's a huge gap there, and your tool is great for them, but they don't know how to use it. And that might tell us that there's a gap in terms of our personas and that we value our customers and the ones in this role, but we're not doing as much as we could for the ones in this role.
Our customers are telling us that that's their biggest challenge. If we have the right content and people in place, maybe we form a community based on that persona, and therefore you're serving your customers' needs from many different angles. There are a lot of different ways you could go about it, but that's my favorite way to start small. Learn from the data that, customers and people in your database. Understand how you can approach it and then go one layer out.
And another thing is you may not be reinventing the wheel. You may not want to form a brand new community, and you may be just facilitating with an existing community. It's important to recognize that you can become a leader, intern in a community or a thought leader, or whatever you want to call it in a community without actually owning the community. You could have a presence without infiltration, and you want to facilitate those conversations versus infiltrate those conversations.
Kerry Guard: I love this so much. A couple of examples come to mind. My husband is a developer, and we were living out in Seattle, and he is into Scott Hanselman. He is a huge name in the .net community. He created the NerdDinner, and they would go to the mall, but it had a giant food court in the middle. Anybody could go and get whatever food they wanted and just hang out all night. Scott didn't stand up and lead in front of everybody and make these big presentations. It was just an opportunity for him to float through people and conversations, join in, listen, take it in, and lead the .net community around what people will be facing and develop powerful and helpful content. And that's an example that comes to my mind, and what you're talking about an easy way, and to your point of not even facilitating and infiltrating, doesn't necessarily mean I need you to be standing up and taking over—letting this organic thing happen by bringing people together who are passionate about what they do.
Hana Jacover: I just want to take that point even a little further as the whole point of the community is to provide a voice for those receiving the value of what you're putting out into the world. We also have to remember that we're asking for feedback. We're not here to take the stage in terms of community, it's not about you, and it's about them, and most of that time, you're passing the mic, and that's the whole point of communities. You allow them to use their voice and share with you and others. And you're facilitating those conversations, welcome them up onto the stage and give them the mic.
Kerry Guard: And in a time where things are starting to. Hopefully, I don't want to take it back to normal, there will never be, and nothing will ever be the way it was. And in some cases, that's good, so I don't want things to go back to the way they were by any instruction imagination. The sense of physical community will become powerful again, and maybe even more than we ever imagined, given how disconnected we physically have been for so long. We're talking about and taking it that step further, and it's how you create those spaces, and it doesn't need to be this big over the top thing. It's having small meetups or great little Facebook groups to bring people together. It is so powerful, and it speaks to my soul. Thank you for reminding us of what community is with how we can do it.
Hana Jacover: It's interesting to think about remote work, and I've worked my entire career remotely. I have a little bit of a different perspective on it, and we're uncomfortable now because we don't have all of our senses. When we're meeting somebody face-to-face, we don't want to lean on familiar things to bring us back to the moment, and we don't have that in a virtual setting. It's off-putting for a lot of people. But there are many things that we can do to ground ourselves in a virtual setting that probably needs and deserve deeper exploration. It sounds like it's been a long time, but two years in the grand scheme of things is nothing. It's a blip on the radar. And for us to say we've done what we can with virtual and remote, and get back to in-person, does us a disservice because we've fully explored how to take advantage of working remotely. This falls on many leaders and organizations to do and define some of these rituals that were once in-person and are now virtual for everybody to be more comfortable continuing life in a virtual setting because I do not think it's going away at all. It's going to take over even more, and we're going to rely on those more intimate in-person meetups that are like with family and friends and less work-related necessarily, and I'm okay with that. Many people aren't, but we can get to a place where we can be okay with it.
Kerry Guard: I agree that digital is definitely virtual and is not going anywhere. I'm with you, and I have been remote for over ten years, and I'm good with it. Building community online has become a staple and an absolute, not even need, but it will be part of the fabric of everything we do. There's an end here, and there’s gonna be from everything. I'm hearing it on LinkedIn that there are people who are good with being remote for however long they feel it, and then there are people who are itching to get back into seeing people in person, and so I agree with you. It's a statement to be inclusive and meet the needs across the board. It's figuring out how to do both and when to do both and what makes sense in doing both, and do both at the same time where you have to do things differently depending on your audience and what it is you're trying to do.
One of the things we talked about when we met about community was the impact community can have on a brand from a research standpoint. We're using all this opportunity to listen to our audience to know what they need, what challenges they face, and how we can support them. You talked about another element of that layering on top in a way that the audience gets a say, so taking it from research to actual impact is interesting and coming for consumers, but I don't know if it's coming for B2B. I don't know what to expect from it. What are your thoughts on your experience with the community and how it impacts the brand? What does that mean?
Hana Jacover: Community has complete control over a brand, and we see this, especially today. Look at what's happening with Spotify; the community is voting half of the community to get rid of their paid Spotify. Spotify has zero control over that, and they can do all these things in the background if they want. But at the end of the day, they cancel, and as a community, that's having a huge impact on Spotify as a brand based on their decisions. Now there are repercussions, no matter what side you're on.
There will always be those repercussions to the decisions you decide to make. We've given a lot of power to organizations to make these decisions without dealing with the repercussions. Communities are taking back that power and deciding, "Hey, I am an investor in your product, service, or whatever it may be; therefore, I should have more about what happens with my investment. I'll be it small, right? One thousand four hundred ninety-nine a month or whatever for Spotify Premium?” If you think of it from that perspective, it makes more sense that we're not giving enough back to our communities. The sad part is that the community is taking that power back and giving, putting things into their own hands. Or on the flip side, we see communities that are enabling this and find it extremely beneficial to learn from the community and give them some of that power. And you can even pull on examples of voting for a team mascot for a major league sport or those things that seem silly but are certainly going to be foundational for the future.
Kerry Guard: Just so everybody knows, it's going to be in April when this episode comes out. So we're in January right now, and what Hana is talking about from a Spotify standpoint is the issue of Willie Nelson versus Joe Rogan. It's that whole thing that's going on, and when she's talking about voting with your dollars, and saying which you're pulling your dollars from Spotify, that you disagree with the fact that they pulled Willie Nelson off of Spotify because of what he was saying about Joe Rogan. I'm not going to get into politics about it. I just wanted to catch everybody up on what we talked about and the power. I agree, Hana. The power of speaking about how you show up with Spotify based on how you feel it was handled is incredibly powerful.
Hana Jacover: Imagine taking that to the next level where it's less negative. It always sits in this negative connotation of what the community is going to do about this or they're going to cancel us, or they're going to do this or do that. Let's give a little bit more power. We'll find that the decisions and the innovations are much more beneficial and incredible to the organization and positive because people are excited to take part and have ownership. And if we can shift to that thinking, if we only care about the community when something bad goes wrong, we can fix it, versus we always care about the community. We want them to tell us what to do because we want to develop the things that they want to use and find helpful. One step further, which I'm sure we're going to get into, is that we want to leverage the community to help us build those things in ways that we can't do ourselves.
Kerry Guard: My point was we talked a lot about it from the consumer standpoint, but from a B2B perspective, how does community come into play in terms of leveraging them? I believe what you're saying is that they can help us build the product to be what they need it to be versus what we think they want it to be. How do we do that? How do we bring them in?
Hana Jacover: We're moving in the right direction. We've had this flurry of the product-led growth, craziness, which, in my opinion, is just community-led growth in a sense. We're thinking about the right things, or we're starting to the problem, I believe, as it normally is, we get wrapped up in wool. What are all these definitions and acronyms and strategies and technologies? And that kind of throws us off a little bit? So I think we're moving in the right direction. But I feel there's a slow period of trying to learn the space in terms of operationalizing it. I'm not going to get into it, I think we spend too much time there but we're getting there. You'll see more people leveraging other individuals or other communities to be on customer advisory boards or even thinking about speaking on panels. You’ll see this trend a little bit more. We see people, and they host their webinars, and it was like, “I'm going to sit here with my deck and explain to you what I think and how our company approaches this problem versus what we see a little more of now. We'll certainly see in the future is no slide deck. I don't want to hear the owner or the host of this webinar talking to me about their product. I want them to be facilitating a conversation around the real issue at hand and bring in experts to discuss the potential solutions. I also don't care if those people are the head honchos of these other organizations. I want people who know the issues and who are working on these things to work with these tools. It might be a customer or just a thought leader who might be an individual contributor, so that role is less important. I wouldn't even say the role, and I would say the amount of money you make is less important. The power that you have is less important. The perceived power that you have is less important. It's more about your contributions.
Kerry Guard: It's happening, and I’m so grateful. Podcasts, roundtables, and live events are all panel-based and discussion-based. The beauty of it is how virtual it can be. It can be both it can be virtual and in person. You can broadcast it and host it in person, and that's the beauty of what's happening. It is a shift away from webinars.
Hana Jacover: And that's just one example. I think more and more, and we'll see little trends of instead of us dictating, we're going to ask, and we're going to collaborate. And there are going to be so many different ways that could be seen happening. Webinars is one right email going to be another people do it people already are like, Don't email me, if you want to email me, you can pay you can contribute to this charity, and that gives you access to me. So it's giving back control to the consumer or whoever is on the other side of it. So I just think that there are many different things that you could keep your eye out for where you can start seeing this transformation.
Kerry Guard: You don't know what's happening until now that we're talking about it. I can see trends of this right in terms of community and how the community is making change. I can see how people are starting to move their marketing to meet that change. The Great Resignation is another example of people demanding change and what it means to work and live and do both. They're speaking with their right to work where they want to work—and having that ability to do that. That's a community movement.
Hana Jacover: Definitely! It's exciting.
Kerry Guard: It is, and it will make change happen faster. It's happening fast.
Hana Jacover: It's happening. It will happen so insanely fast that people are not going to know what to do. Honestly, it's already happening.
Kerry Guard: When you start to put this framework around it, it's very easy to start spotting it and spotting the trenches, the trends and getting ahead of it and being a part of it, and it's exciting. Thank you for joining me and sharing your love of community and how we can lean into that better and what it means and how this movement is changing our world, and how we get in the boat and figure out how to bring it along with us.
Hana Jacover: Yeah, absolutely.
Kerry Guard: Before we wrap up here, I've three people first questions because, like you keep saying, we are the people business. And we are, and we're more than marketers, and I always just like to pull back the curtain and share a bit more about who you are. And so I have my rapid-fire questions. Are you ready? Have you picked up any new hobbies in these last two years?
Hana Jacover: My newest, and we had a whole conversation about this, but my newest. I don't even want to call it a hobby, but my newest fascination and I'm learning about is Web3, crypto, and NFTs. That whole world could be an entire podcast in itself. So that's what I bought into. I'm fascinated by what is happening in the Web3 space that every person should spend some time researching, and you're not going to regret it. I promise you're not going to regret it. I am just involved, especially if you're in the community. If your community manager, you need to see what they're doing. You need to see how these OG communities are thinking about gaming communities. I've been spending some of my extra time learning all things Web3 that I can smash into my brain and doing some of it. I'm freshening up some of my codings, not that I will be any coder anytime soon. But I think it's good to understand what you're reading in a smart contract. What code looks like that helps with some vulnerabilities you're exposed to? It will be a cultural change in terms of things like NFT. I've spent some time in NF TS, and I don't think it's the end-all answer to things. It is very interesting to think about the application beyond what it is today.
Kerry Guard: It would be an entirely bigger podcast, and maybe I'll have you back on in a few months as you continue to unravel because, man, it is it a rabbit hole. You start down this journey, and you can get sucked right in. I love that. It's a hobby of yours because it can certainly be that.
Hana Jacover: It takes up a lot of time, and if you sleep for one hour inWeb3, you wake up, and you're like, why am I 80 years old and how.
Kerry Guard: It is inception and beware. The second question for you is, if you could travel to see some of your clients and your agencies and partners and mentoring, you'd be with people in person a little bit. I love that you love to do things virtually. So maybe you'll find a way to do this virtually but if you could be with your people and have music playing overhead to set the vibe, what song would you want playing?
Hana Jacover: That is a great question. I would say a lot of the songs I would want to play Not safe for work and That's Never Stopped Me Before. I'd probably play some Doja cat. I don't know what song because all of her songs are pretty explicit.
Kerry Guard: I'll add it to our Spotify playlist and if people want to jump on over, they can or if you want to just rock out you can make that happen to choose your own adventure.
Hana Jacover: Funny thing is I love music and that's one of my hobbies, music discovery. I have a playlist called credit of the month that I update every single month with just heavy hitters and things that I'm listening to now. it has been a lot of Doja Cat every month on that playlist. If there's, I can send you the link.
Kerry Guard: Please do. Alright, the last question for Hana, if you could travel anywhere in the world without any restrictions or any challenges, and you could just snap your fingers and magically be anywhere, where would you go and why?
Hana Jacover: I went to St. John’s when I was younger. I don't think I'd been somewhere like St. Thomas, and then we went to St. John's. I had not experienced that amount of just peace and feeling that I could just let go whenever. I would certainly go back there to any of the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. And I would love to go to Belize, France and the South. I'm giving you more than one answer which is not what you want.
Kerry Guard: No, I love how you went on this journey of not knowing what and all of a sudden having this roadmap of your next adventure, it's gonna be great. I'm going to add Tuscany because there's a resort that reminds me of what you just described in St. John's. And I think you get the same experience. I'll send you pictures.
Hana Jacover: Take me to testimony. Let's do it.
Kerry Guard: Hana, I'm so good to have you on. Thank you so much for joining me and sharing your journey and your passion for the community. It was an eye-opener, and I'm grateful.
Hana Jacover: Thank you so much for having me. This was such a good conversation.
That was my conversation with Hana Jacover. If you're interested in hearing more from Hana about Web3, demand generation, marketing strategy, or empowerment coaching, be sure to connect with Hana on LinkedIn. Thank you, Hana, for joining me. It was such an honor to meet you and to dig into what Web3 means around the community.
In the next episode, I chat with Robert Neuman, where we talk about his personalized account-based marketing strategy. Stay on, and the autoplay will take you there.
Thank you for tuning in to season 11!
This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.
If you'd like to be a guest please visit mkgmarketinginc.com to apply.
Hana Jacover is the Director of Marketing Technology at Unreal Digital Group.