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Podcasts > Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders

The Nexus of Evangelism and Personal Branding: Impact on Brands and Careers

Kerry Guard • Wednesday, July 26, 2023 • 60 minutes to listen

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Zach Wenthe

If you can’t emotionally connect with your customers, prospects, audience, or investors and then turn that connection into action you’re going to be on the losing side of the attention economy. You don’t have to have a huge social following… or live the life of an influencer. A story works just as well on a 1:1 basis (maybe better) than on a massive platform. If you’re giving sales presentations… you need to be using stories If you’re giving product demos… you need to be using stories If you’re trying to generate new leads… you need to be using stories If you’re trying to grow a following… guess what? You need to be using stories The problem is that storytelling for revenue isn’t taught in High School English. Following the same rules as the great American novel might entertain, but it won’t produce. There are specific story triggers that you must consider if you want your story to be effective. I have used these triggers in my career for over two decades (sometimes unknowingly). But I have spent the last 3 years compiling all my notes, digging through research journals, studying other masters, testing new ideas, eliminating useless hacks… all with the goal of adding some science to the art of storytelling. If you want to improve your storytelling simply to entertain, stop right there I’m definitely not the best source. But if you want your storytelling to have an impact on your bottom line… then follow along.


Hello, I'm Kerry guard and Welcome to Tea Time with tech marketing leaders

Welcome back to the show, we are winding my backlog of pre recorded audio files down. I had so many wonderful conversations over the last six months or so and I'm a little sad to see them wrapping up here.

But I'm also excited about what's on the horizon for Tea Time, which is we're taking the show live across LinkedIn and YouTube, we are coming to you live.

I've done that a few episodes now and it's very exciting creating a whole new different kind of backlog. Except those videos are readily available the minute I record them. And so it's interesting. It's such a shift to go live. It's a different kind of prep. I didn't really prep for my audio files, I had sort of my questions, my format I wanted to follow. And they were just got in it and, and let it be really squishy and see how it felt. And then my lovely producer would create magical things from my blunders. I can't blunder anymore. Well, I mean, I can be real and authentic. But I have to be much more prepared.

For these live shows I have to really walk in knowing the direction I want to go the specific questions I want to ask need to keep some space for an audience to chime in and ask their questions. And I need to have my intros and outros ready to go and buttoned up before I even start recording, which is just a whole new ballgame for me. And I'm excited. I'm here for it. And you can definitely check out a few of the episodes that we've already recorded. So head on over to my LinkedIn profile. Check them out, let me know what you think you have any questions, let us know I'll get them. I'll get them answered asynchronously Happy to oblige. It's the beauty of making this more conversational in a more community based aspect. In a new live world, we're going live, we're going live.

So this is a I think I only have like two or three episodes left that are pre recorded here. Yes, this one and one more to follow. And then and then all my Live episodes kick in. So I'm grateful you're here. Thank you for being on this four year, wild ride of over 140 episodes with me and we're going to keep on keeping on and we're gonna go live and we're going to be across LinkedIn and, and YouTube. Now, we are still going to cut these into audio. So have no fear. If you like this format, and you want to hang out in Spotify and Apple pocket, wherever you listen to shows, these will still be coming at you every week, we'll be taking the live files and and rebranding them to just audio for you. They're just going to sound a little different. Probably because they're going to start with me going we're alive. Ah, it's gonna be awesome. It's gonna be awesome.

The next two shows I have for you are like the best possible ways to round out this journey I've been on Zach went joins me on this episode. Zach came to me through my network, reached out and said I'd love to be on the show. And I said, Tell me more. What are we going to talk about? And it's a topic I haven't covered in depth. And it was really nice to have an expert join me to really unpack this. And given the turn of events of where search is going. I think this topic is going to play more of a role as things move more into an AI world where when we ask a question, we don't go to a website to get the answer to the answer comes to us through the platform that we ask the question on whether that's ChatGPT, whether that's Google's new platform that's coming out whatever the case may be, it's, it's not going to be this place where we go off and dig into certain websites. It's all going to be coming to us through the questions we ask.

So evangelism and personal branding, are going to start taking a forefront in being part of our strategies moving forward, at least they need to be so if you're not thinking about it, this is going to be a great episode. Oh, to really start getting you thinking about what this might look like or something like it for your brand, for and for you, as marketers who are starting to pick up the the phone to talk to our customers.

This idea of evangelism plays an important role in that and what it means not just for the brands we, we promote, and we're part of, but also for our own personal brands and what that means for our own careers. It's a wonderful conversation.

I'm so grateful for Zach a little bit about Zach. Zach Wenthe is a Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager at TreasureData, a CDP for enterprises. He is very passionate when it comes to AI, and storytelling and evangelism.

And that's really what we talk about today is this idea of getting out there and talking about what we're doing. I have to say, I've joined a couple shows lately, and it's really hard being on the other. I've had a blast being a host for the last four plus years, I'm going to keep on keeping on doing that. And I'm going to branch out to the other side. And it's it's tough. But man, is it invigorating and so exciting, and to be put in the hot seat. And to have these questions that really make you have to stop and think about your your answer and your response and making sure it's on brand for who you represent and on bread for yourself. It's a wonderful new world. And I'm excited for y'all to jump in with me.

So here is my conversation with Zach Wenthe.


Kerry: Hello, Zach, thank you for joining me on Tea Time and tech marketing leaders.

Zach: Thanks, Kerry for having me. I'm really excited to finally get to have this conversation.

Kerry: Yes, it's been. It's been coming. It's very exciting. Before we dive into the heart of our topic today, tell us your story. What do you do? And how did you get?

Zach: Yeah, so I, I have one of those careers where if you look at my LinkedIn or you look at my resume, you're like, wow, what was the thought process behind this? Because I started my career. Actually, I went to college for theater, and realize I wasn't actually going to make any money at that. And it was more of like, a it was a passion. But you know, what, what is the what's what's the real world look like? And I fell into marketing, you know, and I kind of became my, my performance medium, right? It was kind of like, I got to tell the stories, and I got to, and I didn't realize it at the time. You know, we'll talk storytelling as we go through this. But really, that was kind of the thread that started to connect my career. And so I was in marketing. And you know, I did that. And then I moved into the consulting world where I was enough of a nerd that I could help do large scale implementations, but talk from a marketing perspective. So I was that marketing technologist before Scott Brinker made that cool, or you know, even gave it a name. It was just, I knew what an API meant. And and so that's what I did is I would, I would gather requirements, I would do planning of strategy with marketing teams. And then I could translate that so that our, you know, are are brilliant technical people could actually implement and I spent many years on the partner and delivery side before frankly, just saying, you know, I love delivery, but I need a break. It wears on you after a while. And so I switched over to the product world and ended up at a at a CDP been in Mar tech, my entire career seemed like the logical, you know, next step, and it was a kind of burgeoning area. And I'm now at my kind of third one. So this is where I've been for the last, you know, five years in the CDP space, which makes me ancient when it comes to martec technology. And so and here I am.

Kerry: For those listeners earlier in their careers, learning all of our acronyms which we have many Sorry, not sorry, can you just explain what CDP means for those who may not know?

Zach: Absolutely, so CDP stands for customer data platform, which is really an enterprise solution that's meant to bring all the customer data together, create that single, unified profile and make it available to marketing teams, sales teams, whoever, so that you're really working with true customer across all channels, departments, divisions, teams, brands, sometimes, so that you're really working with the customer, not the fragment of the customer that happens to live in the email system versus the fragment that lives in the customer support channel.

Kerry: Very helpful. And while I have lots of questions around that, as it keeps focused, if you have any questions in regards to CDP, or wanting to know more about what Zach and his company does, you can certainly reach out I'm going to keep us on target and back on a tangent which I'm really good that. Second question is around the challenge. Is there any challenges you're currently facing right now? What's really hard, it's making your job feel like an uphill battle or a little more challenging than you wish it was?

Zach: Yeah, you know, I think everybody right now is kind of feeling this uncertainty still around, you know, the economy and the economics of tech. And, you know, the challenges of kind of switching from this growth kind of mindset and this growth mode to efficiency. And and, you know, thankfully, at Treasury date, I think we were we were fairly ahead of that, and had a lot of that built into our DNA. But it's still one of those challenges, when, you know, we're out having conversations of like, where do we spend our time? Where do we spend our energy? And, and ultimately tying that back to some sort of attribution, especially with what I do, you know, a lot of what I'm focused on in product marketing, and evangelism is not directly attributable to one single thing, right. So there isn't a link click, that's going to happen from this podcast, it's going to tie to a demo request, and, you know, cleanly, sometimes, but generally not. And so it's building enough of a groundswell enough of a force that that you can show success and results in, you know, in growth through, you know, through proxy metrics. And that's always a, it's always an area where I'm just trying to get better looking at new ways to measure looking at new ways to, you know, report back so we can say, you know, hey, this is this is working. And we found a lot of ways, but there's, there's always better ways, probably.

Kerry: So for our listeners who are feeling the crunch, whether that's through layoffs, whether that's through their budgets, saying flat or even the worst decreasing, but then still expect being expected to deliver the same if not better. Bulls, what have you found, in your experience lately of what's worked various different and what's worked for you may not work for the person next door, but just to give us some ideas and some fresh perspective, what are you fighting right now to really find that efficiency and work for you.

Zach: One thing, I think that's been a hidden benefit of kind of the slowdown or this kind of correction, if you will, is, is less, there's less tire kickers, and there's less kind of people who are just doing research to kind of learn, especially around buying tech. So the the opportunities that are coming in, who seem to be generally better qualified, more serious, because everybody's kind of dealing with less, so they're not saying, you know, hey, this is a problem. And we may, if we do it, right, have budget for it, they know that there's either budget or there's not budget. So I think the opportunity is, you know, while you may have less volume, some of that volume may be of higher quality, and therefore, you can go a little deeper and put a little more effort and, you know, in kind of wraparound, whether that's Account Based Marketing, and kind of, you know, bring the whole team to target those target accounts, or even just spend more time with, with with each prospect from, you know, Problem Identification all the way through through close. So, you know, being out at events, we do a lot of events and trade shows, and, and we're starting to see and have great conversations, and those are, those are, you know, coming into, but it seems to be the people at at events aren't wandering aimlessly. Like, you know, a lot of times many times in tech events in the past, you'd kind of go and you're like, Hey, I'm just looking for some inspiration. Now, it seems people, when they're traveling, are on a mission, they have an agenda, they have a focus, they have a goal. And that's great, because it allows the vendor side to say, you know, is this conversation that's worth it to you? And they're like, No, I'm just, I'm just here for swag. You can like great. We can kind of self qualify very early. So it's, it's a great it's honestly been a benefit in in the downside. Now, we still have to find enough of those companies to hit our pipeline goals and hit our, you know, hit our targets, but but, yeah, it's been it's been a shining kind of moment in amaybe less than ideal situation.

Kerry: That's chasing more relationship building, which is a whole different you know, there's been a shift I agree with you there's a shift in the universe that's happening and there is this more need to build those intentional relationships, but that ended up itself requires a whole different muscle that I feel like we're all trying to flex and figure out it's a it's tough because you want to be authentic and intentional, but you also don't want to end up in the friendzone where like, we are still business trying to cultivate a relationship and like and build that trust but also like, we we need to find either an a partnership opportunity or like part ways that either way is cool. But like we need to write, at least in my experience of sort of how it's been this journey of more personalization, more count based. But also, like, maybe it's personnel, like I just really like making friends and friends out, but it is this fine line that seems to be figuring, you know, figuring that out too, in that intentional world of building those relationships and not finding that balance between those tire kickers, which are no longer showing up, which is great, but also then not putting so much energy and effort that you end up in this place of not being able to make it to a sales conversation, either, because you're been spent so long on just the building, building relationships, yeah, building.

Zach: And I think that's where salespeople have to, you know, take off their happy years and put on, you know, their realistic years and say, you know, this is a networking opportunity, or this is a sales opportunity, because there's a lot of times where they're not in the market, they're telling you, they're not in the market, and you're not going to convince or convert them to being in the market. They may be Sunday, so let's build a relationship. Let's do that. But let's put that aside into a separate bucket. So that you can, you know, a have realistic, you know, outcomes and thoughts. And, you know, I do that a lot at, you know, I'll meet somebody or, you know, we'll exchange information we'll share, you know, we'll share pleasantries on LinkedIn, or we'll comment on each other stuff. And at some point in time, you know, six months later, they message you, and they're like, hey, switching jobs, done it, I think you might be right, you know, Can you can you give me some information that I can in all sudden, you know, somebody who was never, you know, in your prospect list becomes in your prospect list, because you build that relationship? So I think it works both ways. It's just, you have to be realistic upfront and say, which bucket is this person in?

Kerry: I like that. I also think it's a balancing act. In cultivating that relationship and showing up with value on a regular basis, and having it be natural and organic versus finicky to put energy into it. Right, like you should put your energy to the prospects who are ready to buy now versus the networking, which is natural and organic. And so I think also that comes into play, as well. No, I think this is really important. And I really like what you're saying to around. The tire kickers is in the self qualification. I think that's happening. I think people are being very clear buyers are being very clear whether they are in a buying situation or whether they're not. And I'm still finding, people are not listening. I even had it happen to me the other day where I got an email from a tool that was like, I think we can really help you. And I was like, here's what I'm looking for. And they're like, yeah, we can do that. I was like, great. Here's where I'm at. I've been with this tool for five years, I have to investigate it, because they're telling me they can do this too. I need to see that through. And, you know, you're on my list. Now, if this doesn't work out that I'll come to you. And he pushed and he pushed and he pushed us like down the list.

Zach: Yep.Yeah, I think it's the old way of selling. Yeah, where you're like, I'm going to create an opportunity here, whether they're ready or not, you know, because there's, there's like, a glimmer of hope. And it just doesn't work. You know, we, especially since so there's so much tech now, and there's so much solutions that everyone has gone through. But you know, in the past, you may not have been through some sort of enterprise buying cycle before. And therefore, you kind of fall into that trap of like, oh, there, maybe they know something I don't and I should buy something from them. And everybody's bought something. Now, at this point in time, I think anybody who's on the on the buying side has been through one or two of, you know, or more. And so they know the game, they know, the cycle. And so it's really around, can you actually help me? And when can you actually help me and I think if both sides have that realistic conversation upfront, you know, I, I went through it, I was just on the buying side, I bought it, we bought a new solution. And it was we've got your competitor, the competitor is not working out. But we're in contract with them until, you know, nine months from now, I would be willing to do a proof of concept. I'm not going to pay for it right now. But if you want to get in, you know, here's, here's the earliest we're we're gonna buy, right? Our fiscal year actually happens to start in, you know, in in April. And so that's, you know, like, this would be the earliest and so we had this conversation upfront, and they're like, yeah, no, we're we'd much rather be on the front end of this. And we know it's gonna take longer and we don't have to hurry. We've got four months, but let's do it. And when we had that mutual understanding, it became a whole lot different of a buying cycle, because then it really became around what is our use cases? What are our needs and not how do I trick you into it? You know, buying something by the end of my quarter?

Kerry: Yes, your urgency. Is not my urgency? Yes. I love this proof of concept to like, wow, I haven't thought of that. And I think well, we are locked into these really long contracts. That is a really interesting way to approach trying to figure out if there's something better out there. So I think that's really tough, too. Yeah, on both sides. It's interesting for me as a buyer to think about that. And then I think it's also for those who are in sales interesting for them to sort of ponder what, oh, what would that proof of concept be for me to get my foot in the door and that and start building this relationship with the ways that you can actually see this thing in action? That's interesting. The other thing that I think, lends itself nicely to this world, and it's the world you're currently in, and where we're going with this conversation, around a new way of marketing and building relationships is exactly what we're doing right now, y'all, we're gonna go a little meta on you. Welcome to our version of How I Met Your Mother, where, at the earlier the good seasons, not seasonally where we're actually going to talk about what Zack Zack sort of way of marketing recently, which I think is really fascinating, and I think also serves some of these challenges we're having, so why don't you give us your thinking around going on podcast sack, and this idea of evangelism for your practice is a different way of marketing that I don't think a lot of us have really thought about.

Zach: Yeah, so so it, you know, as you said, product evangelism, which is, which is, you know, almost 75% of my job, now, these days is really around, going out and having kind of two messages, one, evangelizing the category. So the category of customer data platforms, the value that they provide, just holistically across the board. And then obviously, you know, within that evangelizing treasure data as a, you know, as a vendor, as a leader in the space. The reason we kind of, you know, invest in this area and think about this area and do things like podcasts, and webinars and speak at conferences and whatnot, is we know, it's been proven time and time and time and time, again, through studies and surveys, and, and just sales research. Consumers are I use consumers broadly, you know, on the business side, or on the on the consumer side, you know, buyers are 75 50%, a majority of the way through a sales cycle and a learning cycle before they want to, or actually engage the sales team. So they're not coming to a sales team saying, I don't know anything, please educate me. They're coming and saying, we've done our research, we've talked to the analysts, we, we've talked to our friends, we've been to the conferences, and we have some ideas of what we want to accomplish. And we think you're one of the three to five solutions that can do it. Prove us right or prove us wrong. And so there's a lot of that education that has to happen. And yes, creating content is one way to do that. So you know, writing blog posts, putting out white papers, but really, there is an there's a part of the funnel that sits way at the top around problem identification, solution opportunity, where being out and just being in front of people and presenting a point of view or presenting a a reason why they should consider this reason why they should be aware of what a CDP, in our case might offer may be way ahead of where they're at, in either in a maturity cycle and a buying cycle, whatever. And so, again, I'm not trying to sell them today at the conference, I'm trying to get ahead of when three months from now. They're like, Okay, this is a problem, and we need to address it. Rather than going out doing a bunch of research with everybody else, they might come to us first, or they might at least at least prioritize our, our resources above, above others. And I have many examples of, you know, times that that has happened and happy to dive in. But I'll pause to see if there's any other questions first.

Kerry: There are there are so many questions in terms so you mentioned a few ways because I want to be I want to be clear that podcasting isn't the only way to do this. You mentioned events and speaking engagements. What other evangelizing where else do you think that shows up outside of those two examples? Or are those are the only two examples? No, so podcasting?

Zach: Yeah, speaking speaking at trade shows and events and you know, the places where your customers show up social media, I do a lot on especially on LinkedIn and also through you know, webinars or virtual events, you know, partner led things we do we we do a lot of work with, obviously industry, either industry publishers or Some analysts groups or different things where, you know, either we sponsor an event and I then go on as a speaker, or as a moderator or as a guest, you know, or we're invited on, you know, organically, all kinds of various, you know, mechanisms. But again, it's all about helping educate the audience before they are in that buying cycle. Because generally, once they're in the buying cycle, it's, it's a lot of times too late, because people have started to formulate that opinion. So, you know, I want that opinion to lead towards us a lot sooner in their in their mind share than than waiting until they hit that demo Request button.

Kerry: So many questions, I'm trying to prioritize, okay, the two topics I want to touch on. So I'm gonna say them out loud, so that I don't forget them, even though I've written them down. Because like I said, I'm really good at going on tangents. The first one is, how do you find the right? I think this is really important, right? Because there's tons of events, especially in the world of cybersecurity, which a lot of my listeners are from, there's tons of events, RSA just happen. Blackhat, the marketing team, the search committee, marketers are about to have an event in December like there's tons of these events. A, how do you figure out which one's right for you and your audience? And then B, how do you even get your foot in the door? I mean, some of these events are?

Zach: Yeah, so that's always I think that's always a challenge. There is no perfect answer, unfortunately, I think the way we prioritize is, what opportunity do we have at that event to have an impact. So just attending the event may not be enough, right? So so give you an example. We you know, we work with a lot customer data, there's a lot of data in the retail space. So national retail Federation's event in in January, they call it the big show, it's at the Javits Center, it fills up the Javits Center in New York City. It's a huge, it's a huge conference of all kinds of retail professionals. So we know that is a anchor event, we spend a lot of time money, we have a big booth, we have multiple speaking sessions, because just the sheer volume of people are there. But at the same time, we go to, you know, the smaller summits where there's 60 to 100 people there, but they're high quality, you know, senior level people and you know, getting even getting a 15 minute speaking session where I can talk about, you know, trends in data that they need to look out for, and just give them some some nuggets, I ended up walking away with, yes, we have a list of people who attended and are on our sales teams can do the follow up. But I'll end up with five or 10 contacts on LinkedIn that I can then start to talk to, I do things like post other speakers, or panels when they do I posted a picture in a comment. And I just noticed the other day on my LinkedIn, I was looking at my analytics, I had an event like this from October of last year, that is still getting impressions on that post, not a lot. But I just noticed it popped up because it was like this one off post. But it was a bunch of, you know, VP and President level, you know, people on a panel and for sharing good information, and I shared a picture of all of them, tag them all in it. And it's just, it becomes that engine that continuously runs for you. So I think it's all about impact, to answer your questions like how do we prioritize? And or how do we pick? Is where's your audience going to be? And do you have an opportunity to, you know, have an impact do something that that that may be as memorable and kind of get you in front of that audience? And if the answer is yes to both of those, that I think it's worth testing. And just like everything else in marketing, you've got to test them, you've got to, you know, sometimes you're gonna go to ones that are amazing. Other times, you're gonna go to ones and they get sticky in the back corner of the of, you know, of the hall in the Mandalay Bay, and you are, you know, you see one person and it happens to be the janitor, like, you know, I've been to both I've been, I've been, you know, front center, and I've been in the back corner. And so sometimes you just have to make, you have to make opportunities when, when that happens.

Kerry: I think it's also important to mention, so I live on a tiny little island in the middle of the English Channel. And obviously, it's very hard for me to get out. There's conferences that are happening all over the US right now. And I'm watching all these wonderful posts and I have a little bit of FOMO and a lot of FOMO I can't say I can't get to all of these, if any of them quite honestly. So I love the other things that you brought up around hosting as well. And and so do you consider hosting or putting panels together being part of these panels virtually also evangelism but or is it really that in person engagement that makes it memorable and important?

Zach: No virtual? I mean, you know, obviously, during the pandemic, that was our only opportunity, but even then, You know, kind of post pandemic, you know, people, like I said, people I think are starting to travel. Personally, people I think are just bored of being at home. But I think professionally, people are, depending on the industry. And depending on the vertical, I mean, I think people are being a little bit more conscientious of when they travel, how they travel, where they travel. And so virtual events are still very, very valuable, especially with, I'm a big fan of doing them with partners. So with other media groups with other people who have an audience that we can have a mutually beneficial relationship, I can bring content for them, I can bring a point of view, they can bring the audience and therefore, we can generate some leads in the pipeline, because obviously, that's the goal. But they need content, they need to, you know, stay stay relevant to their audience. And so that's a great way where you're not always just chasing your own audience. But you're, you're again, going out in front of people who may, again, not be in a buying mode I'm gonna keep harping on that is, yeah, we want to generate pipeline, yes, we want to generate marketing, qualified leads, and all of those other things. But there's also just we know that it's a numbers game, there's enough, you have to have enough eyeballs that see you that are in your sphere of influence, where you can, you know, who would potentially be a buyer profile, and at some point in time, they will be right, because if you think about average conversion rate three to 5%, on a on a click through some of that 95% of the audience who's there is not in market right now. But that doesn't mean that they're not paying attention, that they don't want to learn that they don't have, who are starting to form brand opinions. And so my job is often using stories using content using use cases, using all of those things to influence that audience. So that we're kind of top of mind when it comes time to buy.

Kerry: Let's talk about messaging. I mentioned that I wanted to to address that. I think it's important, you you sort of have danced around it a bit. Intention, I shouldn't say dance, like you're avoiding it, but just you've weaved it in. And so let's make it intentional in terms of messaging. So one of the things that you mentioned is about trying to find my note, in regards to something specific, you said through messaging. You did this talk that was very data specific, right. And trends, being very clear, like right, that ties, it's very clear, there are practices thing I have to stay to, to show this product as this thing and I can give you valuable, valuable information. What are other ways from a messaging standpoint? This is very, like you said, top of funnel? This is very, I want to call it demand gen. Is that fair? Like when you're talking about lead times and like things, taking a while and building that initial engagement? Would you?

Zach: Yeah, it's absolutely part of the, you know, I mean, if you if you slice up demand gen, from demand capture, right, where demand generation is building an audience and building, you know, building awareness of a problem, and the fact that there are solutions available to set problem. And the impact to you know, potentially those problems, whether people knew them or not, is part of the demand generation side. And then moving them forward demand capture is those people who are now at enough of a point where, yes, this is a problem, I potentially have some budget, I have a timeline, you know, and now I'm going to become a lead, you know, within an organization and kind of move forward into a true sales cycle. You know, and there's a lot of argument about, like, where does that line draw? It doesn't matter. The point is, the point really, is, there are people at the front who are learning or have a problem, don't have an identified solution. And those are the people that I'm trying to influence. You know, and, or even people who know, like, they know CDP, and they, they're just either they're not, they're, organizationally, maturity wise, budget wise, whatever. At some point in time, you know, it's a growing, it's a rapidly growing space. And so for us, again, they're gonna make a purchase at some point, I generally, just, that's that's the that's the argument I'm making in my head, especially with the right when you go to those these events, or you do these trade shows that have the right people. So with that logic, now, I am saying, What can I give them that can help them in their career right now? Doesn't have to be buying from me, but what can I help them with right now? So for example, we talk a lot about first party data. One of those challenges is we know cookies are going away. This has been a trend that people talk about constantly. But it's always changing. I spend a lot of time doing research and talking to people and other vendors and customers. So I distill that down, I can say, here's three things you need to consider. You know, or here's what you should be looking for. How is chat GPT, or pick your AI poison? You know, going to impact right? Having some of those content, you know how having some of that context to things that they're questioning and asking is a huge way of just helping raise this kind of raise them up and eventually build a relationship. So that's, that's a piece of one pillar of my content is that I just want to help though, say, marketer, right? I want to help a marketer do their job better. It doesn't have to be treasurer, data related. I'm just trying to help them. I've been around for a long time. I've seen so many different companies, I talked to so many different marketers, I can share information. So that's that's kind of pillar one of it. And then we get more focused and more specific, as we kind of move through that demand curve where then it's, it's now here is there's that problem, here's a solution and introducing the idea of CDP and use cases and you know, where's where that may go? And then finally, it's, here's why we're different. Here's why we're better. Here's why you should talk to us, above all, but there is there's opportunity and points upon across that entire curve, to have multiple different types of messages in the market.

Kerry: I just love what you said that I haven't heard it phrased this way. There's two things you said, Well, I haven't heard it phrased this way or haven't heard phrases often. And the first thing is, helping someone through their career. Right, we've been, I feel like there's a shift happening towards more Account Based Marketing, which I think is really helpful from a stop trying to talk to the masses, and really talk like focus on who you really want to be working with, which I think is great, but then drilling down to the people, be individuals that you're trying to build a relationship with, and try to figure out how to support them, before the brands like that's what I'm hearing you say like, Yes, it's good to have an accounts, it's good to know who you want to go after. But at the end of the day, this is this is hand to hand people to people, and how we're going to help that person. Before you help the company. Right? Yeah,

Zach: Absolutely, I firmly believe and I and I've been through enough, not even just CDP related, but enough tech buying cycles, if you don't have the people who will be directly impacted by your solution involved in that in that buying cycle. They're not they they may not have the checkbook, often they don't, they may not be on the buying committee, but they're the users. If they're not involved in the process, the process will fail. Because it's going to fail either as a result of it just comes down to then who's cheapest. Because if the executive committee doesn't feel the pain that your problem solves, a lot of times, they don't have enough buy in to worry about anything other than the economics. Secondarily, if you don't have them involved, and you manage to sell them, and you're not connected to those end users, implementation is going to struggle, retention is going to struggle, keeping that on it. So I truly believe, even if they're not, you know, even if the day to day person is not directly 100% involved in the buying committee, and our you know, maybe they sit down on the demos or whatever. They're a huge advocate for you. And you have to show them how you relieve those pains. Take away those problems. And a lot of that is through storytelling, a lot of that is through customer examples. A lot of that is through sometimes just you know, hands on demos. But if you can't show that, that solution to them, that you will never get the buy in. And deals just tend to kind of fall away. When when I see that happen.

Kerry: You opened up all of the the can of worms here, Zack, I think this is really important. Because what we're talking about now is personas. Right? There are several personas. And this is where Account Based Marketing comes in is really handy. And especially when you think about evangelists, right? You have to activate all the audiences you'll come into contact with. And it's a buying committee that like it's not one person ultimately making the decision. It's a group of people and how do you help them all see the benefit, and they all care about different things, which makes this really fun. So when you're on stage and you're presenting to now all three audiences sitting in front of you, or you're on a podcast, knowing that all three audiences are listening to you. How do you tailor your message in a way that can capture each person without talking too broadly and without talking too much in the weeds because the baby's the tab don't care about the weeds at the bottom. But the people that way to the bottom are like cool thought leadership. That's great. Like, how do I do my job?

Zach: Yeah, so I am, I'm strongly in the camp that most persona projects are a waste of time. I truly believe, I truly believe it comes down to one thing, motivation, what is motivating that individual to have interest in what you're talking about? People don't buy products, because they're interested in your feature, or they're interested in your UI, they buy products, based on what cool thing that makes them it made them better, how were they better as a result of said product, and that happens personally, in our personal lives, that happens in our professional lives, we buy things emotionally, and then justify them logically. Even when we try to tell ourselves otherwise, that day in and day out, it's an emotional thing. I'm spending my entire day pulling reports and fighting it, and it's making me miserable, and I'm missing my kids soccer game, at the end of the day, doesn't matter what your product does, if I can get you home, at 430, instead of at 730, you're gonna buy my product, right? If I can show you that mate, because the motivation was I want to get home sooner to my kids. So finding those those motivation points. And like you said, at different points in the cycle, or different points in the buying kind of committee, there's different motivations, the doer is very much motivated about less plus friction, you know, I'm motivated to make my life easier, often in some capacity. And at higher, it's, I'm motivated to a make their lives easier. Because that I have less turnover, I have less, you know, I have less problems, whatever. And then I know that that translates into revenue. So a lot of times, there's very similar motivations of why they're buying and tapping into that, you know, it's going to be key. So to me, first on first and foremost is personas, demographics, psychographics, all of those things, those are great for targeting for, you know, for advertising, they're necessary. But as a marketer, if I can't answer the, what is the motivation? What are they motivated by to use my product? You know, and what is that primary kind of use case, like, the rest of the stuff doesn't matter. So that's, that's area one. And then, once I have that motivation, once I have that understanding of what what they are, I need to show them a path that leads to that motivation. And that's where that's where power of story comes in. Because ultimately, at the end of the day, the Trust Me, I'm a salesperson line doesn't work, right. So rather, let me show you a world where this is different. Imagine if, and you go into, you go into a story, or a customer, much like you and you give a customer story, you know, all customers, or all marketers should not have to argue, you know over who their customers are. But one of our customers did, and they were struggling as a result, they did XY and Z, therefore, they have this right. And so you kind of walk them through that. And everybody's like, Oh, yeah, I have that mean to have that problem, too. Like, okay, and now, now you've created relevance. And more importantly, you've created that emotional resonance, because at the end of the day, when people are buying one of the biggest downfalls and I know I'm going on a tangent here, but I think this is one of the biggest downfalls is not what they're not you gave a good demo, or whether or not you gave a you met their needs, or whether you had pricing. But in a competitive space, where there's multiple vendors, as most probably most of your your listeners are, it's whether or not you're gonna be remembered. And when they walk away, after seeing five demos, can they remember what you said, because the all start to blend together, like our mind is not good at holding on to things, especially things that aren't super interesting to us, they all start to kind of weave into one. And so then what starts to happen is, the vendor who gets remembered is the one everybody else starts to create benchmarks against. And that's who you want to be. You want to be the the one who's setting the benchmarks, for whatever, for whatever, whether that's on the selling on pricing on all of these things, because step number one is, when they walk out of that room. You want them to lock in that memory about how you made them feel, their excitement, that those emotions that are tied to whatever you're trying to push them for. That's the That's what needs to be anchored, then you can build from there. But if you can't do that first part, you're gonna get the email later that sorry, we've decided to not select you and the RFP and you know, good luck.

Kerry: So painful after all that work to know I think that's really important. I love what you're saying about persona work is important. You need to know who you're going after and what defines that audience. But the end of the day, what ties them together and where your messaging can really flourish is in the collective pain and in the collective. What did you call it? It was the motivation motivations that tie them together? I, I don't think we we define that that way enough. And I love that perspective. I think that's so important. I'm running out of time here. I do have a question around something you mentioned early on, not early on. But when you were talking about sort of the process of how you go out and speak about these things, and then the follow up, and one of the things you mentioned, after coming off and events, you've collected a few LinkedIn prospects who are now with you on LinkedIn. And you have to build a relationship with them. It sounds like as part of being an evangelist and evangelizer up for speaking engagements. Part of that, is that one to one relationship building that happens, almost like a salesperson? Would Is that fair to say? Do you have to sort of step in a little bit to that sales role? Because you were there and you connected with them? And now you're on LinkedIn, this is happening? I mean, or do you immediately try and get them off to a salesperson so that you can keep on doing the evangelist work?

Zach: So I so I approach it in the sense that, yes, I want to build a relationship, I actually have the fortunate opportunity of I'm not tied to selling therefore, I can truly be a trusted advisor, I can I can I my motivation is to help our company. But I know only but I also look at that from not just from closed business, one up front. But also, you know, net retention on the road and keeping customers long term and expansion and all of these other, you know, all of these other metrics. So we want the right business, you know, our chief, or Chief Product Officer talks about the fact that there is there such thing as bad revenue, you know, you can get revenue, but it's not the right customer, and it's going to turn or whatever, that doesn't actually benefit you. It's cost, the sale and all that stuff, you lose money on that revenue. And so I'm looking at it, I get the opportunity, I get the flexibility of looking at it long term. So I'm building those relationships for the long term. Yeah, absolutely. If they are in the fast lane to making a decision, you know, I'm going to I'm going to connect them with a salesperson, or a lot of times. Case in point, I had a customer walk up to us at a at a booth, you know, and was like, Hey, we just literally sent you an RFP yesterday. You know, and I happen, we happen to be here curious. And I'm like, Okay, I know we're in this weird world of now an RFP has gone out, you probably, like, have rules around like what you can tell me I said, so instead of me asking questions to you, which you probably can't answer because, you know, you're in corporate environment. Ask why just you ask your questions that you want to know. And let's let's talk and so by them just asking their questions, I was able to kind of dial in, like, these are the pain points for these guys like this is where they're struggling? Because it was painfully I mean, it's painfully obvious based on just the questions that they're asking. And so I was able to kind of highlight those. Okay, that's high priority. This is this is interesting, I answered him, We talked, we had some good conversations, I gave him a lot of examples. And then, you know, they left the trade show. And when I got back, I got a, you know, I got on the phone with the rep who had got that RFP, and I'm like, Hey, by the way, XYZ, here's some thoughts, here's some things you can do make sure we're emphasizing and this, here's a couple of stories I gave them. Here's some examples I gave them, you may want to talk about XYZ. And so I help them kind of frame up that, that positioning so that as they are going through the the RFP cycle, you know, they can they can use that information that that that we gathered by being on the streets. So sometimes it's it's not as beautiful and clean and fast as that. But generally, yeah, my goal is to learn a little bit more about our customers so we can make our products better, so we can make our messages better. So we can help sell and be more relevant, but at the same time, make it easier on them to understand where we fit, you know, how we compete, what our what our opportunities are and what our customers have done.

Kerry: Last question. So for those who are listening, going, how do you want to do this? This sounds amazing, or wow, we really need this role. How do I make it happen? This feels like initially a little scary, maybe a bit of overhead. Where does the money come from budgets are hard and scary right now, what would be your suggestion to folks? And I will say advice because advice sponsors are scary, but what would be your suggestions to folks around how to get started with introducing this i this role in this i idea, evangelism.

Zach: So if you're not ready to jump in fully to having a, you know, having a role dedicated to it, start to find ways to empower your existing members to go out and start doing things, right, getting sales to post on on LinkedIn, with content that's not just about the brand, right, I think too often we just regurgitate, you know, our PR posts and our product launch posts, and those are great, there's a place for them. 80% of the content I post is, is related to the persona group that I'm targeting, which is marketing technology people. So I'm talking I talked about storytelling on LinkedIn, I talked about, you know, analytics, I talked about personas, I talked about motivation, I talked about a lot of different things that aren't necessarily tied to what treasure data does, specifically, but it more to who we're trying to reach. Because I'm building an audience, that then later on, you know, maybe in my sphere of influence, do that, on the sales side, get the salespeople out there talking about wins and opportunities and customer use cases. Same thing with product marketing, same thing, depending on your org, but find those people who are, you know, you don't have to be funny story. I'm an introvert, I do these things, I enjoy them, I enjoy these conversations. And then I go back to my hotel room after after I speak on stage. And I'm like, Alright, I'm gonna, I'm gonna hide from people. So you don't have to go find like the crazy extroverted people, like, just find people who are willing to kind of go out there and put a message out, take a point of view, and it doesn't have to be your founder. It doesn't have to be your executive leadership. There's people in your org, who are probably interested and just need a push. That's step one. Step two, then is if you really want to dive in and commit, you know, I think you look for people who have either sold products before, in some capacity, right? I, I was in you know, I've been in consulting, and I've implemented I've been in solution lead roles where I've, I've been the subject matter expert. So I understand kind of the process. So being able to take either a solution consultant or taking a product marketer or taking somebody who is intimately involved and can be that subject matter expert and say, hey, 20% of your time, in addition to what you're doing, like 20% of your time, go do these things, you know, we're going to start testing and trialing things. And then eventually, you may find it's worth, it's worth a, you know, a dedicated resource. I do a lot of internally I do a lot of, I do a lot of externally, but I help storytelling internally with our sales teams, I help them with messaging and positioning. So I don't just spend my time. As much as I'd love to be on podcast all day long. I don't I work with, you know, pay, just like that example I just gave right. You know, let's, let's do some stories like this, let's do a demo like this. You know, maybe we should, we should try and position this, you know, in x y. And so I think there's a lot of value to that to that role beyond just the external facing opportunities.

Kerry: I know that was supposed to your last question, but I have one more. And then I swear, we're gonna wrap up here, because I do have another meeting. But I probably would roll and I have a hard stop. Ah, I'm metrics, right? When you're talking about if you want to test this thing and figure out if this is right for you. And if this is right, for your organization, obviously these things take time to build. And you're not gonna see revenue like tomorrow, if somebody figures that out, they're gonna make a ton of money. But that's not how we all know that. Yes. Is that secret? So what are some of those initial metrics that you sort of look at to say, Why does something?

Zach: Yep. So I look at a couple of things. One is engagement, engagement, if I'm doing things like social, if I'm doing things like webinars where there's a digital thing I'm looking at how many people attended the webinar? How many people stayed through the through the entire thing? How many questions did we get? You know, and I kind of use those as as how how engaged the audience is, by posting on social or helping others posts on social, right, how many impressions, how many? How many comments and likes and different things. And again, those are called fluffy metrics to some degree that, you know, some people think of as vanity, I don't think it is vanity, I think, as a barometer, what I want to see is going up, right, I want to see improvement in that area. I don't care if it's five likes, because if you have five likes from five VPS, that is way better than, you know, 500 likes from just a random audience. And so the volume doesn't matter. It's it's kind of the growth, study after study, we know, especially on LinkedIn, two and a half to 5x improvement in engagement from personal profiles as opposed to company profiles. So getting people out sharing your message on their personal profiles is going to is going to have a significant impact. So do that. And then I look for anecdotal things as well. Like it's okay to have qualitative things like I specifically talk to this person at this conference, they walked up to me, I'm gonna watch their opportunity. And then we have a closed one. And we know where we source them from because we they hadn't come to us until, till that trade show. We had this conversation that that turned into close, but revenue and and what I'm looking for is is are there more of those today than there were yesterday? Right and just kind of that that idea of continuous improvement.

Kerry: I think that's so important, especially for you recovering perfectionist perfectionist out there, myself included, progress over perfection, right? Five legs is a really good start on LinkedIn. I know it doesn't seem that way. But believe me, as somebody who's just progressed or not posting every day, it five legs is a really good start. And it's all about that momentum and that growth. And you're never going to have if you don't ever start.

Zach: 90% of people who are active on LinkedIn, never like or comment at all, but they read your content. And I was at our customer advisory board meeting this last fall, and I was talking to people who I know are connected to me and they're like, Oh, I see your stuff all the time. Like you never like comment. They're like, Well, yeah, but I see it all the time. I'm like, okay, but you have to remember that there's so many people lurking below, you know the ocean a little bit that you never ever see, but are reading your content constantly. When I get on a meeting and my CEO says to me, I see every time I open up social ICU there. I'm like, I'm doing something right. Because there's others out there like that.

Kerry: That's such a good point. Ah, I think we forget that. Because we are creatures of busy habit all the above. We like what the immediate feedback and the thumbs up and tell us we're doing okay. And we want to dopamine from getting a like, yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's yes, it's so hard. It's so hard. And I love that you're doubling down on the fact that like to not get stuck there. It's really hard to get over but such a good point. And a reminder, Zach, this has been fantastic. I could seriously keep going because I think this is an unuse platform. And there's a couple of folks out there doing it really, really well yourself included. And I'm so grateful this conversation real quick before we close out because you're more than a marketer sent more than a marketer. Tell me, what about new hobbies picked up in the last few years given the change of the world?

Zach: Yeah, so well, I am writing a book on storytelling, but that's very business related. So that was that's, that's, you know, so I'll add that. But honestly, I'm, it's it's been a challenge. It's been kind of fun to do. But the fun thing is, so I spent many years doing improv. So I mentioned my theater background, I spent many years doing improv, I started writing some stand up during the pandemic, just for the just for the sake of like doing it. And you know, I've no no visions of grandeur of like going out and having a, you know, comedy special, but doing some stand up. And ultimately, my goal is to write a screenplay. I think everybody's goal is to write a screenplay or novel at some point in time, probably. But legitimately that's, that's, that's where I'm kind of working towards. So just to say I did it just to you know, to pitch it. And who knows, maybe Netflix's listening, they'll pick up something I haven't written yet, but I doubt it.

Kerry: I love I kind of want to hear some of your jokes, but maybe we'll say those until next time, Zach, this has been glorious. Thank you so much for joining me.

Zach: Thank you for having me. This was so much fun.


That was my conversation with Zach Wenthe, thank you for hanging on for my very long intro. I appreciate y'all. As I give you some updates on where we're going here with tea time in the next in the coming weeks. If you enjoyed my conversation with Zach, please be sure to reach out to him. You can find him on LinkedIn.

As well as treasure data, I left the links in the shownotes. winding down, winding down. I'm so grateful. Thank you all so much. Let's keep the joy of tea time going wherever you listen, and maybe you would prefer video and you can come hang out with us on LinkedIn or YouTube. But I look forward to staying in touch.

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.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

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