The Clubhouse "gold rush," gated content, and humanized marketing | Scott Stratten from Unmarketing

February 2, 2023

Episode Description

Demand Gen Chat is back! In this episode, we chat with Scott Stratten, co-mastermind behind the brand UnMarketing, six-time best-selling author, and host of the UnPodcast. We roll up our sleeves and chat about the Clubhouse “goldrush,” gated content, and taking a humanized approach to marketing.




About Demand Gen Chat

Demand Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Kaylee Edmondson. Join us as we sit down with leaders in marketing to discover the key to driving B2B revenue. If you want benchmarks or insights on trends in the market, this podcast is for you!


Episode Transcript

Kaylee Edmondson: [00:00:00] Hey everyone, and welcome. Or, if you're listening to these chronologically, welcome back to Demand Gen Chat. I'm your host, Kaylee Edmondson, and we are joined today with Scott Stratten. I'm super excited to have you. Thank you for joining us.

Scott Stratten: I'm not as excited as I am to be here. Let's do this.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs] Let's do it. So for those listening who might not already know and follow Scott, let me try my very best to give you a proper intro. Scott is the creator, and co-mastermind behind the brand UnMarketing. He has co-authored six best-selling books with partner and better half, Alison, um, and is the host that you know and love behind UnPodcast, the marketing podcast for the fed up. What have I missed?

Scott Stratten: No, that's, that, you summed it up pretty much right there. And then uh, five kids combined, uh, two dogs, and three cats.

Kaylee Edmondson: Who's counting?

Scott Stratten: Who's counting? [laughs].

Kaylee Edmondson: I love it so much. So Scott, [00:01:00] I have so many questions that I want to pick your brain on. So, marketing now, and in the future, I think that with everything that's happened around the world in the last year, marketing is under more pressure now than ever. I feel like, all of these changes were kind of coming to a head before the pandemic started happening.

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: But I think the pandemic has just kind of escalated um, this motion that's happening within marketing.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: And I just want to get your honest take. I don't know any time where you've ever shared something that's not your honest take, but stage is yours. What's trending? What things are marketers doing right now that is a total waste of time?

Scott Stratten: I guess I assume some marketers are gonna listen to this. So I, I, I was gonna say I'm gonna be careful with what I say, but I, why start now?

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: Honestly why start now at this point? Um, one of the, my biggest problems in marketing, and it's not like, now, it's always, is that a lot of times in marketing we have a, we have a badge of honor uh, by being first to something, or new, and we're gonna show it. And [00:02:00] a couple of reasons for that, one of the biggest mistakes is that it's individual versus brand so, individually, you love a platform, a tool whatever it's gonna be, but for the brand, is it the right thing? And a lot of the times, I find us trying to take that square peg in that round hole for a brand, and say, "We should be on Clubhouse, we should be doing this, we should be doing this because it's new." Because something is new is never a reason to use something, ever. Okay? It's new, great, but also with something new, there can be issues as well, and you have to take the time to learn these things, to find them.

And I really, really encourage any marketer out there. I don't even care what vertical you do, is that you go and try it yourself. Incognito, whatever it's gonna be, get in there, and understand the mechanics of something. I see so many brands rushing to something like, Clubhouse, and saying, "This, is what we're gonna do, this, is the new, it's the land rush." Right? The land rush, and the gold rush, right? So we want to grab our spot, grab our property, do this, and then we want to be the ones, we want to be the big ones in front of it. Is, is that for the brand though? [00:03:00] And I know there's two, two things that can happen at the same time. A marketer for a brand uh, like, yourself i- in, a brand. Also you're also a personal brand, and it depends on the constraints that the brand gives you as their employee, but marketers are also a lot of personal brands, and that line blurs a lot to the point that we have to be careful, because what's good for the brand is not always good for the market, or what's good for the marketers it's not always good for the brand.

And so, rushing to these places because they're new, because we can. We have to go back to Jurassic Park. You know, just because we can, we never thought you know, should we? We only have a certain amount of time. I don't know any marketer right now in any brand that is like, "I have 20 hours a week open. like, I literally have 20 hours a week open, what can I add to the plate?" Because every time we add a new tool to our toolbox, and then use it. Okay? That'll take time resources, and focus away from a current set of tools, and platforms, and focus. And focus is the lost art form of [00:04:00] marketing to me. It's focusing and saying, "Look if we're doing strategic planning, and saying, 'This quarter we're doing this'" And then Clubhouse comes along, and you have an all hands on deck, "We're gonna be over here." Well then what goes away? 40 hours a week, or 50 hours, whatever you have each individual doing, and if they're all working full tilt on stuff.

And then you add a whole new thing, either you're gonna do it poorly, cause you're not gonna have a lot of focus and time on it or, it's gonna take away from something else, but you haven't changed the KPIs, you haven't changed all these things where it would have been 10 hours a week with this person working on this platform, having taken away from it. You can't, we can't be jumping ship every two months onto something. We've got to focus on it right. It honors our audience, it honors the platform, and it honors our team, and our employees.

Kaylee Edmondson: It's really about your audience. So, even if you think it's like, the new shiny toy, and here you are running to Clubhouse because everyone else is doing.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: And it's like, a peer pressure game, that doesn't mean that your audience is there. So if you've built an audience on LinkedIn, or [00:05:00] Twitter, or wherever. Then you're like, "Hey friends, come join me on Clubhouse." And that's just a really frustrating experience for your audience, the people who are consuming your content where you're at, and want, you know, want to listen. Also, Clubhouse is super frustrating. I've yet to join a successful uh, Clubhouse event. I feel like, it's all just like, the top ... You know, the five people who can speak the loudest rise to the top of the app.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: And they just sit there, and talk the entire time, and you've got 100 awkward followers like, listening in below on these people's conversation, and yeah. So I think, yeah I agree with you. Clubhouse is like, the new shiny thing, but it's not very successful. And I mean, it might be successful for some brands, but that doesn't mean that you have to do it just because you know, your neighbor told you to do it.

Scott Stratten: It's high school talk radio to me honestly.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: It's like, a talk radio show in high school. And people are jockeying for position, and people were complaining, and texting people, "Why didn't you make me with the microphone, and bring me on the floor." And I just saw that, and learned it. I started reading a couple blog posts, I'm like, "Oh no thank you. No, thank [00:06:00] you." And I, I ... Look I, I am confident in my abilities in speaking, and I know I have a, a radio style voice, and I know I have the tone to be able to do these type of things, and people are like, "It's so perfect." And I'm like, "No, thank you." Because that Clubhouse, one of my big issues with social media, and, and for those that know me know, social media is my world. it's how I got known, it's how I got started. I'm about ... Our main pillars are community authenticity, and integrity.

And that's, although community is all you know, for us as a virtual lot, which is social, and forums, and that world. And people say, "Well, you know, you've got to be on here." And, and one of my biggest problems with social when in the past couple of years has been expiring content. You know, making stories for Instagram, or TikTok or, or Snapchat where you're, we're, we're driving content marketers into the ground with work, with content that's gone in a day. With Clubhouse, it's not even gone in a day, it's gone when you're done speaking. It's radio, it's literally radio without the training. And without that, without the structure. And [00:07:00] there's a reason why there's structure in radio, there's a reason why they do these things. And, and talk about expiring content, it has no shelf life at all. At least 24 hours, with 24 hours back [laughs] ... You know, back in the day, and by in the day, I mean a year ago.

You know, So I don't, I just don't ... Look if you like, it, and it, look if a marketer right now is listening, and they're like, "Well, I like, Clubhouse." Good. My opinion of Clubhouse should not affect your opinion of Clubhouse, and use it individually. But for the brand, is it the right place? And the answer can be yes. But just don't make it default yes because it's new.

Kaylee Edmondson: Exactly, and that goes into this motion too, just around like, playbooks, right? I've never not joined a new company where the company is like, "Cool, what's your Demand Gen playbook, or what's your B2B playbook?" And that's in my opinion that is not the thing, there is no playbook, there isn't one. Every brand is unique, every voice is different, all of the audiences that you're building are going to be different, and unique to you, and there isn't an end-all [00:08:00] be-all playbook. And I think that that falls like, nicely into what you're saying about Clubhouse too right? It's just like, a box that somebody is wanting you to check to say, "Oh, we're on LinkedIn, we're on Twitter, now we're on Clubhouse, check the box."

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: But that's not really how it works.

Scott Stratten: No. And people want to be early adopters though, and I, I understand that. And, and I, I get that. You know, for me I was on LinkedIn, and 03. Um, you know, I was it, uh, and then I was on, and 04, and Twitter, and 08, and I get it. But that's a young person's game, you know I'm just old now, and I'm just like, I'm not gonna keep up with the Jones's, doing this type of stuff. And uh, it's ... But if it works for you, because we look at different things. You look at things like, Instagram, where it's a visual medium. You look at Clubhouse which is an audio medium. You know, all these, and there's you know, uh, a posts, and writing is a written medium. And it's looking at saying, "Wh -where's your talent? Where can you best thrive?" We talk about that. There's comfort zones, and breaking out of those, but it doesn't mean you have to always be ... You, as a marketer, you don't have to be an incredible writer, an incredible [00:09:00] host of a, of a show, and a talker, and this, and then this. We don't have to try to be the jack of all trades in these type of things.

And you mentioned playbook, and I really want to um, look at a point for one second, which is that like, the only playbook that matters is your bosses. Right? The only one, or it's your clients, which is like, what do they want? Because I can go off all I want talking about these things. I don't have a boss. I'm not reporting to somebody. Alison and I make the decisions for this company, and that's, that's it. We don't get clients we don't, but I don't have to answer those type of things. If your boss, or your client wants the brand to be on Clubhouse, okay. You can make your argument, you can state your case, and they're like, "We want to do it." Then okay, then you learn to do it better. But it's always whoever's signing the check is that matters.

I, I always rant about vanity metrics, and how they uh, you've heard me rant about it probably way too many times. And the point is though if you're, who you're reporting to, whether it's client, or boss does like, vanity metrics, then you give them to them.

Kaylee Edmondson: Exactly.

Scott Stratten: But understand the proper metrics are what, are really driving your brain.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah, [00:10:00] your playbook is probably most often defined by whoever's paying you ...

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: Which is fair. Um, but, at the end of the day too, I think it's part of marketing's job to, you know, like, um, for instance right now, I report directly to our CEO.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: And I think that it's half, at least half of my job, if not more, to market internally.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: To him, and to our sales team, and the rest of our marketing team. What it is we're doing, and why. Um, I think oftentimes a lot of marketers just put on their marketing hat, and think, "I am marketing externally. I'm here to get prospects, new business, close one revenue. All those things." And yes, those are all important. But at the end of the day too, I spend at least 50% of my day educating, and marketing internally. And I think that's part of it right? If they come to you, and say, "Hey, your playbook is this, and these are your whack KPIs that you need to be judged off of because I said so." Then that's also on you to own your own destiny, and say, "No, look I hear you, but there's a better way, and here's the way."

Scott Stratten: You, you hit on that, Kaylee. like, that something that is [00:11:00] just, it's something that resonates with me to my core, which is marketers think it's all external.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: And it's not, and it used to be, you know, it's like, I used to say, "Psychology was HR. Internal, marketing is external, it's all human psychology." But your first set of customers for anything, for a new product, for a launch, for whatever it's gonna be is the company. That's your first group of people. If they are not bought in to it, everything in marketing becomes harder. Everything becomes harder. And if you internally market first, and understand, and getting ... But I don't mean on, on the surface. I don't mean as a token. I mean, internally bringing stakeholders in early on in the process, and explaining what you're doing, and showing what you're doing, getting feedback from that. Then when you turn around when it's finished, you show, and roll it out, and, and, and show people, and bring them into it, they feel like, they do have ownership of that.

Because we're literally, when you're marketing something, you're marketing [00:12:00] them. Your marketing is part of that as well. That's a huge ... Internal marketing is such an overlooked thing, and it should be the first step of everything.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah, I mean it really should be. Especially, so like, our scenario is that marketing came into a company that was already existing and working, and operating, and successfully growing without marketing.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: Right? And so, I think we had to combat that almost twice as hard because they were like, "Oh, you're the new kids on the block, what are you really gonna do for us? like, I don't know, is this gonna cause more friction? like, let's talk about it." It's a lot of that right? And so it's ... Yeah, it is. It's like, this game, this real game of team building, and understanding that like, we're just here to help you do your job better.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: And here are all the things, and here's how we can do it.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. And build the company, and that's, then grow the company larger, and that's, you're always gonna have friction. Whenever there's change, there's friction. That is uh, is one of the rules of the universe. I've never ... We will spend so much more time, and effort [00:13:00] resisting change than we will to embrace it. We always ... I always said on stage that disruption is simply uh, change without time to resist it. That's what it is. And, and so, when you come into something, you will get that friction, because you could have budgets feel threatened. You could have, you know, head count feel threatened. You could have um, autonomy feel threatened, and, and having that in there, and understanding that, and then making sure that that those ... As we market, as sales and marketing 101. Overcoming objections externally to our customer base. We should have that list internally as well. What are our internal objections to this coming through, and how do we tackle those things?

It's such a forgotten ... not even forgotten, it was barely done before, that we need to look at those objections internally-

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: ... As well first. And then it might g- go so much smoother, both in a B2B-

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah.

Scott Stratten: ... And a B2C uh, world.

Kaylee Edmondson: And speaking of sales and marketing 101, I want to dive in to UnMarketing. So, for anybody that is not familiar with UnMarketing, or the concept [00:14:00] behind it, the philosophy that you and Alison have been preaching for years. like, what is your high level snippet on UnMarketing? what's your take?

Scott Stratten: For people who have not heard of UnMarketing. How dare they?

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah, I know. What are they doing? They need to be listening. Follow, all the things. But ...

Scott Stratten: Really sums it up is there's ... We just have one line that sums up everything with UnMarketing is if you believe business is built on relationships, make building them your business.

Kaylee Edmondson: Exactly, and you guys have been preaching that though for how long?

Scott Stratten: 20 years.

Kaylee Edmondson: And how many people still aren't doing that?

Scott Stratten: Most of them. [laughter].

Kaylee Edmondson: And why? And why is that? Why are people not on this train?

Scott Stratten: Because ... Honestly Kaylee, it's that because relationships take time. That's as honest as I can do.

Kaylee Edmondson: And people don't have time.

Scott Stratten: What, but, I, I don't buy that. I don't buy that, it's not, they don't have time. I buy that they don't want to spend the time.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: And it's not necessarily the individual. So let's give an example, if somebody comes into ... Here, I'll give you a perfect example. Last, this is before the pandemic, so a year ago. I'm [00:15:00] at home where I am right now. I'm in my uh, my robe, my housecoat, my Caesar's palace housecoat that my wonderful wife somehow bought in Vegas at Caesar's palace, and then snuck home, and I didn't even realize that. How'd you bring an entire robe home? I don't know. But um, I'm in my my robe, I'm not looking as pretty as I do right now as you're looking at, and uh, the hair is down, the beard is flowing. I look like, a roadie you know, for Metallica, and there's a ... our doorbell rings. So the dogs go bananas, which is always wonderful when I'm you know, in, in the morning. And I open the door, there's a gentleman in a suit. And he looks up, and he's from a financial investing, a fairly famous one, and he's like, "Hello." And looks up, and goes, "Oh." and I'm just, this thing is just standing in the doorway, I'm like, "Yes?"

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: He's like, "I'm from this company here. I'm just wondering you know, if you're looking for financial advice?" And I'm like, "How do you ... What's supposed to happen next? Am I supposed to invite you into my home? Put some pants on, and then we're gonna [00:16:00] talk about my bank account? like, how do you think this is gonna happen?" Well, no, we, and they're just door knocking, which is fine in the 80s. You know, that's how a lot of things were sold, in the 60s, and 70s, and traveling sales people right there selling vacuums, and Tupperware, and knives sets, and all these things yeah. But there's a lot of different ways now to do that, and if you want to build relationships, and build yourself a position in front of a, a target market, it's gonna take time. You can do sessions, and lunch, and learns, and get articles out there, and network, and go to chamber of commerce. But companies don't bring in the new recruits like, that. They're like, "Go pound the pavement. Here's a phone number list, go call them."

So the companies are impatient. It's not even necessarily individuals. I don't usually have a problem with an individual cold calling me. Well, sorry I do. But my, my anger is directed towards people who are forcing them to do that. The majority people don't want to do that, I don't think. Most people don't want to interrupt somebody's day, and try to force them to buy something from them. We have so much more information these days. We have so much more access to that. One of the things that we [00:17:00] use is called the Sales Cloud, which is like, 60% of, of buying decisions in B2B. The decisions is 60% along the way of being made before they ever reach out to a vendor. So if you're just calling, smiling, and dialing randomly trying to cold call these people. Well I've already done 6% of my work, and you're gonna be left out of that, and then, that, how I find that cloud is about information, and blog posts, and conferences, and videos. And if you're not doing any of those things, you're left out of that. So then you call me, and you're at your lowest point of leverage. You're at the lowest point of trust, and no relationship, and you're just saying, "Hey, hey, buy from me."

And it's buyer goodbye. And that's not human, that's not kind. That's, and that's how I do business with people. I never ever sat down here, and saying, "I wish an SEO specialists would phone me. I just wish they'd randomly call me, so I could see if they're doing ... I wish I could get another spam piece from an SEO company saying, "We're gonna rank you high on page one, and I can't find them on page 100." You know, it's just [00:18:00] it's, it's just this way of we don't want to take that nine- ... We, time. We just want to do snap in the next, and cash, and check, so we can get to the Catalina wine mixer. like, we're just trying to do these things, and saying this is how it's supposed to be done. I don't buy that Kaylee. I don't. That with the combine of incredible ways to do online advertising these ways, and the way we can track, and we can target, and focus, and all these tools, and you're telling me that you got to interrupt my day is the best way to get me to know, like, and trust you? Not a chance. Not a chance. See, see that, see that tangent I just went on there? You just triggered me. So I apologize for that. But it's, it's so true.

Kaylee Edmondson: You know, my favorite version of you is when you are triggered. [laughter].

Scott Stratten: It doesn't, it doesn't take much.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah. When the filter comes down, and you are just spewing the truth, that's what I'm here for. Um, so no, I appreciate that very much.

Scott Stratten: [laughs].

Kaylee Edmondson: That's what, that's what I think we all need to like, adapt to. That's what I like, ... Going back to my original thing about marketing now, and in the future, I think that we went through this weird [00:19:00] wave in marketing as a whole.

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: And you know, if anybody that is listening was not doing this, then you were ahead of the curve. But I think marketing as a whole went through this weird wave where it was like, "Oh we have all of this, all of these insights, and this intent data, and like, gates. We need to gate everything. All the content that we're producing is just the greatest thing we've ever seen. So it's totally worth the gate, we have to do it." And it's like, "Oh, we have to get your email for everything, so that we can follow up with you on with these random nurture emails that might eventually put you into this random funnel, and convince you to buy from us." But it's like, they get you know, they're on email nurture number three after downloading some random guide, and it's like, "What do I know about this company?"

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: "Why, who are you? what are you ... like, what do I actually know about you? The people, you know, the people that make up this brand. Not you know, just some random email nurture that's like, "We can help you with this. Get a demo today." And I think the brands today that are really pulling ahead, and are standing out in this [00:20:00] super noisy space are the brands that are not doing any of that.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: And, and we just need to get on board. like, I think that ... Stop gating your ... Stop gating your content, it's not gold. like, there's nothing great [crosstalk 00:20:14].

Scott Stratten: [laughs] exactly.

Kaylee Edmondson: Stop, stop spamming people. like, don't show up to my door while I'm in my robe, absolutely not. Kudos to you for even answering the door, because I would have been like, "Yep, you can wait, hold on."

Scott Stratten: The great thing for me though Kaylee, is that that every business screw up, and marketing is content. So I welcome the stuff. You know, I want, I want the person to to knock on my door to try to pitch me to invest my all my money with a guy standing on my front porch. I love it, like, it's, because it's material for us. We never run out of material for the show, or for the books, and, and the difference, and you, you touched on this. Um, you were just saying is that there's that there's a part where I, I, I do feel somewhat of a tide shifting of this kind of transparency, or authenticity that, and those both those words have been [00:21:00] bludgeoned to death in our industry the wrong way.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: But at least for myself personally, and I can only speak for myself personally, but looking at in the past year I've re- ... We've redone everything for the company. We've changed uh, entire sites, and site hosts uh, email service providers, podcast ho- host, everything. And I went through it because I wanted to go from pontificator back to print- practitioner. And so, I did, I changed everything again. And going through all the tools, the tools that I chose to use um, and go, and use was that, almost all of them I got to know the founders of the companies. But I didn't know them personally. Here's the thing, it wasn't like, Scott the non-marketing, and I know people in marketing. I don't know any of the people we signed up for was stuffed with. I just read their blog posts, and looked at what they want, they want for the company, and also what they stand for. And that has been a big separation I think over the past, at least to me over the past five years has been this much more push of, "Okay, where do you stand? What do you [00:22:00] believe in? What are the important things to this company? Not just that this company does ABC."

And that's a great opportunity for companies that have, have those kind of morals, and principles, and not a great opportunity for companies that don't, I don't think. Again, that's a very biased statement of me, because I only see what I wanna see, but I do feel there's a little bit more of a trend of humanizing more a lot of brands, especially B2B ones cause they, they aren't.

Kaylee Edmondson: Especially for B2B brands. It's like, if your founder is now you know, currently still your CEO, or still has a say in this brand, this is your opportunity to tell that story, right? And especially like, for you, and Alison, like, this is y'all's brand.

Scott Stratten: Mm. [affirmative.]

Kaylee Edmondson: This, and that is how you bring your brand to life.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: That's why your brand has so much life, because your brand is just a, an extension of you, both of y'all.

Scott Stratten: Yep.

Kaylee Edmondson: Um, and I think that somewhere along the road, specifically B2B, because that is what I can speak to I have no experience in B2C. But in B2B, somehow we became this like, very corporate tie on, [00:23:00] polished like, robotic talking thing, and it's like, no, like, we're still marketing to people, like, I'm still sending this email to you at the end of the day, and you're gonna read it. And it needs to move you in some type of way. You need to feel like, "Hey, this is from person." like, I used to send out an email today, and it was a mass email to a couple thousand people, but it's just like, you know, "Hi there." No, no more of that.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: like, that's not working for people.

Scott Stratten: Right.

Kaylee Edmondson: And so, you know, I just sent it out like, just like, I would have sent you an email for this podcast, like, "Hey what's up, we're doing this thing, here's why you should care, let me know reply. like, reply to me, a real human, and let me know if you care about this."

Scott Stratten: Yeah, it's funny, we just had ... So um, the esp we used for it uh, ConvertKit. And so, they just sold like, two days ago, they got bought, and uh, uh Nathan Barry I believe his name is the founder, and I followed him on Twitter for years. And that's the thing, you, you never know who's following you. You never know who's watching, you never know who's listening. [00:24:00] Um, which is how we got our, our own podcast sponsorship with, with Emma was we didn't even know the VP of that was, was a show listener. You never know who's observing these things. And so, I followed Nathan for years. I always loved his content, and so, when the time came for us to shift stuff from one place to another, I'm like, "You're right in my wheelhouse, you're right there." And that's that is actually the definition of marketing, and marketing is staying in front of your, your target audience, so when they have a need for your product, or service they choose you without, without hesitation.

That was the original definition on marketing 20 years ago.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: And that's exactly what happened with something like, ConvertKit. So I saw that, and then. So when it's sold, I feel like, I know Nathan. I don't know Nathan ... Like, we, I've DMed him on Twitter twice. Like, I don't know ... I'm not trying to say I know this. I'm not that type of guy, and I'm like, "I know this founder, I know this founder. I know ... " I don't know. And I, I just, we've talked a bit on Twitter. I was extremely happy for him when they sold. But every time before you know, years ago if you're using any kind of product, you know, what's the number one thing marketers will think to in my experience once a product gets [00:25:00] sold to another company they're like, "They're gonna break it." You know, they're gonna break it, and then it's not gonna work.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: it's like when a big company absorbs a small one, eventually what made them great goes away.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yep.

Scott Stratten: And not for this. It was like, I was, I'm like, "Yeah man, get paid." I was excited for them, and I just, that, that's not a usual reaction for a B2B company, as a user being excited for the founder cause they sold. It, it's like, "okay well they got their exit, or they eventually will have their exit, and now it's gonna break. So let's see what else is it." I'm excited for them, that was, that was a great thing, and that's how they ... Cause their voice was like that, and their, he was like that, and the employees were like that. but it wasn't just ... cause I don't believe in just founder facing type of companies. I mean that the company's like, look, "Our company is our team, and here they are."

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: And, and always, and always heightening them, and always promoting them outwardly, and that is because what happens is that helps the people who work there get, create their own brand, and then they become more [00:26:00] wanted, and maybe they actually end up going somewhere else, and getting a different job. But at the end of the day that's great, that's great, because you're helping the individuals, and just like, you and I were talking before we were recording. When you get to know people, and they go elsewhere in a, especially in a positive scenario, that's just a great relationship that continues on, even if they've left your company, and I love that.

Kaylee Edmondson: Back to the point around on marketing, and what you all believe in and stand for, and are trying to you know, convince others like this is the way is about is that ... I'm trying, I know. I'm here, we're trying, we'll try together. But like, is this motion of authenticity, and ... it's not always about scale, and growth, and how many more calls can we make today, and how many more emails can we send, and how many more of these things. Right? I think we're in this world of like, quantity over quality, and we need to re-prioritize quality.

Scott Stratten: Right. I, I said um, years ago uh, we were sitting. So [00:27:00] my, you know, our, our revenue base before the pandemic was entirely based on large indoor events. And uh, so you know, me doing keynotes at conferences. I do 60 a year, and ... give or take. And, and I was happy to do that forever. And we were sitting on a patio. I was in Frankfurt, Germany. How great, how cool is this that I got to get paid to go to Germany and speak? And we were sitting on a patio with schnitzel, and a stein of beer because we had to do every stereotypical thing possible when we went there. And uh, sitting across another speaker, and I had hit a, a big milestone in speaking. I had a certain revenue threshold of the year, it's kind of a, a vanity rung that every reaches for, and uh, my friend looked at me. The speaker looked at me who's a founder, you know, who's the one who does startups, and everything else. And he's like, "So what's next?" And puts his arm up like, this kind of, this, you know, keep going up, and up, and up. And I just took his arm, and I smacked it down, so it'd be just horizontal.

And I'm like, I don't have the endless pursuit of more in me. I've never had the endless pursuit of more, [00:28:00] which is just, just continue growing just because endless growth without any rhyme, or reason to it. That, that's all we're gonna do. I, I don't recommend companies you know, lose money. I don't, I'm not saying go down, or anything, but I'm saying when all you're doing is, is just just growth, growth, growth, growth, growth, growth, it's exhausting. It's exhausting because what happens is your target for 2020 is at this level, and, and the team busts their humps, and they really, really try, and they work their, their butts off to do it, and they finally hit that goal on December 30th, whatever. They meet and you're just like, yay, and we're gonna do an off-site, and yay, yay, yay. And the next year, that peak, that one you just almost killed yourself to get to becomes the floor. And now the next year is like, "Now we got to go again." And we just end up burning people out that way. And I just don't personally ever have that.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: Where I look forward, and say, "So it's not just about growth, because when growth comes, when, with growth with a company especially in B2B, growth also [00:29:00] means growing the company headcount wise, and individual wise. And as you grow, you change the company." There's no way around it really. You just ... A five person company is never gonna be like a 500 person company, it just doesn't work that way. And so, when you only have endless growth, you know, you're not really looking for the growing pains. And that can be a real problem when it comes to it. Especially when you have a company that's built on authenticity in the team, and the culture, you've got to have checks and balances in there, otherwise the endless growth turns into an unrecognizable company after you've 10 times your, your revenues eventually.

Kaylee Edmondson: You've had the opportunity over your career to work with so many different brands.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: Do you see any type of trend in that typical break point? Where it's like, "Okay, you've lost it, you've lost who you are, you've lost your voice. Some like, is there a thing, or is it always different?"

Scott Stratten: It's almost always different for, for me. And I'm always taking it from the outside. So, so I'm not always in, I'm not in those teams necessarily, but I've always found that it, it's the [00:30:00] breakneck growth, it's the speed of which ... Because you can't onboard somebody effectively in a day. You can't bring people and learn culture in a week. You can't, you know, you can't grow three times the size, and sit there, and go, "We're, we're the same." Well no, because it's, it's, "What are we gonna be now?" And that's one of the mistakes is you try to, you try to almost bowl you know, in a china shop, the culture through to the 500 people, to the 5000 people. And, and culture is a very basic thing that people kind of get confused sometimes. This culture simply is how you feel when you work there. That's it. And culture is actually much more ...

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: Uh, um, uh, intangible than we, we think it is. And it's, it's that. It's, it's turnover rates, it's, "I know a good culture when I don't have to recruit. I know a good culture when my employees are my recruiters. I know a good culture when my turnover rate is nonex- ... Is almost non-existent um, potentially." But that's, that's also a false one sometimes, because sometimes a great culture is knowing when somebody's hit their ceiling in your [00:31:00] company, and allowing them to grow elsewhere. And that's where that we have these false kind of things about culture, and cultures is simply how you feel at the company. And it is top down driven, but that's also team top down driven, so you can't have a great culture of a team necessarily the company.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: Because companies can be in seven different locations. Well you're not gonna have the same culture in those locations necessarily, but you can have it with teams. And the problem is for me I always is the more layers.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: When the layers come into effect more. So it's not ... You're reporting right now to the CEO, but your job may be different if you're reporting to three more layers than to the CEO, or there's three layers below you. Well, it's always causing it ... Because then, whenever you're dealing with humans, [laughs] you know, that species, you're gonna have things, and issues, and politics, and I think workplaces are like high school, except you get paid sometimes. You know, we ...

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: We, we have those things coming, so the more humans you involve in things, the more things that can come up, and happen, and then, and then we have that problem. And then there's like, one vacancy, and somebody didn't [00:32:00] get it, they thought they should, and then that's how it starts. And, and the transparency, and the authenticity internally should be there too, because I found the most authentic companies that a customer thinks are authentic are also authentic internally to each other.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: And that's sometimes harder than having a marketing thing where we're authentic outwardly.

Kaylee Edmondson: Exactly, and I think that goes into this motion of brand marketing, and I'd love to hit on it quickly.

Scott Stratten: Mm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: Because my perception of brand marketing has changed drastically over the years.

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: Um, so for instance when I worked for Emma, and that's how you and I first met.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: Um, I reported to someone who had an extensive background in brand marketing, whereas I had at that point in my career only ever been paid for performance marketing.

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: Um, so my mind was in very much self of like, "Okay, this is paid advertising, it needs to happen on social, it needs to happen on Google Ads here, all the channels." That's just where my mind was, and I thought, "Ugh, brand marketing, like, that's such fluff, like, I don't have time for that." But that was so [00:33:00] wrong. So mark my words, I'm saying this now, it's being recorded, that was so wrong.

Scott Stratten: [laughs].

Kaylee Edmondson: And it was just like, such a missed opportunity, and now I've seen the light, I understand that brand marketing is so much more than fluff, which is honestly my uneducated thought at the time.

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: Which is, it's just fluff.

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: But it's really not, because it plays into this uh, extension of your brand that we're kinda talking about here. And it comes to light in so many ... So many avenues, like, on personal email threads, or on my LinkedIn DMs, or whatever. And it's like, you know, I'm just one piece of this puzzle here.

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: When you have a team of 100, 500, 1000, people, that is your brand, and it's something that's really hard to control. Like, right?

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: These people are writing your narrative.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: Your customers, your prospects, the people who are engaging with your brand are writing this part of your story for you.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: Based on the engagements, and the in, you know, interactions that they have with [00:34:00] employees that work at your company.

Scott Stratten: Yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: And I think that that isn't prioritized enough in the grand scheme of marketing today.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Well, and I, I think that your initial thought of brand marketing though, it wasn't wrong.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: Somewhat. I honestly, when I-

Kaylee Edmondson: Go on.

Scott Stratten: No I, I, I don't think it's wrong. I think there's a lot of BS in brand marketing.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: I've, I, I was part of the BS, like, I, I get it. There's a lot of, because that brings us almost into some holistic marketing stuff too. And the, and the, you know, the, the brand the, the, the brand voice, and the, and this.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: And then you get into the visuals, and the logos, and all that type of stuff, and then you get the logo questions.

Kaylee Edmondson: Oh sure.

Scott Stratten: And you get the, and that.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: And all this type of crap. And you go through this, and this, and this. And then you have um, you know, but like, and then it's like, the sponsoring of our show. Right?

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: It was not really performance really, it was more overall brand thing, and what it works, and what it doesn't, and ... Look, you can hide a lot of stuff in brand marketing. You can hide a lot of waste in brand marketing, [00:35:00] but you can also hide waste and performance marketing, which ...

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: ... You can't, but you can, right? Depending on what those indicators are ...

Kaylee Edmondson: Oh yeah.

Scott Stratten: And where you're going. And I just think the problem is, is it's a fight for budget, it's a fight for credit, it's a fight for you know, just saying, "look I, I ..." You come out of the space of performance marketing, that's a, that's a trench. Like, you come out with scars out of that world right? You just come crawling out, and you're like, "Ugh." And then somebody's like, "I think we should update the logo." You know, and you're just like, "I just came out of a trench, and we just spent 40,000 on, and this went." And you're just like, "Well, is, what, do we have the pantones for the ..." You know, and we're just kind of, it's just kind of this ...

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: Sometimes it's fluffy type of stuff when it's not. But I find that everything is one, under one roof, and the bigger the company gets, and the more marketers that are in there, and the kind of the in-fighting that happens between it, between the SEO person here, and this person here, and you have a copywriter over here, you have [00:36:00] this, and you have all this. And then like, internal gatekeeping happens, which is fascinating-

Kaylee Edmondson: Yes.

Scott Stratten: ... To me right? Where, because, because nobody see ... Customers, clients don't see those things. They don't see silos, they don't see this. They're like, "Brand this, boom." And they don't see all the internal chaos that goes along with a lot of this type of stuff. And, and makes you want to have a one-person company again, or something. but there's, there's no ... Not one department of marketing, not one area marketing is, is the only BS part of it. A lot of marketing is BS. Is, is it because we we use fancy words a lot of times? We, we try to say things that make us sound smarter? And us, in an industry of marketing, one of the things we do is we make things overly difficult, and circling back to the original question, we were talking today was like, that's the reason for like Clubhouse. Well one thing's, if something's new, well if the rest of the marketers don't know it, or the rest of the company doesn't know it. So I'm gonna look even smarter, there's an ego thing involved there. And ego drives marketing sometimes too.

And that's ... It can be fine, it can be healthy. Ego can be part of, ego can be [00:37:00] healthy because you, you don't want to, to shatter that ego, so you really want to do well, but the other part comes in there, and then it's ownership, and saying, "No. this is mine this is what I did, this is what we did." When in reality, nobody cares. They just want overall to do well, the overall picture do better. And if you can get it together, and work together on this stuff. But that's about a team, and the team is only as good as the person leading the team, and then the members of that team.

And if there's politics, if there's favoritism, it doesn't matter what you do, it's just gonna fall off ... It's just gonna be moot, because they don't trust you.

Kaylee Edmondson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Scott Stratten: Trust is not just about clients, trust is employees, and I don't, I'm not gonna work as hard, or I'm not gonna spend the time, and show the initiative if I think that there's favoritism, if I think this or does this all, all credit will go to the performance marketing side of it, when we had nothing to do with it. And that's, there's infighting everywhere, and it, it's not part of the game I like to play.

Kaylee Edmondson: I think that's so it. It's all about like, yeah at the end of the day, your customers, your [00:38:00] prospects, your boss even probably doesn't really care who pushed go, who launched the thing, who changed the colors. As long as it's done, and it's working right?

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Kaylee Edmondson: Whatever those goals are you set beforehand, "I don't care if Jessica, Tom ..."

Scott Stratten: Doesn't matter.

Kaylee Edmondson: "... Myself, you, whoever. Right?" Um, just as long as it gets done, and I think we missed that a lot, because we get so busy, and caught up on this like, hamster wheel of just go, go, go, go, let's get the things, that it's like, "Look, let's just work together, we can get 10 times more things done. Like, it doesn't matter who's owning it.

Scott Stratten: Marketing things feels more hamster wheel now than ever. It does. It's just, there's running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running. You don't even get the pellet at this point right?

Kaylee Edmondson: I know.

Scott Stratten: You just keep running on the wheel.

Kaylee Edmondson: Always.

Scott Stratten: And, and that's, you set that tone. I, I, we alluded to it already on this. It's just, you can't ... With expiring content, and, and you're, you just run people into the ground.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah.

Scott Stratten: And you're dealing with humans. I don't care your brand, or your company, you've [00:39:00] got to understand that humans need feedback, and they need, they need praise, and they need security to know they're doing a good job, and they, and autonomy, and ... But we just dehumanize it a lot, and just say it's performance, performance, and that's my, one of my big problems with performance marketing too, it's just, it just comes down to that fraction of a percentage. Did it work, or did it not? Did you increase it? Did you do this? And you're just like, you're just a number, and it's not what we are.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah, it's all about the lift.

Scott Stratten: Well we need business. We need revenue, we need to increase things, okay. But understand that always reaching for the highest increase every single time, it can burn people up.

Kaylee Edmondson: Burns people out, it's not realistic, and yeah, like at the end of the day, it, your company, it's not gonna really move the needle that much for your company over some of these other things that you should put more prioritization on, and focus on.

Scott Stratten: Mm-hmm [affirmative], exactly.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah. So with that, let's end on that. Let me ask you one more question. Who is another marketer in the space that you're currently [00:40:00] following another book that you've read recently, something that's influenced you that the audience could go follow themselves or read?

Scott Stratten: That's a good question.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: Good last question. Now I gotta think about it for a second.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah. Sorry, I want to put you on the spot.

Scott Stratten: Oh it's okay.

Kaylee Edmondson: I know you're consuming stuff all day, So I just want to know what's on the top of your mind.

Scott Stratten: That's a good question. Um, I, I promoted something on LinkedIn a while ago, a book. And I, I promoted it as the highest promotion I could possibly do for something uh, you know, I put the UN, UN stamp on it, and I said ... And I haven't read it. That's how confident I have of this book. Because a friend of mine, Marcus Sheridan um, and he put out a book called, "They Ask, You Answer." Marcus is one of the best content marketers I've known on this planet, and he's the, his nickname was The Sales Lion, and he started a pool company, and he got known, and he got, grew his, exponentially grew his pool company from content marketing. And he's a brilliant speaker, and writer, and I haven't read the book. And I, I will ... I, I, even on the post on LinkedIn, [00:41:00] I said, "If you don't like it, I will refund your money." That's how good I know it can be.

And I, I would just ... If you're in marketing, and I would read Marcus's stuff. He's uh, he is killer.

Kaylee Edmondson: Great. I love it. A glowing revi- review without even having read it, so that [laughs] ...

Scott Stratten: Yeah, that's it.

Kaylee Edmondson: ... That must mean it's great right?

Scott Stratten: It also tells you how, how much focus I have to read books, but anyway.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: And then oh, one ...

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah, no time to that.

Scott Stratten: ... One just came out here today. I actually have a, from a friend of mine too. It's called, "I Love It Here." Um, it's less marketing based, but it's how great leaders create organizations that their people never want to leave, uh, by another friend of ours uh, Clint Pulver. And Clint is, is one of our favorite humans, and I love his stuff, and uh, he is a threat to my keynote speaking business, cause he's so good. And uh, I would also, I've, I've actually started reading this one, but it's, it's fantastic, so. You want, the marketing one is Marcus's, and then "I Love It Here" is a great one from Clint.

Kaylee Edmondson: Beautiful. I love it. Thank you so much for your time today. I love this. As always, you're so full of wisdom, and so insightful. So thank you, I appreciate it. Um, for anyone that's listening [00:42:00] that also loves you and wants to follow you, where should they go?

Scott Stratten: Uh, our world's UnMarketing. So you can always start it, and go from there. And you'll, you'll see the front page we have there which is, we changed it now. It's just like, 15 statements of what makes up on marketing. And if they resonate with you, then you're in the right place. And if not, then you can go somewhere else.

Kaylee Edmondson: Yeah, with a little bit of a humorous gif at the bottom too.

Scott Stratten: Of me falling off a freaking stage.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: Oh yeah.

Kaylee Edmondson: It's, it's classic though. It just shows that you're a real human.

Scott Stratten: If I didn't have the man bun, uh, I would have, I would have broken something, but my, my head hit the man bun, so I was cushioned.

Kaylee Edmondson: [laughs].

Scott Stratten: By the way-

Kaylee Edmondson: Cushioned, it's all good.

Scott Stratten: ... Just, just as a behind the scenes thing, and since nobody sees that in the gif, um, we were about to go on a Disney cruise like a few days later. Never text your wife in all caps, "I fell off the effin stage, and then go radio silent for three hours cause you're signing books." And she thinks you've been hospitalized. That's uh, this uh, it's just a friendly tip. I, I, It just ... No reason I brought it up. Just don't do that, [00:43:00] because then your wife may be panicking, and calling the crews, and saying, "Do they have a wheelchair?" Because they think their husband's in traction right now. And I wasn't, I just was signing books. So, [laughs].

Kaylee Edmondson: Knowing ... [laughs]. Knowing Alison, she's already like trying to book a flight to come find you, and figure out where you're at.

Scott Stratten: [laughs] a hun- ... 100%.

Kaylee Edmondson: So she can come save you.

Scott Stratten: 100%. 100%.

Kaylee Edmondson: I love it. I love it so much. So thank you, thank you as always. I appreciate it.

Scott Stratten: Hey, thank you Kaylee. This, this has been wonderful.

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Demand Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Tara Robertson. Join us as we sit down with B2B marketing leaders to hear about the latest tactics and campaigns that are driving pipeline and revenue.
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