On this episode of B2B Podcasting, Chris Walker teaches our audience how demand generation is not only possible, but can be efficient and effective when B2B brands embrace video podcasting to scale their thought leadership output.
Connect with Chris Walker:
Connect with Kap Chatfield:
Kap Chatfield 00:20
Hey, Today on B2B Podcasting, we got a really amazing guest with us today. His name is Chris Walker, he is the CEO and founder of Refine Labs, a demand generation firm that serves B2B SaaS companies. If you haven't already seen him on LinkedIn, make sure to follow him personally and also his company. And beyond that he's also the host of the State of Demand Gen Podcast. Chris, thanks for joining us on the show today.
Chris Walker 00:46
Kap, thanks for the intro. I'm really excited to be on the show. Podcasting is something that I'm ultra passionate about, have seen incredible results in in the business that I started also several businesses where I was a market employee before that, and so totally believe in the concept and look forward to diving into it.
Kap Chatfield 01:03
Well before we get into the podcasting strategy, because you're clearly doing it really well you, found a very specific niche that not not a lot of people are creating podcasts about. But I've noticed like if I was on Spotify, and I typed in Demand Gen, you guys are if not the top one, you're one of the top ones. So you guys are you've positioned yourself really well there. But before we get into the nuts and bolts of how podcasting has become an incredible strategy for your marketing efforts. Let's let's go back to the beginning, you just mentioned that you were you were an employee at other companies doing marketing things for them... what what was the path that take you to where you are now and focusing on Demand Gen?
Chris Walker 01:45
Yeah, so I've been in b2b, my entire career. Started in engineering, believe it or not, and so I was an engineering for the first six months writing software. The company recognized that my skills, I think the company recognized that I wasn't that great at writing code. And so they helped me move into a product management role that was upstream, which was focused on understanding customers deeply, putting together business cases, figuring out what products and features, we're going to build on the roadmap, figuring out how to price them get the sales team ready launch products, was my the initial part of my career. After that, I started working in manufacturing, process optimization. And I'll tie this all back together, because they all all the experiences work together, manufacturing process optimization, where we're building a million parts a year. And if we can save a little bit of time, or cut out a little bit of costs, or replace that supplier, or improve the efficiency, the entire system and the profitability margin of the company gets way higher. In addition to that, I've built several ecommerce companies on the side, that's where I really cut my teeth on digital advertising, digital advertising, where I'm using my own money. And if that advertising doesn't generate ROI, then I lose my own money, which is something that I think a lot of marketers have not gone through. I have spent $1,000 on Amazon search ads, shirt search ads, broad match, and gotten zero sales and lost $1,000 of my own money. And I don't make that I don't make a lot of those, what I would call amateur advertising mistakes anymore. Because it real, I really felt
Kap Chatfield 03:24
You felt the pain personally.
Chris Walker 03:26
Yeah, conversely, when you're actually when you're actually running it, you look for different nuances. And so I found a ton of nuances and things that do work that a lot of marketers would never look for or see on the other side. And then so I had all of these different skills, I moved into b2b venture funding companies and starting in 2016, and started to deploy these skills on high growth companies in a demand function. When I got into that company, I wasn't thinking, Hey, I'm going to be a demand marketer, right? They hired me to do sales enablement, they hired me to be a segment manager, basically product marketing, and field marketing put together it was marketing for this company. And I got into the company and I looked at the business data, and I went out with sales reps, and I heard what prospects were saying. And I heard what customers are saying, and I looked at our win rates from meeting to close, and I was like, "This company doesn't need to field marketer, they need demand gen". And so I built what what they actually needed was they needed a way for, for buyers to understand way more about what they did before they talk to a rep, which I think a lot of companies do. And so I just looked at what is the buyer need, they need a lot more information on the front end in order to make decisions in order to be interested in having a meeting with our sales rep. My job as a marketer, as opposed to trying to help the sales rep do good in a meeting where the buyer doesn't want to be in the meeting.
Kap Chatfield 04:47
So if I can ask you a question, because in a lot of your episodes better understanding how you think about marketing. I'm also trying to think from the perspective of somebody who's listening to this episode who might not know some of these, some of these terms in marketing. So there's would you say, could you could you just explain what demand gen is? And is it different from lead generation just, you know, go go off on a tangent to help us understand what that phrase means.
Chris Walker 05:15
Yeah, so most people see, they think they're talking about demand gen, but they're actually talking about lead gen, which is basically all of what b2b marketing is about right now is lead gen, I see them as two completely different things. Lead gen, I'm trying to convert someone right now I'm going to have direct attribution, I'm basically doing digital sales. Versus demand Gen, which is I'm not looking for attribution, I'm doing whatever is in the best interest of the customer based on the channel and the intent that they have, in order to create some sort of desire or affinity to our product or category or company in the future. And when you split those two things out, and if anyone looked, you would realize that 99% of marketers fall into the lead gen bucket. And what I've found over time, is that buyers respond better to demand gen, and it flat out just works better and moving people through buying cycles. And so when I break those into two, that's how I see them.
Kap Chatfield 06:14
So Oh, man, there's, there's, I want to ask you some more questions about, about your thought leadership, maybe we'll just come back at the end. But I feel like that's such a good transition to actually go right into your show, specifically, the State of Demand Gen, and how you're leveraging that content, because you're probably creating that content with this demand gen perspective in mind, am I correct on that?
Chris Walker 06:43
Totally, yeah, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna finish up real quick on my career, cuz I think it's important for the listeners. And so I, I was building out that demand gen function inside of that company, and ended up delivering millions of dollars of net new revenue for 30 million AR company, within a short period of time. The budget grew, the team grew, customer acquisition cost was way, way lower, it just generally made a ton more sense. The reason that I was able to do all those things inside of the company is because that company didn't fall under a lot of the assumptions or constraints that software companies use when they think about demand gen, which is, "I need attribution, I have a short term mindset I need to collect leads for sales". It pushes you into one type of marketing that you can do, and I looked at this whole other way of doing it. And so it wasn't just running Facebook ads and things. We had built a video podcast in 2017 for physicians, right? So I would go out, I would be the host, I would go out, video interview people that ran clinical trials about things and ask them those questions, and then put it on a video podcast on our website. And we didn't even rip that into an audio podcast back in the day. But it was a video podcast that got chopped up for social ads as well. And so when I did that, I learned about all the things that work that aligned to revenue. And so now when I went out and started to build my company, it was very clear, what were the things that I'm going to do to build my company. I knew that people were responding well to the podcast for physicians, because I would send it out in emails, and people would respond, "That thing is, this has been so good, I would love someone to come and talk to you talk to us about how we could use this product at our hospital". And so I took all of those different learnings and then started to build my company, and this, I think that's a great segue into the strategy that we took in our to get our company off the ground.
Kap Chatfield 08:35
So before you start talking about your show, the State of Demand Gen, it's clear that you you kind of tested this method of creating content and really getting the right information from, from your audience and from your prospects in order to to, you know, to be more effective in the sales process. But you started this with, with a previous company that you're working for this, this medical device company. So tell us a little bit about that show. What was the goal of that show? Why did you start it? We just want to hear some of the strategy behind that.
Chris Walker 09:08
Yeah, so look, I think that every, I think most people listening to this, and they're in a b2b company, they're what they if they looked, they would say, "we have a strong product with a clear value proposition, and what we need is that we need people to understand these important things, so that they're more likely to consider our products once they understand them". That's what it was in this in this company, there was three or four things that people believe that were no longer true, that held them back from ever considering our product. And so it was pure education, let me bring in people that have done clinical trials that show that the things that these people believe that used to be true is no longer true, and maybe they should consider something else. And that was it. So it's pure, it's like my entire thesis on marketing is like, you should be able to just educate people, and once they understand those things, they should be more likely to, to consider the product. So I brought in influential people that run clinical trials, I brought in people that had used our, you know, popular influential people that have used our product and in certain use cases that people didn't believe were possible and talk through those. And those were the main ones bringing people together to to talk about those things. So it wasn't there was no prospecting agenda on this. I think that that's uh, it can work, I get that. But I think the sales like sales approach there can have a real wave of really bad taste in people's mouth, sometimes from podcasting. So yeah, that was the strategy.
Kap Chatfield 10:52
Did you use? Did you see any sort of a lack? Or a what? How do I say it? Did you see hesitancy decrease from getting these conversations with these people? Because you're inviting them on a podcast versus just trying to shoot them an email and trying to get them to answer you in an email?
Chris Walker 11:12
Yes, of course. And we still see that here today. There are plenty of people, especially two years ago, that would have never met with me that agreed to be on our podcast in the first message, because it's an invite into a podcast, we will want to share their point of view. So yeah, I think that's a lowering the barrier to have someone into a conversation through a podcast is clearly true. The thing that I alluded to it a little bit in the statement before that, the thing after that is that you actually have to deliver. Because I've seen people and experience where people invite me onto their podcast, and then put me in a 12-step sequence the week afterwards, and that does the opposite of what you want. Clear that note, they didn't actually want to have me on the podcast to share my thoughts with the audience, what they wanted to do is pretend that they want to put me on a podcast so that they could do sales to me, and that's what you don't want to have happen as a as a podcaster.
Kap Chatfield 12:01
Yeah, that's just, that's kind of slimy, it's so for those listening. I mean, the goal of doing a show is, I mean, one thing that we say, Chris, is, there's two types of content on the internet, there's a content that you want to consume and the content that interrupts the content that you want to consume. One is a show and one is a commercial, and commercials, as you've, you know, you understand in your line of work, they're salesy, they repel audiences, they get skipped, muted, ignored, bypassed altogether. And the but the benefit of a show is that a show actually builds an audience because it provides genuine value. And so if you're, if you're creating a show, strictly from a sales perspective, it's gonna, it's gonna come off in, you know, in the way that you approach the guests on the show. And I, you know, you said this in a, I forget what episode you said this, but I was probably like driving driving home from a business trip or flying home. And you were talking about how, when you're focused on short term gains for your company versus thinking about the long game, it changes your approach to everything, it changes, how you have the conversation, it changes how you interact. And people? I mean, I don't know if I don't know if you would agree, I would assume that you would, I feel like people's BS meters are like, more sensitive than ever, and they just know, they can discern when you're trying to sell them or when you're being genuine.
Chris Walker 13:28
Mm hmm. Yeah, I totally agree. I never invite someone on podcasts, I want to do sales to them. I post content, never thinking about how many leads, it's gotten me. I don't send any direct messages, I don't engage with people's content so I can spam them with a sales message later. Like my and it comes back to again, like the difference between lead gen and demand gen, like if you're in demand gen, it's pure education, affinity, so that people come to the same conclusion that you've already come to. That it's clear through education in a way that they want, as opposed to forcing them into something so that you can do sales to them. And so that's the really the difference that I look at. The short term mindset drives all of the sales behaviors, and I have empathy for a lot. Most marketers get forced into the short term behavior because of how the company sets up their metrics and their goals, which is unfortunate. But that's, that's kind of the way it is.
Kap Chatfield 14:29
From from listening to you a lot, one thing that I've gathered is that "attribution" is almost like a curse word. And you, you, you it's not that you don't want to measure success, but you've you've seen that companies when they're so focused on attribution, they actually miss the bigger picture of how content performs on all these different channels that might actually educate somebody over a period of time to lead them to go to the search bar and actually typing in your URL. Or go into Google and search, searching the name of your company. And attribution, if you're just tracking attribution, then the metrics would tell you that Google and direct are the ways that people are coming to your company, when it's really, it was the touch point of that first podcast, they listened to. Or then that third LinkedIn post that, that got them to talk to a friend that they knew was using their your product or your service. And then that conversation with them made you think, "Okay, you know what? I think I'm going to check it out". And then that takes you to Google right? So. So I understand that that's kind of how you look at it, but how, how you will obviously measure success for your clients. And so how would you? How would you define how you measure success for your clients?
Chris Walker 15:45
Is revenue going up or not? Are more people coming to our website, asking us to buy stuff and talk to our sales team? Are those people moving into qualified pipeline at a higher rate than they were six months ago? That's what matters, simple. It's super, super simple when you strip it out. People get caught, I call it the catch-22 of attribution because the attribution will only basically measures digital sales, measures channels that are lower funnel, digitally easy to attribute and misses everything else. And companies make strategic decisions on what to do after that, not respecting how much buyers have changed since attribution software was created in the late 2000s, early 2010s. Were journeys are no longer simple, like they are now, or are no longer simple, like they used to be, at least from a digital behavioral perspective. And so it doesn't give credit to a podcast, organic social, or a community touch, or a billboard or a third party event. Or if I talked about some brand on a podcast, or word of mouth, which I believe drives most buying decisions today, between peers, all those things aren't getting tracked. Companies think that organic search and SEO is what's driving all their business and there's all these different touch points that are actually making the most impact that they're not measuring, which then drives the the activities that they decide to do. It's also a catch-22, because if you rely on attribution, you would never do any of the things that I just mentioned, because you don't have a clear way to measure them in this little box structure that was created a decade ago about how to measure stuff for b2b marketing. And those are, those are the challenges. The lucky thing for me is when I actually started to do this in 2017, the company that I worked for didn't know what attribution what marketing attribution was, didn't care. What they cared about, is our we, like the things that I mentioned before, are we getting more revenue than we got last quarter through marketing? How much is it growing? How much is it growing relative to how much more we're investing in it? How much is it costing us to get a customer relative to how we're doing our cold calling? How much it's costing us over there? That's what matters. And so I built my entire way of doing marketing around driving revenue forward, as opposed to driving leads with attribution forward. And that's essentially the difference about why I why I love to do a podcast, why I love organic social, because I'm not caught up in channel level attribution metrics that everyone else is. So super great
Kap Chatfield 18:23
Great segway for the show. It is it is simple, but it's, it's still like, it still takes some. How do you say? It's like you have to you have to re-think the entire way you do marketing. I mean for you, you've been in this for years, and you've seen this, but for others, like I'm thinking of the CEO, the CFO, and the COO of an organization, like they might not think with this mindset, they're just looking at like, "Hey, we want to we want to track results. And this is how we've seen it." So. So I'm interested in, I'm sure you you're using the you're using the show for your own for, you know, to kind of educate people about your own expertise, but you're probably also using it to kind of help help business owners and business leaders cross over that threshold. I don't want to take away from what you want to say about your show. So why don't you just kick it off with like, what made you guys start the show? And how are you leveraging it right now for your business?
Chris Walker 19:21
The initial reason that we started the show, if we're being honest here, so the the initial part of the company was built through posting organically on LinkedIn. I would put together a post, I would write it out, I would post it, we started to get customers, I started to do more of it. We started to then introduce some video. We saw that video was working better than text, and then we needed a reason to do more video. And so the podcast was one of the ways where "Hey, like if we do a podcast two times a week, then we'll get two hours worth of video. If we chop that up we'll have 20 video clips that we can then post on LinkedIn, which will continue to allow us to go". So that was the real rationale as to why we created the podcast, was to fuel organic social, which is, I think, a really good strategy for most people. As we started to do it, we, when we did the podcast, we actually have a pretty unique setup here, I'm our podcast involves not just like an interviewing of different guests, but recorded events where I'm speaking at where I'm a guest on podcast, we do have certain guests, but it's probably 20, 30% of the episodes, not 100%. So it's a little bit unique there. With the goal of the podcast, again, if you just read back to the basic things, helping people better understand our perspective on the world, which then leads them to some of the same outcomes that we've already gotten to. And so that's, that's what it is, we do spend a ton of time helping people answer questions that have nothing to do with our business, we spend time talking about things that are top of mind for our customers that our customers are struggling with, or definitely other people are. And we do it at a rate that I haven't seen many b2b companies do. Which I think is also one of the reasons that it has been very successful.
Kap Chatfield 21:17
So when you when you do your show, now, I know that some people, when they do their show, they're hesitant to make it about their expertise, because they feel like they don't want to make it about them. Nobody wants to hear them. So they're they're very interview focused on their shows. And that's great. I think there's a place for that. But I do believe, personally, in the power of a podcast as a vehicle to not just distribute thought leadership, but to develop it as a place where it's like, it's like your incubator. It's your training ground, to better clarify what you think about things. So I love to hear your perspective on on that on how on how your show has been helpful for you to become a more qualified expert in your field.
Chris Walker 22:05
Totally, the I think what you were trying to say there is it comes down to having a point of view.
Kap Chatfield 22:11
Chris Walker 22:12
And so and I think a lot of companies either don't think about having a point of view, I think that so they wouldn't think about using a podcast in that way. Or they don't put the right talent or people inside of a podcast to even have a shot of communicating the point, the point of view of the company, which I think is a couple of reasons why it breaks down. When we think about kind of like changing this dynamic inside of companies, I look at it in three different ways. It's it's mindset first, then metrics, then execution. A lot of people try and change things at the metrics level before they've changed the mindset. You mentioned this about, like, what is the CEO or the CFO think they just want to get get leads, we need to change the mindset about what marketing is doing inside of companies, which is we are trying to build to educate the market at scale, which right now, what we do, what most companies do for education is they try and shove people into into product demos, so that their sales team can try and tell them a couple of things before before they tuned them out. As opposed to having marketing educate the entire market in a way that they want. Which would make sales way more efficient. So that all that like that 1.0 levels, 1.0 and 2.0 level stuff that you're getting covered in that product demo right now is already done. So changing the minds, changing the mindset about what marketing actually is, and if the mindset is okay, we need to educate broadly so that our, our entire market knows all of these things so that when they're in a sales conversation, that our sales becomes way, way easier, then how are we going to change our metrics in order to allow our marketers to do that? And then once we change the metrics, how does that facilitate actual different executions of things? So I know I kind of went on a little tangent there, but I wanted to weave that in because the mistake that people make is trying to change the execution before the mindset has been changed.
Kap Chatfield 24:07
That's super interesting. As far as you know, you're also using your show in strategic ways. I've heard you talk about this before. I don't know if you're currently executing this strategy, but I know that you were you were at least hypothesizing about it. As far as how to leverage that content for paid media, because there's a mindset about paid media on LinkedIn and Facebook, particularly these social platforms where it's very, you know, sign on the dotted line approach, right? It's like, "Hey, let's get the sale. Let's get the lead". But I know that you're you're kind of messing around with how can you even use, how can you reframe the way you think about paid media that's still educationally focused, but now you're amplifying it and you're targeting in front of the right audience? Do you have anything to say about that?
Chris Walker 25:00
Yeah, and the only reason just so people know that I've come to the conclusion that I'm about to communicate with you is that I've done all of these things. I've been in Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, trying to just collect a bunch of leads, ebooks, demos, whatever, getting contacts at the right time at the right companies with the right titles, passing them to sales. Sit... they move immediately to close, lost, if an opportunity even gets created. And when you get aligned to revenue, you stop doing those things. So that's basically what I've done, at tried that at more than 10 different companies, because a lot of companies ask us to go through that now that we work with them. You get the same result every time because it doesn't align with how people buy complex multi stakeholder b2b products. And so all you're doing is paying money to collect email addresses so that your sales team can waste their time trying to sell the people that don't buy. So that's why I don't do it. But when most people think about paid media, they think about lead gen. Because that's what they've been trained to think about it with, and they think, "okay, so when I run these ads, I need to get a lead for $30". What they should be thinking about is when I run these ads, I need to get customers that have an acceptable customer acquisition cost to keep growing. That's the gap. And if you can, if you respect that gap, what you find is okay, actually, I don't want to use paid media in awareness channels like Facebook or or LinkedIn where people don't have intent, I don't want to use it to collect leads that don't buy, what I want to do is educate people about it could be about the product, it could be about the category could be about a case study or a testimonial with a company it doesn't need to be so fluffy top of funnel that it doesn't have any that doesn't have any relevance to business outcomes. There's a ton of ways to make it relevant to business outcomes, by delivering them so yes, we could take our this podcast right now put a title on it, just like you'd see organically on LinkedIn, captions in the bottom, run media to that against CMOS at certain certain company sizes, or whoever you're targeting. And that is a viable, viable execution in a paid mix. I think that like videos like that become 10- 20% of a full mix, there's product marketing, social proof, category, marketing, other things that you would put on there as well.
Kap Chatfield 27:09
It's, it's wild, because I've actually, you're probably the same way as a marketer where I mean, I spend time on these social platforms for just, you know, personal reasons I enjoy, you know, enjoyed being on them. But one thing I've noticed is like, I will stop at a certain post or an ad, and I will think to myself, "why do I why did that make me stop? Why do I like what was effective about that?" And so, what I've noticed is, I'm seeing so many ads on Instagram, particularly, where the app like the ad itself is like a 30 to 60 second clip from some Podcast, where the person's talking about what you know, whatever, whatever is their product or whatever it is their point of view. And it actually is really engaging for me, it's not like highly produced it's not like a ton of B roll, it's just them talking on a show. And for whatever reason, it just works. There's there's something about that organic and real and genuine factor that just works for me. I don't know if you've ever seen that.
Chris Walker 28:12
I mean, just generally like the, the how I get a lot of the advertising concepts that I use is I reverse engineer why things worked on me. Instagram Stories is a really good example. It's like, I'm flipping through stories what's gonna make me stop and consume this thing for 15 seconds? Cuz it's hard to do that. So I use that methodology a lot. So pairing my own experiences, which a lot of people will call that like, I've heard people like poopoo doing that because, "oh, that's me-marketing my buyers are so much different than then you like you're a marketer", bla bla bla bla bla. And what I found is actually, this is pretty much human behavior, I was selling to ER nurses and ICU physicians and the same principles apply. There as they do here, you just need to have intuition as a marketer to know how to translate them when it's necessary by channel or by things like that. But it's pretty much universal. People want to have people want good information in the places that they are, that brings them value that helps them understand things and they want to buy when they want to buy not when you want to sell to them. Pretty, pretty simple.
Kap Chatfield 29:16
So it's so simple, it's so good. Hey, I want to ask you what do you think, because obviously you you believe in the video podcast model, particularly for the b2b space, I think you know there's there's the element of the sales cycle in b2b is less transactional so it's, you know, it's more like having a conversation over the long term. And and you know, as as you've stated, kind of creating that that demand and weeding out the people that are just not going to be interested in what you have to offer at all. But what what would you say in your experience keeps keeps b2b business leaders from starting a podcast?
Chris Walker 29:55
I think number number one is just pure, like stale antiquated thinking at the leadership level. So this, I experienced this when I wanted to run Facebook ads in 2017, executives were like, fuck that that's not like, "our customers don't use Facebook", and then you just pull the data and you're like, actually 97% of our customer or our demographic right here, use either Facebook or Instagram, or both of them. 97% like, so there's a lot of thinking where, "Oh, Facebook is not a business platform, or podcasting is not right for my business", for some excuse that I make to, mainly to so that they can keep doing things that feel safe and comfortable. Like running display ads, building tradeshow booths, doing the same shitty webinars that they've been doing for 10 years, etc. So stale thinking at the leadership level. Number two is lack of attribution. And so because it's not a digital sales channel, where you can accurately attribute in those ways to sales, they'll push money and budget to things that are more easily measured, which again, is the catch-22 of attribution, because over time that ruins your business, doesn't help it. Number three, is is lack of lack of talent or resources. So I find that the companies that choose to do a podcast, put the put people on the project where it's set up to fail, right? Like you're going out, you're going after chief information security officers, officers, and you have a marketing specialist, and a sales director as the people that are working on your podcast, huh? How are those two people going to provide ton like, tons of value, we're a CSO. Out of all the things that a CSO could could consume or watch or do, they're going to choose to watch your marketing specialist and a sales director? Why? Like you need to have talent and knowledge inside of the podcast in order to do that. That's nothing to do with people's job titles or their functions that they work in. It has to do with the mismatch between the people that are running the podcast knowledge, and the actual desired consumer. And so I think those are three clear misses as to why companies don't do it.
Kap Chatfield 32:26
I love that perspective, especially that last one because to me, what that communicates is, it's you got to move away from being enamored by the method of podcasting. And you have to think about it as a as a vehicle for having the conversation with your audience without you actually being in the room with them. And so that's it's the same sort of thing, like in order to win them over, you're not going to have a marketing specialist speak their language, you need somebody on your team that speaks their language. The podcast just gets that gets that conversation in front of them.
Chris Walker 33:02
Like our nor our North Star since the beginning of content rights, this is like, I'm pretty sure that the only employee of the company was me when this North Star was created. It's create the best demand gen or marketing content for b2b on the internet. That's like completely. And so when and if you have that North Star, you actually you can set your own North Star, right like you can make it smaller, larger, global, states you can you can set your Northstar however you want. But for us, the key was create the best stuff, not have the most leads or create have the most listeners or you know invite prospects on. Because when you create the best stuff, people will find it, people come in and look for our content or on our podcast because it doesn't exist anywhere else. Not everyone no one else is talking about this specific, like specific approach with a specific mindset. And so I think that can really help companies if they once they choose "Okay, we're gonna go after a podcast", set a North star. So people know what you're what you're after.
Kap Chatfield 34:12
Yeah, get clear on your North star. I love that. Hey, as we wrap this up, I want to ask you two final questions, which really kind of come back more to your thought leadership versus the podcast strategy per se. The first question I want to ask you is, what's a question that you have people ask you too often about your area of expertise?
Chris Walker 34:36
I never think about it. So yeah, it doesn't bother me when I get the same, the same question often because I can take it in a ton of different directions. So I don't really think about questions that I get a lot.
Kap Chatfield 34:50
Well, what's a question that you're that you recognize is just asked all the time, and maybe you can answer that question for the audience today. For those that might help thinking it?
Chris Walker 35:00
I mean, like, I'm thinking in my head about the questions that I don't want people to ask, right? Like, and so that sure, that's what I'm like, tell me about what you do? Like those types of things I don't think add a ton of value to the listeners. And so I try not to cover questions like that.
Kap Chatfield 35:17
What about for your business specifically for the world of demand gen? What are what are, what's a question that your, your clients or potential clients ask you? Yeah, so not so much about on the show, but regarding your area of expertise, where you're thinking like, "that's the wrong question, we need to stop asking that question".
Chris Walker 35:35
Yeah. How long is this going to take to results? How are we going to measure this? How many leads? Do you think this will get us? What technology should we use to do that? Those are those are some of the the the beginner level questions that happen, and they come from they come from advanced people, but they're beginner questions.
Kap Chatfield 36:05
And then the, I guess, the help us understand why you feel like that, that question is asked too often.
Chris Walker 36:13
Because the mindsets busted. How, you know, we're, we're trying to grow our company to, you know, be a unicorn, and we're at 1 million ARR. And, and we're trying to do a podcast, I'm thinking that people are thinking about how long is it going to take us to get results, like we're going to flip on a switch and have our business is going to unicorn in the next three, three months, or three days or three minutes, right? And so the obsession with short term trackable stuff is actually sales. Right? And so what I've, what I've learned over time is that people, people think that they're doing marketing, but they're actually just doing digital sales.
Kap Chatfield 36:55
Whoa. That's a mic drop.
Chris Walker 36:58
And I, and I think people need to really think about the idea of doing digital demand digital brand, I don't, you can put whatever label on it you want, but it's it's separating out between digital sales and doing some other form of marketing over the internet.
Kap Chatfield 37:17
That, that you'll probably see that become a quote graphic from this episode. So that was that was great. But the final question, and it's actually the kind of the converse of that question I just asked you. What's a question that you wish your clients or prospects asked you more?
Chris Walker 37:38
I wonder what our customers would think about that? Hmm. Should we go and, should we go and talk to our customers about that before we run this campaign?
Kap Chatfield 37:49
Oh, that's interesting.
Chris Walker 37:51
Should we go and test that? That messaging about our category with 30 prospects, before we roll it out? Those are the things that I the the, the disconnect between marketing and customers is what I'm really communicating here. And so the reason that I feel like I've been a very strong marketer is because instead of working through the sales team to get to customers, and this isn't about this, the sales team, by the way. When I was doing this, and when I figured this out, was because what sat in the middle between me and our customers was distributors, we sold hardware through distribution, right? And so you didn't actually get to go and interact with customers, which and if you didn't go and interact with customers, you didn't know what products to build, you didn't know how to message it, you didn't know which skews to kill outside of sales data, you didn't know what people were using instead. And so I went out and talked to people, which then allowed me to go over the top, create marketing over the top over distributors down to customers to pull sales all the way through. And that's what marketing should be doing, and b2b. Marketing should be going over the top from sales, communicating directly with customers, pulling sales all the way back through. And that's just not what's not what I see happening right now. I see marketing service and sales team to get meetings as opposed to serving the customer with the outcome being sales meetings.
Kap Chatfield 39:17
Gosh, that's awesome. I love that that's just it's it's such a it's it's a man, I feel like in this overly automated world that we live in. That's just not how people think, especially in the digital space. Like we want it to be, like set it and forget it, let the leads come in, and then we hand them off. But what you're saying is like is a really human approach to to doing marketing is really understanding who your audience is and how to serve them better. That's great. Well, Chris, man, we're coming at the top of the hour. I'm so grateful that you could spend some time with us here. How can people follow you, follow your show? And learn more about your firm?
Chris Walker 40:02
Yeah, so if you're interested in following the podcast is called the State of Demand Gen Podcast available on Apple and Spotify and feel free to connect or follow me on LinkedIn, Chris Walker. We post micro clips from the podcast, they're almost daily so you get a sense, if you follow the podcast and LinkedIn, you'll get a pretty good sense of our organic content strategy, which is something that I encourage people to look at because it's easily replicatable for whoever you're trying to go after.
Kap Chatfield 40:30
Fantastic and if you're in the b2b space, you're a SaaS company, check them out, they're delivering results, and they're really, they're making marketing meaningful, which is just super inspiring. So Chris, couldn't thank you enough for being on the show today, man. Thanks for joining us.
Chris Walker 40:45
Thanks, guys. Awesome to be here.
Ready to reveal your value to the market with your own B2B show?