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"Co-creating your marketing strategy and content ft. Dustin Tysick of Jostle" (Inbound Success Ep. 131)

"Co-creating your marketing strategy and content ft. Dustin Tysick of Jostle" (Inbound Success Ep. 131) Blog Feature

February 24th, 2020 min read

How did Jostle more than double its traffic, revenue, and staff size almost entirely through inbound marketing?

Dustin Tysick
Dustin Tysick

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Jostle VP of Marketing & Growth Dustin Tysick shares the company's approach to "co-creation," and why working closely with the sales and customer success teams has helped the marketing team create a strategy and content that consistently drives leads.

Dustin gets into specifics around how to solicit feedback and how to balance the input you're getting with the need to move fast and make decisions.

This is actionable advice that can be applied by any marketer in any setting to get better results and secure buy-in. 

Highlights from my conversation with Dustin include:

  • Jostle is an intranet company.
  • Dustin joined the company five years ago and was the only marketing person. Today, he heads up a marketing team of six.
  • Dustin defines co-creation as "getting people together who have different points of view at different angles in order to contribute to a problem and solve it in a better and faster way."
  • Until a year and half ago, Jostle's inbound marketing growth was 100% fueled by inbound marketing.
  • Jostle's top of the funnel growth came from creating content that answered their customers' and prospects' questions.
  • In the past year, the company has doubled its organic traffic using a pillar content and topic cluster approach.
  • At the heart of Jostle's strategy is co-creation - specifically, involving representatives of the sales and marketing teams in the early brainstorms around content.
  • In addition, they had a deliberate strategy of using the exact words that customers use in their own marketing.
  • Dustin has found that the best way to get meaningful feedback from the customer success and sales teams is to do it through one on one meetings.
  • One successful campaign that Jostle ran that was the product of co-creation involved  the production of an explainer video.
  • All marketing copy that Jostle creates must pass the "BS test" which involves reading the copy out loud to see if it sounds natural, and then determining whether someone with a completely non-technical background could understand it.
  • One of the biggest challenges for the project owner is to balance listening to everyone's input with making decisions. At the end of the day, the process is not about reaching consensus.
  • With the feedback collected, Dustin's team creates draft copy for the company's marketing campaigns and then meets with designers who sketch out, conceptually, what a design would look like.
  • In the time since Dustin joined Jostle, the company has growth from 25 to 75 employees, and all of that growth has been driven by inbound.
  • In the last year, Dustin and his team have shifted their focus from generating leads for sales to creating sales opportunities. As a result the percentage of marketing-influenced closed won revenue has increased considerably.

Resources from this episode:

Listen to the podcast to learn how Dustin has grown Jostle by collaborating with the company's sales team on its marketing strategy and content.


Transcript

Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast.

I'm your host Kathleen Booth and today my guest is Dustin Tysick who is the VP of Marketing and Growth at Jostle. Welcome Dustin.

Dustin Tysick (Guest): Hey, thanks for having me. I'm really looking forward to this conversation.

Dustin Tysick and Kathleen Booth podcast
Dustin and Kathleen recording this episode.

Kathleen: Yeah, thanks for traveling in through the driving snow to get here. You guys are in Vancouver and I know you had a rare snow storm.

Dustin: Yeah, for sure. Yesterday I woke up and saw it was going to be a two hour delay and camped out from home. But I made the trek today to get to the microphone, and yeah, I'm looking forward to this.

Kathleen: I have to admit, as old as I get, I still feel like a kid every time there's a snow day because I'm like, "Yes, I get to stay in my pajamas an hour longer." It's like that never gets old.

Dustin: Yeah, no totally. I love the first day or two of snow and then I just hope for the rain.

Kathleen: Yeah, then you get cabin fever.

Dustin: Yeah, exactly. But no, it was actually awesome staying home. It was a nice little break. Went out, built a snowman with my son. It was a good time overall.

Kathleen: That's great. Well, I am super excited to chat with you. For those who are listening and they may not be familiar with Jostle or with you, can you tell my listeners a little bit about yourself and your story, what Jostle is and how you came to be doing what you're doing today?

About Dustin Tysick and Jostle

Dustin: Cool. Yes. I'll start with Jostle. So we're in a space that people often don't love. We're in the intranet space, which is kind of like a "ugh" word sometimes and we want to change that.

So basically what we do is old intranet, is you build a bunch of pages, you build a website essentially. We've decided to build a platform to solve that communication problem and organize that chaos in a nice way.

We're based in Vancouver. There's about 75 of us here. Yeah, it's just a lot of fun tackling that giant communication problem. On my end, I often say I'm a converted sales guy who's in marketing now.

So I worked in sales for six years actually selling educational technologies to universities across Canada. Quickly realized I was doing marketing stuff in my sales role.

So this was like eight years ago when I was doing mail merges and that sort of stuff and automating some sequences. So decided to go switch career path, go back to marketing. So I went ahead and did that and made the jump and kind of been growing in that career ever since.

Kathleen: I love how you describe yourself because I always talk about myself as a recovering entrepreneur because I owned a business for 11 years. I sort of came from that and got back into marketing. So we all make our way here somehow or another.

Dustin: Yeah, exactly. There's very few people who come out of high school and they're like, "I want to go into marketing." So yeah, we all end up here.

Kathleen: Yeah. Now you guys, so you're head of growth and the company is growing considerably.

I had originally connected with you because I was out there looking for people who are getting great results from inbound marketing and one of the things you talked about when we first connected was this concept of co-creation and using co-creation for your strategy and your content, et cetera. So maybe you could just start by talking a little bit about Jostle's growth to kind of set the stage and then we could go into co-creation.

Jostle's growth story

Dustin: Yeah, no, definitely. So when I started at Jostle, it's almost five years ago, which is kind of crazy to say, especially working in tech.

Kathleen: That's actually really impressive because I think the stat is the average tenure for marketing leaders is two years. It's pretty short.

Dustin: Yeah, definitely. I had the benefit here of starting as ... At the time I started I was the only marketing person for a bit.

So co-creation was limited then, right? It was me going out there, getting stuff done as quickly as I could often on my own kind of in a hacky way throwing things together because that's what you have to do at that stage, right?

As we grow in teams, six people now on the marketing side, everyone has their own large projects, we've really had to develop a way to co-create and share ideas and work together and get feedback from people without just slowing down to a grinding halt. I think that's a struggle most companies get to when they grow, right?

You need process, but how much process is too much process?

Kathleen: Yeah. Administrative overload. There's definitely a big risk there.

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely.

Kathleen: So when you talk about co-creation, what do you mean? Can you kind of define that for me?

Dustin: For sure. So the concept here at least, since we were more development heavy at the start and it was a smaller marketing and sales team, it kind of developed there and spawned there.

So co-creation is getting people together who have different points of view at different angles in order to contribute to a problem and solve it in a better and faster way is kind of the easy way to explain it.

"Co-creation is getting people together who have different points of view at different angles in order to contribute to a problem and solve it in a better and faster way"

So the dev example is, you need a design person to look at usability. You need a backend person to look if it's possible and you need a front end person to kind of make it happen and give feedback. Without one of those you either get something that's really ugly and works well or something that looks great and doesn't work at all.

So it kind of started from there.

Kathleen: Awesome. How does that manifest in a marketing sense?

Dustin: Yeah. On the marketing side it's quite a bit different.

So take my marketing team for example. I have someone who runs product marketing, someone who runs customer marketing. I have an SDR on my team. So those people need to call from other people in the company to get feedback.

So product marketing working on an island on their own coming up with their ideas is going to fail. They need to bring in development sales, customer success, bring them all together to get the concept down while also not making this into this never ending loop of feedback that we don't get anything done.

Jostle's inbound marketing strategy

Kathleen: Got it. So let's back up. Inbound marketing, you guys are getting really good results from that. Can you maybe talk broadly about what your strategy looks like and who you guys are targeting? Who's your audience?

Dustin: Yeah, so we've, up until about a year and a half ago, we're actually entirely inbound. We just hired our first SDR last week. So we're kind of brand new to that space.

The reason we've always been inbound is we don't sell to VPs of Marketing at tech companies, right? We don't have that tiny target market where outbound's great. So we've purposely kind of cast this wide net and relied on content and the problems we solve to draw people in to find us, right?

So we've had a lot of success from general content marketing and showing up on Google for problems that people are looking for. Like how do I solve internal communications? What questions do I ask my CEO?

Those aren't related to an intranet, but the people who are looking to solve that problem are the people we want to be aware of us.

So that's been our approach to cast this giant net and bring people in.

Kathleen: Did you identify those topics from audience research or where did that all come from?

Dustin: Yeah, part of it was from audience research and seeing in those first few years who found us and who bought and breaking that out into different personas.

So as I said, it's not like a VP of Marketing is the person who buys us. It could be them, it could be someone in HR, it could be a senior leader.

So our approach was to actually map those out, figure out which problems they likely want to solve and what they're searching for in their day-to-day, and then write to those topics in a way that's easy to understand and relatable.

Top of the funnel traffic growth

Kathleen: Got it. So that's very top of the funnel. What did your top of the funnel growth look like from that?

Dustin: Yeah, so take it to the very top, top of the funnel when it comes to views.

In the past year, once we've really started ramping up the blog, we have managed to double our traffic there in the past year, and it really is taking that topic cluster approach to figure out what we write about.

The days of keyword stuffing and just repeating it over and over, it's dead. It's been dead. So really trying to own three or four topics and write extensively of them has really helped us drive that, which in turn has driven more content downloads, more subscribers, more people following us.

Kathleen: Got it. So you have your topic clusters, you've got the blog traffic increasing and then where does co-creation come into the development of that strategy?

Dustin: Yeah, so on that strategy, a big part of it is just getting feedback from customer success and from sales on what those problems they're hearing day-to-day. So customer success is a big one there, right?

Marketing is often one step removed from the customer. We sit in on calls sometimes, but in order to really understand what problems our platform's solving and what problems our customer needs help with, we have to talk to them.

So that's kind of why we added a customer marketing person on my team is to bridge that gap so that we can work together and sort things out.

How Jostle's marketing team gets feedback from sales and customer success

Kathleen: Now how exactly do you get that feedback? I would love to get into the nitty gritty details. Do you have like a Slack channel or do they send you an email? What does that look like?

Dustin: Yeah, so it depends a lot on the scope of a project.

For a smaller one, it often is, so we use our own product for instant messaging. So we have our discussions where people can use and that's for a very simple thing.

For a more in depth project, we like to take the "zoom in, zoom out" approach is what I call it.

So at the concept creation stage of "Hey, what do we want this webpage to say or what is the purpose of this page and what is the result we want," we actually bring in a pretty large group with varied interests from different departments and seek feedback.

So we do that. Then the project owner zooms in and works on their own, develops the copy because the last thing you want is 12 people in a Google Doc hammering away at copy. It just destroys the entire message.

So for a large project we do take that approach where its "zoom in, zoom out," have a check in and get review with the larger group and keep doing that until you get to the point where we're ready to put it live.

Kathleen: Now that's on a project-by-project basis. Do you have any continuous feedback loops where as these customer-facing folks are talking to people, I hear something in a conversation, do you have a way of capturing those things on the fly?

Dustin: Yeah. So we use our own platform for a lot of that actually and we have different discussions set up for different things.

So say we launch a new feature and we're figuring out how to promote it on the website and how we want to write about it. That will have its own discussion where success can pop in and say, "Hey, I just had this interesting call. They mentioned this. This is the language they used and that resonated with me."

So then we would adapt that language and put it on the website. So it's not just our marketing speeds being thrown at them, right? We're trying to use the language of the customer.

Kathleen: Great. So you guys are using Jostle for that obviously. You're drinking your own Kool-aid, but if somebody is listening and they don't have that, they could use their SharePoint or their Slack instance or their Microsoft Teams or what have you and do the same thing, correct?

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely. Anything where it's a two-way dialogue and it's dynamic. I think those are the key. A static page that people update and add content to, probably not the best approach, but a searchable conversation like a Slack channel totally works as well.

Sustaining buy-in from sales and customer success

Kathleen: Now, I've worked in places where we have systems like that set up, but one of the biggest challenges I've run into in the past is for lack of a better way of putting it, declining returns. Meaning we all sit down in a room and we say, "This is what we're going to do." Then when people start actually having those conversations, they don't follow through or over time participation declines.

Do you have any tips or tricks on how to keep that momentum going and getting that feedback happening on a regular basis?

Dustin: Yeah, so one thing we've found, especially with slightly larger project that really helps is having one-off personal check-ins with people is often a better approach than those giant team meetings where people get distracted by their phone or they get distracted by a laptop or the introvert doesn't talk.

So we really task our project owner with, yeah, you're going to have a kickoff, yeah, maybe you have a concept review, but take the time to go grab a coffee with someone on that team you want to talk to and get feedback.

It's a bit more casual, but often that's when the nuggets you really want come out is in that one-to-one communication.

Kathleen: And do you do the same thing with your sales team?

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely. That's something we try to do, especially when we're writing for the core website, homepage, the product page, feature pages, that sort of stuff. It's something we really try to do with sales.

It's one thing, everyone can search call reports in Salesforce or search notes, but it's not the same as having someone relay the story to you. It's an entirely different thing.

Kathleen: Yeah. The way you engage with your sales team, is there any difference between how you work with them and how you work with your customer success people?

Dustin: No, it's actually pretty similar how we would do that. We ideally want our website pages to speak to both customers and potential leads, right? Your customers are going to end up on your website. That's how they're going to decide if they want to buy or add something new, so you need to address that. But it's a balancing act. It's kind of tough.

Examples of successful Jostle campaigns

Kathleen: Yeah. So you've got this top of the funnel strategy and then you begin to build out campaigns around that for conversions. Can you share some examples of campaigns you've run that have been successful that have gone through this co-creation process and maybe the before and after? Were there any big "aha" moments that you had as a result of working this way with your team?

Dustin: Yeah, so one that was pretty successful and we're actually redoing an updating right now was when we first started really adding video to our strategy, which was 2016-ish.

We started focusing on that and we went through this giant project with sales, success, us, senior leadership here to figure out, okay, if someone doesn't want to browse through a bunch of pages on our website, how can we simplify that journey and how can we tell our story in a succinct way that ultimately leads to a demo or to a trial?

So we went through that process and created an explainer video that then flowed into a product tour and hit on all the key points we wanted to hit and then had a CTA built into the video to book a demo or have a trial.

That is the ideal journey I want every customer to go through on my website if they have the time.

We were able to do that in video, and month over month that continues to bring in conversions for sales that turn into real customers.

I think the reason it's successful is because we crafted that message using feedback from multiple people.

Bringing an idea from concept to execution

Kathleen: Great. So when you go into that, do you have draft messaging that you're proposing and then it gets adjusted or do you just start from scratch and is it really like a brainstorm?

Dustin: Yeah, so often we do have that brainstorm. Frequently that is with marketing to start and then when we bring in the larger group it's at a concept stage.

So I've made the mistake of bringing in the script or bringing in a finished page and it's a nightmare. People start tearing it apart, it goes off the rails.

So we purposely keep it point form, why are we doing this, what do we want out of it and what are the three things we need to communicate and really keep it that simple at the initial stage and get that feedback from everyone then.

Then whoever's in charge goes off and creates the script while doing check-ins and while keeping people along for the ride.

Kathleen: Okay. I want to go back to that for a second because I think we just touched on something really important.

So you have a meeting. Let's say it's your meeting with sales and customer success about campaign A. Number one, who gets invited to that meeting?

Dustin: Yeah. So we will usually pull both someone who's kind of the leader of the team I guess, as well as someone on the team so you get both perspectives. Senior leadership often has one kind of looking from high above view, which is incredibly valuable, but you need someone who's actually on the ground talking to people every day.

So we like to have a mix of both.

Kathleen: Okay, and then what does the agenda look like?

Dustin: Yeah, for sure. So often it is someone from our team or someone from design depending on what stage we're at really walking through the how and the why.

So the approach I've actually taken is, when we're creating a page or creating a concept, you have the how, the why and kind of a "BS test," as in, when do we know this has turned into marketing gobbledy goop and won't resonate with customers?

We hold ourselves to that and we review it as the meeting progresses and in future meetings.

So the agenda often is going over that to set the context and then working through what is the purpose and what are the three key things we want to target. We try to keep it to that rather than let's come up with a list of 20 things this page needs to do because then you get in the weeds and it just fails miserably.

Passing the BS test

Kathleen: Yeah. All right, I have two questions on that. Number one is can you give me an example of the BS test cause I love that and I think marketers do that a lot. We get wrapped up in our own way of talking about things.

So what would be an example of something that sounded BS-y and how do you identify that and call it out?

Dustin: Yeah, so for a lot of web pages that can be as simple as "read this out loud and do you sound like a human" is a very simple test that we use with most of our copy even for blog articles and that sort of thing, right?

People read a website or read a blog and they have the voice in their head reading it. If it sounds like a robot or an infomercial, it's not going to resonate.

So that's one common test that we use for sure. The other one is just a simple note to remind ourselves to check for jargon. Would your sister who has no clue what you do actually understand what we're talking about here?

So those are two nice easy ones that we use.

Managing feedback meetings

Kathleen: Those are great tests. I'm just picturing one of these meetings in my head and I think if it was not run well you still would run the risk of having all these people around the table, different ideas, different opinions. You have some people who are loud mouths.

Dustin: Yeah, totally.

Kathleen: Some who are quiet. How do you manage that and herd the cats and get something valuable out of it?

Dustin: Yeah, I think the key to that is having an understanding that there's still a project owner, right? This person's not trying to get consensus and trying to ram every idea into what we're doing.

So you need to make people feel heard and you need to actually listen to them. That's key number one.

All feedback is valuable. Are you going to use it all? No. So part of it comes down to really training the project owner to take that approach and be comfortable with that.

You brought up a really good point though with some people are going to dominate the conversation. It's how it is.

So we often also have a discussion tied to it that where afterwards people can add their thoughts through instant message or if we notice someone's really quiet in the meeting, take that time after, just stop them in the kitchen and say, "Hey, what did you think?" Try to get feedback that way. Oftentimes that person has the best idea, they just didn't want to speak up.

Kathleen: Yeah, definitely. Some of those introverts have great contributions to make.

Dustin: Yeah. Absolutely.

Kathleen: You can tease it out. So you have this meeting, you walk away, you go back and your team works on the copy for example for a webpage.

Dustin: Yeah.

Kathleen: Then does it then go back or what's next?

Avoiding the "too many cooks" problem

Dustin: Yeah. So at that point, so we've made the mistake there of then going back and walking through the copy either in-person or through Google doc. It was a mistake. We shouldn't have done that.

We learned pretty quickly you get a bunch of people editing and suggesting words on the fly and that's not a good use of any time. We hire a content marketers so they can write cause they write better than a lot of us, so let them write.

So what we often do then is we pair the marketer with a designer in the case of a webpage. They go ahead and basically do a mockup of, "Hey, here's the flow we're thinking." Then we actually go into a design review at that point of okay, this is what we wanted to get across quickly. Does this design do that? We don't tweak the copy at that point too much.

Which comes first, copy or design?

Kathleen: So you create your copy before you create the design?

Dustin: Yeah, I know that's kind of backwards, right?

Kathleen: Well, actually I don't have an opinion either way, but I ask because this is a debate that I've had with so many people and I don't really know what I think. I think sometimes it can work one way and sometimes it works another.

I probably lean more towards having some design elements figured out, some global elements, but then having the copy so that you can understand what the design needs to reflect in it, if you will. It's very chicken and eggy.

Dustin: No, it totally is. We've made the mistake of going too far in one direction and handing them all the copy. Writers are going to write. They're going to write too much and it's not going to translate on a webpage, so we end up with a wall of text.

So the thing that's helped us a lot there actually is bringing the designer in at the concept review.

So when we have the concepts and kind of rough ideas of maybe the headers we're going to use throughout the page, design then starts doing initial mockups there in conjunction with the content person.

So they actually work back and forth and they're often okay with, "Hey, this isn't the final copy, but it's roughly going to be this length. Can we work on this?" And then we get both done in conjunction because the design's going to inspire the copy and vice versa, right?

Kathleen: Yeah. I recently worked on a website redesign project, not for the company I'm with now, but for a previous one and I worked with somebody who's freelance, who's amazing. I've worked with her before and she has a great system.

It's actually pretty rudimentary but effective where she creates these tables in Microsoft, it's Microsoft Word or Google Docs, whatever you use.

The table's somewhat approximate the modules on the page. What I like about that, and you then plot the copy and the things in there.

What I liked about that was you know you get these problems with copywriting for website pages.

For example, if you have a three column grid and you're saying like, "we do this, this and this" and it goes left to right. If you write a lot more for column three than column one it looks funny.

So even just spatially being able to see look, our stuff that we wrote is taking up the same amount of space, it's those little things that can really be the devil in the details later down the road if you don't approach it correctly.

Dustin: Yeah, I 100% agree with that.

The other benefit there is people read websites differently, right? I am absolutely a scanner. I will read the headlines and dive in if I care.

Often we write assuming everyone's going to read every single word. Maybe not the best approach, so I think having that design constraint, like you said, can actually help to really map out the hierarchy so it's an easy way to read and then get the right amount of content.

Jostle's most successful campaigns

Kathleen: Yeah. So I'd love to hear just some examples of what are some of the assets or campaigns that are performing really well for you guys?

Dustin: Yeah, so I mentioned the product tour is one that has worked really well.

Another one that has worked, I wouldn't really call it a campaign, but we've had a lot of success with our podcast personally.

It's not a lead gen channel, right? People look at it like that sometimes and you're going to be disappointed. It's not going to bring in as much as paid search.

But we've had a lot of success there with just having conversations with people who probably wouldn't talk to us otherwise.

Kathleen: That's why I'm talking to you because I have a podcast. It's exactly the same thing. Yeah.

Dustin: Yeah. So we've got a ton of value out of that, right? We're getting senior HR leaders or authors who are thought leaders in this space.

Part of it selfishly is, yeah, we get exposure to their audience and that part's great. The other part of it though, is just that's really interesting content for our people. It's not just us spewing out our worldview. It's bringing in outside views in an engaging way and kind of being along with them for their commute or when they're on a run.

There's something personal about that that I think builds a really strong audience.

Kathleen: Yeah, it is. The network that you build and the relationships that you got through podcasting is incredible if you have an interview style podcast. That's one of the things I've really come to appreciate in the last two years of doing mine is I always tell people like, yeah, I get to talk to people who would otherwise probably never take my call.

Dustin: Yeah, 100%.

Kathleen: So good advice.

Dustin: Yeah, and it's just adding another medium. Not everyone's going to take the time to sit there and read, so we've really taken this approach of branching out and providing audio, video, written long form, short form options for people to digest and read. Whereas maybe back in the day you would just create a 20 page book and assume it would work for all of us, for everyone.

So really pivoting away from that has helped.

Jostle's growth

Kathleen: Great. What does Jostle's growth look like over the last five years that you've been there?

Dustin: Yeah, so when I started we were right around 30 people I want to say.

Marketing was, well, there were a couple of people in marketing when I hired and then there was a bunch of transition. I was the only one here. So we were a very, very small team. Now we're about 75 people.

In my time here, revenues went up many different multiples. It's grown quite fast, which is really nice and I'm quite proud of that because we're competing with some of the big guns like Microsoft and Facebook and those guys, which I personally love. It's a lot of fun.

They have more fire power than me so I got to be a little scrappy and figure out how to do things.

But yeah, that's what our growth has looked like. It has been driven by inbound, like I said, and for the most part it will continue to be.

Kathleen: And can you talk at all about how your funnel has grown, like visitors, leads, et cetera?

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely.

So the way I look at our funnel, you have to pick where you're going to grow and kind of focus on that. Traditionally we've started at the lead perspective. We managed to grow leads a lot. Like in the first two years we tripled the amount of leads per month, which was great.

But I'll admit, I focused on that metrics and I neglected, hey, are we actually converting these people? Are we getting them to book? Are we losing them?

So this past year my goal has really been I don't care how many leads we get, I care how many opportunities we generate longterm for sales.

And making that shift has helped us actually grow in that area and really up that conversion where we're not paying for things or not spending our time on things that aren't generating results longterm.

Dustin's advice for other marketers

Kathleen: That's great. That's great.

Well, in terms of takeaways for somebody who's listening and they have, most organizations have folks in sales and customer success. Anything you would recommend as far as improving the way marketing works with those teams and any lessons you learned the hard way?

Dustin: Yeah, I think one is you need a process but you need it to be flexible and you need to let your people own it.

So everyone has checklist people on their team who they say, "I want a flow chart. I want to know exactly what to do at exactly what stage."

So you need to provide that, but you also need to train them on it's okay to use your judgment. We trust you. Maybe you're going to screw this up the first couple of times. I definitely did. So learn as you go and kind of give them that leeway.

The other one is you can really go off the rails with this co-creation approach if you don't have a rough idea of timeline at the end and a rough idea of what stage you're at and how quickly it's going to progress.

I've made the mistake personally of we get stuck in refining the copy over and over and over and incrementally we're not gaining anything. We're tweaking words that won't have much of an impact.

So yeah, I think figure out where you want to get, work backwards and map out the process and bring in the people you need and you'll get better quality stuff faster.

Kathleen: Yeah, and that's sort of "done is better than perfect" because I feel like that's where I am with one website project I'm working on right now is it's taking way too long because I'm trying to get it perfect and I just need to launch it. I can always iterate.

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely. So that's our number one rule with this actually, is if it's not broken and it's okay quality, it's good enough. Get it out there, learn from it and kind of keep going and tied to that like share early is another important concept.

We've had new people who have done this, and I did this when I started, you spent days and days crafting this thing that you think is perfect and then it gets torn apart and you start from scratch and that's discouraging and a nightmare.

So come up with your idea, get it out early and work iteratively.

Kathleen: That's so great, and how do you guys share?

Dustin: Yeah, so it often is through that initial meeting where we share the concept and then I personally get the most value out of those one-to-one check-ins where I will pull someone aside often out of the blue, not a scheduled meeting and just say, "Hey, I need 10 minutes. Can I get your feedback," and share that way as you go.

Kathleen's two questions

Kathleen: Got it. All right. Shifting gears, there's a couple of questions I always ask all my guests and I would love to know your thoughts on this.

The first is we're all about inbound marketing on this podcast. Is there a particular company or individual that you think is really killing it right now with inbound?

Dustin: Yeah, so there's actually two I want to mention if that's okay.

Kathleen: Yeah, the more the better.

Dustin: Yeah. So the first one who I thinks doing really well is Vidyard. They do a nice job of putting out content that's going to get shared. So their Christmas video, their personalized Christmas video. I don't know if people have seen that.

Kathleen: It's so good.

Dustin: Yeah, and that got a lot of traction. It got a ton of eyeballs because it's interesting and it's fun. So they do a great job of that.

The other one is actually a person who's more on the sales side is Josh Braun who shares a lot of great content on LinkedIn. I signed up for a couple of things with him. His emails to move you down the funnel are better than most marketing emails I get. So definitely a sales guy, but from an inbound non-pushy perspective, he's excellent at the copy he writes.

Kathleen: Oh, that's a good one to check out. And then Vidyard. So shout out to Tyler Lessard, who's the head of marketing there who does an amazing job. Definitely go look at those.

I totally agree. I don't know Josh Braun, but I know Vidyard, so I'm definitely going to be checking Josh out.

Second question, I always hear marketers saying that they're overwhelmed because things change so quickly in the world of digital marketing and they can barely keep up. So how do you personally stay educated up to date?

Dustin: Yeah, so part of it, you probably get this response a lot, is from my network and having those conversations with people who are struggling with the same things I'm struggling with.

But personally I have a long commute so I get a lot of value out of a variety of podcasts. It's kind of my go-to learning approach. It's just how my brain absorbs stuff.

So the traditional ones that work well, our Marketing Over Coffee is a nice one. Copyblogger has a really good podcast on fundamental writing, but I find I get a ton of value out of non-marketing podcasts that make me think and then do things better.

So A16Z by Andreessen Horowitz is great. I learn a ton from there, as well as How I Built This is another one that seeing how people have kind of grown things from nothing informs marketing because that's how they grew up. So I get a lot out of both of those.

Kathleen: Yeah, absolutely. Those are good ones. I love podcasts also, but I'm also biased because you know, clearly, clearly the podcasting medium is one that's comfortable to me.

Dustin: Yeah, same here. I'm a little biased as well.

How to connect with Dustin

Kathleen: Now, and that actually brings me to my next question, which is if somebody has a question for you or wants to connect and learn more about either Jostle or how you're doing your marketing, what's the best way for them to connect with you online?

Dustin: Yeah, definitely. So they can connect on LinkedIn. Send me a message there.

If they want to learn more about Jostle, the website's jostle.me, so they can head over there and take a look.

Since we're on a podcast, I'm going to plug my podcast if that's okay.

Kathleen: No, I was going to ask you to say the name of it because that was at my segue was the podcast.

Dustin: Yeah. So we have a podcast called People At Work that we do at Jostle and it's basically focusing on people who are solving work problems in an interesting and effective way and kind of getting their thoughts on it. It's quite conversational. So yeah, check that out.

You know what to do next...

Kathleen: Awesome. We will definitely check those out and I will put the links for Dustin's LinkedIn and the People At Work Podcast into the show notes. So head there to check that out if you want to look into any of those things.

And if you're listening and you liked what you heard or you learned something new, I would love it if you would head to Apple Podcasts and leave the podcast a five star review. That's how we get in front of new listeners.

If you know somebody else who's doing kick ass inbound marketing work, tweet me @workmommywork because I would love to make them my next interview. Thank you so much, Dustin.

Dustin: Yeah, thank you, Kathleen. That was fun.

Kathleen: This was fun.

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