On this episode of the Midwest Marketing Show, Jeff sits down again with Andrea Fryrear in her Boulder office to discuss Agile Marketing and their upcoming events. This week, Jeff and Andrea will be speaking at Intelligent Content Conference in Las Vegas on Agile Marketing in a full-day workshop and a breakout session.
Over the past year, Andrea has been getting the word out on Agile Marketing through articles and events. During this show, Jeff asks Andrea about the work she is doing in Boulder and what she is looking forward to most in 2016.
Welcome back to The Midwest Marketing Show, Andrea.
Nice to see you again, Jeff.
Yeah, so we drove all the way from Kansas City to Boulder. And we're here tonight 'cause we're gonna speak at your Agile Marketing meetup. But we'll talk about that in a second. What's been going on?
Well, it's a very exciting year for us so far. You and I are doing a workshop at the Intelligent Contact Conference in just a couple of weeks, counting down the days. Then, later this year, we're doing Contact Marketing Conference, Contact Marketing World, spreading the word about Agile Marketing far and wide to whoever will listen to us. And as you said, we have a growing Agile Marketing meetup here in the Denver, Boulder area that we're getting a lot of excitement about.
So tell me about that, because it's unique. When you think of marketing meetups, it's the traditional groups you think of, the BMAs, the AMAs, the DMAs, anything marketing association, and typically, there's a membership fee and then a meeting fee. By the time you're done with it, it feels kind of like the movies.
You spend a lot just to get there, so it better be a good show. But you guys are taking, like, the user group approach, where we find a sponsor and we kind of do this rustic thing. So tell me, like, what went behind it and what started it.
I'm sure you find this, too. One of the questions people ask the most is, who else is doing this? Who can I learn from, who can I talk to and ask my questions of? We have such great groups out here, in Denver, in Boulder, rallies out here, scrum alliances out here, there's great resources.
Mount Good Software?
Mount Good Software is here, and it seemed silly to not try to bring everyone together in the same room. SurveyGizmo and MarketerGizmo are big fans of Agile Marketing, and so they very kindly host our meetup every month and they by great food and supply some lovely draft beer, and we have a great time. But yeah, everyone has been really, really enthusiastic because it is a space where people can come and ask questions, and it's very low pressure and free, and just a great space for everybody to learn more and explore this. It's exploding, right? Everybody is getting really, really on board with it. We need to help people get over that initial hurdle of adoption.
Yeah, I mean, I love it. I wanna start something in Kansas City. I don't know if there's enough people there. I'd hate to have--
[Andrea] You just can Skype into ours.
[Jeff] Exactly. Maybe we'll do, like, a trade-a-speaker thing, because I think I would be speaking every month for a while.
That's a great idea, 'cause the Boston one, the San Francisco one, we'll just, yeah.
Yeah. I went to a UXPA event in K.C., where Don Norman came in over Skype, and he was, like, this big head on the screen. It felt like the Wizard of Oz a little bit because, well, he's Don Norman. In design, he's, like the guy. And he was answering questions and it was going back and forth like he was there, but he's sitting in his office in California. So I really think there's something to what you guys are doing. I love the Boston group. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at the registration to see that the demographics modeled what most marketing associations get. So that was good, to see that you're getting a similar reach compared to what we would see in a marketing space, and not just, those are gonna be zealot about Agile.
I've seen organizations think about getting together and you pull a lot of the IT Agile people in. And we need them. We need them to embrace what we're doing.
And to teach us what from what they already learned.
They already did all of this.
Exactly. But then they have to be willing to understand that we're a little different.
We're a lot different sometimes.
Exactly. So, Intelligent Content Conference, you know, Vegas, I'm excited about this. What do you think the workshop will give, from your perspective, the audience that's coming in? What's that big takeaway?
I just think taking away the fear, like, "I can actually do this. "I know enough to go back and make this case intelligently "to any doubters, or people who are kind of "on the fence in an organization." You can come back and say, "No, this is actually gonna work "because I have these things that we need to do first, "and these things that we need to do second," instead of just kind of the big, fuzzy, happy, "Yay, Agile" picture that people like to talk about, and then they just kind of leave you hanging and don't give you the whys and wherefores. I'm hoping that that's what we're gonna be able to really, like, dive in and give people that specific stuff.
I'm excited because it's the first time somebody else has co-taught with me. I really wanna pull in from your expertise around the planning aspects and audience, you know, and some of the persona pieces, because you and I both started this journey of building our own brands around the same time, and on the same topic, right? That's how we met. It's, like, "Hey, I just wrote an article," it's, like, "Hey, wait, somebody else wrote an article about this." And we both have kind of grown at the same level and been able to reach a similar audience. What have you seen that is of benefit for you as a marketer to reach your audience when you're building a thought leadership in your space? What kind of access do you get to information that you didn't have before?
I found it to be, you know, MarketerGizmo is a purely content-driven site. It's been nice to kind of lead with that offer and to not have really, like, anything up my sleeve, you know, to just be able to make connections with people and say, "Look, I just wanna learn and I just wanna share. "I'm not looking for anything in return, really." To be able to have that be a genuine thing that I'm saying and not having in the back of my mind, "Well, some day, I'm gonna ask you for something else." It's been really, really, nice. Most people, I think, who are kind of trying to leverage the same sort of tactics that I've been trying to leverage are consultants. They are also genuinely trying to be helpful. But they're also hoping that maybe someday, you'll pay them a lot of money in exchange for their help. I'm not opposed to being paid a lot of money. But that's not really what's at the back of it.
[Jeff] Yeah, no, I know what you're saying.
That's been really fun, and just, the connections. I've never thought of myself as much of a people person. I'm a writer at heart and I'm happy with my laptop. But there are so many fascinating people in marketing. Just to get to even tweet back and forth with some of them has been so much fun.
Exactly, it's, like, Joe talks about the in-person, Joe Pulizzi, this guy, talks about the in-person event, as this next level form of content marketing that we can do consistently over time. And the personalities, like Ann Handley, when you meet them in person or you see them onstage, or you're hanging out with them at an event. It's like the writer, the words on the page, come out and it starts to solidify. It's kind of like pairing a wine with your dinner. It's, like, you try it and it's, like, "Oh, this is good," and then you meet the person and you hang out with them. And then you go back and read their stuff and it's just more vivid, right? And you have that internal monologue that starts to open up a little bit more.
And when you meet someone in person, I feel like there's this, like, moving along a game board to make connections with influencers. You like a blog post of theirs, you share a tweet, you connect them on LinkedIn. There's this whole step you must follow. But when you meet them at an event, you get to jump, like, six steps ahead in the process, because they already know you're not crazy, you're not looking for anything, you're just really interested in finding better stuff to share and meeting people. You get to connect with them on that level that's far in advance of what you would have gotten to do if you'd just had to do everything online.
Yeah, I remember when we were talking about ICC. We were hanging out and we're in the lobby at B to B Forum. And Joe walks by and comes over to us. And it's, just, yeah, you don't have to formulate the email, you don't have to focus on getting through because he's there and he's asking questions. And it's weird, because it is a game, but it's also a game that you have to genuinely like the people and enjoy their content. I mean, you have to kind of want a friendship with them and truly, like, form a community. It's not fake. You can fake your way through it, but you'll be called out as an impostor real quick.
Right. And it is like content marketing because, like you said, Joe opted in to that conversation. He had seen what you and I had been sharing and talking about in other areas, and he already knew us, we had started to establish that relationship. So he was, like, "Please, what else you got? "Let's continue this conversation," just like somebody opts into your email list, and then you're able to invite them to a webinar or a meetup, or another level of engagement.
And then the next step is, how do you differentiate yourself from the people who came before you? Because they set in motion a foundation, and it takes a broad, like, not so deep conversation to talk through this stuff. Then, that second generation needs to come around and then start to work through some of the nitty gritty details.
Right, what does that mean?
[Jeff] Exactly. So for the past five years, content marketing has kind of been that thing. Well, now it's still the thing we're talking about, but how do we talk about account-based marketing on top of content? How do we talk about Agile Marketing? How do we talk about coming up with teams that are focused on this, and the deeper personas and stuff? And then the next generation beyond us, how do they work out the sprints, work out the planning details, work out the software pieces?
I don't wanna be in that generation.
That software piece.
Exactly. We'll stair step and we'll all build off each other. That's why I love that Joe's the grandfather of content marketing, because it gives you that generational approach.
So what are you looking for to most in 2016? Because we're sitting in your office right now. We're in the second floor of your building. It's a studio that you've built out, right? I didn't bring the stuff in my bag.
I know, you're letting the cat out of the bag. Oh yeah, we have a great video studio that we're building up. I'm a little trepidacious about video on a personal level, but here I am, in the video studio. So, trying more video this year. I'm happy that there are people on my team who have more expertise than I do in this. But video is gonna be very exciting. Events are gonna be very exciting. We're attending events, like ICC and Content Marketing World, we're sponsoring events, primarily through SurveyGizmo, our software sister company, and getting out there and connecting with people. It's really kind of fun. We're actually 10 years old, SurveyGizmo is 10 years old. We're not really a startup anymore.
You're kind of a tween.
We're a tween, yeah, we're a tween software. But we're kind of trying to start acting a little more grown up, and that's really fun, to be involved with that building a base.
I'm excited to see what kind of content you guys come out with, because I love video. I think it is, I don't know, it's that weird thing, that, as a child, I always liked playing with my parents' video camera. For me, it's this hobby that I can actually do. Normally, I'm nervous around stuff. But, like, get that camera open, and I'm, like, "All right, let's go, have a conversation." And I think we'll see more personalities come out of this. It's, like, the video so far has been kind of webcammy, right? Let's have a conversation with our webcams. As marketers, we should know that's like scooping from the bottom. We should bring it up a notch. So, building out a studio is having good gear, good software and people we can learns from, attending those meetups. I attended my first video meetup. It was fun, 'cause they were showing off AfterEffects. It's what you use for the effects portion of your video. So if you wanted to do, like, the slide-in logo and have it, like, screech to a halt and shake. They were talking about the scripting that goes behind. And I'm setting here, geeking out, 'cause I know the software, the language that they're showing like the back of my hand. And they're struggling with stuff, and I'm asking all these questions, because it was cool again. Something I can learn.
That's the great thing about being in marketing. There's always gonna be something else. It's video, and then it's, how else can we do video? Where else can we put our video to reach more people? And it does shorten that connection cycle. When you can see somebody showing their personality on camera, it's just one more way to connect with them and their brand and their products. Then you are that much closer to being a brand loyalist.
Absolutely. Another great thing is, I can take a clip from this video, send it to a transcription service, get the close captioning for the video, so automatically put it into my BrightCove player, close captioning, just put it in, and now when you talk, the words come underneath you. But then I can quote you on that, right? So you're saying, "This video content, "and here, we can start to do more." I can pull that in and have Krista, who's behind the scenes over here, start to write a blog post, 1,000 words, on what you just said there, and how big of an impact it's going to have, article one, right? And then we keep talking, another blip comes up, article two. You just don't get that, sitting there with your article that wrote, or a white paper, and trying to figure out what's a quotable piece in here and how can I extend this even more?
Right, and I love that about events. I was farming my notes from Content Marketing World for months afterwards, writing post after post after post. And it would be, it would be a single line from somebody's presentation. Like, that is brilliant, there's more here. And in a 45-minute presentation, they can't go into everything. So that gives you the opportunity. That's another great thing about events, it's just a gold mine of--
Then you've got the whole audio aspect. We could turn off the cameras and lights and have a conversation. But that's a usable format, because everybody drives to, rides to work, and then comes home, and you have an hour, usually, you have time to interact with them. But they have to love you, if they wanna learn.
Because they're bringing you into their house that way.
Exactly. You've got your little Apple TV here, which is awesome. How do we leverage this now, right? So when somebody's at home, are they really wanting to shut off? Or they just wanna be entertained? Do they wanna actually learn more? I think people wanna learn more. I don't think people go to school so much in the evenings if they didn't wanna learn more.
That's a good point. But they also don't necessarily wanna be in a classroom, learning. You gotta meet them where they wanna be.
Exactly. So how can we interact with the Apple TV, and then the Oculus Rift, right? Those 360 video, or just the the immersive piece. I like to think of what marketers imagine IoT is gonna be like, and then what VR is gonna be like. It's almost like they think we're gonna put goggles on and then keep reading their articles. And, like, it's gonna be Star Wars text, like, , with, like, a soundtrack to it as we read. And obviously, that's not going to happen. We're not going to immerse ourselves into another world just to read. We're gonna want an interactive experience. So what does content look like? Could be video, 'cause video's immersive, with audio, and I can put you on a wall wherever I wanna be. But what else? What other kinds of content are people gonna want? And it blows my mind when I ask the question, like, "How else would you like to learn "Agile Marketing during the workshop?" One of the number one responses I get is, "iOS game." And I'm, like, "That's a lot of work." As a developer, I'm sitting back, going, "That's a lot of work." I dismiss it because of the amount of labor, but then I think about it. It's, like, "Yeah." To understand the rules of a process, it helps to understand them in a game, kind of like you illustrated. Influence a program, as, you know, the way we influence, it's a game. So you should write the game.
Okay, as long as I don't have to program it, then I'm good.
You do the storyboard and draw the characters, and we'll get your husband to help write the game, too.
Yeah, well, you know, these guys that we're borrowing some of their space, they're all into games, like--
[Jeff] Yeah, they got the game developer stuff going on.
Leverage your network.
What other things beyond events do you think marketers should consider when they're producing their content? Because everybody's still stuck in the article bubble and the page content.
It's hard to know. There's so much buzz around podcasts right now. But I feel like it's so close to saturation. I mean, there's only so many hours in the day people can, or are willing, to have earbuds in and listen to something that's going on. And video is kind of the podcast on steroids thing, because it's more but it requires you to listen and see. So we have to find some lower threshold way to engage with people. Because reading an article is pretty labored, as well, which is why everybody skims the first paragraph and then they share it on Twitter and they don't read it at all.
They just see who the author is and say, "Whatever. "They write good stuff, reshare."
But yeah, I don't know what it is. Twitter's even getting ready to abandon their, like, mini format. There's that weird dichotomy, because everyone's attention spans are getting shorter. They want more and more and more. So as marketers, we're not very good at, like, the tiny snippets because that doesn't really convey everything that we need to say. We always want to use the tiny snippet to get them into something bigger. But that's, I think it's gonna get more and more challenging. We've gotta get better at getting it all into the bite, the single bite, the little amuse bouche marketing.
If they wanna fast forward through the ads, but they don't wanna spend the time listening to the whole show, how do you present it in a chopped up way that allows people who do want the longer show to watch, who's gonna binge a podcast, or who's going to just want the snippet--
[Andrea] Read the entire entire book in one sitting.
Exactly, or the blog post individually. So that is a big thing. For customers, we know how to get in front of customers. Like, our customers, we can call them, we can have a meeting with them, we can interact with them, and it's not formulated because it's a one-to-one marketing effort. It's, like, I produce these words that come out of my mouth, they go to you, it's consumed. That's all. But when we have to think about how to reach an audience, that may or may not be listening to a message, that's changing. It's gonna throw our digital world on its head.
Yeah, and I'll just bring it right back around. That's why you need Agile Marketing, right? Because you can't be planning six months out when you have no idea what six months from now looks like. I mean, six days from now, you could be doing a 180 based on something that you have no idea is coming. You have to be ready to do that and continue to still speak in a relevant and valuable way to your audience. You can't lose quality, ever, while you're still maintaining this crazy pace. I really think Agile is just gonna be the only way. You're gonna have the Agile marketers and the ones who are crazy. And that's gonna be it.
Yeah, or the ones who have big budgets and are crazy. You gotta allow for the budget.
That's true, that's true.
And you can get away with a lot of bad implementations with a budget. But most marketers, kind of like most Americans work for small businesses, so you assume a lot of people in marketing work for medium- and small-sized businesses. And we've seen that classification. Unless you're, like, in that near-1,000 employee level, marketing teams are usually very small, five or less, unless they've kind of had that a-ha moment, or they're spread amongst service ly-tans, and really it's a whole bunch of small teams that are meeting in the same area. And we don't put a lot of investment into the overall experience and reaching an audience and how we gonna change when we can't just cold call somebody and sell them something. I think that marketers need to, like you said, open up their eyes to the persona and start to think about who they're targeting, and don't just say yes any more. Ask questions on why we're doing the things we're doing, and really start to own the career. Earlier, we talked to Carla Johnson, and she talked about marketing moving into a different role. And it's, like, we're all kind of joining forces as groups in our organization, but marketing has to be that one that leads the charge, because we know the customer. Without Agile, I don't know, I can't see a good way of actually doing that without a lot of disconnected pieces and just, you know, fumbling into maybe some good things, maybe some bad things.
Right, and it gives you such a good visibility across the organization. We don't have any more of the, "What the heck are you guys doing over there?" conversations, because it's out there and you can check on it and see exactly what we're doing, and when we plan to do the next thing and the next thing and the next thing.
And it is cool that it's, like, the entire corporation can use it. Sales team can be Agile. It may not be planned sprints, right? It may be more of, like, "Here's our opportunities, "here's the different stages they're in. "We wanna cap these out to make sure "we're moving them through, or putting them on hold." But then understanding the persona, and when their buying cycle is. We work with a lot of partners, and I can't express how frustrating it is to have an event run with a partner and then immediately they ask the question, "Well, how many leads did we get from it?" It's, like,"Do you get how people buy stuff today? "This isn't snake oil, we didn't have it in a box "and, like, say, 'Now you just buy all your snake oil,' "I did the pitch."
"Now you buy it."
Exactly, it's, like, they go home and they have a good feeling for a while. And now we try to figure out how to get some more good feelings in there. And then, when they're ready, they're ready. Cool, so, what are you most excited about when it comes to writing this year? What's the content backlog pieces that you're putting a higher priority on?
Well, we've had a lot of people asking, like I said, one of the reasons we started the meetup is, people wanna know examples, "I wanna hear more," like, case studies of people who are doing this well, of all sizes, too, of organizations and of marketing teams. So I'm really hoping to start making some of those connections and really start interviewing people about their whole process and what they do and what did you learn, and what do you wish you knew six month ago or a year ago? And kind of sharing that with people so that they can get more comfort around starting. Because once you start, you just iterate, and it feels much less scary. But those first couple sprints are just, like, "All right, strap in, this might hurt. "But it's gonna be worth it."
[Jeff] Exactly. It's unique because, like, when we came together and started communicating, we both figured it out on our own. And, like, when you did the Twitter chat with Content Marketing Institute, there were people popping up all over the feed that had tried it on their own, too.
I know, I was so amazed.
How do we get you guys to come together? And how do we make sure that, you know, Jeff and Andrea promise not to be creepy, right? It's not to try to sell you anything and truly form a community around this.
Yeah, I think that that's really gonna be a huge step. Maybe at the conference, maybe it's a couple regional get-togethers where we can pull people together and get more people in a room at the same time. But yeah, that conversation has to get, because everybody thinks nobody else is doing it. And really they are. Everyone's just so busy producing great marketing that they don't have time to tell everybody else about the great stuff that they're doing.
Yeah. And I get asked the question of, "Where are the great examples?" It's, like, "Well, I follow the marketing space, "so I'm really plugged into the persona of marketer. "And usually, it's the people that are educating marketers "are the ones who market to marketers." I know Andrea's doing it well, and I know there's some people on the West Coast and John Cass around the East Coast. I know they're doing it well because they're targeting the same audience. So they're producing content.
And they wanna talk about it.
And they're producing content to educate. But the guy who's selling soap isn't going to have his own personal blog any more about his career. That just doesn't happen any more.
I've been amazed at the people who come to the meetup. They say, "Yeah, we market renewable energy. "Our team's been Agile for a year and 1/2. I'm, like, "Where are you guys hiding? "Just come out." But now they're out and hopefully, we'll try not to be creepy and we'll get them to do a case study for us.
Yeah, I think it's just gonna take a solid effort of, you know, offering events. And we do a bigger event, right? We're gonna have a little Agile Marketing dinner or something like that, and then have everybody join into some form of a community, and just keep them coming out. Because, when we did Geeks With Blogs, the bloggers who were writing content didn't care about reaching developers. It wasn't their intent. They were passionate about something. And it was truly like an integrated hobby, and it was a job. It was like one of those things when you ask somebody, somebody tells you in your career, "Do what you love." Well, there are people out there who actually get to do what they love. And they'll talk about it. But you have to find a way to bring them all together and to collect it. It's much harder today.
Yeah. People are jaded. They figure that you're out for something. There's a tendency to not want to give away trade secrets. If you're in a highly competitive niche and your Agile Marketing is what's keeping you ahead of that guy right behind you, you don't wanna tell him so he can catch up to you. I think there's a little bit of that going on, too.
It's gonna be an interesting year. I think 2017 is gonna be the big year.
Yeah, we're gonna have to bring everybody out of the wood works this year so that we can, yeah.
We'll figure out a way to put it. But the second edition for Agile Marketing for small teams and Agile Marketing for enterprise teams, and we'll bring the stories you're bringing in, put together, big compilation. Hey, look, I think I just came up with a cool content model. Thankfully, you came back on the show, and I can't wait to do these workshops with you. I really wanna see your video in here.
Yeah, I may call you frantically with video technical questions.
There you go, I know you got a team out there that's super smart. You guys have done a great job at setting this up. Well, thanks for letting us in today.
Yeah, thanks for having me.