Marketing Mambo

When a Brand Story and a Sales Funnel Have a Baby with Marketing Entrepreneur Jarie Bolander

March 21, 2022 Terry McDougall Season 2 Episode 12
Marketing Mambo
When a Brand Story and a Sales Funnel Have a Baby with Marketing Entrepreneur Jarie Bolander
Show Notes Transcript

Jarie is an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by nature with over 25 years of bringing innovative solutions to markets such as Bluetooth, USB, RFID, and Semiconductor DNA sequencing. He is currently a partner at JSY PR & Marketing, a full-service PR and Marketing Firm that helps tech startups tell better stories.

He holds an MBA in Technology Management from UOP and a BS in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State University. He is listed as an inventor on over 10 patents and has published six books — The Entrepreneur Ethos, Frustration Free Technical Management, #ENDURANCE tweet — A Little Nudge to Keep You Going, 7 PR secrets All Founders Should Know, 8 Startup Dilemmas All Founders Will Face, and Business Basics for Entrepreneurs.

To contact Jarie:

Website link:
https://thestoryfunnel.co/

LinkedIn link:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jariebolander/

Facebook link:
https://www.facebook.com/jarie

Instagram link:
https://www.instagram.com/jariebolander/

Twitter link:
https://twitter.com/thedailymba

Email:
jarie@jsypr.com

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If you'd like to talk to Terry McDougall about coaching or being a guest on Marketing Mambo, here's how you can reach her:

Website: https://www.terrybmcdougall.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/terrybmcdougall
Email: Terry@Terrybmcdougall.com

Her book Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms is available at Amazon

Hey everybody. It's Terry McDougall with marketing Mambo. My guest today is Jarie Bolander. He's the owner of.  JS. S Y P R and marketing. And he's also the host of the entrepreneur ethos podcast. I was a guest on his podcast several months ago and I. I enjoyed myself so much that I decided to. Invite him to be a guest on marketing Mambo. 

He's here today to talk about a new program that they're launching 

Called the story funnel.   I really was interested in this offering because he's basically bringing something to entrepreneurs that many large companies sometimes pay millions. Of dollars to have consultants and agencies do for them. So I think it's really cool that he's evening out the playing field when it comes to. Branding for entrepreneurs. He also has a very interesting and touching personal story. 

To tell as well. So Jarie is an entrepreneur through and through. He's definitely found the sweet spot where he's success. Accessful and what he does, but he also loves it. It.  And as somebody who spent 30 years as a marketer and then made a big pivot in two. 

Thousand 17. I am all about. Empowering people to find that sweet. Sweet spot between. Being successful at work and also. Being happy at work. And, you know, sometimes we. We can do it where we are. We can just learn some new skills. We can shift our mindset. And we can be more success. Successful or have more flow in our careers, but sometimes maybe we need to go out in search of something that's a better fit for us, but. But in either case I have some resources that might be helpful to you. My book winning the. Game of work is available on Amazon and Barnes and noble.com. It's all focused on expanding that overlap between success and happiness at work .  Check it out and see if you like it. And so now without further ado let the Mambo begin.

 

Hey everybody. It's Terry McDougall, your host at marketing Mambo. And I have a treat for you today. My guest is Jari Bolander. He is the host of the entrepreneurial ethos podcast and the founder of story funnel. So Jari, welcome to marketing mob.

How are you today? 

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for having me. It's quite the honor to be a guest on a podcast, as opposed to being the host, because us hosts, we work really hard, really, really hard. Everyone should know that how 

awesome it is.

It's the least that I could do, because you had me as a guest on your podcast a while back. And so,  turnabout is.

fair play. So I'm thrilled to have you here. And especially, as we're getting into 20, 22, I know you've got some exciting things going on. I think you're working on a book and, You've founded a new organization, this story funnel.

So, I just kind of scratched the surface of what you're all about. So why don't you go a little deeper and just tell us what you're doing and where are you come from? And just all the things. 

Yeah, well, wow. That's, that's actually a great first question. I use it often as well. So,  I like to say I'm an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by nature. And the reason why I say that is over the last 25 plus years, I've been at six startups. I just launched a seven startup. I've written a bunch of books about entrepreneurship management, et cetera.

And the theme throughout all of this sort of stuff has always been. Wanting to be an entrepreneur so I could build an independent life. That completes me. And the reason why I say that is that it's not really about fame, fortune and prestige. For me, it's about freedom. Nothing more than I liked them to be like, I could do whatever I want today.

Right. and that's a unique thing to, in some cases, You give up a lot of other things for that. So what are the last, 25 plus years doing startups, writing books, teaching people doing a bunch of stuff.  I fell into running a PR and marketing firm, which is called JSI PR and marketing.

And of course, as all good stories go let's because I met a girl. Her name was Jane, unfortunately she died of leukemia about four and a half years ago, almost five years. And so I had to make a decision in my life.  It's like one of those rare moments of clarity on the one hand, it's extremely grief, sorrow trauma.

Like what the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life? And then on the other hand, it's like, what the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life? I have this. Traumatic thing   I can either grow or fail really bad. And I made a ton of mistakes along the way, including abusing alcohol and just doing all sorts of wacky stuff.

Now, I haven't had a drink in over three years, so,  it's was a good kind of catalyst for that. But one of the things that Jane taught me is the power of storytelling and. It gets said a lot. It sounds cliche and buzzword bingo E but  I honestly believe the best story wins hands down.

Right? Like, I don't think your product is matters as much as the story you tell you the marketplace, the story you tell yourself and your team. So starting on the journey of helping startups. There are companies by telling better stories and the manifestation of all, that was something we literally launched on Monday, January 2022.

Mark. My words put a stake in the ground. Is  this idea called the story? And the story funnels, all, about how to align the revenue side of your business, which they traditionally called rev ops to the product side of your business, which typically product led growth, which is the new buzzword Bingo's through storytelling.

So if you can align those two, then you can align your customers and you can actually scale. Right? Cause a lot of the things that I've seen in all my, successes and failures and startups and the people that I helped through the firm. Is that their main challenges? What the heck are we scaling? What is this thing?

And it's usually. Some buzzword, bingo Laden tech thingy that no one can talk about, like, you can't explain it to your grandmother. It doesn't spray. Right. So my co-founder Ravi and actually Ravi was at the company that we first tried this officially out a company called Soochow decided that, you know what we should formalize this stuff.

Like take everything in our head. Start writing and teaching and building tools to help startups scale, because know having done this between us, but the most critical part of any startup is between  the  series seed or pre-seed seed series, a sorta like where startups go to die. It's like the trough of sorrow, the gardener hype curve. And what we found is that if you can navigate that and really understand how to be very, thoughtful about using the money that you get their customers and have a very holistic, what we call story-driven approach, chances are, you'll be a lot more successful than those that don't do that.

so, yeah, I mean, it's basically another MarTech company of the 7,000 plus. 

Yeah. 

So we have a problem too. How do we tell our story?  Like we're still evolving and this stuff, isn't like, here's the formula go? Here's the growth that go. I mean, this is a tough, tough thing for any company, so,

Yeah. well,  this is fascinating to hear about, and I'm so glad that I have you here on marketing Mambo, because I think that you're addressing. One of the classic, reasons why marketing exists,  I want to make sure that I'm understanding clearly what you're talking about, because what I'm taking from this is that at any company we're coming up with ideas of things that we can.

So to make money. Right. And, they might be technical in nature or whatever, but they're not necessarily like emotional, right. It's a thing or a service that you're selling. And you've got to make connection with people in an emotional way so that they recognize the need for it.

They have that belief and feeling that this is going to connect with a need that they have, because, I think you've probably heard this, that people actually make decisions emotionally and they rationalize them,  intellectually. And so you do there's. 

by logic. Yeah. 

Yes, exactly.



Joe Sugarman, one of the greatest copywriters of all time.

didn't know that, but I'm glad to hear I'm going to have to look him up, Joe 

Oh, Joe Sugarman is probably one of the best Gary. Halbert's another one. That's one of 

Yep. I remember that I used to work in direct mail, so 

Oh yeah. Are you kidding? You're like, that's the godfather, right? 

Yes, 

I mean, even, Claude Hopkins, right back in 

scientific advertising days, way back. 

I mean, it's like over a hundred years ago, he wrote this book called scientific advertising.

And it's funny because. You just look through all the stuff you've talked to show Sugarman, you look at Gary Halbert, you look at, all these guys, mostly guys. Now there's more women in it, but like generally back in the day, the kind of the mad men era 

pre-med men Or that, right when you read their copy, you really get the sense that these guys are really good storytellers.

 And it's not about what you'd normally see on all. Crappy SAS landing page buzz. I mean,  I love them, right. I mean, people are, I get it. Like it's hard. I mean, that's a reason why there's over 7,000 MarTech companies, because like, no one's figured it out yet in probably no one ever will, honestly, because it's just a moving target and, for marketers.

their jobs, Legion, what are the two main things, right? There's lead gen, and then there's brand awareness. Right. Basically, If you're,  in public relations, if you're PR  you want other people to  say, you're awesome. If you're in marketing, you say, you're awesome.

And then you don't want other people to believe you. Right. And it hardly happens that way sometimes, but it's a tough job because one, not a lot of marketing focus. Respect or the admiration that they deserve to, everyone's all this driven things like with, that's why everyone  spends money on Google ads and Facebook ads, because they can at least hang a quote unquote metric on it, even though they waste billions of dollars on that, does this doesn't work first order, of course it works someplace, but first order doesn't work, especially in,  sort of the trough of sorrow, generally that doesn't.

Right. Cause you're getting arbitraged out. Like you can't compete with a  millions of dollars of ad people like upstream from you, your series B series C folk, 

Yeah. 

You may get lucky and believe me, there's plenty of people get lucky. It's not sustainable. You're going to hit a wall then, then what do you do?

Right. So, yeah, I mean, it's just fascinating that  it's such an art and a science like PR is.   , having an engineering background, I'm like, what's this like marketing two drink minimum. What are these knuckleheads? Do they just sit around all day drinking martinis? Like the bad men guys.

Right. You know, I mean, where's the quants part of it, right? Where's the systematic approach. I mean, ton of creativity don't get me wrong. I mean, this is the same thing that, legitimate businessmen, quote, unquote, say about entrepreneurs. We're just a bunch of yahoos. What the hell do they know?

Like, we'll make it up. Whatever. Right. So, be having an engineering background and kind known a little bit about storytelling and marketing, and I'm like, well, why don't we give them some help? And that's the reason why it's called the story funnel by the way. And here's why it's called the story funnel is because marketers love stories.

Salespeople love funnels, marketing sales kind of hate each other. So we decided that. Pull them together, right? Let's let's say, Hey, we're all part of the team. That's one of the reasons this whole idea of rev ops or revenue operations is so powerful now because usually sales, blames marketing for shitty leads and sort of like, well, now you're all part one, it's all your fault.

Right?  I just, but as a sales professional, , the numbers are the numbers, right? , it's a little bit easier to kind of define that marketing  it's a nebulous 

Yeah. Yeah, it really is. I mean,  there's the classic of, you know,  if, 

sales, isn't making sales it's marketing's fault, but if sales is making sales, it's a hundred percent due to their talent and ingenuity. 

Yeah. 

Right.  It's funny that you talk about, I've had a number of people on marketing Mambo with, sales trainers or.

, details backgrounds. And we've talked a lot about that really rich area where marketing and sales come together. Right. I mean, and it's, critical. That was one of my favorite parts about being a marketing director was working closely with salespeople. Now there's a lot of times tension there, right?

Because sales is about like, I got to make my numbers this quarter and marketing's like, I got to build a brand, so I've got. Understand, what's the story that's going to resonate out in the marketplace. So people even want to talk to you. Right. And there's some natural tension there.

And sometimes there's a lack of understanding of, maybe what some of the actual issues are that sales. Is experiencing. And, sometimes there's just not those open lines of communication. So that sales is bringing back like, okay, these are the problems that we're facing, , and partnering and trusting marketing to be a good partner there.

But,   I love what you said about this, right? Because  these two areas need to work together. And at the most. Successful companies, sales and marketing are working together in harmony with maybe some healthy tension, but that's good.

with customer support and customer success as well. That's the other thing that we found was that that tight integration between sales marketing and customer success is really what's going to drive. 

The product side of the house building stuff that people are going to buy. Cause like, yeah, sales may bitch and moan at marketing for like, they can't make their sales, but then you got to dig deeper as well.

Is the product performing the way it should? And what are the objectives? I mean, it's a holistic approach. It's like, I used to always say when I was at a startup, we're all in sales. I'm like, well, what do you mean? I go, I don't care if you're. Director of product development. You're in sales too, because  if these guys can't sell what you build, that's maybe their problem, but chances are your product's not ready to sell.

And that's the reason why in a startup, as an example, a lot of founders sort of fall down on the sales scaling process because they hire sales reps too early. And the reason why that's important is because most of them are. Sales scares them.  It scares me to me. It's it's the S word I hate.

I mean, I have a hard time with it. Right.  Like friends of mine are like pushing me, like take more training, you know? And so that's why I talk about it. So I can like shame myself salesperson, but your first 5,000 customers or whatever the founders need to sell.

Yeah. 

And the reason  is because they need to figure out how to sell this thing. No sales rep, no VP of sales ever going to figure that out. It's a rare thing. And it's not because they can't, or don't want to it's because they're motivated, like you said, like brilliantly different way. I mean, salespeople are like engineers, like we're late.

Engineers by default are 

said it? I 

No, no, no. But I'll tell you why. And what I mean by lazy quote, unquote, is we want to save time and effort. We don't really, we want to systematize things so that we can, we can scale, right? That's what a sales person in their minds thinking like I got quota, I gotta make these calls.

I need a system that works because then I need to put my little spin on it. Right. That's the quote unquote lazy part. And it's true. How do you make them more lazy?

Well,  I think that it's, it's black and white. This is what we're talking about. Right? It's like you are focusing them on a goal and then you wind them up and say, go, go sell this. And I actually love what you're saying about. From a startup standpoint,  that founders really need to be the ones going out and selling the first customers because they actually are the people that have the ability to adapt the product to the needs of the customers.

And, as a, long time marketer. I mean, that was what I did my whole career before I became an executive coach. I was always a little bit frustrated by, sometimes sales. Wanting to interface with marketing as much, right. Because we had the ability to adapt the story, to influence people in the marketplace.

So maybe they would understand why this solution is the right thing for them.  But I'm not out sitting across the desk from clients and prospects.  So I need to have that interface with sales to get,  what are you here? But  I've seen it a lot where, sales and marketing are, salespeople are  like you said,  they're really goal oriented.

They're like, how's this going to help me to have a conversation with marketing? Right. That's a waste of time. I'll have my assistant adapt, the stupid stuff that marketing comes up with. and this is what I'm going to use on my next call. And,  

I love that the stupid stuff marketing comes up with. I

right, right. But I mean, obviously I'm saying that kind of facetiously, 

Well, yeah, but 

that at that, at the midst of that, conflict is where  if sales and marketing can come together, that's where you can really come up with some really rich stuff.

Cause we in marketing need that frontline intelligence that we can get from the salespeople and the salespeople quite frankly need, marketing's. Perspective on how to influence through story, perhaps, which maybe you can go into some detail about,  what story funnel is all about.

Cause It sounds like  this is where, the rubber meets the road.

It is. And I'm glad you brought that up because.  The healthy tension between a sales and marketing team really has to be a tension of mutual respect for the job to be done. Right? So sales is the frontline, just like customer service is the frontline as well, right? Like if you're not listening to your customer service folks about  what's the friction point, and then you're not listening to your salespeople about, Hey, we're hearing this constantly.

You're not getting that feedback loop that tight flywheel of. You're not doing your job. And conversely, if you're in sales and customer service and you're not listening to the marketing message and you're not like on point and not telling the same story, right. What we've found in Robbie found this at Sutro.

Like he would go out, he was the founder, he'd go out and sell some stuff. We had a great sales person, this guy named Jim, just fantastic. And him and we were just like peas in a pod. We just understood, Hey, what our roles were. And we just like vibe at such a level of like, it was just beautiful because we had to, we was like, the three of us trying to figure out how to scale this thing and the power of the story.

Is what bound us together. So if you were to go down like first principles that, ground truth of what we were doing, it all came back to, we, all of us have to tell the same story, because the only way anything goes viral, the only thing, anything like anything spreads is for it to be like a meme, right?

What are means are really short stories that resonate, right. And if everyone's taught, telling a different story, You're going to get absolute confusion. I mean, and you're like, what are we doing? But what's going on? So, we built these tools, underneath the story funnel framework, first tool we built, which people can actually try for free at the story.

funnel.co is something called a brand story game. And what we found. Was that companies have the style guide, this, these are the colors and the font, and this is what the logo looks like. It's all pretty and beautiful. Right, right, right. Yeah, sure. You've done plenty of those. There's really no story guide.

Like what are we talking about? And what we wanted to understand was what did the entire team think we're building, right? This is very important. The entire team, not just management, not just sales, not just marketing, not just customer service, not just develop. What is this thing. And so we built this survey tool and we find out, and then we create this thing called the brand story guide and the brand story guides fundamentally the tip of the communication spear.

Everyone can refer back to it and say, this is what we are building and scaling. And when everyone agrees. And that matches what management thinks. And then you go on to the next level, asking customers, then you go on to the next level of what is the rest of the world. Think you start to tightly integrate, and now you're aligning your team to your customers and then your customers.

Then you hope spread that to the rest of the world. That's sort of the layered approach to it, right? So we created this brand store. And, there's these six core questions that it answers, And this is based on a lot of storytelling based on like, just fundamentally in our DNA. We love stories, we know for a fact that's the case because you and I are talking to each other because our mutual ancestors told the best stories where to get food.

How to mate, how not to get eaten by the saber tooth tiger. Okay. Maybe we should get out of this place and go someplace warmer,  like we evolved and that's how we evolved. Right. We told the best story. So these marketers six core questions. they're the same for every company they're rooted in solid storytelling structure based on thousands, thousands of years, based on Aristotle, based on, hero's journey and all the things around story,  there's like this huge body of work about people have analyzed story of fiction nonfiction.

There's lots of companies that do this. Right. But we decided, okay,  let's systematize it. And so these marketers six core questions are really important to understand, and I'll briefly go through them. The first one's called what's your brand's core about, so what do you stand for? What's the primary core value and the secondary core value.

This could be performance. This could be status. It could be Marymount. This could be Maverick. You know, what do you stand for? 

Yep. 

The second one is, what's the big idea, what's your 10, second elevator pitch. What is, this thing? Like, how can you explain it to your grandmother in less than 10 seconds?

So she understands it,  again, it's like an elevator pitch, right? The third one is what's the through line. And then the through line in any story, as everyone knows, is all stories. I have a beginning, a middle and an end sounds simple, but it's true. Right? Undeniable truth fact. Right? So what's your brand's through line.

How do you hook a prospect to get them to become a customer? So you can build them up to be a long-term customer then eventually, how can you pay them off to be an advocate? The advocacy for marketing is the holy grip. We want to build an army of advocates that sell this stuff for us. Sorry, sales, but we're putting you out of business, right?

Does it mean we don't need sales. You guys are great. We love you. We really do. I love you. Don't worry about it. That's our job to make you it's actually makes 

Make it easier. right, right. 

there. They're pre-sold before they can just sit down and close. 

Yeah, there you go. Right. There you go. Right. So those are the first three, right? And you can do those first three for free over@thestoryfunnel.co.

The fourth one is what are the wants and needs of the customer. I know want is external and in need is internal. 

Hm. 

And so that's really important to understand people, tell you their wants. You have to understand their needs. 

Hm. 

that's 

Oh, I love 

Well, because that's the, and that's what story right.

Every character has got to want to need. This is again from story structure, a lot of this stuff I got from the story grid, which is just a wonderful way to analyze books by Sean quenches, Sean Coyne, and Tim Grahl over a story grid.com, just fantastic stuff. Right. But again, this is, you can see these recurring themes, right?

So then the fifth question is.  What's the structure of your offering? Like, what is it? Is it SAS? Is it a product? Is it a service? Is it a hybrid? Are you a non-profit? Are you on the front of the, nuts and bolts? Like, what is this actual thing? Not like the thing in terms of the big idea, which is mostly like a very high, almost like take the mission, vision, and values, and smashed them into 10 seconds.

Like that's the way I think about 

Well, it's really like your product, Right.

Like, what is that thing that you are actually buying, Right,

That's going, to help you address your needs and wants. 

right, right. Yeah. Right, right. Exactly. And so, but you have to understand that because there could be, how do you onboard, like, get this kind of the mechanic as you start to get farther down, you just sort of mechanical things. And then the last question is what are the requirements. To meet for that product.

What is the customer require, do they need a free trial? Do they want to pay by credit card? Do they have 30 day money back guarantee? I like all these things. Cause this is based on your competitive landscape. Like if you have a SAS product and you don't have a free trial, do you really have a SAS product?

Yeah. Yeah. 

Right. Because everyone has that. So those are the six. Mm.  Like I said, the first three we do, we can do through the tool that we're building, which is an MVP. And, it's got all its challenges, but we're really proud of it because what's been happening is we have these great conversations about it.

This is what we think your story is. And then other three, we're sort of working on how to automate it more, have the conversations with people, because those can be a little more subjective and whatnot. So yeah, I mean, what we're trying to really do. The grand big ideas. We want to align your revenue operations side of your business, your startup to your product led side, 

because those two things are super important to us and we align them, coordinate them, scale them through storytelling.

And the first part is you got to get your story straight. What the heck is this?

Yeah,  it's brilliant. And  it's funny, I worked in big corporate for most of my career and I've been through quite a number of, rebranding exercises in my career. And, we paid millions of dollars for. Consultants or agencies to come in and walk us through this actual process that you're talking about 

you mean I can charge that much. I'd be awesome. I only need like two customers and I'm done.

well, what I'm taking from this is that you're actually providing a solution.  Is appropriate for a startup,  that larger companies pay millions of dollars for, because I've been through this where, you know, we've had hundreds of interviews with people across the entire business to say, like, what do we stand for?

How do you see the business? How do you believe that we're seeing in the marketplace and, really getting down to  those core values of what we're all about. So that at some point we can start telling the story about who we are and, why you would want to work with us and what we actually deliver and how we are different from the  competitors.

 That's really, really powerful when you go through a process like that. Because.  I've worked for pretty mature businesses that,  if that was done  at some point as the business evolves, a lot of times it strays away from, maybe what the original, brand idea was.

And so sometimes just.  Bringing it back and saying, Hey,  let's all sing off the same song page. And  it helps tremendously with that sales and marketing alignment that we were just talking about.  If we go back and we, recenter ourselves as a business. And what you're talking about is like, just, I think from a startup standpoint  is getting clear on that.

Right? Cause somebody, they've got a great idea. They think that it's going to work, but maybe they haven't really tested it. They've asked their friends and family, what do you think? Right. And to really kind of get at the core of that and to, be able to test it more. And then, once you have sort of gotten to your Y.

Get everybody, like I said, singing off the same song sheet is just, you're all pulling in the same direction. 

That's so well put, I like exactly, it's really important because that's one of the reasons start-ups fail. I mean, first failure mode run out of money. Second failure mode. No one wants to buy our stuff. Third failure mode is we don't agree. The founders don't agree with what's going on.

And a lot of that has to just do. Really sitting down and quickly aligning your story, and then you gotta, and you got to try it. I mean, nothing's foolproof, right? I mean, 

we must at Sutro, we must have went through five or six iterations of this.   Other companies have been through more, typically this is called a pivot, like, oh, we've pivoted to something else because the other thing wasn't working well,   Every time you pivot, you should realign your story, 

 Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean,   I recorded a podcast episode yesterday with somebody who, works at a, consumer packaged goods startup and, she's got this, Background in advertising and also working, at a number of, places on the agency side and client side. but, we were just talking about how, 

testing and learning is just such an important part of, marketing, right. And, founders have these ideas,  they think it's going to work. But you have to go out and  test and learn and evolve and see like, does this have meaning,  I think that the solution has meaning for people and that they'd be willing to trade money  to have it, to address  their wants and needs.

But you never really know until you test it. Right. And then you can tweak things and it could be like, you're going to tweak the product, or it could be, you could tweak, the story you just don't know until you  put it out there. And so.  Yeah.

This is really fascinating what you put out there.

So, once people go to story funnel.co and they take the free survey. What happens after that? you.

said that the first three questions are free. What would happen after that? If somebody was interested. 

Yeah. Yeah. Well, so what happens is, so you sign up,  you generate what's called a brand story. That survey, you send it to your internal team.  They do the survey and then we collect all the data, run it through some proprietary machine learning algorithms that we cooked up. And then.

What we ended up doing, is we going to go through it with you? So we'll produce a report, that'll be the results of the survey. And then we'll like, look through it, edit it, and then be like, Hey, let's sit down and talk about what this means. Then usually after that, depending on where the company's at, some of them will want to do, what's called a product market fit survey.

So the other thing we found was that it was always challenging to sort of align. What marketing wants to what the product team wants to deliver because the product team always had this great idea, like, oh, this is so cool. And you're like, no one cares. I 

mean, you've seen, heard this is 

the 

Of course. 

 the constant marketing product manager development team shenanigans that happen all the time.

And if you happen to be like me, like I can build pretty much any of this stuff. Then you have, you have a superpower where you can call BS, but if you don't.  You need to have some data to say, how do I guide this? And then the next step on this whole process is this thing called the product market fit survey, where we ask customers specific questions, how they interact with the product.

And then we analyze it in a similar way and then say, Hey team, this is what your customers are saying. We think these are the friction points that we have to fix. And this is the messaging that's resonating. Then what do we think about that? And so now,  Again, we've got a flywheel I think the thing that a lot of thing is lacking in the, on the, both the product lead side and the rev ops side is the connection of how to grow by iteration.

Right? You had a great comment about experiments,   I used to be an engineer. I used to do manufacturing of DNA sequencing, semiconductor chips, which is like the nerdiest thing on the planet. Right. I mean, we could do the thousand dollar genome, right. And the day a company called ion torrent that was bought by life technologies that was then bought by Thermofisher.

Right? So these cycles of learning these experiment.   My whole job was to do these experiments, to figure out how to eat a little bit of performance at each one of these chips and then scale. And it was just a whole like, so it's ingrained in my brain, my DNA experiments cycles of learning. Look at data.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. I have strong convictions, but they're very loosely held depending on what the result is. 

 So if some marketing team says, oh, you need to do these 10 things. You'll grow. I'll be like, well, we can try them, but we don't know what's going to grow you.

We can just say like past history for some ideas, right? It's this tight integration, this tight flywheel.  That's the thing I think we solved. Yeah.  When you have that, then you can make decisions and then you can measure results and then you can rinse and repeat. And then  as you tell your story better, you align your team and you understand 

cause a lot of growth of a startup is what's the next thing we build? How do we talk about it? What is this thing? And then. Oh, how do we find more of those customers that love us? You know, the ones that are always like emailing you, putting on social media, like, like, like, you know, they respond to your bulk emails.

You're like, who are these people? Where do we get more? Well, you need to know, 

and that's just not interviewing them. That's what's the trends. Right? So 

that's usually the next step. Right? We do that. And then we do something called a content journey map, and that's where we build the story funnel.   Because this, the story funnel has got stages and phases through this through line of your whole brand, because we also recognize that we have to connect what a prospect sees to what a customer sees to what an advocate sees, and then whatever the advocates are saying, we have to go back up through the customer and through the prospect.

So it's a back and forth. It's not just one and done, 

It's an ecosystem for sure. You know, and as you were talking about that, you know what I mean? I know that you're really addressing the startup market, but you know,  this is actually just a discipline that needs to be done on pretty much a constant basis because, things in the marketplace are evolving as well.

And so even if you, have a snapshot of what your ideal customer.  Needs or wants in a particular timeframe things have. All right. And so you've got to  know which way the wind is blowing so that  you can adapt. So, all of this is super fascinating. so I know also Jari that you're working on a book  called story-driven outreach.

So tell me A little bit more about that. 

Well remember we were talking about wants and needs before wants is the external thing like, oh, I want a glass of wine. The need is I need to fill the hole. Cause I feel so sad. 

Oh, my gosh. 

I know

That's that's been me over the last, 20 months. 

a little too little too close to home. I'm sorry about that. That at least that was for me when I was drinking. Right. Well, the other thing we realized telling our story, and I tell a story funnel, blah, blah, blah. Like it's hard for me, quickly to kind of  grasp someone and get them in the idea. And  again, this is the problem.

Every company has like, how do we get people educated on our products?  To onboard and try it. Okay. Classic problem. Especially when you're doing something new, especially when it's like, what's this thing story, what ha what, you know, and people are distracted and there's  thousands upon thousands different options.

Right. So. If you know anything about  really good storytelling and you love really good characters in novels, as an example, all characters, all protagonists have a want and a need the wants. Usually the external thing like, oh, I want a girlfriend. I want money. I want fame. I want fortune. I want prestige.

Right? And usually you can see that manifestation,  the need, the internal need, the. I want to be loved. I want to be successful. I want to be respected. Like, there are different things, right?  So what Ravi and I figured out was we could talk about the story funnel stuff all day, all night, and people would just like roll their eyes yet another marcomm blah, blah, blah, right.

Or MarTech. Okay. Fair enough. Grant. So then we decided, well, marketing people have specific wants these like external things that just like, they just they're festering pain. How can I be better at.  And the first one we came up with was outreach  and outreach is link building, blog, posts, cold emails, all the things you do when you're sitting at your desk, trying to get people to like link to you, a reporter to cover you.

Right. Strong, very strong watch, right? Like how many people out there that are in marketing are like, God, I sent 25 emails a day on outreach, and then I don't get any response.  So we decided, well, the want is having people respond more to your outreach than write a book, cause this is what I do as well.

I'll write a book about how you can use stories and be story-driven using the framework.  For your specific problem of outreach. So your want fill your wants, like, yay, happy, Dave. So if I feel your wants and you're like, gosh, that GRE guy, what  I  like, you even said it, not me, what a genius. Right. And humble and marginally good luck or, or what I like to say.

Yeah. I got a face made for radio. but you know, okay, so now I've filled, your wants have solved one of your problems. What you really need is a marketer. Is a better story framework. You need a better system to align your company, to make your job easier. I mean, that's what you need.  You know it in your bones, but you can't get past the festering sore of the wants.

Right. If I can fulfill your wants, then I hope.  You'll also consider me to help you feel your need. And so that's the idea, and this is  a story-based approach because the story I'm telling you is I feel your pain. I can fix it when I fix it. Come look at the other thing I can do to make that pain never come back as an example.

So.

Yeah. That's great. So.

when's your book coming out? 

Soon it probably within the next month. What I'm trying to do. any of you authors out there. Okay. I'm going to tell you some like inside author,  trickery authors are,  I call them authorpreneurs  most authors that write books.

 Don't sell them. it's almost a Bismal. Honestly, the reason is most authors just want to write like half the battles writing the silly thing, just like half the battles building the silly thing. The other half the battles marketing, the silly thing. Right.   Well, what I've found, you know, I've written six other books.

Okay. Marginally successful. I would say, not as successful as I'd like a single biggest thread through all that. Was the marketing, like how do you market a book? Hmm. Similar to how you market a company. Hm. Well, how do you market a company? Well, you find customers that want your stuff. Okay. Do you build what you want?

No. You build what you think the customer wants, right? I mean, I'll build whatever, if you want to buy it right. So then I took approach to this book. I said, I'm going to write something people want to read as opposed to what I want to right  now, just so happens. I love to write it. but I had to like consciously build an audience, which is what I'm doing now.

and okay, I got to find an audience for this first, before I launch it, which seems silly. Right? Cause everyone's like, oh, I read the book it's coming out in year and a half.  So a little insider trick for those that want to be an author, write something people want to read.

That's so funny because  I've gotten similar advice from, coaches who say, get a group together, and have a general. Sort of topic or solution, but once you get the group together, ask them what they want to be taught. 

Yeah.



This is.  yeah.

my own issues deep down inside, like in some ways it feels like cheating, you know, but how brilliant, like people want to be heard. right. I mean, that's one of the things that we hated about school, which was, , they're teaching us what they want to teach us rather than what we want to know. and then, you think about  how different the school experience would be.

If they were saying to the kids like, Hey, what do you guys wanna know? Right. 

I have a choice. 

Oh, okay. You'd be like such a different student, right?  

Right. And  so, to that end,  I decided, okay, well, I'm  taking a class cause I'm all into like learning and stuff. So I thought, okay, I'm going to take a class about how I can launch this book. People that actually want to buy it, which I think they do, but I'm going to do it a little different.

I'm going to kind of mix it up. So one of the things I'm doing in terms of building an audience is I have a private Facebook group called story-driven startups. And this was a revelation to me, and I learned this from this class I'm doing. And I'm like, wow. I never thought like build an audience first and then.

Hey, this is the book I have or, to your point, which I really love. Hey, what do you guys want to learn? and I sorta know that people want to learn outreach because I've done webinars in the past where lots of people have shown up and they're like, oh my gosh, this is like the greatest thing. Thank you.

So I have some inkling, it's almost like a lab. I don't have a lab to like, experiment. Like what do you guys think? Cause I don't know. I mean, I know what I do, but you know what I mean? This is the beauty of a story-driven approach and the beauty of what we're trying to build, 

 It's this type feedback mechanism that aligns everyone, including your customers and your team and your marketing folks and your sales folks. Like let's just figure out what we can build together. 

   Yes. 

 This is like eyeopening to me. Like, I should know this right on top of doing this forever, but like anything,  like promoting yourself as hard, the S word is hard, you know, sales, you know, and it's like, oh, it's an evolution.

It's a learning process. This is just like, fascinating to me. I'm like, gosh, maybe this will work. And if it doesn't, I tried.   

You will learn something and you'll have your next iteration of whatever it is that you're, 

For the next book or whatever, right? Like, oh, you guys really want to learn how to, do a slide deck or you really want to learn how to build a landing page.

Oh, okay. Well, I could do that. It's just so fascinating because in today's day and age, this is the revelation as well. Building a product is democratized anyone. And I mean, anyone can build a product. Within reason SAS direct to consumer anyone. 

Sure. 

So what do you have to compete on price?

Yes. Never want to play that game, but fine. What's the only other thing that you can compete on. It's your brand, your story messaging.



Yeah, It's however you're differentiating.  As you've been talking about this, ,  branding is really about. Your promise, but what does that mean to the person that you want to have the relationship with? Right. And,  it's just like any relationship that if you want it to be successful, you've got to leave room for the.

Person that you're having the relationship with to evolve. Right. And you have to evolve together in order to stay together. So it is really super interesting, everything that, you're talking about. 

Yeah, so that, what does that mean? That means that all you marketers out there, you will have your day. It's all going to be about marketing. 

I mean, It's going to 

happen, be prepared because people are going to be building all these things. And like, I have friends, super techie. They're like, Jerry, we can build you anything you want.

The problem is we can't sell it.

Yeah. That's fascinating. Well, , I'm glad to hear it. You know, being a dyed in the wool marketer. 

It may seem doom and gloom now. And it's the dark night of the soul. As in every hero's journey, there's always the dark night of the soul. There's always the like, am I going to win against the dragon? Am I going to slay the dragon and bring the gold back to the community and marketers and product people and growth, like all the people that are trying to.

Take  these silly SAS things and grow them your time has come.

Yeah. that's awesome. Well, Thank you so much for, talking to me about those, the story funnel. I think this is really fascinating. It's been a, a great conversation and, before we close out,  you mentioned Jane earlier and when we talked, whenever I was on your podcast, The little bit about the fact that you  spent some time as a grief coach.

And so,  if you don't mind, could you talk to us a little bit about that? Just in terms of, what got you started and what that's meant to you and maybe how that's been part of your healing journey as well? 

Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate that question because not a lot of people talk about the grief and sorrow and the trauma of loss, you know? So, Jane died when she was 36, you know, became a widower, which she never thought I'd ever become 

a widower 

heartbreaking. Right. what was really interesting about grief, especially grief.

All right, because I tried to find groups to help me through this. And there's a lot of them out there and they have different modalities of the way they work. and for me, personally, none of them really resonated with me because I wanted to grow. I wanted to like, post-traumatic growth as opposed to post-traumatic.

The sense. Like, I, I never liked the whole private pity party thing. I sometimes felt that, but I'm like, how in the hell do I grow from this?  How do I evolve? Because one of the things that Jane was super, she was, she was on me even to the week she died. She's like this, I know if I die, you are going to be.

 Ben out of shape. You're going to go in your own little private pity party. You're going to do all the bad things you always do. I don't want you to be sad. I want you to be happy. I want you to find love again. I want you to live a good life. The gift of that is the reason I'm talking to you today, because what I realized was that, that attitude, I mean, I have a fiance now, like I found love again, going to soon be a stepfather.

I mean like I'm lucky. You know, and then it means in some cases, you know, one of the things that people always say is, well, what good came out of your partner dying. Right? You can never answer that question. You think that's the dumbest question ever, but the thing is, there's nothing I could have done different to help her.

Right. I wish I could have, I, in fact, I would have traded, I would have traded, they said, Jerry, we'll take you instead of Janet. I'd be like, I'm in. A hundred percent cause she would've done the exact same thing for me. 

Right. 

Because, and she even said, she's like, you know what, I'll be dead. I won't care.

You're still here. You're the one that's going to take the burden of this.   And I'm all. Gosh, you're so right. 

 How do I shoulder. And then turn the burden into growth and then turn the growth into the love we shared for someone else. My now fiance, Minerva, and the rest of the world. How do you show up in the world knowing you went through this traumatic grief field experience.

And so there's this place called grief coach, make it grief.coach. I don't remember the name, but Emma.  The CEO I've somehow connected with her and she reached out, she was like, Hey, do you think you could write some, words of wisdom for people as they go through this and, will they text people?

It's an interesting kind of model. I said, yeah, sure. Not a problem. Okay. I at the time was thinking about writing the actual book, a non-fiction book about it. And that actually turned into a memoir, which will be published, spring of 2023. And that memoir  is the relationship Jane and I had to her leukemia and, ,  that whole time we spent together basically from when we met to when she died.

So that was really important to me. To share that there is life after grief that you're going to make mistakes and that not everyone's grief is the same. So there's no one size fits all, but you have to show up with compassion and you have to have some empathy, but not too much empathy because empathy, you're just going to sit there,  wallowing 

Yeah. 

in this grief, you need to move from empathy to compassion.

Because the compassion allows you to take action towards helping or healing or whatever. So 

the road is still long, but you know, I stopped drinking. I have a healthier lifestyle now. So those are the good things that came out of it. But, Mr. Every day, 

yeah, 

you know, like I said, I'd trade places with her in a second, but I can't 

and I have to re I have to be okay with that.

Right. Things happen. Things happen in life and as much as we sometimes would like. Them to be different. I would imagine it's about accepting it and finding strength to carry on  and maybe find some meaning and what's going on, but, well, Jari thank you for sharing that.

It's, I think that's, what you're doing, by sharing your journey, and making it a. Now, maybe giving courage to other people who are just beginning, their grief journey is really important, but, tell our listeners where they can find you. 

Well, you can go check out the story funnel.co, which is  the new thing. Also the podcast is the entrepreneur ethos.com.  I'm on Twitter at the daily MBA have a pretty unique name, so not hard to find me on LinkedIn and office other places. So, I'd love to hear what people think.

 You know, help with story. Tell your own story. If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one grief and sorrow, I'm not a counselor or anything like that, but just remember you're not alone. That was one thing that was really important to me, that people are out there and love you.

And that you do have to find the meaning when you want to find the meaning. And in time it's okay to feel like crap. It's okay to be like, oh man, this is horrible because your body feels it. 

 So just know that people care about you. You're not alone and in time do the work.  

Well, Jerry, Thank you so much. I've really enjoyed this conversation. Both about story funnel.co, and also, I really appreciate you sharing more of your personal journey because I think it does make. Easier for other people who, as much as they don't want to have to walk that road, sometimes find them selves there and knowing that others have experienced loss and have down some meaning and, strength to carry on as it's helpful.

So thanks for being on marketing Mambo. Appreciate it. 

anytime. I appreciate the time. Thanks.