SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Agata Krzysztofik Take 2

demio saas breakthrough featuring agata krzysztofikAbout Agata Krzysztofik:
Agata Krzysztofik is a startup mentor and a marketing leader with +10 years of experience in developing and executing growth strategies at companies like Google, Groove, and SimScale.

Currently, she is leading a 100% remote Marketing team at Piktochart. Together with her team, Agata is on the mission of empowering people to tell great visual stories that stick.

meetdemio · How Piktochart is Growing Into New Market Segments with Engaging Visual Storytelling

Show Notes:
03:15
Helping People Communicate Their Stories With The Help Of Visual Formats
07:00
Building A Tool Where People Can Actually Do Graphic Design On Their Own
10:40
The Short And Long Term Demand Spikes Caused By The COVID-19 Crisis
"We are also a remote company but it's still like unique. There is, there aren't that many remote companies. And when I was talking in the past with investors, they were seeing the strength of remote working like really growing in the next 10 years. But you know, kind of like 70% of companies moving to remote setup within the next 10 years. And due to the crisis, it does seem that this might actually happen way faster than initially the experts were predicting as well."
"I feel that also like in terms of product, we want to also move more into this direction to support the group of you know, people who are like working remotely and like just basically helping them to be more efficient, more productive, have a better collaboration while working remotely."
13:05
Joining A Company With A Very Strong Culture And Understand Product Market Fit
16:35
The Two Aspects Crucial Right Now When Investing In SEO
18:35
Implementing The OKR Framework In A New Company
21:30
Visual Storytelling: Our Brains Are Really Good At Remembering Visuals
25:35
How SaaS Can Tell More Engaging Stories
"When I actually was interviewing their customers, majority of them said that they ended up using the product because they felt that the founder understands them like when they read his blog posts. And the same applies, you know, to the video or like visual storytelling that you have to be able to connect on this like emotional level with your audience. You know, that you kind of have to evoke some sort of emotions or like show to the user that you kind of understand your standpoint as well."
29:00
The Elements You Must Have In A Video So That It Works
"And another thing which you should not do is like to make it too salesy. I see it a lot in videos or in general, like, now also like ads that people are like, you know, spend so much time in the video talking about how great their product is. And there's like all this talk about features. Like people actually don't really care about it. And instead let them see based on example, like you know how great the product is and like let them experience the product."
32:25
Planning The Video For Each Different Platform
33:55
New Tool Coming Soon To Make Targeted Video Content For Different Social Media
38:05
The Things That Fail Help Us Become Stronger And Learn Based On Our Own Mistakes
"Like even our CEO decided that this last year, like on 2019, like you know, usually companies have always this blog post like where they are celebrating wins of the year. And we thought like, okay, let's do something different and let's talk about failures. So she ended up publishing this blog post where we like talked about like all the things that failed and we did wrong and the mistakes that helped us, you know, become stronger and learn based on our own mistakes as well."
42:05
Make Sure To Leverage What You Already Have Before Trying Something New
42:55
The Challenges Ahead For SaaS Marketers
"There is a big demand for learning and it's an opportunity for marketing teams to use this for attracting a new audience (...) And there's also a big opportunity in helping people to be more productive and to collaborate better in a remote setup. Like, you know, so maybe like if you are creating content or like if you want to create videos, try to create something around this topic as well (...) there is definitely a big need for an effective way to communicate and to educate you know, their audience, like internal or external scope."
"At the end of the day, I think like the most important aspect, what it means is that you need to be able to adapt fast. You know. Like things are the way they are. But you know, the winners of the current situations will be the companies that are able to continuously reinvent themselves and we'll be agile in this, right? Like, because if you are saying like, Oh yeah, maybe gonna do it and it's going to take a year that's like too late."
47:00
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

Hi, Agata. Thanks for joining me. Welcome back to the SaaS Breakthrough podcast. I know the last time you were here we had you as a CMO at SIM scale, which was a really actually great episode and now you're over at Piktochart, so big congratulations to you and you know, it's pretty amazing having you back here, hear more of what's been going on in your life and marketing and all that kind of great stuff. And how are you doing today?

AK (03:07):
I'm great. I'm really happy to be back. And you're right. A lot has changed since the last time we spoke. So I'm really excited to tell you more about you know Piktochart and what we have been doing.

DA (03:17):
Yeah, exactly. I think it was about a year and a half ago. So definitely I think not only has the world changed, but the, you know, the marketplace has shifted. But excited to learn all of this stuff today. So I guess let's start this off today by explaining a bit about Piktochart when that company was founded, who the customers are and what you're doing uniquely in the marketplace.

AK (03:38):
Yeah, there's also actually a very unique story behind Piktochart. So it's a bootstrap company, which was founded in 2011 by a couple Ai Ching Goh who is originally Malaysian and Andrea Zaggia who's Italian. So also like, you know, across the borders. And before they even had the fully fledged concept of their business, they knew one thing for sure. So they wanted to create a workplace where two things mattered people and communications. So it was more about like, you know, creating great place to work. Then even having this initial idea and fast forward to 2020 this still hold true. So our culture and people are extremely important to us and we love what we are doing and this passion allow us to create a visual communication platform that right now is used by over 11 million people worldwide. And what Piktochart is or does, it's an intuitive web based solution that empowers the people across different groups. So marketers, HR professionals, educators, sales people, but also many other to communicate their stories and how they do it is they do it with the help of different visual formats such as for example, presentations, reports, social media graphics, infographics, flyers, and all of this is combined with ready to use templates developed by experienced designers. So you don't need to have any design background to create something that is like really professionally looking and it looks like, you know, you actually had a designer on your team.

DA (05:21):
That's amazing. Do you guys have a specific customer base or is it really any online B2B business?

AK (05:29):
No. So we have actually like it, it is actually like a mix as well. Right. But initially we were mainly focusing on marketers and still this is one of the larger groups of our customers. It's the marketers as well. Maybe later on I can also tell you a bit more what we have been doing or like what we are planning to do more for marketers. But I think right now as well in the current time we have seen an increase in three additional groups, which is human resources, learning development, health care and e-learning. And he's probably also because these three groups have the highest need for communication right now in, in the COVIT-19 situation as well. So that's why we see a large increase in the signups from these groups. But outside of this, there are like people as well from other departments like sales that is leveraging Piktochart, market research, finance, also a lot of different government institutions that are using the platform and they use it for various purposes. So, you know, it could be something like your team creating an update about their OKRs, because we have also templates around this or informing the public about COVIT-19 symptoms or preventionn, promoting a new webinar on Instagram. Or it could be something like a job post on LinkedIn created by HR professionals.

DA (06:59):
Now this is kind of a two part question, but you know, for the original team that was kind of building this out since I think you said 2011, you know, what was their journey to find that product market fit? You mentioned realistically, maybe that's marketers. How did they stumble upon that when they have a tool that I can fit, as you've mentioned in so many different industries and niches and professions, and then also now in the current situation, have you guys tried to adapt to changes or is it just now we have a tool that fits for everyone? So again, two kind of questions.

AK (07:34):
Yeah. Okay. (inaudible) like, you know, I'm at least a believer as well that like, you know, it's hard to do something amazing for everyone. So we definitely want as well to focus more on specific groups and like, you know, really nail a tool for, for these groups. But we do see a lot of potential, especially now in a remote working and like, you know, tools that make it easier for teams to be productive and efficient. Like while working remotely. So things like collaboration is a bit part of development for our product this fall. So we won't be investing more there as well. I mean we also see a lot of potential in communication. So this is ultimately as well what Piktochart helps users to achieve, right? Like we basically help them to communicate in visual way. So it's way easier to deliver the message because visuals are way better than texts in conveying the message.

AK (08:30):
And you need less time to actually understand the final messages as well with visuals. I sidetracked a bit from the original questions. The questions were like to how they found out initially that it was marketers as well. So at the beginning, before they even had the platform, it was actually a consulting business. So they started with two graphic designers. They saw that businesses like small businesses and SaaS companies had a need for graphic design. But usually like, you know, graphic designer isn't the first person you're going to hire on your marketing team as well. Right. Because you know, it's like often an additional cost. And like usually startups don't really like (inaudible) at their beginning stage. They don't have budget for this. So they saw that there was a lot of potential in it, but then later on they thought that, you know, why not build a tool where people could actually do it on their own.

AK (09:20):
So instead of like, you know, doing with like one-on-one case like they could scale it when it's like more like one to many usage.(Inaudible) basically creating with different templates as well for users and they could like, you know, edit it through their specific needs. And initially it was definitely marketers as well because they are using mainly like, you know, a lot of visual content this fall like to promote their products and they have the biggest need for like, you know, professionally designed content or like printouts and so on. But later on it was kind of the solution natural that more and more people saw benefits in using the platform and we kept expanding the templates as well for additional audience. So that's why like right now it's really expands across so many different audiences as well. And I do feel that it definitely is like, you know, shifting as well, like to additional groups that maybe in the past they didn't have such a high need for it, like human resources is a very good example, right? Because previously like they were all like mainly office based as well. There were like training's happening as well in the office and now you have to be a bit more creative. Like, you know, how are you going to keep your employees engaged, how you're going to prepare your employees for this new situation with remote working and so on. So they are definitely looking for new tools.

DA (10:42):
How are you feeling from a market expansion point of view? Do you think there's going to be a big roll back when things kind of re situate? Do you have, you know, just any concerns that you know, this is just a spike or do you think this is kind of the new reality?

AK (10:58):
I think that for healthcare it might be definitely just a spike. Because we also saw so like a big spike in signups from healthcare because you know, obviously you have to educate the public as well, right? And it's a bit difficult to build health literacy and expect that people read like, you know, all this long research studies and so on and like really get an understanding out of it. If you maybe don't have a background in medicine, so it's way easier to translate into something visual, like where people just look at it and gain a better understanding. Like, you know, how they can protect themselves and like what the symptoms are and so on. So there is definitely need from this educational standpoint for healthcare. And I think that probably like maybe it will stabilize later on. So it might be like, you know, just a spike for the current time.

AK (11:51):
But I do think that's like other audiences, it will continue growing as well because initially like, you know, this trend of remote working, like you guys are also a fully remote company. We are also a remote company but it's still like unique. There is, there aren't that many remote companies. And when I was talking in the past with investors, they were seeing the strength of remote working like really growing in the next 10 years. But you know, kind of like 70% of companies moving to remote setup within the next 10 years. And due to the crisis, it does seem that this might actually happen way faster than initially the experts were predicting as well. So.

DA (12:34):
Like forced evolution.

AK (12:35):
Yeah kind of. I feel that also like in terms of product, we want to also move more into this direction to support the group of you know, people who are like working remotely and like just basically helping them to be more efficient, more productive, have a better collaboration while working remotely.

DA (12:54):
Yeah. No, and I'm just kind of picking your brain because I have so many questions on how we feel things are going to resolve after the spike, but I do want to get into some of the initiatives that have been working for you guys recently. And sort to preface that, when did you join the Piktochart team?

AK (13:10):
I'm actually, like you mentioned I think at the beginning, right? Like I'm fairly new and so I joined last summer.

DA (13:16):
Almost a year?

AK (13:20):
Yeah, it's like almost almost a year. And so it's not that long and actually like quite a lot of my team as well. They are new, new members as well. So I'm not the only person. We have a new person that joined like just a few months before me was focusing on SEO. And then there was a, another person that's joined just around the same time as me and she's leading lead generation initiatives. So yeah, it was kind of like a year ago. And I immediately jumped into work and it was funny because actually before that, you know, I was working as well remotely. I was working for Groove and I was also leading my own consulting business around growth marketing. And I wasn't really like, you know, looking for something new and then I had a call with Ai Ching. Like, you know, I'm always open to collaborations and like, you know, just like learn as well about like new products as well. And just after this first call I knew that this is the company I want to work for. Like I feel that like, you know, they have very strong culture and it was like an important aspect for me as well.

DA (14:30):
That's amazing. Culture is so important and I love to hear that. How they balanced both their work culture and the mission and vision of like the product. And I feel like we're kind of similar to that, but it's always makes a great place to work. And an exciting day. So you jumped right in initially focusing on new projects. Where was the company like initially focusing on marketing initiatives, what were you jumping into?

AK (14:53):
So they did a lot of like, you know, creative kind of designs like a design cost calculator. So they invested a lot of, into content like this creative like new forms of content as well, but mainly like, you know, text-based content as well. So that was the focus before I came and they also were investing in the blog but not like from a really like SEO perspective. That's why like, you know, we actually hired as well a SEO person that like, you know, could drive it more like we could optimize the blog post as well for SEO. But that was like mainly back then the situation as well. A lot of like, you know texts heavy content and as well, like initiatives which were like partnership base or like let's say collaborating with HubSpot only generation.

AK (15:43):
And so on. And one of the first things I did when I joined was like really deep diving into data because you already asked about, you know, this ideal customer profile. And that's always the information that is the most important for me when I joined a company.

AK (15:59):
I try to understand like, you know, what is our product market fit? Where are we the best in terms of like, you know, meeting the product requirements to a specific group. And also like, you know, what are the specific needs that the product is fulfilling? So I actually ended up reading through all the past customer surveys, sign up polls, customer emails to built a clear picture of our target audience because it's a very important aspect for me. I also analyzed our funnel and looked into the performance of our website and it turned out that we needed to optimize our website for speed and mobile if we wanted to farther improve SEO.

AK (16:38):
And actually these two aspects are crucial right now as well when you want to invest in SEO. And I know a lot of people just think like, you know, Oh, SEO, like I just focus on content and they kind of like miss this element. But there's also this other aspect of SEO, which is the more technical one. And you know, mobile first and basic speed of the website load time is extremely important for Google one day rank your website as well. So we are still working on this project, like we are improving, continuously improving it as well. In the past also the team was working with a marketing agency and actually an agency of developers who were working on the website. And that probably wasn't the best approach because what ended up happening is that this agency was giving us different developers. So on every single page we had a different developer working on. The result was that we had a lot of different CSS files and you know, every page was kind of built like a separate website.

AK (17:40):
So yeah, it's a very common thing. So I completely changed the approach and we decided to go with one person who is like really an expert in WordPress development. He he's actually like a recommendation from Matthew Barbie from HubSpot as well. And I worked with him as well at Groove previously, so he's really good guy. And we still working with him right now on, there's still a lot of work to be done, but we already saw like a huge improvement in the speed and load time and the whole website experience, you know, since the few months that we have been working on it.

DA (18:21):
So overall optimizations, understanding or target ICP, what can I double down on? You're building out the team, you're building out the focus on major initiatives. That sounds fantastic. That's a great way to get in with the company.

AK (18:34):
One also other thing that I think is important because I'm like a huge fan of this is also I knew that I have to implement OKRs. I don't know if you know this, I'm a huge believer in OKRs I think sell it to everyone and their ability to drive the next growth. And you know, Piktochart actually tried OKRs before but they didn't have anyone who had experience working with the framework. So it ended up failing the first I'm around that they tried it. But you know, I knew that if I want the team to be more data driven and goals oriented, I really need to work with OKRs as well. And lucky you know, I have over 10 years of experience working with OKRs, which is still from my time when I was working at Google and it really helps. So now we are actually not just the marketing team is running on the OKRs but actually the whole company and has helped us a lot.

DA (19:27):
Maybe walk me through that process of creating those OKRs is when you're coming into a new team, how do you know what to build? What benchmarks are you using? What are the goals that you're aligning on? Is that conversations with leadership? Like how did you come up with those different ones?

AK (19:40):
I mean we always OKRs on a quarterly basis as well, right? So we just basically implemented some frameworks as well that will be needed for planning. So when do we plan as a leadership team? Like you know, how do we get aligned across different departments as well? So we also do the top down approach. So basically we start first with the company level OKRs, right? So within the strategy group that we're also part of, we basically first define like, you know, what are the main company goals? Like, you know, how do we want to grow revenue? Where do we want to bring the product? Like what are the important aspect of the product development as well? And from these company goals, we then let the leads of the individual departments to come up with their department level OKRs. And then you cascade it down to the individuals, right? So then the individuals kind of from the team look at the same marketing OKRs and they see, okay, this is how I can contribute to drive the specific objectives. Those are going to be my individual objectives and my individual key results. I actually wrote blog post about it as well, which is on Piktochart. It's quite popular.

DA (20:50):
We'll make sure to link to it too.

AK (20:53):
Yeah, I can definitely share it with you. And it's more specifically about like, you know, how you can make OKRs successful by knowing how to write like good OKRs as well because it's really important that OKRs answer the questions of what, and how, right. So you, they have to be also like measurable because otherwise like, you know, if you just write something, it's very difficult to know if you at the end of the quarter ended up achieving it or not. And like what actually drove this achievement. So this is an important part of the process as well, knowing that (inaudible) OKRs are properly defined.

DA (21:31):
That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I want to go into a little bit more about your kind of YouTube and video marketing like tactical initiatives that you've worked on. But I think before we can do that, we have to expand a bit more on the role and benefits of visual storytelling, which I think at its core is what Piktochart does. We recently had on Threekit, Hillary Murdock from Threekit, a product visualization company. It was a great episode and we talked a lot about the visual economy, kind of these changes that are happening online from the visual aspect. We know already that storytelling is so important. Right? So how have you guys kind of combined those things? How have you made visual storytelling such an important part of marketing and then we'll go forward into how you then used that into YouTube or video marketing.

AK (22:20):
Yeah, definitely. So I completely agree with Hillary Murdock and what she said with the, that we're living in this visual economy. So if you think about it, we are constantly connected to the internet and as a result, like, you know, we are overloaded with a never stopping stream of information. So actually if you're thinking numbers, the average global consumer spends around 82 hours per week on consuming information. Just, it's like around 69% of our time when we are not sleeping. So we are in a desperate need for solutions that will help us process all this information and stories combined with visuals are one such solutions. So if you think like, you know from perspective like why this works as well, I know that like she already probably explained some of this aspect, but I think it's important as well to highlight that.

AK (23:16):
You know, it's, it's a lot about the way our brains work. So our brains are really good at remembering visuals. And if you for example, compare it to hearing information, so where we hear information, we are likely to remember only 10% of that information if someone asks you about it in three days. But if you tear a relevant image with the same information, you'll be able to retain around 65% of the same information in three days. And we also like are way better at processing visuals. So it takes us 60 thousand times faster than processing texts and why visuals themselves like they help our brainstorm member as well as to process difficult concepts. When you add stories to that they actually, it's, it's proven that stories trigger the release of the trust hormone called oxytocin. And what it means is that, if you combine like stories with visuals, like they are able, you're able to connect with your audience on a deeper level and you also can capture the attention of your audience way better than, for example with a blog post.

AK (24:33):
So if you do a video or like, you know, if you do something visual on social media and that will actually explain as well, the success behind Instagram stories. So I was recently reading that according to one study, Instagram story ads has three times higher recall rate when compared to the ads on the other popular social media sites. This is huge. Like, you know, I wasn't even aware of it. So it's really impressive. And that's also the reason why Piktochart is focusing so much on, on the aspect of visual storytelling. So we believe that like now, this way we help our users to convert their message into a visual story that's gets the attention it deserves and it sticks into people's minds as well. So people are able to recall your story way better because you have these visuals and that's not just like you know, in in the way the product works, but also like we try to follow this principle as well in this what we do in marketing,

DA (25:37):
Well I guess you know, the metrics make sense. The data makes sense to me. Where I struggle is how do I take my messaging, how do I take my advertising and all the traditional things I already know and how do I convert that into visual storytelling? How do I tell a story that is engaging and enticing and gets you pulled to watch? And then obviously I can turn that into video, but like the strategy behind the storytelling, what, what insights do you have on how businesses or maybe SaaS companies and SaaS marketers in general can learn to take their messaging and convert that to you know, engaging stories?

AK (26:16):
I mean like also there's some, there are some examples of SaaS companies that did very well with stories. So if you even take Groove, the company where I used to work before as an example, like okay, they didn't use maybe visual storytelling, but they used storytelling very well. Right? Where Alex basically used this approach of the blog that, you know, every blog post is actually like a very personal story. So he was very vulnerable about like, you know, what was happening with the company. He was like sharing the whole story, like what was happening, what did work, what didn't work. And you, if you compare to other blog posts often like you go to blog posts and everything starts the same way, right? Like you immediately go to the point and it's more like this recommendations, kind of a list of instructions, but it's missing this personal aspect.

AK (27:06):
Something to what people could connect. And actually stories work really well. Like in case of Groove it helped them to acquire the majority of their customers because you know, when I, when I actually was interviewing their customers, majority of them said that they ended up using the product because they felt that the founder understands them like when they read his blog posts. And the same applies, you know, to the video or like visual storytelling that you have to be able to connect on this like emotional level with your audience. You know, that you kind of have to evoke some sort of emotions or like show to the user that you kind of understand your standpoint as well. It's obviously not that easy. Like, you know, it's easier said than done as well. But I will definitely recommend this (inaudible) to check other companies, which are very good with this, like, which are really good in this area.

AK (28:02):
And you can actually see this a lot on Instagram as well. Like there are companies that you could also go on Instagram success stories. There's a lot of success stories from companies that really nailed Instagram advertising. And especially like in terms of Instagram stories and you'll see that there's like several repetitive elements there as well. Like, definitely, like there's this connection with the audience, you know, authenticity as well that it has to be like, yeah, it cannot be too long. It has to be engaging. Like, you know, from the beginning you also have to see what is the promise, what are you going to get out of this as well, and like why you should even care about it. So those are the things, the important aspects. And then for the, for the video, like I think the, like, if you think as well about the video, like right now, especially like video is really good for educational content.

AK (28:58):
So in our case where Piktochart was investing for years, we decided to go for how to videos because we knew that like, you know, people want to learn and what we did, we analyzed questions from Answerthepublic. We also looked into like, you know, some responses to our surveys just to see like, you know, what are people really interested in learning about? And that helps us a lot to initially like now, create a list of topics for which we could create the videos. And then also for just like, you know what, how if you want to make the video work, there are a few elements that are very important to have in the video. So I think that it's really important to start with a hook. So some short max 20 seconds promise of what people will get out of watching the video.

AK (29:51):
So you could try to answer questions like, why should they watch the video? Why stick around like, why they don't want to miss out, miss out on this. And, and it's repetitive element. Like if you watch like all this YouTube influencers, it's always how the videos start. Like there's always this hook. And in our case it was for our videos on YouTube, this was a visual which we showed. And the visual was like, really like, you know, professional looking. And it looked like that this visual, like you could only create it with a help of a, a designer. Like really experienced designer and we at the beginning already showed it. This is going to be the final outcome and we'll show you in a few easy steps how you can get to this outcome. So that was our hook.

AK (30:39):
And then also like, you know, it's important that when you do the introduction of the video, make it entertaining. You know, it shouldn't be boring, boring. The fact that it's educational, it doesn't mean like, education has to be boring. And in our case, Emmanuel, who was creating our videos, he's a pretty funny guy. So he added like a lot of these like, you know, Easter eggs into videos that made this entertaining as well. And then later on in the content of the video, definitely deliver on the promise, right? Get to the point, be crisp and be really well prepared as well. So create a script, don't like, you know, just go there and not try to like, you know, create the training video because you're just not look professional and probably you will side track to some other (inaudible) and then have a call to action.

AK (31:26):
But one. If you want to make your video engaging, like have a call to action, like ask the users for comments maybe for subscribing, maybe create some sort of a competition for the users. Or you have like a dedicated landing page where they can try your product for free. But just try to focus on one because if you give too many like then the person that is watching the video, they actually like, they don't know what they are supposed to do next. Like, you know, if it's too many call to actions as well. And another thing which you should not do is like to make it too salesy. I see it a lot in videos or in general, like, now also like ads that people are like, you know, spend so much time in the video talking about how great their product is. And there's like all this talk about features. Like people actually don't really care about it. And instead let them see based on example, like you know how great the product is and like let them experience the product.

DA (32:24):
That's super thorough and really, really helpful. From a strategy perspective, when you're sitting down to plan and write this, how are you thinking about the medium that you're going through? Are you actively planning on where this video is going to live before you write it? So whether it's a YouTube video or an Instagram ad, a Facebook ad, are you thinking through, you know, what the kind of like I guess ad length needs to be or if you need a hook super early for YouTube versus, you know, more intro story on Instagram ads. Is there any part of that process that you have to go through?

AK (33:00):
I think it is very important because each platform is different, right? Like, so obviously like if someone goes on YouTube and wants to watch a training video, they're going to be okay that it's like the videos may be 10 minutes or bit longer, you know, because they want to learn already. They're in there with different mindset. But if you think about Instagram, like anything that is too long, it's just simply not going to work. Plus also there is a lot of visual content, the content already there. So you are competing for attention like with other people who are very good like, you know, with making their content interesting. So you definitely, have to consider it. And for Instagram you really have to be creative in like, you know, how are you going to drive the attention? How are you going to make your visual, like, you know, stand out as well from all the other visuals there, you know, how are you going to make it creative as well and shorter.

DA (33:54):
Are those individual campaigns that you're creating? So you're creating, like maybe you're sitting down, you're doing five different video types or you know, how do you guys help marketers to like create all this different video content?

AK (34:05):
So right now we didn't in the past like, you know focus that much on the video content in itself for creation in terms of creation aspect except like, you know, we had, we have the templates as well for social media graphic visuals, which you could potentially like, you know, also use in the video. There is a new thing that is actually like, going to launch very soon so there will be like a Beta, so I encourage everyone to sign up because it will be for free. So it's targeted to marketers specifically. And what we are trying to do is, you know, instead of like creating another editor, we basically talk with a lot of marketers and a lot of them are creating video. Like that's like, you know, unquestionable like a lot of people invest in video, but there is a bigger problem.

AK (34:50):
Like a lot of them have video content which is basically sitting on their drive and you know, they don't have time to do something with it. And like sometimes the file is way too big, like, you know, to upload it to different platforms. So we identified that there is a really big need for marketers to edit their existing video content, like webinars, training, courses cuts, maybe like, you know, this how to videos which are longer into engaging bite-size videos which are optimized for social media. And that's what we're going to do. And that's what our product will be about. So you can definitely try it out and how it will work, you will be able to connect to your existing video storage. Select something like, let's say you have a video from zoom, maybe like a recording of a session from zoom or like, you know a Demio webinar or some from the Google drive and you can select the video that you want to use and just upload it.

AK (35:51):
And then we use the audio to text technology, which will automatically generate an audio transcript of your video. So you will see it in a form of text and you will be able to easily select parts of the video like you know, based on this text, instead of like going through the whole recording that you wish to use that let's say, you know, something that really highlights what is you know, what is the final long size video about? And also what is really nice is you will be able to edit the parts of sounds which do not make your recording sound very smooth. So any sort of like, you know mm and fillers which happens to everyone, you'll be able like to basically mark them and delete them as well. So it will be like, you will get like, you know, a theme cut of edited video, which is like way easier to do what like just based on texts on this text elements.

AK (36:47):
Then if it would be like when you have to like, you know, put the cursor on the video and just like try to edit it there and then afterwards you can choose a template for your video depending on the social media platform you wish to publish it and you can customize the styling like just to suit your branding as well. And then you're ready like, you know, you can just download the video and you're ready to post it on social media. So you can create like very short clips promoting your webinars on, on Instagram. Like maybe like a different style to promote them on LinkedIn. And we believe that this will help out as well. People to like, you know, spend a bit less time to make more targeted video content for different social media platforms.

DA (37:28):
Yeah, I love that. I mean from our end, we talk about webinars all the time being a multipurpose tool that you can take so much from them, those different cuts of content. But having a tool like that would be fantastic. I know just for this podcast itself, we use a tool called Wave to create a little audio bite and that has been a big win. A nice video to share. It's been a very engaging item. So a tool like that would be fantastic for any type of content that's being turned into like some visual storytelling elements. So that sounds amazing. We're definitely gonna sign up for beta. I know we've wanted to do something like that with, you know, the webinar recording. So you know, kudos for you guys for building it. That's awesome. What I want to do now is kind of looking back over the past year so much has changed. Landscape is changing. What about hard lessons that you had to learn from things that didn't go the way that you expected? Things that you had to just kind of you know, pick up along the way? You know, since you're almost one year journey there at Piktochart.

AK (38:28):
Yeah. Like so one thing was the thing with this website, which I mentioned it to you, right? That's like, you know, took digging like into like backend of the website to understand that it's like really like, you know, badly designed and we have to like improve there. So we are still struggling but improving a lot. And then another thing like, you know, there were multiple failures actually. Like even our CEO decided that this last year, like on 2019, like, you know, usually companies have always this blog post like where they are celebrating wins of the year. And we thought like, okay, let's do something different and let's talk about failures. So she ended up publishing this blog post where we like talked about like all the things that failed and we did wrong and the mistakes that helped us, you know, become stronger and learn based on our own mistakes as well.

AK (39:21):
So it's like an important part as well of our culture, like admitting to failures and you know not just praising our own work, but thinking maybe like, you know, what we can improve. And one example of like another example beyond the website was the decision to land espresso on a separate domain so espresso is a visual format that helps to consume interesting facts and figures. And actually, you know, initially we could have thought about launching it as part of our editor, which would make the most sense because it's essentially something like a fact visualization or data visualization. So it could be another format just basically offered to users as part of the editor and like, you know, maybe some of these visuals could have been published on the website, but we went this, the path of having a separate domain, which wasn't the best approach.

AK (40:11):
We thought that we should create a separate brand for it so that, you know, people don't associate with Piktochart but it has like it's unique brand. However, it ended up costing us a lot of time and effort to really gain traction and see some results there. So instead, you know, Piktochart.com has a very strong domain authority. So we could have had half benefited from this domain authority and gain traction way faster. And we didn't do it and it took us almost a year after the initial launch to see like, you know, for it to go viral and like gain some traction. And it was actually mainly thanks to redesigning the visual and shifting to the more trending content. And especially now because I told you already that you know, healthcare has a huge need for informing the public and a lot of people like also had interest to learn more about like, you know, it was this new virus.

AK (41:13):
They're like, we don't know what is going on. Like you want to know more about it, like how to recognize symptoms and so on. So we started focusing our content more on those topics as well. Like you know, tips around Corona virus, tips about remote working because it was also a new thing for a lot of people and they were looking for recommendations from this area and we saw like a lot of traction and these visuals actually going viral on Reddit. And on other social media platforms as well. But that like, you know, this could have happened as well earlier because it's not like, you know, it's, there are some trending topics now on. There were other trending topics before as well and probably like if we would have made it part of our existing domain and like, you know, leverage already what we had we could have gained traction way earlier.

DA (42:05):
So major kind of take away is review what you can leverage that you already have without having to do more work. Even if it, you know, is like a new brand or new product. Sometimes you can find leverageable items within your current kind of product offering.

AK (42:18):
Yeah, yeah. Like in general, I believe it as well that check what is working, what is not working first. Like, you know, see if there is something you can optimize and first then like, you know, try to go for something new because there's often a lot of areas where really like you could very easily gain traction and growth and instead we are going for like, you know, all this like the most complicated things that will require a lot of time to be even like finalize and see some results.

DA (42:48):
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And you can definitely think about that as like an opportunity cost and just how much time it takes to do one of those initiatives versus just leveraging what you already have. But looking forward here in 2020, you know, this is going to be, a very interesting year, a lot of unknowns in the marketplace, SaaS marketing where we're all going. What advice do you kind of have or what are you looking forward to? You know, looking in 2020?

AK (43:12):
So we talked a bit about, you know, the direction of remote working and I think that's definitely going to be a big thing. And obviously the companies who are like, you know, built for it will be big winners here as well. I do think that it's going to be a challenging year for many SaaS companies. So for sure customers will be looking into opportunities to cut costs and in many cases it might result in, you know, cutting down on some tools which aren't crucial to the survivor of their business. And this will obviously impact negatively impact retention as well. And I think also it will be more difficult for marketers to drive acquisition. Already now the advertising spend has dropped by 40%. And personally I'm actually getting bombarded with cold emails and messages via LinkedIn and I stopped even reading them because it just feels too much and kind of like, it doesn't feel really right given the circumstances.

AK (44:12):
You know, I'm like pretty exhausted with all of this. Like serious, like, you are trying to sell it to me and I feel that both for marketing and sales they will really need to reinvent themselves. Like, you know, think about new ways like how to drive acquisition, how to drive consumer attention and instead of pitching and cold selling I feel that they need to learn more about empathy and focusing on giving back and educating. And I was recently checking as well trends like on Google trends and there is a huge demand for learning. So when you check Google trends and search for webinars, video or like conference, you will see that there is a big spike like, you know, since the, the, the kind of like COVID-19 crisis started. So there is a big demand for learning and it's an opportunity for marketing teams to use this for attracting a new audience.

AK (45:10):
So it's, it's, I feel it's a more subtle way, then, you know, trying to like do this traditional way of cold selling and it's actually a waste even of your like email or LinkedIn because there's so many of these messages that it's not feasible for people to even like read it. And there's also a big opportunity in helping people to be more productive and to collaborate better in a remote setup. Like, you know, so maybe like if you are creating content or like if you want to create videos, try to create something around this topic as well. And for us, yeah. And for us, like I like I told you, we saw a big spike as well, like for this additional target audiences like healthcare, education, human resources because there is definitely a big need for an effective way to communicate and to educate you know, their audience, like internal or external scope.

AK (46:07):
And maybe that's also something like for other companies, you know maybe they will identify that they have a new niche as well given the current situation. And at the end of the day, I think like the most important aspect, what it means is that you need to be able to adapt fast. You know. Like things are the way they are. But you know, the winners of the current situations will be the companies that are able to continuously reinvent themselves and we'll be agile in this, right? Like, because if you are saying like, Oh yeah, maybe gonna do it and it's going to take a year that's like too late.

DA (46:44):
Yeah I think agility right now is the key word just on a daily basis re-evaluating, making the right decision, reprioritizing cause it's like things right now are changing on a day by day basis and three months maybe in totally different place. Agility is going to be key. But based on time, what I want to do right now is I want to flip over to our lightning round questions. You've done this before. Maybe you have different answers now based on new perspectives and you know, year and a half later. So excited for these answers. You're ready to get started?

AK (47:15):
Yes, I will try to be fast. It's like a quiz.

DA (47:17):
You got this. What advice do you have for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing?

AK (47:26):
So I think that definitely my answer would be also different than it used to be in the past. Because right now I really believe in this, that a solid product is you know, like a really important thing. So I think like product led growth is way more effective than marketing led growth as well. And I feel that like, you know, marketing can help here a lot because we think like if, if we hear product led growth, we think like, Oh that doesn't include marketing, it's not true. And you know, there is so much that marketing can do here. Starting from initial sign up, like you know, how the sign up flow looks like, can you optimize there, can you deliver the wow moment initially? And just basically trying to focus a bit more there. Then just like, you know, thinking like old style acquisition only, how can I drive more users? But then once the users are on the website, like I don't really care. Like, you know, what their experience will be. So really investing in their experience like from the beginning on with customer experience. Like, you know, with product experience with the signup experience, with like, you know, all the pages, experience and so on. So this is more like, you know, a growth marketing mindset than a, you know, traditional marketing.

DA (48:40):
I love that. And you know, really, really, really valuable insight for anyone starting marketing, just being really, really, really tied into that product cycle. What about a skill that you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

AK (48:55):
Today? Empathy. I feel that it is important really, like I just told you a second ago as well, feel that like people really don't have an understanding, like how the situation is impacting users as well. And you have to be able to put yourself in your user's shoes or like, you know, other people's shoes as well and try to have a bit of empathy to understand their current situation and adapt based on this as well. And then, you know, following up that like, obviously you need to like really be good in communication. So that comes with copywriting. Public speaking, we already spoke about video, right? Like it's a big thing and I know that a lot of marketers are like, you know, they don't really feel confident with doing a video, but you will have to like, it will be like a very important aspect of marketing. So you know, now is the time as well like to get rid of the fear and just like go out there and try it out. It doesn't have to be perfect at the beginning. Like, you know, you don't have to have a perfect equipment. You can even start with your mobile phone and just like, you know, try start telling stories on LinkedIn using your mobile phone and engaging with your audience.

DA (50:05):
I love that. Super valuable, best educational resource you recommend for learning about marketing or growth?

AK (50:12):
Okay, I'll say Growth Mentor. So I'm actually one of the mentors there as well, but I use this platform a lot myself as well. Like so basically quite a lot of people who are on podcast are also mentors there. And it's really good resource for marketers to learn. And you know, tap into like, people who are like, you know, high level managers like growth hackers, its various different SaaS companies and you know, there's so much value in just having a call with someone and like, you know, exchanging best practices. Like even having someone look at your current website, giving you feedback and you just basically then learn, you know, based on like examples and based on like best practices and it's way more effective. I feel than reading something.

DA (51:04):
I love that. That's great. I'm going to have to check that out. (inaudible) been on there. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

AK (51:10):
Google search?. I just, you know, this is a tool that is very important for marketing. I always say I'm like expert in searching. I can find everything on Google search very fast. And I was really thinking like, you know, what are the, I use so many tools actually in marketing, a lot and I was recently actually thinking about like, you know, what is like what is my favorite tool? Then I realized that Google search is one thing that I use on a daily basis.

DA (51:38):
Can you imagine a world again without Google search? Where were you like what, 15 years ago? I don't even know.

AK (51:43):
It was very sad.

DA (51:46):
What about a brand business or a team that you admire today?

AK (51:50):
Zest. I never, I don't know if you've heard of them?

DA (51:53):
We do some good things and stuff with them. They're great.

AK (51:59):
And also like, I really like their emails. Like they have this great approach to email marketing and like, you know, the emails are very personal. I had a pleasure as well to speak at a conference with the CEO of Zest and he's a great guy. And he is just, they're just so authentic. Like both in their emails, like how (inaudible) presenting as well at the conference and it's, it's really a great company and I think like there is a lot of value that marketers can also get out of this tool.

DA (52:30):
That's awesome. That's a really great, a really great brand team to monitor. They're doing some really cool stuff, but I want to say thank you so much for coming back on here, doing kind of a take two but with a different company. So I appreciate your time. Thank you for sharing so much and this is a interesting time in the world. Lots of major changes, economic changes, landscape changes in marketing and I think you've done a great job of kind of just talking through it with us. So I appreciate your time today.

AK (52:59):
Thank you so much for having me. It was great to be here again.

DA (53:02):
Yes, real pleasure. Have a great day. Thanks so much.

AK (53:05):
Bye.

DA (53:09):
Thank you so much for tuning in to episode number 104 with Agata from Piktochart. A big shout out to the Piktochart team and everything amazing that they're doing over there. (...)

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