Hi, Corrine. Thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
I'm doing great. David. I'm so glad to be here.
I know. Look at this synergy, a Demio podcast. We've got Banzai here. We have a lot to talk about, but really excited to be able to feature and just talk about Banzai as an organization.
Any chance to talk about Banzai, I am there. Any chance to talk about marketing, I am there. So really excited for today.
So it's a perfect fit then. Yeah. It's going to be a great episode, a lot to talk about. And for our listeners who don't know, you know, Demio and Banzai just went through a merger acquisition process together. Demio is now part of this larger Banzai organization. And they're doing some really amazing things in the event marketing space. And I think, Demio is going to be a big part of that moving forward. So we thought we could do a really great synergistic episode here. Kind of learn from Corrine, what she's doing at Banzai right now, some of the tactical items that have been working over the past few years, but before we go into all that, I just wanted to give a bit of a backdrop, but why don't you kick it off? Explain a bit about Banzai when it was founded, who the customers are and what you're doing uniquely in the marketplace.
Sure, sure. Like I said, love talking about Banzai. So for those that don't know, Banzai is an event marketing platform. We work with marketers, which is wonderful. I love being a marketer that works directly with marketers. It's always really interesting. We were founded in 2016. Bootstrapped company, just kind of started with two young guys with a dream, you know, the great startup story. And the last four or five years have been really incredible to watch us grow and really be a leader within the event marketing space. It's really all about helping marketers produce successful events that really drive revenue. When we first started, it was a lot of butts in seats is what we would say. We, you know, we wanted to fill the room, but realizing that, you know, we are more than just a lead gen tool for events. We were really about supporting events throughout the full event life cycle and helping marketers really succeed and accelerate in sales through their event program. So there's, events just are such a powerful channel and they're evolving constantly as we've seen with the last year. So it's just really cool to be a part of that conversation and a part of that landscape.
That's really amazing. And you're saying a lot of things that I think our listeners will also, you know, hear that we talk about when we talk about Demio right. A lot of synergy there between the two products, the two organizations, one of the reasons why, you know, we came together. Talk to me a little bit about the customer base. You mentioned the growth over the past few years. Who are those customers? Who are you serving right now? Always helpful to know.
Yeah, so we work, especially when we started, we were working directly with the field marketer, enterprise tech, enterprise software field marketer, which is really interesting and exciting because they were producing great road shows and events all around the world, but that was in-person, right? So when we shifted in 2020 to virtual you know, our customers changed a little bit. We're still working with the field marketer, they're still doing great things and supporting their sales reps. But we also see that we're supporting digital marketers and demand gen professionals and account based marketers, for that marketers that are really about the production of the event. So the customer has changed, but really still working with that kind of enterprise level tech software company.
When did you join the company again?
I joined in 2018, like summer 2018.
So about, you know, maybe almost three years. And how many people are in marketing in Bazai?
Right now? It's changed a little bit, but I don't think we've ever been more than three. I would say right now we're about two and a half. Yeah, that's right. But we have some great vendors that we work with and something that's been really cool this past year is we really embraced kind of the go-to market team, trying to get rid of some silos there. And so though we are a marketing team of two and a half. We work super closely with sales and really closely with customer success. So it doesn't feel like we're that small.
Yeah. And we talk a ton on this podcast about marketing sales alignment, how to build that, why that's so important. We don't have to dig into that too much right now, but it's just helpful for, I think, reference point for the things that we're talking about today. Just understand the size and knowing that you've been here for about two and a half years, knowing that you have a kind of a micro marketing team, which is great. I love that. I'm about efficiency there. You know, how have you seen that ICP change? You mentioned that there were some events, I don't know if anyone knows, but last year was a pretty difficult year for offline events. Right. And you guys had to make a pivot because of COVID obviously. And that was sarcasm. Yes. So your, your ICP changed, as you mentioned, it went from field marketers to going more virtual. How for you in marketing, did you handle this change? How did you guys go about who the new persona was? Like, what were the tough conversations had there?
We realized pretty quickly that, again, it's not just about butts in seats, especially when those seats are now virtual. It's really about quality over quantity when it comes to who is attending your events, but also these goals, these metrics, and on event success, they really change depending on who you're talking to. So like a digital event could have, you know, the field marketer involved, you have your event marketer involved, you know, really focused on production. You have your demand gen manager involved really focused on leads. So everyone's kind of goal shift and they're all really important. So that we've just had a really kind of work on our messaging and try not to be everything to everyone, but also realize that many different facets of event marketing and just try to be a really good resource as much as we can. So again, it's not just about butts and seats, even though that is important, right? Attendance is important. It's really, I think a leading indicator when it comes to like event success. But also realizing that marketers today are so revenue focused and so all about the pipeline and really supporting the pipeline. So we needed to kind of shift our messaging to support that as well.
The idea of shifting messaging, I think we're gonna dig into that in a second here, but you know, when you had to do this change and it sounds like you have a great footing on what changed the digital events, what people are needing, but did you, you know, start talking to customers, did you guys do like a research panel? Like how did you actually figure that stuff out? Just thinking about, you know, a marketing team that's maybe going through a similar pivot or has to make these similar changes? Like what specific steps did you have to go through to figure out, okay, this is the messaging that I think is gonna work best.
Yeah. It was a lot of listening. I would like to do more talking with customers and more talking with prospects. I think that's always something that's so valuable, but it's really been kind of talking to our sales team and kind of figuring out who they're talking to, right. Who actually, you know, is interested, who is, you know, having problems, challenges, what are they telling to our sales team? Because they're there on the front lines of this. So getting feedback directly from them has been really helpful. And then also trying to embed ourselves in marketing communities, not trying to push Banzai, but again, trying to listen and be a resource. So whether you're, you know, on marketing Twitter or Slack groups, there's a lot of great communities with event marketers and field marketers that they're constantly talking and challenging one another and asking questions. And so that's been a really, really vital resource for us just to go back and reference that. And again, listen.
So many great points in there. And I think that's, that's some great resources areas to find and listen, you know, we're in the position of B2B marketing where we're also marketing to marketers, which is always interesting, right? Like we talked about that a lot on here too, is like, how do you have that creative voice? But so much of that comes from listening, using the language, understanding the pain points and then changing your messaging, which also meant that you had to basically change all the positioning and messaging of Banzai itself, which meant, you know, first and foremost, thinking about a website because that's your cornerstone kind of marketing and messaging there, obviously with, let's say 2.5 person marketing team and a lot of moving pieces in the organization. Why did, and how did you start building this new website? I mean, it's, it's a big process. How did you go about it? How did you think about it? You know, you got to think about resources, time, energy, and maximizing all that.
I think the first thing was realizing yeah, the messaging needed to evolve. So that was kind of our first big step. Really focusing on that. How do we want to talk about Banzai? How do we want to talk about our products and features? How do we want to prepare for the future? Because like I think of at 2020 taught us anything, it was that we don't really know what's going to happen, especially when in the world of events. So how do we position Banzai in a place that can easily pivot and adapt, I know those kinds of words are overused, but like if we're going all of a sudden go to be going back to in-person or having hybrid events, we need to be able to make that change pretty quickly in our messaging and on our website. So really trying to think about that.
And think about the, the full event life cycle, again, like it's not just about the butts in seats. So that was kind of our, our first step. We really wanted to create a website and a brand that was adaptable. And we didn't feel like, you know, in mid 2020, that's where we were. It was very focused on in-person events and it was hard for a team as kind of small as we are. And also, you know, we're not necessarily developers or designers. So to make those fast changes, it was really hard with what we were currently working, well what we were working with.
For maximizing efficiency, I know you guys went to Webflow, which is what we use as well. We've had Webflow on this podcast, amazing company, amazing product. I mean, what was the process to find someone that you could add to your team? I mean, we're, a lot of the listeners here have smaller marketing teams as well. It's kind of just seemingly part of the B2B SaaS world, you know, how are you getting buy-in? How are you expanding budget when you're talking to your exec team? And then, you know, how are you like going out there and just recruiting the right person that fits the culture?
Yeah, I mean, it was definitely a challenge and knowing that we had to work pretty fast. So luckily we did a lot of work upfront around kind of the brand and the messaging. So we felt pretty good there. And then it really became about finding the right person to help us. Webflow for one that has a ton of great resources in the sense of like looking at their kind of marketplace and looking at their vendors and people that are really Webflow experts. So we just, we started there. I think we've used also like, you know, Upwork and Fivrer, just to find people with that Webflow expertise. And that was kind of the main thing for us. Right. Find someone who totally understands Webflow, cause we knew that's where we wanted to be. And so we connected with a designer developer, which was awesome too, her name was Carly and she worked primarily in Webflow.
We saw that she worked on similar sites to ours, similar sizes, similar companies and stages. So that was really great. She had references that we were able to connect with and get feedback from them on what worked really well, where we might need to spend some extra time. We got really lucky, but we did do some research you know of course, on the front end to make sure we would, we would work together. And what was so great is she was also able to work fast, which was what we needed. We interviewed a couple other organizations, there were a lot of great designers, developers out there, but Carly really met kind of the business need that we had.
Yeah. And I think that's critical. So you kind of mapped out the business needs, you know, one of those big priorities being speed and ability. You mentioned to me before that you had built out, you know, a lot of the messaging, which is obviously website content positioning, but you also had an adaptable brand. You know, what does that mean when you're having a conversation with a new designer developer, that's going to be taking this, this brand new pivoted, you know, vision, this brand new pivoted brand and building it out. How do you have that conversation?
Well, she saw what we were kind of working with before and we didn't really like the site before we thought it was great. It really was fun and whimsical, but it was hard for us to like I said, to kind of adapt and grow in. And so we brought that to Carly and just said, we're looking for something that, you know, a team of two could really own. And we also knew that we wanted to continue a relationship with her, you know, on a monthly basis. Cause we knew we couldn't all of a sudden, you know, become developers, you know, overnight and take on some of those heavy tasks. So we just asked her, help us succeed, help us be able to grow this brand. And she's been really wonderful in the sense that she takes on a lot of the heavy lifting if we have to do some coding or something like that, but she's also not afraid to teach us. And she sends us Loom videos. She sends us ideas, gives us good feedback. So she's really kind of arming our team to be successful within the platform and be able to make changes as needed. And what's also so great about Webflow is that when you're in the content editor, I mean, there's so much you can do in there without having to understand code or, you know, worry about breaking the site or anything like that, which was where we were before.
Yeah. It's always a stressful thing. And I think the one thing that Webflow does, especially like kind of what we're talking about here is maximizing efficiency, maximizing speed, allowing you to get results faster right. Which is the key when you're working with a micro team. So Webflow done a really great job of that. They did that for our team too, because we were doing the same thing with like an HTML website to start. And it takes so much time and energy to like rely on developers for that. So they're definitely doing a great job there. You know, it sounds like it's just, you've created this kind of like evergreen, organic growing process for your website, which is great, but obviously, you know, you need results with that too. What are some of the results you've seen now that you've launched the site and how has that been showing up?
We built the site in two months, which was wild and then we launched the site in mid-December. So we're still kind of like in the early stages of measuring growth and seeing its impact. You know we're back kind of our domain authority is healthy again, we feel really good about that. We've seen actually our visitors, I did a little comparison kind of this time last year or kind of looking at Q1 last year and Q1 this year and we've actually doubled our visitors. So that was really awesome to see too. That we are just, you know, we're getting more eyes on our site and on our messaging. And that was, that's been a really big win for us. And then I think from kind of a behind the scenes win is just that like, we can make changes really fast.
And like you said, be efficient. Like I can, you know, before where it maybe took us an hour to post a blog, you know, can now take 15 minutes. Like it's just, things are just a lot easier for the team and we're just making changes on the fly and we're also able to test. So we're, we're running more tests, we're trying new things, especially with the messaging, seeing what resonates with our audience. And that's been really fun and something we weren't able to do. We were probably able to do it before, but it was, it was hard. And now we kind of have the tools in place to, to run a test you know. We're gonna spend two weeks testing this H1. And that's just something we weren't really empowered to do before.
I think you utilize the pivotal moment to, the pivot moment I should say, of the business to also look at ways to become a more efficient organization in the marketing side itself. So that's definitely a good lesson to learn here and really think about like, where can my time be spent, you know, in the best ways to maximize my output, especially for you in a, in a smaller team. Looking back any, you know, lessons learned or mistakes made that can help other marketing teams that are either doing a pivot or changing messaging or changing positioning, or maybe just launching that new website that you'd recommend?
Yeah, we knew we needed to do this fast and well, and I think something I would do differently was just kind of change how I communicated our progress with the business. You know, we would have meetings, we would go over messaging and we go over branding and pages and it was helpful and it was good, but I think there was more effective ways to do it, especially with our time. Like I wish I utilized Loom a little bit more. I wish I, you know, maybe asked for more specific feedback. I think with tools like, you know, Loom I provided a video update saying, here's the, you know, the product page for Banzai Reach. Here's where I need your feedback, you know, A, B and C please reply in the comments. Like that could have been a really useful way to get feedback, a great use of our time. Instead of having like an hour meeting, we kind of go back and forth and maybe we get caught on something. So I think I would work to be a little bit more efficient that way, and it would have gotten more people involved and more feedback from the beginning as well. Instead of kind of that, you know, every two weeks kind of update. So if I were to do it again, I think I would definitely shift my focus to that.
Some of the key wins that we found, we're going through branding website process as well. But, you know, I think from just like an efficiency standpoint, staying on that topic, you know, doing Looms have always been helpful, asynchronous communication, but also programs like Figma where you're having your designs or your mock-ups in there. And you can add comments on specific elements and stuff like that. But I think definitely a lesson that we learned from the Basecamp culture, it's just like try to remove as many meetings as you can. And use async communication and that efficiency is just really helpful. And like you said, getting that specific kind of feedback is always critical, especially when you're dealing with messaging, right? Like, you know, you want alignment across the organization. Looking at other things that you're doing, like, listen, 2.5, three people is a hard, hard team size to do a lot with, and you guys have a big organization, you're doing a lot, you know, how do you sit down as, as the director and prioritize the initiatives, prioritize the experiments, like what makes the cut?
It's not always easy, but one of the things I really love about Banzai and the Banzai culture is that we do try to, you know, again, sometimes we have to pivot back, but we do try to stay really on topic in the sense that like every quarter the company is setting objectives or maybe the objectives kind of roll from the quarter before, and then every employee kind of maps their own goals and their own objectives to that top level. And so when we're prioritizing and questioning and saying, is this something we should be trying? Or is this just another shiny object? We always map back to those objectives. We always go back and say, how does this kind of help us meet our goal? And that is just a really great North star for us. And it does kind of help get rid of some of the noise.
And some, like I said, some of those shiny objects that seem so interesting. So that's, that's been really good for us. And we use that, not just for the website and not just for testing, but really in everything we do for marketing, because we have to be so nimble, that's really been a big thing for us. And then we also really looking at the website. We have been, people probably will not think this is the right term, but we've been trying to do sprints with the website. Non-Traditionals sprints, I guess, but really working in chunks of time and seeing like, what can we accomplish this month? What are the three things we want to really focus on this month? It's going to be testing this headline. It's going to be building this page and it's going to be maybe adding this CTA or adding this like blog subscribe button. That's just happens to be what we're doing right now. That's also kind of helps us stay focused. We don't have to do everything all at once. We will use this month to test and to try these three things and then, you know, come next month, we're going to try something new. So that again, kind of keeps us going in the right direction.
I think the theme of this call is really just about efficiency, right? Like where can we maximize our time and our energy? No, it's great. I think it's very helpful for the team sizes that are listening that are like that size. You know, I think you only have so much time in your day and you only have so much time to get output. And it sounds like one there's alignment in the organization from the top level down with, you know, KPIs, OKRs along the pathway, you're doing a good job of prioritizing and making sure you're only focusing on a couple of things at one time, which you had to do that on a day-to-day, you had to do it on a month-to-month, in a year-to-year, or like part of the organization, otherwise you just focus on too much and you're all over the place.
And you don't do anything well. Like you do everything just kind of okay.
Exactly. Exactly. So, you know, I think that becomes a cultural value as well, that you can pass into marketing, which is like, if we're going to do things, we're going to do them like excellent. We're going to do them really well. And that is oftentimes saying no to a lot, right? Like saying no is probably one of the most powerful things you can do, especially in marketing. You know, that's why I asked that question about priority. It's like you know, there, there could be 50 things on the checklist of ideas to do, but you're gonna have to say no to 47 of them.
Yeah. And it's hard. Like it's something that I have to work on every day because you also see what other people are doing. Right. Like we mentioned kind of being part of these communities, which is wonderful. But then you're like, Oh my gosh, so-and-so is so far, you know, much further ahead than we are, or they're doing this, should I be doing this? Should I be in Clubhouse? Everyone's in Clubhouse, you know, like, there's just, you start to see all this stuff and there's this comparison and maybe we are behind. And then it's like, no, remember you have to do, your business is different. Your audience is different. Where you are as a company is different. You have to do you know, stay focused and really work on doing those things well.
Yeah. I think what I always used to say, is put on blinders, right? Like just focus on your business, your customers, because what's working for someone else, won't work for you all the time. Now, obviously there's lessons to be learned in every experiment and every company doing things well. From your end, how do you also like leverage to executives? Like, Hey, we need to put more in this or we need to do more here. Like when do you find those times as a small marketing team to like really drive the importance of maybe more investment in that specific area?
Yeah. It's not always easy. And again, we try to kind of find, you know, one or two things like for the website, we were able to get executive buy-in pretty quickly because we were able to show, you know, what wasn't working for us. And, you know, they have as an executive team, you know, certain goals, you know, and certain asks and how we, you know, with our current situation and set up really couldn't meet those needs. So really pointing out kind of where the pain is, was helpful. We're also really lucky. We just have a great, you know, executive supporting the marketing team. Our chief revenue officer, he's a great leader and he really champions us and sees again, kind of sees our pain and where we might need extra support. And you can kind of really count on him to advocate for the team, which has been just a huge help and a huge support. So having that buy-in, you know, we meet with him on a weekly basis. We talk about our objectives. We talk about kind of our goals and he is really committed to helping us get there.
So, so just kind of having organizational buy-in that marketing is critical, being open and listening to those things. And again, the reason that we even talk about this is like for those listeners who are on a smaller marketing team, these are the cultural values that you need to instill in your executive team. And I think the other thing that you said that you kind of pass over quickly was like, when you get to pain points and you can talk about things in the perspective of like, this is a loss of revenue, because we're not efficient, this is a loss of customers because we can't do this. Like when you can relate those words to an executive team that is really focused on maybe, you know, revenue acquisition or something like that, then it becomes more critically important to why you need to have put maybe more emphasis into marketing.
Yeah, totally. And kind of being able to, I mean, even like time track, right? Like doing this took me X amount of time, you know, if we were to switch to Webflow, you know, it would take half of that. Or bringing on this, you know, this writer, this vendor would save so much time. Here's why we should do it. And here's, what's costing us since we don't have that help currently. And that, yeah, that has been a big thing because we do also need to realize, we can't, we've talked about this a little bit, we can't do it all and you can't do it all really well. So it's important to be able to communicate that as well, to the other teams and to leadership.
Yeah. And I think opportunity costs is one of the most overlooked items in your business, right? Like if you're, if you're doing one thing, you're missing something else. And so you have to be aware of that stuff. But looking back over the past two years, you've gone through kind of a whirlwind of marketing changes from the offline to the hybrid, to the virtual, to all the things going on and, you know, acquisitions of things like Demio, you know, any mistakes or lessons learned along the way that you would share with, you know, maybe other marketers kind of built into an organization that's going through such drastic changes?
Yeah. I think for a small, as we were for a while, it was kind of like we were still pretty siloed in from our teams. And so recognizing that, that, you know, even if you are a small team silos do exist and they perch you. So trying to break down those barriers, get everyone connected. I think that is, is really important. Constant communication and honesty. One of the things that at Banzai that we really value is just that like authenticity. Being able to give critical feedback, be able to also talk about where you are, you're at personally, again, like I can't do it all. So you need to be able to communicate that, where maybe you need some help. I think that is really important for small teams too. Which this one, this one it's hard for me, but I think the ability to kind of remove the ego is really important because it's really hard, but things, you know, are not always going to work out.
There are other people on the team that have a lot of great knowledge, whether it's product knowledge, maybe it's talking, you know, our sales team, they're talking to field marketers every day. So realizing maybe you don't know it all, or maybe aren't the subject matter expert and utilizing other people and their knowledge and just being okay with maybe something not working out and having to shift and having to try something, something new. And I just know for me that that's always been a challenge is kind of removing that, that ego, but it's so important in order to get things done. And again, to do them well, and to get the best result.
First of all, I'm gonna say that, like, I think the theme of the past, maybe 10 episodes that we've kind of looked back on 2020 and kind of lessons learned from 2020 for marketers is agility being able to be, you know, fast moving, be okay with change, I think is something that we all learned in 2020, right? Like control what you can, change everything else. You know, a book that comes to mind, Ryan Holiday's Ego Is The Enemy. It's a really great book. And it just talks about how, you know dangerous ego really is. And then to steal from yoga slash meditation, which is something that I've been doing a lot of lately. You know, the idea of beginner's mind, which is, you know, just allowing yourself to constantly be in that learning mode and constantly saying, what can I take away from this?
Even if you know it, you know, sometimes it's just small things that you can take away and learn more of, and those are hard things to do. But I think that mindset is critically key to becoming just a better professional and you know, just a better organization in general. But what I want to do now is I want to switch over to our lightning round questions. Just five quick questions that you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You ready to get started?
All right. You're going to do awesome, I know it. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing?
I would say focus. Work on doing a few things really well. Don't try to do it all.
Such an overlooked like attribute quality to have. But I think it's, especially if you're a small team and you're competing against big companies, it is the way to succeed.
What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on?
I think right now it's all about community. So being able to build a community in some way, shape or form, and be also a voice within the community. So like not just selling stuff right. But like actually engage and help this community grow, I think is really, really important.
I agree. I think that's a really good one. And a big, a big change for 2021. I think people, connections are going to be huge. What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing growth or maybe even building communities?
So I mentioned earlier, marketing Twitter is just on fire lately, so highly recommend you check it out. There's just incredible just professionals on Twitter, they're all connected. They're all learning from each other, sharing feedback and tips and resources and jobs. Like, it's just incredible what this group of marketers is doing. So hashtag marketingtwitter, check it out. It's really amazing.
I'm going to join that. That sounds awesome. Yeah, I definitely have not even heard that before, so it's amazing. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?
I'm pretty obsessed right now with Canva, just because I'm not a designer in any way, shape or form. And it lets me kind of pretend I am. Which is really great, and again, efficiency. Canvas helps me. I can create my blog graphic and not need to really worry about, you know, asking someone else to do it or just kind of having to wait, you know, I can be really fast and that's been great. The templates are awesome. And it's just an awesome tool.
One of the things that we've started to do is have designers build the templates in canvas so that you know, you just have everything there and you just quickly in and out. Today's episode is sponsored by the word efficiency.
Last question for you: brand business or team that you admire?
I've been really impressed lately with Sendoso, the direct mail company. They do so many cool things and probably like more than just direct mail. But I just love their brand. They drink their own champagne, right. They are pretty awesome. And they've also had to make some, they made some big changes with the shift to everyone working from home, you know, before they were, they allowed marketers and teams to send to offices and they had to figure out pretty quickly how to send to all the addresses without, you know, being creepy about it and weird and making sure they're compliant and all that great stuff. They pivoted really fast and they just continually do cool things.
That is a good company. We'll definitely put them up on the show notes, but you know, I was really hoping deep inside you're going to say Demio, although I know that was second on your list.
No, it was first, but I just felt like I needed to give someone else some love. But as new Demio users for our webinars. Yes. Obsessed.
No, that's great. That's awesome. But you know, thank you so much for jumping on. I know, you know, speaking for Demio and the entire team here, we're excited to work with, with you moving forward in Banzai, in this organization and to see where everything goes and you know, for our listeners. Thanks for joining us. I'm part one here. We have a lot to talk about with Banzai and kind of bring you along the journey as we continue this you know, seamless merger process and work together to improve events. So Corrine thank you so much for your time today.
Thanks for having me. I had a ton of fun.
It was a lot of fun.Thanks again. And we'll talk to you soon. Thank you so much for tuning into episode number 141. This was part one with Banzai. Next week, we'll be meeting with another Banzai team member to talk more about the demand generation side of things and learn all kinds of new information on what's happening there and how they're setting these great objectives and experiments.