Asia Orangio, CEO of DemandMaven, explains how the JTBD framework can power-up your marketing and take it to the next level.
On the surface level, the Jobs-to-be-Done is a simple framework to understand. People “hire” products to help them accomplish a “job” in their life.
For example, you might be "hiring" Marketing Powerups to learn marketing frameworks to help your campaigns stand out.
Understanding what your customers are hiring your product to do can help you educate people better on how your product can help them better than your competitors.
That’s exactly what Asia Orangio, CEO of Demand Maven, did for one of her clients. With her team’s help, they grew their revenue by 10X in 2 years!
In this Marketing Powerups episode, you’ll learn:
- How marketers can use the JTBD framework to improve their marketing.
- A real-world example of how Asia used the JTBD framework with one of her clients.
- How to avoid chasing the shiny new marketing trend.
- How to build more confidence as a marketer.
⭐️ The JTBD Framework
In the Jobs-to-be-Done theory, people “hire” products for three interconnected reasons: functional, emotional, and social.
Understanding and using these for your marketing is a potent power-up.
1. Functional upgrade 🛠
Products give people new abilities and superpowers that they couldn’t do before.
Samuel Hulick visualizes this using Super Mario. When Mario touches a flower power-up, he can hurl fireballs at his enemies!
Great marketing empathizes with people’s current struggles and paints a vivid picture of a better world with the product. The better you can do that, the more likely people are to try out the product and become customers!
What can your customers do now with your product that they couldn’t do without it?
2. Emotional upgrade ❤️
The second way that products upgrade people is by helping them feel or avoid feeling things.
It could help them feel confident with a new strategy or direction.
Or it could be to remove the frustration of doing tedious tasks.
Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, said that The Disney Company’s goal is to “create happiness,” and they do this “by providing the best in entertainment for people of all ages everywhere.”
You don’t even have to call out the emotion like Disney.
How do you want customers to feel or avoid feeling after using your product?
3. Social upgrade 👩💼
The third way that products upgrade people is socially.
When we invest time and effort into a product, we do so in a social context, whether at home with family or work with colleagues.
As per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, once we have the basic needs, we look for additional ways to feel loved, connected, and accomplished by others.
How do you want customers to feel or avoid feeling after using your product?
🏆 Free powerups cheatsheet
🎉 About Asia Orangio
Asia Orangio is the founder and CEO of DemandMaven. She served on the board of directors at Moz before it was successfully acquired in 2021. In early 2018, Asia founded DemandMaven — a growth consultancy that helps SaaS, software, and internet-based companies troubleshoot their growth, identify new growth opportunities, and successfully go-to-market. Previously, Asia served in a number of marketing roles, but most notably as head of marketing at Hull where she helped the team 10.5x in growth.
💪 The sponsor
When you're in scale-up mode, and you have KPIs to hit, the pressure is on to deliver demos and signups.
And it's a lot to handle: demand gen, email sequences, revenue ops, and more! That’s where 42/Agency, founded by my friend Kamil Rextin, can help you.
They’re a strategic partner that’s helped B2B SaaS companies like ProfitWell, Teamwork, Sprout Social and Hubdoc build a predictable revenue engine.
If you’re looking for performance experts and creatives to solve your marketing problems at a fraction of the cost of in-house, look no further.
Go to https://www.42agency.com/ to talk to a strategist to learn how you can build a high-efficiency revenue engine now.
🕰️ Timestamps and transcript
- 03:56 - How to apply the JTBD framework to marketing.
- 07:15 - What are some things that block people from purchasing a product?
- 13:02 - The JTBD process for marketers.
- 18:10 - My number one recommended demand gen agency.
- 19:53 - How a company 10x'd their growth using the JTBD framework.
- 32:47 - How to avoid chasing the "Very Shiny new Object" of marketing.
- 39:01 - Asia's one piece of advice to her younger self.
Ramli John: One framework that has made the biggest impact in my marketing career is a Jobs-to-be-Done framework. On the surface level, it's a simple framework to understand. People hire products to help them accomplish a job in their life. For example, I'm hiring this can of pop right now to quench my thirst ( not sponsored by Coke.) Understanding what your customers are hiring your product to do is a true powerup in helping educate people on how your product can help them better than your competitors
Ramli John: And that's exactly what Asia Orangio, CEO of DemandMaven, did for one of her clients. With her team's help, they grew their revenue by 10 times in just two years.
Asia Orangio: But I would say research and Jobs-to-be-Done is at the core of pretty much anything and everything that we do, even when we do paid acquisition, for example. But through this very big effort, I mean, we saw trials triple. We saw a 20% lift and activation rate overall. I think my favorite stat in the first round was a 4X lift and growth, and obviously there was a lot that went into that.
Ramli John: In this Marketing Powerups episode, you learn first how marketers can use jobs- to- be- done to help improve their marketing, second, a real- world example of how Asia used the jobs-to-be-done framework with one of the clients, third, how to avoid chasing the shiny new marketing trend, and fourth, how to build more confidence as a marketer. Before we start, I've created a power- ups cheat sheet that you can download, fill in and apply jobs-to-be-done to your marketing. Go to marketingpowerups. com to get it now, or find that link in the description and show notes. Are you ready? Let's go.
Announcer: Marketing Powerups. Ready? Go. Here's your host, Ramli John.
Ramli John: One of the powerups we're going to be talking about today you really dig is a jobs- to- be- done framework. Can you share the story of how you came across this? Well, what's the problem you're facing, and how did you come across this wonderful framework that I also love and I believe marketer should be using as a power- up for their marketing?
Asia Orangio: I had the very, I think, unique experience, maybe actually not that unique, but it feels unique, where I actually learned it from another really well- known marketer in the space, Claire Suellentrop, who depending on the time of this recording, you will have had her co- founder, Gia Laudi, on the podcast as well. But Claire and I both lived in Atlanta. She has since moved into, I think, now Kansas City. I'm still in Atlanta, but I had the very wonderful pleasure of learning about jobs- to- be- done actually through Claire. Seeing her work, especially her consulting practice and her marketing work and seeing how she leveraged jobs- to- be- done, it was just such a light bulb moment for me that I thought, " Oh my gosh, this is one really cool." Two, it's just so clear how effective it is when it comes to the work work that we marketers do. So I learned it from another marketer really. And then once I got introduced to it, I dove pretty much just all in. I'm still learning things about jobs- to- be- done even today, things I had no clue about, ironically enough from other marketers and then eventually a little bit from some of the champions of jobs- to- be- done, the early founders of it, like Bob Moesta. But yeah, that's how I got introduced to it.
Ramli John: Claire is awesome. I'm going to have her on the show as well. It's just about her experience as well. It's cool that you came across this. For people who might not be familiar with this, jobs-to- be- done is traditionally a product framework that helps product teams build better products. How has it helped you? How can it help marketers be better at marketing, be better essentially at their jobs with the jobs- to- be- done framework?
Asia Orangio: Just to breakdown what jobs- to- be- done is, so jobs- to- be- done, it's an approach. It's an approach to thinking strategically. What it basically says is customers are ultimately hiring products for a particular job. There is some progress in the world that they want to make and they buy certain products and services to help them make that progress. When we apply that to product, usually it's in the context of what kind of product should we build and how can we help? What are customers trying to achieve by hiring this product and therefore what should we build? How do we make it better? How do we help complete their job better? When we apply it to marketing, jobs- to- be- done can take many, many different avenues and the possibilities are truly endless, everything from how can we make it really clear that the copy or the messaging that we're leveraging, it indicates to the customer that if you want to buy this product, it's going to help you accomplish your job? So we get into positioning messaging right there of what progress is the customer trying to make and how do we clearly communicate that. And then it also gets into even how should we structure our website, how should we think about structuring our onboarding emails, our activation experiences, and then all the way down to how do we make sure that this product really clearly stands out in the market. So we get into go- to market activities. Of course, that includes things like positioning, but it also includes things like what are our talk tracks? What's our sales deck? How do we pitch? I mean, the opportunities truly are endless. I know for us, we use jobs- to- be- done in all of those contexts, but I think that the key piece of this though is when you really understand what customers are actually trying to achieve with buying the product, whatever it is, when you understand that, you can then reverse engineer all the things getting in the way for the customer of that. So now we get into customer journey mapping and understanding the full customer experience and all the little tiny things that get in the way of customers making that progress in addition to all the things that propel them forward. I know in our work, so much of our work on the DemandMaven consultancy side has to do with understanding clients' customers better than the client and then understanding what are all the things that either propel a customer forward into buying versus pulling them away. This is the secret sauce, much easier said than done, but when you really understand that, you can get into the psychology of the buying process and that's really powerful for marketers.
Ramli John: I love how you put it that it's about understanding the journey and trying to understand what is might be limiting and blocking people from making the purchase of that particular product. Often, it's in the mindset. You mentioned psychology. You've probably seen this multiple times over and over again. What are some common, those blockers that you've seen? It could be them confused because they don't understand exactly what the product is because the positioning isn't unclear. What are some common blockers that you've seen working with different types of businesses, yourself and with your team at DemandMaven?
Asia Orangio: Oh my gosh, the list is truly endless, but if I had to start with a couple, I would say the top two most common blockers that we see for customers in terms of buying a product is you actually already said it, they really don't understand the value, and even more specifically, they don't understand the value in the context that they're in and that's really what jobs- to- be- done is all about. Jobs- to- be- done is all about what is the context upon which customers buy and make decisions and decide, " Okay. I'm hiring this product for this specific job within this specific context." This is so true for a lot of early stage SaaS companies and software companies, but a lot of the times they don't really fully understand the complete context of why a customer is buying or the process upon which they're going through buying. Therefore, they might have a inkling of what the job is, but they don't maybe understand the full context. And so, we see this on the website. Customers will come to the website, read through their homepage, get confused because they're like, " Okay. This looks the same as other competitors," or they really can't tell the difference for... I'm going to give you an example. If you were to go pull up the top five most common project management platforms, so Asana, Trello, ClickUp, they're all going to read the same. Some of these actually might have taken a page from the book of jobs and a differentiated a little bit, but the homepage is if you've got a customer that's comparing options and if it all looks the same, reads the same, has the same words, they can't really tell. So then the question really then becomes, okay, the second part that I mentioned earlier, which is, " Okay. But if these are all relatively the same, what's the exact context that I would buy this versus this?" This is where we get into the positioning conundrum and also messaging. So what they do is they go and they click through features pages and they're trying to figure it out. They might actually go to pricing because sometimes pricing can actually tell a customer, indicate a customer, " How should I compare or how should I think about the solution and the context that I'm buying?" If you're comparing with spreadsheets, then it's really all about, " Okay. How do I..." They're looking for anchor points and the website is the first offender, I would say, especially if it's not very well done, but this is one of the very big areas that can be improved. The KPI to improve that though, usually it's website visit to trial or demo booking rate. And so, if that KPI is relatively healthy, and I'm going to say relatively healthy as in it's truly relative, benchmarks are great, but they're also dangerous. But the other area I would say is onboarding and activation and just in such the biggest way because when a customer comes into a product and they have a very clear job, which nine times out of 10 they do and it is not clear to them how the product helps them accomplish that job, it's already not going to be a paying customer. They're already not going to actually become a customer because they're having to do a lot of heavy lifting and a lot of mental work to try to figure out what this is and what it does and how it helps them and what they should do next. Onboarding is usually the next best opportunity that we find to improve those blockers. So whenever we work with a company, our first places that we check are, okay, does the website do its job? Is the positioning and also therefore the messaging, are those two things clear? And then really the third thing we look at is what does the signup and onboarding activation experience look like? And then from there, I mean, we can get into more granular things. We can also expand it out into retention, expansion revenue. Maybe a SaaS company is killing it and they're like, " What are we missing? What are we not doing?" Finding new growth opportunities is where we go into that work and we start looking at, okay, well if everything is relatively working well, what are some of the other opportunities that you might have missed? We get into other details there of is there expansion revenue opportunities, retention, things like that? But I would say those are the first three bases that we analyze and that we cover. Sometimes all three of those are jacked up and we got to address all of them. And then sometimes it's maybe just a couple of things, but there's more opportunity in other areas. And so, that's what our work is.
Ramli John: I totally agree, onboarding, activation, super important.
Asia Orangio: Yeah, you've got a book on this.
Ramli John: I got a book on that. I didn't want to plug it. I don't want to feel weird about that, but thank you. I totally agree with you. Positioning messaging flows directly into onboarding, activation. If they don't get that right first, then none of that later down funnel stuff happens really well as well. I love that how you're also taking a look at the whole funnel and not just like, " Let's get you signups." Are those signups converting? Which is super cool. I love about hearing this, that you're taking a look at that, you and your team. I want to talk a little bit about something you said earlier around that you and your team, your goal is to understand the clients' customers better than the client themselves. I'm like, " Wow." It really tells a lot because no founder would admit that, " Oh, they know my customer better," just because maybe it's ego, maybe it's like, " Oh, I'm the one who started this company here." But can you talk a little bit about that? How do you that? Do you actually talk to customers for them and you do surveys? What is the approach to" knowing the client's customers better than they do"?
Asia Orangio: Okay. So this breaks down into the different types of research of qualitative research and then quantitative research. So yes, a core part of our project is to run customer interviews. It can also be audience interviews. Maybe they're not actually customers, but they fit the target market profile and they potentially could be customers, but they've never heard of your product or whatever it is. And then yes, we do also run surveys, both website surveys and also actual just conducted surveys to customer bases. When it comes to the qualitative side, meaning understanding the non- numbers piece, it really comes down to the types of questions that we're asking. So most founders, we find... Now, I'm not going to say all of them. There are some founders who are in the jobs- to- be- done world and they get it and they're like, " Yep, I know exactly how to take this and apply it to the marketing perspective." I would say that's a rare breed and they're very awesome when we do find those people. But I would say most founders tend to ask questions that are purely related to the product. What kind of features do you like? What don't you like? What about the product can we change? They might understand the problems that they're experiencing or that the customer is experiencing around what drove them to actually buy the product or at least search for a solution, but they might not be thinking about all of the other aspects of, " Well, what did you compare it to? Why did you choose this one? How long did it take you to make this decision? What was the process? So walk me through the full process. When did you know that you had a problem? And then what were some of the things that you tried along the way? Why didn't those things work? And then why did you land on this? This is where we get into competitive differentiators, positioning in the market. All of those questions really cover those aspects of how we think about really understanding the customer. But then there's the other side of it too of what are some of the behaviors that they might have just from a personal perspective of where do they hang out online? When they want to find more or when they want to learn more about their industry, where do they go? What are some of the places that they turn to whenever they need help? What's their preferred method of content consumption? Are they listeners, readers, watchers? What does their behavior look like outside of that? It's somewhat anecdotal, but also just purely experiential things. And then there's also the aspect of when it comes to onboarding, walk me through how you figured out how to use this product and just see how they walk through it. We get into a little bit of UX research into this, but we also get into just the pure qualitative side of the full customer journey. And then there's also like, " Tell me about your life. What's your life like? What's your job, or what do you do all day?" These are the kinds of questions, I think, most teams skip because they feel like they don't need it or it's prying or they're not sure how it connects the dots and how it tells a larger story. But a lot of the times, whenever we work with clients and if the founder and also the team, if they're super duper engaged and as soon as we analyze an interview or we share a recording, they're on it, they're listening to it, a lot of the times they come back and they say, " Wow, you asked questions we never would've thought to ask, but also we heard responses that we were not expecting."
Ramli John: Interesting.
Asia Orangio: There are also responses that they are expecting. I would say most teams, generally speaking, have a... I'd say most people have a pretty fundamental understanding of the customer, but there are some teams out there who don't at all. They literally never talk to a customer, ever. Those are the teams that obviously we love to come in and help. And then for those who have a baseline understanding, but want to get at something more, we're usually able to do the digging. That's the qualitative side. So, the quantitative side gets into the analysis of every single interview. We take it a step further by once we conduct interviews, surveys, whatever it is, we actually aggregate all about data into a single database and we analyze it. We do the analysis piece. One, because it's a step that I think most marketers and teams skip. They'll do the interviews, but sometimes they don't actually take a step back and they say, " Okay, what's the overall trend?" and make it as data- driven as possible. This is where a lot of teams can be led... They can be led astray because it feels like they heard a trend throughout the interviews, but when they actually map it out and analyze it, they find that there was actually something else. And so, it's really tempting to do interviews and then to just be like, " Oh, okay. I know what the answers area," but then it's also equally tempting to have all that data and to just totally ignore it. Our job is to really take it through the full process of interviews, analysis, and then insight extraction. And then once we extract insights, we can take that and apply it to any recommendations that we have around growth.
Ramli John: Before we continue, I want to thank those who made this video possible, 42/ Agency. Now, when you are in scale- up mode and you have KPIs to hit, the pressure is on to deliver demos and signups, and it's a lot to handle, demand gen, email sequences, rev ops, and even more. That's where 42/ Agency founded by my good friend Kamil Rextin can help you. They're a strategic partner that's helped B2B SaaS companies, like ProfitWell, Teamworks, Sprout Social, and Hubdoc build a predictable revenue engine. If you're looking for performance experts and creatives to solve your marketing problems at a fraction of the cost of in- house, look no further. Go to 42agency. com to talk to a strategist to learn how you can build a high efficiency revenue engine now. You can find that link in the description below. Let's jump back in. I love how all of that questions is really, you mentioned it earlier, about understanding the context that the buyer is trying to... What are the problems? What triggered them to start looking to make the purchase? It sounds like it's prying, but it really is about understanding the context. What are they doing? What was the problem they faced? What was happening and all that stuff. Thank you for sharing that. I really love how you really went into the detail there. Can you share a case study here? I believe you have a case study that you walk through this whole process with one of your clients that actually has 10X their growth, which is amazing. You and your team have been working with them for several years now. Can you share that story of this whole job- to- be- done applied so people can hear the result of all of this beautiful and hard work as well?
Asia Orangio: I love a good growth story, especially when there's context applied. So the context for the story is we have been working with a... They're a vacation rental platform company, so they're a SaaS. I would say they are in the earlier stages, so we're just going to say that they're less than 10 million in ARR. This vacation rental software company, I mean, it's what you would expect in terms of SaaS, software as a service. There are vacation rental companies that need a platform to manage their listings, manage their prices, rates, channels, managing all the things. At the time, when we first started working with this company, vacation rental software company, they were already growing, but they hired us because they were like, " We're kind of killing it. We want to keep killing it across all opportunities." And then it's so funny because right when we started working together, COVID hit. The pandemonium, panorama, whatever you want to call it, COVID hit. When travel stopped or at least dramatically slowed down, I think a lot of countries closed down around the world, when travel stopped, the vacation rental companies, my client's customers, started freaking out because travel's not happening, which means that they've got to figure out how they're going to stay afloat because they're a vacation rental company, think like Airbnbs or that kind of world. And so, my client also starts freaking out because if the vacation rental companies are freaking out, they're looking to cut. The CEO founder of the company that I worked with and still working with, I commend him a lot because he actually... There was an initial panic, but then there was a very quick resolve to mitigate churn as much as possible. They worked super hard to do that and they did a great job. But what was interesting was as we start working together, the narrative was at first, " Man, we're growing so much, let's keep growing," to, " How do we survive and also plant seeds for future growth?" So my work really, it was the same process. We go through the same process for pretty much every single large strategic engagement, but I would say research and jobs- to- be- done is at the core of pretty much anything and everything that we do, even when we do paid acquisition, for example. But when we started, my number one strategic question to answer was how has the current market implication change the expectations of potential customers, both today and then also future? So we go through the research process, talking to customers, understanding their absolute panic and also grief, but also understanding their hopes, their dreams, their wishes, and then also really understanding why did they choose this particular product? How did they go about the process of choosing this product? And then also what really drove them to this, out of all of the... By the way, I forgot to mention, the vacation rental software space, there's dozens of platforms. There's dozens. It's just like project management. There's literally dozens of tools out there and they all look and feel the same, but they all have very different pricing models and they also have very different, I guess, really positioning and there's many different areas that a platform can go in and really exceed at. And so, my job was figuring out, okay, why are these customers? Why this product? And then why this product amongst all the other products? What we came away with was we had... Well, first, we heard a lot of really awesome feedback. Even just going through this process, you just learned so much. Especially when it's a third party doing the research, they told us things that they've never told the client, which is also great because then the client really gets like, " Okay. I'm getting honest feedback here." But we learned that people would often choose my client's product third or fourth. So they would try three to four other products and then they would choose my client sometimes third, fourth, basically dead last if I'm being honest. Sometimes they would even sign to the first or second product that they tried, realize it was crap, try another one, realize it was crap, and then get to my client's product and be like, " Oh my gosh, this is the best thing I've ever used. It's the best in the market. It's amazing." But it was just wild because we learned that this platform was at the bottom of people's lists and we were like, " Why?" We heard this verbatim in interviews and we learned that people were choosing other competitors because their" marketing" was prettier. It blew our minds, but also didn't blow my mind because as a marketer, there are just some certain industries where brand really does matter. I think a lot of SaaS companies, I have my own personal feelings about brand and investing in brand in that I really don't until you're way more at scale. I feel like scaled companies do it, do brand, but there are some industries where brand really, really matters and it seemed like more and more of this was an industry or a market where brand mattered. But we literally heard verbatim, " I didn't choose you guys because you weren't as pretty as the other ones." It was awesome and at the same exact time a big slap in the face. We learned a bunch of other things too. The way that customers viewed the market had fundamentally changed and also what they needed from the product also had changed. There was a gap because my client was going to market as this particular platform like, " It's so easy to use and there's all these features." If you've ever heard April Dunford talk, she talks about the wind tunnel of features. When I tell you that's exactly what my client was doing, it's to the T. We talked about, " Oh, it's so easy and it's easy to switch to us." After conducting the interviews, it was just so clear that the overarching trend, even analyzing this on a data- driven level, it was just so clear that we needed to focus on entirely different value propositions. People cared about reliability. They cared about not just features, but features that enabled productivity. They didn't care that it was easy to switch. They wanted to know that this was going to be the platform for them and that they wouldn't have to switch, and that was really more like to the client as opposed to away from the client. But people didn't really generally care about, " Oh yeah, it's easy for me to jump ship." It was much more like, " I need to know that this is going to be the thing and I don't have to look again. I don't really care if it's easy to get into the product." But yeah, it was just so eye- opening. And so, we overhauled the website. We updated look and feel. We also took a deep hard look at onboarding activation. I'm going to be honest, we are still looking at activation and onboarding. It's an ongoing experiment. It never ends. I mean, I'm not sure actually if you feel that way too, Ramli, but-
Ramli John: I agree.
Asia Orangio: ...it never just stays the same and you forget about it and you walk away. We are still adjusting it and changing it and experimenting. We adjusted the positioning and the messaging entirely. And then there were some other activities too. So, of course, the team really focused on stabilizing the product, making sure that when everything came back, travel and all the things, that they would be ready. There were some other feature improvements, feature additions. So I'm not going to say it was all of our work, but through this very big effort, I mean, we saw trials triple. We saw a 20% lift in activation rate overall. I think my favorite stat in the first round was a 4X lift and growth. Obviously, there was a lot that went into that. So then the panorama happens and we're in the middle of it. I think at this rate, countries are opening back up, travel is coming back. We do another round. So it's been about a year at this point. I've been working with this company for two years now. So it's been about a year and we do another round and we find that it's changed again, but it's changed in a slightly different way. It's changed in a way where people are still looking for generally the same value props, but there's like... We see this with jobs- to- be- done a lot, where customers will come to a company with a specific job in mind, but once they have that job fulfilled, they evolve. Usually, there's one, two, sometimes even three other jobs that they're hoping to accomplish. If a customer comes to a product with a job, but they actually have five other jobs that you just didn't hear about or know about, what happens sometimes is they have one job satisfied by a product and then they buy another product hoping to satisfy some other jobs, and then they end up with three or four products and then they're like, " Wait, can I just get one that does it all?" And that's what we were hearing. So we were hearing people coming to my client's product with this goal of having several... They have several jobs actually, and also existing customers were evolving into new jobs. And so, then really the growth work became all around what are the new jobs that we want to make sure that we satisfy? And then how do we internalize that at a company level? Which this is not a very large team, but it was definitely a scenario where after analyzing the research, it was just really clear, " Oh my gosh, there's other jobs that we have to think about." And so, now, the growth story for this particular company is really... We're expanding out into how do we make sure that our main job is as streamlined as it possibly can be, which our job statements have changed over time. Job statements meaning this is the story that people have whenever they come to the product. They have evolved over time and they haven't stayed the same. We're also finding new job stories and new job statements. So then over the next year, a lot of that work had moved into expanding into new channels, testing different things, continuing to tinker with onboarding activation because it just really does... You can't just set it and forget it, especially if you're attracting more types of customers. And then internal operations actually, which is a growth lever I think a lot of companies forget about, but internal ops, it's another secret lever to pull, believe it or not, and that resulted in the next 6X. So now we're at 10X, which is really cool. So it took two years to do 10X, which I know a lot of teams rave about the, " Oh, 10X in one year." But I think for this, I guess they are technically lightly funded. I say lightly funded. I think they're indie- funded, if I'm not mistaken, but it was only recently. But they have figured out how to make it work with their existing resources. Any bootstrap team that gets more than 2X growth, that's a huge win. I don't know if people realize that or not, but more than 2X for a bootstrap team, wow, incredible, truly. But I would say any growth is still amazing, but more than 2X, that's impressive.
Ramli John: Yeah, 10X is incredible and remarkable also.
Asia Orangio: Yeah.
Ramli John: Well, thank you. Wow, that's a great story of how the whole process you talked about earlier applied. You applied it to this particular company, this client, and really saw growth even through a once- in-a- lifetime experience, the pandemic, last time it happen.
Asia Orangio: Hopefully, crossing our fingers.
Ramli John: Right. Yes. Crossing our fingers, knocking on wood that this is once in a lifetime, in our lifetime or any lifetime. I don't want to think about fear at all with that, but I'm glad to see growth even through that, especially for a Bayesian rental, which saw a dramatic impact with that. So, I want to shift gears now and talk a little bit about your career. Part of this is hearing and learning from really world- class marketers. You, you've been in marketing for 10 years and more. Can you share a power- up, something that's helped you in your career evolve and grow as a marketer and become this CEO of DemandMaven and board member of Moz and a highly sought- after keynote speaker? What was something that's helped you through this career progression of yours so far?
Asia Orangio: The thing that comes to mind has to be avoiding as much as you possibly can the shiny object. So we call it bright shiny object syndrome, BSO. There's other phrases for it. But when it comes to BSOs, I am totally guilty. I'm just going to come right out and say I'm super guilty of a BSO. What I think has helped me the most in my career has been acknowledging the BSO. It's kind of like acknowledging a craving, but then just letting it fade. You're really craving something that you know is absolutely terrible for you and is going to cause distractions, but you just let it pass. You just acknowledge it and you honor it and you're like, " Thank you craving for reminding me that I'm alive." And then you just let it go. And that's how I feel about a lot of BSOs. There are some BSOs that I think are certainly titillating and exciting, but what I've learned is that it's so rare. We're talking maybe one out of 50 times a bright shiny object is actually worth your time and your effort. What I mean by that is there's always going to be new channels. There's always going to be new tactics. There's always going to be new cool things that come along that you can't possibly miss. I think I'm a huge believer in jobs- to- be- done and I will always spread the gospel, but even jobs- to- be- done might be a little bit... I don't think it's necessarily a BSO though, that's just me being biased, but there are tons of them. What I have learned in my career is that it's so rare that they ever actually pay off. Also, when a bright shiny object comes to your table, so maybe a sales leader has this wild, crazy idea that you can't possibly miss, or more often than not, the CEO comes to your table and is like, " We need to run this campaign right now because I've dreamt about it and I wrote it on a piece of toilet paper last night and I woke up this morning and I had to give it to you to execute the next day." That's a bright shiny object. What I have learned is how to manage them as politely as possible, which is if the answer is yes, it's not right now, and if it's not right now, it's because we have a very data- driven way to show that this isn't going to be worth our effort of switching all of our gears over to your BSO. Managing your own BSOs in addition to other BSOs is super exhausting work, but honestly, if you're a marketing manager or a marketing coordinator and you're dreaming of becoming a VP of marketing or a CMO, that is the level that you're going to have to get to. I actually have someone on my team who her dream is to be a CMO, and I love that dream. One of her greatest opportunities for growth is to learn how to say no to BSOs specifically from clients. She wants to say yes to every BSO. The truth is that there's not enough energy in the world to do all of them, right? If you're going to switch gears entirely, there needs to be a pretty factual, or at least as confident of a correlation you can make to it being worth it because it's going to feel very frustrating to constantly jump to every new BSO and make no progress. So, it's the same thing with cravings and also the same thing with endless to- do lists. " Oh yeah, I can fit that extra thing in." And then you get two things done out of the list of 20 and then you're like, " Oh, no, I'm a failure because I only got two things done." But in reality, most of us can only handle two to three things a day anyway. So it's the same vibe. Even when I was early in my career, I got promoted because I learned how to say no, seriously, because I kept the chief of sales, I guess, slash, co- founder in check and that was literally my job, that and to make sure the marketing projects were protected and if I could do that... Don't get me wrong, I love my boss, but he was chaos. If I could just manage his chaos and as loving and as fair of a way as I possibly could, but also firmly, we were going to make progress. That was ultimately how I ended up getting promoted into the roles that I'm in today.
Ramli John: That's so good. BSO, I'm not sure if you tweeted about this or you have a blog post, but that is one of the terms that is instantly coinable and it's something that you can own. Sure, I'm going to start using that, BSO, and it's coined by Asia and you've heard it here first.
Asia Orangio: That's right.
Ramli John: I love it. The other thing about pushing back on BSOs, it's so good, I'm going to be saying it all day today, BSO, " Hey, Joanna, BSO," is that it helps people respect you because when they understand, they hire you in marketing because marketing hopefully better than the sales leader. The sales is great, greater sales and you pushing back helps them see that you know your stuff and that you have a strategy in place and that their BSO will derail your plans.
Asia Orangio: Yeah. There's ways to be gentle of course, but yes, totally, that's what you're really saying. But you're going to add to the stack and every quarter you're going to analyze the stack and see which of these ideas can we add to the plate, and a lot of them aren't ever going to get added. But yeah, that's how I'd approach that.
Ramli John: One final question before we get into the wrap up is around an advice you would give to your younger self, a younger version of Asia starting out in marketing. What would be your advice to your younger self if you can travel back in time and send a few pieces of advice?
Asia Orangio: I think the thing I would share to my younger self, and I actually think I'm going to change my answer from when we talked last, but I would have to say that I would just tell her that her self- worth is not tied to the results that she does or does not achieve. Therefore, because her self- worth is not attached to that, it is not defined by that, it also means... That's true for pretty much everything in life that... This is so cliche, but I actually do believe in it. We are not human doings, we are human beings. I think especially in startup and SaaS world, it's so easy to get caught up in how much you're able to execute, and also, therefore, how much you're able to achieve. It's so easy to get wrapped up in those achievements as being definitions of yourself. But what I've been learning from therapy is attaching your self- worth to your achievements is to totally a coping mechanism for something much deeper in addition to can be potentially harmful, because what happens when you stop achieving, your life falls apart and is a mess and you feel lower than low. I've definitely been in scenarios where that has completely impacted... I've certainly been in that scenario. I guess the super quick story I can give is my very first startup role, I was working at a company that I had just joined and I think it was my first day or maybe it was my second day, I learned that we needed to generate 600,000 in revenue.
Ramli John: Wow.
Asia Orangio: That was the stretch goal. The normal goal, the main goal was 300K. I found out that we had two months to do it. So I joined in December and we needed to generate 600K by February, end of February. We needed to do this with zero budget, a team of two and a whole bunch of other contingencies. For example, I learned in September, way before I actually joined, there was a contract that was signed that said that if we didn't make this amount of revenue for a conference that they were running, that we would have to pay out the remainder. And so, if we didn't make 300K in ticket sales, we would have to pay out the remainder of whatever that was to this other company that we were partnering with at the time, whatever. But I learned that this revenue goal basically came out of some agreement or contract that they had signed before. So, I also learned there was no strategy for doing this. They had never done it before and there was literally no foundation for this goal to be realistic. Me being young and naive, I thought, " Oh, this is normal, right? This is how startups work." But the more that I uncovered things, the more that I learned that there really was no plan. There was no strategy. The plan was to... It was just basically to pray and to hope and pray that this would come to fruition. I remember the more that I raised concern, the more I was told, " It's just because you don't believe enough. You're the problem. You're just not doing enough. You're not working hard enough. You don't believe and that's why this isn't going to happen. But if you believed more, Asia, we could reach this goal." We would get text messages in the middle of the night. This is a super small team, so there's only another one person, but I remember getting text messages about how we really needed to hit this goal because if we didn't, bad things would happen. Needless to say, I think we made 86K. We did not meet the goal at all. In two months, 86K, I'm actually not too mad about that, but it was such a whirlwind of... I mean, it truly was unmanaged chaos, but it was damaging chaos. It was the problem. It wasn't the kind of chaos that feels exciting and/ or encourages you to stretch or to grow. It was the kind of chaos that was damaging. I didn't know that at the time. I thought that this was normal. So I went into my next role with a lot of fear, anxiety. I mean, it was fun for fear, uncertainty and doubt. I thought it was normal and I thought this was just how it was. Also, I attached myself to the end result of, " Man, I didn't make 600K, but I made 87," and I felt like a total failure, I'm going to be super honest. But what I've learned is you really can't attach yourself to those kinds of things in the end because if you don't have the full context and knowing what I know now, hindsight's 2020... Actually, that's not true. I don't believe in that anymore, but at least in that moment, hindsight was 2020. Looking back, I'm like, " Oh my gosh, that was so not your fault. That wasn't your fault at all. Also, even if it were, the circumstances upon which you needed to accomplish that were just so unrealistic, there's no way it could have happened." It took me a long time and a lot of therapy, but I no longer take responsibility for that, but that's why I tell that story because that's definitely one of my first experiences. I'm super thrilled to say it is not the norm. I've worked for other incredible SaaS companies that have completely different cultures and environments and expectations that are far more realistic and also don't do that to the marketers. But yeah, it was a hard lesson learned, but I'm glad I learned it. It's a story I don't tell often, but I'm happy to share it with others because I feel like a lot of us have a similar story of just complete and total just craziness when it comes to marketing and also knowing that there's light on the other end of the tunnel, that there are places that do respect the marketer and also don't treat people super crazy. It was a crazy experience. I'm glad it happened though. I wouldn't trade it, if that makes any sense. I grew a lot as a person, but that's part of why I give that advice.
Ramli John: That is such a good piece of advice. I think you're right, just based on the marketers I've talked to, they have faced not the same experience, but a similar experience where founders would put undue pressure and even in my experience, scream at the marketing team in front of everybody. I feel like that more marketers need to hear this advice and really thank you for sharing this. As we wrap up, one final question. Well, you have such a honest and transparent and authentic vibe about you, and I thank you for that. If people wanted to just reach out, where can people find you online? On Twitter? The joke is if it still exists. On LinkedIn? Anywhere? Where do you want to send people to who are tuning into this that can connect with you and connect with DemandMaven team as well?
Asia Orangio: That's right. End in an upper. All right. So I was going to say, you can find me on Mastodon. No, I'm just kidding. I mean, you technically can. Okay. So Twitter, I have so many feelings, but I won't share them now. You can still find me on Twitter @ AsiaOrangio and my DMs are open. I'm so happy to answer any questions anyone has and/ or even if it's just to trade war stories, I'm super down. And then yes, LinkedIn. I would say if you send a LinkedIn connection request, just make sure to add that you listen to this podcast so that way I know, because I literally get hundreds of connection requests every day and I never know who is who. But yes, you can also totally find me on LinkedIn. There's also the website, the blog. We've been quiet over the last couple of years in terms of content. I do a lot of speaking. I appear on podcasts, but when it comes to DemandMaven's own content, we've been a little quiet. We do have a podcast. We also have have a blog. Those are going to come back. 2023 is what we're planning for, but in the meantime though, you can definitely find me on socials, and yes, you can technically find me on Mastodon.
Ramli John: I hope you got as much from my conversation with Asia as I did. It's always fun nicking out about the jobs-to-be-done framework with anyone. I can do it for days. Follow Asia on LinkedIn and Twitter and check out DemandMaven at demandmaven. io. You can find those links in the show notes and description. Thank you to Asia for being on the show. If you enjoy this episode, you'd love the Marketing Powerups newsletter. I share the actionable takeaways and breakdown the frameworks of world- class marketers. You can go to marketingpowerups. com, subscribe, and you'll instantly unlock the three best frameworks that top marketers use to hit their KPIs consistently and wow their colleagues. I want to say thank you to you for listening and please like and follow Marketing Powerups on YouTube, Apple Podcast and Spotify. If you feel like extra generous, kindly leave a review on Apple Podcast and Spotify and leave a comment on YouTube. It goes a long way in others finding out about Marketing Powerups. Thanks to Mary Sullivan for creating the artwork and design, and thank you to Faisal Taigo for editing the intro video, and of course, thank you for listening. That's all for now. Have a powered- up day.
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