Devin Bramhall's media-led content strategy

Devin Bramhall's media-led content strategy

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Devin Bramhall, Growth Advisor and former CEO of Animalz, breaks down her media-led content strategy.

If you want to sound smart, throw words around like “strategy” in your documents or meetings: marketing strategy, content strategy, email strategy.

The problem?

Devin Bramhall, Former CEO at Animalz and marketing advisor, explains:

Most strategy strategies that people present are really just plans. They're justthings that we're going to do in marketing over the next quarter half a year. But that's not a strategy, that's just a series of activities. A strategy is more of a hypothesis. It's the difference between executing a playbook, looking at multiple playbooks and frameworks, and you're doing all the research and identifying a unique opportunity.

Today, Devin will be sharing her media-led strategy for marketing. If you tap into a community and create a media-led approach to attracting them, your company will do better in the long term.

In this Marketing Powerups episode, you’ll learn:

  1. The problem with the traditional SEO approach.
  2. The power of tapping into a community.
  3. A B2B company that’s using a media-led strategy.
  4. One thing that’s helped accelerate Devin’s career.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcast and Spotify now, or watch it on YouTube.

I want to thank the sponsor of this episode, 42/Agency.

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⭐️ The media-led content strategy

With the explosion of the amount of content (especially with the help of generative AI), traditional strategies may not be enough to stand out. That's why implementing a media-led content strategy can help your company succeed in the long term.

Devin Bramhall, Growth Advisor and former CEO of Animalz, provides three tips to establish and execute a media-led content strategy.

Tip #1: Embrace a media-led approach. 🎥

The media-led strategy focuses on leading with media in marketing, leveraging the tools and technologies available in the present day. This strategy puts the customer, product, and people at the center and allows for limitless experiments.

"Media-led strategy is belief that leading with media in your marketing will return uniquely better results and is fundamentally better than the sort of current strategy de jour. By leading with media, you have repurposing built in and there are a great many tools right now, including AI, that make repurposing very easy."

Unlike traditional marketing strategies that have become too tactical and transactional, lacking vision and personality, the media-led strategy embraces the mess and chaos of marketing, recognizing that journeys are not linear.

Tip #2: Tap into a community. 🤝

Tapping into a community should be an organic process. Start by talking to your customers and gathering their feedback right from the beginning. The people you have already engaged with can be a valuable resource for building a community. It's important to do the groundwork of customer research, which will make building a community around your product or company easier and more natural.

" The great thing about tapping into a community is that if you have an idea, you can bring it to the community or you research the community. You can start a conversation and gather feedback from people. As a bonus, once you get to actually sharing the final thing, you've got all these people around you who are already fired up about it."

Tapping into the community and creating media that resonates with them is key. Media is a way to communicate your company's unique stance or vision to the world. Different industries and communities prefer different types of media, so it's important to understand what will resonate with your target audience.

Tip #3: Collaborate with community members. 🏗️

Collaborate with the community members by involving them in the content creation process. This can include co-authoring articles, contributing to whitepapers or ebooks, participating in podcasts or videos, or providing quotes or insights for blog posts. This collaborative approach ensures that the content has the voice of the community perspective embedded throughout, adding credibility and value.

Devin points to Cisco as an example of a company tapping into community to create a media-led content strategy. She got a chance to work with their marketing team.

"Even I worked with Cisco earlier this year with their marketing department. They're so big, but they have these really robust communities. For a company that has a very corporate website, that has more subdomains and pages than I've ever seen in my life. And there's multiple of them, multiple different people moderating them, the events that they, the conferences, et cetera, they're really engaged. They engage the community and are engaged."

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    🎉 About Devin Bramhall

    Devin Bramhall is a marketing consultant and the co-host of the Don’t Say Content podcast where she shares her 15+ years of marketing experience, including her time as CEO of industry-leading content marketing agency Animalz, where she grew revenue 3x in two years. Now she offers strategic consulting services to agency founders and marketing leaders to accelerate their growth.

    🕰️ Timestamps and transcript

    • [00:00:00] Understanding the Difference Between Strategy and Plan in Marketing
    • [00:01:25] The Appcues Connection
    • [00:01:53] Exploring Media-Led Strategy with Devin Bramhall
    • [00:12:13]  Building Products and Customer Feedback
    • [00:13:56] Discussions on Media-Led Strategy for Brands and Companies
    • [00:17:30] 42 Agency - My Number One Recommended Growth Agency
    • [00:18:15] Produce High-Quality, On-Brand Content and Copy with
    • [00:18:52] Community-Led Content Strategy with Devin Bramhall
    • [00:21:39] The Media-Led Approach in Building Brand Affinity
    • [00:31:26] The Role of Originality Between Founders and Marketing Leaders
    • [00:35:40] The Importance of Strategy Consistency in Marketing
    • [00:43:34] Discussing Media-Led Strategy in B2B SaaS with Devin Bramhall
    • [00:47:36] Devin Bramhall on Career Progression and The Power of Community
    • [00:54:22] Discussion about Marketing Strategy with Devin Bramhall
    • [00:58:18] Marketing Powerups: Actionable Insights for Top Marketers

    Episode transcript

    [00:00:00] Ramli John: You want to sound smart, throw around words like strategy, marketing strategy, content strategy, email strategy.

    [00:00:07] Ramli John: The problem is, most people confuse the word strategy with plans.

    [00:00:11] Devin Bramhall: Most strategy strategies that people present are really just plans.

    [00:00:16] Devin Bramhall: They're just, oh, here are the things that we're going to do in marketing over the next quarter half a year.

    [00:00:22] Devin Bramhall: But that's not a strategy, that's just a series of activities.

    [00:00:26] Devin Bramhall: A strategy is more of a hypothesis.

    [00:00:29] Devin Bramhall: It's the difference between executing a playbook, looking at multiple playbooks and frameworks, and you're doing all the research and saying, okay, I found a unique opportunity here that could make a big positive impact on the results from our marketing activities or whatever.

    [00:00:48] Ramli John: I totally agree with Devin.

    [00:00:49] Ramli John: She actually shares her media led strategy for marketing today.

    [00:00:52] Ramli John: She has hypothesis that if you tap into a community and create a media led approach to attracting them, your company will do better in the long term.

    [00:01:01] Ramli John: In this marketing Pops episode, you learned, first, the problem with the traditional SEO approach.

    [00:01:06] Ramli John: Second, the power of tapping into a community.

    [00:01:08] Ramli John: Third, a B2B company that's using a media led strategy really well.

    [00:01:12] Ramli John: And number four, wanting to help accelerate Devin's career.

    [00:01:15] Ramli John: Now, before we get started, I've created a free power up cheat sheet that you can download and apply Devin's media Ledge strategy.

    [00:01:22] Ramli John: You can find that marketing or in the show notes and description.

    [00:01:25] A Conversation Between Ramli John and Devin Bramhall: The Appuse Connection

    [00:01:25] Ramli John: Are you ready?

    [00:01:26] Ramli John: Let's go.

    [00:01:27] Ramli John: Marketing powerups.

    [00:01:30] Devin Bramhall: Ready?

    [00:01:32] Ramli John: Go.

    [00:01:35] Ramli John: Here's your host, Ramli John.

    [00:01:39] Ramli John: Well, Devin, I'm so, so excited to have, you know, we have the App use connection.

    [00:01:44] Ramli John: Margaret used to work at Appuse, which is your thing.

    [00:01:46] Ramli John: You've worked animals has worked with Appuse.

    [00:01:50] Ramli John: We worked with animals.

    [00:01:51] Ramli John: Thank you for coming on.

    [00:01:53] Exploring Media-Led Strategy with Devin Bramhall

    [00:01:53] Ramli John: We're going to be talking about medialed strategy.

    [00:01:56] Ramli John: And that word strategy is so loaded because we love to talk about it like content strategy, marketing strategy, company strategy.

    [00:02:03] Ramli John: But the problem with it is often very vague and hazy and you talking about media led strategy.

    [00:02:10] Ramli John: I'm curious.

    [00:02:11] Devin Bramhall: First of all, to you, what isn't.

    [00:02:13] Ramli John: A strategy that's such an important thing?

    [00:02:17] Ramli John: Because people think it's something, but it might not necessarily be that thing.

    [00:02:21] Ramli John: And I heard you have a lot to say about this.

    [00:02:25] Devin Bramhall: I think when I was at Animals still, ryan Law and I did a whole episode on this where we both read walter was a big fan of good strategy, bad strategy.

    [00:02:38] Devin Bramhall: So I think if you basically, anytime you worked there, anyone who worked there had read it, basically.

    [00:02:45] Devin Bramhall: And what we were discussing is how most strategies that people present are really just plans.

    [00:02:54] Devin Bramhall: They're just, oh, here are the things that we're going to do in marketing over the next quarter, half a year.

    [00:03:04] Devin Bramhall: But that's not a strategy, that's just a series of activities.

    [00:03:09] Devin Bramhall: A strategy is more of a hypothesis, and it usually involves experimentation and to some degree, where you're not just like it's the difference between executing a playbook and looking at a play, multiple playbooks and frameworks.

    [00:03:30] Devin Bramhall: And you're like, doing all the research and saying, okay, I found a unique opportunity here that could make a big positive impact on the results from our marketing activities or whatever.

    [00:03:47] Devin Bramhall: This is the hypothesis.

    [00:03:50] Devin Bramhall: And then underneath that are the activities that you're going to do.

    [00:03:54] Devin Bramhall: So the reason why I would call media led strategy, I put strategy at the end of that is that it is conceptual in nature.

    [00:04:05] Devin Bramhall: I don't have a playbook for you to say every B two B SaaS company should do X, Y and Z.

    [00:04:11] Devin Bramhall: It's a belief that leading with media in your marketing will return unique results, like uniquely better results and is fundamentally better than the sort of current strategy de jour because by leading with media, you have repurposing built in and there are a great many tools right now, including AI, that make repurposing very easy.

    [00:04:52] Devin Bramhall: And so the concept is that it is more human forward, which I think is more effective these days anyway.

    [00:05:02] Devin Bramhall: It leverages the tools that are currently available.

    [00:05:07] Devin Bramhall: So it's like very present day now.

    [00:05:09] Devin Bramhall: It's not intended to be this like it's capturing the reality that we are in right now.

    [00:05:16] Devin Bramhall: And it's flexible, it can be distributed across multiple team members, et cetera, et cetera.

    [00:05:21] Devin Bramhall: So that to me is a strategy because it has a hypothesis and it takes in sort of the realities and tools of today and is different from the current common strategies that are being deployed in B two B SaaS marketing.

    [00:05:39] Ramli John: And the current common is typically write like a blog and then create content like that.

    [00:05:46] Ramli John: When we say content, people think about content, they think about the blog.

    [00:05:51] Ramli John: And you're talking more of a holistic approach where like media could be many different kind of assets or forms.

    [00:06:00] Devin Bramhall: Yes.

    [00:06:01] Devin Bramhall: And the thing is, we got so asset focused in B two B marketing strategy where it was like, I'm going to write blog posts and search and all that and we're going to use social media for distribution.

    [00:06:22] Devin Bramhall: And it was so performance focused.

    [00:06:26] Devin Bramhall: Everyone has already talked about how the improvement in measurement tool like measuring the more tools we had to measure our marketing was first really great because it made it advocating for our jobs better.

    [00:06:40] Devin Bramhall: But also it resulted in this very tactical, these tactical marketing plans that lack a greater vision, stance and personality and that transactional kind of approaches isn't working anymore.

    [00:06:58] Devin Bramhall: I mean, I think I might have said this in public more than once, but I was like, websites are dead, you don't need them anymore.

    [00:07:05] Devin Bramhall: Blogs are just a library that people can reference when they need to.

    [00:07:12] Devin Bramhall: But that's kind of true.

    [00:07:13] Devin Bramhall: It's like, what if we put the idea at the center why you made this product in the first place?

    [00:07:24] Devin Bramhall: What is the challenge that it was solving?

    [00:07:29] Devin Bramhall: Who are the people it's helping?

    [00:07:31] Devin Bramhall: If you put the media led strategy really emphasizes more the idea, and then you think about where is best to share that idea after.

    [00:07:47] Devin Bramhall: And so I feel like it inherently puts the customer at the center.

    [00:07:52] Devin Bramhall: Again, it inherently puts your product at the center.

    [00:07:56] Devin Bramhall: It puts your people at the center.

    [00:07:58] Devin Bramhall: And there's sort of a limitless number of experiments that you can run that way.

    [00:08:04] Devin Bramhall: So that's why I'm so passionate about it, because also it's more interesting.

    [00:08:10] Devin Bramhall: Everything became about the journey, linear journey.

    [00:08:17] Devin Bramhall: I'm like, I need you to know that journeys don't look like that.

    [00:08:22] Devin Bramhall: They just look journeys are like a subway map inside.

    [00:08:25] Devin Bramhall: And it's like, let's stop simplifying and embrace the mess and chaos.

    [00:08:32] Devin Bramhall: And that's what I think this strategy does, and I think it'll be more effective.

    [00:08:38] Ramli John: It's funny compared to subway path because, you know, I've gotten lost.

    [00:08:44] Ramli John: Like, oh, line one, line I'm based out of Toronto.

    [00:08:46] Ramli John: We have, like, three lines versus New York, where there's multiple ways to get from point A to point B, multiple potential.

    [00:08:56] Ramli John: And this is a challenge strategy is like trying to make sense of chaos, and by doing so, simplifying it so much so that it kind of deduces it to something that is easy to communicate, but at the same time, it loses you mentioned it.

    [00:09:15] Ramli John: That humanness to it all.

    [00:09:18] Devin Bramhall: And I think I get it right.

    [00:09:21] Devin Bramhall: We automated it down so that it was presumably more efficient and effective and cost less.

    [00:09:28] Devin Bramhall: Right?

    [00:09:29] Devin Bramhall: Because the flip side of that is like an unruly, unmeasurable marketing plan that is wasteful.

    [00:09:40] Devin Bramhall: I understand the appeal of automating as much as possible and playbooks and all.

    [00:09:45] Devin Bramhall: You know, I was thinking about my friend Michael, who's the founder of Campfire Labs.

    [00:09:52] Devin Bramhall: He is, like, to me, a really good example of someone who inherently thinks strategically.

    [00:10:00] Devin Bramhall: So on the side, he's very interested in climate issues.

    [00:10:04] Devin Bramhall: And he's launched more than one.

    [00:10:06] Devin Bramhall: He launched a newsletter, I think it was called Carbon Switch, that immediately took off, had tons of subscribers, ended up being a company, offered to buy it.

    [00:10:21] Devin Bramhall: So we did that.

    [00:10:22] Devin Bramhall: And then he started another newsletter that took off on YouTube, took off on the newsletter subscribers.

    [00:10:29] Devin Bramhall: Like, I'm talking tens of thousands.

    [00:10:30] Devin Bramhall: And that is like, he knew the exact thing within a small community and the angle and the way to discuss it.

    [00:10:41] Devin Bramhall: And he did experiments in between and found and there's a lot going on there that I don't talk about because it's his to talk about, but other opportunities have come from this, and it didn't take a lot of effort.

    [00:10:56] Devin Bramhall: That's the thing.

    [00:10:58] Devin Bramhall: But it's because he embraced his depth of knowledge and wasn't afraid to niche down that, oddly, it blew up.

    [00:11:09] Devin Bramhall: Same thing with Margaret and I, right?

    [00:11:11] Devin Bramhall: We were like, we only want to talk to marketing leaders.

    [00:11:13] Devin Bramhall: We're like, we're not talking to anyone else.

    [00:11:15] Devin Bramhall: I'm so sick of this beginner shit.

    [00:11:17] Devin Bramhall: Like, it's boring.

    [00:11:18] Devin Bramhall: And man, our podcast took off better than more than we expected.

    [00:11:23] Devin Bramhall: We thought, oh, it'll be a marketing channel for us, blah, blah.

    [00:11:26] Devin Bramhall: And then we're like, oh, whoa, wow.

    [00:11:28] Devin Bramhall: We have sponsors offered, people offer to sponsor us after six episodes, like lots of other examples like that.

    [00:11:36] Devin Bramhall: And so we're sort of an example of it just like that works.

    [00:11:41] Devin Bramhall: That is strategy.

    [00:11:42] Devin Bramhall: Right.

    [00:11:44] Devin Bramhall: And it's different than a plan.

    [00:11:46] Devin Bramhall: The plan came after the strategy.

    [00:11:48] Devin Bramhall: After the strategy, right.

    [00:11:49] Ramli John: That makes sense.

    [00:11:51] Ramli John: What I'm hearing here is like, medialed works so well if you're tapped into the community because you already kind of know what the problems are and what challenges they have.

    [00:12:02] Ramli John: Is that what I heard that correctly with that example with Campfire Labs and with don't say content.

    [00:12:07] Devin Bramhall: Yeah, and why wouldn't you?

    [00:12:09] Devin Bramhall: You would think that's already at these companies disposal.

    [00:12:13] An Interview with Devin Bramhall on Building Products and Customer Feedback

    [00:12:13] Devin Bramhall: Because if you're going through the motions of building a product, all that customer research and talking to customers and putting different early versions of the software out there right.

    [00:12:28] Devin Bramhall: You know already, you know, and you have access to these people because they've already given you feedback.

    [00:12:34] Devin Bramhall: You've probably already run whatever customer tests or whatever you do, it's already there.

    [00:12:42] Devin Bramhall: So of course you'd be able to do this without extra.

    [00:12:46] Devin Bramhall: Those people are already at your disposal.

    [00:12:49] Devin Bramhall: You already built a community of those people around you.

    [00:12:51] Devin Bramhall: So I think, again, it's very organic to me.

    [00:12:56] Devin Bramhall: It's very obvious.

    [00:12:57] Devin Bramhall: It's easy.

    [00:12:59] Ramli John: That makes sense.

    [00:13:01] Devin Bramhall: Easy.

    [00:13:01] Devin Bramhall: You should never I think actually saying is kind of rude.

    [00:13:05] Ramli John: It's easy to some people.

    [00:13:07] Ramli John: It's easy when you're I'm not entirely sure.

    [00:13:11] Ramli John: I forgot who said it.

    [00:13:12] Ramli John: I think Ryan Fishkin recently said, like, whoever said that second time you start a company gets easier, they're lying or something.

    [00:13:19] Ramli John: Like know that might be that case here too.

    [00:13:23] Devin Bramhall: Right.

    [00:13:23] Devin Bramhall: It's like the things that you've done before become less hard, but then a whole bunch of new problems you can get to before are like, in your face.

    [00:13:31] Devin Bramhall: Yeah, but I think the organic thing is really where is really what I'm trying to say is that it's not like trying to find a good example instead of sort of like forcing something to happen.

    [00:13:48] Devin Bramhall: It's almost like opening the gates and letting the water flow.

    [00:13:54] Ramli John: That's a great analogy there.

    [00:13:56] Discussions on Media-Led Strategy for Brands and Companies

    [00:13:56] Ramli John: I just want to recap and just share this hypothesis you have about media life strategy.

    [00:14:04] Ramli John: If people lead with media, right.

    [00:14:07] Ramli John: You mentioned around getting unique results with it.

    [00:14:10] Ramli John: And that's really what you're getting at with this media led strategy where if.

    [00:14:15] Devin Bramhall: You tap into the community, create media.

    [00:14:18] Ramli John: That resonates with them, then they inherently get attracted to what you're doing.

    [00:14:25] Ramli John: If you're a consultant, if you're a brand, if you're a product company am I saying that right?

    [00:14:33] Devin Bramhall: Yeah.

    [00:14:34] Devin Bramhall: The media is the way to get your unique stance out into the world in multiple different ways.

    [00:14:45] Devin Bramhall: Right.

    [00:14:46] Devin Bramhall: You took a stance when you made a company and you made a product and you set vision and all of that, right?

    [00:14:52] Devin Bramhall: That comes from a stance about something.

    [00:14:55] Devin Bramhall: And there's lots of different ways to communicate that stance through people on your team, through your leadership, through people in the community that you surface and each product or each industry or each developer communities.

    [00:15:14] Devin Bramhall: For example, there's sort of this built in preference of where they like to interact and the types of things they like to interact with.

    [00:15:23] Devin Bramhall: Right?

    [00:15:23] Devin Bramhall: That's going to be true of any product.

    [00:15:25] Devin Bramhall: And so you sort of have these things already narrowed down and then it's like, okay, cool, how do I want to what can I contribute here in these different media places?

    [00:15:41] Devin Bramhall: That was the worst sentence I've ever said.

    [00:15:45] Devin Bramhall: But how do I introduce something that is new and either entertaining, valuable, fun, whatever?

    [00:15:55] Devin Bramhall: I think that's it.

    [00:15:57] Devin Bramhall: It's what I've seen work over and over.

    [00:16:01] Devin Bramhall: Even I worked with Cisco earlier this year with their Devrel marketing department.

    [00:16:07] Devin Bramhall: And this company is like a world.

    [00:16:12] Devin Bramhall: Yeah, right, they're so big, but they have these really robust communities.

    [00:16:19] Devin Bramhall: For a company that has a very corporate website, that has more subdomains and pages than I've ever seen in my life, they have these robust communities that was so impressive to me.

    [00:16:34] Devin Bramhall: And there's multiple of them, multiple different people moderating them, the events that they, the conferences, et cetera, they're really engaged.

    [00:16:43] Devin Bramhall: They engage the community and are engaged.

    [00:16:48] Devin Bramhall: They're an example of surprisingly, I wouldn't necessarily think of a big company like that as a good example, but they're a great example of using different forms of media across different team members of varying role types in different community spaces and just regular marketing channels.

    [00:17:10] Devin Bramhall: It's really impressive to the point where this world of Cisco is able to become small in the right ways to keep those right, which is something that they really that is important component of their marketing strategy.

    [00:17:30] Ramli John Discusses How 42 Agency Helps Businesses

    [00:17:30] Ramli John: Before I continue, I want to thank the sponsor for this episode, 42 Agency.

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    [00:17:59] Ramli John: If you're looking for performance experts and creatives to solve your marketing growth problems today and help you build the foundations for the future, look no further.

    [00:18:08] Ramli John: Visit 42 to talk to a strategist right now to learn how you can build a high efficiency revenue engine.

    [00:18:15] Effective Tools for Content Creation and Copywriting

    [00:18:15] Ramli John: Thank you also to the sponsor for this episode, Copy AI.

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    [00:18:52] Community-Led Content Strategy with Devin Bramhall

    [00:18:52] Ramli John: You can go to Copy AI to get those free marketing templates right now or find it in the show.

    [00:18:56] Ramli John: Notes and Description well, let's get back to this episode.

    [00:19:00] Ramli John: I read it in one of your LinkedIn posts.

    [00:19:01] Ramli John: It's just connecting to me now.

    [00:19:02] Ramli John: How media led strategy could also be called community led content strategy.

    [00:19:07] Devin Bramhall: Would you say that it's like you're.

    [00:19:09] Ramli John: Really tapping into the community to help you decide what to build, rather than the traditional approach, which is let's do.

    [00:19:17] Devin Bramhall: Keyword research, whereas let's not start there.

    [00:19:22] Ramli John: It might help after, but let's start off with people.

    [00:19:25] Ramli John: Let's start off with our customers.

    [00:19:27] Ramli John: Let's start off with our employees, maybe, and tapping into that community first to see what would resonate with them first.

    [00:19:34] Devin Bramhall: Yeah, and it's like seeing the community and I think it can ping pong a bit or I tend to ping pong there where I may have a strong stance and so I share that strong stance.

    [00:19:45] Devin Bramhall: And LinkedIn is a place where sometimes I do that.

    [00:19:47] Devin Bramhall: I actually learned it from Ashley Foss.

    [00:19:48] Devin Bramhall: She's always testing stuff on LinkedIn to see what is resonating with people, how they're reacting to it.

    [00:19:55] Devin Bramhall: Is she to something, tweaking it, sharing it again.

    [00:20:00] Devin Bramhall: So it's like you have the idea, then you bring to the community or you research the community and then have the idea.

    [00:20:07] Devin Bramhall: It kind of ping pongs back and forth.

    [00:20:12] Devin Bramhall: And I think that once you get to actually sharing the final thing, you've got all these people around you who are already fired up about it.

    [00:20:23] Devin Bramhall: I by accident, I was saying something over and over in different places and talking to like when I would comment on something, I guess said it a lot.

    [00:20:34] Devin Bramhall: That to the point where people were saying to me, they're like, oh yeah, you hate playbooks.

    [00:20:38] Devin Bramhall: I was like, what?

    [00:20:40] Devin Bramhall: Strong Opinions Weekly Held I was like, but actually I do hate playbooks frameworks.

    [00:20:45] Devin Bramhall: But it came back at me.

    [00:20:47] Devin Bramhall: And that is a best case scenario for a brand, right?

    [00:20:49] Devin Bramhall: Best case scenario.

    [00:20:51] Devin Bramhall: You want people saying you're believing in your stance so much that they're saying it back to you and to other people.

    [00:20:58] Devin Bramhall: That's where the ubiquitousness, the sort of longevity of an entity can exist.

    [00:21:04] Devin Bramhall: Animals is a great example.

    [00:21:08] Devin Bramhall: I built that brand into something so big that at least while I was there, right, there was a lot it could withstand, and a lot of brand can withstand and continue.

    [00:21:22] Devin Bramhall: I would say when I left, I was a little bit behind the ball in terms of modernizing an agency structure, but it didn't matter, you know what I mean, people?

    [00:21:35] Devin Bramhall: The brand kind of gives you a little bit of a lifeline to kind of catch up.

    [00:21:39] Devin Bramhall of Animalz Advocates for Media-Led Approach in Building Brand Affinity

    [00:21:39] Ramli John: What I really love about this approach you're mentioning is that distribution, and you mentioned it earlier, repurposing is like inherently embedded into it.

    [00:21:49] Ramli John: The problem with content, often creators, is that there's just two phases where they first create and then they distribute.

    [00:21:58] Ramli John: And 95% of the effort is on the creation piece.

    [00:22:02] Ramli John: But here it's almost like this feedback cycle where you're already thinking about distribution at the same time.

    [00:22:08] Ramli John: And testing, you mentioned testing around what will resonate with this community, how will we share it, what approach and what channel in your approach with this is essentially distribution first, right?

    [00:22:21] Devin Bramhall: Imagine if you have an idea for a message, a positioning, or what if you were able to test that through someone who works at your company, who posts on LinkedIn, who has a community around them already, or your leader starts to talk about it.

    [00:22:40] Devin Bramhall: You have different people sharing this as like a testing ground very fast.

    [00:22:45] Devin Bramhall: Mind you, you get results immediately or you get feedback immediately, which makes it super efficient and even going into those communities and asking them directly too.

    [00:22:55] Devin Bramhall: Now all of a sudden your community feels a part of what you're building and they're more likely to pay attention when you do go out with it.

    [00:23:04] Devin Bramhall: And look, I'm not saying that things like search aren't important.

    [00:23:08] Devin Bramhall: I just think that in the B, two B SaaS world, what I hear consistently is Google Search.

    [00:23:20] Devin Bramhall: It's very specific.

    [00:23:21] Devin Bramhall: We're still for some reason talking about search in that one context.

    [00:23:28] Devin Bramhall: And I'm like there is an entire search strategy or search approach to search that is unique to YouTube, to TikTok.

    [00:23:42] Devin Bramhall: There's a whole bunch of things that you can do to surface the stuff you're saying and build an audience there that aren't exactly the same as Google Search and are worth.

    [00:23:56] Devin Bramhall: I really by taking it away from, again, the specific channels, you're like, it's media.

    [00:24:01] Devin Bramhall: And media to me is kind of like content.

    [00:24:03] Devin Bramhall: You can sort of like morph it into whatever you think it means, you know what I mean?

    [00:24:08] Devin Bramhall: This is media, sure, you know what I mean, everything is a nail in your hammer or whatever.

    [00:24:16] Devin Bramhall: But what I wish people were saying is, hey, search, general search is a thing as a tactic, it's an efficiency tactic, it's a performance tactic within your marketing plan and it applies across several channels.

    [00:24:36] Devin Bramhall: And we have built that is where a playbook actually really helps because a lot of times it's stuff you have to do every time you're like.

    [00:24:44] Devin Bramhall: We have a little mini playbook across all of our media channels that have search algorithms that can be optimized for.

    [00:24:57] Devin Bramhall: And I think that that's where the open it's like there's the openness of the umbrella to bring in these other so you're not just because the conversation is so boring currently about like, what's going to happen with searching because of AI.

    [00:25:16] Devin Bramhall: And then what's going to happen with writing because of AI.

    [00:25:18] Devin Bramhall: And I'm like, stop.

    [00:25:21] Devin Bramhall: Because you're still focusing on something that's rapidly becoming ancient.

    [00:25:26] Devin Bramhall: What real strategy in 2023 is completely rethinking how you build brand affinity and generate demand with all the new things that now exist.

    [00:25:46] Devin Bramhall: That would be a strategic approach.

    [00:25:48] Devin Bramhall: That would be someone going at solving a problem for their company in a strategic way that's so deep.

    [00:25:53] Ramli John: I feel like that's like, you probably already posted up on LinkedIn, but such a Tweetable thing, talking about this brand of fitting and really generating that demand and this media led approach is about that attraction piece again.

    [00:26:08] Ramli John: You're like, captain the community, creating something for that community so that they are attracted to your product, to what you're doing and what you're working, what you're talking about.

    [00:26:20] Ramli John: The penis.

    [00:26:22] Devin Bramhall: Jay says this.

    [00:26:23] Devin Bramhall: Jay a cudzo, says this all the time about, if you just I'm going to ruin it.

    [00:26:29] Devin Bramhall: So please do not take this word because he has something very pithy already put together.

    [00:26:34] Devin Bramhall: But he's a friend of mine, so I hear him talk about this a lot, which is if you just make something great that people love, that is the gravitational pull, right?

    [00:26:44] Devin Bramhall: It's like attracting is really about creating things that people love such that they are attracted to you.

    [00:26:51] Devin Bramhall: You're not like going out and grabbing them.

    [00:26:53] Devin Bramhall: I always talk about kind of like the and I'm not knocking on like, demand gen because you definitely I know you need to do all that stuff.

    [00:26:59] Devin Bramhall: And fair.

    [00:27:01] Devin Bramhall: Even when you bring people in on community, it's still a little messy.

    [00:27:03] Devin Bramhall: You got to give someone a path to go down.

    [00:27:05] Devin Bramhall: And I totally get that and think it's important, but there's this whole world of people, and we always talk about snatching those people out of the ecosystem and bringing it into ours.

    [00:27:16] Devin Bramhall: And I'm like, what if they that feels weird.

    [00:27:22] Ramli John: It sounds weird, right?

    [00:27:24] Devin Bramhall: I'm not much of a sheepdog.

    [00:27:26] Devin Bramhall: It's like I'm not really trying to hurt anybody.

    [00:27:29] Devin Bramhall: It's just like when you do stuff, when you have a unique perspective and stance and you are truly authentic.

    [00:27:40] Devin Bramhall: Because I think a lot of people talk about authenticity and then are still kind of too buttoned up and polished and synced and not really relating as much as they could, even on the brand level.

    [00:27:55] Devin Bramhall: I think particularly B, two B.

    [00:27:57] Devin Bramhall: SaaS brands could take a lot.

    [00:28:01] Devin Bramhall: They could really do better.

    [00:28:03] Devin Bramhall: Like Help Scout was a great example of being more vulnerable is not the right word, but you know what they stood for.

    [00:28:13] Devin Bramhall: It was one of my favorite, even though it was one of the hardest places I've ever worked.

    [00:28:19] Devin Bramhall: It was one of the best brands I ever worked for because, man, those three founders believed, and the content showed that.

    [00:28:30] Devin Bramhall: And so I think that they're a great example of just like, you can be different.

    [00:28:34] Devin Bramhall: It's okay.

    [00:28:35] Devin Bramhall: It's actually better, right?

    [00:28:38] Devin Bramhall: Stop following what everyone else is doing.

    [00:28:40] Devin Bramhall: And for the love of God, say something that I haven't heard 13 times in the last 30 seconds as I scrolled through LinkedIn, especially if you're talking about AI.

    [00:28:51] Devin Bramhall: I am done hearing writers weep about how it's going to take their jobs.

    [00:28:57] Devin Bramhall: And I'm like Strategist.

    [00:29:00] Devin Bramhall: It's like, this is an opportunity it doesn't have.

    [00:29:03] Devin Bramhall: Like, you can change your job or come up with a new imagine if you looked at this and you're like, oh, my gosh, I see this coming.

    [00:29:10] Devin Bramhall: I see the ways that my work is being commoditized.

    [00:29:14] Devin Bramhall: I have an idea those are the people that are going to win right now.

    [00:29:19] Devin Bramhall: This is why I keep saying this is like the new age of search, when all of a sudden you could in blogging, right?

    [00:29:26] Devin Bramhall: You could write a blog post and kind of like, catapult your growth of your company.

    [00:29:32] Devin Bramhall: That was possible.

    [00:29:34] Devin Bramhall: It's possible now on all levels, on an individual level, on a brand level.

    [00:29:38] Devin Bramhall: It's like, take these new changes and instead of trying to worry about how it's going to impact existing model, change the model.

    [00:29:49] Devin Bramhall: And if you're the one that does it, it's likely that you will benefit more at the most.

    [00:29:58] Devin Bramhall: It's funny you mentioned, got to go to the I need someone to towel me off.

    [00:30:03] Devin Bramhall: Give me some.

    [00:30:06] Ramli John: Getting in there, getting into the hot takes.

    [00:30:10] Ramli John: It's something that Margaret actually got super passionate.

    [00:30:13] Ramli John: Margaret, your co host for don't say content.

    [00:30:15] Ramli John: She was talking about how out of B two B SaaS at some point, she called the Enterprise Blue, where all enterprise companies, they look the same and they take on this really generic blue color just because it's safe and it's what it's done.

    [00:30:36] Ramli John: And you're like, that's how you get lost in the sea.

    [00:30:39] Devin Bramhall: Trauma.

    [00:30:40] Devin Bramhall: I have trauma about that color.

    [00:30:43] Devin Bramhall: I do.

    [00:30:44] Ramli John: Yeah.

    [00:30:45] Devin Bramhall: When I think of it, I get a little upset.

    [00:30:47] Devin Bramhall: I have to take a pill or something.

    [00:30:49] Devin Bramhall: I don't know.

    [00:30:49] Devin Bramhall: But, yeah, you're right.

    [00:30:52] Ramli John: You mentioned something in your chat with Tommy Walker.

    [00:30:56] Ramli John: He asked you for your content principle, and you just said, don't be boring.

    [00:31:03] Ramli John: You said very just out there, and you started going through but it's exactly what you're saying here.

    [00:31:11] Ramli John: It's like if you say as a brand Enterprise Blue, you say the same thing as everybody else.

    [00:31:16] Ramli John: AI is going to take a look.

    [00:31:19] Ramli John: You're just essentially getting lost in that noise.

    [00:31:25] Devin Bramhall: This is what I want to know.

    [00:31:26] The Role of Originality and Relationship Between Founders and Marketing Leaders in B2B SaaS Companies

    [00:31:26] Devin Bramhall: I want to ask every startup founder, this is like, what is the benefit to just copying someone else in any way?

    [00:31:36] Devin Bramhall: Your website homepage.

    [00:31:38] Devin Bramhall: Because I remember and I think every marketer who's alive in B two b SaaS is going to know what I'm talking about.

    [00:31:45] Devin Bramhall: Every founder ever has come to us multiple times saying, my friend did this thing in five minutes and they're worth trillions of dollars now.

    [00:31:57] Devin Bramhall: We should do it right?

    [00:31:59] Devin Bramhall: Or like, oh, my friend, I heard of this, I know this guy, and they started a podcast and blah, blah, blah.

    [00:32:06] Devin Bramhall: That is so ubiquitous.

    [00:32:08] Devin Bramhall: And the problem is, when you try to do something that isn't, or try to get something done that isn't in your wheelhouse, the only thing that feels safe is what you've already seen, that you know has succeeded.

    [00:32:26] Devin Bramhall: And so it almost puts blinders on you to logic around, would this work for our customers, given that they're completely different from my friend's company that did this?

    [00:32:41] Devin Bramhall: Do we have the same resources?

    [00:32:44] Devin Bramhall: Has it been done before?

    [00:32:47] Devin Bramhall: And I think that's where you get that sea of sameness.

    [00:32:52] Devin Bramhall: It's like a version of the Silicon Valley Bank.

    [00:32:55] Devin Bramhall: It's like everyone starts telling each other, the investors are like, you got to go.

    [00:32:59] Devin Bramhall: And they perpetuate this thing that was really destructive instead of productive.

    [00:33:04] Devin Bramhall: And the same with design and brand and how you describe your product, how you do your pricing page.

    [00:33:11] Devin Bramhall: It's like, what if you just thought from scratch and talked to your customers and tested some stuff to see?

    [00:33:20] Devin Bramhall: Because at some point, whatever exists now didn't exist before.

    [00:33:24] Devin Bramhall: Somebody did.

    [00:33:25] Devin Bramhall: It new and it worked, and there's so many other things out there, but we're not doing it.

    [00:33:31] Devin Bramhall: And I think one of the biggest reasons why we're not is because marketing in the B, two B SaaS has stagnated due to the sort of fraught relationship between founders, CEOs and marketing leaders.

    [00:33:46] Devin Bramhall: There is always, since the beginning of time, our time, as long as I've been alive and working in marketing, let's just say, yeah, it is the most talked about thing behind the scenes around just marketers and founders not speaking the same language.

    [00:34:07] Devin Bramhall: Thus founders not really understanding what they're doing and constantly meddling and then changing course all the time.

    [00:34:13] Devin Bramhall: Probably.

    [00:34:13] Devin Bramhall: Definitely high turnover in their marketing teams and marketers struggling to show value because time, resource, et cetera.

    [00:34:25] Devin Bramhall: To finish there's learning on both sides that needs to happen.

    [00:34:29] Devin Bramhall: But this broken relationship has led to some pretty boring marketing plans that haven't changed much in the past ten years, to be perfectly honest.

    [00:34:37] Devin Bramhall: Just in b two b sasso.

    [00:34:38] Devin Bramhall: You look at B to C and you're like, man, they're innovating all the time.

    [00:34:42] Devin Bramhall: They are bringing real world, virtual world in multiple different ways.

    [00:34:49] Devin Bramhall: And they're like doing this thing.

    [00:34:51] Devin Bramhall: And it's fun, it's engaging.

    [00:34:54] Devin Bramhall: They've got free brand ambassadors up the wazoo because they're doing like a pop up thing here, a virtual experience here, and why aren't we doing that?

    [00:35:06] Devin Bramhall: And it's because we haven't gotten anywhere.

    [00:35:08] Devin Bramhall: Because we can't even convince our founders and CEOs to let us do one very boring, logical thing and stick.

    [00:35:16] Devin Bramhall: With it long enough to show that it works, right?

    [00:35:19] Devin Bramhall: And so I think there's and Margaret talks about her and I have talked about this.

    [00:35:23] Devin Bramhall: This is a thing that we've really latched onto recently is like, we need to solve that.

    [00:35:28] Devin Bramhall: That's at the very beginning, at the same time that folks are sort of experimenting with different strategic approaches on the outside.

    [00:35:38] Devin Bramhall: I don't think we're going to make a lot of progress unless we do.

    [00:35:40] The Importance of Strategy Consistency in Marketing and Exploring Unconventional Platforms

    [00:35:40] Ramli John: It's something you talked about on a LinkedIn post last week about how you were fired because of lack of performance, but the reason why is the founder just kept changing strategy or like, you telling marketing team to do this new cool thing.

    [00:35:56] Ramli John: And you mentioned in that post that it takes consistency and time to really get a marketing program going.

    [00:36:05] Devin Bramhall: My first nine months at that company, I had a very simple I had one goal for nine months, or six months, actually.

    [00:36:13] Devin Bramhall: Wait.

    [00:36:14] Devin Bramhall: Yeah, it wasn't nine months.

    [00:36:14] Devin Bramhall: It was like six months.

    [00:36:15] Devin Bramhall: It might have even been less than that, now that I think about it.

    [00:36:18] Devin Bramhall: And I didn't just hit it, I beat it.

    [00:36:24] Devin Bramhall: I showed up.

    [00:36:25] Devin Bramhall: I was like, I'm going to do this.

    [00:36:27] Devin Bramhall: And my team was focused on it.

    [00:36:29] Devin Bramhall: We had support from the other teams, like Design and Demand gen to sort of help us.

    [00:36:36] Devin Bramhall: And we did it.

    [00:36:39] Devin Bramhall: And of course we did because we were able to stay focused long enough.

    [00:36:43] Devin Bramhall: And I have to really loud my CMO for that because he was the one getting all the air cover.

    [00:36:51] Devin Bramhall: So we could because we had a product founder and CEO who just didn't understand how marketing worked and was very skeptical of a lot of things that activities that marketers engaged in and that once my CMO left, they brought a lovely, very brilliant businessman and person who's like, incredible and who I love.

    [00:37:22] Devin Bramhall: His first meeting with the Barking team, he's like, Listen, I don't know anything about marketing.

    [00:37:26] Devin Bramhall: I'm not a marketing expert.

    [00:37:29] Devin Bramhall: We're like, oh, my God.

    [00:37:30] Devin Bramhall: What?

    [00:37:32] Ramli John: Right?

    [00:37:33] Devin Bramhall: And to his credit, he was an incredible person and leader.

    [00:37:37] Devin Bramhall: Like, he did all the things that he was supposed to do well.

    [00:37:41] Devin Bramhall: But when it came to the goals for my team, my content team, they changed so much that finally my CEO is like, you're not performing.

    [00:37:53] Devin Bramhall: I'm like you're right.

    [00:37:57] Devin Bramhall: And of course, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't change course along the way, but you should know why, right?

    [00:38:02] Devin Bramhall: You should know why.

    [00:38:03] Devin Bramhall: And the why comes from executing something long enough that you have the information that helps you make a logical decision.

    [00:38:12] Devin Bramhall: And it doesn't have to be one to one.

    [00:38:15] Devin Bramhall: I ran this unmeasurable campaign, and it led to those signals are always there and at least enough to know whether we should keep going or clearly we should stop.

    [00:38:30] Devin Bramhall: And a good example of that would be I sort of used the podcast to conduct an experiment I sort of already knew the answer to.

    [00:38:38] Devin Bramhall: Interesting.

    [00:38:39] Devin Bramhall: Yeah.

    [00:38:39] Devin Bramhall: So I thought, okay, well, you know, we have this community around us already, so let's see if we can use YouTube or TikTok to either.

    [00:38:56] Devin Bramhall: Is it possible to grow awareness of the podcast and thus impact subscribers through those two channels?

    [00:39:06] Devin Bramhall: My guess was no, because they're very insular channels, especially TikTok.

    [00:39:12] Devin Bramhall: But then my follow up question was, well, is this a different community for us?

    [00:39:18] Devin Bramhall: Could we build a different community of marketers that are outside the community that were already well known in?

    [00:39:24] Devin Bramhall: So it's like kind of a two pronged experiment.

    [00:39:28] Devin Bramhall: And because of that and we tested intentionally with brand versus me individually and on TikTok specifically.

    [00:39:36] Devin Bramhall: And then we focused the brand on YouTube.

    [00:39:38] Devin Bramhall: And it was obvious very quickly when I posted the same stuff that we were posting on the brand account on TikTok, a ton of like it was like 200 views to like 900.

    [00:39:47] Devin Bramhall: Wow.

    [00:39:48] Devin Bramhall: Right.

    [00:39:49] Devin Bramhall: And YouTube, we're still experimenting with that because I just feel like I have more to learn on modern day YouTube and how know, operate on that platform.

    [00:39:59] Devin Bramhall: But that's what I mean.

    [00:40:00] Devin Bramhall: It's a signal.

    [00:40:01] Devin Bramhall: Now, has that answered my fundamental question around no, because I've got a lot more work to do.

    [00:40:07] Devin Bramhall: I have to be consistent on that channel for a long time to really see how it might benefit.

    [00:40:12] Devin Bramhall: And the reason I want to use it for the podcast is so I can see if well, how might this be used for a brand?

    [00:40:18] Devin Bramhall: Because B, two B SaaS brands in particular, have struggled to figure out how to use TikTok for brand growth.

    [00:40:23] Devin Bramhall: So if I can use us as an example, I might discover something that's useful for them to experiment with too.

    [00:40:29] Devin Bramhall: And thus I can be more useful to my clients when I make recommendations.

    [00:40:32] Ramli John: It's so cool you were experimenting with TikTok already.

    [00:40:36] Ramli John: I think that's something that only in the last year I started hearing more companies like Open Phone and Panda Doc experiment with TikTok.

    [00:40:46] Ramli John: Yeah, they're doing some really cool Zapier.

    [00:40:49] Devin Bramhall: To their credit.

    [00:40:50] Devin Bramhall: Zapier was doing stuff, I think more than a year.

    [00:40:52] Devin Bramhall: I think they were doing stuff back in like yeah, I guess it was 2022.

    [00:40:56] Devin Bramhall: I don't know if they're still using, but I love Zapier.

    [00:40:59] Devin Bramhall: Interesting.

    [00:40:59] Devin Bramhall: I know some of the folks there, I just love them as a brand and they were doing some TikTok stuff.

    [00:41:06] Devin Bramhall: But yeah, I think, again, there's a benefit to being a novice.

    [00:41:12] Devin Bramhall: And it's actually really fun to be a novice in something.

    [00:41:15] Devin Bramhall: Again, to have been in this industry for so long and to go on.

    [00:41:19] Devin Bramhall: When I first started using it, I was like, Sweet Jesus, I still feel that way.

    [00:41:27] Devin Bramhall: Like, I barely know how to use it.

    [00:41:29] Devin Bramhall: But now I'm having fun.

    [00:41:31] Devin Bramhall: Which means once you start having fun, you experiment more and you get weird.

    [00:41:35] Devin Bramhall: As evidenced by my insane LinkedIn post this week where I was like, I.

    [00:41:40] Ramli John: Don'T care, always goes back to you saying that don't be boring, and it's you posting up.

    [00:41:47] Ramli John: I think you were posting up.

    [00:41:48] Ramli John: You walking on a path.

    [00:41:51] Ramli John: And then you were just like, I think you were dancing.

    [00:41:53] Ramli John: I'm not entirely sure.

    [00:41:54] Ramli John: I don't quite remember, but I went.

    [00:41:56] Devin Bramhall: For a morning walk with my mom, and she didn't have any hand weights, and I thought that a can of beans would be heavy, and it totally isn't.

    [00:42:04] Devin Bramhall: So I was just, like, making jokes, and then I was making jokes at her, and she started recording me, and then I started running by myself, and she drove the car back.

    [00:42:14] Devin Bramhall: So she's, like, driving alongside me, like, recording me being just I was just playing.

    [00:42:19] Devin Bramhall: I was having a fun day.

    [00:42:20] Devin Bramhall: And then I was inspired by being here to write about being in Vermont and what it feels like to open your mind in different places, et cetera, et cetera, and exposing making the things you see all the time feel fresh.

    [00:42:37] Devin Bramhall: And I was like, mom, send me those videos.

    [00:42:38] Devin Bramhall: I want to make myself look crazy.

    [00:42:41] Devin Bramhall: These are my beans.

    [00:42:42] Devin Bramhall: Like, what?

    [00:42:43] Ramli John: That's so good.

    [00:42:43] Devin Bramhall: But that's the side, though.

    [00:42:46] Devin Bramhall: And this is something I did with Help Scout a ton, which is like, I tried to bring out the individual personalities of the founders, the other people who worked there and that stuff.

    [00:42:58] Devin Bramhall: It worked in the sense that that community, it latched people onto them stronger.

    [00:43:04] Devin Bramhall: They weren't just like, oh, your content is good, and now I'm going to leave it's like, they loved Help Scout.

    [00:43:11] Devin Bramhall: And that is something that lasts, right?

    [00:43:13] Devin Bramhall: It lasts longer than I wrote a good blog post this week.

    [00:43:16] Devin Bramhall: It ranked in search, and people read it for long enough that whatever it's like, in our sense of distributing it on their channels, that's a kind of relationship that will last forever and thus produce, I believe, greater dividends over time.

    [00:43:34] Discussing Media-Led Strategy in B2B SaaS with Devin Bramhall

    [00:43:34] Ramli John: In terms of companies that are doing this, especially in B, two B we talked about, we mentioned PandaDoc, zapier Hubscott seems to be doing this or was doing this still doing this right now?

    [00:43:46] Ramli John: Or like, are there any companies that stand out to you that is doing media led strategy?

    [00:43:51] Devin Bramhall: Well, when I joined Animals, we did more media stuff.

    [00:43:58] Devin Bramhall: I wouldn't say back then.

    [00:44:02] Devin Bramhall: Things were different five, six years ago.

    [00:44:07] Devin Bramhall: But we did do a lot more video type work, bringing in the customer support team and then other wow.

    [00:44:17] Devin Bramhall: We did a lot with media when I was there because it was a customer support community.

    [00:44:23] Devin Bramhall: It's all about community to them, right?

    [00:44:25] Devin Bramhall: We did this, like, Humans of Support series.

    [00:44:28] Ramli John: That's cool.

    [00:44:28] Devin Bramhall: That was both video and written again, repurposing, and then we repackaged those into Roundups later in the year.

    [00:44:38] Devin Bramhall: So, yeah, Help Scout when I was there, we did a lot of that, and it was really cool how much of the team participated in it.

    [00:44:45] Devin Bramhall: Wistia, I think, is like the grandpa of media led strategy.

    [00:44:49] Devin Bramhall: So, like, they're the ones in my mind who should probably take credit for anything that I say because I've watched them since I was a little baby in marketing.

    [00:45:00] Devin Bramhall: So I think they're a really good one.

    [00:45:04] Devin Bramhall: Oh, Cisco.

    [00:45:05] Devin Bramhall: I already mentioned Ashley Foss at Atlassian.

    [00:45:08] Devin Bramhall: Everyone knows her already, but she's a great example of and what's interesting about her know, Atlassian is this beloved brand.

    [00:45:16] Devin Bramhall: I love Atlassian too, and I'm not paid to say that.

    [00:45:20] Devin Bramhall: And she loved working there so much that she developed her own brand and is sort of like she's a brand advocate while working there, but it's not part of her job.

    [00:45:30] Devin Bramhall: To the point where the LinkedIn posts that she shares about Atlassian do better than the Atlassian brand.

    [00:45:39] Devin Bramhall: They really and the company, to their credit, supports this, right?

    [00:45:42] Devin Bramhall: Because she's going out and giving talks.

    [00:45:44] Devin Bramhall: But this was really of her own accord, which I think is a great example of sort of the micro influencer at company thing.

    [00:45:50] Devin Bramhall: Sweetfish is a company that yeah, and they just like they understand this fundamentally.

    [00:46:01] Devin Bramhall: So even though I don't hear enough people talking about this approach, and I think it's worth giving them credit because they're kind of smaller.

    [00:46:11] Devin Bramhall: And then there's obvious, like, Amanda Natividad is a person who does that really well.

    [00:46:16] Devin Bramhall: Sarah stockdale, jay and Melanie with the creator kitchen.

    [00:46:21] Devin Bramhall: They're sort of bringing that approach even inside the product itself.

    [00:46:26] Devin Bramhall: Sort of a multimedia experience with people in the community.

    [00:46:29] Devin Bramhall: So I think it's useful right now in B.

    [00:46:31] Devin Bramhall: Two b SaaS.

    [00:46:32] Devin Bramhall: It's kind of as much useful to look at individuals as brands because there aren't as many brand examples, and I think individuals are being more creative than a brand would necessarily feel safe doing.

    [00:46:41] Devin Bramhall: Off the bat, I think if these brands can really like, let's throw out this freaking style guide, can we not?

    [00:46:49] Devin Bramhall: Actually, because I worked with a company and it was big and you had to adhere to style guidelines.

    [00:46:55] Devin Bramhall: I'm like, you just took all the uniqueness and potential for this to actually do anything worthwhile out of it.

    [00:47:02] Devin Bramhall: Let's rethink what a brand guideline is so there's more room for truly creative, fun, human weird stuff.

    [00:47:15] Devin Bramhall: Because that's really what's going to make a brand stand out more than anything.

    [00:47:18] Devin Bramhall: So we don't have to rant about style guides today.

    [00:47:23] Devin Bramhall: Enough, but so good.

    [00:47:26] Devin Bramhall: Yeah, let's get weird.

    [00:47:27] Devin Bramhall: Don't be boring and get weird.

    [00:47:29] Ramli John: Don't be boring.

    [00:47:30] Ramli John: And if people had to stop here, that's the takeaway from this conversation.

    [00:47:35] Ramli John: But he doesn't have to.

    [00:47:36] Devin Bramhall on Career Progression and The Power of Community

    [00:47:36] Ramli John: I actually want to shift gears and talk about career power ups.

    [00:47:39] Ramli John: You've been in marketing now for quite a while.

    [00:47:43] Ramli John: You were like Director of Content at Help Scout, VP of Marketing.

    [00:47:46] Ramli John: And then you became CEO at Animals.

    [00:47:48] Ramli John: You're now a marketing advisor, a podcaster.

    [00:47:51] Ramli John: I'm curious what's helped you accelerate your career and really level up your trajectory of where you're going.

    [00:48:00] Devin Bramhall: Yeah, I mean, no surprise, it was community.

    [00:48:04] Devin Bramhall: And look, I've invested a lot in the marketing community around me since the beginning, since before, since my early days in Know, when Jane Aristia invited me to be on the board of Boston Content and we did all these events for marketers, I started my own.

    [00:48:23] Devin Bramhall: Like the list is long of ways that I've invested in this community and thus the community has really supported me back and multiply ten years later when I resigned as CEO of Animals and without a plan at all.

    [00:48:45] Devin Bramhall: Like zero.

    [00:48:48] Devin Bramhall: When I tell you I wrote one LinkedIn post announcing that I had resigned and I think that one post delivered one hundred and twenty five k worth of work over five months without a lick of biz dev.

    [00:49:05] Devin Bramhall: And I didn't even mean it.

    [00:49:06] Devin Bramhall: I was like, I made this company some money here's all the things I did.

    [00:49:12] Devin Bramhall: And then it led to me, I didn't know what I was going to do.

    [00:49:16] Devin Bramhall: I was like people kept asking and I was like, I don't know.

    [00:49:19] Devin Bramhall: But then it sort of came to me in the form of paid work for a while and I was like, this is great.

    [00:49:26] Devin Bramhall: And mind you, I have not used the treasure chest of offers of help that I received.

    [00:49:36] Devin Bramhall: So many people, people that I didn't even necessarily talk to that much ever reached out, wanted to know what I was up to, cared, and then said, how can I help you?

    [00:49:46] Devin Bramhall: I said, Listen, I will absolutely take you up.

    [00:49:52] Devin Bramhall: I have an answer to that, just not yet.

    [00:49:54] Devin Bramhall: Thank you so much, I can't wait to take you up on that offer.

    [00:50:01] Devin Bramhall: And so it's like that's the community, it's what made me feel safe to for the first time in my career not have a plan and explore and play and be lazy sometimes and not worry because I feel sort of the safety.

    [00:50:23] Devin Bramhall: There's like a net around me.

    [00:50:26] Devin Bramhall: And on those times when I do need help, the number of people I've helped is so large and the people who I have relationships with, where we love it, it's there and I'm either directly connected to or one connection away and tons of people will be happy to make it.

    [00:50:46] Devin Bramhall: And I am the happiest in my career, in my life that I ever have been.

    [00:50:52] Devin Bramhall: All because of what the community has given me and allowed me in this sort of next phase.

    [00:51:00] Ramli John: I'm guessing that community you built up has been built through those strong relationships.

    [00:51:05] Ramli John: I think people often make a mistake.

    [00:51:06] Ramli John: When I was young in my career, I was like, oh, you just got to network.

    [00:51:10] Ramli John: And that word itself is such a just leaves a bad taste in my mouth networking like business cards.

    [00:51:16] Ramli John: But it really is about that connection and this relationship and helping each other out that really has make a big difference even in my career.

    [00:51:26] Devin Bramhall: Yeah, I mean, don't say content is a perfect example.

    [00:51:32] Devin Bramhall: Our launch, we didn't market it.

    [00:51:35] Devin Bramhall: We're like, listen, we both know a ton of people and we know that this is an appeal to them because we've done this forever and we've been in this community forever.

    [00:51:43] Devin Bramhall: So we sent an email to our friends, like 102 hundred people or whatever friends in our community.

    [00:51:52] Devin Bramhall: And then the launch was a paperless post.

    [00:51:57] Devin Bramhall: We were talking about how to launch the podcast and we were like I was like, wouldn't it be funny if we just sent an invitation to our podcast?

    [00:52:05] Devin Bramhall: Like it's a baby shower or like a wedding.

    [00:52:10] Devin Bramhall: And it just so happened this wasn't on purpose, but based on when production was ready, we ended up launching on Valentine's Day.

    [00:52:15] Devin Bramhall: And so Margaret's like, let's send a Valentine.

    [00:52:18] Ramli John: Oh, that's so good.

    [00:52:20] Devin Bramhall: Which when I tell you that Neil O'Grady from Demand Curve messaged me on LinkedIn was like, this is an interesting approach because it's like full of hearts and everything.

    [00:52:31] Devin Bramhall: We're like sending it to these people.

    [00:52:32] Devin Bramhall: We're like, we I think I said this earlier, like the podcast, which was intended to be just like keep us top of mind channel as we embark on these journeys.

    [00:52:44] Devin Bramhall: It became we got inbound sponsorships, we got way more downloads in the first season.

    [00:52:54] Devin Bramhall: And then I think we grew by like 30% this season.

    [00:52:59] Devin Bramhall: I don't actually remember and the numbers on all of them, but it was something like that.

    [00:53:03] Devin Bramhall: And we were like, whoa, hey.

    [00:53:06] Devin Bramhall: And people love it.

    [00:53:07] Devin Bramhall: The letters I get.

    [00:53:08] Devin Bramhall: This woman wrote me the other day this long note about how much she felt seen and how this exact situation that I talked about had happened to her and how grateful.

    [00:53:19] Devin Bramhall: And she's like, I love listening to the show.

    [00:53:23] Devin Bramhall: It's like, whoa, holy shit.

    [00:53:24] Devin Bramhall: Talk about reward for doing something.

    [00:53:27] Devin Bramhall: It's so fun because you get to see.

    [00:53:30] Devin Bramhall: So it's both a monetary community is I have quite literally made money off of my community and built something, a creative thing through that.

    [00:53:44] Devin Bramhall: And you're right, I didn't do it by networking.

    [00:53:47] Devin Bramhall: I did it by going to networking events and walking up to Lena Prickett and saying talking to her and then at the end of it saying, we are going to be friends.

    [00:53:58] Devin Bramhall: Give me your phone number.

    [00:54:00] Ramli John: I love that.

    [00:54:01] Devin Bramhall: And we're close and say, same with Gwen Betts.

    [00:54:04] Devin Bramhall: I was like, hi, we're friends now, so when do you want that's so good.

    [00:54:10] Ramli John: I just love that.

    [00:54:11] Ramli John: Just like, hey, we're going to be friends.

    [00:54:13] Ramli John: I think they're just manifesting potential there in terms of that relationship.

    [00:54:17] Ramli John: It's super cool.

    [00:54:17] Devin Bramhall: Yeah.

    [00:54:18] Devin Bramhall: And they're like, heck yeah.

    [00:54:19] Devin Bramhall: Let's do.

    [00:54:22] Discussion about Marketing Strategy with Devin Bramhall

    [00:54:22] Ramli John: Oh, one final question before we wrap up.

    [00:54:25] Ramli John: Well, if you can send a message, it could be paperless posts for all we know.

    [00:54:30] Ramli John: To travel back in time to your younger self maybe to a Devon who's starting out in marketing or it could be much later.

    [00:54:37] Ramli John: What would be a piece of advice you'd give your younger self?

    [00:54:40] Ramli John: It could be about marketing, it could be about life, it could be about career, it could be about anything, really.

    [00:54:47] Devin Bramhall: Yeah.

    [00:54:49] Devin Bramhall: My advice is sort of an adaptation of something my mom has always said to me, and it is my adaptation is what other people are doing is none of my business.

    [00:55:01] Devin Bramhall: And that really speaks to don't be boring.

    [00:55:09] Devin Bramhall: Being yourself is the best shot you have of standing out from everybody else and finding something that you truly love doing.

    [00:55:22] Devin Bramhall: And I think early on my experience was that I was terrified because I grew up with an alternative lifestyle.

    [00:55:29] Devin Bramhall: I was home schooled, I went to college in Maui.

    [00:55:34] Devin Bramhall: When I was 16, I ran this company.

    [00:55:38] Devin Bramhall: It was weird and it didn't look like everybody else.

    [00:55:40] Devin Bramhall: And especially in those early days, it's all about conformity.

    [00:55:43] Devin Bramhall: Like you go from here to here to here to here.

    [00:55:45] Devin Bramhall: And I was really self conscious about that and it made me want to stifle myself in a lot of ways.

    [00:55:51] Devin Bramhall: But every single time I stopped and stopped stifling myself and pitched, something weird fucking worked.

    [00:56:01] Devin Bramhall: And people loved it.

    [00:56:03] Devin Bramhall: And I'm talking people like leaders at the company.

    [00:56:06] Devin Bramhall: One time our board latched onto something I launched and the first startup I worked for, they would talk about it in board meetings and it was called the Spring Pad Show.

    [00:56:16] Devin Bramhall: And it was not cool, but it was perfect for that community.

    [00:56:21] Devin Bramhall: And so it's nice to be inspired by people, but I see a lot of inspired people just spouting the other person's words instead of trying to adapt that into their own lives.

    [00:56:33] Devin Bramhall: And it makes them and those are people that aren't.

    [00:56:37] Devin Bramhall: You have to practice before you can preach, I understand, but it keeps you away from idolization and uses the people around you for what they're good for, which is inspiration, partnership, et cetera.

    [00:56:53] Devin Bramhall: I don't know what this really looks like, but for marketers, specifically, like little Mark baby marketing me, this was very present.

    [00:57:03] Devin Bramhall: Don't try to make your founder or CEO happy.

    [00:57:07] Devin Bramhall: Oddly, the more you try to make them happy, the less effective you are and the more they hate you.

    [00:57:12] Devin Bramhall: So just be fine with it being a little bit like tension.

    [00:57:18] Devin Bramhall: There are a little tension being there because you're going to serve I hate to say this, but you are going to serve them better.

    [00:57:24] Devin Bramhall: And if they don't appreciate it, you'll have something to show for your work there when you go to somewhere else where you are appreciated.

    [00:57:30] Devin Bramhall: So it's kind of better for you and through them, I guess.

    [00:57:33] Devin Bramhall: So just don't worry about pleasing anyone.

    [00:57:38] Devin Bramhall: Just be a decent, be a good person, be fair and don't worry about the rest.

    [00:57:45] Devin Bramhall: Because man, we work in a real ornery business that is not known for good behavior.

    [00:57:50] Devin Bramhall: Like startups are where good behavior goes to die.

    [00:57:52] Devin Bramhall: So I'm like, just don't worry about people liking you.

    [00:57:55] Devin Bramhall: It's not important.

    [00:57:57] Devin Bramhall: Focus on the work and using the company to build your career.

    [00:58:01] Ramli John: Such a good chat with Devin.

    [00:58:02] Ramli John: I really love just connecting with her and just making this more of a conversational approach.

    [00:58:07] Ramli John: You can find out more about Devon by following her on LinkedIn, Twitter and even TikTok.

    [00:58:12] Ramli John: She has a podcast.

    [00:58:13] Ramli John: Don't say content.

    [00:58:14] Ramli John: All those links are in the show.

    [00:58:15] Ramli John: Notes and Description thank you to Devin for being on the show.

    [00:58:18] Marketing Powerups: Actionable Insights for Top Marketers

    [00:58:18] Ramli John: If you enjoyed this episode, you'd love the Marketing Powerups newsletter.

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    [00:59:00] Ramli John: And of course, thank you for listening.

    [00:59:02] Ramli John: That's all for now.

    [00:59:03] Ramli John: Have a powered update.

    [00:59:05] Ramli John: Marketing Powerups.

    [00:59:09] Devin Bramhall: Oh until the next episode.


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