January 31, 2022

The De-Branding Campaign: When customers make fun of your new product launch – Episode #2


No marketer is an island.

In our latest podcast episode, our guest shares tactics she has used to get nuggets of wisdom for her marketing ideas in a career where she was often the sole marketer in the company.

Get your own ideas (and some virtual camaraderie with a fellow marketer) by listening in to learn from Natalie Marcotullio, Head of Growth and Operations, Navattic – lessons like a site redesign that increased lead gen 40%, pulling in quality leads with a 50% win rate.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

The De-Branding Campaign: When customers make fun of your new product launch – Episode #2

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

In Episode #2 of the How I Made it in Marketing podcast, I talk to Natalie Marcotullio, Head of Growth and Operations, Navattic. Listen below or in your favorite podcast player.

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Natalie shares key lessons from what she’s made (and in her case, unmade) – ranging from a de-branding campaign to a redesigned website – in her career where she often was the sole marketer in the company. We discussed:

  • A de-branding campaign and the importance of being agile when things go so wrong
  • Building, writing, and designing three ad campaigns per month as a solo marketer – why that is too much, quality must trump quantity, and how a marketing calendar helped
  • “Unless you’re doing research, you’re not going to do effective marketing” – she gets up from her desk, goes for a walk, and listens in to sales calls to learn from customer reactions
  • Redesigning the website based on a shift in the ideal customer profile. In the redesign, she put prospects experience above all else. The results – 40% conversion rates from any lead who fills out a form on the website to booking a meeting with the sales team. They also have a nearly 50% win rate, showing the quality of the leads.

Natalie also shares lessons she gained from influential mentors and managers in her career:

  • Matthew Sniff, Chief Product Officer, Map My Customers – blocking off learning time
  • Andrea Kayal, CMO, Electric – sticking up for brand strategy in leadership sessions
  • Chris Walker, CEO, Refine Labs – putting your buyer above what may be best for your bottom line

Articles (plus a book and a course) mentioned in this episode:

Product Development Chart: A “minimum viable product” is not enough to satisfy customers

The Marketer as Philosopher: 40 Brief Reflections on the Power of Your Value Proposition book by Flint McGlaughlin, CEO, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Scaling to a $15 million company in 18 months by transparently serving an ideal customer (and saying “no” to other business) – Podcast Episode #1

The Content Marketing Tipping Point: Marcus Sheridan’s magic number is 30, what is yours? – transparency increased River Pools and Spas close rate to 80%

MarketingSherpa Library – 8,768 case studies, articles, and videos (for when you block out your learning time)

Become a Marketer-Philosopher: Create and optimize high-converting webpages (free digital marketing course for when you block out your learning time)

Customer-First Marketing Chart: How to get customers to give your company a second chance

2022 Growth Trends Interview Series, Episode 5: Community building with Chris Walker – interview where Natalie learned about putting the buyer above the bottom line

The Radical Idea: Outsourcing that touches the customer is penny wise, but pound foolish


Not ready for a listen just yet? Interested in searching the content? No problem. Below is a rough transcript of our conversation.

Daniel Burstein: A debranding campaign. Just hear me out where it hurts me, because like I think of all the work, all the work that goes into branding and then you have to debrand, well, hey, this is what happens when you launch too early today.

We're also going to talk about building ad campaigns as a solo marketer, being out there adrift on the ocean by yourself. How do you build those good campaigns? Redesigning the website based on a shift in the ideal customer profile, blocking off learning time, sticking up for brand strategy and leadership sessions?

Yeah, markers, that's what we need to be doing in those leadership sessions. And my personal favorite, my personal favorite. Putting your buyer above what may be best for your bottom line. That's brave marketers. All right.

Let's get into it. Let me introduce our guess. Thank you for joining me today, Natalie Marcotullio, the head of growth and operations at Navattic. Thanks for joining us, Natalie.

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Daniel Burstein:  So briefly, just tell us, what are you doing right now in Navattic? What's going on there?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yes. As you mentioned, currently head of growth and operations, which just essentially means I focus a lot of my full funnel marketing. So rather than just like lead gen, demand gen, just how can I make the experience great for our buyers and customers throughout the entire experience?

Daniel Burstein: Great. So that means anyone listening who's anywhere in the marketing funnel can learn from Natalie today.

So let's jump into what we can learn from Natalie. So we as marketers, hey, there's two things we do. We make things and we make them with people. We're going to get to the people Natalie's made it with next.

But first, what are some of the things she's made? And this is kind of the first example. Like I said, it's kind of something you unmade. So tell us, why did you have to launch a de-branding campaign? What was going on there?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah, your intro was great because that pain of like building something and then having to take it all away was exactly how it felt. But it was a good learning lesson. We basically we launched a product, a newer version of our product.

It was gonna have all these new features be just kind of like a 2.0 version. So we decided originally like, OK, we're going to call it something new. We're going to give it a whole new name. We're going to do a whole new brand, new website, a whole ad campaign, all of it.

And so then we launched it. And as a marketer. There are times when you know you really hit it and you feel great. And there are times when your audience tells you you didn't hit it and I had people Facebook messaging me…our account, like the company account, not me personally…saying like we're making fun of your new product launch, which wasn't great. Definitely was a hard one to bear.

Daniel Burstein: But was it the product itself? Was it the branding campaign? Did you have, you know, Kendall Jenner giving someone a Pepsi during a protest? What was going on there?

Natalie Marcotullio: Luckily, not that bad, but it was more of the product just was a little too early to go on. just honestly. We just need a few more weeks to fix up some bugs and we got it in a much better spot.

And I give full credit like product engineering turned it around fast and they were able to fix it up. But we had done a lot of hype and promotion for it. So unfortunately, all that hype and promotion then landed with more people being more upset when it didn't go well.

Daniel Burstein: So you were pre selling this, saying like, Hey, here's the next great iteration of your product, and then it fell flat. So what was there just internal pressure to get it to market? Hey, we just we just got a ship. We've got to be shipping.

Natalie Marcotullio: Exactly. Yeah, we've been kind of waiting for a while, it was taking a little longer than we wanted it to. So there was definitely pressure up like, OK, we just got to get it out and see what happens.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, so there's than idea, Eric Ries popularized this idea, it’s a great idea, the minimal viable product. We actually have done research in MarketingSherpa, and we didn’t coin this term, someone else did. But, we have kind of learned from customers is what you really need is not a minimum viable product. You need the minimum awesome product because you only get that one chance with a customer sometimes, right? So maybe they see your hype campaign ahead of time.

You're like, All right, let me give it a chance. Fell flat. I'm done. And so we found out that with customers, when they had a negative experience, they were much less forgiving and much less likely to give another chance to that brand.

So walk us through. Like, what did the de-branding campaign involve? Was there just a big effort that said oh, never mind? Or how did you do that?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah. So honestly, we should have done that earlier. The one thing I regret the most is the fact that we didn't pivot faster. But a few months after the product was in a much more stable place and it first started just happening naturally, right?

Like once the launch didn't go great, we weren't doing a lot of marketing promoted with the new language of it. But at some point we had a formal leadership meeting where we and I think it was actually I had a product.

Natalie Marcotullio: I was like, We need to stop using this terminology like we need to stop calling it by. We just stop. We need to go back to the old terminology in the old brand. And I, as a marketer, I'd never done deeper ending before as we talked about all hit on branding.

So from there, it was full website redesign, you know, like scouring every point of the internet. Where does this word exist? Like, how can we go back to our old language and just really trying to convey like, OK, we made a mistake, obviously, with the past branding, how do we how can we go back and bring trust back to our customers?

Daniel Burstein: Hey, there's a reason there's a classic Coca-Cola, right? Because one day someone had an idea for New Coke, so we might all have to do it. You branding campaign one day. I hope everyone listening doesn't. But as you mentioned, now.

Is a great example of having to be agile when things go wrong.

And then one last thing I want to bring up. It reminded me of a quote. Ah, the founder of MECLABS Institute, which is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa, wrote a book called The Marker as Philosopher.

There's this great quote in there, he said. Sometimes we need to slow down to go fast. Action is overrated. Action should be grounded in contemplation.

That's by Flint McGlaughlin. And that is so true because especially something I've learned. The action being grounded in contemplation. I started my career in the days of print, so I was excited to get a print ad in The Wall Street Journal, and there was a different flow in a different tempo to work back then because it wasn't instant like digital. You couldn't change things instantly. You couldn't communicate instantly when we wanted to show something to a client even before we would FedEx and ship.

We do a comp and FedEx and ship it. And then when we wanted to to, you know, run and there's a deadline, there's a print deadline you had to meet. And I've noticed in my career the tempo has just increased to this relentless pace and that, you know, it's a great reminder all of us, Hey, let's slow down to go fast. Let's really think through how we're having customers experience our brand in the world and the actual product and that actual product, right?

Natalie Marcotullio: I love that quote. I think so often in marketing, you can just be so tempted to like, OK, you have to do more. I have to move faster. I have to do exactly what the competition is doing. And sometimes you don't take a step back and just think, why am I doing this?

Does our audience even like this? Or did they even read this channel?

Daniel Burstein: Perfect. Yeah, exactly.

Let's go into the next thing you made in your career. So you're talking about building ad campaigns as a solo marketer, and this really ties in as well. Quality over quantity So what were you trying to do? Keep up with some relentless pace on your own?

Natalie Marcotullio: Exactly. Yeah. Now just trying to keep up with competition and experiment with new ads, and this was like we tried some Facebook ads or tried LinkedIn ads, Twitter ads. All this, and generally I've had more success just in my career and CRM than I've ever had in social ads.

Some people do it great, but I do think a social ad, especially like you need to be so strategic and really have a reason for it. Like people on social media, they don't want to look in your ad unless you make it great.

So as a marketer, I was running probably like a new ad campaign. A few, probably two to three a month, which forced a little marketer was a lot because I was also designing these ads, and I would like to think I'm a decent designer.

I have an art background. I'm not a good designer. My poor old CEO – who was – he was a great designer, constantly had to try to give me nice feedback. Being like this would maybe look better here or this.

That was a nice idea. But so that also made it more difficult when I was the one designing all the ads. Think of all the coffee, all this, and I found myself pumping out these ads that just weren't performing well.

So we're spending a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of resources on them. And then they just took a step back and felt like, why are we doing this if it's not successful? And how can we be more strategic around our ads and make sure there's a reason in a campaign?

Rather than just putting out ads, we're putting out ads.

Daniel Burstein: And so you shifted to using more of a marketing calendar approach.

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah, I think the biggest thing I've learned now around making ads or campaigns or any of that is I want there to be a reasonable goal behind it. People always ask me as a marketer, how many campaigns do you run or when do you know when to do a campaign?

And my answer is, you know, when there's a goal or I have one, there's a goal when there's something that my audience will find, that's interesting. So rather than constantly running ads for the sake of it, now I'll schedule out.

OK, we're doing this fake maybe product update that I know will make users happy or customers happy. That's what I'll run a campaign to them. Or we have this big piece of content coming out that I know our audience will watch engage.

And that's what I'm going to run a campaign rather than just like constantly running ads for the sake of running them.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I think there's a great analogy in public relations to I've seen PR pros who always like looking for reasons to put out press releases, put out press releases and, you know, sometimes I've been like, Yeah, we could put out a press release, right?

But you could pay amount of money to a press release service and this could be distributed.

We could choose to do that. But why would anyone care about this? I mean, why would anyone care? Let's fine. Maybe we'll do less. Let's find stories that people actually care about. Start with the customer and see what they actually care about.

So when it comes to also being a solo marketer, I mean, how does that feel, the organization being that that only person in there that's focused on this and having no one else to turn to because. Great analogy.

This guy I used to work with, Todd, he always used to bring up, you know, marketing is that kind of one only discipline in the organization where everyone kind of feels like they know it a little, you know, he's like the CEO never like, comes in in the morning and talks to the dev team is like, you know, hey, have you tried doing like this with code or that with code? But everyone's got an opinion about marketing. Everyone's got an opinion about what we're you know, you could go to a dinner party and your family will have an opinion about what. So how does it feel like?

Where do you turn to it to just kind of get some feedback from others to be around those that like you.

Natalie Marcotullio: That it's so close to home because I do really appreciate everyone's feedback at my company. And honestly, as a marketer, like you can't just do it by yourself, but the amount of times that someone said, like, why don't we try to talk or a podcast like, Well, we don't have the resources money in our audience isn't there. So people definitely love to give their opinions. But again, for the most part, we love, but every now and then you just get those body suggestions. As far as where I turn to you, I think I really use the sales team a lot, honestly, because they're the ones talking to the prospects.

So having a close relationship with them and they will talk to me about good deals, bad deals, good combos and actually some the recording too like that has been so key as a marketer that I can watch firsthand how the prospect of what they said.

And that's where I can kind of get that nugget of inspiration and thoughts because you can't unless you're doing research, you just you're not going to do effective marketing like I can't just like, come up magically with a campaign that my audience likes, if I don't like, if I'm not listening or talking to my audience.

Daniel Burstein: So I love that idea, I think…everyone stop and listen. I love that idea of putting yourself in the customer's shoes. So you get recordings of sales calls and you listen to them to help understand how the customers are reacting better.

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah. And I put a block on my calendar weekly and like, maybe I'll go for a walk and do it. Maybe I'll go for a run. And it's also kind of nice just to get off out your desk.

But I make sure every week, even a busy week, that I put some time aside to listen to these calls.

Daniel Burstein: I think that's beautiful. That's… that's beautiful.

And I think that really ties kind of into our third lesson we're talking about here. We've talked about redesigning the website based on a shift in the ideal customer profile. So again, you know, a website.

We talk about, we think it's technology, we think it's numbers, we think it's, you know, all these things going on behind it. But really, it's a conversation between the company and the customer. And the more you can get in that customers, the more you can hear their language and the types of specific worthies. I've done that before. Listen to how does a customer talk about things?

What specific words do they use, the better you can communicate to them? So tell us about this website redesign. Why did you have to redesign the website?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah. So this was actually at Navattic, where I currently work, and I joined in October, and this was the first thing I took on, which definitely was a lot of whole rebranding and website redesign your first project as a solo marketer again.

Daniel Burstein: And being new to the company, to understand the customer?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah, luckily, I actually was a customer of Navattic before joining the company, which kind of is a cheat code. If you're a marketer and joining a new company and onboarding easier, easier, I fully understood the customer's pain points and values, so that definitely helped.

Daniel Burstein: OK, and so you mentioned that there was a shift in the ideal customer profile. How did you learn about this shift? Why was there this shift?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah, when I joined, the team was already thinking about this. I wasn't the one who necessarily came in and said, You know, we need to focus on marketers. But the space was becoming more crowded. And when we're looking at who are most successful customers, who's getting the most value out of our product, we really saw it was marketers. They were the ones who could put it up on their website and instantly see lead flow or just educated prospects. So we decided to shift to really focusing on marketers. And with that, our old website really had more neutral language because it was trying to appeal to a few different use cases.

And the whole redesign was how do we just really speak better to marketers and specific growth marketers demand marketers?

Daniel Burstein: All right. When you say putting a prospect experience above all else, though, what are some tradeoffs you had to make on the website? I mean, it's a common theme of what you've already talked about and when you're choosing to run ads and all these things you're choosing to do is putting that customer first when you're choosing to release a product.

So how did you put the prospect experience above all else on the website?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah. So one part of this redesign and kind of passing our ICP like I think marketers really value authenticity that we can tell right away kind of what's good and what's a little more fake. And so we were debating whether or not we wanted to put our actual product on our website.

So our whole thing is we make product tours so people can experience your product, but we actually didn't have a product. We're showing off our own product on our website, which we have an example. one. But I didn't.

It was kind of a material app, so sometimes people thought that was our product was a little confusing. And so it's I said, you know, I want to put actually Navattic on the website, like, I want people, anyone who goes to a website to be able to see and experience Navattic.

And for the most part, people were on board. I think there's always a little bit of maybe healthy fear of what our competitors can see us now, you know, showing them everything. And my argument to that is always just if they want to see your product, they're going to find a way like they're going to sign up.

They're gonna have a friend sign up for a product demo or they can watch videos or they can ask customers. Though I think customers this day and age that there's too much information, they'll figure it out.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, that's you know, the example I like to use.

If the U.S. government, the top security agency, the U.S. government couldn't keep things secret and Edward Snowden was able to release.

Things, how the heck is your company really going to keep things secret? So that's a great example to anyone listening. Don't, you know, try to hide everything and hold things, you know, so close to the chest or whatever you want to call it, because you're so scared.

Of the competition. Stop focusing on the competition. Think about the customers. So in our last podcast and podcast, episode number one, we talked to a company snap at you. And what they did is they build these. It's called accessory dwelling units. So it's like another building on your property, like near your house, and they just put everything on their website. They put prices, they put plans, they just put everything out there. And I was asking Whitney Hill, who you know about that too is like, Weren't you worried about the competition?

And she was like, Hey, look, there's enough for everyone. Let's focus on the customer.

Let's give them the information they need. It sounds like you took the same approach there, Natalie, and now they're gone…

Natalie Marcotullio: Oh, no, I was going to say, Yeah, I think also the state is there's so many companies out there that's such a good point of like, there's enough for everyone. I think this concept that there's only going to ever be one market leader in sass is ridiculous.

I don't know any space right now that just has one leader.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, that's a good point. That's a good point.

So let's look at the results from this website redesign.

You said, 40% conversion rates from any lead who fills out a form on the website to booking a meeting with the sales team and almost a 50% win rate showing the quality of the leads.

And you think that's because of that transparency you had on the website?

Natalie Marcotullio: I think so. I think that it kind of talks about the value of the product itself, you know, by prospects being able to see our product upfront and getting understanding it now when they go to sales calls. They don't have to spend, you know, 50 minutes trying to understand what is the product, what they know, what generally, what they're signing up for. Most the times, they're just kind of like, I just need to see how it works. But like, yes, I understand the value, which as a marketer is music to your ears. You want everyone, your sales team to talk to.

You understand the value. Obviously, not everyone's going to be a perfect fit, but at the minimum, they should understand why they're at the sales demo. And I've definitely been on demos where I'm like, I don't really understand what your product does.

I don't really understand value. I just need someone to explain this to me because our website doesn't tell me anything.

Daniel Burstein: And then the website's not working right? Yeah.

So we didn't have a company before. The more transparency you put.

On the front end, the more the customer understands the product, the higher the win rate. So great example. River pools and spas. We've talked about this before Marcus Sheridan, who now goes by the sales line he's in, did so well in the pool business.

He's now consulting about sales and marketing, and they put up just all this content about pool. They put up prices again, they put up all that. You know, his theory was, there's no secret sauce, you know, there's no secret sauce. And so before they had a win rate of like 30% because people when they would call someone out for a pool, you know, they probably call three pool companies and OK, they'd randomly pick one. But after when they had people exposed to all this content, they understood everything at that point. Really, the sales rep is just coming out to take a few measurements. And, you know, give you an official quote.

So definitely. So, all right, let's now talk about people. You collaborated with. So you said.

There's really two main things in marketing. We talked about some of the things Natalie has made that is such an exciting and fun thing about marketing. Unlike so many other industries today, where it is pushing paper around or managing pensions, or I don't know what other people do.

But we actually make things. We make things that we can show that website that Natalie made. She can show the world that website the deep branding campaign gets. You can't really sell because you took everything down. But other than the things that we have made in our career there, the people we collaborated with that we really learned from and the first person you wanted to talk about Natalie was Matthew Smith, the chief product officer of Map My Customers. How did he teach you about blocking off learning? What, what would happen there?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah. So as I mentioned, I've basically always been a slow marketer throughout my career, and there's definitely a time when I was just similar to like the ads just executing, executing, executing my whole calendar. Like I self lock my calendars and my whole calendar is blocked off, and I definitely found myself like being in a rut.

I was, you know, works hard. No one, like generally, not many people absolutely adore every second of their job, but I found myself definitely struggling more than I knew I really was, and I brought it up to him and he made the great point of like, you're, you know, you're kind of running in circles by executing and just executing. You're not actually having any time to think strategically, you're not taking time back and you might actually be producing worse work because you're not thinking strategically. And I like it was such an obvious thought, but it wasn't till he, like, sat down and said it to me that I was like, You're right, I'm not giving myself any of this. And what I do now is I make sure almost every day that I just have learning time. So whether that's, you know, scrolling through LinkedIn, honestly, you learn a lot from the content there. And again, I'm selling to marketers, so I'm learning what they're saying.

Or maybe it's going to a webinar or attending something. I just don't think the human mind is meant to be productive for eight to, however many hours a day. So giving yourself that off time and learning time one just makes it so when you are working to be more productive.

But then to also gives you those valuable insights and strategies you need to do your job.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I found that, too, that, you know. There's got to be this balance between input and output. It's like, you know, a bank account you put in, you take out. And so sometimes when I've just been so grinding in my career, I'm drained and the good ideas just aren't coming.

And let's face it, folks. Marketing is an idea industry, right? Marketing is the idea industry. We're not like, you know, I don't know what it's like to be a mechanic. Imagine you go and you fix the car. You look at the book, you fix the car.

We need to come up with ideas. And if we're not putting anything in, nothing that's coming out. So for me, I mean, even stuff like I loved doing like, I love standup comedy, I love standup comedy podcasts and hearing about the craft of that. What can I learn from that, from my craft or going to an art museum or going out in nature reading just about something totally unrelated to marketing and making the connection?

I think it's so helpful. And of course I would be remiss at this point not to mention if you are looking to block off some learning time, just even listening to this podcast or doing that, going to MarketingSherpa and reading our case studies are doing that we have. Of MECLABS Institute’s free digital marketing course called Become a Marketer-Philosoper. That is another way to do that. But again, I mean, it's learning in the marketing industry like the stuff we produce or just going out and finding some passengers going learn about anything interesting and learn about how standup comedian did their craft and artists did their thing.

Learn about how you know Elon Musk is putting cars together, and that will spark new ideas. And you put your favorite thing to learn about Natalie outside of marketing what is really kind of just you live in New York City, there's got to be just some great museums, great, you know, all sorts of things to learn from

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah, I think it has to be. I wish honestly, it's something I wish I did more than I do. But I was an art minor in college. When I was between jobs, I spent a day which is embarrassing because she does more like sketching along the New York, which was very funny because it made me feel as


if I was in like a movie or something, or that's all changed my life. But it's like, now I've done this once people came up to me like, Oh, are you an artist? Like, No, I'm just trying to get back into it, but that's definitely the type of thing I'm trying to learn about outside of work.

Daniel Burstein: Sometimes it's fun to put that other hat on and see what it's like, right? With what being an artist is like for a day.

All right, the thanks to Matthew for that lesson. Next up, Andrea Kayal, CMO at Electric – sticking up for brand strategy in leadership sessions. So take us to that session. What was going on that you had to stick up for the brand strategy?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah, and I can go kind of into her less than four hours. She was my advisor at the time and I remember speaking to her just being very frustrated. I'm just saying like, I feel like, you know, all I keep getting things assigned to me, but I'm not necessarily like, I'm not having as much say like, I feel like as marketers, as you said, everyone likes to put their input. But when it comes down to the big leadership decisions, it's what does sales think? What does engineering think? And sometimes it's not always, you know, how is this affecting our brand?

Or, you know, is the decision we're making? So there are definitely some meetings where people we would be making a decision about like pricing for it. I think this one and specifically, maybe it was related to pricing and how we're pricing.

And you know, you're thinking about what's best for operations or our bottom line, all that. And I have an operations background too, so I get it. But at some point we have to think, like, is this the authentic thing to do this this match, our brand value?

Does this match what our customers want? Because at the end of the day, it sounds silly. But if it doesn't match what our customers want or expect out of our brand and it feels inauthentic, they're not going to go for you.

So I just remember in this meeting specifically being pretty vocal about, you know, yes, this pricing strategy might be better, but. It doesn't align with what we're doing or how our customers want to buy or what they need.

I can't  remember the exact outcome, whether we end up going with. But I think as marketers, it's just a lesson. You know what? Your opinion is just as important as everyone else is. Obviously, you're not the one to bring in the money, but you're the one who is controlling the whole narrative around the brand and

also bringing in the leads that sales sells to you. I think it's funny how sales always gets a lot of credit, and they should, but it's never thought about like, where are those leads come from?

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, well, I would, you know, as a marker, you're owning the companies face to the world. You're making a promise to customers. You have to always be the advocate for the customer in that company. And I wouldn't devalue marketing company.

Yes, of course, sales is bringing in the dough at the end of the day.

But really, everyone in that company, every company, every organization has Adobe because of the marketer, because what they're putting out into the world to kind of say, crassly generate demand demand generation, what does that really mean? It means a reason for the company to accept bringing in customers.

Yes. Good for you for fighting the good fight. Well, I don't know how it turned out, either. We'll rewrite history on the podcast right now and say, you want that conversation? And it was.

It was the right thing for the customer. So good for you. I actually lastly, I want to mention to mark next year, but we've done research on this is what we call it. We call it customer first marketing, and we have found that when customers get this sense, they get this feel that like, Oh, the company is acting in my best interest.

They are more forgiving of the company if they make a mistake. You know, it makes sense because we have human.

Relationships like that, right?

Like when you have a good relationship with.

Like, let's say, your spouse, you know, when they do something like they don't take out the garbage, they do whatever, and you're forgiving, like, that's fine. You know, they're a good person.

But when things aren't going well and you don't think they are putting your best interests first and they do the same thing, same action, but different intention, then you start to question what's going on here. And customers are the same with us.

So let's not think I've been in so many of those meetings to Natalie, where like, they're talking internally and you know, I was like, Yeah, we can say whatever we want in the ad because we're buying the ad, right?

But who's going to believe it, right? And if they don't, we're wasting money.

Natalie Marcotullio: Exactly. Yeah, I think so often it's it's so tempting just to think about how does this how is this best for my business, which I mean, at some point you have to think about your business. And as I mentioned, like, I also have an operation side.

So there is also definitely part of me that thinks, like, how is this best for our process used to make everything more efficient? But then the day I have to remind myself, you know, it's ultimately all about the customer and our experience.

Daniel Burstein: And that's the whole reason the business exists. If it wasn't for the customer, we wouldn't be here.

So lastly, lesson from Chris Walker The CEO of Refined Labs about is a really common theme. And what we've been talking about today, Natalie, about putting your buyer above what may be best for your bottom line.

So how did you learn this from Chris?

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah. So I actually just did an interview like I was interviewing him for a series that we're doing kind of like this, and he puts out a lot of great content. If you don't follow him highly recommend like super great content around.

Basically, this whole idea is like, how can you create the best experience for your buyer? And when we were doing this interview, I think he was talking about, you know, like lead gen, the idea legion, how so many marketers are really just trying to get these emails and not actually creating a community or an experience like not thinking what these people want is trying to make it best for their bottom line. And that really got me thinking about our whole life cycle. You know, how are we at every single stage actually making the experience as good as possible for the customer?

So look, after that meeting, like it was really like sticking my mind kind of illuminate. But illuminating is the right word, just ruminating around there, there we go. And I end up meeting with our head, of course, and I was like, I want to map out the entire customer journey as it is today, like, let's sit down and we're still doing this. It's it's been a multi session event, like it's not something that you're going to crank out in an hour. But we've been mapping out every single point. You know, where the friction points, where could it be better?

And then once that's all over, we're going to go in and really analyze those big points, this friction points and say, How can we improve this? You know, what are the things we can do for marketing from sales and product, the whole organization, like, how can we help out on this?

So that's been a really fun exercise, and I think something that we don't do enough is to take a zoom out to say like, OK, what is the experience like from the very first time they hear about us, the very end when they renew?

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, mapping out that customer journey and meeting with your head of customer service, too, is a great example of marketing, not just sitting in their silo and doing their own thing and saying, Oh well, I only own the ads or we own the lead generation.

Every experience, every touchpoint you have with the customer affects the brand. So one example in my own life I just had personally, which kind of drove me nuts is more of an operational thing. But I bought out, I think, was a washing machine from Home Depot.

And so this is before COVID. So I was working from home just to get this washing machine. I'm sitting and I see I live in a cul de sac. This just pickup truck with the trailer swings around with a bunch of washing machines on it, and I'm like, Well, that can't be. I bought it from Home Depot, that can't be mine.

And sure enough, it swings back around and it was like two guys in a pickup truck and they dropped off the washing machine. And I thought, What a bad brand experience. Like, what an opportunity for Home Depot to have a positive brand experience with the customer, with the Home Depot truck and, you know, crisp Home Depot uniforms and dropping it off and installing it when it probably came down like you were talking about before, Natalie probably came down to an operations meeting, and it's like we can save, you know, $3 per fulfillment if we outsource to local contractors versus the marketer stepping up and saying, wait a minute, there is a whole customer experience that customers have with us from the very first time we learn about Home Depot until they receive their product, we're going to make sure every one of those is a really high-quality touchpoints so people buy from us again.

So look at look at your sit down with your head of customer service operations, whoever it is. Look that whole customer journey. See how you can improve it. But the other thing is the analogy, which I love is you got inspired by a conversation like we talked about earlier, like make sure you fill your head with really exciting, inspiring things. Hopefully, we've done that for you today in the podcast. Hopefully you hear something. You go back to your company, you make an improvement. If so, tell us about it. And lastly, what do you want to leave people with now?

What's that one? one last piece of inspiration insight you'd like to kind of marching orders. To inspire people to go and do?

Natalie Marcotullio: I think the biggest thing is just think about your customer journey and your experience like anything you put out there. Just think about for yourself what? I enjoy this even if you're no, you're not the audience. Just generally, if you put out a blog post, right, it's so easy just to put on a blog post that regurgitates five other blog posts. Think what? I actually read this, and if the answer's no, then it might be time to reevaluate some things.

Daniel Burstein: That's perfect when we were talking about this podcast. Right before I started interviewing. So that's exactly what we did with the podcast. Why does there need to be another podcast In the world? And we really had to think that through and hopefully see there's a need for this. These kind of conversations back and forth is real life is seeing what it's really like to be a marketer and how different marketers made it in their marketing career.

Well, thank you for joining us and listening, and thank you for joining us, Natalie, and sharing what you've learned in your career.

Natalie Marcotullio: Yeah, thanks so much for having me.

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