The Chaos Before A Big Marketing Event

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Chaos Before A Big Marketing Event. The summary for this episode is: DG talks about the process he uses to create speeches and presentations, the highs and lows of doing big events for your business, and why you shouldn't listen when people say "our customers are not on social media."

D.G.: Hey, what's up everybody? It's D. G. I'm back with another episode of the Swipe File from my phone, walking to work. This time, I got a mic. A while ago, D. C. had given me this Shure.... Anyways, it's Shure SM... Maybe SM88 microphone for an iPhone. And it works really well. And I want to do more podcasts on the go. Just random thoughts. And I got a bunch of messages last time because the audio quality wasn't good. Part of me was like," Well, yeah. I was just walking to work on the phone." But I added a mic. I think the audio will be better. And I thought it just is fun and a little bit more real to just actually walk and talk as opposed to always do this like," Sit down and let's do a podcast." So it is funny though because I'm walking and on the street that I'm walking at to work to my office right now, there's a lot of traffic. And it's at stoplights, and you can look in everybody in their car, even as they're driving, and I'm sure you notice this on the highway, is looking at their phone. They try to do it... We've all been there. I've done it. You know how you hold your phone kind of in your lap and you kind of give it the little look? Every car that I'm looking at right now. Boom, on your phone. On your phone. The only person that's not on their phone is the bus driver. Thank God. But when I see that, that's why I posted something on LinkedIn the other day and said like," I love social media because it's an amazing way of getting customer research." You used to five, 10 years ago, if you wanted to understand a market, a product, your customers, you had to physically get out of the building and go talk to them and do customer panels and research and all that stuff. And I think today you can get so much on social media because your customers are there. And somebody is like," Well, yeah. That's easy for you, Dave. You're in marketing. You're doing marketing to marketers. And so that's really easy." And I think that... So they're like," Obviously your customers aren't in social media, you're marketing to marketers." And I hate that comment so much because, thinking about the traffic example I just talked about, everyone... Humans, right? All humans today basically are on social media. Right? How often do you run into somebody who is not on Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn or Twitter. Right? It very, very rarely happens. And so I think that that story about like," Oh my customers aren't on social media." Or" Hey Dave, it's easy for you because you're in marketing and marketing to marketers." I think that's just an easy cop- out and it's a bullshit reason. Because look around, right? Every time I go get a coffee, wait in line at Starbucks, what is everyone next to me doing? Standing in line on their phone. What is everybody doing in traffic right now? Standing in line on their phone. So I just don't buy that as a reason. Anyway, that's my side rant. Right now, I'm recording this on a Wednesday. It is Wednesday, August 28th I think the date is? I don't know, I can't check, my watch isn't working right now. So we are a couple of days out from HYPERGROWTH, which is our big annual event here in Boston on Tuesday, September 4th? Or September 3rd. I don't know. My dates are all messed up. But anyway, it's the Tuesday after Labor Day and we're in the thick of it. I posted something the other day that was like," As a marketer, I love events because the feeling that you get during the day of an event when everybody showed up and the response was amazing and there's buzz on social media... That is unlike anything else." That is the single best feeling as a marketer. You put on this event, people showed up, they loved it, there was buzz about it, and they went home. That's the best feeling, the middle of that day. The worst feeling is basically everything leading up to the actual event, right? Selling tickets, making sure people show up, all the stage, lighting, music, design, signage, all of the keynotes and the speakers and all that stuff. And then it's just this constant anxiety. And then the whole cycle repeats. It's like this is the stage where we're like," I never want to do an event again. I hate events and never do them again." Then on Tuesday when it's going amazing and everybody's there, hopefully knock on wood, I'll be like," Man, I love events. Next year we should do 10 of them." And then the event's over and we're like," Let's do more." And then this cycle just repeats. So if you're in marketing and you've done events, I'm sure you know that cycle. So the biggest thing that we're doing right now is finishing up the keynotes for David our CEO and Elias our CTO. We have a big product launch that we're doing and they're going to unveil it onstage at HYPERGROWTH. And so it's fun. I think one of the favorite parts of my job, at least for me as a marketer, is I get to work closely with the founders and help them. Help them write speeches, write presentations. And so it's really interesting because my process is we sit down... Let's say I'm working with David on his talk. My process is we sit down. We kind of just get all the thoughts out of his head. Like," Hey, what are topics that you could talk about that might be interesting?" And usually, like any good founder, there's kind of a couple of talk tracks in their head related to the world, the company, whatever. And so we just start kind of spitballing, on that. Spitballing. Did I really say that? Spitballing. Riffing? Whatever. We start passing around a couple ideas. We get a bunch of topics out. One of us will usually record the whole meeting on audio so we can go back and listen to it later. And then out of that, we kind of come up with this concept. Okay. Hey, we're going to talk about how the future of B2B looks like B2C. Okay? That's that's like the topic we come up with, for example. That's not the actual talk of his keynote, but just to give you an example. So we come up with that topic, then from there I'll go back on my own and basically write out a headline and a hook. So one thing that we've done that really helps frame everything is we try to write the headline and the description first. I think a lot of times it's easy to go and you make this deck and you haven't really articulated the story. Sitting down and forcing yourself to write the headline in the abstract, basically of the talk, as if you were having to submit it to a conference is an amazing exercise. And so from there I would go back and basically write a bunch of hooks and headlines. So, 10 reasons why B2B is dead and the future will look more like B2C. Drift CEO David Cancel will talk about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then basically when I get to a good version of those, I'll send him a couple, just over WhatsApp. And this is how, honestly, we've written a lot of headlines and stories, stuff at Drift is I'll send him a couple of headlines. He'll be like," No, no, yes. This one, boom. This one punched me in the gut right away." And then from there, we'll go write. So we nail the hook, we nail the headline. Then we go into the writing process. And the writing process really looks like it's hard to sit there and do it together. Because it takes a while. We have different thoughts. So what I do, is I try to do a first pass. And I go through and I put everything into 20, 30, 40, 50 slides, however many. And I use a lot of slides because what I do during this process is basically write a full story in the slide text. And so one slide could have one word on it. And so everybody always freaks out when they see my decks, because it's 125 slides. But it's really 125 slides because we took one sentence that's 10 words and made it 10 slides for a build or something just to tell the story. So I try to get it to a place that I feel good about. Then from there, I grab time with David to sit down and say," Okay, let me pitch a story to you." And I take him through the story, the deck, as if I were him, how I would tell it. He goes," Ooh, I like that. No, I don't like that. It doesn't make any sense." And then from there, we'd literally go slide by slide and remove slides and type and change the story. And that kind of helps us whittle it down to maybe 80% of the story. Then I'll go take another pass, tighten it up, we'll meet again. I'll pitch it to him again, right? And run through it. And then we're massaging the story the whole way, I'm recording a ton of stuff that he's saying and adding. Once we get it to a place that we feel is like 90%, that's when we go and kick it off to design and creative team kind of comes up with a bunch of visuals. One thing that we've done that has made a huge difference in how we create decks is I just make mock- ups. I'll literally just hand draw on a white piece of computer paper with a Sharpie, what the visual would be on that slide. Not if it's an image you can get from Unsplash or something, not a background image. But like," Hey, on this slide, we want to have a chart that shows the growth of sales and marketing jobs over the last decade." And so there, I would just literally just draw that with a pen and paper. So then I can just take a picture of it on my phone, AirDrop it and put it into the deck. And then that way, when I pass it over to design, we don't have to sit there and re- explain everything and recreate it. So I'll add the image and add some notes, and then they have an idea of what we want to build, versus just me spending any time trying to make charts that are just going to get chopped up by the design team anyway. So, that process has been really helpful. And then once we get it from there, then we just go through it and then just literally becomes reps and sets. Do it five, 10, 15 times. I remember one year we even did it leading up to HYPERGROWTH. We did a bunch of Zoom calls at night over the weekend just to rep on it a couple more times. And that's the process that we've come up with. And it's interesting because I've done decks and presentations for other people, and it's a different process every time for every person. And so, also working with the rest of the team and Elias and Mark and Matt and a couple of people here on the team at Drift. On Elias's keynote, he's the CTO and co- founder, he's the one doing basically the second half speech. He has a completely different process. And so I... The mistake that I made as a marketer, which might be a learning for you is, I try to take my process and David's process and apply it to his thing. And he kind of had a vision for it. And so I think the thing I could have done earlier is just basically before we even write anything, how do you like to speak? What's your process? What do you want? Then I can go and kind of organize stuff. And it really just comes down to, at least for me, all writing, it just feels less like writing, and more like you kind of find these 20 ingredients and then your job is to stitch them all together into a story, into some type of narrative. And there's a bunch of frameworks that we've taken over the years. My favorite one, which I've talked about on this podcast, is from Steve Jobs. If you go unpack any Steve Jobs keynote, you'll basically find this kind of five step recipe that he used to tell stories. And it was, number one was tell a story. So tell a story to hook the audience. Number two was pose a problem. So now I told you the story, then I brought you this problem. Okay? So I'm walking down the street one day and all of a sudden there's a big hole in the middle of the street, right? Story, problem. Then you have to offer a solution, right? You can't just pose the problem, but you have to show," Hey, there could be a better way." Right? So story, problem, solution. Then once you show the solution, nobody's going to believe unless you have examples, right? So story problem, solution, then examples. Hey, here's three ways this could work. Here's three ways this actually works. Here's three companies that are doing this right now. So story, problem, solution, examples, and then call to action. What is your ask? I've been studying a lot of Dan Kennedy. Who's an amazing, amazing copywriter. He actually just passed away this past week or last week. And he has these basically 10 rules for direct marketing. And I think they can apply to almost anything that you're doing. And his number one rule in all of his rules for direct marketing is rule number one. There will always be an offer. And so I've made this mistake over and over and over. I give a presentation and it's just like," Thank you." And then I go home, right? Or" Here's my Twitter handle." But now we really try to make an offer with every presentation because it's such a valuable time to be able to do it. You have this audience that is hopefully captivated because you just had a great talk, right? And you have an audience of five, 10, 500. Doesn't matter however many people that are sitting in there. It's a huge missed opportunity if they just watched you speak for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever it is, to then not at least try to ask for something. Now it doesn't have to be a sale, but it could be... One offer that I did this year was I spoke at the Traffic and Conversion Summit in San Diego. And it was right around the time that our book Conversational Marketing had come out. And so the CTA... So my deck was all about conversational marketing and 15 examples. So my offer, my call to action at the end of that deck, was" Take out your phone right now, buy the book, buy Conversational Marketing on Amazon, take a screenshot of it, email it to me directly." Okay? Because I wanted to... We wanted to get people buying the book and telling their friends and getting that rolling. So if they did that... So I said," If you do that, I'll send you a copy of my slides. I'm not going to publish these anywhere. Because this is some stuff that I spent a lot of time on and I'm not going to give it all away for free. So email me and I'll give you the slides. And I'll also send you a digital copy of this other book that we wrote called This Won't Scale, which is about how we do marketing." So, that offer basically cost us nothing. And it was a great offer. People got... They bought our book and they got the slides and they got this other book that we created for basically 18 bucks, which is the price of our book. And they believed it because they just saw me talk about it. So always got to have that ask. So anyway, I'm standing outside our office like a madman right now, and I'm going to go inside and get to work. I got to finish up some work on Elias's deck before we practice today. And then we're going to just... We got reps and sets. We got Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then we got the real rehearsal on Monday in the event space. And then it's time to go. So maybe I will have seen you there. I think we're going to post this probably after HYPERGROWTH. Holler at me, as the kids would say. Holler at me, let me know what you think about this format. Just email me directly DG @ drift. But I would love it the most if you actually tweeted about the podcast and told me that you think it's the greatest marketing podcast out there. So at least I can just show that to my mom. All right? Have an awesome week, day, night, workout, whatever you're doing. And I'll talk to you on the next episode. See you. Hey, thanks for listening to another episode of the Swipe File. I'm having a lot of fun doing this podcast. And so, because it's fun for me, I hope it's fun for you. And it would mean the world if you could leave a review. Reviews really help. And so go leave a review, go to Apple Podcasts, leave a review. Let me know what you liked about the show, didn't like, want to hear more of. And also if you're not already subscribed, make sure you go subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify. The show is everywhere that you get your podcasts. Probably where you're listening right now. But if you want more content like this, if you want to go a layer deeper, join me on Drift Insider. It's Drift. com/ Insider. we're teaching courses, we're sharing videos, and we have exclusive content for people just like you in marketing that we do not share publicly. So go and check it out. Drift. com/ Insider.


DG talks about the process he uses to create speeches and presentations, the highs and lows of doing big events for your business, and why you shouldn't listen when people say "our customers are not on social media."