Episode 22 - Evan Jacobs - Creating an Unmatched B2B Marketing Message

Today on the podcast, Evan Jacobs shares tips on partnering with your customer success team and being a bridge between marketing and customer success. We talk about capturing customer stories in traditionally challenging industries, the power of video, creating atomized, snackable content, and much more.

Full Transcription

[00:00:00] **Evan:**

With vendors able to say essentially whatever they like and make whatever claims they think the market will react to, buyers and prospects are sometimes at a loss to who has the best product, and who has the solution that’s the right fit for their needs.

To really shut down some of that noise, fill it with authentic, true stories directly from customers. 

[00:00:31] **Sam:**

Alrighty folks. Welcome to the State of Customer Storytelling podcast. I’m your host, Sam Shepler.

This is the show that is all about helping you, as a B2B marketing leader, a customer marketer, an advocate marketer, and customer advocacy professional get all of the download on the best current practices and strategies.

This podcast is brought to you by Testimonial Hero. Testimonial Hero helps over 300 B2B software companies easily create stunning video testimonials that close deals faster. You can view examples and find out more at testimonialhero.com

Today on the show we have Evan Jacobs, the Head of Customer Marketing at Chainalysis.

Prior to working at Chainalysis he was the Director of Customer Marketing at Catchpoint, the Senior Manager of Global Customer Advocacy at Akamai Technologies, and the Senior Manager of Customer Marketing & Advocacy at Rapid7. He has a ton of experience in the customer marketing and customer advocacy space.

Evan, welcome to the show.

[00:01:41] **Evan:**

Thanks so much, Sam. I’m really pumped, excited, and looking forward to our conversation. 

[00:01:46] **Sam:**

Likewise, likewise.

Let’s start off talking about why customer advocacy and customer stories really matter. Why does advocacy and customer stories matter now more than ever?

[00:02:01] **Evan:**

It’s a great question. It’s something I think about pretty regularly. and if, if I had to really boil it down, I would think too, it’s that a lot of the spaces that myself and probably a lot of the folks I’m listening are involved in are pretty competitive spaces. And. With, with vendors able to say, essentially whatever they like and make whatever claims they think are the market will react to.

I think buyers and prospects out there are sometimes I’m at a loss to who actually has the best product who actually has, the, the, the. The solution, that’s the right fit for their need and with everyone making wild claims and saying whatever they want and their new vendors on marketing material, I think there is a need more than ever for authenticity for hearing directly from end users, customers, users.

So I think that. Needed now more than ever. Not that, that hasn’t been the case. I think it’s, especially now there’s just ton of competition, any spaces that are worth being in there’s there’s well-funded, aggressive competitors there. So I think you need to do to really shut down some of that noise that that vendors are spinning in the marketplace to really fill that with authentic, true stories directly from customers.

[00:03:21] **Sam:**

Completely agree. And it’s almost sounds like, you know, customer stories, you know, you know, done correctly can actually be, you know, not, they’re not just like a nice to have there it’s actually, can be a true kind of competitive advantage. 

[00:03:36] **Evan:**

I think that’s true. And I think, especially in some of the spaces where we’re, where my company operates, where we have a large private sector business, but also a large, public sector business. we have the relationships, we have the, success that we’ve equipped our customers with and position them for success.

And that’s where the rubber hits the road. We feel confident that our competitors. Don’t have those stories. Can’t talk about those stories. So we think that, yeah, we, we, we think it’s, it is needed. It’s a, yeah, it’s not an it’s it’s on the menu. It’s something that people are expecting.

It. They’re expecting it in different flavors and different ways and different, different channels. So I think it’s, it’s there and it’s. We want to be proactive about it. Sometimes it’s like, ah, we can put that together if you need it. But rather let’s be proactive and say, well, here’s actually, because we know you, we know your use case and your need, like, here’s something that, that someone who’s like you because of all the different reasons like you in a lot of different ways, here’s, here’s a story that might, that, that, that might just be what you wanted to hear about.

So here, take a listen, take a watch.

[00:04:45] **Sam:**

Yeah. It’s like, you know, your competitors can copy a lot of your product, but they can’t copy your customer stories at the end of the day. and then, you know, you’ve been in the space for quite some time and you have a lot of experience. How is customer advocacy in customer? marketing, evolving. 

[00:05:06] **Evan:**

Sure. Well, I think one thing that I, that I’ve seen over the last few years is, you know, as a CMO or a new marketing leader would come in. Typically seek to build out their teams, that they inherited a team, or, they’re almost starting from scratch and seek to build out a team. And what I noticed at the beginning was, you know, the CML would always be looking at a VP mark and all you’re looking together.

They’re sort of starting five, who do they need for that, early, that, that, that first crew, they would always have. They’re demand gen lead. They would have a marketing ops. They would have a product marketer and maybe they would have a designer or, or design or visual person on the team. And that would sort of be who they would have.

And I think that was fine. That made a ton of sense in those in those days, a few years ago. And, Customer marketing customer FC would come much later years and dozens later. Right? So there would be lots of, lots of team filled out before they would even be the need or an interest or an inkling that, Hey, this might be a role, a team that we need to start thinking about, but I’ve actually seen that change, which is really.

Super positive, and exciting that, that thinking rather than Hey, that person can come years later, actually that person needs to be really earlier. That person needs to come. Even when the team is small and growing, even we might not have millions of customers. It’s more core to the fiber of a growing SAS marketing team, a high performing team, having a customer marketer on board and earlier, Is is key.

And also that person, it needs to be a dedicated person that has, has a little bit of experience. It used to always be, Hey, just give it to an intern or someone doing it, you know, 5% of their time. So I think there’s definitely that recognition that aid the roles and needed. Be it should come earlier and see, it should be having a dedicated resource or, or maybe even a team and a budget accordingly for the tools and, and budget to, to run a program accordingly.

So I think that that took some time to develop, but I think we’re there. And I think that battle is, has been fought and won. And I think really for the benefit of the teams for our customers and everybody in the ecosystem. So I’m really happy to have seen that. I think there’s even more to come, but I think it’s really exciting to see, have seen that evolution just unfold the last few years.

[00:07:34] **Sam:**

And what motivates you personally, you know, as you have you seen this as you’ve seen this evolution and you know, what motivates you personally about, you know, the space and customer marketing and customer advocacy and what are you passionate about?

[00:07:48] **Evan:**

Sure. So for me, I came into this, from a slightly different angle, but I’m a very much, I’m all about the relationships. I don’t think anyone isn’t, but I think for me, that was what drove me in. That was what kept me in and that what keeps me in it keeps it fresh. Cause I think. There’s no better way to invest in your customers, right?

That’s this is like the least transactional when done, right. I think the least transactional type of investment. You’re not just getting a renewal of the coarser renewals critical. You’re not just selling a deal. You’re you’re there for the longer term. And also when things go right, and you stay in touch with these customers, even after they leave, because they’re going to come from.

Ultimately as an alumni, they’re going to bring you back from their next organization. Or even if not, you can still stay in touch with them. So it’s definitely a long game and I love that opportunity to stay in touch while they’re, while they’re a customer even beyond. And having them bring you into the next place.

I think for me, it’s all about relationships and I’ve, I think what better side of marketing. To engage with customers and also work so closely with the customer success teams, which I love customer success organizations and the teams and the individuals on those teams. I think they’re super dedicated and I love to partner and collaborate and see how we can come up with programs that are, that are supportive of everyone’s goals.

And so I, those are just some teams that I love working with. I think they’re amazing. They go really above and beyond for the customers and just partnering. Seeing what makes sense for the Oregon, the team and getting those programs going. So those are, those are some things that I’m, that I’m passionate about in this space.

And, it is fun because this is nothing more than, than relationships, especially with coming out of the pandemic. I think there’ll be even more opportunities. People are really eager to build those relationships, within their own teams and across, you know, vendors and partners that they work with. So, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of excitement in there.

I would say.

[00:09:37] **Sam:**

I love that you brought up partnering with, you know, customer success, because that is such a crucial part of, you know, the advocacy practice. have you learned there? Kind of what tips or perspective can you share with, you know, another customer marketer who wants to learn, you know, you know, how should I think about, you know, partnering with success effective? 

[00:10:02] **Evan:**

Sure. So I think the first thing I always try to do, and I don’t recommend it of, others think it’s appropriate is to, kind of put yourself in the shoes of that? customer success team And that CSM individual CSM of, well, what are they going through? What’s what’s on their plate. What’s on their radar And how can you supplement what they’re already doing?

Right. You’re you’re coming to them with ways to strengthen the relationship. Cause sometimes customer success is getting a lot of things, sort of just thrown over the wall at them like, Hey, can you do this? Or can you help with that And of course, CSM wants to help always. And they’re amazing at doing so, but I think really. With lead time with context with what’s in it for the customer, with what’s in it for the relationship and also kind of boxing in, well, what is the commitment for, for any of the people involved for the customer, for the CSM and really making it something that they th they, they want to say yes to And not because you’re a nice person, cause they, they like chatting with you because it’s the right thing for the relationship. So I think really. You need to have that relationship developed you. And you’ve got to build that over time. You have to earn that trust because I think customer success, they have a critical, amazing sometimes, almost impossible Herculean job of, you know, maintaining these super high retention rates with, with, with so much moving in the ecosystem.

So I think that. Being empathetic, understanding what, what they’re going through, how you can support them and get to know them. Right. Sometimes, you know, being the bridge with two CSM from marketing, if you can. Bring them any resources that you can understand a little more about their world. And I think that that’ll go, that’ll go a long way.

And, it’s, they have one of the hardest jobs out there in the organization. I respect the hell out of it. I think they do an amazing job. They’re super technical. They bring so much to the customer and you, you, you want to be part of, part of their go to customer. Like you want to be part of how they engage with customers.

So I think making. Making it organic to how they work, making it make sense with their expectations. They sat with customers and, and show that you’re all you have the same exact goal that they do. Right. And I think sometimes maybe that can get messy, but like we have the same goal where we’re pulling in the exact same direction.

And, and then. Repeatedly and over time, and then you have the relationships built, you have that trust in place. And I think, and I think you’ll be good to go. You’ve got the best part where you’ve got the best place people to be your wing man wing woman for, for, for customer marketing, customer advocacy.

I think you couldn’t find a better partner there.

[00:12:52] **Sam:**

I love, you know, one phrase really stuck out there, you know, come well, come with lead time, come with context. You know, I think that, that alone and come with what’s in it for the customer and the relationship, like if we can, as customer marketers can do all those three things. Like I think that it’s such a good tab because it’s so easy when we’re everyone’s, you know, busy.

To just, you know, make an ask and not take the time to fill out the proper context. But yeah, I think, you know, it’s, that’s such, such a key point. you know, I know you’ve worked, Evan, you’ve worked in, you know, different size companies, you know? 

How does, you know, very like very large and then as well as, you know, growing, but like, you know, relatively smaller startups compared to like the Akamai’s of the world, How, how do you think about advocacy in, depending on the company, you know, size and stage, I guess, how does it change if it does and how does it stay the same? 

[00:13:50] **Evan:**

Yeah. So, so I think for me, this is all at the, you know, the, you know, dialing this back to the, to the core, to the root it’s, especially in the SAS space, I found our, our customers are, they are the same, right? In other words, whether you’re engaging with them as a 200 person startup or a 10,000 person more mature organization, Their day job, at least in the, in those verticals that I’ve worked in there, their personas they’re th they’re rather similar in the sense that they have a high stress job.

They have working with a lot of vendors. They have, you know, maybe lean teams. They have to really lean more into their tools, engage more with automation. So I found that the, the core of advocacy work and customer marketing work it’s, it’s rather the same. what, whether your org is bigger or not. If you have a 400 person marketing team or two person marketing team, right?

It’s the customer that’s that that little bit is not, not, not, not as critical to them, but if you’re coming to them in a thoughtful way, in a smart way, in a way. That they want to engage with you, but it also is what, you know, what have you earned sort of, cause I think it’s that again, big or small and maybe may not matter, but like what have you earned?

What have you invested in the customer? What have you helped them achieve? And I think that’s much more important time getting the timing right. And getting the understanding of where the relationship is then, then the size of the org. But some, you know, the red tape. That shouldn’t be it isn’t visible to the customer.

So I think, cause like I said, if you go back to what you said a couple of minutes ago saying, right, it’s all about relationships. So if you can bring them that same type of resources, that same type of opportunities, that same type of understanding what they like to do. I think larger, smaller. You’ve, you’ve got a, you’ve got a shot at deepening those relationships.

You’ve got a shot at getting their scarcest resource, right. Which is their time. So understanding that that’s their scarcest resource, if you’re a big part of their day or an important part of their program or their team or their success, then, then you have the opportunity to deepen the relationship, to work on customer advocacy opportunities and present those at the right moment.

So I think. If you’re, regardless of that, your larger, small, if you are not a big part of their day, you’re going to have to work a lot harder. You’re gonna have to earn that. You don’t have to really get more minds, mind, space, and mind share with them.

[00:16:18] **Sam:**

That makes a ton of sense. And I think that that’s a perfect segue to talk about, you know, this, idea of how to capture customer stories in, you know, challenging industries, you know, you have, you know, you know, worked in cybersecurity. Now you’re working in blockchain with Genesis. you know, how do you capture customer stories and what’s your sort of mindset around that?

When you know, right now, for example, all your customers are financial institutions and in government agencies, you know, how do you, and you know, you, nevertheless, you’ve, you’ve been able to do it. So I’d love to, you know, maybe you can share a little bit about that. 

[00:16:57] **Evan:**

Yeah.

So, so when I, when I think about it, Sam, it’s very much around knowing, knowing who’s on the other end, knowing a, what they personally like to do, what their persona is, the introvert extrovert, what do they like to do? What are their motivations, but also especially more so I found over the last even maybe six months or a year, is that.

Getting closer to their marketing and PR and comms team, maybe even legal, right? Of like, what message are they trying to put out into the marketplace? What are their concerns? What are their guard rails? What do they like to do? And sometimes you’ll find someone. You’re able to amplify a message or put out a message into the marketplace that is very supportive of what they’re doing or of their strategy.

So I think it’s become a must. I found in my experience these days to really don’t just assume, Hey, like you have some need and they’ll help you fill it. Right. It’s not about that. It’s like, there’s always a question. Well, what’s in it for, you know, where will be the benefits to them. And you have. I understand a little about their motivations, their needs as an org, as an individual to really get to a yes, which may look that yes, may look very different and they look very different in a public sector versus private sector versus different, different verticals.

So I would say, and it’s being flexible to what, what, that yes. Looks like it may be. And anonymized story. It may be not about using your solution at all. It may just be more of a thought leadership piece or even a career piece around how they’ve progressed in their career. It may be, a panel verse all about them. So I would say it’s really being flexible, not having a, a closed mindset of, of what success looks like here. So you give yourself that, that ramp and that runway to, to get something done that both sides will feel happy with. Don, Don are the days of the puff pieces. Like I just don’t see those anymore.

There’s no appetite internally or externally for those. So I think it’s really going in with a more targeted approach. Equipping your, your champion, your advocate, your customer, to, to introduce you to the right folks. And I would say earlier in the process, right? It used to be even a few years ago, like, Hey, that, that was sort of just the rubber stamp at the end, that comms legal PR content team from your customer.

Now I’ve found the requirement, but also the expectation that you start that earlier, and that’s going to yield so much fruit later, not just for. One does one opportunity, but for future opportunities, while you already have them in your, on your speed dial, right. You’ve already got them in your context, so you could reach out to them and they can reach out to you.

So I think it’s, and also just seeing it as non transaction, right. You’re not just getting this one thing and then you’re done. You’re squeezing them. It’s not about that. Right? You want to do the right thing to open up so many future opportunities that you might not have even thought of when, when you were going into it.

So really investing that time and that effort it’s so worth and it’s the right thing to do anyway. And like I said, I think it all it’ll yield even more than you might’ve thought going in.

[00:20:04] **Sam:**

I want to circle back. You mentioned, you said done are the days of the puff pieces. I think that’s a really salient point. 

And maybe you can expand on that a little bit for, in case that just kind of went over a few people’s heads. Like tell me more. Yeah. Like expand on that a little bit. We have, what do you mean.

[00:20:24] **Evan:**

So, so it used to be like, you can just get someone saying like, Hey, I love you guys are like you’re the best. And it was sort of, you could pad that a little bit with some graphics and it was sort of. It was one way and it felt hollow even if that’s actually what they felt. And even if they are that exuberant of an advocate, I think people want to see more balance, right.

They would like to see. Because they know if you’re an enterprise SAS, that’s not all, you know, it’s not all roses. Right. You know, things, things can go different directions. But I think it’s about understanding at the depth, like more about that relationship. It’s like, well, what’s their team.

Like what, you know, if things didn’t go perfectly, how did they fix that? How did they go above and beyond? So I think it’s, things that are, that you can differentiate beyond. tools and features and software. Cause I think those are, there’s good products out there.

There’s vendors have solid products, right. But you want to be able to differentiate on the people level on the expertise level, on the equipping, their team for success, whether that’s training, whether that’s your, you know, services teams, you name it to really, to really go above gone. So I think. Just checking that box and getting something up there is.

Is fine, but no, one’s going to thank you just because you got something there and it’s not representative of, of, of your customer or your own capabilities or that relationship. So I think it’s really having that in mind before you start crafting anything and also positioning your customer as the thought leader, it’s sort of taking the lens off your own self.

It’s a more modern approach, and it’s sometimes hard because you have pressure and have. You want people to say certain things, but you want, I think that authenticity is there needs to be there and people are wanting that. And I think Gail, like I said, going back to the old ways, I don’t think there’s, there’s an appetite for it.

[00:22:30] **Sam:**

I, I agree. And also, I think it’s not an appetite for that prospects have to consume that type of content to, right. So, yeah, it’s interesting. just to kind of riff on this for a minute, like dealing with the pressure or like, to me, I’m curious on your take on it. I think, one of the reasons, historically, you know, there was like, For, you know, that puff piece or that thing to not be as balanced as cause historically case studies and, you know, average C projects were a bit more monolithic, you know, there’s like, okay, we’re going to invest like a ton of money into this one case study or this one, you know, customer’s singular customer video.

And now what I’m seeing at least is like, you know, still investing, but taking a more like atomized approach. And like micro content throughout the buyer journey, which also, seems to make room for a more balanced approach because there’s no longer this pressure of. We need to like, get all of this good stuff about, you know, us as us, the company in this single video, it’s like, okay, we can have, we can have the more company centric piece.

Then we can have the career piece. Then we can have the thought leader piece and sorta atomizing this, this whole, you know, all this content, you know, that came out of maybe one, one interview. But again, like, I think that this willingness to use the content more broadly in smaller pieces relieves that I think a bit of the pressure to, you know, make it that perfect tough piece in know one monolithic instance, but curious what your thoughts are. 

[00:24:08] **Evan:**

Yeah.

So, I’m definitely with you there, Sam, and I think it it’s all about you’re dialing it back earlier into the process, understanding where that content. Might go who’s who’s gonna, who’s gonna run with it. Right. Cause I think, you know, probably all of us at one point have been in a scenario where like you produce content and you’re like, Is there any takers for this?

Like who’s is it going to sit in the drawer so to speak or is, does it actually have a home to have someone who’s going to drive it forward? So I found really kind of workshopping that around and figuring out earlier as early in the process, you can have like, well, who might have a need for this? And I’ve had great success with my, on our product marketing team and my team.

We have someone who’s, who’s a partner marketer and working with her and saying, okay, wow, this is a key part. The customer had uses us and our partner integration partners. So how can we, how can we get even more bang from that of, of layering in questions around what’s that partnership and how that integration working so that it has yet another, another stream of, of usage and that, and that it, so it’s not just you having to find a home for it.

You sort of giving another set of. another set of owners to it who can run with it. So I think it’s all around. Yeah. Getting the most value from a single asset you produced and that way you’re you alone are on the hook for finding those, the, the owners or the, the content, you know, the content homes for those.

You’ve got other built in people who are hungry to use that and to have the access to that kind of fresh content. Dial that in early and bacon, those questions accordingly to your point. So that way you can, carve it up and have it live in lots of ways, especially Sam, because people may have a shorter attention spans.

Right? I think, you know, five, seven minute pieces, you know, you’re gonna, you’re not gonna have people that, that are going to stay on that too long. So you want to also, Keep in mind how people consume the content. 

[00:26:09] **Sam:**

Such such a good point. And speaking of that, let’s talk a little bit about, you know, the different mediums, you know, for customer stories. How do you think about, the, you know, the mix and, you know, the PR or the pros and, cons between. you know, case studies, third-party reviews, customer video content.

Yeah. I’d love to hear and, and maybe even like, you know, reference calls or panels as well, but yeah, I’d love to hear how you think about, the mix of all those different kind of mediums.

[00:26:41] **Evan:**

Yeah.

So I think the good part is I think it’s a definitely not one size fits all. And I think people consume in different ways and have different needs. Right. I wouldn’t want to trade one for the other rights I had, you know, this or that, but I would say like, like we talked about a couple of minutes ago, Sam, like, Hey, you have someone who’s in a public sector.

They may not be able to do a customer story, but they could do a review because it’s anonymized or. There their vertical and not their name or their company names. So I think it’s, you’re actually expanding the pie, right? If you’re just saying, Hey, it can only help in one way, or they can only be an advocate in one way.

You’re gonna, you’re going to shrink your pool down. So I, I think that, I think they’re all needed. And just talking to our, you know, our go to market teams. all the content is needed. Right. I think it’s regardless of how, what the original source is, whether it is a review or a testimonial, or it’s a it’s a pull quote from a, testimonial.

So I think, I think people. Are almost agnostic as to what the source of it was, but what is that? What does that really snackable piece? What does that nugget that actually hits, hits the road. So if you have a minute and a half or two minute video testimonial, you may be able to get those pull quotes and maybe.

Aren’t into video, but you have a quote that you can put onto a slide or drop into a, you know, into a sales stack. You know, that the team can pull a slide from there. So I’m, I’m, I’m open to all of them. And I think all deserve sort of love and equal attention that, because the go to market teams. Need to, yeah.

They may not care necessary what the source was, as long as it’s something that, that can help support, the message they’re trying to share to, to prospects and buyers. So I think, yeah, everything is a there’s, there’s, there’s a room for all of them. I’d say.

[00:28:33] **Sam:**

As long as they’re not puff pieces.

[00:28:36] **Evan:**

Yeah. See what we just talked 

[00:28:38] **Sam:**

Absolutely. So it’s all, they’re all needed, but don’t, don’t make them a fluff piece. that that’s you heard it here first, but yeah, no, that’s I love that perspective. 

You mentioned video a couple of times and, I’d be curious, you know, to be a customer video person, myself, be curious to know more about how do you think about video, I guess both from like a functional.

Level and being able to break it up into taxed, you know, et cetera, but also from like an emotional level or like, just like the power of the medium.

[00:29:13] **Evan:**

Yeah. I mean, I think there’s, I think there’s nothing like it. I think it’s, it’s so flexible. And it’s how people like to receive content, especially when it was harder to meet people in person with everything going on in the world. And, it’s easier to resonate with someone when you can see them, you can hear the, kind of the passion in their voice or how they’re just kind of leaning into it.

So I, I think there’s, there’s really nothing like it and not to say that I love, you know, sort of hard to choose favorites, but I think video is. It has so much reach, especially with, with the social platforms out there. we have an amazing social team who’s who who’s eager for that content. Who’s eager to really highlight the success of our customers.

So I think It’s just, I think how people receiving it. I mean, people in their personal lives just for their own entertainment. Right. We know that’s how people are preferring. So I think, I think it’s I think it’s here to stay and I’m a big believer whether you capture it remote, like we’re sort of doing here, whether you, it in-person as that becomes more available now and into the near term.

I think it’s here to stay. And I think it is because it is so flexible. You can do mashups of content. You can do montage. There’s, there’s just really limitless of what you can do with it that I think, it’s here to stay and I think it’s going to have a great, great seat at the table for forward as well. 

[00:30:41] **Sam:**

Yeah.

That’s such a good point too, especially for social, right. because yeah, it’s, it’s, we have this sort of interesting dynamic where, you mentioned reach where like, People who control the algorithms, like the platforms understand that video does, you know, on average, you know, better from an engagement perspective, therefore the algorithm is, you know, actually incentivized to show more people video.

Right? So it’s, it’s kind of this, you know, tailwind, I think, that people are able to get behind, if they, if they use video on social, What does the future look like for, for customer advocacy pros and what are some of the biggest challenges and or opportunities that are coming, in the future? 

[00:31:26] **Evan:**

So I think the future is. Super super bright for customer marketers, customer advocate folks. it’s the seat at the table is there there’s probably more momentum now than, than at any time that I’ve seen. I think the pandemic helped, it was already happy. I think it might’ve just accelerated that even a little bit, just with the focus on not necessarily. Net new logos only, which had such a huge focus. It’s like, it’s actually about our existing customers. Can we, can we invest more in them? Can we, can we interest them in more parts of our portfolio that they might not know? ensuring that retention is where it needs to be. So I think that side of the house is getting more attention than ever and as it should.

So I think customer markets. Finally evolved to where it was because of lots of things. Cause it’s, it’s, it’s been earning that seat at the table. There’s there’s analyst coverage. We have amazing analysts. So I think there’s conferences there’s get togethers. There’s there’s there’s the infrastructure to do that there’s budget.

So I think it, it has now all the pieces, it has that level of. Commitment to it. It’s not something that someone is demoing. It’s not a CMO, just trying it out. It’s not an experiment it’s, it’s arrived. And I think that just seeing the excitement in the space just there’s more wrecks opened up than ever at different levels.

I think it’s here to stay. I, I, I know it’s here to stay and I, and I, think I think, the only challenges are just going to be how. You know what, once you’ve achieved something, how do you, how do you, how do you continue to build on that? Right. It was all about, Hey, the underdog and it’s, you know, then you can turn the corner and you achieved what you wanted, but how do you, how do you build on that?

How do you keep it fresh? And how do you maintain what you’re doing while keeping that customer always at the center, right? It’s never forgetting that customer, the north star investing in them and. Sometimes having the, the confidence in your team and the program and with writing is may need to say no to certain things.

And I think that’s okay. And I think that’s part of having that seat at the table is like, well, here’s why you’re not just saying no, because of course, everyone in this role, in this type of work wants to say yes to everything, but it’s not the right thing. Maybe for the customer, from a timing perspective or the opportunity or whatever it is.

It’s. Saying no, but coming up with a solution, maybe here’s maybe a better way. Here’s a different approach. Here’s another option. Here’s another customer. So it’s really having that, that, that confidence in yourself and the program and the team to, to, to always do the right thing for customer, to be their protector, to, to never, to never, ever jeopardize that relationship for something that’s short term.

And I know I won’t do that and I know all my colleagues in this space will never do that. And I think having. Confidence to lead that way and to have that relationship, with different parts of the organization, whether it’s sales services, support, customer success, you name it. And I think that, I see that continuing to head in that direction.

So it’s a ton of opportunity for folks in the space and people thinking about entering the space. 

[00:34:40] **Sam:**

I will do that. You know, where to put it, you know, be the customer’s protector, always do the right thing for the customer, you know, and, you know, think, don’t jeopardize things for, you know, for the short term, wrapping up here, Evan, anything else? around customer advocacy or customer stories you know, that I didn’t ask you that, you wanted to share or, you know, that you think would be, would be useful or interesting. 

[00:35:07] **Evan:**

I’m excited to see what people are innovating. I would say let’s, let’s keep the sharing going. I’ve found that the community so open, so willing to hop on a call, share what they know, hear what you might have heard. And, Yeah, I can’t minimize the importance of that. and I think let’s, let’s, let’s keep that going.

Even as there’s more people doing this and you look around like, wow, you might’ve known at one point, you thought everyone in your region, or maybe in the country who was doing what you’re doing. And now it just continues to grow and more SAS companies are doing this. So I would say. I’m excited to see, like what innovations people are thinking about.

It’s such a creative team. It’s such a creative people come in with that amazing mindset. And, and I would say. Where else can we be drawing people in from like, can we maybe cus customer success, folks that are looking to do something else, maybe they might enter this space more with an amazing background.

So I would say, I think it’s eager to see like who the ecosystem that continues to collaborate more, either as actual practitioners or just really as, as strong partners of folks in this space. So I think that, I think that will continue to evolve and I’m excited to see like how that collaboration continues to, to flourish.

[00:36:20] **Sam:**

Evan, this has been fantastic. where can people get in touch with you if they want to follow you, connect with you or learn more. 

[00:36:29] **Evan:**

I think LinkedIn is probably a default. find me there, catch me any time. and I’d love to chat here, what, your what’s on your mind and, and share, you know, kind of both ways, right? There’s I learned as much as I can. That’s when I first got into this space, Didn’t necessarily have great depth of experience.

I said like, let’s, let’s start sharing. So I’ve learned a ton from people and, I love sharing what I know and, and hearing what, they have to their expertise and their knowledge and their experience. Cause it, it, it can vary, but it’s unbelievable what, the sharing out there. So I’m super thankful to that and can’t wait to, to, to keep it going. 

[00:37:08] **Sam:**

Fantastic. Evan, this has been a blast. we’ll have to do a round two some time and yeah. Thanks for, thanks for being on the show.

[00:37:15] **Evan:**

Got it looking forward to it. Salmon catch many time for around TIF. 

[00:37:19] **Sam:**

Alrighty folks. That was a fantastic episode with Evan Jacobs. Just a couple of my favorite takeaways I wanted to, to share, some really, really good tips on partnering with. the CS team with customer success, you know, first and foremost, you know, put yourself in their shoes, you know, come with lead time, come with context, come with what’s in it for the customer, you know, their customer that they are working with and their relationship and, you know, make that, make your, your asks kind of, you know, stand on their own two feet, you know, not just because you’re, you’re a nice person and, you know, be empathetic, be that bridge between marketing.

No customer success. some other really good points about, capturing customer stories in traditionally challenging industries. we didn’t get into it too much, but I believe Evan actually has. a customer story from the IRS that he captured. So that should give you a feeling for how, how well he’s been able to do this.

As he said in the episode, it’s all about figuring out a way to amplify the message that they are trying to get out into the marketplace and aligning with them there. Also being flexible on what it looks like. Maybe it has to be a bit of a career piece, or a thought leadership piece, or a panel, versus something else.

Maybe it is even anonymous. When you deal with those types of industries, the more flexible you have to be, but you don’t have to throw up your hands and quit. It’s absolutely possible.

Also different mediums. People consume in different ways, and as long as they’re not doing puff pieces, you want all of the different content types. It’s about expanding the pie. For example, anonymous third-party reviews, are another option. You really want to cover all your bases there.

We talked about the power of video, creating atomized, snackable content, and social reach. A lot of additional good stuff about the future of customer marketing. Customer marketing has arrived.

I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did. I’m Sam Shepler from Testimonial Hero, and we’ll see you in the very next episode.

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