What Separates You from Your Competition? (with Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist at BombBomb)
What Separates You from Your Competition? (with Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist at BombBomb)
“No matter your industry...you win through human connection. Find opportunities...to look people in the eye and speak to them.” This quote is from Ethan Beute, a bestselling author on Amazon, the host of The Customer Experience Podcast and co-host of The b2b Growth Show, and Chief Evangelist at BombBomb. Beute’s number one goal is to educate businesses on the value of rehumanizing your brand through face-to-face-connection. We used this opportunity to chat with Beute about some topics that are shaping communication in 2020 and beyond:
- Why video messaging software connects humans better than email, automation, etc.
- The power of expressions, body language, and familiarity in building relationships with potential clients
- The benefits and uses of video messaging metrics and data
- The value of unpolished authenticity, and why even small brands shouldn’t shy away from video
- How podcasting helps develop a close network of current and potential customers
- LIGHTS, CAMERA, GROW PODCAST -
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Thanks for watching and listening!
Ethan BeuteChief Evangelist at BombBomb
Jenny Barkin: What's up guys, and welcome to the Tobe Agency Podcast Network. We just launched our third show called Entrepreneurship Sucks posted by Andrew Hong, CEO of Tobe Agency. If you've ever wondered what the not- so- obvious personal challenges of being an entrepreneur are, you should definitely check out this insightful podcast. You can also listen to new episodes every other Tuesday, wherever you get your podcasts. For more information and content like this, head over to tobeagency.co/ podcast.
Ethan Beute: No matter your role, and basically no matter your industry or the nature of the business that you're in, large or small, you win through human connection. And then when you think about all of the touch points that you have in your day, as you're reaching out to connect with people, as you're reaching out to communicate with people, so much of it is faceless digital communication. So, what we've been advocating now for a decade is that you find opportunities in your day and throughout your week to use a simple web camera smartphone video in order to look people in the eye and just speak to them.
Jared: That's Ethan Beute, author of Rehumanize Your Brand, host of The Customer Experience Podcast and Chief Evangelist at BombBomb. On this episode, we sit down and talk with Ethan about using small short form video to help bring a new human connection to your brand. This is Lights, Camera, Grow. Hey, what's going on guys? Welcome back to the Lights, Camera, Grow podcast. My name is Jared, and we are back with another episode. Today, we have on Ethan Beute. Let me give you a little intro here, Ethan, before we jump into the interview and talk more about what you do and what you guys stand for at BombBomb. So, Ethan is a bestselling author on Amazon. His book is Rehumanize Your Brand. He is the host of The Customer Experience Podcast, a co- host of the B2B Growth show. He is currently the chief evangelist at BombBomb. That's a lot. Welcome to the show, Ethan. Glad to have you on. Thanks for taking some time out.
Ethan Beute: Yeah, thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be in conversation with you. We've been talking about doing it for a while, and it's fun to be here.
Jared: So, I'm going to let you actually kick it off and give us and the audience an idea of what BombBomb is all about. But before we do that, I want to say congrats on winning your recent four G2 awards, which I know is another stack of medals in the collection of G2 awards that you guys have won. So, congrats on that.
Ethan Beute: Yeah. Thanks so much. The best thing about G2, of course, is that it's customer- driven. Of course, a company can influence that in some ways, but ultimately the performance there is so driven by customers and what they say, what they think. That's one of those awards that really means a lot more than some of the other ones.
Jared: It's awesome, man. Again, I know G2 is big deal, so congrats for you guys. Can you give us a little insight on what BombBomb is?
Ethan Beute: Yeah. Our whole goal is to get you face to face with more people more often. We know that you are better in person. We know that you are your own best differentiator. No matter your role, and basically no matter your industry or the nature of the business that you're in, large or small, you win through human connection with your peers, with your strategic partners, with your prospects, with your customers, with all the people you need to connect and communicate with. And then when you think about all of the touch points that you have in your day as you're reaching out to connect with people, as you're reaching out to communicate with people, so much of it is faceless digital communication. So, what we've been advocating now for a decade is that you find opportunities in your day and throughout your week to use a simple web camera smartphone video in order to look people in the eye and just speak to them. And so, we have a whole tool set that makes it easy to record and send the short messages, whether it's just you or whether it's you and your screen. You can do it directly in Gmail. You can do it in Salesforce, Outreach, Zendesk. You can do it from our web app, from our mobile apps, et cetera, a number of other integrations. And of course through tools like Zapier or PieSync or API Nation. You can read and write rules in and out of a variety of platforms. And the tech is important. It's important to make it fast and easy to do, but above all is the guidance, support and philosophy of you winning on who you are and you connecting and communicating in a more personal and human way every day.
Jared: Yeah. And obviously with the given times that we are in right now, not to timestamp this too much, but I know that is even more important right now, as we're speaking in this back half, later half of 2020.
Ethan Beute: Well, I just want to speak to the pandemic for just a minute, because who knows how long it's going to go on? There really isn't any end in sight, and we've been in it for months and months now. It is really interesting. So, in the spring when it really set on quickly, we had a dramatic increase in interest. And the way I describe that is we've had tens of thousands of customers for years now. And so obviously, people have seen the value in quickly and easily staying face- to- face with the people who matter most to their success. With one- to- one videos or one to the three people who were working on this project with me or to my entire customer base. They've recognized that value and benefit for years. It's about overcoming the time and distance that keeps us apart from other people, preventing us from being there in person. And so, what the pandemic did was of course took away the opportunity completely to get face- to- face with people, either just practically or culturally or in some cases legally prevented from doing so. And so, the pain of not being able to be face- to- face with people was just felt much more intensely or much more acutely by people. And so, it finally caused them to act, but it's so interesting. Again, we've at this for a decade. The bandwidth has been there. The HD cameras in our laptops and smartphones have been there for years. And so, it's nice to finally see people driven into this opportunity. Obviously, you would never beg for this type of horrible situation. It's obviously hurt a lot of people and families and businesses. But this opportunity to get face to face is one that's been available to us for a long time, that a lot of people have already seized the opportunity on. And so, some people are finally being forced into it because they realize this really does matter.
Jared: That's an interesting point you pick out, because you said it's 10 plus years that you guys have been creating tools to enable this. You're seeing this shift obviously more in the B2B sector, but I feel like in the personal section or on a daily basis, people have been using things like FaceTime. And of course, all the social apps have always had some sort of video component. And now each one of the chat apps has some video Skype- type deal. Are you seeing the shift, though, strictly in businesses? More businesses are like, " Oh wow. We can actually use this for a replacement for the face- to- face or at least a alternative solution?"
Ethan Beute: A few different things there. And that's a great question. It's one that most people don't ask about. So, I love that you identified, " Hey, we've been doing this in our personal lives for a long time." And especially now again, during the pandemic, I'm sure that's gone up. I'm sure the use of FaceTime has increased dramatically over the past several months compared to the year earlier. So, a couple of things here. One, customers of ours do buy it specifically for their business, because they can see an ROI. They know they're going to increase replies. They're going to increase clicks through their emails. They're going to increase lead conversion. They're going to increase referrals, all these things that we hear anecdotally and through survey feedback. And that's what they're willing to pay for. Now, my sister probably isn't going to buy this, because she is currently raising a family. And so, she's not working professionally right now. So, she's not going to pay for a service like ours or some of the other competitors that have come into the space over the past couple of years. That said, for all of our customers, they are not just using it for their business. They're also using it because they're a representative on a nonprofit board, let's say. So, they're doing it for events and fundraisers and internal communication within another organization that they're part of. They're using it with family members and friends. They start with business, but then they move it into other aspects of their lives. Because in so many cases, one, it centralizes this. Two, the tool set and the tracking and the feedback is uniform. And so, through our Chrome extension, for example, I record videos all the time and then grab it, drop it into LinkedIn messages, drop it into Slack messages. And so, I have this consistent recording and screen recording opportunity. It stays in my library if I want to use it over and over again. For example, I'm answering a frequently asked question, it can stay in my library. I can use it over and over across all these different channels. So, Facebook does have in Facebook Messenger, a video recording tool, but it's not very fast. It has a very specific limit on it. And so, this idea of being able to just do what you do in a tool that you're familiar with allows you to carry the experience across other situations. So in general, we are selling primarily into sales teams and customer success teams. A lot of leaders and managers are getting it for internal communication. It's super valuable for that. Again, especially as we're all working from home, we're broken apart. We can't do that quick all- hands meeting or we can, but it's just so impractical. Now, this is the last part I'll talk about here. We could all get on Zoom or Microsoft Teams or Google Meet or whatever and all do it synchronously, but we all have to do it at the same time, sometimes across time zones." Was that four o'clock your time or four o'clock my time? Sorry, can't do it at four o'clock your time. What's next Tuesday look like?" All this live synchronous communication, video makes that way better, but what you can do with a tool like BombBomb, and again, some of the other ones that are in the space now is record these messages and do it when it's convenient for you and send it to say one person or eight people or 85 people. And each one of them experiences you in person and gets your message or your screen recording and experiences that at their own convenience. So, this asynchronicity here of, I record it when it's convenient for me, I send it. You might open it in one minute, Hong might open it in one hour and Jennifer might open it one day later, but tracking will let me know that each of you did that at those times. It closes that loop a little bit. And so, this asynchronicity provides a lot of value and benefit as well.
Jared: To me, it's so funny, and for any really young people out there, this is almost like voicemail when it was at its height, but this is voicemail with purpose. So as a kid, I used to get excited about calling and leaving a voicemail message to a friend or to my parents or whatnot, and then they would check it. But just that idea of, I can do it on my own time, I can leave them a message, they can check it at their own time and get back to me at their own time is interesting. And it feels like a little bit of a nostalgic play voicemail... We'll call it 5.0, because there's been a million things in between normal voicemail and these video mail messages now.
Ethan Beute: I love that parallel, and I just want to speak to it for a minute, because-
Ethan Beute: ...it really knocks down one of the biggest inhibitors to people getting going. Generally, I would call this a vulnerability in general. People are uncomfortable seeing and hearing themselves on video. It's a very normal and very natural thing.
Ethan Beute: And so, I often compare it to a voicemail message, because another one of these is, " Did I say it right? What should I say? How should I say it?" Et cetera. And it's like, you call someone... Now, very few people really pick up the phone anymore. And very few people answer the phone anymore. So, voicemail I think is less popular today than it was say-
Ethan Beute: ...two years and for a variety of reasons, but I'll go back, because most people have left or received a voicemail at some point. When you call someone and you get voicemail and it beeps right after the little message, you don't freak out and panic and shoot around, digging through a pile of stack papers on your desk or folders on your desktop, looking for the script to read. You know who you called, you know why you called them, you know what you need to say and you know what you need them to do next, in this case, a call to action. And so, this style of communication can really be that simple. Why are you reaching out? What do you need or want them to know, or what's interesting or provocative or valuable or useful or curious? And then, how can someone take you up on that opportunity? And it really is that simple. So, there are a lot of parallels to voicemail, but the two particular benefits over it, of course are, one, people tend to engage with it more than they engage with voicemail at this point. And two, it's all of you. It's not just your voice, and voice is better than text alone, certainly in a lot of cases. But video is better than both in almost any case where you want to connect with someone, you want to manage your emotion or tone in a meaningful way, and so that people truly understand the spirit of the message. Or you want to explain something that might be a little bit of complex either by talking it out in lay person's terms, or doing again, a show and tell with a screen recording or something like that. And finally, you never know when someone listens to your voicemail. So, this idea that you can get an alert that says, " Someone opened your email," or" Someone played your video," allows you to know at least that that happens. So, in some cases you just want to know and it gives you peace of mind, but in other cases, it will lead to other behaviors like, " Oh, now's a great time to follow up." Or" Now we can follow up and ask if they had a chance to take a look at that video." Let's just say it's a sales situation, it gives you a reason to reach back out. You ask a leading question that you know the answer to only in order to create that conversation. " Hey, sent you that message the other day. It answered some of your questions. I just wanted to make sure you got that." And people are going to reply and say... They're not just going to say, " Yes, I did." They're going to say, " Yes and," or" Yes, but," or" Yes, let's talk more about that."
Jared: To offshoot from that, what have you seen, some really interesting case studies of the use of BombBomb software? Because I think the way you described it is probably the way most people think, and you're going to go right down that road, like" Let's use it for those specific tasks." But what are some really interesting cases? Are you seeing internal uses? Are you seeing maybe even some type of crazy creative storytelling version of it?
Ethan Beute: At a high level, I'd just like to say that you're clicking send throughout your day and or you have machines shooting out messages on your behalf. And if you're a team leader or a manager, and you're listening to this, your team members are doing the same thing. They're typing something out and clicking Send, or a machine is shooting out messages on their behalf. And every one of those is a chance to explain something more clearly to have someone feel like they know you before they meet you, to again, manage a really positive or negative emotion or tone in a way that is really hard to do in typed out texts. Again, this subtlety and nuance and sincerity and gratitude and all these just soft human elements that we easily communicate through our faces and our voices and our nonverbal communication. And that we easily read from other people who are reaching out to us with their faces and voices and personalities and body language and facial movements and motions and things like that. It's just so deeply part of the human experience. We have millennia of human brain training, coding, and decoding messages from our faces and our bodies to one another. And there's a ton of science, and we learn a lot of it in Rehumanize Your Business, that across societies, across cultures, across languages, that we all express emotions through our faces the exact same way. It's very human and very universal and it's innate. We all do it from birth. So, you have opportunities. Every time you click Send today, I want you to think about, "Would this be better or faster or easier or more effective if I just said it in person?" And I guarantee you're going to say yes, at least to one of those times. So, that's the high level take, the most practical thing that anyone can do today. And I don't care your role, I don't care the nature of your business. You can reach out and do something like, " Thank you. Good job. Congratulations. I just noticed that..." Or" I was thinking about you..." " I was excited to hear..." Or" I was sorry to hear..." So, you're scrolling LinkedIn, you're scrolling Instagram, you're scrolling Facebook, Twitter, whatever, and you're seeing things that are happening. You may click to like. You may even drop a comment, but take an extra step if it's someone meaningful to you. Whether it's a customer, whether it's a team member, whether it's a family member, whether it's a friend, take that extra step and reach out. And you're just saying something like, " Hey, Jared. It's Ethan. Saw that post you put up on LinkedIn. I did drop a little comment there, but I wanted to tell you, man, it really reminded me of this tink from my childhood. And it's so funny," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This is how you take the relationship to another level. This is just a moment out of your day to let someone know that something that they did was meaningful or helpful or interesting or important and it builds this connection. And when you do it in this stripped down non- produced, casual, conversational way, it's an invitation to connect with you as a fellow human being. And frankly, there is not enough of that in our businesses. And there's not enough of that in our lives. You will find that this becomes not just a very effective practice that you fold in with all the other ways you're communicating with people. You'll also find it more satisfying. Last thing here, and this is the big piece, and I won't go into all the detail. Across the customer life cycle... I'll be very generic about this, just imagine a left to right, a customer life cycle. And on the left side is just basic awareness. You're either outbounding to create opportunities or you're responding to inbound inquiries. You're getting referrals, these types of things. And so, you need to establish some type of connection there and maybe move them into a demo or a phone call or a conversation or whatever. Just right there, you have tons of opportunities to use video. If you're outbounding, pair a video email with your voicemail and refer to the other in the one. Give them two channels to reply back to. And now you're not just this faceless voicemail or this faceless typed out email. You're a real person. It's a lot harder to reject a real human being. In addition, the act of using video in this way alone is dramatically differentiating. So, if your competitors are doing the same thing again, inbound or outbound, you're going to stand out simply. And I think this is probably going to stand for at least 24 months, despite my best efforts to get more people to do it. The act alone is differentiating. Confirming appointments and promising value in it. Again, in this case, you typically haven't met the person and they haven't met you, but they're going to feel a little bit warmer toward you and can move past some of the... I call them" How's the weather" questions. That basic rapport building. It's interesting, because you don't have any of that for them, but they're going to respond to you in a way as if you have met for a short meeting before, because they've met you through video. And so, promising value and having people feel warmer toward you before the meeting. And this is the money in the bank when one is after the meeting, especially for a salesperson where you can use their own language back to them. You can address any objections that may have come up. You can, again, draw out the two or three most salient points and again, bring them through empathy, meeting them. People are typically coming to you and your business. Maybe it's not this dramatic, but the two ends are, " Oh my gosh, the world is ending. Everything's bad. I have this horrible problem. Everything's on fire. Help me right now." And then on the other dramatic end is, " Oh my gosh, my business is amazing, but I talked to three of my friends and they say that you can just absolutely blow it out for me through the roof. And you can traumatically change my results." Most people are falling somewhere in between those two, but depending what end they're on, you can meet them there. And then again, walk them through the course of a 60, 90, 120 second video to this dramatically better future that your product or service and company and team represent as a transformative experience. And then you're leaving them with something that they can forward to other decision makers that you may not even know are in the mix. So, I've only started on the left side of this experience. You obviously have the selection phase where you're going to need to knock out your competitors that are in consideration, the commitment phase immediately where you can present a proposal or a contract along with a video to make it approachable and manageable and speak to specific things that tend to create friction or confusion. Things that maybe get redlined often, but your team won't allow to be redlined in the ultimate signed contracts. And by the way, this is here. This has to stay here. This is why it's here. This is how it protects you. This is how it protects us. Buyer's remorse, great opportunity to be personal, human. Peer- to- peer stuff; your CEO to their CEO, your CMO to their CMO, whatever you want to do there to create this excitement, onboarding impact. And then ultimately the positive growth loop of repeat purchasing, expanded purchasing, renewed contracts, referrals, online reviews at G2 or otherwise, testimonials. All these great things where we want to create long, healthy relationships with customers, not just a set of transactions. And across that life cycle, you have opportunities to use video to be more personal and more human to have people feel more connected to you. And that exact same funnel I just walked through is the exact same funnel of your employees from recruiting and hiring, selecting, making proposals on contracts and things, onboarding impact and longterm relationships within your company to be successful as well. And so, that's my long way around. There are opportunities every day to do it. If you are creative, if you have some creative people in- house, if you're working with an agency that's shooting and editing fun videos and developing concepts, cool. You can take those and put them into BombBomb or another service and send them out to people. Even if you're putting them on social media, even if you're putting them in your YouTube channel, even if you're using them on your website, email or another distribution means is just another way to get that message or that experience in front of other people. But that's next level for a lot of companies and a lot of people. A lot of people are sitting on the sidelines, and this opportunity is something for everyone, no matter where they are with this more fun, polished, produced" professional" video. Everyone can use these video voicemail messages.
Jared: It's like how, say the iPhone, but camera phones in general flatten the curve of who can be a photographer, who can be a videographer.
Ethan Beute: I read a great piece from the Content Marketing Institute. It was written by a guy named Victor Gamez. This is years ago now, three, four, five years ago. And it was called Visual Realism. And it was about how giant brands like Levi's and Coca- Cola and Betabrand are intentionally dumbing down the quality of their photos and videos that they're using in social and in advertising in order to be more approachable. And so-
Jared: Yeah, to be more human.
Ethan Beute: Yeah. And well, people are just on the sidelines, like" I'm not good enough. My video's not good enough. I don't have the skills. I don't have the budget. I don't have the expertise." While you're trying to go up market and sitting on the sidelines, because you feel like you can't compete in that space, these giant brands, compared to our budgets, virtually unlimited or just stratospheric are intentionally dumbing down and walking back toward us as regular normal people operating in much smaller businesses. As big as we are, we're tiny compared to those companies. So, don't let that be an inhibitor. In fact, you're starting from a position where trust and authenticity and honesty, which is something that most consumers are really hungry for right now. We're tired of this gloss and polish and essentially the video equivalent of the guy shooting at you across the car lot when all you want to do is just see what this car looks like in person. Because you've been shopping it online and trying to sneak onto the lot, and now beeline right at you. That's what the big whooshy graphics are. Just our guard goes up. And so, this idea of being a little bit more simple and honest and approachable, it's not bad. It's actually very effective.
Jared: Yeah. And that's actually a great point, and it's actually going to lead me into this next point that I'm going to pivot to. So, clearly you guys at BombBomb have invested in podcasting. At our agency, we've invested heavily in podcasting. We believe as an agency that there's no better way to tell your story right now than using something like a video podcast, because it checks a lot of the boxes that you were just talking about with humanizing your brand. You can tell your brand story. You can have people come on and help tell your brand story. Obviously, you can go really left field, so it's not so sales heavy and you can do more of an experience experiential type brand story. But you guys were super early adopters, obviously, in podcasting, as far as from a business standpoint. Podcasting has been around forever, and that's a whole other discussion, but what is BombBomb's view? And what's your view as the chief evangelist while you guys are building and running your podcast show. And of course, I know you're a co- host on another show, but what are your viewpoints on using that to accentuate your stories?
Ethan Beute: I cannot say enough about the podcast format, and I love that you put video right there. So for us, and for most shows still, even if we are doing video, the vast, vast majority of consumption is still going to be audio, because it is a podcast and it's so portable. It's got so many benefits for the host.
Jared: I love that you called it portable. I've never heard it called portable. We usually say it's just easy to get to, but portable, I love that.
Ethan Beute: It is. Think about it. I live in Colorado, and it's pretty dry here compared to where I grew up, which is West Michigan. I had a lot of rain there and a lot of clouds and all the plants are green often, but here it's super dry. So, I'm out watering some of the trees and flowers and shrubs and things from time to time. And I just take a podcast out there with me. And now I have this really intimate experience in a conversational format between a guest and a host, typically the host and the types of guests that she or he brings to the conversation over and over again is why I'm there. I like what they do. I maybe like the format, and you just really get to know these people. And it's just such a cool format to humanize a brand, to walk out stories, to walk out messages, to explore ideas. And I don't know about you, how many podcasts you listen to, but-
Jared: A lot.
Ethan Beute: ...one of my biggest struggles in general is pausing it and what I do, I either use the notes app on my phone and just type notes. I'm not a big Evernote person. So, I just use the Apple Notes thing. Or I might even open up an email. If it starts getting really good, I just might open up an email to myself. I have three accounts, so I'll send from one account to another and just type a bunch of notes out. Pause, type a bunch of notes, type a bunch of notes. And I know that I'm losing amazing ideas. So, I love hosting a podcast, and I love guesting on podcasts and I love listening to podcasts for so many different reasons, but for a brand or a company, your opportunity to get people into conversations like this. Again, I so appreciate the opportunity to spend this time with you. You're interested in what we're doing. We're doing something that's unique or interesting I think for a lot of people. People tend to enjoy this conversation about rehumanizing our day- to- day communication. But we go other places. Different people ask me different questions, maybe about my career or my life or my personality or what influenced me. And so, you learn more about yourself in the process. So, if you are a business leader or a team leader and you have some capacity, I can't tell you how useful it's going to be to you personally and professionally and to your own business to either guest and or host on podcasts. And there are a number of resources out there to help you host or guest on a podcast. From a hosting standpoint... And then I'll give it back to you, and you can redirect however you like. From a hosting standpoint, the idea of... I think too many people are oriented around building a massive following. And that's cool. You can, you should, if you can increase your downloads or whatever metric you're tracking to say, " I'm growing an audience here." That's good, but I personally feel that it is a little bit late in the game to get a massive, massive following. I think a new show could certainly break onto the scene and blow up. But for most of us in small to medium sized businesses, we're not going to truly change the world with our podcasts, but we can change our world. We can bring new people into it. We can bring in... This is the thing I would advocate above all, bring in, invite into your show and make the theme of the show your ideal customer. Who do you serve best? Who do you want more of? Who do you want to attract? Who do you want to understand better? Create a show for that type of person by bringing on who they are, bringing on their peers, bringing on the type of people that you would like to, A, understand better so that B, you can serve them better, and so that C, you can be in relationship with more people like that. And build this network of people you can reach out to as you're thinking about a new product or a service. Hopefully of customers you can refer to, but especially early stage when you haven't yet proven the use case, you're still trying to figure out the business model or some of the messy moving pieces. You can't go all in. You're so far from scale, because you're not quite sure what's working or why yet. This idea of starting a podcast early and having this network of people you can reach out to and tap into who are now invested, because you've co- created this content together. In some cases you've co promoted it. Certainly when you let me know that this releases, I'm going to share with the people in my network, which is good for you and for me. And so, we're now in this different relationship together. We're not just exchanging emails. We know each other a little bit. We spent time together. We're co- creating. We're co- promoting. And so, I guess that'll be my last rah- rah to say, if you're not doing a podcast, think about it. If you're not prepared to commit to doing your own podcast, at least commit to guesting on it. If you have no idea how to get onto a podcast, there are a bunch of services that can help you do that. And I've even, as a host, I have people, they just assign a team member to periodically reach out. Again, it especially happened when all the in- person events shut down. A lot of the executives that were going to be on stages are now like, " I need to get on some kind of a crosstalk."
Jared: Yeah, they get to get their message out somehow.
Ethan Beute: Yeah. So, they still get some frontline employee to just reach out on their behalf. And some of them were really interesting to me. It's really cool.
Jared: You touched on so many great points there, and I think we see so much eye to eye in that same exact format, if you will. We have a couple of different shows and we're actually in development of a couple other shows where it's very specific to the customers that we want to reach. We want to reach out obviously to guests to build new relationships. If we have any services that maybe they can't use, they're going to pass this on to somebody else that might need our services. So, it's been a huge business development tool for us as well. One thing that I think you touched on there that I didn't actually even think about until you said it was... So, we started a podcast early on, and I would say even before we really had our agency footing or anything, and this is my business partner and I, and we were like, " We need to get content out. We don't have resources to have writers and build blog posts and just put things out. So, what's the easiest way we can get content out? Oh, we can record a podcast. We can chop that up and use that over so much amount of time." And that allowed us to build content. The other thing it allowed us to do was figure out who we were, what we were wanting to be. And as we were having more conversations recorded or offline, we started to really figure out and navigate our way as an agency. Like, " Okay, we do like this. We don't like this. Oh, this guest brought up a really good point. Maybe we should tackle that. Maybe we should try to do that." And obviously our conversation here is opening up more doors to my thoughts as far as where we need to move next with our business. But I think with that, it's this really self- fulfilling prophecy of exploration for the business that you never know what you're going to get in a podcast. You can obviously script it out as much as you want, but for the most part, it's going to take you down a direction that you may never know or open up doors that you may have never seen. So, I love that part about it. That's one of my favorite things of hosting it and meeting people like yourself. I think we think a lot alike in the podcast realm of what it can do for you and obviously for your business.
Ethan Beute: Two things you triggered for me there. One, my quick take, when anyone's like, " Should I launch a podcast?" I'm like, " Do you want a master's degree that you cannot buy? Do you want a master's degree that no school could offer you?" Because we have access through this platform. I can't tell you, I had my first 12 or 15 guests on The Customer Experience Podcast committed to do a show that didn't even exist. And some of these people were people that I really, really looked up to, people that are getting paid five figures to speak on stages, legit guests. And I'm like, " I'm just going to ask. The worst I'm going to hear is,'No.'"
Ethan Beute: So, people are willing to do this. The internet gives us access to the foremost experts in almost any field being practiced right now on earth. And so, this gives you such a cool opportunity to do that. And then the second side of it is I would say, doing our podcast because of what I'm doing and why we're doing it, is if I only did it to distribute internally for the employees and teams that it was relevant to, it might be worth it just for that. Oh, by the way, we are building a community. We are building an audience. We are building a network around it. We are giving ourselves great content that we can chop down and publish in a variety of ways. So, our content team has come up with blog post ideas, and they're like, " Hey, Ethan, do you have any guests who know anything about this particular topic we want to write on?" I'm like, " Yeah, here you go. Here are three people. I'll send a quick mutual introduction." And so, now we have these experts in their fields, not just guesting on our podcast and co- creating and co- promoting, as I talked about before, but now they're contributing to our other content efforts. My coauthor on rehumanizing, my longtime friend and team member, Steve Pacinelli and I developed a... Steve developed the idea. He just sold me on it, because he's very persuasive, but it's a cool idea. Sold me on this book idea to start writing another book. And immediately when I started looking for ideas and influence, I went to my podcast guest list, who are these people who would be able to help us with this? Who would have insights on this? There's just so many benefits, but just turning it around and sharing it with my customer success team or even just my onboarding managers, " Hey, onboarding managers. This is an episode that you need to listen to, especially from the 10 to 27- minute mark, but really you're going to enjoy the whole thing." Or" Hey, senior leadership team. Check out this executive at this company. Four years ago, he was facing the exact same thing we're facing now. Check it out. It'll be interesting." " Hey, business development team. I know you guys are... It's hard to hear" No" all the time. Check out this guy's take and his mindset to get through all those noes that he gets as a BDR and SDR every day." And so, just being able to turn it around and share it for internal learning. And so, your offer there about learning more about yourself as a company through this process, it's also educational for the company as well. So many benefits-
Ethan Beute: Sorry, I love podcasts.
Jared: We do too. We do too. We're huge fans of podcasts here. So, I want to pivot a little bit, but it's really not that much of a pivot, because we've blanketed this entire conversation with rehumanizing your brand. So, I want to dive into that. Obviously, if people want to go out and read the book, they should go out and read the book, but how does that lead into being the chief evangelist? What is the chief evangelist and what's your connection with BombBomb now that you have a clear- cut take on how a business should be branded with rehumanizing it? And how have you brought that to the table with BombBomb?
Ethan Beute: So, I've been with the company nine years full- time, which is insane. It's twice as long as I've been anywhere and three times longer than my average stay throughout my career at any company. But it's just what we're doing, I think is so important. It's fun. It's challenging. It continues to evolve. I was employee number six, I think, and now we're 150. We had a hundred customers when I started. Now we're at about 60, 000. And so, it's just been this really fun, interesting, challenging journey. And above all, and I hope you feel it, this matters. If we can get... Whether they use BombBomb or not. And that's the key thing about evangelism that I'll get into and about writing the book. Of course, I would love if people hear this and they're like, " This is interesting. We want to get our sales team on this," or" We want to get our service team on it," or" We want to get our senior leaders using this to communicate with their teams." We would love for that to be with BombBomb. If it isn't, I'm still okay with that, because my number one goal is to create this movement where people are more personal and more human more often. We've leaned far too long on faceless digital communication. We've leaned far too much on automation. As automation got so much more powerful, it also got so much less expensive. So, we've gone from marketing automation tools. We even have sales automation tools now where almost anyone in a company has software that was designed for their role or function that just shoots out messages and sequences and like... So, we need to bring that pendulum back. So, that's what this whole thing was about. So, I hit my six- year full- time anniversary with the company, and I was just really excited about this community and movement that we had going; people that do want to be more personal and more human, more effective, and more satisfied in their work every day. My job, I've published a ton of content, so I have all these success stories, and I have all these personal relationships with customers, and I've run a bunch of surveys, and I've created presentations out of them. I've taught best practices, all this stuff. And I was just so welled up with excitement and pride about, where will we be six years from now? Hopefully a lot farther. It'll feel like 12 years by the time we get there compared to the first six, maybe. And then it would accelerate and build on itself and the snowball would really get rolling. And so, I wrote this blog post called You Are A Pioneer, championing the first set of tens of thousands of people doing this, en route to millions. And again with BombBomb, cool. If not, totally cool. Just this is better, I promise. And so, I ended up turning that into an outline for a book and started writing it between five and six in the morning and the better part of a Saturday or a Sunday. And at a certain point, I was like, " There's no way I can write a full book on this schedule." Because I put a lot into my work. So, taking that extra time on top of it, I was just like, " This is not going to work for the whole thing." And I talked to a buddy in publishing, and he was like, " Hey, is this your book? Or is this a BombBomb book? Or what is this?" So, I started talking about it with Steve, and he was like, " Oh, this is a great project. You should do this." And ended up bringing him in as a coauthor on it. And for about three or four months, I was out of day- to- day operations, almost completely. And I knew that anything I was doing before that was important, someone else had picked up. And if I was doing it before and no one picked it up, then it wasn't important enough.
Jared: It didn't matter anyway.
Ethan Beute: Right. So, I had the space in my schedule. And so, between writing the book, creating the launch plan, launching a podcast which was unrelated, but turns out to be helpful in terms of creating awareness about the book and the opportunity for people to participate in it, I knew that I had created this hole in my schedule and within the team itself that I could come back in a new and different way. And so, to the Chief Evangelism, coincidentally, I did a guest turn on FlipMyFunnel, which is a really good podcast. I interviewed for chief evangelist. I interviewed Sangram Vajre, the chief evangelist of a software company called Terminus who hosts that podcast and created that community. Dave Isbitski, the first employee and voice for Amazon. So, he's the chief evangelist for Alexa and Echo. A guy named Dan Steinman at Gainsight, which is a company that literally wrote the book and he wrote the book on customer success and an evolution of customer service into a proper revenue organization. So, many benefits to that mindset and approach. And then, I just cold reached out to Guy Kawasaki. I found a Guy Kawasaki email address on one of his websites is just guykawasaki @ gmail. com or something like that. And so, I just sent a video email and I saw it got opened. And then the video got played and it got opened again and opened again and opened again. I didn't hear back for a week and a half, but I kept watching it get opened and the video played. And then ultimately, I got a reply back from someone, I think at Penguin Random House. And fortunately for me, he was releasing a memoir. So, he was doing publicity. So he agreed to do it too. And so, I interviewed these guys, learned about it, and immediately, Steve, who is my boss and my friend and coauthor was like, " We need this. You're the person for it." So, 10 characteristics that I learned from these four chief evangelists is super legit companies, and we fit the bill. If you are innovating, you must be evangelizing. If you were solving a problem that didn't have a solution before, you need to be evangelizing. Or if you're solving a problem in a new, better, truly different way, then you're innovating, and therefore you must be evangelizing. You may not put one person in that role with that title, but you need to be intentional about who's out there evangelizing. And evangelism is not about the product or the brand or the service. Evangelism is about the problem or the opportunity. So, in our case, the problem opportunity solution situation is, " Hey, did you know that every time you click..." There are a lot of ways you could phrase it, but I'm going to tie it back to language, wherever to use. " Hey, did you know that every time you click Send, you're missing an opportunity to be more personal and more clear and more human? Did you know that every time you click Send is an opportunity to send a video in place of texts and it might save you some time by talking instead of typing?"" You'll have less back and forth, because people will understand what you're trying to say. And did you know it can be really quick and easy to do? There are people like me who've sent more than 10,000 of these video messages. It's super easy to do, and it is going to change your results." And then, " Oh, by the way, BombBomb." That's the third or fourth or fifth point, it's just this, " Would it be helpful to you if this?" " Have you ever been in this situation?" "Have you ever been embarrassed by being misunderstood? Have you ever gone back and forth with someone when it could have been solved in 30 seconds?"" Do you work in a business that's across the country or across the world, and you can't meet these people face to face, but you still want them to feel like they matter to you, feel like they know you, feel like crosstalk."
Jared: That key right there, feel, is so important.
Ethan Beute: Totally. So anyway, that's the spirit of evangelism is, " Did you know that this is a thing? Here's some stats about that? Did you know that there's some solutions? Here are some ways people are approaching it. People in your particular role or industry are typically wondering or facing X, Y, Z. Here's some solutions to that."" Oh, cool. Tell me more." " Cool. Tell me more." " Cool. Tell me more." And now, you've provided so much help and value and service. You've changed people's perspectives that the buying decision is not a foregone conclusion, but it's about as close as it's going to get whenever the sales conversation does come up or whenever... So, they think it's interesting. You hear a podcast like this, and you forget about it. And then you get a video email from a buddy of yours, and now you might remember, " Oh yeah, that BombBomb guy." You're not going to remember Ethan Beute, maybe. And be like, " Oh yeah, yeah. I remember hearing on that podcast this. Oh yeah, yeah. That's what you're doing. Cool. I guess I should maybe start getting serious about that."
Jared: And again, just the through point, to me everything is, how do you make this customer or this person feel a certain way about your message, your brand about that-
Ethan Beute: You can change the way people feel, and it can be just super dramatic.
Jared: Yeah, yeah. And it's crazy. Back in the day when brands were started before the internet and before printed things, people would go walking around in a town and they'd say, " Hey, I build horseshoes" or" I shoe horses over here. Come check it out." And they would meet face to face, and you'd have these interactions. Maybe you'd meet them in a bar and have a drink or have dinner with them. And it was this very humanized connection, because that was the only way you could do it. And then obviously as the threads go longer in time, we get further and further away from that. And what I hear you're saying is, it doesn't need to be that way. And obviously, using something like BombBomb or any variety of services, you can make those connections and get back to that stage of human connection.
Ethan Beute: Perfectly said, that is why we call it rehumanize rather than humanize. Human and humanize and personal, we've seen a lot of really nice, positive, constructive language bubble up in popular business culture. But we chose rehumanize, because to your point, that is exactly how business was done. We leaned on Gary Vaynerchuk's Thank You Economy. I like that one the best of all of his books, because I think it's the most theoretical and broad. A lot of the other ones are really hands- on and practical and they time themselves out a little bit.
Jared: Or just flashy.
Ethan Beute: Yeah, yeah. So, the first quarter of that one, it really hearkens back. And I forget what he said. It felt like this idea that it was all done face- To- Face. And if you did anyone wrong, if you mistreated someone, if you were dishonest, you were over, because everyone in town would know. And so, his message of course, is that social media is essentially the new town square. And of course, that book is very old now, but it is this return to the way business was done even three generations ago. " I'm jumping on a plane. I'm going to take you out to a steak dinner. We're going to handshake. The handshake actually means something. We're going to sign this deal."
Jared: Yeah, it meant something.
Ethan Beute: "We're going to sign this deal in ink. We're not just going to DocuSign it and copy and paste our signature that we digitized once a long time ago." It was that way. We do need these tools. We do need the efficiency. Digitization of basically everything now is super useful, but we need to find those opportunities to, again, make people feel like they matter. That's it; your employees, your strategic partners, your potential customers, your current customers. This time and attention, because of all these digital tools, time and attention are obviously two of the most precious things that we have. We need to be very diligent about how we invest our own, and we need to be diligent about making sure we give those to other people appropriately. We cannot hold it back because of " I can't do that. I don't have time for that." False. I think that doesn't scale. Sometimes you do the unscalable, because it doesn't scale. And because-
Jared: Completely agree.
Ethan Beute: ...it doesn't scale, it has meaning. " Oh my gosh, thank you so much. Not for just clicking Like and typing Happy Birthday on LinkedIn like everybody else, but for actually reaching out and remembering my favorite restaurant, and remembering my favorite bottle of wine, and remembering my husband's name," or whatever the case may be. This truly personal gift of 28 seconds of your day can turn a day around.
Jared: One thing, and I was thinking about this earlier on in the conversation when we were talking more specific about the software per se, but when you, as the person, are sending the message... And what brought my attention to this again is when you said, if you don't show up and your word is broken, your business is over. I feel like if you're putting your face on a message now as the person sending it, you're almost more on the hook to make sure that you follow through with the things that you said in the message.
Ethan Beute: Great call. Right.
Jared: It feels like you're even more like, "Oh, I've got to actually now follow through with this."
Ethan Beute: Yeah. It really is interesting that way.
Jared: Or be more intentional, especially.
Ethan Beute: Yeah. One of my cautions for people, it's a little bit fun and flippant, but the point is very, very true and real and I mean it completely is, if you are sincere about your product or your service, the value that you represent, the intention with which you're reaching out, if you are sincere about it, the very best thing you can do is video. Because it's going to come through so, so well. And on the flip side, if you are very transactionally minded and you're using video simply for the case studies and the research that says that you're going to get an increase in this or an increase in that, that could be a motivator for you. But if you are transactional in your approach, and you're not truly sincere about this person and this opportunity, do not use video. Because as subtle as it might be, the discrepancy between your word choice, your facial expressions, your tone, your pace, any discrepancy that reveals a lack of integrity... And I mean that in the most literal sense. I don't mean that you lack integrity if you're transactionally minded. It's fine to approach the world that way, as long as you're honest about it. If you're insincere or there's a gap there that is going to come through and we can... Again, humans have been doing this as long as we've been on two feet. Humans have been doing this for hundreds of thousands of years. We are very, very good. And there are people like the FBI profiler or whoever that is even expert at detecting those little discrepancies and those micro- expressions in our faces, but on a basic level, all of us do it. We do it very, very well. Some people call it a BS detector. But we can detect that insincerity. Sometimes it's really obvious, like when an athlete or a politician or somebody else is now at a press conference because they did something awful. And they're... I'm air quoting here, for people listening, " apologizing." We all know there's no sincerity there. And sometimes they are sincere, and we can feel that difference. And so, if you're sincere about what you're doing, there's nothing better you can do, because people will feel that from you. Even if they don't articulate it, even if they can't say it, even if they can't put it in their own words, they will feel your level of sincerity. And it's one of the most winning things you can do. It's fundamentally attractive. If you're excited about what you're doing or you're sincere about the value or opportunity, it's a winning play. And if you're not, I would caution you, because as subtle as it might be, we can detect that gap.
Jared: Two last questions. Number one, what are the three podcasts that are top to you right now that you're listening to? It doesn't matter if they're just recreational or business. What are your three favorites right now?
Ethan Beute: I've got so many. I'm going to leave somebody out. So, the one I've been listening to a lot lately is called Gain Grow Retain. It's these two guys, Jay Nathan and Jeff... And I'm going to get his last name wrong, but it's Breunsbach. And they work for a company called Higher Logic. They started their own consulting business and then sold it into Higher Logic recently. Really smart conversations. Really good stuff. I'm loving the casted podcast with Lindsay Tjepkema. I think I've messed her last name up too.
Jared: Yeah, we actually just had her on recently.
Ethan Beute: Cool. So, if you're thinking about doing a podcast, that's a podcast hosted by a podcaster hosting podcasters talking about podcasting. It's really, really good.
Jared: Podcast inception.
Ethan Beute: Yeah. Yeah. I love Surf and Sales. It's super low budget, but it's raw conversations with revenue leaders in a variety of different companies, Surf and Sales. There's a bunch, but I love them. On Being is one that I love personally. The Rich Roll podcast is awesome. B2B Growth is a good one. A bunch of good podcasts, but those are just a few off the top of my head.
Jared: Just goes on and on.
Ethan Beute: Yeah, yeah. I could go with more, and I know I left somebody. A friend or someone I really respect and listen to a lot, I left him out. How I Built This is amazing.
Jared: Last question. Where can everybody find all things Ethan and BombBomb?
Ethan Beute: Awesome. So again, my name is Ethan Beute. Last name is B- E- U- T- E. And you can find me on pretty much every social network. Linkedin is obviously a great place to start, but I welcome connection on any network. We're called BombBomb, B- O-M-B-B- O- M- B. com. So, you can find us at that URL. And of course we're BombBomb on every social network. And if you want to learn more about the book, Rehumanize Your Business, you can find it in Amazon, or you can just go to bombbomb. com/ book. And the podcast is at bombbomb. com/ podcast.
Jared: Amazing. And if you just type his name in Google, for anybody out there, he's going to come up on a million different podcasts. So, just pick-
Ethan Beute: Fortunately, it's a pretty unique name.
Jared: Pick any of them. They're a great listen. Ethan, thank you so much for your time today.
Ethan Beute: Thank you so much. I loved it. I know we went a little bit long, I think.
Jared: No, it was perfect.
Ethan Beute: Good. It's absolute pleasure. I'd be happy to do it again any time, whether or not we record it and release it.
Jared: Sounds good. Thanks, Ethan.
Ethan Beute: Cool. Thank you.
Jared: Thanks for joining us on this episode, and thanks to Ethan for being our guest. Also, thanks to our production team who helped put this together. Don't forget to check out the newest podcast on the Tobe Agency Podcast Network called Entrepreneurship Sucks, hosted by Andrew Hong. If you're into entrepreneurship or business at any level, I think you'll find a lot of what he has to say really insightful. So, don't forget to check that out. You can find that podcast and all of our podcasts at tobeagency. co. And if you liked this episode, don't forget to rate, subscribe, review, and tell a friend. We'll talk to you on the next one.