Marketing to audience intent instead of the funnel

Omnichannel Podcast Episode 37

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Our guest today is Ashley Faus. Her work has been featured in TIME, Forbes, and The Journal of Brand Strategy. She’s currently the head of lifecycle marketing for the portfolio at Atlassian.

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In this episode, Ashley and Noz Urbina unpack the power of content intent in boosting demand, dissecting learn vs. use intent, funnel phases in intent-focused strategies, and AI’s role in content creation. They offer expert insights and tips on streamlining content roles for team synergy, ensuring message harmony, and aligning marketing with audience needs.

“I actually think the funnel is a retrospective measurement tool, not a forward-looking strategy tool. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, ‘Today I shall be in the awareness phase.’ People don’t behave that way. So, I like to frame up the audience journey in terms of a playground, where people can go up, down, sideways; they can chart their own journey.” – Ashley Faus

What you’ll learn

  • The Importance of Content Intent: Understand the difference between learn intent and use intent, and how this knowledge can dramatically improve demand generation and pipeline generation.
  • Redefining the Funnel: Learn how the traditional top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel model needs augmenting, if not replacing, with content modelled by intent.
  • AI in Content Creation: Discover the spectrum of content creation from 100% human to 100% AI, and learn how to match the intent with the appropriate approach for creating meaningful content.
  • Audience Intent Mapping: Gain insights into mapping the customer journey to a “playground” model where consumers can chart their own path, moving beyond the linear funnel model to understand consumer behavior more accurately.
  • Content Planning and Strategy: Find out how breaking down content into actionable steps and clear CTAs can guide users more effectively towards their goals.
  • Effective Marketing through Understanding: Learn the importance of tailoring marketing messages to individual preferences and interests, and how understanding the job or message behind each piece of content can lead to more successful engagement.
  • Collaboration and Strategy in Content Marketing: Discover the critical role of collaboration across teams to create consistent messaging, the importance of a multichannel approach, and how to scale content marketing strategies effectively.

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Speaker(s):

Ashley Faus
Ashley Faus
Atlassian
Noz Urbina
Noz Urbina
Urbina Consulting

Full session transcript

THIS IS AN AUTOMATED TRANSCRIPT

 

Noz Urbina 00:32

Hello everybody. My name is Noz Urbina, founder of Urbina Consulting and your host at the omnichannel X Podcast. I’m here today to introduce my discussion with Ashley Faus. Ashley has been part of OmnichannelX events several times. According to her bio, the way she described herself is a marketer, writer and speaker by day, and a singer, actor and fitness enthusiast by night. She has handled all aspects of marketing strategy and execution. She’s on social media content creation, demand generation, even event management. And she works crafting those high level narratives, which resonate with audiences. And her passion is connecting different types of content with appropriate distribution channels. So you see what we did there. She has actually been quite successful and well received. She’s quite an accomplished writer, speaker and so on. She has been featured in publications like time, Forbes, marketing, profs, and the muse. Additionally, she’s delivered talks at various marketing, top on various marketing topics at various events like inbound, the Harvard Business Review, and of course omnichannel X. Ashley’s experience her insights, her philosophy, and her thoughts on corporate life etiquette and decision making are all on a website that she puts out called Conscious the corporate.com. So you can check that out after the episode. And in this episode, we can talk together about the importance of simplifying content creation, and tailoring it to the customer’s needs and goals. We’re going to talk about mapping from people’s journeys and preferences to the right message, and format for maximum impact. We also are going to discuss the importance of aligning content and messaging across different channels and funnel stages to create a seamless customer journey. But we’re going to question the entire concept of the funnel. Ashley argues that the traditional linear funnel is inadequate for understanding consumer behavior. And I agree. people’s intentions and actions are much more complex and varied. So she proposes a model that takes into account different intents and creating for intents, such as a buy intent, use intent, learn intent and get help intent. And we’re going to talk about how these intents can be addressed to various types of content, and content about considering content and content in the context of the very next action you want people to take. And building appropriate calls to action, move people in the right direction. Of course, we’re also going to round that off with a discussion about the potential for artificial intelligence to generate or facilitate the creation of various types of content to support the user journey and these different intents. So I hope you enjoy the episode. Let us know what you think by email LinkedIn, or in the comments if you’re if you’re watching this on a on a channel that allows comments and we hope to see you in the next one.

Ashley Faus  13:54

So I’m Ashley. I am a marketer, writer and speaker by day and a singer actor and fitness fiend by night. I’m currently the head of lifecycle marketing for the portfolio at Atlassian. And, yeah, what I’ve been working on lately, and you know, spoiler alert Noz and I started talking before we hit the record button, and now we’re like, we’ve got a game record. We got to just get all the thoughts. So continuation of that, that pre discussion. I’m on a whole kick about intent, content, intent and audience intent. So excited to dive into that today.

Noz Urbina  14:32

Awesome. Awesome. I’m a big fan. I think we’re gonna come at it from we’re I’m anticipating a lot of violent agreement in this podcast which may not be the most exciting listening, but I think that what we what will be exciting is that we will come at it from slightly different lenses. So I think we’ll come out with a very nicely rounded conversation. So audience intent, we do like a ton of journey mapping. So we’re looking at like audience personas and jobs to be done. And even talking about mapping the content or information type because No, I’m I’m a structured content guy. So we’re doing content models and content typing, and mapping that to the intent. So when you say audience intent, what does that what does that mean for you?

Ashley Faus  15:18

I’ll actually zoom out a little bit and since I’m coming at it more from a pure marketing standpoint, what marketers tend to do is they tend to map it to the funnel and so they say there’s awareness consideration, you know, purchase decision, whatever the standard kind of three phase funnel and you and I’ve talked before about this, but I’ll give just a slight bit of background. I actually think the funnel is a retrospective measurement tool, not a forward looking strategy tool. Nobody wakes up in the morning and it’s like today I shall be in the awareness phase, right? Like, haha, I’m considering things people don’t behave that way. So I like to frame up the audience charity in terms of a playground, where people can go up down sideways, they can chart their own journey. So what that means for us as a marketer, is that most of the time, people are not coming to us with a buy intent, or if they are coming to us with a buy intent or a purchase intent. They’re very specifically looking to purchase and so the problem with the funnel is we think we have to force people into this buy intent, and we have to kind of like bait and switch them and nobody wants to buy everybody’s trying not to buy nobody wants to buy spa sales content, right? How do we do that? Yeah, like I actually disagree with that, right? So if we think about this from an intent standpoint, both from the audience and from the brand perspective, there is a certain cohort of folks who do want to buy and in that case you should sell but there’s also people who generally are trying to understand or may stumble on a brand and be like, Man, I like them. I trust them. I just I don’t know, I just, I just have an affinity for this brand, right? So there’s a class of content that I would call either trust or affinity content. And from the brand side, the goal is to have people find it, discover it, share it, whatever, and generally have a sense of like, those guys, they know what they’re talking about, right? There’s a help intent or remediation intent, where it’s like, Man, I’m trying to troubleshoot a problem. I already have the product or I already have the service. How do I do that? How do I fix something or I’m trying to really understand like, something’s gone wrong. There’s use intent, which this would align very nicely with the jobs to be done. I’m trying to solve this very specific problem, and I’m googling how to do you know, how to build a backlog with JIRA Software? Like clearly somebody’s already aware clearly, somebody already has the product they’re trying to use it. It’s not broken. Like they’re just trying to do a basic thing, right. So there’s used intake content, and then there’s learn intent content, which if we think about this, in terms of the next action, someone would take, they would think about this, I’d be like, or maybe they would discuss it they would go on a podcast and talk about or maybe they would share with their network and say I just read this super interesting article, like, it inspired these thoughts, right? It’s learn and take content. So those are the cons. Those are the intents that we think about and you can see those are like, the only one that is kind of mapped to the linear funnel would be the buy intent content. And in that case, it’s basically all bottom of funnel in the traditional model. If you’re doing a looping decision journey, where there’s basically that retention cross sell upsell expansion piece, the use intent content, or the help intent content might be relevant as well. But again, it just, you see that it starts to break when you start thinking about intent. And trying to map it to the funnel like it just

Noz Urbina  19:01

doesn’t. I’m not a I’m not a fan. You know, I think it exists. I think it exists. I think we do go through a period of being unaware and then a period, clear consideration and then period and then we decide like that at the highest conceptual level. I’d have a problem with is that is that the extent to which you should plan your content and structure your content? No. So this kind of like those are my big three buckets and I just throw everything at those three buckets that I think is not good. So when we when I say jobs to be done, we actually mean that a lot broader. So were we we would have like, like highest level jobs, like I’m a doctor and I want to set up a thriving practice by establishing my name in the community and providing a high level of service to my patients. And then that breaks down into lower level jobs, which would map to the kind of things that you’re talking about, like I’ve got, you know, hire an assistant, I’ve got to write this prescription today. I’ve got all these all these all these different, lower, more granular jobs. They’re all for us. That’s all jobs to be done, because the things that I’m trying to accomplish, and then the question is on my journey of accomplishing them, I will have various intense depending on what that journey is and who I am and what my background is, what my relationship to your brand is. And then how do we figure out where people are coming in what intents to they have and then use that to make some sort of gap analysis on our content. So you know, if we have been drinking the Kool Aid of the of the All I need is these three big buckets middle, top, middle and bottom. Of funnel for too long, my content may be really patchy, because no one has really been thinking about it the right way. So how do you help people kind of break down their current state and try to move in the right direction.

Ashley Faus  20:53

So one of the big things that I like to do from a super tactical level two things is ask, what is the very next action you want someone to take? And then what is the CTA associated with that action? So the very next action is go into the product and do the thing they just explored. Okay, so you want them to use the product. They’ve just googled, let’s say how to build a backlog in JIRA Software doing project management stuff. The CTA should not be learn more. No, but I just learned I just I learned, I used I understand now how to use so the CTA should be start building your backlog, or build a backlog, right? Yes, it shouldn’t be learn more. It shouldn’t be get started. It should be build a backlog. And so if you think about that next action, I want them to sign up for the product. Great. Here’s the core features. Awesome. I want these features. How do I get the features? I’m not learning more. I’m not getting started. It’s start a trial. Sign up for free. Try JIRA Software. Right. Great. I have features I want to try the features try the features for free so that

Noz Urbina  22:15

I can I in fact, you’re giving me vivid flashbacks to journey mapping workshops. I don’t know if you’ve ever talked about this, but when we talk about a journey and content we like we simplified down but questions over time. Like okay, I’m a human being and I’m, I want to I want to get over there. I have that objective. How do I get started? You know, I have my initial round of questions. I might unknown unknowns are popping up like this. I have no idea how you evaluate this type of enterprise software. I don’t know how you you know, choose a mortgage, whatever your you know, whatever your initial questions are, and then as you learn new questions will reveal themselves. And the what your what I really liked about what you’re doing is you’re you’re referring to something that we think well, that it’s actually telling me we got to get more explicit about this is that as we’re teaching about journey mapping, we say the thing that moves you to the next stage, like if you imagine journey map with rows and columns, Yep, yeah, I’ve got the like the what I’m doing and I got my goals and then I’ve got the questions that we’re talking about the content planning stuff. And at the bottom, we have metrics and CTAs and we always tell people, the CTAs and the metrics are telling you how are how you tell and how you move people along the columns. Like that’s how you measure progress. So because like if people if they don’t have a never had a journey, they’ve never thought about user intent. They’ve never mapped a content out this way. They’re just chucking it out in those 233 big buckets, then this kind of thinking about Alright, so what are the stages that this person is going through informationally content wise? And then how do we know that they’re moving forward? Like do we chuck a blog out there and hope that they move forward or as you’re saying Do we put something there that we either algorithmically by watching behaviors, or even better can we pop on actual button that says, when you click this, I know you’ve taken a step forward, and I can now address you in a different way with different messaging.

Ashley Faus  24:14

Yeah, well, and the other nice thing about this when you’re very explicit about your intent, and the CTA isn’t the very next action you don’t have to do this bait and switch of like we’re going to trick people into buying learn more sometimes is an it’s like more marketers marketers trying to trick people we’re like, Haha, learn more and then it’s like buy something and it’s like that’s you told me I was gonna learn. And so if you give explicit CTAs where you say, try the product for free or sign up or contact sales, versus read another article, watch a demo video, explore the blog. Great if somebody hits that contact sales button, when they in fact do fill out the form to contact sales, that actually is a hot lead or marketing qualified lead or whatever term you’re using or a prospect at that point, because they have very explicitly chosen the contact sales. When you gave them the opportunity to not contact sales. So if they don’t contact sales, great, you don’t need to pretend or cajole them into contacting sales. It’s right there. They have two options. By not by if they choose by they know very explicitly they’re going down a by intent path. And then that also makes it easy for you from a content perspective to sell them something you don’t have to hand and hold on right these long paragraphs about in today’s ever evolving world. know I’ve picked a buy button. Sell me so the audience loves it. People love it. Marketers love it. We all love it. This

Noz Urbina  25:54

is totally resonating with me because the emphasis we’re always talking about is relationships. Are you a good relationship partner? Yeah, bait and switches not being a good relationship partner. That kind of like treating people as a data point to shove along a spreadsheet is not being a good relationship partner, actually understanding the other human being and what they’re, you know, what the reciprocity of this relationship is, and, you know, learning about them. That’s being a good relationship partner. And the the the staff member lost it. So that bit which I love, and you’re so you’re saying about the the putting the right call to action? Oh, yes. And we’ve also said that content is a product and content marketers, especially need to think about their about their work as content as information products, these are content products, which we are designing with for people for their market requirements, that will deliver them value so that they will give us money eventually. And, and bringing like, what you’re what you’re literally saying about make the call to action button clear. That’s like UX design one on one. So you go into the like the content designers or the product designers that are always telling you like don’t have a button where I don’t know really what I’m gonna get on the other end of that button. That’s bad product. Design, and it’s bad marketing design, and content design. Yeah.

Ashley Faus  27:21

Well, and it’s interesting to in that vein, when you’re forced to say like what specifically is the next action someone’s going to take, you start to realize that assets themselves do not have an intent. And this happens frequently where someone’s like, we need awareness content, so make a blog. Oh, okay. That correlation. That doesn’t make any sense like a blog is not inherently awareness, content. Assets. Videos are not inherently by intent content or bottom of funnel content, right? Like there’s this idea or social posts. Yeah, our social posts are our top of funnel. What? No, you can share demos or products. I actually it’s so funny that this is actually a perfect example. I want to I’m on a buyer’s journey right now I’m in I don’t even know which funnel portion I’m in because I came to it. Basically with a buy intent, but I don’t actually have budget yet. So I’m like vetting it. So I guess I’m in consideration even though I’m, like very intent on buying. I’m just trying to figure out which thing I buy anyway. So but the way I got into this, and this actually dovetails nicely with another huge topic in this space around AI, right. So I have started a new team. I know I’m like I got you I started a new I just moved into a new role a couple months ago. One of the things that we’re working on is repurposing content. So taking our live event content, breaking it into snippets, blogs, etc. Right? And I was like this seems like a use case. That’s great for AI generating clips, like a human should not be going through and scrubbing a video and working down timestamps and editing, no, dude, a machine can do this. So I am working with somebody on my team and I said, Go explore these tools. In the meantime, I’m connected to somebody on LinkedIn. They just launched a product and so they posted the sizzle reel of this product on LinkedIn. And it was literally hitting every single point. It’s like, do you have long form content? Does it take a human too long to edit it? Introducing our product? We generate it and then they like hit the features? Right? It’s like a two minute video. It’s it’s very much product related very much by intent content. And I saw that I was like, I need to put that on my list. I’m not in a place right now where I can explore it. But as soon as I was put that on the list, and I said hey, I saw this tool on LinkedIn go figure it out, right? In that case, again, where am I in the funnel? Oh well tech see it was top of funnel because you weren’t in a place to buy it but we made you aware of okay, but I was already in the awareness of the problem space. I was actually already in I’m gonna buy a tool to solve this. I just don’t have time right now to evaluate a specific set of tools. And then when I did, I basically dropped somebody on my team directly into the bottom of the funnel and said, find me a tool to buy.

Noz Urbina  30:31

So I think I want to double click on what you said earlier because I think it was really important, and we need to re underline it, which is this misconception of a format has an intent. Or are you What did you call it a tax? Oh, yeah.

Ashley Faus  30:48

And asset has assets with the intent. Oh, yes. Like there’s an inherent intent.

Noz Urbina  30:53

Yes. So which is even? Yeah, so the asset type or what I would call like a like a format. So you have a video a blog, a social post, white paper, a brochure that you have all your what in our in our world would be top level content types or information product types. We’re also working through the same thing all the time of these things. That was that word that you use, it may not mean what you think it means. So you it just people will keep people will not actually look at what is going on inside a type. So the types get very mismatched, so they’re chucking out white papers and brochures and blog posts. And like so if you imagine you’re on the receiving end of this, you know, I subscribed to your blog. Oh, heavens to Betsy then I get every all these freaking posts about all these different things I really don’t care about. Whereas if you had if you had not thought that the format blog was what I cared about, and I’m not I don’t wake up in the morning go I love blogs, I you know, or videos or whatever the formats are. You’re coming in looking with some sort of objective you know, I have I have a job. I have a job that I want to get done. I got to work my way through it. So you have this job of working through these videos. How do I figure that out? You know what software even exists? You know, you already knew there was aI maybe somebody else didn’t know though so whatever. We have to move through that thing. And we have messages. We have, you know, our product can do this. Did you know that this technology exists? Whatever the messages are and those messages may exist in any channel or format. And this idea that the message goes with a certain channel or format like we only say this on social why and how like what what is the point of why not match where the person is and what they’re after? what their interests are, to the right message and give them you know, options? Maybe they want to watch a video maybe they want to read some people don’t you know I’m I’m a video guy. Some people are readers. I don’t. I don’t dig on reading. So it’s just it’s a matter of mapping people and preferences and interests, to the message that you’re talking about the format for me is the last thing that you want to be bringing into this when you’re mapping out this whole plan.

Ashley Faus  33:25

Yeah, and the other thing too is thinking about which messages resonate in which you know, channels and then from a distribution standpoint, how long will they resonate? So this is another thing. Again, I’m like, very in this mindset right now because we have our we have a big event coming up at the end of April. It’s the Atlassian team conference. We’ve got speakers coming in. We’ve got products, we got thought leadership it’s an excellent event and there’s a ton of content right? So naturally, we want to extend the shelf life of that content. Panels are not a great way to like they they’re not a good format for on demand viewing. And they’re also pretty terrible for slicing and dicing into short snippets because most people don’t say things concisely on a panel. Number one, they meander a bit. Number two, there’s too much context. There’s a lot of well as Noz mentioned earlier, right even in this podcast, you and I started talking before we hit record, and we jumped right in, which is great. But the first thing we both did was say let me step back and give context about what we were talking about. So that if you want to cut this into snippets, you can cut that and you have context and instead of me saying what Noz and I were talking about earlier and just picking up and it’s like wait, but what were you talking about earlier? I don’t I don’t know what you’re referencing, or if I say oh, yeah, in a previous podcast Noz and I talked about the playground. So let’s just agree on that. If you didn’t listen to that podcast, you had no idea what the playground is. So I took a step back and I said let me level set about the playground. Now let’s continue this conversation in general panels. That doesn’t happen. Right. What panels are actually great for is writing a blog post about five key takeaways from the panel with you know, Noz Ashley and whoever else right, and then giving those takeaways and maybe you pull a quote or two. But they’re great for live viewing. They’re not great for on demand viewing or for video snippets. So how do you think about the investment of what to capture? And what to repurpose and what to use those for? That’s a completely separate conversation than the intent of the panel because the intent of the panel we’ve got some that are customer stories, where they’re talking about how they switched from one of our competitors to us. And so of course from a product marketing standpoint, and a demand gen standpoint, they’re like, these are excellent switching customer stories like this is perfect, right? We need a video clip of this big customer saying, here’s why I switched from competitor to Atlassian. Reality is they’re not going to say it that way. They’re going to take five minutes and blather on and chase a rabbit. What if I gave you a takeaways where I pull in those quotes and you end up with three big quotes of here’s why big brand big brand and big brand switched and if its cost or efficiency or consolidation where ease of use whatever the thing is, right? I can turn that into a carousel for you. I can turn that into a sales deck for you. I can turn that into a you know, one pager. That’s much more consumable and actually what you want, which is that social proof of these big brands saying here’s the three reasons they switched, there’s no way I’m going to get that for you from above.

Noz Urbina  36:58

So that’s perfect. Like as an example of why we have to think about and plan omni channel and audience intent based. Yes. What was our audience? What are we? What are we trying to address in terms of messaging and to what pain points like I was when I say questions over time about the journey, like if you can’t match your content to somebody actually having that question, why is it there? And, and then, allowing for a lifecycle. So is because we have the customer journey, or the audience journey, I should say, customer journey, the audience journey of I’m going to you know, I’m trying to get my thing done and that may be that might involve buying your product so you better show up at the right time with the right content. The but we as the content producers, we’ve been spending so long getting to the asset as if it was the end point. Like we got the panel, we’ve got the panel done, we got the brochure, we created the manual, you know, we got the blog out as as opposed to like as if that was the end. And so and what you’re talking about AI is not at all. It’s not new, but at least now, it’s so much easier to take those what we thought were endpoints and envision their role within the overall lifecycle of content. So I have the message, my products better big brands switch to me so you know that that’s one of your big messages. You’re trying to get out this panel. It may be birthed in the panel, but then it’s going to evolve like that was its its embryo and then it’s going to split and divide and multiply and evolve into lots of other incarnations and representations of that message over time. I’m finding so many people in very large companies really struggle with this lifecycle thinking like okay, what are we creating now? And what is the how do we make these assets? More like how do we get more leverage? out of it? You know, how do we create a plan and a model where our people can say, Okay, you got a panel? Did you know that you can make a dozen things out of a panel for all these, like all these different asset formats and ways that you can get these key messages out key messages, you know, endorsements quotes, like what I read, like there’s all sorts of assets that you can mine out of a panel transcript, top paint, and I think this, whatever it was back,

Ashley Faus  39:45

yeah. And I think this actually goes back to the intent right where the people don’t think that you could get a social post out of a panel about switching from a competitor to Atlassian. Because a social post is top of funnel and if somebody switched, that’s middle of funnel, right? So it’s even that sense of where if you get into this mindset, that a certain asset type or certain channel only has a certain you know, funnel stage right like not even intent. It’s like funnel stage where you say, oh, social media is top of funnel. You know, our blog is middle of funnel and the Product Tours bottom of funnel like makes me I just struggled so much with like I just struggled so much with that right but if that’s the mindset, you know, that you’re in or if your team is primarily responsible for traditional like brand for example, right brand is considered top of funnel or awareness right. brands can be middle of funnel or bottom of funnel, right like if in the consideration set if you’ve done a good job of branding, and so the only companies that are in the consideration set, like you basically get yourself into that shortlist. Because, like it’s it’s a weird thing. I just, it’s almost a weird thing for me to try to do one to one but like I feel like I do this language translation where I’m like, okay, in the playground, right you’ve got content depths, you’ve got intent, you’ve got assets, you’ve got channels. All of those get mapped. They don’t. None of that just like inherently exists on its own as marketers, we structure it in a way that makes a smart, seamless, helpful journey for our audience. And for our business, right? We’re not doing this altruistically. Yes, we care about our audience. But again, we’re business again, my way go do altruistic things. I’ve got a separate space for that right but mutually beneficial relationship. Yeah. I’m trying to make money we’re trying to have a reciprocal relationship right where the audience gets a solution to their problem. The company that is selling that solution gets money because they have matched problems and solutions for humans right but when when you get in this mindset that like I’m the brand team, so I do top of funnel. Oh, I’m the demand sheet and demand gen. So I do bottom of funnel, right. You can kind of assign you need to have roles and responsibilities. You can assign teams to that but it still breaks if they’re not all working together. And they’re not understanding that it’s actually about the intent. And channels don’t have an inherent intent. assets don’t have an inherent intent. And so if you say okay, blog team, you do awareness

Noz Urbina  42:52

and then the question is, how do we get those? How do we get this? Sometimes 1000s of people Yeah. To around the world sometimes, and the kind of companies that we’re talking about, or even if there’s five of you. There’s five of you in the same building. How do you all kind of get together and discuss that structure that you need to bring to the table because the channels and the formats don’t bring it for you? And how do you then work against that plan? Turn that into an actionable plan. Like I’m interested, so where have you had like, I have my own opinion. So what have you had success with changing that and what are like what are kind of tools or takeaways that you have felt have added value in transitioning people from from one set mindset so what other and then do you have any do you have any before and after Change Overs? Stories of people who came to the playground from the from the front of mindset?

Ashley Faus  43:56

Yeah, it’s interesting. I actually think that you I think we’re going through this evolution now. And I think that people like me and you right, where you get broken into consulting to help reshape this. In my case, I’m internal. This is like what my team does. My team helps act as the connectors and the bridge builders and the translators among the other teams. And so

Noz Urbina  44:20

you own journeys them Do you own this, or do you facilitate them doing it? I

Ashley Faus  44:27

generally am doing more facilitation and then I’m owning certain parts of the execution because you know, you can’t just sit outside and be like, Oh, yes, yes, this is what you need to do. Right. So my team does own certain parts of the execution. We don’t own the entire journey. And actually, I mean, we’re big enough that no one owns the entire journey. It’s impossible when you have the portfolio size that we have, and the number of teams who are involved. So the big thing that we need help with which is where a lot of you know where my team helps, is with those handoffs, like there are certain teams like again, if your demand gen or sales, pretty much you exclude you are exclusively doing by intent content, like if you’re doing sales, your whole job is to buy get people to buy, right. And yes, in general, brand teams tend to do more. either learn intent content, or like trust and affinity content. I want people to feel like they have a connection with us. I want them to like us. I want them to trust us. I want them to feel that we’re smart, right? That tends to sit in brand teams. But if you’ve got brand up here saying one thing and you’ve got sales down here saying something completely different, that is going to undermine on both sides, right. So you need all of the teams to be working together. So in my case, the way this is working is basically that teams like mine are acting as that bridge. So I actually just had a perfect example of this that came up the other day I posted on about it on LinkedIn. We’ve got you know, an SEO team that is working through a lot of kind of programmatic SEO, but because of all the AI generated content, Google is kind of starting to crack down. And they’ve added with basically the perspectives tab. They’re placing more emphasis on who is the subject matter expert that is offering or contributing to this content, so that they know that it has the authority, the expertise, the experience and the trustworthiness, right the heat. So our SEO team is now trying to be more strategic about partnering with our subject matter experts. And so yeah, yeah, and a lot of those experts, because we’ve sell to a lot of technical audiences sit in product or engineering. So the teams that actually have the relationship with those subject matter experts are actually our product marketers. They work very closely to help shape a product, obviously doing product launches, etc. So you’ve got SEO over here saying, Here’s what the market is currently talking about. Here’s all the h1 the h2 is, here’s the keyword set. This is how people find this content. Then you’ve got subject matter experts who are like, well, but this is what they shouldn’t be talking about, or this is how we’re talking about it, or we’re actually pushing the envelope. And you’ve got product marketing kind of sitting in the middle of being like, oh, okay, but SEO like the outline doesn’t totally match what we’re trying to say the conversation should go right so they pinged me and they were like, how do we bridge the gap between what Seo says they need and what subject matter expert wants to say? And so that’s a scenario where I’m able to come in and say, well, here’s how you can shape that you can say the pitfalls of this traditional thinking or say, here’s the common questions. Here’s what you should be asking. That gets you the SEO piece, but it also gets you the subject matter expertise. And in the case where we’ve got a product that can solve this or we’re building the product this way, then you can say and that’s why we included this capability. Or that’s what you need a product that includes this feature or this capability, in order to move beyond the traditional knowledge. So that whole piece and so now I’ve got a couple of people who are like, yes, okay, I see it. I see the SEO, I see the thought leadership. I see you know, the product marketing, I see the asset type, right, and I say and the way that you can get this connection from the from the subject matter expert is they actually just delivered a talk at, you know, AWS reinvent, hold that transcript, and that’ll tell you the way that we’re focusing on this, right, so it’s currently not scalable, like I’m trying to figure out how to scale this. But having teams where their gold and their remit is to be that connector. I’m not gold on how many signups I specifically drive or how much revenue I specifically influence or pipeline I specifically generate, or how many keywords I rank for, right? I’m a contributor to all of those other goals. Yes. And then for them, right in my peer feedback, they say Ashley helped us achieve X Ashley’s team contributed to

Noz Urbina  49:32

z. So this is why we keep inviting

Ashley Faus  49:35

those teams that go across aren’t beholden to just the one metric for one intent, because that’s how you end up with the silos.

Noz Urbina  49:42

Yes, this is this is why you’re part of the OmniX family because we we keep trying to talk about this idea of that there has to be facilitator roles. There have to be dot connectors, like my book was connecting the dots between business and business Brandon benefits, this dot connecting a role and the ability to bring together multiple disciplines is so fundamental to making any good content happen, and then an order of magnitude more for omni channel content. So we so we’re sure it’s funny because I’m again, I’m having flashbacks here because we’re putting together strategies for multiple big brands right now and we’re kind of drawing this box going you need a role here. You need this dot connector facilitator, because you have been planning based on assets and channels and funnel for so long. There’s nobody who has the visibility nor the remit to bring this all together. And I think and I would like to know, let us know in the comments or email us if I’m wrong. I think that a lot of the people who listen to this podcast a lot of people come to on Channel X are either in roles that are maybe not officially like yours. Hopefully they are, but they are they are kind of being tasked with this or are trying to get this done. They are seeing the gap and they’re trying to fill it maybe it’s not officially on like that’s not why HR hire them. Maybe you know, maybe the role isn’t defined properly, or the the team is not defined properly. But they’ve established dear listener, that that this it needs doing. Somebody has to come in take a broader view, think think, multichannel think information content lifecycle and audience journey and be able to bring that messaging together. With some tools and templates and techniques and saying, you’ve never done this before. I’m not just going to tell you make omnichannel good now, because that’s going to be meaningless for you. In the same way we can’t do that to our customers. We can’t say you know, decide we have to help we have to internally as you’re doing, reach out, educate, explain, justify, you know, sell the benefits, demonstrate that this can be done, and that there are repeatable methodologies for doing it. And I think that’s I think you’re you’re, you’re you’re living the, you’re leaving the only path. They all I think the only way in a modern enterprise to do this is to have a role in your position. Who is who is for the love of God hopefully has the management support to to to do it properly. But somebody’s got to do it, even if it’s on a desk. Yeah.

Ashley Faus  52:32

And to be clear, like, I’m also fortunate that I have such smart, capable partners elsewhere in the organization, right. I’m not the only person who thinks this way. You know, the having having it structured as a role, where the doc connector and the team and all of that but like, I’ve got super smart colleagues who have been doing this in their space and their scope of influence for years, so it’s not, you know, and I think this is true in a lot of big companies. There’s probably to your point, people who are doing this in their pocket or their sphere of ownership, but especially for companies that are trying to move up market and trying to move from selling point products to selling solutions. And so when you’re trying to go wall to wall, you’re trying to tell that comprehensive narrative. You can’t have just a single person or single team within a single product portfolio or a single area of the craft trying to do this. You can’t have just one smart product marketer in one portion of the portfolio, one smart SEO person in one part portion of the portfolio, right you’ve got to have and again people ask me like, What does a head of lifecycle marketing comma portfolio do? And I’m like, Well, it’s a little bit of an oddball title, but what it’s trying to get at is that I go across all of the different markets and all of the portfolio so if you see you’ve got a product marketer in JIRA Software, you’ve got a SEO person who focuses very specifically on ITSM, which stands for Information Technology Service Management, or you got, you know, an email marketer who runs the nurture programs for Confluence. Right, they can still think holistically about that journey, but they’re very focused on you know, I gotta, I gotta drive open rates, or I gotta drive adoption rates for Confluence or for JIRA, or for JIRA Service Management, right. I’m ambivalent to which product wins, right? Like, I win if all of our products win, if Atlassian wins, I win. And so you do have to have that mix of people who if the company wins, or if all the products win, or if any of the products win? Yes, we all win, right? And then you do have to have the people who are saying, Okay, I’m going to drive to this specific product. So you have to have that balance by Yeah.

Noz Urbina  54:53

And you touched on a very hot button there, which is if it’s done, and that, you know, and I’m sorry to any of you who are listening who are in that situation, if it if the incentives have not set up properly, so that the organization isn’t trying to get everyone to get the whole brand to move forward together. You get people like I’m spending my my SEO budget to fight my neighbors like down the hall. Their content like it’s that’s that happens. It’s a nightmare. Oh, yeah.

Ashley Faus  55:23

Well, and I’ve seen this in is happens in agencies all the time, right where account managers if they can’t get their team doesn’t have bandwidth to take the work. They’ll just turn it down instead of giving it to another account manager and I’m just like, why would you not give the work to your coworker? And it’s like, well, I’m the one who works that deal or they reached out to me or it’s my relationship. And it’s just like, kidding me? Like, no, the company wins if you bring the work in and if you don’t have if your team doesn’t have bandwidth, or you don’t have the right specialists for this particular ask, and your teammate has it, send it over and that’s another thing that I will say again, and I know I’m I’m very fortunate, you know, one of the values that Atlassian is play as a team. And so I’m very fortunate that all of my colleagues are like, Listen, I don’t have bandwidth, but this is a perfect opportunity for you. Or this this opportunity, or this message doesn’t resonate or our products doesn’t solve this, but hey, your product does. We’re getting these questions all the time. Here’s, here’s how we’ve tried to answer them. But like, I really think you guys this is a perfect opportunity for you. And so I am so fortunate that people come to me or I can go to them and say hey, this is what I’m seeing or this is where, you know, I think this is an opportunity. How do we work together on this? But I’ve definitely seen in the past, or we’re talking with other colleagues like outside that are just like, oh, yeah, if we don’t have bandwidth, we just don’t do it. And I’m like, what you don’t give it to another team like why?

Noz Urbina  56:57

So we’re in the homestretch here. I want to I want to put some, some concrete words on it. So I think we’ve talked about or describe the need for the central roles. You know, we talk about, you know, content strategy and content design or content experience design being central functions, also the turn terms and what I’m what I’m giving you, the dear listener is like, a kind of a shopping list, or a bit of also a bit of a maturity model. In the sense that one thing you can have a content strategist or a Content Designer or content, experience, designer, whatever you want to call them, but this role, which is maybe a little bit more boots on the ground, connecting with people making this happen, and then at a more, you know, if you want it, you are in a position to take this wider and more enterprise, talk about, you know, enterprise editorial boards or, you know, cross functional cross disciplinary editorial boards that go what are we making? You know, are your colleagues outside of marketing, producing tons of blogs and thought leadership content, but you just didn’t even know that those assets were there because they’re not marketing assets. So that like, can you start to think about rather than just everyone in the company should use my stuff? Because it’s the best or can you can you think about it, like within the company reciprocal relationships, where can you in the same way we said a format is not an intent. Neither is a source department. There’s gonna be tons of knowledge and assets and stuff with underneath your roof, that if you actually opened it open to the idea of investigating it might be valuable, especially now we’re talking about with AI. It was written as a very technical knowledge post, can ChatGPT lighten up the jargon for me and turn it into, you know, a more newbie learning piece like this? There’s all these opportunities that and I think what, we didn’t get much time to talk about it in terms of AI, I think it’s people can envision, envisage what we’ve always been talking about. You could do this before. Like, you could take the assets, restructure them, rewrite them, transform them. Now, it shouldn’t be a completely automatic process, in my opinion. I think that you want to have for probably the next generation, at least of AIS, are the current generation least of AIS, you always need a human on the loop, like checking everything that has been created like you do not want to be in one of those positions where you’re the one who led some an AI say something stupid. So you were talking about like aI team members, you know, you have a junior Junior writer who takes the transcripts and rewrites, the rewrites the top five takeaways and then you have a senior writer who’s a human being. Yeah, nice draft, I’ll take that. Or you know, they invite the AI into the room and say, Let’s brainstorm ideas. Like if these are our personas, what might their pain points be or look at this webpage? And given these pain points, which ones are we not addressing? Or tell me what the gaps are in this in this white paper? AI is great at all that stuff to kind of play off of bounce off of so including AI at different points in your workflow, talking to your colleagues having some some sort of shared journey map I make cart commit a cardinal sin earlier I said the journey and I I always brought people’s Knuckles for saying the journey because there’s so many journeys that the audience goes on. So but at least trying to put journeys in one place where we can talk about them and look at them together as teams I think those for me those are like I what I would like people to take away from your your message today. I’m so grateful for you coming and sharing it. Is there anything you wanted to add? people or people can learn more about you where we could follow up? Do you like like LinkedIn conversations? What’s how what are people’s possible next steps?

Ashley Faus  1:01:03

Yeah, LinkedIn is a great spot. Occasionally I’m on Twitter. I know we’re supposed to call it x. Nobody knows what x is. We’re calling it Twitter. So in theory, I’m there but LinkedIn is the best place. I post frequently and I generally try to respond to all the comments. So yeah, connect with me on LinkedIn. That’s the best place.

Noz Urbina  1:01:22

Awesome and didn’t you just win some sort of recognition on LinkedIn?

Ashley Faus  1:01:25

I did. I got the top voice the blue top voice batch. Very fancy. So yes, I just got the blue top boys badge, which is exciting.

Noz Urbina  1:01:35

gratulations Awesome. Thank you. So thank you so much, actually, it’s always a pleasure of someone who’s talking experience instead of theory and, and also validates that I’m not making all this stuff up there. Are brands people who work at brands who actually get it done. So thank you very much. Thank you.