How to Craft a Killer Research-Based Content Piece

| | Time to Read: 23 minutes

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Episode topic: How to craft a killer research-based content marketing strategy

In this episode, host Shahin Hoda chats with Brandon Redlinger, Senior Director, Product Marketing at ringDNA, about how marketers can create content that actually adds value to readers. Brandon shares practical ways to look for interesting topics to write about and sheds light on a team structure that works best when creating large pieces of content such as ebooks. During the conversation, he also stresses the importance of having long-term relationships with industry influencers and advises marketers to be strategic about the whole process.

This episode’s guest:

How to draft a killer research-based content piece

Brandon is a passionate growth marketer based out of San Francisco, California. During his decade-long career, he has worked in companies such as Engagio, Demandbase and PersistIQ. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Product Marketing at ringDNA, a revenue acceleration platform for sales engagement, conversation intelligence, performance insights and sales playbook execution.

Brandon is a true B2B marketer at heart and specialises in user acquisition, product management, B2B marketing, content creation, conversion rate optimisation, email marketing, SEO, SEM and Web Analytics. 

He has an extensive background in helping organisations create GTM strategies and orchestrate demand gen programs to power sales execution. He’s passionate about the intersection between technology and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. In his spare time, you'll often time him reading, playing hockey or spending time with his family.

Connect with him on LinkedIn

Connect with him on Twitter

Conversation segments on this episode:

  • [02:14] Content is all about providing value.
  • [02:58] Keep the fluff away.  
  • [03:05] The content should not be something that can be a 5-minute google search.
  • [04:08] First place to go for content topics should be sales teams.  
  • [04:20] Look for topics and questions on social media.
  • [08:01] How to start the research process?
  • [09:40] Subject matter experts are a good source of research.
  • [11:28] Best way to reach out to industry experts for getting their contribution.
  • [16:15] Growing relationships with SMEs and customers is essential.
  • [22:48] Team for creating an e-book - Outsource editing and design
  • [23:09] Keep the content creation in-house.
  • [25:41] All about research reports
  • [32:26] Advise for B2B Marketers

Resources mentioned on this episode:

About the Growth Colony Podcast

On this podcast, you'll be hearing from B2B founders, CMOs, marketing & sales leaders about their successes, failures, what is working for them today in the B2B marketing world and everything in between.

Hosted by Shahin Hoda & Alexander Hipwell, from xGrowth

Get in touch!

We would love to get your questions, ideas and feedback about Growth Colony, email alexander@growthcolony.org

 


Episode Full Transcript:

[00:36] Shahin Hoda  Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth and today I'm talking to Brandon Redlinger, Senior Director, Product Marketing at ringDNA about content creation, and how can marketers go back to creating research-based content that is going to grab attention and add value and turn into something that people actually want to read and consume? On that note, let's dive in. Brandon, awesome to have you here again. Second show that we're doing together. 

[01:03] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah.

[01:05] Shahin Hoda  Great to have you. 

[01:06] Brandon Redlinger  Absolutely.

[01:07] Shahin Hoda  So let's dive into this. For context as well. I'm gonna say, the thickest ebook that I've read was written by Brandon for whoever's listening. And with an ebook on account-based marketing. And that is the main reason that I want to have this conversation with Brandon, because, you know, you created that content, it's really hard to make an ebook that people actually read, right? I mean, how many I have, now I have tons of ebooks on my desktop, right? That I've just been like, this is great. I'm gonna read this and it just sits there and nothing happens, right? 

[01:47] Brandon Redlinger  You and everyone else, me included?

[01:51] Shahin Hoda  You know, you gotta love a good ebook collection strategy. But let's dive in, right. First of all, I want to ask you, how do you approach content creation? Like, what does that mean for you?

[02:08] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah, so content for me is all about providing value to whoever's reading it. Every single word, every single line, every single sentence has to provide some sort of value. The thing that pisses me off the most these days, is when someone is like, no one reads a blog post longer than 500 words these days. No one watches a webinar longer than 30 minutes these days. No one listened to a podcast longer than 20 minutes these days. And all of my experience tells me the opposite. They won't listen to podcasts or read blogs that are long if it's not interesting, right? 

[02:45] Brandon Redlinger  And that's why entire content philosophy is it's as long as it needs to be but no longer, right? You need to be able to get your point across, but don't put any filler, don't put any fluff in there. It all has to be very relevant content. And it shouldn't be any content that I can find in a five-minute Google search, right? So though, I build everything around those two philosophies for content. So I don't give a shit how long your podcast is like, some of the podcasts that I listened to are pretty damn long. There's a hockey podcast that I listened to, the one this morning that I just popped on was two and a half hours. Everyone knows The Tim Ferriss Show, right? They're known to be two and a half, three hours sometimes, right? And it's because it's good, interesting, relevant content.

[03:38] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Yeah, I think yeah, a lot of people are guilty of adding that fluff in there, right? And making it a little bit, ah, I can't find a better word for fluff. But, okay, let's talk about the first area that you focus on. How do you go about and picking a topic whether you know, in the past, like the content that you've done, or now ringDNA, the work that you're doing, how do you decide on land and on the topic?

[04:08] Brandon Redlinger  Totally. So content for me is heavily driven by talking with the sales team. And also just honestly listening out there. Listening on social listening in Slack communities, and really figuring out what are the most common questions that I'm getting? And I think that's the perfect place to start. Maybe pop on Quora, go on LinkedIn, go on all your Slack channels and just see what are those questions that people are asking? And if there's not great content out there, go create it. 

[04:39] Brandon Redlinger  Or if there is good content out there, but there are still questions coming up, write something similar and then take it to the next level, right? There's a concept out there in content called the Skyscraper Content. I think Brian Dean of Backlinko originally wrote about it, like, I don't know 6-7-8 years ago, but I think it's still very relevant. So just yeah, I think the first place I would go as a marketer would be my sales team. 

[05:07] Brandon Redlinger  And also, like, everyone talks about sales and marketing alignment. This is one of those actually practical things that you can do to build a relationship with your sales team. Everyone says all these things and then they turn around, and they don't actually do them to get sales and marketing alignment. But this is one of the things that I know works best because I've done it plenty of times before. And now that I am at a new job at a new company doing content, this works. Just go ask your sales team, what are the most common objections that you're getting, and then create content to get in front of those objections. 

[05:41] Brandon Redlinger  And then, of course, you've got to make sure that you're socialising that sales know when to use it, where to use it, how to use it, how to find it, and then make sure the sales rep knows you created that content based off of his or her direct feedback. So that then you get them used to coming to you and say, Brandon, I've got, I keep getting this question, we don't have any content out there. What can you do for me, right? 

[06:05] Brandon Redlinger  And then that's how you actually have a great relationship with sales. Obviously, sometimes, like you have that content, actually, honestly, a lot of times, right? You have that content, they just don't know. So that's why I also really want to emphasise the point of like, socialising that, and like, you have to tell reps, where that content is and how to find it and how to use it multiple times, in multiple different channels. So yeah, I've really been working on that lately, too.

[06:38] Shahin Hoda  I love it. Yeah, I think that's probably the most common question marketers get is, where do I find that? Where is it? 

[06:45] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah. Marketers roll their eyes every time. Hey, do we have this content?

[06:50] Shahin Hoda  I gave it to you last month.

[06:55] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah, exactly. 

[06:55] Shahin Hoda  Do we have a case study for this? 

[06:57] Brandon Redlinger  Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. It's honestly a lot of that is just like, training them. Instead of just sending them the link, Slack-ing them the link or whatever, it's like, hmm, did you check the sales portal under the case study tab? Or like, whatever that might be, right? Instead of just giving that to them, it's enabling them to go find it. So they don't have to come back to you.

[07:22] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Okay.

[07:25] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah. It's no more like, who's my favourite marketer, let me go about that. No more of that.

[07:30] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, that is usually the case, isn't it? All right. Yeah. Let's talk about research. And because I, you know, particularly want to talk about research-based content in our conversation today. How do you start, you know, let's say you've picked your topic, you've had a chat with sales, you've, you know, through whatever step it is that you go through, you've done your social listening, you've listened to customers, what they're saying objections, yada, yada, yada, you've picked a topic that you want to write about? How do you go about doing research on that topic? 

[08:04] Brandon Redlinger  Usually, the way that I approach it is, I'm just gonna go read a ton of content that's out there on the topic already. And you know, and this is largely how I put together a lot of the chapters for that ebook, is what's the chapter really mainly talking about, and then I'm gonna go, you know, I'm gonna do a Google search, and I'm opening, you know, 50 tabs, and then start to blow through those as quick as I can and find the best ones and really narrowing it down.  

[08:33] Brandon Redlinger  And then, you know, once I get to, you know, five, six blog posts that I really like, then it's starting to take content from there, and saying, alright, how do I make this my own? How do I put my own lens on this? How do I add value to this? Because I never want to rip anything off of anyone else, right? But the truth is these days like everyone's saying, basically the same things anyway. It's all about what unique perspective, or what unique value can you bring to that content?  

[09:04] Brandon Redlinger  So I have zero problems with saying, I grabbed this idea from over here, I grabbed another one from over here. And then maybe I came up with a third way to tie it all together. I think that's perfectly valid. Like, honestly, all or most of the ideas that are out there are just, you know, piggybacking off of what someone else said. And I think that's totally fine. Marketers shouldn't worry about that at all. 

[09:28] Shahin Hoda  Got it? And you know, do you find yourself reaching out to experts, reaching out to customers, reaching out to people that, yeah, is that something, is that part of your process? 

[09:40] Brandon Redlinger  So I do love experts and influencers and subject matter experts. Absolutely. So if you do look in either that guide or just of the 300 blog posts that I wrote, over, Engagio, a lot of that actually does have quotes. So yeah, I will reach out to a lot of industry influencers and say, hey, I'm doing a round-up piece, here are three questions. And then I'll have three roundup pieces that I can use. But then after that, I can take those quotes, and cherry pick those quotes and put it into any sort of content that I'm working on later. 

[10:20] Brandon Redlinger  Because hopefully, everyone's given me their own unique perspective on things. And I don't have a repeat of the exact same thing every time because that won't make a good blog post, right? But depending on who I'm asking, and depending on the answers that they give, that gives me a lot of ammo, a lot of fuel to really help me with all my other content efforts. And at the same time, if someone, if you publish someone's quote, they're more likely to share it on social so you get more eyes, you know, tag them on the post, then you're going to get more eyeballs on it. 

[10:51] Shahin Hoda  Have you found a strategy that kind of improves your outreach, like and gets more responses from people that you're reaching out to? Or is this like, how do you do it? Is it like a simple hey, I'm writing this piece, and I want to get your opinion on question 1, 2, 3? Or do you kind of give them, maybe it's like a numbers thing, it's more statistical? And sometimes you might be reaching out to people that you don't know, how do you make sure that you get those responses as high of a percentage as possible?

[11:23] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah, totally. So that the initial outreach usually is something like, hey, I'm writing this blog post on XYZ. Here's where I think you would be a great person to talk with looking for a few quotes, and then always, always name drop other people. It's like, I'm also talking to, you know, this person, this person, and this person will be included in that too. Like, oh, yeah, I'd love to be included in a blog post right beside these other industry experts. So yeah, and it's yeah, pretty simple. But also like, don't forget to follow up. 

[11:56] Brandon Redlinger  I can't tell you how many people are like, all I do is say, hey, just wanted to make sure you got this. Like, you can't do that as a sales rep, right? But you can do that as a marketer. Like, hey, just wanted to make sure you got this looking to publish next week, can you send something over to me? And then a lot of times, I'm like, oh, yeah, sorry, I got really busy. Here's the quote. And then after that, a lot of it is just maintaining that relationship. 

[12:22] Brandon Redlinger  So whenever that happens, of course, again, tagged them on social, follow them on social, and then just every once in a while, if you see them on your feed, hit that like button, make a quick comment and hopefully, it's something interesting and relevant that you have to say instead of just great post or, right? 

[12:41] Brandon Redlinger  You know like, actually add to the conversation, so that they realise that you do have a lot to contribute, that you are smart. And then the next time you go back to the well, of course, they're gonna say, yeah, I would love to contribute again. So definitely a big part of it for me and engaging was just building that ongoing relationship with those influencers.

[13:02] Shahin Hoda  I see. Got it? Do you find yourself reaching out to customers as well? Or do you see it as you know, the same thing, like, you know, as may be reaching out to 200 people to get like a statistically significant number? Is that something that you've done in the past? Or haven't explored it yet? 

[13:23] Brandon Redlinger  No, honestly, I should probably use customers more. 100%, I mean, of course, I use them when I can. But at smaller companies, like Engagio, where we were at, like, I don't know, 260-270 customers at the time, you know, we had a lot of asks out to the same customer. So any small business would tell you this, too. 

[13:43] Brandon Redlinger  It's like, can you give us a quote for a press release or a media mention or be a reference for this other customer. Leave us a G to review leave us a terrible review, right? So you're asking all these things from your customers, and it's like, oh by the way, can I also get a quote for a blog post that I'm writing? That's probably the lowest on the list. 

[14:05] Shahin Hoda  Yep, right.

[14:06] Brandon Redlinger  Which is unfortunate, but it's the case.

[14:09] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Got it. Okay. All right. That's valid. That's a very valid point.

[14:15] Brandon Redlinger  Well, maybe recycled quotes that you get in like, Forbes article from a customer or whatever, you know, press release, whatever that might be. That's something that I'm now just thinking of. You got me thinking I like it. I like it.

[14:29] Shahin Hoda  Yeah. So basically see what they've said anywhere else, and then take that, and then maybe dropping notes as well, just to again, build that rapport and say, hey, I saw this that you talked about this, I want to use this quote, is that okay, right? Is that what you mean?  

[14:43] Brandon Redlinger  Absolutely, absolutely. And I will say the times that I have been able to get good customer quotes and like good case studies and all that. Like, I built that relationship beforehand. So whether that's, you know, Engagio, I was a marketer, and we're marketing to the marketers, so jumping on calls and saying, here are some of the best practices, here's how I'm using Engagio, here's how I'm using the platform. 

[15:11] Brandon Redlinger  Here are all you know, ABM best secrets. And just building that goodwill beforehand, of course, it will make it a lot easier when you do need to make that ask for them to be like, oh, yeah, Brandon, like, you helped me a lot. I'm happy to throw you a quick quote, you know. They would feel guilty not to.

[15:27] Shahin Hoda  Yeah

[15:28] Brandon Redlinger  No, I don't mean, I'm not advocating guilting customers into doing things for you. But it works.

[15:35] Shahin Hoda  Yeah. And I think you do, not from a guilting and you do a great job at that. In terms of you, I feel like you created a very tight, close, and, and robust network of people around you from what you do. And I feel like not a lot of marketers do that. Not a lot of marketers think about building that in their network in the area that they're working or the space that they're in, right? And I've seen you on LinkedIn, and the interactions that you have. You put a lot of attention, you give that a lot of attention in order to nurture those personal connections of yours, which is really awesome.

[16:15] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah, I think that's one of the best things you can do for your career in marketing. Like just hang out with other smart people, try to give back as much as you can. And it will always come back around to you. Whether that's looking for another job or getting advice on, I mean, for me, this isn't what I do all the time. It's hey, I've got this new program that I'm working on, I've never done this sort of thing before.

[16:41] Brandon Redlinger  Who in my network has experience here, reach out to them, jump on a quick call, get some best practices from them and then you know, your program is off and running. So I do have, I believe very strongly in building a good network, building those and growing those relationships, for sure.

[17:01] Shahin Hoda  Yeah. And I love the approach that you take because sometimes when you talk to people about how do you create, how do you do research content, right, research-based content. They would say, ah, we would go through a recruiter, and they would like be recruiting people that we will be speaking to, and we will be interviewing, and it just blows up, like in terms of costs and blows up this massive giant that you like, oh my god, I got to create this thing where you're like, hey, I just reach out to people and say, this is what I'm doing.

[17:34] Shahin Hoda  You want to have a chat. And I do that manually, I was actually having the chat with somebody else. And they were like, you know how there are all these cold pitches that you get from people on LinkedIn of like, hey, this is what we do. We're a software development company in India, and we can do this for you, or whatever, it's LinkedIn, we can get you LinkedIn Ads, as he said. I use a bot and I'm not ashamed of it. I use a bot and I put certain filters in it. 

[18:03] Shahin Hoda  And through my connections, I reach out and say, hey, this is what this is a, this is a research piece that we're doing or we're working on, would you be interested in commenting on these questions, and I'll just automate that and shoot it out. So I'm not pitching anyone. But I'm trying to see who was interested in giving us feedback. Which again, really cost-effective way, just like you mentioned, of getting first-party data from experts, which is really cool.

[18:33] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah. And honestly, like a lot of these relationships, you have to be very, very thoughtful, very strategic. There's, I mean, this is more my earlier days at Engagio, but we really wanted to get in more Forbes articles, so I reached out to a writer that wrote about marketing often. And I just connected with her. And I tried to provide value to her. And, you know, eventually, maybe like two years later, she's like, I'm writing this article, can I get a quote from John Miller and that? I was like, finally, yes. And then she'll come back to the well all the time and like Brandan, can I get a quote for this, can I get a quote for this. 

[19:15] Brandon Redlinger  And then she started writing for Inked too. And then she started writing, she was also writing for a Huffington Post, when that was a thing when they were doing a lot more writing there. So that again, that was two years, give or take maybe 18 months or so, of building in that relationship. And then that like to be published in Forbes relatively regularly or Inked or Fast Company. Like a lot of people pay thousands of dollars per article, per mention in an article, right? And I got that for free just because I offered someone else value because I connected with them and I built that relationship.

[19:51] Shahin Hoda  How did you do it? Take us through what you did over there.

[19:56] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah, let's see, okay, so yeah, I did identify maybe five or six, just a handful of writers who wrote, it was mainly like Forbes and Inked, some of those big ones, right? And it was just reaching out. It was, initially, I think all I did was just reach out on LinkedIn. And I sent them a connection request, personalised the note, some of them got back, some of them accepted it, some of them didn't. And then whenever they popped up on my feed, I made sure to actually have a good, thoughtful, relevant comment on their post.

[20:36] Brandon Redlinger  Right, and then, over time, they realised or this one, particularly, she realised that all I talked about really is like B2B marketing. And she was starting to specialise more in the ABM space. So, when she was like, who knows about ABM in my network? I'm sure she probably knew John Miller and had a big nose. He had a big following and everything too. So it's like, what's the quickest path to John Miller? Of course, that'd be me. So

[21:08] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, got it. Got it. Interesting. Yeah, engagement on LinkedIn. That's big. That is definitely big for building relationships. Okay. 

[21:17] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah. And yeah, again, build that relationship long term. And yeah, and not everyone is going to reply. In fact, I mean, I only built one real strong relationship with a journalist out of the how many I ever that I tried to, but that one made it well worth it. So it's just like think, just putting more thought into it, being a little bit more strategic with who you're connecting and why you're connecting with them. I mean, I still have a bunch of relationships that I've reached out to, I've connected with them. I've built relationships with people who are pretty well known, that I haven't made any asks yet. And I'm like, I'm saving that, they're in my back pocket. I'm saving them. I'm saving the right moment. I don't know what yet. But right now,

[22:01] Shahin Hoda  Rainy day

[22:02] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah, exactly. My rainy day is gonna come anytime.

[22:05] Shahin Hoda  I love it. I love it. Okay. The last question that I want to ask you is about, when you're building an ebook, what are usually the external resources that you bring in, right? If you're doing research, do you have like a maybe like a VA, or their agencies or contractors that you kind of rely on in order to create a really solid piece of content? What does that team look like?

[22:31] Brandon Redlinger  Yeah, great question. So, I get this one relatively frequently, just content creation in general. I don't think you should outsource content itself. I think you can outsource editing, which I definitely do in like copy-editing and proofreading and those ebooks, Outsource design, like, you know, when we had an in house designer, but he was totally slammed, and those ebooks are gigantic pieces to edit or to design. I think stuff like that. Absolutely outsource that. And, you know, bring in expertise there. 

[23:07] Brandon Redlinger  But the actual writing of the content, I really strongly believe you keep that in-house like you are the subject matter expert. And you know about this stuff more than anyone else, you should at least, right? Like, if you don't have, you have a bigger problem. But like, you should be that subject matter expert. And if not, then become one. And the only way to become one is by doing all this writing, right? Do the writing, do the research, put all these together. 

[23:36] Brandon Redlinger  And like a lot of times, like I always tell people like, at the beginning of their careers, it's better to be prolific than good. And especially early startups, too. But as you mature in your career, and as your startup, your company grows, that actually flips it's better to be good than it is prolific. So that's how I think about it. So yeah, for someone like for any book, like that clean, Complete Guide to ABM, that was, yeah, we had an awesome firm called Velocity Partners who designed it they're now in the UK, based in the UK, they did a phenomenal job, I highly recommend them. 

[24:18] Brandon Redlinger  We use a few different copy editors on the bunch of different complete guides that we've done. But the writing itself, all of that was in-house. I do have, I had an awesome entry-level marketing person who did a lot of the, just like, kind of organising, kind of revising, brainstorming with, and she was one of my best partners in crime over there so much so that I brought her over to ringDNA with me. 

[24:46] Brandon Redlinger  And then of course, like having someone like John Miller or just a great CMO-type person who really is there just to like, double-check, you know, checks and balances on, is this strategically the right thing that we want to do for the brand, is this. Is this really on brand, right? Does this tell the right story? So having someone like high-level, not in the weeds, but definitely involved in the planning is definitely recommended. I definitely gotta find that very useful. 

[25:20] Shahin Hoda Got it? Got it 

[25:21] Brandon Redlinger Does that answer your question?

[25:22] Shahin Hoda  That does. That does answer the question perfectly. Now, before I ask my rapid questions, is there anything that you think I didn't ask or do you think it's gonna be valuable for us to cover that I didn't touch on when it comes to research-based content creation.

[25:39] Brandon Redlinger  Do you want to talk about, like research reports?

[25:43] Shahin Hoda  Of course. Okay, yeah. 

[25:44] Brandon Redlinger  Okay. Yeah. So I think because I do think there's a lot of value in research reports these days, right? This is your own research that you're conducting and publishing. So at Engagio and at DemandBase, and here at ringDNA now, like, these are some of our best pieces of content. Because people want to know, like, what is the state of ABM? Or what is the state of sales coaching? Because it's always evolving? I want to know, what the top companies are doing right now. So, you know, I recently just launched our state of sales coaching, we're still collecting responses on those.  

[26:24] Brandon Redlinger  But really, it's like, it's really gonna help our customers and our prospects figure out like, what are those top companies doing, right? But in order to create something like that, a lot of it is like, the questions matter a lot. So spend a lot of time on not only the questions but the responses, right? So, what do they call, like the choices that they're picking from? That matters just as much as the question itself? And then as you're reading the questions, be thinking about the headlines that you're going to write. Like, you'll probably have hypotheses on what people are probably going to answer. 

[27:10] Brandon Redlinger  And then you can base a lot of your questions on the headline that you want to see. That was actually advice that someone gave me that came from a research firm, who does all these days in and day out, she's like, as you're reading those questions, really be thinking about those headlines that you want to see that will support your story, and that will support your product. And then I do think you really have to test those questions a lot with your own team, with people that you know in your network, before sending that out to a very broad audience. 

[27:45] Brandon Redlinger  Because they'll have different perspectives, they might interpret a question differently than you. And then when you get their responses, you can actually just start to see. So the way I did it was, you know, I'm, the one question that I always ask is, something along the lines of like, what's the return that you're getting from ABM or sales coaching? And then you can break out, what are the top performers doing versus what are the low performers doing? And then once you start to get some of those initial responses, take a look at those early on, and start to draw some conclusions from the data. 

[28:22] Brandon Redlinger  I mean, it's gonna obviously be an extremely small sample size, but it will tell you how you might need to adjust any other questions because like the way you asked, it wasn't right. Or maybe, you didn't have all of the right responses, but no, not responses, like, but the answers lined up or whatever that might be. So like, I give you one example, we had people stack rank things from 1 to 10. What do you think is most important to least important? 

[28:52] Brandon Redlinger  But the thing that I noticed early on, was that the answers they submitted weren't in the same order that they showed up on their survey itself. So that told me that I should either randomise it because that's something that I didn't think of that they would just go ahead and just submit the answers as it showed up? Or maybe, a better question to ask is, what are your top three choices here? Instead of just stack rash, straight stack crank, maybe that's too much for someone to think about. But they can easily choose 1, 2, 3. So that's what I ended up doing, right? And that gives me a lot better data.

[29:30] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Got it. Interesting. And, you know, how is your approach different? So actually, let me ask this, how do you go and recruit the people that you want to talk to? Because this is we're talking about a larger number now than, you know, the previous style of content, right? For this kind of reporting, how do you recruit the the response?

[29:53] Brandon Redlinger  This is, a lot of our responses came through our email list. 

[29:58] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, 

[29:59] Brandon Redlinger  And, you know, everyone out there these days, it's like, and there's a reason they do it, and this is what we do but it's like an incentive to complete the survey. So for individual reps, a better incentive for them is like, get attention, you know, get a chance at winning one of $300 gift cards or something like that, right? Like, that's a good incentive for them. But if you have a manager who's filling it out, a better incentive for them is something along the lines of like, you'll be the first one to get all this research so that you know how to best coach your team for top performance, right? 

[30:36] Brandon Redlinger  They don't care so much about the money, they want to know how they can be doing their job better. So a lot of it is just building the right incentives for the right person. So we're not just blasting out the same message to anyone and everyone. It's for a message that gets in front of reps, let's incent them with some money, or messages that get in front of managers. Let's incent them with them knowing, you know, what actually works and what doesn't. Like they're the first to get the results. 

[31:05] Brandon Redlinger  And then we do things like in-app messages so that our customers actually see those and take those because we want their feedback to you to know what, we'll blast it out on social because we're pretty active social media following, stuff like that. So and then I honestly have no problem paying for those responses either. So because Survey Monkey or Qualtrics or whatever, like you, can actually pay for them to get you 50 responses, right? It'd be pretty expensive. But I don't see any downside in doing that. I think the upside outweighs the downside. 

[31:41] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Okay. No, that's awesome. That's and I'm glad you bring that up. And it is, research reports are a big thing now. And a lot of people are producing it. Okay, let's wrap it up with some rapid questions and do that. Alright, so what is one resource, it could be a book, it could be a podcast, it could be a blog, whatever it is, that drastically changed the way you think and live. 

[32:04] Brandon Redlinger  It's been a while since I read it. But I remember, I mean, I revisit it frequently but it's Influence by Robert Cialdini. That book, like when I first read that, completely opened my mind to what sales and marketing could and should be.

[32:20] Shahin Hoda  Love it. 

[32:21] Brandon Redlinger  So I recommend that book to everyone.

[32:23] Shahin Hoda  All right. Question number two, if you could give one advice to b2b marketers, what would it be?

[32:28] Brandon Redlinger  So this is the advice I always give. But we already talked about it, build that network. Like I do think having a good network of other really smart marketers is the best thing that you can do, like short term and long term in your career.

[32:46] Shahin Hoda  Okay, number three, who are the influencers that you follow? in the marketing in the sales space? 

[32:53] Brandon Redlinger  Oh, good question. One that I, okay, a few that I'm really into right now. April Dunford has the best content out there on positioning. She has a book out there called Obviously Awesome. It's a pretty awesome book. There's Christopher Lochhead, who is kind of the godfather of category design. He's got an awesome newsletter called Category Pirates. And of course, if you haven't read his book, Play Bigger, that's a great one to go check out. Yeah, that those are really the two that I've been following a lot recently.

[33:28] Shahin Hoda  Love it. All right. Well, those are the three main questions. I love it, Brandon. Thank you so much, man. It was as always awesome to chat as plenty of insights that you dropped in the podcast. And looking forward to the third one.

[33:44] Brandon Redlinger  Absolutely, anytime. And you and I can just geek out about this stuff all day.

[33:49] Shahin Hoda  Amen. True. True.Thanks a lot, Brandon. 

[33:53] Brandon Redlinger  Thanks, Shahin.


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