Episode topic: How should your company approach an expansion into the US Market
In this episode, host Shahin Hoda chats with Boden Westover, CMO at Vivi, about how foreign companies can grow their presence in the United States of America.
With more than 10+ years of experience leading US expansion initiatives for organisations such as Vivi and Catapult, Boden shares a lot of valuable guidance. During the conversation, he talks about the increased need for clear positioning and the importance of managing potential cultural differences.
Boden also shares his input on GTM and hiring strategy. He recommends having segment-specific campaigns and onboarding as much local talent as possible.
He concludes by emphasising the critical role of a US-based senior leadership and strategic investment, in accelerating any company’s growth in the region.
This episode’s guest:
Boden Westover, Chief Marketing Officer at Vivi
Boden Westover is Chief Marketing Officer at Vivi, an EdTech SaaS business helping educators better engage students.
Boden was previously VP, Brand & Communications at Catapult (ASX: CAT), where he oversaw global marketing for 8.5 years, going from less than $1m ARR to over $100m while the company helped transform the intersection between sports, technology, and data.
Before that, Boden was Head of Sport at Pagemasters, an AAP subsidiary, and played professional basketball for the Melbourne Tigers (now United) in Australia’s National Basketball League.
Connect with him on LinkedIn
Conversation segments on this episode:
- [01:46] Boden’s experience with expanding into the US geography.
- [05:45] Managing cultural differentiation between US and Australian teams.
- [07:57] Faster growth in the US market makes Positioning extremely important.
- [13:47] The US is very enormous - GTM needs to be very specific. You are better off starting in one segment than in one geography.
- [14:28] Creating a sense of competition between early adopters and prospects to drive more client acquisition.
- [17:29] US firms like the novelty of working with Australian companies, which helps to get a foot in the door.
- [19:01] Hiring strategy for expanding into the US
- [23:54] Senior leadership and having a board seat in the US are important.
- [24:32] Strategic investment in the US can go a long way.
- [29:17] Advise to B2B marketers - create content that builds trust.
- [31:20] Exciting things about B2B - more companies are thinking about B2B to B2C.
Resources mentioned on this episode:
- The Knowledge Project - podcast resource recommended by Boden
- The Great Mental Model Series - by The Knowledge Project- Books recommended by Boden
- Adam Grant - Influencer followed by Boden
- Seth Godin - Influencer followed by Boden
- Austin Kleon - Influencer followed by Boden
- Naval Ravikant - Influencer followed by Boden
- Harry’s Marketing Examples - Influencer followed by Boden
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.
Get in touch!
We would love to get your questions, ideas and feedback about Growth Colony, email email@example.com
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 Boden Westover, Chief Marketing Officer at Vivi, about how Australian foreign companies should have approached building a marketing team in the United States to support their expansion plans. So if you are a company that is thinking of expanding and getting into the US market, you should definitely tune in and listen to the full episode. On that note, Boden, thanks a lot for jumping in.
[01:03] Boden Westover Of course. No, thank you for having me. I've been on the show a couple times now. And I love the content, love the Slack channel. So yeah, really excited to be here again.
[01:10] Boden Westover You know, when we've had you here you have been in different kinds of roles where previously you were at Catapult and had multiple different roles accountable. You spent a lot of time there. And now you're CMO at Vivi so, and what I think is you bring to the table, especially with regards to this topic that we're talking about is you both have that experience at Catapult where you were, I think the first person who went to the US and I want to really dive into that a little bit more and talk about it. But also you're having the same experience now with Vivi. So give us a little bit of an overview. First of all, give us a high level about your experience when it comes to expanding into the US market.
[01:51] Boden Westover Yeah. So I guess I'll start with my current role. So at Vivi's niche, which is an edtech SAS business based here in Melbourne. I joined about nine months ago, we had about 30 people at the time when I joined, and only two people in the US. So nine months later, we're at about 60. So it doubled in size, and we've got 25 in the US. So from 2 to 25 in nine months. So it's very much very, yeah, exactly. Yeah, very much. A huge focus of the company is to figure out the US and be successful over there. We feel like we've sort of done that in Australia, that the company started in late 2016. We've got really good market penetration, especially in private schools here. Now we're looking to replicate that.
[02:29] Boden Westover I guess the most interesting part of my career or relates to the topic of this conversation, though, is my time at Catapult. So I joined there in 2012, employee number 10 or so. And I ended up being there for eight and a half years. And like you mentioned, we're again, a small Australian tech startup. But in that case, I was one of the first US employees, quote-unquote, my boss basically said, your role is going to be in the US from now on, are you happy to do that. During my interview process, I mentioned that my dad was American. So he sort of just assumed I had a US passport. I didn't, but it was easy to get a visa and move over there.
[03:05] Boden Westover So yeah, we didn't have a US office or anything. He basically just said, pick a location that makes sense, go get set up, and we'll figure out how to grow the team. I chose San Francisco at the time because I had family in the area. My dad's from the Bay Area, lot of tech media, obviously. The West coast at the time was pretty good with Melbourne. So like found an apartment all the rest of it, ended up really staying for a little while because we had a person based in Dallas that we've recently recruited, and we're hitting a really busy period. And again, my boss was like, would you mind going to Dallas for a little while helping this guy?
[03:37] Shahin Hoda After renting the house, after signing the lease?
[03:41] Boden Westover Exactly right? Yeah, so I got down to Dallas and rented the car and drove down to Dallas, like in the middle of summer. It was a really good experience, because I sort of saw another side of the business. It's that first full-time US employee that was sort of working alongside and then again, so that'd be there in Dallas for a while, like, finding another apartment. And then we hired a president for the North American region who's based in Chicago.
[04:02] Boden Westover So rented another car, drove up to Chicago and ended up being in Chicago for about three and a half years, where we grew the team in Chicago to about 35 people. So went from us 2 to 35 in about a year. And sort of at the end of that year, we acquired a big US business that was based in Boston that had about 90 people. So like before, we knew it went from just being me over there to 120 staff in the US, which obviously brought a lot of pains and sort of cultural differences and all the rest of it, which I'll sort of dive into. But yeah, that's sort of a high level. Look at my sort of experiences dealing with the US so far.
[04:37] Shahin Hoda Yeah, I want to definitely dive into some of the things that you talked about there. And for those who don't have an idea of Catapult is, Catapult is one of those. definitely startups, Australian startups that are extremely successful where we don't hear a lot about because they're kind of under the radar. They're B2B, they're not like a Canva that it's really in your face, and it's kind of a consumer brand, and that's what I mean by that. So Catapult, an amazing company with amazing growth, and have some amazing investors like Mark Cuban and some of the other ones.
[05:12] Shahin Hoda So definitely we're not, we're not talking, we're talking the heavyweights here. So let's dive in bone, let's talk about, the first thing that I want to kind of cover is, in your experiences where you were working on the expansion of the company or the companies, both of them Catapult or Vivi into the US market, what were some of the things you didn't see coming?
[05:39] Boden Westover Yeah, good question. I'll sort of continue with that thread that I mentioned. So in terms of cultural differences, I think that was a pretty big one at Catapult and not so much at Vivi. But I guess the internal divide that sort of organically creates between the Australian-US teams, it's a difficult thing to avoid. So each team is sort of inherently going to have its own culture. But I've seen both at Catapult and other companies that I've sort of been involved in at the advisory level that are again trying to grow into the US. You can quickly see rifts form between the two. So surprisingly, we haven't seen that video yet.
[06:12] Boden Westover And I think that I was thinking about it, and the two biggest reasons why I think that's the case, one, we don't have a US office. So everyone over there is remote. And it's sort of a level playing field. Because a pretty big chunk of our team here in Melbourne are working remotely, people in the US are working remotely. So you kind of forget where people even live, like besides the time difference in the fact that you're speaking to them at 7 am. Like they might as well be in the same city because you're sort of just sharing a zoom link rather than a physical space. So I think that's been a good sort of equalizer. And the other one, Vivi made it very clear to the entire team early on that the US growth is critical to the company's success.
[06:51] Boden Westover So I think everyone rallied behind that early on. Whereas you do see some companies that tried to protect that sort of Australian-ness of the company. And I think we're guilty of that a little bit. At Catapult's, we’re sort of born out of the Australian Institute of Sport. And we sort of had that rich heritage around Australian sports science. So once we started employing people in the US, and we've created a team over there, and there was an office and the whole US culture, there's a bit of a rift that formed between the two. And it's inevitable, I think every company is going to face it, but sort of how you manage it is an important one, and something that I didn't see coming. Another thing from the sort of, like an external perspective, and I'm going to talk in a lot of generalizations like, I'm not like a,
[07:35] Shahin Hoda You're talking about based on your experience, right? Like, we all know that every company is unique. So we're not going to be exact, and like, you know, one thing you know, it's a one size fit all. But yeah, let's generalize, based on your experience, I think that's completely fine.
[07:53] Boden Westover Yep, that sounds good. So a few generalizations. I found that industries grow and consolidate faster in the US a lot of the time, your direct competition, or isn't always who you need to be the most worried about, because a lot of companies, they'll cover more segments and pillars, or companies that you thought might have been adjacent or even complementary quickly become your competition over there.
[08:12] Boden Westover So I think just things just move a little bit faster, which makes positioning extremely important in the US probably even more, so then he asked that you really need to pinpoint where you sit at the market, where you USPs are, make them memorable, repeatable, otherwise, there's just so much competition over there, you really get lost in the noise. Whereas here, I think you, you can sort of stake your claim in something and that sort of the market sort of works around you. Whereas over there, it's just very, very competitive. So you need to be constantly aware of who's doing what.
[08:39] Shahin Hoda Got it. Got it. You talked about teams, right. And the fact that there was a bit of a rift at Catapult or that was kind of in the early days, that's what happened. Do you think it's possible to grow a US presence without having US team members and doing it all from, for example, Australia?
[09:00] Boden Westover I don't think so. No, I don't think it's scalable to have an entire US operation managed from Australia. I think you can certainly do it up to a point. And to go back to the Catapult example. I mean, we signed up the New York Knicks, the San Antonio split Spurs, like some probably five, maybe three NFL teams, before we had any people on the ground over there. Granted, we had to physically fly people over to the US. And I remember our CTO at the time, one of the co-founders of the business. He went to the US like 15 times one year in like 2013.
[09:32] Boden Westover And every time over there, he's like demoing the product. He's like setting up the local positioning system and having conversations with prospective clients. So, we had a very impressive customer list before we ever had someone on the ground over there. But it was a huge investment because we still had to physically send people over there. So the short answer is I think you could do it in the short run. And you can sort of start to build a little bit of momentum from Australia, especially if you set up your sales marketing engine in the right way and sort of repeat The automated way. But at the end of the day, you do need boots on the ground, even if it is temporarily sending people over there.
[10:07] Shahin Hoda How did all of this experience prepare you for a second expansion to the US? So what I mean by that is, you went through Catapult, right. And there were certain things that you learned. And now you're doing that at Vivi. from it being the CMO of the company. You're doing it at Vivi, how did all of this kind of prepare you for the second time of doing it?
[10:32] Boden Westover Yeah, so I think Catapult was an interesting experience. Because I'm a big believer that depending on the industry, geographic origin is an important part of the brand's essence and positioning. So like, think of a watch brand from Switzerland, chocolate from Belgium, like a project-management app from Silicon Valley, like that sort of thing. So one thing that I think really helped fuel early US growth for Catapult is that, like I said, Australian Sport Sciences are really respected around the world. And a big part of the reason for that being the case, the Australian Institute of Sport was actually where Catapult was born out of.
[11:01] Boden Westover So a big part of the USP of the company was scientific validation. The fact we're entering the US market was about 10 years behind Australia, in the UK, there's really an unearned degree of trust there for the product. We sort of came in there with trust already built, which is, I think, unusual for brands, especially overseas brands. So we capitalize on that early, we moved a few Australians over there, myself included. And to this day, some of the Catapult’s best salespeople and Customer Success people over there have been Australians that really use their voice of authority over there.
[11:32] Boden Westover So they weren't even salespeople, though sport scientists that sold the product because they were educated first and foremost, they didn't go in there selling a product they went in, it's sort of explaining what Australians do in a similar situation. So Vivi, that's been very different. So we've had to be a little bit more adaptable in our I guess, our go-to market strategy over there, because we don't have that same level of inherent validation. So our approach has been different in that we're accelerating local representation. And that's been extremely important for us, as in having people on the ground, like going back to what I was saying earlier about Catapult we could sort of get away with flying people over there, closing a big deal, they fly back.
[12:12] Boden Westover And then we sort of built some PR around a customer that we signed, because, obviously, sports is a pretty sexy industry. So if you go over there and sell to the New York Knicks, and then you're in the New York times a week later, then you're starting to get some inbound interest from other schools, and then you fly someone over there and sort of accelerate. But it's education that has been the case, it's not as sexy in industry, and they don't really look at Australia in the same way. Because like, it wouldn't be the NFL, which is obviously an enormous, multibillion-dollar league, just the TV rights alone, they still look to the AFL from a sort of sports science perspective.
[12:45] Boden Westover But I haven't come across a US school district that really cares what an individual's Australian schools are doing. So knowing that we don't have that built in leverage, we're accelerating, building the team on the ground over there a lot faster, and really giving us that American voice. So I think just recognizing the differences there, it sort of, I guess, prepared me for the second time around where we couldn't sort of just rely on the fact that we had this inherent value already built into the physical location of the brand's origin.
[13:13] Shahin Hoda Talking about that, and talking about what you mentioned, right? How a complementary player in that market, all of a sudden could turn into a competitor. And things move a lot faster. What have you seen? Or how does your go-to-market plan differ between Australia and the US?
[13:33] Boden Westover Yeah, I don't think the process of taking a product to market in the US is hugely different to Australia. But doing so over there from here presents some interesting challenges. So obviously, the country is so enormous and diverse and segmented. Can they really say what's your go-to-market? For the US? It's really like, what do you go to market for on the East Coast? What is it for the southeast? Education? I would even say it's as detailed as like, you have to be as specific as go-to-market for Florida. What is it for Nevada? What is it for New York? Because some of these school districts are so big, they're like 50,000 student districts.
[14:05] Boden Westover And it doesn't really matter what you've done in a neighboring state or even a neighboring country, like they only care about what they're doing. So because the country is so vast, you're probably better off starting off with one segment than one region and then leveraging competition to create clusters of customers, which I think we did well at Catapult we're also doing effectively at Vivi. So once you have one innovator or early adopter, in your books, the next move should be to look at what their competitive and geographic equivalents are.
[14:34] Boden Westover So for us in K-12 schools, if we've got a school district in Indiana, that significantly increases our chances of signing another K-12 school in Indiana because no one wants to be left behind and sort of creating competition amongst your customers and prospects. And that sense of competition is obviously even stronger in sport. Because once you have two or three NBA teams, you can get to 10 teams pretty quickly because no one wants to be left behind. They want to be using this brand-new shiny thing.
[14:59] Boden Westover It's difficult to get over half the league, it's almost impossible to get the whole league unless you have a legal ideal, but leveraging competition and the customer sides is a really quick way to grow over there. And it's not something I found to be as effective in Australia, especially on the education side. Like if we sign Brighton grammar, it's a customer who does use Vivi, that isn't going to really help bring on another public, private or Catholic school, there's just not that sort of sense of they're doing this thing. So we should be doing that too. Whereas in the US, and it's like, you can create a fire around a geographic region just by sort of marketing to that sort of geo-fenced area.
[15:36] Shahin Hoda That's fascinating. I would have thought that that would have been also the case in Australia in the educational sector. But that's fascinating. Why do you think that's not as big of a thing in the educational space in Australia?
[15:50] Boden Westover Yeah, I'm not sure like going back to my sort of generalizations. I do think the industry, both industries are more competitive in the US. I'm sure we'll talk about some of the differences between B2B and B2C later on in the discussion. But I think sort of the value in the sort of the interesting side of B2B is you're selling to someone that is spending someone else's money essentially, like they're spending their company's money, not their own. And there's sort of like an inherent sort of emotional touchpoint that you need to crack into when you're selling to someone that's spending someone else's money. So that you are able to leverage what others around you are doing is really important.
[16:29] Boden Westover And the more competitive the market it is, the more likely people are going to go with in terms of their own competition or using Australia. That hasn't been the case. I'm not 100% Sure why we do see it more in the Independent School market. So private schools can be compared to public schools, like if one public school using Vivi a public school, a kilometre away, like that provides no value having that sort of geographic location, which is really interesting. A little bit more on the independent side, maybe because there's a little bit more money involved. But yeah, I'd have to have a deeper thought about it. Why is that the case in Australia compared to the US?
[17:04] Shahin Hoda Got it. Got it. And we touched on this a little bit that in the case of Caterpillar, it actually really helped with regards to the fact that the Catapult was an Australian company and had all that validation behind it with Vivi less. So overall, how do you find the attitude of the US market towards Australian firms?
[17:28] Boden Westover One, I think the Australian accent really helps open doors in America. So yes, I think regardless of the industry, US companies like that prefer to have a local presence there. And we need people on the ground and ideally have a US headquarters just to make it feel like an official thing, I guess. But yeah, an initial outreach. Yeah, legit. So. but the fact that you're Australian is really a great icebreaker. I mean, whether you're traveling over there on holiday, or you're doing business, like speaking with an accent definitely helps. I think a lot of people consider Americans insular and depending on where you are in the country, that can often be the case.
[18:03] Boden Westover But generally speaking, when it comes to business, I found that regardless of where they are in America, they like to, they like the, I guess, the novelty of dealing with someone that's from another country. But yeah, so after living over there a few times, spending the majority of my career so far, helping Australian businesses grow up there, I do think Americans are probably more competitive in business than Australians are. Therefore, approaching an American business, as an Australian is sort of seen as a competitive advantage, because you're perceived to be unknown, and therefore sort of this untapped resource that their competition might not necessarily have been aware of yet.
[18:37] Boden Westover But having said that, and to have success over there, you need to be the best at what you do. And Australians are probably more willing to back an underdog whereas Americans are more likely to back a winner. So being Australian might get you in the door. But you do need to be the leader of the segment that you're creating in order to create some momentum.
[18:55] Boden Westover Interesting, very interesting. Okay. What about hiring? So let's talk about let's change gears and talk about hiring. What were your first hires from a marketing perspective in the US, US market? We can talk about Catapult and I want to talk about Vivi if you change anything.
[19:13] Boden Westover Yep, yeah, I'll cover both because I had a very different approach to Yes, I was at camp when I was very young and stupid when I started there. So I was the only marketing person for a long time. And I took too much pride in that to the point where I did everything that might sell for way too long, just for the praise of having achieved something myself. So if I could go through that period of extraordinary growth again, which to some extent, I am Vivi now, but I definitely avoid trying to hang on to being the one-man band for so long.
[19:43] Boden Westover To answer the question that our first marketing hire in the US at Catapult was actually my wife. So she quit her job in the fashion industry here in Australia, obviously moved over to the US with me, and ended up coming into the office to help out with some stuff because she was waiting for a working visa. We're living in a small downtown apartment in the middle of winter in Chicago, so there wasn't much for her to do. And so she sort of just came in to help and then eventually, over the course of a couple months turned into a full-time job. So I don't recommend being your spouse's boss. But we did make it work. We ended up having our first child in Chicago, moving over, moving back to Australia.
[20:19] Boden Westover And she's obviously not working with me anymore. The next US marketing person actually came through an acquisition. And it wasn't until I'd moved back to Australia that we really started to grow the team over there. Because for reference, even when we had around 200 staff, a counterpart was still only me and marketing. And then once we made that big US acquisition, at the same time, we're starting to ramp towards a consumer launch, the team went from just me to 18 people really quickly.
[20:44] Boden Westover And most of those roles were in the UK in the US. So we had a couple here in Melbourne. But the vast majority of the team was over there. So Vivi has been very different. So my first hire was here in Melbourne. He was a designer and Creative Director. But my next three, since then I've been in the US. So I've got a US marketing manager that's got really strong industry experience because I came over from sports, tech, sports, tech and tech are quite different, didn't feel like I had my finger on the pulse for US education, and haven't been able to travel. So I wanted someone that really knew the industry inside out. And then I've got someone that owns events globally, most of which are in the northern hemisphere anyway.
[21:20] Boden Westover And it's a huge chunk about a marketing budget and education. And then I've got a communications lead in a global world, we're based in the US starting in the next couple of weeks. So all three are very much T shaped marketers that are really strong in one area, but they're wearing multiple hats, even though our headquarters are here, and we're very much an Australian company, I don't think I'll hire another person in my marketing team here in Australia, they're all going to be in the US or the UK. Because at the end of the day, that's what the market is.
[21:47] Boden Westover And if you work in marketing at an Australian tech company, you have to do everything with a global lens, because the market is just so small here compared to the US and Europe and Asia, that you're not going to last too long or your growth is going to be stunted if you do everything through an Australian lens and hirings obviously a huge part of that. So yeah, all future hiring will be in the northern hemisphere.
[22:11] Shahin Hoda Your marketing manager that you hired in the US, the you said, T shaped mark, everyone's a T shaped marketer, and I get that he or she has experience with the educational sector. But what's their strong point? Like? What is so you have an event person, which is, as you said, a big part of what you guys, do you have a common person? What about the marketing manager? Obviously, I understand they got to understand all the different aspects. But from a marketing perspective, what are his or her strengths?
[22:46] Boden Westover Yeah, that's a good point. I should have clarified that she's very strong on ABM, so Account-Based Marketing in the education sector. So the one thing I really like about b2b is knowing exactly who your audience is, which you don't really have on the b2c side. So the fact that we can create really targeted marketing campaigns for our audience, especially in the US, for these huge districts that are worth millions of dollars, creating content directly for someone, and taking a really ABM approach is a really strong part of our marketing strategy. So she leaves that for us in the US that sort of thing, but she's basically an extension of our sales team over there. And there are events she personally started two weeks ago. So before that, she was handling our US events as well.
[23:33] Shahin Hoda Got it. Got it. Okay. button before I have some rapid-fire questions I want to ask you, but before I jump into those, is there anything that you reckon is important about the US expansion plans and how you got how you've done it? Or where do you think people need to be aware of that maybe I haven't asked, and we haven't touched on?
[23:52] Boden Westover Good question. So I think senior leadership over there is really important. And even at the board level, I've read a few articles about Australian companies trying to expand over there. And a lot of them recommend that having a board seat based in the US early on is an important thing. We Vivi, we do have that now. And it came through a pretty significant investment. So we just raised 20 million USD right before Christmas. And that brought an American onto our board, which is really exciting. I don't think it's 100% necessary to give up a board seat just for the sake of it or for our growth. But I do think it is important to have really senior, really senior American voice as part of the leadership team.
[24:31] Boden Westover One thing I probably underestimated at the time in the early days of Catapult was and you mentioned that was the impact of bringing Mark Cuban on as an investor because from a marketing perspective, I mean, it was great. It was like shooting fish in a barrel for speaking with reporters in every publication for a while, but it really provided validation for us at the perfect time. Because when I go back to that, I think that was like 2014 and want to say we just had the head coach of the college football team that won the national championship. National Championship, came out and said Caterpillar helped them reduce injuries by 88%.
[25:02] Boden Westover And then one of the biggest names in America at the intersection of sport, Business Technology, back the company in a pretty public way. So all of a sudden, the NBA or the NFL, or the league level, they're willing to have conversations with us all credit for that, by the way, goes to Catapult's Executive Chairman, Dr. Schiffman, he's sort of the mastermind behind everything at Catapult, but I really underestimated the sort of power of that. And strategic investment in the US goes a long way. Because it just opened so many doors, like you can have the best sales team in the world, like BDM, that are just animals, and they open up doors constantly. But having that really, really senior strategic investment is worth its weight in gold over there.
[25:41] Shahin Hoda Wow, I love it. I love it. All, all the pieces falling into the right, right place that is, that's amazing. That's amazing.
[25:49] Boden Westover I was just gonna say timing and luck are very important. The fact that those things happened around the same time really helped with the growth of the company and not something that we controlled.
[25:59] Shahin Hoda I love it. All right, let's do some rapid fire questions. The first thing I want to ask you is, what is one resource book, blog, podcast talk, whatever it is that comes to mind, that has really made an impact on you as a person, either professionally or personally.
[26:18] Boden Westover Okay, so I'm a big reader, like I read a lot of books. So I probably get through about 150 books per year. So I'm increasingly sort of resistant to having that one book that changed my life. But I think
[26:29] Shahin Hoda Well, tell me, tell me about something that you've recently read that you like, this is really good stuff.
[26:34] Boden Westover I was just gonna say, because there's one sort of multi-channel content resource that I'd strongly recommend. That's called the knowledge project. I'm not sure if you heard that, that one I do not know. So they've got a weekly newsletter. There's a podcast, they've released three books. So far, the podcast interviews have sort of always opened up my mind to a new concept. Like they sort of cover leadership, they cover marketing, they cover growth, there's a bit of everything mindfulness. So they go for over an hour, they go really deep on one topic, I listen to them double speed when I ride my bike to the office. But the books just to answer your question are three books that they've released around mental models, I would recommend those there. They're quite good.
[27:12] Shahin Hoda Got it? Got it. So do you usually do less than audiobooks? Are you usually reading? I mean,150 books a year? That is impressive. Do you like, yeah, how do you, how do you go through them?
[27:24] Boden Westover I listen to a lot of podcasts, I don't listen to any audio books, I do physically read the actual book. So I usually have three, go and anytime. So I'm always reading a physical book, I read a book on my computer. And then I read a book on my phone. So if I'm in bed, I'm reading on my phone, I get up really early, so I get up and work. And then I'll read a bit on my computer. And then if I'm commuting, or if I'm sitting outside or with my kids, or whatever, it's a physical book. And I'm probably coming across a bit weird. I usually read novels, business books and nonfiction books. That's sort of a non business topics. So that's sort of the breakdown of the books that I'm reading at any given time.
[28:01] Shahin Hoda I love that you're not weird at all, I have some weird habits as well, when it comes to reading books, like buying both the audio, Audible, and the physical book, and then smashing through it. But I got a bunch of these weird tics when it comes to books. But I love that’s, that's, that's awesome. Let me ask you the second question. If you could give one advice to the kind of B2B marketers, especially those who are thinking about it, maybe the board or leadership has decided that the US is an important market for them. And if you could give them one piece of advice, what would that be?
[28:34] Boden Westover So going back to what I was saying earlier a little bit, and hopefully, this is still a rapid response to your question to keep the theme, but it might not be. So it's easy to assume I think B2B is less emotional because you convince someone to spend someone else's money, but it might be less impulsive than B2C, but it's still filled with emotion. So you're selling to someone constantly trying to prove themselves that appears there. They want something that makes their job slightly easier, but not to the point that could replace them, they probably don't want to be sold, but they're also stepping out on a ledge for you and your company.
[29:03] Boden Westover So there's an enormous amount of trust required there. And the best sales and marketing I've seen is constantly aware of that need to build trust from the very top of the funnel. So be very specific about that one piece of advice for b2b marketers, especially, it's to create content that builds trust. So I think content is everything. From a marketing perspective. It fuels everything you do. But so many companies just talk about themselves. And content is only effective if you're talking about what your audience cares about. And I really believe that no one ever made a B2B purchasing decision without trust involved. And it's really marketing's job to build that trust from the start. And the best way to do that is through content.
[29:40] Shahin Hoda Whether you're expanding in the US whether you expand in Australia or Japan or whatever it is. You need to focus on the third question, who are some of the influencers in the sales and marketing space that come to mind that, you know, you refer to quite a lot?
[29:54] Boden Westover Yeah, so I read everything Seth Godin writes so readily the books he's got a daily newsletter. So if you subscribe to that it's just one of those really wise people that you read something and you sort of have to take a few minutes to think about it because it's so deep. Some of the others that probably aren't necessarily sales or marketing, but can there sort of work can be applied to both Adam Grant psychologist, think again. Was that the name of his last book? Oh, that's the last book. Yeah, follow him on Twitter. Everything he writes is gold.
[30:25] Boden Westover Austin Kleon is actually just sort of a creative company based in Austin. His name's Austin. He's written a series of books that sort of help creatives be more creative, which have found a lot of value in naval Ravikant. Hopefully, I'm saying his name, right. All his work is really good. Then I get a newsletter from a guy in his emails called Harry from marketing examples. I don't know who he is. He's based in the UK. I think he's brilliant. He just really simplifies copywriting in particular. So he'll share examples of really good copywriting and compare it with bad copywriting. And every time you say, it's just like, that's so simple, but so brilliant. So yeah, I hang on every word that he says
[31:07] Shahin Hoda I love it. That's a pretty complete list. I appreciate it. That's great. Last one last question that I have is, what's something that excites you about B2B today,
[31:18] Boden Westover B2B today. So I think more B2B companies are thinking more in terms of B2B to see, which is exciting for me. So one thing that I prefer about b2b And I mentioned earlier, over B2C Is that in consumer marketing, you spend so much time trying to understand who your audience is, like, what they care about, how they consume content, what jobs they're trying to get done. It's sort of a distraction from the work itself. Whereas in B2B, you generally know who you're selling to when you're selling to them. And there's that really sort of cyclical top down approach to the user experience that it's in a nice predictable way.
[31:50] Boden Westover So with companies becoming more ambitious, I think in marketing to businesses and its consumers simultaneously. I like the fact that it's creating this sort of interesting top-down and bottom-up tandem, that makes traditional b2b, more exciting. So we really sort of Catapult will sell into teams, which is, the team isn't a thing you're selling to the coach, the performance manager, the sports scientist, the GM of the team, but you're also selling to the athletes.
[32:14] Boden Westover So this sort of top-down bottom-up approach, and we're seeing it very as well in education so that our customers IT leadership in schools, but we're also going after our market through teachers and students as well. So b2b That's how to just be really excited to me because it sort of combines the best part of b2c but the best part of B2B which, as long as I'll be working in marketing, I want it to be with companies that are sort of through that B2B to see lens. I really like that.
[32:39] Shahin Hoda Boden, there's a reason that we have you on the podcast for the third time. I always learned so much and I'm sure a lot of the listeners are going to take away a lot of things as well. I really appreciate it and thanks again for coming on the pod.
[32:53] Boden Westover Of course, thank you for having me. Hopefully, I'll be back in six, nine months, whatever it is, and talk about something else.
[32:58] Shahin Hoda Looking forward to it, looking forward to it.
[34:13] Boden Westover I appreciate it.