Sour & SaaS with Ashley Levesque, VP of Marketing at Banzai

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This is a podcast episode titled, Sour & SaaS with Ashley Levesque, VP of Marketing at Banzai. The summary for this episode is: <p>In this episode of Sour &amp; SaaS Directive CEO, Garrett Mehrguth, speaks with Ashley Levesque, VP of Marketing at Banzai, and breaks down real SaaS marketing problems - with a sour twist.&nbsp;</p>

Garrett Mehrguth: Well, hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of Sour& SaaS. I'm very excited to be joined today by the VP of Marketing at Banzai, Ashley Levesque. Welcome to the show, Ashley.

Ashley Levesque: Hi. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Garrett Mehrguth: No, I'm glad to have you here. I think we've got to get something out of the way though, first. Why are you coming after my territory? I heard you run your own podcast. You coming after me?

Ashley Levesque: Listen, I'm on-

Garrett Mehrguth: This is my world, okay? I'm the podcast guy.

Ashley Levesque: I think I'm on episode like 170 or something. Like babies crosstalk for a long time.

Garrett Mehrguth: Okay, so I should be asking you for tips?

Ashley Levesque: Exactly right.

Garrett Mehrguth: Seriously, though, how do you make your podcast, like you not hate your podcast? You know how nobody ever talks about that part. Like, how do you not hate your own show? What's your trick for that?

Ashley Levesque: That's real, actually. And there was a point where I did, where I was like... Okay, so two things. One, I just started a new track, so that instead of talking about marketing, I'm talking about leadership and people and more interesting problems that I think are-

Garrett Mehrguth: There are questions now that you can think of in your prep, new-

Ashley Levesque: Totally.

Garrett Mehrguth: Inspiration. Yeah, yeah, okay. So you're learning new things, too, that way.

Ashley Levesque: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I just, I get real bored talking about just marketing campaigns over and over. I just don't think that's super interesting. I don't know if everyone else thinks that's super interesting.

Garrett Mehrguth: Well, prepare to be bored and disinterested, because I've got a lot of marketing questions for you.

Ashley Levesque: No, no, I mean, I'm excited.

Garrett Mehrguth: I'm just kidding. I mean, I like to say that, Ashley, because I want to get some tips from you. I like to say I've done more content for fewer people than anyone in the world. So how can I get more people to my show? What's the trick here?

Ashley Levesque: So you want to get all your people you're trying to sell to on your show. So you have your target list of who you're trying to get in with.

Garrett Mehrguth: Give away crosstalk.

Ashley Levesque: And you want to bring them on your show.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah. I mean, maybe.

Ashley Levesque: I mean, maybe that might crosstalk.

Garrett Mehrguth: Maybe Banzai could be a great client for Directive one day. I'm not saying you're a SaaS company in a great vertical that we have experience with. I'm not saying that. But, so that's one area, but how do I get more viewers? Because that's the right viewer, and that's one viewer in that sense. How do I get, I don't know, a hundred, 200, 300, 500 a show, a thousand a show?

Ashley Levesque: I mean, I like the live aspect. I think that's kind of sexy and fun. And I think it adds an element of danger and like, ooh, something weird could happen and who knows? Yeah, I think that's great. I don't know why you're not getting, are you saying you're not getting hundreds of viewers on this?

Garrett Mehrguth: So we get a lot of viewers when I advertise it. So I push it, if that makes sense.

Ashley Levesque: Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure.

Garrett Mehrguth: And we hear about it a lot in our sales process, but you know how when you start a podcast, there's a little part of you that kind of wants some fame? No one ever wants to say that out loud or live, but you kind of want someone to give a damn, you know what I mean? You want people to care about that next show or that next guest. And I think we also know we can't make it our full- time job, so we're kind of always stuck in this weird little world. That's what I'm wondering. How do you get your views up? Is there any way you get your views up on your downloads and stuff like that, or do you look at it at all, or do you kind of just try to ignore it because it's depressing?

Ashley Levesque: I sort of ignore it. I looked at it a lot in the beginning crosstalk. I looked at it a lot in the beginning. And when it comes to validating that this is still a channel that makes sense, I'll look at it every once in a while, to be like, why am I doing this? But I think our strategy is like, let's talk to the right people. Let's talk about some interesting stuff. Let's try to slice it up and use that content in more than just this so that the life of it can extend beyond the experience. And then I think it's just an excuse to have a good conversation with somebody else, and not so much about, like I think it's cool, it's coming up in your sales process, but for me, I'm like, I just want to meet interesting people. I want to talk about other stuff. And I don't know, maybe that's not a good way of thinking about it.

Garrett Mehrguth: No, I think, well, I think about it kind of similarly, and I guess we're both not famous. So here we are.

Ashley Levesque: I guess we just answered the question, which is like we're doing it wrong, which is why...

Garrett Mehrguth: At least I feel like this is fun, though. Because a lot of times I interview people who don't interview people, if you get what I mean. I know you know what I'm talking about.

Ashley Levesque: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Garrett Mehrguth: So this is dope. Now I have some questions. So what I like to do that hopefully is different is I like to go very hard at your strategy and just try to understand it. So from everybody out there right now, I want to maybe lay the context of how I see it. You've created your own category of engagement marketing, which I think is dope, which we'll talk about in a second. But within that, let's just say you run event marketing software. I'm sorry to say that, but you're in the category of event marketing software.

Ashley Levesque: We are, yeah.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah. So Hopin just got their butt kicked. I mean, they laid off more employees than you actually have. So that's the context of the industry. How are you positioning yourself in navigating that as the VP? Because that is a weird I'm sure moment. I'm sure it has good characteristics to it too, because you obviously I'm sure differentiated from them and you almost feel like it's validating, but at the same time, it's also devalidating to the broader market. So how are you navigating that as a leader?

Ashley Levesque: Yeah. So one of the things that I think marketers are struggling with, which first of all, one of the coolest parts of my job is being a marketer, working at a marketing technology company that sells to marketers, because I'm uniquely invested in this real pain point and struggle because I've had it everywhere I've ever been. And to some extent, I still have it. So in real time, we're modeling some of, you know, my department specifically is modeling some of this and trying to walk our talk a little bit internally as well. So one of the things that I hear from marketers all the time that marketers are really struggling with isn't so much like how do I put on a great event? That was the COVID problem, when two years ago everyone was like holy, we're now doing not in person, I guess. Okay, cool. And marketers were like, I don't have a strategy for this. I don't know how to do a webinar. I don't know what this means. I don't want to be on camera. Now it's like, okay, how do I get ROI out of these events? How do I drive these events to be something meaningful for my business?

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah. If I have to do these events, how do I actually elevate them?

Ashley Levesque: And how do they become not ancillary to my strategy, but like, they are my strategy? And this is where engagement marketing came from. It's this idea that marketers have tons and tons of one way communication channels. They've got blogs. They've got everything we grew up on. I say grew up on...

Garrett Mehrguth: This is what I'm all about, this bidirectional communication.

Ashley Levesque: Exactly right.

Garrett Mehrguth: We don't need more newsletters in communities. We need ways of actually interacting instead of talking at, right?

Ashley Levesque: And this is another reason why I love podcasting, is because it's just another channel of actually building a relationship and having a dialogue. That's what I think marketers are missing when it comes to the opportunity for events. And once they figure out that events are basically just experiences, and without getting too woo- woo, they're like emotional experiences between people, right? Then we can talk about how that drives ROI in a more meaningful way.

Garrett Mehrguth: Ashley, you're speaking my love language of marketing right now. Now, this is how Sour& SaaS. Are you ready?

Ashley Levesque: I'm ready. Yeah, I'm a little nervous, but I'm ready.

Garrett Mehrguth: All right. Good luck. I'm doing mine right now.

Ashley Levesque: I like that it's giving me little notes. Okay, I'm doing black cherry. Oh my God.

Garrett Mehrguth: Okay, the second one is exponentially worse. So buckle up. Now, I literally believe marketing is entirely about psychology and emotion. So that's why I was so excited that you said that. Your website does a genuinely good job of being outcome oriented, emotionally invoking, and what I like to call is shockingly memorable. So how'd you get that? Did you write that yourself? Did you hire a professional copywriter? Did someone from your team do it? Because I think people want good copy. They just literally don't pay for it. My perspective. But I'd love to hear what you think, if you can talk.

Ashley Levesque: Thank you for saying that. We actually just rebranded that site like four weeks ago. So this is top of mind for me, because we literally just did this.

Garrett Mehrguth: I want the scroll to go faster on the hero below the fold, by the way, just as a note to you.

Ashley Levesque: Same thing.

Garrett Mehrguth: Because the scroll thing was dope, but for some reason it felt laggy, and I'm hardwired, so I'm like, bro, what's going on here.

Ashley Levesque: Samesies.

Garrett Mehrguth: But I really like the concept because it's different. It did shock me to engage with your website because you forced the engagement into the website with the way it was dynamic, which I actually really liked. I just wanted it to go faster, but I thought it was dope.

Ashley Levesque: Yeah, no, I'm with you on that. So my team and I did write the copy internally.

Garrett Mehrguth: Wow. Okay.

Ashley Levesque: We did that. And then we had an awesome, incredible designer and incredible developer who brought it all to life. But yeah, we wrote that ourselves. And again, it's just like marketers, we, I don't know.

Garrett Mehrguth: Well, you did double headlines. You did stuff that was different, Ashley. You did double headlines on some of the product pages. You know how we do offsetting, like two column layouts where we go left, right? But then you did two headlines, which I actually thought was really cool. Whose idea was that? Why'd you do it?

Ashley Levesque: It was my idea. And it's because I have lot to say, to be honest. I was like no, we just need more text. I have more to say.

Garrett Mehrguth: Which is the opposite, right? All these people think no one reads anything. It's like, no it's because your font sucks, your copy sucks, it's too small, and you don't even want to read it. Do you know what I'm saying? That's the actual issue.

Ashley Levesque: And so many websites are doing the opposite of, banzai. io is the website.

Garrett Mehrguth: There you go, There we go, Shalene.

Ashley Levesque: Yeah, everyone go look at it right now. And then you can also tell me how great it is, if you'd like. Everyone else's website, the reason everyone else's website sucks is because we're still focused, and this goes back to what we were just talking about, we're still focused on distilling information at people that is about us. It's like, here are our features, here are the great things about our product, and not enough about, like you were saying, outcomes and value. And once you flip that around, people are going to read what you put out.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, didn't you say something like, want your next event not to suck? And I was like, yes. It was pretty much like I'm like, yes, that is the actual outcome people want from your software, is to not have 85 registrants and two attendees, and then feel like a ding dong when the boss asks, how did it go?

Ashley Levesque: A hundred percent, a hundred percent.

Garrett Mehrguth: Because that is exactly what's occurring.

Ashley Levesque: That is exactly what's occurring. And then marketing loses their ability to feel like they're impacting the bottom line, and they are forever stuck in this narrative of all I do is generate leads and kick them over the fence, and I never know what happens. And they lose access to their budget, because now they've just spent whatever they've spent on this event, and their CEO's going, okay, so that did nothing for us. I'm going to scale back your budget 25% next year so that you can just keep running emails or whatever.

Garrett Mehrguth: Oh no, we did an event. We got Anne Hanley. We paid her a bag of money.

Ashley Levesque: Love her.

Garrett Mehrguth: We got some dope speakers. Two people on the last session. So I feel this, I feel this. I know how hard self- hosted events are. I speak at like 30 conferences a year. I do two live shows a week. I love content, but it is so hard to build an audience. And is that something you all are trying to solve, this audience? Because it's not like... People talk about promotion. People talk about redistribution. They talk about chopping up their inaudible. That's still different than building an audience. So do you guys address that? Because to me, I don't know even how you solve that problem. That to me, it really comes down to the audience builder. You know what I'm saying? If you look at the new media, if you look at the new, if you look at the way inaudible, like sports media. Let's say you have Barstool and you have ESPN. ESPN is a brand. Barstool is a collection of personalities. And that's how they have an audience. Whether you agree with them or not is entirely different of if you like to evaluate marketing. But that to me is such a clever concept of that's how they do it. Each individual creator has, is full time, their job isn't to create content. Their job is to build an audience and then sell ads to the audience. And I find that how they do it is very different than how B2B does it. They're very interpersonal. They might be funny. They might show their personality. So how do you think about audience building? Because I think that's why events fail.

Ashley Levesque: Yeah, I think that's a really good point. And I think you're right. I think one of the reasons events fail is because we're so focused on registration numbers that we don't care about who is registered. We're just like, let's get as many registrants as possible, and the quality of those registrants is significantly lower than it should be. So one of our product sales for this, by audience acquisition, Reach, which allows you to connect with new audiences. So it's not just about let me share this promo with my connections on LinkedIn. It's about I know the quality of my ICP. I know exactly who I want to target for this event, because I have a target list or I've got whatever. This is who I want. Go invite them to my event. That's what Reach does. And then there's the community aspect, which is what you're talking about, which is okay, once we get them and we know that we want to engage with them and build relationships with them, how do we do that in a way that, again, isn't about us, but is about them? How do we serve them?

Garrett Mehrguth: That's what I was saying. Like, I don't know if they can show up to the event if they don't care about you before. That's inaudible. I'm finding it to be very hard to, because I think the premise, this is my pushback on like your types of products I want to see in the industry, and I want to hear your thoughts on it because this isn't like just a suck fest for Banzai. I want to actually get deep here around it. My issue with it is, how do I get someone who doesn't give a damn about my brand to show up to my webinar? Because I think the fallacy of B2B marketers is if you come up with an engaging enough title or type of content, it'll work. For me, what's only worked is if the host of the webinar is a big audience and they promote it. So once again, it goes back to audience. Do you see what I'm saying? My best podcasts are the ones that have the biggest guests. It's not rocket science. They bring their audience. Theirs is bigger than mine. So how do you get more webinar attendees if people don't care about you? That's my inaudible.

Ashley Levesque: It's like the chicken and the egg thing, right?

Garrett Mehrguth: It is, yeah.

Ashley Levesque: Because you can't put on terrible content and expect your audience to grow.

Garrett Mehrguth: crosstalk if you care. Yes, exactly.

Ashley Levesque: Yeah, for sure. So I think you're right, and I also think there is some element to quality content that's a part of this. So for example, we see a lot of people running product webinars as the first introduction webinar to a new audience. And that's a terrible idea, right? Because to your point, they don't know who you are. Why are they going to come listen to you about your product? That's, again, focusing back on that.

Garrett Mehrguth: There's no screen, you don't have your camera on. You're talking into the void. There's no chat. It's literally like blow your brains out boring.

Ashley Levesque: It's not for those people. Yeah, it's not for those people. So thinking about stuff that really excites them or interests them, like we've done stuff that doesn't have anything to do with our products. We've done meditation on webinars before, just come hang out with us for 10 minutes and meditate with us, and we're not going to put you in like a nurture campaign or anything weird. We're just working on building brand affinity. We want you to just-

Garrett Mehrguth: Like these live shows, right? That's what I'm doing this for, is just to have fun conversations in a way that's hopefully engaging format and we can talk about things that other people don't talk about on their shows.

Ashley Levesque: Totally. That's exactly right. That's exactly right.

Garrett Mehrguth: Are you almost ready for candy number two?

Ashley Levesque: Oh my God. Yeah.

Garrett Mehrguth: I'm watching you just like, okay, I'm going to do my thing. I'll push the pace. I'll push the pace. Okay, the second one just ruins your day.

Ashley Levesque: There's nothing good about the second one. Like the feeling, let me walk you through some of what I'm experiencing right now. A feeling of rage just came up from the bottom of my toes and swam all the way up to my eyes. Like, pure rage. It's not cute. It's like I'm really mad. You know what I mean?

Garrett Mehrguth: I love that. Well, then let me ask you a good one. Demio, one of the hardest part about acquisition is integrating it. You came from Demio, and now you're doing this two menu idea. I haven't seen anyone do it. I think it's dope as hell. But when I click on, just so you know, when I click on Banzai from Demio, I can't get to Banzai as a inaudible?

Ashley Levesque: What?

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, yeah. Dead serious. I know, I know. I told you, I do my crap.

Ashley Levesque: I appreciate this.

Garrett Mehrguth: But I thought the concept was amazing. I was just trying to get back to your website and I couldn't, but that was after I wrote all my notes of how amazing it was. So how are you all thinking about it? When are you going to integrate it? Are you going to move the closet over? Are you not? I'm actually, like I've got some signed LOI. I'm in a process of doing this right now. And I've been racking my brain. How do I want to integrate this company to Directive? What did you do? I want to hear about it.

Ashley Levesque: Okay, there were two main things we were thinking about. One, Demio is primarily a self- serve product. And so the revenue impact of moving their website immediately after acquisition is significant.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, because Banzai inaudible demo, no pricing available.

Ashley Levesque: Totally, totally.

Garrett Mehrguth: Disconnect from that.

Ashley Levesque: The other big thing that we thought about was Demio actually had a bigger awareness in the market than Banzai did during the acquisition. So we wanted to create the connection between Banzai and the parent company without getting rid of Demio's brand entirely because we would lose everything that they had created.

Garrett Mehrguth: So they were actually a bigger brand than you all, but you all had the capital or the whatever to bring them in.

Ashley Levesque: Exactly. So the plan is long term, we are going to move it over.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, of course.

Ashley Levesque: But first we have to do a better, deeper understanding of what that'll mean, which we haven't done yet.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah. Why rush, right? At the same time, it's like, why rush? Because you've integrated your other menu into it, which I thought was brilliant. So it's kind of still obvious that it's within, especially if you click on it, because I was going through your products and stuff and I was getting to it. And by the way, I think it's your product inaudible. What's the name of your product thing where you have Demio, your three right there?

Ashley Levesque: The product page? Demio crosstalk.

Garrett Mehrguth: They're all in the menus. Is it solutions or products? What do you call that?

Ashley Levesque: I think we call it products. Yeah.

Garrett Mehrguth: I think you might want to look at that.

Ashley Levesque: Okay.

Garrett Mehrguth: Because the rest of the website I feel like stands out compared to that. I got a little lost trying to understand your story because you still don't have a platform page. So you have the three products, but I didn't feel like you were able to connect all three to me, which I think would be really big on your average order value.

Ashley Levesque: Exactly right.

Garrett Mehrguth: I don't know. That was just my side note.

Ashley Levesque: Yep. You're right on.

Garrett Mehrguth: Because I've been trying to do this. We have a lot of clients that are really large, like the hardest part in SaaS marketing, undoubtedly, and this is not like a knock on you. Literally nobody does it, is platforms. Like when you have three products, how do you tell the story of each integrated? It's way harder than anyone fully grasps, especially if you do it via acquisition. It is the hardest thing in the game, undoubtedly.

Ashley Levesque: Stay tuned and come back to banzai. io on April 1st.

Garrett Mehrguth: Okay.

Ashley Levesque: Write it down, friends. You heard it here first.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yes. Okay. April 1st. Now, you have a ton of charisma, a ton of talent. You've got the it factor. What I want to know is how did you go from manager to director to VP in one year?

Ashley Levesque: Ooh. Okay.

Garrett Mehrguth: You actually did. Literally in one year, you were like COVID is going to change my life. You know what I mean? It looks like you turned a negative into a positive in record time. I'm sure from an interpersonal, I don't know what happened, but as a guy who does interviews all day, every day, I'm sure something happened in that robotics company. And then next thing you go to Demio and the next thing you know, you're here at Banzai, and you're a VP. Break that down for me.

Ashley Levesque: Yeah. And a couple years before that I was actually an executive assistant. So I did executive assistant to VP in 10 years.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yes. Go off, Ashley. Yes. All right, let's go. So break it down for me. What was the thing? Because there's a lot of people that are going to watch this that are in a similar spot. They're a manager. They're an assistant. They have big dreams, but they feel stuck.

Ashley Levesque: My go to that I always do, and I still do it, is I always say yes, even if I don't know how to do the thing being asked. I say yes first. I figure out how to do it later. Always, that's always, that's when I was an EA and my CEO was like, " We need to build a marketing department. Are you interested?" And I was like, I don't even know what marketing is. But I was like, " Yes." And then I'm Googling, literally.

Garrett Mehrguth: How to build a marketing department.

Ashley Levesque: And how to do marketing, literally.

Garrett Mehrguth: inaudible you joined The Peak, right? You joined Pavilion. You got yourself involved in communities. You built a support group around yourself. That same character trait is the same as the people that were with me six years ago that were doing this job, and then are now in charge of a hundred people plus. They said yes along the way. They were like, I'm okay shedding my skin as a professional so that I can grow. Snakes shed their skin because they grow. Professionals have to shed their skin and say yes to things if they want to grow. It doesn't work any other way.

Ashley Levesque: That's exactly right. And you have to be okay feeling uncomfortable. You have to be chill not being great at everything that you're about to do and risking whatever that feels like for you, the inadequacy or the incompetence or whatever. And then, man, it's still sour.

Garrett Mehrguth: Oh yeah. No, it's bad. It's inaudible.

Ashley Levesque: And then you've just got to keep, and you've got to surround yourself with awesome people so that you don't do it in a silo, so that you're not constantly just creating your own debt. You know what I mean?

Garrett Mehrguth: When you think about people, let's break that down though. Because when you think about people, when you're surrounding yourself with them, and by the way, don't drink coffee, it's like orange juice and toothpaste. But so when you're, I know, I literally have my coffee. It happens every time. So I try to drink as much as I can before. You'll learn. Now, so when you think about people and you're building your team, do you surround yourself with people who complement your strengths or people who make up for your weaknesses? How do you like to think about that?

Ashley Levesque: Make up my weakness.

Garrett Mehrguth: Okay. So if you are going to bring maybe the high energy in all this stuff, I would imagine as a similar personality type, you might want someone who's overly analytical because that might not be what you're going to get off to. Or you might want, you kind of partner those people with you in very specific areas to elevate as a group. Is that a fair way of looking at it?

Ashley Levesque: Yes.

Garrett Mehrguth: Okay.

Ashley Levesque: Usually yes.

Garrett Mehrguth: Now, I do have a problem with your website.

Ashley Levesque: Give it to me.

Garrett Mehrguth: That chatbot thing. Did we just buy the Drift inaudible because everybody's doing it? Does that thing actually outperform? Have we tested it? Like, tell me, please, does the chatbot work better? Because I wanted that demo, and I'm like she makes all her money right here on this page. This is a really, like it's a ballsy move. She's got a chatbot. I can't fill out the form. She bought into it. Does it work? Break it down for me.

Ashley Levesque: I just got two leads from it today. So between eight and noon, it's 12: 30 here, I already have two leads come in, one for one product, one for another. I don't know if it's going to work yet. We just did it when we did the website.

Garrett Mehrguth: Okay, you just did it. So this is part of the new launch.

Ashley Levesque: This is part of the testing.

Garrett Mehrguth: Because I'm like, nobody's doing it. You have a lot of things on your website that are totally innovative. That's why I'm so excited for this, because I like to think I have original thoughts. I was like, Ashley has original thoughts. And that's what I think to me is very, like, it's critical to have original thoughts if you want to have above average results.

Ashley Levesque: You've got to.

Garrett Mehrguth: Because you can't do the same thing as everybody else.

Ashley Levesque: You can't do the same thing. You do the same thing, you're going to have the same results that you've always had. You've got to play and test. And honestly, the market is open to that. We just went through two of the craziest years of adaptation. Let's give people some more credit, you know what I mean? Try something crazy, and people will respond to it. But I wanted to get rid of those book the demo forms because ew. And I got rid of the contact us form because also, ew.

Garrett Mehrguth: I love it. I love it. It's totally challenging and pushing a narrative. And the reason that's exciting to me is because I don't think you can ever get to that next level if you don't break away from what the status quo is, if that makes sense.

Ashley Levesque: Exactly right.

Garrett Mehrguth: Now, within that, one of I guess my questions is like, so I have two points here. Number one, I agree with your premise. My whole premise of growing Directive, so we spend millions of dollars on our own marketing as a professional services firm, which is weird. I call it R& P. It's like, if I'm going to sell you something, I want to know if it works first as a consultant. Now, my premise is marketers hire Directive or enjoy Directive because they're jealous of our marketing. That's why I try to come up with these concepts. That's why I do Sour& SaaS and these things. I want them to go, oh, I wish I had something like that instead of my boring webinar. And so I think your concept of doing different websites, having bold copy, doing different forms appeals to your ICP differently. And this is what I was actually talking to my wife about last night, is marketers are like car guys. And here's what I mean by that. If you're a car guy or any type of hobby, whatever it is, like me, I played soccer and I tried to go pro and I can tell if someone's good at soccer the second they step on a field. The body language, how they walk, what they're wearing, the way they talk, they don't have to touch a ball and I can be like that dude is a pro in like a millisecond. Car guys, same thing. You could see a car guy from a mile away. Their cars look different. They talk about them different. They're just like their own little nerds for whatever it is, whether you're a sports nerd. You could tell someone's a gambler in like two seconds. They're watching like some NIT game on a Tuesday night and they care way too much. And they didn't go to either of the schools. Right? Marketers are the same, and I don't think we actually think about that ever and give each other credit. I think marketers, like real recognize real. If you're selling marketers and they see you and they like your marketing, there all of a sudden becomes this affinity. What do you think about that? Do you agree? Like to me, that's my whole premise.

Ashley Levesque: Absolutely. That's absolutely right. And when we did our rebrand four or five weeks ago, I had three goals of doing the rebrand. And these are the same goals I gave to the developer, the designer, and my team when we were writing copy. Goal one was to create a stronger connection between Demio and Banzai. I wanted people to think of these two companies as one as the same. Demio is no longer a company. They're a product. I wanted to make that clear and fold them in kind of this new hierarchy. The second one was I wanted our mission to show up in our brand. Our mission is about making marketing more human. And I was like, I want to see it in the colors, in the fonts, on the images, on the site. I want to see it in the copy. And the third one was, I want to build a brand that marketers are awed by, because then it's the exact same thing. We need to walk our talk a little bit. We're talking to marketers about engagement marketing. I want us doing this internally as well.

Garrett Mehrguth: You did it. I've got to tell you, that third point I think is the one that you really crushed, like the welcome to the movement. The way you did that copy to introduce that concept was so much more clever than even the way I've done it with customer generation, because you didn't just build a landing page for your category. You built a resource center for your category. And I think that's a much healthier way of doing it than I've done it or most do it. And you didn't do it in this B2B annoyingly cut and dry, like it's the category because we say it, you did it more like this is a category you should want to be a part of. Which I think was quite clever. Yeah, I don't know. I thought it was good. What was your thought process on that? Because category creation, you all put a lot more effort than most do, I think, into it for how big you are. And I don't mean that in a bad way, but you all aren't at that point, but you're acting like you are, which is what I freaking love. So how did you go about deciding to do it? What's your thoughts on categories?

Ashley Levesque: Yeah, so we wanted to really think about, we started with the idea of a community, but what we meant by the idea of a community is not so much like a group of people that can converse with one another.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, not so much a Slack group, but a different version of that.

Ashley Levesque: But like a revolution, right? A community that is inspired to move, to change the script on the way we think about marketing. And so the name the movement came from that. And then those resources that you mentioned are designed to be, again, to your point, outcome based. These are things that marketers are already thinking about and are just wondering how to do it. The people that find themselves on that page are the people who are already like, I'm so tired of marketing the way that I'm marketing. I just don't know how to do something better. I don't know how to get the buy in to do something different, or budget or whatever. And so we wanted to create kind of a, we have like four tenants of our brand and one of the tenants of our brand, the way we want to make people feel is brave. We wanted to give them a spot where they felt like they could be brave to kind of dip their toes into something different. That was the whole point of crosstalk.

Garrett Mehrguth: No, I think you are evoking that emotion, that emotion of like... The way I like to tell people when I'm coaching or helping them is like the person, the individual I see, has more potential than the person you see in the mirror. And I think that's that same, that's what you are showing the marketer, is a reflection of how much more they could be and how much you believe in them. And all they have to do is say yes, right?

Ashley Levesque: Yes.

Garrett Mehrguth: And all you have to do is say yes, and we're going to pull you along. And then me, I just thought that was terrific. But Ashley, this has been amazing. If anyone wants to follow along with your journey, follow Banzai, dive deeper, what's the best way for them to do it?

Ashley Levesque: Oh my gosh. All right. So I'm on LinkedIn. You have to come find me on LinkedIn so we can hang out. Thank you. LinkedIn, yeah, Ashley Levesque. Come to the website, banzai. io. Tell me all the things that Garrett missed about all the amazing things that you love. And if you want to share some feedback, you can send that too. Thank you for having me. It was so fun to talk to you. I appreciate it.

Garrett Mehrguth: This has been amazing. Thanks so much for being on the show. And that, everybody, is Sour& SaaS. Bye, everybody.


In this episode of Sour & SaaS Directive CEO, Garrett Mehrguth, speaks with Ashley Levesque, VP of Marketing at Banzai, and breaks down real SaaS marketing problems - with a sour twist. 

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