Sept. 29, 2022

Customer-led growth | Georgiana Laudi (Forget The Funnel)


Georgiana Laudi is the co-founder and CEO of a consulting agency called Forget The Funnel, where she helps SaaS companies scale and improve conversion rates through customer-led growth. She’s also a marketing and growth advisor to companies like MarketerHire, SparkToro, and Sprout Social. Previously, she was the VP of Marketing at Unbounce and has worked in growth marketing for over 20 years. In today’s episode, Gia speaks about how to identify your ideal customer, how to map their user flows in order to find the biggest growth opportunities, and examples of product changes she’s recommended that have led to the largest growth unlocks. She shares the exact process she works through with founders to uncover opportunities, as well as how to increase subscriptions and retention for SaaS businesses.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and Youtube.

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Where to find Georgiana Laudi:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/ggiiaa

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgianalaudi/

• Website: https://www.forgetthefunnel.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for making this episode possible:

• Amplitude: https://amplitude.com/

• Athletic Greens: https://athleticgreens.com/lenny

• Maven: https://www.maven.com/lenny

Referenced:

• How SaaS Marketers Can Hold High-Impact Customer Research Interviews: https://www.forgetthefunnel.com/resources/saas-customer-research-interviews

• Jobs To Be Done: Email Invite Template & Interview Questions by Forget The Funnel: https://docs.google.com/document/d/183PzYjQi2vsIRlPMUrtzRwZF1VdnZWNDAZsrJ4MRT4Q/edit

• The Growth Framework for Customer-Obsessed SaaS Teams: https://www.forgetthefunnel.com/resources/saas-customer-journey-mapping

• Project Snow White: https://marker.medium.com/what-seven-years-at-airbnb-taught-me-about-building-a-company-e1d035d49c56#:~:text=middle%2C%20an[…]0White,-was%20one%20of

• Startupfest: https://startupfestival.com/for-startups/

• Pirate Metrics: https://fourweekmba.com/pirate-metrics/

• How Airbnb Proved That Storytelling Is the Most Important Skill in Design: https://www.inc.com/yazin-akkawi/the-surprising-technique-airbnb-uses-to-better-sell-an-experience.html

• Jobs to Be Done: https://jtbd.info/

Demand-Side Sales 101: https://www.amazon.com/Demand-Side-Sales-101-Customers-Progress/dp/1544509987

When Coffee and Kale Compete: https://www.amazon.com/When-Coffee-Kale-Compete-products-ebook/dp/B07C7HH662

Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It: https://www.amazon.com/Obviously-Awesome-Product-Positioning-Customers/dp/1999023005

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products: https://www.amazon.com/Hooked-How-Build-Habit-Forming-Products/dp/1591847788

Forget the Funnel: https://www.forgetthefunnel.com/customer-led-growth/book

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals: https://www.amazon.com/Four-Thousand-Weeks-Management-Mortals/dp/B08XZY5ZF7

• Shine Theory: https://www.shinetheory.com/

• April Dunford’s website: https://www.aprildunford.com/

• SparkToro: https://sparktoro.com/

In this episode, we cover:

(04:33) Georgiana’s background

(07:03) Why funnels are antiquated 

(08:52) Better positioning and messaging to find the ideal customer

(13:59) How Gia was inspired by Airbnb’s storytelling

(19:23) How to analyze what’s successful and what to invest in

(21:54) The ideal customer to learn from

(26:37) How to choose which customer job to prioritize 

(32:21) Value moments in the customer relationship

(36:45) Applying customer feedback 

(44:40) Metrics for measuring the customer’s meaningful engagement 

(49:45) What’s included in the messaging and positioning guidebook

(51:15) Tips for messaging

(54:13) Example of a customer job at SparkToro

(55:58) What is the Jobs to Be Done framework?

(59:50) Lightning round

(1:04:18) How Gia manages her time

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.



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Transcript

Georgiana Laudi (00:00:00):

The problem with funnels and pirate metrics and the favorites that I love to pick on are MQLs and SQLs is that nobody knows what those mean. It puts every customer in the same sort of buckets. It assumes that all customers and all products are the same. It puts businesses, or they, I should say, puts businesses at the center of the business versus putting customers at the center. Right? It's about the values of the business, not the value to the customer that's being measured. Also, it just kind of feels gross for people, this idea of pushing people through a funnel. And then probably a particularly relevant for SaaS companies is that recurring revenue businesses, you cannot think about marketing and growth and the business overall as ending an acquisition, otherwise you're not in business anymore. And the vast, vast majority of these models don't take post-acquisition, retention, expansion, all of that into account. So yeah, in a nutshell, funnels are bad.

Lenny (00:01:04):

Welcome to Lenny's Podcast. I'm Lenny, and my goal here is to help you get better at the craft of building and growing products. I interview world-class product leaders and growth experts to learn from their hard-won experiences building and scaling today's most successful companies. Today, my guest is Georgiana Laudi. Georgiana, aka Gia, runs a consultancy called Forget The Funnel, where she works hands on with SaaS companies to help them unlock and accelerate growth.

(00:01:30):

As you'll hear, she often finds huge unlocks and opportunities often doubling or tripling conversion in various points in their product flows. In our conversation, she shares the exact process that she goes through to help companies figure out where their biggest growth opportunities lie, and also how to execute on them. We chat about how to identify your most important customers, how to very practically map their journey through your flows and set goals, and then execute on your ideas. There's a lot of wisdom and some fun stories packed into this episode. So with that, I bring you Gia.

(00:02:05):

I'm excited to chat with my friend John Cutler from podcast sponsor Amplitude. Hey, John.

John Cutler (00:02:10):

Hey, Lenny. Excited to be here.

Lenny (00:02:11):

John, give us a behind the scenes at Amplitude. When most people think of Amplitude, they think of product analytics, but now you're getting into experimentation and even just launch a CDP. What's the thought process there?

John Cutler (00:02:23):

What we've always thought of Amplitude is being about supporting the full product loop, think collect data, inform bets, ship experiments, and learn. That's the heart of growth to us. So the big aha was seen how many customers were using Amplitude to analyze experiments, use segments for outreach, and send data to other destinations. Experimenting CDP came out of listening to and observing our customers.

Lenny (00:02:44):

Supporting growth and learning has always been Amplitude's core focus, right?

John Cutler (00:02:48):

Yeah. So Amplitude tries to meet customers where they are. We just launched Starter Templates and have a great scholarship program for startups. There's never been a more important time for growth.

Lenny (00:02:57):

Absolutely agree. Thanks for joining us, John. Head to amplitude.com to get started.

(00:03:03):

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(00:04:33):

Gia, welcome to the podcast.

Georgiana Laudi (00:04:36):

Thanks so much for having me, Lenny.

Lenny (00:04:38):

It's my pleasure. So we actually met over a decade ago, I think, maybe just around a decade in Montreal. I was working on my startup. You were helping companies with their websites, optimize their websites. Then you went on to lead marketing at Unbounce and a bunch of other great stuff. So just to set a little bit of foundation for listeners, can you talk about what you've done in your career in 55 seconds? That's your time box.

Georgiana Laudi (00:05:03):

55 seconds. Okay. So marketing for probably about 20 or so years, which sounds completely ridiculous when I say it, but I started working for my father's retail business in the early 2000s, probably 2000 actually. Worked there for a number of years, and then eventually left and started freelancing, worked at an agency. Terrible. And then actually probably around the time I met you, I had this little catalyst moment where I joined Twitter in late 2008, and I discovered the tech scene and startups. And that was, again, probably around the time that you and I met, maybe 2010 ish. And that was-

Lenny (00:05:03):

2011.

Georgiana Laudi (00:05:44):

And then I... What's that?

Lenny (00:05:45):

2011.

Georgiana Laudi (00:05:46):

2011. See, there you go.

Lenny (00:05:46):

Mm-hmm.

Georgiana Laudi (00:05:48):

So it was right around that time, and then late 2011, I decided supporting five, six companies at a time in their marketing and stuff like that. I was starting to get burnout, I was doing a lot, and I was like, "What would it feel like to sink my teeth into one brand?" So I decided to go in-house and I moved out west, and joined the team at Unbounce. I was there for five years. And then in late 2016, early 2017, I decided it was time to move on, and so I decided to go back independent and just started working with companies and supporting them through marketing and growth and product marketing. And that's what I've been doing ever since.

(00:06:27):

But in mid 2017, I actually paired up with Claire Suellentrop who led marketing at Calendly, and her and I have been working together since about mid 2017. That's when we launched Forget The Funnel, and we started pairing up on working with companies and sort of married her customer research background in my strategy, marketing background. And we developed this framework that we now use when we work with predominantly B2B SaaS companies, is who we work with right now.

Lenny (00:06:57):

Awesome. So we're going to spend a lot of time on what you've learned working with companies through Forget The Funnel. Why did you call it Forget The funnel?

Georgiana Laudi (00:07:04):

Because funnels are gross. I mean, it's a really antiquated idea. It's not just funnels that we sort of take issue with, it's buyers' journeys or even... I remember actually at Startup Fest 2012, I want to say, Dave McClure was talking about pirate metrics and I was like, "Huzzah, marketing has a role post acquisition. Everybody understands now." It was a real moment for me. But the problem with funnels and pirate metrics and the favorites that I love to pick on are MQLs and SQLs is that nobody knows what those mean. It puts every customer in the same sort of buckets. It assumes that all customers and all products are the same. It puts businesses, or they, I should say, puts businesses at the center of the business versus putting customers at the center. It's about the values of the business, not the value to the customer that's being measured.

(00:08:01):

Also, it just kind of feels gross for people, this idea of pushing people through a funnel. And then probably a particularly relevant for SaaS companies is that recurring revenue businesses, you cannot think about marketing and growth and the business overall as ending at acquisition. Otherwise, you're not in business anymore. The vast, vast majority of these models don't take post-acquisition retention, expansion, all of that into account. They also leave the problem stage out. So the world that customers are living in prior to discovering you, which is a really critical, that context is unbelievably valuable, especially for marketing. So to delete that out of the equation is a big problem. So yeah, in a nutshell, funnels are bad.

Lenny (00:08:52):

Okay. So I'm excited to dig into a lot of stuff you've learned, but I have a couple other things I just wanted to talk about to set the foundation.

Georgiana Laudi (00:08:58):

Mm-hmm.

Lenny (00:08:58):

One is, can you talk about some of the impact that you've seen working with companies through the process that you've come up with? What kind of impact have you seen? What kind of numbers have you seen?

Georgiana Laudi (00:09:07):

I would say, far in a way the biggest, most immediate impact of the type of work that we do is realigning with that ideal customer. Generally, the lowest hanging fruit outcome is realigning around better positioning and messaging. And identifying more resonant positioning and messaging that speaks to that context that I was talking about before, before people discover that you even exist, have that moment where they're like, "Oh my god, this has to change. This sucks," ties that in, ties in what they care about and what is valuable about your product and then also that desired outcome. I mean, for those in the know, jobs to be done is a big sort of influence here, but if you can identify that type of information about your customers and get to know them at that level, then you are in a way better position to be able to not only position your product but also use much more powerful messaging.

(00:10:06):

So typically, what we do is, we'll identify those gaps of almost, I mean I shouldn't even say nine times out of 10, 99 times out of a hundred, a company's website is not doing as much as it could do. It's not being as effective from a messaging and positioning standpoint as it could. So websites tend to get update. We will do a lot of overhauls on messaging on a website and improve performance there. One of my favorite examples of that is a social media tool that we worked with where we did really very simple research for them, honestly, identified two different jobs to be done, zeroed in on one of them, and then updated the messaging on the website.

(00:10:46):

We shortened the trial from 30 days to seven. The conversion on the website went up with this new messaging by 89%. But the thing that I love the most about that particular story is that we didn't even touch anything after the signup experience. We hadn't even gotten there and the trial-to-paid conversion rate increased 40%, and we didn't touch it. It was just because a more qualified, better fit customer was coming through the door. So there was more of them and there were better qualified. So that's a really specific example that is very typical of this type of work.

(00:11:19):

There's other examples, though, of product adoption and using that messaging and positioning past the website, even in the product onboarding itself, email and app, whatever, and just making sure that they're getting to and have the calms to get to the parts of the product that they care about the most, which can increase trial-to-paid or product activation. With Autobooks, the product usage of the North Star product usage jumped by 300% or something within quite a short period of time after rolling out email onboarding to support that product experience. I know SparkToro as well, which I think we might end up talking about again when we talk about the process, they doubled their trial-to-paid conversion rate when we worked with them because of post acquisition optimization to their messaging.

Lenny (00:12:01):

I imagine people are listening to this and they're like, "This is what I'm waiting for, some kind of huge win, some huge conversion, a success." I'm curious, how often do you find companies have something like this, like a latent opportunity to double, triple conversion? Everyone's hoping a conversion like this.

Georgiana Laudi (00:12:18):

Oh, boy.

Lenny (00:12:19):

Yeah. What's the general hit rate?

Georgiana Laudi (00:12:22):

So many. I mean I would say, pretty well every company we've ever worked with has... Not pretty well. Every company we've ever worked with has learned something new about their customers that they can apply at some juncture of their customer's experience, whether or not it is in campaigns to reach the right people out in the world, whether or not it's doing a better job with their messaging and positioning on their website, or their go-to market or acquisition strategy on their website using a sandbox account or getting a faux freemium account to let people kick the tires of their product prior to getting on a sales call. That's something that could potentially happen.

(00:13:06):

The post-acquisition experience I'm talking about, it is so often an afterthought somehow where that additional of layer... I think part of the reason why it's an afterthought is because product onboarding in particular, and you've probably heard this too, it tends to be kind of like no man's land. Who owns that? Is it marketing? If it's freemium, in my opinion it should be marketing because freemium is a marketing tool, but not everybody subscribes to that. Not every company would necessarily agree that that's the case. A lot of companies might say, "No, it's product." So we end up seeing a messy middle there because there's no natural handoff. So pretty well, every company that we've worked with has had an opportunity to improve, especially product onboarding and product activation.

Lenny (00:13:53):

Awesome. So basically everybody will benefit from what we're about to talk about.

Georgiana Laudi (00:13:53):

A hundred percent.

Lenny (00:13:53):

Amazing. Great.

Georgiana Laudi (00:13:53):

Yes.

Lenny (00:14:00):

All right. We've got wrap detention as a way to maybe transition into your process. So you're visiting a site once, and I invited you to the Airbnb office we were having a happy hour, and I gave you a tour. You told me later that something you saw while you're walking around the office transformed the way you think about growth and inform the way you think about approaching this problem. Can you talk about that?

Georgiana Laudi (00:14:24):

Yes. This is one of my favorite... It was 2013, so you and I might have met in 2011, and then a couple years later I was in town for a conference and we toured the office, HQ and everything. Of course, it was all stars in my eyes because what a beautiful office too. So it was quite like, I would've remembered it regardless. But we went downstairs, very different from the very polished upstairs. We went downstairs to where your working area was, where the product team was, and there were sheets of paper taped to the wall, a bunch in a row. And it would've been easy to miss because it's kind of chaotic down there, but it was the customer journey of an Airbnb customer through two posts.

(00:15:12):

What struck me, I was like, "Oh that's interesting. I'm in the middle of building one out for us." Leading marketing at Unbounce at the time. And I was interestingly with the customer success, he was also with me. So Ryan Engley was there with me, and it was the perfect sort of that him and I saw it together. It was a customer journey that was focused on the customer. So versus that pirate metrics problem or that the typical buyer's journey problem that I was talking about earlier, it was the complete reverse of that. It was illustrated. The emotional journey was part of it. The role that Airbnb played as a direct touchpoint and also indirect, what was going on in the person's life that had nothing to do outside of Airbnb, which I thought was really interesting.

(00:16:01):

It was like, the beautiful little milestones really encapsulated in a sort of snapshot way, such that anybody walking by it or anybody being reminded that it existed could understand in a glance what the goal was at each of those milestones. I was like, "Well, shit, this is completely through the lens of the customer versus the business and the grossness of the funnel." It's just so far removed from that experience that I was like, "Ryan, look at this. We need this." He was like, "Oh yeah, this is good." I took a picture. Can't find it for the life of me.

(00:16:39):

But we returned back to the office the following week, and co-founder and head of product, head of CS, so Ryan, Carter Gilchrist, who's head of product and co-founder, Ryan, and I, head of marketing, the three of us locked ourselves in the room for two days and made our own. It was a circle. I mean looking back, it's hysterical, but it was sort of democratized to the rest of the team in a way because it had that buy-in. Everybody was like, "Oh yeah. Okay, this makes sense and I understand." It made everybody feel a lot better about what they were doing because it was about value, delivering value at each of the points.

(00:17:13):

So that grossness sort of goes away and we're like, "Oh cool." I don't want to be too kumbaya about it, but it was a bit of a moment. And also, it made communicating with especially the product team and the engineering team a lot easier for me. So we were using a shared language. The rest of the company who aren't necessarily customer facing really understood, I think, at a different level what we were all doing together in KPIs, yada yada yada. So it was amazing. Honestly, I mean I can't credit only that obviously to our growth, but it was a pretty impressive couple years that followed that. I think the alignment that that brought us was huge. Yeah. Anyway, that's the story. Sorry, that wasn't super short, but it was big.

Lenny (00:18:02):

That's great.

Georgiana Laudi (00:18:03):

It was a big thing. Yeah.

Lenny (00:18:05):

We're going to link pictures of this on the show notes. Internally, it was called Project Snow White because it was inspired by-

Georgiana Laudi (00:18:05):

Oh yeah, that's right.

Lenny (00:18:13):

Yeah. It was inspired by Brian reading the biography of Walt Disney, and they needed to create the storyboard basically to create Snow White because it was so complicated to make that movie. It might have been the first animated film with storyboards.

Georgiana Laudi (00:18:24):

Okay.

Lenny (00:18:25):

So it was basically a storyboard of a trip on Airbnb of a host and a guest.

Georgiana Laudi (00:18:30):

That's right.

Lenny (00:18:30):

And in detail, I forget if I told you this, but Airbnb hired a full-time storyboard artist from Pixar to draw these key frames.

Georgiana Laudi (00:18:38):

I think I did know that. I was very grateful to have seen it. I didn't realize at the time, but it changed the way, like you said at the beginning, it changed the way that I thought about marketing because it really made it obvious to not only me, of course, and to everybody, that customer experience layer, that marketers are so good at, has such an incredibly important role in driving revenue. Not just in building awareness, but in playing a major role in helping customers get value and catching them when they fall off and all that kind of stuff. So it changed a lot for us.

Lenny (00:19:19):

And it informed the way that you approach your consultancy with Forget The funnel. So as a transition to talk about that, the way I'm thinking we approach this is, imagine a customer, what is the process you go through? What are the steps? How do you go about helping a company figure out where they should invest, what they're doing right and wrong? I should also mention you're writing a book about this that's going to explain this whole process, that's coming out later in the year.

Georgiana Laudi (00:19:19):

Right. Yeah.

Lenny (00:19:41):

So we'll talk about that at the end as well. I'll turn over to you.

Georgiana Laudi (00:19:46):

Cool. I mean if I go down a rabbit hole and you want to pull me out and have me unpack something, let me know. Well, the process is pretty straightforward. At the highest level, the idea is, understand your best customers, map their experience, like we were just talking about, map their experience through the lens of delivering value to them, make it measurable, and then evaluate what you're doing today that is out of alignment with that. Pretty straightforward. I mean that doesn't sound too hard of a job, of course. But research is an really important part of that. So the story that I was going to use to illustrate this is, there's a company that we work with from time to time. We worked with them at least twice, arguably three times.

(00:20:34):

So Rand Fishkin who was the founder of Moz, he's got a new product. It's an audience research tool called SparkToro. And when they first launched, actually even pre-launched, Rand and Casey came to Claire and I to help with their positioning and messaging as they were going forward to launch. I mean Rand and Casey, they're both very, very thoughtful and they take their time with stuff. So they were just looking for that extra layer of like, "Is this good enough to launch kind of thing?" So we help them with their positioning and messaging. And off they went.

(00:21:08):

About a year later, they came back because though they were doing a decent job generating traffic and interest in SparkToro, I mean Rand is no small fish so he's got a good audience built in, which is fantastic, but those that were getting to the website... Those that were signing up for the product, those weren't issues. But the people that were signing up for their free product weren't converting to paid in the way that they believed they could. So we decided to work with them and basically go to the source and find out, from SparkToro's best customers, what can we learn from them that we can then reflect back in the product experience and the customer experience for them?

(00:21:54):

So I mentioned it before, but we are heavy believers in the jobs-to-be-done theory, which is basically this idea that people don't buy your product, they buy the better version of themselves, yada yada. I don't need to explain any of that. But we use that to guide our research. And with SparkToro, we were in a position, and the purists will hate me saying this, but we were in a position to be able to run surveys. So yes, interviews are ideal always, but we did think that we could learn a ton from surveys to then, if needed, double down with interviews. We didn't end up actually needing to run the interviews because the surface that we ran were pretty decisive and clear in terms of what we learned. So what we did was, we identified SparkToro's best customers. Now, what I mean by best customers is those that get a ton of value from your product as of exist today, pay obviously. They're happy. They're low maintenance. And very importantly, they signed up for your product recently enough that they remember what life was like before.

(00:22:57):

So generally, we say that's in the three to six-month range. Because if you go to somebody that's been your customer for two years, they're just going to fill answers with what they think might have been going on in their life. But if you ask customers who remember what life was like before, you're going to get a lot more interesting responses, a lot more accurate depiction of what was going on. So that's the criteria we went forward. Surveyed their customers. We're trying to uncover from them what was going on in their life when they were seeking out a solution, what happened, what was that trigger moment when they did start seeking a solution, what did they go to, who did they talk with, what were their influences? Which PS, that's what SparkToro does, it helps you identify those.

(00:23:42):

But also, what were they looking for in a solution? What were the must-haves for them versus what were some of the anxieties that they had, some deal breakers, things like that? So basically unpacking what is it that was critical for them in their solution. And then of course, what is it they're able to do now that they weren't able to do before. So that desired outcome. So out of that, we identified a couple of different options, a couple of different jobs, customer jobs, and we have to prioritize one, of course, because if you start right off the bat with like, "Okay, we're going to solve for all of these different customers jobs," then you end up not being as resonant. You can't be as effective. So we focused in on one.

(00:24:23):

And the way that you make a decision on which one you focus on is similar to best customers. So high willingness to pay. There's no question whether or not they would pay for a product like yours. The handholding that they would need would be minor or less so. And I say that understanding full well the difference between product-led and sales-led. I'm not saying that sales-led is not good, but sometimes there's a decision to be made. If you're not set up today to support a sales-led or high touch, then you may want to opt for the more product-led approach. And the reverse is also true if you've got a robust sales team, well then, you might actually be better off leveraging sales more in that scenario and might want to attend towards that. But there's that criteria that you would think through.

(00:25:10):

So willingness to pay, it's really obvious. Maybe the most important one is that they have an urgent problem. So the whole pain killer versus vitamin thing, you always want to be selling a pain killer. So who has an urgent problem that needs solving, not something that they might have a problem with six months down the line? Who has a high retention or even expansion potential is also really advantageous for very obvious reasons. So customers who would have a long-term need for this type of product and even potentially have that need expand or change over time and evolve in ways that you envision the product can help them.

(00:25:47):

And then there's other criteria too. So sometimes you might want to prioritize one customer job over another, if those customers congregate in a way that make them really easy to market to. That's an advantage. Or another advantage, and this was the case for SparkToro, is you have an unfair advantage with this market in some way. So there were two different customer jobs that were coming out of SparkToro. One was more focused on service providers and marketing and the other one was more focused on data. And those data purists and those that really wanted verifiable data, well, SparkToro has an advantage on the marketer side more so than on the data analyst side. So that was another thing too. So with that, we made the call to focus on one of those customer jobs.

Lenny (00:26:35):

Can I ask a question here?

Georgiana Laudi (00:26:37):

Yeah, go.

Lenny (00:26:37):

So there's two parts of this. There's figuring out who you're going to go after and then what problem you're solving for them. Which do you think is more important at this point? Because step one in this process, just to zoom out a little bit, is figure out your customer and what their problems are so that you can actually solve them well. Do you start with here's who we're going to go after and then here's the biggest problem? How do you think about that?

Georgiana Laudi (00:27:01):

They're sort of one in the same. So because we learned from SparkToro's ideal customers, we already know that they're a fit for the product. They're happy, happily paying, prime them out of their golden hands customers. They're the customers that we want more of. So we've already validated that there's a demand from that customer base. Now, what I'm describing about choosing between two different customer jobs is really just, of those ideal customers, which customer job do you want to lean into? It's not that you wouldn't necessarily still be able to solve for that other customer job, it's just not the one that you would lead with. And I always cautious around this too because sometimes with founders, what'll happen is, there's a level set that just because we were prioritizing one customer job in the short term, doesn't mean you can't serve that other customer job down the line.

(00:27:57):

A classic example of that is products that serve both brands and agencies for example. So the customer job for brands will be slightly different than agencies. And if you've got an advantage with one, you would just start with one and then you would go back after it. That's a bit of a level up after the fact. It's not part of the core processes, it's what you would do after. But it doesn't mean you can't solve for the other customer jobs, it just means put one foot in front of the other, do a really good job of one thing first, and then we'll add that on later. I don't know if that a hundred percent answered your question though.

Lenny (00:28:32):

Yeah. Yeah.

Georgiana Laudi (00:28:33):

Okay.

Lenny (00:28:34):

The reason that you start here is... Basically what you're trying to do is help SparkToro, in this example, grow faster.

Georgiana Laudi (00:28:40):

I mean we're trying to help them figure out why they're free-to-paid conversion rate was lower than what they wanted. Right? That was the challenge they came to us with. Our traffic numbers are good. Even our signups on our website, our positioning and messaging on our website is clearly doing a good job. But once people get into the product, there's not enough of them getting to value quickly enough. I mean they still had healthy customer base, but they knew that that number could be increased. So we knew what we were solving for.

Lenny (00:29:11):

Got it. Okay. That helps.

Georgiana Laudi (00:29:13):

Yeah.

Lenny (00:29:14):

So step one here is figure out who do you want to focus on, not just... Because a lot of people would go at this problem like, "Okay, conversion is whatever, 10%, how do we increase? Let's look at this data. Let's look at it. They're bouncing. Let's look at why people are confused." And your approach is, "No, let's focus on the people we really want to get into this product and focus on making them convert, and not focus as much on the general case of conversion."

Georgiana Laudi (00:29:39):

Right. We would get to that though. That's a really important part of the process, but it comes after figuring out who you're even solving for. But it's definitely important to look at those numbers. I mean, I'm not saying don't look at the data. Obviously you have to. They wouldn't have identified a problem had they not been looking at the data. So the challenge that happened so, so often, and I mean this happens with a lot of teams, particularly marketers fall victim to this tactical way of approaching things and piecemealing things, piecemealing campaigns or programs to prove that we're doing something and we're driving up numbers, and they don't take big enough sort of swings. So this is like, zoom out for a second, figure out who is it that you even want coming through the front door. I mean, the social media platform tool that I mentioned, the trial-to-pay conversion rate bumped up 40% because a higher qualified person comes through the front door. So it matters.

(00:30:40):

So if you can zoom out and keep in your mind's eye that ideal customer job, that thing that you're solving for. We're not at personas. We don't care about personas at all. They're important when you start talking about advertising and targeting and that demographic data that you have to know when you're doing advertising and things like that. That is not what I'm describing here at all. I find that jobs be done too helps tie and bond marketing and product and customer success together a lot more because all three of those teams, or arguably four with sales, should all be focused on this theme customer that's not revolutionary. So this is just a sort of helpful way to do that.

(00:31:24):

Product teams know and subscribe for the most part to the jobs-to-be-done theory. So marketers should follow suit, and there's a lot to be gained anyway on the marketing side. So anyway, the short of it basically is that because we knew we were focused on increasing that free-to-pay conversion rate, the next step after the job is the mapping. So it's identifying, okay, for this ideal customer, what are those key milestones in their relationship with our product? What are those big of leaps of faith is how I describe it. I mean I don't need to explain. The Airbnb customer journey tells that story. Where's a value moment in this relationship? Where are they reaching value?

Lenny (00:32:06):

Make some examples of that for folks that are trying to do this for themselves potentially. And then also, how many of these moments would you suggest people have?

Georgiana Laudi (00:32:13):

Yeah. So it completely depends on the product and the customer for that matter. I shouldn't leave that part over it. Obviously that's important. In general though, what we would do is, we'd break it down into a struggle phase and evaluation phase and a growth phase. Struggle phase is, they're experiencing the problem, life sucks, they're using the old way, something's got to happen, they've got to solve this thing. In general, the struggle phase would break down between out in the world experiencing the problem for the first time. So we call that a problem. And generally there would be another one called interest, where it's like, "Okay, now they're starting to shop around. They're getting into solution seeking mode." They might be on your website. They might be on your competitor's websites. They're reading product reviews, things like that. That's interest stage.

(00:33:00):

And then there's the evaluation phase, which generally breaks down, I will say two or three milestones within the evaluation phase. I say two or three because if you have a more complex product, more complex customer is the more likely scenario. There may be more leaps of faith or more milestones, heavier lift for you to take. So we have worked with companies where the evaluation phase has been three or four milestones, I would always default to as few as possible. So if I'm cutting it down to lowest common denominator, I would say a first value would be the first milestone within evaluation. So you want to get them to that product activation really, really quickly. And then value realization is the milestone where you're solving that customer job. So they reach a point with your product where they're like, "Hell yes, this is it." And for the first time, they reach this critical threshold of product engagement. Now, what that product engagement is with your unique product for that specific customer is up for debate, but there still needs to be that moment.

(00:34:08):

And then there's the growth phase, which is about the continued value. So getting to frequency of usage and a healthy building of that habit, getting into a cadence that makes sense. What type of feature usage and end product usage should you want to see there and then on what frequency becomes really important. And then there's another milestone generally after that where you're like, "Okay cool, they're in. They're pro. Now, what else do they need?" What else do they need from a product? And also, how else can we amplify them or work with them to either start teaching our tool to other people? I mean there's all kinds of things that can happen about growth. That's where the promise that exponential growth assess sort of comes into play.

Lenny (00:34:54):

And as people listen to this, just to maybe help if it's not super obvious, what people shouldn't imagine is like a little key frame, a storyboard frame of like, "Here's something your customer is doing." Right?

Georgiana Laudi (00:35:04):

Yeah. We often talk about it and describe it as the story of how I met and fell in love with your product. It's like this documentary of being out in the world, finding it, realizing that like, "Hell yeah, this might actually solve a problem for us. This might be it." Getting that enough value to convince them to keep going to full value realization, to continue value-to-value growth.

Lenny (00:35:28):

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Georgiana Laudi (00:36:31):

Now, again, I'm saying that as if it applies to all customers and products, and that's not actually the case. Sometimes it's more complicated than that, but in general, that is what we have found. So that's what we did for SparkToro customers based on the research that we did. The research that we do, we basically take all the responses, we identify the critical patterns, and that's how we identify the customer job. From those critical patterns, if we segment down just that customer job, we can look at responses and say, "Okay, here's what they're likely doing when they're out in the world experiencing this problem. This is how they described the pain of their current solution. And then here's what they say about how their search for a solution started. Here's what they told us about how they started to do that research or find a solution."

(00:37:17):

And then there's questions that are asked in the research like, "What was the moment that convinced you that our product was going to solve this problem for you?" And the answers to that question are going to tell you what your first value should look like, which of that first product activation experience, whatever language you like to use, what should that look like for them? What parts of the product do you need to push right up to the front of that experience so they can get to it really, really quickly after they sign up?

(00:37:40):

And then value realization obviously would be close to, if not, the desired outcome of that customer job where you're solving that customer job. And then you've got all kinds of... Generally, what happens when I'm going through this process with teams is, all kinds of ideas start to come up about what more they could be doing, even post solving that customer job, especially the product team gets really exciting because they've got all kinds of ideas about where the product can go. So that really helps tie everybody together too.

(00:38:10):

A critical part of that process obviously is identifying we have to measure success along the way. There should be a KPI for each of those stages in that customer journey. And for the most part, they won't be a big surprise on the struggle side of things. People out in the world experience the problem, how are we going to know we're doing a good job reaching them? We bring in new unique website visitors. In general, that would be the measure of success for the problem milestone. And then next piece of the puzzle is like, okay, once they discover that we exist, even if they are visiting, reading product reviews and visiting competitor sites or whatever, we'll know we've done a good job of convincing them that we can help solve their problem and deterring the people that we don't want.

(00:38:53):

We know we've done a good job when the conversion rate on whatever our primary CTA is on our website, whether or not it's start a trial or request a demo, something like that. Generally, the struggle phase is very straightforward in terms of measurement. That's like marketers' bread and butter, that's where they live and breathe all day long. Where things start to change though generally when we're working with companies is helping them figure out how should they be measuring first value or product activation and how should they be measuring actual product engagement. Generally, what we do there is, we can associate basically what they told us brings them the most amount of value with the product attribute or parts of the product that deliver that value. We try to tie the KPI obviously to some sort of meaningful product usage of that key part of the product or product attribute.

Lenny (00:39:49):

Can you share some examples of that? Because that's a really important piece.

Georgiana Laudi (00:39:52):

Yeah. I'll use SparkToro as an example just because it's the one that we started with. So for SparkToro, I don't remember the exact customer job statement necessarily, but for them, what they said were, the parts of the product that gave them a ton of value was two specific features: lists. So being able to organize their findings in a way that made it not only easy for them to organize within their own files but also share because a lot of them were with clients or stakeholders that they want to be able to share with. So lists were a specific feature that honestly, it was in there, but they weren't front loading the product experience with that. I'm not going to say it was hidden, but it wasn't front and center enough. So that was one feature that we could associate with being able to organize the data, being able to continue to build on it and make it usable over time and also share.

(00:40:55):

And then there was another feature as well, which was an exporting feature. Again, it's not that it was hidden, but it wasn't front and center enough. So we tied KPIs to them making use of those features, coupled with obviously the core feature, which is searchability. It was like pairing the search functionality with the list functionality, and then pairing the search functionality with the list functionality, with the export functionality. It's a bit abstract to me just saying the words. It's easier with a visual. But the story is basically, help them use the search functionality first. Right after that, make sure that they're using lists. And if they don't use lists, let's help them get back to using it so that they get to that important critical value moment. And then the same applies for the exporting features that we were talking about.

Lenny (00:41:43):

Got it. And to be clear, you basically said a metric for each of these moments.

Georgiana Laudi (00:41:48):

Yeah, milestones.

Lenny (00:41:50):

Milestones. Yeah.

Georgiana Laudi (00:41:50):

Or just whatever. I mean you have to. I mean it always surprises me when a team is like, "Oh yeah. Yeah, you're right, we don't do that." I'm like, "What? What do you mean?" So at a given milestone, unless they've reached that value moment, you can't keep them on the train to something else. If they haven't even discovered that really, to them, most valued part of their product, you would need to focus on getting them to that value. Otherwise, you can't just keep firing off emails and hoping they're going to jump back into the product as if they're going to care. So a lot of what we'd do is actually proactive customer experiences, whether or not in app or email or whatever tool, to help them get to that moment within the product.

(00:42:32):

And if they don't get to that moment, which is measurable, again, that's why it's a KPI, then we can be reactive in helping them get back in. So identifying, "Okay," not that you would say this like, "it fell off the train," but just helping them nurture them back into, the product didn't really discover that feature if they missed it the first time around. So it's proactive and pushing them forward, but then also catching them if they fall. And the only way to catch them if they fall is if you're measuring something meaningful along the way.

(00:43:02):

We have that storyboard that we were talking about. We also have a map where it's the experience to get them to a certain value moment, but then that win back experience to get them back in should they fall out for any reason. I mean, people get hungry and get distracted, and there's a ton of reasons why. I mean there's a lot of stats on the percentage. I think it's like 70% of people log into an app, log into a product once and never come back. It's wild. So the fact that so many companies don't have some sort of win back or re-engagement always blows my mind.

Lenny (00:43:41):

So just to recap and then we'll keep going with the process. Step one, understand what your customers are going through, figure out the most important customer and their biggest problem, then map out the journey that they go through, the struggle they go through before they discover your product, the steps they go through to evaluate, decide to use your product. And then once they use your product, then continuing to use your product and using it more and more. And then once you figured out these steps... And is a rough number like 10, 12 steps? What's a good number just to put-

Georgiana Laudi (00:44:13):

Oh no, I would hope it's more like six.

Lenny (00:44:16):

Six, okay.

Georgiana Laudi (00:44:17):

I'm always trying to bring it down lowest, only as long as it absolutely needs to be. I mean that goes for all pages, landing pages.

Lenny (00:44:25):

Okay, all right.

Georgiana Laudi (00:44:25):

Same thing for customer journey mask.

Lenny (00:44:27):

Okay. Airbnb had 12, I think. So you're involved in-

Georgiana Laudi (00:44:27):

Yeah.

Lenny (00:44:31):

I liked that. Okay. And then you've come up with a metric to tell you if that step is performing well.

Georgiana Laudi (00:44:36):

If they'd gotten there, did they get to that value?

Lenny (00:44:37):

If they've gotten there. Cool. One last question before we move on to the next step. Can you give two maybe examples of an actual movement, say in SparkToro's case, and then the metric that they use to measure, if they've gotten to that point?

Georgiana Laudi (00:44:52):

Yes. So the measure for success at that tip somebody over into evaluation is performing their first search. So when you're on their website, you perform a search, it's not signing up for a trial or signing up for free, although it does tip you into signing up for free when you perform your first search. So signing up for getting your first search and seeing your first search results is that first measure. And then following that for first value, it is using search again. I mean this is very product specific like I said, but generally, a first search is a kind of an experiment where you're sort of trying the tool on for the first time. Generally, searches start to get better when you do your second and third. So we try to encourage at least five plus.

(00:45:38):

So that first value KPI, I think it was five plus searches, plus at least one list. So it's the combination of those two things that have to happen before somebody's going to really see what this thing does. It's not that they won't get value if they don't use lists, but because we know that SparkToro's ideal customers really get a ton of value out of lists, people can hang out in that stage all day long if they want to. We're not going to worry about them. We're going to worry about the people that really want the actual functionality of the real fully featured tool. So that was the first value, that's how we would know that they got to product activation.

(00:46:21):

And then the next one, as I mentioned before, is a combination of actually three things. So it is conducting a minimum amount of searches within a span of time, creating at least a certain number of lists, I can't remember exactly what it is, and then discovering exporting at least once. And then that is, they've reached a meaningful enough threshold of product engagement. And then value growth was that they do all of that on a regular enough basis so that we know they're not a flight risk basically. So that we know that they're getting continued value from the product. And if they ever fall out of that ongoing engagement measured success, then we can trigger either one-on-one outreach, an email, whatever. I mean obviously it can't be an app because if they're not logging into the app, then you can't reach them. But to help them back in and to say, "Hey, what's up? Can we help? Is there anything that we can do?" And basically be proactive in getting them back in. And then value growth, I believe I think it was expansion or upgrade in their case. I can't remember exactly.

Lenny (00:47:27):

Cool. So you end up with these say, six KPIs.

Georgiana Laudi (00:47:27):

Yeah.

Lenny (00:47:30):

I imagine this becomes goals you track, and then you probably pick one of these to focus on say, per year, per quarter. Awesome.

Georgiana Laudi (00:47:37):

Yeah, hopefully not per year.

Lenny (00:47:38):

Okay, per week.

Georgiana Laudi (00:47:40):

Hopefully short, because I mean I will say that with some of the KPIs, it's very straightforward with new unique website visitors or the website conversion rate. I mean depending on who owns the website, that's not something that should take you a year. You should never be focused on only your website's conversion rate for a year hopefully. But these other KPIs and these other milestones, I mean I have no disillusions about if it impacts the product, obviously there's a lot of implications there. So yes, generally, once you tip over into that sort of in-app and more product experience, timelines vary widely, to say the least.

Lenny (00:48:19):

Okay, cool. Let's move on to the next step.

Georgiana Laudi (00:48:21):

Okay. So after that point, we had a rich voice of customer document that came out of that research. We had a messaging guide for them to use not only in their marketing materials but also through the entire product experience, and also identifying the parts of the product that were so meaningful. Actually, their VP of marketing, the new VP of marketing, Amanda Natividad, actually rolled out checklist. They built a checklist, a product onboarding checklist and also product onboarding emails. And their trial-to-paid doubled. We were like, "Okay, cool, let us know if you need any help or whatever." And they're like, "Oh, we're good. We got this." Checked in two months later and their trial-to-paid had doubled.

Lenny (00:49:03):

I feel like you skipped the important staff of, "Hey, we got KPIs." And then you're like, "Oh, we gave them all this information." So I'd love to spend a little more time on there. You came up with messaging for them, positioning stuff. what happens there?

Georgiana Laudi (00:49:16):

Well, this is the thing. They have a team in place. They've got very highly skilled, a huge team but highly skilled marketer there at the helm. I mean not the list of which is Rand Fishkin, their CEO. So basically, what we did was we gave them, it's like a framework. So it's like, "Here are the bones of this. So got a messaging and positioning guide for you." Generally, I mean when we do them, they're five to seven pages long. They hit on the value prop. They hit on the major competitive advantages. They hit on the major value themes that you want to focus on. Those value themes can be broken down by the emotional benefits and the functional benefits tied to the product attributes that drive that value. So that document, and there's more that goes into it, but that messaging guide basically can be used as the baseline for all kinds of marketing collateral and material, but also email onboarding.

(00:50:16):

So when they're writing their email sequences for whatever it is they're trying to solve for, whatever milestone they're solving for, they can use that as their baseline like, "This is what we're going for. This is the goal here." And that messaging guide rules up to the job to be done. So the job to be done is sort of like the top line. And then we've got that messaging that serves that job to be done. And then we've got the sort of operationalized customer experience with those milestones and KPIs. And then you sort of zoom in on like, where is the experience most broken right now? We already knew that for SparkToro. We knew that we wanted to influence that first early product experience. So that's where we zoomed in and decided on what programs they should roll out. And email onboarding was a natural, as was the checklist.

Lenny (00:51:03):

For folks that want to work on messaging, say kind of just like, "Hey, here's a bunch of messaging advice," any tips for how to message well, how to think about messaging once you have a sense of your journey, maybe some goals, any just pro tips here you could share?

Georgiana Laudi (00:51:21):

Oh, boy. I mean that research and the voice of customer, I mean I'm always going to go back to that. You can guess and you can do use your best judgment. You can use internal stakeholders and the internal team knowledge. And I'm not saying that that is not valuable and that you shouldn't use that at all. You can, but it should never come before learning from and listening to your best ideal customers and using the language that they use. You want to reflect them back to them. That is what is going to show them that you understand the problem that they have and that your product has exactly what it is that they need.

(00:52:06):

The hierarchy of messaging is really important as well. So I mean, there's the classic, sometimes it's hard to see the label from inside the jar, so it's really helpful to get out and be like, "Okay, how do customers see us?" Generally, you can identify the hierarchy of what is important to them, what is the thing that they say is most valuable about their product? What was that aha moment or what was that first value moment? Or what is the thing that makes you stand out over everybody else? And it can literally be a numbers game. If you take a hundred or so survey responses, you can break that down like, "Here's the thing they said they cared about most. Here's the thing they said they cared about second most and third most," not to be so paint by numbers about it, but there's art in the science. But in general, you want to reflect back what they said they care about, not what you think is the coolest thing about your product. That's obviously not the best way to go.

(00:53:05):

That's something that we all inherently know, but it becomes really hard when there's a lot going on and things are changing and the product is evolving and there's a lot of teens and people are coming and going. It's easy to lose sight of that, especially when you're just trying to get shit out the door. So that messaging guide is mentally like, "Okay, here we are. This is my baseline, these are my guardrails for everything that we produce." It's also really handy to hand off to copywriters when you bring in... I mean not just copywriters, lots of people, but particularly when you're producing copy, providing that messaging guide is solar platter for them.

Lenny (00:53:46):

Is this available anywhere, the template that you end up sharing with a customer? Just like, here's a guide, the layout, messaging, recommendations.

Georgiana Laudi (00:53:53):

Oh, we have so many.

Lenny (00:53:55):

Maybe a little-

Georgiana Laudi (00:53:55):

We have so many templates and stuff. Yeah, I'll include a couple links.

Lenny (00:54:01):

Great. I'll put it in the show notes.

Georgiana Laudi (00:54:02):

We got lots of stuff like that. Yeah.

Lenny (00:54:04):

Okay, great. A few final questions around jobs to be done.

Georgiana Laudi (00:54:09):

Yeah.

Lenny (00:54:10):

So you said that they doubled their conversion from free to paid.

Georgiana Laudi (00:54:13):

Yeah.

Lenny (00:54:13):

Amazing. What was their job to be done in the end? And then I just have a few questions about the jobs to be-

Georgiana Laudi (00:54:21):

I think it was when they're struggling to identify opportunities that aren't as obvious. So generally, when you're doing marketing research, you'll end up signing the same things over and over again. And if you are a service provider or if you're in-house for that matter and you're tasked with always coming up with novel and new and more and more and more, you tap that pretty quickly. So what customers were coming to them for was like, "Give me more. I need to impress here. I need more to work with. I need to identify opportunities that I wouldn't otherwise be aware of." Actually that was exactly what it was. I helped me identify opportunities as I wouldn't otherwise be aware of. So the customer job statement is, "When I am in a certain situation, help me," which is filled in by what those things that they're looking, for those motivations, "so I can," which is the desired outcome.

(00:55:18):

The help me was about, I believe it was in a way that is organized and that is shareable and usable over time that I can build on and really rely on over time. And the desired outcome was about, I mean this isn't going to be surprising, but it was about getting stakeholder by hand and getting people on board with, and sharing and looking good, looking like a pro, and doing their job more effectively and driving better results for either their own team or for their clients.

Lenny (00:55:48):

Awesome. We got there. We gloss a little bit over jobs to be done. I imagine many people listening have no idea what this is. So maybe as our final question, can you just explain what this framework is and how folks can learn to use it, or any resources you recommend that comes to mind?

Georgiana Laudi (00:56:07):

Yeah. I mean a heavy influence for us definitely is Bob Moesta, who's one of the original architects of jobs to be done. There are lots of materials online for jobs. I am not the foremost authority in jobs at all. I think jtbd.info is a good website. There's a bunch. Also, Bob Moesta wrote a book called Demand-Side Sales that goes into it. There's also a lot of books written about jobs to be done. When Coffee and Kale is one that a lot of people love. I digress. Point being that what matters is identifying what it is that customers are trying to accomplish. So demographic data doesn't matter. The classic example is, if you look at... Oh, King Charles, now the example has changed. If you look at Ozzy Osbourne, and it was Prince Charles the original, but now it's King Charles, if you look at those two men, they're the exact same age and live in the same area. They both have a dog. They both love cars.

(00:57:04):

From a demographic standpoint, they are identical, but they obviously lead very different lives. What motivates them is very different. So that is where typically personas sort of fall down. So what jobs to be done, to us, is help you figure out what is that desired outcome, what does that better life that customers are seeking out. You were just the vehicle to get them there. That's all it is. I mean there's so many tired analogies so I don't even want to use them but-

Lenny (00:57:34):

Milkshakes maybe.

Georgiana Laudi (00:57:36):

What's that?

Lenny (00:57:37):

The milkshake analogy.

Georgiana Laudi (00:57:38):

The milkshake one, it's not even the analogy. I think that was one of the original job stories that is the milkshake one.

Lenny (00:57:45):

Any other things you want to share about the process that you go through with the companies, things you've learned, before we get to a very exciting lightning round?

Georgiana Laudi (00:57:54):

Yeah. One of the objections that we often get to this type of work is that research takes a long time and that research can often lead to more questions and can slow everything down. You can end up in analysis paralysis, but it doesn't have to be that way. It can be very straightforward, honestly, in a survey scenario. With SparkToro, in just that scenario, I have lots of examples of companies where we ran surveys, it can be a couple of weeks. Two or three weeks, you can actually come out with something solid to move forward with, and you don't get stuck in the bickering or all those stakeholders, the too many cooks in the kitchen. You can come to something decisive. You can get value out of that.

(00:58:47):

The other thing too, the other objection that we get a lot from founders in particular is because they build products to solve a problem that they had, which is cool and it definitely makes you one of the most knowledgeable people about your solution. But products change, markets change, customers change, teams change in a ball. Not everything can live inside of your head, and there's a ton of value in learning and getting inside the heads of your best customers that you may have been really close to the inception of the product. But if any span of time has changed, you'll always learn something new. I've never been in a scenario like this where a founder has not learned something new from their research and been able to leverage it in a way that makes their product experience better.

Lenny (00:59:35):

Awesome. We'll come back to how folks can reach out to you if they want to experience this process, could work with you, learn more. But before we get there, we've gotten into a very exciting lightning round. I've got five quick questions for you. We'll go through them quick, whatever comes to mind. That's what we're doing. Okay, sounds good?

Georgiana Laudi (00:59:35):

Okay.

Lenny (00:59:51):

Okay. What are two or three books that you recommend most to people looking to get better at marketing?

Georgiana Laudi (00:59:58):

I very, very, very rarely read marketing books, but there's two that I think are pretty foundational and recent. So Obviously Awesome by April Dunford. I'm sure you've heard that one a ton. It's kind of required reading, I would say, especially for founders. I told April when she first wrote, I'm like, "I'm going to require every single founder I work with to read your book before we work with them," because it's foundational, you have to know that.

(01:00:23):

And then the other one that I really enjoyed flip side was Hooked by Nir Eyal. That one was great too. But like I said, I don't read many marketing books. The other one that I would be remiss not to mention is ours that we're writing about the process, which is really about the step by step how to do this thing. So as much as we love going through this process with companies, I sort of took a page from April here too, in that telling the process and having people be able to rule this out and do this internally themselves has been wildly gratifying. We do it with a training program and this is our next step in getting out into the world even more. So you absolutely can do this stuff yourself. So that process is later in that book. And then another book that I read recently, which has nothing to do with marketing at all, but was really nice was 4000 Weeks. I don't think-

Lenny (01:00:23):

I'm reading that right now.

Georgiana Laudi (01:01:18):

Oh yeah, I enjoyed it. It was a nice sort of coming back to base a bit. I don't know when I read it. I just finished it a couple of weeks ago. It was just the timing was perfect. I feel like what's going on in the world right now and how everybody's probably feeling right now, it's a good solid read for now.

Lenny (01:01:38):

I'm enjoying it. I just started. I'm glad to-

Georgiana Laudi (01:01:40):

Okay.

Lenny (01:01:41):

Well, you encouraged me to keep reading it.

Georgiana Laudi (01:01:43):

Yeah.

Lenny (01:01:43):

Okay. Favorite recent movie or TV show?

Georgiana Laudi (01:01:46):

I have young kids. I just bought a second property. We're renovating three houses right now. I do not watch movies almost ever. The only thing that I'm currently binging is YouTubers that do DIY interior design and renos. Reason being my partner and I bought a property with four very, very old cottages lakefront, almost like tiny houses, little cottages. We are slowly renovating each of them. So my sort of fill is learning about interior design and DIY home rentals. Yeah.

Lenny (01:02:31):

Who's had the most impact on you in your career?

Georgiana Laudi (01:02:35):

This is the worst question. I hate saying this, but it's probably my dad. I have to say my dad because he's an entrepreneur through and through. And I remember very vividly, I worked for him for I think eight years early in my career. One of the things that he always said was like, "It was the joy of the business." He didn't care what, he's like, "It doesn't matter what you're selling." He could be selling anything, but it was the joy of entrepreneurship. And that really stuck with me. So even when I was in house, I always knew that I needed to do something on my own and be in charge of that journey. His joy in it has impacted me a lot. He was the reason why I knew I was always going to do this.

(01:03:26):

Other than that, I would say I have an incredible network of women that I have been very lucky. We're part of a group that we call Shine Crew. I think I'm supposed to copyright that or something to somebody because I think the term Shine Theory is what it's based on basically. But I'm very, very lucky to be heavily influenced by April Dunford, Tara Robertson, Joanna Wiebe, Talia Wolf. And then obviously my business partner, Claire, obviously changed everything for me. Having that partnership in business, I don't think I would've lasted this long. So yeah, definitely a huge influence for sure.

Lenny (01:04:10):

What's one thing that helps you stay focused and productive during the day?

Georgiana Laudi (01:04:15):

Definitely carving up time, like time blocking. I do a lot of time blocking in advance with a little brain emoji of safeguarding my time. Because we're a small team and we use Slack obviously, something else that we do to protect each other's time is not time stamp, but we put a little code in all of our messages that's either like, "You don't have to listen to this before the end of the day," or, "It's timely," or, "It's no rush," so that we know when we need to mentally process messages in Slack, so we can drop in there just periodically. And then the only other thing that I would say that I do maybe once a month or once a quarter is, we're pretty buttoned up about our time tracking, so we go back and it sort of keeps us honest about how our time is actually spent. And then we can sort of adjust and time block accordingly to make up for the shortcomings of our previous quarter.

Lenny (01:05:11):

That was really clever. I haven't heard of that trick. What's the emoji for "You can do this later"?

Georgiana Laudi (01:05:15):

We actually just use no rush or EOD for end of day, or timely. We do have the alarm emoji, is the "Now. This is going to be dealt with ASAP."

Lenny (01:05:29):

Amazing. Gia, thank you for making time. For this final question, where can folks find you online? How do they pre-order your book? How can they learn more? And then also, just how can listeners be useful to you?

Georgiana Laudi (01:05:39):

Thank you for asking. Twitter is probably the best way. My Twitter handle is atrocious, @ggiiaa is me on Twitter. I'm on LinkedIn every once in a while obviously. My email address is gia@forgetthefunnel.com. So if anybody has any questions, whatever, feel free to email me. If you want any templates or whatever that don't get included in the show notes, just ping me. I've no problem with that. And then forgetthefunnel.com, we've got a book page where there is a wait list for the... Well, we're going to do presale, and then the published physical book will be early in 2023. But we are going to do presale because... Get it in those hands. Why not?

Lenny (01:06:20):

Love it. Gia, thank you for being here.

Georgiana Laudi (01:06:21):

Thank you so much for having me.

Lenny (01:06:24):

Thank you so much for listening. If you found this valuable, you can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. Also, please consider giving us a rating or leaving a review as that really helps other listeners find the podcast. You can find all past episodes or learn more about the show at lennyspodcast.com. See you in the next episode.