Ernie Santeralli of ActiveCampaign gets things off the ground by establishing the reason at the outset. He is the Multimedia Content Manager at ActiveCampaign, a SaaS platform that helps businesses go beyond marketing automation to optimize their customers’ experiences.
Prior to becoming the Multimedia Content Manager for ActiveCampaign, Ernie established his experience as an Inside Sales Representative, in which he understood the core language and voice of his customers which in turn enabled him to develop a strong relationship with his customers and genuinely track and communicate to their needs.
With this experience gained as an Inside Sales Rep and coupled with this incredibly powerful SaaS platform, ActiveCampaign, Ernie now has a unique and powerful medium to connect and tap into the pain points of their customers by providing them with high-quality value-adding content.
Ernie joins us on episode 19 of the MOV Podcast to uncover the secrets around content marketing and how videos can help us improve the overall content marketing game. We’ve also discussed videos as a tool for customer retention and expansion throughout the Customer life cycle.
Here’s Pranav, Co-founder at guch, speaking to Ernie.
Pranav Chimulkar: Hey guys, welcome to the MOV podcast by guch, Mad over videos. It is today at Episode 19. I know, it’s been a long journey for us, although it is really short, its own way, it’s just 19 episodes. But if I think, it is an event in the offline world, to turn it into a podcast and encountering, like really amazing guests, talking about their experiences and sharing insights that all of us can possibly benefit out of. So it’s been an eventful journey. And we’ve already been speaking to people from various backgrounds, I think we’ve spoken to marketers, sales professionals, PR professionals, we’ve spoken to CMOs, we have spoken to founders, creative professionals who practice video on a daily routine. And I think it’s very interesting to bring all these insights together on one single platform, and that is Mad Over Videos. Other than the podcast will also soon be starting out new initiatives. Because, the interest was shown from a few guests, who been so supportive in our earlier episodes, I think people have suggested that they want to come back on the podcast, or rather come up with a new sort of format where they can participate again. So we’ll be coming out with roundtables very soon. So I’m just going to be putting it out there. Be planning the first couple of episodes with some awesome people. So look out for that. And very soon, we’re also going to be coming out with an e-magazine. So we’re working on that as well. So Mad over videos, is live and kicking. We really hope to have your support in all of our initiatives going forward. With that said, I’ll quickly come to the guest for today. Before even talking about the guest. We all know-how while we think about scale and automation, we often at times, end up sacrificing a few things on the customer experience side. We want to automate our emails, we want to automate CRM, we want to scale our messaging, we want scale advertising, and eventually, it comes down to whether or not it’s been received well by the customer. So it’s not just about reducing our efforts, but it’s also about ensuring that the customers get the right experience. So there are a few tools that really help you solve this. And one of the best tools out there when it comes to automating customer experience is Active Campaign. We discovered this tool on LinkedIn. And we reached out to a few folks at Active Campaign and we already received a few positive responses. So today, we will have one guest who is Ernie from the team. And tomorrow’s episode will have again, another guest from Active Campaign that is Eric Dreshfield. So without much ado, as of now let’s add, Ernie, and talk about his experience.
Ernie Santeralli: Hey Pranav, thanks for having me.
Pranav Chimulkar: Hey, Ernie, how are you doing? First of all, thank you so much for taking time out and joining us on this episode.
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. Thank you for having me. It’s a beautiful sunny day in Chicago, which is actually a nice change of pace. We had a crazy storm roll through last night. But yeah, again, I really appreciate you reaching out here and I’m excited to talk with you.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. It’s about 10:35 here at night for India. So we are not sure how many people are watching live but something that is very interesting news for all of our listeners and viewers is that Mad Over Videos as a podcast is now available on all of your favorite podcasting platforms, be it Apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, etc. So once the session is over, we will be streaming it on all these platforms. So please go ahead, check out the last remaining episodes, which are already out there. So coming back, I did not do a very good job at introducing. Please tell me about your experience and your current role at Active Campaign.
Ernie Santeralli: Sure, yeah. So I am the multimedia content manager at Active Campaign. And basically what that means is that I run a lot of our marketing Webinar Program, or just creating, webinar type videos, whether they’re educational, thought leadership conversations between customers or other influencers, and really just distributing that information out to our customers and to our prospects. So you know that includes topics ranging from you know, all manner of email marketing, automation, sales, that kind of a universe and providing education, but then also through onboarding and platform education for our existing and our new customers to get them up to speed and get them using the platform and really developing their accounts to a point where they start seeing some positive return on investment and minimizing the time that it takes for them to get there.
Pranav Chimulkar: So before we jump into questions, for everybody who’s watching, and for the unknown, people who are living under a rock, please tell us what is Active Campaign, and what all can one achieve with the platform.
Ernie Santeralli: Sure, and I do apologize if you could hear some sirens in the background. It’s a little noisy over here. But Active Campaign is a customer experience automation platform. And basically, what that means is that wherever you’re communicating with your audience, whether that’s email, SMS, Facebook, or social media, form submissions, site messages on your website, that kind of a thing, anywhere that you’re talking to your audience, you can pull that information into, the things that they’re doing, the way that they’re responding to you the actions that they’re taking, put that into Active Campaign and then pull out specific segments of that information to create, automated, personalized and segmented customer experiences. So really, what it comes down to is, gathering that information, figuring out which information is actionable for you, for your customer’s journey, and then creating customer experiences, and then automating those customer experiences so that you’re prepared for every interaction.
Pranav Chimulkar: Okay. I think one of the major problem statements that I also mentioned, towards the start of the episode is people, like, especially marketers like to reduce their efforts and try to scale everything right? Whether it is their email campaigns, whether it is advertising, whether it is having the same sort of message, but then that one size fits all. The approach doesn’t really work, right, because, as a first way, the simplest reason could be your customers could be in different geographies. And they would have different cultural backgrounds, and they may be speaking different dialects, right, or different languages altogether. And you want to, like really get native with them rather. Because I think people love to consume content in their native state, if whether it comes to their language or their cultural references, if you don’t get those right, and that is something that can be a buzzkill. So how do you ensure that you automate communication at large? And also, whether when it comes to things like email marketing, etc? How do you ensure that you do achieve scale and automate everything? But also try and keep it as personalized as possible? For the end customer?
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a great question. And, and what I think it really starts with is just your process. So before you even start automating, before you even start getting into a software tool and start building things out, what you really want to do is take a look at the process and the journey, that contact is going to take from you know, the very first time that they experience your brand, all the different places they could experience your brand. And then what are the things that they need to know or the things that they need to do on their way to becoming a customer. And you know, everyone is going to have some variation, everybody’s unique. What works for me might not work for you, I might prefer Facebook, you might prefer Instagram, the list goes on. But what you want to do is really find where those interactions are repeatable, where those things are happening, you know, continuously and that could be on 3, 4, 5 different channels. But taking that process, and then building that out modularly. So piece by piece, really building it out, creating automation and, interactions that are repeatable across that process. And so it can be a little bit daunting if you look at the process, from just from start to finish, but if you really zoom in and just take it step by step. I think that you’ll find that by doing it that way- One, you’re creating the ability to have these personalized interactions through the entire journey, but then you’re also creating these pieces that are scalable and themselves. Because it’s piece by piece, they’re easy to identify if something breaks down or if something needs to be improved. And you can actually scale that much quicker and much efficiently than you could if you were trying to automate the whole thing without mapping out the process first.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, I think a brilliant answer there. Because, as you said, it could be overwhelming when you’re looking at it from a bird’s eye view. But when you dive in and your size, find these small pieces and you sort of solve smaller problems, it’s very easy to scale them the other way around. Typically a mistake that people commit is they try and look at it from the bird’s eye view or like a 30,000 feet view first and then try to dive in. I think what you’ve said, is hitting the nail on the head. Coming to like your role, you also mentioned that you do create a lot of webinars. The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word webinar and this is primarily because of the lockdown is I think I would have heard of at least 500 different webinars in the first couple of months when the lockdown started, right? It was so overwhelming. Like so saturated, everybody was trying to invite you on a webinar, and trying to, like most of the people were also doing it wrong. Because especially sales professionals, they were inviting you to the webinars and they knew that, they were not able to do sales interactions. And this was possibly the easy way out for them to gather customers and then try to pitch their products, very little value was being created in towards the start of, I think when COVID happened and people were like, ‘Okay, how are we going to like now adapt our marketing strategies or sales strategies’, and people ended up sort of spoiling it for the good webinars as well. There was the ‘webinar fatigue’ is what I call it. And then you would also miss out on some good ones. What did you do at the start of the lockdown, or towards like, where we are today? What has been your learning? And how have you encountered or solved for that properly?
Ernie Santeralli: Sure, yeah. So I think what we were just talking about with those personalized experiences, and making sure that the interactions that you have with people are positive and value-driven, is really getting into the shoes of your, audience member, your projected audience member. Who, and what is the problem that they have? What are they trying to solve for? What are the things that they want to know? And I think that that’s the same kind of problem that people often run into when they’re trying to automate the customer experiences, because you’re thinking about it from your perspective, rather than your prospective customers’ perspective. So really, what we tried to do with the webinars was to identify common pain points or problems that people would be having. And so the first webinar that we ran, actually, during the lockdown period was about how to adjust your Facebook ad spend during uncertain times, and how to take a look at what’s going on with, the world at large, and how people are behaving on social media, how has it changed from, pre-COVID, to now? And then what can you do to take advantage of some of the things or adjust your ad spend, adjust the way that you’re advertising to make the most out of it, and not have this period of time, this period of uncertainty, really, like, take a massive toll, but actually, take stock of the situation and figure out what you can do to move forward through it. And so, really what we found, we found a lot of success with that webinar. But the thing about it is that like, you know, trust is so important in today’s, buying and selling and marketing conversations that once you have that trust one, it’s really easy to break it. But you need to take steps to, continuing to fortify that trust. And so we took that format of just identifying problems that would be very common for people at the time. Things that people are asking, questions that they’re asking, information that they’re looking for, and then creating webinars around those topics. So another thing that, as you said, you heard about probably 500 webinars, and I would imagine most of those came through your email inbox. And the subject line is an extremely important part of that, right? Like the subject lines, the main job is to get you to open the email. And if it’s a boring subject line, that’s- Hey, come check out this webinar, no value prop sort of just a generic thing. We realized that people were really hungry for information about what they could do with their email subject lines to get people to open them. So the second webinar we did was about how to write an effective email subject line. And so using that kind of form of logic, identifying the problems, the things that are most relevant to people right now, and what can we do to provide some information, provide some clarity around that in a webinar that is timely and relevant. And then of course engaging and not really focused on you mentioned some salespeople maybe that had used a webinar, almost as an excuse to just kind of like, give you a glorified sales pitch. And we’re not trying to do that with a webinar, we’re really trying to educate people to answer their questions, establish Active Campaign as a go-to resource and authority on some of these subjects. And so when it does come time to, you know, when they do need an email marketing solution or a CRM solution, Active Campaign is going to be in their brain, because we’ve helped them so far, we’ve helped them to understand some of these concepts already.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. I think it’s very important for marketers, especially leaders, to understand this, try and not ask their teams to shove, a sales pitch down their customer’s throats, but try and create value that will have a long-lasting impact on the customer. Because then, as you said, they might not be interested in buying at that point. But at some point in time, when they actually have a need, you will be on the top of their mind. And because you’ve helped them out in their journey, it’s very obvious that they’ll come back to you. So it’s sort of like an investment. And building the brand equity over the long term, instead of, really short term pitches. But like you correctly mentioned, most of these outreaches, messages come through your email. And the point that I say because there is so much clutter in your inbox today, you have to ensure that you stand out. You have to ensure that you get somebody to click past your subject. Like most people get this wrong. Because you’ve already done a webinar, you would know how many people would have that question, or as marketers have that question? And how do I increase my click, how do I increase my open rates, etc? Because I don’t know. People are moving away from, Don’t hold me accountable for this! There’s no statistic that I can use to back up. But then some people believe that email marketing is dead. And it’s not because of anything else. It’s not because of the medium. It’s because they don’t do it right. Correct.? What do you have? Like, can you share five actionable tips to ensure that you do your email marketing? Well, and get your audience’s attention?
Ernie Santeralli: Eh sure, yeah, I mean, as you said, it’s definitely not dead. But if you’re doing it the way that you were doing it, even five years ago, you’re probably doing it wrong, and you’re probably boring a lot of people with it. So what it comes down to is, getting the right message to the right person at the right time. That’s a cliche, for sure. But it really makes sense in today’s tools to make it possible for that to happen, right? Like, I’m not going to have a conversation with somebody, I’ve been a lifelong friend with, the same way I would have a conversation with, the cashier at the grocery store. Simply because I just met that person, I have no idea what they’re interested in. I don’t have any rapport or establish a relationship with them. And the same really goes for your email marketing. So if you are gathering information, and you have that information at the ready- how long they’ve been in your system, the kind of actions that they’re taking on your website, or with your emails, what they’re looking at, on your website, if they’re following you on social media, you know, all of that information is super valuable. And you can use all of that in your email marketing. Whereas if you’re sending one message, once a week, twice a week to your entire list, it might resonate with some people, sure. But by and large, the majority of your audience is not going to resonate with that, because you’re just kind of forcing everybody into this, this one bucket. And so in email marketing, you need to get more granular, and this kind of goes back to that piece by piece strategy that we were talking about earlier. With automation. It’s just that you have to figure out the interactions, the key actions, and maybe even a combination of actions or combination of things that your customers are doing, and then figure out- okay, well, if they do this thing, this thing and then look at my pricing page, then it would make sense for me to send an email that’s a little bit more sales focused. Whereas if somebody just clicks on a Facebook ad, fills out a form for like a lead magnet or something like you could send them a message, that’s pretty sales focus, but chances are, it’s not really going to resonate with them, because you know nothing about their intent. You don’t know anything about their interest, you haven’t really taken the time to get to a point and that’s not necessarily an action that would warrant like a sales conversation like- hey, sign here, and let’s get you signed up like right now. So it really comes back to just that process, process before software every time, and then figuring out where are the interactions? What are the actions that your potential customers are taking? That would lead them to the next stage in the journey? You know, once you reach? How do you engage them? Once they’re engaged, How do you educate and nurture them? What signs do they show once they’ve reached a proper level or an appropriate level of education to where it would warrant a sales conversation? And then what actions within that sales conversation would lead to that point of sale? And even after that, how do you retain them? What are they interested in? What worked for you in the past? How do you develop their use of the service of your product? How do you keep them engaged, so it really doesn’t end ever? That’s another thing that I kind of see commonly. E-mail marketing is like a means to an end, it’s a means to acquire the customer. But that’s when the good part starts. You know, like, once you become friends with somebody, your relationship doesn’t end, that’s the good part. So it’s really kind of just keeping that holistic approach. And keeping that step by step, piecemeal type process, to figuring out exactly what those interactions are, getting that data and then using that.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, as you said, brilliant analogy there. It’s like meeting a person in the offline world, making a genuine connection, getting to know them, and the more you know about the person, then you can sort of talk to them or engage them deeply. Contrary to just walking up to a random person on the street, and or just walking up to the cashier at the grocery store, as you said, and trying to say something that he might really connect to, it’s not, either way, it’s not going to work for both of y’all, right? So it’s very important to sort of build that virtual persona for every person, trying to have as many attributes to that person and try and then look at building your communication around that. Because, as you said, If I am interested in a particular hobby, and you talk to me about that, I’d be happier to engage in a conversation with you, then you coming straight to me and saying that- hey, I have a b2b SaaS product to sell to you, right.
Ernie Santeralli: Exactly. Yeah, it’s a matter of meeting like the appropriateness of the relationship as it stands, if it’s an early part of a relationship, you’re still kind of getting to know each other, you’re trying to figure out what they’re interested in. And then as you progress, you actually do figure out what they’re interested in, then you can start using that information to your advantage. And to just kind of further along, right, like, you’re interested in this hobby here, I saw this thing, and I thought of you. I’m not asking for anything in return, it’s just a nice thing that I’m doing and you’re building that rapport, you’re building that relationship, that trust and furthering the relationship along to the desired angle.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, I think I think the other thing that this conversation leads me to is when you said that, it’s not only when you acquire the customer. It’s about land and expansion, right? You have to get into the system. And not just about that one person. You are currently may be reaching out to one person, but that’s a company with multiple people working there. You have to sometimes influence a lot of people to ensure that the customer or the account, adapt or adopt your product, right? There are so many people in the buying community, it is very important that a lot of stakeholders know about you or speak in your favor when it comes to making a big decision. And especially if it’s a tool that is going to be used company-wide, they’re going to be more people making the decisions. Whether it is the end-user, whether it is the IT team, whether it is the buying team, which is possibly the CFO or his team, they’re going to be so many people involved. So it’s very important that you also build those relationships across different teams and different verticals.
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, that and I mean, even outside of b2b within, business straight to the consumer, people have friends and friends love to recommend products and they love to talk about things that they really had a good experience with. And so if you’re able to provide that great experience or that ongoing relationship and support with somebody, then if they encounter if they have a conversation where someone has a similar need to the one that you’re you know currently meeting for them, they’re going to evangelize you. They’re going to advocate for your business and really the way that Active Campaign looks at it is that after they become a customer you can you know help educate them, develop their use of your product or your service, and then those people actually become your marketing team and your sales team for you because social proof carries so much weight in today’s world. You know the first thing that you do when you look to buy an Amazon product or something you look at the reviews, what are people saying about this? What questions do people have? Where does it fall short? Does it do the thing that I want to do? And if you can take advantage of that aspect of the way that today’s buyer operates, if you can take advantage of allowing your customers to advocate for you and tell their friends about you and answer questions, and even sell your product for you, then you’re going to win in the long run, because that’s going to go further than any marketing campaign or sales pitch could ever go because that’s already coming from somebody who they trust and doesn’t have, you know, a dog in the fight as far as like they’re not, they’re not getting a cut of that. They’re just recommending it of their own volition. So it’s super important to point that the cycle definitely doesn’t end it’s more of a circle than a line. And the sooner that you can realize that and implement some stuff around that, the happier you’re going to be.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. And when was the last time, you joined a social network? I think towards the start of the millennium when Facebook came out, or how did you encounter Facebook? Was it an email that day? Did you reach out? Was it an ad that you saw? Or was it like a flyer that you got? No, somebody told you that- Hey, here’s a cool site. And these are the bunch of things that you can do on it. And then you sort of jumped on the train, right?
Ernie Santeralli: 100%? Yeah, It was actually my older sister.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. So one of her friends would have told her to join Facebook. And then if you can get that reference system, or if you’re able to influence people in that way, that is the power of scale. Rather, not saying that- okay, I have this one thing, and then I’m just gonna multiply that thing. I think the virality that people talk about has to be built into your product and your messaging, it cannot be one.
Ernie Santeralli: That’s such a perfect example. Now that I’m thinking about it, the moment that I found out about Facebook, and it was me and my other sister gathered around the computer desk, watching my oldest sister build her profile. It was an event like it was an exciting thing. And then I went to school the next day and told all my friends about it. It is really the perfect example of what we’re talking about. I mean, it’s sort of on a giant scale. But that is really the ideal state and kind of what you’re going for is that, you know, people are sharing information about your business and getting other people excited about it.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. Coming to your own, I think being the multimedia content manager, you happen to deal with all sorts of mediums, right? You work with text, you work with images, you work with videos, I want to know, why is Ernie mad over videos?
Ernie Santeralli: I love videos, because of how versatile they are. Specifically, webinars, because that’s kind of my baby if you will. I just love how they can be about anything. And they can take any kind of format, that could be an interview-style like this. We could have a debate, we could have a panel discussion, we could just have like a lecture type, you know, with slides and a presentation. You can share other videos within it that you might have taken some time that isn’t live and you’ve got some production value on it, you can share content, in addition to what’s going on in the video. Like, I just love how you can go anywhere with them. And really the only limit that you have is one that works and what doesn’t work, what resonates with your audience, but also just like kind of your own imagination. Like if you have an idea, and it seems feasible, you can go for it. And you can try to implement it and see if it works. And it’s really just kind of pushing past, what we know works and pushing into like, whoo, that would be kind of cool, If we did that. That’s really what I love about video right now. It’s just, it tells a story in a way that words never could you know, you could tell a 6000-word blog post in probably a two and a half minute video. And most people would remember the video more than they would the blog post. I know that there are some blog readers out there that would remember it not to hate on them. I do have a love for blogs, but videos are just an advanced storytelling method. You know, the possibilities are endless.
Pranav Chimulkar: What I love about meeting people, like you is that like, traditionally people when you said videos for businesses, always related a video to that one video that could go as an ad for your company, or it would be on your landing page if it was a software product rather. And that was it, right? I mean, people never look past that. Today video has gotten into the bloodstream of your communication, whether you’re a marketer, you’re a sales professional, you are a PR person, or even the leader of a company. Could be sales or you could be the CEO for all that matters. And you want to talk to people at large, whether it is external stakeholders or internal, videos are so powerful, right? It ensures that your message is not corrupt. Whatever you intend to say, is what comes out. And especially because video also has the advantage of both the audio and the visual medium, not just one. And oftentimes than not things in written format could be perceived in a different manner based on who’s reading it. But when it is being said by the person, you can see the person saying it. His body language, his emotions, his expressions, the tone, the volume, everything makes a huge impact on how you consume that message.
Ernie Santeralli: Right? Yeah, I mean, it’s just the authenticity of it, and I’ve actually seen kind of a trend in more of like user-generated content. Especially since we’ve kind of been in this period where we’re all, not able to be together in person, the way we used to be, is that a lot of companies are looking towards sourcing video content from their own employees. And sort of sacrificing some of that like that corporate polish or that production value. But really, it’s going to resonate with your audience more because you’re saying, you get to look at that person, their body language, the way that they’re saying it, you can see the emotion you can see that it’s real and that it’s authentic. One of the best examples that I can think of is that recent Tik Tok with that guy on the skateboard drinking cranberry juice listening to Fleetwood Mac. Like you could give Ocean Spray a million years to come up with that ad and they never would, because it’s just so authentic, and it’s so like at that moment, but that’s one of the things like Ocean Spray bought that guy a truck because of all the increased visibility that that video got them. But that’s really the power of video right? Like that’s just the authenticity. That was one guy who just flipped on a camera, riding a skateboard, and it turned into like a global sensation. So that’s the possibility and the potential of video. But like you’re saying just being able to see the authenticity and see like the actual story takes place before you is priceless.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely, I wish we had that video lined up for us to show our audience what we were just talking about, but I’m pretty sure, if you’ve been following the trends, people have seen that video. It’s a brilliant video. And then I think a bunch of videos followed the same pattern as well. A lot of people started doing that after the video came out. So yes, I think, as you said, it could not be planned, it couldn’t have been commissioned by a brand. I mean, it’s very difficult, because it’s very important to notice that it came out of the customer. It was very native to the way they consume the product, and not how the marketers sitting in a cabin project their product to be. It’s often how your brand is more about what your customers think about it, and not what you, sitting in your cabinet think about right?
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s actually it’s kind of a trend that we’re trying to, that’s some of the things that we’re trying to develop an Active Campaign as well as to rely on all of the stories that we have, with internal Active Campaign employees. So empowering them to create videos, and use videos, in conversations with their customers and conversations with their prospects, or even just, internally to share stories and, and things like that within Active Campaign to build up the culture and make it more cohesive and, and create those connections and show that authenticity that this is what Active Campaign is all about. I love the fact that this trend is kind of emerging among brands, certainly something that we’re trying to do. Right. But yeah.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. Coming to the fact that you are a marketer, marketing to other marketers. You, as a marketer know that there’s an ad coming, or this is a sales pitch that’s coming towards you. Right, and you’re trying to do the same to other people who also know the tricks of the game. What is your approach when it comes to treating them as humans? Or treating them as people who will end up using your product? Or will possibly not hit the delete button when they see your message? Or your email? What’s your approach been? How do you get into the mind of the person? I mean, it’s very clear, you’re talking to marketers, and sales professionals primary, so how do you market to them?
Ernie Santeralli: Yes, and no. So it’s interesting, because Active Campaign, our customer base is so diverse in terms of the spectrum of what their job title might be. We have a significant amount of percentage of our customers that are in companies that have less than five employees. So yes, they are marketers, and yes, they are salespeople, but they’re also operations, and they’re also all of these other things that they’re doing. And so, while we are marketing to, technically it’s marketing to marketers. But what it comes down to is just getting down to those core principles, those best practices, the step-by-step, actionable information. Because if they’re coming to you for that information, you really just need to think about like- Okay, what are the questions that they’re asking? What are the pain points that they have? And then giving them that information in a clear, concise way, and just really helping them to better understand it. And so when we’re creating webinars, for example, on something like let’s say, copywriting, we’re gonna start, we’re going to start at the basics, and we’re going to cover it comprehensively. And we’re going to cover it, with the core principles and the best practices from the beginning. So that someone who is, new to copywriting is going to get a whole bunch of information, right? They’re going to be drinking out of a firehose. But there might be some people there that have been copywriters for three or four years. But if we can cover that information in a way that is, the best practices, some information, some studies, some statistics that they might not have heard, we might be able to just, connect to pathways that previously were unconnected. And that might open up a whole new thing. So really just getting to basics, getting to the most simple aspect of, what the question is, what the problem is, and providing a direct answer to that. And then, providing examples and applications and use cases so that they can visualize that. I think that’s really what it comes down to.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. I think talking about what Active Campaign is going right, I’d like to jump on to discuss about one particular campaign that you all have come across, or you all came up with rather is- The campaign against all in one software. Right? Yeah. I mean, it is always, like presented as a nice thing. Like, it’s the best thing to have. Because sure you have the power to do everything at the fingertips, or on one screen, but then sometimes it’s overwhelming because you’re trying to build too many features because you’re gonna miss out on something. On the other hand, you’re not a specialist. You’re not one. It’s like that idea that comes to my mind is- one of the most popular sports in India is cricket. If you heard that, and it’s like saying that I can build an amazing team by having level all-rounders, it’s not the case, right? You will need four to five batsmen. You need a few bowlers and then you need a wicketkeeper because everybody has a role to play, right? And you have to play the game in a specific manner. Of course, you will throw in one or two all-rounders in the mix, because sometimes one or two people might have a bad day, and then somebody can possibly make up as a part-timer there. But then when it comes to buying a software solution, or anything for that matter, if you’re looking at a like a dinner menu at a restaurant, and if you like to eat, say sushi, you will not go to a Chinese restaurant, you will have to go to a Japanese restaurant. It’s like having that one restaurant that has ‘I do all sorts of cuisines’ really well. I mean, that’s why they don’t exist.
Ernie Santeralli: Right? It’s sort of that saying jack of all trades, master of none. If you spend all of your time trying to do everything, you end up getting nothing done well. So yeah, we have this campaign, the end of the all-in-one is what we called it, but it’s really just trying to get people away from that thinking, there is no one tool that’s going to solve all of your problems, there’s no silver bullet to this thing. You’re gonna find some tools that do, email marketing, really well. And then you might have some needs as far as landing pages go. And you might need to incorporate another tool. And so really, what we want to get across is you might have three, four, or five, six tools, and you’re certainly going to add more as your business grows and scales, but what we want to do is provide you the ability to link them all together. So that those tools and the information that they’re gathering can freely, get transported back and forth. And that you can use information that you gathered from Facebook, in your email marketing campaign. You can use information you gathered from a landing page form in your sales conversations like that’s really the point that we’re trying to get across. And so kind of setting up the campaign, we were thinking about, what are some famous things that were, marketed as this is going to be the solution to all these problems like this all in one and so we came up with some rather funny ideas, and then just kind of use those as examples to get the point across that, whether it’s like a spork or a Swiss Army knife, the same principle applies that to marketing and sales is that you’re going to have multiple tools and that one tool that promises that it’s going to do all these things, it’s probably going to do them. Okay, but it’s certainly not going to be anything to write home about.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. When we are on that topic, I think I’d like to play a couple of those videos and start with hungry for a solution which is the first in line
Ernie Santeralli: Sure!
Pranav Chimulkar: Followed by Expectations slaughtered.
Yeah, tell me more, how did you guys come up with this idea? Like what what was the conversation that lead to this, these creatives.
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, so first of all, I want to give credit to the video team at Active Campaign. Danny and Myra are absolute wizards. And those videos are absolutely created. And as wonderful as they are because of those people over there. The idea behind it is kind of what we were just talking about. We’ve long thought that the all in one is kind of it’s a myth, it’s not a real thing. It’s sort of like a cheap shot. And you might be even, like, exploiting the fact that new business owners or people who are not as well versed might just think that, this thing can solve all of my problems. And so what we wanted to do is really encourage people to take a look at other tools in their marketing, their sales processes and create and build them on top of each other create like a stackable approach and use integrations, the technology that exists to link these tools together. And so we’re just trying to think of, creative ways that we could get that point across and so the Swiss Army knife and the spork kind of came to mind as well as one other one that we have, I think if you wanted to show that one too, okay.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, it’s a regular thing, right, everybody has these problems and then I mean, these are the obvious or not so obvious solutions that you’d like to be like an all-round all-in-one solution. And these problems basically need specific solutions. And then that’s how you draw a parallel between those problems and then having your business problems and Active Campaign being pitched as the solution towards the end. So first of all, yeah, like you said, credit to the video team. And the people who came up with the creative idea as well, and then put it all together. So kudos to you guys. Like, first of all, and, yeah, I think you guys got this right. Can you tell me about the response that this campaign got? People always want to measure the ROI, so what was your ROI behind this campaign?
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, so the big like distribution channel for this campaign was actually a combination of internal marketing within Active Campaign and then using it on social. So what we did was we let everybody in the company know that we had these videos coming up and that we were looking to share them within a certain time window, so that, we could create, like, the biggest splash that we could on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn. And so to incentivize that and make our employees want to participate in this, we did have a little bit of like a drawing type aspect. Everybody who shares will get entered into this drawing. But it definitely had a big splash on those social media platforms. We had, I think, a couple of hundred different employees share them. And we shared them throughout the week. So you know, people weren’t sharing just the one video, they were sharing all three of them on three different days. And then we were all interacting with each other’s posts and liking them, and really engaging with them, so that we could boost that visibility, and just get as many impressions and eyeballs on it as possible. I actually don’t have the final numbers on it, but I know that it was a very large success. You know, they were viewed by thousands and thousands of people, and they were interacted with thousands of times. So as far as the impact goes, we certainly got in front of a lot of people that we otherwise would not have, and hopefully made them laugh and made them realize something in the process.
Pranav Chimulkar: Right. I think most people undermine the power of their own team members, right? If you look at large companies, they have deep pockets and they have a lot of money to spend on like buying reach, right? Whether it’s on YouTube, Facebook, wherever it is, you have the money and you learn to buy more views, etc. But what happens is when your own people like, share, or comment on a video that your own company has produced two things happen. One is that there is proof that you’ve done something right. Because if your own people don’t like it, no question that somebody else is going to like it. Right? It’s going to be very less probable that somebody else outside because they have a very little motive or a push for somebody to like something that comes out of your company. So first of all, that is proof of concept, whether you come up with a good idea or not. The second is that it’s free reach, right? You’re not looking at putting money into the pockets of Facebook or Google etc. You’re organically having conversations. And because of like your our own circles that get to see these posts, you’re gonna sort of reach out to audiences that otherwise would not be able to see what you’re putting out.
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and it’s that authenticity conversation that we were having too. It’s a form of user-generated content. Our users aren’t creating the videos, but they are creating the posts, the text, and whatever they’re typing in, leads into the sharing of the video. And so when you can do that, the audience is going to look at that, and it’s going to be a voluntary post. You didn’t have to post this, but they did anyway. And so it almost creates like, a curiosity in the audience where all of these people are sharing this thing, and they’re interacting and amplifying each other’s posts, and someone on the outside looking in, is kind of like, how do I get in there? What’s the secret? How do I know the secret? And so it really, it just kind of inspires action and encourages action, because people have this innate desire to fill their knowledge gaps. And if something sparks their curiosity, then they’re going to take some actions to try to figure out what’s going on.
Pranav Chimulkar: Right. Coming back to your background, I think this is something which I found very interesting. People in marketing, look at sales guys, as their enemies. And the other way around most of the time, people think- okay, we are better than you guys. And this is what happens. But the interesting thing about you is that you’ve come from an inside sales background, you’ve seen both sides. And I’m not sure if the grass is greener on one side or the other. I’d like to hear that from you. But I also want to know, one- what is that transition been like for you, personally, coming from an inside sales role? Second, how is it helping you in your day-to-day job right now?
Ernie Santeralli: Sure. So first of all, the experience that I had in inside sales, I spent a year as an SDR at Active Campaign. And that was seriously the most priceless experience that I could have had. I was on the phone, talking with our customers- our potential customers, people who were using our platform all day, every day for an entire year. So I really got a good sense of the problems that people were trying to solve the ways that they would talk about the problems, I think, is a super important point. And a lot of times, you know, marketers might think about their solution, their product or service in a certain way, but they don’t necessarily know that their intended audience is talking about it in a completely different way. So really getting to know the language and the voice of the customer was very important. As far as the grass being greener, I would say that I think it’s a little greener on the marketing side, but everybody’s eyes are different. It might be different for other people. Sales is certainly, an incredibly, unbelievably important part of any organization. And so really getting that, like you said that marketing and sales kind of see each other as rivals, I think we need to all get on the same team. And I think it would benefit both teams, really, if there was some sort of exchange program where you could kind of see what it was like on the other side because it is so important in the ways that your formatting your marketing campaigns, to know exactly what problems you’re trying to solve, and how the people are talking about that problem. And then from the sales side, knowing the way that the leads come in, and the actions that they’re taking, and all the information that is actually available to you- the marketing information that you can use in your sales conversation to really just, pick up the conversation from a little bit further on then maybe just from a completely cold standpoint. But yeah, I mean, as far as the experience that I had in sales, it’s just almost every campaign, I’m always thinking about, how would a salesperson receive this lead? And what would they do with it? What would be their questions about it? Maybe it’s like, how are they actually talking about this issue or this thing that we’re trying to solve for this thing that we’re trying to get eyeballs on. So I mean, it really just provides another lens for me to look at everything through. That’s been super helpful.
Pranav Chimulkar: Correct. So I think if you sort of try and blur the lines between sales and marketing, I think the best advice that I have seen coming from the greatest marketers and sales professionals or rather combining them, putting them in one bucket of revenue professionals that I have come across is that get on to knowing your customers, whether you are in marketers, or whether I mean, being in a sales role, you will get to talk to a lot of them. But marketers are typically shielded from these conversations. But if you get onto these calls, if you read a lot of reviews, and see customer interactions with your customer service teams, that’s when you’ll get to know how your product is being perceived. What are the terminologies that people are using around your product? Or what is the language that people are speaking, when it comes to using your product or their problem statements? Again, that helps you not just understand their psychology and sell or market better to them? But second, it’s the direct benefit is you could possibly write really good copy, or emails, etc. When it comes to using those same words in your message?
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s gonna make people convert, right? We want people to be reading the copy on a landing page or reading a blog or even listening to you know, a podcast or a webinar or something, and this is what you want their head to be doing. Right? Like they, it’s almost like you’re pulling the words out of their head and saying them and they’re like- yes, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. And you really only get that when you talk to them. And you actually hear how they talk about the problems. So yeah, I think it’s absolutely priceless. And I think a lot of both, you know, sales and marketing professionals, get to know that we’re not on the same team, but we could certainly gel and collaborate a little bit more on some of these things. And I think it would help both roles just really understand their part in the overall process, and then just help them to do their jobs, you know, better.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, I think I also see this as an evolution in the roles, right? I mean, leadership, certainly, for both the verticals coming together and sort of collaborating on their plans and their budget allocations, everything, right, from strategy to execution. So that they can they can work towards one unified goal and not spray and pray in different directions.
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, excuse me. Yeah, absolutely. Um, it just helps you get more targeted and makes everything that you do a little bit more deliberate and more thought through. So yeah, absolutely.
Pranav Chimulkar: Coming back to the conversation of like, great brands doing great work, I think we’ve spoken about what Active Campaign has been doing right. I want to know about your inspirations. I want to know who you think out there, outside of the Active Campaign is doing a good job. Whether it could be a b2b brand or b2c brand, whether it could be a marketer or a sales professional that you’ve come across, possibly on LinkedIn or in real life. Who has inspired you? You’re amazed by looking at their work, and the way they do things? Maybe this is the time to do a few shout outs.
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, sure. So I would love to shout out Sven over at Koia. That’s Koia, they’re actually an Active Campaign customer. It’s a nondairy nutritious beverage company. And so they were primarily b2b, stocking the shelves in different grocery stores and things like that. And then obviously, with the downturn of people going out to grocery stores as frequently, or making their trips just more for the essentials, with this current period of time, they actually had to transition to more direct to the customer. And they’re doing some really cool things with their marketing. They have a really awesome rewards program that actually encourages their members to go out and create content to put it on social so that they call it a shelfie. And that would involve you know, you going to a grocery store and taking a photo of yourself in front of the shelf of Koia and then posting that on social media. So again, you know, creating that social proof, building that trust creating that authentic content, and then getting, people that love their products to advocate for them. So that’s one company that I really think is doing things right, right now, another company is a Chicago music company called Reverb, and they’re sort of like a marketplace online for all things, music gear. They do a lot of really awesome video content that gets promoted on YouTube. And that involves musicians that are coming through will stop in their office and then they will talk through you know, a practice technique that they have, a piece of gear that they use, how they write music, and things like that, that musicians are really interested in. The things that the people in the target market, this is the kind of content that they want to consume. So then kind of the same thing you know, you watch these videos and you go- oh, reverb has really good content, what is reverb and then you look at it and you’re that much more likely to, buy a used pedal off of that instead of paying full price at maybe another music store or something like that. I do also, as far as LinkedIn goes, I came across Eddie Shriner, and he writes incredibly good copy. I actually think his company is called verygoodcopy.com. His content from a written perspective is fantastic. You’re nodding like you know who I’m talking about? Yeah, he’s great. And then I also saw an announcement yesterday for Guitar Center, and then Pranav, I know that you’re a musician as well. But Guitar Center is also kind of following suit with reverb in starting a video series that involves a lot of musicians submitting content. And I just think that that’s kind of the direction that things are going, it’s more authentic. It is more geared towards the viewer and the person the questions, they have the things they want to know. And those are the four shout outs I’ll give.
Pranav Chimulkar: Right! First of all, like, I think, that musician connection that we spoke about, it’s brilliant. I’ve been very lucky to have come across a bunch of musicians through the podcast, think sales and marketing leaders who have that angle to them. I’m not sure what is the connection. Like, music and marketing, etc. But then, yeah, I think it lets your creative juices flow, you think differently, you’re like always your brain is like trying to, like seek inspiration. You try to adapt and belt out a really good message, right. I think that, that I think I think I’m incredibly lucky to have come across people and like, I’m pretty sure there is some connection, there’s some scientific backing to this fact. Right?
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah. I think it might have something to do with just the analysis. So as a musician, you know, you’re always trying to figure out what does the song needs? Or why does it work the way that it works? You know, like, why does this guitar part work with this drum part? Why do you ask kind of those questions? And from a marketing perspective, you’re gonna ask similar questions, like, what can we do in addition to this thing that we’re already doing? Or how can we change this melody line, or the messaging line, just a little bit and it makes all the difference? So I think it’s kind of that like, the analytical aspect and individual parts making up a greater whole.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. Secondly, like you give a shout out to add Edie. I think Edie is a brilliant guy. I think we’ve not interacted a lot but and I’ve been following his posts on LinkedIn. Almost every single day, I saw an announcement that he’s quit his full-time job and now is into growing very good copy as a premium copywriting newsletter. So shout out to very good copy. Plus, if I’m not mistaken, yes. That is something and if you guys, anybody out there, who’s trying to understand how to write very good copy, go subscribe to him. I think it’s 10 bucks a month? I am not sure. I’m pretty sure that there’s actually a lot of value that you can derive out of that. Also, I hope to get him on the podcast or do a spotlight, which is again, another initiative that we are kicking off with him very soon. So if you’re listening to this Edie, like I’m going to reach to you very soon. So and you have already been recommended by Ernie. So yeah, that’s about it. And, I also want to bring this whole thing, the whole conversation to an end. b2b b2c, a lot of these terms- you’re eventually selling things from one human to another. You’re marketing to humans, you’re selling to humans, you’re talking to humans, right? You have to understand what will the other person like and what will the other person not like? So get that thing right in your communication, in your understanding of what product features they want to use, etc. And then you will be sorted.
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, absolutely. It’s imperative to remember that there’s a human on the other end of your marketing campaign, the email that you send, the phone call that you are giving them. If you can talk to them like a human and you could talk to them as a human you’re much more likely to connect, resonate, and get that message across. And if there’s one thing that I can really stress, it’s really building that process first and focus on each individual step of the process. It takes a little bit longer, but believe me, your results will be so much better than if you just try to build the whole thing as a framework from the get-go, you know, it’s like a building, you build it from the ground up, and you make sure that it’s sturdy before you add that next floor. So that’s the main thing that I would advocate for.
Pranav Chimulkar: Amazing with that point, I’d like to bring this conversation to an end. We’ve also crossed the one hour mark. I think I did not notice it until this point. So it was a very good conversation with you. First of all, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. I’m pretty sure you’re jam-packed. And shout out to Jennifer, who has helped me set this up. And all the exchanges that happen over the last week before we could get you on board. So thanks for that. And I hope that we get to stay in touch and sort of collaborating in the future, if not videos for Active Campaign, but on some music.
Ernie Santeralli: Yeah, there you go. I love it. But yeah, thank you so much for having me. This was a blast. I really appreciate it. And yes, echo that shout out to Jennifer for setting this up. But it was a pleasure to be here. And I’d be happy to do it again.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. And also, I forgot to mention one more shout out. I think it goes to your CMO because one of my colleagues reached out to him, to have to invite him on the podcast, but the first name that came out of him is that- even if before you get me on the podcast, get Ernie.
Ernie Santeralli: Oh Wow.
Pranav Chimulkar: So shoutout to your CMO and Rahul from my team.
Ernie Santeralli: Yes. Shout out to Maria and Oh, yes.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. All right. So with that, we come to the end of the podcast, guys. This was Episode 19. With Ernie from Active Campaign, we will be soon back with another podcast. Tomorrow at 10:30 pm IST, 12 pm EST in North America. With one of your colleagues, itself Ernie. We have Eric Dreshfield who is the partner marketing manager at Active Campaign. Joining us tomorrow and I hope he has a bunch of other insights when it comes to like marketing to your own partners, channel partners.
Ernie Santeralli: Oh, he will as Eric is a brilliant guy. So yes, it will be a great conversation I’m sure.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. So thank you so much, guys, and I hope to see you tomorrow. Cheers.