Why Process To Inspire (Not Control) Is Key To Success With Agnes Józwiak From ClickMeeting [AMP 153]

Marketers who document their strategy are 313% more likely to report success. Yet, most marketer’s plans don’t change based on what works or not. Marketing is about generating results, not activity. Make a plan, and stick to it to be successful! Today’s guest is Agnes Józwiak, brand and communication director at ClickMeeting. Agnes focuses on process to empower her team to make, review, and iterate strategic decisions to produce significant results. What features and what process do you need to put into action?

Some of the highlights of the show include:
  • ClickMeeting: Browser-based Webinar platform for online events, courses, product demos, sales presentations, and meetings via video conferencing
  • Platform full of features for Webinar process, from promotion through analyzing
  • ClickMeeting: Customer feedback built and shaped tool to meet needs and goals
  • Documenting Do’s and Don’ts: Processes should make people’s lives easier
  • Blog Posts: Create in-depth content to repurpose and provide value to get results 
  • All About Automation: Educate people on how to automate processes to make their businesses run smoothly
  • Happy Marketing Team, Happy Customers: Make decisions together based on results and trust your experts
If you liked today’s show, please subscribe on iTunes to The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast! The podcast is also available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google Play.

Why Process To Inspire (Not Control) Is Key To Success With Agnes Józwiak From @clickmeeting

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Nathan: Garrett Moon, our CEO here at CoSchedule, published a book recently. You know what we hear the most feedback on from that book? It’s that you don’t need to write your marketing plan. Don’t get me wrong. At first, it seems like crazy advice and it’s especially crazy considering CoSchedule state of marketing strategy and management report recently found that marketers who document their strategy are 313% more likely to report success than those marketers who don’t document their strategy. That said, what Garrett is really getting at is that humans like to make a plan and stick to the plan. We can always point to that plan and say things like, “See? We’re executing the plan.” But what plans don’t allow for is agility to change based on what you know works and of course, what isn’t working. In reality, that plan is just a big guess. Instead of writing your 50-something page marketing plan, Garrett says to seriously develop a marketing strategy. A lot of his advice is around processes to generate real results. The book is called The 10x Marketing Formula. You can pick it up right now on Amazon if you want, but what I’m really getting at here is that what marketing is about, is really about generating results, not activity, and Agnes Józwiak is a very good example of this framework in action. Agnes is the Brand and Communication Director at ClickMeeting. She and her team focus on process to empower her team to make strategic decisions, review what they’ve already done, and iterate faster to produce bigger results. In the end, it’s about process to empower not process just to have process. If shredding your marketing plan sounds like terrible advice now, let’s listen in to Agnes and let me know what you think. I’m Nathan from CoSchedule and it’s time to get AMPed. Hey Agnes, thank you so much for being on the show today. Agnes: Hi, Nathan. Thank you for having me. Nathan: Tell me a little bit about ClickMeeting and what you do there. Agnes: ClickMeeting is a browser-based webinar platform. We’d like to think about our platform that serves several purposes. People using ClickMeeting and looking for a specific tool like a webinar platform, can organize several different types of online events, be it online courses, product demos, sales presentations, and also like a collaboration business meetings. All in all, it comes to video conferencing. It’s a platform that has plenty of features and we normally say when people are looking for a set of different platforms, they always compare tools that platform offers. This year, we took a little bit of a different approach to show people not only what tools you have within the platform itself that enables you have [...] nice, run, and follow up after the webinar made on the class, but also what is the moment and what are the best tools to use during the webinar process from set up promotion through analyzing and reporting to help you achieve your goals. If you’re running a sales demo, sales presentation, what features and what process you need to put in action to actually work for you? My role here was different over the years because I’ve been with the platform for pretty much from the beginning, so about nine years now. When we were starting, I remember the times when we had 11 customers, building and shaping the tool based on the actual feedback from the customers. We still do this, we improve the platform based on the customer’s feedback we gathered all the time. Coming different ways, trying different tactics, being a sales person and account manager, person who does marketing. At this point, I am a Brand and Communication Director for ClickMeeting, managing a great team of nine people. This is where we are at now.  Nathan: I can tell you I can relate to being there at the beginning. Eleven customers, I bet that was a pretty fun time, huh? Agnes: It was fun because you could talk to them all. At some point you miss those times because every single customer was a success, which is right now as well, but each new customer was a new insight of what else can you do in the platform to improve it, to give our customers what they really need to meet their goals, and do the actual webinar growth. Nathan: I wanted to ask you about your process for setting goals at ClickMeeting. What do you guys do with your nine person marketing team to set marketing goals? Agnes: The marketing team is about 13 people, including performance team because we do paid campaigns as well, all of these supported by the content. As much as we would love to look into the future of product development and how our platform should look like, to be like, to serve our customers’ needs and meet their goals, it’s a process. We have to take into consideration many, many aspects, where we are, where our customers, what platforms we should be, and what else is missing in the platform to be a complete solution for customers coming to use ClickMeeting. We try to look at it from different angles. We can look at this from a long-term marketing strategy, but in a very dynamic landscape—I’m sure you know from your background—SaaS industry is very, very dynamic. Planning long term, 12 months in advance, perhaps where you want to be in those 12 months, but the actual, real time, and where is this market going to, we’ll verify this. You have to evaluate your activities, you have to set up your goals, you know where you want to be at the end, and you have to choose activities to meet those goals, evaluating them along the way, month-by-month, week-by-week. Choose the best activities to help you achieve those goals and check out those who don’t bring any results. Nathan: One of the things you mentioned is, you’ve got this goal out there where you guys want to be in a year, but you evaluate what you need to change. I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about documenting that marketing strategy. How do you document it? Do you document it? Tell me a little bit about that. Agnes: We did try that once, in terms of creating the massive document, but what we took out from there was the document. That was absolutely funny. You’ve got an overall strategy where your product is where you want to be, et cetera, and then we evaluate and then bring together the activity described, the activities that we did in the past and see if any of those activities would work towards the goals that we have. Evaluate them, working on our blog. We used to do articles under 500 words long. Now, they are about 2000 words long and they work. It’s that type of documenting. We do summaries of each promotion campaign. We then compare the different or similar activities towards what we’re performing and see how that performs against other activities and if it brings results really. We’ve got plenty of SaaS tools that we use to keep our documents, to keep our summaries. We use different tools to report on different scenarios and data. We’ve got our Wiki pages where we collect our know-how as well because the team grows. If someone has to go, we have that in place so we can keep that consistency and promotions in our marketing activities. Those are correlated with whatever happens on the market, whatever happens with our customers. we work on tools to manage our daily work as well. We’re not there yet on typical agile and sprints, but we do work on [...], for example. I have to manage our [...] projects, daily activities, or simple tasks even, and then we do status meetings every week. We are all like a whole team on the same page so we know what we are doing, and it really makes our work easy. Nathan: I hope you’re enjoying this episode with Agnes Józwiak from ClickMeeting. It’s time for a break though. I wanted to share a resource with you that’s helped us overcome some of the challenges that Agnes is really talking about in this episode. Go to coschedule.com/marketing-strategy. You’ll find a complete guide to create a marketing strategy that seriously works. It’s full of advice that I’ve tested over the years to help you set some goals and track them, create personas, and hone your process. The guide is freely available at coschedule.com/marketing-strategy. All right, now let’s get back to the show with Agnes. It seems like you guys are really good at documenting your process and blog articles. Your standard went from 500-2000 words. How did you even know to look at that in the first place? How did you figure out that 2000 was the better option? Did you ship a test that wasn’t to that 500 word count and then just measure from there? I’d love to know how you basically came up with the standard of performance. Agnes: In terms of documenting, I’m a big fan of having processes in place to make people’s life easy. Not just for the sake of putting the processes up there just for the sake of having it. Processes and documents have to serve people and they have to help people. If they take too much of your time, they could possibly spend on something that can bring better results in terms of actions or plans, then just drop it. Documents and processes should serve people and not the other way around, I believe. In terms of the blog I mentioned, we started with my content manager Jacob, I mentioned to you about him. We look at different blogs, we see what works, what doesn’t. I remember the times—I’m ashamed to say that—that we were doing blogs just for the sake of doing it, because everybody was doing it. I remember that I’ve heard from someone that you should blog every single day because that was the rule, that for some reason brought the results. But now, I guess we got to that point that creating content that brings the value, and you can blog once a week, but as long as it brings value and you know how to repurpose it, it’s a content that will live forever because it will be there in our blog, we will amplify it, we will repurpose it, but it has to have the value. It’s all about algorithms as well. They like longer blog posts, but also it comes to the value as well. All these little bits and pieces, they came to the conclusion that, okay, we will blog less often, but it will have to have value, it’ll have to be like a meat inside of the blog post to actually get results through paid campaigns, through social media campaigns, et cetera, because we work a lot on the content that we provide and that we create here. Nathan: We’ve done a similar process here at CoSchedule and that’s how we actually ended up writing longer form blog post and even into guides that are multiple pages long, just because people wanted more information that just surface level. The only way to get there is to go deeper which sometimes requires more words. Agnes: The times of just blog post being a lump of text with select keywords and no value, those are done. Keywords have to be there in place if you think about your content, but again, it has to have the value. The content has to be valuable for the people that you’re targeting here with. Nathan: You think about creating these pieces for value and right off the bat, you’re thinking about repurposing. I think that’s really interesting because you said, “Hey, let’s publish less often, but let’s make sure this stuff’s extremely valuable.” If you’re putting more time and effort into a piece, I would love to know how you guys think about repurposing it. Agnes: We put it out there on social media and we use paid campaigns to promote it. Also, we use tools like Quora, Taboola to put the contents out there. We repurpose it. We repurpose the blog post back from 2016, because the subject is still on the top, but we noted that, “Hey, let’s use this, but let’s put more meat into it because we have now more to say, so let’s just share it.”  We always share the content with our subscribers, with our clients because we believe this is the value we can share. We put a lot of effort into educational content as well, not just to describe what we have in our platform, but actually how to make use of the features, what’s given there into the processes to making life easy. It’s all about automation now. We want to educate people on how to automate processes, to make their businesses run smoothly—including webinars.  I believe great content is a never-ending story. You can repurpose it in many, many ways, be it, like I said, Taboola, Quora, Reddit, or other similar tools but also amplifying those through paid searches. And also then in your organic communication through social media or whatever your customers are, just take out those little quotes from the post that you published before and then just put them out there and link to the blog post. It always works great. It’s just a teaser, but it works perfectly.  Nathan: To create this stuff, you guys are being a little bit agile, being a little bit flexible. One of the things that we learn from a research report that we just did with AgileSherpas was that most agile teams adopt multiple different pieces of agile, but not the entire thing; they’re a hybrid team. It sounds like you guys are that. I was wondering if you could share a little bit about that. Are you using any agile marketing project management processes, and if so, what would those be? Agnes: I’m a big fan of processes as much as they serve people and make our work easier. We’re very creative here, we like to think of ourselves as very creative, and we want to come up with things in a very, very creative way. Also, when you’re very creative, you can come up with crazy stuff sometimes. I guess processes are here to put these creative results into one functional box. Like I said, we meet, we talk, I’m not sure if it’s part of the process, but the whole marketing team are sitting in one room. The creative cloud is being there all the time.  Also, like I said before, we have a weekly status meeting. They’re no longer than an hour long when we report on projects that we run. I’m talking about marketing team because we have meetings with our IT team that are part of a regular scrum. We meet with them on Mondays and Thursdays. Also, because we’re still not a big company—we are 70 people and growing—we have that comfort of being able to meet and actually brainstorm and solve any problems if they come up on the go. It’s all about decisions as well.  We’ve got our document portal where we keep all the summaries, reports, KPIs that we monitor everything. We use different tools to measure our activities and results of the companies that we run. We’ve got plenty of these processes, actions, and places. Nathan: Most marketers like to be creative. Just making sure they’re working on the right things from the start, is a really good way to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your team. Agnes: But also in this creative flow, you have to remember things you’re coming up with are great, but you have to ask yourself a question, do they really serve what our customers need? This is what’s evaluating your ideas. Because we work for customers, customers are our biggest value. We create the product for them.  As we started with doing ClickMeeting for ourselves—this is the story—we started ClickMeeting as an internal tool. We thought it works great for us and we think that there are many companies out there that may actually need a tool like this. This is how the story started, but again, you’re still in the process of product development. You have to think about your customers. The ideas are great—they are all great—but the most critical criteria is do they bring the results and do they serve the customer’s needs. Nathan: Agnes, I got one last question for you here because I think this is a great one for you. You’ve been talking about process to serve the people. It seems like you’re very people-oriented and that’s really important to having a well-running team. Just to cap off this episode, what’s the key to keeping your marketing team happy or what are some methods that you use to make sure that people are happy in creating and productive? Agnes: It's always make decisions together based on different results, different KPIs, et cetera. My team as a whole is involved in different promotions. I believe the power of a good marketing team is to trust your experts and I guess it’s a key to a happy marketing team. I know I’ve got the best brand manager, I’ve got the best content manager, and I know, I trust, I believe, and I am 100% sure that they are the best people to do their job. I’m not arguing with them, I’m here to inspire them, not to control them but to make sure they can be creative and they have loads of freedom in terms of how to do things, as long as we’re working towards our own internal and the business KPIs. Nathan: Sounds like you would be a great manager to work for.  Agnes: This is everyday work and never-ending.  Nathan: Right. I think that’s a great place to end this. Thank you so much for being on the show. Agnes: Thank you so much All right friends, that’s it for this episode with Agnes Józwiak from ClickMeeting. I’m Nathan from CoSchedule and I will catch you on the next episode. Subscribe to the Actionable Marketing Podcast on iTunes
About the Author

Nathan is the Head of Content & SEO at SimpleTexting. He's a demand generation enthusiast, content marketing advocate, and team player. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, running ultra marathons, and canoeing in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. Connect with Nathan on LinkedIn.